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.


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.


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



Many other readers took aim at the critics:


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.


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:


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.


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.


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:


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


CNN asks: Did Jesus exist? http://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.


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

    I once believed that it was not important whether or not Jesus existed, or if he really was the son of God. Rather, it was the lessons that counted.

    That was, until, I actually read the Bible and realized that it was nothing more than common sense on paper.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • sybaris

      common sense on paper borrowed from other religions of the day

      April 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  2. Jasmine/NYC

    Everybody knows (Including silly atheists) that Jesus existed. If he did not exist, 2.2 billion Christians + 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide wouldn't accept him, and he wouldn't be known today. Silly arrogant atheists just tries to waste their time and argue with religious people because they do not have anything else to do and have nothing accomplished in this world.
    They are just jealous and hated.

    I don't wear my cross in public, but now I will, just to bug intolerant atheists.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "They are just jealous and hated."

      More lies by the Christians, got to love it. So millions and millions believe in Santa Claus, he was a real man but we all know the stories of him today are bogus, so goes it with your Christ.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Ed

      Other beliefs once held by vast majorities of humans:
      1) the earth is the center of the universe.
      2) the earth is flat
      3) illness is caused by evil spirits.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Hardly a compelling argument. Absolutely everyone on earth once believed that the earth was at the center of the universe; that didn't make it so.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Yepp keep saying 'lies'

      BTW if you had normal function brain and read history books..... Santa Claus was a bishop from (now modern day Turkey) – St. Nicolaus who gave gifts to children.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • kenny

      you sound like the typical foolish, ignorant, moronic xtian that knows NOTHING of history, humanity or the world around you... read a book that isn't full of make believe fairy tales that tell you how to live.... the reason you can type your nonsensical bs on a keyboard from where ever and anyone in the world with net access can read it is because ATHEISTS challenged the bs the church puts out and invented and created and discovered the world... you should do the same and you might not be so angry and moronic....

      April 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Jasmine, when you graduate from 8th grade, please volunteer to be a tutor for IGWT. It's even dumber than you are.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  3. Horus

    Whether Jesus is a historical figure or not, the fact remains that there isn't a good reason to believe in Christianity. Why not Shiva? Why not the cult of Dionysus? If you want stories of faithful disciples or miracles, the religions of the world are replete with them; you just don't hear about them because those religions eventually died out while Christianity has turned itself inside and out throughout the years to avoid the same fate.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Simon

      You cannot compare anyone in this planet with our lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
      Nobody comes close, or will ever come close as our beloved lord.

      Now shut up and go take your psycho pills. OK?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Since Christianity is the world's largest religion, and the predominant religion in the majority of the world's countries, as well as here in the U.S., that's why you always hear about Jesus Christ.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "Since Christianity is the world's largest religion, and the predominant religion in the majority of the world's countries, as well as here in the U.S., that's why you always hear about Jesus Christ."

      Keep showing your stupidity Christianity is only 33% of the world. The lies Christians make up to promote their cult is hysterical.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Dan

      I love the argument that Christianity is correct because it has the most believers. It has gone through several major reforms in order to adapt to societal changes, thus saving itself. Another example is Islam. Islam learned from the mistakes of Christianity and Judaism, adopted its successes, and reinvented a religion that best fit society at that time. And now, Islam is the world's fastest growing religion.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Realist

      The reason Christianity has so many followers is that it has been DESIGNED and REDESIGNED to keep people ignorant. The original writers wrote into the very text little gems like, "If a man claims he is no longer a believer, he was never a believer to begin with,"–just to control people. These iron-age writers would probably be rolling on the floor busting a gut if they new how well their silly little ruses worked. Thankfully, as people are becoming more informed, they're seeing through the lie that is religion.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  4. hawaiiduude


    April 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Realist

      Only religious sheep would believe this drivel. I mean really–let me get this straight. A perfect, all-knowing god creates an imperfect creature and then fails to predict that this creature will disappoint him. And so to take the blame away from man for what was really his mistake in the first place, he sends himself down to die for our sins. Drivel! And laughable!

      April 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  5. hawaiiduude

    jews are a made up people from rothschidls

    April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Peikovianyi

      That poi is used as lube when tourists give it you to proper.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  6. Anom

    The corollary question is the countless number of Martyrs recorded? Kind of odd to die for a myth. Plus not many records of those who recant.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      So by your standards, Islam's teachings are incontrovertibly proven by way of all the martyrs they've generated. When will you be converting?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • kenny

      that is moronic beyond belief, just because someone thinks its real doesn't make it so, and YES plenty of fools will die for an unproven idea which doesn't make it any more true or false.... recant what??? that the only unforgivable sin is denying the existence of g o d??? how convenient.... believers are fools or those who choose to be fools rather than face the harsh reality that all of us will cease to exist for all time and we won't even know it.... happy endings only exist in fairy tales... in the real world things just END....

