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My Take: Jesus was a dirty, dirty God
January 5th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Jesus was a dirty, dirty God

Editor’s note: Johnnie Moore is the author of Dirty God (#DirtyGod). He is a professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University. Keep track of him @johnnieM .

By Johnnie Moore, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.

You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God.

But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God.

He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.

To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.

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What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.

Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?”

“Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.”

It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head.

But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.

I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.

They could relate to him.

He was the teacher from a small town who knew and understood the economic insecurity that was common in the first century. Times must have been rather tough for Jesus at points in his life, for he even spoke of being homeless, having to sleep on the ground with no roof over his head.

He also knew what it was like to have his message rejected and how it felt to be misunderstood. Jesus was regarded with such little significance in his hometown that one of his critics once remarked sardonically, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” Jesus eventually had to move to different city (Capernaum) because his teachings so infuriated the people living in his hometown that they drove him out of Nazareth and even tried to throw him off a cliff.

'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article

The real Jesus had dirt underneath his fingernails and calluses on his hands. He probably smelled badly from sweating profusely in the Judean sun on his long hikes to Jerusalem, and Jesus was, without a doubt, rumored to be a hypocrite or absolutely mad for all the time he spent with prostitutes and those afflicted with leprosy.

Not exactly have a clean-cut image.

He had a rather shady reputation.

Some people thought he was a revolutionary. The religious leaders called him a heretic, and others even accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton - in no small part because of the vagabond group of disciples he had with him. No serious religious leader of his day would have ever recruited such people.

For his core 12 disciples, Jesus included a tough-as-nails, bombastic fisherman (Peter), a chief tax collector named Matthew (the most hated popular figure of the time), an eventual traitor who was stealing money out of the offering bucket (Judas), a prolific doubter (Thomas), two jocks nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” (James and John) and Simon the Zealot, a member of a radical political party which believed in using violence to kick out the Romans.

Jesus was sarcastic, too.

He often snapped back at the Pharisees with a tone fit for late-night television, and in a terribly embarrassing moment for all those around him, Jesus even called these respected religious teachers “snakes” that were probably sons of “Satan.”

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That’s not exactly the behavior of a sweet, self-help teacher with a halo over his head.

It’s the behavior of a frustrated man who might also be divine, but sure knows how it feels for annoying people to get under his skin.

Christians believe that Jesus chose to be born fully human, too, but why?

Lots of theologians have laid out opinions over the centuries, and in their opining they have tried once again to hijack Jesus’ humanity by defining it in philosophical terms. I believe it’s simpler than the philosophy and church councils and centuries of argument.

The brilliance of Christianity is the image of a God, named Jesus, arrived with dirty hands.

Jesus came in a time period when Greco-Roman gods were housed in gigantic temples and portrayed with superhuman powers and with superhuman physiques. Gods were believed to be far away from people on their mountains or hemmed up in their sanctuaries.

Jesus arrived in defiance of this prevailing imagery.

Jesus didn’t come flinging lightning bolts from a mountaintop, or playing politics in Rome. He came to live in a typical Middle Eastern village called Nazareth that was home to a couple hundred typical people. He didn’t decide to brandish his power, but to spend most of his time with the powerless and disenfranchised. And when he started a religious movement that reshaped history, he did it in the most profound and anticlimatic way:

He let himself be killed, and then he busted open a tomb.

In Jesus we meet a Savior who understood the desire to sleep just a few more hours, and who had to control his temper sometimes. In Jesus we find a God we can relate to because he chose to relate to us.

He was the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Johnnie Moore.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Jesus

soundoff (7,741 Responses)
  1. Jeebus

    Jesus, if he looked like his contemporary semitic males odf his day was about 5' 3" tall, weighed maybe 130#, had a swarthy (oily) complexion, had a distinctive hook nose and close set eyes, probably had few teeth, and smelled (no baths, no indoor plumbing, no toilet paper existed then),

    January 6, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • remigius

      Er,wrong. Ritual bathing is a requirement in Judaism.

      January 6, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Dana

      CNN, stop it with this absurd, magical religious nonsense. You are supposed to be a news organization.

      January 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Bobby

      No way. he looked like David Beckham in an underwear commercial according to the crucifixes in my house.

