Did Jesus Christ exist?

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Did Jesus Christ exist?

I'm not going to say whether or not Jesus Christ existed, simply because I think it would an impossible determination to make. I will say however, there are some certainties on this depending on how you define him. Was there a person named Jesus Christ who was the son of God, performed divine miracles, was crucified, and rose from the dead 3 days after? Most certainly not. However, if you simply ask was there a person, represented by the figure in the Bible, by the name of Jesus, with the title of Christ? I think many atheists jump to a hasty conclusion by simply saying no.

History, as a history professor once described to me, is a recording of a series of events, one leading to another. It's cause and effect. The effect then become a cause of a following effect and so forth. The events recorded in history are accepted to a degree depending on the amount of data they coincide with which can lead up to modern day. Reliable history is tangled with the rest of it in a series of complex webs that circle the globe so that recorded history is more than just the cause and effects on a chronological landscape, but a geographical and political one as well, which drives the records of human civilization.

Sometimes however, there are events which are simply an island of data sitting in a sea of contemporaneous history. Sometimes, they may even have a few connections to the rest of history, but the less they have, the more they become an island of misconnection and the more subjective the claims turn out to be. These islands might even have far more sources than some of the data in the rest of history, but at least the latter can shown to have had direct impacts on other parts of the large web of events.

The existence of a figure known as Jesus Christ is one of these islands. The likelihood of his existence, I believe, is about as supported as the existence of Paris and Helen of Troy. There's an important distinction to make here however, which is to say that Paris and Helen were both royalty, which are generally well documented figures, and Jesus Christ was the son of a carpenter.

History does not follow the son of carpenters. In fact, the name Jesus, at the time, was about as common of a name as John is today. So if you were to say that there was never a person named Jesus who was the son of a carpenter, you may be stretching your chances here. Perhaps there was even a poor carpenter's son who caught the attention of some royal guards for doing something considered taboo for the time period. But I don't think we can seriously claim that Jesus Christ, as a normal person who's stories got exaggerated, didn't exist, because history doesn't follow the sons of carpenters and it would impossible to say.

I think it's safe to say however, that he wasn't the son of God, and he didn't heal a blind man by putting mud on his eyelids.

 


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um.

Whats your point? This could be said about anyone who had the status of peasant and got attention for doing something wild. The fact that his name might of been Jesus isn't necessary at all.

I also don't know anyone who claims that a man named Jesus who happened to be the son of a carpenter couldn't of existed So, again - what is your point?

 


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Infidelis wrote:Whats your

Infidelis wrote:

Whats your point? This could be said about anyone who had the status of peasant and got attention for doing something wild. The fact that his name might of been Jesus isn't necessary at all.

I also don't know anyone who claims that a man named Jesus who happened to be the son of a carpenter couldn't of existed So, again - what is your point?

Mostly my point was just to express myself. Personally, I've known many atheists who abrasively contend that Jesus never existed. If you seriously have never met an atheist who's made statements like this, then I'd question your exposure to the whole theist/atheist debate because they're not exactly rare. If you're not one of those, and if you agree, then my point is simply to agree with you.

Generally speaking, I think forums are a place for personal expression, so I have to ask that if you have nothing to say about the message, then why did you post at all? What, exactly, is your point?


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I don't get much invloved in

I don't get much invloved in the "did jesus exist" debate as I find it completely irrelevant.  Whether he did or not means absolutely nothing to the worldview debate. 


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NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:I

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

I don't get much invloved in the "did jesus exist" debate as I find it completely irrelevant.  Whether he did or not means absolutely nothing to the worldview debate. 

I disagree that:

1. These forums are explicitly debating opposing worldviews.

2. That atheism is a worldview.

3. That whether or not Jesus exists means nothing to the topic that these forums have been established for.

Further, I'd like to ask you the same question to that I did Infidelus. If you have nothing to say about the topic, then why say anything at all?


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Psychosavant wrote: I

Psychosavant wrote:

 

I disagree that:

1. These forums are explicitly debating opposing worldviews.

2. That atheism is a worldview.

3. That whether or not Jesus exists means nothing to the topic that these forums have been established for.

Further, I'd like to ask you the same question to that I did Infidelus. If you have nothing to say about the topic, then why say anything at all?

1-True, they debate more than that, and I am simply saying that this perticular debate I find irrelevant, and therefor mostly avoid.

2-True athiesm is lack of belief in god, and athiest differ greatly with their various worlviews.

3-Whether Jesus existed or not does not prove/disprove he was the son of god, and therefor doesn't prove/disprove the existence of god, and therefor really has no place in the debate of whether god exists, and whether thats a good thing for the world, etc...

 

Further I will add that saying I find the debate irrelevant in the grand scheme of things is NOT saying "nothing."  It is infact saying plently.  It is saying that the existence of jesus doesn't mean anything to me, and many athiest, that is saying alote.     


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NoMoreCrazyPeople

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

1-True, they debate more than that, and I am simply saying that this perticular debate I find irrelevant, and therefor mostly avoid.

Fair enough.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

2-True athiesm is lack of belief in god, and athiest differ greatly with their various worlviews.

ok.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

3-Whether Jesus existed or not does not prove/disprove he was the son of god, and therefor doesn't prove/disprove the existence of god, and therefor really has no place in the debate of whether god exists, and whether thats a good thing for the world, etc...

 

I agree. I think my original post wasn't really leaning toward attempting to provide evidence for God's existence, but rather trying to clear up a misconception that a lot of atheists make that since there is no proof that Jesus never existed, that means he doesn't exist. The reason I brought it up is because I often find atheists using argument that I think are false, and if we are to present arguments we should make sure they are accurate, whether or not they support our conclusion.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

Further I will add that saying I find the debate irrelevant in the grand scheme of things is NOT saying "nothing."  It is infact saying plently.  It is saying that the existence of jesus doesn't mean anything to me, and many athiest, that is saying alote.     

