The primary sources we have about Christ, is the New Testament. We don't even have to assume inspiration. These are Greek documents coming out of the first century. What you need to do is explain on what basis you reject these documents just because they were later canonized by the Church (added to Scripture). Since you reject they are inspired, then they are by default extra-biblical sources. Why do you reject them?
Here are some questions that must be answered: Why don't we have the original Gospels in their original language written by the hand of actual eye witnesses of Jesus with the correct authorship and dates on them?
You are inventing your own historical methodology and criteria. Mythicists utilize too high of a criteria for Christianity, but they have virtually no criteria for their own claims -- such as accepting the pagan-parallel theory, despite the total lack of contemporary eyewitness and primary source data.
We don't have the autographs (originals), probably because God knew people would worship them. But we have very early and accurate copies in Greek. We have over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. The New Testament is the best attested document from antiquity. Nothing even comes close.
Several of the epistles of Paul, like Galatians and 1 Corinthians, are considered genuine Pauline epistles by LIBERAL scholars. So, Paul wrote these epistles and he was a contemporary of Jesus. Paul states in Galatians and 1Cor. that he talked with Peter and James.
Luke was a contemporary as my thread on Acts proves. But do we really need contemporaries? No, we don't. Much of what we know from antiquity comes from sources that post-date the events by hundreds of years. We don't have originals on anything in ancient history.
Why were the Gospels originally written in Greek when Jesus supposedly spoke Aramaic?
Koine Greek was the common language. And Greek is more subtle and easier to express theological nuances. Some ancient writers like Papias, Jerome, Irenaeus, Eusebius, and Origen claimed there was an Aramaic Gospel or sayings (logia) of Matthew. But as far as I know there is no evidence for this. And the Gospel took Greece by storm according to divine providence.
Why do Christians uphold the King James Version of the bible as the inerrant word of God when it contains literally thousands of errors?
The errors you speak of are in grammar or spelling. No doctrine is in question. It's kind of like a scratchy record. The message is still there. "A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE," by Geisler and Nix, demonstrate that the Old Testament we have in modern translations, agrees with the most ancient manuscripts by about 97%. The New Testament by about 99%.
How many Christians can read the bible in its original languages i.e. Hebrew and Greek?
Very few. The Christians of the first several centuries spoke and read Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Coptic, Armenian and Syriac.
The Gospels as we have them today did not enter the historical or literary records until toward the end of the second century around 180CE - WHY? Prior to that the Gospels were anonymous. That's 150 years after the supposed death of Jesus!!! How can this be if they're suppose to be written by eye witnesses?
That is not accurate, and you didn't cite any sources. Here are my sources. First, W. F. Albright is considered to be the world's greatest Bible archaeologist. He stated that there is no evidence to place ANY book in the New Testament after A.D. 80. [see Albright, Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands, p. 136].
Albright shows that the evidence for each book of the New Testament points to the fact that each book was probably written between A.D. 50 - 75. [ see Albright, Toward A More Conservative View, p. 3].
LIBERAL scholar A.T. Robinson argues in his book "Redating the New Testamant, that Matthew was written at 40 or after 60, Mark to 45 to 60, Luke at before 57 to after 60, and John at from before 40 to after 65 [see Robinson, Redating the New Testament].
Of the four Gospels alone there are 19,368 citations from the late first century on. This includes the following:
JUSTIN MARTYR (AD 100-165) 268 citations
IRENAEUS (active in late second cantury) 1038 citations
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (A.D.155-220) 1017 citations
ORIGEN (A.D. 185-254) 9231 citations
TERTULLIAN (A.D. 160-220) 3822 citations
HIPPOLYTUS (A.D. 236) 734 citations
EUSEBIUS (A.D. 265) 3258 citations
CLEMENT OF ROME Cited Matthew, John and 1 Corinthians in A.D. 95-97.
IGNATIUS referred to six Pauline Epistles in about A.D. 110.
POLYCARP (disciple of Apostle John) quoted from all four Gospels, Acts, and most of Paul's Epistles in A.D. 110 and 150.
SHEPERED OF HERMES (A.D. 115-140) cited Matthew, Mark, Acts, 1Corinthians, and other books.
DIDACHE (A.D. 120-150) referred to Matthew, Luke, 1Corinthians and other books.
PAPIAS (companion of Polycarp) quoted the Gospel of John.
