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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. Jazzman

    I love atheists, they don't believe in God, yet they believe you can make something out of nothing.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      So tell me wise one, what do you think happened?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Eric G

      ?
      Care to explain that one? Are you talking about Big Bang VS Creation theory?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Jazzman

      I don't know, but I'd rather have faith.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • momoya

      Atheists don't believe that something is made from nothing.. What a lie!. It's god believers who claim that there god needs nothing to exist and that everything was created with magic incantations instead of physical processes.. Nothing doesn't exist.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Luis

      e Bible and Jesus: two incredible fictions that have shaped Western Civilization

      April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Eric G

      You would rather have faith than knowledge? Let's try a little experiment.

      Hypothetically, let's say that you are in a room with a big box. In the box is verifiable, no doubt evidence that either proves or disproves the existence of your god. Would you look in the box to find out, once and for all, if your god does or does not exist?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Your statement only proves that you have no idea what we believe. Of course the opposite argument is easy to believe right? That your God just appeared out of nothing. No? Because if your God always existed then how is that any different from the multiverse or other dimensional origin concept that could also have always existed. Simply our ignorance is equal....we just aren't arrogant enough to state what we don't know as fact.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Jazzman
      "I don't know, but I'd rather have faith."

      Read what you just wrote. It is apparent you are not a critical thinker, just a wimpy little follower of the supernatural.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jason

      I love baby-brained religious tools, they make me laugh.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jazzman

      I wonder why they call it the theory of evolution and not the fact of evolution? The reason... nobody knows for sure.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • LOL

      "yet they believe you can make something out of nothing."

      yeah, like your god was created out of nothing, so what created your god?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • jeansees

      Atheists dont exist! because God does not believe in them....!!!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  2. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:->

    Saving Christians Infamous Resurrection Con/- (assuming JC existed)

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. ( Also included in Luke's Acts of the Apostles).

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o
    p.4
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  3. TomHank

    Although I am (was?) a Catholic and graduated from a Catholic high school many years ago, I have a tough time believing most of the stories (walk on water, resurrection, son of god, etc). However, as far as I am concerned, it does not matter whether those stories were true or not, what matters to me is the teaching– peace to all mankind, love thy neighbors, etc–, and, even though I have not attended sunday mass for many years, I believe in the teaching even though I question Jesus being the son of god, which to me really does not matter.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You do not need a god or religion to be a good person. It is called evolution of psychology and the social structure of man.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  4. pastel zombie

    Can anyone tell me what happened to the missing books of the bible? I understand there were a couple of books written by apostles that mysteriously disappeared during modern times. Was the content so disturbing or insane that Christian leaders didn't want their flock to lose faith in the bible completely? Does the Vatican have them? Where are they? What's in them? Were they also written by men who supposedly knew Jesus several decades after he lived? Anyone?

    April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Wha Wha Oooo La-La

      You have uncovered the truth: books have been removed from the Bible! The Gospel of Paris Hilton was hidden away by the Vatican because of it's shocking revelations about Jesus' lousy fashion sense! The Book of Charlie Sheen was just too much of a mercury surfboard on a giant tsunami for the Southern Baptist Conference to allow to exist! The Acts of Lady Gaga have been expunged!

      C'mon. It's just fiction

      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • manlin105

      The bible tells us that what we need to know was given to us. Everything else, if there is anything, I don't care for.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Lady Gaga

      So manlin, you don't want to know about antibiotics and surguries that can save your life? Okay.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • pastel zombie

      Manlin, does that include Isaiah 45:7 where god states he creates evil? I hope you need to know that, and that it helps you sleep all warm and snugly tonight knowing your supposed all-loving god creates evil in the present tense! Seriously, there are omitted books, and you should want to know about them. Think I'll go look it up and get back to this thread. We atheists are more interested in truths than you guys are! Go figure!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • pastel zombie

      The Apocrypha is missing which is quite disturbing for most Christians to read because Jesus' behaviour isn't very nice according to it. The gospels of Judah and Thomas are missing. Why, Christians? Hmm? Funny, it took me all of a few minutes to find this out, yet most Christians have never even heard of these missing books! What's in them that is so offensive to you?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • pastel zombie

      *Correction: Judas! Now I know why that book is gone! Poof! We don't LIKE him!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  5. Wow!

