EQUIPPING BELIEVERS TO ANSWER CRITICS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS Part 2

Jesus Never Existed

While this theory is no longer widely held in scholarly circles, it does continue to show up on sites on the internet. Books espousing this theory can still be found. An example is Bertrand Russell’s book, Why I Am Not a Christian, which is readily available in book stores. Russell says:

“Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, so I am not concerned with the historical Question, which is a very difficult one.”

Simply stated, this theory discounts the crucifixion and resurrection because, if Jesus never existed then, events surrounding His life never existed. The one making this argument will claim that Jesus is not mentioned anywhere but the Bible. However, the Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus at least twice. The first time he writes about Pilate condemning Jesus to the cross and that later, after His death, Jesus appeared to His followers.[1] Josephus again mentions Jesus when he writes about the death of Jesus’ brother James.[2]

In his book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, [3] Josh McDowell cites Cornelius Tacitus (the Roman Historian), Lucian of Samosata (a Greek satirist), Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, and Phlegon. All of these writers mention Jesus and all are accepted by historians as reliable. While many of theses texts are difficult to find, it does not diminish the apologetic value of their writing. The New Testament is not the only reference to the fact that Jesus not only lived, but, also was crucified and appeared to His followers.


[1]Josephus, Josephus The Complete Works, trans. William Winston, A.M. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1998), 596.

[2]Ibid., 645.

[3]Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 120 to 123.

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About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
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19 Responses to EQUIPPING BELIEVERS TO ANSWER CRITICS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS Part 2

  1. Allallt says:

    Does it matter to you that Josephus was born in 37 AD, a few years after Jesus supposedly died? Josephus didn’t write about it as a baby (I’d imagine), so in his adolescence (at the earliest) Josephus wrote about a man who supposedly died before Josephus was born.
    What doubters of Jesus’ existence normally say is that there are no contemporary accounts of the life of Jesus.

    • dwwork says:

      I do not see how it matters if any historian was born after an event happened or a person lived to their ability to write about the event or person. Shelby Foot wrote a three volume history of the American Civil war and I know of no one who thinks what he wrote is inaccurate.
      My son is a history major and was born in 1992 but he could write an accurate account of Dwight Eisenhower’s life.
      As to account needing to be contemporary if that is our criteria then we would know nothing about any historical figure from the ancient world because except for Jesus there are none. Also, Jesus was born, lived, taught and died in a out of the way part of the Roman Empire. That we have any mention of Him by other writers is a minor miracle in it self.
      There is more written sources for Jesus than any other person in antiquity.
      Short answer, it does not bother me in the least that Josephus was born after Jesus died. Just as it does not bother me that Luke became a Christian after Jesus death and then proceeded to write one of the best historical treatments in antiquity.
      John, thanks for your comment.

      • Allallt says:

        Historians deal with contemporary records and archaeological evidence. There are none for Jesus. Just one guy who wrote something down a generation after the fact.
        So, the point that there are no contemporary records (and that is an issue) stands.

      • dwwork says:

        Actually historians do not have contemporary records for almost all people and events in antiquity. The one exception is Jesus. We have four accounts written by Mark, Matthew, John and Luke as well as the writings of Paul. All are contemporaries of Jesus. In fact Paul is the one writer that all but a few biblical experts recognize as recent, within the lifetime of witnesses to Jesus and accurate. You seem to be stuck on Josephus who I might mention is considered an authoritative record for historians of the first century Palestine. But you seem to leave out the other writers who have mentioned Jesus as I wrote in my post, “In his book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell cites Cornelius Tacitus (the Roman Historian), Lucian of Samosata (a Greek satirist), Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, and Phlegon. All of these writers mention Jesus and all are accepted by historians as reliable.
        Also, I know of no reputable biblical critic or historian who still believes that Jesus was a fictional character.
        Finally, if you hold this view of Jesus than you would also have to hold a similar view of Caesar, Aristotle, Plato, Gautama Buddha and the rest of accepted historical people because all the accounts we have of their lives are at least 100 or more years removed from the respective persons life. As I mentioned in my post the only place where Jesus seems to be disputed in on the internet. I would be interested in any post Bertrand Russell that you have, not the internet or Wikipedia please. Have a blessed day, David

      • Allallt says:

        I will get to the other writers. I don’t like fractionation of conservations. To clarify, you think contemporary records are rare in history?

