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And proving that there are similarities between bible myths and Egyptian mythology doesn't prove there is no historical Jesus. If it can be proved, it proves there are similarities between Egyptian and bible myths but even the majority of secular bible scholars who also believe in a historical Jesus accept Judaism was influenced by its neighboring pagan religions. This is all standard biblical scholarship and not any new major revelation of a conspiracy to hide the truth about Jesus.

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On this whole zeitgeist thing. If Moses was meant to have shifted religion from the age of Taurus to the age of Aries, why did the sacrifice of bulls and the imagery of bulls continue well into the old testament? Also why is the imagery of rams or sheep not more prominent within the old testament?

 

Second of all if Jesus was supposed to represent the shift from the age of Aries to the age Pisces, why is it that the imagery I, and I would argue the New Testament most associate with Jesus is the lamb of God? In fact I would argue that Sheep imagery features far more prominently in the New Testament than in the Old. Also generally speaking outside the Gospels, I can't think of any obvious use of fish imagery.

 

Thirdly, if Moses was for the shifting to the age of Aries and Jesus was for the shifting to the age Pisces, wouldn't this suggest that the people who introduced Jesus were the continuation of a secret religious tradition which survived 2000 years of the Israelites have their asses handed to them by various empires, while at the same time, probably being persecuted by the official religious authorities amongst the Hebrews?

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The Zeitgest film makes it all a little too simple; despite many of it's interesting points. Some of the references to Horus and other figures takes a bit of license; there were varying degrees of legend about some of these figures. Although admittedly, the virgin birth scheme wasn't new.

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For anyone interested, in the most recent episode of the Reasonable Doubts podcast, they had an interview with the religion editor of Skeptic Magazine, Tim Callahn, in which he debunks the Jesus myth section of the documentary, Zeitgeist that I highly recommend listening to: http://www.doubtcast.org/podcast/rd63_zeitgeist_debunked.mp3 Tim Callahan also wrote an article on the debunking of Zeitgeist that's also a really good read: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/02/tim-callahans-critique-of-movie.html

I listened to the podcast. I haven't seen Zeitgeist, but based on the discussion it sounds like the movie is based on Acharya S's book, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold.

 

Actually, they used Jordan Maxwell's material: http://www.jordanmaxwell.com/ They even said so in yet another podcast. Although Acharya did have some input in it, most of the material that is used is from Jordan.

 

You can see further evidence here: http://www.jordanmaxwell.com/radio.html

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I say the jury is still out on Jesus. I skimmed the thread so far, based on what I read many years ago, there is only 1 notable historian who lived during the time Jesus supposedly lived who mentioned a Jesus at all. There are lot's of other notable historians at the time who make no mention of him. Someone mentioned Moses, now there is absolutely no proof or reason to believe in Moses as he is not mentioned anywhere (nor is there any mention of Egypt keeping Hebrew slaves if I recall). The only source that mentions either of those if the same source that claims the river turned to blood, and a just and merciful god showed how loving he could be by killing first born sons of Egyptians who had absolutely no say as to whether or not the slaves went free (if he was willing to go to such lengths to free them by sending plagues and such wouldn't have been much more merciful to just literally teleport them out of slavery to some other location????).

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I say there was a historical Jesus around whom mythologies about him as a founding figure of a movement were formed. There are earmarks of this in the layers of the narrative tales (Gospels), and other writings. For there to never have been any living person anywhere in there doesn't go to explain what we see. That the stories are accounts of recorded history, is a fiction of modern thinking. Therefore to read those and imagine him as a con-man, or insane for that matter, is to work off the unsupported premise that the narratives are factually accurate. They are mythological and symbolic in nature, created imaginations driven by the need to support social movements in a symbolic framework - like Moses, like Elijah, like Wisdom personified, the Divine Son of God, etc.

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There's definitely a hysterical Jesus.

 

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In Biblical times there was a sect of Jews, called the Essenes, who had broken away from mainstream Judaism living near the Dead Sea near a place called Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found). They broke from Jewish tradition by calling their leader “Jeshua” which was a Hebrew title usually reserved for the high priest. Some of their teachings found in the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by an Essenian author who calls himself the “Teacher of Righteousness”.

 

This form of Judaism spread up the coast of Macedonia during the first century CE. The leader of the original sect died and the followers, influenced by the solar religions prominent at the time (Mithraism and Manichaeanism), and perhaps wanting to find effective ways of winning converts from the predominantly pagan community, said he too had been raised from death. They called him “Jeshua” the “Mashiah” (Hebrew word meaning “anointed”, Greek: “Christos”) and proclaimed Him as the Jewish redeemer as foretold by their prophets.

