I have pretty much always been a non-believer - although I was scared of ghosts and had plenty of nightmares when I was young. I got interested in Eastern religions because of practising Judo when I was at primary school and this continued on with interests in Indian and South East Asian religions, meditation, hypnosis and Chinese martial arts later.
At the World Federation of Haemophilia International Congress XIII in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 8-13 1979, on a free day, the organisers gave us a tour around the Old City of Jerusalem:
and I found the original version of this book in one of the shops:
which is about a Jewish sect, the Essenes, in Qumran at about the time “Christianity” was supposedly starting - text on the scrolls show some similarities to the later Christian Gospels.
In the early 90’s when I was working in First Year Biology at Sydney Uni, I bumped into Barbara Thiering who wrote some interesting interpretations of the texts in the scrolls using the “Pesher Technique”:
I had seen a TV documentary about her work and bought the books. Although the technique was interesting and offered some alternative views of the period, Barbara didn’t get much support from the academic community and of course virtually none from Christian “scholars”.
So, over the years I have maintained an interest in scholarly, evidence-based work that elucidates better what was going on at the time and explains how we have ended up with the varieties of Christian churches that we have today.
Recently I watched some videos of a younger academic who is has done some new, excellent, forensic and scientific analysis of the whole “was Jesus a real person” thing:
"Richard Carrier ~@ Announcing appearances, publications, and analysis of questions historical, philosophical, and political by author, philosopher, and historian Richard Carriir"
"Official Website of Richard Carrier"
"Bayes Theorem: Key to the Universe, Richard Carrier Skepticon 4"
"Why Invent the Jesus? ~@ Richard Carrier Ph.D. - YouTube"
"Richard Carrier, Rapture Day - YouTube"
"Christianity Debunked Using Science and History Richard Carrier - YouTube"
"The Real Origins of Christianity - Richard Carrier - YouTube"
"Why the Gospels are Myth | Richard Carrier - YouTube"
"Richard Carrier Interviewed by Scott Burdick - YouTube"
"Dr Richard Carrier: “Christianity without Jesus” - YouTube"
"Quick Rebuttals to Common Christian Claims - YouTube"
"The Gospel According to Carrier - YouTube"
"The Gospel According to Carrier Part II - YouTube"
"Dr. Richard Carrier at CFI Calgary - YouTube"
"The Case for Atheism (Richard Carrier) - YouTube"
And then I bought one of his books as well as the Android app:
I am about 30% into the book so far and it is very impressive.