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. Matt

    There is no doubt in my mind that he existed/ exists! Have an open mind & read this......I was saved when I was very young at a church and while accepting Jesus as my Lord & Savior I was blessed to feel something go through me from head to toe. At the time I had no clue what the feeling was, had never felt or experienced anything like that before but was intrigued. Mind you, my Mom was there with me getting saved at the same time. As we left the service I said to my Mom, "Did you feel something while you were up there?" She said yeah, I said... what did you feel? She told me she felt something go through her from head to toe, the same feeling as me! That was the Holy Spirit entering us 🙂 It's so easy to dismiss that since not everyone has experienced that before, but when it happens to you – there will be no doubt what it was! B.I.B.L.E – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Ever since experiencing that, so many extreme coincidences have happened (also known as Godwink's or simply an experience so astonishing that it could only have come from God) and also events of Divine Alignment. There is no doubt in my mind that he was real & that a higher power is at work. I truly feel in my heart that the Shroud of Turin was Jesus Christ's burial cloth. It is thee most studied item in the world, and all of the wounds correspond to the crucifixion. The blood on the stains was examined and was consistent with the blood of someone who had been tortured, rather than the simple blood from a cut. It was carbon dated and only dated back to the 1300's however they took samples of the Shroud from where it had been repaired from a fire around that same time – not samples from the original fabric itself! They wont let them take anymore pieces of it which sucks – so at this point it hasn't been proven real or proven fake. It has escaped fire at least 2 times – to me too many things add up for it to be fake. They didn't even have technology to make something like that in the 1300's as they cant even replicate it today! Happy Easter & thanks for the read

    April 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • cigarlover

      ha ha.. what story. Somebody saved me!! ignorance is blistering 🙁
      brainwashing is rampant in this country. I dread when others would take over us with these brain midgets growing and producing amongst us.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Allen

      Save from what? and i know alot drug that do what you tell me "feeling that go thur you"
      consistent with the blood of someone who had been tortured– alot people was tortured
      technology to make something like that in the 1300's as they cant even replicate it today-you talking about the fabric??
      -open but objective mind

      April 8, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer


      The fooleries of spiritual inftuations are also the Devil's works. I do not attend any church made by manliness nor will I. The True Churches of the Living God are our bodies! We are the vessels that harbor all of God's Children! We are God's Buildings!

      1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      Until all of Christendom turns from their Acts of wanton emotionalisms' ways and seeks first the Kingdom of Godly Domains, I will not set foot into any manmade church that treats emotionalisms instead of rightly dividing the Word into that which is but a fable and that which are Truths!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Matt

      Cigar Lover... haha yeah really what a story! Im assuming you've never experienced something like that – so your reply would probably justify that.

      Allen... I obviously wasn't on any drugs as a kid going to church, so the fact that you know of drugs that give you the similar feeling that I felt.... has nothing to do with what I felt. Saved from the temptations of evil, I dont know. Maybe it was the first time my 3rd eye was opened up when I felt that. No Allen, I dont mean the fabric itself, but the actual image itself on the fabric. They said recently it had to have been made from ultraviolet light.

      Pipe Dreamer..... although I did experience this at church, I don't agree with a lot of christianity and dont go to church often at all. However I do believe Jesus was real

      April 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  2. Brazil

    Those who deny the existence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, should be put in prison for life time!

    April 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • cigarlover

      oh really ass****.
      Ha ha.... are you what 3 ?
      Can't believe the failing of humanity. The fear of unknown! fools are really motivated by this.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  3. pyne

    For the foolishness of GOD, YHWH, is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of GOD is stronger than man's strength. 1Corinthians 1:23

    April 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  4. Andrew

    The Islamic religion is no different. For example: Ramadan is an old Pagan pre- Islamic, pre- Mohammed tradition. The Sabiens of the middle east practiced fasting during Ramadan, had 5 daily prayers, and prayed towards yemen.

