October 7, 2006

Does Anyone Have Any Evidence Jesus Existed?

I've written about this before. I've asked Christians before. Now I am going to ask again. Can anyone show me proof that Jesus existed. Even circumstantial evidence will do.

First off, lets watch this video:

It is thought that Paul was first to write about Jesus. Many years after Jesus supposedly died. There isn't much evidence Paul existed. But I'm gullible. And I will accept he did. I will accept he was no different than Joseph Smith or James Frey as far as inventing a story and suckering many. The time was right, the Jews were getting their asses handed to them by the Romans. Life on earth was hell around 60 AD for Jews and their vengeful God wasn't coming through. A God that focused on life everafter and a heavenly eternity was an easy sell, especially since those ideas were already floating around with Mithraism, Zoraostianism and the Osiris-Dionysus myth.
But I'll admit, I could be wrong about Paul existing, but then someone who said they met Paul invented Christianity and Jesus. I'll go with Paul.

Back to my challenge. Circumstantial evidence does not include the bible. Sorry bout that. This is because evidence strongly points that the New Testament was written around 150-250 AD. No good.

Circumstantial evidence does not include historians who were not there. This includes Josephus. Josephus simply would have written down second or third hand accounts. No good. He did write about Christians and what they believed but that would be like me today writing about Mormons who tell me what they believe and tell me about what Joseph Smith saw. At least we know Joseph Smith existed.

Here are some questions for those who believe Jesus existed:

1. Why were there no writings by the 42 historians living around the region of Judea
between the years 1-35 AD? Think about this, before apologizing for it. Jesus was supposedly a miracle man and even if he disappeared until he was 30 there should be have been lots written, especially after his resurrection which was supposedly witnessed by hundreds or thousands.

2. Why did it take so long for someone to write something? You gotta admit, lots has been written about him from 60 AD on. But zero before that. Again, if you are gonna state something was written before that, prove it.

3. Why is it you will accept Jesus as a savior but in many cases reject evolution which has mounds of evidence for it, and no evidence against it. Why does evolution scare you guys so much?

4. Do you admit that if you were raised (lets say adopted as an infant by Muslim parents) in a Muslim home, you would most likely be Muslim today?

Atheism Sucks readers are more than welcome to post here. I will not delete anything, and your posts will show up immediately. Christian sites tend to moderate most of the time. I've had a few comments not show up at Frank's site. He picks and chooses which rebuttals he will post. But of late I must admit, he has been lenient with me. Please though try to remember that scripture is not considered proof by me, so don't copy and paste it. It is a waste of time.

More about Jesus as a myth. Wikipedia article, The Bible and Christianity, Why Jesus Didn't Exist, Everything you wanted to know about the Jesus myth.


  1. Read the links I provided at the bottom of the post. Especially the one on the bible and Christianity. There are no unbiased historical or achaelogical findings that even come close to confirming Jesus existed.

    I was an Atheist way before that revelation. I did a lot of searching when the Gibson movie came out. It was my findings that have made me very confident that the big guy never lived.

    Actually, the same is true of the Exodus as well. You hear a lot of apologies for the lack of proof though.

  2. Hey BEAJ, thanks for the advice on the athiest blogroll!


  3. Good post Bacon.

    I agree with you that Jesus was most likely a myth. But as myths go, you have to admit he was a pretty good one!

    Jesus is definately on my list of top 5 favorite Jews :) My only major beef with Jesus was his praise of poverty and socialists/communists ideals.

    POVERTY SUCKS! Creating wealth for yourself, and in turn, for your community through capitolistic ideas is much more fun that mass starvation.

    But other than that, Jesus was truly a man of peace, forgiveness, and compassion. As far as Prophets go, it could be far worse!

  4. Hammer:
    Anyway, isn't there some kind of historical record from the Romans
    regarding Jesus?

    Closest anyone came were the Acts of Nicodemus (aka Book of Pilate), which was denounced as a forgery in the 4th CE, a brief mention in the Testimonium Flauvius (w/about 6 others), 3 historians mentioned the cult existed.
    2 mentions in the Babylonian & Palistinean Gematra, 1 dated 100 BCE, the other dated 100 CE.
    Mentioning the cult isn't the same as verifying the leader.

  5. SC, I am not using the video as proof Jesus didn't exist. It is just background info. Stick to the text of my post.
    If you admit that the NT is the only proof that you have that Jesus existed, then you admit you have nothing.
    Does the fact that Horton is written about in Horton Hears A Who proof that Horton exists?

  6. Why do many Atheists use such foul language?
    Consider sable chicken's comment and disenchanted bunny's.
    I'll side with sable chicken merely because he is polite.
    I think if you use foul language or call people rude names you lose.
    Unless they're gay, moslem or both of course.
    Just joking ok? See my comment in a previous thread where I apologise and concede defeat in the gay debate.
    Not joking about the foul language though. Honestly I think it spoils a good argument.