So the only further interpretation I can get out of this is that you don't believe that this topic has much of a place in this forum? Other than that, I guess I can agree that many atheists may not consider this topic to be as important as others. On the other hand I find many atheists that do. This is for them. If no one on this forum has anything to say on the topic because they don't feel it's an important one, than I would have expected there to be no posts.

I must say that I am somewhat dissappointed by the responses so far, as I was hoping for a more critical analysis of my original post. I would have gladly accepted criticisms of the material itself over not posting at all, and not posting over a statement that something doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

While this may be true, these forums are littered with topic that I feel matter far less than the original topic here (especially in this "grand" sense that you speak of), such as:

  • What is the origin of Christmas?
  • What we should celebrate on Christmas?
  • Did evolution happen?
  • Is this nation founded upon secular values?
  • Debunking Pascal's Wager (past all of Pascal's Wager's inadequacies, people seem to forget that none of that matters, because debating why we should believe in God has nothing to do with whether or not God exists).
  • Was Hitler an atheist?
  • Was Darwin racist?
  • etc.

None of these topics make contributions to concluding a god's existence. Yet that's not the point of those topics, and neither is this one.


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Psychosavant wrote:The

Psychosavant wrote:

The reason I brought it up is because I often find atheists using argument that I think are false, and if we are to present arguments we should make sure they are accurate,

 

Agreed, this is why I find the "Jesus didn't exist" argument pointless when debating "does god exist" and "is religion good for the world."   I am sure their are many people atheist and theist alike that are interested in this debate, I am simply stating that I am not, and as you said this is a forum, and that is my opigion.  This does not take away from those interested in the evidence/facts for/against his existance, I just find it as relevant as proving the existance of any other historical prophet.  I think most athiests debate this topic for fun because A)-They know their is no real evidence for Jesus' existance, and  B)-Even if their was it would in no way prove his divinity and therefor doesn't validate the Christian argument that the god of Abraham exists and is what they say he is.  So unless agressively prevolked I usually avoid this discussion, I find it as "Yawnn" as when theists attemp to connect Athiests to Darwin and form some kind of argument based on things they can prove about his life, like that matters to my position   

 

Psychosavant wrote:

So the only further interpretation I can get out of this is that you don't believe that this topic has much of a place in this forum?

 

Ofcourse not it certainly does like I have said many people are interested in whether or not Jesus existed, but I am already finding the discussion about the relevance of the topic more interesting than the topic itself.  Im sure people will continue to debate Jesus' existance for a long long time, and I will always wonder why anyone really cares. 

 

Psychosavant wrote:

I must say that I am somewhat dissappointed by the responses so far, as I was hoping for a more critical analysis of my original post. I would have gladly accepted criticisms of the material itself over not posting at all, and not posting over a statement that something doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. None of these topics make contributions to concluding a god's existence. Yet that's not the point of those topics, and neither is this one.

 

Oh you'll get lots of analisis and responses, I was just giving my small 2 cents I will re-read your post and see if I can better reply. 

 

    

 


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Right on. In truth given

Right on. In truth given that you have been very involved in at least the discussion of the relevance of the topic I'll have to hand that to you. I think we can both concede the point that it doesn't hold any weight towards God's existence. If it bores you than I wouldn't want to waste your time. Not that I wish to keep you from responding if you feel the need to do so, but I do get your previous point nonetheless.


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Again?

 

 

         Dear Psychosavant, we have dealt with this question before;  read my post #2 at the following link....

 

 

         http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/19359    

 

             

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 As you point out, we need

 As you point out, we need to be very specific about who we're asking existed.  One of the most compelling arguments against the existence of a "significant" historical Jesus I've seen is a literary argument.  In a nutshell, pretty much every trope in the gospel can be traced back to earlier -- legendary figures from mythologies that would have been known by the writer of the first gospel.

In other words, there's really nothing new in the Gospel.  No significant stories which would point to an actual historical referent.  Instead, it reads much more like a grab bag of myths and legends, re-interpreted for a modern audience.  (Modern for a first century hellenized aristocrat.)

This being the case, we're left with a gaping hole.  What, exactly, would we expect a historical Jesus to look like?  What kind of character can we invent whose life was meaningful enough to be memorialized in a legendary story, but who did nothing significant enough to be written down as a NEW legendary story?

Then there's the glaring lack of contemporary evidence.  Not a scrap.  Not one single mention of Jesus anywhere until after the Gospel was written.  Again, who are we looking for that would be important enough to be the beginning of a religion, and insignificant enough that nobody bothered to say anything about him?

Of course, we could make the objection that we don't have a complete record of everything written down.  Perhaps the mention of him was lost.  However, even if we grant this possibility, we can't use that to justify the supposition that such evidence exists.  So... it's kind of a worthless point to make.

So in the end, there's a real dilemma.  The figure we're looking for didn't do anything significant that was mentioned in the Gospel.  All of those stories and tropes are older than the Gospel... some much older.  (And the miracles added in the later gospels don't count.  We're talking about the first gospel.)  The hypothesis that the gospel was a legendary story fits the data.  There's no evidence for a real Jesus, and a story that's pretty much all myth and legend.  Sounds made up.

To make a historical Jesus fit, we pretty much have to come up with some kind of hypothesis for a real person who didn't do anything worth writing about, but was somehow historically significant enough to start a religion.  Seems... implausible.

In the end, we'll probably never know for sure, but from where I sit, I just don't see a compelling case.

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Psychosavant wrote:I'm not

Psychosavant wrote:

I'm not going to say whether or not Jesus Christ existed, simply because I think it would an impossible determination to make.

