Help me, Jebus!
I, for the life of me, can not understand how any atheist could possible accept the Jesus of the Bible as an actual person. I have heard in the past people state that he did exist but he was just a preacher or ordinary man. I guess that is acceptable, but then why would you make a religion around him?
There is an interesting video by David Fitzgerald that gives a short take of a book he wrote about the historicity of Jesus. It is a short talk and therefore has a lot of inconsistencies but I hope the book would clear a lot of that up. I intend on reading it as soon as I get the chance.
As stated by David in that video, a big problem is the lack of documentation by people who would have been very interested in writing about Jesus. There were authors that had a massive interest in everything to do about Jesus at the time of his “apparent” life time, yet other works of theirs survived but absolutely nothing to do with Jesus did. Why?
A claim made by many people, when stating to them that Jesus most likely did not exist, is that there is as much evidence for Alexander the Great (or other historical persons) existing as Jesus. That is simply not true. There might be similar amounts of documentation, but there is archaeological evidence from his lifetime that go much further to confirm his existence than anything to do with Jesus.
I also have a big problem with using the New Testament as evidence. There is no way an historian would use the Alexander romance as evidence except in minor ways. From my understanding there is not any other person, who is accepted as existing historically, that has as much supernatural happenings as surrounds the story of Jesus in the Bible. Would you believe Alexander the Great actually existed if the majority of stories and historical documents about him contained all sorts of supernatural occurrences? No? Then why believe that Jesus actually existed as a man?
I asked a Dr. Tim McGrew (this might be him) whether he knew of any other book with as many miracles and supernatural, as the New Testament contains, that is accepted as containing historical facts? His response was the Old Testament. I asked whether there was any other book that was not a one about the Abrahamic religions and his response was that he didn’t know of any. You can read through the comments yourself by clicking this link.
I also have a big problem with McGrew; in the fact that he holds strong Christian beliefs. For him to evaluate the evidence critically would be very difficult (as with many other historians with strong religious beliefs). Even in the discussion I had with him he said, “I think the public historical evidence for the resurrection is excellent, and I think that vindicates His claim to be the Son of God.” Even if there is public historical evidence for the resurrection of any man, why would you believe it? It is completely against reason; no person has or ever will rise from the dead after 3 days. Maybe in the future with modern medicine we might be able to achieve that feat but other than that it is complete nonsense.
There is also an interesting paragraph on the Wikipedia article for the Christ myth theory that fits with what I am saying:
Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies in the department of history at Queen’s University has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians of Yeshua have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions, which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty. He says that, the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work. It is only through considerable individual heroism, that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.
I know this is an argument that can’t be won either way, unless they find Jesus’ diary. There is no way to say without a doubt that Jesus of the Bible never existed, but I will say that it is highly unlikely that he did. If he did exist, he definitely did not perform any miracles or rise from the dead.