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. 1word

    You know what sounds crazy, the big bang created all life and determined that all things should die and replenish to maintain the earth. Oh did I forget to say that we would have Oxygen and Water on Earth but there are planets that don't have that to sustain life. How about Gravity, we have all these wonderful things that other planets don't, please explain that Atheist.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Larry Harrymaryjerryterrybarry

      They have this thing called school, and unless you are younger than 6, you have already gotten detail answers to all those questions.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What about those 'facts' requires an explanation? Do you think that simply because we adapted to our environment that no other planets have any life forms that also adapted to THEIR environments?

      How do you know?

      What makes you think that simply because we are here it follows that some invisible being 'created' us or anything else?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Luke Skywalker

      Your claim of no life on other planets (for which you have no proof) is as valid as my claim of no God! Which means if you claim your statement as fact, than I can claim mine as fact too. The only difference is, we know there ARE other plants, we just haven't been to them yet. You don't have any evidence of God. Sucker!!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Mick

      What part of Big Bang theory says that the Big Bang created all life? And can you name a planet that doesn't have gravity? You might want to crack a science book before commenting on these things.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  2. Sue Brooks

    For CNN to print this article on EASTER is insensitive and completely keeping in line with the anti-Chritian propaganda I see on this site quite frequently.

    Why don't you print an article about Moses? Abraham? God-forbid, one of the Moslem revered people? No, it's about CHRISTIANS. WHY??? Because there is an anti-religion propaganda that is growing.

    Atheists who have commented: we CHRISTIANS will pray for you, your lives and your souls.

    To CNN:
    Who is the person who commissions these articles? What is his/her name? Who is the editorial team?

    I suggest Christians/Catholics find another news source.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • JHC

      Did you even bother to read the article?

      It simply gives two sides of a longstanding debate about Jesus.

      If your faith is so fragile that it can't stand up to an objective, historical, analysis, then you've got bigger problems than a silly little article.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Sally

      The good souls need to stay and help these poor people who are plagued with hatred and negativity. It's ruining society in every way.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      Moses was a homicidal maniac and a thief, and Abraham was a delusional schizophrenic who accepted the concept of child sacrifice. Fine role models.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Mateo

      Agreed, I'm a fiscal conservative, and social liberal, but this article being posted on Easter is disrespectful, and calls for a boycott of CNN until other religious figures are given the same treatment on their respective holy days.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Luke Skywalker

      Because between Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny, it's the Christians who have a track record of making up fictional characters. Likewise, the Jewish "historical" figures you've mentioned are supposed to be normal humans, not divine children of God (or fictional gift giver and egg layers).

      April 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Mateo

    "The Mohammed Debate: Man vs. Myth". Wait, we can't talk about a pale, red headed, murderous warlord from the 5th century, that frequently had epileptic seizures; then out of pride and lust for power, easily convinced his conquered subjects and slaves, that his seizures were God speaking to him.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  4. Mateo

    Looking forward to CNN's next article. "The Mohammed Debate: Man vs. Myth." .... and on the first day of Ramadan too!

    April 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • CMoses

      Nah, CNN only publishes articles that bash Christianity.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  5. popeye1128

    Jesus existed but dinosaurs didn't. I find it easier to believe in dinosaurs than Jesus is god. I believe he may have been a real person back then, and a very good person, just don't buy the son of god thing.
    Then again, I don't buy the god thing at least the way churches teach it.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Jimmy

      Are you sure dinosaurs existed? Did you ever see them or are you basing it on your faith of what you read in books and are told by other people?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      We have the fossilized remains of dinosaurs. Do you have any remains of Jesus?

      Yeah, I didn't think so.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "We have the fossilized remains of dinosaurs. Do you have any remains of Jesus? Yeah, I didn't think so."

      =>Jesus was resurrected, the tomb was empty.. no remains..

