Did Jesus really exist?


The frequent readers of this site know I lean towards the mythicists position.

Since we are feeling lazy, Sunday and all, this post should be a good read.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

43 thoughts on “Did Jesus really exist?

  1. Gotta say, though I find nothing odd about a Jewish preacher named Jesus being executed by the Romans, I’m leaning more and more toward the mythicists’ view point. I don’t think there’s anything remotely true about this deity. He’s the same as Osiris, Thor, Hercules, and Loki, a myth. I don’t see why this is such a heated issue with some. It is not remotely hard to believe that people, Paul and others, made this story up and it was embellished and built on over the centuries. This, to me, is the most likely scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      I think it is the most reasonable position to take. Any other is just an emotional stand similar to the one John argues against in his book. Why think the creator is good?
      The whole book, bible that is, is a combination of myth and a bit of embellished history

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right. What gets me, though, are the heated arguments between atheists over this issue. Carrier v Ehrman’s pov’s, for example. I find it a waste of energy and very odd.

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        • makagutu says:

          What I find disturbing is the historicists don’t tell you where they draw line. Was he born of a virgin? Did he walk on water? If he didn’t do any of these, how could they claim Jesus of the bible existed? Isn’t their claim about a person they have created?

          Liked by 2 people

          • People like Bart Erhman say a Jewish, apocalyptic preacher, a total human, lived and was killed by the Romans for insurrection against the Empire. Then, this dudes followers began to embellish his story and add “godly” attributes to him. None of which ever happened. A man was made into a god. He never was one. This, I find believable. BUT, why do you need the “man” at all? You don’t. Since the important element to christians is that he was man AND god, which is nonsense, I think the whole thing is made up, and a real guy who this is built on is unnecessary. I just don’t get the fight over this. It’s meaningless. The “god” is not real. If a real man once existed, so what? The “god” is so far removed from him, if he lived, that it is irrelevant.

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          • makagutu says:

            Well said.
            The man is irrelevant

            Liked by 1 person

          • I also wonder, what evidence is there that some regular ole’ dude named Jesus lived back then? I mean take away the hocus pocus magic of the Bible, and do you have left? Nothing that you couldn’t say about 200 other Jewish apocalyptic preachers of the day.

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          • makagutu says:

            What evidence? Mark said and then Mathew said Mark said and so the story goes

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      • Swarn Gill says:

        I tend to support the “it’s irrelevant” position in terms of whether he was real. I guess as a non-evidenced, but non-emotional argument in favor of Jesus actually existing is just simply how over time we tend to raise people up to a level of perfection or ability that they never actually possessed. As an example Gandhi who we know existed and is an inspirational figure to many, has long since passed and there are now many homes with a small picture of him and pray to him. They have personified his spirit and it lives on. Now imagine a group of people coming who honor this man, and over a couple hundred years what status might he obtain? Perhaps not divine yet, but if some power hungry politicians gets wind of these people who live by a philosophy set forth by this man, or what they now believe was set forth by this man, they could choose to exploit it and build a religion fairly quickly. I had a vision…Gandhi came to me in a dream…he walks still and he wants us to do xyz…and then over time you can fill even more mythical things about him. This is harder to do now of course given we have so many records. Back then though…it would be easy…a well traveled rich politician who has heard many religious stories from older texts because he is on of the few literate people can fool people pretty easily. I guess in general it seems easier to build a myth based on a real person that a number of people revere and exaggerate his qualities, over inventing a complete fiction.

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        • makagutu says:

          You don’t need to have a real person to build a myth.
          Was Helen of Troy a person of flesh and blood? Movies have been produced in her name.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            I’m not saying you need one…I’m only saying that we elevate our heroes to mythical legend status all on our own. Maybe the better question is do we do this because we have invented legends or is it simply in our nature to do so?

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  2. Peter says:

    It is indeed interesting that so many Christians accept without question the evidence for Jesus whilst at the same time rejecting with derision the claim of the Golden Plates seen by Joseph Smith.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Golden Plates? Now THOSE are real. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        I mean those plates are real. There are witnesses, we know their names and they appended their signatures. The bible authors are anonymous

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was being factious. Those plates are as real as the UFO that picks me up and flies me around the galaxy every night. 🙂

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          • makagutu says:

            I know. But if you think about it, he has more going for him than the bible

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          • Right. But my UFO IS real! So, there!

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          • makagutu says:

            Do you have photographs or signatures? That’s the bare minimum

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          • Of course not. You must believe on mere faith alone. Remember, as long as your faith is the right faith, my faith, then faith is a great attribute for you to have.

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          • makagutu says:

            Can you please send me some faith, the right kind, so I can believe

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          • It’s coming via holy spirit express. Should be there by Tuesday.

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          • makagutu says:

            I will confirm receipt

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          • Peter says:

            The following scene from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy came to mind:

            FORD PREFECT:
            Unfortunately I got stuck on the Earth for rather longer than I intended. I came for a week and was stranded for fifteen years.

            ARTHUR DENT:
            But how did you get there in the first place?!

            FORD PREFECT:
            Oh easy! I got a lift with a Teaser. You don’t know what a Teaser is, I – I’ll tell you. Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around looking for planets which haven’t made interstellar contact yet and buzz them.

            ARTHUR DENT:
            Ah. “Buzz them”?

            FORD PREFECT:
            Yeah. They find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul, who no one’s ever going to believe, and then strut up and down in front of ‘em wearing silly antennae on their head and making “beep, beep” noises. Huh, rather childish really.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Peter says:

          Furthermore the witnesses stood by their testimony even after an acrimonious falling out with Mr Smith.

          I have pointed this out to some Christians but they have failed to respond.

          Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            What would you expect from them Peter?

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          • Peter says:

            Mak, many Christians delude themselves into thinking that the Bible was delivered as it is straight from heaven. This provides them with the capacity to accept unquestioningly whatever is recorded in the Bible.

            However even a cursory examination of the history of the texts which now make up the Bible will show that the ‘delivered straight from heaven’ view is untenable. But many of these folk fail to look at the evidence and I suspect they deliberately fail to look as in their heart they fear what they mind find if they do start to examine the evidence.

            Further the Bible makes belief without evidence out to be a virtue (except when it comes to other religions – of course).

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          • makagutu says:

            If the bible had to come from heaven, what does it do to the claim of omnipresence? Where is heaven placed in relation to everything else?

            The people who came up with the story new how to hoodwink the rest

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    • makagutu says:

      Those plates are not in the bible. They have nothing going for them, signatures be damned

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  3. Cara says:

    Was Jesus real? Well let’s say that a woman named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, became pregnant with the child of a deity & gave birth in a manger. And let’s say she and Joseph raised that child (and Joseph was a really great guy, raising a kid that wasn’t his). Mary and Joseph lived as man and wife, right…sharing a bed. Wouldn’t it have only been natural that Mary bore children for Joseph? And yet there’s no mention of any siblings of Jesus.

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  4. Any answer to the question of Jesus’s existence is speculative at best. Suppose he didn’t really exist; how then did Christianity get its start? Even based on the less controversially accepted writings in the NT, you still had many different apostles coming out of Judea to preach this message. Did they conspire beforehand to get their story straight? What was the motivation for doing so beyond creating a religion?

    That Jesus existed and had followers is the simplest explanation. Another simple explanation is that these followers would magnify their teacher’s accomplishments over time. By the time everything is important enough to write down, there’s tales of walking on water and coming back from the dead. It would follow what we know about memory and the retelling of stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do have a question: what is “this message”? The message of helping the weak, or the message of leaving your parents behind, or the message of bringing a sword. This lack of coherence of message is one of the reasons I think the story is myth, with such a tiny possible kernel of a real guy that there is no relevant central figure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not suggesting there was one original ubiquitous message; I am suggesting that those who spread their teachings picked the same name for it. That’s really the extent of what anyone can say about Jesus’s contribution to the church.

        Everything else about Christianity doesn’t depend on Jesus being real.

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        • I understand now. I would disagree that since people chose to use the same term that means that there was one man behind it. There can be an assumption of one man, but that doesn’t give much evidence that this one man actually existed.

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      • makagutu says:

        the message is believe in me or burn in hell

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    • makagutu says:

      For hundreds, if not thousands of years, the Greeks believed Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus. Was it necessary for Helen to exist for the story to hold for many years? I doubt it.
      The bible being an anthology, why should this be different? Each person building on the story before and adding their own, making it grander as they go along.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Barry says:

    As one of a liberal religious bent, I think it’s reasonable to assume that a person holding radical unorthodox social views became of sufficient concern to the authorities (Roman, Jewish, or both) that they felt necessary to remove the perceived threat.

    I have no doubt that Jesus and his followers believed in the supernatural (as probably everyone at that time did), and it seems natural that over time supernatural attributes were assigned to Jesus. I suspect some of the supernatural events were added originally to give more effect to the story telling (probably oral in the first generation or two), in much the same way that cinematographers do today by way of theme music, lighting and other effects, and altering facts to make a story more “meaningful” to present day audiences.

    I don’t have an issue with such “enhancements” as long as they are clearly understood to be so. Unfortunately a great many Christians, particularly fundamentalists, have decided to accept them as facts.

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    • makagutu says:

      Hello Barry, how is everything in NZ?
      I saw the majority opted to retain the flag.
      Well, I have no problem with anyone who treats the whole story as myth with embellishments along the way, but to want others to believe it, at the risk of neck and limb, as fact, that I have issues with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barry says:

        The flag status quo was a forgone conclusion. While it’s clear that the majority want a new flag, there’s no consensus as to what it should be. You’d be surprised how many voted to keep the current flag simply because the flag proposal was a pet project of the Prime Minister – a case of dislike the man, dislike his proposals irrespective of the merits. A pity.

        I think I’m fortunate that I live where the concept of supernatural punishment for “wrong” beliefs is not widely held. I dare say Bible literalists are horrified by the concept, but the fact is that the majority of Kiwis view all major religions as well as atheism in equally equally favourable terms.

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