December 31, 2014 Leave a comment
No matter what creed you follow or do not, you cannot deny the fact Jesus existed. The modern concept that Jesus did not exist can be applied to many historical figures from the period, who sometimes have only one source. The article 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed is very misleading. The contemporary historian Josephus mentions Jesus. And this article itself is full of errors, such as Paul’s attitude to Peter and James.
Here is a refutation of the 5 reasons given in the article (a copy is posted below):
1. The contemporary Jewish historian Josephus twice mentions Jesus in his Antiquities of the Jews, written in the first century. Also the prominent Roman historian Tacitus (a pagan), writing at the beginning of the second century, mentions Jesus, though incorrectly as “Christus”.
The lack of birth or death records, or even trial transcripts is simple – these methods of documenting everyday life did not exist until modern times! And any Roman bureaucratic records from the time would have been scant (without cheap paper and the printing press, writing was expensive) and unlikely to survive – there are many lost or incomplete books from Greek and Roman times. In most cases a manuscript only survived nearly 2,000 years through constant reproduction by scribes.
2. Paul’s “silence” on certain details is obvious – his writings in the New Testament are letters addressed to churches. In these letters he usually discussed topical issues and disputes. Why would he rehash details of Jesus’ life, or discuss other basic shared beliefs with the faithful?
The accusation that Paul thought little of Peter and James is totally unfounded. He respected them, and sought their approval of his plan to preach to the Gentiles. There is no way that Paul would have spoken against two of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles.
3. It is a big mistake believing that just because the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written about 100 years after Christianity began, that they must simply be a product of that time. When actually they were oral traditions, passed down among the followers, which were then documented and compiled by four separate individuals. This explains why there are slight differences when describing the details of certain events. The very first Christians (at that time just a new sect of Judaism) included people who knew or witnessed Jesus, and those who were familiar with the contemporary stories. Their shared accounts were their own Gospel, with the written gospels being produced afterwards from these sources.
4. Any differences in the four gospels are obviously the product of a hundred years of mistakes and corruption made through passing the stories down by word of mouth before they were committed to writing. The Christians who assembled the Bible noticed these minor discrepancies, and to their credit they didn’t rewrite or omit anything, but kept it all, knowing what the reasons must have been, and that it didn’t really matter.
5. This is just pure conspiracy theory stuff right here. So, Peter and some friends sat down one day and said, “You know how everyone is waiting for the Messiah? How about we pretend he came, was just friends with us, was killed, and then brought back to life, and then ascended to Heaven? We’ll be horribly persecuted and face much hardship, but won’t it be fun!” Then after persecuting the Christians, Paul one day thought, “Hey, I should get in on this scam, not try to stamp it out. I’ll pretend I had a vision of Jesus, then spend years of travel, hardship, and danger pushing this silly lie for absolutely no profit whatsoever!”