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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Well personally I'd expect them to at least read some of the lasts pages before commenting :P But you're right: most people probably haven't read much on the subject at all so I can't exactly expect them to read this entire thread.

Also, I apologize if anything I say comes across as me insulting people for not knowing a lot on this subject or if I even come across as annoyed. I'm not. I'm quite happy and relaxed actually, I just happen to have a pretty combative attitude when it comes to challenging beliefs (by-product of being an atheist, I guess). Please don't confuse that for any hostility or animosity on my part.
Ditto for when I use sarcasm: I'm not trying to make other people look stupid, it's just a type of humor I enjoy and use to spice up my posts. It's not malicious.

And thanks for the compliments ;)

P.S. Robin Hood and King Arthur are interesting cases, and they often come up in these discussions because there is a certain resemblance: in both cases, as with Jesus, we're talking about a person who is the subject of (historical) myths; the question for historians is "What is the most likely explanation for this?": do these myths contain a kernel of historical truth or are they simply fantasy stories and nothing more? Historians have to contrast the evidence for either proposition in order to assesss what is most likely.
In the case of King Arthur, for instance, we have some vague references in popular folklore of the Sixth Century AD that mention (in passing) either the name Arthur or Artorius. This gives us some reason to assume that there probably was a certain warlord named Artorius who had made quite a name for himself. However, the first actual account of his life story (that's to say the tale of a British king told by troubadours and other story-tellers) comes a whopping 550 years later in the Twelfth Century. Clearly, to the extent that Artorius ever was a historical persona, it's highly unlikely that any of his actual deeds were engrained that long into oral traditions that they were actually remembered AND notice the fact that the story clearly already came a long way from its origins (from Roman general to British King): from that we can deduce that the story of Arthur is probably mythical rather than fictional, although it is very loosely based on an actual hero.
When we talk about Robin Hood the situation is sort of similar but less severe; the first references to him come about a century after he supposedly lived, but contain rather more similarities (and more realistic scenarios) than the tale of Arthur: also, various traditions seem to zero in on more or less the same basic facts. I'm not very well acquainted with the historical work on the subject but many scholars seem of the opinion that, yes, there was in fact a rather famous person by this name who was mythicised.

When we compare the two to Jesus we immediately see that the comparison is not very justified: we know relatively certain that at the most ten years after Jesus supposedly lived, early Christians were preaching about him (and occasionally being executed) in Jerusalem. Twenty to twenty-five years after his death we have the letters of Paul who reference Jesus and expand upon his teachings. Forty years after his death we get a biography of his life (already very mythicised and containing plenty of exaggerations, but still) in the Gospel of Mark. Over the next twenty years three similar accounts are written (the other Synoptic Gospels), that contain different theology but similar historical statements (crucifixion, Pontius Pilate, causing uproar in the Temple,...). We even get references to Jesus by some of the most scrupulous historians of the time (Josephus and Tacitus) less than a century after he supposedly lived.

So clearly, we have not just more documentary evidence about Jesus (whether simply mentioning his name or actual stories) than about Arthur or Robin Hood, we also get it a lot earlier (earliest references being 10-20 in the case of Jesus and at least 100 for the others. That might seem to be a difference of scale, but it makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between telling a story about something that's happened several generations ago, to telling a story about someone who lived just one generation ago.
No need to apologise, thank you for correcting me!
nick altman advises Matt VDB:
I would advise in that light, that rather than challenging the idea every time it pops up again, and questioning the motives leading to the idea of Jesus as a myth, you copy and paste a summary of the evidence at hand, in the interests of factual knowledge.

Yes, evidence please.

Between researching it myself with 3 or 5 or 7 different sources, all of which say X, a newbie coming onto this site yelling at me "No, not X, Y!!!" in condescending tones, artfully dodging any request for credible sources...

I'll generally opt for my 3 or 5 or 7 different sources over the person asking me to take their word on faith alone.
Blah blah blah...
The same ad hominems and the same flat assertions as always, Jo; of all the people I've talked to on the Nexus, you're the only one who consistently finds me condescending, and who thinks I don't give credible sources. Any reason why that might be?
And I'm also not discouraging you from looking at different sources; by all means do so: just make sure they are reliable and scholarly sources, not the first crappy website you run into, eh Jo?

And as for artfully dodging requests for sources: please tell me where I've dodged such a request.

