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The Mythic Origins of Christianity: How is Christianity Similar to Pagan Religions?

Updated on March 24, 2016
Christianity has much in common with mythic religions and the worship of sun-gods.
Christianity has much in common with mythic religions and the worship of sun-gods. | Source

Is Christianity based on mythical characters?

During the first century CE the Roman Empire encompassed most of the territory surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including parts of Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Judea. Many different religions flourished in this time and place—pagan religions, Judaism, and the beginnings of Christianity.

Religious syncretism --the combining of different, even contradictory, beliefs and practices—was common. It was “cafeteria religion” run amok. Various gods and religions were merging with each other and splitting off from others all the time.

During the first century, hundreds of mystery cults thrived. A mystery cult was a secret religion that involved the worship of a god (or gods and goddesses). Many of these gods were savior-gods, with rites and rituals that included baptisms, the symbolic eating of the flesh and blood of the god, and celebrations of the resurrection of the god.

Christianity may have begun as a mystery cult or it might have only assumed some of the beliefs and practices of these cults. Ancient pagan cultures shared a common set of ideas about gods. Christianity may have adopted those ideas, and applied them to Jesus. It seems entirely possible that Jesus Christ began as a celestial god, then became a character in allegorical stories, and finally was seen as a historical person who actually existed.

The Roman Empire

A map of the roan Empire at the height of it power.
A map of the roan Empire at the height of it power. | Source

Did Christianity begin as the worship of a sun-god?

The “Christ” of Christianity may have just been another celestial god. There are a number of similarities between various pagan/mystery cult gods and Christianity.

  • The birth date of most of the sun-gods is December 25. This is the date of the Winter solstice and the date adopted by the church as the date of the birth of Jesus Christ. The December 25 date is given despite the fact that the Bible says the shepherds were in their fields when Jesus was born which means that Jesus had to have been born in the Spring (Luke 2:8).
  • At the time of the Winter Solstice, the sun "dies" for three days starting around December 22, when it stops its movement south; it is then born (resurrected) on December 25, when it begins its movement north.
  • The sun was seen as traveling through the 12 signs of the Zodiac. It is possible that the twelve disciples of Jesus symbolized the 12 signs of the zodiac. The Sun-gods often had disciples or attendants (although not always 12 in number).
  • The pagan gods had magical births and some were born to a virgin. The gods frequently impregnated young human maidens.
  • The pagan gods often had titles like the “The Light of The World,” “The Way”, “The Good Shepherd, etc. These names were also used for Jesus Christ.
  • The pagan gods sometimes had a “Last Supper” with their followers before their deaths.
  • The pagan gods often were resurrected after their deaths.
  • Baptism was a common ritual among the followers of the mystery cults. John the Baptist may have been mimicking this ritual, importing it into Judaism.
  • The tradition of consuming bread and wine as the symbolic (or actual) blood and flesh of the god was part of the mystery religions. This corresponds to Jesus saying “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54)

The early Christian church acknowledged these similarities. Christian apologists Justin Martyr (100-165 CE) and Tertullian (160-220 CE) commented on the similarities of the Christian beliefs, rites, and rituals to those of the mystery religions. However, they attributed these correspondences to the work of the devil who planted these similarities to discredit Christianity.

Horus

Horus was often pictured as having the head of a falcon.
Horus was often pictured as having the head of a falcon. | Source

How does Horus resemble Jesus?

Horus is an Egyptian deity that dates to about 3100 BCE and was commonly worshiped during Greco-Roman times. Horus was a sky god—one translation of his name is “The One Who is Above.” He was also called “The Lord of the Sky.” He traversed the sky in the form of a falcon. His right eye was the sun and his left eye was the moon.

There are many different variations of the story of Horus as would be expected with a myth as ancient as this one. Different myths appear to have merged and become part of the Horus myth.

Horus had a magical birth. His mother, the goddess Isis, used her magic powers to reassemble her dead husband (also her brother) Osiris from his dismembered parts. His penis was missing so she fashioned a golden phallus and used it to conceive her son. The pregnant Isis had to flee her home because her brother Set who ruled at the time had killed Osiris and she knew he would want to kill her son as well. Horus was born at the time of the winter solstice.

He also came to be identified with Osiris, his father, so that he was both son and father at the same time. Horus was a god, but he also was a man because every pharaoh was considered the incarnation of Horus. The story of Horus was also blended with the story of Ra as they were both sun-gods. Ra was born to a mother who was a virgin impregnated by a divine spirit.

There are some common themes between the story of Horus and the story of Jesus Christ. Horus had a magical birth at the time of the winter solstice. Depictions of Isis suckling her son, Horus, closely resemble pictures of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus. Both mothers had to flee because a ruler threatened to kill them (Set for Horus and Herod for Jesus.) Both were father and son at the same time and both took on human forms (pharaohs for Horus, an ordinary man for Jesus.) Both had followers (Horus had four and Jesus had twelve) and both preformed miracles (but different kinds of miracles). Horus’ father, Osiris, was resurrected after his death.

For more about Horus, CLICK HERE.

Mithra

Mithra is shown slaying a bull.in a  2nd-3rd century Mithraic altarpiece found near Fiano Romano, near Rome, and now in the Louvre.
Mithra is shown slaying a bull.in a 2nd-3rd century Mithraic altarpiece found near Fiano Romano, near Rome, and now in the Louvre. | Source

How does Mithra resemble Jesus?

Mithra was an ancient Zoroastrian deity, a god of light. The myth dates to 1400 BCE, but probably goes back much further. He was called the “The Way,” and “The Truth and the Light.” Mithra was associated with other sun-gods—the Greek god, Helios, and the Roman god, Sol Invictus. Anahita, a virgin goddess of fertility, is sometimes identified as his companion/consort. (In some stories, she is his virgin mother.)

Mithraism was a strong competitor with Christianity to become the most popular religion of the time. Some of the Roman emperors were followers of Mithra and called him the “Protector of the Empire.”

Mithra was born from a rock and shepherds heralded his birth. He was known as a god of truth, light, justice, and salvation. He performed many miracles while on Earth and after his death he ascended to heaven. He promised to return for a final day of judgment of the living and the dead.

The slaying of a bull was part of the ritual of the cult of Mithra. His followers would eat the flesh of the bull and drink (some say bathe in) its blood. If a bull were not available, bread and water or wine could be substituted.

The worship of Mithra also included a eucharistic-style “Lord’s Supper.” Mithra had a banquet with his followers right before his death. An inscription found in a temple of Mithra reads "He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation."

Compare this to the words of John 6:53-54, "...Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (KJV)

For more information about Mithra, CLICK HERE.

Attis

The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. In the apse is a plaster cast (the original is in the Vatican Museums) of a statue of a reclining Attis.
The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. In the apse is a plaster cast (the original is in the Vatican Museums) of a statue of a reclining Attis. | Source

How does Attis resemble Jesus?

The Attis cult began around 1200 BCE in Phrygia in Asia. Attis’ mother, Nana, was a virgin, who conceived by putting a ripe almond or a pomegranate in her bosom. In some stories, Cybelle, the “Mother of the Gods” and a great Asiatic goddess of fertility, is his mother. He was reported to have been a shepherd or herdsman beloved by Cybele.

There are two different accounts of the death of Attis. According to one, he was killed by a boar, like Adonis. According to the other, he castrated himself under a pine-tree, and bled to death on the spot. Consequently, the priests in the service of Cybele ritually castrated themselves on entering her service of the goddess. After his death, Attis is said to have been changed into a pine-tree.

Could the celibacy of Catholic priests be a carryover from the worship of Attis?

For more information on Attis, CLICK HERE.

The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems
The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems

New Testament scholar Robert M. Price, one of America's leading authorities on the Bible, has assembled in his book evidence that shows that almost the entire "biography of Jesus" is a conscious reworking of earlier literature.

 

Are the reported similarities between Jesus and the pagan gods that you may come across elsewhere all true?

They are not all true. In fact, they are not even mostly true. Many of those who proclaim these similarities have been overzealous in their quest to find similarities.

It appears that these untrue claims are based on the theories of Gerald Massey, an English poet (1828-1927) who had an interest in Egyptology. He wrote several books about the similarities between Horus and Jesus. He got his facts wrong, but his ideas have persisted.

