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April 9th, 2013
11:20 AM ET

Elaborate hoax: No, Joel Osteen has not renounced his faith

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – Joel Osteen, the popular megachurch pastor from Houston, is the target of an Internet hoax that falsely reported the Christian leader was leaving his church and renouncing his faith.

On a website designed to mimic Osteen’s official website, the pranksters posted “A special message from Pastor Joel.” The post describes the Bible as “a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times” and announces that Osteen plans to leave his Lakewood Church.

Osteen and church staff  labeled the website a fraud and said the idea that he was leaving the faith was a "false rumor."

According to the website's registration, Lucas Skass with BMG Enterprises LLC, who lists his residence in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, purchased the domain name on April 1 of this year – April Fools Day.

Calls to the number listed for Skass, as well as people associated with BMG Enterprises LLC, have gone unanswered.

"I am leaving the Christian faith," says a big banner near the top of the page.

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In addition to the announcement, the website posted a fake screenshot of CNN.com that included a falsified headline about Osteen’s supposed decision. The pranksters also launched an associated Twitter account that has since been suspended.

The website - http://www.joelostenministries.com/ - spells Osteen’s name wrong and comes with an elaborate disclaimer.

“This site is the property of Pastor Joel Osten and Joel Osten Ministries. It bears no relation to ‘Joel Osteen’ or ‘Lakewood Church,’" the disclaimer reads. “Any implication or relation to 'Joel Osteen' and the 'Lakewood Church' is purely coincidental. 'Joel Osteen' is not in any way involved or related to this site and references to 'Joel Osteen' are, again, entirely coincidental.”

In an interview with ABC News, Osteen dismissed the prank.

“You know, I’m really not angry. I don’t feel like a victim,” Osteen said. “I feel too blessed, that life is too short to let things like this get you down.”

He continued: “You can’t stop everything from happening, but you can choose to say, ‘God, it’s in your hands.’ I’m going to move forward. I’m going stay full of joy and I’m going to enjoy this day.”

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

Though Osteen dismissed the hoax, many on Twitter fell for it and were shocked by the announcement.

When one person on Twitter asked Osteen directly whether he was leaving the church, someone managing Osteen’s Twitter account responded by knocking down the false report.

Osteen has led the 45,000-person church since 1999, after his father, the founder of Lakewood Church, stepped down. He is one of the most recognizable faces in American Christianity and his ministry says Osteen’s sermons reach some 10 million people a week in over 100 countries.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Pastors

soundoff (1,629 Responses)
  1. PaulB

    Did Jesus work to support himself while preaching, or did he did live off of the donations and hospitality of his followers?

    April 11, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " did he did live off of the donations and hospitality" The latter. Read about Mary and Martha.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  2. Brother Maynard

    CALLING ALL ATHEISTS
    Totally off topic of this article but ... I'm really just curious
    What was your first revelation that put you on the path of non-belief ?
    How long did it take you to fully commit to non-belief?
    I'll start
    I remember in second grade when the nun at my school was teaching us about 'Original Sin'. She relayed the story of Adam and how he was coerst into eating the forbidden fruit and that because of this man must suffer.
    At that time I couldn't help thinking:
    "Wow that seems really unfair to punish ME because some idiot disobeyed your rule, I wasn't even born. I didn't disobey it but yet you punish me"
    I didn't say anything at the time because nun's were mean.
    I didn't fully commit to atheism until I was 40 years old.

    April 11, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      The process for me was gradual and painless. I grew up as a good Catholic boy but I soon developed a fascination with the deep ocean creatures, dinosaurs and astronomy. I spent many hours seeking out books(with pictures) at the library. At the same time I also had a beautiful illustrated Bible detailing the various stories of Adam and Eve, the Flood, etc.
      As my understanding of science grew the disparity between the events depicted in the Bible and the timeline of events detailed by science grew ever larger. More and more the stories in the Bible became as questionable as those told about Santa Claus while the facts discovered by science seemed so much more plausible. The turning point for me was actually when I finally overcame my fear of and my belief in Hell. Once that was gone there was no turning back. We are simply smart monkeys. We are star stuff that has the developed the capacity to appreciate our origin from the building blocks of matter. We live, we die and that's it. Maybe, just maybe along the way we discover how precious and fleeting our time here is and we endeavor to make the most of it.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oops... forgot to include a timeline. I was fully set in my non-belief by about the age of 20. I didn't identify as an atheist until about 30 simply because I didn't know the word. No one had ever mentioned the word atheist and I hadn't come across it. But if they had I probably would have adopted it much earlier.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • WASP

