His story is of a real person who had explored the sacred knowledge of his era and who used this knowledge and his own insights to shape the thinking of his disciples. And he told them to bring others into the fold of his teachings and taught them how. They are still doing it today some two thousand years later.
His successors folded into the story a palette of the mythologies then accepted by their contemporaries as they strived to make their founder divine. They felt that this was necessary to provide immediacy to the monotheistic doctrine that they championed. Perhaps it is.
Today, the mythologies become a distraction.
Yet his example and his concept of church became an organizing principal that washed away paganism and the barbarian dream. Yet many who live this western Christen culture proffer the conceit that we have something different by the mere fact that only a minority attend Christian services. Instead we need to understand that the air we breathe is a Christen air.
The continuing growth and acceptance of this culture has never slowed. Throughout its history, actual resistance has always caused it to strengthen and expand unless simply crushed.
It is appropriate that his birthday is honored by all throughout the world, for all have benefited from the success of his example and derivative movements.
Today, his example has freed most of the global population and we are seeing the way through for the balance. Following in his footsteps does not require faith. It is just the right thing to do.