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My Take: What all those Jesus jokes tell us
The authors note that Jesus jokes have become popular just since the 1970s.
November 10th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: What all those Jesus jokes tell us

Editor’s note: Edward J. Blum is a historian of race and religion at San Diego State University. Paul Harvey is a history professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and runs the blog Religion in AmericanHistory. They co-authored “The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America.”

By Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey, Special to CNN

Did you ever hear the one about Jesus being Mexican? Well, he was bilingual; he was constantly harassed by the government; and his first name was Jesus.

Or, perhaps Jesus was Irish? He loved a good story; he never kept a steady job; and his last request was for a drink.

Or maybe it’s possible that Jesus was Californian? He never cut his hair; he was always walking around barefoot; and he started a new religion.

You may not have heard these Jesus jokes, but you’ve heard others. They represent a comedic trend that has animated the United States since the 1970s. More and more comedy gimmicks hit on Jesus, his ethnicity and his relationship to politics. Laughing with (and at) the Lord is now fodder for major motion pictures, barroom comedy tours, graphic novels, t-shirts and bumper stickers.

How is it that a figure sacred to so many Americans has become the punch line of so many jokes? And why is it acceptable to poke fun at Jesus when other sacred figures are deemed off limits or there is hell to pay for mocking them?

The explanations are as numerous as the laughs.

Immigration shifts from the 1960s changed the ethnic and religious faces of the country so no tradition dominates today. The Christian right made such a moral spectacle of itself that it practically begged to be mocked. The emergence of “spiritual, but not religious” sensibilities left many Americans willing to denounce or laugh about traditional faith. The public rise of agnosticism, atheism, and secularism led to aggressive mockery as a form of persuasion.

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If we pause to consider why we’re laughing, we find that the comic bits delve into some of our thorniest and unresolved problems. The jokes reveal much more about us than they do Jesus. They speak to how our society has changed, how it hasn’t, and what we’re obsessed with.

The first public jokes about Jesus were heard in the 1970s. There had been religious jokes before this, but none about Jesus had become widely popular because organized Christianity held such authority. As the economic recession and problems of urban decay collided with civil rights exhaustion and new immigration, however, some Jesus jokes emerged.

Archie Bunker on “All in the Family” was the white racist and misogynist you loved to hate and hated to love. On one occasion, his son-in-law challenged Bunker’s rampant anti-Semitism with the claim, "Jesus was Jewish." Archie shot back immediately: "Only on his mother's side."

The “All in the Family” spin off “Good Times” featured a black family that lives in an inner-city housing project, probably Chicago's infamous Cabrini Green. On the show's second episode, the oldest son J. J. astounded everyone by painting Jesus as black. The younger son loves it, and says he learned all about Christ’s blackness from the local Nation of Islam.

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As the family debates whether this black Jesus should be hung on the wall in place of their white Jesus, they “miraculously” receive $140 from the Internal Revenue Service. Feeling blessed, the family placed the painting on its living room wall, and the elated J. J. shouted his tagline, "Dyno-mite!”

From the 1980s to the present, the number of prominent Jesus jokes has multiplied like loaves and fishes:

• In “Talladega Nights,” Ricky Bobby and his family debated which Jesus to pray to (“baby Jesus in golden fleece diapers,” “grown-up Jesus,” “ninja Jesus”). Their overall hope is that Jesus will help them continue their extravagant lifestyle.

• “South Park” featured Jesus as a weak-kneed host of a local talk show who boxes the devil.

• “Family Guy” had Jesus perform magic tricks that wowed his ancient audience.

• “The Colbert Report” placed a gun in Christ’s hand and had him defend conservatives against the liberal “War on Easter.”

• “Saturday Night Live” let Jesus chastise Tim Tebow for using the Lord’s name in vain and ended the bit by declaring that the Mormons have it right.

One unforgettable scene in the rather forgettable recent film “21 Jump Street” may explain why Jesus has become such a joke.

Before Jonah Hill’s character returns to high school as an undercover cop, he prays to a small, crucified “Korean Jesus.” Down on his knees, he says: “Hey Korean Jesus, I don’t know if you only cater to Korean Christians or if you even exist, no offense. I’m just really freaked out about going back to high school. It was just so f***ing hard the first time. … I just really don’t want to f*** this up. Sorry for swearing so much. The end? I don’t really know how to end the prayer.”

The hilarity of the moment only makes sense in our time. Hill's character is unchurched and agnostic, but wants spiritual power to guide him. We can laugh at how agnosticism and being “spiritual, but not religious,” leave him uncertain of what to say, how to say it, and even how to end.

