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July 1st, 2010
01:49 PM ET

Gospels don't say Jesus was crucified, scholar claims

Update July 2 8:04 a.m. After this article posted Gunnar Samuelsson got in touch to stress that his research focuses specifically on the narratives of Jesus's execution in the four Gospels, not on the entire New Testament, so "Gospels" has been substituted for "Bible" in the headline.

There have been plenty of attacks on Christianity over the years, but few claims have been more surprising than one advanced by an obscure Swedish scholar this spring.

The Gospels do not say Jesus was crucified, Gunnar Samuelsson says.

In fact, he argues, in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried "some kind of torture or execution device" to a hill where "he was suspended" and died, says Samuelsson, who is an evangelical pastor as well as a New Testament scholar.

"When we say crucifixion, we think about Mel Gibson's 'Passion.' We think about a church, nails, the crown of thorns," he says, referring to Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of the Christ."

"We are loaded with pictures of this well-defined punishment called crucifixion - and that is the problem," he says.

Samuelsson bases his claim on studying 900 years' worth of ancient texts in the original languages - Hebrew, Latin and Greek, which is the language of the New Testament.

He spent three years reading for 12 hours a day, he says, and he noticed that the critical word normally translated as "crucify" doesn't necessarily mean that.

"He was handed over to be 'stauroun,'" Samuelsson says of Jesus, lapsing into Biblical Greek to make his point.

At the time the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were writing their Gospels, that word simply meant "suspended," the theologian argues.

"This word is used in a much wider sense than 'crucifixion,'" he says. "It refers to hanging, to suspending vines in a vineyard," or to any type of suspension.

"He was required to carry his 'stauros' to Calvary, and they 'stauroun' him. That is all. He carried some kind of torture or execution device to Calvary and he was suspended and he died," Samuelsson says.

Not everyone is convinced by his research. Garry Wills, the author of "What Jesus Meant," "What Paul Meant," and "What the Gospels Meant," dismisses it as "silliness."

"The verb is stauresthai from stauros, cross," Wills said.

Samuelsson wants to be very clear about what he is saying and what he is not saying.

Most importantly, he says, he is not claiming Jesus was not crucified - only that the Gospels do not say he was.

"I am a pastor, a conservative evangelical pastor, a Christian," he is at pains to point out. "I do believe that Jesus died the way we thought he died. He died on the cross."

But, he insists, it is tradition that tells Christians that, not the first four books of the New Testament.

"I tried to read the text as it is, to read the word of God as it stands in our texts," he says - what he calls "reading on the lines, not reading between the lines."

Samuelsson says he didn't set out to undermine one of the most basic tenets of Christianity.

He was working on a dissertation at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden when he noticed a problem with a major book about the history of crucifixion before Jesus.

What was normally thought to be the first description of a crucifixion - by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus - wasn't a crucifixion at all, but the suspension of a corpse, Samuelsson found by reading the original Greek.

The next example in the book about crucifixion wasn't a crucifixion either, but the impaling of a hand.

Samuelsson's doctoral advisor thought his student might be on to something.

"He recommended I scan all the texts, from Homer up to the first century - 900 years of crucifixion texts," Samuelsson recalled, calling it "a huge amount of work."

But, he says, "I love ancient texts. They just consume me." So he started reading.

He found very little evidence of crucifixion as a method of execution, though he did find corpses being suspended, people being hanged from trees, and more gruesome methods of execution such as impaling people by the belly or rectum.

The same Greek word was used to refer to all the different practices, he found.

That's what led him to doubt that the Gospels specify that Jesus was crucified.

At the time they were written, "there is no word in Greek, Latin, Aramaic or Hebrew that means crucifixion in the sense that we think of it," he says.

It's only after the death of Jesus - and because of the death of Jesus - that the Greek word "stauroun" comes specifically to mean executing a person on the cross, he argues.

He admits, of course, that the most likely reason early Christians though Jesus was crucified is that, in fact, he was.

But he says his research still has significant implications for historians, linguists and the Christian faithful.

For starters, "if my observations are correct, every book on the history of Jesus will need to be rewritten," as will the standard dictionaries of Biblical Greek, he says.

More profoundly, his research "ought to make Christians a bit more humble," he says.

