So I'm thinking that when I have kids, I would really like to teach them about Jesus, not as the Messiah or as the Son of God, but as a moral teacher who taught lessons that I cherish such as pacifism, charity, compassion, and love. Of course, I would probably not teach them to worship or pray to him(I'd have to discuss it with my other half), but I think that Jesus ranks up there when talking about virtuous figures for children to model themselves after.

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Mushrooms are smarter ;-)
When I kidnap children to make my own, I'm going to teach them about Spiderman. Because at some point they're going to want to read the Bible and they'll ask me why I left all the ugly parts about Jesus out.
Oooh, good one Louis. I *heart* Spiderman. Not ridiculously super-powered like Superman. Peter Parker is a nerd, and he has a bit of a dark side with the whole angst-over-responsibility-of-power thing going on. Spidy was easily one of my top 3 favorite superheroes as a kid. Quite possibly number one!

Definitely a more realistic role model than a name out of a desert that might or might not have said all the nasty things in the buybull.
Add me to the list. I don't just think Jesus existed, I think several could have existed. In other words, I personally believe that the Jesus myth is based on an amalgamation of several early First Century messiah figures.

I have to agree with John D. Your sweeping generalities are baseless, and there are historians who support the idea that Jesus was a historical figure without buying into his divinity.
--- Big Blue Frog comments... Add me to the list. I don't just think Jesus existed, I think several could have existed. In other words, I personally believe that the Jesus myth is based on an amalgamation of several early First Century messiah figures.

And that's where the cynic in me asks: "How are we defining Historical Jesus?"

If we are looking for one person as the originator of any number of sayings/ideologies in the canon bible, then Saul of Tarsus is way more likely to be "historical Jesus" than anyone named Jesus was. Because we do know with near-certainty that at least 7-14 of the books of the New Testament directly reflect Saul's own hand and there's yet more solid reason to speculate that as other scriptures/gospels got narrowed down into approved/unapproved lists, it was Pauline ideology that partially, if not largely, drove the 'approved' list.

Once again, this is where some of us caution against making an automatic connection between historical Jesus and the 'message' of the canon bible.

I made the comparison in another thread to a hypothetical search for Historical Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz. Frank Baum might have had a relative or friend named Dorothy in real life. She may even have lived on a farm with her aunt and uncle and kindly farm hands and said "Oh my" a lot. But the bulk of the book's content almost certainly comes from the author, not from Historical Dorothy Gale.
--- JstN Earthling - On the contrary, the ONLY people who honestly think Jesus existed are theists. There's not one historian that even wonders about the question for the most part. As an atheist I'm surprised to hear you [Kathryn Herzog] say "Few doubt Jesus' existence"

Sorry JstN, but I too have to chime in and say it's true: Historical Jesus as pure myth is a very, very minority opinion. Not the other way around.

The other end of the extreme is the Jesus Positivers; that Historical Jesus' existence is proven beyond a reasonable doubt and we can therefore find pieces of him in the canon bible.

The middle road, and the one that to me seems most logical and objective, is that based on the evidence, there very likely was a human, flesh-and-blood Jesus who would become the template/inspiration for bible-Jesus. However;

A) "Very likely." Not "Proven beyond a reasonable doubt." Especially big qualifier when debating Theists.

B) If such a person exist, zero evidence exists beyond name/place/occupation. I.e.; no evidence which, if any, sayings/deeds/ideologies in the bible belong to 'real' Jesus versus which ones belong to the author, or any of the various people passing down oral Jesus-tradition.

Which is why some of us feel it's important to put that huge brick wall between Historical Jesus and Biblical Jesus, especially when debating Theists. The oft-made argument is, "Well unlike Hercules or Thor, at least our god (Jesus) existed as a real person!" No. He didn't. Your god exists as a series of scripture stories about someone who walked on water and raised the dead and gave birth to himself, so he could kill himself, so he wouldn't be forced to send you and I to hell.
Was that for me? I'm the one with the Christian wife.
Jesus may be a myth, but myths are important in our society and to most people. If you don't recognize the humanity in it, you will be delusional to the idea that we might keep people from having any "beliefs" and just study science and look at "facts".

I suggest to the people on this discussion who think there's no good in the study of the Bible or reading about Jesus, to read some Joseph Campbell. Here's a review of his "Power of Myth" by the "Emerson Group" (a live discussion group sprung from the Transcendentalists): http://www.dmuuc.org/lay/Power-of-Myth.html
I see your point. I think you're right that Campbell mainly talks about Jesus as how myths can work in people's lives, though he talked about Jesus a lot in The Power of Myth. I like some of the Jewish stories and Hindu stories, such as Blind Men and an Elephant.
it's important to innoculate kids against the very virulent religiosity otherwise they may be somehow suckered in later in life. A good start is the understanding that jesus was a MYTH. Never existed. As a 'moral teacher' or anything else, and teachings attributed to 'him' are just as often bad as good.
Joyce,

Myths obviously serve functions in human civilisation, but I think it is positively lazy to not try to extract these functions (whatever they may be) and insert them into something less irrational.

"A good start is the understanding that jesus was a MYTH. Never existed. As a 'moral teacher' or anything else, and teachings attributed to 'him' are just as often bad as good."

And of course, no justification whatsoever has to be given for this quite extraordinary claim. It can just be asserted.

Right? ;)

Welcome to the Nexus by the way!
No, you seem to be confused. You were the one who was warned not to throw around insults and cheap slurs.

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