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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. Abolish All Religion

    Muhammad molested an 8-year old girl. Just sayin'.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Bush Destroyed America

      Just sayin.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Shadow

      All religions have killed millions in their own name. Just saying.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Shadow

      Can't remember that last time atheists went on a world wide killing crusade.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Joe

      Jehovah will destroy all Sinners who do not put their faith in YHWH and His only begotten SON...... just saying.....

      April 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Robert

      Yes, but Jesus NEVER sinned. NO ONE could convict HIM of sin. And that is AS MUCH of a miricle, in this world, as the resurrection. YOU must deal with that... and YOU must do it without lying... or you will face judgement before the judgement seat of Christ.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Dennis

      Jesus spoke out against Slavery!...Oh wait...he didn't.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Robert

      It just amazes me at how people scoff, apprantly blind to the truth "that it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God... without the forgiveness of sin." In that day, the Bible tells us that people will be so terrified at the judgement that they will ask the rocks to fall on them so that they won't have to face it. Can you imagine such a terror that people would want their bones crushed to avoid it. Scoff now. You're reality is coming, and there is someone with all authority and all power and ALL holiness... whom YOU offended and who will NOT let you get away with it.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Major Tom

      Jesus condoned and supported slavery. Just sayin.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Major Tom

      @Robert: I bet you have at some point done some work on a Saturday, maybe even often. Some shopping, some traveling, some picnicking? Yeah, well according to the Bible you are so SCREEEEEEWWWWWWWWED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Dennis

      @Robert – You might as well quote Harry Potter

      April 8, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Dustin

      i would take a harry potter qoute more seriously

      April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  2. William Parish

    Who is the mysterious 'Beloved Disciple?' You Are: http://j.mp/Hy5VnH

    April 8, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  3. AKent

    "The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed, Evans says." Incredible. How can anyone with an IQ over 70 take this man seriously? Believe what you will based on faith. Using the arguement that Jesus exsisted because "A vivid personality practically bursts from the pages of the New Testament", is absurd.

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

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/uonc-ter022712.php# The science Proof Needed

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  4. caw

    The day God wishes to proclaim he exists by a true miracle (one that can't possibly happen such as the waters of Niagara Falls stopping in mid fall) then I'm more than happy to believe in him, otherwise I'll believe it's a bunch of ancient fairy tales.

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

      Bingo, we have a winner.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Joe

      Here is your sign .......http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/uonc-ter022712.php# .........or r u too scared......
      Matthew 12:38 Then as an answer to him some of the scribes and Pharisees said: “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 In reply he said to them: “A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jo´nah the prophet.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Shadow

      Joe, that was a typical cop-out religious answer with no credibility.

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

      AMEN!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  5. Alex

    Nothing new in this. Authoritative philosopher and historian Bertrand Russel had already theorized that Christianity may or may have not have had a single founder. Perhaps it started as a movement based on an idea perhaps it had an early leader who indeed was crucified. It is hard to know for sure.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  6. brunette_barbie_SC

    Science may explain SOME THINGS BUT IT CAN'T EXPLAIN EVERYTHING, CAN IT??? THINK ON THAT

    April 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Given enough time, science will explain everything. I can explain Christianity right now though: Ancient mythology. Period. End of story.

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

      Your ignorance is laughable.

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

      So if we unlearn everything about the Sun can we worship Apollo again?

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

      how does someone have no brain activity and no heart beat come back to life? happens today in hospitals. There is something more powerful that exists. In fact, scientific laws are eternal in existence and God used them to create the Earth. The only thing remarkable though is that He can command the laws of science. That's why unexplained miracles exist.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • tacc2

      Can science explain spitty slurpee? Or the Mon Walk? How about edible panties?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Shadow

      We have thought on that. We await science to make further discoveries as to our origins, but no one know them yet, and that's ok. It be centuries before we figure it out. No need to make up fantasies to explain things. Humans have been doing that for 200,000 years.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Alex

      So for things that we can't explain with science we invent explanations with religions?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • momoya

      People die and come back to life all the time nowadays with modern medicine and all..

      I don't think that there's any way to prove that some conscious god arranged our universe's physical laws, but that's a better starting point than most theists use.. Can any believer prove that his god is the one who made the universe's laws?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Why do South Carolinians keep embarrassing our State? I swear, everybody in South Carolina isn't ignorant!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Dennis

      @brunette_barbie_SC So now your argument is that coming back to life is no big deal, that people do it in Hospitals all the time.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  7. tacc2

    "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."

    So,technically dude is right. No "Pagan" gods are born on Dec 25th. However...

    The winter solstice is said to be when the god Mithra was born. For the record, since some people like to claim Mithra was born of a virgin like Jesus, he wasn't. He was born of a rock. I guess most rocks are virgins, but still, that's a stretch.

    And let's not forget Dionysus(Osiris), who is said to be reborn around the winter solstice, the time that the wine clears.

    Both of these are close enough to the 25th. I'm not even sure there are any ancient sources saying Jesus was born on the 25th.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Elena

      Who said Jesus was born on December 25th, and none of those pagan gods ever delivered a message of love and forgiveness

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

      Regarding the virginity of Mary, can someone please explain how Mary was a virgin when Jesus had an OLDER brother?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Dennis

      @Elena. Domestic abuse type of love. Love me or else.

      But sacrifice... Prometheus didn't get a little ouchy and take a 3 day dirt nap.
      Prometheus was chained to a rock and had his liver eaten by an eagle every day for a thousand years because he loved humans enough to bring them fire.

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

      Dennis, show me where did Jesus said love me or else

      April 8, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • tacc2

      The guy I was quoting from the article seems to think Jesus was born on the 25th. But like I said, I really don't know where the Christians get that date from. And, I'm not saying that any of he Pagan god's stories completely parallel Jesus,but some are a little too close to dismiss outright.

      As for messages of love and forgiveness, those are good and all, but personally I prefer the messages of of the old gods like Mithra and Dionysus, which seem to have been "party down!"

      April 8, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  8. Elena

    I will Ask again, any atheist want to give me a valid reason to be atheist and I will give you a valid scientific reason to be a believer!
    Warning you must understand the dual nature of particles and understand energy! also you must understand the mind, not the brain, but the "MIND"

    April 8, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Dennis

      To surrender to ignorance and call it god has always been premature and remains premature today. – asimov

      You just want to have a God of Gaps argument.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Reality check

      sounds like you are unable to state your proof.. You want a debate first? Sounds like manipulation to me.

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

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/uonc-ter022712.php# copy and paste to web browser Science Proof Jesus Christ Is not a myth nimrods........

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Elena

      To Dennis, what is your point

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      I'm an agnostic, not an atheist. But I believe in using science, logic, reason and objectivity to understand the Universe, not ancient mythology. YOU explain where your invisible man in the sky came from. Did he magically poof himself into existence like he supposedly did with the Universe? If your god created the Universe, who created him?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • DebbieNJ

      You must also have a grasp of the scientific method......must have TESTABLE theories, can't do that with spiritual and supernatural beliefs.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Elena

      What do you mean i am unable to state my proof, do you understand the dual nature of particles and do you understand how is it that we really see, heard, feel, smell and touch, do you!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • momoya

      I'll play.

      A valid reason why you should be an atheist: None of the gods believed in by humans have and demonstrable evidence.. Since there is no evidence for any god, nonbelief in all is a justified response..

      Now, what's a "valid reason" for me to be a believer?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Elena

      Josef Bleaux, again! dou understand the dual nature of particles and do you understand how is it we see, heard, feel, and smell! do you

      April 8, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • YeahOk

      ATTENTION: Let it be know that Elena can prove with her superior scientific intellect that souls or spirits of conciseness, and a higher supreme consciousness or being, which is the fountain of creations exists.

      There is overwhelming excitement among the scientific community for her presentation of her absolute defining evidence.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Elena

      momoya, your reason is not valid since it has no scientific evidence!
      and please don't tell me you are a nonbeliever because we have plains and cars and computers. tell me something real!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      So... you're saying we should understand something that YOU obviously don't? HA HA HA HA. Yeah, right.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Dennis

      @Elena, sorry. I don't think retyping a simple point slowly is going to help you understand.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Elena

      Josef Bleaux, ha ha ha you answer show you know nothing about particles, energy and the mind! no point to debate with you!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      The dual nature of particles isn't relevant, except in relation to the uncertainty principle and quantum mechanics. If there is indeed free will, then that's the only possible explanation for it. Does that prove that an invisible, supernatural being in the sky that magically poofed the Universe into being really exists? Absolutely not. Where did this supernatural being come from? Did he also magically poof himself into being from nothing? It's obvious that you are a pseudo-intellectual, trying in vain to use your poorly understood concept of science to prove the supernatural exists. But sorry, it just comes across as a pathetic attempt to push your unscientific mythology on others.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • YeahOk

      Com'n Elena, just show your proof that souls or spirits of conciseness, and a higher supreme consciousness or being, which is the fountain of creations exists, and then there is no way they could deny what you say is the truth!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • tacc2

      Here's a valid reason:

      I base what I believe on facts and experience. The facts for the existence of a Christian-like god are basically none. You've a collection o old myths. There are myriad old myths which are just as valid as yours. What makes yours so special? As far as experience goes, I have never witnessed anything supernatural. I know of no one who has any credible incontrovertible evidence for the supernatural. So, until I get some proof, I'm calling BS.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Dustin

      If there is a god he forgot to give you a MIND you should be upset lol

      April 8, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  9. rick

    At first glance, it looks like this article is just CNN taking another shot at Christianity. However I was pleased to see them lump Jesus deniers in with people who don't believe Obama was born in the USA. Kudos to you Cnn for keeping the nuts in the same jar.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Dustin

      thats the same as saying christians are just like those muslims who blindly believe and blow everything up, oh yea they are

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Sorry, but people who believe in 2000 year old myths, while denying modern scientific knowledge, logic and reason belong in the nut jar.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • rick

      Dustin. Huh

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

      Josef Bleaux' actually QM offers so much evidence to believe, do you know about QM

      April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  10. Reality check

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

    April 8, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • greg

      it only proves that organized religion can be evil,will be evil. There isnt a whole lot of argument there

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

      Man is evil, man created religions as a way to get closer to God.......God sent Jesus Christ as a way for man to know a loving God.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  11. Dennis

    I can't believe we haven't out grown fairy tales yet.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Shadow

      I know. It's baffling, isn't it. I believe there are more non-believers than anyone realizes, but they feel social pressure to go to church put on the show for their careers and social connections.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • greg

      Im a christian and feel no pressure to participate in organized religion, No one has ever been saved by a church

      April 8, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Cesar Andrade

      It's pretty sad isn't it?

      Oh so you have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe and his son?

      Tell me again how I'm arrogant.
      Hopefully human kind can move beyond these wives tales and actually evolve to the next step. A step that won't be plagued by religious intolerance and differences in moral decisions that only stall progress and inject society with recessive tendencies.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      I think it's all about fear.

      People should recognize that religions are myths around the time they realize Santa Claus is one, but then they have to accept they do not have an immortal soul. After believing such a wonderful lie for all of their life, most folks just can't accept the truth and instead double down on the myth.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      "Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." – Bertrand Russell.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  12. rar

    Did Thomas put his hands on the nail wounds?

    April 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Reality check

      some say Bin Laden was jesus coming back. All the little christian kids will have to get new jesus's. In addition to the holes in his hands and feet, add a hole in his head.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  13. Stevens

    Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV)
    "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. [33] But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • rar

      this is one good reason why these unbelievers cannot take the chance that they are wrong

      April 8, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      It is laugh out loud hilarious when someone quotes a verse from the Bible as if they have sagely wisdom when they are just sprouting their ignorance for the whole world to see.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Shadow

      I would never bow down to a god that would torture people for eternity. That's like a mofia boss.

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

      I dont do well with bully tactics, I will not conform

      April 8, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Do you guys fear not getting into Hogworts school of magic? Of course not.

      We'll that's how atheists feel about not getting into heaven. It's an imaginary place, grow up.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  14. Joe

    Public release date: 28-Feb-2012
    [ Print | E-mail |   Share ] [ Close Window ] 

    Contact: James Hathaway
    jbhathaw@uncc.edu
    704-687-5743
    University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

    Tomb exploration reveals first archaeological evidence of Christianity from the time of Jesus
    The archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem has revealed a set of limestone Jewish ossuaries or "bone boxes" that are engraved with a rare Greek inscription and a unique iconographic image that the scholars involved identify as distinctly Christian.
    The four-line Greek inscription on one ossuary refers to God "raising up" someone and a carved image found on an adjacent ossuary shows what appears to be a large fish with a human stick figure in its mouth, interpreted by the excavation team to be an image evoking the biblical story of Jonah.
    In the earliest gospel materials the "sign of Jonah," as mentioned by Jesus, has been interpreted as a symbol of his resurrection. Jonah images in later "early" Christian art, such as images found in the Roman catacombs, are the most common motif found on tombs as a symbol of Christian resurrection hope. In contrast, the story of Jonah is not depicted in any first century Jewish art and iconographic images on ossuaries are extremely rare, given the prohibition within Judaism of making images of people or animals.
    The tomb in question is dated prior to 70 CE, when ossuary use in Jerusalem ceased due to the Roman destruction of the city. Accordingly, if the markings are Christian as the scholars involved believe, the engravings represent – by several centuries – the earliest archaeological record of Christians ever found. The engravings were most likely made by some of Jesus' earliest followers, within decades of his death. Together, the inscription and the Jonah image testify to early Christian faith in resurrection. The tomb record thus predates the writing of the gospels.
    The findings will be detailed in a preliminary report by James D. Tabor, professor and chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, to be published online in www.bibleinterp.com on February 28, 2012.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  15. Elena

