Im an atheist and i cant help but wonder, why Christians tell me the bible is historically accurate, jesus is cemented in history, The gospels were written by eyewitnessesProphecies prove its reliability etc.
There are many historians (John Dickson, Joslin McDowell, William Lee Craig) for example that are convicted of this.
why do they think this? and what do Atheists have to discredit this?
Andy, "There are many historians (John Dickson, Joslin McDowell, William Lee Craig) for example that are convicted of this. why do they think this? and what do Atheists have to discredit this?"
Your topic Andy "but WHY do they believe it?" Most people believe things that are not true when they cannot face what is true. Are those people you named objective researchers, scholars or scientists? If you wanted to buy a horse you would want an honest opinion about that horse - would you ask the person trying to sell you the horse - or would you get an objective opinion. There are people that investigate history - some are scientists, scholars and historians. They follow the evidence no matter where it leads and let the chips fall where they may. They only want the facts and they are not obligated to make the facts fit popular opinion.
Religion is a lucrative profession that requires very little work. The first Church fathers knew what side their bread was buttered on. At that time the Roman Empire was facing civil war, and they thought a "new religion" would bring order to warring factions. That is why the Roman Empire needed to instate a new religion. The "new religion" or Christianity was a mixture of existing Pagan and Jewish mythology.
Osiris was called Chrestus, long before Jesus' existence. In spite of all the fabricated hoopla around the world about a savior god/man Jesus there is better evidence that the god/man never existed than that he did. No evidence has been found by scholars who have done extensive research that would prove a Jesus savior god/man ever existed, or that any of the events surrounding his life as described in the four Gospels ever happened. The only account of the savior god/man Jesus is found in the four Gospels and everyone knows that the names associated with the Gospels are only titles. There are no original manuscripts; the Gospels are copies of copies of copies. Most bibles inform that the Gospel authors are unknown. There is no evidence supporting a historical Jesus. There has been continuous and exhaustive research without turning up one shred of evidence concerning the existence of a savior god/man Jesus. There are no references to Jesus in any of the Roman histories during his presumed lifetime. Despite the fact that the Gospels tell us that Jesus' fame caused a great deal of unrest in the Roman Empire. There should be a record of his arrest and trial but there isn't. There are volumes of Roman records that survived from historians of this period and there is no account of the life of Jesus. The Romans kept meticulous volumes of records that still exist. A Jesus (accused of sedition and an enemy of the state who was executed) was ignored? That is very unlikely, especially when you consider the Gospel accounts of the impact Jesus supposedly had on multitudes of people.
In addition modern technology in various fields of science has increased our knowledge of the very beginnings of religion itself. The Ugaritic cuneiform texts shed much light on the Biblical text. Modern science can be applied to early Christian writings too. Paul's early Christian writings were written well after the events of Jesus' life. Examination of Paul's letters indicates that Paul was ignorant of the doctrine of the virgin birth, that Paul and his contemporaries never knew an earthly Jesus. Paul makes no mention of Jesus working miracles or the crucifixion. The Gospels were written well after the events. None of them were written earlier than the fourth century, and we know the Christian fathers revised them. They were given titles none of them are originals, so they were clearly not eyewitnesses.
There is no contemporary testimony of a man named Jesus who started a new religion. An alleged Jesus would have only been concerned with the Jewish cause, since the Jews were at war with the Romans over social injustices including slavery. There is no reason a Jew would start a "new religion" for Gentiles in that time period. A religion based on a Jesus figure only arrived long after the Jesus' supposed death. Thousands of scholars, scientists and apologists have searched for evidence since the earliest days of the Christian era and haven't found any reliable evidence.
There is also an intact version of the Talmud; still used by Jewish scholars that tells the story of a Yeishu or (Jesus) ha Notzri who was stoned to death. His body was hung from a tree on the eve of Passover. He was labeled a heretic but was not a miracle-working savior/god. This account was written long before the Gospels. This story is very much like the crucifixion myth. I think the Jesus myth was based on several different myths and then was incorporated into a savior myth as one story.
By the first century the Jews of the time started various movements, one was known as the Notzri, and its followers the Notzrim were spread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region. It is known from Jewish historians and the Talmud that these first century Christians referred to themselves as Notzrim - lending strong support to the Yeishu ha Notzri theory as the source of one Jesus myths.
