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The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
Does Easter celebrate a man, a savior, or a myth? Some say Jesus never existed and was a myth created by early Christians.
April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET

The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene.

It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.

But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture.  Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of  "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?"

“If I said to you that there was no real Good Samaritan, I don’t think anyone would be outraged,” says Freke, one of a group of mythicists who say Jesus never existed. “It’s a teaching story. What we’re saying is that the Jesus story is an allegory. It’s a parable of the spiritual journey.”

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

On Easter Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide mark the resurrection of Jesus. Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed.

But there is another view of Jesus that’s been emerging, one that strikes at the heart of the Easter story. A number of authors and scholars say Jesus never existed. Such assertions could have been ignored in an earlier age.  But in the age of the Internet and self-publishing, these arguments have gained enough traction that some of the world’s leading New Testament scholars feel compelled to publicly take them on.

Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar who recently released a book devoted to the question called “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.”

Your comments on Jesus deniers

He says Freke and others who deny Jesus’ existence are conspiracy theorists trying to sell books.

“There are people out there who don’t think the Holocaust happened, there wasn’t a lone JFK assassin and Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” Ehrman says. “Among them are people who don’t think Jesus existed.”

Does it matter if Jesus existed?

Some Jesus mythicists say many New Testament scholars are intellectual snobs.

“I don’t think I’m some Internet kook or Holocaust denier,” says Robert Price, a former Baptist pastor who argues in “Deconstructing Jesus” that a historical Jesus probably didn’t exist.

“They say I’m a bitter ex-fundamentalist. It’s pathetic to see this character assassination. That’s what people resort to when they don’t have solid arguments.”

 The debate over Jesus’ existence has led to a curious role reversal. Two of the New Testament scholars who are leading the way arguing for Jesus’ existence have a reputation for attacking, not defending, traditional Christianity.

Ehrman, for example, is an agnostic who has written books that argue that virtually half  of the New Testament is forged. Another defender of Jesus’ existence is John Dominic Crossan, a New Testament scholar who has been called a heretic because his books challenge some traditional Christian teachings.

But as to the existence of Jesus, Crossan says, he’s “certain.”

He says some Jesus deniers may be people who have a problem with Christianity.

“It’s a way of responding to something you don’t like,” Crossan says. “We can’t say that Obama doesn’t exist, but we can say that he’s not an American.  If we’re talking about Obama in the future, there are people who might not only say he wasn’t American, but he didn’t even exist.”

Does it even matter if Jesus existed? Can’t people derive inspiration from his teachings whether he actually walked the Earth?

Crossan says Jesus’ existence matters in the same way that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s existence mattered.

If King never existed, people would say his ideas are lovely, but they could never work in the real world, Crossan says.

It’s the same with an historical Jesus, Crossan writes in his latest book, “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus.”

“The power of Jesus’ historical life challenges his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God. And if one, why not others? If some, why not all?”

The evidence against Jesus’ existence

Those who argue against Jesus’ existence make some of these points:

-The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus.

-No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.

-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.

Price, author of “Deconstructing Jesus,” says the first-century Western world was full of stories of a martyred hero who is called a son of God.

“There are ancient novels from that period where the hero is condemned to the cross and even crucified, but he escapes and survives it,” Price says. “That looks like Jesus.”

Those who argue for the existence of Jesus often cite two external biblical sources: the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote about Jesus at the end of the first century and the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote about Jesus at the start of the second century.

But some scholars say Josephus’ passage was tampered with by later Christian authors. And Price says the two historians are not credible on Jesus.

“Josephus and Tacitus – they both thought Hercules was a true figure,” Price says. “Both of them spoke of Hercules as a figure that existed.”

Price concedes that there were plenty of mythical stories that were draped around historical figures like Caesar. But there’s plenty of secular documentation to show Caesar existed.

“Everything we read about Jesus in the gospels conforms to the mythic hero,” Price says. “There’s nothing left over that indicates that he was a real historical figure.”

Those who argue for the existence of Jesus cite another source: the testimony of the Apostle Paul and Jesus’ early disciples. Paul even writes in one New Testament passage about meeting James, the brother of Jesus.

These early disciples not only believed Jesus was real but were willing to die for him. People don’t die for myths, some biblical scholars say.

They will if the experience is powerful enough, says Richard Carrier, author of “Proving History.”

