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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. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Krishna was incarnate to be our friend. Jesus was incarnate apparently just to show us how it's done. Both are imaginary, but if they weren't I'd prefer to spend time with a friend.

    If God is keen on having a relationship with us and if God could become like us, why not remain so? In its normal God state, as we are often reminded when we point out to believers its strange and inconsistent attributes , its ways are not our ways. Everything that is not explainable is a mystery. Not the stuff of a healthy relationship.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Austin

      Tom tom, i should not have to tell you every single dream i have that keeps coming true. dreams from eight years ago, about three of them have come true in the last month.

      there are certain things that are absolutely set in stone. and The Holy Spirit, and the faith that HE gives, is one of these supernatural truths about our exhistence. I wish i could stand before you and give you my testimony and show you the materials that I have gathered as evidence of the gift that for some reason I have, but you can read about it in the bible. Seach for God using the mediator that is available.

      December 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  2. Robert Raulerson

    It isn't true that all of J's disciples ran off and left him. I don't know why people keep saying that. It clearly states that 'the disciple that Jesus loved' was there with the two Marys. I've also wondered what was so special about this disciple.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • AE

      Can you post the verses that state that?

      After his resurrection, Jesus first appeared Mary Magdalene not Peter, according to the Gospel of John.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+20:11-18

      December 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        The disciple Jesus loved is usually thought to be John.

        December 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • AE

          Correct. But is John there with the women?

          December 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Perhaps RR is thinking of John 19.

          December 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
        • AE

          Ok, John was there, but left before the burial. The women were there to prepare Jesus' body.

          But other disciples, like Peter, showed great doubt in Jesus. But not all did to that extent.

          December 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  3. Big Mike Lewis

    Must be Christmas. All the celebrity pastors and pastrixes are carting out the "I'm-sorry-for-Christians-with-convictions-and-who-believe-the-Bible" posts for the non-Christians who don't read these blogs in an effort to try to shame Christians who are doing their best to live out the Bible and to go and make disciples and to tell the good news of Jesus' death on the cross for our sins.

    December 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Michelle

      My thoughts, exactly.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  4. Happy monkey

    Actually the very first picture is one I find more spiritual and uplifting than all of belief blog. I think we should spend more time giving gifts, attention and comfort to animals remembering that they experience joy and pain too. I love the chimp and his gift he is beautiful!

    December 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  5. tony

    God is like Jesus –

    There you have it. Man made god in his image, becasue that's the way man wants an imagined god to be..

    December 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • AE

      Jesus really isn't like any God that man has ever imagined, in my opinion.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • myrtlemaylee

      In all fairness humans have tried worshiping golden calves, trees, herbs etc. but that didn't work out well either. Seems like a human model, in the incarnation of Jesus, is the best for me.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  6. hearties

    I personally am not sorry if someone is offended that I believe Jesus. I think he's the best and I'm proud of Jesus and what he did for others. If others don't like Jesus, or don't like that a holiday was named after his birth, that is their problem to resolve, with Jesus. If they don't like me loving Jesus, that again is their problem. I won't apologize for Jesus, or my loving him and needing him.

    December 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Hate the belief, not the believer" – That's my motto.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Ryan

      No one is offended that you believe in Jesus. People get offended that people fail to recognize that there are other religious holidays this time of year.

      As an atheist, I couldn't care less if someone says "Merry Christmas!" to me. Most atheists don't care about that either. What we get irritated about is how pushy some Christians are, trying to force your beliefs down others throats. If people would stop doing that then there wouldn't be an issue.

      December 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      No one is offended that you believe in Jesus.

      Some people are offended – including many Christians, if you use this fact as a weapon, to assault people who have different beliefs. That is what this article is about, those Christians who use Christmas as a weapon.

      December 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  7. myrtlemaylee

    Well, I would phrase it a little differently. I would say that Jesus manifested God on EARTH – in this three dimensional, finite, human environment. But I get your drift.

    December 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  8. HotAirAce

    Jesus (alleged but unproven god) allegedly said . . .

