Sunday, April 20, 2014

What makes it a "taunt"?

Normally I wouldn't be bothered by a bogus story floated by the likes of The Washington Times and Fox News but this one is fairly common and connects to a variety of equally stupid myths and misrepresentations. "Jesus is a myth" is not a taunt. I'm sure if you actively hunt for an atheist who chooses to use it as if it is one you will find such an asshole. The majority of atheists I've come across who have reached the sound conclusion that there is no historical Jesus do not use it that way. For the sake of clarity I would point out that not all atheists concern themselves one way or the other about whether an actual Jesus figure ever existed.

Personally, I fail to see how anyone who either respects or is familiar with historical scholarship can still hold to the notion that there ever was an actual Jesus. Once you remove scripture there is nothing left. Jesus literally disappears in the absence of scripture. That there isn't even one verifiable fact about this supposedly important figure has nothing to with being either a theist or an atheist. It also has nothing to do with what I or other atheists would want or not want to be true. Reality and the facts don't change just because we don't find them they way we might want them to be. Assuming you are intellectually honest.

I didn't start out with the conclusion that Jesus is a myth. Right up to college I had always assumed there was an historical figure on which the various legendary stories were based. I always thought the hippy version of Jesus was pretty cool. Once I became curious enough to look into the "real" figure behind the stories I started to learn that there really wasn't anything substantive to base the stories on. It was only after I did my own research that I realized the Jesus narratives were strictly theological and devoid of any factual basis.

Basically, shit pieces like "Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’" is just a sad attempt at smearing atheists while allowing theists to insulate themselves from the facts. By definitions alone the idea that saying "Jesus is a myth" amounts to a taunt is ludicrous. According to Chambers 21st Century Dictionary a taunt is:
"verb (taunting, taunted) to tease, say unpleasant things to or jeer at someone in a cruel and hurtful way.
noun a cruel, unpleasant and often hurtful or provoking remark.
taunting noun, adjective.
tauntingly adverb."
Considering that I, like many other atheists, have family and friends who are Christian it makes no sense to make statements that would be intentionally harmful. I have no interest in being mean or hurtful. I also have no interest in denying reality or belittling history as a field of study.

Jesus is a myth. That is what all valid historical research indicates. People can accept it or not just as they can perceive it to be unpleasant or not.It makes me wonder how many would insist on this type of sham if instead of "Jesus" you substitute in "Gilgamesh"? I'd be willing to bet that the "evidence" that can be created for Gilgamesh would be on par with that for Jesus.

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