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Achilles
04-13-2007, 12:01 AM
I actually got a little excited when I saw that Jae had created a thread titled "Christianity" this morning. Unfortunately, I opened and saw that it wasn't I thought it would be, but that's ok :)

She did mention the topic that I was hoping for (archeology), but then invited non-theists not to participate (which I respect). In keeping with the ground rules of that thread, but still wanting to have a dialog on the topic, I thought it made sense to start my own thread.

So here it is: Evidence for Jesus (archaeological and otherwise). Some of what I will say here has been said elsewhere. In the interest of conciseness, I may repeat myself, but that is only to prevent the reader from having to sift through old threads. In other words, my apologies if any of this sounds familiar.

The focus of this thread is Jesus (christ), therefore I will not be concerning myself with too much from the Old Testament, other than to breifly touch on the argument that Jesus (christ) fulfilled the prophecies of the OT. I will try not to branch out into other religions other than to show similarities and would appreciate it if we could avoid derailing the thread by discussing the individual merits of each belief system.

With that out of the way, on to my arguments.

Burden of Proof

First, since christianity makes the claim that Jesus existed and that he was the messiah, the burden of proof is on christianity to support the claim. It is not up to non-theists or theists from other religions to disprove this claim. Although we can clearly show that there is no evidence, it is not on us to prove that there never will be.

Second, this burden of proof is doubly burdensome for christianity. Not only would one have to provide evidence for a historical figure named Jesus (and not just any Jesus, but that Jesus), but they would then have to go on to provide evidence that this person was actually the messiah. While someone hoping to support such a claim would have to prove each point independently, the arguments I will present apply pretty evenly to both claims, so I will not be categorizing them.

With that established, I will present the problems that I see with arguments made by many christians on this topic.

Historical Evidence for Jesus the Man
This one is likely to be simplest and shortest of the sections. The fact is that we don't have any. We don't have any of his personal writings, nor the personal writings of anyone that knew him (friends, family, neighbors, etc). We don't have an official record of birth, death, marriage, etc.

Christians will mostly likely want to point out that literacy rates during that time were abysmal and that the likelihood of such a record existing, let alone surviving, is negligible. They would be absolutely correct. The problem remains that none of these things exist nonetheless, in other words, they cannot deny that there is no historical evidence for this specific man named Jesus. It may be that some day, we discover something (a diary, census data, etc) that clearly shows that this specific man existed, however until that day, the "evidence" box has to remain unchecked on this particular point.

Some other form of evidence will have to exist for rational belief.

Historical Evidence for Jesus the Messiah
Personally, I don't see how the first argument that I presented can be construed as anything other than a show stopper, but alas, this reasoning is not always shared, let alone recognized.

Again, we find ourselves in a situation in which we have no direct evidence, rather indirect evidence via a myriad of sources. Sources that we might use to find evidence for Jesus include:

The Gospels
Eyewitness Accounts
Early Christian Writings
Contemporary Historians
Old Testament Prophecy
Revelation

If there are others that I should have included here, but did not, please let me know and I'll edit as needed (with full credit given).

The Gospels
Based on my experiences, many people tend to consider the gospels eyewitness accounts. They are not.

In order to be an eyewitness accounts, they would have to have been written by contemporaries to Jesus. They were not.

Some would (correctly) point out that it is not uncommon for oral histories to be passed down for generations before finally being put to paper. Yes, this did happen, however we have no evidence that this happened here. Furthermore, even if we accept this to be the case, we have to accept the very strong likelihood that the story changed quite a bit between the alleged witnessing of events and when they were recorded by whomever it was that recorded them (the anonymous authors commonly referred to as "Mark", "Matthew", "Luke", and "John").

Oral histories with many sources will naturally break down over time (as seen is social experiments such as "the telephone game"), so even if we were to assume that the first gospel (G.Mark) was founded in oral tradition, his telling would have cherry-picked details from a wide variety of available tellings. G.Matthew and G.Luke/Acts are based, in part, off of G.Mark and G.John is mostly a separate writing.

Despite some commonalities, each gospel has a differences in their telling of Jesus' story. In several cases, these tellings contradict one another (the day of Jesus' death being just one of more obvious examples).

