Added Jesus Mythicism: Moral Influence vs. Vicarious Atonement—and Other Problems (2022) by John MacDonald to the Historicity of Jesus page under Christianity in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In this article John MacDonald examines the Christ myth theory and its difficulties. A number of flaws are pointed out with the theory. One focus is the moral influence interpretation of Jesus’ death, as opposed to the penal substitution/sin debt model that mythicism demands. Learning the Jesus story is imputing guilt, the opposite of Aristotelian purging catharsis. This is a substantial problem for mythicism. A celestial Christ who was never on Earth and was killed in outer space by sky demons can’t inspire such guilt, and so mythicism isn’t an effective interpretive model—among other problems. One must ask: Does the kind of theology being produced make more sense from a general historicist framework, or a mythicist one? Jesus’ horrific torture and abuse points to a historical Jesus with immolated goat and scapegoat Yom Kippur theology, rather than a mythical one. There is something about the cross that goes beyond doing away with sin so that man and God can be reconciled.
Christian psychologists and psychiatrists have taken Christianity by storm with a seemingly unending supply of therapy, seminars, and books offering a variety of cures for those that suffer from low self-esteem. These healers set out to heal that damaged sense of self-worth, yet they seem not to acknowledge that biblical Christian doctrine, itself, is likely a contributing factor to the very problem which they set out to cure. In this article, Hertzler looks at what both humanism and Christianity have to offer in terms of self-esteem.