Christianity had a good, long run. But we are long past the point where it’s reasonable to be agnostic about the so-called “Jesus of Faith.” It’s ridiculous to pretend the lack of historical corroboration of the spectacular Gospel events, let alone the New Testament’s own fundamental contradictions, aren’t a fatal problem for Jesus the divine Son of God.
•Why does Philo of Alexandria discuss the contemporary state of first century Jewish sects in several of his writings, but not a word on the multitudes who followed the miracle-worker and bold, radical new teacher Jesus throughout the Galilee and Judea – or of all the long-dead Jewish saints who emerged from their freshly opened graves and wandered the streets of Jerusalem, appearing to many?
•If Jesus was really found guilty of blasphemy by the Sanhedrin, why was he not simply stoned to death, as Jewish law required (Mishnah Sanhedrin 6:4 h & i)? Why is the original trial account of Jesus so full of other unhistorical details and just plain mistakes that could never have actually happen as portrayed? How can each successive gospel continue to overload the original story with their own additional layers of details that are mutually incompatible with the others?
•Why does Seneca the Younger record all kinds of unusual natural phenomena in the seven books of his Quaestiones Naturales, including eclipses and earthquakes, but not mention the Star of Bethlehem, the pair of Judean earthquakes that were strong enough to split stones, or the hours of supernatural darkness that covered “all the land” – an event he would have witnessed first hand?
•Why can’t the Gospels agree on so many fundamental facts about Jesus’ life and ministry, such as what his relationship to John the Baptist was – and why was John the Baptist’s cult a rival to Christianity until at least the early second century?
•Who were Jesus’ disciples, and why is it no Gospels agree on who they were? Why do the disciples disappear so quickly in the New Testament after the Gospels, only to pop up again centuries later when churches start spinning rival legends that they were busy founding Christian communities all along? If any were martyred for their faith, as Christians frequently insist, why don’t we have any details of any of the disciples’s deaths in the bible?
•When his skeptical Roman opponent Celsus asks the early church father Origen what miracles Jesus performed, why can Origen only respond lamely that Jesus’ life was indeed full of striking and miraculous events, “but from what other source can we can furnish an answer than from the Gospel narratives?” (Contra Celsum, 2.33)
•Why can’t the Gospels agree on so many fundamental facts about Jesus’ life and ministry? For instance, if he was born during the reign of Herod the Great, or over a decade later, during Quirinius’ tenure? Or why he was arrested? Or on which day he died? Or whether he appeared alive again for just a single day, or for more about a week, or for forty days? Or where and when he appeared alive again, and to whom?
•Why are there so many anachronisms and basic mistakes and misunderstandings about first century Judean Judaism? Why are the Gospels all written in Greek, not Aramaic? Why do Christians insist that they are eyewitness accounts when none claim to be, or even read as if they were, or if all contain indications that they were written generations later?
•Why is Paul – and every other Christian writer from the first generation of Christianity – so silent on any details of Jesus’ life? Why do they display so much ignorance of Jesus’ teachings and miracles?
•Despite the frequent boasts in the New Testament of Christianity spreading like wildfire, attracting new converts by the thousands with every new miracle or inspired sermon, why does Christianity remain a struggling, obscure cult of feuding house churches on the fringe of Roman society for more than three centuries?
•Why is there not a single historical reference to Jesus in the entire first century; a pair of obviously interpolated snippets in the works of Flavius Josephus notwithstanding?