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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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Mani would be a better comparison. His story has a lot in common with our perception of an hypothetical historical Jesus, and his existence is not disputed.
To see the model upon which Paul and his followers modeled Jesus just read the myth of Hercules. The Jesus myth is built around what the Greco-Roman culture at the time would accept - a mystery cult.
The division between Paul and the Jerusalem church was center around that fabrication - not that he was teaching to the gentiles but that he was teaching what the gentiles wanted to hear, that there was a new hero to worship in a comfortable format.
given the lack of any tangible contemporary evidence, i'd have to choose "(E) the jury is out on this one."

while i'm sure it's possible such a guy could have existed and if so, clearly the claims were exaggerated. the possibility of a composite character based on many real people is also just as likely as his existence or non-existence.
btw - have you seen this website:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/
Went to jesuaneverexisted.com. Great website. Didn't like the forum. Too many christians. Too much preaching. Rather be here. Normal people suite me just fine.
Jesus of the bible mirrored pagan stories dealing with his birth, life and death. I am sure there were people with the name jesus at that time, just as there are now but he was no son of a non-existant god.
I lean toward the "overabundance of historical Jesuses" viewpoint, myself.
http://www.egodeath.com/DefiningNoHistoricalJesus.htm#_Toc64390965
A. He was a probably something like a magician today, and he swindled enough people to have someone write a story about him.
E. doesn't even matter a hoot if he did. :-D

In all seriousness, there might have been someone who did some preaching around the region and then after a few decades had passed, tall tales led to a story that was embellished so much that a fictional character was created from a boatload of traits and thus why we see many parallels with previous myth characters of before.
I don't mean to rock the boat, and I do apologize, but I just got here and I'm not seeing a whole lot of enlightenment.

You did just get here and that's sounds pretty arrogant. There's probably a less offensive way to say it. I do happen to agree with you and several others have made comments similar to yours. I think you're asking "Why be dogmatic? Does it really change anything?"

Welcome to A|N, Matheus. We're always looking for a little more enlightenment.
I do think my call to attention was deserved.

Agreed.

...complaining about arrogance does take one away from discussing the argument at hands.

It was no complaint. It was just an observation. You're very correct in saying that it has no bearing on the value of your argument, one that I happen to agree with. I don't think you're arrogant, I think it sounds bad to be new to a group and essentially say "Hello, glad to be here, I'm astounded by how stupid so many of you are". Perhaps something got lost in translation.
One of the things that bothers me here, though, is that most Biblical scholars are also Christian. From what I've heard, the less-devout ones are that much less likely to believe in an historical Jesus. It just seems a little bit too much like the Mormons and their Native American "archaeology"; clearly there's a conflict of interest there.

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