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. bostontola

    Real people get mythologized. Billy the kid, Steve Jobs, etc. We love a good story and are susceptible to mythologizing. In the time of Jesus, that was especially true. The Romans were taking over and the residents in many areas were creating myths about people fighting for their way of life. The apostles story of Jesus got traction and grew like no other. We know the result. No supernatural component was required, just human nature.

    March 16, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  2. Aquarian Treasures

    Modern day christianiy knows so little about the Real Jesus it is pathetic. All they have is what is in the Bible and I can tell you it is all mostly made up for purposes of control. But they think the Bible to be perfect and that is just what those nefarious forces want. Anyone moving on ahead in the path needs to realize this. Then the real message of Jesus (that was not his real name) will be understood. His Bible story came from other religions in Egypt, India and Mesopotamia. In reality, the Bible Jesus is a construct of many things. There were several real men whose life can be attributed to Jesus but few know of this or even want to consider. There is a Real Jesus (his choice of name) and he is not at all like the Bible one. Seek that real one. You will find how much you have been lied to. Get angry, depressed and accept it. Follow the real one and learn his real message of Love, Compassion and Forgiveness.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • Doris

      "Seek that real one."

      Do you have something I can punch into the GPS?

      March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am |
  3. Doris

    "hell is much worse than being burned alive"

    Who's there with you, jack. You know, in your head – name some of the others. Who among you have gone to hell and back? Do you need a visa?

    March 16, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • Doris

      OK and that was supposed to be a reply and lol, now the OP from jackwhoever was yammering about hell being worse than being burned alive has vanished...

      March 16, 2014 at 10:59 am |
      • Woody

        Doris, I was starting to type a reply when I noticed the post was gone. Too bad, it would have been such easy pickins'

        March 16, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • godricfiles

      The Christians on this board are going to want to throw me in hell after I say this, but here goes. Perhaps hell is different for each person. Perhaps it is utter loneliness to one while another might find themselves in a flaming sea. Perhaps it isn't forever (the bible itself says Hell was originally created for the devil not humans).

      March 16, 2014 at 11:19 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Perhaps it is made up BS....

        March 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
  4. primatica

    Here's another thing you don't know either. If he ever really existed at all.....He is not man or deity, he is myth.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:37 am |
    • frosty13148

      which is your choice to believe or not believe. thats what makes God wonderful, he does not force Him self on us. Jesus was His messenger of hope for the lost . again it is on a choice basis.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:52 am |
      • basehitter

        Believe or burn, that's not force ?

        March 16, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • doobzz

        "thats what makes God wonderful, he does not force Him self on us."

        Actuallly, he does. He insists that we must love him or he'll hurt us real bad forever.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • basehitter

      And because he is a myth, and his story is entirely created by people, everyone and no one is an expert about his existence and life.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • Aquarian Treasures

      The Bible Jesus did not exist at all, The name itself did not exist until the year 300 or so. Most of the Bible is all made up.

      March 16, 2014 at 11:01 am |
  5. CatholicReligionTeacher

    For those who continue to claim that Jesus is just a rehash of ancient myths, please watch the following:


    More videos on the person of Jesus (and insightful commentaries on books, movies, atheism, the news, etc.) from priest and theologian, Fr. Barron can be found here:


    March 16, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • igaftr

      So this guy basically says "no it isn't".
      Because the parellels are not exact, THAT is why they aren't the basis for christianity.

      This guy forgets to mention, while he is claiming that a lot of this is made up, that THE ENTIRE BIBLE was made up by men, with nothing to back it up.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:43 am |
    • bostontola

      Almost everything invented by humans is an original synthesis of already existing elements. Some think all mechanical machines invented are combinations of the lever, pulley, wheel with axle, wedge, screw, and inclined plane. Looking at ancient religions, shared components are correlated to geographic proximity. There are many shared stories and concepts in religions from the Middle East, somewhat less shared to European religions, very little to Native American religions. Religious ideas share the same pattern as technological ideas, legal ideas, etc.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
    • Doris

      Also what I've always found very interesting is the claims of the early apologists. Christians often reference Justin Martyr to support their belief. Justin Martyr was one of several early apologists who claimed that the devil had plagiarized in reverse order other stories that were very similar to the gospels to make them appear in reality as if they had occurred first. They called this plagiarism in anticipation or "diabolic mimicry". They couldn't come up with a better explanation for the charges they were faced with?

