HOME  Why its a mistake to give the Catholic Church support via membership or donations

 

Did Jesus the God of the Catholics Exist?

MYTHICISM is the interpretation of Christian history that denies that Jesus existed. I suspect that when we read the life story of James the alleged brother of Jesus that the Jesus story may have been based on his story. I suspect that the teachings of James were put into the mouth of Jesus by the gospellers. Hegesippus stated that James was regarded by everyone as the holiest on earth and holy from his birth and never drank or ate meat. James was thrown off the Temple and survived. Reminds us of Satan tempting Jesus to survive such a fall. He died near where Jesus supposedly died and at Passover and was even buried near where Jesus was supposedly buried.

Simon of Peraea is sometimes called Simon son of Joseph. He was a former slave of Herod the Great. He fomented a rebellion and the Romans beheaded him in 4BC. He put a crown on his head according to Josephus and proclaimed himself King or Messiah. "He thought himself more worthy of that dignity than any one else."

The Gabriel's Revelation or The Jeselsohn Stone mentions Simon. It commands Simon "to rise from the dead within three days".

Simon could have been another inspiration for the Jesus tale.

The Jews were performing healings in the first century invoking the name of Jesus son of Pantera. This could have been another Jesus. The Jesus of the gospel could be a fictitious figure based on many messiahs and prophets.

The main evidence for mythicism is as follows:

The silence of historians and writers from the time. Even if he had been mentioned, they would need to give some indication of having evidence that he existed. A bald, "There was a Jesus," is nothing more than hearsay.

There is no evidence that the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, mentioned Jesus for we know that a Christian interpolator edited his work and inserted references to Jesus and could have written all Josephus’ alleged references to Christ.

The gospel stories could have been invented. They could have been influenced by true stories where they ring true.

The gospels contain monolithic errors like saying Jesus was publicly active while claiming to be the Messiah an act which would not have been tolerated by the Jewish leaders or Rome for even a day in those politically turbulent times. To claim to be Messiah or king was to declare war on the ruthless Roman occupiers of Palestine. The gospels cannot be trusted as evidence that Jesus lived. Maybe they are being truthful but what are we to do? The gospels are the only evidences for a historical Jesus. Even if the gospels seem fairly plausible to some, the fact remains that the earliest evidence counteracts them and denies them. The earliest evidence is what counts.

The idea that people would not say embarrassing things about Jesus in the gospels which they did so the stories must have been true and undeniable is of no hope to Christians. The stories are that he insulted pagan women with possessed daughters and was nailed to the cross as a political criminal. Now all invented gods have unflattering tales told about them. And the crucifixion was turned into an advantage for it led to the heart-warming idea that Jesus died for sinners in atonement and rose from the dead and showed himself stronger than his killers.

The first Christian writer, top Church leader and apostle, Paul of Tarsus, never placed Jesus in a historical setting or said when he lived and gives no reason for us to deny that all he said about Jesus came from his visions. He indicated that there was no evidence when he required faith in the crucifixion. You don’t need faith for what is historical fact in recent times. He told the Corinthians that he decided to know and hear nothing among them but Christ crucified and this was to happen not by the wisdom of men but by the inspiration of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:1-5). When he put this faith on something so dangerous as the feeling that you are inspired that shows that it was all he could do. He had nothing but visions and communications from the Holy Spirit to tell him that Jesus was crucified meaning it was NOT something a historian could accept. He couldn’t refute the Corinthian believers who denied the resurrection except to mention the visions of the risen Jesus that they scoffed at and say that Jesus must have risen because the dead would be lost if he didn’t. The desperation proves that there was no real evidence – he couldn’t say Jesus did miracles when alive and could have managed to return from the dead. If Jesus lived recently some of the sceptical Christians would have been saying that the resurrection was a misunderstanding for the wrong man was nailed or Jesus survived by trickery but he makes no effort to prove that Jesus was dead which he would have to do to show the resurrection happened. He can do nothing.

Paul stated that Christ did not send him to baptise but to preach the gospel and not with eloquence and wisdom so that the cross would not be emptied of its power (1 Cor 1:17). This means that wisdom and intelligence would be no good to get people to believe in the cross and in its power but the cross has power to draw people to believe in it. That would only be right if there was no evidence for the cross but visions of a man who claimed to have been crucified and raised from the dead.