      April 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Tzedekh

      You assume that someone knowingly died for a myth. But if Jesus is indeed only a myth, then, yes, maybe millions have died for one. But who said people haven't willingly died for an idea? Again, millions have.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  7. † In God We Trust †

    the U.S. is a Christian nation (but with freedom of religion because us Christians are tolerant)


    April 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "the U.S. is a Christian nation"

      A murdering, stealing, greedy, adulterers lot you are, it's not something you should be bragging about especially since Christians have murdered more people than Hitler to steal this country.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • rdeleys

      That is complete nonsense. Absolute rubbish!

      April 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      It was the atheists and non-Christians who murdered the Indians to "steal" this country.
      BTW if they did not "steal" this country, you wouldn't be here now your moron

      April 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • WASP

      @in dog we trust: if you truly did research you would find theists, like columbus wiped out and tortured the natives of both north and south america, not to mention columbus personally saw the extermination of the island of hispanola, now present day haiti/dominican republic, native population. missionaries and conquerers were given the ok by the church because those of the americas were seen as hethens and devil worshippers......i find it odd a man that could walk on water didn't make it over here to save the natives souls. funny huh? :p

      April 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  8. Peikovianyi

    No doubt 1st Century Judea was as complicated a place as could be, and there were many ethnicities and religious sects, some more mystic than others. There were also several claimaints in a short period of time to the role of god's annointed ruler. Why couldn't some or all of these stories be contained in the Gospels? The question is what the pagan Greco-Roman world believed it was reading, what it all meant, and what it has evolved into since that time.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  9. Skeptic

    Did Jesus exist? The historical accounts are not non-existant. As with Socrates, we have 2nd hand reports, no archeological evidence, etc. But the difference is that if it was shown that Socrates was never a real person, that his teachings were an amalgamation of a few different Greeks (like people speculate about Homer, for instance), compiled by Plato and others, this would not make the slightest difference to the texts authority and persuasiveness. We nonetheless would still greatly benefit from studying the philosophy, it's method of inquiry, it's argumentation, it's moral considerations and so forth.

    If Jesus was shown to have not existed, let's say conclusively for the sake of argument, I do not think the philosophy would be fair so well under critical review. Some of his moral teachings are insightful and refreshing compared to the backdrop of the Old Testament. Jesus was clearly an innovative, charismatic, and progressive thinker. The Sermon on the Mount has its moments.

    But the ideas of eternal damnation (new testament only), vicarious redemption by human sacrifice (scapegoating), the dead rising from grave, miraculous healings and faith interventions, a metaphysical reality through which death is the portal (heaven), a preacher who orders his disciples to drink his blood and eat his flesh (symbolic or not), a sage who says we should work no more, have no courts, but instead look for the impending signs of the end of the world (take no care for the morrow)... Am I being unfair to Jesus here? And historicity of his life or not, these concepts and ideas must be taken into account when we say that Jesus was a 'moral teacher, ' OK, but was he an especially good one? I remain unconvinced.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Galoot

    If you look at all the evidence, or the lack of it, it's certainly plausible that the Jesus story was originally fiction. Paul's epistles, written decades before any gospel, show little knowledge of the earthly events surrounding Jesus. The Gospel of Mark was written by someone very unfamilar with the geography of Palestine, and who wrote in the form of a historical drama, a la Seneca. Matthew and Luke were based on Mark, not original eyewitness accounts. John contains apparent revisions from an earlier gnostic gosple. No contemporary historians (Plutarch, Philo of Alexandria), who wrote about Pilot and the events in Jerusalem and Palestine about that time, every mention Jesus or any such messianic movement. Josephus, who was born after the time, makes a brief mention, but his account appears to have been copied from other believers. The Jesus stories copy many similar characteristic and legends from other religions of the time. So, its clearly plausible that Jesus was merely a myth

    April 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Galoot

      Also, there is no archeological evidence that the towns of either Bethlehem or Nazareth existed in the early 1st century AD

      April 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  11. Dave

    Jesus existed. He was a man. He was the Messiah (KING of Israel) . He died and was buried in a royal tomb at Talpiot along with his wife, Mother, two brothers, and his young son. A man came along, had some hallucinations from his epilepsy and believed he saw Jesus in a vision. This man created a religion around the dead King, Jesus. A man, nothing more than a man, but the Romans were used to their Kings coming back as Gods. What a pack of suckers. Now that 2000 years have gone by the Church relies on the dust of History to cover up it's fabrications.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  12. sybaris

    Jesus may have existed but what is most important is whether he was divine or not.