      • dwwork says:

        To be clear, yes I know of very few contemporary writers from the first century No offense but you are one of the only people I have had a conversation with over the last 20 years who still believes Jesus was a myth and not an historical figure. Even Wikipedia discounts the argument that Jesus never existed. I know that I asked for a source from you that was not internet/Wikipedia, but when even Wikipedia see Jesus as an Historical figure I would be interested to find some source more liberal than they are. See here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Existence. In case you do not want to look it up here is a quote from the article”Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman has stated that “few have doubted the genuineness” of Josephus’ reference to Jesus in book 20 of the Antiquities of the Jews, and it is disputed only by a small number of scholars. Tacitus referred to Christ and his execution by Pilate in book 15 of his work Annals. Scholars generally consider Tacitus’s reference to the execution of Jesus to be both authentic and of historical value as an independent Roman source.”
        As I asked yesterday, what is your source document for your assertion that Jesus never existed. Finally, I see no issue with admitting to a historical Jesus and believe that Jesus if the Messiah and the Savior of Christianity. I believe the Buddha existed historically and am in no shape or form a Buddhist. Have a blessed day, David

      • Allallt says:

        There is no problem with admitting to a historical Jesus. However, Josephus was writing about the past. By the time he was writing, he was writing about something that had spent a generation as hearsay. That is not reliable. The temporary accounts we would expect from Roman executors and politicians simply don’t exist; Romans used to document religions and political issues meticulously. Jesus is conspicuous only by his absence.
        The likelihood is that Josephus heard a mixture of mythology and truth inspired by the teachings and actions of many wondering people and the imagination of storytellers (embellishing as they do). There probably was no actual Jesus.
        I find it strange that you would bother to write this post and then tell me I’m the only person you’ve met with this view. Why, then, did you write the piece?
        With regard to the Wikipedia account, the “genuineness” of Josephus’ account is never expanded upon in the book cited. It lists Josephus as a contemporary (which he isn’t) and an eyewitness (which he isn’t). And “genuineness” could just mean that Josephus really and sincerely wrote that, not that he is correct. It merely records that Josephus believed it. Josephus also does not give evidence from direct eyewitnesses.
        I will move on to Tacitus when we reach either an impasse or consensus on Josephus.

      • dwwork says:

        First, I have asked for your sources for in my two previous responses and have yet to get a response from you. Without a source all we have is opinions. As to why I wrote this particular post when I have not encountered anyone who did not believe in a historical Jesus, I think our conversations shows why. Just because I had not encounters this argument does not mean others have not. My paper was meant to cover some of the historical objections to the resurrection. This is just one of them.
        Once again I would ask you to produce these abundant Roman writings concerning executions especially concerning Palestine. Your problem is that like most writings of the day they did not survive. Argument from silence which this is, is especially troublesome.
        Josephus was a historian and one that is recognized as a prime source for first century Jews. Do you just find him unbelievable in his entirety or just in the case of Jesus? Do you selectively believe other historical writings only when they disagree with your own worldview?
        You might have an argument on a Jesus myth is Josephus had been writing 100 to 200 years after Jesus as it takes that ling for myth to supplant fact. Trouble is when Josephus was writing there were still eyewitnesses to Jesus living. Also, Christianity was not an oral tradition. We have both the Gospel of Mark and Paul’s writings all which are early, within twenty to thirty years of the events recounted.. Also there are the Gospels of Matthew and Luke both of which are most likely written before 68 Ad, time of Paul’s execution, and 70 Ad temple destruction by Romans. That none of these Gospels mention the destruction of the Temple is astounding if they were written later than 70 AD because that would have been a major selling point for this new religion. Being an amateur historian I have found that myth needs to have the eyewitnesses to an event pass away and the next generation to also die off. It is hard to sustain a myth when eyewitnesses are still around.
        Finally have you read Josephus? If so can you point out other areas where you find fault with his account of events. Edition and page number will be enough as I can look it up in my copy of his writings. Without some sources from you I find that continuing this line is pointless. If I the one who was arguing against what the vast majority of historians find to be credible I would expect you to ask for the sources I used in my argument. The argument against the historicity of Jesus was a mid to late 19th century school of thought that had a brief renaissance in the 50’s to the 70’s and then pretty much lost its steam as academia found the body of evidence for a historical Jesus overwhelming.
        After thought, The Gospel of Luke and its companion letter, Acts, is one of the best historical documents form the mid first century. His attention to detail is amazing for writing of the time. Archeological finds have never desecrated Luke and have always supported him. I find that someone who spends so much time on details would do so for some story that was fiction. Especially considering the writing styles of that time period.
        Have a blessed day. David

