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The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
Does Easter celebrate a man, a savior, or a myth? Some say Jesus never existed and was a myth created by early Christians.
April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET

The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene.

It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.

But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture.  Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of  "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?"

“If I said to you that there was no real Good Samaritan, I don’t think anyone would be outraged,” says Freke, one of a group of mythicists who say Jesus never existed. “It’s a teaching story. What we’re saying is that the Jesus story is an allegory. It’s a parable of the spiritual journey.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

On Easter Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide mark the resurrection of Jesus. Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed.

But there is another view of Jesus that’s been emerging, one that strikes at the heart of the Easter story. A number of authors and scholars say Jesus never existed. Such assertions could have been ignored in an earlier age.  But in the age of the Internet and self-publishing, these arguments have gained enough traction that some of the world’s leading New Testament scholars feel compelled to publicly take them on.

Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar who recently released a book devoted to the question called “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.”

Your comments on Jesus deniers

He says Freke and others who deny Jesus’ existence are conspiracy theorists trying to sell books.

“There are people out there who don’t think the Holocaust happened, there wasn’t a lone JFK assassin and Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” Ehrman says. “Among them are people who don’t think Jesus existed.”

Does it matter if Jesus existed?

Some Jesus mythicists say many New Testament scholars are intellectual snobs.

“I don’t think I’m some Internet kook or Holocaust denier,” says Robert Price, a former Baptist pastor who argues in “Deconstructing Jesus” that a historical Jesus probably didn’t exist.

“They say I’m a bitter ex-fundamentalist. It’s pathetic to see this character assassination. That’s what people resort to when they don’t have solid arguments.”

 The debate over Jesus’ existence has led to a curious role reversal. Two of the New Testament scholars who are leading the way arguing for Jesus’ existence have a reputation for attacking, not defending, traditional Christianity.

Ehrman, for example, is an agnostic who has written books that argue that virtually half  of the New Testament is forged. Another defender of Jesus’ existence is John Dominic Crossan, a New Testament scholar who has been called a heretic because his books challenge some traditional Christian teachings.

But as to the existence of Jesus, Crossan says, he’s “certain.”

He says some Jesus deniers may be people who have a problem with Christianity.

“It’s a way of responding to something you don’t like,” Crossan says. “We can’t say that Obama doesn’t exist, but we can say that he’s not an American.  If we’re talking about Obama in the future, there are people who might not only say he wasn’t American, but he didn’t even exist.”

Does it even matter if Jesus existed? Can’t people derive inspiration from his teachings whether he actually walked the Earth?

Crossan says Jesus’ existence matters in the same way that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s existence mattered.

If King never existed, people would say his ideas are lovely, but they could never work in the real world, Crossan says.

It’s the same with an historical Jesus, Crossan writes in his latest book, “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus.”

“The power of Jesus’ historical life challenges his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God. And if one, why not others? If some, why not all?”

The evidence against Jesus’ existence

Those who argue against Jesus’ existence make some of these points:

-The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus.

-No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.

-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.

Price, author of “Deconstructing Jesus,” says the first-century Western world was full of stories of a martyred hero who is called a son of God.

“There are ancient novels from that period where the hero is condemned to the cross and even crucified, but he escapes and survives it,” Price says. “That looks like Jesus.”

Those who argue for the existence of Jesus often cite two external biblical sources: the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote about Jesus at the end of the first century and the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote about Jesus at the start of the second century.

But some scholars say Josephus’ passage was tampered with by later Christian authors. And Price says the two historians are not credible on Jesus.

“Josephus and Tacitus – they both thought Hercules was a true figure,” Price says. “Both of them spoke of Hercules as a figure that existed.”

Price concedes that there were plenty of mythical stories that were draped around historical figures like Caesar. But there’s plenty of secular documentation to show Caesar existed.

“Everything we read about Jesus in the gospels conforms to the mythic hero,” Price says. “There’s nothing left over that indicates that he was a real historical figure.”

