If the person of Jesus Christ never existed, then Christians are some of the most miserable people on the planet based upon Paul’s writings in the Bible. In recent years, the truth of the historical Jesus Christ has been debated by philosophers, scientists, and historians, but believers in the Jesus myth theory have been growing, especially in America and the UK. According to one Catholic priest, this fact only proves that some people are “seriously confused” in regards to Jesus’ history.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, atheist beliefs are rapidly growing in America, according to a new Pew poll. At the same time, some atheists are starting to form atheist mega churches and are calling atheism a “religion.”
A little over a year ago, an advocate for the Jesus myth position named Michael Paulkovich claimed that he scrutinized 126 texts dated to the time of Jesus and could not find any evidence for a historical Jesus. Historians Dr. Candida Moss and Dr. Joel Baden responded to the controversy generated by Paulkovich by pointing out that only 10 out of the 126 historical writers listed by Paulkovich would ever be expected to mention Jesus Christ at all.
Famous atheists like Richard Dawkins may support the Jesus myth position, but fellow atheists were actually more brutal in their condemnation of Paulkovich’s research. One wrote that “it’s embarrassing that some people think of me in the same breath as clowns like [Paulkovich].” Another atheist wrote that “Paulkovich’s article was the worst pseudo historical nonsense I’ve read on this subject all year.”
In fact, New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman is a former Christian, and he also scathingly compares the Jesus myth supporters to young Earth creationists.
“These views are so extreme (that Jesus did not exist) and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology,” he wrote, according to Historical Jesus Studies.
Regardless of what historians have written, a recent survey discussed by BBC News shows that even Christians are questioning whether Jesus was a real person. The Church of England found that 40 percent of Brits believe the historical Jesus Christ never existed, instead believing he was a mythical or fictional character. The study also found that 43 percent of the English still believe the resurrection of Jesus did occur, although many dispute the details listed in the Bible.
To a certain extent, even the Bible itself addresses this issue. When Paul writes about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he notes that if the Biblical and historical Jesus is fake, then they are wretched souls indeed.
“For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. – 1 Corinthians 15:13-19”
The impact that the history of Jesus has on the Christian community cannot be understated. Writing for the Journal Star, Shayne Looper argues that if the historical Jesus was disproved by historians, then Christianity would come to an immediate end.
“[A] Christian believes that Jesus changed the world and the very principles by which it operates,” said Loopers. “But unlike Buddhism or Sikhism – or for that matter, Judaism or Taoism or many other religious constructs – Christianity stands or falls with its founder. If historians could prove that Gautama never existed, Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path would continue on. But if historians could prove that Jesus never existed, Christianity would immediately collapse.”
It is possible the Jesus myth theory has had an impact on the UK. The survey also found that even though 57 percent of the British classified themselves as Christian, less than 10 percent prayed or went to church regularly. According to Looper, this is the end result of denying Jesus is real.
“To argue that Christian denominations and churches would continue on doing good works and holding religious services even without a real Jesus, is to make the accusation that denominations and churches are not really Christian,” he said.
Writing for the Catholic Herald, Alexander Lucie-Smith, a Catholic priest and doctorate of moral theology, directly commented on the recent survey data. He claims the Jesus myth theory “was pushed by several Soviet-era pseudo-scholars, but is believed by hardly any respectable academics these days.” In addition, he states that non-Christian “Romans were far better educated and more sensible than many of our contemporaries.”
“If 40 per cent of British people think Jesus never really existed, then this is a terrible indictment on their ability to understand history, a topic that is taught in all our schools. This does not have anything to do with religion, per se. It is evidence, however, that 40 per cent of us cannot distinguish between history and myth, historical personages and fictional characters. We are, in short, seriously confused. Everyone should be concerned about this.”
What do you think?
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