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. Faith and Fiction

    There is a place for religion until it starts wars, makes us greedy and basically doesn't follow the spirit the initial followers signed on for. When religion is used as a club to force people to worship in a way they don't want then instead of bringing humanity to a higher ground it only keeps us down. Faith and reason can not be the same. Everyone knows religion is based on blind faith. Some blinder than others. When people of one sect believe everyone else will die and go to hell and act on that belief than that religion doesn't serve the needs of honest people. It becomes a destabilizing force and used to link those not like ourselves to evil. This has been the history of the American myth of religion is right and everyone else is wrong. Those of faith can believe what they want. So far as that goes it's fine. But the symbolism and the holidays are rituals no different than the ones we laughed at which tribes in undeveloped civilizations followed. It's not even ironic that people are so closed minded. It's abhorrent. It's amazing that so many people concerned with Jesus think that it's ok to get rich at the expense of others and to smite others for being different. It is the place of the majority to change it's base behavior. At bottom all religion should do is make us better humans. Bring us a moral order a code to live by. Not a coin machine with promises of heaven for money.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • WachetAuf


      April 9, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Maff

      "there is a place for religion until it starts wars"?
      there is a place for guns until innocent people get shot?

      is it the guns that kill people? or the people?
      I guess we should get rid or guns, and cars (alot of accidents ya know)...
      cigarettes, alcohol, the internet (people use it for crime).

      People are the problems, not the excuses or devices they use to start the problem.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Highly Evolved Being

      At this point in human history we know supernaturalism is a form of mental illness, that it is widespread does not change the fact that it is a mentally debilitating affliction.

      Perhaps one day we will find that it is caused by a common virus present in most of the population, there are other such infections of human and animals known to provoke bizzarre behavior and thinking.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  2. Josh

    I am a true Christian believer just for the record. I will say that if Jesus never existed, then Christianity is a false religion, a lie, and the Holy Bible is all wrong, that I will give any of you doubters that, but that is all. The Real debate is are the whitnesses that seen Jesus ressurected credible? Thats it. Something signifigant happend roughly 2000 years ago. There is a specific reason there is a B.C. and A.D. Hundredes of witnessess have countless stories of his actual physical being. touching, eating, talking. This remarkable story was spread, and a lot of people Died for spreading this story of what they saw. The apostile Paul was even Crucified upsidedown for not denying Christ and what he saw. At that time, not now, why or for what reason or benifit would they spread a lie about the crucifiction and ressurection of Christ? And even risk their lives? The gentelmans remark about people dying for a ghost or aparation showing that Christans would die for a likely cause makes no sense at all. If you read the first 4 books of the new testament, read their stories, they are 4 different people telling the same story, What you have to decide at least from these 4 men are, DO THEY SOUND MADE UP, OR GENUINE, Legitametly think about what you read. And person with common sense and non bias belief cannot deny Something signifigantly happend roughly 2000 years ago. I understand some people do not want to believe bc of their lifestyle or just want to not believe like some people believe we didnt land on the moon 40 years ago. But 24 astronauts went to the moon which 12 of them actually walked on the moon. The reason I believe that we landed on the moon was that the astraunauts that actually walked to the moon were very crediable, and for that, I know we landed on the moon. Same with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ existed, and for that the whole entirety of the Holy Bible is True, and so does God Existance.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • *facepalm*

      " Hundredes of witnessess have countless stories of his actual physical being. touching, eating, talking."

      Can you provide even the smallest hint of a shred of evidence for this outside of the bible? I won't be holding my breath.

