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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. reason

    The thing about religion is...wait. What? God? Is that you? Wow! What an honor! I'm so....whoa! You did WHAT? I never consented to that! I must have been real drunk. I'm PREGNANT?! You have no right...I don't care who you are! Mary might not have had a choice but I sure do! Well, you should have thought about that BEFORE you "filled" me with your "holy spirit." Pervert.

    Anyway...what was I saying? Oh yeah. Religion is STUPID!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Judas

      Hey God! You came up while this "kill your son" scheme, then set me up to get your son whacked, made me want to do it, put me in a position to do it, and when I do what you want so that your plan gets done, you throw me in hell and have people hate me forever? It was your fricking plan, buddy!

      Tale my word, people; you SHOULD fear God! HE is NOT a nice guy or a fair guy or a loving guy. He is a ruthless monster who uses anyone he wants and sticks the blame on them for doing what he had planned all along.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • BillyBob

      "You got it all wrong, holy man. I absolutely believe in God. And I absolutely hate the Mother F*****"

      – Riddick

      April 9, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • MandoZink

      Judas – That was always my favorite story:
      "To prove you really love me, kill your son." (Is this idiot really going to KILL his SON?)
      Now God waits until your about to do the deed.
      "Ha Ha. Just wanted to see if you would really do it! Sheesh! What an fool."

      Is that really the kind of god you would possibly want to believe in? I would have to call that god an a**hole. Truly a genuine a**hole!

      April 9, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • BillyBob

      MandoZink – Of course we all know that this is just one tiny fragment from a mountain of psychosocial evidence that "god" is just the embodiment of the human need to dominate through fear and reward. Kings need docile, fearful sheep in order to maintain their rule.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  2. Anastazio

    I got to watch my grammar here and there. Here revised and updated.

    Aezel like I said, you got Nothing!

    Billy Bob, even a child does not believe that out of nothing you get anything, and that to nothing you can dispose anything. Who now sounds ridiculous, I mean really?

    April 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • BillyBob

      Physicists believe it. They've even proven it. It's called quantum vacuum fluctuations and virtual particles. I know this means nothing to an uneducated faith jabberer like you, but hey, it's fun making your kind look stupid.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Aezel

      No, you've got nothing. What you fail to understand is, just because you say pi proves something, doesn't actually mean that is true.

      You don't even understand what the number pi is. It is a mathematical representation of a constant for circular proportions. You're too uneducated to even know what the mathematical significance of pi is so you can't even begin to use it to argue about something. The only person displaying their stupidity here is you.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • cognitively distanced

      Explain to me exactly what you mean when you say "God". Be forewarned however, I am not fishing for an answer, or a debate. My personal belief is that you neither possess the necessary language nor the near infinite amount of time, effort or mountainous evidence to achieve such a monumental undertaking. YOU are ill-equipped to prove or disprove the existence of such a thing. Your finite nature as an electrochemical being limited to the atmospheric confines of a tiny planet in a galaxy 100,000 light years across in a universe of billions upon billions of galaxies automatically disqualifies you from being a wholly incontrovertible source. Take heart however, so am I. And therein lies the problem...

      April 9, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • MandoZink

      Anastazio – Your a bit behind the scientific curve here. Physicists HAVE discovered that something can, and does, come from nothing. The quantum vacuum produces particles that DO emerge and cause effects. This is absolutely an established fact and is being observed by a variety of methods. There are a lot of things you would be surprised to find are very real.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  3. scientificpoetry

    God, Jesus, Apollo, Thor... they were all created by man. The arguments for the existence of Jesus are lame. This one in particular was really bad "The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed". There's an assumption that "the words of Jesus" in the new testament were actually words spoken by Jesus. There is absolutely no way to prove that Jesus spoke a single word in the new testament. Those words could have just as easily been written by some early christian priests or scholars. The whole thing is laughable. For some reason, people will believe anything if its written in a "religious" text.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  4. Political Gods

