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Atheist group removes billboards targeting presidential candidates' religious faith
American Atheists says it took down billboards critical of the candidates' religions in Charlotte, North Carolina, after threats.
August 27th, 2012
09:55 AM ET

Atheist group removes billboards targeting presidential candidates' religious faith

By Dan Gilgoff and Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - An atheist group that raised a pair of billboards taking aim at the presidential candidates’ religion at the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention has pulled the signs after what the group called a “large volume of threats.”

The billboards, sponsored by American Atheists, took aim at Mormonism and Christianity and went up this month in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will play host to the Democratic convention.

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and President Barack Obama is also a Christian.

The billboard targeting Christianity featured an image of Jesus Christ on toast and this description of the faith: "Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of ‘Truth,’ Promotes Hates, Calls it ‘Love.’ ”

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The billboard targeting Mormonism lambasted - and, Mormons would say, distorted - specific Mormon doctrines: "God is a Space Alien, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry.”

The Mormon billboard featured a man in white underwear, a reference to special Mormon garments.

American Atheists said the billboards provoked a “large volume of threats” by phone and e-mail and that the group reported the threats to police.

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

“It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,” Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ managing director, said in a statement last week.

“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny - and this includes religion in all forms,” Knief said. “We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats and hate speech against our staff, volunteers and Adams Outdoor Advertising.”

American Atheists had wanted to put the anti-Mormon billboard in Tampa, Florida, to coincide with this week's Republican National Convention.

When no billboard company in the city would lease the group space for such a sign, American Atheists President David Silverman said the organization decided to focus solely on the Democrats in Charlotte.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Politics

soundoff (1,780 Responses)
  1. Andrew Kilian

    Atheists aspire to rationality and yet these Atheists put up signs where they just alienate people through ridicule. This isn't technically scrutiny, it's just slinging mud. It doesn't win any allies, where's the rationale in that?

    August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Will

    Did the Threats come from respectable Mormons and Christians?

    How nice of them.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Will,

      I'd go out on a limb and suggest that the threats came not from Catholics or Mormons, but born-again Carolina rednecks.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • truth be told

      Or there were no credible threats at all.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @tbt,

      I thought you asserted that "people of courage" were responsible?

      So which is it?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • truth be told

      Trying to find inconsistency? You won't, there were no threats, the people of courage never threatened, they prayed and the filth came down. So called atheists quake in fear before Gods power.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  3. Eliot

    Have you seen this? The Democrats scheduled a two hour MUSLIM prayer meeting to open the convention, featuring radical pro-Sharia, anti-America Muslim speakers. "In particular, the [Democrat Convention] will target...anti-Shariah sentiment." Oh, but the president isn't Muslim. He just observes Muslim Holy Days, follows Muslim diet restrictions (off camera), calls the Koran a "Holy" book, and orders the Democrat Convention to open with a 2-hour Muslim prayer meeting with radical Muslims who want American wiped off the map. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/dnc-announces-2-hour-islamic-jumah-prayers-after-rejecting-cardinals-blessing-and-you-wont-believe-whos-invited/#

    August 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  4. I think maybe

    we should be praying for these folks. It's one thing to not believe...that's fine. But to speak the things they do....that's evil. Arguing with them will only drag you down.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      pehaps they took their lead from the christian billboards threatening non believers with hell

      August 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What exactly makes it "evil"? The fact that you believe in a fairy tale and you don't like it when someone points that out?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • I think maybe

      your name is funny....but now every time I read the Sermon on the Mount, I'm going to be thinking 'cheesemakers'

      August 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      It's not to be taken literally, it means blessed are all manufactures of dairy products...

      August 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • nojinx

      You pray for them, they will think for you.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  5. TooLogical

    To I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
    That's just the way you justify your actions by fabricating your own fairytales and thinking no one is as logical as you. What an ass.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TooLogical,

      I never claimed any evidence, but where is the fallacy?

      Do you claim there are no rednecks with shotguns and pick-up trucks who might likely behave in such a manner in North Carolina?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  6. TooLogical

    "Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil. It is pointless." Any questions? Ask God.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I did ask god.

      He did not reply and his followers just spew inane bs like what you wrote. It sounds interesting at first but really has no substance.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • I think maybe

      Hey Cheesemaker(lol)...ask Him again, with real intent, and I promise you he will answer. peace.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So you are implying that I didn't do it right. That is such a lame and self-rightious argument, not to mention completely arrogant.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • I think maybe

      it does sound that way I guess...sorry. No harm meant.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • nojinx

      Or Allah. Allah should know too.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Atheism is the natural state of all living things

      It takes a closed mind to ignore the various reasons not to believe in something without evidence. For one, where do you stop? How do you know where to draw the line?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Yahwey

      Sorry......I don't give out my telephone number.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  7. Reality

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter

    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
    – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
    4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
    7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
    8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
    joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
    9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
    10.The Gnostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
    by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
    11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Presented on March 18, 1994
    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
    12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
    wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
    13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
    faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

    August 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • ....

      STAMP OUT BULL SH IT AVOID REALITY POSTS

      August 28, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Reality

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this chaotic, stochastic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-garies of its local star.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • ....

      WHAT IS REALITY SAYING? I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND IT

      August 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  8. Bambino03mingus

    Wow! Republicans and Democrats can agree on 1 thing, these people are pitiful. Speaking of Pitiful, what's up with your spelling PRISM1234? Whoa! Somebody needs a spell check button.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  9. geenabeana

    This is terrible. Apparently Atheist groups are not allowed freedom of speech. Sure there may be other ways to get your message across than how this group approached it, but in the end, it seem religious groups have proven their point for them on some level. Our culture needs to get a grip! I tend to think there are far more nonbelievers in our country than people want to accept. However, we are still a minority in the sense that it's all religions against nonbelievers, and we all know how most minority groups are treated in this country. It's disgusting that threats have been made. Is it because these religious groups don't want their brainwashing undone? I fail to see how these billboards are "attacking" but rather stating someone's opinion and them showing how ridiculous some beliefs looks from another point of view. Did someone get too close to the truth?

    August 28, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      They are allowed freedom of speech, what they apparently lack is the courage of their convictions.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • geenabeana

      Ok, but is it worth serious injury or death just to get a message across? I am sure they had to also look out for the well-being of their members and the ad agency's staff. I think that's just very tragic.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @billdeacons,

      since the threats also include Adams Outdoor Advertising one could assume that is unreasonable to allow their business property or personnel to suffer harm as a consideration, rather than idicting the 'courage of their convictions'.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • truth be told

      The bottom line is the filth is gone. Those signs had all the charm and intent of dog waste. Many walk around it, atheists ate it but people of courage cleaned it up.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yeah people of courage like red necks in Joplin who more than likely burned down a mosque in the middle of the night.

      People of courage who (I would guess) threatened to destroy the property of a private business in the middle of the night.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • truth be told

      Better a smoldering pile of ash and rubble than an idolatrous mosque and better an open field than a blasphemous billboard. People of faith brought down the garbage, not some unidentified threats.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • This is terrible

      Since when is hate speech freedom of speech? Can't anyboby be 'anti' without ridiculing? Plus, they should have to prove they got death threats.....sounds like something they would make up just to make the Christians look bad...it's what they live for it seems.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • geenabeana

      I would image they did have proof since they reported it to officials. Just because they didn't share the specific threats with the media doesn't mean they didn't receive the threats.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No one said anything about death threats specifically, though that would not surprise me either.

