Is the Quran the Word of God? – Just the Opposite

Mario Alexis Portella

Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, a Master of Arts in medieval history from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in government and politics from St. John’s University. He is the author of the recently published book “Islam: Religion of Peace? - The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up” and he is a columnist for the monthly online journal Il Mantello della Giustizia.

4 Responses

  1. Face_The_Truth says:

    This message is for screen-name A.H._the_Indian_Dalit_Christian for the comment(s) on April 14, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    “…for Christianism being inherently the junk of past 2000 years!”

    Christianism has always been a junk and Christianism will always be so.

    The historic crimes against humanity committed by world’s Christians shall ask every drop of blood from every living Christians on earth!

    “It is not worse than Hinduism.”

    Sanatana Dharma is like a loving mother who nurtures her babies from bringing them on earth to sustain them until her last moment.

    Sanatana Dharma says that, life comes from God (Goddess) and God (Goddess) is manifested in both living and non-living objects in the universe.

    Therefore, Sanatana Dharma says that, God (Goddess) can be realized by an individual within his/her lifetime on earth.

    Judaism, Christianism and Islam have nothing in them other than falsehoods after falsehoods, other than debauchery after debauchery, other than killing after killing, other than rape after rape, other than looting after looting non-believers’ everything.

    “What had Hindu India to offer the past 2000 years: NOTHING, only poverty and backwardness,…”

    Indian is now world’s 6th largest economy!

    ‘”Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India (1000-1800)” is a book written by Prof. K.S. Lal published in 1973 CE.

    The book assesses the demographics of India between 1000 CE and 1500 CE.

    On the basis of the available historical evidence, Prof. K.S. Lal concluded that the population of Indian subcontinent in 1000 was about 200 million and in 1500 was about 170 million.

    Prof. K.S. Lal says, however, that “any study of the population of the pre-census times can be based only on estimates, and estimates by their very nature tend to be tentative.”

    Prof. K.S. Lal estimates that about 60 to 80 million people died in India between 1000 CE and 1525 CE as a result of the Islamic invasion of Indian subcontinent.

    Prof. K.S. Lal concluded that about 2 million people died during Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasions of India alone(pp. 211–217).’

    So, if Mother India offered only poverty and backwardness — as you say — poverty and backwardness are exclusively due to Islamic and Christian rule.

    Yes, Mother India has poor Dalit and Mother India also has many rich Ambanies.

    If you are a poor Indian Dalit Christian, please move to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Great Britain or America.

    WHY are you poor Indian Dalit Christians still remaining in poverty-stricken and utterly “Backward” Mother India?

    Shouldn’t you all poor Indian Dalit Christians move to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Great Britain or America or Australia?

    “…while the (Christian) West progressed in science and technology for the benefit of mankind.”

    No, Christian WEST progressed after the Renaissance when European Christians started to reject Christian falsehoods.

    If you believe in fictitious one and only jealous God of Christian and Jewish Bible or if you believe in fictitious Islamic “Allah” invented by Muhammad the Arabian, SCIENCE will remain far, far away from you.

    ‘From WILLIAM EDELEN
    The Contrary Minister (2002)

    “For the understanding of religions… a complete understanding of myth is mandatory.” — Mircia Eliade.

    […] When Professor Alfred North Whitehead was the chair of philosophy at Harvard University, he made this observation:

    “Christian theology has been the greatest disaster in the history of the human race.”

    Was Professor Alfred North Whitehead correct?

    A BRIEF REVIEW:

    391 A.D.: Christians burn down one of the greatest libraries in the world in Alexandria. Over 700,000 scrolls were destroyed.

    500 to 1000 A.D.: The church takes over and brings with it the cancer of the Dark Ages, destroying almost everything that defined civilization. The Christian church all but wiped out education, technology, science, medicine, history, art and commerce. During this period the church amassed enormous wealth.

    1099 A.D.: Christian Crusaders take Jerusalem and massacre Jews and Muslims. In the streets were piles of heads, hands and feet. Millions were killed as a result of the Crusades.

    1208 A.D.: Pope Innocent orders a crusade against the French Cathars. Over 100,000 were killed by Atnaud’s men at Beziers.

    1231 A.D.: Pope Grebgory IX establishes the Christian Inquisition. Inquisitors were given license to explore every means of horror and cruelty. Victims were rubbed with lard or grease and slowly roasted alive. Ovens built to kill people, made famous by Nazi Germans, were first used in the Christian Inquisition of Eastern Europe.

    Adolf Hitler, by the way, said he admired Christian Martin Luther more than any other German, because Christian Martin Luther despised the Jews.

    Gruesome tortures used on hundreds of thousands of non-Christians in the Christian Inquisition were so repugnant and horrible that I cannot even describe them to you.

    The Christian Inquisition spread as far as India.

    1377 A.D.: The Pope’s army descended on the Italian town of Cessna. For three days and nights beginning on February 3, the slaughter continued. The squares were filled with blood.

    Women were violently raped, a ransom was placed on children, and priceless works of art were destroyed.

