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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. Dan Roper

    We can only deny what someone else affirms.
    Atheism is a defensive position against the affirmations of religion.
    It would be much more difficult to deny facts rather than affirmations.
    The absence of facts in religion makes it easy to deny its stories.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 10, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  3. ILoveJesus

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Uhhh....how come everybody dies then. The only certainty in life is that life is temporary. Don't waste yours on silly bronze age myths when you could be doing so much more with it.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • SixDegrees

      So your god murdered his son? Swell guy. Although it sort of fits right in with that whole Garden of Eden expulsion, casting an entire race into pain and suffering because of the sins of people they never, ever met. And the flooding of an entire planet, and all the death and destruction that goes along with that, again over the faults of a few.

      Are you quite sure your god isn't the one with the leathery wings?

      April 10, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @ILoveJesus: Spewing scripture that was written by man and inspired by man only proves that you not capable of thinking for yourself.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Her god didn't just murder his own son...he TORTURED him to death. And because "God did it.", too many parents have felt perfectly justified in imposing severe corporal punishment on family their members. That's just one of the offenses against humanity for which the bible is responsible.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Sybaris

      Sucks for those that live on other planets huh?

      Kinda of an impotent god if it could only create one son.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  4. Rant

    If you have not firgured it out yet. CNN is run by Atheist. They find every way to try and bring down Christian beliefs. They align with Islam in an attempt to paint Jews as Oppressors...which again attempt to destroy the underpinnings of Christian and Jewish Faiths. CNN claims diversity but has CLEAR biased toward all thing secular and works to squash the voice of Christian and Jewish faiths. Does anyone see society getting better with this strategy?

    April 10, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • mpouxesas

      Let me know who woke you up from your sleep state and I'll slap them silly. Bad boy...shhh go back to sleep again, and everything will be alright....

      April 10, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  5. martog

    Ten Reasons You Know you are an Atheist.
    1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.
    2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.
    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.
    4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.
    5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.
    6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.
    7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.
    8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.
    9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.
    10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • mastermind

      atheist stink. they cry and moan. they take other peoples right to pray and display their religious symbols away.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • martog

      Matermind, can you refute one thing I posted with facts? Or are you just gonna reply with your anger?

      April 10, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • mastermind

      we know that atheist have a fear of accepting that there is a greater power. they want control. by the way to believe in nothing is still a religion. stupid

      April 10, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • mastermind

      how about prayer being taken from schools. an athiest parent caused that!!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • jbmar1312

      There is a great dought in my mind that mastermind is anything other than a troll looking to in flame. I am hard pressed to think that he is a Christian based on the remarks I am reading. Whether he is or isn't I apologize for his remarks.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Adrienne

      This particular comment deserves its own article. It is extremely well written.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • mastermind

      jbmar1312: apologize for yourself. i need none nor do i give one.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Mastermind, prayer has NOT been removed from school, only the ability of the teachers to impose upon their students, but the the children can still make their own personal prayers. Have you never heard of the separation of church and state?

      April 10, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Dennis

      Signs you are really an Anti-Theist (not an ATHEIST, theres a difference):

      1. Inflated egotistical sense of self worth and intelligence. You think you are 'smarter' and 'rose above' theists, you believe you know the truth and everyone else is less intelligent, less 'enlightened' and just less of a human being than you are. But in fact, your whole believe system is wrapped around being a non-believer or anti-believer, meaning deep down you are a very small person who spends most of your time pontificating about how smart you are putting down other people and dont realize that people have stopped talking to you because you think yelling is a debate method and are more intolerant of other ideas and beliefs than any religious fanatic you claim to be arguing against. In effect, you are the very worst example of the type of person you claim to be against, ignorant, closed minded, and a shell of a human being.
      2. You practice moral relativism. You 'believe' that whats good for you may not be good for everyone. You cherry pick moral lessons from the various religions without the depth of knoweldge or understanding to realize they all must be taken in context and as a whole. Meanwhile, you use your moral relativism to justify in action and selfishness on a day to day basis without even realizing it. You watch TV or read the news and bash any 'theist' organization for 'betraying' its beliefs while you actually have none that you stick to unless it benefits you. In other words, your whole 'moral' belief system is based on 'me-ism'. When you donate to charity its about making you feel better and superior, but when it comes to hard moral questions, your answer is to ignore it.
      3. You either have read or claimed to have read the Bible, but understand none of it. Your reading the Bible equates to an elementary school kid reading a quantum physics book. You can read the words, claim you have 'studied' it, and can readily read off sentences, but have no real understanding of the meaning or purpose of the Bible or religion. Instead of spending time ACTUALLY learning what a religion teaches, you 'read' the Bible and decided what they teach and shout down anyone who says otherwise.
      4, Your knowledge of history is sketch at best. You have read a lot of books that reinforce your beliefs but none that counter it. When ever you have chanced upon a book that argues or proves something you dont believe, you ignore it or discount it without pursuing the facts and truth. You know nothing about science or the theories that supposedly underpin your beliefs but think you do. You think that because you have heard of the theory of evolution that you know what it is. You think that because you have heard of quantum physics you know what it is. You have done nothing to understand these theories, OR their holes, and continue to blindly believe in them the same way a religious fanatic does.
      5. You relish your role as an anti-religious fanatic so you can repeatedly tell everyone how smart you are and thus imply how dumb everyone else is compared to you. The only thing bigger than your ego is the scale at which you fail at intelligent debate and thought, which would require you to actually listen and rationally discuss ideas you do not agree with.