Carrier says it’s probable that Jesus never really existed and that early Christians experienced a mythic Jesus who came to them through visions and revelations.

Two of the most famous stories in the New Testament – the conversion of Paul and the stoning death of Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs - show that people seized by religious visions are willing to die, Carrier says.

In both the Paul and Stephen stories, the writers say that they didn’t see an actual Jesus but a heavenly vision of Jesus, Carrier says.

People “can have powerful religious experiences that don’t correspond to reality,” Carrier says.

“The perfect model is Paul himself,” Carrier says. “He never met Jesus. Paul only had an encounter with this heavenly Jesus. Paul is completely converted by this religious experience, but no historical Jesus is needed for that to happen.”

As for the passage where Paul says he met James, Jesus’ brother, Carrier says:

“The problem with that is that all baptized Christians were considered brothers of the Lord.”

The evidence for Jesus’ existence

Some scholars who argue for the existence of Jesus says the New Testament mentions actual people and events that are substantiated by historical documents and archaeological discoveries.

Ehrman, author of “Did Jesus Exist?” scoffed at the notion that the ancient world was full of pagan stories about dying deities that rose again.  Where’s the proof? he asks.

Ehrman devoted an entire section of his book to critiquing Freke, the mythicist and author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” who says there was an ancient Osiris-Dionysus figure who shares uncanny parallels to Jesus.

He says Freke can’t offer any proof that an ancient Osiris figure was born on December 25, was crucified and rose again. He says Freke is citing 20th- and 19th-century writers who tossed out the same theories.

Ehrman says that when you read ancient stories about mythological figures like Hercules and Osiris, “there’s nothing about them dying and rising again.”

“He doesn’t know much about ancient history,” Ehrman says of Freke. “He’s not a scholar. All he knows is what he’s read in other conspiracy books.”

Craig A. Evans, the author of “Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence,” says the notion that Paul gave his life for a mythical Jesus is absurd.

He says the New Testament clearly shows that Paul was an early enemy of the Christian church who sought to stamp out the burgeoning Jesus movement.

“Don’t you think if you were in Paul’s shoes, you would have quickly discovered that there was no Jesus?” Evans asks.  “If there was no Jesus, then how did the movement start?”

Evans also dismissed the notion that early Christians blended or adopted pagan myths to create their own mythical Jesus. He says the first Christians were Jews who despised everything about pagan culture.

“For a lot of Jewish people, the pagan world was disgusting,” Evans says. “I can’t imagine [the Gospel writer] Matthew making up a story where he is drawing parallels between Jesus’ birth and pagan stories about Zeus having sex with some fair maiden.”

The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed, Evans says.  A vivid personality practically bursts from the pages of the New Testament: He speaks in riddles, talks about camels squeezing through the eye of a needle, weeps openly and even loses his temper.

Evans says he is a man who is undeniably Jewish, a genius who understands his culture but also transcends his tradition with gem-like parables.

“Who but Jesus could tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan?” Evans says. “Where does this bolt of lightning come from? You don’t get this out of an Egyptian myth.”

Those who argue against the existence of Jesus say they aren’t trying to destroy people’s faith.

“I don’t have any desire to upset people,” says Freke. “I do have a passion for the truth. … I don’t think rational people in the 20th century can go down a road just on blind faith.”

Yet Easter was never just about rationale.

The Easter stories about the resurrection are strange: Disciples don’t recognize Jesus as they meet him on the road; he tells someone not to touch him; he  eats fish in another.

In the Gospel of Matthew, a resurrected Jesus suddenly appears to a group of disciples and gives them this cryptic message:

“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

And what did they see: a person, a pagan myth or a savior?

Albert Schweitzer, a 20th-century theologian and missionary, suggested that there will never be one answer to that question.  He said that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: You see only your own reflection.