      March 16, 2014 at 10:52 am |
      • Doris

        ( ...are the claims. )

        March 16, 2014 at 11:14 am |
  6. bostontola

    The movie, "Son of God" is out and the reviews are analogous to reality. The fan reviews are over the top, must see, fantastic, etc. The professional critic reviews say it is a horrible movie (average 37 of 100). Most of the critics that contributed are Christian.

    When it comes to religion, people's perceptions are deeply distorted.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • igaftr

      I'll just throw it into the pile with the other "son of" movies.
      Son of Frankenstein, Son of Godzilla, etc.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • midwest rail

        Bride of Frankenstein was brilliant.

        March 16, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • igaftr

          Yes, but Bride of God...also known as gods wife, was worshipped in Isreal for many centuries, then someone realized they are to worship their one god only, so just stopped worshipping her. I wonder how god felt about his subjects giving him a divorce.

          March 16, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • Doris

          I guess my favorite is Young Frankenstein.

          March 16, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • Aquarian Treasures

      A movie just made to fool the masses. Follow the money trail and see who is really behind this. Jesus is NOT God, never was or said he was.

      March 16, 2014 at 11:03 am |
  7. bandjammer

    I liked this article. We don't know everything about him and we don't need to put our own perspectives on him.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:27 am |
  8. danab1234

    The above article makes about as much sense as this:

    Five things you didn't know about Winnie the Pooh:

    1. He never wore pants.
    2. He could fly like a bee, up to the honey tree (with a balloon).
    3. He was rumbly in his tumbly.
    4, He was once stuck in rabbit's hole.
    5. His best friend was Piglet.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:12 am |
    • seedenbetter

      Except we know far more about Pooh than this other fictitious character called Jesus.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • archtopopotamus

        Pooh is real. god isn't.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  9. kristinagadfly

    This Jesus guy was so misunderstood, and then turned into a son of god and all...I like to think of Jesus more like Al Sharpton, which he probably was...

    March 16, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • danab1234

      He was a racist then. I knew it!

      March 16, 2014 at 10:13 am |
      • kristinagadfly

        He did talk about a non-jew as a job, so yeah, sort of self interested some times...

        March 16, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • kristinagadfly

          It seems not only is someone on this blog deleting perfectly acceptable comments, they are also editing them after I post them...deranged!

          March 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • kristinagadfly

      You just proved my point, yes some thought that about him like some think that about Al...

      March 16, 2014 at 10:19 am |
    • bandjammer

      Why bother with you?

      March 16, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • kristinagadfly

        You bother with me because I am profoundly important to you, and if you didn't, you're life would be completely empty and without purpose...

        March 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      Jesus was a race baiting hypocritical opportunist?

      March 16, 2014 at 10:35 am |
      • doobzz

        Ask that Canaanite woman, she talked to him.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:29 am |
  10. danab1234

    6. Jesus was made up from a combination of other fairy tales.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:03 am |
    • Aquarian Treasures

      Of all the things said, this one is 100% true,

      March 16, 2014 at 11:04 am |
  11. midwest rail

    A question for the Belief Blog editors on a slow Sunday morning – when can we expect a story on New York pastor James David Manning ?

    March 16, 2014 at 9:04 am |
    • Doris

      Oh yes, what do we have up there in NY, an Eddie Long on steroids?

      March 16, 2014 at 9:57 am |
    • Doris

      LOL – hilarious. But really these churches need to be taxed for all political nonsense from the pulpit.


      March 16, 2014 at 10:18 am |
      • midwest rail

        I disagree with the taxation issue, Doris, but merely from a practical standpoint. Nonetheless, Pastor Manning more resembles a believerfred, except Pastor Manning has the courage of his convictions.

        March 16, 2014 at 10:23 am |
      • Doris

        "In May 2010, Manning staged a show trial of Barack Obama at his ATLAH church in Harlem for wire fraud, with Manning acting as prosecutor. Although the treason and sedition charges had been deleted from consideration at the trial, Manning expressed the opinion that Obama should be hanged."

        My goodness.

