I am really sorry if this has been posted before.
If you knew me in person, you would know I love getting into discussions with people about religion. One of the questions that seems to keep coming into the discussion loop is Jesus.
So I was at a social gathering the other night at a restaurant and I dropped my silverware and out of habit I said "Jesus Christ!" And a random girl that was a friend of a friend said, "Don't use the Lords name in vain."
So obviously we got into a debate.
I brought up the point in the discussion that Jesus never existed. Well everyone looked at me like i was off the wall insane...
At that point the discussion just turned into incoherent ramblings and Grrrr... So frustrating that people base their whole life on hearsay! Simply dumbfounding!!!
Help me feel better... seriously.
I think if 30 - 80 years time is not enough to develop such a wide oral tradition about a mythical man named Jesus who did all those things mentioned.
It just makes sense to me that he was a real man that did go around to preach scripture and had a following , but he was immensely deified and exalted both through miracle stories and also through spiritual representation. I don't think it matters at all what Paul interpreted Jesus as because Paul never met Jesus. He is writing things down as he hears them just like everyone else ... except Paul does profess to have had a 'vision' at the way to Damascus.
That's just my take on it. I really think it makes more sense to assume a man existed and he was simply turned into a legend.
Like Paul, the letters of the early church fathers also were devoid of any information of Jesus the man. It wasn't until the gospels began to be written decades later that we see something of the life of this Yehoshua.
What we know of...
Many things have been destroyed through time...
Oral tradition was a CREDIBLE thing back then.
Oh man , not the oral tradition being credible 'back then' ... that is the worst argument anyone has ever come up with and I know you're just reciting it.
What we DO know.
There is absolutely not a lick of proof that 'oral tradition' was meant to keep facts rather than stories. In fact there are historians that argue the OPPOSITE. That because the vast majority (90%) couldn't read or write there was not reason for them to care about keeping facts straight. They told stories to entertain themselves not to keep history. Only since the introduction of literacy the masses have the majority of the population cared whether or not 'facts' are kept straight.
But yes many things have been destroyed through time.
The characteristic of the Abrahamic religions that best explains their dominance is that they allow believers to behave like psychopaths and still feel good about themselves. That reason is tied for first place with the fact that they are well designed to worm their way into the infantile mind where the adherent remains inherently gullible.
A charismatic Emperor who had a vision one day and decided to make his empire adhere to the Christian myth.
From there, massive conversions throughout the world through bloody wars.
The spread of fear and damnation if you do not grovel and worship an imaginary deity.
Currently, this has all changed to 'Jesus Loves you'. The religion has evolved through the ages. The bible is such a large book , it can adapt to any environment or people. Until they actually begin to question it and read it for themselves ...
Chrsitanity is different than the Nazarene sect, which Paul, Peter and James founded, so becareful to make a distinction.
If Paul was a live today; he would ultimately be a Jew...
In the question of did Jesus exist I would have to point to his predecessors who paralleled his life and question them all.
Examples like Horus of ancient Egypt. Born of a virgin birth, walked on water, healed the sick, his birth was celebrated on the winter solstace, he was crucified and resurrected after 3 days etc.
Similar stories of ancient figures (All predating Jesus) like Attis, Zarathustra, Dionysus, Krishna and more. The point is if we give credence to one of the stories then don't we have to give credence to them all? If so then do the stories that came earliest gain the most credibility or how do you rate it? You can't simply give Jesus story more credibility just because more people know about it. One problem is that somehow they almost all claim to be the "King of Kings" on one form or another.
So when confronted with people who get over excited about Jesus I often try to distract them with a question like that. If Jesus existed than so did Horus and if Horus didn't exist than neither did Jesus. That being said if they both existed then Christianity is an incomplete relegion and will never be complete until it incorporates the teachings off all such Messiahs.
It depends on how you view the original question "How many of you think that the historical Jesus never existed?" The question was followed by the context of dealing with people who were rattled by her disbelief in the existence of Jesus as a person who existed in history.
My answer was to the context of dealing with people who insist that he was a real person and deflecting that belief in a way that asks the believer to question why he believes in one "Mythic hero" over another. The idea is to make the believer justify his belief in a different context or to change the context of the argument of Jesus as a person.
As a Christian it's easy to say Jesus existed because the Bible says, but as a non-Christian of any kind it's easier to look at the many stories and say why this myth and not that myth. Changing the argument in that way is a way of asking the believer to take off the Christian hat for a second and saying look at the debate from this point.
As for the original question...I think Jesus was as much a man as Elvis or Michael Jackson. It's not impossible that a man existed then named Jesus. I'm sure that he was a great showman, but not much more. So maybe yes if you could go back in a time machine and interview the Jews of the era they might believe since it had to start somewhere but that doesn't make it so.
An amateur Egyptologist once said; 'Look at the similarities between Horus and Jesus!'
The Egyptologist dismiss this theory, like the majority of scientists reject YEC.
Lets consinder your logic for a second; that Jesus is a plagarised version of other mythologies.
Where did this pagan influence come from?
Jesus, if He was created, was a Jewish creation; not a pagan creation, there is no evidence for that.