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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. Lee

    Of course Jesus existed, but he may not be the beloved savior Christians make him out to be. He was a man, enough said. The real myth is god, not jesus. And it's funny how most Christians don't realize how much of their religion is derived from the Pagan religion. Most monotheistic religions have their roots in polytheistic religions, which were the first religions that ever existed. They just went from many gods down to just one god and now all of these religions can't even decide on which god is the right god. Is their a right god?

    April 8, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      When Christianity became the state religion there was not exact definition of what it meant to be Christian so the emperor called a council to settle this issue, and it was at this meeting that it was decided what books would or would not be included in the "Bible". Not only has that determination changed over the centuries, there were significant mistranslations from the earliest texts; for example, many people think one of the ten commandments state "Thou shalt not kill", but the Greeks mistranslated the word "murder" for the the word "kill", a significant error because whereas all murder is killing not all killing is murder; killing is not "murder' when done in self defense, or in a war, or ...for most of human history....when a malformed or unwanted babe is exposed to die (the definition of murder has obviously changed over time).

      April 8, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Phil

      Well there is a reason for Christianity adopting pagan beliefs: to make it more appealing to pagans to gain more converts. And I'm actually quite happy to find someone who isn't trying to say Jesus didn't exist. I won't dispute whether or not he is divine or not: I think he is and you think he isn't and I don't want to waste time. And no there probably is no one true way to reach the divine. If there was, the world would only have one religion. It all comes down to faith: Do you believe or not. One could argue that even science is a religion. People support it and cry foul anytime something comes up that doesn't fit into the current frame of mind, just like any religion. Now will science supplant religion? Nope because while science can give us answers, religion gives us faith and hope.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Phil, i think another (and more accurate) way to phrase your point is to say that religion allows us to engage in self-deception (i would rather see through clear eyes than by fear and insecurity no matter how hard that is to face).

      April 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Tom Policastro

      "Of course"? On what facts do you base this assertion?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Natalia

      Why Jesus would that? Not the guy in the New Testament!

      April 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Natalia

      Meant to say, which Jesus would that be? Not the guy in the New Testament! But there ARE many OTHER Jesuses –

      http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm

      April 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Francine N.

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

      April 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • seyedibar

      It's more likely that he never existed, but is loosley based on several real life tax-dodging heretics that ruled the area of the time... Much in the same way that Robinson Crusoe is loosely based on a true (but much less exciting) story.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  2. Grumpster

    Yes, we should still believe in a 2000 year old relic when all common sense and scientific evidence points directly away from that being the sensible option. 2000 years worth of science hasn't proven anything, has it? All those scientists must be quacks who only have "theories" versus that all proven hypothesis. Pheh.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • scott

      sure science makes sens, but wait. How does gravity work? Don't know that one. Chemistry is based off of electrons passing though nodes in hybrid orbital theory, oh ya, the probability is 0%, but it happens anyway. Quantum physics is based solely off of the probability of something happening, but it manages to happen the same way every day. And let it be noted that as proven as Einstein's theory of relativity is, it is still only a theory and not a law (there is a difference). We function off of guesses.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • DebbieNJ

      I think science has proven that it takes a sperm and egg cell to make an embryo, that dead animals don't suddenly get up and walk around......

      April 8, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Guest1m

      @scott. Science is based off of educated guesses. It seeks to falsify hypotheses. Once it can, the theories get tossed. Religious faith is completely irrational. And when you ask a person why they believe in such BS they say, "well that's the point of faith right? You don't need evidence".

      The only thing I can say against scientific arguments/evolution, is that humans clearly evolved to be stupid because they still believe in religion.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Don Camp

      It is silly (non sequitur in logic language) to argue science against religion or religion against science. What is important is reality. The question of the historicity of Jesus is not a religious or scientific question. It is a question of history. So, do the history.

      One of the means of doing history is to start with a fact and then ask the question why. So, start with a non-debatable fact – Christianity. Ask why are there 2 billion plus Christians in the world today? Where did they come from?