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure thing ====>Chard.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • californiarestinpeace

      Jimmy, head down to a museum pal and you can see them for yourself.....in the bone of course as the flesh has long ago deteriorated.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  6. Anastazio

    1. The reason Christ was crucified, was to make an impact in history with His crucifixion that would not be forgotten so that the Truth about God would not be forgotten ( especially at a time that humanity had reached its lowest point as displayed in the times of the Roman empire ( de-ba-u-che-ry, murder for sport etc.).
    There is no proof that others before Christ had lived and died in a similar manner, other than the con-spi-cuous writings by individuals belonging to con-spi-cuous organizations, or because of other selfish motivation. Even if that was the case, who’s to say that beings who knew about the prophesies where not trying to deceive humanity in advance by a false messiah, of whom nothing was first foretold by the prophets (Socrates had declared that he was listening to a "dea-mon"), or that God or beings acting on Gods behalf were not preparing the world with predecessors, before the one and only True Messiah (Jesus Christ) of whom the prophets had foretold and who fulfilled all prophesies to the letter, had co-me?
    2. There are superior and inferior beings within the Infinite ( Infinite in any perspective – God ).
    3. The infinite is not mechanized, comprising by gears, machines and robots, but by free minded individuals with self – interest and the need for self – preservation implanted in them, in order for them to survive and function within the Infinite.
    4. With free – will and self – interest, selfishness and evil emerge, as emerging properties.
    5. Life is a learning experience and a proving ground which prepares beings for higher level of existence and function within the Infinite.
    6 Christ is the manifestation of the Infinite, the Administrative Force within our portion of the Infinite, the messenger, the Son of God, the Messiah.
    7. Christ died on the cross to save humanity from the deception by beings who already had failed through their learning experience, failed in their duties, and out of selfishness (self – interests that disregards the self – interest of others) failed God. Beings who know that all is left for them to do is to take more beings with them in their doom, since they do not repent. Surely no being can go against the will of the Infinite God, and expect a positive outcome out of such a dire choice.
    "And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment." Jude 1:6. 1/3 of the God's angels was cast out of heaven because they abused their position of authority and administration within the Infinite. They were separated from the organization of beings which were still devoted to the Infinite God and served God's will and administered within their sector of responsibility for the Infinite God, and followed the concept of caring for one another and the well being of everything within the range of their duties ).
    "Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity." John 12:25
    With other words those who prove worthy through the test of life will become beings of a higher level, to serve with their existence, administering within a sector of the Infinite, or having other duties according to their proven worth. Those who do not prove worthy, will be "recycled" back into the Infinite to serve by other form of existence (some particles have to become the Earth, the water and plants, and others the suns which provide planets with energy. We all serve within the Infinite, one way or another.
    8. Surely we could not expect Christ to proclaim the gospel using complicated manners of expression, and phrases such as "quantum mechanics," as we cannot expect the Bible to declare that the world was billions of years old, since some people could barely understand simpler concepts, and would still count with their fingers (six days instead of 6 billion years – from the time perhaps the first materials formed in space).
    9. Christ told us not to worry about the inconceivable for our minds details. He said instead :
    "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can co-me to the Father except through me." John 14:6
    Atheists cannot answer what was before “before,” and for what reason. There is always a reason you get something out of something and you never get anything out of nothing, unless you are an atheist and claim that you possess scientific knowledge, but you cannot provide a simple explanation as to what makes an enzyme perform a specific work, and why ions of hydrogen turn power ATP synthase to produce ATP in their cells so they can have the energy required to doubt God’s existence. Atheist read a biology book first and then try to make a point. There was no beginning and there is no end, for the Infinite. Between and beyond any two points and within any shape or form exists an infinity. God is Infinite, everything else is a speck of the Infinite’s man-if-est-at-ion. Christ is the personification of the Infinite. Christ is God’s messenger, Son, Messiah, the chief administrating Force within the sec-tor of the Infinite we find ourselves in. Good and Evil are emerging properties of existing beings with self-interest and free- will imp-lanted in their con-sciou-sne-s-s. Life is a learning experience and the proving ground. If we are worthy we will beco-me beings of higher level of duties within the Infinite. If we do not, we will serve another way.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • JHC

      Source: Encyclopedia Moronica

      April 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So....anything we cannot yet explain is caused by God?

      Right. And people once couldn't conceive that germs and microbes caused infection.

      You're an idiot if you think your long-winded nonsense will convince anyone.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Explain the Inquisition and how it enhanced Jesus's theme of "love they neighbor."

