So You Want to be a Jesus Mythicist?

You want to be a believer in the Jesus myth theory, the idea that Jesus never existed and that the Gospel account of Jesus is based on pagan myths.  It could be because you are an atheist and you know this will really bug Christians.  Or perhaps you enjoy conspiracy theories or have a love for mythology.  It doesn’t matter.  Here I will provide you with the guidance to become an effective Jesus mythicist.

The first step is to get rid of the historical Jesus.  Now some Jesus mythicists hold that Jesus absolutely did not exist and others that perhaps there was some historical figure and yet we cannot know anything about him.  The process is still the same, you must demonstrate that there is no historical evidence for Jesus.  What you must do is completely dismiss any first century evidence for Jesus.  Christians will attempt to pull the Josephus card.  Don’t let them get away with that.  While it may be technically true that most historians and Josephus scholars acknowledge that Josephus said something about Jesus  and that some later Christian expanded that, hold your ground with the forgery claim.  Don’t let them pull scholarship into the argument, the idea of a Christian contaminating a text is too good to let go.  They will try to bring Paul in as evidence as well.  Keep hammering at the fact that Paul never mentions the historical Jesus or quotes any of his sayings.  If a Christian cites a place in Paul where he does use the historical Jesus, ignore them.  Then there are the Gospels.  Quickly dismiss them as religious propaganda.  Anything that has a religious motive is biased and is not to be trusted.  Insist that the only valid textual evidence would be a completely unbiased, philosophically and religious free secular document that lists the facts according to modern standards of historiography.  Of course, there are no ancient documents like that for any historical figure.  That just means you need not worry that some Christian apologist is going to pull out some new document.  You have already disqualified any potential historical text.  One of the things that you need to do, is make sure to keep a different standard for historical investigation for Jesus than one would use for some other historical figure.  You can dismiss the Gospels because our first copies are a century or two after the writing, even though other historians might use a text whose earliest copy is a millennium after the events.  That is okay.  You are not arguing for a new set of standards for historical inquiry, you are arguing for the non-existance of Jesus.  Keep the study of Jesus separate from the study of other ancient history figures.

The second part of the Jesus myth theory is that Jesus is based on pagan myths.  This can be tricky because if someone picked up Egyptian or Greek myths, it would not be obvious that they are reading the story of Jesus.  It is better to keep them away from the original myths so that they do not get confused.  The best way to make your point is to summarize the myths using Christian language and summarize the Gospels using pagan language.  The similarities will be much more obvious.  Let me give you an example.  If a person read the story of Isis having sex with her dead husband, they might not see that as exactly the same story of the Holy Spirit causing Mary to become pregnant.  So instead of describing the story, insist that Horus was virgin born, even though Isis likely was not a virgin previous to this and that Horus was conceived through sexual intercourse.  Argue that Mithras was crucified and resurrected, just like Jesus.  It is not that important that there is no account of Mithras’ death (and therefore resurrection).  What is important is that Mithraism was an early competitor with Christianity.  Besides, most people will not look up the myth anyway.  The final thing is to piece together as many vague images and symbols as possible and argue that they must be derivative.  So if some pagan myth uses an image of darkness or light, insist that the only way that Christians could have used the images of darkness and light is by stealing directly from the pagan myths.

Hopefully this will help you on your journey to becoming a successful Jesus mythicist.  Don’t be discouraged that 99% of scholars disagree with you.  Just stand your ground, and keep believing what you want to believe.

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55 thoughts on “So You Want to be a Jesus Mythicist?

  1. I will . I’m a Deist. One creator that’s it and he didnt write a book or had a need to. Never talked to mankind or needed to because he placed himself in man. I’m in better company of scholars than your 99 percent( I think you fudged about 95 percent or more in your estimation unless you only polled bible university graduates). I can just as easily say that 99 percent of unbiasedl scholars disagree with you. There are actually more than 4’gospels. I like the book of Thomas myself.The ones you have were voted in by yeas or nays as. Perhaps you could follow up your book with DEBUNKING THE AGE OF REASON. (I assume your familiar with Thomas Pain) I’ll purchase that one. By the way Osiris had a penis that was an oblisk (stone)that resembles your steeples(what else do they look like) So it must have been a miracle that Isis got pregnant from a stone. Maybe the virgin births of all who claim to have been born that way were just born in the sign of Virgo. I guess I should write how to be a Christian. First you have to believe in a mythical man you cant prove existed but you must believe because I say so. His father sent him to be tortured and die a horrible death so he can forgive mankind of his transgressions. There had to be blood and death of someone innocent. This was his loving ,benevolent fathers master plan. You must also give your money to his institutions because the creator of all wants money for his representatives on earth to buy nice cars and rolex watches. Wow this is reasonable.

    1. When I argue theology, there’s endless distress against me saying ”99% of scientists/societies/people/etc are wrong, and this narrow 1% biblical understanding is correct”. I get called intolerant, hateful, and other slurs. When the opposition, though, does the same thing, like you did in saying ”99% of scholars are wrong”, why is that not blatant hypocrisy? Who are you that anyone should believe you? You use the same old, debunked, refuted, vague arguments that 14 and 15 year old boys use in Sunday School.

    2. I imagine your claim of the Gospels being voted it by yays and nays must be something akin to what was said in The Da Vinci Code about Nicea. Sorry, but it just isn’t so. The Gospels were never really voted on by such a process. Irenaeus mentions four Gospels about a century and a half earlier than any council. As for familiarity with Thomas Paine, I am at least familiar enough with it to spell his name correctly. By the way, no one takes Paine’s nonsense about ancient religions seriously – especially considering it was written before the Rosetta Stone and cuneiform tablets were discovered and deciphered so we could figure out what all those people actually believed. Since that time, the conspiracy theorist claptrap you support has pretty much gone to the scholarly dustbin and remains fertile only among pseudoscholars and fifteen year old boys trying to shock their parents..

