Most atheists with whom I have interacted wisely stick to the argument that religion and faith are silly notions after centuries of increasing scientific discovery, and that Jesus, while a fine guy, couldn’t be the son of a God that doesn’t exist.
I understand this belief system. I really do. I even respect it, as much as I would respect any non-Christian religious belief system with which I did not agree.
But some poor fools in subsets of the atheist camp insist on doing something more: Arguing that Jesus never existed.
The thing is, how many ancient people in the historical record—religious, philosophical or otherwise—can we really prove existed? Siddartha Buddha? Moses? Sun Tzu? Aristotle?
We accept the existence of certain people based on a faith in the historical record. Either they wrote things themselves, people wrote about them, or both.
The New Testament documents, the gospels and the letters both, are among the most enduring and complete historical records around. I’m not saying that they can be proven to be 100% accurate in the details, but many surviving historical documents about famous figures we know to have existed (like Alexander the Great) were written centuries after they died. Between fragments of multiple copies of the New Testament documents and complete documents from within mere decades of Jesus’ life and death, we have sufficient proof—combined with mentions of him by Jewish authorites and historians of the time—to make the case that he existed.
Argue all you want about the divinity or the details, but he existed, and he made a splash when he arrived on the scene. A splash with ripples that continue well into today and far into the future.
Yet there are some atheists who continue to go through convoluted arguments about how Jesus was made up, or Jesus was an amalgam of multiple figures at the time. They are intent on proving that he didn’t exist, which is just as fruitless, pointless and stupid as Christians who feel they have to find Jesus’ final resting place and prove that’s where he was buried or trot out the Shroud of Turin as definitely being the burial shroud of the Christ. I’m all for archeology and science. And sometimes, they can bear fruit on filling in gaps and explaining things that once didn’t make sense in the Old and New Testaments.
But proving that you’ve found something of Jesus’ probably is virtualy impossible. Just like proving he didn’t exist.
And I wonder, why the drive to prove he doesn’t exist? If you don’t believe in his divinity, fine. But why try to expunge him from the historical record?
Unless he threatens you. Unless on some level, you are afraid he might exist as savior and Lord, and your faith that he isn’t divine rests of trying to convince yourself he never lived at all, much less rose from the dead.
Mind you, I’m not talking about atheists in general, whom I can respect even when they irritate the hell out of me. What I mean are those who insist on trying to wipe Jesus out entirely.
Because they remind me too much of the people who try to insist the Holocaust never happened. Sure, we say it’s something you cannot ignore or deny, but look how their efforts gain a tiny bit of traction with every decade that passes, with every survivor of it who dies. One day, decades or centuries in the future, people will be able to easily say, “That couldn’t have happened,” and the Holocaust may one day be relegated to mythology, even though it happened. Or, people may say it was a huge campaign of lies and disinformation, and wasn’t nearly as bad as the record says.
So, unless you’re planning to negate the existences of a lot of other people in ancient history, please give up trying to disprove Jesus’ existence. It’s intellectually dishonest and smacks of a cover-up job.
It could happen with the Holocaust. It already happened with slavery in the USA.
Excellent point Big Man
It is a good point, and one I should have thought to mention. Some years back, in elementary school, Son of Blue had a teacher who actually couched slavery in terms like it helped blacks ultimately and that they were “working for free.” Never mind that they actually PAID to be slaves through the loss of their dignity, their families, their flesh and their blood.
At times I want to question the reality of Jesus, and at times I wonder (if real)about his relevance as a person in a book that can be seriously questioned about authenticity.
The same is true of Holy Scripture. If the statements it contains concerning matters of history and science can be proven by extra- biblical records, by ancient documents uncovered through archaeological digs, or by the established facts of modern science to be contrary to the truth, then there is grave doubt as to its trustworthiness in matters of religion. In other words, if the biblical record can be proved fallible in areas of fact that can be verified, then it is hardly to be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested.
As a witness for God, the Bible would be discredited as untrustworthy. What solid truth it may contain would be left as a matter of mere conjecture, subject to the intuition or canons of likelihood of each individual. An attitude of sentimental attachment to traditional religion may incline one person to accept nearly all the substantive teachings of Scripture as probably true. But someone else with equal justification may pick and chose whatever teachings in the Bible happen to appeal to him and lay equal claim to legitimacy. One opinion is as good as another. All things are possible, but nothing is certain if indeed the Bible contains mistakes or errors of any kind.” Gleason Archer (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pp. 23-24)
Well, TWOM, first, thanks for the input.
