Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Man Who Never Was

If his premise is right, then how in the hell that doesn't exist does he explain Christianity's influence in Western Civilization?

Brian Flemming is a film director, a playwright, and an outspoken atheist. In 2005, he released the controversial documentary, The God Who Wasn’t There, a film not just arguing that Jesus wasn’t God, but that Jesus the man never existed at all. He’s also the creator of the faux documentary, Nothing So Strange,and the musical, Bat Boy.

I've not seen the documentary, obviously, though I'm mildly intrigued by the concept. Ignoring the fact that the existence of Christ is well-established--see the Jewish historian Josephus for starters--he still needs to explain how a vast portion of the Roman Empire was duped into believing in the hoax of, evidently, Paul and the Twelve Apostles, sans Judas of course. This becomes a terribly dubious assertion especially given the likewise documented accounts of the deaths of the early evangelists. All but John became martyrs, and, barring madness, it is safe to say that they fervently believed that Jesus was the Christ. One does not often die for a cause which one knows to be false.

It is no secret that moderns who profess no need for religion are almost to a one completely ignorant of human history. For there is little more curious in the course of human events than that peculiar preacher from backwater Nazareth, who sent a handful of his friends to the corners of the earth to convert the whole world. And yet they had remarkable success at the most implausible of missions. If the Man who authored the great commission did not exist, I can't help but feel that what has befallen the world is a thing most terrible. And if the Prince of Peace did not exist, then a Prince of Darkness lurks in the shadows. Pleasant thought, that.

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