The earliest undisputed manuscript of a New Testament book is the John Ryland's papyri (P52), dated from 117-138.
Jose O Callalhan, a Spanish Jesuit paleographer, made headlines in 1972 when he identified a manuscript fragment from Qumran as a piece of the Gospel of Mark, from cave 7. He later identified nine fragments. Using accepted methods of papyrology and paleography, the dates are as follows:
Mark 4:28 (7Q6) A.D. 50
Mark 6:48 (7Q15) A.D. ?
Mark 6:52, 53 (7Q5) A.D. 50
Mark 12:17 (7Q7) A.D. 50
Acts 27:38 (7Q6) A.D. 60+
Rom. 55:11, 12 (7Q9) A.D. 70 +
1Tim. 3:16; 4:1-3 (7Q4) A.D. 70+
2Peter 1:15 (7Q10) A.D. 70+
James 1:23, 24 (7Q8) A.D. 70+
If valid. The evidence seems to be pointing this way.
[ SOURCES: White, "O'Callahan's Identifications: Confirmation and It's Consequences, " Westminister Journal 35 (1972); Orchard, "A Fragment of St Mark's Gospel Dating From Before A.D. 50?" Biblical Apostolate 6 (1972)].
The canonical Gospels are not considered reliable accounts of history by biblical scholars - WHY?
It depends on who you talk to. There are two schools of theology: conservative and liberal. Some liberals reject the Gospel's (although they admit the Gospel's do have some history in them) because they pre-assume anti-supernatualism. They assume that God doesn't exist or that Christianity is false. This bias against God colors their interpetations. Most scholars today, however, whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant, believe the Gospels are in fact history. But remember the spirit of Antichrist is in the world. His apostles are also at work to destroy the credibility of Christianity.
The epistles of Paul were written long after Jesus supposedly lived and resurrected from the dead - why do they lack any facts about Jesus' life?
Not that long after Jesus at all.
1Corinthians, for example, is dated to A.D. 55 (25 years after Jesus' execution).
Again, 1Cor. and Galatians and five others are accepted as Pauline (Paul wrote them) even by liberal scholars.
Paul states in Galatians that he met some of the apostles. 1Cor. 15:3-5 is accepted by all scholars (except, Price) to date from 1-3 years after Jesus' execution.
Everything Paul taught, corroborates the Gospels. For example, Paul taught Christ lived, died, and rose again (1Cor.15). Paul said Jesus was of the tribe of David in Rom.1:3; 2Tim.2:8.
Do they lack facts? Not at all. And you are arguing from silence. Arguments from silence don't prove anything. The epistles were meant to be pastoral epistles and theology. The Gospel's, history.
Why didn't Jesus/God leave behind valid, convincing evidence to alleviate Christians from persecution and ridicule and to convince the rest of the world of his existence?
The evidence is sufficient and good. Those who are meant to believe, will. God doesn't twist people's arms. He can't give 100% proof because then there would be no place for faith. He gave us enough evidence to believe, and to know we don't have a blind faith.
Why didn't anyone ever describe what Jesus looked like?
Someone might have. We don't have all the information. I read a number of years ago something by Eusebius where he quoted one, Lucian, who described Jesus' appearance. But I don't know if that is authentic. Perhaps Christ didn't want us to know. Again, arguments from silence don't prove anything.
If Jesus was a "carpenter" why don't we have anything created by his hand?
We have his Orthodox Church -- created by his hands. You are arguing from silence. Arguments from silence don't prove anything.
Why isn't there any artwork, writings or carvings by the hand of Jesus or anything to demonstrate a historical Jesus?
We have an historical Orthodox Church. This is the greatest evidence of all! He founded this Church. We have his tomb, portions of his cross, the nails, and other relics of apostles. We have thousands of "Christograms" (name of Christ) on early Christian tombs. The modern portrait of Jesus on icons is believed to be based on the imprint he left on a towel --it was given to Thomas, according to tradition.
Where are the court documents for the trials & crucifixion of Jesus proving a historical Jesus?
Another argument from silence. Many thousands of people were executed at that time. But F.F. Bruce said that Tacitus' report of Jesus' execution probably came from an official Roman report.[see Bruce, Christian Origins, p. 23].
Why doesn't the 10 commandments unmistakably forbid war, tyranny, taking over other people’s countries, slavery, exploitation of workers, cruelty to children, wife-beating, stoning, treating women--or anyone--as chattel or inferior beings, government corruption?
There were over 600 civil commandments in the O.T that dealt with that.
There are over 20 passages in the bible claiming that Jesus was famed far & wide: Mt 4:23-25, 5:1, 8:1, 8:18, 9:8, 9:31, 9:33, 9:36, 11:7, 12:15, 13:2, 14:1, 14:13, 14:22, 15:30, 19:2, 21:9, 26:55; Mk 1:28, 10:1; Lk 4:14, 4:37, 5:15, 14:25 - Why didn't any contemporary historians write anything about Jesus?
Some did. But in Jewish eyes Jesus was branded just another heretic. This was their official position. And he suffered extreme marginality by being crucified. There was no need for anyone to give him much attention. Historians of that day usually wrote about official political or religious leaders, not itinerant Messiah figures walking the hills of Galilee.
It is amazing we have anything on him at all.
Why do Christians hold-up the writings of Josephus (37-100 CE), Pliny the Younger (62-113 CE), Tacitus (c. 56-120 CE), Suetonius (c. 69-c. 122 CE), as the very best so-called "evidence" for Jesus when even *IF* we consider their writings authentic they are far too late to be considered eye witnesses as they were all born after Jesus' supposed death?
The best evidence is the four Gospels, the New Testament, and the Orthodox Church, which Christ founded. The sources you mentioned are very early when we compair them to sources for other historical personages and events. (see my thread "Historical Jesus) where I give several examples. Much of what we know from the ancient world comes from a single source hundreds of years later. Several persons don't even have any sources at all, yet historians accept them.
If Jesus lived and the bible is true then why the need for Christians destroy all the Pagan temples, writings, history and kill the Pagan Priests?
I think you answered your own question. Because it's true. But Christ does not endorse the killing of anyone.
If Christianity is the one true faith then, why isn't the world convinced?
The world has never been unanimous on anything. Those who are God's children will be saved. Those who are meant to believe, will. Your arguments are from silence.
The cross is the most important symbol to Christians representing eternal life - how is that any kind of a new divine revelation when the cross/ankh existed in ancient Egypt symbolizing eternal life?
Granting your argument, these were perhaps divine echo's of a universal truth. God gave signs and indications in history of His coming. The problem with the pagan myths is that they never gave birth. By God's providence He prepared the pagan world in many respects for the idea of Christianity.
The primary passage for the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Christians are gleefully awaiting Jesus' 2nd coming & rapture etc - WHY, when Jesus said "...There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28 KJV) ?
That was fulfilled in the next chapter --the transfiguration on the Mount of Olives.
Or in Matthew 24:34 Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
He was talking about the generation that would see these events.
Jesus is implying that he would return within the lifetime of his contemporaries
No, that is incorrect. He was talking about the generation that would see the events he described.
Why should anyone accept the biblical story of Jesus as historical fact when 1.) There's no valid scientific evidence supporting it and 2.) We have similar concepts via Pagan religions long prior to Christianity.
Then why do you accept the Pagan religions when according to you there is no valid scientific evidence for them? Nothing in history is provable. But using normal unbiased methods of historical research, there is more scientific, archaeological and manuscript evidence for Jesus, then for almost anyone from the ancient period.
"...the most enduring and profound controversy in this subject is whether or not a person named Jesus Christ ever really existed.... when one examines this issue closely, one will find a tremendous volume of literature that demonstrates, logically and intelligently, time and again that Jesus Christ is a mythological character along the same lines as the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian or other godmen, who are all presently accepted as myths rather than historical figures."http://www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm
False, sorry. C.S. Lewis was a professor of mythology at Oxford. He said Christ's life doesn't fit the genre of mythology. Christ's life is history. Christ is the fulfillment of the pagan myths that the pagan's were looking for. [see, Lewis, MYTH BECAME FACT]. This is from a highly qualified expert.
Most of your arguments commit the logical fallacy of argumentum a silencio (argument from silence). Those kind of arguments don't prove anything. It is an illogical form of argument. And much of your erroneous views are the result of being un-educated on this subject. You also have such a high criteria for Christianity and make too many demands, that, I'm sorry to say, if you applied to your own beliefs about the pagan world, and history in general, the results would be disasterous. We would have to dismiss a great deal of history. Apply your own standards against Christianity to your own pagan-paralell theory, and you will see the truth.