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December 23rd, 2013
03:29 PM ET

A Christmas apology, and the seeds of hope

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) - This week we celebrate Christmas, and as a Christian, I want to say I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that this season has become about fights over manger scenes on public property, about complaining when clerks say, “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas,” about rampant commercialism and faux persecution.

I’m sorry that Christians in the United States can be so entitled when we’ve long enjoyed majority status, when we can be so blind to our own privilege.

It is ironic, really, because in the church calendar, the seasons of Advent and Christmas call us to reflect upon and celebrate what Christians believe was the most radical act of humility of all time - the incarnation.

The doctrine of the incarnation holds that the God of the universe, in his love for humanity, emptied himself of his power and became human, like us, in the form of Jesus.

The word incarnation literally means “to make into flesh” and refers to the apostle John’s teaching that “(t)he Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

“No one has ever seen God,” John explains, but Jesus “has made him known.”

In other words, if you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus -

Jesus, who was born as an oppressed minority in an occupied land,

Jesus who was an immigrant,

Jesus, who surrounded himself with the poor, the sick, the marginalized and the “untouchables,”

Jesus who was criticized by the religious for hanging out with sinners,

Jesus who treated women with dignity and respect,

Jesus who taught his disciples to love their enemies, to give without expecting anything in return, to overcome evil with love,

Jesus who suffered,

Jesus who wept,

Jesus who - while hanging on a Roman cross - said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Quaker theologian Elton Trueblood put it this way: “The historic Christian doctrine of the divinity of Christ does not simply mean that Jesus is like God. It is far more radical than that. It means that God is like Jesus.”

It means that God suffers, God forgives, God fellowships with the poor, God cares for the sick, God loves His enemies.

Even as a lifelong Christian, I struggle with doubts about God. I struggle to make sense of the violence in the world, the violence in the Bible, the violence in my own heart. I don’t have all the answers.

But even when there’s nothing left to my faith but a little seed of hope, that hope is in the incarnation, in the radical teaching that God loved us enough to become like us, and that when God wanted to show us what he was like, God showed us Jesus.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" and "Evolving in Monkey Town." Evans blogs at rachelheldevans.com, and the views expressed in this column belong to her.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Christmas • Faith • Holidays • Opinion

soundoff (2,872 Responses)
  1. His panic

    Ok people no need to Panic and get into a mall brawl or into an stampede like wild animals, although people do get in stampedes when they Panic. It is quite clear that she was just having a case of seasonal anxiety. It is a by product of shallow and hollow doctrines. Those who really, really Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic!! All others will.

    December 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I don't see anyone panicking here. You, however, seem to be a bit hysterical.

      December 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  2. Austin

    What is interesting and yet disappointing, requires patience. What is see is
    1. that non believers possess the compassion of God,
    2. they see the short coming of religion, which is dead and evil,
    3. they know that not all religion is true.

    what is disappointing is that, you understand how God feels, and you turn the Satanic deceit and false religion on the truth

    can anyone come up with another peaceful Savior aside from Christ?
    It is Christ doctrine that puts violence to the curb,Christ sets you free from personal wrong, Christ supernaturally guides you. It is Christ that covers the entire world, and Christ gives you eternal life.

    December 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "can anyone come up with another peaceful Savior aside from Christ?"

      peaceful? you mean until the end times? your 'peaceful' savior opens his daddy's seven seals, releasing War, Famine, Plague, Death, etc. on the world, killing 2/3 of the earth's people. murdering people because they don't worship you is peaceful?

      King James:
      And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

      swords sound peaceful to you? ruling with a rod of iron sounds peaceful to you? treading the winepress of wrath sounds peaceful to you?

      December 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Austin

        Satan does not sound peaceful, rejecting the savior does not sound peaceful, and justice sounds like a tool for a righteous kingdom. the war on sin, aka, the birth of Christ, is peaceful because it redeems, and sanctifies us from our helpless condition.

        knowing about God is one thing. after that you realize what a battle and difficulty it is to TRUST, in God. Moses was not allowed into the promised land. Every "man of God" had their blatant times of Satanic miscalculation. there is a war within you ,and the God of this world, is a liar, thief, and killer.

        It is very important that you look to the supernatural light for wisdom. It is different than the intellect of your fallen flesh.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          sorry, i don't worship satan either. he's just another part of the christian mythology.

          if you try hard, you may find you can be a good person without believing in an invisible sky fairy. instead of doing good so you can get into heaven, you actually do good just for the sake of doing good. love your brothers and sisters - but don't waste time with ghosts, fairies or deities.

          and there is no such thing as 'sin'. that's a disgusting concept meant to control worshipers through guilt, fear and ignorance - the pillars of religion.

