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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. Happy Easter!

    Luke 12

    Warnings and Encouragements
    1 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
    4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

    8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

    11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

    The Parable of the Rich Fool
    13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
    14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

    16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

    18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

    20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

    21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

    Do Not Worry
    22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
    27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

    32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Watchfulness
    35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
    41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

    42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

    47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

    Not Peace but Division
    49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
    Interpreting the Times
    54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
    57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

    April 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  2. Nii

    The Christian Passover was modified to celebrate the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Christ symbolizes the Passover lamb. This weekend Jewish and Christian Passover (aka Easter) coincide. This shows clearly it was not a pagan festival adaptation. The OT can explain the life of Christ.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  3. sez

    See if you told of the why. The good citizens. The governments that have been established by the "chaining off the authortiy" given by the books. The obiedent workers that wait and drudge to the end for their employers. Christians make the best workers not the smartest however. See there is reason for that making of that book. All many can trace it to is Rome and maybe the middle east. It goes a little farther than that in its making. If people are really really afraid of something they react.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Susie

      I work 8 hours which allows me to go home and enjoy 5 hours of leisure with my family and friends, plus two days a week free and clear. If you think this is being enslaved, I suggest going back to trying to squeeze a meager life out of tilling the soil, always worried if the weather will hold or ruin the crops. No computers or cell phones, three or four staple foods with little variety, no showers or toilet, or toilet paper for that matter.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  4. gsgofer

    Who cares if the story is real or not? The same story is told time and time again across all civilizations. It doesn't matter what name is applied to Jesus or God or Allah or Buddha. The message is the same. You can choose to believe it or not. That's why they call it "Faith".

    April 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  5. In God We Rust

    Much like the neutered dog, I just don't get it.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  6. Iqbal Khan

    Ron Paul for President...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYNmML2Ge14&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  7. sez

    Well actually its not bigotry. There are actually some people that feel bad for people that buy into that story. Because they understand what its about. Its not what the story is. Or who its about. It's WHY the story was written some people miss that WHY and some are afraid to tell of that WHY.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  8. Peikovianyi

    The shared story of Abraham sacrificing his son, as shared by three religions: Muslims believe Ibrahim almost sacrificed Ishamel, and both Jews and Christians are wrong as well as inferior; Christians believe Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac, but really the story exists as a foreshadowing of the Gospels; Jews believe Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac, but god put an end to pagan child sacrice; and the real moral is that a true believer must be willing to kill and be killed, which tells you how crazy religion makes the people who believe in it.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  9. Nii

    The eye of Horus is a well known symbol in the shape of well guess what? An eye!
    How did a fish become an eye?
    Christ came at the height of the Roman Empire into a well-developed Judaism. Not some people who did not know a fish from an eye.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  10. sez

    It's a free society sorta. The only people that have more believers than religion is the government.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Logan

      Clay, I believe one of our most cmmoon mistakes regarding prayer is we view it as the means to bend God to our will. In fact, the purpose of prayer is to bend us (perhaps break us) to God's.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  11. Jessica

    LOL atheists don't have anything to do and celebrate with their "loved" ones'... so they come to internet and show their Anti-Christian bigotry

    Go make your own holidays.... which will be "hatred" holiday!
    Happy Easter all Christians.... we are blessed

    April 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you really think that people who don't necessarily believe in Christ don't still get together with their families on Easter Sunday?

      Get a clue.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • In God We Rust

      This is why christians are hated. They are flaming hypocrites who are so unlike their Jesus, they more resemble his enemy. Don't they know that by being so hateful they are pushing possible converts away? Don't they know they are not "loving thine enemies"? Don't they know they are not "loving thy neighbor"? Stupid, stupid christians don't even know how to be christian anymore. All they do is hate.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By the way, dear, why are YOU here?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • JT

      Make our own holidays? Lol...are you serious! You've stolen all of our pagan holidays so get your own.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  12. Andrew

    It amazes me that in an information age people still go to church.

    Christians are ignorant of the fact that the ressurection story, which is the core of their faith, is based on the Winter Solstice. It is simply the ancient story of our Sun(Son), the 'great life giver' which between Dec 22nd and Dec 25th every year stops moving South on the horizon for 3 days then on Dec 25th begins to move North again. The new born Sun then Passes over (Passover) from death to life as it moves into Spring, bringing life back to the earth. This is why every Easter (EASTER(n)) Christians often celebrate with a SUN-RISE service. Easster is the vernal equinox. It is when the sun reches a point where days and nights are now equal in length – it represents the Sun now passing over from death (mostly nighttime hours every day) to Life, (mostly daytime hours).The Christian day of worship is on SUN-day. The 12 diciples represent the 12 ages and 12 months of the Zodiac. Each Age of the Zodiac lasts approx 2,160 years. We are currently in the age of Pisces which is represented by the symbol of the 2 fish. This is why the bible has so many references to fish and fisherman and fishers of men. Every Dec 25th the '3 kings' in the constellation of Orion's belt line up or "follow" the brightest star in the eastern sky, Sirius. Sirius is located in the constellation of Virgo, meaning Virgin. The 3 kings in Orion and Sirius all line up or follow the brightest star in the east to the new born Sun precisely on Dec 25th morning. There have been 16 Sun Gods before Jesus going back to the beginning of recorded history. They all have the same attributes and share the same story.

    I too used to 'be a christian' until I learned the Truth. It is true, the truth surely does set one free – free of ignorance, and the chains of beleif systems.

    I find it funny that pastors often talk of truth every other word and preach on bible history and origins, yet never tell the truth or really teach it's origins.

    I find it sad that here we are living in an information age, yet people bumbling like sheep every Sunday still are led into churchs to listen to lies and give away their hard earned money to continue to propagate lies to people worldwide.

    One must investigate and begin asking themselves why it is that before the Jesus character came along there were 16 other Sun Gods with the same attributes.
    All were born of a virgin on dec 25th and had 12 diciples and died for 3 days and were resurrected. before the Jesus story came along. Ever heard of Isis, or Amen-Ra, or El? Take a good look at the word Israel (Isis – Amen-Ra-El)

    What is really sad is that dim witted, ignorant folks, even while living in the midst of the information age still fall for the lies of the Church. I mean seriously, pick up a book sometimes besides a 2000 year old story and read, learn, investigate, question what you have been told. It is a free society you know. We do have the option to do such things.

    16 Sun Gods later, and here we are, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

    "The christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun." – Thomas Paine

    April 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  13. meckout

    I am personally glad CNN has posted this article. If christians out there are comfortable in their faith this shouldn't bother them. They can just close their eyes and cover their ears as they always have when someone attempts to question the foundations of their beliefs. Religion is man made and is the basis for most of the hate and war happening in the world today. People need to wake up and start questioning everything our religious and political leaders are preaching (selling.)

    April 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  14. † In God We Trust †

    ATTENTION !!!! ATTENTION!!!! 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 5:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      no one forced you to read it. so, quit your bellyachin',

      April 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      you poor, poor, put upon christians. my heart bleeds for you.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  15. mike

    It is well known that there are analogies to Christianity in
    the (older) Zoroastrian religion. Also, Genesis gives a clear
    analogy to the Christian faith with the Isaac sacrifice story,
    as well as passover. I have not heard of other pagan stories
    as mentioned in the above article. However, if there are, I don't
    see how that adds anything to the debate. I also don't see how it
    could be used to jump to the conclusion "there was no Jesus."

    April 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  16. Bootyfunk

    myth.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  17. silliness

    Kind of a cheap tactic, of CNN to make post such an offensive, and stupid story, to get more viewers to watch. the anit- christianity mentality ( assuming all of these stupid posted aren't from the same 3 people, which is most likely the case), is astonishing. The terrible things in the world are despite the blessing of christoanity- christianity is our path the being saved. Christainity is not the case. All authentic religions are pure- and we should not slander them. CNN idiots.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      It doesn't offend me, and it isn't anti-christian. There are, however, a lot of very thin-skinned folks who don't like their beliefs opened up to rational examination, it would seem.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, very pure. like the commands to kill g.a.y.s and disobedient children. more like disgusting.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      How do you define an "authentic" religion, silliness?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  18. reason

    The gods of all organized religions, if true, would all be horribly unjust and evil deities to send billions of people to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong one or being born in the wrong place. Looking at organized religion objectively, they are myths from iron age societies that were trying to explain the world, and there is virtually no chance any one is truth.

    Rationally speaking if there is a just god and an afterlife, you will be judged on how you live your life. Rejecting reason and deluding yourself in blind faith does not help your case.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4or90cmyhk&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  19. † In God We Trust †

    SANTORUM 2012 !!

    We would love you to save us from the unGodly and unbiblical bias in this country

    April 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      That ain't the responsibility of the president.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Liz the First

      The U.S. is NOT a 'Christian country,' it is a secular country where the majority of citizens are Christians. but our Founding Fathers knew the dangers of entangling the government with religion and didn't want that kind of tyranny and madness here. yes, our money references God, but that doesn't dictate whose version of God we all must follow. if you want to live in a theocracy, move to an actual one for a year and i'm sure you'll change your tune!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  20. Christians are delusional - always

    The fish symbol is the Eye of Horus. A "son" of a "god" has been a central part to thousands of different mythologies from thousands of different cultures since the dawn of recorded history.
    Jesus is just a good-sounding fable. Nothing more. If it makes you act like a nice person, than go ahead with it, but if your religion makes you treat others like an ass-hole, then you need to be stopped. This is a secular country where your religion does not and should never gain any policy dominance in our government. Ever.
    Or would you prefer Sharia Law to allow Muslims to kill anyone they want? You guys are so stupid that way.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      the U.S. is a Christian country.... just take a look at federal/state holiday, our national motto, our president(s), const.itution etc. etc.

      Our prayers goes to you. Happy Easter.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      OK, I looked at US Federal holidays. There's...Christmas. That's it. Which is rather more a secular holiday; lots of christian churches, in fact, eschew its celebration.

      Fail on your part.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Jessica

      Good Friday is a holiday in 13 states.....

      Easter Sunday has not been a federal holiday due to always falling on a Sunday, which is a non-working holiday for federal/state employees.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This is a secular country. Its Const itution is not based on religion. No one is required to believe in order to be a citizen here. The clergy do not make the laws.

      Get over it.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Christians are delusional - always

      Too bad you don't understand the importance of the rule of law. You have a Bible you never read, never follow, just cherry-pick a few verses that make you all bubbly inside and you think everything's all roses and fluffy clouds.
      Meanwhile you Christians don't do a thing towards making sensible laws but can only screech that gays are going to destroy "family values" (the ones in your head) and seek to control what other people do with their own bodies instead of treating other people kindly even to the point to ignoring the worst violence and madness in favor of some law that bans rubbers or health care for everyone.
      Jesus, if he were alive today, would be ashamed of you. The Jesus character in the Bible is clearly a Communist, but you hate to see other people getting help that YOU think they don't "deserve" and have not, according to you, "earned".
      You people are so messed up and anti-American it makes me sick to see you wrap yourselves in OUR flag when Jesus was a Communist and a religious cult leader.
      No communist cult leader deserves to be the figurehead of an open secular nation like America.
      We are secular to ensure that idiots like you HAVE the freedom to be crazy in your own head. You do not get to force anyone to conform to your particular religious laws. They are written in your Bible – YOU follow them and leave the rest of us alone.
      If being written in the Bible is not enough to get people to follow them, then trying to make federal laws out of them just shows everyone how non-existent and powerless your god really is.
      You fail. This is not a Christian country. This is a secular country with a large treasonous Christian population.
      Big difference there. But of course you are too delusional to understand. You cannot accept the truth. You are a fool.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • In God We Rust

      @In God We Trust – If you want to live in a theocracy, Iran is a good example of one. How's that working out for them? In the meantime, you live in a secular democratic republic where people of all religions and no religion at all are equal citizens. This is no more a christian nation than it is an atheist nation or a muslim nation or a buddhist nation. In fact, putting a religion before the word "nation" is a legal and federal non-seqitur as separation of church and state is the law of the land in this country.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.