As Richard Price, author of The Christ-Myth, wrote “Those of us who uphold any version of the controversial Christ Myth theory find ourselves immediately the object of not just criticism, but even ridicule. And it causes us chagrin to be lumped together with certain writers with whom we share the Christ myth but little else.”

I only had space to mention three gods who have multiple similarities to Jesus. There are many others including Odysseus, Romulus, Dionysus, Heracles, etc.

I have done my best to sort out the false claims from the true claims. Some of the correspondences may just be coincidences. And I should add the fact that Christianity adopted many pagan beliefs and rituals is not proof that Jesus did not exist as an actual person. Nonetheless, the similarities that I have confirmed are enough to suggest the story of Jesus was blended with the story of pagan gods.

Jesus Christ

Why is Christ often depicted with a golden orb behind his head?
Why is Christ often depicted with a golden orb behind his head? | Source

Just wondering—Why is Christ depicted with a halo?

I have noticed that Jesus Christ is often depicted with a golden round glowing orb behind his head. Does it represent the sun? Is it a holdover from the days of sun-gods?

It is used for gods and heroes in many cultures—Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other religions.

A word about mythicism

Saying "Christ is a myth" is not something new. Some scholars have been saying exactly that since at least 1793 when the Enlightenment scholar Charles Dupuis began to publish his 13-volume Origine de Tous les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle, which postulated the mythical origins of Christianity and other ancient religions. Currently people who hold to the theory that Jesus did not exist as a historical person are called "mythers."

The myther theory is very much a minority opinion, but acceptance for it has been growing in recent years.

In this essay I tried to summarize a few of the myths and the practices of religions based on those myths. There are many variations of the mythical stories. I tried to find the most common beliefs. I tried to use objective sources for the myths. Some of the atheist websites thought the myths were identical to the Christ story; some of the Christian apologist websites thought there were no similarities at all. I looked for websites who were in neither of those camps and which told the mythical stories and the religious practices without bias.

If you do your own research you may find information that differs from what I have reported. That does not mean that one of us is wrong. There is a lot of information on this topic. I used the information I judged to be most credible.

Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned (Don't Know Much About Series)
Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned (Don't Know Much About Series)

Kenneth C. Davis introduces and explains the great myths of the world using a fun-to-read question-and-answer style. He examines the myths of Egypt, Greece and Rome, Africa, India, and the Americas.

 

For Further Reading

Many books have been written about mythicism--the idea that Jesus Christ never existed as a real person and that his story is based on earlier myths. For a reading list with brief book reviews, CLICK HERE.

You may also like two of my other articles on this topic.

Did Jesus Exist or Is It All a Myth

Jesus Who? The Historical Record Gives No Clue

I'd like to know what my readers think.

Which comes closest to your view?

See results

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments.

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    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      at the risk of going off topic I just want to say I'm glad you found a believer you like. Perhaps you could write a hub about the catacombs?

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Sounds good Pal. Stay positive!

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      At the risk of going off-topic, I just want to add my appreciation for believers like Damian, who actually have something of VALUE to offer the discussion -- regardless of what they believe.

      Perhaps if I ever get off my butt and actually finish another hub, I'll see you there! ;-)

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Catherine ... you are gracious as always. Thank you.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Damian10: I like your idea of moving this discussion to one of your hubs. Feel free to post the link here because I prefer that the comments here remain on topic. Anyone who wants to comment on the ideas put forward in this hub is of course always welcome to do so here.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Randy you are welcome on my site any time you like.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Sorry for the off-topic comments Catherine, I'm banned from the forums. :(

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Please take off-topic comments to a forum. This hub is about the similarities between myth and the story of Jesus Christ.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      You've been very respectful and I appreciate it, Damian. I'm merely interested how you rationalize your beliefs when most people simply inherit their beliefs from their parents or other members of their family. It seems to me that one's beliefs are simply the luck of the draw of where one is born and what they are indoctrinated into as a child.

      Even though you switched from Catholicism you still follow the same God so it's really not a far stretch to make. If you'd turned to the Muslim or some other belief, you would have a point there.

      But being the majority of people simply follow their parents faith, it tends to make the whole "free will" thing a joke. Your thoughts?

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Randy,

      You are exactly correct and I guess that is where my curiosity comes in. I would most likely not have the belief that I have if I were raised in a different culture and religion. I do not put any person down for their beliefs or for any other reason. I am human and in a human condition. Unlike some I really believe in : let those among you without sin cast the first stone. I do not mean to be disrespectful in any manner but I am being honest about my curiosity. It is not meant to be a judgment. I hope I did not come across that way. What kind of person would I be if I only agreed or was open to those who believe as I do. I would miss the point completely. I did state that while we were raised Catholic I was the first to get away from that and become born again. Most of my family remained Catholic.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I'm curious, Damian. Do you really believe you would eventually end up as a Christian if you had been born in the Middle East into a Muslim family? And how do you get past the fact of most people simply inheriting their beliefs? Are many Christians merely fortunate to be born into the "correct" belief and others not? I'd be interested in your thoughts on this matter.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      I respect your obvious conviction even though I am completely at the opposite end of the spectrum from where you are. Everyone I think has reasons for their foundation of what their ultimate belief encompasses. Believe it or not evidently more people seem to be going in your direction. I am sure you would care in the least. However, I believe just five short years ago 82 percent of America believed in some version of God. The latest poll shows that number has dipped 8 percent to the current number of 74 percent. That may not seem like a great deal but it is substantial. Once again as fortified as you are in your unbelief I am just as committed in my belief.

      There are people in my church that probably would not understand me even having a curiosity to any atheistic approach. My only answer would be to suggest that without knowing how the other side views what it is they believe or do not believe how can you even appreciate your own faith. That may sound funny to some but that is truly how I feel. I am confident enough in my own belief that it will never be compromised just by examining the other side of the issue. I may be wrong but you seem to possess at least somewhat the very same curiosity. Each weekend I spend at nursing homes with a few others from my church offering a worship service. Perhaps some of these never received Christ so I am trying to help get them saved before they check out. I guess each of us has their own motivations on the importance of eternity if that indeed exists as I am sure you have your doubts. I do not want to get overly personal but I would be lying if I did not admit to being curious on how exactly does one arrive at an atheistic approach? While I was raised with faith I was one of the first bible nuts in the family. My siblings all remained catholic for several years. I guess it just comes down to different strokes for different folks. Somewhat off topic but do you ever just ask how is it that if this person did exist that He could last so very long and cause so much ruckus and commotion. One thing I think you and I may agree on is while I believe faith is beautiful, I believe religion to be downright dangerous. It, in theory is supposed to result in humility and often results in judgment, stereotype and prejudice.

      Stay well.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Hehe. Actually, when you use the title, it implies that you AGREE with the title. You've probably discerned by now that I'm a stickler for proper semantics.

      And actually, it DOES make a difference with regard to the poll question. For example, I DON'T believe that "Jesus Christ" existed (the Jewish messiah). But I DO suspect that Jesus of Nazareth existed. Clearly, the distinction is quite significant -- a matter of belief or non-belief!

      In any case, if you really think about it, common vernacular has a significant affect on the way society sees things -- specifically, in the things we take for granted.

      One of the reasons religion has such a strong, pervasive influence on society is because it's so deeply embedded in our common language. And every little careless or casual falsehood -- like calling Jesus "Christ" -- is another concession to a an erroneous and malignant paradigm that's already overwhelming.

      As an anti-theist, my ultimate goal is to shift the public paradigm away from superstition and religion toward a more rational and thoughtful society. And I recognize that, in the long term, small details -- such as the way people speak about ideas -- can be just as important as the ideas themselves.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Gosh Pal you cannot even answer a survey. Your non- belief is quite strong. Catherine does not believe either but she includes the name itself as it is included in history. Answering that question does not imply that you are a believer just that it is a historical reference.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      When I say "Jesus" or "Jesus Christ" I mean the person who is commonly referred to by that name. The name does not matter. I am not talking about an actual Jesus Christ because I don't think that this person ever existed.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Incidentally, this is why I didn't vote in the hub's poll -- because all the options listed him as "Jesus Christ." I see no compelling reason to accept that Jesus -- assuming he did exist -- was the Jewish messiah 'prophesied' in the Old Testament. So I can't refer to him by that name and title.

