How would you feel if I told you that one of the central figures of your religion was nothing more than a myth to stop rebellions before they could occur?

This is what Joseph Atwill, self-proclaimed biblical scholar, is claiming — that Jesus (and the rest of the New Testament) was nothing more than a story told to control the conquered people in the Middle East. He explains that after the conventional methods of squashing rebellions from the Jewish population didn’t work, the Romans moved on to psychological warfare. They created a perfect man, who was all about justice and peace — not about starting a war.

This man would never raise arms against the emperor, but instead he would obligingly pay his taxes and dues. Jesus even says in the New Testament “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Luke 20:25).

His willingness to cooperate with the conquering people was the example the Romans wanted the rest of the population to follow. They simply desired money and peace — they did not want to have to worry about the cost (financial and human) of crushing a revolt.

Jesus does seem to be too perfect to be true; an example of true justice. Reading Plato’s Republic in Philosophy, the concept of the Just Man has been brought up time after time. Does Jesus not fit this description to a tee? In addition to being the ideal man Socrates describes, the New Testament was written in Greek, not Hebrew, the common language of the people. Only the educated would be able to write in Greek, and those who were educated were also taught The Republic of Plato; the Romans would be well-versed in both these attributes.

Personally, I feel that this “revelation” from Atwill does not change much. People are still going to believe in whatever they choose to. Christians will ignore or ridicule Atwill’s theories; other religious sects will most likely not care either way, and atheists will simply use this to cement their ideas further.

Religion is not like it was thousands of years ago, when it ruled daily life. Perhaps if Atwill’s findings were made during the Spanish Inquisition or during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, he would have been killed.

But, in this day and age, he’s just as soon to be forgotten and overlooked in favor of Miley Cyrus’ new antics or this week’s upcoming Walking Dead episode.  I guess I’ll just have to rely on the old fashion way of figuring out whether or not Jesus really exists — I’ll ask when I go to Heaven (if I get in, that is).

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--- Senior | Executive Editor Emeritus --- Finance/English

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