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December 13th, 2013
09:30 AM ET

Call Jesus (or Santa) white? Expect a big fight

Opinion by Edward J. Blum, special to CNN

(CNN) - Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly sparked outrage this week by insisting that Jesus and Santa Claus are both white, saying it's "ridiculous" to argue that depicting Christ and St. Nick as Caucasian is "racist."

"And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white," Kelly said, "but this person is arguing that we should also have a black Santa."

Kelly was responding to an article in Slate that said St. Nick needs a makeover from fat, old white guy to something less "melanin-deficient."

The Fox News host would have none of it.

"Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change," Kelly said. "Jesus was a white man, too. It's like we have, he's a historical figure; that's a verifiable fact. As is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy, in the story, and change Santa from white to black?"

Arguing about St. Nick, who was originally Greek before Currier & Ives got their hands on him, is one thing. But as for Jesus, people have been arguing about his skin color since the earliest days of American history. You might even call it an American tradition.

What's new about this latest brouhaha is how swiftly Kelly’s remarks were attacked. Thousands of people have rebuked her through blogs, articles, Twitter posts and Facebook updates.

Comedian Jon Stewart accused Kelly of "going full Christmas nog."

“And who are you actually talking to?" Stewart said on "The Daily Show." "Children who are sophisticated enough to be watching a news channel at 10 o’clock at night, yet innocent enough to still believe Santa Claus is real — yet racist enough to be freaked out if he isn’t white?”

It seems that now, if you want to call Christ — or even Santa — white, you should expect a fierce fight.

The immediate and widespread rebuttal showcases how much America has changed over the past few decades. The nation not only has a black president, but also has refused to endorse the Christian savior as white.

Since the earliest days of America, Jesus was thought of as a white man.

When white Protestant missionaries brought Bibles and whitened images of Jesus to Native Americans, at least a few mocked what they saw.

Taking the imagery seriously, the Shawnee warrior Tecumseh asked future President William Henry Harrison, “How can we have confidence in the white people? When Jesus Christ came upon the earth you kill’d and nail’d him on a cross.”

It was not until around 1900 that a group of white Americans explicitly claimed Jesus was white.

Concerned that large numbers of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, especially Jewish immigrants, were “polluting” the nation, anti-immigrant spokesmen like attorney Madison Grant asserted the whiteness of Jesus to justify calls for exclusionary legislation.

READ MORE: From science and computers, a new face of Jesus

Making Jesus white was a means to distance him from Judaism.

“In depicting the crucifixion no artist hesitates to make the two thieves brunet in contrast to the blond Savior,” Grant wrote in his xenophobic best-seller "The Passing of the Great Race."

“This is something more than a convention,” Grant continued, and suggested that Jesus had “Nordic, possibly Greek, physical and moral attributes.”

Even Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that Jesus was white, after being asked why God created Jesus as a white man.

King responded that the color of Christ’s skin didn’t matter. Jesus would have been just as important “if His skin had been black.” He “is no less significant because His skin was white.”

READ MORE: Turkish town cashes in on Saint Nick legacy

Challenges to Christ’s whiteness have a long history, too.

Famed evangelist Billy Graham preached in the 1950s, and then wrote emphatically in his autobiography "Just As I Am," that, “Jesus was not a white man.”

But Graham was far from the first American to contradict the whiteness of Jesus. That honor goes to Methodist and Pequot Indian William Apess.

In 1833, he wrote to white Christians, “You know as well as I that you are not indebted to a principle beneath a white skin for your religious services but to a colored one.”

Almost 100 years later, the Jamaican born, “back-to-Africa” spokesman Marcus Garvey told his followers, “Never admit that Jesus Christ was a white man, otherwise he could not be the Son of God and God to redeem all mankind. Jesus Christ had the blood of all races in his veins.”

In our age, the color of Christ has become both politically dangerous and the butt of jokes.

In 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s words “God damn America” and “Jesus was a poor black boy” almost derailed then-Sen. Barack Obama from winning the Democratic primary.

Now, Kelly bears the brunt of attacks and, in no surprise, was pilloried by comedians like Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Few Americans went on public record against King when he asserted Jesus had white skin in the 1950s. Today, thousands upon thousands from virtually every race and tribe of Americans have taken Kelly’s words seriously and seriously disdained them.

All the chatter about Jesus being white (or not) shows how much America has changed. There used to be “whites’ only” restaurants and schoolrooms. Now, even Jesus cannot be called white without repercussions.

What the debate hides, however, is what Jesus of the Bible actually did and how he related to people.

The gospels are full of discussions about Jesus and bodies. He healed the blind and those who suffered from disease. He touched and was touched by the sick. His body was pierced by thorns, a spear and nails. And he died.

READ MORE: What all those Jesus jokes tell us

The phenotype of Jesus was never an issue in the Bible. Neither Matthew, nor Mark, nor Luke, nor John mentioned Christ’s skin tone or hair color. None called him white or black or red or brown.

