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My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)
September 21st, 2012
09:28 AM ET

My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)

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

A few years ago I wrote a book about Jesus in the American imagination. What I learned along the way is that the American Jesus is a Gumby-like figure who can twist and turn in almost any direction.

Our Jesus has been black and white, gay and straight, a socialist and a capitalist, a pacifist and a warrior, a civil rights activist and a Ku Klux Klansman. Over the American centuries, he has stood not on some unchanging rock of ages but on the shifting sands of economic circumstances, political calculations and cultural trends.

Part Proteus, part Paul (who called himself "all things to all men"), he became during the Victorian period a sentimental Savior. During the Progressive era of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he flexed his muscles and carried a big stick. During the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, he grew his hair long and strummed his guitar for peace.

Now, in an era in which Americans are debating who can marry and have sex with whom, we are given a Jesus who has given his body and soul in marriage, at least if we are to believe the scrap of ancient papyrus soon coming, via Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King and the Smithsonian Channel, to a television set near you.

“Jesus said, ‘My wife,'” this Coptic papyrus reads, and since King announced her finding at a Coptic studies conference in Rome on Tuesday, the world is trying to imagine not only what manner of man (and god) this might be, but what sort of woman he might have taken into his marriage bed.

As for the question everyone is asking — was Jesus married? — the only correct answer is that we do not know.

There are all sorts of reasons to be skeptical about this find. First, according to King it is owned by an anonymous dealer who is willing to give the fragment to Harvard, but only if it buys other parts of his collection.

Second, we don’t yet know anything about where this fragment was supposedly found or by whom, and the world of ancient Jewish and Christian manuscripts is replete with fakes and fakers.

Third, even if the papyrus is genuine, it points only to one author quoting Jesus as referring to his wife. Perhaps that author was simply trying to push the early Christian tradition away from a preference for celibacy over marriage.

Or perhaps the reference is to some symbolic or spiritual “wife,” rather than one of the flesh-and-blood type. (In the New Testament Jesus already refers to himself as the bridegroom.)

In the end, what intrigues me about this tiny fragment (it measures roughly 1.5-by-3 inches) is the huge hype. The original Belief Blog piece on this story has over 4,000 comments and counting. And a Smithsonian documentary is in the works for September 30.

Jesus may be one of the best attested figures in the ancient world, but we still know hardly anything about him. And because he is the key figure in the largest religion in the world, we are keen to fill in the blanks.

The Jewish tradition has a name for this: midrash, which refers to a way of storytelling that fills in the gaps. This is what Americans have been doing for centuries with Jesus. Not sure where he was during his “lost years” from the end of his childhood to the beginning of his ministry? Send him off to India. Not sure how he looked? Draw a painting or carve a statue.

What is going on here, as I see it, is a reluctance to say, “I don’t know.”

The truth of the matter is that we don’t know what Jesus looked like. We don’t know where he was or what he was doing when he turned 18. And we don’t know if he was ever married or divorced.

What we do know is that we live in a country besotted with Jesus and in an age obsessed with marriage and sexuality and the body, which is why this tiny papyrus is making such big waves.

As for me, I don’t much care what Jesus thought about marriage, or whether he engaged in it. I think we as a society tend to collapse religion far too readily into bedroom questions, as if Jesus came into the world to tell us with whom we should be having sex, and how.

I’m more interested in what Jesus has to say about wealth and poverty, the rich and the poor. And there is plenty in the available record to read and heed, "if only we have ears to hear."

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Coptic • Jesus • Sexuality • United States

soundoff (2,026 Responses)
  1. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    If Jeezus was really the son of some alleged "god" then wouldn't one assume Jeezus and his wife would have procreated? That would lead one to wonder why the grandchildren of this alleged "god" haven't gotten any attention. Or did they somehow not inherit all the magic powers that daddy Jeebus allegedly had? Either way, what a stupid mythology (not that there is any mythology that is not stupid)!

    September 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      Jesus never actually said he believed in God. In fact, if you read the Bible you will learn that Jesus actually believed in what he called, "The Divine".

      What does this mean? Jesus, while inarticulate and a bit clumsy in general, had an excellent grasp of the fundamentals of what the Native Americans call, "Mother Earth" and what it is to be a "Human Being"

      How do we know this?

