Lost Gospel of Herschel Goldman

March 12, 2008 at 7:18 am 20 comments

Bible PageThis is a true story that just missed being included in the bible by a whisker.

Herschel and Lucy Goldman are in their early 40′s living in Judea. Herschel is a tent maker and Lucy is a homemaker. They work hard all day and in the evenings when they gather as a family for a meal, they always invite local people who have no family of their own to join them. They believe this is how Yahweh wants them to treat others.

Every Saturday, they go to the synagogue to worship God and pray for a messiah. They are praying for a saviour to free them from the Romans and bring peace to the region. They hope for a king of the Jews to lift them out of their hardships. They trust god, who has brought them this far, to continue to be at their side and help them know when ‘the One’ has come.

At this time, there are regular rumours and mumblings of messiahs. People are so desperate for salvation that it seems that some are willing to fall for any old claim. Hershel and Lucy are reasonable people. They believe that god will make it clear to them who is the one, and that they should trust him. While they have an idea of what they are expecting in a messiah, they know that Yahweh moves in mysterious ways; so they tell their children to always keen an open mind.

Recently, there has been another messiah claim. This time it is about a guy called Jesus of Nazareth. As always, Herschel and Lucy are interested but are careful not getting their hopes up. They believe it was important to keep hold of their god given rationale and not just fall for any claim, even though they dearly want to believe. The thing about Jesus is that he doesn’t seem to be this strong military leader who can free them from the Romans. This does not quite ring true of what they were expecting, but they are so hoping for a messiah that they decided to keep a breast of the goings on.

One Tuesday morning, a guy came in to buy a tent and says he’s believes Jesus is the messiah. Herschel decides to ask him some questions:

OK, why do you think he is the messiah?

First, because he says he is.

Okaaay… and?

He’s performed miracles. He’s made blind see, lame walk etc.

What!? Really? Thats very impressive. Tell me more. Did you actually witness this? Because if he did real miracles, then I’m pretty much there in believing he’s the messiah.

Well, no. I heard it from a friend who says that he healed his fathers legs. Anyway, he doesn’t want you to see his miracles… he wants you to have free will.. and seeing miracles takes away that free will.

Uh? Did he do the miracles or not? My daughter Lisa is dying. Will he come and heal her? If God loves me as much as he loves your friend then of course he will – and I think I would be ready to believe it. Why would he want to make it difficult to believe – but at the same time prove himself to some people with miraculous signs?… I think I need to meet this guy.

Well no, there’s a problem, he’s not here any more. He was killed by the Romans, but it’s ok his followers say that he rose from the dead.

Ok, well that would be sure fire proof… when he comes to Jerusalem after his resurrection I’ll certainly go and see him – that might just be enough evidence for me. It would dishonour Yahweh to accept some random guy as his messiah without being sure (any charlatan could say I’m the messiah and can do miracles, but I don’t want to show you, because it takes away your free will). It’s very different kind of messiah to what I was expecting – but I’ll meet him and assess the claim on its merits.

Well, unfortunately he’s just appeared to a select few then he decided just to ascend to heaven.

So you’re saying that the messiah came, but he didn’t want to make it too obvious to me that he was the messiah because he wanted me to have free will to believe… yet he did do miracles for some other people, so they had no choice but to believe. And you’re telling me I’m to believe your story about this or myself and my family are going to hell? I’m willing to stretch to the idea that the messiah might not the be powerful king of the Jews I’m expecting – but please don’t insult my god given intelligence!

Herschel and Lucy Goldman are now burning in hell for failing to spot that Jesus was the messiah

- QuestionMonkey

Entry filed under: QuestionMonkey. Tags: , , , , .

Opposing the God of the Gaps Would You Please Reschedule Your Crisis?

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MonolithTMA  |  March 12, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Aww…poor Herschel and Lucy. So sad. ;)

  • 2. bry0000000  |  March 12, 2008 at 8:46 am

    god is just!

