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.

Two thousand years ago, I was told, in an ancient land called Galilee, the God of heaven and Earth was born in the form of a helpless child. The child grew into a blameless man. The man became the Christ, the savior of humanity.

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.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (4,311 Responses)
  1. Neorhythm

    The author writes: ".....I am convinced that one can be a devoted follower of Jesus without being a Christian...". He is not alone, there are 1.5 billion others like him, they are called Muslims.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • mathews

      Reza Aslan is a Muslim. For the last 10 years muslims have been claiming the Christian God and Islam God are the same. But they have a problem. Christians have Jesus and Muslims have Mohamed.

      Jesus showed the world the path of peace.

      Mohamed showed the path of violence. Mohamed said – Convert them all or kill. BUT – Mohamed said this thing only about that one particular incident. Now these Islamic fundamentalists dont want to stop there. They want to conquer the world. So they use Mohamed's words , take it our of context and convince the poor illetrate muslims and the dememted ones, that their god wants this to happen – Convert the world or kill them all.

      But coming back to topic, unless they take out Jesus and the New testament, they cant prove the God is the same. So they try to discredit Jesus.

      Reza Aslan is a cunning man – using his credibility as a "Scholar" he is pretending to be just writing about what he studied – when in fact he is just another muslim fundamentalist who is out to take Jesus from Christianity.

      September 5, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  2. snowboarder

    this is an article I can get behind. after discarding the supernatural and divine aspects of jesus, the result is a philosophy to live by.

    I have always suspected that the life of jesus was a tall tale only grown taller in the retelling. even during my many years of parochial school.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      We are all extremely impressed with your bitterness towards religion.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • snowboarder

        thanks for projecting.

        July 21, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Moonlight

      So much so that Thomas Jefferson once wrote an entire version of the bible which left out all the miraculous stuff he felt was attributed incorrectly to Jesus and left only his words. The Jefferson Bible is still available, and worth checking out.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  3. stevie68a

    Religion is a delusion. If all you have is a book for evidence, you're in big trouble. I think "jesus" would make an occasional
    appearance, in a big way, to convince us all. He cannot, because he's imaginary. Like it or not, we are in a New Age, and
    religion is part of the old. People were mostly brainwashed with this fantasy, and cling to it out of fear. You better watch out,
    you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: jesus christ is coming to town!

    July 21, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Atheism is a delusion. If all you have is Dawin's book for evidence, you're in big trouble. I think the animal/man hybrid would make an occasional
      appearance, in a big way, to convince us all. He cannot, because he's imaginary. Like it or not, we are idiots, and
      atheism is part of the old. People were mostly brainwashed with this fantasy, and cling to it out of fear. You better watch out,
      you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: the animal/man hybrid is coming to town!

      July 21, 2013 at 9:47 am |
      • snowboarder

        "man animal hybrid"? what exactly does this evolutionary deity offer in this delusion?

        thanks for the laugh.

        July 21, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • KT

        You really should study a bit more about evolution. It's been confirmed on many levels. From DNA to microbiology to fossil records etc. All of which came over 100 years after Darwin wrote the theory. The reality of science is so much more majestic than the fairy tales people made up to explain their origins.

        July 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • cnct


          October 12, 2013 at 1:25 am |
        • keith

          Three cheers for the THINKING people.

          October 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • the face of the word

      It really does not matter whether you believe in god or not that out of your hands you could believe it what you want to believe but the truth is going to hurt you. There was no Christianity before Christ however what Christ taught or what he endorsed at the teachings existed long before he took on that name. You have to remember words get lost in translation man had added many words to the instructions that god has left to the people. It was an instruction manual on how to bring the Kingdome of heaven here to Earth always question everything. . The teachings that Christ left behind have been scattered through the world some find it hard to accept that Christ taught almost every faith there is except for a few who were created by man. The truth will set you free the truth is all over the world from Tibet to Mecca, the Mayan ruins to the Pyramids of Egypt. If you rely on a book that has been tampered with instead of looking or thinking out side of the box there you will not be freed. You don’t have to believe in God there things happening right now and most “Christians” can’t even recognize them Even Christ wouldn’t hold allegiance to any faith then he himself would not be free. Information will free you from the soul trap of ignorance keeping you bonded. Christ would not be happy with these Christians who support what is going on in the world today. Christians fighting Muslims Jewish people fighting Muslims you have it all wrong this is all Antichrist you support the death penalty but then forget that Christ was ordered to be executed wake up.

      July 21, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • mathews

      If Jesus made an occasional visit now and then, and if you believed in Him today, how long do you think you would continue to believe, untill you got tired and went on your own way? 2 weeks? 6 months? 3 years? untill you got tired of living a pious life and wanted to get back into sin?

