Young Earth Creationists and Jesus Mythicists

I risk offending both young earth creationists (YEC) and Jesus mythicists (JM) with this post, but I have been thinking about the similarity between the two.  Let me say at the beginning that I have many friends who are YEC and I was once one myself, so I am not trying to insult them.  This is only an observation of similarities.  YEC take a literal view of Genesis 1, believing that the earth (and the universe) is about 6-10,000 years old and that creation took six solar days.  JM believe that there was no historical Jesus and that he is only another form of the common Horus/Dionysus/Mithras myth.  That sounds pretty different, so how could they be similar?

Both are views that a person would never get just by looking at the scientific/historical evidence.  It is unlikely that a scientist, just by examining the scientific evidence, would naturally conclude that the earth is only 6-10,000 years old.  In the same way, it is very unlikely that a historian, looking just at the historical data, would conclude that Jesus is just a myth.  In fact, the challenge for both positions is that the evidence, at least as traditionally understood, seems to be against their theory.

Secondly, both theories are highly suspicious of the scholarly consensus.  In scientific circles, it is a strong consensus that the earth is millions of years old.  In historical circles, it is a strong consensus that there was a Jesus of Nazareth living in the first century who taught religious ideas and was crucified.  Both groups look at the consensus and simply declare them to be wrong.  They may believe that the consensus is mistaken because of some bad presuppositions (belief/disbelief in the Bible).  The fact that a majority of scholars disagree with them does not affect their belief.

Finally, both YEC and JM are agenda driven rather than evidence driven.  YEC start with their theory and then look to scientific evidence to see how it can be reinterpreted to fit the theory.  I understand that many YEC would claim that they are successful at this.  I am not trying to judge, only observe.  In the same way, JM start with their theory and then try to reinterpret the historical evidence.  Assuming there was no historical Jesus, how do we reinterpret the evidence from Paul, the Gospels and Josephus?  Of course they do have theories on that and they would claim that they are convincing.  I am not judging (at least not right now), only saying that they begin with the theory and not the evidence.

I have tried to remain objective here.  Either group could be correct.  Maybe the scientific/historical evidence is wrong.  Maybe the consensus is wrong.  Maybe we should start with our theory and then make the evidence fit.  My point is simply that two groups that have widely different belief systems actually go about their task in very similar ways.

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6 thoughts on “Young Earth Creationists and Jesus Mythicists”

  1. I get what you’re saying here, but couldn’t you also lump about anyone into the crowd that “starts with a theory and then makes the evidence fit.”? It seems to me that evolutionary scientists do the same thing. The theory instead of YEC or OEC is that nothing outside of naturalism can be considered no matter the evidence, and then interpret the evidence accordingly. I’m not arguing your point, just arguing that those two groups aren’t alone in doing this.

  2. The difference is that the YEC ‘s have an average IQ of around 70 whereas people like Richard Carrier are clearly in the genius camp, and there are very few of them. There are NO serious scientists who believe the world is 6000 years old You obviously have not (and will not) read Richard Carriers books.

    1. To be fair, there are many more PhDs in related fields who hold to YEC than there are PhDs in related fields who hold to the JM. I believe you can count on one hand the PhDs who deny that Jesus existed. As for Richard Carrier, I would read his books and intend to once my current research project is complete.

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