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.
you said :
PRISM., 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."
Here is my response:
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.
Your whole argument still hinges on your being correct that there is a God out there and that he will do as you believe. You can claim this all you like, but that still does not make it a reality, sorry. So, unless you can offer some logical argument that makes your conclusion that there is a God out there that originates all goodness, I am free to just reject this world view as purely fanciful.
Besides, sending people to be tortured forever just doesn't make any sense, as this quote from Fundamentalism: Hazards and Heartbreaks points out:
“It is difficult to see the point and the morality of endlessly torturing people. Pain is presumptively bad, and it is desirable only when the infliction of it is necessary for a greater good, such as reforming criminals or deterring potential criminals from crime. Endless torture, however, is not designed to reform people, nor is the threat of it necessarily effective at deterring people from harming others. Torture, war, corruption, and murder were rampant, for example, throughout the Middle Ages, when people were filled with the belief in, and fear of, Hell. Indeed, the belief in Hell has, in itself, often yielded persecution, torture, and murder... Morally speaking, almost any other treatment of the wicked is preferable to endless torture, in which finite crimes receive infinite punishment. Even the annihilation of the unsaved would be less morally objectionable than an endless Hell.”
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.
Has God not given us free will? The freedom to act and choose on our own?
I am aware that eternal Hell is a very hard concept to swallow, particularly in today's "free' Western societies, where individualism, pluralism ,relativism, belief in no absolutes – which pretty much describe the Secular Humanism, are prevalent.
It has infiltrated the Church also, and that's why we have the apostasy in it today, more then ever before.
But God does not ask us what we like, and how it should be. His truth is NOT subjective, is objective. HE tells us how things are, not us to Him.
Sure, we don't know all the mysteries, we are not told all things, but what we know is enough, and is not lacking, so that those who would come to God, have all necessary understanding and knowledge they need.
But God did not created Hell for human souls, but for satan ans his angels. It is Man who rejects God, that chooses his own way. We went through that in previous posts.....
I understand your point of view, and know that many ar of the same mind as you. But in the end it's not how many in numbers agree, and what WE WANT that will be proven as the Truth.
Time will tell all things, and this is one thing we can agree on.....
Till then, we will wait and live our lives, I in anticipation of my Lord Jesus Christ's comming who will establish His Kingdom of Righteousness and Justice in the Earth, and you.... choosing to go your own way, hoping that things I've written to you are not so.
But in any case, I wish you all the best!
Yes God has given us the free will, and I believe it's the most dangerous things we've been given....
But God seen it necessary, because He did not want mindless puppets, but creatures who will chose to know Him, love Him, honor Him and be eternally thankful for the life He has given them. But with Free Will comes the Choice.
When you said " Has God not given us free will? The freedom to act and choose on our own?"
I suppose this was response to what I said about our righteousness not being our own, but God's...
I believe that in the post written to Cq this was explained...
We have no righteousness of our own, meaning we are not 'owners' of it, nor ar capable of on our own. God is the creator, HE IS righteousness, and any righteousness that exists, whether it be the goodness in people as we know it, oar laws written to help human kind.... all righteousness, beauty and perfection is of God and belongs to Him, without whom there would be nothing nor none of it. So, He is the "owner" of righteousness.
That does not mean that people who don't know Him nor believe in Him can't do good or (strive to) live righteous lives. But it is NOT their righteousness, but God's. In essence what they are doing, they are agreeing with God, whose righteousness they used to display His character.
Now, when they ascribe their righteous deeds to themselves, and don't give glory to God, this is as was already described in previous post, when someone steals a patent's copyright!
Our free will, and what choice we take: to go our own way, establishing our own righteousness, or accept the fact that we have none of our own, but take refuge in Him, in the offer of His Son in whose righteousness we trust... ON THIS hangs our eternal destiny.
There is no half way with God, no shades of gray, when it comes to who He is and who and what we are. And that's' just the way it is. To come to God one must humble him/herself and accept the verdict: "guilty". We all have sinned and come short o f the glory of God. THROUGH accepting this fact and acknowledging our poverty and need, ONLY then can we be restored through His mercy and free (UN-EARNED) gift of salvation, through Christ whom He GAVE because He love d us. Without Him THERE IS NO SALVATION!
