November 23rd, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Explaining the Pope's Christmas debunking book

(CNN)–CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi explains how the Pope's new book challenges long held Christmas traditions.

Read the full story on the Pope's new book here.

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Jesus • Pope Benedict XVI • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (751 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children....

    Because they don't give a cr@p about anything these days anyway...just video games, gettin blasted with their friends, facebook, etc. Bein a non-believer, or a believer would be too much effort...time to parteeee!!!

    November 26, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 26, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  2. Reality

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    November 26, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  3. Angel Moronic

    So Poopa Benedict is saying that the many things said in the Bible is WRONG ? Put him on the pyre now !! 😉

    November 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Yet, you keep spamming this. So much for the proof.

      November 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for me...cuz...

      I am a fudgey-packin freak and I luv to schlob da knob. I believe in a higher power to guide me thru this time of need...needin to find sum gayboyz to pound in da pooooper!! I just wanna polish dem toools!!!

      November 26, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian

      November 26, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 26, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  5. MP

    It is amazing how some people will believe (or consider) any words and actions, but they will not consider that we humans or ETs or random generation did not create ourselves.

    Is this logic or tolerance? (And don't cite intolerant and illogical followers. Being ignorant does not mean you don't breathe. Smoking doctors are hypocrites but speak the truth when they adise people not to smoke.) Just as telling someone that you love them and you are not sure or genuine.

    November 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  6. was blind, but now I see

    Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn originally held December 17 and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.[1] The poet Catullus called it "the best of days."[2]

    In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.[3]

    Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects.[4] The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius's work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth.[5] The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun," on December 25.[6]

    The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, some of its customs may have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.[7]

    November 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  7. Kenneth W. Sandbourne

    It will be a great day for humankind when the pope and other religious authorities admit that their whole gambit is based mainly on myths.

    November 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  8. Virgin Mary

    Where yo daddy at?

    November 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  9. Reality


    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
    in the brain of Jupiter."

    – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

    November 25, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Love that quote, Jefferson is the greatest. That day can't come soon enough for this country. That pope is one ugly and evil looking man, running one ugly and evil organization. I don't know any xstians who just vomit all over the table when other people are there eating, why can't they realize that that is the effect they have on the rest of society when they do all their preaching. When it becomes illegal to drag children into a church for the brainwashing that is religion, we will be somewhere. Forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE.

      November 25, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      It sounds nice, but almost two centuries later the governor of Texas proclaims a day of prayer to make it rain. We obviously still have a long way to go.

      November 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      “Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

      – Thomas Jefferson

      November 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Reality

      "The Two Universal Sects

      They all err—Moslems, Jews,
      Christians, and Zoroastrians:

      Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
      One, man intelligent without religion,
      The second, religious without intellect. "

      , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

      Al-Ma'arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

      November 26, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  10. curius

    The papal office is not found in scripture. All that is exalted is an abomination to the Lord and nowhere is this more true than his church.

    November 25, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  11. 200 TON HAMMER

    And again DNA Y CHROMOSOME IS VERY STRONG IN BLACK PEOPLE'S WORLD WIDE DNA AND WISDOM DONT LIE.SO IN THAT THERE ARE WELL OVER IN THE WESTERN COUNTRYS IN NORTH CENTRAL AND SOUTH America over 250 million blacks with DNA Y chromosome and also the islands of the Carribeans like Jamaica Haiti Bahamas virgin islands Trinidad Tobago etc.but the European religion Gentiles are in fairy dust landscape of pointless false dead works they beating the pavement with their feet for a useless chanting songs of nothing but stale dullness of yawn yawn yaaaa dullness

    November 25, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  12. 200 TON HAMMER

    European religious people's are going too be in shocked when they see real HEBREW ISREALITE that look just like ABRAHAM the HEBREW AND JONAH THE HEBREW ISREALITE.

    November 25, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  13. John Stefanyszyn

    Has not the Roman General / Universal church & Mr.Ratzinger stated in the past that "Christmas" has become too "commercial"?

    Interesting to see that Mr.Ratzinger has timed the release of his book just in time for this "season" to maximize SALES.

    ...but then again, this is the way of this pagan holiday that the Roman General church and man have justified to be right.

    ....a mix of pagan beliefs and compromised christian beliefs...created by the ROMAN general church and authorized by a Roman Caesar emperor.

    ....as part of the worship of the "general / universal" values of the Roman empire...in which Caesar was worshipped as a "god".

    But it is Only Christ that will rule with the One True Way, the One Good Will, of the Creator Father.

    November 25, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • was blind, but now I see

      "He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time." (Daniel 7:25)

      Turning Passover in Ishtar (Easter) was another wonderful move Rome made.

      November 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  14. Tami Proctor

    To: Lionlylamb
    God is real! Both he and his son Jesus Christ have a body with flesh and bones. The following scripture came to mind when I read you post.
    Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
    If you sincerely seek the truth it can be found. The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. You can find more information at http://www.mormon .org and invite the missionaries to come and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you. Pay attention to how you feel when you are in their presence. They have the Spirit with them and you can easily notice it if you are paying attention to your feelings.
    You have a Heavenly Father who loves you very much. He and his son Jesus Christ know about you and care about you as an individual. I know that they hear and answer our prayers it is up to you to ask them for the guidance that you need. These things I testify to be true.

    November 25, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      November 25, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • SixDegrees

      There is no god.

      November 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  15. ash

    Its true In the bible it says that the sheep was out in filed the middle of the night and Palestine is in the northern hemisphere in December its cold the sheep could not be out at this time of the year, and the angel told marry to shake the palm tree and palm will fall so she can eat that can’t be December.
    Christmas is a began holiday the birth of the sun.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • ash

      My spelling and grammar are sooo bad that most people can barely understand what I write. The verbal communic. is tough enough, but to force you all to decipher this collection of cr@p is not a bonus. Now its time to pound all da poop-ery chutez!!!

      November 26, 2012 at 6:07 am |
  16. 200 TON HAMMER

    Please super natural EARTHQUAKE please shake the Vatican into the earth forever Amen.

    November 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  17. 200 TON HAMMER


    November 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot..

      November 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Hal, is idiomatic a cute way of saying idiotic and automatic?

      November 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  19. Steve, Steve the Carpenter's Second Cousin

    The pope has never even been laid. How sad.

    November 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Don't be so sure. Lots of nuns and young boys around.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  20. Chad

    @Colin "This is anothe rplace where the Gospels are hopelessly inconsistent...."
    @Chad "colin, I'm a bit confused on one thing.. Luke contains a lot more detail on the birth of Jesus than Matthew does..
    But, there is no conflicting details...

    how does that make them inconsistent?

    November 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No Gospel describes the genome of Jesus. Chad, can you describe the Y chromosome of Jesus? It must have been the same as God's (God does have one, right?), but what is that like? If Jesus was a "priest forever" did he have the Cohen Haplotype?

      November 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Chad

      we could go dig Jesus up and get a sample and check
      the tomb was found empty almost 2000 years ago..

      November 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Quite right, Chad. There is just no evidence.

      November 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      'the tomb was found empty almost 2000 years ago.'

      So says the story written 70 years later.

      November 25, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Decency costs Nothing

      Chad and Tom,Tom – the tomb was found EMPTY! To the intelligent thinker, THAT would prove the Resurrection, surely?

      Now THAT'S what I call evidence. And BTW – to make assertions on Christianity – the prerequisite is FAITH. You don't have Faith, your comments are worthless. Sorry.

      November 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Akira

      @Decency costs nothing: I like your name.
      I also admire your blind faith.
      Quite admirable, in this day and age.

      November 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Chad, no conflicting details? Really? Where did they go from Bethlehem? In Matthew they immediately ran from their home (nope, no manger needed, they had a home there) in Bethlehem to Egypt. In Luke, they went from Bethlehem to their home in Nazareth where Jesus grew and became strong.

      November 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
About this blog

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.