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Prove Jesus Existed, Please!

by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

New Jesus image

"Using modern forensic
reconstruction techniques,
this is almost certainly the
closest representation to the
face of Jesus Christ that we
shall see"

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me."

Jesus Christ, Mt. 10:34-37

"If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

Jesus Christ, Lk. 14:26

"I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!... Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son, and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

Jesus Christ, Lk. 12:49-53

Over the years, a disreputable and untrustworthy Christian apologist named "James Patrick Holding" has engaged in numerous malicious acts against me, including threatening behavior aimed at my family, along with dozens of articles full of disparagement and personal attacks. All this abuse occurred because I dare to question the historicity of Jesus Christ. Because of this despicable behavior, it is obvious that this man, JP Holding, has little integrity and that his writings should not be given credibility. For years, I ignored him, but I finally wrote the following, which has since been edited. Since that time, I have not paid attention to Holding and have continued my work revealing the abundant and fascinating aspects of comparative religion and mythology from thousands of years ago that demonstrate possible or probable influences on Christianity, as well as other religions such as Judaism and Islam.

Holding's commentary has been relentless, strident and vituperative. However, all the ad hominems and nitpicking, calling me names and criticizing this and that detail, will still not change the bottom line, which is: There is no contemporaneous evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed as a real person, and the evidence that does exist points to him being as mythical as the Greek son of God, Hercules.

It is too bad there is so little policing of fraud and vice when it comes to religion, and it's amazing that apparently deranged individuals with no proof can go about defrauding innocents with their phony and harmful fabrications. Religion, if it were to have any merit at all, would be about honesty and truth, but it is not, as obviously disturbed persons run rampant with absurd and inane claims, mindlessly and malevolently attacking those honest and intelligent enough to challenge them.

Fortunately, Holding's petulant attacks have been addressed by other writers such as Wells, Doherty, Lowder and "Cygnus." (It's unfortunate that these writers were compelled to respond to Holding, thus giving him credibility by dignifying his ranting--the reason I've thus far avoided making any formal response.) It is quite obvious that Holding has nothing better to do than to trawl the Net looking for a fight. His main tactic when presented with factual information regarding the non-historicity or erroneousness of Christianity is basically to say, "NO! That's not it!" In other words, deny, deny, deny.

As to Holding and his friends' "criticisms," I leave it up to the reader's intelligence to see who has scholarship on her side. One can always study the works of others at my Christ Conspiracy links page. Also, a number of Holding's (and Miller's) fallacious contentions are refuted in my book Suns of God and other writings since then. For example, in SOG and Who Was Jesus? I go into greater detail regarding the pitiful "references" to Christ and Christianity supposedly found in secular works, such as Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc. I didn't go into any great detail regarding these "references" in The Christ Conspiracy because they had already been thoroughly discredited over the last two to three centuries. Again, compare the scholarship found there and in my Suns of God excerpts with the ranting and denial of Holding.

It is obvious that Holding has not studied these issues in any great depth. His comments on Irenaeus, Jerome and Cerinthus, for example, reveal that his knowledge is very cursory, as do many of his other remarks. Again, he has in no way refuted the Christ mythicist position. And again, show me the evidence that this superhuman Son of God walked the earth 2,000 years ago? Before I too suspend my scientific rationality, I want see proof!

The arguments of ancient apologists such as Justin Martyr were that "the devil" had anticipated Jesus Christ and his religion. Hence, it is not only fruitless to pretend that Christianity is original and that it did not copy Paganism, it is extremely dishonest. One apologist group honest in this regard is the United Church of God, whose "The Good News" magazine (5-6/03) contains a synopsis of their publication What Happens After Death?, as follows:

"People Believed in 'Going to Heaven' Long Before Christianity

"The idea that 'souls' go to heaven at death long predates Christianity. A brief look at ancient history reveals that the people of Babylon and Egypt, as well as subjects of other ancient kingdoms, held similar beliefs. According to This Believing World, by Lewis Brown, the Egyptian god Osiris was killed and reputed to be taken to heaven: 'Osiris came to life again. He was miraculously resurrected from death and taken up to heaven; and there in heaven, so the myth declared, he lived on eternally" (1946, p. 83).

"Brown explains: 'The Egyptians reasoned that if it was the fate of the god Osiris to be resurrected after death, then a way could be found to make it the fate of man, too... The bliss of immortality that had formerly been reserved only for kings was then promised to all men... The heavenly existence of the dead was carried on in the realm of Osiris, and it was described in considerable detail by the Egyptian theologians. It was believed that on death the soul of a man set out at once to reach a Judgment Hall on high...and stood before the celestial throne of Osiris, the Judge. There it gave account of itself to Osiris and his forty-two associate gods.' (p. 84)

"If the soul could satisfy the gods, 'the soul was straightaway gathered into the fold of Osiris. But it could not, if it was found wanting when weighed in the heavenly balances, then it was cast into a hell, to be rent to shreds of the "Devouress." For only the righteous souls, only the guiltless, were thought to be deserving of life everlasting' (pp. 86-87).