I wish you all the best as well, and hope that future generations don't judge you and your kind too harshly. There is a lot of truth, I think, to the saying that it takes religion to make a good person do bad things. You seem like a good person, but being acceptable to human torture is a bad thing, no matter who you imagine is doing it.
momoya, my reply was to voice. I am not going to get into an argument with anyone about population growth.
You have options.
Yes, I do.
Many religions. Many 'Gods'. Because we are children who fear death, our race needed to CREATE something as the antidote to the death of the body. When the body is dead – does our ego die? Early man could NOT ENDURE the reality that yes, we die and we're DEAD. But since we cannot endure the death of our ego: so we created the opium of the masses: religion, the afterlife, eternal salvation, the light, the right hand of 'God', 27 virgins, and so on. Do you know the only thing that REALLY is FOREVER? Love. It's the only thing we take with us when we go. And it's the only thing that lasts. It lives on in those who we loved on earth and who remember us. When the LAST person who remembers us dies; then our 'souls' are truly free. As in the law of conservations tells us: energy can NEVER be destroyed, it only changes form. Our life is a form of energy, the 'soul', if you will. It continues – we do not. Our ego dies when our body dies and the ENERGY which was our life force goes on. It's all physics and cosmology – not religious mumbo jumbo.
As a whole, living species evolved by continually struggling to remain alive.. Our myths soften the blows of cold reality.. Opium can be a really useful drug, but can be exploited like any other addiction.. Currently its pretty fracking exploitive, and it deserves to be brought down to size.
Hell = living on this planet in the year 2012 with fundamentalists.
Just wait a few years; unchecked, the population will be 15 billion.. Famine or plague on unheard of scale seems likely within our lifetimes.. How much of this planet we convert to worthless sand in the meantime remains to be known.
You do have options.
Which are?? Population is completely out of control now.. Our species is stressing the resources of the planet like never before.. Believers on this board may live to see how dark their god can be..
Nobody forces you to associate with "fundamentalists," do they? Nobody forces you to acknowledge their beliefs or their existence, do they? You do have free will, do you not?
Assuming the answers are "no, no, and yes," it is quite clear that you have the option to associate only with like minded people, you have the option to ignore those who profess a belief in God, and you have the freedom to believe whatever you wish, so why don't you try that, and maybe things will be more bearable for you.
You can't escape being affected by fundamentalists; they interfere with people's civil rights and freedoms. They're trying to make this a Christian state. OK for them, but not OK for everyone else.
Can someone provide evidence of the many similarities between Osiris-Dionysus and Jesus? ".. was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion" seem to be a real stretch from the stories of Dionysus (which I could find). Where can I go to see these likenesses more clearly?
Perhaps this site is biased.. I don't know because I'm no expert; however, it's one of the first links using my search.. Maybe it will provide you a starting point.
No, no one can provide that evidence, because the key piece of evidence (the image) was in all probability forged in the 19th century.
Also, if was real, and actually from the third century AD, it really might prove that paganism was adopting christian ideas, and not the reverse.
In English, Maryland B?. What was forged when and why?
You know could it have been as it seems that in the end Moses (saw) has led the Twelve Tribes of Ishmael through the exudes from Egypt and not Israel....!?
“ And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of 12 rulers, and I will make them into a great nation. ”
The 12 Tribes of Ishmael
I admit that what I wrote was a tease only and that the Children of Israel were the one's in Exodus led by Moses (saw) as stated clearly by the Quran.
If he did not have any desire to upset people he would not write such drivel without absolute proof to back it up.
As for the statements about Obama in this article, I find them offensive and completely irrelevant in this context. For the record I have "blind faith" in Jesus, but I do not think Barry Soetero is eligible to be POTUS. Do you have a category for people like me? There are a whole bunch of us, and we cross all political, racial, cultural, and religious spectrums.
"Do you have a category for people like me?"
Actually, Voice, I have been certified perfectly sane. At one time I thought I was going nuts, so I sought help. After jumping through all the hoops for the shrink it was determined that I was perfectly sane just overworked at the time. So, no, I am not mentally ill, but I do question the intelligence of someone who would make that judgement based on one comment.
@Genie says: "For the record I have "blind faith" in Jesus... I am not mentally ill, but I do question the intelligence of someone who would make that judgement based on one comment."
