Was Jesus An Illusionist / Magician?

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
QuaziWashboard said:
Although I must admit to being a little offended (not a lot, just a little) that you seem to be commenting about my posts with other members of this message board without actualy directing any of your comments directly towards me. I am here y'know. Honestly, you'd think they never taught anyone manners at Sunday school. ;)
Sorry, who did you say you were again? ;)
If I said I was Jesus, and showed you a card trick.... would you believe me? ;)
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
If I said I was Jesus, and showed you a card trick.... would you believe me? ;)
I thought I saw Jesus on a tram.
I said, Are you Jesus?
He said, Yes. I am.

- Spike Milligan.
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
Personaly I believe he was a real person. I just think that it's more likely that he existed than not, simply because of the scale of the following He gained at the time.
There's no direct archaeological evidence and no mention of him in ancient works of the period he was supposed to have been around in. So, in short, there is no 'at the time'. You still buying that he was around based on posthumous accounts?
 

Gemaki

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
482
Reaction score
17
Points
34
QuaziWashboard said:
Personaly, I would go back in time to witness the life of Christ, mainly because I'm curious, but also...well if someone like Christ were to turn up today claiming to be able to perform honest to goodness miracles, hardly anyone in their right mind would invest any faith in him without any actual proof that he can indeed do what he says without any trickery being involved. To do otherwise or accept someone as the messiah without any miracles...well we might as well accept that David Icke really is the new messiah and bow down and pray to him now.
The majority of people nowadays are pretty sceptical about magical powers compaired to the people of 2000 years ago. Which makes you wonder, if the second coming of Christ actualy happened, would anybody notice?
Actually, that is exactly what has happened here, to my dismay:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29136
 
Last edited by a moderator:

OldTimeRadio

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
165
Points
114
ghostdog19 said:
There's no direct archaeological evidence and no mention of him in ancient works of the period he was supposed to have been around in. So, in short, there is no 'at the time'. You still buying that he was around based on posthumous accounts?
There's no reason to suspect that a small town carpenter who preached would be mentioned in contemporary histories.

Even today it's often difficult to obtain accurate background information on individuals who become famous only on account of the manner of their death.
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
OldTimeRadio said:
ghostdog19 said:
There's no direct archaeological evidence and no mention of him in ancient works of the period he was supposed to have been around in. So, in short, there is no 'at the time'. You still buying that he was around based on posthumous accounts?
There's no reason to suspect that a small town carpenter who preached would be mentioned in contemporary histories.
You mean a small town carpenter who preached and happened to perform a few miracles, walk on water, feed five thousand people with two loaves of bread and a fish, bring people back from the dead, rise from the dead himself, claim he was the son of God of all people... let's not play it down, aye? The way the bible tells it he certainly made a name for himself. Small town carpenter indeed.

Unless of course you're saying that that's all he was, and there were no miracles, no claim to be the son of God, no feeding of the five thousand or rising from the dead.
 

OldTimeRadio

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
165
Points
114
ghostdog19 said:
You mean a small town carpenter who preached and happened to perform a few miracles, walk on water, feed five thousand people with two loaves of bread and a fish, bring people back from the dead, rise from the dead himself, claim he was the son of God of all people... let's not play it down, aye? The way the bible tells it he certainly made a name for himself. Small town carpenter indeed.

Unless of course you're saying that that's all he was, and there were no miracles, no claim to be the son of God, no feeding of the five thousand or rising from the dead.
Yep, that's the one I mean.

You have to understand that Jesus Christ was a miracle worker at a time and in a place filled to the gills with wonder workers of all stripes.

