The argument in this volume will be better understood if we give to our readers the comments and criticisms which our little pamphlet, ‘Jesus a Myth,’ and ‘The Mangasarian-Crapsey Debate’ on the Historicity of Jesus, [Price, 25c, Independent Religious Society, Orchestra Hall, Chicago.] called forth from orthodox and liberal clergymen. We shall present these together with our reply as they appeared on the Sunday Programs of the Independent Religious Society.

Criticism is welcome. If the criticism is just, it prevents us from making the same mistake twice; if it is unjust, it gives us an opportunity to correct the error our critic has fallen into. No one’s knowledge is perfect. But the question is, does a teacher suppress the facts? Does he insist on remaining ignorant of the facts?



Now that the debate on one of the most vital questions of modern religious thought—The Historicity of Jesus—is in print, a few further reflections on some minor points in Dr. Crapsey’s argument may add to the value of the published copy.

REV. DR. CRAPSEY: “Now, I say this is the great law of religious variation, that in almost every instance, indeed, I think, in every single instance in history, all such movements begin with a single personality.” (P. 5, Mangasarian-Crapsey Debate.)

ANSWER: The only way this question can be settled is by appealing to history. Mithraism is a variant religion, which at one time spread over the Roman Empire and came near outclassing Christianity. Yet, Mithra, represented as a young man, and worshiped as a God, is a myth. How, then, did Mithraism arise?

Religions, as well as their variations, appear as new branches do upon an old tree. The new branch is quite as much the product of the soil and climate as the parent tree. Like Brahmanism, Judaism, Shinto and the Babylonian and Egyptian Cults, which had no single founders, Christianity is a deposit to which Hellenic, Judaic and Latin tendencies have each contributed its quota.

But the popular imagination craves a Maker for the Universe, a founder for Rome, a first man for the human race, and a great chief as the starter of the tribe. In the same way it fancies a divine, or semidivine being as the author of its credo.

Because Mohammed is historical, it does not follow that Moses is also historical. That argument would prove too much.

Rev. Dr. CRAPSEY: “We would be in the same position that the astronomers were when they discovered the great planet Uranus—from their knowledge of the movements of these bodies they were convinced that these perturbations could be occasioned by nothing less than a great planet lying outside of the then view of mankind.” (P. 6, Ibid.)

ANSWER: But the astronomers did not rest until they converted the probability of a near-by planet into demonstration. Jesus is still a probability.

Rev. Dr. CRAPSEY: “We have of Jesus a very distinctly outlined history. There is nothing vague about him.” (P. 12, Ibid.)

ANSWER: But in the same sentence the doctor takes all this back by adding: “There are a great many things in his history that are not historical.” If so, then we do not possess “a very distinctly outlined history,” but at best a mixture of fact and fiction.

Rev. Dr. CRAPSEY: “We can follow Jesus’ history from the time that he entered upon his public career until the time that career closed, just as easily as we can follow Caesar, etc.” (P. 12, Ibid.)

ANSWER: How long was “the time from the opening of Jesus’ public career until the time that it closed?”—One year! -- according to the three gospels. It sounds quite a period to speak of “following his public career” from beginning to end, especially when compared with Caesar’s, until it is remembered that the entire public career of Jesus covers the space of only one year. This is a most decisive argument against the historicity of Jesus. With the exception of one year, his whole life is hid in impenetrable darkness.


We know nothing of his childhood, nothing of his old age, if he lived to be old, and of his youth, we know just enough to fill up a year. Under the circumstances, there is no comparison between the public career of a Caesar or a Socrates covering from fifty to seventy years of time, and that of a Jesus of whose life only one brief year is thrown upon the canvas.

An historical Jesus who lived only a year!

Rev. Dr. CRAPSEY: The Christ I admit to be purely mythological ... the word Christ, you know, means the anointed one ... they (the Hebrews) expected the coming of that Christ ... But that is purely a mythical title. (The Debate—p. 35.)

