"These findings provide us with a good snapshot of our national relationship with Christianity.Actually, Paul, all your results demonstrate is how effective up until recently the Xtian tradition of brain-washing children in schools to believe the Xtian mythology has been for no-one, over the millennia, has ever been able to produce a single credible shred of empiric evidence that this fellow you refer to as 'Jesus' ever existed.
They show that the Christmas story, in its classic formulation is still very much in our cultural blood stream, as indeed is the Christian story as a whole.
However, when you probe in any depth, you discover that our knowledge and understanding is rather more shaky.
The fact that younger people are the least knowledgeable about the Christmas story may reflect a decline in the telling of Bible stories in schools and the popularity of Nativity plays.
No-one seriously thinks that being a Christian or a member of the established Church is the same thing as being British today. But, at the same time, if we are serious about social cohesion we can't afford to ignore the stories that have bound us together as a culture for a thousand years.
Attempts to down-play the Christmas story in order to help social cohesion are likely to be counterproductive(sic)."
Furthermore, 'The Jesus Seminar', which was set up in 1985 by Robert Funk, concluded by the year 2000 that some 82% of the sayings attributed to 'Jesus' were simply fictionalised by the Gospel writers. Indeed, as R. Joseph Hoffmann, Chair, Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion said in a famous article published in 1993 in the secular humanist magazine 'Free Enquiry':
“The Jesus of the [Jesus Seminar] is a talking doll with a questionable repertoire of thirty-one sayings. Pull a string and he blesses the poor.”Having established that at least 82% of the sayings attributed to this person called 'Jesus' were pure fiction, the next question raised was: 'Did Jesus exist?' and so 'The Jesus Project' was set up in January 2007, with a project lifespan of 5 years and its first session scheduled for this month.
The aim of the project is a probable reconstruction of the events that explain the beginning of Christianity — a man named Jesus from the province of Galilee whose life served as the basis for the beginning of a movement, or a sequence of events that led to the Jesus story being propagated throughout the Mediterranean. The Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion finds both conclusions worthy of contemplation, but asserts that as we live in the real world—of real causes and outcomes, only one can be true. Their aim, like Pilate’s (John 18:38), is to find the truth.
Nevertheless, even if 'The Jesus Project' does conclude that 'a man named Jesus from the province of Galilee' really did exist and that his life 'served as the basis for the beginning of a movement', it would not be able to prove that this 'Jesus' was either (a) 'the son of God' or (b) that this so-called 'God' had ever existed in the first place.
Nevertheless, the special-pleading Christian 'think-tank' Theos is unlikely to be bothered by the fact that it's poll questions were deliberately misleading and loaded in order to produce the answers it wanted, for the fact remains that no-one, over the millennia, has ever been able to produce a single credible shred of empiric evidence that the person that theists refer to as 'Jesus' ever existed. But then religious types have never been ones to let truth and fact stand in their way.