home
RSS
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 • Faith • History • Jesus • Uncategorized • Virgin Mary

soundoff (8,773 Responses)
  1. Jesus is Almighty God

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=390]

    April 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • momoya

      Of course not all religions are true.. Most religions can't be true because of internal contradictions and paradoxes at the fundamental level.. What are the chances that god is trying to communicate with human beings, yet allows so much divided opinion on the most important subject we could ever consider?. Not very good at all..

      April 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Cq

      The supernatural claims of all the world's religions may very well be equally true, which is to say, not at all.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • otto

      All religions cannot be true BUT they can all be false.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  2. Jesus is Almighty God

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gKsPMR00_Y&w=640&h=390]

    Jesus is GOD.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It makes me laugh that believers think that posing videos will somehow convince others that there's a god.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Cq

      Tom Tom
      Have you been to church lately? They're all about the Powerpoint presentation these days, complete with stirring soundtrack and slick transitions. It's like being given the hard sell at a franchise trade show.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  3. God's Follower

    Really, there is nothing as rare as a literate, educated non-believer.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, just look at the posts of the fun dies and show me any that exhibit something resembling an educated discourse, honey. I'll be waiting.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • JackO'Fall

      Really?
      All the studies and surveys show that atheism and agnosticism rise to correspondingly higher percentages as people get more educated.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • momoya

      A man's god is as cultured as the man.. (or a woman..the idea)

      April 9, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Cq

      Maybe in the Bible Belt, but out here in the rest of the world we're everywhere.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  4. Errick

    LISTEN EVERYONE! God is more than able to defend Himself. He does need His followers to proclaim the "goodness" and "greatness" of Himself, and the reason He sent His sSon to die for the remission of mankinds sin. I have had a life changing experience from God, and was healed of a crippled back "by God" and I know from personal experience that God is alive and real, and He lives in my heart and through my life. NO one can tell me God dosent exsist. I dont need to quote scripture or anything, all I need do is give my testimony and let it be that. If you dont believe the bible, then how about a real live person? I dont need to convince anyone and dont care to, because you will never get anyone to mentally assent to what God reveals spiritually. The bottom line in my opinion is that, God really loves mankind and wants a personal relationship with each, not rules, religion. Ps If you dont believe, i respect your opinion,

    April 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Cq

      So, you believe in God because your back got better?

      April 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls.

      Gods have alledgedly fixed many bad backs. Many of us are watching for the first amputated limb to grow back . . .

      April 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  5. Reality

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkXOwBIRX7Y&w=640&h=390]

    April 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  6. Gadflie

    My personal take on things, I suspect that Jesus did exist. And I suspect that he was no more the "Son of God" or supernatural in any way than any other religious leader.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Cq

      My take as well. He was just a really down to earth, liberal rabbi with a knack for teaching using parables.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  7. jeff

    i do believe that there should be no debate what so ever about Jesus, our Lord and Savior, existed or not. The Bible is written accord of His life and all the things He did while upon this earth. He did heal the blind to allow them to see, made the deaf hear, walked on water and calmed the seas, fed the many with only 2 fish, raised the dead (Lazarus), and He did die on the cross for the forgiveness of all our sins so we can be entered the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe when the Bible says that it happened, then it did happen.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's a "written accord"?

      Really, there is nothing as rare as a literate, educated believer.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • BC

      And there is nothing as common as a person who seeks out articles on faith with the intent to demean adherents of faith. Perhaps it is a reaction formation type of psychological defense mechanism?

      Since accord means "agreement", it is a reasonable use of the word. On the other hand, it could be a type-o. Big deal...

      April 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Drew

      You realize that the bible was compiled by politically-minded church leaders centuries after christ lived, right?

      April 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Cq

      jeff
      The fact that we can debate Jesus past 7000 posts here is testament to the fact that the Bible isn't the authority you believe it to be. Sorry, but not everyone shares your belief.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • jeff

      to all the haters and doubters out there on this topic, Jesus still loves you none the less....

      April 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Cq

      jeff
      Which is your opinion, and you're welcome to state it. Just don't expect us all to accept it as truth without evidence to back it up.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Commenter

      jeff, "Jesus still loves you none the less."

