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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. barb

    "Whoever controls the media, controls the mind." Jim Morrison nuff said

    Happy Easter!

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

      CLUE: Liberals control the American mass media, and have done so since the late 1960's. And as a DIRECT result, we now have the dumbest, most ignorant populace in the industrialized world.

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

    I will give credit to the notion that some person named Jesus did exist and his was with a group of people running around doing this and that, like many other groups at that time. But I think other than this, virtually everything else was taken from the pagan world. We don't even know the birthday of Jesus, yet celebrate the 24th each year which was the major pagan holiday. But if you read the Bible, it says the shepards were in the fields. Shepards are not in fields in winter. Surviving letters from the Emperor Hadrian to a then governor notes that the Christains seem to sing and dance and feed the poor and there is no need or want to 'go after them'. And the foundations of Christianity were not put together until three hundred years after his death when the Biships started getting together to decide the 'official' history. And then there is the fact that only certain books were put into the Bible when it was being put together. Why did they leave out The Book of Mary? Too pro woman, I think.And this idea that thousands of Christians were killed in the collusium is just silly. At best it woudl of been a couple of hundred over the course of three hundred years. How many people does the state of Texas put to death each year? Of course the best thing I like is the Jesus pictures we have. Most I have seen show a Jesus with brown hair and with highlights, and a very white complexion. People who live and live d in that area woudl have had dark/black hair with no highlights and darker skin.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  3. Canadian Jack

    Yeshua ben Yosef born, lived, died a Jew. He preached pacifism so did Ghandi, so did Martin Luther King. Yeshua was eloquent. He preached from the Temple Mount. Many of his listeners were Roman Soldiers. Some of them were converted to Pacifism. Yeshua was a threat to Roman militancy. If Yeshua had committed sacrilege in the judgment of the Pharisees living at that time the Roman occupiers would have allowed the Jews to stone him to death. Crucifixion was a punishment for any criminal action against Rome. Yeshua's crime was treason against Rome and so were the thousands of Zealots who were crucified for the same crime. The only difference is that the Zealots fought with weapons and Yeshua's power was the Word. People throughout history have always known that words are indeed mightier than swords. If the world today were filled with pacifists we would have a huge financial and ecological windfall. Posters I invite you to figure that one out.

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

      The economic advantages of not squandering money on military campaigns are fairly obvious. Ecologically, humans who don't cull their own herd now and then are at best a mixed blessing.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  4. Robert

    Atheism will never be anything more than a tiny delusional cult intent on trying to destroy all other religions. Good luck with that.

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

      .
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6zGK-XblGA&w=640&h=390]

      April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • I thought jesus was white

      atheism is the fastest growing group led by the most brilliant minds. christianity,, old bronze age concoctions where the world is flat and bloodletting cures

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

      We atheists are such a tiny minority that we have very little ability to destroy religion.And most of us have no DESIRE to destroy religion. We would just appreciate it if you stop trying to create a theocracy in America. We don't want our politicians promising to establish laws which reflect your beliefs. However, more and more people ARE coming over to our little "cult" In fact, most Europeans identify themselves as having NO religion. It's only here in the US that religion, specifically Christianity, has such a stranglehold on people's minds. If you think it will always be so, good luck with THAT! You and I probably won't live to see it, but Christianity, Islam and Judaism will all be relegated to school textbooks as quaint little mythologies once held dear by supersti*ious people. As I did, you probably studied Greek and Roman mythology in school. You probably shook your head at those silly people with their misguided belief in polytheism. That's the future of all religions. What a glorious day it will be when people realize that we are all just highly evolved life forms, with the same hopes and dreams, all in this mess together. Mankind will stop killing each other in some grotesque p!ssing contest over whose god is bigger and better. People will finally live their lives as they see fit, without trying to force people to live a life that pleases THEIR imaginary friend. If you think all morality and ethical behavior will also disappear, then you are suffering from the delusion that the only reason people do the right thing is out of fear of punishment by some angry deity. If that were the case, then we wouldn't have atheists living good lives, and we wouldn't have Christians, Jews and Muslims committing acts of atrocity on a daily basis. In fact, religion allows people to do the most horrific things, as long as they believe their actions are sanctioned by God. The atheist has no such luxury. We KNOW when something's not right, and we don't have any whackjob religious icons to convince us otherwise.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  5. aginghippy

    I'm struck by the number of Christians who are appalled that CNN would question the existence of Jesus on this, the most sacred of Christian holidays. If you are CONVINCED that Jesus existed, that He was born without benefit of intimacy between a man and a woman, that he DIED and then magically came back to life after three days...then nothing, no CNN article, no "arrogant" nonbeliever's comments, should have any effect on you whatsoever. If you are honest with yourselves. you will admit that this day gets little fanfare compared to Christmas. As an atheist, I have always been puzzled by that. Jesus' birthday is irrelevant. Anyone can be born. It's that defeating death thing that gives Jesus any significance. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that Christmas is a LEGAL holiday, with most employers giving people that day off with pay, the post office closed along with banks, government offices and other places of business. Yet, the only reason many people are off on your "most sacred day" is the fact that it falls on Sunday. I work in an industry that operates 365 days per year. If I work Christmas, I get holiday pay, but if I work Easter, it's just another day.
    So, my easily offended Christians, if this is the most important of Christian holidays, why is it given such pathetic attention as compared to Christmas? Is it because the pagan holiday that coincides with Christmas was a bigger deal than the pagan holiday which inspired Easter? Were ancient pagan rituals which included adorning a dead tree more important than ancient pagan rituals which honored fertility gods (see Easter bunny)?
    There is ample evidence that all modern religions are rip-offs of other much more ancient religions, which were also rip-offs of even older ones. If you refuse to open your eyes and see the facts, that is your right. However, to expect the rational folks to give your also-ran religious day any special treatment is as unrealistic as your faith in easily discredited bronze age fairy tales.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Bill P

      aginghippy – Your statement, "It's that defeating death thing that gives Jesus any significance", is indeed correct, despite the motivation of your post. It embodies that whole question of His victory, as God's only Son, over sin for the restoration of man to fellowship with God. People believing that they can merit entrance into Heaven through "good works" have deceived themselves. And the thief on the cross that asked Jesus to remember him when He would go to His kingdom and the Apostle Paul's explicit statement (Rom 10:9,10) acknowledging the importance of believing in the resurrection make this very clear.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • russ

      to be a true Russian, Cuban ,Korean ,American ect............ you must obey the laws these governments set . so many claim to be of such but don't pay taxes , talk bad of there government ect........ just as some clam to be christian do not apply to the landlord contact (the bible) that only tells of only one celebration that christens should celebrate and thats the memorial of his accomplishments that he proved first , not making thousands of promises like governments over the centuries , but this ultimate divine hero , fed people for free , healed for free , controlled weather perfectly for free (mark 4;35-41) , and give houses for free isa. 65;21-24) . but most important ! he is the only one to verify the truth of his authenticity as a perfect leader , he giving his life( not the billions of children man has sent to die over the centuries just to protect there belongings) to prove his matchless sacrifice for his love of mankind . his father approved of his sons capability to help only LOVING people the will and love and see the wisdom in the landlord tenet contract for all creatures here on our starship EARTH. TO rule earth , god brought his son back to rule not as a man but as an heavenly KING .so in turn to bring loved ones back to life . mankind has proved over and over and over ect...............again , that he can only rule himself and not others. man is ruining the earth (rev.11;18) can't stop fighting and killig , our children are no longer safe the greedy refuse to share and nuclear proliferation is inevitable . so Jesus resurrection is nothing compared to the proof of what he WILL DO for mankind. he was given power to bring a loved one back from death , so by nature of divine love he has the right to read a persons heart that refuses to love peace and to love others more than self and allow that one to choose his refusal to agree with the landlord tenet contract . YES , so plain and so simple even a child can understand !

      April 8, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  6. well

    I understand people of faith wanting to share their faith. After all countless scientific studies have shown religious people live longer, are happier, healthier, less likely to use drugs, spend time in prison or engage in violence.
    I don't understand atheists who feel the need to troll comment boards insulting anyone who disagrees with them. Is it simple ego, trying to show everyone how smart you are? I just don't get it.

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

      were just worried that when people believe in a powerful god so blindly , that other earthly and important concerns about humanity and our future could be doomed by people believing that the only thing that can destroy the earth is god and not humans . we need more people to be rationalists so we can save ourselves and our planet .

      April 8, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Reasongal.

      Countless studies, eh? Prisons contain plenty of Christians, Christian teens drink, do drugs, and get pregnant, just like everybody else. Please cite your "countless" sources of this peer-reviewed data.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  7. Daniel B

    Well of course Jesus exists!!!!! Duh!!!! He is known as a metaphor for the sun!!!! Duh!!! Ancient people didnt know what the sun was so they called him a god (Jesus) and made-up pretty stories to talk about his origins, etc.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  8. 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 10:07 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      That's because Muslims will still do what Christians used to do...kill people who don't conform to their beliefs. Just imagine when one of these fanatical Muslim groups succeed in getting hold of a nuclear device.

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

      It's not as though Islam gets a lot of good press, eh? Liberals can indeed be cowards, but you won't find many non-believers cowering. Islam is what Christianity once was and would become again if the anti-secularists ever succeed. Both are mythologies that have proven how dangerous they can be, and both must be subjected to constant skeptical examination.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  9. wisdomlover

    why does christianity draw such negativity from non-believers? i often wonder. can only be jealousy. if someone is secure in their beliefs why would they want to put down anyone else's? be happy in your own beliefs and respect others. to think that matters of faith can be reduced to science, history and "facts" is an exercise in futility.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • I thought jesus was white

      more destruction from religion than any other group. Proves religion is evil..

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

      the civil war was the u.s.'s bloodiest war. nothing to do with religion.

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

      Religion slows down science and knowledge. That's the problem. Just imagine how far science would be if it were not for religion (i,e The inquisition)... Please stop using immature, simplistic excuses such as jealousy, etc. if you cant understand this then forget it.

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

      the rise of liberals and atheists clearly marks the end of an america that stood for and respected freedom. respect religion!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      Both abolitionists and slave owners were fervent Christians and that conflict did indeed owe at least some of its over the top bloodthirstiness to the ruthlessness of those who consider themselves agents of god on earth. Slavery was and is a true evil. But the manner in which it was ended in this country is most notable for the barbarism exhibited by both sides.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • wisdomlover

      now the civil war was caused by religion too? you guys will stop at nothing. religion is part of human nature, accept it, even if your simple minds cannot appreciate the impulse of spirituality. you enlightened liberals need to question your glorification of "science" and "fact". the intellect is just one aspect part of the human being. that which is capable of true faith (not blind obedience) in man is much larger than the intellect.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  10. Bob Lewis

    I'm sure Jesus lived. He was a simple teacher of how to achieve oneness with God. To that was added layers of dogma, ritual, mythology and hierarchy that would have disgusted him. His actual teachings are long forgotten, misinterpreted or corrupted by the useless facade.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Andres Conde

      Totally agree!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • russ

      god thinks perfectly ,in his wisdom when he decided to create physical life and things ( universe and our earth) we being made in his image ( not monkeys because they can't see beyond the next day) with wisdom , we put roofs on our houses cause it might rain . so god made a person a hero incase man decided to go against divine order to all mans benefit . he said let US make mankind in OUR image and OUR likeness ! god gave jesus the information to create , just as man gives the information to the woman to create (DNA INFO) . man has made thousands of promises throughout the centuries and AND ALL FAIL ! gods HERO he sent to us proved what he will do . he will heal for free, feed for free , free housing Isa.65;22) and control weather perfectly for free (mark 4;35-41)

      April 8, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • russ

      god thinks perfectly ,in his wisdom when he decided to create physical life and things ( universe and our earth) we being made in his image ( not monkeys because they can't see beyond the next day) with wisdom , we put roofs on our houses cause it might rain . so god made a person a hero incase man decided to go against divine order to all mans benefit . he said let US make mankind in OUR image and OUR likeness ! god gave jesus the information to create , just as man gives the information to the woman to create (DNA INFO) . man has made thousands of promises throughout the centuries and AND ALL FAIL ! gods HERO he sent to us proved what he will do . he will heal for free, feed for free , free housing ( Isa.65;22) and control weather perfectly for free (mark 4;35-41)

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  11. justin

    So cnn is stating there is no other credible source other than the bible that jesus exists, the koran has references to jesus so cnn is stating that the koran and muslims are not credible and must be a bunch of bs

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

      CNN isn't stating anything. The author of this article is simply showing both sides of a historical argument. Get over it.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Ahmed ben Muhamed Muhamed

      The Koran ISN'T reliable. It's just more BS.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      The Quran may or may not be credible on matters relating to its immediate historical contexts. I'd be doubtful, but let's be fair. But it has absolutely zero credibility on the already centuries old myths it imported from Christianity and Judaism.

