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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. ben

    Anyone wanna listen to me hate on the god I don't believe in?/???
    It is all I think about.......

    December 24, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      since it's easier to speak of love... I will listen to you love on the God you don't yet believe in 🙂

      December 24, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Ed

      Obvious poe

      December 24, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  2. mzh

    What is 'Merry Christmas' means? What does one means when s/he says it?

    December 24, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • AE

      Mer – refers to a pagan Germania deity
      Ry – refers to the Sun God RyRy, defender of the virgin birth
      Chris – refers to an ancient Greek God
      Tmas -refers to a Celtic tradition of putting holiday lights on trees

      December 24, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  3. Tony Dombrowski

    Thank you, Rachel. Well put!

    December 24, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    You mean to tell me,
    that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
    if I telepathically accept him as my master…
    all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
    to eat from a magical tree?
    Really???

    - Rainer Braendlein

    December 24, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • AE

      A zombie is the the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose,

      A resurrected person like Jesus has been brought back to life.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • Colin

        Well, now that you point that out, it all makes sense...

        December 24, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • AE

          The science fiction fan in me gets annoyed when people butcher the definition of a zombie.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • sam stone

          yet the logical side of you seems to have no issue with the idea of resurrection, among other abusrdities

          December 24, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • AE

          I hope that wasn't the logical side of you that came to that conclusion of me. I wouldn't trust your logic anymore if it was.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Jesus would be considered a lich... but zombie is still funnier...

        December 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  5. Vic

    Merry Christmas's Eve

    December 24, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Vic

      "Merry Christmas' Eve"

      December 24, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • igaftr

        And a Happy Festivus to you.

        December 24, 2013 at 10:54 am |
        • Vic

          Yeah, and my name is George Kostanza, LOL!

          December 24, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Wasn't that Frank not George?

          December 24, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  6. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Merry Solstice Eve!

    December 24, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Gol

      Learn to read a calendar.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      21st

      December 24, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • Gol

        Well, at least that's one person.

        December 24, 2013 at 10:27 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Merry Solstice Eve!

          December 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Irrational Exuberance

    "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."

    Because otherwise he would have been compelled to torture everyone forever in the fires of he-ll. Since saying "I forgive you" is beyond the ability of the Christian god without a blood sacrifice.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      bronze age voodoo

      December 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the pagan Saturnalia festival hoping to recruit the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

    The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

    The New Testament gives NO date or year for Jesus’ birth. The earliest gospel – St. Mark’s, written about 65 CE – begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus. This suggests that the earliest Christians lacked interest in or knowledge of Jesus’ birthdate.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Christianity. Fraud on a grand scale.

      December 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • Cat

        My gosh, are you such a loser that you have to respond to your own posts?

        December 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          more intended as a post script.

          but thanks for the insult. says a lot about you.

          December 24, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Cat

          I'm certain that you would like to imply that it does. Pity it doesn't.

          December 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          look at us. cats and dogs. always fighting.

          December 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Guess what

      "Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity, Saturn, held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23."
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia

      December 24, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • Ivan A. Rogers

        So what is some ignorant pagans of the past glommed onto one of the days in a week and called it Saturnalia? Let us be reminded that it was God who created EVERYTHING including the seven days of a week and , thus, claims them as his own. When Christ came into the world he reclaimed and sanctified everyday of the week and, then, converted the pagans to the extent that hardly anyone in the world today ever heard of the pagan Saturnalia. Meanwhile, Christ and the day Christians have designated to celebrate as the birthday of that One who booted Saturnalia out of memory rules the day called "CHRISTMAS!" Let us hear again the beginning of the end of Saturnalia: "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12 (NIV).

        December 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          your mind has gone.

          December 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Jayne

    Christmas is and always will be a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ child! The gifts that were brought to him signify giving. The lights we use on our houses and trees (the gift of light) signifies Gods light! Though some things have gotten a bit out of hand and God doesn't come first on Christmas for many, we as Christians need to try and put him first! It is so sad to know that there are so many who will turn down the one true gift that God has offered to us all, not just a Christmas gift but a gift for us to receive anytime anywhere. John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son Jesus, that whosoever believith in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." I will pray for everyone this Christmas... The ones who are broken, hurt, poor, rich, happy, loved, and especially for those who are lost! God loves you! He is waiting for you!

