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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. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • jason

      dude get a new punch line

      September 23, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  2. 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 lets 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. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

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

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    originally posted by mama kindless

    September 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • jason

      dude get a new punch line...

      September 23, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  3. GrampaSez

    Ho hum. CNN continues its war on religion. Take a CARTOON understanding of the Christian faith, void of theology or intelectual depth, and then examine it REALLY REALLY CAREFULLY for "flaws".

    The LIB ELITES are breathtaking in their hipocracy. No place in this article will it examine the concepts of "Bride of Christ" being the church.

    "The WORDS OF CHRIST" presuppose that someone, 200 years after the death of CHRIST, actually believes that they know the EXACT WORDS SPOKEN by that actual historical figure.

    How long had JFK been dead? Do you KNOW which of the QUOTES ascribed to him are 100% accurate, without film or tape recorder evidence?

    CNN takes a sensationalist, TABLOID approach to examinations of Christianity – and attempt to reduce Christianity to a CARTOON religion, to blame for the conflicts of the world.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Kate

      Time to take your meds, Gramps. If you can afford them with your poor healthcare.

      After that, use those new internets to find some help with your grammar and spelling.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Grampa, I kinda like your post. It shows clear judgement.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • charlotte

      Grampa, the Christian Faith itself is a cartoon understanding of history and mythology and its own irrelevance.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Ting

      "The WORDS OF CHRIST" presuppose that someone, 200 years after the death of CHRIST, actually believes that they know the EXACT WORDS SPOKEN by that actual historical figure.

      That applies to all of Jesus' spoken words in the Bible. They were all written long after he died. Why is this any different?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  4. Good day

    Are you still here? Too much interest in the subject. I see. You are probably from those deniers (there are no true atheists read the book of Romans )who post all places where you hear the Name of Jesus. You need to opine He is not alive and get upset and aggressive because you are "full of peace and love and life. It really bothers you and you are the ones who can not respect a believer. Have to use names and adjetives because you are really suffering and retorting when you here the Name of The Lord of Lords. But dont worry. We will all find out with our own eyes . Race is not finished yet

    September 23, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Kate

      Pascal's Wager. Look it up, stupid.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • charlotte

      Atheists do not disrespect "belivers." They may pity them and mourn their lack of intellectual integrity, but they do not disrespect them. They find it difficult to appreciate this unhealthy and desperate need to absolve oneself of moral responsibility and ascribe everything to some magic invisible sky people but they utterly respect the 'beliver" right to do so if that's what they really have to do to get up in the morning. It's just kind of sad, is all.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  5. myway

    We do know the Romans modified who Jesus was to serve their theocratic purposes. Jesus was made into a god like figure because Roman emperors were the heads of state approved religions making them into gods, and the population was used to worshipping gods that appeared to be human like. Prior to then many Christian churches saw Jesus as the ultimate prophet. Why not? Christians needed Jesus to galvanize resistance against the Romans. For the Jews he represented the first prophet after a 500 year or so prophet drought. So even back then poor Jesus was molded and stretched to suit everyone's needs. Was he married? If he was a rabbi, and according to the stories he probably was, he almost certainly was married. Rabbis must marry to fulfull their requirements. That probably happened when Jesus was 12 to 15 years old. In those days people married very young.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 23, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • Kiler

      That's right. Before prayer, I feel fine. Afterwards, my knees and joints hurt. Plus I feel like I wasted the last few minutes.

      September 23, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Jim

      Are you a troll or just a plant that trolls around posting the same one line everywhere trying to make Christ-followers look stupid?

      September 23, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • 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 lets 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. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

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

      Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

      Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

      Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

      by mama kindless

      September 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  7. Jim

    The Bible has taught us that Jesus was the son of God and rose from the dead. If this has any shred of truth to it al at all, then why would such an immortal want to be married to a human?

    The fact that you don;t care, means, that you truly don;t believe in what you are teaching, or more basically, you don;t truly believe in your religion.

    You, Stephen, need a reality check and should go off into the wilderness and rethink your belief in religion.