What standard of determination are you talking about, though? Do we have to be 100% sure? Are you 100% sure about anything?

Quote:
However, if you simply ask was there a person, represented by the figure in the Bible, by the name of Jesus, with the title of Christ? I think many atheists jump to a hasty conclusion by simply saying no.

Who are these 'many atheists'? How do you know that they've 'jumped to a hasty conclusion by simply saying no.'? How do you know they haven't made an educated judgment based on their best knowledge at the time?

Quote:
History, as a history professor once described to me, is a recording of a series of events, one leading to another.

Key phrase missing in your description of history: Written by fallible humans.

Quote:
It's cause and effect. The effect then become a cause of a following effect and so forth.

Natural history (what actually happened) is cause and effect. Human-recorded cultural 'history' is another matter, especially as you go further back in time.

Quote:
History does not follow the son of carpenters. In fact, the name Jesus, at the time, was about as common of a name as John is today. So if you were to say that there was never a person named Jesus who was the son of a carpenter, you may be stretching your chances here.

Who really says that, though?

Quote:
But I don't think we can seriously claim that Jesus Christ, as a normal person who's stories got exaggerated, didn't exist, because history doesn't follow the sons of carpenters and it would impossible to say.

This is why I stick with the concept of a 'historical Jesus', meaning a person who had clear evidence of him recorded in history. It is fair to claim that a historical Jesus probably didn't exist. There are good reasons to argue this.

Even if there was some guy named Jesus, *that* guy didn't make it into history. He is forgotten completely. What is remembered is an *idea* of a guy, a character, an archetype, a myth, a legend, a hero, a 'god' in the fictional/mythical sense.

Apparently Wonder Woman is based off of the creator's wife (or girlfriend or something). If you look it up, you can find out who it was. You can probably determine her name, when she was born, where she was born, how many kids she had, etc. That woman is remembered in historical documents, she is a 'historical' figure in that sense.

If, instead, she had been forgotten by history, Wonder Woman would still exist as a character, but Wonder Woman is not a historical person. And if the person she was based on was forgotten, then neither would she be a historical person, even though the character of Wonder Woman was based on her.

I imagine that whoever invented Zeus based him loosely on actual human males, but that doesn't make Zeus a historical person.

Jesus is very likely not a historical person. Or, more specifically, whatever person who may or may not have existed, who Jesus might have been based on however loosely, *that* person was very likely not recorded in history. The Gospels are clearly not historical documents. At best they are most closely akin to historical fiction. At second best, they are pure myth. At worst... well, we all know where that led.

The claim is: Jesus is very likely not a historical person. I think this is both a modest claim by atheists (and honestly it's not an opinion limited to atheists), and also quite a shocking claim to the average Christian. That's why it's so powerful. Christians honestly believe that the evidence for a historical Jesus is airtight. Showing that this is not the case is a valid and strong argument to make. To make this claim by saying that "A historical Jesus probably didn't exist," is not 'jumping to hasty conclusions'.

By the way, this is a great read: http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/novel.htm

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In my opinion JC is one

In my opinion JC is one guy atheists should take as given and never dispute his existance. I always focus less on factual stuff and more on what I think JC should be today - a behavioral guide for Christian folk. Needless to say, I am always enthusiastic about supporting Christians in their effort to emulate the sides of JC I think are visionary even for our day and time.

Unfortunately I find that most lose will to discuss religion with me pretty fast. Those that lose interest are basically atheists with a stick up their ass and don't care about what JC had to say at all.

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ZuS wrote:In my opinion

ZuS wrote:
In my opinion JC is one guy atheists should take as given and never dispute his existance.
That's ridiculous.  The Biblical Jesus Christ didn't exist.  Why should anyone automatically believe in a magical man from a work of fiction (and to take the existence of the Biblical Jesus as given is the same as believing him to have existed)?  And I ask that sincerely, even if you think it's a good ideas for Christians (or anyone) to emulate the character's good points ...

Quote:
I always focus less on factual stuff and more on what I think JC should be today - a behavioral guide for Christian folk.
That's all well and good, but the Biblical Jesus Christ didn't exist; he's a character in a story.

Quote:
Needless to say, I am always enthusiastic about supporting Christians in their effort to emulate the sides of JC I think are visionary even for our day and time.
Again, well and good.  People should emulate the sides of Siddhartha that I think are visionary even for our day and time, or the good qualities possessed by any character of fiction.  Good reasons to emulate a character, however, are independent of whether that character is fiction or not.

Quote:
Unfortunately I find that most lose will to discuss religion with me pretty fast. Those that lose interest are basically atheists with a stick up their ass and don't care about what JC had to say at all.
Well, I don't; I don't particularly like the book in which the character's featured and I don't like the character all that much either and I find that he has few redeeming qualities, despite whatever qualities he possessed that you think are visionary.  There are other characters I'd rather look to.  For Christians, however, having devoted themselves to the literal belief in the existence of a magic man from a work of fiction, I can agree with you in that I'd very much like it if they emulated those visionary aspects.

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I don't think JC's existence

I don't think JC's existence matters very much at all.  I gave my opinion because the OP asked for opinions, but I don't really have a lot of emotional fire behind convincing others of my opinion.  

The thing is, if we discovered that Alexander the Great didn't exist, we'd have some real problems.  What about all the evidence?  What about his place in history and his accomplishments -- accomplishments which significantly changed the political landscape for a long time.  In other words, if Alexander didn't exist, there's a WHOLE FREAKING EMPIRE that needs explaining.

