Historicity of Jesus
You commented on the last jesus historicity post:
I’m trying to imagine how the religious cult that became Christianity got started assuming there never was a charismatic Jesus character for people to coalesce around. Try to imagine Islam spontaneously coming into existence without Muhammad, Sikhism without Guru Nanak, Mormonism without Joseph Smith or Scientology without L. Ron. How would it work, exactly? Any examples?
Perhaps it coalesced around some other individual or individuals, such as e.g. the “disciples”, or Mary Magdalen. There are many candidates.
Hell, I don’t know. But the fact that I don’t know doesn’t mean it’s probably true there was a historical Jesus.
Compare a case where e.g. several people claim to have witnessed a person in a house, who then, amazingly, walked through a wall.
Why do we possess such testimony? How does it arise? I don’t know. People often seem terribly convinced. Now not only does the miraculous nature of much of what they saw lead me to think their evidence is not nearly good enough to make reasonable the belief the miraculous thing happened, the miraculous part taints their testimony that there was any such person, let alone that he walked through the wall.
Under such circumstances, we need really good independent evidence that someone was indeed there, before it’s reasonable to believe it (perhaps there was, of course).
So what’s the evidence for Jesus? We have the testimony of four more or less anonymous gospel writers, quite possibly none even an eye-witness, plus Paul, none writing within even twenty years of the events they describe (most writing decades later), all of them true believers, all attributing fantastic miracles to this person.
Surely this is not really good independent evidence.
Incidentally, this Deacon, Ken got the wrong end of the stick, and graciously amended his post. Point is – I don’t say there wasn’t a historical Jesus. I just say that, given the evidence I have seen so far, I am not very sure either way. This gets me accused of irrationality and even insanity!