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Christianity : Pious fiction, fantasy

The headline on a Guest Opinion in the Brainerd Dispatch (June 23) declared in a bold font that, “Jesus, the Messiah, is No Myth.” Everyone is entitled to believe whatever suits them after considering the cold, hard, historical facts as best we know them.

Religious believers are constitutionally entitled to their own unfounded beliefs, no matter how illogical or irrational, but they are not entitled to their own facts. In our culture, facts are preferred to myths in our quest for truth. Myths, while they may be convenient and comfortable are not a reliable substitute for historical facts.

We know nothing about any “Jesus of Nazareth” except from what we find in the three synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. biblical scholars have identified more than 20 writers, historians, philosophers, social commentators and observers of life in what we know today as Israel who wrote about the people and the events in the first century C.E. Considering the magnitude of the miracles allegedly performed by the man/god hero figure named Jesus that allegedly attracted large throngs of people and interested observers, it would seem highly likely that at least some of them would have written something about such an extraordinary human being and the miraculous events attributed to him. Alas, not one of them wrote anything about such a person or his alleged miracles in his alleged lifetime. All accounts of the life of Jesus were written multiple decades after his life by unidentified/unidentifiable persons.

As best we know from archeological and literary analysis, the town or village of Nazareth did not exist in the first century C.E.

The Jesus character did not write anything, nor did he sign his name to any writings.

We know nothing about what Jesus looked like. We have only the very different artists’ concepts of what the Jesus character might have looked like. The alleged disciples and apostles left us with nothing of a physical description of the object of their adoration.

The primary architect of Christianity, Saul of Tarsus, aka Saint Paul, never saw the alleged Jesus, nor did he ever write anything about the earthly life or historical events associated with Jesus. His concerns were exclusively about a spiritual, transcendent Jesus of his devotion.

No one knows who wrote the gospels, nor can they be dated with any accuracy.

Of the scores of gospels written by zealous forgers, only four were included when the canon was closed. Irenaeus, (mid second century) the Bishop of Lyon in Gaul (France), arbitrarily decided that there should be only four Gospels determined by his interpretation of numerological symbolism. While the gospels are grossly contradictory and inconsistent about the life of the alleged Jesus, they are labeled by many biblical scholars as pious propaganda.

The Romans, who were fastidious record keepers, wrote nothing about Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, authorizing the Crucifixion of any Jesus character for any alleged crimes.

The entire content of the Gospels is hearsay. Most of us know that hearsay has no cognitive value in modern venues of truth determination.

Philo Judaeus (20 B.C.E. - 50 C.E.), probably the greatest Jewish-Hellenisticphilosopher and historian in the area in and around Jerusalem of the time of Jesus did not write anything about Jesus-the Christ, in spite of the throngs of people he allegedly excited.

Albert Schweitzer, (1875-1965) the great German physician, philosopher, humanitarian, and theologian who devoted a part of his life to trying to find the historical Jesus wrote: “There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the kingdom of God, who founded the kingdom of heaven on earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came to the surface one after the other.” He is another theologian had to come to grips with the reality of his own research, ergo there was no historical Jesus.

Some of the most accomplished Biblical scholars and theologians who were committed to academic honesty and intellectual integrity were prepared to live with the realities and findings of their most dedicated researchers, have known about the Jesus myth for over 150 years. Now we are compelled to ask,

“Why are some of the ecclesiastics still wallowing around in 10th century theologies, teaching myths as if they were factual history?” The answers and reasons are for another time.

Thus, we are faced with a religion founded on pious fiction, fraud, forgery, fantasy and fakery. Truth has a way of coming to the surface for those who will not be deceived by religious zealots.

Rodney Sheffer spent a 35 year career as a biology and chemistry teacher.