THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS: Myself vs. Slrman (Pseudonym)



Conversations With Atheist presents a classic online debate over the historicity of Jesus. The Debate has been presented in its original form – including spelling errors. The original comment is made by a person desginated as trackspast, then Slrman takes up the cause – enjoy.

The entire debate can be found at this link:


trackspast I have to disagree. There is NO author, historian. or Roman that lived betwen 6BC and 33AD, the time Jesus was to have lived, that ever wrote of him, therefore only hearsay was written about him. No eye witness accounts outside of the Bible authors. Odd is it not. Tacticus wrote of Nero and him blaming the Christian followers for the fires of Rome. He did not write of Jesus. Josephus and his writings of Jesus are doubtful and are disputed as forgeries added after the fact of his writings. So yes there is evidence against such a person.

If such a person lived during that time frame where is the evidence? If such a person existed why did he not write about his teachings? Granted his teachings are fairly sound.


There is just such a deficit for Alexander the Great and Aristotle. The idea that there was no historical Jesus of Nazareth seems a bit contrived. There are multitudes of references to him, by both supporters and antagonists. Further the “conspiracy theories” as to how he came to be believed to have existed are more fantastic than the simple conclusion that there was, at the very least, an itinerant Jewish preacher who was executed by crucifiction and his followers believed that he had risen from the dead in some manner.

slrman | 06/17/2014 at 5:29 PM

How is it contrived? Are yo saying there are contemporary accounts of the historical Jesus of Nazareth? FYI, no town of that name existed at the supposed time of jesus. Nris tere any contemporary account of someone why was supposed to have such great effect, politically, socially and in religion. For example:

A Few Noticeable Events in the Life of Jesus

Herod’s slaughter of all the baby boys in Bethlehem.

Jesus’ triumphant entry in Jerusalem, where the entire town welcomes him as their king.

Jesus casting out the greedy moneychangers. (in an area about the size of 34 football fields)

Two earthquakes hit Jerusalem.

Supernatural darkness covers “all the land” for hours.

The Sacred Temple curtain tears from top to bottom.

All the dead holy men in the cemetery come out of their graves and wander Jerusalem, “appearing to many.”

And yet, contemporary historians in the time of Jesus didn’t write about any of this.

To believe in any jesus or any religion, for that matter requires that one reject rational thinking, facts, and the very concept of verifiable evidence. In other words, embrace willful ignorance.

thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 10:40 AM

It is contrived for the very reasons I listed. There are just such deficits of primary references for Alexander the Great and Aristotle. Jesus was an itinerant Jewish preacher in a Roman province that was certainly very curios to the Romans culturally. Further there were several sects that existed in Palestine during the time the Jesus would have preached, these differing sects would have been nearly indistinguishable to an outside observer. In fact, and I will explain why in a moment, they were perhaps even indistinguishable to those closer to the culture.

Let me first address your point about Nazareth. You are quite correct that there was no city of Nazareth during the time of Jesus. In fact the present city of Nazareth was named so in perhaps the 3rd century because of the NT reference. The reality that Nazareth was not a city, but rather a sect. What is translated as “Jesus of Nazareth” should have been translated “Jesus the Nazarene”. This reference is to the sect that is also called the Essenes. This sect is readily mentioned by many historians as one of the major sects in Jerusalem, and was well established before the time of Jesus; at least two centuries. Their practices and customs are nearly identical to those of primitive Christians: Communal living, mystical interpretation of the Torah, refusal to offer animal sacrifices, bread and wine offerings, baptism for admittance into the community along with many other ideas and concepts found within the teachings of early Christians. The fact is that this sect existed at least two centuries before the time of Jesus, and within seventy years of his death we find no trace of them. This leads to the very logical conclusion that this sect evolved into primitive Christianity. It is further very logical that the reason for this evolution was a teacher who impacted the community, and whose martyrdom propelled him to a status of Divine.

The alternative hypothesis simply does not fit the framework of what we know historically. Rome was a culture that centered their pantheon and were admittedly antagonistic to Christians and Jews. The Jews were antagonists to their closely related rival. These two external pressures would make it hard pressed to believe that the chief claim of Christians, that Jesus was an actual person, could have been fabricated. The Jews would certainly have called them on such a claim. It is also rather dubious to suppose that a “cult” could form and propagate its message based on a claimed resurrection of a man executed by Rome, if no one knew of that event. Further as such a claim spread throughout the Roman empire, there should have been some denial on the part of the Romans. However there is never such a claim.

The reality is that in its infancy Christianity was nearly indistinguishable from other Jewish sects to the outside world. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, historians like Josephus, Pliny and Philo did not distinguish them from the Essenes, Who, again, they were indistinguishable from in practice and underline theological structure. It was after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD that Roman historians began to distinguish Christians as a distinct sect. (At any rate it is quite amazing on its own that a little known sect within Judaism would evolve into a religion that eventually was adopted by Rome as its state religion.)

Whether or not orthodox claims about the religion of Jesus are true is an entirely different discussion. However the historicity of Jesus the Nazarene seems pretty solid to me.

slrman | 06/19/2014 at 10:47 AM

Nothing you say changes the fact that you believe because you WANT to believe, not that there is any evidence to support your delusions. But facts and rational thinking must be discarded before anyone can accept any religion.

You bringing up the red herrings of Alexander and others doesn’t change anything other than prove you do not want to have a discussion but that you only want to lecture.

Here’s some facts. Try not to faint.:

In the case of the historical Jesus, there is not one contemporary record of his existence. The Romans, who otherwise kept very good records never mentioned a figure who was supposed to be socially, politically, and spiritually so significant as well as publicly performing many miracles; then was executed after a very public trial.

