Was Jesus a real person?

Oct 2014
10,070
9,500
Galaxy ZRF
#1
For most of my life, I had taken it for granted that Jesus, although certainly not a god, was nevertheless an historical personage – perhaps a magician skilled in hypnosis. To be sure, I knew that some of the world’s greatest scholars had denied his existence. Nevertheless, I had always more or less supposed that it was improbable that so many stories could have sprung up about someone who had never existed. Even in the case of other deities, such as Zeus, Thor, Isis, and Osiris, I had always taken it for granted that they were merely deified human heroes: men and women who lived in the later stages of prehistory – persons whose reputations got better and better the longer the time elapsed after their deaths. Gods, like fine wines, I supposed, improved with age.

More below.

Did Jesus Exist? | American Atheists

I tend to think not, he is and was just very wishful thinking.
 
Likes: Friday13
Jan 2014
16,144
4,229
California
#2
For most of my life, I had taken it for granted that Jesus, although certainly not a god, was nevertheless an historical personage – perhaps a magician skilled in hypnosis. To be sure, I knew that some of the world’s greatest scholars had denied his existence. Nevertheless, I had always more or less supposed that it was improbable that so many stories could have sprung up about someone who had never existed. Even in the case of other deities, such as Zeus, Thor, Isis, and Osiris, I had always taken it for granted that they were merely deified human heroes: men and women who lived in the later stages of prehistory – persons whose reputations got better and better the longer the time elapsed after their deaths. Gods, like fine wines, I supposed, improved with age.

More below.

Did Jesus Exist? | American Atheists

I tend to think not, he is and was just very wishful thinking.
Mr. Knight,

Yes. Next question.
 
Likes: caroljo
Dec 2018
2,555
1,399
the Heart of America
#4
....
I tend to think not, he is and was just very wishful thinking.
Disagreed. While we can debate the divinity of Jesus, I have little doubt he existed since it's unlikely an entire religion, currently the world's largest, was fabricated out of whole cloth.

Something happened two thousand years ago that energized the West much the same way Siddhartha Gautama energized the East. Romans frequently executed people for all sorts of minor crimes. Consider the crimes of the two others crucified with Jesus. The execution of a radical rabbi/carpenter didn't even merit a footnote in Roman history so it's not unusual that there is little evidence of Jesus outside of the Bible. The evidence is in the impact his presence had on people, initiating a movement that eventually took over the Roman Empire. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny haven't taken over anything nor would any other "wishful thinking" or fictitious characters. Only a real person could have such an impact on a large group of people, even if parts of that person's story are legend.
 
Likes: aboutenough

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
24,437
16,941
Colorado
#6
Santa isn't real but he will be around long after your bones fossilize and the last of the last people who remember you have passed away.

So real or not, it counts.
 
May 2016
3,559
883
california
#7
A current subject of endless argument, you'd think it had been settled sometime in the last two thousand years.
 
Jun 2014
44,886
44,286
United States
#9
Disagreed. While we can debate the divinity of Jesus, I have little doubt he existed since it's unlikely an entire religion, currently the world's largest, was fabricated out of whole cloth.

Something happened two thousand years ago that energized the West much the same way Siddhartha Gautama energized the East. Romans frequently executed people for all sorts of minor crimes. Consider the crimes of the two others crucified with Jesus. The execution of a radical rabbi/carpenter didn't even merit a footnote in Roman history so it's not unusual that there is little evidence of Jesus outside of the Bible. The evidence is in the impact his presence had on people, initiating a movement that eventually took over the Roman Empire. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny haven't taken over anything nor would any other "wishful thinking" or fictitious characters. Only a real person could have such an impact on a large group of people, even if parts of that person's story are legend.

So then, you also believe that Romulus and Remus were "real people"?
 
Likes: Friday13
Dec 2014
13,019
10,466
Opal mining
#10
For most of my life, I had taken it for granted that Jesus, although certainly not a god, was nevertheless an historical personage – perhaps a magician skilled in hypnosis. To be sure, I knew that some of the world’s greatest scholars had denied his existence. Nevertheless, I had always more or less supposed that it was improbable that so many stories could have sprung up about someone who had never existed. Even in the case of other deities, such as Zeus, Thor, Isis, and Osiris, I had always taken it for granted that they were merely deified human heroes: men and women who lived in the later stages of prehistory – persons whose reputations got better and better the longer the time elapsed after their deaths. Gods, like fine wines, I supposed, improved with age.

More below.

Did Jesus Exist? | American Atheists

I tend to think not, he is and was just very wishful thinking.
Being an historian of the period, I tend to think he existed, but I do think that much the extant texts regarding his life were embellished during late antiquity and even the early mediaeval period.
 

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