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Did Jesus exist?

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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Do you believe Jesus existed?

Definitely
5
8%
Probably
22
34%
Probably not
21
32%
Definitely not
8
12%
Other
9
14%
 
Total votes: 65

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ConcernedAbout
Posts: 43
Joined: December 16th, 2008, 4:50 pm

Re: Did Jesus exist?

#61 Post by ConcernedAbout » December 16th, 2008, 5:17 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Jem wrote:What makes you believe Jesus the man did or didn't exist? I've read that the evidence for his existence is scant and some of the arguments in favour of his existing are fallacious e.g. that a lot of people believed he existed therefore he must have existed. What is your view?
It really depends on what you mean by 'Jesus the man'. If you mean as depicted by the Bible then certainly not. If you take away the outrageous claims in the stories of Jesus you are left with not unreasonable accounts of a preacher living in the Iron Age. Practices, tales and beliefs that are not inconsistent with the people of the day. This alone is still not enough to say that his existence is more likely to be true than not. We could look for details in the stories that would not likely to have been dreamed up by writers of the day.

There is an interesting site on the subject by the Biblical scholar Ken Humphreys:
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

Cheers
Ca
http://religiousmadness.blogspot.com/
Regards,
ConcernedAbout


Religious Madness

tubataxidriver
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#62 Post by tubataxidriver » December 16th, 2008, 11:13 pm

A parallel with similar evidence would be "Did King Arthur exist?" There is not much direct evidence, plenty of stories written up later, a good dose of myth and magic and a legacy of mystical locations. However, it is feasible that someone like this, perhaps called Arthur, did exist at that time, in the post-Roman era with the early Viking and Saxon colonisations. The modern breadth and development over time of the Arthur myth shows how such tales might be stretched in the telling, and give us a view on what the reality behind the Jesus stories might just be.

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Alan C.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#63 Post by Alan C. » December 18th, 2008, 11:10 pm

I'm just coming to the end of "the portable Atheist" Christopher Hitchens collection of writings by various authors down the ages.
It has always been my opinion (well since aged about 8) that Jesus never really existed, and after reading this book, particularly [but not only] from page 430, the excerpts from "Why I am not a Muslim" by Ibn Warraq, I am now more convinced than ever, the Jesus guy is a complete fabrication.

A very good book by the way, with writings from Omar Khayyam, Spinoza, David Hume, George Eliot, Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Carl Sagen, Micheal Shermer,Dan Dennett, and many more.
Recomended.
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james1951
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#64 Post by james1951 » March 9th, 2009, 8:30 pm

Jem wrote:What makes you believe Jesus the man did or didn't exist? I've read that the evidence for his existence is scant and some of the arguments in favour of his existing are fallacious e.g. that a lot of people believed he existed therefore he must have existed. What is your view?
I choose to believe in the absense of any conclusive proof either way. That is why christianity is a faith based religion.

I never met Winston Churchill, or Napoleon, my beleif in their existence is based on hearsay and second hand information.

I also believe in the existence of Jesus through stories I have read about him. It is irrelevant whether he existed historically, the character Jesus has been revealed to me. But more than that, his Spirit has been revealed to me through those stories and the teachings attributed to him. Jesus NOW is that revealed spirit and exists within me today. This Spirit of Jesus is alive in all who love Truth and Righteousness and act according to that spirit. Whether or not the character existed as a historical being.

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Alan C.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#65 Post by Alan C. » March 9th, 2009, 9:35 pm

I choose to believe in the absense (sic) of any conclusive proof either way. That is why christianity (sic) is a faith based religion.
Well if that's your position there really isn't a debate to be had, is there?
I never met Winston Churchill, or Napoleon, my beleif (sic) in their existence is based on hearsay and second hand information.
Wrong, there is masses of historical evidence for the existence of these two men, there is no historical evidence for Jesus (NON)
I also believe in the existence of Jesus through stories I have read about him. It is irrelevant whether he existed historically,
That doesn't make sense, what you're saying is "it's irrelevant whether or not Santa existed" cos I've read stories about him.
the character Jesus has been revealed to me.
Just how was Jesus revealed to you? Stories told by your peers?
But more than that, his Spirit has been revealed to me through those stories and the teachings attributed to him. Jesus NOW is that revealed spirit and exists within me today.
I hate to burst your bubble, but the only true spirit comes in bottles marked 40% proof.
This Spirit of Jesus is alive in all who love Truth and Righteousness and act according to that spirit. Whether or not the character existed as a historical being.
Again, you make no sense here, Christians are all about denying the truth,
If Jesus never existed as an historical being, how can his spirit (sic) be alive?
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jdc
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#66 Post by jdc » March 15th, 2009, 6:04 pm

I voted "probably", as I believe there is a fair amount of evidence that Jesus (the person) existed.

