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July 20th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Reza Aslan: Why I write about Jesus

Opinion by Reza Aslan, special to CNN

(CNN) - When I was 15 years old, I found Jesus.

I spent the summer of my sophomore year at an evangelical youth camp in Northern California, a place of timbered fields and boundless blue skies, where, given enough time and stillness and soft-spoken encouragement, one could not help but hear the voice of God.

Amid the man-made lakes and majestic pines my friends and I sang songs, played games and swapped secrets, rollicking in our freedom from the pressures of home and school.

In the evenings, we gathered in a fire-lit assembly hall at the center of the camp. It was there that I heard a remarkable story that would change my life forever.


Two thousand years ago, I was told, in an ancient land called Galilee, the God of heaven and Earth was born in the form of a helpless child. The child grew into a blameless man. The man became the Christ, the savior of humanity.

Through his words and miraculous deeds, he challenged the Jews who thought they were the chosen of God, and in return he was nailed to a cross. Though Jesus could have saved himself from that gruesome death, he freely chose to die.

Indeed, his death was the point of it all, for his sacrifice freed us all from the burden of our sins.

But the story did not end there, because three days later, he rose again, exalted and divine, so that now, all who believe in him and accept him into their hearts will also never die, but have eternal life.

For a kid raised in a motley family of lukewarm Muslims and exuberant atheists, this was truly the greatest story ever told. Never before had I felt so intimately the pull of God.

In Iran, the place of my birth, I was Muslim in much the way I was Persian. My religion and my ethnicity were mutual and linked. Like most people born into a religious tradition, my faith was as familiar to me as my skin, and just as disregardable.

After the Iranian revolution forced my family to flee our home, religion in general, and Islam in particular, became taboo in our household. Islam was shorthand for everything we had lost to the mullahs who now ruled Iran.

My mother still prayed when no one was looking, and you could still find a stray Quran or two hidden in a closet or a drawer somewhere. But, for the most part, our lives were scrubbed of all trace of God.

That was just fine with me. After all, in the America of the 1980s, being Muslim was like being from Mars. My faith was a bruise, the most obvious symbol of my otherness; it needed to be concealed.

Jesus, on the other hand, was America. He was the central figure in America’s national drama. Accepting him into my heart was as close as I could get to feeling truly American.

I do not mean to say that mine was a conversion of convenience. On the contrary, I burned with absolute devotion to my newfound faith.

I was presented with a Jesus who was less “Lord and Savior” than he was a best friend, someone with whom I could have a deep and personal relationship. As a teenager trying to make sense of an indeterminate world I had only just become aware of, this was an invitation I could not refuse.

The moment I returned home from camp, I began eagerly to share the good news of Jesus Christ with my friends and family, my neighbors and classmates, with people I’d just met and with strangers on the street: those who heard it gladly, and those who threw it back in my face.

Yet something unexpected happened in my quest to save the souls of the world.

The more I probed the Bible to arm myself against the doubts of unbelievers, the more distance I discovered between the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of history – between Jesus the Christ and Jesus of Nazareth.

In college, where I began my formal study of the history of religions, that initial discomfort soon ballooned into full-blown doubts.

The bedrock of evangelical Christianity, at least as it was taught to me, is the unconditional belief that every word of the Bible is God-breathed and true, literal and inerrant.

The sudden realization that this belief is patently and irrefutably false, that the Bible is replete with the most blatant and obvious errors and contradictions — just as one would expect from a document written by hundreds of different hands across thousands of years — left me confused and spiritually unmoored.

And so, like many people in my situation, I angrily discarded my faith as if it were a costly forgery I had been duped into buying.

I began to rethink the faith and culture of my forefathers, finding in them a deeper, more intimate familiarity than I ever had as a child, the kind that comes from reconnecting with an old friend after many years apart.

Meanwhile, I continued my academic work in religious studies, delving back into the Bible not as an unquestioning believer but as an inquisitive scholar. No longer chained to the assumption that the stories I read were literally true, I became aware of a more meaningful truth in the text.

Ironically, the more I learned about the life of the historical Jesus, the turbulent world in which he lived, and the brutality of the Roman occupation that he defied, the more I was drawn to him.

The Jewish peasant and revolutionary who challenged the rule of the most powerful empire the world had ever known became so much more real to me than the detached, unearthly being I had been introduced to in church.

Today, I can confidently say that two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity has made me a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than I ever was of Jesus Christ.

I have modeled my life not after the celestial spirit whom many Christians believe sacrificed himself for our sins, but rather after the illiterate, marginal Jew who gave his life fighting an unwinnable battle against the religious and political powers of his day on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed – those his society deemed unworthy of saving.

I wrote my newest book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" in order to spread the good news of the Jesus of history with the same fervor that I once applied to spreading the story of the Christ.

Because I am convinced that one can be a devoted follower of Jesus without being a Christian, just as I know that one can be a Christian without being a follower of Jesus.

Reza Aslan is a bestselling author and a scholar of religion. This article was adapted from his newest book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." The views expressed in this column are Aslan's alone.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (4,311 Responses)
  1. observer1776

    Ho Hum.
    Just another person who has decided to become secular, giving long-winded generalities, but no specifics.
    There is lots of statistical evidence that he is choosing to ignore, both New and Old Testament..

    July 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Doobs

      Such as?

      July 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      And YOU fault HIM for giving no specifics, eh?

      Typical.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • stubbycat

      The fact that Jesus lived and did wonderful things unheard of before is an historical fact. Also a fact is that very few people, Christian or not, have any real idea about who he was and what he represented. The evangelical interpretation of scriptures as literal is patently foolish and has been solidly proven by a variety of intelligent Christian scholars who study the scriptures in the context of when they were first written, which is vitally important. Getting back to the Master, he irrefutably taught in parables, symbols, metaphors etc just as his ancestors did. Little can be known of his unique spiritual thought and practice without genuine insight. Also, Jesus taught that he was not GOD but Godlike, and that man is spiritual , like his Creator; also that reform from the material animal ego failure, genuine universal love and growing spiritual understanding, and not the personal Jesus, will "save" or free man of the earth from the evil, sin or error which spiritual ignorance inflicts upon itself. That life is actually externalized consciousness is key to Jesus' own love of GOD, of mankind and his multifacted demonstrations over death.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • RichardSRussell

        "The fact that Jesus lived" — not a fact
        " and did wonderful things" — not a fact
        " unheard of before" — not a fact
        " is an historical fact." — not a fact.

        But I get it. You're using the special Christian flavor of "fact", just like some other loon on the next page over used the special Christian flavor of "know". Be advised that those of us with a working knowledge of English are on to your little scams.

        July 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  2. Mark

    Mr. Aslan (ironic last name) may be writing to promote his new book, but his ideas are nothing new at all. For years, people have been saying that we should return to the "historical" Jesus, not the religious one; that it is possible to follow the teachings of the good man, the good prophet Jesus, without having faith in Him as Savior.
    CS Lewis, but the counter to that best – cannot be just a good teacher. He made absolute claims for life and eternal destiny based on following him and putting faith in him to be one's savior. Either Jesus was a charlatain, a liar of the cruelest degree, for his hoax has led countless to their deaths. Or he was sincere, but wrong – in which case he was a lunatic, for who else would claim to be the son of God and die as such? Or, Jesus was sincere, and correct, and actually who He claimed to be – the Son of God given to save a fallen and broken world for all who would put their faith in Him. I cannot force anyone to believe which of the three options is true. But to claim to believe that Jesus was "just a good teacher, worth following but not putting one's faith in" is not possible from Jesus' very own claims of who He was and is.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      If you see "nothing new at all" as a fatal flaw, do you spend any time at all on a 2000-year-old collection of fables and folk tales? Because fersher THAT hasn't had anything new at all for centuries.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • dave

      I understand what you mean but it doesn't have to be that way–"either jesus christ is God or he was a lunatic who made false claims"

      July 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • RichardSRussell

        Lewis's trilemma seems to be getting quite a workout on this comment board today. You do realize, don't you, that nobody outside of Christian fundamentalism takes it at all seriously? It's kind of like Pascal's Wager in that regard — persuasive only to people who already agree with its conclusion.

        July 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Daniel

      True! For over 2000 years skeptics and others have tried in vain to understand Jesus from a non biblical standpoint, they have failed over and over again to understand who Jesus is, they have failed to understand His great mission; that of providing remission of sins. Jesus came not as man to just be a man, Jesus came to save the fallen world. To not understand this truth about Jesus is the greatest mistake a mortal can ever make.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  3. doctorstrangeluv

    Hey here's a logical way to lead your life ... simply be a good person and do the right thing by other people, without worrying about what some invisible being in the sky thinks about it. I know, I know, that's too easy of an idea for some people to comprehend and it would sadly never catch on.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  4. SmartLawyer

    The very first maneuver by Satan recorded in the Bible is his encounter with Eve, where he asked her: "did God really say that?" From the earliest of times, Satan has been trying to get man to question the veracity of God's Word, which leads to doubt, and doubt in turn leads to rebellion Because if Satan can get you to doubt whether the Bible is inerrant, he will get you to start writing you own. I feel bad for the author, as she was deceived: "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator" Romans 1:25. I find it amusing that the author finds the "historical" Jesus compelling when 95% of the historical material about Jesus is recorded by the nine authors of the New Testament. Even if the author were to take the 17 extra-biblical, non-Christian source materials referencing Christ, who is the author to decide which are more accurate and which are not?

    July 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Doobs

      I thought real attorneys relied on evidence, not hearsay.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      So if your dad said "question authority" and your mom said "do it because I said so, no questions, buster", you figure you're gonna go with mom, right? Because, either way, you're kowtowing to some authority figure and not thinking for yourself.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • G to the T

      Right – just like when the devil appeared to Paul and convinced him to convert as many jews away from the only true God as a possible. Makes sense to me!

      And of course, God gave us free will so we could either fall for the devil's lie OR think for ourselves and see that it's just a trick. Makes sense to me!

      July 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things , .

    July 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      It's BAAA-aaack.

      And look — it's learned to insert an extra comma so as not to get the dreaded "You've already posted the exact same thing 5000 times before" message.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Colin

      You hate to see Truths posted richard.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • RichardSRussell

        Close. I hate to see LIES posted.

        Furthermore, I really hate to see the SAME lie posted over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again by somebody whose screen name is ALSO a blatant lie.

        So, yeah, you've gotten at the core of why I snipe back at this CMR bozo as often as I do.

        July 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  6. christian

    these are the end times. Most everyone is W H O R I N G after the false Christ. The whole world is deceived. False prophets, False Religions ... THERE is only one GOD. Yahveh. the I am that I am, Yahshua Yahvehs Savior. Wait and seee. just wait and see...the second advent will be here shortly. And those whoring after antichrist who will be satan who is death and the father of lies.. you worship that and you wait and see what will happen... believe what you want to believe. God will not interfere in your life unless you ask Him. Choose this day whom you will serve... God or satan? Cuz in a nut shell that is what its ALL about.. To give you your own choice that you made with your own mind, Choose Wisely.. God does not force anything on anyone. Free will........ the choice is yours... time is late.. and getting later..pretty soon it will be too late to receive Gods unmerited favor or Grace .. The Grace Period is almost up.. Then you will have to work at it.. once the Grace runs out. again the choice is yours. but you can not follow Christ unless you know HIM as a friend and you know His Laws.. MUST be christian to do these things.. A sincere change of heart to The One and ONLY GOD> Yahveh

    July 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Yes, these ARE the end times. So were 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987 ... stop me if you've heard this before.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Here's Yer Tacitus

      christian,
      "God does not force anything on anyone."

      Believe or Burn - *that* is forcing. If such a being existed, it would have to be considered to be a shameless thug.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • hold your horses and your christianese

      ... some of your theology may be sound... however your approach is wrong... screaming theology on reply board is NOT going to win anybody for christ... it only alienates, and pushes people away... or confirms all the stereotypes that exist about people who strive to be like christ (aka christ-ians... or little christs)... the best way...(or at least the most affective and purposeful way in this modern society ) to win anybody for christ, or at least open up a healthy dialogue , is by following Christs example, when people needed help from him, or were lonely and hurting with no hope, he didn't come with a sharp tongue and a bunch of theology... he came with love... he walked along side and shared life with people , he bore their pains, sorrows, and dreams, like a great friend would, he showed unbroken, unselfish, and unconditional love towards people... and that IS ALL christians are commanded to do, be there, be like him, love others... on purpose... with no strings attached and no expectations... faith is the choice of one person...but love is the responsibility of all, ....... listing off theology is a good way to challenge a fellow christian to examine his or herself and to grow... it is, however, an AWFUL way to speak to to those who have no idea what the words being said even mean... it alienates and it ruins any chance of loving them... as far as trying what this article hopes to achieve... trying to separate the true christ from the bitter misrepresentations of christ that exist in this world ...

      July 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
      • tundexxdisu

        The approach varies with the individual that is lost. Some need to be wooed with love and some need to be rebuked in love. Only Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and The Father know what is needed. People are in different stages of their beliefs and unbelief. People have different experiences that sum up why and what they believe Everyone is unique There is no standard rule to minister to people. Preacher make mistakes when try to be zealous and witness in their own might and understanding. They need to be yielded willing vessels to God, and allow Him to witness through them

        July 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Damocles

      The only thing missing in your post was a rousing chorus of 'nanny nanny boo boo stick your face in doo doo'.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  7. NISHTHAR IDROOS

    Mans greatest injustice to God was to talk of Him without knowledge or rely on apocryphal and corrupt scriptures. The Most Merciful never had a son, the earth is about to split asunder and consume all who have such a putrid belief. Our Lord is Most High, separate from the creation, unique, indivisible and of-course without a co-equal. He begets not nor was He begotten. The final testament has arrived, it arrived almost 1400 years ago, it came to all humanity and not just to the lost sheep of Israel.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  8. Tacitus Talks

    These atheists commenting on this thread once again proves how pathetic and completely stupid they are. If I believed that all there was for me was in the mere 70-100 years I might live, THE LAST THING I WOULD BE DOING IS WASTING 1 MINUTE OF THAT TIME TRYING TO RIDICULE ANYONE THAT DIDN'T agree with me OR try to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I would be out, trying to get ALLLLL the money I could in order to enjoy all the pleasure that this life could afford. I WOULD DEFINITELY NOT LIVE IN A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY WITH ITS RESTRICTIVE MORAL CODES. I WOULD LIVE IN A COUNTRY LIKE THAILAND OR MALAYSIA and EXPERIENCE ALL OF THE CARNAL PLEASURES POSSIBLE. I WOULD BE GETTING LAID EVERY NIGHT AND 100 TIMES ON SUNDAY. The Bible says "the fool in his heart has said there is no God". And I must say, nothing could be truer. Have any of you losers even kissed a woman? Have you ever gotten laid? What is stopping you: fear of eternal retribution? Because you are a "better man than me"? What would any of that matter?

    July 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Shanti

      ah, the clear thinking mind of a christian. CREEPY! Lol, what a waste of skin

      July 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You're saying that, if you were an atheist, you wouldn't behave like the ones you see here.
      But you're NOT an atheist, so how do you know?
      I could say that, if I were a Christian, I wouldn't behave like the ones I see here, either — not like you, for example.
      But I'm NOT you, so how would *I* know?

      July 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Here's Yer Tacitus

      Stick with your book, kid. I don't have time to fill you in on what's real and what's not. You might be able to do this on your own, if you are interested. Just keep your fantasies and superst.itions out of government, education and science.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • hold your horses and your christianese

        ...i'm glad you have all the answers buddy, thousands of years of humanity , people after people looking for meaning... and here you are, you have it... you're better than us all ...and even better you get to sit on your throne and decide what is and isn't real.... thank goodness we have you.... what an age we all live in that the great one graces us with his perfect wisdom!

        July 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Here's Yer Tacitus

          hold your horses...

          Point taken. Ok, I'll amend my hasty jotting there to reflect "what is most likely to be real and not real according to significant verification regarding the former and zero evidence regarding the latter".

          July 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Harry

      This guy needs a pulpit, crazy in a freaky god way. What a joke. Do christians weep at night when they have a moment of realization that their own ego has created this heaven for them to believe in? Me Me Me, self self self. Maybe deists should all read a bit more Freud or Jung .

      July 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
      • hold your horses and your christianese

        ...bless your heart... the need to label yourself ATHEIST , screams "me me me !" as you said... if one truly didn't believe in a deity ... he/she would not feel the need to label him or herself at all, one would simply not believe in a deity and be content with no label at all... so the fact that you need the label of atheist suggests that you do indeed want the attention of the world and are, yourself, trying to build a group of converts of your very own... which makes you a giant hypocrite for attacking 95 percent of the earths population who believe in a deity(s)... instead of simply living your life and being happy with your own feelings...

        July 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Tracy

      You might have a grain of a point in there. But why call anybody stupid? Why so defensive of your own point of view?

      July 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      ***Great post Tacitus! The concise, logical conclusion and practical application of atheism (and agnosticism for that matter, since it is, for all intents and purposes, "practical atheism")...and yet, STILL THEY ARE HERE POSTING AWAY in order to justify their existence because there is NO JUSTIFICATION apart from God's justification in Jesus Christ. Like little hamsters on a wheel...THE WHEEL GIVES THEM THEIR IDENT!TY & PURPOSE...Take the wheel away and all they have is their own crap in a cage to play with...

      July 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Robert

      Oh brother! Are you for real or just a complete idiot! Say "HI" to the devil!

      July 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Damocles

      Translation: The only things keeping me from doing any of those things I mentioned are these bars.... and straightjacket... aaannnnddd the lovely drugs, but once I get free of those things, watch out world!

      July 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  9. Talk to the hand

    Tell him you want to be saved.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  10. Francie

    When I was a kid, the religious claimed jesus was the son of god. Now here we are and they are saying that he was god, that god floated down and planted himself into a child. Why blame his demise on the jews when the majority didn't know he existed? How stupid to go through life not being accountable for your life and take responsibility but instead just say you are following some god's will.

    Seriously what a load of rubbish. Every church, every generation seems to change the tale to suit their whims to suit their sickly frailties.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tacitus Talks

      I would read a little more- real books, not search the internet. You obviously have no clue of facts.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  11. faith

    the main problem with reza, and he seems like a nice fella, is that for some unknown reason, he seems to think the new testament is a true account of something.

    away in a manger, no crib for a bed
    the little lord jesus lay down his sweet head
    the stars in the sky looked down where he lay
    the little lord jesus asleep on the hay
    the cattle are lowing, the baby awakes

    really pretty silly when you think about it

    July 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  12. jobseeker

    The Jesus of history is Lord and Christ. The author "separated" the two because the Scripture didn't play to his subjective expectation. Very common reaction of apostates. You either let the Scriptures define God, Jesus, salvation, sin, etc. or you make it say what you want. The author chose the latter. He will stand befor Jesus the Christ and King of Kings and Lord of Lords and give an explaination.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      See, THIS is why I have a bone to pick with people who claim that the USA was founded on "Christian principles". Christianity is all about royalty: "King of Kings, Lord of Lords", indeed! We fought a bloody Revolutionary War specifically to get RID of kings and lords, and our Const¡tution specifically says no t¡tles of nobility will ever be handed out by the United States.

      We are a DEMOCRACY. Our authority derives not from some king or imaginary friend in the sky but from the source identified in huge letters in the 1st 3 words of the Const¡tution: "WE THE PEOPLE".

      July 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  13. JesusNotReligion

    ***IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN***(Yogi Berra–Greatest Yankee catcher!)

    Dear Reza...I'm sure you are reading this and I will try to be concise...And let me say before I forget that I do appreciate your segment because I believe the Jesus of the Bible will use it to bring clarity to WHO He really is, in spite of your rejection of Who the Bible says He is..."What then? (asks the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:18) Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Jesus Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice."

    1) The "Jesus" of the Bible was both the "man" of Nazareth AND "Immanuel" (God with us) from "eternity" (ref. Isaiah 7:14 & Micah 5:2–"Old Testament" references-WRITTEN 750 YEARS BEFORE JESUS OF NAZARETH WALKED THE EARTH)...
    Unfortunately you must believe BOTH TRUTHS of WHO Jesus is as He is presented in the whole of Scripture in order to be "saved" or throw Him fully to the curb along with every other "earthly" self-help guru who teaches "a way" to peace with God that is essentially "works-based" religion...You've fallen from grace back into works, and instead of completely discarding Jesus, you've DOMESTICATED Him (i.e. turned Him into something/ someone He is not for your own purposes) just like every cult and false religion does...Do us all a favor an just dump Him and the New Testament completely or embrace both fully with a surrendered life that does not present a "Burger King Jesus" (i.e. "Have it your way" instead of YAHWEH)...I'm sure the Atheist's on this site would also agree with me...

    2) Since you are promoting "Jesus" as an "historical" figure in your segment above, you must still regard the New Testament as a somewhat legitimate do¢ument (an accurate/historical accounting) of His life and teachings (to one degree or another)...I applaud that! My question is: How will you now determnine what is true and what is supposedly false?–Acuurate vs. Inaccurate? Perhaps you should purchase a book called, The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, by Gleason Archer BEFORE you jump ship – though I hope you understand that if you never return to the "ship" (by grace alone through faith alone), to the "Jesus" of the Bible, then you were NEVER really on board to begin with...

    3) The Jesus of the New Testament extensively quoted the Old Testament, especially in reference to Himself as being the One (the Christ/ Messiah) by whom all things were being "fulfilled"...You do realize that this "Jesus of Nazareth" only had access to copies of copies of copies (and more "copies") of the original text and yet He quoted from them with an "authority" that you are now undermining in your segment...You are unwittingly playing the role of Satan in the garden (Genesis 3), essentially saying, "Did God really say..?"

    I can actually introduce you to the Divine Jesus (the fully God/ fully man) from the Old Testament, which is how Jesus did it, along with all the New Testament writers (though the Apostolic New Testament writers were all eyewitnesses of the Jesus you are now rejecting)...

    I will continue to worship and follow hard after the Jesus of the Bible, and pray in His uniquely authoritative name for you, even though you no longer do. "But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His'..." (2 Timothy 2:19)

    JesusNotReligion

    July 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Oh shut up! Post something new, numb nuts, or don't post anything at all.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • JesusNotReligion

        Clearly you are not a Yankees fan...or Yogi Berra fan...And I am not here to make you one...

        July 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  14. christian

    No you can not. Unless you are following the Christ that Comes Back at the 6th Trump, 6th seal and 6th vial. You must be christian to follow the True Christ. Tthe word itself Christian IS CHRIST MAN.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  15. Mike Kleier

    I think Reza will challenge the notion of once saved always saved. I understand this notion is debated amoung religious scholors. I think one could be a follower of Jesus, just like one could be a follow of Billy Graham. But, i think the Bible is clear that salvation does not come from following.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Debating the "truth" value of the proposition "once saved, always saved" is like trying to figure out who was meaner, Simon Legree or Ebenezer Scrooge.

      Or for the mathematically inclined, it's like dividing by zero. You can use it to "prove" anything you want.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  16. Really-O?

    “Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.”

    ― Mark Twain

    I'm only posting this to see if Daniel will delete it. Cheers, Dan

    ....
    ...

    July 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Jibar

    Jesus was a messenger of God. Not God. There is only one God and He didn't come out of a women's private parts. God doesn't eat food. God doesn't sleep. And God doesn't die! There is only one God! One! not three in one. Just One! The God of Abraham, The God of Moses, The God of Jesus, The God of Muhammad, And the God of everything in the universe! I believe Jesus and I'm Muslim.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Yes! Only ONE god! And his name is Thor, God of Thunder. If you don't believe me, just ask the ladies who saw him in that movie. Hell, I'm straight and he got me going!
      All hail Thor!

      July 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • christian

      you are deceived. Christ is God that was prophized to come in the Flesh in the old testament. Emmanuell God with Us. Yahshua the Christ is GOD.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Jibar

        Think about what you're saying. Imagine standing on the day of judgement and telling God that you thought he came out of a women's private parts. That the Almighty, The All Powerful, The Most High, The Exalted, Creator of the Universe, Came out of a women's private parts. Please think for two seconds.

        July 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Brad

          You should get down on your knees and thank God for sending his only Son to redeem you. I realize that Islam views women as mere property. Get over you ignorance and realize that God sent a sign to all those who think like you by having Jesus born to a humble women. Mohammed was a sociopath whose teachings will lead you straight to hell.

          July 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • tundexxdisu

          God would reply..."I know that" "I made it that way" "For animals as well". "but correction, your earthly body was formed in the womb of your mother (or wherever) but your soul and Spirit were not". That is the part of you that would be talking to God. Your human body would be elsewhere.

          July 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • faith

      nothing suggests that he lived. alot people were hungry and desperate back then and you had a whole crowd trying to be their leader

      July 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Brad

      Mohammed, Joseph Smith, just two examples of religious con men who created false religions. The God of Mohamed is a jealous, petty, violent false God that is literally unrecognizable when compared with the loving God revealed for the first time in the New Testament. The most radical teaching of all those that are revealed in the New Testament is that God came to earth to serve man, and to redeem mankind and lead the path to salvation. Islam cannot guarantee salvation, as Jesus can. Islam offers instead a rehash of the ignorance of and violence of the Old Testament and of 6th Centuary tribalism.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Jibar

        What Islam doesn't do is give its followers false hope of getting a free ticket to paradise. Islam is realistic, you do your best and God does the rest. The Merciful God of the Quran promises paradise for those that believe and do good deeds. Also Muhammad came to confirm the message of Jesus. Jesus who was himself a Muslim prophesied the coming of Muhammad "the spirit of truth" John 14:26. Notice how I honor Jesus and you insult Muhammad who God sent as a mercy to reveal his last and final testament the Quran.

        July 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • Brad

          Jesus was a Muslim? Surely you are deluded. Islam was not invented by Mohammed until 4 centuries had passed since Jesus' death and resurrection. My heart is not filled with hate, it s filled with the love of Christ. As I hope yours will soon be. In the end, Islam=Death.

          July 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
      • Jibar

        We will see what happens on the Day of Judgement. I am waiting just like you. I hope God guides you to Islam. I can see the hate you have in your heart. Don't let it consume you. You're only hurting yourself. Islam is the Truth. Whether you like it or not.

        July 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • Brad

          Muslims will be among the losers on Judgement Day.

          July 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • sly

      Allah is the only God, and the only good one. The rest are frauds, heathens, no better than apes.

      Pray to Allah, or He'll kill Alla-you. (Don't worry, all Gods are mean and selfish and vengeful, and if they don't get their way they smote you to death).

      I like my God – he's a real killer and knows how to eliminate the enemy. That's a good God who can murder the enemy, so that we can all get fat and obese and fart a lot.

      Oops, somehow I find it difficult to write anything serious when on the God-ster page.

      Anyhow – Allah, 79 virgins, it's all good!

      July 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • Jibar

        Allah is the only God. And it would be better for you to submit to him in Islam. But I can see you don't take anything seriously. May Allah guide you to the truth.

        July 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • Brad

          You worship the same Pagan moon god that the Arab tribes of the time of Mohammed did. The Kaba is that "gods" shrine. Mohammed was a fraud; funded by a rich 50 year old widow when he was a young man, so that he could develop a taste for little girls when he became a middle aged man. How's does it feel to follow a fraud?

          July 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  18. Hugh_Mann

    any trick in the book to get you to accept their make-believe version of the world

    July 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Elliott Carlin

      you ain't kidding. Those evolutionists sure are something.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • Sarah Web

        oops, you missed a few chapters, hee hee... Try this one if your brain isn't already too god-addled...

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK3O6KYPmEw&w=640&h=360]

        July 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  19. Really-O?

    “Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.”

    ― Mark Twain

    I'm only posting this to see if Daniel will delete it. Cheers, Dan
    ...

    July 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  20. joey

    there is no christ amongst all the other of histories saviors. the human mind searching for reason. it does NOT exist. there are no gods or god.

    July 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Kalo

      Joey, thanks for the enjoyable comments. It's all anecdotal evidence for them. Their life is based on fantasy like it is for my 8 year old. Religion is such a cancer. It's about control. It always has been. In glad to be free of it. But to speak out against it is like a gay person coming out to their parents in West Texas; controversial and deeply threatening. When people threatened rulers in the pas t they were killed. The end of religious thinking is violence. They have to be right and they would shut you up with the sword if they could. Violence is the core of religion. Like Stalin, Mao and Hitler they must destroy in order to create. I have zero respect for anyone who is religious. I see them as lost people and enemies. Just as they see me.

      July 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Edweird69

        You're not alone...I feel the same way.

        July 21, 2013 at 8:00 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.