"We fight against each other," he reflects, but "the theological stances that keep churches apart are founded on things that we find between the lines.

"We have put a lot of things in the Bible that weren't there in the beginning that keep us apart. We need to get down on our knees as Christians together and read the Bible."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Jesus

soundoff (1,530 Responses)
  1. chefdugan

    Count me as one of the millions of people who don't give a sh--t

    July 4, 2010 at 8:16 am |
    • Eric

      chef – We sure will.

      July 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  2. dwighthuth

    A real Christian would shun this faith as a deplorable act against a human who was teaching people how to live without the liberal morality of gambling, whoring and other features of life that drain a persons soul. Christianity is deplorable for capitilizing on the suffering of man that died for what he believed.

    July 4, 2010 at 7:03 am |
    • peace2all

      i couldn't agree with you more ....i would just add that the whole idea of nonsense religion is deplorable....There has been more suffering committed in the name of Jesus and christianity over the centuries than virtually anything else. My religion is better than your religion, etc....

      July 4, 2010 at 7:13 am |
    • Eric

      dwighthuth – "Christianity is deplorable for capitilizing on the suffering of man that died for what he believed."

      Jesus' goal was to "draw all men unto (himself)" (John 12:32 KJV). He actually wanted people to capitalize on his suffering so that they could be right with the Father. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor 5:21 (NIV)

      The point of Samuelsson's thesis is to ask why we think it was a traditional cross that he died on? And not a 'suspension' of some other manner.

      Now if CNN would just post the entire 400 page thesis on-line...

      July 4, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  3. joeywahoo

    Leaving aside the silly argument that "stauron" merely means "suspended" not "crucified" (how were the Romans "suspending" convicted criminals in those days?), keep in mind that the gospels were written many years after the event. Paul's letters, on the other hand, were written much earlier, and they repeatedly reference the crucifixion. In fact, that event is the central theme of his letters, which comprise about 2/3 of the New Testament. The notion that the "Bible" doesn't say Jesus was crucified is frankly ridiculous. peace.

    July 4, 2010 at 6:58 am |
    • Eric

      Joey – Good point about crucifixion and Paul's writings.
      Please see my note about the Complete Word Study Dictionary.

      July 4, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  4. Sarah

    It is interesting the degree to which Christian are fanatically clinging to their symbols, rather than the concepts. For a true believers it would would not matter not how he died, but that he died for them. To become obsessed with the "how," is to create symbols to substitute for the abstractions, is to create idols to substitute for belief.

    July 4, 2010 at 2:23 am |
  5. Reality Check

    It doesn't take a doctorate to understand the Bible. I have no doctorate in divinity or scholarly status, and even I knew that Jesus was not executed on a cross, the Greek word means tree. DUH!! I learned that when I was like 5 years old! Why doesn't this scholar dude go on to talk about the origins of the cross? How it's a phallux symbol, how it's used ancient pagan and demonic worship? Yeah... that's right. Anyone that uses a cross in their worship, surprise... you're all devil worshipers! I'm sure that really puts a smile on ol' JC's face up in heaven (that's sarcasm by the way). Sucks to be you guys, but I'm sure that even after this short statement, many of you idiot Christians will go back to your mega-churchs, sing some songs, donate a few bucks, and be lulled back to sleep by the hypocrites with divinity degrees, because they either don't have the guts to tell you people the truth or they're so close to getting enough money for a private jet that they don't want to ruin a good thing. Try being a real Christian for a day... now remember that means being LIKE Jesus, cause the last time I checked he said to be no part of this world, he said his kingdom is no part of this world, he taught to not get involved with politics, he had no ambition to be materially wealthy, and he said his true disciples would be hated like he was. Seems like we have a lot of fake Christians out there raving about how awesome the cross is!!, but putting JC's example and teachings on the back burner. All you posers need take a close look at your lives, and compare it Jesus'. And read your Bibles for crying out loud, and stop being ignorant, blind sheep, Christians!!

