Bill O’Reilly on Jesus of Nazereth

Bill O’Reilly’s new book, Killing Jesus, is surging in sales now. He talked to 60 Minutes last Sunday, saying he felt God inspired him to write a book describing Jesus as “a regular guy, very afraid, scared to die.”

“Jesus of Nazareth was the most famous human being who ever lived on this planet and he had no infrastructure and it’s never been done,” O’Reilly said. “He had no government, no PR guy, no money, no structure. He had nothing, yet he became the most famous human being ever.”

Fox Business has a brief interview with O’Reilly, in which he explains that he trusted other sources of history and his own reasoning more than the gospels on every detail of Jesus’ life. For example, he believes it was impossible for Mary and Joseph to flee Herod all the way into Egypt, which is what Matthew’s gospel says. I suppose he found no other sources saying it happened, so that was enough to rule it out. And though he has no evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, he takes it on faith as a good Catholic.

Apparently, the Bible’s historicity is no obstacle or support to his faith, and I wonder if most contemporary church-goers believe as he does. How many of us hold the line because we have been told which line to hold, not because we believe it actually happened? If we do, we fail to understand how much God has given us in His Word which can be verified, details intended to show us that the stories aren’t mere imaginary morality tales. They are accurate depictions of what happened.

So did Jesus rise from the dead? Paul tells us if He did not, our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14). I guess that makes Paul is pretty poor Catholic.

3 thoughts on “Bill O’Reilly on Jesus of Nazereth”

  1. I am not a Christian, but if O’Reilly is saying people couldn’t get from Bethlehem to Egypt, I find it hard to take him seriously.

    This isn’t some random period in history beset with robbers and pirates. This is the Roman Empire, and those guys were big into law enforcement.

  2. In the Fox Business interview, I believe he says he couldn’t find any other sources to verify the Egyptian trip, and he didn’t take the Bible at its word on anything.

  3. I am all for taking the Bible, especially the New Testament, critically. But what extra-Biblical evidence did O’Reilly expect to find about the journey of two unimportant(1) Judeans into Egypt? Passports, which didn’t exist yet? Visa stamps? Camel-caravan tickets?

    The Romans couldn’t afford to keep the same kind of records modern (or even early-industrial) governments keep. Papyrus was cheaper than parchment, but still expensive enough it was often reused (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus#Manufacture_and_use). Of the records they did keep, the vast majority didn’t survive.

    Absence of evidence, under these conditions, is not evidence of absence.

    (1) From every perspective but the Christian one, and the Christian one was extremely rare at the time

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