Archives for : Lying for Jesus

Caesar vs. Jesus – Historical Evidence

Could this be the dumbest or most ignorant meme ever created? :


Yes. Yes it could.

First… let us handle this 13,000 manuscripts fib. They may as well say 13 billion and count every bible in existence.

If one has a receipt from the store saying they bought a gallon of milk and someone makes 13,000 copies of parts of that receipt, it doesn’t add to the historicity of them buying the gallon of milk. THE END.

The manuscript evidence for Jesus comes down to the four gospels and Acts. One cannot count parts of the new testament that don’t mention Jesus in real world situations as evidence for the historicity of a character.

The oldest “manuscript” in support of Jesus is a tiny scrap of the Gospel of John, called fragment P52 dated somewhere between 117 CE and 138 CE. (If you think Jesus died in 33 CE, then this means the earliest piece of text from a Gospel came 84 to 105 years after his death. Who do you know that died 84 years ago? What did you write about them?)


This is one of the “13,000 manuscripts about Jesus” mentioned in the meme above. It measures at 8.9cm x 6cm. What does it say when translated?

the Jews, “For us
anyone,” so that the w
oke signifyin
die. En
rium P
and sai

on the back:

this I have been born
world so that I would test-
of the truth
Said to him
and this
the Jews
not one

We have six of these kind of scraps dating from the second century CE, but they may be later. (P52, P66, P77, P90, P103, and P104)

But what is the second oldest scrap of a manuscript?

Egerton Papyrus 2 containing portions from an unknown Gospel.

Jesus walked and stood on the bank of the Jordan river; he reached out his right hand, and filled it…. And he sowed it on the… And then…water…and…before their eyes; and it brought forth fruit…many…for joy…

So included in our “13,000 manuscripts” are evidence for a Jesus that Christians don’t worship and a story, an incomplete account of a miracle, they wouldn’t see as historical.

The truth is there are about 720 root texts for the New Testament. Most of those texts are medieval. Of the surviving texts very few are complete books. About 14 of these are before 200 C.E. Many of these fragments have fewer than 20 words.

But none of that matters. Like much work of the time, we don’t have any of it. We just have copies made hundreds of years after the fact. What matters is content. This is why we know so much about Caesar and his acts. We have extant manuscripts from various historians. Actual historians that weren’t just writing a religious novel about one man, but actual histories of various men living in their time. Further, for Caesar, we have letters to and from other people talking about Caesar. People that didn’t even like him. This is where we part from the gospel authors who have no historical writings to their name.

Are the Gospels evidence for the historicity of Jesus?

Based on historical method, the Gospels are extremely weak. They don’t name their authors and they don’t name their sources. They don’t name how they got their information or who they got it from. The traditional naming of the authors is complete fabrication. None of the evidence holds up the probability of this case. In fact, it goes against it.

Despite common belief taught in Sunday school, they don’t show their sources. None of them. Not even Luke (Who is often touted to be a “great historian.”)

If we look at the “Guide to the Historical Method.” We ask some question for external Criticism.

  1. When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)? Don’t know.
  2. Where was it produced (localization)? Don’t know.
  3. By whom was it produced (authorship)? Don’t know.
  4. From what preexisting material was it produced (analysis)? Don’t know.
  5. In what original form was it produced (integrity)? Don’t know.
  6. What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)? Don’t know.

Based on the above. We don’t know much anything about the date, localization, authorship, analysis, integrity or credibility.

Further, all the accounts of the Gospels conflict with each other. This is often argued by apologist using the analogy of eyewitnesses to a car accident reporting slightly different stories. Sounds good on the surface but this isn’t what we are dealing with concerning the Gospels. These are huge differences that any reasonable person could not possible get wrong. If a detective was talking to these “witnesses” he would throw them in the drunk tank and let them sober up.



What about extra-biblical evidence for the historicity of Jesus?

There is none. No contemporary historian in the area wrote about Jesus. All extra biblical evidence is from historians after Jesus’ death reporting hearsay from Christians or what they could have read in the New Testament. Most of the evidence they provide is for the existence of Christians. Nothing on any fact or act about Jesus’ life.


What about archeological evidence for Jesus or his followers?

There is none.

What about archeological evidence for Caesar?

We have coins dated to his lifetime:


We have busts made during his lifetime:


We have no such things for Jesus or his followers.

What about literary sources for Caesar?

  1. Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE)
  2. Quintus Curtius Rufus (1st century CE)
  3. Plutarch (2nd century CE)
  4. Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (Arrian) (2nd century CE)
  5. M. Junianus Justinus (Justin) (3rd century CE)

How are they different than the Gospel writers?

The authors are not anonymous and they cite their multiple sources. We know who they are, when they lived, what they did. They wrote not just about one man, but many different men. We can judge their credibility based on their work. They didn’t write with the sole purpose of convincing people about the life and times of Caesar.

