There is some debate among scholars on the historicality of Jesus Christ. Was the story given in the New Testament about Jesus based on a real historical figure? There is a movement that now poses it as a serious question but they are mostly considered fringe radicals. Most Christian scholars scoff at the question which is no surprise due to their Christian beliefs. Honestly, I believe that the “radicals” offer much compelling evidence for the case of a fictional Jesus though I do
not believe that it is enough to positively conclude that there is no possibility of a historical Jesus.
So where does that leave us and why am I bothering to write about it? The bottom line is, it just doesn’t matter. Two thousand years of history doesn’t care and it really wouldn’t affect 6.9 billion Christians in the world today if Jesus was found out to be fictional creation. People for 2000 years have lived, fought and died as Christians. If we were to positively find out that Jesus was not a real historical person it would not change 2000 years of Christian history. It would not change the minds of most Christians today even if they were given irrefutable proof.
There have been many studies on failed doomsday cults. The one common factor is that when the date given for end of the world comes and goes few actually leave the religion, but most actually become more devout. They simply come up with some new explanation as to why the world did not end such as we were given a second chance by the sky gods. Jesus as an apoplectic prophet was very clear in John that many of his disciples would not die before the kingdom of heaven was established on earth. They have all been dead for about two thousand years and there are more Christians than ever. Jesus’s failed prophecy had very little or almost no effect on the proliferation of the religion.
Isaiah 7 speaks of God delivering Judea from the Assyrians. It says that a child would be born of a young woman and that before the boy knew to reject wrong and choose right that the land of the two kings that the Judeans dreaded would be laid to waste. This was clearly speaking specifically only of the situation concerning Judea at that time, in the 8th century BCE. The Christians twisted this to be a prophecy that Jesus Christ would be the Messiah eight hundred years later. In the same section the Christians mistranslated the term young woman from Hebrew into Greek and changed the word to virgin. The Christians then not only took a prophecy completely out of context but changed the meaning and wording. If God had wanted to tell of a future messiah born of a virgin in 800 years he certainly would have clearly said so and in context.
This passage is now one of the cornerstones of the religion, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It does not matter to Christians that it is completely based on misinformation.
Let’s say hypothetically that the real God Yahweh said in a
great voice to everyone in the world, all at once, in their native tongue, “I am Yahweh the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the God of Israel. Christianity is a false religion that was not my will, and was made up by man, follow the Jewish religion and follow my commands.” What would Christian’s response be?
Studies show that they would certainly become more devout and entrenched in their religion. As a former Christian I can say with confidence I would have probably believed (as indoctrinated that it was simply Satan trying to trick me into leaving the Christian religion and that it was a test allowed by God. I would have certainly become more religious and even less likely to leave it. Sociology and psychology certainly show that most Christians would respond similarly.
So what if Jesus Christ was proven beyond any doubt, never to have been a real historical person? Would it actually matter or have any effect on Christians?
If Jesus Christ was proven to be an actual historical person it would n
ot matter to atheist either. It would only prove that there was a Jewish rabbi that was eventually considered to be a god, not that he was divine or a supernatural being.
So who would really care one way or the other? It seems that it would only really matter to a few historians, but would have minimal consequence on Christian/non-Christian beliefs. The debate on the historicality of Jesus has and will remain a moot point, reserved for the intellectual pursuits of scholars and theologians that will never have any real effect theological conversations. As atheist in debates or conversations with others we must therefore focus on other subjects that Christians will be more amiable to consider. Science is a great thing to point out to the younger generations. My favorite for older generations who have been indoctrinated into Christianity is the bible itself. There was more than enough in the Bible itself for me to realize the bible was grossly flawed and written by man.