According to Joseph Atwill, writer of the book Caesar’s Messiah, the Roman Empire created the Gospels and the figure of Jesus Christ in the first century, as propaganda tools against the uprising of Jewish Messianic cults. He claims that the life of Jesus runs parallel with that of emperor Titus Flavius as described by one Josephus. Be that as it may. I also found this article that passionately rips into it. Christianity has most certainly been a power tool ever since it’s been around.
The real situation was probably, as usual, more messy than that. I recently read Raoul Vaneigem’s masterpiece The Resistance to Christianity. The Heresies at the Origins of the 18th Century, available for free at the invaluable Anarchist Library. It’s an exhaustive compendium of Christianity and its “heresies” from the rise of the Jewish Messianic cults a few centuries “BC” up until the Enlightenment. According to Vaneigem, there was no “historical Christ” until the fourth century. By that time there already was a Church of Rome, and the recuperation of the Messiah took some seven or eight hundred years. He does agree that Jesus Christ was constructed for political reasons.
Having an informed layperson’s opinion on this matter seems to me at the very least a year’s work.