The “real” Jesus, Schweitzer says, will remain “a stranger and an enigma,” someone who is always ahead of us.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Books • Church • Culture wars • Easter • Easter • Evangelical • Faith • History • Jesus • Uncategorized • Virgin Mary

soundoff (8,771 Responses)
  1. Tony

    From an agnostic's stand point whether he once walked the earth or not is irrelevant. The things he allegedly said were pretty damn good ideas about how we should treat each other. Sadly, those things are brushed aside when they are inconvenient or don't support the divisive non-sense of the day. I'm not a religious person, but its safe to say that if we treated each other half as good as Jesus thought we should, this planet would be a utopia. Whether he was the son of God, a myth, or just some guy with good ideas that people enjoyed listening too; the fact remains that people today rarely take the advice.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Elena

      I am sure that people have the wrong idea as to what the the statement son of god means, as we are all sons of god according to the bible. One thing is for sure, the energy in our bodies was never created and will never be destroyed and will go back to its source once the physical body dies!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Phosphorus

      That was an interesting attempt at using a basic scientific premise to substantiate a metaphysical paradigm. It's more appropriately called pseudoscience.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Elena

      lol lol and lol basic scientific premise!,
      so our bodies are not made of particles, and particles are not just a positive or negative charge of energy!
      please tell me i am wrong.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Marquette

      I agee Tony, if people treated each other with kindness and respect the world would be a different place. We should eschew arrogance and the ego driven need to be right and strive to understand each other so that there would be more peace. I agree with you Tony.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  2. DC

    Enough, we have had this conversation.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  3. Nii

    CHRISTIANITY IN A NUTSHELL
    A Good God says men shud love their neighbor as themselves (emotionally, practically n deliberately) as proof that they love him with all their lives. Then He will b their Life n their Being. Their joy will b full. They'll be their original design He b4 their Enemy struck.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Phosphorus

      Your grammatical errors and text speak still take away from your credibility. You are so amusing!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Elena

      Phosphurus why are you so arrogant, who cares about grammatical errors, many are perfect writers yet they lack the ability to understand what they read! You think that Kaparov can write perfect English grammar yet he is a genius of the chess!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Phosphorus

      Your shoelaces are untied.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Marquette

      Phosporus, please address the substance of the profession, not just the small and insignificant details.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  4. antonious mustacio

    myth or real i just want to know if we are skeptic or dead brain, jealous of Jesus and His authentic miracles. He was Son of God or Pagan religious freak is story to reckon, if no prophecy or work of God then we are wasting our time here worshiping a God or Son, common we move on do some better job. If we don't believe because we make so many story, its another story, dismissed it!

    April 9, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  5. polycarp pio

    It is ok for the media in this country to question Christianity but they dare not question any other faith, ever wonder why the world gets so upset with the name of Jesus Christ??? Why they try so hard to discredit him??????? Because inside them they are having a spiritual battle and there minds are winning instead of their souls. PP

    April 9, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  6. Michael S.

    Was Jesus a real person? I surely do not know. Since I am not chasing after Him for approval or attention, I really do not see any reason to care much. But I just as surely would NOT be criticizing someone's opinion because he cannot point to December 25th as his candidate's birthday. Ehrman has absolutely no proof that Jesus of Galilee was born on any certain day or date either. He has plenty of company in that regard.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  7. Thad

    None of you Atheists find it curious that CNN never attacks other faiths? Christians are attacked more than any other group by this lying and one sided media outlet. Open your eyes... Christians. Prepare your hearts and minds. Gather all the strength in your soul. Things will get worse before they get better. Love you all, Christian and non.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      That's because why a rationale person sees simply as scholarship your demented mind sees as an offense.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Marquette

      please stop lowering the level of discourse by name calling. Rise to the level you are capable of in this discussion.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  8. oppo

    It seems that the Mid East religions are summarized from Babylonian texts, which is itself summarized from Sumerian texts. In the original Sumerian texts, they described how GodA predicted the floods (natural disaster) but kept it a secret so that the human species would be wiped out, but GodB, GodA's brother secretly told one guy to build the ark. Humans were created by GodS (GodA's sister) out from a clay vessel by merging their DNA with a local animal (ape?). The Sumerian texts give elegant explanations where current religious stories create conflict and they said that 'they will be back'. Actually the conflict was created when the Babylonians decided to merge all the 3 Gods to create 2 figures (god and satan) as a dichotomy view, to prevent human disunity arising from selective loyalty created by the conflict between the 3 gods.

    However, the discussion now is about the new testaments. If the Sumerian texts were extrapolated (& if you believe it), it seems that Jesus (& others) could be real, if you look at their personalities. GodB (emotional) and GodS (scientific) really cared about the humans, but GodA was more secular. They could have emplaced knowledge into selected humans to manipulate human loyalty (why?). The Sumerian text portrays the gods as human-like but lacking 2 chromosomes for longevity. Now there is partial archaeological evidence of the Sumerian story – see the crow's project.

