His argument can thus be boiled down to this. If you discount or ignore all the contemporary and near-contemporary eye-witness and other accounts of Jesus’s life, because these sources were biased, then the other evidence like miracles, the lives of the saints, the faith of billions, and so and on can’t possibly be true. Therefore, Jesus never existed.
Early Christmas morning, the Washington Post thought it should stick its thumb in the eyes of those celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Its official “Post Opinions” Twitter account tweeted, “Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn’t add up.”
Many commented on the provocative timing. Publisher of Encounter books and author Roger Kimball said that the Post’s tweet was, “Really, all you need to know about that pathetic publication.” Conservative actor James Woods tweeted, “Why is this necessary today? Why insult people of a certain faith on the day they most cherish? It’s not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a matter of simple courtesy. #Rude”. (He added a ruder hashtag as well.) Many others were affronted.
The gibe was deliberate. It’s not like the story the Post touted was new. It contained no “breaking” news of some scholar unearthing new historical evidence. After all, the link in the Post’s tweet was to a four-year old, already-debunked opinion piece they published in December, 2014.
The article was by Raphael Lataster, with subtitle, “There are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence.”
What “good reasons” does he have? Lataster claims that there are a “lack of early sources” about the life of Jesus. What about the Gospels? He dismisses those because, he says, they
all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity — which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources — which they also fail to identify.
Should we dismiss Lataster’s (and, tacitly, the Washington Post’s) argument because he wants to promote atheism? The fallacy is obvious. As is the suggestion that since the authors of the Gospels were not professional historians who knew modern footnoting, they can’t be trusted. If we applied this rule equally, we’d have to toss out nearly all ancient literature.