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Proving the Existence of Jesus

Over the years there have been many debates over Atheism versus Christianity, and, well, since there are so many Christians, atheists are never taken seriously. But I only heard about a story after it was destroyed in Italian courts, but revived with the European Union while I was traveling through northern European countries (traveling to Finland, Sweden and Denmark at the time).
Now, I only heard bits and pieces from Europe’s CNN, so i’ll fill in the banks for you here if you haven’t heard this story before...
Luigi Cascioli (72 years old Italian who is often referred to as a life-ling atheist) had written a book in 2002 titled “The Fable of Christ,” and after trying to stop people from the Church from using the notion of Jesus to get money from parishioners, sued an Italian Catholics priest (father Enrico Righi). World Views explained (on July 26, 2006) that Luigi Cascioli, in suing the priest, charged that the priest had violated Italy’s laws against deceit and impersonation by perpetuating “the myth” of the existence of Jesus Christ, is reporting on his website (http://www.luigicascioli.it/). CNN even reported that Luigi Cascioli says he chose Father Righi because the law prevents him from suing the Pope, who is a head of state, since Vatican City, a small district in Rome, is technically a country in an of itself. The point is, Catholicism has used the notion of Jesus, which has never been proven to exist, to get money from it’s members, which is illegal under the Italian law.
Interesting case, but consider the fact that Luigi is trying to sue a priest in probably the most Christian area — in Italy. Not surprisingly, the Italian courts rejected his case. Well, okay, Italy has a vested interest in not ruffling the Catholic church’s feathers (though I wonder if that is something the courts are allowed to decide). But CNN also later reported that the European Court of Human Rights has agreed to consider hearing his case, and Luigi Cascioli’s own web site states that the European Court of Human Rights has accepted his appeal of the case.
Rationslisinternational.net even outlined the story: “Luigi Cascioli argues that there is no independent and reliable proof whatsoever for Jesus’ historical existence and accuses the Roman Catholic Church of deceiving people with the Fable of Christ since 2000 years for financial gains. Cascioli’s point man for the church position is his old schoolmate Father Enrico Righi (76), parish priest from Viterbo, Italy, whom he accused three years ago of committing two criminal offenses. By reasserting the church’s claim of Jesus’ historical existence explicitly in a parish newsletter, Righi “abused public credulity” and “impersonated” some historic figure as Jesus Christ, both punishable according to the Italian Penal Code.”
I even read comments on http://www.slumdance.com/ that brought up the video I saw on CNN... “The Christ Myth theory is going to take a huge leap in public awareness when Luigi Cascioli's lawsuit against the Catholic Church goes before the European Court of Human Rights...” because of “This CNN video story on plaintiff Cascioli ”
I listened to this news on CNN’s European channel while traveling, and I was fascinated with the news — are they actually going to expect this priest to prove the existence of Jesus? So I searched everywhere on line for news of the progress of when this case might go to trial, and I’ve heard nothing. All I’ve heard are people’s comments on the validity of Luigi’s claims...
Ann Thomas in Seattle stated that “You prove Jesus exist through FAITH” (please, someone teach this poor child that faith is not proof, that when there's no proof you resort to faith... wait, an anonymous responder to this story in Bethlehem PA said “don’t tell me something is fact when there is no proof. Faith does not equal proof.” Wow, i’m not the only one... Thanks.). Then Brian S, Keene of New Hampshire stated “My faith in Christ is based on rock-solid historical evidence of the caliber that well-exceeds the proofs we have of many historical figures and events that we take for granted,” but then only used non-proven documents (like when V. Zifka of Sumner, WA noted by saying “Since the four gospels of the New Testament were written by individuals who never knew Christ, and were voted upon by committee as in the case of the rest of the Bible’s chapters, they are by definition hearsay.”). Jim Lindsay in Los Angeles, CA said “The fact that billions of people believe in Jesus is a significant piece of evidence in proving Jesus existed” (no, that’s not proof, as Steven Colbert even said on The Colbert Report, that with things like Wikipedia on line, anything can become “fact” is enough people claim it to be true and no one contests it). C. Sellman of Oakland, CA even stated Scriptures as his reasoning that Jesus exists — that the world is “perfectly balanced” (not quite right, and the Universe is far from “balanced,” but thanks to nature and the laws of physics —not the Scriptures — there is some order to the world).
After hearing all of these opinions (usually from offended Christians), it was nice to see that Malcolm LeFever in Minneapolis, MN brought up the book “The Jesus Mysteries” by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. We went though this book ourselves, and these authors searched religiously (that’s not meant as a pun) for any evidence of the existence of Jesus. For example, they even looked into the Roman records of executions (because those Roman did keep records of every criminal they “processed”). After searching, they found no hard evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was ever crucified.

•••

But in January of this year, when Luigi Cascioli was stopped by the Italian courts for the last time, “The point is not to establish whether Jesus existed or not, but if there is a question of possible fraud,” said Cascioli’s attorney, Mauro Fonzo, to reporters, according to the Associated Press. Because WorldNetDaily.com noted in January that there is little chance of success in the home of the Roman Catholic Church, Luigi Cascioli and his team were able to use this angle to get the case head on appeal by the European Court of Human Rights — and although I look at the European Court of Human Rights’ web site (http://www.echr.coe.int/echr), I never found Luigi Cascioli listed in the calendar of any upcoming trials in 2006. Well, maybe it’s coming in time, and maybe his case will be heard after all.




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