    All one needs to do is get off the internet and go to a good library and start reading and studying where these things come from. Once one does this religion is thrown out like a used kleenex.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Hi Andrew, gee, do ya think the library can reveal how i was miraculously healed by God through prayer?
      Kleenex time? Not quite yet!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  5. sez

    Liz your all wet. Jesus did live your way off. If he didn't like it true their would be trouble. Jesus did belong to the earth. Most of the people where his servants. Just like Abraham ain't that a coincidence.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  6. pyne

    Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, vs 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24)but to those who God has called, both Jews and Greeks, CHRIST the POWER of GOD, and the WISDOM of GOD 1 Corinthians 1:22-23

    April 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  7. Jason

    Jesus Christ Lives. He is the God of all nations, kindreds tongues and people. The fact that there are many other pagan myths, etc. resembling the story of Jesus Christ is evidence that he was known of and prophesied of amongst many other people besides just those in Jerusalem. He is the Savior of All men and women. Happy Easter!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Allen

      I think you got it around, There were stories like Jesus before all the jesus stuff happen. The sad part is that the christian kill most of them....

      April 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    Jesus Christ is God. To know Jesus is to know God. Jesus existed before he was born (born into the world he created himself when he put on human flesh). God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 1 God, 3 persons. Like how water can take on 3 forms. water, ice, & vapor.

    God put on human flesh in the name of Jesus Christ. Died for us. Jesus took our place on the cross. Only God can make us right with him! For God bought us with a high price. With his precious blood! The life of the flesh is in the blood. Jesus shed his blood to wash away our sins he bore on the cross. Jesus paid our sin debt with his blood. Jesus died for you, and for me, and for all humanity!!!

    There is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends. God loved enough to die for his creation, his friends. God is spirit and cannot die. But the flesh is MORTAL. The ONLY way God could die would be to put on an IMMORTAL tent, flesh. Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God all in one. God is love. Love paid the price for our sins. Love gives. Love doesn't take. Love sacrifices.

    When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, the eternal God got back into the dead body and glorified and transformed it into a spiritual body. And those that die in Christ will receive the free gift of eternal life and a body just like the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Joe

      You are very mislead Jesus Christ is The Son of God and The Father and Son are in UNION Read a Real BIBLE and open YOUR eyes..I Pray...KJV Psalms 83:17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame , and perish : 18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Allen

      (born into the world he created himself when he put on human flesh)-so there was a time he didnt exist and put human flesh?
      God put on human flesh in the name of Jesus Christ-incest?
      so god is jesus christ and kill himself to prove himself that he right?????

      April 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • GH

      Preaching will not convince a rational person that your position is valid. Try producing an independent thought or reasonable evidence (not even proof!) supporting your position.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm |

      "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10

      April 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm |

      @Allen: "He came into the very world he created, but the world didn't recognize him." John 1:10

      Jesus has always existed. The flesh is a temporary tent that will die one day. But the soul and spirit is eternal. God is spirit. Spirit never dies. The flesh dies. When our flesh dies, our spirit man and soul separate from our earthly body to go to our eternal destiny. There is the physical realm, and the spiritual realm. God, angels, and the devil and demons are in the spiritual realm. When you accept Jesus Christ into your life, you become born again SPIRITUALLY.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Michael

      The bible does not have the word trinity in it. The trinity is doctrine taught by man and no man put on an island and read the bible would come off of that island preaching trinity exept it was taught to him by man not God.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

      "When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"

      Jesus said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning."

      That's one example right there! Satan (Lucifer) fell from heaven looooooong before Jesus Christ was born in a manger. Jesus has always existed!

      April 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Michael

      To say Jesus was God is to say that Joseph was Pharoah....everything exept Pharoah's throne was given to Joseph and Joseph was a foreshadow of Jesus.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Michael

      like it says in Proverbs 8 Jesus was brought forth before anything was made even the heavens so of course he seen Satan fall from the heavens.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

      @Michael: (Genesis 1:26) "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

      Let US make man. US US US: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
      OUR image: OUR OUR OUR

      April 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

      (Colossians 1:16) "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He existed before all things, and he holds all creation together."

