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September 13th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

My Take: A deadly link between Islamic and anti-Islamic extremists

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

What should we make of the attacks on the U.S. consulates in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens?

It depends on who you mean by “we.”

From the perspective of those who stormed the embassies, taking down the American flag in Egypt and replacing it with a black flag reading, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” theirs was an act of justice on behalf of the One True Faith.

The Americans had it coming, according to this view, because Americans are on the wrong side in the clash of civilizations between the Judeo-Christian West and the Muslim world. And the creation of an anti-Islamic video (ironically entitled "Innocence of Muslims") by a producer thought to be an American provided the catalyst (or excuse) for the protests.

Why Muslims are sensitive about portraying the Prophet Mohammed

Most Americans operate by a different “we.” From our perspective, the assault was an unjust and cowardly attack on (among other things) the rule of law, the institution of diplomacy and the right of free speech.

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur gave voice to this perspective when he said on Twitter, “I condemn these barbaric attacks in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere.”

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

In a commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005, later published as "This Is Water," novelist David Foster Wallace urged student to scrutinize the “natural, basic self-centeredness” that puts “me” at the center of the world.

This unconscious “default setting” fosters the sort of “blind certainty” that manifests as arrogant atheism and fundamentalism alike, Wallace said. And the point of education is to shake us out of that “default setting” - to begin to see things from the perspectives of others.

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Wallace focused in his speech on the individual “I.” But his critique can be applied as well to another “default setting” (this one more cultural than natural): our tendency to understand the world from the perspective of “we."

According to those who stormed the embassies, "Innocence of Muslims" was not made by an individual (whoever the shadowy "Sam Bacile" may - or may not - be). It was made by an American.

Moreover, according to this groupthink, Americans as a group are responsible for the sins of individual Americans, so it makes perfect sense to strike out at embassy personnel who issued a statement before the protests turned deadly, condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

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

Meanwhile, the shadowy figures who produced and distributed "Innocence of Muslims" are imprisoned in some groupthink of their own, which gathers all the world’s Muslims under the category of an evil Islamic empire. Their film doesn’t just depict Mohammed as a con man, philanderer, and pedophile. It portrays his followers as dupes.

Unfortunately, the events of recent days have done nothing to jar the alleged producer out of this default setting. When questioned about his film in the aftermath of the Libyan and Egyptian attacks, a man identifying himself as "Sam Bacile" reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that “Islam is a cancer.”

You don’t need a Kenyon college degree to see how this vicious cycle of provocation and violence is fueled, and you don’t need to be a moral relativist to see that it takes two sides to keep it running.

I am an American who is justly proud of the First Amendment and its protections of freedom of speech and religion. And I believe that killing your opponents in the name of God or nation is a far greater offense than offending them with an ignorant movie.

Nonetheless, the root problem on display here is in my view what Wallace denounced as “blind certainty.”

Our world is not divided first and foremost along religious or national lines, into Muslims and Christians and Hindus or Israelis and Americans and Egyptians.

Neither is it divided into secularists and people of faith - the New Atheists and partisans of old-time religion.

The real “red line” in the modern world divides the certain from the uncertain. And in the tragic events of recent days, those who produced and distributed this hateful movie stand on the same side of this line as the killers of innocents in Libya and Egypt.

Both groups are possessed by the unholy spirit of “blind certainty,” unacquainted with both the complexity and contradictions of life on Earth and the “cloud of unknowing” that hovers over every major religion.

The great religious thinkers in Judaism, Christianity and Islam always knew enough to know that they did not know everything.

They knew the difference between the eternal decrees of the God of Abraham and the all-too-flawed thoughts of ordinary people. They knew, in short, that they are not God, who alone is charged with creating and destroying the world and discriminating along the way between the real and the illusory.

The killers in Libya have forgotten that. So have the not-so-innocent producers and distributors of "Innocence of Islam."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

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

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Egypt • Islam • Libya • Middle East • Violence

soundoff (395 Responses)
  1. Just a John

    @Chad
    "the facts I just placed before you" are from a story book, get it yet. As is: "The more you read about us the more you're going to ge persuaded that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the new Creator and FSMism just might be the Best, Religion,Ever.", the prophet Bobby Henderson. Your lot just made their BS stories 2000 years ago. Roll the rock back of your brainwashed mind.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Fabrication is the way of hindus criminals by their hindu Judaism, self center ism to spew their hinduism absurdity against truth of Islam. hindu's, filthy story tellers to hind, fool humanity. for more visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html nd click on word Choice to open file.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Pete

      I love Hinduism.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  2. absolute marine

    just do day and night bombings on all city's and towns over there till we have knocked thews who live back to the stone ages where the animals belong and kick out all Muslims and all people who believe in the koran ! we need to take back are country that is a complete mess with liberal loving dope heads .. In the words of my father bless sole kill all the comeis and American haters and the world will be better off !!! God I love his wisdom !!!!!!!