    December 24, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Science Works

      And Xmas did not become a federal holiday until 1870 !

      Merry Christmas !

      December 24, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      epic fail.

      December 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I'm not lost, I have GPS on my phone... so piss off

      December 24, 2013 at 9:46 am |
      • Jayne

        God bless you! I will especially keep you in my prayers! Merry Christmas my friend!

        December 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • Jayne

        I have a GPS also my friend... I typed in where I needed to go and yes It did get me lost, but when I prayed to God for help, he brought me right where I needed to go! Prayers are for you to find the destination of your heart that doesn't appear on your GPS! And i wish you a very Merry Christmas! 🙂

        December 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • igaftr

      Just from reading your post Jayne, I count you among the lost.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  10. lol??

    "But even when there’s nothing left to my faith but a little seed of hope,............." the book royalties will keep on keeping on. Hubby is thankful for the motor home for his fishin' trips.

    December 24, 2013 at 7:25 am |
  11. Graham Kraker, Esq.

    I'll give you some seed that will give you hope

    December 24, 2013 at 6:35 am |
    • Graham Kraker, Esq.

      Gobble gobble everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      December 24, 2013 at 6:39 am |
  12. Caleb Boone

    Dear Mrs. Evans:

    I exhort you to absolute unshakeable faith in God's Love, Blessing, Power, Protection, Healing, Prosperity, Peace, Joy and Wisdom in Jesus' Name!

    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from The Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    I wish you a Blessed Christmas!

    Sincerely yours,
    Caleb Boone.

    December 24, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "I exhort you" LOL... that made me laugh...

      December 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  13. Name* William W. Smith

    Thank you for these beautiful words. They are very true, especially the part about Christians (me) complaining about the commercialization of the Advent season. Your words about Christ led me to worship and would have been perfect except for one thing, you left out the most important point, Jesus came as Lord and Savior.

    December 24, 2013 at 4:05 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Jesus allegedly came as Lord and Savior.

      December 24, 2013 at 4:08 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      in the story book, Jesus came as Lord and Savior

      December 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  14. You're almost there

    Rachel, your brain is attempting to reclaim its independence. Being a lifelong christian means a life of thought training. Think back to how you have been taught the same thing week after week. You are obviously a caring, compassionate person therefore it is the story of jesus that you relate to most. You deserve the credit for these good qualities you possess, not jesus. There is a reason for your doubts. That is your thinking, rationalizing, logical, reasoning brain trying to get past the years of training you have had. If you could just listen to it and make the final step. you would struggle no more.

    December 24, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • Bob

      A thinking, rationalizing, logical, and reasoning brain does not lead everyone to your belief system. If it did we wouldn't have any Christian rocket scientists or brain surgeons.

      December 24, 2013 at 2:35 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Unfortunately for individuals, indoctrination from an early age is very hard to grow out of. Of course, this is good news for the cults doing the indoctrination.

        December 24, 2013 at 2:47 am |
        • Bob

          Right. That is why I avoid dangerous cults.

          December 24, 2013 at 2:55 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Every religion but yours is a dangerous cult, huh? LOL... So far this Solstice Eve is turning out to be pretty humorous...

          December 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • Gol

          Pick up a calandar you idiot and stop trying to come off as clever. Solstice Eve indeed.

          December 24, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Piss off... I can call it whatever I want

          December 24, 2013 at 9:57 am |
        • Gol

          Sorry but you may be welcome to your own opinions but not your own facts.

          December 24, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Bob

          No, Lucifer, I didn't say every religion is a dangerous cult but mine. I know you wish I would say that. It would make you so happy! But truth be told I appreciate many different religions. I love Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, athiests, agnonstics, nuns, etc. I have members of my family that I love so much from different faiths............
          So, no, I DONT THINK every religion is a dangerous cult but mine. Whatever reasoning or line of logic you used that failed you in drawing your conclusion about me....that is DANGEROUS.!.!.!.!

