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March 15th, 2014
11:23 AM ET

Five things you didn't know about Jesus

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, special to CNN

(CNN) - With Easter approaching, and the movie “Son of God” playing in wide release, you’re going to hear a lot about Jesus these days.

You may hear revelations from new books that purport to tell the “real story” about Jesus, opinions from friends who have discovered a “secret” on the Web about the son of God, and airtight arguments from co-workers who can prove he never existed.

Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years.

Still, even for devout Christian there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, and thanks to advances in historical research and archaeological discoveries, more is known about his life and times.

With that in mind, here are five things you probably didn't know about Jesus.

1.) Jesus came from a nowhere little town.

Nearly all modern-day archaeologists agree the town of Nazareth had only 200 to 400 people. Jesus’ hometown is mentioned nowhere in either the Old Testament or the Talmud, which notes dozens of other towns in the area.

In fact, in the New Testament it is literally a joke.

In the Gospel of John, when a man named Nathanael hears the messiah is “Jesus of Nazareth,” he asks, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” He’s dissing Jesus’ crummy backwater town.

2.) Jesus probably didn’t know everything.

This is a thorny theological question. If Jesus is divine, wouldn’t he know all things? (Indeed, on several occasions Jesus predicts his death and resurrection.)

On the other hand, if he had a human consciousness, he needed to be taught something before he could know it. The Gospel of Luke says that when Jesus was a young man he “progressed” in wisdom. That means he learned things. (Otherwise how would he “progress”?)

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus initially refuses to heal the daughter of a non-Jewish woman, saying rather sharply, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

But when she replies that even the dogs get the crumbs from the table, Jesus softens, and he heals her daughter. He seems to be learning that his ministry extends beyond the Jewish people.

3.) Jesus was tough.

From age 12 to 30, Jesus worked in Nazareth as a carpenter. “Is not this the carpenter?” say the astonished crowds when he begins to preach.

The word used for Jesus’ profession in the original Greek is tekton. The traditional translation is “carpenter.” But most contemporary scholars say it’s more likely a general craftsman; some even translate it as “day laborer.”

A tekton would have made doors, tables, lamp stands and plows. But he probably also built stone walls and helped with house construction.

It was tough work that meant lugging tools, wood and stones all over Galilee. Jesus doesn’t simply stride onto the world stage after having dreamily examined a piece of wood when the mood suited him. For 18 years, he worked—and worked hard.

4.) Jesus needed “me time.”

The Gospels frequently speak of Jesus’ need to “withdraw” from the crowds, and even his disciples.

Today by the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus carried out much of his ministry, you can see how close the towns were, and how natural it would have been for the enthusiastic crowds to “press” in on him, as the Gospels describe.

There’s even a cave on the shoreline, not far from Capernaum, his base of operations, where he may have prayed.

It’s called the “Eremos Cave,” from the word for “desolate” or “solitary,” from which we get the word “hermit.” Even though Jesus was the son of God, he needed time alone in prayer with the father.

5.) Jesus didn’t want to die.

As he approaches his death, and prays hard in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus says, “Remove this cup.” It’s a blunt prayer addressed to the father, whom he affectionately calls Abba. He doesn’t want to die.

Unlike the way some Christians portray Jesus as courting death, and even desiring it, like any human being, the idea of death is terrifying. “My soul is sorrowful even unto death,” he says.

In other words, “I’m so sad that it feels like I’m going to die.” But once Jesus realizes that this is somehow the will of the father, he assents to death, even on a cross.

It’s natural to want to know as much as we can about Jesus; that’s one reason I wrote my new book. But beware of the more outlandish claims about the son of God (he fathered children, he was married to Mary Magdalene, he spent time in India and so on.)

Many of these claims tend to project our own desires on a man who will always remain somewhat elusive, hard to fully understand and impossible to pin down.

In the end, as theologians like to say, Jesus is not so much a problem to be solved as a mystery to be pondered.

The Rev. James Martin is a Jesuit priest, editor of America magazine and author of the new book "Jesus: A Pilgrimage" (HarperOne). The views expressed in this column belong to Martin. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Easter • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (3,128 Responses)
  1. kevinite

    3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

    (John 17:3 KJV)

    March 17, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
    • Reality

      "Anyone looking for the historic Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John " – Jesus After 2000 Years by Professor Gerd Ludemann

      March 18, 2014 at 6:45 am |
  2. wilburw7

    Being an atheist before you die is easy. Afterwards? No so much.

    March 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
    • observer

      You are certainly welcome to your OPINION.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Explain the scenario that being an atheist would be easy after you die?

        March 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          Same as before you were conceived.

          Was that period tough on you?

          March 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          Did We fail in the first creation? But they are in confusion over a new creation. (15) And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein (16) Quran Chapter 50

          Mention of Jugular vein in this verse is interesting by the way.. Turns out that that is one vein that if it were cut, a human doesn't stand a chance of survival unless detected in seconds!

          March 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          To Him is your return all together. [It is] the promise of Allah [which is] truth. Indeed, He begins the [process of] creation and then repeats it that He may reward those who have believed and done righteous deeds, in justice. But those who disbelieved will have a drink of scalding water and a painful punishment for what they used to deny. (4) It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know (5) Indeed, in the alternation of the night and the day and [in] what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth are signs for a people who fear Allah (6)

          Quran Chapter 10..

          March 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
        • wilburw7

          I don't know but the conceiving part was unpleasant according to my mom.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          Your father might have a different story.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:09 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I don't know but the conceiving part was unpleasant according to my mom."

          That explains a lot.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          The following versus are for those who reason and ponder about the examples and parables stricken in the Quran (Chapter 27). This is a followup to comment made by observer on his/her perception of what happens after death (answer was same as when he/she was conceived). Please take the time and read this and contemplate upon the verses – surely they don't contradict your logic nor do they ask you to think out of the ordinary.
          Is He [not best] who begins creation and then repeats it and who provides for you from the heaven and earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful." (64) Say, "None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected." (65)

          March 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          Rather, their knowledge is arrested concerning the Hereafter. Rather, they are in doubt about it. Rather, they are, concerning it, blind. (66) And those who disbelieve say, "When we have become dust as well as our forefathers, will we indeed be brought out [of the graves]? (67) We have been promised this, we and our forefathers, before. This is not but legends of the former peoples." (68) Say, [O Muhammad], "Travel through the land and observe how was the end of the criminals." (69)

          March 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          And grieve not over them or be in distress from what they conspire. (70) And they say, "When is [the fulfillment of] this promise, if you should be truthful?" (71) Say, "Perhaps it is close behind you – some of that for which you are impatient. (72)

          March 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          And indeed, your Lord knows what their che-s-ts conceal and what they declare. (74) And there is nothing concealed within the heaven and the earth except that it is in a clear Register. (75) Indeed, this Qur'an relates to the Children of Isra-el most of that over which they disagree. (76)

          March 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          And indeed, your Lord is f-u-l-l of b-o-u-n-t-y for the people, but most of them do not s-h-o-w g-r-a-t-i-t-u-d-e. (73)

          March 18, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
    • LinCA

      @wilburw7

      You said, "Being an atheist before you die is easy."
      Actually, being an atheist in most countries is no picnic.

      You said, "Afterwards? No so much."
      Do you really think you will be better off when you have to explain to Odin why you worshiped the wrong god? Atheists at the very least have the only rational position at their side.

      March 18, 2014 at 12:42 am |
      • wilburw7

        You forgot about something. You are guilty. You have not really considered that the Bible could be right. If it is correct then you are doomed. It is not more rational to take the least possible reward with highest possible risk when you could take the highest possible gain with the least amount of risk: Pascal's wager.

        March 18, 2014 at 1:40 am |
        • doobzz

          ROFLMAO!

          March 18, 2014 at 1:56 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Silly boy...such a weak mind you have!!

          March 18, 2014 at 5:34 am |
        • LinCA

          @wilburw7

          You said, "You forgot about something. You are guilty."
          Guilty of what? Using my mind, evaluating the available evidence and reaching the only logical conclusion? I'll take that charge. At least I won't be guilty of willful ignorance.

          You said, "You have not really considered that the Bible could be right."
          I did consider that it could be right, and rejected that notion. Not just as unlikely, but as complete and abject nonsense. It is ridiculous beyond compare to believe it is correct.

          It is completely ludicrous that there are still adults in 2014 that believe such ancient bullshit. It is a truly sad commentary on the cognitive abilities of the vast majority of people that they are unable or unwilling to shed their infantile superstitions.

          You said, "If it is correct then you are doomed."
          True. But even if it is correct and I'm doomed, it means that your god is truly an evil monster beyond compare. If your god actually exists and condemns me to an eternity of suffering for drawing the only logical conclusion based on all evidence available to me, then it doesn't deserve worship. In that case it deserves contempt.

          If your god truly exists and even remotely resembles what you believe it to be, I will gladly give it the finger when I meet it. I will gladly spend an eternity in hell over having to spend a day with that monster and its followers. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

          You said, "It is not more rational to take the least possible reward with highest possible risk when you could take the highest possible gain with the least amount of risk: Pascal's wager."
          You clearly are clueless about what Pascal's Wager means.

