Of course, I'd spent countless hours throughout that decade seeking to ultimately debunk what I'd considered to be the manufactured historicity of Christ.
I think another thing is that many people like brianv find themselves betraying their independence out of loneliness. That is to say, many formerly very independent thinkers become
self-proclaimed atheists/agnostics because so many people (as we've discovered time and time again through research into human nature as it relates to belief and other things) are looking for something to join to feel stable and they lose interest in their own beautiful uniqueness.
Brianv will never do that, which is why I love the guy even though I've never met him.
I can never really call myself any label without it being a tongue-in-cheek diplomatic thing, but I am willing to come to a place that says, "all people are welcome" which is what the Sunday Assembly says in a tiny corner of its vitriolic web site. I guess I'll see if they actually are that way or if it's going to be a bunch of Michio Kaku- Richard Dawkins- Hawking-worshipping, Darwinian bastards. My sense so far is that it is not. That it's actually just some people getting together out of an unstated relief from being told to believe something
, and that their whole marketing package of being an anti-megachurch is for the press.
So, risking a Dcopymope attack and changing the subject a bit (or rather immensely, because I figure a lot of "atheism" is a rejection of all Religions, not just "Abrahamic" ones) to Jesus Christ
(and/or Zeitgeist-like dismissive waves at the evidence), as you have tangentially alluded ... I have met a fellow who is big into historical research and went to the central library in London and pulled up some old census records where Jesus of Nazareth was apparently written down and that was good enough for him.
For me, as you know, that's not good enough.
We have discovered on this site that a fake signature is enough for some people to believe an entire fabrication about a vicsim.
So for me, as far as biblical scholarship goes (and please don't judge me as I am really just a beginner at this sort of thing) I am fascinated by the folks that say Titus Flavius' military campaign was intimately tied to Jesus' life story in a few key areas, which indicates that a wealthy family (Flavians by name) essentially invented/promoted this guy (presuming he was even a historical character) in order to give these fucking crazy militant-ass Jews a fake Messiah that is pacifist instead of warmongering, and thereby try to calm them down and keep them from destroying Rome in a weekend. That is, making the New Testament was sort of like taking the "sacred" media for a bunch of religious zealots, like let's say, The Origin of Species
, and writing a sequel that both proves the ridiculous prophecy of the text and ties it to your own goals, like — I dunno — let's say, a new book called The Missing Link
by Dick Slawkings, PhD proving conclusively that apes are humans, life-originating bacteria came from Mars, and the Reptilians are coming back to cure our ills by giving us great sex.
So instead of people interested in science, independent thought, critical thinking, building and strengthening community and families or what-have-you, or possibly running a rail through your leader's head, you derail their zealotry into a belief
(that brianv so staunchly warns about) that their belief
is powerful. You seduce them (and force them) to rely on their own zealotry (belief in a Messiah or whatever it is). You play dead for a while, you pretend to be hypnotized and controlled until your zealots really believe in their own command over life and its laws.
Isn't Jesus just that kind of symbol? A vessel for all one's belief
in the good things in life continuing in perpetuity, in order to ease the mind's anxiety about the future?