ZEITGEIST – Is Jesus a myth?

Scott Smith —  February 4, 2013 — 2 Comments
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The popularity of the internet movie Zeitgeist and the recent surge of books by the “new atheists” have revived the belief that Jesus was a myth that copied earlier cultures.

This Thursday we will be examining the claims, discussing where we go for information, and exploring the most effective responses to offer skeptics.

 


 

Join us Thursday, February 7, from 6:30-8:30 at Church of the Living God

We hope to see you there! Please share this invite on your FB wall, with your friends, and with your church to expand our reach. This is a community forum for all those interested in defending the claims of classical Christianity.

 


 

 

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Scott Smith

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Scott Smith is a lifelong Christian and an active member of his church. He enjoys blogging and teaching on Christian theology and defense as well as engaging skeptics in debate regarding Christian truth claims. Scott is a co-founder of Etcetera as well as TC Apologetics, and in his spare time he runs his own 3D design company.
  • Steve Ruble

    Zeitgeist? That movie is one of the silliest things I’ve ever watched. I’m continually annoyed when people reference it as if it provides good arguments for anything at all.

    I’m not a Jesus Mythicist, but I do hope that your plan for discussing the Jesus Myth theory includes proponents more respectable than Zietgeist. Richard Carrier, for example, has written some stuff which is, at least, not stupid – even if it hasn’t persuaded very many other historians.

    I also hope you don’t intend to draw the common and fallacious equivalence between these two claims:

    1. There is a consensus among historians that Jesus was not a mythical person.
    2. There is a consensus among historians that the description of Jesus in the Bible is historically reliable.

    The first is accurate, the second is not.

    • http://sarcasticxtian.com/ Scott Smith

      Hey Steve

      I think we agree on a lot of what you said. First off, I’m going to throw out the majority of the movie, as I’m not interested in their views on 9/11, the banking system and other political conspiracies. For my purposes, I’m referring to the film’s assertions about Jesus. I think the movie does a horrible job at examining facts and determining truth.

      Regardless what you and I think about it, the movie has been very effective with the populace. I know of a number of people who were shaken by the movie. I think you would agree that the average viewer today does not look at things critically. If something is presented with an authoritative ring, people generally believe it. This is evidenced by the comments under the video on YouTube.

      I doubt that Carrier will come up much on Thursday. The simple reason is that the only people aware of Carrier are those already interested in the point of view. He may handle the evidence more responsibly than Zeitgeist, but he doesn’t have the exposure that the movie does. Also, the movie lays out a pile of objections to Jesus quickly. We would have to watch and read Carrier for hours to come up with the assertions Zeitgeist covers in 15 minutes. Also, the primary topic here will be to look at how we check out the veracity of such claims. That exercise will be the same for investigating someone like Carrier.

      As to your claims…

      #1 – Agreed. The Jesus Myth idea is almost exclusively a pop-culture idea. No historian who is taken seriously by his peers denies that Jesus existed.

      #2 – Consensus is not terribly helpful here. For centuries, consensus was that the world was the center of the universe. Truth is not established by counting noses. Of course historians don’t all agree. If a historian believed that the Biblical account were entirely accurate, they would become a Christian and likely be discounted. Broadly speaking, there are two camps: those who disbelieve some or all of the account of Jesus found in the Bible and those who believe it. This is up to the individual. The challenge I would lay out to the former would be this: on what basis do you discount the historical eyewitness accounts provided for Jesus that is consistent with how you handle similar historical literature?

      I will be interviewing a scholar – Dr. Michael Licona – on this very issue as he recently completed a book which is a survey of the historiographical evidence and the various scholarly opinions about it. That will be March 7 if you’re interested.