Jesus Wasn’t a Real Person? That’s Dumb!
by Clay Jones
Last week I was asked by a reporter from the African-American newspaper, Our Weekly, to respond to the notion that Jesus wasn’t a historical person but really just a reheated myth based on religious myths that preceded it. What follows, with few changes, are the notes that I prepared for that interview. Extremely little of what I told her was extemporaneous because, since we were doing it on the phone, I knew I could write out what I anticipated to be her questions and then read it verbatim. Which I did, with a few exceptions. I don’t feel misrepresented by what she wrote but since (not surprisingly) her article pruned my responses by about 80 percent, I thought I would recount what I told her:
First, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the notion that Jesus wasn’t an historical person, but just a rehash of earlier myths, commits the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of it). Just because something chronologically follows something else doesn’t necessarily mean that what preceded it was its cause. For example, if someone said, every time we take Mary to the park it rains, so let’s not take Mary to the park anymore,” he would be committing the post hoc fallacy. Similarly, even if there were close parallels that predated Jesus’ life (which there aren’t), that doesn’t necessarily mean that those other myths were the cause of belief about Jesus. Instead, the evidence for Jesus’ life must be examined on its own historical merits.
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