 

In my research I found over forty-two secular authors who lived within a century of the time of Christ, none of whom mention Jesus or the events in the New Testament. From these secular historians I found ten who lived in the same region as "Jesus", and who were active as authors during His lifetime or at least before the end of the first century. These are: Aulus Perseus (d.60 CE), Justus of Tiberius (c. 80 CE), Livy (59 BCE – 17 CE), Lucanus (63AD), Petronius (d. 66 CE), Phaedrus (c. 15 BCE – 50 CE), Philo Judaeus (c. 20 BCE – 50 CE), Pliny the Elder (d. 69 CE), Pomponius Meia (c. 40 CE) and Seneca (c. 4 BCE – 65 CE).

 

In all of these copious and extensive volumes, there is not one single mention of Jesus or, for that matter, any of His disciples or the "miracles" that were supposed to have taken place (dead people jumping out of their graves and walking around would surely have attracted the attention of SOME of these historians, many of whom wrote prolific and detailed reports on just about everything of significance).

 

Anybody can do this research. The information is not "hidden". There was nobody by the name of Jesus Christ, His story was made up, and just happened to attract the attention of some prominent Romans and we are left with this ridiculous religion born in a badly constructed lie.

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On the subject of historical figures who are believed to exist but have as much evidence of existing as Jesus, there was a 19th century French physicist Jean-Baptiste Peres who wrote a satire mocking the Jesus myth theory by arguing Napoleon never existed and was an expression of the sun myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_P%C3%A9r%C3%A8s Here it is online for anyone who wants to read it: http://books.google.com/books?id=rtUDAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=did+napolean+exist%3F&source=bl&ots=IqVJsmb2QA&sig=uDpFGbgC-5bB-ehmF60orPMKESc&hl=en&ei=Y8KPS7iUFJPqM5fetfwM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

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On the subject of historical figures who are believed to exist but have as much evidence of existing as Jesus, there was a 19th century French physicist Jean-Baptiste Peres who wrote a satire mocking the Jesus myth theory by arguing Napoleon never existed and was an expression of the sun myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_P%C3%A9r%C3%A8s Here it is online for anyone who wants to read it: http://books.google.com/books?id=rtUDAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=did+napolean+exist%3F&source=bl&ots=IqVJsmb2QA&sig=uDpFGbgC-5bB-ehmF60orPMKESc&hl=en&ei=Y8KPS7iUFJPqM5fetfwM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

I finally went to look at your link (took me a while, I know, sorry). The document in question actually failed in its attempt to make Napoleon fit the solar religions and also failed to disprove the existence of Napoleon. It seemed (to me) like some of the really lame posts we sometimes get here from Christians - nice to know that even back in those days the apologists were just as ignorant as they are today (heheHE).

 

The most common solar god attributes (none of which Napoleon had) were: virgin birth, birth on 25 Dec, 12 disciples (i.e. followers, not "marshals"), death on the cross, resurrection from death after 3 days for the salvation of man and triumphant ascension to Heaven.

 

Mr Peres also fails to note that plenty of historians recorded Napoleon's life and surrounding events, but not a single historian wrote about Jesus.

 

Just goes to show that the locals in France at the time may have been just as credulous of pseudo-science as they are today. Still, fortunately, scholars rejected the work as do we.

 

Nice post Neon Genesis :beer:

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Expect that nowhere in the bible does it say Jesus was born on December 25th. The fact that Christians stole Christmas from Saturnalia is again, common knowledge among biblical scholars who believe in the historical Jesus, so it's not some new revelation of a conspiracy.

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Expect that nowhere in the bible does it say Jesus was born on December 25th. The fact that Christians stole Christmas from Saturnalia is again, common knowledge among biblical scholars who believe in the historical Jesus, so it's not some new revelation of a conspiracy.

Quite correct - apologies. Other pagan symbolism surrounding the birth of their gods would be the three wise men, star in the east etc. that are shared by Jesus, but not the Winter solstice birth (forgot :phew: ).

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What about supposed evidences of the rabbinic traditions portraying jesus as a deciever and magician, and the Toledot yeshu, the ancient jewish polemic against Jesus.

 

Thoughts, is this stuff proof of a historical jesus.

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What about supposed evidences of the rabbinic traditions portraying jesus as a deciever and magician, and the Toledot yeshu, the ancient jewish polemic against Jesus.

 

Thoughts, is this stuff proof of a historical jesus.

 

Not really. To my knowledge it's not really old enough to support his existence as a real person.

 

To me it seems more like propaganda against Christians to curb conversions within their own faith.