          Based on all available evidence, the odds that there are gods, especially ones that would give a shit about us, are negligible. Since there is no evidence, there is no way to know whether any description ever made is anywhere close. Even if, and that's a very, very big "if", there are such creatures, and one of the thousands of gods invented by man is correct, the odds that you picked the right one are minuscule.

          If any of the other gods are real, you are fucked, and you don't even have the excuse of having followed all available evidence. I, on the other hand, am only in trouble if I happen to run into an unjust god (like yours). But in that case I wouldn't want to spend eternity with it anyway.

          You are wasting the only life you have on your knees in fear, worshiping a monster. That is a steep price to pay for a non-existing return.

          March 18, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • sam stone

          And you apparently have not considered the possibility that you could be wrong, wilburrrrr

          March 18, 2014 at 11:43 am |
  3. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    Hmmm...In one post you say

    "That is why we're called to demonstrate the kingdom to the nations."

    and then in the next you say

    "the "claims" you can demonstrate for yourself, to prove to yourself. I'm not here to convince you..."

    Typical..

    March 17, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
  4. new-man

    1. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of God.
    2. This gospel of the kingdom was the subject of most of His parables.
    3. The kingdom of God is a literal (one world ruling) government.
    4. Jesus was born to be a King.
    5. The kingdom is our inheritance. It is Father's delight to give us the kingdom.
    6. When you are born-again, you are born into the kingdom. (b/c flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom)
    7. The gospel is not just for mankind; it is for the entire creation (look around, even right now creation is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God).
    8. Only when we know our true identi.ty as joint heirs with Christ Jesus will we come into our inheritance of being "destined to reign"
    9. "Your Daddy/Abba/Father is in charge of the universe."
    10. Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, And nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the Lord your God, And the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” Is55:5

    March 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • magicpanties

      Jesus is as real as my invisible pink unicorn.
      Get a clue.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
      • new-man

        🙂
        I actually have a clue for you. When one chooses to pervert the truth they have to mix a bit of truth in with the lie (ask your fellows, they're very good at this); otherwise you'll just be taken for a novice and no one will pay attention to your blatant lie/delusion.
        Here's another clue – even atheists know that Christ Jesus exists.

        Blessings friend, God loves you. You are worth to Him, Jesus.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Not much evidence that Jesus existed and none that he was divine. So what other lies are you talking about?

          March 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • lewcypher

          Here is your clue.......belief is not truth, if it were people would follow only one religion, one god

          March 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • new-man

          true, belief is not truth.
          Truth is a person, His name is Christ Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

          Blessings!

          March 17, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • Madtown

          Truth is a person, His name is Christ Jesus
          ---
          "I've never heard of this Christ guy, he's not truth for me."

          – signed, your human brother living in a primitive society in the Amazon rain forest jungle

          March 17, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • observer

          new-man,

          "When one chooses to pervert the truth they have to mix a bit of truth in with the lie"

          Do you mean when believers refuse to accept the words in the Bible and have to pretend that English words don't mean what we all know them to mean?

          March 17, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
      • davcramerdavcramer

        We know more about Jesus than we do about most people from the past. For example, your great-great-grandmother: do you know her parents names, her siblings names, the names of her friends, where she was born, some of the places she traveled? How she died? I'm fairly confident that you don't know much if anything about her. But you wouldn't deny that she existed would you? It's one thing to say that you don't believe everything attributed to Jesus in the Bible, but to pretend that he's just a fictional character is a bit much. If he's fictional, name any other fictional characters from so long ago that still make such an impact on the world?

        March 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • otoh2

          dav,
          " name any other fictional characters from so long ago that still make such an impact on the world?"

          Hmmm, well Aesop's Hare and Tortoise are still fairly popular - they are even engraved on the U.S. Supreme Court Building (as are Athena, Minerva, & Themis (Lady Liberty)). Jesus? Nope.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • nojinx

          But we can't pretend he was a real person either without reason to.

          Still making an impact on the world (as many unreal things do) is not evidence of existence. That is a logical fallacy.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "We know more about Jesus than we do about most people from the past."

          The only information about Jesus we have comes frm the Bible...and the Bible is not reliable...lies and empty claims are not "knowledge".

          March 17, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Your comment does not make logical sense. Can something invisible have the color pink? Pink implies you can see it.

        March 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • e11even4fter

          Nothing in existence has the color pink because color is not a physical attribute. Color doesn't exist in the physical world. There is only wavelengths of LIGHT, which your eyes translate to your little brain as color.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • wilburw7

          e11even4fter, You almost got it right. Invisible means the light passes through the object. To say that something has color is to say a particular frequency of light reflects off the object. So it is not logical to say that the light both bounces off the object and passes through the object. You could get cute and say something is somewhat transparent but that is not what the word invisible was implying in the context of that statement. Right? It was implying that it was non-existent as an insult to the person making the claim of its existence.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • observer

          wilburw7

          lol. So the extremely reflective sunglasses don't let any light through to the person wearing them.

          lol.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • wilburw7

          observer, invisible glasses let all light through.

          March 18, 2014 at 1:49 am |
        • doobzz

          My invisible pink unicorn's properties are beyond your limited human mind's ability to comprehend it. It can certainly be invisible and pink at the same time, you just don't understand invisible pink unicornism, because you don't believe. You have to believe in the invisible pink unicorn to understand invisible pinkness.

          March 18, 2014 at 2:08 am |
    • Madtown

      The gospel is not just for mankind; it is for the entire creation
      -----
      Don't you find it curious then, that God didn't choose to give "his word" to all his equal creations? Even now, at this very moment, there are many humans with no concept of the existence of christianity. They follow other religious paths. If the gospel is for all, why didn't God provide it to all?

      March 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
      • whippstippler7

        God gave his "word", huh? You know, you would think that the Creator of the universe, and everything in it, would actually know that bats are NOT birds. Or that hares do NOT chew their cud. And yet, these obvious mistakes are in the bible. you know – that "word" that your god supposedly gave to people.

        Why is it that your god doesn't know basic zoology?

        March 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • proud2bnamerican

          Whippstippler7: You are an idiot, dumb as a rock and clueless to the truth God provided for you. Keep spewing out your venom. I would love to be there when you get to face Jesus and God and you will, rest assured!

          March 17, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • observer

          proud2bnamerican,

          Speaking of dumb and clueless, you didn't have any rebuttal to his claims.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
        • e11even4fter

          You should study the similarities between REFECTION and RUMINATION. You know the bible has been translated, right?

          March 18, 2014 at 12:28 am |
        • Sungrazer

          If the bible is god's perfect word, then why wasn't it perfectly translated? Why couldn't an omnipotent god dictate a holy text that was 100% unambiguous?

          March 18, 2014 at 12:36 am |
        • e11even4fter

          Well, it can't be perfectly translated when no two languages are the same, right? If there was only one language, no translation would be necessary. There was a time when there was only one language, I'm 99.9% certain. (See the history on Babylon.) But if someone was speaking another language to me and they were describing an animal that was flying, I would damn well be tempted to say "bird" and not "bat" or "pterodactyl".

          March 18, 2014 at 12:51 am |
        • Sungrazer

          Well, if the bible can't be perfectly translated, then I suppose I will just have to distrust all of it.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • sam stone

          proud: you sure are a snivelling little sycophant, aren't you?

          March 18, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • new-man

        Don't you find it curious then, that God didn't choose to give "his word" to all his equal creations? Even now, at this very moment, there are many humans with no concept of the existence of christianity. They follow other religious paths. If the gospel is for all, why didn't God provide it to all?

        If I thought about it the way you do, perhaps I would... however how does one grow into Christ (grow into their inheritance) without experience which can only come through demonstration. That is why we're called to demonstrate the kingdom to the nations. In reality, we were not told to convert people, because it's the goodness of God that leads someone to repentance-change their minds about God.
        These demonstrations are also for the believer to affirm their ident.ity; because it's the saints who take the kingdom.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • Madtown

          If I thought about it the way you do, perhaps I would... however how does one grow into Christ (grow into their inheritance) without experience which can only come through demonstration
          ---
          Think about it like me. You mean, using logic and asking legitimate questions? You should think about it that way. Think about it real simply...one doesn't grow in Christ, if one has never heard of Christ. Simple. It's not your job to preach, you don't even know where to look for some of the people with no knowledge of christianity, nor do you have the means to get to everyone. God knows where they are, he can reach them. Why would it be up to you, when it's a job that's impossible to complete?

          March 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          I find it curious that your god is such a dumbfckkk that he doesn't know the difference between a bird and a bat. The he is so dense that he doesn't understand that a rabbit is not a ruminant. Or that insects have 6 legs, not 4.

          Just how stupid IS your god?

          I'd say he's as stupid as he is immoral; condoning ra-pe, genocide, child abuse, and murder.

