On historicity of Jesus

I have been reading Albert Schweitzer’s autobiography and in there he talks about his book the quest for historical Jesus which if you have not read yet, I suggest you do. But that’s not what caught my eye. He mentions the works of J. M Robertson, William Benjamin Smith, James George Frazer, Arthur Drews as those who have contested the historical existence of Jesus.

He writes

It is not difficult to pretend that Jesus never lived. The attempt to prove it, however, invariably produces the opposite conclusion. In the Jewish literature of the first century the existence of Jesus is not attested to with any certainty, and in the Greek and Latin literature of the same period there is no evidence for it at all. Of the two passages in his Antiquities in which the Jewish writer Joseph’s makes incidental mention of Jesus one was undoubtedly interpolated by Christian copycats.[…. ] It still has to be explained when, where and how Christianity originated without either Jesus or paul; how it later came to trace its origins back to these mythical personalities; and finally for what curious reasons they, both Jewish, were designated as the founders of Christianity. To prove that the gospels and epistles are not genuine one has to explain how they were written without being authentic.

Out of my life and thought: an autobiography

Unbelievable? Chapter 5

also titled will the real Jesus stand up.

Justin tells us those who are Jesus skeptics are in the extremist camp of the non-religious. I think this makes me an extremist. I am going ahead of myself.

When I read this quote below, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Laugh. Cry. Bang my head against a wall. Then I remembered what Nietzsche wrote in Thus spake Zarathustra about other gods laughing to their death when one of the gods said there is no god but god. Justin writes

From its inception, Christianity has been a public religion making claims that could be held to historical scrutiny in the place it was birthed. That’s not true of other religions. The precepts of Buddhism originated in the mind of Buddha alone. The ancient writings of Hinduism derive from mystical teachings that are not located in a historical framework. Islam is constituted by the teaching and stories of the Quran as related to Muhammad in a private angelic visitation.

I think irony is lost to Justin on the similarities that exist between what he says of other religions and his religion. How for example can the claim of a virgin birth be scrutinized? Do we have any other extant material apart from the claims of the bible about this birth? In fact, how can miracles be proved historically? Say for example the story of Jonah eating a fish or is it riding a fish? The claims of Paul- the foremost Christian evangelist if he existed- came from his mind alone. The stories such as those of the OT where we have giants having intercourse with the daughters of men are mystical teachings, but to Justin, only other religions have these. Christianity is all evidence based.

Justin then tells us that the death of Jesus has a greater attestation that Caesar crossing the Rubicon. First, even if that were the case, no one is going to hell for doubting the crossing the Rubicon. If Christianity were true, its claims would require more stringent attestations because people’s future eternal lives depend on it. The argument that other historical figures are not doubted as much as Jesus is not an argument in favour of Christianity. Any reasonable person would demand that god, if it were real, would present a much better case for us to believe.

Justin tells us the gospels are evidence for the life of Jesus. Some scholars having looked at the stories in the gospels have concluded the Jesus of the gospels did not exist and have created their own Jesus. We have Jesus the Zealot, the guru, the husband and many more. Is the bible and the gospels specifically a work of history or a miraculous work brought into being by the actions of deity? Did the biographers write what they saw, or what were they inspired to write?

Justin writes we should read the bible differently that we do other historical documents.

In his book, the quest for historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer writes

The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.

but Bruno Bauer said it best when he wrote

The formation of the church and the arising of the idea that the Jesus of the Gospels is the messiah are not two different things, they are one and the same thing, they coincide and synchronize; but the idea was only the imaginative conception of the church, the first movement of its life, the religious expression of its experience.

The question which has so much exercised the minds of men-whether Jesus was the historic Christ- is answered in the sense that everything that the historical Christ is, everything that is said of him, everything that is known of him, belongs to the world of imagination, that is, of the imagination of the Christian community, and therefore has nothing to do with any man who belongs to the real world.

Maybe Justin should read Renan’s life of Jesus or Spencer’s but most of all, I recommend as a good place to being, Walter R Cassels’ Supernatural religion.

On religious tolerance

First, it appears if Jesus appeared on Halloween (where this is observed), it would be a wrong day to make appearance.

https://i2.wp.com/ragingpencils.com/2019/10-31-19-halloween-jesus.png

Obama on religious tolerance.

And in what can only be the irony of ironies, Man who set adultery laws flogged for adultery.

And finally, if you are Catholic and the priest knows your stand on abortion, be careful. You may not get communion as Joe Biden learnt a few days ago.

Happy weekend everyone.

Some lost sayings of jesus

Since it is Sunday, one is allowed to be irreverent. In this list saying, Jesus says heaven is for males only.

In vs 114 of the gospel of Thomas, Jesus tells Peter thus

I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.

A challenge to the christians

And I hope those friends of Ark and John Zande can take it up.

A fellow named Dr. Ray Higgins has asked that anyone who can prove with validity that Jesus lived and walked out da grave to present that evidence to him and he will pay all your living expenses until his last.

Since I don’t claim to have as much money, any one with this information will get a standing ovation from my clan😁.

And a bonus question. Most if not all Christians take Christmas day(25th December) as the birth date of Jesus but Easter shifts depending on the weather. One asks, if as Paul alludes in Corinthians, if Jesus is not risen, then the faith is in vain, why is Easter not taken seriously?

In the video below, he repeats the challenge from 20:24

a question about the Koran

the regular readers of this spot know our position on Jesus H. Christ.

they also know what we think of the bible and by extension religious books.

Muslims think of their religion as the only true™ one.

and of the Koran as coming straight from the gods.

the Koran in many places makes references to H. Christ.

can we not safely conclude it is just a mishmash of stories just as the other religious books, or worse?

Shakespeare did not exist

No, this is not true. That title is my attempt at clickbait. I hope it works.

So if you are reading this, I guess the clickbait worked and we are in business. This post has nothing to do with Shakespeare. We are not going to discuss a pound of flesh or to do or not to do or even much ado about nothing. But because we have mentioned Shakespeare, we may say the world is just a stage and each one must play their part and depart.

Many times when I blog or tweet about Christianity, there is some backlash from religionists who claim atheists are only against their religion. The last census we had put the percentage of Christians in Kenya at above 80%. Anytime I throw a stone, there is 8 in 10 chance, it will fall on a person who claims to be a Christian. Most of these believers think without their death cult, we would have no laws. That society would be living in a state of debauchery and anarchy. Voodoo believers are not knocking on doors are carrying open air crusades in our neighbourhoods. Maybe, just maybe if Christians kept their beliefs a private matter, they would not be a subject of interest. Just saying.

When I have written Jesus did not exist, I have been often asked if Socrates, Buddha or Confucius lived. The point here being that as historical figures, there is scant information regarding their lives and they should be treated the same way we treat Jesus. I don’t know about other atheists, but no one is going to hell because they think Socrates is a creation of Plato. In fact, you will not be punished by anyone for thinking the Republic is Plato’s Utopia. That it is not possible to have such a government of philosopher kings. In general, it has no real world effects whether one doubts the existence of Socrates. For all his teachings, Buddha said live the good life. But the Christians make extra-ordinary claims about their Jesus with a rider that those who don’t believe will suffer for eternity plus one.

I demand more to work with. The gospels will not do. They are inconsistent and contradict each other. Your pastor’s testimony will not cut it either. If my life or any other life is to depend on the sayings of Jesus, you are going to have to work hard to give evidence that he lived. Until you are able to do this, don’t bring up Julius Caesar or Buddha.