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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. Ann

    "On the other hand, there is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god" Did you ever see a tree, Tallulah13? A seashell? A sunset? An eagle? A baby being born? A nebula thru the lens of a telescope? I can't look at any of it and think Gee, what a lovely array of beautiful things are laid before me every day all by some random coincidence in the cosmic realm. How arrogant can one be? To God I give all Glory & Praise! It's ok. He loves you anyway

    April 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You are most delusional.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • YeahOk

      You can't go from things exist therefore God. How is that any different than saying there are tress therefore Unicorns?

      The problem is you already decided that God created everything, so thusly, everything was created by God. Doesn't work that way.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      I've heard this countless times before: I see things that were created so there must be a creator (kind of a circular logic isn't it?). But why is it a Christian creator? The truth is that you believe in a christian god because you were born in a geographical location wherein that belief is prominent. If you were born in India, you would have a different belief system.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "How is that any different than saying there are tress therefore Unicorns?"

      ...trees...

      April 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Leo

      Ann you are right on, but others would rather believe in dumb luck.... random chance... or the God of Evolution.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • momoya

      If the beauty and wonder of the universe requires a creator, then why doesn't god's beauty and wonder require one, too?. Any argument that can be used for god's existence can be used for god's god's existence.

      Atheists think that the universe is the way it is because of physical laws and properties.. God believers think a big magic sky daddy used some magical incantations, talking snakes, rib women, blood sacrifices and the like. .. But, yeah, we're the crazy ones.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • momoya

      Leo, evolution is about as far away from "dumb luck" as a process can get.. The physical laws and processes of our universe are about as far from "chance" as you can get..

      Atheists believe in physical laws and processes, not magic sky daddy's using magic words and talking snakes and such..

      April 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Evangelicals seem rabidly convinced that god operates by waving a magic wand, and feel threatened by the idea that he might actually operate upon his creation by acting through that same creation's laws, which he presumably also created. They seem to feel that the whole "in his image" thing means that god sits around in a double-wide, wearing a wife-beater shirt and drinking Pabst on the couch.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • ed galbraith

      Poor Ann. I suppose your favorite work of art is Sound of Music.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • momoya

      God is like: Gutt dammm it woman! (Bride of Kriest) I already dun umptayed th'ashtray!! Whut mir do you want? Go un out an' mow th' yard, 'fore I senn ya to hay-ell!"

      April 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • otto

      Ann all those things are beautiful, but then there is also cancer, birth defects, ect. ect. that your god also created. If you give him the credit you also have to give him the blame, and therein lies the problem with your 'beauty = god' arguement.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  2. xnothinbutthetruth

    Most of my life... the first 25 years of it.. I sounded exactly like the atheists/non-believers here...

    Embarrassing looking back on it - How could you look at the universe and not see that it was created? We have the sun.. a big ball of fire that undergoes constant nuclear reaction.. that is there to provide us light and heat – and a moon which is there to provide light at night and also affects the tides (and is tied to other things we don't really fully understand – the menstrual cycle works off the same 30 day month (moon=month). The universe is incredible – and incredibly crafted for human beings.

    If you think not... consider a lunar eclipse – the way the moon and sun line up in the sky to fill each other almost exactly.... this is not something you would see on any other planet... only on the one that has people to witness it.

    Or... you can just say it's an amazing accident..... I guess it's just a question of what sounds more credible.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "How could you look at the universe and not see that it was created?"

      Actually it's pretty easy if you try.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      How much time do you really spend thinking about cosmic issues? Really come on...just admit it's beyond your intelligence so you rely on myth rather than admit that you simply don't know.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jon

      Nothing annoys a scientist more than someone saying that something in nature is created by God. It's the same garbage that Creationists use to dispel evolution. The world and universe is the product of millions and millions of years of slow and gradual building and evolution. If God wanted the universe the way it is now, he would have done so. But the universe didn't happen like that. It's sheer stupidity and arrogance to assume the universe revolves around humans on a small planet in a small galaxy in a vast universe.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Rather poor examples, given that all of them are either stretched beyond recognition or man-made to begin with.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Wow, isn't all this stuff amazing, I wonder how it got here? I know, a magic being saying abracadabra! It's the only possible answer!

      Fail.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      The universe is an incredibly BIG place where rare and unusual things happen all the time. Also the moon was once much closer and is even now spiraling away from us and the peculiar current arrangement is only a temporary condition.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • xnothinbutthetruth

      nomdefaitour - I spend an immense amount of time thinking about things like the universe and science in general. I'm a tech-head by trade... it's my job and also one of my main interests – I love science... as did many Christians throughout time. You, like many atheists, seem to think having a belief in God somehow changes that interest or causes me not to be interested in science – just the contrary I love to learn about how the universe operates.. even more so as a believer.