      January 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • ilskim

      lol Dana, and you think the news and stories CNN puts on their news feeds AREN'T magical fairy tales, this is one of the most real posts I read on CNN in a long time

      January 7, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • rob-Texas

      Would have to agree with ilskim on this one!

      January 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • dsmacguffin

      For those discussing ritual washing, washing at the temple in a ritual context is very different from the daily hot water showers that so many of us are accustomed to.

      Hand washing would have been common, but baths would have been more infrequent. In fact, ritual bathing had more to do with spiritual cleanliness than physical cleanliness, although washing the hands or an unclean part of the body was still considered important.

      Have some sources:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritual_washing_in_Judaism#Late_Second_Temple_period

      http://books.google.com/books?id=XvreAGTCvmEC&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=hygiene+during+the+late+second+temple+period&source=bl&ots=ZUEEKYkv1a&sig=tpbBQtg1dKglhhMuuO2x–XyG5g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=28zsUN-iB6GciQKasoDIDQ&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=hygiene%20during%20the%20late%20second%20temple%20period&f=false

      http://books.google.com/books?id=kvwQuFhXz24C&pg=PA239&dq=bathing+late+second+temple+period&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Xc3sUO7BFrCUigLM54C4Dg&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=bathing%20late%20second%20temple%20period&f=false

      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0014_0_13881.html

      January 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Hello

      Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill to see just who the Jesus character really was.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  2. js

    This may be the first article in CNN's Belief section that may be an accurate representation of Christianity.

    January 6, 2013 at 6:47 am |
  3. Damocles

    I came for the ti-tle, but the rest of the story is just a rehashing of the same old same old.

    The supposed over-deity, God, is certainly not the first deity to have ever supposedly sent forth a proxy to meddle in the affairs of men. The proxy, Jesus, is certainly not the first proxy to have ever gotten down and dirty with the troops as a rallying point or as an ideal for others to follow.

    It's a creation story, one that borrows from the ones that came before it, nothing more or less. There may be some good ideas couched in the story, but they get lost in the whole 'you are going to hell, I hate all those different than me' talk that seems to be getting louder and louder.

    January 6, 2013 at 4:54 am |
    • Nclaw441

      I agree with you that the tone seems to be getting more and more shrill, on all sides. Believers threaten non-believers with hell (rather than celebrating the joy that comes from a Christian life). Atheists ridicule believers, rather than tolerating them. It is a matter of faith for us all.

      January 6, 2013 at 6:46 am |
    • other Chris

      I'm all for comparative religion. And I could care less whether you believe any or all of it.

      But it is specious nonsense to dismiss Christianity as merely a recapitulation of previous myth. The folks living when the christian story was forming were more aware than we are of the similarities to other religious narratives. They lived among other classical religions. They were converts from them. Nobody found this scandalous until the modern age.

      Christian tradition and theology are unique in numerous and significant ways. It is simply ignorant or simplistic to say otherwise.

      There are plenty of valid philosophical attacks to be made on the existence of a supreme being, even Christian theology in particular. Making facile, dismissive claims of syncretistic myth recycling is just lame and incurious.

      January 6, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • End Religion

      @OC: what is nonsense is iron age middle eastern goat herders recycling known previous myths into something you believe worthy of worship. The ignorance required to hold that position is incalculable.

      January 6, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Damocles

      @other

      Um ok, you sorta go with 'hey you are right that christianity borrows from other beliefs' and then jump into 'oh you damn dirty sinner, it's all unique and whatnot'.

      I'd ask you to clarify your posistion, but you would probably accuse me of picking on you and go stomping off in a huff.

      Bottom line is that it does borrow from the stories that came before it. Yes, it might have a few ideas that are semi-unique, but the core of the story is rehashed, that you disagree with that makes it know less true.

      January 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  4. petemg

    Like it or not Jesus came to Earth to be born, to perform miracles and to die on the cross. Would you people criticize the Muslim belief. Jesus came to Earth to teach peace and love. Fine if you do not believe it. God created all of us with a freewill.

    January 6, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Anon

      Some comparative religion so you can maybe realize you've been had.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soQc1vhPCBg&w=640&h=390]

      January 6, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And why should non-belief deserve to be punished?

      January 6, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • End Religion

      Pete, bad news, not one single piece of evidence backs a claim that your jesus existed. Your god does not exist. No christian god, no muslim god, no fairy or leprechaun gods either. You cannot prove that a Fire-Breathing Pink Unicorn God doesn't exist, however.

