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

The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

By John Blake, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your comments on Jesus deniers

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

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

Does it matter if Jesus existed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The evidence against Jesus’ existence

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

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

-No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.

-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The evidence for Jesus’ existence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet Easter was never just about rationale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Writer

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

soundoff (8,773 Responses)
  1. Cringeworthy

    “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?”

    Umm... what? Pursuing this to its ridiculous conclusion: Thor is real. Zeus is real. So is Osiris, and Bahamut, and Mordenkainen, and and and and.

    How would such a movement start? It's easy: just ask L. Ron Hubbard.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @JM says:

      "Does your boss believe in God? Do the people you elect believe in God? Why would you work for or elect people who you think are so stupid and, actually insane, since they believe in what you believe to be imaginary?"

      I'm own boss as I own my own business.

      I do not vote for people that believe in a god.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  2. JM

    "My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world." – Billy Graham

    April 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Milton W.

      Amen and Amen!

      April 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Do either of you know anything about evolution?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • JM

      You mean that we are all monkey-people?

      When I see a half man/half chimp, I will believe.

      I find believing in God and heaven much more realistic. =>

      April 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @JM

      That is exactly what I expected. A total idiot moron that doesn't have a brain to think on his own. Educate yourself you jerk.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @JM,
      "When I see a half man/half chimp, I will believe."
      Oh brother, you *are* confused aren't you.

      How about, "when I see a half man / half god, I will believe He is the messiah."

      April 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • JM

      There are and have been a lot of us morons on this planet: those that believe in God.

      Obama
      Gandhi
      Mother Teresa
      Colin Powell
      Abraham Lincoln
      Copernicus
      Pascal

      We all need to "get a brain", I guess.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Milton W.

      Ah... Darwin's theory of evolution.... if we came from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys. We were created by God in his own image. The Bible says so and I believe it. I have to believe the whole Bible or none of it... not just part of it.... unless I want to create my own religion.... which is what R. L. Hubbard and many others have done.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I asked you a simple question, if you knew anything about evolution. Your answered displayed your lack of understanding and was an ignorant way to answer a simple question. It clearly defines who you are a non-educated intolerant fundamentalist that has no clue about life on our planet.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Milton W

      It is apparent you are as f'n stupid as your compadre JM.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • JM

      Does your boss believe in God? Do the people you elect believe in God? Why would you work for or elect people who you think are so stupid and, actually insane, since they believe in what you believe to be imaginary?

      April 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • mandarax

      @JM – it might be worth noting that not one of those people denied the basic scientific knowledge of their time, either. That's one difference between you and that illustrious group of people you are trying to put yourself in with.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • mandarax

      When people make "monkey" comments like those of JM and Milton, it's hardly worth bothering. If they were curious at all about nature they would already know the answers to those silly challenges. They are displaying a level of willed ignorance that they will cling to no matter what.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • JM

      I believe what has been proven. Obviously things evolve/change. If the missing link is found, I will believe it.

      I believe that there are things in science that we have not yet learned/understand.

      I believe in God by faith and experiential evidence in my life and others.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • mandarax

      Although missing link is a long-outdated concept, there are literally thousands of fossils that that have been found that would qualify as "missing links."

      If you are true to your word, look up Sahelanthropus, Orrorin tugensis, the numerous Australopithecine species, Ho.mo habilis, Ho.mo ergaster, Ho.mo er.ectus, Ho.mo neanderthalis, H.omo rhodesiensis, Ho.mo heidelbergensis, archaic Ho.mo sapiens. You can take your pick as to which one best fits the "link" you have in mind.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Nonimus

      JM
      "I believe what has been proven. ... I believe in God by faith..."
      Do you not see the inconsistency?

      p.s. I don't think "experiential evidence," as you mean it, is evidence in a scientific sense.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Milton W.
      "...if we came from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys."
      If the US was colonized by Britain, then why are there still British?

      "I have to believe the whole Bible or none of it... not just part of it.... unless I want to create my own religion.... which is what R. L. Hubbard and many others have done."
      Or... don't have a religion. Live a rational life,

      April 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Voice of Reason,
      "It is apparent you are as f'n stupid as your compadre JM."

      Misinformed, or ignorant maybe, would probably be more accurate.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Nonimus

      JM
      "There are and have been a lot of us morons on this planet: those that believe in God..."

      Many of those you listed also didn't believe in germs or atoms or quantum mechanics, so what's your point?

      April 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Milton W.

      You have a fundamental misunderstanding of what evolution actually states and observes. Mankind did not "come from monkeys", we share an ancestor. At one point in time, 2 groups of the same species diverged in their evolutionary paths. One would eventually become man, and the other would become chimps.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  3. Milton W.