        March 16, 2014 at 10:36 am |
      • basehitter

        I get the impression he doesn't like Obama.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:13 am |
  12. shroudandresurrection

    It is very difficult to know how good some-one else is.

    Everyone bases their judgements and understanding from their own perspective
    which depends on their experiences including study and previous choices between
    good and bad. And sometimes these judgements are in-correct due to envy or pride.

    Wisdom of Jesus in the "Sermon on the Mount" is incomparable, even after 2000 years
    of progress made by man in different areas of life. The very thought of "Loving your
    enemy" is very difficult to comprehend even now.

    That God became man to save us and teach us how to be good, is also very difficult
    to understand. Each person comes up with his or her own understanding. But with time,
    the understanding of each person changes and usually for the better.

    Goodness of God is above the understanding of humans. A person can only improve in
    understanding the goodness of God by becoming a better person.

    March 16, 2014 at 8:54 am |
    • whippstippler7

      How do you reconcile the supposed "goodness of god" with the badness, or evil, or indifference of god: earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, wildfires, volcanoes. These are events that kill millions of people, and cause incalculable suffering, for people, including entirely innocent babies and children. Why does god allow this level of human suffering?

      March 16, 2014 at 9:17 am |
      • Vic

        The simple explanation is "It just comes with the territory."

        We are bound to this earth and life realm by design. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, God put a curse on this life until the end of time that we cannot escape but need to endure and pass the test of "faith."

        God created this universe and life in it and set everything in motion where all the Natural Processes are automatic thereafter, of which is weather.

        This life is a test.

        March 16, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • igaftr

          or not....most likely not.

          March 16, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • whippstippler7

          So how is drowning innocent babies in a tsunami a test of faith for those babies? Your god sounds like an absolute monster.

          March 16, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • sam stone

          Wow, Vic, that sure is a lot of conjecture

          March 16, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • shroudandresurrection

        We can only ponder about the justice of God.

        Are tsunamis, earthquakes and killing acts of God?

        God's goodness is beyond our imagination.

        Each person is tested in this life to reach Heaven. And unfortunately some
        of them have very severe tests. God is His desire to be one with us in our pains and sorrows,
        died a very cruel death on the cross.

        God promises us a wonderful life in Heaven, and the pains and difficulties
        undergone by persons of earth will be forgotten. But we should not be
        the cause of pain and sorrow to others.

        March 16, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • doobzz

          "God's goodness is beyond our imagination."

          You're right. I can't imagine drowning every man, woman, elderly person, child, infant, fetus, and animal just because I "regretted" creating them.

          If that's your idea of goodness, you really need psychiatric help.

          March 16, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • frosty13148

          God tests some but not all. the tests are done by satan . satan uses our grief to turn either to God or against Him. Obviously satan hopes against. People face tragedies everyday. Nothing scares satan more than having children grow up and worship God. Blaming satan is more right than blaming God. As satan has it people blame God. The only winner here is satan.

          March 16, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • doobzz

          "Blaming satan is more right than blaming God."

          Except that the bible clearly states that it was god who drowned every human, including children, infants, and fetuses who could not possibly have "sinned" when he got in a snit and "regretted" creating them.

          March 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • frosty13148

        there are always going to be natural disasters. we live on a planet that has them all the time. the only unpredictable force is earthquakes. Yet people choose to build cities and towns in areas prone to these disasters. when people are warned of impending disasters some are smart and get out of the way while others stay. Blaming God just makes people feel better.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • igaftr

          Claiming god created everything and has a personal interest in us just makes people feel better too.
          All gods are created from man's imaginations in answer to his own ignorance.

          March 16, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • igaftr

      It isn't so difficult to It understand.
      Men have humanity, and have evolved various morals. Some of them were incroporated when men created tiyr book of myths. Men made up the whole thing, as man has done with all religions.
      There are many social animals that developed language, use tools, have culture and work together for the common good.

      There are no signs of any gods.

      March 16, 2014 at 9:21 am |
    • sam stone

      "Goodness of God is above the understanding of humans."

      If you can't understand it, how do you know it is goodness?

      'Goodness of God is above the understanding of humans.

      March 16, 2014 at 11:53 am |
  13. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    March 16, 2014 at 8:34 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      In your small world maybe.