      Well, at least you have your imaginary god behave nicer than many others who post here.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  8. God

    Ok kids.. this is what you are going to do.. forever.. and ever.. and ever

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMnBt7C3WJ0&w=560&h=315]

    April 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  9. Pipe-Dreamer

    Hide yourself from deaths doors! Keep on rambling witticisms and running away from Life's inevitabilities! Play all the while with otherly players never once looking Death in the eye! Fly away little folks! Stay with your prides of lionly warriors waiting to pounce upon the famines of the religiously devoured! Sick'em! Sick'em! Deaths' parodies are the souls' gatherings. Live Life as it were never to end! Tell to the aged prideful, they had their days and now I will have mine! Fools and foolish are the young'd generations! I have made my peace with God's natures and shall await my sentence of death and pray it be a merciful death! Love therefore love none-the-less forever more!

    April 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Translation: Babble,babble,babble, derp, vomit, nonsense, I am attempting to impersonate an illiterate person but failing miserably whilst making up words that never existed. I am an idiotBabble,babble,babble, derp, vomit, nonsense, I am attempting to impersonate an illiterate person but failing miserably whilst making up words that never existed. I am an idiotBabble,babble,babble, derp, vomit, nonsense, I am attempting to impersonate an illiterate person but failing miserably whilst making up words that never existed. I am an idiotBabble,babble,babble, derp, vomit, nonsense, I am attempting to impersonate an illiterate person but failing miserably whilst making up words that never existed. I am an idiot.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Since the Arabs are Yemenites sourced from Yemen from the time of Ismael then the followers of Moses and Jesus must have originated from them;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adnan
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qahtanite
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghassanids

    As well history claims that the cause of Yemeni tribal migration was the destruction of the Ancient Marib Dam flooding to  beyond repairable to their lands and agriculture irrigation;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marib_Dam    

    April 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  11. momoya

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpz8PMcRJSY&w=640&h=390]

    April 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • JBBW

      What the heck is this video crap? This guy is a Christian and pulled himself up with his bootstaps and this other guy is an atheist and got it all from his parents? How more offensive can you get? REAL Christians do play these games. Real Christians don't need to stack the deck and play games. I find this more offensive than any Athestist video I have ever seen or ever read. SHAME ON YOU.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • momoya

      I'd say that my work here is done, then, but it's not.. It seems you didn't understand the point of the video–no surprise there, I guess.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  12. Muneef

    [And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].3:45

    He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous."3:46

    She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is. 3:47

    And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel 3:48

    And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], 'Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. 3:49

    And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me. 3:50

    Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path." 3:51

    http://quran.com/3
    ---
    As you can read he The Prophet & Messenger of GOD was given all the permission to do miraculous wonders of things by GOD the Creator of Universe and all Beings

    April 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Elias

      "For in and out, above, about, below,
      'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
      Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
      Round which we Phantom Figures come and go."

      The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

      A great poem written in masterful allegory where wine is not wine but a spiritual nectar unknown to religious tyrants.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Cq

      I can't decide if this is more like the Wonder Woman re-imagining of Greek mythology, or the Percy Jackson one.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  13. Jesus is the Almighty God

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rPvrXoIVl0&w=640&h=390]

    Jesus is GOD.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Berk

      Wow, a song says Jesus is God, so it MUST be true!

      April 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  14. momoya

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8ZMMuu7MU&w=640&h=390]

    April 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Leo

      What a joke!! Funny how we can come to BELIEF site and it is the Christians that Hate Atheists?

      2 Thessalonians 2

      Man of Lawlessness
      1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Cq

      Very interesting video, and it may actually explain a lot, especially if theists actually feel that their belief is a "part" of who they are. Then our rejection of that belief is like rejecting a part of them.

      Leo
      What makes you think that the men of lawlessness were like modern-day atheists? Maybe they were pagans, or even Jewish Christians. Anyone who didn't buy into Paul's version of things?