      I could go on, but I think you get the point, at least if you arent an anti-theist you do.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • GeraldJ

      martog: You my friend had hit the nail on the head! Knowledge is power*
      and I respect everybody’s opinion on this controversial "issue"

      April 10, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • martog

      Dennis...I hate religion. Whatever that makes me. I am no god hater. I cannot prove or disprove he exists. But religion is nothing but manmade BS that seperates us and makes people do awful things. I have no respect for religion or the religious. I make no apologies for it.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  6. smelly

    wouldn't it be great if religion didn't exist?

    April 10, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      yes 🙂

      April 10, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • SciGuy73

      Amen!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Dennis

      Yes, I mean anti-theist states have done so well throughout history when they have been in power, like Revlutionary France with its guillotine, Spviet Russia with its gulags, and Communist China with its purges under Mao...
      Yes, a world without religion just looks so much more peaceful than a world with religion.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  7. Sake Neko

    Apparently CNN is staging another bout of, "Let's you and him fight", in hopes of getting people to come watch and then selling "tickets" to their advertisers. Timing, subject matter, and approach all point that way.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • mpouxesas

      right! Of course FOX or Limbaugh or other ...reliable media don't do anything of sorts...

      April 10, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Sake Neko

      You have an odd idea of reliable media, so much so that I suspect you of tongue-in-cheek rather than imbecility. 😉 I agree that Fox (certainly) and MS-NBC (probably) would do something similar. Most of the "newstainment" sources would. But this is a blatant example of this form of "news" consisting of an artificial fight provoked by the media purely for entertainment value. There is no information in this. I would have found a real discussion on the issue interesting, so that annoyed me.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  8. sparkandysnoot

    The teaching of Christ have set free the whole world, whether someone is Christian or not. Until His teachings, the concept that all are equal in the eyes of the Creator had never been seen on the face of the Earth. Christ taught to love all equally and forgiveness, something which the more primitive religions of the time didn't. As far as the 'Son of God' and 'rising from the dead' – who cares? The point of being Christian is loving kindness and forgiveness – and some Muslims and Jews and people of other faiths are better Christians in that area than many who proclaim themselves to be Christian.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • doughnuts

      No equality until Jesus?! What a foolish thing to believe.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • John

      Shut up with your ignorance of history.

      Krishna, taught the same message as Jesus thousands of years earlier. Buddha taught very similar messages 500 years earlier.

      I'l take Jesus any day. It's his religion and his so called followers that I'm most troubled by.

      peace.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  9. balanced journalism

    Publishing an article against Jesus on Easter ! Question is : Do you also publish dissenting articles concerning Maulana Karenga during Kwanzaa, the prophet Muhammed at Ramadan, or against Hinduism during Pongal ? If not, you are targeting Christians during one of their most important holidays, which, of course, is hypocritical and displays very poor taste and lack of sensitivity !

    April 10, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      This is just childish in the extreme. So-and-so got ice cream so I want some too! Yeah, it's just that childish.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      It's not a christard holiday originally dolt!!! Get an education and learn something!!! The christards stole this holiday, just as they did christmas, from the pagans!! What about all the other gods that were believed in before your god was? How are you so sure you have it right? Your jesus character didn't come back from the dead...it is impossible for that to happen regardless of what your buybull tells you...wow, you people are brainwashed!!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  10. Kevin

    Amazing that a guy who purportedly lived from 0-33 CE wasn't so much as mentioned until at a minimum 90 CE.