      March 16, 2014 at 8:36 am |
    • sam stone

      Jesus Christ is mythology

      March 16, 2014 at 8:36 am |
    • danab1234


      March 16, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • doobzz

      But Clapton is god.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:26 am |
    • seedenbetter

      Lord over your delusions?

      March 16, 2014 at 10:37 am |
    • primatica

      you pray to a corpse...

      March 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
  14. Vic

    $#9840; $#9840; $#9840; Jesus Christ Is Lord $#9840; $#9840; $#9840;

    March 16, 2014 at 8:33 am |
    • Vic

      $#9840; $#9840; $#9840;

      March 16, 2014 at 8:37 am |
    • Vic

      Ooops, wanted to type sorry.

      March 16, 2014 at 8:39 am |
    • danab1234

      *%&$ #@(

      March 16, 2014 at 10:05 am |
  15. Reality


    To all the misguided "believers" out there, your salvation is at hand:

    Tis mind boggling that your religions can be brought down to earth in less than ten seconds. With this in mind should not the moderators of this blog be looking for new jobs?

    To wit:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    March 16, 2014 at 8:07 am |
    • bvaudt

      Until modern times the power of fission was unknown to mankind, however, the power was always there whether mankind knew it or not. Failing to acknowledge the power did not invalidate the existence of the power.

      Another person failing to acknowledge my God does not invalidate Him or His power.

      March 16, 2014 at 8:51 am |
      • ray1950

        Well said ... Amen

        March 16, 2014 at 9:05 am |
      • hotairace

        Fission has been proven, your alleged god has not.

        March 16, 2014 at 9:05 am |
      • Vic


        Romans 1:20
        "20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." (NASB)

        Colossians 1:16
        "16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him." (NASB)

        Hebrews 11:3
        "3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." (NASB)

        God bless.

        March 16, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • Doris

          (more ramblings from motor-mouth Saul of Tarsus, the Joseph Smith of his day)

          March 16, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          She's got a point Vic – have you ever noticed how much more often you reference Paul than anything from the 4 gospels? Why do you think that is?

          March 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
      • whippstippler7

        @bvaudt: I would agree – it does not invalidate the power of "YOUR" God (that was your term, by the way). Your God resides in your mind, and no doubt that concept that you carry around in your mind has some power in that it affects your behaviour in certain ways. However, it does not make your god "real" outside of the confines of your mind.

        March 16, 2014 at 9:26 am |
      • MidwestKen

        You are correct and it also doesn't invalidate the power of Phlogiston.

        March 16, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • memanix

      My goodness, thank you so much for clearing that up. I totally would have been a Christian for the rest of my life had it not been for the glorious wisdom you've imparted to me. I owe you a lot.

      ...said nobody after reading your comment. I mean, seriously? What did you expect to gain, other than an ego boost at your perceived enlightenment above other, mere religious people?

      March 16, 2014 at 9:43 am |
      • doobzz

        It's no worse than the constant copy/paste of bible quotes that religious people somehow think is evidence for their imaginary friends.

        March 16, 2014 at 10:31 am |
      • Reality

        Added details as requested and only for those who are not reading challenged:

        Only for the those interested in a religious update:

        1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

        “New Torah For Modern Minds

        Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

        2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

        The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


        For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

        Current RCC problems:

        Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

        2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

        Current problems:
        Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

        3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

        This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

        And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

        Current crises:

        The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

        4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

        The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

        Current problems:

        The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

        5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

        "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

        Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

        Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

        Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

        March 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  16. masadavt

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

    That's funny, because that's exactly what I say about the entire bible.

    March 16, 2014 at 7:55 am |
  17. Chris

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

    -Amen to that!

    March 16, 2014 at 7:39 am |
    • Chris

      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.

      -Truer words were never spoken.
      -Nicely written article!

      March 16, 2014 at 7:41 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Easter is a holiday stolen from the pagans...like christianity does in regards to many other things. Easter falls in line with the Spring Solstice. Not to mention the fact that in the christian sense it celebrates a horrific murder and lies about some guy returning from the dead-not a possible thing. It amazes me how gullible you are!

      March 16, 2014 at 7:46 am |
      • ynotblue

        Specifically, the date for Christmas and Easter was fixed during the Council of Nicaea 325 CE. That establishes the Romans or Christians had no clue when the birth or death of Jesus actually occurred. I believe the Romans sent emissaries to Galilee to research if contemporary records existed and Jesus' birth and death during Constantine's reign. They apparently came up empty. The problem is Galilee was not a well controlled region of the Roman empire so records were hard to come by. The alleged census preceding the birth of Christ never took place because the Romans wouldn't have required traveling to another town in order to be counted. Imagine the chaos such an order would have caused. And what for? As far as I know this part of the gospels is positively nonsense. If it weren't, Roman records of the census would have been available in 325 CE, and they could have at least established when the biblical Jesus was born and where exactly his parents lived.

        March 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Chris

      Ephesians 2:8,9

      March 16, 2014 at 7:56 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Quoting the book of fairy tales means nothing. Try backing your claims with actual evidence and stop being lazy.

        March 16, 2014 at 8:29 am |
    • thirdworldking

      Hello Chris,

      This post is not directed particularly at you, but the antireligion trolls who pop up in perfunctory manner when such articles are pressed on the web.

      I will not question your intelligence for what you believe, however do you fellows ever tire of parroting the your ideology in the faces of people who clearly have staunchy adverse beliefs? What is the point? There are hundreds of sites where you can be comfortable in you thoughts, rather than feeding your narcissism. Here are some quotes for you to chew on....

      “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

      "The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.” -Albert Camus

      March 16, 2014 at 8:07 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Anti-religious trolls? Do you have a problem with free speech or is your belief so weak that you're afraid anyone speaking against it and speaking facts will cause someone to step away and take a hard look at the horrific belief system? There seems to be a lot of anti-reality trolls here also-go look in the mirror is you want to see what one looks like!

        March 16, 2014 at 8:28 am |
      • sam stone

        The same could be said of evangelists, king

        March 16, 2014 at 8:38 am |
      • waltcrompton

        I do not consider myself religious, but why trample on people's religious beliefs just because you think they are false? If you so disdain their beliefs, move on. If someone is inviting you into a debate, then of course all bets are off. And if you are going to debate someone, at least have your facts in line – saying that a belief systems is false simply because you think it is, or there is no 'proof' misses the point. People believe because they have a faith in their religion. If you want to debate them on this premise, bring facts. For the believers, do not pick and choose quotes to backup your personal beliefs of hate.

        March 16, 2014 at 9:13 am |
        • whippstippler7

          @ walt: Because religion is a bad thing overall. Because religion allows humans to dominate and twist and pervert other humans. Because religion is used to justify hatred, and discrimination, and murder. Not all religious beliefs are ad, or evil, but many are.

          THIS is why we speak out against religion.

          That and the fact that many religious beliefs are inherently ridiculous. Like the basis of Christianity.

          March 16, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • doobzz

          I couldn't care less what anyone believes, until they start trying to encode those beliefs into civil law.

          March 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Easter: isn't that when, each year, Jesus emerges from the tomb and, if he sees his shadow, it means 6 more weeks of winter?

      March 16, 2014 at 9:28 am |
  18. Chris


    March 16, 2014 at 7:29 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Indoctrinating innocent minds is the equivalent of child abuse!

      March 16, 2014 at 7:39 am |
    • igaftr

      That poor child.

      March 16, 2014 at 8:04 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Jesus Camp proves how bad indoctrination can be. Why anyone would think it is okay to do this to innocent children is beyond any rational thinking. The kid in this video has no concept as to what he is saying or how horribly abused he has been via the brainwashing cult his parents have put him in.

        March 16, 2014 at 8:38 am |
    • Doris

      It's amazing what you can get once you learn how to dangle a few chicken nuggets in front of a child...

      March 16, 2014 at 9:22 am |
      • sam stone

        chik-fil-a, no doubt

        March 16, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • danab1234

      That is a horrible thing to do to a child.

      March 16, 2014 at 10:07 am |
  19. reasongod

    One thing we actually do know about Jesus the Christ:

    He most likely was never a historical person. The "flesh and blood" were almost certainly adopted between the early second and the fifth centuries by a Church leadership seeking to assert its authority.

    One other thing we need to know about all other gods and religions:

    They are all made up. The ones that have passed into the ages we call mythology, the ones which are still venerated by billions we call religions, and everyone is afraid to tell the believers that there are not monsters under the bed, lest they be offended.