 

Demonizing Christian faith in the same manner as Christians did with other religions.

 

Not really evidence of the existence of a real person. Just a counter to make themselves look better in comparison and discount their rivals.

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I think he is just a myth conjured up from other hero god son myths. If and he was a real man, why would I trust what witnesses said about him when most people back then believed in supernatural and superstitious bullshit to begin with? How many people back then were skeptics? Religion ruled the world, because no one had a better explanation of why things were the way they were at the time.

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I didn't read this whole thread, I just want to outline why I think the question cannot be answered with any confidence.

 

Assuming the traditional chronology of Christian writings, Paul's letters came first. In Paul's letters he makes some vague mentions about Jesus being "born of a woman" and meeting "the lord's brother". These are slender reeds to hang an entire case on. But this isn't the only problem. Paul's letters first arrive to us through the hands of heretics, during a time when there was a fierce battle between orthodox and heresy. And the main weapon in this battle was manipulating texts. This is also the environment (in my estimation) that produced the synoptic gospels. Matt is a corrected version of Mark, Luke is a corrected version of Markion, etc.

 

So we don't even know if Paul even wrote that he met "the lord's brother" and that Jesus was "born of a woman". These could very well be interpolations into Paul's letters meant to refute heterodox beliefs about Jesus. Some Christian's didn't think that Jesus was born of a woman, so how terribly convenient it is for this to pop up in a letter written by the "Apostle of the Heretics".

 

After Paul, the chronology is that Mark is written (or "Q", but even though it's a neat solution to the synoptic problem, it's still ad hoc). Most commentaries about Mark say that it was written sometime around 70 CE based on internal evidence. Internal evidence also indicates that it was written by someone who didn't know much about 2nd temple Judaism, so it would have to have been written by someone who wasn't alive much (if at all) prior to the destruction of the 2nd temple (70 CE). This would suggest a mature writer writing closer to the 2nd century. An analogous situation would be someone who didn't know much about life prior to 9/11 writing a story with lots of post 9/11 anachronisms. We would conclude that this person was born either right before 9/11 or after 9/11, and not writing on or circa 9/11.

 

In Mark, there are a lot of things that are allegory like the demon Legion being political commentary about Roman Legions, the feeding miracles, the foreshadowing of Jesus giving "Simon" the name "rock" (parable of the sower), the Jesus Barabbas (lit. "son of the father") and Jesus the Nazarene swap, and others. A lot of secular biblical historians follow the scientific method and rule out the supernatural miracles and predictions, but if you take these out of Mark and try to reconstruct some sort of narrative, all you're basically left with is a guy named Jesus getting crucified for unknown reasons. And the narrative doesn't even make sense anymore. There isn't much evidence to hang historical meat on. And Mark seems to be some sort of proto-gnostic gospel. Besides all of the theological symbolism of many of the miracles and pericopes, the overall theme of Mark is that only demons, the reader, and people who have no name know that Jesus is the son of god. Everyone else with names or titles is clueless. Though because Mark seems to be an attack on the historical witnesses to Jesus, Mark is useless as history because of it's purpose. Ironically, though, this means that there were historical witnesses to make fools of. In later gospels you see a trend of historicising the Jesus of Mark and making the disciples look less foolish. He starts getting more family members, a birth, resurrection appearances, more anecdotes about his childhood, etc. but a lot of the historicising, at least in the orthodox line of works, is that of combating heretical beliefs. Namely separatist and docetist christologies.

 

Separatists worshiped only the christ spirit and didn't care about the man Jesus, so thus you get a birth narrative that says that Jesus is literally the son of god and his baptism by John becomes a problem that needs to be worked around. This means that either no Christians had a problem with Jesus being baptized by John until the 2nd century when heretics started to flourish, or Jesus' baptism by John was unknown to Christians until it was written in Mark; this would make John's baptism a creation of the author of Mark. The empty tomb also follows a similar pattern. Possible skepticism about the tomb being empty is only addressed when Matthew writes, implying that there were either no skeptics of the empty tomb until Matt was written, or no one heard about any empty tomb until Mark was written making it a creation of Mark.

 

It also seems that Christians didn't know what to make of Mark's "Nazarene". Mark seems to imply that Jesus was from Capernaeum and had the title "Nazarene" for some reason. The identification with a town called Nazareth seems to have evolved later the tradition. Jesus is always called a Nazarene in Mark, and not "from Nazareth". While it's written in Mark 1:9, our earliest witness to this section of Mark is Matthew, and he didn't seem to have it in the copy of Mark that he was editing (Matt 3:13). Matt also gives us a quote mined prophecy about Jesus having to be called a Nazarene (2:23) but he actually writes that Jesus would be called a Nazoraion (ΝΑΖΩΡΑΙΟΝ). This seems to be derived from the Greek version of Judges 13:5 which says that Samson would be called a Nazirite (ΝΑΖΙΡΑΙΟΝ). Which is understandable since tradition and economy dictated that recalling the bible from memory was how things were done, instead of lugging around some huge Torah scroll to quote from. Phoneticising ΝΑΖΙΡΑΙΟΝ from memory could end up as ΝΑΖΩΡΑΙΟΝ.

