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January 25th, 2012
12:52 PM ET

My take: Reclaiming Jesus’ sense of humor

Editor’s note: James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine and author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life," from which this article is adapted.

By James Martin, Special to CNN

Here’s a serious question about levity: The Bible clearly paints a picture of Jesus of Nazareth as a clever guy, but he never seems to laugh, much less crack a smile. Did Jesus really have no sense of humor; didn't he ever laugh?

Well, one difficulty with finding humor in the New Testament is that what was seen as funny to those living in Jesus' time may not seem funny to us.

For someone in first-century Palestine, the premise (or “setup” as a comic would say) was probably more amusing than the punch line. "The parables were amusing in their exaggeration or hyperbole," Amy-Jill Levine, a New Testament scholar at Vanderbilt University, said in an interview. “The idea that a mustard seed would have sprouted into a big bush that birds would build their nests in would be humorous."

People in Jesus’ day would probably have laughed at many of his intentionally funny illustrations: for example, the idea that someone would have lit a lamp and put it under a basket, or that a person would have built a house on sand or that a father would give a child stones instead of bread.

But contemporary Christians may be missing the humor that Jesus intended and that his audience understood.

Father Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, professor of New Testament at Boston College, agrees. "Humor is very culture bound," he told me. "The Gospels have a lot of controversy stories and honor-shame situations. I suspect that the early readers found these stories hilarious, whereas we in a very different social setting miss the point entirely."

Let’s repeat that: hilarious.

Or maybe we just know the stories too well. Too many Gospel stories have become stale, like overly repeated jokes. "The words seem to us like old coins," wrote Elton Trueblood, a 20th-century Quaker scholar, "in which the edges have been worn smooth and the engravings have become almost indistinguishable."

In his book "The Humor of Christ," Trueblood recounts the tale of his 4-year-old son hearing the Gospel story of seeing the speck of dust in your neighbor's eye and ignoring the log in your own and laughing uproariously. His son recognized the humor that someone else, who might have heard the story dozens of times, might miss.

There are other indications in the Gospels that Jesus of Nazareth had a lively sense of humor. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is castigated for not being as serious as John the Baptist. "The Son of Man came eating and drinking," Jesus said, "and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard.’ ” In other words, the Gospels record criticism of Jesus for being too high-spirited.

"Jesus and his disciples," said the Rev. Richard J. Clifford, SJ, a biblical scholar at Boston College, "are criticized for living it up!"

After his time on Earth, some of this playfulness may have been downplayed by the Gospel writers, who, scholars say, may have felt pressured by the standards of their day to present a more serious Jesus.

"There were probably things that were compressed and shortened, and some of the humor may have been leached out," Clifford said. "But I see Jesus as a witty fellow, someone who is serious without being grim. When the disciples argue among themselves, Jesus brings wit into the discussion."

Jesus also embraces others with a sense of humor. In the beginning of the Gospel of John comes the remarkable story of Nathanael, who has been told by his friends that the Messiah is from Nazareth. Nathanael responds, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

This is an obvious joke about how backwards the town was; Nazareth was seen as a backwater with only a few hundred people.

And what did Jesus say in response? Does he castigate Nathanael for mocking his hometown?

Jesus says nothing of the sort! Nathanael's humor seems to delight him.

"Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit," Jesus said. In other words, here’s someone I can trust.

Nathanael then became one of the apostles. Jesus’ welcoming of Nathanael into his inner circle may be the clearest indication that Jesus had a sense of humor.

Besides, what kind of a person has zero sense of humor? I asked Eileen Russell, a clinical psychologist based in New York who specializes in the role of resilience, how she would describe the psychological makeup of a person without a sense of humor.

“A person without a sense of humor would lead to that person having significant social problems,” she said. “He would most likely have difficulty making social connections, because he wouldn’t be able to read signals from other people, and would be missing cues.”

