Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jesus And George Washington

Excellent post by Farrell Till from the 1998 Errancy Discussion list. Christians on the list claimed that the evidence for Jesus's existence is just as good as for the existence of George Washington. Till obliterates that idea:

British records that referred to George Washington would be impartial, unbiased, and disinterested contemporary records in the sense that I have been using these terms in reference to Jesus and early Christianity. First of all, they would not be records that were written by people who were in any way trying to promote George Washington as a heroic figure. Secondly, they would be records left by people who were on the opposing side of the cause that George Washington was involved in. As such, they would provide a compelling reason to assume that this person was an actual historical figure.

You Christians (and don't say that you aren't one, because you are at least dedicated to defending the Christian cause) constantly ask, "Why didn't the enemies of Jesus produce the body when the apostles began to preach the resurrection," or, "Why didn't the enemies of Jesus oppose what Peter preached on Pentecost," etc., etc., etc. Such statements beg the question of NT accuracy and assume that what it says in these matters is completely accurate without even recognizing the possibility that these are stories that were made up years after that time in order to put Christianity into a specific time frame. If you could produce references to Jesus or the activities of the apostles that were clearly left by people who at this time were "enemies" of Jesus and Christianity, you would wet your pants with joy and excitement, because you would see it as compelling evidence that Jesus was an actual historical person and that Christianity did indeed begin at the time alleged in the NT. As it is, however, you can produce no such evidence, but that doesn't keep you from begging the question of NT accuracy in these matters.

If, for example, no one could produce any references that the British made to George Washington in the time that he allegedly led the colonial forces to a victory that brought about American independence, and if no references to Washington or the Revolutionary War could be found in French records of the time when French forces under the leadership of Lafayette allegedly assisted the colonial army against the British, and if no references to Washington or the Revolutionary War could be found in German records of the time when Hessian mercenaries allegedly fought on the British side against a colonial army led by Washington, and if no references at all could be found to Washington, period, except in the writings of those obviously determined to promote him as a great heroic figure, these facts would give people reason to suspect that he may have been just a legendary figure like King Arthur, who developed in the folklore of the past. I don't know about Terry, but I think that Conklin is intelligent enough to get the point. He just will never admit it. 

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