April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET
The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene.
It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.
But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture. Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?"
“If I said to you that there was no real Good Samaritan, I don’t think anyone would be outraged,” says Freke, one of a group of mythicists who say Jesus never existed. “It’s a teaching story. What we’re saying is that the Jesus story is an allegory. It’s a parable of the spiritual journey.”
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
On Easter Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide mark the resurrection of Jesus. Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed.
But there is another view of Jesus that’s been emerging, one that strikes at the heart of the Easter story. A number of authors and scholars say Jesus never existed. Such assertions could have been ignored in an earlier age. But in the age of the Internet and self-publishing, these arguments have gained enough traction that some of the world’s leading New Testament scholars feel compelled to publicly take them on.
Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar who recently released a book devoted to the question called “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.”
Your comments on Jesus deniers
He says Freke and others who deny Jesus’ existence are conspiracy theorists trying to sell books.
“There are people out there who don’t think the Holocaust happened, there wasn’t a lone JFK assassin and Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” Ehrman says. “Among them are people who don’t think Jesus existed.”
Does it matter if Jesus existed?
Some Jesus mythicists say many New Testament scholars are intellectual snobs.
“I don’t think I’m some Internet kook or Holocaust denier,” says Robert Price, a former Baptist pastor who argues in “Deconstructing Jesus” that a historical Jesus probably didn’t exist.
“They say I’m a bitter ex-fundamentalist. It’s pathetic to see this character assassination. That’s what people resort to when they don’t have solid arguments.”
Ehrman, for example, is an agnostic who has written books that argue that virtually half of the New Testament is forged. Another defender of Jesus’ existence is John Dominic Crossan, a New Testament scholar who has been called a heretic because his books challenge some traditional Christian teachings.
But as to the existence of Jesus, Crossan says, he’s “certain.”
He says some Jesus deniers may be people who have a problem with Christianity.
“It’s a way of responding to something you don’t like,” Crossan says. “We can’t say that Obama doesn’t exist, but we can say that he’s not an American. If we’re talking about Obama in the future, there are people who might not only say he wasn’t American, but he didn’t even exist.”
Does it even matter if Jesus existed? Can’t people derive inspiration from his teachings whether he actually walked the Earth?
Crossan says Jesus’ existence matters in the same way that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s existence mattered.
If King never existed, people would say his ideas are lovely, but they could never work in the real world, Crossan says.
It’s the same with an historical Jesus, Crossan writes in his latest book, “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus.”
“The power of Jesus’ historical life challenges his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God. And if one, why not others? If some, why not all?”
The evidence against Jesus’ existence
Those who argue against Jesus’ existence make some of these points:
-The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus.
-No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.
-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.
Price, author of “Deconstructing Jesus,” says the first-century Western world was full of stories of a martyred hero who is called a son of God.
“There are ancient novels from that period where the hero is condemned to the cross and even crucified, but he escapes and survives it,” Price says. “That looks like Jesus.”
Those who argue for the existence of Jesus often cite two external biblical sources: the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote about Jesus at the end of the first century and the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote about Jesus at the start of the second century.
But some scholars say Josephus’ passage was tampered with by later Christian authors. And Price says the two historians are not credible on Jesus.
“Josephus and Tacitus – they both thought Hercules was a true figure,” Price says. “Both of them spoke of Hercules as a figure that existed.”
Price concedes that there were plenty of mythical stories that were draped around historical figures like Caesar. But there’s plenty of secular documentation to show Caesar existed.
“Everything we read about Jesus in the gospels conforms to the mythic hero,” Price says. “There’s nothing left over that indicates that he was a real historical figure.”
Those who argue for the existence of Jesus cite another source: the testimony of the Apostle Paul and Jesus’ early disciples. Paul even writes in one New Testament passage about meeting James, the brother of Jesus.
These early disciples not only believed Jesus was real but were willing to die for him. People don’t die for myths, some biblical scholars say.
They will if the experience is powerful enough, says Richard Carrier, author of “Proving History.”
Carrier says it’s probable that Jesus never really existed and that early Christians experienced a mythic Jesus who came to them through visions and revelations.