  2. I would love to see your evidence for the four Gospels being brought into the canon by vote. Please quote some primary sources. As for the steeple, one of the problems with the Jesus myth theory is mistaking similarity for derivation. The Mayans and Egyptians both had pyramids. The Mayans must have gotten that from the Egyptians because there is no way a culture could come up with a geometric shape on their own. As for the stone penis, the forms of the myth I have read (have you read the myths, or just summaries by Jesus myth authors), it describes how Isis caused Osiris to get an erection. Not sure why you would have to do that to a stone obelisk. As for criticisms of the church, that is a nice red herring. I am simply arguing that Jesus mythicists misrepresent the similarities with pagan myths and according to standard historical methods, we have reason to believe that Jesus existed.

    Here is the frustration I have with Jesus myth theory. You may look at Josephus, Paul and the Gospels and say that is just not enough evidence to establish he actually existed. Fine. But then take those same strict historical standards and start applying that to the rest of ancient history. Start going through history books and remove figures that historians accept, and remove them because they do not meet your standards. That won’t happen because Jesus mythicists are comfortable with one set of standards for Jesus and one for all the other historical figures.

    1. They are all myths used to try and teach mankind. Religion is all about men controlling other men with weaker minds.as for the voting on the books, I’m sure tour 99 percent of historians and mine would agree that Constintine existed. More than enough evidence. And that he commissioned a book to be written or compiled so that the Cristians of that time would be reading out of one book so to speak.this group or religious leaders would become the catholic church. Now the writings that would be used would be voted on by these leaders. This was the council of Nicea in 325 ad. Another was held in 350 ad . Your gospels were createdin at this time. I’m surprised you didn’t know this. This is where your bible started. Constintines motive was to use religion to bind his failing empire back together. These are not myths but have numerous historical writings to back it up. Consult your 99 percent. Organized religions history for the most part has always used people to take or maintain control of the masses by myths or any other measure including mass murder. If you have never read Thomas Pains book I challenge you to do so. Age of Reason written in 1798 I believe.

  3. David, you are welcome to have whatever religious beliefs you want. But please look a little deeper at history and get some facts straight. I would encourage you to go to some primary documents. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but with the Internet we really don’t have much of an excuse. It is almost all available. The council of Nicaea was NOT about determining the Bible. I know people often say that and Constantine is blamed for most things so he might as well be blamed for the Bible as well. However, we have the records from Nicaea and that was not one of the subjects of the council. Nicaea was about dealing with Arianism. By the way, this was not about whether Jesus was divine or human either. It was about whether the Son was co-equal with the Father or if he was a created divine being. Here is a link to Eusebius’ letter on the council to get you started. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2804.htm

    Another good resource for you would be Bart Ehrman’s book Lost Scriptures. I am sure you know I am not pushing a Bible thumper on you with Ehrman. In the appendix, he traces out the evolution of the Christian canon, what books were accepted early on and what books were in question. You will see that the canon did not suddenly appear out of nothing at the time of Constantine. Most of the current NT canon was accepted early on, by the second century, not in the fourth century with Constantine.

    Speaking of Ehrman, you might want to check out his new book. Remember, Ehrman is hostile to Christianity and has created a little cottage industry out of poking holes in traditional Christian beliefs. You might find it interesting. http://www.amazon.com/Did-Jesus-Exist-Historical-Argument/dp/0062204602/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331844876&sr=8-1

    1. I was wrong about Nicea possibly. Some say as you do others say as I did. The “church ” had many councils and I think it was the one around 400 ad at Hippo the the final cannon was agreed upon and pope Innocent approved. I think others changed things all the way to around 1500 at the council of Trent.This was the predecessor to your holy book. They also voted on things like was Jesus divine. I would have thought that that would have been covered In these divine text. There were other gospels as well such as the gospel of Mary, Thomas and Judas to name a few. They didnt meet the guidlines decided on at these meetings.The facts of the matter is that it was still written by man. If the creator of all , the one that set everything intricately in motion, wrote a book it would be the greatest one written with no contradictions and that everyone would read it the same way and know exactly what he intended. There would not be all of the denominations and other religions including all the myths of the world. Plain and simple religion enslaved mankind. If there were a real teacher named Jesus and he said the truth would set you free, what would you be free from? The religion that was controlling peoples lives at the time. The roman carholics ruled the world at one time and are still trying to but others are trying as well. I think all religions have myths used to teach lessons. If one sets a goal in his life to just be a good human and treat his fellow man as he wants to be treated,then what is left? There is no need for murder,domination,intolerance or blood. One can look inside and find all he needs. No middle men between him and god and no 10 percent cover charge. Mythacist just draw similarities between the characters. Wish I could go back over this before I post I know there are errors and I appoligise.

      1. You still need to look deeper. Take a look at the canonical lists leading up to the 4th century. The question was not wide open. The four Gospels and Paul were accepted by the mid-second century. The questions were about what to do with 2 & 3 John, Hebrews, Revelation, Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement and a few others.

        As for abuses by the church, that has nothing to do with whether or not Jesus was based on pagan god-men. We need to stay focused here and save that for a separate discussion. As for the similarities, what I have read from Jesus mythicists are just false (virgin births, crucifixions, resurrections, 12 disciples, etc.). Is there anything similar? I would expect that religious reflection in the ancient world would talk about some of the same things, However, that does not prove that Jesus was derived from the pagans.

