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Would Jesus support health care reform?
Jesus depicted healing a sick child.
June 28th, 2012
08:45 AM ET

Would Jesus support health care reform?

Editor’s note: This piece ran earlier this year, but we’re spotlighting it now because of Thursday’s health care decision from the Supreme Court. The story generated more than 3,000 comments, including these two:

David Nelson
It is sad that Jesus has been demoted to being a politician. Jesus plainly said "My Kingdom is not of this world." Movements to use Him to promote their agendas, whether they be on the Left or Right, are extremely suspect in the eyes of this Christian.

kateslate
Jesus would SO have been a democrat. He taught us to care for the sick...not to profit off illness. I don't know how Republicans can live with themselves and call themselves Christian.

What’s your take?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - He was a healer, a provider of universal health care, a man of compassion who treated those with preexisting medical conditions.

We don’t know what Jesus thought about the individual mandate or buying broccoli. But we do know how the New Testament describes him. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus physically healing the most vulnerable and despised people in his society.

References to Jesus, of course, didn’t make into the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Yet there is a moral dimension to this epic legal debate:

How should the nation help its “least of these,” an estimated 50 million Americans who can’t afford health insurance, as well as those who could go broke or die because they can’t afford medical care?

Christians are as divided about this question as others. Many cite Jesus, but come up with completely different conclusions.

Trust God or government?

Tom Prichard, a Lutheran and president of the Minnesota Family Council, said it’s ultimately about faith.  Who do we trust – God or government?

He opposes “Obamacare” because he has more faith in the market and people, than government.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“Here Jesus’ words come to mind about not worrying and trusting God to meet our basic needs,” Prichard wrote in an online post warning about the dangers of “government run health care.” “Or if we believe it all depends on us, we’ll look to government.”

When reached at his Minnesota office,Prichard elaborated: He said the nation should empower families and individuals to make health-care decisions. If families can’t afford health insurance, private and public entities like churches and nonprofits should step in, he said.

“We all have the same goal,”Prichard said. “We want all people to have health care, even people who can’t afford it. I would argue that having the government be the primary vehicle for providing it is not going to get us to that goal. It’s going to make the situation worse.”

Carl Raschke, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver, evoked Jesus’ words about Rome and taxation.

Raschke cited the New Testament passage when Jesus, after being asked if Jews should pay taxes to Rome, said that people should "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Jesus was against strictly political or economic solutions because he thought they were too easy when it comes to the real challenges of human life, Raschke said.

“Writing checks won’t solve social problems,” Raschke said. “One has to get involved. If we see someone in need, we just don’t throw a dollar at him or her. You get to know them, you offer yourself, and ask what you can do for them.”

Helping the Good Samaritans of our day

There are some Christians, though, who say that charity isn’t enough to solve the nation’s health care problems.

An estimated 32 million Americans could lose health insurance if “Obamacare” is struck down, including children who can stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 and seniors who get help paying for their drug prescriptions. Most observers say health care costs would continue to rise.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Some people believe the health care situation in America would be scandalous to Jesus because he was a prophet concerned about social justice.

Steven Kraftchick, a religious scholar, said Jesus comes out of the tradition of Jewish prophets who preached that the health of a society could be measured by how well they took care of “its widows and orphans,” those who had the least power.

Kraftchick said there’s a famous story in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus heals such a person. He was the man who called himself Legion. He might have been called homeless and mentally ill. The man roamed a graveyard, so tormented that even chains could not hold him and everyone feared him, Mark wrote.

Jesus healed the man not only physically, but socially as well, according to Mark. The man returned to his community with a sense of dignity, said Kraftchick, a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

“A move toward universal health care would be fitting with the prophetic traditions,” Kraftchick said. “When you read the New Testament and look at the signs of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, it’s always connected to being physically healed.”

Yet Marcia Pally, an authority on evangelicals, said many evangelicals are wary of government doing the healing.  Their reasons go back centuries.

Many are the descendants of people who fled Europe because of religious persecution from countries and state churches. They fought a revolution against a government in England.  And they settled a frontier, where the virtue of self-reliance was critical, said Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Suspicion of government is part of their historical and religious experience, said Pally, a professor at Fordham University and New York University.

