It’s been a while since I’ve seen a “War on Christians” special air on Fox News, but if they’re searching for material, it’s going to be easy for them this year.
The latest claim? That Jesus never existed at all!
A new article in Big Think claims that more and more, “historians and bloggers alike are questioning whether the actual man called Jesus existed.”
Trendy atheists like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens also dabbled in the denial of the historical Jesus, with Dawkins asserting that it is possible “to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all, and Hitchens averring that Jesus’ existence is “highly questionable.”
Many of the writings we do have are “tainted,” Philip Perry now pronounces in Big Think, and historical sources are few. Even in the bible, Perry writes, “whole chunks of his life are missing. Jesus goes from age 12 to 30, without any word of what happened in-between.”
“What we do have are lots of sources completed several decades after the fact, by authors of the gospels who wanted to promote the faith,” he writes.
Well, if the bloggers say so, I guess it must be true!
On a serious note, there isn’t much documentation for plenty of notable events events in ancient history until decades after they occurred.
An example of a cataclysmic but barely documented event is the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The eruption destroyed two major cities and their surrounding settlements, killed possibly tens of thousands of people, and had an ash plume that could be seen for hundreds or even thousands of miles. And yet, the only written record comes to us from a single eyewitness, Pliny the Younger, who put his account to parchment several decades later at the request of his friend Tacitus. That should silence the “If the miracles of the Bible were true then more people would have documented them” argument.
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As for the extra-biblical evidence of Jesus’ existence, Jewish historian Josephus wrote in his Antiquities of the Jews (published 93–94 AD) “Now there arose at this time a source of further trouble in one Jesus, a wise man who performed surprising works, a teacher of men who gladly welcome strange things. He led away many Jews, and also many of the Gentiles. He was the so-called Christ. When Pilate, acting on information supplied by the chief men around us, condemned him to the cross, those who had attached themselves to him at first did not cease to cause trouble, and the tribe of Christians, which has taken this name from him is not extinct even today.”
The aforementioned Tacitus, a Roman historian and senator wrote in the 15th book of his Annals (written 116 AD), “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 superstition, 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 multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.”
The historians of the time took notice of Jesus’ existence… the liberals who don’t are only exposing their ignorance.
But maybe that’s not even the point of the War on Christians. Maybe they don’t care about facts or history. Maybe they just want us to go away.
That’s NOT going to happen!
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