    September 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • SB1790

      Somebody should start an origami project using pages from the Quran.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Ryan

      That... or better you & SR1790 should buy pounds of pot, sit back, and start listening to John Lennon's song, Imagine.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  3. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Article speaks for it self, Judeo-Christian verses Islam, to be exact, hindu Judaism and it's off shoot Christianity, or hinduism, denial of truth absolute, pagan self center ism, secular ism, and it's off Shoot, hindu Mithra ism, denial of truth absolute savior ism, based on hinduism, racism labeled as Christianity, infidelity to truth absolute God,Allah, verses Islam truth absolute 360, Allah, foundation of existence proven by Quantum Physics and foundation of teachings of Messengers of Allah, truth absolute, Moses, Easu, (Jesus) and Mohammad peace be upon them. Or to say, hindu, denial of truth absolute Judeo-Christianity verses Truth absolute Allah, foundation of Islam or darkness verses light, hindu sanatans, pagan goons verses messengers of truth ab solute, devil verses God, truth absolute.
    it is hinduism ignorance to mix water with oil, darkness with light, or devil, denier of truth absolute, make part of truth absolute. Hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism was and is never part of truth absolute, and never will be, even though hindu's ignorant s may try to make it look like by their hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism, way of denier of truth absolute to hind, fool humanity.
    hinduism, criminality labeled as freedom of speech has no justification, because speech is expression of soul, desire of a person to be negative or positive. hinduism, negativity of soul, desire of a person is denial of truth absolute and intended hinduism, terrorism, invitation to just retribution in kind, To claim immunity from persecution is just an excuse to justify hinduism, criminality by soul desire pleasing hindu Judaism, criminal self center ism, subject to rightful retribution in kind. Rendered by Muslim's to hindu criminals of Judeo-Christian faith. For more visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html

    September 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Pete

      Hinduism is da bomb.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • SB1790

      This is one of the biggest works of pure hogwash I've laid eyes on in some time. The author of the Quran basically took the Torah and New Testament and put his own spin on it. Doesn't change anything about his personal history or the fact that he killed innocent people to further his cause. Seems like a whacked nut job to me.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Dan

      "Allah, foundation of existence proven by Quantum Physics"

      Well, if it's proven by Quantum Physics........ Guess they left that part out of my physics textbook when I took it in college. Wow.....

      September 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  4. Izzle

    DEATH TO THOSE WHO SAY ISLAM IS A VIOLENT RELIGION!

    September 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • SB1790

      Well that certainly has happened.

      In other news today, the Pentagon announced that it is sending two Navy vessels and launching drones to 'investigate' possible suspects...

      September 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Haha, that is funny and it wouldn't actually surprise me to hear something that retarded from a Muslim's mouth.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Topher

      You mean ... Islam ISN'T the religion of peace?

      September 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  5. rockychance

    To all American Jews--Jews in Israel and everywhere really have been protected by the might of Christianity and if that is destroyed then all Jews on earth will feel unsafe from their evil enemies. What American Jews do not understand is that they must stand with Israel or in the end they will be unsafe just as Israeli Jews are for there are millions of jihadists the world over that would harm you and only Christians stand up for you.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hinduism, terrorism of hindu Judaism, criminal secularism deserves nothing less than it's complete annihilation along with hindu Jew's, desire's of truth absolute by faith along with their hindu gentile terrorist slave, follower of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism labeled as Christians in violation of truth absolute and foundation of USA consti tution, truth absolute God for peace Islam among humanity.
      for more visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html nd click on word Choice to open file.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Jeff

      You my friend are an idiot.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Pete

      Hindu Jew's are da bomb.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  6. Boofie

    The "Same" .... REALLY? I KNEW this idiotic opinion is floating around. However, I'm AMAZED anyone would pin their name on it. And to think, my taxes are paying this BOOB's salary!

    September 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  7. newmalthus

    It would be more to the point to make the comparison to the Occupy movement.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  8. Mark H.

    So Prothero is comparing the making of a movie to the MURDER of 4 people? What an idiot.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • absolute marine

      Nail on the head there pal !!

      September 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  9. Murph

    Ironic...most of the posts here support his argument...the posters are just to simple to realize it...