    March 16, 2014 at 6:19 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Given that there is zero evidence for any god, it is relatively safe to say they are all fictional.

      March 16, 2014 at 6:44 am |
    • bucketobits

      You're saying that Jesus was invented 100+ years after Paul wrote about Him?

      In one of Paul's letters–the authorship and dating of which are pretty widely-accepted–he talks extensively about Jesus. This was well before "the early second and the fifth centuries."

      March 16, 2014 at 7:24 am |
      • masadavt

        "You're saying that Jesus was invented 100+ years after Paul wrote about Him?"

        Yes, that is correct. If you do the actual work of studying history and religion (instead of the Bible) you will realize that Paul was writing about a "god" in the same tradition as had been done by countless religions before him....the Jesus that Paul wrote about never existed on earth, instead he wrote about a celestial being. Only later did other writers place Jesus here on earth. He never existed.

        March 16, 2014 at 7:51 am |
      • doobzz

        "In one of Paul's letters–the authorship and dating of which are pretty widely-accepted–he talks extensively about Jesus."

        Was it signed, "Love, Paul" and in Paul's handwriting? And who is it "widely accepted" by? Who has authenticated it as being written by Paul?

        March 16, 2014 at 10:37 am |
      • ynotblue

        Josephus referred to a 'Jesus they called the Christ' in a late 1st century text. That's supposedly the oldest record of a 3rd party verification that a Jesus like the one we know from the gospels actually lived. However, it seems there is some reason to suspect the text was compromised during the copying process. Apparently some copies of the Josephus texts vary considerably. It's possible that paragraphs were added giving Christianity a much needed 3rd party source for the gospels' authenticity. The trouble is the Josephus texts refer to at least 20 other people named Jesus who don't seem to be the Jesus we heard about. I guess Jesus was a popular name at the time.

        March 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • ynotblue

        The story of Saul/Paul suggests in itself the birth of Christianity was no more than a clever business model. Saul was a hated person by his Jewish contemporaries as a Roman tax collector and persecutor of Christians, although I think the latter was an invention to make his story more interesting. Since he supposedly founded Christianity, how could he have persecuted Christians before the church existed? Further, the visions, the mandate, and all the other faith based reasons cited are common in antiquities well short of the miracles we'd like to think. It's how religion worked at the time. The same scheme was used by Constantine when he suddenly embraced Christianity. It's pretty clear he did so trying to put his empire back on a positive path because he probably thought Roman citizens have become too decadent. Christianity was going to fix that and solve the problem of having an out of control adversarial sect becoming too powerful throughout the empire.

        March 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
    • truthinid

      Outside of Christian references, you might want to check out Tacitus and Suetonius, Roman writers, and Pliny the Younger who writes the Emperor wanting to know how to handle the Christians in his area, Then you have Jews writers such as Philo and Josephus who make reference to Jesus and/or his disciples. The argument that Jesus is not a historical figure died long ago. There is too much evidence.

      March 16, 2014 at 8:02 am |
      • myweightinwords

        Writing about Christians is no proof that Jesus walked the earth.

        The Josephus reference is disputed as actually being written by Josephus, as the writing and tone is very different and many scholars believe it was amended later by a believer.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:10 am |
      • ynotblue

        There's very little evidence and all of it is doubtful. If there was any positive evidence everyone on this planet would have heard about it loud and clear. The fact is most so called evidence is actually wishful thinking and can be debunked or at least put into serious doubt by historians or archeologists.

        March 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • today82

      "One thing we actually do know about Jesus the Christ:
      He most likely was never a historical person. The "flesh and blood" were almost certainly"

      It is fascinating how little you understand the words you just wrote. You lead off claiming you actually know this, which is a 100% definitive claim, implying you have proof. Then the next two sentences you proceed to contradict this claim by using words like "most likely" and "almost certainly" which means you do not have proof and are not sure of your claims. I read similar claims all the time. God and Jesus definitely don't exist, yet in the next breath show they have no proof of these claims. Oh how the blind lead the blind.

      March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • ynotblue

        It's possible someone named Jesus lived and was a traveling rabbi/teacher with a respectable following. However, that wasn't unusual for the period. It's also possible the same person naïvely challenged the Jewish high priesthood in Jerusalem trying to get Jews to realize the practices by the priests are far from the teachings of the Torah. Based on the gospels Jesus was a Jewish reformist trying to bring the Jewish religion back in line with ancient teachings. If Jesus made enough noise about this in Jerusalem, the site of the temple of Solomon, that would be reason enough for the priesthood to conspire and having him executed on trumped up charges.

        March 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
  20. lvwood21

    Where exactly in the Bible does Jesus say "I am God, worship me"?
    Was Jesus speaking in the Lord's prayer?
    Why would God have to be born as a human, go incognito for 30 or so years, show up as a carpenter, messiah, miracles, only to be brutally beaten and crucified to give everyone there after a 'get out of jail freed' card.....and he also ate, wept, got angry.....so he must have went to the restroom.....why would God have to take a dump & be human if he created us?

    March 16, 2014 at 5:03 am |
    • ryanrichards2424

      No offense but dude, you need to respect other religions, even in Christianity. It's amaze me how many people wanted to attack Christianity as if it is the only religion in the world. Grow up and move on..respect other people religions as they respect your.

      March 16, 2014 at 5:19 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Intolerance of intolerance is a good thing. When christians learn to keep their belief in their homes and churches and learn to stop using it to try to dictate rights, people will have reason not to attack it but until that happens they are getting exactly what they have dished out for far too many years.

        March 16, 2014 at 5:26 am |
        • ryanrichards2424

          Again, Christians were told you preach the message anywhere, just like any other religions were told to preach their message anywhere.

          March 16, 2014 at 5:28 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ryan: Told??? By who?? A book written by man?? That book naturally tells that because the writers didn't want their gullible followers to leave. A little sense goes a long way. Try thinking for yourself instead of shoving the crap down peoples throats.

          March 16, 2014 at 5:37 am |
        • observer

          (Matt. 6:5-6) "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” [Jesus]

          March 16, 2014 at 5:41 am |
        • ryanrichards2424

          You're getting stupider by the minute and I think you need a little "bedtime".. Holy crap, you putting words in my month to make sure you point is better.. No where I said by one person (like a man).. turn off the light and go to bed, son.

          March 16, 2014 at 5:48 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Stupider? I see someone forgot to teach you manners! Now you may tell your wife what to do but I'm not so weak that any man tells me what to do. You are the one who said christians are called to speak about their belief and I am simply saying it is done in a book written by man as a way to keep the belief system alive. I am not the one weak minded enough that I am incapable of figuring out right from wrong without the use of a holy book!
          Now if you're going to act like an infantile ass, perhaps seeking out medical attention for the delusions might be a good thing for you!

          March 16, 2014 at 6:09 am |
        • ryanrichards2424

          Oh man, you cracked me up.. say something funny next so I can laugh your ass all night long.. keep using the word "delusions" if that make you look happy.. It's funny how you mentioned about manners when clearly, someone to teach you about respect. Please, let me get a can of beer so I can laugh at your pathetic comments.

          March 16, 2014 at 6:29 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You started this by demanding respect for a religion that doesn't merit respect. Sad when your ignorance is handed back to you and you can't handle it. I find you quite humorous, ignorant but humorous none the less. I doubt you're old enough for a beer, at least not mentality wise. Perhaps FAUX would be better suited to your type of crazy and disrespectful ways. You are idiot who said freedom of speech doesn't exist; you are the one who refused to answer who calls christians to spread the lies of the bible; you are one insulting people...guess you don't like getting in return what you dish out...you poor poor persecuted fool!

          March 16, 2014 at 6:34 am |
        • ranmarsage

          If I was you, I would leave this guy alone before he starts flooding with comment s respect, freedom of speech, cussing, etc.. (read about the existence of freedom of speech).. To me, what I wanna know is why he demanding respect toward religions where he doesn't agree to the teaching?

          March 16, 2014 at 6:52 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ranmarsage: I have no intention of wasting more time on him. He seems to be looking for a battle, not much different than the schoolyard bully.

          March 16, 2014 at 6:56 am |
        • ranmarsage

          Just a sad little kid. Goo day to you.

          March 16, 2014 at 6:57 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ranmarsage: So it seems. Enjoy your day, it is looking like a nice one thus far.