      April 10, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  15. momoya

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg&w=640&h=390]

    April 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  16. docwatson55

    Of course, if a historical Jesus DID exist, and if he was who he said he was, and if he did indeed rise from the dead, then he is not a leaning post, or a crutch, but the One who will stand in judgement of all at the end of the age. I think I'd rather believe IN him and be wrong, than disbelieve and be wrong ...

    And with regard to Price's statement that "The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus" Well, that's false. From 1 Cor 15:

    "3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."

    That sounds like a pretty empirical approach to the question. "If you don't believe what I'm saying – go talk to some of the 500-plus who are still alive and saw him themselves!" That doesn't sound as if he is speaking of a myth.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Cq

      doc
      With thousands of equally likely gods out there why would hedging your bet by believing in just one be any safer than the atheist position? Wouldn't any of them be more apt to punish you out of jealousy than general disbelief?

      Also, what kind of proof is this mention of eyewitnesses really? Without access to these people to confirm their stories all we have is hearsay. If you were sitting on a trial and one side wanted to submit an old letter mentioning an eyewitness to some event, an eyewitness long since dead, how much credence would you give it?

      April 10, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Cq,
      your posts reveal a lot about you......
      How can a person who obviously deems themselves to be an educated thinker be so shallow of understanding and lacking in logic? But this is just an evidence that the person who is spiritually dead is only half there, therefore his existence is incomplete and he walks lame through his earthly life! You can deny it, but you've got to live with it, unless Christ gives you life.
      In another post you've said, why could ANOTHER be the Messiah and Savior?
      Well, maybe you should ask the question, WHY it is that you refuse to acknowledge it is Him, Yeshua, of whom Isaiah prophesied long before His birth, who fits the description of !Isaiah 53 without any shadow of doubt. Is it because if you acknowledged who He is, you would have to face yourself, and what HE says about you, I and every other human being alive: that we need Him , and that without His righteousness imputed to us by faith in His finished work on the cross, we are dying in our sins, lost forever and separated from God for eternity.
      Friend, consider this; your denying your need for God and His saving grace won't change the fact that you need it. To acknowledge this require courage and honesty with one's Self. But if you don't do it, you'll stumble in darkness all your life, apart from God who made you and gave you life, tangled in the web of deception the enemy of your soul has spun around you, and when your life is over and your last breath is drawn, you'll have eternity ahead of you with unimaginable sorrow, full of regret and untold suffering. God, your Creator has not meant for you to end up that way. But it is what is in your heart that prevents you from looking at Christ Jesus, and acknowledging your need for Him. IF you don't do it now, you'll have to face it later, so it would be a wise thing to ponder things written to you and consider them!

      April 10, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • OhPlease

      "To acknowledge this require courage and honesty with one's Self. But if you don't do it, you'll stumble in darkness all your life, apart from God who made you and gave you life, tangled in the web of deception the enemy of your soul has spun around you, and when your life is over and your last breath is drawn, you'll have eternity ahead of you with unimaginable sorrow, full of regret and untold suffering."

      Thanks for continuing to show what a cruel monster your god is, that is NOT love that is about abusive control. It wish I could be there when you finally realize how stupid your posts sounds and how truly delusional you have become, you really need to seek some professional help.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Cq

      PRISM 1234
      So, what you are asking me is "Why don't I just give up and believe" what you do, is that about it? No additional argument, or point, just give up. There are more than shadows of doubt, my friend, there are mountains of doubt there to cast the shadows. Huge, solid, mountains. Maybe you can just ignore them, but I can't. Sorry!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      No, Cq, that's not it. You should look into your own heart and be honest with yourself. No one can convince someone else about such matters. But you were given a witness in own heart, but you silenced it by your own fleshly (human) wisdom. That's what damns many human souls.
      God says in His Word, "you shall seek me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart"
      That's the key .... Jesus said these words:
      " For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
      For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
      Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
      This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
      But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
      You have to face those words in your own heart!

