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What evidence is there, that a historical Jesus really existed?

I've heard atheists even assume that Jesus was a real person, but how do we know this? Is there any evidence that he really existed?


Asked by mommy2myles at 10:45 PM on Mar. 26, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 9 (370 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (45)
  • It's important. It's an important question, because many of the people who follow Jesus- real or not- try to make public policy based on the teachings of him. If we must bring Santa back in, imagine if people tried to make laws based on Santa. Better not cry. Better not pout.

    It's important because as a human race, believing in something that isn't real, and shaping the lives of ourselves and others is a failure to progress, to grow. There is a lack of critical thinking in religion. In fact, it's BASED on a lack of critical thinking. "The bible is true, I know this because it says so right there in the bible." This is not critical thinking.

    Answer by Saya at 11:05 AM on Mar. 27, 2011

  • I'm a former Christian--now practice Buddhism, and I'm not sure if Jesus literally existed. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt that he lived, but I have read some things that make me doubt if he ever existed. I tend to think it was a combination of god-men savior myths combined with some sayings of one or more teachers/philosophers of the time. Maybe one of them was named Jesus--maybe not. Buddhists typically question everything, and won't believe something to be true unless it holds up to experience and reason. I apply this same perspective if I read anything about Jesus. If he says we should 'love our neighbors and our enemies', I think that is sound advice, compassionate, stands up to reason, and is generally good for all people, so yes, I agree--this is a true teaching IMO. It matters very little to me in my personal life whether he lived or he is just a myth--other than general curiosity and religious study.

    Answer by pam19 at 11:50 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • I'm not sure if there's absolute, undeniable proof. For me, it doesn't even matter. Whether or not a real person named Jesus (Or Yeshua/Joshua) actually existed is beyond the point, IMO, since the message attributed to him - the message of love and compassion - is something that is of such value to mankind, whether one believes it in a religious or nonreligious sense (as in the value of those virtues, not the religiosity of Jesus or his story). I know I'm not a typical Christian, and I know many would have to insist that he actually lived so he could have actually died for our sins - I reject that, but I do understand it. For me, regardless, I believe because of my own experience, study, convictions, etc. Its not *just* because Jesus may have existed. Even if he didn't, I still feel I have found a connection with God/the Divine, I would still value those virtues and the message attributed to him. Wouldn't change much, for me..

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 10:53 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • Well you sound very belittling towards others. Can't help it, when people act bitter towards others my reasoning goes to they have been hurt. Otherwise other people's belief in God wouldn't be threatening to you. I mean I could understand if someone was on here demanding you believe in their God or called you an evil devil-worshipper (And we've had it happen in the past) but that wasn't the case. You're out attacking their beliefs which is just as bad as when they attack ours. But not only are you attacking theirs but anyone who even gives possibility to the idea that Jesus was a real person regardless of his divinity. Why does it matter so much to you if he existed or not? It won't prove anything one way or the other because it is the message that was important, not the man.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 1:51 AM on Mar. 27, 2011

  • And teh problem then lies where? Because you don't believe Jesus existed? Okay so what. Ask people if they think Robin Hood really existed or not and you'll get varying answers. the existence of the person is not the point. It is the legacy they left behind whether they were real or ficticious.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:07 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • You're missing the point still, no surprise since you are restricting yourself to a matter of who god is, not what god is or why he is believed in! For thinking critically you certainly do not do enough of it! The beliefs of others is not your concern unless they attempt to infringe on yours. Your concern is the ability to explain and critically think about your own beliefs. I have a feeling you are still uncertain about them or that your so called atheism is due to some deep hurt which is why you lash out.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:14 AM on Mar. 27, 2011

  • Dont' take it personally hun. I've been told I wasn't a "true" atheist because I dont' go out of my way to blast Christians and I called another atheist that does an attention whore. I am not arguing that what is "real" is not important, I am stating that the issue of whether or not God is real is Irrelevant. It does not matter because it does not affect how you live your life, or at least it shouldn't. And how Jesus ties into that I don't know unless you're from a previous Trinitarian denomination of Christianity. The issue of whether or not there was a historical Jesus is irrelevant. The importance is that of what Jesus stood for.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:34 AM on Mar. 27, 2011

    No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings.

    Answer by IhartU at 10:14 AM on Mar. 27, 2011

  • I don't have time to read all of that bullshit... so, here's my opinion- as an Atheist.

    Did jesus exist as a carbon based life form? Meh, sure... It really isn't important. The only "Proof" is from a text that does actually contain minuscule bits of historical fact along with it's fiction, it's subjective at best.
    It really doesn't matter whether or not he existed, if he did he was a pretty cool dude who we could all learn a few lessons from... At best, he was a philosopher and a con artist, he certainly wasn't a divine being in the flesh.
    Legend/myth will always be more important than fact in the minds of those who have faith, it isn't worth any more of my time than it is arguing the existence of the tooth fairy- Even though when you wake up in the morning there is "Evidence" of his existence.
    Its all subjective, and I can't prove he didn't exist. I only have opinions based on factual evidence, there is none here.

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 1:57 PM on Mar. 27, 2011

  • Are they Assuming for sake of the argument (as in making a bigger point) or because they actually believe in the possibility. Most cases you'll find it's for sake of argument so even you are missing the big picture by focusing too much on a minor detail!

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 10:50 PM on Mar. 26, 2011