Hello Fellow Atheists: So here's a question. It's been bothering me for some time now and I just want to get your perspectives. When I first became a believer I was handed the book "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. I read it and at the time it made sense to me. I didn't question it much at the time. Now that I am an Atheist I'm curious what others think about it. There are only three options given in this book. Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the true son of God. Of course I know some of you believe that he never existed at all, (I do not). So I want to explore this further. 

Which is it? 

Or

Is it none of the above?

Why? (back yourself up with evidence)...

I hope this discussion can be educational in nature for those of us who are still learning. Thanks!

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Belle, a simple game of "Telephone," also known as "Chinese Whispers," utilizing about 20 players, will teach you all you need to know about the reliability of oral tradition.

And it becomes a little different with every telling --

There is a fair review of the book here.

I must start by saying that as am writing this comment am too lazy to get you all the links to support my claims but I will do so in due course. That out of the way, I think first the options Lee Strobel gives do not capture the whole picture. He needed to have added that he is legend, which is what I think.

Reg has linked a review to Lee Strobel's book that I think you should read. 

In Robert Price' book the christ myth and it's problems he leaves the conclusion open for anyone to make their own.

Thanks, yes it should be Robert Price

It's an interesting subject. As an aside, I have come across atheists who have actually been offended at the idea that Jesus may not have existed. Strange!

If the after the fact contradictory-scribblings have any credibility at all, then at best Jesus was a well meaning hippy, and at worst a deluded lunatic. 

The historicists (people who think the whole mess is actually based on a living human being) tend to think Jesus was a fire-breathing apocalypticist who actually preached that the end was imminent.  (Doesn't sound like a hippie to me.)  You still see more than just traces of it in the gospels, but you also see the theme diminish as you go from Mark (first to be written) through Matthew and Luke (written at about the same time as each other) then finally to John.  You see other aspects of the legend increasing during this progression (i.e., being divine and the literal son of god) but "the world will end before all of you are dead" was becoming embarrassing.  (Which is evidence that him saying that *actually* happened and wasn't part of the bullshit invented later on; no one a century later would have made that shit up because it would have been demonstrably false then.)

So who are these people, Belle, who say he existed, and you can't count Paul, because he admittedly never met him and didn't even enter the picture and take over Christianity until well after the cruci-fiction - emphasis on the fiction.

Who were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Did they write the Gospels named after them? If so, when did they write them? Aren't these questions you should be asking yourself if you want to search for the truth? I could answer those questions for you, but then, you'd only be taking my word for it - look up the answers yourself and come back and tell us what you find - and please, don't anyone else answer them for her, otherwise, how will she learn?

And while you're at it, tell us who "Q" was, and I don't mean they guy who made all of the "wonderful toys" (thank you, Jack Nicholson!) for James Bond.

Imagine yourself in a court of law, attempting to get a judge to render a decision that Yeshua was real. Your opposition, who's attempting to show he wasn't, has stipulated that it's OK to use the eyewitness testimony of witnesses who have been dead for two thousand years, under the "death-bed confession" exclusion, assuming that the witnesses in question believed that if they lied, they'd go to hell, and therefore must have been telling the truth.

BUT - and here's the caveat - you can't use hear-say testimony - if the person didn't see it, he doesn't get to say it. Nothing that wasn't personally witnessed by the storyteller, makes it into the record. Example: virgin birth? Who's telling the story? Did he say he was there? Did he see shepherds in the field and angels singing? Did he meet the three magi? Did he state that he personally examined Mary's hymen to ascertain that it was intact? If not, the story's out, no miraculous virgin birth - next!

Up for the challenge, Belle? If so, investigate these guys and make your case.

Well, it would seem you actually did do at least some research and now know who Q was.

Yes, it is, "only the Gospels we have to contend with here" - the Bible is full of prophecies of a coming Messiah, and the entire Jewish population of the world is still waiting for him. Only the New Testament claims it to have been Yeshua.

And when you remove all of the writings of Paul, who admits to never having met the man, how large a book do you have left?

But "Hebrews," Belle, was written by Timothy, a follower of Paul, who also, like Paul, never met Yeshua, and whose testimony therefore cannot be counted, one mammoth down --

I thought the author of Hebrews was generally considered 'unknown', although dating by intended audience strongly indicates someone who was either 80 years old or who could not possibly have witnessed events - the former being incredibly unlikely.

Clearly, you've declined to accept the challenge, Belle, and have done no research - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are common names today precisely because many parents named their children after biblical characters.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, had you bothered with any research at all, are the English translations of the Greek translations of the Hebrew/Aramaic names, and you have no idea whether they were common in those times or not, as you've done no research. I thought this would be fun and that you'd learn something, but obviously that isn't going to happen.

And the real purpose of asking who were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was to allow you to present the credentials of these four people, and convince us that they really were there, really saw and heard what they say they saw and heard, and how credible they were as witnesses.

But I do understand it's much easier to sit back and watch a YouTube video than to actually do any real research - why think for yourself, when you can get someone on YouTube to do it for you?

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