No matter how often and regardless of how much passion or anger you mistake for righteous indignation you say it with, it’s nonsensical and it makes people like me think you are either woefully misinformed or wilfully unserious.
The simple answer to this absurd claim is that the historical textual evidence for Jesus is convincing. It is convincing in its earliness and abundance… it is really that simple. Professor Paul Maier remarks that “The total evidence is so overpowering, so absolute that only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus’ existence.”
Agnostic scholar Bart Ehrman compares those who deny Jesus ever existing to six-day creationists: “These views are so extreme (that Jesus did not exist) and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.” The late non-Christian scholar Maurice Casey is most direct:
“This view [that Jesus didn’t exist] is demonstrably false. It is fueled by a regrettable form of atheist prejudice, which holds all the main primary sources, and Christian people, in contempt. …. Most of its proponents are also extraordinarily incompetent.”
In agreement with Maurice is atheist historian Tim O’Niell who argues that he “can safely claim that most atheists are historically illiterate… [when] atheists comment about history or, worse, try to use history in debates about religion, they are usually doing so with a grasp of the subject that is stunted at about high school level.”
It would appear that many atheists like to drive the point home that many Christians reject, for example, evolutionary theory; something, they correctly claim, runs counter to the overwhelming consensus of scientists. However, out of the other side of his mouth the same atheist gives credence to the idea that Jesus never existed as a historical figure. This claim, it is worth noting, would be laughed out of professional circles everywhere. In other words, this atheist only likes the data that he thinks agrees with him but not that which doesn’t. This is the definition of a double standard.
*Update: I wrote this on Friday and, since then, I have decided to make it a series. Up next, “Believing Gandalf is a real wizard because he is described in The Lord of the Rings makes just as much sense as believing Jesus is real because he is described in the Bible.”