That Christians believe Jesius was the "real deal" and the others not doesn't change that fact.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
QuaziWashboard said:
Personaly I believe he was a real person. I just think that it's more likely that he existed than not, simply because of the scale of the following He gained at the time.
There's no direct archaeological evidence and no mention of him in ancient works of the period he was supposed to have been around in. So, in short, there is no 'at the time'. You still buying that he was around based on posthumous accounts?
Yeah, pretty much so. I know there's no actual proof of the existance of Jesus but I just think that something must have happened 2000 years ago that this Jesus character was central to. Somehow, after all that's been written about him in the Bible and in a few other places, I just feel that Jesus was a real person or at least the story of him is based on a real person, similar to the Robin Hood analogy we had earlier. I can't see His resulting religion, one of the biggest in the world, being based on a completely fictional character.
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
OldTimeRadio said:
ghostdog19 said:
Unless of course you're saying that that's all he was, and there were no miracles, no claim to be the son of God, no feeding of the five thousand or rising from the dead.
Yep, that's the one I mean. You have to understand that Jesus Christ was a miracle worker at a time and in a place filled to the gills with wonder workers of all stripes.
What other wonder workers? Are you suggesting that the reason a guy calling himself the son of God, who fed 5 thousand people with just a couple of loaves of bread and a fish, rose from the dead, walked on water etc went unnoticed by history making absolutely no impression whatsoever because people like that were two a penny back then?
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
OldTimeRadio said:
ghostdog19 said:
There's no direct archaeological evidence and no mention of him in ancient works of the period he was supposed to have been around in. So, in short, there is no 'at the time'. You still buying that he was around based on posthumous accounts?
There's no reason to suspect that a small town carpenter who preached would be mentioned in contemporary histories.
You mean a small town carpenter who preached and happened to perform a few miracles, walk on water, feed five thousand people with two loaves of bread and a fish, bring people back from the dead, rise from the dead himself, claim he was the son of God of all people... let's not play it down, aye? The way the bible tells it he certainly made a name for himself. Small town carpenter indeed.

Unless of course you're saying that that's all he was, and there were no miracles, no claim to be the son of God, no feeding of the five thousand or rising from the dead.
Or he could have been the son of a carpenter who spent a lot of his youth learning magic trics from the Gali Gali men of Egypt or even from one of the Roman magicians around at the time, who then became involved in a religious/rebelious movement run by John the Baptist and who came up with a very clever plan involving an already expected messiah to get the Jewish people to rise up against the Romans.

Here's a thought.
Is there any written evedence that Jesus was a practicing carpenter? I know his Dad was and that Jesus as supposed to help him out in the workshop as a boy, but is anything written down that says he carried on the family tradition as a man?
Y'know, like maybe 'And lo....Jesus Christ did make unto himself a lovely sideboard and matching nest of coffee tables'?
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
OldTimeRadio said:
ghostdog19 said:
Unless of course you're saying that that's all he was, and there were no miracles, no claim to be the son of God, no feeding of the five thousand or rising from the dead.
Yep, that's the one I mean. You have to understand that Jesus Christ was a miracle worker at a time and in a place filled to the gills with wonder workers of all stripes.
What other wonder workers? Are you suggesting that the reason a guy calling himself the son of God, who fed 5 thousand people with just a couple of loaves of bread and a fish, rose from the dead, walked on water etc went unnoticed by history making absolutely no impression whatsoever because people like that were two a penny back then?
Well we do know that there is written accounts of others who referred to themselves as messiahs at the time. We also know that there were any number of people who were skilled in the art of sleight of hand around at the time. There's no reason to believe that Jesus was the only 'miracle worker' around at the time. But maybe He was the only one who wasn't doing it purely for selfish reasons.

This feeding of the 5000, couldn't he have simply arranged for provisions to be available at the location?
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
I just feel that Jesus was a real person or at least the story of him is based on a real person, similar to the Robin Hood analogy we had earlier.
So an ordinary carpenter teacher chap who's story was spiced up a bit with miracles and the like. Yeah, doesn't sound like an unreasonable idea. But equally, with such embellishments, one such embellishment could be his very existence.
QuaziWashboard said:
I can't see His resulting religion, one of the biggest in the world, being based on a completely fictional character.
Perhaps because an ailing faith needed a figure head for sake of unity. The Old Testament was for the sake of unity, after all. Which would explain why the embellishments.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
QuaziWashboard said:
I just feel that Jesus was a real person or at least the story of him is based on a real person, similar to the Robin Hood analogy we had earlier.
So an ordinary carpenter teacher chap who's story was spiced up a bit with miracles and the like. Yeah, doesn't sound like an unreasonable idea. But equally, with such embellishments, one such embellishment could be his very existence.
Possibly, but most decent stories have an element of truth about them or at least are probably based on a true story. Like King Arthur and Robin Hood.
It's interesting to note that these legends are also about people who made a difference to the downtrodden underdogs. King Arthur brought about peace and prosperity to a troubled nation, Robin Hood looked after the poor and fought against a tyrant pretender to the throne.
The truth of the characters they're based upon is probably more like King Arthur being a savvy tribal chief who united a bunch of warring tribes and Robin Hood was probably a Crusading knight who returned home to find the place in a right state and led a bunch of rebel fighters until the real king returned from the Crusades, but coincedently, they both have a cirtain amount of involvement with the supernatural. Like King Arthur's involvement with wizards, the sword in the stone and the lady of the lake and in the case of Robin Hood we have Herne the Hunter and the Green Man.
Maybe the supernatural parts of these stories are embelishments to suggest these people were quite special individuals.
Who's to say Jesus wasn't in some way similar to these?
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
Who's to say Jesus wasn't in some way similar to these?
Well that's what I was saying earlier, I mean, you want enduring myths, there's two candidates right there. Though they serve different functions, they weren't myths that the historical equivelant of Rome decided to adopt, and so they don't have the same prominence but still relevant with regard to enduring myths. Jesus was simply given a political seat as it were because heads of state popularized it. Jesus was a figurehead, and it's figureheads that unify people. So the 'need' for such a character is pretty obvious, fictional or simply embellished with hyperbole.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
QuaziWashboard said:
Who's to say Jesus wasn't in some way similar to these?
Well that's what I was saying earlier, I mean, you want enduring myths, there's two candidates right there. Though they serve different functions, they weren't myths that the historical equivelant of Rome decided to adopt, and so they don't have the same prominence but still relevant with regard to enduring myths. Jesus was simply given a political seat as it were because heads of state popularized it. Jesus was a figurehead, and it's figureheads that unify people. So the 'need' for such a character is pretty obvious, fictional or simply embellished with hyperbole.
But the difference between Arthur & Robin Hood and Jesus is that the first two's involvement with the supernatural was by association with supernatural characters, Jesus was said to be supernatural himself. So if he was a real person, what could have started the rumours of his powers?
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
But the difference between Arthur & Robin Hood and Jesus is that the first two's involvement with the supernatural was by association with supernatural characters, Jesus was said to be supernatural himself. So if he was a real person, what could have started the rumours of his powers?
Hyperbole. In historical context look at how Roman senators wrote about one another. It didn't HAVE to be based on anything.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
QuaziWashboard said:
But the difference between Arthur & Robin Hood and Jesus is that the first two's involvement with the supernatural was by association with supernatural characters, Jesus was said to be supernatural himself. So if he was a real person, what could have started the rumours of his powers?
Hyperbole. In historical context look at how Roman senators wrote about one another. It didn't HAVE to be based on anything.
But if the accounts of the amount of people who turned up to listen to Him talk are to be believed (and let's just say that for the sake of argument and just for the moment, they are to be believed) someone must have seen something fantastic for Him to attract crowds like that.
I can't see people flocking by in their multitudes just for some guy who has a few nice things to say about the cheesmakers and how we should all behave.
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
But if the accounts of the amount of people who turned up to listen to Him talk are to be believed (and let's just say that for the sake of argument and just for the moment, they are to be believed) someone must have seen something fantastic for Him to attract crowds like that.
Those accounts written anonymously some years after his death, assuming they're not fictional accounts (though there's evidence in the gospels that actually there's only one gospel upon which the others are based... so for sake of argument lets use the term account, the story of one person, in this instance Mathew, rather than accounts) then sure. In that context it's entirely possible that he had some sort of gimmick or whatever. But the point is, it wasn't one that made him famous at the time of his supposed life. Rather it's one that people wrote about some time after his alleged death. It certainly made no impression at the supposed time.
 

