The existence of Jesus may seem like an accepted historical fact. However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that this assumption must be laden with biases.
One of the most perplexing aspects of the Jesus narrative is the lack of contemporary evidence. While the historical record is replete with writings about other significant figures of the time, there isn’t a scrap of evidence from Jesus’ lifetime. This is particularly confounding given the extraordinary nature of Jesus, depicted as a miracle worker and the son of God. One would think that the presence of such a divine figure would leave some semblance of information during his lifetime. Yet, no firsthand accounts, no contemporary inscriptions, no letters or diaries from that era have ever been found that make any reference to a historical Jesus.
Putting the supernatural aside, I’m claiming that he never existed as a person. In regards to the supernatural, Thomas Paine once wrote about the lack of evidence for “the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon or the sun at noon-day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all and universal. As the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given.”
To put the lack of evidence of his historicity into perspective, consider the numerous contemporary records we have of other important figures from antiquity. The commonly cited Josephus falls short of dispelling skepticism. The earliest copies of Josephus’s texts that mention Jesus date from decades after his death. The authenticity of these references has been debated, with some scholars concluding that they were likely later Christian interpolations.
All of these gaps in the historical record raise critical questions about our biases. If Jesus were truly a divine and supernatural figure as claimed, why did his contemporaries not leave a trace of his existence? Why does evidence of him only emerge years after his supposed death, often in texts with questionable authenticity? Why is the evidence for Jesus immensely weak compared to lesser figures from many years prior? And on the issue of the supernatural, an all-knowing god would know that this debate would occur and that leaving no trace of his existence during his lifetime would be viewed in this manner. I must assume that if a perfect god exists, it wants me to deny the existence of Jesus, for accepting Jesus as real is following a herd without fully utilizing my reasoning ability.
The prevailing belief in the historical Jesus rests upon a foundation of scant and often problematic evidence, with conclusions of his historicity appearing to be the result of bias. Historians who say a Jesus of Judea existed in actuality apply a special standard to Jesus which they apply to no other figure.
It’s my take that he was never alive.
I’ve fact checked this article for you with Bard, of course it notes the bias of scholars but you’ll see that it also notes my claims as accurate.
Read the views of the Atheism United (atheist-only) community on this topic.