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December 31st, 2012
01:52 PM ET

Googling the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Sara Sidner, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN)–Tania Treiger pulls on her tight blue gloves and picks up her tweezers, preparing for the extraordinary job she has been hired to do. She is one of only five conservators in the entire world allowed to handle one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century. Treiger’s job is to help conserve and record the more than 2,000-year-old pieces of parchment that make up Dead Sea Scrolls.

Many of the fragments are smaller than a bottle cap, and Treiger is taking painstaking measures to preserve the tiny pieces of history by laying each one under a camera to be photographed. The work she and many others are doing now is making it possible for anyone around the world with access to the Internet to see and study the scrolls.

The scrolls were found by Muhammad Ahmed al-Hamed, a Bedouin shepherd, in Khirbet Qumran in caves near the Dead Sea 65 years ago in what was then the British Mandate Palestine, now the West Bank. When pieced together, the scrolls reveal some of the holiest and well-known texts of the world. In the delicate pieces of ancient parchment you can see the text of the Ten Commandments, the first chapter of Genesis, Psalms and many of the writings that make up the Bible as well as other non-biblical books. Nearly 900 manuscripts are now online because of a partnership between the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.

Pnina Shor, who heads the Dead Sea Scrolls project, says she hatched the idea five years ago.

“These are manuscripts written 2,000 years ago, at the time when both Judaism and Christianity were formalizing as we know them today,” Shor said.

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It has taken five years to get 5,000 scroll fragments online, which includes an exciting development due to modern technology. A thousand of the fragments have been photographed using NASA technology to reveal text previously impossible to see.

“For me, this is a dream come true," Shor said. "I have been working on this five years, and it is now like a dream come true because now not only the scholarly world is going to care for this but the public as well."

The process of revealing even more detail in the scrolls and digitizing them includes photographing each fragment 28 times front and back, using 12 colors of the spectrum and NASA technology.

Once Treiger puts the scroll fragment on the table to be photographed, photographer Shai Halevi sets the computer, and it snaps away using filters that are blue, green, red and many colors undetectable to the eye.

Halevi explains how it works: “We took the pictures over there with all the colors, different light length, then we're getting all the exposures on the screen, and I'm combining them all into one multispectral image. And now secret writings are going to be revealed with the infrared image.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls website offers all kinds of information, even details about each fragment. The search engine will tell you what cave the fragment was found in (the scroll fragments were found in several caves that came to be known as the Qumran caves); what language is written on the fragment; and what it says, translated into English or Hebrew and, very soon, Arabic. You can zoom in to see the finest detail.

At a press conference in Jerusalem, the head of Google’s Research and Development in Israel, Yossi Matias, explained the company’s role in making these ancient scrolls available to the masses.

“Google's mission is to organize the world's information to make it universally accessible and useful. And it's hard to think about more important content than the scrolls that have such significance to so many people worldwide.”

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

In the 1950s, some of the scrolls were photographed, and last year, the Israel Museum teamed up with Google and put five of the 900 manuscripts on the Internet. But, for this project, all the photos taken in the 1950s are now online. The team is continuing to photograph and preparing to put another thousand of the enhanced photos online this month.

Controversy has followed these scrolls from the day they were discovered. Arguments abound over who actually wrote them and who owns them. Now that they are available to the entire world for crowdsourcing, who knows what new controversies or perhaps answers can be uncovered in the ancient writings?

CNN's Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible

soundoff (458 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Whatever is on dead sea scroll is not proven anything just like bible.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Mike

      whatever on*

      January 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • John A

      Removes the excuses from people that the Bible has changed over time.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  2. nadia

    the word 'crowdsourcing' is misused in this article. It means outsourcing a task so that it is distributed to a crowd, or group of online users.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  3. Robert Brown

    Seyedibar, You wrote this today, “We can even use the dead sea scrolls to see that the earliest jewish writings were a sequel to the Sumerian epics.”, and I have seen you write similar things before. So, being a curious sort, I went and read the eleven tablets of the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh. It was an interesting story. Other than the flood story, in tablet eleven, what similarities to the bible do you see?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • polecatblue

      There are many ancient epic poems and other scripture that was written during the Mesopotamia era. I'm not saying the author or you are right/wrong, mon'.