  7. These videos of the history of atheism look like they could be worth a look:

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    They are quite long.

  8. AA, since I invited Atheismsucks to comment here, I think Bunnies comments were directed at me. I can take them and handle them. And I understand the perspective from which they are coming having seen the Atheismsucks crew in action.

    Your links aren't working for me at this time for some reason. I get a page that is Google UK with search words Jonathan Miller.

  9. I found where I can get the 3 parts and I will watch as soon as I have 3 free hours one at a time.

  10. Hey BEJ,

    Are you aware that you need mercy!!!

    Ok, Ok, I'm sorry. I just couldn't help myself. That dude's comment section is pretty hilarious though.

  11. It depends what you mean when you say "Jesus existed".

    There was no guy named Jesus Christ in Judea or in the vicinity. That's a Greek name; Christ means "Messaia". Was there a guy named Joshua? Sure there was.

    Was there a guy that walked on the water and healed cripples? Nah. Was there a Rabbi that stirred up the crowds? Sure there was.

    Was there a guy that got crucified by the Romans? Sure there was. Did he come alive? Nah.

  12. Shlemazl, there is no evident of a rebel rousing Rabbi. You need to look at the links.

  13. Off topic,
    There is a petition I'm hoping you guys to sign to stop the University of St. Andrews to give an honorary degree to Khatami.

    Its on regimechangeiran.com

  14. roya:
    I just looked (Mohammad) Khatami up on answers.com.
    He sounds a great deal more moderate than most, but then I don't have more than a passing knowledge of him.
    Perchance you could do an in-depth post on him?

  15. BEAJ,

    It makes no sense for there not to have been a rebel rousing Rabbi at the time Judea was under a vicious Roman occupation and ruled by a non-Jewish puppet of a king.

    John the Baptist is considered to be a historic figure. He was one example of such a rabbi. Dead Sea Scrolls also indicate that "rebel rousing rabbis" were an everyday occurance at the time. Note that these guys also used to "baptise" themselves every day.

    Also worth noting that historic Pilate was killing scores of Jews for "rebel rousing" every other day.

    I can provide references if you don't buy the above statements.

  16. Dude, I totally love your site. I know we have disagreed in the past on political issues, but thats just fine in my books because you do much more research to put forward the Strong Atheist "beliefs " (ha ha) that I have, than I would ever work on.

    I'm blogrolling you because you are the coolest Atheist Jew I know of!

  17. Shlem, I was specifically talking about rebel rousing Jesus. He was an allegorical vision of Paul's, and then made as a real person a little thereafter.

    Muad, thanks. I'm pretty sure there are cooler Atheist Jews then me around though.

    I don't think that stating Jesus or the Exodus didn't happen makes me a strong Atheist. I'm definately not the most militant Atheist in cyberspace.

  18. "I'm definately not the most militant Atheist in cyberspace."

    I can vouch for that.

  19. schlemazl:
    Also worth noting that historic Pilate was killing scores of Jews for "rebel rousing" every other day.
    You're talking about the Zealots, I gather?
    Odd that, that there's no mention of them, or the Essenes.
    At least I think so.

  20. Good article....makes you think. Won't make you popular but I basically believe what you said. That little thing called "proof" is a killer,eh?

  21. Conan, I probably wouldn't have been very popular 1000 years ago if I said that the earth revolved around the sun.

    The truth isn't a popularity contest.

  22. Hushhh! This is taboo!
    Yours truly,
    Agnostic once Atheist

  23. Bacon- have you read or heard of the works of a man named Joseph Campbell?

    He does a very good job at illustrating the commonalities among the mythological elements of all religions since the beginning of time. What once was a way of explaining the natural hardships faced by the people of Mesopotamia evolved over time through the Egyptians, the Hebrews, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Zoroastrians, to modern-day Christianity. When one actually puts down the magnifying glass and looks at the whole of the human faith system, patterns are difficult to ignore.

    These Gods, Messiah's, heavens, and hells are nothing more than a HUMAN creation to explain what simply cannot be explained in simple terms: Why we are here.

    Or maybe it can be explained, but the answer is just not interesting enough to satisfy our active imaginations:

    We're here because we are.

  24. Beaj,

    Paul does not seem to be the only source for "jesus" legends. for example there was also James, who ran a jewish "christian" sect in Jerusalem and was christs "brother". The reference to James in Josephus is believed to be original.

    It's an interesting argument, but it's entirely hypothetical. Short of new evidence turning up, it is very defficult to have a decisive proof one way or another. Neither does it matter much: clearly the historic "Jesus" would have been nothing like what Paul and other turned him into.

  25. Allie, I'm not sure if I read his stuff, but I've seen the theory before. And I buy into it.

    Shlem, I'm not sure how much reading you've done of the links I provided. But even the validity of James existence is a major question mark.

    Again, Josephus wrote about Christianity and what the Christian believed to be fact around 80 AD or so. Way after the fact.

    Where were the historians prior to 35 AD? Wasn't Jesus big enough back then?

  26. Ka,

    I am not talking about Zealots. Zealots were armed rebels. Pilot is a historic figure. He is known to have been cruel and stubborn without reason. He killed scores of people with little purpose.

    According to Josephus his last act as a governor of Judea was to intercept with cavalry and soldiers a procession of unarmed Samaritans to their holy place and killing most of them. He was eventually dismissed by the governor of Syria for stupid and unnecessary cruelty.

  27. BEAJ,

    I read the links a while back when you pointed them to me first. In my view the agenda is overshadowing balance.

    Josephus was born in mid 30s and was a military leader in 66-73. James died in 62. Clearly there was an overlap between the two guys.

    I don't know how big Jesus was. What I do know is that, sadly, Christians destroyed or fabricated 99% of historical works relating to the period. Anything that wasn't quite in line with the doctrine was destroyed. There would have been no chance of anything describing real Jesus surviving because the guy would have been so different from Pauline/Constantine doctrine.

  28. Shlem, I will say it again. There is no evidence Jesus existed. Here is an explanation about James.

    No evidence of Jesus, but lots of circumstantial evidence that my hypothesis that Paul made it all up.

  29. That article got me slightly confused. I am not sure what they are proving. At one point they disregard Josephus, but later on the pretty much reiterate what Josephus said about "real" James.

    I agree that yours is a viable hypothesis because there is no hard proof one way or another (Christians are largely to thank for that). Also, there is no doubt in my mind that Paul is the father of Christianity.

    However on the balance of probability from what I know of the period, Paul would have based it on something. There were just way too many "Jesuses" walking around the place at the time. No need to create a character entirely from scratch.

    The fact that there were a number of contradictory "Christian" movements also indicates to me that there must have been a source or, if you wish, top of the pyramid. Had Paul started it all, they all would have been much closer to Pauline version of Christianity whereas in fact Paul was exceptional in that he took Christianity out of Judaism.

    Must have been something to get all the various "Judeo-Christian" movements like James's Jewish sect or authors of various "additional" gospels started and it wasn't Paul.

  30. There were lots of myths that had Jesus like people associated with it at the time of Paul. And there were probably lots of Jesus like characters, but Paul probably didn't base it on someone specific.
    It takes one guy to start a cult. Look at Jonestown, Joseph Smith, L.Ron Hubbard, etc. But the foundations of all of them are based on a mythological figure.

  31. Pontius Pilate was a cool dude. Sure he ruffled a few feathers but downtown Jerusalem then was like downtown Iraq today. Everyone bitching and complainin’ about this and that. Romans go home signs everywhere. Pilate genuinely wanted to improve the lot of the Jews and planned to upgrade the plumbing system with funds ear marked for some useless temple somewhere. Things just went downhill from there. He didn’t want to kill Jesus, he wanted to let him go. And his immortal line, “what is truth?” is an all time classic.

  32. Recently, I re-read the gospels of Matthew and Mark, and one thing that struck me about them was that they read like a fictional story with a third person omniscient narrator.

    Another observation I made was that 2,000 years ago, the "Holy Land" was the demon capital of the world. In the gospels, it seems like Jesus can't go anywhere in Judea without bumping into some guys who are possessed by demons.

    BTW, I wanted to let you know that I finally got around to setting up my own blog, at www.anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com which of course will have many postings on issues of religion and atheism. I hope you will all stop by and check it out.

  33. angloamerican:

    You sound almost like you've been there... Except that it contradicts to what EVERY actual historian says today.

    For goodness sake, Pilate was dismissed by Romans for cruelty (!!!) Couldn't have been easy to achieve that.

  34. I once gave a ‘lecture’ on Pilate when I was a senior youth group member eons ago so I am a bit of an ‘expert’ on this subject.

    I do feel that Pilate got some very bad press by Jewish historians that amounted to character assassination. Have a read of this. Up until fairly recently it was even disputed if he existed at all - much like Jesus.

    Pilate seemed quite sensitive to local sensibilities in the Biblical record and could also be described as an early secular humanist with his “what is truth” and “ecco homo” comments. The Samaritan incident was much like those wedding party incidents of today. Samaritans were armed and on the march and looked pretty much like insurgents from Pilate’s point of view. Even then he only executed the ringleaders and let the rest go.

    His wife was a saint and according to the Ethiopian Church he is a saint too. Can’t have been easy being married to a saint.

    He also held his post for a decade or so which was way longer than most prefects. The truth is probably that Rome recalled him to force him to retire after a job well done. As with most history the truth is no doubt murky and accounts are heavily biased.

  35. Oh and one other thing. Pontius was probably responsible for the rude expression, “dirty Jew”. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding as Pilate did indeed think the Jews were dirty however he wanted to do something about it and constructed the aqueduct. Fresh water to make dirty Jews clean Jews!

  36. Check this post & comments over at the Martian Anthropologist - up to 177 comments now...