Let’s do another Blaze poll!


That last poll at the Blaze was such a one-sided stomping — we inverted the results, from 8% pro-atheist to 92% — so let’s do it again.

Did Jesus Christ Really Exist?

Absolutely, but he wasn’t God’s son. 10.17%

Yes, and He was the Son of God. 69.89%

No way. 17.66%

I’m in the middle on this one. 2.3%

We might have a split vote on this one, but the least we can do is smash the currently leading option.


A good suggestion: since The Blaze likes to block particular referrers, go straight to the poll.

Comments

  1. Suido says

    I’m just seeing a blank gap where there should be a poll, which I find odd as the other poll showed up just fine. FWIW I’d be ticking the first option.

    What do you think — did Jesus Christ exist? Take our poll:

    (H/T: CNN Belief Blog)

  2. says

    I love it. Keep these coming PZ. Look at it this way, if we didn’t vote then the tally would not be accurate, after all, how many people that would vote “no way” would frequent The Blaze otherwise?

  3. lexie says

    Were is the ‘I’ve yet to see enough historical evidence to be sure he existed but I find Hitchen’s argument on the ludicrously made to fit nature of the story persuasive so I consider it possible that he did exist but if he did he definitely wasn’t the son of god because your invisible friend doesn’t exist’ button

    I hate when people put silly statements after the yes and no because you inevitably need an other button. I think I shall vote for the first one because it is the closest to my position but am a little worried that that might make it seem like I definitely think he existed or that I think he was a prophet.

  4. tblade says

    I am an atheist and I believe the evidence is strong enough to say that Jesus most likely existed. I would love to wake up one day to find out that someone has proven the Jesus story to be a 100% fabrication, but that looks unlikely.

    As for those who truly doubt Jesus’s existence, I think the strongest statement one can make with full honesty is to say “the evidence is insufficient to assert Jesus’s existence”; to say positively that “Jesus never existed” is unsupportable.

    While I do appreciate Jesus skepticism, I must agree with Bart Ehrman in that most people espousing the “Jesus is only a myth” theory are much like evolution deniers whose beliefs are agenda-driven rather than evidence-driven. I have to throw my hat in with the majority of trained historians and scholars who agree that an historical Jesus existed until I am shown compelling evidence otherwise.

  5. seditiosus says

    Historical documents? Archaeological discoveries?? If those are out there I’d love to see ‘em, but oddly the article doesn’t describe them or seem to link to them.

  6. Suido says

    Just re-read the poll. The use of the word ‘absolutely’ means I wouldn’t choose option 1. Since I’m not in the middle about it, I guess that means I would have to choose option 3. Stupid wording is stupid.

  7. The Amazing Rando says

    Reading the comments on this article is painful. All that circular logic, and someone actually used the “where you there?” argument. It’s like a troll circle jerk in there.

  8. says

    I choose to believe that if there was a hypothetical itinerant preacher who inspired the gospel that is still not Jesus Christ. At least that’s the rational I’ll use for voting no as opposed to my usual “I don’t know.”

  9. lexie says

    I am neither absolutely sure that he existed nor can I reply no way. So I suppose that puts me as ‘in the middle’ but I don’t like that option as it implies that I am in the middle in regards to his divinity as well which I’m not.

  10. Sili says

    I tentatively go with “No way”, but I’m still waiting for Carrier’s book. I should prolly read Ehrman, too, to try to avoid too much confirmation bias.

    But having just heard the otherwise excellent Mark Goodacre on Youtube give the usual arguments in favour, I can’t help but feel that they would easily well apply to Harry Potter, say.

    I’m sorta hoping you can get CJO and Owlmirror to join FTB with a joint blog discussing the New Testament.

  11. dianne says

    There were at least 2 Jesus Christs on the psychiatric experimental therapies ward when I was a medical student, but I’m pretty sure neither was the son of god, so I’d have to go with option A.

  12. Herr Mann says

    I find these polls where you can multiple-vote very addictive… Let’s hit it hard!

  13. Merit of the Badgers says

    I’m just seeing a blank gap where there should be a poll, which I find odd as the other poll showed up just fine.

    They’re probably just checking referrer. Either get a browser extension to block referrer info, or copy/paste the address.

    Or, head over to the poll on Polldaddy directly and avoid giving The Blaze any hits/ad views.

  14. Suido says

    @Lexie: That’s the exact line of thinking I followed. Since it’s on Glenn Beck’s website, I’m happy to choose the answer that will be most controversial there.

    @MotB: Thank you, polldaddy was the winner.

  15. Merit of the Badgers says

    I haven’t looked into this in any depth whatsoever, but the only evidence I’ve heard for his existence is that grave of his “brother”‘s. The conspicuous lack of any other evidence whatsoever is interesting. If he did exist, there doesn’t seem to be any corroborating evidence that anything written in the Bible actually happened (correct me if I’m wrong), including all of the non-divine stuff. That’s more important, I’d think, than whether or not there was once a guy named Jesus at the head of a cult.

  16. Patricia, OM says

    43% – No way.
    Comments disabled.

