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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Fred,

"George thought it was theists and I agree with George that it is common among them too but it could be that Matt and you Nick have loyalty and see yourself as supportive of another group."

What's that supposed to mean? You know full well that the only thing I've (and I'd count Nick with me) advocated here is proper historical analysis with the evidence in mind.
And you also know full well that we've both said things that would make Christians highly uncomfortable.

"A kind of abuse of rhetorical skills you two seems to love to show off.

So I don't think you are theists at all. I think you two are atheists that love to use rhetoric writing to make others upset."


And that's total nonsense. I've never had to rely on rhetoric at all, because my discourse is based - first and foremost - on evidence. As for making people upset: have I ever made you upset? No. Have I ever made George upset? No. I've always been very polite with people who have honest questions, who maybe aren't familiar with the relevant arguments, or those that I talk to for the first time.
It's only when said people refuse to concede a point or cling to their faith positions, that I'll start using sarcasm and maybe a little bit of scorn. That's it.

If that makes some people upset, so be it. But don't give me this crap about how this is my goal.

Regards,

Matt
@ Fred.

I simply meant "we" as in Matt and myself. If you feel Christ was not based on a real man, make specific points. We can debate those points. How am I spouting rhetoric simply by stating there is evidence in the face of someone claiming there is no evidence? Frankly I think this comes down to someone taking the word "ignorant" as some kind of insult. Ignorant was used in the literal sense. If you don't think there is evidence, frankly you must be ignorant or dishonest. The evidence that exists you are free to say is not compelling enough, but to state there is a void of evidence is simply untrue. How can you possibly disagree?

I originally entered this thread of the opinion that Jesus was not real, and Christianity probably was created later in time and their history was a a fabrication. Matt demonstrated to me a way of looking at things that seemed to make more sense logically. I changed my mind, and I thank him for challenging me.
You dare accuse me of rhetoric? It's not my fault that people lack the ability to make a logical argument. If they continue to make the same mistakes, all I can do is repeatedly point out those mistakes. If that seems rhetorical, it's a view without a solid premises.
"feel free to make a point"... I think I already did!
Your point was that there was no evidence, this suggests there is no argument at all outside of the theistic argument. This is simply not true. You're wrong if you think there is no evidence, but you're free to look at the evidence and choose what you feel it tells us, it's not an obvious fact that Jesus existed and nobody that is here is going to tell you otherwise. There is however evidence to examine which suggests he did exist, whether it's compelling enough for you to accept as probable or not. We've been talking about it now for dozens of pages, you coming in and stating there's no evidence is a little comical. You're either ignorant of the evidence, or you choose to not come to the same conclusion, it's that simple. What do you want us to do, state the same evidence we've been stating over and over again because you don't want to at least look at the most recent discussion in the thread? You're just answering the OP's topic, which is fine, but don't pretend otherwise. If you have a point of contention over the evidence Matt has presented numerous times, make a point. But simply saying there is no evidence at all is insulting, and further equating us to theists even more so.

Perhaps you feel the passages from Tacitus are total embellishments in all content, and not just pieces of it? Or perhaps your contention of Jesus being a amalgam of myth is born from specific themes you'd care to specify? We will argue that it's easier to account for the position that Jesus was a man who gave rise to a mythology and religion that is of course not true, but it makes more sense that he was a real man than some conspiracy that has been enduring for two thousand years. You cannot simply say there is no evidence at all for a Jesus without looking ignorant.
I have to say it really does not matter to me if he existed or not, the damage is already done. The toothfairy does not exist and look at the damage it continues to do. Why would parent have their own child believe in something that does not exist? If Jesus did exist he is now dead. The only importance of this history if the history of events that took place in human history which is the philosophy of thought and actions taken that effected the well being of human activity.
George,

I'm still waiting for some substantiation for your suspicion:

"I suspect he is a compilation of many different ancient myths."

Alright, what is this based on?
@ Fred. This seems to be posted on the wrong page. Sorry for the double post.

I simply meant "we" as in Matt and myself. If you feel Christ was not based on a real man, make specific points. We can debate those points. How am I spouting rhetoric simply by stating there is evidence in the face of someone claiming there is no evidence? Frankly I think this comes down to someone taking the word "ignorant" as some kind of insult. Ignorant was used in the literal sense. If you don't think there is evidence, frankly you must be ignorant or dishonest. The evidence that exists you are free to say is not compelling enough, but to state there is a void of evidence is simply untrue. How can you possibly disagree?