We can also laugh at how ethnic factors color his approach. By wondering if Korean Jesus cares only about Korean problems, Hill pokes fun at the issue which was made a media spectacle in 2008, when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright could be heard preaching that “Jesus was a poor black man” as part of his support for Barack Obama. What good is a God who only cares for those who look like him?

The Jesus jokes not only reveal how tangled our religious, racial, economic and political positions have become, but also how many outlets there are for the jokes. In these tense times, when presidential hopefuls point fingers at one another and families unfriend one another over political and cultural differences, laughing may be one way to talk about the problems without killing one another.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Entertainment • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (5,750 Responses)
  1. niknak

    Ring Ring Ring...
    "Hello?"
    Oh, hey god, whats up?
    Oh, really, well sad to hear that, hope you feel better soon.
    No, I'm good. Don't need a thing.
    Anything I can get you? Some soup? I just made some pumpkin pie......
    Watching your carbs, then I guess you don't want any pie.
    OK, I will tell them.
    Yeah, you take care too, and get better soon.
    Bye.

    OK fundies, just got off the phone with god.
    He's got a cold and says he is on a diet.
    But He had a message for you.

    He said none of you are worshipping the right one, and you all are NOT going to heaven.
    He was pretty clear on that NOT too.
    Sorry, but that is what he said, and since it was from god and all, it must be true.

    I guess you can keep going down the wrong path, but I say you are just wasting your time.
    Better to just be a stand up guy, and live your life to the fullest and forget all that dogma you were brainwashed with growing up.

    November 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Henry

      What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16: 26-27

      November 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, henry......a quote! that is impressive, indeed

      November 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Sue

      sam stone, LOL, great response. I'm still chortling.

      November 17, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  2. LAST DAY

    Thanksgiving Special

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    your choice: 5oz/7oz gold decorative bottles

    50% off!

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    November 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oh please, stop stop it's just too stupid! LOL!

      November 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • niknak

      Can I just get a 40oz of Micky's instead?

      November 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Thank the Lord specials

      you have to have a plastic jesus to sit upon the dash board of your car, 5.99 small, 9.99 large, or a
      sweet madona dressed in rhinestone sitting on a pedastel of abolina shell, pink 12.99 all blue 19.99
      assuring me I won't go to hell!!!!!

      November 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  3. LAST DAY

    Jesus is not a joke; he is real!
    here is the ultimate Proof:

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    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    November 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
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      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      November 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  4. pygalgics

    People who pray have so little faith in God that they think he cannot perceive their agony, or they think he needs to be asked to intervene. What kind of an egomaniac or sadist do they think God is? Is God so insecure that he needs the affirmation of humans? Maybe they think He is a dimwit. If He is omniscient then he is aware of all travails, and chooses not to intervene. Is this a God you should love?

    November 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • si

      people that pray have little faith in God? Makes perfect sense...

      November 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Todd

      The god you describe is not the God who exists.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  5. Giovanni

    Gesu Cristo Vive!

    November 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  6. cowman

    this site is boring

    November 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  7. Mr. T

    I pity the fool

    November 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  8. Giovanni

    The Lord does not leave you alone, or without help.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Giovanni

    Miei amati fratelli e sorelle, rendo testimonianza degli angeli, sia celesti sia terreni. Nel farlo attesto che Iddio, nelle difficoltà che incontriamo, non ci lascia mai soli o senza aiuto. «[Né] lo farà fintantoché durerà il tempo, o esisterà la terra o vi sarà un sol uomo [o donna o bambino] sulla sua faccia da essere salvato».13 In alcune occasioni, collettive o personali, possiamo pensare di essere lontani da Dio, esclusi dal cielo, persi e soli in un luogo oscuro e triste. Abbastanza spesso quest’angoscia è causata da noi stessi, ma anche allora il Padre di tutti noi veglia e ci assiste. E ci sono sempre quegli angeli che vanno e vengono attorno a noi, visibili e invisibili, conosciuti e sconosciuti, mortali e immortali.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Giovanni

    Si, e certo. La fine e molto vicina. Gesu Cristo viene. Perdoname Signore.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  11. Stella

    The end is near.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • You are right

      lick your lips, open your mouth and promise to swal*low. Praise the lord.

      November 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      it could be. do you have a sidearm?

      November 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  12. Antonolopoulos Ouzinoiodolousos

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    November 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  13. fred

    how in the world did this article get over 5000 comments. Incredible.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. hyip

    6 Things You Don't Do in Front of White people

    November 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  15. Stella

    God: "I will never leave you or forsake you or give up on you. I never hoped in you. I will always satisfy. I will always be enough. The world will disappoint you. You can see the futility of creation. That was my idea. Why? The freedom that awaits you is far beyond comparison with what his world causes. Do you not remember your beginning? You were born of a people called 'Not my people' and were by your actions an enemy of mine. You wallowed in your blood from birth with no love, no hope, utterly helpless. And I said to you, with COMPLETE understanding of your sin and brokenness, "Live!" And Life became yours. Remember your place and Mine, dear son. I love you more than you can fathom. You only get the opportunities I give you. Remember that nothing is meaningless. These things will be shaken, leaving only the unshakable."

    Me: "Who do I have but You!? Where can I stand but in the Power of your Love in the Gospel? To whom else could i turn?

    Bu
    t I am afflicted and in pain;
    let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
    I will praise the name of God with a song;
    I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
    This will please the Lord more than an ox
    or a bull with horns and hoofs.

    And your promises!

    They go down smoothly for my beloved,
    gliding over lips and teeth.
    I am my beloved's,
    and his desire is for me"

    Hope in the Gospel. Let's go!

    November 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  16. rjp34652

    Jokes about Jesus? Uttered by cowards, bigots, the illiterate and the self-important...

    I'd really really like to see CNN dare to publish jokes about Mohammad (pbuh). How brave are you? DO IT. How comfortable would you feel in your Atlanta offices after doing that? Try making a joke about Mohammad (pbuh) face to face with a Muslim and you'll likely loose a few teeth (and consider yourself lucky).

    Folk of the Jewish persuasion prefer snide remarks to real scholarship. Search your own scripture and you'll find Jesus there. Seek the truth and you'll discover that you killed your own Messiah King. After that ask yourself why God was angry with your race for two thousand years – and then post another joke if you can. Read study and pray your religion and you'll find Jesus all over it – but with eyes and ears and hearts as closed and stubborn as you were with Moses you refuse every step of the way. Why do you deny your own God? The only race on earth and in history that ever did that.

    As for the rest – repent or die. The days of grace are few. Humble yourself before God and seek His mercy while you can. It can only be found in Jesus AND THAT'S NO JOKE.

    it's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    November 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      rjp
      You forgot the bit about putting a few more dollars on the plate because the preacher/parson/minister/priest/shaman needs a new Armani suit, shame on you, the hustlers would not approve. Oops forgot rabbi, my bad!

      November 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      rjp:

      jesus on the cross....

      a kid comes up and says "jesus, can i help you?"

      jesus says "yes, pull the nail out of my left hand"

      the kid pulls and pulls, and finally pulls nail out

      the kid says "anything else?"

      jesus says "pull the nail out of my right hand"

      the kid pulls and pulls and finally pulls the nail out
      the kid says "anything else jesus?"

      jesus says "the feet,the feet, the feet......"

      when christians stop trying to legislate away others' civil rights, let me know.

      until then.....christianity deserves all the ridicule it gets

      November 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      also, rjp, your god is a vindictive, petty pr!ck......and apparently so are you.....

      coat your bible with KY jelly and shove it deep up your rectum

      punk

      November 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  17. Nice Jewish Boy

    Chad
    When did the stories of the resurrection get written down for the first time?. You maintain that what you state are four facts, the truth about events as opposed to interpratation, but you have no proof.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Chad never has any actual proof. I think he just likes being a dishonest moron.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Dissident Fairy

      Nice Jewish Boy: Matthew, wrote the book of Matthew, in 41 C.E. eight years after Christ's death. I have respect for the Jews and the nation of Israel as a whole, because at one time they were God's chosen people, and because the nation of Israel is the theme of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Since they do play a prominent role I find it ironic that Jews only accept the first five books of the Bible (the Torah). The only reason I can think of as to why the rest of the Bible is rejected is because of Jesus Christ. If they excepted the entire Bible then they would have to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and of course they are not willing to do that.

      The Jews turned their backs on God time and again. According to the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and many others, they continually turned away from pure worship. They were ignoring widows and orphans, worshipping false gods, they were greedy and doing what was detestable in the eyes of God, and were likened to Sodom and Gomorrah. God gave them many chances to turn away from sin, before he finally allowed Babylon to overthrow them, and take them into exile for 70 years of servitude. Yes, God eventually returned them to their land, but did they continue to follow God? Some did and eventually followed Christ, but most turned away. It was the Jews who demanded that Christ be put to death. They told Pilate: "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children."

      If they had accepted Christ I believe it would have changed the entire course of history. I believe they could have avoided some of the great suffering they have endured. Yes, they were once God's chosen people, but, that was Only because of Jesus Christ. Christ was to appear through the line of David. It should have been an honor for the Jews to share the same lineage with the Son of God, but instead, he was rejected by them. The only reason God even kept the "root of the tree" regarding the Nation of Israel was because of Jesus Christ, not based on the Nation because of it's righteous deeds. The Bible says that God "Is not partial." Christ's sacrifice gave everyone an equal chance at life not just the chosen few!