Two of the most famous stories in the New Testament – the conversion of Paul and the stoning death of Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs - show that people seized by religious visions are willing to die, Carrier says.
In both the Paul and Stephen stories, the writers say that they didn’t see an actual Jesus but a heavenly vision of Jesus, Carrier says.
People “can have powerful religious experiences that don’t correspond to reality,” Carrier says.
“The perfect model is Paul himself,” Carrier says. “He never met Jesus. Paul only had an encounter with this heavenly Jesus. Paul is completely converted by this religious experience, but no historical Jesus is needed for that to happen.”
As for the passage where Paul says he met James, Jesus’ brother, Carrier says:
“The problem with that is that all baptized Christians were considered brothers of the Lord.”
The evidence for Jesus’ existence
Some scholars who argue for the existence of Jesus says the New Testament mentions actual people and events that are substantiated by historical documents and archaeological discoveries.
Ehrman, author of “Did Jesus Exist?” scoffed at the notion that the ancient world was full of pagan stories about dying deities that rose again. Where’s the proof? he asks.
Ehrman devoted an entire section of his book to critiquing Freke, the mythicist and author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” who says there was an ancient Osiris-Dionysus figure who shares uncanny parallels to Jesus.
He says Freke can’t offer any proof that an ancient Osiris figure was born on December 25, was crucified and rose again. He says Freke is citing 20th- and 19th-century writers who tossed out the same theories.
Ehrman says that when you read ancient stories about mythological figures like Hercules and Osiris, “there’s nothing about them dying and rising again.”
“He doesn’t know much about ancient history,” Ehrman says of Freke. “He’s not a scholar. All he knows is what he’s read in other conspiracy books.”
Craig A. Evans, the author of “Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence,” says the notion that Paul gave his life for a mythical Jesus is absurd.
He says the New Testament clearly shows that Paul was an early enemy of the Christian church who sought to stamp out the burgeoning Jesus movement.
“Don’t you think if you were in Paul’s shoes, you would have quickly discovered that there was no Jesus?” Evans asks. “If there was no Jesus, then how did the movement start?”
Evans also dismissed the notion that early Christians blended or adopted pagan myths to create their own mythical Jesus. He says the first Christians were Jews who despised everything about pagan culture.
“For a lot of Jewish people, the pagan world was disgusting,” Evans says. “I can’t imagine [the Gospel writer] Matthew making up a story where he is drawing parallels between Jesus’ birth and pagan stories about Zeus having sex with some fair maiden.”
The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed, Evans says. A vivid personality practically bursts from the pages of the New Testament: He speaks in riddles, talks about camels squeezing through the eye of a needle, weeps openly and even loses his temper.
Evans says he is a man who is undeniably Jewish, a genius who understands his culture but also transcends his tradition with gem-like parables.
“Who but Jesus could tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan?” Evans says. “Where does this bolt of lightning come from? You don’t get this out of an Egyptian myth.”
Those who argue against the existence of Jesus say they aren’t trying to destroy people’s faith.
“I don’t have any desire to upset people,” says Freke. “I do have a passion for the truth. … I don’t think rational people in the 20th century can go down a road just on blind faith.”
Yet Easter was never just about rationale.
The Easter stories about the resurrection are strange: Disciples don’t recognize Jesus as they meet him on the road; he tells someone not to touch him; he eats fish in another.
In the Gospel of Matthew, a resurrected Jesus suddenly appears to a group of disciples and gives them this cryptic message:
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
And what did they see: a person, a pagan myth or a savior?
Albert Schweitzer, a 20th-century theologian and missionary, suggested that there will never be one answer to that question. He said that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: You see only your own reflection.
The “real” Jesus, Schweitzer says, will remain “a stranger and an enigma,” someone who is always ahead of us.
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About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Jesus was historical. It is proved by science of history!
Scientifically seen, the accounts of the Bible of Jesus and the apostles are not as trustworthy as accounts from outside the Bible and the Church. The writers of the Bible were Christians and could have been tempted to invent stories about Jesus and the Church. However, there are accounts of Jesus and the Church from outside the Church, even drafted by enemies of Christ and the Church. Why should an enemy of Christ and the Church invent stories about Christ and the Church, which would promote the faith, which he hates. Hence, the texts below are very trustworthy, because they are drafted by enemies of Christ.
