It has been nearly a hundred years since New Testament historians took seriously the idea that Jesus was essentially a copy of earlier pagan myths, and, still, massive disinformation to that effect circles around an internet that didn’t exist until long after these ideas were refuted.
Take, for example, the claim that the gospels are simply a re-telling of the tale of Horus. This is the sort of idea that can only be taken seriously among people ignorant of the actual story of Horus. Many sites point out ‘similarities’ between Christ and Horus, such as being born of a virgin (though Horus’ mother was, expressly, not a virgin), having been crucified (though Horus does not die in his myth, and crucifixion was not practiced in Egypt), and having twelve disciples (though Horus had four followers).
There are many equally false claims, but I don’t think these suggestions credible enough to refute here. Simply reading the story of Horus should be enough for that.
And this is the point. Groups of people who insist that we not accept anything without clear evidence, and often present themselves as skeptical, are promoting such demonstrably false information as true. This is not remotely to say that all atheists are this glib. But, still, it seems that there are many for whom “evidence” is strictly something for the theist to provide.
So, different as the arguments seem to be on the surface, it seems that the “Horus” argument and the “lack of evidence” argument, in one respect, come from the same place: that a materialistic, anti-theistic view doesn’t need to bother supporting its claims.
It is no wonder, then, that much of our culture finds it so easy to doubt the historical validity of the New Testament. It places an immense burden on the writings themselves, while insisting that opposing views need not support themselves at all.
Were I to argue for my position in this way… well, I can imagine the reaction. Easy as it is to assume a view unquestioningly, we should a more open-minded approach to discussing the New Testament.