There They Go Again

Erick Erickson
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Posted: Dec 19, 2014 12:01 AM
There They Go Again

With metronomic precision each year, the national press corps begins running columns by "religion scholars" who wish you to know that Jesus Christ is a fictional character. Mind you, no newspaper of note in the world is brave enough to run a similar story about the Prophet Muhammed...

The latest comes from a "lecturer in religious studies" from Australia named Raphael Lataster. The Washington Post felt compelled to run this so the godless heathens in Washington, D.C., can continue on with no consequence.

According to Mr. Lataster, "There are no existing eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus. All we have are later descriptions of Jesus' life events by non-eyewitnesses, most of whom are obviously biased." These biased, non-eyewitness accounts include the writings of the Apostles Matthew, Peter and John, all three of whom were standing near the cross on which the magical mythological Jesus was nailed. They were just, one might suppose, looking in a different direction.

Then, of course, there are the books of James and Jude in the Bible, written by the brothers of Jesus. There are also the several letters written by Paul, who claims Jesus appeared in physical form to him after Jesus's death. Lastly, there is Luke, a doctor who interviewed many eyewitnesses including the imaginary Mary, mother of the imaginary Jesus.

Mr. Lataster must write out of history many people we know existed in order to write Jesus out of history. His dismissal of all scholars who disagree with him is pretty staggering. One must wonder if he is also prepared to write out of history Socrates, who, like Jesus, never wrote anything himself. Others wrote about him after he died.

That the Washington Post and other news outlets feel compelled, each year, to point out that Jesus is a myth is telling in and of itself. They lack the bravery to do it about Islam's top prophet because Christians will turn the other cheek, whereas Muslims would kill them. For any who disagree, just review the book stores bombed for carrying Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" or the riots against cartoonists who drew Muhammed.

The only really remarkable thing about the media effort to cast doubt on Jesus' existence is that the press usually finds an Episcopalian priest or Jesuit scholar to do it. They first attack the virgin birth as an interpretation, and then end up at Jesus dying and his resurrection being only metaphor. Rarely do they go straight to the atheist religious scholar.

The common thread of all these columns, articles and expositions are unbelievers writing to reassure other unbelievers at a time of year billions of people are celebrating either the miraculous burning of oil for eight days or a virgin giving birth to a child. The secular left can abide no miracles.

For the rest of us, it is worth reflecting on what did happen 2,000 years ago. A virgin gave birth to a child fulfilling a prophesy made at the beginning of time in the 15th verse of the third chapter of the first book of the Bible. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

The prophet Isaiah, nearly 750 years before the birth of Jesus, said God told him, "the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." The Apostle Matthew, a friend of Jesus, wrote that Mary was a virgin and Jesus's birth fulfilled Isaiah's prophesy.

Non-Christian scholars and poseurs within the faith argue over Isaiah's word choice, but the Christian's scripture gives no choice. It is a fundamental belief of the faith that Christ was born of a virgin and rose again from the death. Take away either and we are left with just a man, not a God.

Several billion people around the world believe Jesus is real. We can also hold with equal certainty that a century from now several billion will still believe that, and no one will remember the name of Raphael Lataster.