      November 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  18. Nice Jewish Boy

    Chad
    I am not a bilical scholar as you are, will you please tell me when your facts of the resurrection and the eyewitness reports were written down for posterity? Was all the information compiled at the time or did time pass before the "evidence" was recorded? Serious question, would appreciate your best answer. Thank You.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • akmed

      jews are getting blown up as we speak

      November 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • juden

      Palestinian militants and the Israeli military exchanged fire today, with deaths on both sides, as Israel moved troops to the Gaza border.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Chad

      very interesting stuff, you come right out and admit that there is no evidence that would convince you of the historical accuracy of those 4 facts?

      Interesting, that's an astonishing atitude actually. As atheists, I'm curious, how do you reconcile that with your supposed open mindedness? Isnt your atitude precisely what you accuse Christians of and show such contempt for?

      November 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  19. ME II

    @Chad,
    "1. refute the resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation for the empty tomb using historical methodology, not just 'that's all nonsense'"
    There is no evidence to refute, just uncorroborated stories of the supposed resurrection in the NT.

    "2. show that the concept of the God of Israel is logically incoherent"
    Define the God of Israel. Please be specific, because "the Bible" can be interpreted in many ways.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      1. Any supernatural explanation for any event is automatically the least probable as nothing supernatual has EVER been shown to happen. Therefore someone stealing a body, making up the story, Jesus waking up after being pronounced dead are all more likely options.

      2. The god of Isreal is logically incoherant because he is claimed to be all powerfull yet there are multiple examples of him being unable to complete certain tasks.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • tallulah13

      It cracks me up every time Chad mentions "the empty tomb" as proof. I don't know why he thinks he can use a fable that does not exist outside of the bible as proof of anything.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Chad

      There is nearly universal acceptance of these facts (among atheist, agnostic, liberal and conservative believing historians):
      1. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by Roman authorities and was buried in a tomb.
      2. After 3 days that tomb was found to be empty by a group of His women followers
      3. Following that, many different people (followers, skeptics and enemies) in various differing circ umstances reported meeting a resurrected Jesus.
      4. Those people came to believe so strongly that they had witnessed a resurrected Christ, that they were from that point forward willing to die for the truth of that statement.

      now, none of those facts are supernatural, all of those facts are accepted by the vast majority of scholars.

      The ONLY question on the table is: what is the best explanation for those facts?

      "none of that ever happened" is the usual atheist response, a viewpoint that is simply not shared by any serious historian.

      ======
      The God of Israel as revealed in the Bible, you'll have to explain where you are getting confused...

      November 15, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Which God?

      Chad, there is no proff that jeebus lived. Pontius Pilates records are extant and he says nothing about a a jewish rabble rousing rabbi that he allowed to be crucified. You are so full of outright lies and misinformation. You wilfully lie and decieve and use semantics to try and turn things to your favor. Please cite your PROOF that Jesus was real and is your goD.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Chad

      In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (who is a secular agnostic) wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285

      Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies existence) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61

      Michael Grant (a cla ssicist) states that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels by Michael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200

      Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and cla ssical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted. Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16

      James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35–36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are "a thoroughly dead thesis"

      Richard A. Burridge states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more." in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34

      November 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Chad

      oh, and as for "Pontius Pilates records are extant and he says nothing about a a jewish rabble rousing rabbi that he allowed to be crucified"

      We have no records that Pontius Pilate kept from that time. NONE

      in fact, the very existence of Pontius Pilate was questioned until just recently with the discovery of the "Pilate Stone" in 1961.

      so.. liar, liar pants on fire :-)

      As demonstrated, you have no idea what you are talking about, you just wrote it as if it were fact. Yet, oddly enough, accuse me of lying? .. how does that work anyway?

      November 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • biobraine

      If Jesus was a man who really existed, it makes no difference to me. No doubt Jesus or the concept of Jesus has had a large influence on the world (both good and bad) but I don't think that there was anything supernatural going on. The idea that some part of the 30% of the world's population that follows the teachings of Christianity are going to be rewarded for eternity for their beliefs while all the rest of humanity with its varying beliefs and non-beliefs is going to suffer in eternity is beyond silly. Its hilarious to see Christians write how much God loves you in one sentence and then in the very next sentence inform you that if you do not believe then he will be angry and send you to hell for eternity.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      My favorite definition of fact....the truth about events as opposed to interpratation.
      Your interpratation of bible stories are no more factual than my interpration of lets say The Lord of the Rings.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      Your quotes are on the existence of a person named Jesus and some of the events described in the Gospels. There is no evidence supporting the resurrection and/or divinity of Jesus.

