More Evidence for the Lock Ness Monster Than Jesus Christ
With what greediness are the miraculous accounts of travellers received, their descriptions of sea and land monsters, their relations of wonderful adventures, strange men, and uncouth manners? But if the spirit of religion join itself to the love of wonder, there is an end of common sense; and human testimony, in these circumstances, loses all pretensions to authority. A religionist may be an enthusiast, and imagine he sees what has no reality: he may know his narrative to be false, and yet persevere in it, with the best intentions in the world, for the sake of promoting so holy a cause: or even where this delusion has not place, vanity, excited by so strong a temptation, operates on him more powerfully than on the rest of mankind in any other circumstances; and self-interest with equal force.
David Hume on “Miracles”
This article suggests that the evidence for the existence of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, is much better than any evidence for the existence of Jesus the lead character in the New Testament gospels. It further suggests that in both cases a deliberate deception which answered a contradictory problem was responsible for the development and spread of the myth. In the case of Nessie, it was the fake “Surgeon’s Photograph” that resolved the contradiction between a land and sea monter that grounded the myth. In the case of Jesus Christ, it was the writing of a fake gospel in the mid-Second century that resolved the contradiction between the idea that the Hebrew God would send a heavenly army led by the angel Joshua/Jesus of Nun (see book of Revelation) and the idea that God had abandoned the Jews because of their mis/interpretation of the Mosaic laws.
The evidence for Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster:
Eyewitness accounts: At least 110 dating back to Saint Columbia in the sixth century. In 1933 alone, 25 people claimed to have seen him. Many of the witnesses were outstanding and upright citizens.
Photographs – dozens
film and videos – 27 dating from 1933 to 1992.
sonar encounters – 16 dating back from 1954 to 1972.
Histories – dozens of contemporary book and magazine articles.
100’s of mentions in contemporary literature.
According to a well researched aricle by H.H. Bauer in 1988, (Society and Scientific Anomalies, Common Knowledge About the Loch Ness Monster) “Nessie has, in fact become the prototype and stereotype of the aquatic monster.”
In the same way, the gospel’s Jesus character has become the prototype and stereotype of the Holy man-Prophet.
The evidence for Jesus the Christ:
Eyewitnesses – 0
Photographs – 0
film and videos – 0
sonar – 0
Histories – 0 contemporary, one written 275 years after he supposedly lived by a Bishop, Eusebius, not a professional historian.
More Problematic is the lack of visual evidence within two hundred years of the alleged time of Jesus
Images -0, Figurines – 0, Mosaics – 0, Funereal images – 0, House-church art – 1 (Dura-Europos-Yale, circa 235 C.E.)
Catacomb drawings – (earliest 250 C.E.)
The singular reference to Jesus by a single first Century historian, Josephus, is widely seen as a later Christian interpolation by the same man who wrote the first history of the Church that he claims Jesus founded, the Fourth century Bishop Eusebius.
The first writers who are aware of the four gospels are Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Irenaeus, all of whom are probably correctly placed around the beginning of the Third century. The single original gospel seems to have been lost, but it probably came from the mid-second century, having something to do with a man named Marcion or Mark. While many difficult to date precisely epistles refer to an earlier God or an angel named Jesus/Joshua, this gospel was probably the first text to postulate a separate man living in the First century in the time of Pontius Pilate. Paul, for example, in his epistles, seems unaware that the lord Jesus/Joshua that he worships existed as a man from Nazareth who lived in the time of Pontius Pilate.
Returning to the more historically probable Nessie, unfortunately, with the use of submarines, better sonar and hundreds of underwater cameras the belief in Nessie has pretty well evaporated over the last decade. At least it has among serious scientists and observers. There are still tens of thousands of Pilgrims who travel to Loch Ness everyyear with the hope of seeing the creature. (information from Legend of Nessie, http://www.nessie.co.uk/htm/the_evidence/drawings.html, and wikipedia et al.) Apparently all the evidence that convinced millions of people that Nessie was alive came from from people’s imagination and some clever and not so clever hoaxers.
At least two scientists even wrote articles on the population density of monsters in Loch Ness www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_17/issue_5/0796.pdf and www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_18/issue_2/0343a.pdf. both published in the respectable biological journal Limnology and oceanography in the early ’70s.
The evidence for the historical existence of Jesus is so meager that it really can’t undergo any similar experiments. Although, theologians are constantly taking studies of what First century Jews did and then by logical deduction declaring that Jesus must have done that too.
On April 21, 1934 the London Daily Mail published a photograph supposedly taken by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynecologist, of what appeared to be the Loch’s most famous inhabitant coming up for a quick look around. For over 60 years, most people pointed to this as definitive proof that such a creature in fact did exist. However in 1992 a man named Christian Spurling made a startling confession. According to Spurling, the photo was a hoax concocted by his step-father, Marmaduke Wetherell, who was a big-game hunter contracted by the Daily Mail to find evidence of the monster. When he failed to do so, the paper fired him. He extracted his revenge by creating a “serpent” out of a toy submarine, placing a model of a head over the conning tower.