      Just saying that Gilgamesh is just one.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  4. Jamal0390

    i am more interested in the non-religious texts that are being digitized religion is only one aspect of our collective pasts its time we looked at the rest. For example no one knows exactly how the pyrimids were created we only have theories. Maybe one of these scrolls have the answer

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  5. nO POST

    The Scriptures are fact – If believers are wrong than we lost nothing and gained nothing...if atheists' claims are wrong, they have gained nothing and lost their souls. Let's continue the debate on the other side.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Fedup Delivery

      Why are you still alive if you think it's so great? Kill yourself and show us how strong your delusion can be. Go ahead.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • nO POST

      Im still alive because there are many people I still have to speak to regarding Jesus. But yes, I'd rather be with Him in heaven – but I'll let Him decide when my time is up. Suicide is for those who get deceived by Satan.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • I wonder

      Which "Scriptures"?

      – The Quran?
      – The Hindu Vedas?
      – The Sikh Shri Guru Granth Sahib?
      – The Hebrew/Christian Bible?
      – Kim's Korean Scripture?
      – etc., etc., etc. x thousands

      Maybe you picked the right one? Maybe not?

      January 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      No one is going to want to waste their time explaining this to you, so please just google Pascal's Wager to see why your line of thinking was rejected 100s of years ago even by devoutly religious thinkers.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • nO POST

      No need to look anything up. Everything I need is everything everyone else rejects. I run against the grain and my life has meaning – I know why I'm here and while I exist – where as everyone else still has a question mark over their head.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • nO POST

      why I exist*

      January 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Heracles

      So why not believe in the Koran then? If the Koran is wrong you've lost nothing, if it is right then you're screwed...Allah doesn't seem as forgiving as Christ.

      But since it is all just a fairy tale, it is better to believe in facts instead.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Pascal's Wager only works if there is only 1 religion. When you have multiple religions, the consequences for choosing the wrong religion are the same as choosing none.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • nO POST

      @Heracles you are correct – it's better to believe in facts – that's why I believe the Scriptures regarding Jesus – and to add to those facts is how it's promises have come true in my life. True story.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Which God?

      nOPOST. That answer was a cop out. Your god wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants you to join him in heaven Please do so, quickly, so we have one less fool to deal with. Wait, take chad and drew with, OK?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      +)nO POST

      You make good points.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • nO POST

      Which God? The answer to your blog name will be the God (Jesus) who will with a heavy heart not allow you entrance into His kingdom where there is no more pain and no more suffering. Instead, with a heavy heart cast you to where there is pain and eternal suffering. Repent, it's not too late. I'd like you to be there, too.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • nO POST

      @The Truth. Thanks buddy. Hold on tight to your faith in Jesus.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      It has been strengthened today. Peace.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "The Scriptures are fact "

      "The majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls are religious works"

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      Religious works does not equal fact.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • The Truth

      Thank you for adjusting your handle to The Truth OP (Which I assume stands for Old Protestant) as I have been using this handle here for over a year and as anyone who frequents the boards will tell you, I am no Christian. I was, even a Pastor for a decade, and have read the bible daily for 30 years, then I read all the other "truths" that have been claimed and see them all for what they are, "hopes". They "hope" they will live on after death, they "hope" they have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. They "hope" that God doesn't understand Pascals wager either. They "Hope" a lot of things. Sadly, they will be disappointed, for the facts are far different than the hopes. They intentionally stay ignorant of the facts because they are incompatible with their hopes. They are worse than a moron for they have had the opportunity to learn the truths we know about our universe but choose to reject them or plug their ears. I can but feel sad for nO POST and those like them with such a tiny view of reality.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      "original poster"

      I won't be around here long enough to be a regular.

      My experiences strengthen my understanding of God as real. It works very well for me. Thanks for sharing your story.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Truth

      Nothing I saw in any of your posts was original. It was all just rehashed flawed circular thinking that does nothing but stroke your own ego.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      I'm not trying to be original. I was the "original poster" as "The Truth" in this thread.

      I get on my knees each morning and pray to God to release me from my ego. Thanks for pointing out where I'm failing at this. Sometimes God works through other people.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Pontifex Maximus

      @nO POST Telling an atheist that if they don't believe in your god that they are going to hell, is like a child telling their parents that they had better be good or Santa won't bring them any presents.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • The Truth

      @Pontifex Maximus – I like it :)

      January 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • The Truth

      @OP – I knew in what context you were meaning it, I was just pointing out the other way in which it could be used to jab you in the rib's metaphorically.

