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Jesus on trial: What would a modern jury do?
April 22nd, 2011
07:18 AM ET

Jesus on trial: What would a modern jury do?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - If Jesus were tried in Richmond, Virginia, today, would he have been sentenced to death? Or would he have faced life behind bars with no chance for parole?

That’s the choice given to jurors here recently.

During Lent, the Church of the Holy Comforter used Virginia law to retry the sentencing phase of the blasphemy case against Jesus of Nazareth. Church members and guests played the role of the jury.

The trial was the brainchild of Mark Osler, a former U.S. Attorney in Detroit who teaches at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis and is friends with a member of the Richmond church.

Osler wanted to hold the trial in part to call attention to the state’s use of capital punishment. Virginia is second only to Texas in the number of executions per state since the mid-1970s, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty, according to federal statistics. He held a similar event in Texas a few years ago.

“For many of us our faith, as it relates to policy especially, is often unexamined,” Osler said “We’re surrounded by people who feel the same way, and what we need to do is have it be troubled at least and see if that takes us someplace different.”

The mock sentencing phase was held the night before Palm Sunday.

Osler played the part of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest in the biblical narrative of the trial. In that account, Jesus had no defense council. But on this night, Osler faced off against Jeanne Bishop, a real-life public defender from Chicago.

“Jesus was indigent,” Bishop said. “And so I think [Osler] wanted a public defender to underscore the point that this is a man with no money, no resources, no position in society.

“Most of the people that I represent fit that description.”

“He also wanted to have a young African-American man play Jesus, and that’s what we have tonight. Most of clients look exactly like this young man who will be sitting beside me,” she said.

The night was bittersweet for Bishop. “My younger sister, her husband and their unborn baby were murdered 21 years ago today, the day before palm Sunday.”

In 1990, Nancy Bishop Langert was killed during a home invasion in Winnetka, Illinois. Her death was part of the reason Jeanne Bishop became a defense attorney and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty.

Even before her sister’s murder, Bishop said, she was against the death penalty. “When my sister and her husband and their baby were killed, my immediate response was, ‘No more killing, no more bloodshed, please let it stop right here.’”

Jeanne Bishop questions a witness at the trial of Jesus in Richmond, Virginia

Osler is also against the death penalty. It was a decision he said he reached as a prosecutor while sitting in church one Sunday.

“They read John 8, about stoning the adulteress, and I’m like everyone else - when I hear a story like that, I put myself in the role of Jesus. A lot of prosecutors who are Christians who talk about that will say, ‘Jesus said go and sin no more.’ And what I came to eventually is, ‘I’m not Jesus. I’m part of the mob. I’m somebody with a stone in my hand.’

“I think that story is very direct that we don’t have the moral authority” to execute prisoners, Osler said.

Playing the role of prosecutor and asking jurors to condemn Jesus to death was difficult for Osler.

“It’s very dark to have the prosecutor in me go to war with the faith [in me]. There’s a cynicism you need to be a good prosecutor,” he said. “It’s been in some ways a troubling enterprise, and I didn’t see that coming.”

“We don’t have a script,” Osler said shortly before taking the stage at the Church of the Holy Comforter. “We’re approaching this the way trial lawyers would. I haven’t known what her theory of the case is or what her arguments will be, and she doesn’t know mine. That’s the way it really works. It’s not a play. It really is a trial in that sense.”

Mark Osler waits to take the stage at the trial of Jesus

As the audience took their seats, Bishop leaned over and whispered to her client, a teenager from the church who sat beside her in a dark blazer and khaki pants.

William G. Broaddus played the role of the judge. He was Virginia’s attorney general for six months after his predecessor stepped down to run for governor. During that time, five defendants were executed in Virginia.

“We will now call the case of the Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jesus of Nazareth,” Broaddus bellowed from the pulpit. “I will remind you this man has already been found guilty of the criminal charge of blasphemy.

“Tonight it is your duty to determine the proper punishment,” he told the jurors.

