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Your take: Comments on Jesus deniers
Jesus depicted healing a sick child.
April 8th, 2012
09:37 PM ET

Your take: Comments on Jesus deniers

Our story on a small cadre of authors challenging the existence of Jesus Christ drew almost 5,000 comments on Easter Sunday, with some upset that we did the story, others objecting to its publication on Easter, and plenty of others defending the article and the run date and debating the merits and implications of the debate.

Of course, most comments had nothing to do with our story, revolving instead around the debate about legitimacy of religion itself.

A sampling of the criticism:

Easter on CNN

You've gone too far.

While I am an advocate of spiritual exploration – by atheists to disprove or by the faithful to validate – running an article questioning the very core of a religious belief system on a holy day is indelicate, to say the least. Will you question that Muhammad received the word of God, running similar articles during Ramadan? Or on Yom Kippur, draw on conjecture to argue that the Book of Life is for fools?

This is not journalism. This sensationalist pander.

edeveryday

I would like to see if CNN would dare run a story saying that Muhammad was a "myth" on the Muslim' s holiest holidays and that Abraham was a "myth" on the Jewish holidays. Go ahead CNN and give it a try and see what happens.

rbsrs

Every Easter?...I mean why a negative story every Easter?? It has become a running joke.

ANGRY AT CNN!!!

CNN: IF YOU READ THIS GO TO HELL FOR YOUR ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIGOTRY THIS EASTER SUNDAY!!!!

Many other readers took aim at the critics:

JHC

To those who are insulted by this article,

If your faith is so weak that it cannot stand up to being looked at from an objective, historical, evidence based perspective, then this article is the least of your problems.

nomdefaitour

It is ironic that so many christians are "offended" at a dialogue about religion sponsored by CNN instead of greeting the opportunity to express their views. Perhaps they are shamed that we all know they are surfing the web when they should be worshipping on Easter Sunday.

Others weighed in on the merits and upshot of the debate over Jesus' existence:

JBOO

I do not doubt that a man named Jesus existed, and that he probably did preach about God. But I believe he was no different than any cult leader today that preaches about their own religious beliefs and gains a small number of followers. The difference with Jesus is that Christianity was already more wide spread, and the general population was very uneducated and easily influenced by a great orator. Do I actually believe their is a God, and Jesus is his son? No. But I'm sure the man existed.

Keith

It is actually more reasonable than not to conclude that Jesus was an actual living person. Whether or not he was "the Christ" is the only worthwhile point of debate. Regardless, many of the teachings of Jesus are worthy of people to take to heart whether they are Christians or not. As an agnostic, I take those things that are wise from any and all religions, and leave behind those things that are destructive.

gimmeslack12

I don't care whether he really existed or not. It's his story that never happened, at least the son of god part and dieing and coming back to life stuff. What matters to Christians is that he is a support system that is able to take the blame for all the bad stuff in your life so that you can move past them and continue living.

I was thinking about it the other day, and I think Jesus really is a great thing, because it allows people to psychologically take pressure, grief or guilt and remove the effects of anxiety and pressure that those feelings create. On the flipside it possible allows someone to conjure up Love by themselves.

I think Jesus is a psychological whipping boy for all things that people don't have or can't (don't want to?) deal with. So I think atheists and non-Christians (heck, maybe Christians themselves) are missing the point about the importance of Jesus to some people.

The Twitter conversation over the article was mostly complimentary:

@JoshTheLink

Interesting debate from CNN's site about whether or not Jesus was a real person: https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/?hpt=hp_c1

@CommonDescent

CNN asks: Did Jesus exist? https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/?hpt=hp_c2 Honestly, this is a topic I don't know much about. I'd like to learn more.

