The following represents an actual raw exchange between a newly hired employee of a real estate development firm (Kevin) and a boss who has, so far, been acting like an egotistical jerk (this is the absolute nicest way I can put it without lying). In all interactions prior to this one here, the boss used intimidation (job threatening, etc.) and bullying techniques to assert his role over the new employee – but in a “humorous” manner…
To help the reader, I added my clarifications in parenthesis where appropriate. I hope you find this brief exchange intriguing and perhaps helpful in your exchanges with difficult people. I also changed the name of the boss to George and the name of the company to “Company-X” for privacy.
I will make no further observations other than to say that the boss’s recognition and admission of ignorance is absolutely nothing short of a miracle (based on his behavior thus far). He ended his email with the standard legal disclaimers and then brought it back to his own position of boss over employee (“…check in with you…”).
This first paragraph here is the email the new employee sent to me about the verbal conversation that started the 2 emails below. Enjoy!
So the George guy (boss) I told you guys about came over to my office to bother me again this afternoon about something stupid, I brought up the “meek” comment again (earlier that day the boss mentioned to the new employee that he may be too meek to last long there) and said “you know Jesus said blessed are the meek for they …” and he goes “I’m sorry who?” I said “Jesus”, he said “you’re bringing up religion?” I said “no, I’m quoting a historical figure”, he said “historical figure?” I said “yeah just like when people quote the words of Socrates, Plato or Ghandi”. he said “Yeah, the difference between them and Jesus is Jesus never existed!” I said wow the same way we evaluate other historical figures, Jesus has more evidence than all of them” He said “Hey Grant! (Grant is a nearby employee that works under the boss) Did Jesus really exist?” Grant says, “no”. Then George says, “listen, we at (Company-X) support all religious beliefs of our employees” I said, “I’m not even saying I adhere to any religion, my only point was regarding a quote from the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth.” At that point he started talking about something else and left…
But I sent him the below email…and he just responded..
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Tue Aug 30 20:00:35 2011
Subject: Personal note
(Let me preface this email by simply saying I know religion isn’t appropriate for the workplace but my comments today were not about religion but simply a quote from a historical figure. By the way, I am writing this from home not work, and not during working hours. If you don’t want to read this email, that is totally fine, I just wanted to clear up our conversation. Thanks.)
I simply wanted to write you regarding our conversation this afternoon. You were right, the comment you made about Jesus never existing did strike a nerve in me but there are good reasons for that.
My point about Socrates, Plato, and other historical figures mentioned was simply to convey that the same way we evaluate the historicity (authenticity of their existence) of those people is the same way Jesus has been evaluated by historians, both secular and Christian.
The result has been 99% of legit historians acknowledge his existence just as they acknowledge the existence of Socrates, Plato, Alexander the Great, and others. The reasons for this are many which I would love to share with you in greater detail over lunch anytime (my treat of course) but very quickly, the evidence pointing toward the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is due to Greco-Roman pagan sources such as writings from historians living in that timeframe (e.g.Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, etc.) and Jewish historians who lived in that time as well (e.g. Josephus). These historical sources in the form of a variety of letters/documents mentioning him by name, as they discuss events in that timeframe, as a Jew who worked as a teacher and wonder-worker in Palestine during the reign of Tiberius, and even mention him being executed by crucifixion under the prefect Pontius Pilate and continuing to have followers after his death. If you research this further, you will see. Also, Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.d is just one of many famous agnostic or atheist historians who are not Christians but have researched this for a living as professors in secular universities and they all affirm Jesus’ existence and crucified death. Again, please feel free to research him and others like him.
Also, the vagueness I expressed regarding my own belief was intentional as I was trying to make the point that regardless of whether or not I was Catholic or Christian was beside the point, which pertained to the historicity of the historical figure of Jesus. By the way, I am a proud Christian and I believe in Jesus as a historical figure who was crucified and rose again. I believe all this with faith, yes, but also because I have researched and studied the evidence and found it to be convincing. I have studied why I believe what I believe (which is not typical for the typical person of faith who simply believes based on blind faith or because that’s what their family believed). As an example, I studied how to read and interpret Greek, taking classes for over a year so I could read the actual manuscripts (written on papyrus plant formed into a paper-like surface, which is the same substance all ancient historical figures like Plato, Homer, and other ancient people wrote on) that we have from ancient times (in this case the first, second and third centuries; they are copies of copies, yes (as they were passed down through the centuries), but are still almost two thousand years old). I even traveled to Israel to visit museums where the Dead Sea Scrolls and other manuscript evidence is available. I have also read many books, written by Christian and non-Christian scholars, conveying similar evidence noted above. All of this is to simply say that I would be more than happy to discuss this further with you at lunch if you ever were interested to learn more. My studies have led me to a point where I am so convinced of the evidence that I cannot Not believe, if that makes sense.
P.S. Here are some quotes by a few historians and Albert Einstein:
“I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”–H.G. Wells
“As the centuries pass, the evidence is accumulating that, measured by His effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet.” — Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette
“Do you believe in the existence of Socrates? Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? If historicity is established by written records in multiple copies that date originally from near contemporaneous sources, there is far more proof for Christ’s existence than for any of theirs.” –Dinesh D’Souza
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned Him to be crucified to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive.” –Flavius Josephus (1st century Jewish Historian, not a Christian)
“As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene….No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” –Albert Einstein
I hope this email accurately conveys where I was coming from in my response to you regarding his existence. Please do not feel obligated to respond as I won’t voluntarily bring this up at work. I simply had to complete my initial thoughts to you and get this off my chest.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: Personal note
Kevin, Your email was very well written. Clearly you have spent a significant amount of time evaluating the topic before forming your beliefs, which I think is terrific as I agree with you, many people simply base their beliefs on family traditions or “blind faith” as you observe below. It says a lot about you that you have gone to such great lengths to really explore this area, very impressive decision making process.
As I don’t ever comment on specifics with respect to religion, believe it to be a deeply personal and confidential area with colleagues, I will not offer up any specific feedback other than to clarify that my comment was certainly only in jest and from my perspective, not about religion but simply your reference to a historical figure. With respect to your specific level of investigation into the subject, I am quite ignorant, not having looked into the topic to any significant degree. As a broader comment, (Company-X) and all of the affiliates respect any and all faiths, belief systems, etc.
I head down the hall to check in with you from time to time as I want to make sure that your office location being in the 770 suite does not make you feel isolated, etc. In a small office environment, it is important to me that folks all feel connected, etc and as you are newer to the team, want to be sure you don’t get lonely down there.
Thanks for the email,