User Name:

Password:

FAQ Donate Join

Atheist Community of Austin
Jesus is a historical figure

there are over 5000 new testament documents, all of which allow historians to compare and contrast dates, events and people to gather a pile of information clarifying the accuracy of the historical Jesus Christ...

Can any atheist out there honestly state that this figure who has had such a profound impact on western civilization be fiction? Many historians will tell you that jesus existed and that itself is a fact!

I'm sure Linda will give a more complete answer, but I believe you've been taken in by Christian apologists. Can you name any first-person account of the living person "Jesus" for whom we know the author? I don't think there are any. Even the earliest gospel was written on or after 90AD. We don't know who authored them, nor do we consider them first-person accounts. Some of the Pauline Epistles describe his conversion experience in the desert. He never knew the person, but attributed what might have been an epileptic seizure to Jesus. Do you know what he did after that earth shaking experience? He sat on it for 8 years before he decided that the vision meant he had an "urgent" message of "good news". More likely, the experience was a fantasy that he convinced himself was true. Oh, and by the way, Paul LIED when he said that Jesus would return in the lifetime of the disciples. Seriously, this is the best evidence that Christianity has.

The King Arthur stores have had a great cultural impact, as has Greek mythology. There are many variations on these stories, just like the Gospels and other early Christian writings. No sane person would argue that these stories must be true because of their impact or variations. Nobody is arguing that there have been lots of Christians and lots of stories about Jesus. Just look at all the gospels that didn't make it into the Bible. I particularly like the Gospel of Judas where Jesus "sheds his clothes" and commits suicide by cop. We know that there are four gospels for the only reason that the person who made the decision liked the number 4.

Dates and events. Have you tried putting the four gospels side-by-side and reconciling their differences? Have you tried to reconcile the three birth lineages given of Jesus? Can you name the year or the day that Jesus was allegedly born? What about his missing 30+ years? Legends can skip decades, but real people can't. If this guy is so damned important, why did he only seem to live about two weeks?

To some extent, atheists don't care about whether Jesus existed or not. If there was somebody named Jesus who lived around 30AD, it's not a remarkable fact or worthy of debate. What proof do you have for any of the supernatural claims attributed to Jesus? Before you answer, you might look up the supernatural claims attributed to Mithra, Attis, and Osirus, and answer why, if Jesus seems to be an amalgam of these earlier myths, is Jesus really supernatural, but the others aren't? Resurrection is a common theme in mythology as it explains the seasons. If Jesus was reborn in the fall, then there might be some novelty there. The birth story is well known to have been fabricated. The "virgin" birth is well known to be based on a mistranslation of "young woman". Virgin births, being born under stars, and kings living as paupers are also common themes in the mythologies known to ancient Romans.

You might look at "The Jesus the Jews Never Knew" by Frank Zindler for an idea of the "impact" of Jesus outside his Christian followers. If you'd like some more accurate books on Biblical history and analysis, take a look at any of Bart Erhman's or Robert Price's books.

I woke up one Sunday morning after someone turned the TV on (I usually just tune it out) but the shrill voice of a preacher giving a sermon about the authenticity of the Gospels got my attention. His sermon reached a fever pitch when he shrieked "there is more evidence for Jesus than any figure in history." I sat up to look at the screen and saw a scrawny (Ichabod Crane looking) man with wire rimmed glasses looking out over his audience, which was waiting (eyes wide open) to hear all that evidence. His bulging eyes swept across the congregation like a sea captain looking for dry land, there was total silence for what seemed to be an unusually long pause, you could've heard a pin drop. Then he just continued with the sermon without saying one more word about all that evidence. Why? Because "the Emperor has no clothes".

Connor says, "there are over 5000 new testament documents, all of which allow historians to compare and contrast dates, events and people to gather a pile of information clarifying the accuracy of the historical Jesus Christ..."

Most people and (especially) scholars know that there are no original New Testament documents. There is no evidence that Jesus ever existed. There are no sculptures or paintings of Jesus. There are no artifacts or writings by Jesus or his contemporaries. We have proof that a historical figure lived a hundred years before Jesus - Julius Caesar. We have Julius Caesar's own writings. We also have actual letters that were written to Caesar and letters that Caesar wrote. Contemporary historians wrote about the life of Caesar. However, the prodigy (child genius) Jesus never wrote a word. Jesus never wrote anyone a letter and we do not have any original documents written by his disciples or followers.

