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April 12th, 2013
12:01 PM ET

Want your ashes spread where Jesus walked?

By Sara Sidner, CNN

Sea of Galilee (CNN) - When I am visiting the United States and tell people I live in the Middle East I generally get one of two responses:

“Seriously? Isn’t it dangerous? Stay safe out there.”

Or some version of:

“Wow. There is so much Biblical history there. I have always dreamed about going to the Holy Land but doubt I’ll ever get the chance.”

I never thought I’d be able to give the latter this option for a visit.

A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting U.S. Christians as customers.

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Company president Larry Deverett says he has found the perfect spot for people of the Christian faith to have their own or their loved ones cremated remains scattered.

The spot is located in a small garden in an orchard on a hill above the Sea of Galilee, the area where the New Testament says Jesus prayed, taught and performed many miracles including walking on water.

“I researched the market and found that there is a strong need and demand for this type of service and the No. 1 location on the planet, when you are talking about spirituality, is the Holy Land,” Deverett said.

Deverett knows there will always be potential clients. The funeral industry will always have a source of clients since we all have to go sometime, and many of us will likely have a funeral of some sort.

U.S. Funeral Directors Association statistics show the rate of cremation has doubled in the past 15 years. The association says in 2011 about 42% of people who died were cremated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show about 2.5 million people die each year in the United States.

Most folks in the funeral industry are well aware that with the baby boomer generation headed into its “golden years“ there will likely be a ballooning number of funerals on the horizon.

One reason for an upswing in cremations may be economics. Simply put, cremation is cheaper than a burial.

As Deverett found out, there are also business opportunities to be had with remains that are already cremated.

"There are literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of urns sitting in people's homes, and people really don't know what to do with those ashes. You know at some point in time whether they are moving or after a few years they want to do something proper with the ashes," he said.

For $750 after cremation, you can have your ashes shipped and scattered near the “Jesus Trail,” where a bearded man resembling a person right out of the Bible performs a ceremony. It is all put on a DVD and sent to the family.

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

The company is looking into trying to do a live feed over the Internet so you can watch it in real time.

“It’s a great privilege to be able to do this act of loving kindness for our Christian brothers and sisters, ” said Benzion Lehrer, who says the prayer and scatters the ashes.

Deverett is hoping to draw business from far and wide.

But the President of Holy Land Ash Scattering can’t use the service for himself or his family. He is Jewish and adheres to the traditional belief that his faith forbids cremation.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. faith

    eternity is not merely a term to describe a period of time, it describes a quality of life, too. and it begins with redemption

    April 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Fatty is Free

      You are not asking the right questions.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • faith

      calling on atheists. there is a horrible story about a delusion drug addicted rock star screaming to the world that jesus christ is hip. not a one of u delightful hypocrites has spent weeks denouncing him like you do with all christians. sambo tried but got tongue tied. come on brave hearted fools that prance among summer bolts of lightening. the way is clear.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • PaulH

      faith
      Sounds like you're taking all the drugs that this guy gave up.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • rick

      still blatering on like a diseased gash, faith?

      jeebus is waiting. do you have a sidearm?

      April 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  2. faith

    uh oh. dorothy.

    never tore him to pieces.

    sup wit dat, hypos?

    April 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Cher

      Faith, you need help. You sound hopelessly insane. I am not talking about your religious faith, either, which is evident; I am talking about your obsession with conflating every poster here besides yourself as being "dorothy".

      You sound desperately in need of a mental health examination. Jesus would most definitely agree that your method of spreading His Word is...strange.

      Seek help.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  3. faith

    I really felt God helped me have the courage to quit. I wasn't happy with Korn for the last few years because my heart was with my kid. She was with her nanny most of the time at home. I was always worried about her and wondering if she felt she was unloved because her mother left her [when she was a baby], and I was never home. It was just a constant battle.
    Welch became a Christian, quit drugs, and dedicated his life to his faith and his young daughter, Jennea

    uh oh. dorothy.

    never tore him to pieces.

    sup wit dat, hypos?