    Well done horde. Free round of grog, on the house!

  17. tblade says

    @Ing: Quite simply, scholarly books and college coursework is what shaped my view that an historical Jesus existed in some form. There are plenty of books out there that detail at length the evidence supporting his existence if you want to see what I base my judgement on. Even the Wikipedia article on the historical Jesus gives a decent cursory outline of the basics of the case for Jesus’s existence.

    But the one most compelling thing to me is that there is a corpus of “Jesus sayings” multiply attested to and seemingly coming from one source. Who is that one source? Could one, two, or a group of people sat around, wrote some sayings, and inserted into a fictional Messiah’s mouth? Possibly, but there is no evidence for that. It is exceedingly more likely, given the extant evidence, that one person, probably named Yeshua (Jesus), said approximately this stuff found in the Gospels, Q source, and Thomas called the “sayings” material.

    If someone comes up with a better, supportable explanation as to how we got this material, I will believe that. As it stands now, one, real historical Jew saying these things is the most credible answer. I can’t believe that Jesus never existed until this idea is fully controverted.

  18. A. R says

    That comment thread is painful. Perhaps we could stage a mass invasion of Blaze by Pharyngulites?

  19. gardengnome says

    None of these polls shows up on my browser so it’s a good idea to give a direct link.

    Wow, the odds are already shifting..

  20. Patricia, OM says

    Well hell, if the collected says of so and so will get them deified, then by christ wankin’ a corndog, I’m half way to sainthood!

  21. AussieMike says

    Off topic – Dawkins vs Cardinal George Pell
    Last night, Brisbane time, Richard Dawkins faced off against Cardinal George Pell, head of the Australian Catholic church. It was mediated by the ABC’s Tony Jones. As you would expect it was a lesson in clarity and truth versus babbling, waffling catholic dribble. That translates into good watching in my book. See it here http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3469101.htm

  22. says

    But the one most compelling thing to me is that there is a corpus of “Jesus sayings” multiply attested to and seemingly coming from one source. Who is that one source? Could one, two, or a group of people sat around, wrote some sayings, and inserted into a fictional Messiah’s mouth?

    Yes, one of them is believed to be paraphrasing Hillel the Elder. And once one source is identified we can start tracking down the rest (like the parts that are the PG version of the Bacchic Mysteries.)

  23. Amphiox says

    There are plenty of books out there that detail at length the evidence supporting his existence if you want to see what I base my judgement on.

    Well, I’ll give you this. There probably were at least several historical jewish men crucified by the Romans in that time period.

    Who is that one source? Could one, two, or a group of people sat around, wrote some sayings, and inserted into a fictional Messiah’s mouth?

    And one of that group of people could even have been called Yeshua.

    It is exceedingly more likely, given the extant evidence, that one person, probably named Yeshua (Jesus), said approximately this stuff found in the Gospels, Q source, and Thomas called the “sayings” material.

    Said it, and inserted it into a fictional messiah’s mouth.

    You realize that your two scenarios above there are for practical purposes indistinguishable?

  24. gardengnome says

    Great stuff!

    Pell is an old-school pious/nasty god-botherer with ambitions for the top job. He dispayed his ignorance of the real world very thoroughly.

  25. Patricia, OM says

    I watched the Dawkins vs Pell video too, Richard seemed tired of the whole thing, a little off his game. He let Pell get away with calling Darwin a theist. That bothered me.

  26. Lyn M: Just Lyn M. says

    @ tblade #23

    I have seen numbers of times when the same quote was attributed to separate individuals, often things attributed to Lincoln or Einstein. This doesn’t prove either of them said those things. We are historically close in time to both of those men, so we can agree they both existed. But as to what they said, not so clear. The first attribution may even be done to bolster the apparent merit of the quote.

    Admittedly, the mechanism for locating quotes today is different, but the phenomenon is the same. Some attractive, witty thing is said and then quickly attached to a respected source. This quote is subsequently repeated freely as coming from the respected source. I like to use quotes in my classes, but I want to be sure of the source, first. I often find several places where the same quote is incorrectly attributed. It takes time to track down who really said something, no matter how many sources say it was Einstein or Lincoln.

    Seeing this happen makes me wonder about the validity of quotes from such a long time ago, regardless of attribution.

    Why would quotes from a long time ago be any more reliable than quotes today?

  27. says

    But the one most compelling thing to me is that there is a corpus of “Jesus sayings” multiply attested to and seemingly coming from one source. Who is that one source? Could one, two, or a group of people sat around, wrote some sayings, and inserted into a fictional Messiah’s mouth? Possibly, but there is no evidence for that. It is exceedingly more likely, given the extant evidence, that one person, probably named Yeshua (Jesus), said approximately this stuff found in the Gospels, Q source, and Thomas called the “sayings” material.

    If someone comes up with a better, supportable explanation as to how we got this material, I will believe that. As it stands now, one, real historical Jew saying these things is the most credible answer. I can’t believe that Jesus never existed until this idea is fully controverted.

    You dismiss one possibility due to no evidence, yet accept another possibility because you cannot imagine a better answer.

    Here’s the thing. If we have no actual evidence, that’s all we can say. We have no actual evidence. I don’t have to believe Jesus was made up as a lark by Paul or some shit to not believe in a historical Jesus…because I simply do not know and no one has provided a good foundation for Jesus’s existence.

    If someone comes up with a better, supportable explanation as to how we got this material, I will believe that. As it stands now, one, real historical Jew saying these things is the most credible answer.

    No no no no no!

    There is a difference between “There are no gods”/”There are gods” and “I am not convinced there are any gods”. You are using a lack of evidence for a counter idea as proof of another…that also lacks evidence. That doesn’t’ make it a good explanation. All that can honestly be said about Jesus as far as I know is that we don’t know. Asserting him as an actual historical figure is dishonest.

    FFS, we don’t even do that with Socrates and what is alleged about his life is far more believable!

  28. says

    Seeing this happen makes me wonder about the validity of quotes from such a long time ago, regardless of attribution.

    Why would quotes from a long time ago be any more reliable than quotes today?

    Look at Pathagoras as an example, who IIRC has had his real accomplishments masked by both by his followers mythologizing him, and their practice of attributing their own successes to him.

  29. StevoR says

    Latest figures :

    ***

    Absolutely, but he wasn’t God’s son. = 19%
    Yes, and He was the Son of God. = 28%
    No way. = 49%
    I’m in the middle on this one. = 4%

    ****

    This is one poll that I think badly needed a “don’t know” option. I voted “in the middle” myself because I’m not sure whether he actually existed or not.

    Sorry, I guess that doesn’t overly help the pharnygulation does it? However, it’s my honest first approximation answer and certainly doesn’t help their desired goal either!

  30. Patricia, OM says

    OK, I see how this works.

    Do bears shit in the woods?
    Yes = jesus.
    Whistling girls, like crowing hens, always come to some bad end.
    = jesus.
    A watched pot never boils.
    = jesus.

    Or it could just be a hillbilly with a head full of trivia.
    I’ll go with that one.

  31. StevoR says

    @34. writzer :

    Yeah, but … look at the evidence! They have pictures and everything!

    Photoshopped.

    Jesus looked far too Jewish in the original shots! ;-)

    See : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1IJiAXjj7k

    (About 1 min 8 secs mark)

    They don’t know much about art (or e-polls) but they know what they like!

  32. says

    The most accurate answer would have been, “Maybe and maybe not, but if he did, he wasn’t the Son of God.” But that wasn’t given, so I had to answer “in the middle.”

    Another reason online polls are useless. If you’re given no option for an honest answer, what can you do but choose the least dishonest?

  33. anubisprime says

    The only way to answerer such a poll is to consider the ‘spirit’ in which those questions were asked…

    ‘Absolutely, but he wasn’t God’s son.’

    This seems to be looking for a crumb of reassurance that such a figure as jeebus actually existed…if that one is ticked they have a leg up to the next layer of gobbly gook…i.e. was he as advertised by the theist?
    But they will settle for the presumption that he existed…the rest they can embellish anyway their black little hearts desire!
    In fact carry on as they have been doing for 2000 years.

    Notice they do not ask…’was there a character that could have been used as the template for a later mythological fairy story!
    They start by poisoning the well at the beginning…’ABSOLUTELY’…which is a crock of rancid troll vomit…there is no absolutely about it.
    No one has any evidence even the vaguest clue that would point to such a character and certainly not as the character that theists drool about!

    ‘Yes, and He was the Son of God’ the obvious affirmation they want and their work is done here!

    ‘No way’… again demanding an absolute and hoping to spook the ‘hard of thinking’ into interpreting the tick here to represent absolute denial and thereby tacitly announcing you are a nasty wasty atheist.
    Which of course given the cultural memes is a step on the wild side and inviting reprisal.

    ‘I’m in the middle on this one’..Probably the attempt to water down a negative answer to the poll question…the more agnosticism interferes the less outright atheism or indeed outright denial of a jeebus bunny hopping around the holyland curing the blind and lame!
    But as a option it is probably the nearest to an honest reply if not all that satisfying…after-all there is no evidence jeebus hopped back then and there is no definitive evidence he did not!…just unlikely!

    Being a nasty wasty 99.999% recurring atheist I went for the ‘No Way’ cos if ya going to kick a theist then at least make sure it cripples the bastard!
    Even though that answer is not exactly a correct reflection of my opinion.

  34. calliopejane says

    It makes me much more comfortable with picking “no way” that the question is asked in reference to Jesus *Christ,* since the word “christ” is derived from terms for “anointed one” and “messiah.” Those words imply god-dedication or god-designation, and since I’m fairly certain there is no god, I feel no qualms about choosing “no, there was not a ‘christ’.”

    Now if they had just asked whether there was a real Jesus person who was a basis for some of the bible stories, the question would be trickier. But as for Jesus *Christ* — no.

  35. crissakentavr says

    I bet this has been said again, but where is, ‘It doesn’t matter, but he sure as heck wasn’t god.’?

  36. theophontes 777 says

    By your leave my Liege:

    Absolutely …but … 20,93%
    Yes …. 17,25%
    No …. 58,02%
    Fence … 3,8%

    Pretty good, considering I only voted twice this time. Polls are good, in that readers of this one will doubt the conviction that xtians are a majority.

    Aside: Looking at images such as those on the linked site…:

    Why does jeebus not have chest hair?

    (I know the answer, but wondered if others were aware. The answer will appear on TZT soon. See if you can beat the clock.)

  37. koncorde says

    “There are people out there who don’t think the Holocaust happened, there wasn’t a lone JFK assassin and Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” he said. “Among them are people who don’t think Jesus existed.”

    Does anyone else feel besmirched to be included with conspiracy theorists and whackadoodles?

  38. yec123 says

    Both Jesus and John the Baptist existed. We have reports by near contemporaneous historians such as Josephus and Tacitus that confirm this. As well as in the Gospels, Jesus is mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and other writings. However, it is worth noting that the Jesus movement was only one of several others. In Acts 5:35-37, a Pharisee called Gamaliel recalls the uprisings of Theudas and Judas of Galilee around the time of Jesus. Hence, it is quite possible that Jesus may not have been seen as so exceptional by the ruling elite until only after his death.

  39. rorschach says

    Both Jesus and John the Baptist existed. We have reports by near contemporaneous historians such as Josephus and Tacitus that confirm this.

    Harry Potter existed, JK Rowling confirms this. Frodo Baggins and Sauron existed, JRR Tolkien confirms it.

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Both Jesus and John the Baptist existed.

    Unevidenced claim, dismissed without evidence. You are so full of bullshit it is pathetic. And you are a pathetic godbot, unable to tell the difference between your delusions and reality. The pathetic part is the delusions keep talking nonsense…Like thinking the babble is anything other than a book of mythology/fiction, and citing it is authoritative. It isn’t, just pathetic and stupid.

  41. RW Ahrens says

    I wouldn’t tout Ehrman’s book nor position so much, he’s been taken to task quite widely, due to some very dismaying positions and other things he said that have been noted to be very unprofessional, both in the book, and also in the Huffington Post article.

    I shall be awaiting Carrier’s book next year with great anticipation.

  42. yec123 says

    It’s amusing that atheists will readily believe that Robin Hood existed, or that grey aliens exist, but they seem to have a real problem with Jesus’ existence.

    Let me remind you: there was no FOX News back in first century Galilee. There were no photographers or journalists. People transmitted reports by word of mouth and some eventually wrote it down on papyrus and made markings in stone or pottery.

    So let us recap on the main evidence:

    1) Numerous gospel accounts of Jesus, written by different authors and in different places.

    2) Various references to Jesus and John by Roman historians of the time.

    3) References to Jesus in non-Christian Jewish literature.

    4) Archaeological evidence that backs up gospel accounts of most of the places Jesus visited.

    You might as well claim that we have no real evidence that anyone who lived 2000 years ago truly existed.

  43. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    @yec

    Tacitus also reports on omens and portents as truth, and mentions fuck-all on the supposed magic of JC, so where do you want to jump with that? Josephus I know less about…

    The point is that for atheists it doesn’t matter whether JC existed or not – as if he did we’d be perfectly willing to accept that various legends became attached to the name. For Christians, they have the problem that first he must exist, and second to actually be all of the supernatural things that the Bible claims.

    Other things to ponder: Did King Arthur rule from Camelot? Did Robin Hood oppose bad Price John? Was there a man in an iron mask? Did Washington cut down a tree? Legends are interesting things.

    Anyway, I voted for “no” because there wasn’t a choice that suited me and “no” would annoy the believers more. However, “no” sums up my view quite well if the question was phrased sliughtly differently to cover the above.

  44. John Morales says

    yec123:

    It’s amusing that atheists will readily believe that Robin Hood existed, or that grey aliens exist, but they seem to have a real problem with Jesus’ existence.

    It is amusing how you imagine you’re trolling cleverly.

    You might as well claim that we have no real evidence that anyone who lived 2000 years ago truly existed.

    Stupid false equivalence is stupid.

  45. Ogvorbis say, "Get outa my house!" says

    It’s amusing that atheists will readily believe that Robin Hood existed, or that grey aliens exist, but they seem to have a real problem with Jesus’ existence.

    Robin Hood, like Jesus, most likely did not exist. The character, which, like Jesus, postdates the supposed time period, is an amalgam of multiple trouble makers. And I think it likely that there is life on other planets. The likelihood of them making it here to earth is vanishingly small. Why are you so into using strawman arguments?

    Let me remind you: there was no FOX News back in first century Galilee. There were no photographers or journalists. People transmitted reports by word of mouth and some eventually wrote it down on papyrus and made markings in stone or pottery.

    Yet other historical events of the time, which, by the Christian definition, were far less important, made it into multiple letters and histories. One would think that a miracle worker and a zombie invasion would have been noticed by someone who knew how to write.

    1) Numerous gospel accounts of Jesus, written by different authors and in different places.

    Which were put to paper 30 to 60 years later and are different versions of the same verbal mythology.

    2) Various references to Jesus and John by Roman historians of the time.

    Er, no. The Josephus Insertion dates to the second or third century. The original (without the insertion) may refer to John the Baptist, but, sorry, no Jesus.

    3) References to Jesus in non-Christian Jewish literature.

    From what century? There are no references, none at all, that refer to Jesus as a contemporary being. None.

    4) Archaeological evidence that backs up gospel accounts of most of the places Jesus visited.

    London exists. London is referred to in the Harry Potter books. Does that mean that Harry Potter is real?

    You might as well claim that we have no real evidence that anyone who lived 2000 years ago truly existed.

    For those who had an actual effect on the world, those who were famous in their time, we have shitloads of evidence. Just none for your mythology. And it grinds you, doesn’t it?

  46. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So let us recap on the main evidence lies and posturing:

    Fixed that for you.

    Numerous gospel accounts of Jesus, written by different authors and in different places.

    No, one source written generations after that fact. Pathetic.

    Various references to Jesus and John by Roman historians of the time.

    Proven after the fact forgeries by godbots. Pathetic.

    References to Jesus in non-Christian Jewish literature.

    Nope, all well after the fact. Still pathetic and evidenceless.

    Archaeological evidence that backs up gospel accounts of most of the places Jesus visited.

    You forgot Nazareth, where jebus allegedly grew up, didn’t exist until the time of the writer in #1. Forgery and fiction all the way up and down. Your “factoids” are pathetic lies, just like your religion.

    You are so pathetic you can’t even show your deity isn’t imaginary, but that does require real, not imagufactured bullshit like the above. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Something equivalent to an eternally burning bush. Now, if you have so much evidence, present it…Or shut the fuck up about your imaginary deity, as a person of honor and itegrity would do. Liars and bullshitters can’t put up and can’t shut up. Where are you on honsety and integrity???

  47. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    @yec #50

    Ooooh, let me try:

    1) Numerous Hadith accounts of Muhammed, written by different authors and in different places.

    2) Various references to Muhammed by historians of the time.

    3) References to Muhammed in non-Muslim regional literature.

    4) Archaeological evidence that backs up gospel accounts of most of the places Muhammed visited.

    And you’re not a Muslim? Why??

  48. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Argh, in 55 above, please replace “gospel” with “Qur’an” in 4. Copy/paste fail.

  49. usagichan says

    yec123

    1) Numerous gospel accounts of Jesus, written by different authors and in different places.

    -hardly surprising that the members of a newly established syncretic cult recorded the mythology – the main surprise for me is the extent to which the accounts are mutually contradictory (although I have heard the argument that they are so contradictory they must be true… this evidence is too poor to have been faked? Hardly the killer evidence we might be led to believe by the faithful…

    2) Various references to Jesus and John by Roman historians of the time.

    -of the time being between 70 and 90 years afterwards, once the aforementioned syncretic cult had gained a degree of establishment. The main references (at least the Testimonium Flavianum) are also suspected by scholars to have been embelished by later Christian copyists to the extent that the original content is a matter of supposition.

    3) References to Jesus in non-Christian Jewish literature.

    -not sure how this one is different from 2), or are there documents from other than the Josephus or Tacitus that I am missing here?

    4) Archaeological evidence that backs up gospel accounts of most of the places Jesus visited.

    -Authors base their fiction in actual geographical locations for that sheen of authenticity? No one would ever think to do try to make their work more convincing by using real locations would they?

    You might as well claim that we have no real evidence that anyone who lived 2000 years ago truly existed.

    Indeed, establishing the identity of a particular inhabitant of a Roman province 2000 years ago may be a matter of luck in terms of the survival of evidence – but just because it is hard to find evidence for any particular individual, it does not mean that a particular individual for whom little real evidence exists, existed!

  50. yec123 says

    And you’re not a Muslim? Why??

    I don’t think any Christian denies the historicity of Muhammad.

    Which were put to paper 30 to 60 years later and are different versions of the same verbal mythology.

    Verbal transmission, not mythology. That is how history was recorded back in ancient times.It was passed down by word of mouth and then eventually recorded. No doubt some evidence has been lost over time.

    Er, no. The Josephus Insertion dates to the second or third century. The original (without the insertion) may refer to John the Baptist, but, sorry, no Jesus.

    The text was tampered with for sure, but most scholars agree that Josephus did mention Jesus although his interest is clearly with John the Baptist (who was seen as a true Jew).

    You forgot Nazareth, where jebus allegedly grew up, didn’t exist until the time of the writer.

    The Nazareth of Jesus was destroyed during the Bar Kokhba revolt of AD 133-136. It was then rebuilt nearby later on. This is true for many cities in the holy land (such as Ashdod).

    From what century? There are no references, none at all, that refer to Jesus as a contemporary being. None.

    There are several rabbinic accounts of Jesus in the Talmud and other writings. We also have some portraits of Jesus in Jewish synagogues in Syria. Like I say, if you deny Jesus’ existence, then you should also deny the existence of other historical characters from the past. The evidence for them is the same as it is for Jesus.

  51. yec123 says

    As for the crucifixion, Tacitus mentions it in Annals 15.44:

    Christus suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.

    The Latin text is available here:

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Tac.+Ann.+15.44&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0077

    Tacitus was writing about 80 years after the crucifixion but was writing about events that happened several decades prior using reliable sources.

  52. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Verbal transmission, not mythology.

    Then you lie about contemporary citations. What else is new. You lie and bullshit, and make excuses for poor/non-existent data. Everything but what you should do, which is question the whole idea of jebus.

    but most scholars agree

    Funny how those alleged scholars are believers. Those who look at the evidence all agree it is a forgery, and Josephus never mentioned Jebus. The pathetic lies and excuses continue.

    The Nazareth of Jesus was destroyed during the Bar Kokhba revolt of AD 133-136.

    Boy, your timeline sure has some problems. Jebus, -4 bc to ~30 AD. Mythology written down ~80 AD. And your alleged time is meaningful how? You keep pathetically lying and bullshitting us. It isn’t working because your pathetic lies and bullshit show us that your word isn’t worth the electrons used to post your lies and bullshit.

    There are several rabbinic accounts of Jesus in the Talmud and other writings. We also have some portraits of Jesus in Jewish synagogues in Syria.

    And what is the timeline for those lies??? This is your problem. You swallow whole the lies previously told. We investigate the reality of the situation, not what you want us to believe. And you come away with bullshit on your body because you fail to skeptically scrutinize the data, that can be shown to be lies with a passing familiarity with reality.

    Still no evidence for your imaginary deity, which you need to lead with. Still a delusional fool showing the world you have nothing but presuppostions and phantasms. A totally pathetic non-thinker, jabbering like a parrot.

  53. don1 says

    I couldn’t vote ‘No Way’ as I don’t think one can be certain about the non-existance of person. I couldn’t vote ‘In the middle’ as that doesn’t really mean much. So I went for the first, but with the mental reservation that ‘absolutely’ meant ‘maybe, I guess, or someone to whom the stories were attributed, some preacher of the same name who might have said some version of some of that and who might have been crucified but not the version presented to us.’

    But that was before I read calliopejane @42. The use of the term ‘Christ’ should have sent me to the ‘No Way’ option.

  54. yec123 says

    @Nerd of Redhead:

    There is no point in engaging someone like yourself who displays just vulgar disdain for reason and truth. You are an ideologue and fanatic who believes only what he wants to believe. You are a moron for whom logic has no meaning. You are clueless about the nature of historical sources.

  55. mnb0 says

    I didn’t like “Absolutely” nor “No way” either – science doesn’t work that way and certainly not History of Antiquity. Should have been:
    Jesus was probably historical, but he wasn’t God’s son
    No, Jesus is a myth.

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You are an ideologue and fanatic who believes only what he wants to believe. You are a moron for whom logic has no meaning. You are clueless about the nature of historical sources.

    Typical godbot, who when cornered, projects their problems unto us. You are the ideologue and fanatic. You believe without evidence in an imaginary deity and mythical/fictional book being inerrant. I’m just a well educated scientist who understands evidence, who is showing you your fallacious and evidenceless thinking. Except you aren’t even thinking. SQUAWKING like a parrot is more like it.

    Still no evidence for your imaginary deity, or jebus. Must be a character defect if you can’t put up the conclusive physical evidence, or shut the fuck up about the conclusion.

  57. mnb0 says

    “to say positively that “Jesus never existed” is unsupportable.”
    It’s even unscientific. There are millions of people we know nothing about and haven’t left evidence of their existence. It obviously doesn’t follow that they never existed.
    The hypothesis “Jesus is historical” is one that can be tested with the methodology of History of Antiquity. Some well tested principles are Testis Unus, Testis Nullus; Embarrassment and Absence of Evidence is no Evidence of Absence.
    Rejecting such principles is very similar to creationism indeed.

    “if there was a hypothetical itinerant preacher who inspired the gospel that is still not Jesus Christ.”
    How are you going to prove that his name was not Jesus? This is a quite irrelevant point. If there was such a preacher we can as well call him Jesus until evidence shows he had another name.

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If there was such a preacher we can as well call him Jesus until evidence shows he had another name.

    Note how it works. It is Brian until you show otherwise with solid and conclusive evidence. You get your conclusion only after you support it properly. Welcome to science, not presupposition.

  59. mnb0 says

    “there doesn’t seem to be any corroborating evidence that anything written in the Bible actually happened”
    Pontius Pilatus was governor. There is archeological evidence for this.
    Herodes existed.
    The story of the census is probably partly true (the Romans needed it for their taxes), but it is highly unlikely that Joseph and Maria had to travel to Bethlehem for this census. Just imagine the chaos involved and realize that the Romans were excellent organizers.

    Don’t underestimate Historians of Antiquity. They can derive a lot from books full of myths.

  60. says

    “if there was a hypothetical itinerant preacher who inspired the gospel that is still not Jesus Christ.”

    How are you going to prove that his name was not Jesus? This is a quite irrelevant point. If there was such a preacher we can as well call him Jesus until evidence shows he had another name.

    Your misreading the above. Jesus Christ is the all powerful, miracle performing Jesus, not the “hypothetical itinerant preacher who inspired the gospel”, which was the point being made.

  61. mnb0 says

    Well, Nerd, it’s perfectly fine with me if you want to call him Brian (one of my favourite movies). Just ignore that there is even less evidence for a guy called Brian than for a guy called Jesus. What’s more, there is evidence against it – Brian was not a very common name 2000 years ago.
    In other words, you’re talking like a creationist.

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    YEC123, it is time for you to put a link to every claim you make.

    For example, I claim evolution has been seen in the lab. Link to Lenski.

    Your evidenceless claims need backing, or at least a reality check. Either you provide that reality check and link to it, or we will refute your bullshit, and call it what it is.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just ignore that there is even less evidence for a guy called Brian than for a guy called Jesus. What’s more, there is evidence against it – Brian was not a very common name 2000 years ago.
    In other words, you’re talking like a creationist.

    Nope, I’m just saying one can’t presuppose jebus. Jebus, the son of god, being an extraordinary claim, requires extraordinary evidence. In this case, extraordinary means clear and conclusive, not just vague, hinted, and presupposed. That is my point. Good skeptical thinking.

  64. says

    As for the crucifixion, Tacitus mentions it in Annals 15.44:

    And if the source was Christian, it is hardly independent. Tacitus possibly indicates he received his information from Pliny the Younger, who got his information by asking the early christians themselves what they believed.

  65. don1 says

    Jesus H Christ makes more sense now. If we drop the ‘Christ’ which refers to divinity and keep the ‘H’ for ‘hypothetical’ then we can consider the possibility of a real person (name and details unknown) who may have been the basis of a cult and around whom various accretions built up. Might even have been a great guy, who knows?

    ‘Jesus’ is the name most commonly attributed to this hypothetical original. So go with that, but keep the ‘H’ to make it clear that it is a hypothesis.

    Sometimes in discussions with christians I find it convenient to cite scripture. So is someone is urging the teaching of Jesus it’s a cheap and easy (but still valid) point to say ‘Jesus said ‘Sell all you have and give it to the poor.Do that and I’ll take you seriously.’

    But that does imply a belief in an historical Jesus who said that. ‘Jesus H said…’ on the other hand lacks that implication.

  66. says

    Jebus, the son of god, being an extraordinary claim, requires extraordinary evidence.

    Except that is not the argument being made.

    Historical religious nut job later mythologised != Jebus, the son of god.

    Why do people keep conflating the 2?

  67. says

    “Sir Richard Dawkins ”

    I would love to see the squawking of the religious lobbyists in the UK if the Queen, our head of state and also head of the Church of England, were to give Professor Dawkins a knighthood for his services to the public understanding of science. They couldn’t actually fault that as a reason for a gong, but they’d hate to have to call him ‘Sir’.

  68. iknklast says

    “1) Numerous gospel accounts of Jesus, written by different authors and in different places.”

    Yes! I knew it! Captain Kirk is real! After all, there are HUNDREDS of books, movies, and other acounts of Captain Kirk. Plus, I saw him in person with my son at a Star Trek Convention. Who can argue with evidence like that?

    (sarcasm)

  69. says

    “Sir Richard Dawkins ”

    No Way. I demand “Lord Dawkins of Sence” (which is a river in Leicestershire)

    They keep implying he’s some sort of guru so he should have a place in the Lords.

  70. eoleen says

    As of 1:43 PM EST on 4/10 the results stand at…

    Absolutely, but he wasn’t God’s son. 20.58%

    Yes, and He was the Son of God. 18.44%

    No way. 57.23%

    I’m in the middle on this one. 3.74%

    I guess we can chalk up another one as PHARANGULATED

  71. magistramarla says

    OK guys,
    I’m going to wade in here with what I used to teach my students about ancient mythology. You will probably rip it to shreds, but remember, I was using this to try to get some kids to actually think in a very red state.
    In myths, we can often find a kernel of truth that gives us a clue to the history and beliefs of an ancient culture.
    Take the story of Theseus & the Minotaur. I told them the myth, then I showed them archaeological evidence that the Palace of Knossos existed and so did Mycenae. I showed them archaeological proof that the two cultures traded. Then I told them – imagine that you are a young man, possibly from a wealthy Mycenaean family, who gets to travel to Crete and visit the palace. You’ve already been impressed by “the horns of consecration” and the young men who dance with masks of bull’s heads pulled over their own.
    During dinner, you have a call of nature and wander downstairs. (Here I show a map of the palace, which looks like a labyrinth) While you are lost down there, the whole palace begins to shake and there is a loud roaring sound. (They quickly surmise that it’s an earthquake).
    Now, as a young man, when you return to Mycenae, would you admit to your friends that you got scared on the way to the can by an earthquake, or spin a fantastic tale about a half/man, half bull living in a labyrinth?
    Now that I had them thinking this way, it was easy for them to separate possible facts found in ancient stories from distortions that had been elaborated upon and passed down.
    They realized that an unmarried young woman getting pregnant was often blamed upon a “god” in myths, and a few of them were brave enough to make the obvious connection.
    This is why I voted “Yes, he existed, but was not the son of god”. I think that there might have existed such a Jewish leader at the time (or perhaps the story is a conglomeration of several Jewish leaders). The story was embellished upon, and was influenced (possibly knowingly) by other stories that were circulating and popular at the time, such as Mithras and Osiris, and passed down, first orally, and later written.
    This is the way that I learned to think by studying ancient cultures and their myths.
    OK – start shredding…..

