Discourse 124 - Is the doctrine of the Bible a fiction?

Is the biblical doctrine a fiction? / Interview in "Die andere Realität" "The Other Reality"], 00, 2010-12-28

The demystification of science.

Did Jesus really live?

The resurrection of Jesus - historically documented. / Commentary Dr. John Waterfield 00, 2017-01-18

(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(IInterview with Dr. Heinz-Werner Kubitza in the esoteric journal "Die andere Realität" ["The Other Reality"] 00, 2010-12-28 )

Dieter Wiergowski (interviewer):
You have recently published a very interesting new book under the title "Der Jesuswahn – wie die Christen sich ihren Gott erschufen – die Entzauberung einer Weltreligion durch die wissenschaftliche Forschung" (Tectum-Verlag [Tectum Publishers], ISBN 978-3-8288-2435-5, 19.90 euros; English translation "The Jesus Delusion: How the Christians created their God: The demystification of a world religion through scientific research", available on Amazon). I myself, as it happens, spent six semesters studying Catholic theology at the University of Essen. After that I abandoned my studies, having established that this doctrine was empty and had nothing to say to me. There were some very honest professors there, who even back then abundantly confirmed what you have written in your book – namely that the Bible is in principle a fiction. I talked about these matters in another recent interview for DAR with Professor Uta Ranke-Heinemann. Actually the Bible has become completely uninteresting in my eyes, because it has nothing in common with a Jesus of whom we do not really know whether he even lived at all. You write that a flaw in the fantasy product that is the Bible can be seen in the division of the world into good and bad, as a fundamental step in the direction of inhumanity. On this basis there is only black and white, believers and unbelievers and so on. It isn’t just the Old Testament where we find injunctions glorifying violence, they are there in the New Testament as well. So for example in the Gospel of Matthew we find it stated (Mt 25,31-46) that the Son of Man who is to come will appear as the judge of this world. The sheep on his right will be given eternal life, the goats on his left eternal punishment. What are the effects of a doctrine that works with punishments?


(This link was sent to me by Walter Plettenstein, a visitor to Immanuel.at – thank you very much!)

The book "Der Jesuswahn" ["The Jesus Delusion"] by Dr. Heinz-Werner Kubitza has already been commented on by others. But actually these introductory words by the interviewer Dieter Wergowski are sufficient for recognizing the essential points of this critique (as found in the book as well). So I would like to go into these issues here, and leave it to the reader to decide for himself or herself whether it is worth grappling with the book.

In the interest of simplicity, perhaps we can start right away with the last argument:

What are the effects of a doctrine that works with punishments?

Here we really have to ask ourselves what world the author of these words is living in. In this world of ours, at all events, there is not a single doctrine that doesn’t work with punishments. Let’s just take a look at the definition in Wiktionary of the German word "Lehre" (translated as "doctrine" above – it can also mean "teaching" or "lesson"):  an:

[1] Linguistic presentation of an area of knowledge in teaching manuals or lectures
[2] Education whereby one acquires knowledge and skills, under instruction and guidance
[3] Experience, generally of a negative kind, from which one has learned something or at least could have learned something.

To sum this up, a doctrine is the communication of an area of knowledge with the aim of sparing the reader or listener negative experiences, by means of instructions and appropriate education. And punishments, after all, are "experiences of a negative kind". If a person does not understand this, either six semesters of Catholic theology must have fogged his normal common sense, or he is practicing preemptive obedience with the aim of indicating to the person he is interviewing that he definitely doesn’t need to anticipate any criticism from him.

Prior to this the commentator quotes – analogously, but perfectly correctly (which could perhaps be the positive effect of his theological studies) – the passage in Matthew’s gospel (Mt 25,31-46). Here now is the complete text:

And He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Mt 25,31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 25,32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 25,33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

25,34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25,35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 25,36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

25,37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 25,38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 25,39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 25,40 "The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.

25,41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 25,42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 25,43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 25,44 "Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’

25,45 "Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 25,46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Mt 25,31-46;

This biblical text has been quoted and "explained" very frequently, both by opponents and by advocates of the Bible, and it has also been interpreted here at Immanuel.at, so that I do not want to get involved in any further elucidation at this point. I would however just like to point out a widespread mistaken interpretation which supposes that by his "brothers" Jesus understands all the people of this world (as in the EU hymn, "all human beings will become brothers"). This of course is not the case. In Lk 8,19-21 the Lord explains to us who his brothers are:

»And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You." But He answered and said to them, “My mother and

My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”«

(See also discourse 99: who is "one of the least of these my brothers" in Mt 25,40?)