    If Jesus existed (and I believe the historians on this), then you have to decide who he was. He said that he was the Son of God and that I and the Father are one (in the same). You have to decide if he was a lunatic, liar or Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. If Jesus is not your saviour, then you just made up your own religion. Every other religion but Christianity is a made up (man made) religion. You cannot save yourself, only Jesus saves.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

      Wow, nothing like a quote from a book. Very convincing.

      "If Jesus is not your saviour, then you just made up your own religion."

      Even if it one that predates Christianity?

      "Every other religion but Christianity is a made up (man made) religion."

      But YOURS is the real one.....

      "You cannot save yourself, only Jesus saves."

      Free men do not need saviors. Slaves do

      April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "You have to decide if he was a lunatic, liar or Lord."
      You provide no evidence to support the "Lord" claim.

      However, even before that you must also decide if what the Bible says He said, is really what He said. Wasn't much of the New Testament written by Saul/Paul, who never even met Jesus?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • just sayin

      Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Most of the gospels were written by those who followed Jesus in His earthly ministry, although of late there are those that do not accept it. No great shock as the average atheist lies like a rug anyway. God bless

      April 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @just sayin,
      "Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus."
      My understanding of the story is that Paul had a vision of Jesus not a meeting. Conveniently, visions don't have witnesses. So regardless of the veracity of Jesus, one would also have to trust Paul as much as on trust's Jesus.

      "Most of the gospels were written by those who followed Jesus in His earthly ministry, although of late there are those that do not accept it."
      I thought most experts agreed that the Apostles themselves did not write the gospels.

      "No great shock as the average atheist lies like a rug anyway."
      Now that's just unnecessary.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Get Real

      Milton W. "You have to decide if he was a lunatic, liar or Lord."

      You (and C.S. Lewis) left out at least one other possibility – Legend. That's the one I choose.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • King Arthur

      Alas and forsooth, if I had had a super-salesman and PR expert like Paul of Tarsus on my case, what a different world t'would be. Surely if Emperor Constantine had lived after me, he would have taken up my cause too.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Madtown

      You cannot save yourself, only Jesus saves.
      -------
      What if I'm a primitive African tribesman. I'm a person of integrity and goodness, who has an intuitive concept of God, or a creator, but naturally no awareness of Jesus or the Christian bible. I've never heard of them, have never been exposed to them. Do I have no chance at salvation?

      April 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Madtown,
      One word:
      Mormons
      baptism of the dead

      (okay that was five words)

      What if I'm a primitive African tribesman. I'm a person of integrity and goodness, who has an intuitive concept of God, or a creator, but naturally no awareness of Jesus or the Christian bible. I've never heard of them, have never been exposed to them. Do I have no chance at salvation?

      April 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  4. what does prayer change

    prayer changes NOthings

    April 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    You asked me to read the bible, I did. I ask you to read the theory of evolution, you won't. Fair?

    April 11, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • AGuest9

      Probably too many "big words".

      April 11, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

      It is clear that we all have our own view on whether Jesus Christ lived. I can understand how it is hard not to believe in something that you can't see or hear. But the fact is Jesus Christ asked us to have faith in him. Just because you haven't seen Jesus doesn't mean that he doesn't exist. There is proof that Jesus Christ lived on the Earth, and that he still lives today. Anyone can know that through praying to the Father in Heaven and ask. If you pray with sincerity, hope, and faith that you will be receive an answer from God you will. Many times the way you will know is through the impressions, or feelings of peace and assurance from the Holy Ghost. I can stand as a witness that I know for sure, with proof, that Jesus Christ lives today. If you want proof that Jesus Christ is real visit http://www.lds.org. There you will learn more about who Jesus Christ is, who we are, why we are here on Earth, and where we go after death.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Oldster

      @Faith... " If you pray with sincerity, hope, and faith that you will be receive an answer from God you will."

      The same thing will happen if you use that formula on The Leprechaun King. If it doesn't happen for you, well, then you just aren't sincere enough.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

      Do you know anything about evolution?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    reality |rēˈalətē|
    noun ( pl. realities )
    1 the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them

    April 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  7. steviep

    lol.......cant sacrifice me...remember u have no god......oh wait u can sacrifice me to my ego!!!!!...LMAO

    April 11, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Your insane cackling is a sign of mental instability.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  8. Samantha

    Jesus Christ did exist. He is the son of God.
    You all wont be saying these liberal things when Jesus comes again.
    God loves you all.
    GOD Bless you all:)

    April 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Samantha, sorry dear but you are delusional.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • J.W

      What do you mean by liberal things? Jesus was the most liberal person in history. Why can someone who is liberal not believe in him?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @J.W

      I think what she means by "liberal" is critical thinking.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • jason snowpeas

      Samantha you should have been used for stem cell research! What a waste of brains!