      April 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Anastazio

      And what you atheists have to offer? How about 1 single proof that God does not exists? 1 simple explanation in regards to the existence of the world? Atheists you are full of nothing. I have the Bible which was written by different people at different times and space in history, filled with prophesies which were fulfilled by Christ. Because surely God would reveal the Truth about his existence and what He wants from humanity at the time of his choice ( late enough for people to be intellectually able to understand the Truth, early enough to beco-me ready based on the Truth). Science backs up the existence of God, Nature speaks infinite volumes of it. What do you have to offer to weigh on the scale, atheists? Nothing. Case closed. You are simply unreasonable. Imagine how you would feel about your intelligence when you discover to late that you were dead wrong.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Anastazio

      Well the Bible, science and patterns in life explain what I refer to in an expedient manner. The reason for the existence of everything is because simply the Infinite exists. The existence of the Infinite is proven through math and the patterns within our environment which have Infinite application, since out of nothing nothing happens, and into nothing nothing can be disposed off.

      Sources : the Bible, Biology, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Logic. Yours?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not one thing you've cited proves there's a God.

      The burden of proof is on you, not atheists. If you can't prove God exists, that is your problem. One cannot prove a negative.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Anastazio

      Infinite Energy, Intelligence and Matter = God / God's Representing Force to our world :
      "I am the LORD, and there is no other. There is no other God besides me. I will strengthen you, although you don't know me."

      April 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Anastazio

      Enough with the old nonsense tactics, the mistakes of people whether within the church or outside does not disprove God ( I already spoke about evil being an emerging property of free-wil which is an emerging property of self-interest, which is an emerging property of the need for self-preservation without all of which we would not be able to function as manifestation of the Infinite, but we would be rather gears in a giant limitted robot.

      Your other tactic atheists is taking the blame game a little further. The burden of proof is to those who cannot find 1 single possible explanation to disprove the obvious. Everything you see or know of is a speck of the Infinite which has no end. That is provable what is between 1 and 2? What is the last digit of pi (3.14....). Okay I just proved the Infinite. Think of all the patterns in organization, think of the infinite within the microcosm and the macrocosm. Now Your tutn atheists, I proved to you that the Infinite exists and has no beginning and no end. Prove to me that the Infinite came out of nothing.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Never said it did. Doesn't mean it came from some invisible dude.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  7. 1word

    God planned it so perfectly, not everyone will get into Heaven. It's only those who repent and accept the same guy they nailed to the cross. The same one they didn't want to admit was the Son of God. Only the Blind who don't wish to see will burn in hell, you are given a choice; chose wisely!

    April 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • JHC

      Really? You look around at all the suffering and disaster in this world and think, "gee God sure planned this perfectly."

      April 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Selmers

      Yes, and you're ignorant if you think that he is going to control us. He has left our fate up to us. All of the war, poverty, and disease in the world is a product of humanity, not of God. It is those of us who love in the face if war, who give in times of despair, and who forgive those who harm us who truly know God.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • 1word

      JHC, yes GOD IS AMAZING He is work is PERFECT! This earth cannot sustain life without death. Can you imagine no Death, we would still have dinosaurs terrorizing people, people stacked upon people. Yes, at times we experience loss and pain but that's why we depend on God for strength. We need him to survive in a Sinful world. God has given all of us a way out of this sinful world, that's to dwell with him in Heaven. It's YOUR CHOICE!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • JHC

      Selmers Stop making excuses for your absentee sky daddy and face reality. If there is a God, he/she either isn't all powerful or isn't all good.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Rauche

      If this is true then answer this question; How can "God" be separated from itself?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • 1word

      JHC I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus. I believe you are being punished by God. God has hardened your heart and you will never come to him, just like Pharoah. You will die in your sins, I feel for you. Oh well keep tempting him, you actually have a choice although your heart is hardened. You can still be SAVED!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • 1word

      God is a spirit, he can do whatever he wants to do. Why do God talk to us in our dreams? It's because he's a spirit and when you sleep you're actually in the spirit world. How can someone brain create such vivid worlds or situations? In the Bible God spoke to his prophets through their dreams. The answer to the mysteries of the universe is actually right under your nose, SPEAK THE WORDS and God will show you!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are delusional. When you're asleep, you are not in some other 'world', you dolt. You are unconscious. Your brain continues to function but on an unconscious level.