    December 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  9. Head scratcher

    I would like to apologize for whatever group you don't like. I'm not part of a group other than the human race so I'm sure if you make your focus large enough I would then be qualified to apologize for whatever it was someone else did.

    So whatever "they" did, I apologize for it.

    I wasn't there, I don't know what it is, I wasn't involved but they are human and so I must be at fault by association.

    December 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  10. hearties

    "Even as a lifelong Christian, I struggle with doubts about God."

    Someday there should be an article from someone with no doubt about God, like they have in the bible.

    December 23, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • MR

      If you never have doubts, you aren't human. Even Jesus doubted.

      December 23, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
      • hearties

        The gospel authors were fishermen, common people that knew Jesus is the Son of God. They witnessed Jesus teaching, healing others, forgiving sins, doing miracles of God, and saw him die for the sins of others. Read the New Testament, it's the good news of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

        December 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Maybe this god bothered to produce some actual evidence in the last 2000 years a few people would feel confident in their beliefs. Until then the world is made up of the skeptical, the insane, and those skeptics who pretend to be as sure as the insane to impress their friends.

          December 23, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
        • hearties

          God's witnesses convinced me. Without them over the last 2000 years, I never would have known.

          The news recently said DNA has 2 different languages going on at the same time within it. The choice then becomes 'nothing' being very intelligent, creative, powerful, while still being able to do nothing at all... or a lot of witnesses agreeing that Jesus died for our sins. I'll take Jesus and everything he offers, all of it. You can have nothing.

          December 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
        • doobzz

          "The news recently said DNA has 2 different languages going on at the same time within it. The choice then becomes 'nothing' being very intelligent, creative, powerful, while still being able to do nothing at all... or a lot of witnesses agreeing that Jesus died for our sins. I'll take Jesus and everything he offers, all of it. You can have nothing"

          "The genetic code uses a 64-letter alphabet called codons. (The University of Washington scientists) discovered that some codons, which they called duons, can have two meanings, one related to protein sequence, and one related to gene control."

          http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/12/12/scientists-discover-double-meaning-in-genetic-code/

          So how did you come up with your conclusion that this discovery has anything to do with Jesus?

          December 23, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
        • hearties

          "So how did you come up with your conclusion that this discovery has anything to do with Jesus?"

          There are only two choices:

          1. Forced teaching of evolution in the classrooms, where only "nothing" is allowed to be the creator.
          2. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of God, where only God is the creator and all his witnesses testify he is God.

          As often as I have the opportunity to do so, thank you Jesus.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • doobzz

          You posted a bit about a recent scientific discovery regarding DNA sequencing and coding. How do you draw the conclusion that this is about Jesus?

          December 24, 2013 at 12:16 am |
        • hearties

          Those are the only two choices. You pick which ever you prefer.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:31 am |
        • doobzz

          I'm still not understanding how you relate that to the DNA coding.

          December 24, 2013 at 1:40 am |
        • Damocles

          I'm always puzzled by this:

          Something can't come from nothing.
          Ok, where did this deity come from?
          Oh, it's always existed.
          Can't the universe have always existed then?
          No.

          Essentially, what you are doing is taking what you see as an impossibility and adding another impossibility onto that and saying that it now makes sense. If there was nothing, that means nothing... no matter, no particles, no deities and no way to make any of them. You can't say 'in the beginning there was nothing, yet somehow my deity made something from nothing even though we try to tell people that subscibe to the BB theory that, indeed, you can't have something from nothing'.

          Those are not the only two choices. If you are going to bring a supernatural explanation into it, then any supernatural event is just as likely a candidate. Your supernatural device deserves no more, or less, consideration than, say, Reorx, creator deity of the dwarves.

          December 24, 2013 at 1:53 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Damocles. you simply don't get it. Believers are allowed to make up illogical bullsh!t, but atheists are not allowed to ask questions that believers should be able to answer..

          December 24, 2013 at 2:03 am |
        • Damocles

          Oh, I know, but for some reason I keep thinking.... some day.... ah well.