That’s the opposite of what we know about Jesus from the Gospels. Yet that's just the kind of one-sided image that many Christians have of Jesus. It shows up in Christian books, sermons and in artwork. It influences the way that Christians think about Jesus, and therefore influences their lives as Christians.

If part of being human includes having a sense of humor, and if Jesus was “fully human,” as Christians believe, he must have had a fully developed sense of humor. Indeed, his sense of humor may be one unexamined reason for his ability to draw so many disciples around him with ease.

It’s time to set aside the notion that Jesus was a humorless, grim-faced, dour, unsmiling prude. Let’s begin to recover his humor and, in the process, his humanity.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • TV

soundoff (1,367 Responses)
  1. augustghost

    I believe my nieces Dr Suess book more than the bible..

    January 26, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      What the hell is a 'family credenza' anyway?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Freenomynous

      It's carnal, man!

      January 26, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  2. Enlightened

    Can't wait till Zeus comes back and puts all you Christians straight.... or maybe Gay!

    January 26, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  3. Brian

    Read the Bible in the original languages and you will find it's full of four letter words – some of them funny. Our English Bible is more a paraphrase than a translation.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  4. Emanuel Burgos

    I loved this article. It gave me an entirely new perspective on some familiar passages of the Gospels. Thanks!

    January 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Maybe this is why some so-called experts removed the Book of Maccabees from the Bible. All that hilarious stuff about frying the Maccabee family in giant pans didn't play well at Zanies.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  5. Michael

    What a great perspective! I never even considered this. Its entirely likely that He really was quite funny, as humor is a powerful way to lead someone to the Truth.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Yes, many of us have been led to the Truth by the likes of George Carlin, Bill Maher and Lewis Black.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Believer

      Michael I agree completly, Jesus was a powerful speaker and a lot of powerful speakers use humour to convey their message not just comedians.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Freenomynous

      I got powerful speakers! Quadrophonic! Duuuude!

      January 26, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  6. JIGAB00

    How do you break up Occupy wall street?

    Fly overhead with a helicopter and drop a bunch of job applications.

    Hahahahahahaha, foogin hippies

    January 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Toto

      Hardy Har Har, we have comedian in the crowd.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  7. Lamar

    Lighten up you people – all you dour athiests and sour non believers.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • be4you

      What-d-ya mean? Some good jokes in hear by the atheists. Seems pretty light to me.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Ironicus

      That's a tone-troll. It says others are angry, bitter, sad, etc. when it is clearly bullcrap.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Seems that it's the most pious of believers who have no sense of humor about the Bible. We sure do. 🙂

      January 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  8. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":

    This is humorous? More like a sad chapter in the history of humankind!!

    Luther, Calvin, Joseph Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    January 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • jcg

      So what do you believe in?

      January 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      January 26, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • ......

      Best response to reality bull sh it? hit report abuse and move on

      January 26, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  9. Elizabeth

    One of the jokes that people don't get today: somebody not knowing the difference between their left hand and their right hand. Many cultures reserve the left hand for toilet, and the right for eating, so a person that doesn't know the difference is like a person that doesn't know their *ss from their elbow. These jokes are constant in the Gospels.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • go4it

      Yea, the bible makes me laugh.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • omg it's a laugh a minute

      Stop! my sides hurt! Oh man, those madcaps! No more!

      January 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Happy Happy Joy Joy

      Well, the Three Kings did bring baby Jesus gold, frankincense and mirth, eh?

      (I know, I know...)

      January 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Having endured four years of Jesuit education, I can assure you that the Jebbies only found humor in physical and sxual abuse. This priest is wringing the last few drops from a stone, and he and his holy order can shove it.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  10. Kebos

    I have it on......good faith.....that Jesus as a teenager did the stand-up comedian circuit around the Sea of Galillee. It was only after bombing so many times that he went into religion. Better hours, more money, fame.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      A Jewish comedian! Who ever heard of such a thing? 😉

      January 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  11. Mark

    According to Kurt Vonnegut . . . when Judas asks why the ointment wasn't sold & the money given to the poor – what Jesus probably said was, "Hey, there'll be plenty of poor left when I'm gone." Even I can grasp that one . . .

