Before I begin with the Debate topic... let's set some ground rules:

Mods! Please correct anyone who engages in these things! Thanks a bunch! ^_^

1. Theists are welcome to participate, with one important rule - NO PROSTHELYTIZING!!! - In other words... this debate is to strictly be a debate on the historicity of Jesus as a man, ONLY!! DO NOT use this forum to push your ideas of Jesus as the "son of god" or "god himself" ... please leave that to another debate!

2. BE POLITE!! NO TROLLS ALLOWED!! [Atheist trolls are not allowed as well!]

3. Please be respectful when providing a dissenting opinion to another individual.


Thank you!


Alright... here's the topic.


For many years the historicity of Jesus as a man has remained virtually undisputed among historians. However, I have noticed in recent years a rising number of historians [admittedly still a minority] who have expressed doubt that Jesus ever existed at all.


What do you all think?


[P.S. If you can... please provide evidence and sources for your opinions].

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Thank you Nelson. I was probably just overly concerned about the potential of the controversial nature of the topic to cause flame wars. Sorry.
I don't have a source or evidence...I just think that its 100 percent possible that there was a human profit named Jesus.

Just like Mohammad or Buddha.

we can agree that they were around, we just don't agree that they where right.
When you refer to the "Zeitgiest documentary" are you talking about The God Who Wasn't There?
No Sky, he's talking about the movie titled Zeitgeist. It's been thoroughly eviscerated as pseudo-intelligent nonsense.
If he existed the question is;what did the man get ATTENTION for? I think he might have been a politician or
something..what makes alot of sense to me when i think about this is that jesus probably existed and was a great moralist,a public a said a politician or something like that..maybe like martin luther king..
the fact that we base 21th century on the time of jesus tells us something in a way that something happen i
think..personally i accept evidence for jesus and evolution equally.people want desperately him to be the son of they can get into this theme park which is absurd of course.but overall i think he actually existed,but in a way that just tells me that he was just a regular guy lol.
"personally i accept evidence for jesus and evolution equally"


I'm not sure what you mean Svendsen. Evolution is a fact with lots of proof but I have yet to see any credible evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, there were dozens of messiahs at the same time. Haven't you ever seen the Life of Brian? One of the best historical movies ever made!
I've written two books on the subject and I'm absolutely convinced that "Jesus" never existed.

I've got some articles up on my website that go over much of the information:

After I finish a few economic articles for my website I'll be writing a new article on the origins of Christianity as well.

Basically, my view is that a Jewish Jesus cult originated with the belief in a heavenly messiah, who would come to destroy the world. This grew out of the more traditional view that the messiah would be a human ruler who would reign over a new era and create a Jewish kingdom, during which time this ruler would bring peace and justice to earth.

But this "Jesus cult" grew from the idea that the material world was unsavable, and that the messiah would be a heavenly messiah who would destroy the world to create a new perfect world. This all comes from a mixing of Platonic philosophy with Judaism, etc.

This cult was basically inconsequential and unimportant. Some guy named Paul came along and he proselytized to non-Jews, which the others in the cult, James, John, and Peter, being the leaders, disagreed with. Still it was small and unimportant.

What happened, however, was that after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE someone who was a follower of the Pauline sect wrote an allegorical fictional story about the destruction of Jerusalem, using the Jesus messiah as the main character. This is the work that we now know as the Gospel of Mark.

We know that the Gospel of Mark is pure fiction because virtually every scene is a literary allusion to the "Old Testament" scripture, specifically the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures. What Christians interpreted as "prophesy fulfillment" was actually literary allusion.

It is only after this story was written than the "religion" became popularized because the story itself was popular, and indeed many people, perhaps most people, believed that this story was a true story. Every single account of the life of Jesus stems from this one original story.

All of the other Gospels, even the non-canonical ones, stem from this one original story. There was no Q, what is called Q was an expanded version of the story, which is what the writers of Matthew and Luke used.

That's just the basics, but the details and all of the supporting research, etc is in the links...
The Essenes fit your Jewish Jesus Cult ideal. They had given up material possessions, were waiting for the Messiah, thought that the world would end... Are you suggesting that Christianity was born out of the Jewish Essenes? If not them, then who is this cult? You would certainly need to be able to point to a credible source that is historically verifiable. The position that Jesus didn't exist because of records problems can't be corrected with suggesting a unknown, non-historical, group started the Christian tradition. That's like the first cause question... why are we instituting a new source? So whom was this cult?

The Gospel of Q didn't exist, but there was an expanded version of the story. I'm confused. The Gospel of Q is Theoretical so why are you opposed to the Gospel of Q Document while proposing something else that is the same, only longer, when we don't have the original source?
I read your solution to the Synoptic Problem on your website that obviates Q, but it suffers from some serious flaws:

The material that Matthew and Luke have in common that is not found in Mark is almost entirely isolated quotes of Jesus. These quotes frequently appear in totally different contexts in these 2 Gospels, sometimes mixed up with unrelated material. The arrangement of this material within the 2 Gospels is also very different, with Matthew having grouped his into blocks whereas Luke having scattered his throughout his Gospel in no apparent order.

It is for this reason that Q, a document almost entirely lacking narrative structure, was posited. If it didn't exist, then one would have to suppose that either Matthew or Luke ripped his quotes from the common source out of context, for no apparent reason, while at the same time leaving alone the material that just happens to be found in our Gospel of Mark. If that were plausible, it would be simpler to just believe that Luke copied Matthew or vice versa.

Also, there is the Gospel of Thomas, which has the structure that was theorized for Q and also shares much of its content.

In short, your solution to the Synoptic Problem needs a lot of work to be competitive with the theory of Q.
There are theists here?! I know atheists try to reason on religious forums, but I doubt close-minded theists are rampant on "blasphemous" contents such as this site provides. But I suppose they will try to convert us back.

Anyway, as for the existence of a "Jesus" at all, I have no sufficient research on that, whether he was a real person or not, or if one would veer on the probability that he's real, then he'd just be a person of normal stature, preaching things about god and even proclaiming himself a god.

There are documentaries, however, such as, "The god that wasn't there" that provides rebuttals against the real existence of a real Christ.

Let me add: That article posted by RationalEvolution is a good read too. I'll take my time on it though it appears to be quite lengthy.
Actually, yes... there are theists on this website. They are kind of few and far between and many of the ones that are here are either evangelicals or crazy, but I have seen a couple of ones with a good head on their shoulders.
Here's a list of Think Atheist Members that have declared their religious status as "Christian" If you are interested in talking to them. I would highly like it if they would join this discussion. They probably have some awesome insight to give this forum.


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