Inner Awareness

Was there a real Jesus who lived on Earth?


The historical experience of a god-man called Jesus the Christ has never been questioned by Filipino Christians. It is presumed that he truly existed as a real person around 2,000 years ago, was executed by the Romans, was buried, and on the third day he lived again. This is recited like a mantra by all Christians during Mass.

But it may surprise many that the historical existence of Jesus has been debated by biblical scholars and historians from the earliest years of the Christian era.

The reason is the undeniable but little known fact that no contemporary historian during Jesus’ time, like Tacitus, Josephus and Pliny the Younger, ever mentioned his actual existence, except in relation to the belief of the early Christians.

In other words, they were merely quoting what Christians themselves said about who their founder or leader was. There was never any independent source of his actual existence outside of the Christian Gospels.

Such an absence of witnesses to Jesus as a historical figure is quite curious, considering the extraordinary miracles he was reported to have performed and demonstrated during his lifetime.

On the other hand, Buddha, who lived some 500 years before Christ and who never performed miracles as Christ did, had a more complete documentation of his life and historical existence from eyewitnesses.

I find this really strange, and it makes one wonder whether such a person as Jesus really existed and was not merely a myth created by the early Christians.

Because historians and critics have, from the very beginning, questioned Jesus’ real existence as a person, the early apologists or defenders of the Christian faith made an impassioned and vigorous effort to prove that he actually existed and labeled those who didn’t believe in him to be heretics and anti-Christian.

Their stance has never changed until modern times. They still call those who don’t believe in his historical existence heretics and anti-Christian.

However, it cannot be denied that centuries before the advent of Jesus, there were already pagan beliefs in dying and resurrecting god-men, which paralleled the story of Jesus as depicted in the Gospels adopted by the early Christians in 320 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Constantine. These beliefs preceded Christianity by at least 600 years.

British authors Timothy Freke, a philosophy and religious scholar, and Peter Gandy, a classics scholar, did in-depth research into the earlier beliefs in dying and resurrecting god-men among the pagan religions and discovered, to their initial shock, that the story of Jesus was not unique at all but could even be said to be an adaptation of much older pagan stories.

Striking resemblance

In their 1999 book entitled “The Jesus Mysteries,” Freke and Gandy reconstructed the story of the god Osiris-Dionysus from various pagan beliefs in a dying and resurrecting god-men. These stories, which were circulating way before Jesus appeared on Earth had a striking resemblance to his life, to wit:

1. Osiris-Dionysus is God made flesh and called the savior and the son of God.

2. His father is God and his mother a mortal virgin.

3. He is born in a cave on Dec. 25 before three shepherds.

4. He offers his followers the chance to be born again through rites similar to baptism.

5. He dies at Easter time as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

6. After his death, he descends into hell, and on the third day he rises from the dead.

7. He ascends to heaven in glory.

8. His followers await his return as the judge during the last days.

9. His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine.

I may add here that a small gold coin dating back to pre-Christian Roman era was found by archaeologists. It depicted an image of a crucified man, but the caption read “Osiris- Dionysus.”

As expected, not everybody agreed with Freke and Gandy. Chris Forbes, an ancient historian and senior lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has criticized their work and said that Freke and Gandy “are not real scholars, they are popularizers.”

And that their arguments about Jesus are “grossly misconceived, and their attempt to draw links between Jesus and various pagan god-men is completely muddled. When you break it down and look at it point by point, it really comes to pieces.”

But calling Freke and Gandy “not real scholars” but “popularizers” does not prove their findings and conclusions wrong. Saying that the parallelism between Jesus and the pagan myths of the god-men are “completely muddled” without showing how they are muddled is a clear break in logical thinking. In elementary logic, we call this the “Ad Hominem” fallacy. It does not destroy their argument, but attacks their credibility. So, the debate continues.


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  • Anonymous

    Even the Quran generally repeats what the New Testament says of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, there are more stories of miracles attributed to Issa (Jesus)  in the Quran than in the Bible. And they also believe of his Immaculate Conception and are also waiting for his second coming. Yes, they believe Mohammad was the last messenger but it is Jesus Christ who will be sent back to finally destroy Satan in Armageddon. Now, how can somebody fictional or questionable generate that much faith and belief over the centuries, over generations and generations of men, spanning the two biggest religions on earth right now.

  • Patricia Ortega

    I’ve been reading your column for quite a long time, and actually maybe a fan, Mr. Licauco, but this is the first time that I am truly dismayed, saddened and turned off with what you’ve posted. And what great timing on your post too, very respectful to 2.2 billion people in the world who are Christians. Thank you for enlightening me, I choose not to like you anymore. 

  • Anonymous

    hindi kasi dapat talaga inilalathala ito eh, Mr. Jaime T. Licauco, ang anti-Christ na katulad mo, ay kailanman hindi maniniwala sa Kanya.  manghihikayat ka pa nga iba para sumunod at makinig sayo…good luck na lang sayo.