      April 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Cq

      PRISM 1234
      Here is where your train of argument fails: In order for your assumption that your beliefs are all true, that Jesus is the Light, you have to also assume that nonbelievers like me are the Darkness, or evil, and that just doesn't wash. I'm no more evil than most who call themselves Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or anything else is. Christianity isn't the only source of goodness in this world and no reasonable person would ever believe that he is. That's how I know you're wrong.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Saturn 4321

      No, Cq, you still don't get it. It's not that all unbelievers are evil doers, and all Christians righteous! I'm not denying that many unbelievers do many good things, even live more righteous lives then many of those who claim to be Christians.
      But here is the difference: The unbeliever ascribes his good deeds to himself as his righteousness.
      A true Christian knows that he has no righteousness of his own, and that all good things he does , and the person he becomes is by the grace and mercy of God.
      He knows that in his own righteousness he can not stand before holy God, and that his life is hidden in Christ who redeemed him.
      The problem with those who live a good life, but deny Christ, is that they trust in their own righteousness. They think that they don't need God's mercy and His grace.. But when they do this, what they are really doing, is robing God of His righteousness. Because God has set the Standard of righteousness, and e is the ORIGINATOR of it. Those who go by His standard of righteousness but don't acknowledge it is His, but ascribing it to themselves, they are doing the same as a thief who steals the copyright of a patent, which we all understand it is a crime .
      That's the closest example I could come up with to explain.
      So, those who have not Christ righteousness imputed to them, they will stand before their Maker without covering for their sins. Because if a person commits just one sin, he can not stand in the presence of God with all the rest of his righteous deeds. That's the way God designed it, and that's the only way He deals with man.
      So, you see, your understanding was amiss. It's not as if we Christians are better then the rest, we just know in what shape we are...we know we need Jesus Christ, and His righteousness, without whom we can not stand before Holy God.
      No other religion on this earth reveals what is in a human heart, only Christ does. And He is NOT WRONG! But that's why Christianity is the most hated religion on earth, because it does not sugarcoat the state of man. We are all fallen creatures, even the best of us, and without Christ we are lost and can not be reconciled to God. The biggest problem for man to see his condition is the PRIDE in his heart. That's why he rather does it his own way, becaue it is in human nature to rebel against authority of God. But then he ends up lost for eternity. The only way for us to be reconciled to God is to abandon our own SELF, and humble our-self before Him, acknowledging who He is and who we are. The man that humbles himself before His Maker is the one who will be able to stand before Him, not in his own righteousness, but clothed in God's.
      Is this what I told you here hard to understand, Cq? I like to know your thoughts on it.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Saturn 4321

      P.S.
      Cq,
      I use this name on other places, I just didn't change it before posting ato you. Sorry about that!
      PRISM

      April 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  17. Jesus is the Almighty God

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw7y4bWqcTc&w=640&h=390]

    We were created to Worship you Lord!

    April 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  18. Jesus is the Almighty God

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qv_44wBOEc&w=640&h=390]

    We worship you Lord!

    April 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  19. Daniel

    It's pretty amazing to read all of these posts and see the state of people and their anger towards religion as well as their condescending sarcasm. Stop and think for a second about existence and put religion aside. It is the greatest miracle known to man and experienced daily. You have no explanation and will never have an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing. Then understand that there was a man who claimed to be the Son of God and had an answer beyond anything anybody understood. Many people followed this man for a reason. The gospel says that it was because of miracles he performed. Believe that or not people followed him and it wasn't just because he was saying I am the Son of God. Yet when he was crucified even his disciples ran away out of fear for their own lives. Something changed in these men in the following couple of days because almost all of them were killed proclaiming Jesus to be God. They claimed that he ressurrected to them. Jesus preached poverty and sacrifice and brought them sure death. What motivated these men to do this can be debated but it was so profound that we are talking about it 2,000 years later.

    So for all of you who are so quick to call christians crazy and sheeplike, is your existence any less miraculous (I'm not saying less likely) than the existence of a higher being? And it if isn't less miraculous is not the claim of these men worth investigating further and at least respected? Please read the New Testament and read the writings of the Catholic Church. Maybe some have but I'm sure most haven't. People are focusing on what christians are doing and forget that there was a man who was tortured and crucified proclaiming this act for your forgiveness and ultimate salvation from death. Unless you can tell me why there is something instead of nothing do not say belief in God is silly, when the stance of who cares or the big bang is the answer to all or a combination of both is a very ignorant rock to base a criticism on Christianity.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • otto

      Jesus was a fraud and the gospels are the proof...