"Brown continues: 'Mankind everywhere, in Mexico and Iceland, in Zululand and China, makes more or less the same wild guesses in its convulsive effort to solve the riddle of existence. And that is why we find this complex idea of a slain and resurrected god common in many parts of the world.

"'In very early times that idea flourished not along among the Babylonians and Egyptians, but also among the barbaric tribes in and around Greece... These mysteries [came] down from Thrace or accross the sea from Egypt and Asia Minor... They declared that for every man, no matter how poor or vicious, there was a place in heaven. All one had to do was to be "initiated" into the secrets of the cult...then salvation was assured him, and no excess of vice and moral turpitude could close the gates of paradise in his face. He was saved forevermore' (pp. 96-99)..."

Quite an admission to be published in a Christian magazine! And it reveals just how shamefully deceitful are Holding and his ilk in attempting to steer people away from the truth by simply denying these facts and making ad hominem attacks on scholars who unearth them. Fortunately for the cause of truth, people like those involved with the United Church of God have been compelled by conscience and their own cause to acknowledge the reality that, among many other things found within Christianity, the "complex idea of a slain and resurrected god [is] common in many parts of the world," long before the so-called Christian era.

Along with Holding and Miller is another critic, Mike Licona, who, like so many badly informed or dishonest Christians simply denies that most--if not all--of Judeo-Christianity can be found in the Pagan religions, hundreds to thousands of years before Christ supposedly existed. Again, what these  critics ignore is that the early Church fathers were forced to concede that Christianity was nothing new and that Jesus Christ was not much different from the ancient Pagan gods. Additionally, modern Christians use the same arguments: "The devil anticipated Christ and planted these ideas in the Pagans heads," or "Adam was taught about the coming redeemer and when his seed spread, so did the messianic concept." One of these modern Christians--no less a fanatic than Holding, Miller and Licona--is Charles Weisman, who, in Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, writes:

"The concept of a messiah (or savior or deliverer) is a central theme in the Old Testament.... It is also apparent that this messianic concept appears in the history of many ancient cultures. There are varied accounts and stories of a messiah in the histories of Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and other ancient civilizations." (Emph. added.)

The dutiful believer in "God's Word," Weisman goes on to make the argument that, while these other cultures clearly preceded Moses (who supposedly wrote the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible), the biblical ideas are older than Egypt, etc. Says Weisman:

"The focal question here is, what is the origin of this messianic concept? ...the fact that Egyptian texts on this subject go back to 3000 B.C., long before the writings of Moses and the prophets, has led many skeptics, gnostics, and atheists to claim that the Scriptures are but a copy of ancient pagan religious beliefs...."

Well, of course they are! The Bible was not written in a vacuum and its writers--not "God" but men--were not blind and deaf to the world around them. Modern scientific research shows that much of the Bible was composed long after the purported events it records. It was also written--as Weisman concedes--long after the existence of far more advanced cultures that already possessed germane "Christian" concepts. Weisman, however, is a member of the club that is satisfied with the absolutely infantile (and in Weisman's case racist) idea that "Adam," created from dust by a giant man in the sky called God, was given all this information but his seed spread it quite erroneously throughout the world. To quote Weisman again:

"As Adam and his descendant traveled throughout the earth, they spread the story of not only the Messiah, but of Eden, creation, God, life, and deliverance, much the way Noah and his descendants did regarding the Flood. Many of these stories, however, became distorted or even paganized."

No! That's not what happened at all. These stories are found around the world, in widely diverse cultures that had nothing to do with any "pure white" Adam (the so-called Adamic race), because they revolve around phenomena that can be perceived globally. The Adam or devil interpretations derives from erroneous restrospect: Start with the premise that the Bible is "God's Word" and then explain why it is a latecomer in the field, rehashing very old "Pagan" tales that abounded well outside the so-called Holy Land.

It is quite evident that the Bible is a plagiarism of the highly developed ideas of more advanced cultures. In any event, the issue here is settled: The concepts existed in other cultures before the Bible was written--and hundreds to thousands of years before Christianity was invented.

Further Reading

"Zeitgeist, Part 1" v. "Preventing Truth Decay" website
Shattering Holding's Anti-Mythicist book
J.P. Holding makes a fool of himself

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Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes concerning 'Zeitgeist, Part 1'
Rebuttal to Licona's "Refutation of The Christ Conspiracy"
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"Murdock's scholarship is relentless! ...the research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration." —Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut State University, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience In Archaeology

"I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock... I find it undeniable that...many, many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets and constellations..." —Dr. Robert M. Price, The Pre-Nicene New Testament

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"Ms. Murdock is one of only a tiny number of scholars with the richly diverse academic background (and the necessary courage) to adequately address the question of whether Jesus Christ truly existed as a walking-talking figure in first-century Palestine." —David Mills, Atheist Universe

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