    I am a Christian. Belief blog? Nice front page article CNN on a Christian Holy day. I am officially done here. I know, good riddance to me.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      A typical intolerant idiot!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • JL

      Well, I believe in God. But why do I have to believe that somebody came from the dead? And If you give me a reason then you likely contradict yourself.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  6. manlin105

    One day everone will know that there is a God and His name is JesusChrist but for many it will be too late.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • nowave

      Jesus is Lord

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      More empty threats. Is it any wonder why we ridicule your religion?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Jason

      tool

      April 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  7. jeansees

    To bear false witness is a sin and a wrong no matter what a soul believes. To state own experiences and witness to the truth is a blessing. In his holy name Jesus saved the life of mine that after receiving him in the form of love and host his 99% fatal bleeding stopped and he is still alive today.. that was in 2005. This is one experience I have been blessed to witness and allowed to experience other miracles only the LORD JESUS could perform. The last book of the bible the REVELATION speaks of these times and century when so MANY will NOT BELEIVE and bear false witness. I pray for all of our souls and even those who will denounce what I am saying here. Dear Jesus have mercy for they know not what they do. Thank you Father for allowing me to be blessed as you have. IN the name of the Father,the Son and Holy Spirit. the 3 leaves of a clover on one stem... all in one may I be blessed to be a part of that root..

    April 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • What!

      the catholic pope, bishops and priests bear false witness with their deflection from the crimes of childs ra=pe and, the worst, the cover ups.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Shawn Davis

      One thing is for sure. Jesus inspires many people to talk like idiots. "Jesus saved the life of mine" and "IN the name of the Father,the Son and Holy Spirit. the 3 leaves of a clover on one stem... all in one may I be blessed to be a part of that root.."

      Who talks like this?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • jeansees

      As I said those will not believe will denounce miracle witnessing

      April 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  8. HHHHAAAAAALLLLAAAAAAAUUUUUYYAAAHH!!!

    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!! He died on the cross for your sins. The beat him for hours and made that poor son of the lord carry his own cross on his back. Then nailed him to it so that he could die for your sins. His blood ran out of his body so that you could be saved from your sins. The blood is what saved you from your sins. Blood = no sins. Then that son of a virgin rose from the dead. He had to suffer being a zombie in order to save you from your sins. If the son of God can go thru all of that to save you from your sins, the least you can do is pray, and pray very hard. Pray 24/7 and ask God to do what you are asking God to do because you deserve for God to do what you ask God to do. Better yet get a group of people together and at the same time look up to the stars and beg God to stop all the extreme BS committed by people everyday that are convinced that they are the group that God has given the correct blueprint on going to heaven. HHHAAAAA LLLLAAAAAAA LLLLUUUUUUU YYYAAAAAAHHHHH PRAISE THE LORD. HERE I COME LORD!!! IT'S GOING TO BE SWEET IN HEAVEN!!!! I sure feel sorry for you poor people that are going to burn in hell. buh bye, crispy critters.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • What!

      sounds like jesus needed a good therapist.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Jason

      Please stay off the internet. Seriously.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  9. jamie

    Regardless, its 2000 + years later in a completely different part of the world and we are still discussing him. Might be a bit more to all this then we realize.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It is plain and simple, weak minded individuals that fear death and cannot think for themselves.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • momoya

      Yes, there might be... but we keep looking for evidence and there's no there.. Now what?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Eric G

      We still talk about Egyptian gods too.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Elena

      momoya you still dontg tell me, are you a scientist at CERN

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • LOL

      "momoya you still dontg tell me, are you a scientist at CERN"

      Someone is deflecting because they can't handle the debate, what a loser.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • momoya

      Elena, you're still a stupid troll.. You make christianity look even more stupid, and that's exactly where you should be.. Keep up the great work.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Paxalot

    This article presents a false dichotomy. What if Jesus was modeled after one of the many Jewish saviors of the period, e.g. Simon and that the stories became embellished over time? As far a dying gods go simply wiki the following "dying gods". There are plenty. Also the article never mentions the great melting pot of ideas in 325 A.D. where church fathers were ordered to come up with an 'official story' by Emperor Constantine (a pagan). That point in history is where various fantastic tales (e.g. 3 wise men) got cemented into the Christian belief system. Jesus was probably a composite of the ideal Jewish savior, but he wasn't divine nor did he live a perfect life. Even today there are people claiming to be Jesus Christ and they have significant followings. Why don't Christians believe in them? It's because they are attached to the fictions embedded into them as children.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Nii

      PAXALOT
      The fact that most Christians dont follow people who claim they are Jesus is a result of childhood brainwashing? COME AGAIN, SIR!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Faithful

      St John's Gospel was written by the man who stood at the foot of the Cross and watched Jesus die. The letters of St Paul – [not one of the 12 apostles but a convert, recruited by St Peter] – were written to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philipians etc within 10 years of Jesus' death on the Cross.
      In spite of scientists trying to deny the authenticity of the Turin shroud – it is almost certainly real [ linen made of flax was commonly used at the time of Christ but NEVER at the time the scientists claim it was faked!

      Look up the miracle of the sun in Portugal in 1917 worked by the power of God through His Mother Mary. It was witnessed by 70,000 people. Of course atheists say they were "brainwashed Catholics" and it was "mass hypnosis of the gullible" ????? They forget to mention that at the time Portugal was an Atheist, Communist country and the crowd were around 90% Atheist! In fact the journalist who reported it was Atheist. They were there to PROVE that it was rubbish and got the shock of their lives!

      Then look up Jack Traynor and Gabriel Gargam – two miracles at Lourdes. Then tell me Jesus is a myth. May the peace of Christ be with you all this Easter.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  11. Free Man

    The use of supernaturalism to manipulate and control people is the world's oldest confidence scheme, it relies on the ritual abuse of children at their most impressionable stage by adults who have themselves been made childish for life by this primitive nonsense.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Well said! Thanks for that!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  12. hawaiiduude

    how come cnn never publishes any negative stories about hannukah or any jewish holiday? jus askin....

    April 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • scoobypoo

      because you spelled dude with two u's

      April 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  13. JM

    Susan Pevensie: [about Lucy] She thinks she's found a magical land... In the upstairs wardrobe.
    Professor Kirke: [eyes widening, he rushes to the children] What did you say?
    Peter Pevensie: Um, the wardrobe. Upstairs. Lucy thinks she's found a forest inside.
    Susan Pevensie: She won't stop going on about it.
    Professor Kirke: What was it like?
    Susan Pevensie: Like talking to a lunatic.
    Professor Kirke: No, no, no. Not her, the forest!
    Susan Pevensie: [stares] You're not saying you believe her?
    Professor Kirke: You don't?
    Susan Pevensie: But, of course not. I mean, logically it's impossible.
    Professor Kirke: What do they teach in schools these days?

    April 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  14. manlin105

    As far I know God does exist, he resides within me (His temple) and every born again Christian. He who confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, is baptistized can attest to that. What I don't believe in is this mumble-gumble good friday crap. Nor do I believe in this Mormon seer, who claims to be a prophet. The bible tells us that there will be no more prophets until the great tribulation. To me this Mormon seer is no more than a phychic, one who does the devil's work. And I also don't believe in the pope. According to the bible we have only one spiritual Father and he lives in Heaven not in this puppet of the devil who leads people to worship idols which the bible clears states are demons. The bible says that behind every image created by man there is demon. So when people bow before this image created with whatever by man, he is bowing before a demon. People wake up!!! God is not worshiped in the flesh but in the spirit. There is no one between us and God but his son Jesus. There is only one true church, the church of JesusChrist not one who has images created by man nor one who has a prophet. The Church of JesusChrist is open to everyone not just opened for members like the Mormon church.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      that's right, god is in your head... koo-koo!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  15. Unapolegetically Atheist

    God was created by man to explain the unexplainable. The Bible was written by men, not god, and these stories incorporated tales from many faiths to make it easier to convert others. It would be awesome if Jesus was based on a real flesh and blood person, but he wasn't. He was made up as well.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Only a foolish person would dare to righteously accept such thought about drivel! Your Faith supercedes your Word!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      And the Christian church then actively exterminated through pogroms and genocide those pagan religions from which they derived their Christian myths in an attempt to deny they ever existed.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • JM

      And what if you are wrong? Have you considered the implications?

      Either God exists or He doesn't.

      "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." – C.S. Lewis

      Have you actually read the Bible? Writings by people like C.S. Lewis?