    January 25, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  12. best

    Accually all of you dont understand what you are saying. the bible isnt about the past, its about exactly right now. it was meant for one person, and that one person is here. though everyone can gain earthly knowlege from the 'surface' wording, the coded wording they would never recognize because it isnt for them. so silly that in 2000 years no one has understood what 666 is? yes God and the Bride have a cheery sense of humorbut are also VERY serious. JEALOUS has a sickening sense of humor. youll see 1day

    January 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • The Phist

      hahahahahaha

      January 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Question

      7 is referenced many times throughout the bible symbolizing entirety/completeness. Anything repeated 3 times often refers to "the greatest extent/importance". So when 666 is referred to a person (aka Satan), it means symbolizes that he is to the fullest extent of what a person can try be. But he is still short of 777 which would be God.

      Not that hard to understand...

      January 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • The Phist

      What's hard to understand is how people believe in the bible when it's been proven false by itself.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • totallyexactly

      The Phist says:
      "What's hard to understand is how people believe in the bible when it's been proven false by itself."
      I say THATs the JOKE! Its just more first millennium humor we don't get any more.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  13. Political traveler

    Jesus freaks.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • caddiemurray

      I am very proud to stand up as a Jesus Freak. YES, I am one!!

      January 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • 0G-No gods. ghosts or goblins

      Caddie, recognizing that you have a problem is the first step towards a cure. Congratulations!

      January 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  14. Me

    To evyerone,

    Just out of curiousity, what do you suppose the male to female comments ratio is? Id guess 85% male and 15% female.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  15. secularbear

    Did he ever nail any of the chicks in his village? Or did he just molest little boys like most religious leaders have done since then?

    January 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • totallyexactly

      maybe all his hanging out with Mary Magdalene was another joke we don't get. Or then again maybe she was the first "beard."

      January 26, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  16. NNW

    The Romans, the occupiers of Israel/Judea at the time, did not rename Judea to "Syria Palaestina" until the Bar Kokhba revolt (132–136 CE). Hadrian had the land renamed as a punishment for Jewish nationalism/revolt. Therefore, there is no such thing as "First Century Palestine." Thank you

    January 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • secularbear

      Who cares, the whole region is complete garbage.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • NNW

      @secularbear – What has the dirt and water of Israel done to you to deserve to be called "garbage?" You have clearly never seen her.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • The Phist

      The only thing to come out of that region is hummus.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • totallyexactly

      Wow that is SO useful. Go talk to yourself in binary code.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  17. carolyn

    Jesus loved to party. His first miracle was at a wedding reception. When the wine ran out he made more even better than the first served by the host. He difinitely is someone I'd have loved to hang out with.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Lol

      Lol, yeah, I like the part at the end where he comes back and slaughters everybody who doesn't want to grovel at his feet. What a totally groovy dude!

      January 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Believer

      LOL that was not Jesu.s who did that, but man who misunderstood his teachings. In fact when man does that he misses the entire point of Christianity which is forgiveness.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Where is that? Not that party. If you mean the end of time, well, if you think that our species is above extinction, think again; there is hope that we might have a resurrection.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Lol
      That's Christ who will supposedly be returning with a sword, not Jesus. Polar opposites.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Believer

      If you read the Bible correctly you will find that Jes.us is not condemning us at all. We condemned our selves when we sinned and he provided the only way out. Its not his fault you dont want to take it.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Believer
      I suppose every people who has ever been wiped out by a warlord's hordes committed the 'sin' of not bowing down. The Christ described in Revelation is just another of these warlords.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • The Phist

      By "correctly," you mean if you read it and twist its meaning to suit your own personal interpretation....

