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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There is no evidence outside of the New Testament that was written after the fact by anonymous people who probably never even met him...heck they probably weren't even born during his lifetime. The stories we are presented don't agree on any significant details and thus we have no reason to believe those stories are even about the same person.

I, however, don't claim he didn't exist.

As for the name...there were supposedly plenty of people who's name we'd read as 'Jesus.' One of them may have died at the hands of the Romans as a Messiah. That, however, doesn't seem to have any ties to the stories in the New Testament.
As for the name...there were supposedly plenty of people who's name we'd read as 'Jesus.' One of them may have died at the hands of the Romans as a Messiah. That, however, doesn't seem to have any ties to the stories in the New Testament.

Precisely. Consider the Wizard of Oz. The main character is "Dorothy, who has a dog and lives on a farm in Kansas." I'm sure there were lots of people named Dorothy who had dogs and lived on farms in Kansas. Does that make the story true?

Likewise, street-preaching was a common activity in 0 CE for which lots of people got in trouble with the law and were even executed. Yeshu/Yeshua/Yeshuara was a common name. So there probably was a - more likely several - Jesus'. Just enough to have the name attached to the otherwise popular god-man fairy tale.
There probably was a man name Jesus, but his certainly no God, son of god, and no super powers. I fall between A or B.
I'm under category C. I don't believe Jesus existed at all.
I don't believe Jesus existed.

First, I don't believe that the Jesus of the Gospels existed. The Gospels were written at least a generation after the events they supposedly describe, none of the authors of the Gospels were apostles and were not contemporary with the person they describe. They aren't reliable narratives, contradicting both historical fact and each other. Certainly the miraculous events can be dismissed.

Secondly, while it is possible that there was a person called Jesus who lived, had a following and was nailed to a post, there just isn't any evidence for the existence of this Jesus. None of the 60 or so contemporary historians operating in that area mention him, his following, or the supposed multitude who witnessed his miracles or resurrection. What's more, there are only a couple of extra-Biblical mentions of someone who might be Jesus. One mention by Josephus is almost certainly a later interpolation into an existing text (an early example of the phenomena "Lying for Jesus"). Another, mentioning a "Christus" who lead a rebellion in Rome, isn't even close to being the supposed historical Jesus.

Just by way of comparison, I've been to the Kong Family mansion in Qifu, China. There are accounts that that mention Kong-Fu-Tsu (Confucius) and he predates the historical Jesus by 500 years.
Yeah, I like to point that out to Christians. The difference between Confucius, Buddah, Muhammad and Jesus?

The first three are historically certain to have been real people.
In "The Blank Slate" by Stephen Pinker, previously the Director for Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT makes a case the desire to share a common belief in a supernatural, and after life existence is a survival trait that has been "hardwired" into the human psyche over 250,000 yrs of evolution. He is talking about religions from the very earliest animist and shamans through the very advanced religions of Buddhism and Jainism.

But he does not attempt to make the connection to any spiritual reality. Humans have had so many diverse belief systems, most of them mutually exclusive that Occam’s razor tells us that since they can't all be 'true' the most obvious answer is that NONE of the world’s religions are 'true'.

Fervent belief in a religion has no more value than a Roman's belief in Jupiter or an ancient Vikings belief in Odin.
The amazing thing is that humans ARE EVOLVING. A great many are able to overcome the "hardwiring" and look at irrational belief systems and declare them so. And from that learn that any human can be as capable at creating an ethical world view as any of the priest, prophets or fiction authors that created the world’s religions. Unless one believes that all of the world’s religions have been 'true' and there are a million gods with a million names and attributes the you must admit that at least all but one(yours?) were created by men, fiction authors, to explain the unknowable or control other men. Once again the obvious answer is that all religions are works of fiction.

Archeaology Today did a piece many years ago(it is defunct and I cannot find it online) pulling together archeaological evidence that jesus was very likely a construct using Sumerian mytholgies, pieces of the Greek mystery cults of Dionysus, Zorastrianism, mystic Judaism and Roman Freethought. They components of those groups in the area of Jerusalem at the time, and I can imagine a few well educated freethinkers cracking open an amphora of wine and hashing out one to screw with the Rubes. Then they went their separate ways and we had 300 yrs of stories passed word of mouth. Start a story at one end of the room and when it gets back to the first person it will not resemble the original. Try that with thousands in different languages over more than 100 yrs. No wonder the NT contradicts itself repeatedly on major assertions.

So no; there may have been a traveling rabbi named jesus. Are any of the tales in the bible about a real person....NO.
Great Book.

Don't forget that, basically, the whole 'eternal life' thing is just an extension of the Egyptian myths to everyone rather than just the Pharaohs (who also claimed to be 'gods on earth,' BTW.) It is not surprising that the Egyptian myths entered the Judeo Christian 'scripture' considering that Moses (if he existed) was raised as the son of a Pharaoh.
I would agree with you, Fred. I really think Paul was more of a snake oil salesman than a spokesman for a true deity. It's VERY convenient that he's the only who one who was known to have had contact with the Jesus of the New Testament. A little convenient. Smacks a bit of John Smith finding the gold tablets, translating them with a majick feather in a hat, and - when pressed to show them to the world - never being able to prove that the tablets ever existed. Yet Mormons exist today because of his story. People really do want to believe in something supernatural. Truth be damned.
I don't think there's any evidence that Paul met the historical Jesus. Not only that, he wrote before the Gospels were ever codified. If you read the Epistles, you'll notice that Paul goes on and on about some matter that could be settled by making reference to what Jesus supposedly said about it in one of the Gospels. He never does.

My take on Paul: Bullshitting for Jesus didn't start with Pat Robertson.
I really don't know if he existed or not. Certainly the historical record does not establish that he did. If he did exist he was just a man another man.
It's VERY convenient that [Paul's] the only who one who was known to have had contact with the Jesus of the New Testament.

Important distinction: Contact with Jesus' ghost; not Jesus himself. The earliest of Paul's letters are dated at least 30 years after Jesus supposedly died. By his own writings, Paul states that he never met Jesus in person, only saw a vision of Jesus on the Road to Damascus.

To date there are exactly zero credible eye-witness accounts of Jesus while he was still alive. While that in and of itself doesn't prove non-existence, it doesn't bode well for existence. Especially for a guy who was supposed to have stirred quite the religious/political hornet's nest. Especially since Rome was quite good at record-keeping for its time.



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