          December 24, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • guest

      I’m sorry, but I think you missed the point. When Rachel said: “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.” she was saying what all Christians want to say: it is so awesome to think that God loved us so much He was willing to sacrifice His son to save us from our sins. As humans, it is impossible to fathom such a great love, and we have only our faith to believe this wonderful love.
      How much would you be willing to sacrifice a rebellious criminal? That is just what we all are, rebellious criminals: criminals because we are all guilty of breaking God’s laws. This is a “radical” concept [teaching] because it goes against our sinful carnal nature of the concepts of life, which is: ‘me first’.
      “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 This is the “little seed of hope” that Rachel is referring to; the hope that Christ gave us.

      December 24, 2013 at 4:38 am |
      • Saraswati

        "God loved us so much He was willing to sacrifice His son to save us from our sins"

        How did god "sacrifice" his son? Out of an eternity god's "sone" spent a few decades on earth, 3 or 4 days of which were bad...but no worse than many humans experience. Then he went right back up to heaven. What the heck is this big "sacrifice" you guys go on about? It was a minute spec out of an infinite life.

        December 24, 2013 at 4:49 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          but was it god's son or was it god himself? or was it part of each plus a little bit of holy ghost mixed in?

          who makes this sh1t up?

          December 24, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  15. Colin

    The doctrine of the incarnation demonstrate neatly how purely human and made up Christianity (indeed all religion) is. The idea of Jesus being a god incarnate and part of the three faceted Christian God was by no means settled in the early Christian church. Views ran the full spectrum from Jesus being just a man, to both a man and a god to a pure god, who just seemed to be a man. Adoptionism, for example, was a belief of the early Christians that Jesus was an ordinary man, born of Joseph and Mary, who became the Christ and the Son of God only at his baptism by John the Baptist. On the other hand, Docetism held that he was a god from inception and never really became human. He only appeared to be a human being, almost like a corporeal ghost.

    If you reflect on it for a moment, you can see their dilemma and the reason for the full spectrum of views. The whole idea of combining our notion of a god with a human being in the one personage meant they pretty much had to make it all up. And I mean that in the strict sense of the word. They had to develop the doctrine from scratch. They were cutting new cloth. What does it even mean for a god to “become flesh?” Just how deeply did Jesus get into his role as a human being and how much of his “godliness” did he retain? Did Jesus experience pain and a normal male puberty? Did he mastu.rbate as a teenager? Could he have fathered a child if he wished? At what point in his development as a child did he realize he was a part of the Holy Trinity? I guess modern theologians would be arguing over whether he had normal DNA and electromagnetic activity in his brain. That is the difficulty with incorporating the supernatural into any real life situation. You then have to work out exactly where the real world ends and the supernatural one starts.

    The matter was eventually settled by vote at a series of meetings of early church leaders, the most important of which was the First Council of Nicaea in 325. It was decided that Jesus would be considered both fully man and God, “begotten from, but not created by God the Father and fully man, getting his flesh and human nature from the Virgin Mary.” In other words, they simultaneously answered everything and nothing.

    Think about this for a moment. The matter of Jesus’ incarnation and his exact nature were decided by popular vote. Jesus himself never said anything about it, God never showed up at any ecu.menical council to advise on the matter and, for those who consider it relevant, the Bible is totally silent on the issue. A few dozen pre-Dark Ages theologians made it up.

    This is how all Christian theology develops and evolves. It is all made up. To the extent church theologians “research” an issue, they simply look to the writings of earlier theologians who made something up. To the extent those earlier theologians researched anything, they looked to the writings of even earlier theologians who made something up. But at some point, no matter how far back we go, no matter how many theologians we pass through and no matter how honest, intelligent, pious or well lettered the original propagator of the idea was, at some point it is simply made up. Fabricated, albeit with the best of intentions and with the complete self-confidence that the fabrication is correct.

    Yes, the incarnation of Christ shows neatly how religion is all made up. Mind candy for those too weak to face the uncertainties of life and the certainty of death.

    December 24, 2013 at 2:22 am |
    • Bob

      Your theories and ideas just prove that you think it was all made up by man. But that is what most atheists believe. And so they try to convince others in that theory and idea.
      And here is a guy that posts the same information you do, but draws a different conclusion.
      https://bible.org/seriespage/importance-incarnation
      And I can find all kinds of people armed with the same facts that draw different conclusions.
      Thanks for sharing your opinions on the matter. Thanks for reading mine.