So the canonical gospels, which cannot be proven to be eyewitness accounts and have no clear authorship, complete with contradictory details, cannot be reasonably taken for evidence for Jesus.

Eyewitness Accounts
There are no known eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life and death. The closest thing that we have historical evidence for is Saul's (Paul's) vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Again, the is not to say that such eyewitness accounts might not be discovered someday, however that still means that we have no evidence now. Furthermore such accounts, once shown not to be forgeries, would only solve the historical Jesus problem, not the messianic Jesus problem.

Early Christian Writings
Many early christian writings, specifically those made by historians, are presented as evidence for historical Jesus. Some of these include the writings of Josephus, Tacticus, Justin Martyr, and others. Besides the obvious fact that none of these authors are contemporaries of Jesus, most of the non-contested passages simply make reference to christianity (many of the works that site Jesus directly have been shown to be forgeries or clerical "enhancements" made during the hand-copying process).

Having knowledge of a religious cult is not proof of the validity of its doctrine, only that it exists. This would be the equivalent of the some future generation using a journalist's report to conclude that David Koresh was the messiah. Therefore, even the historical documents that we do have do not make a strong case for the existence of Jesus.

Contemporary Historians
As alluded to in the previous sections, there are no known contemporary references to Jesus. Even if one were to argue that there would have been no reason to have such references, that would not change the fact that we don't have any. Therefore, no evidence from this area either.

Old Testament Prophecy
I've seen several argument made that Jesus must be the messiah because he meets the qualifications set forth by the prophecies of the OT. Despite the fact that some passages of the bible contradict this argument (Jesus as Isiah) or create logical problems (Jesus comes from the line of David even though he has no biological father), some people still point to this claim as support for their argument.

Paul claims to have been a Pharisee, therefore he would have had working knowledge of OT prophecy. Considering that he's our only "eyewitness" and christianity's first evangelist, it seems pretty obvious that if he wanted to create a cult based on the messiah, all he would have to do is write a story about a guy that meets the conditions of the prophecies and presto...instant messiah. The fact that Paul's fictitious story corroborates key points from the OT's fictitious prophecies is not impressive nor is it convincing.

Revelation
Revelation is the claim that Jesus is real because it has been revealed to someone. Usually this revelation is spiritual in nature, however sometimes there is a physical manifestation. The physical manifestations can usually be dismissed quite readily as mental illness, tricks of light, mass hysteria, or the mathematical probability that some potato chips are just going to bear quasi-accurate resemblances to outlines of cultural icons.

The spiritual revelations might appear to be a harder nut to crack until you consider that people have such "revelations" regardless of culture or era...and most of them have had nothing to do with Jesus. If a christian goes into a cave and meditates/prays for 10 days, he or she is going to claim to have had spiritual contact with Jesus. If a muslim does this, they will claim to have had spiritual contact with allah. If a buddhist does this, they will claim to have spiritual contact with....well, themselves, but you get the point. The only common thread here is that deep introspection causes most humans to have deeply spiritual experiences. To claim that one's own religion is the only one that can do this is to ignore the evidence. To claim that such an experience is proof of their respective deity is foolish.

Experiments using MRI technology have shown that there are "spiritual centers" in our brain. They are active when test subjects pray or meditate. They are also active in atheletes when they "go into The Zone". All these experiments show is that our brain and achieve higher states of consciousness. This is not a christian-specific phenomena.

Therefore, as with all the other examples provided, "revelation" is not evidence for Jesus.

The Story of Jesus is Not Unique

At this point, some might be wondering "well then, where did the story of Jesus come from?".

This is a good question and luckily one that has an answer. Remember that the christian myth takes part during the Roman Empire. The Romans (proper) were pagans that pretty much stole Greek mythology and changed all the names. The stories of Zeus and Jupiter are largely similar, except the names have changed. Hermes is Mercury, Aphrodite is Venus, Poseidon is Neptune, the list goes on and on. To summarize, during the time that christianity is developing, there are a myriad of pagan mythologies available but one of the most prevalent was Greek/Roman myth (keep in mind that christianity is an spin-off of judaism, which itself is one of many religions and not even a very big one at the time).