      January 26, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      The Phist
      Yeah, wouldn't you likely have had to be living in the eastern Mediterranean 2000 years ago to get the Bible "correctly"?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • The Phist

      Unfortunately, I think you're right. Guess I'll burn in hell then. I could go for the tan.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Forgiveness? So Don Henley is Jesus?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Inconvenient George

      If Jeebus' dad weren't suck a pri'ck, we wouldn't need a "way out ".

      January 26, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  18. "The idea that a mustard seed would have sprouted into a big bush that birds would build their nests in would be humorous."

    No......no, it really wouldn't...just....just no....

    January 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  19. Yep, what this world needs...

    Well, I for one think that the whole god/jesus thing is a joke.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  20. JoJo

    God must have a sense of humor. That Genesis yarn is a scream. And He's gotta be pulling our legs with the Jonah in the fish thing.

    January 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Jim

      Revelations is a real hoot too.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • The Phist

      Job is great if you're looking for something depressing to read. It's like a dog's owner giving his best friend permission to kick the dog in the ribs repeatedly while the owner watches. And at the end, the dog gets a treat from his owner. But his ribs are all still broken.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • secularbear

      I think the absolutely most hilarious bible story is when David buys his wife with 200 foreskins.

      1 Samuel 18:27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

      That's one of the verses I cite when I come across one of those brain dead biblical literalist clowns... to think this book is not only credible, but the central focus of so many people's lives, is utterly beyond my comprehension.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • The Phist

      The guy must've been hungry. That's a lot of foreskin.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Lol

      it was a kosher substi.tute for pork cracklin' skins. a delightful treat.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Question

      @Phist

      You obviously have not read the entire book of Job. It is, in fact, one of the most encouraging book of the Bible. It's even more amazing if you actually put it in context using systematic theology.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      Job is actually the most depressing book. God allows the devil to screw with him, just for a bet.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Question

      @secularbear

      1 Samuel 18: 1-26 is where it makes 27 interesting. Since you forgot to read those, I'll summarize. Saul was jealous of David and wanted him killed. The scheme was to send him into battle with an impossible task, in hopes he would be killed. Saul promises David his daughter in return because she had a crush on David. The humor in all this, is that God ensured David's victory to ensure his eventual succession to the throne.

      The story ends with: "When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days." (1 Samuel 18:28, 29 NIV84)

      @Inconvenient George

      You too have obviously never read (or at least comprehended) past Chapter 2 of a 42 chapter book....

      January 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • The Phist

      Question, I was 7 years old the first two times I read the book of Job. Any more assumptions you'd like to make?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Believer

      Phist, Maybe you should read it again? because at the end of Job God blessess him and gives him way more than he ever had before.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Cinderella

      Believer,

      Yeh, the ones that end with, "...and they all lived happily after." are da best.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Scarlet O'Hara

      Believer,

      Aw, those first 7 sons and 3 daughters... I'll think about them tomorrow.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Believer

      Cinderella, they really are arent they? especially when they are true.

      Scarlet, dont worry you dont have to because they believed and were saved. So really they ended up better than Job because they went to heaven. So a great ending for them too 🙂

      January 26, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • The Phist

      REALLY?!?!?!?!?!
      Well jesus gamblnig with satan christ, I never knew that!

      FYI. According to the fable, god allows satan to destroy Job's life. This includes the death of his children. But at the end of the fable, job gets his life back. Praise the lord! My reference to the treat was that he gets nice things back. The broken ribs is in reference to the children that are still dead. But who cares? That god sure is good!

      January 26, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • The Phist

      Everyone, it's ok to kill your friend's children. As long as you give him a Corvette or something afterward. But, if your friend has the audacity to complain about the pointless slaughter of his children, then NO CORVETTE. Understand?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Believer

      Phist you dont get it do you? In Malachi 3 God is spoken of as a refiner of silver. A refiner of silver leaves the silver in the fire until he can see his reflection in it. It is like that with God, we must sometimes go through hard times but in the end God can see his reflection in us. Also sometimes we as Christians lose sight of Gods plan and he has to wack us with a 2 by 4 to get us back on track! Its like with with getting fit, we have to go through all of the pain of exercise but in the end we get a great body and it was worth it!