On the other hand, I can't think of one historical fact that would be out of place if Jesus either did or did not exist.  If he's a legend, everything makes perfect sense.  If he was a real person, everything still makes perfect sense.  In short, whether he existed or not, there are no significant historical events which hinge on his existence.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:If he was

Hambydammit wrote:
If he was a real person, everything still makes perfect sense.
Well, we'd have a lot of accounting to do for the bloody magic attributed to him.  The only Jesus Christ that Christians believe in and whom they claim to have existed is the one from the Bible.  I'm not aware of another book or piece of literature contemporary to the Biblical character that mentions him or those things attributed to him in the Bible.  Since the Bible is the only source of the character and the Bible is fiction and the character sure as hell is, then Jesus Christ never existed.

That's pretty much where I leave it.  If people want to debate whether someone after whom the Biblical accounts were written existed, well ...how many angels fit on the head of a pin?

 

BigUniverse wrote,

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 Quote:Well, we'd have a

 

Quote:
Well, we'd have a lot of accounting to do for the bloody magic attributed to him.

Not especially.  Whether there was a real dude or not, most of the stories with magic in them are older tropes.  And since magic doesn't exist, the only explanation would be, "there was this dude who didn't do magic, and either he was an illusionist, or people just made shit up about him."

Quote:
The only Jesus Christ that Christians believe in and whom they claim to have existed is the one from the Bible.  I'm not aware of another book or piece of literature contemporary to the Biblical character that mentions him or those things attributed to him in the Bible.  Since the Bible is the only source of the character and the Bible is fiction and the character sure as hell is, then Jesus Christ never existed.

I've skimmed various Jesus historians who think he was a monk, a preacher, a revolutionary, a historian, and at least a half dozen other things.  I honestly didn't buy any of the theories, but outside of straight up religious apologetics, there are some going theories as to who Jesus might have been.

The question I keep asking myself is why anyone would think he existed in the first place.  It seems to be a basic logical fallacy:  Christianity is very tenacious, so there must be a historical Jesus.  

That logic just doesn't seem to follow for me.  

 

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Well, Hamby, that's my exact

Well, Hamby, that's my exact problem with it.  Truthfully, if we're not talking about the Biblical Jesus who certainly never existed, then it's so much nonsensical speculation as you aptly point out.

BigUniverse wrote,

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.

I can give you a long discussion from years of considering this which is rather boring. It all comes down to a mention in Josephus with the expurgation of the words it is not credible he used. And with that the chances are he did live. However it makes the odds on the order of 55/45 which is slightly greater than a coin toss.

Beyond that it is hardly worth further consideration as it is highly unlikely the gospels recount much of anything about him or his life. And even if they do happen to have something significant he is no more than a hood ornament for the Christian religions.

Christianity is mostly adapted Roman religious practices. Christian morality is that of the Roman citizen who also despised the excesses of the emperors. The requirements for being or becoming a Christian are to be found in the various creeds none of which contain any of his supposed teachings.

For the magical parts of the story being born the son of a god was nothing new nor was resurrection. Born of a virgin is the distinction from the other sons of gods which is the point of wording of the claim.

It is not clear what difference his actually having lived or not would make.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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:o

Thomathy wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:
If he was a real person, everything still makes perfect sense.
Well, we'd have a lot of accounting to do for the bloody magic attributed to him.  The only Jesus Christ that Christians believe in and whom they claim to have existed is the one from the Bible.  I'm not aware of another book or piece of literature contemporary to the Biblical character that mentions him or those things attributed to him in the Bible.  Since the Bible is the only source of the character and the Bible is fiction and the character sure as hell is, then Jesus Christ never existed.

That's pretty much where I leave it.  If people want to debate whether someone after whom the Biblical accounts were written existed, well ...how many angels fit on the head of a pin?

 

I just wanted to point out that Jesus Christ is one specific person.

 

Christ is a title, not a name as was pointed out in the OP. 

 

From what I understand Christ is an English title derived from a Latin word (Christus) that was transcribed from a Greek translation (Kristos) of a Hebrew word for "Messiah", and the Greek translation meant "the Anointed One".

 

Anyway, my point is that it is like saying Hercules, the man with the strength of 1000 men. If you ran into a Hercules, that doesn't mean you ran into Hercules, the man with the strength of 1000 men.

 

Besides, from what I understand a carpenter would be better with nails.

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If you ran into Hercules

 

It would probably be ZuS....

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.

ClockCat wrote:

I just wanted to point out that Jesus Christ is one specific person.

Christ is a title, not a name as was pointed out in the OP. 

From what I understand Christ is an English title derived from a Latin word (Christus) that was transcribed from a Greek translation (Kristos) of a Hebrew word for "Messiah", and the Greek translation meant "the Anointed One".

And ... Anointing was a common religious custom throughout the ancient world. "Dey was a 'hole lotta 'nointin' goin' on," observed the Nubian. Up and coming politicians would pay the fee and be anointed into the mysteries of the temples of the major gods. Closer to home Bar Kochbah was anointed the Mesiah by the High Priest to give him the authority to single-handedly lead Jerusalem to defeat.
 

To confuse things the new testament is silent on any anointing ceremony. The most popular save is Mary the Magdelene did it which is claimed to be an expurgated version. If she was in a position to do a formal anointing (ignore the actual description in the story) she would have been a high priestess of Astarte which puts an entirely different cast on the entire bible.

 

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A man by the name of Jesus

A man by the name of Jesus might have lived somewhere around 2000 years ago but that fact is still completely irrelevent to the question of whether or not the bible jesus existed. To illustrate my point, lets ask that same question only using a different character.

We know for a fact, that there was a man by the name of John Rambo who fought in the Vietnam war. Now, if someone who had just watched "First Blood: Part 1" or any of the other movies in the series, were to turn to you and ask if John Rambo was a real person, would you give them some lecture about how there was such a man by that name? No, you would look at them as if they were retarded and and say "Nooooo, Rambo is a make-believe character in a movie".

As for bible Jesus, there was no such person who walked on water, rose from the dead, heal the blind or was born from a virgin. The answer is "no" he did not exist.

