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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. Paul

    Mandarax: Insects can see in ultraviolet wavelengths, and dogs can smell and taste thousands of times more than we can – I guess that's evidence He loves them best!
    No, he loves us best as he sent his Son to saves us not animals and we were created in his image, not animals.
    But what you raise about insects gives further evidence of diversity of design. Maybe dogs have their qualities that enable them to fulfil their purpose in life, waste disposal. More evidence of purpose in design.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • mandarax

      Here's the "purposeful design" perspective in a nutshell: Hands are designed with five fingers and a thumb specifically so they can fit into gloves.

      Perhaps you should explore natural selection.

      April 25, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • momoya

      Paul, you talk like a moron does.

      You must believe in "Intelligent Design.". Do you think ID is a science?. What experiment or test can we do to determine if a thing is designed or not? thx.

      April 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • wa3jwa

      Yada, Yada, Yada, How about we take a peek from a different point of view.
      A man named Moses introduced one story with two different beginnings and endings. One is;

      Gen 1:27 "God created man" and ends with Apocalypse, "any universal or widespread destruction or disaster."
      The other story is:

      Gen 2:27 "LORD God formed man," and ends with Apocalypse, "a lifting of the veil."

      The fulcrum point in Moses' continuing story on which these two opposing views teeter is found in 2Cr 3:15, "But even unto this day when Moses is read a veil covers their hearts."

      Since we are obviously headed for a nuclear Apocalypse in the Mid East and there are approx 43,000 different Christian denominations who all view things a bit differently. Not to mention the many different views and sects of Muslims and Jews who also were begun by Moses and also see things a bit differently, does anybody think that ALL are reading Moses with his veil still intact?

      If you remove the veil of Moses, the entire Old and New Testaments and the Quran blend together like a peaceful spiritual melody. Sound impossible? It's not. It is so simple I did It by reading one book.

      Here is how. Gen2:7 "LORD God formed man." The Problem begins with how people view the words" LORD God". Through out the Bible those two words are rarely used together. But when God or LORD is stated separately people understand it to be "LORD God" making the statement, but it is not. When you investigate those words, I am told that the word 'lord' carries 20 variant meanings. The word 'God' carries 140 different meanings from identical to opposite and everything in between. But when used together they mean something slightly different

      So how do you read the Bible to have a collective Apocalypse, "lifting of Moses veil?

      This is how, I have been told. Have you ever received too much change at the grocery store? When you did, you had a conversation with yourself. You first said "today is my lucky day."
      Then a voice in your mind said, "take it back." Which ever mind won that debate was the product of LORD or God.

      LORD when viewed as the parent of your spiritual thoughts and God as the parent of your human nature thoughts, they form a conjugal relationship in the bride chamber of your mind. The Dominant "Holy Spirit LORD" speaks through the weaker human and a perfect offspring is the result. When you totally understand this, and maintain your spiritual mind as the dominant and your material mind as the weaker needy, addicted etc. mind, the perfect you is born or in Biblical terms "you become Born again," as a spiritual mind.

      When you read the entire Bible in this manner it becomes a perfect spiritual book and the Quran becomes its partner book. I have done it and you can too. I learned how several weeks ago on this very blog when someone suggested that I read "The Lost Rivers Out of Eden." It was amazing. Before I read it, I was very biased in my fundamental views. Now I see things very clearly. I also now see why I saw things differently before and why I was totally blind of this alternate view. This guy actually lifted the veil of Moses. If every body keeps on fighting on this blog with words and fighting in the Mid East with bombs, a nuclear Apocalypse will definetly happen. The choice is each person's individually.

      Open your eyes people.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  2. Paul

    Madtown: Starving Children, God doesn’t care.
    Rubbish. God does care and is intending to do something about that under his Kingdom.
    The blame for starving children can be laid squarely on man. Greed and war are the main reasons, nothing to do with God. However God will remove war and greed in the future under his Kingdom. He will resurrect those that have died at the hands of man and judge those who cause these terrible things.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Madtown

      God does care and is intending to do something about that under his Kingdom
      -----–
      You state this as if you know for certain. Have some humility. Don't be so arrogant as to think you possibly know the first thing about God, and what God intends.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • Paul

      I have absolute confidence in what God's says he will do. I am not arrogant. I am just confident in his ability to do what he says. In fact that is what his name 'Jehovah' means, "I shall prove to be, what I shall prove to be."
      Everything he has said in the past always comes true, I have no reason to start disbelieving now.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • mandarax

      "Everything he has said in the past always comes true, I have no reason to start disbelieving now."

