During the Facebook debate that I had with several belligerent Christians, I called the stories in the New Testament Fiction. Ignorant Christian Mike came back with the “Jesus Existed Argument.” Mike wrote:
“James, with all due respect, to call the New Testament “fiction” demonstrates a limited study of it on your part. The historical Jesus is well-proven by archaeologists and historians, believers and non-believers alike.”
This shouldn’t take long to tear apart. Even if I concede that Jesus existed, which I do have some doubts about which you can read here, it does not prove the Bible is fact. You hear this often among theists. “They found archeological evidence of places in the bible, therefore everything in the bible is true!” Just because a real place is mentioned in a story does not make it true. New York City is the setting of Spiderman. Does that make Spiderman a real person? The Iliad speaks of Troy, which archeologists have found, does that mean the Greek gods mentioned in that book are real? Of course not. But if we follow Christian logic who support that the bible is real because it mentions real places than we would have to believe Spiderman and Zeus are also real.
As for the truth about Jesus, according to Dale B. Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale, the best we can know is that “Jesus was an apocalyptic Jewish prophet who was executed because (the Romans at least believed) that he or his disciples were making dangerous claims that he was the King of the Jews”
That isn’t much. But just because Jesus might have been a true historical person does not make the supernatural claims about Jesus true. We know that Abraham Lincoln was a true historical figure but I doubt that he was a vampire hunter.
A true study of the bible will result in finding out that it is indeed fiction, perhaps inspired by true (non-supernatual) events.