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Old 02-22-2017, 12:00 AM   #1
DontBeThatGuy
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Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

I have never been a very religious person, but for most of my life I have been under the impression that Jesus Christ was someone who definitely existed and that only the details of his life were disputed. Such as, was he actually born of a virgin, could he really heal the sick, did he really die and then resurrect three days later, etc. But for sure, I thought, there was definitely a person named Jesus Christ whom the stories were based on, exaggerated or not.

I have recently become more interested in religion and have spent some time researching the topic. The reason for my interest is a desire to understand why so many people have such strong convictions about their faith.

As I began researching, and continue to research, about Christianity and Jesus Christ specifically, I have been unable to find any evidence supporting the existence of Jesus Christ.

So my question, is there any?
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:56 AM   #2
Aaron W.
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

Short answer, yes. There's tons of it. Unless you've defined "evidence" to be a very specific collection of things that is so narrow as to preclude the existence of most people in antiquity. In which case, no.

Since you've done some research, can you be more specific about what it is you've looked at?
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:27 PM   #3
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Originally Posted by DontBeThatGuy View Post
I have never been a very religious person, but for most of my life I have been under the impression that Jesus Christ was someone who definitely existed and that only the details of his life were disputed. Such as, was he actually born of a virgin, could he really heal the sick, did he really die and then resurrect three days later, etc. But for sure, I thought, there was definitely a person named Jesus Christ whom the stories were based on, exaggerated or not.

I have recently become more interested in religion and have spent some time researching the topic. The reason for my interest is a desire to understand why so many people have such strong convictions about their faith.

As I began researching, and continue to research, about Christianity and Jesus Christ specifically, I have been unable to find any evidence supporting the existence of Jesus Christ.

So my question, is there any?
There are books and letters written within a few decades of Jesus' death about him. That isn't evidence?
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

There is reasonably good evidence that a Jewish peasant that Christians call Jesus existed sometime in the 1st Century. Details and particulars can be in dispute on original intent(s) and goals of this person and the founding and growth of the religion that grew up around him. But His existence is almost as firmly established as that of say, St. Paul (or Saul). I say "almost" because we know of writings by St. Paul. As far as we know, Jesus never wrote anything.
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:45 PM   #5
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontBeThatGuy View Post
I have never been a very religious person, but for most of my life I have been under the impression that Jesus Christ was someone who definitely existed and that only the details of his life were disputed. Such as, was he actually born of a virgin, could he really heal the sick, did he really die and then resurrect three days later, etc. But for sure, I thought, there was definitely a person named Jesus Christ whom the stories were based on, exaggerated or not.

I have recently become more interested in religion and have spent some time researching the topic. The reason for my interest is a desire to understand why so many people have such strong convictions about their faith.

As I began researching, and continue to research, about Christianity and Jesus Christ specifically, I have been unable to find any evidence supporting the existence of Jesus Christ.

So my question, is there any?
Which is more likely:

Jesus existed and could perform miracles.

Jesus didn't exist but someone else, never written about, lived during that time and could perform miracles.
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:44 AM   #6
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

most scholars believe the stories about Jesus are based on a person who lived

Richard Carrier has a book on the "mythical Jesus" theory, which imo is at least plausible

his bayesian analysis is questionable but he ends up with something like 25% that there was a historical Jesus

if you don't want to read On the Historicity of Jesus you can find talks he's given on youtube presenting the basic arguments

it's pretty interesting stuff, but ultimately I don't think it matters if he lived or not
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:57 AM   #7
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
Which is more likely:

Jesus existed and could perform miracles.

Jesus didn't exist but someone else, never written about, lived during that time and could perform miracles.
They are equally likely, 0.00%.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:32 AM   #8
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

An important caveat is that miracles (Unexplained phenomena or suspension of known physical laws) is defined as those that would convince a first century person. As reported in written texts of that era.

The possibility that Jesus was a space alien is not zero (however small that number may be), and/or that he could convince others that he had unexplainable powers that would be attributed to a supernatural being. Whether that was something he intended to do or not is unknown and complete speculation. However, Charismatic persons, and it is probable Jesus was such a person, easily have powers attributed to them by ignorant or credulous people. And there are numerous people of this type, in the past and even currently.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:39 AM   #9
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
Which is more likely:

Jesus existed and could perform miracles.

Jesus didn't exist but someone else, never written about, lived during that time and could perform miracles.
I'll bite. Is this a trick question? Just tell us your point.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:44 AM   #10
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

About the same evidence as the existence of Buddha Moses or even Muhammad ....

