I recently read the book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.
In light of our topic this weekend, I wanted to share the basic storyline (12 points) that are established, simply by reading by early non-Christian sources:
"Just how many non-Christian sources are there that mention Jesus? Including Josephus, there are ten known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life. By contrast, over the same 150 years, there are nine non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus. So discounting all the Christian sources, Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor. If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning Tiberius 43 to 10!…
"What can we learn from them and the more neutral non-Christian sources? We learn that they admit certain facts about early Christianity that help us piece together a storyline that is surprisingly congruent with the New Testament. Piecing together all ten non-Christian references, we see that:
- Jesus lived during time of Tiberius Caesar.
- He lived a virtuous life.
- He was a wonder-worker.
- He had a brother named James.
- He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
- He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
- He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
- Darkness and an earthquake occurred when he died.
- His disciples believed he rose from the dead.
- His disciples were willing to die for their belief.
- Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.
- His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshiped Jesus as God.
"In light of these non-Christian references, the theory that Jesus never existed is clearly unreasonable. How could non-Christian writers collectively reveal a storyline congruent with the New Testament if Jesus never existed? But the implications run even deeper than that. What does this say about the New Testament? On the face of it, non-Christian sources affirm the New Testament. While the non-Christian authors don’t say they believe in the Resurrection, they report that the disciples certainly believed it."