DAWKINS as JESUS MYTHICIST

Vocab Malone
Posts: 6
Joined: 2008-09-28
User is offlineOffline
DAWKINS as JESUS MYTHICIST

 

On the FAQ Section, Rook says this:

<quote>

WHO ELSE HOLDS YOUR POSITION?

Richard Carrier, Earl Doherty and Robert Price, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins, and thousands of other people all over the globe. I'm not trying to pull a logical fallacy here, but this question always comes up and always I answer it the same way.</quote>

 

Yet, Dawkins has a whole blog post about Jesus, where he says things like:

<quote>Of course Jesus was a theist, but that is the least interesting thing about him. He was a theist because, in his time, everybody was. Atheism was not an option, even for so radical a thinker as Jesus. What was interesting and remarkable about Jesus was not the obvious fact that he believed in the God of his Jewish religion, but that he rebelled against many aspects of Yahweh's vengeful nastiness. At least in the teachings that are attributed to him, he publicly advocated niceness and was one of the first to do so. To those steeped in the Sharia-like cruelties of Leviticus and Deuteronomy; to those brought up to fear the vindictive, Ayatollah-like God of Abraham and Isaac, a charismatic young preacher who advocated generous forgiveness must have seemed radical to the point of subversion. No wonder they nailed him.</quote>

 I guess it would suffice to say that Dawkins is most certainly NOT an advocate of the Mythicist position.

It's probably not fair to him to identify him as such, don't you agree?

 

Here is the link to the full text:

http://richarddawkins.net/article,20,Atheists-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
To the best of my knowledge,

To the best of my knowledge, Dawkins is not a mythicist.  The FAQ for the Jesus Mythicist position was written quite a while ago, and though I cannot speak authoritatively for Rook, I do know that he has attempted to correct various inaccuracies in his own writings as time has progressed.  I'd chalk this one up to an old misunderstanding.  Next time I talk to rook, I'll suggest that perhaps he should go back and either edit the FAQ or post an addendum correcting this mistake.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Vocab Malone
Posts: 6
Joined: 2008-09-28
User is offlineOffline
no doubt. I am also

no doubt.

 

I am also skeptical about the Harris reference.

Any info on him?


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
 I wish I could find it,

 I wish I could find it, but I do seem to remember reading something of Sam's where he said something about a historical Jesus being unlikely.  I won't ask you to take my word for it, though.  In all reality, I think the whole FAQ needs to be rewritten, as the mythicist position itself is so specialized that calling oneself a mythicist ought to be reserved only for those with specialized training in textual criticism or cultural anthropology/sociology.  I do not think that either Dawkins or Harris is qualified to be a mythicist.

In short, one can believe that there was no historical Jesus and still not be a mythicist.  For instance, I think it is highly unlikely that there was a single individual who could reasonably be called the "historical Jesus."  Yet, I am not a mythicist, for I have no basis for asserting that any of the early Christian literature is intended to be read as history or fiction.

So, I guess the best I can tell you is that to the best of my knowledge, Harris does not specifically endorse Jesus Mythicism, but I do believe that he is skeptical about the existence of a historical Jesus.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
After mentioning the book

After mentioning the book "Did Jesus Exist" By G.A. Wells

 

He writes:

Richard Dawkins wrote:

Although Jesus probably existed, reputable biblical scholars do not in general regard the New Testament [and obviously not the Old Testament] as a reliable record of what actually happened in history...

 

Page 122 of the paperback edition of 'The God Delusion"

 

 


shelley
ModeratorRRS local affiliate
shelley's picture
Posts: 1859
Joined: 2006-12-26
User is offlineOffline
Hambydammit wrote: I wish I

Hambydammit wrote:

 I wish I could find it, but I do seem to remember reading something of Sam's where he said something about a historical Jesus being unlikely.

I believe this is in the bonus interview on "The God Who Wasn't There" DVD.


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
Hmm.. you may be right,

Hmm.. you may be right, Shelley.  My brain's just really fuzzy on this one.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Vocab Malone
Posts: 6
Joined: 2008-09-28
User is offlineOffline
All these comments have been

All these comments have been very helpful!

 

Thank you guys and gals ...