@TTCNews

CNN interviews two Thoughtful Christian authors for this intriguing question–Craig A. Evans... http://fb.me/1idvhPxXD

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Easter • Jesus

soundoff (2,443 Responses)
  1. John

    So is CNN going to run a Muhammad deniers story on Ramadan?
    I bet NO.
    Not that they should, but paints a pretty interesting picture of what some of the inspired atheists jabs at others personal belief in the comments say and what CNN is actually doing with this kind of dare I say journalism?
    I have no problem if anyone wants to deny the existence of a man, but this was callous and disrespectful to the people of Christian faith. For me, Easter is on this upcoming weekend, Greek orthodox. But I'm still disgusted with the lack of tact in presenting that story.
    So run a Muhammad deniers story on Ramadan their big holiday,
    Mad corny CNN. Mad corny.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Know What

      John, I guess you missed these articles from last August. There was plenty of debate about their practices/beliefs. Pay attention... or shut it.

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/01/explain-it-to-me-ramadan/
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/01/president-obama-marks-ramadan/
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/09/whole-foods-denies-canceling-ramadan-promotion/
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/holidays/ramadan/
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/29/despite-daily-ramadan-fast-muslim-nfler-trains-for-the-season/
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/22/ramadan-effect-may-be-aiding-libyan-rebels-campaign/

      (there are more... I just got tired of copy/pasting links.)

      April 10, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • 13monkees

      Nice. I love it when people react without research into subjects they think they know something about. Such as the whole "war on Christianity" myth. Simply because we don't want your myth forced upon us, doesn't mean you can't continue to waste your time believing in it. It just means my kids don't have to learn that your death religion is a fact in schools.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  2. Mike

    no wonder FOX news beats CNN

    April 10, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • JeasusTapDancingChrist

      Funny, I thought they were justing beating themselves.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:42 am |
  3. Susie

    this is CNN just trying to justify an attack on a major religion on their high holy day. "Well some people agreed with us"

    April 10, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • HellBent

      I'm sorry that you consider academic research, the search for greater understanding, and reasonable claims based upon actual fact to be an "attack". I suppose you would rather live in a society that suppressed any insight, discovery, and research into anything that might offend your personal beliefs – what a small, sad world that would be.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:56 am |
  4. jimbo

    I wonder if the spikes for crucifixion were galvanized?? Could cause blood poisoning.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  5. 13monkees

    I am an atheist and the timing of the article is obviously purposeful. I have to agree with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show when he said that the press is not so much biased as they are lazy and sensationalistic.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  6. Will

    Jesus asked "Who do you say that I am?" 2000 years later, everyone still wants to take a crack at that question, even CNN.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  7. warvet55

    This is the last time i will visit your website or watch your programs on TV.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Locksmith

      Jesus was and is a myth, get over it.
      The end of faith is still rolling down the line, regardless of how many angry comments you theists make.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • tallulah13

      If you had any moral courage, you would not be afraid to question your faith. No matter what you end up believing, blind faith is no faith at all.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Brian

      Same here. Good bye CNN. Live your life hating on other peoples beliefs and religions. This country was based on christianity and it will be for ever. What i like about athiests is that they can only express them selves from behind a keyboard. I have never seen an athiest in real life talk crap about christianity because they are cowards. Here in Modesto, California, if me and my friends see an athiest running his mouth in public we will jump him and make him beg for mercy. One time a church was holding signs in downtown Modesto and this drunk athiest got in their faces and started running his mouth and guess what happened? I walked up to him and knocked him out and after my friends joined. Keep hiding behind your keyboards Athiests!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      Hmm. How about "blind faith." What religion doesn't depend on blind faith? is believing in Muhammad an act of blind faith?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Susie

      My faith is not blind and I spent several years as an agnostic. Many Christians were non believers until the "Truth" came and changed their hearts and minds. With what I have seen and experienced, no one can convince me now that God does not exist, or that Jesus did not save both my spirit and my physical life, any more than you could prove to me that my mother and father did not exist.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • HellBent

      "This country was based on christianity and it will be for ever."

      History must be more fun when you can just make it up as you go along.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Too bad Brian doesn't live down South, so he could lynch hisseff some ni . . .

      So Modesto is a fascist place, is it Brian? Love to stomp out free speech and freedom of (and from) religion, just like the SS and SA did?

