HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

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Gospel Evidence for Jesus is Worthless

The gospels, the stories of Jesus in the Bible which are attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are supposed to be the inspired word of God. But if you take the reasons the Church says they are true or probably true you could create four or even six gospels perhaps making a saviour of Melchizidek to rival them and say they originated miraculously. This makes it clear how much faith depends on prejudice and laziness.
 

The Four Gospels purport to be evidence for Jesus Christ and his life and death and resurrection. The very fact that they put so much time into discussing what Jesus supposedly said about preparing for the second coming when he comes in glory to destroy evil forever and judge the living and the dead indicates that they expected this to happen in a matter of months or even weeks! For that reason, those who had the gospels wouldn’t have published them preferring instead to prepare those who were already Christians for the second coming instead of trying to get more converts in. Also it is wise to be careful with prophetic books and not publish them widely in case the prophecies are proven false. We can be confident that the four gospels were kept confidential for decades. That made it easier for the Church to fool the world with its story of a Jesus who was as real as the man on the moon. There is proof that the bones of the Jesus story were got not from a Jesus of history but from erroneous interpretations of the Old Testament predictions and statements that were mistaken for predictions or twisted to make them look like predictions. There is proof that the teaching was stolen from other teachers. Some of the Jesus story came from the lives of Jewish holymen. There is proof that the gospels lied that Jesus was popular. The arguments for them being honest and telling the truth are weak and futile. The gospel evidence for Jesus is worthless. We have no evidence – except for some dubious evidence about the crucifixion and one or two other big things – outside the gospels that the gospels are telling the truth.
 
Most philosophers who say miracles might happen do say that you need to see them yourself and have them carefully assessed by experts before believing. The reason is that if God is trying to say something through a miracle and God comes first then utmost caution must be exercised. And you don't want to encourage people who crave wonders and excitement and who merely foment and enable superstition and credulity. Another reason is that if a miracle does not call for a minute and cautious examination before it can be believed then nothing does. This outlook calls for scepticism towards the gospel miracles for they are based too much on hearsay and there is no evidence that anybody mentioned in the gospels as a witness to Jesus' miracles knew what was written about them.
 
Some scholars think that many of Jesus' gospel teachings are authentic and they assume that these teachings can be identified amid the mythmaking and miracle story dross. This is nonsense for these teachings are inseparable from the claim that Jesus did miracles. If the miracles are lies then the teachings are more likely to be lies. It is easier to lie about what a person said than about what they did.
 
The evidence for Jesus and his deeds is not as good as the evidence say for the life of somebody and their actions today. If Jesus lived today and we were living two thousand years into the future we would have evidence about him from his bebo profile. Does that not show you how poor and unsatisfactory the evidence Christianity gives you for him and his deeds is? Does it not show that there is something badly amiss? Credibility is the last thing Christianity can ever cloak itself with.
 
It is normal not to believe some things you should believe or to believe that what is false is actually true. That is life. Yet Christianity says we are under obligation to believe what it believes about Jesus! We are not allowed the same privileges with Jesus.
 
PROPHETIC EVIDENCE

Prophecies in the Old Testament that were not concerned with Jesus were used to make the Jesus story which shows that the Jesus story is untrue. That was where the plot for the gospels came from.  When prophecies of Jesus that are neither prophecies or about Jesus provide the framework for the life of Jesus as it appears in the gospel it is a sure sign that the writer is a fraud.
 
Surprisingly, the evidence from bible prophecy indicates not necessarily that Jesus never existed but that lots of things were made up about him because of them and that he may never have existed.

Jesus had a lot of harsh things to say about Jewish tradition. Yet this tradition was to blame for much of the unjustified messianic interpretation of Old Testament texts. Jesus himself according to the gospels interpreted prophecies according to tradition even though he scorned that tradition left, right and centre and eventually ended up on the cross over his disdain.

Christians pored over the Old Testament and weaved its plots into the Jesus story.

The annunciation was invented from the story of the angel appearing to the barren wife of Manoah to inform her of the miracle birth of Samson (Judges 13). The angel tells her that she will have a baby and what he will be and that he will save his people from the Philistines. The angel told Mary the same things but said that Jesus would save his people from sin.

Mary’s Magnificat was plagiarised from that of Hanna (1 Samuel 2). Both women had miracle births.

Jesus allegedly cured a man with a withered hand. The man had one withered hand and he was cured in a house of worship. In 1 Kings 13, Jeroboam is in the Temple and his hand is miraculously restored.

 

The story of Jesus walking on water seems to have been structured around the story of the Exodus – see chapters 14 and 15. Jesus like Israel walks in the middle of the sea. A wind from the east was blowing and was very strong. At the end of the story both the disciples and the Egyptians had their hearts hardened.

Moses’ face was transfigured and Jesus was transfigured on the Mount of Olives. Moses was even transfigured with him on that occasion!

The story of Elisha multiplying twenty barley loaves to feed one hundred men and Elisha telling somebody else to distribute the food and some being left over after they had eaten must have suggested the New Testament story of Jesus multiplying bread and fish for thousands and getting the apostles to give it out and some being left over.

Jesus calming the storm comes from Psalm 107 which describes men in a boat being caught in a storm and crying to the Lord who calms the storm. This Psalm is just recounting the experience of many and is not to be understood as a prediction for you can’t see predictions everywhere.

God is everywhere and on the sea so the book of Job poetically says that God walks on the sea (Job 9:8). He is not predicting anything about Jesus for the context intended that these descriptions of divine power were to show how powerful God is. Jesus could not have shown that before he physically walked on water. The fact that Mark says that Jesus did not intend to be seen but planned to walk by the boat on the water that night proves the story was an invention for a real miracle worker only uses his powers as signs of love and not just for short-cuts. Job then inspired the tale of Jesus walking on the water.

Elisha raised a dead boy and so did Jesus. The spirit of God came upon Samson and upon Jesus.

The entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was taken right out of Zechariah which says a king will do this. But if Jesus was really welcomed as a king then why didn’t he become one and be made one? Anybody could ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and say they are a king and not take over like Jesus. He would have had to have been enthroned to be a real king.

Even the Psalm where the author complains that his friend who ate bread with him at table has been called a prophecy of Judas betraying Jesus after the last supper!

The events surrounding the death of Jesus were inspired by Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

Jesus might not have existed when his life story was constructed from ancient texts. If he did exist we have lost the historical Jesus.

But what if Jesus purposely fulfilled the prophecies? Maybe he did but it is easier for a person to write his story in line with them than it is for him to fulfil them even if they are easy. We don’t have the independent and unbiased testimony necessary to claim that Jesus did the fulfilling himself. The gospels incredibly claim that Jesus did engineer his life to fit prophecy when he could. He speaks of doing things so that the prophets might be fulfilled as if he needed to do something to fulfil them. If the future can be seen you don’t need to deliberately fulfil it. You have to have very serious reasons for saying a person miraculously fulfilled prophecy for it is so unnatural and abnormal and there is something badly wrong when it easy. If Jesus miraculously fulfilled prophecies easy to fulfil then miracles are a sign that miracles are no good for being signs for anything else.

The prophecy of Daniel about the 70 weeks is supposed to give the year in which the Messiah would die. This could have led to somebody in the later first century thinking that the Messiah despite the absence of evidence lived some years before and died in that year. He would have then depended on supposed divine visions and revelations to get details about this obscure Christ and used the prophecy to prove that Jesus existed on the assumption that scripture cannot err. He would have worked out that the Messiah must have been raised from the dead when he failed to fulfil the prophecies about the glorious power of the Messiah over the world so he would come again to do that. Maybe Daniel’s prophecy was the reason the Jesus story started off.

