Bart Ehrman on Why Jesus Mythers Exist

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

“ What is driving the mythicists agenda? Why do they work so hard at showing that Jesus never really lived? I do not have a definitive answer to that question, but I do have a hunch. It is no accident that virtually all mythicists (in fact, all of them, my knowledge), are either atheists or agnostics. The ones I know anything about are quite virulently, even militantly atheist. On the surface that may make sense: who else would be more invested in showing Jesus never existed? But when you think about it or a moment, it is not entirely logical. Whether or not Jesus existed is completely irrelevant to the question of whether God exists. So why would virulent atheists (or agnostics)  be so invested in showing that Jesus did not exist? It is important to realize the obvious fact that the mythicists all live in a Christian world for which Christianity is the religion of choice for the vast bulk of the population. Of course we have large numbers of Jews and Muslims among us and scattered Buddhists, Hindus, and other major faith traditions in our culture. But by and large the people we meet who are religious are Christians. And mythicists are avidly antireligious.

To debunk religion, then, one needs to undermine specifically the Christian form of religion. And what easier way is there to undermine Christianity than to claim that the figure at the heart of Christian worship and devotion never existed but was invented, made up, or created? If Christianity is base d on Jesus, and Jesus never existed where does that leave the religion of billions of the world’s population? It leaves it in shambles, at least in the thinking of the mythicists. What this means is that, ironically, just as secular humanists spend so much time at their annual meetings talking about religion, so too mythicists who are so intent on showing that the historical Jesus never existed are not being driven by a historical concern. Their agenda is religious and they are complicit in a religious ideology. They are not doing history, they are doing theology”– Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist, The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, pgs 337-38.

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