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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Claudia -- this is the first post from you I've seen, so perhaps you are unaware that this site is explicitly off-limits to religious proselytizing. I'm sure there are many places you can discuss your take on the Christian doctrine of atonement.
Arnold: I DID NOT try to make religious proselytizing. It was like a joke for me. I wanted to show that if you ask Anachro's question seriously in the context of religious belief, likely you will get this kind of answer. The whole thing does not make sense to me either.
I don't know if an itinerant Jewish preacher named Jesus actually walked the Levant in the first century C.E (we do have evidence for itinerant preachers in the area).

Now, do I believe that an itinerant Jewish preacher named Jesus was nailed to a cross, died, and three days later reanimated alive again?

Absolutely not. That would be ridiculous. It would be contrary to everything that has ever been demonstrated and therefore would require an extraordinary degree of evidence that to date, has never been produced.

So, do I think Jesus actually existed? I have to ask, "Which one?" The itinerant preacher, I give that 60%. The incarnation of omnigod? I give that significantly less 0.01%.
This makes the best sense to me. Though I am still pretty much entrenched in the idea that the story has changed many times throughout history. Look at the Texas school board, trying to take T. Jefferson out of the history books, it has been done in the past and it seems as if we are experiencing this first hand today.
There is no original scriptures, just copies. They have been edited and words changed so many times that even the apologist have a hard time explaining it. Add that the different translations and it is a good fictional novel.
Add to that the fact that most of the story of Jesus was fabricated from the beginning.
Jesus existed: As a small shit smear on John the Baptist's Underoos™

It's revealed truth. Don't argue with me, Heathens
I am undecided on his existence. I do think it's perfectly plausible to doubt it.
The only historical evidence are claims from the three apostles. They bring these claims to Rome, and they arise as a group among the slaves, the poor, the destitute, every point of their dogma meant to give meaning and purpose precisely aimed at this social group. Word of mouth is all they had here. There is not a shred of historical evidence for the killing of the first born by Harod, this was probably more hear say that the slaves of Rome had no reason to refute. So here is this religion that gives a meaning to the most ignorant and miserable of society, providing hope that in the end they will ascend to the life of a king in eternity. Of course this is appealing, a perfect recipe for a successful cult among the perfect flock.

This gains momentum in the coming decades, eventually so many have lived by it and passed it on, it has become ingrained as religious fact among it's followers. Now comes the Roman emperor who finds a truth to it perhaps, or he saw a wondrous tool for social control. One of the other, Constantine gave this movement legitimacy. This movement had the perfect design to appeal to the lowest and most abundant group of people in the world, and it's easy to see how it has flourished without any foundation in fact at all.
And where is the evidence that these three apostles existed?

The reason so many doubt is that almost everything written about Jesus during what would have been in or close to his lifetime are religious documents with no verification by secular sources. I.e.; tall tales, with the conspicuous absence of anyone outside the faith verifying these deeds and events that surely would have attracted a crowd.

That said, I still maintain that there very likely was a person or several people upon whom the Jesus myth got attached. Yeshua was a common name, street preachers were a dime a dozen. Laws of probability, one or more of them were named Yeshua. And one or more of them may have been just charismatic enough and popular enough with the underground to have his/their name attached to an already circulating legend.

- It's very common in mythology/legends to attach a name to it to give it more credence. Consider urban legends today circulated via email: There's often a "Professor so-and-so" supposedly signing it at the bottom.

- Once a name is chosen, any related deeds that have been accomplished must have been by that one person.

- It's also very common in mythology when several people of the same or similar names are involved to meld them into one, particularly in oral tradition. Yeshua Ben Nazarath, Yeshua Ben Bethlehem, Yeshua Ben Galilee, ... pretty soon all those get shortened to "Yeshua," who now sounds like all one in the same person and is an awfully busy boy who sure gets around.

But whomever that original Yeshua(s) was, he/they bear no real resemblance to the Jesus of the bible, which is a conglomerate of several god-man myths well over 2,000 years old.
Sorry, but that theory is not taken seriously by any reputable historian or scholar since at least the 1890's.
The fact of the matter is that when we compare the evidence we have for Jesus to the evidence we can reasonably expect for an ancient figure

Try this: find me a contemporary source for Hannibal. Or Arminius. Or Boudicca.
These are three of the most formidable enemies Rome ever faced (with two of actually being accountable for the destruction of several Roman legions), and yet we don't have any contemporary evidence for them whatsoever.
So how could we possibly reasonably expect to find contemporary evidence from secular sources for a Jewish preacher?

The answer is: we can't.

And as for what we can know about Yeshua Ben Yosef (Jesus' real name) we can pretty conclusive say the following things:
- he was born in Nazareth or at least in Galilee
- he was a preacher and had the reputation to be a faith healer
- he was crucified by Pontius Pilate (most likely for causing a disturbance in the Temple at Passover)
- ...
These are things actual scholars (Bart Ehrman, Geza Vermes,...) acknowledge and work with. Don't try to adopt an anti-Christian position just because you'd like it to be true

I want to know what the evidence is for these points. I have heard only the constant reinforcement of so called historical evidence that is supposed to be there to support this, but I never am told what this evidence is. As far as I know, only one historian alive in the period made any mention of these events, which was decades after they took place and is questionable in authenticity. I am not arguing against the fact Jesus existed, as I have yet to see the evidence cited to know what to argue against, I would be open to the idea of a person or persons who existed to give rise to the movement, but I have yet to learn specifics and can easily see how it all could have come about with no need for a foundation in reality at all.

How do we know:

- he was born in Nazareth or at least in Galilee
- he was a preacher and had the reputation to be a faith healer
- he was crucified by Pontius Pilate (most likely for causing a disturbance in the Temple at Passover)

How do we know these things, I am not challenging them, I only desire to know what these sources are that are constantly referenced to say these things.


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