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The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about
Few Bible Belt pastors mention what's in their backyard, millions of poor people trapped in the Obamacare “coverage gap.”
November 8th, 2013
10:01 AM ET

The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Timothy McDonald gripped the pulpit with both hands, locked eyes with the shouting worshippers, and decided to speak the unspeakable.

The bespectacled Baptist minister was not confessing to a scandalous love affair or the theft of church funds. He brought up another taboo: the millions of poor Americans who won’t get health insurance beginning in January because their states refused to accept Obamacare.

McDonald cited a New Testament passage in which Jesus gathered the 5,000 and fed them with five loaves and two fishes. Members of his congregation bolted to their feet and yelled, “C’mon preacher” and “Yessir” as his voice rose in righteous anger.

“What I like about our God is that he doesn’t throw people away,” McDonald told First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta during a recent Sunday service. “There will be health care for every American. Don’t you worry when they try to cast you aside.  Just say I’m a leftover for God and leftovers just taste better the next day!”

McDonald’s congregation cheered, but his is a voice crying in the wilderness. He’s willing to condemn state leaders whose refusal to accept Obamacare has left nearly 5 million poor Americans without health coverage. But few of the most famous pastors in the Bible Belt will join him.

Joel Osteen? Bishop T.D. Jakes, and other prominent pastors throughout the South?

Like McDonald, they preach in states where crosses and church steeples dot the skyline yet the poor can’t get the health insurance they would receive if they lived elsewhere. All declined to comment.

When people talk about the Affordable Care Act, most focus on the troubled launch of its website. But another complication of the law has received less attention: a “coverage gap” that will leave nearly 5 million poor Americans without health care, according to a Kaiser Health Foundation study.

Learn more from Kaiser about the coverage gap in states that refused Obamacare

The coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges. If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance. But because they live in a state that refused the new health care law, they likely will remain among the nation’s uninsured poor after Obamacare coverage kicks in come January.

The coverage gap has been treated as a political issue, but there is a religious irony to the gap that has been ignored.

Most of the people who fall into the coverage gap live in the Bible Belt, a 14-state region in the South stretching from North Carolina to Texas and Florida. The Bible Belt is the most overtly Christian region in the country, filled with megachurches and pastors who are treated like celebrities.  All but two Bible Belt states have refused to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Should Bible Belt pastors say anything publicly about the millions of poor people in their communities stranded by the coverage gap? Is it anti-Christian for state leaders to turn down help for the people Jesus called “the least of these"? Or should pastors say nothing publicly about such issues because they are strictly political?

CNN's Sanjay Gupta explains who falls into the coverage gap

Who speaks for the poor in the coverage gap?

When these questions were sent to many of the most popular pastors in the Bible Belt, they hit a wall of silence. Virtually no prominent pastor wanted to talk about the uninsured poor in their midst.

Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in the nation, declined to be interviewed about the subject. So did Bishop T.D. Jakes. Their megachurches are both in Texas, the state with the nation’s highest number of people without health insurance.

Max Lucado, the best-selling Christian author who is a minister at a church in Texas, declined to speak; Charles Stanley, the Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia whose In Touch Ministries reaches millions around the globe, declined to speak; Ed Young Sr. and Ed Young Jr., a father and son in Texas who pastor two of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, also declined to speak. 

Bishop T.D. Jakes declined to talk about the millions of poor people stranded in the “coverage gap."

The list goes on.

The silence is not hard to understand. Obamacare is a polarizing political issue in the Bible Belt. A pastor who publicly weighs in on the subject could divide his or her congregation or risk their job. And some prominent pastors like Osteen are popular in part because they  do not alienate fans by taking political stands.

The Rev. Phil Wages, senior pastor Winterville First Baptist Church in Georgia and a blogger, was one of the few Bible Belt ministers willing to speak on the subject.

He says he won’t preach about the coverage gap created by the state’s rejection of the Medicaid expansion because he has what he calls theological differences with the thrust of the new health care law.

Wages says the Bible teaches that the care of orphans, widows and the sick are given to the church, not to the government. Early Christians were the first to create hospitals, orphanages and hospices.

“I have an issue with the government coming in to get money through me - through taxes - to take care of people, when my argument is that I should be free to give to charities or to my church in order to take care of the sick and destitute,” he says.

Wages says he has no doubt that lack of health insurance is a monumental problem, and that many people are poor because of circumstances beyond their control. Yet there is no New Testament example of Jesus trying to shape public policy on behalf of the poor.

“I do not see any biblical precedent where Jesus ever went to Herod or Pilate and said you should be taking care of the poor,” Wages says. “Jesus told his disciples to take care of the poor and the apostles said the same thing to the early church.”

Wages’ position is impractical and unbiblical, says Ronald Sider, a longtime advocate for the poor and author of “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics."

Churches and charities don’t have enough resources to take care of an estimated 48 million Americans who don’t have health care. The Bible is filled with examples of God's fury over economic oppression of the poor, which Christians should regard as scandalous, he says.

“If you are not sharing God’s concern for the poor, it raises huge questions about whether you are a Christian at all,” he says about pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor.