    Anyway, if you want to believe that Jesus (& others) is real, it seems you cannot run from the Sumerian view of history. There is food for the Atheist as well, It partially fits into human evolution theory, the Sumerians do plausibly unite science and religion.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  9. Wired

    Another reality check: Jesus Crucifixion was taken from Norse mythology, when Odin nailed himself to the Tree of Life for knowledge and had a spear stabbed through his side.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  10. dolson1014

    Precocious Eight Year Old Decides Story of Easter Doesn't Check Out in today's News From the End of the World:

    http://www.newsfromtheend.com/2012/04/precocious-eight-year-old-decides-story.html

    April 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  11. Elena

    Earlier I tried to debate with atheist and tried to explain why science makes me more believer but all i got was insults and bashing! Cant atheist debate intelligently and respectfully without all that negativeness!

    April 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Marquette

      I agree, if a person has confidence in their position, they should be able to have an intelligent conversation about it without name calling, derogatory and inflamatory comments designed to blind the the listener to anything but the emotional knee-jerk reaction.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  12. Nii

    Xtianity like any other religion including(OMG!) Atheism has had 3 types of followers. De religious(ritual), de pious( doctrine n ritual) n de spiritual(charitable love n maybe doctrine n ritual). We apologise for wrongs done in our name n hope u do de same. NOTE: Atheism is a non-theistic religion

    April 9, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Phosphorus

      You seem to misunderstand the part that we do not utilize faith to come to understandings. We actually attempt to disprove our models and explanations constantly, for that is how we gain an understanding of the world around us. We do not believe in anything with 100% confidence because that would mean that there is nothing more to learn, and it also would mean that there would not be better explanations or models. You see, without faith, without absolute certainty, and being willing to attempt to disprove our models and explanations, we are not a religion. We are freedom from the shackles of religion. We are the future of mankind. You are a living fossil that eats of the food from the dust of the deserts of the dead.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Elena

      Phosphorus, why do you think you have the right to insult anybody!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Phosphorus

      For centuries, Christianity thought it had the right to kill anybody who did not convert to its theological doctrines. Millions upon millions have lost their lives because they did not wish to convert to that which they did not believe in. Now, Christians cry and moan if their religion is insulted, or if their support of their mythological delusions are insulted. Well, that's tough now, isn't it? Be thankful we are more civilized than the ancestors of your religious faith, and certainly more so than the current mob mentality that Christianity breeds in modern day politics. I won't even begin to dive into the dark well of these television pastors and rapture prophet freaks. They're a horror show of a whole different level.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Marquette

      I have to agree with Elena Phosporus, you appear unable to hold any kind of rigorous intellectual discussion without resorting to unintelligible diatribes and insults. I will keep that in mind when reading your posts.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  13. polycarp pio

    For those with faith no explaination is needed, for those without faith no explanation is possible, its called faith for a reason, you cannot understand God with a carnal mind. PP

    April 9, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Phosphorus

      You also cannot witness gawd without a misfiring or short-circuited mind.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Elena

      Phosphorous, in response to your comment, i wont tell you about my experiences! so don't worry about your bashing it doesn't bother me at all, like a said i am yet to find an atheist who is respectful and willing to listen without arrogance and selfishness.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Elena

      " we are the future of mankind" never heard more arrogant comment than this, i mean do you want us to worship you as God. Are you saying that I have to follow arrogant mortals who could be more lost than i am.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Phosphorus

      Not arrogance. This is how the social demographics are trending. Most of Western Europe has already let go of their religious chains. They look at the US and laugh. However, nonbelievers in this country are the fastest growing demographic when comparing denominations and non-denominations. It's a trend, not arrogance. The trend is increasing at an exponential rate of growth, and the trend for Christianity is that fewer individuals report that they accept the Christian faith with each passing year. It is natural selection at the societal level. Christianity is no longer a best fit for the current environment, and it faces eminent extinction. Cheers!