      April 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Michael

      correct about the us exept the holy spirit, if the holy spirit was one of the three as you say Paul left him out in saying that the father and son say peace be with you. why didn't he include a third.?. but yes God said let US (father and son)

      April 8, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

      "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." Colossians 2:9

      April 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Michael

      holy spirit in Hebrew is ruach which is breath...it is what proceeds out of the breath of the father which give life and creates

      April 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Allen

      Jesus has always existed.

      still did not answer my question, but if Jesus always exist, then he was never born..... more question, still have to answer the other one.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

      @Michael: Matthew 28:19 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

      April 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Michael

      read 1 corinthians 15:25-28 and tell me the father and the son are the same and equal. Jesus's own words says the father is greater than the son......that is all to Gods glory

      April 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

      "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. "I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. (John 14:26)

      April 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Michael

      matthew 28:19 is the only ONE reference to it....everywhere else in the bible it says to baptize in the name of Jesus....

      April 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Michael

      1 John 5:7 inserted into the new testament maybe as late as the 1200's why?....because it would help support the trinitarian cause....when all throughout the bible God says he is ONE....NOT THREE

      April 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

      John 14:28, "The Father is greater than I."

      "You heard that I said to you, I go away, and I will come to you. If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I'" ("You heard that I said to you, I go away, and I will come to you. If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I'" (John 14:28).

      Jesus said the Father was greater than He not because Jesus is not God, but because Jesus was also a man and as a man he was in a lower position. He was ". . . made for a little while lower than the angels . . ." (Heb. 2:9). Also in Phil. 2:5-8, it says that Jesus "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men . . ."

      Jesus has two natures. Jesus was not denying that He was God. He was merely acknowledging the fact that He was also a man. Jesus is both God and man. As a man, he was in a lesser position than the Father. He had added to Himself human nature (Col. 2:9). He became a man to die for people.

      A comparison can be found in the marriage relationship. Biblically, a husband is greater in position and authority than his wife. But, he is no different in nature and he is not better than she. They share the same nature, being human, and they work together by love.

      So, Jesus was not denying that He was God. He was simply acknowledging that He was also a man and as a man, he was subject to the laws of God so that He might redeem those who were under the law; namely, sinners (Gal. 4:4-5).

      April 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Michael

      why in revelations does the lamb (Jesus) have to approach the throne (Gods throne) to take the scroll from him (becuase he is worthy) that does not sound equal to me. or why after jesus has defeated the last enemy death does he hand the keys to the father so the father can be all...1 corinthians 15....Jesus is under the father

      April 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

      @Michael: brother, if you want to chat about this some more later and have a facebook, hit me up at /profile.php?id=578580037

      April 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Michael

      tell me one scripture that say God the son rather than the correct way the son of God....and name me one scripture that says it was almighty God in the flesh.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

      Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

      April 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm |

      @Michael: I will admit, I myself do not completely understand the full dietyness. Only the Lord can reveal these things to us. I believe however, that when we are in heaven, we will completely understand the fullness of God to the extreme maximum.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  9. Peikovianyi

    1st Century Jewish mystics spoke in similar fashion, based on the visions of Ezekiel. Four Gospel writers were represented in art as the four creatures of Ezekiel's vision. It's not a surprise that Jesus and his followers belonged to such cults. There were several kings of antiquity who claimed to be anointed. It was not a surprise if Jesus claimed this too. It was a surprise and a political problem if anyone claimed to be a god. That does not happen without pagan influences.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    Jesus was probably a real person, but what Christianity has done is take a man who totally understood the relationship between man and God and deified him. he was a mystic and great teacher who tried to teach us we're all children of God. he never claimed to be the only one. if people would pay a lot more attention to his teachings and a lot less attention to his death and debatable resurrection, they would be a lot better Christians. what passes for Christianity today makes a mockery of everything their 'savior' tried to teach them. Jesus wasn't a gun-toting, immigrant-hating, bigoted, misogyinistic rich businessman. he was a liberal radical whose ideas got him killed. and if he came back today and tried to wake up his 'followers,' it would happen again!

    April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  11. Joe

    Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says: “None that rests his faith on him will be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord over all, who is rich to all those calling upon him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” 14 However, how will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? 15 How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent forth? Just as it is written: “How comely are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”

    16 Nevertheless, they did not all obey the good news. For Isaiah says: “Jehovah, who put faith in the thing heard from us?” 17 So faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ. 18 Nevertheless I ask, They did not fail to hear, did they? Why, in fact, “into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.” 19 Nevertheless I ask, Israel did not fail to know, did they? First Moses says: “I will incite YOU people to jealousy through that which is not a nation; I will incite YOU to violent anger through a stupid nation.” 20 But Isaiah becomes very bold and says: “I was found by those who were not seeking me; I became manifest to those who were not asking for me.” 21 But as respects Israel he says: “All day long I have spread out my hands toward a people that is disobedient and talks back.”

    April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • nomdefaitour

      Really guys...do you think transcribing quotes from the Bible make any relevant point, other than you are incapable of speaking intelligently for yourself?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • GH

      Why do you think that quoting a book that atheists consider fiction, will convince atheists that we're wrong?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Noarle

      Joe is clearly retarded and simple. How sad that he is allowed to post things like this on the internet and would gladly ban anyone from saying anything different than he. What a maroon.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  12. pyne

    For since in the wisdom of YHWH, God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

    April 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  13. WDinDallas

    He is Risen.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  14. GH

    You could replace every instance of the word "God" on this page with "Pink Unicorn" and the validity of the claims wouldn't change.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  15. sez

    See they print all the cash they want. You work for cash. You build and maintain the assets. They have all the assets. You get a house they built in 3 months and pay 30 years on it with your labor and work (paper means little to them). A food store down the street. People that worked for usuors in Israel back in the day were migrant workers. Only a fool trades labor for food and shelter.

    They consider you a big spender in the fact you buy a house that took only 3 months to build and pay for it for 30 years. Congradulations

    April 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  16. Andrew

    "The christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun." – Thomas Paine

    April 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • cigarlover

      I will worship, if at all, sun as it seems more real and its the life giver! than some myth a sheep herder cooked up in his 'visions'

      April 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  17. poisonousroot

    Philo, Philo, Philo. The Jewish philosopher never recorded a single solitary item or note of interest concerning the Jesus story. Why? He was in Jerusalem at the time of this story's unfolding. So, was he lost in a brothel all the years Jesus walked around getting on non believers' nerves? For Philo to miss Jesus, a modern historian of the 1800s would have had to have missed the Battle of Gettysburg.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  18. pyne

    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God YWHW made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:20

    April 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer


      As the Roman and Greek philosophers were well aware of the elemental gods, their heresies were upon these elemental gods to erect their own desires of what they made upon this celestialness to be as Gods in agodless land of mere mortals.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  19. Pipe-Dreamer

    Pipe-Dreamer's Truth Be Told

    In the beginning God did establish the governances of Creation and thru the establishments of Creationism did God make manifest each and every Cosmos of existentialism. Thus in the beginning was Creation itself born within the glimmer of Godly thought. God was well pleased with Creationism's existence.

    In the passing of Time God did move about the elemental gods and brought order where was none. Thus were the first moments of Creationism's Creations established to become the stars and the stars' planets and the planets their moons. In God's graces did these things come to be.

    Now there came to the awareness of God a planet of extreme interest. God's elemental gods were creating their own creations and these gods of the elemental kinds did call their creations life forms. Not to be outdone by such trivialities, God stuck His big nose in and wham He created all mannerisms of life beyond what the elemental gods could do! God was well pleased with His creations of life and He rubber-stamped His approval! He, God, called one of His better creations a man because He, God was enamored with this man's likeness.

    Thusly God grew bored and He went elsewhere while leaving it up to the elemental gods to guide man and all the creations God did manifest upon this planet we now know of as being our Earth.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Allen

      wait there was more than one god?

      April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Allen,,,, wrote, "wait there was more than one god?"

      Yes there were and still are. We have God of Creationism and the 'elemental gods" which are described in either Roman or Greek writings that their philosophers did imbibe on. In today's sciences we know these "elemental gods" as being atoms. Science refuses to see the elemental gods as being of Life itself. God gave the humanists dominion over all that this world holds and what it is made of. I am an Elementalist and my body contains the very elemental gods of Creationism's Beginning moments just as are all humanists everywhere made up of the elemental gods.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  20. ReBemol

    Jesus is the symbol of peace, love and forgiveness for most people and not just Christians. By questioning authenticity of Jesus, CNN is not just insulting everybody who believes in Jesus Christ and his mission to the world but also promoting war, hatred and revenge.

    Shame on you CNN and shame on the ones that fund you to insult Christians on Easter Sunday.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • GH

      So peaceful that he never once repudiated slavery once in the bible. Or expressed concern that his father ordered genocide.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • GH

      So peaceful that he never once repudiated slavery in the bible. Or expressed concern that his father ordered genocide.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Allen

      Now Jesus is the symbol of anti-science, anti-dinosaur, Priest with million-dollar scam, Pope with Solid gold cross, anti-gay, close-mind, and more.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • cigarlover

      Another brainwashed ass**** thinks its the so called jebus controlling everything. no its the humans with their vested interest going out in the world and projecting jebus as the one bringing peace, love, and other bs. No it could have been another diety like boobus doing it, had the evangelists said so. It's the human action of proselytizing.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Megan

      No, shame on you for being offended by a simple asking of questions and an investigation. The prevalence of your sheep-like mindset is what's wrong with the world.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Noarle

      Jesus called non-Jews "dogs" as the vilest insult imaginable. He was a racist and misogynist. He supported slavery, abuse, genocide, and lied with every breath the same as any cult leader. He was a sham, a crook, a liar, and a heretic.
      He violated the laws of Rome. He was a criminal. They didn't waste time with life sentences, they killed criminals because that is the one sure way of stopping a repeat of criminal behavior.
      He commited gross heresy, proclaiming himself to be the son of the Jewish god, yet ran like a coward from city to city to avoid prosecution. He had no power. He didn't heal anyone or raise them from the dead – that was all a scam to get money.
      And he found twelve other scammers to follow him and give him a Jewish Minyan so he could make fatwah-like legal proclamations to other Jews. He didn't give a rip about non-Jews at all ever. That was made up after his death by scammers wanting to cash in on the cult. Cults were everywhere. Hallucinations were also everywhere because they were ignorant of toxins and hallucinogens. People were sick, fever dreams were everywhere.
      Each person back then was superstltious about EVERYTHING. They filtered their world views through their ignorance and got more fantasy delusions and hardly anyone knew where to start thinking clearly.
      A Christian from modern times would quickly be murdered by an angry mob of Early Christians for rank heresy.
      All morals are relative to the culture. That's why you have a list of rules to follow written down and not automatically known at birth – all morals are relative. Otherwise no Bible would have ever been needed at any time throughout history as a guideline for priests to follow as they used their personal interpretations to terrorize ignorant farmers and slaves into obeying whatever they said.
      Nothing in the Bible is worth reading except as a nauseous example of psychotic mysticism in history. It is all bunk.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Nii

      As far as I can remember none of the ritual laws have the death penalty. Why you are trying to combine a ritual law n the death penalty for a moral law I don't understand. Christians believe in casting the first stone if u r righteous otherwise mercy. Besides there was a sin offering 4 penitents

      April 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Nii


      April 8, 2012 at 11:30 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.