But just a couple quickies here.
First off, we must remember that scientific discovery, such as archeology, also has given evidence of certain things in the Bible. For example, the existence and cataclysmic destruction of Sodom, the existence of certain groups of people for whom there was no previous historical record (thus making it look like the OT had made people up), etc.
I’m not saying that science has proven the Bible, but we can’t simply look to places where science and history have raised questions and ignore the fact that it has sometimes provided Bible ANSWERS.
As for the relevancy of Jesus, I think it goes without saying he’s relevant whether you believe in the Bible of not. Christianity survived a crapload of persecution, and the early, tiny church of the Acts of Apostles times not only survived but spread despite all odds to become one of the most widespread faiths around, and one that has had a great impact for good (as well as for bad, when misused). So, yeah, he’s relevant.
random words from a non-believer:
schools gloss. it’s wrong. next we’ll be hearing that ‘africans were brought here to become christians and be saved. look how the masters helped them! now they can go to heaven instead of being doomed to limbo!’ and native americans! giving them blankets infected with smallpox, sending them on the trail of tears, got them into the arms of mother earth that much quicker. hail the US government in its kindness! what a crock. these are the same groups who want ‘huck finn’ pulled because it contains the word ‘nigger’ that’s the way it was and twain shows it was wrong. they want everything to be NICE? there’s a whole lot of ugly in history. WHICH WE CAN PROVE.
atheists. i have a dear friend who is an atheist. makes for some interesting late night discussions, with him puzzling over how an educated, intelligent, creative person such as myself can be a follower, an ardent follower of an ancient religion EVEN THOUGH I DOUBT. i doubt but i believe. faith is accepting and holding in the face of contradictory evidence.
jesus. oh come on. i may not believe he was the moshiach, but he EXISTED, he WAS, and he was A GREAT MAN. it aggravates me when my co-religionists argue that he wasn’t. we could as easily argue that 90% of the persons who ever lived didn’t because there’s no EVIDENCE of their being. i personally believe in him, for what he stood for, as much as i believe in maimonides or hillel or cicero or MLK Jr.
anything, anyone who helps us to be better, more complete persons, how could denying that improve life? yes, my atheist friend would say this is panacea, that we don’t need to believe in ‘whatever’ to better ourselves, but some of us do. most of us do.
holocaust. i’ve known dozens of survivors. my children know a handful. their children will know… none. and some WON’T give testimony, video bios, speechs, write memoirs. each one that dies without leaving a record is a small triumph for the deniers [sp?]
deke, keep the faith baby.
Thanks Robyn..you keep the faith too
You have faith, but you doubt. What do you have faith in? What do you doubt? How can you have faith when you face all those facts that cause doubt.
I can’t speak for Robyn, TWOM, but I have doubts at times, but remain faithful most of the time. I have yet to meet a fact that disproves the existence of God. Science has never answered all questions, and likely never will. Just as spirituality cannot properly explain all things about the physical world, and never will.
Asking how someone can doubt, but still have faith, is like asking how one can be hurt by someone they care for, yet still love that person. The hurts cast doubt, but it doesn’t invalidate the fact there is an honest love there.
In the same way, how could one love anyone when they look at the facts, or believe in romance…high divorce rates, so many people being unfaithful at least once in their lives and often more than once, science that tells us that emotions are just neurochemical interactions…I mean, those things should make us give up Valentine’s Day, right?
Very Good reply…something for me to think about.
I don’t think there’s much doubt that Jesus was a real person. I don’t even doubt that he healed people with “miracles.” And I don’t doubt God, though I doubt that my definition of God is the same as yours. After all, I’m not a Christian.
What I find interesting is the intersection of quantum physics with Christian Science and the miracles of Jesus. What is the real nature of reality and matter? Quantum physics proves that sometimes a particle can be in two different places at the same time – until someone observes the particle, at which point it is at one point only. Break down an atom to its smallest components, and all you have left is … energy. By some mechanism, Jesus changed reality. So did Paul, and Elijah, and Mary Baker Eddy, and … people are still doing it today.
So what is that mechanism?
And what is it that prevents us from accessing it?
“So what is that mechanism?” Seda
Spiritualization of consciousness, coupled with an understanding of God (Spirit, Perfection, Good, Life, Love) as All.
“And what is it that prevents us from accessing it?”
It is achievable, but it takes dedication, and consecration. We are three-part beings: body, mind, soul. Man has placed more emphasis on the development of the body and mind than the soul.
The soul, despite our devotion to religion, has been mostly left untouched. To advance, we have to be in the world, but not of the world. This is where we falter, and eventually fail.
We indulge the body, and the mind to the exclusion of the soul. Balance is needed.
How to spiritualize consciousness? It’s both simple and hard: Dwell in the Secret Place of the most High. And how is that done?
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I said it was simple; I didn’t say it was easy.
“I said it was simple; I didn’t say it was easy.”
LOL, LightWorker. Ain’t that the truth.
And to both you and Seda, you bring up a very good point in general about the nature of accessing the power of God/creation/etc.
I’ve never looked at God as “magical.” He created the universe, so I see Him as someone who can do what He will with reality the same as a baker would do with eggs, flour, water and a few other ingredients. And Jesus, however he did it, basically did the same on a smaller scale. And, at times, I think people do manage to touch this kind of power in tiny ways.
Too often, people who criticize people of faith think of them as superstitous, instead of realizing that there is a big difference betwee recognizing a higher power and believing in fairy tales.
Of course, on the flip side, too many faith-based folks do operate from a “God is magical” approach and never try to connect science and spirit in their mental examinations.
“Of course, on the flip side, too many faith-based folks do operate from a “God is magical” approach and never try to connect science and spirit in their mental examinations.”
Intriguing statement, but I’m not sure if I fully understand the implications, especially the “God is magical” reference. Care to expand?
What I was getting at is that too many folks who are Christian seem to think that God is magical in the sense that somehow He operates outside of physics and reality. That He just snaps his fingers and makes things happen, instead of realizing that He’s working within the law of creation/physics/etc. at all times…it’s just that He has the master control panel and the full understanding of how the forces of the universe work.
For example, I recall reading once a long time ago…I think in an astronomy/cosmology book of some kind…that if you ever reached infinite speed, you would be at all points in the universe at the same time. Well, that little “factoid” resurfaced in my brain after I became born again, and I realized THAT’S why God is omniprescent. Infinite power, infinite knowledge…infinite speed. He is everywhere at once because that’s what physics dictates for His kind of power.
So, God is magical only if one simply says that powers of mind/will that we don’t have access to are magic. In fact, God is very much part of the order of the universe.
I don’t know if that clarified or not…
Thanks for expounding, Deke.
“That He just snaps his fingers and makes things happen, instead of realizing that He’s working within the law of creation/physics/etc. at all times…it’s just that He has the master control panel and the full understanding of how the forces of the universe work.” Deke
Deke, your perception (understanding) is your perception (understanding) and I respect that. In addition, I write now not to disabuse you of any perception or understanding that you may hold but to share mine.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that you see God as outside of His creation, and a manipulator of same, albeit adhering to Laws which He has installed within His creation.
I, on the other hand, see God (the Creator) as an integral, inseparable part of that which He created–the Creator and Creature as One.
“…it’s just that He has the master control panel and the full understanding of how the forces of the universe work.” Deke
For me, God is the “forces of the universe” at work: the energy that is never created and never destroyed, but forever changing form.
God is All that is seen, and All that is unseen. And although He can manipulate material forces at will, He can, as you have stated it, snap “his fingers and makes things happen” in a non-extracreational fashion.
The Bible is replete with examples of this: Moses striking a rock and bringing forth water. Of course, we could quibble over whether it was an actual rock, and whether it came forth from a hidden underground stream that God knew of, but Moses didn’t, but I will take the account as it was written.
The most incredible account of supposed extracreational forces at play was Jesus raising others from the dead, and finally himself.
Here we see a flouting of All physical laws: putrefaction being the highest among them. In short, God is not restricted by His material Laws, nor is He subject to them.
If that was not the case, how do you account for Jesus’ multiplication of the fish and the bread, creating edible tissue without catching more fish, and creating more bread, bypassing the planting of seed, the harvesting of wheat, the thrashing, the baking in an oven–all the physical effort and laws required to do so?
