Within 60 to 100 years of Christ’s death, there are about half-dozen Jewish and Roman historians who corroborate the story of Jesus even though it is apparent from their accounts that they had not read the New Testament, which at that point was a collection of books and letters circulating among a few dozen churches. But their history corroborates much of the New Testament account of the life and teachings of Jesus and the history of Apostles.
That these pagans did not begin to write volumes about Jesus Christ soon after his death is a moot point.
First, few historical records from this period survived in writing. That is because durable vellum had not been invented and papyrus was a fragile medium that lasted only a few years until it deteriorated. Unless books were copied every 50 years or so, they disintegrated and were lost. The fact that so many writings about Jesus survived is an amazing phenomenon in itself and speaks of divine intention.
Second, there really were not more than a few thousand Christians in the whole world and probably less than 50 cities with churches in the entire New Testament period up until the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. Some say that all the New Testament was compiled by 70 A.D. forty years after Jesus death. Some say by 90 A.D. But most of the New Testament was written from 50 to 70 A.D. In the 20 years before that before that there was an oral tradition and a few letters that are recorded in the context of other writings later on. The Gospel tradition began immediately after the death and resurrection of Jesus (c. AD 29) and continued in an unbroken oral tradition until the Gospels and Epistles were compiled from 50 to 70 AD.
Third, we know from some early Roman records and the book of Acts itself that the Christians were thought of as a Jewish sect, because most early Christians were Jewish up until the destruction of Jerusalem. It wasn’t until the early second century that Christianity began to swell to large numbers among important people and took in as members many Gentiles citizens of the Roman Empire.
The claim that there is a “lack of records” is false and would not be surprising even if it were true. The Jesus Myth relies on positivist thinking — that since we don’t have written accounts or official records by non-believing pagans then Jesus simply didn’t exist. It is more logical to say that all of the people who met Jesus and were sufficiently impressed enough to write about His life and teachings would have been His followers.
The person to read on the Internet on this topic is J.P. Holding. I first met J.P. when I started to do some research on the Jesus Myth. He has written more in refutation of the “Jesus Myth” than any writer I know. He is one of the foremost apologists on this issue. And I was surprised to find that J.P. lived less than 15 miles from my house.
When we first met, he basically confirmed my exact same thought: “These people are just stupid. They will sap you of your time. They will not listen to reason. And because of them, I have a new policy on my web site: No stupid people.”
Unkind though it may sound, it is true. Their arguments are stupid. Their research is wrong. They lack credentials. Even the most liberal scholars do not take them seriously. The Jesus Myth people are just plain dumB with a capital “B.”
The problem is that with the explosion of Blogs and now YouTube, documentaries and discussions of the Jesus Myth have proliferated. In fact, the “Jesus Mythologists” are the ones who have commented the most on my Real Jesus series on YouTube – even though the documentary does not deal at all with the heresy of the Jesus Myth – but rather the Jesus Seminar. Even the arch liberal Jesus Seminar theologians admit Jesus existed because it is so unlikely that He did not — even if one takes a modernist, positivist approach.
To call someone "stupid" doesn't reflect well on a believer. Rather, we should forgive these individuals and be praying for them, not insulting them.
I am calling them stupid because God calls them stupid.
Check out J.P.'s website when you get a chance.
There is no "jumping to conclusions" as you put it; in Christianity, we call "blind trust" as you so kindly put it, faith. Of course there are scriptures that kind of make you wonder, "why?" or, "how?" but that's when faith steps in and in the end, you just have to believe what you know in your heart to be true.
Also, if you notice, many different people agree that Jesus lived (scholars, etc.). That's not to say that everyone believes that he was the Son of Christ (that's a personal choice that one must make) but most people are in agreement that he did, infact, exist. Just because you may not believe that he died and rose again doesn't mean that you have to neglect his existence all together. He did live.
Yes, it's not right to call someone stupid because their faith is not like yours but there was plenty more said and it seems that if that's the only argument that you can come up with (calling people stupid is wrong) then there must not be a whole lot to argue with. So, quite honestly, if you can't find something better to refute out of this entire post, don't refute anything.
To the author:
I think that you would have made a much stronger argument if you had mentioned how the old testament presents prophecies of the coming of Christ long before it actually happened.
Another argument to make is that the Bible was written by many different people at many different times. And if different people have the same prophecy and that prophecy comes true just as it was said to, that's a bit of a hard thing to argue.
Josephus's writings survived, and many others, yet almost nothing on Jesus from these independent sources. Actually Josephus writes more about Jesus's brother James the Just, and cousin John the Baptist then Jesus.
Christianity gets bent out of shape when modern scholarship attempts to explain the Jesus movement in a manner that is not flattering to the religion in the eyes of those who would have us believe that this god person walked on water, and was born of a virgin.
I for one applaud efforts to explain Yeshua bar Joseph in a historical manner, within the constructs of known 1st century Jewish history.
Josephus mentions dozens of Messiah types who died at the hands of the Romans, and referred to almost all of them as deceivers.
Other then Paul's insistence that Jesus was god and his blood was redemption, there really isn't much more to go on then faith.
I'll take my religious history with a little more reality.
Who knows how many years after Jesus the New Testament was written?
The Church fathers were men who were ordained by the Apostles of Jesus who received the New Testament text more or less in its entirety. They also started writing treatises about the Christian faith beginning in 70 A.D. after the fall of Jerusalem in which they quoted from the New Testament extensively.
According to the Church Fathers, the first version of the Gospel of Matthew was written as early as 40 A.D. and the rest of the NT was written by 70 A.D. It's possible that up to six books were written in the late first century, but the four Gospels and Paul's letters were completed by 70 A.D.
The internal evidence:
In these books the Temple in Jerusalem is spoken of as still standing.
The external evidence:
Church Fathers writing in the late first and second centuries quoted from 21 New Testament books -- only six short pastoral Epistles are not found in their writings.
I am trying to learn how to NOT call people stupid who can't see that a book can't be quoted from if it hasn't been written yet.
Forgive me of my intolerance for unreasonable conjecture. I am trying to patiently explain rather than ridicule.