I originally entered this very thread of the opinion that Jesus was not real (around page 60), and Christianity probably was created later in time and their history was a a fabrication. Matt demonstrated to me a way of looking at things that seemed to make more sense logically. I changed my mind, and I thank him for challenging me.
You dare accuse me of rhetoric? It's not my fault that people lack the ability to make a logical argument. If they continue to make the same mistakes, all I can do is repeatedly point out those mistakes. If that seems rhetorical, it's a view without a solid premises.
Further more, if I was arguing out of rhetoric, I would be claiming my view was the correct view with certainty. Never have I done this. The evidence for Christ is one of deduction, a case of looking at a void and making judgments based on the void. I could very well be wrong, but I feel the people who are contending with my viewpoint are ignoring why Matt and I seem to be advocating the view that we are. So far, the arguments offered in reply ignore the point we are making directly. I think this is due to an emotional response (and what is actually a response out of rhetoric, if you'll excuse the "I know you are but what am I" defense).

The rhetoric among many atheists is that because Christianity isn't real, automatically this must mean Jesus was not real as well. When these atheists hear another atheist challenge that contention, it seems to confuse them. Time and again, the essence of our argument is ignored in favor of red herrings. Again and again points are introduced rather than addressing the argument we've made directly.

My view is actually fairly simple. If Christ did not exist in the first place, why are his earliest know detractors never known for attacking the Christians on that point? Instead, the people of his time attack his divinity. This suggests to me he was a real human being. He was not the Christ of the Bible, and he was not the son of god.
I don't like to use the word "believe". There is probably enough historical data that can give someone an educated viewpoint. Personally, I don't care very much. If he did exist, he was a great man in many respects, but history is filled with great men/women.
I've been a lifelong atheist so I don't need any such information to help me convert from any particular religion to atheism.
I believe a physical human being named Jesus existed, sure. I'll even get on board with the idea that he was a great philosopher. Clearly, I don't believe in his divinity, otherwise I wouldn't be on this board. The immaculate conception, miracles and whatnot are all bullpuckey.
I think he existed... as a crazy nut who though God spoke to him. I see him no different than any other cult leader that most of society has recognized as insane. Unfortunately, he may have been extremely convincing :X
New to this site, first post and I'm starting here though admittedly I only read the first and last few pages. So I'm sure the gamut of opinion has been covered.

Speaking of gamut I guess that over my life I've gone through the gamut of opinions on who or what Jesus was. From a child who thought Jesus was god and whispered "happy birthday baby jesus," into his pillow on Xmas eve, to a teen altar boy who started to see too many parallels with the comic book heroes he was reading, to a young adult who was exploring philosophy and comparative religion and thusly seeing Jesus as a clear archetypal myth but one based on a real guy who was a pretty cool hipster dude who the big bad church abused post-mortem, to completely refusing to acknowledge his existence at all, and now settling into an occam's razor/real politik belief that's sort of a combo of most of the rest.

THis mainly consists of the following: he existed, he had a god complex and or penchant for chicanery that competed along side many other desert claimants who had little more to channel their creative juices and need for attention into and whom had a correspondingly credulous audience to perform for. He tried to fit the O.Testament's prophecies because that was the formulaic Hollywood template of the period, and where he failed his biographers would succeed much later because of a perfect storm of opportunity, personality, social currents, political favor etc.

I understand the perception of him as less than divine but a neat philosopher who loved people. But I no longer think there is enough evidence for that. We certainly can't be sure what he actually said and what he didn't say, but I agree with some of the Christian apologists, particualarly i believe it was CS Lewis of all people (though I'm not sure-it may have been via one of the mid ages guys like Tertullian or Aquinas) who said when you look at the things attributed, what he actually seems to have done and said, you either have to believe he was exactly what is purported, the son of god, or a completely debauched fraud (I'm paraphrasing quite liberally I admit).

Well I side with the latter opinion whereas they went in a more creative direction.

As for him not existing at all, I think there is enough anecdotal stuff combined with little things like the N Testament writers clearly lying or manipulating his history to fulfill prophecy as with the whole census count facade to get him to Bethlehem for his birth. Why not just have him live there? But maybe enough rumor stemming from enough actual people was around to suggest to these people that not only did he exist but he lived in Nazareth. And everybody kind of knew it. Now how do we fix that.

Anyway, good to be aboard. Not many places I can say these things. Go easy on me.

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