Will science someday duplicate these wonders? Perhaps, but the magicians at Pharaoh’s court were also able to duplicate some of Moses’ wonders, but eventually ran out of magic, while God’s wonders continued.
God is the Law Giver, and as such remains God–infinitely able to do as He wishes, when He wishes, and how He wishes.
Here’s the Good News: you, too, can pull the strings, so to speak, as Jesus did. Man in God’s likeness has dominion over the earth:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Dominion is possible. You just have to know how.
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.” 1
“Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.” 2
“Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.” 3
“Miracles are thoughts. Thoughts can represent the lower or bodily level of experience or the higher or spiritual level of experience. One makes the physical and the other creates the spiritual.” 4
“Miracles transcend the body. They are sudden shifts into invisibility, away from the bodily level. That is why they heal.” 5
And finally this:
“Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is your own nightmare, and does not exist. Only creations of light are real.” 6
1-6: From: A Course in Miracles. This is an extraordinary work with an equally extraordinary genesis.
I suspect we believe substantially similar things, and language (or my inability to use it well enough at the moment) is getting in the way.
I don’t see God as separate. He is very much a part of all His creation, and that is why I try to disabuse the use of “magic” as a mental contruct for God’s powers. To me, magic is, as usually portrayed in novels, movies, comic books, etc. something that is a force brought into our world from some “other” place. It is not something that is usually presented as being integral or part of our own world.
Thus, I think that mentally viewing God as “magic” sets Him aside as something outside of creation, which I don’t agree with at all.
Jesus told us that enough faith could allow a person to move a mountain. God’s power is that of all creation, and it’s accessible all around us. We just can’t use but a bit of it because of our limitations.
And as for the resurrection and such, I don’t see those being outside the natural order. We are all made of simple elements. To bring life from putrefecation is simply to be able to rearrange those elements and to manipulate the spirit that can inhabit them. After all, research into things like telomeres may one day open the doors to extending human lifespans beyond what our genes and our cells are programmed to allow. This is a turning back of putrefecation and a turning back of the clock. God is simply better at doing such things because He knows all and had access to all.
“infinite speed” is merely the speed of light. So far as we know nothing can travel faster.
Consider that the light from the Sun takes 8.5 minutes to reach us here on earth and from the next nearest star it takes 4.5 years.
I don’t think one traveling at this speed would be “everywhere” at once.
I think that we’re mainly on the same page, Deke. But I would like to extend the dialog a bit. You wrote:
“And as for the resurrection and such, I don’t see those being outside the natural order. We are all made of simple elements. To bring life from putrefecation is simply to be able to rearrange those elements and to manipulate the spirit that can inhabit them.” Deke
Contrary to the ambitions of science, and a host of science fiction movies that premise that physical man can be broken down molecularly (http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/090123-teleportation-atoms.html) and teleported to another location, or that dead flesh can be regenerated are not taking into account how spirit and flesh interact, cooperate, and collaborate.
The Preacher states it this way:
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
A very accurate, if not well-understood, description of how life is maintained and what occurs at death. The spirit doesn’t inhabit the body, nor does it blend with it. What we have, as the Preacher has stated substantially, is: dust to dust, and spirit to Spirit. The two never touch but are connected by what the Preacher call a “silver cord,” an apt description of its appearance.
The “silver cord” operates as a kind of umbilical cord. You see, the physical body, contrary to appearances, is not alive. It’s being kept alive. That’s where the “silver cord” comes into play. From that part of you that is spiritual (actually that part takes on the shape and form of the physical, but is not restricted by it) the cord passes to the physical (where its attached to some vital place on the physical body–the head, the heart, etc.) both life and intelligence to sustain the body.
Only God, or a Jesus using God power can “manipulate” the spirit, although man may come to “manipulate” more and more of man’s physicality. Science won’t be able to manipulate spirit because it’s never within matter (the body), nor does it comes under man’s jurisdiction outside of the domain of the Divine.
Science posits that the body is alive (if only temporarily so). In this, science is mistaken. Although science can keep the body alive artificially (at least for a time), the soul of that body cannot be reattached to the physical using physical means alone. Metaphysical means are required.
“We just can’t use but a bit of it [“God’s power”] because of our limitations.” Deke.
Those limitation are self-imposed. They’re not anchored in reality. Jesus stated it more eloquently than I ever could:
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
TWOM…light speed is far from infinite speed.
