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"If the life and death of Socrates are those of a philosopher, the life and death of Jesus Christ are those of a God."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher

"I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history."
H. G. Wells, world historian

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Jesus: Magician or God? By Andre Kole

Years ago I was challenged, as a skeptic and as a magician, to investigate the miracles of Christ from the point of view of a magician. At that time, I took great pride in the fact that I had never been fooled by any other magician, so I had no intention of being deceived by any form of a first-century trickster, if that is all Jesus was.

I began to make this investigation, and at first it was somewhat easy to rationalize some of the things Jesus said and did. But over a period of time, I discovered some things that made an impact upon my life.

Jesus claimed to be God. The strongest evidence Jesus personally provided to support His claims were the miracles He performed - miracles that only God would be able to do. However, for centuries skeptics have responded by saying, "Those were not genuine miracles, they were only magic tricks that Jesus used to deceive ignorant people.""

For most of the world, those who are not familiar with the history of magic and who are not aware of the limitations of a magician, the claim that "Jesus was just a magician"" seems to be a reasonable consideration. However, I believe that knowledgeable magicians, more than any other group of people in the world, are the most qualified to examine and determine if His miracles were illusions or reality.

The Bible is specific in saying that Jesus was the visible expression of the invisible God. In other words, Jesus was God in the form of a man. I am very aware of the fact that through the years there have been many atheists and other skeptics who have denied the existence of God. And if there is no God, then obviously Jesus could not have been a manifestation of God in human form. In my audiences throughout the world, I have found that there are usually quite a few today who would consider themselves to be in the skeptical category, at least to some degree. Since I was a skeptic myself for many years, I never intend to be unkind to those who are sincere skeptics.

The fact is that I encourage people to be skeptical; and in doing so, I challenge them to be genuinely honest skeptics. I do not mean the kind of skeptic who would say, "Don't confuse me with the facts. My mind is already made up."" As someone observed so well, "everyone has a right to their own opinion, but no one has the right to misrepresent the facts." A good example to which I am referring is a skeptic who comments upon the Bible as being "just a book of myths." This problem is solved with the realization that the Bible is not "a book," but rather it is a library of books. It is a compilation of 66 books, written over a period of 1,500 years, by 40 different authors in three different languages. For the Bible to be a book of myths, someone would have needed to bring together all of the 40 authors from the 1,500 year period and to get them to all agree upon the same myth. This is an example of a situation in which the truth is presented, and there is a resulting consistency and harmony that emerges as the pieces of evidence dovetail together.

The following questions highlight important issues regarding the true identity of Jesus Christ. The corresponding articles present conclusions from historians and other scholars. Explore the evidence for yourself and decide: Who is the real Jesus?

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questions & answers

Q: How do we know Jesus really existed?

A: By examining the evidence. No reputable scholar really doubts Jesus' existence. Even his enemies never attempted to dismiss him as a myth. Jesus was a real person whose life and historical impact is irrefutable. In fact, according to leading historians, no one has had a greater impact on our world than Jesus. (read article)