      That statement just indicates that Paul cannot participate in a rational discussion. It's sort of a game-ender.

      April 25, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Madtown

      I have absolute confidence in what God's says he will do. I am not arrogant
      -----–
      Where has God "said" what he'll do? You'll likely answer the bible, but again....the bible was written by men who also think they know what God intends. This does not make it evidence for what God intends, only a set of opinions about what a few human authors think God intends. You're exceptionally arrogant if you think you "know" what God intends. Be humble, believe what you want, but also say you "don't know for certain", because you don't. No one does.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Rsqdvr911

      Paul~

      I have absolute Confidence in what God says he will do.

      That's what Harold Camping said and a host of other so called Church Leaders throughout the history of Christianity. And there are still a bunch of them peddling the same mantra. What surprises me is that there are still a lot of gullible people giving away their money, family and property to them at this day and age.

      April 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  3. Paul

    Momoya: By that logic, intestinal worms and disease proves that god hates everybody.
    I’m not sure about worms, never studied them. Maybe they have a purpose like other things we refer to as nasties, like bed bugs. Bed bugs are very good for removing dead skin. I much prefer washing my sheets.
    However diseases cannot be laid at God’s door. In the beginning man and woman were perfect. Only sin (disobedience) caused us to be in the sorry state today and God intends fixing that in the near future. If you want to blame anyone, blame Adam.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • momoya

      @Paul
      Silly god.. Why'd he make a world that was able to be corrupted?

      When it comes to nifty things like butterflies and rainbows, you freakshows want it to be evidence for a "good god who lovingly designed everything, one-by-one," and when it's an animal or process a little bit gross or yucky, you freakshows want it to be evidence for "not god, but the consequence of man's sin.".

      That's just blatant stupidity.. Stop it, and go grow a brain.

      April 25, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  4. Paul

    GodPot: Animals see in colour, identifying what is good to eat and identifying sweet and bitter.
    Very good, more evidence of a creator. Gives evidence of design with purpose. You are not far from becoming a believer.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  5. Paul

    Madtown: Revelation was written by men and man always disappoints.
    True, although a man John wrote the Revelation it was given to him by the resurrected Jesus Christ. Everything he has said has come true, so I have absolute faith that what he says about false religion will also come true. The UN as depicted by the image of the beast will be instrumental in destroying false religion. Due to her blood guilt in slaying humans in the name of religion and supporting the political powers in their wars.

    April 25, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Madtown

      although a man John wrote the Revelation it was given to him by the resurrected Jesus Christ
      ------
      Again, you state this as if it's been recorded on video. How do you know?

      April 25, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Paul

      Apart from John saying that Jesus gave it to him there are several reasons. For example all that was stated in Revelation has come true to this day. John died in 100CE and has no control over the fulfillment of he words and yet they come true.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • momoya

      @Paul

      Yet there's millions of christians around the globe who say none of Revelation has come to pass, some of Revelation has come to pass, a bit more has come to pass, about half has come to pass, a little more than half has come to pass, most has come to pass, almost all has come to pass..

      You morons can't decide what parts of the bible you should believe or how you should interpret what you do decide to deal with.. Math provides its own rules and mechanisms that can prove or disprove a mathematical theory or equation.. The bible provides no such rule or mechanism.. That's why some christians think the first genesis account is accurate, some say it's allegory, some say it's partly allegory and partly accurate.. It's just up to the individual christian to say whatever he wants god's will to be for him and his decisions..

      April 25, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  6. Robert Brown

    On April 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm wa3jwa said,
    “Hey vic, Read John 1:20 "and he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I AM NOT THE CHRIST."
    Jesus didn't lie, he said he was not the Christ, but left His character open to be praised by fundamentals who say that he is. Then he goes on to die from a wound and become alive again and everybody calls him Christ. Does that ring any bells "Vic and the fundamentals."”
    Wa3jwa would have you to believe that Jesus denied being the Christ but it is clear that the person who said this was John the Baptist and you only need to read the prior verse to get the context.
    John 1:
    19And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
    20And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
    The first chapter of John is great read it for yourself.

    April 24, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • vic

      Rober Brown,
      you are funny had a good laugh that was John teh baptist , CHrist cousin . Ofcourse ,he is not the CHrist .
      And Christ asked Peter
      "Peter who do you think I am??
      " You are the SOn Of the Living God"
      Christ replied this belief came to you from God
      This belief itself is not for everyone Christ foretold
      But i respect your right not to belilieve you must feel comfortable in you non-belief , good for you.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Matthew 16:
      15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
      16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
      17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
      18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
      19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
      20Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

      Mark 8:29
      And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

      Luke 9:20
      He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

      April 25, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  7. Paul

    What evidence that God cares?
    Countless. The fact that we see colour. We enjoy an abundance of food flavours. All of which are unnecessary for life. Obvious that our creator has designed us to enjoy life.
    We also enjoy caring for others such as the aged and children, we form bonds of friendship that last a life time. The Bible says we were created in Gods image. These qualities tell me a lot about my God Jehovah.
    Also he has shown his care in us by providing a plan for us for the future. Our desire for peace will be fulfilled under his Kingdom soon to come.
    So you see there is plenty of reason why we know God Cares.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Yes Paul, with all the things in creation that God has given us to enjoy, doesn’t it make you wonder what he has prepared for us in heaven. Of all the beauty, joy, and pleasure we enjoy on earth, there is still hard times, pain, and grief. Imagine a land where it is all good all the time, living in a glorified body that will never decay. There are times when are cups are filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Imagine if you could experience that nonstop, forever.

      1 Corinthians 15: 50-57 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Madtown

      We enjoy an abundance of food flavours
      -----
      God cares because we have yummy food? What about all the people in the world, including the children, who are starving. People who not only don't have yummy food to eat, they don't have any food to eat. These human beings are creations of God, just like you and me. I'm not saying God doesn't care, but your reasoning is absurd, and somewhat insulting.

      April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • momoya

      By that logic, intestinal worms and disease proves that god hates everybody.

      April 24, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Rsqdvr911

      A overzealous team member who is christian started preaching about how good christianity is on one of our goverment led missions to bring food and medicine to a famine hit indeginuous tribe living somewhere in a god forsaken region of the planet. A young girl malnourished and trembling with hunger asked innocently, "Sir can we EAT this christianity you're talking about as we are really hungry and dying here and we will be happy and thankful to just have a sack of plain rice?"

      April 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • momoya

      Was the answer "yes, but only once a week in the form of tiny round cr.ac.kers?"

      April 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • GodPot

      At least it's something some rural tribes can understand, the whole eating human flesh and drinking human blood, a few of them were eating their ancestors just a few generations ago...

      April 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Paul – "The fact that we see colour. We enjoy an abundance of food flavours. All of which are unnecessary for life. Obvious that our creator has designed us to enjoy life."

      So no other animals see color or taste flavors? And unnecessary? So color doesn't play any part in deciphering what was good to eat? Sweet and Bitter never come into play for testing and tasting foods for our own safety?

      April 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • mandarax

      Insects can see in ultraviolet wavelengths, and dogs can smell and taste thousands of times more than we can – I guess that's evidence He loves them best!

      April 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      The starving children argument again? That is the worst example of all. Children starve in a world that has the resources and technology to feed them all 10 times over. The problem is clearly mans selfish desire to take what he wants. Starving children is actually an argument in favor of the Bible which clearly states the fall of man was due to selfish desire and selfish lust. We prove by our actions what we value most.

      April 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Madtown

      fred
      Madtown
      The starving children argument again?
      ----–
      Fred, yes, the starving argument. You must have missed where Paul stated that having food that tastes good is proof God cares. Yet, some people don't have this. So? How's that not a legitimate point in your world? Interesting also that you point to the bible to give reasons for man's downfall, as man wrote the bible.

      April 25, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • fred

      Madtown
      One of the reasons you can believe the Bible is just because of what you said. In those days what writer would make himself look a fool. These Hebrews were a proud people and “stiff necked” yet you read of their personal and moral failures in the face of their own laws that set hard standards some of which would result in death if violated. I doubt we were the only generation to notice their constant failures over the same issues. Yet the story was never edited to paint a false picture of the reality of mans true relationship with God over the years.
      To all those that say the Bible was made up Jesus should have been painted as a Mighty King. Instead the lion king of Judah rode into town on a small donkey and washed peoples feet. The Bible is true to its theme in that the things of this world and the thoughts of man are very different from the will and way of God. God makes it clear he will take care of these children starved to death by our selfish ways and to those that would harm such a little one God says it would be better if they were never born.

      April 25, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  8. wa3jwa

    Hey Robert Brown, I will give you some evidence which I read that will backup his statement. I used to be a Catholic and I taught Bible study to Native Americans on their reservation. Then I read "The World's 16 Crucified Saviors by Graves and Anacalupsis by Higgans, and The Lost Rivers Out of Eden, etc. etc. When you read them you see what religion is all about. Now i am an Atheist. When I became an Atheist my addictions stopped. #2 in the 12 step A.A. program makes you an addict. Check out, the, How to unaddict yourself for dummies blog and see for yourself.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  9. Kevin

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCbtbLA4IJA&w=640&h=390]

    April 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • thekuz

      Hey EnjaySea, Re your post about reading the Bible as an Atheist, there is a book called "The Lost Rivers Out of Eden" on Amazon. It spells out exactly how to do it. I loved it. It clears up this entire God, Jesus, Antichrist, Elohiym and Allah mess. When your done, You just kinda sit back and smile at all this mindless hupla.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  10. t3chn0ph0b3

    Conceived by a virgin mother named Meri, and had a stepfather named Seb (Joseph)
    Was born in a cave, his birth announced by an angel, heralded by a star and attended by shepherds
    Attended a special rite of passage at the age of twelve and there is no data on the child

    from the age of 12 to 30
    Was baptized in a river at the age of 30, and his baptizer was later beheaded
    Had 12 disciples
    Performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, walked on water
    Was called “Iusa”, the "ever-becoming son" and the "Holy Child"
    Delivered a "Sermon on the Mount", and his followers recounted his sayings
    Was transfigured on the Mount
    Was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and was resurrected
    Called “Way”, “the Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God's Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, "the KRST" or "Anointed One”

    Was "the Fisher" and was associated with the Fish, Lamb and Lion.
    Came to fulfill the Law, and was supposed to reign one thousand years

    His name was Horus, an Egyptian god.

    April 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Would you care to back that up with some sources?

      April 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • small 'c' christian

      Lifted almost whole from Acharya (aka D M Murdoch)'s 2007 book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Stellar House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9799631-1-7..

      Murdoch is one of the extreme proponents of the "Christ Myth"theory, prone to making totally erroneous statements based on nothing more than speculation. That she gets any traction for her strangely best-selling theorems is almost as fantastic as her theories.

      April 24, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  11. wa3jwa

    I think a nerve was hit on those last few posts. OOPSY!!!!

    April 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  12. vic

    the very fact ii is the same catholic chuch that has been around 2000 yrs ago. while most grt empires rose and and fell should be enough proof. and power of Christ teaching " and you Peter will be rock and on this i will build my church and gates of hades will not previail". he meant exactly what he said .the same Catholic church has now 1.2 billion world wide with 16 million addition last year.

    April 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • momoya

      vic, the religion has evolved so drastically over those 2000 years that it really isn't the same belief from place to place, much less from era to era.. Christians today wouldn't recognize what the heck christians 500 years ago were doing and vice versa, and all the way back..

      Besides, other religions have lasted longer than 2000 years and you're not advocating we believe in those.. How silly.

      April 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • wa3jwa

      Hey vic, Read John 1:20 "and he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I AM NOT THE CHRIST."
      Jesus didn't lie, he said he was not the Christ, but left His character open to be praised by fundamentals who say that he is. Then he goes on to die from a wound and become alive again and everybody calls him Christ. Does that ring any bells "Vic and the fundamentals."

      April 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • wa3jwa

      It was Peter the 'rock mentality' who said Jesus was the Christ and everybody believed Pope Peter and not Jesus himself. If you are right, then Jesus lies.

      April 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • vic

      to believe or not to believe in a church or religion is fundamental human right . It is also covered under UN declaration of human right . It is all based on leap of faith for the believers . Even christ knew of this " it is not given for everyone to beliieve only those in the book of life " but those who believe must respect the right of non-believers not to believe or those those who believe n Cows, Golden calf, and God is evil theory or whatever in between.
      but often it is non -believer who is incensed and try to buldgeon those who believe . perhaps they are uncomfortable e in their position of non – belief. and needing of attention.

      April 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  13. blahblahblah

    Hey guys! I have an idea. Let's make up a guy called Jesus for fun and then we can all be tortured and killed for proclaiming his name! Sound like fun?!
    Silly people. I've heard atheists claim that Jesus' remains were found (denying his resurrection); now I'm hearing them try to claim he never existed. You can't have it both ways!

    April 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • thekuz

      Actually you can have it both ways only if you understand it both ways. Then choose.

      April 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • wa3jwa

      I have a better idea. Lets make up a guy called Jesus for fun and say he died from a mortal wound, but his dad was God, so came back to life and a bunch of people go around praising him. Blablabla

      April 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Mike Kusiak

      That sounds like a good Idea. How about believing a story about parting the physical Red Sea, when all along it was meant to be the human red sea of blood which separates the body from the spirit.

      April 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • momoya

      What about a god who has to sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself because of a perfect plan that kept going wrong and god kept having to wipe people out all because of a rib woman who committed wrong before she knew what wrong was because of a talking snake so an invisible disease (sin) is in an invisible body part (soul) of every person and since god only wants to torture some people forever in his torture pit he has a ghost impregnate a young girl so that... ah, crap... who can go on.. soooooooooo stupid!!!

      April 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  14. thekuz

    An 'Atheist' is not necessarily an' Adeist'. Most Atheists do believe in a 'higher power' however, they do not call it 'God' nor do they believe in a specific fundamental religion. Religion and Theology are synonymous.
    The word Theology is based in the Greek 17th century word 'Thea' meaning "Goddess" female.

    'Deity' whom Atheists understand as a 'higher power' is from the 14th century Latin word 'Deitas' meaning divine nature. Divine means, "having the nature of or being a deity." A deity is a recognized 'preternatural' or supernatural immortal being. Preternatural is taken from the Latin word 'praeter' which means "natural or nature.

    In conclusion, Deity existed prior to nature. It simply always existed. This is 'Eternity' which existed, prior to all material things including human beings and it will exist after humans destroy themselves.

    Deism is the view from the standpoint of pre-nature or pre-material reason. This particular reason is non-material. It has no name. And since it has no name all Religions refer to them as Atheists.
    It is Theists (fundamental religious believers) who see their higher power as a human who had to rest after 6 days of working.

    April 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  15. Jaz

    GOD does exist!

    April 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Which one?

      April 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  16. thekuz

    Hey Momoya and EnjaySea, This site will not display my comments for some reason. This is my passion and we can continue peacefully, one point at a time. if you want to e mail me. If you respond I will I will display mu e mail if the site accepts it

    April 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Do you feel that all Christians should be held accountable for the countless millions it has killed during it's spread across the planet? Or, is that something that Jesus died for, so it's all good now?

      April 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Paul

      Actually Mr Jones, they will be held accountable. According to the book of revelation false religion will be stripped of her wealth and burned with fire (or total destruction) for spilling the blood of all humans on the earth.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Madtown

      According to the book of revelation
      ------
      Paul, the book of Revelation was written by very imperfect and fallible human beings. Do you believe that things will unfold exactly as those human authors suggest? Why place such complete faith in the work of man? Man always disappoints.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  17. tony

    Religious saves listening to your concience

    April 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Ronald Peterson

    And of "faith"', if it is someone's belief, that, "PIGS MAY FLY", in no doubt in their mind, that that might be the case!

    April 23, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • thekuz

      The Holy Bible can be read from an Atheistic view and from a Theistic view, allegorically or literally. The former completely unveils the mystery created in the latter. It also allows the reader to discover the three progressive levels of wisdom spoken of by Paul in his epistles.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Oh right, Paul. Yes, he definitely was so wise! He figured out that if he claimed to see Jesus in a vision, that he could make a fortune off of it, and proceeded to do so. But to worship his words as though he were a prophet, rather than the cheap televangelist-of-the-1st-century that he was, is somewhat comical.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • thekuz

      Here is the religious view of the Bible. Gen 1:27 “God created man,” and ends with the Apocalypse, “any universal or widespread destruction or disaster.” Between that beginning and that horrible ending Jews, Muslims and Christians materialized, each with their own version of God.

      Here is the Atheistic view. Gen 2:7 “LORD God formed man,” and ends with Apocalypse, “a lifting of the veil,” which removes the current world religious blindness.

      From the religious view 3 battling religions are formed, all attempting to please their particular God. If they are successful they will be with the LORD in end times. And so the world is at war.

      From the "LORD God formed view", LORD and God are the parental sources of your "loving generosity" vs. "greedy materialistic" sides respectively.

      So which definition of Apocalypse would you prefer? That is an individual choice, but at least take the time to investigate the peaceful Bible stories and compare them and make a calculated logical decision.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • momoya

      @kuz

      You don't seem to understand what atheism is.. You are merely defining it according to your own terms to fit it into your belief system.. It's not doing anybody any good but yourself..

      April 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • thekuz

      Hey EnjaySea, Only the religious "worship" Paul's words. The Atheistic "understand the allegory and live them" from within.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Know What

      EnjaySea,

      I'm not sure that Paul of Tarsus made a financial fortune from his preaching, but he certainly was on a power trip. He was a misogynistic, misanthropic, body-hating zealot, who hijacked the new 1st century cult to further his own version of Judaism. His excellent salesmanship and PR skills took him far.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • thekuz

      Hey momoya, I didn't wright the Bible. I just spent the last 10 years investigating why 3 different versions of God were produced from it. And why The God of the Bible has directed 2 different fundamental religions to have complete control of a "mound of land" the size of 2 football fields. And why the US and the world is involved in this tiny land battle thousands of miles away from home. And what makes a piece of real estate worth starting another world war.

      This is not my personal view, it is the consistent peaceful allegoric view from Genesis to Revelations. It is the other side of the story.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • momoya

      Let me append my earlier statement, kuz, you not only don't understand what atheism is, you don't understand most of what you talk about..

      April 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I agree with your list of Paul's faults, Know What. The money part, I'm gleaning from my latest reading of the New Testament (I was particularly interested in Paul's letters), where I read direct references to cold, hard, cash. He gave his followers the heads-up, that they should be prepared with money to meet him when he arrived.

      And yes, of course his fundraising was all ostensibly to aid the poor and the suffering, etc, etc. But as with any fundraising at any time in history, one may assume that a healthy amount of the proceeds went to "administrative costs".

      April 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I see where you're going with this "perspective on the bible" theory of yours, thekuz, but this notion that atheists are reading the Bible and taking non-theistic lessons from it is presuming that atheists, in general, consider the bible to be authoritative, even allegorically.

      I'm an atheist, and I don't.

      I find the Bible interesting only from an anthropological point of view. I'm not interested in the teachings - basic morality is perfectly understandable with or without the existence of the Bible - rather, I find it interesting to read how people thought, how they lived, and what they communicated 2,000 years ago. That's all.

      And I find Paul to be a complete fraud, clear and simple. His letters give him away. I don't take anything from his writings other than as an interesting case study in human behavior.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Blakers

    "One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody-not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms-had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs)."
    Christopher Hitchens

    April 23, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Dave Stacey

      Over the years, 67 of them, I have been taught and have learned much from comments. It becomes apparent that opposing something is a main stay in our world. Personally, argument without facts serves little in the protocol of education. Some agnostic commentors who have no belief are especially succeptible to that sort of discourse. But agnostics may not be alone in that type of commenting which often transforms into incoherent rantings instead of valuable facts. Religion may be one of the most argued protocols in history. But, I have no data to support that supposition.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Luke 18:15-17
      And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
      But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
      Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

      This is a trusting faith, belief without doubt. How is the little boy or girl in you doing today?

      April 23, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Ronald Peterson

      Religion is and will always be an "anasthetic" for the human mind, the motor of human conscience!

      April 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  20. Mike Kusiak

    I guess the discussion is over. This site did not accept 3 of my messages.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • momoya

      It's the automatic filter.. Words like "const.ittution," or circ.umstances" have to be modified.. There's a huge list of letter combination that automatically stop posts from being posted..

      April 23, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      Since the subject came up, here's the list.

      *sigh* I wish that CNN would publish it (or send me a commission for doing their work!) How many people have they lost out of frustration?!

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      -
      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
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About this blog

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