      If the poll had included options such as merely "Jesus" or "Jesus of Nazareth," I would have been more inclined to vote.

    • Jamie Banks 99 profile image

      Jamie Banks 2 years ago from Japan

      In that case I think you have misread the situation. It's a common mistake to call "Christ" a name but it is not - it is a title. It would be like calling "Queen" Elizabeth's first name.

      I don't see how "anointed one" means "savior God". It implies an anointing by someone else - ultimately God. So the term "anointed one" separates the person from God.

      The most accurate way to explain the meaning of Jesus is to leave it at the translation you give: "Yahweh saves". To change that to "savior god" strongly implies Jesus himself was God. That's a whole different nuance to "Yahweh saves".

      Incidentally, as I understand it, to be accepted as King by the Jews, Jesus would have to be anointed by the high priest. However, he was scathing of the priesthood and in fact the only anointing that takes place is by Mary. The fact that she is a woman, with a reputation as a sinner, makes this a highly offensive piece of social and spiritual commentary. It is a rather controversial fulfilment of Biblical prophecy to say the least... I think it's fascinating myself.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Oz:

      Your continued badgering of respected members of this fine establishment leaves one to wonder at your ability to provide any semblance of a logical, well thought out, contribution to this comment section.

      Why do you continue to offer zero evidence, but think, beyond all reasoning, that it is evidence? That somehow, some way, the catacombs with their many drawings, carvings - all unconfirmed by date, offer actual and real validation that your God Son walked this earth? That the Talmud's vague references, offer any proof at all? What tortured logical argument can you offer? Where is the grain of truth? The mustard seed of your faith? Let me answer that for you: None.

      Consistently, you have offered no evidence to validate (a) that JC ever existed and (b) that the myths of Horus and Mithra were not simply plagiarized by the Christians.

      It is, on the other hand, reasonable for a person to conclude, based upon the references about myths with in CatherineG's Hub, that the Jesus Christ story, is a mere repeated myth from before the ancient Egyptians. Again, we are talking about how "reasonable" people think. Not atheists. Not necessarily agnostics, but people willing to engage their thinking processes in a rational manner.

      Your responses are purely emotional, with no support. Irrational.

      I was having fun with you using U.S. Army Brigider General Anthony Clement "Nuts" McAuliffe's terminology. He didn't like to use profane language. But you can call it "Hate Speech".

      When you call us "Atheist Peeps" which means, I take it "Atheist Friends" one hears the dripping sarcasm. But it's fine. We here in the U.S. are a Free Speech Country. By the way, I personally am not an atheist.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Jesus means "Yahweh saves", Christ means "messiah" which literally means "the anointed one" who which means a savior or liberator of a group of people. Both the first and last names mean savior god taken separately and together. About one in 26 Jewish men at the time had the name "Jesus" so there is only a 4% chance that the name Jesus was a co-incidence.

    • Jamie Banks 99 profile image

      Jamie Banks 2 years ago from Japan

      Hi Catherine,

      You wrote:

      "The name "Jesus Christ" literally means "Savior Messiah" Jesus is an English derivation from the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua). which means "Yahweh saves." Christ is the Greek "christos" meaning "anointed" which in Hebrew is "messiah." I'm quoting Richard Carrier from "On the Historicity of Jesus." So we have a savior god who is literally named "Savior God.""

      I'm a bit lost - are you claiming that "Jesus" means, "Savior God" or that "Jesus Christ" means "Savior God"? Sorry if this is obvious to others...

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Yes, everyone please take a break. This discussion is going nowhere.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I had to do just that with Brenda Durham, Pal. She was another religious nut who ignored facts similar to what has occurred on this hub. Trolls despise being ignored worse than anything. :o

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      I did not seem to understand the conscience thing. Whether you believe or do not believe the one thing we have in common is all of us are sinners. The only difference is I believe that I need and have a savior in Jesus and you do not. We are more similar than you think. Every person is entitled to believe as he or she sees fit. What works for one might not work for another. You may not believe in or adhere to the Bible but I do think one would agree that the teachings of love, patience, kindness, understanding and forgiveness are attributes all would strive to attain. We can agree to disagree as to its origination but the premise is most certainly a very positive one. Faith is amazing but religion itself becomes dangerous when you think that someone who does not share your same belief is somehow a lesser human being in some regard. Real faith involves ultimate humility. Real atheism or agnosticism still involves a type of conviction even if it is in your non-belief. You still must be committed to it. Maybe there are not as many differences than you think.

      Either way the human condition is still a condition. The only question that remains is; is there a cure?

      Blessings!

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Perhaps you're right, Randy. I'll do my best.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Seconded.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I suggest everyone simply ignore him unless he provides some sort of factual evidence for his laughable claims. Otherwise, he will continue posting bull$hit with nothing to support his claims. This too is representative of troll like behavior on his part. I wonder if he is actually an adult?

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Like I stated: "NUTS!!!" As is applies to Oz's nonsense.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Oz isn't fooling anyone with his unbacked claims, Julie. When someone challenges him on his false claims he simply spouts a few more. He's dug his hole so deep he'll never climb out of it. I feel real pity for him because the only one's who support him are just like him. :(

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      a long rambling personal attack with a whole lot of tweaked misquotes does not constitue a rebuttal. Historical established research can't be wiped away on a small hub by wishing. You can't change history with conspiracy theories. The symbols in the catacombs ar real established fact (as are tombs and letters as stated). You would be a world famous historian if you could change established history but you're only a hubber with a lot of spare time on his hands. E for effort.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I think what Paladin has successfully shown is that while hp proper has no requirement for integrity in the comment section, it doesn't mean that we as hubbers shouldn't strive for a higher standard. Oz's modus operandi is to make a lot of claims, make excuses for not baking them up, waste time in anti-atheistic polemic and fail to back up and of the claims he makes with actual facts, preferring to move the goalposts, change the subject and switch tactics whenever he encounters opposition. Since we all know the topics he frequents, i think we should ask take a page from paladins book and hold him to the standard that he expects from the rest of us.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Just the sort of response I expected from you, Oz. You can talk for days and never say anything of importance. I'd like some proof of our--atheist's- lack of conscience. But then, you never offer anything of substance when asked so I'll not expect any this time either. Were you ever a hall monitor? :P

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Great reading here. Very articulate Paladin.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I'm going to apologize to everyone in advance for the extraordinary length of these comments. But Oz keeps making claims about the supposed "unparalleled accuracy" of the New Testament, about Jesus' supposed historical existence and the supposed "scientific evidence" he's supposedly offered thus far.

      So, for the benefit of retrospection, I'm going to summarize his extremely lackluster, UN-scientific and evasive case thus far:

      -------------------

      Oz, doubling down on your claims doesn't make them more true. I know it's often believed that, if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. But this isn't Fox "News" Channel!

      Let's recap what you've offered us thus far:

      You arrived here three weeks ago and began your argument by claiming that the existence of Paul and Peter are "well documented facts."

      -- But you never offered any proof! Instead, you began trying to compare them to the controversy over the historical existence of Shakespeare.

      Next, you made broad attacks on the integrity of atheists with the following accusations:

      "...it doesn't matter how much obvious proof is provided, an athesit (sic) will not behave scientifically when the subject is religion; often due to personal hurts or personal vendettas. The facade of objectivity easily dissolves under any serious scientific scutiny (sic) of the historical record..."

      -- To quote someone's most recent comments here, "Why resort to personal attacks if you have a good argument?"

      Next, you made the claim that "The hub topic is about if JC existed."

      -- No, it isn't. It's about the potential origins of the Jesus myth, using comparisons with other, earlier religious myths.

      Next, you made the assertion that, because the indigenous Australians supposedly handed down their oral traditions with "incredible accuracy," that means, "therefore," the New Testament accounts are also "highly accurate."

      -- Do I really even need to address this one?

      Next, you claim that Jesus' concept of 'love' was "revolutionary and hundreds of years ahead of its time," and that it "bears little resemblance to anything before in human history."

      -- Which is absolutely false on multiple levels. But even if we accept the premise, it says NOTHING about whether or not he actually existed.

      Next, you mentioned Carl Jung's "archetypes," never really explaining what they have to do with Jesus.

      -- Other than perhaps trying to impress people with an irrelevant and obscure academic reference.