      2. My apologies for not sticking to the point. That being, the most common thing that Jesus has with the other myths is that he is a myth as well. There is no evidence of his birth or crucifixion. There are plenty of historians of that time who would have written about the tombs opening and the rest that supposedly place at his death. You and I both know that there is no virgin birth without inveteo methods for anyone. Perhaps virgin is mistranslated and was intended to refer to a young woman. Myths were created in ancient times as a tool to make tribes more cohesive. As man progressed they were and still are used to this day. Does it matter if Jesus was patterned after Horace? No because they are both myths. Religion is a tribal thing, mine against yours in most cases . Diesm on the other hand is a better system ,having 1 god/creator and that is it. The creation speaks for itself and needs no man made book or emissaries as middlemen. You and i only have books written by men that interpreted other writings or stories and we must draw our conclusions from them. I have enjoyed our dialogs and wish you luck in finding what has eluded all others. Indisputable proof that you are not a mythacist yourself in believing in one. Peace

        1. David, I could comment on a few of your points but I’d like to address one assertion you made that is simply dubious. Anyone making a claim has to always be careful when making a claim of absolute negation. You said that there is no evidence that Jesus was crucified. This statement alone shows me that you haven’t investigated Jesus at all.

          The first century Jewish Roman historian recorded Jesus’ crucifixion. Tactius, probably the first century historian’s most important source, recorded this event. Greek writer Lucian records it. The Jewish Talmud records it. Not to mention some of the documents in the New Testament record it (which should be examined by it’s historical merits, not an a priori assumption that it’s historically inaccurate).

          I’d note that you should be careful when making such assertions.

          Also, you mentioned Jesus’ birth. I’d like to simply mention that the Jewish Talmud actually has a section where a Rabbi is discussing that he personally saw Jesus’ birth certificate before the temple was destroyed. The certificate said that there was no father and that Mary (therefore) had committed adultery – exactly what you would expect if the New Testament was correct in the details surrounding his birth (since, after-all, Jewish birth certificates wouldn’t accept YHWH as the father!) In a few other places in the Talmud there are discussions about Jesus’ mother’s adultery (since they would have thought that she had sex outside of marriage). Now, this isn’t ‘proof’ for the virgin birth, of course not. But if we ask the question, “what would we expect if it did occur”, this is what would be expected.

          You should do some more research on these topics David. The evidence is out there, you just need to be willing to look at it for yourself!

      3. Ok, let’s start with the roman historian Josephus – 37- 100 ad. Did not witness anything and his writings about Jesus believed to be embellished by someone else. Now Tactius -56-120 wasn’t a witness but wrote Annals. Earliest surviving manuscript of this book dates to the 9th century. Hearsay and plenty of time for embellishment.Lucian was a early science fiction writer who mentions gullible Christians. He lived 125-180 which does not make him a witness. Next you listed Trajan the roman emperor 53-117 and his communication with Pliny the younger(61-113) about Christians. Neither were witnesses so their writings are all hearsay. None mention the miricles that transpired at the crucifixion that is recorded in the gospels which to me would have been newsworthy. Jewis books also record fables such as Noah. A rabbi seeing a birth certificate. I have never read that there was such a thing during that time. Was there a social security number issued as well. If there was a crucifixion that took place as described then there must have been eyewitnesses to it that would have recorded it. All the writings that you have produced were written after the fact and can be proven to be by the writers birth dates. Again I have enjoyed our dialog. Sorry again for my typing errors . This I phone changes things now and then and I can’t proof it before posting.

      4. ” If there were a real teacher named Jesus and he said the truth would set you free, what would you be free from? The religion that was controlling peoples lives at the time.”
        Exactly. That is E X A C T L Y what Jesus set people free from. From “Religion”. Have you read the Gospels? Have you understood the words he said and to whom he said them? How many times he condemned the religious leaders of that day? Those same leaders exist because man is still the same– depraved, selfish and lost. Go have another gander of The Sermon on the Mount and maybe you will hear it this time. Keep in mind the mindset and culture of who he was addressing and you will see why they were so blown away with his words. No one spoke as he did. There were other zealots to be sure, but no one like him. He spoke with authority. He told people that it was their heart that God looked at, not those fancy Holier Than Thou robes and places of “respect”. All those rules, all those rituals, all that work! He said “Come to me, you who are weary and heavey laden and I will give you rest.” Rest from what? From all that work trying to earn your way to heaven, as if we could! He said that it wasn’t just wicked to kill but to hate, and lusting after someone with your eyes was the same as adultery.. that when you helped the hurting and poor you were doing it to GOD as well. I know this might sound foreign to you, but forget for a moment about the “church” that you know; try this instead: Talk to the One who knows you, because he made you unique from all other men, the one who would leave the 99 sheep to find the ONE (You ) who is lost because he wants you to know HIM so badly. He is not against you, but for you. Blessings, Dear, some Random blogger commenter 😉

  4. Great article Stephen! When I run across an unbeliever using this kind of argument, I know I’ve won before the debate even gets going. It’s kind of like scholarship via Da Vinci Code, History Channel, and the 101 Really Bad Atheist Arguments web site.

  5. I really enjoyed reading your article, Stephen. It was (is) – perhaps sadly – very comical. It’s true that if the same historiographical methods that (ancient) historians use are applied to Jesus, we get (by ancient historical standards) an enormous amount of evidence and data concerning Jesus. However, as you pointed out, many choose to be unscientific, terribly biased or perhaps even insincere and apply dubious criteria and standards to Jesus.

    Now, David C., you made many assertions that you simply made without a shred of evidence or support for. I would simply encourage you to heed Stephen’s recommendations. Also, I’d personally recommend a great starting resource (notably for your claim about the apocryphal gospels) : Dr. Craig Evan’s book “Fabricating Jesus: How modern Scholars Distort the Gospels.”

    Thanks again Stephen! Great read!

    1. When you show me where to find a writing that can be proven was written by an eye witness that describe the earthquakes and the tombs of the saints rising from the dead I will concede that I am wrong. I would suggest reading Age of Reason by Thomas Pain.

      1. That’s strange. Do you mean we can go to any ancient history, find the most bizarre event in it, demand first hand evidence of the events and when it is not available deny the entire history and even deny the historicity of the figures described? What other areas of ancient history use that kind of method?

