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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. revansatoda

    Jesus, as an individual or composite of several iterant, charismatic rabbis probably did exist. If he didn't exist then why did the Gospel writers go through all the invention of the census and having Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to give birth? They had to make that historically inaccurate part up in order to have the Messiah born in the House of David and conform to first testament predictions. If he had not really existed they could have simply had him born in Bethlehem and never mentioned Nazareth at all.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • jimtanker

      They had to have some kind of back story to flesh out the plot of that work of fiction called the bible. Pretty simple really.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      A problem with the back story of the virgin birth is that Jesus had an older brother...an internal inconsistency that nobody seems to be able to answer. For those who need the obvious explained to them, Mary was a married woman with a previous birth before Jesus...so much for Mary's virginity.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  2. bingheidy

    I'm proud of HIM who died on the cross for my SIN and my sins. He gave His life for you and me so that we can have eternal life. Without HIM I don't have hope in the future. He is our creator and He is our Redeemer. Give glory to Him because He is worthy to be praised for ever and ever. Amen. -->
    2 Tim 3:1-4: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

    April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  3. The Joker

    Jesus dies and goes up to Heaven. The first thing he does is look for his father, as he has never met the man before and is curious as to what he looks like, and whether or not Jesus looks like his mother or father, etc. He looks high and low but cannot find him. He asks St. Peter “Where is my father?” But St. Peter says he doesn’t know. He asks the archangel Gabriel “Where is my father?” But Gabriel doesn’t know. He asks John the Baptist “Where is my father?” But John does not know. So he wanders Heaven, impatiently searching. Suddenly he sees out of the mist an old man coming toward him. The man is very old, with white hair, stooped over a little. “Stop!” Jesus yells. “Who are you?” “Oh, please help me, I am an old man in search of my son.” Jesus is very curious. Could this be his father? “Tell me of your son, old man.” “Oh, you would know him if you saw him. Holes in his hand where the nails used to be, he was nailed to a cross, you know…” “Father!!!!!” Screams Jesus. “Pinocchio!!!!!!!” yells the old man.

    Happy Zombie Day!

    April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  4. Johnny Yuma61

    Why persecutest thou me?
    Happy Easter, or Resurrection Day as I like to call it!
    Only one person existed that would trade His perfect Life for you, and now you want me to believe He never existed?

    April 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Happy Palastinian zombie day!

      April 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • The Joker

      Yep, pretty much!

      Happy Zombie Day!

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  5. rwbj

    Wow! Jesus, no Jesus, God, no God. Some heavy stuff going down here. Me and my buddy Sasquatch are sitting here making some new tin foil hats and we have to admit this is really something to think about.

    Oh well, we have to continue packing to get ready for the arrivial of the mothership on 12/21/12.

    Havea great day!

    April 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  6. forpol

    "I don’t think rational people in the 20th century can go down a road just on blind faith.” This is the distinguishing point of today's neo-atheists: The fallacy of a false mutually exclusive dichotomy between faith and reason. But is a reductionist reason, and not far from, and most likely influenced by a materialist, pop-Marxist point of departure. For the neo-atheist of today faith in an of itself is the opposite of reason. Yet they put a lot of faith in their "reasons".

    April 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Nii

      FORPOL
      I concur but sadly most atheists cannot even comprehend what u r saying.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • otto

      religious faith and reason are not opposite, but to have religious faith you have to put aside reason.

      “Reason is a who.re, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
      ― Martin Luther

      April 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  7. Nii

    Christian theology involves skeptical thinking. We wrote most of the material on the myth of Jesus and other skeptical material. I don't know why atheists feel we don't rationally think through our beliefs. There r spiritually abusive churches. They produce people who r like the atheists here.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • jimtanker

      And yet you continue to make no sense at all.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • notheism

      That's the issue, you put beliefs before rationality and you use rationality to justify such beliefs.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • YeahOk

      What you do is research and study the bible, over and over, trying to justify that's it true; trying to find any symbolism possible. If it's truly the word of God and is meant for man's salvation, why is it such a difficult read? Why does it require so much study? Why is there so many conflicting views even among those who believe the book is true?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  8. † In God We Trust †

    ATTENTION !!!! ATTENTION!!!! ATTENTION!!!!