 

vm


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Vocab Malone wrote:Richard

Vocab Malone wrote:

Richard Carrier, Earl Doherty and Robert Price, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins, and thousands of other people all over the globe. I'm not trying to pull a logical fallacy here, but this question always comes up and always I answer it the same way.

Sam Harris is a 9/11 truther, i mean a Jesus Mythicisit? I wasn't aware of this. Anyone know of the supporting material for this claim? I know he was interviewed in the "The God Who wasn't there" film, but he didn't claim to be in the mythicist camp in there? Is there any evidence to support the claim that he is? Or is it just another instance of Rook stretching the truth like he's been known to do on several occasions? 


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Hambydammit wrote: In all

Hambydammit wrote:

 In all reality, I think the whole FAQ needs to be rewritten, as the mythicist position itself is so specialized that calling oneself a mythicist ought to be reserved only for those with specialized training in textual criticism or cultural anthropology/sociology.  I do not think that either Dawkins or Harris is qualified to be a mythicist.

hahaha? "so specialized?"?

I know why you believe this to be so, the mythicist argument like the creationist argument is so garbled that even supporters of it can't make sense of it. 

The claim that the mythicist position is so specialized that only a skilled few can call themselves mythicist, is akin to claiming that creationism is so specialized only creation scientist can label themselves as such.

Jesus Mythicism is just a deluded assumption designed to find saps who don't have a clue about historical analysis to pay their bills. Rational individuals who do understand a bit about the historical method know how silly the mythicist position is. 


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Quote:Sam Harris is a 9/11

Quote:

Sam Harris is a 9/11 truther

I beg your pardon?

Head-in-the-Sand Liberals by Sam Harris

Sam Harris wrote:

At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government "assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;" 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.

Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote:I beg your

deludedgod wrote:

I beg your pardon?

Head-in-the-Sand Liberals by Sam Harris

It was a joke comparing Jesus Mythers to conspiracy nuts that i guess fell way over your head.

 


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Quote:It was a joke

Quote:

It was a joke comparing Jesus Mythers to conspiracy nuts that i guess fell way over your head.

Grammatical correctness is usually a prerequisite to detectable sarcasm or humor in an internet post.

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote:Grammatical

deludedgod wrote:

Grammatical correctness is usually a prerequisite to detectable sarcasm or humor in an internet post.

so is a brain.

i'm pretty sure you're the only one that didn't get it.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Quote:so is a brain.Usually

Quote:

so is a brain.

Usually such an insult would call for a sarcastic and equally insulting response, but for obvious reasons, in this particular case, it is probably unnecessary.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


hazindu
Superfan
hazindu's picture
Posts: 219
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
theacrobat wrote:hahaha? "so

theacrobat wrote:

hahaha? "so specialized?"?

I know why you believe this to be so, the mythicist argument like the creationist argument is so garbled that even supporters of it can't make sense of it. 

The claim that the mythicist position is so specialized that only a skilled few can call themselves mythicist, is akin to claiming that creationism is so specialized only creation scientist can label themselves as such.

Jesus Mythicism is just a deluded assumption designed to find saps who don't have a clue about historical analysis to pay their bills. Rational individuals who do understand a bit about the historical method know how silly the mythicist position is. 

No, the Jesus Mythicism position is a sad and ridiculous reminder that burden of proof apparently can be shifted through majority\popularity.  I see no reason why Rook or anyone should have to make a case against a demi god being as I've yet to see a compelling case in favor of such a character, unless you find the whole "hanged anointed one" argument from a non contemparary source to be a compelling case.


 

"I've yet to witness circumstance successfully manipulated through the babbling of ritualistic nonsense to an imaginary deity." -- me (josh)

If god can do anything, can he make a hot dog so big even he can't eat all of it?


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
hazindu wrote:No, the Jesus

hazindu wrote:

No, the Jesus Mythicism position is a sad and ridiculous reminder that burden of proof apparently can be shifted through majority\popularity.  I see no reason why Rook or anyone should have to make a case against a demi god being as I've yet to see a compelling case in favor of such a character, unless you find the whole "hanged anointed one" argument from a non contemporary source to be a compelling case. 

hahaha, a claim that Jesus didn't exist is a positive claim, and the burden of proof falls on those who claim it. Just like a claim that the holocaust didn't happen is a positive claim, that requires that a whole slew of data to be reinterpreted in order to make the case of it being more probable than not. 