Xanatico

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
1,100
Reaction score
10
Points
54
There´s a guy in India called Sai Baba who also seem to be performing tricks and claiming he is some god incarnate. He does seem to have moderate success, even if no son of god would have that giant afro.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
ghostdog19 said:
QuaziWashboard said:
But if the accounts of the amount of people who turned up to listen to Him talk are to be believed (and let's just say that for the sake of argument and just for the moment, they are to be believed) someone must have seen something fantastic for Him to attract crowds like that.
Those accounts written anonymously some years after his death, assuming they're not fictional accounts (though there's evidence in the gospels that actually there's only one gospel upon which the others are based... so for sake of argument lets use the term account, the story of one person, in this instance Mathew, rather than accounts) then sure. In that context it's entirely possible that he had some sort of gimmick or whatever. But the point is, it wasn't one that made him famous at the time of his supposed life. Rather it's one that people wrote about some time after his alleged death. It certainly made no impression at the supposed time.
So what would you say it was that could have made him famous 'at the time of his supposed life' enough for him to attract large crowds of people?
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
Xanatico said:
There´s a guy in India called Sai Baba who also seem to be performing tricks and claiming he is some god incarnate. He does seem to have moderate success, even if no son of god would have that giant afro.
So it's feasable that with a bit of embelishment by the history writers, there could be a world wide religion based on Baba in 2000 years.
What would you call it, Babaianity? ;)
 

ghostdog19

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
3
Points
54
QuaziWashboard said:
So what would you say it was that could have made him famous 'at the time of his supposed life' enough for him to attract large crowds of people?
A top hat and some doves... actually, he does do a dove trick, doesn't he? :D
 

OldTimeRadio

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
165
Points
114
ghostdog19 said:
Are you suggesting that the reason a guy calling himself the son of God, who fed 5 thousand people with just a couple of loaves of bread and a fish, rose from the dead, walked on water etc went unnoticed by history making absolutely no impression whatsoever because people like that were two a penny back then?
You got it.

For all the things that Jesus Christ did, all it ever gained him in wordly acclaim was 54 followers (12 apostles and 42 disciples) - and that ain't exactly the Chinese army.
 

OldTimeRadio

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
165
Points
114
QuaziWashboard said:
This feeding of the 5000, couldn't he have simply arranged for provisions to be available at the location?
When the disciples first realized that they did not have enough food for the 5000 people, they went to Jesus and said "Master, lend us your wallet (well, purse) so we can go and buy food for these folks."

Thus, JESUS CARRIED ENOUGH READY CASH WITH HIM TO FEED AT LEAST 5,000 PEOPLE!

Now this doesn't negate the miracle but it surely doesn't do much for the stereotyped image of Christ as poor peripatetic preacher.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,241
Reaction score
9,118
Points
284
OldTimeRadio said:
Now this doesn't negate the miracle but it surely doesn't do much for the stereotyped image of Christ as poor peripatetic preacher.
Yes, the stereotype was put about by the church - IIRC, the NT doesn't actually say that Jesus was poor, and some people now believe that he came from an influential and possibly wealthy family.

Early Christian missionaries in western Europe were likewise often men of good family, with education and experience of travel. On the whole, poor uneducated peasants do not start rambling miles from home and preaching to the people!
 

OldTimeRadio

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
165
Points
114
rynner said:
....some people now believe that he came from an influential and possibly wealthy family.
Joseph obviously had sufficent funds to travel with his betrothed to Bethlehem for the census enumeration, remain in that city for many months, entertain foreign visitors and then sojourn in Egypt.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
OldTimeRadio said:
ghostdog19 said:
Are you suggesting that the reason a guy calling himself the son of God, who fed 5 thousand people with just a couple of loaves of bread and a fish, rose from the dead, walked on water etc went unnoticed by history making absolutely no impression whatsoever because people like that were two a penny back then?
You got it.