ANSWER: Did the Hebrews then expect the coming of a title? Were they looking forward to seeing the ancient throne of David restored by a title? By Messiah or Christ the Jews did not mean a name, but a man—a real flesh and bone savior, anointed or appointed by heaven.

But if the ‘Christ’ which the Hebrews expected was “purely mythical,” what makes the same ‘Christ’ in the supposed Tacitus passage historical? The New Testament Jesus is Jesus Christ, and the apostle John speaks of those “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh”—mark his words—not Christ, but Jesus Christ. The apostle does not separate the two names. There were those, then, in the early church who denied the historicity, not of a title, -- for what meaning would there be in denying that a title “is come in the flesh,”—but of a person, known as Jesus Christ.

And what could the doctor mean when he speaks of a title being “mythological?” There are no mythological titles. Titles are words, and we do not speak of the historicity or the non-historicity of words. We cannot say of words as we do of men, that some are historical and others are mythical. William Tell is a myth—not the name, but the man the name stands for. William is the name of many real people, and so is Tell. There were many anointed kings, who are historical, and the question is, Is Jesus Christ—or Jesus the Anointed—also historical? To answer that Jesus is historical, but The Anointed is not, is to evade the question.

When Mosheim declares that “The prevalent opinion among early Christians was that Christ existed in appearance only,” he could not have meant by ‘Christ’ only a title. There is no meaning in saying that a man’s title “existed in appearance only?”

We do not speak of a title being born, or crucified; and when some early Christians denied that Jesus Christ was ever born or ever crucified, they had in mind not a title but a person.

In conclusion: If the ‘Christ’ by whom the Hebrews meant, not a mere name, but a man, was “purely mythological,” as the reverend debater plainly admits (see pages 35, 36 of The Debate) - that is, if when the Hebrews said: “Christ is coming,” they were under the influence of an illusion, -- why may not the Christians when they say that ‘Christ’ has come, be also under the influence of an illusion?


The Hebrew illusion said, Christ was coming; the Christian illusion says, Christ has come. The Hebrews had no evidence that ‘Christ’ was coming, although that expectation was a great factor in their religion; and the Christians have no more evidence for saying ‘Christ’ has come, although that belief is a great factor in their religion.

The minister of the South Congregational Church, who heard the debate, has publicly called your lecturer an “unscrupulous sophist,” who “practices imposition upon a popular audience” and who “put forth sentence after sentence which every scholar present knew to be a perversion of the facts so outrageous as to be laughable.”

As one of the leading morning papers said, the above “is not a reply to arguments made by Mr. Mangasarian.”

Invited by several people to prove these charges, the Reverend replies:

“In the absence of any full report of what he (M. M. Mangasarian) said, or of any notes taken at the time, I am unable to furnish you with quotations.”

When the Reverend was addressing the public his memory was strong enough to enable him to say,

“sentence after sentence was put forth by Mr. Mangasarian which every scholar present knew to be a perversion of the facts.”

But when called upon to mention a few of them, his memory forsakes him. Our critic is not careful to make his statements agree with the fact.

One instance, however, he is able to remember which,

“when it fell upon my ears,” he writes, “it struck me with such amazement, that it completely drove from my mind a series of most astonishing statements of various sorts which had just preceded it.”

We refrain from commenting on the excuse given to explain so significant a failure of memory. The instance referred to was about the denial of some in apostolic times that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” But as Mr. Mangasarian had hardly spoken more than twenty minutes when he touched upon this point, it is not likely that it could have been “preceded by a series of most astonishing statements of various sorts.”

And what was the statement which, while it crippled his memory, it did not moderate his zeal? We will let him present it himself;

“I refer to the use he made of one or two passages in the New Testament, mentioning some who deny ‘that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.’ ‘So that,’ he went on to say, ‘there were those even among the early Christians themselves who denied that Jesus had come in the flesh. Of course, they were cast out as heretics.’ Here came an impressive pause, and then without further explanation or qualification, he proceeded to something else.”

