Many who are familiar with my style of writing know that I prefer to make pithy, and punchy points with entertainment in mind rather than blog a 10,000 word essay that only die-hard theologians would ever bother to read. Let’s be honest with one another, in the age of Twitter people don’t read the news anymore they scan it. Therefore the objective of my blog is to promote thought, discussion, and earnest debate by lobbing up a few hanging curve balls with brevity in mind.
Having said that, my blog post titled ‘Top 10: Facts Christians Don’t Know’ has received more than 10,000 views in the past 24hrs with a high number of visitors requesting citations or references in relation to the aforementioned post. You asketh and you shall receiveth :)
1. There is nothing of Jesus outside of the Bible. No artifacts. No self-written manuscripts. No independent historical records to show that such a man walked the earth. It is therefore not historical fact, as Christians like to assert, that Jesus ever lived.
Some have confused my point – I am not making an absolute claim here. I am merely calling his life into question. The fact of the matter is we have no record, no document to prove Jesus of Nazareth ever truly existed. My feeling is that there was such a man but only in the form as an eccentric preacher with a fan base of no more than a 100. If you recall Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the scene where dozens of preachers are prohesizing from atop of their respective soapboxes then that is where Jesus’ celebrity would have started and stopped whilst he was alive. His later biography carpentered together by mortal men with their own motives long after his time had passed.
2. We have not a single eye-witness account of the life of Jesus. The gospels, whose identities we do not know, wrote their respective biographies of Jesus almost a century after the alleged date of Jesus’ death. Furthermore, the gospels. most probably, were not even from the same region or nation as Jesus.
There is not even an argument on this point. We know for certain that Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John were written long after the purported time of Jesus’ life. Furthermore, we know that Jesus’ followers were lower-class Aramaic speakers as opposed to the highly educated Greek-speaking Christians who wrote about him nearly 100 years later.
3. Jesus was a racist, and he would have rolled in his grave had he learned that Paul preached to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Jesus made it quite clear that his mission was only to heal or save the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. Further, on one occasion, he called a non-Hebrew woman a “dog” which was as cruel an insult anyone could make at that time.
Refer to Matthew 15:21-28: “He (Jesus) answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she (from Caanan) came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
4. Jesus was rude to his mother on no less than three occasions. What ever happened to ‘Honor thy parents’? Further, disrespecting one’s parents was punishable by death under Mosaic Law.
One such example is portrayed in the narrative of Jesus attending the wedding in Canaan whereby the host’s had run out of booze, and Mary, presumably wishing to continue her buzz, requested that Jesus pull one of his special party tricks to solve the liquor crisis. Jesus replied angrily, “Dear Woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4)
Other example illustrated in Matthew 12:48 whereby Jesus is yabbering on in his usual jibberish to his small band of followers when someone in the audience yells out, “Jesus, your Mother is waiting and wants to speak to you.” Jesus replies curtly, “Who is my mother?” before walking off in the opposite direction.
5. That the four gospels narrate vastly different accounts regarding the birth of Jesus; his baptism; his ministry; his trial; his execution, and his resurrection. Not only are there many differences but further troubling is that many are irreconcilable discrepancies.
Obviously I can’t highlight every discrepancy here, but many are illustrated in my book. For this point here I will include the wording from one of my all-time favorite cartoons that I found at http://www.russellsteapot.com that illustrates the resurrection narrative:
Priest: Thanks everyone for participating in this year’s Easter Parade Pageant. Alright kids we need to rehearse the part where it’s Easter morning and the first visitors arrive at Jesus’ tomb. Now who’s in the scene?
Child 1: I am. Matthew 28:2-5 says an angel came down from heaven to greet them.
Child 2: No it wasn’t an angel, it was a young woman. Just look at Mark 16:5
Child 3:Hello! Luke 24:4 says very clearly it was ‘Two men’
Child 4: Well according to John 20:1-2 nobody was there.
Priest: Children, the contradictions don’t matter! What matters is that we unquestioningly accept the magic of the resurrection even within the face of such glaring contradictions within the story.
Child 4: Father that was the most wonderfully concise summary of Christianity I have ever heard.
Priest: Thank you child. It is blind submission to authority that got me where I am today.
6. Mark’s reason for Jesus’ death is that his sacrifice was required to make atonement for sin. Whereas Luke’s view is that salvation comes not via atonement but via forgiveness through repentance. Forgiveness and atonement are far from the same thing.
Mark 10:45: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life asa ransom to many.” (Atoning sacrifice)
Luke: The death of the innocent one should make people repent for their sins so that he may forgive them. (Refer Acts 2:36-38)
7. Matthew writes that passage to the kingdom of heaven is earned via following the law to the letter and in believing in Christ. Whereas Paul writes that observance of the law will only serve to make salvation problematic, and thus he states that Christians only need believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus to be saved. So which is it?
Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Paul: His view is that a Christian is justified by faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and NOT by the observance of Jewish/Mosaic Law. (Refer Romans and Galatians)
8. One study found that 65% of Americans cannot name more than 6 of the first 10 commandments, and it is my feeling that 99% do not know any of the additional 603 commandments decreed to Moses. A great number of these laws would shock and appall Sunday Christians, from selling your daughter into sexual slavery, to executing your child for talking back.
Source: Why a Year of the Bible would Horrify it’s Sponsors
9. Jesus promised his followers 36 times that he would return before his contemporaries would see death. 50 generations later and he has yet to fulfill his promise. I think it safe we presume him clinically DEAD!
Admittedly I made an ambiguous statement here. The New Testament has Jesus and Paul, between them, promising his return on 36 occasions.
10. Jesus did not know his reason to die. “Father why have you forsaken me”. But in Luke he welcomes his death, “into your arms I come”
Refer to Mark where Jesus is rejected by all, abandoned by his disciples, denied three times by his closest buddy, rejected by the Jews condemned by the Romans, mocked by passersby and the other men crucified next to him before his last moments of life he then also feels abandoned by God. “Father why have you forsaken me?”
Refer to Luke where Jesus is not in shock at what is happening to him. He is not even mocked by his fellow condemned criminals, and even replies, “Truly I will tell you today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) This is a man who is sure in the reason of his death, and at ease that God is watching over him. A far cry from, “Why have you forsaken me?”
Author ‘God Hates You. Hate Him Back’ (Making Sense of the Bible)