Obsessions about race are obsessions of our age, not the biblical one. When asked what mattered most, Jesus did not say his skin tone or body shape. He instructed his followers to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

Maybe this Christmas season, we can reflect not so much on whether or not Jesus was white and instead consider what it meant for him to be called the “light” of the world.

Edward J. Blum is the co-author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. He can be followed on Twitter @edwardjblum. The views expressed in this column belong to Blum alone.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Billy Graham • Black issues • Christianity • Discrimination • Faith • God • Jesus • News media • Opinion • Persecution • Prejudice • Race • United States

soundoff (7,485 Responses)
  1. CosmicC

    When Billy Graham spoke of Jesus' race he was not saying he was Black, he was saying he was Jewish. In his eyes, at that time, he was saying Jews were not White. When Dr King said Jesus was White, he was saying he was not Black. Having grown up Jewish in the 1960's I can tell you that I was not White, at least not when it came to "White Privledge". That has certainly changed. At least in the Northeast, Jews are now considered White. I would guess there are some areas of the country where that is still not the case. When a Fox "news" actor says Jesus was White, I suspect that rather than elevating Jews to Whiteness, she was denying his Jewishness. Race is a mutable concept and Racism is still a major problem in our society.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Goaty McCheese

      Heck. The Irish weren't even considered white until the late 19th century. And colorwise they are the whitest people on earth.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Doug

      @CosmicC Well said! Your comment was spot-on. Thank you for your explanation.

      December 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Carolyn K

      Dr. Graham was saying Christ was born of Jewish parents and of the Jewish race, which is supported by all of scripture and historical accounts of HIS life.

      December 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  2. Cheezfan

    Well, what color is God? Given that Jesus was apparently his son, one would thing they would share some physical characteristics...

    December 13, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Edwin

      Are you seriously this stupid?

      December 13, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Steve

        he evidently is, in fact, that stupid.

        December 13, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • nisroc00

          or like many other are you just reading his question while not thinking about it. Seems to be an honest question so instead of calling him stupid, which is stupid, discuss it! I mean everything we see has a color right, so your father has the same color skin as you? in most cases blacks mate with blacks and whites mates with whites. The bible God he would create man in his form but nobody has ever seen god. so if we are in god form what color was god. too confusing for you... maybe your just stupid or the bible was a lie. nonetheless something to think about.

          December 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
        • cobalt100

          Calling someone stupid is the last resort of the chronic under-achiever. Their arguments are as empty as the Vatican's gay bridal suite.

          December 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • The Fillosofer

      Well, apparently God is invisible, so I guess that means his son, Jesus, has the same invisible skin color. However, one could argue that the father of Jesus was Joseph, which would contradict the invisible hypothesis. For all intents and purposes, Joseph, husband of Mary, was not invisible, and neither was Mary. We could get into a deeper discussion of who is the father of Jesus, God or Joseph, but Mary isn't available to ask and DNA just isn't possible.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • Giche

        LOLOLOL.

        December 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • dennis

        GOD IS ONLY INVISIBLE TO OUR EYES?
        wind is also invisible.
        radio waves are invisible.
        many things are invisible in this realm.

        December 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Victor

          This is the best thing I've heard regardless of the this debate. So if we can't see wind, radio waves, etc, that we use daily, how can we doubt the existance of God around us? He and his good angers could has well be around guiding and protecting us from danger and trouble.

          December 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • Tom Bowers

          Santa Claus is invisible. Dragons are invisible. Faeries are invisible. Do we doubt their existence ?

          December 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • doobzz

          Wind and radio waves can be measured.

          Bad comparison.

          December 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • God

        You should read Exodus 33:20; clearly I am not invisible.

        December 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • filo bedo

      Great question! He would be slightly transparent since god is invisible wouldn't you say.

      December 13, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • Giche

        Well guys, maybe God invented a way to change a body's refractive index to that of air so that it absorbs and reflects no light and thus becomes invisible. Maybe, just maybe that was not Jesus in the basket floating down the river. I think we all have been duped by the fanatical religious organizers.

        December 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Wasn't that Moses?

          December 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • tessie may

          If you are going to argue about Christianity, it would be helpful to know that Moses was in that basket, not Jesus.

          December 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • ChadTL

      You are making it hard for me not to say something negative but God the one in the bible this discussion is centered around is a Spirit thus he doesn't look like anything. All of the descriptions in the bible were to help humans see he was a real person but he doesn't have physical attributes. Not that matters because it means squat but the first human pair in the bible were in Africa but that means nothing because it doesn't matter.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
      • GR Downtown

        The book of Revelation in the Bible describes what Jesus looked like. the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass. Anyone who watched Good Times knows that. JJ's painting of Jesus looked like Ned the Wino or was it his painting of Ned the Wino looked like Jesus? Whatever. It is settled that Kelly is stupid

        December 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Realist

      ------–
      ------–

      ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ... http://www.EvilBible.com

      ------–
      ------–

      December 13, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • tessie may

      God was symbolical and therefore "above" race.

      December 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • bill

      very good point!! anyone questioning your line of thought clearly is embarrassed that christianity claims jesus is God's son.
      But then if Jesus is lord then who ran the world while he died on the cross

      December 15, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Marco Aurelio

      God created the first man in His image as in character. Race came after to distinguish the variety of human groups. As for Jesus, He was conceived by the Spirit of God to be born on this Earth to take on human flesh specifically in a Semitic group of people descendants of an ancestry promised by God . His mother was a Jewish girl. What a Jewish person of her lineage looked like in her time and region? That's how Jesus looked like.

      December 15, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  3. Andrew

    What color was Jesus. In the present, it boils down to "what color is your faith", or like, "what color is the third number of the alphabet?"
    In 2013, Jesus' significance is in faith alone. Colors are a moot point. Dark meat or white meat, it's still the same bird.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Julie

      So........what do you prefer, dark or white meat?

      December 13, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  4. Andy Lloyd

    As a real Jewish person, Jesus, while being white, had much darker skin from all the sun exposure. So while he was in fact white, he had a darker tone to his skin.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Steve

      What does being a real Jewish person have to do with your point, and since you brought it up, what does a fake Jewish person think?

      December 13, 2013 at 10:15 am |
      • J

        u r the man Steve

        December 13, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • Giche

          You're the man J for knowing that Steve's the man for knowing that Andy is an idiot.

          December 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Victor

          lol

          December 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Phil

      Sun exposure?! I think you need to do a little more research

      December 13, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • Jules

        Jesus was a carpenter and therefore would have worked in the sun all day...

        December 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • ChadTL

          Jules you can't be serious. Not all carpenters and I am going to go on a limb most work outside. What does making a chair have to do with being out doors?

          December 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Doug

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGQRBkv4di8&w=640&h=390]

          December 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • doobzz

          Not if he did cabinets and trim work.

          December 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • imo

      Not that it matters, but if you want to know "in fact", Eden was located in the heart of Africa according to Genesis. So you can take it from there if you really want to go "in fact". The main point though is that God IS NOT A RACE, he is Eternal Spirit, he has no beginning, and certainly NO end. He is not flesh and blood but Spirit.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • BGRommel

        Not sure where the Eden was in Africa idea came from. Most historians agree the Eden myth emerged out of the ancient Sumerian and Akaadian civilizations, which were located in the fertile crescent. The fertile crescent is where Eden was, not Africa.

        December 13, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Perhaps believers are starting to bend their creation myth to better align with evolution. We are all Africans!

          December 13, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • pbuotte

          Correct, the fertile crescent was in Mesopotamia, specifically in the most narrow point the two rivers the Tirgis and Euphrates just south of Baghdad, Iraq. It is still the bread basket today producing potatoes and chickens, I know because I was there for a year...

          December 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • timmaahhyy

        In fact according to genesis "Eden" was located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which puts it somewhere near Baghdad.

        December 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • timmaahhyy

          To be clear that is based on the book of genisis which was probably written by someone in that area. so he wrote based on landmarks he knew. So lets just say that Jesus was probably some shade of brown in between greek, Arab, Persian and African. If you were to base the definition of white on what would get you into a country club in the 80's then Jesus was in fact not white.

          December 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • Doug

        Could you please cite for us where exactly in Genesis it says that Eden is in "the heart of Africa?" I'll be waiting anxiously for your reply.

        December 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
        • filthy123

          ill answer for him.first off all modern humans came from 2 parents,our DNA adam&eve which lived in east africa some 200-250,000 yrs ago FACT! and thy were melenated black peoples says anthropologist,and archaeoligist + carbon dating! so if our dna adam & eve came from africa,doesnt it make common since that the real garden of eden was in africa? now far as santa,hell he could be SATAN for all we no their names have the exact same letters.lol. now as far as jesus,there are pictures and statues of the first madanna&jesus all over europe and even at the catholic church in rome depicting them as black! now how they became white,was becouse after the moors left europe,the new rulers wanted god,his son and mother to be depicted as themselves up to this very day!

          December 14, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Pat0

      Jewish is not a nationality it is a religion and has no skin color. Further, if you are going to give Jesus a nationality I would think it would be Hebrew since if I'm not mistaken his parents were Hebrew. However, I think the person who said since he is the son of God, and God has no nationality that Jesus does not either. I believe he was probably olive skinned and got darker when he was in the sun too much just like the rest of us.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Tess

        Oh...you started off so well...while I agree with you on the point that being Jewish pertains to a religion, where as 'white' pertains to race...then you f#$%cked it up by say he and his parents were 'Hebrew'...Hebrew is a language...They were all from the Arab region...that would make them Arabs....yes...

        December 13, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • JPDogg

          Actually, the Children of Israel were in fact known as Hebrews and not Jews.

          December 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Tom

          They were not Arabs. They were from Palestine! lol

          December 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Giche

          Tess...smh...why did you do that? lol. yes??...yes!!!

          December 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • tessie may

          He was Semitic. From an anthropological viewpoint both the people who inhabit the Middle East are known as a Semitic people. I am pretty sure if he were physically radically different than his kinsmen, it would have been mentioned. For all who are sure he was black, then why was the man chosen to carry his cross specifically named as black?

          December 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • tessie may

          If one is speaking from an anthropology aspect, all native Middle Easterners are referred to as Semitic people.

          December 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • bczu

      So you are assuming that God was white as well? Right? How non racist of you. Look up the different human races. Even Latino's are considered white. However, he was of middle eastern decent, not European.

      December 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Joy

      Are you implying that being Jewish is a race (white) and not a religion?

      December 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Salvador

      You hit the nail on the head. Even if Jesus was white as snow; living in the Mediterranean would have surely tanned his skin. So the point is moot and it shuts everyone up. Sure, he was white, but he gradually got a darker complexion. Surely he had a dark complexion but he was once white. No one wins. (-:

      December 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Antony van Cleave

      Good job branching all Jew's into one catagory.

      How do you know he wasn't a Khazar? They were Jewish, certainly not white. And a bit more than "tan"

      December 22, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • elle

      "Real Jew?" The Bible warns about people who call themselves Jews and are not. Anyone who is descended from those Russians who stole Palestine from its rightful inhabitants and then renamed it Isreal are not "real" Jews.

      December 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
      • Jen

        Correct the real jews are the ones who descend from the 12 tribes of Israel,, who were led by Moses, out of my fathers country, Egypt. Everyone else is a convert.

        December 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  5. Brandon

    Of course, the apostles never mentioned his skin color – because he was probably the same as them, so why would they think it mattered?

    December 13, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • tessie may

      Actually, his followers were of all ethnic groups. St Luke was a Greek physician. Witness Paul's letters to Romans, Colossians, Galatians, Hebrews, etc. Historians have made recent conclusions that the only modern language similar to that spoken in the area at the time is Yemeni. The movement began as an offshoot of Judaism and the early apostles spoke and preached first in synagogues and temples."and it was in Antioch that they were first called Christians; before that they were known as the people of the way".

      December 14, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  6. imo

    Though Jesus came in the flesh as a Jew, any Christian who truly knows the Word of God should absolutely know that Jesus was God come in the flesh. Though he came onto the Jews as one of them, God is not ANY race, he is Eternal Spirit. To say that God is a race is "unlearned". In actually there is only ONE race, the human race, since we ALL came from Adam and Eve.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Dave

      They know how? Because your ancient book of lies says so? Get educated

      December 13, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • Pat0

        I believe that you are the one that needs to get educated. You need to read the bible, and study history. Bye the way you also need to stop acting as though believers somehow live is some fairytale land, and that you are so intelligent because you obviously believe in nothing. I also read a reply that someone compared Jesus's skin color to Santa Clause's as if to say that Santa's skin is white so Jesus's skin must be also. This is stupid and insulting to believers, but I just consider the source of those that make such comments.

        December 13, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • CosmicC

          Reading the Bible cannot be equated to "getting educated". While the Old Testament, post Pentatuch, has a lot of valid history, the book contains a lot of parables, intended to instruct, but not intended to be taken literally. Relying on religious texts as a sole source of facts is fairly foolish. Even the historical aspects are suspect (all histories written prior to the 20th century were written by the victors and made no attempt to portray the point of view of the vanquished). A perfect example is the Book of Maccabees (yes, not a cannonical part of the Bible, but still a religious text mixing history with fantasy). Sure, the zealot insurgent Maccabee clan rose up and violently overthrew an occupying force, but do you really believe that there wasn't enough oil for more than one day, but it burned for eight? Seriously? Come on, I'm sure the high priest go home the first night and his wife said "hey, Jonathan, we're out of lamp oil. I could have sworn I had another amphora in the pantry, but I can't find it. Could you send a slave down to the market to get some more?

          December 13, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • Giche

          Reading the bible and studying history is two different things and IS very contradictory....to the Christian. be careful...and watch your mouth!

          December 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • Victor

        Dave, where did you get your education? From Ancient book as well. Math, science, biology, etc did start today. So get educated too.

        December 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • CosmicC

      While I agree that there is but one human race, I'm sorry, but there was no Adam and Eve. We evolved as a single species through evolution. Believe what you will, I understand your believe but feel sorrow for your slavery to it.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:13 am |
      • ChadTL

        Ok so, prove it. What historical records or anything states your claim. I can prove that there was no evolution by a few simple facts. Mutants don't reproduce and while humans and animals may adapt physically they never change. I can tell you when people tell me that all life evolved from an one celled organism they are full of it. While humans can explain a lot of things in nature they can not create life or reproduce much of what they claim they understand. Explain to me why if you take something as simple as a butter fly or the fecal matter of a bat out of the ecology it can put the entire planet on the brink of destruction. Apparently they were placed there for a reason and a purpose. Explain to me why the earth out of all the planets in the solar system as a molten moving core that causes us to have a magnetic field that no other planet in the solar system has. Why do we have to look so hard in the night sky to find other planets in the habitatal zone to support life? A lot people can spew that crazy mess there is no God and it was all just thrown together but not one of them can explain crap. Yes, I believe the earth was made by God like the bible says. Not in six literal days because the bible doesn't support that they were creation days. The word used in bible for day in Geniuses was a period of time but in English we don't have word that translates that so early translators, translated day like 24 hours. If the bone head evolutionist and hard headed people who believe in the six day crap would pay attention and meet some place in the middle they may get some answers. Go to go some fool is shooting up a school.