Further, they didn’t try to cram history into a literary style or structure like the Gospel writers.  For instance the “Markan Sandwich:”

A. Cursing of the fig tree
B. Clearing of the temple
A. Withering of the fig tree

The chances of actual history fitting into Markan Sandwiches is close to nil. These are used throughout Mark and encompass the entirety of Mark.




Does Atheism Make People Superstitious?


Sir Arthur Keith Misquote or Complete Fabrication

The following quote is sometimes used by fundamentalist creationist who think it somehow makes evolution less credible.

“Evolution is unproved and improvable, we believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable.”

(Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist)

Yet no one can find the source of the above quote.

There is a hypothesis that the above quote evolved from the quotes of others such as that of D.M.S. Watson

the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

This quotation of Watson is often used in Creationist writings in an attempt to show that Watson, and thus by extension promoters of evolution in general, dismiss creationism due to antitheistic bias. A slightly different version of the quotation, derived from a secondhand source, is sometimes used (e.g., by C. S. Lewis):

[Evolution is] accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or . . . can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

Sometimes the words in square brackets are incorrectly incorporated into the quotation, and/or the ellipsis is omitted.

Watson’s original statement first appeared in a 1929 article, “Adaptation,” in the journal Nature:The second version of the quotation, given above, is formed by combining parts of two similar passages in Watson’s paper, one from the first page and one from the third. The first passage reads:

[1] Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of taxonomy, of paleontology, and of geographical distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible.

The second passage reads:

[2] If so, it will present a parallel to the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible

The ellipses in the second version of the standard quotation from Watson elide his statement in [1] that evolution fits “all the facts” of taxonomy, paleontology, and geographical distribution. They also omit his statement, which directly follows quotation [1] above, that “Whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable.”

Watson thus considered evolution a fact, belief in which was supported by its fit to a wide range of other facts. He thought “special creation” unbelievable and the mechanisms of evolution disputable (his article was devoted to emphasizing the inadequacy of contemporary theories of adaptation, and mentions “special creation” only in passing). This was in 1929, several years before the inception of evolutionary biology’s Modern Synthesis, which integrated Mendelian genetics into Darwinian thought and produced widespread scientific consensus about basic evolutionary mechanisms. Stephen Jay Gould describes 1900–10 as “the period of greatest agnosticism and debate about evolutionary mechanisms” and adds that even the 1920s were still “not happy times of consensus for evolutionary theory in general.”

When it was made, over 80 years ago, Watson’s complaint that the mechanisms of evolution were poorly understood was accurate. His statement that evolution was believed “because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible” was a provocative exaggeration, contradicted by his own remarks (i.e., evolution already “fit all the facts” of several major knowledge fields).

Colin Patterson Misquote used by Creationists

“One of the reasons I started taking this anti-evolutionary view, was … it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long. …so for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, ‘I do know one thing — it ought not to be taught in high school’.”

-Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London Keynote address at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City

Not sure who wrote or said the above as it sure does conflict with things he has actually said:

"I was too naive and foolish to guess what might happen:
       the talk was taped by a creationist who passed the tape
       to Luther Sunderland... Since, in my view, the tape was
       obtained unethically, I asked Sunderland to stop circulating
       the transcipt, but of course to no effect.  There is not much
       point in my going through the article point by point.  I was
       putting a case for discussion, as I thought off the record,
       and was speaking only about systematics, a specialized field.
       I do not support the creationist movement in any way, and in
       particular I am opposed to their efforts to modify school
       curricula.  In short the article does not fairly represent my
       views.  But even if it did, so what?  The issue should be
       resolved by rational discussion, and not by quoting
       'authorities,' which seems to be the creationists' principal
       mode of argument."  (Letter from Colin Patterson to Steven W.
       Binkley, June 17, 1982).

Apologetics Use of Voltaire – Lying for Jesus

Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, was a brilliant atheist. He wrote a number of tracts deriding the Bible. He once made a very bold statement: “One hundred years from today the Bible will be a forgotten book.”

Today, everyone has forgotten that quote — not the Bible! After Voltaire died, for nearly 100 years, his homestead was used as the book depository for the French Bible Society.  They sold Bibles out of his house! It’s now a museum. People have forgotten Voltaire.  Nobody forgets the Bible.

The above story about Voltaire has been used countless times by Christian Apologists. It is not so much that they are lying for Jesus with this one, just they unwittingly repeat something without trying to source it.

In the Autumn 2004 edition of the  Journal of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists, David Ross gives this anecdote a thorough debunking. You can view the whole article here. 



Ian Juby – Brainwashing Children

Ray Comfort Deceitful Editing