The model was then launched in the loch and the photo was snapped. By Spurling’s account, Wetherell persuaded Dr. Wilson to take credit for the shot. Perhaps fearing ridicule, Wilson never admitted to his part in the hoax. Despite this revelation, there are many Nessie believers, many of them respected scientists and journalists, who argue the admission is sour grapes and that it is no reason to discount other reports of the existence of the creature. ( from Lake Monsters Myths and Legends)
The sightings of Nessie may be due to a number of causes: sea otters, sturgeons, logs, boats, too much whiskey, overactive imagination, and deliberate hoaxers. This still makes Nessie herself a myth. The writings on Jesus may be due to a number of causes as well – interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures, mystery cult practices, reports on Judas the Galilean and other Jewish zealot revolutionaries, prophets, cynical philosophers, magical healing, zombies and maybe even a crucifixion or two. Add all the pieces together and we still get only a mythological Jesus.
Understanding the Loch Ness Monster Myth can help us understand how the Jesus Myth got started. There are some seemingly close parallels.
According toTony Harmsworth in “Loch Ness, Nessie, and Me”:
(from Harmsworth, Tony (2011-06-24). Loch Ness Monster, Nessie And Me (Kindle Locations 1374-1378). Harmsworth.net. Kindle Edition.)
It was only in 1933 with this single sighting that the legend of the Monster really started. From wikipedi, Loch Ness Monster:
This and the consequent faked “Surgeon’s Photo” in 1934 really created and spread the fame of the monster story.
Thus we have reports of Big Fish, then a report of a reptile-like monster. This shifted the debate in people’s mind to whether it was a fish or reptile-like creature. The duped photo resolved the issue by suggesting it was a plesiosaur, an aquatic reptile form the Pleistocene era (2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP). This was a satisfying, if completely false, solution to the previous problem.
The Loch Ness Question gets transformed this way:
1. Is there a Big Fish in the Lake? 2. Is there a monster in the lake? 3. Spicer sighting answers: No, there is a reptile-like monster. 3 Is there a big fish or a reptile-like monster? 4. Surgeon’s photo answers: No, there is a plesiosaur, which is both a big fish and reptile-like monster. 5. Is there a plesiosaur in the lake?
In the same way the Jews of the Second century sought to understand why their God had not sent a savior such as Joshua/Jesus of Nun to save them from the Romans in their two massive wars in 67-73 and 132-135 against the Romans. Was it because they had done something wrong and introduced new ways of interpreting the Mosaic laws as Josephus insisted? Or perhaps, the God of the Jews were less powerful than the gods of the Greco-Romans.
At the same time there seems to have been two different Joshua/Jesus cults reflected in the pre-gospel literature. One cult regarded Joshua as the name of God, while another regarded him as an angel, possibly the man Joshua lifted up to heaven after his death.
The original gospel, probably patched together in the middle of the Second century, suggested that God had indeed sent a Joshua/Holy Spirit savior, but the Jews rejected his new ways and killed the messenger and this led to God’s rejection of them. This was a total revision of history. The Christian-Jewish zealots, as reported by Josephus, had gotten control of the Jerusalem Temple and had murdered the chief Jewish officials and had led the people of Jerusalem in a disastrous war that led to the burning of the temple. The gospel was certainly revisionist history, but more importantly it answered the question about why God didn’t save the Jews and send a savior. The answer was, “Yes, he did send a savior, but the Jewish leaders mistook him for a zealot and murdered him.” In this way the Christian-Jewish Zealots shifted the blame for the defeat onto the traditional Jewish leadership. At the same time the gospel also answered the question about Joshua.
Thus was can see the transformation of the questions that the gospel were intended to solve:
1. Why did their God not send a savior to help the Jews during the wars? 2. Did the new zealots offend the God with their arrogance? 3. The gospel answered: No, the God did send a savior, it was not the new zealots that offended God, but the old Jewish establishment who took the Mosaic Law too literally and did not recognize him.
At the same time the gospel sought to answer the questions about Joshua/Jesus.
1. Is Joshua the name of God? 2. Is Joshua an angel who was the man Joshua of Nun, Moses’ Christ (anointed follower)? 3. The gospels answer: No, the lead angel is not Joshua of Nun, but the new Joshua sent by God and killed by the Jews. It is this Joshua that now sits at the right hand of God. No, Joshua is not the name of God, but the name of the son of God.
In modern times, starting in the 18th century, the myth was challenged over the return from the dead of Jesus, the ascension to heaven and the idea of God having a son. All of these things would have been accepted by the ancients without question. They are part of many ancient mythologies. The questions that the original gospel sought to answer had to do with the reason for the Jewish defeat in the Jewish-Roman wars and the reference of the name Joshua (man, angel or God).
What is important to think about is how myths are believed because they resolve perplexing questions in a simple fashion.
This article is more or less a summary of some ideas I explored with a few others on the FDRB (Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board. Special thanks to johno, jakesjoneiv and Mountainman Pete among others for sharing their ideas.