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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A as far as we can tell, jesus did exist, however all or most claims are false
B. He existed, no doubt, but he was nothing more than a minor rabbi. He provided and taught love, kindness, and acceptance. He did not perform miracles that any modern magician cannot do, though. I bet if he was alive today, he'd also be the best source for good quality marijuana. XD He was the world's first hippy.
I believe there may have been a man that may have been named Jesus and who may have of been presumed to be of special importance for the people around him, but everything is definitely exaggerated. This person in question, who may have existed, was used to expound a story that had a widely utilized template in antiquity. This person was needed to spread the disease of Christianity.

Go Jesus! Or some indiscernible dude who existed at a time when people knew no better than to not wipe their ass with their hand!
This person in question, who may have existed, was used to expound a story that had a widely utilized template in antiquity. This person was needed to spread the disease of Christianity.

You say it well, and far less wordy than I.

;-)
I believe Jesus was just a fable as there has never been any proof whatsoever he ever existed, yet there is plenty of actual proof of events, places and people of the time Jesus was supoosed to have existed.
If anything he may have been an eccentric hermit who preached a good message about loving everyone and not condemning anyone and so the tale bearers may have embellished his life by adding the so-called-god-like abilities he was alleged to have like; raising the dead, healing the blind, dying and coming back to life. I believe this as the most likely way things really happened; he was just a man, but an eccentric man who lived alone and had this wonderful philology of love and forgiving people. Its said the bible was written by men who were inspired to write it. The word inspired does not mean that a god told them what to write, but these men were inspired to write these books adding any of their own rhetoric and prejudices as they went along, much like fiction writers do now when making their novels seem almost real. I believe this eccentric man inspired them to turn his life in to a fictional account of what it really wasn't and insecure people were looking for something or someone that could lean on for support and hope and the fictional account of the life of Jesus was their cup of tea.
Even though I'm an atheist I'm gonna' pick D. Seriously! Allow me to explain. I do believe someone related to the character in the Bible existed. And I believe this cult leader of sorts really had following. And I believe HIS claims are true. That you should turn the other cheek, that you should love your enemy etc. Of course the walk on water, heal the blind stuff is all horse shit. But I think some of the things he talked about made sense. (Okay, I guess I'm really an A or a B, but what the heck. I guess I'm a contrarian before I'm an Atheist. So sue me!!)
I'm probably somewhere between B & C. Most of the reputable scholarship I've read concludes there was an itinerant preacher in the early 1st century CE known as Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified around 30 CE. Little else is known about him and most if not all of the biographical information contained in the NT is fictional. My only reservation is that some sources claim Nazareth was uninhabited during the time that Jesus is supposed to have lived, though there are plenty of sources that argue it was inhabited at that time.
It seems plausible to me that Jesus may have been a composite character based on several supposed messiahs of the period -- there were literally dozens. Acts 18.24-28 suggests that, within 20 years of his death, the facts of Jesus' life and ministry were disputed to the point that some of his followers were unaware of a distinctly christian baptism.
The name Jesus is taken from the Greek Iesous, which is equivalent to the Aramaic Yeshua, or Joshua. Joshua was the successor to Moses in the Exodus/Conquest of Canaan stories. Jesus' parents were also named for heroes of ancient Israel: Joseph and Miriam. They may well have been literary devices. The fact that there is no Tomb of Joseph of Nazareth and early Xians claimed that his mother's body was whisked away to heaven upon her death further supports the assumption that no one knew their real names.
Conclusion: there may have been a Jesus of Nazareth -- some person or persons created enough of a stir that, by the middle of the 1st century CE, many people believed there had been such a person who was the greatest thing since Moses. I doubt we'll ever know for sure.
A. Believed he existed, claims are false

If he was fictional the gospel writers wouldn't have tried to put a square peg in a round hole so he could fit prophecies. The contortions are ridiculous. Riding into town on a donkey and a horse for example.
The prophecies they were trying to fulfill would likely be the same either way. One of the gospel writers happened to interpret a donkey & the foal of a donkey as two animals rather than parallel references to one animal.
To be honest Arnold I've never been religious nor have I read the bible, I'm just going on stories I've heard from various sources.

What about their attempt to have him born in a different town than he was or trying to make his father the descendant of a king (David I think). Do you see those as attempts to fit prophecy or are there other explanations?
Definitely making him fit prophecy. The whole census thing is fictional. Augustus never ordered a world census and the regional Syrian census ordered by Quirinius was about 10 years after the death of Herod the Great. I've suggested before that there were probably more descendants of King David than not in Judea by the 1st century CE, if David had half as many wives as the stories say. So they wanted to make him a special "son of David."
I know many Jesi (plural of Jesus??) in my neighborhood here in Chicago, so yes, they exist. I met a few in the ward of the psychiatric hospital I worked in. They all claimed to have been the original one, son of the virgin. However, each one whispered in my ear that the others are: shh...impostors.
....Well, What's important is the powerful Jesus myth and the way it has been shaping Western Culture. So yes, the myth exists and strives!!!

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