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 Very well put, Ivon.I

 Very well put, Ivon.

I think the main issue in Jesus scholarship is whether or not there were events in history which were extrapolated into the Gospel.  By comparison, is "Rambo" based on a true story, or is it just a made up action flick?

The division is not always entirely clear, unfortunately.  The Exorcist was based on a true story, as was The Amityville Horror.  In both of those cases, there were people who believed that the devil and demons were at work in the real world.  The movies are gross exaggerations of what really happened, and the supernatural aspects have been added for effect, but both are based on real events, if only loosely.

So, the question with Jesus:  Was there some "true story" on which the Gospel was based?  It wouldn't have to be all that reminiscent of the Gospel to count.  The story behind The Exorcist is simple.  A boy spent a few months fooling everybody around him into thinking he was demon possessed as a way of acting out antisocial tendencies and adolescent rebellion.  That's it.  With the Gospel story, it could be something as simple as some preacher who said something to piss off a Roman official and got himself executed.

Still... the point remains.  The "Jesus" of the gospel didn't exist anymore than Regan existed.  They're both fictionalized accounts.  The only question is whether some mundane thing happened in the real world to inspire the fantastical story.  

It certainly doesn't seem like a particularly important question to me.  It ought to only concern people interested in very specific aspects of ancient literature.

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Why would anyone think he existed in the first place?

Hambydammit wrote:
The question I keep asking myself is why anyone would think he existed in the first place.

Paul's theology required a real Jesus, whether he existed or not. If all humans are subject to the law and all humans have failed the law, making them guilty under the law, then they cannot be saved through the salvific act of a non-real person. The sacrifice has to be real otherwise it makes no sense. A real sacrifice requires a real person.

 

Anyone who accepts the salvation that the sacrifice brings will accept at the same time the reality of Jesus. This in no way reflects of the reality of Jesus or why non-religionists frequently believe in the existence of Jesus. Though he may have lived, many infidel seem to be simply willing to accept the status quo scholarship in religious studies that he existed.

 

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Existance.... non-existance? Place

Jesus existed... we have subjective evidence from mostly UNbiased sources to support this. The problem therein lies with the 'Christ' part.... it is Relative towards ANY person that is asked the same question as asked in the OP.

Thus, we have at least a partial scientific explanation for spirituality, in ALL of it's BIZARRE forms.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Jesus existed...

Kapkao wrote:
Jesus existed...

At least, you're convinced.

 

Kapkao wrote:
we have subjective evidence from mostly UNbiased sources to support this.

On what I know of the evidence, I don't believe you you have any. Would you like to introduce the pagan evidence or reheat the christian evidence?

 


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Psychosavant wrote:I'm not

Psychosavant wrote:

I'm not going to say whether or not Jesus Christ existed, simply because I think it would an impossible determination to make. I will say however, there are some certainties on this depending on how you define him. Was there a person named Jesus Christ who was the son of God, performed divine miracles, was crucified, and rose from the dead 3 days after? Most certainly not. However, if you simply ask was there a person, represented by the figure in the Bible, by the name of Jesus, with the title of Christ? I think many atheists jump to a hasty conclusion by simply saying no.

History, as a history professor once described to me, is a recording of a series of events, one leading to another. It's cause and effect. The effect then become a cause of a following effect and so forth. The events recorded in history are accepted to a degree depending on the amount of data they coincide with which can lead up to modern day. Reliable history is tangled with the rest of it in a series of complex webs that circle the globe so that recorded history is more than just the cause and effects on a chronological landscape, but a geographical and political one as well, which drives the records of human civilization.

Sometimes however, there are events which are simply an island of data sitting in a sea of contemporaneous history. Sometimes, they may even have a few connections to the rest of history, but the less they have, the more they become an island of misconnection and the more subjective the claims turn out to be. These islands might even have far more sources than some of the data in the rest of history, but at least the latter can shown to have had direct impacts on other parts of the large web of events.

The existence of a figure known as Jesus Christ is one of these islands. The likelihood of his existence, I believe, is about as supported as the existence of Paris and Helen of Troy. There's an important distinction to make here however, which is to say that Paris and Helen were both royalty, which are generally well documented figures, and Jesus Christ was the son of a carpenter.

History does not follow the son of carpenters. In fact, the name Jesus, at the time, was about as common of a name as John is today. So if you were to say that there was never a person named Jesus who was the son of a carpenter, you may be stretching your chances here. Perhaps there was even a poor carpenter's son who caught the attention of some royal guards for doing something considered taboo for the time period. But I don't think we can seriously claim that Jesus Christ, as a normal person who's stories got exaggerated, didn't exist, because history doesn't follow the sons of carpenters and it would impossible to say.

I think it's safe to say however, that he wasn't the son of God, and he didn't heal a blind man by putting mud on his eyelids.

 

On top of that prior polytheism also sold magically healing people as a motif. The Rx symbol used by pharmacies is the "R" being the Egyptian healing god Thot spitting into the eye of Horus, the "x". But that is just one example.

The fans of the god of Abraham, all three, would argue that there is no direct proof that Christianity copied them. DUH, but that completely misses the point. Humans did not exist in a vacuum and other prior cultures existed at the same time as the early monotheists of Abraham.

It isn't as simple as telling a story in a circle and it getting around and being completely different. It is more along the lines throughout multiple cultures and filtered down through multiple cultures and multiple generations. It would be more like overlapping multiple circles over a long period of time. And just as no one in real life keeps a record of everyone they meet from the time they are born to the time that they die, and just as records get lost, there will not always be a record of one culture picking up another culture's motif.

THE fact that curing blindness existed as a motif in polytheism says that THE MOTIF was not original to Christianity. Even closer to the Christian history than the story of Horus was that Roman dictator Vespation(sp) was also rumored to have magically cured blindness.