      April 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • momoya

      Why is there something rather than nothing?? Who says that there even is or ever was a "nothing?". I don't think that "nothing" is possible, myself–just energy and matter that we don't understand..

      Just because you think you have mystery solved because you've given it the name "god," doesn't mean you are correct.. Why do you pretend that it's a good answer to the questions?. Filling in the blank with a "goddidit" isn't any more correct than leaving the blank without any answer at all.. Nobody knows the answers to life's mysteries, and we'll all be a lot better off when we're honest about that, imho.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Saturn 4321

      Daniel, these people could never understand what you are talking about! They are blind and their consciences are dead. They have denied their own souls. You do better to throw your treasure to pigs in a pig pen, then try to give it to them! It is astounding how depraved human heart can be! its no wonder that one man could hold more demons then the herd of swine, which when Jesus cast them out into them and drowned in the sea, because they couldn't hold them...
      The corruption of human character we are seeing before our eyes in our days, is only the sign of the times we're living in which were prophesied long ago. As the time progresses we'll see it more and more, as it is written in Daniel 12:10, where Gods' people also have a promise to hold on too!
      God's word shall not fail!

      April 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • momoya

      Whew! Good thing you've got your bible verses to help you vent all that hate and rancor!! What would you do without it?!

      April 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Cq

      Daniel
      If you want to argue that a higher being MIGHT exist, because anything could potentially exist, then you also have to allow for another being possibly existing that is even greater than your God, right?

      April 10, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • otto

      Saturn,

      We don't believe your book, we think it is error. Rather than demonize (literally) those you disagree with, why not try and understand. We will start with the pig story. God is all powerfull in your belief, why did he need to kill pigs, he could have gotten rid of the demons in any fashion he choose but he choose to kill pigs forno reason. this is just one example that makes Jesus either immoral or a myth. I say myth....

      April 10, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • OhPlease

      "Daniel, these people could never understand what you are talking about! They are blind and their consciences are dead."

      I love it when Christians keep showing they can't even follow their own bible and will lie to make themselves feel better about their own delusional state of being.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  20. dartanion

    Religion is a leaning post for those that cannot stand on thier own. God, Jesus, Allah, Budda, etc....come into play when someone is hurting or in trouble or when a loved one is ill or in danger. Or perhaps when there is a drought and someone prays for rain, or a flood and someone prays for the rain to end. The belief of a god or gods in based on human need...prayer is a way to solve a problem or to help someone or something without actually doing anything...and while I do believe that prayer has the ability to help the person that is praying to be in a relaxed and calming state....it does very little for whatever or whomever the prayer is about...it is all in your mind....you brain can do much, much more than you think...

    April 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Leaning post which can become a crutch... well said.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Scripture has taught me to believe in God and the Sons of God and the King of the Sons of God, Christ Jesus. Scripture has pointed out to me that our bodies are mere buildings created by the Sons of God for the Sons welfare and benefits. Scripture has told me that God cannot be mocked and we dare not hold God accountable for His Acts! Afterall, we are but vessels of clay in God's eyes. I do so Love God's Truth and I do also fear God's wrath. In purgatory I now do stand upon and I am held accountable for my Acts and actions. So is everyone. Even the common atheist holds themself accountable for their own Acts and actions.

      As a person grows in their intellect, they become ever aware of death's beckonings. Some will put this thought behind them while others will wrestle with it, sometimes randomly and sometimes inexhaustably and seemingly forever. To make peace with death's gates, one can either accept it or one can ever search for a way out of the inevitable conclusion to living. My hopes for overcoming death is my ever increasing Faith in God and being pulled away from death's gates just before they are closed, All are as wretched urns full of disdain and decomposing thoughts that ever makes one vomit in seemingly meaningless arbitrations for and against the meaning of Living. I stand amid the crossraods of causalities ever aware and never not in despair.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, PD, you stand amid a bunch of cow-pies and drivel.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
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.