The mere fact that you have blind faith in jesus demonstrates that you are delusional, a mental disorder.
I am not belittling your condition and I only wish you the very best for better mental health in this reality.
"The mere fact that you have blind faith in jesus demonstrates that you are delusional, a mental disorder.
I am not belittling your condition and I only wish you the very best for better mental health in this reality."
My condition is not delusional nor is it a mental disorder as verified by a psychiatrist who spent several weeks with me as opposed to you who read one comment by me and decided that because I don't believe the way you do that I am somehow mentally disadvantaged. It has been claimed that liberalism is indeed a mental disorder, and since you go around diagnosing peoples' alleged mental health problems on the internet it would seem that you fall into that category, and you really should seek help.
Like I said, I really do wish all the best for you.
I am very blessed in this life.
Thank you for your good wishes.
You claim to believe in a being that is invisible. There are delusional people who do just that, right? So, why is it incorrect to label you as also delusional?
@wasp....u leave out the fact that these NDE'S people are actually dead,clinically dead!......and children have had their unbiased experiences with amazingly stories of seeing and knowing things they could nt have unless they were present in the other rooms or cities.read the books and watch the programs about them and u will believe ....unless the light bulb is brkern can never switch on! good luck and god bless
@steviep: well then appearantly you are in the wrong line of work seeing you have single handledly figured out the complete inner workings of the human brain. i was under the impression that there was still loads of area of study left to scientists to research. i imagine they will be quite pleased to know it is all figured out. thank you for your contribution to science........and god bless. lmao
NDE's are merely a chemical reaction in our brain, it has nothing to do with the supernatural. Why can't you understand that if such a thing was real and proven, don't you think that it would be on every page of every newspaper and every scientist on earth would provide empirical evidence? Don't be so easily led.
I believe the Bible and I believe that Jesus is God's son.. The history of the Jewish Nation alone, is more than enough to prove to me the Bible is the word of God. I think Faith plays an important part in becoming a Christian.
Helen, you are probably a very nice person that does crafts but you really need to read and open your mind to other possibilities.
Again, Voice of Reason lacks any reason in his claims. Scholars, critics and believers alike should do away with their belief that a Jesus of Nazareth existed simply because he say so. What an argument!
I think faith plays an important role in any religion or similar persistent delusion.. The problem with faith is that it can be equally applied by all for whatever the belief.. Can't explain a contradiction in the bible–there's faith for that.. But try to justify why your religious/god belief is correct over another, and faith becomes meaningless.. Why?. Because any nut job can 'have faith' for anything at all..
What you believe about god is almost always the general consensus of the society and time period in which you were raised.. Couple that fact with the fact that god cannot be proved in any way we know of, and religious belief becomes silly very quickly..
"Again, Voice of Reason lacks any reason in his claims. Scholars, critics and believers alike should do away with their belief that a Jesus of Nazareth existed simply because he say so. What an argument!"
I could care less if jesus existed or not. What it boils down to is the question of a god. There is none, there will never be any. If you believe there is a god then you have the burden of proof.
@Voice of Reason. The question of Jesus and his authenticity is exceedingly important because he claimed to be God. What kind of proof are you looking for that would ever satisfy you? Even if you were given your desired "empirical evidence" would you honestly consider becoming a believer in God?
Matt, firstly, belief is a compulsion–not a choice.. You can't choose to believe in Unicorns just because you want to.. That's not how belief works.. It's not that the god of the bible can or can't be believed in, it's that he's too inconsistent and has way too many personalities and contradictory ideas to even be defined.. If it can't be defined properly, belief is irrelevant..
The burden of proof must be fulfilled both by establishing positive evidence and negating oppositional evidence. If you can accomplish this I will know it to be true in this natural world.
@ momoya: I disagree. By asking for evidence/proof, you are asking for something to influence your decision one way or the other, i.e. to make a choice. I didn’t want to believe in the God of the bible (because He seemed – at the time – all the things you mentioned), but I ended up having no choice when faced with the alternatives.
@VOR: Proving the supernatural with natural means (p<.05, etc) is unfair. The best it can do is provide clues and supporting data. I would hope that you would honestly look at the evidence surrounding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as he is some of the best “natural” evidence for God’s existence, if that is your hold up.