Those who argue for the existence of Jesus cite another source: the testimony of the Apostle Paul and Jesus’ early disciples. Paul even writes in one New Testament passage about meeting James, the brother of Jesus.

These early disciples not only believed Jesus was real but were willing to die for him. People don’t die for myths, some biblical scholars say.

They will if the experience is powerful enough, says Richard Carrier, author of “Proving History.”

Carrier says it’s probable that Jesus never really existed and that early Christians experienced a mythic Jesus who came to them through visions and revelations.

Two of the most famous stories in the New Testament – the conversion of Paul and the stoning death of Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs - show that people seized by religious visions are willing to die, Carrier says.

In both the Paul and Stephen stories, the writers say that they didn’t see an actual Jesus but a heavenly vision of Jesus, Carrier says.

People “can have powerful religious experiences that don’t correspond to reality,” Carrier says.

“The perfect model is Paul himself,” Carrier says. “He never met Jesus. Paul only had an encounter with this heavenly Jesus. Paul is completely converted by this religious experience, but no historical Jesus is needed for that to happen.”

As for the passage where Paul says he met James, Jesus’ brother, Carrier says:

“The problem with that is that all baptized Christians were considered brothers of the Lord.”

The evidence for Jesus’ existence

Some scholars who argue for the existence of Jesus says the New Testament mentions actual people and events that are substantiated by historical documents and archaeological discoveries.

Ehrman, author of “Did Jesus Exist?” scoffed at the notion that the ancient world was full of pagan stories about dying deities that rose again.  Where’s the proof? he asks.

Ehrman devoted an entire section of his book to critiquing Freke, the mythicist and author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” who says there was an ancient Osiris-Dionysus figure who shares uncanny parallels to Jesus.

He says Freke can’t offer any proof that an ancient Osiris figure was born on December 25, was crucified and rose again. He says Freke is citing 20th- and 19th-century writers who tossed out the same theories.

Ehrman says that when you read ancient stories about mythological figures like Hercules and Osiris, “there’s nothing about them dying and rising again.”

“He doesn’t know much about ancient history,” Ehrman says of Freke. “He’s not a scholar. All he knows is what he’s read in other conspiracy books.”

Craig A. Evans, the author of “Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence,” says the notion that Paul gave his life for a mythical Jesus is absurd.

He says the New Testament clearly shows that Paul was an early enemy of the Christian church who sought to stamp out the burgeoning Jesus movement.

“Don’t you think if you were in Paul’s shoes, you would have quickly discovered that there was no Jesus?” Evans asks.  “If there was no Jesus, then how did the movement start?”

Evans also dismissed the notion that early Christians blended or adopted pagan myths to create their own mythical Jesus. He says the first Christians were Jews who despised everything about pagan culture.

“For a lot of Jewish people, the pagan world was disgusting,” Evans says. “I can’t imagine [the Gospel writer] Matthew making up a story where he is drawing parallels between Jesus’ birth and pagan stories about Zeus having sex with some fair maiden.”

The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed, Evans says.  A vivid personality practically bursts from the pages of the New Testament: He speaks in riddles, talks about camels squeezing through the eye of a needle, weeps openly and even loses his temper.

Evans says he is a man who is undeniably Jewish, a genius who understands his culture but also transcends his tradition with gem-like parables.

“Who but Jesus could tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan?” Evans says. “Where does this bolt of lightning come from? You don’t get this out of an Egyptian myth.”

Those who argue against the existence of Jesus say they aren’t trying to destroy people’s faith.

“I don’t have any desire to upset people,” says Freke. “I do have a passion for the truth. … I don’t think rational people in the 20th century can go down a road just on blind faith.”

Yet Easter was never just about rationale.

The Easter stories about the resurrection are strange: Disciples don’t recognize Jesus as they meet him on the road; he tells someone not to touch him; he  eats fish in another.

In the Gospel of Matthew, a resurrected Jesus suddenly appears to a group of disciples and gives them this cryptic message:

“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

And what did they see: a person, a pagan myth or a savior?

Albert Schweitzer, a 20th-century theologian and missionary, suggested that there will never be one answer to that question.  He said that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: You see only your own reflection.

