Re: virus: Why people cling to faith

Jim Schubert (
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 09:54:34 -0500

>From my perspective, it is more likely that such a character never existed,
since we
>cant even find an objective accounting of such a person.

As an interesting side note:

One of the pieces of evidence pointing towards such a person are the copies of the arrest warrant issued for him. Apparently, among other things, he was a hunchback.

There is a lot of interesting information out there about him and his brother James and their political struggles for control of the Essene community. Also, the Essene definition of a "virgin birth" boiled down to a woman being pregnant before she got married. In other words, this guy was the illegitimate heir to a particular lineage, while his younger brother was considered the legitimate heir. Add in some Essene colloquialisms mis-interpreted by a non-essene (I'm forgetting his name at the moment, but the actual founder of the Christian church - I think it was either Paul or Peter). You start to get the miraculous. That's when the memes _really_ take over.

eg-s. of mis-interpreted colloquialisms:

"The dead" were non-essenes. "Raising someone from the dead" meant converting them to the essene beliefs and lifestyle. "Loaves" were the specialised priest class who served the bread and wine at the religious ceremonies and "fishes" were the people you were attempting to convert. Jesus performed a highly irregular act by allowing people not properly "ordained" to assist in the ceremonies, thus "multiplying the loaves and fishes" and so on.

One of the more interesting ones: religious officials wore special robes while performing baptisms. These could become quite cumbersome when wet, so there was a special pier for them to walk on to go far enough into the water to baptise without getting their robes too soaked. This led to the expression "walking on water>"

Also, I have a few questions and comments for the recent posters:

  1. One of you said some people explained your experience without understanding it (I'm seriously paraphrasing here). Explain your conversion experience please. How do you know it was one?
  2. Someone else pretended to refute Richard Brodie's (I think) comment about the origins/reasons for science. Perhaps you misunderstood him. He did not say science was based on these things. He was not building a "straw man". He was pointing out the core emotional reasons for the original development of the scientific method. Oddly enough, those reasons are presupposed and inherent in your response to him. You might want to re-read and re-think that one.
  3. I really am curious about the subjective experience of religious conversion. Please give more details.
  4. While we cannot ever have another's exact experience, the comment that negates full understanding of someone else's experience is spurious. Our ability to empathise is limited only by our belief system restrictions and your clarity of communication. Don't blame someone else for misunderstanding you; explain better. Test and repeat until they demonstrate understanding. That does NOT mean they will then necessarily agree with you, however.

Just a few thoughts for conversation.