For all the things that Jesus Christ did, all it ever gained him in wordly acclaim was 54 followers (12 apostles and 42 disciples) - and that ain't exactly the Chinese army.
And 5000 people following him around don't count?
This is what I'm talking about, to attract 5000 people just to hear a guy speak takes some special kinda publicity. The miracles, whatever they were, must have been something to do with this, some way of getting the word around that this guy was special and that everyone should listen to what he has to say.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
Just to recap...the theory was that Jesus had learned the arts of sleight of hand and conjuring at the hands of travelling street magicians in Egypt (where Jesus apparently spent quite a lot of his formative years) called Gali Gali men.
As we all know, practicaly all the well known miracles can be re-created by illusionists and made to look real, because modern day magicians do them all the time.
Even coming back from the dead. (Voodoo priests will actualy poison someone with something called tetrodotoxin. This drug puts a person into a coma that resembles death. The victim retains full awareness as he/she is taken to the hospital, then perhaps to the morgue and finally buried in a grave. The voodoo priest or 'bokor' then raises the victim and administers a hallucinogenic concoction, called the "zombi's cucumber," that revives the victim. Once the victim has been revived, he/she has no power of speech, their past human personality is entirely absent, and the memory is gone, probably because of the strong hallucinogens used in this Voodoo practice, which are probably administered again and again to keep the victim in this state. The victim is then called a 'zombie' and used as a slave by the voodoo priest.)
So why couldn't the original miracals have been done in a similar way to how a modern magician would do them? We know conjurers and magicians existed at the time with knowledge that could make 'miracles' look real.
The interesting thing about the walking on water miracle is that it was only witnessed by those that Jesus chose to surround himself with, his desciples. If Jesus was indeed a conjurer rather than the actual earthly embodiment of God, he would need helpers, just as any stage magician does. If this was the case, then the obvious suspects for being Jesus's 'stage hands' would have to be his desciples. So it's not going beyond the relms of possibility to postulate that the walking on water miracle might well have been a pure fabrication in order to promote Jesus.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

colpepper1

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 11, 2005
Messages
1,257
Reaction score
53
Points
64
Like everyone else I can't really know whether the miracles were, er, miraculous. Even so, the old lines about conjouring presupposes the punters watching him were gullible just because it happened a couple of millenia ago. I rather doubt that.
They were more familiar with death in close up and a lot closer to the natural world than most people today. Even if events like the wedding feast at Cana, the loaves and fishes and the raising of Lazarus happened exactly as reported in the bible, it wouldn't necessarily point to Jesus being the messiah, just an extremely potent psychic with control of apports, telekinesis, etc - though I wouldn't argue with his conclusions.

Of course the church's definition of a miracle is anything that creates faith and on that level miracles they undoubtedly were. Faith based exclusively on two thousand year old eye witness accounts doesn't rest easily with a modern reader but that doesn't mean they can only be explained away as tricks.
 

QuaziWashboard

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
457
Reaction score
20
Points
34
colpepper1 said:
Like everyone else I can't really know whether the miracles were, er, miraculous. Even so, the old lines about conjouring presupposes the punters watching him were gullible just because it happened a couple of millenia ago. I rather doubt that.
Depends how you look at it. Today we have the modern medias of TV, film internet, magazines, books, ect, ect. If you want to know how a trick is done you can find out easily enough even though magicians traditionaly won't tell you how it's done. Nowadays, especialy in the west, everyone knows that magic is just trickery so magicians hardly ever claim to actualy have magical powers, they just want you to try to (and hope you can't) figure out how they do it.
In cirtain poor parts of the world however simple stage tricks performed by mystics are seen as the real thing because they don't have, or can't afford, many of the modern media available so the ancient custom of believing what your eyes think they saw still holds and they take it all very seriously.
These people are not neccesarily any more gullible than we are, it's just that our cultures are different so the notion of real magic is more acceptable to them than it is to us.
I'm suggesting that people living around the middle east 2000 years ago may have been more similar to these people than they are to ourselves.
 
Top