“As God’s spokespersons, you ought to be talking about God’s concern for the poor as much as God. In the richest nation in world history, it’s contradictory to have millions without health insurance.”

“It absolutely stinks”

The coverage gap may inspire a religious debate, but for its victims the issue is raw and personal.

A recent New York Times article about the coverage gap revealed that many of its victims are the working poor: cooks, cashiers, sales clerks and waitresses.

“These are people who are working people but they haven’t been able to afford health insurance or their employers don’t offer it and they’re stuck,” says Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, a nonprofit news organization that covers health news in the state. “A lot of these folks have chronic health conditions.”

They are people like Shelley “Myra” Mitchell, a single mom with four children who makes $9 an hour working at a Chick-fil-A in Georgia. She makes $18,000 a year – too much for Georgia’s existing Medicaid program, but not enough to qualify for subsidies to sign up for Obamacare’s insurance marketplace in Georgia.

Mitchell’s voice grew edgy with frustration when asked to describe her health needs. She rang up about $20,000 in emergency room bills because she has no health insurance. She can’t afford to get pap smears, go to the dentist or get surgery for a two-year-old hernia. She can’t take medication for her depression and anxiety because she can’t afford it.

She thought she could get help under Obamacare but recently learned she can’t because Georgia did not accept the law’s Medicaid expansion.

“It stinks,” she says. “I’ve been dealing with this hernia for two years now, and I can’t get anyone to help me because I don’t have health insurance. It absolutely stinks.”

Why pastors should stay silent about the coverage gap

Mitchell’s plight may stink. But at what point should a pastor go public on such a complex issue, and what could he or she actually say?

Two prominent evangelical pastors openly wrestled with those questions.

Andy Stanley is one of the most popular evangelical pastors in the nation. He is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, a megachurch with at least 33,000 members. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “How to be Rich,” which urges Christians to be "rich in good deeds" instead of wealth. His church recently announced that it donated $5.2 million to Atlanta charities and provided another 34,000 volunteer hours.

Joel Osteen has the largest church in America. He also declined to speak about the coverage gap.

Stanley says the coverage gap disturbs him. The church cannot handle the needs of millions of uninsured people alone and should quit taking shots at government involvement, he says. But he adds that it’s not anti-Christian for political leaders in states like Georgia to turn down the Medicaid expansion for the poor.

“If you really want to know how concerned someone is for the poor ask them what percentage of their personal money they give to organizations that help the poor,” he says. “Ask them how much time they give to organizations that help the poor.”

Stanley says it would be difficult for any pastor to talk about the Medicaid expansion without addressing the entire law.

“I tried to imagine a scenario where I urged people to write our governor encouraging him to reconsider his decision regarding the expansion of Medicaid for the poor,” he says. “As I imagined that, I got the feeling that by the time I finished explaining the issue, people’s eyes would be glazed over.”

Pastors who don't preach one way or the other on Medicaid expansion aren't callous or apathetic, says Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. They may be suspicious of a bigger government and skeptical of whether this move will solve the problem.

“The Bible calls on Christians to answer the cries of the poor,” he says. “All Christians must do that. The question of the Medicaid expansion is a question of how we do that. I don’t hear many people arguing that we shouldn’t care about the plight of the poor when it comes to medical care. The question is a genuine debate about the role of the state.”

Moore says some people have a “utopian view” of what state power can accomplish.

“Government programs sometimes encourage dependency, unintentionally break down family structures, and become unsustainable financially,” Moore says.

Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel megachurch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wondered aloud about what he could, and should, say.

Florida, which has the second highest number of people without health insurance behind Texas, has not accepted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Coy says he hasn’t spoken publicly about poor people missing health coverage in Florida. But he has called the governor to get more information.

“I’m not an activist guy. I don’t tell the government what to do. I am a church guy. I teach the Bible.”

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for the poor, though, Coy says. He grew up in a poor family that couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. His church also spends a large percentage of its budget on serving the poor.

Coy says he is suspicious of large-scale programs that are publicly funded because they are often abused.

“One side of our society is saying, 'We need this,' while on the other side is saying, 'This isn’t fair and isn’t going to work.’ So how should a pastor, who has a heart to help people, respond?”

Why pastors should speak out

The Rev. Shane Stanford’s answer to Coy is simple: Talk about justice for the poor like Jesus did.

Stanford is the senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis and author of “Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants.”

He is also HIV-positive. He was born a hemophiliac and contracted the virus when he was 16 during treatment for his illness.

Stanford says he publicly speaks out about the millions of Americans stranded without health coverage because he knows how it feels. Once, after heart surgery, he was getting a transfusion when a nurse came into the room and pulled the needle out of his arm because she said he had maxed out his health insurance coverage.

He says standing up for people in the coverage gap is a matter of justice.

“Sometimes pastors have to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

Stanford ignores fellow pastors who counsel him to be silent about his state and others that refused to accept the Medicaid expansion.

“They say you have to be careful talking about political issues,” he says. “When I look at their lives, part of me thinks they never had that needle yanked out of their arm.”

