"Independent Confirmation is Not Necessary to Establish the Mere Existence of the Jesus of the New Testament"

...so argued Jeffery Jay Lowder, co-founder of the Secular Web. I think people who deny the existence of a mere man named Jesus who was the founder of the Jesus cult have to explain away too many things to think the way they do. They could likewise claim Paul never existed by the same standards of reasoning that they do with Jesus. Where is Paul's existence independently confirmed outside of the New Testament?

Historical studies can be used to deny almost anything in history. Historical studies are like that, so we must exercise caution. There must be a limit to how skeptical a historian can be about historical conclusions simply by virtue of the fact that someone could be skeptical of almost all of them. As evidence for this, people today even deny the Holocaust happened.

Lowder makes the case that independent confirmation of a man named Jesus is not necessary, and I agree. He writes:.
There simply is nothing epistemically improbable about the mere existence of a man named Jesus. (Just because Jesus existed does not mean that he was born of a virgin, that he rose from the dead, etc.). I think that the New Testament does provide prima facie evidence for the historicity of Jesus. It is clear, then, that if we are going to apply to the New Testament ‘the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material,’ we should not require independent confirmation of the New Testament's claim that Jesus existed.”
Again, the standards for accepting historical conclusions cannot be as rigorous as the standards for scientific conclusions; otherwise we could not believe anything happened in the historical past. But something did happen in the past. So we cannot demand such high and rigorous standards. This is basic Philosophy of History.

What I do know is that charismatic leaders start religious cults, not committees and not authors. I also know that end time prophets have a higher than normal likelihood for starting religious cults. I also believe the best understanding of the Jesus in the New Testament is that he was a doomsday prophet, and that there is a likelihood the Jews of that era were expecting a Messiah, especially since they were under an oppressive Roman rule. Without a better explanation for how the Jesus cult started, I have good solid reasons for thinking it started with an end time prophet like the one described in the New Testament named Jesus.

Look at it this way. Since we can deny almost anything in the historical past, then when we read in an ancient text where a person existed and where it’s also said he did something, the burden of proof is on those who would deny this, under normal non-miraculous circumstances which have the burden of proof. This applies to characters like Adam, Noah, and Moses as well as for Jesus. We must take what the text says as a given in a prima facie sense, until shown otherwise. If, on the other hand, the burden of proof is on the person who accepts this textual testimony, then she could probably never meet that burden simply because historians cannot meet that burden in the first place.

This is Part 3 of my case for the existence of the end-time prophet named Jesus described in the New Testament. Other parts can be found here: Part 1, and Part 2