General Mythicism FAQ
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Why Do You Believe Jesus Didn't Exist?
Every Mythicist has their own reasons for their position. For me, Godless Engineer, I have examined the evidence for and against the historicity of Jesus. I found the evidence to not be substantial enough to say he is a historical figure.
Initially I was finding myself in arguments on various facebook groups about religion. I eventually came across the need to validate whether or not Jesus existed in history. I thought surely there is evidence that he existed. I found a lot of Christian apologetics around the subject but I was also exposed to Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All and I was hooked.
I came to find out that there really wasn’t any good evidence for a historical Jesus. There are things that apologists point to as being evidence but even then those are not independent accounts of a Christ figure. They are always influenced by existing theology. The closest source we have is Paul and he never places Jesus on earth.
Why Would They Just Invent Jesus?
They didn’t exactly just make Jesus up out of thin air. The Messiah figure of Christianity was already in the Jewish theology. Philo of Alexandria characterizes this figure in Judaism with his Logos. Zechariah 6:11 in the Septuagint actually uses the name “Jesus” or “Joshua” when referencing the Messiah. From Philo we can see how the early Jewish-Christians were able to piece together a theology of Christianity using Philo’s Logos, issues that the early first century Jews were facing, and the Scriptures.
Paul is our first actual source for Jesus and what we have is a very bare bones gospel that makes no mention of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He continually assures us that he got his gospel from no man but only by revelation of Jesus and from the scriptures.
Thus what we have is an existing theology surrounding the Messiah from Judaism and evidence that both first century Jews and Jewish-Christians were using the same theology.
Why Does The Consensus Disagree With You?
The consensus is mostly made up of Christian scholars who on principle believe that a Jesus existed and was magical. Not all scholars are Christians but they do utilize methods and reasoning that were established by Christians but are still logically invalid.
One of the these lines of reasoning concerns the Criterion of Embarassment. It basically says that if something would be considered embarassing it would make it less likely to be false information. This type of reasoning is invalid because you can’t know if something was considered embarassing to someone in the first century and you need actual corroborating evidence to actually establish it as a historical fact.
This is one but of many criterion that current historical apologists use to discredit the Mythicist position. They also suggest that Mythicism is ridiculous and shouldn’t even be considered which should raise red flags.
But, Jesus Is The Most Attested Historical Figure...
This is actually incorrect because most of the sources for Jesus are really just derived from Paul, the first record of a Jesus Christ in the first century. Prior to Paul we have no evidence that such a person, crowned Christ or not, even existed. After this point it’s plainly obvious that a basic theology of Christianity existed and gave rise to all other sources that are touted for Jesus.
The Gospels are not independent accounts of Jesus. Mark’s gospel clearly drew inspiration from Paul in its teachings and only cites the already existing scriptures, meaning the Septuigant, as its sources for the story it’s telling. Also, Mark wasn’t written until the 70’s with the other gospels being written after that. This makes Paul the earliest account and he never cites Jesus as being here on earth.
Why Would The Apostles Die For A Lie?
There is nothing to suggest that the Apostles actually met Jesus or that they “died for a lie.” I think Paul and Cephas had actual genuin beliefs about their savior. I do not think they believe in a lie or concocted a lie. Paul was vehement about how he validated his beliefs by reading scriptures and getting visions, hallucinations, from Jesus himself.
Paul defined Apostles to be those that had recieved revelation directly from Jesus so they fully believed that Jesus was a real celestial figure of their faith. Disciples are never mentioned by Paul or other early Christians before the Gospels were written. Nobody in the early first century actually met this person called Jesus and this is attested to in the first hand accounts of the first Jewish-Christians.