      Next, you claimed that, up to that point in the discussion, you'd "made rational scientific comments offering another point of view, no more no less."

      -- But anyone can see, by the quotes above, you'd done MUCH MORE than that. Not only had you made NO 'scientific' comments, you'd questioned the objectivity of atheists in general.

      After a week of this, I arrived and insisted that you begin offering proof for your claims, instead a lot of irrelevant gibberish about Yung and "archetypes." This is when you began your evasions, pointing to someone else's comments that had been deleted, as an excuse to not provide any of your own.

      Next, you returned to your theme of Peter's existence (trying to shift the focus away from Jesus), and claiming that anyone who denied both their existences was a "conspiracy theorist." To muddy the waters further, you added Buddha and Muhammad.

      -- But you STILL offered no evidence for the existence of Jesus!

      Next you offered this gem: "I note there has been no response to the eyewitness evidence of the apostles or to the veracity of their existence."

      -- But you never offered any evidence for the supposed "veracity of their existence!" Are we supposed to just take your word for it?

      Next, you began claiming that you didn't have time to provide the evidence, as you had "back to back gigs."

      -- Yet, somehow, you still found time to provide a link regarding the existence of Shakespeare -- a totally unrelated topic!

      Next, you began making noises about Peter's tomb in the Vatican.

      -- But you never demonstrated how you know the tomb is actually Peter's, or how that proves the historical existence of Jesus.

      But you carried on for the next few days about Peter's tomb and "conspiracy theories."

      -- As if questioning the authenticity and relevance of Peter's tomb to Jesus is a conspiracy. And still, of course, you offered no evidence for either Jesus' existence or Peters!

      Next, after going off onto another distracting tangent (this time, Imhotep, the Egyptian), you returned to your assertions regarding the supposed "eyewitness" accounts of Paul and the apostles.

      -- Apparently, hoping that no one had noticed you NEVER offered any evidence of their existence (or the accuracy of their supposed accounts).

      Next, you offered another gem: "Of course his [Shakespeare's] writings are proof just as the unique philosophy of JC is proof and the letters in the Bible are proof.. People proven to know JC are also proven to have existed. It is sheer common sense."

      -- Again, you never acknowledge that the ONLY "proof" of this philosophy, the letters and the people is ALL in the New Testament, which isn't "proof" at all!

      Next, you FINALLY offered some link regarding the supposed historical authenticity of the New Testament (and, presumably, Jesus).

      -- But the link offers nothing more than a comparison of numbers of existing copies of 'ancient' manuscripts (as if that somehow demonstrates or disproves authenticity), accompanied by more assertions about the existence of the apostles. (the link is available in two locations above, for those who are interested).

      Next, you went on more about "conspiracy theories," commenting on "the wealth of evidence regarding JC and the apostle witnesses."

      -- The "wealth of evidence" that you have yet to provide!

      Next, you claimed that "There is far far less evidence for many ancient personages often only a single mention in a copy of a copy but such non religious persons/events are held to be historical fact."

      -- Aside from offering no specific examples, you failed to mention how this is relevant to the historical existence of Jesus, who supposedly lived in a time when there were PLENTY of historians around -- ALL who somehow missed it!

      Next, you went back to trying to use Paul as a source, then suggested that the Talmud refers to Jesus as a "minor historical actual person."

      -- Which, despite my request, you still have yet to substantiate with a link or specific quote.

      Next, you tried a comparison to yet ANOTHER historical figure (the old bait and switch) -- Alexander.

      -- This, despite the enormous physical evidence of Alexander's historical existence from his military campaigns, founding of cities, existing coinage and a multitude of corroborating documentation from among his vast empire. And, AGAIN, this has nothing to do with Jesus' own historicity!

      Next, you make your first attempt at ACTUAL historical evidence for Jesus' existence -- the suggestion that there are contemporary paintings of Jesus in the Roman catacombs.

      -- Of course, no evidence of their authenticity or dating has yet been offered.

      Damian, in his good-natured attempt at diplomacy, gives you FAR too much credit with regard to your "credible sources." Thus far -- despite your earlier contentions about "thousands" of pieces of "obvious" evidence, you've provided nothing of any substance. And when there's a possibility of REAL evidence (like the paintings in the catacombs), you quickly change topics.

      This could doubtless go on forever. But I'm now convinced that -- not only will you NEVER offer any real evidence, you have none to begin with!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      The name "Jesus Christ" literally means "Savior Messiah" Jesus is an English derivation from the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua). which means "Yahweh saves." Christ is the Greek "christos" meaning "anointed" which in Hebrew is "messiah." I'm quoting Richard Carrier from "On the Historicity of Jesus." So we have a savior god who is literally named "Savior God."

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Oz

      Good job on the New Testament references and usage. Upon being sworn in a witness places their hand on the Bible. This country was founded as a Christian nation. Somewhere along the line we got away from that route.

      Both you and Pal possess an innate ability to communicate your opinion and substantiate it with credible resources. Well done to both of you. Catherine is an excellent writer and researcher as she presents such thought provoking Hubs. So to all keep up the good work.

      Blessings!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Randy

      I am not in the least upset at all. Pointing out personal attacks undermines any facade of strength in weak arguments. Its important to correct misinformation re ethical issues. Why resort to personal attacks if you have a good argument? HP has rules and we agree to abide by them. How do you know I'm not just stimulating the weak consciences here? It appears that atheism weakens the conscience so why not stimulate those asphixiating consciences? Its a free service to all

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      No one likes a tattletale, Oz. You should be a moderator for HP as they like such people. Why don't you simply stay away from hubs which upset you? But then, you wouldn't get to report people. :(

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Thomas

      it is quite correct to label personal attacks, hate speech etc as arrogance. It is not allowed by HP. My behaviour remains polite and scientific at all times. Accusations of trolling against

      a new member is particularly heinous and has in the past resulted in the offender being barred. Likewise accusations of being a troll or a nut made against a long term established and respected member. I am of course building up to a full report about such behaviour.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      the catacombs are not "inside the new testament" they are warrens beneath the ground. The Talmud are Jewish documents. St Peters tomb is an actual tomb. Damascus is a real place. The list is huge. The new testament is one of the oldest primary source documents still being used by archaeologists and law makers alike. Its practically a legal document and occurs in every western court and goverment. It's accuracy is unparalleled in the entire ancient middle east.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      You're welcome. And thank you! I say that because I learn as much from others as (hopefully) they learn from me. I've already picked up on a couple of new things, thanks to your participation here.

      As for the name 'Yeshua' -- I'm certainly no expert, by any means! But this is my knowledge of it, for what it's worth: As I understand it, "Jesus" is a Greek variation of "Yeshua." And "Yeshua," in turn, is a shorter variation of "Yehoshua" (like "Bob" is a shorter alternative to "Robert").

      As for "Yehoshua," it's a composite of two Hebrew words -- "Yeh-ho," which represents God himself, used as either a prefix or suffix in Jewish names, and "shua," which means "saves." So, together, the name literally means "God saves."

      Hope that helps. :-)

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Thank you for the info on the Hebrew Bible. I will look into it. Is it true that the real Hebrew name of Jesus is actually Yeshua? You seem to be quite learned on the topic. Thank you again.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Damian, I must say I truly appreciate your efforts to put forth a rational argument (unlike certain others who tell you to "Google it."). That said, there are a number of flaws in with your two suggestions of Old Testament references.

      The first, from Isaiah 53, is one of the most popular supposed prophecies of Jesus from the Old Testament. However, as I can demonstrate, it definitely does NOT refer to Jesus. There's no clear reference to crucifixion, either (the closest it comes is a reference to being "bruised for our [supposed] iniquities."

      I've actually addressed this 'prophecy' (which actually begins at the end of Isaiah 52) in detail in one my hubs. Though Catherine discourages links to other hubs on her pages, you can find it easily enough if you go to my profile page and select "Isaiah 53: It's Not Who You Think."

      As for the Psalm 22 reference, that is much more intriguing (I may even write a hub about it later!). The relevant portion from the King James Version definitely sounds like it parallels the crucifixion story in the gospels:

      "...For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet...."

      However, if you read the (awkward) word-for-word direct translation from the original language, you'll see it paints a very different comparison:

      "...they-surround·me dogs crowd-of ones-doing-evil they-cencompass·me as·the·lion hands-of·me and·feet-of·me..."

