Myth Then, Myth now

Christianity was a myth when it was invented, and it is a myth still today. It's fun to spot modern myth being made.

Here at POCM, "myths" are the stories people tell when they start with the answer and fill in "facts" to match what they know to be true. For some people the fact that our Jesus stories are made up myths is important because it means the stories are not true. If you grew up Christian, you may be one of these people.

By the way

This POCM page is for advanced students who already see that our Christ stories are a myth, and who want to move on to see the myth in action.

There's more than "not true" to take from the Christ stories' mythicuosityness I think it's fun to pay attention not to the stories, but to the myth that contains them. It's fun to watch myth being made. It's fun to read the ancient Jesus stories, and spot the ancient ideas they were made up from. It's even more fun to watch myth being made today. It's fun to hear modern Jesus stories, and see the mythic way they are created, told and retold. Look at the myth. Watch the myth. Enjoy the myth.

Away back in bible times Paul and Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John knew what a God was, and they knew Jesus was one. So when they told stories about Him, they naturally included God properties He must have had. Divine father, mortal mother. Prophecies. Powers. Reads minds. Lives in the sky. Like that. It happened in that order. First  people knew Jesus was a God, then  they told stories about His God properties.

Modern Christians do the same. They start off knowing Jesus is real, then they tell stories about Him. As they tell their stories, they put in facts that make Jesus real. And since modern people are modern, the facts they put in are modern too.

Here are markers to look for in modern Christian story telling. When you see these markers, you're seeing myth being made. Wow.

Proving God...with science
Ancient people knew Gods send prophesies. In his second century Apologies, Mr. Saint Justin Martyr says he can prove Jesus is real by showing He fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament. Sure enough, that's what Mr. Martyr does. He goes on listing OT prophesies fulfilled by Jesus, chapter after chapter. When ancient people told stories about Jesus, they proved Jesus using ancient ideas.

Modern people know science works. Nowadays, when people tell stories about how Jesus and God are real, they fill their stories with science ideas. The Big Bang proves God. Fine Tuning proves God. Archaeology proves the New Testament. Papyrology proves gospel dates. Textural criticism proves gospel reliability. Historical methods prove Jesus' resurrection. On and on.

Enjoying Proving God with Science
I'm assuming here you have enough science literacy to know the apologists' "scientific" stories are, well, silly. Full of science lingo, empty of scientific method. Not taken from scientific sources. Circular. Special pleading. Flat made up. What you're hearing is not science, it's a made up story told with science words.

That's myth being made. That's cool to watch.

The "Kalam Cosmological Argument" isn't about cosmology. It isn't about science. It's about proving Jesus is real. The guy re-re-re-telling you the Kalam story isn't persuaded by the story. He believed the conclusion before he heard the proof. That's how myth works. You're watching one right now.

Let me suggest an attitude you might like to have the next time you're confronted by Christian myth-makers' unscientific scientific proofs of Jesus. Don't get mad. Don't get frustrated. Don't argue. Look at the myth. Watch the myth. Enjoy the myth.

"Scholars say... "
Scholars are our modern priests. You don't have to think. Our guys have done that for you.

Why doesn't electricity leak out of sockets, and dribble down the wall? I don't know. Every day, all day, we're confronted by technology we understand only vaguely. We rely on experts. Experts know and do amazing things. Experts are a huge part of modern culture. So when believers tell stories about Jesus, the "facts" they make up naturally include experts —scholars.

The point is not that scholarship is dumb. It isn't. The point is that when people who already know Jesus is real tell stories about Jesus, they make up facts about scholarship. They use "scholars say" to fill in gaps in their story. That's myth making. It's fun to watch.

Spotting "Scholars say..."
As you read and listen, notice how very very often apologists say, "scholars say...". Of course there are some things that are true that scholar-experts really do say, so to spot myth making you have to know enough about the discussion to spot when the thing scholars supposedly say is really something scholars don't say, and the story teller is just making stuff up. That's not easy, which is why this POCM page is for advanced students like you. All this is complicated by the fact that even scholars say, "scholars say." P52 "scholarship" is an example

Enjoying "Scholars say..." myth making
Once you know to look for it, you'll see "scholars say" myth making everywhere. Everywhere. Prepare to be amazed.

Once you know that "scholars say" myth making is a thing, you'll start to wonder, "Is it really true, what that guy just said? Do scholars really say that?" Go look it up for yourself.
Fun example: the Minimal Facts Myth
For modern "scholars say" myth making on raging steroids, it's hard to beat the Habermas Minimal Facts Proof of Jesus' Resurrection now popular on the Sunday school apologetics circuit.

Hillbilly Bible Scholar Dr. Gary Habermas, PhD, MA, BRE, OBE, Chairman of the Department of Philosophy & Theology at Liberty University, the Largest Christian University in the World, and Distinguished Research Professor holding an Appointment teaching in the PhD Program, has come up with a list of "facts" that he has convinced himself "most biblical scholars" agree on. The idea is to prove the bible stories about Jesus' resurrection are true, without using the words "because the bible is true." According to Distinguished Professor Dr. Habermas, Jesus' resurrection is real ...because scholars say. You don't have to think. Our guys have done that for you.

Distinguished Professor Dr. Habermaseses' hands are moving fast, so pay attention. Remember, all the world's available "facts" about Jesus come from the New Testament. But Distinguished Professor Dr. Habermas doesn't want to say "because the bible is true." Instead he effectively says, the bible stories about Jesus' resurrection are true "because scholars say the bible stories about Jesus' resurrection are true." Delicious.

And the bit about "all scholars agree"? Distinguished Professor Dr. Habermas made that up.

I really think you should surf right now to any one of the 17,000 Habermas Minimal Facts YouTube videos. See how hard Distinguished Professor Dr. Habermas hits the scientific-historical hoo-ha. He's using data. He's using facts. Aw shucks, he's just following scholars. You don't have to think. Our guys have done that for you. See the myth. Enjoy the myth.

Making stuff up
"All scholars agree, Jesus' tomb was empty."
"Myths take 17 generations to develop."
"Everything that exists had a beginning."
"The God Glycon was copied from the God Jesus."
"P52 was written in 125 AD."

Christians know God created the world, and Jesus was the son of God who lived the life described in their New Testament. Christians are not always clear on the details. When they tell stories about Jesus and the Bible, they fill in details the way they know they must be ...because they know Jesus is real. This does not mean Christians are liars. It does mean they are myth makers. It does mean the stories Christians tell about Jesus and the Bible are myths.

Spotting Made Up Stuff
Remember, it's not just that the Christian speaking to you now makes stuff up, it's that the stories he himself has heard and believed are made up. How do you spot made up stuff in Christians' stories? Their lips are moving. Chances are the "facts" in any story you hear about Jesus are made up —not taken from ancient texts. Not because Christians are liars. Because their story is a myth.

The real way to spot Made Up Stuff is to track down the primary evidence. Ask "How do you know that?" Keep asking.   How do you know P52 was written in 125 AD? Colin Roberts said so. How did he know? Papyrology. What facts did Colin Roberts use? Papyrology. What evidence is there about the accuracy and precision of papyrology? Colin Roberts said so.

Do this, and you'll discover that the trail ends early, before you get to a dispositive objective fact. Your Christian friend doesn't know what facts Colin Robert's used, because Colin Roberts didn't say. He doesn't know how accurate and precise papyrology is, because that science hasn't been done. Follow Christian stories back toward their origins, and you generally find the fundamental facts just got made up by someone.

Enjoying Made Up Stuff


Starting with your conclusion