This is his most serious complaint. Does it justify hasty language?

St. John writes of those who “confessed not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” The natural meaning of the words is that even in apostolic times some denied the flesh and bone Jesus, and regarded him as an idea or an apparition—something like the Holy Ghost. All church historians admit the existence of sects that denied the New Testament Jesus—the Gnostics, the Essenes, the Ebionites, the Marcionites, the Cerinthians, etc.

As the debate is now in print, further comment on this would not be necessary.

Incidents like the above, however, should change every lukewarm rationalist into a devoted soldier of truth and honor.

To us, more important than anything presented on this subject, is this evidence of the existence of a very early dispute among the first disciples of Jesus on the question of whether he was real or merely an apparition. The Apostle John, in his epistle, clearly states that even among the faithful there were those who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is very important. As early as John’s time, if he is the writer of the epistle, Jesus’ historicity was questioned.

The gospel of John also hints at the existence in the primitive church of Christians who did not accept the reality of Jesus. When doubting Thomas is told of the resurrection, he answers that he must feel the prints of the nails with his fingers before he will believe, and Jesus not only grants the wishes of this skeptical apostle, but he also eats in the presence of them all, which story is told evidently to silence the critics who maintained that Jesus was only a spirit, “the Wisdom of God,” an emanation, a light, and not real flesh and bones.

The same clergyman, to whom a copy of the Mangasarian-Crapsey Debate was sent, has written a five page criticism of it.

The strength of a given criticism is determined by asking:

Does it in any way impair the soundness of the argument against which it is directed? Critics have discovered mistakes in Darwin and Haecket, but are these mistakes of such a nature as to prove fatal to the theory of evolution?

To be effective, criticism must be aimed at the heart of an argument. A man’s life is not in his hat, which could be knocked off, or in his clothes—which could be torn in places by his assailant without in the least weakening his opponent’s position. It is the blow that disables which counts.

To charge that we have said ‘Gospel,’ where we should have said ‘Epistle,’ or ‘Trullum’ instead of ‘Trullo’; that it was not Barnabas, but Nicholas who denied the Gospel Jesus, and that there were variations of this denial, does not at all disprove the fact that, according to the Christian scriptures themselves, among the apostolic followers there were those to whom Jesus Christ was only a phantom.

Milman, the Christian historian, states that the belief about Jesus Christ “adopted by almost all the Gnostic sects,” was that Jesus Christ was but an apparent human being, an impassive phantom, (History of Christianity. Vol. 2, P. 61). Was ever such a view entertained of Caesar, Socrates or of any other historical character?

On page 28 of The Debate we say:

“The Apostle John complains of those ... who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”

To this the clergyman replies:

“The Apostle John never made any such complaint. Critical scholarship is pretty well agreed that he did not write the epistles ascribed to him.”

We have a lecture on “How the Bible was Invented,” and this clergyman’s admission that at least parts of the bible are invented is very gratifying.

In a former communication, this same clergyman tried to prove that the Apostle John’s complaint does not at all imply a denial of the historical Jesus. In his recent letter he denies that the apostle ever made such a complaint.

John did not write the epistles, then, which the Christian church for two thousand years, and at a cost of millions of dollars, and at the greater sacrifice of truth and progress has been proclaiming to the world as the work of the inspired John!

The strenuous efforts to get around this terrible text in the “Holy Bible,” show what a decisive argument it is.


Every exertion to meet it only tightens the text, like a rope, around the neck of the belief in the historical Jesus. Our desire, in engaging in this argument, is to turn the thought and love of the world from a mythical being, to humanity, which is both real and present.

On page 22 Of The Debate, we say:

“St. Paul tells us that he lived in Jerusalem at a time when Jesus must have been holding the attention of the city; yet he never met him.”