          Your god is a moronic monster.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You make a lot of claims but you have demonstrated nothing. You are a lot of talk with no substance.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • new-man

          "You mean, using logic and asking legitimate questions?"

          no... I meant your thinking is one dimensional... You think within the paradigm of little to no knowledge of the Holy Spirit, with little to no knowledge of who one becomes when they are in Christ.

          Don't you think God has a purpose in giving that directive – go into all the world and preach the gospel of the kingdom. How did Jesus come into His identi.ty as the Son of God?

          (I'll have to continue this another time)
          Blessings.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
        • new-man

          BatC
          the "claims" you can demonstrate for yourself, to prove to yourself.

          I'm not here to convince you... as I've said, it's only when You have a revelation of God's love, then that will cause you to change your mind about who God is... until then, I can only pray that you have that revelation.

          Blessings!

          March 17, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
        • nojinx

          Yes, but that goes for anything. Once you accept the truth of the Jedi, the revelation of the Jedi will come to you.

          The issue is, how do you know you are not deluding yourself into a false set of beliefs?

          March 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • new-man

          madtown;
          I'll just leave this before I go...

          "All the world is no longer a geographic phenomena; google can take you into any geography".

          March 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "How did Jesus come into His identi.ty as the Son of God?"

          By committee.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Hmmm...In one post you say

          "That is why we're called to demonstrate the kingdom to the nations."

          and then in the next you say

          "the "claims" you can demonstrate for yourself, to prove to yourself. I'm not here to convince you..."

          Typical...

          March 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
        • Madtown

          "All the world is no longer a geographic phenomena; google can take you into any geography".
          -----
          Our world is smaller due to technology, true. However, Google still cannot direct you to every primitive society in this world. You can't Google Map "Amazon rain forest tribes", and get directions. They also don't have roads leading into their living areas, don't have airports. Why wouldn't God just provide them with what they need, if he wanted them to follow it? Do you doubt God's power?

          March 17, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Wow! You are delusional.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
    • Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      March 17, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
  5. totalrecall9

    James Martin needs to get his head out of the liberal agenda! He is being dismissive that JESUS IS GOD IN THE FLESH! In Luke 2:52, it says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." All that is saying is the boy, Jesus, grew up and grew in stature in front of God and men. And Jesus KNEW that he came into this world to die for our sins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can you be a "reverend" and not know that?!?!?! Only the shedding of blood can be used for the remission of sin! The "cup" that Jesus was referring to was the Father's WRATH! Jesus knew that he would be separated from God on the cross because Jesus became sin for us!...as Jesus said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus took on divine judgment that should have been ours! Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.

    March 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
    • lewcypher

      Amazing how a little critical thinking frightens people

      March 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice???? Get real. There was no sacrifice.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
      • ricardowilli

        I just love Jesus. He is my rock and my salvation. Through my morning meditations with Jesus I wrote a book with the messages I received from my meditations, so I know my worship was not in vain.
        https://www.facebook.com/ricardogwilliams

        March 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          Good for you, Ricardo! Love away.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I'll advertise for you ricardo...with the tag line 'report to facebook'. Mark Zuckerburg is an Atheist and you page spams and lies to innocent minds...we wouldn't want children seeing the crap and delusions you spread.

          March 18, 2014 at 5:52 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          55 likes, guess you're not so popular and are seen for the fraud you are! No worries, no-one will be liking your page further once it is advertised enough to show that you belong in an asylum along side the likes of Andrea Yates.

          March 18, 2014 at 5:55 am |
    • masadavt

      So you are quoting the Bible as evidence of Jesus's divinity, and you want to be taken seriously?

      "The bible is the word of god....because it says so in the bible"

      You have to do much better than that.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • Akira

      "Liberal agenda."
      Two words that completely tells us what yours is, and renders your post pretty useless.
      He interprets differently. So freaking what?

      March 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • davcramerdavcramer

      It's not a "liberal agenda", it's Catholicism. There are a variety of views among the various Christian denominations, and apparently yours and his differ. Considering that there are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world, and 1.2 billion (more than half) are Catholics, it could be said that he holds the majority view. But feel free to believe that all Christians believe just as you do.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yeah? Well you can keep your creepy blood and death cult. In some ways I hope you never loose your faith. It seems like the only thing stopping you from being a total psychopath.

      March 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
    • tallulah131

      It's sad when adults celebrate the thought that a man was tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions. It's sad when adults get upset every time someone interprets a book of mythology in a way that is different from their own interpretation. But what is the saddest thing of all is that there are adults that believe in this stuff, despite the simple fact that there is no evidence of any god or any supernatural events at all.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
      • e11even4fter

        No evidence of a God? Does that mean no evidence of a Creator? Don't get me wrong... I'm not suggesting that there is a man with a long, white beard sitting on a cloud watching every move you make, but the universe itself is evidence of a creator. Whether you want to believe that creator is God is up to you, but even smart people like Albert Einstein believe in a creator, just not a personal God.

        March 18, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • Sungrazer

          The Argument from Design fails completely. The Argument from Authority is likewise flawed.

          March 18, 2014 at 12:42 am |
  6. wilburw7

    The law of Moses allows a certificate of divorce, yet Jesus said divorce was adultery, which is a ten commandment. So if you follow the law of Moses and legally divorce your wife you still have broken one of the ten commandments of God. You can apply this to other things in the law of Moses like slavery. What is legal under the law of Moses does not mean God approves according to Jesus Christ.

    Unequivocal proof that is in the Bible:
    Matthew 19:7
    "They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
    8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for s3xual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

    March 17, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
    • observer

      wilburw7,

      You have called me IMMORAL. Are you going to back it up or admit you were LYING?

      List ONE PLACE in the Bible where God says that it is a SIN or even an ABOMINATION to OWN slaves or to SELL YOUR DAUGHTER into SLAVERY.

      STILL STUMPED?

      March 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
      • wilburw7

        observer, IF that explanation does not teach you, nothing will. You are misleading people and the consequences are far greater than you think. I see no point in teaching more about the Bible so that your abilty to mislead people becomes even greater. You are already too guilty as it is. Here is all you need to know:

        Moses...divorce your wives But I [Jesus Christ ] say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for s3xual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery;

        Summary, Moses said you could, but Jesus says He will hold that sin against you.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
        • observer

          observer

          wilburw7,

          List ONE PLACE in the Bible where God says that it is a SIN or even an ABOMINATION to OWN slaves or to SELL YOUR DAUGHTER into SLAVERY.

          You can't come up with ONE place. NEXT TIME, don't make such a COMPLETE FOOL of YOURSELF by making slanderous LIES. GROW UP.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Akira

          Where did Mosaic Law come from, Wilbur?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • wilburw7

          In the ancient world, service and slavery were closely related, so much so that one can scarcely distinguish the one from the other. The original words used for “servants” and “service” carry a variety of meanings between which it is not always easy to determine what is meant.

          You do not understand what you are reading. Like I already explained to you, slavery and indentured servant have the same meaning In the ancient world. This renders you unable to understand.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • nojinx

          So what you are saying is the "slavery" they practiced was morally acceptable? Do you have evidence for this?

          March 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          You are CLUELESS. God said it's okay to BEAT your elderly female slave with a rod without punishment if she didn't die in a day or so.

          Now tell us that was how people treat all their "servants".

          lol. Get an education.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • wilburw7

          Akira, In ancient Israel, there is no separation of church and state. Moses was the spiritual leader and the law the maker. The 10 commandments came from God. Moses did not even write them down on the tablets. Moses wrote the law of Moses, which are like our federal and state laws. Moses was both a prophet and a civil law maker. People incorrectly interchange the two.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          You are COMPLETELY CLUELESS. Have you read ANY of the Bible? Do you just MAKE IT UP?

          (Exodus 34:27 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”

          OOOOOPS!

          March 17, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • Akira

          I understand just fine.
          God gave the laws to Moses.
          He outlined what customs of the times were unacceptable to Him, and gave His laws forbidding them.
          He did NOT forbid slavery. Indentured servitude among the Hebrews in one thing; owning a slave of another "faith" is quite another.
          If slavery was morally reprehensible to God, He should have spoken when He gave His Laws to Moses.
          You may certainly try to rationalize it anyway that feels comfy to you, but it would appear God condones slavery.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wilbur, Leviticus 25:44-46 makes it pretty clear that slaves were purchased not employed as you say. Exodus 21 lays out the rules of slave owning and the restrictions on the slaves getting freedom.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • wilburw7

          observer Wrote:"

          (Exodus 34:27 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
          "

          That has nothing to do with the 10 commandments. That is a description of how to worship God and has nothing to do with the 10 commandments. The Bible does not say Moses wrote down the 10 commandments. That is what I said. That order to write stuff down does not apply to everything Moses wrote. It applies to worship. You are still misleading people. Interesting.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • lewcypher

          why would a god need worshiping?

          Is it insecure?

