How to talk to religious people about atheism?: http://youtu.be/oUeY3NB4TK8
My preferred line of discussion with theists, especially Christians, is to first talk about children they know who sometimes need a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or something else that is a security item for them to help them sleep at night.
Now, with that in mind, think about what it must have been like to live three, four or even ten thousand years ago, with wars, and diseases, and natural events like a mudslide, earthquake, or massive storm. How would a parent help their children to be able to sleep at night after suffering a cataclysmic event like that, they need something to help make sense of what just happened. Why did their loved one die in this horrific manner?
The parent looks away, trying to think of something to say, and looks outside, sees all the stars in the night sky, and being the storytellers that came about with the refinement of language, starts to tell their children about some supernatural force must have needed such a loved and wonderful person or people as the ones who died. Or maybe it was to help a child overcome their nightmares of thunder & lightening, or whatever kept their child awake at night.
Through generations of these stories being passed along and shared, from adults to children, they grew rituals and ceremonies to go with the stories. That was the birth of various religions. They were born from a need to alleviate fears about the world around them that they didn’t understand. Religion is a collection of stories told to their kids, their loved ones or to themselves to help them sleep at night.
As for Jesus, I doubt that there was only one man born back around then that may have believed he was a son of God. In fact, there were many false prophets at that time in history, there were many people who did truly believe they have heard the voice of their gods. The man called Jesus may well have been one of those people, or an amalgamation of many of those men. So, how did this story of “his teachings” survive where others did not?
First, we don’t know for sure that all of the things attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by him, just like modern day quotes are often attributed to the wrong person. Many stories of Jesus are plagiarisms of previous stories.
Second, this man called Jesus had a better marketing team, not just the 12 apostles, but all of the other followers, they kept relaying these stories to their families, friends, neighbors and nearby countries. They may have wrote letters to nearby countries and their leaders, and had the first wildly successful marketing campaign.
But, son of God? No. That is just fantasy. Just hopeful, wishful, delusional fantasy.