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Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own
Some Jewish leaders are encouraging Jews to see Jesus as one of their own.
April 5th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The relationship between Jews and Jesus has traditionally been a complicated one, to say the least.

As his followers' message swept the ancient world, Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah found themselves in the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, position of being blamed for his death.

Mainstream Christian theology's position held that Judaism had been supplanted, the Jewish covenant with the divine no longer valid, because of the incarnation of God as Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

Jews, for their part, tended largely to ignore Jesus.

That's changing now.

In the past year, a spate of Jewish authors, from the popular to the rabbinic to the scholarly, have wrestled with what Jews should think about Jesus.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

And overwhelmingly, they are coming up with positive answers, urging their fellow Jews to learn about Jesus, understand him and claim him as one of their own.

"Jesus is a Jew. He spent his life talking to other Jews," said Amy-Jill Levine, co-editor of the recently released "Jewish Annotated New Testament."

"In reading the New Testament, I am often inspired, I am intrigued. I actually find myself becoming a better Jew because I become better informed about my own history," she said.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media personality who recently launched a bid for a U.S. House seat, argues in his own new book, "Kosher Jesus," that "Jews have much to learn from Jesus - and from Christianity as a whole - without accepting Jesus' divinity. There are many reasons for accepting Jesus as a man of great wisdom, beautiful ethical teachings, and profound Jewish patriotism."

And Benyamin Cohen, an Orthodox Jew who spent a recent year going to church, admitted that he's jealous that Christians have Jesus.

"He's a tangible icon that everybody can latch on to. Judaism doesn't have a superhero like that," said Cohen, the author of the 2009 book "My Jesus Year."

 

"I'm not advocating for Moses dolls," he said, but he argued that "it's hard to believe in a God you can't see. I'm jealous of Christians in that regard, that they have this physical manifestation of the divine that they can pray to.

"There could be more devout Jews than me who don't need that, but to a young Jew living in the 21st century, I wish we had something more tangible," he said.

The flurry of recent Jewish books on Jesus - including this month's publication of "The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ" by Daniel Boyarin - is part of a trend of Jews taking pride in Jesus, interfaith expert Edward Kessler said.

"In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian New Testament scholars rediscovered the Jewish Jesus. They reminded all New Testament students that Jesus was Jewish," said Kessler, the director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, England, which focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A generation later, that scholarship has percolated into Jewish thought, he said, welcoming the trend: "It's not a threat to Jews and it's not a threat to Christians."

For Jews in particular, he said, "It's not so threatening as it was even 30 years ago. There is almost a pride that Jesus was a Jew rather than an embarrassment about it."

Boteach agrees, writing in "Kosher Jesus" that "Jews will gain much from re-embracing him as a hero."

"The truth is important," Boteach writes. "A patriot of our people has been lost. Worse still, he's been painted as the father of a long and murderous tradition of anti-Semitism."

Boteach aims to claim, or reclaim, Jesus as a political rebel against Rome and to exonerate the Jews of his death. But Boteach's book has attracted plenty of criticism, for instance for blaming the Apostle Paul for everything he doesn't like about Christianity, such as hailing Jesus as divine and cutting his ties to Judaism.

"Paul never met Jesus, and Jesus certainly never would have sanctioned Paul's actions and embellishments," Boteach argues about the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament. "Jesus ... would have been appalled at how his followers would later define him."

"Jews will never accept his divinity. Nor should they," Boteach writes, in one of many instances of presuming to know what Jesus really thought and meant. "The belief that any man is God is an abomination to Judaism, a position that Jesus himself would maintain."

He cherry-picks the Gospels to to suit his arguments, writes in casual modern idioms (calling Pontius Pilate a "sadistic mass murderer" and comparing him to Hitler), and gets wrong the most basic details of the Passion story, such as the amount of money Judas took to betray Jesus.

