but considering the fact that there is a 2,000 year old barrier between now and jesus-time, with the religious text being altered overtly and through translation, doesn't that just open the door to a bunch of no true scotsman bullshit?
absolutely, this is why i have become increasing disenchanted with the supposed importance of theology in matters of interpretation. it's full of flaws and has a pretty shitty historical record of being completely wrong, resisting change, and then finally changing a position after it's considered egregiously unacceptable in civilized society.
you don't see it much in the south but there's a pretty significant christian subculture (most of them don't even like to be identified under that word) that believe in the existence of a god and the historical veracity of jesus the historical figure but recognize the inherent flaws in a lot of the literalist approaches to interpretation and tend to take the approach of simply living out the couple of things that jesus actually seemed to think was important (according to the texts) like taking care of the poor and it being a major problem if you have something and your brother doesnt (lol republicans.)
my views on these things evolve constantly as i process new data, but this is pretty close to where i am right now personally.