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.
The dates of pretty much every gospel I'm aware of are several decades or centuries after the purported death of Jesus.
the epistles about the Christ do not ever speak of his existence as a human, rather as a divine entity.
But, feel free to stick to your confirmation bias.
May I suggest (and remember - I do not believe in the divinity of Jesus -but in the possibility that there may have been a man who inspired the collection of new mythologies) that - sects and cults and political outcasts did not have the tools to write down historical occurrences the way they do now. We are possibly dealing with a sect that started out as an oral tradition. My understanding is that both gospels in the canon and the apocrypha point to the possibility of older sources, written or oral, that no longer exist. Revisions likely made Jesus (or whatever his name was) into a more impressive figure than was likely found in the original oral traditions. The Gospel of Thomas (one of the more respected apocryphal texts - historically speaking) has a much more human approach to the presentation of "Jesus" - and there is a lot less revision than what one finds in the canonical gospels. The Canon is more geared to an immortal god, while Thomas (doubting Thomas) presents a more finite wise man/philosophy.
The fact that the Gospels in the Canon were written decades after his purported death/disappearance does not prove that some form of spiritual/political leader did not exist or inspire the writing down of the oral traditions of a sect.
They may have attributed stuff from other religions/cultures and from people related to them, but that doesn't really proves that the whole Jesus story hasn't started from an actual man, probably named Jesus.
Someone can decide to attribute a lot of great stuff (the stuff attributed to Jesus is debatable whether or not is great) inspired from other people's lives to George W. Bush. That wouldn't mean he never actually existed (even if that would have been better).
It's alright if you think that Jesus never existed, however I would suggest not to ignore any evidence of him existing in the first place.
The Fifth Watcher does make some valuable points that need to be considered here. Heck if Jesus existed maybe he was like the first Criss Angel or something. In conclusion I don't think that it matters if Jesus really existed or not, his damn book has plagued the earth and lasted two thousand years already. I think that qualifies for still being alive in a sense.
If you do not believe that any 'prophet' in the first century did not exist, you will be laughed out of a room by experts and scholars in this field.
As James Dunn said, the historical and Biblical Jesus are not two different beings, but rather we need to find the link between the two...
Also, Will Durant and N.T Wright both believe the best explanation for the rise of Christianity was Jesus; a Jesus that died and rose again...