Jesus Christ didn't exist. Earlier this month, that was the claim of Michael Paulkovich, a man who did an analysis of 126 writers active during the periods from the First through the Third Centuries of the Common Era (C.E.).
"When I consider those 126 writers, all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not -- and Paul and Marcion and Athenagoras and Matthew with a tetralogy of opposing Christs, the silence from Qumran and Nazareth and Bethlehem, conflicting Bible stories, and so many other mysteries and omissions," Paulkovich writes, "I must conclude that Christ is a mythical character."
And you know what? He's right, provided you haven't the slightest bit of common sense.
While many Christians were upset, atheists like Steven Bollinger of The Wrong Monkey was upset enough to create a three part series on why Paulkovich was wrong because he believes "it's embarrassing that some people think of me in the same breath as clowns like you."
Another atheist by the name of Tim O'Neill was even more blunt in his criticism.
"Paulkovich's article was the worst pseudo historical nonsense I've read on this subject all year. Which, considering his competition on that front, is quite an achievement. I'm another atheist who long ago realized that when it comes to historiography, most atheists are stunted at about a high school level of understanding. Which is why so many of us find junk reasoning like Paulovich's crap persuasive when anyone with an undergraduate level of understanding can see it's garbage…. The real problem is that the Jesus Myth thesis requires a series of baseless suppositions to prop it up and gets slashed to pieces by Occam's Razor. That's why it only appeals to fringe contrarians and/or ideologues with an agenda."
It isn't necessary.
If you want to see how "out there" the idea of a mythical Jesus is, you need look no further than good old common sense.
While I'll let the whole "Savior of mankind" debate go on between believers and non-believers, you shouldn't have to be in either camp to see how ridiculously "off" Paulkovich is with his comments.
Let's look at a few facts.
One: Christianity is the largest religion in the world.
Two: It has been going strong in some form or another for more than 2,000 years.
Three: The entire religion is founded on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Needless to say this implies existence. Furthermore, the limited inconsistencies in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, do not negate the fact that each were First Century documents that mentioned Jesus Christ as a live person.
Four: Paulkovich's claim that Josephus, the Jewish writer who mentioned Jesus, was a later addition, is unprovable at best.
Five: Rome was the most advanced civilization ever in the areas of education, technology and power. Christianity was "started" by people who had none of those things. It's a tad hard to believe that it would go from a faith of the poor and uneducated to the official religion of the Roman Empire in less than four centuries if Jesus Christ didn't exist.
So again, I'll leave the debate over whether Jesus Christ was who he said he was to you, good readers. But his non-existence is pretty hard to argue considering no man, living or dead, has had the impact he has had on civilizations over such a long period of time.
Denying Jesus Christ existed is about as ignorant as denying that the ice caps are melting. It automatically frames any argument you could make from a position of cluelessness.