        December 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • pbuotte

          Mr Chad, you and I and all others were conceived and developed from one cell – so what is your point?...

          December 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • SeeNN

          Let's pretend for a second that Adam and Eve existed and started the human population. They had kids. Who did their kids procreate with? Sounds like a whole lot of incest in the early days.. not very Christian-like. The world has been here a lot longer than the make believe Adam and Eve characters. It's sustained life of all kinds over an inconceivable amount of time, ice ages, toxic periods of extreme heat, continental shift, etc . Some species have been wiped out; others have evolved. Humans as we know them have only been around for a few hundred thousand years. In the span of the earth's existence, that is a sliver, a microscopic amount of time. We are a fad. If the earth's history was a day, humans have been on it for one trillionth of a blink. Christianity has only been around for roughly 2,000 years, making it an even smaller blip in the radar. It's a popular song. Religion is a waste of time. Something put the galaxies, planets, and us here. What that is so far beyond what our pea brains are capable of comprehending, we shouldn't even pretend to know. There are diseases right under our noses we can't even cure. There are species of animals we haven't even discovered yet that are in the oceans we swim in and we pretend like we know what put the galaxies here and what is responsible for the beginning of life? Stop it. Whatever put us here doesn't want our praise. Just enjoy life and stop debating which religion is right or wrong. It's all fairy tales. Look at ancient Greece. It was once the pinnacle of human existence, the greatest civilization to date. They believed in Mt. Olympus, Zeus and all their demi-gods. Fast forward to 2013: that religion is obsolete. Ancient Greeks lived and breathed to placate these make-believe gods.. for what? Nothing. Their religion was fake, never real. Are we to believe that our contrived religions will still be relevant in tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years? Yes, religion has value; it provides a moral compass to many and is a source of inspiration, support, etc. It's not a bad thing. Just stop pretending like we're even capable of knowing how the earth and it's creatures came about. We should just all acknowledge how insignificant we are and be grateful something put us here, whatever it is.

          December 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • T McC

          OK, Chad... let's cut off your blathering right away...

          Mutants don't breed?? Excuse me, but that's simply not true in ANY way. The first person to have male pattern baldness encountered a mutation... and bred. The first person whose DNA changed to create hemophilia bred. Same with different colors of hair, eyes, shades of skin, and many different inherited disorders. Mutations do not always cause infertility.

          Then you say " while humans and animals may adapt physically they never change." Nothing like contradicting yourself in one sentence. "Adapt" means "change." If a species adapts, it has changed by definition.

          And to clarify, NO individual animal (INCLUDING humans) can "adapt." It has whatever traits it inherited. Some species (including humans) can change behavior to survive, but that's not an evolutionary change. If the genetic make-up of a species changes over time, THAT is a physical change we call "adaptation," and it defines evolution. There are examples of that happening in YOUR lifetime, all involving species with very short generation times, like flies and bacteria. It takes many generations for these changes to become apparent. There is also evidence that humans have changed as a species over many generations. That's a physical CHANGE – evolution!

          So you asked for evidence. First of all, your facts are logically non sequitur, and that refutes your claim to having ANY evidence. Secondly, you are ignore REAL evidence. So knock of the idea of arguing as if you know more than others here.

          December 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Jen

          The wolf is prime example of how a species adapts to the envoirnment, the artic wolf is snow white, wolves from other parts of the world are not, ,they are different colourings according what protects them best against their envoirnmnet

          December 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • virgillionaire

        We are all Adam and Eve, Humankind. Earth is the Garden of Eden. Our gaining of knowledge will eventually lead us 'out of the garden', if we survive, into the solar system and beyond.

        December 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • littletreasure

          i like your sense of humor

          December 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
      • tessie may

        Please don't feel sorry for my "slavery" to my faith. Firstly, I belong to a rather enlightened version of Christianity; one which does not dictate my every behavior. Nor do we believe our pastor is any more enlightened spiritually than we are-just one with more theological education. We are not a really judgmental group and have a diverse congregation. We recognize that a great deal of biblical writings are symbolic rather than literal. I am not enslaved in any way by my faith-on the contrary, it is very freeing and comforting. You might start by not assuming that all Christians believe the same things-or behave in the same way either.

