How to answer "Jesus was designed by the Romans"?

I got into a debate recently, and I couldn’t find any information to help my point (which is to say I lost). I did find a thread over here with a reply from Trent Horn, but it wasn’t enough to bring down my opponent’s argument.

This is the gist of it:

The New Testament was specifically designed by Romans to quell their constant wars (300 BC to 70 AD) by inventing a passive Jewish prophet. You have no idea how annoying it was to constantly reconquer Judaism as a Roman. Nothing short of eliminating Judaism was an option.

It was designed to make the warlike Judaeans absolutely repulsive to the common man. And what more repulsive than to attribute to them the murder of an innocent man.

By the end of 70 AD, and the second destruction of the Temple, the zealot Jews were wiped out and eventually replaced by the (1) the “Christian” Jew and the (2) Rabbinical Jew. These were passive non-War like Jews who accepted Rome’s rule.

The only remaining vestige of pure Judaism (as practiced from 300 BC to 70AD) is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus’ account of the Jewish Wars.

They even allowed New Testament paraphernalia and text to circulate for centuries. And why not? The New Testament is great Roman propaganda. See Matthew 27:

The Jews all answered, “Crucify Jesus!” (Matt 27:23)
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, he … washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” (Matt 27:24)
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” (Matt 27:25)

In one hilariously unrealistic conversation, the Jews condemn themselves and the Romans are described as wise and just people. Why WOULDN’T you want this book to survive?

The Romans never intended on converting the orthodox Jews into Christians. The New Testament was forward-thinking propaganda. It was a prophylactic for future generations designed to do two things
(1) Make Zealot Judaism SO unattractive that it forced Jews to reinterpret their religion in peaceful terms (i.e. Rabbinical Judaism)
(2) Make Christianity more attractive to newcomers.

The bottom line is that Romans never really cared if you were Jewish or Christian. They only wanted a population they could control.

I also said “If the Romans had these plans, why did they persecute Christians?” His response was:

“Christians were persecuted by local authorities on a sporadic and ad-hoc basis, often more according to the whims of the local community than to the opinion of imperial authority.” - Wikipedia

In other words, the majority of Christian persecution was done locally. Imperial authority (i.e. the Caesars and the Flavians) had very little motivation to harm Christians, because like I said earlier, Christians “give to Caesar what is his” (Mark 12:17)

There is actually no real evidence that “Christian-Jews” were persecuted. Or at least, not to the extent that is popularly conceived.

Sounds like a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories dont deserve your response or your time, so Id say that is where you made your mistake.

I can theorize that atheism was invented to keep peoples as earthly and materialistic as possible, so as to be more easily controlled and dominated by big corporations and the government, and I can just keep making stuff up with no proof to back my case.

Hmm. I would start with the actual time of the creation
of the NT. Long after the 300Bc-70Ad period.

If any of this were true, it would be difficult to understand why so many of the Early Church Fathers, like Tertullian, St. Justin Martyr had to spend so much time explaining to the Romans about Christian tenets of faith. Not to mention why the Church spent so much time in defense of heresies that would have had no impact on Roman life at all.

Not to mention – if the Romans “created” Christ as a “psyop” to pacify Judea, then it backfired on them in an unprecedentedly spectacular way. The Romans weren’t dimwits – if they had created an entire faith out of whole cloth, they most likely would have kept some sort of record of it, so that emperors like Constantine wouldn’t convert the entire empire.

The Romans actually had a profound respect for the monotheism of the Jews and exclusively exempted them from many of the religious laws that other conquered cultures of the Roman Empire were forced to abide by such as emperor worship.

Christian persecutions were indeed carried out by imperial authority. For example, during the reign of Nero when the great fire of Rome was blamed on the Christians and Peter and Paul were martyred. The reigns of Marcus Aurelius, Decius, Diocletian, and Galerius also included persecutions ordered by imperial decree. True, the extent to which these persecutions were carried out depended largely on the whims of the local authorities of the different provinces of the Empire.

More than anything else - even more than uprisings and rebellions - the Romans feared subversion. The Romans were a warrior culture well versed in dealing with insurrections. Putting down uprisings was their specialty. They handled the Jewish rebellions with relative ease. However the Christians were different in that they were not violent, yet they resisted worshiping the Roman gods and adapting to Roman morals even if it meant their lives. The Romans feared this upsetting of the status quo, and therefore, saw the Christians as a far greater threat than the Jews. The Jews they could put down with the sword - but the sword only served to multiply the Christians by swelling the ranks of the Martyrs.

