Problems I have with a historical Jesus

I suppose it should come as no shock to regular readers, but I have some major issues with the idea that Jesus of the bible was an actual person. Various scholars have at many points in history tried to authenticate that the Jesus of the bible was a physical person who really existed and thus could possibly have been the son of God and thus lending credibility to the bible. The problem with that, though, is that these scholars have yet to produce anything conclusive. You could pick five Christian scholars and each of them would come back to you with five different people who they claim were the real Jesus. I have my doubts, and they rest on two premises.

1. The missing years. There is a period of about 18 years in the New Testament where Jesus literally falls off the map. Presumably he was off doing normal guy stuff? Who knows, it’s not explicitly documented. Which I find completely incredible and utterly baffling. So this child is born of a virgin birth and is heralded as the son of god. Everyone watches him grow up for 12 years and then…people lose interest? I don’t know, it seems awfully bizarre to me that people would just kind of ignore the Messiah for the better part of two decades. Essentially, you have everyone abuzz with the knowledge that the son of God and literal savior of humanity has been born…then people go through a period of not giving a shit for 18 years for some reason…then suddenly they’re interested in Jesus again when he hits 30. If the Jesus of the bible really was an actual person his life and mere existence would have had staggering implications for mankind–you’d think someone would have been assigned to document his whole life. But you don’t see that. You don’t see anything remotely resembling the biography of literally the most important man to have ever lived. Call me a skeptic, but something about that seems a tad off to me. Just the idea that people would stop caring about a man who performed miracles and was born unto a virgin seems incomprehensible. Maybe some people would have been dubious or not given a shit…but surely SOME people would have. Which leads me to…

2. Why didn’t anyone else write about Jesus? This is something else that I find troubling and puzzling. If the Jesus of the bible was a real person and he really was the son of God, why isn’t there any record of his miracles and deeds beyond the bible and the church? Seems only natural that if someone came into town and walked on water, turned it into wine, and then cured a bunch of lepers that the townspeople would have had their minds blown. Think of the equivalent of that today. If someone came to my town and performed a bunch of miracles, you could bet that people would be blogging and tweeting and Facebooking the ever-loving crap out of that shit. And yes, these social media obviously weren’t available in the time of Jesus. But we haven’t found the journal or diary of oooooone single person? Not one single instance of some merchant in some town writing,

“Dear diary,

Guess what?! Today some dude called Jesus came to town and magically cured all the lepers! And then he turned the water to wine! And when he was all done, he left town by WALKING OVER THE RIVER! Totes cray cray. Time to herd some goats.”

I just find it almost totally inconceivable that the multitudes of everyday people who allegedly witnessed these miracles had absolutely no desire to record them. It makes no sense whatsoever to me. All of the people who wrote about “Jesus” did so centuries after his death, meaning they never could have met an actual, historical Jesus.

It’s all just an awful lot to swallow. Of course, there’s a much more likely explanation. Perhaps Jesus really did exist but there was nothing at all divine about him. Perhaps he was just a philosopher. And maybe that’s why nobody really showed much interest while he was alive. It was only after his death that the founders of Christianity decided to use him as the central figure of their religion. It would certainly explain the missing years. Under this assumption, the only important parts about the life of Jesus are his birth and his death, because that’s central to the mythology. It also explains why normal people didn’t record his existence or meeting him–because he was just a regular dude walking down the street or some guy on the street corner begging people to love their neighbor. No miracles, no virgin birth. Just a street corner philosopher.

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7 thoughts on “Problems I have with a historical Jesus

  1. Your two problems are solved when we consider that the episode in the temple at age 12 and then again at 30 is a copy of another deity: Horus is your best candidate there but the Jesus story has so many aspects which were part of the mythos of other deities before him that it’s not just uncanny, it’s downright condemning. All of the odd stuff about the Jesus story is explained either as a ripoff of other deities or an attempt to fulfill prophecy from the OT. When taken in context the Jesus story has no ring of truth to it, none at all.