    Over 5,000 people were butchered.

    1497 A.D.: The Christian Church began an enormous burning in Florence. The works of Latin and Italian poets, illuminated manuscripts, women’s ornaments, musical instruments and paintings were all burned.

    1500 A.D.: The Witch-Hunts are going full speed ahead. Members of the Christian clergy proudly report how many were killed. The Lutheran prelate Benedict Carpazov bragged that he had killed over 20,000 devil worshippers.

    Historians estimate more than 9 million people were executed after 1484, mostly women.

    This was as brutal as anything that happened in the Nazi’s 20th-century Holocaust.

    1572 A.D.: On St. Bartholomew’s day more than 10,000 Protestants are slaughtered in France. Wrote Pope Gregory XIII: “We rejoice that you have relieved the world of those wretched heretics.”

    TODAY:

    George W. Bush, when he was President: “I don’t consider atheists to be citizens of America.”

    Randall Terry, of Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion fanatics: “It’s us against them. It is the God-fearing people against the Pagans of the United States.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “Christian theology has been, and is, a disease of the intellect.”

    In 1995 A.D., Pope John Paul II sent a letter to his cardinals. He wrote: “How can one remain silent about the many forms of violence perpetrated in the name of the Christian church, wars of religion, tribunals of the Inquisition and all other forms of violations of the rights of human beings?”

    Pope John Paul II does not have enough days left in his life to say, “For my part, I am sorry” to all of the millions and millions of human beings slaughtered by the Christian Church, to all new discoveries of truth slaughtered by the church, or to a legacy that has promoted sexism, racism, the desecration of the natural environment and the intolerance of other world spiritual traditions from Buddhism to the American Indian.

    The United Church of Canada put their apology to the Indians in these loving and tender words: “Long before our people journeyed to this land, your people were here, and your understanding of the Mystery that surrounds us all was deep, and rich, and to be treasured. We did not listen to you. We were closed to the value of your spirituality. We tried to make you like us. We destroyed your vision. As a result the image of the Creator in us is twisted and blurred and we are not what we were meant to be. We ask you to forgive us.”

    One of my Anthropology professors at the University of Colorado would spend an entire week documenting the horrendous damage done to people around the world by Christian missionaries.

    There is no word for religion in any American Indian language. They had no need for artificial, man-made, religion.

    Their every moment of every day was lived as an expression of the spiritual and sacred dimensions of existence.

    It was a living mythology always pointing toward the Mystery, rather than an artificially retained mythology that exists only to support the institution, the Christian church.

    Prof. Joseph Campbell often made this point in his lectures.

    Jean Baptiste De Bienville, upon meeting the Nez Perce for the first time, wrote these words in his diary: “Their honesty is immaculate and their purity of purpose most remarkable. They are more like a nation of saints… than ‘savages.’”

    Let us remember the spiritual legacy of the American Indian.’

  2. ECAW's blog says:

    If the Koran is the word of God then it shows the presumed creator of calculus and quantum physics to be surprisingly poor at basic arithmetic, as shown here by Ali Sina:

    http://alisina.org/?p=252

  3. Vishal Kumar says:

    @Found the Truth

    Dear only :”jjjjjjj” is true God. He was incarnation of God. If you do not believe in :”jjjjjjj” you will not get heaven and gate of heaven will not be opened for you. :”jjjjjjj” will put you in hell. Believe in me. Belief, belief, belief, belief is way to heaven. :”jjjjjjj” is very popular in my society.

  4. Face_The_Truth says:

    Please don’t piss on me and say “It’s raining!”

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    Did Jesus Actually Exist?
    By Steve Benson

    I would like to start with the acknowledgment that there are those
    who, in the name of history, claim that Jesus was, in fact, a real
    person.

    For instance, pro-Christian apologist and author, Ian Wilson, claims
    in his book, Jesus: The Evidence, that “had Jesus been a mere
    fabrication by early Christians, we should surely expect those Jews
    hostile to Christianity to have produced a malicious rumor to this
    effect. From the fact that they concentrated instead on smearing his
    legitimacy, we may deduce that they had no grounds whatever for
    doubting his historical evidence.”

    Wilson further argues that, based on accounts from other early Jewish
    sources (including historian Josephus), “Jesus did indeed exist.”
    (Wilson, pp. 62, 64-65)

    The historical evidence contradicting Wilson’s assertions are many and
    compelling.

    PROBLEMS WITH CLAIMS FOR JESUS’S HISTORICITY

    Even Christian apologist Ian Wilson Wilson admits that “it has to be
    acknowledged that hard facts concerning Jesus and his life are
    remarkably hard to come by.”

