Time was when Jesus was looked upon as God, or the son of God. No one had any doubt of his divinity or divine character; or if he had, he wisely deferred to the superstitious majority and kept his mouth shut and so kept his head on his shoulders. This idea that Jesus was God has been steadily declining for several hundred years. Intelligence has pretty much given it up, except where it is paid a big salary for preaching it. There is no rational defense that can be made of the dogma of the divinity of Jesus. It is one of many theological absurdities that was born when Gods were popular.
A large number believe that Jesus was a man and nothing more; a good man, but still human. They look upon him as a product of human nature. He is allowed a human father and mother, although the Gospels, in which is found the story of his life, hardly warrant so much earthly parentage.
He is regarded as a part of humanity, and his extraordinary deeds merely as exaggerated performances of heart and hand of man.
The people that look upon Jesus as a man have a superstitious reverence for his humanity. He is called “the one perfect man,” the “pattern of the race,” etc. Though human, they will have him every inch a man.
Yet others see nothing remarkable in the career of Jesus; nothing which marks him for universal emulation; nothing which compels praise and admiration. They think he was a sort of mild lunatic, possessed of the idea that he was the Messiah of his people, and that in endeavoring to further his scheme he antagonized the existing authority and met the just punishment of his ambition.
But it is neither as God nor as a man that Jesus must be regarded, but as a myth. No such person ever lived either as a human or divine existence. He is simply a creature of fancy, the fruit of the imagination. He is a character of the brain, the creation of religious genius.