          December 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • sam stone

        sin is a man made concept, austin. it does not exist outside of the minds of believers

        December 27, 2013 at 7:18 am |
    • The Grinch

      And a very Merry Christmas to you too.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and if you're looking for other mythological figures of 'peace', what about Buddha?

      also, check Jainism. they're religion is so peaceful they strive not to kill even a bug.

      there are many more...

      December 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  3. goatmeal

    Exactly.

    December 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    "Jesus who treated women with dignity and respect,"

    guess the author missed Mathew 15:21-28

    21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
    22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
    23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
    24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
    25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
    26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
    27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
    28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

    hmmm... jesus doesn't seem so compa.ssionate in this story. making a woman, who's daughter only you can help, call her entire race "dogs" before you will help is disgusting and inhumane. but of course once jesus hears the woman call herself a dog ready to beg for scraps, he cures the little girl and tells the woman she is worthy. doesn't seem like he treated the woman or her daughter with dignity OR respect.

    December 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • hearties

      A gift from Jesus is worth more than anything, 'cuz it's from Jesus.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        What kind of god refers to someone as a "dog" because of her race? Guy sounds like a bigot.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • hearties

          The master's table would be feeding the dogs anyway with crumbs. The woman had faith that Jesus could help her child, and Jesus healed her. The text is fine, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God, sent by God to die for the sins of others that believe him, repent of their sins, and do the will of God.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • Austin

          @ hearties.........some one hundred, or a thousand

          December 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • doobzz

        Like an abusive husband says he beats his wife for her own good? That kind of "gift"?

        December 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Austin

      this is not true. what is at work in this parable is that Jesus ALLREADY KNEW her heart and faith. and the way Jesus takes this, is a way that He can draw out her faith, which He clearly knew about her.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        He draws out her faith by being demeaning and insulting. Much the same way an abusive spouse draws out love through shame and disrespect.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • Austin

          in nearly every parable Jesus uses symbolic approaches. There are plenty of other items that are not supposed to be taken out of context. The entire bible is just like this. if you compare the israel/dog picture, it conflicts with the outreach of the Savior of "all" mankind.

          December 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Rubbish, an all knowing god could do better, unless Jesus was not all knowing and was not god. Then it makes sense.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Austin

          BATC, The Holy Spirit is the Helper, the Comforter and Healer.
          What this reveals, is that wisdom and obedience is a process, and we all faulter. We all have a lifelong journey and struggle. It does not all come at once as perfection.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          None of that is justification for that behavior, instead it is a rambling rationalization for your supposedly perfect, non-offensive god-man.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • Rev 17

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers, do you think that Jesus was NOT against the Israelites treating others as dogs?
          you are basically insisting that the point He was fighting against was actually what He was carrying out as an insult.

          that kind of seems like deceitful fraud. why don't you try reading in to a bible commentary instead of taking the lesson out of context . it seems that this is a false accusation. that would be telling.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • doobzz

        First of all, this is not a parable. It's a narrative of what supposedly actually happened.

        Second, if Jesus already knew her mind, why was it necessary to humiliate her, marginalize her, demean her and force her to grovel, beg, and call herself a dog, deserving of only scraps from the master? If Jesus is so loving and compassionate, why did he act like such an asshole?

        December 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • doobzz

      I agree. I have no idea why Christians think that this story is so wonderful. Jesus acts like an asshole and a bully.

      I think they've heard the story so many times that they don't really see what it's saying, that Jesus, who had the power to help, first ignores the woman and her child, then calls her and her people a racist slur, and finally, after she kneels and begs and admits she's a dog that only deserves scraps from the master's table, he "graciously" heals the child.

      Kind of like when he went up to a fig tree out of season and killed it because it didn't have any figs on it. Not much of a god if he didn't even know what season it was.

      Or when Abraham told Sarah to lie and say she was his sister (she was, but she was also his wife), and sent her as a gift to two different kings because he was afraid they would kill him for her. Nothing says loving like being whored out by your brother/husband to save his skin.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        well said.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Roger that

      When you're under the spell, even a story like Job appears heartwarming.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • hearties

        Tears of joy.