I think this is very insightful, and goes along with a theory I’m developing about some of the information contained in the Passion narratives. I see an encoded message that instructs believers on how to evade prosecution by the State.

As to the first series of responses, my questions would be:

  1. I’m no expert on the record regarding successful Jewish revolts against the Romans, but I never got the impression (from what I’ve read) that the Romans feared they would not be able to control the Jewish population, and would thus have to create a “pacifist” Jew. Examples of Jews strategically wiping out Roman armies? Examples of having to call in additional Roman reinforcements to contain the tide of organized attacks? Examples that the Jewish resistance was as organized, well-trained, and numerically well-matched as to pose a credible threat?

  2. Why would the Romans set up a scheme that would take 33 years to unravel (until finally bearing the fruit of their effort) when they could have merely smashed any resistance by force as the opportunity presented itself?

  3. If Jesus *was *a creation of the Romans, then why was His existence so conveniently prophesized over and over in the Old Testament? Wouldn’t his claim have to then be that the Romans “invented” the Torah as well, so as to set the stage for Jesus’ sudden appearance?

  4. Considering that there were no cell phones, computers, or satellites in Biblical times, I imagine that for Jesus to have been a Roman “plant”, they would have had to communicate their orders to Him in ways that would be easily observable and that would leave physical evidence behind (such as written orders). Surely there must be at least one written record of a witness who testified to seeing Jesus convening and conversing with Roman authorities?

There is actually no real evidence that “Christian-Jews” were persecuted.

Actually, there is. Perhaps he’s heard of a guy called Tacitus, and his writings on a certain Roman emperor’s antipathy toward the Christians? :wink:

Or at least, not to the extent that is popularly conceived.

Instead of defending against this statement, this person’s statement should be quantified first, as to understand the results of his scrutiny. Ask him to relay the “popularly-conceived extent” he’s talking about, and how it is greatly exaggerated. AFAIK, Christians never built up an elaborate mythos describing a continuous, government-sanctioned, non-stop murder, nor did they ever claim that their life under Roman rule was a series of unrelenting martyrdom. Perhaps he could compile a list of persecutions that Christians claim, and then show how they were grossly overstated in light of the historical record?


Weren’t there other peoples who didn’t like the Romans? I mean Hadrian’s Wall didn’t go up for nothing. Why didn’t the Romans do this to every culture they tried to control?

What an utterly silly conspiracy theory with no evidence to back it up.

The Romans didn’t need to do something so silly as try to manipulate an entire religion. They simply SMASHED anyone who rose up against them. Show me ANY other instance of them doing something like this.

The reality is that when they finally had enough, and got tired enough of the Jewish uprisings, they smashed the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple (just as Jesus predicted).

They didn’t need to “design” Jesus. They simply wiped out enemies.

The fundamental problem with this whole theory is that it is very un-Roman. Romans didn’t start looking for a screwdriver when they couldn’t get the hammer to work, they found a bigger hammer. The second problem is that they didn’t do similar anywhere else in the Empire. Problem- Celtic religion and religious leaders causing problems; Roman answer- kill all the religious leaders, not secretly co-op the religion into something pro-Roman.

So, the Romans invented Christianity, convinced a bunch of folks that it was true, and then started killing them off in the coliseum only to discover after a couple hundred years that the Christians had essentially won the war of ideas?

Well, that would certainly be one of the greatest strategic blunders in the history of mankind, wouldn’t it?

Does your friend see black helicopters overhead at night, too? :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

You’re right, I also found that Pliny the Younger had written a letter to the emperor regarding legal trials he conducted on Christians.

After examining this subject for the past day it seems my knowledge has been quite lacking on all of this. Oh well, I hope to be more educated the next time. Thanks again! :slight_smile:

Glad we could help.:slight_smile:

I learned something myself, as I was quite unfamiliar with Pliny’s writings on this. Thanks to you as well!

I would say, “Dude, that’s wack!” and then go pray for that person. Some claims are just so far from reality that the greatest charity you can show is to tell them how far off they are.

Letter from Emperor Trajan to Pliny:

You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those who had been denounced to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it–that is, by worshiping our gods–even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance. But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.

Well, that letter speaks for itself. :slight_smile:

I usually laugh at those claiming the Piso Roman family invented Christianity myth.

It is up to them who makes such absurd claims to prove it. They produce much nonsense, none of which proves their claims.

here is the most recent refutation of said myth,

His book, Shattering the Christ Myth is good too.

If you want to know what really happened check out Best Conspiracy Ever onYouTube.

Amen Brother

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