          March 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          Speaking of MISLEADING PEOPLE, you're the one who PRETENDS the Bible EVER said that owning slaves or selling your daughter into slavery (and s3x) was a SIN or even an ABOMINATION.

          lol.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • wilburw7

          Akira, I think I wrote the situation down very clearly. I disagree with your interpretation. Moses said it was OK to divorce; But Jesus said it broke one of the 10 commandments. Jesus said Moses allowed it because of the hardness of their hearts. Moses was doing what he needed to do to lead the people. Jesus said even if it was allowed by the law of Moses, God would still consider it sin. So is God advocating divorce? No. I do not understand where the confusion is.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • observer

          Divorce is one of the greatest examples of CHRISTIAN HYPOCRISY. They pick on gays while IGNORING that there are MANY MANY MORE Christian ADULTERERS because of divorce and remarriage.

          It's all PICK and CHOOSE HYPOCRISY for most Christians.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • Akira

          And I wrote down a clear and concise reasons as to why I think your interpretation is incorrect.
          I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I happen to think slavery is immoral and you think otherwise.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • otoh2

          wilbur,
          " Moses wrote the law of Moses, which are like our federal and state laws."

          Listen, over and over and over again (don't make me go in and count them - probably 100s of times) your book says the "The 'LORD GOD' spoke to Moses and said: "blah blabbity blah", delineating each law that was supposed to be transmitted to the people of Israel. So Moses LIED about these little tete-a-tetes with "LORD GOD"? Then, *POOF!* - there goes your "God" character down in flames, since Moses also wrote every other piece of alleged god-specific info in those first 5 books, beginning with Genesis - and Moses cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
    • Madtown

      Unequivocal proof that is in the Bible
      --–
      Well, this is proof of the opinions of men, nothing more.

      March 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
      • wilburw7

        The point is that it is in the Bible. The discussion is the analytical meaning of the text.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • observer

          The Bible also says that God told people to KILL their children if they were unruly.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • Akira

      For that matter, Jesus never condemned slavery, either.

      And why the continued raising of divorce when we were talking about slavery? Do you conflate marriage with slavery somehow, Wilbur?

      March 17, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
  7. dandintac

    1) & 2) DUH–just about every town and village in the entire region was a "nowhere little town". Didn't know everything! Wow–I had this revelation too–just a long time ago!

    3), 4) & 5) Sheer speculation.

    Not much meat on this article.

    March 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
  8. mutanttruth

    "Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking."

    Congrats ... you just described the bible and religion in general. We'll have you in the atheist club yet.

    March 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
  9. Jeebusss

    Jesus, even historically, probably didn't exist. There is a small chance he did, but most of the evidence says no.

    March 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
    • wilburw7

      Wrong. Roman History records Christ existed and was killed by Pontius Pilatus during the reign of Tiberius.
      Source = Annals and the Histories

      March 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
      • lewcypher

        however there is nothing recorded of its alleged divinity, miracles or resurrection. Might as well be David Koresch

        March 17, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • nojinx

          Additionally both Tacitus and Josephus (the two key non-Christian refs used to claim Jesus's existence) are not contemporary. They are written just after and just before year 100 CE.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
      • nojinx

        Tacticus shows the early presence of Christians, not Jesus. There is no discussion of the person himself.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
      • otoh2

        wilbur,

        Tacitus also wrote:

        They say that Hercules, too, once visited them; and when going into battle, they sing of him first of all heroes. They have also those songs of theirs, by the recital of which ("baritus," they call it), they rouse their courage, while from the note they augur the result of the approaching conflict. For, as their line shouts, they inspire or feel alarm. It is not so much an articulate sound, as a general cry of valor. They aim chiefly at a harsh note and a confused roar, putting their shields to their mouth, so that, by reverberation, it may swell into a fuller and deeper sound.

        Ulysses also, in all those fabled wanderings of his, is supposed by some to have reached the northern sea and visited German lands, and to have founded and named Asciburgium, a town on the Rhine inhabited to this day. They even add that an altar consecrated by Ulysses and inscribed also with the name of his father Laertes was discovered long ago at this same place, and that certain barrows with monuments upon them bearing Greek inscriptions still exist on the borders of Germany and Raetia. I do not intend to argue either for or against these assertions; each man must accept or reject them as he feels inclined.

        http://www.unrv.com/tacitus/tacitusgermania.php

        March 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
  10. magicpanties

    Why is this ridiculous blather still linked from the front page?
    This is as real, and as meaningful, as my invisible pink unicorn.

    March 17, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • magicpanties

      But hey, I could tell you 5 things about her too.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
  11. macressler

    Reblogged this on macressler.

    March 17, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
  12. Don

    Thank you, Mr. Martin, for a thoughtful and timely article, taking Jesus down from the stained glass windows and giving him flesh and bone. And much thanks to CNN.com for providing writers from MANY perspectives a forum to share their views on faith. I'm sorry the comments do not often maintain the same constructive, respectful spirit as your diverse writers. Even so, I always look forward to another new post on Belief Blog.

    March 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
    • new-man

      Blessings!

      March 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
  13. islamistheanswer

    Response to wilburw7 who said the following:
    "Islam is the wrong way.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""

    This is exactly why Christianity today is out of touch with the masses (especially those who are born Christian). The fact that religion in anyway undermines one's intellect and logical way of thinking is a showstopper to many and hence what I call the exodus from the faith. Why do I need an intermediary to get to God? Why not go directly to God as HE is the ONE who created me? Why does it take BRAINS to understand the concept of God? Why are the majority of Christians today still confused and don't fully grasped Trinity?

    This is precisely why Islam is the answer! The faith demystified: creator is ONE who guided humanity through the messengers and the Prophets he sent throughout history, Mohammed Peace and Blessings be Upon him being the last messenger/Prophet with a message that is universal to the whole of humanity. Why does God send us messengers and not come directly to us? Exalted is He! He is nothing like his creatures (logical to think so). The creator of anything is nothing like His/Her creature (Isn't this the same with anything around us: an inventor is nothing like his/her invention but rather at a level higher both in traits and attributes).God presides in a dimension that is befitting of HIS Majesty; a dimension that is beyond our 4 dimensional physical realization (3 dimensions with time as the fourth dimension). God is the same way (In the quran he says in describing himself "There is nothing LIKE the LIKE of HIM").

    I will leave you with this. Muslims believe in the God that created this humanity and the heavens and earth. The God that sent all the messengers and Prophets you believe in (with the exception of Mohammed Peace and Blessings upon him). You called HIM the father, I call HIM ALLAH. If my life is devoted to the worship of ALLAH and following HIS Commandments (similar to yours by the way), what happens to me in the day of judgement (we both believe in the hereafter!)? Would the son (ALLAH is exalted of this analogy and of having a son) be angry for not being the intermediary between me and God who created me?

    Think about this, in Islam and the Quran, ALLAH says that he forgives all of man's shortcomings except the act of associating partners with HIM (only logical to think if there is a supreme being (ALLAH) that he needs no son nor an intermediary between HIM and HIS creation). If we both take a big GAMBLE (Muslims don't gamble by the way, but I mention it here for the sake of argument). If I continue on my path and meet God (ALLAH) in the day of judgement abiding by HIS commandments, performing the obligatory 5 daily prayers, giving in charity, abstaining from that which is indecent and evil and enjoining that which is good and noble – would he be pleased with me? On the other hand, you go down the path of getting to God through HIS claimed son and barely have had any relationship/worship with the claimed father. Would he be pleased with you? Depending on which religion you believe in, you would think that your path is the right way of course. However, the gamble comes in if Islam happens to be the right path and you are in the wrong path, WHAT WOULD BE your situation in the hereafter having associated partners with the Almighty and having attributed Divine qualities and characteristics to a creature of his (noble creature, Jesus Peace and Blessings be Upon him and his virgin mother Mary)? You would have missed the sweetness of this world by living away from God (ALLAH)! On the flip side, if you were on the right path and I were wrong (it is obvious that each one of us believes he/she to be on the right path), then what would be the worst that happen to me? Would the father argue/fight with the son about me and the 1.8 million Muslims around the world who worship the claimed Father?

    While the gamble presented is simplistic in nature, it is worth contemplating upon and weighing options? If I were in your shoes, I would chose to be a Muslim 🙂

    My ALLAH (God) guide us all to the right straight path and enable us to spread His message to the entire humanity that is unknowingly starving for His guidance!

    Virgin Mary in Islam
    http://youtu.be/fPstjtUTsHE

    Jesus in Islam
    http://youtu.be/om-a-qoI5qU

    March 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
    • midwest rail

      "...the entire humanity that is unknowingly starving for His guidance!"
      Arrogant presumption.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
      • islamistheanswer

        Sorry! Arrogance not intended. That was referring to the ailments of our society today with all the issues we face (drugs, infidelity, suicide, depression, you name it)..

        March 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Don't forget forced marriage, honor killings, shooting girls for advocating for education, etc.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
        • nojinx

          ...oppression of women, forcing them to dress in a certain fashion...

          March 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          My responses are being blocked for some reason. Any suggestions on how to overcome this?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          Not sure why my post is not going through, but here is another attempt.