    July 4, 2010 at 12:52 am |
  6. Mike

    Children, There are so many responses to this article. I do not know where to start. I see stones being thrown left and right. I know the Lord would have us stand and DEFEND the faith but I do not think HE meant for that to ATTACK others.
    Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:12 "For what have I to do with judging outsiders ? Do you not judge those who are within the church?"
    For those of us who are called by His name I think we should be worried more about what the Body of Christ believes more than those who are non-believers think. WE NEED TO JUDGE OURSELVES FIRST and leave the judgement of others to the Lord.
    We will always have the non-believer. We will always have the skeptics. We will always have those who believe those things which we do not. but remember what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:12 " For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed ; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."
    Lets not throw stones at others. Listen instead. You may learn something of graciousness even from the non-believer.
    I have been impressed with many of the Muslim writers by their kindness in their responses, their patience, their gentleness in their explanation. I would suggest to those of us In Christ take note and respond in love. God will take care of the rest.

    July 3, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • Eric

      Mike – I like the spirit by which you write.
      Thanks for the reminder about 1 Cor. 5:12.

      July 4, 2010 at 7:46 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Mike, you said…………..

      WE NEED TO JUDGE OURSELVES FIRST and leave the judgement of others to the Lord.

      We need to judge our actions and judge others actions also. We should not judge our soul or the soul of others as that judgment is for the Lord alone.

      We need to judge to decide if an action would be right or wrong. A right action is doing the Father’s will. A wrong action is sin. We must judge and choose….to love or not to love, to hate or not to hate, to kill as in abortion or not to kill, to feed the hungry or to not feed the hungry….and so on. Then when life is over God will judge us by our decisions.

      July 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  7. Eric

    “For starters, if my observations are correct, every book on the history of Jesus will need to be rewritten, as will the standard dictionaries of Biblical Greek.” Samuelsson says.

    The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament says about the cross that it "... often with a transverse beam fastened across its top...."
    Since the author said 'often' not 'always' I think that I can still keep a copy of it on my shelf, for now.

    July 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  8. GH

    It is not the place of a news site to attack or question somebody's religion. If you are going to question Christian beliefs, then you better darn well challenge Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age, etc. Why not just not talk about religion, ok?

    July 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      I don't believe that I have attacked any person's religion specifically. What I am trying to say in as reasonable a way as possible, is that there are indeed some fundamental truths out there. If any person harms his fellow man intentionally, no matter what they believe, then this is fundamentally wrong. I believe that the Bible holds out hope to every person who chooses to listen to it's message that it is actually a message of love and peace, and not hatred and war and killing among mankind. Would you not want to live in a world where there really is true peace and security that does not have to be guaranteed by imperfect, corrupt people, but by God Himself? I know I would. That was the message Jesus was praying for in the Lord's Prayer: ". . . thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

      July 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
    • Eric

      GH – technically CNN isn't talking about religion per say, but about the definition of the word “crucifixion”. But it appears that folks have a difficult time staying on topic.

      July 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • Toby

      Anyone has any right to attack whatever religion he/she chooses. Religions are awash with violent and immoral ideas, and it is the duty and privilege of any caring and thoughtful individual to call out those who look forward to "end times", preach apocalyptic ideas, tell innocent children that they are born guilty of crimes they never committed, preach atonement through human sacrifice of an innocent, and sponge off society by accepting tax breaks for perpetuating nonsense and violence.The problem is that religion "Christianity and Islam in particular) have had a "gravy ride" for far too long. People were afraid to challenge the ridiculous and life-destroying nonsense that these death cults espouse. But then the world awoke on September 11th, when 3000 innocent people were incinerated because 19 Muslim men believed that they were doing the divine work of Allah and that they would be rewarded in paradise. The rules have changed my friend, and the free ride of deference to silly and dangerous ideas has long past. Many of us simply want to live in peace, but recognize that conflicting and divisive doctrines of the supernatural may well take us all down.

      July 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • Eric

      Toby – Did you come up with that all on your own? If not, please cite the source that has influenced you so strongly. Thanks.

      July 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  9. geraldh

    Amen Hical. They were fed to the lions, beheaded, crusified upside down. John was the only apostle not to be Martyred. James was stoned.

    July 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      Keep in mind that I don't think the author of this article is saying that Jesus was not executed. I am personally firmly convinced he was impaled, just not to a cross, but rather to an upright pole or stake (see my above comments about why I say that in a previous post).

