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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. Gaunt

    Jesus was the Son of God, right? But according to the principle of the Trinity (and to avoid polytheism) he also WAS God himself. Separate yet the same: also a ghost, who is also separate but still the same god. Makes no sense at all, and is fundamentally silly, but whatever.

    So why did Jesus proclaim on the Cross "Dear God, why have you forsaken me?" Was he talking to himself?

    April 10, 2012 at 5:29 am |
  2. Aristocles

    The fact that so many people are angry at this article shows how out-of-touch CNN is when it tries to give equal time to nonbelievers, when most people have some form of faith.

    Next time, CNN should try to give proportional time between those who believe (about 85% of people and 85% of the time) to those who don't or are unsure (15% of people and 15% of the time).

    April 10, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • Gaunt

      Yes most people have some form of faith. That is why an intelligent, sane secular news organisation would spend a bit of time discussing that faith, and (in this case) the historicity, or lack thereof, of that faith. Of course the zealots seem to believe that their personal fairy tale is off limits for things like 'logic, evidence and intelligent discussion'. They hate it when you actually use rational thought to discuss their myths, because deep down they know their silly stories cannot survive rational analysis: so they forbid it, and hope nobody notices this outright adnmission of their intellectual bankrupcy.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  3. Eric Cartman

    WELL FUG U DANICKA PATRICK! I'M JUST AS POOR AND STUPID AS YOU ARE

    April 10, 2012 at 4:59 am |
  4. Weels

    Subscribe to TRUTH>>> Save humanity visit: http:\\Truthmovement.blog.com

    April 10, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  5. Gaunt

    Actually, if your god is omniscience and infallable, then free will is impossible. QED.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:41 am |
  6. Tweekers For Jesus

    When I die, if I find myself in front of some God, he is going to have a LOT of explaining to do! Cancer, birth defects, war, torture, oppression, genocide, disease, starvation, natural disasters, and so much more.

    You could have prevented all of that, but you didn't, did you God? What were you thinking?

    And why are all of your books so random and harsh and intolerant and devoid of useful information?

    Why were your followers such mean intolerant oppressive people?

    Why did you let other religions exist – to confuse us?

    God has a lot to answer for. I can't say that I would want to be in the heaven of the Christian or Hebrew or Islamic gods. DEFINITELY not the Mormon heaven!

    Flying Spaghetti Monster's heaven, though, is a keeper.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:11 am |
    • localdelii

      Likewise, let's hope you don't have a lot of explaining to do to God or are you busy curing cancer, brokering peace, coming to the aid of victims of natural disasters, and being tolerant?

      April 10, 2012 at 4:57 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Exactly. If some God does exist who has allowed all the horror, war, starvation, disease, etc., that being is deserving of death. He should not worshipped, but put to death.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Gaunt

      None of which matters of course. You could personally cure cancer, adopted 75 starving children, create world peace, and save every starving infant and rescue every natural disaster victim on the planet, all without seeking a word of praise or a single reward. And if you did all that, and were Hindu, then this 'good' god would still sentence you to eternal screaming torture.

      On the other hand, if you murder children, assault and abuse the elderly, skin puppies alive, promote hatred, start wars and violate virgins, but then on your deathbed turn to jesus and say you are sorry, then this 'good' god happily lets you into heaven.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  7. The Ugly Truth of The Ugly Lies of Christians

    There sure are a lot of Christians posting about how they are leaving, though I sure don't remember them ever posting before. I bet they are coming over from some Christian looneybin website and just saying how outraged they are and how they are leaving, even though they never were really here. They sure act like they did not read the article, and they all are saying the say "I'm gonna take my toys and stomp off" self-righteous indignation shtick.

    Sounds like a fraud. They have certainly done it before.

    Honesty should be a Christian virtue, but it really isn't. Maybe that is why prison populations are higher in Christians than the general population of America.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:53 am |
  8. Andy

    There is no God. That which has been called God is that which is aware and expressed by 2 words: I AM. Those 2 words were used to describe God to Moses "I AM THAT I AM". Those 2 words were what got Jesus killed "Before Abraham was I AM". Those 2 words are what we are told to investigate by the eastern teaching Atma Vicara "Watch the I AM"
    Every human being from every continent and every culture uses those 2 words, every language uses that expression. Why would God use 2 words which we all use, to describe "himself"? As one writer put it "Man is God afraid"
    Investigate what the 2 words I AM are pointing to, it certainly is NOT the body!

    April 10, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  9. Spangler

    The only named abomination in the NT is Luke 16:15 where Jesus calls the love of money an abomination. Ignoring this one and selecting some (not all) of the 65 abominations in the OT to back up one's personal opinions is a favorite practice.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  10. Andy

    Moses? Moses who?

    April 10, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  11. JimboK

    Thanks to CNN for the courage to post the article. It was quite balanced, timely and made people think.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  12. JJMD

    I was a good person. Went to church in a daily basis. One day I was proscribed med for depression. The med caused a major panic attack. It was new to me so I told my mom about the scary experience. She saild the devil is trying to posses my soul. So I panicked more and started praying. However, every time I pray I go into a panic mode because my mined thinks I am in some kind of danger. I figured quitting to pray would stop reminding me of the horror I experienced. It actualy worked!

    April 10, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Breathe

      JJMD,

      So sorry about your panic attacks. They are horrid. Your mother should be ashamed of herself for the 'demon' cr@p.

      Try this next time you get an attack (or anytime you are stressed, really):

      –Breath in slowly to the count of 5.
      –Blow out the breath slowly with pursed lips... like you are cooling hot soup.
      –Relax every muscle that you can think of... eyes, tongue, jaws, toes - everything.
      –Repeat several times.

      Best wishes to you.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:35 am |
  13. Alton vierra

    It's like Christians have to start Suicide bombings to Even get the respect Islam has in the media. America can't be a nation with this much racial and religious diviision being created by the media, it's just a piece of land with a lotta people on it.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Gudrun Ennslin

      It's not the media, stupid. It's the radical Christian leaders chumming you all up into a froth-mouth lather about phony culture war non-issues, and exploiting your fears and hatreds for their own gains. It's convenient to blame things like the media – scapegoats are useful – but religion is the source of the division, as it always has been.

      And like the radical left of the sixties, when things get too radical, the moderates go away and the country swings away from the radicals. Today that's you, and it already is happening.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • demodocus

      Actually, the common variety of Christian terrorists who refuse to die with their victims so they can murder even more people is far more unpleasant in my book than suicide bombers.

      Just think of all the people whose lives would have been spared if Anders Breivik had just blown himself up in Oslo.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:12 am |
  14. jim

    jesus has to make himself known to you. you cannot find him on your own. he did die for you but you must now seek him. . my faith can stand in the face of anyones introspection. you cannot accend to heaven to find him, you must plain out believe and then when you pass you will get your reward. other than that you have your reward now so have a nice day and look around you and see what your lack of belief has turned this world into. cnn, you just help spread disbelief in the true god. they could nail him to a cross but they couldnt kill him, and they are still trying to kill him today, good luck if you think you can. he lives, and the rest of the world just really hates that. seek him people or the day of his second coming will take you by surprise

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

      I could say the exact same tripe and replace the word 'jesus' with Odin', and it would be equally plausible.

      Of course you would dismiss it out of hand, because all of you zealots seem quite comfortable dismissing every other one of the tens of thousands of creation fairy tales past and present and myths and fiction, but then get terribly offended whenever people do exactly the same to your personal creation fairy tale.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      People put their lives on the line and some even die for other people EVERY day. Should would worship all those people as Gods? Why is it only zombie Jesus who gets worshipped?

      April 10, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • Georgeanna

      Its so sad to hear people dont believe in Jesus as our savior. This is what the Anti-Christ wants and is getting. This country, and probably the rest of the world is lost. God gave people the freedom of choice and mankind has made mostly bad choices as greed rules the world. I dont question God, as He is the only one with divine wisdom.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • Bitter Butter Battle

      Georgeanna, "He is the only one with divine wisdom."

      What? A giant game of "Guess Who", "Choose Door #1, #2, or #3" - but, sorry, if your "free will" chooses wrong because the ambiguous trail of breadcrumbs leads you off a cliff, you will fry for eternity in a lake of fire, with no generous parting gifts.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:34 am |
    • sam stone

      georgeanna: so sad for people to believe they need saviors.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:45 am |
  15. zulux

    If anyone here thinks that when s/he dies s/he will go to heaven or hell, I suggest prozac.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • Reagan80

      So, when you stand before the throne you plan to plead Prozac?

      April 10, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • HellBent

      If there is a throne to stand on, I'll say that I used the brain I was supposedly given to the best of my ability. And if god really wanted to give us an instruction manual, he could have done a LOT better than the contradictory immoral text that we currently have.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • Mad Cow

      @Reagan80 – When I stand before the throne I usually plan on emptying my bladder.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • sam stone

      Reagan: Sometimes I stand before the throne, sometimes I needs to sit on it.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  16. Mecca Me Crazy

    http://www.amazon.com/Did-Muhammad-Exist-Inquiry-Obscure/dp/161017061X

    Well. Did he? Huh? Come on, all you Muslims. Tell us.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      CNN doesn't like Amazon links. Fine. Here.

      http://frontpagemag.com/2012/04/06/sharia-in-america-on-the-glazov-gang-1/

      April 10, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Mecca Me Crazy

      Are jihadists dying for a fiction? Everything you thought you knew about Islam is about to change.

      Did Muhammad exist?

      It is a question that few have thought—or dared—to ask. Virtually everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, takes for granted that the prophet of Islam lived and led in seventh-century Arabia.

      But this widely accepted story begins to crumble on close examination, as Robert Spencer shows in his eye-opening new book.

      In his blockbuster bestseller The Truth about Muhammad, Spencer revealed the shocking contents of the earliest Islamic biographical material about the prophet of Islam. Now, in Did Muhammad Exist?, he uncovers that material’s surprisingly shaky historical foundations. Spencer meticulously examines historical records, archaeological findings, and pioneering new scholarship to reconstruct what we can know about Muhammad, the Qur’an, and the early days of Islam. The evidence he presents challenges the most fundamental assumptions about Islam’s origins.