      With this more direct translation, one can see that the comparison is to an animal being hunted and surrounded, NOT to a future crucifixion!

      If you're not already familiar with it, I HIGHLY recommend the Hebrew Interlinear Bible Online (using the Leningrad Codex -- the oldest existing complete Old Testament manuscript). It's an excellent resource, for believer and non-believer alike!

      http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Heb...

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Oz, it doesn't matter how many 'sources' you cite for the historical authenticity of the New Testament if THEY'RE ALL FROM WITHIN THE NEW TESTAMENT! That's like saying's something's true because I say it is! It's why we need independent corroboration.

      As for your "Google" suggestion regarding the catacombs, I see you're reverting to your standard pattern -- You offer something as 'evidence,' then when someone asks you to substantiate or authenticate it, you scurry back into your little "conspiracy theory" bunker.

      It would all be amusing if it weren't so truly pathetic.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      it's not just about written records but also contemporaneous events, sites, persons such as St Paul etc. They all go together as a group of primary source evidence for JC and apostles. The level of evidence is far higher than most other events in ancient history. Google catacombs: if you say the symbols and images are simply concoted then you've lapsed back into another conspiracy theory.

      The miracles and divinity are an entirely different topic out of the range of this hub.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Sorry I meant Old Testament. Oops!

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Pal

      You say Jesus is never mentioned in the New Testament. You are right that He is not mentioned by the name of Jesus but one could certainly argue that He is referenced.

      Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 are clear reference to a future crucifixion and there are others although these two seem to be the most prolific. In Genesis, God refers to Himself as a plural God saying that we will make man in Our image. The Old Testament references are clearly written prior to the time of Jesus and before crucifixion was even invented by the Romans. Even the wording of, "My god, why have you forsaken me." As well as, " It pleased The Lord to bruise Him." These are clear references to someone who is going to get it.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      CatherineG.

      I try to make the 'blind' see.

      But thanks for the compliment.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Yes, wandering thank you. You guys do not know me personally nor do I know you. What I do know and I will reiterate it once again is that understanding God from a human perspective I believe is impossible and that certainly goes for me as well. I do not understand Him any better than any other. One thing He has blessed me with is humility. J bird I do not think He wants us to suffer or always be completely denying ourselves. Rather, I think He is trying to bless us. Actually you make a very good point in that why would He send His Son to die for us and then make us endure earthly suffering. I cannot believe what I am about to tell cause I said I would never blog about myself. 9 months ago I was diagnosed with MS. My wife, who is a nurse said you do not even know how to be sick. It is true I never get sick. My prayer then was and still is that I could help someone else. Instead of feeling sorry for myself God showed me so many others that were in such terrible states. I pray for these others constantly. In April I was offered to participate in the senior mission which involves going to nursing homes on Saturdays and Sundays and providing a worship service. In truth, they are giving me much more than I could ever give them. All of you are certainly entitled to their own opinions. Certainly no person should force their beliefs on another. I am not judging any of you. He is what works for me. I am aware of some of the difficulties and yet I actually feel His love. I know you will think me crazy. Maybe I am. They say different strokes for different folks. If I have offended any person with my belief I certainly apologize. That was not my intention. Rather, I wish all of you a multitude of blessings. You can never go wrong if you follow your heart and that is my wish for each of you. There are people out there that are terminal and some are hungry and some are depressed and so many other sad things. I am truly blessed and am one of the lucky ones.

      Blessings.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Oops. I just realized I repeated myself in my next to last comment. Oh well. That's what happens when you're in a hurry to be somewhere, I guess... ;-P

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      jgshorebird: You last comment was very philosophical and poetic.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Damian.....I believe you meant, "WANDERING Jew." We are ALL "Wondering humans" quite obviously.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Great comments here. It is interesting to read all the twists and turns the faithful make, in an attempt to corroborate their positions. In an attempt to salvage just one piece if physical evidence or perhaps an eyewitness, to somehow validate that their God Son Jesus, walked among us in the past. As they say, they will just take it on faith. Oh...let me help define that for them...

      The one line that keeps running through this entire thread, albeit in a tortured way, is old idea of mysticism. In this case, the 'believers' cite that man cannot conceive of God or his son, but then they fail to explain how they (men and women) are able to conceive of God...and his son. It's beyond our understanding, they say. Then how do they understand it? Blank Out. Or they just feel it, like we might feel our pulse or how the ancients may have read the tea leaves or how the Shaman read his bag of bones.

      This spiritual mysticism negates man's (and women's) consciousness. The ability to reason, think, judge, rationalize - all are cast aside as being unnecessary. One must feel God, they say, just 'know' it, and submit to Him or his son or both. We exist only because God placed us here, upon this earth and He is beyond our understanding our knowledge. Then how do the faithful comprehend Him? Blank out.

      To the faithful, ours is not to question, but the serve, like zombies, for unfathomable reasons. Our reward? Our reward, say the faithful is Life after Death, so long as you follow God's plan, whatever it might be (they cannot know it).

      So don't be selfish, deny yourself earthly pleasures, give up all personal desires, renounce yourself, make your life the great "subtraction" and all will be well in this temporary place called Earth. Sacrifice all to the cause of the next life. Ignore the now.

      Mysticism. Make-believe. Faithful. Blind. In this way, we can reach the the sublime morality, the absolute pinnacle of morality, the grand heights of virtue.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Damian10: Israel became a nation again because the founders of the new Israel deliberately set out to fulfill the prophecy. They used The Bible to assert their moral claim to part of Palestine. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I've separated this comment from the rest, because I feel it merits its own consideration. Oz, you've mentioned supposed "painted images" of Jesus in the Roman catacombs "only a matter of years" after he supposedly walked the Earth.

      This is significant, and would constitute excellent evidence for Jesus' historical existence if you can clarify and prove certain details:

      First, can you actually prove that these images unequivocally represent Jesus?

      Second, what do you mean by a "only a matter of years?" Ten years? Two hundred years? A thousand?

      Third, if it's within a relatively short time afterward (early enough to possibly constitute an "eyewitness" account), can you verify the dating?

      Otherwise, what we have is some paintings in the catacombs that ANYONE could have put there, at ANY time, and wouldn't demonstrate anything!

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Actually, Oz, we DO apply "my thinking" to all ancient history. Any objective historian would expect a higher standard of evidence for any 'ancient' manuscript that includes the plethora of miraculous and supernatural claims made in the New Testament.

      They would also consider the relevant time period. We're not talking ancient Sumerian history here, where all we have is a handful of words scrawled on a shard of pottery. We're talking the turn of the first millennium CE, at the height of the Roman empire, full of official accounts and numerous historians.

      Thus, they would naturally expect plenty of corroborating historical accounts of the events supposedly described in the New Testament. Yet there aren't ANY! NONE of the existing Roman records mention Jesus. NONE of the contemporary historians mention Jesus.

      It's only decades AFTER Jesus supposedly died, and once the cult of Christianity emerged as a social and political phenomenon, that ANYONE mentions Jesus.

      And it goes without saying that they would expect extraordinary evidence for the miraculous and supernatural claims made in the New Testament account.

      And, again, no, the link you provided does NOT demonstrate that "relatively speaking, proofs available for JC (and the associated events) are of a much higher level than other historical truisms." It only makes the same assertions you're making here -- that the number of existing copies of 'ancient' NT manuscripts somehow demonstrates their historical truth, despite the countless discrepancies in them.

      You simply refuse to accept that merely comparing the number of existing ancient copies of a manuscript has NOTHING to do with their authenticity -- especially when there are countless discrepancies between the transcribed copies! I don't know why you can't seem to grasp this.

      What you (and the author at your link) also fail to realize that -- even by your OWN absurd standard of numbers and ages of copies -- the New Testament has LESS authenticity, not more!

      There are actually only a handful of copies of the New Testament (often in mere scraps) that date anywhere NEAR the events they supposedly describe -- and even they're dated CENTURIES after! And the vast majority actually come from the medieval period, when most of the transcribing was done! These are your 'evidence' for the historical authenticity of the New Testament?

      And I'll emphasize this very salient point once AGAIN -- comparing the New Testament to other ancient documents says NOTHING about its own historical accuracy.