      April 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • just sayin

      Samanthy,

      First off the story of Jesus was well established with other dead religions before yours came around. Eh hem...shall we say borrowed as is the Old Testiment. If we were to accept that there was a Jesus and he says who he states he is is true....he was about as Liberal as they come. Also there is an arguement that could say he was quite gay if you want to take it that far. Your belief system and church if you attend one, sounds like it is in line with the Devil, not Jesus. If you are to embrace his love, you wouldn't talk as you do or have the closed mind you do. You represent the worst in Christianity like most evangelicals do. I even knew this when I was a Christian. The evangelicals and Christians like you made me vomit and head towards the door, which I am happy I went through and left.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • just sayin

      Fraud alert-

      April 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • just sayin

      jason snowpeas

      Samantha you should have been used for stem cell research! What a waste of brains!

      >
      The Romans ahd it right, she woul dhave better served as food to the lions.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • just sayin

      I myself, am a fraud before Christ

      April 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • just sayin

      You are indeed and when you appear before Christ you will be without excuse. God bless

      April 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • just sayin

      No worries I am Christ as Christ is me..won't sweat the meeting.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • just sayin

      You are without excuse now. God bless

      April 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      We all live in denial of some kind. We are frauds to the image in the mirror. I see Christ as I see myself. He was a fraud as I am a fraud. His story is borrowed from dead religions.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      My prayer is to myself as it is to Christ that some day I educate myself on the origins of my beliefs

      April 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      Jesus's mom was a deceiver to her husband Joe. I doubt Jesus was even aware that the lies being fed him were borrowed from past dead religions. One can only imagine how Mary groomed him.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      just sayin

      You are without excuse now. God bless

      >
      I find my own ego and pride quite entertaining when I post stuff like this.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • What

      You make me sick.....

      April 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      What

      You make me sick.....

      >
      Actually that is impossible.. First only you can allow words from another make you sick. 2nd..factors are your ego, fear and ignorance for while you feel the way you do. When you stand back and look at it ..how absurd would it be that someone would get sick at another because of the other not believing or talking about Santa in what they think is a negative way. The issue and problem is within you...not me or anybody else...you need to get a grip on reality and life.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • sam stone

      Samatha: How did this become about politics? And, your empty proxy threats are laughable.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • xirume

      Thats very childish

      April 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  9. steviep

    your ego is your god!.....wow how stupid is that....freud probably turned over in his grave!

    April 11, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      If you have something intelligent to offer please do, if not, go away.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • momoya

      Yes, steviep, your ego is your god: Watch and educate yourself:
      .
      .
      .
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8ZMMuu7MU&w=640&h=390]

      April 11, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • xirume

      @momoya. Excellent video. So true. Thank you.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  10. steviep

    @wasp : Its spelled article ! u genius, LMAO!........You have no rebuttle whatsoever...........no answer for the Shroud Of Torin! You make yourself look like a fool, like all other athiest....we dont always need scientist to prove things ,.throw a ball up, it comes down! wow , i said earlier "who are we to say theres no god"....you must be in the wrong field pal!...u must be gifted .LMAO again!....u claim to know so much about NDR's but failed to realize that the people are DEAD (like ur brain). u have no credentials and obviously pasted what you looked up 45 minutes later!......WAY more proof for a God and afterlife then anything you athiest have.......what happened in your life, you hit your head?....meditate, know your true self and who u are and where u came from and find the source , that is god......for we are all part of the whole! and keep your senseless babble to your ego!.....your ego is telling you to stand your ground at whatever cost, what a shame, oh well .

    April 11, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • momoya

      Your ego IS your god.. Ever wonder why you and god agree on so much stuff so much of the time?. If you'll actually take the time to research the bible properly, you'll understand that it's just a bunch of fairy tales.. Somehow you don't strike me as the type to do actual research into a subject, though.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Careful there steviep, your ignorance is rearing its ugly head. We may have to slaughter you like a sacrificial lamb!