        December 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • guest

      Yes, it would seem as though Jesus was treating this woman with contempt, but He was trying to teach His disciples a lesson. The Canaanites were old enemies of the Jews and they [Jews] typically treated them with contempt, and this incidence Jesus was acting in the same way His disciples would have acted, but then He showed mercy and compassion to this woman and healed her daughter as an example of how they should act. Jesus had already encountered other none-Jews (the Phoenician widow, the demon processed wild men, and had treated them all with mercy, the Samaritan woman at Jacobs well and He told a parable which included a none-Jew— in the story known as the “Good Samaritan”. In all these incidents Jesus was trying to educate His disciples in tolerance of others.

      December 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Austin

        wow! your voice can go a long way !

        December 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        "Jesus was trying to educate His disciples in tolerance of others."
        +++ there was nothing in that story that said jesus was teaching his disciples tolerance. he said he has only come to help the jews and degraded the woman. he only helped her after she begged and agreed she was from a race of dogs. you're trying to make this look like a nice story, but it's not. jesus was cruel to the woman until she agreed caananites were dogs. if anything, jesus was teaching racial prejudice and bigotry.

        December 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Austin

          common. sarcasm.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          nope. an honest assessment. jesus was a jerk. because he's your 'savior', you don't like to admit it. but he was. he was a racist jerk. deal with it.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "Yes, it would seem as though Jesus was treating this woman with contempt"

        So you imply he didn't treat her with contempt but give no real justification for such poor behavior. Teaching someone "lessons" does not justify insults. He did treat her with contempt until she sufficiently kissed his ass and then and only then, did he help.

        December 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Austin

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers, if there is truth to the idea that sarcasm was used as way to rebuke His disciples,and that the lesson here is not literally the woman, or what He said to her, would you be able to find meaning that Israel idolatrous selfishness was the issue, and not the woman?

          do you think we can find other examples of this in the bible? where it is a riddle? you can take absurd stories from the old testament and draw misguided conclusions because, Israel was seriously misguided, as we all can be, and the selfish idolatry can be gathered only in a mature context.

          December 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • doobzz

        Good grief, that's about the most ridiculous rationalization I've ever heard. Jesus uses racist slurs against a woman and her people and humiliates her by making her kneel and beg and admit that yes, she is indeed from a race of dogs, to teach his disciples how NOT to act?

        What a laughable thing to say. Really, that's just stupid, plain stupid.

        December 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  5. TD

    Nicely written.

    December 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  6. Live4Him

    @sam stone : free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

    Why do you claim this?

    December 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      It feels like groundhog day. That has been answered so many times. And it would be easier for the original commenter if you used the "Reply" link instead of starting a new thread.

      December 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • Augustus Nottingham-Fink

        L4H will explain that she doesn't like to butt in on conversations. L4H doesn't understand that the express purpose of a relply button is for joining the convo.

        L4H rationalizes a lot in this vein.

        December 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Ted

        L4H lacks the fortitude to stay in a thread and see an argument taken to its reasonable conclusion. Religion is for the weak, and he is an especially weak specimen.

        December 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Center for Inquiry: Joy and Goodwill without Religion

      HAPPY NEW YEAR !

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXzLV2OCrt8#t=0

      December 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      Are you being intentionally obtuse?

      Okay, here goes one more time

      if god knows what i am going to do before i do it, and god cannot be wrong, then i have no choice but to do what the OMNISCIENCT god knows what i am going to do

      none of the chritstian bloggers have been able to provide a rational respnse to this. Neither you, nor gopher, nor robert brown, nor larry of arabia, nor ae, nor jw, etc etc etc
      robert brown has run from this
      larry of arabia

      December 26, 2013 at 5:42 am |
      • Austin

        sam , don't be scared. Seek His voice on your own brother! Deep down you desire this.

        December 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • doobzz

          You sound like a date rapist. C'mon, baby, you know you want it.....

          December 26, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  7. JW

    What's the best way to honor Jesus?

    On the last night of his human life, Jesus said: “You are my friends if you do what I am commanding you.” (John 15:14) He also said: “If you love me, you will observe my commandments.” (John 14:15) Clearly, there is no better way to honor Jesus Christ than to learn and follow his teachings.

    December 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Merry Christmas!

      December 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Live4Him

        Interesting: For some reason, the words in the above post are on the 'banned' list. What does CNN have against Merry Christmas?