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

      The author of this article who works for cnn is trying to make an argument for both sides for the existence and non existence of jesus and in the article clearly states for his argument for the non existence of jesus that there is no other credible source outside the bible that jesus exists, so you need to read and comprehend what you are reading before trying to comment you make yourself sound moronic

      April 8, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  12. UncleM

    It's strange to me that in a country that values freedom so highly that so many are willing to give up their intellectual freedom and be brainwashed by this religious nonsense.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  13. muri

    Much like the dinosaur bones, this CNN article was put here as a test of faith.....

    April 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  14. 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 10:05 am |
  15. Tom LI

    The tired idea that people wont die for a Myth is absurd. Democracy is a myth and an ever changing one. Freedom is a Myth, and one that NO ONE can actually define or figure out where it starts or where it ends. Love is a myth, someone show me hard evidence that Love is provable beyond peoples Faith that they have it...or want to have it!

    If Humans do one thing very well is die for myths, ideas, concepts and unknowns, and very often unimportant notions that circulate thru their minds. Religious Faith has always been a means for the Human to Believe that this Life is inconsequential and that dying is okay as long as they have convinced themselves that there is a Heaven waiting for them and that they have the backstage pass firmly in their grasp. and sometimes its in dying that they secure that pass...

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

      People die for beliefs all the time. Look at suicide bombers. Do their actions prove the truth of Islam? If you already believe that claptrap, you might be tempted to think so. But if you are wise enough to be even a little bit skeptical of it, you would most likely take their actions as proof once again that zealotry in any form is insanity.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  16. Veritas

    It is encouraging that the Internet and access to information does have a very profound impact on belief in religious fairy tales all over the world. Children, who are normally indoctrinated from a very young age, can read about alternative world views that are based on science and reason.

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

      This is why people are rejecting religion in larger numbers than ever seen in world history.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  17. muri

    As the great Mr. Hicks once said. I'd rather be adopted by the atheists..... at least they have all the good music.

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

      You have obviously never been caught up in the rapture of live Gregorian chant at a sunset vespers service. Now that is good music!!!

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

      Lots of the music and some of the art are the BEST points about religion. I could listen to Ockeghem for hours. I love a lot of secular music, too, but give religious music its due. I even love hymns like "How Great Thou Art". Some of it is so good that I find myself wishing that I could believe the words. But I can't.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  18. Glenc

    Jesus: Real historical figure. If you don't believe that then you have to believe that all of Christianity and the majority of history in the western world for 2000 years is based on a bunch of fairy tales made up by an illiterate fisherman (Peter) and a neurotic Jewish lawyer (Paul).

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

      That's some amazing reasoning you got there. I do believe he was a figure but am doubtful of him being a person. As for the Jew remark, that's just arrogance.

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

      There is a lot more to the history of the past 2000 years than Jesus; Christianity has mostly caused harm (the inquisition, witch burnings, intolerance, persecution of scientists, etc etc etc. The Vikings in Scandinavia had their own gods (Thor, Oden, et al), and every civilization had their own set of fairy tales. There have been more religions and divinities in this world than anybody cares to remember.

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

      Veritas: You claim Christianity to be destructive (certainly there are times that has been true) then compare it to the Vikings?? The very term itself means "to go plundering". Yes they had a very rich and complex myth system. But by the 10th century most were Christianized And today, there are no great halls for the observance of Oden or Thor. Certainly not one in every village and town more or less across the globe. Probably not even in Norway. Jesus: 1, Oden: 0.

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

    A major event happened 2012 years ago. Planet earth has been around a lot longer than 2012 years. Jesus was the major event.

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

      "Jesus was the major event."

      What about all the other gods that rose again?

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

      You might want to recalibrate your timeline there.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  20. Name*THE TRUTH

    How about... Mohamed never existed and publish it on the day of ramadam??? Remember: Satan only attacks that wich is real.. JESUS is the truth and light.. he exposes sin in your life!!!!
    :

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

      wow. nothing like stating your opinion as a fact.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • I thought jesus was white

      satan was the cool dude. never wrote a bible explaining his side. Then again, the christians love to bash the defenseless.

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

      Excellent Point! You are right. Don't see the media questioning the existence of Mohammed or where are the Moron stones of gold. It's always attacking Jesus. That is very profound.

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

      "Remember: Satan only attacks that wich is real.. JESUS is the truth and light.. he exposes sin in your life!!!!"

      Your cult has you so brainwashed that it's pitiful. You do know the story was stolen from other pagan religions of that time period.

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

      I've never seen Satan attack anything, no doubt because Satan is himself unreal.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:30 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.