Other experts in the field label Boteach's book "sensationalistic," and call him a "popularizer," but Kessler sees "Kosher Jesus" as part of the trend of Judaizing Jesus. Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, offered some support for Boteach even as he expressed doubts about the book.

"I understand what Shmuley is trying to get at there," he said, but added: "I don't think anyone has the right to say 'This is the definition of Jesus,' especially a rabbi. He's not ours to claim."

Levine, who teaches New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, also framed Jewish efforts to study Jesus in terms of mutual respect.

"Speaking personally as a Jew, if I want my neighbors to respect Judaism, which means knowing something about Jewish history, scripture and tradition, I owe my Christian neighbors the same courtesy. It's a matter of respect," she said.

She urged Jews to "become familiar with the material and make up their own mind as to how they understand Jesus."

Ironically, she added, Jews can understand their own history more thoroughly through studying the life of Jesus.

"The best source on the period for Jewish history other than (the first-century historian) Josephus is the New Testament," she said.

"It's one of those ironies of history that the only Pharisee writing in the Second Temple period from whom we have records is Paul of Tarsus," she said. " 'The Jewish Annotated New Testament' is designed in part to help Jews recover their own history."

But she also wants Christians to use it to understand Judaism more deeply, she said. While many Christian leaders acknowledge that Jesus was a Jew, she said, not many know much about what that means.

"Many Christian ministers and educators have no training in what early Judaism was like," she said. "Not to take seriously first-century Judaism seems to dismiss part of the message of the New Testament."

Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, found that Christians were very interested in Judaism during the 52 weeks he spent going from church to church.

"Many Christians look on Judaism as version 1.0 of their own religion. Because of that historical relationship, they're interested in a lot of the theology of Judaism," he said.

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For his part, Cohen learned much that surprised him. "I was shocked when I went to church and heard them give sermons about the Old Testament," he said. "I had no idea Christians read the Old Testament."

"One week, I went to church and the pastor gave exactly the same sermon my rabbi did the night before about Moses and the burning bush, and the pastor did it much better," he continued.

Cohen came away from his Jesus year with a clear understanding of what he believes.

"People ask me all the time if I believe in Jesus. Do I believe he exists? Sure. Do I believe he's your God? Sure, I have no problem with that," he said he tells Christians who ask.

"I understand Christians' love for Jesus and I respect that," he said. "If anything, I learned a lot from them and did become a more engaged Jew, a better Jew, and I appreciate my Judaism more because I hung out with Jesus."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (2,641 Responses)
  1. Avser Bastian

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    +(plus)

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    April 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Well sure, no one can argue with that, but about the Euro situation?

      April 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • HeHasRizen

      The gov't just hacked my utube today because i was exposing them on the antichrist deception with project blue beam chemtrails haarp and the upcoming (Alien invasion which will be fake). Most Americans are brainwashed. God is the only answer

      April 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Jason

      Dude, I know. The other day I was sleeping and I caught that guy Obama trying to steal my guns from out from under my pillow. I said "Bad Obama! These are my Guns! Bad! Bad! Bad!"

      Luckily, Alex Jones and David Icke were there to make sure I saw Obama for what he really is: A reptile space demon installed by the unholy trinity of Freemasons, Jews, and Black Civil Rights activists. See, they KNOW that the only thing that can stop these space reptiles is the sheer manliness of white, Christian, American men.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Gordon Friedman

      If I were the government, I'd monitor you too. You say such outrageous things, you might turn out to be a threat. You don't help matters either by typing in all caps.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Oh dear..

      Any of you guys need extra tinfoil hats?

      April 6, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • yournutz

      You are freekin nutz

      April 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Keith

      There is medication that will make the voices go away.

