Although I take issue with his grammar, I posted a comment to a blog called "Proud Atheist." I thought I would share it with friends and others on this site. A link to the cartoons that accompanied the blog entry can be supplied by another reader. Suffice to say, they show a militant Jesus throwing scoundrels out of the temple. My remarks:

Being a reactionary at heart, I allowed a book review in “Skeptical Inquirer” to convince me at long last that it is counter-productive to put down any prophet: why should we hold Jesus responsible for the organized religious hokum known today as “Christianity”? It bears about as much resemblance to his teachings as a butterfly to a larva. Almost everything Jesus taught (save, perhaps, misunderstood statements about the hereafter) is honored and, in some cases, practiced by a great many freethinking men and women. Biology, that most hated of sciences among evangelical ignoramuses, teaches us that as socializing creatures, we develop a moral and ethical sense independent of religious teachings. Hopefully, the ever-increasing exposés of miscreant and hypocritical ministers, priests, pastors, &c., will open more eyes to this simple truth. Then, perhaps, we will finally see what one atheist dreams as “the end of faith.” From now on, I am going to punish myself for attacking the message of "Jebus," though I reserve the right to call his modern messengers "Christers"; their faith, Christeranity.

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Christianity is a composite of 2000 years of power seekers trying to justify their bad acts. It's not the promotion of a moral society it seeks, but rather, the desire to create an obedient and subservient society.
A quote I ran onto from our ol' bud, TJ, speaks directly to your point, Jim:

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.

-- Thomas Jefferson
Love Tommy J.
JFK said in a welcoming speech at a dinner for a group of Nobel Prize winners, "This probably the greatest gathering of intellect in the history of the WH except when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
That man is absolutely my hero!
This is by no means "limited" to Christeranity; it is typical of all monotheisms. I was gratified to hear a TV pundit say exactly what I have maintained since ca. 9/11: Islam is inimical to a democracy since the first tenet is submission. Now, if we could just find some way of revealing to the people of, e.g. Iran, that their mullahs and ayatollahs had money in BP and many other multinationals. When you have submitted to Allah, you dare not question his spokesmen on earth. I am sure this violates Shariah as well. And yet, is this any less delusional than Israelis believing that "God" promised them Palestine?
There was an imam from England on CNN with Fareed Zakaria this morning and he said out right that democracy was an anathema to Islam -it was Allah's will not the peoples.

is this any less delusional than Israelis believing that "God" promised them Palestine?

No more than Xtians claiming the US is a christian nation.
Considering Christianity was a product mainly of uneducated and semi-educated peasants waiting for the Apocalyps, how can it be the product of power seekers?
Don't you mean Christ-inanity? Just checking.
I'm so against answering this. He really did not exist. However the imaginary figure they have created would tell them to Fuck Right Off. Can you imagine the consternation those dipsticks are in when even you're imaginary friend does not like you and disagrees with everything you do. They're fucking lunatics.
That's why they take it out on everybody else. They are off their rockers!
No, I was not saying I thought he existed. I've examined the evidence as much as you, including an argument for his existence in the new Esquire by their "Answer Fella" columnist citing Josephus and, curiously, claiming that there must have been a Jesus because the gospels say so! (For example, he cites to the letters of Paul, without mention of the many contradictions in the canonicals themselves.) I do happen to believe that at least one "holy" man, a Reb (or Rabbi) Yeshua (or "Joshua") did in fact exist, but the Gnostic accounts are just as valuable to his legend as the N.T. (which is to say, just as unbelievable). The Jesus Christ the far right wingnuts believe in did not exist. I agree with you there.
I don't. I think the far right wingnuts Jesus are much more correct in their depiction of Jesus than the liberal Christians and humanists who want to see Jesus as a friendly neighbourhood wise man.

Also, Jesus almost certainly existed. And yes, even if we had just the gospels, that would be enough to conclude that they were based on a historical figure: we could do so because of the many contradictions and awkward scenarios in the gospels. But even if that wasn't enough, we have Josephus, Tacitus, we have the references to his brother James, and we have the long history of Jewish anti-Christian polemics.
The combination of all these facts makes for a strong case for a historical Jesus, and that's why you can hardly find a scholar on the planet (atheist or Christian) who would say otherwise.

As for the Gnostic gospels: they are pretty much worthless for learning anything about the historical Jesus. Written after 150 AD, they are simply too late to have preserved anything of value. Also, since they prided themselves on being "pure revelation" instead of "tradition", we can be pretty sure that they were just making things up as they went along. Gnostic works can tell us a great deal about what the Gnostic sects believed about Jesus, but very little about what Jesus himself actually would have believed.
Well, you see, there is no arguing with you. You believe Jesus existed. End of argument.

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