    Wilson concedes, for instance, that:

    — the apostle Paul, by his own admission, never knew the person Jesus
    but, instead, based his entire faith on a vision apostle Paul claimed came to
    him about Jesus’s resurrection;

    — the Gospels do not provide any physical description of Jesus;

    — the year of Jesus’s birth is unknown and, based on available
    evidence, indeterminable;

    — there is no historical validation of King Herod’s supposed slaughter
    of Jewish children at the time of Jesus’s alleged birth;

    — Jesus’s ancestry is illogically tied back to Jewish King David through
    Jesus’s supposed Jewish father Joseph;

    — the author of Matthew was clearly not Jewish, as evidenced by his
    mistranslation of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s virgin-birth;

    — the overall credibility of the Matthew and Luke nativity stories are
    seriously in doubt;

    — there is no reliable evidence for the alleged crucifixion of Jesus;

    — the writings of Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus
    concerning the alleged historicity of Jesus are neither clear or
    specific;

    — the observations of the Roman governor of Bithynia, Pliny the
    Younger, do not provide reliable evidence of Jesus’s actual existence;
    and even

    — the writings of the Jewish historian Flavious Josephus on the allegedly
    historic Jesus have undeniably been adulterated by others with a
    pro-Christian spin. (Wilson, pp. 51, 54-56, 58-60)

    On the question of whether Jesus of the Christian Gospels really
    existed, the record offers an array of formidable realities.

    Below is an examination of some of the basic evidence against the
    claim that the man-God of the New Testament known as “Jesus Christ”
    actually ever lived.

    THE “HISTORICAL” JESUS: A CREATION OF LATE-COMING CHRISTIAN WRITERS

    Former evangelical minister Dan Barker points out in his book, Losing
    Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, “[T]here is not a single
    contemporary historical mention of Jesus, not by the Romans nor by the
    Jews, not by believers nor by unbelievers, not during his entire
    lifetime. This does not disprove his existence, but it certainly casts
    great
    doubt on the historicity of a man who was supposedly widely known to
    have made a great impact on the world. Someone should have noticed.”
    (Barker, p. 360)

    Noted religious historian and professor of German at Birkbeck College
    in London, G.A. Wells, observes in his book, The Historical Evidence
    of Jesus, that if one places early Christian documents in
    chronological order, it becomes evident that “only from approximately
    90 A.D. did Christians regard Jesus as a teacher, miracle-worker and a
    near contemporary, crucified under Roman prefect Pontius Pilate.”

    These documents, Wells declares, are striking in their lack of detail,
    indicating that the claims of their authors were most likely
    influenced “by the Jewish wisdom literature they knew well and by
    traditions they must have known concerning actual crucifixions of
    living men in Roman Palestine one and two centuries before their
    time.” (Wells, pp. 216-217)

    Wells concludes that “the Jesus of the earliest documents … [was]
    someone about whose life nothing was known, who had certainly not been
    a contemporary or near-contemporary of apostle Paul, but who was later
    regarded as having lived about A.D. 30 and has having preached in
    Galilee before his death in Jerusalem, perhaps because he was
    identified with an obscure Galilean preacher of the same name (which
    after all was a common one).” (Wells, p. 216)

    A blow-by-blow summary of the evidence against historicity claims for
    Jesus is offered by Canadian historian and classical scholar Earl
    Doherty in his work, Why I Am Not A Christian:

    “1. ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and the Gospel story cannot be found in
    Christian writings earlier than the Gospels, the first of which (Mark)
    was composed only in the late first century.

    2. There is no non-Christian record of Jesus before the second
    century. References in Flavius Josephus (end of the first century
    A.D.) can be dismissed as later Christian insertions.

    3. The early apostles, such as Paul and Hebrews, speak of their Christ
    Jesus as a spiritual, heavenly being revealed by God the Father
    through scripture, and do not equate him with a recent historical man.
    Paul is part of a new ‘salvation’ movement acting on revelation from
    the Spirit.

    4. Paul and other early writers place the death and resurrection of
    their Christ in the supernatural or mythical world, and derive their
    information about these events, as well as other features of their
    heavenly Christ, from scripture.

    5. The ancients viewed the universe as multi-layered: matter below,
    spirit above. The higher world was regarded as the superior, genuine
    reality, containing spiritual processes and heavenly counterparts to
    earthly things. Apostle Paul’s Christ operates within this system!

    6. The Pagan ‘mystery cults’ of the period worshiped savior deities
    who had performed salvific acts which took place in the supernatural
    or mythical world, not on earth or in history. Apostle Paul’s Christ
    shares many features with these deities.

    7. The prominent philosophical-religious concept of the age was the
    intermediary Son, a spiritual channel between the ultimate
    transcendent God and humanity. Such intermediary concepts as the Greek
    Logos and Jewish Wisdom were models for Paul’s heavenly Christ.

    8. All the Gospels derive their basic story of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ from
    one source: whoever wrote the Gospel of Mark. The Acts of the
    Apostles, as an account of the beginnings of the Christian apostolic
    movement, is a second century piece of myth-making.

    9. The Gospels are not historical events, but constructed through a
    process of ‘midrash’, a Jewish method of reworking old biblical
    passages and tales to reflect new beliefs. The story of Jesus’s trial
    and crucifixion is a pastiche of verses from scripture.