      December 24, 2013 at 2:32 am |
      • HotAirAce

        So opinions are like azzholes – everyone has one and thinks theirs is the most important. Do you have any facts?

        December 24, 2013 at 2:43 am |
        • Bob

          Fact: Religious objects—crosses, Bibles, icons, prayer cards—are among the most common personal items taken into space by NASA astronauts.

          December 24, 2013 at 2:49 am |
        • HotAirAce

          And that proves what? Scientists can compartmentalize the crap their parents forced on them but not escape it totally?

          December 24, 2013 at 2:51 am |
        • Fan2C

          Bob,

          Arthur Conan Doyle (author and medical doctor) believed the Cottingley Fairies photography hoax:

          "Doyle, as a spiritualist, was enthusiastic about the photographs, and interpreted them as clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena."

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottingley_Fairies

          December 24, 2013 at 2:55 am |
        • Bob

          HotAirAce

          You just asked if I know any facts. So I stated one. Faith is a part of NASA history.

          December 24, 2013 at 2:58 am |
        • Bob

          Fan2C

          Yep, that is a fact. I know some atheists that believe some completely illogical and weird things. I've learned that whether one is an atheist or Christian...doesn't really tell me much about their ability to use logic, reason and critical thinking.
          Those labels have failed me.
          Show me! Don't tell me.

          December 24, 2013 at 3:01 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Do you have any facts that support your fantasies!

          December 24, 2013 at 3:52 am |
        • Saraswati

          Historically most astronauts have not been scientists – that is a relatively recent trend. Most originally were pilots and other military personnel, and a fair number are engineers. A growing number are scientists, but usually not particularly high level in their fields.

          December 24, 2013 at 4:44 am |
        • hearties

          It's clear that God created everything scientists are investigating, and God believes himself, so given this, I'll side with the ultimate expert the scientists look up to: God.

          December 24, 2013 at 5:49 am |
        • lol??

          Saraswati sayz,
          "Historically most astronauts have not been scientists.............." Yeah, don't ferget that married schoolteacher that had other women on her mind. Talk about LUVing the other woman!! She dumped her hubby the same year she dumped NASA.

          December 24, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Tonyyyy

      Two quick examples from the Bible for you: In John 8:58, Jesus says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM," clearly referring back to where God said the same thing in Exodus. Also, in Mark 2, Jesus forgives a man's sins. Everyone knew only God could do that, and that's why he does it AFTER he heals the guy.
      Yes, the doctrine of the trinity was worked out later, but that doesn't mean it was simply made up at that time.

      December 24, 2013 at 3:04 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        how do you come up with this stuff?! The mental gymnastics and contortionism you have to perform to somehow link all these things to an imaginary sky fairy without a shred of proof or logic just amazes me.

        December 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • guest

      Colin, you have done an excellent job with this post. You have described very well the difficult decision that every thinking Christian must face.
      When we, Christians, think of the things you described we must then decide to exercise faith to believe in Christ, or exercise what is thought of as “common sense”, and not believe. The doctrine of the “mystery of the nature of Christ” does not make common sense as the world considers “common sense”; that is exactly why it takes faith to believe.
      I choose, by faith, to accept the “mysteries of the love of God”.

      December 24, 2013 at 5:17 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        "faith": believing something without a single shred of proof.

        it amazes me that religious folk see this word as a badge of honor while any logical thinking person sees it as a mark of foolishness or insanity.

        quite a disconnect.

        December 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • #

          Or you know..it's not.

          December 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
        • Irwin

          you are such a goon! Now you think that only Christians have faith? By your definition there are many examples of things that cannot be proven, but people (atheists, agnostics, scientists, even Christians) believe that they are true because of faith.... Science can't prove everything...

          Do you actually believe the junk you write?

          December 24, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • Colin

          Irwin, if science cannot prove, or at least provide a legitimate basis for something, most atheists will not accept it as true. At best, it will be seen as a viable possibility.

          December 24, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • Colin

        Thanks guest. I think you captured it well. All of the supernatural elements of Christianity require faith to believe them. This is problematic for me for a number of reasons.

