Why do so many atheists deny the existence of an historical Jesus?

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Militant_Atheist's picture
As a response to those

As a response to those mythicists who say Paul never regarded Jesus as a real person, it is very compelling evidence. Paul clearly saw Jesus as an historical figure.

Again, we don't have any evidence Paul never met Jesus, since he never denies it. What is it with this argument from silence? It's a logical fallacy, please stop repeating it.

Sheldon's picture
I've never denied meeting

I've never denied meeting Jesus, I wonder what the OP author infers from this?

Militant_Atheist's picture
Nothing, because to do so

Nothing, because to do so would be a fallacy.

Nyarlathotep's picture
@Militant_Atheist[From a

@Militant_Atheist
[From a moderator: do not plagiarizer other sources here on the AR forums. Don't argue; fix it!]

Tin-Man's picture
Re: Militant Atheist

Re: Militant Atheist

Personally, I believe this guy is an atheist about as much as I believe Santa came down my chimney to deliver my presents this past Christmas. Meaning he sounds more like a theist pretending to be an atheist in order to spout off a bunch of bullshit in an attempt to make atheism in general look foolish to those who don't know any better. (There is a term for that, but I cannot remember what it is.) Anyway, so much for any amount of personal integrity from MA. No worries, though, because he is obviously doing the work of his precious Lord and Savior. So all will be forgiven and he will be greatly rewarded for his faith and dedication during his deceitful mission to undermine the public's view of atheism.

On the other hand, if (somehow... and sadly) MA actually IS the atheist he claims to be, then I have a brief statement I would like to make. To those readers who do not participate in discussions in the forums, please do not allow MA's behavior on here to reflect negatively on the rest of us. Unfortunately, there are extremists in every walk of life and society. Thankfully, they are the exception rather than the rule. And while MA claims to be a "Militant Atheist", please understand he does not represent me nor most other regular atheists on this site. Thank you.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Remember that time when Jo

Remember that time when JoC linked the blog of a lunatic troll atheist wannabe historian; and the blog owner actually came and posted on the AR forums? Remember how he kept fabricating/plagiarizing quotes, constructing huge straw-men, and contradicting himself about the establishment of the biblical cannon with regards to Constantine (all the while making sure to insult those who disagreed with either of his contradictory positions)?

Fucking deja vu.

Tin-Man's picture
@Nyar

@Nyar

Yeah, this guy's style definitely sounds familiar.

Militant_Atheist's picture
When have I done any of this?

When have I done any of this? Please refrain from ad hominems and focus on the evidence at hand.

Nyarlathotep's picture
@Militant_Atheist

@Militant_Atheist

[from a moderator: perhaps I'm insane for giving you this last chance; but I'm giving you one last chance to correct your plagiarism problem. Don't argue; fix it (use the edit feature).

If you have questions, PM me.

Militant_Atheist's picture
@Nyarlathotep

@Nyarlathotep

It's fixed. I've added all the Wiki links.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Militant_Atheist - It's fixed

Militant_Atheist - It's fixed. I've added all the Wiki links.

Great!

BTW: is this your first account on Atheist Republic?

Militant_Atheist's picture
@Nyarlathotep

@Nyarlathotep

Yes, it's my first account.

David Killens's picture
I lean heavily towards the

I lean heavily towards the first option.

Militant_Atheist's picture
Oh please, you're being

@Tin-Man

Oh please, you're being illogical. This is the No True Scotsman fallacy at work.

Most atheists are not mythicists. We actually prefer to follow the evidence wherever it takes us and so far, the preponderance of the evidence is in favor of an historical Jesus. Does this mean that I'm some kind of crypto-Christian apologist? No, of course it doesn't! Does this mean I believe in god? No, of course it doesn't! I consider Christianity to be a blight on humanity, just like every other religion.

How can you even call me an extremist? Are you not aware that mythicism is rejected by all serious biblical scholars and historians? The real extremists are the people who deny the well-established evidence for Jesus's historicity. They're asscranks like Richard Carrier, who believe Jesus was made from King David's sperm, from a cosmic sperm bank in heaven, and lived and died in outer space. On the contrary, it is the behavior and ideas of mythicists that "reflects negatively" on the atheist community, such as it is.

Tin-Man's picture
@MA Re: "Oh please, you're

@MA Re: "Oh please, you're being illogical. This is the No True Scotsman fallacy at work."

...LMAO.... *wiping tears of laughter from eyes*.... Wooooo.... Oh-me-oh-my... *fanning face with hand*... Nice try, Sparky. But thanks for the laugh, anyway... *chuckle*.... Amazing how you have berated others on here about their lack of reading comprehension, yet you obviously failed miserably in that course yourself. Oh, the irony.... *shaking head in amusement*... Please, though, allow me to break it down for you in more simplistic terms, as it is apparent you must have had trouble with a few of the big words I used in the post to which you are referring.

You are either:

A. A theist posing as an atheist in a dishonest attempt to discredit atheism in general. In which case you are a total douche bag with a complete lack of personal integrity, and your actions/behavior on here serve only to make other theists look bad by association. (And, believe it or not, I actually know quite a few theists that I like and respect.)

