Who was this Jesus of Nazareth? Was he really the son of God as Christians claim? Or was he nothing more than a myth, as many others claim? Or was he just an ordinary mortal Jew from Galilee, as I and many others claim.
Only Christians actually believe Jesus was the son of God, and they point to their New Testament evidence to justify their belief that he was resurrected in Jerusalem after his crucifixion. However, Christians conveniently ignore the fact that, outside of their New Testament, there is very little evidence to suggest that Jesus ever existed, and no evidence whatsoever to corroborate their claims that he was resurrected after his crucifixion. Christians therefore have to rely entirely on the evidence in their Gospels to sustain their claim that Jesus was the son of God. I will address the reliability of these Gospels in Christianity’s Achilles Heel, the 3rd and final part of this series.
Many non Christians claim that Jesus never actually existed. Those belonging to the Jesus Myth Fraternity argue that, had Jesus ever existed, he would certainly have been noticed by contemporaneous historians. But on many separate occasions, numerous scholars have trawled through all the existing contemporaneous historical documents, and failed to find any reference, whatsoever, to a character called Jesus. They therefore conclude that Jesus never existed, that he is, in fact, nothing more than an ancient myth. However, their argument is a flawed argument based on a flawed premise, namely the tacit assumption, that had Jesus ever existed, then he had to be the son of God, the character portrayed in the Gospels, the character that was crucified in Jerusalem and then resurrected from the dead. This was the Jesus they searched for in contemporaneous records, and this was the Jesus they failed to find.
However, the Jesus Myth Fraternity ignores totally, the possibility that Jesus was not this Gospel Jesus character portrayed in the New Testament. They ignore totally the possibility that Jesus may have been just an ordinary Galilean Jew, a mere mortal preacher whose popularity eventually threatened the fragile status quo. Would you expect to find traces of this mere mortal Jesus in “contemporaneous dispatches”? I think not, anymore than you would expect to find traces of any of the other tens of thousands of ordinary Jews who were around at this time. However, applying the flawed logic used by the Jesus Myth Fraternity, you would have to conclude that these thousands of people never existed. But even today, you could trawl through all the newspaper reports, and all the news broadcasts, issued over the last 30 years, and find no traces whatsoever of billions of people living on this planet. That doesn’t imply these people don’t exist. It just means these people never did anything and never said anything worth recording for posterity.
So, who was Jesus really? Was he the son of God as Christians claim? Was he just a 2000 year old myth as many others claim? Or was he just an ordinary, relatively insignificant, Galilean Jew? Both the argument that Jesus is the son of God, and the argument that Jesus is just a myth, leave much to be desired. Therefore, on balance, I believe the evidence strongly favors the notion that Jesus was just a very popular Jewish preacher from Galilee, who was later immortalized in Gospel stories written well after his death.
If you want to know why a mere mortal Jesus was immortalised in these Gospel stories, you’ll have to read my book.
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