The “real” Jesus, Schweitzer says, will remain “a stranger and an enigma,” someone who is always ahead of us.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Books • Church • Culture wars • Easter • Easter • Evangelical • Faith • History • Jesus • Uncategorized • Virgin Mary

soundoff (8,771 Responses)
  1. MJDUBS

    I suggest that CNN stick to the news and stay out of the business of reporting on religion. Unless of course it is strickly related to Judism, since this is Jewish owned/controlled company. I'm sure many Jewish people wish Jesus to be a myth.

    Especially poor taste to publish this today on Easter, the holiest day of the Christian faiths.

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

      Why? Can't Christianity withstand scrutiny? Isn't Easter supposed to be a time of introspection and reflection? Or is it simply a time to fall into a chocolate egg induced coma and shut your brain off completely?

      April 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  2. bingheidy

    who can predict the economy this year??
    But God can tell us the future 4 thousands years before it happened. Jesus of Nazareth is REAL!!

    Genesis 3:15
    And I will put enmity
    Between you and the woman,
    And between your seed and her Seed;
    He shall bruise your head, ----> Gogotha
    And you shall bruise His heel.” ----> Crucifixion

    April 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Wow. The high specificity and detail are so...underwhelming. It sounds a lot like the argument about ducks and floating witches.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  3. Spencer

    Read the Book of Mormon. It testifies of Christ and clears up much of the confusion in the Christian world about the divinity of Christ.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Runwita

      CREDIBILITY SUSPECT.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jon

      True true. If you can believe Jesus was an all-powerful wizard, you can believe he came to American and turned all the native americans a different color. And yet, Christians still bash Mormons.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Spencer

      Actually read it instead of echoing stories about racism. Do as the Book of Mormon directs... ask God himself if it correct. If God is real and loves his children, he will answer.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      Right Jon, and Catholics bash Protestants....so much bashing in the name of "love".

      April 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Relegion is unhealthy for children and humanity

      Yes the one with magic underpants and continuous baby making. Love that one.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Mormons are insane

      While you're at it, read the part where it tells you to wear those fabulous magical undergarments that will protect you from harm! Yes, these underpants will allow nary a bullet, fire, evil or any nasty std to penetrate, er, get through! As a Mormon, you will also inherit, if you're a good Mormon, your own planet where you will rule supremely, for infinity! This, the Book of Mormon promises! So join up now, why wait? Just ask Mitt, the insane one! He knows and believes all of this!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Spencer

      Garments as they are called are an expression of commitment and a love of God. They don't have inherent magical or mystical powers. Many religions have symbolic articles of clothing. Mormon garments are just that, symbols. When we commit to follow Jesus Christ, by his power we can be protected.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      And during the Boxer Rebellion in China they were told their belief in Jesus would protect them from bullets. Afraid that turned out bad for the Boxers.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  4. Allen

    Atheism also figures in religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods, whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but difficult to follow spiritually. (Real Fact)

    April 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  5. hmmm

    CNN, constantly you post about Christianity and whether it's real or fake or this or that. If you are so big on equality among other things, why not post these kinds of stories about other religions? It seems you all love to attack Christians and their faith. The icing on the cake is when you post this story on Easter. Lay off Christianity for a while won't you?

    April 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      They do publish such stories. Apparently, you simply stop paying attention when that happens.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • TR6

      Since christians claim that 80% of America is chritian then 80% of the CNN articals about religion should be about christianity

      April 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  6. RA

    I'm confused. Was his refutation of Freke that he couldn't prove Osiris was born on December 25th? Did I read that right? There's absolutely no proof that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th. As a matter of fact, the "Christmas" holiday has very well defined roots in Western and Northern European Pagan holidays celebrating the equinox.

