Liar, Lunatic, Lord? In my last post I presented a brief survey of this argument. A fourth option was eventually suggested as equally viable. Legend- Jesus is not a historical person but is a myth of some sort.
This is just the sort of argument that pseudo-intellectuals will bring up on college campuses. Or the sort of headline story you’d find in the grocery store check-out line. It is either a mark of ignorance or a strategy for sensational journalism and should not be seriously entertained.
For instance, CNN ran a story during Easter (Aug. 7th) this year entitled, The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth. The article elicited 8, 618 comments. The next day, they ran a follow up article entitled, Your take: Comments on Jesus deniers, which racked up 2, 413 comments.
This is just the sort of thing that is great for business. It’s similar to posting on Facebook something like, men > women. You’re going to get some great reactions and a lot of attention.
Why do claims like these endure? Hasn’t this case been closed? Isn’t this a little like that persistent group of people who claim we never landed on the moon? Or that Dinosaurs didn’t really exist? Most people who want to seriously make this claim, simply have not done enough reading.
Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews, and J. M. Robertson are some of the major culprits in this tradition. But they have been apprehended and aren’t at large. In short, there’s no reason to worry.
Since that time [early 20th century] the historical existence of Jesus has not been disputed by any serious scholar. Obviously this has not prevented less serious writers from going on writing less serious things about Jesus. –Hans Küng
In 1970, true to his times, J. M. Allegro published a book entitled The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. In an era of magic carpet rides, kaleidoscope eyes, and psychedelic experiences is it any surprise that Allegro interprets Jesus as the “secret designation of a hallucinatory fungus” named amanita muscaria? This sounds like the stuff of Scooby Doo.
Jesus of Nazareth is not a myth. He is a real person, who’s history can be located and dated.
All the major markers of His short life are tied to historical times, places, and even people.
Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Rome, the Jordan River, Golgotha, Caesar Augustus, Caesar Tiberius, Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, Porcius Festus- all establish hard data points for the life of this Jesus.
Christian faith is essentially historical faith… It was only as a historical faith that Christianity was able to prevail at the very beginning against all the mythologies, philosophies and mystery cults. -Hans Küng
The early apostles and proclaimers of Jesus Christ appealed to the very real current events of their message.
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we became eyewitnesses of that One’s majesty.” -2 Pet. 1:16
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man shown by God to you to be approved by works of power and wonders and signs, which God did through Him in your midst, even as you yourselves know.” -Acts 2:22
“I am not insane, most excellent Festus, but am uttering words of truth and soberness. For the king knows about these things, to whom also I speak freely, for I am persuaded that none of these things have escaped his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.” -Acts 26:25-26
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to draw up a narrative concerning the matters which have been fully accomplished among us, even as those who from the beginning became eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us… so that you may fully know the certainty of the things concerning which you were instructed.” -Luke 1:1-4
All the hullabaloo about the ‘death of God’ has not made Him any deader. In fact, He seems to be quite alive and active today in millions of people’s lives. In like manner, all the denials of the existence of Jesus have not diminished His place in history.