Jesus is on trial in Italy: Normal life in a post-Christian society?

There is an interesting story going around the Internet this week about a man in Italy who is suing a priest over the whether Jesus was a historical figure.  There will be a trial.  In this post-Christian western society we are a part of, it is clear that we one day may be beyond the Jesus Seminar and those like them that deny Jesus and His deity.  What we may see coming is a challenge to what used to be conventional wisdom such as the fact that Jesus was a historical person.  In the London Times in the UK the following story ran:  Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest.  Below is what the paper gives as evidence that Jesus existed.

        THE EVIDENCE

  • The Gospels say that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, preached and performed miracles in Galilee and died on the Cross in Jerusalem
  • In his Antiquities of the Jews at the end of the 1st century, Josephus, the Jewish historian, refers to Jesus as “a wise man, a doer of wonderful works” who “drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles”
  • Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet. Many Jewish theologians regard Jesus as an itinerant rabbi who popularised many of the beliefs of liberal Jews. Neither Muslims nor Jews believe he was the Messiah and Son of God
  • Tacitus, the Roman historian who lived from 55 to 120, mentions “Christus” in his Annals. In about 120 Suetonius, author of The Lives of the Caesars, says: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome.”

Other links on this story are found here:

Now, this news not a surprise, of course.  We see this sort of thing all the time.  One day, it could be that the Holocaust along with Jesus are marked out of our history books.  But, that would not make them untrue.  In fact, I believe truth will win out.  It is just that our culture is indeed in a post-Christian era.  I predict that in 2006 both our spiritual hunger and the defamation of the historical Jesus will heat up.  Let’s see.  What do you think about this?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

12 comments

  1. It amazes me how a guy who never existed can generate such a world-wide controversy. Your reference to holocaust-like extermination of Christianity is well placed here. Hitler didn’t all of a sudden just put the Jews on a train headed for Auschwitz. He spent years planting seeds of discord and distrust of the Jewish community in his own corner of Europe. The escalation of their attempted extermination was a gradual, deliberate, and planned process. Sadly, we are beginning to see this same trajectory for the Christians in our society. Questioning the authenticity of Christ is just part of that process. What I also see happening concurrently is the blacklisting of self-professed Christians who are in potential positions of leadership: Harriet Meyer’s recent failed nomination to the Supreme Court was as much about her religious beliefs as it was about her perceived professional qualifications.

  2. It amazes me how a guy who never existed can generate such a world-wide controversy. Your reference to holocaust-like extermination of Christianity is well placed here. Hitler didn’t all of a sudden just put the Jews on a train headed for Auschwitz. He spent years planting seeds of discord and distrust of the Jewish community in his own corner of Europe. The escalation of their attempted extermination was a gradual, deliberate, and planned process. Sadly, we are beginning to see this same trajectory for the Christians in our society. Questioning the authenticity of Christ is just part of that process. What I also see happening concurrently is the blacklisting of self-professed Christians who are in potential positions of leadership: Harriet Meyer’s recent failed nomination to the Supreme Court was as much about her religious beliefs as it was about her perceived professional qualifications.

  3. It amazes me how a guy who never existed can generate such a world-wide controversy. Your reference to holocaust-like extermination of Christianity is well placed here. Hitler didn’t all of a sudden just put the Jews on a train headed for Auschwitz. He spent years planting seeds of discord and distrust of the Jewish community in his own corner of Europe. The escalation of their attempted extermination was a gradual, deliberate, and planned process. Sadly, we are beginning to see this same trajectory for the Christians in our society. Questioning the authenticity of Christ is just part of that process. What I also see happening concurrently is the blacklisting of self-professed Christians who are in potential positions of leadership: Harriet Meyer’s recent failed nomination to the Supreme Court was as much about her religious beliefs as it was about her perceived professional qualifications.

  4. It amazes me how a guy who never existed can generate such a world-wide controversy. Your reference to holocaust-like extermination of Christianity is well placed here. Hitler didn’t all of a sudden just put the Jews on a train headed for Auschwitz. He spent years planting seeds of discord and distrust of the Jewish community in his own corner of Europe. The escalation of their attempted extermination was a gradual, deliberate, and planned process. Sadly, we are beginning to see this same trajectory for the Christians in our society. Questioning the authenticity of Christ is just part of that process. What I also see happening concurrently is the blacklisting of self-professed Christians who are in potential positions of leadership: Harriet Meyer’s recent failed nomination to the Supreme Court was as much about her religious beliefs as it was about her perceived professional qualifications.

  5. What I mainly meant to say about the Holocaust is in reference to the comments from Iran’s president denying it ever happened. It is scary to think how many outside of Iran agree with him, otherwise he would not have said it. So, the issue with Jesus is similar in that many agree with this athiest in Italy.
    What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. In a post-Christian world, truth in general–whether Jesus or the Holocaust–is in jeopardy.

  6. What I mainly meant to say about the Holocaust is in reference to the comments from Iran’s president denying it ever happened. It is scary to think how many outside of Iran agree with him, otherwise he would not have said it. So, the issue with Jesus is similar in that many agree with this athiest in Italy.
    What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. In a post-Christian world, truth in general–whether Jesus or the Holocaust–is in jeopardy.

  7. What I mainly meant to say about the Holocaust is in reference to the comments from Iran’s president denying it ever happened. It is scary to think how many outside of Iran agree with him, otherwise he would not have said it. So, the issue with Jesus is similar in that many agree with this athiest in Italy.
    What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. In a post-Christian world, truth in general–whether Jesus or the Holocaust–is in jeopardy.

  8. What I mainly meant to say about the Holocaust is in reference to the comments from Iran’s president denying it ever happened. It is scary to think how many outside of Iran agree with him, otherwise he would not have said it. So, the issue with Jesus is similar in that many agree with this athiest in Italy.
    What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. In a post-Christian world, truth in general–whether Jesus or the Holocaust–is in jeopardy.

  9. Point taken about the holocaust; I appreciate the clarification.
    Another point: You said:

    “What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. “

    I need to do some follow up study, but I vaguely remember reading references in the Bible that speak to people questioning the very existence of Jesus and the creation of the world itself. Somewhere in one of the Corinthians, I believe, but I could be wrong.

    Your post here makes an excellent point.

  10. Point taken about the holocaust; I appreciate the clarification.
    Another point: You said:

    “What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. “

    I need to do some follow up study, but I vaguely remember reading references in the Bible that speak to people questioning the very existence of Jesus and the creation of the world itself. Somewhere in one of the Corinthians, I believe, but I could be wrong.

    Your post here makes an excellent point.

  11. Point taken about the holocaust; I appreciate the clarification.
    Another point: You said:

    “What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. “

    I need to do some follow up study, but I vaguely remember reading references in the Bible that speak to people questioning the very existence of Jesus and the creation of the world itself. Somewhere in one of the Corinthians, I believe, but I could be wrong.

    Your post here makes an excellent point.

  12. Point taken about the holocaust; I appreciate the clarification.
    Another point: You said:

    “What is interesting here with this story is that it goes beyond questioning religious belief to altering historical facts. “

    I need to do some follow up study, but I vaguely remember reading references in the Bible that speak to people questioning the very existence of Jesus and the creation of the world itself. Somewhere in one of the Corinthians, I believe, but I could be wrong.

    Your post here makes an excellent point.

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