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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 • Evangelical • Faith • History • Jesus • Uncategorized • Virgin Mary

soundoff (8,771 Responses)
  1. Jeeziskryst Almighty

    Stop!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  2. Brett

    Love all the comedians on this board.... Bill Maher must be playing with himself after reading all these posts!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Bill Maher

      You're obviously got your bloomers in a wad! Hahahahahaha.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Brett

      Oh no, it's the real Bill Maher!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • edeveryday

      Good one!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Brett

      Sorry Bill, didn't mean to disturb – you can go finish your morning shower routine now....

      April 8, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  3. Brandy

    This is for all of you atheists who've left hateful comments on this forum. Why do you do it, is it just to anger & ridicule people? You're not trying to enlighten or educate, that's for sure. I'm not faithful or religious. I'm more of a hopeful agnostic, a firm believer in that "The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.". But I want you all to know that, to someone like me, you sound as arrogant & ignorant as any religious zealot. The incendiary words, the firm, arrogant belief (in God or nothing at all) makes you & them one and the same. And you get on MY nerves in equal measure.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  4. brunette_barbie_SC

    So how come those that don't believe in God and life after death are wasting their time living – you have nothing to ilive for because nothing matters in few years when you die, right, it's all gone anyways if thats what you believe – science only. you might as well just kill yourselves now and leave more room in the world for the others. haha

    April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • YeahOk

      Why not enjoy the one and only life I have?

      Why don't you kill yourself now and go to your better place?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Post Paul

      Pathetic. You alleged Christians don't really do anything Christ commanded of you, in his own words in the New Testament. Your full of hate and violence and ignorance. You weren't created in God's image, because there is no god. Just donkey dumb people.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Jeff

      Au contraire
      We see this life as more than just a way station before the afterlife. We actually appreciate this world. This is all we have, and thus, we appreciate it

      You are just waiting to die.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Actually, Christians have far more reason to kill themselves than atheists. Atheists only have to live their life to the fullest; believers, meanwhile, are missing out on Heaven, angels and all their departed acquaintances while they remain trapped here toiling on earth.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Elena

      Live is a gift and a school at the same time, we must live it till we the last of our moments for we must learn to be better humans, we must evolutionate consciously, that is why atheist will die and will go no where, although that is not entirely true, as every human is energy and energy according to science is never destroyed only transformed, and yet atheist don't believe they have energy.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  5. Selmers

    Those who argue that we who believe in God and Jesus are intolerant to the belief that they may not exist say that because they have never felt the breath of God or the Love of Jesus. Once you have, its just like looking at them. You can never tell me they dont exist, because I walk with them every day. This is truly the most frustrating part of being Christian. Its like arguing with your wife that you are in love with her.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Jeff

      The reasons you believe in Jesus and God is that you have low standards of evidence

      April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  6. Heather

    The facts is Jesus did really exist. The secular writer Josephus is well recognized as corroborating many Biblical accounts. Jesus died to buy back what Adam lost for the human family when he sinned in the Garden of Eden – namely perfection and everlasting life. All the confusion comes from the fact that many of the customs surrounding Jesus are rooted in paganism: the symbol of the cross, as well as the celebrations of Christmas and Easter. All the confusion is further evidence that 'the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one' who hopes to discourage and/or distract people so much that they have no desire to find out the truth, or they are just blind to it. But if you know the truth, it sets you free.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • jemzinthekop

      Josephus lived long after Jesus supposedly flew into the clouds. This means that the writings of Josephus are not authentic as his eye witness accounts are not eye witness accounts now are they?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • awasis

      Who cares if Jesus existed. The real point is that it's obvious he isn't coming back. Come on people, it's been 2000 years, when are you going realize that Jesus my not be a myth, but what he was made out to be is.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • championheart

      Josephus corroborates historical events, but not things in the gospels.

      You know what Josephus does not mention?? Herod killing all those children that the Bible says he did. This man was a historian of that period and he doesn't mention that event. Why? Because gospel writers had dogma in their minds, not fact, and part of the dogma was to single out Jewish leaders and romans as evil. NOT FACTS.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  7. colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Catholic religion” argument.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Catholicism requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.a..p.e and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $eksual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than your hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Robert

      You don't have an angry believer to worry about, but an fire-angry God. And He won't be ranting. He will be casting you into Hell forever. This is NOT me saying this. Jesus Himself talked more about Hell than any other subject... and He would have called you a vomit for trying to take people to Hell with you.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • colin

      Ah yes, hell, my favorite Christian superst.ition. See point 3.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Religion is Delusional Blather

      Christians love to threaten and lie.

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

      So well put. No god no devil no afterlife. Just life.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • awasis

      Sorry but logic and clear thinking are wasted on the believer.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Get it

      I agree with your doubts yet I feel that you take the context too literally. For one you only mention Catholics, when there are several branches of Christianity. To say that since many of the superficial traditions of the religion are linked to other older religions does not make or break the existance of that religion. It just means that in oreder to bring understanding to the populace that traditions already prcticed were modified to keep continuity and peace. Liken that to the way Musilm Turks have Christmas trees for New Year's. Some people just take on traditions becasue it's the status quo.
      I too question the "why is their God fake ond ours real". But if you search into it it is not so cut and dry. You will yet again see assimilation taking place. This does not disprove nor prove any religion. The commonality of it all may in fact give way to prove that there is some higher being that existed before and continues to exist today.
      Your agrunment about the age of the galexy can be seen from another twist also. True our universe is a theoretical age but there is still no way of proving that estimate. It is just theory; ironically as based in human understanding as "God". But I digress; who is to say that there are not others from other places in the universe that believe the same things as we do and we were just next in line to get the epiphiny? May be our "God" is just some one from a more advanced race of beings that came here to visit and give us a push towards technology? Like they saw the humans gettin gthere but that we needed some coaching. I know crazy but so are all the tales that have come before.
      I guess all I am trying to tell you is that if you don't keep an open mind about these things you will never find your answer. Life and existance is odd. I mean what were the chances that billions of years ago just the right molecular mix could create what we know today. But as weird as it seems it happened; how it happened we will never know for sure. There are as many solutions to this question as there are people to imagine. The beauty of faith, and atheism for that matter, is that there is a base to help people understand themselves a little bit better.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • ed galbraith

      Robert's words seethe with contempt and ignorance. He should "pray" there is no god.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  8. Cman

    Has Anyone heard of the "Shroud of Turin"

    In 2005 there carbon dating was done on it proving that it was at least 2000 years old.

    It has the image of Jesus on it.

    It was also tested to have pollen on it from Jerusalem.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • momoya

      The shroud is fake; please do your research.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Leo

      Momoya, it has never been proven a fake, you don't know the truth and are to weak to learn it or hang on to it when you had it. There is still hope for you though! <

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • jemzinthekop

      Yes this is a total and utter forgery... but thanks for coming out.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Elena

      it was dated to the year 1200 or around, and no no scholars on the matters have said it is fake they have said they don't know. how anyone on the middle ages could of imprint an image on piece of cloth just like a picture when they didn't have the technology!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Religion is Delusional Blather

      Radio-carbon dated to around 1400 AD.

      The herringbone twill fabric is uncredibly unlikely for Judea in the year 27

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Rob

      The shroud is not a proven fake, the results of all the tests done on it have been inconclusive... Do YOUR research. Between fires, and repairs, they can't be certain of the date... If it was a fake made within the last 600 years, it's the only depiction of Jesus being crusified through the wrists, not the hand, and the face does not match the typical depiction of Jesus by European artists at the time the shroud is claimed to have been forged.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • momoya

      Robert, if the tests are inconclusive then you can't say for certain what the shroud is–that's how testing works.. It would work that way for a supposed precious stone you had, too.. Hey, the tests are inconclusive on whether or not this rock is a diamond–it must be a diamond!! Stupid.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Nybrit

      Carbon dating puts the shroud in the 13th century and there is no evidence the imagine is Jesus.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • ObjectiveOpinion

      What this his shroud, or his diaper?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  9. Elena

    I exist therefore I believe!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • YeahOk

      Fail.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Elena

      Hi you again, i am waiting for you to tell me if you understand the dual nature of particles, did you know the atoms that formed you body are mostly empty space, does that not tells you something!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • YeahOk

      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 you will have defeated us all.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  10. Modern Believer

    God is mysterious. He did leave marks all over your hands and feet you just can't read them.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  11. Esther

    Of all the days to do a insulting piece about Christianity Cnn chooses Easter. They wouldn't do this to any other religion, certainly not to the muslims. Cnn needs to change it's name to aljazeera and get it over with.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Javier

      Exactly, they are always attacking Christians....they are afraid of Muslims, a "very peaceful people".....Lord help us

      April 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Joe

      True (Cosmetic) Christians are a dime a dozen do not get confused with the few True Christians there are...like hardly any

      April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  12. Rajeev G

    Jesus was an extraordinary human being who was far ahead of others in his thinking, common sense and the sense of what is right and what is wrong. If you read about his teachings, it seems like that he was more of a socialist. He was turned into god after he died by the people who used his name to control people and gain power. All the stories of him being Son of God, miracles, resurrection were created after many years of his death.
    I like his teachings but then his teachings are not very different from other so called prophets or religious leaders. Actually, the religion Christianity was and has been a marketing tool for Jesus.
    We do not have to turn him into a god to follow his teachings and way of life. We can still do good and be a good citizen by following his teachings even if we consider him a human being!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Vijay

      Rajeev, thanks for the comment. But who turned you into a historical expert on Jesus' miracles, resurrection, etc? There is more historical evidence to actually suggest not than all the musings of the 20th century which want to do so, so they can avoid believing what Jesus death and resurrection really means.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  13. jemzinthekop

    Santa Claus, Ra, Prometheus, Zeus, Thor, Jupiter, Vishnu, Leprechauns, the boogey man, Harry Potter, Jesus.... honestly, what is the difference.

    Every god that has ever been worshipped has had devout followers that swear to his or her existence and that said god will punish all non-believers and with faith and devotion your prayers will be answered. This is no different.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  14. Javier

    It's incredible how we attack Christianity ALL the time, and there is NEVER an article published about the existence of Mahoma, the prophet of the Muslims...are we scared of them or what???? Jesus is not a myth, but only the truth, and the only one that can save us from sins....That's the reason we attack him, because we feel uncomfortable to accept our sins....

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • jemzinthekop

      They are all equally insane rest assured.... but right now people that believe in this nonsense are vying to be the President which means they will have nuclear codes. Maybe that is worth exposing their insanity.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • hambugersaregreat

      Quit complaining

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  15. Randy

    I'd love to see the look on people's faces who don't believe in Jesus when they stand in front of Him! What would they say then?

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • momoya

      I'd ask him why he's such a horrible communicator.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • YeahOk

      Imagine seeing your first Unicorn!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • hambugersaregreat

      He doesn't exist. So I have nothing to worry about.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Beth

      I'll say now that you don't seem very 'Christian' in this. You seem to feel happy with the idea that people who don't believe what you do will one day burn in 'hell'. That's not the message of Jesus. I don't believe Jesus was divine and don't know if he even existed but I know that you're not being a good Christian and it is people like you who give Christianity a bad name.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • ObjectiveOpinion

      I would say "Wow, you don't look anything like your picture...But I've always wondered why we would know what you looked like anyway..."

      April 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  16. Leo

    We can rejoice for today we remember that Jesus rose from the dead as an example of the eternal life that he promises to all who will believe in him!!

    But we also need to be fully aware that we have enemy's all around us for the Devil and his Servants desire for us all to turn away from the hope that is promised.

    We once again are promised this ahead of time for God know all things before they happen and inspired man to record them for us so that we can see his mighty works!!

    9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  17. ObjectiveOpinion

    Left the site for a while. Went outside to see if jesus came back yet. No show. I am so depressed. Jeus, where are you? Maybe I'll go to church and see if he went there instead. Maybe he's going to talk to my priest about abusing young alter boys. God, give me the strenght to get thru the day...

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Brett

      Just like the name says.... totally objective

      April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  18. Abolish All Religion

    All religions have much in common. One of those things, when examined, is the sheer stupidity of their origins. Christianity grew out of the lies told by a pregnant teen who REALLY stuck to her story.

    Mary: "It was a.... ghost! Yeah, that's right a ghost. There was a bright light and a ghost appeared. And now I'm pregnant".

    Villagers: "A ghost you say ? Well, that's good enough for me. It must have been a holy ghost".

    Mary: "Yeah. Yeah, that's it. It was the Holy Ghost. I'm going to have a holy baby! Yay!"

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  19. Cman

    In 2005 it was proven that the radioactive dating for the Shroud of Turin was flawed, and it is actually over 2000 years old.

    This article is flawed and fake. Jesus is real accept it and you have eternal life

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Abolish All Religion

      Accept Santa Claus and you'll get presents every Christmas.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • colin

      not so. By the way if it was over 2,000 years old, you have a problem, Jesus did about 30 AD. It would predate his death by at least 30 years. Idiot.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • CJA

      No, Believe in Him, who created a mountain, then a midget and then the rest of the world. Our heaven is better, there is a beer volcano.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  20. Joyce

    What is the point of disproving the existence of a man who has changed many peoples lives because of of their belief in Him?

    While I have my own problems with the mystery, I sure don't think it's up to me to convince people otherwise, and I don't understand why anyone needs to do that.

    If you need, somehow, to prove to yourself that Jesus Christ was a myth, I wonder why? And I wonder why you have such passion around putting down believers....why does it matter to you what others believe?

    This article, published on Easter day, is a deliberate attempt to stir up animosity between believers and non believers.

    I wonder why CNN cares so much about what people believe.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Joe

      This is why there so interested On CNN April 5 2012.......watch and Learn..history books and religions will have to change.copy and paste. http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_t2#/video/world/2012/04/05/chance-israel-christian-tomb-found.cnn

      April 8, 2012 at 11:42 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.