      2. I’m saying that their history doesn’t match the one described in your gospels. Nothing amazing in their stories. People rising from the dead and earthquakes and a eclipse should have been mentioned I would think. Why do you think this is not mentioned? Mabe it never happened. The church(catholic) had control of what was written till the reformation movement. The victor gets to write history as they see it. They tried to wipe out anything or anyone that stood in the way of their ultimate power. They even passed a law outlawing all other religions but theirs. Would you do the same if you could? So tell me a writer that was there and witnessed all of these miracles that substantiates your gospels. That would be historical. We get history from different sources and they don’t always agree but we have logic and reason to read between the lines. We know pearl harbor was bomed ,even though we weren’t there, because there is enough evidence to prove it. If that rabbi had only saved that birth certificate from destruction we would have the proof. If only a historian from that day had written about the miracles that happened on that glorious day, I think your arguments might be proven. There should be a writing from Pilot saying “ohh no, I think I messed up “. It might be out there waiting to be found.

        1. David,
          Can you point me to a source that says those things about the Catholic Church controlling what the gospels say or staying in power? What does this have to do with the original fragments that have been found and the manuscript evidence?

      3. What original fragments that tell the story of the crucifixion? As for the church and it’s lust for power it can be easily found. Does the name William Tyndle mean anything to you. I wasn’t there but many sources agree that he was murdered by the church for translating scriptures into a language that wasn’t authorized by the church. Now why was that. Could it be that he who controls information has the power. They passed laws forbidding common people having access to the WORD of God. The people in control can rewrite or do anything. There is enough information that you can google to substantiat this. Now you have done well to deflect my statements that you can’t defend. Since I have told you where to find info on the Catholics ,how about telling me where the information is on these fragments and the miricles at the crucifixion. I would also like to know where the story of the rabbi and the birth cirtificate can be found. This is great exercise for both of our minds is it not.

      4. Well, David, you’ve mentioned nothing of where to find this nearly unanimous agreement of scholars who agree that Christ was a mythical creation of the early Catholic church. All you’ve done is encourage others to read Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”.
        While I can understand you questioning his deity, you’re obviously ignoring all the facts as to the existence of him as at least a historical man.

        The early manuscript fragments are dated way before 400 A.D. by historians who don’t even believe in Jesus’s deity. For example, look at the John Rylands fragments which are portions of the gospel of John. They date to about 125 A.D. and are thought to have been written around 96 A.D., near the end of the life of John the Apostle. A photo of the fragment is located here: http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/searchresources/guidetospecialcollections/stjohnfragment/

        Also, what about the letters from one of the Apostolic fathers, Ignatius ? How about the letter to the Phillipians written by another Apostolic father, Polycarp ? No serious modern historian I’m aware of would say that these letters are forgeries, and yet these letters refer to early NT scripture that mentions Jesus and matches very closely what we have today.

        You’ve got to face it, David. Even though you obviously don’t believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, you can’t deny with any credibility that he was an actual historical person. Steve mentioned Bart Ehrman’s books and Ehrman is adamant about Jesus as a real historical person. Ehrman is an agnostic, actually, so he has nothing to gain by claiming Jesus was not a real person.

  6. David, you have some serious historical problems here. You are not demonstrating that the Jesus of the NT is incompatible with history. You are saying that no one else at the time wrote about this one event, an event that even many evangelical scholars are not sure how literally to interpret.

    Let me get this straight, you are saying that if Jesus existed, we would have his written birth certificate, we would have the writings from the people who heard him, we would have written witnesses of his acts and we would have records from Pilate concerning Jesus. Is this correct?

    Let us take our time and go through this. What makes you think there were written birth certificates in that culture and that time? Even so, what makes you think something like that could survive the centuries? What about the witnesses? What level of literacy do you think there was at that time? What makes you think a listener could have written down parts of Jesus’ sermon? And what makes you think that such a thing could survive even if it did exist. The Gospels were copied and passed down because they had purpose in worship and teaching. Why would anything else (if there was anything else) be copied, when copying was so very expensive? You say, that we should have Pilate’s notes. Is that so? Could you please share with us the full contents of the writings of Pilate that we currently have? I can help you. There are none. It is not like we have volumes of his notes and mysteriously, mention of Jesus is missing.

    Here is my last question for you. Name for me all the Jewish historians who were writing history during the time of Jesus. You have rejected Josephus as too late. Philo was a philosopher, who did not write about the happenings in Galilee or Judea but wrote works of philosophy. Where are all the first century Jewish authors who should have written about Jesus but didn’t? There are none! Do you know where the first chronological mention of the word ‘Pharisee’ is? It is in the New Testament. Did you know that Jewish historians rely upon the New Testament to reconstruct first century Jewish history and culture, because they are some of our best sources and that aside from Philo and Josephus, there is nothing else.

    If we took your standard for history, we would have to assume that there were no first century Jews at all, because we don’t have their birth certificates and we don’t have contemporary, unbiased accounts of their life. Maybe Philo and Josephus lived, but then again all we have are copies of copies and maybe the church invented them as well. Do you see the problem with the standard you are holding to the historical Jesus?

    1. I was wrong. You cited the Talmud as the source of the rabbi and the birth certificate. I knew I didn’t dream it. Look back at what you wrote last night. You brought it up about a birth certificate. Now you say that they didn’t have birth certificates and I would agree. And you seem to agree that what was written in the Talmud was incorrect. I also agree with you about there being no documents from Pilot or anyone else that supposedly witnessed these things that took place on that glorious day. But there are documents from many religions that predate Judaism and Christianity. I ask of you what I knew didn’t exist. No manuscripts that prove anything for certain. Organized religion is based of something called faith. Believing in things unseen or unproven. People believe what they want. We create our own realities in our mind. To me Jesus is a myth. I have seen no evidence that a diety came to earth to be tortured for mans transgressions. I also see no evidence of Horace as well. Good stories though. The biblical writings offer some truths such as “the kingdom of heaven being within”(a gnostic teaching as well) the whole book is not true. It is riddled with contradictions. If I prove one thing in the book is not true, I call into question the whole. On the other hand you have to prove the whole. I wish you well and thanks for the discussions. Most people get angry when I call into question their beliefs but you have not done so. It is good to find someone that can carry on a civil conversation. We are both human and we will surely know all when we pass from this life into another. I mean no offence in anything I say but I have looked for truth my whole life. One truth I have recently learned is that it is hard to type on an I phone. Peace

      1. Actually, I was the one who mentioned the Talmud. You can see that passage in the Bab. Talmud Yebamoth 49. You would have to check out the discussion on the term “so and so”, but there you go.

