Regarding Mythicism, the idea that there was no historical Jesus, Earl Doherty wrote that in last 50 years, there has been almost no rebuttal offered to mythicism by mainstream scholars, and nothing of a comprehensive nature.  Bart Ehrman made a good attempt.  Mythicism could be true when it has not been examined properly.


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 god or wizard. The nearest we get to evidence for Jesus having lived is the anonymously authored and partisan four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for everything else is far more, or could be, hearsay than what they are.
That nobody forged writings in the name of Jesus but plenty in the name of his alleged associates speaks volumes.  Did they suspect there was no such man?

Paul never gives any details about Jesus and speaks of knowing Jesus in apparitions and Jesus even tells him about the last supper.  We don't even know who Jesus had the last supper with.  This is akin to people in five hundred years finding no details about Donald Trump in social media.  Paul stresses being polite to people and obedience to the empire.  Neither of these fits Jesus' rudeness in the gospels and how Rome killed him.
Because Jesus came back from the dead and went to God, he knows what God’s truth is. If we didn’t have the truth from the risen Jesus and wanted to go to the abyss for it that would mean God would have to raise him again to stop us. This indicates that God raised Jesus from the dead so that Jesus would be able to reveal God’s truth. Jesus did not do that when he was a man. He did it after he died and rose again.
The gospel Jesus then was a pack of lies, perhaps good ones and perhaps based on the lives and teachings of some Jewish saints to make them look real but lies all the same. If you read the epistle of James you get the impression that the teaching of Jesus was plagiarised from that of James and perhaps events from the life of James were used to make stories up about Jesus.
Paul said Jesus died according to the scriptures which must mean Isaiah 53 which speaks of somebody dying like Jesus in the PAST tense. There is no reason at all to not take this tense literally. Paul may be saying that Jesus died hundreds of years before.
Paul said that he received the information that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3). It would seem then that if Jesus died recently Paul would not have to receive that news from God. But some say that what Paul received was not that Jesus died but that he died for sinners in accordance but the main thought is the death. Paul would have written that Jesus had died and that he received the information that it was for sinners had he meant what Christians say.

Because Paul was the first writer what he says goes. The fact that we know who he was and how prominent he was makes him supersede the gospels no matter if they are plausible or not so even if he is the only one that gives evidence that Jesus never existed we can safely ignore any testimony as to Jesus’ existence after him. Such testimony is not being dismissed as worthless but as not being solid enough.
According to Irenaeus, a major Church father from the late second century, Simon the Magus claimed to be divine and hinted that he was the Messiah. Irenaeus declared that Simon said that it was said that he suffered in Judea but that he hadn't suffered at all. Simon was claiming to be Jesus who suffered the cross there. Perhaps, this reflects heretical Christian teachings that Christ did not really suffer or die on the cross but it only looked as if he did. If Jesus was really a contemporary of Simon, Simon could not have claimed such a thing and especially if he had become a Christian as the book of Acts claims. There could not be two Simons at the one time. Simon seems to be saying Jesus lived centuries before him and was a previous incarnation or appearance of his. This would refute the gospels for putting Jesus in the first century.
John in a first century epistle says that the Antichrists are denying that Jesus came in the flesh and was the Christ. So we have a plethora of people who regarded Jesus as important but denied that he was a real flesh and blood man and who denied that he ever claimed to be the Christ. They contradicted nearly everything in the gospels by saying that. If Jesus never claimed to be the Christ, then all the sermons in which he claimed to fulfil Old Testament prophecy are fabrications, and he never rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the cheers of the people like the Messiah was supposed to do. He would not do it even if he were just a vision for that would make the people think he was fulfilling Old Testament prophecy which the antichrist witnesses didn’t believe in.  These witnesses were saying that the gospels, whether they knew of them or not, are untrue. There might have been no gospels in those days but it does not matter. They were still proving that the gospel Jesus never existed. To ridicule these witnesses to the absence of historical data as heretics is totally foul and unfair and fraudulent for we know nothing about them as people. To say that Jesus existed despite them is as bad as saying that Jack is guilty of murder and not interviewing the witnesses who say they know he is innocent. When the Christians like John were boasting about being of God and saying that anybody that would not listen to their gospel was not of God (1 John 4:6) it is plain that they were too hellbent on convincing people and making threats and causing sectarianism to be trusted. Such nastiness only becomes an option when people know deep down that their opponents are right.
Written in 70 AD or earlier, Hebrews 8:1-6 states that if Jesus was on earth now he would not be a priest for there are priests on earth. The translators shove the word still between was and on to change the meaning but the word is not in the original. Obviously, Jesus could still be a priest even if there are priests on earth so God’s logic here is terrible. But anyway if priests on earth were stopping Jesus being a priest on earth who offers his life as a blood sacrifice that means that Jesus was crucified in Heaven or some other celestial world and was only known through visions for there were priests since the days of Moses.
The epistles and the Book of Revelation call Jesus the firstborn and sometimes the firstborn from the dead. They never hint that they mean he was just the first in line as heir and not the firstborn in the sense of firstborn son of God. They say he was the firstborn of many brethren meaning the first person was saved by God and adopted as his son. They say he was the firstborn from the dead meaning that he rose before any of the resurrections reported in the Old Testament. Jesus was thought then to have lived centuries before.