    !! Shame on CNN for posting this ridiculous article on Easter Sunday and attacking Christianity on this holiday !!

    (CNN would never do this to any Jewish/Muslims during their holidays – poor Christians are always on the targeting during their holidays, and luckily they always forgive. It's same as questioning whether the holocaust or Muhammed existed!)

    *** Do like me and many others: CALL/E-MAIL CNN & COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS BS ***

    – Happy Easter everyone and may our Lord & Saviour bless us all who believe in him -.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      like calling a joo to complain about zionism? bahaha!

      April 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • GySgtG

      Agree, but don't shame them, pity them. they have nothing.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Hindenburg

      Are you kidding? It's a great article that comes out on the side that Jesus did indeed exist, and that the "mythical parallels" are fiction. Did you finish reading the article?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • AuntieTaqiyya

      Thank-You!! But truly, DID YOU EXPECT ANYTHING AT ALL LAUDATORY FROM THE CHRISTOPHOBES AT CNN? Unfortunately, CNN is populated by bitter, christophobic, misanthropic NO-BOTS! They cannot imagine that their perversly genocidal and misotheistic belief system has brought ruin upon this earth and this country...They are in total denial! Oh well, too late for THEIR epiphany...

      April 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Ryan

      I agree, how dare CNN. I don't see you writing articles questioning the tooth fairy or lochness monster. Why pick only on the Christian fairy tale? They want to believe their myths. It makes them happy! How dare you make them question their beliefs! We all know that humanity is best served by not questioning our beliefs. For example, Germans who were complicit with the Holocaust by not questioning what their almight fuhrer commanded of them.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Mickey

      Christians murdered Jews every day, not only on Jewish holidays!

      "Convert or die" – Christian motto.

      It's certainly not Jews who desecrate synagogues.

      Always remember: Jesus was an orthodox Jew who never converted to Christianity – there was no such religion in his time – and even if there was, he would die before commiting such a break in G-d's word. Besides, to whom would Jesus pray? Himself?

      I have been to enough church services to know "In Jesus's name we pray" - very much against what G-d said in His Commandments! "Thou Shalt Have No Other gods Before Me"

      Why do Christians go against G-d's word? Including continuing to teach anti-Semitism ...

      April 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • strayelectron

      There are living survivors of the Holocaust, the written records kept by the Nazis, still living Nazi soldiers, photographs, etc..... to prove the Holocaust really happened. So that's not really the same at all.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jesse Gonzalez

      FORENSIC EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN. MEN WITH THEIR P.H.D STILL CANT EXPLAIN HOW THE IMAGE OF TURIN COME TO BE. SKEPTICS SAY THAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES SOMEONE MADE THE IMAGE. DUH! HOW IS IT THAT A "NUT" IN THE MIDDLE AGE CAN MAKE AN IMAGE OF JESUS THAT STILL PUZZLES "THE PHDS" OF TODAY? IF POSSIBLE, THE IMAGE OF TURIN CAN BE TAKING TO A COURT OF LAW AS EVIDENCE THAT THIS MAN DIED A VIOLENT DEATH; OF ALL THE RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD ONLY CHRISTIANITY CAN SPEAK OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE FOR THEIR FAITH.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • AuntieTaqiyya

      Hey Mickey...you're right! Jews don't desecrate synagogues or urinate on the Torah–MUSLIMS DO! Christians don't desecrate churches or defecate on the Bible–MUSLIMS DO! "Convert or die"–MUSLIM MOTTO! Awesome analysis of today's religious intolerance–only you got the antagonists wrong!

      April 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  9. † In God We Trust †

    ATTENTION !!!! ATTENTION!!!! ATTENTION!!!!

    !! Shame on CNN for posting this ridiculous article on Easter Sunday and attacking Christianity on this holiday !!

    (CNN would never do this to any Jewish/Muslims during their holidays – poor Christians are always on the targeting during their holidays, and luckily they always forgive. It's same as questioning whether the holocaust or Muhammed existed!)

