My cousin is an atheist and I had high hopes that he would read your article "How do I respond to the claims of parallels between heathen god/man myths…" and have new insight. However, this was his response "This article is because he says so it’s true. He doesn’t really make an argument to back up his point. There is no historical recording of Jesus Christ outside of the Gospels. Scholars now believe that Josephus’ writing about Jesus is a forgery. Dionysus was born of a virgin killed and resurrected. It’s not the same exact story word for word, but it has many of the same concepts. The reason I asked you where Jesus was born is that the Greek word they translate as stable in the Bible is actually cave or temporary shelter. Dionysus was born in a cave. The article is actually kind of embarrassing, because he keeps talking about Isis when he means Osiris. At first I thought it was a mental slip, but he does it more than once making me doubt he really has even read the myth of Osiris. Here’s your first clue the NT isn’t history –the genealogy in Matthew is wrong, compare it to Chronicles"
He strongly believes that the story of Jesus was borrowed from myths as you can tell from his response to the article. I was wondering if you could clarify why the genealogy in matthew is ‘wrong’? And how do I find evidence that most Historians believe that Jesus was an actual person and why? And what scholars believe that Josephus’ writing about Christ is a forgery, or have you not heard this claim before? Thank you so much for your time and your willingness to clarify things.
Your cousin is so far out there, you might be wasting your time. He is apparently impervious to evidence. However, just for fun you might want to send him this link:
It is a youtube video in which a very ignorant but typical atheist tries to use the argument that Jesus wasn’t real. He is confronted by one of the most well known anti-Christian scholars in the world. Very funny!!!
As for your cousin’s belief that Jesus is a myth, there is literally not a serious scholar alive who would make this ignorant claim. Anyone saying this is so obviously biased that it is probably not even worth having a discussion with that person. As for the Josephus thing, the question is not whether he mentioned Jesus. Good scholars are unanimous that he mentioned Jesus. The questions is whether there was a Christian interpolation of the original. The answer is that there almost certainly was. In other words, a Christian writer expanded on what Josephus wrote. There is more on this at my web site in an article/power point titled Jesus and Christian apologetics (see the power point section of the site).
His argument that the genealogy in Matthew proves Jesus is a myth is so illogical it does not even deserve a response. It would be like me listing my genealogy and me making a mistake and then someone else saying that the fact that I made a mistake means I am not real. What is the logic in this? By the way, Matthew does not make a mistake the person making a mistake is your cousin who obviously does not understand how the Jews recorded their genealogies. As for the genealogy of Jesus, I have an article about that at my web site. It is below.
About Osiris, I made a type. If you read the article, I mention both Osiris and his wife Isis, who is an important character in the myth. Right after I say Isis I mention his wife Isis, so it is clearly a typo. I am sorry for the mistake.
Question: Why does the genealogy of Christ go from Adam to Joseph, when Joseph was not the father of Jesus (The Holy Spirit conceived Christ)?
Answer: Actually, the genealogy in Luke goes through Joseph, but the genealogy of Jesus goes through Mary in Matthew. That is what most scholars accept. The reason for this is probably that Matthew was written primarily for a Jewish audience and Luke was written primarily for a Greek audience. Of course, both books are for everyone, but scholars note the particular Jewishness of Matthew and Greekness of Luke. The Jews considered anyone born of a Jewish mother to be a Jew. Having a Jewish father did not necessarily make one a Jew. Naturally, Jews were concerned with genealogy through the mother. On the other hand, Greeks were not interested at all in genealogy through the mother. Joseph was the adoptive father of Jesus and Luke chose to show his descent from Abraham and David through his father even though Joseph was not the actual biological father. Matthew shows Jesus’ descent from Abraham and David through his mother. If I understand it correctly, Jesus was descended from David on both sides–from his mother and from his father. I will admit that from our Western perspective it is strange that Luke gives Jesus’ genealogy through a father who was not his biological father, but for the Greeks this was the only line of descent they were interested in. Clearly, Luke was aware of the virgin birth of Jesus from reading Luke 2:4-7 (where Jesus is called the first born son of Mary, not of Joseph), but he does not emphasize this as strongly as Matthew, perhaps partially because of the Greek predilection to look at male lines of descent. That is how I understand this question.
John Oakes, PhD