    April 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  4. Fatty is Free

    We have to build a space helicopter.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  5. faith

    On the outside, things seemed great for guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. He was a member of one of the most popular heavy metal bands of the '90s, Korn, he had lots of money, and he was partying with some of the biggest names in the music industry. But behind the fame, Grammy Awards, and Billboard hits, Welch was battling many demons–an addiction to crystal meth, depression, and what he described as evil of a spiritual kind. It was only after hitting rock bottom that he found what he believed was missing in his life–God.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • faith

      Guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch talks about kicking drugs and leaving the rock star life behind for his daughter and God.
      BY: Interview by Dena Ross
      On the outside, things seemed great for guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. He was a member of one of the most popular heavy metal bands of the '90s, Korn, he had lots of money, and he was partying with some of the biggest names in the music industry. But behind the fame, Grammy Awards, and Billboard hits, Welch was battling many demons–an addiction to crystal meth, depression, and what he described as evil of a spiritual kind. It was only after hitting rock bottom that he found what he believed was missing in his life–God.

      u can read? that's what was said

      April 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • faith

      Welch became a Christian, quit drugs, and dedicated his life to his faith and his young daughter, Jennea. And then he did the unthinkable–he left one of the most successful bands in music history. Currently recording a "God-inspired" album, and now out with a New York Times best-selling book, "Save Me from Myself"

      please spend twice as much time criticizing this fundie as your typical fundie. thanks fellas. peace and love

      April 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      he didn't kick drugs, he switched drugs

      April 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • faith

      "sam stone
      he didn't kick drugs, he switched drugs"

      i no. from meth to nothin. thanks lil sambo

      pie in trhe sky invisible FSM. can u dig it?

      April 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • faith

      it is the un drug. the non drug. kick ur habits with nothing.

      u heard it here first. sam the ham discovered a new treatment for hard core addicts. introducing, NOTHING. every one else has something. sambo got nothin! it is a major hit. take nothin all day and be free of the most addictive drugs in history. amen. love u sammy. at a girl!

      have doubts? ask guitarist welch. he swears by nothin. absolutely nothin delivered him from his dark habit and set his feet on a clean, drug-free path where he can father his daughter the way he always wanted to but couldn't cause he was a slave to meth. yes, thank sambo. he invented nothing. all hail sambo (and dottie)

      April 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • rick

      from meth to jeebus

      April 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  6. faith

    "The Big Guy
    Walked on water, so the story goes, so just find a puddle and save the expense."

    no such story birdbrain

    April 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • derp

      So you are saying that there is no such story that jeebus walked on water?

      April 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • faith

      no, i'm saying i didn't say that. duh

      find it

      April 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • biggles

      Find it twerp

      April 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • derp

      Apparently you are too stupid to realize you misread the original post.

      Oh well.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  7. { ! }

    I don't care where they put my ashes. "The flesh is useless. It is the spirit which gives life." Jn 6

    April 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      than way do you cry out soul, desire by faith, hinduism, absurdity of hindu secular s, ignorant self centered like hindu dog, filthy secular by nature. Body is not human, but what forms body is spirit, hindus ignorant s deny in their hindu secular ism, stupid monkey ism.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  8. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    hindus ignorant s of hindu dark ages worshiped fire as their god, a tool by hindu Pundits, filthy crooks to spread hinduism racism among humanity, to cremate body is not of Hebrew teachings, SON OF BLESSED MARY BELONGED TO, nor it was recommended by son of blessed Mary, one in following of truth absolute GOD, will do, as it was commanded, not in following of a hindu sanatan, filthy goon man god of hindus, ignorant s, and set body on fire, to be in hind, hell on earth. DO AS IT WAS COMMANDED, NOT AS BEING TOLD BY HINDU SANATANS, FILTHY GOON MAN gDS OF HINDUS, IGNORANT S, TO BE IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    April 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • YOUR HINDU DAD

      YOU BETTER QUIET IT DOWN OVER THERE, LITTLE MAN, OR YOU'LL BE GROUNDED OVER THE WEEKEND

      April 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Paul

      Why was Muhammed such an e.ffing p.ussy.?

      April 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      mental limit of a hindu secular, stupid monkey by faith.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Paul

      Oh, it was because he had a limited mental capacity because he was a monkey?

      April 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  9. Imagine No Religion

    No thanks! I prefer to have my ashes scattered on the steps of EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London, where John, Paul, George, and Ringo walked. They are REAL gods.