    10. ‘Q’, a lost sayings collection extracted from Matthew and Luke,
    made no reference to a death and resurrection and can be shown to have
    had no Jesus at its roots: roots which were ultimately non-Jewish. The
    ‘Q’ community preached the kingdom of God, and its traditions were
    eventually assigned to an invented founder who was linked to the
    heavenly Jesus of apostle Paul in the Gospel of Mark.

    11. The initial variety of sects and beliefs about a spiritual Christ
    shows that the movement began as a multiplicity of largely independent
    and spontaneous developments based on the religious trends and
    philosophy of the time, not as a response to a single individual.

    12. Well into the second century, many Christian documents lack or
    reject the notion of a human man as an element of their faith. Only
    gradually did the ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ portrayed in the Gospels come to
    be accepted as historical.” (Doherty, pp. vii-viii)

    LACK OF HISTORICAL EVIDENCE ABOUT JESUS’S LIFE IN EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS

    Early Christian writings are noticeably vague about the details of
    Jesus’s life. Prof. Wells quotes Gager’s observation: ”We know virtually
    nothing of [Jesus’s] parents, siblings, early years (childhood,
    adolescence, early adulthood), friends, education, religious training,
    profession, or contacts with the broader Graeco-Roman world. We know
    neither the date of his birth, not the length of his public ministry
    (the modern consensus of two or three years is an educated guess based
    largely on the Gospel of John), nor his age at death (Luke 3:23 states
    that he was ‘about thirty when he began’). Thus even an optimistic
    view of the quest (of the historical Jesus) can envisage no more than
    a collection of ‘authentic’ sayings and motifs devoid of context.”
    (Wells, p. 217)

    Similarly, former evangelical minister-turned-non-Christian Charles
    Templeton points to the paucity of evidence concerning Jesus’s life. In
    his book, Farewell to God: My reasons for rejecting the Christian
    faith, Templeton writes:

    “It may come as something as a surprise to the reader to learn that we
    know remarkably little about ‘Jesus of Nazareth’.

    We don’t know the date of his birth — it was certainly not December 25
    in the Year One. Nor do we know for certain where he was born,
    although it was in all likelihood in the city of his childhood,
    Nazareth — certainly not in a Bethlehem stable. Nor do we know the
    exact date of his death, although it would seem to have been around
    the year 30 A.D. The great secular historians of that time (Tacitus,
    Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, and others) mention Jesus only
    briefly, making passing reference to the fact that he preached in
    occupied Roman Palestine and was crucified by the Roman government.”
    (Templeton, p. 85)

    THE HISTORICAL UNRELIABILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN GOSPELS

    As Prof. Wells notes, “The Gospels are widely agreed to have been
    written between forty and eighty years after his [Jesus’s] supposed
    lifetime by unknown authors who were not personally acquainted with
    him. And their miracle stories are nearly all couched in general
    terms, with no indication of time or place or details concerning the
    person or persons who benefited.” (Wells, p. 206)

    Raising further questions about their credibility, many of apostle
    Paul’s letters are obvious “fusions” that were “not written as they
    now stand.” (Wells, pp. 8-9)

    Not only are apostle Paul’s epistles composite stories, they are notoriously
    non-factual. Historian Will Durant observes: “Paul created a theology
    about the man ‘Jesus’, a man that he did not even know, 50 or more years
    after the death of ‘Jesus’, with complete disregard and neglect for even
    the sayings that are attributed to ‘Jesus’ in the synoptic Gospels. The
    simple teachings attributed to ‘Jesus’ become lost in the metaphysical
    fog of apostle Paul’s theology.” (cited in Edelen, Toward the Mystery [Boise,
    Idaho: Josylyn & Morris, Inc.], p. 76)

    As to the origination period of the New Testament itself, its 27 books
    have defied repeated attempts at reliable, universal dating. Those
    portions which can be most firmly dated are, as has been noted, the
    letters of apostle Paul, which have been determined to have been
    penned by 60 A.D. (Wells, p. 10)

    In addition, none of the four Gospels represent the “original” texts.
    As Templeton writes, “The earliest Christian records extant are the
    Pauline epistles, and they were written around 50 A.D. It was another
    ten years or so before the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
    were completed. But the names attached to the gospels are
    pseudonyms — none of the authors were among Jesus’ apostles and it is
    likely that none of them so much as saw or heard him.”

