Evidence in Life of Jesus Explored by Campus Club

Isiah Reyes

Students looking for proof of Jesus’ existence visited the “Evidence for the Existence of Jesus” lecture, presented by the Students of Reason Club.

“So many people spend so much time talking about Jesus, that they just don’t care about evidence,” said philosophy professor Steve Bie, who gave the lecture.

According to Bie, historians pick stories in the Bible they think are accurate based on three things: independent sources, dissimilarities, and stories that are historically accurate.

Independent sources are separate sources that say similar things. For example, Roman, Christian and Jewish sources all mention that Jesus was executed by Pontius Pilate, which Bie says constitutes evidence that Jesus at least existed.

However, even though Mathew and Luke’s gospels have similar stories between them, they don’t count as independent sources because they both copy stories word-for-word from Mark’s gospel.

What they don’t copy is radically different, such as the birthplace of Jesus.

“Is this annoying?” said Bie. “What happens every Christmas is that you just take bits and pieces out of this gospel and bits and pieces out of that gospel and you cram them together as if there’s one coherent story about Jesus. You just stick the manger in there, stick the shepherds in there, and stick the wise men in there.

“There’s no gospel in the New Testament that says both shepherds and wise men were present. I think you’re writing a fifth gospel [when you do that],” said Bie.

Bie’s second point to believe whether or not something in the Bible is accurate is dissimilarities.

If one source promotes its own theological agenda, then that source is less believable than if a source doesn’t promote any kind of agenda. If a source admits something contrary to its own interest, it is more credible.

The third point to decide if a Bible story is accurate is its historical context. The events that occur have to make sense within that time period. If a source states that Jesus was executed for heresy, then that would make sense.

After Bie made his points, he concluded that Jesus was an ancient Jewish apocalypticist, which is someone who says the universe is divided by good and evil forces and who thinks we currently live in a present evil age which will be followed by a “good” age.

Those who attended the lecture seemed satisfied by Bie’s points.

“It’s just cool to hear something that doesn’t have an agenda,” said Richard Salas, IOC representative of the Students of Reasons Club. “[Bie] isn’t trying to sell you anything. He’s not trying to get us to support him in the same sense that a pastor might have his whole congregation support him. He’s just telling us the truth to the best of his knowledge for our own benefit.”

Salas said that the Students of Reason is basically an atheist club, but that they also apply reason to other things in life that don’t relate to religion. The club has been around for a year a half.

“A lot of the stuff in this lecture is new to me,” said Sara Saavedra, secretary of the club. “I think Jesus probably existed. But savior of man? Maybe not.”