What do we know about Jesus – from non-biblical sources?
Jesus Christ is the only proof of the living God. We only know God through Jesus Christ. – Blaise Pascal
There was no such person in the history of the world as Jesus Christ. There was no historical, living, breathing, sentient human being by that name. Ever. [The Bible] is a fictional, nonhistorical narrative. – Jon Murray, President American Atheists
Why isn’t this commonly taught?
More information has survived about Jesus Christ than most other ancient figures. Yet few historical persons have ever had their existence as questioned and as researched. One result of all that research is that information about Christ, from sources other than the Bible, is readily accessible by the common person for nearly the first time in history.
Unfortunately, this information and other material which refers to Christ seldom makes it into our learning cycle. Almost any material with significant reference to Christ or the Bible can be classified as religion and thus be summarily censored out of all events, displays, or institutions touched by government-allocated tax dollars. And the areas touched by tax dollars broaden every year.
Therefore, because taxpayer-funded expressions of Christ currently seem limited to extreme commentaries like crucifixes submerged in jars of urine, and scowling portraits of Jesus painted with an artist’s own feces, the paths by which we have been left to learn any facts about the historical life and times of Jesus are either through churches, private institutions, or self-study.
The world deals differently with Jesus than with other historical figures and rightly so. Jesus made bigger claims and had a bigger impact than all the others. Jesus claimed to be God incarnate and left this world with the original Schwarzenegger-styled promise of “I’ll be back”. Even if our tax dollars seem to favor Christ’s critics, it is not necessarily wrong to hold Christ up to a higher standard. Raising the standards was one of his clearest messages.
The testimonies from hostile sources
In the case for Christ, the value of evidence, particularly from hostile sources, is tremendous. Hostile sources are considered to be those who were definitely not followers of Christ; i.e., people who clearly were not out to propagate favorable belief in him. The fact that hostile sources cite Christ, as well as cite other New Testament personages and events, is evidence for both the existence of Christ and the general veracity of the Bible.
The important point of hearing the corroborating testimony by non-Christians writing in Christ’s own era, and shortly thereafter, is simply the acknowledgment of Christ’s existence. Naturally, because all of the proceeding testimony comes from people who did not conclude him to be God, it does not deal with Christ as favorably or thoroughly as writings by those who did…
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