      October 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  2. Ungodly Discipline

    Christians ignore Jesus

    Christians are Liars

    Jesus made a number of very clear statements about money and wealth in the Bible. For example:

    Matthew 6:19
    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Luke 14:33
    Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

    Matthew 6:24
    No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

    Matthew 19:21-24
    Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

    Matthew 19:28-29
    Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

    Luke 9:23-25
    Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

    Matt 13: 22
    The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

    Hebrews 13:5
    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

    Phil 2:3
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

    Acts 2:44-45
    All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

    The message is clear. If you want to follow Jesus, you need to "sell your possessions and give to the poor." It is a very simple message, and easy to do. Have you done it? The fact that you are reading this page would indicate that you have not. Chances are you own a computer, pay for an Internet connection every month, live in a home or apartment, have a car, etc. In other words, you live a life at a level of wealth unimaginable in Jesus' time. Meanwhile, billions of people on the planet live in startling, abject poverty.

    Why don't you sell everything and follow Jesus, as he requests in the Bible? The reason is simple: Jesus and God are imaginary, and you know it. If Jesus were real, you would do what he says.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • just sayin

      That is why 99.9% of Christians are a joke and need to be utilized as soylent green.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • just sayin

      In another 3000 years after the last Christian has died or given up...will Jesus still exist?

      April 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • just sayin

      What criteria is used to move a belief from religion to mythology?

      April 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Let's say I have a car. Let's say I'm a Christian. You say I'm a liar and not following Jesus. Let's say that I need that car because I am a successful traveling salesman. Let's say I give a good deal of my wealth to the poor. Let's say that I sell my car (and give the relatively meager proceeds to the poor)–as you appear to suggest is required of me–and as a result, I lose my business and have no money. I no longer give to the poor. They starve because I'm following Jesus? Context is everything.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      ...and this is when the Christians run and hide from the truth. Like co.ckroaches when you turn on the light.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • hahaha

      Go hypocritical republican party.. give it another hundred years and theyll "interpret" a new version of the bible.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Chance

      @Ungodly D

      a real christian is someone who lays down their life for what is righteous; a lifetime pursuit of working to be a reflection of Jesus.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Chance

      @Just Sayn i disagree with you 100% of Christians fall short; every single one. Thats the point of Jesus he took the place of the christian and covered up all the shame. We are all just people and we all mess up. No one is blameless religion aside just speaking morally we all have imperfections. Christians by faith take on forgiveness through Jesus.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Chance

      Sorry guys but let me give you another view of Christian wealth...God doesn't want anyone believer or non believer to be in lack. It is the belief if you are blessed by God and are wealthy you are to help the needy. That doesn't mean disregard your obligations of providing for your family. If your a Christian you don't equate following God to lack; if you believe in God you believe in abundance. Christians are to work hard to provide for their family and do their part in helping the world around them.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Chance...I would suggest that if our wealth (like that of the rich young ruler) gets in our way of giving our lives to Jesus, then yes, He would rather we lack material possessions that give up our soul.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Wilson Baird

      You cote the Bible in the same manner satan did to tempt Jesus in desert..... out of the context!!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  3. James the Just

    If you even start to examine Yeshua (Jesus), or wonder about him, study him, you will quickly follow him. He never said he was G-D, not at any time did he claim he was the Father our G-D. He is however divine, he is Light, the Light of the world, just not the boss... Tune in tonight for an examination of Isaiah 19: Egypt vs Israel..6PM http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yhwhyeshuaministry/2012/04/06/end-times-prophecy-israel-and-egypt

    April 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Morrissey

      "Jesus never said he was God". Please see John 10:30, where Jesus directly addresses that precise statement. He did not leave the decision about whether or not he was God up to us to decide.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Hmm...you seem to be incorrect. I did not quickly follow him. I did not even slowly follow him.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Maff

      Jesus did say he was God. You should read again.
      John 10:30

      April 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      Jesus was a jewish Prophet. As a jew, he practiced jewish monotheism. "...the father is greater than I...." Divinity of Jesus is something created AFTER the death of Jesus.

      Also note, Jesus DID NOT certify or authenticate the Bible as the Word of God. He did not leave behind an "official, authorized version." The version in the hands of the christians is authenticated and certified by men of the church after Jesus was long gone from this earth. They CHOSE from thousands of books, what THEY THOUGHT was God's word.

      April 6, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • Keith

      I don't know if you are right about becoming a follower but you are right about Christ claiming divinity, he never claimed to be God.

      October 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  4. david

    when Rome destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD they also destroyed records of births and family lines. anyone claiming to be the Messiah now can not be verified so many will look for 'signs and wonders' to prove it, however david Copperfield can make the illusion of a jet disappearing before your eyes.

    the Book of Isaiah talks about the suffering servant being tortured "by His wounds we are healed" but many scholars down play it saying it is the nation of Israel that suffered not a person....yet the word is singular meaning it is a person. "He was bruised for our iniquities" . some Jews are seeing the correlation of why God commanded when they barbequed lamb on the passover to brush the lambs blood on the door post, at night when the angel of death saw the blood he then "passed over" the home to the next, the egyptians and pharoah laughed at the command but at night the angel of death took the first born of every house that did not have the lambs blood on the door.

    Jesus is called the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world . He died and to pay for mans sin, and He arose from the grave in victory. everyone who believes in Jesus will be saved for when God sees the Lambs blood (spiritually speaking) judgement passes over you. you are now fit to enter heaven . read the king james or new king james Bible.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      Without evidence other than writings of man, your Jesus was simply a bas tard born from a wh ore. He was delusional and clearly mentally ill and died as a result of it.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • just sayin

      That is the reality...however with self perpetuated delusion christians overlook this reality.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • 1st

      Rev. 2:9 & Rev. 3:9.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • searchinmyroots

      I'm sorry David but the Hebrew bible does NOT say that "he was bruised FOR our iniquities". It actually says he was bruised FROM our iniquities". Big difference.

      Also, there are many places where Israel is called "HIM" in the singular. Read Jeremiah 50-17 "17 for one.

      A scattered sheep is Israel which lions have driven away. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and this last one broke his bones, Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon."

      Also Psalm 25-22

      You need to understand the Hebrew Bible in the language it is written in, not some 3rd generation translation.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Sprinkle Salt Over Your Shoulder

      david, "...at night the angel of death took the first born of every house that did not have the lambs blood on the door."

      What is your evidence, outside of Hebrew legend, that this really occurred?

      April 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "Jesus is called the Lamb of God"

      by who!!! God? Jesus himself?

      April 6, 2012 at 3:45 am |
    • Lady T

      @ 1st
      Thank you......also look at Duet. 28.......how can today's isrealite possible be those of Duet 28

      April 16, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  5. CNN ARCHIVES

    Re: Jews for Jesus

    o Ungodly Discipline
    Well, as my daughter often reminds me, dancing squirrels don't like to take baths.

    o Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel God of Rapped Polka
    Your daughter is an anti-squirrelian bigot hater liar zealot! She can take her anti-rodental lies and just shove off! And she looks funny without fur, like all of you humans!
    Beware, for the revolution is near! We have stockpiled acorns to bonk you in the head! On St. Patrick’s Day, when you are all drunk and singing warbbly Irish songs, we will go forth and conquer the world . . . oh crud, I was supposed to keep that a secret. Nevermind.

    o Ungodly Discipline
    Ok, look Bip, the issue with the squirrels runs deeper than just the foul stench. They are like soccer moms driving around talking on their cell phones paying no attention to anything and never using their turn signals. Every morning I back out of my driveway and squish two or three of them because they are too busy listening to J-pop on the their mini I-pods and dancing and they can't hear my SUV backing up. Stupid Squirrels.

    o Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel God of Rapped Polka
    So YOU are the Dark One, the squirrelicidal maniac plaguing our happiness and rise to power! You are targeted! When the Day-Of-Reckoning-And-Tasty-Peanut-Snacks comes, you will feel the really annoying annoyance of being bonked on the head repeatedly with acorns! We will frustrate your dog by running back and forth along the fence where he cannot quite get us! With a break for snacks, of course.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  6. portland tony