To this the clergyman replies:

“Paul tells us nothing of the kind. In a speech which is put into the mouth of Paul”—put into the mouth of Paul! Is this another instance of forgery? John did not write the epistles, and Paul’s speech in the Book of Acts was put into his mouth! Will the clergyman tell us which parts of the bible are not invented?

Let us make a remark: The church people blame us for not believing in the trustworthiness of the bible; but when we reply that if the bible is trustworthy, then Paul must have been in Jerusalem with Jesus, and John admits that some denied the historical Jesus, we are blamed for not knowing better than to prove anything by quoting Paul and John as if everything they said was trustworthy.

In other words, only those passages in the bible are authentic which the clergy quote; those which the rationalists quote are spurious. In the meantime, the authentic as well as the spurious passages together compose the churches’ Word of God.

In a letter of protest to Mr. Mangasarian, Rabbi Hirsch, of this city, asks:

“Was it right for you to assume that I was correctly reported by the News!”

After stating what he had said in his interview with the reporter, the Rabbi continues:

“But said I to the reporter all these possible allusions do not prove that Jesus existed ... You see in reality I agreed with you. I personally believe Jesus lived. But I have no proof for this beyond my feeling that the movement with which the name is associated could even for Paul not have taken its nomenclature without a personal substratum. But, and this I told the reporter also, this does not prove that the Jesus of the Gospels is historical.”

Rabbi Hirsch writes in this same letter that he did not say Jesus was mentioned in the Rabbinical Books. The News reports the Rabbi as saying, “But we know through the Rabbinical Books that Jesus lived.”

A committee from our Society waited on the editor of the Daily News for an explanation. The editor promised to locate the responsibility for the contradiction.

As the report in the News was allowed to stand for four days without correction, and as Rabbi Hirsch did not even privately, by letter or by phone, disclaim responsibility for the article, to Mr. Mangasarian, the latter claims he was justified in assuming that the published report was reliable. But it is with pleasure that the Independent Religious Society gives Rabbi Hirsch this opportunity to explain his position. We hope he will also let us know whether he said to the reporter

“I do not believe in Mr. Mangasarian’s argument that Christianity has inspired massacres, wars and inquisitions. It is a stock argument and not to the point.”

This is extraordinary; and as the Rabbi does not question the statement, we infer that it is a correct report of what he said. Though we have room for only one quotation from the Jewish-Christian Scriptures, it will be enough to show the relation of religion to persecution:

“And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord, thy God, shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them.”

Why were women put to death as witches? Why were Quakers hanged? For what “economic and political reasons,” which the Rabbi thinks are responsible for persecution, was the blind Derby girl who doubted the Real Presence, burned alive at the age of twenty-two?

The Rev. W.E. Barton, of Oak Park, is one of the ablest Congregational ministers in the West. He has recently expressed himself on the Mangasarian-Crapsey Debate. Let us hear what he has to say on the historicity of Jesus.

The Reverend begins by an uncompromising denial of our statements, and ends by virtually admitting all that we contend for. This morning we will write of his denials; next Sunday, of his admissions.

“Mr. Mangasarian,” says Dr. Barton, “has not given evidence of his skill as a logician or of his accuracy in the use of history.”

Then he proceeds to apologize, in a way, for the character of his reply to our argument, by saying that

“Mr. Mangasarian’s arguments, fortunately, do not require to be taken very seriously, for they are not in themselves serious.”

Notwithstanding this protest, Dr. Barton proceeds to do his best to reply to our position.

In The Debate we call attention to the fact that according to the New Testament, Paul was in Jerusalem when Jesus was teaching and performing his miracles there. Yet Paul never seems to have met Jesus, or to have heard of his teachings or miracles. To this Dr. Barton replies:

“We cannot know and are not bound to explain where Paul was on the few occasions when Jesus publicly visited Jerusalem.”

The above reply, we are compelled to say, much to our regret, is not even honest. Without ‘actually telling any untruths, it suggests indirectly two falsehoods: First, that Jesus was not much in Jerusalem—that he was there only on a few occasions; and that, therefore, it is not strange that Paul did not see him or hear of his preaching or miracles; and second, that Paul was absent from the city when Jesus was there.


The question is not how often Jesus visited Jerusalem, but how conspicuous was the part he played there. He may have visited Jerusalem only once in all his life, yet if he preached there daily in the synagogues; if he performed great miracles there; if he marched through the streets followed by the palm-waving multitude shouting Hosanna, etc.; if he attacked the high-priest and the pharisees there, to which latter class Paul belonged; and if he was arrested, tried and publicly executed there; and if his teaching stirred the city from center to circumference, -- it would not be honest to intimate that the “few” times Jesus visited Jerusalem, Paul was engaged elsewhere.

The Reverend attempts to belittle the Jerusalem career of Jesus, by suggesting that he was not there much, when according to the Gospels, it was in that city that his ministry began and culminated.

Again, to our argument that Paul never refers to any of the teachings of Jesus, the Reverend replies:

“Nor is it of consequence that Paul seldom quotes the words of Jesus.”

“Seldom” -- would imply that Paul quotes Jesus sometimes.

We say Paul gives not a single quotation to prove that he knew of a teaching Jesus. He had heard of a crucified, risen, Christ—one who had also instituted a bread and wine supper, but of Jesus as a teacher and of his teaching, Paul is absolutely ignorant.

But by saying “Paul seldom quotes Jesus,” Dr. Barton tries to produce the impression that Paul quotes Jesus, though not very often, which is not true. There is not a single miracle, parable or moral teaching attributed to Jesus in the Gospels of which Paul seems to possess any knowledge whatever.

Nor is it true that it is of no consequence that “Paul seldom quotes the words of Jesus.” For it proves that the Gospel Jesus was unknown to Paul, and that he was created at a later date.

Once more; we say that the only Jesus Paul knew was the one he met in a trance on his way to Damascus. To this the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Oak Park replies in the same we-do-not-care-to-explain style. He says: “Nor is it of consequence that Paul values comparatively lightly, having known him in the flesh.”

The words “Paul valued comparatively lightly” are as misleading as the words “Paul seldom quotes Jesus.” Paul never quotes Jesus’ teachings, and he never met Jesus in the flesh. The clergyman’s words, however, convey the impression that Paul knew Jesus in the flesh, but he valued that knowledge “comparatively lightly,” that is to say, he did not think much of it. And Dr. Barton is one of the foremost divines of the country.

And now about his admissions:


I. “The Gospels, by whomever written,” says the clergyman, “are reliable.” By whomever written! After two thousand years, it is still uncertain to whom we are indebted for the story of Jesus. What, in Dr. Barton’s opinion, could have influenced the framers of the life of Jesus to suppress their identity? And why does not the church instead of printing the words, “The Gospel according to Matthew or John,” which is not true, -- print, “The Gospel by whomever written”?

II. “At the very least, four of Paul’s epistles are genuine,” says the same clergyman. Only four? Paul has thirteen epistles in the bible, and of only four of them is Dr. Barton certain. What are the remaining nine doing in the Holy Bible? And which ‘four’ does the clergyman accept as doubtlessly “genuine?”


Only yesterday all thirteen of Paul’s letters were infallible, and they are so still wherever no questions are asked about them. It is only where there is intelligence and inquiry that “four of them” at least are reliable. As honesty and culture increase, the number of inspired epistles decreases. What the Americans are too enlightened to accept, the church sends to the heathen.

III. “It is true that early a sect grew up which ... held that Jesus could not have had a body of carnal flesh; but they did not question that he had really lived.” According to Dr. Barton, these early Christians did not deny that Jesus had really lived, -- they only denied that Jesus could have had a body of carnal flesh. We wonder how many kinds of flesh there are according to Dr. Barton. Moreover, does not the bible teach that Jesus was tempted in all things, and was a man of like passions, as ourselves?