      April 9, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  14. Phosphorus

    Hey, I found God!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  15. Mateo

    I would like to remind everyone that Newton's "Laws" of Motion, The "Laws" of Thermodynamics, Quantum Theory and Einstein's Theory of Relativity are all THEORETICAL, but atheists neglect this FACT. When an atheist argues against God using science, then they are a fool.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • Phosphorus

      You misunderstand how scientists use the term "theory." In science, a theory is a model that has been backed up by a mountain of facts and a wealth of experimentation. It has predictive power and has successfully been able to generate further hypotheses that we can test. These theories have permitted for us to manipulate the material world in an incredible way. The technologies that you take for granted are a testament to this. Religion has created one thing and one thing only...division among people.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • sam stone

      anyone who tries to draw a relationship between those things to whether there is a being that judges "sin" is a fool

      April 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Phosphorus

      Gravity is a theory too. Try jumping off of your roof and you'll believe in the power of this theory! ;-)

      April 9, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Elena

      when considering that according to quantum mechanics particles don't exist till observed then we can really say that science requires much faith!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Phosphorus

      Your telephone works whether or not you have faith. Your computer and internet connection work without faith. Your car works without faith, so does your refrigerator and air conditioning. Science produces technology, and technology is the application of scientific understanding. Try all you like to reason this, but your religion produces nothing but cognitive impairment and social pathology.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Mateo

      Thank you Elena. At least someone in this chat understands that if Atheists and Science can't find the lynchpin for the Unified Model of the Universe, then any Atheist argument founded on science is flawed. Science is in fact only THEORY, which means Atheist's have FAITH IN INCONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE.

      If mankind finds the Higgs-Boson, then we should be able to freely manipulate the universe. Can man handle being God?

      April 9, 2012 at 2:42 am |
  16. Kyle

    Lets examine christianity in a nutshell. An all powerful creator, made people to worship him, they screwed up, so this god had to come down to earth, to sacrifice himself to himself, go to a hell he created for 3 days, so he could break out of his own hell and this redeemed the people he created in his own eyes so that if they believe he did all this they can go to an eternal paradise instead of hell. Yea.... no thanks.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Mateo

      Man, you are talking our your ass, you haven't read the bible because your thesis is based on ignorance. God never made anyone worship him. First: the Old Covenant: A covenant is an agreement between two parties, it is a contract. If someone breaks their part of a contract their are consequences. The Jews broke the contract so there was consequences.

      Second: the New Covenant; God created a new covenant with All men, that they would come to God by Christ alone. Jesus did not sacrifice himself to himself... (you fool) Jesus died for our sins; God did not command men to sacrifice Jesus in order to forgive us our sins. God wouldn't even let Isaac be killed by his father Abraham. God is love, grace, and mercy.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • bingheidy

      2 Tim 3:1-4: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

      1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

      Romans 8:7
      Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

      Rom 3:23
      for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

      Rom 6:23
      For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      Rom 5:19
      19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

      John 3:16
      16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

      Isa 43:7
      Everyone who is called by My name,
      Whom I have created for My glory;
      I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

      April 9, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Michael S.

      Your synopsis is flawed, You neglected about three "they screwed ups" and three when "so HE responded." Eden was a FAIL!
      Noah. FAIL! Babel. FAIL! The whole story is so full of holes that it take thousands of Christians working full time to try to keep the storyline patched up.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Jamie

      In my opinion you have the nutshell wrong. Jesus' message was "to love others as I have loved you". Jesus loved all of us so much he died on a cross in order for us to be saved from our sins. Even if you cannot believe this actually happened, you will have to agree the message is a perfect one. It means to put others before ourselves. Could you imagine a world where this actually happened?

      April 9, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Kyle

      I never said god commanded people to kill jesus, but jesus is believed to be the incarnation of god, so yes god sacrificed himself to save man from sin when he knew they would break this "covenant" that they apparently were forced into in the first place when god created them. Oh, and this god who knows all things, let man muddle around for a few thousand years, torturing them with slavery, ordering them to kill each other, wiping them out almost completely before finally sending himself to save us.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Kyle

      Jamie, that is a convenient nutshell that christians tend to hide behind to make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. You ask them if they believe the bible is completely true and they say yes. Then they ignore the majority of it, because their understanding of Jesus seems completely opposite of the rest of the story. God sent Jesus to save all mankind, while at the same time he sent bears to devour children for mocking their elders.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  17. Joe

    As long as Jesus is walking besides me, I will always have his protection.

    Why does the media bring this up on Easter ??