  • 3. Julian Rodriguez  |  March 12, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Hahaha… Oh, that Herschel… he was such a skeptic…

  • 4. Mike  |  March 12, 2008 at 10:33 am

    If Jesus was as clan-destine and “successful” in his ministry as this story claims, I suppose we would have as many followers of Jesus today as there are of Bar-Kokhba.

  • 5. Quester  |  March 12, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Question Monkey, I find this a very challenging parable of what a Christian is expected to believe today. Well done.

    Mike,

    If Jesus was as clan-destine and “successful” in his ministry as this story claims, I suppose we would have as many followers of Jesus today as there are of Bar-Kokhba.

    I suppose that would depend on people like Paul, who did not witness Jesus’ ministry, but was very successful in his own, using Jesus’ name.

  • 6. Mike  |  March 13, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Quester,

    I see your point, and while it certainly has merit, there is evidence that the trajectory of the events depicted in the Gospels about Jesus was heading to the rest of the world whether it had been through Paul or not. The fact that the sect was so large as to be the target of immense persecution at the hands of Nero only 30 years into its history seems an indication that people who actually did witness the things Paul preached were able to verify their authenticity.

  • 7. Jonathan Blake  |  March 13, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Mike,

    I don’t know how many Christians there were at the time of Nero, but the Branch Davidians felt the persecution of the most powerful nation on earth about thirty years after their schism. It’s a non sequitur to say that therefore there must have been something to the claims of David Koresh.

  • 8. Mike  |  March 13, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Jonathan,

    My point was that there were a lot more than 80 some odd people. What was significant, and what distinguishes the beginning of Christianity from the Branch Davidians, was that the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry were walking around all over the place. This gave enough credibility to the ministry that it spread to what was considered the ends of the world by the time Nero rose to power. How many followers does Koresh have today?

  • 9. Thinking Ape  |  March 14, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Mike, using your logic in comment 8, why is Islam and Buddhism not as viable then as Christianity? Both founders have much more credibility, if going by the number of eyewitness testimonies, than Jesus.

  • 10. paulmct  |  March 14, 2008 at 3:15 am

    First of all, Nero needed a scapegoat for the burning of Rome. The ‘persecution’ was local and not empire-wide. Subsequent emperors ignored Christians for about the next 200 years. By that time their numbers were significant enough to be seen as a potential threat.

    Secondly, if a large enough number of believers proves authenticity, you would have to concede the authenticity of other religions, with their hundreds of millions of followers.

    Thirdly, just because the cult spread, that doesn’t mean the people doing the spreading actually witnessed anything. Missionaries continue to spread religions, without ever having met or witnessed the prophet personally. Believe it or not, there were gullible people 2000 years ago, too.

  • 11. Mike  |  March 14, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    TA and Paul,

    “why is Islam and Buddhism not as viable as Christianity”

    Using only this logic, that would be true. Thankfully, there is far more to the story.

    Paul,

    “The ‘persecution’ was local and not empire-wide.”

    Yes, but it was local in Rome. That means that the story of Christianity must have had enough credibility to reach the imperial capital and have more than enough followers to fill the Colosseum.

    “just because the cult spread, that doesn’t mean the people doing the spreading actually witnessed anything”

    True, but this doesnt mean that they werent around. In fact, you cant prove that the eye witnesses werent there. You would have to claim that every eye witness died immediately after having seen Jesus. This stuff didnt happen in a vacuum.

  • 12. societyvs  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    LOL – now that’s funny and very poignant. I liked the story and the way it was framed – true comedic timing.

    I am not sure I agree with the point reached but it does make a great point – maybe there is a lot in the Christian faith that needs to both be expained better or looked at with more depth.

    Whay actually is funny is that last part about the resurrection and the few people seeing him – that made me laugh – it was truly comedic and made the point intended. It is strange Jesus was only revealed to very few – but then again – very few followed him quite closely also.

  • 13. Quester  |  March 15, 2008 at 2:45 am

    You would have to claim that every eye witness died immediately after having seen Jesus.