        December 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Your expression of Merry Christmas shows up just fine, as do mine on other threads. It would appear they are not banned.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @midwest rail : Your expression of Merry Christmas shows up just fine

          Mine has hidden characters in it. When I tried to post it (twice), the first time it wouldn't post and the second declared it a duplicate. The third time, I included the hidden characters. So, CNN is blocking it.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • midwest rail

          I have typed Merry Christmas several times and had no problem. And CNN would not be responsible anyway, WordPress would.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Science Works

          Merry Christmas
          Merry Christmas

          Not a problem L4H

          And by the way Xmas was made a federal holiday in 1870 in the US

          December 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Augustus Nottingham-Fink

          Good old fashion paranoia.

          Merry Christmas.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Can't you see your own comments? They both clearly show what you say is being blocked. As do other comments.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Ginny Bain Allen

      Amen!

      December 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      i twisted up some purple kush and communicated with the spirit

      December 26, 2013 at 5:45 am |
  8. Live4Him

    @tallulah13 : I like my life. It's a good life and it's enough for me.

    If you have lived long enough, you realize that this life we have is a life of hardship. We may pretend that this hardship doesn't exist, but it does. We're always being tested – be it in school, from one's so-called friends (you're not wearing ... ), on these forums, or even in today's video games. Sometimes we pass and sometimes we fail. Why would ANYONE want to be told they 'fail'. We don't. Instead, we ignore the failures and pretend that we only get passing or excellent 'grades' in our tests.

    When we're young, we are constantly sick (this cold, flu or something going around). When we're older, our health beings to fail. Only in the middle can we pretend that all life is good. Of course, in the middle of one's life, they're striving to make a living, build a family, raise that family and save for retirement. And again, all people remember are their victories while they work their life away.

    @tallulah13 : I can see why some people may desire eternal life, but I have no interest.

    Nor do I – at least this life as we know it. However, in heaven, all life's troubles pass away. And that eternal life is worth looking forward toward.

    December 25, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Live4Him

      error: our health begins to fail

      December 25, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm 51 years old and I have worked hard for everything I have. I have been sick and I have been healthy. I have seen amazing things. I have laughed a lot. I have lost loved ones to terrible disease. I have had good times and bad times, I have loved and been loved. I don't need eternal life. I don't want eternal life. This life has been enough. Why is that so hard for christians to understand?

      December 25, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • Live4Him

        @tallulah13 : I don't need eternal life. I don't want eternal life.

        What if you don't have a choice, but only WHERE you spend it?

        December 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I'll worry when you can prove that your hell actually exists.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @tallulah13 : I'll worry when you can prove that your hell actually exists.

          Then you'll have a long time to worry – eternity. After all, the evidence will be irrefutable once Christ returns. And at that point, it is too late to change your mind.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Heard it a thousand times, Live4Him. And it's still not evidence.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Evidence Please

          Don't trouble Christians with that pesky evidence thing. They always come up empty handed on that one. Well, actually, the evidence is against their bible stories, so they try to squelch that side of evidence.

          Love them mustard trees and talking snakes ha!

          December 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • sam stone

          saying it don't mike it so, live4him

          December 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • sam stone

          where would chrstianity be with the empty proxy threats blathered by pious god wannabes like live4him

          meet jeebus halfway,live4him....show a bit of initiative

          or, pull the crucifix out of your rectum

          December 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Joe

          LIve4Him, unless of course the Mormons are right and they baptize me after I die, then I can accept Jesus and get my own planet.

          December 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Ginny Bain Allen

        If you don't want eternal life, you will definitely not get it, for only he/she who seeks it finds it.

        December 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Kev

        So, in order for Christians to understand you, the Christians have to agree with you?

        December 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Commenter

      @Live4Him,
      "However, in heaven, all life's troubles pass away"

      You have no verifiable evidence that any such thing happens - you wish it to be so.

      Besides, that schizo god of the Israelites could cook up some new scheme at any time during "eternity"...

      December 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Eternity: You consist of a finite amount of information. You also must change or there can be no experience of "you". Bits flip. However often that happens and however large the amount of information you consist of, one day there's no you.

      December 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  9. bostontola

    Merry Cristmas people, I hope you all got what you want.

    I especially like the posthumous pardon given to Alan Turing. He was a multidimensional hero of the 20th century that was unjustly persecuted by a Christian government, England.

    He was a genius mathematician that secretly broke the German codes. This changed the course of the war and hastened its end before Hitler completed the atomic bomb. Because of the secrecy, most people were unaware of this, not the government though. Turing also developed some of the most important pure mathematics of the 20th century with his work on decidability and computability. In the process he defined the general computer and ushered in the Information Age.