      If you follow the chain of causes and effects backward, you will come to a man named Paul the Apostle. There is little debate that Paul wrote some, if not all, of the letters attributed to him. Among those least debated are First Corinthians and Galatians. Both have a lot of autobiographical information in them. One of those autobiographical pieces is Paul's report that he talked to Peter, James, and others who were the leaders of the Jerusalem church. (The letter was written in about 50 A.D. only 30 years after Jesus. The meeting with Peter and James was earlier, 10-15 years after Jesus.)

      The eyewitness testimony of these men was that Jesus was a man they personally knew in the flesh. Their eyewitness testimony was that they no only knew Jesus in the flesh but knew him after the resurrection. They did not believe in Jesus or his resurrection, they knew it as fact. And it was such a compelling fact that it changed them. They had been timid and afraid. They became bold, even willing to die for the fact of Jesus and the resurrection. Why? They of all people would have known whether Jesus was real and whether he rose from the dead. Can you imagine going to your death for an lie that you knew to be a lie? Historians can not.

      Paul too claims to have seen the resurrected Jesus. (The language implies that he saw Jesus in the same way James saw him, not merely a vision but a person.) Paul had been an enemy of those who claimed Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. He is the last person you'd expect to become a follower of Jesus, but he did. Why? The only answer is that something radical happened to convince him that Jesus was risen. Paul 15 years later was executed for making that claim. Why? He had nothing at that point to gain from his declaration that Jesus had risen from the dead. Why did he do it? Because he was absolutely convinced.

      So, do the history. Asking why and then reasoning to the logical answers will take you to Jesus as a real person and to his resurrection as a real fact. It does not take faith for that. What takes faith is to turn to him and receive him as your savior.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  3. Alex

    ya sure, he woke up after he died :-)
    good luck

    April 8, 2012 at 6:56 am |
  4. Jesus is Lord

    HE IS RISEN !

    April 8, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • halfbakedlunatic

      And he uses it to molest little boys.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • sick of republican phonies

      Great! Tell him to start the coffee.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • ensense

      Hey Halfbaked were you molested when you were young.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    jesus was a nutjob cult leader. he didn't heal anyone. he never performed miracles. he supported slavery. also, wine is alcohol. alcohol is a drug, classified as a depressant. jesus made wine out of water? then he was a drug dealer.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • TheBossSaid

      Off your meds today?

      April 8, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • .

      It'd be a miracle if he learned how to use the shift key.

      I wonder how long it took him to type that post?

      April 8, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • cynthia hicks

      I can turn water into urine :o

      April 8, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • eh

      He was pure, spoke as someone pure and recommended purity. On the contrary, all, all "cult leaders" that you speak of, have been tainted and motivated by desires of the flesh and human desires for many underage girls and money. I believe Jesus has said that you recognize a good tree by the fruit that it bears..

      April 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Guest1m

      LOL, a drug dealer. Also a magician apparently. Houdini Jesus goes "poof" out of his tomb tomorrow. Prepare to clap.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Cliff D

      My guess is that like 99% of the atheists on this forum, you are somebody who came from a broken home, barely made it through a semester of college, did or does drugs, and relies on the government to provide for him. Let us put a lid on your foolish rants once and for all.

      The Lord could have 'made' us to love him but instead he gave us free will. With free will comes ramifications which is how bad things happen to good people. Our purpose in life is NOT to live as long as possible, but to bring as many people to Christ as we can. So the measure of God protecting us and loving us is not how long we live. It is the lives we touch and the good we do in bringing others to Christ. So when you spout about God allowing bad things to happen, just shows that you don't have any concept of religion or our God.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "My guess is that like 99% of the atheists on this forum, you are somebody who came from a broken home," `LIE

      "barely made it through a semester of college" – LIE

      "did or does drugs," – LIE

      "and relies on the government to provide for him." – LIE

      So you can't even follow the teachings in your bible. You sir are a hypocrite and a liar.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • QbanOcho

      Funny Guy BootyFunk Study Josepus and Study Pascal...Although I am sure that with a name like BootyFunk your eyes are not on the truth.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • rtbrno65

      Yes, and one who would never sell a dime bag. The least he would do was an eighth. At least he weighed the bag when it was empty.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  6. Kevin F.