        I think others have addressed your other comments sufficiently. Thanks!

      2. The old law is as full of myths as well. As for my thoughts being addressed let’s see what has been argued. No scientific proof has been presented to any of your claims. You say their are fragment text. Who filled in the blanks? Most of your academics believe that josephus was tampered with by the church. Who would that have been? Who decided that mathew was included in your bible instead of Thomas? Why by reason would the creator need all of this money collected for “him” each week? Ohh I know that , to spread his word. Not one of you want to address Thomas Pains arguments. As for the Jewish writings, you argue that they had birth certificates. now you say many not. May have been translation issues. It is simple. Show me proof of the crucifiction events by someone unbiased that agree with your gospel account. Paul wrote all of these letters. Where are they?They have to exist or they would not be in a holy book sanctioned by the creator. He would have saw that they survived as proof of his will. But this is logic and reason so I guess my thinking is flawed. You cant get away from the fact that the bible was written by man.

      3. David,
        The proof is out there, but you simply refuse to acknowledge it as proof. You’re looking for unbiased findings and scholarship, and we’ve pointed you to them on numerous occasions, but you refuse to investigate those.

        Why don’t we want to deal with Thomas Paine ? Because his arguments are so horrendously bad. Even his fellow Deists admonished his “Age of Reason” tract. I’ll point you to a decent refutation of AoR here, but I have this feeling that you’re going to ignore it and say we’ve not provided any evidence to counter his claims.
        http://www.tektonics.org/lp/painet02.html

        Most of your arguments as of late are red herrings, anyway, that we’ve decided to chase down for one reason or another. You keep conceding your points when we show them to be wrong, but then you just move on to “well, he wasn’t God”. Denying that he was God is not the same as “The Christ Myth” that Steve was posting about. The point of this article was that you can’t deny that Jesus was an historical man, not to affirm his deity. I’m sure there are plenty of other articles here that try to tackle that question, but that is a completely different discussion which very few of us have argued for in our comments.

        1. James says it very well what I have been trying to say. You are using red herrings away from the original point of this article regarding the myth. Every time we show you evidence debunking your claims you are dismissive. It is very difficult to discuss along those lines.

  7. David, with all due respect you are jumping from one subject to the next. First you say the Catholic church originated the gospels. It has also been shown that Horace and Christ bear no similarity (rather, the supposed similarities are debunked ad nauseum). You say that Jesus is a myth, but even agnostics and atheists agree on major facts about Christ included he existed!
    http://earliestchristianity.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/bart-ehrman-did-jesus-exist/

    It doesn’t matter whether you believe the details surrounding the event of his death as you keep wanting evidence of the earthquake/etc., for me at least (nor many others). What matters is that Jesus lived in history, he was executed and he demonstrated his claims of divinity as being raised from the dead and witnesses attested to this event (gospels and historical writers extrabiblically). Now you don’t need to come to the conclusions derived from the evidence (resurrection, spread of the early church), but this is far from a myth, much less a “good story”! You can believe what you want about Jesus being a myth, but this doesn’t hold up to scholarship nor does it hold up to archaeological and historical evidence. You have been shown how you are mistaken in your beliefs that the Catholic church originated the story. You have yet to produce evidence that the catholic church started the “story” of Christ to be what they wanted it to be. Showing examples of corruption in church history does not count unfortunately.

    The catholic church aside, Christianity is rooted in history and matches up with the predictions in the OT and, if true, means the world! By this, I mean it renders just “waiting and seeing” what happens after death to decide on what to believe (so to speak) useless. But this is a tangent and, as the author cautions earlier, it is not good to keep getting off on tangents.

    I agree with you, it is not cool to type these out from ones phones. This is a truth on which we can agree!!

    1. I don’t think I said Catholics originated the stories but as I remember I said they compiled the stories as they say on their television commercial. I also said they controled any writings as they controled all of christianity for houndreds of years. Where can i go and see these manuscrips
      ? Who saw Jesus after he died and rose and wrote about it. Just because someone believes doesn’t mean the story is true. Myths can be based on men but they are men and not divine.As for archeological evidence, I would have to see it because it doesn’t exist. As for anyone present at the death writing about it, I have not found the evidence. I only have one method and that is logic and reason to look for the truth. You can’t produce the evidence of the earthquakes or the sun going dark even though it is critical evidence to you argument that the gospels are correct.
      Then you say my methods are wrong. If I believed just because you say so without proving it would make my method right I suppose. The Catholics cold add or take away they wished from 300 to the reformation. I’m sure you have access to this history. Where they got the stories you would have to ask them because they must have destroyed them after copying. Your bible came from theirs and that can be found out as well. Did saint nick live?Possibly but I don’t think he went down chimneys with presents but may have been a good man who’s acts were embellished a bit. Reason, logic , science , is the only way to find the truth. Nothing is true because it was written and is believed by someone.

      1. One other thing could you tell me the atheist that you refer to who believe Jesus was the son of god. Did I read that right?

        1. You did not read that right – I was pointing out that agnostic, Bart Ehrman, who is a respected scholar will attest that 1. Jesus existed (and Paul, and other biblical characters). I did not say he believes Jesus is the ‘son of god’, but this isn’t what we are talking about. He also holds that 2. Jesus was not derived from myth and this notion is not even given the time of day, so to speak in academia (secular included), as he writes,

          ” there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world”.

