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All That's Religion

Jesus Christ, a man of history




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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
June 26, 2008 | 1824 views | 6 comments

(Re: “Pro-Christianity counter-arguments are flawed,” Letters, June 18) -- Danny Uribe writes in his article, “... Mike: All your sources are people who were fool enough to think Jesus actually existed.” Not long ago, Danny implied that the only objective people in the world are atheists. All others, including former atheists who have become Christians, cannot be objective.

Danny’s framework of thinking reminds me of the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In effect, the notion by atheists that they are more intelligent, rational, and honest than other human beings is a myth on a par with “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Let’s at least scratch the surface as to the objective (no pun intended) facts on the historicity of Jesus Christ. On the crucifixion, Harvey writes: “It would be no exaggeration to say that this event is better attested, and supported by a more impressive array of evidence, than any other event of comparable importance of which we have knowledge from the ancient world.” (Harvey, A.E. Jesus and the Constraints of History, Philadelphia: Westminster, 1982.)

Tacitus was a Roman historian writing early in the second century A.D. His Annals provide us with a single reference to Jesus of considerable value. Here is a quote of our concern from Annals 15.44. Jesus and the Christians are mentioned in an account of how the Emperor Nero went after Christians in order to draw attention away from himself after Rome’s fire of 64 A.D.: “Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius.”

Note that Christus is a title that could be attributed to anyone. However, this Roman pagan writer -- Tacitus -- quotes an official action of the Roman Republic. Tacitus clearly identifies Pilate, Judea, and Tiberius, all real, documented, historical figures and locations, concluding that an execution took place by their authority in Judea.

Executions were carried out on individuals, not ideas, thus identifying “Christus,” a title attributed to a man who actually lived. You have to have been a live person to be executed. At least, that is the way it has worked in the past.

Tacitus turns out to be an extremely rich source of data that confirms important aspects of Christian history. He regards “Christus” as the founder of the movement. This militates against ideas that Paul or some other person was the ideological head of Christianity. He confirms the execution of Jesus under Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius. He indicates that Jesus’ death “checked” Christianity for a time. This would hint at the probability that Christianity was recognized to have had some status as a movement (albeit not under the name “Christianity”) prior to the death of Jesus.

He identifies Judea as the “source” of the movement. This mitigates against ideas that Christianity was designed piecemeal from pagan religious ideas. He indicates that Christians in Rome in the mid-60s A.D. were dying for their faith.

To the contrary, Danny, “The Fool has said in his heart that there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). It is the facts that count, not wishful thinking.
MIKE CLEMENTS
Pastor, First Baptist Church,
Floresville
 
« Previous Blog Entry (June 26, 2008)
 


Your Opinions and Comments
 
Winston Shaffer  
Floresville  
October 16, 2008 4:33pm
 
 
Danny’ statement, "Founding Fathers were Atheists." is a lie and shows how flawed his thought process is. Danny could have made the argument that the Founding ... Read More Read More
 
 
Danny  
October 16, 2008 5:00am
 
 
Samuel,

First off, that first part of your short response makes no sense. Once again, Christ is a title, NOT a name. By the way, you claim that as a christian your ... Read More Read More
 
 
samuel welsh  
chiba,japan  
September 16, 2008 12:12am
 
 
You should not box christ just as not to
criticise other religions.
as a christian I belive foremost in understanding
each other with mutural respect.
 
 
Danny  
June 29, 2008 3:46am
 
 
Also, the country itself, and it's system of government, has NO religious roots. The colonies may have originally been full of puritans but the Founding Fathers were Atheists. ... Read More Read More
 
 
Danny  
June 29, 2008 3:45am
 
 
Laura...Religion can do nothing to help any situation. Especially not Monastic religions like Christianity or Islam. They're fear-based control devices and nothing more, ... Read More Read More
 
 
Laura  
adkins  
June 27, 2008 11:58am
 
 
I believe the Jesus, upon whom Christianity was built and who was crucified, would be mortified to see the extent to which big time religion, catholics, protestants, etc. ... Read More Read More
 

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