    In the claims of the bible and its prophetic time table in Daniel which its predicated in accuracy we encounter the foretold coming kingdoms that arise, through the starting dream of Nebuchadnessar. There in the longest prophecy time table of the bible we encouter the foretold coming and death of the messiah. In the old testament there is as well a prophecy foretelling the death of Jesus which many jewishleaders are hiding from their own believers. In the collective claims of the bible and in the collective experience of this world it is certain Jesus came and died for mankind. And for moslims they limit their own God by thinking God cannot incarnate and become one of us! As christians we believe God is allpowerful. So if He wishes to become just like us and empty himself from all his divinity He could surely do that. If He couldnt that would mean He would cease to become allpowerful. God Allah or however you call him is Allpowerful Allknowing and EverPresence. In the collective experience of history and in the way our world is heading for a climax we in time will see great events taking place that will give the sign that Jesus is Coming back. The greatest proof one has that Jesus is alive still today is because of his Word and when the Word lives in us and we reflect the Word we reflect God himself. What Jesus left for us was His Word and that is all we need right now to reflect Him. Moslims are confused when Christians say God is triune yet in their own koran when Allah speaks it uses the word We. The sad thing is many people do not even know what they believe. But in the bible it says no one has ever seen God but it also says when we reflect God through the fruits of the Spirit people can see God. I rest my case

    April 8, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      there is as much proof that jesus lived as there is for the easter bunny. it's a myth. get over it.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • Sami

      Kevin, but why the message is so unclear. If I am God and I need to convey a message to my people, I will be so spot on in my message (bible) that I do not leave any doubt or misinterpretation. This confusion left us with hundreds of religions, thousands of Gods and Christianity alone has 38000 sects and denominations. This alone made me lose faith in an all knowing God that is unable to convey a simple message and convince us of his existence.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Agrav8td

      Sami,
      There will always be doubting Thomas's. The Bible details miracles that Jesus had performed, and even though there were crowds of people who saw many of these miracles, many still chose not to believe He was who He said He was. Or when people spoke of the miracle(s) they saw, people who didn't see them happen, chose not to believe they happened. The life & death of Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of a God made man who would be the Savior of the world.

      I choose to have faith & belief that Jesus is real, although I have not seen Him with my own eyes. Faith is a choice, no one is going to force anyone to believe in anything.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Blake

      The Bible is very clear as to what we are and are not supposed to do. It is man who takes away or adds to in order to maintain whatever lifestyle he does not want to interrupt. Life is short and time is of the essence. Do not wait until it is too late to repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins. ( read Acts 2:38) He is RISEN !!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • ensense

      Sami god cannot and will not control everything. there is something called free will and in their free will people do distort things.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Valval

      BootyFunk-I saw the Easter bunny this morning. Where were you?

      April 9, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  7. Mohammed

    Muslims believe that Jesus is prophet , but the difference at the end of Jesus life and the goal of sending him to mankind. It is true that the New Testament has been distorted, there is a lot of contradictions in the resurrection of Jesus, and he said, "I have come to Stray sheep of the children of Israel"", which means not all of mankind, also one of the contradictions novel final scene on the cross, some of Gospels says that he cried and said he was thirsty , while the other Gospels say that he said "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me "The problem is that his mission should have been in salvation according to Christians believing , but when he cried on the cross, "Why have you forsaken me" indicates that he objected to this mission.
    The real problem in the Christian faith is "one God in three parts," an idea not accepted by the mind, the question is, why three and not four? Or two? Why the church chose four Gospels only? And these Gospels differ from each others in some places? For example, the number of ancestors of Christ? The number of days between the crucifixion and resurrection?

