Well we all know that it is impossible to prove a negative, but at what point can one argue that so many of the core attributes of an individual are inaccurate or impossible that the traditional understanding of that individual is no longer valid. If we were to learn that Christopher Marlowe was the true author of works like “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” and “Hamlet” than our previous understanding of “Shakespeare” would be completely wrong. Though a person named Shakespeare would still have lived, he would not have been the person we thought he was, and one might not be wrong to say that the Shakespeare who was arguably the greatest writer in the English language, the Shakespeare as we now know him, never really existed (or in the least that the genius playwright identity previously understood as “Shakespeare” should now be known as “Marlowe”). Can the same be true of Jesus? We can never prove that a Jesus didn’t exist, but if we can, through logic and reason, strip Jesus of his major attributes (god, son of god, performer of miracles, resurrection, ect), or show him to be more myth than man, than wouldn’t the traditional understanding of “Jesus” become so distorted as to be no longer recognizable?
Most of Jesus’ more amazing attributes can be found in mythologies that predate his birth. Tales of a “son of god” were common and the theme of a “god” dying and then rising into heaven had also already been written (Krishna, Buddha). In fact almost every one of those acts that people associate with Jesus can be shown to have existed in a pervious mythological character. This, to me, makes Jesus less unique, and severely undermines the credibility of claims that he actually did what others had previously only done in myths. Such miraculous acts can also be attacked from a physics standpoint, since many are impossible according to the laws of physics (everything from a virgin birth to water into wine and the multiplication of loaves and fishes). If one were to see Jesus attacked in such a way is there really any solace in saying that it is impossible to prove he never existed, since the Jesus that probably did exist possessed none of the traits we currently identify as his?
Corroborating evidence outside of the bible that points to Jesus’ existence is also incredible (not “amazing”, but “not credible”). Writings like Josephus’ “Antiquities of the Jews” that mention Jesus were copied exclusively by Christian scribes. Most scholars now agree that the major portion of this text that discusses Jesus was falsified by scribes who were probably surprised by the suspiciously few mentions of their savior in such histories, and attempted to correct the obvious oversight. There are no credible sources that can be used to show that the Jesus of the bible ever existed, that the identity given him is not completely contrived. I believe that his identity as most understand it is complete myth. While a man named Jesus may have existed from roughly 1 BCE till 33 CE, his birth was not announced by a new star, he did not perform miracles, and he was not god or god’s son; and therefore he was not really “Jesus.” I believe that “Jesus” never existed.