      @maynard: myself it was a gradual decline in "forced faith". what i mean is i always questioned parts of what i was taught growing up, however i forced myself against my better judgement to continue to follow what i was taught.
      after a while i got tired of lying to my more logical brain and accepted what i had always known to be true.
      no god. once i had accepted what i had always known and stopped fighting with myself life became simpler to understand.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      I started questioning 20 years ago when I met my daughter's father, a practicing Pagan but letting go completely was easier said than done due to my overtly religious family. Four years ago through total chance I met AtheistSteve and through many long chats, and a simplified life I came to the realization that the world was full of mystery that kept the questions coming and no god was required for that. I was 37 when we met but the total realization came shortly after I turned 38.

      April 11, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Throuhout my childhood, I had faith in God but waws not raised in any particular denomination.
      When I was 13, I met became friends with a boy who sufferred from a degenerative eye disease in which scar tissue was building over his corneas, a little more each day.
      His family told him that if he was a good enough Christian and prayed hard enough that God would heal him.
      As time wore on and his condition worsened, my friend was in torment wondering what he was doing wrong.
      It was at that point that I lost respect for religion and the kinds of nonsense that blind obedience to the authority of the interpreters of scripture can engender among seemingly otherwise rational adults.
      It planted a seed of skepticism that eventually, after years of searching through various forms of spiritualism, sprouted into atheistic naturalism. I lost my faith in faith (if that makes sense) but gained an understanding that humans require incentive to work together and expand the instinct for self-preservation beyond the personal level.
      In short, I began to learn and explore the truth of moral relativism and that definitions of good and evil are not set in stone, dictated by an invisible authority. Morality is instead a covenant between humans that enables us to live and work together.
      Those who hold steadfastly to literal interpretations of allegorical literature and get lost arguing mythological minutiae to the point of condemning this and that from a fiery pulpit have entirely missed the point, I think.
      It isn't that I don't think the Bible (or any other Holy Book for that matter) has value, it is that I don't think that belief in the supernatural is necessary to exemplify the Christian character of pacifism, charity and humility.

      April 11, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      I was 6 when the presbyterian church asked my perents not to bring me to sunday school any more because they could not answer my questions. At 6 I knew the bible made no sense, even the stories that they tell the 6 year olds to indoctrinate them.

      Their beliefs could not withstand the quetions of a six year old...at seven I got into trouble for refusing to recite the pledge because of the under god crap...until my father went to the school and straightened them out.
      Since then I have searched through many religions, went to various and assorted religions, but they all require you to accept things without any evidence, and I simply could not believe the outlandish stories.

      So I was six when I knew I was an atheist.

      April 11, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Wow !! I'm truly impressed and humbled by your stories.
      thank you

      April 11, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • sam stone

      I was raised in a Syrian Orthodox church. I think the icons on the wall started it.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • lol??

      OK, BM, now that you got em all out, why not take em to play BINGO and quit hangin' on the belief blogs. How long are they planning to be here? The rest of their lives?????

      April 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Vic

      I totally understand and respect this dialogue! It is amazing how most of the times, on discussion boards at least, people get on each other case without really knowing them! Everyone who shared their story in this dialogue, so far, sounds completely human, and that is to embrace!

      I am not a bit surprised that people are walking away from any religion! I TOTALLY APPRECIATE THAT! Follow your heart! Furthermore, I believe a clean slate is a very good start!

      Now, DISREGARDING ALL RELIGIONS and who they claim God is, I have a very fundamental question to all:

      From a logical stand point, don't you think this universe and life it reveal a MASTER MIND behind them?!

      You don't have to agree a bit on who this Master Mind is!

      I started with myself, with all truthfulness and honesty, I found the answer to that questions to be YES!!!

      April 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I never really believed in God, but I was pretty sure about Santa Claus for a while because there was proof in the form of presents.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • lol??

      BM sayz,
      ".....................I didn't fully commit to atheism until I was 40 years old." What's the name of the groom, dude?

      April 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • lol??