      January 6, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So, you have proof that God does not exist? Beyond that you are not unlike those stating the opposite. Each is just posting their Faith that they are right.

      January 6, 2013 at 3:30 am |
    • End Religion

      @mark: Your god doesn't exist until I see extraordinary proof it does. However, you'd have to agree you cannot dispute the existence of Elephus, the purple polka-dotted elephant god who pinched her trunk and farted us into existence. She is the one true god, and the path to her exists only through obeying my word, her right hand man and appointed prophet. We celebrate her appropriately on St. Elephus Day by wearing wrinkly grey boots and an elephant mask while prancing through the streets showering those gathered to bear witness to her godliness with pink and brown confetti.

      January 6, 2013 at 4:27 am |
    • Damocles

      @ER

      Wow! If I wasn't a True Follower of Cat and Proxy Cat, I would totally want to worship this Elephus.

      I just hope you and I don't have to engage in a Holy War, but I think we should be ok because I don't see how Cat and Elephant interests overlap too much.

      January 6, 2013 at 4:58 am |
    • sam stone

      petemg: like it or not, it is just an opinion

      January 6, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Blake

      I agree. A lot of people do not want to admit that they will have to answer to God one day. Regardless of if you hate it, don't believe it, you will have to deal with it. How many different manuscripts does it take to know that Jesus was a real person, died on the cross and rose again?? Prove us wrong and find his body! Being an atheist proves only one thing, you believe in nothing and you will never ne riight but you can be terribly wrong if you do not change your thinking.

      January 6, 2013 at 6:54 am |
    • End Religion

      @Damocles: Elephus is a loving goddess, so it is possible we can find some mutual Cat/Elephant celebrations or just agree to disagree from a distance until we need each others' resources. Unlike other gods who claim love, Elephus has no childish jealousy concerning your choices in celebrating of life. Other gods are welcome so long as Elephus is.

      @Blake: "A lot of people do not want to admit that they will have to answer to God one day."

      You don't seem to be paying attention. There is no god to answer to aside from Elephus and perhaps Cat/Proxy, and I don't believe any of those gods have the childish desire of "being answered to." Elephus is happy just being the loving god she purports to be. You're invited, no guilt, tithes or praying necessary.

      ***
      "Regardless of if you hate it, don't believe it, you will have to deal with it."

      While Elephus is loving, she does not care for ignorance. Please read the memo circulated last week. There is no abrahamic god to answer to or "deal with".

      ***
      "How many different manuscripts does it take to know that Jesus was a real person"

      If your god wasn't so impotent it would only take one.

      ***
      "Being an atheist proves only one thing, you believe in nothing and you will never ne riight but you can be terribly wrong if you do not change your thinking."

      If I believed in nothing I wouldn't be here teaching you your bible is a fraud and showing how ridiculous your religion is. Contrary to your assertion atheists have been "right" about every god from the very beginning of time and will go so being. Gods come and go, non-believers go on surviving each myth.

      Your Pascal's Wager is tired, boring and immoral. Congrats!

      January 6, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Dana

      "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."

      Richard Dawkins

      January 6, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Yarah

      CNN would never talk about Muslims or Allah like they do about Jesus because they would have to be in hiding for the rest of their lives.

      January 6, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Ed

      Hey Blake. I killed and burried Big Foot a year ago, and three days later he rose from the dead, came to my house and we played Monopoly for a week straight. Then he got a Slurpee from 7-11, cherry I believe, and he disappeared and has not been seen since. You don't believe me? Then PROVE me wrong by finding his body.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  5. Bob

    There is no god and no afterlife. You stop existing when your brain rots. Anyone that has ever said otherwise is full of feces, including Jesus. This is the simple truth. No magic necessary.

    January 6, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Nclaw441

      Bob, I respect your belief that God does not exist, although I disagree. Does love exist? Compassion? Courage? Happiness? How would one go about proving their existence?

      January 6, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Nclaw441: No god is needed for any of those things to exist. Those are basic human attributes that don't pick and choose due to belief. How are you so sure your imaginary friend is the right one? What evidence can you provide to convince one of your particular imaginary friend?