          In other words, the view that you are taking in that Jesus “is a myth” is very ‘fringe’ for lack of a better word given the EVIDENCE. This is very contrary to your stance that we can only know things based upon ‘reason, logic, and science’ when myself and mainly others have shown you above that your stance is anything but reasonable given what scholars (and again, ones that have no stake in the matter, i.e. agnostic/atheist scholars) hold to be true that there is no myth story about the historical Christ. Again, you can take the stance that you do that he wasn’t crucified and that there is no mention of this, but you are simply ignoring how we know history based upon documents, oral traditions, etc.

          Here is the recent Ehrman article for you to read. Please take the time to do so because he is debunking many of the claims that you are making:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/did-jesus-exist_b_1349544.html

          (and I will remind you that he is not a Christian!)

  8. Oh yea, one last thing I wanted to ask you: You said that “reason, logic, and science is the only way to find the truth”. On what basis do you make this claim? Is that provable with science or anything for which you have evidence?

    1. It is what the creator instilled in you to know the difference . If we were without it we would believe anything. Am I to assume you don’t believe this. Look inside and you will know.

      1. Wow Bart Ehrman graduate of Princeton seminary school and trying to sell a book on the huffington post. sounds like an atheist nonbeliever to me. He argues that only a person of higher learning can discern the truth. Wow kinda sounds like the early Catholics to me. Your nor his thoughts are absolute authority. Show me where Paul met the brother of Jesus. Why didn’t his brother write something? Paul is a Johnny come lately but wrote most of the new testament. According to your book he never met Jesus unless you count that near lightning strike. I see that one must attend a bible university and read all of these “non-biased books to have understanding. I think one can apply ones self and understand completely. What was the atheist that you referred to. I’ll look him up. Believing a phd is no different than believing a priest. No different. New one final question and I’ll leave this conversation. Do you believe the bible is gods word and you must obey it completely ? Especially the red parts. Then I guess you have sold all that you have had and given it to the poor as Jesus commanded? If it applied to one person it applies to all. I think this teaching is overlooked by most. Peace

        1. You are jumping to too many subjects which isn’t conducive to this discussion unfortunately. Ehrman is an agnostic/atheist. This is to whom I was referring to answer your question.

          I never said you have to be a phd to understand, actually the evidence is overwhelming that Jesus existed. Apart for the catholic church. The facts are clear on how we understand historical documents. You are very sceptical just for the sake of being so – since you are questioning the historicity of Christ, which is well-attested compared to all other ancient documents!! THe problem is that given your level of skepticism, how can you believe anything about the past?

          Finally, it is important to look at teachings and verses in light of the context. Jesus teaching about selling everything and give to the poor isn’t selling everything in the literal sense. If this were the case, then I would have to sell my children, my vehicles, my place of habitation, etc… This wouldn’t be very conducive to spreading the gospel, now would it? Yet on a literal interpretation this is where it leads. I would advise you to read the context and understand “HOW” Jesus taught, in parables much of the time. I would question your interpretation on that, is what I am meaning to say.

          Peace and I would encourage you to keep seeking… for the truth is out there and it is in Jesus the Christ I believe… It is good for you to keep searching.

      2. What method do you use then? Ohh it must be dr so and so told me. Or do you have another method that far exceeds mine? By the way you left out reason and logic. Let’s do one that takes science. Do you believe the sun and moon stood still in the sky for a day? No evidence of it is there? In fact it is scientifically impossible because the earth would have to stop spinning for it to happen. But ole Joshua was able to keep right on killing because god made It happen. Now let’s use logic reason and science to prove or disprove this. Would you agree that the earth is spinning thousands of miles per hour? What would happen if it stopped? The objects on the face of the earth would continue to go the same speed because of inertia. Ole Joshua and his merry band would have been thrown off. Stand in the back of a truck going 60mph and if it stops suddenly what happens to you.Now some reasoning would ask why would someone write this. Well as you know that at one time it was thought the world was the center of the universe. Everything revolved around the earth. Whoever wrote this story believed this because the only way the sun could have stood still is that the earth stopped spinning. Remember the church arrested a famous astronomer for saying the earth revolved around the sun in the 1500s. There we have science , logic and reason. Now use your system to disprove my theory.

  9. If the creator of the universe (Jesus) was able to create out of nothing, then I see no contradictions or problems with His interaction in this world as you have mentioned above. I see this as very trivial in comparison.

    These are continued red herrings. I will advise you to continue to search for the truth, as it is out there and with an honest heart. It seems that you are taken in by poor research and articles that come from a perspective of being skeptical as a fault. An example are the myth claims that Christ was patterned after other god stories in history. Horrible internet movies (such as Zeitgeist) present false information and embellish what is or isn’t there in order to show that Jesus wasn’t a historical character and was just “made up” in many ways. Yet, these claims (and many others) are soundly debunked by anyone who know what they are doing in the field (scholars, ancient scholars, etc.). Look and research, I would continue to urge you to do so. It means the world – we are all responsible for our own worldview and beliefs, therefore this is important information to get right. To dismiss it based upon wild theories and writings (like Paine as you mentioned, also Bushby, etc.) is doing a disservice to the factual information out there. So many do this unfortunately in the name of wanting the Jesus account to be untrue in all facets.

    There is a plethora of info out there – even on this site there are excellent articles about the basics easily debunking the myth stuff.

    Peace.

