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Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest
Times Online UK ^ | January 3, 2006 | Richard Owen

Posted on 01/02/2006 4:30:26 PM PST by InvisibleChurch

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.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: antichristianity; jesushaters; priest
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1 posted on 01/02/2006 4:30:27 PM PST by InvisibleChurch
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To: InvisibleChurch

Italy has its own version of the 9th Circuit, I see.


2 posted on 01/02/2006 4:31:51 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ... https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: InvisibleChurch

The judge in question is going to have a difficult time explaining that one when his time comes.


3 posted on 01/02/2006 4:33:00 PM PST by mware (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL.")
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To: Victoria Delsoul

Pingaroo


4 posted on 01/02/2006 4:33:11 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Itialy is a great place...but has a lot of idiots walking the streets!


5 posted on 01/02/2006 4:33:15 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: InvisibleChurch
"The State has proven that there is no god!"
"You cannot erase God with an edict."

...Fritz Weaver as the Chancellor and Burgess Meredith as Romney Wordsworth, speaking Rod Serling's words, in the Twilight Zone episode "The Obsolete Man".

6 posted on 01/02/2006 4:33:57 PM PST by RichInOC ("In the name of God, let me out!!" "Yes, Chancellor, in the name of God, I WILL let you out!")
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To: InvisibleChurch
for questioning Christ’s historical existence.

The title for this article is (I believe) intentionally misleading. It should have been "Prove Christ Existed" since he is being asked to prove Christ's historical presence. Oh well, sells more papers this way I reckon.
7 posted on 01/02/2006 4:34:42 PM PST by starbase (Understanding Written Propaganda (click "starbase" to learn 22 manipulating tricks!!))
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To: Aussie Dasher

and sitting on benches....


8 posted on 01/02/2006 4:34:48 PM PST by eeevil conservative (courage is living in tyranny and speaking for freedom/not living in freedom and speaking for tyranny)
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To: eeevil conservative

Sadly, that goes without saying.


9 posted on 01/02/2006 4:35:47 PM PST by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: InvisibleChurch
LOL, you got to check out this letter someone claiming to be Satan wrote to the ACLU.

C.S.Lewis would be proud.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1550579/posts

10 posted on 01/02/2006 4:35:55 PM PST by mware (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL.")
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To: InvisibleChurch

What Evangelical preacher wouldn't love this opportunity? :')


11 posted on 01/02/2006 4:36:41 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: InvisibleChurch

Tell ya what. We'll build two pyres, and lay two sacrificed bulls on the pyres. We will then go head to head with the atheists: whosoever answers by fire, let him be God. And if neither burns, the parties go home and the case is dismissed.


12 posted on 01/02/2006 4:37:15 PM PST by Appalled but Not Surprised
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To: InvisibleChurch
This can be done thru numerous historical documents. This judge is a typical secularist who 'thinks he is thinking' when he spouts this Atheist nonsense.

Any competent historian will hand this rube his hat in court.

13 posted on 01/02/2006 4:38:19 PM PST by keithtoo (Leftists/Democrats - Traitors, Haters and Vacillators)
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To: NYer

ping


14 posted on 01/02/2006 4:38:23 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: InvisibleChurch
Neither Muslims nor Jews believe he was the Messiah and Son of God

Neither did 'Judas'......

Judas did NOT take 'Communion'....

Titus 1:2

15 posted on 01/02/2006 4:39:03 PM PST by maestro
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To: InvisibleChurch

Anti-Christ is alive and well in Italy...


16 posted on 01/02/2006 4:39:46 PM PST by BigFinn
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To: mware

God to judge:

"Unfortunately, for you sir, you do exist."


17 posted on 01/02/2006 4:40:28 PM PST by streetpreacher (If at the end of the day, 100% of both sides are not angry with me, I've failed.)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Ping for a good debate


18 posted on 01/02/2006 4:40:58 PM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: keithtoo

I believe it is actually harder to prove that Aristotle existed, because his existence is only verified by his self-confessed disciple.


19 posted on 01/02/2006 4:41:24 PM PST by AmishDude
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To: InvisibleChurch
Maybe he should also try to prove gravity. We know it exists but where does it come from?

Sheez...


20 posted on 01/02/2006 4:42:14 PM PST by unixfox (AMERICA - 20 Million ILLEGALS Can't Be Wrong!)
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To: InvisibleChurch
Is this the modern version of Miracle on 34th Street? I wonder what William Frawley is telling this judge?
21 posted on 01/02/2006 4:43:29 PM PST by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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To: keithtoo

" This judge is a typical secularist who 'thinks he is thinking' when he spouts this Atheist nonsense."

I'm confused. Which judge is that?


22 posted on 01/02/2006 4:44:59 PM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: All

Prove Jesus Christ existed, or what? I didn't get the "or what" part.


23 posted on 01/02/2006 4:47:03 PM PST by jackibutterfly
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To: InvisibleChurch

"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”."


Palestine, insurgent? huh?


24 posted on 01/02/2006 4:47:13 PM PST by minus_273
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To: InvisibleChurch
"God is dead."

- Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead."

- God

25 posted on 01/02/2006 4:48:23 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: InvisibleChurch

Father Righi just needs to go to court and read the book "A Case for Christ" to the judge. That should take approximately 2 years out of this courts' life as the plaintiff and the judge question different aspects of the reading.


26 posted on 01/02/2006 4:49:46 PM PST by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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To: NormsRevenge
Italy has its own version of the 9th Circuit Circus, I see.

There I fixed it for you.

27 posted on 01/02/2006 4:50:38 PM PST by p23185 (Why isn't attempting to take down a sitting Pres & his Admin considered Sedition?)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Wouldn't you love to be the priest that hears this judges "confession"?
I think there is a line in CS Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" that basically says "Just because you cannot see it, does not mean that it is not there."


28 posted on 01/02/2006 4:51:10 PM PST by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: InvisibleChurch

Ping for later digestion


29 posted on 01/02/2006 4:53:22 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Proverbs 12:10)
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To: AnAmericanMother

I finally found someone else who remembers that. ;)


30 posted on 01/02/2006 4:54:29 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: InvisibleChurch
1st-century Palestine

Very telling!

Prove there was such a thing.

31 posted on 01/02/2006 4:54:49 PM PST by Michael Goldsberry (Lt. Bruce C. Fryar USN 01-02-70 Laos)
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To: Appalled but Not Surprised
Heh, heh. Not bad.

But don't forget, It was God who called for the contest, not Elijah. He was just following orders.

32 posted on 01/02/2006 4:55:13 PM PST by labette (Continually discovering things I am completely ignorant about...since 1959)
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To: InvisibleChurch
I believe that Josephus writings alone proves there was a historical Jesus. As far as I'm concerned, I don't believe that almost all of Jesus disciples died horrible deaths believing in a myth.
33 posted on 01/02/2006 4:56:00 PM PST by fish hawk (creatio ex nihilo)
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To: EveningStar
That graffito was written in the old Fifth Street Tunnel under the Downtown Connector, between the Georgia Tech campus and Midtown, back in the early 70s.

Saw it with my own eyes while going over to get the five for $5 roast beef sandwich special at Arby's.

34 posted on 01/02/2006 4:56:06 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: lexington minuteman 1775
Roger that.

It's Puddleglum confronting the witch in The Silver Chair.

35 posted on 01/02/2006 4:56:56 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: InvisibleChurch
Here's an interesting question --

Why does he get to discount the Gospels? Why should he be able to do that?

36 posted on 01/02/2006 4:57:52 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: InvisibleChurch

Under this atheist's logic no one can prove anything by writing a testimony down today, because tomorrow he will reject it. He is saying because the people who wrote their testimonies of Jesus are dead, we can't really prove they actually knew and saw him. By his rule we can't prove Hitler existed--those photos and written reports by people who are now dead can't be trusted.