      January 26, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Believer

      Also phist you must remember, we are all going to die at some point right? God will end our time on this earth at some point in time, no one stays here forever. So does it really matter when we die?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • The Phist

      Yes, I know. Corvettes aren't made out of silver.

      This may be hard for you to believe, but people of all walks of life experience hard times, and get through them completely without the assistance of an imaginary being. Here's a FUNNY thing... the old testament. The majority of christians claim that the old testament is no longer relevant as jesus allegedly existed to do away with it. Yet, christians constantly quote it and reference it.

      Anyway.... god is also vengeful.

      Let us now turn to the same book:

      Malachi 2:3
      God is angry because people weren't sacrificing their finest animals to him:
      "Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it."

      Sure sounds caring and loving to me.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Believer

      If you look at it from that perspective then it really is not such a horrible thing at all.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • The Phist

      If you look at it from the perspective of logic, then it's nothing more than a sick joke.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • The Phist

      Lastly, god would have to exist in order for it to "end my time." Ever heard of free will?

      Pull your head out. It's buried deep.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Believer

      I dont know how free will got dragged into this but yes I believe that we have a semi free will. For instance we cannot fly no matter how much we will to. Our bodies just cannot do it. But I believe that we have the free will to reject God, which you are doing and exercising your free will to do so.
      And funny that you mention logic because it is in your logical best interest to believe in God. There are 4 options,
      1. You believe in God and there he is there, and you are saved, eternal paradise
      2. You believe in God and he is not there, no eternal consequence
      3.You dont believe in God and he is there, eternal hell
      4. You dont believe in God and he isnt there, no eternal consequence.
      No logically what is the best thing to do based on those 4 scenarios?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Logic Fail

      @Believer, please google 'Pascal's Wager' and see why your argument is totally ridiculous. You have to first pick the correct god to worship (there are thousands) and then pick the correct way to worship him (if the god of abraham, is he catholic, jehovah's witness, suuni? Again, thousands of options) and then you have to hope that your god rewards gambling on his existence and that he doesn't care if you're sincere.

      Logic wouldn't seem to be your strong suit.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Believer

      Also Phist I have shown you with evidence and reasons for why God did what he did, you on the other hand have not given me evidence or reason as to how logic disproves Gods existence.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • What IF

      Believer,

      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century (where have you been?)

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Logic Fail

      " logic disproves Gods existence."

      Logically, you can't disprove a non-falsifiable statement. Logic Fail.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Believer

      Thank you logic fail I could not remember the name. That is not the reason why I chose christianity I was just showing how it is logically in your best interest to research the different religions, which I have, and to choose the one you find most likely. I have studied the other religions, along with Christianity and to me it makes the most sense of why the world is the way it is. And what if as to what God would do to those who just cover themselves for eternity, I am not one of those people. I love him and will do anything for him because of what he has given me. And I believe him because of the evidence I find in this world.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Believer

      Hey logic fail it wasnt me who tried to disprove God through logic it was Phist if u read these comments correctly

      January 26, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Believer

      Phist that verse in Malachi that you just quoted was in to the israelite who had rejected him again. The Bible says that the only unforgivable sin is rejecting him, which israel did and that was the consequence. If you read the Bible cover to cover you will find it explains some of the verses that seem way off

      January 26, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Logic Fail

      @Believer,

      I don't see @Phist trying to disprove anything. I do, however, see Phist using logic to show why the concept of a christian god, especially a more fundamentalist or literalist christian god, is absurd and highly unlikely. Two very different things.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • HellBent

      " The Bible says that the only unforgivable sin is rejecting him, which israel did and that was the consequence. If you read the Bible cover to cover you will find it explains some of the verses that seem way off"

      That an omnipotent and omni-benevolent being would not be able to forgive those that didn't believe in him while providing zero evidence of his/her/its existence is itself way off. As.suming that a creator of the universe would care what we think at all is the height of arrogance.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • Believer