    Ask your self, if Muhammad is your savior, you might be asked to blow your self up !!! ... go for it

    April 9, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      You complain that this issue is raised on Zombie day, but yet you don't hesitate to spew venom at Muslims.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, Joey, free people do not need saviors. Slaves do.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Marquette

      Joe, what made you include the non-sequiter about Mohammed? Are you so not confident in your faith that you feel an emotional need to strike out at someone else? Besides, except for a few extreamist who use religion as an excuse for horrors that is not part of the Muslim faith.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  18. sloan

    Is Abraham,Jeremiah,The Apostles,Noah.King Herod a Myth? Why dont CNN write that Mohammed was a Myth since we his likeness would never be dared to be illustrated. This is a Holy religious Holiday CNN have some Respect.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Joe

      Well said.

      CNN has no respect for Catholics ,there pro Anti-American .

      All mus-lims must watch this stuff 24/7, It makes them selfs feel better.

      Please beware the words "We The People" still have a lot of power,and a huge vote count in 2012.

      Oboma could be the anti-Christ that the bible has warned us about, vote him and his followers out before it's to late.

      God bless and Happy Easter.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Michael S.

      Beside King Herod, of which there were a couple, all the names you mentioned are, indeed, mythical by definition.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Marquette

      Joe, do you not see the problem with following a God that demands you must love one another while you are spewing hatefilled speaches? What would Jesus think about what you have said? Would he not try to make you see that you must love you neighbor as your self? Please make your Easter happier by following Jesus' teaching that God is love.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  19. Shangheyed

    If this story was written about allah there would be 100s dead, and death threats for everyone working in CNN...

    Clearly CNN is afraid to talk about the truth that is islam, murder, oppression, subjugation of other religions, destruction of cultures and peoples... all in the name of islam... and CNN chooses to write about what? jesus. what a joke your news agency has become... as usual CNN fears islam... where is your story here about the truth that is the LIE islam.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Do you know what the Seal who popped Bin Laden said when he blew Bin Laden's head off? "For God and country". Christians are now killing more Muslims throughout the Middle EAst than they are killing Christians.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Marquette

      Historically religion has been an easy excuse to enrage the masses in order to get them to willingly perform any attrocity the power in control wants... more harm in the name of religon in general, all religions. However, that is in the name of religon, it is not religon. Just because people are so weak or immoral or unable to think and allow themselves to be manipulated in the name of an idea that does not make the idea bad. Religon, all religons have salient points about how we should treat each other with kindness and respect that can be used properly by religios people and hunanists alike for the betterment of the world. We need to actively oppose attrocities in the name of religion or in the name of nationalism...both ideas are subject to abuse.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  20. Paul

    Why all of a sudden is there a story about a pagan God who dies and resurrects that is similar to Jesus? Where was this illustration in the past centuries ? The tales of Zeus, Hercules, Athena, Afrodites, Jupiter and whatever gods you can recollect have been passed down from generation to generation, yet somehow this other died and resurrected god was left out. Common ! Should we really be having this conversation ?

    How is it the Jews of the first century made up this story of Jesus when the messiah they were anxious for was one who was going to liberate them for the tyranny of the Roman Empire ? You'd think they'd make up a story about a hero who fought for their liberation. The story of Christ is about eternity and salvation of people.

    However, as a christian, I take ease at this impunity as it simply means that the enemy is desperate. You don't hear of Mohammed, Buddha, Confusius or the Hindu gods being challenged, but Christ...it's never ending. Makes you thinks doesn't it.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Perhap the religious peddlers, the so-called prophets of Rome found it financally advantageous to peddle this nonsense to the Romans. They were were the Jim Bakers and Jerry Falwells of their day.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • sloan

      Amen to that,this is just story Peddling. No one would dare challenge other religions,only Christianity and on Easter at that.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Jeri Hurd

      Learn your mythology. The Dionysian story (and resurrection) have been around. well, since the ancient Greeks. It is not some new discovery. Ditto other stories of The Flood.

      And no other religions get challenged? Really? You're living in a bubble, my friend.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • wrob

      Yeah nomdefaitour, no doubt they were living the high life...in the arenas and catacombs.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      They did what all false preheats do: they lived by fraud off the labor of the common unsophisticated man.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • vanderquestion

      Actually, all these stories were available all the time historically. It just depends on whether people want to pay attention to them or not, see the parallels or not. All religions today are under fire, usually from each other. People just don't seem to want to allow others respect for a differing opinion. Yet, at the heart of every religon is the teaching to treat other with kindness and respect.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:57 am |
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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.