Letters To the Editor

October 15, 2019

Dear Editor:
In his column of 4 October 2019, entitled “Jesus is Real,” Dr. Fachting makes a valiant attempt to show that Jesus was not only a historical human being, most people – myself included – would agree, but additionally that the gospels are totally accurate and to be trusted in their portrayal of him.     

 Jesus was likely a historical person.  What is debatable is whether what is written about him in the canonical gospels are accurate.  Scholars believe that Mark, the oldest of the gospels, was written between 65-75 C.E. (Common Era).  Matthew was written 15 years after Mark about 85 C.E.  Luke was written between 85-95 C.E.  John was the last written between 90-100 C.E.  Prior to their being written oral traditions about Jesus circulated for at least 50 to 90 decades.  Mr. Fachting would have us believe that these oral stories about Jesus, passed around by many thousands of people until they were written down, were handed down unchanged for decades.  Biblical scholars have shown this is extremely unlikely. 

Let us examine Fachting’s use of the Western calendar system of B.C./A.D as evidence for believing the so-called orthodox Christian view of Jesus. To do we must review how this calendar system came to be.

The one reason that the B.C./A.D. calendar has become the predominate calendar in our present time is because a monk named Dionysius Exiguus introduced the B.C./A.D. system to count the years before and since the birth of Christ beginning in A.D. 525 to replace the Diocletian system, named after the 51st emperor of Rome, who ruled from A.D. 284 to A.D. 305. He did this to try and erase the memory of an emperor who had persecuted Christians.  His B.C./A.D became more popular after Charlemagne adopted it for dating government acts in Europe and by the 15th century it had become the standard for all Europe. In 1988 it was adopted as an international standard. 

It is only because of the pervasive authoritarian, dictatorial power of a church and state joined at the waist since the time of Constantine that we even have the B.C./A.D. system of numbering our years.  It is certainly not because it is god ordained to honor his son as savior and lord.  It was ordained by mere humans.

 Jesus was not a liar, lunatic, or Lord. However, much that is believed about him is legend. 
The Rev. Bro. Robert Barker

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