[I don't believe that this historical character was the son of God, but that's a different question really.]

james1951 wrote:I also believe in the existence of Jesus through stories I have read about him. It is irrelevant whether he existed historically
That seems similar to my belief in the existence of Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, and Robin Hood - they all exist in stories rather than historically too.
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Nick
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#67 Post by Nick » March 15th, 2009, 8:28 pm

jdc wrote:I voted "probably", as I believe there is a fair amount of evidence that Jesus (the person) existed.
Actually, there is startlingly little evidence. Virtually none. And even that is very unreliable. I agree with your choice, but you might like to re-examine how little evidence there may, in fact, be.

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Alan H
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#68 Post by Alan H » March 15th, 2009, 9:05 pm

Maria already posted about the dearth of evidence for Jesus earlier in this thread.
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Alan C.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#69 Post by Alan C. » March 15th, 2009, 11:05 pm

Gives a deep sigh, and goes to bed :sleep:
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grammar king
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#70 Post by grammar king » March 16th, 2009, 10:52 pm

I remember in primary school a plucky young lad asked what evidence there was that Jesus existed. The teacher confidently announced that regardless of whether Jesus was the Son of God, we know Jesus existed because there are records showing that Jesus of Nazareth was killed by crucifixion on such and such a date, and we all believed her. Clearly this is not true.

However, I am still inclined to believe that Jesus existed, mainly just because these things tend to have a small grain of truth in them and because of the gospels themselves (whether or not we accept its authority, I think it's a bit dismissive to discount the Bible as any kind of evidence). Following the principle that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, obviously I'm not going to accept the gospels as evidence for the divinity of Jesus. I have less of a problem accepting them as evidence that he existed.

Edit: Interestingly, though, about 6 months ago I read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. He asked 6 'experts' on the historical evidence for Christ. Looking at pretty much the same evidence Maria supplied, each of these experts confidently came to the conclusion not only that Jesus existed, but that he rose from the dead too. Rose tinted spectacles.

Video3tech
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#71 Post by Video3tech » March 17th, 2009, 5:32 am

The gospels are in no way biographical accounts of Jesus but rather each has a theological standpoint thatr the writer wants to promote.
They were all written many years after the supposed events took place by Greek speaking literate men (most unlikely to be followers of Jesus) to address different audiences, in different regions all with different needs. Paul, who was the earliest writer on Christian matters never mentions ANY of the biographical details or mentions the famous sayings of jesus. In fact he admits thatr he never met the earthly Jesus and everything he learned was by revelation. Hardly a convincing argument.
As for Lee Strobels Case for Jesus. This is as unlikely as a legal case case being heard where prosecurtion witnesses were not allowed to be heard. This is the most one sided piece of trash journalism imagineable.

Joe

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#72 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » March 17th, 2009, 10:18 am

When I responded to this poll, ages ago now, I chose the option "Other". Because there wasn't an option for "I don't know" or "It depends what you mean by 'exist'." If what is being asked is: "Is the depiction of Jesus in the New Testament a reasonably accurate account of a person who existed 2,000 years ago?" then I would confidently answer "No." If the question is: "Is the character called 'Jesus' in the New Testament based (however loosely) on a person (or persons) who existed 2,000 years ago (or thereabouts) and who may have been called Jesus or Iesus or Yeshua or Joshua or Yehoshua or something similar?" then I might even answer "Very probably." But so what? Where does that get us?

I've come to the conclusion that the whole argument is daft, and the distinction between the "historical Jesus" and the "mythical Jesus" is a spurious one. Jesus is a myth whether he's based on a small grain of truth or not. Just as King Arthur, to use tubataxidriver's example, is a myth, even if he's based on a real Romano-British leader who fought against the Saxons in the late 5th or early 6th century. And the same applies to Achilles, Heracles/Hercules, Beowulf, Cúchulainn, Saint George, the Queen of Sheba, Scheherazade, Robin Hood, Hiawatha ... They're all myths, whatever the history behind them. Even when we know for certain there's a real person behind the legend [---][/---] Vlad Dracula (the Impaler), Boudica, Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth), William Wallace [---][/---] we surely have to acknowledge that the bulk of what's been written about those people is bound to be fiction. And we certainly have to admit that we don't have a clue about what they actually said, all those years ago. Even contemporary biographical accounts can be unreliable: people often misremember or exaggerate or make things up, even highly literate people with 150-words-a-minute shorthand. So why on earth would we have any confidence at all in a collection of early legends, passed by word of mouth and written down and translated and rewritten and retranslated and rewritten and edited and vigorously promoted over a couple of millennia? I think it might be because most of us are still inclined to treat the Bible as a special case, because it is venerated by so many members of our society. We don't like to call it a book of legends. But that's clearly what it is, whether Jesus was based on a real person (or on several real people) or not.