Not until the Gospel of Mark, written from 40 to over 100 years after the supposed crucifixion, (depending upon which biblical scholar you choose to believe) is there any mention of Jesus. If we look at the fables of Horus, Attis, and Mithra, we see amazing similarities. Born in low circumstances on December 25, 12 followers, executed at an early age, son of a god, the list goes on. It would appear that the early church, in need of a powerful central figure, “borrowed” from earlier myths to create a rallying point for their religion.

thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 11:10 AM

You seem to have made a lot of presumptions about what I believe or “WANT” to believe. Perhaps a little more objectivity would be in order? What I presented is the majority view of historical scholars today. There was nothing religious implied. Consider this article by Bart Ehrman:

Here is a relavant quote:

“That is the claim made by a small but growing cadre of (published ) writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves mythicists. This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.

Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds — thousands? — of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.” (Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist)

Ehrmans words are strong, but the reflect what I stated. This is why I originally said that the entire concept is contrived. Because it ignores the established historical method in favor of an improbable scenario which a person would only accept if they were doing so because of a preconceived ideology. Ehrman concludes with:

“One may well choose to resonate with the concerns of our modern and post-modern cultural despisers of established religion (or not). But surely the best way to promote any such agenda is not to deny what virtually every sane historian on the planet — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, atheist, what have you — has come to conclude based on a range of compelling historical evidence.

Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.”

I must concur.

slrman | 06/19/2014 at 12:55 PM

Because you think Dr, Ehrman is a reliable source, you shouldn’t mind if I quote him, too.

As stated by Dr. Bart Ehrman, Professor of religious studies at the University of North Caroline, Chapel Hill, NC said, “In the entire first Christian century, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman scholar, politician, philosopher, or poet. His name never appears in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!”

I say again, if you chose to believe in things for which there is not a single bit of supporting evidence and even much evidence against it, that is your privilege. IT makes it nothing more than wishful th8inking and opinion which is all that yu have presented in support of it.

“Virtually every sane historian on the planet”? Do you mean that any who do not share your delusions are not sane? I could as easily say that only the insane could possibly believe the babble or any other religion. That statement would have as much authority, founded upon arrogance, as yours.

Again, produce a single contemporary account of the existence of the historical Jesus or admit you have a belief, shared by many, I admit, but only a belief. At one time, most of the people in the world believed the earth was flat. This, despite easily observable evidence that it was not. For example, a ship sailing away from the land disappears hull first, then masts and sails last. Approaching, the reverse is true. THis is only possible if the earth is a sphere, not flat. Consider that then, as now, most of the earth’s population lived withing a few hundred miles of an ocean. Yet, they still believed the world was flat because that was what they had been taught. Also, like now, believing what you were told without question of observation of the face was much easier than thinking. You should understand that unless, as I suspect, you have abandoned thinking totally.

 thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 3:19 PM

The comment concerning “every sane historian on the planet” were the words of Dr. Ehrman and not mine. I have seen the quote you posted from Dr. Ehrman all over the internet, however anyone who would post such a quote to insinuate that there was no historical Jesus is simply being obtuse. Concerning the quote you gave from Dr. Ehrman, he says in the article I linked:

“It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.

It is also true that our best sources about Jesus, the early Gospels, are riddled with problems. These were written decades after Jesus’ life by biased authors who are at odds with one another on details up and down the line. But historians can never dismiss sources simply because they are biased. You may not trust Rush Limbaugh’s views of Sandra Fluke, but he certainly provides evidence that she exists.”

Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, however the idea that there was no historical Jesus seems, again, contrived. At this point you are not arguing with religious beliefs, but rather the majority of experts in the field in which you are addressing. That there seems to be no credible historical evidence to you is rather inconsequential seeing that the majority of scholars disagree with you.

You seem to be very willing to dismiss all of this because you assume it indicates blind faith. But I must ask at this point what blind faith is driving your conclusions, you certainly have nothing in way of evidence to support your assertion. Your conclusions do not logically follow your so-called evidence. You have asserted that there are no primary sources writing about Jesus, in other words while he was still preaching in Judea. You assert this means that he did not exist. However this sort of logic eliminates nearly every major person of history. You claim that because miraculous events are attributed to Jesus that this causes him not to exist, again the same applies to many historical figures. You claim that pseudographa associated with Jesus causes him not to exist, the point remains still. We can point to pseudographa associated with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Again your conclusions do not logically follow your evidence. No one is denying any of the points you make, they are simply stating that they do not prove what you claim that they prove.

slrman | 06/19/2014 at 4:04 PM

“Anything that can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”

FYI. you uninformed moron, Josephus was not a contemporary of any Jesus, either. He was not even born until 36 or 37 CE and probably did not start writing for a couple of decades after that.

Yes, I do dismiss willful ignorance and stubborn stupidity. That means you can stop replying as you have yet to make a rational statement or provide the least bit of proof of any of your beliefs.

I do thank you for demonstrating again that, for the religious, verifiable evidence and logical thinking are not useful and even fatal to their delusions.

The floor is yours, I have no more time to waste on a deluded fool.

thomasthecontender7 | 06/19/2014 at 4:13 PM

I would simply add that you emotionally charged responses and obvious bias should indicate where you are arguing from. There is simply no logical reason to dismiss the clearly historical Jesus. Was Jesus the second person of the Christian Trinity? Did he really do miracles? Did he rise physically from the dead? These are of course outside of the realm of historical inquiry. However it seems beyond denial, to all but those with an agenda, that Jesus was a person of history.