There are many reasons why I personally am one of a minority group of atheists that does not believe in the existence of an historical Christ. I have written about this in my blog before, and have outlined several reasons as to why I believe that Jesus was the result of a mythological construct and not an actual person. In this post I would like to add yet another reason that I believe is also very strong evidence against the existence of an historical Christ.
I have mentioned this in passing and have gotten the response that in "those days" people did not use first and last names to identify one another. In fact, they were recognized by what town they were from, or what profession they were known for, etc. There is plenty of evidence of this in the scriptures. But one thing that I have noticed is that when it comes to certain figures in the bible whether it’s a minor figure or major component to a story their full name is given.
We have for example Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:2, Luke 3:1, Acts 4:27, 1 Timothy 6:13), Judas Iscariot (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16), Mary Magdalene (Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Luke 24:10) just to name a few. But the name of the most important figure in all of the New Testament remains a mystery. Why is it that the authors of the bible decided to hide the identity of the most prominent figure of their narratives? It doesn't make any sense! It's like making a major motion picture and hiding the identity of the main character throughout the film.
My guess is that the gospels are a combination of fact and fiction. Jesus is not an historical figure but a mythical one who was later inserted into an historical backdrop to help give the stories authenticity. Today we call this fictional writing and as any avid reader can attest it is a very popular style of writing.
The very name of Jesus Christ is not a name in the traditional sense. Jesus is the transliteration from the Hebrew Jeshua which means Jehovah is salvation and Christ is translated into anointed or the anointed. You can read a short article from the Catholic Encyclopedia here. Although Jesus is believed to be a popular name in the first century this fact does not get us any closer to the so called “real Jesus” or historical “Christ.”
My major contention with scholars in biblical studies is that they are trying to authenticate the existence of Christ basing themselves mostly on the gospel narratives and maybe a couple of other relevant texts. But the fact of the matter is that the gospels have been shown to be unreliable on several counts as historical texts, and that in order to affirm the historicity of Christ you must first identify who he was.
The Old Testament plays this same name game when it comes to certain historical events. The one that bugs me the most is the narrative of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. The bible doesn’t tell you who this pharaoh was that died in the Red Sea or Sea of Reeds together with his entire army. Don’t you think this is a matter of historical importance if we are to authenticate the event as an actual event?
Most Christians don’t realize it but they are worshiping an anonymous deity whom some of them believed was actually named Jesus Christ! This is one of those curve ball questions I love to throw at theists when they come knocking at my door to proselytize, the dumb ass look on their face after you bring it up is priceless! Their fumbling for answers and stammering when their heads are revealed at that moment to be devoid of any possible answer is worth its weight in gold.I mean seriously, don't you think it would have been of the utmost importance for historical reasons to at least identify who the main character of this narrative was by name?