Most Bibles advise that the authors of the gospels are unknown. There are no original documents of eyewitnesses of the events described in the New Testament. Even the famous forgeries were not eyewitness accounts. There are no original historical documents that support a historical Jesus. That has been thoroughly debunked. Scholars do not make that claim. There are claims that the New Testament stories were passed on orally (even if that is true) they would only be hearsay accounts; it's not evidence. There were myths about savior gods that existed long before the New Testament, which is what it was likely based on. And many gospels existed, but Irenaeus (a flat earth guy) decided that there should be only four. His reasoning was based on the fact that there are Four Corners of the earth, Four Winds etc. That is how we got the four gospels that became Church cannon for the orthodox faith. The other gospel writings were burned, destroyed, or lost. However, there are no original documents, nobody knows what was originally written.

A true scholarly account of actual historical events or a historical person refer to sources that trace to contemporary writing of the event or subject themselves, or to personal or eyewitness accounts. None of the Gospel writers give reliable sources to eyewitnesses; it's all hearsay. None of the Gospels existed during the alleged life of Jesus including those discovered at Nag Hammadi.

None of the original New Testament manuscripts exist today; we only have copies of copies. Scholars (people who study ancient documents) have concluded that much of Matthew was copied from Mark. Mark was written first. There is no reason to believe that there ever was a document Q. It has never materialized. Luke admits his writing is a retelling of earlier reports. He was not an eyewitness. The Gospel of John disagrees with events described in Mark, Matthew, and Luke. How is any of this proof?

Paul's letters are the oldest Christian texts, but they were not eyewitness accounts of the events or the life of Jesus. Paul never knew the earthly Jesus. These letters were written long after the fact. Bible Scholars doubt that Paul wrote all of these letters. They believe he wrote some of them. Paul's sparse recounting of stories about Jesus come from other myths and his own imagination. (John or James) wrote the epistles of John and James but who wrote these epistles. That is not known because those names were as common as dirt, and these writings are not eyewitness accounts.

Epistles of Peter: The author of these letters was very familiar with the language of the Greek Bible. There is an absence of influence from the language of the Hebrew Bible, and it is clear that the author was at home in Greek rather than Semitic culture, and that is not likely to have been the case with Simon Peter. Peter was supposedly a lowly fisherman, without a formal education. No uneducated person wrote that letter.

The experts can not authenticate documents without the originals; it is not technically possible. In fact, no one has any way of determining who wrote the epistles of Peter. They do not know if they came from someone named Peter (a common name) an unknown author, or if they were forgeries by someone trying to further the aims of the Church.

Connor said, "Can any atheist out there honestly state that this figure who has had such a profound impact on western civilization be fiction? Many historians will tell you that jesus existed and that itself is a fact!"

We know (even the Church) admits that there are vital records missing from the Council of Nicaea and that the documentation recording the true nature of the creation of Jesus Christ was later suppressed or destroyed. Bishop Eusebius sat on the right of the emperor Constantine at that meeting, and under those conditions, two thousand bishops, priests; deacons came together to debate and decide what would be the one new religion. At that time there were many beliefs and gospels. There were numerous varieties of Eastern and Western divinities and beliefs. There were violent arguments between the bishops over inclusion of particular writings that promoted their god. There are historical accounts that describe the assembly of men at Nicaea as illiterate, simple creatures who understood nothing. Dr Richard Watson, a disillusioned Christian historian and previously Bishop of Llandaff in Wales, referred to them as "a set of gibbering idiots". It was this useless body of men who were responsible for the new Roman religion.

At that time most Roman aristocracy worshipped Apollo, but the masses worshiped Julius Caesar. Caesar was deified by the Roman Senate five days after his death (March 44 BC) and was thereafter venerated as the Divine Julius. Caesar was the most popular god among the common people for more than 400 years; the followers were called Caesareans. Three ancient provincial cities were named Caesarea in his honor. Josephus described a massive structure built and dedicated in the first century to the honor of the Divine Julius at the Palestinian Caesarea. Julius Caesar was a popular god in the western culture, but he was not recognized in Eastern or Oriental culture. It was Constantine's goal to unite all of the religions into a new religion at the council of Nicaea. That is why they needed to create a new god for the Empire that would unite all religious factions under one deity. The names of numerous gods entered for discussion and they balloted in order to determine the matter. The balloting lasted for over a year.

When Constantine returned he discover that they had not picked a new deity, but they had a list of five prospects, namely, Caesar, Krishna, Mithra, Horus, and Zeus. Constantine was the decider at Nicaea and ultimately decided the new god for them. He determined that the names of Jesu Cunobeline and Judas Khrestus be joined as one, Jesu Khrestus, and that would be the official name of the new Roman god. It was voted on (those two men) became one God. Constantine used the Council of Nicaea to legally deify the new god for the masses through popular consent. Without a doubt it was this political act of deifying Yesu Cunobeline and Judas Khrestus into one Roman god that lead to the earthly Jesus Christ. Christian religion had not yet developed and the few church documents that refer to an established Christian god previous to the Council of Nicaea are later forgeries written in light of the decision at Nicaea.

