1. Standard memberVillager
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    04 Jan '06 17:251 edit
    Edit: I forgot to add a title. Never mind.

    This article from The Times reminds me of the awful-looking Billy Connolly film of a similar theme which I never saw.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest
    From Richard Owen in Rome

    AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.

    The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.

    Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ’s historical existence.

    Yesterday Gaetano Mautone, a judge in Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month and ordered Father Righi to appear. The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was “abusing popular credulity”.

    Signor Cascioli’s contention — echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites — is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.

    Signor Cascioli’s one-man campaign came to a head at a court hearing last April when he lodged his accusations of “abuse of popular credulity” and “impersonation”, both offences under the Italian penal code. He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived “after the time of the hypothetical Jesus” and were therefore not reliable witnesses.

    Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of “substitution of persons”.

    The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention a “Christus” or “Chrestus”, but were writing “well after the life of the purported Jesus” and were relying on hearsay.

    Father Righi said there was overwhelming testimony to Christ’s existence in religious and secular texts. Millions had in any case believed in Christ as both man and Son of God for 2,000 years.

    “If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not,” Father Righi said.

    Signor Cascioli said that the Gospels themselves were full of inconsistencies and did not agree on the names of the 12 apostles. He said that he would withdraw his legal action if Father Righi came up with irrefutable proof of Christ’s existence by the end of the month.

    The Vatican has so far declined to comment.

    THE EVIDENCE
    # The Gospels say that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, preached and performed miracles in Galilee and died on the Cross in Jerusalem

    # In his Antiquities of the Jews at the end of the 1st century, Josephus, the Jewish historian, refers to Jesus as “a wise man, a doer of wonderful works” who “drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles”

    # Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet. Many Jewish theologians regard Jesus as an itinerant rabbi who popularised many of the beliefs of liberal Jews. Neither Muslims nor Jews believe he was the Messiah and Son of God

    # Tacitus, the Roman historian who lived from 55 to 120, mentions “Christus” in his Annals. In about 120 Suetonius, author of The Lives of the Caesars, says: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome.”
  2. London
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    04 Jan '06 17:44
    Ridiculous.
  3. Joined
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    04 Jan '06 18:01
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Ridiculous.
    I suppose you refer to the evidence.
  4. Colorado
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    04 Jan '06 19:47
    Originally posted by Villager
    Edit: I forgot to add a title. Never mind.

    This article from The Times reminds me of the awful-looking Billy Connolly film of a similar theme which I never saw.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest
    From Richard Owen in Rome

    AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month ...[text shortened]... tly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome.”
    Why does a judge require proof that Jesus existed? Maybe I missed it in your post, but for what reason is it necessary to prove that Jesus existed?
  5. Joined
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    04 Jan '06 19:52
    Originally posted by The Chess Express
    Why does a judge require proof that Jesus existed? Maybe I missed it in your post, but for what reason is it necessary to prove that Jesus existed?
    Apparently, the priest sort of offended the writer of the book (who claimed Jesus didn't exist - when he supposedly did). It's not the court demanding proof, it's the writer. If the priest is successfull, the writer will drop the charges. See?
  6. Colorado
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    04 Jan '06 20:011 edit
    Originally posted by stocken
    Apparently, the priest sort of offended the writer of the book (who claimed Jesus didn't exist - when he supposedly did). It's not the court demanding proof, it's the writer. If the priest is successfull, the writer will drop the charges. See?
    Crazy…There is no way to prove that Jesus didn’t exist, so it all just comes down to personal opinion. How does this make it suitable for the court?
  7. Joined
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    04 Jan '06 20:10
    Originally posted by The Chess Express
    Crazy…There is no way to prove that Jesus didn’t exist, so it all just comes down to personal opinion. How does this make it suitable for the court?
    The priest has committed a crime against the writer (according to italian law) and is about to be prosecuted. Something about you not being allowed to use popular beliefs to supress someone else's ideas.

    As for not being able to prove that Jesus didn't exist. I think the writer (I can't remember those italian names) merely pointed out a few facts that puts doubt on the alleged existence of Jesus. He is saying that Jesus didn't exist, but it's not entirely taken out of the blue.

    Now, the writer is not asked to prove that Jesus didn't exist. The writer demands that the priest proves that Jesus did exist (if the charges are to be dropped). That (it seems to me) is equally difficult.

    If nothing else, it should be interesting to see how it all turns out.
  8. Colorado
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    04 Jan '06 20:18
    Originally posted by stocken
    The priest has committed a crime against the writer (according to italian law) and is about to be prosecuted. Something about you not being allowed to use popular beliefs to supress someone else's ideas.

    As for not being able to prove that Jesus didn't exist. I think the writer (I can't remember those italian names) merely pointed out a few facts that put ...[text shortened]... ally difficult.

    If nothing else, it should be interesting to see how it all turns out.
    I don’t know what the priest did. If the priest took it too far, the author may have some grounds on the basis that the priest might ruin his reputation and sales with no proof, but this “not being allowed to use popular beliefs to suppress someone else's ideas” makes no sense to me. It’s a popular belief that stealing is wrong. Can this be proven?
  9. Joined
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    04 Jan '06 20:271 edit
    Originally posted by The Chess Express
    I don’t know what the priest did. If the priest took it too far, the author may have some grounds on the basis that the priest might ruin his reputation and sales with no proof, but this [b]“not being allowed to use popular beliefs to suppress someone else's ideas” makes no sense to me. It’s a popular belief that stealing is wrong. Can this be proven?[/b]
    Ooops. Seems I misunderstood. The charge is: "abusing popular credulity". It's all there in the first post.

    I mistook that for being the same as: "not being allowed to use popular beliefs to suppress someone else's ideas". It's more like using the popular beliefs to discredit someone else's idea (I think). I think it's about the priest using his credibility to dismiss a theory based on an equally unsubstantiated theory. (Jesus has not been proven to exist, and he hasn't been proven not to exist. Either one's a good guess, although the writer in this case apparently has some facts pointing to the latter.)

    I could be wrong, though. And I'm sure some kind soul in these here forums will point that out, if that's the case. 🙂
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