The Evolution Of
Modern Christianity
Andy Dunigan

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "andy dunigan"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000 4:27 PM

I will post it because this is an important subject.

I haven't seen the film. Try to rent it and watch it first before you buy.

Remember that all attempts at putting together a history of Christianity, or to discover a historical Jesus, will involve focusing on certain select facts and ignoring or dismissing other facts. Thus, any attempt will end up being a theology, of sorts, reflecting the presuppositions of the historian. (Even this assessment can be seen as a kind of theology.)

The best treatment of this idea is the "Jesus agnosticism" of Robert M. Price in his new book "Deconstructing Jesus." In it, he makes strong cases for the likelihood that the "official" history put together by the Catholic Church in the fourth and fifth centuries are a far cry from what probably happened. (Of course. Any alternative will say this!) But Price goes on to show that this "official" history was derived from several different myths from several different communities. Some had the myth of the dying and resurrecting savior, others were Gnostics, others had a tale of a Messiah who wanted to save his country from Roman occupation, and various other myths that were floating around in various communities.

Price's hypothesis was so powerful that upon reading it, I abandoned the my decades-long-held Revolutionary model of the historical Jesus and have become a "Jesus agnostic." Price says that even if there were a historical Jesus, we could never know that today. In all the studies and Jesus books I've read, I am currently most comfortable with this model.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.