    *** Do like me and many others: CALL/E-MAIL CNN & COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS BS ***

    – Happy Easter everyone and may our Lord & Saviour bless us all who believe in him -

    April 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      maybe if they gave hannukah the same treatment... oh wait.. that would be antisemite bahaha!

      April 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • kyle

      Overreacting much? It was a discussion between 2 outspoken groups on a topic that is significant on this day. If you are afraid of hearing the other side of a story I suggest you go watch Fox News.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Yusuf

      CNN can only bash the Christians. Too scared to bash Muslim and Jewish faiths. CNN is a joke!

      April 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Yusufette

      CNN can only bash the Christians. Too scared to bash Muslim and Jewish faiths.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • AuntieTaqiyya

      LOL! Really Kyle? YOU are the self-appointed arbiter of relevancy here? Typical of Regressives...always take the Blog-Nazi- Censor tack when confronted with apt criticism...Oh, and then ALWAYS complete your incoherently snide diatribe with a snarky "FOX NEWS WATCHER" assumption...

      April 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • AuntieTaqiyya

      So where's the picture of Mohammed? No picture, he didn't exist! Did CNN disrespect millions of Muslims worldwide during Ramadan, by questioning HIS existance, thereby denigrating Islam? (COWARDS!!! THEY KNOW NOT TO GORE THAT EXPLODABLE SACRED COW!) CNN VALUES ITS REAL ESTATE AND CONTINUED EXISTANCE IN ATLANTA.) And what about Buddha? Or Moses? Or Gaia? If Christ is simply a construct or myth, so are the other guys...

      April 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  10. Pipe-Dreamer

    All of civilizations' indivdualists are clamoring to get on board that which seems pleasing to thier witts. God forbid any individual would not get on board the Christian Train to Clarksville and meet God at the station! Our lot in Life was first cast before we were even concieved in one's mother's womb! The die was cast at inception's delightedness and in the wink of a Cosmic Eye one is born! God may well find delight in humanisms' newborns and yet He may not be delighted.

    Atheists and Naysayers want to have things their ways and under their nconditionings by which life nurtured them to be and become. God knows quite well the sorrowed fields of the common atheist and disbelievers in God's Sons, yes I said God's Sons! Many Christians find little solace in the Gospel's Words that declare there to be Sons of God. Could these Christians who care not to believe that God had Sons are merely fooling themselves by looking elsewhere in the Gospel for verses that tend to ease their self-worths? Maybe, and maybe not.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • jimtanker

      So god sacrificed himself to himself knowing that in three days he would go to paradise?

      Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  11. GySgtG

    i pity the nonbeleivers, your life is pointless.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • jimtanker

      How so? I know the meaning of life. You just guess at it.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • notheism

      As opposed to yours where you justify everything you do based on the fact that you'll be compensated in some afterlife. I'd rather life my life for its inherent value, not for its dependency on some kind of ultimate justice.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • GySgtG

      my life is perfect, i have great wife, great kids, i have money and i have God. my life is ideal.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • notheism

      "my life is ideal" is that what your god told you?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • GySgtG

      i have been blessed with so much. wish you could have the same. but you will never be truely happy until accept. again i pity you.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • jimtanker

      I'm sure that your life isn't perfect.

      My life isn't perfect but is almost ideal for me. I too have a great family, great job making lots of $$$ and am completely happy. Hmmmm, what is missing from this? Nothing. You can be happy without god.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • GySgtG

      Sorry boss but your life is pointless without God.

      Albert Einstein

      God without science is ignorance, but Science without God is pointless
      When the solution is simple, God is answering.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Like always, GySgtG likes to use Einstein's mentions of God (of course not the same God GySgtG is talking about) to try and make what he believes seem more plausible. I'll let you on something. It doesn't.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • notheism

      When you talk about Einstein, you simply appeal to authority. That is begging the question.
      Anyhow, I am happy if you consider yourself so, but I surely do not need your pity. You could at least offer the same respect.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  12. pastel zombie

    I wouldn't exactly call a bad weekend in the sun with a couple of nails in your hands and feet massive suffering for all mankind. And if he died for your sins, why do you still have to be saved from them? Why do you even have them still? Didn't it work?