Conservative pastors who urge their colleagues to avoid politics are hypocrites, says James Cone, a prominent theologian who has spent much of his career writing books condemning white churches for what he says is their indifference to social justice.

“When their own interests are involved, they are very much involved in politics,” Cone says. “Same-sex marriage and abortion – they have no trouble politically opposing them.”

Cone, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, says a nation is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable members. But there is an entrenched hostility to poor people in America that goes unchallenged by some white, conservative Christians, he says.

“When poor people get food stamps, they get mad,” Cone says. “When the rich and corporations get tax breaks and pay no taxes, they don’t say anything.”

McDonald, the pastor who spoke out on behalf of poor people from his Atlanta church, says Jesus provided universal health care. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus healing marginalized people.

“He did it for free,” McDonald says of Jesus’ healing. “The reason the crowds gathered around Jesus primarily was for healing. People want wholeness.”

Perhaps the gap between Bible Belt pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor and those who do is also rooted in history. 

Conservative Christians have traditionally emphasized providing charity to the poor - soup kitchens, donations to impoverished people in undeveloped countries - while progressive Christians have blended charity with calls for public policy changes that help the poor.

The distinction between both approaches was distilled by a memorable quote from the late Brazilian Roman Catholic Bishop Dom Helder Camara, who said: "When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist."

That may be changing as a new generation of evangelicals rise in the Bible Belt and elsewhere. One minister who speaks to them is the Rev. Timothy Keller, a conservative Christian author who pastors a megachurch in New York.

Keller is the author of “Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just,” a popular book that argues that evangelicals should do more than preach personal salvation; they must “speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.” He is a role model for many younger evangelicals.

“God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to ‘do justice.’ ’’

CNN.com recently contacted Keller to see if he would talk about "Generous Justice" and how it might apply to health care and the poor. Did he think pastors in Bible Belt states should say anything publicly on behalf of poor people being denied basic medical insurance? His publicist said she would contact Keller with the request.

Several days later, she returned with Keller’s answer.

He had no comment. 

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • Ethics • evangelicals • Fundamentalism • Politics • Poverty

soundoff (3,619 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Hypocritical Christians ignoring the teachings of Jesus?!

    No way!

    Must be the gay agenda again. Jesus talked about it all the time.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • jimjoebob

      Exactly! Today's American Christians must have a very radically revised Bible, completely different from the one that I read when I was young. It apparently contains only four verses:
      – Abortion is bad.
      – Gayness is bad.
      – Killing foreigners is a-ok.
      – Vote Republican.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • sftmayes

        Glad your so open minded yourself. All Christians equal something because some make mistakes. Sounds very much like an open minded statement that allows people the freedom to live and learn.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Truth Speaks

          Christian's aren't about learning from there mistakes if you read history (I KNOW NO CHRISTIANS DO, YOU WISH THE PAST WOULD DISAPPEAR.) All you guys are great at is repeating the same mistakes every few years and using the same arguments that "MY BOOK SAYS YOU ARE WRONG, HENCE I AM RIGHT" as a argument.

          November 10, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • Jeff

          What would you know about Christians other than what the media tells you?

          November 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jeff

      2nd Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

      I give 10% of my paycheck to the church and other charities and I do volunteer work sometimes as well. Jesus was not a Socialist as indicated by the above scripture...

      November 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • SlackerSlayer

        If the legend actually lived, it would not have been friends with any of todays American repulsivicants. He would be warning them of their gred factor.

        November 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • franticred

        Mark 10:24-25: The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

        Matthew 19:21: Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

        January 31, 2014 at 5:34 am |
        • Shootmyownfood

          It would appear that none of the mega-church pastors has read that verse in Matthew. I see none of them living in anything close to poverty.

          February 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  2. coyoteliberty

    Perhaps these pastors understand what the Democrats don't and haven't for 80 years: That making people dependent on government handouts for their existence destroys their free will and self determination, the two most important factors for determining individual salvation in the Christian Dynamic.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Sam

      I am sure that will comfort them when they die of a preventable disease.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • nclefty

      You are confusing Christian salvation with economic issues. I think when Christ said "render unto Ceasar..." he did not mean this as an excuse to ignore the poor. In fact he would probably be appalled that "good Christians" are blaming the poor for their poverty. The Christian Dynamic demands that we help those less fortunate than us, not blame them and turn our backs.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • rosa, b'ham al

        Thank you! FInally someone that has actually read what Jesus said.

        November 10, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Truth Speaks

      Jesus would have let you burn in the fire's of hell for being so selfish and human hating.

      LOVE THY NEIGHBOR is what Jesus said and taught.

      But somehow that became "LOVE THY NEIGHBOR IF THEY ARE EXACTLY LIKE YOU, HATE AND DESTROY EVERYONE ELSE ESPECIALLY GAYS, FOREIGNERS, FREE THINKERS AND THE NEEDY."

      November 10, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Don

      And you're the protectorate of the dumb masses (Democrts and non-christians) who don't know better for themselves!

      November 12, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • SlackerSlayer

        Spoken like a tea bagging log cabinite moron that thinks obama care is a liberal plot. It is the recycled repulsivicants 1990's plan to counter billaries plan, back then.

        November 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  3. Juan Burley

    These Mega Churches won't speak out because they are political. The churches themselves enjoy tax exempt status while the mega pastors are filthy rich and are the same wolves in sheeps clothing the preach against. They aren't interested in helping the poor, only padding their own pockets. It's their "elected: republican leaders that help keep those pockets fat. Don't want to bite the hand that feeds you.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Truth Speaks

      How can ANYONE follow a church where the pastors are FILTHY RICH?

      How is it Gods will to have those preaching the message become richer than ENTIRE STATES?

      Instead of helping the poor or needy, they need a new BMW and cable channels to have you send them more money, so they can buy larger houses to thank god in!

      Everyone complaining about what the government spends money on should go find your local mega church and check out there finances. The "needy" and outreach programs, the things you HOPE your money is going to, get pennies on the dollar in the best of cases, with the rest going to over head and church "WAGES" even though its NONE PROFIT ORGANIZATION MAKING MORE PROFIT THAN MOST SMALL BUSINESS'.

      Yet Government is somehow the bad guy.

      LOL You Repubthugs are just as stupid as the GOP wants you. As dumb as is possible to still be able to vote, congrats.

      November 10, 2013 at 10:07 am |
      • bob

        thats right. only the republicans are rich. Pelosi, Reid, obama they are not. i get a kick out of that. the Dem elite pulling the strings. marching their little puppets off to slay the dragon. the election was all about "us against them", "us working joe's against the man". they sure fired up the masses. and why not? everyone loves a good "you suck" argument. heck, just look at this article.
        so, im curious. how often do you dine where Pelosi does? do you shop where reid does? can you afford to golf with (and how often) obama does?
        you know what? never mind that. rich republicans suk!!!!

        November 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Makikijoe

          Sure there are well to do Democrats. So what ?

          At least they tend to vote for programs that help the poor ....... a lot more than Repugantcans do.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • bob

          sa-weet. in that case, maybe one day they'll stumble across a plan that isn't laced with rhetoric and actually works. i cant wait.

          in the mean time, you be sure to listen to what your rich dem leaders do hate rich `non-approved other people`

          November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  4. MIke Jovan

    Ah, here in lies the question......Mega church Pastors are refusing to comment? Really? Why? Not because they want to alienate their congregations, but because they fear to stand for truth and to do what's right will have dire consequences.
    It is ok to stand up and preach 'feel good' sermons. But God wants truth, not feel good. God wants people to repent of their sin, not fell good and continue sinning. These preachers risk opening up the eyes of their own congregations should they stand up here. They might have to really back up their doctrine.
    You see, you can not water down the word of God. Tell it like it is no matter what the consequences are. But many preachers don't want to give the effort that is needed to be 100% truthful according to the Bible. Just ask one of these Pastors about the 10 Commandments and the importance of all 10 and then you will really watch them avoid the subject.
    Ask these Pastors, are they really doing God's work or are they leading people astray but not preaching 100% of God's Word.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • practicallady

      Are you personally speaking to God, because you imply that you know what She thinks.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  5. Bryan

    Because when push comes to shove, their ultra conservative political beliefs trump their supposed belief in God and that poor people count to. Perfect example of why church and state must be kept seperated, not only in our government actions but from the other side, in religious actions. And if this keeps up, another reason religion no longer deserves tax breaks!!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • nclefty

      AMEN!

      November 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  6. EffortPA

    I think the GOP enjoys watching people suffer. How else could you explain the fact that they go out of their way to make sure a poor woman is forced to have a baby that she knows she cannot afford to feed or raise, but once the baby is born, they don't want anybody to help them. It is as illogical as believing the earth is only a few thousand years old, or that there is no global warming. They should take a closer look at our current Pope, he seems to have his priorities straight.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  7. Jay-hawk

    The problem is this law was written by lord Obama, Queen Pelosi, King Reed, and big insurance. They want to get their cut and it was never for insurance for all. Because they made illegal any plan that did not have $5,000.00 and $10,000.00 deductible. Stop and figure how many times does people have illnesses with the copays go over $5.000.00 and $10,000.00 unless they have a major illness or are in a major accident.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • nclefty

      Well, I had cancer 15 years ago and was successfully treated and that cost over $100,000. But because I had good health insurance (paid for mostly by my employer) , my copay was "only" $20,000. That's a lot, but economically doable over the long term. $100,000K would have bankrupted me and my family.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • nclefty

        And to add to the above, cancer and heart disease are the two major killers of adults over 40, so most of us who reach that age will have a potentially catastrophic illness at least once in our life.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  8. onepercenter

    "Why aren't Bible Belt pastors speaking out about the millions of uninsured poor left behind in their states?"

    Uhhh...because that is not their job!

    November 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Jackson

      Helping the poor isn't their job????????

      November 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • JeffreyRO5

      But they don't mind speaking out against abortion and gay rights????

      November 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Sawmills

        No, politics is not the churches job. the government is trying to help the poor, but the church has, and always will do this. Whatever the government decides should not affect how the church runs!

        November 10, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  9. stevie68a

    Religion was created to control people. It is basically a lie. Like it or not, we really are in a New Age, and religion is part of the old.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • scars

      Sadly, that is what religion has become. But if you actually read the message of Jesus - you would see that the intent was to free us and to elevate us to a higher moral level. You don't even have to believe that Jesus was real. Perhaps he was merely a literary figure. So what? Maybe that gives the message more credence because, if so, an ordinary human mind conceived of a way of living that was kinder and more compassionate. It was a radical shift in thinking. That is why so many evangelical churches preach the old testament and rarely, if ever, mention the teachings of Jesus. The old testament is the message of an eye for an eye and harsh punishment for anyone who dared to break even the most obscure of God's commandments. Jesus was a radical and rejected the status quo in favor of a new way of looking at the world where you no longer needed the church (or synagogue, in his day) because he viewed them as corrupt. He said your relationship with God is personal and no religious figure is needed to serve as an intermediary. And then, the religion that was built up after him came up with popes (and now pastors) who are perverting the very message that they claim to revere. Hypocrites, the lot of them. But Jesus (or the person who invented him) had a very beautiful message. World would be a better place if we tried to live life that way.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:57 am |
      • Truth Speaks

        AMEN.

        The true teaches of Jesus from the Bible speak of a man who loved and respected all his fellow men, especially those who helped and cared for others. Not sure how anyone who is religious can use JESUS HATES or GOD HATES in the same sentence.

        Just for another comparison, most organized churches are two steps away from the Westboro Baptist church, filled with hate and anger, preaching the most vial corrupted hate filled messages this world has seen since the Hitler. How do you use a body of love and acceptance and use it for hate and manipulation?

        If there is a, all of you Christians spewing hate are taking a front row seat for disrespecting your "savior" so bad.

        November 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • SlackerSlayer

          You are a funny little christian. The story was all about Jesus's Daddy, you know, the one your "good book" tells you created all of this. Why do so many idiots ignore his daddy, the jealous one and gravitate to his sacrificed son which created nothing.

          November 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  10. Ben

    This entire article is just a bold faced lie and CNN should really address it. The lack of exchanges has NOTHING to do with the current debacle which is 100% the current administration's making. Unreal.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • JeffreyRO5

      Another victim of Obama Derangment Syndrome chimes in!

      November 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • vidal808

      you are wrong Ben! totally wrong! You must be either a tea bagger or a insensitive Republican only interested in yourself and in what you can get out of the system. Health care should be universally for everyone, poor, rich and in between.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • vegas1970

        So how would you play for universal healthcare? and how are you going to pass a maximum pay limit for everyone that works in healthcare? What other industries should have a maximum pay?

        November 9, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • SlackerSlayer

          You ask how someone would pay for health care for everyone? Take the money the banksters print up out of thin air and pay for it that way. Why give banksters all the profit.

          November 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • You're Almost There

      Did you even read the whole article? It is about Christians should respond to the poor and the irony of some of the most prominent pastors not responding to the poor, not about the policy itself.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  11. Sara

    Without a strong national policy you create an environment in which itis advantageous to offer lower state benefits than your neighbors so you can drive the poor out of town. That's the reason benefits in the US are kept so low. Living in one of the states that makes it hostile for poor folks is great when you've got money and health.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Aerin

      But at some point it breaks down. Who will cook and serve you food at cut-throat wages, if not the poor?

      November 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  12. Roger that

    The help that the uninsured Lakewood church members need is only a click away.

    Break Out!: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life
    By Joel Osteen

    Only $14.49 at Amazon.com

    November 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Frank

      Best con man around.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  13. George in Copperopolis, CA

    "But a literalistic interpretation of the resurrection ignores"

    Um....people! The article was about caring for the poor, for those who fall out of, or through, government programs. As noted in the article, too many of the richest and most famous preachers will simply not acknowledge there is a problem. Nor is there acceptance they and their churches have a role and obligation to serve.

    While it is nice all the 'wind up dolls' cue up to repeat their comments – most are just talking, not listening. They are not listening to the article, they are not listening to the other commenters and they are not listening to how obscene their own comments sound.

    I believe we must speak out so that every American receives health care. That will ultimately reduce the total cost paid by those who are forced to use emergency rooms as their primary source of health care.

    And I believe we each must do as well can. I am one of the working poor...so poor I struggle to pay rent. But I'm headed out again this morning to check the community garden. From which we send hundreds of pounds of food each year to feed the poor and needy in the Copperopolis, California area.

    It's nice so many speak of lofty ideals, or debunk that which has led to the creation of beauty and strength. Now, stop talking and start helping those who live in your communities. I've run out of time listening to those who only hear their own voices!

    November 8, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      What if I don't want health insurance?

      November 8, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • Brian, NJ

        Then the rest of us have to pay for you if you end up in the hospital in the form of higher premiums. The mandate was orginally a Republican idea and one approved by the Heritage Foundation. They flip-flopped when the black man with the funny name became President. It's called taking responsibility for yourself.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Jeff C.

          Thank you Brian- you see the big picture!!!

          November 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
      • Granny

        Dave, the problem is that healthcare providers are obligated by law and by ethics to treat you if you are ill or are in an accident. You don't want healthcare until you have cancer or a heart attack or have a limb crushed in an accident. Do you expect to be treated for free or do you expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your pocket for treatment? Maybe what you want is a medic-alert bracelet that says "I don't want health insurance. Let me die."

        It's not like homeowner's insurance where, if your house is destroyed, no one pays to re-house you if you chose not to buy the insurance.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • myschievousme

          I've never actually met anyone who doesn't want healthcare. I have met those who could not afford healthcare. It's just not accurate to say that those who do not have insurance don't because they don't want to pay for it. There are many, many who cannot afford it and lets face it, those working the lowest paying jobs are not being offered healthcare or if they are it costs more than they make. Way to spin though.

          November 10, 2013 at 9:00 am |
      • Saleem

        I personally have no problem with you not buying health insurance, as long as you agree to only accept medical services, including life saving critical care, that you can pay for out of pocket. If you can't afford to pay for the service out of pocket then I will expect you to decline any and all treatment.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Sonorama

          This sounds callous but it makes perfect sense. It should have been part of the law and posted in big letters to see how many people actually go for it.

          November 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • CStrader

          I don't understand you wanting to hold this man to healthcare by current cash on hand when trillions of our tax dollars are sent to countries all over the planet to help with their poor. You don't mind paying for your healthcare and the healthcare of folks in other countries but you draw the line at a fellow American Citizen. Confusing at best.

          November 9, 2013 at 7:17 am |
        • HotAirAce

          US foreign aid per year is in the billions (about 50 from tax dollars and 30 privately) not trillions.

          November 9, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • tallulah13

      Affordable health care would be good for the country. We'd get a healthier work force, less people filing for bankruptcy due to medical debt and less tax dollars going to pay hospital bills for people who can't or won't afford it. But our health care industry is obviously more interested in profit than about taking care of sick people, and they've put money in a lot of political pockets to keep it that way. The United States has developed into a culture of greed. Eventually, it will destroy us.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • G to the T

        Good point! My biggest issue with Obamacare isn't the idea of universal insurance, it's that it takes no steps to reduce the cost of healthcare, pharamacueticals and insurance in general. Giving billions more to the insurance companies isn't going to help anyone, acutally making healthcare affordable might.

        November 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  14. Roger that

    Preachers like Osteen only care about one thing, money. Supporting a program that can help the poor members of his church is no concern to him. They aren't the ones writing the big checks.

    November 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      What else is there to care about?

      November 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    Capitalism = Christianity
    Social Programmes = Communism

    Thanks Joe McCarthy!

    November 8, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Hey, that's a gross insult to capitalism.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • stevie68a

      So rue. So many preachers worship the god of Money.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • rosa, b'ham al

      Jesus was a socialist.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  16. Topher

    What does this have to do with belief?

    November 8, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Frank

      Not sure about that, but you should really consider focusing on the "gospel" message instead of focusing on who is a Christian and who is not.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • Frank

        Forgot to mention,

        Peace be with you!

        November 8, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • Topher

        Sure. I'll be happy to talk about the Gospel with you. What do you believe about the afterlife?

        November 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Frank

          Ok thanks, I think this is a very difficult commandment to follow 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”.

          What do you think?

          November 8, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • Topher

          I think all 10 are difficult to follow ... mostly because I haven't kept a single one of them.

          Are you a Christian?

          November 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • Frank

          Ok, so a Christian is taught to love, saying it's difficult will not be valid excuse when we stand before Almighty God. What must a person do to show love to others?

          By words, deeds, actions?. When was the last time you were compassionate to another human being?

          November 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • Topher

          Frank

          So are you saying I won't go to heaven unless I love someone? I thought we were going to talk about the Gospel.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • Frank

          God did not entrust the task to me of judging whether you will go to heaven. Since you are a Christian, I am talking about the commandment to "love" as taught by Jesus.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Topher

          Good, so you believe in heaven. What about you? Are you a good person?

          November 8, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • Jolly Green Gaint

          Topher, how many commandments from God are there in the Bible?

          November 8, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Topher

          Ten.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • Jolly Green Gaint

          I know Moses smashed the original set, what did the final set say? Were they the same as the set he smashed, or were they different?

          November 8, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Grafted Olive Branch II

          Romans 8:1
          🙂

          November 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • Topher

          They're the same. I know, they're written out differently and even contain some other laws in that section of scripture, but they say the same things.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • Frank

          Am I a good person?

          The test I apply to myself to answer that question is in Galatians 5

          November 8, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • Topher

          Which says ...

          In your whole life how many lies do you think you've told?

          November 8, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Jolly Green Gaint

          Here is the final 10 Comandments:

          Thou shalt worship no other god.
          Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
          Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread .
          All that openeth the matrix are mine.
          Thou shalt rest on the Sabbath.
          Thou shalt rest in earing time and in harvest.
          Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
          Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover be left unto the morning.
          The first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
          Thou shalt not seethe (cook) a baby goat in its mother's milk.

