Liar Lord Lunatic

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Liar Lord Lunatic

Postby Loon » Tue May 24, 2005 6:11 pm

In another thread, someone mentioned the Liar Lord Lunatic thing (Jesus must have been either a Liar who falsely and knowingly claimed he was the son of god, a lunatic who falsely but sincerely claimed he was the sun of god, or he was actually the son of god) and referred to it as an old and trite (my paraphrase) argument.

I'm not all that familiar with the argument, but the lack of a fourth "legend" option (i.e., Jesus was made up by other people) aside, what are the flaws? or is it that the Liar Lord Lunatic thing is often followed by refutations of the possibility that Jesus could be a liar or a lunatic?

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Postby Raskolnikov » Tue May 24, 2005 7:02 pm

There is also a 5th option, that Jesus existed and never said anything about being the son of God. References to Jesus' divinity in Matthew, Mark, and Luke are very sparse, and are very rarely attributed to him. Usually its a voice from the heavens that proclaims it, or a third party or something. When it is claimed at all. My reading of the Gospels is that Jesus was just another Jewish rabbi and preacher, who *possibly* believed he was the Messiah (traditions at the time didn't hold that the Messiah was going to be a son of God, however) with disciples that got carried away after Jesus was executed.

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Postby dcolanduno » Tue May 24, 2005 8:03 pm

In under 300 years, even here in America, we have attached a ton of respect and false information to several of our historical figures. It wouldn't be suprising if someone that people now refer to as 'Jesus' existed, and lead people, or was very respected for some reason or another.

Over time, his stories get larger and his deeds get greater... (Look at the history of Santa Claus for a good example)

So, some folks want to sit down and start forming a religion, or add to the stories of another, (depends on how you look at it), so they dig into the stories their parents and village elders told around the fire. They didn't have TV, Movies, or even books, they had passed down traditional stories. All of which, were developed over time to be 'interesting' since this was entertainment after all.

It's all too easy to figure out how a story like that arose.
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Postby specious_reasons » Tue May 24, 2005 8:51 pm

First of all, the arguments generally assume that the Bible is both accurate and complete. Every version of this I've seen generally only uses the Bible as a source of proof. Of course, such essays are presented for mass consumption and is not a scholarly thesis.

Second, it treats "liar" and "lunatic" as separate possibilities, when it seems that most successful religious figures in our recent history (i.e. Joseph Smith, televangelists, and maybe even people like Sylvia Brown) seem to be a functional combination of the two..... and Smith did in fact "sacrifice" himself for the sake of his flock. IIRC, Smith agreed to be arrested as an attempt to calm violence between the Mormons and anti-Mormon militias - and died as a result.

Considering the legend surrounding Smith, and the success of the LDS church, I like to use Smith as the most likely model for Jesus, with Jesus having the advantage of not being quite so well documented.
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Postby Flash » Tue May 24, 2005 11:19 pm

Author and a scholar John Allegro wrote a book in the sixties titled The mashroom and the cross where he traces various jewish and christian icons including the name Jesus to the babilonian fertility cult involving a mashroom for some reason. Allegro, incidently, is the guy who can read the ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets.
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Postby specious_reasons » Wed May 25, 2005 1:35 am

Flash wrote:Author and a scholar John Allegro wrote a book in the sixties titled The mashroom and the cross where he traces various jewish and christian icons including the name Jesus to the babilonian fertility cult involving a mashroom for some reason. Allegro, incidently, is the guy who can read the ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets.


I wonder if this is part of the inspiration behind Philip K. Dick's The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. It's been quite a while since I've read it, but supposedly the secret of eternal life is found in a type of mushroom....
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Postby DeusEx_Humana » Sun May 29, 2005 3:34 am

Not sure of the meaning of this thread, but I have no problem saying "yeah ok, so then he was a liar or a lunatic".

I mean, this isn't even an argument, this is just saying "either I am right, or I am wrong".

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Postby Bearguin » Mon May 30, 2005 9:04 pm

First off, the way it is often presented it becomes a straw man. First time I heard this argument (at an Alpha course), I thought "wait a minute. that's not what the atheist's are saying".

So many other possibilities and opinions cannot be be summarized as "Liar/Lunatic".

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Lord Liar Lunatic

Postby Andy68 » Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:01 pm

If you want a little background, this thing was started by C. S. Lewis. He was disgusted that some people were saying, "Jesus was a prophet, not God." Lewis said that that was an unacceptable position to take, because Jesus clearly proclaimed his divinity. Therefore, he was either a hell-spawned, evil liar, or he was a lunatic...or he was, in fact, God.

The problem with Lewis' argument is that it does not leave room for things mentioned above, and in various other threads. One, maybe Jesus was an entirely fictional character. Two, maybe he was real, but the stories about him were enlarged and fictionalized. Etc, etc, etc.

When it comes right down to it, this Lord Lunatic Liar thing wouldn't even make it in a high school debating club.

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Postby ajm » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:02 am

Yes, why should we have a problem with someone calling God daddy, shattering consciences around and being killed as a result? It just tells a story about us, about the concept of God. Jesus is okay, for Christ sake.
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Postby MD » Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:16 pm

The expanded version of that argument includes "Myth, and Guru."

The fairly inclusive argument is then "Jesus must either be Lord, Liar, Lunatic, Myth, or Guru."

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Postby MD » Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:18 pm

When it comes right down to it, this Lord Lunatic Liar thing wouldn't even make it in a high school debating club.


