I'd like to ask a question on Jesus Mythicism...
As someone who has no set of structured beliefs, is uncertain but ambivalent as to the existence of a god, and has spent extensive amounts of time studying history, religion, and mythology (same thing, the both of them, I know- for all purposes of this discussion I refer to religion as an archaic belief system still in practice and mythology as those that are no longer practiced,) I have ultimately come to the logical conclusion that there was never a man, Jesus Christ, who lived the life described in the New Testament upon which the Christian religion was founded. While I do not claim to have any knowledge at all on the existence of a god, I am quite confident in my knowledge of the non-existence of Jesus Christ, and for many reasons. While I am very clear on this issue, I have frequently wondered how some can attest that such a man did live the life described in their religious texts when mythological precedents for Jesus, as well as many other factors, need to be ignored in order to regard fiction as fact.
At the advent of Christianity, the Jesus story was already common knowledge. The story of the virgin conception and birth as well as eventual crucifixion and resurrection has been recycled since ancient Egypt, perhaps even longer. It follows that the Roman Empire, upon deciding to unite under a single belief structure, would follow this age-old formula when conceiving their superstition. Pagan converts would be comfortable with the new religion and pagan holy days could be absorbed into Christianity, as they were.
I have also noticed that there are very few, if any, objective theologians in practice. It seems that no one enters the field of theology without the intention of using this degree to promote their own faith. What bothers me is that these people, in pursuit of a degree in theology, must have encountered earlier mythology that features the cycle of virgin birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. I mean, if I am aware that this story has been finding its way into religious cultures since the dawn of civilization, then a person with a PhD in theology must also be aware. It seems to me that the logical conclusion would be that exposure to this information would cause the person in question to rethink his position on an historical Jesus, and research into this new position would ultimately lead to the same conclusions I have reached after looking into this matter.
So, how can a person, when confronted with the wealth of information contrary to the existence of a historical Christ, maintain the position that this man existed and lived the life described in the bible?
(Side note- I once explained the evidence for Jesus Mythicism to a Born Again who was harassing me in the mall. His response: "There is more evidence for the historical existence of Jesus than there is for Abe Lincoln." Inquired as to the evidence and received a blank stare.)