          I sure don't forget those and every *Muslim* knows the following
          forced marriage: Unislamic. In fact if a parent objects to a child's marriage while the child would like to proceed with the marriage then the judge becomes his/her guardian for purposes of completing the marriage contract. This is Islamic!
          honor killings: unIslamic. Any one who kills a soul without a soul (in other words the penalty for killing a soul with premeditation and planning is death and no one can execute that except the judge after due process) is promised the HELL FIRE and the worst punishment.. This is tribal and cultural and is not from the faith of Islam

          March 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
    • wilburw7

      You wrote;"This is exactly why Christianity today is out of touch with the masses."

      You have it backwards. The masses are out of step with God. God doesn't change to please the sinful human masses. It is your own responsibility to get in step with God.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • observer

        wilburw7

        "God doesn't change to please the sinful human masses. It is your own responsibility to get in step with God."

        Nope. NEVER going to support slavery, discrimination against women, gays, and the handicapped and beating children with rods. You can keep "MORALITY" like that.

        March 17, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
        • wilburw7

          You are immoral for wanting to justify slavery and discrimination of women, which is in direct disagreement with the ideal of God. You need to learn the difference between the law of Moses and the ideal of God. It gets real old trying to teach you this.

          "He responded: Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for s3x immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." - Jesus Christ (explaining the difference between God's ideal and the law of Moses). Notice that God is holding you responsible even though the law of Moses allowed it. The same thing goes with Slavery or anything like that. Also in some case slavery mistranslated. Indentured servant would sometimes be the proper translation.

          You need to stop misleading people and learn those concepts.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • nojinx

          If you don't use the Bible, what basis do you have for your theistic beliefs?

          If you use only parts of the Bible, and not others, how are you not a con man?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7

          "You are immoral for wanting to justify slavery and discrimination of women, which is in direct disagreement with the ideal of God"

          Don't be such a DIMWIT to call me immoral when it is YOUR GOD that says we can BUY PEOPLE and SELL our daughters.

          To show that you have ANY CLUE, list ONE PLACE in the Bible where God says that it is a SIN or even an ABOMINATION to OWN slaves or to SELL YOUR DAUGHTER into SLAVERY.

          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!

          March 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
        • doobzz

          "You are immoral for wanting to justify slavery and discrimination of women, which is in direct disagreement with the ideal of God. "

          This clown doesn't even know what the bible says, but somehow feels he has the authority to tell others that they are wrong. LOL.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
        • Akira

          When God gave His Commandments to Moses, he could have outlawed slavery, yet didn't. WHY?

          Don't be throwing stones when people think condoning slavery is immoral; it would appear the OT God did just that.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
        • wilburw7

          Akira wrote: "When God gave His Commandments to Moses, he could have outlawed slavery, yet didn't. WHY?"

          For the reason stated in the post you are responding to. Reread it.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          List ONE PLACE in the Bible where God says that it is a SIN or even an ABOMINATION to OWN slaves or to SELL YOUR DAUGHTER into SLAVERY.

          STILL STUMPED? STILL CLUELESS?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
        • wilburw7

          nojinx wroet: "If you don't use the Bible, what basis do you have for your theistic beliefs?'

          I am teaching you what is in the Bible so you can have the truth, which is different that you obviously think it is.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
        • nojinx

          You would need to convince me Bibles are authoritative first.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          Still STUMPED? Still CLUELESS? Still TOTALLY LACKING INTEGRITY?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wilbur, the thing is, each christian sect has its own interpretation of what the bible says – thousands of sects and no agreement. What convinced you that you have the correct interpretation?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • Akira

          You did not answer the question at all.
          God gave the law to Moses. If slavery, the act of owning another human being as property, is immoral, WHICH YOU HAVE ADMITTED TO, God should have said something....the fact He didn't is tacit approval for slavery.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • wilburw7

      You also wrote:"The fact that religion in anyway undermines one's intellect and logical way of thinking is a showstopper to many and hence what I call the exodus from the faith."

      No group of people have contributed more to science and mathematics than Christians. Over the last 400 years, the only countries that have led scientifically and technologically have been Christian majorities. It is an error to say that Christianity reduces intelligence and logic. The facts directly disagree with that idea.

      "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."– Isaac Newton

      “Though death brings the thought of judgment, it also brings to the Christian thought of Him [Jesus Christ] who died, rose again for the justification of those who believe in Him.” –Michael Faraday

      "The Gospel [of Jesus Christ] comprises indeed, and unfolds, the whole mystey of man's redemption, as far forth as it is necessary to be known for our salvation."– Robert Boyle (founder of Modern Chemistry)

      “God existed before there were human beings on Earth" - Max Planck (Founder of Quantum Physics)

      “There is one God, the Father, ever-living, omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.…”. –Sir Isaac Newton

      March 17, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
      • observer

        “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish supersti-tions.”

        - Albert Einstein, letter 1/3/1954

        March 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • wilburw7

          Why are writing a quote from Einstein? Him not being a Christian does not mean that Christians contributed anything less.
          Now that you brought it up lets look at how Christians helped Einstein.
          Christians taught Einstein math and science, which was also mostly invented and discovered by Christians.

          Without the following, relativity in its final form would not have existed:
          Maxwell's equations.
          Data from the Michelson–Morley experiment.
          Quantum Physics.
          Classical mechanics
          Calculus.

          Newton, Maxwell, Morley, and Planck (founder of Quantum physics) were all Christians. Einstein himself said without Newton relativity would not exist. Now do you understand?

          "I am not an Atheist." - Albert Einstein

          March 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7

          So where is your response to your BRAINLESS charge that I am immoral?

          Let's hear your answer, Christian. Busy ACTUALLY reading a Bible for once?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
      • doobzz

        More quote vomiting from the idiot who doesn't even know what his own bible says.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
        • wilburw7

          I do not see anything in your rude comment showing what I do not know a what is in the bible. I understand what is in the bible, you don't.

          The law of Moses allows a certificate of divorce, yet Jesus said divorce was adultery, which is a ten commandment. So if you follow the law of Moses and legally divorce your wife you still have broken one of the ten commandments of God. The same thing applies to slavery. A law of Moses does not mean God approves.

          I have taken away the stick you hit Christians with, so you don't like it.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • doobzz

          You forgot to tell me that I'm going to hell.

          March 17, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • observer

          doobzz,

          Wilbur doesn't have a clue what the Bible says. He FANTASIZES that when God said you can SELL YOUR DAUGHTER into slavery, that God OPPOSES slavery.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
    • xyx25

      Do you really what answers? Are you willing to listen? If that is the case here are the answers to your questions from the Bible:

      1. Why do I need an intermediary to get to God? Why not go directly to God as HE is the ONE who created me?

      Isa 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear”.

      Isa 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

      Jam 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

      Rom 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

      2 Cor 5:21 “For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

      Gal 3:24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

      March 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
      • nojinx

        Why should I believe anything written in Bibles?

        March 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
        • xyx25

          John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
        • nojinx

          But that is in Bibles. Why should I believe that?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • xyx25

      what happens to me in the day of judgement (we both believe in the hereafter!)? Would the son (ALLAH is exalted of this analogy and of having a son) be angry for not being the intermediary between me and God who created me?

      1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
      6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

      Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
      11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
      12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

      1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
      24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
      25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • islamistheanswer

        My challenge to all is to address those questions with logic and intellect 🙂 Weird to come from a religion follower ha!!!

        That is why I keep saying, if religion doesn't support logic, intellect and human advancement, then we are in deep trouble. Islam does all of the above and hence its massive acceptance among a wide spectrum of people of different backgrounds, colors, ethnicities, etc...

        March 17, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • xyx25

          1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
          19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
          20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
          21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
          22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
          23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
          24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
          25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
        • islamistheanswer

          Coworker mentioned that he was struggling to explain trinity to his son. Took him to the priest for help, son became even more confused! Not surprised since the elemental story in the faith about God doesn't make sense unfortunately... Story need to be convincing to the person who knows nothing about God. You need not to have to do a lot of explaining my friend. Simple and widely understood naturally when compared to our daily experiences and intellectual realities.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • xyx25

          Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
          9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
          10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
          11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

          Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
          26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
          27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
  14. karennpete

    Guide – After reading your comments and responding to them it seems to me you are not truly looking for understanding about the atheist mind set. It appears that you have a mind set about atheist and your trying to prove that and have no real interest in understanding what people are writing. If that is the case it is fine but be honest and don't pretend to be looking for true understanding of atheists.

    March 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
    • guidedans

      I am thinking this one is directed at me. I think you are right on some levels. I am a Christian and I think Atheism is wrong, but I also think that Atheists are very very smart people who deeply think about life's big problems. Being those kinds of people, I wonder why Atheists don't get caught up on the whole meaninglessness thing. I understand there is subjective meaning in what everyone does, but subjective meaning is only as meaningful as the subjects are and, with Atheism, because there is no eternal God who provides an objective base, the subjects are all finite and will all, one day fade away.

      I am not trying to be snarky, and in fact, I am trying desperately to be unsnarky, because my normal tone is one of way more flippancy. I want Atheists to really think about their belief-sets and analyze whether they really make sense as a whole. I cannot get my brain to wrap around the atheist belief-set and maybe that is my problem, I just want to see someone who can really spell it out for me.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
      • doobzz

        " I want Atheists to really think about their belief-sets and analyze whether they really make sense as a whole."

        Why not think about your own belief sets and analyze whether they make sense as a whole? Why do you think that anyone even needs to be known and thought about 200 years from now?

        One of the best jobs I've ever had was teaching children to read. It was a privilege, a very meaningful thing for me, because literacy is something that opens many doors. That's enough "legacy" for me. I've helped others in my short time here, but I don't need to be remembered 200 years, or even 2 years after I die for it.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
      • nojinx

        Well, your first part is easy. We don't find meaninglessness. We find meaning in many things, and those things vary from person to person just as they would with theists. How we find those meanings is not necessarily different from atheist to theist.

        For your second part, I settled on atheism because of deep thought on the matter and searching for what really made sense as a whole. For me, it made sense only to believe in things I had a good reason to so that I did not mistakenly believe in something that was not true.

        Obviously, the extraordinary claims like gods or leprechauns did not meet up to scrutiny. Admittedly, I did not research all gods, nor all leprechauns. I focus on what I can reasonably determine.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I will preface this with the statement that I am not personally an atheist. Nor am I a Christian. I have, however, been both at one time in my life.

        I am a Christian and I think Atheism is wrong, but I also think that Atheists are very very smart people who deeply think about life's big problems. Being those kinds of people, I wonder why Atheists don't get caught up on the whole meaninglessness thing.

        Why is life meaningless? Most people I know do not find life meaningless. Most people I know, of various faiths and those of no faith, find great meaning and value in life.

        I understand there is subjective meaning in what everyone does, but subjective meaning is only as meaningful as the subjects are and, with Atheism, because there is no eternal God who provides an objective base, the subjects are all finite and will all, one day fade away.

        All any of us are certain of, believer or not, is today. This exact moment. For many who do not believe in an afterlife (and one doesn't have to be Atheist to not believe in an afterlife...and an Atheist, may in fact believe in some sort of afterlife), that makes each and every moment all the more precious.

        You are conflating a lack of belief in a god with other beliefs that an Atheist may or may not hold.

        I am not trying to be snarky, and in fact, I am trying desperately to be unsnarky, because my normal tone is one of way more flippancy. I want Atheists to really think about their belief-sets and analyze whether they really make sense as a whole.

        Why would you think that they haven't really thought about their beliefs and analyzed them? Why would you assume that they haven't spent time thinking through the validity of what they believe?

        I cannot get my brain to wrap around the atheist belief-set and maybe that is my problem, I just want to see someone who can really spell it out for me.

        This one is very simple. An Atheist believes there is no god. Period. That's it.

        They may also hold other beliefs; about the origins of the universe, about evolution, about life after death, about ghosts and spirits, about who should win the superbowl, about what colors are appropriate to paint your house, etc.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
      • likklehero

        I have pointed out my personal philosophy of existence, but that is something that everyone must find on their own. Atheism is not nilism either, everyone finds their own meaning in existence. Let me give you a couple of scenarios...

        A man digs ditches for a living, every day he goes to work and digs a little more ditch. How does he go on, what keeps him coming back to dig that ditch? He realizes that the work he does has importance, and if the ditch channels water away from the road, and a little girl doesn't die in a horrible car accident, or be left an orphan – then the ditch digger has found significant meaning in what others would regard an insignificant existence.

        Now, think about what eternal existence really means. Do you really want to exist for eternity to watch the sun explode, to watch black holes gobble up all the matter, or to watch the universe expand until it pops out of existence? What are you going to do in the meantime? There are apparently going to be a finite number of souls in your eternity, and after you have shared every thought with each and every one of them a million times over, then what are you going to do? I personally do not see anything in an existence even remotely like that to be anything but torture, and I am actually comforted by the thought of my non-existence (as opposed to an eternity anywhere).

        March 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
      • likklehero

        My question to you would be ... Why do you need an objective meaning to your life? Don't you want to define what meaning your own life has? Do you really want someone else to tell you what your life was meant for?

        Appreciate the fact that you can contemplate your own existence and that we can find joy in the things that make us human. Realize that you are part of a web of life on this planet that is glorious and awe inspiring in it's own right, and respect the other humans and life that you share the planet with.

        March 17, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        " I want Atheists to really think about their belief-sets and analyze whether they really make sense as a whole."

        I did that...when I was a Christian...It is why I am no longer a Christian.

        March 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
    • Akira

      Do you believe in Santa? No?
      Substitute gods for Santa.
      That's it.

      March 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
  15. nojinx

    "Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years."

    Which is nothing. Scholars have known nothing of this figure's existence except speculation and wishful thinking based on an uncorroborated mythical story in two testaments.

    The first person to offer any real evidence of the existence of Jesus of the NT will be an instant Nobel winner.

    March 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
    • wilburw7

      Jesus Christs is recorded in secular history. You just wish it wasn't true

      March 17, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
      • nojinx

        Please provide. Your Nobel Prize awaits.

        March 17, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
  16. silat13

    And the 6th thing you did not know about HeyJuice?
    #6 He never existed.

    March 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
    • grumblesfromthegrave

      There is far better proof of his existence, 2,000 years later, than there will be of yours in 200 years.

      March 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
      • kudlak

        He's living in an age where it's possible that he may be able to either download his personality into a new artificial body, or augment his existing body to actually still be around in 200 years. So, I wouldn't put Vegas money on that grumblesfromthegrave.

        March 17, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
      • nojinx

        I doubt that. There will likely be some sort of corroborated, verifiable evidence for the poster's existence in 200 years, given that he is a real person encountering real people who will also add their stories, and many sources of his existence will be there for comparison.

        Rather than just one, unsupported and uncorroborated.

        March 17, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
      • LinCA

        @grumblesfromthegrave

        You said, "There is far better proof of his existence, 2,000 years later, than there will be of yours in 200 years."
        Doubtful. Considering that there is not a single shred of hard evidence that Jesus existed, and already pretty comprehensive records for the past 200 years, the odds of evidence of silat13's existence surviving in 200 years are far better.

        March 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Unlikely, this very post may still be available 200 years from now. Maybe not, but maybe.

        March 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      In 100 years Jesus will have been put on the shelf with all the other gods who have faded into history before him.

      March 17, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
  17. Reality

    As a Jesuit, the author should have also noted the following:

    Only for the new members:

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC/SATANIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney) (for a good review on Satan in Mormonism, see http://www.mormonwiki.com/Satan)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    March 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
  18. hearthetruthonline2014

    http://HearTheTruth.imgur.com

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    March 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
    • observer

      More CHRISTIAN SPAM from someone who LIED about agreeing to the Terms of Service.

      WWJD? lol.

      March 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
    • amplayer21

      Your site did not tell me how to get to get the spirit of Satan out of me, so your site is a fraud. All the site talked about is Revelation, anyone who reads the Bible already knows this. Was this site set-up by someone as a joke? All of the claims made on there are false and dumb.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
  19. guidedans

    I do not understand why the atheists on this board feel the need to convert others away from religion to disbelief.

    Here's why: If you truly believed that this life was the only life you will get and that afterwards, there is no threat of retribution for any bad you have done, then your entire life's goal should be set around maximizing your own pleasure regardless of the pain it causes other or the world.

    Now, most of the time, doing bad to others would create a bad environment for yourselves, but really, you should ONLY be focused on your own pleasure for the duration of your life.

    What that also means is that you should live as though the earth would stop existing the moment that you died, because after all, the moment you die, the world does stop existing for you. This means that you should hog all the resources you can and waste whatever you want as long as it brings you pleasure.

    You should also not invest in any sort of science or technology that would yield its fruits long after you die. Any efforts you produce should have a direct or indirect positive impact on your life.

    If this is the only reasonable goal for an atheist, then why are you spending time on message boards trying to convince people that your beliefs are correct?

    March 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
    • nonyabizz

      While your idea of the "only reasonable goal" doesn't fly, your question is valid. I do not understand why atheists get so militant. On the other hand, militant evangelicals are no fun either...

      March 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
    • Andrew Posner

      Here's why: We advocate passionately and relentlessly for science, reason, and logic because those are the most accurate ways of understanding the world, while religion is based on myth, ignorance, fear, and hatred. More science = a better, happier, more pleasurable world.

      March 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
    • jwalker5524

      That's funny, I wonder the same thing about bible thumpers trying to "convert" atheists.

      March 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
      • guidedans

        Bible thumpers get something out of converting you, they get to have you in heaven as a heavenly brother. Plus there is an honest feeling that, by not saving you, you will be thrown into eternal torment, which is what no one, even a really mean person would want.

        I don't see what Atheists get by adding another member to the flock.

        March 17, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • LinCA

          @guidedans

          You said, "I don't see what Atheists get by adding another member to the flock."
          All of society benefits if fewer people cling to ridiculous fairy tales. With fewer believers there will be less interference with science, medicine, education, equal rights and a host of other things currently being obstructed based on religious nonsense.

          In addition, it's one more person living in reality. you should try it sometimes.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • guidedans

          LinCA,

          Thank you. You provided an answer to my question. Atheists get joy out of increasing their numbers. I appreciate that.

          I still don't understand the desire to make the world better beyond your lifetime though.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • ausphor

          guidedans
          Christians believe that they are out of here when they die, as do atheists, the purpose for both should be is to leave a better world for their descendants. Not that that is working too well, the earth is going toward distinction if humans keep up their destructive ways.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
        • ausphor

          Oops extinction, mind cramp

          March 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • LinCA

          @guidedans

          You said, "Thank you. You provided an answer to my question. Atheists get joy out of increasing their numbers. I appreciate that."
          Nah, you don't get it. I really couldn't care less whether you believe or not. If you keep your nonsense out of the public sphere, that's good enough for me. Contrary as it may seem to you, fewer believers is something we all should strive for.

          You said, "I still don't understand the desire to make the world better beyond your lifetime though."
          I care for the people around me and that includes those that will outlive me. They too may want to live in peace, breath fresh air and enjoy clean water. I will balance the enjoyment that I extract during my time on Earth with what I get from leaving enough for others.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • theserpent6

          would you like to convert me right now? I bet you won't even try, but here goes..... According to your bible, jesus said (several times), that ANYTHING you ask for in prayer, you will receive. It also says that the angels rejoice if one sinner repents..... In my wallet, I have a piece of paper with four numbers on it. They are between zero and one hundred. None of them repeat, If you can pray to the father, in Jesus' name, just like it says in the bible, and ask god to reveal those four numbers to you, and than post them here. I will INSTANTLY convert. Not only that, I will be the bestest, bible thumpinest, holy rollin Christian since the apostle Paul!!!! To date, not a single Christian has even attempted this challenge. The reason is simple. they know what it says in the bible is a lie. They know that prayer doesn't work. they know deep down that there is no one listening. I bet you know it too. What do you say believer? Got faith?

          March 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • otoh2

      guidedans,

      Perhaps that's how **you** would be without your myths & your old book of superst.itions. Brrrrr!... oh my, how you lack human kindness, empathy, sympathy, compassion, realization of natural consequences, and general common sense...! Stick with your book, pal; at least we've got your number.

      March 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
      • guidedans

        otoh2, I am not saying that all atheists should behave badly, but I am saying that their motivations for their actions should be based on their world view: that when their existence ceases, they stop caring about anything.

        With this world view, it doesn't behoove you to care about global warming because the effects are going to be felt after you die. You should only care about things that impact you. If doing nice things makes you feel good, then do nice things. If doing bad things makes you feel good, then do bad things and try not to get caught.

        Am I misunderstanding the Atheist's world view? What reason is there for an atheist to care about the future after he is dead?

        March 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans

          "Am I misunderstanding the Atheist's world view? What reason is there for an atheist to care about the future after he is dead?"

          Yes. You are clueless. They care about the FUTURE in this world.

          Do you really need a 2,000-year-old book to do your thinking for you because you aren't BRIGHT enough to figure out the consequences if everyone went around killing each other?

          March 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • otoh2

          guidedans,
          "What reason is there for an atheist to care about the future after he is dead?"

          Sympathy, empathy, compassion, and best regards, etc. for those who come after us.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • guidedans

          Observer:

          You say, "they care about the FUTURE in this world."

          I ask, "Why?"

          If you are dead, then it wont impact you at all. The only joy you could get out of bettering the future would be joy at the hope that you are making a difference, but because you will not be around to see that difference be made, it is really just a hope.

          I don't understand thinking about the future if there is not an eternal soul that exists after death.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          So you don't make any plans for tomorrow or next year or the future?

          Are you for real?

          March 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • karennpete

          I am an atheist and I speak only for myself, not all atheists. I am a human which means I care about other humans and the quality of human life, hence I care about the earth and everything living on it. There are caring humans and uncaring humans and both of these types can be found in every religion that has ever existed and among nonbelievers. To care, have empathy and love are human attributes. We do not acquire these attributes from what we believe. We have them as a product of our humanness. I care, not because I'm told to but because I always have and will till I die. Because I care I am not out for myself only but for the well being of all people.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          guidians,

          I have friends, family people I care about. Is it not reasonable to care that they live the best life possible?

          Christians are the ones who are "not of this world', if any world view shows a lack of caring for this world it is yours.

          March 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • observer

      guidedans,

      Christians aren't nearly as STUPID as you think they are. Most of them are bright enough to figure out that going around killing everyone isn't a good idea without needing a 2,000-year-old book to figure that out for them. If you aren't bright enough to figure that out, I certainly wouldn't argue that point with you.

      March 17, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
    • doobzz

      Is the only thing that keeps you from killing, stealing, and otherwise hurting people the threat of punishment from an old book? How sad.

      March 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
      • guidedans

        It is not the threat of punishment that keeps me behaving in a good manner, it is the desire to be a good representative of Christ on Earth.

        But I am not talking about the motivating factors of Christianity, I am asking about motivations for Atheists. No one has answered me about why Atheists should focus on anything but things that impact their lives.

        March 17, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          Are you really this dense? Do you REALLY think that the only way to get people to believe in the CONCEPT of the Golden Rule is through BRIBES (heaven) and THREATS (hell)? It sure makes your moral motivations look pretty pathetic.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • guidedans

          Observer, Seriously? I am asking about Atheistic motivations here.

          Christian motivations are an entirely different subject. I understand the motivations to believe in Jesus. I don't understand the allure of Atheism.

          Can you answer this question?

          What motivates an atheist in life?

          March 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          Atheists probably have a MUCH GREATER appreciation for all the incredible things the world has to offer. Unlike Christians, they don't spend so much time trashing the world that you think is so awful that God created.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          There is no "allure of atheism". It is not a belief system to bought into.

          It is simply single position on one question.

          Atheists must find motivation in other areas, e.g. philosophy.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • otoh2

          guidedans,
          " I don't understand the allure of Atheism."

          Atheists have a close personal relationship with reality!

          March 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • DenverJohn

          Because the happiness of my offspring affects my life. I want for them a better world. One not corrupted by the prejudice from the religious. Look at all the wars that are fought in the name of religion, in the past and today. Look at all the prejudice towards LGBT because someone interprets something written in a book written two thousand years ago, in a language no longer spoken. Are you really trying to be an example? Or are you just being selfish to live your life in a certain way to ensure you will go to a heaven? I'd rather be more tolerant of others in this life.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
        • kudlak

          guidedans
          What if your understanding of being a good representative of Christ on Earth requires you to harm others, like by being prejudiced against gays, or denying your children a proper, accurate science education? Isn't that the opposite of a moral system?

          March 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • doobzz

          Your deity must be pretty weak if he needs you or any other human to polish up his image.

          I can only speak for myself. I try to treat others the way I would like to be treated. It's really not that complicated.

          It's laughable that so many Christians think that if you don't believe in their god, you'll automatically revert to an every-man-for-himself view. They just can't imagine that someone's life can have meaning and purpose without an imaginary friend who bullies you into behaving a certain way.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • nojinx

          They are taught to think that way as part of the philosophy. If you make the belief seem essential to the believer, they will embrace and fight for it until that can be corrected.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
    • likklehero

      You are conflating sociopaths with atheists, and I find that to be offensive.

      March 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
      • guidedans

        Not sociopaths, hedonists.

        I am conflating Atheists with Hedonists. I don't know what else there would be if there is no creator of the universe, no universal law, no God, no after life.

        If this is all you get, then you should make the most of it, right? If that means behaving good, then you should behave good, if you can get away with being bad to maximize your pleasure, then go for that.

        What am I missing?

        March 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          What you are missing is that the "universal law of God" supports slavery, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped, beating children with rods, etc.

          FORTUNATELY, people are often SMART enough to reject such barbaric "morality".

          March 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • likklehero

          Just as offensive, atheism is not hedonism either. I want to truly make the world a better place, for myself, for my friends and family, and for the future because although I won't be there, the footprints that I leave in this world will remain forever.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
        • Akira

          This kills me.
          I know this is simple, but here it is:
          Atheists focus on the exact things as any other group on earth save one: belief in any gods.
          And I do not know one Christian who thinks of nothing else but God and Jesus, 24/7.

          Guide, you are seeking to demonize atheists. Atheists are no more hedonistic than Christians.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • karennpete

          What you are missing is "making the most of it" means being the best person I can be. I have no desire for hedonism.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
        • theserpent6

          What you are missing is empathy and societal morality. Your comments tell me a very sad story about you.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      @guidedans,
      Perhaps that is what you would do without the threat of eternal torture, but many Atheists value others as much or more than themselves. While atheism is not a belief system or philosophy many atheists follow philosophies that support the value of human life and fair social contracts as a way to maximize their own "happiness" as well as that of others.
      Pleasure-seeking-at-all-cost is short sighted hedonism.

