For the last decade or two, a growing body of opinion in atheist/agnostic circles has taken the approach that Jesus of Nazareth never existed as a real, historical figure. The rational objections to this point of view are innumerable, but IF you want to adopt this perspective, here are some things that you simply HAVE to do. Follow these easy steps and you can join the "Jesus Mythicist" crowd, no problem!
1. IGNORE traditional rules of historical interpretation. Usually, when a person is mentioned by 17 separate sources within 150 years of his alleged lifetime, all of whom regard him as a real, flesh and blood person, historians will concede that the person in question did, in fact, exist. This kind of rationality is fatal to accepting Jesus was a myth, so you will have to impose a completely different set of historical standards and raise the bar of proof higher than it is for any other figure of antiquity!
2. DISREGARD scholarly expertise. This is especially true if you want to embrace the popular "Jesus was based on other dying and rising Messiah figures" position as so many mythicists do. You see, not a single person with an advanced degree in Bible history, classical Greek and Roman history, Middle Eastern archeology, or Egyptology, buys into this theory. NO serious Egyptologist believes that the character of Jesus was based on Osiris or Horus, NO Greco-Roman historian believes that Jesus was based on Dionysius, and not one member of the International Congress of Mithraic Studies believes that Jesus was based on the legends of Mithras. So forget the eggheads with their years of study and advanced degrees in the relevant fields of history. What do they know, anyway?
3. DON'T EVER FACT-CHECK! The internet is full of videos and memes that make naked assertions of parallels between Jesus and other ancient deities that will absolutely confirm your bias towards Jesus being a fairy tale - as long as you don't try to trace them to their source! Osirirs, Mithras, Dionysius, and Horus are all credited with being "born of a virgin on December 25th," even though A. Not one ancient source claims this; and B. even if they did, NOWHERE in the New Testament does it say that Jesus was born on Dec. 25th!
4. QUESTION ESTABLISHED HISTORY. So what if the Gospels are universally dated, by scholars both skeptical and faithful, as having been written in the First Century AD? So what if there is physical, literary, and archeological evidence that Christianity originated in Jerusalem in the first half of the First Century? After all, all those ancient texts were probably written or else copied and altered by Christians in the Middle Ages, so we can just reject them out of hand! This method is also favored by Holocaust Deniers, 9/11 Truthers, and many members of the political fringes in America, both left and right. Just assume everybody whose conclusions disagree with yours is lying, mistaken, or else "in on the fix"!!
5. IGNORE ALL DISSENTING OPINIONS. Obviously, everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, so why bother listening to or reading what they have to say? Everyone knows that all Christians everywhere are gullible morons who pray to a magical flying carpenter in the sky, so who cares if they can produce archeological site reports, ancient papyri, historical references, and physical artifacts that seem to back up their case?
6. MEMORIZE The Da Vinci Code! Dan Brown is obviously a genius who unraveled a two thousand year old conspiracy, even though virtually every historical claim in his book has been proven false, especially his accounts of Christianity originally being a sex cult (ZERO evidence), Jesus being married (NOT ONE First or Second Century source mentions this!), or the Council of Nicaea. Who cares if his central plot was shamelessly plagiarized from a discredited Jesus conspiracy book written in 1977? What do professional historians know?
7. ASSUME all Christians are stupid. So what if many Christians hold multiple PhD's in subjects ranging from advanced mathematics to biochemistry to history and classical studies? So what if many of the greatest statesmen, scholars, and philosophers in history were Christians? Obviously, anyone who accepts the divinity of Christ is not as smart as you. and therefore their opinions are not worth reading!
There you have it. Ignore history, archeology, textual studies, standard analytical methods, and a boatload of physical and literary evidence, as well as the conclusions of respected scholars and historians from all around the world, and you can join guys like Bill Maher and Richard Carrier to proudly claim that Jesus was a MYTH!
Yes, this whole post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but even atheist scholar Bart Ehrman dismissed the Jesus Myth movement as "pseudo-scholarship." If you want to read further on this subject, here is an excellent article from a site I highly recommend: