MYTH: Historians generally agree that Jesus never existed.
FACT: While many historians are skeptical as to whether Jesus was the Son of God, the vast majority of them do believe such a man did exist. Whenever someone tells me Jesus never existed, my standard reply is, "Name three reputable historians that would agree with you." Most cannot do it, and the few that can usually bring up the name of some crackpot whose work has long since been discredited.
MYTH: The story of Jesus' resurrection was borrowed from ancient mythology.
FACT: If you'll read the ancient mythology, you'll see that the parallels between it and Christianity are greatly exaggerated. For instance, skeptics say Christianity is rooted in the legend of Mithras, who was allegedly born of a virgin, sacrificed himself for others, and rose from the dead. In fact, ancient legends say Mithras was born from a stone cliff, not from from a virgin. He is frequently depicted as sacrificing bulls, but never himself, and nothing is actually known of his death. Furthermore, the legends of Mithras coming back from the dead are post-Christian. In other words, the evidence suggests this cult borrowed from Christianity, not the other way around.
MYTH: Jesus' body was never placed in a tomb.
FACT: Earliest sources - both Christian and non-Christian - indicate that Jesus' body was indeed placed in a tomb, and that the tomb was later found empty.
MYTH: Stories about Jesus' resurrection did not appear until long after His followers had died.
FACT: The basic truths of the gospel - i.e., Jesus died for our sins in fulfillment of Scripture and rose from the dead on the third day - were in circulation while most of the twelve apostles were still alive (1 Cor. 15:3-8). The idea that these things "were invented years later" runs in flat contradiction of the evidence. Most of these men gave their lives in defense of the belief that Jesus had risen from the dead. Granted, people will die for a lie (Muslim terrorists do it frequently), but only because they believe it to be true. However, few people will give their lives for something they know to be false. Skeptics are accusing the apostles of doing the latter.
MYTH: The New Testament has been greatly changed and edited over time.
FACT: While some variants do exist in ancient manuscripts, their number and significance have been greatly exaggerated. The fact is, most of the variants are so insignificant that they don't even show up in our modern translations, and none of the variants affect any major Christian doctrine.
MYTH: The Council of Nicea, under the direction of Constantine, first declared Jesus to be the divine Son of God. They also decided what books to include in the New Testament.
FACT: Jesus' deity was not even an issue at the Council of Nicea. The debate was over whether or not He was co-eternal with the Father (this had serious implications regarding His deity, and that was the point of the meeting). The debate over which books to include in the New Testament continued long after the Council of Nicea, and most of that debate was over the book of Revelation and a few of the general epistles. The four gospels, the Acts, and the Pauline epistles were accepted very early and were never the subject of serious debate.
In short, the evidence really points to only one conclusion: Jesus really did rise from the dead! If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then we can believe Him when He says He's coming again, and we can believe Him when He says He is the one and only way to God (John 14:1-6). Let us continue to celebrate our Lord's resurrection, not only on Easter, but every day of the year.
(For more information on this topic, I highly recommend Conspiracies and the Cross, by Timothy Paul Jones, and The Case for the Real Jesus, by Lee Strobel).