    You'd think he'd be a household name as a hero of mankind. Unfortunately, he was arrested in 1952. His crime? He was a ho.mose.xual. That was a crime in England. He tried to stop it with drugs. It failed and he killed himself. This is a perfect example of the harm a government with a state religion can do.

    Sad that a great country like England would commit such a crime against humanity, but I am glad they apologized, and finally pardoned him just before Christmas this year.

    December 25, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      They should have given him a posthumous knighthood.

      December 25, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • Doris

        Absolutely.

        December 25, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • bostontola

        I love the idea, but there is no posthumous knighthoods. Maybe they can create a new order for Turing, the Turing Order, for posthumous awards.

        December 25, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • Austin

        i dont want to get involved in every thread, but no one should be throwing stones. God certainly loves him.

        December 25, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Doris

          Your Christian brethren over in Africa disagree with your opinion, Austin. They are still jailing gays.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Indeed. With the encouragement of evangelicals in the US Uganda contemplated making homosexual acts punishable by life imprisonment or death.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Austin

          tom tom, this really is not biblical but true that Satan punishes people through government, He is the accuser. Jesus did not put people in jail. that is different from rejecting the atonement and obeying the Holy Spirit. disobedience is a spiritual misery, and then seperation. you can either be born twice into righteousness, or die and then die again.

          December 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  10. Award Notification Department

    It's time to appease Austin and give him his daily award. The award for the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification. For those who don't know how the method works, it's really quite simple:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YIj4rLYo0c

    December 25, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Award Notification Department : The award for the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification.

      What's the award for the atheists on this forum – The Disparagement In Lieu of Evidence Award

      December 25, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • Billy

        There's nothing wrong with admitting that there are still mysteries to the universe, ScentedTissue4Him.

        December 25, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Billy : There's nothing wrong with admitting that there are still mysteries to the universe

          While claiming to know the final answer? This is plain silly.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • Doris

          @L4H

          What's sillier, L4H? Admitting that one does not know the answer to something based on evidence presented, or assuming the beliefs of others from ancient folklore with regard to magic when there is no evidence of said magic; when no one can demonstrate said magic; when no one can demonstrate an absolute truth from their alleged god without circling back into the man-written source of their belief? Sources of unknown authorship I might add.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Doris : What's sillier, L4H?

          You are a hoot! Your post is so full of non sequiturs! Do you ever try to present a logical argument or do you just post to entertain yourself?

          December 25, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Made sense to me. Try reading it slower.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh you're quite the hoot too, L4H. But prove that any of what I said is wrong.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • sam stone

          you're a fine one to talk about logical arguments, L4H

          December 26, 2013 at 5:48 am |
      • Augustus Nottingham-Fink

        How many times have you won your own award, L4H?

        December 25, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        You do understand that if there were evidence there would not be what you label as disparagement. You claim a god based upon stories that are proven to be incorrect; if there were objective evidence you would be able to produce it. There is no evidence so why are you surprised that it is not a convincing story.

        December 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  11. Francis

    Read the article. Without sounding argumentative, I'll just be a "Christian"...and wish Rachel the very best of the Holidays have to offer.

    December 25, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  12. Apologetic

    I apologize that we do not observe the birth on the proper day and that the observance was changed for man's convenience and ego accomodation. Jesus deserves better.

    December 25, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Registrar

      His fault. He should have left better records.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Austin

        absolutely wrong, the record He offers you is a personal, internal record, the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth of God's word on a persons heart. This is a supernatural seal where He will reveal His presence within you . This is the record that you can be sure of , and share with others. We do not revolve around a God outside of us , but the promise is within you.

        Today.

        December 25, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • Billy

          A supernatural seal, Austin? Who notarized it for "him"? Elmer Fudd?

          December 25, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • sam stone

          the god you revolve around is entirely in your delusional little head

          December 25, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • Austin

          Sam, If you appreciate the life you have, if God is the creator, then you should seek eternal life. I tell you the truth , greater is He, than what spiritual suicide has to offer. and the truth of this CAN TRULY, come to the door of you heart and mind, if you want the real life. and the real truth.

          i am not motivated by religion , but the truth that was supernaturally seeded into my heart and mind. Through the resurrection.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Austin
          "... if God is the creator, ..." is the key. No evidence outside of your head.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Austin

          IN santa we trust, the bible being from old, may not be evidence to your physical demands. furthermore, the Holy Spirit, truly is evidence. and my testimony is true,none the less insufficient for you. But it would not be insuficcient for you, within your own soul. What I have, what I speak of -supernatural evidence, you too can experience. until you do experience what we have, atleast remain as one who should and could.

          Making a decision against God, and not seeking, is your free will, and a huge mistake. today, stay in the neutral, and trust that the only evidence will never be in old physical evidence, and only personal confirmation.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • doris

          Take it to Oprah, Austin. Be sure to let us know what day you'll be doing your demonstration of the proof of the Holy spirit so that we'll know to tune in.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • sam stone

          The mere fact that you feel you have some truth that you preach to others identifies you as a delusional little twit.

          I do not seek ETERNAL life. It would be boring, nothing but praising the celestial pr1ck forEVER

          December 25, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Austin

          the point is also a promise, the He is preparing the heart of those who He knew before the world, written in the book of life.
          The good shepherd will find His sheep. and the promise of proof and evidence, you will only find within you when you seek it . you will NEVER, have intellectual proof of God. NO ONE WILL.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • Austin

          Sam when i was a kid, i used to hear them talk about eternally praising God, and i said the same thing. I was like "oh my gosh that sound so dull, I despise the church songs". but then God showed me something absolutely exciting , He amazes me with His incredible wit and the way He teaches me just floors me.

          and the catch is this, that you will check out of your flesh which is a prison of doubt. you will not have the doubt, and the tired metabolism, or the anxiety. You will be free from what you do not know and understand. and you will have a heavenly proportion of joy, which no one here has.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Billy

          Well that's comforting, Austin, since I don't like to think even the most handicapped among us to have zero intelligence. I mean even a rock has more intelligence than Peter Pan for obvious reasons.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Doris

          I have plenty of joy, Austin. I'll have a lot a bit later with the grand kids. But "heavenly proportion of joy"? LOL. You need to get Gullible's Travels out of your ass and stop thinking from down there.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • sam stone

          austin: free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

          December 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Ginny Bain Allen

          For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day! ~2 Timothy 1:12

          December 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Austin

      not really, because He is not in to the outward ceremonioal rituals at all. what He wants is a daily intimate relationship where you trust Him constantly for the evils surrounding you and your situations. and to get beyond the convenience of life and to live for the gospel reaching every corner of the earth.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Billy

        Goodness, you must do His Hair to know all this, Austin.

        December 25, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • tallulah13

          snerk.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  13. Austin

    I have a supernatura gift of prophetic vision. To all you natualists, I could sit in a room with you, show you my data, which is real evidence, and tear the sin of unbelief up with just my testimony. and then the spiritaul force at hand , your stubborn heart, is the next issue that requires the help of God. You may not get it with a stiff neck.

    I want you to get the help you need, from He who is faithful to forgive ALL men. You are justified if you seed truth in earnest.

    I wish you could accept a persons testimoly for what it is without defaulting to a delusional heart. Stop hurting yourself and those around you and TRUST in the Lord.

    Ezekiel 36:26 ►

    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh

    John 1:12 ►

    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–

    December 25, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think what you possess, Austin, is a chemical imbalance and delusions of grandeur. However, I wish you a happy Christmas.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Austin

        friend, why do you not want eternal life as you stated, if you want life here?

        December 25, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • tallulah13

          I like my life. It's a good life and it's enough for me. I am content with what I have. I can see why some people may desire eternal life, but I have no interest.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • Austin

          really, what you might admit to yourself, is that God may be there, and you don't care. and you should understand what is wrong about that, and really, there is no way out of that fear, because you are His creation. He does love you.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • tallulah13

          I'm sorry, Austin. You can't threaten me into believing in god and wishing for an afterlife. I'm not afraid of death. I'm not ready for it, but I accept that someday I will die, ready or not. And then I will cease to exist and eventually be forgotten. It's all perfectly natural, and there's nothing to fear about it.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Doris

          the God of Israel? from Gullible's Travels? Delusion.
          I would hate to see how long it takes for you to clean out your spam folder, Austin.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • Austin

          my desire is no threat. you are not ready to fully reject God. no one is. there is something bothering you that has a grip on your decisions and i do understand that.

          is there any way that you would agree to atleast be open, to God showing you His presence in love? even if it was supernatural and not acedemic?

          December 25, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Science Works

          Austin just wondering if you took part with Rick Perry (Gov. of Texas) when he was praying for rain ?

          December 25, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • tallulah13

          Austin, I have no idea what you are talking about.

