I see this question asked a lot in this forum. Is it possible to get a discussion going where we can put this question to bed once and for all among atheist? It's so obvious to me that the answer is no, he didn't exist and is total mythology.

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You're kidding, right?

Let me clear up your confusion. I, Joseph Langston, am not sure that the Jesus of the Bible existed at all. Whether he did or didn't, doesn't mean much to me. There is evidence to support both conclusions, however I have nothing to say about the strength or quality of the evidence from either side.

The *writer* of this article, which I took off of Amazon (and yes, I have the link) was posting the article as a review of the book "The Jesus Puzzle" by Robert Price. I personally find her or his assessment to be intellectually stimulating.

So, FIRST, I said that I'm not sure. THEN I go on to say that SOMEONE ELSE said that he exists. The REVIEWER'S claims are very abstract and based on nothing that can be independently verified, that you, Nyabingi Kuti, are aware of. It would be great if that Amazon reviewer told us whether she/he had sources, or was indulging in mere speculation. I haven't read the book that I've referenced here because my FUCKING READING LIST is so long that I will literally (LITERALLY) die before I finish it. And this book isn't a hot or high priority on that list. I'm currently reading 4 different books simultaneously; it isn't easy (and hardly makes sense to do, either).

The REVIEWER, whatever her or his identity may be, sounds to YOU like they have a stake in upholding the Jesus Myth. Maybe the reviewer is a Christian. I am not.


Still confused??

For clarity's sake, the reviewer's article begins with:

The Jesus of the Gospels never existed as translated (more often mistranslated), instead, another Jesus did-same name, different biography, one which peeks out here and there in the gospels, but whose real and complete story is still missing and may never be found.

ALL of the text that appears after that statement belongs to the reviewer of the book, not me.
He sure did.
Jesus Areal lived behind me when I was a kid, we were friends.

Gregg
I've read that there's evidence to suggest that Jesus was merely the western equiviliant of the Buddah and that the New Testimate was actually inspired by the stories of Buddah. Does anyone know more about this?

I personally think Jesus was a real person. He was probably not as described in the Bible, but in my view it would reqire a human effort to make the shift from Judism to Christianity. There had to be a reason for this change in thinking and therefore a prophet must have existed in some form. There were many prophets floating around at the time of Jesus. He was just the only one who found a strong following. How much of the Jesus story is true? The world may never know.
I see that this topic is not real popular on this blog. I shouldn't be surprised, there aren't to many Atheist that believe in the myth of Jesus.
Nope. The whole concept was created by the council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The council consisted of priests and other church clergy. The council was called because this brotha named Arius was trying to open the eyes of the people who were worshipping this image called Serapis. Back in these times, the egyptians were known as pharoahs or gods (god was spelled with small g). This Greek dude called Ptolemy went to the egyptians who were BLACK and asked to be consecrated as a god. They said no so he started killing people. Finally, he ran across some sellouts that gave him what he wanted to stop the violence. From there, they created the image of serapis. That white image that we all have been looking at forever. Then he destroyed all the history books so knowone in the future could find the truth. Then the Greeks made the africans worship that image. And the rest is some screwed up history. The letter J wasn't even in the alphabet at the time. So, NO there is no JESUS.

Usually when people ask that question or make the statement that Jesus either did or didn't exist they mean the "Biblical Jesus" as he is described in the New Testament. Once you stray from that question you have an infinite variety of possible Jesus' and possible answers to the question. As a result I think it is impossible to "put it to bed" so to speak. If you confine your question to the "Biblical Jesus" all atheists agree, THAT Jesus did not exist.

 

Did some person who resembled the Jesus in the New Testament without all the supernatural claims exist? It depends on how and in what way he resembled the Biblical Jesus even without the supernatural elements.

 

However, the only real question that is really important for nontheism as it confronts conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity is about the Biblical Jesus.

There is quite a bit of difference btwn there being significant evidence that there was an entity that was the divine Jesus of the bibull and being able to provide at all significant proof that this myth had absolutely no basis in fact. I can't prove either that Paul Bunyon existed but nor would I want to be required to proove that there was never ever any lumberjack (perhaps even named Paul) who was awesome at lumberjacking on whom these myths may be based.

