The Genesis Of The Modern Critique Of The Christ Myth Theory.
It has been a number of years since the appearance of the modern Christ Myth literature, so it is fitting that a cumulative critique by Christ Historicists has begun. The foundational mythicist literature includes Doherty's "Jesus Puzzle;" Price's "The Incredible Shrinking Son Of Man" and "The Christ Myth Theory And It's Problems;" Fitzgerald's "Nailed" and "Mything In Action vols 1-3," Lataster's "Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists;" and the main proponent with the first peer reviewed volume supporting mythicism in recent memory, Carrier's "On the Historicity Of Jesus," as well as the supporting general audience volume "Jesus From Outer Space." My own peer reviewed essay critiquing the Christ Myth Theory will be out soon, and so as a preamble for those who might be new to the debate, here is a podcast with Christ Myth critic Tim O'Neil from the other day which outlines some problems with the mythicist interpretation of Christian origins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfDhOqkcTOQ&t=1 ... Read Article
Christmas: The Origin Of The Nativity
Robert M Price It wasn't uncommon in history to invent fantastic origin stories for famous individuals. Augustus Caesar’s birth was foretold by portents, according to the Roman historian Suetonius. I will be looking at Crossan's argument for Caesar's Pax Romana (Peace through Victory) vs Jesus's Peace through Justice in later posts. For now, I'd like to consider the Christmas story. Perhaps no one has called more attention to the fact that that the early Christian writers were using creative rewriting of Old Testament and Greek poetry sources to invent stories about Jesus than Robert M Price. Whether you agree with all of Price's typologies or not, or with his conclusion that Jesus (such as with Paul's writings) was originally seen as a mythical deity who was later placed in history by Mark, it's fun to see how the various stories don't record history, but rather legend and myth. Here are Price's interpretation of the Christmas story as it appears in Matthew and Luke: The Gospel of Matthew: ... Read Article
About four-in-ten U.S. adults believe humanity is ‘living in the end times’ (Pew Report Dec. 8, 2022)
FROM THE REPORT: In the United States, 39% of adults say they believe “we are living in the end times,” while 58% say they do not believe we are living in the end times, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Christians are divided on this question, with 47% saying we are living in the end times, including majorities in the historically Black (76%) and evangelical (63%) Protestant traditions. Meanwhile, 49% of Christians say we are not living in the end times, including 70% of Catholics and 65% of mainline Protestants who say this. Viewed more broadly, the share of Protestants who say we are living in the end times is greater than the corresponding share among Catholics (55% vs. 27%). See the report here: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/12/08/about-four-in-ten-u-s-adults-believe-humanity-is-living-in-the-end-times/ ... Read Article
John Dominic Crossan and Mythicism
Derek from MythVision Podcast recently did an interview with John Dominic Crossan and there is an interesting short portion near the end where Crossan is asked about the Jesus Mythicism hypothesis. Check out time 22:00 - 30:00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WypnqmMVzyI&t=882s ... Read Article
Wives In The Quran
It is interesting to note the Quran has been historically interpreted as condoning marital rape. Here is an interesting summary by Dr. Shabir Ally, a liberal Muslim scholar who received his PhD from an accredited secular university. See especially time 4:58-7:29 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjHB7DZke_c ... Read Article
Who Moved the Stone? Part 2: A Circular Stone is EASILY Moved
The question “Who moved the stone?” is used by Christian apologists to raise an objection against some skeptical theories about the alleged resurrection of Jesus, especially the Swoon Theory (see Objection #7 in Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, p.183-184), but also the Conspiracy Theory, and the Hallucination Theory. In this post, I will argue that one healthy non-disabled adult can easily move a circular blocking stone that is the size and weight of the blocking stone used at the tomb of Jesus (assuming a circular blocking stone was used), contrary to the claims of many Christian apologists. In Part 1 of this series, I showed that if a circular stone was used to block the entrance of Jesus' tomb, that stone would probably have been between at least 3.2 feet in diameter (and 10 inches thick) and at least 4.0 feet in diameter (and 12 inches thick), depending on whether the entrance of the tomb was smaller or larger in size. The weight of the stone depends on i ... Read Article
