Talk Back 19
The existence of Jesus: A Response to Meditation 38
by Steven Meincke
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First off I'd like to state that I am a Christian. I know, "Big Surprise". My response is not to directly take up the challenge given in Meditation 38, but to add my opinion on the existence of Jesus.
I don't personally have any written evidence from the time that Jesus lived to prove that such a person even existed. However I also don't have any written evidence that any other famous historical figures really existed, beyond history books but those don't meet the criteria that was put out by the author. And I doubt the author has any such evidence himself but I'm sure he doesn't question the existence of other well known historical figures. So why question the existence of Jesus? That is my question to you.
I simply accept that such evidence does exist as I am sure it exists for Caesar, Napoleon, Alexander The Great, etc. So what I am suggesting is that if you think a man named Jesus never existed you only do so because you already have such a negative view of Christianity itself. That your disbelief is based on the religious nature of what people claim he did and who he claimed he was. Now, that gets into the debate of whether he really was the Son of God or that he really did perform the miracles that the writers claimed he did. Which is another topic altogether. But you are saying that a man named Jesus born from a couple named Mary and Joseph just over 2000 years ago never happened.
However I will tell you specifically why I believe that he did exist. First off I find it highly unlikely that a group of Jews would make up such a lie and then be willing to die for it. And if Jesus didn't exist then how did the early Christian movement ever get started? Surely it would have been simple for the people at that time to disprove the stories that were being told about a man that was never even born.
In fact if you believe Jesus didn't exist then you have to believe that none of the eye witnesses to him existed either. Including the disciples. In which case the people who made up the story would have had to make up most of the events that occurred as well as the disciples themselves and then convince people that it happened.
Furthermore I must admit that I am utterly impressed with the gospels of Christ themselves. Based on what he said, his understanding of human beings and his morality is very impressive for a man of his era. And if this story is made up I wonder why a group of Jews who must have been extremely intelligent would write about someone that was good but openly defied much of the Jewish law. And if he never existed why didn't the Jews who choose not to follow his teachings deny he ever lived. Instead they simply claim he was an idol, nothing more then a charismatic human. The Jews of that era where famous for their record keeping, so I am sure they would have known if Jesus was a myth not a man.
I personally didn't grow up with Christianity. In fact I used to be an agnostic. I've only been a believer for a about two months. So the deity of Jesus was much harder for me to accept then people that have grown up with the Christian doctrine since birth. But various things happened to me that made me believe. Everything from the truth of the gospel, the answering of my prayers, and the change within me. But even before that it never crossed my mind that the man never existed. So I guess in order to take your question seriously I would need to know why you doubt he lived. Because I find the question very unusual.