This should come as no surprise to the readers of this blog. If you have kept up with the 12 myths series, almost everything that has been claimed about Jesus I have shown to be false. The main reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. The idea that he was never born is quite controversial. If Jesus never existed, he was never born, therefore no Christmas. Furthermore, there would be no Christianity. The debates continue even today.
Myth #12: Jesus Never Existed
This goes against what most scholars believe. I do think that pressure from society is why they side on Jesus existing. But scholars like Richard Carrier vehemently disagree with Bart Ehrman, author of Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. Ehrman claims that Jesus did in fact exist, Carrier is making some very amazing claims to counter that. So is author David Fitzgerald with his book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All.
Who am I to debate Bart Ehrman? I certainly will admit that Ehrman is a scholar I respect but so is Richard Carrier. Both have argued back and forth about the existence of Jesus. Ehrman says that anyone claiming that Jesus never existed is just trying to sell books, I would say the same about Ehrman’s claim that Jesus did exist. His name holds so much weight and Christians love that he asserts the existence of Jesus. There are more Christians to sell to than atheists. I don’t know why Christians think Ehrman is on their side. Ehrman claims that almost half the books in the New Testament are forgeries and he himself is not a Christian–used to be, but not anymore.
Here is why I think Jesus was never born:
- The parallels between ancient mythology and the Jesus story are too close to be coincidence.
- Outside of the bible, there are no credible sources for the existence of Jesus.
- The earliest known writings are by Paul who never speaks of a historical Jesus. His Jesus is not of the flesh.
- Two sources scholars use as proof of Jesus outside the bible are Josephus and Tacitus. I already wrote about how Josephus was tampered with and can not be trusted. Also, Tacitus and Josephus both write about Hercules as if he really existed.
But what about the apostles who claim to be eyewitnesses? Richard Carrier, author of Not the Impossible Faith, claims that these experiences were all through visions and revelations. We know this for certain about Paul so it is highly probably that the other apostles learned of Jesus through similar visions.
Some like to claim that because the bible has actual historical places and people in it, that means Jesus was real too. Does that make Spiderman real? New York City is real. In fact, there is a Spiderman comic with New York’s mayor in it. Is Spiderman real? By the rationale of Jesus Freaks, yes, Spiderman is real.
I would not go as far to say that I know with 100% accuracy that Jesus did not exist. If new evidence did arise, I would look into it further. And I do respect Bart Ehrman enough to keep my mind open on this issue. However, I will say that it makes absolutely no difference to me if he did exist. If he did, that is all we can know. Outside of that, the Jesus people think they know is surely a myth. Abraham Lincoln was a historical figure but I can be certain that he wasn’t a vampire hunter.