      • Allallt says:

        I’m not sure you understand my position. There is insufficient evidence for the existence of Jesus. I’m not saying (and have not said) there is evidence Jesus did not exist. Therfore, I cannot fathom even the nature of the evidence you’re asking me to cite. You are making a request that does not conform to the burden of proof.
        The gospels were also written many generations after Jesus’ death. Christianity would have been am oral tale for some considerable time. The first gospel didn’t even include a Resurrection. It appears each gospel was inspired by another gospel or by oral tale. They don’t agree with each other (if you think they do, I challenge you to create an account of the gospel story consistent with the gospels).
        Unlike the history your son no doubt studies, no top of there being no contemporary writing, there is also on archaeological evidence.
        Look at it this way: before my mum was born my grandma lost a close friend. My grandma was still depressed about this when my mum was born; my grandma had resorted to alcoholism. She died last year. Last month I started creating a record of my grandma’s friend’s life. It turns out she was magic and returned from the dead. I know this because my drunk grandma told me when I was young, and my mum tells me my grandma occasionally claimed to see her… But no one is sure who the other witnesses are. My brother has created a similar but different account. My cousins have also. Do you believe my grandma’s best friend was magic?

      • dwwork says:

        I understand your position but you seem to discount all the evidence for Jesus’ existence. So, here is what I mean by sources. First, you say that Josephus is unreliable. I would like to see you site at least two sources that speak to the unreliability of Josephus. Second, you say that the Gospels were written many generations after the fact. Ok, what do you mean by generation, how many years? Even the most liberal critics place all the Gospels as haven been written in the first century, with the possible exception of John. Paul, even by liberal standards was written early no later than 60AD. Please site sources that give a later date. Third, you have mentioned that Josephus’ writing concerning Jesus are restating myth, some sources as to why he in this one instance wrote myth and not fact and why a Jew would mention a man who was to put it mildly not something a Jew would want to admit existed if they did not. Forth, you mentioned a plethora of writings that the Romans kept on executions, two sources please for these writing from Palestine about AD 30 to 33 on anyone crucified then. That should be easy as you should finds so much on this subject. Fifth, you have repeatedly said that in order to be reliable accounts need to be written by people alive at the time. How about two sources supporting this theory as I know of no reputable historian who believes this? Sixth, you seem to believe that myths develop within the lifetimes of eyewitnesses; again Josephus is your example. Please supply me with some evidence that myths can spring up this quickly. Everything I have ever read about myth formation is that it takes from 100 to 200 years. Lastly, do you believe anyone from the first century AD and prior existed? If so what proof do you have? Remembering that the proof has to have been written by someone who lived at the same time.
        You mentioned that the first Gospel did not mention the resurrection. You are wrong on this account. Mark does indeed mention the resurrection. The oldest accounts of Mark end at Mark16:8 where an angel tells the women that Jesus is not in the tomb because He has risen and for them to go tell the disciples. This should have been something you could have easily verified.
        As to grandma, while I am sorry to hear about her alcoholism I do not see how this applies. Are you saying that Josephus and the Gospel writers were alcoholics? Maybe you are thinking delusional. If the later than I will address this on a later post. Group hallucinations are not just rare but impossible. I am not talking about one person sharing a delusion but multiple people writing about events they either witnessed or interviewed people who were eyewitnesses.
        Until you can supple the sources I have requested I will consider this exchange closed. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but opinions not backed up by some sort of proof are just that opinion. I have no use for an opinion not backed up by some proof. Even proof I may not agree with.
        Until then, have a blessed day, I look forward to your sources. David

  2. John Paine says:

    Josephus being born after the Crucifixion is not in any way inconsistent with being able to correctly relate the historical account that Jesus did indeed exist. If Josephus had died before the birth of Christ that would be another matter, but that’s not how it went down.

    I was born in 1958, 13 years after the end of World War II. I’m completely capabile of interviewing those who lived through that war, studying the available records, and producing a credible historical account. So it is with Josephus, and while we’re at it, Tacitus, and the Talmud, and the five additional extra-biblical sources David noted above, and the Gospel writers, and the rest of the New Testament writers. The vast majority of credible secular historians agree that the existence of Jesus is among the most documented biographical facts of ancient history.