    -–
    "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
    Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

    April 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Russ

      Relevant: "The Gospel according to John Lennon"
      Did you know John Lennon supposedly wrote a letter to televangelist Oral Roberts?
      http://thislandpress.com/03/07/2011/the-gospel-of-john-lennon/

      April 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • { ! }

      Well, that's a worthy destination for your ashes. However, if the Beatles are gods, then there are four persons in one god instead of three.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      Yep, Russ, sure did! The key word here is "supposedly."

      The supposed actual letter has never been seen by anybody else but Roberts. It conveniently never made it into Roberts' archives, which is astounding, considering its obvious historical significance, not to mention Roberts' own declaration when he read it at The Mabee Center sermon in 1973, describing it as, "...one of the most unique letters or doc u ments that I’ve ever shared with anybody in the world."

      The supposed letter contained no information which could not have been gleaned from public knowledge or the news media releases of the day concerning Mr Lennon or The Beatles.

      There is no physical evidence that the letter ever existed beyond Roberts' declaration. Given the "snake oil" reputation of Roberts, I suspect that it was nothing more that a contrived stunt to promote the jesus myth to the hippies of the day.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      April 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Imagine: the end of the article is intriguing. It states that Yoko Ono became his "savior," but there is the cryptic reference in one of Lennon's last songs that appears to lend credence to Oral Roberts' claim (along with the fact that Lennon never denied it). here's the last paragraphs of the article I cited above...

      *******
      While we may never know for certain if Lennon actually penned the letter, there’s an interesting allusion Lennon left for us to consider–and we have audio of John Lennon singing it.

      On November 14, 1980, less than a month from his murder, Lennon recorded a song he had written to Yoko called, “You Saved My Soul.” It exists only as a rough demo of the very last recording he ever sang on, passed around as a bootleg recording. The lyrics read:

      "When I was lonely and scared, I nearly fell for a TV preacher in a hotel room in Tokyo. Remember the time I went to jump right out the apartment window on the west side of town of old New York. You saved me from that suicide and…I wanna thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my soul with your true love."

      It appears that Lennon had found the savior he was seeking. [Yoko Ono]

      April 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Like Jesus, John Lennon is dead. No one is saved.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  10. Lycidas

    "Seriously? Isn’t it dangerous? Stay safe out there.”

    That's about the same comment I got when I told people I was visiting Israel, Egypt and Jordan back in 97. It's not really that bad. Yeah there are newer problems now but I would still go back if the chance came up.

    April 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • faith

      i want lunch

      April 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Russells Teapot

      Hahaha I said/heard the same thing back in '09

      April 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  11. Bootyfunk

    oh yes, where did the great cult leader of all time walk?

    April 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Jesus probably never looked at himself as anything more than a worshipper of God. If you want to complain about the founders of Christianity...you might look more toward his Apostles.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Lycidas: so why did he die?

      1) Jews don't just stone any teacher with new ideas. Over & over again, they pick up stones to kill him because he claims to be God (i.e., Jn.8:58f).

      2) Romans believed Caesar is the rightful, *divine* king. Jesus was claiming a rival kingship – as (at the least) a god.

      3) His followers made the claim that he taught that he was God – WITHIN the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. If Jesus didn't teach that, Christianity would not have gotten off the ground.

      SUM: directly contrary to your contention, no one at that time contested that Jesus MADE this claim. much to the contrary, it's the clear reason cited by all parties involved (both for & against) for his execution. it's the clear, logically consistent reason for his death.

      so, either you have to come up with an alternate, equally viable reason for his execution (that fits all the parties involved, 2000 years further removed from the events, with drastically less understanding of that culture than the original eyewitness accounts), or admit that it is merely your preference to think Jesus didn't make that claim because then it is easier (though not intellectually viable or historically accurate) for you to dismiss Christianity on those fabricated terms.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • faith

      times square

      April 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • faith

      the problem is this russell/dorothy,

      jesus downplayed his divinity so much so that when the big shots finally got their chance to question the clown, he said nothin. c? they murdered him cause he was a wise guy.

      "Russ
      @ Lycidas: so why did he die?

      1) Jews don't just stone any teacher with new ideas. Over & over again, they pick up stones to kill him because he claims to be God (i.e., Jn.8:58f).

