Does it matter if a Jewish zealot or a self-proclaimed spiritual teacher named Jesus existed?

I'm not asking if you believe that such a person could have existed in the first century C.E. I'm asking if you think that it matters. Not allowing for any supernatural claims surrounding the individual, would you find it troubling or would you claim forgery or conspiracy if apparently legitimate scholarship or archaeological evidence pointed to the existence of a man named Jesus(of course that's the English version of a Hebrew name) in Roman-controlled Judaea around the time of prefect Pontius Pilate? Would such evidence affect your atheism?

Does it really matter? If you feel that it does, can you explain why and how?

Tags: atheism, jesus

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They're desperate to have a shred of credibility.

Both very true and ironic, since a faith based on evidence is really no faith at all.

I think it's important to avoid a dogmatic position one way or another as atheists. To insist that no such man existed seems to smack of wanting him not to exist. To say that the evidence is inconclusive for or against and his mere existence, if substantiated, irrelevant to supporting the supernatural claims surrounding him seems more intellectually honest and rational.
It would actually confirm my theory about him.
It doesn't matter one way or another. I am sure that a million jews named jesus have existed. :D Even if we could absolutely verify the existence of THE Jesus it wouldn't matter to me. Just one in a long line of crackpots that have walked among man since the dawn of thought. - Like me!
The existence of a man has no bearing on the existence of gods, claims about the xtian trinity notwithstanding. If I were to proselytize xtianity, I would actually be more comfortable without a shred of evidence. The absence of any evidence whatsoever for the Christ, the actual anointed one, lends a purity to faith that could easily be sullied by something as mundane as factual inquiry.
I asked my believing wife if it mattered and she said "yes." But, I think her faith is slipping like mine did. One thing I respect about Buddhists is that some sects claim it really doesn't matter to their religious practice if the Buddha ever existed. The point for them are the principles not the founder. If one views Christianity through a mythical lens (like Joseph Campbell) the historicity of Jesus is not important on the archetypal qualities the character observed.
"I'm not asking if you believe that such a person could have existed in the first century C.E. I'm asking if you think that it matters."

It matters in part because proof of life would indeed be a big deal historically. Fundie Xians everywhere would take it as proof of every word of the Gospels. But I imagine empirically it would do more to debunk the Gospels.

Personally, I'd be surprised if there weren't a few real persons who inspired the Jesus story - or rather, the casserole of local god-myths being mashed together onto one person. Yeshu/Yeshua/Yeshuara was a very common name and itinerant street preachers were a dime a dozen during that time. When tall tales get passed down, different players of the same name tend to get lumped together as one. Or, someone latches onto a famous figure and all tall tales/memorable deeds get credited to that person.

But I imagine if we found the/a real historical figure to whom we can trace the life of Jesus, we will certainly find that he was not THE Jesus of the bible and did not make nearly the splash in his lifetime as the faithful would like to think he did.
and i think maybe he existed as a man. an ordinary man. but nothing powerful or having the word of god in him.
does it matter? not in the slightest. let's move on
I'm pretty sure that one or more apocalyptic prophets matching this description existed. It doesn't change the fact that the gospels are heavily mythologised and theologised, mutually contradictory accounts, written long after the events that they described.
The compilers of the N.T. really blew it when they portrayed Simon Magus in Acts as an evil, self-aggrandizing man who claimed miraculous powers. It so happens that the so-called Holy Land was full of these types in the early 1st century C.E. If one reads the fragments of Simon's forgotten faith in the writings of G. R. S. Mead one comes away with an entirely different portrait of Simon: a mystic and Gnostic, a man who preached very similar ideas to those of Reb Yeshua. If I were a Nikos Kazantzakis I might fashion a very fine novel showing them as rival magicians, men who sought to be top banana amidst a scramble by dozens of pretenders to the throne to be the Prophetic Messiah. No one really won, but Saul/Paul the pirate saw to it that Reb Yeshua became "Christos" and that his (very likely staged) death and resurrection were the work of the Essene Reb Joseph, the Aremathean.

(Other Gnostics believed, just as Kazantzakis wrote, that Reb Jeshua survived his crucifixion; others that the person actually crucified was Simon the Cyrenean, who carried the cross most of the way to Golgotha. One Gnostic scripture even had Reb Jeshua standing on a hill overlooking the scene and laughing when he said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," implying mockery of the Romans for having, Gov. Bush-style, executed the wrong man.) But the Arimathean had tinctures and such that could easily have put a man to sleep -- Shakespeare deals with it in Romeo and Juliet -- then revive him in case of resurrection need.

Things got garbled quickly because the Booble was written in koine Greek, which had absolutely no punctuation, such that "GOD IS NOW HERE" could just as easily be translated as "GOD IS NOWHERE."
It personally does not matter to me directly, but it does matter to me indirectly.
In otherwords, since it matters to others, it affects my life.

If Jesus was a real person, it really makes some of the de-conversion stuff I do a lot easier.

Read some of my Blog Articles.
Jesus is a chimera
Virgin Mary taken in Prima Nocta
Jesus is a bastard (love child, nullius filius) ?

--Jack

As one born to nature, raised in nature, in complete absence of any god talk, I had no concept of any of this shyte until I went to catholic school (our education only became secular in the 80s).

 

As a young student, there wasn't much talk of religion among students, even tho most did attend Sunday mass. BUT, from grades 1 thru 3, I was in a 'double-class' with two teachers, one being a very authoritarian nun, and she gave me hell on earth, on a daily basis. Of course, to add to this, she knew (even tho I didn't) that I was a bastard child and the school principal, which was also a nun, pushed very very hard for my mother's husband to adopt me legally, which they finally agreed to in grade 2, by which time the school was threatening to expel me for non-religious family compliance!!!!

 

Throughout elementary and high school, I often said, on religious conversations "well Jesus might have existed and seems 'cool' enough" but I don't buy any of your god crap". But back then I thought that possibly the bible had been written by guys of those early decades and that the Jesus figure was actually known of in those early decades. It was only in my 20s that I found out there was zero archeological evidence or either Jesus or biblical writings from the early decades.

 

The fact that there is zero evidence for THE Jesus religion refers to IS is of consequence to me, because it is of consequence to us as a nation, because it is a sticking point in religious conversations. When WE waver on such statements, it gives strength to religious zealouts. We atheists need to be firm in our assertion that there is zero evidence of his existence, but I know to many woowoo people who say they don't believe in god, but they give all sorts of leeway to the fairytale that is Jesus. Not only is there zero evidence... but on the issue of someone SO GREAT, surely the early texts would mention him, which they don't, which is even more telling.

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