        December 16, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • ChadTL

      That's because your a trinitarian and not all Christians believe in the trinity and that God and Jesus are the same person. So ease up on the matter of fact thing with the Christians. Jesus was a Israelite otherwise known as a Jew. His for father Abraham was a Jew and everyone else aside from Rahab and Ruth were all Jews. I am not sure what your point was but bottom line it should not matter so long as you believe he is your King and Savior. Next, you will start saying the King James Bible was the first and only bible which really hurts my head. Its just an English translation folks commissioned by King James who wanted a bible written be translators because he was trying scripturally divorce his wife and wanted to appear holy so he had a bible written. It wasn't even the first English translation of the bible and isn't even known to be the most accurate.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • Jonty Coppersmith

        Chad,
        You make my head hurt just reading all your confused/false "facts." I think you're confusing Henry VIII and James. It was Henry who wanted to divorce his wife and therefore broke away from the Roman Catholic church, thus establishing the Anglican Church. An interesting fact for you in case you didn't know this- King James who commissioned that famous translation was gay.

        December 14, 2013 at 8:39 am |
      • tessie may

        Chad I think you may need to read up a little on both English kings and Christian theology.

        December 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • igaftr

      Genetics disproves adam and eve, so your point is moot.

      Since people make god in their image, a white man will want him to be white, a black man, black.

      December 15, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  7. Case

    See I just can't believe this debate is still going on either. It doesn't matter people. I hear this arguement all the time for Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, all of the other fairy tale characters too. The only way this can be solved is when Jesus makes an appearance on "Once"...then we'll know for sure.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Charlie

      Don't worry, he will make an appearance for those who refuse to see and therefor are blinded by their own false reasoning. Until then his appearance is very plain to those who do see now.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  8. Not All Docs Play Golf

    You can make Jesus or God any color you want, since you created him.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • RobS

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

      December 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • G to the T

        Wow – so Josephus confirmed that christians existed and believed he was the christ (which a JEW would never just put in as a factiod, so there's a problem).

        Even if it's not an interpolation it only proves christians existed.

        December 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  9. Weird

    Pretty sure the sign above his head read King of the J3w5. So, I'm also sure he was a j3wi5h, a he-brew.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • monkfish21

      What is truly weird is you writing J3w5 and J3wi5h. Some problem with Jews and Jewish? And is your problem with just the words, or is it the people those words refer to?

      December 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  10. Pastor Carlton C, Evans Jr.

    This has always been part of the devil's evil strategy through his use of white supremacy! For those who really want to know the truth read Revelation 1:12-15. "Whoever knows the truth, the truth makes him/ her free".

    December 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • CosmicC

      Didn't Mulder say that?

      December 13, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Stevn

      I'll bet the Devil is white too

      December 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • eno

      Morpheus.... said that... the blue or red pill....Yo?

      December 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  11. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Once again, it's the right wing Republicans strategy, trying to reach out to the poor shepherd demographic.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  12. Tom

    Jesus is whatever color you want to believe in. Just as long as you have faith. Funny thing is is that I dont even practice religion and can see this. Complaining about this trivial matter is sad. Grow up and understand that faith is faith, not fact. Can anyone even prove that Jesus was real? All my point is stop with this race battle, who really cares unless your racist?

    December 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • RobS

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

      December 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  13. Bill

    Jesus was likely half jewish, and half Roman (Italian). He very easily could have looked "white", and probably had dirty blonde hair.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Alias

      Where do get that mix?

      December 13, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • You are half crazy/half stupid

      Bill I hope this is a joke. There were no Italians at the time. And Jewish is what you call someone who practices Judaism (not all Jews are Hebrew or Judean or from other parts of "Israel" at the time)). Do you mean to say he was 1/2 Roman? Of course, even this is fallacious. If you have faith then he was born of God through the virgin Mary (not a Roman for sure). But there is NO historian that will ever agree he was half Roman (or worse half Italian). Wow.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • The Dreaded Yogi

      bill, please show me the nearest half "italian", half middle eastern person who looks like a blond anglo saxon european and i will gladly agree with everything that you ignorant, uneducated religious wonders of humanity ever say again!

      December 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Amber

      That must be sarcasm. Lol. I don't think he was serioius.

      December 14, 2013 at 5:37 am |
  14. peter225

    Now that we're looking at facts rather than myth, we agree that Jesus was certainly not white. Now can we also agree he didn't have magical powers? He was just a man that got crucified, like thousands of others did during that time. It wasn't until years after his death that people started writing about him, and introduced the fantasy about his supernatural powers.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Nexus974

      If he existed at all...

      December 13, 2013 at 10:07 am |
      • peter225

        True. Shaky evidence that he existed at all.

        December 13, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • Giche

          ....NOW we're talkin! BUT, nevertheless since the same story has been told at least twelve times during history and prior to Jesus' arrival, the sequel has been l extraordinary!

          December 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • RobS

      Well since you seem absolutely sure then it sure takes a load off my mind.

      December 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • RobS

      How do you know he got crucified?