    Moreover, Templeton notes that these accounts “are mutually
    contradictory, lack authenticity, and are in large part of the nature
    of legends. The stories of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, his cleansing
    of the Temple, and his arrest, trial, and crucifixion have about them
    an aura of reality but, beyond that, the various accounts differ so
    radically and at so many points that, with all the good will in the
    world, they cannot be reconciled.” (Templeton, pp. 85-86)

    In terms of which Gospel begat which Gospel, that of Mark appears to
    have been the source for those of Matthew and Luke, based on the
    virtual identicalness of many passages. Thus, the latter two Gospels
    “are not acceptable as independent testimony.” The Gospel of John
    gives indications of reliance on phraseology from the other three
    Gospels. (Wells, p. 11)

    Not only are the names attached to the synoptic Gospels pseudo in
    nature, the authors of the four Gospels remain, as Prof. Wells notes,
    virtually anonymous, with the books offering no proof within their
    texts of who actually wrote them. Adding to the confusion, present
    claims to their authorship were not part of the original documents.
    (Wells, p. 11)

    The legitimacy of statements in the Gospels attributed to Jesus are
    also suspect. For example, teachings supposedly given by Jesus on the
    subject of women of Roman Palestine divorcing their husbands lack historical
    veracity, since only men were allowed to divorce. (Wells, p. 13)

    The Gospel accounts of Jesus’s trial and crucifixion are also replete
    with significant historical difficulties. Luke’s account of the trial
    is an obvious summary of Mark’s. Mark’s, in turn, is full of imaginary
    dialogue and scenes concocted by Christian writers who, believing in
    the Messianic mission of Jesus, invented trial scenes and dialogue in
    which the Jews condemned Jesus for his status as the Christ. (Wells,
    pp. 14-15).

    Prof. Keith M. Parsons, in his Why I Am Not a Christian, summarizes
    the case against the reliability of the canonical Gospels as follows:

    1. The Gospels were written by unknown persons.

    “Not only did Jesus himself write nothing, but the attribution of the
    Gospels to his disciples did not occur until the late first century
    A.D. at the earliest.

    ‘Matthew: Written by an unknown Jewish Christian of the second
    generation, probably a resident of Antioch in Syria.

    ‘Mark: [There is] confusion in the traditional identification of the
    author…

    ‘Luke: Possibly written by a resident of Antioch and an occasional
    companion of the apostle Paul.

    ‘John: Composed and edited in stages by unknown followers of the
    apostle John, probably residents of Ephesus.’“

    (cited by Kingsbury, J.D., “Matthew, The Gospel According to,” in
    Metzger and Coogan, eds., The Oxford Companion to the Bible [Oxford,
    England: Oxford University Press, 1993], pp. 502-506

    2. The dates of the Gospels preclude them having been written by eyewitnesses.

    “… New Testament scholars agree fairly closely on a rather late
    date for the writing of the Gospels … Generations of New Testament
    scholarship have produced a very broad consensus that the Gospels from
    around 70 A.D. to as late as the early second century A.D.”

    3. The Gospels are rooted in unreliable oral traditions.

    “Written records of Jesus’s words or ministry were simply not needed
    or wanted until the end of the apostolic age with the martyrdom of
    Peter and Paul in 64 A.D. The writing of [the] Gospels was a task for
    second-generation Christians.

    “[T]he word-for-word similarities of the synoptic Gospels are very
    unlikely to be due to the verbatim recollection of the original
    eyewitness. Oral traditions simply do not form that way. Rather, those
    precise parallels are much more likely due to common use of written
    sources. Hence, the synoptic Gospels are not independent eyewitness
    accounts but textually interdependent syntheses of earlier oral
    traditions.”

    4. The Gospels are theologically biased with an apologetic agenda.

    “'[The Gospels] … can no longer be read as direct accounts of what
    happened, but rather as vehicles for proclamation. Such was their
    original intention.’”

    (cited in Reginald H. Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection
    Narratives [New York, New York: The Macmillan Company,1971] p. 172)

    5. The Gospels contain fictional forms.

    “The Gospels are clearly not biography in the modern sense…

    ‘Christians have never been reluctant to write fiction about Jesus,
    and we must remember that our four canonical Gospels are only the
    cream of a larger and varied literature.’”

    (cited in Helms, R., Gospel Fictions [Buffalo, New York: Prometheus
    Books, 1988], pp. 11-12)

    6. The Gospels are inconsistent with each other.

    “A careful study of the four Gospels in comparison with each other
    will show that there is little agreement among the Gospel writers as
    to the order in which Jesus said and did what is reported of him.

    “A striking discrepancy concerns the accounts in the synoptics of
    Jesus’s resurrection appearances to his disciples.

    “[There is] inconsistency between Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies [of Jesus].”

    7. The Gospels are inconsistent with known facts.

    “Luke’s nativity story [is] demonstrably false…

    ‘… [T]he Roman census would not have affected Nazareth in any
    case, as Galilee was not under Roman rule, but had its own ruler, the
    ‘tetrach’ Herod Antipas, son of King Herod.’”

    (cited in Arnheim, M., Is Christianity True? [Buffalo, New York:
    Prometheus Books, 1984], pp. 10-11)

    8. There is no independent support of Gospel claims.

    ‘… [P]agan sources do not confirm the resurrection. …[T]here is
    good reason to suppose that [a well-known passage from Publius
    Cornelius Tacitus] was written nearly ninety years after the alleged
    death of Jesus and was based not on historical research, but on
    information provided by Christians of the second century.

    ‘Other Pagan writers such as Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus and Pliny the
    Younger provide no support for the Resurrection of Jesus since they
    make no mention of it. … Greek historian Thallus, in a work now lost
    but referred to by Africanus in the third century A.D., is alleged to
    have said that Jesus’s death was accompanied by an earthquake and an
    unusual darkness that he, Thallus, according to Africanus, wrongly
    attributed to an
    eclipse of the Sun. However … it is unclear when Thallus wrote his
    history or how reliable Africanus’s account of Thallus is. Some
    scholars believe that Thallus wrote as late as the
    second century A.D. and consequently could have obtained his ideas
    from Christian opinion of his time.’”

    (cited in Martin, M., The Case Against Christianity [Philadelphia,
    Pennsylvania: Temple University Press, 1991], p. 86)

    “’Non-Christian evidence is too late to give any independent support
    to the Gospels.

    “’Rabbinic references to Jesus are entirely dependent on Christian
    claims, as both Christian and Jewish scholars have conceded.’”

    (cited in Wells, G.A., Who Was Jesus? [La Salle, Illinois: Open Court,
    1989], pl. 20)

    9. The Gospels testify to matters beyond belief.

    “The Gospels are full of miraculous tales that, in any other context,
    would be taken to completely destroy the author’s credibility. What
    would we think of an alleged witness who swears that he saw Ms. Smith
    commit the murder and then abscond quickly on her broomstick? Why not
    regard reports of walking on water or raising the dead in the same
    light? Religious people often employ a curious doublethink here that
    permits them to treat reverently stories that, encountered anywhere
    else, would get very short shrift.” (Parsons, pp. 43-70)

    FURTHER LACK OF PAGAN EVIDENCES FOR THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS

    A favorite Pagan source cited by Christian believers verifying the
    life of a “real” Jesus is that of the Roman historian Publius
    Cornelius Tacitus, who wrote that “Christians derive their name and
    origin from Christ, who was executed by sentence of the procurator
    Pontius Pilate in the reign of Roman emperor Tiberius.”

    Ample evidence exists, however, to show that Tacitus was simply
    repeating what he had been told by Christian informants.

    First, as Prof. Wells demonstrates, Tacitus identified Pontius Pilate
    by the rank of procurator, which title was a Roman administrative
    office from the second half of the first century A.D.

    Next, Tacitus failed to identify Jesus by name, but merely referred to
    a person put to death who went by the title of ‘Christ’.

    Finally, Tacitus was an opponent of Christianity and therefore would
    have been inclined to repeat the Christian view of the day that
    Christianity was of recent vintage, given that the Roman government
    countenanced only ancient cults. (Wells, pp. 16-17)

    Barker observes that even if other Pagan writers had made reliable
    reference to Christianity, they did so too late in the game to be
    considered first-century witnesses. These include the writings in of
    Roman historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus in his Twelve Caesars, as
    well as the record in 112 A.D. by Pliny the Younger (i.e., Gaius
    Plinius Caecilius Secundus, a magistrate of Ancient Rome) — both of
    which fail to mention Jesus by name.

    Barker notes that also failing to specifically mention Jesus was a
    second-century Roman satirist name Lucian who wrote of a “man
    crucified in Roman Palestine,” whose death provided the foundation for
    the Christian faith. However, Lucian was simply repeating the beliefs
    of Christians and not presenting compelling historical evidence.

    Barker further mentions the Christian believer’s penchant for invoking
    an undated fragment from a personal letter written by a Syrian named
    Mara Serapion to his imprisoned son, in which the father mentions that
    the Jews had killed their “Wise King”. This purported evidence,
    nonetheless, contradicts the New Testament version of Jesus’s death,
    in which, of course, the Romans are blamed for his crucifixion. Even
    if it is an authentic letter, Barker argues that it most likely refers
    to someone else, since the Jews had, in fact, killed other religious
    leaders, including The Essenes (i.e., a Jewish sect named “Teacher of
    Righteousness”). (Barker, pp. 364-366)

    ALLEGED HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE MAN JESUS IN THE WRITINGS OF JOSEPHUS

    In his work (circa 90 A.D.), The Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius
    Josephus, a messianic Jew and respected Roman historian, supposedly
    wrote:

    “Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to
    call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works — a teacher of
    such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both
    many of the Hews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and
    when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had
    condemned him to the Cross, those that love him at the first did not
    forsake him, for he appeared to them alive against the third day, as
    the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other
    wonderful things concerning him, and the tribe of Christians, so named
    from him are not extinct at this day.”