All of the books deemed heretical were ordered burned so that other doctrine would be suppressed. The name Jesus Christ was not found in literature prior to the creation of the myth of Jesus Christ in the Council of Nicaea. His name was created by combining two prior legends - the Druidic King of England Yesu Cunobleine, and his barbaric brother, Judas Khrestus. Yesu Khrestus, which subsequently became Jesus Christ. The stories that accompany the new god were all taken from existing myths.

Linda, your Constantine theory is not justified! the documents written in the 40 years after jesus make your theory mute! if Constantine of Nicea wanted to create a new religion, that does not make sense as documents about jesus had already come into existence

Connor,

You are simply making apologist statements without proof. The actual history is not involved with those statements.

"What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!" - Pope Leo X 1513 -1521

There are no original documents. Nobody knows who wrote the Gospels, when they were written or what originally was written. What we have are copies of copies of copies. When the Roman Empire decided to institutionalize Christianity they crushed other existing religions in order to gain territory and wealth. This involved genocide and cultural eradication. In many cases every trace of their religion and culture were destroyed. In other cases their gods and religious customs were considered as heresies. These crusades either replaced or assimilated the culture's religious practices with the conquerors, making it impossible to know what the original religion was. Emperor Constantine blended the Christian Church with the institutionalized pagan practices of Rome and eliminated any semblance of either the Jewish religion or the Pagans.

Christianity was institutionalized as a state religion (in all it's pagan glory) in the fourth century A.D. by Constantine, who Christianized pagan rites and called it Christianity. The laws and policies of the Empire and the doctrine of the Church became one with Constantine as the interpreter of both law and policy. This was accomplished by eliminating hundreds of books thought to be against Church doctrine and watering down what remained by blending Christian beliefs and practice with long established Roman sanctioned pagan worship. In Rome, before "Christmas" was celebrated on December 25th, the Natalis Solis Invicti was celebrated on the same date in honor of the Sun God, Mithras. From the seventeenth of December until the twenty-third, Romans celebrated the ancient feast of the Saturnalia. In 375 A.D., the Church of Rome under Pope Julius I announced that the birth date of Christ had been decided to be on December 25th, and this is how the date of Christmas was decided upon, by the deciders. The Romans could still celebrate the festival of Saturnalia, the birthday of Mithras, and the birthday of Christ. December the 25th, merry everything day.

The first Christmas tree wasn't about Jesus. It was about Nimrod/Osiris and his mother/wife Semiramis/Ishtar/Isis who started the whole Christmas tree thing. After Nimrod the ruler of Babylon died Semiramis circulated the rumor that he was a god. Semiramis claimed that she saw an evergreen tree spring out of the roots of a dead tree stump. Semiramis told everyone that this meant that Nimrod was living again, and he would leave gifts under the evergreen tree on his birthday, which was on the winter solstice at the end of December. Several years after Nimrod was dead Semiramis gave birth to a son Horus. Semiramis said the spirit of Nimrod impregnated her, and that her son Horus was the reincarnation of Nimrod. The mother - child - holy spirit. These myths were passed down to other generations, and they were spread to other cultures. The pagans believed that as winter approached the days grew shorter, because the sun god was leaving them, and as the days grew longer he was coming back. As the days started getting longer again they had a celebration known as Saturnalia. For centuries before Christianity, holly was used for celebrating their midwinter Saturnalia. They had enormous feasts, got drunk and had orgies. Just like today. Jeremiah 10: 2 Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are false. A tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. Men deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.

The Gospels are the sole source of information about a historical Jesus. Everything that we know about Jesus and Christianity depends on that source. Confucius 6th century BC Chinese sage and founder of Confucianism from the Analects "love thy neighbor as thyself. Do nothing to thy neighbor, which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter". These verses were not original to the gospels. Nobody knows when they were written or who wrote them. The Bible-based religions we now have (Catholic or Protestant) are nothing like the Hebrew religion of the church established at Jerusalem. The practices of this first Jewish church are not practiced by any major religion and they are almost unknown. In its place are doctrines of Christianity, which was begun by Constantine. In Matthew and Mark the Romans crucify Jesus, but in Luke and John it is the Jews who crucify him. Numbers 23:19 states that God is not a man. God was not born, and God certainly did not die.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were being written in 150 BCE and continued until 70 CE, a period of 220 years. During those years 872 scrolls were written in Hebrew and Aramaic by the peoples of Qumran. The supposed life of Jesus was between 2 BCE and 36 CE (38 years) and the Great Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. These dates are important for understanding the importance of what the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed. After scholars completed the translation work on the Dead Sea Scrolls a very important fact was obvious. Nowhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls was the name of Jesus mentioned, and Christianity had no support in the translations. The Dead Sea Scrolls challenged the two most fundamental beliefs of Christianity: the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and Christianity as the embodiment of the message of Christ. The scrolls make no mention of Jesus or that the 'Jesus message' originated with him. The Dead Sea Scrolls only mentions "teachers of righteousness" that were part of an ultra conservative messianic Jewish movement based in Qumran going back at least 100 years BCE. The Dead Scrolls disclosed that many of the practices that people now regard as Christian innovations are not. The Lord's Prayer and the Lord's Supper can be traced to the Qumrans, also going back at least one century before the alleged Jesus' virgin birth. The Sermon on the Mount is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke about fifty years after Jesus allegedly gave the sermon. The Gospels of Mark and John say nothing about The Sermon on the Mount and neither do Paul, Peter or John because the Sermon on the Mount was recorded in the Book of Enoch at least 100 years before Jesus, as the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal.