A man whose life story contains a lot of alleged happenings that mirror happenings in books written years before could have been made up. Or at least much of his story could have been made up. Some would say in Jesus’ case that this need not call the reports into question for the Old Testament prefigured him or that Jesus’ life was mapped out by God to copy some OT events. But the Old Testament and Jesus never said it did that. Jesus said it prophesied about him but that is different and implies he just happened to fulfil them and did not do it on purpose. Jesus’ life matching the Old Testament “history” is more likely to mean the gospellers and their predecessors had to invent a history for him and scoured the Old Testament to get ideas. We know that in the Book of Mormon, that a character called Alma whose life story is uncannily almost identical to Paul’s though he was born before Jesus and Paul and in America has to be fictional for it is just too close to be true. And Christians bigotedly say this of Alma though their Jesus tale was as bad. We know the Jesus story was written by somebody that had the Old Testament though it claims to have been written before Christ. Alma and Jesus have their fictitiousness in common.

It is startling but true that novels from the time of Jesus have stories of lovers which are parted by death and the dead female is buried and stolen from the tomb by grave robbers upon discovering that she is alive and the grave clothes are left behind and people think he or she has risen from the dead and when he thinks she may have survived he goes and searches for her and when he finds her he is totally unable to believe that she is not a ghost (WWW, Robert M Price, Christ a fiction). Christians will claim the Jesus story inspired this but the Jesus story could just as easily have been inspired by it. Love stories are always going to be better known than Jesus stories so Jesus’ story did come from the love story.
 
Bible Christians still say the Devil made fake dinosaur bones to fool the world into rejecting the book of Genesis – and if Christians could say that then how do you know that those who said Jesus existed, died and rose were not as stubborn? They were unreliable if they were. How do we know that the apostles who may have had a say in the formation of the New Testament were not just as bad? Maybe they would just have been as biased. Perhaps they said that the Devil destroyed the evidence for Jesus’ existence. Perhaps they claimed that when the body of Jesus turned up that it was a satanic hoax geared to discredit the resurrection? It is absolutely true that the gospellers did not use eyewitness testimony as much as they used the Old Testament prophecies to figure out what Jesus must have done and what happened in his life. Matthew went to the Wisdom of Solomon and Zechariah to create the details about Jesus and his passion that were lacking in Mark.
 
THE EMBARRASSMENT ARGUMENT

It is supposed that since the gospels say things about Jesus that were embarrassing for believers and the Church that he must have existed. So evidence against Jesus becomes evidence for him!
 
The gospels could have left them out even if they were true. The stories might be mistakes. Many religions and apparitions contain unsavoury material. Such mistakes do happen. So the unsavoury gospel yarns could be mistakes and you can make mistakes whether or not it is a real person you are writing about.
 
The unsavouries are an indicator of fallibility and that there couldn’t have been much good to tell about Jesus when they had to settle for a lot of unflattering stuff – the supposedly embarrassing material makes us think there was no Jesus when stories about him were hard to come by. Then again, Hinduism has lots of shocking stories about its favourite god, Krishna, so there was a strong religious tradition for attributing evil or bizarre antics for gods though you wanted people to start devotion to them. The idea was that gods could do things people were not allowed to do and still be considered good. In a sick way, people like Gods they say are perfect but who still exhibit flaws.  Its human nature. That is why Gods doing malicious things while claiming to be paragons of holiness got more popular not less. Good in the religious sense is boring.
 
The embarrassment argument is totally worthless regarding attempts to prove the Jesus tale and indicates that it is questionable.

Perhaps the shaming bits and pieces about Jesus were not shaming to the early Church when it put them in the gospels. It didn’t have to include them. People might not have realised that they should have been ashamed. The moral sense in those days was very dull.

All of the unpleasant tales can be reconciled with an interpretation satisfactory to the Christian though not often to the objective person who looks hard enough but they were not written for geniuses but simple people.

THE SOBRIETY ARGUMENT FOR JESUS’ EXISTENCE

It is argued by Christian scholars that since the gospels are not characterised by absurd plots and claims that they must be history. There is nothing in them for example, about Jesus becoming the Emperor of Rome or turning the Mediterranean Sea into blood or battling vampires and chatting with dragons.
 
This argument sounds rational but is quite bizarre. You could use that argument to back up any pack of lies.

