Apparently you can't do polls on here.... but

Do any of you think that Jesus actually existed? What do category do you fall into?

A. Believed he existed, claims are false

B. Believed he existed, claims are exaggerated

C. Don't believe he existed

D. Believe he existed, claims are true (sorry had to leave the idiot category open)

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*spit take*
I personally dont think that there was a guy named Jesus that existed. However, there may have been, he probably was a radical hippy of his time. His story is not original though. So, it does leave one to wonder was he fabricated to keep the new school of jew's aka the cult of christos going?
Well, you have to admit that there's an enormous difference here - every single story that I'm aware of in the New Testament has predecessors on ancient Greek Christ-cults. I'm talking about:

1. Portents and premonitions
2. Being born of a virgin
3. Being born in a cave/stable
4. Being visited by wise men and shepherds
5. Suffering grave danger as the existing powers try to off him before he grows to maturation
6. Unusual wisdom as a child
7. Magically healing the sick
8. Bringing the dead to life
9. Being crucified/nailed to a mast/nailed to a tree (the important thing here seems to be dying due to/while being fastened to a wooden column of some sort)
10. Bringing salvation in the afterlife to mortals

And when you take away all those obvious mythological references... what's left? A name?
The part where you said that if we conclude that Jesus was not a real person, then we have to throw out "most of ancient history". This does not follow logically for reasons I discussed in another post.

"Most of ancient history" was certainly an exaggeration, but it doesn't make Thomas' point invalid. And when you asked

Can you name another one of these ancient folk, who has exactly one contemporary source from which we can infer his existence, and it's a book that claims he's the son of God?

I don't see how the last part (emphasis) is relevant to his point. Whether someone claims to be the son of God or Napoleon is not an argument against the existence of the claimer. Same if the claim is made by others in a book written after his death.

By the way, Socrates, like Jesus (assuming he existed), didn't leave any writings, and indeed his pupils and contemporaries did. Yet it is agreed upon that Plato gave an extremely embellished image of his former master, which doesn't really fit Xenophon's own view (another pupil), and conflicts with Aristophane's (a contemporary). Bottom line: even though we have accounts from people who knew him directly, and his existence is not disputed, the question of who the historical Socrates really was is entirely open to speculation. He's more legend than history to us. It's no wonder an obscure preacher in Palestine would have a similar fate.
It's hard for me to say... I don't really like to go against academic consensus, which as I understand it put him somewhere between category A and B... but there's a big divide between atheists and Christians, with atheistic scholars being much more likely to be in the "Jesus Myth" camp. Now, I don't want to say that atheists are generally more reliable, but there does seem to be a major conflict of interest here.

I suppose I'd say that I think there was someone named Jesus around that time, and I'd even be willing to bet that he had parents named Joseph and Mary. I mean, in modern-day terms, that's like a Michael born of a John and a Sarah. Statistically, it's reasonable to assume that SOMEONE fit those prerequisites. However, every single story told in the New Testament is an obvious ripoff of existing tropes in Greek Christ-cults. I don't know if the person who made up the parables was named Jesus or not, but obviously all the stories about him are false.
Actually, a lot of someones likely fit that description in Judea back then.
After watching 'The God Who Wasn't There' (excellent movie btw), I'm throwing myself in the C category. Clearly, even if he did exist, just about everything written about him is fiction so what's the difference if he lived or not, the story of 'jesus' is fiction.
C. In the same way as Cuchulainn, Finn, Perseus, and Hercules. We may have all heard great stories about them, and some people may have thought they existed, but I have yet to come across any evidence that any of the above ever existed.

Think about it. I've often heard it said, "There could have been someone named Jesus that lived around that time." By those standards any of these mytholical heros I've mentioned could have been a non-supernatural guy that existed around that time. They're not considered deities, yet they're regarded as fictitious. Why should a figure that only appears in religious texts, and is given a story that closely resembles that of previously worshipped deities any more credit?
Do a web search for "The Jesus Puzzle" and decide for yourself.
C. It was all a "revelation" of meeting a resurrected Jesus by Paul of Tarsus and his 7 to 13 letters that fueled the later legend-growing gospels. Two billion people believe the delusions of basically one man.
me personally, if the contemporary historical record is any indication of historicity then jesus, moses,abraham, solomon to name a few are in big trouble!
my sentiments exactly! historical human named jesus, sure, but the christ is purely an unoriginal, fantastic example of how the human mind can be duped by mythology.



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