Firstly, there was a very famous historian of the Roman Empire, which lived in the first century after Christ (AD 56 – AD 117), that means extremly near-term to the events, which had came to pass in Palestine. He, Tacitus, was a pagan, which had no reason at all to promote Christianity and to tell us lies about Jesus. We can be sure that it was historical, what he wrote about Jesus, because he was an enemy of Jesus:
"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superst-ition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multi-tude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind".
This passage is a clear evidence for the historicity of Christ Jesus.
Secondly, there was a famous Jewish historian of the first century, who gives acount of Jesus Christ. Jews have no reason to promote Christianity and thus we can be sure that Flavius Josephus told us the truth about Jesus:
"And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus... Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned."
A Jew confirms the historical reality of Jesus, the founder of Christianity. That is very great!
There are accounts of Jesus and Christianity outside the Bible and the Christian Church. Scientifically seen, accounts of Jesus and the faith from outside the Bible and the Church are more valueable, because Christian writers could always be tempted to invent stories about Jesus and the apostles, in order to promote the Christian faith.
The text bellow is a conversation between two enemies of Christ and his Church. They had no reason at all to invent stories, which could promote the faith. Hence, the text below is extremly valueable, because enemies (Trajan and Pliny) of Christ tell of the Christian Church. The text below is a clear proof for the historicity of Christianity. Regard how close to Jesus' and the apostles lifetime the text emerged.
Once, an officer, Pliny the Younger (reign 111-113 AD), of the Roman Empire had a conversation with his emperor Trajan (reign 98-117 AD):
"It is my practice, my lord, to refer to you all matters concerning which I am in doubt. For who can better give guidance to my hesitation or inform my ignorance? I have never participated in trials of Christians. I therefore do not know what offenses it is the practice to punish or investigate, and to what extent. And I have been not a little hesitant as to whether there should be any distinction on account of age or no difference between the very young and the more mature; whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.
Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.
Soon accusations spread, as usually happens, because of the proceedings going on, and several incidents occurred. An anonymous docu-ment was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.
They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food–but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive supersti-tion.
I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you. For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you, especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both se-xes are and will be endangered. For the contagion of this supersti-tion has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms. But it seems possible to check and cure it. It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found. Hence it is easy to imagine what a multi-tude of people can be reformed if an opportunity for repentance is afforded.
Emperor Trajan to Pliny
You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those who had been denounced to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it–that is, by worshiping our gods–even though he was under suspi-cion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance. But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age."
This passage is a clear evidence for historicity of Christianity. Consider it is from the beginning of the second century. Hence, Christianity could not be invented by any impostor later, but it was oviously a real thing.
I met GOD one night in deep meditation. I could sure feel the spirit ... SO I asked where was Jesus ... GOD said .. he is within!
At that instance, I got the impression GOD was my best friend my buddy, with such a strong warm loving feeling ... not at all like everyone advertises. But I had also defended God and Christ earlier that evening to an angry atheist spewing hate and vial of all bad stuff done in God's name. Some people have a weird way of showing their love for God, some use vinegar some use honey. I'd say if you want to start a war ... leave God and Jesus out of it. Jesus said "Love yourself, each other and your enemies" ... if you still want to start a war ... it's a non-Christian doing it even they say they are Christian. A lot of so called Christians are not Christian!! They are way off base, lost in what they want. They simply do not practice what Christ Jesus said! That is what makes someone a Christian! Walking the walk!
The bible says,
Seek and you will find him.
IF a person has never seen or touched any Ocean ... how do they know it exists? They can't see it, touch it. But they see thinks come from it, stories from people who visited it. Pictures ... they go on faith that it really is there until they experience it themselves. Sometimes faith and belief is all there is. If you have no interest in God why should God reveal himself to someone that doesn't believe.
There are many people that don't even believe in themselves much less in a God. Or that GOD could have walked among us as a man and to see how it was like to be human. To feel what we feel. So if God can do anything why is it so hard to believe God didn"t just pop up on the scene as Jesus 2000+ years ago?? In fact he might be here again ... already ... checking out how messed up things are and how the world has gone to down the tubes.
