Chapter Four: The Problem of the Christ Myth

My Problem With God Is…

Sunday, September 22

Chapter 4 tackles many conspiracy theorists who have taken the position that Jesus never existed, was simply a mythical character created by the culture of the time, or at a minimum, existed but did not raise from the dead. Clark writes “Under the persecution of both the Jews and the Roman Empire, Christianity grew from a group of twelve disciples to over 33 million people in just 350 years, and by 400 AD, 56% of the entire population of the Roman Empire were Christians.” This tells us that those closest to the life and resurrection of Jesus may have been more likely to place their faith in Jesus than many people today. He shares that time has allowed the truth to be mystified in some way. What is most surprising, is this distortion hasn’t taken place with the most scholarly historians, but instead with those who do not take an honest look at the actual evidence that exists. Because of great evidence, we can know “that he (Jesus) was a real flesh-and-blood Jewish teacher in first-century Israel”, who was crucified and raised from the dead.

Getting Started:

  1. Take a few minutes as a group and share what portions of the book or the Sunday morning message increased your confidence that Jesus really walked on this Earth.
  2. If “The Christ Myth” were true, that Jesus never existed, or that he was not raised from the dead, what ramifications would this have for Christianity? For humankind?
  3. When do you believe Jesus was born, and why do we currently celebrate it on December 25th? Why do we assume there were three kings at his birth? Why is it important to know scripture when engaging skeptics?
  4. Clark writes “Historians continue to debate the nature of Jesus, the exact date of his birth, what he did and taught, etc., but they almost unanimously affirm that he existed.” Knowing this, why do you believe so many have taken the position that he never existed?

Going Deeper:

  1. What have you done, or what will you do, if someone makes a claim that Jesus was not real? Do you pursue original texts, or rely on secondary sources? What benefit does critical study play in developing our faith position?
  2. Can you imagine how Christianity could grow so rapidly without the documented eyewitness accounts of the physical resurrection of Jesus? Can you relate this to a situation in your life, where it would be impossible to convince so many without eyewitnesses, and simply telling a story?