So what are the components of Jesus' story that really make him special. I believe the following list is representative:

The Virgin Birth/Son of God
Miracles
Death/Sacrifice
Resurrection/Ascent


The Virgin Birth/Son of God
Ok, this may be the only item in this list that is arguable unique to christianity. However, ignoring the debate of the translation, the fact remains that there are several myths of gods impregnating women. Some of the more well-known Greek heroes resulting from zeus consorting with a mortal woman include:

Hercules
Perseus
Dionysus

There are at least a dozen more myths of about the children that mortal women bore for zeus. And this is just one of the many Greek gods that consorted with mortal women. And this is just one set of myths amongst a myriad of others.

So the idea that a god made a child with a mortal woman is hardly news. In the ancient world, kings and rulers were frequently considered to be the offspring of the gods. Jesus is merely a drop in the ocean of demi-gods.

Miracles
Again, stories about miracle workers are nothing special. All religions contain stories of miracles, and while christianity is no exception, neither is it groundbreaking or unique in this regard.

Death/Sacrifice
I grouped death and sacrifice together because I wanted to limit myself to myths where the hero's death was a sacrificial one.

Prometheus - son of Zeus. Stole fire from the gods so that mankind could learn and prosper (tree of knowledge anyone?). Zeus punished his son by having him shackled to the side of mountain, where a giant eagle eats his insides every day and his body is magically renewed every night. Prometheus sacrifices for all mankind.

Dionysus - son of Zeus. Was fed to the titans as a sacrifice (sacrament?). Zeus slew the titans and from their ashes created mankind. Dionysus sacrifices for all mankind.

Here we have just two examples from one religion where the son of a god is sacrificed for mankind.

Resurrection/Ascent
This is another all-too-common theme is mythology. The aforementiond renewal of Prometheus is one example. Hercules mortal body was shed when he died, however his divine spirit returned to be with his father in olympus. Adonis was killed and then brought back to life by Aphrodite.

I'm sure that someone will want to point out that none of these myths match the Jesus myth precisely. To them I would want to point out that no one is going to be compelled to accept a story that sounds exactly like the story they already have. Authors, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, poets, etc are constantly making variations on a theme in an effort to pass their work of as "new" or "innovative". The early christian writers were exactly the same as our modern writers. They wrote stories that their audiences would accept and enjoy. No surprise that the stories aren't exact duplicates. I think the similarities are much more telling than the differences.

To summarize: The burden of proof is on christians to show that their belief system is true. I've summarized each of the areas where we currently lack any evidence for Jesus' existence, let alone divinity. Finally, I've shown the story of Jesus is not unique or special by comparing it to just one contemporary pagan religion.

I welcome any and all comments, arguments, contrary evidence, etc.

Thanks for reading.

Jae Onasi
04-13-2007, 02:43 AM
Geez, like I don't have enough to go research and quote already. :D Thanks for the extra work, Achilles. :xp:

I was specific in the Christianity thread because I wanted it to have a fairly narrow focus and not repeat ad nauseum the theism/atheism debate when we already had a thread for that.

Where are you finding the dating for the gospels? The sources I've seen date them around 40-70 AD (I've got the Archeology Bible--I'll go check the sources in there and try to have that up soon--it's after 1am for me atm), and are attributed to Matthew, Mark, and John, Christ's disciples and contemporaries, and obviously eyewitnesses.

Did Christ have to write these gospels? No, and He likely did not have a whole lot of time to spend writing His memoirs. He was a little busy spreading His message, healing people, etc. I don't consider it bad that He didn't write them personally. There are plenty of famous people in history who never wrote word one about themselves, and yet we view their histories as reliable.

Achilles
04-13-2007, 03:13 AM
Geez, like I don't have enough to go research and quote already. :D Thanks for the extra work, Achilles. :xp: Well, I've put it all in one place for you. You're welcome :D

Y'know, considering that you're the Christian and I'm the infidel, I find it a little curious that you need more time than I do to research a subject that you seem to think you're more familiar with than I am ;)

I was specific in the Christianity thread because I wanted it to have a fairly narrow focus and not repeat ad nauseum the theism/atheism debate when we already had a thread for that. I didn't take any offense the the ground rules, but I appreciate the clarification.