      You may also want to pray to God about healing your quickly aging knee's or you are using a prayer mat... but I don't see you as one who is facing east five times a day.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  6. Aine57

    For heaven's sake, people, this advance is wonderful! Be glad that such historical rarities are being preserved for the world. Stop quibbling about what you believe or don't believe - and I could fight about religion as well as any of you - and admit that when the past is available for our perusal that this is a good thing!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Fedup Delivery

      It's actually a complete waste of time, money, and resources.
      Treating ancient toilet paper like it means something is one of the most idiotic thing I've ever seen religious people do.

      Those scrolls are worthless. They are words of nasty con-artists and not worth very much. Toilet paper, like I said.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Agreed it is a very good thing.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  7. The Truth

    Yep, very true.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  8. Eman

    Arrogant, self-important little men shaking their puny little fist at God saying You don't exist. Tragic

    January 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Heracles

      Better than self-righteous puny men demanding you worship their god or go to some imaginary hell.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      That's not what my church preaches. Thank God.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • John A

      It is tragic. Spiritual suicide.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  9. Bob

    Gibberish written by early man. Why do we value old words more than quality words?

    January 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • John A

      Quality and wisdom are found only in the Bible.

      January 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  10. Gnuut Jensen

    Finally, more people than a bunch of heavily-invested Israeli flat-hats can view and debunk these primitive writings!

    Perhaps the truth behind the myths of Christianity can eventually be analyzed and revealed, and the mythos can be exposed.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Experts have been trying and failing to do so for 2,000 years, but feel free to try yourself.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • The Truth

      I tried, too. And failed miserably. I'm better off now. Praise God.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • OTOH

      Live4Him,

      Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe the Jesus legend. It took probably less than 50 years for the theory of gravity to be accepted world-wide... and it is the same for any other proven ideas, eg., mathematics, the telephone, radio, engines, penicillin, etc., etc., etc.

      The population of the world at present is a bit over 7 billion.
      There are approximately 2.1 billion Christians, which is around 33 per cent.
      http://chartsbin.com/view/3nr
      http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0904108.html

      January 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @OTOH: A belief in gravity does not impact a person the same way religion does. Whether or not a person believes in the concept of gravity, he/she still WON'T believe that he/she will fly off into space. So, they will accept the theory since it doesn't conflict with their basic beliefs. On the other hand, religion strikes at the core of a person. Either your core beliefs are right or they are wrong. People don't like to admit they are wrong. You believe in the religion of atheism (i.e. no god), while others believe in Christianity. One or both will have to be wrong. Both of these religions require faith to follow.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'You believe in the religion of atheism (i.e. no god), while others believe in Christianity. One or both will have to be wrong. Both of these religions require faith to follow.'

      sigh, there is no such religion as 'atheism'

      January 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @cedar rapids "sigh, there is no such religion as 'atheism'": You differ from the opinion of the US Supreme Court.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Live4Him

      @cedar rapids "sigh, there is no such religion as 'atheism'": You differ from the opinion of the US Supreme Court'

      no i dont, the supreme court claimed that atheism is protected in the same manner as religion with regards to the First Amendment. They did not claim that atheism should be classed as a religion outside of that right.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Pete

      Keep in mind that for a large part of that 2,000 years anyone who tried to claim Jesus wasn't the son of god would be put to death. That is a pretty good way to keep the truth form getting out if you ask me.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • OTOH

      Live4Him

      " Whether or not a person believes in the concept of gravity, he/she still WON'T believe that he/she will fly off into space."

      But you believe that after you die an unverified part of you (soul) will fly off into space (heaven – if you were "good") to be with an unproven being.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  11. richunix

    To make it final NO ONE know WHO wrote the Gospel, they are written in classical Greek, NOT the language of Hebrews at that time and these ARE copies of copies handed down. These are the view of most scholar bar the regions ones.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Live4Him

      The NT manuscripts were written in Konine (i.e. common) Greek, not classical Greek. It was the universal language of the region, while Hebrew was very localized to Israel. And while some of the NT manuscripts don't have a known author, many of them were recorded as coming from a designated Disciple by the church that received the letter (i.e. NT "book"). Last, the originals were written on papirus (sp?), which doesn't survive too well in the region's climatic condtions. Just becasue the material doesn't survive well, doesn't mean that it is undependable. In fact, computerized comparisons of all known NT manuscripts (up thru 500 AD) were found to be 99.7% identical. This means that the text that has been handed down is the same as written by the original disciple.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • OTOH

      Live4Him,

      This is very thin, weak and shoddy evidence from an allegedly all-knowing, all-powerful god...

      January 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • richunix

      Live4him,

      Sorry dude your clueless... your right the writtings up to 4th century CE, were pretty much the same, however the versions in the KJV you use are taken from the 8/9/10 century CE which contain so many discrepancies (over 40000, last count) Here read Jesus "Farwell Discourse" in Mark and compare it to John. Doubt you will be able to finish before the blog is discontinued.

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      January 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @richunix: You're right that the KJV (i.e. 17th century) differs widely than the early manuscripts. You obviously don't know why. The Protestants and the Catholics were in a rift, and the Catholics were not willing to lend the Protestants their good manuscripts. As such, the Protestants had to use Medieval copies (i.e. Received Text) as their next best option. These copies were subpar, with previous scribes making additions for study purposes. But, it was the best they had at the time.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  12. David

    God is the gold of fools.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • John A

      The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.

      January 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  13. Dave

    The writings of the early Jewish Christians at Qumran are magnificent.Their references to the "teacher of righteousness" as a mortal human falls right into the truths of history and humanity.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  14. Honey Badger Dont Care

    A believer's testimony is NOT evidence, let alone proof. Face it. Your Jesus character never existed.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Really??

      great...next you're going to try to tell me The Great Pumpkin doesn't exist. non-believers...sheeesh

      January 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      All you need is faith that the Great Pumpkin existed. Facts be darned!

      January 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • AlienShark

      You are more than welcome to believe in whatever religion or lack thereof that you want, but honestly you sound like a fool when you say that Jesus never existed. No credible historian or scholar disputes his existing. You should know how ignorant you sound.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Abner

      The question is not whether a man named Jesus Christ existed. That is an historical fact recognized even by atheists. The question is what you believe about him. You've shown your ignorance in the comment, now show your intelligence in investigating the testimony about him.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'That is an historical fact recognized even by atheists'

      Not sure you can claim 'historical fact'. I think you can say 'believe he most likely did exist' but 'historical fact' is a bit too concrete a claim.
      And sure, I can believe such a guy existed, but start asking me to believe he could do miracles and was some kind of deity avatar, and er, no, lets leave magic to the fairy stories.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I would need more than "testimony" to believe a man named Jesus was conceived with no sperm, changed the molecular structure of liquids, raised the dead, died, raised himself from the dead and then raised himself into the sky. Whether or not a normal man named Jesus existed I find inconsequential.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Heracles

      All hail the Great Pumpkin, or as I like to call him, The Great Pumpking. King of Kings.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • kayamar

      Pfft you great pumpkin believers. There is no god but the great spaghetti monster!

      January 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Really??

      Alien Shark
      I do not lack religion. That is like saying I lack a festering boil on my a$$.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  15. palintwit

    We got a lot of snow here where I live. And snow makes me think about Alaska. And every time I think about Alaska, I think about Sarah Palin. And every time I think about Sarah Palin, I think about trailer trash. And every time I think about trailer trash, I think about the tea party. And every time I think abut the tea party, I think about nascar. And every time I think about nascar, I think about assault weapons. And every time I think about assault weapons, I think about Sarah Palin. And every time I think about Sarah Palin, I think about trailer trash. And every time I think about trailer trash, I think about the tea party. And every time I think about the tea party, I think about...

    January 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Impalin Sarah

      BEST.COMMENT.OF.THE.DAY!

