1 of 3
1
Is there any creditable evidence that jesus actually existed?
Posted: 07 March 2014 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  292
Joined  2011-09-13

I can’t find any that could possibly be considered creditable.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 March 2014 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09

I don’t see any either. The biblical narrative is preposterous on its face, the Son of God just getting lost for thirty years, then reappearing and getting lost again after being crucified and the earth trembles . . . but that’s a knock-off. I’m no scholar of this but it seems as likely to me that the narrative is a legend, like that of King Arthur, perhaps a compilation of several people’s actions or perhaps a wholesale fabrication.

 Signature 

I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 01:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11

The whole Jesus story is preposterous. God gives birth to himself so he can forgive us the sin he knew we would commit, then after suffering a papercut, he stubbs his toe, ascends to heaven to be at the side of himself….and continue to judge whether people should go to hell, a place he created, or be brought to heaven to forever grovel at their feet and conveniently forget all of their family members residing in that other place.

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4545
Joined  2007-08-31
deros - 07 March 2014 05:30 PM

I can’t find any that could possibly be considered creditable.

If you lay the same constraints historians use to confirm the existence of many other persons that presumed to have lived in those days, then, yes, it is pretty sure Jesus existed. If you look for unusually hard historical proof you will find none.

There were many threads about this topic already. Search for ‘Jesus exist’ with the search option, and you will find many of these. I think this one is pretty extended (read the book of Ehrman that is mentioned there, it’s good), and also the reference in this one is very informative.

You don’t need to deny the existence of a historical person ‘Jesus’ to be an atheist. You just must strip off the magical, non-historical stories about him. But for reasons I do not understand, discussions about this topic tend to get very emotional soon.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09
GdB - 08 March 2014 03:25 AM

If you lay the same constraints historians use to confirm the existence of many other persons that presumed to have lived in those days, then, yes, it is pretty sure Jesus existed.

I don’t think we can reasonably apply the same standards to this as to the accounts of known historical persons, for two reasons: (1) there are no written accounts of his alleged life and deeds for decades after he died, which is extremely suspicious (fact check me on that); and (2) the accounts we have are laden with stories that are obviously exaggerated, at best. On both counts, the story falls more into the category of myth and legend than history. Not that it matters much, in my opinion, but that’s how I see it.

 Signature 

I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4545
Joined  2007-08-31
PLaClair - 08 March 2014 04:32 AM

(1) there are no written accounts of his alleged life and deeds for decades after he died, which is extremely suspicious (fact check me on that);

The same is true of many other persons historians accept as having existed.

PLaClair - 08 March 2014 04:32 AM

(2) the accounts we have are laden with stories that are obviously exaggerated, at best.

And that is true for many others too. See what you get when you strip off the exaggeration: an apocalyptic Jewish preacher who thought the end of days would come in his lifetime or soon after, and who said that people should prepare by highly moral behaviour, so they would be saved.

PLaClair - 08 March 2014 04:32 AM

On both counts, the story falls more into the category of myth and legend than history.

‘More’, yes, ‘totally’ no.

You did read Ehrman, didn’t you? He is quite convincing, also putting the story of Jesus in its historical context.

Or scan a little to the Reddit link? Here is an interesting starting point.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3216
Joined  2011-08-15

This subject matters a great deal to me as it is the very reason I became a atheist. We’re actually dealing with two Jesus’s here, one mythical and the other historical. Bible scholars line up behind those two concepts with Erhman making a compelling argument for the historical Jesus and Carrier and Price opposed essentially stating the the character and the myth surrounding him as cherrypicked from pagan myths that surrounded and affected the Hebrews who had already created a conposite belief system from earlier religious myths, e.g. Yahweh was originally a local mountain God who fought dragons. There are early sources BTW used by Ehrman and other scholars that could be considered proof, e.g. The “Q” gospel and Josephus who mentions a “Jesus” in his narrative but as Carrier points out in a book I just read, there were many people who went by that name. The one thing I find fascinating is that after studying the historical accounts of the religion you can see the slow evolution of a shephardic cult into a World wide religious belief and then dividing into two others only to have them splinter into hundreds of sects and cults. I’m being brief, really but there a literaly hundreds of books on the topic and more to come. It’s a fascinating subject as it impacts all of us. If you don’t believe me just watch the antics of the political candidates in CPAC. Jesus this, and Joseph that and Abraham hit me with a whiffleball bat. Oh, and Obama is the devil, really he was in a movie.


Cap’t Jack

 Signature 

One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3216
Joined  2011-08-15

BTW, in cases you want to read more of Ehrman’s works and debate topics here is his site:


http://www.bartdehrman.com/multimedia.htm


Cap’t Jack

 Signature 

One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09

GdB, I’m open to learning more about this. What other historical figures are similar to Jesus in the two parameters I mentioned?

 Signature 

I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Socrates?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4545
Joined  2007-08-31
George - 08 March 2014 10:22 AM

Socrates?

Not a bad example, but Plato and Xenophon knew him, and have written about him. Some older philosophers, e.g. Thales and Heraclitus come to my mind. There are no contemporary witnesses of their existence.