      Even when Jesus walked on earth, people kept asking for a magical sign – this is what He replied :

      Mark 8:11-12 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."

      Matt. 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.

      So you see: Some of you will believe no matter what. So of you will not believe. Some of you will believe for a short while thinking "Hmmm....thats a cool trick."

      This is why Jesus

      September 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • keith

        The problem with that malarkey is this, how do you tell a real prophet from a false one? Faith will not be of any help because faith says that you should NOT ask questions just BELIEVE. So what happens if you BELIEVE in the wrong prophet because you CANNOT ASK QUESTIONS. That is why people with brains ASK QUESTIONS.

        September 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  4. Elliott Carlin

    Essentially a CNN commercial for an apostate's new book. And another story of a person who wants Christ on his/her own terms.

    The Divinity of Christ is paramount to a Christian's salvation. So the short answer to the question is NO, you cannot separate the divinity/humanity aspect of Christ and still be a "Christian". Pretty simple.

    So we're back to CNN's constant assault on Christian beliefs....no surprise....on time....ever Sunday morning.

    Try this with the Muslims sometime...lol

    July 21, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • snowboarder

      I suppose you could believe that if you were to fall for the absurd idea of original and hereditary sin, but the salvation angle is ridiculous. the whole god making a blood sacrifice of himself to himself makes no sense whatsoever.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • My2bits

        The origin of man's present day conditions is in Genesis. The serpent was an upright creature who's DNA was close enough to Adam that he could impregnate Eve, and that is exactly what happened. Immediately afterward she lay with Adam. Cain and Abel were born and we know what happened between them. The serpent was cursed and took the forms of a snake ( the missing link). Later on we see that the "the Sons of God (Adams line)looked on the daughters of men ( Cains line) and saw that they were fair and took them for wives", Since then all mankind is a hybrid genetically. Therefore a blood sacrifice is necessary for redemption because the original sin was a blood sin ( adultry). In the old testament we see that God required the sacrifice of a lamb. Now we have the sacrifice of The Son of God. His blood was the blood of God. Mary only carried the embryo,she did not contribute any DNA. God spoke the original life into existence in Mary's womb.
        So yes that is why we must be born again...to receive the Life of God.

        July 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        I agree it makes no sense that he died for us.It is a spiritual war that he faught and conqured death.We cant see it if we arnt able to see the true battle. What we do here we take to eternity(heaven) and it matters greatly there.His actions on earth gave him the power to open the book of life at judgment.He also inherited all that the Father has IE us.

        July 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • mathews

        It wont make sense to you – unless you have a genuine interest to know God. Even a simple interest to investigate IF there is a God, will reveal the truth to you.

        September 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • keith

          You wouldn't recognize the truth if it stood up and bit you.
          Read Richard Dawkins "The delusion of God" that book really is TRUE.

          September 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • nancy

      Elliott-Why is this an assault on Christianity? It opens up fascinating dialogue between people of all faiths/beliefs? I stated in an earlier comment that we all need to be confident in our own individual faith journey. I am sure there are other news organizations that assail other faiths, if that's what you are looking for...As a Christian, I personally enjoy hearing what other's think of Jesus Christ. I understand the negative comments, as so many Christians are judgmental, hate-filled, jealous and insecure. I am a Christian, and I do not want to be one of those narrow-minded, desperate, fear mongering "believers." If we would be secure in our own personal beliefs and allow others to do the same, our world would be different. " For whoever is not against us is for us." Mark 9:40

      July 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • keith

      Oh great, the christians are the nice guys so believe what we believe. The Muslims are the lunatics and will do you harm so don't believe in what they believe.
      Typical religious doublespeak

      October 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  5. bostontola

    This article is a teaser for the guy hawking his book, inside cover reprint. Reserve your copy today.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  6. J

    CNN headlines this piece with the phrase "A new kind of faith". Apparently they are unaware that the idea that "Jesus was simply a great teacher" has been around as long as Christianity. The author puts forward a perfectly respectable position. But let's not pretend it's news.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Take it easy on your critique of CNN.
      They're reporting Trayvon is still 13 years old.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Sane Person

      You've just read an opinion piece, highlighting the authors book release. Is it as important to you as what Kim Kardasian did today? Probably not, but then again, CNN got you to click, read and comment. So, I guess, mission accomplished.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  7. Achepotle

    Why can't you just be a good person? Why do you have to base your behaviour on a mythical Jew or belong to some creepy cult like Christianity?