Those attitudes, though, may be changing. Pally said she spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She discovered that a new generation of evangelists now believes that certain issues are too big and complex to be addressed by charity alone.

“Some note that charity is very good at the moment of emergency relief but it doesn’t change the underlying problem  unless structures that keep people poor, sick or deny their access to health insurance are changed,” she said.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the legal debate will continue. If more Americans go broke or die because they do not have health insurance, more Americans may ask, what would Jesus do?

But don’t expect any easy answers from the Bible, said Raschke, the religious studies professor at the University of Denver.

“People are always looking for support from the Bible for American political positions,” Rashke said. “Would Jesus be against abortion, or would he support a woman’s right to choose? It’s almost become a standard joke in the theological world that you quote Jesus in American politics to support your political views.

“The teachings of Jesus do not fit into the views of any political party."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Health care • Jesus • Politics

soundoff (5,234 Responses)
  1. Leila

    I have always perceived Jesus as a communist, certainly not the model of communism we saw in the USSR or what we see today, but a true communist faithful to the ideals of Karl Marx.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Juan derful

      yup, think of what heaven really is? A wellfare state. He is going to feed you, cloth you, provide your every need. I guess thats alot of freebies the believers will have to complain about?

      March 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Judith

      I think Karl Marx is probably turning in his grave as to how his philosophy has been skewed and misinterpreted. Marx's philosophy was not that you would have a society where those that could work would not work. Marx actually said that "Marxism can only flourish once the entire world is Capitalist." His philosophy was not that some would give and others would take but that everybody would contribute what they could but the only people not contributing financially would be the chronic sick and disabled who were unable to work. He favoured people getting what they need but that did not mean that people should not become unproductive towards society. Marx would support universal benefits and universal taxation and the balance for spending by the state would come from the difference between what taxes it in and the benefits it pays out. Means tested benefits would be restricted to those that really cannot work and work would be more profitable than not working. Two things that Marx would promote would be generous benefits for the elderly and for every child born: Why he would promote is simply because if a society is seen to value the old and the young it stimulates the work force inbetween due to knowing that both young and old were valued by society.

      Would Jesus differ from Marx when it comes to health care? I think Jesus and Marx would be abhored by the fact that not everybody was covered by health care paid from general taxation and it makes sense because to have a completely productive society work force that is as fit and well as possible means that everybody has an interest in the health of everybody else.

      March 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • DoNotWorry

      Judith, most of the poor in the United States are working poor.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Lee P

      You forget you need many people to run a country, and by the time Marx, or Jesus word gets to the people, the message will be different

      March 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • RogerE

      Judith, great post. Most people demonize Marx without reading or understanding what he actually wrote. His ideas would work if only the people were more thoughtful, compassionate, and understanding. They were perhaps a few centuries too early as the more complicated the world becomes the more the individualistic approach espoused by half the population becomes unworkable. Until we realize that we are all in this together with individual and communal responsibilities, we will never get anywhere. We need to change opinions, not policies.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

    Before Jesus Christ started to preach in Israel, John the Baptist had yet preached there.

    What did John the Baptist preach?

    In a way he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    We make a mistake, when we assume that he merely preached repentance. No, he preached both, repentance and the coming "Anointed One", who was Jesus from Nazareth, the Word and eternal Son of God, who had incarnated.

    John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord: He told the people the Old Testament law (for example the ten commandments) and the people should realize that they had broken the law an were sinful. However, he didn't tell them that they should keep the law by their natural power, but he told them that they would need a deliverer or redeemer, who would come and dwell in them (the Holy Spirit), in oder to be their spiritual power, which would help them to overcome sin and live a life of Christian love.

    In a word: By means of the law John the Baptist made the Jews realizing their deep sinfulness and at the same time he told them, that their was the Anointed One, Jesus Christ, who could give them the Holy Spirit, so that they might become able to live a life, which is not in conflict with the law, but fullfills it automatically. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Nobody can keep the law by natural power, but the blessed man, who is born from above and has got the Spirit, fulfills it by love.

