Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Jesus: Fact or Fiction?

By Mathew Goldstein

This essay, Jesus: Fact or Fiction?, is a recently updated version of a presentation given to the Iowa City Secular Humanists several years ago. Although the author, Peter Nothnagle, is not a credentialed expert on this topic, his presentation is good in all respects and therefore worth your time to read if you are interested in this topic: It is well written and appears to be well researched and thought out. Plus, it mostly matches with my own opinion on this topic, bingo.

It is implausible that many of the famous stories of Bible are non-fictional. Yet at the same time, it is plausible that some of these stories have origins in actual historical events. So Noah’s Ark may have been inspired by a large flood, Sodom and Gemorrah may have inspired by a meteor that destroyed a city, the Exodus may have been inspired by a series of natural disasters that resulted in a large migration of people away from a civilization collapse, various stories written in the gospels may have been inspired by retellings of what various preachers said, etc.. There is some evidence to support scenarios like this.  Yet some people appear to be overly eager to draw connections between the religious texts and historical events, so skepticism is warranted, with the greatest skepticism for the events that would have occurred long before the text was written.