      And the whole AD/BC thing came about many many centuries later. That's like saying since there are Harry Potter fan clubs, Harry Potter must have existed. Logic Fail.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      It's just ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of a primitive society. Jesus probably existed and his teachings were so revolutionary that when he died on the cross he became a martyr and like most martyrs, his life and deeds were blown all out of proportion. The myth of Jesus was just a rewriting of the Osiris myth. Sorry, I'll take modern science over ancient mythology any day.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Josh

      Please forgive my grammatical errors as I am at work and trying to do many things at once. Some of the ideas are also not complete, but you can understand the meaning. Sorry for that. in addition, It is for the above reason that I also know that Christianity is not a jump in and hope that my religion is right. No doubt that Religion is and has been violent. But let me reassure you that I am peacful, humble, understanding of all ways of life i.e. Gay, lesbian, adulters, and anything else. As I know that we are all sinners and I dont judge them for living a certain way. I am also an ex Marine who is 27 , and has a college education, with a sister who is agnostic. Just to let readers know my position.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • OhPlease

      Josh, the bible has been proven not to be an historical book, so unless you can prove without using the bible your point is moot.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • WachetAuf

      It is all hearsay,a nd hearsay based upon hearsay. It would likely be inadmissible evidence in a court of law. The reason is that reasoning men, in the search for truth, seek more objective evidence. Now if you wish to believe, to have faith, that is a different matter. That is up to you to decide what standard of evidence satisfies your mind. The problem which which you need to wrestle is whether you are using your primitive, impulsive mind or your higher powers of reason. But, that is for you to decide. Please give others the right to decide what standard of evidence they will accept.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  3. Mike

    While you may be able to debate whether or not Jesus existed, but whether the Apostles existed is unquestionable. By saying Jesus is myth, you are saying the the Apostles founded a cult they knew to be false. Think about it. What cult leader has ever founded a cult where they unselfishly served their followers and suffered unto horrible deaths for their beliefs and their flocks? We know that the Apostles existed and we know, as demonstrated by their behavior, that they certainly believed a risen Jesus. Nothing that they did was for personal personal gain, profit, or pleasure. I think that is a pretty convincing testament to historical veracity of Christ.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • SixDegrees

      No, it isn't convincing at all.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      We know they existed? Funny, I haven't seen any proof of that, any more than there is any real proof that Jesus actually existed other than an ancient book of mythology and a brief mention by Josephus.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Jimmy Cracks Capricorns

      This is laughable – the Dead Sea Scrolls make ZERO mention of Jesus or his apostles. Just like the hieroglyphics in Egypt make ZERO mention of Moses, or slavery, or an exodus. There is ZERO evidence of Jesus, the Apostles, or Moses, or the Arc, or any of that mythical fantasy. No flying sky genies, no floating cherubs, only delusions and illusions of grandeur.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • WachetAuf

      There are many examples of cults who have followed delusional leaders. There is something about groups which cause men to surrender their powers of reason to cult leaders. It is probably why there are so many people on this site who are so very defensive about their religious beliefs.

      For two thousand years Christian groups have been filling their heads with this stuff and forbidding anyone to question it. Remember what happened to Martin Luther? They killed him. That kind of thuggery is still coming down from your cult leaders.

      Try an experiment. Go to your church leaders and ask them if you can lead an open, honest and principled discussion about these issues. Do not ask them privately, ask them publically. The reason that I recommend doing it publically is because you will get two different respopnses, one for the private audience and one for the public audience. The private audience is likely to bring a more honest response. The public audience will bring a more defensive and hostile response. If you insist on asking questions, they will call you "crazy" and censure you.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  4. sortakinda

    Like the witness who tells a lie, were you lying THEN or are you lying NOW, Mr. Price? Josephus and Tacitus lived and wrote within the same century as the historical Jesus, whose followers who were first hand witnesses to His historical existence were being persecuted by Rome. The historians wrote about them. Unless Jesus sold advertising, He would never be reported on CNN NOW.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • WachetAuf

      Jesus had a marketing agent. He was Paul. Paul had been a government agent, a tax collector. He started to sell to one set of people, the Jews. When that did not appear to be working he made his pitch to the gentiles. Christianity was hobbling along until Constantine, who needed the political and military support, became a Christian. That was the ultimate marketing strategy.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Jimmy Cracks Capricorns

      Then they too were mythical pseudonym pen names for authors who did not exist.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  5. Christian

    Whether or not you believe in God will not change God's truth. Jesus did exist and He is alive. Those who belong to Him hears His voice.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      You are delusional.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • JT

      And you probably vote too. Scary.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Dre

      No matter how much we stress that JESUS is real, unbeliever won't get it. The BIBLE is clear the hearing they won't and seeing they won't see the things of the LORD.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Maff

      oh they will see! I cant wait either. I just hope they are ready to accept it when they do. I feel bad for those who simply find it unbelievable. But not so bad for some who simply dont want to believe it because it would interfere with their lifestyle. I know some people dont like the Idea of "God" because that means that maybe they are living wrong. I cant feel bad for the people.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jan

      I am a Christian who knows Christ is our Living God....I would rather believe and in the end and find out it was a myth (which I don't believe) than to take a chance that everything is as the Holy Bible says....read your The Bible and look around at things happening today. It is what the Bible says.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Tyler

      Maff, The vast majority of Atheist come to their beliefs becuase they have thought long and hard about reality and evidence. It amost never has anything to do with lifestyle, although you would love to think that because Christians tend to think they have a higher morality than non-believers. There is a reason that most agnostic/atheists know more about the Christian faith than most Christians do. That is becuase it is very passionate subject for these people. I would argue that we often have higher morality than most believers becuase we choose to be good people on our own, not dependant on the fact that we will be tortured for all of eternity if we aren't. We are good without being scared into being good. That is true morality.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  6. Evan

    after reading this article and doing a little of my own research this article comes across as blatant sensationalized media trying to capitalize on peoples different beliefs regarding a very charged subject. Although this article discusses both sides of the issue it seems to favor the idea that Jesus was simply copied from others. I have yet to read any other credible source that talks about the "The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus." Yes Osiris "rose from the dead" but most sources depict him not as being crucified and living like Jesus but being thrown in a a coffin and then thrown into the nile river where he dies and then is dismembered and then reassembled by his wife/sister who then brings him back to life for a short amount of time to get Isis impregnated. Sounds alot like the gospels right?

    Also the fact this article came out on easter is very unprofessional journalism, again simply seeking to make a buck off of other peoples emotions. Regardless of whether or not you believe in Jesus you cannot mistake the blatant lack of sensitivity. There is no way they would run a story like this about Islam around an Islamic holiday and not have to deal with some type of backlash for it.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • SixDegrees

      In other words, your religion can't withstand even a cursory critical examination, and you don't like it.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • EJ

      SixDegrees – No, it is simply disrepectful to run an article questioning the entire basis of the Christian faith on the holiest day of the year.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Evan

      Six Degrees- I am was not trying to prove or disprove whether or not Jesus was an actual person in my previous statement. I was simply addressing the idea that the "cursory critical evidence" is quite lacking especially when you are making the assertion that Jesus is an exact copy of an Egyptian god that is nothing like Jesus. I am sorry that I would like to come to my own conclusion on subjects rather than simply trying to poke fun at other peoples beliefs.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "No, it is simply disrepectful to run an article questioning the entire basis of the Christian faith on the holiest day of the year."
      As a news organization, CNN has no obligation to appease anyone. They certainly have no obligation to appease everyone. They couldn't, even if they tried. As it is appropriate to run election related stories around election day, it is very appropriate to run stories about religion on Easter.

      This particular story isn't very news worthy or even revealing. All it does is present two sides of a disputed event. Anyone who isn't at least somewhat familiar with the issue must not have been paying attention much. I fail to see how this is more offensive on Easter than any other day.

      If you take offense, the problem, I suspect, is entirely with you. If you got offended by this piece, I guess you aren't very strong in your beliefs.

      So, while I respect your right to believe as you see fit, I have no inherent respect for the beliefs that you may hold. Beliefs and ideas should be questioned. If they are valid they will hold up against the scrutiny. If they can't hold up, they should be discarded.

      I would like to encourage you to evaluate what you believe and question whether those beliefs are valid.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Jan

      The two stories sound far different to me.....

      April 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  7. EJ

    What does everyone have against religion? I dont understand why people get so offended because I believe in something that they do not. Sure, certain people like to "preach" about it...I know atheists who do the same thing for purely antagonistic purposes. At least when religious people speak about their beliefs, they have a reason behind it.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  8. Glad to be a Muslim


    April 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  9. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Science builds modern jet planes.
    Religion flies them into buildings.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  10. JoeProphet

    Hey this is a good question and since it is so new and has never been asked before, I'll be anxious to see the responses...

    April 9, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  11. James Kimble

    Jesus never existed and the holocaust never happened. Both views have many followers. To those who take a serious approach to history and scriptural prophecies, Jesus Christ was clearly foretold. His crucifixion was clearly foretold before it even became a means of execution.

    Athiests search for God like a thief searches for a policeman.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Oh, this could be fun. Let's make it into a game – Jesus v. Holocaust. Ready? Here we go:

      Recorded first hand accounts:
      Holocaust: 1 Jesus: 0

      Supporting primary source:
      Holocaust: 2 Jesus: 0

      More than one text on subject matter:
      Holocaust: 3 Jesus: 0

      Political and Ideological motivations for deniers:
      Holocaust: 4 Jesus: 0

      I think the man was probably real, but to make such a clearly ill-thought out comparison does little to advance your cause.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Highly Evolved Being

      Your mind appears to be a dog so practiced in chasing its tail that is has not chased anything worthwhile for a long, long time.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Saturn4321

      "Highly Evolved Being"?!
      You sound more like you would be an earth worm licking the dust, never knowing anything else exists but the dust you're licking!

      April 9, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Maff


      What people fail to realize is that the Bible was not all written at the same time, nor by the same writter. It is comprised of many books and authors. So to say it has no supporting sources, or external supporting text makes no sense. The Bible supports itself since it comes from so many different sources compiled in to one book.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Jan


      April 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Highly Evolved Being

      Look, a mindless little insect posting under the name Saturn4321 has an opinion!

      They are so cute when they have been brain damaged for life by by having a complete load of wishful fiction and supernatural nonsense forced on them as children.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  12. jfarid

    (Gasp)... The human race is such a primitive species.. We have such a long way to go.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  13. Steve S

    What the authors of books/articles depicting Jesus as a myth fail to research is the fact that Jesus was/is a historical figure. His existence is a fact proven by several historians (not religious writers)who recorded his existence at exactly the same time the Bible does. These were Roman historians who wrote about this man who did miraculous things and was crucified by Pilate, just as the Bible records as well. Yes, others have written about mythical figures that had the same MO as Jesus but none of them were historical figures.

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

      You should consider actually reading an article before commenting on it.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • UglyTruth

      there were lots of jesuss in palestine
      just as there are lots of jesuss in mexico

      April 9, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • seyedibar

      List a reference then, by all means. Outside the gospels, which we know to have been altered and written long after his supposed existence, there is no record of a man named Jesus. It's cute that you think so, but good luck finding that historical reference you speak of.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      There are no mentions of Jesus in any Roman history texts. If you think there is then please cite where and/or provide a link. The only mention of Jesus other than the bible was in the writings of Josephus, and he only mentions him briefly without citing any miracles etc. Plus, that mention is in a different style and handwriting than any of his other writings so historians question whether he actually wrote it or not. He may in fact have existed but as far as all the supernatural nonsense claimed in the bible, it's just that – nonsense.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  14. UglyTruth

    people living in caves invented spirits

    April 9, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Also invented beers and wines

      April 9, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  15. King LeTroll

    The greatest tragedy of our time is not religious manipulation or race wars – it's razors down stairs on women. "What do you mean?" you ask. I shall explain. Go back and look at a Playb*oy magazine from the early 80's – that's how a real woman should look – a nice velvet soft full thick triangle of hair down there.

    This shaved / waxed look is garbage if you ask me, and it take a way a lot of that soft feeling. Ladies – feel free to tidy up and groom a bit – but lets work on keeping things more 70's/80's natural, OK?

    April 9, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • mckillio

      Says the guy from the 70's/80's.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Maff

      a little hair aint bad. But this is so off topic.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Jan

      Bored, nothing else to do?????

      April 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I think this one has gone right over Henry’s head.
    Henry… dear…. If Jesus didn’t exist and this seems likely. Then he couldn’t have said those things and your comment is moot.

    Santa knows when you are sleeping…

    April 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Reply button fail. Thank you CNN.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • just sayin

      You do not need CNN to look like a moron Tom,Tom you got that pegged. God bless

      April 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  17. Dre

    You know it's very interesting in how we comment about whether Jesus is real or not. None of us were there to determine if he was or not. Put yourself in this mindset, what if you died today. Where will you go? Do you believe there's a life after death. Who created this earth and all it's existense? There's a lot of questions out there that neither of us can answer with a true source. Now because I'm a believer in CHRIST, that doesn't mean that your going to believe. Take a moment to ask GOD himself to make this mystery real to you. I can clearly understand you confusion. The only way you can know that JESUS is true is to ask the FATHER to make HIM real to you. The BIBLE is written to give us clear understanding of GOD and his creation, and also why HIS SON(JESUS) died for our sin. All of you who do believe, just take a few seconds and go outside and try to process all of what's before you. How this world exsist? How are we breathing? This is all by divine intervention. Just one last thought, the BIBLE is clear that every knee will bow and every tonge will confess that JESUS is LORD. What will you do if you get to heaven and don't believe. WOW!

    April 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • UncleM

      One problem with your argument – the bible is made-up nonsense.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • rufus

      God will deal harshly with nonbelievers who go to heaven. Why would he not like a little revenge? It won't be a little "ha. ha told you so" type thing, either. There will be smites and fire and brimstone, cuz that's the kind of God that he is.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Dre

      If you think that the Bible is made up of non-sense, that the way you feel. All I'm asking is that you seek GOD the Father and ask HIM if HIS word is non-sense. I can't make you believe only HIM. The BIBLE say's that flesh and blood didn't reveal HIS word to me, but the Father in Heaven. We can go back and forth, but I'm not the one to convince you, God is.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Jan


      April 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  18. isthereadog

    My Favorite Part:
    "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."

    Because no fictional character can have a vivid personality. That's why Tom Sawyer and Harry Potter are real people to me.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Maff

      Hey, this question is why we are all here. This question is what makes life fair. We have freedom of choice. We have our own minds and the ability to decide what we will and will not believe. So in the end, there wont be any excuses. We all heard his name, we all heard his word. We all had a chance.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  19. Highly Evolved Being

    Over 6000 messages, most of them from victims of ritual abuse. Confusing the little voice in your head with supernatural beings existing in a reality demonstrating intersubjective reliability is a form of mental illness. It is sad to see so many people who were so abused as children with supernaturalism that their minds stopped developing and we are forced to carry the burden of their backwardness.

    Wishful fantasy religions based on magical thinking are the single greatest impediment to human progress in the world today.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Maff

      and how are you being slowed down? what affect has what others believe had on you? Name one thing you could do, if there were no religion, that you cant do now.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  20. Think Instead

    I really believe a person has a right to whatever religious ideas they want to have. But the "arguments" in this article from those who think Jesus was real seem a stretch. How about he was a real guy who was co-opted into the role of a savior?

    April 9, 2012 at 10:39 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.