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. reason

    Watch what anthropologists, archeologists and religious historians seeking the truth have to say about where god came from:

    April 8, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  2. Dan-O

    I am a firm believer in God not because of what my parents tried to teach me when I was a child but because of my life experiences. I have experienced divine intervention at some of the most stressful and troubling times throughout my life. My reality is what I experience and no one can tell me any different. Happy Easter everyone!
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    April 8, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • scatheist

      Yeah right – if you were born in the Middle East you would be a Muslim.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • YeahOk

      "I have experienced divine intervention at some of the most stressful and troubling times throughout my life."

      I hear this so many times. Why do people choose to believe when they are desperate? Most people go through difficult times in their life, and they get through them different ways. If I got through my tough period in life and was using Islam to get me through, does that make Islam true?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Dan-O

      To scatheist and YeahOk. Like I said my beliefs are based on MY experiences and neither of you will convince otherwise.
      Happy Easter to you both.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • YeahOk

      While I realize it may not change your view, surely you can see that your argument can't be considered evidence.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Amelia

      Well said, Dan-O

      April 8, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Dan-O

      To YeahOk. I agree my argument cannot be considered as evidence. Everyone's journey through life is different. Best wishes on your journey.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  3. nigzus

    Hey dere all you pagans and athiests! You need be prepped for da return of nigzus! I am rollin down from da heavens above...straight cold kickin it in my Bentley. I iz gonna save all dem cooons dat believe in me, king of all blaks!! Bow down to nigzus and u will be stoked.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • STP1

      What I don't understand is what did black and white have to do with this article? How come this turned into something about race, when the subject was religion? Really, if someone where to say you were a racist for your comment, you would probably be offended, but what you wrote is totally out of place. It amazes me because I can guarantee that you would claim to be an intelligent person, but people with intelligence would not comment how you have. Stick to the article, and be a cowardly racist somewhere else ok, its a different time, and you my friend are outdated. Small minded people like you have no place in society!

      April 8, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  4. Serge

    HE IS RISEN!!! JESUS IS RISEN!!!! He won VICTORY over death. Alleluia!!!!!
    I am so glad CNN in all their attacks has decided to speak again of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! In the day we celebrate His Resurrection, by questioning His existence you do nothing more than continue to fulfill the teachings of the Bible. Your ignorance contributes to more learning about God.
    To easily answer your question. Jesus, God incarnated man, born of a virgin, died at the cross and resurrected on Sunday to save humanity, and "that" includes you. Jesus loves you, you the writers, you the CNN people, you the "former pastor" (who apparently needs to find him). Jesus changed the heart of many who were set to persecute Him, Paul is good example of this. Repent! He Loves you. He went to the cross for you. Blessings!!!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Serge

      I be da king of da bible thumpers. You will repent and cast your sins upon my peter. Confession will be held in my bedroom where you can schlob my knob and rock dat tool!!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Amelia

      Well said.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Amelia

      Serge imposter- you are filth

      April 8, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  5. Surprisingly intelligent religious man

    My proof is my faith. And all though there are posts below and above this one that state 'Faith is not enough', I have never and I do mean NEVER had a conversation with anyone and I do mean ANYONE... even if they be professed atheist, who at one point in a conversation somewhere down the line, do not profess a faith in something.
    Besides... as you and I have not seen God (although some have claimed they have) and even if we exclude the fact that over the years many have professed spiritual experiences and visions, those who say he doesn't exist have no more proof of that than those who say he does. It is simply your belief, your 'religion' if you will... you 'believe' He doesn't exist. Unfortunately for you though, there is actually more proof He DOES exist than he doesn't.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Jerry

      I have "faith" every year that the Lions are finally gonna win the Superbowl..........