    JIm the athiest.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:00 am |
    • Jim

      Hi Jim the Atheist,

      Your comment lacks critical thinking to be blunt.

      The Bible doesn't speak about whether or not Jesus was married. So, not knowing nor caring if He was has nothing to do with not caring about "his religion" or anything of the sort.

      You took two things that are unrelated and because you have no idea of what you are talking about (the subject matter) you made an ignorant comment that is not rational, thoughtful or reasonable.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Good day

      Atheist? There are no true atheists. You know it yourself. Very well. You know it.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Ting

      'The Bible doesn't speak about whether or not Jesus was married'

      That is simply because they made the decision to not put it in. Sometime around the 5th century or so they decided the story about Jesus and the prost itute would be a good story to throw in, but a book that makes reference to Jesus and his wife didn't make it. Why? Because it makes him look less of a god?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • jason

      Jim the atheist – I would concur – the others they seem not to know what they are talking about – if they would do 30 minutes of homework, for one where scripture comes from, and second why Jesus came, then they might not have to create straw man arguments and attack them to feel superior 🙂

      September 23, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • jason

      after reading the posts on here, can anyone really say that Judgement of the unrighteous is not right?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Timothy Guy

      Jason, read my post on the actual true details of Christianity and then see why your post is totally foolish. People deserve to be judged because they think for themselves and no longer follow hook line and sinker a 2,000 year old made up story that is completely unverifiable and full of outright lies and contradictions? and more importantly.. one that turns perfectly normal people into Sociopaths. Take yourself for example or the other Christians that reply here.

      You "believe" that people deserve to be judged and then put into eternal torment.. because of some words on some paper written by anonymous scribes and writers claiming to be people they are not... and that is somehow grounds for Eternal Torment? oh i know what you will say.. no its because they are "sinners" and have offended the invisible "Holy" and "righteous" god of "love" in the sky. I would put forth that if you actually applied the real meaning of words like Holy, Righteous and Love then it is obvious that the character represented in the bible is none of them. He is more akin to a spoiled tantrum throwing 4 year old and shows none of the qualities one would expect from a true being of omnipotence and omniscience who could think of and design our complex universe .

      If i knew everything that was going to happen all the time, long in advance of it happening.. and i knew the results of my design choices and affects of the varying dynamics of MY OWN DESIGN.. how in the world would i get angry about anything? The time to get angry would be the moment i thought of and conceived the design and saw the out come. The god of the bible is nothing like this at all and shows all the signs of a tribal deity that evolved over time as society evolved.

      The most tragic thing about Christianity is it strips people of their free will and ability to think and reason and it makes them slaves of obvious fairy tales and fictions of a bygone era. As paul the apostle says in 1 Corinthians..

      And my word and my preaching was not in enticing words of human wisdom, but in proof of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
      (1Co 2:4-5)

      Is there a Christian anywhere in the world today that can demonstrate the truth of the message not by "words" or quoting an old text but by Demonstration of the spirits power? You want to have the right to be gleeful at the eternal torment of the "wicked"? then raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, heal the quadriplegic, restore sight to the blind, instantly healing Jesus "mighty" name the deformed child, the retarded child, the wheelchair bound child in the back of your church.

      I am quite sure we will be waiting for a result for the rest of our lifetime and see nothing. because the truth is there is no power in Jesus name. So you keep praying and then taking all the listed above to the Doctor who learned to heal through hard work, study and the progress of science.

      September 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  8. Consequence

    nao sei o que adianta escriver frances, o Jesus nao vem da Franca...com certeza era Portugues!

    September 23, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  9. AvdBerg

    Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and neither is there salvation in any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

    The Jesus figure portrayed by Stephen Prothero is not the true and living God that came into this world in the name of Jesus Christ to deliver people from the spirit of this world (1 John 5:4).. His books and articles are all heresies. He might be a so-called scholar at Boston University but he is spiritually blind and unless he repents he is unable to understand the Word of God as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

    Please read the article ‘Repent’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca and learn what it means to repent. It means a lot more than what by nature you have been made to believe.