The good man controls his appetites and passions, but his flesh is not any different from anybody else’s. If Jesus did not have a body like ours, then he did not exist as a human being. Our point is, that if the New Testament is reliable, in the time of the apostles themselves, the Gnostics, an influential body of Christians, denied that Jesus was any more than an imaginary existence.


“But,” pleads the clergyman, “these sects believed that Jesus was real, though not carnal flesh.” What kind of flesh was he then? If by carnal the Gnostics meant ‘sensual,’ then, the apostles in denouncing them for rejecting a carnal Jesus, must have held that Jesus was carnal or sensual. How does the Reverend Barton like the conclusion to which his own reasoning leads him?

IV. “It is true that there were literary fictions in the age following the apostles.” This admission is in answer to the charge that even in the first centuries the Christians were compelled to resort to forgery to prove the historicity of Jesus. The doctor admits the charge, except that he calls it by another name. The difference between fiction and forgery is this: the former is, what it claims to be; the latter is a lie parading as a truth. Fiction is honest because it does not try to deceive. Forgery is dishonest because its object is to deceive. If the Gospel was a novel, no one would object to its mythology, but pretending to be historical, it must square its claims with the facts, or be branded as a forgery.

V. “We may not have the precise words Jesus uttered; the portrait may be colored; ... tradition may have had its influence; but Jesus was real.” A most remarkable admission from a clerical! It concedes all that higher criticism contends for. We are not sure either of Jesus’ words or of his character, intimates the Reverend. Precisely.

In commenting on our remark that in the eighth century “Pope Hadrian called upon the Christian world to think of Jesus as a man,” Dr. Barton replies with considerable temper: “To date people’s right to think of Jesus as a man from that decree is not to be characterized by any polite term.” Our neighbor, in the first place, misquotes us in his haste. We never presumed to deny anyone the right to think of Jesus what he pleased, before or after the eighth century. (The Debate, p. 28.) We were calling attention to Pope Hadrian’s order to replace the lamb on the cross by the figure of a man. But by what polite language is the conduct of the Christian church—which to this day prints in its bibles “Translated from the Original Greek,” when no original manuscripts are in existence—to be characterized?

Dr. Barton’s efforts to save his creed remind us of the Japanese proverb: “It is no use mending the lid, if the pot be broken.”

The most remarkable clerical effort thus far, which The Mangasarian-Crapsey Debate has called forth, is that of the Rev. E.V. Shayler, rector of Grace Episcopal Church of Oak Park.

“In answer to your query, which I received, I beg to give the following statement. Facts, not theories. The date of your own letter 1908 tells what? 1908 years after what? The looking forward of the world to Him.”

Rev. Shayler has an original way of proving the historicity of Jesus. Every time we date our letters, suggests the clergyman, we prove that Jesus lived. The ancient Greeks reckoned time by the Olympiads, which fact, according to this interesting clergyman, ought to prove that the Olympic games were instituted by the God Heracles or Hercules, son of Zeus; the Roman Chronology began with the building of Rome by Romulus, which by the same reasoning would prove that Romulus and Remus, born of Mars, and nursed by a she-wolf, are historical.

Rev. Shayler has forgotten that the Christian era was not introduced into Europe until the sixth century, and Dionysius, the monkish author of the era, did not compute time from the birth of Jesus, but from the day on which the Virgin Mary met an angel from heaven. This date prevailed in many countries until 1745. Would the date on a letter prove that an angel appeared to Mary and hailed her as the future Mother of God?


According to this clergyman, scientists, instead of studying the crust of the earth and making geological investigations to ascertain the probable age of the earth, ought to look at the date in the margin of the bible which tells exactly the world’s age.

Rev. Shayler continues:

”The places where he was born, labored and died are still extant, and have no value apart from such testimony.”