      Jesus, did you never read a book?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  8. JHC

    If an article that simply gives both sides of a longstanding argument about Jesus gets your panties in a wad, your faith isn't as strong as you think it is.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Joe

      why so angry?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Selmers

      He's angry God didn't make him prettier.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  9. LookandSEE

    Well we have a year time point began after this person AD/BC.Millions of early Christians were willing to lose their lives for Him.
    The biggest evidence is millions of people say His name in an unappropriated way. When is the last time u heard someone curse Mohammed ,Allah or Buddha? The reason people curse Jesus is proof that He is God!

    April 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • JHC

      I hear people curse other "Gods" all the time. Your point makes no sense whatsoever.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Don't you mean CE/BCE?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  10. Robert Brown

    1 John 5:10
    He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  11. Monti

    Happy Mithras

    April 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  12. 1word

    Luke 16:22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

    23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

    25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

    26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

    27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

    28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

    29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

    30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

    31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Monti

      Happy Mithras...get a life

      April 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Al

      Nice story. Did you hear the one about Icarus?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Brother Maynard II

      Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu... And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it." Book of Armaments, Chapter 2, verses 9-21

      April 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  13. Monti


    April 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  14. johnny

    Gods do not exist in the why our puny minds can comprehend. Those who claim Jesus exist fail to live his Christ-like path. Fundamentalist Christian believe they are the hand of God and can condemn at will wearing a cross..
    But never believe in walking the path that Jesus left for us to find salvation. .Condemnation of others sins make you NOT Christ-LIKE. P;lease leave me and other true Christians to live our lives free from imposing our beliefs on others that is the other false relevance jobs. FUNDAMENTALS.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Bill

      Not bad johnny!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  15. Allen

    One of the main problem i have with christian or any religion that target about afterlife is that they don't care about the currently life. All they care is about maintaining their stat to go to heaven, but never about global warming, lack of resource, social unrest by their religion, because it does not matter. It all about going to heaven, therefore nothing else matter. So all their mistake go to our children.

    life is always something, it never nothing. Life for human is more than living it about setting a example for future generation. If you want to make a better place for our generation, you have live life now and not the afterlife. Killing yourself is a coward way of running away, so is waiting to kill yourself. Anyone know that. Live your life, make the future a better place for your children so your children could do it yourself. Not wait till death so you can live your life at some place and leave your children with all your mistake.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Cq

      Religion is all about dissatisfaction with your current life. If you are satisfied with your current life why would you want religion?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer


      Many of Christendom's follows are only doing so to keep their souls in the limelit churches for socialisms' benefits. Most do not care much less believe in True Christianity! Imagine if you will what could be done in third world contries to ease many lives that earn but a few dollars a month if these mega churches would but forget to pay their bills for a month and hand it over to the very needy! I guess what I am leaning towards is that I myself should find a small church nearby and go and investigate.

      I am an affirmed believer in but a few verses of scrpture and will not parry to all of the Gospel's rather mundane teachings that are hellbent for the emotionally challenged flocks that seeka weekly fix for their Life's bitter tasting Life.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Allen

      so are you satisfied that all do is have the america dream, make decent income, have some children, knowing you guy are stopping scientific progressing, because science are against your religion. We could have solve the end to all sickness, energy crises, save animal from extinction, etc.
      Yes there are christian who use use your religion as a safe-guard from getting in trouble, but it does not change the fact that they use their religion to do it.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  16. Truthfully

    Even secular historians and those opposed to Jesus admit that He lived. To deny He lived is equivalent to denying George Washington lived or that the holocaust never happened. If you want to believe the lie that He did not exist you have every right to but that doesn't mean it's true. The way we measure time B.C. means before Christ and A.D. means in the year of our Lord. Good grief! and now you think just because someone writes a book saying He didn't exist means all the historical facts are false? Wow! How's that for public education? The dumbing down of America for sure. Choose what you will but Christ lived, died and rose. He is now in Heaven and will come again some day. If I am wrong I have nothing to lose by believing and living according to His commands. If you are wrong you have everything to lose. Choose wisely.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • momoya

      Pascal's wager is stupid and has been refuted numerous times.. I worry about the christian god being true as much as you and I BOTH worry about the Muslim god or the Hindu gods.. None.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • pythagoreanvegancommunity

      Surely you don't really believe that. It's 2,012. Get a grip!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Cq

      I'll agree that it is more likely that Jesus lived, but you can separate that from the outrageous claim that he was a god just like you can separate Washington from the Cherry Tree story. Face it, not everything ever told about real people is true, right?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Jacob

