Did the “historical Jesus” exist? And why should I care? (Muhammad existed and I don’t believe in his teachings.)

I’ve read many articles recently in which historians doubt the existence of the historical Jesus. Here’s one of them.

I tend towards doubting that he did exist, after reading several articles where many unbiased experts point out the lack of evidence that he ever really lived. What it comes down to is that the time when he supposedly lived is extensively documented, but no records of his existence exist. All that we have is the bible, which contains gospels written many years after his alleged life, and a couple of fragments by historians that are generally considered forgeries. But the real question for me is: So what?

It’s perfectly obvious that the faith-based Jesus according to the Christian bible is fictional, and that even if he did exist, events such as the virgin birth, walking on water, turning water to wine, feeding 5 000 people with two loaves of bread and two fish, raising the dead and his own resurrection never happened.

Regarding the gospels, it is well known that the earliest gospel by several decades, is Mark, and that the other gospel writers copied from Mark. (Although the gospel of Mark was also written decades after Jesus’s supposed life and death.) This gospel doesn’t contain anything about a virgin birth, and the original text contains no sightings of Jesus after he was resurrected. Some of the most famous verses of Mark are known to have been added by scribes later. (i.e. Everything after Mark 16:8) In other words, they totally made it up to improve the abrupt ending, but the forgery was popular and accepted by the church. So neither the account of the resurrection nor the virgin birth was even in the original gospel. (Note that the link above is to a Christian author and scholar who accepts that Mark’s gospel contains no sightings of the resurrected Jesus, but believes he was resurrected anyway.)

Even if Jesus the man did live, and became mythicized into the son of god by believers after his death, it wouldn’t matter to me. I mean, Muhammad did exist. And knowing that he existed does not make me want to convert to Islam.

Far from it. The man took a six year old bride named Aisha, and waited until she was nine years old before having sexual intercourse with her. Until then, he practiced the disgusting act called thighing. (I can’t find the original link I had to it on an Islamic site, so the one I supplied will have to suffice.)

I don’t know what other people think, but to me, even though I accept that people married far younger around 1300 years ago, I believe that it was never acceptable for anyone to force themselves onto a prepubescent child. That is paedophilia and rape, and there is never any excuse for such acts.

If anything, knowing about the details of Muhammad’s life makes it more obvious how holy he wasn’t. The same would apply to an historical Jesus. He wouldn’t even need to be a monster as Muhammad was. Just knowing that he was real and human, not divine, would surely be enough for many more people to doubt Christianity. Thus it is advantageous to Christian apologetics that the truth of whether or not he lived remains uncertain, and to carry on believing the fiction written by unnamed authors decades after his alleged life and death.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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5 Responses to Did the “historical Jesus” exist? And why should I care? (Muhammad existed and I don’t believe in his teachings.)

  1. makagutu says:

    I don’t know if you are aware, but there is a small group of people who question whether Mo lived not that this affects your post in any way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      Thanks. No, I didn’t know that, but it doesn’t surprise me. I’m pretty sure he did exist.

      There are also a whole bunch of people who believe that Shakespeare didn’t exist, and that his works were written by a group of writers. I’d considered mentioning this, and the idea that people do often doubt the existence of people who definitely did exist, as well as events that are known to have happened. (Think of the 9/11 “truthers” and Holocaust deniers.) This is a kind of conspiratorial thinking and is quite different to the legitimate questioning of the lack of evidence for the existence of an historical Jesus.

      But I decided to omit all of that because it goes too far off topic, in what I intended to be a brief post. Also, my main point of this post is that I don’t really care if he lived or not, so I couldn’t think of a way of making that relevant.

      Like

      • makagutu says:

        What makes you pretty sure he existed?
        I know of Thomas Paine and Mark Twain on the Shakespeare skeptics. And no they don’t question his existence, all they are saying Shakespeare of Avon did not write the sonnets and plays- a very different question to that of Mo.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jerome says:

          Nothing really. I don’t have enough information to know either way, but I think there are historical accounts of his existence and accounts of him outside of the Qur’an so the case to be made against his existence would have to be strong.

          Yes, I know they believe Shakespeare didn’t write the plays, but it comes down to the same thing, doesn’t it? They question his ability to have written the plays and even his vocabulary based on his education, which I find quite confounding. There were many people who went to the same school as myself, all getting exactly the same education, and we all had different levels of competency in English, all had different vocabularies and so on. We all have different IQ’s also. Maybe Shakespeare was highly intelligent and gained much of his knowledge and vocabulary by reading in his private time? I believe education only lays the foundation for much of what we know. We then go learn more outside of education systems. Most of what I know came in my adulthood, after even my tertiary education, and most of it came from reading things that interested me. Even as far as my career as a programmer is concerned – I studied electrical engineering (heavy current) and ended up doing software development.

          Anyway, these are interesting questions but not ones I really think about. In my post, I tried to make the point that it would be easier to doubt Jesus if we knew that he did exist, because we’d have proof of his being human and not divine.

          Thanks for your thought-provoking comments though.

          Like

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