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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. ijreilly

    As an atheist, I actually enjoyed this. Yes, I know this couldn't happen today yadda, yadda, yadda....but it made believers look at a present day situation in a new light, or rather old light. I don't believe in Jesus, but I agree with him on many things. It's very easy to sit in church on Sunday and say how much you believe one thing, but it's a different story when it comes time to act that way. Interesting read.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  2. Tim

    Heard many people saying today "Happy Holiday"...amazing isnt it? This country is being brain washed to be afraid to mention our Jesus Christs name, who died for our salvation and for our ability to repent and save our souls. People fight recognizing his birth, and now Easter, that is the meaning of his suffering, scourging, crucifiction, and ressurection.

    They dont want to say Merry Christmas, because there is "Christ" in the word; but Easter? How does Easter offend anyone? Other countries/languages such as greek say "Xristos Anesti" (Christ has Risen) and someone would reply "Alithos Anesti" (TRULY he has RISEN!) for 40 days after easter.

    This country is losing the war on faith..isnt it ironic we are the first nation to protecting Israel, but struggling with being an open God loving nation?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Void

      Amazing, an entire country that doesn't belong to the church. What a concept!

      April 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  3. Bill

    This then is the judgement, the light has come into the world but people loved the darkness rather than the light for their works were evil. For those who do evil things hate the light and avoid it so that their deeds will not be exposed. But those who live in the truth come to the light to let their works to be shown to be accomplished by God. John 3:19-21

    April 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  4. the_word_of_god

    I only want to ask people what felt before they ever existed? Hmmm, maybe that's what death is like? MAYBE?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  5. Lettuce Prey

    It is a very good thing to live in a country where "blasphemy" is not a crime. This entire exercise just seems silly to me.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bruce

      Actually, if I'm not mistaken there are still some blasphemy laws on the books in some states–just like sodomy... (though they are basically unenforced)

      April 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Void

      In Michigan, women still technically can't legally get a haircut without their husband's consent.

      Still waiting for someone here to take that to trial.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  6. the_word_of_god

    I only feel bad for the suckers who have wasted some portion of their lives on this BS!

    April 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I feel sad for people who live in some mythical future and not in the present.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Robert

      Why do you even care what anyone else does with their life?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I care because I see people that I love and care about who let life pass them by while they're focused on death, pain, and suffering.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  7. the_word_of_god

    All religion is based on lies! I should know!

    April 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Child of the LIVING GOD

      @the_word_of_god

      You are welcome to say anything you want. But remember- you will be held accountable for your words. and one day u will have to confessed the JESUS is LORD and SAVIOR.. Whether you like it or not. Good luck to you.. living in a world full of darkness with no light to guide you.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • the_word_of_god

      I'm not kneeling before any imaginary GOD when I die. I don't believe he exists period.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • the_word_of_god

      So does that 1 billion Chinese will go to (imaginary) hell because they do not believe what you do?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • archmuse

      @child... I'm quite comfortable with the idea that if He exists and wants to know why I questioned all of this I will say, "because you gave me a brain with which to think for myself and question authority rather than believe something or someone blindly" If I was wrong in my conclusion I'll admit it. There is no malice here. So I expect if He exists he'd reply, "Fair enough."

      April 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Child of the LIVING GOD

      @muse

      It will already be toooo late for explaination. HE's giving us so many other venues and channels to tap into the word.. think about this..... REMEMBER – who tells the sun to rise in the morning , the moon to come out in the evening , the ocean to only come this far.. you honeslty think that evolution and gravity is the reason???? Come on ur smarter than that..

      @Word of god...
      Im GLAD u wrote god in all lower case... because u will be lowered to ur knees with or without a fight..

      April 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Trudy

    I feel sorry for those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. One day they will bow their knee and confess him as Lord of Lords. That is scripture. God once winked at ignorance but he won't again. You just have to take your bible and read the news and look around. We are in the last days. Read your BIBLE. It is true. You will all find out one day who doesn't believe. I know HE is alive. He has totaly changed my life. There is a heaven and hell. Jesus spoke on hell more than anything. In Luke 16: 19-31. Hell is a place of torment for those who sin and who do not believe. It is a place of weeping, gnashing of teeth where the worm never dies. It is so hot that even the rich man ask Abraham to have Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and touch the rich mans tongue to cool it off. God have mercy on our world. You many think we Christians are crazy for believing in Jesus but one day you will see when we are in heaven and you are in hell. I pray for a mighty Holy Ghost revival in this world and in America. Look back to our Foundling Fathers who stood on the word of God. Our Presidents in years past. To Gob be the Glory. Lord you are coming and it will be a glorious day for your people

    April 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Child of the LIVING GOD

      @Trudy AMEN!!!!!! u all should take heed.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Becca

      Amen Trudy!

      April 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Christianity-is-a-Shadow-of-Hinduism

      You are truly insane. But hey, if it lights your candle, keep believing your nonsense.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Bruce

      Trudy, you will find–if you read your bible–that Jesus predicted those like myself who don't believe. He said we lack the eyes to see and the ears to hear what is apparently obvious to you. He said that we are blind and deaf to the message, and moreover that our blindness and deafness leads us to regard the message as sheer idiocy. Further, he states (see Matthew 13) that this is as it was meant to be, that we were made blind and deaf to fulfill a prophecy from Isaiah.

      According to Jesus, then, this is not my choice to disbelieve. This is not my choice to see the message as idiocy. This is exactly what was meant to happen.

      That is, people like me were made blind and deaf for a specific reason. Why is it you do not believe this? Do you have a problem with what Jesus said? Do you see such an idea as idiocy, perhaps?

      April 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • archmuse

      How do you know the Bible is accurate? I don't doubt your faith but how do you KNOW? If you believe it was inspired by the Holy Spirit then I ask, which version? which translation? Were the earlier versions that contained books now missing less inspired? Did the HS change its mind between those versions?

      It is a book that has been translated numerous times, added to, subtracted from, misunderstood, and reinterpreted. So how do you KNOW that your understanding of it is correct or that it isn't just a story. I think there is room to question and if so then to accept that whatever version of Christianity we might practice could be flawed. This means we are right to question it. I think God would understand our humanity and natural inclination to question and have doubts. Consider that before you condemn others to hell....if there is such a place.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • AnthonyG

      @Christianity-is-a-Shadow-of-Hinduism
      The fact that you call us believers insane blows my mind. That comment is ignorant and I am willing to bet that you have never picked up and read the bible in your life. How can you sit here and mock or discredit something you have never read or took the time to truly understand. If you pick up the bible you will see the truth in everything it says and come to realize that Jesus did in fact die for our sins. After Noah built the arc and God washed away everything on earth he said I will never again destroy everything I have built. He showed us how much he loved us by sacrificing his son for us, in return for forgiveness of our sins. You may be laughing at us now and calling us insane, but when the time comes to be judged by our lord we will see who will be laughing. "But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." -Matthew 10:33

      April 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Lighten up, Trudy. We've been in the "last days" for as long as I can remember, and I'm pushing 60. Every few years there's a new apocalypse on the schedule, and when the date passes and nothing happens, the lunatic fringe or the religious fanatics come up with another date, usually combined with reasons taken from "scripture" as to why it didn't happen on the original date, and why the new date really truly is the apocalypse. Really. Truly. Ad nauseum.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Child of the LIVING GOD

      @AnrhonyG

      PREACH!!!

      April 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Void

      @Lettuce

      Regarding apocalypse cults, CNN profiled one predicting the rapture on May 21st of this year, they've been touring across the country with busses decked out in the "Good News". I've bookmarked their website (familyradio.com) for the sole purpose of reading it on May 22nd. Thought I'd pass that along.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      @void, thanks, I'll mark my calendar. And thanks for several of the really fun posts you've added to this comment thread. I'm highly entertained.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  9. Child of the LIVING GOD

    OK.... So i saw this article and wanted to read it- Y- Because it caught my attention. I just want you all to know that i am truly EMBARRASSED at these comments. How can you make a mockery out of JESUS??? Y oh Y do we continue to persecute each other. JESUS’ message was about love… and till this day you are all foolish enough to make judgment against one another. Pick the dirt out of your eye first before you take the dirt out of others. Today is supposed to be the day we remember what our LORD and SAVIOR has done for us… and you have all ruined it for others due to your selfish motives. So sad and heart breaking. Then you all wonder why terrible things happen in the world…. It’s because you have ALLLLLLL pushed HIM out! You all enjoy the remainder of your day… and REMEMBER - who tells the sun to rise in the morning , the moon to come out in the evening , the ocean to only come this far… etc… This message is not to make you a believer but to open your eyes to what you don’t know and think of on an everyday basis’….. Happy Resurrection Day! ***JESUS*** is coming, are you ready?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • gogogopher

      2nd kings.... Jesus kills kids... All there.... 42 kids..... the bears..... horrible..... Jesus saves? Nope. Kills kids according the the Bible....

      April 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • chico

      Sincere thanks Child of the Living God.
      Let's get it right. God gave us all unconditional free will.. He also gave us 10 commandments as guidelines for honorable living [most of which are incorporated into secular law]. God is Mercy and compassion but He will not be mocked. So if people CHOOSE to blaspheme, sin, murder over 50 MILLION babies by abortion, worship the false god of money, live for pleasure etc etc why blame God? I accept that if there are civil laws and I CHOOSE to break them I will pay the price. Exactly the same applies to God's laws. God destroyed Sodom and Gommorah; today's world makes them look like Tiny Tim. Look up the miracle of Fatima. The Mother of God the Son appeared there in 1917.[ Before you mention 'imaginary friends' there were 70,000 witnesses mainly communist and atheist many of whom became Catholics].
      Mary's warnings for the world are graphic and clear; we are living on borrowed time.
      By the way ignore the adolescent rantings of troubled minds – pray for them. Watch out for the 'apparently' sensible anti-Christian posts. Satan is evil but clever at ceating discord and he has never had it as easy as he has today.
      Everything has an opposite; negative and positive, north and south, good and bad, the earth's magnetic poes, God and Satan.

      April 30, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  10. Void

    A seemingly delusional man who claims to have blood of a God in his veins
    Has the potential to attract large crowds that hang on his every word
    Lays claim to having performed miraculous feats that no others can possibly replicate
    When making a statement that is perceived to be controversial, he is either labeled as insane or simply misunderstood

    Am I describing Jesus?
    Or Charlie Sheen?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • crucified

      Charlie Sheen??? Miracles ?? You are delusional.... Take the blue pill.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Becca

      Blashphemy

      April 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Void

      Lighten up Becca, I'd never speak blasphemy against ol' Charlie.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Stevie7

      It's fairly obvious, isn't it? Sheen is the Second Coming. That's why he wins so much.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • phred

      Must be Charlie Sheen; there is actual evidence that he exists.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      @void – exceptionally well-played. kudos!

      April 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  11. Steve

    Encourage all of you to look up Pascal's wager

    April 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Void

      What for? It's easily refuted with the most basic of philosophical inquiry, and most respectable theologians are loathe to even bring such an outdated and embarrassing idea like Pascal's wager into debate.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • crucified

      @Void.. you statement is both imperical and conjecture..at most and therefore cannot be used in logical defense.. Try Again.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Dan Durea

      What's the value of believing in God just because you are losing nothing! Such belief is not genuine, and if there is God, He will know it's a phony baloney belief.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bruce

      If one reads the entirety of the Pensees, such that the wager is understood in context, one sees that it is founded pragmatically and not strictly logically. It was never meant to persuade an unbeliever into becoming a believer, but rather it was intended to help the believer to do what was necessary to overcome the doubts that they would encounter in a life of faith.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Void

      @Cruci-fried

      Despite your fast and loose play with words you clearly do not use often, I'll just go ahead and refute Pascal below.

      Pascal's Wager has no built-in support for the Christian god, simply support for belief in the Christian god. A threat is not proof of any kind.

      Also, Pascal fails to address the equal probability of other gods. Since he places importance ONLY on the danger of uncertainty, no one can argue that Pascal's claim supports any one god. Therefore, Pascal is claiming that we should believe in any infinite number of gods, each with their own doctrines, their own nature, and their own system of punishment and reward.

      This works against the theist, of course. This argument invalidates the probability of the Christian god by setting it up as both 1 against X (infinity), and as 1 against 1 (atheism). Thus, the odds are actually stacked by Pascal in favor of Atheism. Instead of 1 (Christianity) against X (an infinite number of conceivable gods), the Atheist gamble is Infinite Zero (rejection of the possibility of any possible god) against X (an infinite number of conceivable gods).

      Furthermore, there is the problem with will over belief. One can not will themselves to truly believe something that they cannot, Pascal simply argues for self deception and deception among others.

      All in all, the above refutations are minimal at best, and Pascal's faulty wager has been written at laborious lengths by writers much more skilled and concerned with it than I. It's your intellectual responsibility to investigate these refutations yourself, I'm not taking the time to do it for you. But, it's also your privilege to believe whatever you manage to convince yourself of, regardless of evidence one way or the other.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • crucified

      @Void I'll put it simply... for understanding purposes... what is your payoff for unbelief? that you will not have to face your Creator? that happens anyway.. our maybe you believe we came from chaotic cosmic smoke explosion. which violates thermal dynamics.. or maybe you just do not think highly enough of yourself to believe that someone loved you and was willing to die for you even while you didn't believe.. or maybe you just were not chosen.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      @crucified: why do you need a payoff? Are you that unhappy with the life you have here on earth? The fear that nothing follows this life is likely the origin of all religious beliefs.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Why would a loving god choose some and not others. god plays favorites? Well, clearly the abrahamic god does since the bible refers to god's limited selection of those that get to be in his graces.

      And does a loving god demand strict obedience and worship upon pain of everlasting suffering? Does a loving god consistently require blood sacrifice, even from that of his own son? Would a loving god wipe out all of humanity (including children, infants, and the unborn) with the exception of a few members of a single family? That doesn't sound like a loving god to me. Sounds more like an abusive narcissistic parent. That's no god I would want to believe in.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Void

      You've managed to make a remarkable amount of assumptions in a very small space, something theists are fantastic at. I'll have to address them individually.

      "what is your payoff for unbelief?"
      A life enjoyed without the fog of religion obscuring the paths to truth and fact

      "that you will not have to face your Creator? that happens anyway.."
      I couldn't help but notice you've abandoned Pascal's wager. I'm content to leave your faith alone, but if even I can refute Pascal with little effort, (something you clearly held as a sound argument), you should perhaps consider what other doctrines of your faith can be easily refuted if one were only brave enough to try.

      "our maybe you believe we came from chaotic cosmic smoke explosion. which violates thermal dynamics"
      I'd like to discuss the laws of thermodynamics with you, but I'm afraid you might not actually know what you're talking about. I'll direct you to Victor Stenger's "Cosmic Evidence" from his book "God: The failed Hypothesis" in order to save myself the effort

      "or maybe you just do not think highly enough of yourself to believe that someone loved you and was willing to die for you even while you didn't believe"
      Firefighters, soldiers, and cops die more gruesome deaths on a daily basis for far less than the supposed "sins" of all mankind. When they fall in the line of duty, they've paid more than Christ in blood and pain and are worthy of much greater praise. Furthermore, the payment for sin is eternal damnation, correct? Did Jesus spend eternity in Hell? Did he even enter Hell in the first place? The "sins" you say he paid for weren't paid for at all, not by the same wage at which you say WE pay for them. He just went and stayed at his Dad's place for the weekend and then came back (happy Easter, by the way). Technically, our debt would still be unpaid. I owe Jesus nothing, and so do you. Luckily for us both, this is all demonstrably false.

      "or maybe you just were not chosen"
      This is what I really find intriguing. Out of the billions of people that God supposedly created, he has a select minority of Chosen People. Now, why make all the rest in the first place? Won't he know ahead of time whether they'll be "chosen" or not? If so, the rest are merely sent to live, then die, then spend eternity in Hell. This is wasteful, stupid, and cruel: All of which describe the God of the Old Testament quite accurately.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • crucified

      @LettucePrey actually I do not fear anything since I became a Christian. Also, steve7 a loving God would allow you to choose.. because proof of love is your ability to reject. or would you rather be forced to belief.. God's Grace is allowing you to do all the things you are doing against him for a time... but there will be a time of Judgement..Are you Ready?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • crucified

      @Void if you know about Thermodynamic and Causality you know that entropy must increase with Time.. something that is certainly not evident in our solar system.. and causality You cannot create something from nothing....a table cannot become human.. Stop being deceived.. Face your Creator.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      @Void, you've obviously engaged in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. @Crucified is a believer. If one wants to believe, one requires no actual evidence, and can in fact invent evidence out of thin air or less. If one does not want to believe, all the evidence in the world will not convince.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • crucified

      @ Lettuce anyone can make statments about comments.. substantiate your claims ... Ask Void for Help.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      @ Crucified,
      You are a good comedian !
      "Imperical" ? LOL Ha Ha Ha. There is no such word. Now dear, you need to remember the Palin rule. If a word is too bg for you, try not to make a f-ol of yourself.
      I see that you have read no science since the 1950's. The Causality thingy is outdated. I know you never heard about it, dear, but there is a new branch of physics called Quantum Mechanics. "Something" does come from "nothing" constantly, all the time, everywhere. Sorry to burst the bubble. Cheers.

      April 23, 2011 at 6:03 am |
  12. Dan Durea

    FROM THESE POSTS, IT LOOKS LIKE MOST AMERICANS ARE NOT RELIGIOUS AT ALL. THIS FACT EXPOSES THEIR PHONY BALONEY TRADITIONS OF CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS, EASTER, AND THANKSGIVING.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bruce

      Caps lock abuse is a path that leads straight to hell.

      You have been warned.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • crucified

      Want is fonney Boloney is those athiest.. that troll the religious blogs to harass the faithful...

      April 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Void

      In America, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving are as much about religion as chili cook-offs. Tell a kid to be good because Jesus wants him to be good and he'll still act like a brat. You'll get a much more positive response if you tell him he'll get a PS3 under the tree if he gets his grades up.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "Want is fonney Boloney is those "faithful".. that troll the religious blogs to harass the atheists."

      See? It works both ways. Which one are you – the pot or the kettle?

      April 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • keylargo

      What is really sad is the Christians that troll these blogs to harass the atheist.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Dan Durea, you seem a tad undereducated. Allow me to enlighten you:

      Origins of Thanksgiving: early pilgrims celebrating a shared meal with the indigenous Americans in peace and harmony – nothing to do with Christianity.

      Origins of Christmas: according to Christians, a celebration of the birthday of Jesus, however, most actual historical accounts have him born in late March or early April. Dec. 25th was chosen because most cultures already celebrated a Winter Solstice holiday around that time, so Christendom simply appropriated an existing holiday for their own purposes.

      Origins of Easter: according to Christians, a celebration of the death and "rebirth" of Jesus, however, historical accounts are a bit sketchy on the actual dates, so a date that more-or-less coincides with the existing Jewish holiday of Passover was appropriated by early Christendom.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  13. Maziar A.

    The picture of Jesus shown up there is an European nose. What happened to his natural Jewish nose! Did he have a rhino surgery?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  14. crucified

    Wow

    April 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  15. Maziar A.

    The picture of Jesus shown up there has an European nose. What happened to his natural Jewish nose? Did he have a rhino surgery?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • T Edward

      Jesus wasn't an Ashkenazi (of German decent) Jew, so he wouldn't have had the stereotypical features.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  16. Salvatore

    I don't believe there was a Jesus but if there was, he wouldn't be tried in modern times. He would be diagnosed as mentally deficient, medicated and put on the streets.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • ThinkBig

      Read Josepheus! it will change your mind.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • keylargo

      How do you know Josepheus' writings weren't just a "novel"? Many scholars are not sure about Homer or Plato's writings. The same might be said of Josepheus writings, they prove nothing.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • crucified

      @keylargo Because he was a Jewish Scribe... there were penalties for not giving exact accounts.. such as Death.. thou shall not bear false witness.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  17. Brett

    Jesus had to die to save us from our sin, so that we would have eternal life and to reconcile us to God.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Mike from Lone Tree

      Brent, that doesn't make any sense. How does someone else dying save future people from their own actions? Moreover, he didn't really die, now did he? He came back to life 3 days later to live in heaven at the right hand of himself and the Holy Ghost (who is also himself). Now what kind of sacrifice is that? Not much.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Why did Jesus HAVE to die? This assumes that god, then, is not omnipotent. That he/she/it is bound by some sort of rules whereby he couldn't grant eternal life to a select set of people without first sending his son to be tortured and murdered.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      Brad, can you cite the source of your statement that "Jesus died for our sins". By the way, don't give a reference from the Autobiography of John,Mark,Matthew or Paul because Bible was not given to them but Jesus ONLY. So what those 4 autobiographers has to say, I have no interest in that. All I can remember is Jesus said "O God O God why Thou has forsaken me" or something like that when he was on the cross. Also, If Jesus died for our sins, what will happen to the people who died before Jesus came? Thanks in advance.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • crucified

      @truthseeker Well you have to know the Jewish belief of Sheol.. and if you want to know read Josepheus.. you will find it is very similar to Jesus account in Lazerus and the rich man.. which means...it is really Hot down there... the Truth is even with proof you probably would not believe.. so maybe you were not Chosen!

      April 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      The "Jesus died to save us from our sins" fable likely has it origin in much older cultures wherein it was common to select a young man, allow him a year to indulge in every sin available (gluttony, sloth, and so forth), and then sacrifice him to the god or gods of the day, the idea being that his sacrifice would save the rest of the village from the wrath of the god or gods. It was already an old custom long before Jesus was born.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      can you cite the source of your statement that "Jesus died for our sins". By the way, don't give a reference from the Autobiography of John,Mark,Matthew or Paul because Bible was not given to them but Jesus ONLY. So what those 4 autobiographers has to say, I have no interest in that. All I can remember is Jesus said "O God O God why Thou has forsaken me" or something like that when he was on the cross. Also, If Jesus died for our sins, what will happen to the people who died before Jesus came? If he died for our sins why people are being punished for stealing, killing, raping and other crimes or sins b/c "Jesus died for our sins" right? Does that really seem logical to any person with a sane mind? If human being would not let people go with crime and sins, you think God who is most just will just let people get away with sins in his Kingdom? Come on now. Sounds like a line from a Hollywood movie writer.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Landruu

      Brett. I have a mint 30BC chariot for sale. Interested?

      April 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • phred

      None of th gospels were written by the people thy are namd after, so they are in no way autobiographies.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • crucified

      @Phred actually Matthew and John are autobiographies.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @crucified – you may want to brush up on your history. Most scholars think that not only was John not written by the apostle John (the text only references a disciple after all and never by name), but likely was not even written by an eyewitness. That it was written nearly six decades after the death of Jesus would lend credence to this claim.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • ThinkBig

      @Steve7 You are wrong about Joh,.. He is always referred to as the one whom Jesus Loved.. and the fact that there is no mention of the temple destruction in any of the Bible proves the whole Bible was written before 70 AD.. Too significant an event to leave out.. and is considered by Historians to be Proof.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  18. itotem

    God is good.

    April 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      Jesus saves...

      ...but Gretzky gets the rebound!! He shoots!! HE SCORES!!!!

      April 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  19. Brad

    What's funny is Jesus didn't do anything wrong. How can you bring this to a modern court and sentence someone who did nothing wrong to life in jail?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • standingwave

      The Romans charged him with blasphemy and this exercise is to see what a modern court would make of that charge.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Tim

      Exactly, makes no sense..

      April 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      @standingwave: what would be an equivalent charge in a modern American court? The closest thing I can think of is maybe perjury.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Opie

      The ROMANS charged him with blasphemy? Dummy, he was accused based on HALACHA. Romans didn't accuse anyone at any point of "blasphemy". Much like St. Stephen in the book of Acts who was killed "for insulting Moses and God", Jesus was killed for apostasy from Judaism.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Up next: mock cage fight to see which is more likely to win an MMA bout – Santa or the Easter Bunny

      April 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Brandy

      is is a poor example. Jesus never murdered anyone. That is the only reason a person can be sentenced to death in this country, for a cold and calculated murder. It's plain and simple, if you don't want to be sentenced to death then don't purposefully kill an innocent person. There is a man, Michael Woodmansee, who is scheduled to leave prison, free and clear, in August. His crime? Kidnapping, murder and the mutilation of a 5 year old child. It is strongly believed that he fed on the child's remains as well. If he'd been sentenced to death this evil, rotten filth would not be put back on our streets. That's why we need the death penalty!

      April 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I fail to see in the above example, why life in prison would not have resulted in the desired outcome. I fail to understand why we kill people who kill people to demonstrate that killing is wrong.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Brandy

      I agree. Jesus never murdered anyone. This mock case was to call attention to capital punishment and this was a very poor example. The only crime in which a person can recieve the death penalty in the US is for the purposeful, calculated murder of another human being. It's quite different from adultery. I mentioned in another post that a man is about to go free in August (Michael Woodmansee), even though he kidnapped and murdered a child. I could never argue against the death penalty if it keeps innocent people safe. I am aware that some poor souls have been wrongly condemened in the past, but I would wager that far more innocents have been slain due to killers being set free, and unless a killer is dead there is always a chance that they could go free.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • gogogopher

      WHOA, folks..... Yes, Jesus did murder people. CHILDREN...... 42 of them..... Would Christians read the Bible, please?

      2nd Kings.... Prophet was made fun of for being bald by a group of children.... (accurate translation)....

      He prayed to Jesus.... "Lord..." Jesus sent two female to maul the kids......

      So yes.... Jesus kills....

      April 22, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      Wrong. It just proves we need secure prisons, and sentences of "life without parole". Bringing about a "state of justice " is an impossible fiction. Better to lock it up and throw away the key, (and not waste millions more on it's defence), and let it suffer for as long as absolutely possible.

      April 23, 2011 at 5:45 am |
  20. ThinkBig

    CNN wont let me post!!!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • T.Z

      I do belive that Jesus walked on earth. I do not belive that he is the son of god. (there is NO god I would care to worship) He was a rebel and and lover of peace and justice.. As a proud athiest I remember him on this Easter. And no,,,, my christian family and friends have no idea where I'm coming from!

      April 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • ThinkBig

      @ T.Z. Why choose Athiesm?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Better than an angry, impulsive, narcissistic, vengeful, blood-lusting god.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      Why would an eternal nongender possessing being have a son ? How COULD it have a son ?
      Is it because, deep down, there was and still is the absolute certainty that men are better than women, and that the concept of it's having a daughter is, in the end, insulting and disturbing ?

      April 23, 2011 at 5:36 am |
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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.