    1. The creator does not break his own laws of physics. So your argument is that we must have faith to believe this happened.I intend to continue in my studies and as for Pain, his writings are like a breath of fresh air. I have yet to see his writings de-bunked. Keel studying and keep an open mind. Peace

      1. Those are quite bold assertions that have no basis. How do you know what the Creator is constrained by and what he is not ? How do you know any of his attributes at all ? You seem to laud science and logic, but there is no science or logic in your arrival at that conclusion unless he has historically revealed himself to mankind. If you respond with “well, just look in yourself for the answers”, what kind of logic or science is that ? Not very sound, I would argue.
        I’ve also pointed you to one of many available arguments against Paine’s writings. You can ignore them, but don’t say that nobody has debunked his works.
        Also, if you don’t care what the conclusions of other scholars are (e.g., Ehrman, Keener, McGrew, et. al), then I wonder just how much of science you actually believe, since I would call scientists a different type of scholar. I know there are so many of us that just blindly swallow new findings reported without testing them ourselves. Heck, some of them are not testable unless you have resources that the common citizen does not and never will have access to.
        A lot of your arguments just seem to be self-defeating, David. Please think them through more deeply and apply them to your own ideas before using them to argue against others.
        This exchange has gone on for quite a while now, so I suppose now would be a good time to end it. I wish you success if your journey for truth.

      2. I never saw your debunking of Pain . As for debunking my thoughts , nice try . You have still presented no solid evidence. I saw it said that Jesus had a brother that met with Paul. Why didn’t his brother write a book? I was through with my dialog till I read yours. Your answers were always “so and so said” . So what. I said I was a diest not an atheist. Do you know what a diest believes. It is more believable than this thing you base your beliefs on “blind faith “. No proof of anything. Mabe you should look at things with an open mind. I have. Remember , your book says seek and ye shall find. Mabe you will some day .Organized religion is all about enslaving mankind . Also there is the economic side. Very lucrative .

      3. By the way the creator does not have to reveal himself because he is within everyone. I think in your debunking , you should use more facts that can be proven insted of deflection and re- direction of someone elses comments. I read back over the comments made and I cannot see where you debunked anything with facts. It also seems you all have disdain for logic, reason and science but like vague references to try and support your positions. I’m done now. Peace

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it . I try to entertain. Mabe you could debunk Thomas Pain. One of you should take on the project and write a book and I could write one debunking your debunking. Wow money money.
      I would of course donate mine to the needy . Is that what you guys do?

      1. David,
        I hope you’re asking this question in sincerity instead of trying to imply that Christians do not donate to the needy.

        I do donate to the needy, but somehow I feel that you will not believe that. In addition, why did you feel the need to bring up your donation to the needy in comparison to others ?

        As for your previous replies, I never claimed to personally debunk Paine in this discussion. I did, however, provide a link to a fairly thorough refutation on a chapter-by-chapter basis. I find linking to that article to be a better option as it is quite long, and not appropriate to repost as a series of comments. However, if you have a particular objection, then I would find it more appropriate for me to address the argument directly in our exchange here. Here’s the article again, if you’d care to have a look.
        http://www.tektonics.org/lp/painet02.html

        Also, which references of mine (and others) do you find to be so vague ? We might question your arguments to be quite vague, as well, because you’re simply accusing us of not adhering to science, reason, or logic. With the exception of one case, you’re not stating specifically how we’re ignoring science or logic, so how can we address that which you have not specified ?

        The only specific violation of scientific fact you seem to have accused us of is Joshua’s long day. Then, John responded that from a theistic worldview, there is nothing that precludes God from intervening in natural affairs. Following that, you said that God does not intervene in natural affairs. Why do you support that ? Is it the Humean argument of uniform human experience precluding the experience of miracles ? If not, what is your basis for supporting your view ?

        From my experience as a computer scientist and application developer, I tend to see programs as analogous to a relatively simple world in which the developer is analogous to the Creator (aseity and omnipotence removed, of course, due to our status as humans). The programmer develops the application to behave dynamically based on the conditions of a number of variables, but within the “laws” set by the business logic (i.e., the Creator’s overall plan). Now, a developer can just let the application run along with its own life instilled upon it by its so-called Creator, but the Creator is also capable of intervening in His creation as the creation goes about its own business.

        Developers do that quite often, as hooks are provided (by developers who write runtime libraries and the development environment software) as part of the development framework to allow interruption or intervention at any time so the developer can change some variables while the application is running, thereby possibly affecting the flow of the application. This is why I don’t find it to be very objectionable when someone claims that God can intervene in natural affairs.

        Also, what do you define as logic and reason ? Perhaps our definitions are not as similar as I thought. Are you talking about logic in the sense of propositional, modal, and syllogistic logic ? That is the kind I have in mind. For example, you claim that Jesus’s brother, who met Paul, did not write a book about “it”, which I’m supposing to be the meeting itself. Why should he have written about his meeting with Paul ? Reaching the conclusion that this meeting didn’t happen because Jesus’s brother didn’t write anything about it is a non-sequitur. Finally, there does exist the book of James in the NT, which sounds like the brother you are referring to.

        I do not see, either, where I attempted to state that you are an atheist. Yes, I do know what Deists believe, so I don’t think I’m trying to argue against a straw man if that’s what you’re trying to get at.

        Lastly, all your arguments against God’s intervention in history, as I’ve said two or three times now, have nothing to do with how we can know Jesus at least existed as a man. All those arguments are red herrings. None of our arguments here address his deity, as that was not our aim.

      2. So you claim a man existed that wasn’t necessarily a diety. Now we are getting somewhere. I believe that the myth of Paul Bunyon was more than likely based on a lumberjack that may have lived but wasn’t a giant but a big man. Mithra might have been based on a man as well. Among others. Wow was that you debunking Pain? I saw the same things you wrote to me. You didn’t disprove/ debunk anything I saw. If the sun rises in the east and the star is in the east and you travel to the east , how are you from the east. Just one thing that was said. So do we agree that there might have been a man named Jesus that was just a man? Chris Angel could have performed all of the miricles himself and been a god to some. As for the poor I’m glad you give . I do as well . I believe that the way you treat your fellow man , regardless of tribe , is how you treat god. You mentioned something about a kingdom comming. You book says in red letters, that the kingdom of heaven is within. This is what the Gnostics tought also. It all boils down to this with me. Be a good human being. Thats it . Everything else will take care of itself. And like someone said, if I disappointed the creator , he can do with me as he wishes when I go to my next life. Peace