    After a while Jesus Christ replaced John the Baptist as divine preacher of Israel. There was no more need that Jesus spoke a lot about the law, because John had already done that. Now, as the people felt their sinfulness and a high need for forgiveness and deliverance, Jesus Christ gave it to them.

    John the Baptist could only preach of THE LIFE and THE LIGHT and THE WORD.

    Jesus was the THE LIFE, THE LIGHT and the WORD. He said to the people: "YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN, MOVE ON AND DON'T SIN ANY LONGER!" or he said "COME ON, AND FOLLOW ME!"

    These words of Christ were supernatural and powerful and much more than the word of an ordinary human being. Christ was man and God at the same time and this God-man spoke these words. Thus, people really received forgiveness of their sins and deliverance.

    What the visible Jesus did, happens today by the sacramental baptism (also infant baptism). The sacramental baptism is insti-tuted by Christ himself and has the same power as if the visible Christ would speak a divine word of health to somebody.

    Ecclesiastical history proves that at baptism people often became healthy and were cured from physical diseases. The health of the Lord is holistic, indeed. The Lord cures the soul and the body.

    Everybody, who feels his sinfulness, shall ask a faithful Church for sacramental baptism or if he has yet received infant baptism, he just shall remember that by faith. The Lord will forgive, deliver and cure. Don't get baptized again, if you have yet received infant baptism. Infant baptism is valid!!! Just remember and receive the Spirit.

    Gospel of Jesus Christ, Amen!

    March 31, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Sean

      Worthless

      March 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • rob

      Brainwashed...

      March 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Sean

      Rainer-A very good read!

      March 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • zaint007

      Shock Waves of Fear and Doubt

      March 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • James Ison

      Do you really believe this drivel? I mean seriously. You sound like one of the random schizophrenics on any American street corner ranting about Jesus. Perhaps a mood stabilizer will cure your religious delusions?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  3. Monumental

    Did you pray and ask him before you put together a reform for wisdom and understanding as the the founding fathers did when they founded the nation.

    March 31, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • bam

      more foxfacts. something the founding fathers did not do. got any more of these gems?

      March 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jesus

      Most of our founding fathers were atheists, deists, and secular in their view oif life. Our embracing the Jesus myth as a nation has caused us to stray from the nation's original ideals.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • RevMum

      How did you get that post in bold?

      March 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  4. AGuest9

    I don't know. Why don't you ask him? Oh, that's right. The one you are referring to is dead.

    March 31, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • bam

      dead? u mean when he changed toa zombie and rose someone put a hole in his head?

      March 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  5. Don Clements

    John – I'm not usually a fan of CNN, but this is a very well researched, well written, well balanced article. Thanks for the good work. We will run the article in our aggregate magazine (http://theaquilareport dot com)

    March 31, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • rob

      It's garbage.

      March 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  6. mikstov33

    You know,it is amazing that most people only believe in God and Christ when they are lying on their death bed begging to be either healed,forgiven or saved from the hell they did not believe in.

    March 31, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • DoNotWorry

      You are talking about Christians, who howl on their deathbeds for forgiveness because they lived an evil life of lies and hypocrisy.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Jesus

      The belief in a magic man in the sky is usually reserved for the fearful and ignorant. That's why many on their death bed turn to Jeebus. They fear death, the last unknown frontier.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • mikstov33

        One thing is for sure.....when we die,then we will know the absolute truth.....whether it be simply nothing or whether the many religions are right in whatever version of an afterlife they may subscribe to.

        March 31, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • RevMum

      Not true, my friend.

      March 31, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  7. lastofall

    Christ would say what He has already said, which by the way shall not pass away, that if we see those of low estate in need of help, and we don't help them, then it is Christ who we are not helping; its that simple, and we are without excuse.

    March 31, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • RevMum

      Good call.

      March 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Personal responsibility trumps every time.

      April 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Yup

      "If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry."

      Christ was always about helping those in need.

      April 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Yahweh

    Irrelevant opinions assigned to 2000 year old mythical characters have no bearing on 21st century politics.

