On April 17th, Jerry Coyne wrote:
I’m pretty much of the opinion that there’s no strong evidence for the claim that Jesus was a historical person around whom the Jesus myths (obviously false) accreted. In other words, I’m a mythicist. I don’t claim that we know that a Jesus-man didn’t exist, only that we don’t have good evidence that he did.
Coyne then tries to rationalize his fringe position:
This puts me outside the bailiwick of modern scholarship, but I still claim that those scholars, like Bart Ehrman, who claim that mythicists are dead wrong, are themselves operating from psychological motives rather than from empirical evidence. They are, as Price mentions in this video, adherents to the “Stuck in the Middle with You” brand of scholarship, believing only those in the center with critical but conservative views, while placing both fundamentists like William Lane Craig and mythicists on the outside. In other words, these scholars, even though there’s no evidence for a historical Jesus, adhere to that view because it makes them look reasonable.
Of course! Psychological motives. But not only are all these modern scholars psychologically motivated to be snooty, they are doing their duty to Defend Western Civilization:
in the end agree with Carrier that mythicism appears to be rejected by Biblical scholars for mere psychological reasons. Christianity is a bedrock of Western society, so even if we doubt the divinity of Jesus, can’t we just make everyone happy by agreeing that the New Testament is based on a real person? What do we have to lose?
How did I miss that before? That modern scholars reject the position of militant atheist activists can only be explained with pyschology! They defend the bedrock of Western society with great snootiness. But wait. Is it possible, just possible, that the the mythers are operating from psychological motives given their fringe, crackpot status?