      March 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
      • guidedans

        Thank you for your answer, Midwest, but I would be interested to know why you care about other people's happiness unless it directly contributes to your own. I understand that, often times, making people happy makes you happy too, but there are times when angering people can make you happy too.

        If the world ends when you die, why care about your legacy?

        March 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          I don't speak for "atheism" since it is not a belief system.
          1) because it does affect me.
          2) because the world doesn't end when I die, and the people I care about must live in it.

          If your question is really 'where do morals come from', then i'd posit empathy and reciprocity.

          March 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • nojinx

          Ditto what MidWestKen said. There is a huge amount of literature out there that can tell you what we know (and think we know) about moral development in humans and animals and how it comes about.

          It sounds like you might be concerned that you are heading this way, but maybe don't have the moral foundation to make the journey successfully? I don't want to put words in your mouth, but many theists find an obstacle in understanding how natural morality comes about (rather than the indoctrinated kind). It is not that theists don't learn morality naturally, they sometimes can be taught to think that there is only one source for it. It's a great way to trick people into staying in the flock.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Akira

          Why in the hell WOULDN'T he care? Really, your questions grow more absurd.

          5 billion people don't worship your God, guide. I suppose you would paint them all immoral, selfish hedonists, right?

          The most immoral people I have ever come across in my life have been Christian. I don't paint all Christians this way because it's short sighted and stupid to do so.

          March 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Perhaps if the believers kept it to themselves and not push to incorporate their beliefs onto others, into society in general, into laws, into science classes, etc. then I doubt that many non-believers would care.

      March 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
    • likklehero

      I would actually like to help you understand the atheist mindset.

      There is a bridge to cross in atheism, and that is that your existence will end someday. For some atheists, the view is that I didn't mind non-existence before I was born, and I shouldn't fear it in my future. In my view, I like to think of it as the "Clarence Effect" (as in It's a Wonderful Life) – in that my existence in this universe and the decisions that I make leave their indelible mark on the entire universe, and until the whole universe pops out of existence, the tracks I left can never be erased. There is no forgiveness, the consequences of my actions will ripple out there till the end of time. I want to live my life, and make use of my abilities to change the universe in a positive way, like I imagine most sane humans do.
      This is what drives most of us in my opinion, I won't spend eternity floating on a cloud, but I will feel content and maybe a little pride in the tracks I left behind.

      March 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
      • guidedans

        Thanks for that response, Likkle. It helps me to understand things a little better.

        The thing that really gets me down when thinking about atheism is that, if there is no creator and no eternal goal. Then that means that regardless of what changes you make on the earth, one day, like you said, it will all be gone. If you think about your motivations for any action, it is usually, to achieve a result. Results are the driving factor in all of my decisions (e.g, I want to drive home so I get in my car, etc.). If the end result is going to be the same for all actions, then doesn't that defeat the purpose?

        Like, you know if that book, the Time Machine, where he goes back to save his wife, but he can't no matter what he tries. It's like, no matter what we try here, the end result is going to be the same.

        I understand that you can still have fun while you are on the planet and still enjoy the stuff here, but finding meaning in your life seems very difficult when, no matter what you do, it is going to end the same way.

        March 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
        • likklehero

          It is a hard realization – this universe that we live in will someday be gone, it may take an unimaginable amount of time, but, yes everything will eventually be "erased". In the meantime though, there may be countless generations of people that live happier, easier lives because of something that you invent or create, or that one of your progeny creates. Your impact on the universe is your choice, and the bad things that you put out there persist just as long as the good. You can't take things back, I feel that I live a much more ethical life because of this viewpoint. I actually feel very good about this conversation, because I have changed you in some way. I hope that the next time someone tells you that they are an atheist, you don't immediately assume that they live their life for their own immediate hedonistic fulfillment.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • nojinx

      While your other comments show a misunderstanding of theism and atheism (atheists are simply those without belief in any gods, nothing else required), I can say that I value truth above all things and work to prevent deception. A con man is a con man, whether he believes in his own con or not.

      The point is to help people find truth when so many try to deceive with unreal things.

      March 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
      • guidedans

        Nojinx, it is not a misunderstanding, it is a disagreement.

        I understand what you are saying: That atheism is a *lack* of a belief.
        What I am saying is that I would argue that Atheism is choosing not to believe in something.

        Not making a choice is still making a choice. Atheists have chosen to believe in no God.

        You say, "The point is to help people find truth..."
        Here's a question for you, Do you know anything is true? Like, are you confident that this reality even exists? I am not.

        Just throwing that out there.

        March 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
        • nojinx

          Most people start with this gem of truth:

          "Cognito ergo sum."

          Go from there.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • nojinx

          "Not making a choice is still making a choice." No. We are constantly in a state of not making choices. Surely you are not proposing that the absence of an infinite number of choices we are making from one moment to another is actually still making an infinite number of choices?

          On another note, even if you view it as a choice (to not believe in something), what does that matter?

          What word would you, then, use to describe those who did not choose, but do not believe in gods? What about a newborn? They are pure atheists, but you think they have made a choice before even learning the concept of a god, much less some specifics about which of the thousands of gods they should follow?

          March 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          guidedans: how is belief a choice? if you try really, really hard, can you believe in something you find unbelievable?

          March 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • nojinx

          How would you make that argument to a group of atheists? How would you convince them why they don't believe what they don't believe in?

          March 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • doobzz

          "What I am saying is that I would argue that Atheism is choosing not to believe in something."

          Do you choose not to believe in Santa Claus? Do you choose not to believe in Hercules? Why or why not?

          March 17, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • theserpent6

          So are you saying that not believing in gremlins is a belief?

          March 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
    • theserpent6

      A couple of things...... Atheism is not a belief. It is a lack of belief. I live for many reasons. I also want my children to have a better life. Society dictates morality, not your silly book. If you believe that paradise awaits you, what keeps you from blowing your head off? According to your holy book, there is only one unforgivable sin, and it isn't suicide. Belief in mythology is harmful to society.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • Jeebusss

      "then your entire life's goal should be set around maximizing your own pleasure regardless of the pain it causes other or the world."

      No. The old "if you don't feel bullied into behaving by my sky wizard, then you may as well just act terribly" argument. One of the most well debunked and idiøtic arguments you can make. Try again genius.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Again with the preface that I am not an atheist...

      I do not understand why the atheists on this board feel the need to convert others away from religion to disbelief.

      There are a lot of people that are not comfortable with other people believing differently than they do, particularly when they are part of an often persecuted minority, and they will speak out and lash out in an effort to be heard and appreciated. They will seek comfort in convincing others to believe as they do. You see this with "baby Christians" often, and you see it in the more militant Atheists. Add to that an amount of anger at the way that Christians, in particular treat Atheists, and try to legislate their beliefs to control the society in which we live, and you get what appears to be evangelical Atheists.

      Here's why: If you truly believed that this life was the only life you will get and that afterwards, there is no threat of retribution for any bad you have done, then your entire life's goal should be set around maximizing your own pleasure regardless of the pain it causes other or the world.

      Why would you think that? I am genuinely curious why someone who doesn't believe in a god would abandon all moral structure and live a life like you describe. Are you so cold and callous a person that without your belief in god you would not care for your fellow man?

      Now, most of the time, doing bad to others would create a bad environment for yourselves, but really, you should ONLY be focused on your own pleasure for the duration of your life.

      Helping my fellow man brings me pleasure.

      What that also means is that you should live as though the earth would stop existing the moment that you died, because after all, the moment you die, the world does stop existing for you. This means that you should hog all the resources you can and waste whatever you want as long as it brings you pleasure.

      Again, why do you think this? I genuinely do not understand the thought process.

      You should also not invest in any sort of science or technology that would yield its fruits long after you die. Any efforts you produce should have a direct or indirect positive impact on your life.

      Again, why do you think this? Investing in our future means leaving a better place behind for those who come after us. Why would we not want that just because we don't believe in your god?

      If this is the only reasonable goal for an atheist, then why are you spending time on message boards trying to convince people that your beliefs are correct?

      You haven't proven that this is the only reasonable goal for an atheist.

      March 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
  20. likklehero

    Here's a thought experiment for the group:

    What would the world be like if we sent Penn and Teller back 2000 years in a time machine?

    March 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
    • likklehero

      Come on... no one feeling a little creative? Pitch me a scene for a "Life of Brian" remake!

      BTW – I saw their show at the Rio a couple yrs back, and I found if very amusing how much they NEEDED to stress the fact that they were not in fact catching bullets in their teeth and that it REALLY was an illusion.

      March 17, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
      • doobzz

        They probably do that so some drunk doesn't go back to his hotel room and try to catch a bullet in his teeth.

        March 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • likklehero

          If you ever get to see the show – by all means go! Skip the French Canadians in lycra, and see something that will really blow your mind.

          March 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • doobzz

          I've always wanted to, just never got around to it. Next time I'm in Vegas...

          I did see Love, and enjoyed it, but have no desire to see any of the other CdS shows. I just like the Beatles a lot. Plus, the tickets were half price.

          March 17, 2014 at 9:04 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.