OR,

B. IF you are really an atheist as you claim, then I want to make it very clear to others out there (theists and other atheists alike) that I do not wish to be associated with you and your intentionally disrespectful and belligerently arrogant attitude. In other words, I have not said you are not a "true atheist" because of what your view is on Jesus. I honestly could not care less about what you think of Jesus as being a real person or not. Makes no difference to me whatsoever. And it has ZERO effect on my being an atheist myself. The ONLY thing required for you to be an atheist is that you do not believe in god(s). You say you do not believe in god(s). Since my mind-reading machine is down for repairs right now, I can only take your word for that. Therefore, that would make you an atheist. And an atheist is an atheist regardless of any other views and personal beliefs he/she may have. But you are on here spewing your bovine fertilizer around as if you are speaking for all atheists everywhere. Moreover, you are then passively and directly insulting others who do not fall to their knees in awe over the tripe you deliver. To put it another way, you have an incredibly piss-poor attitude, and your behavior in the guise of an atheist reflects negatively on atheism in general. As such, I want others to know you do not represent the rest of us on here.

So, I do hope that helps you understand a bit better. Although, I do apologize for a few of the words in there being longer than three syllables. I hope they did not trip you up too badly.

Militant_Atheist's picture
@Tin_Man

@Tin_Man

It's a straw man to accuse me of speaking for all atheists, when all I said was most atheists accept the historicity of Jesus, which is true. Only a small minority of atheists are mythicists. I'm only interested in calm, rational discussion of the evidence and the search for truth, but if you find this objectionable, it is your attitude and behavior—and not mine—that reflects negatively on atheists.

If you don't have the maturity to handle a grown-up discussion, you can always go to some other thread and chimp.

David Killens's picture
@ Militant_Atheist

@ Militant_Atheist

"I'm only interested in calm, rational discussion of the evidence and the search for truth"

And we will not arrive at that state until you stop being a prickly douche-bag.

You are supporting a topic that has zero relevance, you attack anyone not in line with your concepts, and you ignore other's valid evidence.

With the sole exception of your name, you bear all the hallmarks of an asshole theist.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: MA - "It's a straw man to

Re: MA - "It's a straw man to accuse me of speaking for all atheists, when all I said was most atheists accept the historicity of Jesus,..."

Awwwww, maaaaan....! Just now seeing this reply. How did I miss it? Dang! And now MA is gone, so any response I make would be almost pointless. Too bad. Would have been hilarious. Oh, well. Missed opportunity, I suppose. No use crying over spilled imposters... *shrugging shoulders*...

Mikhael's picture
Idk man I'm suspicious of

Idk man I'm suspicious of anyone who can make ME look rational and sane

Militant_Atheist's picture
@Mikhael

@Mikhael

If you believe that Jesus was made from King David's sperm, from a cosmic sperm bank in heaven, and lived and died in outer space, then you are neither rational nor sane.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR

THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR "JESUS"

My position is well known to most regulars on these: I have repeated it ad nauseum, and our latest copier and paster of Wikipedia seems to have utterly ignored previous posts and cast me into the role of a mythicist.

I am not.

I will state my position once more:
There is no contemporary evidence for a Jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

A divine magical jesus as described in the gospels is highly improbable. A very human figure that may have lived in the early 1st century and inspired the less fanciful of the stories is "Not Proven" ( a verdict in Scottish Law, I suggest it be researched to see what I am actually saying).

That is my position.

The scholarly community is split on the 'probability" of existence or non existence of a single or multiple 'Jesus" figure and almost united on the position of improbability of a divine or magical jesus figure.

I say once again so it is clear to MA and his ilk:

There is no contemporary evidence for a Jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

That is all. Historiography is an indicator of probability that is all: Here is the way it should be examined:


This is the Historical Method :
“Depending on the degree of importance of knowing the truth of something we make sure we are being told the truth by checking such things as:
Who is telling us this?
How do I know if I can trust them?
Can their claims be confirmed somehow?”
How do I know if this document is genuine?

If applied to the first 3 of Paul's Epistles then it fails as evidence of fact. There is no corroboration, no confirmation, of his claims The writer suffers hallucinations, night terrors and seems to be less than mentally stable, and, finally, contradicts himself repeatedly.

These epistles are the only mentions of a Jesus figure until 75CE or so. We do know that, at the time, (55CE or thereabouts) there were various Messanaic Jewish cults around the Empire. Some styled themselves as "Brothers in Christ", others as "Poor Men". Others had different ideas culminating in a plethora if "ites" and "isms"in the Second Century CE. They were ALL considered Jews under the Law of Rome. Some practised circumcision and strict adherence to the law, others did not. There was no unifying story or ideal until the various gospels gained circulation.
All this suggests that there MAY BE a kernel of reality in this confusing, fractured, and widespread cultism, an offshoot of jewry. But we have no way of knowing as there IS NO CONTEMPORARY EVIDENCE OR CONFIRMATION.

To state that Paul is a reason to believe that a human jesus existed is sheer intellectual arrogance coupled with puffery. Or in the words of the immortal Random Hero

ABSOLUTE BOLLOCKS.