          December 24, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • AE

      There is a lot of doubt recorded in the Bible. Read the Psalms, for instance.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • hearties

        When did Jesus tell them, "your doubt has made you whole?"

        December 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • AE

          After Jesus was crucified ALL his disciples abandoned Him. They didn't seem to trust anything He said. The only people that stayed devoted to him were his mother and a former prost.itute.

          Yet, he still loved those disciples. Even when they doubted Him. He called Peter his rock. Even after predicting Peter would deny Jesus 3 times. And even after Peter totally denied Jesus 3 times.

          December 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • hearties

          I think the apostles ran off due to fear of excruciating pain and death if they stayed with Jesus at the time he was captured. Jesus himself sweat blood knowing what he'd be going through, being beaten to near death and then nailed to a cross to die, for others. The gospel authors had seen miracles of God and knew God is there. The articles here though, are not gospel like, in being filled with doubt and atheistic concepts and claims.

          December 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • AE

          Good point. A lot of Jesus' messages had to do with trust. As in people, like his disciples, don't have enough faith. Even after seeing miracles, amazing enough, his disciples still expressed doubts.

          December 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  11. Alias

    Rachel,
    I don't know who you're related to, but they must have connections at CNN.
    Everything of yours I have ever read has been shallow and simplistic.
    I think we would all be better off if you would find a 12 year old audience and writing here.

    December 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • theirishatheist

      Considering your last sentence isn't actually a complete sentence, you're certainly one to talk.

      December 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  12. Ponyboy Garfunkel

    I remember watching a nature show where this herd of gazelle-like creatures wanted to cross a river. Enormous crocodiles lay waiting. The thrashing, rolling and bleating made me shudder. So brutal. But I can’t really blame the crocs.

    Now had I designed thimgs, I would have set it so that crocodiles thrived on gazelle feces. That way, those crocs would have been really nice to those gazelles.

    If we have a creator, I think he may be nuts.

    December 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  13. AE

    "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."

    Most Christian friends I know admit this, too. My pastor made it very clear to me that she didn't have all the answers. Because I asked a lot of questions when looking into different belief systems and finding one that worked for me. And her honesty meant a lot to me. Some places didn't have anyone willing or able to sit down and talk with me.

    Thanks, Rachel. I really appreciate this piece.

    December 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • niknak

      Why do you need to have some grand answer to life AE?
      What is wrong with just being a good person and saying, "We just don't know, yet, how it all started."
      Why do you have to have some god(s) in the equation to live your life?

      Trust facts and what can be proven by them.
      Ditch the myth.

      December 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
      • AE

        –Why do you need to have some grand answer to life AE?

        I never said I did. I was looking for meaning and purpose in mine. I had been diagnosed with a crummy disease and was depressed and searching for something more.

        –What is wrong with just being a good person and saying, "We just don't know, yet, how it all started."

        I do say that. I don't think that makes me good though. I try to be a good person. I generally think most people do.

        –Why do you have to have some god(s) in the equation to live your life?

        It works for me. I trust you do what works best for you.

        –Trust facts and what can be proven by them.
        –Ditch the myth.

        That is why I follow Jesus Christ. Because of what has been proven to me.

        Can you demonstrate how to be a good person to me? Not just talk about it, but demonstrate it? That is what I look for in people. I have trouble demonstrating it at times.

        December 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  14. Reality # 2

    Rachel, Rachel, Rachel,

    Time for some interesting information from those who have studied your Jesus with 21st century rigorous historic testing. Said conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence.

    Some of the results:

    Professor Gerd Ludemann notes the following:
    p. 416, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years,

    "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "
    See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

    As per most contemporary NT scholars, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

    http:// http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing/talking from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    "Mark's gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the event.

    And again from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, "The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the birth of Jesus is virtually nil.

    Matt 1:18-25: , pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

    "Lüdemann [pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception. "

    Then there are these additional conclusions:

    Professor Bruce Chilton

    "In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

    Professor John Dominic Crossan

    "In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.