    I heavily dislike how Catholics so readily use Circular logic. You can't disprove my facts because my other facts say so. If you disprove those other facts, then God says so. If you say God didn't say so, you're a heretic to be burned at the stake.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Actually, Christmas is tied to the solstice – not the equinox. And its roots are in the Middle East – it was an established celebration for Christians by the mid-4th century, possibly sooner, that piggy-backed on the aforementioned solstice celebrations. It is also conveniently placed exactly 9 months after the Annunciation.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      RA,,,,

      Making a point is the nature of humanisms. While some say "Look Here" and others say, "No! Look there!" many perhaps all these types are stereotypically one bolt short of coming apart and breaking their mechanisms for mindcontrolling the humanists' psyche!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  7. Jesus

    2000 years based on pure evidence. If he wasn't god then Christianity would not have survived....

    April 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • momoya

      Actually, christianity has done nothing but change for 2000 years.. The way you worship bears no resemblance at all to the way christians worshiped a few decades ago, centuries ago, etc & etc..

      And the longevity argument is soooo stupid, just so you know.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Please provide said evidence.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      That leaves you sorely needing to explain the longevity of Buddhism and Islam.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  8. Allen

    Taoism and Buddhism are example of a religion with no god, and those people (mostly Asian) live a more moral and value life than most christian.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Allen,,,,,

      Have you ever looked into all the problems, social and political these "Asians" are nowadys going thru? Is not India one of the most populated countires falling behind China's population?

      April 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Allen

      Yes, but it no different base on any country, even us. Most of it is base on economy. But they also have more family value, education value than the US. Sure it not perfect.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  9. Relegion is unhealthy for children and humanity

    Theists always say we are attacking them when we are trying to inform them that what they preach to others is based on and is filled with fallacy.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  10. Allen

    Taoism and Buddhism are atheists's religion.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Fail..

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

      atheists is the believe of no god, and Taoism and Buddhism don't believe in god.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • YeahOk

      You fail at logic.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Allen

      Atheism also figures in religious and spiritual belief systems, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Jainism and some forms of Buddhism do not advocate belief in gods, whereas Hinduism holds atheism to be valid, but difficult to follow spiritually.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • JesusTapdancingChrist

      Atheists aren't misunderstood. We're just not easily fooled by ancient fairy tales and babbling rhetoric.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Allen said,"atheists is the believe of no god"

      No... atheism is the rejection of theist claims. Atheism is a position of disbelief...not belief. We make no claims about things we know not of.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Runwita

      I FIND IT VERY INTERESTING THAT ATHEISTS DEFINE THEMSELVES IN A RELATION TO GOD. A-THEIST–DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Allen

      that Agnosticism, for both god and religion.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  11. Crisis of Faith

    Somebody please explain this to me ? Ever since i have been talking to some of my close Muslim buddies, i am experiencing a crisis of faith. I am unable to reply to their questions about Jesus.
    Is Jesus God ? Or Is he the son of God ? If he is merely the son, then why do we worship Jesus at all ? If he is God, then who is the son.
    Doesn't the term God kinda imply that there can only be one of a kind.

    Help ! Please

    April 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • momoya

      A religion only makes sense if you grew up with it or were heavily indoctrinated in one.. If you weren't, they all sound pretty much alike–a bunch of stupid claims about what god wants and doesn't want and about how you'll get what for if you don't but totally believe exactly as somebody somewhere says to.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I have the answer(not that it will help make any more sense) but God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are but aspects of the same ent.ity...like water can be a gas, liquid or solid. But then you end up with God sacrificing himself to himself to correct a flaw in a rule he created. Yeah I know...it is pretty messed up.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Jeff

      Simple, you have no faith. It is the Holy Trinity. Can you Muslim friend explain his faith? No

      April 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Peikovianyi

      The Christian world has debated the exact relationship between the God of Genesis, his Holy Spirit, and Jesus for thousands of years. The strict unitarian view of Jews and Muslims makes the creator god a unique being not subdivided into "parts". Christians have split into different Eastern-Western churches with different views about the equality or subordination of these "parts" to their "whole". In the West the trinitarian view gives equality to all parts as being aspects of the God of Genesis, with difficult, seemingly contradictory passages of explanation.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Ray S

      Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God while Muslims believe Jesus is a Prophet of God. They also believe that Mohammad is the last Prophet. Believers of both faiths believe that Jesus will return at the end of the world and save us from the devil.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  12. Spencer

    If there is confusion in the Christian world about the divinity of Jesus Christ then why don't we ask God ourselves if he is real or not? If Christ really did rise from the dead, then he lives even today. If God really does love us, then if we are sincere, he will answer our questions and clarify the Bible, questions about the divinity of Christ, and all other questions we might have. As James said, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God."

    April 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Spencer

      Also, it is my belief that we can come to realize that Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of God by studying the Book of Mormon which is another testament of Christ. God is willing and eager to reveal who he is if we ask him. If he is a God of love, he will answer. If not, then we are not.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  13. Peikovianyi

    Jefferson believed Jesus to be an ethical teacher. Jefferson had a personal Bible with the miraces removed and the poetry intact. Jefferson as a deist assumed the universe had a creator who took no part in the Age of Enlightenment. Jefferson probably recognized the very common pagan addition to the Gospels of a mortal wonder-worker who was sired by a god. Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence, was President when the US doubled in size, and would not be electable today because his fellow-countrymen have become medieval mystics.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  14. jerry5555

    Every Christian that visit's cnn.com or watches cnn should stop. We need to make a peaceful stand against this type of bigotry and the constant attack against Christianity. You would never see such an article about judaism on passover. We Christians need to take a stand.

    Don't watch CNN and don't come on to CNN.COM anymore! Only through these peaceful types of protests will we ever see change from the Jewish controlled media.

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

      Bigotry? Like my god is the only true god and to hell with you. I am of Native American descent and the reason given for wiping out indigenous people all over the world has historically been because they were somehow less than the conquering Christians due to being godless heathens. It's almost as if christians don't realize that the history of human beings goes back way way further than 2000 years and all the really old stuff talks of peop,le coming down from the sky and creating man or passing on knowledge or impregnating someone and a leader being born. God isTruth? give me a break and read something other than your collection of edited Jewish short stories.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • The Well Hungarians

      Oh dear, did you get your fellings hurt because they did not obey your superst</bition and instead had a story where both sides of a common question were discussed?

      What a horrible thing for them to do.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      How is examining your religion in the light of historical evidence "bigotry"? This blog has published many other similar articles relating to other religions, yet yours is the only one whose faith is so weak the exposure sends you into a howling protest.

      But by all means, stay away. It would make for a more rational discussion.

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

      We are supposed to love our neighbors (and our neighbors). That is Jesus' teaching.

      We aren't supposed to flip out because someone doesn't agree with us. At one point, many of us didn't believe...and now we do. At one point, everyone in the NT didn't believe.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • JM

      I meant:

      (and our enemies)

      April 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Xians are big whiners

      Oh wahhh. Stop whining already. We suffer you fools all the time. Is it too much to ask that if you don't like the content of something you just stay away? It's called freedom of the press, man, and it's an American staple. Get over it and get over yourself. Go protest your church for being so intolerant of others' beliefs and try something actually productive and good for mankind.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  15. Pipe-Dreamer

    For the Love of Christ and of God be a goodly person and ya'll quit sodomizing other folks who do believe in Christendoms' Truths,,,,

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

      Interesting terminology...do you have a pre-disposition do visualizing sodomy?

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

      I am a goodly person, and not in to that whole sodomizing thing.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      nomdefaitour wrote on Easter Sunday, 2012, stating, "Interesting terminology...do you have a pre-disposition do visualizing sodomy?"

      Sorry but I do not understand your question. Could you rephrase it and be a bit more precise in its' terminologies?

      April 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Oh I see! One can only be a literalist only when one wants to be? You people make me sick but I will overcome it,,,,:-)

      April 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  16. lazyace

    Now that we have completely torn Jesus apart, why don't you do the same thing with Muhammed.

    Make sure to sign your real name so that they can track you down.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  17. bingheidy

    Dear Atheist, I love you. I will not say anything harsh to you. Your soul is so precious that Jesus died on the cross for you.
    Please consider this: where is the source of life?? Is there anybody on this earth can create "one seed" that can grow??
    It is easier for me to believe that there is a God who created this universe, than to believe to the evolution or big bang theory.

    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,

    1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Romans 8:7
    Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

    Rom 3:23
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Rom 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Rom 5:19
    19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

    John 3:16
    16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    Isa 43:7
    Everyone who is called by My name,
    Whom I have created for My glory;
    I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

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

      Bingheidy, Jesus died for all his sheep. You have no basis for giving false hope to Atheist. If and when Atheist calls upon the name of the Lord for forgiveness of sins, then you may assure him that Jesus died for him, but not before. "Payment God cannot twice demand, first at my bleeding Surety's hand, and then again at mine."

      April 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • bingheidy

      Romans 5:8
      But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      Christ love sinners, but He hate sin.

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

      Just think. If Christians could stop committing sins everywhere, Jesus wouldn't be necessary at all.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Bing, I agree. God loves sinners. And he sent his son to redeem a mult.itude of such sinners. All of those he redeemed shall be redeemed, not one will be lost. Paul wrote the book of Romans (as all his epistles) to believers, not to atheists or unbelievers.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Not so, Jon. First of all, we are all born sinners, and need to be redeemed for that reason alone–we all died in Adam. Secondly, we will never stop sinning while we are burdened with our corrupt nature that scripture calls the old man.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy, Christian will not keep on sinning. Our old man has to die daily.

      1 Cor 15:31
      I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily

      April 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy, the provision is universal, but need to be applied individually. We need to encourage them to receive the gift of salvation. And I hope they can make the right decision (choice).

      April 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Bing, a Christian has two natures, the old and the new. The new hates the sin, the old loves it. See Rom 7 for even Paul's struggles against the old man. We will never sin as we did before God saved us, because it will now grieve us. But we will not be sin-free until we are raised with our glorified bodies.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Xians are big whiners

      This is precisely how you people force your beliefs on us. We are not actually members of your religion, yet you still insist your holy person died for us. That is forcing your religion on us. Do you realize that is rude? Do you realize that offends those of us who are not christian? We are not bound by the tenets of religions we are not actually members of. Can you not understand that? Leave your creepy cultist woo off me, please, and keep it to yourself. I am free of cultist voodoo dogma and I would like it if you would not force it upon me. In fact, as an American, I will insist. Jesus, you people are so freaking rude!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Bing,

      "the provision is universal, but need to be applied individually. We need to encourage them to receive the gift of salvation. And I hope they can make the right decision (choice)."

      The scripture nowhere speaks of a provisional salvation. "You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." Not, "he shall make salvation possible for all" as you would require. This is a critical distinction. Otherwise, you rob Christ's redemptive work of all it's power and place man's salvation in his own hands. It is the major cause of the impotent "gospel" that is preached today.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Whiner, you abuse the idea of forcing a belief on someone. If I threaten to harm you, or actually inflict pain on you if you reject my teachings, then I am forcing a belief on you. But if I teach that Jesus died for all, and therefore for you, that is not forcing my belief on you. Now, in this case, I don't know if Jesus died for you or not. But you should be supremely concerned whether he did or not. If he didn't die for you, you are without hope when you stand before God to be judged.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy, I agree that as christian we have two natures.
      What Paul said in Romans 7 is "sinful by nature". It is not in the realm of behavior nor in the realm of the mind. It is indwelling sin. It is not willfully transgression. In this chapter he didn't say that he can not obey buy vice versa.
      In verse 15, Paul said "I do" three times which in the original language he used 3 different verbs: Katergazomai, prasso and poio. If we look at the verse before, we will understand that he used katergazomai in reference to the old man. Also in verse 7:13 "sin producing death".

      So in verse 15 we can write:
      For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • bingheidy

      So in verse 15 we can write:
      For what I (old man) am doing, I (spiritual man) do not understand. For what I (old man) will to do, that I (spiritual man)do not practice; but what I (old man) hate, that I (spiritual man) do.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Bing, verse 19 so clearly contradicts your exegesis, that I am surprised at you: For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do."