    July 21, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • joebak

      Does talking ill of others qualify as a good person?

      July 21, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • rjedwards

      "Why can't you just be a good person? Why do you have to base your behavior on a mythical Jew or belong to some creepy cult like Christianity?"

      Morality has to be based on something immovable. Without that, morality is no longer a fixed point, it's 6 billion different people with 6 billion different ideas, always changing, on the definition of "right" and "wrong". You wish to make the world a better place, and I'm glad for it. But I theorize that without a single, definitive point for morality, disagreements and wars will continue infinitely. That is why the world needs something beyond humanity to believe in.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • Elliott Carlin

        Thanks for adding some sanity

        July 21, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • Sane Person

        Quite the opposite. "Morality" that never changes is what we see causing religious wars today. Morality has to evolve with the people that choose to define it. In biblical days, marrying your ra.pist, or your brother, or having slaves, or keeping concubines was considered normal and moral. Obviously, people have changed thier beliefs since then. (Well, most of us, we still got some knuckledraggers out there). Laws are what unify people into behaving a set of norms. Regardless of your belief, the law will punish you for breaking it. Your misplaced belief in the supreme "correctness" of bronze age theories is exactly why we have laws. To prevent people like you from having 200 wives, a few slaves and selling your children off to pay your debt.

        July 21, 2013 at 9:54 am |
        • HASSA

          Not correct- this is why we some INDIVIDUALS using religion/faith as a reason for wars- it's still humanity behind it, not any deity.

          July 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • snowboarder

        but as it is plainly obvious, morality is not based upon something immovable. it has evolved with society and differs by community and family everywhere around the world.

        July 21, 2013 at 9:56 am |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        What amazes me is how anyone with half a brain could believe morality is a fixed point. You do have at least half a brain right RJ?

        July 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • sirhuxley


        We have something immovable, its called REVENGE.

        Morality is nothing more than a metaphor for 'not messing around with another person'

        People don't mess with each other because of their own REAL-WORLD vulnerability.

        This means THE LAW and THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE

        This does not come out of a book, its evolution, people who are too stupid to realize this end up dead or in jail, so they leave fewer offspring behind.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  8. Anna

    The only way to know Jesus IS, is to have a personal encounter with him

    July 21, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • sandalista

      It's called paranoia.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:42 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        No its called a spiritual awakening.Many people don't know the best part of themselves ,it lies dormant until awakened by God.They go thru life in a flavorless world with no enlightenment .

        July 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Sane Person

      Will he be at a book signing or something? The guy is harder to get an audience with than Howard Hughes.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • sirhuxley

      The only way to forget Jeebus is to have an encounter with Mary Jane.

      Perhaps that explains the Laws...hmmm

      August 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • sirhuxley

      The only way to forget Jebus is to have an encounter with Mary Jane.

      Perhaps that explains the Laws...hmmm

      August 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  9. sybaris

    "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."

    I've known my sister for over 6 decades. Although I live in Tampa and she lives in Boise, so we only see each other every couple of years, I can tell you:
    • how tall she is.
    • what color her eyes are.
    • what color and how curly her hair is.
    • the different kinds of prescription drugs she takes, and what for.
    • which parts of her have been operated on.
    • which colleges she attended.
    • what jobs she's held.
    • what cities she's lived in.
    • what her hobbies are.
    • the names and breeds of the various dogs and cats she's had thru the years.
    • her favorite sports teams, and which one she has season tickets for.
    • the TV programs she watches regularly.
    • that it's her on the phone just from the sound of her voice.
    • her att¡tude toward eating meat.
    • whom she voted for in the last presidential election.
    • what kind of medical care she wants in case of a terminal illness.
    • her favorite color.
    • and about 50 other things.

    Now that's a personal relationship. Could you manage even half a dozen comparable answers about your "deep, personal friend" Jesus? And, even assuming your imagination could in fact gin up a few stabs at them, what are chances that they'd agree with any other "True Christian"? You could ask any of my sister's other good friends about the above characteristics, and they'd give you the exact same answers I would. That's because my sister, unlike your Jesus, is real — a 3-dimensional, flesh-and-blood, living, breathing, real-world human being, with a life, preferences, substance, and history.

    So, let's say you're walking across library mall one day, you see your good buddy Jesus in a crowd of folks ahead of you, and you holler "Hey, J, dude, wait up!". Would he?

    Let's not kid ourselves. This would never even happen because there's no way you'd be able to pick Jesus out of a crowd. Heck, you couldn't pick him out of a 1-person lineup. You wouldn't know him if he walked up to you on the street and handed you his business card.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • hopelessinseattle

      I probably couldn't pick out Julius Ceasar, or Alexander the Great, or Francis of Assisi either, that doesn't mean they are real.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • hopelessinseattle

        grr....AREN'T real.