    April 8, 2012 at 5:56 am |
    • nopark

      i am a christian...but not necessarily a fundamental...i do see certain aspects of what your saying which leads me to the words of Christ when he says that "God is spirit and you must worship HIM in spirit"...The words of God are spiritual vitamins to our soul and only through what Jesus did on that cross can one START to inwardly see what we are truly made up of...'DIRTY FILTHY RAGS"...i realize that a Muslim doesn't even believe that JESUS was on that cross...i understand that you don't even question the writers of your own 'HOLY BOOK" The KORAN...I would invite you to sink deep into your soul and put your bias isms aside and ask GOD this question..."if all of humanity has one thing in common (which is separation from God almighty and the fact that we are ALL imperfect) than how is it that "just a SYSTEM" of faith can bridge a gap to my eternal father in heaven? I see that our father in heaven through old testament prophets predicted the coming of Jesus to be that very essence of not only a system but the embodiment of we can relate to as a reflection of who our GOD is. And only by seeing the essence of what Jesus did from birth to Resurrection can we start to understand the magnitude of HIS great plan in the Christ...God Bless You

      April 8, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • rtbrno65

      "So how do you explain the violence of Athiests eg communists, maoists etc."

      Because Communism is a form of radical Socialism. The violence you refer to was a result of a radical reorganazation of society into a collective. Private property was confiscated and citizens were forced into collectivized units. Citizens who opposed the reorganization, or were deemed to not be useful to the labor force were executed. It had nothing at all to do with religion.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  8. Yserman

    All faiths do harm, because their figments defy intellectual self-consciousness.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • diego homans

      Excellent point, and well-expressed.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • ensense

      So how do you explain the violence of Athiests eg communists, maoists etc.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Ossama

    Jesus existed. But the stories written about him took a lot from the pagan stories existed at that time. All the problems with his story are lifted in Quran. Simply it mentions him as a man born without a father. He had good attributes. He worshiped God alone and he is not God because God is greater than walking on earth as a man. Jesus had miraculous attributes given from God. So in brief he was a prophet and a messenger of God that called for worshiping God (the creator of everything) alone similar to moses, Ibraham ... Even Quran says that Christians imitated the old wrong stories and projected it on Jesus.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you're sure he existed? even without proof. foolish stories only fools can believe.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Yacoub

      Quran is just simple collection of fables, makes not sense, has no cronology. It is just a meaningless book.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Natalia

      And we're supposed to just accept your dictum? I say Jesus didn't exist. There!

      April 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • ensense

      What proof do you have that there are alternate universes. yet you atheists believe it. Did you really see the time of the dinosaurs yet you believe it. To those that believe no proof is needed and to those that don't no amount of proof is enough.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • brobin

      I believe in Dinosaurs because there is evidence of their existence. Athiest believe things that have evidence. If you were not a christian, how would you know which of the many religions was right? Buddists? Hindu? Roman Gods? Mormons?

      99 percent of religious people believe what they were taught as kids. Few people actually review all religions and make a determination of which one seems right/best/etc.

      If any one religion is so clearly true, then it would not simple follow what you were brainwashed to believe. Put some kids on a desert island and I bet they are either athiests, or create their own religion.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  10. Des Currie

    Jesus was not a Jew. He was a Galilean.Though he was from the tribe of Judah, the Jews were Benjemites and Jeduans who lived in the kingdom of Judah, a colloquial name for those who lived there. Read the Bible, study it if you will, there is no mention of him being a Jew, saving for the woman at the well in Sameria and Pontius,who neither were in a position to know. Similar to calling Aborigeans Africans.

    April 8, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      christians sure hate that jesus was jewish. and never ever called himself a christian. too bad, suckas. face the truth. jesus was a jew.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      for not being a jew, his parents sure like to celebrate passover:

      Luke 2
      41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      http://jesusisajew.org/Jesus_is_a_Jew.php

      April 8, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      This just shows how Christians like to invent their own history when they don't like the facts. Like the saying goes, one man's religion is another man's belly laugh, and to say jesus was not jewish gave me a huge belly laugh.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • ensense

      bootyfunk How do you know the person posting this is a christian. are you not inventing some thing of your own there.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  11. edmond kwan