P.S. Don't expect GOD to meet you half way. There are some roads you have to walk down buy yourself. Do not listen to a fool to tell you of something they do not know anything about. They may even call themselves an expert for what that is worth, or from all they have read... but never felt or digested. – For even a dead and broken clock is right twice a day.
It is the journey that teaches and not simply getting to the destination as fast as you can. Enjoy your journey. Asking questions it great, just don't poo-poo something because you don't understand it or the manner it was described. There are a lot of fanatics on many sides saying the other side is wrong. How do you choose???
Miracles happen and have happened and will continue to happen.... the proof is there. Maybe you need to have a trained eye to see them.... try to explore... read ... research... seek ... maybe then God will show up ... as your friend?
I have seen ... and I believe!!
Do you believe that I believe???
I have enough faith for both of us!
I consider it very sloppy of christians to compare "faith" in oceans and air and the like to faith in their god.. God belongs in the category with other beings we can't see or test for.. (We can see and test both air and the ocean).. Since god cannot be proved as anything else–he belongs in the category of "imaginary beings" like unicorns and dragons and etc..
In Gods infinite universe there are many things that exist and in a wide range of variations. Such as the color of flowers. We humans are in a range of color and variations. It does not surprise me at all that range occurs in the human belief system. Maybe on a scientific view you could range it from 0 to 10... or even 11...
I've ask many what is your belief? Did you believe you have a soul, spirit, energy, Che. ? Do you believe in a higher order? When your dead your done. Do you believe only in science alone or a blend of the two. Do you get your perspective handed down as a view from someone else? Did you every study anything related to your soul?
In the belief that you are done when you die... then maybe those that believe that ... that is what happens. You don't have enough energy, understanding or belief in your soul to hold your spirit together after the body dies.
But probably not. In another meditation I saw a thread connected to each and everyone of us from Gods very spirit. We are a part of God and God is connected to each of us ... even if we don't believe it. On the Macro and the Micro level, beyond the beyond.
I would like to see an Atheist on his/her deathbed. Death comes to everyone and everyone faces it alone. We should be so fortune to believe that there is something on the other-side. From a philosophical perspective, to comprehend a "life after death" scenario is quite incredible. As for someone who is on-the-rocks spiritually, I hope for a moment to come when I can put my faith in something that couldn't be called anything else but divine.
"I would like to see an Atheist on his/her deathbed."
That's really sick. You must be Christian.
There ARE histories with only one source. Most of my African histories come from oral traditions of the tribes. Sumerian n Babylonian histories are mostly found on cuneiform tablets. Chinese history has mostly Chinese sources. Please history skeptics challenge but what they say isnt history.
Well, as one who has a graduate degree in History from one of the finest universities in the world, I can tell you that oral history is usually pretty interesting and lively, and it is also notoriously unreliable.
The tribal remembered histories of your area are probably fascinating, but no serious historian would believe they are totally accurate.
The Bible runs into the same problem, and the parts that are supernatural really cannot be considered within a context of History.
But as for me I peach the historical Jesus I received in faith as crucified and risen...and surely He will come take me Home. Amen Come Lord!
But as for me I preach the historical Jesus I have received in faith as crucified and risen...and surely He will come take me Home. Amen Come Lord!
But as for me I believe in the historical Jesus I received in faith as crucified and risen...and surely He will come take me Home. Amen Come Lord!
For those looking for sure proof that Jesus existed, they must follow the method of finding truth as it states in James 1:5. "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God..."
I know that God lives and that Jesus is his son because I have asked in prayer with 'pure intent' and a desire to know to do good. As a foster child I grew up in many different environments, being taken from my biological mother at 3 I lived in over 10 different homes. Some of 'believers' and some of 'non-believers'. All of this confusion furthered my curiosity. I did pray and I did receive an answer in a rather subtle way but never the less I could not deny it.
As much as I would want to give this same feeling and new found knowledge to others, it is not mine to give. I was given this gift from God and it is a promise to all but cannot be given by man.