      I dont assume, he told me. Also when you create kids, for that is what you do when you have s.ex you are creating them dont you love them? Dont you care about them? God sees us as his children and that is why he cares for us and loves us. Also according to Christianity we have all fallen and have no way to save ourselves and he provided the way out, how can he save us if we reject the way out? would you rather he knocked you out and dragged you to salvation? Cause then you lose your free will. And it is not my fault that the evidence is being destroyed, in Romans 1 and throughout Psalms it is said that the evidence for God is in nature. Isnt it funny that when nature was abundant almost every culture assumed there was a god. Now as that nature is being destroyed by man made objects atheism is on the rise. Funny how the Bible predicted this would happen

      January 26, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Believer

      Also here is some evidence from nature, look up the molecule laminin, one of the proteins that is essential for life. Guess what shape its in. Heres a hint from Space http://www.skyimagelab.com/m51-cross.html. I dont know how he could shout it out any clearer

      January 26, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Inconvenient George

      Ah yes. Arbor Day. We need more trees. And insects. Then they will all be beliebers.
      THE GODS ARE NOT ANGRY. Time to put that to bed. It's 4000 years past it's bed time.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • What IF

      Believer,

      Of course I care for my children, but I don't hide in a closet and leave little confetti-sized shreds of instructions about what I want scattered all over the neighborhood... for them to find - or not... for them to understand - or not, and if they don't get it right I will torture or slay them.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Inconvenient George

      Yes it can be clearer. Why, I saw Jeebus in my burnt toast just this morning. Praise be. Where do I sign up ?

      January 26, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • What IF

      Believer -

      Laminin? - now you are getting really ridiculous.

      http://www.snopes.com/glurge/laminin.asp

      January 26, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • HellBent

      "Also according to Christianity we have all fallen and have no way to save ourselves and he provided the way out, how can he save us if we reject the way out? would you rather he knocked you out and dragged you to salvation? Cause then you lose your free will."

      -Perhaps your god could have chosen a better means of communication than a contradictory, clear as mud book as a way of getting his message across. And if we wanted to save me, he could just do it. He wouldn't have to knock or drag. I die – heaven. Easy ... because he's supposedly omnipotent. That an omnipotent god would have to make a sacrifice (himself) is nonsensical.

      And if you really think some 'x' that's formed in the sky that's only seen by an immensely powerful telescope is a great hint from your god, then I have some ocean front property in Wyoming you might be interested in. Do you also think that god communicates through toasters? If your deity really wanted to clue us in to his existence, he could actually try literally shouting. *sigh*

      January 26, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • HellBent

      "@Believer will disagree with something that I say"

      Do you see how making nebulous predi.ctions that are virtually guaranteed to come true are meaningless? I bet you just love those Nostradamus specials, don't you. You're finding meaning where there is none simply because it reaffirms your existing beliefs. What you're seeing isn't evidence of anything – it only seems like evidence to you because you have vested interest in it being so.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • What IF

      Believer,

      We see a crescent moon in the sky for about 10 days each month (waxing & waning) - that *must* mean that Islam is true?!

      You have gone over the edge.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Believer
      Option 2 should read "You believe in God and he is not there, no eternal consequence, but you've wasted your time believing in fairy tales and made a lot of people miserable by judging them according to ancient norms.

      Similarly, Option 4 should read "You don't believe in God and he isnt there, no eternal consequence, and you lived a life with intellectual integrity without unfairly judging people.

      Belief comes with a cost never mentioned by proponents of Pascal's Wager. I wonder why? Personally, I'd rather live my life without stepping over people just to better my chances at getting a mythical reward after I die.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • The Phist

      I just had to come back and see if believer actually responded... and of course, it did. With more BS.

      I don't need to disprove something that doesn't exist. It doesn't work that way. If I were to say it does exist, then I would need to prove it. I am not going to even think of using logic with a moron that believes the shape of a molecular structure is evidence of christianity's "truth." What an idiot.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.