    Crucifixion wasn't just a Jesus thing. The Romans executed most of their criminals in similar fashion. Some with a cross member, others with just a pole. The idea was to promulgate that crime didn't pay. The bodies were left hanging long after their deaths. Many begged to have their legs broken prior to being attached to the crucifix so death would come quickly. Jesus either did not ask for or was refused this act of mercy.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      Delusion didnt pay for Jesus.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Thank you for sharing this common knowledge.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ya know what would have been funny? They break his legs, then he heals himself, so they break them again and he heals himself again. This goes on for hours until the soldiers get mad at Jesus and call him bad names.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • just sayin

      Ungodly Discipline

      Ya know what would have been funny? They break his legs, then he heals himself, so they break them again and he heals himself again. This goes on for hours until the soldiers get mad at Jesus and call him bad names.

      >
      I guess he would have had to crawl out of the tomb. Crawling down the road telling his disciple to slow the F%^ down as he talked to him.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      Or to put it another way, since "Jesus' legs were never broken" as you say to hasten death, AND there are NO EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS in the Bible where specific saints and disciples are swearing that "yes indeed, they saw a dead Jesus on the cross with their own eyes". Did Jesus actually die on the cross?

      April 6, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Jesus

      Funny, he doesn't look Jewish.Why do all the representations of Christ look anglo or nordic? He was (if he ever lived), a semitic character with a hook nose, maybe 5' 3" tall and swarthy complexion. Hardly attractive by our TV and movie star standards.

      April 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  7. Reality

    Many Jews don't accept the historical Abraham or the historical Moses. I doubt they will accept the historical Jesus at least the one who rose from the dead.

    Only for the newcomers.

    o origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    April 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      "And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation."
      >
      More like a famous sheep wrangler of his time.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Neesha

      Abraham & Jesus were referred to as Hebrew in the original Hebrew context.

      April 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Keith

      I didn't think any Jews thought that the scriptures were the literal truth. All of them I ever discussed this with thought Fundamentalist Christians were crazy for believing that about the creations stories. The Jews have many more creation stories than the two in Genesis. Oh !! get some Christian to explain to you how the two different stories go together.

      October 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Ungodly Discipline

    I have to go to the dentist today. Pray for me.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • holyman

      I am praying for you, hoping I will get paid for my service, maybe from GOD...lol.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    April 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      It's Groundhog Day!

      April 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • just sayin

      It's groundhog season duck ug nothing but chunks.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  10. Ungodly Discipline

    If you consult the dictionary, here is the first definition of God that you will find:

    "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

    Most believers would agree with this definition because they share a remarkably clear and consistent view of God. Yes, there are thousands of minor (and some major) quibbles about religion. Believers express those quibbles in dozens of denominations - Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists and other faiths. But at the heart of it all, the belief in God aligns on a set of core ideas that everyone accepts.

    What if you were to simply think about what it would mean if there were a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe? Is it possible for such a being to exist?

    Epicures thought about it in 300 BCE, and he came up with this:

    "The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"

    In other words, if you sit and think about who God is supposed to be, you realize that such a being is impossible. Ridiculous, in fact.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      No idiots like you and eppy look at God that way. Real thinking people look at God with love and awe.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      There is no god, so what's to look at? You keep on "thinking" there genius.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Chance

      What would be the point of life if God (Real or Not whatever your take) was visible and ruled. You or anyone for that matter wouldn't have a choice. People who despise the idea of God or people that logically rule out God because of what goes on in the world forget that the idea behind serving God is freedom to do or not to do. Christians believes "we are in this world but not of it" that's all you have to understand; man-kind is in charge our actions dictate the outcome of the human race. If people believe in Jesus its not a bad thing. If Christians really followed the example Jesus left its not a bad thing for non believers. The basics are simple...When Jesus returns (believe it or ridicule it or dismiss it) he will end all the injustice; that's the hope, whats wrong with that? Real Christians are OK with people who don't believe, Jesus didn't come to condemn nor do real Christians. Its good to have a regular discussion on the subject but a real Christian is OK with agreeing to disagree. After all one day we will find out...either there is a light at the end of the tunnel or absolute nothing.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Who are you ungodly that anyone should listen to your babble? One, you are too young, haven't been through any fires in life. When you do, your arrogant tune will change.