      As for your assertion that the Jewish Talmud mentions Jesus, you'll have to specify where in the text that supposedly occurs. Since Jesus is never mentioned ANYWHERE in the Old Testament, that seems incredibly unlikely!

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Perhaps so, Damian, but you musing on "God's perspective" hinges entirely on whether he actually exists, doesn't it?

      As for the impossibility of trying to reason and rationalize God from a human perspective -- if THAT'S impossible, then how can YOU be certain that you understand him at all, or that he even exists? After all, if you can't trust human reason, perhaps YOU'RE wrong about his existence altogether!

      As for the prediction of Israel becoming a nation, it occurs to me that you're being very selective about what aspects of that 'prophecy' actually occurred. As I recall from the Old Testament, Israel was to become a nation again only on the return of the "Messiah," and was to be ruled by David.

      Perhaps Thomas made more sense that you recognize! ;-)

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Pal

      Outlandish and fantastic from our perspective but certainly not from God' s perspective. All of us are entitled to believe or not believe whatever we choose. Certainly some things are sheer coincidence but I stopped believing in coincidence a long time ago. Some things just feel like they were supposed to happen in the way they did happen. I cannot seem to get past the prophesy and I do not believe all of this is supposed to fit nicely in a box and all of the pieces come together. Trying to reason and rationalize God from a human perspective is really quite impossible. Take the great temple for instance. While the apostles were marveling at it , Jesus tells them it will be destroyed and it is where we get no stone left unturned. It is sill in ruins in Jerusalem today. Also, if you had told a Jewish person 100 years ago that Israel would become a nation again they would have looked at you like you had two heads. Yet, on May 14, 1948 Israel does become a nation again just as the prophesy predicted. They had not had a home for 2000 years and it is where we get the flower/weed The Wondering Jew. They were scattered throughout Europe and the world but did not have a home of their own. Again, perhaps it is not supposed to be so very easy or fit in a human box like we would all like. Jesus tells Thomas, " Thomas, you believe because you see. Blessed are those who don't see yet still believe."

      Maybe there is a lot of doubting Thomas in all of us.

      Blessings

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      this is the reason I put that link in: it demonstrated that relatively speaking the proofs available for JC (and the associated events) are of a much higher level than other historical truisms.

      This is the principle you and others are avoiding.

      Take any major figure from Ancient History and you will see very little primary source evidence: take Alexander the Great. Not much at all in terms of primary sources but we take it for granted he existed. If we had letters from a person within a five year period after Alexander's death who attested to immediate events surrounding Alexander's actions it would be taken as undeniable proof that Alexander existed.

      By your mode of thinking only religious phenomena and leaders are under a cloud of doubt while all other major historical persons and events are ok. Why?

      Hence it is pointless to keep putting forward proofs as they will all be met with the same conspiracy stuff.

      The Jewish Talmud mentions Jesus. Of course you will say "hold on this was after the events" but once again such reports were based on long established traditions and have a much better level of historical evidence than many secular events/people.

      In one of my earlier posts I mentio0ned the reliability of oral tradition: the Indigenous Australians have oral traditions that accurately describe geological events that date back almost 100,000 years. Hindu scriptures were passed on orally using amazing musical and mnemonic patterns for tens of thousands of years. Therefore to argue that a mere five years or even a few hundred years is relevant is not correct. Painted images of JC occur in the catacombs for example only a matter of years after JC walked the earth. Early baptismal fonts begin appearing in ancient roman houses in the first century AD. Such secondary proofs are legion in the proper scientific study of early Christianity..

      If we apply your thinking to all ancient history there would then be NO history at all left of a verifiable nature.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Indeed, the multiple errors and inconsistencies in the thousands of copies of New Testament manuscripts doesn't prove that the people described in its narrative didn't exist, or that the events didn't happen.

      However, it does make it essentially impossible to employ the New Testament itself (as represented in those contradictory manuscripts) as sufficient evidence that they DID.

      Furthermore, even if there WERE only one unvarying version of the New Testament (in one copy or thousands of copies), the stories related in its narrative are so outlandish and fantastic (resurrections, gods, demons, miraculous healings, walking on water, zombies in Jerusalem, etc.) that an extraordinary amount of corroborating evidence is required under any objective standard.

      For example, if I tell you my name is Bob, it's reasonable that most people would accept it on my word alone. It's not an extraordinary claim. However, if I tell you I have invisible wings and can fly to the moon -- an extraordinary and amazing claim by any measure -- I'd wager they'd require a significant amount of proof! And it would doubtless make them doubt anything else I had to say, even if it WASN'T extraordinary!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Me too! As one of the jurors in the O.J. trial asked, "where da poof?"

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      So true and I believe it has been offered that Paul begins writing only about 5 years after Christ. If you believe Paul and his meeting Christ on the road to Damascus which changes his life forever, then maybe you have this witness you are all in search of. In two thousand years and with human error and self serving aspiration one can probably ascertain that text was indeed changed and possibly many times. Yet that does not prove the events themselves never happened. It certainly does not prove that Christ did not exist. It only proves that everything including record keeping is subject to human error. That goes both ways. You cannot say that because a certain author or group of people do not speak of or acknowledge the Christ that they must be correct because they did not mention Him. You still have to consider the time as well as the lack of technology and ultimately the ramifications of going around saying, Hey you killed the Christ! The political complications of that would have gotten a person killed and it did. In some cases Paul was doing the killing. At that time, Jesus was not some popular figure but a troublemaker and blasphemer.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      But here's the problem, Oz. You just made a declaration:

      -- "Comparatively speaking the new testament writings have a much more reliable history than many other writings..."

      This is an assertion without proof, and I can't simply accept it on your word. If you wish this to be a valid premise to your argument, you MUST demonstrate that it is factually correct!

      You follow with another assertion:

      -- "Paul himself is contemporaneous with events and witnessed many of these associated phenomena..."

      Again, this is an assertion without proof, and you can't expect us to accept it on your word alone. You must document it with corroborating evidence.

      And, of course, even if you now admit that Paul was merely "contemporaneous" with the events, it STILL doesn't change the notion that he wasn't actually wasn't an EYEWITNESS to the events -- contrary to one of your earlier assertions:

      -- "...St Paul=eyewitness. Get it?"

      Simply making assertions doesn't constitute "evidence." And I'll remind you once again that you've clearly stated previously in this hub's comments that there are "thousands" of pieces of evidence -- and that there is "obvious" evidence -- for the historical existence of Jesus.

      If this evidence is so plentiful and so obvious, your task thus far should have been a cakewalk! By this point, we should be overwhelmed with the plethora of "obvious" evidence here in these comments.

      Yet all we have thus far is your personal assertions supported by the flimsiest of 'proof' (such as the number of copies of the New Testament manuscripts, or the "associated phenomena of early sites," whatever the heck that means!).

      Incidentally, I'm curious about these "biased Jewish texts" to which you refer, which supposedly label Jesus as a "minor historical actual person." This is (honestly) news to me, and if you have a source link, I would very much appreciate it!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      No my meaning is that modern commentators have prejudices about modern interpretations of ancient history.

      Comparatively speaking the new testament writings have a much more reliable history than many other writings. This plus the associated phenomena of early sites and such things as explosive early expansion etc

      reinforce the legitmacy. Paul himself is contemporaneous with events and witnessed many of these associated phenomena. Biased Jewish texts as well label JC as a minor historical actual person .

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Oz, you're correct that transcriptionists can have biases that affect their work. And the fact that hand transcription was the only available method in those days doesn't mitigate the fact that countless mistakes were made!

      What we're dealing here is an ancient, patchwork text filled with numerous supposed miracles and outlandish supernatural claims. And, as the very astute axiom reminds us, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence! Such an account demands much more corroborating evidence to demonstrate its authenticity!

      Further, ALL the accounts in the New Testament are -- at the very least -- second hand accounts! As I understand it, NONE of the gospels were actually written by the apostles for whom they're named. Instead, they were written anonymously DECADES after the events they supposedly describe.

      And Paul, the presumed author of much of the New Testament, never even MET Jesus! He simply wasn't there when the story happened!

      So, we're beginning with -- at minimum -- second-hand accounts, written down in a language (Greek) different from that spoken by the participants in the story, transcribed AGAIN into other languages (usually Latin), and altered -- both accidentally and purposely -- countless times by numerous transcriptionists.

