The Evidence For Napoleon Is Worse Than You Think

Ah, Napoleon. People can’t get enough of this guy. The man. The myth. The legend. Actually scratch that first part. Was Napoleon really a man? You might think that’s a crazy question.  It’s taken for granted that Napoleon existed. But this very circumstance draws attention away from the credibility question. We often are likely to accept insufficient evidence and ignore flaws in the evidence when things go unquestioned. Flaws in supposedly uncontroversial ideas have been overlooked in the past, such as flaws in the idea that the Earth is flat. History books may tell us one thing, but increasing numbers of independent researchers are questioning whether Napoleon existed at all. Yes, you heard that right. … Read more

Video: Sorry Jesus Mythers, But Tacitus Proves Jesus Existed

It isn’t shocking that Christian texts are our primary source about Christian origins. After all, baseball fans tend to write about baseball history. American history buffs tend to write about American history.  But what does come as a surprise is that we can learn a fair bit about Jesus from early, non-Christian sources. One is the Roman historian Tacitus, who lived in the 1st to early 2nd-century. In this video, I look at what we can learn from Tacitus about the life of Jesus. I also examine four objections against Tacitus being a reliable source for Christ and see if they carry any weight. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, … Read more

Video: Yes, Josephus Mentions the Historical Jesus

Skeptics often ask why contemporary historians fail to mention Jesus. The typical Christian reply is we have several who describe Jesus, notably including the first-century Jewish historian Josephus. Here’s where hardcore skeptics will say: “Fake news! Josephus never really mentions Jesus. Of the two passages about Jesus found in Josephus, one is fake, and the other isn’t referring to Jesus at all.” I have to say that I find this reply to be a bit odd. Even rabid critics of Christianity like Bart Ehrman and John Dominic Crossan believe that Josephus refers to Jesus. Where are these Jesus mythicists getting this stuff? In this video, I look at 5 common mythicists complaints against the genuineness … Read more

Jesus the Jerk? A Response To the Friendly Atheist

the friendly atheist

A few weeks ago, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon said: “But here’s the thing, Jesus Christ, if that’s who you believe in Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on the Earth. So why are we deifying the Founders?” As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir over social media and on the blogs, since the Bible clearly teaches Christ’s sinless perfection. While a few right-wing Christian leaders went a little overboard in their denouncements of Lemon,  “The Friendly Atheist” took it as an opportunity to take some jabs at Jesus. Hemant Mehta, the author of the blog, writes:  “Let’s talk about what Jesus did. Jesus once got so angry he flipped … Read more

Why Jesus is Too Good To *Not* Be True

As someone who takes an interest in the intersection of the historical Jesus and Christian apologetics, it sometimes feels like all that can be said has been said. Works asking the question “who was Jesus?” are legion, both from a skeptical viewpoint and a Christian perspective. Too Good to Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality by Tom Gilson takes a fresh perspective that makes this the first work of apologetics that made me want to worship.  There are plenty of books that defend the reliability of the Gospels by looking at historical evidence or examining skeptical objections. Gilson does a bit of an end-around and shows that the person of Jesus isn’t like any … Read more

James was Jesus’ Brother. Deal With It, Mythcists.

James the brother of Jesus

It’s a pretty amazing historical fact that Jesus’ brother — who probably wore the Savior’s hand-me-downs — later in life converted to Christianity. What would it take to convince you that your brother was the Messiah? Suffice to say that would take some pretty miraculous evidence, right? The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus’ own family thought he was crazy and doubted his claims. (Mark 3:21, John 7:5) But after believing he saw the risen Jesus, James had quite the change of mind. (1 Corinthians 15:7) He became an apostle, led the Jerusalem church, and was even martyred for the faith. This is pretty compelling evidence for Christianity. Here is where Jesus-mythers try and burst our … Read more

Was Paul Silent About the Historical Jesus?

Paul argument from silence

Over 99% of historical scholarship acknowledges that Jesus was a real person. It doesn’t matter if that scholar is liberal or conservative, or Christian, atheist, agnostic or Jewish. The <1% of historians that believe Jesus is a myth are mostly atheists or agnostics. And it’s only the ‘internet infidel’ crowd that takes their arguments seriously.  One of the arguments that Jesus mythicists will often push is that Paul was mostly silent about the historical Jesus. Here’s GA Wells, one of the minority voices, who writes:  “Paul’s letters have no allusion to the parents of Jesus, let alone to the virgin birth. They never refer to a place of birth…. They give no indication of the … Read more

Is Paul’s Gospel Out of Step with the Teachings of Jesus?

According to some critics, Paul hijacked Christianity. He preached an entirely different Gospel than Jesus. We are asked why Paul’s teachings and tone are so different than what we read from Jesus in the four Gospels. Plus, there are times that Paul and Jesus are seemingly at odds with each other. Critics will say that modern Christians don’t believe in Christianity, but Paulinism. One natural response would be to say that Paul had a lot more to say about the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus wasn’t just going to come out and say what his death would accomplish, he was cryptic about it. But another response would be, “is their teaching … Read more

Undesigned coincidences in the gospels: Surprising evidence for Jesus’ feeding of the 5000

The feeding of the 5000 is one of Jesus’ most popular miracles. If you grew up in church, you probably saw it depicted on many a flannel graph. You know the story: Jesus was in a deserted place where large crowds were hanging on his every word. When it started to get late, Jesus’ disciples asked him to disperse the gathering to the surrounding villages so they could grab a bite to eat. Rather than sending them home, Jesus took five loaves and two fish and fed the multitude. The young lad who shared his food became famous that day and was sent home with 12 baskets full of leftovers.  Critics of the Bible tend … Read more

Did early Christian scribes really completely fake The Josephus Testimonium?

If Jesus was such a big deal, then why isn’t he mentioned by more historians of his time? This is a question that often gets asked by skeptics. The common Christian reply is that he was mentioned by 1st and early 2nd-century historians – namely Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Josephus. This is where some critics – particularly the “Jesus-is-a-myth” crowd – cry foul. They’ll argue that Josephus never really mentioned Jesus, and if we’d critically examine the passages for ourselves, we’d admit that this popular Christian apologetic is pretty flimsy. This reply is a bit odd, seeing that even some of the strongest critics of traditional Christianity like Bart Ehrman and JD Crossan think that … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?