    I blame Zimmerman!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  5. Henry

    The disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
    He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:

    “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
    In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.
    Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

    But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. Matt 13:10-17

    April 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • BillyBob

      What a load of dung.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • MandoZink

      How do you know the Bible is true? Because it says so in the Bible stupid.
      How do you know the Bible is right? Because the Bible is the word of God.
      How do you know it's the word of God? Because it says so in the Bible.
      How do you know the Bible is true? Because it says so in the.....,
      Wait a minute here. Do I start thinking now? Is this rational? Oh wait, the Bible says I'll be tortured forever for thinking this way. Yessirree, the Bible says, blah, blah, blah .....

      Got science? Please get some. Learn logical thinking first.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  6. Zed

    "People don’t die for myths, some biblical scholars say."

    And yet, cults commits suicide to catch a ride on passing comets.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  7. PRISM 1234

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2IeOk1i5Mo&w=640&h=390]

    ONE SOLITARY LIFE
    He was born in an obscure village, the son of a peasant woman.

    He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter's shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he became a wandering preacher.

    He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of those things one usually associates with greatness.

    He had no credentials but himself.

    He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through a mockery of a trial. He was executed by the state. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

    Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind's progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • BillyBob

      Frodo!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Commenter

      ... or so the legend goes.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Gawain

      And King Arthur was raised by a wizard and pulled a magical sword out of a stone and ruled England with wisdom and valor. Lengthy stories have been written about him and his kingly court of knights.

      They are based on a possible inkling of truth that this person existed - the rest is fluff... as are your stories, PRISM 1234.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • MandoZink

      Oh yeah! I can see the positive effect on mankind. Seriously, the world would be devastatingly overpopulated by now if devout numskulls had not killed hundreds of millions over religion. Bloody belief system.
      (PS – my god can beat up your god.)

      April 9, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  8. cognitively distanced

    As an ignostic, I am under no compulsion to engage in any debate or discussion, no matter how innocuous, involving the existence or non-existence of what amounts to little more than an ill-conceived hypothesis, that is to say, that which cannot be adequately defined using esoteric language and symbolism. Simply put, I just can't relate to the idea of a "supreme being". I think it's untenable. I think the idea itself is certainly romantic, and I am open to the existential implications of inter-dimensional life forms, time travel, quantum level infinite energy potentialities, and even a universal "source" of all life. But once my curiosity becomes buffeted by religious folk-lore and theocracy, i lose all interest. I am a died in wool theological non-cognitivist, not an atheist. I don't argue the existence of things whose nature cannot be first adequately defined in any incontrovertible manner...

    April 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • BillyBob

      You are indeed cognitively distanced then, good sir. I would dare say that engaging in a discussion of fairies or orbiting teapots would leave you with sores on your buttocks from being stuck on your intellectual fence...

      April 9, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  9. Phosphorus

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCzbNkyXO50&w=640&h=390]

    April 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  10. Nii

    JHC
    I cud debate the fine points of Theology and Jewish jurisprudence with you. I am Messianic Jewish. I STUDIED THE LAW TO BECOME CHRISTIAN. I am also a Minister. If u brave enough lets go to a slower board where everybody can read our conversation. SHAAME!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • diego homans

      Now, reread what you wrote. It sounds obviously insane. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously? Or are you so far out of it that you can't even see that?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  11. Anastazio

    In regards to two of tactics that display the classic approach by atheists to dispute the obvious ( other than sticking their heads under a pillow):

    Enough with the old nonsense tactics, the mistakes of people whether within the church or outside does not disprove God ( I already spoke about evil being an emerging property of free-wil which is an emerging property of self-interest, which is an emerging property of the need for self-preservation without all of which we would not be able to function as manifestation of the Infinite, but we would be rather gears in a giant limitted robot.

    Your other tactic atheists is taking the blame game a little further. The burden of proof is to those who cannot find 1 single possible explanation to disprove the obvious. Everything you see or know of is a speck of the Infinite which has no end. That is self-evident and scientifically provable. What is between 1 and 2? What is the last digit of pi (3.14....). Okay I just proved the Infinite. Think of all the patterns in organization, think of the infinite within the microcosm and the macrocosm. Now Your turn atheists, I proved to you that the Infinite exists and has no beginning and no end. Prove to me that the Infinite came out of nothing.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • BillyBob

      Herp-a-Derp.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • BillyBob

      P.S. Look up Lawrence Krauss's "Universe from Nothing" video.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Anastazio

      I am waiting, but I got to go pretty soon, it's getting late and I have an early start.

      Is that all you got, Nothing! I thought so. To God belongs everything, glory included!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Aezel

      Only in America can someone as uneducated as you be openly proud of how uneducated and ridiculous you are. You are a living walking breathing example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Anastazio

      Aezel like I said, you got Nothing!

      Billy Bob, even a child does not believe that out of nothing you get nothing, and to nothing you can dispose nothing. Who now sounds ridiculous, I mean really?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      None of the examples you've posted prove there's some invisible sky fairy, dingus.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Aezel

      Oh also please do the world of comedy a favor: Get a video camera, and film yourself walking into a room of mathematics professors. Then explain to them that because there is a number like pi that means you "proved infinity" and that means that God had to exist to create it.

      I mean seriously, so much comedy gold.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • BillyBob

      What's between 1 and 2? Yaweh, of course. And the last digit of pi? Thor. And the set of all odd numbers? Shiva. And...

      April 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Bill

      Ok, where did God come from?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Cq

      Anastazio
      "Prove to me that the Infinite came out of nothing"
      If you are trying to imply that God is the infinite, then isn't it your job to prove how he came out of nothing?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • MandoZink

      Many recent studies show altruism has emerged as an evolutionary trait that benefits us all, even if it doesn't benefit the person who is being kind and helpful. It is part of our evolutionary advancement – being good for it's own sake helps us all. No need for belief systems that divide.
      As for your other query, the standard model of particle physics, along with the refinement of quantum mechanics and astrophysics is already answering those questions. The precision to which they have taken these disciplines is amazing! This is also responsible for a whole generation of practical devices you now rely on.
      Understanding science dismisses the need to have an unpredictable omnipotent magic being to replace lack of knowledge.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Anastazio

      Atheist : Blah Blah Blah, thor, Blah, Hercules, Blah Harry Potter...blah blah inquizition...blah, blah blah God does not exist.

      Reasonable individual: If we cannot apply math, chemistry biology and physics to our environment, and through the patterns conceive what lays beyond our limitted horizons, then whats the use of science to anything else? What is the Infinite in math anyway? It cannot exist in math without existing anywhere else. Math measures patterns. Infinite patterns. Ex. if from 0 you get 0, it is simple nonsense to say that out of nothing you get something. Every concept derives from the Infinite, every existence derives from the Infinite. God is Infinite, the Infinite is God.

      Judge people, but use your mind, which of the above approaches makes more sense.

      Aezel like I said, you got Nothing!

      Billy Bob, even a child does not believe that out of nothing you get anything, and that to nothing you can dispose anything. Who now sounds ridiculous, I mean really?

      April 9, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The only one who sounds ridiculous here is you.

      I suspect you're some high school kid. You write like one, certainly.

      Give it up, already, honey. You're not equipped.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • BillyBob

      Look up the damned video, and study some QM. Do you believe in magnetic fields? How do they work? What is a magnetic field? Where does the force come from? Magic? Or virtual photons? Yes, like it or not, things really DO come from what is commonly thought of as "nothing" and requires no "god" whatsoever. You are stupid. But that can be cured. Read a book.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Anastazio

      Tom no I am not a highschool kid, neither ill equiped neither your honey. I would lo-ve to debate millions like you but I don't have the time for useless speech inflated with air and no substance. As for my writing I would take you on a contest if it was worthy of my time.

