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Life Arts    H3'ed 5/4/09

How We Know That Christianity Is Not True

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While both Doherty and Cascioli currently represent minority views in mainstream scholarship, they would appear to have put a great deal of very detailed research together in support of their positions. And again, simply being in the minority does not render a position inaccurate. If anything, the longtime dogmatic insistence on the historicist position, its support traditionally through coercive physical force, and the emotional weight that the position has gained in general from noncritical tradition and popular opinion, should leave us with an open skepticism about the matter. But again, in the end the issue is somewhat moot, because we do know for a fact that the biblical Jesus is a fiction.

The most scholarly attempt that has ever been made to determine the historical origins of Christianity is currently underway. It is called “The Jesus Project,” it has scholars ranging from deeply historicist to deeply mythicist, and it is dedicated to going wherever the evidence leads. Its first conference was held in December 2008. Its meetings are open to the public and will be held roughly every nine months for five years. It will publish the papers presented at its conferences regularly through Prometheus Books. The world eagerly await its conclusions.

1 The reason I say “pre-crucifixion Jesus” is because I won't rule out the possibility of “visions,” but such a methodology—being indistinguishable (at least from the outside) from hallucinations or even one's personal imaginings—places Christianity on equal ground with every other “mythological history” in the world.

2 Jesus’s Alleged Crucifixion: Circa 33 CE. Time frame within which the various gospels were written: Mark: 70-105 CE, Matthew: 90-110 CE, Luke: 95-140 CE, John: 90-140 CE. These ranges represent the best estimates of mainstream scholarship and there is not enough data concerning the gospels for us to narrow these ranges.

3 Then again, even granting these spiritual visions may be allowing too much, because they take Paul’s discussions at face value. Cascioli and Edmund Bordeaux Szekely (who I will discuss more in a later article) argue that all of Paul's letters were literary inventions, first by Marcion and then by others (we know that not all of Paul’s letters were written by the same person: Saul of Taurus was supposedly a persecutor of Christians before he converted and changed his name to Paul—but as Szekely points out, the Church’s traditional chronology has Paul convert less than a year after Christ’s crucifixion—not very long for Christians to establish themselves, let alone for Saul to persecute them. Szekely goes on to argue that Saul never converted, but rather continued till his death fighting the Messianic terrorists that had followed the Christ (messiah) figure “John of Gamala,” who Szekely and Cascioli argue was the historical half of the Jesus-Christ invention.

4 Jesus does say many things that are easily taken out of context—millennia later. The term “Son of Man” was a colloquial expression at the time which meant “I, myself.” The term “Son of God” meant simply a holy man. “Your sins are forgiven you,” was something priests would say, and it meant simply, “I stand witness before God that you have repented”—a practice that should be not at all unfamiliar to anyone who has heard of the sacrament of confession or attended a healing by faith. Are these priests and ministers claiming to be God? No. But they are standing as representatives of God—and the Jesus character saw himself as doing exactly the same. Tobin is indispensable for going over these matters in depth on his website, and thus, as always, making the knowledge of mainline scholarship easily accessible to everyone:

5 All alleged references to Jesus (like those in Josephus) have been shown to be either forgeries or irrelevant (the authors referring to later followers of a Jesus figure and not being in a position to know how the movement actually started). Some Christians have tried to claim that the forgeries are only partially forgeries, but it is generally appreciated by scholars that they are actually total forgeries:

If you identify with the message of this article, please email it to people, tell your friends, even print out copies to pass around. Together we can raise awareness. Thank you.

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Ben Dench graduated valedictorian of his class from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in the Spring Semester of 2007 with a B.A. in philosophy (his graduation speech, which received high praise, is available on YouTube). He is currently (more...)
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