So You Want to be a Jesus Mythicist?
by Stephen J. Bedard
You want to be a believer in the Jesus myth theory, the idea that Jesus never existed and that the Gospel account of Jesus is based on pagan myths. It could be because you are an atheist and you know this will really bug Christians. Or perhaps you enjoy conspiracy theories or have a love for mythology. It doesn’t matter. Here I will provide you with the guidance to become an effective Jesus mythicist.
The first step is to get rid of the historical Jesus. Now some Jesus mythicists hold that Jesus absolutely did not exist and others that perhaps there was some historical figure and yet we cannot know anything about him. The process is still the same, you must demonstrate that there is no historical evidence for Jesus. What you must do is completely dismiss any first century evidence for Jesus. Christians will attempt to pull the Josephus card. Don’t let them get away with that. While it may be technically true that most historians and Josephus scholars acknowledge that Josephus said something about Jesus and that some later Christian expanded that, hold your ground with the forgery claim. Don’t let them pull scholarship into the argument, the idea of a Christian contaminating a text is too good to let go. They will try to bring Paul in as evidence as well. Keep hammering at the fact that Paul never mentions the historical Jesus or quotes any of his sayings. If a Christian cites a place in Paul where he does use the historical Jesus, ignore them.
Then there are the Gospels. Quickly dismiss them as religious propaganda. Anything that has a religious motive is biased and is not to be trusted. Insist that the only valid textual evidence would be a completely unbiased, philosophically and religious free secular document that lists the facts according to modern standards of historiography. Of course, there are no ancient documents like that for any historical figure…
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