Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H

The earliest documents of the Church show that the gospels lie when they claim to have reported facts about Jesus. None of what they say was known or of any interest to anybody in the most primitive Church. Therefore there is no reason to believe the gospels.


If Jesus had been a real man or anybody really knew him why are there no normal stories of him helping people? It is all miracle stories. Why would you choose stories of somebody using miracles to help people as if the ordinary ways to help are something to be forgotten? Even Catholic hagiographies are replete with good works done by the saints and are not so obsessed with supernatural tales that they want to forget them.


People argue that the gospels are unreliable for they were written decades after the alleged events. True. But the fact that the gospels were written in a time when nobody cared about the Jesus story apart from the crucifixion and death and resurrection is far more serious. So even had the gospels appeared fifteen years after Jesus it would be of no help to the defenders of traditional Christian belief. They had nothing but invention and perhaps the reworking and plagiarism of stories about real life Jewish saints to go by. If you read the epistle of James you get the impression that the teaching of Jesus was plagiarised from that of James and perhaps events from the life of James were used to concoct stories about Jesus.
All Paul, the top Christian writer and provider of the oldest Christian writings, says about Jesus is that he was born of woman, under the Law, had King David’s blood in him, was crucified and died and rose again and has been appearing since and will one day come to earth. If Jesus had appeared and that was all there was to it these other things would have been assumed. There is no evidence that Paul claimed evidence other than visions for these events.


Paul does not say when Jesus died and rose but only talks about when he appeared.  He said that after Peter and James and the apostles and so on Jesus appeared to him as if he were an abortion!  He means abortion as in a birth poorly timed - he calls himself premature.  Some say that he means he was chosen to be an apostle without being with Jesus or knowing him personally unlike other apostles who had that experience.  But he does not say what he means.



When a person like Paul who would know about Jesus and his life and does not use this information when he needs it we must realise that the story that has come down to us in the gospel did not exist then for he did not believe it. Paul never met Jesus and he would have if he had lived in Jesus’ day. He would have taken part in the execution of Jesus for Paul hated what Jesus stood for. Arguments from silence are risky. If a man never mentions an event that may not mean the event never happened. But if there are too many silences that make no sense and we find silence where we would expect a mention of the event we can be sure the event was a fiction. Also, silence entitles us to think that the events never happened if we so wish.

If Jesus had said marriage was sacred as the gospels say, Paul would have been able to give better than his own opinion that it was okay for virgins to wed (1 Corinthians 7:25). He despised guessing instead of looking into God’s word. He hated boasting and he had to say that he should be listened to for he is trustworthy. Paul would have used the words of the Lord instead of resorting to this. He knew that Jesus had never said that marriage was holy and divorce was wrong or at least that there was no record or evidence that Jesus dealt with this topic.

Colossians 2:20-23 uses terribly weak arguments against the view that certain foods should not be eaten instead of quoting Jesus who rejected unscriptural taboos about eating. It argues that since we are no longer under the world’s regulations we cannot be expected to keep unscriptural food laws. But the conclusion does not follow from the premise which indicates that the author was really stuck and had to make do with this argument for there were no others. There were no words of Jesus to do the trick.

In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul admitted that he had no clever arguments for his religion except the evidence of God’s power to change lives with the gospel. That the converting power of the apostles’ testimony was considered evidence goes without saying. But people becoming Christians and changing a bit here and there is not evidence for a religion or gospel being true. Paul knew that blind faith was immoral and would not have resorted to advocating it unless there was no alternative. Listen to what he is saying in that. That Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is not evidence for the gospel. They would be if there was evidence for them but there is not. All there is testimony and this testimony is feeling that God is changing you from within and communing with your soul because of the atoning death and saving resurrection of Jesus.

This is strong evidence that Paul thought his Jesus lived in the distant past or in another world or that if Jesus lived in his time not much could be learned about him for sure. Nobody uses weak evidence if there is stronger.

In the context of condemning philosophy, Paul said that the elements of the gospel are absurdity to the natural or unsaved man (1 Corinthians 1,2).
Does this mean that the gospel is absurd when logically tested and that he doesn’t care for he puts faith before reason?
Does this mean that that the gospel is absurd but not to the Christian person to whom God gives light so that they reason correctly that the gospel is true? This would mean that the gospel is compatible with correct reason and the natural philosopher cannot see it for he doesn’t have light from God.
Paul means that belief of any kind in the gospel be it mere intellectual belief or faith which is belief coupled with commitment and openness to grace is folly to the natural wise man.
How do we know this? Because he doesn’t say it is only a particular kind of faith or belief that is stupid to the unsaved man.
Say you take belief to mean living according to that belief and accepting the grace of God and not just intellectual belief then the natural man with mere intellectual belief that does not change his heart will not see the gospel as absurdity but his own refusal to turn to God as absurdity. Paul then cannot be thinking of unconverted believers who know Christ is saviour but won’t turn to him. Paul is thinking of faith as an intellectual function only. He means only those who agree with the faith but won’t turn to it. But obviously if this is absurd so is it when it seeks the grace of God to live out the faith. So is faith in the fullest sense.
What does this mean? It means that Christianity is anti-logic and anti-philosophy. Luther was right when he decided that reason was the tool of the Devil and inaccurate even when logical tests said it was accurate. The faith cannot be intellectually justified. This is a position called Fideism, the view that faith has nothing to do with evidence, which was condemned as heresy by the non-Christian organisation the Roman Catholic Church in 1870 at the Vatican Council.

It has been answered that Paul did not condemn reason but a selfish perverted reasoning. But no hint of that meaning is given in his writings at all so it must be discarded despite what Reimarus who denied the view that Paul was a hater of reason concluded (page 184, Miracles in Dispute – which gives no proof for Reimarus’ interpretation). 2 Corinthians 10:3 says that the Christians do not carry worldly weapons but spiritual ones which tear down arguments and proud barriers to the love of God and make every thought captive to Christ. Reimarus thought that Paul meant that Christians use reason to destroy the objections of their enemies (page 185, Miracles in Dispute). But that interpretation cannot be proven. The context of Paul’s teaching on reason disproves it. If Paul meant arguments from reason he would have said so CLEARLY and when he based his refutations on divine power and our experience of its transforming power and not reason it shows that human reason was considered to be futile and defective. And no wonder when Paul thought that Jesus died for sinners in their place and loads of other things that made no sense and which he could not have defended with success and without blushing. For example, he accepted the absurdities of the God of Judaism including the view that God was right to command parents to kill their layabout drunkard sons.

Paul complained that the Jews were looking for signs (1 Corinthians 1:22) to determine if the wisdom of God as understood in Christianity and the cross of Christ was true. So there were no miracles he could tell them about to please them. He even said it was folly to look for signs. If you consider the miracles to be signs then it was not folly because they were signs and it would be blasphemy to say they were folly. He said Jews meaning all Jews for he would have written some Jews otherwise. Christians would reply that he means the Jews want to see signs themselves first hand before they will consider believing. But you can look for signs without seeing them. For nearly everybody it is enough to check out the information and interview and cross-examine the witnesses. He never said they just wanted to see it all themselves.
The Jews accepted most prophets without miracles for the law said miracles were useless anyway except to get people’s attention. They just observed if their predictions came true and if the prophet was a true believer and that was enough (Deuteronomy 18). So they did not want to see the miracles themselves. They found no evidence of prophetic ability in Jesus or in the Church which was to witness to him. The gospels never say that the Jews pestered Jesus for proof of prophetic powers showing that they were made up. They could have discredited him on that line and we do not read what he said about that. Jesus did make prophecies but none that were seen fulfilled the time Paul was writing and none which might have been more than educated guesses. What Paul is indicating as well is that Jesus did no miracles as a sign that he should get attention for his prophecies for he made none that were known to have been fulfilled. When Jesus then did not attract attention to himself as a prophet through using miracles that means he made no prophecies either. Paul’s Jesus was not a prophet or a miracle worker.

Paul said that we including himself live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Paul confessed that he needed to stay alive for the sake of the Christians though he would like to die and go to Jesus (Philippians 1). This informs us that nobody could do his job for him though he had plenty of helpers – this indicates the laziness and lack of faith in the Jerusalem apostles. He had made his testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus so it could still convert sinners without him. He is suggesting that he was the only reliable witness to the resurrection. We have his testimony that the Judean Church which founded the roots of the gospel is not to be trusted.