Where are you finding the dating for the gospels? The sources I've seen date them around 40-70 AD (I've got the Archeology Bible--I'll go check the sources in there and try to have that up soon--it's after 1am for me atm), and are attributed to Matthew, Mark, and John, Christ's disciples and contemporaries, and obviously eyewitnesses.Early Christian Writings (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com) has G.Mark between 65-80 AD and G.John between 90-120 AD.

Jae, I'm actually a little disappointed. As a devoted Christian, I assumed that you would've known that the gospel authors weren't disciples (apostles). There was an apostle named John and an apostle names Matthew, but there isn't any evidence that these are the same John and Matthew. Regardless, Mark and Luke were clearly not.

None of the gospels are signed, nor are any of the gospel writers referred to by name in the gospels themselves. Clearly someone wrote G.Mark, G.Matthew, G.Luke, and G.John, but for all we knew the true author's names were Billy, Bobby, Sam, and Nick.

As for them "obviously being eyewitnesses", I guess I'm going to have to wait for your evidence :).

Did Christ have to write these gospels? No, and He likely did not have a whole lot of time to spend writing His memoirs. He was a little busy spreading His message, healing people, etc. I don't consider it bad that He didn't write them personally. There are plenty of famous people in history who never wrote word one about themselves, and yet we view their histories as reliable. No, not at all. My point is that something written in his hand would be evidence for his existence. At the time of this writing we have nothing. Also, writing about oneself is not the only way of determining someone's historicity. I think we should be very careful not to set up any false dichotomies here.

Thanks for your reply.

Jae Onasi
04-13-2007, 03:42 AM
It depends on which Mark you talk about, and indeed Luke was not one of the 12 (and I didn't specify he was).

It takes me longer because I like to do my own research rather than do a copy/paste from a Christian website. We could copy and paste from the atheist and Christian websites and toss those quotes back and forth, but it wouldn't be terribly beneficial, at least for me. If the goal is to win an argument, then that is certainly a valid option. However, researching it's half the fun, but I'm an education junkie to be sure so my perspective might be a bit skewed.

Achilles
04-13-2007, 04:09 AM
It depends on which Mark you talk about, and indeed Luke was not one of the 12 (and I didn't specify he was). Indeed. My apologies. I saw three names on the second line and just assumed the fourth was on the third. It's late here too :)

Regardless:
John P. Meier provides an example in which the author of Mark shows himself to be dependent on oral tradition.The story of the feeding of the multitude is found twice in Mark and once in John. Meier writes (A Marginal Jew, v. 2, pp. 965-6): "This suggests a long and complicated tradition history reaching back to the early days of the first Christian generation. Prior to Mark's Gospel there seems to have been two cycles of traditions about Jesus' ministry in Galilee, each one beginning with one version of the feeding miracle (Mk 6:32-44 and Mk 8:1-10). Before these cycles were created, the two versions of the feeding would have circulated as independent units, the first version attracting to itself the story of Jesus' walking on the water (a development also witnessed in John 6), while the second version did not receive such an elaboration. Behind all three versions of the miracle story would have stood some primitive form."Why would an eyewitness/author of the first gospel need to be dependent upon oral tradition? The author of G.Mark was not an eyewitness.

The author of the Gospel of Mark does indeed seem to lack first-hand knowledge of the geography of Palestine. Randel Helms writes concerning Mark 11:1 (Who Wrote the Gospels?, p. 6): "Anyone approaching Jerusalem from Jericho would come first to Bethany and then Bethphage, not the reverse. This is one of several passages showing that Mark knew little about Palestine; we must assume, Dennis Nineham argues, that 'Mark did not know the relative positions of these two villages on the Jericho road' (1963, 294-295). Indeed, Mark knew so little about the area that he described Jesus going from Tyrian territory 'by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee through the territory of the Ten Towns' (Mark 7:31); this is similar to saying that one goes from London to Paris by way of Edinburgh and Rome. The simplist solution, says Nineham, is that 'the evangelist was not directly acquainted with Palestine' (40)." Again, not an eyewitness.