    1. Funny you should mention that. I’ve asked Christians how they would react if aliens landed on earth tomorrow and the response is overwhelmingly that it would be a trick by Satan or that aliens are really demons.

      I’ve even heard Christians say that they would be dubious if Jesus came down from the sky and started performing miracles, lest it all be a trick by Satan.

      It’s quite apparent that for some people, there exists no amount or type of evidence that will ever dissuade them from believing they have a personal relationship with a man in the sky who created humans in his own imagine, then punished them because a woman created from a man’s rib ate a piece of fruit she wasn’t supposed to because a talking snake told her to do it, and so to rectify this said creator sent his zombie son (which is really him but not him) to die and reverse that punishment so long as we all telepathically admit our undying adoration and worship of him.

  2. I guess it wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus was a real person. I am not sure there is a lot of evidence to every prove for sure either way. At times before the printing press there just simply weren’t a lot of texts, and he was a people of the poor, who would have been largely illiterate and the Romans who crucified so many were unlikely to keep records of everyone they put to death.

    I guess the reason why I think there probably was a Jesus is because it would be hard to establish a religion based on somebody who nobody knew about. I think there had to be at least a small following to build upon. Under Roman oppression it seems that it wouldn’t be hard to fathom somebody who would stand up against the Romans, be an advocate for the extreme poverty he witnessed and try to expose the inhumanity of the oppressors. This person could simply have been a folk hero who might have been deified a little over a couple hundred years. My dad says that in India he knows people who have pictures of Gandhi in their house and pray to him in a way. Not as if he were God, but more like a saint. Of course we know he was a man, but that doesn’t stop the religious from deifying those they think are great and were gifts to this Earth from God. So it’s a short trip from great man, to blessed man, to angel or saint, and then from saint to something more. Especially if there is an organized church wanting to use the spirit of someone who he was as a rally cry to help the poor rise up from oppression. Constantine was smart and saw the large following and figured instead of having the poor rise up, I’ll adopt the religion nationally…and all of a sudden church and state are one, and now the religion can be used to oppress people.

    1. I think that’s certainly a possible explanation of things. I still have problems with it, though. I think this explanation would be more probable or plausible if the religion formed while Jesus was alive. I find it highly suspect that the only primary documentation we have of Jesus was written a) only within a biblical context, and more importantly b) more than a century after his death when there would be nobody alive who may have actually met him.

      Add to that Christianity’s propensity to borrow elements from other religions, philosophies, and texts, and it seems just as likely to me that Jesus is just a reinvention of a figure people were already familiar with, or an amalgamation of characters that people would find familiar and accept.

      1. Oh I agree. I have no doubt that any of the stories of a divine nature are either borrowed or heavily exaggerated to make them seem more miraculous and supernatural.

        All I’m saying is that I don’t think any religion sort of starts overnight, and I am not even sure that followers of Jesus would have even seen him as some sort of Messiah. In fact there is a reason why Jews don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah because he quite simply doesn’t fit the description. In addition Jesus never actually says he is the Messiah, and only speaks of himself as being divine in very few instances which of course could have been added in later.

        I guess the most “recent” religion that I know of would be Mormonism and even that took a long time to really spread. Before that it was a very small group of people traveling across the US and settling in Utah. Of course because it was so recent, travel, and dissemination of their religious doctrine was so much either. In the times of Jesus it would have taken a lot longer for a following to turn into a cult, into a religion. So I guess a 100 years doesn’t seem all that surprising, as I think it would take some time to become significant enough to write about. One of the things that I always thought must be true when I watch The Life of Brian is that scene where there are all these prophets lined up trying to sell their brand of religion. I mean I am sure it was a lot like that, and so writing about one over the other would have not been all that significant if they were small. Not that many people could write and I am sure there was a lot to write about it, so until something became more relevant would it appear in historical doctrines.

      2. Fair points, all of them.

        I guess even in our modern day and age there are still people who believe whatever they read without questioning it. Given human nature, I can assume that people like that have always existed, even if we go back to the time of Jesus.

        If only we had a time machine! :-p

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