    March 31, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Leo

      You are wrong on both points, for Jesus is a historical fact that only a small number such as yourself believe otherwise, and this post is put together by CNN for political purposes to support their man Barrack Hussein Obama.

      March 31, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • AGuest9

      Leo, isn't a bit odd that Josephus, Philo-Judæus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Hermogones, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Appian, Phlegon, Phædrus, Valerius Maximus, Lucian, Pausanias, Florus Lucius, Quintius Curtius, Aulus Gellius, Dio Chrysostom, Columella, Valerius Flaccus, Damis, Favorinus, Lysias, Pomponius Mela, Appion of Alexandria, and Theon of Smyrna were all First and Second Century historians, and not ONE of them wrote a single WORD of this wondrous Jesus of Nazareth?

      March 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Personal Responsibility

      Great observation and statements Leo. Thank you.

      March 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • RevMum

      Leo, that is without foundation.

      And, if BHO's remarks are consistent with Christ's teaching, why would you object to them being on any news outlet? If you're a Christian, anyhow, perhaps you aren't.

      March 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • James Ison

      Just because you aren't part of a mass delusion doesn't make it less of a delusion. Most people are Indoctrinated at a young age into religious ideals. They are afraid to wake up and look around, afraid to question. They don't want to lose friends and family or offend people. They don't want to question. and hey what if they are wrong and god is real?!?! That's not belief it's brainwashing and fear. the same tools religion has used for centuries to seize power form monarchs and governments. They want to control you for their own power.

      None of these is a good reason to believe in some mystical sky fairy. Look at history. They Myth of Jesus is repeated in many pre-judaic religions. It's the Story of Osiris. This is nothing new. It was just co-opted by a roman mystery cult of slaves rebelling against the roman religion using judaism as it's base. in 2000 years our understanding of the universe has come a long way. We don't look up at the night sky in fear that the sun won't rise. WAKE UP.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  9. Kebos

    Really? What a pathetic question. News must be slow.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • DoNotWorry

      Not a pathetic question at all, since modern day Christians are advocating death and destruction, directly opposed to the teachings of their founder. No matter where you stand on Christianity, these modern Christians have strayed a long way from their founder's ideology.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • RevMum

      DO NOT WORRY:

      The people who profess to be Christians – but who advocate, behave and believe contrary to Christ's teaching – aren't actually practicing Christians. Please don't paint all of us with the same brush as the ones you see on TV and in politics.

      March 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  10. Colin

    "He was a healer, a provider of universal health care, a man of compassion who treated those with preexisting medical conditions."

    Well, not really. Even if you give credibility to the miracles he supposedly performed, many of which are identical to those claimed for Horus and Appolonius of Tyanna, two other quasi-mystical figures from the same time and region, he still left thousands to suffer and die. He would only "cure" here and there, when approached. All other lepers, blind people, sick and poor were left to fend for themselves. Does it not reason that, if it is "good" that one person be cured, it is better that two, three or all be cured?

    Second, the whole time he was "here," he mentions nothing of anything outside the Holy Land. The millions living in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, China, Ja.pan, India, North and South America and Australia don't rate a mention. For a supposedly all-knowing, all-powerful god, he seemed obsessed with a few Jews living in Palestine, who made up less than one percent of the World's population at the time.

    Hmmmm, did God creat the Jews or did the Jews create God?

    March 31, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Nii

      I don't know how much you feel you know about the Bible but how would Christ by going off topic and off his work schedule appease you. His teachings spread over the whole world eventually didn't it. Sometimes you have to concentrate on a few to get the best. Why is the syllabus for medicine limited?

      March 31, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Leo

      2 Corinthians 4

      1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

      3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

      4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

      5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.

      March 31, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Leo

      Collin your claim is false "Second, the whole time he was "here," he mentions nothing of anything outside the Holy Land. "

      Jesus the Messiah was presented to the Jews, who rejected him as prophesied, and then to the rest of the world.