Let's see you back up those bald assertions with something else than bald assertions.
Though I imagine we'll just keep waiting.

As always.
I'm not an Atheist anymore, nor am I religious.

I think Jesus was a philosopher, not a preacher. I don't think he wanted anyone to accept anything he said as fact without understanding what he was saying themselves - or to help them discover it for themselves.

I think the religious leaders and the bankers (money changers) worked together to control people.

The bankers lie about how resources should be handled - the idea that we need to compete with each other for them instead of sharing them.

The preachers or churches lied to us and said we need to worship god and feel shame and that God judges us.

You or I cannot judge anyone - we can only try to show those around us how to learn from our mistakes in life and grow instead of being torn apart by guilt or shame from those mistakes.

Whoever/whatever the creator is - we are not judged. The creator is trying to show us the path.

If someone here wants to ban my account based on where I am at in my life - that is their choice. I will not judge you for doing so.

I wish you the best.
you believe in a god, andrew?
This forum is for non-believers only. If you believe in a supernatural being then you have no right to be here. Apparently your moral code sees nothing wrong with this type of gate-crashing deception. That is not something to be proud of. It is certainly a very bad advertisement for the type of religious belief that you hold.

It still amazes me how people like you can delude themselves into thinking that they are good, moral, upright people and that "lying for god" is a mark of distinction rather than a character flaw.

I recommend that you get in touch with sufficient morality to leave her voluntarily, before a moderator has to evict you for lying about your status and breaking the rules.
Why do you want to be here Andrew? I assumed this is a place for atheists to come and have a good discussion with those of a like mind, yes, but it is also a place where we can retreat from constantly having our ideas challenged and being accused of empty and negative skepticism. The fact that you are requested to not come here if you do hold theistic beliefs should be clear in that regard. So you're essentially challenging our non belief by wanting to be here, however benign that challenge's intended effect is. The point being, we come here to avoid that sort of challenge, and in a silly over dramatic sense, you're beliefs and your need to announce them here, of all places, is a form of challenge. You're painting yourself in a light of persecution, and that is wrong. It's like you're lighting up a cigarette in a no smoking area of a restaurant, when you could easily go to the smoking section. And you now attempt to paint anyone who calls you on it as being judgmental. What do you intend to happen here? A well mannered exchange of philosophy and intellectual discussion? Do you not see issues with a conflicting regression of sorts? The way you act like the ball is now out of your hands and in "our" court, it's self aggrandizing really.
Hi Nick. To be honest, at first, I read what you posted here and thought that we (AN members) might be getting a little elitist and precious about our 'happy place'. After all, without differing perspectives, we can't genuinely scrutinise the credibility of our views because we all agree already. I thought it a healthy thing to invite skeptics to respectfully ask challenging questions for us to consider and answer, as best we can. However I have looked at Andrew, found that has joined several discussions and that he is actually a member here. Membership CLEARLY requires atheist status as a prerequisite.

I'm sorry Andrew but do you know what a 'troll' is, here on the internet?
Thank you for the benefit of the doubt, David.

When you sit down and really look at what Andrew is doing, yes, he is being a troll. He is just trying to illicit some kind of response or attention from us, and I doubt he even is able to admit this to himself on a conscious and honest level.

He violates the rules of this forum and community, which no, I am not going to just call him on like a hallway monitor and report him( I haven't yet), but he also openly states his viewpoint and challenges us to do something about it with his lame ass passive aggressive methods. And that's exactly what it is, passive aggressive antagonism.

He then plays like he is pious and innocent and persecuted, leaving his fate in our hands, as if our reaction to his announcement demonstrates our character.

He is not only passive aggressive and antagonistic, but he seems to have a chosen one or messiah complex of sorts, in the way he announces his persecuted search for truth to us all, like it's something we would care about or find intriguing or important.

If you look at what he condones, in the evolution thread in the science forum for instance, that extraterrestrials manipulated our evolution and development, that Jesus may have been a messenger of sorts, and that God also communicates with him,....
Why on Earth would he want to be a part of an athiest community is beyond me.

I probably got him off a little by feeding into his persecuted prophet complex, but I guess that's the price to pay to excercise my bullshit meter a bit. Thank you Carl Sagan for my bologna detection kit, which I've modified into this bullshit detection meter. :)
Well, here's the thing. You don't have to accept this and no one will ever force you to. You will always have your soul as long as you have a heart.

There is only one person I'm concerned about in regards to losing his heart.



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