    Thank you for your questions...the man suffered from 1. a severed right optic nerve and was scheduled for an operation to remove the eye. 2. severe retinitis in his left eye. 3. malignant hypertension.4. renal failure. recovery of sight was instantaneous in his right eye. Within minutes of the prayer, he was reading the letters on an advertising sign, the color of a people's clothing and hand bags using his right eye. Left eye remained unchanged.This was about 9 am in the morning. 4. recovery of sight in left eye occurred after he woke from his afternoon nap. 5. patient attended church service where he was known, and read John Chapter 9, from a small print bible. His right eye ball does not fall out now as he pulls back his eyelids, so yes, the optic nerve regenerated in a matter of minutes.(Time it took to pray). His retina shows no sign of retinitis on followup examination. Hypertension and renal failure also went into remission in subsequent months. He was given a prognosis of six months by his renal physician in 10/2004, and was hospitalised for 6 months prior because 120 tablets a week could not stablise his blood pressure.
    No scales fell off his eye, as his cornea was not scarred. it is likely the case in the gospel involved corneal scarring of some sort.
    And you are right..so many questions.

    April 8, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • steve austin

      wow....your story really confirms the fact that jesus existed....bravo.....LOL
      I could hundreds....thousands and thousands of examples where people were on their death bed and being prayed for and ended up dying....(in some cases even quicker than anticipated).
      Wake up ....there is NO GOD...there is NO JESUS....and religion has brought nothing to planet earth except violence, violence and more violence.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • steve austin

      I could CITE.....(sentence correction)

      April 8, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • jfb

      LOL

      April 8, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Everything you have said is scientifically explained:

      1) Severed optical nerves can be made to grow again. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1646-severed-optical-nerves-can-be-made-to-grow-again.html

      2) The disorder will continue to progress, although slowly. Complete blindness is uncommon. http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/retinitis-pigmentosa/overview.html

      3/4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001521/

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001253/

      So your claims of prayer working fail. You did not provide information as to what medical treatment was used before the prayer. If, as a Doctor, you honestly believe in prayer over science then you should not be allowed to practice medicine.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      faith healing? lies. here's good question for you... why doesn't god ever heal amputees? he heals the blind and the crippled, but curiously, never amputees. the short answer is, you can fake an amputation. you can fake blindness and you can fake not being able to walk, but not amputation. it's a scam, you brain-washed sheep. sheesh. how gullible can you be?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you sound like a christian science nutjob. those people let their children die instead of seeking medical attention. god fails at healing anyone.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Jon

      I have no problem with the concept of a greater being that created everything. I have a big problem with the concept of a greater being that created everything for us.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • ensense

      bootyfunk you sound like a nut job.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  12. Proactive

    Each to his own belief. Leave people to believe what they want to believe. Nobody has the right to force others to believe what they believe. The era of Christ was before our time and so none of those professing they know, know what the truth. Dante is right and I echo similar thoughts "Lucky are those who believe because they saw" and "Luckier are those who believe without seeing". The teachings of Christ were marvellous and does no harm to anyone. Instead, it teaches us great lessons on how to live a virtuous life. What harm can it do, except enhance one's spiritual being?

    April 8, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • bob

      Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Nobody has a right to their own facts.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      christians hate facts.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • diego homans

      The problem is that most believers in the "message" of Jesus hold unverifiable beliefs in so many other areas around it. Even if they don't use those to justify bad action, they are living a life based on fantasy. You don't think there's any harm in that? Because there is lots of evidence–historic and individual– that that can go very, very wrong.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Yacoub

      May be Dante said these "Lucky are those who believe because they saw" and "Luckier are those who believe without seeing"
      Jesus said: " “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have."