      Still praying for you to come over to His light.

      Amen.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • just sayin

      While you idiots don't see God. I see and hear him daily. God Bless

      April 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      @chance
      What is a real Christian?

      @HeavenSent
      Listen or don’t, I don’t care. I am just expressing my opinions. Don’t pray for me, waste of your time, and speaking of arrogant. Jeez.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • TR6

      @just sayin:”While you idiots don't see God. I see and hear him daily. God Bless”

      They have medication now that can fix that

      April 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  11. Ungodly Discipline

    When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." For example:

    • The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.
    • The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.
    • The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

    The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds. In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

    According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

    Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

    God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You mean Chris Angel isn't real?!

      April 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Doc, no he's real. But I stand by all the rest.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      ungodly aka realitynot, you guys are too young to know anything about life. So, keep being impressed with your degrees, no one else is.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • just sayin

      HeavenSent

      ungodly aka realitynot, you guys are too young to know anything about life. So, keep being impressed with your degrees, no one else is.

      >

      Your insecurity about youth, your age and your mistakes you made in life clearly show. lol

      April 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      HS
      I know you like to keep tabs on user names. I AM not "realitynot" whatever that is. My other names are:
      Alien Orifice and The Central Scrutinizer. Sometimes Sports Fan or Father O'blivion. Write it down so you don't forget. I have told you this several time now. I guess because I am so young and you are so old it is difficult for you to keep straight.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • lawmanjed

      Ungodly Discipline – you stated "whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary". I gather from your statement that you have never prayed and had your prayers answered. I have and so have many of my friends and people I love and trust. Would you change your mind at all about or reconsider the existence of God if He did answer one of your prayers, especially if it was of crucial importance to you? Or have you just carved out a position or disbelief and intend to maintain it at all costs despite evidence to the contrary?

      April 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  12. Great Article

    CNN-Great article and a good read.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  13. Pipe-Dreamer

    The Lord of Salvation, Christ Jesus died on the cross for the redemptions of those who are lost and unworthy and He died on the cross NOT for those who delcare themselves as righteous lots. I know not whether I will be of any wothiness to God and His Kind when I die. I can only hold my breath when death becomes me. This Gospel, this Holy Bible does tell me that God created us as being but "Buildings" most likely for God and His Generations and Brethrens to inhabit. If truth then when one dies, they are wisked inwardly into the Kingdom of God which is their body, the building of the Godly.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I am sure you will be of some wothiness.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      There is very strong evidence in the Synoptic Gospels that Jesus may actually NOT HAVE DIED on the cross.
      - no eyewitnesses testify seeing Jesus dead on the cross
      - legs not broken
      - short stay on the cross, very short
      - whisked away by secret disciple to a nearby roomy chamber
      - body secure and hidden from public view for 3 days thereafter
      - no big burial ceremony, no big crowd of people seeing the dead body on display, nothing

      April 6, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  14. sam

    I have a terrible feeling that a Jesus superhero comic book and/or graphic novel is coming.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It's called "Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter" and was released by the same fine people who brought you The Toxic Avenger and Sgt Kabukiman NYPD.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Super Friends.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  15. Jonathan

    Jesus was either a madman, a liar or the Son of God. There is no other option.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • HellBent

      Don't paint yourself into a corner. It's only true if you assume that the gospels are accurate. A perfectly valid additional option – Jesus was a decent moral philosopher who, for various reasons, had numerous supernatural acts attributed to him by people who had never met him several decades after he died.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      He may have been a bartender. They give great advice. I think he was a bartender. More wine sir?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I do consider the bible to be historically accurate. Archeology goes a long way to show this in the last 2,000 years, at least.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • .

      "Jesus was either a madman, a liar or the Son of God. There is no other option."

      Jesus was an align from another planet.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @Hellbent...I would tend to agree that that is another option (although the evidence would tend to refute that option). Perhaps the better series of choices would be that He's either worth worshiping or He isn't.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • .

      oops...alien.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • fred

      VanHagar
      When Jesus said "I AM the way the truth ........no one comes to the Father but by me" and in view of "I have many sheep who are not of this fold". Can we conclude there are more ways than Christianity to get into heaven?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • HellBent

      @fred – of course you can. Many Christians have come to this conclusion. It's all in the way you interpret those words. Which is why your god should have been a LOT more clear in his instructions to us.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Reality

      Fred,

      As noted many times, said passage was an invention of John. Actually, many contemporary NT scholars consider John's gospel to be mostly fiction.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • fred

      HellBent on
      Reality
      Toss John and simply go with those words that reliable scholars as a whole consider valid and we still have the foundations of unity with God. One theme is that unity with God brings peace, joy, love, patience. Ignoring God for the moment is that a true statement all can agree upon?
      If that is so then Gods word is true whether you believe in God or not and even if God does not exist. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God (from John so you may want to ignore). God spoke the world into existence is what the Hebrew Bible says. The spoken word is the tool God used to create a place where perfect unity could exist. By the word man can reestablish unity with God as it was intended all along. There is a way there is a truth there is a life that leads to perfect unity. Is that a good starting position?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Fred...I don't want to use terms like "christianity" that can be broadly defined. I will simply say that, IMHO, unless you accept Jesus as your savior, then no, you will not be in Heaven. I suppose the more important question is what does it mean to accept Jesus as your savior, and perhaps just as importantly, which Jesus–the one commonly identified by Catholics and most protestant groups? The definition of Jesus is substantially different for the LDS church...are they saved? I admittedly wrestle with these issues.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • fred

      VanHagar
      Yes, I have been broadening the gate that was too narrow for most people to get through. I had the sense that I was drifting away from the basic fundamentals. The drift began when I started opening up the Old Testament to a view of general themes and threads that followed throughout the Bible. Noah and the ark could be a theme of God providing protection for true believers over the floods of life, the serpent in the garden with man being the dance of good and evil, the tree of life from the beginning available to all who choose, then down to Jesus at the cross where the one criminal with Jesus simply revealed a humble soul asking Jesus to remember him which opened up paradise to him.
      Keeping it simple so more can find their way might well end up with me leading some astray.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Fred...I might take a more literal view of the Bible than you might (or at least that is my interpretation)...but I think your right about keeping it simple. Jesus narrowed everything down to 2 simple commandments–love God and love your neighbor. I don't know that we have to find new and inventive ways to expand on that (and i don't mean that we should or can have a watered down faith, it just means I don't think we have to make difficult).

      April 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • fred

      VanHagar
      So, I also find the Bible firm in that hell is reserved for Satan and his demons. All others, that for one reason or the other miss the mark on love God and neighbor, will suffer loss. That loss could amount to being blotted out of existence such as if they never were created in the first place (based on the flood story where God "blotted out" the evil generation of Cain) or start to approach some level of hellish type of a consequence depending upon the final judgment rendered. In short we know Satan goes to hell and the redeemed in the Lord go to heaven those in-between we really are not told specifically. Is that your assessment?

      April 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Fred...sorry for the late reply...my answer is I don't know, and (not to put to fine a point on it), can't say that I care: I have no intention of finding myself in that position. It's an interesting question, but ultimately academic for believers.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  16. Ungodly Discipline

    Everybody knows the only true religion is Mormonism. This excerpt from the bible proves it:

    "I am Wind In His Hair! I am Wind In His Hair! Do you see that I am not afraid of you!? Do you see!?"