(REVIEW part 8) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Robert M Price’s response to Bart Ehrman
The passage I would like to focus on from Price's response to Ehrman in chapter 14 of the anthology is the following: What is at issue in the question of Paul not mentioning Pilate or the Sanhedrin as the culprits in Jesus’ death? Paul never describes the crucifixion as a mundane execution at the hands of earthly governing authorities (though of course nothing he says rules out that possibility). What he does say is that Jesus was done to death by “the rulers (archons) of this cosmos” (1 Corinthians 2:8), “the Principalities and Powers” (Colossians 1:16; 2:14-15). Mythicists infer that the author of these epistles was writing at a time when Christians believed in a celestial Man of Light who had not appeared on the earth to teach and heal and die on a Roman cross, but who had been ambushed and slain by the demonic entities (fallen angels, archons, elemental spirits) inhabiting the lower heavens. As we read in various surviving Gnostic texts, this death would have occurred in the primordial past ... Read Article
(REVIEW part 7) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Neil Godfrey’s Response to James McGrath
Around 2010 there was intellectual sparring going on between Prof James McGrath of the Exploring Our Matrix blog (now the Religion Prof blog) and Neil Godfrey of the Vridar blog. James argued for the historical Jesus, while Neil was skeptical. One of the issue that James hung his historicist hat on was the conundrum of the crucified Messiah. Why, if Jesus never existed, would the first Christians frame their portrait of Jesus in Davidic messianic terms, but then have Jesus not achieve what the Davidic messiah was supposed to (eg., restore the throne of David) in any visible sense? Godfrey responds that "McGrath’s entire argument rests on a blinkered reading of our evidence. Let’s set aside the question-begging assumptions and consider the evidence of both Paul’s letters and the gospels. We will see that Jesus is consistently presented as the Davidic Messiah who has conquered all enemies, including death itself. Cognitive dissonance is only a possibility if followers were trying to convinc ... Read Article
Yahweh’s Wife
Check out this short video about people in the first kingdom who thought Yahweh had a wife: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY9amXKb00Y ... Read Article
(REVIEW part 6) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Earl Doherty on Hebrews
Earl Doherty deserves special mention as the catalyst for the modern mythicism movement, inspiring both Robert M Price and Richard Carrier with his "The Jesus Puzzle." In his chapter of the anthology. Doherty argues for a mythicist reading of Hebrews with Jesus' sacrifice taking place in heaven. The heavenly sacrifice is almost universally regarded as post earthly ascension, or else metaphorically, but Doherty takes it mythically. I am persuaded that Hebrews is thinking of a historical Jesus, which I will deal with at a later time. Regarding the sacrifice, Doherty says: Christ as heavenly High Priest is infinitely superior to the high priest on earth who officiates in the earthly tabernacle. The blood of the sacrifice Christ offers is his own blood, so much greater in power than the material blood of animals that it has “secured an eternal deliverance” (Hebrews 9:12), a forgiveness of sins which the earthly sacrifices could never achieve. (W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Myt ... Read Article
Interview on Thinking Critically about the Resurrection of Jesus
I am working on a book about the alleged resurrection of Jesus, which is titled Thinking Critically about the Resurrection of Jesus. I have completed a DRAFT of Chapter 1 of the book, and was recently interviewed by the British skeptic Jonathan Pearce, who has himself written a skeptical book on the resurrection (The Resurrection: A Critical Examination of the Easter Story): https://youtu.be/7pVwUcI_jw0 Here is a DRAFT of Chapter 1 of my book Thinking Critically about the Resurrection of Jesus. In this book, I will critically examine the case for the resurrection of Jesus made by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA): https://thinkingcriticallyabout.podbean.com/e/evaluation-of-objections-against-the-swoon-theory-in-hca/ Their case is based primarily on their attempts to refute four skeptical theories. If they FAIL to refute one or more of those skeptical theories, then their case for the resurrection of Jesus FAILS. I will argue that they F ... Read Article
