The majority of people in the world today assume or believe that Jesus Christ was at the very least a real person. Perhaps he wasn’t really “the Messiah”, perhaps he was not “The Son of God”, and perhaps he didn’t actually perform miracles and rise from the dead, but he really was a great moral teacher who traveled around Galilee with followers and got arrested by the Jews and crucified by the Romans right?
Not likely. In fact, a close examination of the evidence shows that the best explanation for the story of “Jesus Christ” is what we call “mythology”. The case that I will be outlining here is that there never was any “Jesus Christ” nor any meaningful real life basis for the story of “Jesus Christ”. Like many other religious figures, “Jesus Christ” began as a theological concept, was later used as a character in allegorical stories, and was then historicized as someone whom people believed really existed. The belief in a literal “human” Jesus most likely emerged as eucharist rituals and theology developed around the concept of the “flesh” and “blood” of Christ and these concepts merged with allegorical narratives about the figure.
What is the basis for the claim that “Jesus never existed”?
Actually, there are many important facts that support this conclusion. First let’s look at an outline of some of the major points in this case:
- The Gospel of Mark was the first story of Jesus that was written, and all others are dependent on it
- The Gospel of Mark shows clear signs of being written as an allegorical fiction
- Virtually every detail of the life of Jesus comes from “Old Testament” scriptures
- Some of the details of the life of Jesus are based on mistranslations of the Hebrew scriptures
- Jesus’ crucifixion on Passover defies historical believability, yet makes perfect sense metaphorically
- The Gospels make many claims that are contradicted by the historical record
- The earliest writings about Jesus, from Paul and others, contain no details of his life
- Many statements in the letters of Paul only make sense if Paul does not view Jesus Christ as a historical person
- There is not one single writing from or about Jesus during his supposed lifetime
- Philo, a prolific Jewish writer who lived from 20 BCE to 50 CE, wrote extensively about the political and theological movements throughout the Mediterranean, and his views foreshadowed Christian theology, yet he never once wrote anything about Jesus. Not only this, but he actually wrote about political conflicts between the Jews and Pontius Pilate in Judea
- All of the non-Christian references to Jesus can be shown to have either been introduced later by Christian scribes or were originally based on Christian claims
- There is no evidence of any knowledge of a tomb of Jesus (empty or occupied) prior to the Gospel stories
- There were many conflicting beliefs about who Jesus Christ was in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries, including beliefs that he had never existed on earth “in the flesh”
- The Catholics made purely theological arguments as to why Jesus Christ had to have existed “in the flesh”
None of these points are meant to stand on their own, but collectively they provide a very strong argument against the story of Jesus Christ being based on a real person.
It is important to note that we have one, and only one, source of information about the life of Jesus and that is the Christian Gospels. The Gospels are the sole source of information about this figure; everything that we “know” about “him” depends on these sources.
There are two basic views of the Biblical Jesus as a real person today, the religious Christian view and the secular historical view. The religious Christian view takes the Gospels as accurate and reliable accounts of the life of Jesus, including all of the miracles. The religious Christian view demands that Jesus Christ was a popular and well known figure in the region, who drew crowds of thousands of people and performed great miracles, who was such a revolutionary figure that the Jewish priesthood was compelled to have him arrested and put to death in dramatic fashion before hundreds or thousands of witnesses.
The secular historical view, which may also be held by some Christians, takes the Gospels as exaggerated accounts of the life of a real Jesus. The secular historical view basically starts with the Gospels and then removes the fantastic or “supernatural” claims in the Gospels and accepts what is left as history. The secular historical view tends to minimize the role of Jesus in the region, stating instead that he was barely noticed by others. Secular historians who believe that Jesus existed rely on the Gospels as essentially historical, but inflated, accounts of his life.
But are the Gospels reliable historical accounts?
Click the links or visit the original website here: Jesus Myth – The Case Against Historical Christ.