IF there's no proof then there's nothing to believe or disbelieve.. It's an irrelevant concept totally out of tune of what we know of reality.. Our myths are different from those of the bronze age because we know so much that they didn't.. You know what reality is and isn't.. Don't act stupid just for your silly and self-contradicting idea of god.. There's tons of other things to be stupid about more deserving than that.. :)
You said “Our myths are different from those of the bronze age because we know so much that they didn't.”
I don’t think so. The Bronze Age Hebrews knew about .0000000000000000000001% of what comprised our existence and you know .0000000000000000000001% of what comprises our existence. In short we still don’t know much more than they did. The current myth based on our educated minds is that a blob grew fins swam about, got scared and grew legs to climb out of the water, got cold so suddenly became warm blooded, got scared and jumped back into the water and grew fins again which is how we now have mammals like whales in our oceans. No God needed.
If that's what you think evolution is then you are a moron.. If you're going to disbelieve in evolution at least have the decency to educate yourself honestly on the subject.. It's a stupid battle for you to take on, anyway, as most educated people would respect god MORE if he laid out the rules for evolution rather than poofed the animals into the air one by one with magic incantations..
That was the old Nova video on how mammals ended up in the ocean. I wish I could find that old clip designed for younger students from about 15 years ago. Point is in 15 years we have changed opinion on how mammals ended up in the ocean. The Bible has not changed in 2,000 years and the foundations go back to the beginning.
If there is a God creation could have been in various ways. God spoke the heavens and earth into existence but he made man from what was created. I am not an expert on old Hebrew but there was a reason the physical universe was created but man was made out of the dust of that creation.
I believe I've seen most of the Nova vids and I don't remember any of them describing evolution in such a dumb way.. Perhaps you need to revisit that vid.. I have yet to meet a person who doesn't believe in evolution who has the first clue as to what the evolutionary process is.. The only evolution deniers I know about use gross misrepresentations of evolution–so those people (and you) aren't disbelieving in evolution–they're disagreeing with their own screwed up idea that has no bearing on evolution at al.
The bible has changed hundreds and hundreds of time.. Don't be such a simpleton.. No parts of any of its several creation myths are even slightly accurate.. The bible sucks at determining scientific truth.. The bible just has way too much stupidity for a rational person to take seriously..
This article and most of the articles here on CNN's "belief" blog are so one sided that CNN should be embarassed to call themselves a source of "NEWS" because they don't give a clear view of the issues only one side of the story.
I see a whole lot of Anti-god, Anti-Christ liberal views and nothing more.
Oh, relax.. If god shows up they'll be covering it along with everybody else.
@love: well seeing no one held a gun to your head to read the articule, and you have to click on the appropriate keys to access the OPINION section of a very creditible new organization. i would say you are only upset due to the fact it didn't pat you on the back for your beliefs. so because you chose to read the articule you got your feelings hurt. no sympathy.
It is just incredible to read the responses from the believers of the supernatural. Post after post there are examples of very smart people with very real information that the religious basically throw garbage at. These smart people really want to share good information with you and you just disregard it as bad information. You religious types are deeply, deeply disturbed, I am convinced of it. If I was 40 years younger I could definitely see myself considering becoming a militant atheist because what you religious types promote is evil and destructive to humankind. Its time we put an end to it and allow mankind to proceed with dignity.
Oh, I see the godless claim that militant atheists proceed with dignity. Did I read that right? You actually think militant atheists like Stalin and Mao are dignified godless examples we should all strive to attain?
Hey Fred! Show me where I said anything about Stalin or Mao please?
Denying the historical existence of Jesus is the epitome of "throwing garbage" as an argument.
By the way, without an ultimate moral foundation there is no such thing as "evil". So, your little diatribe is meaningless.
Odd your "name" is Voice of Reason when you have nothing but ad hominem attacks.
Voice of Reason
You said "I could definitely see myself considering becoming a militant atheist because what you religious types promote is evil and destructive to humankind. Its time we put an end to it and allow mankind to proceed with dignity"
Stalin and Mao also saw religious types as destructive to the plan they had for mankind. They excercised their militant atheism under the cover of communism to do exactly what you propose.
I am not Stalin or Mao. I am me, a thinking person with a critical mind. What religion proposes is wrong and destructive, it is morally repulsive and has been the bane and the perpetuation of ignorance and intolerance.