Neither would your comment.

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Re: Lord Liar Lunatic

Postby Carneades » Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:25 am

Andy68 wrote:When it comes right down to it, this Lord Lunatic Liar thing wouldn't even make it in a high school debating club.


This is generally true of Lewis' arguments. As I recall, in "Mere Christianity" he argues that God must exist since human beings have moral codes which we sometimes break. :lol:

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Postby Carneades » Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:29 am

MD wrote:
When it comes right down to it, this Lord Lunatic Liar thing wouldn't even make it in a high school debating club.


Neither would your comment.


Actually as a refutation of Lewis' argument, I think that it would.

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Postby PerfesserKilljoy » Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:14 pm

This is a bit of an aside, but in case you haven't looked at the fascinating history of the gospels, a condensed version:

Thesis: the Gospels evolved.

1. There was a very brief "teachings" period--if we assume Jesus was a historical character. Much of his sayings, etc., actually derive from earlier traditIons, which I won't go into now.

2. This was followed (after the alleged crucifixion) by the oral period, when stories & sayings were repeated and passed down for several decades (ie the populous plays telephone with the gospel of jesus).

3. Some of these sayings were written down in early gospels such as the gospel of "Thomas" (actually an anonymous source) and the hypothetical Q gospel.

4. The earliest narrative gospel is "Mark." This gospel depicts a flawed, brittle Jesus, lacks the birth and resurrection narratives, and doesn't include the sayings of "Q".

5. Anonymous scribes with access to the above documents (and with their own agendas) correct, revise and expand upon "Mark," including birth and resurrection narratives from varying traditions (or from the writers' own imaginations) and incorporate the lost "Q" sayings in various scenes.

6. Other, competing gospels are written and circulating at this time as anonymous scrolls, just like the above.

7. Along comes Iraneus and the "selection" process:

It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are, since there are four directions of the world in which we are, and four principal winds...the four living creatures [of Revelation 4.9] symbolize the four Gospels...and there were four principal covenants made with humanity, through Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Christ. (Against All Heresies 3.11.8; cf. M 263)


http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ ... on.html#IV

8. The "New Testament" is formed, and those gospels that don't make it into the canon are ignored or suppressed as "heretical." Scribes no longer make copies of them.

9. The documents are attributed to "Mark," "Matthew," "Luke," and "John."

10. Along comes church historian Eusebias, whose philosophy is as follows:
Eusebius is also infamous for saying that it was necessary to lie for the cause of Christianity. In his Praeparatio Evangelica 12.31, listing the ideas Plato supposedly got from Moses, he includes the idea:

"That it is necessary sometimes to use falsehood as a medicine for those who need such an approach."
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/NTcanon.html#IV

11. Eusebias quotes a lost letter of one Papias, who writes that someone he calls "the presbyter" told him that one "John Mark" wrote down everything the disciple Peter told him, though "not in order."

I side with the fourth "L": LEGEND.
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Postby MD » Wed Jun 22, 2005 7:36 am

Carneades wrote:
MD wrote:
When it comes right down to it, this Lord Lunatic Liar thing wouldn't even make it in a high school debating club.


Neither would your comment.


Actually as a refutation of Lewis' argument, I think that it would.


That leaves me nearly speechless...
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Carneades
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Postby Carneades » Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:22 pm

I don't see why you are shocked.

1.) Lewis proposes that there are exactly three possibilities: Lord, Liar, and Lunatic.

2.) Andy suggests other possibilities.

3.) You accepted two such additional possibilities: Myth and Guru.

Since you now accept a list of five possibilities, you must reject Lewis' premise that there were exactly three. If Andy convinced you, then why are you surprised that he might convince a high school debate club?

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Postby MD » Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:53 am

Carneades wrote:I don't see why you are shocked.

1.) Lewis proposes that there are exactly three possibilities: Lord, Liar, and Lunatic.

2.) Andy suggests other possibilities.

3.) You accepted two such additional possibilities: Myth and Guru.

Since you now accept a list of five possibilities, you must reject Lewis' premise that there were exactly three. If Andy convinced you, then why are you surprised that he might convince a high school debate club?


My shock, if it is my shock you are referring to, is in Carneades suggestion that dismissing an argumant as unsuitble to a high school debate club is an effective refutation.

Second, If you look back you will note that I suggested the "lord liar lunatic myth guru" structure, not andy, although as I look further back I see the myth possibility posted here and there.

Not only do I accept five possibilities, I am open to a sixth, should a truly distinctive possibility emerge.

Finally, Andy didn't submit that he could convince a high school debating club, he stated the argument wasn't worthy of a high school debating club.
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Re: Lord Liar Lunatic

Postby MD » Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:56 am

Carneades wrote:This is generally true of Lewis' arguments. As I recall, in "Mere Christianity" he argues that God must exist since human beings have moral codes which we sometimes break. :lol:


That is not an accurate summation of the argument. Go back and read it again, apparently you missed the point.
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Postby bholly72 » Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:40 pm

Please feel free to offer your own summary of the argument, keeping in mind of course, that Lewis himself believed that it was refuted in his debate with GEM Anscombe. - Brian

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Postby MD » Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:58 am

bholly72 wrote:Please feel free to offer your own summary of the argument, keeping in mind of course, that Lewis himself believed that it was refuted in his debate with GEM Anscombe. - Brian


The argument proposes the presence of absolute morality as proof of God.

Why should I keep in mind a particular refutation when summarizing the original argument?
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