      April 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • ensense

      Atheists hate every body but themselves. that's the only explanation for atheistic violence seen in communism, Maoism etc.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  13. ruelander

    Isn't that a wise remark, that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: where you see only your own reflection?
    And what is reflecting? The face of an individual who is only looking for solid proof based on sensory organs? One can look at its own reflection and say: that is me!. But is this me not only the miroring of flesh and blood on the surface of water? Or is this me, everything you, and other people infact cannot see? When you think away all the flesh and blood of every person and your self, we are a mystery every new moment of our life. The other would continue to stay a mystery for a very long time but you, without being flesh and blood, would still have the possibility to become aware of your self. You could become aware you are the awareness that comes aware about itself. You could become aware you are a spirit of awareness in flesh and blood living on earth. To know about Christ is to meet Christ inside your awareness. You cannot find proof for the existence of Christ by the people who are rejecting Him showing their 'face' in the well in their way, you cannot find proof in by Christian fundamentalists showing their 'face' in the well in their way, You can only find Christ in the spirit, in your awareness. The question about the existence of Christ could also be aproached in another way: WHY can't we find the convincing solid proof for the existence of Jezus Christ. WHY are there not many people in history testifying about his existence? WHY will we not find DNA samples, pictures, movies, handwritings, and all of these to proof Jezus Christ did exist? Maybe, maybe, becos if so we would not make our individual journey of awareness to meet Christ in our spirit as a living truth, a body of love and compassion. In our world Christ can only live when he is living inside us, he can only come to live inside us when we hunger for the truth, love and freedom.

    April 8, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • diego homans

      Movies?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  14. The Real Basis of Christianity

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

    April 8, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • WOW

      That is amazing!! I had no idea that there were that many gods who had the SAME characteristics as Jesus!! That just blew my mind!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Francine N.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63BNKhGAVRQ&w=640&h=390]

      April 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • TLC

      Thank you for sharing all of these video links. I'm now a subscriber over on YouTube. Great stuff!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  15. @ "Doc" Kwan

    I saw healing done in Krishna's name, and healing done in Buddha's name. Whats your point?

    Was your 'patient' hysterically blind?

    April 8, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • edmond kwan

      my point? Jesus is real....that was the point of the article..Jesus ..Man vs Myth. And no, the man(patient) was not suffering from hysterical blindness. Australian medical standards rarely allow for such mistakes. And if the blind can be healed also in the names of Krishna and Buddha, so be it,,for there should be more of such miracles for mercy sake. It is all very well for us who have sight to type and argue a point...think of the those who are blind and cannot afford expansive western style evidence based medical treatments..if faith can heal, it should be studied and investigated and harnessed. If the name of Krishna can heal, then every follower of Krishna should practice healing the blind. if the name of Buddha can heal the blind , then every believer of Buddha should practice healing the blind for free and like wise every believer of Jesus And you , sir should also testify to what you have seen and heard done in the names of Krishna and Buddha.. The point? Mercy, compassion and justice. According to the four gospels,Jesus was framed by jealous religious men, sentenced by a weak willed politician for expediency, and all he is recorded to have done is caused the blind to see, the lame , the deaf hear , the dumb speak, return a dead son to his mother and multiplied a few loaves and small fish to a people suffering under the tyranny of Rome. And if he was not the Son of God, as I have written earlier, then he is a victim of paranoid schizophrenia that cruel and merciless men victimised. Who showed Jesus compassion? Who showed him mercy? Where is the justice due to Jesus? Was Krishna or Buddha sentenced to death on a roman cross by the testimony of false witnesses? No. The one man whose name and life has affected the history of the world more than any other,Himself, is waitng for justice. No problems if he was only a man or even a myth...but who will help us , if he is the Son of God and we have done what we have done to Him?

      April 8, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus was as real as hercules and gilgamesh.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • diego homans

      Bootyfunk — Hercules and Gilgamesh.... Oh, yeah, I just met them the other day. On a road. >;-)

      April 8, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • @ Doc Kwan

      No, neither Buddha nor Krishna were executed on a cross. They had their own story lines. As far as how many people are still affected by those stories to this day...the answer would be millions to billions.
      As far as healing goes... I would prefer to continue doing it with stem cell therapy, with medicine, with surgery, and with science behind me. My religious/spiritual views do NOT come into play when working with patients.
      Hindus and Buddhists do not seek converting people.. they have no need to. If a person wants to know more, they can ask questions... but you will never see them take out billboards, knock on doors, hand out pamphlets, tell people to believe before its too late and create a 'Hell" for them if they dont believe what you believe. Yea, I'd say there are major differences in thinking.
      Stick with science and medicine doctor.
      If the optic nerve regenerated instantly... do you have pre and post imaging to show that? I would think that it is far more likely that the patient had pressure placed on the optic nerve or chiasma from swelling and that once the pressure was relieved... sight was regained. Modern medicine does not look at entrails for God's word.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • JesusForgivesAll

      Bootyfunk.. why is it your commenting on everything? Jesus is REAL. GET OVER IT.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Robert

      "why is it your commenting on everything? Jesus is REAL. GET OVER IT."