          March 16, 2014 at 6:58 am |
        • ranmarsage

          Sorry if I missed some letters of the word, but it seemed you know what I mean.. just a bit tired.

          March 16, 2014 at 7:04 am |
        • Doris

          "Again, Christians were told you preach the message anywhere, just like any other religions were told to preach their message anywhere. "

          And in this information age, your charlatanism is transparent. Plan on being "preached" back to like never before. You might want to start paying attention to trends and the younger generations in the more civilized societies around the globe.

          March 16, 2014 at 9:29 am |
      • ranmarsage


        I don't know whether to laugh at you or feel sorry for you. You need some mental help.

        March 16, 2014 at 6:42 am |
      • masadavt

        Why do religions need to be "respected"? They are just ideas, and often very bad ideas based on the thinking of people from thousands of years ago. Wake up and evolve.

        March 16, 2014 at 7:53 am |
      • myweightinwords

        Respect is not given, it is earned.

        Your behavior in this thread does not earn you respect. And it does damage to the respect others might have for the religion you claim.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:18 am |
      • archtopopotamus

        Ridiculing the ridiculous is a good thing.

        March 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • bucketobits

      To answer "Where exactly in the Bible does Jesus say 'I am God, worship me'?"

      In John 10:30, Jesus is quoted as saying "I and the Father are one" (with "the Father" being God). In John 14:9, He says, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."

      March 16, 2014 at 6:20 am |
      • truthinid

        Add to that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
        And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jn 1:1,Jn 1:14.

        March 16, 2014 at 7:49 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Yet nothing outside of the bible verifies a god exists...when you provide that evidence, we might have reason to accept the stories, until then you simply look silly for posting such horrible stuff.

          March 16, 2014 at 8:31 am |
      • Vic

        Add to that:

        John 8:58
        "58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”" (NASB)

        John 17:5
        "5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." (NASB)

        God bless.

        March 16, 2014 at 8:57 am |
    • michaeltodd63

      Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and ain many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but bin these last days che has spoken to us by dhis Son, whom he appointed ethe heir of all things, fthrough whom also he created gthe world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and hthe exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. iAfter making purification for sins, jhe sat down kat the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name lhe has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
      5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
      m“You are my Son,
      today I have begotten you”?
      Or again,
      n“I will be to him a father,
      and he shall be to me a son”?
      6 And again, when he brings othe firstborn into the world, he says,
      p“Let all God's angels worship him.”
      7 Of the angels he says,
      q“He makes his angels winds,
      and his ministers a flame of fire.”
      8 But of the Son he says,
      r“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
      the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
      9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
      therefore God, your God, shas anointed you
      with tthe oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

      March 16, 2014 at 11:12 am |
    • frosty13148

      Jesus was sent as our savior. Jesus was not sent to condemn anyone. He was sent to give hope to the hopeless. His time here was short but He is returning. How we choose to live our lives is up to us. You can believe or not, your choice. God gave us guidelines to live by and man chooses to use those guidelines in his own fashion. Jesus came to let us know that we are not judge others. People judge people and use God's words to sanctify their personal beliefs. It doesn't make them Godly. I don't force my love of God and Jesus on anyone. I don't go to church. I don't have to. No one does. If a building with pretty ornaments make people feel better and closer to God so be it. I pray and give thanks everyday, which is asked of us. I try to live my life the way God asks of me. Do I fail. Of course. Only self righteous people believe they are perfect in Gods eyes. God expects no less from us than we do our own children. Evil is everywhere and will always be until we are released from our bodies. How we lived will decide where we go after our bodies have died. I can only hope that my good out weighs my bad. I hope I have given my children enough understanding of the consequences of life's choices to do whats right as adults. Just like God does for us. That is why we need the bible. Sorry this went off a little but i am trying to help you understand why feel about God and Jesus.

      March 16, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • igaftr

        What "gods word".
        All I see is a bunch of texts claiming this god, and that god...all were written by men, so what "gods word" are you referring to?
        Please don't try to say the bible...it was entirely written by men, not one word from any gods.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:32 am |
      • doobzz

        Human sacrifice is repugnant. Why do you insist on acting like it's a good thing?

        March 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
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About this blog

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