    Cancer victims suffer sometimes for years, their bodies being eaten from the inside out, festering wounds oozing worse month by month. So stop with the martyr thingie with Jesus on the cross for three short days already. He was put there because that's how criminals of the day were punished – if he even lived, which I seriously doubt as there were no eye witnesses who wrote about him while he lived.

    He was there with other criminals who suffered on that torturous wooden device just as much as he did that weekend; some were murderers, some thieves, all criminals, like your Jesus supposedly was.

    And the one thing that I find the creepiest about you christians? That torture device you wear around your necks all bedazzled with jewels and the like. What the heck is that all about? Why not wear a little picture of him in a locket like a normal person? If Jesus were hung, would you wear little nooses as necklaces? Eww.

    Saying he died for your sins again, why do you still have to ask god to be saved from them? Are you asking to be saved from them when you're born again? Weren't you born right the first time? Why do you have to ask god to be saved from, well, god's wrath that gave you the original sin in the first place? Isn't that a bit... redundant?

    Face it. You are silly cultists who can't even see how silly you and your religion are. You take this serious holy day, and b as tar dize it with a pastel bunny, colored chocolate eggs, and a treasure hunt that harkens to an ancient pagan ritual, something you are supposed to loathe. Don't even get me started on Xmas, which you guys stole from the myth Mithra, down to the exact day.

    You folks are just plain crazy and organized religion is the bane of society. Shame on you all for trying to force the rest of us to live by your antiquated, middle-aged laws.

    Happy Pastel Zombie Day!

    April 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      pastel zombie wrote on Easter Sunday, April 8th 1012, stating, "And if he died for your sins, why do you still have to be saved from them? Why do you even have them still? Didn't it work?"

      We are but a psychic work in progress pastel zombie. One day were up and the next we are down, kinda like the basketball a player dribbles with. The many so many myriads of thoughts flow thru one's mind leaving many to question their own self-worth every time Life feeds them something they don't want to eat upon. Simple enough for you pastel zombie to understand?

      April 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • pastel zombie

      What you wrote is nonsensical drivel. Can you answer my questions or weren't they simple enough for you? If Jesus died for your sins, why do you still have them?

      April 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  13. Thomas

    I'll take "CNN Belief Blog Running Out of Things to Talk About for 100," please...

    April 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • jimtanker

      They were talking about your mom the other day.

      They said that she is so stupid that she wanted to open a combination Mexican food resturant and Soul food resturant.

      She was going to call it "Nacho Mama".

      April 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  14. † In God We Trust †

    ATTENTION !!!! ATTENTION!!!! ATTENTION!!!!

    !! Shame on CNN for posting this ridiculous article on Easter Sunday and attacking Christianity on this holiday !!
    (CNN would never do this to any Jewish/Muslim during their holidays – poor Christians are always on the targeting during their holidays, and luckily they always forgive)

    Do like me and many others: *** CALL/E-MAIL CNN & COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS BS! ***

    – Happy Easter everyone and may our Lord & Saviour bless us all who believe in him. -

    April 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • notheism

      you must be a bot... does your god have bots working for it? That's right, they're called Christians

      April 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • JM

      Why do you keep posting this over and over? It's bizarre.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  15. GySgtG

    in an interveiw with albert in 1953

    Q. In trying to understand "nature" what are the greatest challenges a scientist faces?

    A. 1) The Lord does it the way he wants to and will not be dictated to.

    2) The Lord God is subtle, but malicious he is not.

