July 20th, 2013
10:00 PM ET
Reza Aslan: Why I write about Jesus
Opinion by Reza Aslan, special to CNN
(CNN) - When I was 15 years old, I found Jesus.
I spent the summer of my sophomore year at an evangelical youth camp in Northern California, a place of timbered fields and boundless blue skies, where, given enough time and stillness and soft-spoken encouragement, one could not help but hear the voice of God.
Amid the man-made lakes and majestic pines my friends and I sang songs, played games and swapped secrets, rollicking in our freedom from the pressures of home and school.
In the evenings, we gathered in a fire-lit assembly hall at the center of the camp. It was there that I heard a remarkable story that would change my life forever.
Through his words and miraculous deeds, he challenged the Jews who thought they were the chosen of God, and in return he was nailed to a cross. Though Jesus could have saved himself from that gruesome death, he freely chose to die.
Indeed, his death was the point of it all, for his sacrifice freed us all from the burden of our sins.
But the story did not end there, because three days later, he rose again, exalted and divine, so that now, all who believe in him and accept him into their hearts will also never die, but have eternal life.
For a kid raised in a motley family of lukewarm Muslims and exuberant atheists, this was truly the greatest story ever told. Never before had I felt so intimately the pull of God.
In Iran, the place of my birth, I was Muslim in much the way I was Persian. My religion and my ethnicity were mutual and linked. Like most people born into a religious tradition, my faith was as familiar to me as my skin, and just as disregardable.
After the Iranian revolution forced my family to flee our home, religion in general, and Islam in particular, became taboo in our household. Islam was shorthand for everything we had lost to the mullahs who now ruled Iran.
My mother still prayed when no one was looking, and you could still find a stray Quran or two hidden in a closet or a drawer somewhere. But, for the most part, our lives were scrubbed of all trace of God.
That was just fine with me. After all, in the America of the 1980s, being Muslim was like being from Mars. My faith was a bruise, the most obvious symbol of my otherness; it needed to be concealed.
Jesus, on the other hand, was America. He was the central figure in America’s national drama. Accepting him into my heart was as close as I could get to feeling truly American.
I do not mean to say that mine was a conversion of convenience. On the contrary, I burned with absolute devotion to my newfound faith.
I was presented with a Jesus who was less “Lord and Savior” than he was a best friend, someone with whom I could have a deep and personal relationship. As a teenager trying to make sense of an indeterminate world I had only just become aware of, this was an invitation I could not refuse.
The moment I returned home from camp, I began eagerly to share the good news of Jesus Christ with my friends and family, my neighbors and classmates, with people I’d just met and with strangers on the street: those who heard it gladly, and those who threw it back in my face.
Yet something unexpected happened in my quest to save the souls of the world.
The more I probed the Bible to arm myself against the doubts of unbelievers, the more distance I discovered between the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of history – between Jesus the Christ and Jesus of Nazareth.
In college, where I began my formal study of the history of religions, that initial discomfort soon ballooned into full-blown doubts.
The bedrock of evangelical Christianity, at least as it was taught to me, is the unconditional belief that every word of the Bible is God-breathed and true, literal and inerrant.
The sudden realization that this belief is patently and irrefutably false, that the Bible is replete with the most blatant and obvious errors and contradictions — just as one would expect from a document written by hundreds of different hands across thousands of years — left me confused and spiritually unmoored.
And so, like many people in my situation, I angrily discarded my faith as if it were a costly forgery I had been duped into buying.
I began to rethink the faith and culture of my forefathers, finding in them a deeper, more intimate familiarity than I ever had as a child, the kind that comes from reconnecting with an old friend after many years apart.
Meanwhile, I continued my academic work in religious studies, delving back into the Bible not as an unquestioning believer but as an inquisitive scholar. No longer chained to the assumption that the stories I read were literally true, I became aware of a more meaningful truth in the text.
Ironically, the more I learned about the life of the historical Jesus, the turbulent world in which he lived, and the brutality of the Roman occupation that he defied, the more I was drawn to him.
The Jewish peasant and revolutionary who challenged the rule of the most powerful empire the world had ever known became so much more real to me than the detached, unearthly being I had been introduced to in church.