      And BM, it's common knowledge nobody is happy if mama ain't happy. Can you take yer happiness somewhere else??

      April 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      Lol. @lol?? – how'd dya know mama k wasn't happy about a few things? You're a good mind reader. But just so others might have forgotten, let's recap. People can thank you for the reminder, OK?!

      Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.

      Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

      Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill were not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well.

      In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

      One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

      One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

      One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

      One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

      Conflicted and unfounded right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as time goes by.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Austin

      I experienced a spurt of spiritual revelations. They are not the descending ot the Lord, or a ten foot angel. They are the sovereign all powerful voice of God. The Holy Spirit ministers and teaches lessons, and God is all powerful.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Vic
      You said; "From a logical stand point, don't you think this universe and life it reveal a MASTER MIND behind them?!"

      The universe and everything in it is certainly mysterious and largely still unknown. Still your question seems strange in that we have exactly zero instances where we can say that a mind is necessary to explain our reality. Space, time, energy and motion can all be described in mathematical terms. We have zero instances where molecules or biology react or combine in ways that would be considered directed by a mind but merely by predictable chemistry and physics. How do you go from observing a reality where everything obeys natural laws to concluding that a mind, absent from all of this, is necessary?

      April 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Larry

      Austin
      Just because you experienced something that you have categorized as God's voice doesn't mean that it was. Every year, thousands of people see strange lights in the sky, but only few jump to the conclusion that they must have been flying saucers. A lot of people will simply say that they saw something that they couldn't identify and be content with not really knowing.

      I think that it's very likely that you either intentionally went out looking for "proof" of God to confirm a prior belief, or you fell in with people who were only too glad to lead you into believing that what you experienced was what you now believe it to be.

      April 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • 8 hours

      I recall at college working on assigned homework, and spending 8 hours to finally solve one problem. I remember the relief of having solved it and then realizing why they'd assigned it, because in doing so, I then understood why it had value in finding the truth.

      I have done similar things while reading the bible. 8 hours is not the norm, but it doesn't shock me that people give up, for either college course, or bible issues to solve.

      Atheists being happy to leave God? You have the fruits of your labor.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Kilto

      @ Brother Maynard, If we came from monkeys....why are there still monkeys? Thank you Brother Maynard...keep up the good work...

      April 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  3. Dose of morning goodness...

    “Quit questioning God and start trusting Him!”
    ― Joel Osteen

    April 11, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Austin

      God blesses a people in the old testament with riches. When it talks about the eye of a needle or , the parable about the guy who asked what he should do and Jesus replied ............(i summed up the beginning)

      1.
      20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

      21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

      2.
      20 The young man said to him, o“All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, qsell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:20-22, )

      O.k. people, these are matters of intentions and matters of the heart. Joel Osteen's father died and out of nowhere Joel delved into the ministry. Now he is blessed. If he is rich, if He loves God then it is because of God that Joel is rich.

      There are many parables about not wasting talent, about taking what you have to market and increasing for the Lord. Everything is God's. Your possessions are not yours.

      In the old testament, God told leaders that there should not be any poor people in the community. Poverty was expected to be taken care of. Israel was a priestly nation.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Austin

      My biggest point, is that there are churches who truly receive offerings from people who have faith that their church leaders have a full time ministry that is blessed by God. The people at my church ti.the, and then they volunteer their time going out and using those resources to reach out. Last year 667 people came to faith at one of the smaller churches I go to. We added a sunday morning service, we have 3 sunday morning and one saturday night. We expanded to a campus facility also. WE support 80 some mission fields in 51 countries. If a pastor gets a pay check , the church pays rent, the maintenence woman has a full time job, and 667 people in Omaha NE got saved in one small church, not counting the poor people receiving blessings in the missions field, then what can be said about this ti.the and the volunteer work that people put in in their labor of love?

      the t.ithe is not about Joel Osteen. it's about the people that listen to him. And people do listen to him. He does not have to be perfect. I am sure that in the end his money will be all used to donate to the ministry . He is not a hoarder. He has a great heart.

      there is nothing in the bible that says riches are bad, and there is nothing in the new testament that denounces a t.ithe.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • sam stone

      Austin: Blah, blah, fvcking blah. You are a parrot and a coward, not to mention delusional. Jeebus is waiting, what are you doing here? Heaven awaits. A person as obvioiusly godly as you will undoubtedly have a preferred spot kneeling before the savior. Do you have a sidearm?