      You are one UNAMERICAN piece of shit.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:41 am |
    • Bitter Butter Battle

      Ah, Modesto... where they hang out around the taco trucks and beg for coins to get enough to pay for their next meth hit.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Tweekers For Jesus

      Meth would indeed explain Brian's form of Christianity.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • sam stone

      Brian: You are a big mouth and a moron. Have a nice day, shmuck.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • sam stone

      Suzie: Why do you capitalize "truth"? Does your doing so add to it's credibility?

      April 10, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • 13monkees

      Hey Brian, I hope you and your friends jump me. I was a Christian at one time so I know how to fight!

      April 10, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  8. neolib

    you guys have been fooled ( or used ) to crowd source stories for CNN. Welcome to new age journalism where we let you fools create and debate on a story. 🙂

    April 10, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  9. nancie del real

    In the future I hope to write my experiences with Christ and the Holy Spirit and the miracle that I experienced. All I can say is that I am sorry for anyone who has never experienced this because they will never know the Truth and the saving Grace of this man who died for us all, Jew, Muslim Buddhist, Morman Jehovah Witness and many more. I pray that you will find the Truth.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Brian

      Amen. You just said what i was planning on saying. I am an catholic and i have seen many miracles in my family. Every time i asked God for something he gave it to me sooner or later even though i still have so much more to work on. We should put all the athiests (including CNN) on an island and let them make up all the rules they want for them selves. If they dont want to hear the word God then they can simply not say it. Dont be too proud of being a non-believer because you are going to gash your teeth together and cry one day and beg God to accept you but it will be too late.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • HellBent

      Gee, Brian, what a loving god you have yourself there. I guess I better believe out of fear that I'll be punished.

      Sorry to tell you, but I don't worship evil tyrants.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      There is no evidence that any of the thousands of gods worshiped by humanity throughout history has ever existed. However, religious rituals have been known to cause the release of endorphins, making you feel as though you are experiencing something special and real. Human emotions are tragically easy to manipulate, whether accidentally or deliberately.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • 13monkees

      Please, share your mundane coincidences with the rest of us. Unless you can prove that something that defies the laws of physics actually occurred, you do not have a miracle. You have a nifty coincidence. The same kind that happens to everyone. Just because I accurately pick out the next song on the radio doesn't make me psychic. I am happy that this religion makes you feel better, but there are people of other religions that I can guarantee have similar proof stories of "miracles."

      April 10, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      Brian, you really must hate the United States. People like you might as well be honest and call yourselves terrorists.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      Would those be the same endorphins that make Islamic zealots do cartwheels of happiness when they bomb something? Or are those different endorphins?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      It's easy for Muslim folks like @ tallulah13 to be critical of Christianity – it comes naturally to them.

      Doesn't it, tallulah?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Susie

      They don't realize that we have had our own proof that God exists and care for us. We have our proof, if you want proof ask God.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • Ed123

      When I was young I wrote Santa Claus and he always brought me what I wanted: Thanks Mom and Dad you always knew Santa's mind.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mecca, in the future, please address all question about the muslim faith to the troll the occasionally steals my name and claims to be muslim, not to me. Your verbal attacks are misguided. Maybe this will clear it up for you: when the post sounds like it comes from an atheist, that would be the original tallulah13 (me). If there is a comment from someone by that name that sounds like it supports belief in any religion, that would be the troll. I hope that helps.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • sam stone

      nancie: i am glad that something came along and made you well.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • sam stone

      brian: you speak of you and your friends. not you alone. are you one of those little punks that hide behind bigger people? it would be consistent with your worship

      April 10, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • sam stone

      susie: what makes you sure it was YOUR god that was answering?

      April 10, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      Well, I am a Neo-Nazi skinhead. Feel free to contact me for instructions about how to construct a hillside bunker and how to obtain a large stash of weapons and ammo. I will assist you gladly.

      (see how that's done? /@KW)

      April 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  10. James Wright

    This is exactly what CNN wanted, a vigorous debate with lots of attention. For CNN's motives this article had less to do with religion and more to do with getting attention.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • 13monkees

      Yeah, except there's no real debate going on here. You mostly have Christians whining about the so-called culture wars and atheists making fun of them for it.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  11. The Second Coming of Da Vinci

    There are many myths about Jesus but not about his existence. The problem is that people forgot this true message about Love. He claimed to be son of God and also declared that kingdom of God is within us. He never claimed that he was the only savior but with time, his teachings got crucified. His second coming is mainly our realization that kingdom of God is within us.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • db3

      "I am the way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me." = Only Savior.