      January 6, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • NClaw441

      Truth– that was not my question. If you believe love, compassion, courage, etc. exist, how would you prove it. My point was not that these things can only exist because of God (a good issue to discuss, though). My point was that most people agree that these things exist, but none of us can prove it...

      January 6, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • kaps

      hmm...maybe right...there is not really any concrete evidence of god's existence (unless you start questioning who might have created this universe, galaxies, earth, life etc..and try to look for an answer). But afterlife – I keep hearing in my circles, media, internet of first hand experiences of ghosts, someone remembering things from past life (including one such'ghostly' experience my wife claims to have had), so that kind of tends you to belive that if ghosts exist, there is a possibiliy of afterlife and then there should be something opposite of ghosts which I guess we try to imagine as god.

      but then, why ppl had 'ghostly' experience, why not 'godly' experience?...anyone out there with any such first-hand experiences ?

      January 6, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • End Religion

      @NClaw441: "If you believe love, compassion, courage, etc. exist, how would you prove it."

      Common claims are satisfied with common proof or none at all. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

      If we're at your house and you tell me your dog is in the next room I probably won't even be concerned with getting up to look. I would likely take your word for it.

      If you tell me, however, that in the next room is your pet lizard that happens to be a fire-breathing, 7 foot tall lizard who walks on 2 legs and juggles bowling pins while reciting poetry, I may want to go verify your extraordinary claim by asking you to show me this lizard and have him perform these tricks.

      If you tell your wife you love her, she may take you at face value, or perhaps she may ask you to buy her a ring and some roses now and again as "proof". Love is a common claim that requires no, or little, proof. If you want to bring science into it there appears to be a neurological brain study about it: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/97 Generally speaking, at this time I'm not sure how much stock I put into the results of these various neurological studies since while they seem to show brain activity under certain controlled situations, I don't necessarily find the situations conducive to what I consider proof. They just don't seem well controlled to me.

      January 6, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Nclaw441

      Endreligion, you make my point. There is no present proof that love exists, or compassion, or courage or joy. Yet almost no one would deny that they all exist, even without proof. Your example of a dog or lizard in the next room is imminently provable– just open the door.

      I cannot prove God exists, but for many people there is no doubt. You might call it a common claim, as you described, for which no proof is even requested.

      January 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • John A

      A man without hope, so sad.

      January 7, 2013 at 12:05 am |
  6. Anon

    More like non-existent since historical evidence of Jesus is zero, except to the feeble minded believers.

    January 6, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • elle

      Actually there are several texts (non religious) written by Jewish historians from the time that verify Jesus did exist. Heck, you could even google that info. Too funny how raged people get trying to prove that Jesus did not exist. Sort of funny really. Who are the real fanatics, lol. Seems the non believers have to keep pointing out how wrong we Christians are. Just let us go along with our fairytale if it is no big deal to you-or are you trying to convince yourself?

      January 6, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • SaltyBob

      Well we still cant get to the truth, the universal truth, mortals are alone within yourselves make up whatever makes you feel better at night and keep it to yourself. Only then will you be truly happy! (ignorance is truly paradise)

      January 6, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • End Religion

      elle, all the so-called proof of the son of god's existence has been debunked, some even by the church itself. There exists no evidence. Any "eyewitnesses" have been shown fraudulent or non-existent. The entire bible is a known fraud.

      January 6, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • John A

      People looking for an excuse not to believe to justify their selfish lifestyle.

      January 6, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • End Religion

      There can be nothing more selfish than praying to a god to change his plans just for you.

      January 6, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • ilskim

      "elle, all the so-called proof of the son of god's existence has been debunked, some even by the church itself. There exists no evidence. Any "eyewitnesses" have been shown fraudulent or non-existent. The entire bible is a known fraud."

      Enreligion, that is an extremely bold statement, can you provide proof, I'm just really curious.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:19 am |
    • rob-Texas

      Just shows how little you know about historical texts and archeology.

      January 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  7. kmote00

    Very thought-provoking - thanks, Johnnie! But wow, your other comment posters are sure a tough crowd! Reminds me of what the mud-slingers in Jesus' hometown must have sounded like!

    January 6, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • End Religion

      Except that the entire bible is a fraud and every cult has your built-in persecution complex. You've been coddled long enough. Your religion is crumbling around you as we speak.