So the brothers of Jesus are not those who deny the Word (the Bible) – like our interviewer here – nor are they those who distort the Word – like the Catholic church – but correctly believing Christians, who hear the Word and act accordingly. – So much by way of a short explanation of this biblical passage.

The demystification of science.

In what follows I will concentrate on what amounts to the core of Dieter Wergowski’s position – that biblical doctrine is uninteresting in his eyes because "it has nothing in common with a Jesus of whom we do not really know whether he even lived at all".

Well, it is possible that he has read the Catholic "Bible" – the Catechism, that is. This indeed has nothing in common with the Jesus of the Christian New Testament – no more than the entire Catholic church has in common with Christianity in the first place. And this assertion above all, that the Bible has nothing in common with Jesus – a statement which may well, in this form, be thought a little peculiar – does document something about the biblical knowledge of the interviewer, such as was imparted to him in six semesters (!) of Catholic theological studies.

But in his view, of course, the gospels are invented and their authors are merely "names for certain conceptual structures". And his interviewee confirms this when he says that academic research regards "the gospel of John as having been invented almost in its entirety". There one has to ask oneself what that "almost" is supposed to mean. And seeing that this particular student calls in question the very existence of the Son of God, he asks himself, and his interview partner, whether Jesus has anything new to say to us.

Which brings us to the position we just summarized, namely that the Bible is a fiction, and because this empty doctrine works with punishments and with good and evil, and incidentally has nothing in common with Jesus (who probably never lived at all), it should be seen as a fundamental step in the direction of inhumanity.

Just to put this assessment in the proper light – on the very same grounds, we would have to liberate our children – who when they are learning to walk at a young age frequently fall down and hurt themselves – from the empty doctrine of learning to walk, because the latter works with punishments, and so is a fundamental step in the direction of inhumanity. This opens up a vista of humanity spending a lifetime crawling on its belly. And seeing that after all learning to read and write, and indeed any other kind of learning, "works" in the same way, in the end we would be faced with a completely dumbed down, stupid and ground crawling human race.

But this is just the way it is in our times: people utter or write down whatever occurs to them, and don’t consider either the consequences or the conclusion. And although this attitude is becoming more and more prevalent worldwide – or perhaps even because this is the case – it seems important to come up with a few counterarguments from time to time, in order to give those of our contemporaries who still have a genuine interest in well grounded, realistic information the opportunity of verifying their opinions, correcting them if necessary and strengthening their faith.

Seeing that the book publicized in this interview carries the subtitle "Demystification of a world religion through scientific research", we would like here to try to demystify science through religion. So let us start with the Bible, and compare it with science – comparing doctrine with doctrine. The critique of the Bible advanced in this book actually applies in many areas to the Catholic church, which succeeded in establishing its power and influence, both with the people and with the rulers of this world, on the basis of lies, falsification and deception over a period of centuries. But of course there are also errors in the Bible itself.

(See also discourse 40: "Are there errors in the Bible?"")

But then science too is certainly not infallible! Just at the beginning of the previous century people all over the world took the view that classic physics had detected and defined all the fundamental relations of space and time (matter, light), and that nothing and nobody could make any further changes to this. Then along came Max Planck with quantum physics, and at a stroke the ideal world of the physicists collapsed. Nothing in physics could ever be the same again.

Even Albert Einstein back then mocked at quantum entanglement as a "spooky action at a distance", and to his death could not believe in the "inexplicable" transmission of information between two light quanta over long distances. Would this justify us in describing physics – or science altogether – as a fiction? And it’s a similar situation with the Bible. Though we cannot stress too frequently, in this connection, that many mistakes attributed to the Bible are actually the fault of the Catholic church.

Just think of the geocentric world picture – in which the earth is supposed to constitute the unmoving midpoint of the universe – which is always attributed to the Bible. In fact it was the invention of the Catholic church, which asserted that "according to biblical doctrine the earth cannot move", and so secured power and influence over the kings of the world for centuries. In point of fact the Bible says something quite different. As early as 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah transmitted the following prophecy of God to his people, the Israelites:

The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack.

Isa 24,20  The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. Isa 24,20;

(See also excursus12: “The creation.”)

To any normal person it is crystal clear that a "reeling drunkard" cannot be unmoving, like the earth in the geocentric world picture of the Catholicism of former days, nor can a "tottering shack" be a disk, as postulated by the Catholic church up till the time of Columbus (1451-1506). And it should have been equally obvious to the popes and cardinals of the time and to other Catholic busybodies. But they clearly didn’t know it was written in the Bible, because they hadn’t read the Book of Isaiah.