Light speed is as fast as we are aware of it being possible to go, but that hardly makes it the absolute maximum. Inifinite is infinte.
I realize that infinite speed is a theoretical construct in science, but I do distinctly recall it was a scientific person whom I read who was noting that infinite speed would, theoretically, put you simultaneously at all points in the universe at the same time.
“The spirit doesn’t inhabit the body, nor does it blend with it.” I think this is getting close, but if matter breaks down into energy, as quantum physics suggests, then matter is fully malleable, and it’s directed, controlled, and formed by mind/spirit. Mankind has access to this, but in our physical condition we forget or don’t know how. In that sense, the question of whether spirit and body occupy the same sphere or are connected by silver cord or whatever becomes irrelevant, because body doesn’t exist except as concept or belief. I think body is a way of giving form to spirit, but it is not composed of solid material. It’s a way of freeze-framing the infinite into a finite form. That doesn’t mean that the infinite isn’t still there, the background of all that is, but it probably does mean that God and mankind are inseparable, almost literally one – Mind and idea. But there’s a lot I don’t know. I suspect anyone who doesn’t go around doing “miracles” like Jesus did has a lot they don’t know.
“Those limitation are self-imposed. They’re not anchored in reality.”
What LW said.
If I remember right, the speed of light is ~286,000 miles per second. Fast, but real slow relative to infinite. How can you even measure infinite? Moving at infinite speed, someone could literally be in two different places at the same time. Since two particles do this until they are observed, is infinite speed the natural order of being?
Interesting discussion. Thanks, Deke & LW
I must say that as this blog has gone on, my commenters have not only increased but maintained a high level of intelligence as they’ve done so, whether they agree with me or not. Pretty few mindless trolls have come here, thank God.
I do so hope that continues. Makes the conversations much more interesting.
Seda, thanks for your comments. I’m not sure if you’ll read this, but if you do see it as an expansion of my thoughts rather than a counter to anything you’ve said.
You referenced Christian Science (CS). Let me do the same. The summing up statement of that religion, what it believes, and its modus operandi, is its Scientific Statement of Being, which states:
There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor sub-
stance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite
manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal
Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and
eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is
God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore
man is not material; he is spiritual.
The statement, “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation,” tells us that we live and move and have being within Mind. The “infinite manifestation” is not material but is spiritual.
Within this “infinite Mind” ideas are formed, but they’re not material. That is key. Our “temporal” existence serves a purpose, not withstanding the impermanence of matter. It allows us to exist within a “relative universe.” The “relative universe” allows us to undertake and achieve a “holy purpose” that is known to man and is carried out by him whether he’s consciously aware of it or not.
Science has learned how to manipulate matter, including the body, mapping the genome, and discovering secrets of the body hidden since time immemorial. But you’re not your physical body. You are an idea in Mind. As such, to keep the illusion alive, and to serve the purpose of God within the “relative universe,” you have to think that you are.
Hence the contrivance that matter and spirit are one. They aren’t one, and neither do they unite. Without the idea, the true form, the physical body would not appear to have “life, truth, intelligence, nor substance….”
CS’ Scientific Statement is accurate beyond words, and proposes a universe where “God [Spirit] is All-in-all….”
Hence, I stated the physical body’s dependence on the “spiritual one,” and I use that term loosely, because even that body can still have elements of the physical until we truly realize our spiritual nature. Man will not, after death, immediately think of himself as non-physical just because he has suddenly transitioned to another plane. He may still wish to eat, for example.
Because of the body’s dependence on its life, intelligence, and substance from another source, science will always hit an impenetrable wall with its attempts to regenerate the body, say after being cryogenically suspended. To restore the body is not the same as coaxing the spirit back to the body that it has deserted. Were it that easy many would reconnect to the physical upon death, and continue life within the same physical form.
When the body can no longer sustain itself, or when the soul determines it wishes to move on, the cord is “loosed,” and the body returns to dust and the spirit returns to its natural environment, Spirit.
Yes, we live in Mind, and Mind’s ideas (or formations) exist eternally, but not as material bodies, nor in a material universe. Matter and Mind or diametric opposites. They can’t both exist as substance. Either All is Mind, or All is Matter.
“I suspect anyone who doesn’t go around doing ‘miracles’ like Jesus did has a lot they don’t know.”