    Outside of the bible there is nothing that corroborates the alleged miracles he performed, his alleged resurrection, or alleged ascension to a heaven. Surely those would be events even Josephus and Tacitus would have recorded, but they didn't. Records detailing the Roman grain harvests go farther to corroborate each other than even the gospels accounts of Jesus.

    If you believe the bible and in a man named Jesus then you have no reason NOT to believe in and worship Ra, Zeus, Mithra or Quezacotl

    April 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

      One thing is certain, in a matter of years every single person mentioned in this article will have been long forgotten, except one. Interesting dont you think.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Pope On A Rope Soap

      No, not very interesting as anything other than that it is a successful meme. Says nothing about its veracity but says a lot about how gullible Christian twits are.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • kenny

      randy, you are religious and therefore a foolish moron proven by your statement....

      April 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  13. Puzzled in Peoria

    It's true not just on CNN, but Huffington Post and other sites. Christianity is THE target for God deniers. I agree with the posters to the original article that CNN should run pieces criticizing Islam and Judaism. Why won't you? Can we get CNN to simply answer THAT question?

    April 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Yapping about it and getting your back up doesn't help. It would be a lot more useful if you would answer critics in a rational manner.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Pope On A Rope Soap

      I always find it funny when the majority religious wingnut cult in the US, Christians that is, whines about being discriminated against.

      Cry me a river. Your cult is going to decline and it should.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • tad pole

      I say this with respect: If God is all powerful, why would anyone of faith even care if others question it?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Pope On A Rope Soap

      Puzzled: that this blog is presenting Christian news so often, with that news often being not as critical of you Christian wackos as it should be, flies in the face of your blatantly false accusations against CNN.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Know What

      Puzzled, "CNN should run pieces criticizing Islam and Judaism."

      They do - here's just a couple of recent ones:


      April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Galoot

      There's actually good arguments that Mohammed didn't exist either. But, CNN's audience is mostly Christian, and so few would take interest.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Snow

      I know you are required to build the selective-hearing-itis and selective-quoting-itis to be called a true christian, but try not to bring it into the real life too.. its hard not to be debunked..

      April 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      they wont criticize jews here because cnn is owned by jews who cry in pain when they strike you

      April 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • kenny

      its cause you xtians have the biggest MOUTHS... you ever hear jews or muslims whine about their faith not being recognized in the public square every chance they get??? no you don't hear about it cause they don't care what the rest of this country thinks about their faith... but for some reason xtians gotta show of their faith and want everyone to recognize it.... keep your moronic beliefs to yourself and so will the rest of us... pretty simple NO?!?!?!

      April 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  14. Amy

    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. But like one post said, its useful (necessary) for some people, those more rationals can't buy this story at all (in a rational way it's pretty ridiculous this whole idea of a supernatural man) but for some people is helpful.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Galoot

      Amy, the problem with that theory is that the earliest accounts of Jesus, namely Paul's epistles, cast Jesus as a divinity, with little details of an earthly existance. It was only later in the gospels that he gains his humanity. If he were merely a man, who later gained divine notoriety, you would expect the legend to grow the other way around.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "Amy, the problem with that theory is that the earliest accounts of Jesus, namely Paul's epistles, cast Jesus as a divinity, with little details of an earthly existance"

      Yeah, it's funny how after 30 – 50 years after someone dies you can come up with a story like that, the memory gets all foggy and then the scribes added to it.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  15. John Stephens

    The myth started by saying that god loves you no matter what. god supposedly has human feelings and is super-egoistic that he constantly needs to be begged to by praying to him. if you pray and do good things then god will take care of you. But then, people started realizing that bad things happen to the most religious/good people. e.g. the church bus was full of happy kids singing jesus loves you when it had a blown tire and everyone died a horrible death. that's when religious people invented the anti-god which is the devil. but wait, if god is so full of love why did he killed those innocent children while they were praising him? since he is so powerful why can he not eliminate his enemy the devil? the whole thing is just a myth invented thousands of years ago. it's crazy that is still going. everyone has a god and their god is the only one...the way this country is going, it will be a theocracy in 50 years.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Realist

