On Oct. 19, self-professed Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill is planning to make public some very flammable allegations. At a day-long symposium called "Covert Messiah" in London, England, he's set to unveil purported evidence that Roman aristocrats manufactured Jesus Christ - a claim that, if substantiated, would devalue the core of the Christian faith.
The only problem? Most Biblical experts disagree with the scholar's pronouncements.
A press release announcing the purported new evidence claims that Atwill has discovered "ancient confessions" that purportedly prove that Romans invented Jesus Christ in the first century. He has long argued that the faith system was used as a political tool to control the masses -- something he says is still going on today.
"I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm, but this is important for our culture," he said of the alleged debunk - one that he believes will eventually be universally accepted.
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In the release, Atwill said that governments often create "false histories and false gods" and that this is often done in an effort to secure social order.
Rather than a theology, Atwill believes that Christianity was concocted as a government project that was used to control Roman citizens. During a time in which Jewish residents were waiting for their Messiah, he says they were a constant source of insurrection, leading the Romans to seek out an equalizing and tempering force.
"When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare," Atwill explains in the press release. "They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system."
And that's when Jesus was allegedly created - a man who advocated peace rather than violence. Atwill contends that the Christ that billions embrace never actually existed and that he is a "fictional character."
He bases his theory on a study of "Wars of the Jews," a book by Josephus, a scholar who provided insight and documentation first-century Judea. The historian contends that the prophesies of Jesus line up with Josephus' writings about the Jewish-Roman war and are, thus, proof that "the biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar."