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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. GodsPeople

    I see no issue with any of this. In the human body, Christ was very mortal. He had the same mortal frailties that other mortals suffer from. He could very easily have had the runs more than once, as He did not have a regular diet. He was frequently on the road, so He would not always have been clean with clean clothes. This is just logical. That doesn't mean He isn't God incarnate, it just means He chose to live as a mortal and to sacrifice Himself for us.

    January 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "GodsPeople", but "Christ", "He", "God", and "Himself" are all elements of mythology, therefore all of your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      January 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • beano

      Do you think disciples giggled when JC tooted?

      January 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Apatheist

    Wow, a lot of comments for an article that talks about Jesus having the runs...

    January 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      lol...good bit of perspective.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  3. Iron Sharpener

    Pliney the younger,Judges of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Josephus, Romans,Lucian,Herod, ect., the long list of enemies of Christ, all real people, all the writings cannot be dispelled. This is pure and simple proof, they all tel of his crucifixion, followed by 3 hours of unexplained darkness? why would all of his non-believers lie? Disciples all see him 3 days later...?? read of the testimonies of martyrs....you think people held to a story, a fable, and were tortured and died for a myth?? Try reading up on Tacitus...you asked for proof, there's annals....while I accept there are far more educated than I (no doubt) I had time to go home, write , and find better examples for you. You asked for proof, now really think about this, why would Jesus non-believers writings( not in the Bible) write so much of what Jesus did and was known for , and his following, and attack him and any person who believed, yet all of them experienced similar happenings, and mention witness of miraculous things they can't explain away? I'm sure one of you will write something eloquently thought out, and try to make it all make sense....but it never will, there's something deeper bothering you, and it's not a man that showed mercy, kindness, love, and a way that if followed would be the best way to live, and prove to be a fulfilling life free from hate, and misery......I hope I reached some in his name I pray...Amen

    January 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • frank

      Well it all wouldn't be a good story if you can't show a radical change in some of the characters' outlooks, now could you?

      January 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Iron Sharpener

      Frank pretty basic, people kept ledger,writings,for history. whether they are hundreds of years old or not. You think people built this all up and wrote about it so thousands of years later it would turn into a joke? I don't believe they were that bored, and it greatly affected them enough to write about it. Congrats on not reading any of the writers/writings I posted for you to look up and instead made a punchline out of it. It's worth noting many will blow it off not just you, but maybe one of you will actually read the writings and change your minds?? It's your take we evolved from monkeys? Or the big bang? How about proving that......

      January 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • sam

      Now he's gotta trot out the 'monkey' thing. Iron, you're just silly. You're not even attempting debate, you're just silly.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Joe Biden

      MALARKEY

      January 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Bob

      Sharpener, most of the writings came decades after the supposed events, and have been edited and retranslated so many times by those with a belief bias and vested interests that one has to hold substantial doubt about the original events and meanings.Even more significantly, given that such reasonable doubt would be held by any rational person in such a case, why is it that your god can't present a more modern demonstration of his existence, such as his own website, or even push some tweets out?

      The reason is obvious: the god does not exist as claimed, and the events were some combination of imagination and embellishment. It is high time for thinking people to move on from such unsupportable supersti-tions as Christianity.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Iron Sharpener

      lets turn the tide a little frank(others) what do you believe in, you believe in humanity? You believe in science, you believe in...fill in the blanks. Thousands..millions..of people every day across the world look for help somewhere, what advice can you give them? Are you helping them? Are you doing any kind of mission work for humanity sake? Are you involved? Will you look out for a brother in need and that doesn't mean just a family member. Millions do good works every day, it's small but it counts, I don't mean to mis represent and think I'm above anyone, but I believe in what Jesus's writings in red say in the Bible, you can't make that up( I believe that, and millions of others do to) why is it so easy for you and others to knock, are we bothering you? Is it weird? What is it? I generally feel love for other people and look to help, and I'm sorry..I really am if I sound self absorbed, or Holier than thou so to speak, I'm not a good writer, or speaker, or better than you. I just try to be a man after Christs likeness and it's by no means easy, I wish you the best, and forgive me for being combative...I'm sure I didn't want or mean to be...but I probably was a little... peace, be blessed.!! I mean that....!!

      January 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • frank

      dull waste of space: "Congrats on not reading any of the writers/writings I posted for you to look up"

      I know about all those writings. Researched them years ago. They prove nothing about the divinity of the carpenter.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • frank

      " what advice can you give them? Are you helping them? "

      you're not help them if you're lying to them about things that cannot be proven.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As I've said before, I have nothing but the deepest respect for those who live their faith, who give without fanfare, who work without reward, who care more for the welfare of those less fortunate than they do for themselves.

      Unfortunately, they're as rare as hens' teeth on this blog, and in everyday life.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Bob

      Sharpener, no dodging. Nice try at changing the subject. Can you make no response to the posts?

      January 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • frank

      Good point, Tom. I also realize many including many who are religiously faithful, who help many people in a very selfless manner, and that's to be commended from where ever it comes.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Apatheist

      Who cares if Jesus actually existed? Even if he did there is no reason to believe the filth that is the Bible. You know that the infallible Jesus invented the concept of the christian hell? I would argue that, assuming I actually believed in that BS, hell is the most amoral concept ever introduced to mankind.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No doubt, frank. I've known a number of truly selfless believers who never sought recognition of any kind for the acts they did in the name of God. I've known people who nursed the sick, visited with the housebound, reached out to those who were ignored and neglected by others.

      Those are the polar opposite of zealots like 2357, Heaven Sent, Truth Be Told, and the rest of the hateful, judgmental azzholes who inhabit these boards.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • frank

      Yes, Tom, and even the ones you mentioned might be very giving in some regards, but still allow their religious belief to steer them away from being giving in other regards.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • frank

      I need to use that word more often, Tom: zealot. lol. I have Catholic, atheist, Mormon, Southern Baptist, and more just in my immediate family.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • niknak

      It is not that they are giving or not, or compassionate or not, or how fervently they believe that makes them a fundie.
      What separates the fundies from the selfless believers is that the fundies push their belief as fact, and want to force the rest of us to respect it and go along with it and change our lives to fit their morals.

      If people like truth not be told, and heathan sent etc would just say something like;
      "I know I have no factual basis to make my claim that god is real, so I won't push it on the rest of you or try to force you to go along with it, but I do believe and I hope god exists and I hope to see him/her/it when I die. But in the meantime, I will try to be a stand up guy."
      I too would have zero issues with them.

      But that is not what they say/preach.
      They preach violence, and hate, and bigotry, and scorn, and paranoia, and backwardness and want us to go along with their god or else.
      I bet not one of the regular fundies has ever lifted a finger for another person who they deem to be beneath them.
      And they all own multiple guns, something I bet the guy they supposedly follow would never have done.

      I work with many truth not be told types, and they are as ugly in on the inside as they are on the outside.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Iron Sharpener

      Frank...if you had already read "all that" years ago, and still find trouble believing he existed or can't accept that maybe a few thousand people can't be wrong in what they saw or wrote about, I'm not changing that. I'll just have to keep to what I know, and lying is what your doing if you believe you can spew the non sense Jesus doesn't exist. I'm hurting who again by being a believer and spreading the gospel.? Atheists.? well maybe that's exactly why you, Bob, Sam,Me II and others find nothing better to do than debate all night on a subject you haven't really got yet? I got news for you, he lives today, and We that do believe don't need your approval, really it's silly for you to try and discard the Bible as not being the "TRUTH" and I did give you writings, you just chose not to accept the information.....good luck your way....

      January 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  4. Buster

    @sara's whopper brown stain

    God endowed every human being with free will and the ability to make choices. Definitive proof of God or Spirituality outside of faith in His word, interferes with the existence of free will. We exist to glorify God, and being compelled to do so through definitive proof of His existence is not glorification. To the non-believer (and everyone), you have been give proof, and it is written in the BIble, and it is the sign of Jonah. The choices you make in this life will determine your eternal living arrangement.

    January 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Free will only works for your argument if it is libertarian (nondeterministic) free will. That isn't supported by science.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Cetus

      Buster,

      W T F is "the sign of Jonah"... mythical whale vomit? You will need to provide verified evidence that there was a tiny little man in the vomitus.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      Beer and pasta, The FSM will deliver on earth as it is in heaven. Try us for thirty days, don't like the faith, you can always crawl back to your old timey religion. No offerings, prayers, hymns, groping hands and no eternal torture. Everyone is welcome,

      January 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Bleakmage

      Jesus was a dirty, rabble-rousing hippy. I have faith in that, and that alone.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Dirty Fossil

      A fossil skeleton found in central Nevada's desert years ago has been identified as belonging to a 30-foot-long sea monster that ruled beneath the waves 244 million years ago.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • sam

      Wow, Buster, I sure am glad god gave you the free will to choose to be a delusional jerk.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Buster

      "A fossil skeleton found in central Nevada's desert years ago has been identified as belonging to a 30-foot-long sea monster that ruled beneath the waves 244 million years ago."

      That's right, and that could have been the creature that Jonah was in.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • sam

      Jonah was inside a dinosaur?? Ok, fine. Why the hell not.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Merlin

      And I sometimes appear as an owl...

      January 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • sam

      Spotted owl, barn owl, what?

      January 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a bunch of blather, Buster.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Buster the doofus says: "It COULDA been,.." Yeah, and pigs could have flown out of your an us.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Jonah was around 244 million years ago?

      January 7, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • @Buster

      "30-foot-long sea monster"
      The modern day blue whale can be over 100 feet long

      January 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  5. MagicPanties

    Poop! and it shall set you free!
    Lawdy, lawdy good gawd ahmighty!

    January 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  6. MK

    Leave it to CNN to write such an absolutely worthless article. Well done.

    January 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      CNN didn't write it. They invited an outsider, a professor at Liberty University, to publish it as part of a broader forum on US views on belief.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      CNN did not write this; the pretend professor from the pretend university wrote it.

      My invisible pink unicorn is looking forward to his book (good roughage, she says).

      January 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Bet

      I disagree. This article has produced a great deal of entertainment.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • sam

      Somewhere is a single, lonely, liberal, middle aged, sweaty bastard named 'CNN', who types aimlessly in the bowels of a featureless concrete building in the heart of some godforsaken blue state.

      But never mind all that: look at the coments! They're gold!

      January 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • End Religion

      good visual, sam

      January 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      Read much, MK?

      January 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • elvis

      This king is entertained!

      January 7, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  7. End Religion

    What will I do with all my baby jeebus christmas ornaments when christianity finishes its death wheezing? I'm guessing the Ebay resale value will plummet.

    January 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Dorothy Grappo

      Christianity is alive and well. "Religion" is sick unto death. There are over 600 million born again Christians in the world today. That's not exactly an end. What is coming to an end is this "age" aka the Dispensation of Grace. When this age ends, evil will reign supreme without God's amazing grace and if you think the world is a mess now, you 'ain't seen nothing yet'. I highly recommend you seek His mercy and grace while you have the opportunity.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Actually

      " There are over 600 million born again Christians in the world today. That's not exactly an end. "

      Christians only make up 33% of the populations and that number hasn't changed for centuries. Don't you just love it when Christians lie.

      January 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Actually

      " When this age ends, evil will reign supreme without God's amazing grace and if you think the world is a mess now, you 'ain't seen nothing yet'. "

      Do you know how many people have made this claim over and over again but yet nothing happens. Run chicken little...run!

      January 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      Dorothy, no advice on my jeebus ornaments? Just proselytizing? You might have a better chance of getting me into the thing if you at least give me a reach around before the preaching starts. You know, get me interested first.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • nottrue

      A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread – so far-flung, in fact, that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.pewforum.com

      January 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion"

      Umm, isn't 33% the same as a third?

      January 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • frank

      Wow, Tom – I had heard you were the resident grade school English teacher, here, but I see that you have to teach elementary math as well.

      January 7, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  8. niknak

    Ha ha ha fundies, this article proves your jesus was a long haired dirty hippie.
    You know, the kind you so despise and spit on.
    If he came back today, he would have been in OWS, he would live in a commune in Cali, smoke killer ganj and listen to alternative rock.

    He would be like YOU and live in some lily white gated community, listen to whack country music, work for the man and stockpile guns in some undergroung bunker.

    In addition to being fools for believing in sky fairys, you fundies are boring.

    January 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • niknak patty wack

      What you said

      January 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  9. Reality

    Putting the kibosh/ six feet of dirt on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    (only for the new members of this blog

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    January 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  10. gary helper

    Robert Brown
    HAHAHAHAHAHA, good one, HAHAHA.

    January 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  11. gary

    what proof is there of a Jesus? Bible has no credibility. It's been changed myriad times over the centuries. Gods and demons are myths. Jesus is mythical folk hero ... like Elvis, folklore gives all sorts of powers that never were.

    January 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you give us an example please of one of those changes that is substantive to the Gospel message?

      January 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Accounts of 22 famous contemporary historians with references to the person of Jesus Christ;
      Cornelius Tacitus (Roman A.D. 60) Thallus (Roman A.D. 52) Mara Bar Seraphian (Hebrew A.D. 73) Lucian of Samosata (Greek A.D. 125) Flavius Josephus (Hebrew A.D. 37) Suetonius (Roman A.D. 120) Plinius Secundus (Roman A.D. 112) Tertullian (Roman A.D. 175) Pontius Pilate (Roman A.D. 33) Justin Martyr (Roman A.D. 150); Jesus is also mentioned in the Jewish Talmud (work finished cir 500 AD) which incorporates the Mishna completed in cir 200 AD.

      LETTER TO TIBERIUS CAESAR FROM PONTIUS PILATE

      (The original of this letter is in the library of Rome. An authenticated copy is in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.)

      A young man appeared in Galilee preaching with humble unction, a new law in the Name of the God that had sent Him. At first I was apprehensive that His design was to stir up the people against the Romans, but my fears were soon dispelled. Jesus of Nazareth spoke rather as a friend of the Romans than of the Jews. One day, I observed in the midst of a group of people a young man who was leaning against a tree, calmly addressing the multi.tude. I was told that his name was Jesus. This I could easily have suspected, so great was the difference between Him and those who were listening to Him. His golden coloured hair and His beard gave to His appearance a celestial aspect. He appeared to be about thirty years of age. Never have I seen a sweeter or more serene countenance. What a contrast between Him and His hearers with their black beards and tawny complexions. Unwilling to interrupt Him by my presence, I continued my walk but signified to my secretary to join the group and listen. Later, my secretary reported that never had he read in the words of all the philosophers, anything that compared to the teachings of Jesus. He told me that Jesus was neither seditious nor rebellious, so we extended to Him our protection. He was at liberty to act, to speak, to assemble, and to address the people. This unlimited freedom provoked the Jews – not the poor but the rich and powerful.

      Later, I wrote to Jesus requesting an interview with Him at the Praetorium. He came. When the Nazarene made His appearance I was having a morning walk and as I faced Him my feet seemed fastened with an iron band to the marble pavement and I trembled in every limb, as a guilty culprit, though He was calm. For some time I stood admiring this extraordinary Man. There was nothing in Him that was repelling nor in His character, yet I felt awed in His presence. I told Him that there was a magnetic simplicity about Him and His personality that elevated Him far above the philosophers and teachers of His day. All in all He made a deep impression upon me and everyone because of His kindness, simplicity, humility and love.

      Now, Noble Sovereign, these are the facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth and I have taken tirne to write you in detail concerning these matters. I say that such a man who could convert water into wine, change death into life, disease into health, calm the stormy seas, is not guilty of any criminal offence and as others have said, we must agree truly this is the Son of God!

      Your most obedient servant,

      PONTIUS PILATE

      January 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • frank

      If anyone's interested I can get some very authentic-looking diplomas for a cheap price. They can be from any school and any discipline – no problem.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • gary helper

      Ask Bill Deacon why there are four different versions of the ascension, one of the versions forty days after the supposed first ascension? Do you believe in magic?

      January 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      He may have existed. But there is no proof that he did anything miraculous.

      There is however, ample evidence of people making up stories, all through the ages to magnify the importance of those they admired, and there's no particular reason to suspect that the gospels were anything more than that.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Hooray!

      "Accounts of 22 famous contemporary historians with references to the person of Jesus Christ;"

      So all those historical books about Santa Claus means he's alive and well today giving us presents. Hooray! Santa is real!

      January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      enjoy the chain of the letter's refutation: brown, i'll keep this handy since you keep posting it

      http://www.atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/the-letter-from-pontius-pilate

      January 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • End Religion

      There is no evidence for the existence of your jeebus. The typical offerings of such proof, which I do not consider evidence, can be found:

      http://ow.ly/gCecH

      January 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      SORRY ROBERT BROWN, BUT THAT LETTER FROM PONTIUS PILATE IS COMMONLY KNOWN TO BE A FORGERY.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • gary helper

      Ask Bill Deacon if they also "drawed and quartered" jesus' dead body since he ascended from various locations? Also ask him why the RCC dropped the 2nd commandment out of the bible and slid it into the cathecism?

      January 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • niknak

      Deacon Blues believes in magic.
      And a sky fairy.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  12. What if

    ME II
    your name is Dick?

    January 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • What if

      Oops!

      January 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • ME II

      Actually, no.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  13. Buster

    @The Brown Stain
    @Saraswhopper

    It is an evil generation that seeks after a sign and proof of God's existence in not realizing that they are forsaking doing God's will, and filled with a lack of faith and Spiritual blindness. Requests for proof are used a continual stumbling block that locks one out of the Kingdom of Heaven. Proof is through faith in God's word, and the definitive sign of Jonah is aimed directly at non-believers. The sign of Jonah is proof to the evil non believing generation, and that's all you get.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yep, you got me, I'm filled with a lack of faith. The thing here is that I would have no respect for a god who says "I'm not going to offer any evidence but I just want you to believe what I say." Further, I believe it impossible that such a god could be both all-knowing and all-good and that's where the story falls down for me. Now I can conceive of some more rational gods with totally different scenarios, but I haven't seen one that really grabs me.

      Btw, derogatory name morphing is up there with name jacking in juvenile behavior.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Just one more version of the delusion. You do know that this is the 21st century...right? Non-believers are not worried about big Mr Scary Dude in the sky...we don't see evidence to merit belief. What evidence do you see and if you have such valid evidence why the hell does the rest of the world not know about it or are you christards somehow more special than us?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • sam

      Oh my gosh, what are you smoking?

      January 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      BUSTER, THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE EDITORIAL PROCESS IS TERRIBLY FLAWED. I'M JUST SAYING, AND CALL ME CRAZY, BUT A HEAVILY FLAWED BOOK THAT IS SUPPOSED TO SERVE AS DIRECTION IS NOT ONE ANYONE SHOULD USE. ESPECIALLY IF IT TELLS YOU HOW TO LIVE LIFE. ONE CANNOT HAVE FAITH IN SOMETHING KNOWING THAT IT IS COMPLETELY FALSE. THIS IS FACT. NOT OPINION. THERE IS NO LONGER MERELY AN OPINION IN WHETHER OR NOT THAT BOOK IS TRUE OR FALSE. IT HAS BEEN PROVEN FALSE BY ITS SELF. LOOK AT ALL OF THE FLAWS AND CONTRADICTIONS. YOU'D THINK THAT SOMETHING SO POWERFUL AND ALLEGEDLY WRITTEN BY SKY HOSTESS WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE CORRECTLY. BUT NO. IT IS A BLOODY MESS. CAN'T BE TRUSTED. THE FACT THAT IT IS COMPLETELY FALSE AND HAS BEEN PROVEN SO TIME AND AGAIN ONLY LEAVES ONE QUESTION.

      WHY DO PEOPLE CONTINUE TO CLAIM ITS CONTENTS AS FACT?

      I'LL TELL YOU WHAT. THE ANSWER IS BURIED AT THE BOTTOM OF A HEAVILY USED OUTHOUSE.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Buster: "Proof is through faith in God's word"

      Which god? Which word?
      Oh, and don't mind Sara. She's like the granny in the room making sure we don't snicker and roughhouse. She doesn't want us to ruin the good plastic she has laid out on her furniture.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Buster", but "God", "Kingdom of Heaven", "God's word", and "Jonah" are all elements of mythology, therefore all of your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL".

      January 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Well, Buster, that was the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Truth can only be determined by proof, and there's no scripture you can throw at me that will convince me otherwise. Nice try though.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @End Religion, It's actually hairy dog blankets on the sofa, but yeah, try not to spill too much beer, pizza, blood on them...they're nice blankets.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • small 'c' christian

      The Acti Pilati (and the appendix to which you refer) are largely discredited, 4th century accounts, largely fictionalized, which were created from Luke (mostly Luke 23) and a portion of the Gospel of Peter (oddly lost after Nicea; only fragments remain).

      As proof of Jesus' divinity, that's pretty slim. I may agree with the author that Jesus lived. My own jury is still out on his divinity.

      January 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  14. Александр

    И что с того? Мы все из воды и грязи.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • frank

      Yes. And we will return to dust as they say.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  15. { ! }

    A very good article, Mr. Moore. "But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think." True. That's why a Catholic can look at a crucifix and meditate on His sufferings as though they stood with John the Beloved Desciple, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary wife of Cleopus, and the Magdalene. Without the corpus on the cross, its as if Jesus was never there.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      That would be because he wasn't.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • pfwag

      The Jesus on the Catholic crucifix bears little resemblance to the crucified Jesus of the Bible. The Catholic crucifixion has little trauma or blood when the Bible says he was beaten and bloodied to the point of not being recognizable. Additionally, he would have been naked. Maybe it's because the RCC just doesn't believe Jesus' last words: "It is finished."

      January 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • eddie too

      and uncle benny knows Jesus was not there because in uncle benny's delusions he believes he was there to verify Jesus was not.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      How did you guess? Damn, you're good!

      January 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  16. Chad

    How do I know I'm me? What investigation of me have I done to convince me I'm me?

    January 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      "What investigation of me have I done to convince me I'm me?" Interesting question. But what does it mean to be you? Unfortunately, you can't be under the microscope and looking through it at the same time. So you will never really discover what it means to be you. You are simply too close to yourself. I have the same problem.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Chad Watch

      Chad...ptobably fake.
      I could care less if you are the anti-matter Chad or the matter Chad as long as you bump into each other.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • ChadWatch2 Electric Bugaloo

      R'amen, Chadwatch.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Curly Howard

      I'm not me!

      January 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • ME II

      As much as I dislike Chad's method of debating, name-jacking is worse.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @ME II, yep, it's pretty juvenile.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Chad Watch

      ME II
      Chad does not debate he questions and Pontificates, and he ain't even Jewish......

      January 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • ME II

      @ ME II – Me too. Namejackers. They're the worst. Well, them and Carnies. Small hands. Smell like cabbage. (The name jackers, not the Carnies)

      January 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • cyrilmosweu

      Who will you be if you are not yourself?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Guest

      Who is chad? why are these posters obsessed with chad?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @guest, I honestly don't get the Chad thing. I've talked with him once or twice when the topic was interesting and ignored him when it wasn't my cup of tea. These folks who obsess over people for whom they apparently have no respect need some serious psychological help. Talk in a conversation if you want to. If you find someone annoying or not up to whatever your debate standards are, ignore them. If they post in your thread you aren’t obligated to answer if you think it’s off topic. It's highly unlikely you're changing the world here...if you aren't having fun get off-line and get a real life.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Huh?

      ".if you aren't having fun get off-line and get a real life."

      So true this is about entertainment and selling advertising dollars.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Chad Watch

      Guest
      There is speculation that the Chad is the 51st incarnation of St. Paul the Apostle, the first in a long line of christian apologists and Chad has kept the tradition going while cruising the apologist sites on the web. You will know the real Chad wnen he arrives, his posts are unique. Hint, What evidence do you have that the god of Isreal is not real?..one of his favs.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • End Religion

      catholic engineer you also post as "brad?"

      I found this Chad imposter funny, but I'm childish. This sorta thing follows the golden rule of comedy for me, something like, "funny the first time, 2nd time not so much, and almost never funny for the target." But like religion the rules for comedy then get a bit sketchy and there are various cults over which joke is the best in the universe, which can save your soul, etc.

      It's like slipping on a banana peel. It isn't polite to laugh but other people's pain is the essence of most comedy. Most of us don't want the person who slipped to actually suffer any pain from the fall. It's the embarrassment of the situation that is funny and/or tragic and that all depends on where you as a human exist on the empathy scale.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • What if

      ME II
      you name is Dick?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @End Religion, I agree that as long as it's a)brief and b) 100% obvious to all reading the site that it's an imposter it can be funny. For those who've been here a while it's pretty obvious and it may prove to be brief. But it's not really obvious to new people that it's not the original Chad and that makes it difficult for him to speak (if he's around). It's kind of like going lalalalalala every time someone tries to talk.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • ME II

      @What if,
      Actually, no, it's not.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  17. What's in a Name...

    Would a rose spell as sweet if it were called a Poosie? Would Christ be as easily worshiped if his name were Ji.zzus?

    January 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bet

      I'm laughing so hard right now.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • wjchucklebutt

      His name was actually Joshua, so...

      January 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • End Religion

      After god commanded him to be named Immanuel.... but of course, no one listened to god even back then.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  18. the AnViL

    silly xians...

    there is no religious theory. there are no facts. there's no evidence.

    theology isn't predicate on facts – it's predicate on ignorance.

    there's no evidence of gods. every account of jebus is hearsay – and every account of every account of jebus is hearsay.
    your belief is based on faulty knowledge. there are no facts supporting your knowledge... and that means your beliefs are founded on nothing.

    for those of you who believe ...fortunately you have faith... and faith trumps all... because faith is belief in things for which there is no evidence – and even contradictory evidence – and there's plenty of that.

    to people of reason – this is unreasonable.

    January 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Theology is, in truth, predicated upon fact – have you ever actually done your own research or do you simply regurgitate the mistaken statements of others who also failed to look for the truth? Start with Evidence That Demands A Verdict and The Case For Christ – see if you can be the first to refute them.
      "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" – Mark Twain

      January 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Madtown

      Theology is, in truth, predicated upon fact
      ------
      Why are these "facts" not available to all equally-created humans in this world?

      January 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      top notch dude debunking religious garbage:

      The Case Against The Case For Christ: A New Testament Scholar Refutes the Reverend Lee Strobel

      other site. google is full of folks who've debunked all the religious garbage:

      http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/05/case-for-case-against-case-for-christ.html

      http://www.caseagainstfaith.com/

      http://www.makingmyway.org/?p=507

      January 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Faithful

      Evidence for me: The big bang with everything originating from a single pt, life being more than the sum of its parts. The ability of humans to understand morals. The ability of the bible to change lives and our sense of morality stemming from the 10 commandments. However, more importantly, I believe athiests are committing the unpardonable sin. The sin which caused Lucifer to make war in heaven. This sin affects all christians and no christians alike. Its the sin of arrogance, that we are the owners and authority of our lives. Especially hypocritical christians with their closet sins. We cannot change the fact that we are created beings and live in Gods universe. Even though he is a loving God asks you to choose your allegience whether it be to yourself or to Him.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Bet

      @ TheTruth

      I've read both books, but I can't be "the first" to refute them. They've both been refuted by many independent historians. I'd be at the end of a long line.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Damocles

      @faithful

      First you say humans understand morality and then say the bible can change our view of morality. Interesting.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Faithful

      @Damocles
      Yes I was unclear. I believe that the Holy Spirit in us leads us in decisions of morality, thus our understanding of morals. But the Bible is the clear word of God on what specifically are our moral guidelines.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Faithful

      You gonna start stoning women who aren't virgins on their wedding days? You going to start stoning any religious person that isn't your specific brand of christianity. All these things are in your bible, do you not follow them?

      January 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Madtown

      ability of the bible to change lives and our sense of morality
      -------
      This isn't evidence, unless you think God loves you more than he loves others throughout the world that don't have access to the bible. Your "evidence" is relative to yourself, which means it's not really evidence at all.

      January 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Damocles

      @faithful

      I don't want to sound rude, posted words on a blog can come across as cold and impersonal at times, but what, exactly, is biblical morality?

      Since a deity is pretty much whatever we want it to be, is it possible that a 'true believer' could trump your morality with his or her stronger, more powerful morality?

      January 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • the AnViL

      the truth: "Start with Evidence That Demands A Verdict and The Case For Christ"

      judging from this review – no thanks.

      "One of the most popular apologetics books around... and one of the most slimy and dishonest. Replaces the used care salesman tone of Bill Craig with an earnest, golly-gee-willickers deceitfulness- and has the conceit to think we won't notice. I've seen this book destroy the faith of dozens of intelligent teens and 20-somethings at my church, a gift from a parent who feared they would drift away from the church as they began to go through that questioning phase we all do at that age. Problem is, the people smart enough to actually look at the evidence Josh provides usually see through one point or another early on. That spurs them onto more investigation, only to find that Josh's claims throughout the book are iffy at best and downright lies at worst. Disappointing. After they've been brazenly lied to by someone who is supposed to be a great champion of the faith and the defender of the Body of Christ they're rarely willing to listen to the reasons to believe by more honest family members and church leaders."

      January 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      @ TheTruth: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" – Mark Twain

      Too bad you didn't pay attention to Mr. Clemens.

      January 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  19. Chad

    What investigation have you done into the claims that my head ISN'T made entirely of Havarti cheese to know they are true?

    January 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Chad

    What investigations into the claims of Chad have you done to know they are true or false?

    January 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
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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.