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HomeExpertsA Debate on Existence: Unveiling the Historical and Spiritual Realities of Jesus

A Debate on Existence: Unveiling the Historical and Spiritual Realities of Jesus

About a year ago, I wrote an article in this column. Although the article was about art, today I felt the need to borrow a part of the title for a completely different topic.

Those who remember the article will know: It had the title “Ecce Homo”.

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“Ecce Homo” was the name of an extraordinary painting drawn in 1877 by the realist painter Antonio Ciseri, and it meant “Behold the man”. It was the sentence shouted by Pontius Pilate, the Governor of the Roman Empire’s Judaea Province, from the balcony while showing Jesus to the people of Jerusalem, who were clamoring for his crucifixion.

The subject of the painting was this:

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Actually, when I first thought about writing on this topic, it was during a night filled with idle chatter on TV by a man named Celal Şengör, who is like a chip of popular culture, claiming “Actually, Moses didn’t exist. He never lived.” However, I felt it would be too much to dedicate a whole article to someone like Şengör, who’s just media parsley.

These days I don’t get to hang around much, but the other evening, I found myself free and decided to browse Twitter. I don’t usually participate much but right above my timeline, a chat room popped up. Seeing the “Eyüp Ensar Uğur Speaking” sign, I decided to listen.

The topic was ‘Christmas’, and Eyüp was calmly explaining the issue, generally with geographic references. The room wasn’t very crowded, actually… But then a user named ‘Hakan’ joined in and tried to shift the topic to another level, saying, “Actually, Jesus never lived, you know that, right?”

Then he also mentioned that he sometimes celebrates Christmas himself and doesn’t refuse the gifts, but then again shifted back to his main point that ‘actually Jesus never existed’. At this point, he seemed to have some connection issues, as his words were not clear, and jokes like “Look, Jesus’ curse worked!” were made in the room.

Eyüp Ensar, with a very sensible comment, said that this discussion is not a matter for Muslims, as the existence of Jesus cannot even be a subject of debate in Islam.

I thought the matter would be settled and we would move on to the main topic, but the user named ‘Hakan’ came back and continued his “Jesus does not exist!” themed speeches. Like all atheists, he was also dodging the issue.

This reflexive behavior reminded me of the thesis supported by psychoanalysts, including Jung and Freud. They said something like this: “Beliefs do not have to be true for people to believe in them!”

I don’t know how many believers there are in the world, but this seems like another way to call billions of sane people “stupid”!

Anyway, our concern is not about individuation or transcendence. Otherwise, we would have delved deeply into this.

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Another masterpice of Nikolai Nikolovich: ‘What is the truth?’, 1890.

This existence-nonexistence debate is an irresistibly tempting area for the atheist segment. Many atheists, like Celal Şengör, love to say, “Actually, this doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist!” Since no one is the Director of the Nazareth Population Office, they confidently throw their theories into a bunch of anthropological nonsense.

In general, this can be acceptable to some extent.

They don’t even allow you to say, “Okay, brother, it doesn’t exist for you, but it does for us!” It has to be as they say!

This issue is nothing but the intellectual sleight of hand of an ancient debate. It’s been set aside now, but if you open Google, you’ll see that one of the most frequently asked questions of all time is, “Did Jesus really live/resurrect?”

Yes, many historians and anthropologists have debated this, but the general conclusion – I’m afraid – is not very pleasing for atheists like Mr. Hakan.

Almost all prophets’ lives have been written almost day by day. Yes, it might have been written down much later in the classical sense. Mr. Hakan, too, bases his main defense on the fact that the Bible was written about 300 years later.

Leaving everything aside, a tiny search on Wikipedia, if you haven’t lost your conscience, would be enough to convince you.

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There’s a timeline showing the life of Jesus Christ as described in the Gospels, prepared by I.N. Earle. Actually, it was possible to dismiss this claim with a “Yau he he!” but I’m going through this trouble to seize the opportunity to express a truth.

What can we do if there was no one taking selfies while Jesus was giving three synoptic gospels!!

Did you know there’s a field of science in the Christian scientific world called Biblical Archaeology? This is just one of thousands of scientific researches there.

Anyway, let’s move on to our main point.

The historical existence of Jesus is a topic supported by both archaeological findings and ancient texts. For example, archaeological studies have confirmed some elements of Jesus’ life as described in the Bible. For instance, evidence of the existence of Nazareth, where Jesus spent his childhood, has been found. (SEE)

Moreover, the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus mentioned Jesus twice. One of these mentions is a brief reference to “James, the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” These records are significant evidence that Jesus was a historical figure.

Another source is the record by the Roman historian Tacitus, stating that Jesus was executed by Pontius Pilate. Tacitus wrote these records without any bias against Christianity, and they support the notion that Jesus was a historical figure.

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If that’s not enough, let me add one more. Early Christians are mentioned in the writings of the Roman governor Pliny the Younger, who refers to them worshiping Jesus as a god. Some historians believe that the Roman historian Suetonius also mentioned Jesus.

In short, most historians and archaeologists agree that Jesus was a real historical figure. However, there are different opinions about the details of his life and teachings. While sources outside the Bible provide limited information about Jesus’ life, they support the notion that he was a historical figure.

After all this discussion, it’s unlikely that user Hakan will be convinced. For every semi-intellectual atheist or a populist masquerading like Celal Şengör, they would find a fault even if Prophet Jesus descended from the sky right now.

Actually, this “actually does not exist” philosophy is an older disease and a powerful tactic than we might think.

For some, Native Americans don’t actually exist; for others, there’s no such thing as Kurds.

Even the Russians say there are no ugly women, just not enough vodka!

So, should we say like Pilate: Ecce Atheos!

Here are the atheists, what can you do.

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