  • Lava

    May point ka sa argument mo kapatid.
    Pero mabibigla ang maraming pinoy na di type ang gma kapatid nating muslim.
    Ang marunong na muslim ay hindi muslim kung hindi naniniwala na si Jesus ay totoo at ipinanganak syang mula sa isang birheng ina (miracle).
    Kagaya ni Adam and Eve na ginawa ng Diyos, Si Adam walang tatay at nanay, si Eve din ay ganun na walang kinilalang ina (Adam could be a father figure to her)

    Mga kapatid na may logical thinking capability, ito na po ang oras na makilala nyo ang mga kapatid nyong muslim. Ask nyo sila about Mary (Maryam) at Jesus (Isa).
    Panahon na para matapos na ang pagiging estranghero natin sa isa’t-isa.
    Alam na alam natin ang mga kaugalian ng mga banyagang Amerikano (Holloween, Thanksgiving, Fastfood etc) pero ang mismong kababayan natin at mga kapatid ay hindi natin kilala o nauunawaan. At panahon na rin para makikilala ng Mindanao at Visayas ang sangkatagalugan. All our sides,  the good and the bad that we may learn from each other instead of hate each.


  • Lava

    Freedom to write. Freedom to discuss with logic. Freedom to argue with logic. Freedom to persuade with love and good intention. Freedom to see clearly. Freedom to act faithfully.

    Isipin natin, magmuni-muni, talaga nga bang:

    From the worship of the SUN to the worship of the SON?

    Taliwas ba o naaayon ito sa unang utos ng Diyos (out of 10 – the most important?)

    Sige po at take your time and really think about this, dig deep and get ready for some sleepless nights.

  • Anonymous

    You can have different beliefs and religions and still gets the same effect of spiritual energy with faith… It’s like ‘love’. you can feel it but can’t explain how it works… same as faith… you feel something and you think it is God but it is not.. the world has many religions and their faith gives them the same energy after they pray.

    There is no true religion and we are all born without one… It was only fed and imposed upon us as we grow up.

    The Bible or any other scriptures from different religions are not historical facts and is open for debate.

    Individual beings also has his own beliefs and opinion that does not involve religion.

    This is a good article that will help tickle the ability for our feeble-minded kababayans to think. Religion is an effective tool used to oppress and tyrranize the population…If God created Atoms? Who created God?A fraction of the universe that we know of has 200-500 billion galaxies. So vast that discussion of God created everything is already irrelevant today. 

    • Jordache

      Wow, coming from a love guru like you must have been smoking some loco weed.

  • emmanuel parian

    We are going too far, while Mr. Licauco is grinning with delight his article is being debated making more money to him.

    Yes, for some people religion is just curiosity. For some people God is nothing because they don’t believe. For them to believe requires miracle, perhaps the miracle of Saul.

    I call on to the believers of Jesus: continue your faith. Keep on doing what is required to be a true Christian. He has his promise that’s what we hold on to: At the appointed time he will come to take the people who belong to Him. Yes, only the people that belong to him He will take. Let’s strive to be one of these people. There so much to be done to achieve this, we all know…
    Read; Luke 13:24


    • Tonton

      For some people, like you, they don’t want to think and they don’t want to ask.

      • Jordache

        He does not need to think and ask because this question to him is moot and academic. It seems you have more questions in life rather than answers.

      • emmanuel parian

        Thanks for your support, bro!

      • emmanuel parian

        It’s easy to create your own god, like the golden calf, because you don’t have to think. All you have to do is believe in what you have done. You are the creator of what you have. All you have to think is for your own good and for your own glory.

        For us true Christians we give credit to God for what we acquired. Our thinking and deeds are for the glory of God and Jesus Christ not for ourselves.

        We don’t have so much to ask in life because all the answers are found in Jesus Christ. We just believe.

        You cannot say we don’t think because you cannot understand our thinking which is in line with the God’s Spirit. You don’t have any idea of what is it, even very little because your mind is away from it.

        But we know your thinking. It’s all there in the first paragraph.

        TO THE GLORY OF GOD!!! 

  • Tonton

    LMAO. Nice write up!

  • EC

    What Licauco did not mention is that Paul and the twelve apostles are historical figures whose existence are not questioned by scholars. And all of them except one died a martyr for their faith. Do you think any man would die for what he know is not true?

    It is Licauco’s column that is pure fantasy. He is selling illusions.

    • emmanuel parian


  • Anonymous

    Since some already quoted those historians whom mr. Licauco said made no mention of the existence of the Lord Jesus Christ I would no longer tackle that but goes to his insinuation that Christianity was just a mere re-invention of some pagan beliefs who existed before the advent of the Lord on earth.
    For this I will let the Lord Jesus Christ Himself answer such accusation, for He does not deny that indeed there existed such personalities who claimed they were also christs or messiahs (that is God’s anointed for man’s salvation), thus this is what the Lord says:
    “All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.” (John 10:8)
    Mr. Licauco you dabbled and are obviously fascinated with evil spirits but you deny the Son of God whom even your very best demon would shudder at the very mention of His name.
    You should desist from such an evil, why would you want to heap much punishment on you and even surpasses the punishment due to those evil spirits whom you are so fond of. For these demons would not even dare to deny the existence of the Lord Jesus Christ but would only try to mislead people yet you a mere mortal man denies Him and even encourages others to take such a view. Repent of your sins but if you will not then better do it to the full for this is what the Holy Scripture says:
    “Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let those who do wrong continue to do wrong; let those who are vile continue to be vile; let those who do right continue to do right; and let those who are holy continue to be holy.” (Revelations 22:10-11)

    • emmanuel parian


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