      July 3, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  10. Hical

    and there were more than 500 eyewitnesses to his crucifixion and resurrection .... that were willing to be martyred for that truth rather than recant. if it had been a lie and they had not actually seen it ... they would not have been willing to die for something they knew they had made up in their own minds to fool other people.

    July 3, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • Toby

      Hical-

      "and there were more than 500 eyewitnesses to his crucifixion and resurrection .... "

      I hear this dribble all the time. What are the names of the 500 who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus? Where can I read their eyewitness testimony? You see, I simply wasn't there and neither were you. It is said that Thomas would not believe, and required manual and ocular demonstration that it was in fact Jesus-and neither will I. And my reason is every bit as good for me as it was for Thomas.

      July 3, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  11. todd

    Jesus was barbequed, roasted with barbeque sauce, served with potatoes, red wine, and garnished with rose petals.

    And that is why we symbolically eat Jesus every day for breakfast.

    July 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  12. Eric

    In regard to the actual CNN article on the crucifixion of Jesus, Samuelsson is simply trying to understand what the word “crucifixion” meant (pole, cross, something else).
    Matthew 27:35 ...when they had crucified (stauroósantes) him...
    Matthew 27:38 ...crucified (stauroúntai) with him...
    Matthew 27:40 ...come down from the cross (stauroú)…
    Matthew 27:42 ...come down from the cross (stauroú)...
    Matthew 27:44 ...crucified (sustauroothéntes) with him...
    John 19:18 …here they crucified (estaúroosan) him …
    John 19:23 …When the soldiers crucified (Estaúroosan) Jesus …
    This is what I found in the Bible (NIV with Greek (UBS) transliteration inserts).

    July 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      In the classical Greek the word stauros' literally meant an upright stake, pile, or pale, which might have been used for a foundation. The verb stauro'o meant to fence with pales, form a stockade, or palisade. Keep in mind that in classical Greek, the dramatist Aeschylus used such to simply describe fastening or tying. In the Christian Greek scriptures (original language, not a translation) anastauro'o occurs but once in Hebrews 6:6. The root occurs more than 40 times meaning simply to fasten to a pole. The inspired writers of the Greek scriptures wrote in the common koine' which meant the same as in the classical Greek (as I mentioned with Aeschylus and his plays) to simply bind to a pole (no cross, which was also a lot simpler as well for the executioner). The Apostles Peter and Paul also used the xylon to refer to the torture instrument Jesus was nailed, and thus shows it was an upright stake without crossbeams. Keep in mind that the cross was a pagan symbol worshiped long before false Christians began worshiping it (such as in Egypt and Babylonia). Also, in LXX we fiind Xylon used again in Ezr 6:11 and there it was spoken of as simply a single beam on which the violator of the law was executed, same as in Acts 5:30; 10:39. In the writings of Livy (according to the Latin dictionary of Lewis and Short) gives the basic meaning as tree, frame, or other wooden instrument. Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) illustrated in his book "De cruce libri tres" as having Jesus impaled on an upright pole with no cross. Remember as well that Jesus had to drag his instrument of execution, which was placed in the ground. He didn't drag two pieces with him. The Romans did indeed impale him, but did it on an upright tree and put him in the ground with it. Keep in mind too that trees were not plentiful in ancient Judea and the Romans did not waste money on executions typically. It was later that the idea of the cross bar execution was read into the account. That really is what the author is saying here anyway.

      July 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
    • Eric

      JoeH – Well done! Bravo and Thanks!

      July 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  13. JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

    Yes, religion has a lot of answering to do and I am not surprised that many people are turned off by it. Of course, one should also remember that the early Christians did not kill anybody for their beliefs but were put to death themselves because of their beliefs. I personally feel that Satan (the wicked angel who rebelled that eventually earned the name Satan, which means "slanderer") has used false religion in a powerful way to mislead most of humanity. True Christianity isn't about trying to impose anything on any other person but to try to have an abundance of spiritual qualities such as love, peace. long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, understanding and other qualities. This is one reason why members of my faith refuse to kill in the name of religion or the organized military industrial complex of this world. As a Jehovah's Witness we have a proven track record of neutrality in warfare, just like the early Christians, who also knew Jesus was not impaled on a cross either, which is nothing more than one of the most cunning Satanic lies told to humanity by the way.

