Was There a Jesus?

The evidence for his existence is only imagined
 
All of the evidence for Jesus the alleged founder of the Christian Church can be invalidated. At best there is no evidence, at worst the evidence indicates that Jesus never existed. From my other books which you can access through the homepage you will see that the Jesus story was unknown in the early Church, that the New Testament evidence for Jesus can be dismissed as worthless, you will see that the Jesus who the apostles knew was just a post resurrection apparition and you will see New Testament traditions that Jesus didn’t live in the first century but in times long forgotten.

 

Christians use what they think is evidence to argue that Jesus existed.  And we are expected to be convinced when Marcion and his many followers said there was no Jesus before he appeared at Capernaum - so most of Jesus' life is declared a myth. And what about the people who knew Jesus who had no reason to deny a resurrection except if it was simply a lie who said he did not exist after his death?  The complete denier of Jesus being a real man is merely taking another step.  We don't need a bald, "Jesus never existed", statement from those times.  We know his existence is uncertain.

Introduction

Jesus Christ did not exist. If he did there is no acceptable evidence for it. And if there is acceptable evidence then it is too flimsy to justify taking Jesus seriously as a person never mind a god or wizard. To the world, I offer Was There a Jesus? The truth can be known and should be. Unfortunately, defending the existence of Jesus and accepting him as a man and not a myth is where the money is and where the power lies. That is the real secret of the strength of the popular belief that he was a real person. Moses was invented and was similar to Jesus and had more supporters so why couldn’t Jesus have been invented as well? Hopefully when the philosophy contained in my The Gospel According to Atheism grows popular Jesus will be as little known as Henry James Prince, the nineteenth century Messiah in England.

The sources we have are the gospels and the rest of the New Testament writings which are regarded as scriptures or God’s word by the Christians. We have a few short writings from the first post-apostolic generation. We will test them all to see if they really assist the case for belief in Jesus as a historical Jesus.
 
We have some references from secular writings. The trouble is that they are either vague or could have been forged or could have been depending on Christian hearsay. For example, somebody put a piece about Jesus’s existence, miracles, messiahship and resurrection in the unbeliever Josephus’s work. Oddly, what they put in seems to base the evidence on alleged prophecies of Jesus from the Old Testament and not on proper evidence.
 
Tacitus said that Christ was put to death under Pilate. Unhappily for Christians, Pilate killed several Christs so there could be some confusion there. Do not forget that the Gospel Jesus says that there will be many saying that they are Jesus or the Christ and that the time is close - see Luke 21. Tacitus said when he died the superstition was checked for a moment but broke out in Rome. This does not fit the Christian claim that the Church broke out in Palestine a few weeks after Jesus died. But Christians just focus on what suits them. And checked for a moment and then breaking out in Rome means that Tactitus was thinking of a long moment if he was thinking of Jesus Christ!! If you were a historian writing about events from decades or centuries before you would expect people to know that the expression for a moment would not be referring to a very short time but maybe a period of about a year. A year or more could be represented by a moment when you are dealing with a long period of time.
 
Tacitus speaks as if the Church broke out for the first time in Rome not Palestine.
 
Tacitus says it happened soon after the death of Christ, a year or so.
 
These contradictions of the history of the Church show that Tacitus was not in any position to be relied up in what he wrote about Christ. He could have been wrong to think that Pilate executed him.
 
The contradictions are inexplicable.  Was a forger at work again? If so, then the forger needed to fabricate evidence for the existence of Jesus which would be a very telling thing to do!
 
Thankfully the body of writings is a small one which makes the task not too difficult. We will see that if Jesus did not exist then it was a case of definitely not existing or a case of having no evidence one way or the other which would mean we don’t know if he existed or not. Either is fatal to the Christian faith.
 
THOSE WHO DENIED THE EXISTENCE
 
Second Peter states that the apostles did not give out cleverly devised myths when they revealed to the world the power and the coming of the Lord Jesus but were eyewitnesses to a visionary event, the transfiguration, that revealed the majesty of Jesus (1:16). In other words, a vision verified the power and coming of Jesus. It doesn't hint that it means the second coming of Christ. It just says coming. The vision he recounts said nothing or indicated nothing about a second coming. Second Peter is plainly saying that Jesus' power and coming had to be revealed to the apostles in a vision. He was not heard of before. This supports the idea that there was no Jesus known of until some people claimed to be having visions of this being who claimed to have been crucified and died and rose again.
 
Justin Martyr recorded that a Jewish theologian around 150 AD, called Trypho, said the Christ Christians believed in was an unfounded rumour and the Christians invented a Christ for themselves. He was certainly denying the validity of any Christian evidence about Jesus if not denying the existence of Jesus. But what he wrote can be interpreted as an outright denial that Jesus lived.
 
Justin protested against the Roman opinion that Christians were really atheists because they worshiped an invisible God and not one of the human gods who lived in some inaccessible place like they had.
 
Justin says that Christians worship the Son and makes no effort to show that Christians also worship a human God. This proves that the Romans believed that Christ did not exist and that they felt that the Christian worship of Jesus was a pretence to cover up atheism for they could not seriously worship a man who never lived. Most people then did deny Jesus’ existence in those days. It also proves they were right for although Justin says he believes Jesus lived 150 years before he had no evidence for this contention. Those who would have known best, the educated and the rulers, denied Jesus’ existence. Most of the Christians had nothing historical to say about Jesus even by then. Their leaders were as bad. That got them into trouble for the pagans gave their gods elaborate life-stories.

Justin declared that Sunday was the day God made the world though Genesis says it was Saturday. He is denying that Jesus was a Jew for, being a Jew, Jesus would not have believed that. When believing people could not even get Jesus’ religion right it shows that he must have been invented.

Justin’s grave departures from the apostolic teaching do not inspire confidence in him as a worthy foundation for arguments for Jesus’ existence and we can only rely on him when he lets slip what he does not want us to know.

Justin made Jesus a god below God contradicting Jesus’ strict monotheism.

Celsus was a Roman historian and writer and he declared that Jesus’ virgin birth and death and resurrection were fables as were the stories Christians told about Jesus when they were doing magic spells (page 53,54, Celsus, On the True Doctrine). This was in the sixties or seventies of the second century. If Jesus’ crucifixion and death were fables so was Jesus or at least he was very likely to be a fable! The Romans had no need to deny the crucifixion. Indeed they considered it a proof that Jesus was a fake. Their denial is very significant.
 
The Testament of Levi says that the Son of God will receive great honour in the world until he ascends. This denies that the killers if any could have been men for the whole world worshipped him. It puts Jesus outside the time span spelled out in the gospels for he must have lived in a long forgotten time when that happened.


(See www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-07.htm#P378_53868).

The Church was bothered by converts who began saying that Jesus was not a person but an apparition or symbol seen by natural eyes or by the imagination from the very start.