      April 11, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Austin

      Hey Sam what is going on bud? What are you havin for breakfast today? It snowed here yesterday. Wow I cant wake up today. I should have slept in.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Austin

      Good people with good intentions do good things. No God required. If these people didn't have the "community" already pre-established by the flocks in the pews they would find ways to spread their charity and goodwill by other means. The church and its missions are concerned only with spreading its influence, distributing Bibles and peddling an imaginary product. No one is being "saved" because there isn't anything they need saving from. It's the most blatant form of manipulation imaginable. The fact that many are gullible enough to buy that product doesn't make it good, true or real.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • sam stone

      kashi cereal, soy milk, hemp protein powder

      April 11, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • PaulB

      "Quit questioning (insert dictator's name here) and start trusting Him!”

      Same old tune sung by the oppressors over the ages. Osteen just forgot the "or else!" part, that's all.

      April 11, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Larry

      Austin
      Don't get me wrong, I like this guy much more than the average pastor I'm familiar with, but I can't help wondering why he isn't taking just enough of his earnings to like like a typical member of his flock, donating the rest? You have faith that he intends to do this, some day, presumably after he's tired of wearing expensive suits, but if he's still clutching to the funds then isn't that a sign that they're pretty important to him?

      Biblical teaching about riches appears to be similar to it's teaching about alcohol. Fine to be rich, or drink wine as long as you don't let your love of money, or your overindulgence in drink control you. Then again, Jesus' garments were supposedly very fine. Maybe, if he were alive today, he'd be wearing expensive suits too.

      April 11, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "“Quit questioning God and start trusting Him!”
      ― Joel Osteen"
      "Why the heck would I do THAT?"
      - Bible Clown©

      April 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  4. faith

    "sam stone
    john: claims of divine involvement are just that, claims." backed up endlessly with facts

    your claims are as valid as fvck it

    April 11, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • faith

      "SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY." the idiot

      how do you know?

      April 11, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • sam stone

      Backed up endlessly with facts? Care to provide these "facts"?

      April 11, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • clarity

      yes, that is the question – where are the facts?

      April 11, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  5. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    "..............A scholarly consensus has indeed emerged....................." FEEL GOOD scholarship? Sensual consensus?.....??

    April 11, 2013 at 5:31 am |
    • midwest rail

      Copying and pasting posts that you moderated yourself sure does fool everybody. /sarcasm off

      April 11, 2013 at 5:45 am |
  6. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Not to worry, higuy. The gubmint god has a program tailored for you with Affirmative Action.

    April 3, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    When are the A&A's gonna shake the dust off their feet??

    April 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    April 11, 2013 at 5:27 am |
  7. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    "Gen 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger."

    I suppose after Esau "came out" he could blame God for "creatin' me this way".

    HHhhhhhmmmm, BBBbbwwwwwhahahahahahahahahaha

    April 11, 2013 at 5:21 am |
    • Science

      Hey lol?? the fairy in the sky is just that it did not create you mommy and daddy did

      April 11, 2013 at 5:51 am |
  8. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The A&A's sent all of their freedoms to washington on one of them marches. Buyin' & sellin' of slaves happens day in and day out. Now with Affirmative Action the A&A's get to show off their debatin' skills to get em back. The PUblic Servants are one step ahead of them, though. They've become accustomed to dealin' dirty deeds done dirt cheap...

    April 11, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  9. lol??

    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
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    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    "............controversial issues such as abortion .................." What controversy? The killa mommies won. One out of three is worse than a witch......,,...

    April 11, 2013 at 5:13 am |
  10. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    A&A's come to a belief blog and are offended? HHHHHHmmmmmm. Better find that money man.

