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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.

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HOME > Tanoro's Blog  >  Chris Forbes vs Zeitgeist
Chris Forbes vs Zeitgeist
Posted by: Tanoro - Feb 15, 2010 3:44pm

I watched an interview of Chris Forbes[3] who debunked part 1 of the Zeitgeist Movie and pointed out that it contained no serious academic sources. Chris Forbes looks like a good guy. He admitted that he first looked into the movie because his daughter (obviously a Christian) was being provoked at school by people who have seen the movie. I have to mention some criticisms of my own regarding Mr. Forbes. I honestly don't know if the facts stated in Zeitgeist the Movie are true, but I know Mr. Forbes' claims are, like all others, subject to scrutiny.

Criticism #1. He stresses that there is no doubt whatsoever among historians that Jesus actually lived in the time period he is believed to live. For one, this is speculation which immediately throws his statements into the same opinion-based realm as the sources of the Zeitgeist Movie, not fact. Secondly, historians can't even agree on what Jesus's name really was![1][2] How can any records of the time period reflect the existance of a man whose very name is in question!? On top of that, Hebrews stress that Jesus' name given to him by his parents was really "Yeshua," a name found throughout the Bible referring to many individuals.

Finally, who is to say records of the time were accurate? They were all written by human hand and we all know the word of man is subject to question, right? If Constantine wanted to spin a story of some miraculous individual walking around, he may be willing to doctor a few public records to show Jesus was around when he really wasn't, most especially church records. The problem is that there simply is no irrefutable evidence that Jesus existed and a person of scientific background would agree that if it has not been proven, it is not yet true. I noted to myself during Forbes' interview that he references not one source anywhere that a person might even attempt to verify Jesus' existance. He does come right out and refute that Horus was a Sun God. I'm going to debunk that right now.

It's a matter of interpretation. Some stories of ancient Egypt say Horus' eyes represented the sun and moon (Sun God, hint hint). During a battle with Set, Horus lost one of his eyes (the moon), leaving him with only his eye representing the sun. It is true that Ra also represents the Sun, but it is also true that Ra and Horus later joined to become one deity, named "Re-Horakhty" or "Ra, Who is Horus of the Two Horizons." Depending on how you look at it, Horus was, indeed, a Sun God on one level or another, but Forbes never mentions that. I guess he forgot?

Criticism #2. Mr. Forbes blatantly disregards Gerald Massey (one of the movie's sources) as simply a poet and "amateur" historian, not an expert. I find this a little on the arrogant side as I doubt Mr. Forbes has any personal knowledge of Massey's expertise. A self-trained academic should not be underestimated as history of full of them! Forbes informs us that scholars look for ancient sources and don't acknowledge those who can merely quote historians. My criticism is that unless you're a well-respected modern scholar with academic authority (already in the club), you may not have access to those ancient sources! As curious individuals, all we have are the writings of historians and "experts" (respected or not) which are highly open to question and scrutiny, Mr. Forbes' being no exception.

What you have here is a business-like establishment who controls all of the tangible historic information of ancient origin and does not let the public see it. When an individual compiles a number of questionable writings from historians who claim to have seen these sources, they are immediately regarded as unacademic or amateur. The establishment not only controls the money, people. They have everything that may be used to refute them and no shortage of "experts" who are willing to step in front of a camera and call you an amateur before the nation's ears.

Criticism #3. Who is to say what a respectable historian is? This topic is of special interest to me because I find the definition of "respectable authority" varies greatly from person to person. Mr. Forbes was introduced as the senior lecturer in the ancient history department at MAcQuarie Univeristy in Sydney Austrailia. He is said to be a specialist in the history of Greek thought and religion, Alexander the Great, and New Testament history. Now, let's examine this introduction. He's a lecturer and specialist on these topics. In other words, he teaches what is commonly known within the academic community to others. He is presented as neither an archeologist nor a person of historic scientific experience. He was introduced as a person who knows what is quoted in the books, but not as a person who has personally examined the ancient sources of which he speaks. BUT, as I am not familiar with his personal experiences, let's say that he has examined those sources.

Let's get real for a second. Anything you know or have heard, which you did not personally witness, was information received via another person, either by word-of-mouth or writing. The word of people, as Mr. Forbes personally admits, is subject to question. "Don't believe everything you hear," we hear Mr. Forbes say to viewers. Yet, documents from periods of times long before our own are accepted as absolute fact. Why? Because it's all we have. Does that make it absolute fact? Of course, it doesn't.

The truth of the matter is that there are NO unquestionable sources just as there NO unquestionable people. Doctors, professors, and authorities in any topic you can name are no exception to this rule. They are all capable of lying, being subjective, making mistakes, and being led to bend the truth to further their careers or fame. Scholars and philosophers in periods long past are also no exception, thus adding question to the sources which we accept as truth. As far as history goes, there is no truth. There is only the document and the honesty and objectivity of he who wrote it. Let me say that again. There is NO truth in history. And because there is no truth in history, it is pointless to prove it one way or the other. It is utterly insignificant.

Now, I'm not saying Mr. Forbes is a liar or doing anything wrong, so please don't flame. I'm saying that he is perhaps not practicing his own advice and even if he did, it would still prove nothing. I further question his rationale in refuting the information stated in the Zeitgeist Movie. Did it really happen that way? I honestly don't know. Has Mr. Forbes convinced me that it did not? Certainly not! He is subject to question because he has presented us with nothing but his own spin on the story which just happens to disagree, while the Zeitgeist movie does at least have sources which we can all reference. Has either one proven anything? Not at all, but it's an interesting story told both ways and that is all it will ever be.

Is Religion Even Important?

For all of you religious nuts out there using the religious chapter of the first Zeitgeist movie to refute the entire movement, I have a message for you. Grow up, you sheep! If there is any message the movie teaches, it's to think for yourself and do it objectively! Don't listen to everything you hear, no matter who says it, be it a man in a suit, a man wearing a federal badge, or a man wearing a white collar holding a special-looking book. They are ALL subject to question, without exception! Peter Joseph, who produced the Zeitgeist movies and founded the movement is, of course, no exception. By all means, research what he says! However, I want you to research it all, not just the theology part. Theology cannot be proven one way or the other, so skip it. It's not important.

I want you to research modern technology, resource based economies, the monetary system, the drawbacks of capitalism, corporate corruption, political inefficiency, the Venus Project, and the topics in which the movement is REALLY interested. It's not even important for you to tell us what you find, unless you want to do it. Either way, so long as you know the truth.

Sources:
[1]http://www.thenazareneway.com/yeshua_jesus_real_name.htm
[2]http://jesusisajew.org/YESHUA.php
[3]http://www.publicchristianity.com/Videos/zeitgeist.html

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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