Dr. James Tabor on Paul
This new interview with Dr. James Tabor by Derek from MythVision is interesting on a number of counts. One point is Tabor argues the Philippian Christ Hymn is NOT arguing Jesus was a pre-existent angelic being, but rather a human. Second, he takes mythicists to task because Paul says Jesus was "born of a woman," meaning he was human, like when the gospels say John the Baptist was born of a woman. For years Carrier has tried to argue "born of a woman" in Paul is metaphorical. An all around interesting video, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25iUa37MCXM&t=2095s For my thoughts on the Philippian hymn related to an analysis of one school of interpretation of form/morphe in Aristotle, see here: PART 1 https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2022/09/dunn-and-ehrman-on-forms-of-jesus-in-the-philippian-christ-myth-hymn-poem/ PART 2 https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2022/10/dunn-and-ehrman-on-forms-of-jesus-in-the-philippian-christ-hymn-poem-part-2-2/ ALSO, see Dr. John Klop ... Read Article
After School Secularism Programs
Here at Secular Web / Internet Infidels, we have a website called Secular Web Kids, which is an educational website that provides fun and informative secular related information and activities for kids. Check it out here: https://secularwebkids.freethinkers.org/ Some schools, which hosted religious afterschool activity clubs for many years, are hosting secular based afterschool activity clubs. One of these secular clubs is The After School Satan Club, which doesn't worship Satan, but adopts him as an imaginary mythological creature who embodies some key aspects of secularism such as freethought. Here is an article about one such afterschool secularism club: FROM THE ARTICLE: After School Satan Clubs are sponsored by The Satanic Temple, a nontheistic religious organization based in Salem, Massachusetts, that pushes for the separation of church and state. They meet at select public schools where other religious clubs meet. The Satanic Temple, which is separate from the Church of Satan, ... Read Article
Mythicism and Method (2/2)
So to continue from last time, regarding Carrier's Cosmic Sperm Bank hypothesis, Tim O'Neil, who is a historian who investigates the historicity of Jesus, said regarding Price's evaluation that the Cosmic Sperm Bank hypothesis is lunacy, that: That argument of Carrier's is just a more obvious example of what's wrong with his whole methodology. He starts with his conclusion and then creatively twists and trims the evidence to fit it. It's why he's simply a bad historian. (Tim O'Neill, Twitter) Carrier's own defense of this idea was bolstered when Nicholas Covington pointed out to Carrier that there is a plausible Zoroastrian historical analogy of magically preserved sperm that may have influenced Christianity. Carrier writes: The idea of a magical sperm bank producing a messiah was likely even already popular in Zoroastrian tradition at the time, which had already extensively influenced Judaism—the Jews having fully embraced from it the ideas of resurrection, apocalyptic history, a flaming hell ... Read Article
Mythicism and Method (1/2)
Probably no one has pushed for the mathematization of historical Jesus studies more than mythicist Richard Carrier. When it comes to mathematizing history, we see such diverse ends of the spectrum such as Carrier and William Lane Craig using Bayes theorem (math) to, oppositely, “prove” there is only a 1/3 chance Jesus existed in Carrier’s case, or that the resurrection happened for Craig.  But this rigid quantifying of history may be missing the qualifying component, which we can see in analogous cases.  For instance, when assessing a body of data/evidence to evaluate it and assign a numerical value for whatever purpose (eg, a percentile grade for a portfolio of student writing), the underlying assessment/evaluation criteria are always quantitative and qualitative.  So, if I give an overall grade of 75% on word choice in a collection/portfolio of grade 6 student narrative writing, I mean the student consistently (quantifier) and effectively (qualifier) employed 5 senses and emotion wo ... Read Article