It takes me longer because I like to do my own research rather than do a copy/paste from a Christian website.Wouldn't finding the site constitute "research"? Doesn't take too long to do a quick Google search on the author to make sure that they are reliable.

We could copy and paste from the atheist and Christian websites and toss those quotes back and forth, but it wouldn't be terribly beneficial, at least for me.Can I quote this the next time you throw an christian/conservative website at me? :D

If the goal is to win an argument, then that is certainly a valid option. However, researching it's half the fun, but I'm an education junkie to be sure so my perspective might be a bit skewed.*shrugs* I still maintain that my questions require more common sense/honest answers than research, but I'll take your word for it.

Darth InSidious
04-13-2007, 02:42 PM
Achilles: Will respond more fully later, when (if, DV) I have the time, but I thought I'd point out that you are making very definite statements about subjects which are still very much in the debate-flux. For example, the gospels have not been certainly dated. The question is very much up in the air.

Second, I thought I'd point out the existence of sayings/parable/miracle lists.

Third, Jesus' teaching is the main focus of his life and death and life.

Fourth, I suggest you read up on the Synoptic Problem, and read the gospels. The way you speak of Jesus/the gospels/etc seems to betray a lack of knowledge of them :)

Achilles
04-13-2007, 04:08 PM
Achilles: Will respond more fully later, when (if, DV) I have the time, but I thought I'd point out that you are making very definite statements about subjects which are still very much in the debate-flux. For example, the gospels have not been certainly dated. The question is very much up in the air. Actually, I thought I was pretty good about making my arguments with such counter-arguments in mind. The fact that something is debated means that it isn't evidence. One or more points may have the potential to become evidence, does not mean that they should be taken as such. Furthermore, I submit that religion is the only institution that seems will to accept "conclusions" before the facts have been establish.

The point of my entire post was to point out that no one can say, "Yep. Jesus. Right there".

Second, I thought I'd point out the existence of sayings/parable/miracle lists. I'm aware of it but not sure what relevance it has here. Unless it can be shown that it was drafted by Jesus or an eyewitness, it is nothing more than a list of biblical sayings. That the synoptic gospels plagiarized from it doesn't seem very significant to me. This would be like finding a list of phrases that J.K. Rowling kept in order to keep track of what she wanted Harry Potter to say in her books.

Third, Jesus' teaching is the main focus of his life and death and life. As is the case for the Buddha and any other religious prophet. I'm not sure I take your point here. Are you proposing that this is unique to christianity?

Fourth, I suggest you read up on the Synoptic Problem, and read the gospels. The way you speak of Jesus/the gospels/etc seems to betray a lack of knowledge of them :)I'm familiar with the gospels and the synoptic problem, but again I'm not sure what relevance this has on the conversation. This goes back to the comment I made in another thread about having memorized the dictionary when the discussion is misspelled words. No doubt your familiarity with the texts is superior to my own, however having memorized all the words will not help make them any less fictional.

If we find Q and discover that it was written by Jesus (or a eyewitness), then you'll have evidence and we can begin to unravel my arguments. Until then though, we have no evidence.

If you have a problem with one of my argument that is fine; I don't shy away from correction. Trying to introduce a personal attack will not help your case.

Thanks for reading.

jonathan7
08-31-2007, 12:04 PM
So here it is: Evidence for Jesus (archaeological and otherwise). Some of what I will say here has been said elsewhere. In the interest of conciseness, I may repeat myself, but that is only to prevent the reader from having to sift through old threads. In other words, my apologies if any of this sounds familiar.


Historical Evidence for Jesus the Man
This one is likely to be simplest and shortest of the sections. The fact is that we don't have any. We don't have any of his personal writings, nor the personal writings of anyone that knew him (friends, family, neighbors, etc). We don't have an official record of birth, death, marriage, etc.

Christians will mostly likely want to point out that literacy rates during that time were abysmal and that the likelihood of such a record existing, let alone surviving, is negligible. They would be absolutely correct. The problem remains that none of these things exist nonetheless, in other words, they cannot deny that there is no historical evidence for this specific man named Jesus. It may be that some day, we discover something (a diary, census data, etc) that clearly shows that this specific man existed, however until that day, the "evidence" box has to remain unchecked on this particular point.

