Messiah, or Not?
By Rich Savage
4/24/12

I. The Idea
3/7/12


  1. I was born on 6/4/42.

  2. Raised as a pseudo-Christian, and budding scientist, I started becoming disenchanted with the Jesus concept/story (c/s) early on – maybe, as early as 2nd grade.

  3. God -- let alone Jesus -- just didn't make sense...


     
  4. Today, it is 11/18/11.

  5. And, in the last few decades, I have drastically changed my mind about Jesus.

  6. I now think that there is much more to the Jesus concept/story than first meets the rational eye -- and, that Jesus probably was (is) the prophesied Jewish Messiah....

  7. Ah, ah, ah! Don't touch that dial just yet. Maybe Science has missed something. Maybe, we're not as smart as we think we are...

  8. As a possible inticement, note that we humans have two qualitatively different ways of thinking (as carried by the two hemispheres of our brains), and it appears that only one of those ways (and only one of those hemispheres) senses (or imagines) what we call "transcendence" -- the ultimate criterion for "religion"...

  9. The hemisphere that senses or imagines transcendence is the one we call "holistic."

  10. In addition, we humans (especially us men) tend to be dominated by one of those hemispheres or the other.

  11. And in other words, if one is dominated by the other hemisphere – the analytic hemisphere – one will have difficulty directly perceiving (or imagining) what truly "religious" people directly perceive (or imagine), and will probably need some significant analytic support in order to arrive there indirectly...

  12. I now think that I, personally, just needed to take a second -- much slower and closer -- analytic look in order to begin appreciating the logic and evidence that, somehow, was there all along...



  13. But do note that I am not here to judge Christianity per se -- I am here only to judge the possibility that Jesus was, in fact, the long prophesied Messiah of ancient Israel.

  14. And, in order to take that particular suggestion seriously, one needs only to believe that 1) there might actually be a "God" (or reasonable facsimile thereof), 2) prophecy might actually be real and 3) life might actually have real "meaning." If those are possible, Jesus might actually have been who he said he was...

  15. And then, if life actually does have real meaning (think about what you mean by "meaning" in that context), there just about has to be a God; and then, if there is a God, need we doubt prophecy?



  16. But then, I must also accept that I am not now (nor have I ever been) impartial in regard to this issue -- and that consequently, I cannot fully trust my own conclusions and suspicions...

  17. And now, being as old as I am, I suspect that this issue could really be important

  18. And then, can I really “entrust my life to Jesus” (a real neurological event) – which is surely what Jesus wanted us to do, and what would probably do me all sorts of good – if I’m not pretty darn sure that he was who he said he was? I doubt it.



  19. What I need, therefore, is access to an effective presentation of both sides of this story.

  20. Will my current suspicions and conclusions hold up in face of the logic and evidence of dedicated skeptics?

  21. That's the question.

  22. If so, I might (the neurological event, and state to which Jesus wished us to achieve, seems only semi-voluntary) be able to comply with Jesus' wish.

  23. And even if I can't "let go and let Jesus," the holistic thinking triggered by studying Jesus seems to provide a lot of solace anyway. And In truth, I suspect that what's important, anyway, is effort -- effort to find out what's right, and then effort to do it...

  24. But then, back to the "both sides" issue -- effective presentation of both sides requires back and forth between the two sides.  Juxtaposed pro and con presentations won’t nearly do it.

  25. In other words, what I need is access to effective debate between the two sides.

  26. And for me, effective debate would have to be in writing
     
  27. And, what I really need is effective debate between two experts from the two sides.

  28. But at this point, no such debate exists...



  29. Perceiving myself as some sort of pseudo-expert for the Jesus side at this point, and having intimate access to the Internet, I can imagine the possibility of slowly presenting the best case I can muster for the Jesus side, and slowly taking on all Internet comers to the contrary…

  30. With luck I can even engender some interest and help.

  31. And perhaps eventually, I might even convince a real apologist to do the same thing on a popular website.

  32. That’s the idea.



  33. But then, you might have noticed that effective debate in general, even in writing, is almost non-existent.

  34. Fortunately, I’ve been studying human debate for 40 years, and now think that I have a way to MAKE debates effective.  I present a full discussion under "III. Procedures." (Unfortunately, that discussion is several years old and deserves a serious re-write...)

  35. For now, it’s enough to know that I'll try to carry out the debate on these pages in the form of a trial conducted in an American appeals court (Jesus being already tried and convicted).

  36. I’ll start by presenting a short "opening statement" for the Appellant and then move on to my best rough guess as to what the "brief" of the other side (the "Prosecution") would look like.



  37. After that, I'll tackle their "alleged" arguments up front, and then present my own, current, case.

  38. Under XV. The Shroud, and XVI. Debates, you can find some of the debates that I’ve already had with them (on other websites) so far.

  39. With that beginning, I hope to stimulate a SYSTEMATIC and EFFECTIVE back and forth between the two sides, and slowly reduce this debate to it's "lowest common denominators."

  40. Assuming that we still disagree regarding a particular sub-sub-etc-issue, we will take that sub-sub-etc-issue down to a point where neither side has anything new to add -- its lowest common denominator (at least, for the moment) -- and then, move on to the next.

  41. To the extent that we can do that, we will be having effective debate, and the individual members of the audience, the "Jury," will have their best chances at deciding which side has its ducks in the best row.

  42. Which is the other half of my objective here.



  43. If this idea isn't currently clear, hopefully, it will clarify as we move along.

  44. And hopefully, I'll be able to do A BETTER JOB OF DESCRIBING the idea as we move along.



  45. If you feel like you might be able to help – on either side, or in any way – please let me know at rsavage@nycap.rr.com. This is a work in (very early) progress.



  46. To see that I'm not JUST a kook, you might check out my brief autobiography.