The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
Does Easter celebrate a man, a savior, or a myth? Some say Jesus never existed and was a myth created by early Christians.
April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET

The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene.

It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.

But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture.  Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of  "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?"

“If I said to you that there was no real Good Samaritan, I don’t think anyone would be outraged,” says Freke, one of a group of mythicists who say Jesus never existed. “It’s a teaching story. What we’re saying is that the Jesus story is an allegory. It’s a parable of the spiritual journey.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

On Easter Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide mark the resurrection of Jesus. Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed.

But there is another view of Jesus that’s been emerging, one that strikes at the heart of the Easter story. A number of authors and scholars say Jesus never existed. Such assertions could have been ignored in an earlier age.  But in the age of the Internet and self-publishing, these arguments have gained enough traction that some of the world’s leading New Testament scholars feel compelled to publicly take them on.

Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar who recently released a book devoted to the question called “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.”

Your comments on Jesus deniers

He says Freke and others who deny Jesus’ existence are conspiracy theorists trying to sell books.

“There are people out there who don’t think the Holocaust happened, there wasn’t a lone JFK assassin and Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” Ehrman says. “Among them are people who don’t think Jesus existed.”

Does it matter if Jesus existed?

Some Jesus mythicists say many New Testament scholars are intellectual snobs.

“I don’t think I’m some Internet kook or Holocaust denier,” says Robert Price, a former Baptist pastor who argues in “Deconstructing Jesus” that a historical Jesus probably didn’t exist.

“They say I’m a bitter ex-fundamentalist. It’s pathetic to see this character assassination. That’s what people resort to when they don’t have solid arguments.”

 The debate over Jesus’ existence has led to a curious role reversal. Two of the New Testament scholars who are leading the way arguing for Jesus’ existence have a reputation for attacking, not defending, traditional Christianity.

Ehrman, for example, is an agnostic who has written books that argue that virtually half  of the New Testament is forged. Another defender of Jesus’ existence is John Dominic Crossan, a New Testament scholar who has been called a heretic because his books challenge some traditional Christian teachings.

But as to the existence of Jesus, Crossan says, he’s “certain.”

He says some Jesus deniers may be people who have a problem with Christianity.

“It’s a way of responding to something you don’t like,” Crossan says. “We can’t say that Obama doesn’t exist, but we can say that he’s not an American.  If we’re talking about Obama in the future, there are people who might not only say he wasn’t American, but he didn’t even exist.”

Does it even matter if Jesus existed? Can’t people derive inspiration from his teachings whether he actually walked the Earth?

Crossan says Jesus’ existence matters in the same way that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s existence mattered.

If King never existed, people would say his ideas are lovely, but they could never work in the real world, Crossan says.

It’s the same with an historical Jesus, Crossan writes in his latest book, “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus.”

“The power of Jesus’ historical life challenges his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God. And if one, why not others? If some, why not all?”

The evidence against Jesus’ existence

Those who argue against Jesus’ existence make some of these points:

-The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus.

-No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.

-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.

Price, author of “Deconstructing Jesus,” says the first-century Western world was full of stories of a martyred hero who is called a son of God.

“There are ancient novels from that period where the hero is condemned to the cross and even crucified, but he escapes and survives it,” Price says. “That looks like Jesus.”

Those who argue for the existence of Jesus often cite two external biblical sources: the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote about Jesus at the end of the first century and the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote about Jesus at the start of the second century.

But some scholars say Josephus’ passage was tampered with by later Christian authors. And Price says the two historians are not credible on Jesus.

“Josephus and Tacitus – they both thought Hercules was a true figure,” Price says. “Both of them spoke of Hercules as a figure that existed.”

Price concedes that there were plenty of mythical stories that were draped around historical figures like Caesar. But there’s plenty of secular documentation to show Caesar existed.

“Everything we read about Jesus in the gospels conforms to the mythic hero,” Price says. “There’s nothing left over that indicates that he was a real historical figure.”

Those who argue for the existence of Jesus cite another source: the testimony of the Apostle Paul and Jesus’ early disciples. Paul even writes in one New Testament passage about meeting James, the brother of Jesus.

These early disciples not only believed Jesus was real but were willing to die for him. People don’t die for myths, some biblical scholars say.

They will if the experience is powerful enough, says Richard Carrier, author of “Proving History.”

Carrier says it’s probable that Jesus never really existed and that early Christians experienced a mythic Jesus who came to them through visions and revelations.

Two of the most famous stories in the New Testament – the conversion of Paul and the stoning death of Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs - show that people seized by religious visions are willing to die, Carrier says.

In both the Paul and Stephen stories, the writers say that they didn’t see an actual Jesus but a heavenly vision of Jesus, Carrier says.

People “can have powerful religious experiences that don’t correspond to reality,” Carrier says.

“The perfect model is Paul himself,” Carrier says. “He never met Jesus. Paul only had an encounter with this heavenly Jesus. Paul is completely converted by this religious experience, but no historical Jesus is needed for that to happen.”

As for the passage where Paul says he met James, Jesus’ brother, Carrier says:

“The problem with that is that all baptized Christians were considered brothers of the Lord.”

The evidence for Jesus’ existence

Some scholars who argue for the existence of Jesus says the New Testament mentions actual people and events that are substantiated by historical documents and archaeological discoveries.

Ehrman, author of “Did Jesus Exist?” scoffed at the notion that the ancient world was full of pagan stories about dying deities that rose again.  Where’s the proof? he asks.

Ehrman devoted an entire section of his book to critiquing Freke, the mythicist and author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” who says there was an ancient Osiris-Dionysus figure who shares uncanny parallels to Jesus.

