8 Lies About the Identity of Jesus Christ
The identity of Jesus Christ is one of the most contentious questions in the world. For Christians, it is the key question in life, and the Bible's answer has inspired believers to give up their possessions, their friends, their standing in society, and even their very lives.
H.G. Wells once wrote, "I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that the penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history."
Many religions would vehemently disagree with that statement, but every word of the New Testament rings with the truth of Wells' declaration. Here are eight different views of Jesus the contradict the Bible, and why they are each wrong from a Christian perspective.
These views come from Vancouver pastor Mark Clark's new book The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic's Challenges to Christianity, and from an interview with the author.
1. The Christ myth.
In his book, Clark presents (and debunks) the popular "Christ myth," which claims that Jesus never existed, but was crafted by the disciples using parallels to pagan gods, most notably the Egyptian god Horus.
This myth breaks down on many counts. First, at least ten first-century historians and writers outside of the Bible mentioned Jesus of Nazareth by name, making his real existence in history indisputable.
Perhaps more importantly, however, the connections between pagan gods and Jesus are later fabrications, not real discoveries. The popular writers and film producers who crafted the Christ myth do not reference primary sources, something every good historian must do.
For instance, the mythmakers claim that Horus: was born of a virgin on December 25, was born in a manger, had three kings follow a star to his birth, was a child teacher by age twelve, was baptized, had twelve disciples, was crucified between two thieves, and raised from the dead.
The primary sources, however, show that Horus had four disciples: a turtle, a bear, a lion, and a tiger. Horus' mother was not a virgin, and while one of the three dates for Horus' birth was December 25, Jesus was not born on December 25, and Christians never claimed he was. Similarly, the Bible does not claim that three kings saw Jesus' birth — an unspecified number of Magi came long after Jesus was born. In most Horus stories, the god doesn't die at all.
Clark's book went through each of the pagan gods whose stories the Bible writers were said to have plagiarized, and debunked each myth. Jesus was not based on Horus, Mithras, Dionysus, Attis, or Krishna, and no serious scholar takes these claims seriously.