Showing posts from July, 2013

Did Jesus Exist and Does it Matter? (2)

Last week I spoke about the evidence for the existence of Jesus – evidence from the New Testament, from the Christian Church, and from non-Christian sources – and I concluded by saying that this evidence, far from being compelling, and far from establishing Jesus’ existence unequivocally, was, in fact, rather thin and, when looked at dispassionately, pointed to Jesus being a fictional, rather than a historical, character.             Today I’d like to discuss the implications of this. Does it matter? Is the credibility of Christianity dependent upon its being inspired by the life, death, and teaching of one person who can be located in history with a fair degree of precision? For many people, the question is breathtakingly audacious, even impertinent. For them, Christianity is Jesus. Many times I’ve heard, and I’m sure you have, too, that Christianity is not about a body of doctrines, it is about a person. We have all heard people talk of having a ‘personal relationship with Jesu

Leo (1): Who am I?

Leo, by Dan Hodgkin Leo, the Fixed Fire sign, is the sign of the sunshine, and is the only sign said by the ancient astrologers to be ‘ruled’ by the sun. Charles Carter calls it ‘the sign of divine splendour’. Its symbol is the lion, ‘the king of the beasts’ and it is associated with royalty, glory, creativity. Its principal star is Regulus, ‘the little king’, one of the four ‘royal’ stars of the ancient world. The second star in Leo is Al Giebha, said to mean ‘the exalted, the exaltation’ and Zosma, in the Lion’s tail means ‘the shining forth, the epiphany’. Its decans are Corvus, (the Raven), Crater (the Cup), and Hydra (the Fleeing Serpent). The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6 th , when the sun is in Leo.  Mark 8:27-38 Jesus and his disciples went into the villages of Caesarea Philippi and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do men say that the son of man is?’ They said to him, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; others,

Did Jesus Exist? (And Does it Matter?): Part 1

This sermon was given in Dublin in 1999   Ten years ago I would have considered the questions that concern us today to be quite idle and not worth asking. Despite the fact that there was then continuing controversy over the historical context of the gospel record, there were few people who doubted that there was history in there somewhere. Even critics who were hostile to Christianity would rarely go so far as to claim that the whole thing was a fabrication, and that Jesus never existed at all. Such ideas had been entertained at the time of the Enlightenment in the 18 th century, and have surfaced since, but have never been treated seriously by Christian scholars, and the prevailing view has always been that the testimony of the Gospels, the testimony of the Christian church itself, and the testimony derived from references to Jesus in contemporary Jewish and Roman records, establishes his existence as firmly as that of Caesar or Napoleon. As to the second question – does it mat

A Jesus Mystery in Daily Life

  A Jesus Mystery in Daily Life   by Bridget Belgrave   The summer of 2008 I made a deep choice - to put my work on hold and travel to Canada for two months, accepting the invitation of two wonderful friends to stay in a yurt on their land in the mountains and write. The previous year I had taken a long sabbatical with the intention of writing, but unexpectedly I found I had to sort out many, many things in my life. I spent months ‘sorting’ so my writing only extended to two articles and some training documents. So the 2008 writing retreat was incredibly precious to me. During the final weeks before leaving for Canada I worked hard to clear my desk and put my business and my house in order, so others could care for them in my absence. The night before my flight I still had a huge amount to do. I persisted and persisted only lying down for twenty minutes all night. By 2pm on my day of departure, when the taxi came to take me to the airport bus, I was in a daze. How