      January 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • lilleo

      Awesome!! I have some of those same thoughts.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • palintwit

      And every time I think of Palin, I think of Michelle Obama. And every time I think of Michelle Obama, I puke.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • palintwit

      palintwit imposter ^ Ignore the little weenie.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • palintwit

      No I am the real palintwit. Derpa derp...Sarah Palin is the reason for all bad things...Derpa Derp.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • palintwit

      When is your mother going to unlock the basement door and let you out? ^

      January 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  16. I Forgot My Name

    Very good to have the scrolls available to the public.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  17. Jim Myers

    All religious argument aside, this still is an amazing and important scientific, historical and literary development. For so many people to be able to view and research the scrolls, the sky's the limit on what might be possible to learn from them.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  18. richunix

    @lesha

    Lesha, you best get an education in bible history, the dead sea scrolls pre-date the earliest Christian bible by about 2-3 centuries and the gospel according to John was the last gospel added (author unknown) was written 2 centuries after the gospel Mark and yes my dear they don’t match, in story line or events. I could spend an entire webpage showing the discrepancies. John has the christ being divine and Mark make no mention of it as he point out the Nazarene also do not perform any miracles. However in John, that is whole different story. You need to understand the early Christian and you will see why the author of John writes the way he/she does. In short your religion was made up and over the past 200 years (since the church lost power) we have shown the at the earliest version of Mark (probably the best description of the Nazarene) known complete version from the 4th century, paint a totally different version than John did. John gospel are written to establish the church and to make the Nazarene divine. Please understand that the Nazarene was not important during the 1st century, other than a criminal executed by the Romans for treasonable act against the Roman state, hence why he was crucified (punishment used for treasons, murders etc.). Only the Christian changed the facts and later Christian embellished his action. These are not made up, as they are fact, taught in University. Here is the web link for the New Testament and the codex we have: http://egora.uni-muenster.de/intf/index_en.shtml . Sorry but your wrong Lesha, please research your claim, No one know who wrote the four gospel (written in classical Greek) and many centuries handed down from the oral tradition.

    Ask yourself who were the Ebonite’s or the Macroians, you may then start to understand why the Roman Christian (proto-orthodoxy) won out and insure that the claim that the Nazarene was divine, along with the rest of the story.

    Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    January 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Topher

      richunix

      Seriously? Do you atheists really ever expect to win an argument when you continue with this ridiculousness? I mean, either you are blatantly lying or you just have no knowledge.

      " ... gospel according to John was the last gospel added (author unknown) was written 2 centuries after the gospel Mark and yes my dear they don’t match, in story line or events."

      John written 80-90 AD. Mark written 50-60 AD. So it's 30 years, tops, not 200 years. And they do match. Just read them. And it is clear John wrote it.

      "I could spend an entire webpage showing the discrepancies"

      Please do. You've got nothing, so I'm not worried.

      "John has the christ being divine and Mark make no mention of it as he point out the Nazarene also do not perform any miracles. However in John, that is whole different story."

      You've clearly not read these books. Mark 16 tells of the Resurrection. That's a miracle. So your whole premise is blown. Mark also contains things like giving prophecies that came true as well as healings and casting out demons. In fact, there are 19 miracles attributed to Jesus in Mark.

      "In short your religion was made up and over the past 200 years (since the church lost power) we have shown the at the earliest version of Mark (probably the best description of the Nazarene) known complete version from the 4th century, paint a totally different version than John did."

      What insinuation is this? We've had these books for almost 2000 years. Nothing new has been added in the last 200 years.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Bob

      While you two nitpick over iron/bronze-age writings, the fact remains there is no empirical evidence for the God of Israel.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Pete

      Topher, a copy of a made up story is still a made up story.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Live4Him

      The Dead Sea Scrolls were written between 200 BC and 70 AD, which is significantly less than the 2-3 centuries you stated. Second, most scholars believe the NT texts were written between 50 – 95 AD, which means that there is some overlap. In fact, some scholars believe that the DSS 7Q5 is a fragment from the New Testament (Mark 6:52-53). Extant NT fragments have been dated to as early as 125 AD.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'The Dead Sea Scrolls were written between 200 BC and 70 AD, which is significantly less than the 2-3 centuries you stated.'

      no it isnt. 200BC to 70AD would be 270 years. Thats within the 200 to 300 years range.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'John written 80-90 AD. Mark written 50-60 AD. So it's 30 years, tops, not 200 years. And they do match. Just read them. And it is clear John wrote it.'

      clear to whom? fair number of biblical scholars believe there were 3 different authors, at 3 different times, for John.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • richunix

      Topher,

      Yes I have and clearly you’re a religious fundamentalist....and the earliest anything (the size of a credit card written both front and back, 18 verses total) we have (check the website) I list is from the 2nd century CE... P52 from the Gospel John. It is not by any means 2000 years old…not even close. Judging by your remarks your totally clueless about the history of the bible… Here read this “Jesus, Interrupted” by Bart D. Ehrman, PhD, Harper One. I could list others, but start there.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @cedar rapids: The span of the years writing the DSS was 270 years, but the difference between when the last DSS was written and the first NT was written is -20 years (i.e. NT: 50 AD vs. DSS: 70 AD ) – which is why I stated they overlapped chronologically.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Topher

      cedar rapids

      "clear to whom? fair number of biblical scholars believe there were 3 different authors, at 3 different times, for John."

      Name these scholars.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • a the is m

      Larry, Moe & Curly

      January 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Topher

      richunix

      "Yes I have and clearly you’re a religious fundamentalist...."

      Very true. I've yet to be given any information that should make me hold the Bible in a lesser regard.

      "Judging by your remarks your totally clueless about the history of the bible…"

      And judging by yours you only read people who are anti-God and anti-Bible. I have several books on the subject.

      "Here read this “Jesus, Interrupted” by Bart D. Ehrman, PhD, Harper One. I could list others, but start there."

      Ah, yes. Bart Ehrman. I'm familiar with him. At least he's one agnostic who can at least admit Jesus existed.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Ah, yes. Bart Ehrman. I'm familiar with him. At least he's one agnostic who can at least admit Jesus existed.
      .
      Like every other cultic personality he was a delusional man that died due to his delusions.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Dan

    You said, "Athiests are funny they claim they don't like people pushing them to conversion they don't like people talking about God and want people to respect their decisions."
    Atheists*

    I respect your right to believe as you see fit. After all, stupidity isn't illegal. For your beliefs to merit any respect they have to be rational.
    "After all, stupidity isn't illegal." You respect someone's right to believe as they see fit but you call them stupid for believing? How Atheist of you. It seems Christians aren't the only ones that are judgmental.

    You said, "Yet they have no problem ridiculing everything about God calling him names and spreading their views and trying to push theirs on everyone else."
    Again, believe what you want, but here's a question for you: What would you do if you encounter an otherwise rational adult who still believes in the Tooth Fairy?
    Everyone needs 'FAITH', whether it's God, the Tooth Fairy, creationism, evolution or simply believing there is no God at all.

    You said, "You can't believe there is a creator but yet you have no problem believing that some how out of a mathimatical equation so great that you think that somehow it all happened by accident that everything just supposedly happened on the right planet in the right part of the universe at the right time at the right way."
    Yours is an argument from ignorance. You claim that, because you can't comprehend it to have come about any other way, your god must have done it.
    Ignorance shows itself in many forms. Just because something can be explained doesn't mean the explanation is correct. 2+2=4, 2×2=4, same numbers, same result, different method of reaching it.

    Not accepting a hypothesis for which there isn't a shred of evidence is the default stance. Until there is evidence to support any hypothesis there is no reason to think it is valid. Until there is evidence in support of your "goddidit" story, it's unreasonable to accept it as valid.
    Faith alone is enough evidence. Just because you don't have faith it doesn't mean others are wrong.

    You said, "A house doesn't build itself."
    Who built the builder? Perhaps the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    January 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • The Truth

      Life isn't completely rational.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • The Truth

      +) From Drew:
      "....the most convincing evidence that the Bible is the Word of God is transformed lives....when you see the Holy Spirit change a lying, greedy, filthy degenerate into a person who loves Christ, loves others and is truly a changed soul there is no denying Him after that...."

      This statement isn't rational, but I accept it. I have experienced this to be true.

      I am a human being, not a robot. I can never be perfect. Trying to be a "totally rational" being will fail me.

      I am a human being.

      Human is not rational. We are part spiritual. Part of us is from another dimension we can't all clearly see.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • richunix

      @Truth,

      Simple back up your claim on the Nazarene, show us and the rest of world were he was divne and what you say sparks any truth.

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      January 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • The Truth

      =) richunix

      No. God's will not mine be done. :)

      But seriously, I believe. And I have my evidence and reasons. I've tried convincing people on the board. It takes a long time – so, not today.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • The Truth

      There are no Gods, neither the Christian one or any other. That is the cold hard Truth.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      Jesus Christ lives.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Jesus Christ lives."