Voice of Reason
I would not confuse religion with the truth such as Christ expressed for example. Religion always gets tangled up with mans faults and desires so I would agree that religion generally creates problems.
You said “wrong and destructive, it is morally repulsive and has been the bane and the perpetuation of ignorance and intolerance.”
Please tell me how what Christ said or the church Christ first established did resembles any of what you said.
It is called the bible, read it sometime and then tell me what you read wasn't morally repulsive and destructive. I am not going to pull out actual verses to prove my point because you will only reply with nonsensical reasoning. Come to the real world Fred and get your head out of god's a.s.s.
Voice of Reason
The Bible gave it just as it was in those times. People are nasty and do cruel things. God does not sugar coat the past for you. You need to know your history of evil so that you can realize you need a savior. If you do not need redemption the Bible is not for you as it is a story of God redeeming a people for himself.
Jesus was more recent about 2,000 years ago and we saw what religion does to the innocent and pure one nailed to the cross. That is man, that is sin and what sin looks like to God. Does Jesus need to draw you a picture?
Do you believe the bible to be the truth? Answer yes or no because it cannot be anything but.
I really want to no, it contains the truth as revealed to me.
So the correct answer is YES our comprehensen level notwithstanding
Voice of Reason
The truth is revealed when the Bible is read under the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not a cop out. The problem is when we read the Bible with a motive outside of the will of God for our lives we end with mans religions every time instead of the truth.
@fred says: "The truth is revealed when the Bible is read under the power of the Holy Spirit"
Fred, please step back and read what you posted to me. Doesn't that sound like some mumbo-jumbo-supernatural-lsd-enhanced experience?
The Holy Spirit is nnothing more than particular neurons firing in the brain in relation to applying a "fudge factor" whereby any logical inconsistencies or outright impossibilities about the "faith" can be glossed over in favor of a more ego-based "reading" of the text in question..
Voice of Reason
You may not like it or agree with it but that is the way it works. Personally, the Bible was silly stories as far as I was concerned then immediately upon conversion as I read it everything fell into place. Same book same story just a different lens. I like to look at it as seeing from Gods perspective vs. mans perspective. The talking serpent was not real like a pink unicorn but symbolic of deception where you can even take the word of a serpent over God’s Word. This is not logical but, atheists on this site constantly look towards the serpent and are so deceived they ask Christians all day long “did God really say that, the Bible is wrong rejecting God makes you wise”. Go read Genesis again and note how atheists continue with almost the exact same lines as the serpent.
It is you who have been deceived just as I was by the same deception and deceiver that was in the garden thousands of years ago.
Use your own science and note how the mind adjusts for a blind spot in your vision to make it appear complete and logical to the point you no longer notice it. Consider how your mind tunes out all but what you need to exist. Yet, you insist because you are incapable of asking Christ for help with a heartfelt earnest desire and to save you Christ does not exist. Amazing the depth of your deception. As Christians we are simply trying help
I'm sure you mean well.. But you are deceived.. Belief is not a choice.. After almost 50 years of believing like you and more I just learned too much and was no longer compelled to believe in your god.. You can't choose to believe that there's two suns–it would be impossible–no matter how much you like or hate the idea of two suns..
Humanisms are varying fractions of the masses and they all do their wills' wants. Before there were presidents, there were Kings and Queens. Now that humanists have mostly done away with honor and valoreunder the spells of the bountiful harvests of emotionalisms accordances will have the masses dancing and prancing around many issues for their own contentments' sakes. We are nothing but stardust and water, mostly water. Therefore, the waters of Life will ever spring forth the abundant measures of Life abundantly.
Was it one sudden flash of darkness that blinded you like Paul or was it a series of steps into non belief? The reason I ask is because too much time on this web site makes me dig deep into the faith bucket. My conversion was sudden and unexpected. If I do not constantly go back and review what God has done personally I would fall back.
For me it was a fairly lengthy process–probably because I had been a believer for so long.. I have always had a thirst for more understanding, so the start of that process was the many times I read the bible and researched certain dilemmas I found..
"Sudden flash of darkness" doesn't really seem like a process anybody would go through, since belief is a compulsion rather than a choice.. Religions encourage the prospective convert to "fake" his belief and go along to get along until the prospect feels the need for more "faith/fakeness" and so on and so on.. At some point, that prospect considers himself a convert and says so to his "handlers.". That's very, very different from the deconversion process–as far as I can determine..