    Needed a good 60 years or so to get the whole story straight, huh?

    April 10, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  11. Ara

    Jesus is just another product of the human element doing its worst. He can't be stopped or silenced, bound or with strained. Time is his only adversary.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • mastermind

      Jesus is above all. nothing or noone can stand against Him...

      April 10, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @mastermind: You're right, no-one can stand against your jesus because you can't stand against a fictional character!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus was historical. It is proved by science of history!

    Scientifically seen, the accounts of the Bible of Jesus and the apostles are not as trustworthy as accounts from outside the Bible and the Church. The writers of the Bible were Christians and could have been tempted to invent stories about Jesus and the Church. However, there are accounts of Jesus and the Church from outside the Church, even drafted by enemies of Christ and the Church. Why should an enemy of Christ and the Church invent stories about Christ and the Church, which would promote the faith, which he hates. Hence, the texts below are very trustworthy, because they are drafted by enemies of Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    April 10, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      You do know that history means somebody made a record of events, right? And you do know nobody wrote about Jesus when he was supposedly doing all these wonderful miracles and becoming zombie raised from the dead, right?

      April 10, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Gaunt

      There is not a scholar on planet earth that does not aknowledge the Josephus quotes are fogeries, inserted hundreds of years later by people trying to devise evidence for their fairy tale.

      The tacitus quote IS genuine, and demonstrates only that, a hundred years after his supposed death, some people believed there had been a 'Christus'.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  13. martog

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Excellent!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • HenryO

      You sir, are an idiot. Don't pretend to know anything about God or Christians. You clearly know nothing and are not ashamed to show it.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • sam stone

      henry: don't you pretend to know something about god?

      April 10, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • D

      Doubt

      If it is a dream....
      then let me live there always

      For there is where I am happy, fulfilled and hopeful

      Do not take this delight from me
      do not darken my mood

      Let me...
      believe there is a tomorrow past today

      Let me...
      feel someone loves me... for me

      I have nothing ... but my spirit
      which inspires me forward

      I have nothing... but that hope
      which gives me the will to continue

      You who doubt....
      how are you really better?

      You live for no real reason
      except to exist

      I exist...
      for the reason to live on.....

      April 10, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • greg

      wow,this is awesome,so well done!!! so to the point Martog,congrats on the excellent research and analysis ..

      April 10, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • ILoveJesus

      One thing you make absolutely certain martog is that you are full of anger and hate and rage against your creator for some reason or another. One day you will die, we all will. One day we will be no more. All of your scientists, analysts and research won't be able to help you. You see no one has figured out a way yet to stop us from dying but Christ has come to give you the gift of eternal life after the death of your flesh. Don't waste what little time you have left hating a God who only loves you.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "HenryO
      You sir, are an idiot. Don't pretend to know anything about God or Christians. You clearly know nothing and are not ashamed to show it."

      How very typical of a christard to make such a statement!! Pot meet kettle...most don't know anything more than what the preacher tells them every Sunday.
      What Henry fails to comprehend is that most non-believers were actually believers at one point until we took the steps not to be arrogant asses and admitted that we don't know everything. People like him figure that the buybull holds every answer in this world and are satisfied with that, not caring for one iota of a second whether or not it is the truth.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • olcranky

      @HenryO – you just proved his point

      Sorry to break the news but people who are truly comfortable with their faith are not so easily offended by someone questioning and/or rejecting it. People who are truly comfortable with their faith and "right with G-d" are willing to challenge themselves by questioning dogma/doctrine and thinking critically about it.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • sparkandysnoot

      Some of that is a problem with all the Abrahamic religions. Tolerance isn't exactly endemic in Judaism or Islam either. The roots of all three are flawed. But all three religions do their best to guide their followers to a better life. And the 'Christians' you seem to be referring to are probably 'Born Agains' who are about as 'Christian' as weevils.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      I liked this better the second time around. I especially like the way it evokes such unchristian responses from christian commentators.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • martog

      Never Fails to 'touch a nerve' with the 'good christians'. Obviously there is a great deal of truth in the post judging from the angry responses from the 'faithful'. Maybe someday they will actually read that vile book called a bible from cover to cover and realize what a fakery it is. But then, anyone who simply thinks that believing in something makes it real is probably too lazy and too weak minded to actually do the the critical thinking involved. Oh well.....

