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Is there any non-Biblical historical evidence of any person, living with the name Jesus

In Apologetics, Christianity on September 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Is there any non-Biblical historical evidence of any person, living with the name Jesus, the Son of Mary, who traveled about with 12 followers, healing people and the like? There are numerous historians who lived in and around the Mediterranean either during or soon after the assumed life of Jesus. How many of these historians document this figure? Not one.

Really? So you have studied the writings of Plimy the younger, Tacitus, Josephus, and the Dead Sea scrolls not including all the Biblical evidences. Provide some evidence from the 1st century that He didn’t exist.

You would think that a guy who rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven for all eyes to see and performed the wealth of miracles acclaimed to him would have made it into the historical record. It didn’t because once the evidence is weighed, there are very high odds that the figure known as Jesus, did not even exist.

Don’t go to Vegas on those odds you’ll be broke. Secular history records his existence and crucifixion.

Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age. It serves to detach the species from the natural world, and likewise, each other. It supports blind submission to authority. It reduces human responsibility to the effect that “God” controls everything, and in turn awful crimes can be justified in the name of Divine Pursuit. And most importantly, it empowers those who know the truth but use the myth to manipulate and control societies. The religious myth is the most powerful device ever created, and serves as the psychological soil upon which other myths can flourish

Never judge a theology including Atheism on its abuse but on its truth content!

  1. 1. What about the Atheist myth, that we’re just an accident of the random collision of atoms. “The atheist is not able to escape the inexplicability of an impersonal first cause, to say nothing of the awe-inspiring capacity of the ‘raw material’ from whence it all ‘evolved’.” It creates an insurmountable problem, because the turning of hydrogen into thinking and purposive beings is scientifically undemonstrated and philosophically devoid of merit. The more we learn of our origin the more questions it brings us not concrete answers.
  2. 2. How does evolutionary theory come into conflict with the Second law of Thermodynamics? A fundamental law of biology must come operate in direct opposition to a fundamental law of physics. How do biological systems climb the ladder of intricacy and order, while the natural world descends into entropy and disorder? Entropy is an irreversible process, heat death always increases moving into randomness not order.
  3. 3. How do we account for evil? Where does it come from and why do people suffer? , “How do I explain evil now, as an atheist? How do I answer the problem of evil from a materialistic worldview? Morality is either the product of a social contract or a trick of evolution. That is the best materialism can do. Your own answer to the problem of evil, then, is that there is no problem of evil. Morality is an illusion. Whatever is, is right. Nothing more can be said. “What is the atheist Bertrand Russell going to say when kneeling at the bed of a dying child? ‘Too bad’? ‘Tough luck’? ‘That’s the way it goes’?” No happy ending? No silver lining? Nothing but devastating, senseless evil? Which worldview has the best resources to make sense of this challenge? The answer is not atheism. The answer to evil is God, in Jesus, on a cross, at Calvary.

CS Lewis said “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but by it I see everything else.”

Which of these make the most sense?

  1. 1. The universe’s ex nihilo (out of nothing) origin: Is it uncaused (or self-caused) from nothing or caused by a powerful Being independent of the universe?
  2. 2. The universe’s fine-tuning or bio-friendliness: Does it drive from mindless, deterministic causes or from an intelligent-Being?
  3. 3. The emergence of life: Did it originate from nonliving matter or from living, active personal Being?
  4. 4. The vast array of beauty: Is its source impersonal, deterministic causes or a creative, imaginative Being?
  5. 5. Moral values/obligations, human dignity, and human rights: Is their foundation valueless material processes or a supremely valuable Being?
  6. 6. Consciousness/ awareness: Did it emerge from mindless material processes or from a supremely self-aware Being?
  7. 7. Free will/ moral responsibility: Are these accounted for by deterministic processes or by a freely creating Being?

The first response is a good stigma will beat a dogma every time in the short run. But if we take a good hard look at the evidence it might suggest otherwise. The truth is these things don’t just happen naturally; nature itself was produced a finite time ago an event that couldn’t be predicted by natural law. What we are actually describing is the un-caused cause, “something” outside the universe that brought it into existence. The problem is not with the historical evidence; it’s with very questionable philosophical assumptions like “Dead people just can’t come back to life!’ or “Universes just don’t pop into existence from nothing!” If God exists then we have the most reasonable evidence for all these and much more. We can infer with good evidences a supernaturally inspired Big Bang and a bodily resurrection on the first Easter.