Curing the ill through "miracles" was a popular motif of polytheism and early monotheism.

There was a creation story and flood story in "The Epic of Gilgemesh", all be it only 7 days. The "Code of Hamerabi(sp) spoke of the same "Eye for an Eye" long before the early Hebrews picked it up.

El, Elohim, Yahweh and Baal, were all names used in the Canaanite pantheon long before the early Hebrews used those same names. Jews would rightfully argue they are NOT THE SAME, only in the context of the meaning they assign to the names. But that misses the point that those names got filtered down through cultures and time to end up being used.

Religion is nothing but a matter of successful marketing, just like Coke vs Pepsi. Coke comes up with a cherry soda, Pepsi looks at it and says, "I like that motif" then adapts the motif, tweaks the flavor, changes the can color and gives it a different name.

Ultimatly all religions are nothing but gangs who sell the same story. "Good vs evil" with the worship of a super hero who will save the "chosen people".

That is the nuts and bolts of all religions, but they all start off the same way. The people who start these things look at prior religions and don't like the status quo, but have to come up with a way to compete to be successful, so they look at older motifs and adapt them.

That is far more rational than going around claiming that a brain with no brain with magical powers floats around in the cosmos everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Gods are nothing but a human invention caused by our evolutionary flaw of defaulting to placebos out of simple fight or flight. We would, from an evolutionary standpoint, rather protect something false, to protect our egos and safty in numbers, than to actually test the claims that come out of our mouths.

Dawkins describes this quite aptly in "The God Delusion" as a "moth mistaking a light bulb for the natural moonlight".

Gaps from our species psychological evolution, are much easier to fill from an emotional standpoint, than a pragmatic standpoint.

 

 

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Whatever atheistic and

Whatever atheistic and scientific argument I might have on the truth or falsity of Jesus Christ's existence 2k years ago will have to wait, untill I am satisfied that the public that listes to these arguments is thoroughly acquainted with the fact that our fate lies with the religious masses, not without. Any discussion of religious beliefs must come second to our commitmet to and fight for the humanistic values we share with most religious people.

This is nothing new to organizers everywhere in the world. If you are a member of Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross teams in troubled areas, you know damn well that your first trusted contact will be the local priest, who happens to be the local doctor (educated or not), organizer and all-around person. He/she is there when you arrive and he/she will be there long after you leave and more often than not he/she will spend the whole life in the same struggle. The religious affiliation of all the people you work with becomes just background noise - to you they are the pillar of the local society, support, intelligence and even someone you trust with your life many times. Only atheists who are well-protected and insulated from the reality of the world can adamantly reject everything religious and compare existence of Jesus with that of Rambo.

For all intents and purposes, Jesus did exist and he exists today. People like Dr. Martin Luther King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, people dieing in the South American jungles fighting for the working class and civilian population, against disease, environmental destruction and oppression, people in major US cities and world-wide trying to unite and educate their community and organize resistance to both local segragation, violence and divide-and-conquer tactics of the local authoritarian regime as well as the global hegemony, all these are blood and flesh of Jesus Christ in their mind and I for one support it with all my atheistic sense.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


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.

Brian37 wrote:

...

The fans of the god of Abraham, all three, would argue that there is no direct proof that Christianity copied them. DUH, but that completely misses the point. Humans did not exist in a vacuum and other prior cultures existed at the same time as the early monotheists of Abraham.

...

What generically does not make much sense based upon the traditional Christian origin story in light of atheism is why or even how Christianity brought along the baggage of the Septuagint. But therein is part of the answer. It was the Septuagint not the Hebrew version of it which appeared over a thousand years later. In the 1st c. Josephus cites the Aristeas forgery to support the Septuagint being a miraculously perfect copy of an original in another language which he implies is Aramaic.

The connection of Christianity is to tales from Alexandria in Greek, the Septuagint. Despite the western European view we largely share Rome has no particular influence for the first thousand years or so. The center of the religion is in Constantinople supported by Alexandria. To this day the Orthodox churches have the Greek Septuagint as their origin. Rome as the original poor relative had no choice but to include it.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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Thomathy wrote:ZuS wrote:In

Thomathy wrote:

ZuS wrote:
In my opinion JC is one guy atheists should take as given and never dispute his existance.
That's ridiculous.  The Biblical Jesus Christ didn't exist.  Why should anyone automatically believe in a magical man from a work of fiction (and to take the existence of the Biblical Jesus as given is the same as believing him to have existed)?  And I ask that sincerely, even if you think it's a good ideas for Christians (or anyone) to emulate the character's good points ...

I grant you that it is important to have one's wits about oneself. In this case that means that we must recognize the cold hard facts and then conclude on them:

1) purity of belief is desirable, but impossible.

2) believing that a magical man cured people and fed thousands with a single fish is LESS DANGEROUS than believing that the free market will take care of it all.

3) to do anything significant, we must unite with as many people as possible and eliminate as many secondary differences as possible.

4) time is of the essence when you want to do things. If it is essential that the screw is put in the wall right now, it is better to start at it with a screwdriver, than sitting down and discovering electricity and inventing a drill.

Conclusion:

We need to get our priorities straight. Abandon the notion that atheists exist and accept your own religiousness. Admit it, free market sounds like a good concept, doesn't it? So pure and simple and beautiful - how can it be wrong? Abandon the notion that the religious are our enemy and embrace them as the ally we always needed and will always need to organize and and resist disaster-profeteers. We don't have time to educate all of them and indeed some of them are better allies religious than not - think of them as atheists that meet up every weekend and discuss what's best for their community.