In Galatians 5:11, Paul declares that if he preaches circumcision the stumbling block of the cross is removed. This is plainly saying that to accept circumcision is denying the cross happened.
Notice that he doesn’t say denying the atonement or the propitiation but the cross, the historical event.

Hardcore Protestants argue that he was saying that the likes of Catholics are making the cross ineffectual. So it is necessary to deny that you can do anything to please God. Salvation is passive. Believing in Jesus doing all the work so that there literally nothing left for you to do is a sign of being saved and justified and forgiven.

Paul did not mean anything like that. If he had meant it he would have said that the circumcision is a stumbling block to the propitiation not the cross. That view would be pure nonsense. And Paul would have known it was for there were a lot of different views in early Christianity.  Millions have believed in the cross as a vehicle of salvation and atonement without believing that it abolished good works and religious rites as specified in the Law of Moses. Catholics follow a replacement for the Law of Moses and still believe that Jesus died in their place for their sins. You could have circumcision without denying the atonement of the cross.

Why did believers of his day go as far as to say that to accept circumcision was doing away with the cross? There is only one possible answer. Jesus revealed that he was nailed to a cross in visions to the apostles. In those visions, Jesus stated that the cross had to happen to free Christians from the Law of Moses and circumcision by taking the punishment due to sin. We know this had to have happened for the gospels never portray a Jesus who was that emphatic about doing this. To reject the revelation is to reject the cross for the revelation is the only evidence that the cross even happened. If you accept circumcision you contradict Jesus who told the Church about the cross eliminating the need for it and if you contradict Jesus you also deny that he was reliable in relation to the cross having happened. To deny one then is to deny the other.

There is nothing else that could make the cross and the abolition of the law so inseparable.  

Paul talked as if the risen Christ was a mystical supernatural being who somehow was one person with the Church which was his body so in a sense he and his cult were Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 6:15-17; 1 Corinthians 12) which may explain the reference to Jesus testifying to Pontius Pilate in one of his letters which most scholars however think is not really his work. Perhaps Jesus was thought to have had appeared to Pilate after his resurrection. There were many Christian legends from early times to that effect.

The Christianity of the apostles and Paul had nothing to do with a Jesus who provably lived but a visionary one – an entity that appeared to some people claiming to have been a man that was never known before who was crucified and raised from the dead. This was the testimony of the first Christian writer so it supersedes any evidence that allegedly shows that Christ lived especially when the other apostles of Jesus, Peter, James and John, accepted him as sufficiently Christian. So they must have agreed on that much.

1 Peter 3 says that Roman governors and officials must be obeyed for God uses them to punish and reward people (1 Peter 2:13, 14). Most of these punishments were unduly harsh and pagan and punishment is really vengeance if you administer it in a spirit of hatred and spite like they did so it is ridiculous to say that Peter means we should just approve of their punishments when they do right. He is saying we must approve of what they do just because it is God that lets them rule. This is a denial that Jesus suffered death under Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor.

2 Peter 1 says that the apostles believe that seeing Jesus glorified and transfigured (this seems to be referring to a resurrection vision) and God telling them that he was his beloved son is not as sure a word from God as the word of God in the Old Testament. So you should not look for evidence that Jesus lived or what he did except by looking at the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus. This admits that there is no evidence but the Old Testament. It therefore dismisses traditions about Jesus and gospels as fables.

The secular references to Jesus, which are very flimsy, could have come from hearsay that was understandably taken as fact just like some people believe that Joseph Smith of the Mormons really had golden plates even though that is part of the Mormon myth though without accepting any of the other Mormon legends. They take the plates as history and the rest as nonsense.

The first century Jewish historian Josephus allegedly wrote: “An end was put to this uprising. Now about the same time, a wise man called Jesus, if it be right to call him a man for he was a worker of wonderful works and a teacher of men who like to receive the truth. He won over to him many of the Jews and also many of the Gentiles. He was the Messiah or Christ. Pilate at the request of the chief men among us condemned him to crucifixion. When that happened those who loved at from the first did not abandon him because he appeared to them alive on the third day as the prophets of God had forecasted and not only that but ten thousand other things about him. The tribe of Christians called after him are not extinct even today. About this time another sad calamity put the Jews into great crisis and terrible disgusting things happened concerning the Temple of Isis in Rome.”

The testimony does not fit in as the words “An end was put to this uprising” and, “About this time another sad calamity”, prove. The Jesus bit gets a happy ending so it is not the calamity and indeed if the Jews didn’t like Jesus as it says his death was no calamity for them. No matter what you think of this argument, the fact remains firm that nobody can be sure that the testament about Jesus is authentic. You can't be sure about any of it.