If this deception, like so many other impostures of the Catholic church, remained unrecognized for so long (up till the time of Copernicus [1473-1543] and Galileo Galilei [1564-1642]), this is partly down to the fact that in 1229 this same Catholic church placed the Bible on its list of forbidden books (forbidden to the laity, that is), and partly due to the general lack of worldly interest in the Bible both then and now. Even Martin Luther (1485-1546) in his day observed: "This idiot (Copernicus) turns the entire theory of astronomy upside down."

And if now, for the sake of comparison, you had said to a physicist at the beginning of the previous century that there remained an enormous field of undiscovered knowledge outside classical physics, that of quantum physics, he would have disputed the point no less obdurately than the Catholic church today contests the criticism that "veneration of the saints" is an unbiblical cult of the dead, and praying to "Mary" is idol worship.

The fact is, then, that neither the Bible nor science is a "fiction" – but in both doctrines (when it is not a matter of deception and falsifications) we quite simply find a lack of the deeper understanding which would make it possible to arrive at final conclusions. The attempt to "demystify" Christianity on the basis of scientific research not only shows a defective knowledge both of the Bible and of science, it also testifies to defective judgment on the part of certain people who fail to think about what they are saying, or scrutinize it in any depth – see above.

Did Jesus really live?

In conclusion, now, just a few words on the subject of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, Messiah of the Jews and lifesaver (to avoid the word "Savior" [German "Heiland"], which was invented by the Catholic church) of the Christians. When Dieter Wiergowski says in the above interview:

"Actually the Bible has become completely uninteresting in my eyes, because it has nothing in common with a Jesus of whom we do not really know whether he even lived at all"

his statement is just based on false assumptions. Jesus never said that he would be capable of proof. He always said that people must believe him and believe in him:

-  He who believes in Me will never thirst. (Jn 6:35)

-  He who believes in Me, … from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. (Jn 7:38)

-  He who believes in Me will live even if he dies. (Jn 11:25)

-  Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. (Jn 11:26)

-  He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. (Jn 12:44)

-  Everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (Jn 12:46)

-  He who believes in Me, the works I do, he will do also. (Jn 14:12)

You see, it’s all rather similar to the "big bang". This too was incapable of being proved until just some time back. The big bang theory was developed by George Gamov et al., who in 1949 predicted the background radiation to be found in the universe (the residual radiation from this mighty explosion). The two American radio astronomers Penzias and Wilson discovered this cosmic background radiation in 1965, more or less by accident, when calibrating a microwave antenna with which they hoped to spot astronomical sources capable of generating radio interference. Their discovery won them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1978.

(See on this point the report of the University of Karlsruhe "Die Grundlagen der Urknalltheorie" ["The Foundations of Big Bang Theory"], Universität Karlsruhe)

IIn the 16 years between the prediction and the proof (and in some cases right up to the present day!), a good few scientists expressed the view that the big bang was a fiction because it could not be proved. The proof based on the background radiation of the universe – the "sound waves", so to speak, which still reach us after something like 13.8 billion years – has since convinced the majority of scientists.

And it’s a similar picture with Jesus Christ. He cannot be proved any more than the big bang could be proved back then. But his "sound waves" can be registered to the present day, on websites like this one here. In many cases this is the result of deliberate action, when a Christian believer is looking for the answer to a particular question. In rarer cases it happens by coincidence, when somebody has been looking for an item of information and the search engine happens to have thrown up the option of a Christian website.

But this improvability of the Son of God is not a mistake, and certainly it is no coincidence. It is the cornerstone of the Christian faith and the proof of a correctly believing Christian. You see, in the Catholic consecration of priests people become priests, in the consecration of bishops they become bishops and in the Concilium they get themselves elected Pope. But this is far from showing that a person is really a Christian. That has been amply demonstrated by the Popes of the Middle Ages – and right up to the present day. Only when a person believes in the Son of the one and only God – and holds by this belief till the end of his life – are they a Christian.

I think the authors of books like "The Jesus Delusion" and "The God Delusion" are hardly capable of being converted. For reasons not unrelated to their income, they are primarily interested in attracting large numbers of readers, and so will always write what the great mass of the population wants to hear. But with the interviewer quoted here, Mr. Dieter Wiergowski, I think in spite of his skepticism there could be some grounds for hope. I would therefore advise him to embark on biblical studies, in place of his mendacious study of Catholic theology – without any input from theologians, just with his homegrown common sense and the honesty of an upright man. Perhaps I might then, sometime soon, be able to welcome him here as a visitor to Immanuel.at.