And unlike most individuals here I have a healthy understanding of historical method, the history of the new testament, and history of the world in which they were composed, that I don't need to rely on a blind faith in the majority vote. In fact I've already debated Rook, but he bowed out early, and has gone several months without returning to respond. 

 


hazindu
Superfan
hazindu's picture
Posts: 219
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
theacrobat wrote:hahaha, a

theacrobat wrote:
hahaha, a claim that Jesus didn't exist is a positive claim, and the burden of proof falls on those who claim it. Just like a claim that the holocaust didn't happen is a positive claim, that requires that a whole slew of data to be reinterpreted in order to make the case of it being more probable than not.

The claim that Jesus DOES exist is also a positive.  I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I do not believe in the literal non existance of anything, because non existance cannot be proven.  Doubt is the logical default position, so the burden of proof is on those who claim that Jesus was\is real.

"I've yet to witness circumstance successfully manipulated through the babbling of ritualistic nonsense to an imaginary deity." -- me (josh)

If god can do anything, can he make a hot dog so big even he can't eat all of it?


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10687
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote:Quote:so is

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

so is a brain.

Usually such an insult would call for a sarcastic and equally insulting response, but for obvious reasons, in this particular case, it is probably unnecessary.

LOL

No offense intended to any parties, but I didn't get the reference to Harris being sarcastic myself. Though that is at least partially because I don't know the terminology of "9/11 truther".

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
hazindu wrote:The claim that

hazindu wrote:

The claim that Jesus DOES exist is also a positive.  I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I do not believe in the literal non existence of anything, because non existence cannot be proven.  Doubt is the logical default position, so the burden of proof is on those who claim that Jesus was\is real.

Well, in history like science there is no such thing as "proof". You may believe than "non-existence" can not be proven, but I'm sure you believe in the extant that history like science can claim, that something is probable to exist than not. That it is more likely that a person existed or not. If you tell me there are fairies living under my bed, I would tell you I find it unlikely to be the case, that I don't find if its probable that they do, or in your words that I doubt that they do

But it's a mistake to assume this (or doubt as you put it) is the default, the default position would be "I don't know". If you ask me if a person name Tom Matthews lives in Sweden, knowing nothing beyond the question, I would say I don't know, not that I doubt it. To say I doubt something requires reasons for that doubt. 

My doubts about fairies living under my bed, are based on assumptions of the unlikelihood of them existing, that fairies are derived from children's fairy tales, that what we may know of the natural world make the existence of them seem unlikely.

"I don't know" would be the default position, in that it concedes that one currently has no reason to believe or not to believe, doubt implies that one has reasons for not believing. And to validate that I should share your doubt as well, requires evidence to be convincing. 

And you're right the claim that Jesus existed is a positive claim, but that wasn't my point. My point was that the claim that Jesus did not exist is a positive one as well. And in order for the MJers to have a case,  all the data we have has to be reinterpreted to make their position more probable than the currently held consensus view. 

 

 


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10687
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
theacrobat wrote:hazindu

theacrobat wrote:

hazindu wrote:

The claim that Jesus DOES exist is also a positive.  I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I do not believe in the literal non existence of anything, because non existence cannot be proven.  Doubt is the logical default position, so the burden of proof is on those who claim that Jesus was\is real.

Well, in history like science there is no such thing as "proof". You may believe than "non-existence" can not be proven, but I'm sure you believe in the extant that history like science can claim, that something is probable to exist than not. That it is more likely that a person existed or not. If you tell me there are fairies living under my bed, I would tell you I find it unlikely to be the case, that I don't find if its probable that they do, or in your words that I doubt that they do

But it's a mistake to assume this (or doubt as you put it) is the default, the default position would be "I don't know". If you ask me if a person name Tom Matthews lives in Sweden, knowing nothing beyond the question, I would say I don't know, not that I doubt it. To say I doubt something requires reasons for that doubt. 

My doubts about fairies living under my bed, are based on assumptions of the unlikelihood of them existing, that fairies are derived from children's fairy tales, that what we may know of the natural world make the existence of them seem unlikely.

"I don't know" would be the default position, in that it concedes that one currently has no reason to believe or not to believe, doubt implies that one has reasons for not believing. And to validate that I should share your doubt as well, requires evidence to be convincing. 