As we take on the challenges that are brought against the Christian faith, we must be able to respond appropriately concerning the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As an example of the reliability of the Bible even if we didn’t have the Greek manuscripts, we could almost reconstruct the New Testament just from the citations of the early church fathers. This is very early in the primitive church’s life pre AD -325. According to Daniel B Wallace one of the foremost early manuscript scholars out of the 5600 Greek manuscripts, the10000 Latin and 5000 other language copies we have of the New Testament less that 1 percent of the variations are significant. Most involve word-order changes, articles with proper nouns, and slight spelling differences, not exactly the stuff of renouncing the Faith and vilifying the Faithful. As with other ancient historical documents, we should assume the New Testament is reliable unless otherwise shown. The Bible’s portrayal of an unsafe, untamable Jesus, who reaches out to the reader from its pages and asks the same question Pilate asked at His mock trial;

(Mat 27:22a ESV) Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

The best understanding and most accepted historical evidence for the resurrection is found in 1st Corinthians chapter 15, based on this portion of Paul’s writings we find the most accepted letter in the New Testament, we find, the 12 apostles, Jesus’ brother, 500 eyewitnesses and last Paul himself who had persecuted the early church all claiming to have seen the risen Christ. Many other factors provide excellent proofs of the integrity and honesty of the New Testament writers, such as the “criterion of embarrassment” and the “criterion of authenticity”. If Jesus’ actions or sayings would have caused difficulty or embarrassment for the early church, then why include them in your narrative if you’re inventing them?

  1. 1. Why include women as first witnesses of the resurrection, since they weren’t considered reliable witnesses (e.g., Matthew 28)?
  2. 2. Why include “strange” events such as Jesus’ cursing a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14) or his allowing unclean spirits to enter swine, which destroyed them (Luke 8:32-33)?
  3. 3. Why mention that Jesus’ family believed he was out of his mind (Mark 3:2 1)?
  4. 4. Why insert sometimes “unimpressive” ministry results (Mark 6:5-6; John 6:66)?
  5. 5. Why include what enemies said about Jesus—e.g., implications that he was illegitimate (Mark 6:3, “son of Mary”)? Why not paint a rosier picture?
  6. 6. Why a shamed, humiliated, crucified Messiah—unless he rose from the dead? Martin Hengel (b. 1926) notes, “The discrepancy between the shameful death of a Jewish state criminal and the confession that depicts this executed man as the preexistent divine figure who becomes man and humbles himself to a slave’s death is, as far as I can see, without analogy in the ancient world.”
  7. 7. Why record the blunders, disputes, selfishness, and misunderstandings of Jesus’ disciples? As Craig Evans says, this “is hardly the creation of the early church.”
  8. 8. Why call Jesus “King of the Jews” when he didn’t physically rule in Israel?
  9. 9. Why invent stories that don’t really help your case? Most Jews expected Messiah to come as a king, a political deliverer, a shepherd over Israel—not a miracle-worker. So why pile up signs and wonders?
  10. 10. Why present Jesus as not knowing the time of his return (Mark 13:32)
  11. 11. Why should Jesus submit to John’s baptism (Mark 1:4-11)?

Some last facts:

  • ·Writing with passion doesn’t entail unreliability.

  • ·The fabrication thesis doesn’t hold under scrutiny. If we can confirm historical claims where verifiable, we should then give the benefit of the doubt where we can’t verify.

  • ·The gospel writers are aware of (archaeologically confirmed) Jewish customs and places; use Aramaisms; and utilize credible eyewitness testimony.

  • ·Early Christian communities didn’t invent and project onto Jesus various sayings and deeds mentioned in the Gospels. Rather, their well-known controversies aren’t even addressed in the Gospels.

  • ·We have good reason for arguing that Acts was written before Paul’s death; so Luke was written earlier, and Mark before that.

  • ·In 1 Corinthians and Galatians (early, undisputedly Pauline), we can see the tradition Paul received from James/Jerusalem goes back to the earliest church’s preaching.

  • ·Why would the early church invent potentially negative and embarrassing Jesus-events/-sayings? These reinforce authenticity, not invention.

Faith in Christ isn’t necessarily about the facts, it’s about will! If you bend your knee and your will and utter “Thou will be done He says so be it! “ The same is true for your own will!

Jesus made the claim of deity and to be the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God”. If by His claim one of the evidences is the resurrection this is a very powerful argument to prove His claim. The scriptures are one of our best sources to prove this. About 95% of NT scholars agree with the facts about the resurrection and there are other facts that argue these facts are true. (Specific scholars can be named for more detailed research.) Based on Gary Habermas and his “minimal facts approach” the 4-7 best attested facts will provide the basis of our argumentation so we can keep it simple and concise. There are at least 20 or more facts available starting in 1 Corinthians 15 let’s take a look.

(1Co 15:1-26 HCSB) Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you–unless you believed to no purpose. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me.

Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we preach and so you have believed. Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ–whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.

For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, the people of Christ. Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death.

For many modern critics Paul is “in”, while the gospels are “out”. Interestingly enough 1st Corinthians is written much earlier that the gospels. It was probably written around AD 54-57 and within 27 years of the crucifixion. There would be plenty of eye witness’s accounts and not too difficult for those to remember correctly the actual occurrences. A modern example would be WW2, Korean and Vietnam veterans telling their experiences and relating to those of us who were not there what happened. We are more than willing to accept their eye witnesses’ accounts as factual and would be highly disrespectful and ignorant to accuse them of lying. We can agree that Paul was an eyewitness to what he thought was a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus.

“Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me. “ (1 Cor. 15:8)

Paul was in Corinth in approximately AD 51 and preached the gospel.

Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you–unless you believed to no purpose. (1 Cor. 15:1-2)

Paul passed on what he received, and many critics will say it was from Peter and James in Jerusalem in AD 35. Considering the time frame is less than 3 to 5 years from the resurrection this is almost unheard of in ancient history to be this close to the event in question.

For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: (1 Cor. 15:3)

Gal 1:18-20 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. Now in what I write to you, I’m not lying. God is my witness.

The disciples believed they had seen the risen Jesus at a time when they were hiding in fear for their lives, dumbfounded by the event s that had just taken place. Scared of their immanent arrest and death, once again we cite critics who will grant that they believed this as well. Remember if critics admit this, we claim lairs don’t make martyrs, and this is one of the most important facts.

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. (1 Cor. 15:3-5)

Paul also speaks of the 500 other eye witnesses who are still for the most part alive and appeals to the reader they know some of them. This would provide a hostile witness refutation by the very people who if this was a fantasy or legend could and would dispute it.

Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:6)

The concept of believing they had seen a resurrected Jesus has been posited and accepted. What can move us from believing this to being a fact they really saw the risen Jesus?

These four facts are foundational moving us from belief to fact:

  1. 1. He died by crucifixion
  2. 2. The disciples believed that has seen the risen Christ
  3. 3. They were transformed so that they were willing to die for their faith
  4. 4. Saul, as a skeptic and persecutor was converted and believed he too had seen the risen Christ.

We have for consideration three more facts:

  1. 1. We have early reports of the resurrection
  2. 2. James, Jesus’ brother was a skeptic and converted
  3. 3. The resurrection is central to Christian Belief. We examine most closely those beliefs closet to our hearts. So, Paul and the disciples checked it out carefully.

Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ–whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. (1 Cor. 15:12-19)

If we take the information presented and draw some conclusions we are left with at least 2 main reasons. 1. The information and facts provide us with arguments for the resurrection. 2. This is the best explanation of the data: other theories fail to explain away the resurrection. We are left with “they really saw the risen Christ.”

What first century data supports any theory contrary to the sightings of the risen Christ?

The only one is listed in the New Testament: the disciples stole the body and is refuted by the early eyewitnesses.

Conclusion yes I believe based on the facts and by personal experience Jesus rose from the dead, and offered me new life. I will one day resurrect if I am not first raptured. Believing in the risen Christ requires repentance and faith leading to salvation. The Christian faith is the only religion that offers people to test it. “Come and see”

The statement, “There is no God” is an absolute statement. It would imply existing for all time and eternity having all knowledge of all things and the ability to speak from the entire universe in making such a decree. The unfortunate result is by default you become God and you defeat your very decree.

Francis Crick halfway through his book The Origin of the Genetic Code begins to spell nature with a capital N and elsewhere speaks of natural selection as being “clever” and as “thinking” of what it will do. Sir Fred Hoyle, the English astronomer, attributes to the universe itself the qualities of God. For Carl Sagan the “Cosmos,” which he always spelled with a capital letter, obviously fills the role of a God-substitute. Though these men profess not to believe in God, they smuggle in a God-substitute through the back door because they cannot bear to live in a universe in which everything is the chance result of impersonal forces.

In a remarkable address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991, Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some “Noble Lie” into thinking that we and the universe still have value. If we are to avoid “the madhouse option,” where self-fulfillment is pursued regardless of social coherence, and “the totalitarian option,” where social coherence is imposed at the expense of personal wholeness, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so achieve social coherence. A Noble Lie “is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race.” It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false). “But without such lies, we cannot live.”

Dan Neal Wanted you to see this: Liberals’ View of Darwin Unable to Evolve

In Apologetics on September 1, 2011 at 5:15 am

Dan Neal (dneal75@bellsouth.net) wanted you to see this: Liberals’ View of Darwin Unable to Evolve

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