      The "best" explanation for your stated "events" is that they are a mixture of exaggerations, delusions, and fabrications. Bodies can be moved, even if their whereabouts were known in the first place, e.g. Jimmy Hoffa. Reports of sightings can be imagined or made-up, e.g. Elvis. And, people are willing to die for false or misunderstood ideas, e.g. Jonestown, Waco, Texas, Railians(sp?), suicide bombers, etc.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • ME II

      p.s.
      A man named Jesus may very well have existed. Just to be clear.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • SImran

      Any evidence in history outside the Bible of Jesus???

      http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/1stC_Hist.htm

      http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/jesus5.htm

      November 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Your quotes are on the existence of a person named Jesus and some of the events described in the Gospels. There is no evidence supporting the resurrection and/or divinity of Jesus."

      @Chad "Those events are best explained by the hypothesis that God resurrected Jesus, and as such can be viewed as evidence for the resurrection (in the same way that an occupied tomb would be viewed as evidence against the resurrection).

      ======
      @ME II "The "best" explanation for your stated "events" is that they are a mixture of exaggerations, delusions, and fabrications. Bodies can be moved, even if their whereabouts were known in the first place, e.g. Jimmy Hoffa. Reports of sightings can be imagined or made-up, e.g. Elvis. And, people are willing to die for false or misunderstood ideas, e.g. Jonestown, Waco, Texas, Railians(sp?), suicide bombers, etc."

      @Chad "the problem you face is that all of those supposed explanations have been thoroughly refuted over the years, retain no scholarly support today. There is simply no naturalistic hypothesis in place.

      - "hallucination" theory cant explain the empty tomb, it also cant explain the fact that differing people with differing views on Jesus and with every predisposition against a resurrected Jesus claimed to witness a resurrected Jesus, it also cant be be reconciled with the fact that first century Jews had absolutely no notion of a resurrected Messiah. For these and many other reasons, the hallucination theory has been completely discarded as a credible hypothesis and retains virtually no support today.
      - grave robbery was the accusation of the jewish leaders of the time, however that cant be reconciled with the disciples belief that they had witnessed a resurrected Jesus. If the disciples stole the body, they knew he wasnt resurrected, and no one goes to their death for something they know is a lie. That is the achilles heel, and the primary reason that grave robbery is simply not viewed as credible in any way today.
      - people are willing to die for all kinds to crazy things, but NOT for something that they know is a lie. They believe it to be true.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I found a video of Chad as a child.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HUvTp8ZcJs&w=640&h=390]

      November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      Missed the reply button again, but could you please respond to my post above?

      November 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @Nice Jewish Boy "My favorite definition of fact....the truth about events as opposed to interpratation.
      Your interpratation of bible stories are no more factual than my interpration of lets say The Lord of the Rings."

      =>respond to that?
      with, what?

      you arent presenting an argument.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      There you go again, a hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon is not a fact and not evidence.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Oh

      This is great that means all the books written about Santa Claus because he was a real man means he still exists today and is a magical man. Yipee – hey everyone are you on the naughty or nice list because Santa is REAL!

      November 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad You have stated that there is agreement about the four supposed facts you listed. They are not facts, they are interprations of ancient stories, try and be honest for once. Hypothesis and interpratation are not evidence.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad, those atheist, agnostic scholars do think a peson fitting the general discription of Jesus most likely existed. They do not agree with you that he rose from the dead. You are conflating the 2.

      Another historical example would be King Arthur. Historians think there was most likely a guy fitting the general discription of King Arthur. None of them think that he had a magical sword or Merlin could cast spells or any other supernatural non-sense that is contained in the stories. The same goes for Jesus, the is no reputable scholar that thinks there is historical evidence that Jesus could do magic.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      First, "best explained" is a subjective judgement, unless you can quantify better and worse "explanations".

      Second, since when can a hypothesis, be "viewed as evidence"? Let alone a subjective judgement.

      "'hallucination' theory cant explain the empty tomb"
      We've been here before, you have no non-NT evidence of an "empty tomb".

      "grave robbery was the accusation of the jewish leaders of the time, however that cant be reconciled with the disciples belief that they had witnessed a resurrected Jesus."
      This is unsubstantiated. You're assuming that 1) there was a body, 2) they had control of it, 3) they buried it in said tomb, 4) they moved it and not someone else, and 5) that they believe what they say they believe.

      The Bible by itself is not evidence, so I won't go on...

      You seem to be using hypothetical events (empty tomb) that are subjectively judged as "best explain[ing]" other hypothetical events (witnesses) which are then "viewed as evidence" for the original hypothetical events (empty tomb and resurrection).

      November 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "those atheist, agnostic scholars do think a person fitting the general description of Jesus most likely existed. They do not agree with you that he rose from the dead. You are conflating the 2."

      =>no I'm not conflating the two:
      They agree on the historical accuracy of these 4 facts, what they dont agree on is the best explanation for those 4 facts (which I assert is that God raised Jesus).

      I separate the two, taking pains to do so.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "You seem to be using hypothetical events (empty tomb) that are subjectively judged as "best explain[ing]" other hypothetical events (witnesses) which are then "viewed as evidence" for the original hypothetical events (empty tomb and resurrection)."

      =>I guess you missed the part about those 4 events being nearly universally accepted by historical scholars (atheist, agnostic and believer).

      You are of course free to say "none of those historians (atheist, agnostic and believers) with all their years of research and analysis know anything, if they would just ask me I could have told them it's all nonsense, no investigation required"

      November 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      I'm not a Biblical historian so could you point me to this "nearly universal" acceptance.
      From what I see on Wiki (admittedly not a great source):
      "Beyond baptism and crucifixion, scholars attribute varying levels of certainty to the historicity of other events and a list of eight facts that may be historically certain about Jesus and his followers has been widely discussed.[21][24][25] But scholarly agreement on this extended list is not universal, e.g. while some scholars accept that Jesus called disciples, others maintain that Jesus imposed no hierarchy and preached to all in equal terms"

      November 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "Although scholars differ on the reconstruction of the specific episodes of the life of Jesus, the two events whose historicity is subject to "almost universal assent" are that he was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[20][21][22][23]" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus)
      I don't have access to the citations, but apparently four authors disagree with your "nearly universal" acceptance.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No Chad they don't agree with those four "facts". What they agree on is that those 4 claims can be generally agreed on in the Gospels, that does not mean they agree the events actually took place.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      Please define your the concept of a fact, you are being very dishonest if you maintain that 20 to 40 year hearsay, or double hearsay can be used as evidence, you would be laughed out of any court of law, you need faith, belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • fred

      classical

      November 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Barbara

      impressionistic

      November 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "I don't have access to the citations, but apparently four authors disagree with your "nearly universal" acceptance."

      =>that is referring to the many events in Jesus life chronicled in the Gospels..
      those 4 events are accepted as historical by the vast majority of historians (atheist, agnostic, liberal and conservative). See for example Bart Ehrman, Dominic Crossian, Gerd Lüdemann (all deniers of the divinity of Jesus/agnostics)

      November 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Chad

      I would say that "fact" is something that we can accept as historically certain.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      I know you will be able to provide....
      Statements from all those that showed up at the empty tomb.
      Will says from those that saw the resurrected jesus. or docu*ments not just old rumor.
      How about some sworn affadivits, that was what really what happened.
      You may find that 20 to 40 year old hearsay or double hearsay, does not impress anyone, but the deluded.
      C'mon Chad, real evidence that would stand up beyond the believers, the ones that you have mentioned that are non-believers, are not going as far as the belief in resurrection just that a guy named jesus may have been crucified for being a rebel and pain in the authorities asz).

      November 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Giovanni

      can someone upload a banging movie?

      November 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      I guess I don't understand what you're saying.
      The quotes I provided are saying that the only "nearly Universal" agreement is on baptism and crucifixion.

      Do you have support for the "nearly universal" nature of your four events?

      November 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Chad

      @Nice Jewish Boy "I know you will be able to provide........"

      =>do you apply that criteria to all historical events? If so, I guess you believe that anything that occurred prior to ~100 years ago is complete speculation?

      November 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • A nice gentile boy

      Chad, I presume your point is – if you can't personally verify it, it's not reliable. The difference here is the only source of the veracity of the bible is the bible itself. And we know that the bible has been subject to translation changes, transliteration changes, deliberate editing to omit or emphasis, plus changes to standardize. We know that science shows us that the creation myths are incorrect for both life and the planets. We also know it is based upon even older myths from that region.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      You as*ume that I believe the resurrection of the so called saviour is a historical event, anymore than I think that the destruction of Sauron Is a historical event, fiction, get over yourself.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @A nice gentile boy "I presume your point is – if you can't personally verify it, it's not reliable"
      @Chad "no.. my point is that if that is the criteria used to establish the accuracy of historical claims, NO historical event will qualify as accurate. That's a crazy criteria that no historian would even consider. If that was the criteria, there would be no history at all.

      =======
      @A nice gentile boy "The difference here is the only source of the veracity of the bible is the bible itself"
      @Chad "nonsense:
      A. we have many extrabiblical sources of information on this
      B. the bible is just a collection of historical docs, as such they must be, and are, each evaluated for historicity. If you think you can just eliminate the docs in the bible because they were assembled severally into one place ~300AD at the council of nicea, that's just crazy. No historian would suggest such a thing.

      ======
      @A nice gentile boy "And we know that the bible has been subject to translation changes, transliteration changes, deliberate editing to omit or emphasis, plus changes to standardize"
      @Chad "what are you talking about? We have more original manuscript evidence for the authenticity of the biblical text in it's original language than for any other ancient book.

      =======
      @A nice gentile boy ". We know that science shows us that the creation myths are incorrect for both life and the planets."
      @Chad "we do??? how?

      =======
      @A nice gentile boy "We also know it is based upon even older myths from that region."
      @Chad "it is?? How?

      I'm noticing a pattern with you, confidently stating as fact that which you have absolutely no clue on... :-)

      November 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Nothing you post or belive has any proof, don't you understand, you cannot be that dense. The definition of faith is belief in something that cannot be proved. If you prove your concept of the world you lose your faith, by your twisted logic.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @Nice Jewish Boy, what would you consider "proof"?

      November 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      In case you missed it.
      Do you have support for your statement:
      "There is nearly universal acceptance of these facts (among atheist, agnostic, liberal and conservative believing historians):"

      Did someone state this? Was there a survey done? What is your basis for this statement?

      November 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      Did you not read my earlier post? Proof must be based on evidence, not 2000 year old hearsay, none of what you say abouut your points is proof, it is interpratation of stories written well after the event, it requires faith.

      November 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Chad", but you've again reached your monthly limit for unfounded assertions. Out of courtesy for other posters, I'm afraid I will have to ask you to refrain from further assertions until next month. Better luck next month, "Chad".

      November 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • == o ==

      Looks like the Chad has been cut off for too many poor assertions, lol.

      November 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Do you have support for your statement: "There is nearly universal acceptance of these facts (among atheist, agnostic, liberal and conservative believing historians):" Did someone state this? Was there a survey done? What is your basis for this statement?"

      =>Members of the Jesus Seminar (which if you arent aware of it, is a group of scholars dedicated to disproving the divinity of Jesus Christ, atheists and agnostics) acknowledge those statements as factual.

      Even Gert Ludemann (leading German critic of the resurrection), admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ" – Gert Ludemann

      The reality is, and if you search to find a a historian that disputes those facts you'll see, denying them is a fringe group activity.

      ==========
      @Nice Jewish Boy "Did you not read my earlier post? Proof must be based on evidence, not 2000 year old hearsay, none of what you say abouut your points is proof, it is interpratation of stories written well after the event, it requires faith"

      @Chad: do you apply that criteria to all historical events? If so, I guess you believe that anything that occurred prior to ~100 years ago is complete speculation?

      Do you feel all history requires faith to accept?

      November 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      "Members of the Jesus Seminar (which if you arent aware of it, is a group of scholars dedicated to disproving the divinity of Jesus Christ, atheists and agnostics) acknowledge those statements as factual."

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
      Oh that was a good one. Can you actually cite what they find as factual as you should have, or give the source? For all we know from your statement, they could be talking about whether it is likely that a preacher named Jesus preached around that time (a very common name at the time), or whether they are stating it is factual that Jesus was the son of god. Not to mention what is the demographic of those people? Where is the actual citation?

      November 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad
      Oliver Twist, The Count Of Monte Cristo, Hamlet, etc. I do not know why I bother, to try and get through to you, are not history, neither are your bible stories, they are STORIES, as are the Theogony or any other creation myth that you disregard. You are a fool, thanks for proving the FACT

      November 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      Chad,

      If that is your definition of fact than none of those 4 points are"facts".

      November 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Chad

      lol

      there is one question I have actually never seen an atheist answer, namely "what evidence would it take to convince you of the historical accuracy of those 4 facts?"

      the reason you just wont answer it, is because you are really stuck. you cant say "nothing", because that would expose a bias.. You cant put together a long list such as "signed affidavits" and so on.. because using that absurd criteria EVERY historical event occurring prior to ~200 years ago would have to be discarded as accurate.

      tough situation, which is why you refuse to speak to the question :-)

      November 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad, no god is evident now. Your God of Abraham is propped up by old legends. Where is it now?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Old Saying

      Chad: "what evidence would it take to convince you of the historical accuracy of those 4 facts?"

      As the saying goes, "God only knows" what it would take... and he can't, or won't, do it.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Chad

      For all your bluff and bluster, for all your accusations of ducking and diving, for all your indictments for dishonesty, why do you find it so personally difficult to answer the question:

      "what evidence would it take to convince you of the historical accuracy of those 4 facts?"

      amazing, and very revealing :-)

      November 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Oldster

      Chad,

      "amazing, and very revealing"

      Not really... other than showing that your god (if it exists) cannot, or will not, provide convincing evidence.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad, is your faith dependent on the historical accuracy of your bible? The extent to which it is at least not contradictory to the findings of science? Or have you had, or do you have, direct and incontrovertible experiences of your God of Abraham?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Chad

      very interesting stuff, you come right out and admit that there is no evidence that would convince you of the historical accuracy of those 4 facts?

      Interesting, that's an astonishing atitude actually. As atheists, I'm curious, how do you reconcile that with your supposed open mindedness? Isnt your atitude precisely what you accuse Christians of and show such contempt for?

      November 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's an interesting feature of all of Chad's stuff. He's a defender of his bible (I think it's a NIV) but he doesn't represent a currently living and present personal god.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Chad

      "but he doesn't represent a currently living and present personal god."

      lol, what does that even mean? :-)

      let me guess, you dont know either?

      November 16, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It means your claim to being a Christian is, on its face, a bit thin.
      AMDG

      November 16, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Chad

      hmm.. how?

      let me guess, you dont know, you're just making it up as you go? ;-)

      November 16, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      Chad,

      I admit my requirement for a supernatural event would be quite high, not impossibly so. But your god would know that a completely flawed collection of writings would not suffice for a vast amount of people. On the other hand your requirement for
      evidence to believe supernatural claims is so low that you must believe most everything that is written down that claims to have witnesses.

      Bottom line is if your god judges people on belief with such flimsy material that just makes him an immoral asshat, that god would not deserve worship.....that god is so impossibly petty the it is absurd to believe. I think you know this is true but it is so important to you that you will rationalize and make excuses for your god and your religion no matter what.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Regarding Chad, apparently he represents no god that is presently real, evident to the world, and personal. We can ignore the god of his book if it is none of those things.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One "Regarding Chad, apparently he represents no god that is presently real, evident to the world, and personal. We can ignore the god of his book if it is none of those things."

      @Chad "so.. you've moved from "once represented" to "apparently he represents"
      you crack me up :-)

      doesnt bother you at all to make an assertion like that knowing that I never said any such thing?
      That's lying, right?
      when you say something you know isnt true?

      just say whatever?

      well, I certainly cant rely on your own inherent sense of right and wrong, as that is clearly non-existent. But I can continue to point it out for the rest of the viewing public :-)

      November 16, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Chad

      @Cheese "I admit my requirement for a supernatural event would be quite high, not impossibly so..."

      =>good, so what would it take to convince your off the historical accuracy of those events?

      November 16, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      Enough strong evidence to be proven in a court of law to a certainty. The "evidence" you claim as proof would not even be allowed to be heard in court because it is hearsay and hearsay is not considered reliable. Your case would not even make it to be heard in court.

      November 16, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "Members of the Jesus Seminar..."
      "Even Gert Ludemann..."
      So, is one of these the source of your statement?

      "...if you search to find a a historian that disputes those facts you'll see, denying them is a fringe group activity."
      Well, if you define them as "fringe", then of course they are "fringe".

      As to your question of, "what evidence would it take to convince you of the historical accuracy of those 4 facts?".
      Personally, I would say that first hand eyewitness accounts from a reasonably unbiased source would be a good start. What seems available is the gospels, which may not be first hand accounts, i.e. not written by the disciples, and are certainly interested in portraying Jesus is a good, or divine, light.

      Josephus is the nearest thing available, in time frame and bias, but he only reports on what he heard from others, not first hand accounts, and not even accounts of Jesus, but of "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ," and John the Baptist. This is good reason to think that Jesus actually existed, but little else. Like the other historians, he is only recording what other's believe or claim after the fact, not what was witnessed first hand. For example, he records James the Just being prosecuted, if that's the correct word, but did he talk to James, not likely. Did he speak with those who spoke with James? I don't know, but it also seems unlikely to me.

      Roman docu.ments of the events in question would also be helpful.

      November 16, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad offers nothing to support the existence of a god that exists now, is at least a living entity now, and has personal relationships now with anyone – even with him. Why am I not surprised?

      November 16, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • ME II

      Roman soldier's letter:
      "Dear Mom,
      Had an interesting crucifixion today. The guy claimed to be the "King of the Jews", or some such thing. He said the strangest thing on the cross.... "

      November 16, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      Ooo Chad is now using the emoticons every post. A surefire sign that he has absolutely nothing of substance and now realizes it.

      November 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • ME II

      Correction:
      "and not even accounts of Jesus,"
      Josephus did write about Jesus, although there is debate about how much is original vs. interpolation.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  20. Jesus

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

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

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

    November 15, 2012 at 10:04 am |
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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.