      April 10, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @ILoveJesus: Maybe it is you that has the issue. Martog obviously does not believe in your god, thus is in no way angry with a fictional character and your spewing about how he/she will eventually find out is just plain arrogance on your behalf and quite hypocritical...you have no evidence to support your position. Atheists are not angry with something they don't believe in, that would be like saying you're angry with Santa or unicorns.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • ILoveJesus

      TruthPrevails, arrogant? hypocritcal? No evidence that suggests that we're going to all die one day? The Holy Bible is a volume of testimonies by eye witnesses to the only truth that WILL prevail in the end. Even in our courts of law today, its the "eyewitness" testimony that seals the case, is this not true?

      April 10, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • mastermind

      Why are you afraid to see that there is a God. To see that He sent His son to die for our sins. You have a fear of the unknown and to cope with it you believe in nothing. You spread your propoganda around and suck others in. In the end when you are face to face with the God you say does not exsist what then? Lose your pride and fear.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "The Holy Bible is a volume of testimonies by eye witnesses to the only truth that WILL prevail in the end."

      Wow, you do not know the history of your buybull! For example, Your buybull teaches of world wide flood...science says this is not possible. Even if parts of the book are true, it does not provide evidence for a god! The whole argument we have is that you can't provide verifiable evidence for a god and until you are able we see no reason to believe.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @mastermind: Face to face with a character that has never been evidenced to exist? Are you insane?? Where the hell is your evidence? I'm not worried about your god because I do not believe it exists. If by propaganda, you mean science...wonderful....I'd rather believe in something that can be proven with evidence and that is testable than a god that tortures its people with threats of hell.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Dennis

      You and most of your cronies here give Atheists a bad name. You are NOT Atheists. You are anti-theists and should stop defaming Atheists by claiming to be one..
      Your whole 'belief' system is based on attacking theism and trying to make sure everyone knows how smart you are. Thats not Atheism and thats not intelligence. Please stop, you and all the other anti-theists here – defaming true Atheism.

      BTW, because you are probably too ignorant and closed minded to know the difference, if you were a TRUE Atheist, you wouldnt give a da** about what other people believe and would be secure enough in your beliefs and have REAL beliefs that arent based on being against what someone else believes. Stop defaming Atheism by claiming to be one.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • martog

      Dennis, the ONLY reason we give a d-mn is because THEISTS are constantly trying to push and force their beliefs on the rest of us. Most atheists I know would prefer that you just kept your beliefs to yourself. But then, there would be no power or money in that......

      April 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    There are accounts of Jesus and Christianity outside the Bible and the Christian Church. Scientifically seen, accounts of Jesus and the faith from outside the Bible and the Church are more valueable, because Christian writers could always be tempted to invent stories about Jesus and the apostles, in order to promote the Christian faith.

    The text bellow is a conversation between two enemies of Christ and his Church. They had no reason at all to invent stories, which could promote the faith. Hence, the text below is extremly valueable, because enemies (Trajan and Pliny) of Christ tell of the Christian Church. The text below is a clear proof for the historicity of Christianity. Regard how close to Jesus' and the apostles lifetime the text emerged.

    Once, an officer, Pliny the Younger (reign 111-113 AD), of the Roman Empire had a conversation with his emperor Trajan (reign 98-117 AD):

    "It is my practice, my lord, to refer to you all matters concerning which I am in doubt. For who can better give guidance to my hesitation or inform my ignorance? I have never participated in trials of Christians. I therefore do not know what offenses it is the practice to punish or investigate, and to what extent. And I have been not a little hesitant as to whether there should be any distinction on account of age or no difference between the very young and the more mature; whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or, if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished.

    Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed. For I had no doubt that, whatever the nature of their creed, stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy surely deserve to be punished. There were others possessed of the same folly; but because they were Roman citizens, I signed an order for them to be transferred to Rome.

    Soon accusations spread, as usually happens, because of the proceedings going on, and several incidents occurred. An anonymous docu-ment was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.

    They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food–but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive supersti-tion.

    I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you. For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you, especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both se-xes are and will be endangered. For the contagion of this supersti-tion has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms. But it seems possible to check and cure it. It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found. Hence it is easy to imagine what a multi-tude of people can be reformed if an opportunity for repentance is afforded.

    Emperor Trajan to Pliny

    You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those who had been denounced to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it–that is, by worshiping our gods–even though he was under suspi-cion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance. But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age."

