By Jack Kinsella
One of the most important differences between Biblical Christianity and most other belief structures, (including atheism) is that, by its very nature, Christianity discourages becoming mythologized.
That is one reason that twenty centuries after the fact, Jesus is still God, but ‘Jupiter’ is a planet in the solar system.
Mythological religious figures are larger-than-life, have supernatural power, are somewhat mischievous, and their deeds tend to grow with time.
One could say that about Zeus, one could say that about about Mohammed, or one could say that about Charles Darwin.
Jesus Christ was larger-than-life in His humility. No other mythological god ever washed the feet of his servants. Jesus did not exercise His Personal power, but always accredited it to God the Father.
Jesus was kind and friendly, but deadly serious — no one could accuse Him of being mischievous. And Jesus Christ was the same yesterday as today.
There are no eyewitnesses to the life and times of Zeus or Jupiter. The Koran contains no eyewitness accounts — it was compiled after the death of Mohammed from oral tradition.
Charles Darwin was not the committed atheist his followers claim, but rather, he was the son of a preacher who attended Divinity School.
And, according to an eyewitness to his death, a Lady Hope, he underwent a ‘deathbed conversion’ in which he renounced atheism.
Darwin’s followers call that a ‘myth’. That’s my point. There are more written eyewitness accounts to the life and times of Jesus Christ than of any major historical figure of antiquity.
(And more eyewitnesses to His last words, (“tetelestai!” meaning, “paid in full”) than there were to Charles Darwin’s.)
Any attempt to mythologize Jesus Christ runs into a brick wall of eyewitness testimony. Jesus Christ has been mythologized by cults, but that is why they are called cults.
Because they introduce an element of unprovable myth to a life already marked by proven miracles well attested to by multiple, unrelated eyewitnesses.
In Jesus’ day, Jerusalem was a relatively small, close-knit city, many of whose residents could trace their genealogy back to Adam. Everybody knew everybody, or they knew somebody who knew somebody — like in many small towns today.
There is a story in which Jesus was preaching in a crowded synagogue. A paralytic, desiring to be healed, couldn’t be maneuvered through the crowd, so instead, they tore a hole in the roof and lowered the guy down.
(Like THAT wouldn’t be the talk of the town, in and of itself – the text says he was a paralytic from birth, and well known to his neighbors.)
Having lowered the guy down from the roof (picture it from the perspective of the audience) to Jesus, Jesus says to the guy, “Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
And he does! He picks up his bed, and walks out through the crowd.
The Gospel of Mark, which related the story, was already in circulation sometime around 45 AD — fifteen years after the fact. (There is little reason to doubt the healed paralytic was still alive and telling his own story, as well).
It is fair to assume that Jesus had at least as many enemies as He had friends. But there are no contemporary records denying that event took place.
Why? Too many eyewitnesses were there to see what really happened.
One cannot mythologize Jesus for several reasons:
1) the incredible detail of the written eyewitness record;
2) the contemporary acceptance of the Gospels as fact; and,
3) when it comes to the life and times of Jesus Christ, no myth is necessary.
No myth could possibly add to the truth.
Those are the reasons why Jesus can’t be mythologized. There is also a reason why few, outside of the cults, have tried. There is no motive. To be saved, one must accept Jesus Christ as He is.
A Christian’s motivation is a sincere belief in heaven and hell and an equally sincere desire to keep his fellow man from ending up in hell. A mythologized Jesus cannot save anyone.
On the other hand, atheism has no eternal power, demands no eternal accountability, and therefore, has no absolute truth.
Consequently, it is built entirely on a foundation of mythology.
Let’s examine just a few examples of atheist mythology (with acknowledgment to Vox Day’s brilliant book, “The Irrational Atheist.”)
Day takes on the most specious arguments offered by the three best-selling atheist authors of our time, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
Myth: Atheists make up a smaller percentage of prison inmates than their religious counterparts.
Fact: Surveys show that those who profess no religion are four times as likely to be incarcerated than Christians.
Myth: Cities in Blue States are safer than Red-State cities.
Fact: The safest cities in “Blue” states are in “Red” counties. The most dangerous cities in “Red” States are in “Blue” counties. (It all depends on how you frame the facts)
Myth: Richard Dawkins claimed in his book, “The God Delusion” that religions are responsible for the destruction of religious art and literature.
Fact: Vox Day counters by pointing out the 41,000 churches destroyed the Soviet atheists, and thousands of Buddhist temples destroyed in Tibet, North Korea, and Vietnam, as they attempted to persecute religious belief out of existence.
Myth: Hitler was a Christian.
Fact: Hitler was a baptized Catholic who was heavily involved in the occult, Theosophy, Arianism etc. who hated Christians and planned to replace Christianity with Aryanism, an atheistic religion based in racial eugenics.
Myth: Atheists are rational, and therefore would never commit atrocities.
Fact: Most of the dictators of the 20th century were atheists. The Soviet Union was an officially atheist state.
According to Day,
“…the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them.”
Myth: Morality is a function of democracy in which the majority, rather than God, establish fundamental morality.
Fact: Both Hitler and Hamas were elected in free and fair democratic elections. Moral democracy is no guarantee of a ‘moral majority’.
The late Christopher Hitchens wrote, in his book, “God is not Great” that “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence,” as his ‘evidence’ that he believed proved God is a myth. (Now he knows better)
Day identifies fifty-one statements made by Hitchens for which his book offers no supporting evidence.
(Therefore, by Hitchens’ own logic, his book can be dismissed much more easily that the Bible.)
My favorite chapter title is Day’s “Occam’s Chainsaw” in which he applies the logical principle of “Occam’s Razor” to the logical contradictions offered by Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, et al.
In it, Day tackles the various logical problems inherent in the atheist arguments, including those rooted in lack of evidence, hallucination, temporal advantage, fiction, unfairness of hell, God’s character, moral evolution, etc.
Bottom line? It takes far more faith in the face of the contradictions, inconsistencies, historical inaccuracies, and outright mythology of atheism than it does to accept the premise of a loving God who is intimately concerned with the spiritual well-being of His creation.
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)
Marantha! (Come, Lord Jesus)
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 19, 2008