      Since Mithra rose from the dead he must be real too.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • FreedomFromReligion

      jesus is fake, people, why all the discussion? jesus vs. myth. ALL RELIGIONS ARE MYTHS AND FAIRY TALES.

      April 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  16. edmond kwan

    answer: when a blind man sees again, he becomes disorientated and does not know how to find his way home.
    answer: when a blind man wakes up from his sleep to find that he can see, he thinks he is dead, and bites himself until he bleeds to make sure he is not dreaming.
    Both this things happened to my patient.
    May God bless one and all with the truth about Jesus Christ , His Son.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • tibeau

      You let a patient bite himself until he bled?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  17. edmond kwan

    no paper was published at the patient's request. The spontaneous reversal was verified by both his treating physicians and a physician who had not previously seen him, aside form myself.
    question: what happens to a blind man when he receives sight?
    question: What does a blind man do, when he wakes up and finds that he can see?

    April 8, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • @ "Doc" Kwan

      So explain.. in what way was this man blind? Optic nerve damage? Retinal damage? Occiptal lobe damage? There are multiple causes of blindness. What was his etiology?
      Did he spontaneously regenerate nerve tissue?
      Did this happen in an instant? Did 'scales fall off his eyes'? So many questions.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      So you have this fantastic story, but conveniently, there is no proof that it happened. Funny how that works out. I'm kind of curious why you expect anyone to believe you.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • scott

      I've seen and heard it with cancer patients where it was there one day and reversed and almost gone the next. If we really understood the body we could custom make and change our own. In fact, at the end of every chapter of my MMBio book, there are at least 5-10 questions about certain things under "future research." Medical science is catching up, slowly, but there are so many things that we just don't understand yet. Having studied the body and making it my career, I can't believe that something so complex just managed to appear over the years.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  18. dante soneja

    My Lord Jesus doesn't need to prove his existence on fools.

    Lucky are those who believed because they saw,
    but luckier are those who believed even without seeing him.

    I just hope the unbelievers doesn't question the veracity of their parents
    since only a piece of paper(birth certificate) prove that it really was.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      If your jesus expects to be taken seriously than it should prove its existence or maybe you should attempt to do so for it.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your comment is beyond silly. I knew my parents. They raised me. DNA test could have proven that they were my parents (both are gone now, and cremated). I have physical attributes that are similar to those exhibited by my parents. I have my mother's eyes and the arthritis that both she and her mother suffered from. I have my father's large hands and feet, and my great-uncles' tendency to asthma. I also closely resemble my sisters. Should DNA tests be performed, we would be shown to be sisters. Physically, we are recognizable as coming from the same family.

      On the other hand, there is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god. Your logic is flawed, and pointless.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • halfbakedlunatic

      Thank you tallulah – great response.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • diego homans

      You know... many people have found out that their birth certificates were falsified or otherwise in error. All we're asking is that Jesus's be verified.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • sick of republican phonies

      "This is true, I know it's so
      Because my bible told me so." INDOCTRINATION CHANT TAUGHT TO 5 YEAR OLDS. Blindly accepted by the intellectually incurious christian for the rest of his life.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • tibeau

      I'm adopted, the names of the parents on my birth certificate are my adopted parents, not my birth parents.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • ensense

      Talulah There are too many people with miraculous recoveries after praying to god. And there are lots of cases with no scientific explanation. It is a fact that to those that believe no explanation is need. to those that do not no amount of proof is sufficient.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • rtbrno65

      And sometimes even a birth certificate isn't adequate proof...

