In 1882, German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche penned the words, "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him." Unfortunately for Nietzsche, he is very much dead and God is not. But that is not stopping some modern day philosophers from still trying to kill Him.
On October 19th, an event entitled Covert Messiah, sponsored by the Conway Hall Ethical Society, took place in London. The Society has a history that reaches back to 1787 and was formed in direct opposition to the doctrine of an eternal hell. By 1793, the group had rejected the concept of the Trinity and moved progressively through universalism to unitarianism to humanism, the position they hold fast to today. Some past members of the Society include such notables as Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw and Felix Adler.
But the October event was an attempt by some academic atheists (or free-thinkers), as they would prefer to be called) to posit the idea that Jesus was never real but was instead the creation of a group of Caesars known as the Flavins.
One of the keynote speakers is Joseph Atwill, author of the book Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus. Atwill believes the Romans needed to squelch the uprisings of the Jews in Palestine so they simply made up a Jewish Messiah with a very pro-Roman worldview.
Atwill thinks that some of the sayings of Jesus, like "turn the other cheek" and "render onto Caesar" somehow prove that Jesus was artificially constructed as a Roman tool of propaganda to quell the masses – a form of psychological warfare, as he puts it.
Kenneth Humphreys, author of Jesus Never Existed, is also speaking at the event. With a title like that, it comes as no surprise that Humphrey's biography declares that he "campaigns energetically against the tide of resurgent superstition and unreason."
A worldview always begins with a presupposition. Both Atwill and Humphreys start with the assumption that God is dead and then merely backfill with really flimsy arguments.
For example, to think that Jesus was a Roman construction for propaganda purposes fails to recognize the over 300 Messianic prophesies in Scripture. The book of Isaiah alone is replete with the foretelling of what would happen at Calvary when Jesus was spit on (50:6); dumb before His accusers (53:7); wounded and bruised (53:5); and crucified with thieves (53:12.)
The book of Psalms tells us that our Savior would be ridiculed (22:8); lots would be cast for His garments (22:18); gall and vinegar would be given to Him (69:21); and His bones would not be broken (34:20). Even His heartfelt cry from the cross was written 1000 years before His death – "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?" (22:1.) That is why the Word says, "these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31.)
Atwill, Humphreys, and those gathered at Conway Hall in London once again tried to kill God, but as Nietzsche also said, "His shadow still looms." Try as they might, the free-thinkers (with the much closed minds) may try to kill God – but they simply cannot.