He is also inferring that Jesus did not raise people from the dead for if he did these testimonies could back up Jesus’ own claim to have risen but Paul could not use such arguments. The best Paul could do was use the apostles testimony and say that if Jesus did not rise the dead must be lost and that is unbearable so Jesus must have risen!
Paul said that Jesus was revealed as the Son of God by his resurrection (Romans 1:4) which shows that he did not manage to reveal this by his miracles (indicating that he never did any) and the resurrections he performed during his ministry (GA Wells Replies to Criticisms of his Books on Jesus). Why does he stress Christ crucified even above Christ risen and triumphant?(1 Corinthians 1:22-23). This implies that the resurrection was only to prove that Jesus had died to save sinners – vicariously I might add for had it been anything else it would not have been stressed so much – and it was not great proof when it could not be brought to the fore. It was selfish of Paul to care more about Jesus dying than rising. This stress on the cross suggests that Jesus never worked any wonders.
Christians have to say the silliest things to get away from the uncomfortable fact that Paul never used Jesus’ life to teach the people but preferred to dictate to them what they should do. Paul knew this was a bad approach for he was very unpopular because of it. He could do nothing else for there was no Jesus story for them to be edified with.
Read Galatians 4:21-31. Paul is trying to refute those who say we must still follow the Law of Moses like slaves. He tells them that they must hear what the Law has to say. He says it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by his wife as a result of God’s promise. He says this is an allegory. The two women stand for two covenants. One covenant is the covenant of slavery and the other is the covenant of freedom. The point he is trying to make is that Christians are not to go back to slavery to the Law for they are free. If they fail to keep the Law now, Jesus has kept it for them vicariously and they will still be saved in Heaven. Jesus speaks about the Law a fair bit in the gospels and promises delivery from slavery to the Law. When Paul couldn’t use his words to refute these people but had to resort to a fanciful interpretation of the Bible it is plain that the gospels lied. It is also plain that Jesus as man had no relevance for Paul. If there had been a Jesus who lived recently Paul would have examined his life and looked in his teaching for ammunition. When Jesus the Jew said nothing about the Law it shows either that he lived an unknown life as a man or he never existed. Christians say that Paul is not denying that the scripture is history. But when he attaches such importance to a fanciful way of interpreting it he is saying that it is okay to worry more about spiritual interpretations than the literal. The same would have to be true of the gospels had they existed then. The original Christian Church had no concern for a Jesus of History at all. This adds fuel to those who believe that Jesus was a myth not a man. Instances like that prove that there is no excuse for Paul’s silence only that his Jesus never lived or was just an apparition he made himself see.
He Walked Among Us lies that the reason for Paul’s silence about Jesus was that he was so absorbed in his vision of Jesus that he had had on the way to Damascus that he felt no need or desire to draw attention to Jesus’ life apart from his death and resurrection (page 328).
First, the Jewish Law said that Paul’s vision was not enough for two independent witnesses are needed and the early Church was heavily into learning from the Law.
Second, Paul never said he was that absorbed in his vision and the few parts in which he mentions it all he does is touch on it and say what it means to him but he does not dwell on it or inflate its importance so it is clear that he was not totally absorbed in the vision. The letters don’t even describe the vision or stress it at all. What did concern Paul most was Christian living. And if there had been a historical Jesus he knew about he could have used him and stressed his story as the model for that living. Even when Paul contends against those believers in Corinth who denied the resurrection he only briefly mentions his vision and puts no stress on it but uses other arguments. One of these arguments was the shocking, Jesus is risen for we are lost if he is not, which is as good an admission of helplessness as one can get. So, his vision proved it to him and was a tiny bit of evidence for everybody else and was too minor to be stressed to them. If Paul had been so absorbed in the vision he would have been mentally ill for it was important but there were other important things too. He would not have been absorbed in the vision but obsessed by it and in need of help. If Christians want to present him as sick then let them go ahead. What Paul was absorbed in by his own admission was the cross of Christ.
Third, the vision was too brief, according to Acts, to be preferable to Jesus’ life-story.
Fourth, visions need to be verified by scripture and by the life of the prophet before they can be accepted. Deuteronomy 18 says one has to be totally sure a guy is a prophet before listening to him. The Bible and the Church teach that any vision that does not accord with what was known about the truth of God before is false or satanic. Paul could not ask anybody to believe in Jesus over his vision. It was a milestone in his life but it was not the be all and end all for others. The life was not emphasised for Paul knew nothing about it or could know nothing. Where did Paul try to prove that he was a prophet? He could have decided to believe in Christ before his vision and then his emotions forced him to have a vision to confirm his faith and erase the guilt he felt for his new heretical faith. Luke never tells us that Paul never had second thoughts about his hatred for Christianity up to the point of his conversion. We can be fully sure that the reason Paul paid no attention to Jesus’ life was because nobody knew anything about this man that some people were saying was appearing to them.