1 Peter 3 says that Jesus died and was raised as a ghost and went to preach to the spirits who had sinned before Noah’s day. Why just them then? The reason must be because he died before the flood. These people died during his day and before it.
The epistle says that Roman governors must be obeyed for God uses them to punish and reward people (1 Peter 2:13,14). It is thought that this denies that one of them, Pilate, killed Jesus – the gospels say Pilate sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. It seems Peter would be taking it for granted that we know to obey them only when they are right. But then why does he tell us to uphold the Roman governor’s decisions about meting out vengeance on people when most of their punishments were unduly harsh and they had little concern for justice? I agree with G A Wells that this command proves that the early Church did not believe that Pilate unjustly sent Jesus to the cross. Christians say that Pilate was forced by the Jews or Roman law or both but this is dubious for Pilate had the power to postpone a decision and could have decreed a discreet execution of a man who was not Jesus in Jesus’ place to save Jesus. The John gospel has Pilate killing Jesus because he is afraid of the Jews and then informing Jesus that he could release him if he would only clear himself before him so somebody wasn’t able to make up his mind about Pilate. The incoherence suggests that the Pilate episode may never have happened for it should not have been hard to report accurately about it if it had.

In 2 Peter 1 we read that the apostles seeing Jesus glorified and God telling them that he was his beloved son is not as sure a word as the word in the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, saying it. So you should not look for evidence for Jesus that he lived and did what the Church says anywhere but in the Old Testament. That is clearly an admission that they had nothing else. The evidence for Jesus came from the Old Testament and if visions happened their purpose was to guide people to see what was in the Old Testament not to be equal with it. The epistle tells us then there was no evidence for Jesus except the Old Testament prophecies. But these are a matter of interpretation. They can be made to refer to Muhammad and Messiahs other than Jesus to mention two possibilities out of dozens.
The epistles show that the Jesus of the gospels never existed.
Other first century writings such as the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Diognetus, the Didache and the Letter of Clement to the Corinthians do things like saying that the resurrection of the dead will come for the phoenix rises from the ashes (meaning there was no evidence that Jesus rose but visions so something else had to be used as evidence however bad it was), that the Law of Moses is not literally true and that Jesus stood for loving your neighbour more than yourself which shows these sources were undermining the historical nature of the gospels which they fundamentally contradicted.
Now to the gospels.
The gospellers followed not Jesus but an interpretation of him which makes them unreliable for nobody’s interpretation is infallible and the Church never claimed that their interpretation was infallible only that the scriptures are which is unintelligible.
The gospels themselves give accidental clues that Jesus never existed especially when they say embarrassing things about Jesus that scholars think they would not have made up. But they did make everything up. Here is one instance. To believe that Jesus was able to cause trouble in the temple and put animals out and stop people coming in means he had a huge army with him to help him for the temple was a very big area is too much. He would have been apprehended as soon as he threw over the first stall.

If Jesus was violent in the temple he would have been arrested there and then which means that the stories of the last supper and his later arrest and crucifixion and resurrection are untrue for he was in jail.

It is thought that there are embarrassing things in the gospels like Jesus going into Jerusalem on a donkey which was like making an attempt to get political power. The Son of God failing to take over the land would look bad. But there is no doubt that the miracles were made up and when people can make embarrassing claims such as amazing powers for a person that they never had they would make up anything. All gods do embarrassing things and Jesus was no exception so the shaming things don’t mean the writers about Jesus were not making him up. The Church used the embarrassment of the crucifixion in such a way that it really ceased to be an embarrassment so they could have made it up. They used it to make people feel guilty that their sins allegedly put Jesus on the cross to make him pay for them to God or Satan.

The gospels say that Jesus was popular with the people and it was hoped and suspected by most that he would be the Christ. If he had been he would have been crucified a lot lot sooner. This means that nearly all the Jesus stories must be lies. He would not have been free to go about end of story for the Romans did not tolerate anybody who might be a claimant to Christship as the country was unstable and they tolerated no rivals. Also it is absurd that the Sanhedrin would have pulled in witnesses who could not agree on the simplest things at Jesus’ trial to try and secure an unjust conviction. The Sanhedrin were not that stupid. If they wanted Jesus dead so bad they would have been well prepared. They had been wanting rid of him for years according to the gospels.

