Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Prove Christ Exists, Judge Orders Priest

I thought that this must be a joke until I read the article! What a way to start the new year in the UK! Simon Greenleaf to the rescue!

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Europe
The Times
January 03, 2006
Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest

From Richard Owen in Rome

AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.

The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.

Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ’s historical existence.

Yesterday Gaetano Mautone, a judge in Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month and ordered Father Righi to appear. The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was “abusing popular credulity”.

Signor Cascioli’s contention — echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites — is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.

Signor Cascioli’s one-man campaign came to a head at a court hearing last April when he lodged his accusations of “abuse of popular credulity” and “impersonation”, both offences under the Italian penal code. He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived “after the time of the hypothetical Jesus” and were therefore not reliable witnesses.

Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of “substitution of persons”.

The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention a “Christus” or “Chrestus”, but were writing “well after the life of the purported Jesus” and were relying on hearsay.

Father Righi said there was overwhelming testimony to Christ’s existence in religious and secular texts. Millions had in any case believed in Christ as both man and Son of God for 2,000 years.

“If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not,” Father Righi said.

Signor Cascioli said that the Gospels themselves were full of inconsistencies and did not agree on the names of the 12 apostles. He said that he would withdraw his legal action if Father Righi came up with irrefutable proof of Christ’s existence by the end of the month.

The Vatican has so far declined to comment.

THE EVIDENCE

The Gospels say that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, preached and performed miracles in Galilee and died on the Cross in Jerusalem .

In his Antiquities of the Jews at the end of the 1st century, Josephus, the Jewish historian, refers to Jesus as “a wise man, a doer of wonderful works” who “drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.”

Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet. Many Jewish theologians regard Jesus as an itinerant rabbi who popularised many of the beliefs of liberal Jews. Neither Muslims nor Jews believe he was the Messiah and Son of God.

Tacitus, the Roman historian who lived from 55 to 120, mentions “Christus” in his Annals. In about 120 Suetonius, author of The Lives of the Caesars, says: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome.”

Link to article.

1 comment:

MoNoMo said...

I think this atheist "judge" will get all the proof of Jesus he needs when the Lord returns and consigns his shivering soul to the outer darkness. I can't understand how anyone could believe in something so vile as atheism! These people have no morality and only come to my blog to mock the name of Jesus, and to personally embarass me. I wanted to share my effort at witnessing the truth about Christianity with my church, but now I'm afraid about what these ignorant unbelievers will say next.

Thank you for your support recently -- I'm glad to know I have a sister in Christ who can share God's Word with the truth-starved pagans of the modern age. I know you don't like to talk about "denominational differences," but I am working on a major post on the errors of Arminianism and I would appreciate your inputs. My father preached on this topic in church last Sunday. Also, we are working on a MAJOR exposee of the Great Commission Ministries, which is part of the Emerging Church apostasy and is receiving money and direction from the United Nations and the Roman Catholic "Church". Christine, you will not believe what this "abomination of desolation" is up to -- confusing a whole generation of young people, and denying them the life-giving truth of traditional, Reformed orthodoxy. I fear we are very near to the end times when false churches such as this one, and so many others, wallow in the mire of "tolerance" and "liberalism". But we know that the Lord Jesus Christ will prevail -- so I pray to Him that He may speed His return, and cleanse the earth of all infidels and apostates!