On the Historical Veracity of Jesus
The caller is rather annoying and close minded in my opinion. He repeatedly asserts that the bible is more than just a book, asserts that his religion is a fact, asserts that all other religions are false, asserts that the hosts are going to hell, and providers zero evidence to back up that his assertions are facts. He just does not get it. I like what Don (the host on the left) says towards the end: "If you are going to make an extraordinary claim, you need to have extraordinary evidence to back that up". I couldn't agree more. When I'm told that there was a man who lived 2,000 years ago who could walk on water, cure any ailment instantly without even touching the patient, was resurrected and rose many others from the dead for a fun zombie get-together in town. Sorry if I'm skeptical of all that when the only place it is written is within the bible.
I'm not saying that a man named Jesus Christ never existed. I'm skeptical about whether he did exist, but he may have. Or his character may have been based off of another real person of that time, and that person may have indeed claimed to be the son of God and was crucified. From what I have studied, many people during those times (and even many people today) claimed to be the Messiah. I'm much much more skeptical that he was the son of God and had all of these supernatural abilities, especially when I can't find any mention of these miracles outside of the bible or other religious writings. The bible repeatedly says "Jesus performed miracle X, and word spread throughout the countryside about his deed". Do you really think that if someone had cured a blind man that no one would have written about it? That no historical scholar would have gotten word about it and rushed to see it for himself?
I haven't done a comprehensive study on the historicity of Jesus (yet), but I did find this page on GotQuestions.org: Historical Evidence of Jesus Christ. The give a number of secular sources there that they claim support that Jesus existed. I haven't looked at these sources myself yet, but I hope to get around to it eventually and make up my own mind. Re-read that last sentence. Rather than continuing to believe what I always have, I am open to looking at evidence that may contradict my lack of belief. How many Christians or religious people would honestly do that? How many care enough about whether their beliefs are true or not to do that? Not many from my experience. I think the approach I am taking is the best one to find out what is true and what is not. And that's what I care about. I want to believe what I think is most likely to be true, not what I most wish or hope to be true (and by the way, I don't particularly wish or hope that no Gods exist).
One of the things that the GotQuestions page mentions is the sacking of the temple of Jerusalem and Israel by the Romans in 70 AD (which did in fact happen). They hypothesize that much of the evidence and many of the eye witnesses of Jesus were killed during this time. Do you really think that every single one of the thousands of witnesses to Jesus were slaughtered in this attack? Ancient Israel is a large area of the middle east, especially in those times when transportation was much slower. And there were nearly four decades that had passed since Jesus' death. If there was sufficient evidence, sure much of it may have been destroyed in that attack, but I find it near improbable to claim that all of it was. Again though, this is something that I plan to research more by myself sometime in the future. Until then, I will happily retain my skeptical position.