Did Schweitzer deny that Jesus existed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This is going to be a sidebar. Throughout the book, Mills has snippets from other people throughout history making brief statements in favor of his atheism/skepticism. This is a common one from Albert Schweitzer that many people misuse.
“There is nothing more
negative than the result
of the critical study of the
life of Jesus. The Jesus
of Nazareth who came
forward publicly as the
Messiah, who preached the
Kingdom of God, who
founded the Kingdom of
Heaven upon earth, and
died to give his work its
final consecration, never
had any existence.” —ALBERT SCHWEITZER
(1875-1965), French physician,
philosopher and humanitarian,
in The Quest of the
Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 143). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.
As it turns out though, this is what he says:
THOSE WHO ARE FOND OF TALKING ABOUT NEGATIVE THEOLOGY CAN FIND their account here. There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give His work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.
Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus (p. 259). Kindle Edition.
The problem is if anyone ever bothers to read the book, they will find Schweitzer is not saying Jesus never existed. He is saying that a Jesus like this is a Jesus of imagination as the historical Jesus was not like this at all. Schweitzer will often speak of the historical Jesus as opposed to Jesus as seen by many of his time.
What we can learn from this overall is that Mills, like too many atheists, has just taken a snippet of something, presumed it means what he thinks it means, and ran with it. He did not bother to go and check and see what Schweitzer said in the text. There are too many Christians that simply believe everything that is told to them as long as it agrees with them. There are conservatives who do this in politics. There are leftists who do this in politics.
Also, atheists are quite prone to do this as well. This is not something that is a problem of any one belief system. This is a human problem. Hence, I encourage you to question what disagrees with you definitely, but also question what does agree with you. Try to verify everything that you can. If you are unsure, it is acceptable I think to go on Facebook and share it with the disclaimer that you have not verified it and if anyone knows more, please let you know. In this case, you are not sharing it as a fact, but as a quesiton.
If you will search this blog you will find many posts where I have taken down false claims made against people that I disagree with such as here and here and here. Truth should matter to all of us. We should not only care that our views are presented right, but we should make sure our opponents are treated right as well and not misrepresented. To take down a false view is to take down a straw man.
Mills is someone who does not do research at all. He is someone who balks at “creationists” who don’t understand science commenting on it, but he comments on numerous things he doesn’t understand. If it is his area that he cares about, it is wrong, but if it is areas he thinks are nonsense, it is okay.
Don’t be like Mills. Be a thinking person.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)