    Beyond the mere question of existence we can have many debates, but there is no polemical off-ramp by denying that Jesus ever walked the earth. It’s just a weak argument that holds no sway wih credible scholars.

    • Allallt says:

      That is almost exactly my point. You can meet people who were there, review film records, see burials, see Auschwitz, see political records, see crime trials… there is archaeological evidence etc.
      There are contemporary accounts of WWII (and I). There is archaeological evidence.
      For Jesus, all there is is articles that are not in agreement written by people who were born after his death.
      Not only did none of the namesakes of the Gospels write their own Gospel, not one of them even claims to have been a witness to both the death and resurrection.

      • dwwork says:

        Matthew was a disciple and a witness to both Jesus life and death. However according to your criteria we cannot know about anyone who lived before or during the time of Jesus. Until you are able to give me the information I requested I consider this line of comments closed. I cannot have a dialog with someone who refuses to believe the evidence that is there.

      • Allallt says:

        This took me two hours. Given the burden of evidence (I assume you know what that is) you must recognise this was not my responsibility…
        ====================
        Okay, the sources you are looking for are now much clearer and I think I can help you. Your son willl be able to verify the importance of the following clarification: we are talking now about recorded history; what historians establish from written records. We are therefore looking at what makes primary, secondary and tertiary written sources reliable or unreliable.
        Princeton University defines a primary resource as:
        A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:
        ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records
        CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art
        RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings
        (https://www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html)
        Someone born after the fact cannot produce any of these things. That leave Paul as the only possible primary resource. I will come back to that in a moment.
        The Romans, it seems, really were meticulous notetakers (and you could have easily looked that up yourself). http://www.purposedriven.ca/wiki/studies/census-of-quirinius/. A census like this would have been a great resource for a scholar like Josephus or Tacitus; alas, Jesus isn’t in any of them. Although the Romans didn’t keep Criminal Records, they did keep meticulous notes on geography, politics, religions and space (Nicolet, 1991. Space, Geography and Politics in the early Roman Empire). And yet they have no record of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which lead to the greatest political shift in the Roman empire of the time: Christianity. My expectation is that Romans would have wanted Pontus to give account of the crucifixion; he martyred a spiritual symbol and gave rise to a new monotheism (which, in turn, refused to include the Roman empire as a god among the Pantheon [http://www.ancient.eu.com/Pantheon/]).
        PU (the same link) defines a secondary resources as:
        A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include:
        PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias.
        Whether the Gospels are secondary or more further removed tertiary sources is a matter up for debate (on terms of definition, not on evidence and nature). At least two of the Gospels are at least tertiary. Which two depends on your perspective. Most scholars hold to a theory called “Markan priority”. This was brought forward by Gottlob Christian Storr in the 18th century. The theory is that the Gospel of Mark acted as a source for the other gospels. There are two forms of Markan priority: Markan priority and Ur-Markan priority (that Mark, Matthew and Luke all relied on some proto-Mark Gospel). If the latter is true, then the proto-Mark Gospel is the most reliable one. However, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (the earliest manuscripts of the Gospels) both omit the resurrection (and the Virgin birth).
        The second most popular hypothesis (behind Markan priority) is Q-source. This is the idea that Luke and Matthew were inspired by Mark (or Ur-Mark) and an unknown second sources: Q. Q is, hypothetically, a collection of sayings from Jesus. Q-source accounts for some of the disagreements between Mark and the other two, however, no evidence of Q-source existing is available.
        Mark/Ur-Mark is probably best defined as a tertiary source. The Gospels don’t account for any one person seeing the crucifixion and the empty tomb, even in the narrative no one person saw both. It is reasonable to assume that the narrative that includes both is processed from at least two oral tales. The written record, then, is the written account of a secondary source oral tale. And oral tales (especially in a superstitious, pre-scientific culture) are the least reliable. The other Gospels are then quaternary sources (I assume you see the pattern).
        I promised I would come back to Paul as a primary source. Where did Paul say he got his information? In Galatians 1:11-12 Paul says he knows this by revelation. So he has no eyewitness accounts by his own admission.
        As time consuming as it has been for me to do the run around for you, about the thing you believe (a thank you would be nice), we come back to the same questions: what are the reliable primary and secondary texts which confirm the existence of Jesus? Why are they reliable?
        (Over on Atheist Enquiries I have a small challenge, inspired by my research and therefore also by you. I thought you might like to look at it. The challenge is for you to state what must be true about Jesus for him to “be real”. Consider that Jesus could be a composite of other teachers and traditions… or that to be the “Biblical Jesus” he had resurrect. What is the difference between “some guy” named Jesus, and Jesus being real?)
        Other reading:
        Paul spoke of an allegorical, not a real Jesus: http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp08.htm