And you're right the claim that Jesus existed is a positive claim, but that wasn't my point. My point was that the claim that Jesus did not exist is a positive one as well. And in order for the MJers to have a case,  all the data we have has to be reinterpreted to make their position more probable than the currently held consensus view. 

 

 

Jesus is subject to a claim of something that most figures in history are not. Special powers. In the case of special claims, special evidence is required to substantiate them. Therefore the assertion that Jesus existed is a postive claim, and the assertion that he did not exist is simply a claim based in historical lack of evidence for his existence and special powers. It is the same as the claim that there is no god. It is a default position, because there is no evidence to substantiate anything else. And in fact, there is evidence that leads one to the opposite conclusion. In the case of Jesus, it is the lack of contemporaries, and the failure of the Roman military to record an act when they recorded everything. In the case of god it is Occam's Razor that asserts a god is adding complexity to an already complex question, without providing anything to refine.

Hence the default is no: they do/did not exist. Any other claim is a positive claim, and must be accompanied by evidence.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is onlineOnline
Vastet wrote:Therefore the

Vastet wrote:

Therefore the assertion that Jesus existed is a postive claim, and the assertion that he did not exist is simply a claim based in historical lack of evidence for his existence and special powers

I disagree.

Whether Jesus is the son of God is a separate claim than whether Jesus existed as a person. So, it is possible that Jesus 'not being the son of God' or 'Jesus didn't walk on water' is the default position for all the supernatural claims, based on our understanding of the natural world, while 'I don't whether Jesus existed' is the default position for Jesus's existence. And, if you have no evidence for an individual's existence, when no supernatural claims are involved, I think the default position should neither be 'I don't know' nor 'didn't exist,' but, 'doubt.'

But, then again, this assumes that there is no evidence for Jesus's existence. So, what are the prerequisites of a default position anyways? Is that what a default position is?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


theacrobat (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
 Jesus is subject to a

Quote:
 Jesus is subject to a claim of something that most figures in history are not. Special powers. In the case of special claims, special evidence is required to substantiate them.
 

Smiling

Well, it seems you know little about ancient history. Many historical figures were afforded in their accounts "special powers", particularly religious figures, this was the norm no matter what region of the world one belonged to, from the Buddha, to Muhammad, to Hillel, and etc, even figures like Caesar were afford such miraculous attributes. In fact it would be quite bizarre if that weren’t the case.

Quote:
Therefore the assertion that Jesus existed is a positive claim, and the assertion that he did not exist is simply a claim based in historical lack of evidence for his existence and special powers.

It would seriously help if you actually venture to learn a little about the historicity of Jesus, since you assume weirdly that the historical consensus view (the view that most historians hold) is that Jesus existed with special powers at his disposal. 

But rather the question of if  Jesus existed in the historical sense is, is did the Gospels  base their accounts on a historical person named Jesus or not.

As the wikipedia article on the Historicity of Jesus has to say:

"With few exceptions (such as Robert M. Price), virtually all scholars in the fields of biblical studies and history agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, was accused of sedition against the Roman, and on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was sentenced to death by crucifixion."

Notice that his consensus view does not claim that Jesus possessed supernatural abilities, but rather people thought of him as a healer, and this is the Jesus, the Gospel writers based their accounts on. 

Quote:
"In the case of Jesus, it is the lack of contemporaries, and the failure of the Roman military to record an act when they recorded everything. In the case of god it is Occam's Razor that asserts a god is adding complexity to an already complex question, without providing anything to refine.

Hence the default is no: they do/did not exist. Any other claim is a positive claim, and must be accompanied by evidence.

Really? The Romans recorded everything? So every would be Jewish messiah and healer dude that came a dime dozen those days were recorded by the Romans? 

But again if this were true, and you were using the data as an argument for your doubts, you're only revealing that your doubt in Jesus existence is not the "default position", it's a position you derived based on supposed evidence.

I would find this to be a really irrational statement: "I doubt there was a historical Jesus whom the gospel writers based their accounts on, even though I have no evidence or reason for this doubt". A default position is the position every one should take, when they have no clue about anything concerning the historical Jesus, and that's neither doubt of his existence, or an affirmation of it. It's the simple: I don't know.

