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November 23rd, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Explaining the Pope's Christmas debunking book

(CNN)–CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi explains how the Pope's new book challenges long held Christmas traditions.

Read the full story on the Pope's new book here.

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith Now • Jesus • Pope Benedict XVI • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (751 Responses)
  1. Satanluv

    The reason xmas was originally set right near the winter solstice I think was to appease the pagans who celebrated the return of the "sun" at this time of year...yes the son...if fact that is what exmas is all about: the return of the light...and this idea really took off in northern Europe where the winter brought many more days of darkness than human beings were traditionally use to and it bummed us out as a species..so what did we do...we brought trees in the house to remember the warmer months, the sring and the summer, gave each other gifts to take our minds off the darkness that reminds us of death and depressed us, lit candles and lights to further dispel the dark, feasted and celebrated the coming of the "light bringer" christ...stop living in an illusion...you're an ape that developed in Africa 3 million years ago and set out to conquer the earth about 70,000 years ago..enough with this hocus pocus mythology nonsense...even the pope is backpedalling

    November 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  2. Satanluv

    i'll tell ya this pope...first he's marching around with the Hitler Youth, then he is knocking the sheep and the ox outta the nativity...whatta guy..and ...and he is a scary looking fellow too

    November 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  3. WachetAuf

    And, Pat Robertson is now raising questions about creationism. What is the GOP going to do to get votes? Integration has been successful after many decades of GOP obstruction. Immigration reform is on its way. The GOP is now beginning to disavow its rigid views on trickle down economics. Obama was re-elected. What is next? A renaissance in science, literature, philosophy, religion, politics? Did someone put something in the punch bowl?

    November 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  4. Which God?

    Thre three dudes were following a bright light in the sky, wondering just what it was. A passing shephard told themthat a savior was about to be orn somewhere in a cave nearby. "Wow," said one. "we must contiune to follow this light that I now realize was guiding us to the king about to be born. "cool"< said the other two. So the walked on and as the drew near said cave, and man comes out ad stops the. "Go back<" he say. "Why?" ask the three at the same time. "Sorry for your long journey, fellas, but it seems as though we have a girl."

    November 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Which God?

      Sorry for the typos.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Satanluv

      I hate typos...and yeah...god is silly

      November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  5. Damocles

    Atheists believe in self-anhilation after death: There is nothing after this life.
    Atheists believe that there are no gods, goddess or higher powers.
    Atheists believe that everyone should believe the same way they do.
    Atheists have groups of people that actively engage in converting people to their way of believing.
    Atheism is a religion, just like any other religion. Atheism is as extreme as christian fundamentalism.
    If you'd like to be your own person, try being Agnostic. You can do as you please, believe as you please and be a good person without having to believe in what other people demand of you.

    November 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • blah

      Atheism is a religion like baldness is a hairstyle.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Riiiight

      Spoken like a religious finatic... I don't see any atheists knocking on my door? Or see any of them dedicating years of their life to tell other they are wrong in their beliefs in some, 'mission'... Or them fighting in a war luke the crusades were millions were killed. Nope, just the religious people.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • K Kim

      Are wars and conquests any better if it is done for secular reasons? You can't seriously blame religion for war without closing your eyes to the political or business interests that use (or misuse) religion for pecuniary gain. So man is otherwise good but for religion!???? You think a world full of only atheists can live in peace without doing the same things that have happened throughout history? Who is the one believing in delusional nonsense?

      November 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • What?

      You are sooo wrong on sooo many counts. If you replaced "atheists" with "religious nuts" (like yourself) the post would be accurate.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Satanluv

      silly damocles...god is for kids

      November 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  6. bostontola

    While all gods are imaginary and hence their creation stories are myth, Jesus may or may not have been a real person. I tend to think he was a real man. There were a number of jewish men who started sects around that time.

    November 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  7. Superman

    Book debunks christian myths...finally someone (who knew it would be the pope?) admits that Jesus is a myth?!?!?!

    November 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Satanluv

      gotta love that man

      November 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  8. Pravda

    Not sure which religion is more evil, Catholicism, Islam or Atheism. All are highly delusional...

    November 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      Two corrections for you , Pravda...
      ALL religions are evil. Atheism is NOT a religion.

      Stop believing. Start thinking. Acquire knowledge. It will set you free.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Superman

      What do Atheists believe? They do have a belief system. They do 'live" by it. They do believe in total annihilation after death. They do believe that there isn't a god, goddess or greater power...they do have followers that they teach to believe the same things.

      Yes, Atheism is a religion.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • the AnViL

      superman – how you word things does matter.

      atheists don't believe in life after death.

      atheists don't believe in your imaginary man in the sky.

      atheism is a lack of belief.

      atheism is no more a "belief" than not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      atheism is not a religion – it's a disbelief in the validity of religion...

      atheism is the default position prior to religious indoctrination.

      wise up, son.

      zing!

      December 3, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    On Monday's The Colbert Report Stephen weighs in on the Popes book with this segment:

    Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude – Pope Benedict XVI
    In his book "Jesus of Nazareth," Pope Benedict XVI proves that he has not read the Gospel of the Little Drummer Boy.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/421502/november-26-2012/blitzkrieg-on-grinchitude-pope-benedict-xvi?xrs=share_copy

    November 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  10. PeterVN

    As for debunking, Christians, please do consider this about your bible:

    How is it that this apparent divine (or divinely inspired book, depending on which Christian one listens to) is so susceptible to different interpretations? Wildly different, in fact; many readers find instructions for murder and other violence in it, and for some it justifies hate and bigotry, while others claim it to be promoting peace and love. Don't you think that if a god had a hand in it, such a powerful creature would do a better job of making sure that such an important message could not be so open to such varying interpretations?

    Personally, I find the above problem to be one of several good reasons why I do not believe in the Christian god, and why I think the bible is 100% man-made, as is the god that it speaks of. Don't you have similar questions?

    November 28, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Pravda

      From your ridiculous post, anyone can tell that you haven't actually read the Bible... It really makes you look uneducated... Learn about your enemy before you try to debunk them.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Pravda, no thanks for the ad hominem. Now grow some courage and try to answer my question instead of dodging, coward.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • the AnViL

      pracda – petervn's post wasn't ridiculous – he raised some very good valid points.

      you should try responding to them directly if you can. it's doubtful you'll pop off with anything of substance, though.

      December 3, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Poppa knows that virgin birth is also a myth but can't say it yet ;-)

    November 28, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  12. GOOD NEWS

    Pope must write a "Vatican Debunking Book," first of all,
    only then Jesus may embrace him as one of his true and sincere followers (John 6/27, 40-45)
    here now.

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    November 28, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  13. Jeez

    Benny16 puts out a book debunking Jesus's birth right at Christmas?? Brilliant marketing move, popo.

    November 27, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    E I M B A C K ! ! ! !

    Just got my meds refilled, and I'm ready to rumble.....

    November 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • niknak

      We missed you.
      The Fundies have been hard at work trying to further their god-myth hypothesis.

      Actually, it has been rather dead around here.
      The fundies have all given up, I guess.
      But welcome back anyway.

      November 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  15. Brampt

    aspectsofrealy – "happens to be difficult for any educated human to believe in things that you cannot experience with any of the 5 physical senses."
    Do you believe that gravity exists? Do you believe oxigene exists? Can you see the different molicules in the air? Can you see the wind?? How do you know these invisible things exist?

    "For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable" Rom 1:20

    November 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      if only your monumental stupidity were more rare, the world might be a better place. We know the invisible things you listed exist because they are measurable. God is not, so thanks for pointing out exactly why there is no god, and thank you for helping us create atheists every time you open your stinking pie hole.

      November 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • saggyroy

      If god affects human lives, and intercedes with miracles now and then it should be observable. But we haven't observed any evidence of these things. The absence of evidence IS evidence of absence.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • sam stone

      "For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable" Rom 1:20

      Wow, Brampt, a quote....way to phone it in

      November 27, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Brampt

      Guys from comments above,

      For you to perceive that God exists you need to study the things God created. Everything is created in such a marvellous way that its hard to understand that there's no God, someone that projected everything!

      every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God. Heb 3:4

      November 27, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Yet your god, who would be a pretty complex "house" had no constructor?

      If he did, then he's not the creator.

      If he didn't, then your assumption is incorrect.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  16. aspectsOFreality

    Someone, please, explain to me how your GOD is exists WITHOUT quoting the bible. I have tried believing, but it happens to be difficult for any educated human to believe in things that you cannot experience with any of the 5 physical senses.

    November 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Kirk

      do you need to see wind to believe it is a fact? do you need to see radio waves to believe you can send messages? astronauts depend on laws of gravity& mathematics beyond comprehension. who put these into play in the first place? to say they appeared by accident is the same as saying the recent mars landing happened by chance, hum lets see, lets fire up a rocket & maybe it will land on mars.

      November 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • aspectsOFreality

      @Kirk
      First, i can see and feel wind. second, math and gravity can both be explained logically bt science. none of which can give me reason to believe in an invisible god.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Kirk

      Years ago, British mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Sir James Jeans wrote that in the light of advancing scientific knowledge, “the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.” He also stated that “the universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician” and that it provides “evidence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds.”
      Other scientists have arrived at a similar conclusion since Jeans penned those words. “The overall organization of the universe has suggested to many a modern astronomer an element of design,” wrote physicist Paul Davies. One of the most famous physicists and mathematicians of all time, Albert Einstein, wrote: “The fact that [the natural world] is comprehensible is a miracle.” In the eyes of many, that miracle includes life itself, from its fundamental building blocks to the amazing human brain.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Huebert

      Kirk

      A few scientist believing that the universe looks like it was designed is a far cry from evidence that the universe was designed.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Kirk

      huebert. your statement about "a few scientist" is not accurate. more then a few.......
      Many appreciative scientists see the hand of God in creation. Following are a few examples:
      “The significance and joy in my science comes in those occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, ‘So that’s how God did it.’ My goal is to understand a little corner of God’s plan.”—Henry Schaefer, professor of chemistry.
      “As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”—Edward Milne, British cosmologist.
      “We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”—Alexander Polyakov, Russian mathematician.
      “In our study of natural objects we are approaching the thoughts of the Creator, reading his conceptions, interpreting a system that is His and not ours.”—Louis Agassiz, American biologist.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Huebert

      Kirk

      You could provide fifty thousand quotes from fifty thousand scientist saying the universe looks like it was designed, and that is still not evidence that the universe was designed. Quotes, and opinions, and "looks like" mean nothing. There is no evidence for a designer, there is no evidence that the universe was designed. And I would bet that if you asked any of those scientist you quoted if they had any evidence that the universe was designed you would say no.

      November 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      Kirk: How do you make the leap from a creator to a being that judges human interaction (i.e. a god)?

      November 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Kirk, that "evidence" for design is nothing but observer bias. Not exactly convincing.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Kirk

      why are you guys in the religious blog? if you dont believe go hang out w/ your buddies in the atheist blog. i could come up w/ more evidence that there is a creator but you dont want it, just want to sound off your so called higher learning theories and see if you can out smart those that put their trust in the creator rather than the creation. if there is no creator, what is your solution to mankind's problems? oh lets see, lets go bomb the hec out of someone, blame it on some propaganda, make laws that most people dont like, yea that will solve all the suffering in the world, feed the hungry, cure the sick. a famous prophet once said,“I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have carefully hidden these things from wise and intellectual ones, and have revealed them to babes." so stick to your name calling like "fundies", your negative comments are so not interesting.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      ...but what is interesting is listening to the same monotonous "universe runs on pixie dust" arguments from nutters like you? "So called higher learning" simply involves understanding for a moment that there is no magic in books or words.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Kirk

      hey end religion name caller,is this the extent of your iq, name calling? the only magic dust around here is the stuff your putting up your nose. get a life and go to your homies that hate people & get their jullies out of calling people names. how old did you say you are? oh by the way, you say no magic in books or words? wow tell that to all your scientific cronies.

      November 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Kirk thinks science is just "magic." What a sad commentary on education. Of course, maybe he was home-schooled.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Kirk

      there goes the name calling again. what do you want to be when you grow up tom tom?

      November 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @Kirk...

      Exactly how is Tom Tom's speculation that you were home-schooled "name calling?" Methinks you doth protest too much.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 29, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • the AnViL

      kirk posits: "astronauts depend on laws of gravity& mathematics beyond comprehension."

      i have found – more often than not... the "laws of gravity and mathematics" ARE beyond the comprehension of those who are mired in the ugly clutches of the god delusion.

      zoop!

      December 3, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Captain Obvious

      Kirk

      MOST scientists do not believe and here is why:

      If God changed the results of experiments based on prayer or intervention, we would still be living in caves. The scientific method would fail as things would not be repeatable and reproducible.

      Therefore, prayer does NOT work. Einstein ALSO did not believe in a personal God. Perhaps IF there is a creator, he is letting us run this planet with free will and not interfering which is why prayer does not work. Many studies on prayer also found that people being prayed actually did worse in surgery than people who were not aware of being prayed for or those that were not prayed for.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  17. Kirk

    Myth Versus Fact—The Truth About Jesus
    WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS FACT OR MYTH?
    Jesus was born on December 25. Three wise men visited Jesus at the time of his birth.
    MANY would respond that all those statements are factual. Others might say that it is difficult—even impossible—to know for sure. Perhaps they feel that as long as you believe in Jesus, the answer does not really matter.
    The Bible, however, says otherwise. It encourages us to have “accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8) We gain that knowledge by examining the Gospels. They reveal the truth about Jesus, enabling us to separate myth from fact. So let us consider what the Gospels indicate regarding the above-mentioned beliefs.
    BELIEF: Jesus was born on December 25.
    STATUS: MYTH.
    There is no direct statement in the Bible concerning the month or day of Jesus’ birth. Where, then, did the date of December 25 come from? According to The Encyclopædia Britannica, some who called themselves Christians “wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking . . . the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky.” That same reference work notes that many Christmas customs originated with “pagan agricultural and solar observances at midwinter.”
    Would Jesus approve of the celebration of his birth on December 25? Consider: The day of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Nowhere do the Scriptures direct us to celebrate that birth, nor is there any evidence that early Christians did so. In contrast, the Bible provides the exact day of Jesus’ death, and he commanded his followers to observe that day. (Luke 22:19) Clearly, Jesus wanted emphasis to be placed, not on his birth, but on the value of his sacrificial death.—Matthew 20:28.
    BELIEF: Three wise men (or kings in some traditions) visited Jesus at the time of his birth.
    STATUS: MYTH.
    Perhaps you have seen paintings or nativity scenes that depict the infant Jesus lying in a manger, surrounded by three wise men bearing gifts. This image, however, is fiction, not fact.
    It is true that a delegation from the East paid homage to young Jesus. These visitors, though, were really astrologers. (Matthew 2:1, The New English Bible; The Bible—An American Translation) And did they find Jesus nestled in a manger? No; they visited him in a house. Evidently, they arrived some months after Jesus’ birth.—Matthew 2:9-11.
    As to the number of visitors, were there 2? 3? 30? The Bible does not say. Perhaps the traditional number of three arose from their three types of gifts. (Matthew 2:11) Some have even proposed that each of the so-called wise men represented a different race of mankind. But that idea is not found in the Scriptures. Rather, as one Gospel commentary notes, this particular myth is the product of “an eighth-century historian with a vivid imagination.”

    November 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      jesus, son of god, and his daddy are myths in toto

      November 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Wow. You're effin' crazy.

      November 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • the AnViL

      fact: EVERY account of jebus was hearsay. every account of every account of jebus was hearsay.

      you know what that means – dont'ya????

      December 3, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  18. Kirk

    bunch of dirt here. get out of the religious blogs, whats next, doin it w/ animals? cant wait for god to act again.

    November 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      kirk: meet god halfway. do you have tall buildings where you live?

      November 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • sam

      Don't bring your animal fantasies in here.

      November 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • End Religion

      kirk, that's really creepy that you admit doing it with animals. I mean, that never even enters the mind of normal folks like atheists. Is this something that happens to people when they practice religion too long?

      November 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I'm sorry Kirk but you'll have to "wait for god to act again", and waiting is all you'll ever do.

      The only "acts of god" that have ever been recorded are just that - recordings - people writing stuff down They're just the lies of men, penned and broadcast in order to enhance the power, wealth, influence, or love life of the reporter.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • the AnViL

      so when you find out – finally – that there is no imaginary man in the sky... you're going to run out and have s e x with some animals????

      whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?????

      December 3, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  19. Greg

    The headlines around Christmas and Easter on Jesus are just getting more and more stupid every year. Can the media tell us something new or interesting for once? Next year we will be informed that the NT wasn't written in English or in Latin, but Greek. Or that the Bible does not explicitly mention 3 magi. NO WAY! The culture's IQ is evidently getting lower and lower judging by the "news" we keep tolerating as... well, "news". Give me a job with CNN. Evidently it's easy money and the story does not even need to be relevant or factual. In this case, factual but not relevant.

    November 26, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What I find funny is the Pope is sketical enough to point out that there is no basis in scripture for the Angels, ect., ect.

      But the church still includes the Assumption of Mary in its dogma.....for which there is no basis in scripture.

      November 26, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • the AnViL

      yah – but cheese... there's no basis in scripture for the pope either....

      laugh with me.... let us rejoice in the idiocy that is catholocism together.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  20. athiesm is not healthy....

    What is healthy these days?? Fast food, microwave meals, energy drinks...no more home cooked meals. Everyin

    November 26, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Jeez

      Atheists are healthy because they are smart enough not to believe in a fantasy, and smart enough to make healthy food choices. Doof.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:16 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.