      December 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Rett

      His impact has been pretty impressive, though, for a regular guy, one of thousands, who was crucified by the Romans.

      December 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • tessie may

      Actually historians agree that the main body of the new testament were written between 30-60 AD. Not nearly so much of a gap as some would like to believe. If you were referring to the Council of Nicea then we are talking about 325 AD. This was when the bishops of the church got together and decided which writings would go into the official version and which would not. It also established doctrine and liturgy for the Christian church for the first time.

      December 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  15. Not All Docs Play Golf

    The REAL question is not whether this god-incarnate myth of a man was white or green, but whether he really existed at all.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • RobS

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

      December 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  16. Taharkare

    Jesus was a black man, how else could he hide in black egypt from Herod and no one recognize him. Look up the statues in the vatican that the pope prays to, it is a black madonna and child.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • CosmicC

      Nice try but you should take a look at Egyptian paintings. They had as racially mixed a society as you would find in Manhattan. In addition Jerusalem and Alexandria were major economic and trade centers in the Roman world. As such they both would have had people from all over the old world walking the streets on any given day. Jesus was Jewish (if he existed) and, as such, would have fit in just fine. Besides, it's not as if they could have faxed a photo of him. "Hiding" would not have been a big deal.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Rett

      Egyptians are black?

      December 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chris

      Egyptians were not ever black. I never thought of them as black and started hearing this new thing that they wer black, mostly from uneducated blacks, so I started taking particular notice at the artwork and the mummies from ancient egypt in the many museums I visit.
      Definetly not black, blacks are trying to steal a history that is not theirs. There was even a mummy in an exhibition in Houston and he still had his hair and beard, it could have been caucasion easily or middle eastern but was asbolutely not a black man.

      December 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • Raoul

        Chris, you have not done your research on the African influence on Egyptian culture. Where is Egypt located? On the continent of Africa. All races came from the Africans. Prove====DNA does not lie.

        December 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • tessie may

      I don't know whether to laugh or cry at your logic. Because the child was taken into Egypt after his birth, in what way would that indicate he was Egyptian? Or even worse, that all Egyptians were black-they were not. Some dynasties were, others not. The population was rather a mixed bag.Take a trip to the British museum-there are various representations of different Pharoahs. Some were clearly Nubian in features and others were not at all.

      December 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • tessie may

      The Pope does not "pray" to anyone but the Trinity. Certain saints are venerated but Christians are to ask for their help and intervention, not "worship" them.

      December 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • tessie may

      The pope prays to nobody except the Trinity. Saint's images are not worshipped as such but asked for interventions ((favors) in heaven. The artists of all regions and ages depicted Jesus in their own image-even down to the clothing and hairstyles in Renaissance or medieval times. Have you ever actually gone to a museum? Because there is an image of the Black Madonna in the Vatican, you think the pope prays specifically to her? Um, no.

      December 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    Of course Jesus was white – just ask the Mormons.

    December 13, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • You are half crazy/half stupid

      So true. He was white and lived in Utah for a while. Ah that lost tribe that made its way to the Salt Lake area. Semites in the Rockies. By the way, Abraham and Moses were also very Nordic. Well known fact that they were the only white people in the tribe. Ask any television preacher.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • UncleBenny

        Sure, look at Charlton Heston – conclusive proof that Moses was white.

        December 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  18. Jules

    Funny, I am now in my 40's and I can remember having this arguement in my 4th grade catichism class. I argued with the teacher that there was no way Christ was white. He was born a Jew in the Middle East. He would have been of Arabic descent. My father was brought in and told that I was disruptive. It was then that I knew I had to question the church and their teachings and think for myself. Smh, why would anyone think he was blonde haired blue eyed?

    December 13, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • nepawoods

      He was only of Arabic descent on his mother's side. He could have got his blonde hair and blue eyes from his Dad.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • RobS

        Who, as we all now know, was either German or Irish, or possibly Texan.

        December 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • Ricky

        Of please, Joseph would have been no different from everyone else in that area, at that time, olive skin, brown eyes, and black hair.

        December 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • tessie may

          Joseph had nothing to do with it.

          December 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • CosmicC

      You can say semitic (although I'm certain some people will take offense), but he was Jewish, not Arabic. While closely related, these are two different groups.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • Jules

        Actually, according to a study done in the UK and published by the BBC in 2000 "The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that Jewish men shared a common set of genetic signatures with non-Jews from the Middle East, including Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese.

        These signatures were significantly different from non-Jewish men outside of the Middle East. This means Jews and Arabs have more in common with each other, genetically speaking, than they do with any of the wider communities in which they might live. "

        December 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Nick

      Because people refer to classical European paintings and depictions rather than taking a moment to think about the type of people who were running that region at the time.

      Incidentally... BRAVO! for calling your teachers out with your astute observation.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • RobS

        It was that twirling of your rosary, while you questioned, that got you into trouble!