While this is amusing, we are going to deny ourselves the pleasure of laughing at it; we will do our best to give it a serious answer. If the existence of such a country as Palestine proves that Jesus is real, the existence of Switzerland must prove that William Tell is historical; and the existence of an Athens must prove that Athene and Apollo really lived; and from the fact that there is an England, Rev. Shayler would prove that Robin Hood and his band really lived in 1160.

The Reverend knows of another ‘fact’ which he thinks proves Jesus without a doubt:

“A line of apostles and bishops coming right down from him by his appointment to Anderson of Chicago,” shows that Jesus is historical. It does, but only to Episcopalians. The Catholics and the other sects do not believe that Anderson is a descendant of Jesus. Did the priests of Baal or Moloch prove that these beings existed?

The Reverend has another argument:

“The Christian Church—when, why and how did it begin?”

Which Christian church, brother? Your own church began with Henry the Eighth in 1534, with persecution and murder, when the king, his hands wet with the blood of his own wives and ministers, made himself the supreme head of the church in England. The Methodist church began with John Wesley not much over a hundred years ago; the Presbyterian church began with John Calvin who burned his guest on a slow fire in Geneva about three hundred years ago; and the Lutheran church began with Martin Luther in the sixteenth century, the man who said over his own signature:

“It was I, Martin Luther, who slew all the peasants in the Peasants War, for I commanded them to be slaughtered ... But I throw the responsibility on our Lord God who instructed me to give this order;”

...and the Roman Catholic church, the parent of the smaller churches—all chips from the same block—began its real career with the first Christian Emperor, Constantine, who hanged his father-in-law, strangled his brother-in-law, murdered his nephew, beheaded his eldest son, and killed his wife.


Gibbon writes of Constantine that,

“the same year of his reign in which he convened the council of Nice was polluted by the execution, or rather murder, of his eldest son.”

But our clerical neighbor from Oak Park has one more argument:

“Why is Sunday observed instead of Saturday?”

Well, why? Sun-day is the day of the Sun, whose glorious existence in the lovely heavens over our heads has never been doubted; it was the day which the Pagans dedicated to the Sun. Sunday existed before the Jesus story was known—the anniversary of whose supposed resurrection falls in March one year, and in April another. If Jesus rose at all, he rose on a certain day, and the apostles must have known the date. Why then is there a different date every year?

Rev. Shayler concludes: “Haven’t time to go deeper now,” and he intimates that to deny his ‘facts’ is either to be a fool or a “liar.” We will not comment on this. We are interested in arguments, not in epithets.

One of our Sunday programs, the other day, found its way into a church. It went farther; it made its appearance in the pulpit.

“In my hand I hold the notice of a publication bearing the title Is Jesus a Myth?” said Dr. Boyle. “This, too, just as though Paul never bore testimony.”

This gave the clergyman a splendid opportunity to present in clear and convincing form the evidence for the reality of Jesus. But one thing prevented him: -- the lack of evidence.

Therefore, after announcing the subject, he dismissed it, by remarking that Paul’s testimony was enough.

The Rev. Morton Culver Hartzell, in a letter, offers the same argument. “Let Mr. Mangasarian first disprove Paul,” he writes. The argument in a nutshell is this: Jesus is historical because he is guaranteed by Paul.

But who guarantees Paul?

Aside from the fact that the Jesus of Paul is essentially a different Jesus from the gospel Jesus there still remains the question, Who is Paul? Let us see how much the church scholars themselves know about Paul:

“The place and manner and occasion of his death are not less uncertain than the facts of his later life ... The chronology of the rest of his life is as uncertain ... We have no means of knowing when he was born, or how long he lived, or at what dates the several events of his life took place.”

Referring to the epistles of Paul, the same authority says:

“The chief of these preliminary questions is the genuineness of the epistles bearing Paul’s name, which if they be his”—yes, IF—

The Christian scholar whose article on Paul is printed in the Britannica, and from which we are now quoting, gives further expression to this uncertainty by adding that certain of Paul’s epistles

“have given rise to disputes which cannot easily be settled in the absence of collateral evidence. ... The pastoral epistles ... have given rise to still graver questions, and are probably even less defensible.”

