Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Easter Tuesday and Jesus Myth

Today is Easter Tuesday, the day after Easter Monday. You thought the Resurrection celebration was over? I just learned that few (very few) cities in the U.S. plan their city calendar accordingly, even cancelling school during these special days.

I was also reminded that for the past few years, some have claimed that Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus was a borrowed idea, being no more than a fantasy or a myth. Permit me to summarize J.R.R. Tolkien (who corrected C.S. Lewis, who once said that myths are lies): Christianity is a myth--one that happens to be true. It’s just the further myths gets from source material, the more misguided they are in communicating truth.

So how do we know if the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not a borrowed idea?

Let me suggest reading the ancient myths, noting how myth stories change over time. "Not one clear case of any alleged resurrection teaching appears in any pagan text before the late second century A.D., almost one hundred years after the New Testament was written." (Cited by Dan Story in The Christian Combat Manual: Helps for Defending your Faith: A Handbook for Practical Apologetics, 2007, p. 206). The same is true for virgin birth stories.

Second, consider what outside sources have to say about Jesus. 27 New Testament documents verify His life, plus 39 non-Christian sources (to name a few) written within 150 years including the Talmud, the Roman historian Tacitus, Jewish Historian Josephus, and others (including the gnostic gospels) mention Jesus’ life, Jesus’ teaching, Jesus’ death and specifically the resurrection and reactions to it. These do not include archaeological evidences. Charlie Campbell points out that over 20,000 words of the Encyclopedia Britannica discuss Jesus without once calling his existence into question.

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain" (2 Peter 1:16-18).

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