Prayer changes things. .
Prayer doesn’t not change anything; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! ~,~ .
i don't understand this drivel
Fake Jesus is not meant to be understood, it is without substance when questioned.
1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.b
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Song of David - Lyrics by King David or some unnamed songwriter in his court.
Might as well include:
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one
- John Lennon
John Lennon KNOWS NOW! And he ain't imagining!
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.
I'm not sure how you reconcile that with a silly belief in heaven or hell, but some believers claim to have that ability.
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten..
@Saturn (PRISM 1234)
Why do you guys take such glee in the thought of a murdered man who sang only of peace being tortured for eternity? You go on and on about Jesus being all about love, but what really seems to interest you is his whipping people just because they didn't believe in him. That's where I think you Christians show your true colors. In the end it's all about being fascist collaborators sharing in the Kristallnacht raids.
All, where do you see the glee? When God-mockers and Christians-haters gather to throw their insults, it resembles a gathering of rowdy thrill seekers, this being undeniable by the evidence of spirit in which they write their posts, with abundance of derogatory names for us.
But when one of us says something like the post above "John Lennon knows now, and he ain't imagining", we are called hateful and sadistic. Really?!
Those like him spread their poison, and have damned many gullible souls to Christless eternity. Even if we say "it serves him right", we agree with God. But you will hardly hear Christians say this, in the same spirit the mockers lash out at us!
But here is the whole thing in the nutshell: If one of those God-haters came and humbled himself before God, would we hold grudge against him, and not t receive him, hating him for insults he threw at us? No, we would receive him with tears of joy!
This is the difference between those who are truly God's people, , and those whom you label as hypocrites and sadists!
God's Word says that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Neither do we who come here and labor day and night to preach His word, warning and admonishing every man, because it is appointed for every man once to die, and after that is the JUDGMENT. We know their destiny, and the end of the path they are on!
You can join the popular crowd and bash us, but in the end it will be His word against yours. We who are here now and speak to you, we won't have to speak any longer, HE WILL., and you will listen!
Some of your opponents here may insult you, but can you blame them? You guys believe in some pretty silly stuff, things that usually fail even a simple test in logic. A lot of others here just criticize those beliefs without pointing out how silly you are to believe in them, but you and others like you still take great glee in bringing up your belief that we all will fry in hell. Wishing torture on anyone is sadistic. You just think it's OK because you think Jesus sanctions it.
Oh well, you beat your own drum no matter what someone tries to tell you!
And then you, people , say that we, Christians "run and go with it", what ever someone tells us, because WE want to believe the silly "fairy tales"?!
No sweat, think what you want, obviously it's what you WANT to think...maybe it soothes your own conscience, because after all the Word of God has some harsh things to say to those who reject Christ Jesus and His testimony......
Anyhow, suit yourself, and good evening to ya!
Nice article. Any arguments to disclaim the existence of the historical Jesus are embarrassingly weak. We might as well be asking how we know ANY history is true.
Recent archeological discoveries have PROVEN that much of recorded history is UNTRUE.. The reason seems to be that the "winners" are the ones who record the battles and take overs as they wished they had occurred instead of how they actually did occur.. In fact, many history books have had to be changed drastically in recent years to "correct" according to how it actually happened..
As to the "historicity" of Jesus, we certainly know that Jesus was a common name around the time in question, and we know that thousands of prophets crisscrossed Judea claiming to work miracles and be "the messiah" of the jews.. As for the miraculous events, they were a dime a dozen at that time (at least according to what is written down).. Remember that the NT records how people thought Paul and Barnabas were grecian gods when they worked miracles–they did not remark at all about miracles as you would expect them to if they were rare.. Every other person knew someone who "worked miracles."
As for the bible's message.. It doesn't even manage to make a message, despite 95% of it being rewritten or discarded.. It's foundational precepts are to paradoxical to do any believer any good at all.. The bible is mere myths stacked together into a haphazard arrangement that doesn't make sense at all except as a legend of how religions evolve from scattered myths and madmen.
Nice try, Momoya, but that's a fail for you.
The message is not too paradoxical. It's not too complicated, either.