 

Tertullian writing in the late 2nd / early 3rd century confirms this confusion when he writes in Against Marcion 4.8: "The Christ of the Creator had to be called a Nazarene according to prophecy; whence the Jews also designate us, on that very account, Nazerenes after Him. For we are they of whom it is written, 'Her Nazarites were whiter than snow'". He's quoting from Lamentations 4:7 which in English is Nazirites but in Greek it's ΝΑΖΙΡΑΙΟΙ. It's unclear whether the town nun-tsade-resh-tav (Natsrat/Nazareth) existed in the first century. Be that as it may, Natsrat should have ended up in Greek as Nasarat since tsades are usually transliterated into Greek with a sigma.

 

All in all, there's very scant evidence about the existence of Jesus. What we have is a rapid accretion and divergent views of what people believed about Jesus, which is what bible believers are usually talking about when they cite the popular claim that more was written about Jesus than other comparable historical figures from that time period. So the jury is out on this one, and I think it'll always be out.

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I didn't read this whole thread, I just want to outline why I think the question cannot be answered with any confidence.

 

<snip>

 

All in all, there's very scant evidence about the existence of Jesus. What we have is a rapid accretion and divergent views of what people believed about Jesus, which is what bible believers are usually talking about when they cite the popular claim that more was written about Jesus than other comparable historical figures from that time period. So the jury is out on this one, and I think it'll always be out.

Very well written. Thank you.

 

One problem with dating the gospels is that there is probably a "start date" and a "stop date". Fraud and interpolations confuse anything in the NT, so whatever is written is questionable. Now we are trying to sort it out. Was it written to support a view, or did it happen? Or both?

 

I suspect that if you were to examine the writings of the early church fathers, you would probably find them quoting something that had just been written that no one else had seen because it wasn't there.

 

Nazarene/Nazirite my ass. Someone made that up. Tertullian?

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there is only 1 notable historian who lived during the time Jesus supposedly lived who mentioned a Jesus at all.

 

Erm, to my knowledge NO historian from the time Jesus supposedly lived mentioned him. If one did, I'd sure like to know who it was and what was said.

 

If you're alluding to Josephus, he wasn't born until 37 CE, and his Antiquities is widely known to have been tampered with by christians (even christian theologians and apologists admit this).

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there is only 1 notable historian who lived during the time Jesus supposedly lived who mentioned a Jesus at all.

 

Erm, to my knowledge NO historian from the time Jesus supposedly lived mentioned him. If one did, I'd sure like to know who it was and what was said.

 

If you're alluding to Josephus, he wasn't born until 37 CE, and his Antiquities is widely known to have been tampered with by christians (even christian theologians and apologists admit this).

That's right. There are no contemporary (living at the same time) writers who talked about Jesus.

 

And I keep coming back to this, I find it very strange that Philo from Alexandria, who was a contemporary to Jesus, didn't take any interest at all in Jesus. He was a new-thinker in Jewish faith, and supposedly he visited Jerusalem at least once, but he didn't mention Jesus or the Christians at all.

 

And what is even more strange is that Philo's writings were preserved... by the early Christians... (at least so I've heard, but who knows)

 

It would mean that a fringe Jewish religious writer, contemporary to Jesus, influenced by Greek and Roman mythology and philosophy, didn't know about Jesus or the Christians, did write things the early Christians liked. So what did he write about? One thing was "Logos," the very same word used in John 1:1. If his interpretation was the same as John's writings, I don't know, but some of the Greek philosophers used Logos to describe the idea of God's becoming, the First and Final Cause becoming real, our Universe. So is this the missing link between pagan/Greek-philosophical beliefs and early Christianity? Maybe. I don't know. But it definitely makes you wonder.

 

Regardless of the potential link, just the fact that early Christians cherished Philo's writings, the writings can tell us some about the early Christians' beliefs.

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Erm, to my knowledge NO historian from the time Jesus supposedly lived mentioned him. If one did, I'd sure like to know who it was and what was said.

 

If you're alluding to Josephus, he wasn't born until 37 CE, and his Antiquities is widely known to have been tampered with by christians (even christian theologians and apologists admit this).

