I’ve heard this view that Jesus and the rest of Christianity is just the adult version of a fairytale. The idea is, that like the fairytales we grew up with, Christianity has a great moral value and message but, in the end it isn’t really true. It’s a good story, kind of sweet and cute, like Cinderella, but with a little more of an adult feel. Have you ever heard this? Maybe you haven’t heard someone say this outright, but I think it’s a pretty popular view for people these days. There are two glaringly obvious problems I see with this.
The historicity of the Bible
For one, unlike any of the fairytales we grew up with, Christianity and the story of Jesus are strongly backed historically. We have all of the stories of Snow White, but you aren’t going to find other historically texts referencing Snow White here or there as if she were someone who actually existed. We do get that sort of thing with Jesus. People like Josephus, a Jewish-Roman historian, Tacitus, a Roman historian and senator, Lucian, a Roman satirist and rhetorician, Mara-Bar Sarepion, a Roman stoic philosopher, and even the Jewish Talmud all reference Jesus. And that doesn’t even mention the 26 books of the New Testament that talk about Jesus.
It seems to me a bit odd to say the least that the person, according to many historians, to be the most historically documented person of his time to be viewed as a fairy tale.
It doesn’t smell of Myth
The second problem I see with this is simply a look at the texts themselves that talk about Jesus. They simply don’t read like a fairytale. I am not sure I can consider myself an expert, but I did get an English Minor and I did read a decent amount of mythology in some mythology classes, and the New Testament simply doesn’t read like mythology or a fairytale.
Read Luke 3:1-2 “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Ceasar- when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Abilene- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the dessert.”
Does that sound like someone making up a nice fairytale? Of course not. If you are making up a story you don’t put in a bunch of information so someone can check your facts. Historians can cross reference this information and they know Luke is talking about the year 29AD. Why would Luke be so accurate here and not give accurate information later?
Furthermore, just the feel of the text itself, apart from facts, doesn’t read like a mythology or a fairytale. If anyone would know this it would be C.S. Lewis. He was an English professor at Cambridge and Oxford and was good friends with J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a professor of mythology at Oxford. Lewis believed that the writings of the New Testament were clearly not mythology purely based on their style. So much so, part of the reason Lewis became convinced out of his atheism into Christianity is that he saw the New Testament couldn’t be just a story.
When I hear someone say that the bible is a mythology or a fairytale I want to ask them “are you an expert in mythology then?”, “have you researched fairytales extensively so that you could identify the scent of them?” The fact is, people who say these things aren’t experts. They wouldn’t be able to tell you the distinguishing factors of mythology and fairytales. Their expertise in the area is probably limited to bedtime from their childhood and some Marvel movies with Thor, Disney’s Hercules, and maybe some study of Greek mythology in middle school.
So as much as I believe everyone can have their opinion. . . I am going with the experts on this one.