An American Biblical scholar is set to argue that Jesus Christ was invented by the Romans.
Joseph Atwill said he will present his findings in London later this month. The purpose of the presentation — titled “Covert Messiah” — is that “alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods,” said Atwill.
Famed atheist Richard Dawkins circulated the press release for Atwill’s gig on Twitter but said that he did not necessarily endorse Atwill’s findings.
Dawkins argued that it doesn’t matter whether or not Jesus existed. “Gospels clearly mostly false (virgin birth, miracles etc). The possibility that Jesus didn’t exist at all is of only marginal extra interest,” tweeted the prickly atheist icon.
Atwill maintains that governments — including the Romans — create those “false” histories and gods “to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people.”
“When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare,” said Atwill, whose talk is sub-headlined, “Is Christianity the Genesis of Modern Psychological Warfare?”
“That’s when the ‘peaceful’ Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to ‘give onto Caesar’ and pay their taxes to Rome,” said Atwill, who claims that his book “Caeser’s Messiah” was the best-selling work of religious history in 2007.
Atwill says that the story of Jesus mirrors the military campaigns of Roman Emperor Titus Flavius. “The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar,” said Atwill.
Atwill’s theory is a departure from those of other agnostics. Many Biblical scholars who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus nevertheless accept he existed.
Bart Ehrman, a popular Biblical scholar at the University of North Carolina whose most recent book “Did Jesus Exist?” tackles many “mythicist” theories, calls Atwill’s theory crazier than most.”
“I don’t deal with [Atwill] simply because he’s not a big deal even among the conspiracy-theory mythicists themselves,” Ehrman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ehrman, an agnostic who has written books arguing that parts of the New Testament are forgeries, still maintains that Jesus existed. Mythicists, he argues, merely seek to tear down Christianity.
“And what better way to malign the religious views of the vast majority of religious persons in the Western world, which remains, despite everything, overwhelmingly Christian, than to claim that the historical founder of their religion was in fact the figment of his followers’ imagination?” wrote Ehrman in a Huffington Post column.
This seems to be Atwill’s intention. “Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history,” said Atwill.
“To this day, especially in the United States, it is used to create support for war in the Middle East.”
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