But then if there was no historical Jesus and the early Christians believed he was purely mythical, why is our earliest account of a Christian acknowledging similarities between the bible myths and pagan myths is Justin Martyr's writings? If I have it right, Justin Martyr lived from 100-165, so why is there no record of a Christian acknowledging the similarities between pagan myths and bible myths before Justin Martyr which if I'm not mistaken, lived after Josephus? And if the lack of a narrative about the life of Jesus in Paul's epistles proves Jesus was a mythical creation, does the narrative in the gospels prove Jesus was real?
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Erm, to my knowledge NO historian from the time Jesus supposedly lived mentioned him. If one did, I'd sure like to know who it was and what was said.

 

If you're alluding to Josephus, he wasn't born until 37 CE, and his Antiquities is widely known to have been tampered with by christians (even christian theologians and apologists admit this).

But then if there was no historical Jesus and the early Christians believed he was purely mythical, why is our earliest account of a Christian acknowledging similarities between the bible myths and pagan myths is Justin Martyr's writings? If I have it right, Justin Martyr lived from 100-165, so why is there no record of a Christian acknowledging the similarities between pagan myths and bible myths before Justin Martyr which if I'm not mistaken, lived after Josephus?

 

I was only pointing out the lack of contemporary historical records, not arguing for the mythological christ position. Personally, I don't find either side of the debate to be totally convincing, and we'll likely never know exactly what happened back then.

 

And if the lack of a narrative about the life of Jesus in Paul's epistles proves Jesus was a mythical creation, does the narrative in the gospels prove Jesus was real?

 

Neither proves anything, but if the mythers are right about the story of Jesus growing from a mythical christ belief, then it would make sense that the gospel accounts that come after Paul's epistles would be more in line with the later version of Jesus.

 

I don't know whether Jesus existed or not, and though the topic is interesting, does it really matter all that much? Even if there was some Jesus dude on whom the christian stories were loosely based, he still wasn't the Jesus of christianity (that Jesus is a myth). We have no real historical account of such a Jesus, and therefore there is not literally a "historical Jesus," even if there was a Jesus whose life inspired christianity.

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Erm, to my knowledge NO historian from the time Jesus supposedly lived mentioned him. If one did, I'd sure like to know who it was and what was said.

 

If you're alluding to Josephus, he wasn't born until 37 CE, and his Antiquities is widely known to have been tampered with by christians (even christian theologians and apologists admit this).

But then if there was no historical Jesus and the early Christians believed he was purely mythical, why is our earliest account of a Christian acknowledging similarities between the bible myths and pagan myths is Justin Martyr's writings? If I have it right, Justin Martyr lived from 100-165, so why is there no record of a Christian acknowledging the similarities between pagan myths and bible myths before Justin Martyr which if I'm not mistaken, lived after Josephus?

 

How much in the way of Christian apologetics do we have before Justin Martyr? (I ask because I don't know), if there wasn't much in the way of people debating the authenticity (is that the right word) of Christianity before him, there wouldn't be much call for people to acknowledge such a fact.

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I don't know whether Jesus existed or not, and though the topic is interesting, does it really matter all that much? Even if there was some Jesus dude on whom the christian stories were loosely based, he still wasn't the Jesus of christianity (that Jesus is a myth). We have no real historical account of such a Jesus, and therefore there is not literally a "historical Jesus," even if there was a Jesus whose life inspired christianity.

I think it matters in that it would completely change the way we look at biblical scholarship and religious history. Certainly it would matter to the Jesus Seminar who would have to completely re-vamp their methods. I don't think it matters in the sense of being undeniable proof to destroy Christianity since the liberal Christians would just allegorize the life of Jesus and would probably be even happier with their faith if Jesus wasn't real and the fundamentalists would just ignore the evidence.
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I don't know whether Jesus existed or not, and though the topic is interesting, does it really matter all that much? Even if there was some Jesus dude on whom the christian stories were loosely based, he still wasn't the Jesus of christianity (that Jesus is a myth). We have no real historical account of such a Jesus, and therefore there is not literally a "historical Jesus," even if there was a Jesus whose life inspired christianity.

I think it matters in that it would completely change the way we look at biblical scholarship and religious history. Certainly it would matter to the Jesus Seminar who would have to completely re-vamp their methods. I don't think it matters in the sense of being undeniable proof to destroy Christianity since the liberal Christians would just allegorize the life of Jesus and would probably be even happier with their faith if Jesus wasn't real and the fundamentalists would just ignore the evidence.

If anyone wants acceptable evidence of Jesus' existence, they'll have to manufacture it.

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