      2) Romans believed Caesar is the rightful, *divine* king. Jesus was claiming a rival kingship – as (at the least) a god.

      3) His followers made the claim that he taught that he was God – WITHIN the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. If Jesus didn't teach that, Christianity would not have gotten off the ground.

      SUM: directly contrary to your contention, no one at that time contested that Jesus MADE this claim. much to the contrary, it's the clear reason cited by all parties involved (both for & against) for his execution. it's the clear, logically consistent reason for his death.

      so, either you have to come up with an alternate, equally viable reason for his execution (that fits all the parties involved, 2000 years further removed from the events, with drastically less understanding of that culture than the original eyewitness accounts), or admit that it is merely your preference to think Jesus didn't make that claim because then it is easier (though not intellectually viable or historically accurate) for you to dismiss Christianity on those fabricated terms." lol big improvement dottie

      April 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • faith

      c, u gots to no the facts bootybrain, russel, dottie. here's where u blew it, again.

      "Jews don't just stone any teacher with new ideas. Over & over again, they pick up stones to kill him because he claims to be God (i.e., Jn.8:58f)." let's see them "over and overs" throwing rocks at god.

      busted

      when u gonna wake up? it is 2 late for her. but, hit the deck and plead, the rest of u idiots

      April 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Russ

      @ faith:

      references to people threatening Jesus' life: John 8:58f; John 10:30f; Mt.26:3f; Mk.14:1-3; Mt.12:14; Jn.7:30f; Lk.4:28-30; etc.
      As I said: over & over again.
      if he "downplayed his faith" as you claim, why do people keep trying to kill him for claiming to be God?

      and here's a whole page of references to Jesus' claim to divinity:
      http://carm.org/bible-verses-show-jesus-divine

      April 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Larry

      Russ
      The first Gospel to be written, Mark, doesn't even hint at Jesus making any divine claims. It takes the last Gospel, John, to have Jesus say, still in a cryptic way that requires interpretation, that he's God. Thats an indication that this idea developed over time, which indicates that it wasn't Jesus' claim of himself, but later followers claim of him.

      Why did he die? The Romans killed hundreds of Jews every year. It was Passover, and the city was swelled by up towards 5X it's normal population. Passover is traditionally the festival of Jewish Freedom, which always made it a time of potential uprising. Jesus supposedly made a scene at the Temple with the money changers. He had a large following. Of course the Romans had a good reason to get rid of him. Considering what Josephus had to say about Herod it would have been completely out of his character for him to kowtow to the Jewish leaders.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • biggles

      Don't u no I no that u r an idiot, russdottie?

      I normally don't respond to the demons who post here.

      U said stones.
      Wise up girlfriend. When u argue with yourself all day, u ain't prepared for scholars

      April 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Larry:

      1) you seem to have forgotten Paul, who is in all likelihood *earlier* than Mark when he writes in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul repeatedly and emphatically states both that Jesus rose from the dead and that he is divine.

      2) your late date on John has come under much scrutiny in the last 100 years. if John is so "separated" from the original context, how does he have what could only be firsthand knowledge of Jerusalem prior to 70 AD? Google the pool of Bethesda. Then there's his statistically accurate use of names (something that only in the last 10 years have we had the ability to check). That's just the tip of the iceberg. For a more exhaustive read, check out Richard Bauckham's "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses."

      3) Much to the contrary, Mark makes a strong case for the divinity of Christ.
      Mk.1:1 – it STARTS by calling him the "Son of God". Hard to underestimate the opening thesis.
      Mk.1:3 – John the Baptist speaks of Jesus' coming as the coming of the Lord. and understand the OT reference being made here: JnBap is "Elijah" who comes before YHWH. Mark is saying: Jesus = YHWH.
      Mk. 1:24; 3:11; 5:7 – demons are quite clear on who Jesus is as they object to "the Holy One of Israel!" (i.e., God)
      Mk.2:7 – Jesus forgives & his enemies get it: "Who can forgive sins but God alone?!"
      Mk.2:28 – Jesus calls himself Lord of the Sabbath (which doesn't make sense except as a divine reference)
      Mk.8:31; 9:31; 10:34 – Jesus predicts his own resurrection (while not ensuring divinity, it begs the question)
      Mk.9:7 – the transfiguration. do you understand what this is?
      Mk.14:60-62 – Jesus openly claims divinity (even saying "I Am" [YHWH]) and the priest tears his robes