Today, I can confidently say that two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity has made me a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than I ever was of Jesus Christ.
I have modeled my life not after the celestial spirit whom many Christians believe sacrificed himself for our sins, but rather after the illiterate, marginal Jew who gave his life fighting an unwinnable battle against the religious and political powers of his day on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed – those his society deemed unworthy of saving.
I wrote my newest book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" in order to spread the good news of the Jesus of history with the same fervor that I once applied to spreading the story of the Christ.
Because I am convinced that one can be a devoted follower of Jesus without being a Christian, just as I know that one can be a Christian without being a follower of Jesus.
Reza Aslan is a bestselling author and a scholar of religion. This article was adapted from his newest book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." The views expressed in this column are Aslan's alone.
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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.
Why is CNN constantly releasing articles that are trying to glorify the history of Jesus, while doubting Christianity?
Does anybody know? Thanks.
Christians and Christ are two VERY different animals. I'm absolutely not religious, yet I can respect and admire the life and sayings of Jesus, though I think the Christian god is a bunch of baloney.
As Ghandi said, "I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians. They are not all like your Christ." Truer words were never spoken.
And my Christ said He isTHE way to God, what has Ghandi got on that? smh
For starters, we can actually prove that Gandhi existed.
No... several unidentified authors make the claim in his name. That's a very different thing...
It's all part of the anti-Christian agenda. They want you to worship government, not god.
It's because CNN is a NEWS organization, and more and more people are waking up to the fraud that is religion every day. I too look forward to a future in which this enlightenment will no longer be news, but in a country drenched with religion from top to bottom, it's still unusual enuf to warrant journalistic attention.
"More and more people are waking up"?? And I laughed.
The author is not saying anything new here. Scholars throughout the last 200 years or so have always tried to create a Jesus based on the use of the "Historical method'. The problem is that there are almost as many reconstructions as there are scholars.
That's because, just like religious believers, their only source of information is this massively contradictory melange of oral histories from people who never knew Jesus personally, that have been passed along like a game of telephone for decades before they were ever written down, then recopied, retranslated, and "improved" or "corrected" along the way for subsequent centuries, until nobody can tell what's original or authentic any more.
Really, is this the way you'd expect an omniscient being to communicate?
Different people have different religious needs. Some people have mentalities and emotions that have a difficult time dealing with the complexities, contradictions and mysteries of life. People like this often turn to the fundamentalist branches of the major religions. It is much easier to believe that the Bible is the literal word of God than to think about what may or may not be true. It is hard work to think about the Bible's contradictions and mysteries and find an acceptable, if not satisfactory, solution. Atheism is a form of fundamentalism because it is very clear cut with no mystery. It replaces God with science as an absolute authority. Most atheists I've met are as angry as their fundamentalist counterparts and both carry axes to grind. I've found that seekers of any religious or spiritual tradition are able to establish a rapport based on their knowledge that the universe is mysterious and ultimately unknowable.
Atheism is a disbelief in gods.
It has nothing to do with science.
Many atheists want believers to provide some sort of scientific evidence of their claims when they proclaim their belief as truth, which it is not. Many atheists, like me, are scientists that know that science has disproven the biblical definition of god, but they do not seek to define god. If scientists find there is a god, it will certainly not fit any definition that has been put forth so far, and athesists will accept what science can prove, but atheism and science are two wholly seperate things.
Again, the definitions of both theist and atheist: a·the·ism /ˈāTHēˌizəm/ The theory or belief that God does not exist. the·ism /ˈTHēizəm Belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe.
The reason that some atheists have 'an axe to grind' is because they are constantly bombarded with religious nonsense that pervades thier lives and the lives of their children. Most christians are adamant that their unsubstantiated beleifs must be presented to all, whether they are christian, muslim, buddist or atheist, usually in the form of 'witnessing.' The religious often even attempts to introduce thier beleifs into the school system where if we are to compete on a global market we must gain a technological edge over foreign nations, and this begins in our childrens classrooms where only verifiable science and technologies must be taught. THAT is what gives the atheist an axe to grind!
The author of this article made a great point. Some people have so much hate in their words.... yet they profess themselves followers of Christ. Hilarious.
no not really, this author say's "i reject scripture". that seems to be the issue he is trying to sneak under the rug, undetected and that isn't happening.