Even if Josephus wrote the testimony we have testimonies from the New Testament itself that contradict him regarding when Jesus lived. The New Testament provides the best evidence that Jesus didn’t live at all. Much of the New Testament is older than his writings so it is what should be heeded if a conflict arises.

The testimony says that that there was a man called Jesus. Later it says that he appeared alive on the third day "as the prophets of God had forecasted and not only that but ten thousand other things about him". It does not say that there is credible testimony that Jesus was seen alive after his death. It only mentions that he appeared. The witnesses could have denied the resurrection afterwards for all we are told. So the evidence given for the resurrection is the prophecies. He means YOU MUST CHECK OUT THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES TO SEE IF WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT JESUS RISING FROM THE DEAD IS TRUE!! This is more evidence that the text was tampered with. Josephus was writing to a Roman audience who did not have any interest in Jewish scriptures. Even if Josephus did write the Testament it still does not help in the case for a risen Jesus because it depends on human interpretative ideas about Bible prophecies. It is not history that is here but faith. Josephus did not write this part of the testimony, at least, for we know he was not a believer.

The account depends on interpretations of prophecies when it says Jesus was seen alive on the third day. It is speaking of faith not evidence.

He questions if Jesus can be called a man. If he means Jesus was a spirit being then clearly the crucifixion was uncertain. You cannot really crucify a ghost. He again was resorting to faith. Some scholars say that he only meant that Jesus was too great of a man to be called a man - it was only an honorific way of speaking. He says he is uncomfortable calling Jesus a man as he was "worker of wonderful works and a teacher of men who like to receive the truth". Clearly he thinks that doing miracles and being infallible are signs of not being really human. The Romans thought that these powers were what made their gods gods. We must see this as the Roman audience for which it was intended saw it. It is correct to say the whole testimony is faith not evidence. Therefore it is no use if you want to show Jesus lived.

To question if Jesus can be called a man means that his later reference to James being the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ is put into a new context. It is not saying Jesus was a real man because he indicated before that that this was a matter of faith. Jesus the so-called Christ could have had the meaning so-called man who was claimed to be the Christ. Josephus only spoke of a Jesus of faith, assuming he really mentioned our Jesus.

The evidence is overwhelming. Josephus and Rome and the Jews did not know of a Jesus of history.

Because Josephus was a Jew not a Christian and a supporter of the Roman Empire which didn’t tolerate Messiahs and considered allegiance to them to be treason against the divine Emperor in Rome, this passage has been inserted or reworked by a Christian. The Romans sponsored his writing. If a Christian went to this trouble it would indicate that there was a need to fabricate evidence for the existence of Jesus. There can be no doubt that the passage is principally intended to back up its main statement that there was a man called Jesus. The other details are just meant to back this up. How could Josephus under Roman sponsorship speak well of Jesus when the Christians got the blame for burning Rome in 64 AD?

There is no need to suppose that any of this Jesus material is genuine. Arguments like that Josephus must have wrote that Jesus was a wise man for Christians didn’t use that terminology are silly, we have all heard Christians say that Jesus was a good man so why wouldn’t they say he was a wise one? The passage really shouldn’t be discussed in attempts to prove Jesus lived for it proves nothing. How could Josephus praise a man as wise who caused a riot in the Temple showing contempt for Roman and Jewish law?
 
When were the forgeries supporting Christianity implanted into Josephus' opus? Nobody knew about them before 320 AD. If the interpolations were in the early versions of Josephus the early Christian defenders of the faith would have used them to support their religious stance. Eusebius was the first person to write about the Testament and he did it in that year in his Demonstration of the Gospel. Eusebius stated that lying to get people to believe in Christianity was to be commended which is why many believe he was the forger of the Testament.

Origen in his famous Against Celsus, recorded that Josephus did not receive Jesus as his Saviour, Lord and Messiah and was amazed when Josephus praised James who was unjustly executed and who Josephus regarded as the brother of Jesus. It would be more natural, as well, for Origen to be amazingly amazed at what Josephus supposedly wrote about Jesus in the famous Testament of Flavius. It was not in the text in those days. When Origen was so gobsmacked then his Josephus did not mention Jesus in nice terms at all or perhaps he didn't mention Jesus but somehow indicated that he wouldn't believe if he did.