      January 6, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Stephanie Georgieff

      It truly is amazing how angry the non believers are, if it is all a hoax, say like Harry Potter or something why do they care what others believe? Me thinks they protest too much. For me, I need meaning and context, I am sad that the behavior of some religious folks drives people away from the loving and compassionate Christ, but I respect their beliefs and do not feel the need to mock them. As for the article, I found it a bit simplistic and focusing on earthly stuff when the deed of Christ was bigger than his hygiene which would have matched his class and the historical period, but that is me.

      January 6, 2013 at 6:54 am |
    • Kate

      Non believers aren't angry, they are bored and feel very sad for duped believes in the ME ME ME relgion..

      January 6, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Kate

      What makes you believe in jesus as god? I know FAITH!!! otherwise known as self help.. about YOU of course YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST... sigh... it's always about ME ME ME with followers of jesus christsuperstar... you help no one.. NO ONE.. even mother theresa gave up the ghost do something than for your fellow man rather than think about YOU all the time.. praying.. LOL.. pray another word for asking! please help me get a car, pliveease don't give me cancer.. please let my kid pass, marry whatever. memememememememe me.. sad. so really sad.

      January 6, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Stephanie: We're not angry. We do stand up when christians think they are the only ones who are right and yet everything they do becomes a vicious cycle of returning to one book for their solutions. We care when christians try to impose their beliefs in the public square or impose on the basic rights of others (no Atheist would ever use a book to tell gays they are 'sinning'). We've simply opened our minds to the fact that there is not sufficient evidence to support your imaginary friend (no more real than Harry Potter). If you need your belief to have meaning in life, then you're not living life to the fullest. We have plenty of meaning in our lives because we know for certain that this is the only life we are guaranteed of and therefore, we make the absolute best of it.

      January 6, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • NClaw441

      Kate, that is not how non-beleivers sound. If they are bored, there are plenty of other things to do than come here and post. In fact, if I were a non-believer, this is the last place I would come online, unless I was trying to convince believers that they were wrong. And if that were my goal, I'd certainly go about it differently than any of them are doing.

      January 6, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • ilskim

      TruthPrevails :-):

      The response you gave better represents the Atheists and Religious-Haters that seem to be rampant on these boards. To be honest, I've seen it from both sides, but lately, the non-believers have definitely been the majority. "fairy tales""spaghetti monsters in the sky" is not a civil way to respond to an article. Just like Christians seem to say comments that get under the skins of nonbelievers, why fight fire with fire? It's all relative

      January 7, 2013 at 6:24 am |
    • Deadly Vomit

      Stephanie Georgieff, Harry Potter is not a hoax. Harry Potter is a character of fiction.

      Suppose for a moment that there was a significant segment of your society that insisted, without evidence, that Harry Potter was in fact an historical figure and that the events described by J.K. Rowling occurred literally and exactly. Moreover, suppose that segment of society spent a great deal of time and resources attempting to convince you that the most important thing in all of the world was that you agree with that scenario. Finally suppose those same people, organized around this shared delusion, formed a voting bloc which exerted political pressure to organize your government and laws in accordance with those of the wizarding world and was large enough and vocal enough that elected officials could not attain office without pandering to it.

      Think you might find yourself getting... testy?

      January 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  8. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Can't wait for The Babble Humpers' reaction to this bit of fiction. Fiction of course, 'cause it's about a fictional god. If christians were serious about their cult, they'd threaten the author with death.

    January 6, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Christians aren't into death threats. Eternal torment usually satisfies them.

      January 6, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      We do not need to threaten death, we can just unleash Westburo and Obama's Pastor on yall'. :)

      January 6, 2013 at 3:32 am |
    • Dippy

      y'all, not yall'.

      January 6, 2013 at 4:19 am |
    • frespech

      To all you non-believers which make up 18% of the population of the USA. You have to wonder that with all the education and science available to mankind only 18% of you are non believers.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Manny

      frespech
      You'd be amazed at how many Americans are home schooled, or attend religious schools where complete education and actual science aren't available.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • LinCA

      @frespech

      You said, "To all you non-believers which make up 18% of the population of the USA."
      Actually, it is worse than that. The 18%, or so, represents all the "nones". It includes pretty much everyone who doesn't self-identify as belonging to a particular religion or cult. It includes those typically identified as "spiritual but not religious" and those on the fence.