No amount of appeals to authority, misquoting authors, or cut and paste from Wiki will alter that.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ MA

@ MA

You asked me when you said you had evidence: Your second post on this forum:

" my experience, people who make these kinds of objections do not understand how evidence is evaluated when it comes to the ancient world, nor are they aware of the kinds of evidence we have. (My bold)

I asked who "we" were, you later answered you considered yourself a spokesman for the scholarly community. Well that's just risible.

So I ask again where are these "kinds of evidence" of which we are (in your estimation) unaware.

You have given us nothing new or arcane. Just wiki quotes and biblical verses. Neither of which are particularly convincing.

Militant_Atheist's picture
I asked who "we" were, you

I asked who "we" were, you later answered you considered yourself a spokesman for the scholarly community. Well that's just risible.

So I ask again where are these "kinds of evidence" of which we are (in your estimation) unaware.

You obviously know virtually nothing about the classical world or modern historiography, because if you did you would know that "lack of contemporary references" is not a valid argument against the existence of any historical person.

Are you aware that no modern historian or biblical scholar would ever take that claim seriously?

It's not so much the "kinds of evidence" we have, but the lack of evidence. This makes demands for assessment of historicity to always depend on contemporary references quite ridiculous, especially when the entire historical record is a fragmentary one. Very little survives from the Dark Ages.

David Killens's picture
@ Militant_Atheist

@ Militant_Atheist

You did not answer the question.

Militant_Atheist's picture
There is no contemporary

There is no contemporary evidence for a Jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

At the end of the day, your rejection of Jesus's historicity boils down to this, a logical fallacy. Repeating it over and over again does not make it any less of a logical fallacy. You're just mindlessly repeating yourself at this point.

Again, saying there are no contemporary references to Jesus—as so many of you have done so far—is not proof of anything! It reveals a complete ignorance of historiographic methodology. We don't have contemporary references to historical figures like Thales, Pythagoras, Cincinnatus, Hamilcar, Boudica and many others, yet their historicity is taken for granted. We have no contemporary references to the destruction of Pompeii, yet historians universally acknowledge its historicity.

If the contemporary evidence for major historical figures like Alexander the Great and Hannibal is fragmentary at best, how can anyone expect contemporary references for an obscure itinerant Jewish preacher, one of many, who lived in a provincial backwater of the Roman empire? Please think about this logically. We're talking about a world where the vast majority of people lived their entire lives without ever having any information about themselves recorded on a scrap of papyrus. We're also talking about an historical record that is fragmentary, because very little Greek and Latin literature managed to survive the ravages of the Dark Ages.

To state that Paul is a reason to believe that a human jesus existed is sheer intellectual arrogance coupled with puffery.

Bollocks! An historical Jesus is the most reasonable inference that can be made on the basis of the available evidence.

My burden of proof has already been met, many times over. The onus is now on you to prove why I am wrong.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ MA

@ MA

Bollocks! An historical Jesus is the most reasonable inference that can be made on the basis of the available evidence.

No, the most reasonable conclusion bearing in mind the COMPLETE LACK of contemporary evidence and the proven unreliability of later texts, including Paul, is "Not Proven"

You have not met the burden of proof for your claim. You can Huff and Puff all you like but that is the fact.

Inferences and opinion are puffery. If you are happy with that good for you. But it is all you got.

My burden of proof has already been met, many times over. The onus is now on you to prove why I am wrong.

And this is why no one takes you seriously.

Militant_Atheist's picture
No, the most reasonable

No, the most reasonable conclusion bearing in mind the COMPLETE LACK of contemporary evidence and the proven unreliability of later texts, including Paul, is "Not Proven"

You have not met the burden of proof for your claim. You can Huff and Puff all you like but that is the fact.

You are either refusing to think logically or cannot think logically. Which one is it?

As I have explained ad nauseam, evidence of absence is not absence of evidence. To say otherwise is to commit a logical fallacy.

Given the fragmentary nature of the historical record, we cannot assess historicity on the basis of contemporary evidence. You would know this if you knew anything about the historiography of the ancient world.

Historian Michael Grant asserts that if conventional standards of historical textual criticism are applied to the New Testament, "we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned."[21]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus#Historical_existence

Inferences and opinion are puffery. If you are happy with that good for you. But it is all you got.

Contemporary eyewitnesses are "puffery"? Ancient historians are "puffery"? Modern historians are "puffery"? 300 years of biblical scholarship is "puffery"? Inference to the best explanation is "puffery"? Don't be ridiculous.

I've presented more than enough evidence that Jesus is historically well-attested. You now bear the burden of proof to show why Jesus is not an historical figure.

CyberLN's picture
Hello, MA. You wrote, “I've

Hello, MA. You wrote, “I've presented more than enough evidence that Jesus is historically well-attested.”

Enough according to whom?

Militant_Atheist's picture
@CyberLN

@CyberLN

Enough according to those with relevant expertise in the field of modern biblical scholarship.

David Killens's picture
@ Militant_Atheist

@ Militant_Atheist

You failed to answer the question "Enough according to whom?"

Try giving names and institutions instead of just waving your arms frantically and shouting "over there !! "

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