He says Freke can’t offer any proof that an ancient Osiris figure was born on December 25, was crucified and rose again. He says Freke is citing 20th- and 19th-century writers who tossed out the same theories.

Ehrman says that when you read ancient stories about mythological figures like Hercules and Osiris, “there’s nothing about them dying and rising again.”

“He doesn’t know much about ancient history,” Ehrman says of Freke. “He’s not a scholar. All he knows is what he’s read in other conspiracy books.”

Craig A. Evans, the author of “Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence,” says the notion that Paul gave his life for a mythical Jesus is absurd.

He says the New Testament clearly shows that Paul was an early enemy of the Christian church who sought to stamp out the burgeoning Jesus movement.

“Don’t you think if you were in Paul’s shoes, you would have quickly discovered that there was no Jesus?” Evans asks.  “If there was no Jesus, then how did the movement start?”

Evans also dismissed the notion that early Christians blended or adopted pagan myths to create their own mythical Jesus. He says the first Christians were Jews who despised everything about pagan culture.

“For a lot of Jewish people, the pagan world was disgusting,” Evans says. “I can’t imagine [the Gospel writer] Matthew making up a story where he is drawing parallels between Jesus’ birth and pagan stories about Zeus having sex with some fair maiden.”

The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed, Evans says.  A vivid personality practically bursts from the pages of the New Testament: He speaks in riddles, talks about camels squeezing through the eye of a needle, weeps openly and even loses his temper.

Evans says he is a man who is undeniably Jewish, a genius who understands his culture but also transcends his tradition with gem-like parables.

“Who but Jesus could tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan?” Evans says. “Where does this bolt of lightning come from? You don’t get this out of an Egyptian myth.”

Those who argue against the existence of Jesus say they aren’t trying to destroy people’s faith.

“I don’t have any desire to upset people,” says Freke. “I do have a passion for the truth. … I don’t think rational people in the 20th century can go down a road just on blind faith.”

Yet Easter was never just about rationale.

The Easter stories about the resurrection are strange: Disciples don’t recognize Jesus as they meet him on the road; he tells someone not to touch him; he  eats fish in another.

In the Gospel of Matthew, a resurrected Jesus suddenly appears to a group of disciples and gives them this cryptic message:

“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

And what did they see: a person, a pagan myth or a savior?

Albert Schweitzer, a 20th-century theologian and missionary, suggested that there will never be one answer to that question.  He said that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: You see only your own reflection.

The “real” Jesus, Schweitzer says, will remain “a stranger and an enigma,” someone who is always ahead of us.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Books • Church • Culture wars • Easter • Easter • Faith • History • Jesus • Uncategorized • Virgin Mary

soundoff (8,773 Responses)
  1. steve

    the true story is out there, Brian helped Jesus carry his cross but then Jesus ran off and left Brian to be crucified. its in the holy book of python people, you cant deny it.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • halfbakedlunatic

      And great big sandworms are in the book of Dune. You can't deny that either.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • T. Lee

      Apart from testimony by Jesus followers (apostles/disciples) – the Jewish historian Josephus (as he wrote about the "History of the Jews", the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, etc., considered Jesus to have been a not a myth but a teacher:

      "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day."

      Testimonium Flavianum, Book 18

      April 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • The Dude


      Jesus Speaks

      April 8, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • † In God We Trust †


      !! Shame on CNN for posting this ridiculous article on Easter Sunday and attacking Christianity on this holiday !!
      (CNN would never do this to any Jewish/Muslim holidays – luckily poor Christians are always forgiving)

      Do like me and many others: *** CALL/E-MAIL CNN & COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS BS! ***

      – Happy Easter everyone and may our Lord & Saviour bless us all who believe in him. –

      April 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • @ T.Lee

      The works of Josephus was also proved to be fraud. Sorry but you can't quote anything written by a guy who didnt exist.
      Of ALL the historians alive in the time of Jesus and for centuries afterwards, not ONE of them wrote about Jesus. You would think a guy who did that many miracles and rocked the ancient world would have made it into the history books. You would think that there would be tons of letters back and forth about him. But no... that didnt happen.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Francine N.


      April 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • DebbieNJ

      What a great movie.....'Crucifiction? No, freedom. Ok, off you go then!'...lol

      April 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      Josephus was born after Jesus died. Where are all of the contemporary accounts of Jesus?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  2. Dorothy J

    So, funny how we have to have oxygen to breathe, yet we can't see it and we know it exists. So, those that don't believe that Jesus is, was and always wil be, where is your proof that He isn't, wasn't never will be?

    April 8, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Toto

      Oh dear! Do we really have to deal with the absurd "you can't see air, therefor God exists" non-sequitur again?

      To state the astoundingly obvious, oxygen can be tested for in many many ways. It can now be seen in an electron microscope.

      God cannot be seen, tested for, or be evidenced in any way.

      Your dreary, tired attempt to ask for evidence that god doesn't exist ignore the fact that you cannot conclusively disprove the existence of something that does not exist, such as unicorns and leprechauns and bigfoot and other fantasy characters. The non-existence is strongly evidenced by the complete and total lack of any and all evidence anywhere in the world that even implies the existence of a god. And finally, the person making the original claim must support that claim – you are falling into the incredibly common (but very dishonest) ploy of making the person who did not make the original claim disprove the existence of a non-existent thing, which cannot be done . . . and then claiming that is evidence that the invisible thing does exist!

      Thanks for stopping by and parroting that old tired inaccurate argument yet again. How very original your thinking is.