    Where are all the atheist! I want to debate them! lol'

    April 8, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • nope

      ... not if you don't know that the plural of 'atheist' is 'atheists' - what's with you people?!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Learn to spell and use proper grammar and people might take you seriously.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  16. Matt

    In the passage about a camel passing through an eye of a needle, Jesus didn't mean an actual needle. The entrances to cities were often shaped like eyes of needles, but were too low for camels to make it through. The camels had to get on their stomachs basically and crawl into the city, it was quite the ordeal

    April 8, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  17. Reality check

    jesus wore a hoodie.. jesus would like healthcare.. jesus wouldn't cut school budgets. In the end, jesus was a non-white who was discriminated against by conservatives.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Dave A.

      BINGO!!!
      And then the white conservatives use his cause as a basis of their WARS. That is some sick shi....

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Selmers

      And Jesus only asked for 10% of our incomes as Thything. Now we give 50-60% and you wonder why we dont want to spend more? Its not the healthcare, is the cost.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  18. John

    There are 2.1 billion christians and 1.1 billion catholics in the world. Jesus is a myth? Arrogance + ignorance = zero integrity. Live and let live! Happy Easter to all!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Reality check

      and .....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 11:05 am |
    • Quoting

      So the all knowing Atheist who have everything figured out and know the truth about origins of life, universe, etc aren't arrogant?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Shadow

      Quoting, you have a misunderstanding of atheist. Atheist don't have it all figured out. We lack belief in something that can't be proven, just like unicorns. We accept that we don't know, and we're ok with that. We await science to figure out things, but that could be centuries away.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  19. John Cicero

    Whether you believe or not, I find it repugnant and disrespectful for CNN to write a hit piece on EASTER! It would similar to tell one of you here that your mom or dad really wasn't your mom or dad on the day of their funeral. Really sensitive. Can we enjoy one day without you trying to broadcast obvious agenda fueled by Ted Turner? I'm talking CNN app off my iphone.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Reality check

      do you know what a blog is?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • David Koresh

      Let me give you another example. It is like telling a little child that Santa Claus is not real on Christmas. Sign of the times my friend. Bring on Armageddon for all us non-believers. We are all going to burn in Hell. Ssssss 666... Whatever!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • David Koresh

      When Armageddon comes, you will be the last to know. Bye... Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  20. Dustin

    If no religion existed at least half the wars the world has experienced would have not happened. If im god(if god existed) I would put it right on your hands when you pop out, I wouldnt be concerned with how many nose hairs you have or the intricate patterns on the bottom of your feet and hands instead I would avert millions of people dying by putting a simple message on your hands. I guess I'm smarter than god, but hey at least he put 13 hairs on my big toe he didn't forget that one :) Its all about faith and belief, jump off a ten story building and really believe that your gonna be okay and have faith in god, see who wins god or gravity, besides whats the worst that can happen you go to heaven and frolic with the bunnys.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • David Koresh

      God is Santa Claus for adults.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • greg

      Remember God gave the Jews 10 commandments they immediately sat down and wrote 613 laws concerning the 10, Organized religion is power and its not power sanctioned by God, Atheists can throw out the bomb that religion is responsible for over half of all the wars in history and Christians will agree with ya, Cause its true, Organized religion is flawed to its core. Religion is a creation of man, Faith and salvation is what The lord craves from us, that is all.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Chris

      Your off. If governments didn't exist at least half the wars the world experienced would not have happened. An example would be the Roman Empire, they didn't fight generally because one of their god's said so(they would ask for their favor though) the Romans would invade to expand for the loot, e.g. slaves, gold, silver, etc. You may also say it was God that had commanded Christians and Jews to fight, but the only evidence that I am aware of this happening is in the old testament when the Jews conquered Canaan(modern day Israel). Generally it was and still is political leaders that start religious wars for there own agenda's, it is NOT God that demands this.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:29 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.