Otherwise the only info I have pertinent to this is that I remember reading something somewhere about archaeologists having found a tomb that did seem to contain evidence that it was own by someone figured to be connected to biblical Jesus.

Not only does there appear to be no historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth (who is really who people are talking about), there is a good chance there was never a Nazareth. 

 

Try this site: Jesusneverexisted.com

jesusneverexisted.com is an apologist site that has a big, blunt and very unsubtle anti-religious axe grind.

Surprise surprise, that doesn't exactly make them objective.
In actual academic circles the idea that Jesus never existed (whatever form that takes) is a fringe theory at best. The vast majority of scholars agree that he existed and spend their time trying to find out exactly what we can find out about him and with what degree of certainty.
The thing is that there is a chance that Jesus existed, but he was probably a regular man who wanted simply to teach others to be kind to each other as opposed to the magician in which the bible portrays him as being.

You can ask the same of any alleged historical figure. The same requirements for evidence would need to be applied. The problem is that the historical evidence for Jesus is woefully paltry by comparison with other historical figures and events.

 

What's more when people say, "Do you think Jesus existed" you have to ask, "which Jesus". If you mean the one portrayed in the gospels, well then you have to deal with all sorts of claims to the supernatural. These are not simply claims on a par with other historical events like Caesar crossing the Rubicon or Herod being the governor of Judea or even Herod killing all the children under two years of age. Those are "normal" events the "sort" of which occur regularly throughout history.

 

The problem with Jesus is that whether he existed matters. For example, if someone were to come along and say Shakespeare was not a real person, as some do then there is lively scholarly debate, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Someone wrote the play, perhaps multiple someones and they stand on their own. With Jesus it's different.

 

Traditional Christianity is based on the actual historicity of the Jesus of the gospels who did and said everything attributed to him. Without the actual Virgin Birth (not mythological, not metaphorical, not symbolic), without the actual atoning death and resurrection, there is no Christianity. What's more those things had to be done by the Jesus who was the God-man. So it matters.

 

Bart Ehrman has a rant on what would be required by historian to prove or at least determine as highly probably, the occurrence of an event or the existence of a person and NONE of them apply to Jesus. The fact is that you cannot PROVE anything that occurred in the past, you can only argue for it's probability based on the extent and nature of your evidence.

 

In my opinion a person by the name of Jesus who did and said some of the thing attributed to the Biblical Jesus may have existed but it is impossible to be sure and it really doesn't much matter.

Hi Dennis,

 

"You can ask the same of any alleged historical figure. The same requirements for evidence would need to be applied. The problem is that the historical evidence for Jesus is woefully paltry by comparison with other historical figures and events."

 

Your two first sentences are very rational, but your assertion in the last sentence doesn't really stand up to closer investigation. It's true that we should compare the evidence we have for Jesus with the evidence for other similar figures in his timeframe (obviously if we start comparing the evidence for Jesus to that of Caesar than it will look paltry; one was one of the most influential people that ever lived and the other was most likely a charismatic preacher at best).

 

We need to compare the evidence we have for Jesus to the evidence we have for other Jewish preachers, like Theudas, like Hillel, like the Samaritan Prophet, like the Egyptian Prophet, etcetera. And when we do that, we find that the evidence for Jesus is on par (and even slightly better) than what we have for these figures.

 

"Bart Ehrman has a rant on what would be required by historian to prove or at least determine as highly probably, the occurrence of an event or the existence of a person and NONE of them apply to Jesus. The fact is that you cannot PROVE anything that occurred in the past, you can only argue for it's probability based on the extent and nature of your evidence."

 

Bart Ehrman has pretty much made a career out of providing evidence that the Jesus of the Bible was most likely an apocalyptic preacher (as he does in his book "Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millenium"), so clearly he does think that there are quite some things who can say about Jesus with a rather high degree of probability.

There is little doubt in Ehrman's mind that Jesus has existed; that's why he's able to write books about not even that he merely existed, but even about what kind of person he probably was.

 

Nevertheless it's true to say that we can only ever provide evidence for historical claims, we can never "prove" them (in fact, according to many definitions, being able to "prove" something is limited to mathematics). We can only talk about events that have been established to have occurred with a high degree of probability.

Jesus as a historical figure is in that category.

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