One cannot say that I do not have this knowledge because they do not know my true thoughts and intentions. So for those seeking proof, whether with true intentions or not – it will not happen on this page in the form of words from another person. It will only happen as one first opens their heart and mind, searches diligently and asks in prayer.
Jesus visited the earth and many saw him and denied that he was the Christ even after his many miracles. There are many miracles that happen today as well but many fail to recognize them let alone the existence of Christ.
That's not proof though. That's suspending critical reasoning to speak to an imaginary friend. Proof is verifiable by believers and non-believers alike. You also presume that we haven't asked god to prove himself to us. Most atheists were believers at one time. You think in all of that time we didn't ask for proof? What you are writing about are stories that make you feel better. That's fine. You can keep those stories. No one's going to take them away from you. We're just not going to accept your personal opinion as fact.
If everything is predicated in Bible, what about Kim and Kanye West . Were it predicted too ? 🙂 🙂
You can't use their Christianity as the basis for dismissing their witness. Thats like saying a black man can't be a witness in a case involving a black man who is his friend.
The people who try to use legal arguements fail in one simple thing. The four Gospel traditions are credible legal witnesses of the life of Jesus as a history. Also if they have accepted histories with only one source why do they then dismiss the Gospels. Scholarship uses MAY for its assertions.
There is no such thing as an "accepted" history with only one source. You're thinking of the bible. No, the bible is not credible eyewitness. It was written hundreds of years after the supposed death of Christ and was then translated and re-written dozens of times.
The fact that heaven has no negativity but hell has it all does not mean it is boring. Those who feel there must be negativity are like teenagers who cut themselves to feel alive. hmm!
And there are 100's of legal eye witnesses to UFOs and aliean abductions (eye roll)
I laughed. Nothing like pseudo-intellectualism for a religious debate!
Jesus, who He is and what He is. What I believe about Jesus, to me is as important as believing in Him!
I respect the right for people to think and to believe as they will. It saddens me that people are easily offended by differing opinions, that being said I am Christian. I believe in Christ, better said I know that Jesus of Nazereth did walk the earth and he was and is in fact the son of the living God.
Now here is a point to consider. This article claims that there are no other reliable witnesses other that the Bible to the validity of the stories of Jesus. I respectfully disagree. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I have read this book, and the bible over and over and pondered their pages. I have followed the invitation said in many ways seek and ye shall find; If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, and as Moroni an ancient Prophet who write in the Book of Mormon invites to ask God if these are not True, and he will manifest the truth unto by the power of the Holy Ghost, and by the Power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the Truth of All Things. I witness that the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God, and are witnesses of the Divinity of Jesus the Christ.
"I believe in Christ, better said I know that Jesus of Nazereth did walk the earth and he was and is in fact the son of the living God."
Respectfully, you are misusing the words "know" and "fact." You may believe entirely without doubt, but you cannot possibly know the things you claim, and they certainly do not qualify as facts in any accurate and honest use of the word.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 1 Corinthians 15.3-8
And how do you that this is true?
Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life - except religion.
Which he clearly relied on to sell his books. The version of atheism that Hitchens and Dawkins push is a religion of its own; just one without a God.
It basically comes down to this. We can believe that Jesus was a real man who was a religious figure who was crucified and died, or we can believe that he was totally invented by what essentially was a mass hallucination of the Apostles. I am a Christian (Catholic actually), but I can accept, intellectually, the notion that the belief of the Apostles in Jesus resurrection can be explained by something other than his actual resurrection (including the idea that there was a stress induced mass hallucination). I cannot accept that the very existence of Jesus can be explained by an hallucination. Consider the following, many Apostles had nothing in common other than Jesus. No Jesus and it is hard to see what would have brought St. Matthew a Tax collector to hang out with Sts. Peter, James and John, who were fishermen.
1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Tim 3:1-4: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life"
A M E N !
Let God be true and every man a liar!
That'd kinda serve the guy right, though, don't you think?. God and just one other dude splitting his time between slathering up Yahweh's ego and trying to figure out how to have any fun in the middle of perfection.. Even god would be like, "God da.mm, this is boring as he.ll.. I wonder what satan's up to with all the people I made?.'
OK, you can quote random scripture. Now, can you link these passages into a convincing argument for jesus being historical?
It aint necessarily so