      Look at the teachings of Jesus in the Gnostic literature that relates to being reborn as a Snake, a Lizard, and a Spider. Why did Jesus feel he was reincarnated; and why these animals and insects? That is easy if you read the Gospel of Mary.

      Mary had many pet names for her lover and among them were Snake, Lizard, and Spider. Snake and Lizard I can understand, but the passages relative to Spider are less clear.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  2. objectivist5

    My guess it was Mary Magdalene. Maybe even a hidden child,(The Holy Grail)

    September 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      In my research I have found that Mary Magdalene was in fact both consort and wife. A consort was simply a companion. If you read the scriptures, you will find that in the late BE and early CE, it was actually possible to both be married and single simultaneously.

      How you ask?

      You must refer to the Gnostic versus attributed to Phillip who said, "Be it spouse or alone, we are only that which our threshold allows on the Sabbath"

      Loosely translated it means a woman can be beholden to a man one day, and quite free the next. This makes polygamy possible without breaking God's law against Adultery.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • fred

      She said Jehovah.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  3. Tim

    What I would like to know is how old was Jesus' wife when they married, and at what age did Jesus consummated the marriage?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • fred

      About the same time that you did wrote that.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  4. JMM

    Holy cr@p!

    His wife should have inherited the Kingdom of God!

    September 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • fred

      She said 'Jehovah' so that sort of rules her out.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  5. Bayousara

    I have always believed that Jesus was gay. So when he refers to his wife, how do we know his wife was female?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  6. Susan

    I think it might matter to the Catholics.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I think it would matter to anyone who:

      1. Believes in the trinity,
      2. Believes Jesus is God, or
      3. Believes marriage is sacred

      It has big theological consequences for all of these.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  7. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon??

    September 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Dippy and Tom Tom

      Well I am saddened that you are so unwilling to learn and enjoy the fruits of my many years of labor uncovering truths heretofore unknown to modern man.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  8. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    The evidence would suggest that Judas, Mary, Jesus and others spent a great deal of there down town reflecting on the spiritual dichotomy of the soul vs. the physical and how that relates to the teachings of God.

    Why did they do this? Jesus was attracted to Buddhism and often rested his decisions on the non-bias imaginings of one who would make sacrifice in this life only to be reborn in the next.

    In short, Jesus was a Jew by birth, but not by practice. He taught his own flavor of Buddhism and his closest disciples, Judas and Mary for example, were quite sure he was a snake in a previous life. Also an eel.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Dippy

      "there down town"??

      September 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      Good eye Dippy. That IS the translation, however I think you would agree with me that it most likely should read, "down time".

      September 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Dippy

      Then it should be "their", not "there".

      September 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Dippy

      Is that really all you can take away from this amazing passage?

      September 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you can't manage to use proper grammar, why should anyone pay you heed?

      September 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Dippy

      Frankly, yes.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dippy nails it.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Whatever

      St.George's University, Granada Medical School.

      Class of, uh, next year I think.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Dippy and Tom Tom

      Well I am saddened that you are so unwilling to learn and enjoy the fruits of my many years of labor uncovering truths heretofore unknown to modern man. Pity.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  9. CS

    If the human race self-destructs (and there are myriad ways this could occur) then so be it. If you and I can't stop it personally then we have no say in it.

    In other words, it will be a natural and part of evolution; a random transaction of nature.
    Our planet, the Sun, and what we know of the universe we can perceive, all have an understood and finite future. Makes no difference what we do.

    Nothing that exists in the universe is "unnatural". If it were "unnatural" it could not exist. If it exists it is necessarily part of the natural world. How can anything that exists be unnatural?

    As for the truth of all things? Unknowable, but most assuredly it is beyond our comprehension as our science may never be able to see "bubble universes" or "multi-versus" or infinite realities. The fabric of matter may be nothing more than a foamy compound make of on and off switches powered my matter and anti-matter

    September 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  10. ReligionBS

    If you have problems with others' marriage, go_fukkkk_yourself! 🙂

    September 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • UD

      No, but I have problems with own marriage. What should I do councelor?

      September 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  11. Randy

    This guy is an idiot. Liberal theology is so sad. Either you believe the Bible or you don't. Either you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior or you haven't. Jesus married? No way!

    September 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure thing. Because you just know that everything in the Bible, which has been translated multiple times and was written by fallible men, is absolutely factual.

      And I'm Queen Elizabeth II.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Athy

      Geez, Randy! Time to get realistic, man. It's all ancient, inaccurate blather, man. Almost anything could be true, we'll never know for sure. What little documentation we have is very flakey at best.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      No one needs a personal savior. You're a human. No one can save you from that. You have to be a human. I suspect you always will be a human.

      Now my kitty cat..she peed on the rug again. She does need a savior. Just wait till I get my hands on her. I'll ...... probably just pet her, and do nothing, as usual. I'm not a grudge holding jerk like the Christian god is.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  12. Jesus fits the profile of the cult leader pedo-phile!!!!

    Wake up, peoples!
    You're worshiping a creepy child molester!
    WHO'S
    BEEN DEAD
    AND ROTTED
    FOR CENTURIES!!!!!!
    You people disgust me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  13. independent167

    Forget all the religious folklore about Jesus, or whether or not he was married. The fact is, he had a message for all of us on how to live peacefully with each other. Too bad we got so tangled up in rules, doctrines, and denominations that we lost sight of his original message. Every religion has its prophets who've taught peace and love, but have been distorted by man-made religion. If we could take out the "religion" in all these faiths and get back to the original message of the prophets, we just might learn to understand each other.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      If we read in the Gnostic "Gospel of Jesus" we find this, "...I have the key and the charge. Care not of wine or pity but for me."

      Scholars agree that this passage was clearly the ancestor of John's gospel and was poorly interpreted. In fact what is being said is the following;

      Jesus and his friends ('disciples") were involved in one of their many endeavors, in this case the ancient equivalent of a "door man" and a "bartender".

      September 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • look, the sh!tty troll forgot to change his username to one of his other sh!itty troll accounts

      Aw, how cute!
      --------MORON FAIL.--------–

      September 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Use your own ID to spew your hinduism, absurdity, hindu, ignorant.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Oh rook, that troll trying to break down my shiity wall! gaddam troll!

      September 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It must be hard to keep track of posting with multiple names.

      I have enough trouble remembering to hit 'reply' and trying to spell everything more or less correctly.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Whatever

      It's good to have a goal in life.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  14. YBP

    Jesus married? Was Bruce Wayne married?

    Jesus is a mythological figure, like Moses, Yoda, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter.

    His name, like Judas and Yahweh, is allegorical, and has what is intended to be persuasive meaning to first-century Galilean insurgents. Jesus (or Yeshua, meaning "Yahweh rescues") represents something, but not someone. None of these three are actual real-life people. They only exist in ancient cultic literature from a backwards place and time. Jesus tale, no matter which version of it you prefer, and there are many, and they do not agree with each other, is purely fiction, originally used as propaganda for a violent revolutionary movement that started with a census in 6 CE and lasted until about 135 CE, ending in bloodshed and devastation. Look into it.

    (It's still a backwards place, as we can all clearly see. The entire region has nothing of value to offer Western Civilization, or any of humanity. Never did, never will.)

    September 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Who taught hindu filthy pagans to stay clean to avoid sickness and to take shower to be basic human, let alone knowledge learned from Muslims's, you must be a hindu, ignorant having no knowledge of history or a hindu, blinded to fact of contribution of middle east to humanity.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Jesus, the person, actually did exist. There are several references to his actual existence outside of the Bible, such as Tacitus' writings.

      Plus, look at the letters that Saul of Tarsis/Paul wrote. This is a man who is literally writing about a person who died about 30 years prior to the writing. Did Paul ever meet Jesus? Doubtful, but no doubt, he knew WHO the person was because he was persecuting his followers.

      Denying the existence of Jesus as a historical figure is as historically dishonest as denying the Holocaust happened.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hardly. You can argue that Jesus existed. You can argue he didn't. No eye-witnesses exist to corroborate your assertion. You cannot argue that the Holocaust didn't occur without being a complete idiot. People who endured and survived it still live. Proof exists.

      There's no such proof Jesus existed. And there's no proof he was divine.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Ok, let's take a look at the facts. Look at Saul of Tarsus, who later became Paul, one of the greatest writers of the New Testament.

      This is a man who was at the top of his game in every way. He was a Pharisee and a Roman Citizen. He had power and authority. He had tons of money. He was literally at the top of Roman society.

      Then he suddenly converts gets rid of it all and goes and becomes poor, persecuted and eventually beheaded. And this is all because he believes in someone who doesn't exist? Mind you, this is a person who had just died like 30 years ago. There was no doubt to Paul that this person, Jesus, actually lived, breathed and walked on Earth. That's like...the time between now and when Elvis died.

      I appreciate the attempt at trying to say that Jesus didn't exist, but it's really hogwash and most legitimate historians disagree with it. But of course, you do have a vocal minority which will decry his existence at any time. If Jesus didn't exist, then this is the biggest sham of the world, because not only are we debating his divinity, but whether he actually lived. According to most notes, Christians make up 2.2 Billion people in the world...almost 1/3 of the world. And that's not including all of the people who have already lived and died. That's a whole lot of people to fool over a person who never existed.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Argue it all you want. None of the people who wrote of Jesus are alive. That is what distinguishes your claim from that of those who acknowledge the fact that the Holocaust occurred.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      So now all writings that don't have a living author or someone who knew the author isn't reliable? Since Charles Darwin died in 1882, I guess we have to ignore his writings as credible as well? That's such a silly argument I'm not even going to dignify it with a response.

      Let's look at Tacitus, who died in 117 A.D. (less than one hundred years after the death of Jesus) and is one of the most celebrated Roman historians in history. Much of what we know about Roman culture is only known because of his writings. This is a man who despised Christians and had no reason to substantiate or give any credibility to Christ. He wrote:

      "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous supersti.tion, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."

      September 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  15. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    While we know very little of Christ as a child, what little doc.u.mentation we have paints the picture of a normal, if solitary young man.

    For example, in the Gospel of Truth we read, "...this boy, though recognized and cared for in kind, found comfort in solitude and great noises and raucous cacophony would pursue him."

    Scholars agree that as a young man, Jesus did seek relief and perhaps had special gifts.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • YBP

      Dr. Johnson – I hope that you are aware that we know nothing of Jesus as a child, or as a man. Absolutely nothing. There is no firsthand literature or archeological evidence for a real-life Jesus. None. The gospels, written at least 40 years after Pontius Pilate, are derived from the ancient cultic literature of Rome, Greece, Syria and Egypt. They read like bedtime stories, complete with numerous allegorical characters whose names have meaning, dramatic irony and psuedo-historical nonsense. They are fiction. They are not even based on anything remotely historical.

      Jospehus and Tacitus? Hearsay. Politics.

      Saul of Tarsus? Dreams and visions. Financial opportunity.

      Scholars I've read? Borg, Carrier, Crossan, Ehrman, Fredriksen, Funk, Levine, Loftus, Mack, Pagels, Price, Sanders, Tabor, Tobin, Vermes...among many others.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      If one does not know about a matter, he is a hindu, ignorant to subject, so keep your mouth shut, than to be spewing your hinduism, hypothesis as fact. hindu doctoe, ignorant magician.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @YBP

      You are painfully ignorant of the wonderful research I and many in my field have been doing on the Gnostic Gospels and the lost books of Jesus for many years.

      Jesus was quite real, and quite human. Even Timothy and Philip knew the true nature of Christ, as evidenced in this passage from the Gospel of Philip, "...and our Lord came unto me and witnessed as I behaved without intimidation."

      Scholars believe this is evidence of group s.e.x.u.a.l activity, common place at this time in history among men afield.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  16. hippypoet

    Religion has served a purpose and we should all be thankful to it,seriously. But lies it always was and still is and so the world is finally awakening. Science is still in its infancy. If we had the ability to understand the natural world as we do now before now the world would be a different place. Well, maybe the world would be nothing more then what the future is for us now. Asides from having answers provided by modern science now is little different from our past where notions of truth ruled! Interesting thought to ponder. Without religion however, many will find a lack of connection with complete strangers...i mean besides being a fellow human of course. The thought arises now what unifying idea can bring together a race, then the species? Or will we forever maintain the path of selfdestruction but now just be honest about the reasons? – Land. Money. Power. – This "idea" will be the power struggle of the 2100's. Mark my words. Without a unifying idea or force i fear the worst for a selfdestructive species now without reasons to be good for we now "know" heaven is just another "idea".

    world peace – how about that as an "idea"... can you get behind the belief in the human species and our ability to achieve such an actionless goal?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Truth absolute always ruled the world, and will always rule the world, foundation of existence proven by quantum physics, rest of it is hinduism, ignorance borne out of hindu soul, filthy desire of hindu sanatans, filthy goons pretending to be truth absolute.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • CS

      HP, here is what I think, or not, depending on what I am thinking.

      IF the human race self-destructs (and there are a myriad way this could be done) then so be it. If you and I can't stop it personally then we have no say in it.

      In other words, it will be natural and part of the evolution. A random transaction of nature.

      Our planet, you God the Almitghty Sun, and what we know of the univese we can percieve, all have an understood and finite future. Makes no difference what we do.

      Nothing that exists in the universe is "unnatural". If it were "unnatural" it could not exist. That fact that animals behave in a variety of different ways is just as natural as the tides.

      By determining without any scientific evidence to support it, that h.om.os.e.xuailty is not normal is not consistent with common sense. How can anything that exists be unnatural? If it exists it is necessarily part of the natural world.

      As for the truth of all things? Unknowable, but most assuredly it is beyone our comprehension as our science may never be able to see "bubble universes" or "multi-versus" or infinate realities. The fabric of matter may be nothing more than a foamy compound make of "on's" and "off's". Fun!

      September 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Meet you at the club Buffy! Bye Shooter!

      September 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • hippypoet

      so are you saying CS that destruction and therefore by default selfdestruction is in our nature? if that is the case then no peace can be attained and so it is more a race to the end...and lets say that because its our nature and since we are but nothing but natural in the first place – is it wrong to say that everything is natural – no – and therefore we are but a personification of the planets wanting to die thru selfdesturction – planetary suicide....interesting.

      despressing but interesting.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Cause of human destruction will be hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hindu's, criminals, buildings built without a true balance always fall on occupants head. Think about it and do not be hindu, denier of truth absolute, foundation of existence.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ok Hindu person, you are a moron. any selfdestruction will be a species thing not a racial one. go somewhere else and be hateful and racist.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • CS

      HP, I have long favored a theory I call, "The Theory of Parallels". I have found that every single thing in this live has a parallel, typically many and these "things" seem to follow the same rules. To answer your question, yes.

      We are in a race to destruction. Everything is. Time is relative.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhaha! That was hilarious, CS.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • hippypoet

      time is not relative. time is most certainly irrelevant being it is a creation of man.

      if the multi-verse theory is correct then time is even more illrelevant due to the fact of the multi-verse and therefore time can exist in any time period. The only way time is ever relative is if there is a begining and an end...but since every begining is another beginings end we find that time is again illrelevant.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Who cares if Jesus was married?

    Probably all those priests who swore celibacy based on it and gave up a life of the sweet sweet nani nani.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Al

      I thought it was punani.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      They keep holy tradition of chasing boys, as they did before they adopted hindu Mithraism, pagan savior ism with a new label called Christianity. Visit limitisthetruth.com/blog.html to learn more.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      I will have the honey-mustard on my panini with some cracked pepper. Thanks so much.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  18. Ryan M.

    Prothero never ceases to amaze me; he accuses the "American Jesus" of being ever changing, but doesn't seem to realize that this is only a logical conclusion to Protestant belief, which emphasizes individual inspiration over church authority. It's not Jesus who has changed, and those who have seen the obvious problem of this "Jesus of the times" have either recognized the need (and history) of church authority found in Catholicism, or have rejected religion altogether. It seems that many of the latter group are gathered here. A softened Jesus, a Jesus in which any part is rejected, is no Jesus at all but a man-made idol.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      His wife was probably happy to find he hadn't softened.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      'Mal 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed'

      September 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Some got saved in spite of the governmental holy roman catholic church, similar to today's churches that are inc'd or otherwise.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • fred

      You can't support that, either with the other. It's blasphemy.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  19. jesus used his hand

    There is no way this guy could have gotten it on with a woman, He was god...he would have shot a load like a shotgun right through her back. He definitely just used his magical hands.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  20. jay666

    who cares what the fake dead so called god lived or died it's 2012 wake up &smell the coffee

    September 21, 2012 at 7:09 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.