Origen did not quote the stuff about Josephus saying Jesus was the Messiah and rose from the dead to Celsus though he wrote a lot against Celsus to defend the faith against Celsus’ scepticism about Christianity’s’ claims meaning it did not exist in the works of Josephus in his time. Celsus rejected Jesus’ morals and Origen couldn’t even use Josephus to argue that Jesus had been stated by a non-Christian to have been a good man. Josephus never mentioned the man at all. By the way, the nice stuff about James was definitely an insertion for we don’t have it in any decent copy of Josephus.

Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Cyprian did not know that Josephus had any faith in Christ therefore their silence proves that he didn't. It must have been a Christian copyist who inserted the Testament. This Christian forger of the Testament did not know much about Jesus and had leanings towards the Christian tendency to deny that Jesus was a proper man but just God or an angel in a human body without a human mind. The interpolation was put in by somebody who did not believe that Jesus was God for that s too foundational a detail to leave out.

It is surmised that the Testament was not mentioned in the first few centuries because the existence of Jesus was not questioned by any important people or groups. The existence was questioned but lets pretend the objection is right. The resurrection and the miracles were questioned as were the Messiahship and the divinity of Christ. The Christians had four very serious reasons then to use and cherish the text and they did not because it did not exist. They would not have known that it was a fake so that could not have put them off. The text would not be still extant if it had been recognised for the fraud it was. Even if they did know it was a fake that would not have stopped them.
“Ananus...called together the Sanhedrin and brought the brother of Jesus the so-called Messiah/Christ, James by name, together with some others. He accused them of breaking the Law and condemned them to death by stoning. But the experts of the Law who were more liberal were angry at this and secretly requested the king stop this from happening” (Jewish Antiquities, Book 20).

Calling James the brother of the Christ or the Lord was a title given to James by the early Church. In Galatians 1:19, Paul says that he met James the Lord's brother. This seems to say that Jesus lived in the first century when his brother was still alive. But the most important thing to realise is that Paul told Philemon that Onesimus the slave was to be his blood-brother and not just a brother in the Lord so blood-brother among the early Christians didn’t always mean that you shared a parent. According to the letter of Paul to Philemon Christians believed you could make somebody you loved your brother or sister by blood even if they were not a blood relation. Paul told Philemon that Onesimus was not just a brother in the Lord but a blood brother from now on. A brother in the Lord means a non-literal brother but Paul’s saying Onesimus who was not related to Philemon was more than that and a blood brother indicates plainly that you can become a literal blood brother by adoption. This practice could have confused people about James and made them think he really was born a brother of Jesus’. Josephus who also called James Jesus’ brother could have made a mistake due to this confusing practice. The practice probably had a lot to do with the universal accusations of incest against Christians that supposedly were rife among the pagans.

In James 5:10, James offers the prophets as role models and singles out Job for mention. The real brother of Jesus would have stressed Jesus as role model. Why would Jesus' brother mention the suffering of prophets inferior to Jesus and not Jesus'? He never calls Jesus the Son of God or hints that Jesus lived a perfect life before his glorification. It seems that James did not even think that Jesus was the best exemplar. He had very little interest in Jesus in his epistle. This suggests that James was not his brother at all and knew very little about him.

Maybe Josephus was saying James brother of the so-called Christ as in a sneer. That would mean the line can’t prove if Jesus was thought to have existed or not. Also what if Josephus was calling James under a Jewish nickname “Brother of the So-called Christ”, called to him in mockery for following a false or non-existent Christ.

Josephus would not call Jesus the so-called Christ when it was not the Jews or the Romans were calling him Christ but a tiny persecuted and obscure sect. 


We must face the possibility that somebody altered Josephus's text to make it deceitfully call James the brother of the so-called Christ, Jesus. This was somebody who didn’t like the fact that Jesus was ignored by Josephus but who knew that Josephus couldn’t be positive about Jesus and would speak of him as a so-called Christ.

There is no evidence that the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, mentioned Jesus. His silence is a strong indication that Jesus never lived and Christians were obscure for he wrote prolifically concerning the period Jesus supposedly lived.

It is a mistake for those who oppose mythicism to disparage it. Even if it simply shows that the evidence for Jesus is not great or very weak or that nobody can know if Jesus existed or not or that it is one of the matters on which competent scholars can choose to disagree it still manages to destroy Christianity. If Christians would accept weak evidence, then they have no right to object if somebody invents a new creed on slender evidence and yet they intolerantly claim to follow Jesus who called himself “the Truth”.