        July 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • KT

          The historical record that shows they were there is pretty hard to refute. It's quite the opposite for Jesus. There's not a contemporary account of him. Many of the enormous events of the Bible are missing from the historical record in places that would have surely have noted the infanticide that took place or the Exodus. But none of it is there. That's why people who study Christianity rather than take it on faith have a hard time with it. It opens far more questions than it answers.

          July 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  10. Get over it

    I think that fact that you spend so much of your time and life trying to disprove Jesus pretty much sums up your an atheists. Funny thing is why do atheists spend so much time trying to disprove God's word? Why do you care? If you don't believe then go on about your life as it is, short and free of hope. The bible talks of the birth of "Jesus" thousands of years before it occurs and the fact that his birth, death and resurrection took place were fulfilled by prophecies made thousands of years before.John 20:29

    July 21, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Colin (the original)

      The idea that Jesus was born of a virgin and that his birth somehow “fulfilled the prophesies” of the Old Testament is an enduring myth to this day. It is a paper thin charade. Matthew and Luke were educated, practicing Jews writing to convince other Jews (and pagans) to join their growing sect. They had a copy of the Septuagint/Old Testament in their hands when they wrote the story of Jesus’ birth!

      Of course their stories of his birth “fulfilled the prophesies.” How could they claim Jesus was the Messiah if they didn’t? It is like the writer of a screenplay fulfilling a prediction that James Bond will save the World, kill the bad guy and get the girl as he writes the script for the upcoming Bond film. Matthew and Luke just failed to compare notes and came up with hopelessly inconsistent and irreconcilable versions of Jesus’ birth (See my post below)

      July 21, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Sane Person

      You've got it, backwards, as usual. Atheists arent out trying to disprove anything. You're the nutjobs on street corners with "honk for jebus" signs and knocking on my door for the 50th time, uninvited, trying to get me to become one of your sheeple. Most atheists couldnt care less what fantasy you drool over. They only care when you attempt to turn your delusions into law and force everyone to believe your particular brand of crazy.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:36 am |
      • Elliott Carlin

        That would be the cults; evangelicals aren't utilizing door to door much anymore.

        That being said, we'll never convince one another of each other's beliefs, but since we're both Americans. we at least have the Declaration of Independence in common. It references God four different times. It looks to Him as the originator of our rights and the judge of our actions. (and yes, it was adopted by Congress)

        Please lets us all know how the premise of America is built on fallacies etc.
        I'll get the popcorn ready.

        July 21, 2013 at 9:43 am |
        • Coaster fan

          The one thing ALL religions and ALL religious people have in common is the belief that all other religions are bunk, except their own. As soon as you understand why YOU don't believe in the Greek/Norse/Roman gods of antiquity, you'll understand why atheists don't believe. In the Christian god. I contend that we ALL are atheists. It's just stat the more intelligent and rational among us believe in one fewer god than Christians.

          July 21, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • Everett

          Yeah, and the secret court, with the secret verdicts by secret judges, handing out secret sentences and allowing them to secretly collect all of our information was adopted by congress too...so whats your point?

          July 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
      • Get over it

        The fact that your are commenting proves you a liar. This article has nothing to do with the law. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

        July 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        You don't need a religion to have God .Jesus taught to love your neighbor as yourself. That was his most important rule.He said to love one another. Radical?

        July 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Edward

      No, Azlan is a Muslim. He debates againsts atheist, because apparently the shaky history that makes Jesus a God, is better than the shaky history that makes Mohamed a prophet, and Allah the one true God.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      You need to look up the definition of fact. You are not using it correctly.

      It is not a fact That I, an atheist, spend a great deal of time disproving the bible, since it has been disproven enough to show it is most certainly not the word of any gods. If it is your god doesn't understand many sciences.

      It is also not a fact that jesus " birth, death and resurrection took place ". If it is a fact, where ( besides the bible) is the evidence. The bible is not evidence of the contents of the bible.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • just me.

      Atheists are not free of hope,they are simply free of delusion.We would not expect you to know the difference.You should google Krishna or Horus,whom among several others,were said to be born of virgins on Dec. 25th,died and resurrected three days later etc.These similarities should make you investigate the facts surrounding ALL religions.But I'm sure you will be content with simply feeling warm and fuzzy,while having faith in ancient mythology.Have a nice day!