      Did Muhammad Exist? reveals:

      How the earliest biographical material about Muhammad dates from at least 125 years after his reported death
      How six decades passed before the Arabian conquerors—or the people they conquered—even mentioned Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islam
      The startling evidence that the Qur’an was constructed from existing materials—including pre-Islamic Christian texts
      How even Muslim scholars acknowledge that countless reports of Muhammad’s deeds were fabricated
      Why a famous mosque inscription may refer not to Muhammad but, astonishingly, to Jesus
      How the oldest records referring to a man named Muhammad bear little resemblance to the now-standard Islamic account of the life of the prophet
      The many indications that Arabian leaders fashioned Islam for political reasons

      Far from an anti-Islamic polemic, Did Muhammad Exist? is a sober but unflinching look at the origins of one of the world’s major religions. While Judaism and Christianity have been subjected to searching historical criticism for more than two centuries, Islam has never received the same treatment on any significant scale.

      The real story of Muhammad and early Islam has long remained in the shadows. Robert Spencer brings it into the light at long last.

      From Amazon.com

      April 10, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  17. CJ

    Debating the existence of Jesus is irrelevant and even a distraction. There was probably an itinerant jewish preacher in palestine around 2000 years ago named Jesus who had an apocalyptic message about the imminent end to the world as we know it. There were multiple such preachers. John the Baptist was another such preacher. And he probably came from Nazareth. However, that by no means the rest of the story about raising people from the dead, walking on water, making food multiply out of thin air has anything remotely resembling corroboration in the historical record. In fact, there is not one written word in any independent, non-christian source that discusses Jesus in the entire first century. Not one. And rising from the dead should have brought attention. So the rest of the story can be safely relegated to myth. Muhammad has far more evidence for his actual existence and his military campaigns in the last ten years of his life. However, that by no means obligates anyone to think he actually flew up to heaven on a winged horse. And I very much believe there are Americans who think they were abducted by aliens. Those americans do exist. It is the rest of their claim that is completely without evidence and we can wait till they offer some proof before we take their claim seriously.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Susie

      Yes the 2 billion Christians dont really know Jesus, they are just crazy.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your words, Susie. Most of us think adherents of any religion are simply products of cultural and familial indoctrination. Then there are those who have emotional needs that are satisfied by believing in an all-powerful supernatural being that loves and protects them simply if they say they love him best.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • CJ

      Well, Susie, I actually do not think it would be rational for me to claim to 'know' someone whom I have not met. Let alone declare that I have a 'personal relationship' with someone I cannot even have lunch with. I may somewhat 'know' Thomas Jefferson in the sense that I know his opinions on various matters based on his writings, of which we have plenty. However, Jesus did not write anything. And no book in the new testament is written by an eye witness. They were written by greek speaking christians, decades after the events took place, and lived in another country, and in a different language to what Jesus spoke (greek vs aramaic). It is the height of self absorption to think a preacher from the pre-literate bronze age who spoke to the needs of an occupied people living in desperate poverty (jewish peasants under roman rule) was actually thinking of you, a modern age american in the middle to upper middle class (since you have a computer and leisure time to post comments). Jesus did not speak to roman businessmen. His message (not that it came true, it didn't) was not for you.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • HellBent

      @Susie,

      Given how widely different those two billion people's views on Jesus are, I think it's safe to say that at least a vast majority have no clue who he is. With such wildly different thoughts on who the man was and what he actually meant, someone has to be wrong.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Sorry, Susie, but an argumentum ad populum is and always has been a fallacy; it carries no weight on its own whatsoever. Not so long ago, huge numbers of people believed that the earth was at the center of the universe; that didn't make it so, however.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:50 am |
    • sam stone

      Susie: Not necessarily crazy. Do you deny that there is a cultural influence toward belief?

      April 10, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  18. Susie

    I like Fox News On Christmas, Easter, Passover and Ramadan they put up nice commercials saying enjoy your holiday and have a blessed day. CNN and the rest of the jokers cant be nice for even one day.

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

      That's rich, considering Fox "News" is a joke 365 days a year.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:07 am |
  19. JohnE

    Timing was definitely inflamatory (Shame on you CNN...), as are many of the posts offered by those on all sides of the discussion. I look forward to the day when we can disagree without being disagreeable...

    April 10, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  20. Larry

    Jesus was real but What so many "christians" lack is a true knowledge of their own religion and bible. People look into the history of your precious bible, in ancient rome a christian emperor decided the religion neede to be united because there were too many different practices and beliefs all being called christian. So he got a group of "religious scholars" together and they got to pipck and choose what stories and what versions of those stories would be in the bible. The king james did essentially the same thing during his rule. The bible is so far from the truth its absurd. christianity started out as a greta way to bring people together and get people to live together and be toleant and then the ancient catholics went and turned it into a way to control and spew their hate and views.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • Susie

      Why do I care how God decided to put together His Word.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      Because it's important to know the source of what you believe, Cindy. Only the foolish or naive believe what they are told without considering WHY they are told.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:46 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.