Let the reader remember that the above is not from a rationalist, but from the Rev. Edwin Hatch, D.D., Vice-Principal, St. Mary Hall, Oxford, England.

Were we disposed to quote rationalist authorities, the argument against Paul would be far more decisive ... But we are satisfied to rest the case on orthodox admissions alone.

The strongest argument then of clergymen who have attempted an answer to our position is something like this:

Jesus is historical because a man by the name of Paul says so, though we do not know much about Paul.

It is just such evidence as the above that led Prof. Goldwin Smith to exclaim:

Jesus has flown. I believe the legend of Jesus was made by many minds working under a great religious impulse— one man adding a parable, another an exhortation, another a miracle story;”

—and George Eliot to write:

“The materials for a real life of Christ do not exist.”

In the effort to untie the Jesus-knot by Paul, the church has increased the number of knots to two. In other words, the church has proceeded on the theory that two uncertainties make a certainty.

We promised to square also with the facts of history our statement that the chief concern of the church, Jewish, Christian, or Mohammedan, is not righteousness, but orthodoxy.

Speaking in this city, Rev. W.H. Wray Boyle of Lake Forest, declared that unbelief was responsible for the worst crimes in history. He mentioned the placing.

• “of a nude woman on a pedestal in the city of Paris.
• “the assassination of William McKinley.
• “The same unbelief “sent a murderer down the isle of a church in Denver to pluck the symbol of the sacrament from the hands of a priest and slay him at the altar.”

The story of a “nude woman,” etc., is pure fiction, and that the two murders were caused by unbelief is mere assumption. To help his creed, the preacher resorts to fable. We shall prove our position by quoting facts:

I. HYPATIA [See Author’s, The Martyrdom of Hypatia.] was dragged into a Christian church by monks in Alexandria, and before the altar she was stripped of her clothing and cut in pieces with oyster shells, and murdered. Her innocent blood stained the hands of the clergy, who also handle the Holy Sacraments.


She was murdered not by a crazed individual but by the orders of the bishop of Alexandria. How does the true story of Hypatia compare with the fable of “a nude woman placed on a pedestal in the city of Paris?” The Reverend must answer, or never tell an untruth again. Hypatia was murdered in church, and by the clergy, because she was not orthodox.

II. POLTROT, the Protestant, in the 16th century assassinated Francois, the Catholic duke of Guise, in France, and the leaders of the church, instead of disclaiming responsibility for the act, publicly praised the assassin, and Theodore Beza, the colleague of Calvin, promised him a crown in heaven.

(De l’etat etc, p. 82, Quoted by Jules Simon.)

III. JAMES CLEMENT, a Catholic, assassinated Henry III. For this act the clergy placed his portrait on the altar in the churches between two great lighted candle-sticks. Because he had killed a heretic prince, the Catholics presented the assassin’s mother with a purse.

(Esprit de la Ligue I. III. p. 14.)

If it was unbelief that inspired the murder of McKinley, what inspired the assassins of Hypatia and Henry III?
We read in the Bible that Gen. Sisera, a heathen, having lost a battle, begged for shelter at the tent of Jael, a friendly woman, but of the Bible faith. Jael assured the unfortunate stranger that he was safe in her tent.


The tired warrior fell asleep from great weariness. Then Jael picked a tent-peg and with a hammer in her hand,

“walked softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground ... So he died.”

The BIBLE calls this assassin “blessed above women.” (Judge IV. 18, etc.) She had killed a heretic.

In each of the instances given above, the assassin is horrified because he committed murder in the interest of the faith. We ask this clergyman and his colleagues who are only too anxious to charge every act of violence to unbelief in their creeds—What about the crimes of believers?

Without comment we recommend the following text to their attention:

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother’s eye.”

(Matthew VII, 5.).

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