(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The resurrection of Jesus - historically documented. / Commentary Dr. John Waterfield 00, 2017-01-18)

Dear Mr. Horak,

As you rightly say, to condemn any religion or philosophy just because it "works with punishments" is evidence of shallow thinking. You can hardly imagine a religion or philosophy without a value system, and once you start characterizing actions as good or bad, it is a natural step to pointing out that good or bad actions will have good or bad consequences.

Recognizing that there is a difference between good and evil does not, of course, necessarily mean adopting a black and white attitude to people or the world, ‘us good, them bad’ – which the interviewer here, and Dr. Kubitza, see as a "fundamental step in the direction of inhumanity". We need only think of Jesus’ remark when the scribes and Pharisees brought him a woman taken in adultery: "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone" (Jn 8,7).

We can be uncompromising in seeing certain actions and attitudes as morally abhorrent (Jesus did also say, "Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect" [Mt 5,48], which implies a pretty stringent standard), but at the same time treat any individual with compassion, recognizing that we have to do with mixed human beings in whom the black and white are blended to gray, and for in every individual there is bound to be some seed of goodness and trace of original innocence.

The interviewer says above, "Actually the Bible has become completely uninteresting in my eyes, because it has nothing in common with a Jesus of whom we do not really know whether he even lived at all" – and this again seems to testify to confused thinking. On the one hand the Bible is condemned because it has nothing to do with Jesus, while on the other Jesus is condemned, because perhaps he did not even really exist? I am surprised to find anyone seriously questioning the historical authenticity of Jesus. There was a certain John Allegro in the 1970s, who put forward the idea that "Jesus" was the code name for a sacred hallucinogenic mushroom. But I thought by now this kind of view had been banished to the lunatic fringe.

For one thing, we have independent corroboration in ancient authors. The Roman historian Suetonius, writing in the early second century CE, tells us that the Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because they were constantly rioting "impulsante Chresto", "at the instigation of Chrestus". Incidentally, Claudius’ edict of banishment is mentioned in Acts (18,3). Suetonius’ information was clearly garbled at this point, as he makes it sound as if "Chrestus" was a living troublemaker. It is far more likely that Claudius was objecting to the persistent squabbles between the Jews and the early Christians, of which we have a reflection in a passage in Acts:

And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: but if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of these things. (Acts 18,12-17, KJV)

Better informed, and more informative, is the historian Tacitus, writing around the same time about the Great Fire of Rome in the reign of Nero (64 CE):

Consequently, to scotch the rumor, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. (Tacitus, Annals 15,44)

According to this, Nero chose the Christians as scapegoats because he was himself suspected of having caused the fire. Tacitus clearly thinks they were innocent of the fire, but nonetheless deserved to be punished for their "abominations" (though he does not say what these amounted to) and for "hatred of the human race" ("odium generis humani"). In this he reflects the Roman patrician’s typical contempt of a presumably excessive, possibly orgiastic Middle Eastern sect of which he knew nothing at first hand. Possibly confused accounts of the communion meal, as practiced by the early Christians, had given rise to rumors of cannibalism.

Not long after Tacitus was writing, we find Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia and Pontus, asking the Emperor Trajan how he should deal with people accused of being Christians in his province. Are they to be punished just for being Christians, or only if they can be shown to have committed crimes as a result of their beliefs? Their only misdemeanor, it appears, has been to refuse to sacrifice to the emperor as a God (a practice which was a formality for citizens of the Roman Empire, like saluting the flag, but to which both Jews and Christians objected on conscientious grounds). Pliny writes:

They asserted… that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing antiphonally a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to commit some crime, but to abstain from fraud, theft, or adultery, not to falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food; (Epistolarum, X, 96)

The well-meaning governor sounds genuinely surprised that Christians should be so innocuous!

The thing that concerns us here, however, is Tacitus’ perfectly clear statement that the man he refers to as Christus had been put to death in the reign of Tiberius by the Roman procurator of Judaea, Pontius Pilate. And we find the gospels are equally well grounded in a contemporary historical context:

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. (Lk 3,1-2)

Pontius Pilate and Herod are of course well attested historical figures (actually there are two Herods – Herod the Great, responsible for the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Herod Antipas referred to here, who beheaded John the Baptist, and interrogated Jesus at the time of the Passion); and the same is true of Gallio, the Roman proconsul of Achaea referred to earlier, and of Felix and Festus, Roman procurators of Judaea mentioned in Acts. Given this nexus of historical circumstance, it is surely stretching the imagination to suggest that the whole Christian story is the product of invention.