      I've obviously considered the implications if God doesn't exist but I have seen His hand in my life and in the lives of others too often.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Rivas

      Actually Historians and Historic accounts have proven that Jesus did in fact exist in that time period. Whether or not you believe in Christ is your choice, but you sound like an idiot for not doing research

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Jazzman

      Any you believe you can make something out of nothing. And they Christians are crazy.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Unapolegetically Atheist

      If I'm wrong then my descendents can baptize me after I'm gone like the mormons! LMFAO!
      Nothing any of you say can make me believe in an invisible being in the sky who controls everything and has a plan for everyone, but is willing to CHANGE that plan if I PRAY enough! hahahahaha!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  16. Pipe-Dreamer

    Only a fool would dare deny God and His virtues freely given to us all!

    April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      What virtues does your god actually have?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      he sure loves to murder children. and adults. and animals. and plants. killed all of them but one human family in his great flood. murdered of babies. yuck, what a disgusting god.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      Only a coward would submit his will to another, especially to another who is so evil as to threaten eternal damnation for those who don't believe in him. Talk about mind-control! And you christians are so proud of your cowardice in submitting to "god's will". I a man threatened you harm if did not obey him, would you still cowardly submit or resist?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Luis

      The Bible and Jesus: two incredible fictions that have shaped Western Civilization

      April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      johnfrichardson

      Pick any of mankind's virtues that are righteous and not blemished by sorrow filled unleaventires. We were not the first nor will we be the last! The road of Salutations bends inwardly while the road toward persecutions spreads outwardly and wide! God will never be tormented by strife and indifference among the people! He is God and there can be no other Beginning than God Himself!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  17. scoobypoo

    It is so sad that most children are still brainwashed with their parents beliefs, because the same was done by the grandparents.
    A vicious cycle of "my religion is the one true religion", with no basis in fact or reason.

    Think about why you believe what you believe [if you are religious]. For 99%, it's whatever was taught during childhood.
    It's like still believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  18. Judith

    Did Jesus exist? Most likely but he wasa only one Jesus among thousands Israelites. Was Jesus consider the messiah of the world when on earth? Most likely but during that time it is known that over twenty other people were claiming to be the messiah. Were the Gospels taken from the writings of the four disciples? Probably but conveniently the other thirty Gospels that contradict much in the four currently used gospels were ditched by the early Christian popes.

    According to the Roman Catholic tradition the world is about five thousand years old and that dinasaurs only actually existed during the life of man but not in the hundred million years before man: However the reason they have to holdf on to that fantasy is because it completely destroys their version of the birth of the world.

    When it can be proven that the creation of the world as stated by Chrisian Churches is a myth, thewn ytou have to conclude that anything else written in the bible is also a myth, a parable or a work of pure fiction.

    Is there a God? Possibly but I very much doubt that he has any relation to any of the most popular religions in the world.

    You do not have to believe in religion to believe in God.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  19. Fairlady

    You write, " The apostle Paul never talked of a historical Jesus." Are you referring to Saul of Tarsus who became St. Paul? Read the letters of St. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians where St. Paul constantly refers to our Lord Jesus Christ. You also only write of Paul and Stephen. What about St. Peter and the 12 disciples who lived with Jesus and testified to Jesus' life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus? If Peter had not existed, who then is the Peter who is the first pope/head of our Catholic Church? These non-believers do not believe because they cannot fathom the mystery of Christ's passion and resurrection, forgetting that the pride of wanting to know as much as God is the original and gravest sin.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • denroy

      First pope was in 3/4th century – tell me how it can be the same as the disciple?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  20. denroy

    ALL of the OT and NT stories have their roots in earlier 'pagan' stories – what an amazing coincidence – not!

    'Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar ' – excuse me, most would say they are probably atheists and hence rational intelligent people. It really is about time that these religious maniacs got a healthy dose of reality. Amazing how after so long (2000 years they allege there has still been no sign of this return they all keep going on about. If you ask em, he isn't coming because he was never here in the first place
    As for me, I'm off to pray to the easter Bunny which is at least as real as any other god out there :)

    April 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Fairlady

      No, St. Peter was pope in the first century, not 3rd or 4th. May I suggest that we all read first the Acts of the Apostles which chronicles the growth of the Catholic Church during its formative years. I have the version "The New American Bible" (c1970) and it has a very good historical explanation/foreword to every chapter/book, including the Acts of the Apostles. In fact, the foreword notes that there was disagreement to some extent about Paul's teachings and the Jewish Christians then, but St. Peter supported St. Paul (e.g, faith vs. works, imposition of the Mosai Law, etc.).

      April 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.