The gospels taught foolish doctrines which stand as evidence that they are not as sober as Christians boast.  Is a story about Jesus healing a blind man really odder than Jesus maybe dispatching a vampire?  The sobriety argument is too subjective.  All bizarre tales take decades to get more outrageous.

The sobriety argument for the existence of Jesus is a failure. When you attempt to apply it to the gospels it makes you more certain that there was no Jesus.

 

The bits that ring true in the gospels may show that their authors may have used a lot of real stories about real people to construct their tales.  Perhaps a story about some crank curing the blind was plagerised into a tale about Jesus.   Even the Epistles sometimes show the same technique. For example the fake epistle of Jude, copies a lot of 2 Peter and the epistle of James.

 

Christians say that as so much of Mark ends up in the gospels of Matthew and Luke that they merely cut out a lot of work by using Mark.  But what if the copying was a crude way of trying to build up a Jesus out of other people's stories?  Because Mark was about Jesus, it does not exclude its use being a symptom of their determination to use whatever stories they could get and make them about Jesus.  It could be confirmation of how determined they were.
 
FINALLY
 
Even if you think there is some force in the gospel evidence, it is insufficient as a basis for such big claims as that Jesus died for our sins and did miracles and rose again and that he is the final word on what God is and what God is like.
 
WORKS CONSULTED

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The WWW

Who is GA Wells? Rev Dr Gregory S. Neal
www.errantskeptics.org/G_A_Wells.htm

The Silent Jesus
www.askwhy.co.uk/awcnotes/cn4/0325SilentJesus.html#Justin

Apollonius the Nazarene, The Historical Apollonius versus the Historical Jesus
www.apollonius.net/bernard1e.html

Why Did the Apostles Die? Dave Matson,
 www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/4Why97.html
 
The “Historical” Jesus by Acharya S
www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm

How Did the Apostles Die?
www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/4/4front97.html

History’s Troubling Silence About Jesus, Lee Salisbury
www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=102

Steven Carr discusses the Christian and apostolic martyrs
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs.htm  
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs2.htm

Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsOne.htm
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsTwo.htm
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsThree.htm#Twelve  

The Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Peter Kirby
http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/

The Martyrdoms: A Response, Peter Kirby
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs3.htm

A Sacrifice in Heaven,
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/supp09.htm

The Evolution of Jesus of Nazareth
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/partthre.htm

The Jesus of History, a Reply to Josh McDowell by Gordon Stein
 www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/Jesus.html

Josh McDowell’s Evidence for Jesus – Is It Reliable?, by Jeffrey J Lowder www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

A Reply to JP Holding’s “Shattering” of My Views on Jesus
www.infidels.org/secular_web/new/2000/march.html

Robert M Price, Christ a Fiction
www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/fiction.html

Earliest Christianity G A Wells
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/earliest.html

The Second Century Apologists
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/century.htm

Existence of Jesus Controversy, Rae West
www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/littleton/gm1_jesu.htm

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/index.shtml

Jesus Conference,
www.st-and.ac.uk/~www_sd/jconf_hall.html
 
Jesus Conference,
www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_sd/jconf_stuckenbruck.html
 
The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance
www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-07.htm#P378_53868.

Sherlock Holmes Style Search for the Historical Jesus
www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/890/history.html
 
The Ascension of Isaiah
www.earth-history.com/sacred-ascension-Isaiah.htm

Apollonius of Tyana: The Monkey of Christ? The Church Patriarchs, Robertino Solarion www.apollonius.net/patriarchs.html

What About the Discovery of Q? Brad Bromling
www.ApologeticsPress.org
 
Wells without Water, Psychological Buffoonry from the Master of the Christ-Myth, James Patrick Holding
www.tektonics.org/JPH_WW.html

Critique: Scott Bidstrp [sic] on The Case for Christ by James Patrick Holding
www.tektonics.org/bidstrup02.html

GA Wells Replies to Criticism of his Books on Jesus
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/errant.html

The Ossuary Scam: A Critical Analysis of the “James” Ossuary
http://www.atrueword.com/index.php/article/articleprint/15/-1/1/

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Acharya S
www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm