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.
A thought to consider without ego
Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Trancend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
The world denounces truth....
Accepting Jesus Christ will result in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.
Currently.... your constructing your own path that suits your sin lifestyle.
Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .
Trancend the temporal world.
Just think if you can find a truth you can take with you in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life. You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf, the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed, your good deeds are forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated, your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over .
Trancend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Relise your a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent....
Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.
Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.
You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth.
Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment. You don't get what you want you get what you are in christ.
I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .
Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?
Down is up. Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.
once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
Ok they didn’t have computers or air-conditioners. But he lived for 175 years. Obviously computers and air-conditioners don’t do us much good.
You're probably sitting in an air-conditioned room typing in a computer to respond to me. You also most probably have a refrigerator to store your food so that you don't have to hunt for your next meal. You also take modern medicine when you're sick. So stopped being a hypocrite. Have you ever been to the middle east and Africa? Try living there for a month without air-conditioning and let me know if it's fun. Show me some fossil or anthropological evidence that Abraham lived to 175 yrs old other than the bible. Anyway, so why did god only gave his supposed son jesus 30+ years of life and dying a violent death? Most of the disciples and christs followers according to early Christian accounts live short lives and died violently also. So by your logic god favored abraham since he lived longer and did not die violently. To answer your question those biblical stories are the fairytale/s I have been referring to.
Not sure what fairy stories you have been reading, but there is clear evidence in archaeological diggings which prove your claim wrong. For example Abraham who was the tenth generation from Noah, and was born 352 years after the ‘flood of Noah’s day’ in the year 2018 B.C.E. He lived in a city called a Chaldean city called Ur. They have found among the ruins of Ur, what appear to be private homes constructed of brick, were plastered and whitewashed. They had 13 to 14 rooms surrounded by a paved courtyard.
Correct. You may want to seek out national geographic 1930 article on ur by M E I malohan . I think is the jan issue from 1930. Shows evidence of the flood too... National geographic wont do that nowadays...
I am not claiming I know everything, but when I'm not doing volunteer rescue work, I have a bachelor's in Architecture and minor in philosophy. I also btw, have a masters in architectural history and philosophy of aesthetics so I suggest let's not start this discussion. You're in over your head.
Rsqdiver911: You did not also answer my question whether chaos was designed by god or gods. It has also been proven that nothing last forever and that change is the only constant in this world. And no matter how much you maintain your car or more importantly your own human body you will still die (per the law of entropy).
Yes I did actually answer your question. I will try again. Yes things deteriorate or the law of entrophy as you say.
However if they are maintained they continue. We are not particularly good at that hence I can’t keep my car going forever, but then our car are not designed to last that long, I can’t maintain something longer than the manufacturer intended.
But our manufacturer did intend us to live forever. That is why scientist’s cannot understand why we die. We have a brain that is made to live an eternity and yet in our life time we only use such a tiny fraction. Adam and Eve had that potential as they were perfect. Although they chose to disobey God they still lived over 900 years. The oldest human lived 969 years, he was the grandfather of Noah.
So when we are back in a good relationship with God we will live eternally here on earth as he intended.
The earth itself was designed to last forever. Scientist testify to the way the earth recycles itself through the movement of the plates. And what is to stop the creator of the universe to refuel the sun? You underestimate the power of God and his purpose for the human race.
Stop with all the smoke screen and neurotic defensiveness. A simple yes or no answer will suffice.
Momoya:You are far too biased in your reasoning.. Be honest.. Look for the facts of the case without the desire for a specific outcome.
It was not me that came up with the theory irreducibly complex, but a Biochemical Scientist from Lehigh University. Or are you suggesting only the scientists who support your theory are the correct ones.
I have no reason to doubt a creator for the reasons I have given. Evidence of a creator have been around for thousands of years and are still here today. ‘Johnny come lately’ the scientists of today are the ones who question a creator for their own reasons maybe self-determination or not wanting to be responsible to a creator. This is clearly the same stand that Adam and Eve took and Jehovah’s great revile, Satan. This course you may choose if you wish, but it will only have one outcome sorry.
You and many others have given me no reason to doubt a God who is responsible for life on earth and our marvellous universe. I see design with a purpose and I want to be a part of it. It is such a privilege not only to know but worship our designer and creator.
In fact true science continues to convince me that we are so incredibly designed I cannot but sit in awe at the fore thought gone into our beautiful planet that we have been privileged to look after. We are not making a good job of that, which our creator will hold us accountable for ruining. I am sure if I had tenants who continued to ruin my home like we do, I would of evicted us long ago.
You are far too biased in your reasoning.. Be honest.. Look for the facts of the case without the desire for a specific outcome..
You can't just start with an a.ssumption (irreducibly complex) and then go about finding 'evidence' for that conclusion.. That's not how science works.. If we can PROVE irreducible complexity is an actual concept then we can go about studying it, but it's stupid to conclude it exists and then just claim everything falls under that category..
This video should help you out (unless you're too determined to keep your beliefs regardless of facts presented to you).
Rsqdiver911: What about chaos and disorder (which leads to entropy, destruction and death), at it's indivisible atomic level it seemingly has an orderly pattern to it. So God designed that too??? How did ID get to this conclusion?
I understand entrophy as this is a natural occurrence. For example metal rusts, goes back to it’s natural state. I’m sure you understand this. In fact entrophy actually supports a creator rather than evolution.
For example evolution teaches that things get better and progress with time and the longer the time the better. This is directly against entrophy. Whereas if there is an Intelligent Designer (ID) then that will account for things being maintained in the universe, in fact progressing. Just as I maintain my car and does not deteriorate into a rust heap, my small measure if intelligence knows how to maintain it.
Now this other matter with "irreducibly complex system". I found this information from Biologists when they were studying bacterial flagellum and is now regarded as exactly such a case – an "irreducibly complex system" which "cannot be produced directly by numerous successive, slight modifications." I can think of other things that cannot gradually appear over time and still be a functioning organism. The human brain for example. If you break it down into it’s most minute parts, each of those parts are irreducibly complex and all rely on each other to function and exist.
What about the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), and proteins. Researcher Hubert P. Yockey, says: “It is impossible that the origin of life was protein first.” Why? Because RNA is required to make proteins, yet proteins are involved in the production of RNA.
You see the problem?
It becomes a irreducibly complex system that needs all the parts to come together at once which takes an ID.
Think of this; If it takes an intelligent designer to create and program a lifeless robot, what would it take to create a living cell, let alone a human?
For example evolution teaches that things get better and progress with time and the longer the time the better. This is directly against entrophy. Whereas if there is an Intelligent Designer (ID) then that will account for things being maintained in the universe, in fact progressing.
I stopped reading your comment after just reading these two sentences as you have already contradicted yourself by describing evolution and ID as one and the same. Btw, you did not also answer my question whether chaos was designed by god or gods. It has also been proven that nothing last forever and that change is the only constant in this world. And no matter how much you maintain your car or more importantly your own human body you will still die (per the law of entropy).
Paul: Think of this; If it takes an intelligent designer to create and program a lifeless robot, what would it take to create a living cell, let alone a human
The bronze age person/s who wrote the bible 2,000 years ago could not have been intelligent enough to design a computer, robot or even an air-conditioning unit. They would have not even understand the basic concept of Evolution and much less ID. In fact they barely survived their brutal day to day existence. And contrary to what the bible says their life expectancy was short and violent. My point is it seems odd that this omnipotent, omniscient, all loving ID person (i.e. god) you're talking about is biased and prefers us modern humans by designing us better and smarter and thus giving us a more comfortable, easy and longer lasting life span compared to those he supposedly inspired to write his life story 2,000 years ago.
2u: You are. Every post of yours I read is clearly schizophrenic. I just dropped by to see what you were posting and see you are in need of medication. I hope you may find a way to have some and that it helps you.
I see you have no sensible rebuttal. Clearly indicating you have lost the battle and have resorted to name calling. That’s OK I can live with that.
ICS vs Evolution
An irreducibly complex structure is defined as ". . . a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning." (Behe 1996a, 39) Why would such systems present difficulties for Darwinism? Because they could not possibly have been produced by the process of evolution:
"An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly by numerous, successive, slight modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. .... Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on." (Behe 1996b)
The phrase "numerous, successive, slight modifications" is not accidental. The very same words were used by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species in describing the conditions that had to be met for his theory to be true. As Darwin wrote, if one could find an organ or structure that could not have been formed by "numerous, successive, slight modifications," his "theory would absolutely break down" (Darwin 1859, 191). To anti-evolutionists, the bacterial flagellum is now regarded as exactly such a case – an "irreducibly complex system" which "cannot be produced directly by numerous successive, slight modifications." A system that could not have evolved – a desperation punch that just might win the fight in the final round – a tool with which the theory of evolution can be brought down.
Madtown: Be humble, believe what you want, but also say you "don't know for certain", because you don't. No one does.
Just because YOU don’t, does not mean others do not too. That would be very arrogant and a gross lack of humility.
Look you know for certain that something exists although not seeing it, right?
Gravity for one, wind for another. However you would rightly say it is proved by effect, as for every cause there is an effect.
It is the same with God, I have discovered through my research that there is absolutely no question of his existence and what he says comes true. In fact he is the great cause and we see the effect all around us, ID. So as you are absolutely confident in a belief in wind or gravity, I am that convinced of a God and what he says will happen without question. Just as if you dropped a ball from a roof, you would be absolutely certain of it going in the direction of down. Or are you telling me that you are uncertain of that too?
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.
Why not approach the belief in God like a science project? I did. In fact the God of the Bible invites you to “test him out”. That I have done and everything he states comes true, every time he touches on science in the Bible, it is true. So he has tested out OK, for what reason would I change my view? He has tested out in all respects. You have offered no science that would refute a God exists.
So, instead of assuming there is no God, apply your own science to the matter.
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.
Is Intelligent Design (ID)a scientific theory?
The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.
Now who is talking like a moron?
You are. Every post of yours I read is clearly schizophrenic. I just dropped by to see what you were posting and see you are in need of medication. I hope you may find a way to have some and that it helps you.
The very nature of the word "design" implies subjectivity. There will always be a number of different ways to solve a problem. So let's simplify it a little bit and dispense with all the scientific jargon by using this simple type of test so that even a regular person will have little or no doubt in the conclusion or outcome. Round up a group of people with a specific disease with no cure yet. Half of them give the proposed new medicine to be tested and half a placebo. Then observe and then conclude if the new medicine works or not. This will also definitely determine that it is not just a placebo effect. Countless of lives thru the centuries have been cured and saved by this type of simple scientific test and method. Although not always perfect, the beauty of this scientific method is that it is constantly OPEN for questioning, refuting, testing and re-testing so that the medicine is even made better.
Rsqdvr911: Your point?
"When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed."
How did ID get to this conclusion? Show me proof. Please do not include in your reason personal faith, belief or it's in the bible as that does not count in a scientific discussion. Otherwise anybody can subjectively say it was designed by other gods and/or by just about anyone and anything which is also means nothing. This is also just recycled from Thomas Aquinas's philosophy. And what about chaos and disorder (which leads to entropy, destruction and death), at it's indivisible atomic level it seemingly has an orderly pattern to it. So God designed that too???
In the Dover case in 2005, do you know why the court ruled that Intelligent Design was NOT a part of science and had no place in science?
"'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein"
You take this quote of context and what he actually means, as is evidenced by his beliefs about religion. He didn't mean that any god had to be, or should be, a part of science. What he means was simply that science should be ethical. He regarded Judaism and Christianity childish, insofar as their beliefs go. However, he admired their values and some of their practices. He liked their ethical qualities. He also held faith in high regard, not in a religious sense always, but more in the sense that you should aspire to be and follow through with what you believe. So when he says science without religion is lame, what he means is that science without ethics or dedication is lame. He then goes on to say that religion without science is blind, by which he means that faith without proper, logical, rational practice gets you nowhere. Taking his views and personal beliefs into consideration of this quote, it makes much more sense.
Science is but a small window of reality whcih we are constrained by our senses . Issac newton humbly admitted. "what i know is but a grain of sand and humility is missin in present day scientist. who puff about their achievement . Even Eientein was wrong on his quntaum theory. remember the best scientist got it wrong thousands times before they got it right .
But science is the fruit of who are we are and image and likeness of God and it naturally follows we to have the power to create and all the scientifc invantion and breakthoughs are outcome of our creative power which we share with Him.. But could we have invented if we were we were irrational creature ? Nope .like Jefferson would say reason and logic are in itself faculties just like eyesight given to us by our creator.I am science major and scietific thinking or process has to unbaised and objective and I am Sure He will not mind a bit , when you wear your Lab coats. and participate in His creative process..
Myth. End of debate.
...their gods would be horses.
("we were created in his image, not animals.")
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.