    July 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • geraldh

      JoeH,

      Sounds like you think the Church should not be filled with sinners who make mistakes. TRuth is the early church was very much full of such people. If the early church were not then why in corinthians did paul warn against even murder. We were told there would be wolves among the sheep, tares among the wheat. I would also state that another false perception you have is that of the "murders" throughout history related to religion. You might want to read Romans 13 where God says that governments have the right to use the sword to keep order. This was not limited to non-christians but Christians running governments had this right as well. God is the judge of its implementation.

      July 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      GeraldH, keep in mind that Jesus said render Ceaser's things to Ceaser and God's things to God. If indeed, Christianity is an end to a means, then it should stand to reason that Christianity should trump any other form of loyalty. Remember in John chapter 13 where Jesus said that "you would know my disciples because they will have love among themselves." If a Catholic or a Baptist or whatever form of Christianity you want to choose, kills his brother in the name of a particular country or religion, then that one is a man slayer is he not? I Cor. 6:9 tells us "not to be misled, for . . . manslayers will NOT INHERIT GOD'S KINGDOM." Do you remember how Jesus answered a Jewish scribe who asked what the most important commandment was? Jesus said we must love "Jehovah our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and body and then our neighbors as ourselves. If we kill our neighbor in the name of a government or religion we have not rendered God's thing to God have we not? Because as Daniel 2:44 says, "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will establish a Kingdom that will crush and put an end to ALL THESE OTHER KINGDOMS." There is a time coming in which all governments as we know it will be replaced by God's government (as Jesus prayed in the Lord's Prayer). If we then are practicing man slayers and we believe we are doing a righteous thing, it might be good to reflect again on the Apostle Paul's words in 1 Corinthians not to let ourselves be misled.

      July 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • geraldh

      CAtholics have killed. (So have JW's by the way). Catholicism does not encourage killing. You don't see a difference do you.

      July 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      Geraldh, Yes, I understand that Catholics have killed other Catholics. I would say that there have probably been some Jehovah's Witnesses who may have killed as well in some cases. Keep in mind that if a Jehovah's Witness actively joins a military outfit (of any country) he is no longer considered a Jehovah's Witness. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the holocaust museum in New York, there is a section there on Jehovah's Witnesses, who were the only group in Nazi concentration camps who could leave if they signed a paper recanting their faith. Very few ever signed and many were executed. This could also be said about the USSR where thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses were sent to labor camps and killed because of their neutrality as well, and this does not include several other countries in the world where our Christian neutrality has been challenged. As I mentioned earlier, we are rendering God's things to God. We are following the words of the Bible to love our neighbors and let Jehovah God take care of matters, which he has done and will do one day on a global scale. Remember the prophecy in Micah 4:3 where it says "the nations WILL BEAT THEIR SWORDS IN PLOWSHARES . . . AND NATIONS WILL LEARN WAR NO MORE." In order for that to happen people will have to stop practicing warfare. Finally, if Revelation 21: 4 is to be fulfilled, where it says ". . . death will be no more on the earth" then people are going to have to stop killing each other. Of course, keep in mind that I personally do not condone human war, but I do condone God's war at Armageddon, where he will destroy those who refuse to obey him, but that will be God doing the killing and not man. After that, we then will have true peace as the Bible has promised and prophesied about for thousands of years.

      July 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      There is such a thing as a just war. You would not have the freedom of religion as you do, had no one volunteered to protect our country against agression and evil.

      July 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      I guess my point here is that the only just warfare, according to the Bible and the new covenant that Jesus established by his death in which he replaced the old Jewish system, which is related to this article by the way, is when Jehovah God destroys wicked mankind. He is the judge, not man. I am going to have to say that whether I am guaranteed religious freedom or not is not the issue. In countries in the past and present where my religious freedoms are not protected by law, we still practice our faith, and many have been killed for this stand. My faith is not guaranteed by the barrel of a gun, but by my God, Jehovah.

      July 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      We are God’s hands and feet here on earth. We can do all things with God working through us by the Holy Spirit given to us in Baptism as a gift from God. We can stand up for truth in every way that need be. Jesus Christ is Truth.

      There are people who will not take their children to a doctor because they say ‘their God will heal them if he wants them healed’; these parents do not consider that we each are given gifts to be used to help mankind out of love. A doctor has skill in healing the body; an architect has a gift of helping us with a proper shelter; a farmer has a gift of growing food; a priest has a gift of bringing Jesus Christ to us through the Sacraments, a mother has the gift of giving a child birth, a father has the gift of joining with his wife and in a covenant with God to father a child; there are many more examples not mentioned here of gifts given to persons to help them fulfill the commandment to ‘love God and your neighbor as yourself’.

      Do nothing and you have the faith of satan. He believes in God but he refuses to do the Father’s will. So we each must do with our particular gift whatever God has placed upon our soul to do. Have no fear for with God working through us we can do all things. Without Him, our works are dead.

      July 4, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      CatholicMom, I certainly respect your point about if God is not working through us our works are dead. The same can also be said about faith without works as well. I am wondering what Jesus was really talking about when he said one would be able to identify his disciples because of the love they would have, and not just love of neighbor, but love to the point of giving up one's life for the other as he had done. This love is not something just a few people would display but would be an identifying mark of his true disciples. If the words of Jesus are true about love, this Christian love should be very obvious as a work of faith to onlookers because he said it would be very specific as such an identifying mark. Remember it was also said that if we love those loving us, what great thing is that? People of the nations do that. Is it really true that loyalty to God should trump every other loyalty in our life as a Christian? How then, is it really possible to say we have love for not just our neighbor but also for fellow believers when we let loyalty to a national cause come before loyalty to God to the point where we would kill even a fellow believer because a government or group of men told us to do so. Remember we do owe ceaser certain things, but as the Apostle Peter told the Jewish Sanhedrin in Acts, "we must obey God as ruler rather than men." How could we really say we have such love when we are willing to kill not just others but even fellow believers as well if need be?

      July 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  14. JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

    As a Jehovah's Witness, I have known since I have studied the Bible with them that the Bible has never taught Jesus was impaled on a cross. He was impaled on an upright pole, stake, or tree. It was later that the cross story was added, or as the scholar said, "read between the lines" only after the fact. Just as the Apostle Paul warned, that "there would come those who would be oppressive wolves that would enter in among the flock to mislead it." This is old news to me because I have known the truth about this most of my life and there have been many other scholars who have said basically the same thing long before this guy did.

    July 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      The sect known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russell, who was born in 1852. It is a heresy. Please get a Catholic Bible, and study it. You have been betrayed.

      July 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      Dear Catholic Mom, I know we have gotten off subject some from the original CNN topic, and I do appreciate that you have strong faith. But to be fair, I do have several different Bibles I study. Also to be fair, when Jesus questioned the Jewish religious leaders they said the same things about Jesus and the early Christians, that they they were a sect as well and had not been on the scene as long as the Jews had been. Being on the scene for a long time does not guarantee truth unfortunately, else the Jews would be right because I believe they look at Catholicism and all Christian faiths as sects and heresy as well. The real question is what the Bible really teaches and what kind of spiritual person the Bible helps that person become in life and how he or she treats other people. Because I think we both could probably agree that in the end we will probably be judged on how we dealt with our fellow humans– ". . . the least of these my brothers" according to Jesus.

      July 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
  15. abin

    This is great observation and important. Whatever the truth is, I think it is important to search out. I was in church for about 5 years hard core. I stepped away from my particular congregation because of some female drama and I studied for my self. I wanted to study for myself. During that time I studied the original language using the Exhaustive Strongs Concordance. I found that VERY important words such as "Spirit", "Heart" "Healing" and others in the Hebrew and Greek DO NOT carry the same meaning as we think of them today. I would contend, most Christians think "heart" (Where you believe) is in your chest, but it turns out its in your head.

    July 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  16. gerald

    And how would God let muslems blow up towers and kill thousands Anntar? No God did allow his son to suffer and die for our sins. Why? To show us how far he was willing to go for us! To show what level of humility he has and to show his deep love for us. God doesn't think the way you do Annatar. Your god is not an infinite one.

    July 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  17. sheetiron

    oh come on... really...? wow... "OMG, WORLD CHANGING DISCOVERY! JESUS DIDNT CARRY A CROSS AND WASNT CRUCIFIED! WE CARRIED A TORTURING DEVICE BY WHICH WE COULD BE SUSPENDED ON AND LEFT FOR DEAD!!!" Really... thats it.... So this really is the whole, "you say tomato, I say tomata" argument isnt it? PEOPLE! GET A FREAKING LIFE AND GO MAKE A DISCOVERY THAT ACTUALLY MEANS SOMETHING!!!

    July 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  18. Khaled Anntar

    Here comes a man who says part of the truth that Quran reveals thundred of years ago. Jesus Chris was never crucified or killed. If Jesus Chris was God's son or favorite being how would God allow His son to be tortured to death; what's a horrible way for a prince to die!!!! Christians need to understand they are responsible for the sins they commit and Jesus Chris was never tortured or died to forgive their sins. Only God and God only, Allah the Almighty who has the power to forgive or punish or do both. Allah the Almighty says in Quran " That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise;-“

    July 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • Steve Fav

      Khaled Anntar,

      Interesting how you reveal such profound ignorance regarding God, scripture and salvation. You forgot to mention a few facts in your quotes.

      1. How the Quran was written more than 600 years after the TRUE account of the gospels.
      2. How the Quran was written by one man, when the old and new testament were written by 40 different authors over the span of hundreds of years, most who had never met each other, yet somehow their account harmonizes and all pointed to Jesus as LORD.
      3. How God is holy and cannot overlook sin. God WILL NOT forgive without payment for sin being made...and that payment must require a holy innocent life being given. "The wages of sin is death". Romans 6:23
      4. How that Jesus was not taken against his will and killed as you have ignorantly quoted. He came with the express purpose of "giving his life A RANSOME for many" as stated in 1 Timothy. Jesus knew (as foretold hundreds of years before in the Jewish old testament) that his purpose for coming was to give himself to suffer the judgment of God for guilty hell deserving sinners. Then to raise again from the dead for their justification.
      5. The resurrection of Christ is evidence that God is fully pleased with the full payment that Jesus gave. His blood cleanses from ALL sin, of which no number of good works can EVER atone for.
      6. Jesus was raised and exalted to be a prince and a savior, and "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Jesus is LORD of all and when he comes will be the supreme judge.

      Khaled, what you don't realize is that the man who wrote this article is actually a liberal skeptic and unbeliever, yet you're quite willing to stand side by side with him. He has no credibility in the eyes of biblical and Greek/Hebrew scholars.

      If you want to remain in your sin then you'll keep attempting to please God with good works when all the while your conscience warns you of your guilt. Can I ask...how many good works are required by the way, and when will you know that you've done enough?

      July 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • Sanjosemike

      The problem Mr. Anntar is that your co-religionists (in Iran) are quite willing to have a nuclear war over your religion. I do agree that not ALL Muslims want this, but Rafsanjani (and bin Laden) have so much as admitted it. As more Muslim countries and failed Muslim countries obtain nuclear weapons, the chances of human survival on earth become less and less. This is the ulimate gift of ULM, the end of humans on earth. The universal Caliphate will begin and end with the end of humans on earth. sanjosemike

      July 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • geraldh

      The Koran was written by a child molester. It is no more the word of God than this article.

      July 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • verify

      geraldh: ".... It is no more the word of God than this article."

      Neither is the Bible, The Book of Mormon, or any other book that you may name.

      July 4, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  19. Yzma

    Modern day Christians are more interested in traditions than truth, so instead of welcoming knowledge, they'll scream like banshees and clutch their version of a tortured death more closely. Gruesome.

    July 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  20. Michael

    I don't care how he died. I care about what he said, what he teaches, and how I can follow his teachings to become closer to God. We divide ourselves and reject other religions over small parts written in the Bible instead of focusing on what we have in common. We are all God's children, Jewish, Islamic, Christian and everything in between.

    July 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Sanjosemike

      Please cut me out from your "God's children, Jewish, Christian, Islamic and everything in between."

      Your god turned a blind eye to Auschwitz. Please don't give me any "stuff" about "free will" the suffering of man, etc. That's just garbage. If your god wanted to stop it he/she could. Why should I believe in a psychopathic supreme being? sanjosemike

      July 3, 2010 at 3:24 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.