        First, if a conclusion is based on faith, not evidence, it is most likely wrong. That is the very nature of faith – it is believing in the absence of evidence. Now this remains true no matter how warm, comforting or even admirable the conclusion might be. Once you unhinge yourself from fact based conclusions, you are essentially at the mercy of the four winds as to where your faith leads you. The history books bulge with defeated generals, bankrupt investors and shelved politicians who acted on pure faith that their army, business plan or policy would prevail.

        Second, all religions act on the leap of faith and they are all inconsistent. A Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Christian who makes the leap of faith cannot turn around and claim that the others religions are any less likely true given that they too made exactly the same leap of faith. By this, I mean equally likely in the pure analytical sense, not in any politically correct, “live and let live” sense. All religions are equally likely to be (un)true in so far as they draw conclusions based on faith alone.

        At best, any intellectually honest Christian or Hindu is, at most, an agnostic, because their acceptance of the leap of faith as a legitimate reason to believe something arrives pregnant with the acknowledgement that those who leap in a different direction do so with just as much (or better yet, just as little) justification. In a pitch black room without features, any groping guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees – and just as likely wrong.

        As an atheist, I decry the false, dark comfort of believing on faith alone and turn instead to the penetrating light of science and reason, which has and continues to provide us with every comfort modern man enjoys, including longer life spans in which to indulge our fertile minds in the colorful games of religious fan.tasies.
        .

        December 24, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Merry Christmas

          Doubting Thomas refused to believe until he saw with his own eyes. Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
          John 20:224-29

          December 24, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Merry Christmas

          John 20:24-29, Sorry about the typo in my other post.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • I wonder

          Merry,
          "John 20:24-29,"

          Who wrote that piece? When?

          At any rate, I don't need to be more blessed than this "Thomas" character.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • guest

          Thanks for not being obscenely critical. Being obscene in criticism is so boorish.
          You are not alone in your choice of choosing to be atheist, even though you may not recognize that you have the God given gift of that choice, but you have plenty of company.
          I don’t mean this to be critical, but Buddhism is not a religion. There are many people who make this mistake, but rather Buddhism is a philosophy of, basically: leading a moral life, being more mindful and aware of your thoughts and actions, and to study wisdom with understanding. In other words, treating others and nature with respect. How much better would this world be if all would practice these three things.
          There is no god to be recognized in Buddhism to make it a religion; granted, there are many religious-like practices for some within the philosophy like: long periods of meditation and giving a lot of religious-like (almost worship) respect to Buddha.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Well stated Colin.

      December 24, 2013 at 8:11 am |
  16. 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.

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

    See p. 2 of the comments for added details.

    December 24, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • guest

      I totally agree with you about “Christmas is historically a non-event.”; I don’t believe it should be celebrated because it is pagan. If every pagan custom (by pagan, I mean anything that is not Christian) was taken from the celebration of Christmas there would be nothing left. But, what is: “…for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.” This must be another Catholic celebration I’ve never heard of (the Catholics originated the celebration of Christmas by adopting pagan customs and ‘calling them Christian’ there is nothing in the Bible to support any of the traditional Christmas celebration customs. Christmas may have at one time been a very nice thing, but what Christmas has turned into is surely inspired by Satan.)

      December 24, 2013 at 5:57 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Satan, you mean the 21st century demon of the demented?

        December 24, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  17. Sun-God

    I love when you worship me on Dec 25th...but just dont call me baby Jesus!

    December 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Pagan-God

      No, they stole Christmas from the Pagans, not the Romans. It was around 250 AD when the Sol Invictus is first thought to be celebrated...way after Jesus.

      December 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
      • Jul-God

        Yes! Christians stole Christmas from the Germanic pagans.

        December 23, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
        • Celt-God

          NO! IT WAS THE CELTS, YOU DELUSIONAL WIND BAG!!!!

          December 23, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
        • Santa

          Guys, guys, guys. It is ok. You can believe the Christians stole Christmas from whoever you want. In Hawaii they believe Christians stole Christmas from the Kapu. In Africa, some believe Christians stole Christmas from the witch doctors.
          The only thing important to tell yourself is that Christians stole the holiday from someone else, and you are a better person for believing that. HO HO HO! Happy Holidays!

          December 23, 2013 at 11:44 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.