The attorneys each called two witnesses. The prosecution called Peter, one of Jesus closest disciples, and a rich young ruler whom Jesus urged to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor, here though the witness was played by a woman from the congregation. The defense called a centurion whose slave Jesus had healed, as well as Malchus, a high priest's slave whose ear was cut off by Peter then reattached by Jesus.

The sentencing trial followed the rhythms of a standard criminal case. Bishop spoke gently yet firmly as she questioned the witnesses, her line of questioning seeking to emphasize Jesus' acts of compassion and mercy.

Osler was forceful and tried to paint Jesus as a rebel who sought to rend the fabric of society. He also played heavily on the issue of slavery in his questioning.

Richmond was an international slave port prior to the Civil War - a fact not lost on members of the audience, who quietly bristled or frowned when Osler brought it up. He repeatedly reminded them that while Jesus healed the centurion and high priest’s slaves, he did not set them free.

In her closing argument, Bishop told the jury that Jesus loved his enemies. “A man who showed such compassion is at least deserving of your compassion at this moment,” she said.

Osler rebutted that Jesus had “poked a hole in the fabric of society. Are you going to let it tear or are your going to keep it a small hole?” he asked as he tore a hole in his own pressed, white button-down shirt to gasps in the crowd.

After the closing arguments, the audience broke into several juries of 12. Following the Virginia state statutes, they had two votes to consider. First: “Do you find that there is a probability that, if not executed, the defendant would commit criminal acts that would constitute a continuing serious threat to society?”

If they answered yes to that question, they were instructed to move on to the second: “In the light of all mitigation, is a death sentence warranted?” Both questions required a unanimous vote.

In one of the juries, 11 members quickly agreed the answer to the first question was yes, but there was one holdout. The other jury members began to press her in favor of the prosecution. Eventually they were successful.

“I think he's convincing," an older woman on the panel said of Osler, adding, “I didn't like myself for thinking that."

As the judge told the crowd they had just five minutes left to deliberate, the noise in the sanctuary grew louder and more heated.

The votes were taken and the jury forms passed forward.

The judge stepped forward and read the verdict.

“Jesus please stand,” he said.

He read the first question aloud and said, “The majority of the juries have found that should be answered in the affirmative.”

It meant the juries thought Jesus would blaspheme again if not executed.

“Turning then to the next question,” he said. “The majority of the juries voting on that issue found that the death sentence is not warranted.”

There was applause from the audience.

“The defendant is remanded to the jailer for the rest of your natural life.”

And with that the trial ended.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Episcopal • United States

soundoff (1,632 Responses)
  1. jimmynog

    Why is Jesus always some tall, white dude, with a Catholic nose, often with blue eyes and long, blondish hair? It's laughable. If he existed at all, he was probably 5'5", dark-skinned, with short hair (as was the custom during the time he supposedly existed).

    April 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • steve (the real one)

      Jimmynog, it is just culture! In "white" churches you will see pictures of a "white" Jesus
      In "black" churches there are pictures of a "black" Jesus. I think everybody wants a Jesus they can relate to. Problem is the "black" and "white" jJsus is incorrect. Jesus was a Middle-Eastern Jew! We need to understand we can and should relate to the One, true Jesus! He made that possible and it had nothing to do with his color!

      April 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  2. Real

    I have a lot to lose believing in nothing than I have believing in something!!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Artist

      If your basis for "believeing" is odds then you never really believed anyway. To say what you said thinking it supports your belief is quite foolish. You are still an atheist or agnostic, quit lying to yourself.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  3. Cindy

    It is my opinion that the reason for this mock trial was to show that even though Christians worldwide observe with incredible chest-beating passion the crucifixion, death and ressurection of Christ, 2000 years of trying to worship and follow Him has not resulted in any significant change in our behaviors – particularly our mob-behaviors. I daresay today Jesus would not have had a fair trial by jury – instead, he would have had an insanity hearing and placed into our crumbling and deteriorating mental health system.

    April 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      True, but I guess that's better than killing him which is what we used to do to the mentally challenged.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      I completely agree Cindy, and with good reason, too.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  4. R

    Jesus (if he existed), was a criminal. A dirty politician. Got what he desrved.

    April 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Luigi

      Please explain.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      R
      Jesus (if he existed), was a criminal. A dirty politician. Got what he desrved.
      ------
      Hello 'R". Let me help you out with this:
      1. Jesus Did exist and still lives today
      2. He was not involved in politics at all
      3. He got what You and I deserved!
      4. But for grace, we believers will NOT get what we deserve (eternal seperation from God)
      5. We have instead recieved His gift (eternal life) through Christ!
      6. The penalty for sin has already been paid in full! We are saved through his substi-tionary death!
      7. That gift is available to all mankind, if only they would accept it!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  5. HappyEaster

    On this of all days, those who disbelieve still want to deliver him unto death by proclaiming him as myth and those who follow, as fools. You have been granted 1st Amendment as well as we. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion without fear of repression. 2000 and eleven years, we have come no further. I shall continue to believe. You shall continue to ridicule. No end, no reprieve. No compromise.

    April 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bernie

      Rock on brotha!! Keep holding your breath

      April 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      We have come a long way in 2011 years. When religion ruled the world it was called "The Dark Ages". A lot of folks posting on this site would be burning at the stake if the Church was still running things. Serperating religion from government is what has allowed us to progress as a society.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  6. Jeff

    It is worse for those condemned to involuntary commitment–there is no presentation of evidence, no ability of the defendant to cross-examine witnesses, and the great beneficiary is the mental health megalopoly.
    I think THAT puts things in PROPER perspective!

    April 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  7. squirk

    But does this excersize miss one important point? The reason for Jesus's death, from what I understand is it was the Lord's sacrifice -Jesus died for our sins. If this excersize carried out the same way back then,,,then the sacrifice would not have been made correct? So if this is the case that would mean it HAD to happen the way it did right?

    April 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  8. Casual Observer

    good grief – what an incredible waste of time and resources
    what's next how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    April 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  9. Chris

    Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree… Yeah, makes perfect sense.

    April 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Luigi

      Chris, do you really think that's what Christians believe?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      Luigi,

      Are you saying Christians don't believe the Bible?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Luigi

      @JesusFreaker, no, I was asking Chris what he believes. Nothing more and nothing less.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Luigi, I don't believe in a god, any god. I have faith in man, I have faith in science and in the solar system and in rules that can't be broken, like the laws of physics. I am living THIS life so I don't have to worry about living the next. When I die, I'm going to sleep forever, and you know what I won't know it or care. I will just cease to be, and I am perfectly fine with that, it makes living today more enjoyable. And, in return, I don't have to pledge myself to a corrupt church and live by impossible standards, or feel the guilt of original sin. Man, I would love to have a group of open minded people to discuss this with.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Chris

      Hi Luigi. Thanks for being so civil in response to my bashing. Yes, I do believe that's what Christians believe. That pretty much sums up the bible, does it not? What do I believe? I believe that we have very litttle clue whatsoever. With that said, there is nothing in reality which suggests that there is a god (at least in most religions' sense) or that we should believe the nonsense in the bible any more than we should believe the nonsense in, say, Peter Pan.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Luigi

      @Atheist PhD. Now that was well said and you make good points but I think you also err. I'll pick on the most glaring. "I don't have to pledge myself to a corrupt church..."

      Why do you think that Christianity is about pledging yourself to a church? A church is simply a meeting place. That seems like a rather odd thing to pledge oneself to. I certainly don't pledge myself to a church.

      I pledge myself to trying to love others, realizing that I will fail and try to not beat myself up over that failure.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Luigi

      OK, Chris, I may not be the best Christian out there but I'll share my core belief.

      Love my neighbors, even my enemies. Expect to fail. Don't beat myself up or others up over failure.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Bill

      Atheist PhD.
      haha you say open minded, but in actuality what you "preach" is as close minded as any Christian. Explain to me the "Big Bang theory" without breaking the laws of physics. You are right in saying that you have faith in science, because any effort to explain science is met with gross inconsistencies..
      I do agree with your concept of living though, if i did not believe in God i would live in any manner i chose and be perfectly content in that. And yes, they are impossible standards, but that is why we as Christians believe and take great hope in Christ and his payment for sins. We believe that we fall hopelessly short of the rules as well.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  10. Luigi

    I think you make a good point in your second sentence but have a question about the first. How was Jesus an anarchist?

    April 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Luigi

      That OP was to Chris

      April 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  11. Chris

    Today Jesus would be persecuted by the right for being a anarchist socialist. Those who claim to love this mythical man the most would be the ones calling to have him nailed to the cross.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • bluecreature

      Applause! You are right on the money. They are a bunch of hypocritical egoists that have no care for the truth or peace for all humanity. They only want God to bless America and screw the rest of the world. Happy to hear another one with their eyes o/pen. For knowing the truth you will be saved.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Well said Chris.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Luigi

      @Atheist PhD. Do you really have a PhD? Chris' argument is well said? Where's the premise? Where are the arguments? (Do you really have a PhD?)

      April 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Luigi, do you really have a head? If something is well said, it does not require evidence or such, it is simply well said.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Luigi

      @Atheist PhD. I posted at 2:03 challenging the anarchist claim. No reply from Chris and you posted at 2:19 with your well said.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Chris

      Luigi:
      The golden rule in and of itself concludes he was an anarchist. He was defiant of the state, and believed all people were equal. Equality is impossible in a hierarchy. He didn't pay taxes. He was a pacifist, which any true anarchist must be. Here's a small hint: Anarchism probably isn't what you think it is due to propaganda. It is truly, as it has been called, "The beautiful idea". There is a long, long, argument for it here:
      www DOT anti-state DOT com/redford/redford4.html

      April 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  12. listo

    look at this Judas guy, no wonder why u betrayed Jesus. silent over there what do you know? He is the King of kings. if you are high He is Most High, if you are mighty, He is almighty. Ask Jesus to come live in you and stop this nonsense.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Artist

      Keep drinking the koolaid listo lol

      April 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Luigi

      I suggest a little more focus on loving your neighbor.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Chris

      Ask him to live in me? Is he a parasite or a normal and helpful bacteria? Perhaps in my digestive tract?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Luigi

      Chris, how about considering the issue from a different perspective? Let's assume, for sake of discussion, that the universe has 15 dimensions. Could something exist outside your experience in that case?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  13. BostonBill

    I can't believe this. It's like if Superman and Mighty Mouse had a fight,who would win? I don't have a problem with people having faith, but religious dogma sure screws things up. Also, the article stated several times that the trial was based on Virginia State Law. Is blasphemy a capitol crime in Virginia?

    April 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Chris

      I do have a problem with people who have blind faith in a ridiculous story. We should not be tolerant of people who are so easily brainwashed into believing such tripe. It is an incredibly dangerous thing and a curse on all of humanity.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  14. Jesus

    Yes?

    April 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Chris

      Hi Jesus. Want to go smoke some pot and get bring some chicks home tonight? Be my wingman?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Manma DeReli Gon

    If this indeed was true it would stand to the test of reason. So lets try it... Jesus died to save us. Cool, assuming I buy that – then why is Judas the bad guy for getting the ball rolling. Shouldn't he have been the head of the Catholic Church instead of Peter who denied him.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  16. Silver Chair

    It's Friday, but Sunday's comming!

    April 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Artist

      I cant wait until next week all the christies amped up on candy and the lord. lol

      April 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • doc 77

      Amen, SC.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  17. Pete

    It's funny how people criticize Jesus and us Christians for what we believe. We believe in a man who was our savior and sacrificed himself for us. Yet, atheist and those doubters mock us because we believe in something they can't see.

    Granted, I have never physically seen the Lord, but I have felt him. Just like many of us have never seen a million dollars, but we know it exists. Just like we can't see the air that we breathe, but we know that it's there because we feel. it. And that's exactly how I feel about my religion. If you don't like it, fine, but don't mock it.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Artist

      Dont sw eat it Pete, people have "felt" their gods since the dawn of man. It is natural for superst i tous people to get vibes or feel things. Some even claim to hear the voices. Mind works in my sterious ways. *wink*

      April 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Chris

      The difference is we can prove that air exists, that money exists, etc. It takes less than a minute of contemplation to realize how silly the whole fairy tale of religion is.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • just at thought

      It can be proven that there is air and I am sure we could put together a million dollars for everyone to see

      April 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Chris

      Also, now a' days we have a term for people who hear voices in their head: Mentally ill.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • AllEyesOnHim

      Um, Pete. Why would you get mad at people for fulfilling the prophecy (the Bible)? Do you read your Bible, Pete? A student is not above his teacher. If indeed you are a disciple of Christ then prepare to be mocked... Just keepin it real.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Manma DeReli Gon

      Hi Pete, You will hear what you want to hear. Try believing in goblins and you will start hearing them. Try asking for some proof.... we'd all be better of if we learnt to ask for proof.... wink wink i.e. WMD??

      April 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • DomesticReason

      Well, Christianity lends itself for mockery. Because it relies on middle east myths and practices. The sacrifice for sinners is a clear sign of scapegoating, a common practice in those days. So the fact that you believe that he died for all of the sinners is immoral. Nobody can erase your responsibility. Nothing can take away what you did. If that was the case, then that is not moral at all is it?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • bluecreature

      So you believe this is salvation? I mean look around we are in the depths of hell and it isn't getting any better. His death was sold as sacrifice to pacify the followers because he was assassinated by the power elite. Trust me even today people would rather a murderer before this speaker of truth is allowed to walk free.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      No Pete, what you have felt is the same hypothalmus reaction I feel toward a good baseball game, it satisfies my need for something. I have a friend who was once an evangelical minister, now an atheist, and he can still create in himself that same feeling that he had as a holy roller, only now he understands where it comes from and why he feels it.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  18. Artist

    I think he would request a tetanus shot before being nailed

    April 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, he should. Tetanus is a nasty thing. Any sort of body piercing should be done with care in a sanitary environment.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Artist

      Not to mention potential lock jaw. How would he be able to speak as a zombie????

      April 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  19. Chris

    Jesus never existed. He's a bronze age myth that's been used to scare children.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • tom

      How so?

      April 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • doc 77

      Not so. He was a historical figure. If you don't believe in him as God with us, that's another story. You can't deny history, however

      April 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      Jesus loves the little children. Which is why the Bible says to beat them so thou knowest thy is loved.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • John

      Just like your great grandfather... he never existed since theres no evidence left that he did.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Chris

      Doc77, please point us to actual historical information from the time of Jesus that even mentions him. I'll be waiting.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • John

      I bet less than a hundred years will pass before there would be any evidence left that you existed Chris. And therefore according to your statements you never existed. What a shame you poor little piece of dirt.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      There is a great deal of evidence that my great-grandfather existed, and I am proof of that in addition to his having served in the Civil War, of which I have his discharge papers. No, Jesus was created as the figurehead of the new cult, Christianity. It was created to fight against the rising tide of paganism in that part of the world, and as an alternative to a more traditional Jewish belief system. He was a case of fitting the man to the myth/prophesies of old. Have any of you actually read the Bible? My guess is no, you just swallow what they preach at you in church and give them your money.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @John,
      "Just like your great grandfather... he never existed since theres no evidence left that he did."
      You mean other than me, my parent, and my grandparent?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Hey John, I bet if I could raise the dead and heal the sick and come back as an actual zombie, people would remember me. Zeus is remembered does that make him a real god, how about the other 20,000 or so gods, greater and lesser that we know of, do they exist simply because someone wrote something about them?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Oh and John, I don't see Chris proclaiming to be the son of god, if he did we would lock him away in a nice, padded cell.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • John

      @ Nonimus How do you know you weren't a test tube baby? You weren't there when your great grand father was around so its not real... you were actually hatched everything is a lie so that you would sleep at night, thats what your saying about Jesus its all a lie... just like your past its a lie so you can feel better.... 🙂

      April 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @John,
      It's possible that the entire universe was created last Tuesday and we were all created with fake memories.
      So what's your point? That it is even more possible that Jesus was made up?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • tom

      Atheist PhD,

      Are there any records that Christianity was made up to go against paganism in the region and to provide an alternative to the Jewish belief system?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Casual Observer

      I am in my office watching the history channel and they mention that several historians who mention Christ – but in a matter of fact manner. No mention other then he was crucified – nothing special for those times.
      There are a lot of things in the OT/NT that historical fact contradicts............and there are a few things in the bible that are supported by history and archeology ..........but more the former.
      Most of the OT was copied from texts and stories that preceded Moses by 1,500 years. And the concept of monotheism is not something that the Jews came up with...........that was copied too. The NT is another attempt to tell it like it wasn't !!

      April 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Yes Tom, there is a great deal of evidence against Christianity, but you and others refuse to accept it. The fact that at least four deities were born of a virgin, were baptized in a river, were crucified and returned from the dead, nearly a thousand years before Jesus, is pretty compelling stuff.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • tom

      Atheist PhD,

      I'm assuming you're talking about Mithras and Horus as examples? Mithras was born of a rock and Iris (Horus' mother) wasnt even a virgin

      April 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • tom

      Isis*

      April 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  20. Wisdom4u2

    It wouldn't matter how Jesus' trial would go, because He would still lay down His Life for these good-for-nothing (but only in my eyes) sinners!!

    It's a good thing He's God and I'm not, because I would smite all these disrespectful fools right down to hell to live with their father Satan!!

    But, Nooooooo, the Lord is so loving and patient, and just waiting for all these knuckleheads to repent and call on His Holy Name …….. and for what???
    Here’s what: So that He can gather us all up as His children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, He wants to love and provide for us (like a Good Father should) and then bring us safely back to Himself for eternity.
    Yes and deed, you won’t catch me squawking!!
    Come, Abba, come!!!

    He’s just so Awesome!!

    April 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      God is a hen?

      April 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Zuk

      Amen Brother!

      April 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Oh come on, there is a great chance that the whole Jesus trial never happened, and certainly didn't happen the way that the church has glorified it. Where is the proof? Where is the historical evidence of Jesus and his trial. The Romans would have surely kept a record of a man who could walk water, heal the sick, raise the dead, and do magic. Jesus is a myth, he is loosely constructed from a number of older deities. Read a book people, besides the bible.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Yeah

      Like.... read about the Persian Sun God Mithra.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ MarkinFL

      No, but He used that analogy when speaking over Jerusalem, who’s people had become hardhearted (pretty much like some of the fools on here).

      "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me.” Matthew 23:37

      April 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ Atheist PhD

      Your words are invalid!!
      You can never ever convince those whose lives have been so radically changed by the Living Savior, Jesus the Christ!!!
      Your eyes have been sealed wide shut, and until you seek Him with the whole of your heart you will NEVER find him!!!
      Case Closed!!!

      April 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Hullbeaty

      @Wisdom4u2 There was only one perfect man that walked the face of the earth and that is Jesus. We were and are all sinners yet Christ died for us because there was no other way, and you're right God is loving and patient, he will have mercy and not sacrifice. But noooooo God will not gather us up all as his children, only the born again believers in Christ will be gathered as his children. Revelation tells the fate of those who don't except sacrifice on the cross. The Old Testatment had plenty of types of Christ. The sacrifices to cover there sins, the Day of Atonement etc but Christ sacrifice completely took away the sins of those who accept it.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chris

      Case closed? I like your argument. It goes something like this: Stick fingers in ears and yell LALALALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU! I say the flying spaghetti monster is our one true savior, believe in him, for he was consumed for our sins!

      “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts

      April 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Casual Observer

      there certainly a historical Jesus – but was he the 5'9", he's divine – changes water into wine Jesus as portrayed in the bible? don't think so
      for you reborn agains out there – remember JC was a Jew – as was his posse.
      seems that anyone who can think rationally can see that the authors of the NT had an agenda – and that was to distance themselves as far as they could from traditional/orthodox Jews and to make it look like that Jews were responsible for killing JC. when will we ever know the truth?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • John

      @ Atheist PhD you know this gives me a weapon to fight against atheist. I should go and take your stuff.... and when you say I am stealing I will ask you to prove it, you will show me papers that an item belongs to you, I will say that is made up and not real. And what ever papers you provide I will say its a myth. But you know what it wont hold up by the police since your fake papers is up holded by current police while the bible even though is made of the same paper as your evidence is not real...

      April 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Unikraken

      20,000 children die each day. Man of which starve to death. If your god exists, it is a monster, not a loving father.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • John

      Just because you didn't see something and cant touch something and you were not ther its not real... well like I said your great grand parents aren't real they were all make believe. The entire world was hatch two generations ago, everything two hundred years ago is make believe. Since no one alive can prove otherwise, specially you people say that anything written more than two hundred years ago is a myth.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      Wisdom, if there were a god, I would thank him for that. You see my words are only invalid because people refuse to listen or THINK for themselves. God created me, according to you, and he knew from my birth that I would be an atheist, he therefore made me an atheist, I had no choice. He knew what I was before I did, and yet he did nothing to change me, because he couldn't he already knew I was going to be an atheist. I wonder if he knows I am going to a baseball game tonight?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      John, YOU are confusing reality with fantasy and making an ad homenin attack. It was only a matter of time, I suppose.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Atheist PhD

      So John, then tell me why you do not worship Zeus? Do you worship Allah? Because it was written that man was born from a clot of blood, were you created from a clot? What makes YOUR god more real than Zeus or Allah????

      April 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • John

      @ Atheist PhD ummm.... I never said I believed in Jesus or Allah or Zues or whoever... I did say is because you did not see something you are saying that it never existed. I am attacking your statements that make Jesus a myth, I did not say I am a christian either. Just because you are all knowing what you say is the truth and nothing or no one can be true. Unless you see it for yourself.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ Hullbeaty

      What are you disputing??
      Didn't I repeat what is written in the Word ?

      Please don’t muck up God’s simple plan of Salvation with complicated interpretations.
      Jesus’ whole message is restoring mankind’s relationship with our Heavenly Father.

      Most non-believers already know they’re on their way to hell, so you don’t have to try and scare it out of them!
      But what a lot of them don’t know is the Love of God!
      The Love of God has been blurred because of all the tragedies and turmoil in the world; So it’s hard for them to conceive a Loving God, at least until they understand His love through Jesus Christ.

      Listen, no one is going to call on the name of God if they don’t believe in Him, so there is no need to fret!
      By the time anyone does call on Him, you can believe it will be God, Himself who has revealed it to them while they were searching and seeking. However, we are commissioned to get His Word out there.

      The simple plan of Salvation is this:

      And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered;
      Joel 2:32

      And everyone who calls
      on the name of the Lord will be saved.
      Acts 2:21

      For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
      Romans 10:13

      April 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ Unikraken

      Ahhhh…DUUUUUH!!!

      Why would you dare blame God for something mankind is doing???
      Talk to the abortionists and those who are using them!!
      Everything you’re talking about is brought about by mankind!!
      In natural disasters, and even manmade calamities, God is still loving, because for those who love Him know we are not going through it alone, He is right there with us!!
      Read Psalms 23

      1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
      2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
      he leads me beside quiet waters,
      3 he refreshes my soul.
      He guides me along the right paths
      for his name’s sake.
      4 Even though I walk
      through the darkest valley,[a]
      I will fear no evil,
      for you are with me;
      your rod and your staff,
      they comfort me.
      5 You prepare a table before me
      in the presence of my enemies.
      You anoint my head with oil;
      my cup overflows.
      6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
      all the days of my life,
      and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
      forever.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:08 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.