      I'm not interested in debating the two natures with you, but evidently we diverge on it. I am much more deeply concerned at your destructive teaching of the gospel, and urge you to seek the scriptures regarding what Jesus accomplished in his death. The gospel is virtually lst today, precisely due to the powerless message you've implied above with this "Jesus died for all" doctrine. Until you get that message right, all else is in vain.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy, I know that it's not easy to swallow what I tried to explain. But at least you can test it.
      In Gal 5:16-17 clearly telling us that the flesh against the spirit and vice versa. In chapter 7:19 Paul talked about the quality of obidience. (his mind is so senstive that due to the indwelling nature he call it "evil"). The old man can not gets its way and the spiritual man can not gets its way either. (due to opposition factor)
      Anyway, only by the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome temptations.
      God bless you!!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy, I forgot to mention that Jesus already paid the infinite cost for the redemption. But he never force somebody to accept it because it will violate our freewill. (we are not robot). LOVE never can be forced.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy,

      The gospel is virtually lst today, precisely due to the powerless message you've implied above with this "Jesus died for all" doctrine. Until you get that message right, all else is in vain

      Please don't misunderstood me, I was not saying that all people will be saved automatically. Only by accepting Him personally as Lord and Savior, we can be saved.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Bing, I understand what you are saying about Jesus death. And I understand what scripture teaches about his death. And they are two different things. If Jesus died for all the sins of all people, then for what sins will anyone be denied entrance to heaven?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • bingheidy

      SciGuy,
      We need to understand what is SIN and sins.
      1. realm of behaviour: words and actions ---> sins (fruits)
      2. realm of character: thought and feeling --–> sins (fruits) Jesus said about adultery in our heart??
      3. sin by nature (indwelling sin). ---> I believe this is the ROOT and what I call SIN

      I believe in order to go to heaven we need solution to these:
      1. punisment of sin ---–> we need justification (only by faith in the blood of Jesus)
      2. power of sin ---–> we need sanctification (we cooperate with the Holy Spirit ) 2 Cor 3:18
      3. nature of sin -----> we need glorification (when Jesus come 2nd time)

      Paul struggle with sin #3 above. But since he didn't fulfill the lust of the flesh so "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.......... (Romans 8:1)

      All sin is fall short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death. (not only 1st death but also eternal separation with God)

      I believed the sin that unpardonable is blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Christian will not keep on sinning (willfully transgression) on the level of behavior and on the level of our character.
      But we can not do anything about SIN by nature and only at the glorification our body will be transformed into glorify body.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Okay, I totally lost it today. I posted every 7 seconds for 15 straight hours, called CNN to complain, dailed 811, and could not draw a cross for the life of me.

      I prayed that I would make a total fool of myself. Prayer worked. Jesus loves me.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

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

      April 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Proof graciously provided by atheist who steals names and posts obviously fraudulent messages.
      Atheism is definitely not healthy for children and other living things
      Proven

      April 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Sorry everybody. I ran out of my medication. I'm trying, really I am.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things... unless you're an amputee, then you're pretty much scr ewed.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  19. Timothy

    For the Bible "scholar" Ehrman to use the term "deniers" is inflammatory at the very least. The only time that term gets used is when describing "Holocaust deniers", the neo-Nazi or otherwise hate-filled people who claim the Holocaust never took place. I would suggest that this man knows exactly what he's doing when using the term: trying to equate all "deniers" as dangerous wingnuts. There has been real Bible scholarship going on long before the internet by people with intellectual integrity who are not assuming the truth of something before they investigate it (Earl Doherty and G. A. Wells, to name two authors). They are historians, not "kooks" or the anti-Semites of which Ehrman would have us believe they are similar.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  20. pastmorm

    Um....I saw all the evidence that proved Jesus DIDN'T exist and yet I saw nothing that could prove that he did. So why are there still christians?

    April 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jesus Saves at Wells Fargo

      There are christians because Jesus needs money! LOTS of it!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:26 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.