This country was founded by men who believed that message and no
amount of rewriting history will change that. People have tried to destroy,
suppress, restrict the Bible...they've all failed. The Bible is here to stay.
Want to dispel a myth? Dispel that evolution myth. Chemical origin of life?
Creatures morphing into other life forms over time? Get real.
@fred: nothing to say other than "return to your cave troll." you have been proven to be two things, one ignorant by choice which is sad. second you know and understand almost nothing outside your bible. i have gone wit for wit with you and you have ran. good day.
Fred, the founding fathers were mostly deists, and many of them made statements AGAINST the christian god.. Besides, if they saw America and you today they'd have absolutely no idea what ya'll are doin'.. Like every religion, christianity evolves and you'd not recognize the god or the worship just a hundred years ago..
I'm not surprised that you're too stupid to understand evolution and the thousands of ways it's proved every single day around the globe–you're a vanilla-fundie-light-but-extra-preachy christian after all.. You can't come to grips with the reality that the bible is nonsensical, garbled myth from beginning to end with so many logic holes that you can't even start to take the paradoxes seriously until you realize that there's people out there who claim that thing makes some sort of sense if you hold it to the left under a full moon and only read every third word with long enunciation on the second vowel of each word while you hop around on one blanket of beetle whiskers.. It's slightly funny, but it's disturbing, too.
Hey fred, did you ever figure out how you can tell a true christian from an untrue one?. I seem to remember you claiming that it could be done, but you never came forward on the specifics of the test..
Please do not confuse this Fred with the real fred. The answer to your qestion is you can only tell a real Christian when their dead and St Peter introduces you to them.
There's about as much evidence for a historical Jesus as there is for a historical King Arthur.
Of course people give their life for ideals and belief systems and not personal encounters. I've met Timothy Freke a number of times and am currently ready Ehrman's book. A number of scholars would be out of work if they conceded that the historical figure is hard to recognize. A friend of mine, from the Jesus Seminar, concluded that we should only speak of the rhetorical and not historical Jesus. Someone uttered the parables? If you want a intelligent response to Ehrman's argument you will find it at http://vridar.wordpress.com/
Jesus was God?? Every time he prayed, to whom was he praying? When he was getting baptized, whos voices came from heaven saying: "this is my son..."? Why resurrected Jesus in Matthew 28:18 says" All authority has been GIVEN TO ME on heaven and on earth? Who gave authority to him??
I realize that most christians all but worship Lee Strobel, but his arguments are poor.. You'd do better to pick a more effective apologist than him.. There are excellent rebuttals that totally destroy the Strobel's position.
The Talmud doesn't call Jesus a "worker of wonders"; it calls him a sorcerer. This guy misquotes all the time. No wonder he couldn't make it as a journalist.
There will come a day when EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. For many, this confession will be when it is too late to have a happy ending.
@jim: if "jesus is lord" then why is it two of the three largest faiths, don't recognize him as being anything more than a prophet? next question so 77% of the worlds population is going to burn in hell for not buying into your little horror story? so here is the main question........why do you believe in something that has no proof, and never has had any proof? please make this interesting for me.
What's the happy ending? How do you know you'll acheive it?
2. How can anybody even consider worshiping a guy who claims to be all loving yet built, sustains, and takes joy in an eternal torture chamber?!. Even I thought biblegod existed I wouldn't want to hang out with him!!
Do you realize the happy ending(ETERNAL LIFE),includes witnessing friends and relatives being tortured in hell, forever?Sound good ?
Like others who have responded, I am waiting to see an article on the Mulsum faith and how they support their beliefs. Also – how they hold women in a 2nd class position. Unlike Christians, I do not think Muslum readers would be so forgiving and 'turn the other cheek' to such bias journalism. I will now get my news on-line from FOX
@TBDGUY: dude relax. this articule was done by a journalist under the OPINION section. along with that it is an articule under the BELIEF section, so you had to look up this articule yourself and read it. yoou got offended when it didn't support what you wanted it to say. i'm certain if you like, you can do the research of the kuran and it's important figures, write an opinion articule, send it in to CNN and they may just publish it online for you. so the ball is in your court, whine about an articule no one made you read or do a counter piece.
TDBGUY, Waiting for an Islam article?... You have not been paying attention (or you just like to whine).
Here are couple of them... just in the past few days:
And many, many others have appeared over the course of the past year.
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.