    April 11, 2013 at 5:10 am |
  11. faith

    "Larry
    The fact that you wouldn't expect much from Jesus due to his lower status still doesn't change the fact that there isn't any."

    larry, i love you. you are too good to be true.

    due to his "lower status." you say? you think his status back in the day was, "lower" compared to a roman emperor? (btw, don't be an even bigger fool by contending that coinage with an image on it was physical proof and that your god didn't leave anything comparable behind)

    lower?
    he died naked nailed to wood posts with his mom, and mary a frightened boob watching

    April 11, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • faith

      "Larry
      Austin
      Just because you experienced something that you have categorized as God's voice doesn't mean that it was. Every year, thousands of people see strange lights in the sky, but only few jump to the conclusion that they must have been flying saucers. A lot of people will simply say that they saw something that they couldn't identify and be content with not really knowing." dear larry cannot construct a proper argument to save her life. just because others may have experienced something different than Austin, does not mean he did not hear god's voice

      "I think that it's very likely that you either intentionally went out looking for "proof" of God to confirm a prior belief, or you fell in with people who were only too glad to lead you into believing that what you experienced was what you now believe it to be." it is far more likely that you cannot see what stares you in the mug, u r that perverted

      April 12, 2013 at 1:35 am |
  12. faith

    not bad for an ancient, broke, obscure jewish teacher

    April 11, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Not good either. Your omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent supreme god cannot even muster up 1/3 of the population

      Religion Percent
      Christians   31.5%
      Muslims   23.2%
      Unaffiliated   16.3%
      Hindu   15%
      Buddhist 7.1%
      Folk   5.9%
      Other   0.8%
      Jewish   0.2%

      April 11, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • Austin

      16 John......... But when he, 30 the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide 31 you into all truth. 32 For he will not speak on his own authority, 33 but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you 34 what is to come. 35 16:14 He 36 will glorify me, 37 because he will receive 38 from me what is mine 39 and will tell it to you. 40 16:15 Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said the Spirit 41 will receive from me what is mine 42 and will tell it to you.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • faith

      i am the truth

      April 12, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • faith

      that little statement drives demons crazy

      "how dare he say that!"
      "Who does he think he is?"
      "has he forgotten so soon we had him murdered?"

      April 12, 2013 at 1:39 am |
  13. faith

    not to mention that 2,000 years later and this guy remains the pivotal figure in history, that he's touched more lives than all other people who ever lived, combined, that his words are quoted in every language and serve as unequaled expressions of wisdom and truth, that he had nothing to give and he is the most beloved figure in human history

    April 11, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      Pretty much correct, except I'd have to add that his words have been twisted into every possible shape and even used to justify racial hatred, so there's nothing universal or sacred about them. The key is that no religion ever stood up and said "YOU have value to God." Not your tribe, not your priest, not the hymn you chant or the sacrifice you make. God sees YOU directly and wants to bless you. Once you get an idea like that, it's hard to shale it off. You can stop believing in that god, but not in your own personal worth.
      But this is where a lot of people part company with the churches, because you only matter to them as money in the plate and as an obedient servant for their activities. YOU don't matter to a church, just the hymns you sing and the seats you fill.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • faith

      dodo can't get it right. yes god is cool, his words are amazing, blah, blah, blah but he still sucks cause people pervert his words.

      "Bible Clown©
      Pretty much correct, except I'd have to add that his words have been twisted into every possible shape and even used to justify racial hatred, so there's nothing universal or sacred about them."

      well, for pete's sake love, stop them

      April 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  14. faith

    Frank R. Zindler on the lack of historical evidence for the one who died a criminal's death.

    he compares a lowly, unknown, impoverished, former jewish carpenter turn teacher to Tiberius Cæsar a roman emperor. get this,
    "compare it to the sort of evidence we have, say, for the existence of Tiberius Cæsar – to take up the challenge made by Wright.
    It may be conceded that it is not surprising that there are no coins surviving from the first century with the image of Jesus on them. Unlike Tiberius Cæsar and Augustus Cæsar who adopted him, Jesus is not thought to have had control over any mints. Even so, we must point out that we do have coins dating from the early first century that bear images of Tiberius that change with the age of their subject. We even have coins minted by his predecessor, Augustus Cæsar, that show Augustus on one side and his adopted son on the other"

    must be a friend of dottie's.

    no, you idiot, he didn't have mints. he wan't the adopted son of a roman emperor. he had no army or staff or connections to the chaff who assumed to be in positions of temporeal power. no early coinage with his visage–he wasn't anything to look at, either.

    to compare the measure of his worth and the impact of his life with that boob, just gaze upon the past 20 centuries

    April 11, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Akira

      I see you cannot answer a simple question put to you, faith.
      Therefore, I surmise you are uninterested in civil discourse, and only seem to be writing for your own gratification.

      Whoever "dorothy" and "dottie" is, they seem to be ignoring you.
      I see why.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • Larry

      What are you talking about? The point was that Jesus didn't leave any physical evidence behind, unlike Caesar. Thus, there is lots of real evidence supporting Caesar's being real and none supporting Jesus. The fact that you wouldn't expect much from Jesus due to his lower status still doesn't change the fact that there isn't any.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • John

      What we know about the gospels is that the apostles told the truth.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • faith

      "Larry
      What are you talking about? The point was that Jesus didn't leave any physical evidence behind, unlike Caesar. Thus, there is lots of real evidence supporting Caesar's being real and none supporting Jesus. The fact that you wouldn't expect much from Jesus due to his lower status still doesn't change the fact that there isn't any."

      you are a liar

      April 11, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • faith

      it is cute that god-haters lie ceaselessly, shamelessly, as if it is their right. after all they hate christ so why shouldn't they do whatever they'd like, you know?

      if i was filled with hate for gods, i'd be worse than they are

      April 11, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Akira

      Faith, callling someone a liar isn't proof of anything, either.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • John

      If God gives a gift, and it's wasted on an unbeliever, he will probably be mad that his gift was wasted and didn't yeild any fruit. The apostles, though not believed by everyone, did in fact yeild tremendous fruit, because their teacher was sent by God, and they recorded it truthfully.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • sam stone

      john: claims of divine involvement are just that, claims.

      April 11, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • Customer Service and Returns

      Isaiah 46:9-10
      Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure'.

      April 11, 2013 at 5:31 am |
    • saggyroy

      What about the Shroud of Turin?

      April 11, 2013 at 6:20 am |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      faith, Why do you feel that only christians have rights?

      April 11, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • Austin

      John 15:26-27

      The Work of the Holy Spirit

      26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

      April 11, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "it is cute that god-haters lie ceaselessly, shamelessly, as if it is their right. after all they hate christ" So two wrongs make a right, hater? You have no problem telling lies about us, right? Hate Christ? I don't believe He exists. Mickey Mouse is more widely-recognized than Jesus, you know, but Mickey isn't real either. Do you hate Mickey? No? Ok, that's how I feel about Christ, and by the way, if you were an actual Christian, you would capitalize His name. Have some frekkin respect.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "If God gives a gift, and it's wasted on an unbeliever, he will probably be mad " because He didn't foresee the future with His Omnipotence? Maybe He could make Himself go stand in the corner? What are you even talking about?

      April 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • John

      The apostles were given gifts from God: knowledge of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, what God wants. If they'd wasted those gifts on unbelievers, trying to convince those that hate God, they would then have to answer for it later, the wasted time, wasted Holy Spirit. Unbelievers are given gifts too, like life, health, job, family, at various levels and you can either do things to find God and believe him or waste the gifts God gave you, and be judged for it. It's up to you what you'll do with what God gave you, or if you'll believe him that he gave you those things. Any unbelievers that read this or answer it, I don't care what you have to say about it, that is just how it is. Deal with it.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  15. hannon

    Christianity is like spiritual kindergarden – with stories and characters for the masses to understand....but they are stories based on ancient stories based on pagan rituals based on the cycles of the seasons, planets, etc, stars, holy trinity, 12 disciples, death and rebirth of the setting son (whoops sun) that returns or comes again. Based all on antiquity – made human for our ancient selves to grasp. Now we're growing out of it and are starting to see the truth. I think Joel Osteen is in an earlier stage of consciousness and probably believes his own hype. Otherwise he wouldn't be so corrupt and greedy.

    April 10, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • lol??

      You sure know a lot about base. How 'bout BASEST?

      "Dan 4:17 This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."

      April 11, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • faith

      lol

      dorothy, u r killin me.

      that bull got shoved back down your remedial throat by scholars that you still stalk them

      u need a job and a husband who doesn't despise u

      April 11, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Akira

      Faith: who is dorothy, why do you think she needs a job, and how do you know she even has a husband?
      Please elucidate.

      April 11, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • faith

      ask her.

      i suspect she believes she's mrs. god and she wears the pants

      April 11, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Akira

      I'm asking you, faith; if I knew who "dorothy" was, I wouldn't be asking.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • faith

      who was jesus, martha?

      u r busy with much that has no significance and u avoid that which is more precious than all of the gold and diamonds in the world.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • John

      hannon is absolutely correct. lol?? just doesn't like the fact being pointed out that his faith is childish and flawed. most people hate being wrong and Christians hate it the most.

      April 11, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "who was jesus, martha?" No, Martha was not Jesus. She was Mary's sister. Try to keep up.

      April 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Reality

    Dear Joel,

    Your religious education is sorely lacking. The following should bring you up to speed.

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
    prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    April 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • lol??

      Ever heard of Reader's Digest?

      April 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • faith

      lol

      April 11, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Reality

      For the reading-challenged using a PowerPoint slide:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES AS FAR AS ONE KNOWS NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      April 11, 2013 at 7:20 am |
  17. faith

    that I myself may be in them

    THAT

    I

    MYSELF

    GOD ALMIGHTY

    MAY

    BE

    IN

    THEM

    no way anyone could not know that god was inside of them

    "o for a thousand tongues to confess"

    April 10, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • faith

      our resident heathen expect to fool christians with their nonsense about having once been believers.

      no one can have god himself dwelling inside her and be the same ever again. for he is real and he manifests his presence to his kids. we may leave his presence at any time, but his reality never leaves us

      April 11, 2013 at 1:43 am |
  18. Bloated dead frog

    Hi. What are you doing?

    April 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Akira

      Austin?

      April 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      HS......put some catnip on it and let kitty go wild

      April 11, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • Austin

      hahaha

      April 11, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  19. faith

    the gospel of john was given by inspiration of God to John, the brother of James, one of the twelve apostles, distinguished by the honourable character of that disciple whom Jesus loved, one of the first three of the worthies of the Son of David, whom he took to be the witnesses of his retirements, particularly of his transfiguration and his agony. The ancients tell us that John lived longest of all the twelve apostles, and was the only one of them that died a natural death, all the rest suffering martyrdom; and some of them say that he wrote this gospel at Ephesus, at the request of the ministers of the several churches of Asia, in opposition to the heresy of Corinthus and the Ebionites, who held that our Lord was a mere man. It seems most probable that he wrote it before his banishment into the isle of Patmos, for there he wrote his Apocalypse,...

    m. henry

    18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714

    April 10, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • clarity

      So who actually wrote the Gospel of John?

      April 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Bloated dead frog

      20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

      24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

      25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

      April 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Osteen is approved by the beast, lol?? Good to know.

      April 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  20. faith

    quite frankly, brethren, the god-haters have a point. every prominent christian leader was in it for the bucks, okay? let's be honest.

    jesus died a multi-millionaire, for example. there was st. frannie of assisi. he was loaded. pistol pete and the gang, big momma bear Dranafile Bojaxhiu...

    And thou shalt call his name Jesus ( MATT 1:21)
    Prince of Peace, Mighty God,
    Wonderful Counselor(ISA 9:6)
    Holy One (Mk 1:24), Lamb of God (John 1:29)
    Prince of Life (Acts 3:15),
    Lord God Almighty (Rev 15:3)
    Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5), Root of David (Rev 22:16)
    Word of Life (1John 1:1),
    Author & Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)
    Advocate (1Jn 2:1), The Way (John 14:6),
    Dayspring (Lk 1:78), Lord of All (Acts 10:36),
    I AM (John 8:24, 8:58),
    Son of God (John 1:24),
    Shepherd & Bishop of our Souls (1Pet 2:25),
    Messiah (John 1:41), The Truth (John 14:6),
    Saviour (1Pet 2:20), Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20),
    King of Kings (Rev 19:16),
    Righteous Judge (2Tim 4:8),
    Light of the world (John 8:12, 12:46),
    Head of the Church (Eph 1:22),
    Morning Star (Rev 22:16),
    Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2),
    Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:11),
    Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5:4),
    Resurrection & Life (John 11:25),
    Horn of Salvation (Lk 1:69),
    Emmanuel (Matt 1:23, ISA 7:14)
    Lord of Sabaoth (Rom 9:29, James 5:4)
    Governor (Matt 2:6),
    THE ALPHA & OMEGA (Rev 1:8)

    April 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • lol??

      what's the problem? he gets rich like all the other servants, the public servants. he's licensed and approved by da Beast, the Diverse one.

      April 10, 2013 at 11:43 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.