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Old 02-23-2017, 01:53 AM   #11
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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About the same evidence as the existence of Buddha Moses or even Muhammad ....

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I disagree. The evidence for Muhammed is much more firmly established than that for Jesus. Buddha also. There are good reasons to suspect that Moses is a mythical character, much more so than Jesus, Buddha or Muhammed.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:24 AM   #12
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Originally Posted by AngerPush View Post
I'll bite. Is this a trick question? Just tell us your point.
Whether Jesus existed is barely correlated to the question of whether there is a personal God who, with or without the help of a human, sometimes does things that break the laws of physics. That's the real question. And the answer to the Jesus existence question will do very little to help you answer the first one.
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:27 AM   #13
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Originally Posted by DontBeThatGuy View Post
They are equally likely, 0.00%.
And the way you've structured your understanding of evidence to reach this conclusion is... ?
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:03 PM   #14
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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I disagree. The evidence for Muhammed is much more firmly established than that for Jesus. Buddha also. There are good reasons to suspect that Moses is a mythical character, much more so than Jesus, Buddha or Muhammed.
Well Muhammad was supposed to be born over 600 years later than Jesus so there should be better records of him than Jesus. But this guy, for one, doesn't think so:

https://jamesbishopblog.com/2015/05/...ce-comparison/

Anyway I willing to accept that all these people or someone like them existed.
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Old 02-23-2017, 10:44 PM   #15
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Originally Posted by DontBeThatGuy View Post
They are equally likely, 0.00%.
And this is exactly why people shouldn't respond to your question with real answers. You aren't interested in answers. You're only interested in picking fights with believers. Your mind is already made up and you decided to make this thread to score brownie points with your atheist buddies. It's sad, really.
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Old 02-24-2017, 05:10 AM   #16
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

what are the odds that a miracle has ever happened and what is a miracle?
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Old 02-24-2017, 01:35 PM   #17
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."
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Old 02-24-2017, 03:47 PM   #18
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."
Feynman was an atheist

The following excerpt is from an interview with Feynman in The Voice of Genius: Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries:

Q: Do you call yourself an agnostic or an atheist?

Feynman: An atheist. Agnostic for me would be trying to weasel out and sound a little nicer than I am about this.

Q: But I thought a scientist couldn't call himself an atheist, because that's like saying "There is no God," and you can't prove a negative.

Feyman: I don't have to prove it. I only say: "Look, I don't know that there is a God; I just don't think there is one."

Q: That makes you an agnostic.

Feynman: No, no, no, no, no.

Q: According to the dictionary (Webster's New World): an agnostic is "a person who thinks it is impossible to know whether there is a God or a future life, or anything beyond material phenomena."

Feynman: That's too refined. There's always an edge. What I mean is this: the probability that the theory of God, the ordinary theory, is right, to my mind is extremely low. That's all. That's the way I look at it.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:31 PM   #19
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Feynman was an atheist

The following excerpt is from an interview with Feynman in The Voice of Genius: Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries:

Q: Do you call yourself an agnostic or an atheist?

Feynman: An atheist. Agnostic for me would be trying to weasel out and sound a little nicer than I am about this.

Q: But I thought a scientist couldn't call himself an atheist, because that's like saying "There is no God," and you can't prove a negative.

Feyman: I don't have to prove it. I only say: "Look, I don't know that there is a God; I just don't think there is one."

Q: That makes you an agnostic.

Feynman: No, no, no, no, no.

Q: According to the dictionary (Webster's New World): an agnostic is "a person who thinks it is impossible to know whether there is a God or a future life, or anything beyond material phenomena."

Feynman: That's too refined. There's always an edge. What I mean is this: the probability that the theory of God, the ordinary theory, is right, to my mind is extremely low. That's all. That's the way I look at it.
How is what he said not unbelievably obvious to almost everyone? Guess the comfort a specific religion gives some people is powerful enough to turn their brains into chopped liver.
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:03 PM   #20
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

Yes, there is evidence. You have historical accounts a while after his death and of course you have the biblical accounts.

It's (as far as historic evidence goes) not rock solid, but believing Jesus existed is a reasonable enough. The evidence of fantastic claims and miracles is not stronger than for many other myths and religions that I suspect most Christians would reject. In other words that aspect of believing in Jesus is still a big leap of faith.
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:28 AM   #21
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Guess the comfort a specific religion gives some people is powerful enough to turn their brains into chopped liver.
Was Isaac Newton's mind chopped liver? As a gambler, how do you always win Pascal's wager?
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Old 02-26-2017, 04:04 AM   #22
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

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Was Isaac Newton's mind chopped liver? As a gambler, how do you always win Pascal's wager?
Which of the thousands of gods should you believe in to always win?