      And the Kingdom of God is not "within us" The Holy Spirit is within us, that points us towards the Kingdom of God.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Wes Scott

      Jesus NEVER claimed to be the son of God. I have no idea where you got the idea that he did. When asked by Pontius Pilot if he was the song of God he replied, "Ye say that I am."

      Show me one single reference where Jesus himself actually claimed to be the son of God. You cannot because he never made that claim. Other men made that claim about him.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  12. dadoublezo

    Posting that article on Easter Sunday is like posting an article about 9/11 never happening... on 9/11.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      Of course, there's actually proof that 911 happened. There's not an ounce of proof to support any of the miraculous events of christianity. Also, easter is a pagan holiday, named for the Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess Eostre. Christians just stole it, like they stole most of their holidays, in an effort to placate pagans who wanted to continue celebrating on days that it was traditional for them to do so.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • dadoublezo

      my point exactly... and in 2000 years imagine how people could disprove things such as 9/11 which are as real as anything to you.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • tallulah13

      Barring cataclysm, filmed footage will exist for 911, as well as archival records. Only crackpots and conspiracy theorists will doubt the truth, sort of like the Holocaust deniers of today.

      The fact is, 2000 years ago the Romans were excellent record keepers. There is not a single contemporary mention of Jesus, which would be unlikely if the events of the bible were true. Kind of makes you wonder.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      @ tallulah13

      Keep bangin' away at Christianity, Muslim. Give it your best shot, then go to bed thinking that you damaged the egos and beliefs of the infidels.

      Pleasant dreams, Ahmed.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Know What

      Mecca Me Crazy,

      What makes you think that tallulah13 is a Muslim? Everything that I have read from her points to her being an atheist. I think you are confused, or the Crazy has taken you over.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      He's claimed to be Muslim on many occasions in this forum. You've missed it.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      Nor is he a she.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mecca, that was a troll stealing my name. I make no secret that I am an atheist. Nor do I use any other screen name. Anyone who has spent any time on this site in the last year or so knows that I am an atheist. I no longer dignify the troll who steals my name by responding to him/her, because frankly, they're neither interesting nor worth the effort.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      And by the way, I am very much a woman.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  13. polemicist

    Did Jesus exist? Yes.
    Is he the person depicted in the Bible? That is where faith comes in.
    Has the Bible been changed over the past 1900 years? No (research Bruce Metzger and other New Testament scholars if you don't believe me).
    Do people have an agenda when discussing the historical Jesus? Absolutely.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Kyle

      Yes, actually, the bible has been changed many, many times throughout the centuries. Your own bible has omitted many of the books that are part of biblical canon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

      April 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • 13monkees

      Bruce Metsger is an apologist and his work is therefore extremely biased. Read Bart Erhman from UNC. He will give you the straight scoop. What we have are copies of copies of copies. There are over 140,000 variances in the New Testament and their reliability cannot be trusted. Especially when you throw in all of the historical inaccuracies.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  14. Zak

    For all those who don't believe in Jesus, that he is the son of God and he is God. A day will come that you will know that the hard way and it'll be too late. (BTW it's been verified that all the events that happened 2000 years ago really happened, you just need to be sincerly looking to find the truth and it'll be revealed).

    April 10, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls.

      If the events of 2,000 years ago have been verified, it should be trivial for you to tell us where this proof is. Personally, I think you cannot and are just another delusional liar. Prove me wrong!

      April 10, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, there is no proof. I think you were misinformed or lied to. You should really do some research on your own, then you will realize that there is as much proof for Zeus or Odin as there is proof for the christian god.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      @ tallulah13

      As if there's any empirical proof of any god – ergo it's called a "belief system" of faith.