    3) I have second thoughts. Maybe God is malicious.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • jimtanker

      That shows that he was a deist, NOT a Xtian.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Read a little more, and you'll find his references of God, are not of a literal and personal god, the one you are trying to make him sound like he is referencing. So in that, you Fail.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  16. tony

    i am atheist, and yes its true Christianity stole a lot of religious ideas from other pagan religion"like one man dying for the worlds sins". The article mention that- "No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed" that is completely not true; the Koran, Hinduism all made mention of Jesus (although not as a son of God) or are those not credible anymore.if that's not credible then what is

    April 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Boo Hoo

      Right, so you use other religious bs as your credible sources. Classic.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  17. † In God We Trust †

    ATTENTION !!!! ATTENTION!!!! ATTENTION!!!!

    !! Shame on CNN for posting this ridiculous article on Easter Sunday and attacking Christianity on this holiday !!
    (CNN would never do this to any Jewish/Muslim holidays – luckily poor Christians are always forgiving)

    Do like me and many others: *** CALL/E-MAIL CNN & COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS BS! ***

    – Happy Easter everyone and may our Lord & Saviour bless us all who believe in him -

    April 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • notheism

      Happy 8 April to you too... random person.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Pagan

      People are a joke. Little ants crawling around worried about what is happening. Creating lies about what they see. Pitiful. Forgive them Lord.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Lucas

      # IN REASON WE TRUST #

      When was the last time you randomly floated off the planet Earth? Heard of anyone else floating away? What about the last time you hit your head right after you felt the pain? Better yet, when was the last time someone you know had a baby without any paternal DNA?

      The laws of physics don't suddenly disappear to make way for your fairy tales. Sorry.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Boo Hoo

      Did you read the article? The "proof" that Jesus existed is lame. Pure fantasy. If you wish to believe in fantasies, that's fine, but CNN is a news organization. News is based in fact. Get a grip.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      Happy Zombie Day!

      April 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Luis

    The thing thats kind of funny is people believe jesus was ressurected to be here on earth when he is in heaven with his heavenly father. Yes, his father God almighty the creator of heaven and earth( Jesus the Son of God John 1:1, 3:16, 17 and 5:23, 24). in Matthrew chapter 24 scripture 29-31 clearly states that Jesus with be coming down from heaven. Revelations chapter 14 gives further details how he will appear to ALL the inhabitants of earth. besides that point the main thing we followers of the Lamb have to keep in mind is not whether he existed but to exercise faith in his existance..

    April 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      All hail the zombie Jesus.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  19. Nathan

    CNN always comes up every christian celebration to question Jesus or God or anything fundamental to christian faith.
    Don't waste your time CNN. The more you do that the more people flock to christianity. Questioning if jesus existed is a bit like questioning the holocaust. Keep doing it CNN!!! Soon you'll only exist in NYC !

    April 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • jimtanker

      No, there is evidence that the Holocaust happened. No such thing for your god of jebus.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Lucas

      Um, no it's not. The Holocaust happened 70 years and involved the entire continent of Europe. Jesus was one man who was known to a hand-full of people in one town in ancient Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Boo Hoo

      Pictures don't lie. Any actual pictures of your precious Jesus?

      April 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • steve

      Actually Nathan, questioning if Jesus (as in the son of God version) existed is NOT even a bit like questioning the Holocaust.
      Why, you ask? Because existence of the Holocaust is based on fact and evidence – existence of Jesus, as well as his father, God, is not based on fact nor evidence – instead belief in eithers existence (ie: God / son Jesus) is based on individuals having FAITH (ie: belief in something that has or cannot be proved with fact/evidence) that the writings of a small group of individuals hundreds of years ago are true. Written words are no more proof of anything than are spoken words.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • AuntieTaqiyya

      Exactly! The anointed ones–the Muslims–say the Holocaust never happened! They NEVER lie...THEIR word is God at CNN! So?

      April 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  20. TG

    The power of the Western World is still strongly relying on Christian Faith. This book, the whole discussion itself, and the fact that it is being posted on the Easter day is a clear attempts to create doubts and weaken that Faith. It is Passover weekend as well, but I do not see an article questioning the historical truthfulness of crossing the Red Sea. Hey, it could be a fairy tale as well and a myth. But then why would we celebrate Passover? As far Bofusabode's comment on "CNN loving muslims," I almost fell of the chair laughting :)

    April 8, 2012 at 2:42 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.