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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. mac451

    what a surprise that the Communist News Network would post a disparaging remark on the day of the rebirth of the Christian religion. I know you would never cast doubt upon another religion where its fanatics have killed thousands in NYC and is right now plotting more evil. CNN, just a word of advice....when they start their fire they will not ignore your station either...FOR ALL CHRISTIANS and other people of faith...unfriend this dribble of garbage once and for all,do not watch them,do not click on them and unfriend them everywhere...let their cancer of ignorance NOT be supported by our thirst of knowledge...i know they will not post this because their way is not a venue of free speech but rather a denial of the night of the broken glass....

    April 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Brian

      You're a liar. There's nothing disparaging in the article. It's an objective look at the question of faith. If you take offense at that, it says a lot about you and the phenomenal weakness of your faith, and not the authors.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Baseless hate filled spew. Thanks for sharing. Please go back to eating chocolate eggs now.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • rick

      wow. Communist News Network. how original.

      and, the word is drivel, not dribble.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  2. dentont

    I knew as soon as I turned on my computer this morning, CNN would attack Easter in some way. Thanks CNN for proving me right.
    You would think , even if you don't believe, at least out of respect you would not run a story like this on Easter.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • ObjectiveOpinion

      CNN attack? What have the catholic priests been doing by abusing little boys?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Subjective opinion: You are selective as well. Let me know when the atheists build hospitals are send help during catastrophes...or start a country....you know, this could go on all day.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Acts2:38

      (NIV) 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

      13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • SixDegrees

      How does this article qualify as an "Attack on Easter"? Perhaps you could get someone to read it to you and help out with the bigger words?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Brian

      No, Elliott, it can't. "Atheism" doesn't have a church. A holy book. A credo. A list of commandments. It has no official hierarchy. There are a few groups and whatnot who get together to talk sometimes, or go to events, but they aren't an organization. You just created a straw man and then tore it down. How impressive of you. LOTS of non-believers give to charity and goodwill organizations, and I'm one of them. We don't do it because some figment of our imagination tells us, or for some promise of reward in the afterlife. We do it because, like you, we see suffering and pain, and want to help.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Glenn

      ObjectiveOpinion – and Mullahs have been killing them....

      April 8, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  3. mikstov33

    Here is the reason for the birth,life,and murder(sacrifice) of Jesus Christ: When Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of life and death, a seed was introduced into the DNA of the human race. That seed was nothing more than doubt, and when mixed with the God-given right of free will, resulted in sin becoming the normal moral choice of most of humanity. Consider the story of Cain and Abel. Cain felt remorse for his sacrifice to God being rejected,and instead of trying harder to please God and bring a more apropriate offering(first-fruits without blemish)he became jealous of his brother Abel being approved in his offering of the first born of his flock.Instead of listening to Gods instructions for redemption,Cain chose to doubt the commandment of God to try again and chose to slay his brother instead.Did God kill Cain for his disobedience? No, he only sent him away from the Garden to live the rest of his days separated from the presence of God and the rest of creation. He even set a mark upon him so others that were of his family would not kill him when and if they found him. Cain even founded the first city and civilization mentioned in the bible,long before the flood of Noah.
    Now back to the seed of doubt.....Before the flood, it is written that the sons of God(Adams offspring through Seth) took wives of the sons of men(Cains offspring).That is were the genetic seed first introduced by Eve eating the forbidden fruit passed from the exiled Cainish people to the Chosen people of Sethian origin. Noah is counted as an offspring of Seth, but his wifes geneaology is not mentioned.She could very well have carried that same seed of doubt and passed it on to at least one,possibly two of her three sons(maybe all three,since the Jewish leaders of Jesus day are the ones who wanted Him to die). One of those sons,Ham, produced the Caananites and other various peoples who were to be removed from the land when Moses and Joshua were commanded to take it. The sinful people of the seed of doubt had bred like rabbits and become carnal and immoral...Gods people were commanded to remove these sons of men so as not to be polluted by their ways. Again,the people of the Promise had allowed that same seed of doubt to creep into their collective minds and ignored Gods words.They became just like the sinful idolators,doubting the truth of the Almighty God. They became just like Cain.
    Jesus coming was foretold in the Garden,when God told the serpent(Satan)"there will be emnity between her seed(truth)and your seed(doubt)." That also foretold the confusion rampant even today because of so many who doubt and ridicule the truth. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments they were a guideline of behavior the Israelites were to follow to be veiwed as a separate people from the rest of sinful humanity.That Law has been broken more times in history than any man-made decree could be.Jesus Christ was begotten of God as His first-fruit offering to atone for the sins of mankind, and to replace the Law as the way of rightousness. All we have to do is BELEIVE in Him,have FAITH in God and His purpose,and not be led astray by the still present seed of doubt.Amen

    April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • DebbieNJ

      I don't think eating a fruit can mutate ones DNA. Radiation, certain chemicals can but, a ripened plant ovary...um, no.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  4. Bayousara

    The historical Jesus was known about in the Far East during his lifetime. There are writings referring to someone who was causing the Romans a lot of grief. I think he existed, but his life story and what happened concerning the establishment of the Christian church in the first three centuries after his death are what people should be studying. No bible was written the day after Jesus died, it was a compilation over centuries by many different sources/people. Some doctrine and dogma was adopted, others were discarded, and this went on and on. National Geographic Magazine (December 2011) has a wonderful article "The King James Bible–Making a Masterpiece" that has a timeline for the compilation and many versions of the Christian bible. The King James version was put compiled in 1611 by King James of England, and his reason was to be sure this version made it clear the divinity of the royal monarchs going forward. One example: A.D. 50-65 Paul's letters to Christian churches around the Mediterranean are the earliest known writings of the New Testament. Another: A.D. First and Second Centuries: The Gospels and other writings that will form the New Testament are set down in Greek (not English!). By the way, Jesus did not meet all of his disciples. Study the history of the Bible!

    April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      And where are these writings?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Mkoma wako

      Fascinating how you speak of your new Discovery Channel discovery... The whole world was waiting for that... LOL

      April 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  5. Glenn

    I find the timing of this article in bad taste.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • reason

      There is not a wrong time to seek truth.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Bob

      Amen, Glenn. But Jesus said it would be like this.

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

      On the contrary, the timing is ideal.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  6. Jean

    I find it insulting that CN would wait until Easter to publish this article. Would you wait until Ramadan to write an antagonistic article about muhamad?

    April 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • SixDegrees

      How is this article antagonistic? And more to the point: if your religion can't withstand even mild rational examination, why is it worth believing in?

      Easter is supposed to be a time of introspection and reflection. Not a time to sink into a brain-dead chocolate egg stupor.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  7. I thought jesus was white

    if jesus were real and he came back, the christians would deny him.. That's reality.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  8. Elizabeth Hallahan

    Jesus has risen and Happy Easter to all Christian and people all over the world.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • I thought jesus was white

      he had to smell pretty bad,, being dead for a while and all.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  9. FrankinNJ

    So will Cnn be running articles on whether Mohammed existed during Ramadan? Did I miss the article on the 'reality' of Moses during Passover? Something tells me no. And yet every Christian holiday Cnn finds some kook to trot out in an article like this.

    Shame on you Cnn. I wouldn't be so aggravated if you were fair and did this to everyone, but of course in your world view, or cowardice in angering Muslims and Jews, it is only fair to do this to Christians. Those who don't understand why the timing of this article is offensive, never will I guess. But a little empathy would go a long way.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Good comment; but don't expect CNN to change. Christ predicted this sort of hatred toward all things Christian and this is just another manifestation. Be encouraged fellow Christian and Happy Easter.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Apparently, your religion doesn't hold up well to actual examination.

      And for what it's worth, this blog has published many articles on Islam, Judaism and other religions that engage in similar historical examinations. I don't recall any of those believers being incensed, although the C&E evangelical crowd certainly doesn't seem to care at all for rational inquiry.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Joec

      the timing was insensitive, not just ill timed. It is offensive to christians everywhere

      April 8, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • vik

      @Joec actually, the timing was pretty good. Since the existence of jesus has to do with the validity of easter, this is the optimal time to debate jesus' existence.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  10. Glh1

    The claim that Christ is a myth hasnt gained traction..rather, the Internet just provides a forum for nonbelievers and haters to perpetuate their false claims

    April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Joec

      the definition of myth is a story that has truthful elements that could have been true mixed with things that are definately true, by this definition it defines our relationship with Jesus. We will never know all the facts about Jesus's life we did not live in that time those that require all the facts will never be satisfied, Christ Himself realized this stating to Thomas you have seen me blessed are those who have not seen me and will still believe. The challenge for us is clear,our spirituality will be boosted by faith and faith makes us different than the rest of the creatures on earth.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    God revealed us his heart in the person of Jesus. God is as meek and humble as the man Jesus.

    Jesus was historical. It is proved by science of history!

    There was a very famous historian of the Roman Empire, which lived in the first century after Christ (AD 56 – AD 117), that means extremly near-term to the events, which had came to pass in Palestine. He, Tacitus, was a pagan, which had no reason at all to promote Christianity and to tell us lies about Jesus. We can be sure that it was historical, what he wrote about Jesus, because he was an enemy of Jesus:

    "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superst-ition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multi-tude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind".

    This passage is a clear evidence for the historicity of Christ Jesus.

    There was a famous Jewish historian of the first century, who gives acount of Jesus Christ. Jews have no reason to promote Christianity and thus we can be sure that Flavius Josephus told us the truth about Jesus:

    "And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus... Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned."

    A Jew confirms the historical reality of Jesus, the founder of Christianity. That is very great!

    April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Allen

      Interesting that in a time with very short lifetimes and almost zero literacy you consider ~100 years afterwards "extremly near-term to the events." Some guy dreaming it up generations later is "near term?" Get real.

      It is your right to create a religion and "believe" but make some effort to understand the timelines of the artificial belief system you are creating. And do note that the "Christian Holidays" existed long before Christ even if he was real. Latter day Christians just poached the dates to give the new belief system some momentum.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  12. peace247

    The Holy Qur'an: Surah Waqia

    Furthermore I call to witness the setting of the Stars― (75) And that is indeed a mighty adjuration if ye but knew― (76) That this is indeed a Qur'an most honourable, (77) In a Book well-guarded, (78) Which none shall touch but those who are clean: (79) A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. (80) Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem? (81) And have ye made it your livelihood that ye should declare it false? (82) Then why do ye not (intervene) when (the soul of the dying man) reaches the throat (83) And ye the while (sit) looking on― (84) But We are nearer to him than ye, and yet see not (85) Then why do you not if you are exempt from (future) account― (86) Call back the soul, if ye are true (in your claim of Independence)? (87)

    April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Will

      Hey, thanks for the reminder! I almost forgot that today is my weekly Quran-burning day! And in honor of Easter, I believe I'll burn TWO Qurans today. The only question is, gasoline or lighter fluid? Maybe one of each? Oh well, I suppose I'll decide at the time.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • vik

      @will way to be a hypocrite. here you are complaining about an article that questions your religion, and then you go on to offend a muslim?? if a muslim ever burned a bible what would you say? you need to have an open mind.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  13. Sardukar

    Know myth when you see one..

    April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  14. Will

    So, I assume that the next time Ramadan rolls around CNN will run a story speculating on whether Muhammad was real or made up. Oh wait, I forgot... liberals are afraid of Muslims and are Islamo-fascist sympathizers, so they would never dare.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • YeahOk

      So what if they are?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • paulhurley

      Like !

      April 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Bayousara

      Will, you are full of baloney! I am a far-left liberal and I am not afraid of Muslims. Where do you get these ideas? Probably from conservative talk radio, which has surpassed church and the study of the Bible as being the "word."

      April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • vik

      No, they wrote this article because it had valid points. There are obviously no points against the existence of Muhammad, so no articles have been written about the validity of his existence.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  15. ObjectiveOpinion

    And jesus, and his friend god, why is it they created the catholic church and allowed all those priests to abuse young boys? Probably is that jesus and god are just imaginary, created by people wanting to control sheep. Problem is that the sheep are not saying 'baa baa' anymore, but are saying 'who would believe in this scam'.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Sardukar

      True Europe is largely atheist now...

      April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  16. reason

    Watch what anthropologists, archeologists and religious historians seeking the truth have to say about where god came from:

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

    April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  17. Acts2:38

    Happy Easter, CNN and other non-believers!

    Luke 24:36-49

    Jesus Appears to the Disciples

    36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

    37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

    40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

    44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

    45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

    April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Sardukar

      Matthew 18:25: "But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made."
      Ephesians 6:5-9: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."

      April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • peace247

      I think you misunderstand that passage...

      Just read it again. Christians are arguing that Christ died and rose from the dead. They say he's body was dead but the spirit was alive. Well, after Christ's alleged cruci-fiction, he appears in that upper room, and he himself is telling you from his mouth that a 'spirit has no flesh and bones as you see I have'. In other words, he's telling you, he's not a spirit. He's the actual physical being he was. Then he took a peice of broiled fish, and a honeycomb, and he ate in their very sight. To prove what? That's he's a hungry spirit? No, he's proving he's still a physical being that requires the necessities that you and I need.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Justin Roth

      Being that J.C. was born as, lived as, and died as a Jew, I would like to know where it "is written" that the Messiah will rise from the dead, since there is no tradition that the Messiah will rise from the dead, but on the contrary, will be a living human being.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  18. Justin Roth

    I'm not a Christian myself, but I do believe that J.C. was an actual, living human being. I don't buy into the "personal lord and savior" bit or that he "died for my sins," but I do acknowledge his existence. For that matter, during this holiday of Passover, when Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt, does anyone question the historical existence of Moses? or Mohammed, Confucius, Buddah, Adam and Eve? It's all a matter of faith. As the Beatles sung: "Let it Be"

    April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Yes many scholars do indeed now question the whether or not Moses existed.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Justin Roth

      Like who?

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

      There's pretty good evidence for the existence of both Mohammad and Confucius, for Buddha it seems a little bit more unclear. Adam and Eve? Well, they live just down the hall from me. Right friendly couple those two!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • humanone

      We know Mohammed was a pedophile and autocrat... Moses, is up for debate. When a people call themselves the chosen people of God – they've got to create and perpetuate generation after generation a grand story like the Exodus. In the end it boils down to the fact that Jews think they are better than the rest and are here to show us the way. They've done marvelous things throughout history and this rubs folks the wrong way so they've also been persecuted throughout history. Yet – is there independent proof for Moses or their bitter enslavement in Egypt other than the story handed down through the Jews..

      April 8, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  19. John

    Turn of your Computers and enjoy this gorgeous Easter Sunday.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Jenni

      Great Idea... thank you!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • I thought jesus was white

      like you turned off your brain?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • ben235

      AMEN!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Gotcha

      It's raining....

      April 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Sardukar

      the gorgeous of Sunday has nothing to do with easter...or the eggs.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  20. inmyjudgement

    Israel exists just like the bible said that it would.
    The threat of war between Israel and Iran is real. If the war goes nuclear then it could become Armageddon.

    Why do we fail to see and believe the signs?

    April 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Keith

      That is a lie, it doesn't exist like the Bible said it would and it never existed as a country like the Bible said that it did. The Bibile is not a History book.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Justin Roth

      What does your comment have to do with the concept of "historical" J.C.?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • I thought jesus was white

      the bible IS a history book, tainted by religion.

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

      Really Keith, so all those found ancient cities, all the time lines of foreign and Israeli kings are all mythical? The ancient Jews were excellent at keeping records.

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

      I just checked the news and Israel exists.

      If the prophecies are coming true then we will get to see the return of Jesus.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Exactly! Religion (especially Judism and it's two offshoots, Christianlty and Islam) do indeed now pose the greatest threat that the world has ever seen! Many "religious" people actually look forward to armagedon because it is "pre-ordained". No better argument against Christianity exists than the point you just made (you just don't realize what you said).

      April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • inmyjudgement

      The return to Zion. The movement of people from Europe to Israel was lead by atheists. The religious Jews were against moving to Israel.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
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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.