    Barker dispenses with the claim that this is the authentic Flavius
    Josephus with the following observations:

    1. This paragraph about Jesus did not appear until the advent of the
    fourth century A.D.

    The disputed writing surfaced during the time that Christian
    polemicist Bishop Eusebius Pamphili of Caesarea, a close ally of the
    Roman emperor Constantine, was helping to fashion what would
    eventually become the orthodox version of Christianity. Barker notes
    that it was Bishop Eusebius who had argued it was justifiable for
    Christians to, in effect, “lie for the Lord” and that it was he who
    was the first person known to have cited this alleged Josephus
    account. As Barker notes, many Bible experts have concluded, in fact,
    that Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea forged the paragraph in question and
    then attributed it to first-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

    2. The paragraph in doubt appears completely out of context.

    It is dropped into Josephus’s writings after the historian gives an
    account of Roman taxation, various Jewish religious sects, Herod’s
    municipal building projects, the comings and goings of priests and
    procurators, the planning of seditious plots against Pilate, and
    Pontius Pilate’s construction of Jerusalem’s water supply using
    religious monies, which led to a Jewish protest, followed by pontius
    Pilate’s bloody suppression of it. The questionable paragraph then
    follows, after which Josephus goes on to speak of “another terrible
    misfortune [that] confounded the Jews…” As Barker notes, only a
    Christian would
    have regarded this as a misfortune for Jews. Flavius Josephus himself was an
    orthodox Jew and would not have so described it.

    3. Not being a believer in Christianity, Flavius Josephus would also not have
    used the language of a Christian convert in referring to Jesus as “the Christ”.

    4. Flavius Josephus would also not have used the term “tribe of
    Christians,” since Christianity did not achieve organizational status
    until the second century A.D.

    5. Josephus’s alleged paragraph on Jesus portrays Josephus as having no
    other familiarity with the alleged Christian Messiah.

    Barker observes that the Roman historian Flavius Josephus thus
    simply repeats what Christians would have already known, while adding
    virtually nothing to the Gospel accounts. In fact, Josephus’s supposed
    brief mention of Jesus is the only reference in all of his expansive
    writings to Christianity.

    6. The paragraph does not reflect the careful wording of a responsible
    historian.

    Rather, says Barker, it is written in the fervent language of a
    believing Christian and, further, is given with no citation of
    predictions from Hebrew prophets who supposedly foretold Jesus’s
    advent. (Barker, pp. 362-363)

    Other weaknesses in the Gospel tales which undermine claims to their
    accounts of an historical Jesus include the following:

    NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE VIRGIN BIRTH

    Templeton points out that the accounts of Matthew and Luke differ on
    fundamental points regarding the birth of Jesus. For example, at the
    time Luke says Jesus was being circumcised and Mary was being purified
    in Jerusalem, Matthew claims Joseph, Mary and Jesus were in hiding in
    Egypt, waiting for King Herod to die.

    Additionally, there is nothing in the historical record that mentions
    the supposed Herod-ordered slaughter of every male child in Bethlehem.
    Concludes Templeton, “It seems likely that the birth in Bethlehem was
    inserted into the story at a later date to validate the claims made by
    Jesus’s followers that, through Joseph, Jesus stood in a direct line
    of
    descent from Jewish King David, whose roots were in Bethlehem.”
    (Templeton, p. 91)

    As to the Christian claim that Jesus was God, born of an unwed Jewish
    virgin who conceived through the power of the Holy Ghost, Templeton
    bluntly concludes, “If one approaches the New Testament account with
    an open mind and unflinching realism, the evidence clearly indicates
    that Jesus was an illegitimate child who, when he came to maturity,
    resented it and was alienated from his parents and siblings.”
    (Templeton, p. 93)

    NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR JESUS’S RESURRECTION

    Except for the claims made by anonymous Gospel writers, no evidence
    exists that Jesus ever rose from the dead. In fact, Gospel accounts of
    the alleged resurrection are, from a realistic point of view,
    completely implausible.

    If, as Templeton observes, Jesus’s resurrection was accompanied by an
    extraordinary earthquake, the wholesale rending of the Temple veil and
    a large-group resurrection of the dead witnessed by many, why do these
    phenomenal events merit but a single sentence in Matthew — and
    virtually no mention in the other Gospels or in contemporary
    historical accounts?

    Writes an understandably skeptical Templeton: “Let the reader imagine
    the scene: The astonished spectators, the gathering crowd, the family
    members and friends, weeping and delirious with excitement. Surely
    someone would have plied them with questions: ‘What happened as you
    died?’ ‘Did you see God?’ ‘What is Heaven like?’ ‘Were you reunited
    with our parents and other members of your family?’ Surely the answers
    to these and other questions like them would have flashed across Roman
    Palestine within hours and been recorded somewhere. But there is not
    one word of it in history. The entire resurrection story is not
    credible.”

    Add to this the fact that the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection
    not only differ from one another on many major points but are
    irreconcilably at odds with apostle Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians on who
    Jesus supposedly appeared to after rising from the dead. (Templeton,
    pp. 120-122)

    NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF JESUS PERFORMING MIRACLES

    Templeton persuasively explains the afflictions suffered by those in
    the Gospel accounts, which were supposedly healed by Jesus’s miraculous
    powers:

    “Most of the illnesses that afflict humans were beyond the
    comprehension of the men and women of that day and, of course, beyond
    Jesus’s comprehension, too. No one at that point in history had even a
    rudimentary understanding of the causes of physiological or
    psychological illnesses or of the various other afflictions to which
    humankind is subject. Most thought of them as punishments from God or
    the machinations of Satan or other evil spirits.