If I knew nothing at all about evolution, I wouldn't say that I doubt it happened, I would say I don't know if it happened or not. 

Regardless the Jesus Mythicist position is a positive claim. This is why Hawkins and his bandits don't rest just by claiming this is their position, but rather by attempting to reinterpret the data to fit their perspective and render it as the most probable explanation. This is why Rookey likes to make bizarre claims about how the writer of Luke is used Homer's Odysseus as the basis for the Jesus he's writing about, and not a historical person, and Paul believed in Jesus who was crucified and lived in some mythical realm somewhere. 

I'm guessing you don't really know what it means to be a Jesus Mythicist, and have little understanding about the historical method, and hence the explanation of your argument? Am I right friend? 


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10687
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Ugh. I misrepresented my

Ugh. I misrepresented my argument in my haste to post it I think. You're right Butter, I meant that the special claims require special evidence.
I'll have to stop posting when I'm in a hurry to do something else. I've made a few errors of omission or addition recently because of it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


KSMB
Scientist
KSMB's picture
Posts: 702
Joined: 2006-08-03
User is offlineOffline
butterbattle wrote:Whether

butterbattle wrote:
Whether Jesus is the son of God is a separate claim than whether Jesus existed as a person. So, it is possible that Jesus 'not being the son of God' or 'Jesus didn't walk on water' is the default position for all the supernatural claims, based on our understanding of the natural world, while 'I don't whether Jesus existed' is the default position for Jesus's existence. And, if you have no evidence for an individual's existence, when no supernatural claims are involved, I think the default position should neither be 'I don't know' nor 'didn't exist,' but, 'doubt.'

I tend to look at it this way. The Christians often claim that Jesus of the gospels existed. He's a god walking the Earth, performs miracles, casts demons into pigs, kills fig trees, heals the sick, walks on water that isn't ice, turns water into wine, feeds people, tells stupid parables to a band of numb skulls that follow him around, then get nailed to a piece of wood and is resurrected from the dead. All of these fantastic stories are quite the claim, and thus require extraordinary evidence. They can present no such evidence, so the claim that such a thing existed is ludicrous.

But, some of them say, what about the 'historical Jesus' claim? What if Jesus was a real man, but just a man, who taught some good things and got nailed to a piece of wood? Well, even if such a man existed, the gospels are still full of superstition and legends to turn him into some god-like figure. No christian bases his/her religion on a 'historical Jesus' (or at least, none that I ever talked to), they base it on the NT which is still full of unsubstantiated extraordinary claims.

So either way, it doesn't matter. Even if a real man existed to base the legends on, christians still believe in a book full of fantastic claims without any evidence. Epic fail either way.


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is onlineOnline
KSMB wrote:I tend to look at

KSMB wrote:

I tend to look at it this way. The Christians often claim that Jesus of the gospels existed. He's a god walking the Earth, performs miracles, casts demons into pigs, kills fig trees, heals the sick, walks on water that isn't ice, turns water into wine, feeds people, tells stupid parables to a band of numb skulls that follow him around, then get nailed to a piece of wood and is resurrected from the dead. All of these fantastic stories are quite the claim, and thus require extraordinary evidence. They can present no such evidence, so the claim that such a thing existed is ludicrous.

But, some of them say, what about the 'historical Jesus' claim? What if Jesus was a real man, but just a man, who taught some good things and got nailed to a piece of wood? Well, even if such a man existed, the gospels are still full of superstition and legends to turn him into some god-like figure. No christian bases his/her religion on a 'historical Jesus' (or at least, none that I ever talked to), they base it on the NT which is still full of unsubstantiated extraordinary claims.

So either way, it doesn't matter. Even if a real man existed to base the legends on, christians still believe in a book full of fantastic claims without any evidence. Epic fail either way.

Aha! You explained it better than I did.

For not only is Jesus's supernatural actions and qualities a separate claim, but a completely different kind of claim entirely. As we all say, extraodinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus was the son of Yahweh, the chance that testimonies of his existence were not fabrications (btw, mostly religiously motivated and sometimes inconsistent testimonies) must be smaller than the chance that Jesus was actually born of a virgin and died for the sins of humanity, etc.

Edit: Oh, there was a contradiction in my previous post. I guess I'll pick doubt, lol.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare