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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. TRUTH

    For all who know the TRUTH in their heart that Jesus is alive now and forever, behold the following Scripture and embrace it with such power that non-Believers cannot ever conquer! "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne." - REVELATION 3:20-21 (KJV)

    April 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Reality

      "Behold! What a bunch of B.S."

      April 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Reality

      ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      April 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  2. Suppo

    Take a look at your very own body – the ability to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. The ability to love. THE CONSCIENCE. Take a look at the world around you: The perfect distance of the earth, moon, and sun. The perfect harmony of how this world works, e.g., the oxygen producing plants, the tree-giving fruit, the veggies that come from the ground, etc.

    EVERYTHING IS TOO PERFECT TO BE A MERE COINCIDENCE.

    Any evil in this world is because of our weakness. If people would only look to Christ and actually read what HE says. Most Christians don't even know HIS laws. Christians or not, if everyone followed the rules of Christ, this world would be beyond FANTASTIC.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • momoya

      Firstly, our bodies are far from perfect.. Several species have much better eyes than we do, and we have a waste plant right next to a reproduction facility.. If our bodies were designed, the designer was on some serious LSD..

      Secondly, nobody says that biology is "mere coincidence.". How stupid is that?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Hmmmm, let's see, I can't explain this, soooooo, let me insert, THIS. Ok, we have an answer now, it's THIS.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Suppo

      momoya

      Why does it have to be GOD Vs. science? Why can't we look at science as how we think GOD works? As for the atheistic coincidence, the Big Bang Theory is exactly that.

      Life did not begin with the colliding of two unknown masses. How can something from nothing collide with nothing to create everything?

      It's like taking a 100,000,000,000,000,000.... piece puzzle box, shaking it up real hard, and opening it to find that it had put itself together.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Rusticus

      Tell anyone with back problems that their body (especially their spine) is perfect.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  3. Reality

    Yes. Jesus existed BUT" -------–>

    Putting the final kibosh on religion

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added references are available.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    April 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  4. Idol Girl

    My theory: Jesus was a man who was embellished after his death.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  5. RichardSRussell

    If he WASN'T a myth, why doesn't he show up and say so, the way he promised he would? Which would you rather believe, that he's imaginary or a liar?

    April 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    While this article was fascinating, two things here shattered my ability to take it seriously.

    (1) "People don't die for myths." - How can you even say that with a straight face? I don't feel like this needs much explanation on my part, but if you're that uneducated, let's start with Heaven's Gate and Waco and we'll work back from there.

    (2) "Evans also dismissed the notion that early Christians blended or adopted pagan myths to create their own mythical Jesus" - This absolutely decimated his ethos in my eyes. Of course you don't see as much taken from the Greek / Roman pantheons; they were popular religions at the time and they were of the early Western world. If you were going to borrow something today, would you be more likely to get away with it if it was a book from another country, in another language, barely known to your people, from hundreds of years ago, or Harry Potter?

    As far as Pagan Influence on Christianity 101, never mind the nuances, the original Jesus image was an Arab Jew in the Jerusalem area 2000 years ago. Stop looking at Greece; start looking in Egypt. And not more of that "mention it once dismissively and act like there aren't hundreds of other correlations" looking, either.

    Truth doesn't have to be the enemy of faith; and defending faith against truth shows only a desire to maintain power, in my opinion. Faith and truth can be allies.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • YeahOk

      (1) "People don't die for myths."

      Please provide factual proof.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  7. Reality

    Its sad that full grown adults still believe in 2000 year old fairy tales. No god, no devil, no heaven, no hell. All make believe. When the most basic of logic is applied to ANY religion it is easy to see what a farce it is.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Reality

      Not from the original Reality but still well-said.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Reality

      You sir have a great name and train of thought. Are you God? LOL

      April 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  8. Man created God in his image

    I think people who believe in Jesus are "kooks."

    April 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  9. 640gen

    The Big Bang Theory states that all of the universe was once compacted into a particle smaller than a grain of sand. I'm not doubting this but wish to emphasize that something this astonishing is, to me, just as mysterious as the existence of God. Carl Sagan was once asked to explain what was going on one minute before the Big Bang. He said he didn't deal with that topic. Why is that? Because nobody knows the answer.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Religion is Delusional Blather

      "Just as mysterioous" to one person does not even remotely make them equal in probability.