Thomathy wrote:

Quote:
I always focus less on factual stuff and more on what I think JC should be today - a behavioral guide for Christian folk.
That's all well and good, but the Biblical Jesus Christ didn't exist; he's a character in a story.

So is Adam Smith, and we let him get hijacked to hell. We can't afford Jesus and Muhammed going the same way and it's happening as we speak.

Thomathy wrote:

Quote:
Needless to say, I am always enthusiastic about supporting Christians in their effort to emulate the sides of JC I think are visionary even for our day and time.
Again, well and good.  People should emulate the sides of Siddhartha that I think are visionary even for our day and time, or the good qualities possessed by any character of fiction.  Good reasons to emulate a character, however, are independent of whether that character is fiction or not.

But the question of whether we should discuss it in public or not is not independent of whether the character is fiction or not. This attitude that "freedom of speech" is sacred just does not justify blatant stupidity. In fact, if I wanted to stop an opponent in his tracks, I would love to convince him that his "freedom of speech" is threatened by <insert large group of my own opponents>.

Thomathy wrote:

Quote:
Unfortunately I find that most lose will to discuss religion with me pretty fast. Those that lose interest are basically atheists with a stick up their ass and don't care about what JC had to say at all.
Well, I don't; I don't particularly like the book in which the character's featured and I don't like the character all that much either and I find that he has few redeeming qualities, despite whatever qualities he possessed that you think are visionary.  There are other characters I'd rather look to.  For Christians, however, having devoted themselves to the literal belief in the existence of a magic man from a work of fiction, I can agree with you in that I'd very much like it if they emulated those visionary aspects.

I would love to emulate Socrates, but it just so happens that billions follow teachings of Jesus & Mohammed, plus the orientals - not Socrates. I don't care what Bible says about Jesus, no more than Warren Buffet cares what Adam Smith wrote about free markets - he is just fine with twisting the man into a monster. We must twist Jesus and Muhammed into caring, loving and thoughtful figures and we can't wait another day. Only if we somehow manage to rehabilitate Adam Smith to his documented rather than fabricated heritage and start making sense in international affairs, can we hope to do something constructive about belief in magic men.

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Zus, I honestly have no idea

Zus, I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.  I don't know if you're using the free market and Adam Smith as examples (but of what, I don't know) or something else.  It seems as though you agree with me, however, that the magic man written about in the Bible never existed and doesn't exist ...which was the only point I was making (well, that and agreeing with you somewhat).

But what you wrote seems largely irrelevant and its meaning is completely opaque to me.  For instance:

Zus wrote:
We need to get our priorities straight. Abandon the notion that atheists exist and accept your own religiousness. Admit it, free market sounds like a good concept, doesn't it? So pure and simple and beautiful - how can it be wrong? Abandon the notion that the religious are our enemy and embrace them as the ally we always needed and will always need to organize and and resist disaster-profeteers. We don't have time to educate all of them and indeed some of them are better allies religious than not - think of them as atheists that meet up every weekend and discuss what's best for their community.
What the hell is this?  Don't answer that.  Just know that I literally can't see the connection between my post and whatever this is.  It may have to do with the litre of beer I had with lunch, but I'm not sure I ever grasp what you're getting at when you wax ...this way.  If you were making a point, can you make it in a single sentence?  -So that I don't need the decoder ring I think I do.

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Thomathy wrote:Zus, I

Thomathy wrote:

Zus, I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.  I don't know if you're using the free market and Adam Smith as examples (but of what, I don't know) or something else.  It seems as though you agree with me, however, that the magic man written about in the Bible never existed and doesn't exist ...which was the only point I was making (well, that and agreeing with you somewhat).

But what you wrote seems largely irrelevant and its meaning is completely opaque to me.  For instance:

Zus wrote:
We need to get our priorities straight. Abandon the notion that atheists exist and accept your own religiousness. Admit it, free market sounds like a good concept, doesn't it? So pure and simple and beautiful - how can it be wrong? Abandon the notion that the religious are our enemy and embrace them as the ally we always needed and will always need to organize and and resist disaster-profeteers. We don't have time to educate all of them and indeed some of them are better allies religious than not - think of them as atheists that meet up every weekend and discuss what's best for their community.
What the hell is this?  Don't answer that.  Just know that I literally can't see the connection between my post and whatever this is.  It may have to do with the litre of beer I had with lunch, but I'm not sure I ever grasp what you're getting at when you wax ...this way.  If you were making a point, can you make it in a single sentence?  -So that I don't need the decoder ring I think I do.

Admitedly, some of my posts are more coherent than others. I also admit I am not discussing existence of Christ, but rather the consequences of us meddling with insignificant bullshit, while the house is burning around us. Sorry, I have to answer.

The point is that we are discussing genuinity of Jesus, while the effects of our own fake prophets are far worse. You must recognize religiousity in some forms of science and at least in the social structure built up around science. When an economist opens his mouth, I might as well be listening to Gospel. Here's the first few lines of the Book of Buffet:

And the Economist moved the decision making away from the discussion of values and into discussion of numbers.

And he saw the eyes of the masses glaze over and become disinterested in their own self-governance.

And the Economist saw that it was good.

 

Shit, bro, we need the religious just to shake us out of our catatonic state of obedience - so ironic, it's beautiful. We also need them to organize people and show us how to do the same. We don't want to talk about whether Jesus existed, we want to talk about how to help them and direct them and let them direct us. We need them to show us how to beat fear, doubt and disregard threats. That's what we made them for in the first place, that's why we the atheists wrote the Bible.

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There's no evidence outside

There's no evidence outside the Bible that speaks of a magical Jewish man, but there are some documents that mention Christ, as a normal man. Nothing more. I mean it wasn't until forty years after his supposed death that books started popping up. The books were written by different authors and each have their own story of this guy they heard stories about, passed down from person to person. We wait about 1800 years to create his "birthday". Which Christ are we talking about again?

