Bob's blog – A skeptical lawyer

Did Jesus exist? – Yes, and so did Mohammed.

Posted on June 8, 2018

The Škofja Loka Passion, a Slovenian passion play

Scientologists believe that L. Ron Hubbard did not die like other mortal men. Instead, he remained healthy and fit until he voluntarily chose to leave his body and continue his existence as a non-corporeal spirit. I discuss Hubbard’s death in my post, L. Ron Hubbard – A new level of OT. Or, is it BS? Many mysteries remain about Hubbard’s life and death, but one thing we know for dead certain – Hubbard existed. You can see videos of him on YouTube.

If you Google “did Jesus exist?”, you will find several articles arguing that Jesus is a myth, but these Google hits do not represent the opinion of mainstream historians. They may not agree on much else, but most New Testament scholars and Near East historians agree Jesus lived and the Romans probably crucified him.

For example, the Jesus Seminar – a group of liberal New Testament scholars – decided that Jesus probably did not actually speak 82% of the words ascribed to him in the Gospels. However, the Jesus Seminar considers it practically beyond dispute that Jesus was a real human being who said and did some of the things described in the Gospels – but not the miraculous stuff.

Historians base their belief in a real Jesus on a variety of evidence, including non-Christian sources such as Josephus and Tacitus. Most historians also believe that at least some of Paul’s letters in the New Testament are genuine, and Paul describes meeting Jesus’ brother. New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman explained, “The historical man Jesus from Nazareth had a brother named James. Paul actually knew him. That is pretty darn good evidence that Jesus existed. If he did not exist he would not have had a brother.”

The scholarly consensus is not universal. Some New Testament scholars – called mythicists – assert that Jesus never lived. This is definitely a minority – some might say fringe – position.

Although mythicists constitute a minority as compared to mainstream scholars, they are a significant force in counter apologetics. Prominent counter apologists Richard Carrier, Robert M. Price, and Earl Doherty are mythicists. I have learned much about counter apologetics from these authors, but I find their mythicist arguments to be a distraction.

From my point of view, it makes no difference whether Jesus was ever a real boy. L. Ron Hubbard was undeniably real, but I still question his followers’ claims that Hubbard intentionally “dropped his body” in order to move on to a higher level of existence. I consider it more likely that both Hubbard and Jesus lived, died and then stayed dead.

However, I must give some credit to apologists. A few apologists brag about evidence for Jesus’ existence. However, most apologists do not waste time and effort discussing whether Jesus lived, any more than Scientologists belabor proof that Hubbard existed. That each man walked the Earth is a solid historical fact, and debating their existence is not worth the candle to light the game.