I think the Jesus whose story is told in the bible didn’t exist. I don’t know whether the character was built on a real person[s]. If I was asked to make a case for Socrates, the base facts to begin with would have been the parents, when and where they lived and if possible a few of his contemporaries. We would name Crito, Xenophon, as his contemporaries, a birth place would be named, and so many other facts.
In an attempt to make a case for the existence of Jesus, apologists have resorted to make assertions about the resurrection that they think if are agreed on, would compel even the skeptic to change his mind on the historicity. This assertions come from WLC he of the DCT and the KCA.
Before you read the assertions, here is a piece that you should begin with. It sheds some light on the problem we will try to answer below.
The assertions are called facts and are as listed below.
- FACT #1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.
- FACT #2: On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
- FACT #3: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
- FACT #4: The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.
Tell me, friends, who tells the life of a person they know based only on their deaths and the events that happened thereafter. These four above are not facts, they are assertions. The christian asserts that Jesus was buried and resurrected. It is not a fact. I wouldn’t even want to discuss whether he died on the cross or not and whether there is a tomb or not for this would lend credence to a legend. The issue that must first be settled is who were his parents, when and where was he born and who were his contemporaries if any.
On assertion number three, there is none, repeat none, skeptic who Jesus appeared to. Neither did this apparition appear to Pilate, to the Pharisees, to the gentiles. The people who claim to have seen him can all be said to be those who already believed such an event would occur. Besides, Paul whose writings as quoted as being aware of 500 witnesses didn’t see Jesus, if he existed. It can actually be said, whoever Paul is, he is the creator of this Jesus narrative.
Point 4, is confirmation bias. There is no proof of this. There is no record left by any of the supposed disciples telling us what happened. What we have are anonymous gospel accounts that tell the story.
The apologist tells us on point 3
The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation of these appearances. This is one of the most important marks of historicity. The appearance to Peter is independently attested by Luke, and the appearance to the Twelve by Luke and John. We also have independent witness to Galilean appearances in Mark, Matthew, and John, as well as to the women in Matthew and John.
This ignores the scholarship on the NT that shows that Mark was the first to be written and Mathew & Luke borrowed from it. It is no rocket science that they will have a similar story with a few additions like the different genealogy stories in Mathew and Luke. John’s gospel is written later in the day, it is only a credulous person who will take it as evidence on the matter.
Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time reading on the Jesus story knows that the Josephus text mentioning Zombie Jesus is most likely a forgery.
There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family had they been faithful followers all along
is in need of demonstration. Eusebius? seems to have no qualms lying for Jesus. To claim they wouldn’t lie is to put them on a high pedestal without the slightest justification. There is no reason to believe they couldn’t lie. We have no reason to believe those who claim to have seen the golden plates Joseph Smith translated to the book of Mormons as saying the truth.
In conclusion, we find this comment
So I guess the problem here is that I’ve made a minimal facts case and cited historians across the ideological spectrum for the four facts – including people like Gerd Ludemann and Bart Ehrman! You’ve responded with your opinion, and cited no scholars to either refute the four facts, or to propose an alternative naturalistic explanation to the subset of minimal facts
ably demonstrates the thin case on which the assertions for Jesus lie so that it has been reduced to minimal
facts assertions that are themselves in need of demonstration. And why ignore the historicists who argue this fellow Jesus as portrayed in the bible did not exist? If my faith and life in the nether world depended on it, the case I would be making wouldn’t be based on minimal assertions. I would make a proper case.
And lastly, please, please Jesus apologists, read beyond William Craig and Strobel. Start by reading Celsus’ arguments against the Christians. I promise it will not kill you to read something different, maybe just enlighten you.