        December 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • Jules

        Thanks, I was actually asked not to return because I had way to many questions that the volunteer teachers couldn't answer. The priest told me to write down my questions and ask him afterwards to explain, but he usually couldn't answer me either. LOL I am a beilever and follower of Christ, but I prefer to read and make my own interpertation rather than be told what it means.

        December 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Jesus H Christ

          Good for you for thinking and asking questions.

          I have one for you:

          Why do you need to interpret the words of this god? Why not just read the words? There has never been an interpretation made (by a Christian or atheist or whomever) that isn't simply a reflection of the interpreters own sensibilities. It's simply a way to make the book say what you want it to.

          Is it because the words by themselves are unpalatable? If so, it may be worth some reflection to why this is. It could very well be that the meaning is just as stated, and the meaning is actually kind of sick and wacko. But that's just my 'interpretation'.

          December 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  19. Jeff

    This debate should never get off the ground, because it rests on a false premise. The evidence of a bilbical-style Jesus roaming the earth as a flesh and blood person is as thin as the skin of many of these bloggers. Jesus is a reflection of those who beleive in him; his skin color is whatever it needes to be the mirror the believer. It's no more complicated than that.

    December 13, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • RobS

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

      December 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • Doug

        Rob, you seem to believe that particular Wikipedia link is important. You do know that Josephus didn't live at the same time as Jesus, don't you? What are you trying to say with all this posting of the Wikipedia link?

        December 13, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  20. Owned

    Jesus Christ is as real as unicorns. Jesus of Nazareth was a real figure who participated in a government insurrection and had schizophrenic friends who experienced visual hallucinations, probably through suggestive hypnosis, which has been around thousands of years. If I hypnotize you through suggestion, i can make you think you're flying. All religion is made up, the root cause being that man is weak and frail and we are afraid of death.

    December 13, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Dave

      I worship the tooth fairy. Prove to me she doesn't exist. THERE YOU CANT THUS SHE MUST EXIST

      December 13, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • CosmicC

        I have proof that the tooth fairy exists! He left me a quarter under my pillow.

        December 13, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Woody

          I have proof that the Beer Fairy exists! With an empty bottle sitting on the bar, I left my seat to visit the restroom. When I returned, lo and behold, a full bottle had magically appeared!!! The SOB did abscond with some of my money, however.

          December 13, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • RobS

          So the tooth fairy actually does exist!! Just not in the form you expected? A lot like God, perchance? You expected an old guy sitting on a very large golden throne?

          December 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Giche

          Cosmic...it's a SHE. The tooth fairy is a SHE, not a he...smdh.

          December 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • dennis

          I have proof death exist.
          go to your nearest grave yard.
          death is your appointment with the reality of GOD.

          Hebrews 9:27 KJV
          And as it is appointed unto men once to die , but after this the judgment:
          However, people who live in our generation, will actually see the mystery of GOD revealed.

          December 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • RobS

      While I admire your fierce and certain knowledge, it is also amusing. And since it seems you harbor absolutely no doubts as to the correctness of your position, I have come to the conclusion that your position is wrong.

      December 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • Giche

        Reading that made me feel very intellectual. Thank you!

        December 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • dennis

      WHY DID ROME KILL HIM, AND THEN ESTABLISH A CHURCH THAT BELIEVES ON HIM???????
      What made ROME believe in this man they killed????
      What made ROME change their mind about this man JESUS, they nailed to a cross. which was a roman custom.

      December 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Anon

        . . . or nailed to a simple upright stake if you're a Jehovah's Witness.

        December 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Clemdane

        He had a brilliant marketing team and a "good story" as far as the press was concerned.

        December 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • DrWu

      The truth is what it is regardless of what you think you want it to be. Therefore if you are in fact wrong about your view of the historical Jesus then you are the one choosing by your own free will to be delusional. Before you automatically dismiss this statement reflect on this historical fact. Most men used to believe that the earth was flat because according to accepted logic of that day the earth couldn't be a round globe because everything on the other side of the earth including water and men would fall off or fly off the globe. This was logical to the understanding of most men at that time and from your own limited reference point that perspective actually still makes logical sense even though it is completely incorrect. To believe the earth was round was considered insane in that era even though it was a culturally accepted view. In modern times we now understand that there is an unseen force that seems to hold all matter to a global earth. To this day no one knows where the force of gravity comes from but most people accept that it exists. You might be considered insane not to accept what was often considered insane but it is now culturally accepted as modern scientific fact. Now go back to what you said about Jesus.

      Just because you don't understand from your current perspective what was recorded by eyewitnesses about the historical Jesus doesn't mean he didn't exist as described and recorded by eyewitnesses of that time. Your belief doesn't prove or disprove what the real truth is because what is true is not limited by your current logical perspective of what is or isn't possible.

      December 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • DrWu

        "To believe the earth was round was considered insane in that era even though it was a culturally accepted view. "

        oops...

        What I meant to say was... To believe the earth was round at one time was considered an illogical and insane belief but that was a culturally accepted view of that era.

        December 14, 2013 at 1:41 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.