    “When, for instance, epilepsy brought on a seizure that caused the
    victim to collapse and writhe on the ground as though struggling with
    an internal enemy, when food poisoning produced a paroxysm of
    vomiting, when a raging fever led to intense shivering and delirium,
    or when a migraine attack produced visual aberrations and excruciating
    pain, it seemed reasonable in that pre-scientific time to interpret
    such phenomena as the work of an evil spirit. And, when the affliction
    passed, it was equally reasonable to interpret it as the triumph of a
    benign spirit over a malign.

    “Many illnesses, then as now, were psychosomatic and could be ‘cured’
    when the sufferer’s perception changed. Just as today a placebo
    prescribed by a physician in whom the patient has faith can effect an
    apparent cure, so, in earlier time, faith in the healer could banish
    adverse symptoms. With each success the healer’s reputation would grow
    and his powers would, as a consequence, become more efficacious.

    “It would appear evident that this is what happened with Jesus…

    “It is clear in the text that Jesus was seen by the general populace
    as a wonder-worker. The stories of his exploits were before him — by
    word of mouth, of course, and thus subject to embellishing — and when
    he entered a town the state of heightened expectation would often be
    close to mass hysteria. As a consequence, the apparently miraculous
    would happen.” (Templeton, pp. 111-112)

    Finally, as Barker points outs, a miracle cannot be considered
    historical if it is “defined as some kind of violation, suspension,
    overriding, or punctuation of natural law. … In order for history
    to have any strength at all, it must adhere to a very strict
    assumption: that natural law is regular over time.

    “Without the assumption of natural regularity, no history can be done.
    There would be no criteria for discarding fantastic stories.
    Everything that has ever been recorded would have to be taken as
    literal truth.

    “Therefore, if a miracle did happen, it would pull the rug out from
    history. The very basis of the historical method would have to be
    discarded. You can have miracles, or you can have history, but you
    can’t have both.” (Barker, p. 377)

    CONCLUSION: POSSIBLE ORIGINS OF THE JESUS MYTH

    Various propositions have been advanced to account for the rise of the
    Jesus myth. Barker lists the following as possibilities:

    1. It was “patterned from a story in the Jewish Talmudic literature
    about the illegitimate son of a woman named Miriam (Mary) and a Roman
    soldier named Pandera, sometimes called ‘Joseph Pandera’.”

    2. It “grew out of a pre-Christian cult of Joshua,” originating in
    tensions between two different Joshua factions.

    Interesting in this regard is the fact that “Jesus” is the Greek word
    for “Joshua.” As Barker notes, in Mark 9:38, “the disciples of Jesus
    saw another man who was casting out devils in the name of Jesus
    (Joshua).”

    3. It was “simply a fanciful patchwork of pieces borrowed from other
    religions.”

    Pagan myths are peppered with their own pre-Jesus accounts of Last
    Suppers, passion play-outs, crucifixions of Sun Gods, virgin births
    and latter-day climatic battles between the forces of good and evil.

    4. It followed from “a pre-Christian Jesus cult of gnosticism,” based
    on since-discovered ancient writings which declare, “I adjure thee by
    the God of the Hebrews, Jesus.”

    5. It could have arisen “as the personification of Old Testament
    ‘wisdom’,” which did not rely on any historical basis for claims of a
    pre-existent, literal redeemer.

    6. It may have resulted from so-called “self-reflective fiction,”
    wherein “literary parallels [are drawn] between Old and New Testament
    stories” through the use of “skeletal templates into which the Jews
    placed [them].”

    In such cases, the tales are similar in not only content, but in
    structure, as with stories from the Old and New Testaments involving
    storms, the raising of widows’ sons from the dead, and miraculous
    episodes of so-called “food multiplication”.

    7. It could have found origin in an earlier account of the crucifixion
    of a Messiah and Lawgiver figure known amongst The Essenes (i.e., a
    Jewish sect named “Teacher of Righteousness”), who was put to death in
    88 B.C.

    8. It could have been based on a naturalistic explanation that the
    resurrection story was essentially historically reliable, “but that
    Jesus merely fainted, and was presumed to be dead, coming back to
    consciousness later.” (Barker, pp. 372-376)

    Bibliography

    Barker, Dan, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist [Madison,
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    Doherty, Earl, The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a
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    Edelen, William, Toward the Mystery (Boise, Idaho: Joslyn & Morris,
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    Parsons, Keith M., Why I Am Not A Christian [Atlanta, Georgia:
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    Templeton, Charles, Farewell to God: My reasons for rejecting the
    Christian faith [Toronto, Ontario, Canada: McClelland & Stewart, Inc.,
    1996)

    Wells, G.A., The Historical Evidence for Jesus (Buffalo, New York:
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    Wilson, Ian, Jesus: The Evidence [San Francisco, California: Harper &
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