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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Refuting The “Legend” Theory

Another theory claims that the resurrection is simply a legend that developed over time and was recorded later in the Bible as fact. There’s a couple of major problems with this naive theory. The first problem is that Biblical account reveals embarrassing details about the disciples.”

Actually, the first problem is that the bible really says next to nothing about the disciples. The apostles should be twelve of the most famous people in history. We’re told they were hand picked by Jesus to witness his wondrous deeds, learn his sublime teachings, and take the good news of his kingdom to the ends of the earth.

Which makes it all the more surprising that we know next to nothing about them. We can’t even be sure of their names: the gospels list a collection of more than twenty names for the so-called twelve disciples – with Bartholomew sometimes showing up as Nathanael, Matthew as Levi and Jude as Thaddeus, Lebbaeus, or Daddaeus!

It should be apparent that if the twelve were actual historical figures, with such an important role in the foundation and growth of the Church, it would be impossible to have such wild confusion over the basic question of who they really were.

But what do we know about any of them?

The fact is that for seven of the twelve, our only early source, the Gospels, say nothing about them at all. They are just names on a list.

Isn’t it a tad odd that such worthies, infused with the Holy Spirit and given powers to heal the sick and cast out demons, wrote nothing, or had nothing written for them or about them? Isn’t it odd that men chosen to be eye-witnesses to the mighty deeds of Jesus, wrote no eye-witness statements, left no sermons, no memoirs, no letters, no teachings, no pithy words of encouragement?

All that we have about “the twelve” are conflicting legends and fantastic stories from a much later date, tall stories about where they went, what they did and most especially how they died. Their deaths, it seems, have been recorded in loving and lurid detail. And it is the graphic deaths of the disciples that solves the riddle. We’ve all heard the apologetic claim: “Would they have died for a lie? Therefore the story of Jesus must be true.”

But we all know how useful to a cause is a dead martyr, even if he’s a fiction. In the case of Jesus, the twelve are a fiction, a necessary entourage for a sun god, passing through the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Just like other saviour gods, Jesus had to have his retinue.

The truth is, the twelve disciples are a grubby and sordid invention.

“Would the disciples have suffered and died for a fabricated saviour?”

One of the reeds of straw holding up the shabby edifice of Christendom is the alleged suffering and cruel fate of his original apostles, the twelve disciples chosen by the Lord himself. By their heroic, cheek-turning sacrifice, these worthies earned their martyr’s crown and joined their Lord in Heaven. In so-doing, they inspired generations of noble Christians, who ultimately taught the blood-thirsty Romans the Christian values of compassion and brotherly love. Well, that’s the myth.

Though cruelty and human suffering have ever been integral to the history of the Church the fanatics of Christ have rarely been the victimized innocents. Rather it has been the Christians who have bathed their faith in the blood of others.

There is NO corroborating evidence for the existence of the twelve Apostles and absolutely NO evidence for the colourful variety of martyrs’ deaths they supposedly experienced. The Bible itself actually mentions the death of only two apostles, a James who was put to death by Herod Agrippa (see James for a discussion of this tricky character) and the nasty Judas Iscariot (see below), who gets several deaths because he’s the bad guy.

Legend and tradition alone, dreamed up by the early churches in their bid for legitimacy and authority, provided the uplifting fables of heroics and martyrdom. The plethora of conflicting claims and alternative deaths stand eloquent testimony to wholesale fabrication of the non-existent godman’s non-existent companions.

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