Jesus is certainly fictionalized in the various stories about him that survive. See my post, “How do you view the Bible’s Jesus?” where I illustrate the variety of images non-believers and Christians have of Jesus.
One of these views is that Jesus’ story was not based on a real person but made up out of whole cloth– they are called “mythicists”. Naturally, Christians wholeheartedly reject this theory, but I am often surprised at how vehemently some ex-Christians also reject the theory. Today I came up with a theory as to why their feelings may be so strong:
When someone breaks up with a lover, I have seen the following responses to be common:
- They think he/she was a complete jerk / idiot (or some other such thing).
- They get angry at the person who introduced him/her to the ex-lover.
- They get angry at that ex-lover’s friends who remain his/her friend instead of also rejecting him/her.
- They get very depressed and self-loathing – hating their own stupidity.
- They say, “Oh well, moving on.”
For ex-Christians who are vehement about not entertaining mythicism arguments I wonder if part of it is because doing 1, 2, or 3 is far less painful than 4, though 5 is obviously often the best goal.
If Jesus as an ex-lover of yours, it may be too hard to admit that you totally deceived yourself and easier for you also to do 1, 2, or 3 above.
Question to readers: What do you think?
Caveat: Yes, I realize that warning others about the dangers of religion can also be good and not necessarily tied up with psychological complexities. I’m just saying, we have complex minds.