      This is NOT what any objective observer would call compelling evidence!

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Jamie that was a very well thought out, quite lucid and very diplomatic response. Keep up the good work.

      Blessings!

    • Jamie Banks 99 profile image

      Jamie Banks 2 years ago from Japan

      And thanks to anyone who has commented to try to support or educate me about your opinions of how the system works here. It has certainly been a steep learning curve this week!

      I am not here to insult anyone and although I mentioned something about hubs being "taken down" this was before I was aware that hubs could be edited. I am quite happy to look over any drafts of new hubs if you like Catherine and use my limited knowledge to make suggestions. Although I have studied the Bible by attending various churches' study groups, taking religion for four years at university, and writing two books about it, I still consider myself a beginner - especially on the cultural and religious context in which the Bible was born. But you might find the small number of things I do know useful if you want to tap into them.

    • Jamie Banks 99 profile image

      Jamie Banks 2 years ago from Japan

      Jgshorebird: Thanks for your comments. Of course there is no evidence to prove the existence of Jesus. There are however, two issues that have perhaps been conflated here. One is, “Did Jesus exist?” and secondly, “If he existed, were the details of his life embellished in some way, or adapted to suit a particular audience?”

      It seems to me that sometimes evidence that is relevant to the latter question is used as evidence to answer the first question. There are several similarities across religious history which are quite remarkable. Similar patterns may be drawn between successful businesses or business people, or great humanitarians but these do not indicate plagiarism. Some things are just the nature of the beast. Catherine states for example of Horus and Jesus “They both had followers”. Businesses have customers. Religious leaders have followers.

      Catherine also states that Horus and Jesus both performed miracles. The problem is that Jesus’ miracles are based in the Old Testament. Jesus is shown in the New Testament to be the new Elijah, the new Moses, the new David and the new Joseph. Hence Jesus’ miracles are variations on the miracles of these prophets in particular (mostly in a superior fashion). Both Elijah and Jesus are recorded as raising the son of a widow. Elijah is carried into heaven in a chariot, but Jesus ascends by himself without this vehicle. The Israelites received manna from heaven in the desert but Jesus provided bread and fish for thousands in the desert himself (if we accept the gospel). What evidence is there that Jesus’ miracles were borrowed from Horus? I don’t see any here.

      As for this blog being accepted as evidence in court? I don’t think so. There are no references to original texts of the religions that are claimed as potential sources.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Oz ... Why not try the nice approach? I don't agree with any views here yet I respect Catherine's writing and another's opinions. When in doubt... Always take the high road. Blessings!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      PPS

      joking!! You can't get rid of me that easy:))

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      PS

      I rest my case and will now move onto greener pastures.

      Adieu!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      in fairness to you personally I don't sense the same level of hardened bigotry as in others. You were just starting to get on track in your analysis. Of course we have to disagree. In anthropology courses the lecturers are big on the fact that different commentators have various personal biases hence the need to read bios. However the idea of accepting historical facts for non religious matters boils down to this: ALL ancient manuscripts are hand copies of hand copies because before the printing press that was the only option! There can therefore be onlyprejudice involved if we discount very weighty religious evidence. There is far far less evidence for many ancient personages often only a single mention in a copy of a copy but such non religious persons/events are held to be historical fact. Take the Iliad. Troy was fact but the story is couched in the dramatic poetry of the time which included allusions to ancient gods. If we can't accept that people thousands of years ago spoke that way due to cultural and artistic fashion we lose both the literary beauty and the historical facts contained therein.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Hehe. Actually, when I read JG's comment, being a history buff, I was reminded of General McAuliffe's response to the German army who had his 101st Airborne Division surrounded in Bastogne during the World War II Battle of the Bulge. When they demanded his surrender, he replied with one word:

      "NUTS!"

      As for Oz, I honestly don't know what to make of him. Sometimes he seems rather 'trollish,' but I suspect he actually believes what he's saying, and isn't just trying to get a rise out of everyone. Of course, I could be wrong!

      I think the problem is that he's so firmly entrenched in his ideological bubble that he literally no longer has the capacity to rationally discern truth from fiction. He appears to evaluate arguments and 'evidence' EXCLUSIVELY on the basis of whether or not they agree with his theology.

      I've been interacting with him for months now, and the pattern is always the same -- he makes a theological assertion then, when pressed to defend it, he points to someone else's work. Sometimes (as in the case of Gödel's ontological theorem) he even ADMITS that he has no comprehension of the source he's citing. But it appears to agree with him, so it's de facto legitimate and authoritative.

      I actually regret that I spend so much time here deriding so much of his lackluster 'evidence' and argumentative comments, and I'd MUCH rather spend my time debating more legitimate points. But he's so arrogant and condescending in his ignorance that I find myself regularly sinking to his level. It's one of the weaknesses of being human, I suppose.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Paladin: I keep saying to people who want to refute the facts I present to go to INDEPENDENT sources, but they keep using Christian apologist sources, and then they wonder why they are told it is proves nothing at all.

      jgshorbird: Please put your comment (that you addressed to Paladin) about a lunatic in an email to paladin. I don't think it is appropriate here.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Paladin: If I may add to your comment, if the number of copies proved something was real, Harry Potter is an actual real live wizard. Maybe Harry will be the new Jesus.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Actually, I must correct a statement I made in my previous comment, where I claimed that the link in question is an "opinion piece."

      To be fair, the author does attempt to provide "evidence" to support his allegations regarding the authenticity of the New Testament -- at least in one area -- the number of existing manuscripts. Of course, the number of existing manuscripts says NOTHING about their authenticity, but why let logic get in the way of a faulty argument?

      The rest of the piece IS nothing more than opinion and conjecture, but the 'manuscripts' segment of it can't be properly characterized as "opinion." It's simply unconvincing "evidence," with irrelevant information emphasized and important information omitted.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      No, Oz, the link does NOT "clearly show that the historical evidence for JC, apostles, sites and events" is of a high quality. It is an opinion piece, pure and simple.

      He does provide a very impressive-looking chart noting the number of copies of various historical documents, and cites the large number of Biblical manuscripts.

      What he's careful to NOT reveal is that, collectively, they contain TENS OF THOUSANDS of variations among them (copies of copies of copies, etc.). And of course, they're ALL dated centuries after the supposed events they describe!

      This is the author's supposed "evidence" for the historicity of the New Testament -- and, presumably, the historicity of Jesus. And this is the 'evidence' that you cite -- among the "thousands" of "obvious" pieces you say are available. Perhaps you can't discern the difference between actual reliable evidence and spitting in the wind, but others certainly can!

      Actually, I'm even happy to provide the link again here, just so people can visit it themselves and see what the magical Oz considers to be clear "historical evidence:"

      http://www.bethinking.org/is-the-bible-reliable/th...

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Jgshore

      another personal attack/hate speech. Why does that happen every time someone loses an argument? :)

      Personal attacks have no effect whatsoever on the correct application of historical evidence.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thomas Swan: I wondered who the mysterious "visitor" was myself. On the other hand, his comments while a bit insulting and raunchy appeared to me to be no worse than those of some hubbers. I even wondered if the person being insulted in the comment was behind it. I didn't know HP would penalize anyone for something someone else said in comments, but I did hesitate to allow it because something about it didn't feel right to me. I even thought the person being insulted in the comment could have been behind it. If you are right, it is a devious action by some one who feels he can't make his case in an honest manner.

    • Thomas Swan profile image

      Thomas Swan 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Catherine, it might be worth deleting the recent guest comment. Whether he (or she) is right or not, I think hubs have been taken down for allowing less. In fact, I'd suspect the mysterious guest of having exactly that ulterior motive. You might want to compare the IP address below the comment with people who'd want to see this hub taken down. You can delete this comment too if you like because it doesn't really add anything to the hub. Just a friendly head's up about what can happen here.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you, visitor, for taking the time to comment. I'm glad you found this hub interesting, and I hope you will also enjoy some on my other hubs. I write on a variety of topics. I'm sorry that your experience on HubPages is marred by people who misuse the comment section. The people in charge tolerate this behavior and so I must also.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      To the Person of Oztinato:

      "NUTS!!!"