The Dead Sea Scrolls tell of a movement that was a Jewish 'Apocalyptic cult' waiting to do battle with the forces of evil in which righteousness would prevail. The Qumrans were making themselves ready for the great battle in which they firmly believed that the forces of evil would die upon the blazing spears held by the hands of the 'Sons of Light.'

One of the reasons for the angst between Jews and Romans was the fact that the Jews opposed slavery. In the year 70 CE the Romans utterly destroyed the people of Qumran and the Temple in Jerusalem. Until 70 CE the Qumrans were waiting with great faith for the messiah to appear and deliver them. The messiah, according to Jewish belief, was not a God that would deliver his people by clearing their way to heaven. The messiah was to be an empowered King who would destroy the enemies of the Jews and regain their Holy Land.

Everything Christians know about Christianity is false. Their beliefs are based on Old World Jewish superstitions in a messiah who never came, and colorful layers of various pagan beliefs of the Roman culture.

Few people, who are not scholars, have read The Dead Sea Scrolls. Preachers are not encouraging their sheep-dipped flock to read scholarly works on this topic. The greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century is only mentioned, but is not explained. I have heard people making statements that are not true about The Dead Sea Scrolls, and I don't know where they got the information, but it surely wasn't from any scholar who could read Hebrew and Aramaic. The fact that people don't read scholarly work makes it very easy to exploit them. It also makes it easy to enslave people with religious superstitions. Many things in the Bible have been proven to have no historic, archaeological, or scientific proof to back it up but the clergy never mentions that. The actual definite outlines of any religion of that day is unknown, because there are no surviving scriptures available.

Eusebius served as an ecclesiastical church historian and bishop, and he had great influence in the early Church. Eusebius openly advocated the use of fraud and deception in furthering the interests of the Church. The first mention of Jesus by Josephus came from Eusebius (none of the earlier church fathers mention Josephus' Jesus). Most scholars believe that Eusebius not Josephus was responsible for those writings. Eusebius wrote about (how it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine, and for the benefit of those who want to be deceived).

Independent "sources" for the gospel's Jesus has been so discredited it hardly needs a rebuttal here. Some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu (a common name in Jewish literature) in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Jesus, actually depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus. The Palestinian Talmud was written between the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion. It is a combo Christian - pagan legend; it is not evidence for a historical Jesus.

Celsus pointed out the same flaws in the cult that we notice today, (they burnt all his books) so with the silence of the critics, the re-writing of its past, any claim that there had to have been a historical Jesus fails.

A study of the true circumstances of Christianity's beginnings (although this is difficult) considering how much of their "heroic" past was burned and destroyed, reveals precisely the pattern expected if the Jesus religion was an offshoot from other existing religious myths.

It took political change and a lot of lying to institutionalize the Christian religion. There were no actual witnesses, contemporary followers or miraculous apostles. This new religion was designed to take out other competing religions. All the other religions died out (some were assisted) leaving our current orthodoxy.

I remember back when I was religious being impressed that there were more 'documents' attesting to Christ's existence than Shakespeare's.

Then I found out just how thin a thread Shakespeare's historical 'existence' hung by. ;-)

It's all relative of course, but as stated above historical record of a person's existence does nothing to prove divinity.

Follow us on:

twitter facebook meetup

blip.tv ustream.tv

Join us for the Bat Cruise Lecture, 1:15pm September 27th at Trinity United Methodist Church, at 40th and Speedway. Lecturers will be Richard Carrier and Chris Johnson.

The ACA Bat Cruise is set for Saturday, September 27th, 6-8pm. Purchase tickets in advance here.

The audio and video from Dr. Shahnawaz August lecture is now available.