    "In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

    I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "

    "The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:

    Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
    Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
    Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
    Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"

    And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:

    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva”

    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

    Conclusion: Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

    December 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • hearties

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      Anyone opening the gospel of John and actually reading it, will find the historical Jesus. As to whether or not they will believe him, that is up to God.

      December 23, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Again, see also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html .

        December 24, 2013 at 12:09 am |
      • hearties

        Your claim is that we should reject an eye witness account given in John's gospel and instead believe someone present day, not there at the time, that doesn't know Jesus is who he said he is, as stated by John.

        John was correct in what he said. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Son of God.

        December 24, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • Reality # 2

          John the author of John's gospel was not the apostle John and also was not an eye-witness of the life of Jesus. Might want to review http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html .

          December 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Hmmm, let us see what some of the experts (NT, historical Jesus exegetes) have to say about the "Son of God/the Father references in the NT:

          Matt 7:21
          “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

          Not said by the historical Jesus, but more embellishment my Matthew. http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb111.html

          Matt 9:6 Passage notes "Son of Man" not Son of God.

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb127.html
          Matt 10:32-33, ""Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; /33/ but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven"

          "Ludemann [Jesus, 344] states " this is a prophetic admonition from the post-Easter community. For it, Jesus and the Son of man were 'identical in the future: Jesus will return in the near future as the Son of man with the clouds of heaven. In his earthly life he was not yet the Son of man, since he will come to judgment only with the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7.13f) at the end of days' (Haenchen)."

          Matt 11:27 "All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb045.html
          "Lüdemann [Jesus, 330f] invokes the classic description from K. Hase of this passage as a "thunderbolt from the Johannine heavens." He notes the typically Johannine reference to mutual knowledge between Father and Son, and the absolute use of "Son" as a designation for Jesus. In dismissing the saying's authenticity, Luedemann also notes the similarity to ideas in the post-Easter commissioning scene at Matt 28:18, "All authority has been given to me ..."

          Matt 1:20- 225 (another "pretty, wingie thingie requirement)

          20/ But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. /21/ She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." /22/ All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: /23/ "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." /24/ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, /25/ but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus."

          "Bruce Chilton

          In Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circ-umstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural paternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest. "

          Mark 1: 11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

          http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb058.html
          "Gerd Lüdemann

          Lüdemann [Jesus, 9] affirms the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John, but does not trace the theological interpretations back beyond the post-Easter community:

          ... Jesus did not regard his baptism as appointment to be the son of God. The underlying concept derives from the community, which believed in Jesus as the son of God (cf. Gal. 2.16; 4.4) and located his appointment within his lifetime. In the earliest period, for example, the appointment of Jesus as son of God came only after his resurrection from the dead (cf. Rom. 1.4).

          "John P. Meier – Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame:

          The second volume of A Marginal Jew devotes considerable space to a study of John as "mentor" to Jesus. The historicity of the baptism is addressed on pages 100-105, before considering the meaning of Jesus' baptism on pages 106-116. On the basis of the criterion of embarrassment, supported by a limited proposal for multiple attestation (relying on possible echoes of a Q version in John's Gospel and in 1 John 5:6), Meier concludes:

          We may thus take the baptism of Jesus by John as the firm historical starting point for any treatment of Jesus' public ministry. (II,105)
          Having established the historicity of the baptism event, Meier is adamant that the narrative must be seen as a Christian midrash, drawing on various OT themes to assert the primacy of Jesus over John. In particular, Meier insists that the theophany must be excluded from all attempts to understand the event, since it is a later Christian invention rather than a surviving memory of some actual spiritual experience of Jesus.

          Meier's discussion of the meaning of the baptism puts great weight on the fact that accepting baptism implied Jesus' agreement with John's apocalyptic message, and also engages at length with the question of Jesus' sinlessness."

          December 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  15. Rachel

    Rachel Held Evans wants to apologize for all the Christians who aren't like her.

    December 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, she does. Perhaps because they are unwilling to do so themselves.

      December 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Shaweet

      She's apologizing for the ninnies at Fox News for coining the phrase "War on Christmas" and acting in a decidedly unChrist-like manner.