    September 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Boofie

      "too" simple, you idiot.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  10. rockychance

    America was founded on Christian beliefs and became the greatest force for good against evil the world has ever seen. America has been invaded for over 100 years by all maner of doubters and it really shows. I contine that we were great because of Christianity and we will be nothing as we tarnish it even more every minute.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Ralph in Orange Park, FL

      Was leaving out the part about slavery and genocide deliberate or did you just forget?

      September 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • want2believe

      Please read a history book. This country is great because of Americans, not Christians, not Jews, not Muslims. We've also done some terrible things in the past, would you attribute these to all Christians? I sure wouldn't.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      America was founded on secular beliefs. Not Christian ones. It was founded by people who knew full well what happens when religion and government are entwined, and wished for that to not be the case.

      Learn some history. Some.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  11. Boisepoet

    My Take: A link between religion and ignorance.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  12. butch

    For those of us with functioning brains these attacks were carried out by violent, crazed religious zealots with no respect for life. Yes, America has those kinds of people as well. Fortunately they aren't jumping in line to kill themselves in hopes of getting secks with 72 little girls.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      No. It is more likely that these attacks were carried out by a mob of people who believed what their leader (religious leader)s aid and they acted on it. (Though, news is coming out that the mob and riot may have been used as cover for a strike terrorist team, at least in Libya).

      When leaders (religious or political) talk, people listen. Some of those people will act. Get enough of those who want and will act to gather, and more will join them. Be it in the middle east, or be in in ths US.

      We have leader who speak nonsense. Look at what happened when Michelle Bachman spoke, when Rep Walsh spoke., not to long ago.

      When Rep Walsh (Illinois) spoke, and said that there were muslims living in Chicago who only wanted to kill everyone, within days there was an acid bomb attack on a muslim school. Pellets shot at a mosque and muslim gravestones damaged... in and around Chicago.

      A leader speaks... some idiot listens and acts. Our people are not much different than theirs.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  13. mike58

    Just open fire on the Sand Rats

    September 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  14. NorCalMojo

    This guy is an idiot.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      A cowardly idiot.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • SB1790

      This dude has drank WAY too much idealistic Kook-Aid and is trying to pass out cups.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  15. William Demuth

    Now not only is he a Muslim apologist, he is a religious apologist.

    At some point tolerance becomes subservience.

    Some beliefs are simply to absurd to be relevant to rational minds.

    Do you believe this ongoing slaughter is located in the so called Holy Lands because of random chance?

    This request of tolerance reminds me of the preacher who tells the abused woman not to hate her sadistic and derainged husband because he is not well.

    I have better advice. Wait till he sleeps and KILL him.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Except that to many of our conservative religious leaders will tell that woman that it is her fault.

      (Pat Buchannan will even say she deserves it).

      This is unacceptable.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  16. Disclaimer

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
    Thank goodness.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  17. Reality

    Stevie P. is still clueless about the effects of religion in today's world. And to think he gets paid for being an expert/professor of said subject. One more time:

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror like those of 9/11//2012?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    September 13, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Christian!

      Jesus took Christians through the fire to burn off in the beginning their selfish nature of humanity in the near three hundred year persecutions in Rome..Christians did not have the time to consider their own life...
      Today Christians are the only ones who can bring peace to the world ....no one else is qualified....But there are so many vipers in much of American Christianity today! 🙂

      September 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      300 years, Christian! ??

      More like at the most 160. Christianity wasn't seen as anything other than a sect of Judaism at first. By around 98 AD, the Emperor Nerva decreed that Christians did not have to pay the Fiscus Judaicus – the annual tax on the Jews... which in turn had granted the jew 'special' privileges, including exemption from having to perform civic rites with regards to roman gods../state religion. From around 100 AD Roman litererary sources began to discuss Christianity as a separate religion. (And it was from this time, from the no longer being 'safe' under the umbrella of the Fiscus Judaicus, that we start seeing martyrs due to early christians not performan religious rituals – like accepting the emperor as a living god. )

      and by 313, Christianity was the state religion of Rome.

      So.. a bare 200 years. of possible era or persecution. Yet we have extant records that show that such was quite limited in scope. Oh, it flared up here and there, but there was no systemic persecution.

      Learn history. It's not hard.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Scott E

    Well that was a waste of two minutes I'll never see again....

    September 13, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Scott E

      Correction: I think it actually took less than a minute to scan that *ahem* article.

      I found this article to be vapid and basically a waste of time. But isn't it nice to be able to say so?
      Even if Prothero wants to burn down my house and wipe out my family for insulting his *ahem* efforts, it would not be my fault if he were to commit such a crime, not even if I become extremely rude. My offensive words do him no damage because anyone can read his tripe for themselves.
      He is responsible for his actions. If I point out how bad they are, that is my right and I may even feel obligated to do so in order to oppose what I see as a bad thing.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  19. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!
    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 13, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Chad

      @OTOH "today we have "Truth in Advertising" laws..."

      @Chad "right, absolutely..
      I mean, if Jesus really was resurrected and appeared to those people, then there just is simply no way that they would have all said later on that they never saw a resurrected Jesus just to avoid persecution by the Jewish/Roman authorities. I mean, that would have made such an impression on them that it would have changed their lives.. If I ever saw a physically resurrected Jesus, there is simply nothing that would cause me to recant my belief in that truth..

      so, you are correct.. the fact that all those disciples recanted it at the first sign of trouble is.... wait.... none of them recanted...
      wait..

      I'm confused again..

      what was your point?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Chad

      replied to wrong thread

      September 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  20. Chad

    someone punches you in the face and you apologize for standing in the wrong place???

    yeah, I dont get that..

    September 13, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Colin

      Hey Chad, worked out which one of the four contradictory versoins of the empty tomb story you subscribe to yet?

      Must be tough predicating your entire view of life, death and everything on such a shakey foundation. -:)

      September 13, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Chad
      Like the fella who apologized to Cheney for getting his face in the way of Dick's shotgun.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Chad

      @Colin "worked out which one of the four contradictory versoins of the empty tomb story you subscribe to yet?"

      =>perhaps you could explain why you feel they are contradictory?

      remember a couple of things when you do this:
      1. saying "fred arrived at the barn" doesnt preclude other people arriving with him, it doesnt make a statement one way or the other regarding the presence or absence of someone else. It doesnt say he arrived before sally, who may or may not have accompanied him. It simply places fred at the barn.

      2. saying "fred talked to bill" doesnt preclude someone else being there with the two of them, it doesnt make a statement one way or the other regarding the presence or absence of someone else. It simply says that fred talked to bill, he may or may not have talked to other people as well.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Colin

      I guess the best way to answer is to lay out the raw data.

      Who went to the tomb?

      Mark (written about 35 years after Jesus died) – 3 women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome.
      Matthew (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – 2 women – Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.”
      Luke (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – at least 5 women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and other, unnamed women. At least five women.
      John (written about 60 years after Jesus died) – Only 1 woman – Mary Magdalene.

      What did they find there?

      Mark (written about 35 years after Jesus died) – the stone has been rolled back from the entrance to the tomb. There is no mention of any guards. A young man in a long, white robe is inside. His identi.ty is not revealed. He tells the two Marys and Salome to go tell the disciples that Jesus has risen and has gone to Galilee, where Jesus will appear to them.

      Matthew (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – the stone has NOT been rolled back from the tomb. There is a great earthquake and an angel from heaven appears, rolls back the stone, sits on it and stares at them a face like lightning. There are guards posted, who freeze with fear. The angel takes the two women and shows them that the tomb is empty and tells them Jesus has risen and will meet the disciples in Galilee.

      Luke (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – the stone IS rolled back. No earthquake, no angels, no young man in robe, no guards. Instead, two men are there in shining garments. They tell the group of (at least five) women that Jesus has risen as he foretold. No direction is given for the disciples to go to Galilee.

      John (written about 60 years after Jesus died) – the stone IS rolled back. Mary Magdalene, who is alone, simply finds an empty tomb and flees. No angels, earthquakes, men in shining uniforms or guards are mentioned. She gets Peter and one other, unnamed disciple and they return. They find Jesus’ robes discarded on the floor, but the garment from his head neatly folded. Peter and the other disciple leave, but Mary Magdalene stays, weeping. She looks back in to the tomb and sees two angels and Jesus appears. She thinks he is the gardener until he reveals himself. He gives no direction about Galilee but simply tells her to tell the others he is ascending to the Father.

      What happens next?

      Mark (written about 35 years after Jesus died) – Nothing. The original Gospel according to Mark ends with the women leaving the tomb frightened and saying nothing to anybody about what they saw.

      However, in the forged last 12 verses that were added to the end of the Gospel according to Mark a couple of hundred years later, Christ appears first to Mary Magdalene “out of whom he had cast seven demons.” She tells the others who do not believe her, but Jesus then appears to two (unnamed) disciples as they are walking in the countryside. They tell the others, who still don’t believe, but Jesus later appears to all 11 apostles (Judas is persona non grata at this point and/or dead) and rebukes them for not believing Mary Magdalene and the first two apostles who saw him earlier.