      April 9, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • FreedomFromReligion

      Dante, you are simply brain washed, so are your parents, and your grandparents. You still believe in Santa Claus?

      April 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Snow

      was the hole ripped big enough for you to crawl in and whimper?

      April 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  19. Woody

    "Does it even matter if Jesus existed? Can’t people derive inspiration from his teachings whether he actually walked the Earth?" – John Blake , CNN

    Huh???

    April 8, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      i hope not. jesus supported slavery. not exactly someone with the best ethics after all. people blindly give him credit as being a good person without actually reading the bible.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • diego homans

      I found him whiny and unpredictable.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • ensense

      Jesus supported slavery? that's a new one.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • seyedibar

      for the doubters, Jesus did in fact support slavery.
      Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

      The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

      When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB

      April 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Guest

      seyedibar: Paul wrote the book of Ephesians, and Moses wrote the book of Exodus. And they didn't write it based on what Jesus said.
      The verse from Luke you just quoted has no word such as "slave" "master".
      A servant can mean us today. Or even a maid if you have one. Not a slave.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  20. edmond kwan

    The most incredible thing about the four gospel accounts of Jesus is the collaborative knowledge that the writers displayed about paranoid schizophrenia afflicting their victims with delusions and hallucinations as well as persucutory ideations. Assuming that the gospels are describing a real person, then this Jesus born in Bethelem in the northern spring came from a family afflicted by schizophrenia...his father had visual hallucinations of angelic messages, his mother suffered delusions on being a pregant virgin, his cousin suffered a schizoid condition that caused him to live in the desert, and from the young age of 12, the boy Jesus began to manifest delusion ideations..saying to his parents that he had to be in his father's house, when they found him in the temple.
    Years later, the man , now fully grown began to manifest his illness, with delusions of grandeur, claiming he was God's son, and persecutory ideation, saying others were going to murder him. He suffered auditory hallucinations, believing that demons were speaking to him out of others, and that angels ministered to him, that God was speaking to him when there was thunder.
    As such..the Jesus of the four gospels is a young male paranoid schizophrenic suffering from delusions of grandeur and persecution, with auditory and visual hallucinations who was victimised and murdered. The strange part about Jesus is not him, but rather his victims...for the blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the dumb spoke , the dead were raised and the hungry were fed by him and they testified to their change. Now in thirty years of medical practice, I have never seen a schizophrenic cause a blind man to see, although their delusional thoughts may convince them that they can do it. However on 5/3/2005, I witnessed a blind man regain his sight as a woman prayed for him in Jesus'name.
    So who is Jesus of the four gospels? Either he is a schizophrenic or He is the Son of God. I know which one He is , for He changed my life. Why don't you get to know Him and decide for yourself.Dr.Ed

    April 8, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Know What

      "...for the blind saw"
      - Did they? Verified evidence, please.

      "the lame walked,"
      - Did they? Verified evidence, please.

      "the deaf heard"
      –Did they? Verified evidence, please.

      "the dumb spoke"
      - Did they? Verified evidence?

      "the dead were raised"
      - Were they? Verified evidence?

      "and the hungry were fed by him"
      - Were they? Verified evidence?

      " ... on 5/3/2005, I witnessed a blind man regain his sight as a woman prayed for him in Jesus'name."
      - Has your paper, with verified evidence about this, been peer reviewed and published?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • sick of republican phonies

      "I witnessed a blind man regain his sight as a woman prayed for him in Jesus' name." Suuuuuure you did. If so, then WHY DOES GOD/JESUS HATE AMPUTEES? There's never been a case of spontaneous regeneration of a limb, prayed for or not.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • explorer

      Is it not true that you were not a doctor but in fact a new college student at the time, just into, or perhaps not yet into your medical studies? Can we not question your observations on the basis of your lack of medical training and experience? Are you not in fact a teller of someone else's tales on this when you claim you "witnessed"?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • rtbrno65

      "the dumb spoke"

      I think the evidence for that is right here on this comment board.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Elle

      Very nice – thank you!

      April 9, 2012 at 2:23 am |
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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.