In this post I merely aim to argue for the exsistance of Jesus (oh I I loathe to do this but I am going to have to use internet sources such as wiki as I am robbed of the university and my Churches library at this moment in time!

Here is the main Wiki article on the Historicity of Jesus;Webpage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus_Christ) it is pretty much accurate description of the topic.

Michael Grant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Grant_%28author%29)the acclaimed historian had this to say about denial/arguments against Jesus exsistance;

…if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. ... To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.' In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary

M. Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review, pp. 199-200

Indeed further resources;

"The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds. ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted." - Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), p. 16

The vast majority of historians and New Testament Scholars regaurdless of faith (Atheist, Jew and Christian) say that Jesus was an historical person, they are the experts in the field; so I would certainly argue that you have to go some way to refute them; and with regaurds Jesus exsistance the onus is on those who want to say he didn't exsist to really proove it, as the majority of experts are in a concensus of opinion that he did exsist, and further to that they continually (and succesfully in all the debates I have listened to) refute the claims he didn't exsist.

Here is an Scholarly Article from William Lane Craig on the subjectClicky (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5207) - You may need to register for the site to read it if you haven't already; which specific to Achilles, you may well enjoy as you can email questions/points/criticisms to him, and he may respond in the Q/A section if your email sticks out, you can also debate on the forums there which I am sure you would enjoy.

A few other resources you may want to investigate if you haven't seen them already;

http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/historicaljesus.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

And finally the 'The Case for Christ' by Lee Stroebel.

Achilles
08-31-2007, 01:44 PM
Apologies in advance. I've been trying very hard for the past several weeks to avoid simply pointing out fallacies, but in the interest of brevity, I'm going to fall off the wagon (hopefully only for this post).

Here is the main Wiki article on the Historicity of Jesus;Webpage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus_Christ) it is pretty much accurate description of the topic. Yes, I've read this too. Which part of this resource do you feel refutes my specific points?

Michael Grant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Grant_%28author%29)the acclaimed historian had this to say about denial/arguments against Jesus exsistance;<snip>
This is known as Appeal to Consequences of a Belief fallacy.
"Well if this is true, then these other things would have to be true too, and that would be bad". What this doesn't do is actually refute the argument.

He then appears to follow up this up with a Burden of Proof fallacy.
"No one has proved that he doesn't exist". Historians and theologians claim that jesus existed. The burden of proof is on them to provide evidence that support those claims (as I outlined in Post 1 of this thread).

Next, he support is Burden of Proof fallacy with an Appeal to Ridicule fallacy. "Pshaw...everyone knows this isn't true". This is nothing more than a diversionary tactic.

Lastly, he finishes things off with a Appeal to Authority fallacy. "Oh, we have lots of evidence to support that". Ok, great. Please provide some.

So Fallacious Arguments: 4, Actual Evidence: 0 for Mr. Grant.

Indeed further resources;<snip>
Fallacious Arguments: 2 (Appeal to Ridicule, Appeal to Popularity), Actual Evidence: 0 for Mr. Van Voorst.

The vast majority of historians and New Testament Scholars regaurdless of faith (Atheist, Jew and Christian) say that Jesus was an historical person, they are the experts in the field; Appeal to Authority.

so I would certainly argue that you have to go some way to refute them; Burden of Proof.

and with regaurds Jesus exsistance the onus is on those who want to say he didn't exsist to really proove it, Burden of Proof.

as the majority of experts are in a concensus of opinion that he did exsist, Appeal to Authority.

and further to that they continually (and succesfully in all the debates I have listened to) refute the claims he didn't exsist. Biased Sample.

Here is an Scholarly Article from William Lane Craig... You do this to me on purpose. I hope that Craig adds a Cher midi to his website at some point so the experience can actually be more painful.

A few other resources you may want to investigate if you haven't seen them already;

http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/historicaljesus.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

And finally the 'The Case for Christ' by Lee Stroebel. It's been my experience that if you read one apologist work, you've pretty much read them all, but per my first reply, I'll be more than happy to address any specific arguments that you feel refute any of my points.

Thanks!