Author Topic: Is there any relaible historical evidence a man named even Jesus existed?  (Read 466 times)

Curt

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Is there any relaible historical evidence a man named Jesus existed?  Since I'm an athesist I of course don't believe in God.  But was there actually a man named Jesus? With no supernatural powers just a man.  If so I guess I could celebrate Christmas the way people do Martin Luther King or Presidents day.  Just celebrate a great man.  Thoughts?

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I walked into a bowl of shit on this one...
But, uh...well there it is.
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Father Bruno

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There is no historical evidence at all that a man, or more distinctly the man named Jesus as described in the New Testament actually lived. All that is written about him was done by non-witnesses of his supposed life.

The following short article discusses this and other points quite well, and also raises the opinion that Jesus was purely fictionalized celestial being...Independent historian Richard Carrier’s recent defense of another theory — namely, that the belief in Jesus started as the belief in a purely celestial being (who was killed by demons in an upper realm) and who became historicized over time.



As for Christmas...don't let your atheism stop you from celebrating and enjoying one of the more enjoyable holidays of the year. I observe and celebrate Christmas, but do so without any regard or observance of religious connotations or because Jesus may have actually lived and was an cool dude ;D...I do so because of cultural traditions passed down from my family, and the pure enjoyment I receive from putting up and decorating a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, buying friends and family presents, listen to Christmas songs whose melodies bring back a warm feeling of nostalgic times...and gathering together to enjoy the company of family and friends.



I walked into a bowl of shit on this one...

I don't understand you at all here Arturo...typos?
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Recusant

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First we should agree on what constitutes 'reliable historical evidence.'
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Velma

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If your worry is celebrating Christmas, you have nothing to worry about. The roots of Christmas go back to long before Christianity. Many cultures have had celebrations around the time of the Winter Solstice. Christians were yet one more group to put their spin on the festival.

Plus, the way we celebrate Christmas now with family gatherings, trees, Santa Claus, and such is fairly recent, dating back to the mid-Victorian era. If I recall correctly, Christmas was not recognized as an official federal holiday in the US until 1870. Some states did not recognize it until the early 1900's. Most of the first Europeans to set foot on the US continent hated Christmas, considering it a Catholic holiday. Although at that time, it was simply another in a long line of Catholic holy days. Easter was much more significant.
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of the astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.~Carl Sagan

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If your worry is celebrating Christmas, you have nothing to worry about. The roots of Christmas go back to long before Christianity. Many cultures have had celebrations around the time of the Winter Solstice. Christians were yet one more group to put their spin on the festival.

Beat me to it -- I was going to point out that it's basically an assortment of pagan holidays that some people threw a few Christ-y words at.  Flick those off and, ta da!, pagan festival.  You can do nearly the same thing with Easter, tho the Xtians did get more dug in to that one.

As for the historical Jesus, it depends on which religious scholar you talk to.  Plenty of Xtian religious scholars no longer believe Christ was historical, and plenty still do.  I tend to think of him as like King Arthur or Robin Hood.  There was probably a guy, or several guys, doing something like that and got telephone-gamed into the Christ.  Unless Scorsese's film "The Last Temptation of Christ" was right and Xtianity was entirely the invention of Paul.
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Icarus

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If you wish to explore the subject seriously, then I recommend the book; Inventing Jesus by Paul Gabel.   Gabel is an historian of some authority. His book is very large, very well substantiated by other historians, very well researched and well written such that we ordinary mortals can understand what he is presenting. Gabel does not forthrightly claim that JC never existed  but he gives us enough data to make up our own minds which tends strongly (to an open minded person...those are in short supply)  toward denying the actual existence of the Jesus of the bible.

From another perspective, it does not make much difference whether that Jesus person existed and preached as in the bible stories. Whether he was the son of god...or the embodiment of the god of the bible himself, and had divine powers is the more interesting of the puzzles. For my own part I do most fervently believe that the story of Jesus is a fable that is useful to the ones who subscribe and an absurdity to those who do not succumb to the profoundly questionable tale.




Icarus

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Curt here is a short vid that dances all around a possible answer to your question. One should ask themselves; who wrote the bible and its account of the Jesus person. Is that book a reliable source of information?

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The Jesus of the Bible is clearly a fictionalized person at best. However, the existence of 'just a man' Jesus who preached in the Roman province of Judea early in the 1st century is the question under consideration. Though not impossible, it is extremely difficult to prove a negative. The mythicists have set themselves a hard row to hoe, and some of the most vocal of them don't do their cause any favors by pretending to a certainty that really doesn't exist.
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I will obviously disagree with the sentiment expressed by most in this thread, but I've argued this matter so many times that I'm tired of listening to myself.  So I'll simply vote "yes" to the question in the topic title, and make no further comment.

Ecurb Noselrub

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First we should agree on what constitutes 'reliable historical evidence.'

That's not going to happen. 

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I think, and I am by no means an authority on the subject, that there was a Jesus, or rather, many "Jesuses" that inspired the stories of the Bible. Of course being an atheist I don't believe he or anyone had any supernatural abilities, but that those stories were compounded by legends and distorted by word of mouth as time passed.

If I remember correctly, Judea was full of messiahs back then. It seems all too easy to think that a number of them could have inspired stories that would later be attributed to one man.
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Arturo

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New Agers (drug heads) think that Jesus was the Psilocybin mushroom and someone just happened to take it.

Members of the Native American Church believe that Jesus is the peyote cactus in which they take ritualistically.
But, uh...well there it is.
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If there were any reliable evidence, then there wouldn't be any controversy.  QED.

Ecurb Noselrub

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If there were any reliable evidence, then there wouldn't be any controversy.  QED.

Well, there is reliable evidence of evolution, yet there is a controversy.  QED.