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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"there were hundreds of people claiming to be a prophet of god"
No, there weren't. During the period 50BC-100AD, there was a grand total of two and a half dozen self-proclaimed Messiahs. And the reason they were so rare is that saying you were the Messiah was synonomous with declaring war on Rome: it was not something you went about lightly.
In fact, of the 28 Messiah's, only one or two of them died of natural means: the rest were hunted down, assassinated, arrested or otherwise eliminated by the Romans.

"i do believe someone just took one of them and gave it the status of son of god, but if he didn't do what was said in the bible, and if he wasn't the son of god, then he isn't the biblical jesus, or the historical jesus, because if he just simply lived during that time, and didn't do what the bible says, he's not jesus."
If he did most of what the Bible says (besides the resurrection and some of the more exaggerated miracles), then he clearly is. If he preached, performed miracles, was from Nazareth and got crucified, then he is the historical Jesus. Whether or not his followers exaggerated his miracles later, or pretended that he was resurrected, does not change for a moment that this is the same person.

And if you're going to object to this, remember that we have various historical figures where this is the case. The Roman emperor Vespasian was said to heal the blind, and after his death some claimed that he had ascended to heaven. Does that mean that there is no historical Vespasian? Or does it mean there was a historical Vespasian around whom later myths centered?

"if a man named Hercules lived in the times of ancient Greece, but did nothing that Hercules was supposed to do, would he be the historical Hercules?"
If he had the characteristics that are ascribed to Hercules (but in a 'human' way) like being exceptionally strong and having to do various tasks for a king, then yes.
The historical Jesus would have done everything the Biblical Jesus would have done: preaching, performing miracles (though they would be the sort of faith healing miracles that you can see in every episcopelian Church), having a group of followers, going to Jerusalem and starting a small riot at the Temple, and then getting crucified for it. Clearly this would be the same person the Biblical story is about, and I think it's silly to pretend otherwise.
C. S. Lewis said it best; he was either liar, lunatic or lord. I think we have recently added a new "L" to the category....Legend. I think an itinerate preacher probably roamed the hills of the promised land, but the tales of walking on water, turning water to wine and raising the dead were obviously made up. The stories about this guy were like cheese and fine wine...they got better with time.
P.S. i keep trying to change my pic, it doesnt work. If anyone a suggestion then please help.
I find it difficult to believe he existed due to the fact that the Romans were fairly good at documenting their history and a contemporaneous account of his existence (as defined by christians) is nowhere to be found. Here is an interesting link for anyone wanting to read more on it.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

It is obvious that D. is not your position. Where do you stand on this question of existence?
I've been reading this, and thanks. Wow! I've got a few hard copies earmarked for distribution already!
I'm with you Scott

C...I see no proof. You would think that the public murder of a man claiming to be the son of a god would be just a tad note worthy...
The myth didn't claim to be the son of god - others did.
What a great link. I've read about half the article and it's some good stuff! Thank you for finding this and sharing!
A, B, and F. Probably existed, since theyre isn't any known example of a schism from the Abrahamic religions (or other religions for that matter) that didn't crystallize into an historical leading figure. Claims are a mixture of truths, exaggerations, fabrications, omissions and partisan interpretations.
Yes, but that historical leading figure could have been someone else.

How is this important, or even relevant? Whether it's Jesus' brother Jacob impersonating him, or a disguised bearded female assuming a common male name, or even - heh - Brian, the point is there was probably a preaching "someone" in the right place at the right moment to start the whole affair, and that person had probably at least a passing ressemblance with the biblical Jesus (like visiting the same places, using parables, dying on a torture device, etc.)

Like Paul of Tarsus. Paul could have made up the whole thing

That's certainly a possibility, although I find it much less plausible than the "original preacher" hypothesis. There's no discussion, however, that the Jesus myth was made up by his followers, including Paul.

Joseph Smith made up the whole Mormon persuasion.

I must admit I'm not very familiar with the origins of Mormonism, although I remember that Smith claimed he was given holy tablets from a divine angel, which makes him a kind of Moses-like figure. The fact that he invented characters doesn't liken him to Paul more than Jesus in my opinion. If Jesus actually did exist, he probably had fabrications of his own.
Nice. Paul is the Joseph Smith of Christianity. Come to think of it, Israel is an awful lot like Utah.
*spit take*
I personally dont think that there was a guy named Jesus that existed. However, there may have been, he probably was a radical hippy of his time. His story is not original though. So, it does leave one to wonder was he fabricated to keep the new school of jew's aka the cult of christos going?

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