The resurrection narratives are completely lacking in scientific verification. For example, no effort is made to prove that it was really Jesus who died on the cross – we are not told if anybody who knew Jesus had a good view of his face which was disfigured anyway. This indicates that the stories were made up by the gospellers for if something had really happened all objections would have been carefully refuted and they would have invented stories to remove all doubts. There is no evidence that the very early Church let the public read the gospels and plenty of indications that they did not. Another problem is the fact that Luke and Matthew report different things regarding the birth of Jesus and thereabouts. All four gospels differ on the events surrounding the resurrection. Yet they and Jesus believed that before anything could be accepted as reliable there had to be at least two level-headed and honest witnesses as the God of the Law of Moses commanded. The gospels then defied the law and showed themselves to be capable of religious fraud. Luke reported that Jesus once said that having the Law of Moses and the Prophets was more important than listening to anybody who managed to return from the dead which shows that those gospel-mongers who stressed the importance of Jesus himself were frauds. The supposedly most reliable account of Jesus’ life is his passion and crucifixion. But these stories are full of things that should have been said to silence critics but which were not showing that the stories were invented. Stories should get more convincing as critics are responded to.
The risen Jesus has many of the features associated with the pre-crucifixion Jesus. When the risen Jesus was made up why not the pre-crucifixion Jesus as well?

When all the big things in the Jesus story are fiction it follows that the lesser stories cannot be trusted at all either.

There is even a hint in the Gospel of John that it is only a novel. Jesus is made to say that human testimony is useless (John 5:34). Since, presumably, a human wrote the gospel that means that the gospel is only tongue-in-cheek though this insight is only intended for geniuses to happen upon. His Jesus lets it slip that there is nothing he can do to back up his claims except that since he wants to bring glory to God he cannot be a liar (John 7:18). But all false prophets say that!

There is nothing from a non-Christian source that gives a firsthand mention of Jesus in the first century. There were many prolific writers who never mentioned Jesus.
Christians say that arguments from silence prove little and can be misleading for Jesus did exist. But arguments from silence prove a person never existed when nobody mentions that person though you would expect them to. And even more so when it is several people who are saying nothing.

The best thing to do with people who allegedly said that Jesus lived is to find an early testimony that he did not. That would mean they were mistaken and the early bird comes first for it’s the one that has the worm.
Incidentally, the Book of Q, the original gospel of Jesus’ sayings which is believed to explain what Mark, Matthew and Luke have in common is only hypothetical. Mark could have easily have been the first ever Jesus story and the others just changed bits here and there but used a lot of him as raw material for their gospel. Yet the Book of Q is treated by many silly scholars as a document that brings us closer to the historical Jesus and some say it precedes Paul’s epistles!
The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus who died in 117 AD condemned Christianity as pernicious superstition. In 115 AD he wrote his Annals and declared that Christ – he doesn’t call him Jesus - had been executed under Pontius Pilate, lived in Judaea and created a new system of superstitious evil. Christians say he plucked this from the Roman legal records and sceptics counter that he was only taking for granted what Christians were saying which would mean he could not be used as proof for the existence of Jesus. A large piece of any historians work has to involve stuff that may be unreliable but they just use it anyway for you cannot substantiate everything. Its better than saying nothing. So the sceptics are right. It is possible that nobody heard of this man and his death under Pilate until some people reported apparitions that the messiah had been in obscurity and nailed under Pilate. Perhaps later a candidate who was thought to be that man was come up with. 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. Can we be sure that Tacitus means our Christ?
There is no evidence that Tacitus who wrote that Pilate crucified Christ was depending on official records. He had no reason to think that what the Christians were saying was not historical fact. Historians only check sources when there might be reason to think that they are dubious. We know from the New Testament that the Docetists, those who believed that Jesus was not a man but a hallucination sent from Heaven to enlighten us were around from the start which is good news for those who want to deny the existence of Jesus. More importantly nobody was able to refute them to the satisfaction of the rational person.
Why does Tacitus say executed and not crucified? Why does he call him Christ not Jesus? Tacitus hated Christianity so he would have been proud to say Jesus was crucified for crucifixion disgusted people those days and would have put them off Jesus for crucifieds were thought to have been cursed. Rome would not have liked Jesus being called Christ for Christ was a title for the true God given king of the Jews and they ruled Jesus’ country so Tacitus calling Jesus that would mean Tacitus was advertising him as a Christ. These observations make many believe that the bit about Jesus was put in there by a forger trying to create evidence for a real Jesus.
Jesus despite the gospels bellowing about his popularity was never mentioned among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It is known that the part of what Josephus, the Jewish first century historian who collaborated with Rome, wrote that says that there was a Jesus who did miracles and was the Christ and who appeared after his death is a Christian interpolation.  There is no point in relying on anything that was tampered with for you never know what the original said.  Josephus mentioned James the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ later on in passing in book 20 of his Jewish Antiquities.  He denies that Jesus is the Christ.  He never hints that there is any evidence that this Jesus was a real man.  
About 150 AD, Justin wrote his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew. Trypho said that nobody from Jesus’ time knew him and that Jesus was invented. “If the Messiah has been born and exists somewhere, he is incognito and does not even recognise himself. He will have no power until Elijah will come and anoint him and tell all who he is. You [Christians] have listened to an unfounded rumour...


If Jesus is a rumour that is the same as calling him a near-myth if not a myth.

There is no reason to believe that Jesus lived. There is reason to believe that he did not.