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. Pipe-Dreamer

    Bootyfunk wrote on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm, stating, "he sure loves to murder children. and adults. and animals. and plants. killed all of them but one human family in his great flood. murdered of babies. yuck, what a disgusting god."

    Mankind has murdered/killed more times than God has done! Who are we to judge God when we ourselves have committed way more Acts of murder and in defense of what and for the purposes regarding what? You Bootyfunk have no right to judge God while standing shoulders with mankind's muderers throughout our recorded history trails!

    April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "Mankind has murdered/killed more times than God has done!"

      Who is the more evil murderer/killer? Nice argument.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • edwardo

      I have never, personally, murdered anyone. Your god has! So yes, I find your god convicted of murder.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Read Numbers:31 to see the real nature of the Christian god. He commands that thousands and thousands of innocent women and children be murdered or enslaved, with a large number of the slaves going to the priests.

      But it's all just ancient mythology, nothing more. It's funny I don't see any miracles being performed today. I don't see any water being turned into wine, sticks turned into snakes, seas parting, dead people being healed, etc. etc. I don't see any supernatural being flying around in a cloud and a pillar of fire. Look around you. Do you see anything like that? No. Obviously not because it isn't real. It's just ancient mythology from a primitive culture. Weak minded people who blindly accept something just because they've been indoctrinated to believe it practically from birth don't want to THINK. They don't have the intelligence to use logic and reason and objectivity to make decisions, they want to be told what to believe instead of actually thinking for themselves.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Just on accounts that God does things should never mean we should do the same! Until humanism dares to be fully accountable with it's Ways, then and only then will humanists be considered righteous in the eyes of God! As for your catch22, you are but a fool telling of foolishness toward those of even more foolishness and fooleries lamentations!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      What have you been smoking in that pipe? Because you are truly dreaming. Actually, you are delusional.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • edwardo

      Your handle says it all. You are a pipe-dreamer. You can no more prove or even disprove there are gods, anymore than I can prove or disprove there are invisible unicorns. If you want to be a dead fish floating down stream, join the rest of your ilk. Peronally, I choose reality, as harsh as it is. I'm an adult, I can deal with it.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "Just on accounts that God does things should never mean we should do the same!"

      Yeah, you wouldn't want to do those things or you'd look like an evil monster.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  2. billy jester

    hoor ray

    April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  3. ca3b

    It's the holiest time of the year for Christians, and CNN has no problem taking potshots at the questionable divinity of Christ on Easter Sunday (one week later for Orthodox). But have never seen an article run on Yom Kippur questioning if Moses was a prophet, or during Rammadan if Mohammed was a prophet. Christians are always "fair game".
    CNN, while your article may be interesting, informative, and thought provoking, you could have run this article at another time – and been a bit more respectful of one's religious observances.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Why should they be respectful? Christians aren't respectful of other beliefs. They condemn non-believer to be tortured forever. They call them heathens and infidels and other choice names that I won't repeat here because the CNN censors would delete my post. Most Christians don't respect anyone who doesn't believe like they do.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Sarcasm

      Cause most christian's follow the teaching of Christ and turn the other cheak, Unlike Islam CNN would have to worry about a violent backlash There's not to many christians that are going to be beheading any cnn journalist because once a christian becomes violent thier no longer following the teaching of christ unlike islam if you kill in the name in allah its okay. Islam what a great moral foundation raise your kids on

      April 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  4. TheTruthHurts

    You poor souls that are lead away from drinking the blood and eating the body of christ need to come to your senses or you will burn in everlasting heIlfire. Jesus had to be beaten for hours, nailed up to boards, and then become a zombie to save you awful sinners. You need to believe like me and my group believe or you're doomed to heIl. By the way, do you older ladies out their who are widow who have lots of money still remember what seeds are? Do you remember what harvests are? Did you know that you can send me all your money, and God takes credit cards, and you can reap 1000 fold return on you investment that our lord calls "harvests" from your investment that God refers to as "seeds". Plus, today only, God is throwing in a guaranteed spot in heaven to people that give every last penny they have to the phone number that I will put out later. Praise God.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • edwardo

      You are a nice person for attempting to turn these believers into rational people. You can't protect them however, from their own folly. If they want to give away their money to a thief (who has a license to steal), you'll just have to let them do it.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • localdelii

      Older ladies? We all know what a harvest is. The fruits of harvest are sold on the stock market as speculative and commodity trading. If there's a frost in Florida, oranges are going to be higher the grocery store. Do you think that the food on your table falls from the sky like manna? And we grow trees, sow grass, plant flowers which we then weed. The parables of the wheat and the tares is as meaningful today as it was during a predominantly agrarian society. Christians are to do good works quietly, in a way that only God sees and then he will reward us openly. What reward? Certainly not that you will hit the lottery or win a Grammy, though you might. Jesus said, "Wherever your treasure is, so is your heart." Meaning lay up for yourselves spiritual treasures, not something that thieves can steal or that become moth eaten. And as for those who live well at the expense of the poor, in the secular and non-secular world, remember that in the kingdom of God, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. It is in no way a worldview or a world order for Christ is not of this world. He came and couldn't wait to get out of it: "O faithless and perverse generation, how long must I be with you, and suffer you?" Why do you call the risen Christ a zombie or communion as he put forth at the last supper to remember him by as something corrupt or foul? Did you say these things to sow tares among the wheat? Or, did Jesus do something evil to you?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  5. billy jester

    I found the article about Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler a lot more relevant, important, and newsworthy.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      It has obviously changed you into a troll. Get a life and grow a brain.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!" . .. ...'

      April 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • JG

      Prayer: A way for people to feel like they did something without actually doing anything. You're an adult, stop talking to imaginary friends.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • edwardo

      Why pray? doesn't he already know what's going to happen? Are you asking him to change his mind about the future?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cindy

      My Dear love one in Christ, I just came upon your site, and was going through the prrayes and information, thank you so much for being obedient to God I have been going through so much, because of the Call of God on my live and even resistence where family members are concerned that God has placed in position to help me. Also, health problems right ear with growth and tinnitus, various attacks. Thank you and again God's riches blessings upon you and yours.Dr. LMR Condeso

      July 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  7. The Amazing Insights of Tim Tanglebrain, Christian

    Those god-hating atheists believe something was made out of nothing. Insane! We believe God made the universe out of nothing. Atheists ignore the truthy truth that someone must create everything, including the universe, which God created, even though God was not created.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • What!

      now that's funny.. a god who was never created, created everything..

      April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • momoya

      the christian argument:

      Stuff needs a creator
      Really complex stuff needs a really complex designer
      Really, really complex stuff needs a really, really complex designer
      But really, really really complex stuff (like god) don't need a designer!! Praise Jay-sus!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Jon

      Hard to argue with logic that makes no sense, but I'll give it a try. If God did create the Universe, what took him so long? Who created God? Where did God come from? If the answers to any of these questions is ,"God is immortal and has been around forever", you are just looking for a copout and have a pathetic faith with no basis.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • edwardo

      To say that it takes a god to make something from nothing, is to say that it takes a god to make a god. Your logic is circular, and has to be dismissed. Next ....

      April 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  8. banlarson

    CNN continues its assault on Christianity. Easter Sunday and their choice is to run this article on the front page of their website. CNN is less a news organization and more a propaganda machine focused a liberal agenda. I'm not sure why they are so threatened by God fearing American's of faith. This country was founded on a desire for religious freedom. Don't liberals preach tolerance; I guess as long as it follows their beliefs or lack thereof.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • What!

      thanks to the honesty of CNN, at least kids will now question the stupidity of their parents brainwashing.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jeff in San Diego

      Science has a liberal agenda.

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

      Jesus taught tolerence, however today's "Christian" has little tolerence for anyone that isn't just like them, They believe Jesus forgave thier sins, then gave them the power to decide whether your sin is forgiven or not. They take potshots every Sunday at any religion that's not like theirs, if you don't go to their church, then your going to a cult. Christian Ministers stand up and preach against the very sin they plan to committ when the service is over. What makes people doubt the existance of God and Jesus, look in the mirror hippocrite, you go to church on Sunday, just as holy as you can be, come Monday your lying and cheating to get ahead, all the while judging everyone else. The definition of a cult is the church down the street from yours.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  9. Jeanne

    Those who think there is no evidence for a historical Christ outside the Bible just do not know their history. Have they never read the works of Josephus, the Jewish historian? He wrote about John the Baptist and Jesus in his voluminous works. Have they never read the works of the Apostolic Fathers, men who lived within two generations of Christ and some of whom were disciples who wrote what Peter spoke and were disciples of John the Apostle? Jesus told us those who are of the truth hear my voice. If we choose to deny the truth then no one will ever make us believe it.

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

      Men who lived within "two generations of christ"? Right....tell me about YOUR great-grandparents. Go ahead, do you even know their names? Your argument for a historical Jesus is that men who lived in another time and place wrote about him? Boy that's credible evidence....

      April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Did you know there are seven, SEVEN, books on Harry Potter?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Josephus MAY have written about Jesus, there is some doubt as to whether he was actually the writer, but in any event, he didn't mention anything about miracles or divinity, just that he had heard of him. I'm sure Jesus did exist, I'm equally sure that he wasn't a supernatural being nor the son of one. He was a martyr. And as with most martyrs, his life and deeds were blown all out of proportion. It's just ancient mythology from a primitive culture. All primitive cultures had their myths, creation myths, afterlife myths, etc. etc. They believed in all kinds of superst!tious nonsense. None of it has any resemblance whatever to reality.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Smeagel4T

      Jesus the man is not likely to be a myth. However his being "the Christ" is very unlikely. Nobody wrote about Jesus while he was actually alive. Those who claimed to know him only wrote about him nearly 40 years after his death. Paul (Saul) never even knew him, and Christians place a heavy reliance upon Paul. Jesus himself apparently never wrote a single word. Shall we assume he was unable to write? Doesn't seem likely given his bio.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  10. Elena

    To MOMOYA, dont worry you don`t have to answer me, i know perfectly well you are not a scientist from CERN, good bye.

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

      To the other posters on this board: You're welcome 🙂

      April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • YeahOk

      It's my girl Elena! The world's most gifted scientist with proof that souls or spirits of conciseness, and a higher supreme consciousness or being, which is the fountain of creations exists! All listen intently!

      April 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Wuxia007

    The parallels between Jesus and pagan gods is irrelevant. There are uncanny parallels between Islam's Muhammad and Mormon's Joseph Smith, but that does not mean Joseph Smith did not exist or that Mormons copied Islamic beliefs. There are uncanny parallels between Suffi Islam and iskcon hare krishna beliefs but that does not mean they copied each other. Naturally there is only so many ways to tekk a story, so naturally you will find some parallels but that does not negate validity or truth.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Bob

    "No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed."

    Really? Josephus isn't considered "credible"?

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

      Oh you idiot, he made one or two oblique references to him as the persons Christians believe in. He says nothing of Jesus' life nor does he consider him a magic-man come zombie like you idiot Christian sky-fairy believers do

      April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • localdelii

      There is no birth date or physical description of Euclid, the father of geometry, and the only book written about him was written centuries after his death. So did Euclid exist and if he did not, by your own reasoning, does it mean that geometry does not exist?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  13. Elena

    the root of the problem is that both religious and atheist people have a very distorted idea of what god is! the more I read about quantum mechanics and how the brain processes information the more i believe that the reality of existence is way more different than what both sides have claim since the down of humanity!
    CNN still fails in presenting an article with real scientist telling us what they have observed about the real truth about existence!

    April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • edwardo

      To say that it takes a god to make something from nothing, is to say that it would take a god to create a god. Circular logic Elena.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  14. forwardbias

    Basically, Judaism, christianity and islam are all derived from pagan traditions. None of them can prove GOD but it does not mean GOD does not exist. Whatever these religions did, they gave people hope to look forward to. They gave peace in people's mind. Thats precious.. Unfortunately, they also created groups and division among people who fought to each other and human chronology is blood bathed by this religious conflict. Would the world have less conflict without the religion? Absolutely not.. Some smart special interest group would have found something else to create conflict, because conflict is the source of their power..

    April 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  15. JM

    If there were no God, there would be no atheists. –G.K. Chesterton

    April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • YeahOk

      If there were no Unicorns, there would be no non-Unicorns believers – YeahOk

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

      Everyone starts life as an atheist. All babies are atheiest. It's not 'til someone introduces them to their religion, do they become infected.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • JG

      I can't tell if you're joking, or just really stupid.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  16. Smeagel4T

    "...and I sayeth unto you, whosoever followeth me into the Kingdom of Mordor, so shall I give the One Ring." - 1 Smeagel 14.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • localdelii

      Do you not know that the author of "The Lord of the Rings," Tolkien was a devout Christian? Although the influences on the work are a combination of his own experience in WWl, religion and mythology?

      April 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  17. Shawn Davis

    It's the 21st century and so many people are still talking to the sky. Sad....

    April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • What!

      agreed, Shawn

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Nii


      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  18. Sarcasm

    I tried getting into the whole good vs evil thing and how magic and good counquers over the dark side. We got harry potter, Lord of the rings, Star Wars the list goes on. I can relate to that jesus guy a little bit better when it comes to the good vs evil thing It's not place to tell you were you get your moral and values belief system raise your kids on the moral of harry poter and star wars and get back to me beter yet raise on the beliefs of mohhammed it's worked well for the middle east and don't forget about shari law a fair and balanced justice system. You know what your all a bunch idiots good luck in the journey called life

    April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  19. colin

    Ten commandments that should be mandatory for every believer.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say?

    7. DO have the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers.

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from, how it evolved from earlier beliefs.

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Awww, but that takes all the fun and excitement out of it. Party poop.er.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Chema

      You forget this one: Do not believe all what a nonbeliever says,nor CNN, nor ....

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  20. sharkfisher

    Whether anyone chooses to accept or reject Jesus for who He really is ,is their right. As for me ,I choose to accept Jesus as my Resurrected Savior. That is my right as a citizen of the U.S.A. Everyone else must make their own decision as to what they believe.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • What!

      it is your right.. but it is wrong to brainwash children with your voodoo. Let kids be kids without the silly god fears. You'll find you have raised must brighter and caring children.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Missouri Boy

      God bless you, Sir. It is good to hear something other than cruel, needless mockery coming from the media and their secular faithful. It is a true saying:"We become the servants of those we obey."

      April 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Missouri Boy

      This is to WHAT. : I am just betting that you aren't exactly bothering to raise YOUR children without all the silly, atheistic blasphemy. I will pray for you sir, and for your children. God bless you, this Easter Sunday.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • edwardo

      Didn't Jesus tell a woman who was impregnated by her rapist, that he should marry her, and pay the girl's father a fine? That's the Jesus who is your savior? REALLY ???

      April 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • marcparella

      And that should be the last word on the subject.

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

      edwardo: where did you hear such a story? No, a woman was about to be stoned for adultery, according to Mosaic law, and Jesus told the mob, "Who among you is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Jesus started to write in the sand as one by one, the mob dropped their stones and left. Christ said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?" When she said there was none, he said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." Give me chapter and verse of your story.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:28 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.