Skip to main content

Christianity: A New Type of Myth - Part 4

By Michael Sherlock ~

4. Myths Are True.

Discussing this aspect of the definition of myth, Professor Vandiver says:

They (myths) present themselves within the society in which they develop, as factual accounts of how things actually happened in the past. It would be very rare for any culture to recognise its own mythology as mythology. Myth is only a category when you are outside a culture looking in. From within any culture, myths are accounts of the way things really are. It is only when we step outside the culture and look in, that we can say; these stories are myths.(1)

Such is the case not only with Christianity, but almost all religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, which have attempted to weave myth into the very fabric of history. Ask a true-believing Christian whether or not, they believe the Gospels describe real history and they may respond with any of the following remarks:

…"historicity, however, should be determined not by what we think possible or likely, but by the antiquity and reliability of the evidence. As we shall see, as far back as we can trace, Jesus was known and remembered as one who had extraordinary powers."(2) --  Father Raymond E. Brown (Catholic Bible Scholar)
"The Gospels follow no order in recording the acts and miracles of Jesus, and the matter is not, after all, of much importance. If a difficulty arises in regard to the Holy Scripture and we cannot solve it, we must just let it alone."(3) -- Martin Luther (Founder of the Protestant Church)

“We look at the New Testament documents and, yes, they have an agenda: they’re affirming that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. But they also make all kinds of statements that can be evaluated. Are they culturally accurate? Are they true to what we know from other historical sources? Were they written in a time and place that has proximity to Jesus’ life? The answers are yes.(4) -- Craig A. Evans (Bible Scholar – Professor of New Testament Studies)

Now, ask a non-Christian this same question and you will likely hear any of the following kinds of remarks:

The prominence, therefore, of the sun and stars in the Gospel story tends to show that Jesus is an astrological rather than a historical character. That the time of his birth, his death, and supposed resurrection is not verifiable is generally admitted. This uncertainty robs the story of Jesus, to an extent at least, of the atmosphere of reality.(5) -- M.M Mangasarian (Theologian turned Freethinker)

It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing at that time to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion.(6) -- Thomas Paine (Philosopher)
The Jesus of the New Testament is the Christ of Christianity. The Jesus of the New Testament is a supernatural being. He is, like the Christ, a myth. He is the Christ myth.(7) -- John E. Remsburg (Rationalist)

It all comes down to whether a person believes it to be true, or not. In other words, it is all biased conjecture, occasioned by personal experience and subjective bias. Non-Christians call it myth, and in my biased opinion, should be forgiven for doing so, as people are not born of ghosts and virgins, they cannot walk on water, or even turn that water into wine. They do not return from the dead once 3 days has past and rigor mortis has set in, and they certainly do not float into outer-space, well not in my experience, or anyone else’s I know! Christians on the other hand, take it on faith, that these things happened in an isolated region, in a time long ago, and to a person who, was otherwise a “blip” on the radar! A figure whose remoteness has served to spawn justified criticism and the credulous defence of the intellectually remote believer!

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” -- ¯ Bertrand Russell

To be continued…


1. Professor Elizabeth Vandiver. Classical Mythology. Lecture 2: What is Myth? The Teaching Company. (2002).
2. Michael J. Wilkins & J. P. Moreland. Jesus Under Fire. Zondervan Publishing House. (1995). p. 5.
3. Albert Schweitzer. The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Adam and Charles Black. (1911). p. 13.
4. Lee Strobel. The Case for the Real Jesus. Zondervan. (2007). p. 33.
5. M.M. Mangasarian. The Truth About Jesus. Is He a Myth? Independent Religious Society. (1909). pp. 37-38.
6. Thomas Paine. The Age of Reason. (1796). p. 14-15.
7. John E. Remsburg. The Christ. The Truth Seeker Company. Preface p. 9.



Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

On Living Virtuously

By Webmdave ~  A s a Christian, living virtuously meant living in a manner that pleased God. Pleasing god (or living virtuously) was explained as: Praying for forgiveness for sins  Accepting Christ as Savior  Frequently reading the Bible  Memorizing Bible verses Being baptized (subject to church rules)  Attending church services  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper  Tithing  Resisting temptations to lie, steal, smoke, drink, party, have lustful thoughts, have sex (outside of marriage) masturbate, etc.  Boldly sharing the Gospel of Salvation with unbelievers The list of virtuous values and expectations grew over time. Once the initial foundational values were safely under the belt, “more virtues'' were introduced. Newer introductions included (among others) harsh condemnation of “worldly” music, homosexuality and abortion Eventually the list of values grew ponderous, and these ideals were not just personal for us Christians. These virtues were used to condemn and disrespect fro