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Friday, January 28, 2011

Was Jesus a real person?

The standard idea is that Jesus was a real person who lived and was killed. The debate normally centers over the idea of whether Jesus was actually the son of God. The comment that all valid historians accept that Jesus existed gets made all the time. But is it reasonable to start with the premise that Jesus was actually a real person? No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings.

It is interesting when we look at the early church leaders. Was this a group of people who tried to follow the message of Jesus? Did they hold to the idea that truth was all they needed to win converts? Then why would they have set out deliberately to lie? Were they willing to create falsehoods and deceits merely to advance themselves and their designs? The records shows that they did indeed plan to lie for Jesus. And for many Christians even to this day, lying for Jesus has been a useful concept to further their goals.
"I will only mention the Apostle Paul. ... He, then, if anyone, ought to be calumniated; we should speak thus to him: ‘The proofs which you have used against the Jews and against other heretics bear a different meaning in their own contexts to that which they bear in your Epistles.
We see passages taken captive by your pen and pressed into service to win you a victory, which in volumes from which they are taken have no controversial bearing at all ... the line so often adopted by strong men in controversy – of justifying the means by the result."

– St. Jerome, Epistle to Pammachus (xlviii, 13; N&PNF. vi, 72-73)

Was there ever a person actually called Jesus? There were actually many different people called Jesus. The name was actually very common during that period.  Josephus, the first century Jewish historian mentions no fewer than nineteen different people named Jesus and about half of them were contemporaries of the supposed Christ.  It is highly likely that the stories of the various people called Jesus got confused or lumped together.

There are many man-god myths from around the world. It is fascinating how similar many of them are to the concept of Jesus. Many of these stories are from religions that are older than Christianity. If older religions had developed the concept of the god-man before Christianity did, it is hardly a stretch to accept that Christianity borrowed from these myths to develop its tale.

I call the story of Jesus a myth because it is founded on a myth and is supported by a myth. Jesus had to die for our sins. The concept of original sin was developed because Adam sinned against God. But there was no Adam, no Garden of Eden. It is a myth. We know this from the study of geology, biology and astronomy.

If there is no original sin, there is no reason for Jesus to die on the cross to atone for us. (By the way, when he was dead for those three days, was the Trinity reduced to a Duality for that period of time? Just curious.)

We know the stories of the Flood, Jonah and the sun stopping in the sky are a myth, as well as many others. How do we know this? From the study of geology, biology and astronomy. Since Jesus confirms the Old Testament, we know he cannot be all knowing and is a myth as well.

Krishna, Buddha, Mithra and Horus are all examples of the man-god myth from different religions. These are all from older religions, yet they encompass many of the same elements as Christianity. I have listed posts that describe these similarities in detail. It seems odd that so many other religions describe the elements of Christianity before Jesus was supposed to have existed. Christians try to explain this away by stating that these other religions actually copied Christianity. A rather odd explanation when the other religions are older than Christianity. My favorite is when they say Satan created the other religions to confuse mankind.

Most of these have the same version of the man-god. Born of a virgin, 12 disciples, killed, often crucified, Dec 25 is a pivotal time point. The same story repackaged for a new audience.

Hercules was mentioned by Flavius Josephus. Should we assume that man-god actually existed based on that? How is that any different than Christians insisting that only a real person would be mentioned by ancient historians?

Since Jesus was Jewish, it is also interesting to note that the Jewish people do not believe Jesus was the Messiah. Now, their disbelief starts with the idea that Jesus was a real person, just not the son of God. So, why would this be relevant?  If Jesus was just a man and not the son of god, my premise is still valid. As I have already mentioned, there were many people living at the time of the supposed Christ that had the name Jesus.  For it is the idea of a divine Jesus that I believe is a myth. Lets take a look at some of the reasons that the Jewish people do not accept Jesus as divine.

What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:
A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world—on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).
The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.

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