And then we have Buddha. No historian doubts that he existed, but there also many miracle stories about him (even a virgin birth, probably for the same reason), and his speeches were only written down 400 years later. Much worse than Jesus…

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  175
Joined  2013-08-29

Very interesting thread.

I don’t have a problem believing that Jesus existed at all, but “Jesus of Nazareth” (not Bethlehem) is not the same as the “Christ of Faith”. – A nice book is also “Is Christianity True?” by Michael Arnheim. But there are so many. “Misquoting Jesus” by Ehrman is definitely good when it comes to the New Testament.

Once I looked into Jesus and history (and by no means very well, just very leisurely) I was actually shocked at how many things in history are accepted without much evidence, simply because it fits nicely, makes for a neat heritage, and is rather non-threatening. I mean, who really cares if Socrates existed or is a character Plato made up? Doesn’t make a difference. When it comes to religion it looks totally different, especially “historical” religions.

 Signature 

“Metaphysical speculation is an expression of poetic illusion.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1417
Joined  2009-10-21
Michelle D. - 08 March 2014 11:31 AM

Very interesting thread.

I don’t have a problem believing that Jesus existed at all, but “Jesus of Nazareth” (not Bethlehem) is not the same as the “Christ of Faith”. – A nice book is also “Is Christianity True?” by Michael Arnheim. But there are so many. “Misquoting Jesus” by Ehrman is definitely good when it comes to the New Testament.

Once I looked into Jesus and history (and by no means very well, just very leisurely) I was actually shocked at how many things in history are accepted without much evidence, simply because it fits nicely, makes for a neat heritage, and is rather non-threatening. I mean, who really cares if Socrates existed or is a character Plato made up? Doesn’t make a difference. When it comes to religion it looks totally different, especially “historical” religions.

That’s a good point Michelle. The words attributed to Socrates would the same place on history regardless of his existence. The words of Christ matter because he was considered the son of God. It is an interesting bit of history that there were a few small groups resisting the Romans, but nothing to build a church around.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  438
Joined  2012-02-02

For how many centuries did humanity take for granted Aristotle’s mistaken assumption that women had a different number of teeth than men, because mares have a different number than stallions, and thus all females must?  It wasn’t too long ago that even asking questions about the divinity of Christ was enough to get you killed.

Some people claim that its preposterous that Christianity could have grown up if there wasn’t someone to inspire the stories which later were embellished to include things like raising the dead.  Other people claim that he had to have raised the dead, otherwise people wouldn’t have told stories about him.  The Greeks told stories about Zeus, does that mean he once existed?  There are doubts about the existence of Confucius, since most of the saying attributed to him were written down long after he lived.

The descriptions of Socrates given by Plato and Xenophon differ wildly from one another, does that mean he didn’t exist?  I don’t know.  It just seems strange to me for people to think that its impossible for Christianity to have grown up without there being a Christ at the center of it, while being perfectly happy to accept the idea that there is no God.  I would think that the rational thing to say was, “I believe its likely there was an individual named Jesus who inspired a religion that later became Christianity, though I think that its also possible that there was no such individual, and like the God his follows profess to worship, is entirely a construction of the human mind.”

We know that much of the Old Testament (excluding the supposed miracles) didn’t happen.  The Israelites weren’t slaves of Egypt and didn’t spend 40 years wandering around in the desert, yet oodles of people believe in it.  Why is it so hard to swallow the concept that there was no Jesus (or that the probability of his existence is very low), but perfectly acceptable to say that anyone who believes the story of Exodus (even the non-miraculous parts) is deluded?

 Signature 

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.” ― Philip K. Dick

The Atheist in the Trailer Park

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3205
Joined  2011-11-04

The vast consensus among historians is that Jesus existed.  Is it possible that he didn’t and everything that we know that was written that referenced his existence was fictional?  Sure, but not likely.

It might be a cool point for persons with an atheistic bent, to, plausibly claim that Jesus never actually existed.  But I don’t think they/we (atheists/agnostics) can do so, since the people who study antiquity the most, by and large, don’t question Jesus’s existence.

 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 March 2014 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
TimB - 08 March 2014 09:09 PM

The vast consensus among historians is that Jesus existed.  Is it possible that he didn’t and everything that we know that was written that referenced his existence was fictional?  Sure, but not likely.

It might be a cool point for persons with an atheistic bent, to, plausibly claim that Jesus never actually existed.  But I don’t think they/we (atheists/agnostics) can do so, since the people who study antiquity the most, by and large, don’t question Jesus’s existence.

The person people identify as Jesus may have existed. That is not an impossible idea, though most of he actions attributed to him have never been shown to be possible in any human being.

The only question should be “Was he divine?”  which has never been adequately answered and can never be.

No one has claimed Socrates was anything but a normal man.  No one is claiming he was divine or had supernatural powers. It is not anyone’s existence that can’t be believed by rational people, it is the claim of divinity. As soon as a person is claimed to be divine, there is reason to doubt that aspect of his or her existence. This goes for anyone who has ever been claimed to be divine or to have supernatural powers.

Lois

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 3
1