OP-ED: Questions With No Answers
When one starts to do research they must ask themselves questions, one being do you expect to find answers. I started doing research this weekend on a man named Jesus that millions follow.
To say for certain that he lived is very likely. To say for certain when he lived though is not as easy to pinpoint.
I didn't start the research to say that the religion that bears his name is wrong. It was more of a personal search to see what merits that the New Testament have on recorded history. If you look for the proof of relevant facts from the stories you should expect to find something tangible to examine. When you look at the books of history of the Old Testament you can find dates and facts that give a time line. David was indeed the ruler of the Jewish people. The Tel Dan Stela, the Mesha Stela, and the Karnak Inscription all nonbiblical documents talk of the reign of the House of David.
That's not to say that Jesus didn't walk the Earth. What I did discover was simple facts that I took for granted while growing up perhaps didn't happen as to the way they are described in the New Testament. The massacre of the Innocents may or may not have happened, there is no written historical proof that it did. The census that is spoken of in the New Testament is another historical marker that may or may not have happened but there is no evidence of Joseph the Earthly father on a census that correlates to the reign of Herod. The trial of Jesus is undocumented other than in the Bible. Another marker that I hadn't explored was the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
That would have been accounted by the Jews without question. That would give us a true and certain date of the death of Christ. This First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Recorded history. It was rebuilt and completed by Herod the Great about 20 BCE. Recorded history. The outer walls are still standing but the inner workings of the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. From the dates of the Bible there is no possible way that Jesus was alive in 70 CE(or AD). So there goes another marker in the time line of Jesus had the New Testament.
How could this man who had such an enormous effect on the way the world is today be virtually a ghost in the history books? It baffles me. I honestly expected too many historically true documentations of his life to be able to even make a dent into them. I did not want to have even more questions. Not on something this big.
Other religions that base their theories on men have absolute proof that they existed.
According to tradition, Confucius was born in 551 BC. This was during the Spring and Autumn Period, at the beginning of the Hundred Schools of Thought philosophical movement. Confucius was born in or near the city of Qufu, in the Chinese State of Lu (now part of Shandong Province). Early accounts say that he was born into a noble family that had fallen on hard times and had become quite poor.
Sources on Muhammad’s life concur that he was born ca. 570 CE in the city of Mecca in Arabia. He was orphaned at a young age and was brought up by his uncle, later worked mostly as a merchant, and was married by age 26.
So what does this prove?
One could say that faith needs no proof. With Jesus that is a given. His name brings comfort to many. That is a given. Just as other faiths bring comfort to those followers.
As simply a CJ I don't expect my words to be considered more than any others. I realize by admitting to being an Agnostic that others will assume that I am looking for proof that Jesus didn't exist. I understand any findings I make will be looked at and criticized because I don't have the faith. That I am walking a pathway of examining my beliefs. I like facts. Give me facts and I will examine them and be able to have a certainty of belief.
I still believe that Jesus walked the Earth. The intelligent part of me insists that too many people follow the teachings of a man and that man can not just be a legend. The Gospels were not written by stupid people. Luke was a doctor. Matthew was a tax collector. They understood math, one understood science.
Why are there so many uncertainties in the gospels of the New Testament? Were the books meant to simply teach the teachings of a man? Were people not expected to question the origins and accept on blind faith?
The ongoing quest for answers leaves me only more questions.