Wow! We are having a revival at my church all week...and I've seen the hand of God moving for the past several days. Wonders truly never cease. John Loftus has actually posted something I partially agree with!!! Miracles do happen.
Okay, having watched James McGrath and Tommy Baker duke it out with the fanatical mythicists (not all are fanatical), I want to put to rest the ignorant claim that “There is no evidence for a historical Jesus.” There most definitely is. It's called "confirming evidence" or evidence of things we would expect to find if there was a historical Jesus, and it is Legion.
Amen. Hallelujah! John Loftus does seem to see something the same way I do.
Let's have done with such an ignorant claim.
Yes, Please. This we can agree on.
The debate is whether there is sufficient evidence.
Here is where we part company. I do think that there is more than sufficient evidence for Jesus' physical existence in time.
My claim in chapter 12 of The Christian Delusion is that at best the Jesus movement that stemmed from John the Baptist and later reflected in Paul's genuine letters was an apocalyptic doomsday cult, and that this apocalyptic message of theirs can be found in every Jewish religious group or movement from the time of the Maccabees to the Bar Kokhba revolt.
And here also is where there is several points of contention. There is far from a consensus on Loftus' theory but at least he doesn't claim Jesus never existed.
I find that the fanatical mythicists are not taking this evidence seriously. This is what is called disconfirming evidence, which is the strongest type of evidence, and it disconfirms the mythicist position.
I agree again. But I doubt John Loftus is going to make a habit of this - following the truth where ever it leads.
These mythicists are not true skeptics for they are making a claim about the historical evidence, that there was no historical Jesus. At best the historical evidence is patchy. At best they should stop behaving like believers, who, when their pet theory is criticized insult and berate the person who says otherwise. If they were really interested in the truth they would assess it dispassionately. The skeptical mythicist, at best, should simply be interested in the discussion and learn from all sides, not claiming more than what the evidence shows, and say "I don't know if there was or if there wasn't a historical Jesus," like my friend Hector Avalos. There is no reason for all of this emotional bluster. That's a mark of fanaticism which is born of faith, like the religionists they reject.
I'd agree with this also although I disagree with Loftus as to how much of the Bible is credible. He agrees with the Bible that Jesus existed, but denies the most important things the Bible says about Jesus. Still it's better than outright denying the historical evidence blindly. It's not fanaticism to accept a position for which you have evidence for. And there is too much evidence to deny Jesus did in fact exist.
Debunking Christianity: It's Ignorant to Say "There is No Evidence for a Historical Jesus"