          I am not looking for a god because I don't need a god. I am not a child who needs a supernatural father to take care of me. I am not interested in eternal life. I am not interested in heaven and I am not afraid of hell. I will just live my life until it ends and then I will be dead. And that's how it should be.

          I would believe in god if someone provided irrefutable evidence of the existence of a god. Humans have worshiped literally thousands of gods, and there's not a shred of evidence for any of them, not even your god. Emotional stories and anecdotal evidence don't count. Human emotions are very easy to manipulate and eyewitness accounts notoriously flawed.

          I do not want the same things you want and I am not interested in your god or your sad delusion of prophecy. Sorry.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Austin

          hey friend, i did not hear about that. but we should pray to God about everything, like when you sit and have coffee and talk to your table of friends, we should tend to our relationship with Him, before we do anything else. He is involved in every little detail. and so is the destroyer.

          10As the rain and the snow

          come down from heaven,

          and do not return to it

          without watering the earth

          and making it bud and flourish,

          so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

          11so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

          It will not return to me empty,

          but will accomplish what I desire

          December 25, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Billy

          Oh goodness – we certainly don't want the destroyer. We got a pretty good glimpse of him in Ghostbusters. Not fun!

          December 25, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Austin

          Talalluah, I am concerned for you if you don't mind. the irrefutable evidence you are talking about is available. and matter of fact, it is a divine promise that He will pour out His spirit as the evidence. and He wlll over rule all of your doubt and dependence upon a dead fact in a vial, or a book. The spiritual life that He gives, is glorious compared to your intellectual understanding. he can not go back on His promise , that He will pour out His spirit, if you ask Him to .

          you see, the evidence you are talking about is a dead intellect. The evidence of God that is true, and real, and eternal life, He PERSONALLY DELIVERS. why do sidestep the personal design of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Comforter, The Helper.

          You do not know what evidence is.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • tallulah13

          I'm glad that your special feelings make you happy, Austin. For some that is enough. But emotions are easy - people have made fortunes by manipulating human emotions. Did you know that religious activity can increase endorphins in the brain, creating a sense of euphoria and well-being? Chocolate has the same effect.

          I am an honest person and I was raised to seek the truth. Emotions aren't fact. If I am to believe in any god, then I will need real evidence. So far no one has provided any.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Austin

          Talullah, you are an incredible, special ,compassionate, person. and where ever you may go, I would never want to change who you are. My best wishes for you!

          December 25, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • tallulah13

          You as well, Austin. Happy holidays.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  14. Realist

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    --------------
    ...................................................

    Christianity is built upon a LIE ...

    ................ because ....................

    ..... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he ...

    ............. emanates from the .............

    ...................... http://www.EvilBible.com

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    December 25, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Did you ever see the faces
    Of the children, they get so excited.
    Waking up on Christmas morning
    Hours before the winter sun's ignited.
    They believe in dreams and all they mean,
    Including Heaven's generosity.
    Peeping 'round the door to see what
    Parcels are for free in curiosity.
    And Tommy doesn't know what day it is.
    He doesn't know who Jesus was,
    Or what praying is.

    [CHORUS]

    How can he be saved
    From the eternal grave?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BWiYJ3yykw&w=420&h=315]

    December 25, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Austin

      My nephew is 4 and he knows who Jesus is. and you should hear the questions he asks, and the way the kids sing in choir. your view here is a sick shot , a cheap shot, and spritually criminal satanic assault, on CHILDREN. over what, a little present? the situation , our Creator is REAL.

      Jesus Blesses Little Children
      13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Billy

        Really Austin? Did you tell him the name of Paul's 500 witnesses? Did you tell him the names of the Gospel's authors? Or did you just make something up?

        December 25, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Austin

          you can drive yourself nuts with all types of conspiracy theories can you not?
          I have personal evidence of the living God. He saves in supernatural ways. look in to it with an open heart, and ask Him to show you without a bad att.itude. it was hard for me, because I hated the bible too. Ill pray for you.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Billy

          I don't hate the Bible, Austin. It's quite an interesting set of fable. I just despise people who take it too seriously and then try to tell others how to live.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • sam stone

          austin: and your delusions show you have driven yourself nuts

          December 25, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Austin

          I wish we could have a face to face meeting, because you as.sume that i am a troll sitting back here on a power trip, when really who i am, is someone like Paul. I vandalized a church because i could not stomach Christians employing George Bush, and then after that I started having supernatural visions. if i was there now, i would pull out 20 pages of written dreams, with dates and times, and then i would explain what happened after that. and you could not find a single phd who could argue with the supernatural elements of what unfolded , unless done out of dogmatic unbelief and God rejection.