      Have a wonderful Zombie Jesus Day.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      You are an idiot! We cannot see oxygen but we can measure it, isolate it and predict how it will react, with repeatable and great precision, with other elements. None of this can be said for gods or jesus. You are the one making the extraordinary claim that a supernatural being exists – it's up to you to prove your claim, or to shut the fuck up!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • steve

      take away your oxygen and see how long you live. i've lived 52 years without god and i'm doing fine.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Ting

      So you must also believe in the invisible pink elephant that lives on the dark side of the moon. I thought I was the only one.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      Imagine an idiot who came along into a city and after observing all the cars, and buildings, and light poles, and parks and restaurants, and you name it, he suddenly insisted that MAN DOES NOT EXIST!!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • jimmyjames1972

      While I think that some are being quite mean to this woman for posting her belief and valid points are brought up, the article is whether there is substantial proof as to whether Jesus existed as a man. I think there are empirical proof that he did exist as man on earth. Historical records, including passages from the bible and the Qur'an do tell of Jesus as a human man walking the earth.

      The part of whether he was divine is all based off of belief. The one way to prove that he does exist as a divine figure is by belief. If you believe he was the son of God, sent to earth to die for the sins of man, he does in fact exist as a divine individual. If you do not believe, then he was not the son of God. It is really simple as that.

      I am an orthodox christian and my belief is that Jesus was not only man, but was God and the existence of the Holy Trinity. That is my belief and that is all I need for proof of who he was and the role he played. I do not discredit or discount others who have different or non beliefs of who Jesus was. I feel as a well rounded person, I am able to still have my beliefs while understanding those who feel and think differently, conduct myself in a well mannered discussion and debate and still leave it with no hurt feelings. Maybe this is something we can all practice instead of making others feel bad.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Elena

      according to scientific evidence nothing really exist only consciousness does exist

      April 8, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Lifetraveller

      Elena, I completely understand what you are saying...and I agree. Fascinating, isn't it?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • daneste613

      Dorothy, your claim is very, very dishonest coming from a person who allegedly believes in god. Take this example: if I claim little green martians exist, I have to prove it. Those who think those being don't exist don't need to prove anything, why? because there is lack of evidence, that's it. I don't need to prove the "non-existence" of something. But you claim god exists. Fine. If you make such claim, you are the only one expected to prove it. If you can't is because it is purely and solely based on an act of faith. Please, be honest. I don't mean to disrespect your personal belief, but it is YOU making the claim that something exists, not atheists.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Dennis

      I think you have been without oxygen for too long.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      JJ72, you are a bigger idiot than dumbass Dorothy! No amount of delusional believers can make an imaginary supposedly supernatural being real! They are either real or they are not, completely independent of who or how many believe in them. Of course, there is no evidence to show any of them are real, but Happy Jewish Zombie Day anyway. Idiot!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Clark1355

      Its your job to prove it not ours. But lets start at the age of the earth. According to the bible its 10,000 years old which everyone knows is not true.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • seyedibar

      we can see oxygen, genius. Open your eyes next time you're underwater.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • david esmay

      You must have sucked in science class. How's the reception at the trailer park/

      April 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • I know you

      Go back to Internet Infidels, home of the "internet kooks", Toto.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Paul

      You can actually see oxygen.
      I have seen it many times. This is a stupid uneducated analogy.
      You simply cool air in Liquid Nitrogen. The Nitrogen evaporates and you are left with liquid oxygen which is visible.
      It is a clear liquid. So I hope the uneducated stop using oxygen for the proof of Jesus

      April 9, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • guest

      same rule applied for santa claus, zues, and leprechauns

      April 9, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Justin

      Gravity is still a theory it cannnot be proven.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Hart

      Dorothy J, I respect your views and understand what you mean. Some things have been scientifically proven however there is still a lot that is not understood in our living world and universe. Likewise God and the spiritual world cannot be explained, it is something one experience, feels in ones being, lives to appreciate, and accept with faith until mankind reaches the intellectual level to absorb and comprehend it.
      'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein

      April 11, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • 13monkees

      I agree with JJ82 that we don't have to be mean about it, even though Dorothy was quite smug in her statement, but I also agree with pointing out the flaws in the argument. Everyone else is correct that we can prove the existence of air but not any supernatural beings. JJ82, belief is not proof. Look up the definition of proof. You can believe and believe and it doesn't make it true. It is not proof. Is belief all you need? Fine, but don't call it proof because it isn't proof. It's just you taking a giant leap of unprovable faith.

      April 21, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  3. Let's talk about faith

    Becuase there is absolutely no tangible evidence whatsoever of any god, believers must rely on faith. Indeed, the whole concept of faith is considered crucial to believers, that if there is evidence, then you do not have the faith God needs. Indeed, God stays hidden so that faith is the defining aspest of a true believer.

    So far, so good, right? That's what separates Christians from the atheists, right?

    So the great fathers of Christianity were pillars of faith, right?


    All of the apostles had direct evidence – they knew Jesus and saw his miracles. They did not rely on faith at all. THey relied on evidence. Just like atheists.

    Mary and Jesus' family? No faith; evidence.

    Paul? Got to meet the resurrected Jesus. Paul got evidence too.

    The early followers? They got miracles and other evidence from Jesus – that's what converted them.

    They all got and relied on evidence. Faith was NOT asked of them. The whole religion was based on people who did not rely on evidence in any way, shape or form – they got evidence.

    So why are atheists bad for asking for evidence when God happily gave all the founders of Christianity solid evidence? Why does Christianity demand faith when none of the original members had it? Why did God not even reveal his true religion for millennia, then provide his core people with evidence, then spend the rest of worldly time hiding all the evidence again and demand faith?

    It doesn't make a damn bit of sense.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • steve

      maybe you are analyzing a fairy story a bit too much.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • edmond kwan

      you are right..God provided the evidence first , before he asked for faith, that is belief/obedience and loyalty. Even Jesus acknowledged that people would not believe if they did not see the evidence of signs and wonders.It's just that the 'christians' can admit to the truth that they lost the power to provide the evidence with real signs and wonders and now demand faith in place of truth, to recieve salvation. For even Nicodemus had seen the signs done by Jesus in the Temple before Jesus spoke to him about faith and salvation.It is when 'christians' themselves stop sharing their faith but have testimonies to present that the world will see the reality of Jesus. Currently most christians share their faith..Jesus commanded his disciples to testify. What you believe is not admissible in a court of law as evidence, what you can testify to as having seen and heard is. That is why, so many people cannot accept the 'christian' faith line...they rightly want the christian testimony with supporting evidence. When the disciples of John asked Jesus , are you the one or should we expect another, Jesus' reply was.."Go back and report what you have seen and heard, the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the lepers are cured, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor.' To anyone living in USA,,it is good news,,free and effective medical care that can be evidenced. Faith is needed..but.truth is more important, for even God is seeking worshippers who worship Him in spirit and in truth, according to Jesus.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Nick

      It's been a solid 2000 years or so since this "evidence." I would love Jesus to come down and say, "hey earthly soul, let's pound a beer and talk about why you should convert your immortal soul to Christianity bro."

      Sadly I have had no beers with the omnipotent creator of the universe so I have not seen any kind of "evidence."

      April 8, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Elena

      If you want to debunk atheist better use scientific facts to counter argue them. those historical accounts wont do much!

      April 8, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • floridamom1

      There is absolutely NO scientific evidence that says there is NOT a creator and that Jesus did not exist. No scientific evidence whatsoever. Science changes its mind daily as new discoveries are made. Simply because God cannot be proven to exist at this moment in time does not mean He doesn't exist. For an example, they just recently found an entire T-Rex skeleton and lo and behold! It had what appeared to be feathers on it! Surprising! Now of course everyone is scrambling to make T-Rex look more real than before with all those scales scientists KNEW he had on him. Surprise! So, just because God cannot be proven to exist at this moment in time, guys, too bad. Doesn't prove your case at all.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      floridamommy, you do not have a clue about how the scientific method works or about who has the burden of proof when an extraordinary claim is made. Your ignorance is not evidence for anything but your level of intelligence. It certainly isn't evidence of any god, not even just one.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • david esmay

      You do realize that the first gospels/fairy tales were written sixty years after he died, if he existed which is doubtful, and most were written in the second century and re-written to fit the political leanings of the bishops in charge. Oh no, it's the bishop!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • seyedibar

      Paul never met Jesus. And the entire religion is founded and expounded upon the letters he wrote. The other gospels are merely more embellished copies of his work that came decades and even centuries later. None of the beloved disciples never met this man called Jesus.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Bob

      Read hebrews chapter 11. It is all about faith and that is how all men will be jistified by God.They saw but also needed faith!

      April 9, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • 13monkees

      Bob, that's just dumb. If you see it, you have knowledge and therefore don't need faith. The whole point of faith is to believe without knowing.

      April 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  4. What are the odds?

    Here are the possibilities: 1. Jesus existed and was the God Christians claim. 2. Jesus existed, but was not a God. 3. Jesus did not exist.

    So just based on Christianity, there is only a 1 in 3 chance Jesus was God.

    There are 18 major religions in the world today (and many more minor ones). If there is a God that conforms to a major religion, Jesus has only a 1 in 18 chance of being the real god.

    There have been an estimated 4,200 known religions. That makes the chance of Jesus being god 1 in 4,200, assuming that there is a god and it conforms to at least one known religion.

    Add in the possibility that there are no gods or god-like beings, supported by the total lack of evidence anywhere in the universe, and the odds of Jesus' godhood plummet further.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • huh?

      by that logic i could say you could be either 1) normal person who thinks clearly 2) psycho pervert 3) inbred yokel 4) typing/internet surfing cat. therefore you would have a 25% chance of being a tech savvy feline....because i made a list of 4 things

      April 8, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Cq

      Yeah, considering how many people are just people, and how many people have been proven to be gods, I think you have to weigh the odds of each thing individually, not just assume they are equally likely.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Pendragon

      You presume that the possibility that Jesus was a god is equal to the possibilities that he did not exist or that he did but was human. The latter two are far, far, far more likely that the first. It's not one in three; it would be 1 in an-astronomically-high-but-not-determinable number.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • floridamom1

      And yet the odds of winning the current mega lottery are 176,000,000 to 1 and still someone will win it. God does exist. Even if you can't find Him yet.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Cq

      We don't even know if there is a prize in the god lottery, and if there is, it's 1000s to one that God is the only one to be real.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  5. Great Lines

    “Josephus and Tacitus – they both thought Hercules was a true figure,” Price says. “Both of them spoke of Hercules as a figure that existed.” Oh dear! Whatever are our apologists who keep using them as proof of Jesus going to say? I bet it is really . . . creative. I may have to remind them of that as they post in the future.

    "People “can have powerful religious experiences that don’t correspond to reality,” Carrier says." Of course they can! That's what delusion is!

    "The Easter stories about the resurrection are strange: Disciples don’t recognize Jesus as they meet him on the road." I did not know that. Great little fact for future discussions.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Rich

      From your comments, I suspect there's a lot you don't know. I'd suggest you steer clear of future "discussions". A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Great Lines

      Not a single fact or argument, rich? Just ad hominem and "shut up"? That's the bottom of the barrel.

      Care to actually try to think and present a position?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Mark

      Funny, I've read the collected works of Josephus from cover to cover. I don't recall any mention of Hercules. I do recall a mention of Jesus, however.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • wrob

      Oh, so we should disregard the writings of Tacitus, one of our primary sources about the early Roman empire? Probably can't trust any non-atheist historians. Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Mithradates, Sparticus – probably all myths, too.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Kafir

      ^ Depends on how Tacitus gathered his data. With regards to jesus, we know he was born after jesus supposedly lived, so he certainly would not have been an eyewitness.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  6. Ungodly Discipline

    I went to see "American Idiot" last night. Great show. Me, my wife and my two girls 11 and 15. Nice reality fix.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  7. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    you heard it here first.
    Evidence in the Synoptic Gospels could easily prove the opposite, that Jesus may well have survived the crucifixion.
    – no specific eyewitnesses testify seeing Jesus dead on the cross
    – legs not broken!!!
    – short stay on the cross, very short
    – whisked away by secret disciple to a nearby roomy chamber
    – body secure and hidden from public view for 3 days thereafter
    – plenty of time to physically recuperate and recover from ordeal
    – no big burial ceremony, no big crowd of people seeing the dead body on display, nothing

    April 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Wow, a right-wing atheist!
      Breaks the old commie-atheist stereotype, you betcha!
      What do ya think of Sarah Palin?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Spear through the side, we all know what wimps Roman soldiers were, probably never even went all the way through the heart at all.
      By the way that is the same tale the Temple leadership made up to try to explain the empty tomb. They also bought the cooperation of the Roman guards. You forgot about the guards didn't you? Hard to pull the slight of hand with the body when it was under the watchful eyes of Rome. God bless

      April 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Rich

      And the spear stuck in his side was what... a theatrical prop?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Yes, great scene in Jesus Christ Superstar.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Cq

      just sayin
      Where do you guys come up with this fanciful stuff? It reminds me of the "riding volcano gas clouds" theory of animal migration after the flood. Talk about conspiracy theorists.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      for something on which the entire christianity rests, death by crucifixion! Not a single elders of the church, all those disciples, and other hanger-ons, NOT A SINGLE ONE CLAIMS TO HAVE SEEN JESUS DEAD. There is, in the Bible, NOT EVEN THE TESTIMONY of the person who "buried" Jesus!!!! ZERO, ZILCH!

      No one saw a dead Jesus or reported seeing the dead body of Jesus. The writers of the synpotics ASSUME Jesus was dead, since they can quote no one. Notice, how the writers can quote all different people VISITING the tomb on Sunday, what they said and what they did, quite graphically. Mary saw this Mary did that, Mary said this, but two days before, NO ONE IS THERE from Christianity's founders to tell us "yes, I saw Jesus dead as a door knob".

      April 8, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • Mark

      Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were both church leaders. They prepared the body of Jesus after it was removed from the cross. Very short stay on the cross? Six hours is plenty of time to allow someone to asphyxiate when crucified. Broken legs? Last I checked, broken legs don't generally kill anyone. How about a spear in the side? The body was taken down quickly because the Sabbath was coming up and leaving a body out on the Sabbath was offensive. As an aside, let's let you try getting beaten and whipped unmercifully, crucified for six hours with nails in your hands and feet, and then stabbed with a spear in the side. You are not allowed access to 21st century medicine. Let us know in a few days how your recovery is coming along.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "crucified for six hours with nails in your hands and feet"
      – where does it say in the Gospels that jesus had NAILS in his hands and feet? It does'nt! Romans did not nail people to crosses, they strung them up.

      "Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were both church leaders. They prepared the body of Jesus after it was removed from the cross"
      – so? where is their eyewitness account that Jesus was dead? that they took down a dead body. Infact they have MORE INCENTIVE to take away a fainted Jesus off the cross and hide him since the jews wanted him dead. Two church leaders who would be HAPPY to see their leader survive.

      REMEMBER, none of Jesus' disciples wanted Jesus to die on the cross intentionally, they ALL HAD FORGOTTEN about his SUPPOSED PROMISE to die and come back to life!!!!! Luke 24:7 Which explains why you find no testimony of Nicodemus and Joseph.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  8. AGuest9

    Myth, obviously.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  9. b4bigbang

    @Momoya: Since you accused Christians of commiting violence against you and yours, to the extent that you had to move, then i must call FAIL on your statement, using the same requirements the atheists use in arguing with believers; either prove it or you lose.

    But, generously assuming for the moment u r being accurate, I'd have to assume that u r not living on the west coast. I've experienced nothing but total tolerance in my town here on the W coast. I'm a Christian, my co-worker is a Muslim and our boss is an atheist and we all get along quite well.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  10. JJ

    [a line of prisoners files past a jailer]
    Coordinator: Crucifixion?
    Prisoner: Yes.
    Coordinator: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.
    [Next prisoner]
    Coordinator: Crucifixion?
    Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.
    Coordinator: What?
    Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn't done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.
    Coordinator: Oh I say, that's very nice. Well, off you go then.
    Mr. Cheeky: No, I'm just pulling your leg, it's crucifixion really.
    Coordinator: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well...
    Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  11. iamdeadlyserious

    Did a "scholar" honestly say that Osiris not being born on December 25th somehow made the story less parallel to that of Jesus?

    No one claimed December 25th as Jesus's birth until centuries after his death.

    The two primary historical sources for Jesus's existence, Tacitus and Josephus, were both men who lived centuries after Jesus is supposed to have existed. They aren't primary sources. Nor, for that matter, are any of the authors of the New Testament.

    I'm on the fence about the issue, but there really isn't enough extra-scriptural evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus to be confirmed with any degree of certainty.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Rich

      I've got a pretty good BS detector, and it's gone off on both sides of the argument. That Dec. 25 argument was one of them. Another was the Hercules comment – do we KNOW Hercules wasn't real? Of course not. We can question details of the story, but whether a man named Hercules existed – there's little evidence either way. We thought the city of Troy was a myth... until we found it.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Really now?

      Rich, you cannot possibly have a good BS detector if that is your opinion on Hercules. Hercules' dad was the god Jupiter. Are you really saying that you have a good BS detector when you think that a guy with a Greco-Roman god for a father and supernatural powers might possibly have existed?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Rich

      @ReallyNow: Your reading comprehension isn't really up to snuff, is it? Re-read my comment, then try again.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Governator

      Hercules?? That was really Arnold Schwarzenegger who went back in time to kill Mary before she gave birth, but ultimately failed.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • TLC

      A hero similar to Hercules (Herakles) may have indeed existed. Of course he wasn't actually Zeus's son, but I could see where a great hero would be thought of as the son of God (heh, another one...). It's an open question in in archaeology circles.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  12. Faithful

    "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have love God but that He loved us and send His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." – I John 4:9-10
    This is what Easter is all about. We are all lost in our sins. Romans 3:23 says, " For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God." We were lost in our sins and on our way to hell. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We had no way out. We cannot save ourselves. But, there is good news. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." God loved us as wretched sinners so much that he gave us his only son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came into the world, lived a perfect life and then died to save us from our sins. Then three days later physically rose from the dead. This proves that Jesus Christ is our only savior. This is Easter. If Jesus had not really come to earth, we would not have freedom from our sin and no way of being saved from hell.
    Praise be to God who loved me so much, that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die and rise again to save me from my sins.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Cq

      Saved from a hell that Christianity taught us existed in the first place, and saved by many "sins" that only exist in religious dogma. Convenient, that.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • halfbakedlunatic

      'god' is an idiotic idea promoted by immoral people to pacify and control the weak minded.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Faithful

      Today is Easter Sunday!! Today I celebrate the physical resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He saved me from my sins and rose again to prove He has the power to do so!! Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I pray, one day, can find truly who Jesus Christ is.
      He is the God beyond all praising.
      "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among who we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being righ in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved." – Ephesians 2:1-5
      This is Easter Sunday. Praise be to God!! He loved me and send His Son to pay for my sins. Jesus Christ is now reigning and will forever.
      Happy Easter!! Jesus Christ is Risen!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Adam Labonoski

      Honestly, the Bible was written by MAN and doesn't really offer anything different than any other book that tells a good story. So repeating verses from the Bible, simply doesn't help at all or prove anything at all.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Cq

      People use to praise the pagan gods as you do. Praise proves nothing.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Faithful

      All I am doing is sharing the Truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." – (John 14:6)

      April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Kafir

      Troll much, faithful?

      April 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Faithful

      Explain what you mean by "troll much" please.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  13. Chad

    The evidence against Jesus’ existence: Debunked.. again..

    1. The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus.
    =>nonsense, manufactured "similarities".

    2. No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.
    Lucian (circa 120-after 180) Greek writer and rhetorician.
    "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account..."

    Thallus (AD 52,)
    "On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun."

    Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian)
    "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."

    The Talmud
    "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!"

    Pliny the Younger governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. AD 112.
    "They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."

    Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?)
    "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done."

    3. The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.
    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born – 1 Corinthians 15

    such nonsense. .proof positive that if you want to believe something, the facts just dont matter at all.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • gayjesus

      umm...You do realize that none of those dates are written in the time that jesus was supposed to be alive, right?

      It is that no one wrote about him while he was supposed to be doing all this crazy stuff.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Joshua

      Chad-Fantastic posts! The Christians around the world have hope of life eternal with the resurrection.

      Sadly, Blake is not so sure about life eternal, his hope and future rests on blasphemous lies.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody cares whether Jesus existed. What you fail to prove is your claim that Jesus was the Messiah.

      Quelle surprise.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "What you fail to prove is your claim that Jesus was the Messiah."

      Following up with that info:
      1. Jesus was a real historical person that lived
      2. Jesus was crucified by Roman authorities for claiming to be the Jewish Messiah, he died and was buried
      3. After three days the tomb was found to be empty by some women followers
      4. Following that groups of people; followers, skeptics and persecutors, reported meeting a physically resurrected Christ. This meeting so convinced them that they were then willing to go to their death proclaiming the truth of that.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @hellbound f@g: You do realize that Yeshua, whom we call Jesus, actually is recorded in the historical Jewish birth records. Those people are obsessive about record keeping.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Chard: Sorry, dude, not one iota of the tripe you posted proves Jesus was anything more than some man.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      GodsPoop: I don't dispute that some dude named "Jesus" existed. Prove he was the Messiah.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • leo

      Chad, Great job providing non-christian historians that clearly show that Jesus existed.

      Christians continue to defend the faith as the Blasphemers continue to spread lies, hate, envy.

      Remember this was all promised to us, and it will get worse and worse.

      Matthew 24
      9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      leo, again: I don't dispute that someone named Jesus existed. What proof do you have that he was the Messiah?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "leo, again: I don't dispute that someone named Jesus existed. What proof do you have that he was the Messiah?"

      =>there are two ways to answer that question:
      1. His resurrection demonstrated that He is the Messiah

      2. He claimed to be the Messiah.

      "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse."
      "You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to
      ." – c.s. lewis

      April 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, Chard. No one can prove he WAS resurrected. You got shit, dude.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard, don't you ever get tired of being stupid and wrong?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really, Chard, why don't you try to use your imagination? Suppose your fate rested upon the sort of 'evidence' you're citing, you dumbazz? Would you REALLY want the judge and jury to rely on the testimony of the witnesses you've cited? Come ON, dude. Get real. Get a clue. You're an idiot if you think what you've posted is some sort of proof. It isn't.

      What you have is faith. Nothing more. No facts. No proof. If you need such, you're out of luck.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Rich

      @ Tommie Boy... at first, you were just being a dick. S'okay, we deal with them all the time. THEN you resorted to ad hominem attacks, which is generally where you lost, you know you lost, you just can't deal with it.

      Better luck next time; Chad took you to school.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Timmuh

      No Chad, the authors of the gospels simply assert that many people saw the risen lord. That's NOT the same as having testimony from loads of eyewitnesses. The fact that Mathew, Luke and John were written with Mark in hand, an Iron Age copy and paste if you like, and that all the gospels are in fact anonymous, makes it’s all very unconvincing and definitely not worth believing. Also, although I think he probably did exist as an historical figure, there are zero contemporary sources for Jesus outside the bible. Josephus was writing about the followers of Jesus, not Jesus.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Rich..no way. what evidence of jesus and the messiah? Even the cave men had drawings in the caves of animals, and many drawings exist in the world of mysterious "space craft" drawn on the walls of caves ..yet what of the supposed son of god..nothing.. he appears in the bible and no where else, and he appears to be a fabrication of the earlier pagan stories .

      April 8, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Cq

      Terrorists and kamikaze pilots willingly gave up their lives for their causes too, right?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Cq

      Lots of people were claimed to be the messiah.
      Simon of Peraea (ca. 4 BCE)
      Athronges (ca. 3 CE),[4]
      Menahem ben Judah
      Vespasian, c. 70, (according to our old buddy Josephus)
      Simon bar Kokhba
      Moses of Crete (?)

      And a host of others up to the present day. bar Kokhba actually fits the Jewish expectation better. Check it out.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Timmuh

      Chad, you wrote: “This meeting so convinced them that they were then willing to go to their death proclaiming the truth of that.” Could you tell me which apostles and offer their testimonies or those of eyewitnesses that were there? Of all the apostles, the Bible records the death of only two: Judas Iscariot, who either hanged himself or fell and burst open (depending on which contradictory gospel account one believes), and James whom Herod killed. James being put to death because he was a Christians and James being put to death because he was a Christian who refused to recant his beliefs are two different things. How do you know it was the latter over the former?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Know What


      All of your cited historians are merely telling about what the Christians *claimed* about their hero, and their beliefs, practices and rituals. Thallus also told about how Cronus was a head god of the T'itans, you know, and how he waged war against Zeus. The Talmud is describing perhaps one of many Yeshus who preached in that era.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Christopher M

      Yeah, it's certainly true that Jesus wasn't a good moral teacher. He was a horrible moral teacher.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • floridamom1

      Tom Tom – prove He didn't.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Really-O?

      To all awaiting a reply from Chad –

      Unfortunately Chad is unavailable to reply to your posts as he is spending the day on his knees groveling and uttering superst,itious incantations. I'm sure he will return tomorrow with a flurry of responses, rife with unsupported claims and void of reasoned argument, but containing a plethora of "data" (I do love how he misuses that term) copy-and-pasted from Wikipedia. For those of you who need a "bit of Chad" to tide you over...here are some of my favorite "Chad bites" found on this blog:

      "I dismiss all other gods other than the God of Abraham because the God of Abraham has told me that they aren't real."

      "Every book that purports to accurately record history needs to be examined critically for internal consistency and for its accuracy in detail. The bible succeeds on all accounts."

      "The Genesis account stands alone amongst all creation stories of the time, a fact universally acknowledged...We are only know [sic] beginning to scientifically discover how accurate it is indeed."

      'As for supernatural vs natural processes, I also believe that the origin of life, and the development of more and more complex life forms on earth in the stages reflected in the fossil record, is the direct result of supernatural intervention (it's called "punctuated equilibrium" )'


      April 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cq “Terrorists and kamikaze pilots willingly gave up their lives for their causes too, right?”
      @Chad “many people die for what they believe is true, what we need to do is identify what they believe is true, and asses the evidence supporting that claim to truth.
      In the early disciples case, the belief that they died for was that they had witnessed a resurrected Jesus.
      In all other cases (budhists, muslims) they are dying for belief in a cause in some cases for what a person stands for and in some case for a person.
      The difference is dying for a person or what a person stands for vs dying for the truth of the statement that you have witnessed a resurrected person.
      That is the difference that makes ALL the difference.

      @Cq “Lots of people were claimed to be the messiah.”
      @Chad “indeed, claiming to be the messiah was not unique to Jesus. The thing that was unique was that Jesus actually WAS the messiah.
      “a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”” Acts 5
      @Timmuh “although I think he probably did exist as an historical figure, there are zero contemporary sources for Jesus outside the bible. Josephus was writing about the followers of Jesus, not Jesus.”
      @Chad “See the first post in this thread for 5 examples”

      April 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad! Why the he.ll aren't you in church genuflecting on this holiest-of-holies?! Oooh...Jesus is gunna be pis.sed!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • brobin

      There is another holy book, believed my Millions and millions. It is called the Koran. If I quoted it to prove what it said was true, would you believe me? No, you would call it nonsense.

      There are so many religions, there is little that distinguishes one from the other when you really dig in. Oddly, they all come off as exactly what someone would say, at the time they were written. They are the works of men, not some mythical God.

      It funny to watch people of faith twist and turn to deal with all the inaccuracies and contradictions while at the same time being completely convinced that all those other religions are silly.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Chad

      @brobin "...inaccuracies and contradictions..."
      =>would be interested to hear what you feel are inaccuracies and contradictions on Christianity..

      April 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • rexsalad

      Just some new testament contradictions:


      Aren't the internets wonderful?

      April 12, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  14. GodsPeople

    I'll answer every single one of their questions:

    No, the holocaust didn't happen.

    Yes, Jesus was a real person, and IS the reincarnated Son of man, the Lamb of God.

    Obama wasn't born in the US until he can provide NON-FAKED proof of it.

    There couldn't have been a lone JFK assassin. The physics doesn't work out.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      Physics does not support the existence of any gods, including jesus.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      Reading comprehension is your friend. Nowhere in my post did I say that physics proved God's existance. How you managed to read that completely baffles me. Of course it also is just further proof of low estimation of atheist intelligence.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Well, there you have it people. If you believe in one myth, you can believe in them all.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts or goblins

      I never said you said physics proves the existance of gods but if you use physics to rule out a lone assassin for JFK it's logical to admit it rules out gods too! You're being inconsistent but that is not unusual for delusional dumbsh!t believers.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • MickyC

      The holocaust didn't happen? I guess the fella I just had a Passover Seder with tatted that number on his arm himself then, huh?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      godspeople..so jesus is the son of god.. you have no evidence.. just hope .what other publication does he appear in? the Holocaust didn't happen...again what proof have you.. it appears to go contrary to many other reports that have more basis in fact than your gods existence..yet you cling to that fantasy.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  15. GodsPeople

    to the author: Enjoy Hell.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You first, idiot.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • brobin

      You best hope your religion is the right one, or you will be going first. 🙂

      April 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  16. Steve the Goat

    Myth: 113,213,232,123, Man: 0 Myth wins!.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  17. momoya

    Interesting debate, but why can't it be a mixture of those and other possibilities.. Isn't that how myths work? They get a little piece from this story, a little over here, incorporate that story told by that weird messiah guy that was around last week, don't forget to include that bit by that nutjob that died fifteen years ago–all little by little as it goes.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Chad

      The narrative of Jesus as it is told today is identical to what was written down 15-20 years after Jesus died and was resurrected.

      There simply is no proof of any embellishment, and there is overwhelming proof of an unchanged narrative.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And there is NO proof that Jesus was anything but a man.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Really, Chad?

      What about his birthday? Has that changed at all?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Cq

      Come on, you have no proof whatsoever that there even was an original story to embellish, let alone no embellishment at all.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Chad..Easter..rebirth pagan festival to celebrate the return of the sun and growing season.. your council at Nicea decided to hijack it and have the guy nailed to across. Made for good copy.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Chad

      @iamdeadlyserious "What about his birthday? Has that changed at all?"
      @Chad " when I say "the narrative told today" I am referring to the biblical text being the same as the original biblical text, I should have made that clearer"

      @Cq "Come on, you have no proof whatsoever that there even was an original story to embellish, let alone no embellishment at all."
      @Chad " you should endeavor to get educated prior to making statements like that...
      The New Testament has been preserved in more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Ethiopic and Armenian. Even if the original Greek versions were lost, the entire New Testament could still be assembled from the translations.[104] In addition, there are so many quotes from the New Testament in early church documents and commentaries that the entire New Testament could also be assembled from these alone.[104] Not all biblical manuscripts come from orthodox Christian writers. For example, the Gnostic writings of Valentinus come from the 2nd century AD, and these Christians were regarded as heretics by the mainstream church.[105] The sheer number of witnesses presents unique difficulties, but it also gives scholars a better idea of how close modern bibles are to the original versions.[105] On noting the large number of surviving ancient manuscripts, Bruce Metzger sums up the view on the issue by saying "The more often you have copies that agree with each other, especially if they emerge from different geographical areas, the more you can cross-check them to figure out what the original document was like. The only way they'd agree would be where they went back genealogically in a family tree that represents the descent of the manuscripts.[104]..., "The New Testmaent, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in a purer form than any other great book—a form that is 99.5% pure"[118]

      @EvolvedDNA "Easter..rebirth pagan festival to celebrate the return of the sun and growing season.. your council at Nicea decided to hijack it and have the guy nailed to across. Made for good copy."
      @Chad "crucifixion was the essential part of the original narrative, we have original manuscript evidence of that from hundreds of years prior to Nicea. There simply is zero evidence that the biblical narrative has changed since its recording starting 20-30 years after the death/resurrection. That's just a fact."

      April 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  18. Joshua

    Who is Jesus?- Jesus is the Risen Lord and Saviour of mankind!

    April 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • just sayin


      April 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      :Oh, please. As if you give a crap, just lyin.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Emmaus


      April 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Alice

      Or, maybe not. Who can tell for sure?

      April 8, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • just sayin

      I like responding to my own posts in a different name so that it looks like people agree with me.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Really,really creepy idea..

      April 8, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  19. Mike

    Man. The god part is myth.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    April 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • CCN


      April 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      This video is hillarious. The dude keeps talking about the historicity of there being the EMPTY TOMB. This is not proof that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected. This is only proof that Jesus was inside a tomb after the crucifixion experience. WHERE IS THE PROOF that Jesus ACTUALLY DIED on the cross? Eyewitness Accounts, eyewitness statements, quotes from those close to Jesus, official death certificates, notes from authorities, register entries etc etc.??

      April 8, 2012 at 5:06 am |
    • jdubs

      because they took pictures ya @sshole.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • EnjaySea

      I agree. An empty tomb does not a resurrection make. I can think of several reasons why a tomb might be empty.

      Leading the pack would be that, someone took the body out.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • brobin

      Yes, you wouldn't want to let children grow up to decide for themselves. If you don't brainwash them early, it doesn't stick.

      Christianity and most other religions have proven to be very dangerous though out history. I think I will take my chances as an ethical athiest. I can't be convinced to murder other people in the name of my Lord.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
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About this blog

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