I got into a debate in the comments of an online poll today with a Christian regarding whether or not Jesus ever really existed and after throwing me such crap as Joshepus, Tacitus, Pilny the Younger... etc as evidence which I rejected as not being eyewitness accounts he stumped me by throwing out this link:

http://echristian.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/jesus-life-outside-the-b...

I have to admit I've never heard of Ignatius before. I'm wondering if there is anyone here knowledgeable than I am that could refute this?

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A number of ways I'd challenge this evidence. First, I'm willing to pretend the document is valid. Odds are, as with many documents of the time, it's a copy of a copy of a copy written in a language that is very difficult to translate into English and is of questionable origin. But then, those who refute it tend to offer just as little validity as to the document's existence. So let's pretend it's valid.

- The site claims Ignatius lived between 35-117 CE. This is means he was born just as or after Jesus would have died, which rules him out as an eye witness. This also puts his writings at or just after the time of the writings of Saul of Tarsus (about 60 CE). So Ignatius could have been in contact with Paul and simply parroting what Paul was teaching him. Especially considering...

- Biased nature of the piece in favor of the worship of Jesus. Being an ardent fan, follower, worshiper of X doesn't give you much credibility as a secular historian. You have an admitted motive to exaggerate or outright make up your claims. It's like a scientist paid by the tobacco industry to promote the awesomeness of smoking coming out and saying, "Hey, smoking is awesome!" Not the most reliable source.

- So where do we look for evidence of a historical Jesus? The best evidence would come in the form of secular sources who have nothing to gain or lose by recording that bit of history. A letter from a soldier; "Wow, this Jesus guy is really causing us to work overtime." A court record; "The heresy trial of the century." Historians and politicians living at, not decades after, the time period in question; "And then there was that Jesus bloke, drawing crowds of thousands and raising the dead, boy did he stand out like a sore thumb!"

- And yet, nothing. Not a scrap. which means at best, if Jesus did exist, he didn't make enough of a splash to warrant even a passing mention in the historical record. Which means if he did exist he was a lot more ordinary and Joe Blow than the Jesus of the bible.

- Now let's look at the words and deeds in the NT. Almost everything is plagiarized from popular god-man myths of the time. Osiris, Horus, Attis, Dionysus, and Mithra to name a few. The Vatican is built upon the site of a destroyed Mithra temple. In short, you have a culture where it is common practice to take the best bits of the god-man myths already circulating, attach your guy's name to it and put your own cultural spin on it. You have a story of Jesus who sounds an awful lot like several surrounding god-man myths except with a different name and a different cultural spin. If it looks like a copy, acts like a copy, talks like a copy...
I think the myth (Greek mystery cults) most likely swiped for the Jesus myth was that of Hercules. But the myth definately originated in the style of the mystery cults.
The Xtians aren't very original with their BS.
if you examine the history of the early mormons its very much like the early christians... one man, who had visions [paul] (who never met a flesh and blood Jesus btw) preaches his gospel far and wide and links it with an already existing cult (the teacher of righteousness dead sea scrolls seem to trace back over 100 years before the supposed actual Jesus)... 30 some years later the back story is written by followers of Paul, namely Mark and Luke, neither of which were said to be eye witnesses by anyone... Luke admitting that he gathered what he could from others... Matthew is an obvious copy of their works with embelishments from out of context verses of the Old testiment, that had nothing to do with Jesus, reworked into fulfilled prophecies... hardly linkable to an actual apostle. the book of John has many evidences of being part of a gnostic war that existed in mid 2nd century and presented concept and ideas not really fought over until that period... without any actual authors name given and even hints that it may have been dictated by a female lover of Jesus... Mary... but like so many other Jesus gospels that came later,(about a dozen or so) its just a story invented to dispute someones favorite golden cow. every bit of evidence presented by christians as outside the bible is hearsay and if actually related at all, which can be disputed, point to only the widespread knowledge of the STORY, not of any validity behind it... no different than people being familiar with the book of Mormon within 50 years of its invention... not a shred of evidence that any Jesus or Angle MORONi existed.
Oh Jesus did exist, the only trouble is he is a compound of the many hundreds of people who were running around at the time being a pain to the occupying Romans, claiming to be able to do magic and perform miracles and even being the son of god, so he is much like Robin Hood in that respect.They arose specifically because of the old testament saying that the son of god would appear and lead the iraelites out of trouble (again)
The early church didnt even know of the existance of jesus as a man and it was only after several hundred years that he appears in the new testament.

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