      • dwwork says:

        First, I want to thank you for your last response. I also apologize for taking so long to respond. I was ill for a few days last week and then this past weekend was one of those perfect days we have all too few of in the Houston area. Temperatures in the mid 70’s and sunshine so I spent my days outside working in my garden and doing outside things. You are only the second person who was able to give me sources that I requested. The rest once I have asked them to provide source materials to support their beliefs just disappear. I guess part of it is as you noted, it takes time and it is far easier to make unsubstantiated statements then to back them up. Like I said thanks.
        As to burden of proof, I have always thought that when one takes a stand that is contrary to consensus, in this case the historicity of Jesus, that they do indeed have a burden to supply some form of documentation to back up their claims. But be that as it may, I am glad that you did respond even though you brought up no new information with the exception of the history you referred to. I hope to find a copy in the library as the cheapest I found it on Amazon was over $200 and a new copy was listed for over $3000.
        I agree with your definition of historical sources but when it comes to this ancient of history we are in almost every case left with only secondary sources or copies of primary sources often hundreds of years if not more removed from the original. Historians have to make judgments on the reliability of the source and how ably it was copied through the centuries. They then look at the number of different sources that mention the historical figure or event in question. In the case of Jesus the current consensus is that he did indeed exist. That does not mean they consider Jesus the Son of God.
        Now, let’s start with the Roman records. Yes they may well have kept meticulous record but that’s records like all the rest of the records of the first half of the first century are no longer with us. These records were just not able to survive the centuries. If we use your criteria for believing people existed only by mention in such records I dare say no one could be proved to exist then.
        I was amused that you brought up the census. For decades the knock on Luke was that the Romans never did a census so Luke was wrong. Now that we know they did indeed take censuses the knock is the timing of the ones we know about. What this argument forgets that not that long ago we knew of no censuses so why in the world do we now think we have them all? Also, any census taking during this time would not have included children and women as they were considered not important. I would believe they would have only been interested in men of fighting age. Still, having a name left out even if we have a census taken about 30 to 33 AD is not something unheard of even today. People in the US are often mentioned in one census then missed in another only to resurface in a succeeding census. This is an argument from silence and not the best way to prove or disprove anything.
        As to your assertion that the Gospels are secondary sources and I know of no historian who would discard secondary sources, I agree that both Mark and Luke are secondary. Mark got his information from Peter but he also may have witnessed some of the events. And Luke got his information from Paul as well as interviewing eyewitnesses. Matthew is a primary source as he was one of the twelve disciples so was an eyewitness to the events. The early church fathers, Clement of Rome (died 99AD), Ignatius of Antioch (98 to 117 AD), Polycarp of Smyrna (69 to 155 AD) and Irenaeus of Lyons (130 to 202 AD), identified who wrote the gospel account. I would think that those who lived closer to the time of the writings would have a better knowledge that anyone living 2,000 years later. Just my opinion.
        As to “Q”, that is only a hypothesis that there was a sayings document from which the gospel writers borrowed but as no copies or fragments of it exists or any historical mention of its existence. “Q” is just an attempt to reconcile the similarities between Mark, Matthew and Luke. These similarities could just as easily be because we have accounts by eyewitnesses of the same events. But thanks for giving me Mark. Mark has always been thought of as the first gospel account. Once again there is no proof for the existence of an Ur-Mark. The document does not exist and once again there is not mention of a pre-Mark Mark. And yes Mark does mention the resurrection, see Mark 16:1-8. The Sinaiticus manuscript contains Mark 16:1-8 and the Vaticanus manuscript contains the long ending of Mark. Just so you know I do believe that the verses after Mark 16:8 were added later, not by Mark, to harmonize with the other two Synoptic Gospels.
        Then there is Paul. I am not sure where you came up with the idea that Paul writes about an allegorical Jesus. One need only read 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8. I do not see how anyone can get an allegorical Jesus when Paul mentioned people who Jesus appeared before. An allegory does not die on a cross and we do not bury them. They do not appear to people. Paul was writing about a real person. Also Paul is the only New Testament writer who is recognized as genuine and early by Biblical scholars across the spectrum.
        Once again, thanks. I am sorry you feel slighted as that was never my intent. I too spend a lot of time on both my posts and my responses. I feel it is a slight to dash off a reply without serious thought and the realization that even though we may disagree we both feel we have valid points. I do not feel you were running around for me but to back up your own point of view. I do plan on dropping by the Atheist Enquiries blog. As to, was Jesus just someone who lived but not the person I think He was, I guess that is the same as the people who believe that Shakespeare plays were not written by Shakespeare but someone with the same name. The evidence for Jesus’s life, death and resurrection is there but one has to accept the evidence. That is something that no matter how much I write or how much time I spend I cannot do for you. All I can do is point you to some former atheists who tried to disprove Jesus and became believers, C.S Lewis (Mere Christianity), Josh McDowell (Evidence that Demands a verdict and New Evidence that Demands a Verdict), Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) and a new one, J. Warner Wallace (Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels). Also, I do not know if you have read the Bible, Old or New Testaments, but I have always believed that one should read something before one criticizes it. If you have fantastic, you are way ahead of most. If not you just might be surprised with how it hangs together.
        Finally, and no offense meant, I have found that all of the arguments I have encounters for atheists and other non-believers have been answered many times by people much more learned than I am. Nothing in your last response was news to me. I have read Antony Flew, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Bertrand Russell as well as Darwin. I wonder if you have read anything by C.S Lewis, NT Wright or William Lane Craig. They provide Christian responses much more elegantly that I can.
        I seriously doubt that anything I have written in this response will cause you to change your beliefs just as you have not succeeded in changing my beliefs. I do enjoy the chance to exchange views and once again thank you for taking the time to send me the sources I asked for. I will check them all out. Who knows maybe they will supply me with a new post or two.
        Have a blessed day, David

  3. stephenpruis says:

    I recently wrote about Jesus’s instructions about his church. His statement that the Jewish Law was perfect and that he wouldn’t overthrow any of it seems to indicate that he had no intention of creating any new church. Secondly, why would a dimwit like Peter be chosen as it’s vessel? Is great puzzlement!

    In a comment I indicated that Jesus left no documents himself which drew a comment that he probably never learned to write. Apparently he could read, but not write. A strange state of affairs for a god capable of, well, anything.

    My basic point is that Christian scripture is cobbled together from so many sources, with so many agendas, that we are very unlikely to be able to come to any conclusions whatsoever. The incoherent nature of the “message” in those scriptures indicates many things unfortunately which results in the cherry-picking propensities of most commentators (myself included).

    I would like to see the scriptures put in their proper place both historically and theologically if for no other reason to clarify what it is people say they believe. If Jesus were a manifestation of an all-powerful God, he could have snapped his fingers and a perfectly clear set of instructions would have come into being (one copy for everyone taking the class, like in college) and there would have been no confusion. But, alas, he was an ignorant carpenter who did not know how to write.

  4. Arkenaten says:

    There is more written sources for Jesus than any other person in antiquity.

    I have always been under the impression there is not a single contemporary account of Jesus at all andf everything we have is merely hearsay.
    If this is incorrect I would be genuinely fascinated to know of one.
    Thanks

    • dwwork says:

      The letters of Paul are a contemporary account written by an eyewitness to Jesus. Paul lived at the same time as Jesus and is viewed by scholars from both ends of the religious spectrum as written by Paul, he identifies himself in every letter and written withing the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. He wrote no later than 68 AD, when he was killed and most likely around 5o AD. Of course Josephus has always been recognized by historians as an accurate account of Jewish history. Many, myself included, would place Luke’s writings, Gospel of Luck and Acts, as being written before 68AD as Luke’s account does not mention Paul’s death or the destruction of the Temple something that if written later, after 70Ad seems odd for someone who took great care in getting historical detail correct. For myself I also include Mark, the first Gospel and Matthew as being contemporary accounts though there is more disagreement about Matthew. Thanks for stopping by and your comment. Have a blessed day, David

      • Arkenaten says:

        The letters of Paul are a contemporary account written by an eyewitness to Jesus.

        Paul never met Jesus. Where does it state he did?

        Many of the letters of Paul are not genuine. All scholars agree to this.

        There is no record of Paul’s death.

        Luke was not a good historian. For example, his geographical knowledge of the supposed village of Nazareth is completely inaccurate.

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