The scripture is ordained and inspired by God. They tell you what you have to know about Christ, and evil deception.
What Aslan is saying is that he reads the New Testament (which is the ONLY SOURCE OF INFORMATION THERE IS ABOUT JESUS) and believes the credible parts of it, figuring that all the INcredible parts were added by pious disciples to impress the gullible. I think he's being too generous about the accuracy of the credible parts as well, but at least they're not laffable.
The hate you speak of is in YOUR heart. Channel your hate of god this way: Draw a large picture of Mohammed and stand in front of a mosque as the Muslims are leaving the service. You will witness firsthand where real hate lies. You will probably be killed on the spot. Do the same in front of a church and you will probably not be touched. It's easy to be anti-Christian. Christians are peaceful. Show us all how brave you are by being anti-Muslim.
Just because Stalin killed more people than Hitler doesn't make Hitler admirable, you know.
I am glad that more scolars are coming out with real historical research so that people are not required to live the lies of Unconditional faith.
The whole premise of religion is to control populations of people for power, money anf the power of money and wealth. Greed, lust, and all of the ills of humanity are used by people who control others, and the irony is that the religions who forbid these transgressions want to have them for themselves.
History is a cruel teacher and only a fool will learn from no other way.
google the society of Christ, Jesuits and read the best definition of hypocrist I have ever seen...the reason people are required to believe the lies of religion.
Lazurus speaks the truth. Listen to him.
Lazarus speaks your definition of truth. YOU listen to him.
Can you handle the historical truth that Jesus performed countless miracles that were witnessed by ALL of his time including the Jewish religious leaders who crucified him but never denied that he actually performed the miracles? They personally witnessed the miracles and could not deny them. They simply tried to explain the miracles away by saying they were the work of the devil. Countless miracles were performed by Jesus. This is a historical fact. Do your research and be enlightened. The truth shall set you free. It is your ignorance that you use as your foundation. It is a foundation of quicksand.
what proof is there to base these historical truths on?
that is the question
The proof of the miracles is the same proof we use today to put people to death. It is the proof from eyewitness testimony. In a court of law today a person can be put to death or spend the rest of their life in prison simply from the verbal words of an eyewitness. To ignore the eyewitness testimonies of those who personally saw Jesus perform miracles is to deny the reality in which you presently live. You did not personally witness men walking on the moon but yet you BELIEVE, I assume, that they did because you saw a video clip, or read it in a book, or listened to the people who swore they actually walked on the moon. Your whole reality is based on what you BELIEVE. The truth is usually verified through eyewitness accounts and corraborating evidence such as written testimony. Believe or don't believe that Jesus performed countless miracles. That facts are there to see.
actually i watched men walk on the moon on the t.v. when it was (supposedly) happening
whether it was a conspiracy theory or not i have no idea – since i was not on the moon at the time
The adaptions of most of humanities mannerisms are levied with many insecure summations resonating alongside and with vespers of the illuminated...
Losing Jesus and never finding him again was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Another Educated Idiot. This article has no place in true Christianity.
True. But it obviously has high standing in the Anti-Christian crowd that is in love with CNN's anti-Christian agenda.
Larry and "Truth,"
Can I infer from your comments that anyone who has a different view of Christianity than yours is not a Christian? Unfortunately, that is the kind of thinking that brought us the Spanish Inquisition and the Protestant Reformation. Religion, whether it be Islam, Christianity (Orthodox or otherwise) is all about money, power and politics. I submit the "real" Christians are those who practice the faith OF Jesus and not the faith ABOUT Jesus.
Think about it.
Infer all you want. Infer and mischaracterize christians. It's what anti-Christians do best. I don't think you're a Christian so forgive me if I don't take instructions or advice from you. The truth means nothing to you. Your intolerance of Christians is quite apparent.
The same concerns and arguments were expressed after the dea-th of Christ and history recods that several of his apostles taught their own perspectives of christ. For Example, Pauline teachings virtually rewrote the fact that christ was predicting the "End of Times" before the life span of his twelve apostles ended. The folowers of Christ's (Early Christians) were frantic that they had missed the event and were left behind.