      Tell us about all the "proof" of Islam, Muslim.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mecca, please see my other responses. I am a female atheist. There is a rather stupid troll who steals my name, not comprehending that Tallulah is a woman's name.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • JeasusTapDancingChrist

      Hey Zak, what if the Muslims are right? Won't you end up in hell? Or maybe the Jews... shouldn't God consider you a heretic for following the false God Jesus and bannish you to hell. Or maybe one of the others of the thousands and thousands of other religions and sects are the right answer. Don't you see the irony in being so drowned in your own beliefs that you may be following the wrong light? There's a thin line between Faith and Madness. In one you speak to imaginary friends, speak in tongues, receive guidance from someone more powerful than you, and fully believe in imaginary worlds based on ancient fairy tales. In the other, you congregate in Churches.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • 13monkees

      Yes. You are correct in that we have evidence of what happened historically 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately for you, the new testament didn't always get it right. There was no "killing of the firstborn" ordered during that time. The census was never taken the way it was described, And much of the "prophesies" JC "fulfilled" were based upon faulty translations of the Hebrew Scriptures. The earliest recordings of the Gospels were translated by people who were barely literate.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • sam stone

      Zak: Wow. Thanks for straightening that out for us. We were all wondering what the "truth" was. Now, boy, get back on your knees

      April 10, 2012 at 5:36 am |
  15. John Q. Public

    It is a relevant theory and worth the debate. I'd rather go with the historical Jesus who was a radical Jew and was perceived as an equivalent of the Palestinian terrorists of his time. The Romans found him a threat and they sentenced him to death. End of story. Everything after that is pure mythology

    April 10, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Drew

      Interesting, but I would like to question your comparison of Jesus to a modern-day freedom fighter. Jesus may have been a nuisance to the local authorities, but his message of non-violence puts him on indisputable higher moral ground than a Palestinian terrorist

      April 10, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Bimston

      Drew, that assumes we know what Jesus actually taught. We have no idea if the message he preached had much to do with what wound up in NT scripture.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  16. Aaron

    Running a story about people who question the existence of a historical Jesus isn't time sensitive news. That means you can run it anytime you want. If healthy debate is your goal, if engaging people in critical thinking is your goal, then the best possible time to run it is when tempers are least likely to flare. If, however, you are just looking for ratings, controversy, website hits and a textual brawl in the associated forums... then why not run it on Easter Sunday? I think we all know which direction they went.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  17. Gabe

    Yo Dawg I herd you like commets so we put comments in yo comments so you can comment while you read comments.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Bimston

      That's very "meta" of you, Dawg

      April 10, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  18. JOHN

    Tje lak of tact

    April 10, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • JeasusTapDancingChrist

      evr herd of spelchek?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  19. Rahn

    We all know the major religions are MYTHS, but to those that belief it, it's something that rocks their world view. Questioning their delusions is upsetting to them. It unhinges their very thoughts about the core of their existence in this world. Eventually they will have to face reality. It's just a matter of time.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • HellBent

      At least they have some experiences from their past they can rely on – most of us went through a similar transition when we realized Santa wasn't real.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Drew

      Ignorance is bliss. It seems wrong to force someone to abandon comforting illusions

      April 10, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Sorry, but "we" all do not believe it to be a myth. You can question, debate and discuss all you wish not upsetting to me. In fact it is why I like dealing with some Atheist. If you are a person of Faith and a little Atheist debate rattles you then you need to work on it.

      So, please Rahn... continue. 🙂

      April 10, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • 13monkees

      Mark, even though we will disagree on the existence of a god and whether this particular god deserves worship even if the bible is true, I have to say that I at least appreciate that you can read an article that questions your faith without offense or taking it as a personal attack. So many Christians can't stand to even have their faith questioned. Sure, some atheists can be a bit smug, but this is after years of putting up with Christians trying to infuse their religion into every facet of our lives. Now that we have started to push back, many Christians view this as if we are trying to take their religion away. Not true. We just don't want it forced on us. Thanks!

      April 10, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  20. JOHN

    You have to admit, the timing of the article was not only terrible, but downright mean-spirited considering that timing. As an agnostic I say, "Shame on you for your willful and utter lack of tactfulness.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:55 am |
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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.