      December 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
      • Frank

        i want to apologize for the American Atheists for also participating on Fox News "War on Christmas". I think they did it just so they could get on tv. Sheesh.

        December 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  16. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Dear Rachel,

    you have part of a sentence backwards, it should be:

    "about complaining when clerks say,“Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas,”

    December 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Akira

      Heard some woman snap at a librarian the other day for saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".
      The librarian replied "Peace be with you". The woman at least had the good grace to look ashamed.

      December 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • G to the T

        For me it comes down to "inclusive" versus "exclusive". Happy Holidays is inclusive, Merry Christmas is exclusive.

        December 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  17. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    What difference is there between the Corporations raking in the profits during Christmas and the money changers on the steps of the temple selling animals for sacrafice? I'm sure the Christ of the bible would feel about the same towards them no doubt...

    December 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  18. Answer

    Let me ask you believers one other question; of simple possibility.

    If one god can exist, is it possible for two, or even more to exist? << - the most simple question for you.

    Let your explanations come out in text.

    December 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • MrMightyHigh

      Answer, what is your definition of a god?
      I suspect that your definition of a god is not what God is. So there's the answer to your question.

      December 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • G to the T

        I would be willing to bet your definition is probably lacking as well...

        December 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Answer

      Go ask yourself what do you want to do with your god?

      Start from there. I don't care what people want as a definition. I can research the various "god" definitions til I die.
      It won't matter. Because this "thing" is a topic because we humans, have always been afraid of death.

      I find comfort in not knowing. All I do know is that I will die. But I'll enjoy my life along the way, and bugging the hell out of religious people who think they are a know-it-all about where you end up when you're dead is fun.

      December 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        I don't believe in any one god or the whole concept, but I do believe that all matter and energy is connected in one large, multi-dimensional geometry that continually recycles itself through all possible patterns and energies. Consciousness and humanity and all things are a part of that dynamic structure.

        December 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • niknak

          Just like we ask the believers to provide some proof of their beliefs, I will ask you for the same.
          Without any proof, your above hypothesis is just speculation on your part, and NOT true.

          December 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • MrMightyHigh

          Cpt Obvious, so then you not only reject God, you also reject science and logic?

          December 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • l33ter

          You claim religious folk are out of touch with reality?

          You just described the Matrix.

          January 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
      • Kev

        What do mean "want to do"?

        December 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    If God is powerful enough to create the universe, don't you think he'd have a more foolproof way of getting his exact message across to future generations than this endlessly translated, edited, confused, modified, twisted, corrupted book of stories that is changed by religious power brokers to suit each generation?

    Wouldn't god's word be carved on the moon, unchangeable and for all to see? Wouldn't it be spoken unchanged by a species of animal? Wouldn't it be written microscopically on every stone or every tree? Wouldn't there be some space age material that had god's voice recorded, uncorrupted over the centuries and there for everyone to hear.

    Wouldn't there be parts of God's word that reflect computers or artificial intelligence or DNA or modern medicine or future medicine or electricity or space travel to other parts of this amazing universe he created? Wouldn't there be talk of gender and race equality? Wouldn't there be talk of Asia and Australia and the Americas and Europe and Africa?

    Instead the bible is limited to horses and carts and herbs and grain and swords and shields and misogyny and racism and slavery all set in the deserts of the middle east. The Bible is so obviously a product of bronze age man, you must be in denial to even argue that it is the word of god. There may or may not be a god or gods, but this book of bronze age voodoo and oppression has nothing to do with him, her or them.

    And stop it with this "not the word of god but words inspired by god" cop out. That just means it was written by greedy, evil men who got their way by claiming that god told them to do something. That's a self serving scam that should be scorned, especially by anyone claiming to love an omnipotent god. That scam is an abomination and an insult to your god ... as is the bible!

    December 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Kev

      Would you even bother to create us?

      December 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • myrtlemaylee

      God's words ARE written everywhere you've listed, but apparently if you don't see English text you don't recognize them.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • Shameus

        " you think he'd have a more foolproof way of getting his exact message across"

        December 24, 2013 at 5:53 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.