  10. The Holy Bible is a Science book. Hidden within the strange sayings and unusual imagery is the knowledge of Light, Life, and Immortality. The parables and miracle works of Jesus are word and image signifiers which exist for the purpose of helping to illustrate the pattern of an immense underlying scientific puzzle (The Mystery of God). It becomes necessary to include the New Testament character of “Jesus” because his words and actions fulfill part of the puzzle. The debate over whether or not Jesus physically “existed” is utterly pointless because the written character of “Jesus” serves the purpose of demonstrating the path of “salvation” and “eternal life”, which is hidden, unseen, invisible, and “secret”. Belief in a physical “Jesus” is not necessary for following this path, or even for the belief in a literal spiritual “Light”. God is Light: Choose Light over Dark and live, or choose Dark over Light and die. This is the common denominator of Religion itself and the character of “Jesus” overcomes this dilemma in the biblical stories. Judaism-Christianity is a Science masquerading as a Religion, and the Holy Bible is, first and foremost, a Science book.
    The question of whether or not Jesus is a myth, is pointless.
    The real question is: When, Where, How, and with Whom did this ancient and supremely ingenious Science originate?

  11. I’m not certain if this historical source has been cited yet, but in regards to the miracle of darkness at noon after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, the historian Julius Africanus (160-240AD))wrote in his work,”History of the World” about a secular historian named Thallus who lived in the time of Christ who mentions in his own historical work the anomalous mid-day darkness and earthquakes after Jesus’ death. Thallus admits to the phenomenon, but tries to deride it as simply a solar eclipse. Africanus makes the commentary that this seems to be without reason because it was the time of year where a solar eclipse would not have occurred. The exact translated quote of Julius Africanus referencing Thallus is below. Take note of Africanus’ wry, but saddened comment at the end where he essentially says (this is a paraphrase) “but if that’s what an unbelieving world wants to believe (about it simply being an anomalous solar eclips), then let them. They have chosen to only see what they wish.”

    Julius Africanus: ”
    On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the Passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let that opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending of rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. But it was a darkness induced by God, because the Lord happened then to suffer.”

    Some poignant scripture to bolster Africanus’ sadness over such an obvious testament to the miracles and authenticity of Christ being unreasonably ignored or blindly dismissed:

    Colossians 2:8
    “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

    John 12:40 AMP
    “He has blinded their eyes and hardened and benumbed their [callous, degenerated] hearts [He has made their minds dull], to keep them from seeing with their eyes and understanding with their hearts and minds and repenting and turning to Me to heal them.”

    P.S. David, incidentally, just so you are aware, these men who are conversing with you on this thread are not wanting to simply intellectually “joust” with you, or give you a series of historical “gotcha!” moments of one-upmanship. Whether you wish to see it or not, they are presenting these things to you out of a genuine concern for your soul/spiritual welfare (cue your derisive laughter here possibly). Whether you believe in the truth of the Bible and the Gospels or not is irrelevant to the point that the motive behind these fellows even taking the time and effort to answer your challenges and inquires I’d like to think would at least instill in you some respect and gratitude that they ultimately are wanting you to have the joy and assurance that they now have since accepting Christ as their savior. I don’t get the hostility being shown punctuated here and there throughout this thread other than simply trying to tear down a fellow human being in an attempt to grasp and brandish some imagined invisible trophy of intellectual superiority. If you accepted Christ, these men gain nothing other than a brother in the faith and a redeemed, forgiven member of the Christian family. They’s get no financial reward or public recognition. Most church offering funds go to charity, missionary work and then some for the necessary costs of running the organization, This doesnt mean there are not some corrupt people who use the name of Jesus to gain and benefit some how, but there again, the Bible calls such people out:

    Matthew 7:21-23
    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Christians (true, God fearing, philanthropic Christians) are not out to spoil your fun or bring you down, or gain some earthly prize from trying to present the gospel to you from Biblical and other historically supportive texts. Your anger or suspicions are not warranted here, man. Just talk with these guys as you would with perhaps a collegiate classmate face to face. Show some decency and respect as you talk. For those on the Christian side who might have erred on the side of retributive anger over David’s comments, the same goes for you, me and us all. Christians still have to fight the instinctual pull of the natural man, trhey just have the power and grace of God to overcome it and have it forgiven because of Jesus’ work on the cross.

  12. This article is good, but incomplete. Some points need to be added.

    First, you must remember that N T scholarship consists of Christians and so of course, they’re biased. Those who aren’t, like Bart Ehrman, just can’t overcome their Christian background. You need to go with scholarly sources that don’t have bias, like Robert Price and Richard Carrier. Do ignore that these guys are not peer-reviewed in this. Ignore that they don’t teach at accredited universities. Ignore that no one else but them and their fellow Christ-mythers takes them seriously. These are the cream of the crop obviously because they know Jesus never even existed so forget the rest of NT scholarship! It’s just full of people too devoted to their faith to reason properly.

    Second, all you need is Google. Go and read Earl Doherty and David Fitzgerald and Acharya S. Don’t worry that again, scholarship doesn’t interact with anything that they say and that they’re considered jokes in the scholarly world. It’s obvious that they say this because the scholarly world is scared. They don’t know how to handle this new information!

    Third, remember, the only reason anyone could ever give for believing in a historical Jesus just has to be faith. That’s it. There can never be reason and evidence because if you’re an atheist, you’re automatically a champion of reason and if you’re a champion of reason, it is obvious that those who disagree with you are not and if they are not, then their position is irrational and yours is rational. What’s their position? Jesus existed, a position built on faith and reading NT scholars that are not really scholars but just scared silly. What’s your position? You rely on reason alone and read real NT scholars, that is, NT scholars that don’t believe Jesus existed, all two of them, and then read people on the internet no one else takes seriously. March on proud champion of reason!

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