      July 21, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  11. Malefique

    MOST Christians are not followers of Jesus. If Christians followed Jesus' teachings, the world would be a very different place.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Colin (the original)

      You mean like what Jesus said about those who would not bow down to him like a king?

      “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.” (Luke 19:27 quoting Jesus).

      July 21, 2013 at 9:31 am |
      • tjohnston1970

        Hey Colin, Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6. Either Jesus is who He says He is or He is a liar. At one time I read the Bible as just a book, once it became the Word of God to me that is when my faith began to grow and my life was changed, I no longer looked for loop holes and surrendered to my Creator.Take care man.....

        July 21, 2013 at 9:46 am |
        • Doobs

          Since Jeebus also said he would return within a generation, I guess that makes him a liar.

          July 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • just me.

        This verse will be ignored by the followers of Jesus.

        July 21, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • just me.

          Hey Tjohnson..thanks for proving my point.

          July 21, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • crzybb2002

        Yes, Jesus spoke those words but he was telling the parable of ":...a certain Nobleman" (who) " went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom." Luke 19:12 Those words you attributed to Jesus were Jesus telling us what the nobleman said! Please read the entire chapter instead of picking one verse out to make an argument and attempt to turn people away from the Truth.

        July 21, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • just me.

          crzybb2002.You are correct.On behalf of all atheists,I would like to apologize for this misquote,and you can consider the bible now beyond reproach.

          July 21, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        Some unknown author, decades after Jesus died claimed that Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me. There isn't any way to know for certain what Jesus ever said because he never wrote anything. Neither did Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

        July 21, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • Marsha Stone

          People who accept Jesus have changed lives. Some are healed of addictions, some get tender hearts. All have hope, and the knowing of where they will spend eternity, which produces peace. That's how you can tell if the relationship with Jesus is real.

          July 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Doobs

          @ Marsha Marsha Marsha

          Why does Jeebus only do "miracles" that can also have any number of other explanations? Why doesn't he do things like heal amputees?

          July 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        What bible is that from,I have never seen that in any that I've read.

        July 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • keith

          That's because you have read a bible that was EDITED to remove awkward or difficult statements.

          October 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • Kofi KYEI

          No its just bcos you have been mislead by some idiots and u're behaving like one

          October 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Nice sentimental thought, however Christ told us we'd be hated as He was hated.
      And He was perfect.

      Try again.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • leonardo

      The message of Jesus Christ is the most complete and true, was the forerunner of human rights, the lepers Jews could not go into synagogues, Jesus welcomed everyone and said that salvation is for all, no other character in the story said that his words later were many false prophets, but Jesus Christ is true, there is no other like it's simple, just read the New Testament and accept Jesus. I have observed that most people who study, who else gets high marks in examinations of the universities, who can best jobs, people most persistent are Christian people who believe in Jesus Christ. exemple South Korea in education, Today most of the population is Christian in in places of economic and educational success.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    Unfortunately, the writer has missed the point in both ends of his studies. Jesus wasn't some celestial spirit, he was a man who was so totally connected to the divine that he totally embodied the Christ consciousness. He was a mystic, someone who taps directly into the divine mind to gain knowledge. there are many mystics alive today who we'd do well to listen to. Yes, he was a historical figure but he wasn't out to fight against a government, he tried, through his teachings, to give us the same total connection to God he had. his teachings have been tragically overshadowed by his death and supposed resurrection. this is why it's possible for so many Christians to loudly profess their belief in and devotion to Him but have no real understanding of what He tried to teach us, which explains why 'Christian' these days has come to be associated with narrow-minded, bigoted, hater. It's like folks saying they're fans of Elvis but not knowing the words to any of his songs.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    July 21, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Brandon

      For real dude. If I didn't pray I might actually feel bad about not doing anything that's actually useful.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Sane Person

      So true! We all prayed for Mittens to get elected and god answered with a resounding...uh.. ok bad example. Ok I guess it really doesnt do much but make lazy, inept people feel like they are "doing something." Nevermind.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Coaster fan

      Actually, several double-blind studies have shown that prayer not only doesn't work, but that people who pray for something are slightly LESS likely to get what they prayed for.

      If Christians get what they pray for, they thank God for answering their prayers. If they don't get what they prayed for when they need it, they say that God provides for all "in his time". If they get the exact opposite of what they prayed for, they say " we can't understand God's ways" or "God has a different plan for us". In other words, there is an excuse regardless of the result. Anyone who notices that there are lightning rods on top of churches should realize it's because even the church leaders quietly understand that there isn't anyone up there listening to them, or washing out for them.

      July 21, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Coaster fan

        Typo.. Watching out for them...