Paul later gave an explanation the belivers accepted to understand that christ really did not men what he said.
If you or anyone depends solely on the Bible, any version of the bible, then you will NEVER know the whole story of Christ, early christains, or the three hundred years of evolution of the Christian religions, to the times that Rome officially became the dominant Christian religion.
There was only One true Christian and his name was Jesus... The rest are but of fooleries séances of conjured words and inflamed wordage usages meant as distilleries of drunkenness...
Poor babies. It must be terrifying to you when fellow believers start questioning blind, ignorant faith.
I was looking for the right words. Can't put it any better than you did.
Jesus said he was the Son of God. So either he was the Son of God or he was a liar. So either you believe he was the Son of God or you hold in admiration a liar. I cannot resolve these two items which is why I choose to believe him.
If God exists, then are we not all the children of God?
We are all God's CREATION, not His children. To be His child, you must be adopted into His family, which is what Jesus, the Christ, gave His life for, to redeem those who believe in Him.
If the author is seeking truth, he should give consideration to all the prophecy that predicted Jesus' birth and was fulfilled. After considering all of that evidence, if you walk away from believing in Him, I doubt you were ever saved.
If Jesus wanted to save me he would whether i believed in him or not – how's that for believing in christ
Jesus will not impose salvation on you. How's that for freedom?
Why does Jesus have to save us? We're quite capable of saving ourselves. I think that may be the plan.
If you live long enough, there will come a day when you won't be able to feed yourself, give yourself a bath, or even breath on your own. How do you intend to save yourself for all eternity. You can't save yourself. You don't even fathom the magnitude of what your saving yourself from. If your spiritual eyes where opened to glimpse into the unseen realm, you'd might get a perspective of how feeble we are as mortal men. I'm glad just to know that there are agencies that can protect U.S. residents from biological, chemical or nuclear carnage. Those things can destroy your body in an instant or a slow agonizing flesh eating death. I'm talking of saving yourself fro the death of the soul which is a perpetual agonizing eternal death that you feel in the body, accompanied with mental torture. It's like a nightmare that you never wake up from. You can't save yourself. Only an Almighty loving God can. And He has made a way- Jesus- John 3:16- Amen
how do you know that?
Suppose I said the same thing. That would make ME the Son of God, wouldn't it?
You richardsrussell are the son of man. Your soul is the son of god.
Yeah, but really, I COULD be Jesus's younger brother, right? I mean, if I SAY I'm the Son of God, you wouldn't be so rude as to call me a liar, would you? Because those are your only 2 choices. Intopia said so, and HE wouldn't lie, would he?
But the Hindu Vedas say differently, and these scriptures pre-date christianity by 2,000 years, so if it's written it must be correct according to your claim of the same with biblical scripture. Or, how about the religious beleifs and scriptiures ofof just a few of todays major religions; Baha'i, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism.
Must all the written texts of these religions be considered factual simply because it exists?
I am the son of god, but I'm not sure who god porked to get me born.
That is the difference between God and you. He need not pork anyone to get you. That's the difference.
How about this ? IT'S A MYTH !!!
Now, that was easy wasn't it ?
It is a myth, says YOU, right?
As there are no non-biblical sources to support any of the "miraculous" claims made by christians, or indeed to support even the very existence of Jesus Christ, I'd say "myth" is the most accurate description.
O great. You searched and found none. Or you were told?
It's a myth according to the accepted DEFINITION of "myth":
A traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically...
Such stories collectively.
Typically, it is the person who claims an event as factual to offer indisputable evidence, rather, the burdon of proof is on the person making the claim. Simply offer up the indisputable evidence that Jesus is the son of god, of course this must include evidence for a god as well, and you will have everyone eating out of the palm of your hand.
I did what research I could, given the limitations of my personal resources, and then checked what historians and biblical scholars had to say.
There are no contemporary, non-biblical sources to support the supernatural claims of the bible, or of the existence of Christ. Christian apologists love to throw out a list of ancient historians, but that list has been thoroughly debunked time and again. It is non-contemporary; indeed most was written well after christianity had become an established religion and the most contemporary of those sources, Josephus, only briefly mentions somebody named Jesus. The more specific Josephus quote has been shown to be a forgery added much later.
Should you have proof, please provide it. The world has been waiting for 2000 years.
Your Jesus did a very sloppy job of leaving verified (or even verifiable) evidence of his trip to Earth and of his godhood.
An omniscient god would have known that those ancient stories and writings would not hold water for long - would be mistranslated, misunderstood and misinterpreted - and would be absolutely unbelievable to so many. Would he have wanted to collect only the gullible, fantasy-prone folks for his 'kingdom'?
Jesus and his apostles were Jewish reformers. His first followers were Jewish as well....
Nothing new at all.
that sounds too boring. can you throw in some miracles here and there to the story?
If Jesus was ultimately what the writer claims, then His oppressed countrymen would have fallen in love with Him. It was precisely because He was a different type of messiah that they rejected Him.
His countrymen did not reject him. They wanted to make him king by force but Jesus rejected this approach. It was the Jewish religious leaders who rejected him because he was a threat to their authority and their cushy lifestyle. The bible is clear about this. Please read it.
You problem is universal for all "True believers". Your faith makes you blind to all except waht is written in "Your bible". I am curious, is your bible the King James version? Google the king James and the Bible to read the real truty of how it came to be and why?
I bet you will not go there out of fear that yuor faith is not strong enough to handle the truth.
The Bible is not history. It is a record that has been edited, rewritten, and the vision of Jesus has been changed so many times that he himself would not recognize waht is written about him.
If you belive in Jesus, but dont feel Chritsian then I you are realising the truth of Isam.
All Muslims believe in the Prophets including Jesus.
And if you've heard of both Jesus and Mohammad and think to yourself "What a crock of crap!", you have come to realize the falsity of Islam, Christianity, and probably all the rest as well. Since they all contradict each other, they can't ALL be true. But they CAN all be false.
Well said, Richard!
Please don't become a detective. Your conclusion will always be, There's no evidence, no story, nothing happened here, move along, move along, nothing to see here.
And Mohammed was a deranged pedophile, that took the 365 gods of the tribes, chose one and proclaimed it to be the one true god. Why do you think for one second that his story has any credibility, since we do know more about him than some of the other "prophets"? He was unable to actually show that any gods were around, then set up a bunch of edicts that benefited men, while treating women as property, much as the christians.
Face it, all of these religions come from superst!tious, backwards, uneducated (by our standards) men. Thy got so much wrong that it baffles me that people believe any of this.
And the ancient jews were no different. The shared pantheon with neighbors and eventually picked one to worship exclusively and then made that god the only "real" god in their theology...
Mohammed was as much a scam as Jesus was.
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-
—Qur'an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157-158
Without having read this book, I'm guessing that the author & I have some things in common. After having come under the influence of church people in my youth, who constantly yammered on about how Jesus was the son of God & that God required that he be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the rest of us (truly a sick concept) I eventually gave up on this cruel, hypocritical religion. My observation is that those who call themselves Christians are so busy deifying Jesus & getting all up in your face about being 'saved' that they ignore what Jesus tried to teach us – that we should help others & live a life of compassion. I try my best to live by this directive, but never, ever call myself a Christian.
Christianized doodlers are an emotionally affronted lot of amassed poignancies never or hardly ever being decisively as an endorsement of religious purities in the best senses... I blame religious heads for all Christendom's failings... The folds of the flocked are ever to be dissatisfied by preached about emotional insecurities and I do blame all religious heads for their pieties insecure ramblings...
It was after many prior encounters with LionlyLamb here on the Belief Blog that I finally saved a copy of this definition so I could re-use it when, as he so reliably does, he again generated a heaping helping of ... "Word salad may describe a symptom of mental conditions in which a person attempts to communicate an idea, but words and phrases that may appear to be random and unrelated come out in an incoherent sequence instead. Often, the person is unaware that he or she did not make sense. It appears in people with dementia and schizophrenia, as well as after anoxic brain injury." —Wikipedia
Hey, Richard, that neatly explains it. Thanks. Now we know!
I see you are still but a doodler in psychoanalytical misrepresentations... Still I find fascinations upon your wordage usages...
Hahahahaha,nice one Lionly Lamb.
"Wordage usages"? At least it rhymes, but it is grammatically totally incorrect.
that just sounds ridiculous. use less words, you are trying too hard.
I don't mean to offend you, or hurt your feelings, but honestly, I agree w/ RichardSRussel. I don't claim to be a genius, but I do have a fairly good command of the English language, & your comments are total gibberish.
Funny how most folks (on this comments thread) who have never opened the Bible to read a single verse, have so much to comment about it. SMH. Must be boredom or Darwin. Just saying.
So, Solomon, I know you're the wisest man of antiquity (and welcome to the present, BTW), but even so I'm having a hard time figuring out how you can tell from your side of the computer screen who has or hasn't ever opened a Bible in their entire lives. Care to let us in on your secret? I mean, have you gone to work for the NSA or something?
It's simple really.... those who believe exactly as he does have done their homework and read their book and reached the same conclusion he has. Those that don't believe have clearly never read the book and are going to hell.
Good point. Would you care to explain to children what is happening in this verse ?
2 Samuel 12:11: “Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.”
The prophet Nathan is proposing a punishment to David for sending Uriah to his death. In the next verse, David shows contrition and the punishment is reduced. But you already knew that when you posted the one verse in isolation, out of context, didn't you? Educated Christians (e.g. Catholics, Evangelicals) regard the Old Testament as an important quasi-historical reference as well as a mythological foundation (particularly Genesis) for Judaism.
You'd be better off focusing on the New Testament since that describes the nuts and bolts of Christianity; various discussions in the book of Acts and the Pauline letters make it clear that strict rules of Judaism don't apply to Christians. Quoting random Old Testament verses just makes educated Christians roll their eyes at you and write you off as a trollish buffoon.
OT, NT, it's the same god isn't it. Are you saying god did not force a man's wife to be r-a-p-e-d in public ?
What you just did was like wacthing one second of say, a Comedy movie and conclding it's not funny as was stated. What happened to the so-called logic you probably go by? Read the entire Bible and come back.
Leave them alone, they're actually more intelligent having not read the bible.
intelligent by who's standard?
Solomon: I've read the bible multiple times in addition to have studied greek and hebrew meanings of versus (concordance) and participated in bible studies, promise-keeper events, attended a baptist church and studied early church history for 25+ years. After realizing that the bible is full of contradictions and a religion that promotes hate, racism and inequality toward women (for which I despise considering that I have several daughters), I left the abominable religion. If you want to talk theology there probably isn't a verse that I prove wrong
When I was 15 years old, I found Sartre, and have had no need of any religion ever since.
Good. Only if religion, by your definition, is a system of looking for God.
FYI Christ's mission on earth was God looking for man, which is NOT religion.
MagicPanties you are a typical religious atheist. You claim there is no God, but you CANNOT prove it empirically. That is why we Christians are labelled "religious", because we believe in something that is not empirically provable. It is the truth. But, the spiritually dead cannot see that truth. The spiritually dead cannot hear that truth. But, you claim to KNOW that there is no God. You are religious and dogmatic in such a belief. If your mind was not closed like a fist shaking at God, you would admit that you don't know if there is a God or not. You would call yourself an Agnostic.
I have been coming through the exact transformation myself for about 10 years. Not so much through academic study, as through opening my eyes to the myth of Christianity - a beautifully, lovely myth that I love - that is not literally true, but still holds many "truths". I am in love with Jesus, I always been. But I have moved through the years from believing he was God, to a human being who transformed the world through his teachings. And I am happy and fulfilled with this belief.. to continue to believe the former seems childish - and close-minded - the belief in a God that sees his children suffer and does nothing. I couldn't continue to believe in a God that let children suffer and die, and allow evil to flourish, and do nothing. That seems to me a childish faith. Childish like the people who blindly spout memorized parts of the Bible without ever letting their intelligence question. thank you for your book. I am certainly going to buy it.
Kindly worded Jacqueline R.
Your religious securities are well minded and brief yet are made subtle... I am endeared to know your kind words...
Thank you so very much for you thoughts, I am along the same search, for a long time now I noticed another reply by Lionly Lamb which caused another surge of approval. I have taken another step and that is all the science I can read in
regards to what are the requirements to be a God such as knowing the Gnome of creating a human and the microbiology there in. Astrophysics and so forth I am over whelmed by what must be known, it is possible that God will not be in my mind.
I recently read a book called the God of Evolution by Michael Dowd it is a mind step ahead for me. You are a Lady who is
in a work of forward progress thank you bye
It is very easy to show how the Judeo Christian god is an invention of man, though.1. Only in late Bronze Age Palestine had anybody heard of this god. The millions of people living elsewhere in the World had never heard of it. All of the people living in China, Eaurope, Africa, India, the Australian Aboriginals had never heard of it until humans from Palestine gradually moved out and "spread the word". Does it really make sense that a being would create the an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East. While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies. Second, does it not appear to you a little silly that, of all the countless millions of people, this god would make the Jews its "chosen race" and obsess with giving them a host of rules, most relevant only to farmingcommunities. Hmmm, did god creat the Jewish farmers or did the Jewish farmers create God....Next, the stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead). Next, the Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.By the way, we have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.When backed into a corner, Judeo-Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees. Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours? No, Kalessein, faith is not even belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more substantial that the "hope for a good future" and no more universal universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support. We are a frightened little species and we need to avoid the inevitablility of death. We create our gods to do just that and to explain those parts of nature we cannot explain or control. Fortunately, the penetrating light of science and knowledge has flushed this "god of the gaps" out of his hiding place. He is now forced to inhabit those few remaining dark patches science has not yet fully exposed. The origins of life is one, the uncritical mind of the believer is another.Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.
You ask about NT writer motives. Racial tensions between Jews and Greeks seems to have been a common problem at that time: racial riots in which thousands were massacred on both sides. The "Christ" figure could have been a Greek offering for the Jews living in predominately Greek areas.
Now we're speculating. Great. Go read your Bible thoroughly man.
Paul offers up Christ as a unifying figure for the Jews and Greeks (and later as Christianity spread, for others...). Not much speculation there.
You have interesting things to say, but a little piece of advice about this particular forum, to help you communicate them more effectively: Most people's eyes will glaze over at a massive block of unbroken gray type, and they'll just skip on to something more easily digestible. If you have something at that length that you just HAVE to get across, at least break it up into paragraphs. Even better, post it as a series of separate short messages.
Dear Dose… When your very first statement is a lie, no one has to read any further to know you're not speaking any truth. You start off by saying "Only in late Bronze Age Palestine had anybody heard of this god". Newsflash: Adam and Eve – the very first man and woman on earth – personally knew God in the Garden of Eden. So to make a statement that thousands of years later in the so-called "Bronze Age" of mankind that no one had heard of God, that's a flat out lie and you know it. And why is it that atheists always feel the need to tell lies? Answer: Because if they told the truth, they'd have no argument…
As for the rest of that nonsense you wrote, coming from a blind man, it's not even worth reading...
But the Adam and Eve story is a bunch of bunco. It never happened. There never was an Adam and Eve. The bible is wrong. Why do you religies insist on believing such a preposterous story?
Athy... Coming from a devil, that's not saying anything. I can well understand how a devil would say that...
I suspect that your habit of not reading more than the first line of anything has led you to miss many explanations that could have helped you overcome the astounding ignorance of which you are obviously so proud.
Once you become truly saved, you're able to easily identify anyone who is not saved. And anyone who is not saved, nothing they say is truth, no matter how logical it sounds. And I don't have to read their entire post to find that out...
As the Director of Theology at George Washington's School of Relgious Studies, I have been on the search for Jesus for 30 years. I have been waiting for the right moment, but I can't keep this secret anymore. I found Jesus, and knowing what a prize he was, I knocked him on the head, tied him up, and brought him home. I've am setting up my 'cam so everyone can view him on the internet, but am not sure what I should charge. Thought I could get some feedback here.
Pot meet Kettle
There is no Dr. Steven Matthews at George Washington School.
And I guess you are going to say 'There is no god' also.
This thing must be relabeled ATHEISM.blogs.cnn.com Anyone?
No ....only there is no Dr. Steven Matthews at George Washington School. You suffer from the online disinhibition effect
No! Really? What was your first clue?