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Without reading the rest of

Without reading the rest of the posts:

I imagine there was some sort of person at the root of the Jesus idea, if for no other reason that I doubt that much ancient literature would have been written about a person that one person made up...it spread awfully quickly for there not to be some grain of truth.

It isn't like people teaching new religious ideas and claiming to have mystical powers are rare, even now.  In an age where superstition was likely accepted fact and word of mouth was probably the biggest information source, it surprises me we only ended up with a few major religions instead of thousands of more equally sized movements.  I guess that says something about how Darwinian religions are.

Even today you have Catholics granted posthumous superpowers to popular dead people, so even if the-person-now-known-as-Jesus did not personally claim miracle powers it makes sense that his followers would attribute them to him.

 

But I think it is something of a null point...without actual evidence either way it doesn't matter.  All that matters is whether or not powerful ideas were attributed to him (obviously true) and whether or not the supernatural aspects of his lore are accurate (obviously untrue to me, or I would be a theist).

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Without

mellestad wrote:

Without reading the rest of the posts:

I imagine there was some sort of person at the root of the Jesus idea, if for no other reason that I doubt that much ancient literature would have been written about a person that one person made up...it spread awfully quickly for there not to be some grain of truth.

Ever heard of Maitreya? There are even pictures of him. All it would take would be for someone to claim Maitreya was here, was killed by some authorities in some backwater town, a religious movement to form around that idea, and then another Dark Age, et voila! a new 'Christ' out of nothing. Just add faith. It's not so far fetched as it might first seem.

 

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It is my understanding that

It is my understanding that since many of the stories in the New Testament were actually plagurized works of ancient Hebrew and Greek fiction... That if they were all recast around the same character, it would make sense if that character actually existed, as the storytellers would have a common frame of reference......

 

*But*... regardless... even of there was a guy named jesus, and even if he did have a ministry.... It is incidental to the main point, which is that in it's present form, the entire New Testament exists because of political leverage...

 

Sorry if I'm being redundant...


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Rich Woods...............

Rich Woods wrote:

It is my understanding that since many of the stories in the New Testament were actually plagurized works of ancient Hebrew and Greek fiction... That if they were all recast around the same character, it would make sense if that character actually existed, as the storytellers would have a common frame of reference......

 

*But*... regardless... even of there was a guy named jesus, and even if he did have a ministry.... It is incidental to the main point, which is that in it's present form, the entire New Testament exists because of political leverage...

 

Sorry if I'm being redundent .

 

 

           .............please don't shy away from makeing post because of redundency.  The bible = after 3000+ years = is the most redundent thing in history. It was not plagerized from Hebrew & Greek ONLY......add to that Persian, Sumerian, Indo-European, Asmerian, Babylonian, Egyptian.............etc.  Each and every  culture had it's own list of stories and legands and the bible grabbed up and used tales from two dozen or more.

 

 

          Jesu Christos,  ----  the one we call Jesus Christ  ---  is a TITLE not a name.  When Saul of Tarsus {The cheif PR agent for the 'Annointent One'} was finnally nailed down to a NAME for HIS  christos. The name he invented was Joshua Bar Joseph.... a name that in his time was has commen has John Smith or John Doe is today. In short  NOT A REAL PERSON!  

 

 

          The political leverage was from Emporer Constantine in the fourth century CE.  Because his Mommy told him to. Constantine Held his religious ferver for Mithras untill his death bed when he was to weak to resist.   Constantine did nothing more then give  EQUAL rights to christians;  he DID NOT make it the official religion of the Romans; his brain washed grandsons did that!

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I've made this argument a

I've made this argument a billion times and have yet to see a coherent counter argument.

WHO THE FUCK CARES?

Most sane people accept that George Washington existed but no one in their right mind would claim he could fart a Lamborghini out of his ass.

The existence of an individual named Jesus is sketchy and UNLIKELY at best considering that the name was as common as Smith for it's time. But even if one were to accept that "FOR ARGUMENT'S SAKE ONLY", that would not make virgin births credible or magically surviving death credible.

The Jesus character was most likely a conglomeration of events the splinter sect of Hebrews used to market a new religion. I am sure individuals inspired the movement, but the MOTIFS of the underdog and "chosen people" were hardly new to Christianity or even the Hebrews.

Christianity OR Islam exist for the same reason the Egyptian god Isis survived for 3,000 years. Effective marketing doesn't mean you are selling a good product. It merely means you are good at selling that product.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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mellestad
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Brian37 wrote:I've made this

Brian37 wrote:

I've made this argument a billion times and have yet to see a coherent counter argument.

WHO THE FUCK CARES?

Most sane people accept that George Washington existed but no one in their right mind would claim he could fart a Lamborghini out of his ass.

The existence of an individual named Jesus is sketchy and UNLIKELY at best considering that the name was as common as Smith for it's time. But even if one were to accept that "FOR ARGUMENT'S SAKE ONLY", that would not make virgin births credible or magically surviving death credible.

The Jesus character was most likely a conglomeration of events the splinter sect of Hebrews used to market a new religion. I am sure individuals inspired the movement, but the MOTIFS of the underdog and "chosen people" were hardly new to Christianity or even the Hebrews.

Christianity OR Islam exist for the same reason the Egyptian god Isis survived for 3,000 years. Effective marketing doesn't mean you are selling a good product. It merely means you are good at selling that product.

 

Obviously a lot of people care.  I'm an atheist, and even I find it interesting.  Why have a fit about that?  No-one asked if Jesus was the Son of God, that is not the point of the thread.

Obviously there is no way to really 'know' either way, not with the available evidence.  Personally, I imagine there likely was *someone* at the root of the religion.  But I wouldn't put any money on it, and it either way it doesn't change anything.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.