        July 21, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  14. Tom

    A lot of verbal diarrhea here today... Or, the art of saying nothing in many words... Religious freaks are champions at that.

    July 21, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  15. Rainer Braendlein

    It is complete idiocy to appreciate the historical Jesus, and to deny Christ at the same time. Christ and the historical Jesus are the same person, therefore we call him Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ had got a human nature and a divine nature, he was man and God at the same time. His human nature was created in Mary's womb, but his divine nature was eternal (Jesus existed before he came into the womb of Mary, and, of course, before he was born into this world). Thus, one can say that the eternal Christ incarnated when he came into the womb of his mother Mary who was a virgin. First, this human being was simply called Jesus, but when he revealed his heavenly glory by miracles he was called Jesus Christ.

    Jesus was King of Israel indeed because he was a descendant of the Jewish King David. It is only that the royality of Jesus' family was no longer acknowledged by Israel at Jesus' time. Jesus was a man of virtue, he was a real king. He committed no sin, and cured people, and gave them the soul's health. And if the Jews (Jewish leaders) had not turned apostate from the ancient faith of Jahwe they had elected him King of Israel. Yet, the Jewish leaders were not concerned about their people Israel but only greedy for honor, power and riches. They used religion as a smokescreen for their malice. They were obsessed by the devil who gave them thoughts like: "let us do evil things in order to harvest good things". They uesed the law of the Torah as a cub in order to beat the ordinary Jews themselves breaking it. The Jewish leaders were angry with the ordinary Jews, insulted them and condemned them. The did not tell Israel of a Redeemer, and when the Redeemer became visible in the person of Jesus, they said he would be obsessed by the devil.

    The Jewish leaders were breaking the law, and condemned the ordinary Jews. Jesus kept the law, he even fulfilled it through divine love which is more than keeping, and he loved the ordinary Jews despite their sins. Hence, Jesus was the exact opposite of a Jewish leader. The Jewish leaders were let by the devil, Jesus was let by the Holy Spirit. This is the reason why they hated Jesus.

    Jesus told the truth by saying: I am the Saviour, and you need me in order to get delivered from your sins. Jesus confirmed the law of the Thorah but said that one is not pious through simply possessing the law, being circu-msized, and a descendant of father Abraham but through fulfilling the law. We fulfill the law when we love God and our neighbour. Yet, this love we don't possess by birth (by birth we a selfish, breakers of the law). This love is a divne gift which we gain through faith in Jesus Christ who is the love.

    This is the great mystery of faith: When we believe in Jesus Christ, we get a new divine nature beside our selfish nature which we have by birth.. The spiritual exersice we can fascilitate the new nature more and more, and thus we will come through at Judgement Day because we were really people who loved God and their felllow human beings.

    May Israel realize his Redeemer today. They are God's Chosen People.


    July 21, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Gerry Daley

      Speaking of complete idiocy.
      Spoken like a true religious fanatic.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  16. Colin (the original)

    To demonstrate the difficulties in accepting anything the gospels say about Jesus, it is worthwhile reading them side by side on how they recount the same event. A great example is their accounts of Jesus' birth. Only Matthew and Luke relate the story. John and Mark ignore it.

    A bit of historical context is worthwhile. Both Matthew and Luke wrote about 50 years after Jesus' death. They were trying to convince highly skeptical Jews (and pagans) that Jesus was the Messiah prophesized by the Book of Isaiah. So they had to put Jesus’ birth in Bat Lahm (Bethlehem in English) the city of King David. The problem they had was that Jesus was known as "Jesus of Nazareth" not "Jesus of Bat Lahm". They plug this hole in wildly inconsistent ways.

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Mary and Joseph are originally from Bethlehem. Three wise men come from the East, following a star which is to lead them to the great Messiah prophesized by the Tanaka. King Herod hears of this and calls the three wise men before him in Jerusalem. He asks them to tell him when they find Jesus, ostensibly so he can worship the baby, but with the real intention of killing him. The star reappears and the three wise men follow it to Bethlehem and present the baby Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Jerusalem, the wise men hightail it back East without telling Herod where Jesus is. There is no indication of Jesus’ birth occurring in a manger.

    Herod hears of this, throws a fit and kills all babies less than two years of age in Bethlehem. However, Joseph and Mary have been earlier warned by God in a dream that this is coming and have fled south to Egypt. They stay there until God tells them in another dream that Herod is dead. However, on returning to Bethlehem, they hear that Herod’s son, Archelaus, has taken the throne in Jerusalem. This poses a continuing threat to the child Jesus, so they continue north to Nazareth in Galilee, where Jesus is raised. Hence Jesus is born in Bat Lahm in accordance with the prophesy of the Tanaka, despite being known as “Jesus of Nazareth.”

    In the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph are not originally from Bethlehem, there are no wise men from the East, no star to be followed, no flight to Egypt, no infanticidal rampage by Herod and no gold, frankincense or myrrh. Instead, Mary and Joseph are originally from Nazareth but have to return to the land of David, their ancestor from 1,000 years ago, to be assessed in a Roman tax imposed under Caesar Augustus.

    So Joseph and Mary, who is heavily pregnant, set off on the seventy mile trip from Nazareth due south to Bethlehem. There is no room at any inn, so Jesus is born in a manger. Three shepherds in a nearby field are told by a singing chorus of angels that the king of the Jews has been born and they come and pay homage. Eight days later, Jesus is circu.mcised and, after the period of Mary’s “purification” under Jewish law, Jesus is taken to the temple in Jerusalem and presented. In the temple, they offer Yahweh two turtledoves and two pigeons as a sacrifice and then return to Nazareth, where Jesus is raised.

    Biblical scholars largely discount both stories, but the accounts are useful as they tell us a lot about the motivations of the two authors and help us gauge their credibility in other areas.

    July 21, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Colin

      Very repet itive and unoriginal but what the hell it pumps your ego.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • dirkthedaring

      Which Biblical Scholars discount the validity of the accounts in Matthew and Luke?

      July 21, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • Colin (the original)

        Most. Schweitzer, Cozan, Erhman for e.g. For a start, they can't both be true as they are inconsistent. Second, the authors of both Matthew and Luke never met Jesus, but simply recounted stories handed down to them.

        July 21, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  17. larry

    Who is the liar ?. It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist-denying the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22)

    July 21, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I think it would be necessary to know that Jesus is the the Christ (or is not) before a statement about his being the Christ would be a lie.

      July 21, 2013 at 8:36 am |
      • One of the Redeeemed, and KNOWS it

        "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And We BELIEVE AND ARE SURE THAT THOU ART THAT CHRIST, the Son of the living God.
        John 6:67-69

        ANYTHING else, is a LIE from the pit of HELL, and the DECEIVER SATAN himself.

        Don't forget, JESUS said,
        "TAKE HEED that ye be not DECEIVED: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and THE TIME DRAWETH NEAR: go ye NOT therefore after them."
        Luke 21:8

        Yes, we can all see, the time does draw near...

        July 21, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You say you know. That means you believe (and a bit more than that). Did you come by your belief in such a way that if Jesus were not actually the Christ, but everything that was written about him were exactly as we have it all now, then you would not believe?

          July 21, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Doobs

          Jeebus seems a little shouty.

          July 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • keith

          Wrong from word one, NOBODY knows what JC actually said what you believe are the results of countless opinions, re-tellings around a camp fire, editing by biased parties and millions of downright lies.
          So the rest of what you say is WORTHLESS

          October 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      It is pretty bad when a book is calling everyone who does not believe in the book liars. It is even worse when those who believe that book, break the 9th commandment of that very same book, by saying that anyone who does not acknowledge that they believe in your Christ character ( who no one can say for sure ever existed). You first need to find verifiable evidence that your Jesus existed, then that he was more than a man, and then you need to find some evidence of this Satan character.
      Until you do that you are bearing false witness against any who do not share your belief.

      July 21, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Sane Person

      Yes, yes, we all know the drill. Anyone who disputes "john," is a liar. The proof is, that "john" says so. Repeat ad nauseum, pass the collection plate, buy some ammo and hallelujah.

      July 21, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      No its good to question.If you don't ask you don't get answers.Seek and find.

      July 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • writemejenb


      September 18, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  18. skytag

    Nice article, sounds grounded in reality.

    July 21, 2013 at 8:20 am |
  19. Colin (the original)

    The fact is, we know very little about Jesus' life. The Old Testament, being written before he was born, obviously doesn't mention him and, outside the gospels, there is very little information in the New Testament about his life. We are 100% dependent on the four gospels to get any details about his life.

    The four gospels were written by unknown authorsabout 40 (Mark); 50 (Luke and Matthew) and 65 (John) years after Jesus' death. Matthew and Luke had a copy of Mark when they wrote and copied many of his words verbatim. When they weren't simply parroting Mark, their accounts of Jesus' life spray off in inconsisent directions. John's gospel is wildly inconsistent with the other three. For example, he has Jesus' ministry lasting three times as long as the other three and has Jesus causing the disturbance in the temple at the very start of his ministry, not at the end. He also has miracles not mentioned in the other three. Religious scholars refer to this gospel as a renegade and, by and large, discount its content.

    None of the authors likely knew Jesus and were liekly born after he was crucified. The sobering fact for any Christian is that, the only accounts we have of Jesus' life from anywhere in the world, written in the First Century, are wildly inconsistent and unreliable.

    July 21, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Reality

      As previously noted:

      Before Ehrman:

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press,
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      July 21, 2013 at 8:33 am |
      • Reality

        Summarizing the above:

        The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

        (references used are noted above)

        July 21, 2013 at 8:35 am |
        • Theseus

          You need to get a life loser!

          July 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • keith

          You mention Professor Crossan and his books. Did Crossan witness anything done or said by JC in person? NO therefore everything said by Crossan in his books is either his own conjecture or the retelling of myth and folk lore written by someone else, which is just the retelling of myth and folk lore written by someone else and on and on.
          Just because Prof Crossan wrote a book does not mean HE KNOWS ANYTHING. He knows NO MORE than I do or anyone else in the last 2,000 years.
          So your pathetic diatribe is WORTHLESS.
          You really do need to GET A LIFE.

          October 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • keith

          That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.
          HOGWASH, it is perhaps likely that some person that could be known as JC was crucified by Pilate as were MANY people crucified by Pilate.
          The crucial thing is this, was that person a son of a god?
          Now please show me the evidence of that, prof Crossan can write till he blue in the face but he has NOT ONE IOTA of evidence to back up that conjecture.
          Some guy was crucified SO WHAT, we do know that that was TRUE but what we do not know is if that person was called JC and he was the one that was the source of all the myths.
          Now if you can't show evidence of his divinity, then just SHUT UP and give us all some peace. Oh just saying he was a son of a god is not good enough. Perhaps he was just some poor demented son of a carpenter who went around making wild claims and doing party tricks like walking on water or raising the dead.
          Go figure.

          October 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • keith

        Wow, I don't think I will live long enough to read this rubbish. I will just make some observations.
        No matter how many HISTORIANS write about JC they are ALL just repeating each others thoughts. There are virtually NO EYEWITNESS accounts of JC, none that would pass the laugh test, and therefore everything written about him is CONJECTURE, NOT FACT.
        But the lame brained simply ignore reality and keep bleating about what he said

        October 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  20. skytag

    When will we see a story about losing the delusion, finding reality.

    July 21, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • Da King

      Try smoking less weed.

      July 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • RickP

      Reza Aslan lied in the Fox interview. He does not have a PhD in Religious History; It is in Sociology. He does not teach religion; he teaches revolution using literature. He is anti-Israel and associated with George Soros funded groups like The Center for American Progress, Code pink, Samantha Power, and an Iranian organization that is against Israel. He has no degree in History whatsoever. He wrote the book for a reason he has not disclosed yet. Source: TheBlaze TV

      August 1, 2013 at 5:11 am |
      • sirhuxley

        Who isn't Anti-Israel? Israel is just a NAME, peace is real, you can feel it.

        Israel has a publicly stated policy of Apartheid.

        In the end Israel will not exist, it will be a Single State called Palestine and it will be Democratically represented equally, this is the ONLY solution.

        The USA is preventing this from happening, but it will happen and this will benefit ALL.

        August 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • Keith

          I agree with everything you say.

          August 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • mathews

        Reza Aslan is a Muslim. For the last 10 years muslims have been claiming the Christian God and Islam God are the same. But they have a problem. Christians have Jesus and Muslims have Mohamed.

        Jesus showed the world the path of peace.

        Mohamed showed the path of violence. Mohamed said – Convert them all or kill. BUT – Mohamed said this thing only about that one particular incident. Now these Islamic fundamentalists dont want to stop there. They want to conquer the world. So they use Mohamed's words , take it our of context and convince the poor illetrate muslims and the dememted ones, that their god wants this to happen – Convert the world or kill them all.

        But coming back to topic, unless they take out Jesus and the New testament, they cant prove the God is the same. So they try to discredit Jesus.

        Reza Aslan is a cunning man – using his credibility as a "Scholar" he is pretending to be just writing about what he studied – when in fact he is just another muslim fundamentalist who is out to take Jesus from Christianity.

        Google this "Islam the new religion growing in US"

        September 5, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • keith

          Trying to discredit JC is very easy all you have to do is apply this test, if it sounds like malarkey it most probably is MALARKEY.
          Read Richard Dawkins "The delusion of God" that book really is TRUE.

          September 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • sirhuxley

      Well, you will see that when the Oil Lobby and Banking Lobby no longer has an interest in keeping Christianity alive.

      August 22, 2013 at 5:10 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.