Emma

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#73 Post by Nick » March 18th, 2009, 5:36 am

Video3tech wrote:Paul, who was the earliest writer on Christian matters never mentions ANY of the biographical details or mentions the famous sayings of jesus. In fact he admits thatr he never met the earthly Jesus and everything he learned was by revelation. Hardly a convincing argument.
That's interesting Joe. Can you point me towards references?

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jaywhat
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#74 Post by jaywhat » March 18th, 2009, 6:23 am

Emma,
That says it all.

Video3tech
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#75 Post by Video3tech » March 18th, 2009, 6:42 am

Emma,
If you really want to understand how early Christianity began and how the NT scriptures came about I suggest you read any of the works by Professor Baret D. Ehrman, especially Misquoting Jesus.
Ehrman, who began life as an evangelical became an agnostic after 30+ years of studying the scriptures which he reads in their original Greek. He is very readable, obviously an expert in his subject and highly recommended.

Good luck,

Joe

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#76 Post by Nick » March 18th, 2009, 7:53 pm

Hi Emma!

While all the points you make are good ones, I think the question should be asked, not because we may come to a conclusion any different from yours, but because so many people believe that the existence of Jesus is a historical fact and are amazed when they discover the lack of historical evidence for him. It is one more way of exposing the truth, that religion, and christianity specifically in this case, is a human fabrication, not even the insight of one man.

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Alan C.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#77 Post by Alan C. » March 18th, 2009, 8:46 pm

Did Mythras exist?
Mithra was born on December 25th as an offspring of the Sun. Next to the gods Ormuzd and Ahrimanes, Mithra held the highest rank among the gods of ancient Persia. He was represented as a beautiful youth and a Mediator. Reverend J. W. Lake states: "Mithras is spiritual light contending with spiritual darkness, and through his labors the kingdom of darkness shall be lit with heaven's own light; the Eternal will receive all things back into his favor, the world will be redeemed to God. The impure are to be purified, and the evil made good, through the mediation of Mithras, the reconciler of Ormuzd and Ahriman. Mithras is the Good, his name is Love. In relation to the Eternal he is the source of grace, in relation to man he is the life-giver and mediator" (Plato, Philo, and Paul, p. 15).

(2)

He was considered a great traveling teacher and masters. He had twelve companions as Jesus had twelve disciples. Mithras also performed miracles.

(3)

Mithra was called "the good shepherd,” "the way, the truth and the light,” “redeemer,” “savior,” “Messiah." He was identified with both the lion and the lamb.

(4)

The International Encyclopedia states: "Mithras seems to have owed his prominence to the belief that he was the source of life, and could also redeem the souls of the dead into the better world ... The ceremonies included a sort of baptism to remove sins, anointing, and a sacred meal of bread and water, while a consecrated wine, believed to possess wonderful power, played a prominent part."

(5)

Chambers Encyclopedia says: "The most important of his many festivals was his birthday, celebrated on the 25th of December, the day subsequently fixed -- against all evidence -- as the birthday of Christ. The worship of Mithras early found its way into Rome, and the mysteries of Mithras, which fell in the spring equinox, were famous even among the many Roman festivals. The ceremonies observed in the initiation to these mysteries -- symbolical of the struggle between Ahriman and Ormuzd (the Good and the Evil) -- were of the most extraordinary and to a certain degree even dangerous character. Baptism and the partaking of a mystical liquid, consisting of flour and water, to be drunk with the utterance of sacred formulas, were among the inauguration acts."
I would say, no more than Jesus did.
link.
Baptism and the partaking of a mystical liquid, consisting of flour and water, to be drunk with the utterance of sacred formulas, were among the inauguration acts."
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Maria Mac
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#78 Post by Maria Mac » April 24th, 2009, 11:41 pm

Off-topic posts have been split off to a new thread here.

Can we please keep this one for speculating about the existence of the historical Jesus from now on.

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#79 Post by Nick » May 12th, 2009, 8:43 pm

Christopher Hitchens is always worth a listen. Here he is on the probability of the historical existence of Jesus. I haven't (and couldn't) put it as eloquently as he has, but we share the same view. My conclusion is that there was likely to have been a catalyst, a trigger for the New Testament stories, and that trigger was likely to be (a) human.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inCpro8N ... re=related

Enjoy!

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Lifelinking
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#80 Post by Lifelinking » May 12th, 2009, 9:10 pm

or.....


Image


The 'Inflata'Jesus'. Free puncture repair outfit with every mass attended. In ye olde days it would have to have been made from stitched together animal bladders.
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Alan C.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#81 Post by Alan C. » May 12th, 2009, 10:42 pm

Nick
Christopher Hitchens is always worth a listen. Here he is on the probability of the historical existence of Jesus. I haven't (and couldn't) put it as eloquently as he has, but we share the same view.
I love Christopher Hitchens, but.................. in this clip he does say Jesus was born in Nazareth,
It has been archaeologically proven that Nazetheth (the town) didn't exist before 300 AD.
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