    For a better understanding we invite you to read the articles ‘Boston University – School of Theology and Stonehill College’ and ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?, listed on our website.

    Also, are those that are referred to as ‘Christians’ by the media really the followers of Jesus Christ or do they follow after a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and why is there so much division amongst religions? Please read on.

    The above mentioned article by Stephen Prothero is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • TheTruth

      Simply saying things does not make them true and the political references show even more a deviation from truth towards belief. Belief is the enemy of finding truth and any argument other wise, being based on belief, has no value.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Timothy Guy

      Dude.. NONE of that stuff is true. Take it from someone who was a fundamentalist christian for many years. was in ministry, was a pastor and who taught the bible for a very long time. Virtually NONE of it is actual history. If you take the time to do any honest research and take the time to examine the real world and they way it really is... you will come to accept.. as hard as it is.. that the christian religion is just as flawed and made up as all the others.

      None of the gospels were written by eye witnesses. None of the events or words of Jesus that are recorded are anything more that hearsay and stories passed among people for decades before they were written down. None of it can be trusted and the proof is that none of the works that Jesus is stated to have promised by the "holy spirit" actually happen or have happened anywhere in the world. as far back as history goes there is not one single verifiable honest to "god" miraculous healing or event. Not even one.

      Matthew and Luke copy mark wholesale and add their own elements that they picked up form others. John was written by a community of Christians 100 years later and has a completely different Jesus and a completely different message than the synoptics. In every single area that they can be compared in important events they get everything wrong. the time, the people, the details and most importantly the reasons.

      Christians get around this by making up a new bible in their heads and in their various denominations. This is why none of the denominations agree either. because they all emphasis different texts and ignore of change the meaning of other texts to fit their specific doctrinal spin. ALL of thee\se people do this absolutely sincerely, in prayer, and they all believe the Holy Spirit has taught "them" the truth and everyone else is in error. IF there was a real holy spirit, or a real Jesus teaching his "flock" NONE of this would be happening and at least a percentage of Christians around the world would have the same power to heal and do miracles as Jesus PROMISED multiple times.

      Science has PROVEN there was no Adam and Eve, there was no flood of Noah, the earth is not 6,000 years old...

      and guess what... Jesus is not coming back to whisk you off into space and later return with all the Christians on flying white horses in the sky. You have fallen prey to a human sacrifice cult. One that teaches a god of terror and fear who's promises and threats are empty and meaningless. this is the hard cold reality. Life is not a fairy tale.

      September 23, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Jim

      You are deluded, repent and be born again. In this way, you can discover the truth, not some political-religion.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Timothy guy sayz, '............Christians get around this by making up a new bible in their heads and in their various denominations. ..............'Just the way the wurld likes it. The wurld corrupts the Christians and then blames the Christians for being corrupt. Take yusef for an example.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Good day

      Very good post. Keep it up. the Lord bless you.psalm 1.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • TROLL ALERT

      This poster is a troll on this site. They are only here to sell their book to support their cult. Don't bother going to their site it's full of lies, click the report abuse link instead.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  10. Finger @CNN

    Who cares if CNN stole our dead Ambassador's journal from a crime scene, invaded the dead guys privacy and spread it around after promising they wouldn't to the dead guy's family? Me.
    CNN broke a promise to the grieving family right after they got his body back.
    Someone needs to get the hell out of CNN and go away forever and be banned from journalism.

    September 23, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  11. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    So let us put Stevie P out of the book selling business and out of his job as a professor of religion moving him to the Department of Myths and Legends:

    –Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues–.

    September 23, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      That's one of your favorites. Its the flip side of the coin, 'Kill em all, and let God sort em out.' Yeeeehawww.

      September 23, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Reality

      As a continuation of putting Stevie P out of the book selling business and also transferring him to Boston U's Department of Myths and Legends: (It appears that he believes in angels and Satan)

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As does Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      September 23, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Jim

      Reality is not just spouting opinion – even if it a mix of others opinions. Reality is what is.

      Your posts are just another reminder to stay away from the mindless way of trying to put others down. Thank you for the demonstration of absurdity.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  12. HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

    So much misdirected hate here in these comments. Let me help you channel it.........'Luk 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.'

    September 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      The girly men can't handle it.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Reality

      Luke 14:25-26 = Matt 10:37.

      Both passages as per all NT scholars are "Jesus authentic" with both adding more credence to the following:

      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? Many 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?

      September 23, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Reality sayz, ......So why do we really care.......' What's this 'we' stuff? Have you been drinking vodka or are you just a natural commynist? You will be judged on your doctrines all by your lonesome.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  13. HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

    Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    September 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      pardon me Sir, have you seen my Mohammad?

      September 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Reality

      The "voice from heaven" does not pass the historical review of many contemporary NT scholars.

      For example:

      From Professor Gerd Luedemann:

      Luedemann [Jesus, 9] affirms the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John, but does not trace the theological interpretations back beyond the post-Easter community:

      "... Jesus did not regard his baptism as appointment to be the son of God. The underlying concept derives from the community, which believed in Jesus as the son of God (cf. Gal. 2.16; 4.4) and located his appointment within his lifetime. In the earliest period, for example, the appointment of Jesus as son of God came only after his resurrection from the dead (which of course is the infamous con of Christianity)."

      September 23, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      HAhahahah, Lewdman?????????????? Why don't you tell us all about LEWDMAN!!!

      September 23, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Reality

      "Professor Gerd Lüdemann

      Some of his books etc.:

      •Jesus After 2000 Years : What He Really Said and Did (Prometheus Books 2001)
      •The Great Deception : And What Jesus Really Said and Did (Prometheus Books 1999)
      •Virgin Birth : The Real Story of Mary and Her Son Jesus (Trinity Pr Intl 1998)
      •What Really Happened to Jesus : A Historical Approach to the Resurrection (Westminster John Knox Pr 1996)
      •Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity (Westminster John Knox Pr 1996)
      •Resurrection of Jesus : History, Experience, Theology (Fortress Pr 1995)
      •Gerd Lüdemann on the Secular Web (online)
      •Gerd Lüdemann's Homepage (online)

      Lüdemann sets out four criteria of inauthenticity and five criteria of authenticity in The Great Deception, which is something of an abridged and popular version of his subsequent comprehensive work Jesus After 2000 Years. The first criterion of inauthenicity is that sayings presupposing Jesus as the exalted Lord are not from the earthly Jesus. The second is that actions that presuppose the violation of natural laws are unhistorical. The third states that sayings that appear to be devised to answer the problems of later communities are inauthentic. The fourth criterion of inauthenticity says that sayings or actions that presume a Gentile rather than a Jewish audience do not go back to Jesus. The first criterion of authenticity says that sayings or actions that are offensive to Christian sensibilities are not likely to be fabrications. The criterion of difference states that sayings that do not appear to reflect the ideas of post-Easter communities likely go back to the historical Jesus. The criterion of growth says that material around which additional traditions have accu-mulated may be old enough to go back to Jesus. The criterion of rarity indicates that sayings with few parallels in the Jewish sphere are likely to be distinctive to Jesus. The fifth criterion of authenticity, that of coherence, says that a saying or action that fits in seamlessly with other identified authentic material may also be deemed authentic. An examination of the authenticity of all the Jesus traditions with use of criteria such as these can be found in Jesus After 2000 Years.

      According to Lüdemann, Jesus like many first century Palestinian Jews went to be baptized for the remission of sins and believed in the imminent end of the world preached by John the Baptist. Lüdemann says that Jesus developed the Baptist's ideas in a new direction in three ways: "first, in the long term he did not like John's fundamentally ascetic atti-tude. In keeping with this, secondly, he had a tremendous experience of the kingdom of God which was prefigured in meals with him to which anyone could come. And thirdly, he found his capacity to heal an overwhelming experience which he also associated with the coming of the kingdom of God." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 689) Lüdemann thinks that Jesus saw himself in battle against Satan in healing sickness and sin, which were inextricably linked."

      September 23, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      LEWDMAN is the spirit of antiprophecy.......'Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.'

      September 23, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  14. save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

    Lewis Black on Evolution
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcJvkAdydnQ&feature=related

    September 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  15. save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

    Creationism by Lewis Black
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PDZTveY4uQ&feature=related

    September 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  16. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Can't wait until a scroll is discovered that says Jeezus got divorced, bi+ch-slapped his wife, had an affair, or was cuckolded!

    September 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  17. Millennium3

    Jesus has actually RETURNED as he promised (John 6/40)
    with some real "GOOD NEWS"
    in the begining of this most critical and final Third and Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM; John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    "UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES"

    September 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • old ben

      OK, turn around slowly and you should see a nurse nearby somewhere. Be sure to let her know what you're doing on the computer. Have her make sure that you didn't get an extra dose of something.

      September 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Bullshit!! You have no independent, verifiable, objective or factual evidence for any of your delusional claims.

      September 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Jeeezus DID say he was coming RIGHT BACK...but, well, guess what? He's about 2000 years late now!!! Still waiting?

      Matthew 24:29-34 (King James Version)
      29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

      September 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      filthy pagan GAWD Jesus corruption of Judaism, no reason to return to Earth. Theen ALLAH AL, THE, LA, LIMITED, H, HEIGHT 180* truth absolute has returned. Run Kafer Run, hide in your gutter land.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  18. Pastor Al

    My Take: Is Jesus the son of God? I don't know (and I don't care). Just keep giving me your 10%.

    September 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  19. CielExpédié

    Monsieur Eh bien, si vous voulez savoir, j'ai été obligé de fuir ces articles par tommie tom, scotty toux quand ils m'ont couru pour être un chrétien. Maintenant, je suis dans la clandestinité en France de faire le travail du Seigneur Dieu à l'abri. C'était pour moi diffuclt voler si je devais prendre une barge poubelle sur les mers.

    September 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • CielExpédié

      Pardonnez-moi, qui était destiné à Bucky Ball.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • CielExpédié

      @captain america

      Cet endroit est comme ma remorque. Je me sens comme à la maison. Amen.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Excusez-moi. Je ne comprends pas la question.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • CielExpédié

      @bucky ball

      Je suis désolé, quelle est la question? Vous pouvez athées me chasser hors du pays, mais vous ne pouvez pas changer la vérité de Jésus, qui est la vérité de Dieu. Vous croyez aux mensonges de satan et de détourner de Jésus. Mon camel-toe englouti 3 moutons dans la campagne française. Tu ferais mieux de commencer votre marche avec Jésus.

      Amen.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Ah oui. Je suis un debil charnelle. J'aime sentir ta sensation charnelle saleté. J'aime les vers se tortillant. Le diable m'a incité à le faire. Ah, je vais aller en enfer. Mais ce n'est pas grave. Je sais que vous serez là aussi. Alors je peux vous sentir un peu plus les pieds sales.

      September 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • old ben

      Jésus est Bucky ? Il s'occupera de nos pieds ?

      September 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      filthy Greek, denier of truth Absolute 180*, absurd.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  20. CielExpédié

    Vous athées croient aux mensonges du Talmud. Quand allez-vous croire à la vérité, qui nous est donnée par Dieu à son don pour nous la Sainte Bible? Mon camel-toe avalé la remorque voisins. Il est temps pour vous de commencer votre marche avec Jésus ou brûler brûler brûler.

    Amen

    September 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • captain america

      Rampez vers le pays infesté de vermine nous vous avons donné en 1812. Il est votre signe!

      September 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Tres bien. Mais, pourquoi en français. Je pense que ça sonne un peu chic, mais faux. Restez charnelle toujours.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • old ben

      Ah – le capitaine l'Amérique est dans les toilettes. cela explique beaucoup. il y a votre signe.

      September 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • captain america

      @frogs
      During the war of 1812 a frenchman asked a British officer why they wore red coats. The officer told the frog that was because when wounded in battle the troops would not see the blood, become afraid and so the officer could still lead on. Ever since the french officers have worn brown pants. There's your sign

      September 23, 2012 at 6:22 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.