The Notzrim appeared as isolated groups but we know from their contemporary's writings that they were not a religion they were a social movement. There were many Jesus movements by the time of Paul. Gnosticism was widespread at the same period of time that Jesus supposedly lived. The Gnostics were not Christians they were Jewish. Gnosticism was a reasoned doctrine. They believed that salvation was found in a secret knowledge not in a god/man's crucifixion. It was shared ideas from Egyptian, Greek, Jewish and hermetic mystery religions. The early Christian church fathers were very threatened by this widespread movement and railed out against them as heretics.
The Nag Hammadi texts were written after the lifetime of the supposed Jesus - Christians wrote them, they are not Gnostic writings, and they were written long after the fact.
All of the Christian Cults and Pagan myths (and there were many including Paul's cult) centuries later were consolidated into the Catholic Church. They chose four Gospels and discarded all the rest. The name Jesus was decided on over 300 years after the events and that is when he was deified and made into a human savior God. That made it possible for Paul to have a visionary experience of Jesus without ever having actually known a Jesus. All that was left to do was to eliminate all other competing religious groups. This lead to mass murder and torture, and the burning of millions of books and some libraries. The books that are attributed to Paul in the New Testament indicate that he was ignorant of many important issues concerning Jesus because those details were myths that were later added to Christianity after Paul wrote his letters. Ignatius' letters makes it obvious that the myth of a first-century historical Jesus originated with Ignatius. The idea of a virgin birth god comes from Isis worshipers. Mythological savior god stories were used to give Christianity a wider appeal. Gospel writers used existing myths from Pagan religions because they wanted to appeal to the followers of the Pagan religions. There were major religions in that time and place that had these myths that were later incorporated into the Jesus myth. The virgin birth came from earlier myths, including the myth of a pagan savior god Tammuz who is mentioned in the Bible. The miracle working savior god who is betrayed and then crucified was part of pagan religions of the time. Celsus pointed out the Pagan myths that the Jesus myth was copied from. However, some of the stories came from misinterpretations of Hebrew words. For example, Nazareth was not the name of a place; Notzri was the name of a social reform group. In the fourth century the Emperor Constantine, due to efforts of his mother St. Helena, started looking for the city of Nazareth in Palestine to build a basilica, when it wasn't found they just named a village that already existed Nazareth. There is not a shred of evidence for a city named Nazareth in the period of the alleged Jesus.
In the Gospel of Mark Jesus is referred to as the son of Mary, a description reserved for the illegitimate. There is no miracle birth and he only says Jesus came from Nazareth, a misinterpretation of the word Notzri. Whoever wrote the book titled Mark obviously had read that Jesus was a Notzri but didn't know what it meant. There is no mention in Mark of a virgin birth. This is because at the time the book titled Mark was written these myths had not existed. Whoever wrote Matthew incorporated many of Mark's myths and added on a few. The objective of Matthew was to make Jesus into the promised Messiah of the Jews, but his genealogy conflicts with the one in the Old Testament. Luke's gospel was written to explain the new religion to the Gentiles. These pathetic obvious dubious Gospels were canonized in spite of protests from many bishops.
In 312 Emperor Constantine fought the battle of Milvan Bridge, against a rival for the emperor's throne. Constantine's soldiers were mostly Christians. Constantine had a great vision of the cross and God told him "In this sign you shall conquer." What a coincidence? And he was granted victory in his battle, which was crucial in consolidating his empire. Constantine saw a battalion of Christian soldiers, and he then he saw the light. Constantine was a Pagan and never converted to Christianity. He called for a Pagan priest on his deathbed. The deathbed conversion of Constantine is just another lie. Constantine viewed Christianity as just one of the many cults. Anyone who doubts this can get a picture of the still exiting Milvan Arch. As a monument to his victory at Milvan Bridge Constantine raised a triumphal arch, which is still there today. It still bears on it a dedication to the "Unconquered Sun" (a reference to Mithra). Constantine made (Sun) day the holy day of the Christians and decided that the savior god was born on December 25, which was the birthday of Mithra. Constantine's goal when he convened the First Council of Nicea was to end any dissent about the new religion and come up with a universal doctrine, and then it's on to conquering the world.
This was primarily about the "new religion" and the New Testament - I can give you plenty of information about the Old Testament if you are interested.