  72. tblade says

    The hypothesis “Jesus is historical” is one that can be tested with the methodology of History of Antiquity. Some well tested principles are Testis Unus, Testis Nullus; Embarrassment and Absence of Evidence is no Evidence of Absence.
    Rejecting such principles is very similar to creationism indeed

    THANK YOU, mnbo. Just like creationists want rational-minded people to “prove” evolution in a short blog reply comment, people here want proof of Jesus’s existence in 250 words and a couple of links. it ain’t gonna happen. In that way, deniers of the historical Jesus behave like creationists.

    If that statement insults you, feel free to engage in the scholarship of any number of the overwhelming majority credentialed, highly-trained secular scholars and historians who teach at the world’s most prestigious universities and who have dedicated much of their life’s work to what we can know about the time and places written about in the New Testament. Just like evolutionary biology occupies entire semesters of college coursework, large volumes of texts, and many hours of meticulously-crafted documentary films, so does the life of Jesus. There are open courses available online, scholarly books you can check out of the library, volumes of peer-reviewed journal articles, and documentaries that will, unfortunately, take up a few hours of your time. (And for the sake of confirmation bias, you may indeed seek out the minority of scholars who doubt Jesus’s existence.)

    Just like I wonder how climate change deniers think they are more educated on the subject than the 95% of credentialed climate scientists who’ve reached consensus that climate change is real and accelerated by human causes, I wonder how people can read virtually nothing written by trained ancient historians and scholars who show the evidence for Jesus’s existence and still some how “know” that Jesus was a total fabrication. Perhaps Socrates was a fabrication, too?

    As an atheist, I appreciate Jesus skepticism. And even among those who agree that Jesus existed there is much controversy as to who he actually was and what biographical details are likely true. Of course I don’t want anyone to accept the veracity of Jesus’s existence on my say so and to expect skeptics to become convinced in a blog comment section is a fool’s errand.

    Yet, the secular scholarship is out there and it is peer reviewed. It is an accepted part of the academy. Ancient history and New Testament scholarship are legitimate academic disciplines and the conclusions reached by scholars are meticulously supported and testable. NB: we’re not talking about theology or divinity school here.

    TL;DR If you want to see what evidence the majority of scholars use to base their belief that an historical Jesus existed, you’ll probably have to crack a few books and wad through some college syllabi; the Pharyngula comment section, however edifying, is an insufficient medium for such a task.

  73. John Morales says

    [meta]

    tblade:

    TL;DR If you want to see what evidence the majority of scholars use to base their belief that an historical Jesus existed, you’ll probably have to crack a few books and wad through some college syllabi; the Pharyngula comment section, however edifying, is an insufficient medium for such a task.

    Luckily for you, Richard Carrier Blogs right here on FtB.

  74. petzl20 says

    Warning: Pharyngulization in Progress:

    Absolutely, but he wasn’t God’s son. 19.65%
    Yes, and He was the Son of God. 22.03%
    No way. 54.65%
    I’m in the middle on this one. 3.67%

  75. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yet, the secular scholarship is out there and it is peer reviewed.

    Here’s where your problem arises. Who are the peers? When were the articles published. Other old scholars who are believers, would of course not accept anything other than the babble is fact. And this has been the case up until recently. Or real scientists who are properly skeptical and not presuppositional, and don’t accept bullshit without solid and conclusive evidence. Then, there is scant evidence for jebus and it shows. Once the presupposition that the babble is anything other than a book of mythology/fiction is removed, the question does resolve itself very quickly.

  76. says

    How are you going to prove that his name was not Jesus?

    Your misreading the above. Jesus Christ is the all powerful, miracle performing Jesus, not the “hypothetical itinerant preacher who inspired the gospel”, which was the point being made.

    Not to repeat Cosmic Teapot’s point, but I’ll start by explaining, slowly, that Jesus is a Greek name that was given him in the first century.

    The hunt for the “historical Jesus” is an entertaining puzzle because we’re entering into an era that provides us with plenty of information which allows us to make many educated guesses when we are constructing our hypothetical itinerant preacher. So one of the simplest facts we can add to our foundation for this individual was his name was definitely NOT Jesus.