      4) per his death, it's interesting how you selective cite the content of Scripture while filtering out the clear explanation Scripture gives of his death. the historical fact is: there is no way to reconstruct the facts of Jesus' death without the EARLIEST accounts of his life. so you are forced to use the very texts you are discounting in order to make any sort of conjecture... which betrays the reality: you're simply speculating.

      do you really think that you, 2000 years after the fact, completely removed from the culture of that day, somehow can construct a better, more viable account than the original eyewitnesses? even a skeptic must be turn that skepticism on himself at some point.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • clarity

      OK, OK, getting some popcorn . . .

      April 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • faith

      c russ/dottie,

      u say 2 plus 2 = 4

      that is true. good answer. just one problem

      the question was, can u spell "dottie is an idiot"

      everyone else pushed his divinity u moron

      he called himself the son of man

      he was so much smarter, deeper, more perceptive than mankind, he became the son of all and held up a mirror to show us how far we are from living

      of course he was divine

      u said stones.

      i no who u r, jackazz.

      criticize korn

      fool

      like u can keep up

      April 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Larry

      Russ
      1) Paul never met Jesus, so what authority does he have to claim that Jesus thought of himself as God?

      2) The consensus is that John was written, and rewritten over a long period, ending with it's final version around 90-100 CE

      3) Being a "Son of God" wasn't the same thing for the Jews living at that time as it was for a Greek. Solomon was called a Son of God, and any male Jew could be the Messiah. The Synoptic Gospels emphasized Jesus' humanity, and his special mission from God, but it takes John to fully have him making claims of being God. Don't you see this progression to ever bolder claims?

      4) What I stated is well substantiated. The Romans were brutal overlords. That is an established historical fact. They often executed mult.itudes in order to put down rebellion. Another fact. Herod was not one to be cowed by Jews. A fact if you trust Josephus. Jesus caused a commotion in the temple. A fact if you trust the Gospels. Jerusalem was way overcrowded during Passover, and Passover was often a rebellious time for the Jews. It wouldn't have taken much for a leader with a following to be seen as a potential threat by the Romans.

      We are all 2000 years after the supposed events, and there are no eyewitnesses. There are stories that say there were eyewitnesses. There are reports around that time of miraculous events happening around certain Roman generals on the battlefield. Some historians of that time claim that Vespatian performed healing miracles. It's pretty well accepted by modern historians that people tended to claim miraculous things about figures they admired.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • faith

      Larry
      Russ
      1) Paul never met Jesus, so what authority does he have to claim that Jesus thought of himself as God?

      2) The consensus is that John was written, and rewritten over a long period, ending with it's final version around 90-100 CE

      3) Being a "Son of God" wasn't the same thing for the Jews living at that time as it was for a Greek. Solomon was called a Son of God, and any male Jew could be the Messiah. The Synoptic Gospels emphasized Jesus' humanity, and his special mission from God, but it takes John to fully have him making claims of being God. Don't you see this progression to ever bolder claims?

      4) What I stated is well substantiated. The Romans were brutal overlords. That is an established historical fact. They often executed mult.itudes in order to put down rebellion. Another fact. Herod was not one to be cowed by Jews. A fact if you trust Josephus. Jesus caused a commotion in the temple. A fact if you trust the Gospels. Jerusalem was way overcrowded during Passover, and Passover was often a rebellious time for the Jews. It wouldn't have taken much for a leader with a following to be seen as a potential threat by the Romans.

      We are all 2000 years after the supposed events, and there are no eyewitnesses. There are stories that say there were eyewitnesses. There are reports around that time of miraculous events happening around certain Roman generals on the battlefield. Some historians of that time claim that Vespatian performed healing miracles. It's pretty well accepted by modern historians that people tended to claim miraculous things about figures they admired.

      LOL

      April 13, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Russ

      @ Larry:

      1) so you concede that Paul made these points w/in 15-20 years of Jesus' death, well within the lifetime of a vast number of eyewitnesses (again, directly contrary to your point)... do you also concede that Paul had direct interaction with the apostles who did walk with Jesus for 3 years in ministry (not to mention Jesus' brother James, whom he references in 1 Cor.15)? and yet you quibble over whether or not Paul "met" the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus?

      even if we only had Paul's letters alone, there is ample evidence of awareness of divine claims of Christ proliferating BEYOND Paul (another example: Php.2, the pre-existing Christian hymn – already in use which Paul cites... note well the clarity & comprehensiveness of the divine claims there).

      2) There is not a consensus on John – and yet even if your dates are correct, 90 AD is easily within the lifetime of the tradition surrounding the apostle John (the only apostle not to be martyred, who lived to old age in captivity on Patmos). And again, the author of John demonstrates firsthand knowledge of Jerusalem PRIOR to 70 AD. Even if the most liberal arguments are held here, one is forced to deal with a Gospel account that has roots in (at the least) the very era & region we are debating. But as Richard Bauckham & others make evident, much more can be said than that.

      3) here you further demonstrate my last point. you've as.sumed the theology progresses, so you project it onto the text. as i made clear in my quotes from Mark, the meaning of the text was readily apparent – so much so that Christians were believing Jesus was divine *from this Gospel.* it's simply historically inaccurate to suggest otherwise.

      beyond that, your ongoing contention that the theology was in flux is demonstrably false in light of the whole of the NT witness (as I pointed out in #1). from the outset, Christianity spread rapidly due to the claim Jesus was divine. this faith doesn't make sense otherwise. unlike every other major religion in the world, this was not another set of rules to follow. what was so moving & culturally transforming that adherents flocked to it was the notion that GOD himself came down & did what they could not. That God lived a fully human life perfectly (which we couldn't as sinners), died the death we deserve, and rose up from the grave to conquer death forever. Other religions presented a "do this, then get this" option. Curry favor with God/forces/power, then get the goodies. Jesus gives life DESPITE our failings, not b/c we gave it our best shot.

      IF, as you claim, Christianity did not in its earliest form make such statements, not only would it have failed to be compelling in light of the already known religious constructs (from which it would be virtually undifferentiated), but it wouldn't make sense. if Jesus died because he was merely rebellious (and not because God was purposefully dying in our place), Christians would not have cited the latter for ENACTING the same sentiment. And yet they did. It's an historical fact. Check out Rodney Stark's "Rise of Christianity" on that.

      your as.sessment of the Synoptic Gospels fails to take these basics into account. again, go back & simply read the verses i posted & then think about it. why did so many of the Jews in Jerusalem FROM THE OUTSET consistently reject Christianity? because Jesus was making a divine claim – unthinkable in their understanding of the OT.

      your theory here does not account for the actual movement of Christianity. historically, it doesn't make sense, it doesn't match what we know about the texts themselves, and it makes the texts illogical in their self-understanding (why is Jesus treated the way he is treated?). you'd have to believe not only that the original accounts are convoluted, but that the redactors were id.iots as well – which goes directly against the REQUIRED corollary for your conspiracy theory: that these people were smart enough to pull off a major con.

      4) you cite circu.mstantial evidence from the period that has no immediate bearing on the life of Jesus. your entire argument here hinges on what you glean about Jesus *from the Gospel accounts* (the very thing you are calling into question). there is no other authoritative early source on his life. but that's your primary problem: the very texts you are leaning upon are telling you something directly contrary to your conclusions. why make up some convoluted alternative to the readily presented account? Ockham's razor is in full effect.

      you then make a jump to conclude these are not eyewitness accounts, bearing out your self-fulfilling prophecy. I'd highly recommend reading Bauckham's "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses", if not simply a good scholarly review of it. He even has a shorter version out called "Jesus: a short introduction." your contentions simply are not supported in the scholarship.

      5) per your final comment on miracles: no contemporary took Vespasian's claims seriously, especially after he was dead. and that's the problem with your argument here: Jesus' miracles (especially the resurrection) were taken seriously – WITHIN the lifetime of eyewitnesses. it's an inconvenient fact for your theories – but a fact nonetheless. Christianity doesn't get off the ground if the eyewitnesses failed to corroborate.

      April 13, 2013 at 3:27 am |
  12. derp

    "A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting U.S. Christians as customers"

    If you have a really stupid idea to sell, look for a really stupid audience to sell it to.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • faith

      i just finished my new work, "FSM: the hidden gods atheists won't tell you about, c, cause they no he's real, (but don't want nobody to no, you know) or, Why gods love peanut butter in the Spring? Don't no but atheists do!"

      April 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Faith + 1

      I want to love you Jesus,
      Get down on my knees
      And get your salvation all over my face

      April 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Paul

      Kyle: Cartman, you don't know anything about Christianity.

      Cartman: I know enough to exploit it.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • PaulH

      "A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting U.S. Christians as customers"
      Meanwhile, the first good breeze dumps your ashes in Iran, where somebody washes your remains out of their prayer mat in the river and you end up in the oil-poluted Gulf. Lovely!

      April 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  13. Well, Well

    Nice to see the scam is still running well, there is one born every minute and another dying.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • The Big Guy

      Walked on water, so the story goes, so just find a puddle and save the expense.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Reality

    Since JC is still there a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside Jerusalem might as well join him.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  15. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    As the lovely my grand mother danced through the streets of Al-Madinah she spread ashes on all the paths Muhammad had walked in his last days on earth. The new graffiti were the signs of the swine that Mohammad followed the lovely young boys and girls on the streets of Al-Madinah. These new signs were added to the Noble Qur'an because you yourself told Allah it must be so.

    Ameen

    April 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      hinduism absurdity of a hindu secular, stupid baboon by faith from hindered gutter of hinduism ignorance called india.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  16. Huebert

    This is one of the greatest products that can ever be sold. There can be no returns, no over sight, heck he just has to prerecord a few dvd's, send them out to the appropriate rubes...er customers, then sit back and watch the cash roll in.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    April 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one (over 4,000,000 members) 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 women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

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

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

      Some believe that celibacy is the only option for certain people, or for people in certain positions. Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but pretend not to 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.

      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.

      Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create more extreme divisions as time goes by, constantly subjecting others in its crossfire.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • nope

      @over...
      nope

      April 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope is false

      April 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • as always

      snopes is wrong

      April 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • The real Tom

      snopes is operated by canadians, of course they're always wrong.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • ..

      Snopes is operated by ass holes of course they're wrong no matter what country they come from. It would take years of education to get the real tom smart enough to qualify as an ass hole.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • 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!

      April 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      April 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      So, have you ever threatened YOUR children with eternal dam nation? I haven't, but I'll bet you have!

      Prayer changes nothing.

      I challenge you to take the George Carlin Prayer Test. Pray to your imaginary god friend for a month, then pray to Joe Pesci for a month. You'll find the percentage of prayers answered by god, and those by Mr Pesci, will be about the same (50/50).

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RT6rL2UroE

      Don't waste energy praying. Instead, go down to your local animal shelter and adopt a pet that is on death row. Or, buy a homeless person a meal. Or, plant a tree amongst the concrete jungle. It is far more productive.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      April 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  18. Doobs

    I don't have any "sshes".

    April 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Akira

      I know, right?

      April 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  19. meifumado

    amazing what some people do to make a few bucks.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  20. Steven

    Better question, Got Jesus in your heart?

    April 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Steven

      Why would you need your mortal ashes spread when you have an eternity to spend with Him.
      🙂

      April 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Akira

      It may give comfort to the bereaved, and honor the last wishes on the deceased.
      Similar to having one's ashes dispersed from a mountain or over the ocean.
      Either way, I see nothing wrong with honoring it.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Akira

      *of the deceased.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • derp

      No, but it seems like you have him on the end of your dick.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      do you seriously want to live for ETERNITY, steven?

      April 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • faith

      i want to live for about 2/3 of eternity as long as dottie stays a cookin down south

      April 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Larry

      Steven
      Spending an eternity doing what? Praising some intense light? Sounds like a never ending LSD trip to me. Ask yourself, would you be the same person up there, doing that, that you are now? Would you miss your loved ones who didn't make it to Heaven? If you do, then you're not exactly in the land of Bliss, are you? If you don't, and you lost your ability to feel for others, then it wouldn't be You up there, right? If you end up changed when you get there, or if you end up just as sad up there as you are down here, what's the big attraction to Heaven?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
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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.