      Destruction of Adams Outdoor Advertising property is (in my opinion) a more probable threat, plus (I suspect) a lot of personal abuse to the receptionist who had to take the annonymous calls.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  10. Mr.Aware

    Another victory for Free Speech and Separation of Church and State! (sarcasm intended)

    Mr.Aware
    I read The Wary Lemming – so should YOU

    August 28, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  11. bstump

    Mormonism and Christianity are not the same. If you're going to write an article about it, at least be a decent journalist and get your facts straight.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Colt

      The point isn't that they're identical, its that they are both belief systems.
      To an athiest there is no relevant difference between Mormanism and Christianity; the popularity of the cult is irrelevant.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Colt, the fact that you discern no difference only indicates the depth of your inquiry.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • nojinx

      He did not say he discerned no difference. He claimed the discerned difference has no relevance to an atheist.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  12. Jesus Christ

    Well the board got the part on Mormonism right! Too bad people don't know what a vile corporate scheme mormonism REALLY is.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  13. Justin

    If Christians are so sure in their faith than they shouldn't care what someone says on a billboard, Christians are always looking for an argument. They remind me of butthurt teenagers who didn't get a new car for their sweet 16.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Anonymous

      We're offended, how about I go and say: Christianity is better than you! Atheists are stupid! Darwin was an unemployed so his book was just for the money!

      August 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Anonymous,

      I have one of those about 2 miles from my house and they are so common no one even comments. Being told on a sign that I should expect to go to hell for not sharing christians same belief is a daily treat.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • truth be told

      Well then toss in a few bucks and we all will rent a billboard near your house that says Justin is an ass hole.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • nojinx

      That is the great thing about evolution: it would exist whether or not Darwin formed a theory around it.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  14. Billy O

    The true light of the world is reason, logic, and science all of which are evolving the opposite of religious beliefs.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • DC

      Well said.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • John G

      Which is why the atheists found it best to represent the broad spectrum of Christian belief with Jesus on a piece of toast.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • nojinx

      Mmmmmmm. Toast of the Savior.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  15. Gypsy

    This is why the billboards were taken down.
    American Atheists announced today that the billboards the organization had placed in Charlotte, NC, ahead of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, criticizing Christianity and Mormonism would be coming down weeks early.

    “It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ Managing Director.

    “No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny—and this includes religion in all forms,” Ms. Knief said. “We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats, and hate speech against our staff, volunteers, and Adams Outdoor Advertising.”

    Teresa MacBain, American Atheists’ Public Relations Director said, "It saddens me to think that our country is not a safe place for all people to publicly question religious belief. How can we grow as a nation when such censorship exists from our own citizens?"

    The billboards are scheduled to be removed by the end of day Thursday, August 23, 2012.

    For more information contact:

    Amanda Knief, Managing Director—American Atheists; 908-276-7300, x9; aknief@atheists.org
    Kathleen Johnson, Vice President—American Atheists; kjohnson@atheists.org

    August 28, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • bill walker

      It's a triumph of terrorism / bigotry over the first amendment.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  16. Rundvelt

    > (CNN) – An atheist group that raised a pair of billboards taking aim at the presidential candidates’ religion at the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention has pulled the signs after what the group called a “large volume of threats.”

    Can the christians and mormons at least agree that the people who issued these threats are not in fact in line with your religion?

    Also, I'm wondering why people would think threats would be a moral thing to do. It seems to me it's not unlike how the Taliban prevents the majority of girls from going to school. Threats.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Yeah, it's really not at all like the Taliban.

      But to answer your question, I definitely think it is immoral to issue threats even if it is not something you intend to carry out. Perhaps it would have been more prudent to publish this article after hearing whether or not any changes will be laid. As it stands we're only really hearing the complaints from this atheist group who don't sound like theyre particularly wise or credible.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Anonymous

      Are comparing 2 billion people in the world to the Taliban? If we don't base Atheism on this one incident why do would you go and say that? I am utterly offended that you are calling me a terrorist.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Has anyone been implicated in these threats or is this another case of the Nebraska lesbian who was "beaten up"

      August 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      I am happy to assume without a shred of evidence that at a minimum, Adams Outdoor Advertising got phone calls from North Carolina rednecks that they would shoot the billboards if the signage was not withdrawn.

      Remember that this is Charlotte, which in itself is a big business-oriented city, but only 50 minutes drive from places like Maiden, NC where Pastor Charles L Worley delivered his "Put Gays And Lesbians In Electrified Pen To Kill Them Off" sermon.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • nojinx

      It's religion. What it means will be different for every person you ask. Like faiths and fingerprints, as they say.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  17. Reality

    From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

    "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

    “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

    See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

    There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

    See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    From ask.com,

    "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

    Then there are these scriptural references:

    Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

    August 28, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • ....

      DOUBLE BULL SH IT ALERT

      August 28, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Tony

      Sorry, but your letters are forgeries. Josephus never wrote about Jesus at all. Actually, no historical fact of him exists while he was alive. The bible is not a book of facts, it is a book of faith. Definition of faith in this regard according to Merriam Webster: b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof

      August 28, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Reality

      For those who really care about history:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
      10.The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

      August 28, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      religion-online.org/
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/

      August 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      ntgateway.com/
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf

      August 28, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      August 28, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • nojinx

      C'mon, Reality! We are trying to get people to want to read the bible, and you're not helping!

      August 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for those who are reading challenged: (using a PowerPoint slide)

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      August 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  18. Reality

    Expressing my freedom of speech and liberty from all forms of religion with my personal billboard:-->>>

    -only for the new members of the blog:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)
    ==========================================================================

    August 28, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT !!

      August 28, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      August 28, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Tony

      Umm...Nazareth wasn't even a place until the 4th Century AD. He couldn't have been from there.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      And Kenya wasn't a nation until 1963

      August 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And now, Billy is going to tell us all about how Obama's birth certificate isn't real...again...ad nauseam.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 28, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Seth

      It really doesn't. Not at all. Like.... ever.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Hawk

      Prayer allows people to feel like they are doing something, while allowing them to not actually do anything. If even 1/10th of the effort that is put into prayer was put into actually physically helping others, it might actually look like those prayers were being answered.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • truth be told

      People of faith, those that pray are the first to respond to crisis and the last to leave. Prayer prepared physical relief is still being extended to victims of Katrina long after the event. Christians are still on the ground in Haiti working feeding healing and encouraging Haitian people long after the "feel" good about themselves liberals have come and gone.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • TROLL

      People with dementia can repeat themselves over and over again, by telling a repeat a word or phrase.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • truth be told

      Like wow seth smoke up and enjoy your own like private delusion. You are probably aware that you are an ass hole but I thought I would mention it as it has not escaped peoples attention.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • truth be told

      Repeating is necessary, not for the speaker but for those with comprehension difficulties like troll.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Google "overthrow of communism in Romania" then tell me people weren't praying.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Change what?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • nojinx

      Prayer changes the time on the clock.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  20. Duke Phx. Az.

    The definition of FAITH is the LACK of critical thinking.
    Religion is just like a PENIS, please don't whip it out in public, and please refrain from shoving it down my child's throat.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      First sentence is correct. Too bad the rest was not stated without crude language. Very sadly, though, that seems to be the imagery that some (not all mind you) fundies only understand.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • truth be told

      Based on your language it sounds like your children have more to fear from you than from outside influences.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @tryth be told,

      Ad Hominem attack. Attacking the character of the commentor to try to counter a comment is a logical fallacy.
      The comment is correct, the definition of faith is belief without evidentiary support!
      You failed with one exception.
      Zing, you scooooorrred points with the credulous and willingly ignorant.
      Congratulations.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "Based on your language it sounds like your children have more to fear from you than from outside influences."
      Yeah, perfect speciments of their kind .....can't keep hidden what thy're made out of!

      --------

      @ Elmer G.
      Attacking the carachter? LOL! Why, his is already dead!

      August 28, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • truth be told

      If that individual was known to me it would be reported to childrens services for suspected child abuse.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:54 am |
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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.