      As I said.. and you failed to grasp.. I spent the first half of my life as a non-believer – question all things.. and still do. As a result I'm not your typical believer...

      But, you know, go ahead and assume. :)

      April 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • xnothinbutthetruth

      YeahOk

      It's your explanation that requires magic. Non-believers will believe all sorts of things... as long as it doesn't involve a creator – these days they will even tell you that the universe truly could have came from nothing... and maybe aliens seeded the earth... ANYTHING is believable to them... long as it doesn't invoke a God.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Gordo

    This is embarrassing scholarship. Paul did talk about the historical Jesus (even a five minute read of the bible using a search function would show you that.) Not only did Josephus mention Jesus (not the spurious quote the second one) as did Tacitus but then there are all the second century disciples who heard the story first hand from the apostles. I don't often agree with Dr Ehrman but he is spot on with his comments this time. Does CNN editors even do fact check before they publish things anymore. Embarrassing

    April 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      Like most christians you are inventing "facts" to support a pre-determined but false position.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jon

      If all these men were around at the time of Christ, why did no one ever write about him until decades after his death?

      The logical explanation being that Jesus just wasn't that important or special in any way. The only reason Christianity is still around is because Constantine and his Roman army forced Christianity onto people. There's a reason why almost no one in Israel and the Middle East acknowledges Christ as their Savior. That is the reason the Vatican is in Italy, not Nazareth.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      A second-hand story is hardly compelling. And enormous swaths of both Josephus' and Tacitus' histories are complete rubbish, while much of what remains is unverified. Hardly compelling sources. And Paul's own account clearly states that he never knew Jesus, but converted due to visions; although he goes on in the first person, what he describes is clearly not a physical, face-to-face meeting, but an apparition.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • kyle

      Paul was converted after the death of Jesus, never does it mention that he ever met the man. That is the whole point, just like the stories of jesus's birth, none of the people reporting it were there so it is either invented or someone told them, and they never mention who told them the story so you have no way to evaluate the truth of the story.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • ed galbraith

      The "history" you rely on, Gordo, is immensely layered and complex. We barely understand (and not very well) how people in the Middle Ages thought and assigned cause to affect...they would not begin to understand the world as we do. Now, go back another 1,000 years and you have unrecognizable ignorance in cause and affect...and from this...you find your story of god? If we could witness again the creation of these myths, all churches would close the next day. Sorry.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Gordo

      Sorry Ed, what you are saying is we cannot understand anything about ancient times. I don't buy that. Most historians don't either.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  4. thinktwice

    @Believer – Majority rule does not apply to this country and the framers made sure to protect all Americans from any religion having federal favor over another – any favor, for that matter. When Christians stop trying to force their beliefs on non-Christians, we will all breathe a little easier. In the meantime, it's like Iraq here with the militant Christians forcing their beliefs on us and into our government, but believe me, we do not want this country to be a theocracy. There would be proverbial heck to pay.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  5. ...

    “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing ‘Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!’ If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
    ― Dan Barker (atheist activist, former evangelical preacher)

    April 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Benjamin

    I actually had this discussion with my dad the other day, and we have since ordered the Ehrman book. Evans seems completley worthless, though - his arguments amount to "Jesus existed because the Bible tells me so', which is no more evidence than Romeo & Juliet existed because there's a play about them (aside from the fact that it had one author and he openly admits its fiction).

    April 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Jon

      Whenever someone says the Bible is evidence of anything, you should just get up and leave. The bible is a collection of random short stories written numerous decades after the life of Jesus. Can you remember what anyone said or what you even did this day 40 years ago, or 10 years ago even? The entire bible is based on just that. Hearsay half a century before.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Tom

      @Jon: How much time have you devoted to studying the Bible over the last year? Hmmm.....? I compare that with the millions of scholars who have dedicated their lifetimes to doing so over many centuries. You say one thing. They say something different. I wonder who has credibility? The one thing I am certain of is that you have an opinion. I'm also certain that one great drawback to the internet is how easy it is for anyone with a computer to broadcast an uninformed opinion .

      April 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  7. nomdefaitour

    It was men who wrote the books of the Bible, and it was men who decided what books would be included or suppressed. For example, suppressed books of the Bible include a gospel of Mary, a gospel of Judas, and even a gospel which describes Jesus raising a young man from the dead, who then beseeched Jesus to spend the night with him, and in which Jesus did (we all know why that one was suppressed).

    April 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • xnothinbutthetruth

      The books were 'suppressed' because they were fraudulent. Biblical scholars investigated them and found they were not inspired works. I've read some of them and it's pretty obvious there weren't written at the same time, in the same style or by the same authors. For all things real there will be frauds.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      I think you made my point for me. None of the books of the Bible were written contemporaneously with the events described therein, and books that were once included have since been removed. I think it obvious the socio-political context that suppressed feminist tracts (and there were many), or why it was suppressed that Jesus spent the night with a young man he had raised from the dead.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Pipe-Dreamer

    Gently blowing upon the seas of inequities does God's breath swoon ever waiting, ever smelling for the entrails of bigotism and vanities.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • entrails of bigotism

      New album out! check our website for details!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • vainities

      Us too!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  9. nonimus

    I'm not sure that this article adds anything at all to the subject.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jon

      The problem is if an article came out with all the evidence in the world supporting that God doesn't exist, people still wouldn't listen.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • nonimus

      @Jon,
      So you view this as supporting Jesus as myth?

      It seems more like a Rorsharch (sp?) Test to me.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jon

      Haha. Maybe. This article seems more like a couple opinions which really could let people go either way on the issue of jesus existing.

      Even as an Atheist, it's hard to say. Jesus very may well have existed. He may have even been quite a nice fellow who genuinely wanted to help people. The problem is, his followers skewed the whole thing out of proportion. His death and resurrection and all the divine jumble of the bible, is a mere by-product of his followers.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  10. Nii

    This weekend is Pesach weekend. The alleged weekend of christs death n resurrection. Judaism celebrated this festival and christianity continued it. It is a coincidence that the Saxon fertility festival clashes with Passover.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  11. Willian Gutnik

    this kind of argument about the existence of Jesus is so unnecessary, it`s a point proven by any kind of sources, and the not enough evidence of His existence its just pathetic, We know more about his existence than the george washington, napoleon bonaparte, and you name it, historically, philosophically and religiously, He is the most certain thing that men can count on

    April 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • momoya

      There is no verifiable evidence for Jesus.. Likely the character was based on several dozen "prophets" who walked Judea and claimed to be some sort of "messiah.". "Jesus" is a common enough name, and the myth jelled around that name..

      April 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Really? You have only the story of his birth..a few words about him at the age of 12....and then nothing more until he is in his 30's where EVERY word he supposedly said is reported NOT by him or NOT even by the 4 disciples whose names the gospels are attributed to, but by unknown anonymous authors 30-70 or more years after his death. Not exactly rock solid evidence.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      momoya,,,,

      No verifiable evidence you say? Although Christendom has had its' fair share of being an ungodly sect of unrationabilities, truth be said, God is God and there will never be no other God than God, so help me all you Sons of the Almighty God who reigns in the aboveness ever so very far away from our celestial universe which by the way is but one universe among untold numbers of universes all being hel within this Celestial Cosmos of Space.

      Have your science alters denounce my Truth regarding there being untold of numbers of universes within the grand designs of Celestial Tranquilities!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Leo

      Those that deny Jesus rank right up there with Abedinejad's and the holocaust.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • momoya

      thanks, Leo.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  12. Sean

    Bhawk, Pastor Daniel have you ever looked at http://www.originalscriptures.com?

    April 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      One-celled organisms outscore me in IQ tests

      April 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • ruemorgue

      using your brain helps much more ...

      April 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Prayer changes things

      April 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Prayer Changes Things

      My wheel is spinning but the hamster's dead

      April 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. Proof provided by atheists stealing names and posting fraudulent messages.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    I am so dense light bends around me

    April 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      April 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      I am smart like tractor

      April 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      If you don't stop stealing my handle, I am going to call 811.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things*

      April 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      I am smart like tractor... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I haven't laughed this hard ALL DAY, and there have been some REALLY funny posts here! My proverbial pointy papal hat is off to you!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  15. Mark Hall

    Zeitgeist Part 1 & the Supportive Evidence

    http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2997

    The New ZEITGEIST Part 1 Sourcebook (2010) Transcript

    http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/zeitgeistsourcebook.pdf

    Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes concerning 'Zeitgeist, Part 1'

    http://truthbeknown.com/chrisforbeszeitgeist.html

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZgT1SRcrKE&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • xnothinbutthetruth

      The Zeitgeist video is full of errors – and has been debunked many times... the rest of the movie isn't bad.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  16. Jesus is Lord

    HE IS RISEN !!!

    April 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jesus is Lord

      Ooops, uh, apparently he is still dead. I'll get back to you when he rises.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • ettucarl

      Risen, or leavened?

      April 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Carl

    The arguments that Jesus was a special figure, among all of the other similar legends, are like the arguments offered up when someone tries to prove that their favorite band was somehow the founder of a new genre. It is almost never true, but they believe it by either being ignorant of the similar songs played before and after, between which their hero is just a slight modification of style, or by making absurd claims about the importance of minor details to try to differentiate it (such as when John Lennox makes such a fuss over Jesus saying "I am the truth").

    April 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  18. Bibi

    One of my favourite songs says,

    "I serve a risen Saviour who's in the world today
    I know that He is living whatever men may say
    I see his hand of mercy
    I hear his voice of cheer
    And every time I need Him he's always near.

    He lives
    He lives
    Chirst Jesus lives today
    He walks with me and talks with me
    Along life's narrow way.
    He lives
    He lives
    Salvation to impart!
    You ask me how I know he lives?
    He lives within my heart."

    Christ is only foolishness or a myth to those who chose not to believe, because in their "wisdom" they have become blind to Christ and his power. To those who have come to know the risen Saviour, He is everything. I love Jesus with all my heart and soul and no man's theories about Christ's mythical existence can ever change that, because I know what Christ has done for me.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Johnny Yuma61

      Your faith inspires me. But you better buy guns.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Is that a Cannibal Corpse song?

      April 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Casting aside the reason and logical thought that your creator endowed you with in order to believe merely for the sake of belief makes Baby Jesus sad.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Carl

      And then there are those who say that Mohamed was delivering the word of god, and people who don't submit to His Way are either fools or subversive agents of Satan.

      That sounds like nonsense to you. Both their claim and your claim sound the same to me.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • ...

      DELUSIONAL=Bibi

      April 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  19. Mr.Makaveli

    Laugh out loud, it must really anger atheist that our entire recorded history is based off of the life and death of Christ, BC (Before Christ) and AD basically (After his Death). Hey atheist's I bet you would like Congress to change it to BSC (Before Santa Claus or AEB (After Easter Bunny). You all are jokes, but remember Jesus loves you, only a kind, compassionate God could love you filth but I say that in an endearing way.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Please read this definition and prove to me that you are not:

      delusion |diˈlo͞oZHən|
      noun
      an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder: the delusion of being watched.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • momoya

      BCE stands for "Before the Common Era." AD stands for "Anno Domini" meaning " in the year of our lord...".

      Thursday is a day of the week named for the god Thor.. On thursdays do you believe in Thor?

      April 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Actually the common conventional dating used today is CE and BCE. C=Common E=Era
      Try Again...lol

      April 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      The months of July and August are named after Julius Caesar. Hail, Caesar!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      By the way, 'AD' stands for "Anno Domini". By your bizarre "After Death" and "Before Christ" reckoning, there are over 30 years simply missing from the calendar.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Carl

      Basing our DATE SYSTEM on BC/AD is not the same as basing all of history on it. Really lame attempt.

      But anyway, as someone already pointed out, we DID change it to BCE.

      And why mock the Easter Bunny? He suffered for you in the cruel basket of fake grass, to pay for your chocolate-eating sins.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • milob

      Thanks for the laugh – "after his death," indeed. Priceless!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Oops – I left off Augustus. My bad!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • ensense

      Momoya Makeveli said BC (which stand for Before Christ) and he is right BCE is different from BC, and by the way every body uses BC you rarely hear any body say BCE ( so you are wrong nice try to confuse though).

      April 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • momoya

      ensense

      So what? On Thorsday do you believe in Thor? When people want to be accurate they use the academic dates BCE and CE/AD..

      April 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Mr.Makaveli

      No, thank you for the laughs atheists your intellect is most impressive as is your lack of common sense hahaha. You all are so scientific, I can yell your God has a big hard drive and a very fast CPU. Have a good day Jesus haters, shhhhhh I won't tell anyone that you ask God for forgiveness on your deathbeds, it will be our little secret OK

      April 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  20. Emilio

    Not being a believer in the divinity of Christ nor that there exists a supreme being; I still find that the mythical Christ would be a model for us all to follow. According to the Christian Bible, Christ showed the way in terms of social behavior, kindness, and the spirit of inclusion, which is unlike that being touted by the so-called Christians we have in this country who are all too eager to posture and pretend that they walk the walk of Jesus. Christ is a myth but one that demonstrates the Golden Rule, and definitely a role model for believers and non-believers of the creation myth.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • ensense

      CNN and readers come up with newer and newer ways of destroying Christianity. Now Christ has become a mythical figure great.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • thinktwice

      I see you haven't actually read the bible either. Jesus had quite the temper, and was rude and impatient on several occasions. He actually yelled at his mother and refused to see her when she had travelled a distance to see him speak. Perhaps the idea of Jesus is what is appealing to the masses, but I am getting really quite sick and tired of people following a religion they know little or nothing about especially when they try relentlessly to force their beliefs on the rest of us and call us a christian nation. It's embarrassing. No wonder we're the laughing stock of the world.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Nic

      “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
      ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

      April 8, 2012 at 5:24 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.