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Paldn

      you are ignoring the principle of that link which clearly shows that the historical evidence for JC, apostles, sites and events is of a higher quality than many other historical truisms.

      This is why you are always getting stuck with the conspiracy route and are getting found out with double standards.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Cath

      accusing a new or old member of being a troll is unacceptable behaviour.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      So sorry if I gave credit to the wrong person for the info on Lucian. I had to work last night(I sometimes work as an actor.) It was an all-night photo shoot for Disney. I got home at 9am and slept for three hours and I am kind of a zombie today. I am doing only the minimal amount of work today. I thought enough brain cells were firing to answer comments.

      P.S. There is no history between me and Jamie Banks. He joined here two weeks ago and just stated his barrage of comments. There are other hubs making the same claims that I make. (See Related Hubs on the right of this page.) I wonder if he trolls them too. I'll check tomorrow. Too tired to do anything today.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Oz, it appears that part of the problem you're having (and that everyone is having with you) is that you seem not to be able (or perhaps willing) to comprehend what you read.

      For example, you begin your last comment by insisting that I "keep claiming no apostles existed." NOWHERE in the comments of this hub -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- have I claimed that no apostles existed. I honestly DON'T KNOW whether or not they existed, but if you expect me (and anyone else) to accept their supposed New Testament accounts as "evidence" for Jesus, you need to demonstrate that they actually DID exist, and that that they actually wrote what is in the gospels regarding Jesus.

      You're presenting "evidence" and expecting us to accept it -- solely on your word -- that it's authoritative and authentic. Then, when we ask you to demonstrate it's authenticity, you keep insisting that we're engaging in "conspiracy theories" -- as if that somehow absolves you of any further responsibility.

      As for the link, I DID read it, which is how I know that it essentially repeats your assertion that the apostles are reliable eyewitnesses to Jesus' historicity. All he adds is a lot of personal assertions (for which he also offers no proof) about their authenticity. Apparently, it is YOU who didn't read the page at the link! (again, a seeming comprehension problem).

      Lastly, you claim that you've presented "...a number of historical research methods in this hub (reliabilty of verbal traditions, evolutionary approaches, archetypes, primary sources etc)..."

      No, you haven't. All you've provided thus far is accusations about the character of atheists, complaints about having your comments "deleted" (which, apparently, hasn't occurred), comparisons of Jesus with other historical figures (which says NOTHING about Jesus' own historicity!), repeated assertions that the apostles are reliable "eyewitnesses" to Jesus' historicity, and a lot of gibberish about "conspiracy theories."

      Clearly, what your comments thus far represent is someone who is trying to use a lot of smoke, mirrors and awkward verbal sleight of hand to distract from the fact that he actually has nothing of importance to say.

      -------------

      Catherine, I'm afraid you'll have to thank Damian for the Lucian reference. Up to this point, I'd never even heard of him, so I was glad to be introduced to a new bit of useful and insightful knowledge!

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Catherine ...you are gracious as ever. This is YOUR hub by the way and all of us are just guests. thank you for the thought provoking hubs. Very well done.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Paladin: Thanks to the information about Lucian. I guess the reason I did not come across it when I was researching the evidence for the existence of Jesus is that a satirical work of fiction written in the latter half of the 2nd century has nothing to do with the topic.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Oz: Your comments are not being deleted. I tried that some weeks ago in the hopes of discouraging trolls. It didn't work. I tried not responding. It didn't work. So I have given up. You may now fight amongst yourselves.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      My apologies for not responding to every comment individually, but calling out certain of the people who have commented here would only serve to embarrass them further. One more time. Repeat after me. There are no eyewitness reports to the life of Jesus! Nothing in the Bible was written by an eyewitness! The Gospels were not written by the men whose names they bear! This is not the least bit controversial among honest Biblical scholars.

      P.S. Whether or not Buddha existed, or Julius Caesar, or George Washington, or even Elvis are separate issues. The historicity of any of these says nothing about the historicity of Jesus.

      BTW, Thanks Randy Godwin for your Elvis comment. It made me laugh.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Ok everybody let's all take a deep breath and calm down. I have no objection to someone pointing out an error in my work. I always look into and I have actually edited my hub because of a point someone made in the comments--either a clarification or a comment. However, once you have made your comment and I have responded to it, continuing to make the same point over and over is just bad manners. As is calling into question my honesty, my professionalism, and my intellect. Shame on the trolls and thank you to the people who have tried to educate them on what is appropriate conduct on HP.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Point taken. But it is more than that. It is the greatest question of all. I think that is CatherineG's point as well.

      Where did we come from? The recent Jesus Christ story, a mere 2000 years old, a likely copy of older myths, just embodies that: the greatest question.

      The Creator, if there is one or two, allowed me the privilege to question everything, form conclusions based upon reality and not forget that there are those who will accept the latest myth, out of complacency.

      It's not about 'belief'. You mean 'Faith'. It's really about the brick. The brick thrown at a car window by a street thug is evidence. An eyewitness to the crime is also evidence of that crime. Even if that crime occurred 20 years ago and the videotape (evidence) is missing.

      The real crime is to 'believe' the latest (2000 year old) myth, without a critical, external to one's own feelings, examination of the relevant known evidence. The bricks and the scrolls, so to speak. The bible is not evidence. It is not even circumstantial evidence.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      No, while it is true I am getting old I am not that old yet. My only point is/was I believe you could conceivably question everyone and everything. All of this is speculation. Belief or non-belief it ultimately comes down to a choice. Your choice. No one's but yours. You have heard me state that Catherine is an excellent writer and I do not have to agree with her to realize that. She indeed is. The thing about the famous person is just 2,000 years and we still talk so much about this guy. Depicted as a poor Jewish carpenter?

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      In court cases, eyewitness testimony is considered a type of evidence.

      I would love it if just one Jesus eyewitness was found...say an old scroll that read..."and he was taken down there, nailed to the cross, between two common criminals etc. etc., and his name was....and his mother's name was...and his was born here...on this date...etc." Alas, we have no such thing...yet?

      And please don't say you are an eyewitness.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      Right but old George had no children and no (painted ) picture shows him with wooden teeth. Plus that whole cherry tree thing. I am actually a big George fan but where is the evidence?

      I do like Elvis though.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Damian10:

      Are you kidding me? Easy case. Slam dunk.

      I can cite thousands of eyewitnesses. Being dead has nothing to do with it.

      You know this.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Randy......Yes, of course "Elvis," what other man could it possibly be? And if I may.....in the female category: "The Amazing, incomparable MARILYN MONROE."..........Not possible there could be more famous persons in History. Let's be mature, factual and realistic here, folks!!

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 2 years ago from Naples

      In court you would lose the argument for Georg Washington's existence because there are no physical eyewitnesses They are all dead and buried.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      JB......Let me try to help you UNDERSTAND. If you INSIST upon "argument," expounding upon inaccuracies (according to you) and/or "Corrections" of any kind.......This is NOT done on a writer's hubs, which are their works of art.

      You may WRITE YOUR OWN HUB (for the FIFTH time).....or certainly you can visit the FORUMS, which is the appropriate venue for debate. Is this simple enough for you? Get it now?

      Comment sections below our articles are meant for somewhat brief, personal/professional opinions on the work itself, writing talent, simple opinion and or compliments on research, style and expression.

      Once AGAIN, whether this is "what you are accustomed to" or NOT.....Try as hard as you can to understand how it is here at HP.

      HP is NOT a "social" site.....It is a Community of writers to create, edit, publish and display the results of their talent & passions....

      Repeat this to yourself until it sinks in.

      EVEN though you may SEE other trolls indulging in this unacceptable, rude, unnecessary and unwelcomed habit, try to rise above the stupidity. Thank you.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Oz:

      There is zero evidence to prove the Christ. Zero. That is the problem.

      Your alleged 'wealth of evidence' is a forfeit, when you fail to produce it.

      Name a single Jesus eyewitness. Just one.

      Name a single piece of evidence that is attached to Jesus. Just one.

      Evidence works the same way in court as it does in archaeology, geology, anthropology, history and so on.

      You are in the American Courtroom. Prove your case.

      Can't?

      Next case, please.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Jgshore

      you miss the point : most proven ancient historical facts have much less going for them than the wealth of evidence regarding JC and the apostle witnesses,sites etc.

      Archaeology is not criminal law.