      He then famously tells them to go out and preach the gospel to every creature and that he who believes and is baptized will be saved and he who does not will be condemned. Those who believe will speak in tongues and be unaffected by poisons and will be able to handle snakes and heal the sick by the mere laying of their hands.

      This forged passage above is, by the way, where the evangelical tradition of “speaking in tongues,” the Appalachian tradition of snake handling and the Christian Science tradition of healing through “laying of hands” all come from – and it’s a complete forgery. Oh, the irony is rich!

      Having told them this, Jesus zaps up to heaven and sits at the right hand of God.

      Matthew (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – The two women meet Jesus and worship at his feet. He tells them to tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. Meanwhile, the guards relate their story to the elders and the chief priests who bribe them to lie and say that the disciples took Jesus’ body away. Eventually the 11 apostles see Jesus in Galilee, some still doubting. Jesus tells them to go out and baptize people of all nations and that he will always be with them.

      Luke (written about 50 years after Jesus died) – Peter runs to the tomb and finds it empty with Jesus’ clothes discarded. Jesus does not appear to him, but does to two disciples who are walking in the countryside. They do not recognize him and he feigns ignorance as they recount the story of his death and of women encountering angels in the tomb. Jesus walks with them some more, rebuking them and then spends the night with them, breaking bread at which point they realize who he is and he vanishes.

      They tell the 11 apostles what happens and then Jesus appears to them. He explains the scriptures to them and that it was necessary that he die and be resurrected. He then leads them to Bethany and is carried up to heaven.

      John (written about 60 years after Jesus died) – This is the longest post mortem account of the four. Mary Magdalene recounts her story to the apostles. He appears to them that night when they are assembled, hiding from the Jews. He shows his wounds to them. Thomas was not there and when they tell him, there is the famous “doubting Thomas” scene. This scene does not appear in any other gospel.

      Jesus later appears to some apostles while they are fishing. They do not recognize him at first. They catch nothing, but Jesus tells them throw the nets out of the other side of the boat and they catch many fish. Then they know it is Jesus. Jesus eats a breakfast of fish with them and has a strange conversation with Peter. The Gospel ends with the comment that Jesus did many other things that the author did not mention as doing so would be too great a task. No mention is made of Jesus’ ultimate departure.

      Even with a generous apologist reading Chad, there are a lot of contradictions. To take a simple case, a stone cannot be rolled back and not rolled back at the same time. Hmmmm, it's almost as though the whole thing is a myth, isn't it?

      BTW, you have always claimed that "500 people" saw the resurreected Jesus. How do you get that number, even if you rely on all four versions and pancake them together, I don't see 500?

      September 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Scott E

      Chad is like an anus.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Christian!

      I cast my anchor in John 7:37-39.. and Acts 2:38 ... yes you do speak in unknown tongues...this was lost through the persecutions of three hundred years.. Think about the Christianity survived nearly 300 years of uninterrupted power of Rome and yet overtook it , without ever having to shed one drop of blood of their enemies... That is the greatest testimony of Jesus Christ...and history brought the water to me; which I did drink ... it is living water and is God's very own Spirit .... today I am perfect through that experience.. from 34 years ago...God himself guiding me into all the truth... so it is with a great many Christians ..It took 1500 plus years to get back to Mark 16 : 15-18 .. it is the greatest place for the Church to be and all need to be there right now. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      September 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Christian!

      I posted my previous reply for Colin 🙂 🙂 🙂
      I am 2000 years removed from those days yet I obtained the same experiences ...
      I'll have to be apologizing for the many gap years beginning with Constantine 🙂 🙂 🙂

      September 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Just a John

      @Colin
      I commend you for trying but both you and I know that Chad will use some circular foolish arguement and never accept anything you say. He exemplifies the christian that think reason and logic are not on, it is all about faith, and the old saw "so it is written so it must be."
      To Chad: I kind of hope you will keep running around in diminishing circles untill you disappear up your own rectum; that is where you belong.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • mike58

      OMG people ALL religions have a violent past.
      Islam just has not evolved. They are still living in the 1st Century

      September 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chad

      sigh...

      Colin, you didnt read my "please remember..", did you? you just went for volume.

      please try again, and remember that:
      "Mary arrived at the tomb with James" and "Mary arrived at the tomb with James and Mary Magdelene" are PERFECTLY consistent statements.

      "Mary arrived at the tomb with James" and "Mary arrived at the all by herself, no one else was with her" are NOT consistent.

