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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. Mark

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

    April 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Skeptic magazine's Tim Callahan criticizing the first part of the film (on the origins of Christianity) wrote that "... Unfortunately, this material is liberally – and sloppily – mixed with material that is only partially true and much that is plainly and simply bogus. […] Zeitgeist is The Da Vinci Code on steroids."

      April 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  2. Dan89

    Everyone that says religious faith has no scientific evidence, therefore it can't be real- that's the point of religious faith. You believe in something that cannot be proven by science becuase the divine, while including science, is also beyond it. So many people say they have to have hard evidence, Well you'll never get your hard evidence. You either believe there is something beyond the ability for humans to prove, or you don't.

    Btw, I'm a Christian ( if you hadn't already guessed). I'm a very liberal one in many aspects. I believe there was quite a bit of mistranslation, exaggertation, and fabrication in the Bible. But I'm able to work past what I see as those things to what I believe is the truth. Yes, I believe Jesus was a real person. Was EVERYTHING that's said about him true? Maybe not.

    As for the realtion to the Osiris, etc. myths- ok, so what? There's a relation. That doesn't prove the story of Jesus was adopted from these myths. It gives the possibility, but there is no eye-witness account to say such-and-such writer borrowed this myth while writing such-and-such gospel.

    Now, here is where I might seem strange or stupid to some ( or many). The lack of non-Christian evidence for Jesus- Yes, I believe there is a Satan, which I believe is the embodiment of evil, negativity, etc. Satan works to drive people away from God. Since Jesus is God, Satan would do ANYTHING do get people to doubt his very existence. What better way than to destroy most secular evidence and knowledge of him? This, though a great way to get doubters of Jesus to become full-fledged Atheists, also solidifies faith in believers. When you have mostly only your religion's accounts, you have to have a strong faith to keep believing. It's a huge test.

    You may say I'm metally ill for saying this. Well, I have OCD, which makes me worry too much, but this idea ( I'm sure I'm not the first to believe it) comes from doing some long thinking. It took me throwing out some previous beliefs, yet keeping other ones. Of course this proababy won't impact many Atheists since it's a faith-based idea and not a scientific one, but, hey, I put it out there as a belief.

    I've also seen so really juvenile rebuttles from Atheists on here- 'what are you like, 5?' for example. You accuse Christians of being juvenile, yet you're also being juvenile. Way to practice what you preach. I've also seen juvenile rebuttles form Christians. You're only giving Atheists more reason to argue against you, be an adult about it.

    To people who say why does God hate amputees? Why doesn't he heal them? Did Jesus heal everyone? No. That's not the way the world works. The world is imperfect. If God made the world perfect, there'd be no need for heaven. We also don't know everything about why God does what God does. We're human, not divine.

    Hope this gave at least some of you some insight and/or more possibilties.

    PS- If I hear any immature rebuttles, they won't work on me, you're wasting you're time.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • momoya

      I think the amputee question is a good one.. People claim to be healed of headaches and the like all the time, but no amputees come forward to say they were healed.. Why?. Why does god heal some headaches, but no amputees?.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "rebuttals", dimwit.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And it's YOUR time, dear. Not "you're" time.

      Grow a brain; get an education. Until you exhibit the slightest evidence that you possess either, you are wasting YOUR time attempting to persuade me that you have a clue what you're babbling about.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  3. Freethinker Seeking Reason

    Wow, finally some truth from CNN regarding the mythological origins of the Jesus story. It's about time the news media stopped shoving the irrational woo down our throats and actually promoted critical thinking. The bible is not evidence for the existence of a sky fairy any more than a Harry Potter book is evidence for witches, and using such a work of fiction to say that Jesus definitely existed as a real man on earth carries about as much authoritative weight – NONE.

    Please, MANY more articles like this!! If we are to break the spell of religious addiction that our great country has been under all this time, it certainly starts with adults accepting the difference between reality and fiction.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Reason Free Thinker

      Oh, shut the Fk up already you self righteous ass hole.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      @ Reason Free Thinker
      Well, your alias says it all...
      A naturally defensive reaction to something challenging beliefs that lack evidence is often the first step to accepting the truth. Best of luck to you on your mental health recovery, and welcome back to the real world.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  4. Bill Kilpatrick

    When it comes to a subject as cherished and controversial as Jesus, it pays to be skeptical when dealing with anyone who claims to have the "simple truth."

    Still, there is obviously more to Jesus than what we've come to expect.

    Jesus was supposed to be the Jewish messiah, but so much of the Gospels have him criticizing the Jews while strangely silent about the Romans, who would go on to not only kill him but sack Jerusalem, raze the temple and scatter his people to the four winds. The language of the New Testament is Greek, as are most of the names. There are strange parallels, not just to Osiris-Dionysius but to Socrates and Julius Caesar.

    Rather than asking whether Jesus, himself, ever existed, a more apt question may be to what degree the New Testament reflects the overlays of non-Jewish sources. The dating of New Testament writings may not be an exact science, but the juxtaposition of harsh criticisms of the Jews and the eerily friendly stance between the Christians of the New Testament and the surrounding empire suggests that these writings, as we have them, are neither the originals nor as early as we always assumed.

    Would an earlier Gospel have been friendly to the Jews and more critical of the Romans? If not, why would the Romans employ crucifixion (the worst punishment imaginable) against a religious cleric if they didn't see him as a dangerous radical? Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah criticized the sins of their own day, but neither of them were as prolific as the Jesus of the Gospels. Even the famous turning of the water into wine is a provocative slur upon a tradition of ceremonial hand-washing, with Jesus using the very cisterns reserved for such washings as his source of water.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  5. sez

    The Hebrews make me laugh. I'm a semite. They don't even pay attention to this stuff. The nine other Semetic peoples love the hey were the choosen ones game. Even if they aren't. The Hebrews I know don't have time for this stuff.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  6. The Joker

    God was created to explain the unexplainable. Just like parents told children that babies came from the Stork because kids couldn't understand the science behind conception. It's the same thing!
    Once people stop taking the bible (and other holy books) literally, then we will finally have peace.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  7. pyne

    Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9)He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. 10"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, i will be exalted in the earth." 11)The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress Psalm 46:8-11

    April 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      The truth is we don't really care what delusions placate your anxiety, but you just cannot reciprocate....you just have to force your idiotic fantasies on the rest of us (as if you can really control what rationale people think).

      April 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Jeff

      There was a roar and a great confusion of noise.
      Fires lept up and licked the roof.
      The throbbing grew to a great tumult, and the Mountain shook.
      Sam ran to Frodo and picked him up and carried him out to the door.
      And there upon the dark threshold of the Sammath Naur,
      high above the plains of Mordor,
      such wonder and terror came on him that he stood still forgetting all else,
      and gazed as one turned to stone.

      Fire belched from its riven summit.
      The skies burst into thunder seared with lightning.
      Down like lashing whips fell a torrent of black rain.
      And into the heart of the storm, with a cry that pierced all other sounds,
      tearing the clouds asunder, the Nazgûl came,
      shooting like flaming bolts, as caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky
      they crackled, withered, and went out.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  8. Lisa

    You dont beilive me you can BURN IN HELL !!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      Yes, that is why God made Hell. It's a place to punish people for not believing Lisa.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Allen

      Hell in many pagan religion and Buddhism mean a state of extreme anger.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Lisa

      You said, "You dont beilive me you can BURN IN HELL !!!!"
      If the alternative is to spend eternity in heaven with your god and his followers, I'll gladly choose hell. Every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Sizzler

      I've been married four times. Burning in hell would be a vacation for me.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Very sadistic. I'm not into that, but thanks.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • The Silver Mine

      You should really concentrate on enjoying this life!!
      Most likely it is the only one you will live!!

      Peace

      April 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      So free to judge others and damn them with hellfire, but so indignant when your beliefs are dismissed. Do you really believe we think you have any say over whether or not someone is sent to hell. Your'e an idiot.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Dan89

      Nice to see such a loving statement from a Christian. I'm a Christian and this is EXACTLY a stereotype we need to avoid. Fire and brimstone worked in the 1200's, now it just drives people away.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      The idea that salvation is reserved for those who accept the claims of Jesus as divine are less reflective of Judaism than of the gnostic sacred-wisdom cults of the day. These groups had some sacred truth, which was given only to the elect, a truth that set free those who accepted it and damned those who rejected it.

      Judaism was based on behavior. Go through the 613 commandments of the Old Testament. Not one of them is a command regarding belief. All 613, including the directions given to temple priests, relate to actions – most of them ethical, some of them ritualistic. Nowhere in the Old Testament are people – even the enemies of Israel – condemned to a place of fire and brimstone.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • The Joker

      thank you Lisa. you have proven my point! Religious people spread hate, not love.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      Hmmnn.. Would that be Hell, Norway, or Hell, Switzerland? ...and by burn, that seems a bit too forward for strangers on the Internet you've never met, dontcha think?

      Urban Dictionary:
      7. burn
      2. v. – to infect one with a se-xually transmitted disease

      April 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  9. awasis

    Even if Aliens came down fundies would still wouldn't give up their belief in Jesus. They would say the the aliens are really devils come to trick us. This is the mind set we are dealing with here. Bind faith over common sense, no matter what.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Alien Jesus

      Yeah, we know. We started something that took on a life all it's own. Now we'll have to figure out how to undo what we've done.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Fred

      Don't waste your time waiting; there are no aliens. We here on earth are the only life in the universe. Life was created and placed here by God HImself. There won't be any aliens arriving from another planet. Don't believe that story about life originating in a puddle of ooze like the evoloonies like to talk about. There is no chemical origin of llife.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      @ Fred

      Slept through science class, eh?

      Evoloonie? Really? Are you seriously that ignorant?

      As the foundational cornerstone for the biological sciences, Evolution has a staggering MOUNTAIN of evidence, and creationism has... nothing... absolutely nothing in terms of evidence. (Remember now, books of fairy tales, including the bible, cannot be admitted into evidence.)

      – Proud evolutionist (a.k.a. one who accepts scientific evidence over dangerous delusional religious dogma)

      April 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Fred

      I didn't sleep my way through science class. I LAUGHED my way through science class.
      The whole chemical origin of life theory is totally bogus. The idea that creatures can morph over
      time into completely different life forms is totally bogus, too.
      Evoloonies? I like it. I notice that you didn't criticize that guy for using the term "fundies."
      Mountain of evidence? HAH! Evolution is an unproven theory. Sorry, dude, but that's an epic fail for you.
      After all, even Darwin converted on his deathbed.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  10. b4bigbang

    Dennis, god loves amputees, even loves you.
    As for that goofy website, the burden of proof is on the unbeliever to explain it when a miracle DOES happen. The burden of proof is not on anyone to explain why ALL are not healed.

    Oh, and btw, you and your fellow atheists will probably never have the privledge of witnessing a miracle. Don't ask me why – look it up yourself since many of your atheist cohorts often boast of knowing Scripture well.

    God does not have to come to you on your terms Dennis.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Dan-O

      Could you name one single verifiable time a miracle has happened?

      April 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jeff

      If god expects me to live my life in accordance with an ancient book, he owes me some sort of evidence.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      A verifiable miracle? I suppose i could contact the VA hosp in Texas for my medical record. Of course theyd be archived by now, seeing as how i havent been to a VA hosp in over 20 yrs, but yes, it may be possible to put together a verification.
      It wouldn't satisfy the atheists however. They would just chalk it up to some kind of incredibly rare, one in a million natural remission.
      Like i said, the atheists will prob never have the priviledge of witnessing a miracle.
      Indeed, even believers dont get a lot of opportunities.
      Hint: They're rare – that's why they're called miracles.
      But i now know that they do in fact happen – thanks be to the Lord!

      April 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Fred

      Miracles happen all the time. People don't realize it because they get tagged as "coincidence," "accident," "freak of nature," or "dumb luck." I knew an old guy who received a heart transplant back in the 70's and wasn't expected to live a year. He outlived all his doctors. Miracle? I'd say so. He had a whole church full of people praying for him. I've known people diagnosed with cancer who had their cancer literally disappear. The doctors would be mystified, amazed, and unable to explain. Yeah, miracles happen every day. We just don't get the opportunity to hear about them.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fred, if you had more sh!t in you, you'd be a cesspool. There is NO evidence that prayer does a friggin' thing. None. If prayer were effective, no one would die of cancer, you moronic azz. Do you think people don't ALL pray for a cure? For healing? For the relief of pain? For deliverance from suffering? You goddam azzholes disgust me.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Fred

      Poor Tom. I must have struck a nerve! Nice job of using profanity as a reasonable argument.
      Prayer really does change things. Miracles really do happen every day. Just because you don't
      like it doesn't make it any the less true.
      Have a blessed day!

      April 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  11. Jorel

    If I could shoot Jesus right now, I would, but shooting a pile of moldy bones wouldn't really change his followers into intelligent people. Sad how that works.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Columbus

      If you are going to shoot Jesus, remember rule #2: Double Tap.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers, yet his famous reply was, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." In the meantime, this Jewish messiah, this defender of Israel, reportedly told Pontius Pilate, "He that delivereth me unto thee hath the greater sin." In fact, the Gospel writers – who not only record Jesus as saying, of a Roman Centurion, "Greater faith have I not found, no, not in Israel!" – suggest (with a straight face) that Jews not only showed up to the trial of Jesus, demanding his death, but saying, in unison, "His blood be upon us and our children."

      What people would ever place a curse upon themselves – let alone their children? This story is one of many New Testament tales designed to convince the hearer that the Jews were bad people and that the Christians were friendly to the Romans.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  12. pyne

    Come and see the works of the LORD

    April 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Dan-O

      Yes, come and see the works of the Lord. Come to Honolulu and see the works of Jack Lord

      April 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      I will. As soon as you show me evidence of the works being of the lord.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Allen

      yes lord voldemort do good work....

      April 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  13. Jesus was a disgusting criminal and so are his followers

    Jesus was a fake, a fraud and a hypocrite and a criminal. He was a disgusting Jewish racist and supremacist.
    He was also a communist. It's all right there in the Bible, folks.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Fred

      Not sure what you've been reading, but it sure isn't the Bible.
      Try reading the Bible and not someone's interpretation of what they think it means.
      Also, read it for comprehension. It will change your liffe.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  14. pyne

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. 2)Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,3) though its water roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

    April 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  15. The Joker

    What's the difference between Jesus and a picture of Jesus?

    It only takes one nail to hang the picture!

    Happy Zombie Day!

    April 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      There is no difference. The Jesus in the picture is as made up as the Jesus in the story, neither of which are likely to reflect the actual Jesus, if an actual Jesus ever existed.

      Still, I tend to think there was an original Jesus if only because the narrative is bent over backwards to make its events work, something that wouldn't be necessary if they were simply made up out of whole cloth. It's like a bad lie. If you invented the lie, you'd have made up better facts. Instead, there are facts in this story that are being spun, which suggests that those facts were accepted as incontrovertible at the time.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  16. Rachel Johawnis

    All religions are cults
    All religions are myths

    Stop being scared to death!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  17. Leo

    Romans 1

    28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Leo

      Gods word 2000 years ago perfectly accurate still today.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  18. pyne

    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will counsel you and watch over you. 9)Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10) Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORDS' unfailing love surrounds the person who trust in him. psalm 32:8-10

    April 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things. .

    April 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Jesus talks to me. He wants me to kill again.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Fraud alert. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things, proven by the vicious liar and murdering atheist who stole the name and published a violence that only evil can promote.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!. .. ... .. ...

      April 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  20. ReBemol

    Jesus is the symbol of peace, love and forgiveness for most people and not just Christians. By questioning authenticity of Jesus, CNN is not just insulting everybody who believes in Jesus Christ and his mission to the world but also insulting peace and love and promoting war, hatred and revenge.

    Shame on you CNN and shame on the ones that fund you.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • cigarlover

      shame on you rebemo for believing in crap-shoot

      April 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      @ ReBemol

      Uhh, no. By finally getting people to engage in critical thinking, CNN, in this rare display of NOT shoveling woo down our throats, is promoting PEACE, REASON, and a FUTURE WITHOUT THE INSANITY OF RELIGION.

      Thank you CNN and all those that fund you, this time, for helping to break the spell that viral religion has inflicted upon America.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:17 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.