Jerry Coyne, a scientist whom I and many others respect for his efforts in advancing a popular understanding of evolution, has invited a guest post on his blog, Why Evolution Is True, by Ben Goren on the historicity of Jesus.
He begins (and I quote this much to whet appetites to read the full post on Jerry’s blog):
Many æons ago, in the heyday of USENET, I was first exposed to the idea that maybe there simply wasn’t any “there” there at the heart of Jesus’s story. It was, of course, at first a bizarre notion…but one that eventually become overwhelmingly compelling to me — and especially, ironically enough, after I took the time to look up the original sources Christian apologists offered as evidence for Jesus’s existence.
Somewhere along the line, I started challenging apologists to offer a coherent apologia, a theory of Jesus that was both self-consistent and supported by evidence. In all the years since then, I cannot recall even one single person, Christian, atheist, or other, who argues for an historical Jesus who has ever taken me up on this challenge, despite repeatedly offering it and even begging people to take a whack at it. And, so, I’d like to thank Jerry for letting me use his own soapbox to present this challenge to what’s, I’m sure, the largest audience it’s yet received.
I can already imagine the howls of protest from theologians and could probably list here what there accusations and assertions will be. They’ll also fault Ben’s criteria. But they won’t take up his challenge. Anything but that.
A Vridar reader suggested I might post my own response to his challenge. I think I might.
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