    Well, an alternative claim would be that there was no Jesus to see.

    *shrug* Just voicing a possibility.

  • 14. paulmct  |  March 15, 2008 at 6:11 am

    A real possibility. Another one is that he was a mere mortal with a message of compassion that seemed appealing to the people of those harsh times. Another one is that he was an amalgam of the many Hebrew prophets/preachers of the time.

    There are lots of possibilities. The written accounts came later and changed with time, so who knows what the truth was or if there was any truth to it, at all? Who knows what the Christians of Nero’s time were like, for that matter? Maybe they were roughly the equivalent of hippies, telling people to “Have a nice day” and saying that we could all try to be a little nicer to each other.

    Whatever they were, they didn’t have to have witnessed anything and the story didn’t have to have any credibility to reach Rome. False rumours and stories can spread far and wide. Especially if it’s a good, entertaining one dressed up with the usual stuff that spices up stories – miracles (special effects), action, sex (probably added later), a betrayal, and a big finish.

  • 15. GoDamn  |  March 15, 2008 at 7:02 am

    ok, I don’t get this hundreds (actually, thousands) of people witnessed the miracles stuff. How is it possible that so many people witnessed them and the only accounts we get are biblical? Why is it that the closest a secular historian has come merely refers to ‘this fellow called Jesus…’. Josephus wrote an account but that is considered by most historians to have been later additions, not written by Josephus. Quit saying a lot of people witnessed the miracles. We only have biblical accounts to go by.Thats like the ‘Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’ saying thousands have seen the FSM and been touched by his noodly appendage. Is that supposed to be considered evidence? Do we believe that it is true? All things considered, the evidence for JC is not much better than for FSM. Infact, the only difference is that the FSM is one hell of a tasty god. And the holy FSM trinity ( actually, holy tringredient – Sauce: the source of all life, spaghetti and meatballs) actually makes sense. Toodles.
    I mean – Noodles.
    RAmen

  • 16. Ga-leyen  |  April 6, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    If you honestly are diligently seeking Jesus, the Savior, then you will find him. He knows your motives. He is God and deserves to be treated reverently. If you are proud, arrogant and impressed with your own intelligence, then you will never find him. Man is very limited in the scope of his knowledge and wisdom. Scientists, doctors, engineers and other professionals do not have it all figured as you might be led to believe. I know, I was an electronic engineer and I have seen how it works. I know my Jesus and I trust his word, the bible, more than U.S.World News.

  • 17. The Apostate  |  April 7, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Ga-leyen, you are a troll but I need to feed this one,

    If you are proud, arrogant and impressed with your own intelligence, then you will never find him.

    You sound pretty impressed with yourself.

    Man is very limited in the scope of his knowledge and wisdom. Scientists, doctors, engineers and other professionals do not have it all figured as you might be led to believe.

    No, they don’t. But you do, right?

  • 18. qmonkey  |  April 7, 2008 at 2:45 am

    >>If you honestly are diligently seeking Jesus, the Savior, then you will find him

    ironically this is a central assertion of unbelief/atheism. Substitute the word Jesus for any god, fairies, UFOs, conspiracy theory etc etc

  • 19. Ganyawee  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Shannon’s story was very inspiring that in the end,when she had been prseesd to her limit,she turned it all over to God,amen.She struggled with being second and not understanding and just needing to be accepted.In her desperation,she turned to a father figure,which just made her lonliness and grief worse.Many times,we look to others and to different things to fill the voids in our lives,however,we only fing that peace and comfort that we need,when we give it all to Christ and lean on Him amen

  • 20. cag  |  December 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Ganyawee #19, who is Shannon, and why is she so deluded that she would turn it all over to an imaginary character in a book of fiction?

    We are dependent people, we depend on other humans, living humans not characters in a prospectus, such as the one promoting self-subjugation by ordinary humans for the benefit of a power elite, commonly called “The Bible”.

    Have you ever wondered why billions of people, some who have never heard of this mythical character you lean on, find peace and comfort without the benefit of accepting lies?

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