37 posted on 01/02/2006 4:58:12 PM PST by Auntie Dem (Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Terrorist lovers gotta go!)
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To: fish hawk

Exactly.

12 men did not go out into the world to convert people to a Lie. Nobody risks their life for an idea that they know is a lie.

That's the real Proof that there was a Resurrection (and that He existed).


38 posted on 01/02/2006 5:01:50 PM PST by Nabber
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To: Bob J
Well, here is a reference point for you: "AN ITALIAN judge has ordered....."
39 posted on 01/02/2006 5:04:08 PM PST by keithtoo (Leftists/Democrats - Traitors, Haters and Vacillators)
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To: InvisibleChurch

No, really...If I understand this correctly, he's basically saying that at least two and perhaps three respected and influential historians of the era either got conned or made stuff up. Is that right?

I'm sort of reminded of the Washington Mutual commercial about Jen, the integrity-challenged lawyer:

"Is DNA really [finger quotes] 'evidence'?"...[shakes head, mouths "no"]


40 posted on 01/02/2006 5:04:54 PM PST by RichInOC ("Kudos, Jen. We appreciate your bold honesty.")
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To: Army Air Corps
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.

It wouldn't have made a bit of difference to him whether the witnesses wrote about Jesus while He was alive, because Cascioli wouldn't believe it anyway. Judging by his one-man campaign and wild accusations, I would say he is the one who should be charged with “abuse of popular credulity,” since he's appealing to the socialists and communists' beliefs.

And by the way...

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.

Why doesn't he prove that they weren't reliable witnesses.

41 posted on 01/02/2006 5:05:11 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: 2banana

Teach the controversy


42 posted on 01/02/2006 5:08:36 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Free Speech is not for everyone, If you don't like it, then don't use it)
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To: Victoria Delsoul

Mr. Cascioli is a bitter old buggar for whom no amount of evidence shall suffice. There is enough historical evidence to demonstrate that Christ existed. However, Mr. Cascioli will not allow the facts to get in the way of his bulls**t.


43 posted on 01/02/2006 5:09:10 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: InvisibleChurch; All

Didn't the ancient Jewish historian, Josephus mention Christ in his writings? I'm sure I've read of Him in there. Are they going to say that Josephus' account doesn't count?


44 posted on 01/02/2006 5:09:57 PM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: Victoria Delsoul
Plenty of reliable witnesses live after the time of the events in question.

For example - my dad is 80 years old and fought in WWII. I write down his first hand account. Is that an unreliable source because the author (me) was not alive during WWII?

Guess we'll have to jettison a lot of stuff, including most of Tacitus since he corresponded with the eyewitnesses (including Pliny the Younger's account of the eruption of Vesuvius) and didn't see most of the events himself.

45 posted on 01/02/2006 5:11:06 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Army Air Corps

Yep. Well, why confuse him with the facts when his mind is made up. Silly old coot.


46 posted on 01/02/2006 5:11:18 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: InvisibleChurch
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”

Ooops! I missed this part of the article.

47 posted on 01/02/2006 5:11:42 PM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: Ohioan from Florida
Well, the atheists argue that the mention of Christ in Josephus was a later interpolation inserted by the Evil Christians.

. . . just like those atheists who do the "Jesus Project" claim that any mention of miracles or deity was a "later interpolation".

Easy to disprove anything if you can just throw out the evidence you don't like . . .

48 posted on 01/02/2006 5:12:27 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: keithtoo

If you had continued reading to the next line you would have learned;

"The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal..."


49 posted on 01/02/2006 5:12:50 PM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: AnAmericanMother

He's got an agenda, and he wont let the facts get in the way of a good smear.


50 posted on 01/02/2006 5:13:21 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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