WAS JESUS A FAKE? THE SKEPTIC’S JOURNEY PART 4
The Skeptic’s Journey is based on a true story and is the testimony of a converted atheist and his search for truth over more than 15 years.
Jesus in the Talmud. Peter Schäfer. Princeton University Press, 2009.
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 43a-b
The Qur’an, Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:42-50.
The Qur’an Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:110.
Cornelius Tacitus. The Annals, BOOK XV, Chapter 44.
Lucian. The Passing of Peregrinus.
Flavius Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. Book 18 and 20.
Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible. Lawrence Mykytiuk. Bible Archeology Society, 2017. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jesus-exist/
WAS JESUS A FAKE? THE SKEPTIC’S JOURNEY PART 4
[Skeptic] I’m not a Christian. I don’t believe Jesus was God. In fact, I’m not even sure he existed, and if he did, the man had to be a fake!
[David] This is part 4 of “The Skeptic’s Journey”, a true story of an atheist’s multi-year search for truth. This nonbeliever wanted to understand this world and how it was made. He also wanted to dispel the “myths” about a God who was responsible for all of this.
[David] Our skeptic preferred anonymity for this video series, so we are using others to portray him, but the words used throughout this series are his exact words. This is his story… his journey.
[Skeptic] Like I said in part 1 of my journey, I couldn’t accept the miracle of the creation account captured in the book of Genesis. It was too much to swallow without any proof. But in part 2, I discovered that science doesn’t currently have the concrete answers I was looking for either… so in part 3 I delved into the Bible and researched the Old Testament prophecies about this promised Savior and how the New Testament supposedly fulfilled those prophesies in the life of Jesus.
[Skeptic] This was extremely perplexing because the Old Testament was verifiably written before he was born, and the fact that these hundreds of extremely specific details could be realized in one person was just mind-blowing. I am very confused, but I’m still not believing it.
[Skeptic] Jesus had to be a fake! Either his entire life was modeled to fit the storyline of these ancient prophesies, or his life itself was one big lie.
[Skeptic] So, I decided to research the life of Jesus, and the “alleged” miracles he performed. But I didn’t want to use the Bible as my only reference, because I don’t believe in miracles and I certainly don’t believe in ancient prophecies fulfilled.
[Skeptic] I started by asking the question of whether Jesus even existed! It would be the simplest explanation if the New Testament was a made-up story to fulfill these Old Testament prophecies. The New Testament writers would have been free to describe these miraculous events and attribute them to someone who never even lived.
[Skeptic] I was curious if any other major religions reference Jesus… and I was surprised to find that Jesus is mentioned in the Jewish Talmud as well as the Qur'an. Surprisingly, Islam’s religious text goes into unexpected detail about the virgin birth, Jesus being sent by God and performing miracles. Muslims apparently don’t believe Jesus was God, but they do believe he was a true prophet who performed actual miracles.
[Skeptic] While this was surprising, the Qur'an was written hundreds of years after Jesus’ time, and probably had to deal with the stories about him in some way, because by that time Christianity was well established. I decided to disregard this source as “repeating a previously told untrue story”.
[Skeptic] So… I wanted to see what the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Jews, who despised Christians, had to say about Jesus. I decided to limit my research to surviving documents written within the 1st or 2nd century, soon enough after Jesus’ death to make sure they are original, and not re-writes of other fictitious material.
[Skeptic] I was actually able to find many sources that fit my requirements, including ancient texts from a Roman Senator, Tacitus, a Jewish priest and historian, Josephus, and a Greek satirist, Lucian, as well as several others. These documents refer to him as “Jesus” or “Christ” and provide numerous other details about his life. The findings tend to make it impossible to say Jesus didn’t exist, because there are too many references about him from sources that were actually against Christianity. To summarize the information from these non-Biblical, non-Christian sources, I had to conclude:
[Skeptic] Now, what I found even more troubling is that some of these texts actually mentioned the miracles Jesus performed. And as I said before, many of these writers were against Christianity… Most of them were atheists or members of other religions, and yet, they mentioned the miracles. Josephus went so far as to describe the resurrection of Jesus as though it were a fact! Why would he do that??
[Skeptic] I found something in the Bible that really bothers me. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, the Apostle Paul names at least 13 specific people that saw Jesus after his resurrection, and then says there are least 500 more witnesses to his resurrection. This was written soon enough after Jesus’ death that Paul actually challenges his readers to find some of these eyewitnesses because many of them are still alive.
[Skeptic] You would think that the Roman, Greek, and Jewish authors, who despised Christianity, would have taken up this challenge, and debunked the resurrection. I couldn’t find one ancient text that denied Jesus’ existence or attempted to debunk the miracles as fake. I was very confounded.
[Skeptic] Was Jesus the ultimate magician? Could he have fooled everyone his entire life, and then ultimately, fooled them again in his death and resurrection? I don’t understand why he would do that and how it’s even possible?
[Skeptic] I still don’t believe in miracles or prophesies, but I want to know the truth. No one can fool the entire world without any help, so those closest to him must have known the truth! I think for my next area of research I’m going to investigate the people closest to Jesus.
[David] Do you believe Jesus existed? Do you believe he performed miracles? No matter where you stand on the spectrum of belief, I encourage you to continue with us in viewing The Skeptic’s Journey, a true story.
[David] Thanks for watching. If you liked this video, please let us know. Click here to subscribe to our channel and here to continue watching The Skeptic’s Journey. As always, you can help us produce more videos like this by making a tax-deductible donation to our ministry at ChristianyEngaged.org. Thanks, and God bless.