On October 19th, a symposium was held in London by American biblical scholar Joseph Atwell called, Covert Messiah. According to Atwell, he has uncovered “evidence,” which he has termed conclusive, that Jesus never existed. This remarkable claim is supported by the idea that the early Roman empire invented the story of Jesus in order to pacify Jews who were constantly rebelling against Roman authority. Knowing that the Jews were waiting on a Messiah, the Romans invited Jesus as a “peaceful” figure who promoted pacifism. Thus the Jews would embrace this Jesus and subsist in their efforts to antagonize Rome.
Atwell insists that his motive for the Covert Messiah project is to help, “Alert citizens (who) need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods.” He seems to understand the mountain he must climb to convince the better part of the world’s population that Jesus never existed. Even adherents of other faiths embrace the mere existence of Jesus as a real man. But claims Atwell, “what my work has done is give permission to many of those ready to leave religion to make a clean break.”
While Atwell claims pure motives of only wanting to set the historical record straight, his continuing comments in advance of the symposium seem to indicate a deeper bias and far different motive. “Although Christianity can comfort some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history,” adds Atwell.
It is in this admission that Atwell shows his hand. It seems that he is not so much worried about “religion” in general as he is with Christianity in particular. One wonders if Joseph Atwell’s future projects of correcting the historical record will focus on the origin of Islam and the Koran. Or Hinduism and Buddhism. Surely these religions have shaped history as well as Christianity. But we won’t see such projects. Christianity is nearly always singled out for such attacks. And in terms of the historical record, these attempts always fail. There is, simply put, too much evidence to the contrary. Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus was resurrected. There were witnesses and their testimony was recorded. Extra-biblical sources confirm as much. A visit to Israel will reveal that existence and continued presence of Jesus is inescapable. And I can promise you that the Jewish faith as a whole has fully rejected Jesus as the Messiah. So any such plot by the Roman government to invent such a figure would have been easily exposed by the Jewish faithful at its conception.
This blog post may very well be the first word most have heard of Joseph Atwell and his Covert Messiah. And it may very well be the last word as well.