      April 11, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  11. Voice of Reason

    There was no god, there is no god, there never will be. All the BS that is layered on top of this god premise is merely an attempt to explain something that does not exist, the BS is called religion. Its books are propaganda filled with various stories about a god, not the same god mind you but still a god. So, the god premise, which one is right? Answer: none of them, there was no god, there is no god, there never will be a god. You cannot prove it, if there was a god you could prove it.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • steviep

      last comment i have for u people!!!.....stop looking outwards for answers, i understand your searching for god?...sure u r! LOOK WITHIN , JUST KEEP LOOKING"SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND" , DONT LOOK WITH YOUR BRAIN SILLY, OR YOUR EGO .........LOOK WITHIN "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD",

      April 11, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Madtown

      Well ok then! Statements of definitiveness always come off sounding ridiculously arrogant, from either side, believer or non-believer. I have my hunches, but the real truth is none of us know for certain.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @steviep
      "last comment i have for u people!!!.....stop looking outwards for answers"

      Step back and read what you posted to me. Do you really think that is a reasonable idea?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hey Madtown! What's your hunch?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Madtown

      I'll keep that to myself! ;)

      April 11, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Come on Madtown! Throw into the arena of reality and see if it floats or sinks.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • joey

      u might try reading some descartes

      April 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Tommi

    This is a great response to this article: http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2012/04/cnns-easter-bashing-goes-laughably-awry.html.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  13. David

    Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
    who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
    but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
    And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death–
    even death on a cross.
    Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
    so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father
    (Phil 2:5-11).

    April 11, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Shalom

      Christ, prior to becoming human, was in the form of God and possessed equality with God. Then, in light of his obedient death, God exalted him and gave him the very name of God so that all creation might bow before him and worship him as Lord. Clearly Jesus is no longer in the “merely human” category.

      JESUS CHRIST IS GOD.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • otto

      Let us praise God. Oh Lord...

      Oooh you are so big...

      So absolutely huge.

      Gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell
      you.

      Forgive Us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying.

      And barefaced flattery.

      But you are so strong and, well, just so super.

      Amen

      April 11, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  14. smk

    God speaks to the whole humanity through His book Quran..

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    God will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary did you say to the people, `Make me and my mother idols beside God?' " He will say, "Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.[5:116]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    (they are condemned) for disbelieving and uttering about Mary a gross lie. [4:156]

    Subsequent to them, we sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the previous scripture, the Torah. We gave him the Gospel, containing guidance and light, and confirming the previous scriptures, the Torah, and augmenting its guidance and light, and to enlighten the righteous. Quran [5:46]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master. Quran [4:171]

    (Jesus) As a messenger to the Children of Israel: "I come to you with a sign from your Lord – I create for you from clay the shape of a bird, then I blow into it, and it becomes a live bird

    April 11, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Satanic verses.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • BBT

      That was anything but the truth, misrepresentation of God in its worst form.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • JustSaying

      Why does any god need to speak through books written by bronze age men? You'd think they could actually communicate their will directly...

      April 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 11, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Jesus

      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! ~,~

      April 11, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  16. small 'c' christian

    Are posts to this discussion closed?

    April 11, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • small 'c' christian

      Seems not.... trying again:
      Do I beleive that a man whom we have come to call "Jesus" existed? Yep.
      Do I beleive he was executed by the Romans in collusion with the senior rabbis of Jerusalem? Yep.
      Do I beleive that his rag-tag band of followers so believed in his message that they continued to spread his teachings after his death? Yep.

      Do I beleive that the Roman emperor Constantine aided in the creation of what we now call the New Testament by convening the council of Nicea in the 4th Century? Yes.
      Do I beleive that the deliberate exclusion of nearly 50 testaments about the life of the preacher Jesus was "divinely" inspired? Nope
      Do I believe that the violent suppresion of the "heretical" gospels was for purely godly reaons? Nope

      April 11, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Big Yawn for the Little Man

      Do you actually think we give a damn about your obscure opinions? Apparently.

      Do we give a damn about your obscure opinions? Nope.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • small 'c' christian

      Perhaps not, but the article itself discusses the man vs the myth, so all I am doing is presenting my personal thoughts. Perhaps you would care to share yours? Or do you rather prefer to simply attempt to ridcule my views with your carefully thought-out putdowns (starting with your nym)

      April 11, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • momoya

      @small c

      What god and religion do you think you'd believe (just as strongly) in had you been born on the same date but in the middle of Saudi Arabia?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Madtown

      momoya – excellent question. I'm always reminded of this anytime I hear someone proclaim their flavor of religion to be the "correct" one, because as you point out, they'd have a different religion entirely if they were born into a different portion of this world, something none of us have any control over.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • small 'c' christian

      Momoya- So you're saying (and you're probably correct) that one's religion can also be as much a product of the happenstance of their location? This raises an entirely different set of discussions, then. And yes, you could be correct. In that case, my theoretical upbringing in Saudi Arabia (or, for that matter, Nepal) would certainly have a profound impact on my belief system.

