Excellent stuff. Atheists full of the tired wheeze about how the gospel is “really” just a warmed-over pagan myth need to a) read “Mythopoeia” and b) familiarize themselves with real biblical scholarship *outside* the cramped hothouse of the Jesus Seminar, Robert Price, and Bart Ehrman. The New Testament makes occasional passing reference to the mental world of paganism. But what is blazingly obvious to anybody without an urgent agenda blind to common sense is that the *real* mental world of the NT authors is totally and completely dominated by the Old Testament. These people are Jews and think like Jews, full of Jewish idioms, images, and habits of mind, not pagan ones. If you don’t begin with that fact and proceed from there, you are as ignorant as the flat earther who says “If the earth rotates, then why isn’t there always a breeze from the East? Huh? Huh? Showed you, you stupid fancy-pants scientist!”
Seriously, atheists: consider the possibility that, just as a six day creationist who just started thinking about the science last week has not overturned all of the sciences with a Google search or two, so the atheist who has picked up a couple of glib dismissals of the NT from some “Jesus never existed” quack. The notice of a couple of dubious parallels with paganism, coupled with the furious suppression of the huge differences between Christ and the pagan gods cannot force the square peg into the round hole. Christianity remains stubbornly itself and the New Testament remainss stubbornly unique. It is high time the atheist stopped imagining that finding the theological equivalent of the Young Earth Creationist with a Ph.D in ceramics who brandishes his Ph.D. to make claims far beyond his competence is any more sensible a way to proceed for the atheist than it is for the Young Earth Creationist. Gullible fanboys who think Bart Ehrman to be the source and summit of all biblical scholarship are no more engaged with reality than the internet creationist who imagines that a blurry photo of Noah Ark proves the earth is 6000 years old. When the “Jesus Myth” crowd can emerge from the tiny bubble of Jesus Myth “scholarship” and start to actually engage scholars who do not tell them only what they are bound and determined to hear, then I can take them seriously. Otherwise, they are are far as can be from “open-minded”. They are fearful cranks who worship, not use, the intellect.