          They are quite different to ones Moses smashed, aren't they? God seems very focused on Bronze Age Jewish rituals, doesn't he? Odd set of laws for the entire human race.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:32 am |
        • Topher

          Jolly Green Gaint

          Those aren't the commandments.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Jolly Green Gaint

          Yes they are. Exodus 34.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Topher

          No. Here we have Moses creating new stones for God to write them down again. Some of these things are expounding on the originals, but the rest is just Him speaking more things to Moses. The same thing happened in Exodus 20:23-23:33 after He gave the originals. This second time around there's no sense in repeating the originals.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          JGG
          Topherism
          What I will/cannot understand because I interpret the bible only based on my biased beliefs, I simply reject. I am the word, get over it.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • Well Duh

          @Topher
          "Are you a good person?"

          By the way, Topher has no morals, he just follows what he is told is moral by his god.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • Topher

          Well Duh

          "By the way, Topher has no morals, he just follows what he is told is moral by his god."

          So then I follow the only morals that matter — Gods. You can only follow what you think are morals ... but it's just your opinion verses the next guy on what is right or wrong.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • Well Duh

          "So then I follow the only morals that matter — Gods. You can only follow what you think are morals ... but it's just your opinion verses the next guy on what is right or wrong."

          You never answered me the other day. Are there any of God's laws in the OT that you would consider to be immoral now?

          November 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Well Duh

          And appears that I once again will not get an answer.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Topher

          Well Duh

          "Are there any of God's laws in the OT that you would consider to be immoral now?"

          Sorry, I went to lunch with my wife. And the answer is no. If they are God's laws they can't be immoral.

          If you have any more questions, please start a new thread ... I don't want to be back clicking on page 1 all night. 🙂

          November 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Well Duh

          Btw, started a new one, and is on page 11, but topic is moving fast and is currently up to page 13.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • SlackerSlayer

          I love the part in the gospel that has Jesus confessing he is Lucifer in rev 22:16. It makes perfect sense that all these "christians" are really the devils own tools. Their behavior is explained this way. Afterall, who is stupid enough to buy into the lie that a son of a God is equal to that jealous God. Who? Let me ask you it this way. Who would go to a Doctors Son to get his surgery performed?

          November 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Topherism
      When I do not have a clue about what to say I simply ask a foolish question. I do this most of the time. I read the bible every day but never really understand what it means.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • SlackerSlayer

        I'l summarize the bible for you. It tewlls of a creator that made all we know, and his son that wanted some of that glory and was cast out because of that. Somehow the readers of the book see the adversary of their creator as the blessed one they should speak of and worship, in exchange for their creator God. Romans 1:25 covers that very well. The confession found in rev 22:16 is also eye opening in the grand deceipt of the big lie of a sacrificed one being the creator one. A suicidal god?? Sick story.

        November 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Zenzini

      I was wondering about that as well.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  17. The Scam

    Continues.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  18. Reality # 2

    Putting a quick end to all the inanity of religion especially the Christian and Islamic cons:

    (only for the newbies)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • 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.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Athur Philip

      If there was no Easter then you are right 😦
      Thank God you are wrong! 🙂

      November 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

        From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

        Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

        To wit;

        From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

        "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
        Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

        Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

        Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

        The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

        Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

        The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

        "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
        http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

        The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

        With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

        An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

        p.4

        "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

        p.168. by Ted Peters:

        Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

        So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • Arthur Philip

          Objection : But a literalistic interpretation of the resurrection ignores the profound dimensions of meaning found in the symbolic, spiritual and mythic realms that have been deeply explored by other religions. Why are Christians so narrow and exclusive? Why can't they see the profound symbolism in the idea of resurrection?

          Kreeft replies as follows: They can. It's not either-or. Christianity does not invalidate the myths, it validates them, by incarnating them. It is "myth become fact," to use the t/tle of a germane essay by C.S. Lewis (in God in the Dock). Why prefer a one-layer cake to a two-layer cake? Why refuse either the literal-historical or the mythic-symbolic aspects of the resurrection? The Fundamentalist refuses the mythic-symbolic aspects because he has seen what the Modernist has done with it: used it to exclude the literal-historical aspects. Why have the Modernists done that? What terrible fate awaits them if they follow the multifarious and weighty evidence and argument that naturally emerges from the data, as we have summarized it here in this chapter?

          The answer is not obscure: traditional Christianity awaits them, complete with adoration of Christ as God, obedience to Christ as Lord, dependence on Christ as Savior, humble confession of sin and a serious effort to live Christ's life of self-sacrifice, detachment from the world, righteousness, holiness and purity of thought, word and deed. The historical evidence is massive enough to convince the open-minded inquirer. By analogy with any other historical event, the resurrection has eminently credible evidence behind it. To disbelieve it, you must deliberately make an exception to the rules you use everywhere else in history. Now why would someone want to do that?

          Ask yourself that question if you dare, and take an honest look into your heart before you answer.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          'the resurrection has eminently credible evidence behind it.'

          No it doesn't.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Reality # 2

          For more on the Resurrection Con:

          See:

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb017.html

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb003.html

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb006.html

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb018.html

          Some excerpts:

          From Professor Gerd Luedemann

          Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus's appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus' message to the Eleven. Luedemann notes that "the historical yield is extremely meager." He accepts the early tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of "a community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries." [Jesus, 255f.]

          Luke 24:36-53 The emphatic realism in the recognition scene that begins this appearance story mans "one can hardly avoid seeing this as a thrust against docetism. Evidently in this verse Luke is combating the same challenges to the bodily reality of Jesus as Ignatius, To the Smyrneans 3.2, does at the beginning of the second century." Luedemann concludes, "The historical yield is nil, both in respect of the real historical event and in connection with the visions which were the catalyst for the rise of Christianity." [Jesus, 413-415]

          November 8, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Of course Dave is right, If I recall properly there are three instances of being brought back from the dead in the NT, a child, Lazarus and jesus himself. There has never been a credible evidence that resurrection has ever been replicated in 2000 years but amaze me and provide an event that makes the proof. Now don't throw a bunch of fiction at me the bible is way more than enough fantasy.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Additionally, the "empty" tomb stories are reviewed at:

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb275.html and by Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 111-114. An excerpt concerning Mark 16: 1-8:

          "It follows from the an-alysis of the tradition that the historical yield is nil................................"

          November 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Oh, Arthur. There actually isn't any evidence. At all.

          You are not "open-minded". You are simply "willing to believe any story that supports your personal beliefs".

          November 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • Arthur Philip

          Reality # 2 –
          As Kreeft writes, External evidence:
          • The disciples must have left some writings, engaged as they were in giving lessons to and counseling believers who were geographically distant; and what could these writings be if not the Gospels and epistles themselves? Eventually the apostles would have needed to publish accurate narratives of Jesus' history, so that any spurious attempts would be discredited and the genuine Gospels preserved.
          • There were many eyewitnesses who were still alive when the books were written who could testify whether they came from their purported authors or not.
          • The extra-biblical testimony unanimously attributes the Gospels to their traditional authors: the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermes, Theophilus, Hippolytus, Origen, Quadratus, Irenaeus, Melito, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Dionysius, Tertullian, Cyprian, Tatian, Caius, Athanasius, Cyril, up to Eusebius in A.D. 315, even Christianity's opponents conceded this: Celsus, Porphyry, Emperor Julian.
          • With a single exception, no apocryphal gospel is ever quoted by any known author during the first three hundred years after Christ. In fact there is no evidence that any inauthentic gospel whatever existed in the first century, in which all four Gospels and Acts were written.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Arthur

          Has the story ever been replicated in the past 2000 years that a body in full rigor mortis, that would have bloated and begun losing fluids, with the unmistakable stench of death and the flesh being consumed by maggots; has ever been recorded that came back to life as we know it? This did not happen 2000 years ago has not happened since except in books of fiction, which is what the bible is, really.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          From Father Raymond Brown's 878-paged, An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, New York, 1996, , (with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur ( p. 172 as an example, with regard to Matthew's Gospel) (the remaining NT authors are likewise reviewed by Father Brown via an exhaustive review of the NT)

          Date: 80-90 AD,give or take a decade

          "Author by traditional (2nd century) attribution. Matthew a tax collector among the Twelve, wrote either the Gospel or a collection of the Lord's sayings in Aramaic. Some who reject this picture allow that something written by Matthew may have made its way into the present Gospel.

          Author detectable from contents: A Greek-speaker, who knew Aramaic or Hebrew or both and was not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry, drew on Mark and a collection of sayings of the Lord (Q) as well as on other available traditions oral or written. Probably a Jewish Christian.

          Locale Involved: Probably the Antioch region

          Unity and Integrity: No major reason to think of more than one author or sizable additions to what he wrote."

          As per Crossan and many contemporary biblical scholars:

          " THIRD STRATUM [80-120 AD]

          22. Gospel of Matthew [Matt]. Written around 90 CE and possibly at Syrian Antioch, it used, apart from other data, the Gospel of Mark and the Sayings Gospel Q for its pre-passion narrative, and the Gospel of Mark and the Cross Gospel for its passion and resurrection account (Crossan, 1988)."

          See Crossan's complete list of scriptural references in his book, The Historical Jesus.

          For a list of early Christian docu-ments and the date of publication and discussion of each, see: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

          Time period

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

          November 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Easter is a pagan fertility celebration. Christians stole it from it's original owners.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Bill

      Given an infinite amount of time, what are the chances that the exact same events could happen a second time? Meaning a planet forms like earth, evolution, monkeys, humans, then you, specifically.

      Remember, I'm talking about an Infinite amount of time. No end. Just keep trying until it happens. Long enough to make the Christian God himself just a spec in history.

      Surely the answer is non-zero (If you know some calculus).

      Scientifically, reincarnation is pretty much the only religious tenet with any possibility of being true.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • G to the T

        If an infinite amount of time is allowed I'd say just about all probabilities become 1:1 don't they?

        November 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
      • freedom liker

        It did happen and everything was EXACTLY the same until your idiotic post. You runied it mr mathlete...

        November 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  19. Do Re Mi

    Nobody wants to be like Jesus, everybody wants Jesus to be like them.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

      Delusions of grandeur amongst pastors?

      November 8, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • bspurloc

      amen bra

      November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.