      Sagan did not discuss it because he wanted to stay focused on science and not get drawn into the whole religion freak show.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Well, there are those who say that it makes no sense to speak of one minute before the big bang, as time did not detach itself from space UNTIL the big bang. But be that as it may, it is vastly more honorable to say "I have nothing to say about that" than to claim out of nowhere that because science doesn't tell presume to talk beyond the point of evidence, it's perfectly fine to blithely claim that some god of ancient middle easterners must have been behind the big bang, or whatever the god of the gaps argument is this time around.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • jamest297

      The cool thing is that science and scientists don't have to always have the answer to everything in order to live a quite comforting life. Doubt is OK, not knowing is OK. What is not OK is refusing to accept new data or findings that have been shown to be true. And, in science if one person says something is true, it is up to them to show how it is true and others are free to examine the evidence and challenge it. That's not the case with religion. The belief must remain unchallenged forever – otherwise everything that has been believed from forever is now also untrue and religions and believers can't come to terms with that. I've found that those who believe god is real also believe that pro wrestling is also real.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • V01D

      Sagan kept quiet about things that we were still unsure of. Something christians might do well to emulate.
      Also, he was prophetic in that particular statement about not knowing what came before the bang, but he should have said we don't know "yet".
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11837869

      April 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • 640gen

      "Sagan did not discuss it because he wanted to stay focused on science and not get drawn into the whole religion freak show."

      Why is discussing pre Big Bang events solely a religious topic?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  10. TRUTH

    For all who know the TRUTH in their heart that Jesus is alive now and forever, behold the following Scripture and embrace it with such power that non-Believers cannot ever conquer! "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." - MATTHEW 7: 21-23 (KJV)

    April 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Any more quotes of fiction you'd like to share?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Elena

      YeahOk, you still don't answer me,

      tell me what does the scientific fact that the atoms that form for your body are mostly empty space and that the particles of your body don't actually exist till observed tells you

      April 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Alex

      As Pilate said "What is Truth?" (John 18:38)

      April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Oh great. Elena wants to press a vulgarized version of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics into service as the latest form of Christian apologetic pseudo-scientific babble. Was Niels Bohr an evangelical Christian, Elena?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @Elena

      "tell me what does the scientific fact that the atoms that form for your body are mostly empty space and that the particles of your body don't actually exist till observed tells you"

      I don't know Elena, what?

      And while you are at it, please explain to me your ground-breaking scientific proof that souls or spirits of conciseness, and a higher supreme consciousness or being, which is the fountain of creations exists.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Reality

      Matt 7: 21-23? Might want to check http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-le=Crossan_Inventory for historic validity. Also, see Professor Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 694-695.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  11. Dave, Central Illinois

    SMK,
    The Qoran is a cheap ripoff of two real religions. Your prophet was a sodomite warrior who was able to convince a bunch of barbaric camel-herders that he spoke for God. Tragically, they believed him and the whole region of the Middle East has been messed up ever since. Have a Happy Easter.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Reality

      There it is! The hate that religion produces! Kill in the name of God! Yeah! My god is better than your god! LOL. How stupid can you all be?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Alex

      Why certain people refer to atheist as "hating" religions when many times they just move reasonable objections? What they are really saying is that we can not doubt what they believe in? That CNN should have not published this article? Please explain.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  12. buckybadger

    I love how they try to play it off as some internet hoax. If you want to have faith that is fine but sorry this story of Jesus Christ was being told long before Christians caught on. Look up the story of Horas and tell me the story of Christ wasn't derived from that exact story. There is a reason why the Rosetta Stone has such a bad cogitation to our society. People are afraid of the truths it reveals.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • John

      Interesting

      try http://creativecounterpart.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/ending-the-myths-of-horus-jesus/

      April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
      • buckybadger

        Can you sow a story of facts or just a guys blog? I can write one of these two but I have read accounts from actual scholars that will go against a lot of what is said here. Blogs don't mean anything and really can't be used to prove anything. Nice try though.

        April 9, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  13. 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 11:59 am |
  14. Peter E

    Even our puritan forfathers outlawed the celebration of Christmas because it originated from a pagan ritual.

    Christians have shaped and rewritten our religion as we saw fit throughout history. That's nothing new. The fact that we use it to justify war and oppress others is also nothing new. Religion has been misused throughout history by the powerful as an excuse to justify them staying on top, and to control the weak. And, unfortunately, it is this side of religion that is far more popular in today's America than the true side, the love, and hope that religion provides for all. Too many Chrirtians in our country ignore Jesus' teachings of love, and rather just misuse His name to hate and mistreat others.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  15. mike

    Let's just attack all spiritual beliefs of every religion on earth. Why is this story even posted?

    April 8, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  16. John

    John who was one of Jesus' apostles and eyewitnesses wrote the folowing...but I am sure some will think that he made this up, someone esle made it up...or he borrowed it from some pagan story. You can believe whatever you want but if you have doubts about what really happened, read and research more...the evidence may surprise you.

    Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
    But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

    A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

    Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

    Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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

      Wow.....an eyewitness account from 2000 years ago? Must be true. You have turned me. I will now convert.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Cu Chulainn single-handedly defeated a team of 1000 men at a game of hurley. Don't tell me it didn't happen! After all, there were at least 1000 witnesses! Says so right in the story!

      April 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  17. Mark from Canada

    “Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar...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.”

    Excuse me!! This is an absurd argument. Those who deny the Holocaust deny history and evidence. Those who deny Jesus are primarily composed of rational scientists. The hyperbole in these articles is too much to take at times. Lumping rational minded people who demand evidence and rational thinking prior to belief in with kooks and conspiracy theorists shows how out of touch these guys are.

    It doesn't matter if Jesus was a person or not. The myth part is the magic of it. There are no magical beings or gods, that is the stuff of fairy tales and times past. Belief in God is nothing more than a crutch and self induced psychological euphoria stimulating the brains neurochemistry into action through prayer. As an Athiest who grew up a Christian, I can accomplish the same effect praying to a greater wonder of complexity in the nature of things as I could praying to a delusional magical myth when I was an indoctrinated child.

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

      Ehrman is right: no serious historian doubts the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. Of course, Ehrman himself doubts the further, extraordinary claims regarding Jesus, but that is a different matter.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  18. nowave

    Our human minds could never comprehend the exsistence of God, the creator of it all.
    We think we can, we think we are wise, we actually think we know more than God.
    But we are nothing, we all are born the same & we all die the same. We turn to dust.
    Every human has a void in them, every human wants to know where it came from, every human will search for the truth in their life time.

    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    Romans 1:20-21

    (Think about it this way, when you see a painting...do you even ever question there was a painter? When you see creation, everything from the world ,to the universe to our bodies, do you question there is a creator? God?)

    18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    1 Corinthians 1:18

    25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    1 Corinthians 1:25

    19 For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
    1 Corinthians 1:19

    18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
    1 Corinthians 3:18

    12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

    5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
    1 Timothy 2:5

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
    John 14:6

    25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
    John 11:25

    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
    Ephesians 2:8

    For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    Romans 3:23

    April 8, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • momoya

      yes, questions about our existence drive much of our endeavors.. The questions don't prove any particular answer, though.. Just because you've filled in the blank on the page doesn't mean that your guess is correct.. We don't know.. Deal with it.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Alex

      Basically you are saying that since we don't know we make up "truths" with religions to ignore our ignorance?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  19. Tom

    Atheists: Why come here just to thrash Christianity? Why so much hate?

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

      Why is it that, when you question a scientific, economic or political belief it is ok, but when you question a religious belief it is "hate"?

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

      Internet bullies at it's finest. They have no where else to spew their diatribe except from behind the safety and privacy of their monitors.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Sangre Diale

      Because they have sad, sad little lives.... most of them have nothing better to do. Most of them are weak physically and mentally. I feel bad for them :(

      April 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • JeramieH

      > Most of them are weak physically and mentally.

      Source?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Religion is Delusional Blather

      No hate – it's really very funny readind the perspectives of people oobsessed with an evidence-free

      We are fighting back against the oppression religion brings wherever it is found. We are fighting against your insanity towards gays, we are fighting back againsts your insanity about evolution and its place in school, we are fighting back against your attempts to undermone the Constitution.

      And we are having a wonderful laugh watching people like you lie and threaten and try to debate a position that has no evidence to support them.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • jemzinthekop

      I think it is a good reminder to theists that their rule over the political and economic landscape are over. Secular life will dictate the next century and your voodoo and witchcraft and myth will be banished to the far corners of your ritual and chant infused temples where they belong.

      It isn't hatred, we can only hear about talking snakes and giant boats with lions and polar bears and then be told evolution is a lie for so long before we have to just and this kind of place is a decent forum for which to do it in.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • momoya

      It probably has something to do with how hateful biblegod is.. Love your enemies; I'm going to fry mine forever in my own private torture pit that I sustain forever and ever.. Don't kill; but go kill all those people and children and livestock so you can live on their land..

      April 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Alex

      No hate at all. Some of us just worry about Christian intrusions in our lives through laws on how to live or die issued by secular governments influenced by religious believes (i.e. gay marriage, abortion, end of life, segregation of women, and so on). We are also worried about conflicts fomented by religions all over the world and results acts of hate and terrorism.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  20. TRUTH

    For all who know the TRUTH in their heart that Jesus is alive now and forever, behold the following Scripture and embrace it with such power that non-Believers cannot ever conquer! "Jesus saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." - JOHN 14:6 (KJV)

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

      I'm not ashamed of the Gospel! Jesus is Lord.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Reality

      I ashamed people still believe in this garbage.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
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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.