    Wind in His Hair, being a worshipper of false idols, confronts Satan after being slain by the Pawnee.

    Thinking quickly, the chief of the tribe decides to, "smoke a while".

    It was at this point that Joseph Smith arrived with a "White Man's" hat and some magic golden plates! He was immediately wounded by an arrow of course and the Medicine Man was summoned to the teepee.

    Many moons passed while Joseph Smith recovered from his injuries, during which time he spaketh the Mormon Gospel to Chief Ten Bears and a great friendship was forged between them. At length, it was time for Joseph Smith to head westward. As he waved goodbye to his new Lakota Indian friends, a voice could be heard on the wind….

    "Joseph Smith! ... Joseph Smith! ... I am Wind In His Hair! ... Do you see that I am your friend!? ... Can you see that you will always be my friend!? Can you turn down the heat? It is like furnace down here!”

    April 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    I have a theory that the only reason Jesus took up preaching was becuase he was a terrible carpenter.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      He wasn't even a carpenter. He was a terrible handy-man.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • The Wit and Wisdom of Marty Fluffkin, Wallabee Trainer to the Stars

      My theory is that Jesus decided to give the messaih business a try because he was a carpenter in a land that has absolutely no wood.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      How did the Romans make all those crucifixes then?
      And what of the incendiary foliage that chatted with Moses?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Doc, the burning bush is clearly code for gonorrhea. The big M may have been old, but he still loved the ladies!

      April 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc, my theory is that all you non-believers are jealous of Jesus. Hence, why He occupies your mind 24/7.

      Amen.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • just sayin

      HeavenSent

      Doc, my theory is that all you non-believers are jealous of Jesus. Hence, why He occupies your mind 24/7.

      Amen.

      >

      You really are delusional. lol. Like in Roman times...you (christians) are the entertainment. When someone says Jesus I eather picture a landscaper or delusional person who died because of acts related to their mental illness. Jesus was clearly mentally ill if he did exist. lol

      April 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Ken Doll

      I am indeed very jealous of Jesus, because when I get angry at fig trees, I can't kill them with my amazing magic mind waves like he did.

      Very jealous.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Ryan Austin Clarke

      Actually, Jesus was the 'son of somone who employed those who make chariots.' Carpenter today is associated with building something. But studying the word .,. car + pent + er ... yields 'borrowed chariot' + 'something borrowed and wrong' + 'someone who employed slaves.'

      A son of a carpenter was actually a 'cutdown' ... and inferred Jesus was born of El ... a pagan god.

      The bible is full of 'various meanings' ... here's one ... If one reads the bible carefully one would note Christ built such a polished, highly reflective paraboloid of revolution and a mechanism to keep it constantly pointed at the Sun. Specifically it's mentioned in bible verses ... Matthew 5:15, Mark 4:21, Luke 8:16, Luke 3:17, Matthew 3:11, and Galatians 6:11.

      In Galatians, Paul is nearly blind as he got a shot of concentrated Sunlight from a parabowl when he was Saul. Saul was also Pontius Pilate ... and in history is also known as Vespasian. I'm sure many will dispute such a claim.

      Christ wasn't the first to use such a device ... Archimedes of Syracuse used such a device to set Roman ships on fire. Christ used it in an attempt to help those in 1st century Judea who had no firewood to keep warm in winter ... because all the trees had been cut down due to overpopulation.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  18. Nyan

    You're all religious crazies.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  19. The Messiah

    He is the Messiah!

    April 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  20. SaintNick

    Zech 12:10 – And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Santa, you left out the rest of this....

      ...and though they grieved and rent their clothes, it was in the pub the followers gathered for darts and dark ale which they hoisted in sadness and drank with great sorrow. Many libations they consumed and they called it the blood of the son of God.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • me me me

      AMEN!!!!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.