Whether Jesus existed or not has become more than a merely interesting or purely conjectural topic.
In his most recent talks on the subject Richard Carrier discusses how most of us skeptics, himself included, who may have discarded any consideration of truth to the Bible stories of Jesus like his miracles and such, at least assumed he was a real guy who lived and preached in Galilee for few years and was eventually crucified by the Romans like tens of thousands of others during the age of the Roman Empire.
That kernel of truth that Jesus was a real guy who was the subject of later embellished often outlandish myths was the standard, default, consensus view thought probably true and largely unquestioned.
Check out either (or both) of these excellent talks by Richard Carrier:
“On the Historicity of Jesus”.
“Did Jesus even exist?”.
These videos are recent updates to Carriers views that I first wrote about nearly a year ago on my blog from 12/27/13 “HE at least existed, didnt HE?”.
You will get the other side of the argument in that blogpost as well from the NT scholar and author:
Ehrman, though skeptical of most claims about JC’s life and deeds, believes JC was a real historical figure, who certainly existed although we can’t believe much about what he really did and said.
What’s “scary” to me is that the idea of JC himself being nothing but a myth has gone from plausible conjecture to a rather likely if not highly likely occurrence.
Like fucking wow.
For centuries (millennia) skeptics and believers alike have assumed whatever mythic parts of the stories about Jesus in the Gospels are untrue as precisely manufactured fictions, often well crafted literary pieces of persuasion, though largely fictive HE certainly existed. JC was an apocalyptic prophet who walked the earth and preached for a time as so many did in Biblical times past. This remains Ehrman’s view: HE was real, HE existed despite whole stories echoing OT occurrences and prophesies being concocted about HIM and many of them contradictory and hopelessly imaginative, the guy was a real guy and conducted a brief ministry typical of so many others.
But the fact that it may be more than plausible now that the whole damn thing, including JC himself is nothing but made-up fiction, pure and total myth…
You mean all those people died, were tortured and/or converted by the sword, guilt tripped, shamed, hounded into suicide, degraded, made to have umpteen children, sexually repressed, tithed, married off to church leaders, raped by priests, dehumanized, ghettoed and nearly genocided out of existence, crusaded, bullshitted, threatened with eternal damnation, made into second class citizens, burned at the stake, beheaded, condemned to eternal fire… millions of lives ended or ruined for nearly 2 millennia… ALL over a phony story, a fucking myth???
Like we as a species killed all those folks over Osiris, or goddam Zeus? Are you fucking kidding me?
At least when you read of the insane shit people believe when indoctrinated into Mormonism or Scientology you know at bottom Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard were real people:
Inveterate conmen to be sure, but they were REAL.
But JC, it is quite probable now NEVER even existed?
Check out Richard Carriers more detailed arguments in his current videos linked above and Bart Ehrman’s alternative but minimal historical view of Jesus for yourself.
Information Kills Religion…better and quicker than I thought!