Others would say that Paul never met Jesus and that was why he had so little interest in what happened in Jesus’ life. But this makes no sense. Paul was a trained Jewish theologian and would have had to investigate Jesus when he was so interested in stripping Jesus of any influence he had among the people. Paul knew that persecution alone was not good enough and often made a group craftier and more obstinate. Persecution without debunking is not a good idea. He would have had to explain to critics what offended him so much about Jesus when he had to go after his followers. Some object that Paul was a theologian not a historian. But a theologian has to be a historian to some extent. One does not need to be a historian to know about some dead person’s life especially one that died a few years before. Paul actually focused more on the crucified Jesus than on the resurrected one. He said that he lived for nothing but Jesus crucified. So he would have been interested in the pre-resurrection Jesus had there been anything to be interested in. Though Paul believed that we are lost if Jesus has not risen the crucifixion was more important than the resurrection for it was Jesus paying for our sins. The resurrection was no good without the atonement.
The First Letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians states (4:1-2) exhorts the Thessalonians to live good lives and congratulates them on not having forgotten the instructions in this they were given by Paul and his friends on the authority of the Lord Jesus. It would have been natural to use the records about Jesus’ teaching and his example instead of appealing to authority. Jesus stressed the importance of Jesus being servant which means that you don’t command in Jesus’ name unless your back is really against the wall. Paul and his friends using their authority which is dangerous for authority even in Jesus’ name is a second-hand thing and best avoided where possible would mean that there was no life of Jesus or teaching of his recorded. That proves then that Jesus did not live in the first century and it explains that the silence of Paul on Jesus’ life really was down to there not having been a Jesus who had a verifiable earth life.
Second Thessalonians 3 has Paul having to appeal to his own behaviour and that of his disciples about not taking advantage of people and their generosity and states that it had to be done as an example. Jesus' example was not available. Yet the gospels give examples of Jesus avoiding being an burden on people. When Paul was so Jesus-centred and couldn't put forward Jesus' example then clearly it is because the stories about Jesus were not invented yet.

The Bible never bluntly states that Paul never met Jesus. Rather people just assume this. If Paul never met Jesus then that was all the more reason for him to familiarise himself with Jesus’ history. If Paul had not met Jesus then Jesus did not exist for Paul would have been in Judaea a lot. Paul may have come from Tarsus but he was prominent in the Holy Land which suggests he was out of Tarsus a long time so nobody can say that since Paul was in Tarsus all the time he never crossed paths with Jesus.

Paul had no interest in the earthly Jesus the one that existed before the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 11, he even said that he received the Eucharist story from the risen Jesus and passed it on so even the story that the earthly Jesus took bread and wine and made them emblems of his body and blood and was betrayed had to come through visions. The Christian argument that Paul meant Jesus gave him the Eucharist through historical tradition is too far-fetched. If Paul wrote as if Jesus told him face to face in a vision that is what he meant. His letters mentioned visions quite a bit and he would have expected people to take that meaning.

The apostolic Fathers provide no convincing evidence for Jesus being a historical reality. They often contradict the Gospels which shows that either they knew nothing about them or did not recognise them as having any authority.  They say nothing about Jesus apart from some things as if he were almost a stranger or obscure.  They say nothing in the way of evidence and depend only on hearsay. 

The stories about Jesus in the gospels are fiction. The first Christians had heard nothing of this miracle working teacher in Palestine. All they had was their belief that he was crucified and died and seemed to appear to people after his death.

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Who is GA Wells? Rev Dr Gregory S. Neal

The Silent Jesus

Apollonius the Nazarene, The Historical Apollonius versus the Historical Jesus

Why Did the Apostles Die? Dave Matson,
The “Historical” Jesus by Acharya S

How Did the Apostles Die?

History’s Troubling Silence About Jesus, Lee Salisbury

Steven Carr discusses the Christian and apostolic martyrs

Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ

The Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Peter Kirby

The Martyrdoms: A Response, Peter Kirby

A Sacrifice in Heaven,

The Evolution of Jesus of Nazareth

The Jesus of History, a Reply to Josh McDowell by Gordon Stein

Josh McDowell’s Evidence for Jesus – Is It Reliable?, by Jeffrey J Lowder

A Reply to JP Holding’s “Shattering” of My Views on Jesus

Robert M Price, Christ a Fiction

Earliest Christianity G A Wells

The Second Century Apologists

Existence of Jesus Controversy, Rae West

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier

Jesus Conference,
Jesus Conference,
The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance

Sherlock Holmes Style Search for the Historical Jesus
The Ascension of Isaiah

Apollonius of Tyana: The Monkey of Christ? The Church Patriarchs, Robertino Solarion

What About the Discovery of Q? Brad Bromling
Wells without Water, Psychological Buffoonry from the Master of the Christ-Myth, James Patrick Holding

Critique: Scott Bidstrp [sic] on The Case for Christ by James Patrick Holding

GA Wells Replies to Criticism of his Books on Jesus

The Ossuary Scam: A Critical Analysis of the “James” Ossuary

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Acharya S

The Amplified Bible
The King James Version