          Truly, He has done a work in me.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Doris

          And Paul was the Joseph Smith of his day. Another delusional loud mouth.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Austin

          Hitler was more than a loud mouth, and an insult is more than a sentence. its a true reflection. what is loud mouthed about God saving people from the evil that fell upon His creation? shunning such a thing is beyond strange. you can't point your finger at a fallen world and failed people. you have to ask youself, why can I not let God save?

          December 25, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Billy

          If I was divine and saw a little girl being raped, I would intervene. That's the difference between me and your fairy tale God of Israel, Austin.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Austin

          Billy, I think it would be fair for you to ask yourself, why do we die? is eternal life real. Is there really evil?

          I can tell you that in my journey of faith, that God began to show me the supernatural presence of evil, in a graceful act of salvation. And overwhelmingly merciful considering my hatred for the bible. Try asking God to open your spiritual eyes for your desperate need for truth.

          December 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • T'was the Night

        Did you tell your little nephew about baby Jesus's 8 tiny angels : Dasher! and Dancer! , Prancer and Vixen!
        Comet! Cupid! Donner and Blitzen! And the most special angel of all, Rudolph the Red Nosed Cherub?!

        December 25, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  16. timesnlatte

    Evan, thank you for this. I'm getting really sick of not wanting to wish people a Merry Christmas because I'm afraid they will think that I'm one of those awful people. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (a month late) Happy Kwannzaa, Blessed Yule, Happy Festivus: whatever you celebrate, have a great one and all the best in 2014!

    December 25, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  17. JoeCool

    And I want to apologize for people like Rachel who thinks she speaks for all Christians. Christians are flawed like everyone else but we have enough people telling us that (rightly and wrongly) from the non -believing world. I'm getting tired of professing Christians doing the same. You work on your flawed self, I'll work on my flawed self and we'll let the world judge.

    December 25, 2013 at 7:43 am |
  18. From the Moneky Cage

    Happy Holidays

    The honesty of clergy, car salesmen, and politicians

    by Erik Voeten posted on December 25, 2013 04:05AM GMT
    Thanks to PJT for the link!

    Gallup reports that fewer Americans regard the clergy as honest now than at any time since it started asking the question in 1977.

    December 25, 2013 at 5:51 am |
    • In memory of Carlin

      Most people are conditioned to think it comes from only certain sources...salesmen, clergy...not true. It's everywhere, it's rampant. Parents are full of it, teachers are full of it, the entire country is full of it.

      December 25, 2013 at 6:03 am |
      • From the Moneky Cage

        From the Europe side of CNN and the pope is Clergy – no ?

        Pope at Christmas Eve Mass: 'Do not be afraid' – Then they RCC should quite teaching the FEAR of HELL !
        By Catherine E. Shoichet and Erin McLaughlin, CNN
        December 25, 2013 - Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)

        Merry Christmas .

        December 25, 2013 at 6:20 am |
  19. Alex Martin

    She has crazy eyes.

    Many of the fully committed religious people have that affliction. The eyes appear intense but without depth. It's a sort of cultish, robotical, zombie look.

    December 25, 2013 at 4:06 am |
    • You can't stop Stepford

      There is a little room beneath most churches where the silicone chip gets implanted. Think about it...flower print dresses, big floppy hats, a vacant stare and an obsession with pine-cone Jesus. Accident?

      December 25, 2013 at 5:30 am |
  20. Fighter

    We Christians did not start any of the fights involving what you mentioned. The ACLU has been the instigator in most, if not all of them. Do you expect us to just lie down and take their constant berating???? The ACLU is ruining this Country....that is the real issue.

    December 25, 2013 at 3:00 am |
    • lol??

      Nah, they're just piling on and enjoying the blood and guts.

      December 25, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • sam stone

      you poor, poor,persecutority, ed christians.

      someone cannot be elected president without pledging alliegance to your cult

      the vast majority of senators and congressmmen belong to your cult

      there are states where you have to belong to your cult to hold office, or sit on a jury

      the issue is not the aclu, the issue is christians wanting to legislate their religion into our secular laws

      but, by all means, enjoy your persecution complex

      does it make you feel more like jeebus?

      December 25, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      "Do you expect us to just lie down and take their constant berating????"

      'We' don't ... but your book does

      –Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.– Matt 5:10

      December 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.