      You said, "You have to wonder that with all the education and science available to mankind only 18% of you are non believers."
      Stupidity may not be infinite, but it is, at the very least, pretty close.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  9. Don White

    Thank you, Mr. Moore, for your eloquent thoughts! To the commenters above: I understand the disagreement, but I don't understand the incivility. Why the harshness?

    January 6, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • End Religion

      You've been coddled long enough. The pendulum has begun its swing in the opposite direction. We're not going to be so polite about your ignorance any longer. The christian belief is a delusion born to soothe petulant fears. No member of mankind's pantheon ever existed. Grow up.

      January 6, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hmm... we have had doubters since the beginning. Some have been polite and some have not. What I fear is that the non-polite on our side will answer your charge with a bit of their UN-politness.

      Is it possible that you take your un-politness and go and play with the kids in the Westburo Baptist sandbox. Maybe save a few more smiles for the grownups here.

      January 6, 2013 at 3:35 am |
    • End Religion

      Mark, there wasn't a single impolite thing I said in my comment. I simply stated the truth. When I said I would be "less polite" in this case I was less polite by not simply ignoring the post. I wasn't actually impolite, since it is the hallmark of our society to freely speak. This comment may not be as polite, for example, if I were to go so far as to call you an imbecile or use a curse word, however simply noting that religion is a delusion is the truth and not impolite.

      What I would love is to see more religious people being impolite to me. I revel in any nutter's hypocrisy because there is no more efficient method to create more atheists.

      January 6, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • actually

      Leave it be. I don't know what neo-atheist community decided to religiously troll the CNN religion section but it seems to be a hobby, if not a full-time job, for the ones that make these posts. There are tons of comments like those from people with similar handles on every single CNN article about religion. (not hating on atheists here, by the way, just obnoxious and obsessive "I'm right you're wrong" of all faiths and non-faiths in general...get a life, people)

      January 6, 2013 at 6:56 am |
    • wes

      I don't know why all the harshness...You know what, now that you've mentioned it.....most harsh people I've ever known, including most unhappy people...have called themselves 'christians'.

      Don't get me wrong – I believe in God. But I can tell the difference between people using religion as a tool for their own hateful ends as opposed to care & understanding.

      January 6, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • wes

      Jesus had a sense of humor and didn't mind a dirty challenge.

      January 6, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  10. John B. Egan

    Don't recall Jesus claiming to be the son of god either. And who said Mary was a virgin? Both of those rather illogical concepts were 'construed' later. I think the Jews and Islam may have a better take on this rather awkward local prophet. Albeit, TV was even more boring then than it is now, so you can understand the locals for paying attention to this guy.

    January 6, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  11. kmote00

    Thought-provoking article - thanks, Johnnie! But wow, your other comment-posters are sure a tough crowd! I think I have a better idea of what the mud-slingers in Jesus' hometown must have sounded like.

    January 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Doodlebug

      Every day – I stand against others. Large groups that stand to the side chiding what I say, what I believe in ... Most of us know this type of existance... We try to go about our way quietly, yet the other side refuses to let us pass – and loudly condemn our words, our thoughts and all that we are.

      But then you have the most dangous ones... the ones that freign support and belief – yet when pressed, stand on the side of those persecuting you and your opinions.

      And I have to ask – why come here and loudly post IT's A LIE – rather than simply respect someone else's opinion, as you would want them to respect yours... and simply walk past and forward on? Why..... post such hate, when you are trying to prove to others – that how you are – is how they themselves should be?

      I'd rather have faith and believe in something – then have contempt for everything, and believe in nothing.

      January 6, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • End Religion

      Doodlebug, you've got to be kidding me. If you have trouble exchanging ideas in this public blog perhaps it would be safer for you in a cloistered religious blog elsewhere. Here, your delusions will be challenged.

      January 6, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I'm glad Jesus was willing to get dirty and hang out with us dirty folk, but was he ever really all that friendly? A Hindu friend explained to me that Krishna was God being a friend to humankind. He liked us. Did Jesus actually like us? I don't mean did he so love us that he gave himself for us etc. Did he like us?

    January 5, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • ChristineS

      Someone that doesn't "like" you, would never be around you & help you! That's what Jesus did. He was around the common folk & helped them. Always!

      January 6, 2013 at 6:59 am |
    • Doodlebug

      Those born into weath, often stands above us – looking down, touting that "they understand". But do they? Do they really? So they know what it is like to stand in the grocery store, holding back tears while mentally counting out the coins in your hand ... your heart beating to the antcipation of what precious item you might need to put back on the shelf. Which meal you might then miss since your coins were too few.

      They do not know what life outside in the cold or the heat is like. To fully understand not having, and everything you do have or acquire, you must barter or work exceptionally hard for > or do without.

      When a rich person says to us "I feel your pain"... we say as we turn from them... "no... you do not". And hereinlies the truth about life – we want those around us, telling us of their battles, things we can relate to – we want to hear stories of how they got past and through... and things that either we have or we will one day face. We need those around us w/o pompus words or arrogance... we need those around us that are very much like us...

      January 6, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • frespech

      End religion- have you ever seen the emergence or birth of a new species, yet you believe in that. The fact that a dinosaur once existed is not evedence of evolution. The same finches that Darwin used as part of his explanation for evolution still exist today, they did not evolve to a new species, so exactly what is your belief based on.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  13. Brampt

    First of all Jesus isnt God,

    In the course of those days Jesus came from Naz′a‧reth of Gal′i‧lee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.10And immediately on coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being parted, and, like a dove, the spirit coming down upon him;11and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.” Mark 2

    January 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • *ray

      Read on. He is the Alpha and Omega The begining and the end. God the Father, God the Son, And God The Holy Spirit.

      January 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  14. Reality

    Based on the topic, some updating:

    Jesus was an illiterate, dirty, sometimes sick, Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from the dirty, sometimes sick P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the dirty Messiah from muddy Nazareth to a mythical clean character from mythical clean Nazareth to a dirty ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ unclean life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various dirty, sometimes sick, Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the dirty, sometimes sick Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Some very Dirty pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    Somewhat cleaner Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    January 5, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Salvatore

      Deceptive, vain, futile attempt.

      January 5, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      now get little fair to him Reality, he worked, dirty or clean

      January 6, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • ilskim

      Merely placing "scholars" as sources doesn't give any validity to your comment above

      January 7, 2013 at 6:46 am |
  15. Observer

    If you like that then read the story of Jesus, by his best friend Biff, great read and very funny.

    January 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Akira

      Lamb! It's a great book!
      Christopher Moore is absolutely hilarious!

      January 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • actually

      I love that book – it's quite funny and even highlights some of the points made in this article.

      On a related note I've met at least two Christian pastors who had it on their shelf (one in their church office, at that) and those two Christian pastors also happen to be the most reasonable pastors I've ever met.

      January 6, 2013 at 7:01 am |
  16. Mohammad A Dar

    and I am for sure Mr. Moore, Jesus was missing couple of fingers too, occupational hazard

    January 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • RobbD

      Mohammad, well told.

      January 6, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  17. truly......

    LOL ...

    And as Hindu man says above: the mophing continues.......

    January 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • truly......

      was supposed to be a reply to Bet...

      operator error..again

      January 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  18. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    And the saga of hindu fabrication called Jesus continues. Wait for next episode , sooner it is ready.

    January 5, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Dar, so who got nailed on the cross Jesus or Judah?

      January 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      None, but the poor bull, otherwise more likely Judas, son of Mary was nothing more than a human like us with a designated task and Guidance from truth absolute God, so is stated in book of Mithra ism, bible. I CAN NOT DO NOTHING ON MY OWN, SO MUCH FOR THE GOD HOOD. Helpless without divine guidance just like us.

      January 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  19. Meh-Bot

    Meh. Johnnie has always been a pander. His work is subpar and concerns itself more with making a "mmm...warm and fuzzy come to my school" message than actually making a difference. Its nice to smile and make Christians feel like they're rebellious by following a "dirty God," but this is nothing more than surface-level, cliche-ridden empty rhetoric.

    January 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  20. Bet

    I like this guy's fairy tale better than those boring old gospels. He even had the sense to use a naughtyish title! Well done!

    January 5, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I think it is funny Jesus could heal the lepers, the deaf, bring back the dead....but couldn't stop Montezuma's revenge.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      Obviously getting the squirts is an exercise in free will.

      January 6, 2013 at 3:00 am |
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About this blog

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