      So much for there being any connection between "faith" and "reality"!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    There probably was a Jesus. And he probably did argue that Heaven (...if there is a Heaven) should be available to all, not just the wealthy. And he probably did preach something. But I doubt he was the Son of God, that he rose from the dead, and that he was sent here by God to save Humanity. But all the rest of the hoopla surrounding Jesus and God is a creation of the Church to create a business. And it's the biggest flim-flam business ever created!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  7. Shaun

    I think there is too much Historical evidence to dispute Jesus' existence.
    Just as I believe there is too little historical evidence to prove he was anything more than a man. An influential man. But a man.
    The church has tainted any validity of his importance by trying to skew it toward their own gain.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  8. scatheist

    Jesus deniers are on par with holocaust deniers? Now who is the internet kook?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Flooby

      That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I know of holocaust survivors who actually witnessed the holocaust. The whole Jesus/Bible thing is a fairy tale.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • JPX

      There is plenty of evidence of the Holocaust. There is zero evidence that anything in the bible ever occurred. I'm sorry, I'm not willing to have faith (i.e. the choice to be ignorant) that it did. Go back to school and take a few science courses.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  9. Mack Swift

    Osiris never rose from the dead?

    The cult of Osiris (who is a god chiefly of regeneration and re-birth) had a particularly strong interest toward the concept of immortality. Plutarch recounts one version of the myth in which Set (Osiris' brother), along with the Queen of Ethiopia, conspired with 72 accomplices to plot the assassination of Osiris.[15] Set fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which Set then shut, sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile (sarcophagi were based on[citation needed] the box in this myth). Osiris' wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead.
    In one version of the myth, she used a spell learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. Afterwards he died again and she hid his body in the desert. Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she raised Horus, Set was hunting one night and came across the body of Osiris.
    Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, less the phallus (which was eaten by a catfish) and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld. Because of his death and resurrection, Osiris is associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the crops along the Nile valley.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  10. nana

    Thank God for the gift of his son who died to take away my sins. I can not and will not impose my belief on anyone, i live my life according to His will and pray that others will come to know and experience His divine love.
    today marks the foundation of the Christian faith.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  11. Andres Varela

    @John Blake,

    I respect your ideologies, beliefs, and your right of free speech, therefore respect mine and those whose faith you choose not to believe in. Whether it is Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or the many other religions of the world, we all deserve to celebrate each milestone of our religion in peace and without feeling like a disturbance for choosing to believe in something other than what you ideologies and beliefs are. In other words, have some tack this should have been posted tomorrow after our celebration of Easter.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • scatheist

      We'll post what we want whenever we want. Today is the perfect day to point out the fairy tales.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Amelia

      It's all about money and adverstising. Ethics or courtesy are unknown terms.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus was historical. It is proved by science of history! It is foolish to deny Christ's historicity, because it is proved!

    There was a very famous historian of the Roman Empire, which lived in the first century after Christ (AD 56 – AD 117), that means extremly near-term to the events, which had came to pass in Palestine. He, Tacitus, was a pagan, which had no reason at all to promote Christianity and to tell us lies about Jesus. We can be sure that it was historical, what he wrote about Jesus, because he was an enemy of Jesus:

    "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superst-ition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multi-tude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind".

    This passage is a clear evidence for the historicity of Christ Jesus.

    There was a famous Jewish historian of the first century, who gives acount of Jesus Christ. Jews have no reason to promote Christianity and thus we can be sure that Flavius Josephus told us the truth about Jesus:

    "And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus... Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned."

    A Jew confirms the historical reality of Jesus, the founder of Christianity. That is very great!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • scatheist

      Jesus may be an historical figure. There seems to be at least one reference outside of the mostly fictional bible. But scientific eveidene, really? What's that the shroud of turin?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  13. Rami

    I like Christ, Jesus the messenger of God the lord. Today Christians Christ is a myth. Remember God is lord. The one and only one.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Muhammad was an impostor, murder and abused a girl of 9 years!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Chris

      God is great, it is humans that claim to know gods' will who are the problem.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Rami

      From the quraan.
      34 "So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"!

      35 Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  14. Flooby

    He may have existed, but the bible is a total fairy tale. All religions are for the weak minded.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Aurora Chuck

      that's right 95% of the world are weak minded people.

      The other 5% are our intellectuals.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • scatheist

      Religion is dying in advanced societies.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • popseal

      I became a Christian 41 years ago (not a pop culture disciple). I've discovered that the Bible is perfectly accurate in regards to human nature, its problems, and the solution it offers (among its other subjects). The new birth resulting from repentance and faith in Christ changes a man's contemporary world in every way and that for the better. Also, it fixes his destiny. Unbelief is the logical response in those that fear one day having to appear before the Living God they've spent a life time trying to deny. Remember, every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. HAPPY EASTER

      April 8, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Josh

      Except aurora it is more like 12%. 90% of general pop believes in a deity. 40% of scientists with bachelors believe. And 10% of imminent scientists believe. Goes down very suddenly. Because us scientists don't believe something just because someone says so.... luckily for you.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • JPX

      Flooby, you are absolutely correct. It's sad that so few are intellectual enough to understand that. Fortunately there is a growing atheist movement as people become more educated. Some day these fairy tales will be stamped out.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Josh

      Supposed to read emminent. Not imminent

      April 8, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Amelia

      Hey Stalin, Lenin and Marx,

      How'd that work out for ya?

      April 8, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Flooby

      The whole 'Doubting Thomas' thing cracks me up too. If someone questions the fairy tale; they slap a truckload of guilt on you for questioning this B.S. They really had their B.S. bases covered

      April 8, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  15. I am God

    Jesus is as comparable to the demigod Hercules, because they were children stories during the old ages and neither have proof of existence in our world. And Christians don't say "Jesus' words in the Bible" prove you wrong, because that is a bunch of b.s.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • alweg

      Except a man named Jesus probably did really walk the earth, and historically seems to be the focal point of the birth of a major world religion. Hercules – not so much.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  16. Shawn Irwin

    It is all fabricated, even from the start . . . There are about 7,770,000 species on the earth. If there are 90% insects, and we consider them to be all very small, (which we know they are not), we could say that each pair, in order to fit on the "ARK" would need 4 square inches for two of them, plus their food for more than 40 days (Actually I think it was about a year, but we will go with about 40 days just to give the bible thumpers a chance, it supposably rained for 40 days). Since 12 inches squared = 144 cubic inches, 144 cubic inches / 4 cubic inches = 36 per square foot. We know that, the insect population is about 80 – 90% of the entire 7,770,000 species, so making a conservative estimate, we will say it is 90%. 7,770,000 * 90% = 6,993,000 insects. 6,993,000 insects / 36 insect per square foot = 174,250 square foot needed to house all of these insects, and their food. Now the animals. 7,770,000 – 6,993,000 = 777,000 animals. We will again be conservative, and say that each animal requires only 3 cubic feet living space and three cubic foot for 40 days supply of food. 9 cubic feet total for each pair of species. They say the average size is actually that of a sheep, which would be more like 9 cubic feet for the two sheep alone. So, 777,000 animals x 9 cubic feet = 6993000 cubic feet required to house them. Now we will take the total needed for the insects and the total for the animals and add them together. 6,993,000 square foot + 174,250 square foot = 7,167,250 square feet needed on the whole "ark". (We will not even count the space needed for the humans, breathing space for all of the animals, and space needed for the structure of the "ark" itself.) Now the dimensions of the "ark" are well known. The length of the ark – 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits". This is equivalent to a length of 450 feet, a breadth of 75 feet and a height of 44 feet (assuming an 18" cubit); or 500 Feet, 83 feet and 49 feet (if it was the Egpytian 20" cubit). (We will use the larger size, just to give the bible thumpers a better chance) 500 x 83 x 49 gives 2,033,500 cubic feet. But wait, we needed 7,167,250 cubic feet! That is 3.5 times more space needed than the "ark" provided! And, we did not calculate for breathing space, space for humans, or internal structure of the ark itself! So, bible thumpers, please tell me, what did "god" do, shrink the animals?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Colin

      And then there are the small matters of (i) food, especially for the carniverous species; (ii) all the plants; and (iii) where black people, Polynesions, Native Americans. blond Scandinavians, Chinese, J.apanese came from

      April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Shawn Irwin

      Those who advocate christianity must support one of the following arguements:
      1. The universe is less than 5,000 years old.
      > Easily disproved by stratification of layers of earth, laid down yearly, with far more than 5000 layers, radiometric dating, Pangeae.
      2. The dinosaurs never existed.
      > Totally laughable. A visit to a Natrural History museum can quickly dispell this notion.
      3. Noah lead Tyrannosaurus Rex onto the ark.
      > Even more laughable. Tyrannosaurus Rex would eat Noah and half of the animals on the ark.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • popseal

      The state Biblical illiteracy is a matter of willful ignorance. Don't let other illiterates define what Christians believe. I've been a Christian for 41 years and am still amazed at what they say I believe.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  17. Kel

    Not so surprised to see CNN.com questioning the existence of Jesus on such a fine blessed day as this. And this is where some people get their news? Evidently, according to CNN, Jesus is just simply the worlds most significant and important non-existent figment of an imaginary myth ever. Reading down further, the religious responses to the myth-theory pummels the flawed logic and false facts that liberals cling to when desperately making a point about things they do not understand.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • JPX

      Kel, it's time for you to let go of your nonsense. There is no magical man in the sky watching over you. Go take a few science and get that G.E.D once and for all.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Barry

      I love how you peg all non-believers as liberals. This presumes that all believers are conservatives. Talk about not understanding something... so if heaven is filled with all conservatives, you can have it! Better yet, stop reading CNN on this "fine, blessed day" – then I won't be subjected to your lunatic comments.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  18. carter

    I do believe in the existence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world and then was resurrected on the third day. If I am respectful of your right to not believe, please be respectful of my right to believe.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • notheism

      Nobody is trying to take away your right to believe in imaginary super friends. If you don't like the article, go read something else. Nonetheless, you cannot deny others the right to talk about these things, regardless if it is a day that you consider special.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  19. Chris

    Happy Easter! Jesus may or may not have existed, I fully recognizes this. If he did exist, he certainly was different from the accounts in the bible that were written long after his death. The gospel of John is almost certainly a late revision to make Christianity what the writer wanted it to be. I choose to follow the gospel teaching that reason and logic tell me are good, view it all with a critical eye, and try to be good to my fellow man, not be greedy, and generally make the world a better place by standing up for the poor and the outcasts. When I die, I will go back to the earth, my genes will live on through my children, and I haven't a clue what will happen to my "soul" or if we really have souls. The universe is a great and beautiful mystery, I am happy and lucky to be part of it.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  20. rob

    Im not a very religious person but why in the world would you run a story like this on the holiest of days for Christians?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Dave


      April 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • martog


      April 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Jason

      Drama is news now, and if you can't find it then you make some happen.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Chris

      Because lots of people click and they make advertising $.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Aurora Chuck

      because CNN has no class. You would never see them run a story about Muhamed on one of the Muslims holiest days. They would fear that they would get their heads cut off but then Christians are the radicals!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • alweg

      CNN does it every year. I've noticed this for the last 6 or 7 years. They'll do it around Christmas, too.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Saved-by-grace

      Agreed, CNN has been doing this for a while. Just another way to bash Christianity.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Bryant

      Its a very relevant story to post for many of us that have to be subjected to the propaganda seen everywhere you go. It's like living n North Korea.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • JPX

      Why not run the story? Why does it bother you? If you're a religious person than don't read the article. Instead go pray to your magical man for our souls.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Betty

      Couldnt think of a better day to run this! Today is about 'Jesus' and religion is all about faith. People have to choose to believe or not believe. Both sides of an argument is a good thing!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Amelia

      Because CNN in the tabloid rag of the internet.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:42 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.