Richard Dawkins, the noted atheist and anti-religion zealot who wrote The God Delusion, just can’t let it go. His tirades against Christianity grow more strident every day. He goes so far as to proclaim that a serious historical case can be made that Jesus never lived. Is that so? Is the Bible our only hope to validate the historical Christ?
Professor Christopher Tuckett of Oxford University, not exactly a defender of Christianity, has said that non-Christian references to our Savior from ancient sources give us absolute certainty that he lived and died. What Tuckett concludes is that allusions to Jesus by the writers of His time, such as Josephus, lead to the conclusion that these references “provide us with certainty” validating the existence of Christ and “render highly implausible any far-fetched theories that even Jesus’s very existence was a Christian invention.”
No accumulation of concocted legends comprises the New Testament. It was written within 25 years of Christ’s life. In fact, Tiberius, who was Emperor when Christ was crucified, has reliable documents about his existence which are trusted by scholars, even though they were written 80 years after his death. So why the fuss about what Mark and Paul said? Australian John Dickson, an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University of Australia, has written a brilliant article entitled “the irreligious assault on the historicity of Jesus.” Dickson, not exactly a fundamentalist Christian, challenges my erstwhile media critic John Safran (popular Australian TV personality) thusly: “If anyone can find a full professor of Classics, Ancient History or New Testament in any accredited university in the world who thinks Jesus never lived, I will eat a page of my Bible, probably Matthew chapter 1. My Bible remains safe.”
Mr. Dawkins may want to save some ketchup or mustard to season the ingestion of his own book, to eat his own words.