Would this/these god(s) not be capable of distinguishing between true belief and belief based on some type of expected value calculation?
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:17 AM   #23
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

I read a pretty convincing argument for a historical Jesus that, for reasons which will become apparent, you will not hear from Christian scholars. The argument requires only the contents of the Gospels plus logic.

Luke and Matthew both contain a ludicrous story of how Jesus, even though he was referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth", was born in Bethlehem. The goal is to validate the supposed prophecy in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (that Micah 5:2 prophesies this in the first place is dubious in the extreme, but that's another story). So the argument runs: how did this idea that Jesus was "Jesus of Nazareth" arise? If the earthly Jesus was a story fabricated by early Christians, wouldn't Jesus just have been "Jesus of Bethlehem" in the first place? There is no reason why Nazareth would be mentioned as Jesus' home town, it was a tiny village not appearing in the OT. Plainly the Gospel writers had to work from an existing story that was at times inconvenient. There are many other examples of them doing their best to work around incongruous facts.

Like I said, you won't hear this argument from Christians, because it requires acknowledging that the Gospel writers (or whoever they're cribbing from) were perfectly willing to just make **** up if things weren't Messiah-ish enough as they stood.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:40 AM   #24
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

This kind of pure motivation guessing (called contextual analysis, historical analysis, and various other names to give wild motivation-guessing a whiff of authority) is hugely overplayed, imo. The truth is we know very little

Yes, the people (person?) who wrote the bible probably took some of it from an oral history. That's what cult leaders tend to do, takes bit and pieces from existing cultural tales and heros and religions. Was that history real? Who knows. Lots of things are passed down as folklore that aren't real, particularly as relates to messiahs. There's a pretty convincing argument the New Testament is a clever fraud form the way it's constructed.
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:36 AM   #25
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Re: Is there any evidence that Jesus Christ existed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisV View Post
I read a pretty convincing argument for a historical Jesus that, for reasons which will become apparent, you will not hear from Christian scholars. The argument requires only the contents of the Gospels plus logic.

Luke and Matthew both contain a ludicrous story of how Jesus, even though he was referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth", was born in Bethlehem. The goal is to validate the supposed prophecy in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (that Micah 5:2 prophesies this in the first place is dubious in the extreme, but that's another story). So the argument runs: how did this idea that Jesus was "Jesus of Nazareth" arise? If the earthly Jesus was a story fabricated by early Christians, wouldn't Jesus just have been "Jesus of Bethlehem" in the first place? There is no reason why Nazareth would be mentioned as Jesus' home town, it was a tiny village not appearing in the OT. Plainly the Gospel writers had to work from an existing story that was at times inconvenient. There are many other examples of them doing their best to work around incongruous facts.

Like I said, you won't hear this argument from Christians, because it requires acknowledging that the Gospel writers (or whoever they're cribbing from) were perfectly willing to just make **** up if things weren't Messiah-ish enough as they stood.
The Gospel of Matthew (2nd or 3rd chapter) clearly states that Jesus was taken to Egypt in a prophetic anticipation of the killing of all 2 year olds by Herod.

Upon return his family went into Galilee and thereupon he became known as a Nazarene, or Jesus of Nazareth.

There are some interssting imoressions of the whole matter as there were two known Jewish sects known as Essene's and the Nazarene's. John the Baptist was a Nazarene but there is some question as to he was a total member, so to speak.

The two sects approached matters esoterically and Jesus of Nazareth, in his early days, communicated with the Nazarene's but was not a member of the cult (said in its best sense) . They witnessed his depth of his comprehension and he spoke to and supped with the geniuses of the sect.

There was another sect known as the Therapeutae, in ancient Egypt, I believe that they were similar in nature. All the sects had a stand of communal living and extreme devotional appreciation of Judaism and cosmic origins .

In any case, either city or geographical center but consider the origin of the word from the esoteric society called the Nazarene's.

Bye the bye, no records will be found, and if so, only obliquely of Jesus of Nazareth . Although not appatrent to historical scholarship the Gospel of John was written to a witness to the events of that time for this gospel was written by the "risen Lazarus" whom is referred to as John but not the son of Zebedee.

Lazarus was the first Christian initiate , initiated by Christ Jesus and is the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, the Revelation of John, and the John Gospel.

The Gutenberg Bible was first printed in the 15th century and to expect written records to come to one because everyone writes a book now is a faulty thought. Sorry, things are just not as easy or facile as one would like.
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