      Surely I'm going to put my faith in something that happened 2000 years ago, from story tellers. I might believe it if there was some type of proof besides miracles from people who's God did not tell them that the World was round. Story tellers to make up their own tales and say that god spoke to them and the World was on 15000 years old.
      Science is the my GOD, but these FAT sheep (Yes their God is letting them get fatter each year, maybe for some slaughter in the future) deny Science.
      G.O.D. = God Only Destroys. Why do people pray to their God and God only causes death. Like the family that was praying to God when their trailer was completely destroyed by a tornado and they all died.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  17. Kentuckyscience.com

    Who was the greatest man to have ever been born out of a mothers womb or the greatest man to have ever lived? Jesus is the Son of God, so the obvious answer would be Jesus. However, Jesus says that John the Baptist was the greatest. Jesus was not a liar, so why did he say the John the Baptist was greater than the Christ born of a virgin womb? John the Baptist is associated with loving God, since he prepared the way for Grace. If you are a Christian and you think that Grace is above the greatest commandment you are wrong. Don't take my word for it, read Luke 7:28. Jesus makes it clear that even those who love God the least in the Kingdom of God is greater. Talk about humility, that is remarkable humility by Jesus Christ. Jesus is associated with Grace, one can only get to heaven through the son. This fact alone should make Jesus the Greatest man to have ever come from a mothers womb. John the Baptist condemned Herod to Hell for being an adulator, since he had no desire to change his ways and Love God. (Mark 6:14-29) John the Baptist is associated with loving God, since he prepared the way for Grace. Why does this matter? John the Baptist got his head cut off for speaking the truth about consequences. It is obvious that Herod used his position as King to do whatever he wanted with complete disregard to God’s Word. That is why John rebuked King Herod! Herod was sinful and unrepentant for his actions. If a preacher tells his congregation that all they need to do is accept Jesus and be saved by Grace without informing them of the consequences of not being born again, then why should they have any regard to God's word? John the Baptist was not afraid to speak the truth about the importance of loving God. Money made Herod appear to have authority. How much authority does he have now?

    April 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Cq

      Nice rant, but how much of it can you prove?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • AGuest9

      I didn't see one iota of science there.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  18. RK

    Divine world can only be understood if goes through torturous pain (more appropriately at the point of death) and struggles to get back to normal life.
    Timothy Freke is well content man who has access to all forms of confort in his life how can he understand such world?
    Bookish knowledge cannot help you to understand what/who is Jesus.

    What to know more about Him? I can share my practical experiences how HE saved me.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Cq

      Are you arguing that only truly desperate people will believe in religion? I might just agree with you on that.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • scotland

      Let me give you an under-standing in to human nature......PEOPLE ARE EASILY LED.
      people like to make money
      people like to control others
      people like power..............
      Boom, religion covers all the afore mentioned catogories,never gorget there is power in numbers I.E. Catholics no BIRTH CONTROL


      April 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    I don't know why you would say Jesus didn't exist. Obviously, no human is born of a virgin mother, so sure, there are some mythological embellishments, but that doesn't mean that Jesus, a rebel against the corrupted religious system, was not real.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Truthfully

      You are right when you say no human is born of a virgin mother but Jesus is the Son of God. He was human and God. No myth just mystery and beyond our comprehension but not out of our reach. Please read the gospel of John and ask God to give you understanding.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • AGuest9

      I forget. Was John Cheech or Chong?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Cq

      Here is a partial list of demigods (half human-half god)
      Helen of Troy
      Heracles (also known by the Roman spelling, Hercules)
      Māui (Hawaiian)

      April 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  20. Fizzylift

    How many Jesuses can dance on the head of pin?

    April 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Bible Bob, Knight of Infallibillibabbity

      How many women went to the Tomb to discover Jesus had arisen? Is it one, two, three, or a group of at leasst four?

      The answer is . . . YES!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Bored

      None – he never existed!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • AGuest9

      That should read "to discover Jesus' body had been stolen by his disciples to make the rest of this story sound better?"

      April 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Bible Bob

      You know AGuest9, the four accounts of the women at the tomb are so incredibly different and incompatible, I just don't need to make you amendation, because it is so obvious.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 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.