While we can admit that the gospels read at times like a fairytale, they do also incorporate the odd gratuitous touch which form critics have been unable to explain, and for which I cannot see any reasonable explanation other than that it reflects the memory of an eyewitness. There is the story of the paralytic who couldn’t get to Jesus because of the crowds, so his friends broke the roof of the house and let him down on a stretcher (Mk 2,5). Or there is the woman with an issue of blood who touched Jesus in the crowd and was healed, and he stopped and said, Who touched me? – feeling the power had gone out of him (Mk 5,31).

There is the curious mention of how, when confronted with the woman taken in adultery, Jesus stooped down and wrote with his finger in the ground (out of embarrassment?) (Jn 8,6). When Jesus is arrested, one of the disciples (identified by John’s gospel as Peter) draws his sword and strikes the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear (Mt 26,51, Jn 18,10). Most bizarrely of all, when Jesus is arrested in Mark’s narrative of the Passion,

… hey all forsook him and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him; and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. (Mk 14,50)

Details like this have a certain ring of authenticity. It is not too difficult to believe that the record goes back to someone who actually witnessed these events.

But the most convincing argument for the authenticity of the Christian story, to my mind, is this. If we grant that Jesus was a historical religious teacher who was put to death by the Romans at the instigation of the Jewish authorities, who saw him as a subversive heretic, why should we have heard about him at all? Why should the event not have been passed over by history and forgotten, along with so many other casual acts of brutality and injustice?

Consider the state of mind of Jesus’ followers. They cannot be said to have understood Jesus’ program very clearly, but they thought he was going to accomplish great things. He had allowed himself to be hailed as a king on his entry to Jerusalem. In the Transfiguration, he had appeared as the heir of Moses and Elijah, the Jewish Law and the Prophets. At the least his coming heralded a new religious dispensation; many may have hoped that he would encourage military insurrection, to expel the detested Romans – and of course the Jewish authorities presented him to the Romans in this light, as a dangerous nationalist.

But in fact, nothing came of it. He was arrested, tortured, interrogated, mocked and finally crucified, with his disciples and followers looking on and unable to do anything about it. It was the brutal end of a dream. With his death, they must have thought, it was all over. They were terrified for their own lives. Anyone associated with Jesus, anyone with a Nazarene accent, was under suspicion. They were just waiting for a knock on the door.

In this state of mind, it is altogether incredible that they would have sat down and invented a story to make themselves feel better, which they would then go out and tell the world, at great personal cost. Demoralized and disillusioned as they were, they would have forgotten about the time they had spent with this baffling Jesus who had finally proved wanting and left them in the lurch, and gone back to pick up the threads of normal life. They would have returned to being fishermen in Galilee, sadder but none the wiser for the experience.

That is what they would have done – but for the fact of the Resurrection. The transformation of a cowed and frightened group of survivors into a band of inspired people, enthusiastically dedicated to telling the world about Jesus, is only explicable on the supposition that something entirely out of the ordinary had happened – something that completely broke the frame of their expectations, made them abandon their limitations and convinced them that they could believe him when he said,

Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Mt 28,20)

So much by way of a few observations on the historical credibility of the gospel story.

But of course, Mr. Horak, as you likewise observe in this Discourse, reasonable arguments and faith are two different things. You can find plausible arguments for belief, and still remain unconvinced. Or alternatively you can say, with the fiery African Tertullian, "Credo quia absurdum est" – "I believe because it is absurd". Ultimately it is down to each individual to decide what he or she wishes to believe, what world he or she wishes to live in. Personally I like Paul’s advice in his letter to the Philippians:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, think on these things. (Ph 4,8)

Every person is at liberty to seek for the answer in his or her own way. But asserting that the Bible is a manual of inhumanity and intolerance, or that Jesus may not have existed, suggests that they have not looked very far or tried very hard.

Dr. John Waterfield
Llanhennock, Wales (GB), January 2017

Congratulations! The above commentator, Dr. John Waterfield, is a poet, translator, literary critic, musician and chess player, and lives in Wales, Great Britain. He has been translating my documents for over 15 years, and we have also had several good discussions about the Catholic religion. In my view this contribution is an excellent presentation of the historic proofs of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Thank you very much for this posting. - Clearly with that the case can be considered closed