      Cq I did not say that the Infinite came out of nothing, I said all existence forms constantly out of the Infinite, and deforms into the Infinite, (with the exception ofcourse of those who "make into heaven" become beings of higher level or lower level of existence.

      MandoZink Science cannot dismiss the need of having a beginning or end regardless what some may claim. The Infinite /God has no beginnining and no end, our scientific knowledge is just a speck ( we cannot even get rid of a simple virus for example ).

      April 9, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Anastazio

      BilLy Bob, I am not gonna stay all night to answer your questions. All fields are outcome of particle interaction. Infinite minute particles forming formations within the Infinite and deforming within the Infinite constantly. Everything that you experience, from light to sound is an outcome of particle acting upon a particle which acts on your ear drums or iris and you understand as sound or light. Wormholes are outcome of particles causing currents within the universe (whirlpools rather) save me the physics reference for I have 1 think to tell you. ALL is God.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You simpleton, you couldn't "take on" anyone. You've spouted nothing but nonsense, provided no evidence of anything, and your arrogance isn't warranted in the slightest.

      You're a muttonhead.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • BillyBob

      Anastazio – You are one messed up, new-age, mystically deluded kid. I really feel sorry for the terrible fog you are in. I hope you can somehow escape it one day. Good luck to you.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Anastazio

      Take a hike Tom Tom, all you got is a foul mouth and an empty mind filled only with the gas of your arrogance.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As if you've got anything more, Azz. Please, figure it out, dearie: you're not fooling anyone here. You are a clueless nitwit.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • MandoZink

      Anastazio – Your rudimentary understanding of physics is piecemeal and limited. Boy, if you ever achieve a comprehensive understanding of particle physics, combined with some quantum theory and cosmology, you would be delighted at the advancement in perspective you would get. Unfortunately, there would be a crisis in your belief system for a short while, but you would then be armed with the understanding to face it. Good luck! It won't hurt as much as you think. It's an epiphany!

      April 9, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Anastazio

      Billy Bob another known tactic is to try to patronize me (what is this a school yard?), I am no New age, neither a kid. I believe in the Bible and in Christ. I believe in God. You have a problem with the scientific proof that I have provided, after you had accused me that I have no scientifc grasp whatsoever, you have no answers and now you are doing the twist. The problem with you atheists is that you accuse those who you call "fundies" of what you first and foremost are guilty off, narrowmindedness. You reason, if God exists then science is wrong, and there is no way around it. I simply say, that science, or rather what limited understanding we have of it, exists as part of the Infinite, as is the case with everything else. Evolution took place, because God made it happen, but the Bible could not explain evolution to those that would not understand it. The story depicted in Genesis was easier to grasp.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What you don't get, Annie, is that the key word here is "belief". You "believe" in Christ and in God. You have no proof of their existence whatsoever.

      None. Your attempts to 'prove' what can't be proven are just silly.

      The fact that we do not yet know how the universe came into existence, and that we may never know, is not proof of any invisible being acting as puppet-master. It simply isn't.

      Just because we cannot explain something is not proof that 'goddidit.'

      That you continue to insist it is is what makes you look like an ignorant boob.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And really, knock it off with the "known tactics", as if there were some sort of 'conspiracy' among atheists and agnostics, Annie. That, too, is silly. Atheists aren't using 'tactics'. They're making sound arguments in many cases. You just don't like the arguments they're making.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Anastazio

      MandoZinc Thank you for your wish. Here is a question for you. Have we ever actually managed to see an atom other than what a computerized photograph depicts? Let alone q quark or a super- duper string. There is science and there is logic. Imagination is the means to grasp the ideas, and logic and judgemental ability the means to distill knowledge from what we have mined with our imagination. But we also need to put our hypothesis to the test. We got to be able to take hold of and actually see. We can only see, what our microscopes and telescopes allow us to see. Even then what we see is an outcome of light effect and result ( bending, refracting, electron energy level jumb etc. ), let alone take hold off. The Truth will always be infinitely away, and we will only be able to understand what the Infinite God allows to be revealed to us.

      Good luck to you too.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Anastazio

      Tom I did not speak of a puppet mover, I spoke of the Infinite based on the fact that nothing else would make sense of existing if it was not formed out of The Infinite. If you say a puppeteer God was formed out of the Infinite. I would call such a God a representative of, or an organization representing THE God, the Infinite, and I would not call that God a puppeteer but an administrator this side of the Infinite. But to say that a superior being/energy/intelligence does not exist, is like saying that the Infinite does not exists, which would mean that neither would we, and then how would we be able to hold ourselves up till 1:00 AM, having this conversation. The reason I believe in the Bible is because at some point said God would make an appearance and would not let an impostor do so and deceive the world. So either the God of the Bible is the Infinite, or a representing Force. God whoever He or said Force may be, revealed Himslef to humanity as Christ,as foretold by the prophets. But to say that God does not exist, is to say that a superior Force/Intelligence/Energy does not exist, therefore an Infinite Force/Intelligence/Energy would not exist and that would be like saying that you and I do not exist, or that the Universe came out of nowhere and will be disposed to nowhere, which is impossible.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • MandoZink

      Anastazio – I just don't understand why you need a god to accept infinite. Personally, with my science background I can conceptualize in ways that make religious stories, heaven and such, seem unbelievably insignificant and small-minded compared to the amazing vastness of the universe that we know about so far. And we haven't even begun! You also seem to dismiss things because they are too small to see without understanding HOW physicists detect them. Particle physics, for one, has proven accuracies from 10 to 100 decimal places, with experiments repeated over and over to extraordinary precision! If something in science seems a little weird to me, I do research. I don't plug GOD into the missing data. I seek a better comprehension of the subject matter. It NEVER fails me.
      P.S. – I had 12 years of an excellent religious education. It made me think..., and I never stopped thinking.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Annie, you just don't get it. You have NO evidence that a god created anything. Just because you don't know what happened to cause the universe to be does not mean that there is a god behind it.

      What is wrong with you?

      A few centuries ago, people didn't know what caused infection. People thought the sun revolved around the earth. How do you know that 200 years from now a scientist won't discover how the universe began? And even if that doesn't happen, it does NOT follow that "it MUST have been God."

      You are incredibly dense.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  12. Bill

    If no one was taught religion until they were adults there probably wouldn't be any.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • caesarbc

      they would just make the sign of a fish in the sand to entice you into their little group.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      If no one was taught religion until they were adults there probably wouldn't be any.

      You're wrong, Billy-boy!
      My post bellow (April 8 at 11:34) could enlighten you!

      April 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  13. New religion

    I am the new mesias, please join me and lets build the newest church on earth, if you join us in the following 30 days you will have the best condos in heaven, great view to Saint peter and God yards. We will also have 40 virgins if you are male and a non stop shoping bouthique if you are a women (no limit on purchases). No guilt, no pain, no hell.

    Suscriptions will be limited just for half of the world population, hurry up, if you are interested let me know and get your credit card available (dont worry we will be by far the cheapest option to believe in god), also new ideas are accepted. TRUE NEW RELIGION. NOT B.S. ANCIENT CRAP

    April 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Bill

      Ok, you say you're open for new ideas. Would it be possible to have the 40 virgins (and they don't have to prove they're virgins) before we leave for heaven?

      April 9, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  14. BillyBob

    To anyone who values truth, honesty, and integrity: Give up your faith. Faith is the way of the blind. The way of the willfully ignorant. The way of those who would impose beliefs as fact in order to control the weak and vulnerable. Seek the way of light in reason and science. Wake up to the true wonder of the universe. It can be a difficult journey, but it is worth all of the hollow promises of religion x10^100.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  15. Jt_flyer

    Let's start showing Jesus as a dark, big nosed, Middle eastern man and let's see how many southerners object. . Blond hair blue eyes... Jesus was a Viking? Look at any man walking through the streets of Iraq and you'll see the image of Jesus. His appearance hasn't changed much in 2000 years.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Bill

      Jt_flyer

      That was cold son. Are you trying to start something?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Snow

      unfortunately, truth is a bitter pill that not many would like to swallow.. truth is that, you show an olive skinned person and say this is how jesus would have looked, half of the currently faithful believers would throw stones at him.. sad racist world..

      April 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Cq

      Snow
      The really sad thing is that if Jesus really were to return many Christians would reject him because they imagine him to be just like them.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  16. Nii

    JHC
    What u r doing is intellectually dishonest. The Laws are very specific. Each with its own punishment. Almost all the ritual laws have no punishment let alone the death penalty. In Lev24:10-14 there is nothing about mixed cropping. Mixed cropping ban is a separation law not even punishable.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  17. caesarbc

    If you cannot tolerate another persons religion or form of belief, what hope have you for humankind?
    Tolerance is something special that many Americans should learn about as they struggle still with racism and warfare rationale.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Cq

      Religion is a difference in opinion and, while we can tolerate people having different opinions, we don't have to agree with them, right?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Bill

      Americans? What about all the other humans on the planet?

      April 9, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  18. NorthVanCan

    No credible sources say jesus existed , except the bible of course .
    Every one knows theres a little red guy with pointy ears living in the centre of the planet.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Lamparo

      You have no idea of the power and intelligence that the enemy that you must face have, and that is very dangerous for you. Your enemy is well pleased that you have such a concept of him, because it makes you more vulnerable to his deception. Without the help of God you will surely be defeated.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  19. PRISM 1234

    Did you know that if the Name of Christ Jesus was never written in any book, and no one ever heard of it, the witness of the Spirit of God would still testify of Him, and the truth He taught and proclaimed is already imprinted on every human heart, so that when they are confronted with it, they KNOW it, unless they in the pride of their hearts have silenced their consciences, numbing them to the point that they make themselves to beleive a lie?!

    There have been cases where people never heard teaching of Christ, and never heard His Name. Yet, when they were told about Him, hearing His teachings, their response was: " I knew Him, I just didn't know His Name."

    You see, people this is the way God deals with men(kind). He deals according to what is our hearts! Because He gave His Son to redeem us, and has imprinted His laws on our human consciences that we may KNOW, no one will have an excuse.
    So, How much more and severe will be the judgment for those who knew and had every chance , but in pride of their hearts they spurned and refused Him! !?

    April 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • BillyBob

      Yep. If you don't FEEL THE SPIRIT yer doin' it wrong dontcha know?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Cq

      And much fear leads to the dark side of the force. :-)

      April 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Bill

      Maybe, or maybe you ate chili and it was heartburn.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  20. b4bigbang

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: "Hey, if you can't produce it or find it, it doesn't exist, moron."

    Hey fallacy spotter which fallacy did ole queen tom just commit?
    So, by your logic, Pulsars did not exist until they were discovered???
    hahahahahahahaha and on and on........................

    April 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Cq

      And by your logic many gods even more powerful that your God could exist, but are just waiting to be discovered.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, if you can produce proof that such a post exists and that I wrote it, go right ahead.

      If you can't, then you had best recant.

      Don't attempt to get into law school, dear.

      As if that were ever a possibility.

      Did you read the post in response to your accusation, dumbazz? Here, let me show you just how it works. Watch!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      You're in way over your head Tom, er i mean your other handle Cq.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Sorry, I apologize for my abject ignorance and incredible stupidity. I can only plead for mercy. I am a total loser who never got laid by anyone and it makes me act crazy on the internets.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Oh, look, I did it again. I am such a jerk. Sorry, folks. I'll admit I'm just fascinated by gay s3x and it gets me all excited to picture other posters having intercourse with those of the same gender. I'm infantile that way.

      Oh, and I'm also too stupid to know when I've been had.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:58 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.