I’m wondering what the response is to these Anti-Christian arguments. I have cut and paste a summary of most of the here. But the full text is here: jesusneverexisted.com/circus.html
They are quite compelling.
[quote=Kenneth Humphreys]3. The “Suffering Disciples” Argument
This one really takes the biscuit. Our Apologist, aware that non-Christians also have beliefs, now inflates a fallacy, invented by a triumphant Church and perpetuated by Hollywood. “Would the disciples have suffered and died for a fabricated saviour?” (Lurid pictures of stoning, beheading, savage beasts).
This audacious nonsense is destroyed utterly by two separate realities:
- People suffer and die all the time for erroneous causes.
Did the 9/11 terrorists go straight to the Islamic paradise?
Pagans died at the hands of Christians. Did this prove the existence of Isis and Dionysus?
- There is NO evidence at all for the existence of the Apostles and NO evidence for widespread suffering by Christians either – until, that is, the Christian Empire turned its ferocity upon the heretics.
[quote=Kenneth Humphreys]4. The “Too Soon For a Legend” Argument.
Briefly stated the argument runs like this. ‘Belief in JC and his resurrection arose almost immediately. There was not enough time for this to have been a legendary development overlying a less dramatic historical truth.’ Myth, we are told, takes a number of generations to develop. (Really? It didn’t take more than a few days for the US military and media to finesse Pfc Jessica Lynch into a fake female Rambo. Fortunately we had Lynch’s own subsequent candour to squelch the counterfeit heroics.)
We are told still living witnesses would have shouted ‘false’ if the story writers had got their facts wrong – an imaginative but preposterous notion, implying that in the ghettoes and scriptoriums of the eastern Roman Empire an army of literary inspectors were checking on rabbinic scribbling. This argument also sneaks in the unsubstantiated claim that the gospels were written ‘early’ and yet in truth, they don’t surface until the mid-2nd century when every witness from the first half of the 1st century would have been long dead.
Nonetheless, the implication is that within a decade or two of JC’s death “numerous” Christians all had more or less the same conviction. “Surely,” runs the argument, “this would only be the case if something truly remarkable had occurred?”
Lets remind ourselves: we are looking for evidence of JC. That doesn’t mean we assume a specific date for a crucifixion of our hero and then count off to a time when there were Christians. No one doubts that a messianic godman faith emerged sometime in the late 1st/early 2nd century. The legend is a composite construct over many generations. Its emergence from the very real suffering of the Jews and the dispossessed of the Roman Empire is a fascinating study.
[quote=Kenneth Humphreys]5. The “Sheer Quantity of Documentation” Argument
This one really is a crude bludgeon.
“Do you know,” says the Apologist, “there is only one manuscript copy of Caesar’s Gallic Wars and that dates from the 10th century? In contrast there are 20,000 manuscripts of the gospels, in various languages, dating from the 6th to 12th centuries. Doesn’t that PROVE the correctness of the New Testament”!
The logic is appalling – as if a lie repeated a hundred times bested a single truth. The really significant point is how few Christian manuscripts – or even scraps of manuscripts – exist from before the cult became endorsed as the state religion of the Roman Empire.
Whole libraries of ancient wisdom and erudition were torched by the Christians. For centuries, by Church dictate, the only remaining literature was the dreary diet of biblical fantasy.
And then latter-day Apologists have the effrontery to mock the dearth of classic learning. It’s as if the Nazis bemoaned the lack of Jewish literature.