      Despair not. People in the younger generation don't buy into this baloney. In 50 years, if you say you're a Christian, you'll have to apologize for being such an ignoramous, just as you do today in Europe. We're just a little behind the times, but even mythology cannot resist the tide of history.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  16. BD me

    We know about baby Jesus and we know about adult Jesus. Is there any record of adolescent or teenage Jesus?
    This very rich young boy must have attracted some attention. After all, three kings showed up and dumped a hoard of wealth at his feet when he was a baby!
    Whatever became of all that wealth anyway?
    Just curious.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      There are some texts that describe Jesus' childhood that didn't make the cut for inclusion in the NT. In one, another child bumps into Jesus, who curses him; the unfortunate playmate is instantly struck dead where he stands.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  17. LouAz

    Hey, all that Post about this story . . . You can't say anything that you said in the original Article (Jesus:Man or Myth) ! You have to think of something NEW, and you have to think of it yourself. No bible quoting, or Dawkins quoting, or stuff about what Einstein said . . . just NEW ideas that come from you own "intelligence" . . . oops . . . never mind.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  18. God

    My dear children. All I have ever wanted is for you to Love me Unconditionally, not by force. I have proven my existence by endowing you all with that same desire. Not one human lacks this trait. The need to be Loved!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Aezel

      "I have proven my existence by endowing you all with that same desire."

      Dear God,

      If that is the best you can do, you are a pi$$ poor God. Try harder.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  19. wrob

    What proof do you require for the existence of historic figure in antiquity? That seems to be the question Jesus deniers won't answer.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • What IF


      An omniscient "God" would know what would be real evidence, convincing to all... eh what?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Reliable, independent confirmation from a variety of sources would work. Tacitus and Josephus are often held up as such, but there are problems with their accounts ranging from evident post facto tampering to general reliability, so they don't pass the reliability test.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • hellodollyllama

      Straw-Man argument. Busted!

      April 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • wrob

      What IF, thanks but you've answered a different question. Notice that I didn't claim him to be anything other than a historic figure – not even divine.

      SixDegrees, we don't have "reliable, independent confirmation from a variety of sources" for much of what we accept from this period, especially when the figure was by all accounts politically insignificant in his time.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Snow

      when someone is quoted to be the most important man to ever walk the earth, and whose teachings and morality is to be used for time indefinite, is it too much to ask for "reliable, independent confirmation from a variety of sources" on just that one man?

      if not, any dou.che can claim anything he dreamed up in his dru.gged up haze and claim it to be his teachings.. do you want to follow every dang a$$ mor.on's teachings or just that one man who was "supposed" to be pure?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Realist

      What proof? How about any whatsoever. Why do people–even atheists–just assume that this legendary figure actually existed. If you study history, you find that writing about nonexistent, supernatural men was the norm in these times. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that this man existed. The Josephus alibi is almost certainly a fraud. Come on! Are we to believe that out of all the volumes of Josephus's writings, he would only expend a single sentence on Jesus. Preposterous! This sentence was inserted centuries later by some scribe. And as for Tacitus, he lived a hundred years after Jesus died. Therefore he's no witness either. That leaves no one, out of 42 contemporary Jewish and Roman historians, who ever heard of this miracle worker. Jesus just does not match the profile of a real historical figure. With real historical figures, we know of other people who met them in their lifetimes, maybe friends, more often enemies. We hear some of incident verifiable by a third party. We know an incredible amount about Caesar, and Mark Antony, and Cicero. Surely if a real god had sent this man to give the most important message of all time, he would have taken care to make sure that his existence was beyond doubt. This fact alone would seem to disprove god–for how could he have been so appallingly incompetent!

      April 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • wrob

      Realist, all the people you mention were the celebrities of their time – of course the sources cover them in detail. Jesus lived in relative obscurity. That's evidence of a poor incompitent cult leader, I guess...by *your* standard. As for Josephus, his mentions of Jesus are widely regarded as having been doctored, not outright inserted. But like you said, he wrote long after the fact so his is not eyewitness testimony either. Why didn't he write more? I guess as a historian of Jewish history he didn't consider it particularly noteworthy. Those who are arguing that God should have made a bigger splash on the scene remind me of the jews expecting a conquering messiah. You still don't get it...

      April 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  20. Religion

    Jesus may not exist, but Tebow sure does and he is more important anyway. He prays on the FIELD!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
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