Did Jesus exist? Which Jesus? The Biblical magical god-man that did miracles and rose from the dead? No, absolutely not. Some itinerant preacher that wandered around Jerusalem, upon whom the robes of divinity were posthumously draped? Maybe. We have no objective evidence to support it but I’d certainly be open to that possibility. But who cares about that one, nobody believes in that one anyhow.
That’s really the problem that we have when the historicity of Jesus comes up and why I think the whole question is utterly pointless. When Christians bring up the historicity of Jesus, they are playing a con game. They will point to real scholarship that suggests that there could have been one or more real people upon whom the Biblical character of Jesus was based, then they leap to the entirely unsupported conclusion that the Jesus in the Bible, the guy who was born of a virgin, walked on water and was the son of God, must have been real. That’s just ridiculous.
J.K. Rowling based Professor Snape loosely on a real person, a teacher of hers named John Nettleship. Does that mean Snape was real? You know, the guy who waved a wand around and did magic, is that Snape actually historically real? But we can prove that John Nettleship was real. He died in 2011, but you can go see his grave, we have plenty of pictures and records of his life, doesn’t that mean that the character which was based on him is just as real? Anyone who thinks so has some issues.
So what about George Washington? We know he actually existed, there is no question in the historical record that he was a real person, but what George Washington are you talking about? Is it the guy who chopped down a cherry tree and couldn’t tell a lie? Is it the guy who threw a silver dollar across the Potomac? How about the guy with wooden teeth? None of these things are actually true. They are all myths. The fact that Washington was real doesn’t lend any credence to the myths that sprung up around him. I’m not even going to get into the very real Abraham Lincoln and his supposed vampire slaying tendencies.
The next time some Christian tells you that Jesus was historically real, ask them which Jesus they’re talking about. Is it the itinerant preacher, possibly named Jehoshua, that may have sparked off the first elements of Christianity? Maybe, we just don’t know for sure. Is it the magical man-god who sacrificed himself for our supposed sins? No, that’s ridiculous. Don’t let them get away with switching from one to the other without providing actual evidence that both are real.