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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. Voice of Reason

    Who or what created god?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • riddick51pb

      God, by definition, is not created. If God had to be "thought up" or "created", then you don't have a God.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @riddick51pb
      "God, by definition, is not created."

      By definition? Who's definition?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • The Amazing Insights of Boble Bob, Knight of Infallibillibabbity

      All things must have a creator, so God must have his own god who is even godier that he is, and that God must have a creator God who is even godier than that. And so on, forever.

      Makes perfect sense.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • keyser

      So how come this Jesus never condemned slavery in a world where one out of every three persons was a slave? How come no one even knows what this person even looked like (assuming of course that this person really existed in the first place)?
      The idea of resurrection was common in the ancient world and so were mythological characters like Jupiter and Zeus. Why do so many humans still retain stone age beliefs? Why don't we grow up and be responsible for ourselves and our planet?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  2. It Just Doesn't Make A Damn Bit Of Sense!

    So let me get this straight: God wanted to save humanity and free us from our ins, so he has to concoct this weird scheme involving creating a "son" on Earth to wander around and teach a sporadic and incomplete revelation, then get captured and killed so that the death somehow takes away the sin? The guy who can't die acts like he dies in a "sacrifice" that means nothing because he doesn't really die and he knew he wouldn't, and then he reanimates and then vanishes?

    Why didn't God just take away sin without this strange bit of theater? Why did God do it in a Middle Eastern backwater instead of everywhere? Why didn't God do it millions of years ago? Why didn't God make humans sin-free and totally virtuous to start with, instead of the flawed beings he perfectly created? Why did God create so many repugnant laws in his old book, then not really remove them in his new book? Why does God demand we all go by faith alone when he provide all his key players evidence through miracles or visitations or the like?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      YOU REALLY NEED TO GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL AND LEARN ABOUT FREE WILL ETC.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      BECAUSE GOD LOVE DENIERS LIKE YOU INSPITE OF YOUR DISBELIEF.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Huh?

      Typing in all caps is considered yelling and rude, show us your not an idiot and follow the etiquette of the internet.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "BECAUSE GOD LOVE DENIERS LIKE YOU INSPITE OF YOUR DISBELIEF."

      Total crap, it's why your bible says they go to hell. You are an idiot.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • One one

      Because the way the story is told now gets better ratings.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Faithful

      God made a Covenant with the Jews His children. He gave God's laws but they, being human , and not believing what they couldn't see – He sent His Son in human form that we COULD see.

      His Son suffered every minute of His scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying the Cross on a back that had been cut to ribbons and being nailed to the Cross. Of COURSE He died. But God – as He had promised, brought Him back to life to prove that through death we have a chance of everlasting happiness in Heaven.

      God, through Jesus made the original Covenant with the Jews into Catholicism. Catholic meaning universal. He died for ALL men. All they have to do is accept Him.

      As for the 10 Commandments, for centuries, nation's Laws were based on them. Some still are [Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not bear false witness [perjury]. I'll bet the only ones you think are repugnant are the fornication and adultery ones? They're usually the ones!

      April 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • ttwp

      Incomplete revelation? Jesus Christ is the revelation.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      SORRY ICANT AFFORDS A NEW KEYBOARD ALLCAPS IS STUCK! I'M WHISPERING...

      April 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  3. marquette

    This debate is framed so negatively for the Christian believer–it is NOT man vs myth–it is human vs divine–Jesus is NOT just another myth as he is a living God for his many believers.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • momoya

      Well, it saves time to call Jesus a myth since nobody can prove that it was anything more than that.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Faithful

      Bless you Marquette. Lovely post.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • marquette

      A revealed truth does not require proof, only faith. God reveals this internal truth ad infenitum, ad nauseum until mankind gets it. We need to treat each other with respect and kindness, even if we believe differently so that we can survive as a species.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • momoya

      And god obviously isn't "revealed truth" since every other person on the planet believes in a different god with a different theology.. Why is god such a bad communicator that his believers think differently about him? That's not how math or chemistry work.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • marquette

      Actually, that is kind of the point of a revealed truth–it speaks to the individual in a way that the individual can understand.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • momoya

      So god is the author of confusion? Hmm.. It seems like it would be pretty cool if all the people who claim to know about god described the same being who wanted the same things.. It's beginning to seem like god is just like an opinion.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • marquette

      Man is the autor of confusion because of his imperfect understanding of life, the universe and everthing, including math and science. Don't blame God because we come to a better understanding as we improve.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  4. Ting

    Happy Easter everyone. The day we celebrate the resurrection of David Koresh.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  5. 1word

    Atheist please explain why Humans live and dies. Explain why we are more intelligent than all other animals on this planet. Explain whey we have eyes to see, a nose to smell, and ears to hear. Explain there's no creator. READY SET GO!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It's called evolution. Try reading-up on it.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • OhPlease

      LOL! You realize your just making your kind look really, really dumb. It might help if you actually studied science. LOL!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • momoya

      1word

      Nobody knows those things; some people claim to know and perpetuate unprovable myths.. It's okay to say you don't know.. It's better than imagining sky daddy fairies and unicorns and magical, creative words and all that.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • 1word

      LOL, So Evolution evolved us into intelligent beings? Why haven't all the other animals evolved into Humans? It's not me that look stupid, it's the people who claim there's no God but can't explain the awesome things God created in this world. God is the BIG BANG!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Ting

      Evolution. Next question.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • momoya

      The big bang is god?!? Wow, did you know that the big bang is pushing all objects further and further apart and that will cause a cold, lonely death for every molecule, atom, and electron–a very, very slow, cold death.. What a jerk.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Huh?

      "God is the BIG BANG!"

      So what created your god?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @1word

      Educate yourself.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Allen

      We live because DNA was create by random radiation that convert some ammo acid protean to change to DNA in the ocean. We die because of cellulose decay. As we grow, our cell produce weaker weakling version of them self. Therefore we need other DNA to start a new tree of DNA that will reset cell decay. That why incest is bad. We have eye, because the sun bounce light to reflect our body and after x amount of year the body adept to gain eye, same with hear. It the same reason why black are black, because they adept to black to avoid skin cancer. Chaos theory explain no creator.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Look 1word/just sayin/all the rest of you, you do a lot better when you just post your "prayer works" things and ignore calls for evidence. When you crawl out of you spiderhole and dare to put your "thoughts" out there, well, WOW! You are severely challenged intellectually.

      I mean, it is really fun and funny to watch you say these wild and weird lies, but part of me feels sorry for you.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • keyser

      We die because of entropy. Entropy says that something with a high degree of order will slowly over time dissipate into disorder. Our cells are designed to only divide so many times. We are born as a result of a biological process that sometimes is called a genetic exchange. Both birth and death are a natural process and do not involve a god or gods. However, I have two questions for you. What came before this god and where was this god in Auschwitz.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • milob

      Careful there, Keyser: I'm sure you didn't mean to say cells were DESIGNED, did you?.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Not quite

      Actually, entropy refers to energy states in thermodynamics, not decay in nature. It's a very technical and difficult to understand concept that has been greatly misused, so try to avoid using it.

      In general, your main point is fine.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • otto

      You go first.....READY, SET......MAKE STUFF UP...

      April 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      1word: Explain why creator is synonymous with "god". READY SET GO!

      April 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  6. JA

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

    Um, actually, Osiris did die; was murdered by his brother Set and cut up into 14 pieces that were scattered across Egypt. Isis them goes and collects the pieces, sews them back together, and brings Osiris back to life.

    And while he didn't die to get there, Hercules briefly went into Hades.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  7. US2012

    This is by now a NON STORY. In 2012 years no single human has proven that God/Jesus does not exist. The faith will go on...

    April 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      The burden of proof lies with the believer, not the unbeliever. Or are you saying everything exists until it is proven not to exist?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • some0779

      This is by now a NON STORY. In 2012 years no single human has proven that God/Jesus does exist. The faith will go on unproven...

      There you go, fixed that for you.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • otto

      In 2012 years no single human has proven that God/Jesus does exist. The faith will go on...unfortunately.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • US2012

      Faith is different than science. As a 3 year old baby, you had faith that your Mom would feed you. Science cannot determine that factor, thus we all have faith.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  8. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgpu_4LiKLA&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  9. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHbi97GMCf0&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  10. flashtrum

    Oh yeah – like I said I am no longer a believer, but CNN – I'LL BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE ATTACK PIECE ON MUHAMMED DURING THE NEXT IZZLAMIC HOLIDAY. (hoping my misspelling gets through)
    I don't believe anymore, but I also don't get why there is a war on Christianity that you will NEVER see on the world's other major religions.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      BUT THEY WONT SAY CHIT ABOUT THE JOOS AND THEIR SATANIC RELIGION...

      April 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      But CNN didn't "attack" Jesus. It's only your misanthropic interpretation of what was written.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Hey

      You dude stop screaming it makes you look like the jerk you are, all caps is just rude!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  11. 1word

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    †† Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator ††

    April 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • OhPlease

      Obviously you are not a Christian with all those lies. It's hysterical to such hypocrites posting on this blog.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Buckhippo

      In the name of God, humans have killed each other. In the name of God, more governments have been corrupted. In the name of God, there will always be division and hate among fellow humans (your God is wrong but mine is right). The truth is that religion is divisive and is a method of mind control. So I understand and feel pity for you who's mind is, well, controlled.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders."

      That's why religion has killed more people on this planet than anything else. Keep showing that Christians can't even follow their own rule book. What a hypocrite.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Valval

      Hey, you forgot to include some meaningless scriptures from the Bible. Your list shows a great deal of ignorance-you might want to look at facts before you post comments... oh, wait. You don't do facts. Never mind.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • migeli

      Wrong on all counts.You have to have the mind of a two yesr old to believe a book as stupid and hateful as the bible.Pick up some Superman comics a guide to Truth Justice and the American way.They will do you more good than a book that tells you to sacrifice animals,slay members of another group including the women and children.Wonderful stuff.Is that what you call intelligent design?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • One one

      Atheists don't tell children that god sends them to h e l l to be tortured forever for not believing as they do.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      Well, at least we know what "1word" stands for: Liar. Not one single truth in any of this.

      Your "god" must be so proud of you...

      April 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  12. Peteyroo

    I believe in unicorns. Those who don't accept my beliefs are going to hell. Hell is full of fallen unicorns–Mules! They are kicking mules. Like it or not, I have the power to send you to my hell (the afore-mentioned kicking mules). You must accept my beliefs!!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  13. Pearnel

    Hell was prepared ONLY for the enemy and so heaven will be my home and yours too and all those who choose to follow Jesus. All I can say undoubtedly is Jesus loves you very much!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • momoya

      So Jesus loves everyone, but not enough to save nonbelievers from his daddy's eternal torture chamber?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      If Jesus loves me, why does he want to send me to hell?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • ttwp

      God doesn't send anyone to hell. Each person can accept or reject the free gift of God. Eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. God can't force anyone to accept His Son. So in the end those who reject God and want nothing to do with Him are given what they have asked for....eternal separation from God.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  14. flashtrum

    "Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed." Huh? I was raised Christian but no longer consider myself to be one. The word and the man – Christ – is the foundation of the belief – so how could one identify themselves as Christian but no believe in the central figure?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  15. DeeCee1000

    The "resurrection of Jesus is symbolic of the Season of Spring after everything dies in the winter and is "reborn" again in the Springtime. Other religions, long before Christianity celebrated the coming of Spring in similar ways and had "gods" that were resurrected.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  16. Cliff D

    This network censored my response, not because I used foul language, or was crude or attacked people. No, it was simply because I called them out for having this type of anti-Christian forum at Easter. Hypocrites!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • OhPlease

      CNN did no such thing. It's filters that are doing that through a company called Word Press. LOL.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqWK6IyBrbA&w=640&h=390]

      April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Huh? How is this article "anti-Christian"? Don't you want to know the truth?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • sick of republican phonies

      I KNOW! They have people reading the hundreds of thousands of posts they get and they have orders to censor ALL the christian responses! That's why you never see a response from a christian anywhere! Only people that worship satan get through. Oh, and you, too.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Helpful

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".
      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      ––
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      - I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      s-ex
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      an-al......ban-al
      sh-it
      fu-ck...
      who-re
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      pr-ick
      sl-ut
      c-lit
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      hor-ny
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      nip-ple
      po-rn
      c-ock
      nig-ger
      cu-nt
      b-itch
      ra-pe
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      Sna-tch
      soft-ware
      Ja-panese
      Span-king
      hoo-ters
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  17. Patti

    If Jesus really lived and was performing miracles witnessed by the masses, why isn't there one letter, writing or note in existence written when the supposed Jesus lived describing any of the miracles that are attributed to him?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      YES. MATTHEW MARK LUKE AND JOHN TO START WITH.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "YES. MATTHEW MARK LUKE AND JOHN TO START WITH."

      The bible has been shown not to be a historical book, try again.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      WHO SHOWED THAT? THE BOOKS ARE LETTERS IDIOT.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • god loves to get rimmers

      cmon now!!!!!!!!!!
      dont throw facts into a religious discussion!!!!!!
      that is just hitting below the belt!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Not really

      Actually,scholars do not think that Mark, John, Luke or Matthew were eyewitnesses. They probably got their account from the same source, and John got his from some different source.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Patti

      Not written till years after all the miracles supposedly happened. And once again how about all the masses that witnessed miracles. why did not ONE of thousands write about it at the time it happened. How about one secular sourceat the time it was supposed to have ACTUALLY happened? good luck.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Cliff D

      Because a) most of the writing was done by the elites and the establishment, and b) most of what was written was incorporated into the New Testament.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "WHO SHOWED THAT? THE BOOKS ARE LETTERS IDIOT."

      Thanks for showing what an idiot you are. LOL!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • 1word

      lol ignorance is Bliss! Read the Bible and you'll see the examples of his miracles. He died on the Cross to allow you to have everlasting life, accept him and really mean it and watch his miracle wash your sins away and change you into a new person.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      You're right, Patti. Jesus wrote absolutely nothing. These idiots are talking about his acolytes/disciples.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Patti

      your right peteyroo, besides none of the throngs of witnesses writing home about what they saw, not one word from Jesus. Hmmmm....

      April 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Mike

      Patti if you would stop and read the bible you would see that he did great things all the time. I'm just thinking atheism people are not happy till everyone around them are not happy.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "I'm just thinking atheism people are not happy till everyone around them are not happy."

      This is the lie Christians have to tell themselves to justify their beliefs but I hate to burst your bubble, we are happy.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • otto

      I am far happier now that I have realized I am not guilty for something someone supposedly did thousands of years ago and I know I dod not have to live wondering if I am going to pass some test when I die.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  18. Alex

    god (sic) is a myth. Deal with it.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • EatS

      God is a Myth, a belief.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Mike

      You are wrong. He was real its so sad that people are so blind to faith.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  19. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7N-k1FWMEE&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  20. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPFn76lQa0Y&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 8:31 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.