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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I vote for E or F. None of the first four categories describe what I think. That makes it an invalid questionairre because the choices are forced into categories which do not accurately reflect the range of belief. That's why competent social scientists do pilot surveys which include an open "other" choice before running the real survey.

I am undecided on whether Jesus existed. I am sure that the totality of the one described in the various versions of the Christain New Testament did not exist. Some of it may have similarities to things that one or more people did or said around about the time the historical Jesus was supposed to have lived. Some of it is wishful thinking. Some of it probably confuses Jesus of Nazareth with the supposed qualities and deeds of deities from the surrounding areas and nations.

I think it is extremely unlikely that there were any real miracles performed.

The most compelling evidence against an historical Jesus who was crucified by the Romans is that Paul never once mentioned such a human character and there is no Roman record of such an execution. The most daming evidence against there being a physical resurrection of a Messiah figure named Jesus is that the first gospel written (Mark) stops after describing the man's death. The final verses describing a resurrection were added much later, presumably to bring that manuscript in line with the later ones and the doctrine which had developed which required that the Jesus figure be at least as powerful as the resurrecting Greek and Roman gods.

In any case, all three versions of the Christain Bible (Protestant, Catholic and Coptic) were the result of a government committee which was charged with creating a religion which would unify the Roman people. That's hardly a good omen for historical accuracy, especially when Caerar's army were given the task of slaughtering the various opposing groups and burning all their manuscripts. There was nothing divine about the process. It was a government-generated book.
E: Impossible to say.

No direct witnesses, all citations are post hoc and non-contemporaneous, What evidence outside of the gospels is cited very fragmentary and poor, Relying on the gospels which are imperfect organs of historical record, is impossible as it can be reliably shown the authorship is questionable when describiing the life of Jesus; stories attributed to Jesus are known to be inserted ('Let he who is without sin cast the first stone') so we can't even be sure of what he said. His characteristic are manipulated (Bart Ehrman talks about passages that work if one reads Jesus as an angry figure but which are rendered after that fact as one who is calm, which is incongruous with the text. ) Similarly passages that about him that appear in Greek but have no analogue in Hebrew.

I just don't know whether he existed or not let alone did any of the things attested to, I just don't think we can actually be certain. As for the miracles and the central resurrection claim, pretty standard fare for a Mediterranean mysticism, which this is, and unoriginal in countless of other ways.

So really really I just don't see how a 'belief' in Jesus is credible.

I'll go one further and take up Christopher Hitchen's chalice, that even if we can't know it's true or not we can be glad that it probably isn't.
There should be a Don't Care option...as others pointed out. :)
(and imo, not caring is very different from undecided especially on a question like this)
I believe in "The Jesus" played by John Turturro in The Big Lebowski, but I'd certainly not accept the claims of an alleged pedophile.
What a lovely phrase! :-D
I've read that two Roman historians mention a Jesus in their histories of Rome. He was a leader in Judea and was killed killed is what they both wrote. I think we can assume that there was someone by name of Jesus who lived in Judea at the appropriate time, and probably was somewhat well known, enough to make the history books of times. What he said and did is mostly legend in my opinion. The bible is oral history that was written down maybe 50-100 years after the events. He probably was a good man and a rebel against the Romans.
Who were the historians? I have never read a single document of history from the time period that even mentions him. Not even as a foot note. I have to say that I do not at all believe the "The" Jesus in question existed. As many have said, there were many Jesus at that time. But nothing leads me to believe that this guy was real.

Like all of my opinions regarding theism etc, just show me SOME evidence. And I do not mean biblical texts or biblical historians. That's a silly frame of reference in my opinion, they already have a foot in the neighbor's door.
I too would look for follow up on these "Two Roman Historian" references. Many have been submitted only to be proved as forgeries. The only one close to credible, and it's only one, is Josephus. Even then, while he was an acknowledged historian of the time his reference to Jesus comes after Jesus' supposed death and after Saul of Tarsus (Paul) started circulating his writings. Scholars have also questioned the entry as a possible forgery as many say it doesn't fit textually with the rest of the surrounding bits.

That said, like Rosemary said, Jesus (Yeshu/Yeshua/Yeshuara) was a common name. Heresy was a common crime. Street preaching that "Any second now, God will save us from Roman oppression" was a common practice.

Hence, my belief that there likely was a Jesus, or more likely several, which resulted in that name being attached to the Osirus/Horus/Attitus/Mithra story. The popular god-man myths of that time had several common themes: Prophesied birth. Virgin mother divine father. Persecuted as an infant/child. Born on or around Winter Solstice (sun god). Roam the countryside with disciples (12 being a popular number, matching signs of the zodiac, 12 months, usually 12 full moons in a year, popular number in sacred geometry). Preaching salvation of the oppressed from their oppressors. Betrayal leading to execution. Resurrection from the dead to complete the salvation promise.

The trend was to take those very popular themes, erase the other guy's name (Osirius, Horus, Mithra, whomever), attach your own guy's name and spin the details to sound like he's talking about you and yours.
@Chris.

There were thousands of people named Jesus at that time. It was a very common name. Many of them were probably killed.
While I don't think the issue carries a significant difference, I see no reason to believe he didn't exist.

All kinds of more or less crazy people have managed to attract following exponentially higher what Jesus allegedly got during his lifetime.

I believe most events of what NT outlines for Jesus' life have their foundation related to truth. For example, he probably went fishing with his buddies, there might have been a big ass storm, and like all fishing stories, the "one that got away", events that took place while no one else was watching, were fabrication to make things sound cool.

Like I said, it makes very little difference in the greater scheme of things, but is an interesting question nonetheless.
If you look at the figure of James in the new testament, you find a leader of the Church of Jerusalem and "brother of Jesus." His dealings with Paul show James to be a devout Jew strictly following Judaic law, who pushed to stop Paul's laxity on the law. Christianity obviously took the Paul direction, as the Nazarene Church was all about Judaism and keeping the law, same as the zealots who rose against the Romans. So, whether or not Jesus existed, her certainly did not exist as presented by present day Christianity.

One other note, the Catholic church, in the late 19th century, created a group of scholars to study the history of Christianity to counter the German scholars who had found no historic evidence of Jesus. Unfortunately for the church, the group (called the Modernists) basically came up with the wrong answers and found that a lot of the bible was myth. The Inquisition kicked in on their heads.

The reference to two Roman historians from that era writing about Jesus is historically dubious. One has been shown to be a forgery (context and literary style different, and a copy of a copy of a...), and the other shows no real information. A real non-biased study of history shows no evidence other than third or fourth hand mentions. Even Paul's letters never mention Jesus or any historic information about him. Christ for him is a gnostic figure on another plane of existence.
And the answer is ... C. "Jesus" from the bible did not exist in my opinion. Just a "character" in the hands of the authors of Christianity.

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