    This passage is a clear evidence for the historicity of Christianity. Consider it is from the beginning of the second century. Hence, Christianity could not be invented by any impostor later, but it was obviously a real thing.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      There are NO existing accounts written at the TIME and PLACE of the events described.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • Gaunt

      Your account presents evidence that, 100 years after his death, there were people who believed Christ existed. Except you left out the part where in the original letter, they consistently called him 'Chrisus', quite a different name.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  15. Enlightened

    The majority of christians have never even read the bible cover to cover. Go ahead... ask them. They base their entire religious beliefs and their "eternal souls" on a few sentences here and there, cherry-picking what they choose to believe. Its truly amazing how powerful fear is, and it is exploited by these religions that on one hand say their god is "love" and on the other that their god is vengeful and wrathful, so you'd best be good little sheep and do what you're told. Why anyone would want to bring children into this insanity is beyond me.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  16. Mike Hurst

    II didn't read your article. Just knowing that you published it is enough. Now you should published another one with the opposite point of view. I won't read it either. I already know the truth and hope that you learn it before it is too late for you. I pray that all your readers learn the truth before it is too late. In Jesus name, I pray.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      There's ALWAYS a threat involved when talking to a christian; whether a subtle "hope it's not to late for you" (implying their god will judge you harshly) or the more typical "BURN IN HELL!", christians can't help themselves and threaten anybody that has a different opinion than them. Of course, I suppose threading language is an improvement on the tortures of the inquisition.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Won't read or can't read? And why is it always, "I hope it's not too late"?

      April 10, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • sam stone

      mike: your empty proxy threats are laughable.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Mike Hurst: You know the truth how? Is it because your buybull says it or is it because your preacher told you? What you know is not the truth but stories...no different than saying you believe in the Easter Bunny. Your arrogance is not normal but nor is your belief. Sorry to say it but your jesus character won't be coming to save you or anyone else. An education on exactly why this planet will cease to exist might be useful but that would involve opening your mind to reality and doing some research outside of your buybull (if you've even picked it up).

      April 10, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • John

      I won't investigate bcause I already know the truth.

      This is exactly why the world seems to be closign up on your religioun.

      You do not know the truth because you never took the time to question everything.

      Believe Nothing. Allow anything. Question Everything.

      Short of doing that you can't even remotely claim to have found the truth.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  17. Jonathan

    There is a great deal of evidence that supports that Muhammad existed. I don't know of any historical contest to his existence. There is no historical evidence whatsoever that supports the existence of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc. Of course people point to the bible when this is brought up but that's tantamount to picking up a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 to prove the existence of Spider-Ma

    April 10, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      Exactly! Not One piece of contemporaneous evidence has been brought forward in 2000 yr.s!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Dennis

      What evidence do you have that Mohammed existed other than people said he did? What evidence do you have that Mohammed did any of the things he said he did, (very little of which he himself wrote down, his followers wrote most of it)?
      If you are going to make that kind of statement you need to be educated before you do. There is no more 'evidence' mohammed existed than there is that Jesus existed, ie, the accounts of his followers. Your decision to take one as fact and ignore the other, especially given that mohammed had even more 'questionable' tales of his exploits (traveling to heaven on a unicorn to meet Allah), means you are really just either uneducated about the FACTS or just a plain old big ot.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  18. Scott

    If one does not learn to look at their faith in different ways how do they know what to believe. Faith is just that, Faith. It is the idea a person has enough knowledge to believe in their own minds that it is real. If no one ever pondered it then we would never learn.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:34 am |
  19. Tyler

    The brethren and myself felt that CNN was openly mocking our beliefs on the most Holy of Days known as Resurrection Sunday. While I would not hesitate to say that we felt anger I felt more sadness than anything. I would encourage those who proclaim themselves as "Atheists" to read the following article http://www.gotquestions.org/evangelize-atheists.html.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • nomdefaitour

      I don't don't think CNN mocked you, but let's be honest, rationale people are going to laugh at and ridicule a self-important fool who reveals his stupidity. Keep your ridiculous beliefs to yourself in the privacy of your home, but please don't try to impose them on your children. That would be child abuse.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  20. Gaunt

    God is all good, and loves all people. Yet he seems to have no difficulty intervening to slaughter people by the thousands, burn cities to the ground, massacre firstborn children, testing people by ordering them to murder their own kids or even drown an entire planet in Noah's time. Why are all of god's interventions about mass slaughter and evil? Why doesn’t this good god intervene from time to time to do something good?

    What was god doing, exactly, while that whole 'holocaust' thing was going on?

    April 10, 2012 at 5:30 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.