      However, I was not brought up in a totalitarian environment, intolerant of other views. I was brought up in North America, where I have the freedom to choose how, where, when and even if I believe. And I honestly think that it's the better choice, given some of the options. And it's also why I worry about the slow, but steady intrusion of certain fundamentalist 'Christian" viewpoints infiltrating our governments- viewpoints that are every bit as intolerant of others as they are in some of the fundamentalist regimes we in N America decry so loudly.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  17. Charlie Darwin

    Absolutely!Everybody knows that a lie told thousands of times doesn't make it truth,but why to bother if the majority enjoys been ignorant and to behave like sheep!!!

    April 11, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  18. Reality

    For more discussion about the historical Jesus, see http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    A synopsis of current thinking:

    :Jesus the Myth: Heavenly Christ -
    Earl Doherty
    Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy – might want to check the educational background of these three authors

    Jesus the Myth: Man of the Indefinite Past
    Alvar Ellegård
    G. A. Wells

    Jesus the Hellenistic Hero
    Gregory Riley

    Jesus the Revolutionary
    Robert Eisenman

    Jesus the Wisdom Sage
    John Dominic Crossan
    Robert Funk
    Burton Mack
    Stephen J. Patterson

    Jesus the Man of the Spirit
    Marcus Borg
    Stevan Davies
    Geza Vermes

    Jesus the Prophet of Social Change
    Richard Horsley
    Hyam Maccoby
    Gerd Theissen

    Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
    Bart Ehrman
    Paula Fredriksen
    Gerd Lüdemann
    John P. Meier
    E. P. Sanders

    Jesus the Savior
    Luke Timothy Johnson
    Robert H. Stein
    N. T. Wright

    April 11, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  19. Aristocles

    Again, CNN must be controlled by far-left secularists, as they are taking a fringe radical left-wing minority view and giving it equal footing with the mainstream majority moderate consensus. That is biased, unfair reporting.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • mandarax

      So, in your opinion, good journalism reinforces common opinions and does not question them, and shouldn't consult experts on controversial issues?

      April 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Get Real

      Aristocles,

      It is not "reporting", per se. This is a Blog section - a belief blog (in print it would be the Opinion section). 124 pages of discussion thus far. Feel free to join in.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • AGuest9

      The last entry I just read was about that radical nut-case Santorum. How can you claim that all CNN writes about is left-wing?

      April 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Pagan

      You sound like a Rush Linbaugh, or a Fox "News" enthusiast. When wil people see that this is not about politics, or political affiliations? Thomas Jefferson wrote his version of the Gospels for a reason: they did not add up. Who knows? Maybe Jefferson thought Christ to be a liberal too? I mean for god sakes, feed the hungry, heal the sick, turn the other cheek. That sounds liberal to me.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I believe Aristocles point is that there are so many aspects and variety within Christianity that never get their equal time here on the belief blog. Most of the articles do have a negative sl'ant. I do not think this is because of bias in CNN. Well not a 100% bias. Mostly I think its just business. Right now, check out the ad on the bottom of this page. Its a Porsche ad. Yep, the Belief Blog has moved up in the world and they know how to get Atheist and Faithful to “dance” and perform when they want us too. Remember when the ads were for Anderson Cooper and other CNN shows.

      CNN can now go to corporations and sell advertisements for the “show” at the Belief Blog.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  20. MRKUSN

    I like how CNN has taken the far fringe of views of Jesus and pitts them against other scholars to make the fringe appear more normal and mainstream. Nice try. Not credible. There were so many other scholars that the article dares not mention. This is what is troubling about this article.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • momoya

      Specify.. All 'round.. There's bound to be something there somewhere.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Cq

      The article is about the fringe who believe that Jesus was a total myth. Within the mainstream of scholarship lies the majority of researchers who are prone to believe in a historical man Jesus, but not the Christ of faith. Not many academics would even try to claim that there is historical evidence for Jesus being God. People who do actually form the fringe on the other side of this debate.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • AGuest9

      -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.

      What part of this do you have a problem with? They are all true. There are many pagan traditions, including Osiris that parallel the story of the virgin birth of a deity and resurrection from the dead. The only historical writing that mentions Jesus at all is Flavius Josephus, which was apparently later forged. Paul didn't refer to a historical person, and none of the writings in the gospels could be relied upon for historical evidence, since they almost always were factually incorrect, were tampered with, in the case of "Mark", or copied from one another, or the "mysterious" "Q source".

      April 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.