Miracles are occurring, many of which imitate those of Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount, as it is popularly known, tells us how. Purity above all else is needed to perform them consistently, but even those who lack that level of purity can still perform a miracle or two from time to time.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” In other words, they shall see God in the sick, the dying and the sinner (those existing outside of Love), and restore them to their true nature as sons and daughters of God, without illness, death, or sin.
Hey, LW, you a Christian Scientist?
And by the way, I love that Wiccan blessing you closed with!
“Hey, LW, you a Christian Scientist?” Seda
Yes, but I’m not the best example of the teachings. I’m more a mystic than a follower of any religious beliefs.
So you could call me a Christian Scientist, a Buddhist, a adherent of the Science of Mind, a Unitarian, a Baptist, a member of the “Infinite Way, or what have you. I’m an amalgam of many religious sources and a student of many Holt Texts.
My spirit and soul refuse to be tied down.
I seek knowledge from any source, and am not squeamish regarding the source, only that it increases my knowledge of All That Is, or takes me from the world of illusions into the world of the absolute.
I have studied the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and the writings of Carlos Castaneda with equal relish and delight.
But my greatest source of knowledge is from within myself–from the small, quiet, inner voice within–the voice that speaks loudest when I’m at my quietest, when I stop speaking my truth, and start listening to the truth that’s always emanating from within.
Hi Deacon, I hope you and family are well.
I’m really not trying to disprove Jesus, but I really wonder about his Godliness. Below is some cut and past from my latest blog.
• Jesus was born either around 8-6-4 BC or 6-7 AD; A 15 year spread
• Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist during John’s ministry, which according to Luke 3:1-2 began in the “15th year of Tiberius” (around 28-29 AD) and may have lasted up until CE 32
• Jesus’ ministry lasted around one (1) year, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, or three (3) years if you believe the Gospel of John
• Jesus was executed by Pontius Pilate, the governor of Iudaea province between 26 and 36 CE
• Jesus was raised from the dead “on the third day”, and appeared to the disciples and others; and according to Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and John 20:17, ascended to heaven.
• 8 BC – Suggested birth (earliest estimate based on Matthew)
• 5 BC/4 BC – Herod the Great’s death
• 6-7 AD– Suggested birth (latest), Census of Quirinius
• 26/27 AD – Suggested death (earliest), Pontius Pilate appointed governor of Iudaea Province
• 36/37 AD – Suggested death (latest), Pilate removed from office
So we don’t really know when Jesus was born or died, we have no canonical stories of the early years of the boy, nor any information of his grown up years until he is about 25 to 33 years old and them we have more detailed info for 1 or 3 years and then he dies somewhere around 26 to 37 years AD….How real is this most famous man of all time?
Where is the accurate information, where is the writings from his apostles, where are his hundreds and hundreds of followers timely journals or testimonials? We don’t get any further attestations to his life until about 65 AD. Whats up with that?
Sorry to take so long on this, but I have been pondering on the matter.
We do have writings from his apostles. Peter, Paul, John, etc.
I think the problem is that people get so bent out of shape about the point at which we first see written materials. First, there is no reason to believe the earliest ones we have are the earliest ones that were written. But the preponderance of copies, in multiple languages, without very little variation between them, suggests that the gospel and the epistles in the New Testament are pretty accurate in terms of consistency and content.
There are very few historical documents of that time that can boast the same thing.
And we’re talking the early days of the church, too. It wasn’t even a real force that could stand on its own without persecution for what, a couple centuries at least after it launched?
Also, why journal entries from other, more peripheral followers of Jesus? How many people could write, first of all, and why would the church be worried about hoarding “letters of recommendation” about Jesus from everyone, when the focus was to save souls and provide foundational teachings?
I think what is telling is that he was executed for supposedly stirring up so much trouble and claiming to be the son of God, and yet the Jewish leaders didn’t try to cover up his teachings or to claim he didn’t do miracles. Instead, they focused on his supposed heresy.
Just a few thoughts.
“And we’re talking the early days of the church, too. It wasn’t even a real force that could stand on its own without persecution for what, a couple centuries at least after it launched?”
It was somewhere around 316 AD that Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. It had amazing underground support before this though.
True, it did “catch fire” among a great many people, but it did have to remain in the shadows for quite some time, with the dual persecution of the Romans and the Jewish authorities. From a strictly secular historical perspective, I’m surprised it survived at all.