      Matthew 24:28

      All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

      All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

      March 31, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 31, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • rob

      Millions died in the name of religion. THAT'S not healthy

      March 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer changes NOTHING. It is the earmark of the fearful and ignorant.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      same troll

      June 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  12. Bootyfunk

    christians have been silent on the issue of providing universal health care, i.e. health care for the poor. 50 million people without it, 50% are children. christians try to justify not helping those less fortunate in such a direct and visible way. they pretend to care about those less fortunate, but when it came down to it, christians make excuses for not doing the right thing.

    how do christians get away with saying they're the good guys?

    March 31, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Nii

      Hello BOOTY I GUESS YOU KNOW OBAMA IS A CHRISTIAN, DONT YOU?

      March 31, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  13. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

    March 31, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • Leo

      1 Corinthians 1

      20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

      26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

      March 31, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Leo

      Reality you are straight up LIAR with your claims "Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction."

      But hey its cool for we were warned about your master and his workers ahead of time..

      March 31, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • dondijon

      You need schooled, Jesus was far from illiterate, and if you had ever cracke a bible you would realize this, He could quote passages from the profits word for word. And As God incarnate, He wrote the Bible through dictation to said profits. Also know that the Catolic Church was long on the opinion that the Common person should remain illiterate so that they could define what those scriptures contained therein meant. Also understand that Joseph of Armathea was more than just a close friend, he was Jesuses step father, a merchant of great wealth and a carpenter who made sure that education came forst. in other words Christ Jesus was more educated that all others!!!

      March 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Reality

      o The illiteracy of the simple preacher man aka Jesus, as per some contemporary experts:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton's commentary in his book, Rabbi Jesus, An Intimate Biography, p. 99,
      "What Luke misses is that Jesus stood in the synagogue as an illiterate m–amzer (pp. 98-102) in his claim to be the Lord's anointed".

      Note: Luke 4: 16 is a single attestation. No where else in the NT does it say Jesus could read thereby making said passage historically unreliable. (Luke 4:16-24) has been compared to a number of other passage and found to be equivalent with the exception of Luke 4: 16 which is the only passage in the list of equivalents that mentions reading:

      http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=022_Prophets_Own_Country (leave out the hyphen in "t-itle" if you access the reference)

      1) GThom. 31 & P. Oxy. 1.31
      (2) Mark 6:1-6a = Matt 13:53-58
      (3) Luke 4:16-24
      (4) John 4:44

      Professor JD Crossan notes that Jesus was illiterate coming from a landless peasant background, initially a follower of John the Baptist. e.g. The Excavation of Jesus (with Professor Reed), pp 30-31..

      The question of Jesus's literacy has also been much discussed by the Jesus Seminar and others and they note that references in the Gospels to Jesus reading and writing may well be fictions.

      The only Gospel reference to Jesus writing is John 8:6 in the Pericope Adulterae, widely considered a later addition, where it is not even clear he is forming letters in the dust, and the Greek "εγραφεν" could equally mean he was drawing.
      Luke 2: 41-52, the twelve year old Jesus in the temple- As per Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 275, " the episode is unhistorical" (again, a single attestaion). See also http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=433_Jesus_at_Twelve

      It is very unfortunate that Jesus was illiterate for it resulted in many gospels and epistles being written years after his death by non-witnesses. This resulted in significant differences in said gospels and epistles and with many embellishments to raise Jesus to the level of a deity to compete with the Roman gods and emperors. See Raymond Brown's book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (Luke 4:16 note on p. 237) for an exhaustive review of the true writers of the gospels and epistles.

      Of course, Muslims believe that Mohammed was also illiterate. This way, they can claim that the only way he could have received the "angelic", koranic passages of death to all infidels and Islamic domination of the globe by any means, was orally since he could not read and write.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      why do people keep quoting phrases from an iron age story book? Do they think it helps give their arguments validity?

      June 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  14. O

    Mother mary has all the answers on the standard blogs HER BLOG NAME IS MARY you guys will drive her crazy go for it its on me remember her name is MARY and she talks a lot of religion you troll the crap out of her

    March 31, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  15. Bootyfunk

    hard to say. think of this as discussing greek or norse mysthology, btw. the mythological figure of jesus heals a lot of people by laying hands on them, leppers, diseased, sick, etc. he also "exorcises" demons from people with his magic touch. but there are times when he's not so kind to people in need. for instance:

    A Canaanite woman wants Jesus to heal her sick daughter. Jesus tells his disciples he only heals Jews. He tells her Canaanites are dogs and won’t heal her daughter until she agrees.
    Mathew 15:21-28
    21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
    22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
    23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
    24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
    25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
    26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
    27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
    28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

    on the other hand, jesus was a complete commie when it came to economics, so maybe he would support gov't sponsored health care.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Leo

      What you don't understand the prophesies in the Old Testament promised that Messiah would first come to the Jews, but that he would be rejected by them and then salvation would come to the Non-Jew Gentiles.

      The Gospel of Jesus Christ would spread to the whole world and then the end would come.

      Isreal rejected the messiah and were scattered to the whole world, but they would be gathered in the last days, just as we see in 1948.

      These prophesies that are fullfilled perfectly are why Christians follow Jesus and the Scriptures.

      March 31, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  16. HEAVENBENT

    Perhaps it would be within Jesus' best interest to stay the fuck out of politics.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Jesus

      Jeebus was running for public office when they shut him down. The Romans were the 1 st century version of the GOP.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  17. Jesus

    I support having lots of smoking hotties all at once!

    You see, the story that they eventually told about me in the Bible was, "cleaned up" a bit. A lot, really. I was a party guy, ambisexual, did rehab in Malabu four or five times, got grabbed by the cops with a gun and a key of blow after I flipped my Lamborghini, BASE jumped nude off the Tower of Babel with a headful of acid, that sort of thing.

    The reimagined version was all Paul's doing, the repressed uptight old shrivel. Paul was the last guy on the planet you would want to hang out with. "Don't do this," "Don't do that," just a total pinch of a loser. That's the guy who ruined a good thing.

    It wasn't wine and wafers back in my day; it was mojitos and ecstacy, kick the clothes off and wake up three days later with no idea of where you were or how you got there.

    That's what Jesus would do.

    March 31, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  18. EvolvedDNA

    Jesus could have done better by reporting back to dad ( or himself, or the ghost) the errors he had made when creating humans ( and the other animals)...he could have re worked the DNA codes and eliminated cancers, diabetes, MS, and so on, the way god made us one would all most think we evolved .

    March 31, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Johnny Blammo

      That would be an interesting conversation.

      Jesus' Report To Dad After Getting Crucified:

      "Hey Dad! You really scrwed up with the humans! What a bunch of dumbshit my followers are. Are you pissed at me or something? The only intelligent and fun ones didn't believe in me. The ones that did, well THEY SUCKED!!!!"

      "Yes Jesus, I am punishing you/me, because I am an angry God and I am a vengeful God."

      "Well, why the hell did you reveal yourself only to the most backwards people in the worst armpit in the world? Couldn't you have sent me to Tahiti instead?"

      "No. The cretins in the Middle East need you the most."

      "Are they going to change?"

      "Hell no! They are going to be ignorant violent hillbillies for the next 2,000 years. So will your followers."

      "Ah Dad! Next time you send me to Earth for a totally ineffective attempt at improving things, send me to the Bahamas instead. I can fail to improve things there as well as anywhere else in the world."

      March 31, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  19. WOT

    Would he also require us to have mandatory auto Insurance, People wake up!

    March 31, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Juan derful

      Would he require you to drive?

      March 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Steve

      You dont HAVE to drive. Therfore you dont HAVE to have insurance. But Obama care says that just being ALIVE means you must pay money. Are we surfs now from the middle ages?

      March 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Steve, then NEVER, EVER see a doctor, use a drug, or go to the hospital.

      March 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • AGuest9

      BTW, if you don't HAVE to drive, then I guess you don't HAVE to work, either.

      March 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Jesus

      Jeebus was huge fan of mandatory chariot insurance.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Oh, for the love of Pete. CNN, you must be desperate for content.

    March 31, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, come on. Get your own screen name, troll.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:41 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.