      Jesus is a fraud, all hail Mithra!

      Mithra
      Was born of a virgin on December 25th, in a cave, attended by shepherds
      Was considered a great traveling teacher and master
      Had 12 companions or disciples
      Promised his followers immortality
      Performed miracles
      Sacrificed himself for world peace
      Was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again
      Was celebrated each year at the time of His resurrection (later to become Easter)
      Was called "the Good Shepherd"
      Was identified with both the Lamb and the Lion
      Was considered to be the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah."
      Celebrated Sunday as His sacred day (also known as the "Lord's Day,")
      Celebrated a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper"

      Mithra lives!

      January 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      Where does the New Testament say Jesus was born on December 25th?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Where does the New Testament say Jesus was born on December 25th?"

      Why do Christians celebrate it Jesus's birth on that day?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • JasonInKC

      Sorry, I'm having a hard time letting this one go.

      "2+2=4, 2×2=4, same numbers, same result, different method of reaching it."

      This is the SAME method. Multiplication is repeated addition. So, saying '2 x 2' simply means to add 2 to itself for a total of 2 times. Hence, '5 x 3' is the same thing as saying '5 + 5 + 5' and '2 x 2' is the same thing as '2 + 2'.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      The Catholic church decided to observe it on that day. And a tradition began.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      "Christ Jesus been born on December 25 was an adopted date by the Catholic Church, ca. 300 years later after Christianity had already began. Lukes 2:8-12 Shepherds in the fields at night decreases the probability that the birth period of Christ Jesus was in winter(December). December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is not Biblical or Historical supported."

      I can copy and paste just like "Huh?"

      January 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Huh?

      "The Catholic church decided to observe it on that day. And a tradition began."

      No, they choose it to try and convert people from other pagan religions, they stole it from Mithra just like the story of Christ is was stolen.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      I've looked into the claims that Christianity is a copy cat religion. I don't buy it.

      "Mithraism cult worship is pre-Christian but the Virgin birth, and much of other Christain-like ideas evolved after Christianity."

      The early Christians would not have been familiar with Mithraism

      January 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Huh?

      ""Mithraism cult worship is pre-Christian but the Virgin birth, and much of other Christain-like ideas evolved after Christianity."

      The early Christians would not have been familiar with Mithraism"

      Let's guess, you're using a Christian website for rebuttal. Sorry dude, Mithra, Mitra predates Christianity. Christianity adopted many of the elements of the religion into theirs.

      The point is you don't actually know the truth about your religion is not based on actual facts. Your religion will become just like all the others in human history, a myth we look back on and wonder why people where so dumb.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      wikipedia:
      "The Mithraic Mysteries were a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to 4th centuries AD. "

      They were pretty secretive, too. It'd been tough for the early Christians to know what they were doing (this was before Google.).

      January 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Huh?

      No wonder you don't know what you're talking about you're using wiki! LMAO!

      January 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • The Truth OP

      The point is the 2 religions were developing at the same time.

      And we also believe Jesus' virgin birth was prophesized in the Bible (way before Mithraism).

      January 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  20. nO POST

    Humans cannot even explain with complete authority and proof of who we are, how we came to be, how we function and why we do the things we do – yet they know everything about God and can prove He doesn't exist. The proof of Jesus lies within the believers testimony. No science or human logic can prove otherwise – anything else is just simple denial of the facts.
    Note: I am against the Vatican and all that organized religion stands for. I am all for a meaningful, sincere and deep relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • richunix

      We can not yet, but give us time and you can bet it will be without mythlogy..Once you remove religion from makind, we will advance to new heights.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • The Truth

      How do your remove religion from a person? Nazi concentration camps?

      January 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • nO POST

      I'll remove religion right along with you. It is religion and not a relationship with Christ that has it's body in such a poor state.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Pontifex Maximus

      And people use to think that Zeus was the cause of storms and lightening too. What's your point?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • lol??

      richunix is a copycat......"Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."....Maybe just demon possessed.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • I wonder

      nO POST,
      "I am all for a meaningful, sincere and deep relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ."

      Do you have a relationship with any other invisible people... or just that one?

      Does he speak to you... tell you things that you don't already know, or that you could figure out using your imagination or Google?

      January 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • lol??

      I see richy is big on the "WEGOD", too.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.