      ======
      "They arrived at the tomb and it was guarded by two solders", and "They arrived at the tomb" are PERFECTLY consistent.
      "They arrived at the tomb and it was guarded by two solders", and "They arrived at the tomb and there were no soldiers guarding it" are NOT consistent.

      =======
      After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
      Regarding the stone:

      2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. Matthew 28

      When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought sp ices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.,Mark 16

      Mark does not record the earthquake which presumably occurred prior to their arrival. The guards apparently witnessed the stone being rolled, but neither account says anything about the disciples witnessing that.

      ======

      now, to be consistent, what you usually do in these situations, is either
      a. not respond
      b. accuse me of distorting scripture (without ever saying exactly how I did that, and ignoring the fact that I clearly put the scripture there so that people could see if for themselves), then cut and paste a new mountain of garbage w/out having dealt with any of the facts I just placed in front of you
      c. call me a name..

      I put my money on #b this time.. with #c thrown in for good measure..

      September 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chad's anus

      I'm still waiting for Chad to explain how a rock can be both in place and not in place at the same time.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Chad

      Mark does not record the earthquake which presumably occurred prior to their arrival. The guards apparently witnessed the stone being rolled, but neither account says anything about the disciples witnessing that.

      please try reading before responding with insults.. you look extremely foolish when you arent aware of the data being presented.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Colin

      I don't recall "calling you names". I do recall pointing out where your "logic" is completely tortured. I also don't recall accusing you of misquoting scripture. Scripture has no particular truth or significance to me, it is as susceptible to error as any other contemporary Mediterranean mythology. I will address your more substantive points later.

      Where did you get 500?

      September 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      My problem with all this is that we don't know exactly what these five women did on the way to the tomb. What route did they take? Who did they talk to? What kind of shoes were they wearing? Why is there no record of this?

      There are just so many GAPS in the record of these events! And as our Christian friends have taught us, any record with gaps cannot be accepted, and surely proves the entire theory wrong.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "BTW, you have always claimed that "500 people" saw the resurreected Jesus. How do you get that number, even if you rely on all four versions and pancake them together, I don't see 500?"

      3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 1 Corinthians 15

      September 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "My problem with all this is that we don't know exactly what these five women did on the way to the tomb. What route did they take? Who did they talk to? What kind of shoes were they wearing? Why is there no record of this?"

      @Chad "well of course, ARE records (multiple independent attestations).

      but, I guess you are correct, without knowing what kind of shoes they wore, the entire thing just falls apart.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Too bad none of the other 500 people wrote a word about it. That would go a decent way to corroborating that the story isn't just total bullshit.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I guess since there admittedly is a gap in the record of Mary Magdelene between the end of the sabbath and sunrise the next day, the only rational conclusion is that MM ceased to exist and then God created a new, 8-hour-older MM early the next day.

      Hey, I think I'm getting the hang of this creationist logic regarding the meaning of gaps!

      September 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "I guess since there admittedly is a gap in the record of Mary Magdelene.."

      =>there is?
      please explain 🙂

      or not..

      September 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "Too bad none of the other 500 people wrote a word about it...."

      @Chad "right.. just because Mark, Mathew, John, Luke, James and Paul wrote about it, that doesnt really prove much..

      It actually IS astonishing that newspapers werent covering it at the time.. And you would have thought that SOMEONE would have blogged about it. I searched the CNN archives and I couldnt find anything *embaras sed*

      wait..

      when did Al Gore invent the internet? And I think the first newspaper wasnt until 1620..

      wait..

      what was your point again?

      September 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • OTOH

      "6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time,"

      Chad, ... while Paul's salesmanship & PR was ingenious in the first century, today we have "Truth in Advertising" laws. That ol' "more than 10,000 doctors chose Bayer" is out.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @OTOH "today we have "Truth in Advertising" laws..."

      @Chad "right, absolutely..
      I mean, if Jesus really was resurrected and appeared to those people, then there just is simply no way that they would have all said later on that they never saw a resurrected Jesus just to avoid persecution by the Jewish/Roman authorities. I mean, that would have made such an impression on them that it would have changed their lives.. If I ever saw a physically resurrected Jesus, there is simply nothing that would cause me to recant my belief in that truth..

      so, you are correct.. the fact that all those disciples recanted it at the first sign of trouble is.... wait.... none of them recanted...
      wait..

      I'm confused again..

      what was your point?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      The gap in the record of MM is between the end of the sabbath and sunrise the next morning. We don't know what time she went to bed, where she slept, or anything else. When there are such gaps in the fossil record, you insist that this is where the creation magic happens. So, that same logic would suggest that, because we have no evidence that MM existed through the night, and she appeared "fully formed" at sunrise the next day, this surely means that God magically created a new MM the next morning, right?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      ..or perhaps that creationism logic makes no sense after all?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "The gap in the record of MM is between the end of the sabbath and sunrise the next morning. We don't know what time she went to bed, where she slept, or anything else."

      =>um....
      are you nuts?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • OTOH

      Chad,
      "the fact that all those disciples recanted it at the first sign of trouble is.... wait.... none of them recanted..."

      The fates (and even the ident'ities) of most of the apostles & disciples are unverified. Traditional Christian lore about them even varies widely.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Chad, I am satirizing your views of creationism and punctuated equlibria based on the biblical record of MM. My point is that using the same logic that gaps in the fossil record (a historic record with gaps) are evidence of creation moments, we should also argue that gaps in the biblical record (also a historical record with gaps) are also evidence of creation moments.

      Never mind, it requires abstract thought.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "Chad, I am satirizing your views of creationism and punctuated equlibria based on the biblical record of MM. My point is that using the same logic that gaps in the fossil record (a historic record with gaps) are evidence of creation moments"

      @Chad "AH! I get it
      right, since I'm always claiming that there are gaps in the fossil record which corresponds to God materializing a fully formed animal into existence..

      wait...

      I am a theistic evolutionist.. I NEVER claim there are "gaps" in the fossil record, and dont believe that God materialized fully formed animals out of thin air..

      wait...

      you lost me.. what was your point?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @OTOH "The fates (and even the ident'ities) of most of the apostles & disciples are unverified. Traditional Christian lore about them even varies widely."

      @Chad "oh man.. you are right.

      certainly we could expect to see death records.. news reports, I mean, after all, the death of nobody that belonged to a small following of Jewish people who believed their messiah had come, in a backwater territory of the vast Roman empire would CERTAINLY have generated some thing HUGE worthy of engaging the handful of historians at the time...

      Especially since the ENTIRE POINT of Christianity is the fact that those people died, I mean, it isnt like Jesus is the focus or anything.. The fact that we dont have complete biographies of these people is HUGE!!

      wait..

      let me think, hold on..

      I'm not sure your logic works... We dont even have biographies of Pilate, the ruler of that province at the time..
      also.. I was poking around.. you wouldnt believe how hard it is to find a blog from someone in the first century.. I mean.. it's almost like they didnt have the internet or something..
      and books!! wow, you wouldnt believe how hard it is to find a good mystery novel penned in the first century.. weird man, almost like.. hardly anyone could write or something..

      anyway, I'm on it.. will get back to you.

      September 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Wow! What a great example of how the Jesus myths are so inconsistent. Paul claims 500 people saw Jesus after he rose from the dead. This is hundreds more than are claimed by M,M,L or J – even though Mark was a later forgery.

      September 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Records were kept of events long before the supposed death of Jesus, as well as during that time. Yet contemporary extra-biblical sources are non-existent. Your idiocy may be entertaining, but, in your typical fashion,it is highly dishonest and doesn't actually address anything.

      September 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • truth be told

      To date over 30 extra biblical texts are known to exist describing Jesus.

      September 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @truth be told

      I'm fairly sure I put down contemporary as well. Then again, you've probably had a lot of practice cherrypicking things from your bible to where a post on a cite is no big deal to cherrypick. You've posted this lie before.

      September 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "Records were kept of events long before the supposed death of Jesus,.."

      @Chad "A. Great! So I'm sure you can supply records docu menting Pilates reign, after all he was prefect.. right?
      B. Just out of curiosity, why do you think that Virtually all modern scholars of the New Testament and Christian origins agree that Jesus existed, and see the theories of his non-existence as ef fectively refuted.? Let me guess, "it's a conspiracy? or.. they are all Christians to begin with? (like Crossan and Berg, and the "Jesus Seminar", (all atheists))? LOL

      I mean, seriously, how do you do that?

      Virtually all modern scholars of the New Testament and Christian origins agree that Jesus existed, and see the theories of his non-existence as e ffectively refuted.[5][6][7][8][9] Scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born BC 7–2 and died AD 30–36.[10][11] Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea[12][13][14] and that he spoke Aramaic and may have also spoken Hebrew and some Greek.[15][16][17][18][19] Although scholars differ on the reconstruction of the specific episodes of the life of Jesus, the two events whose historicity is subject to "almost universal as sent" are that he was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate

      September 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "Wow! What a great example of how the Jesus myths are so inconsistent. Paul claims 500 people saw Jesus after he rose from the dead. This is hundreds more than are claimed by M,M,L or J – even though Mark was a later forgery."

      @Chad "hmm.. guess you should stick with the voluminous cut and paste if that's your best...
      Matthew/Mark/Luke/John enumerate some folks that saw a resurrected Jesus, but of course as above,
      these statements ARE consistent: "I saw him" and "I saw him and her"
      these statements ARE NOT consistent "I saw him and her" and "I saw only him and no one else"

      seriously, that's your best? You gave up on all the other points?

      September 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      And does that say anything about miracles or resurrection? Nope, it doesn't, and if you are tying his existence to mean that the presented details in the bible are also true, then existence has not been established. Automatically assuming that his existence would mean the miracles and other magic in the bible is true is unjustified.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Well, I see not much has changed during my absence – Chad is as dishonest as ever and still the honored guest at this blog's blanket party.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Ya know, Abraham Lincoln existed, but that doesn't prove he was a vampire slayer.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "And does that say anything about miracles or resurrection? Nope, it doesn't, and if you are tying his existence to mean that the presented details in the bible are also true, then existence has not been established. ..."

      =>so.. what I have ALWAYS said, is that the debate is not if Jesus was a real person, the debate is as to his divinity..

      right?

      serious question..: are you crazy?

      September 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      No, you have not always said that. You have constantly merely pointed to evidence that suggest that Jesus existed, and have not brought forward evidence that he was in any way "divine" or what not. You may be a decent quote miner Chad, but you are a horrible liar.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Dirac consequences

      The divinity of Jesus.

      Divinity is a white candy made with pecans. If Jesus made divinity, and the humidity was not too high, then I'm sure it was just fine.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "No, you have not always said that...."

      ?? That is precisely what I always say.. you need to slow down and read the posts before responding..

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/29/ny-times-editors-column-on-candidates-religious-faith-sparks-online-firestorm/comment-page-3/

      September 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Divinity

      Ingredients

      4 cups sugar
      1 cup white corn syrup
      3/4 cup cold water
      3 egg whites
      1 teaspoon pure vanilla
      2 cups chopped pecans

      Directions

      In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.

      While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.

      Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

      September 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Divinity –

      I like mine with chunks of Jesus. Mmmmm...Jesus.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      You said nothing of the sort in that thread. You merely start flinging out assertions of that the bible is proof of the miracle claims in regards to jesus. No where in that drivel do you present actual evidence for the supernatural claims. Your idiocy hasn't changed much in a year chad. Actually, the only thing that looks as if it changed is a capital C. Same fallacies, same arguments, same dishonesty.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Apologetics and theology aren't really Chad's strengths. Try him on Biblical exegesis through "modern" cosmology, random statements by Stephen J Gould etc.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @ hawaiiguest "You said nothing of the sort in that thread. You..."

      @Chad "from that thread (sorry to embarrass you.. but it had to be done.. all you had to do was go there and search for the word "divinity", but you coulldnt be bothered...


      chad
      “Does it matter if there is a God or not if you believe in Jesus and the rest”
      Yes, Jesus could not have been resurrected without God. If there is no God, Jesus was a seriously delusional person.

      “if one is evaluating the bible based on historical accuracy and internal consistency, one can pretty much place the book in the circular file… conflicting accounts in the gospels”
      Name one? There just aren’t any. The bible is the most reviewed and researched book that ever was.

      “Hercules existed and so did Gilgamesh”
      Name one scholar that upon examination of the account of Hercules, believes he was a real person.
      Name one serious scholar, that upon examination of the account of Jesus, does NOT believe he was a a real person (the debate is as to His divinity, not His existence)

      Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny, the Talmud all refer to Jesus by name as the object of worship of Christians in the first/second century. Obviously the presence of a Christian “sect” as a whole

      Jesus as a man lived and died, no serious scholar debates that. The debate is whether or not he was nuts, or actually divine.

      cue accusations of lying, with no discussion of what the lie is...

      September 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Divinity

      As I pointed out above, Chad, nuts are an essential part of divinity. The recipe calls for chopped pecans and that's all right, but throw in some halves as well.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "nuts are an essential part of divinity." Brilliant!

      September 14, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      That's fine, I' perfectly willing to say that Jesus either existed or more likely was based on some preacher during that time with lots of embellishment. Because really it just doesn't matter in the slightest. You still have yet to provide any evidence for his divinity, or accuracy of the supernatural events in the bible.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
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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.