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. observer

    Where did God SAY that slavery was a SIN or even an ABOMINATION?

    Is there even ONE Christian who can answer this?

    March 17, 2014 at 3:01 am |
    • wilburw7

      “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).

      March 17, 2014 at 3:07 am |
      • observer


        Not one word about prohibiting BUYING SLAVES, OWNING SLAVES, or SELLING YOUR 6-year-old DAUGHTER into s3xual slavery.

        Try again.

        March 17, 2014 at 3:10 am |
        • jls1950

          Uh... WRONG. These things were forbidden. Leviticus 19:29, Leviticus 25:39, etc. There was a system of indentured servitude for dealing with debt, but that was time-limited (Deuteronomy 15) unless the person so bound decided to exercise the lifetime employment clause.

          March 17, 2014 at 3:29 am |
        • otoh2


          Uh, wrong. There was a separate set of rules for foreign slaves:

          Leviticus 25:44-46

          "44 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. 45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. 46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly."

          March 17, 2014 at 3:37 am |
      • ssq41

        Ahem...wilbur...you missed a few prior to that in Exodus 21:

        21: 1ff “These are the laws you are to set before them: 2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.

        Well, apparently God approves of part-time slavery...man, the Jews followed this guy?

        Let's continue:

        7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her."

        Oh, God, just didn't like women and "slaves." Of course, both women and slaves are only property, so, we should really give Him a break.

        March 17, 2014 at 3:37 am |
    • wilburw7

      I have an answer to this but it will not post it. Sorry. Some word I am using is kicking it out.

      March 17, 2014 at 3:36 am |
      • otoh2

        There's a list of hints on the forbidden word fragments on page #5.

        March 17, 2014 at 3:42 am |
  2. auntiekale

    6. Jesus was just a man, and all the fanciful nonsense attributed to him as a deity is fiction.

    March 17, 2014 at 2:54 am |
    • wilburw7

      Revelation 20:14
      Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death – the lake of fire. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.

      March 17, 2014 at 2:59 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Are you capable of using anything other than the buybull??? Using it to prove the fairy tale is tells is not evidence to support he claims it makes! Circular reasoning is all it is!
        Do you know what century it is? Have you ever heard of google or science or school? It is inexcusable in this century with so much information available at your finger tips for you to remain so blatantly ignorant or perhaps you like pretending to be intelligent when in fact all you do is prove that you're a very gullible person with the rational and logic levels of a 5 year old.

        March 17, 2014 at 5:31 am |
  3. observer


    Concerning your lack of knowledge of what God said:

    Do you agree with God that 8-year-old girls should have been sold into slavery (for s3x, etc.)?
    Do you agree with God that slaves should be treated like property and owned for their entire lives?
    Do you agree with God that it's okay to BEAT female slaves with RODS as long as they don't die in a day or so?

    Where did God SAY that slavery was a SIN or even an ABOMINATION?


    March 17, 2014 at 2:52 am |
    • wilburw7

      Wrong. Go back an read my paragraph so you don't say wrong things like that again. You sound just like the pharisees that tried to logically trap Jesus. They failed. Jesus already clearly stated the difference between man's laws written by Moses and God's laws, which are different.

      March 17, 2014 at 2:56 am |
      • observer


        So you are COMPLETELY STUMPED and unable to answer simple YES or NO questions.


        At least give them a try.

        Hiding isn't fooling anyone but YOU.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:57 am |
        • wilburw7

          No I agree with God and disagree with men that want to enslave people.

          March 17, 2014 at 3:03 am |
        • observer

          It's PATHETIC and DISGUSTING that you support this BARBARIC treatment, especially of FEMALE SLAVES:

          (Ex. 21:20-21) “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property” [God]

          March 17, 2014 at 3:07 am |
      • otoh2

        " the difference between man's laws written by Moses and God's laws, "

        So Moses LIED when he said that the "Lord God" spoke to him (like a thousand times) with all of those laws and commands and special info?!

        March 17, 2014 at 3:05 am |
  4. Elbonian

    1. The best available evidence is that every piece of evidence which allegedly proves that Jesus existed as an actual person is forged or otherwise made up by a person or persons unknown. The agreed authentic letters of the apostle Paul uniformly fail to make any reference to Jesus as an actual person, referring only to visions that Paul (and others) had of Jesus. In fact, the best evidence is that the Jesus story (visions and all) was adapted from a combination of Roman and Jewish religious ideas as a syncretic religion in the same way that the Roman Mithras religion and Isis religion were syncretic religions formed from Roman and Persian or Roman and Egyptian sources.

    2. The town of Nazareth didn't exist at the time Jesus was supposed to have lived. It was founded later, sometime after the war with Rome in 70 AD, possibly by refugees from Jerusalem. The best available evidence tends to suggest that the word used in the early texts wasn't a place reference at all, but was instead an identification of Jesus with a particular sect of Judaism which observed the Nazirite vows, thus making Jesus a "Nazirite" himself.

    3. Christianity is inherently contradictory due to its syncretic origins. As the saying goes, you can't be a Christian unless you believe at least 6 impossible things (such as Jesus was 100% human and 100% God both at the same time; what this article actually discusses is exactly some of those impossible things, such as the impossibility of being a 100% omniscient deity at the exact same time you are 100% human, with human limitations on knowledge, etc.).

    4. Christianity only somewhat accidentally became the religion of Western Civilization due to Charlemagne wishing to have some divine authority to back up his claim to be Emperor. If Charlemagne had opted to found his empire using a different religion, Christianity would be almost forgotten today in what we call "Western Civilization."

    5. Like many religions Christianity is morally repugnant to the extent it purports to require its followers to convert or kill anybody who adheres to a different religion or to no religion at all. Liberty isn't a Christian value at all! Those who wish liberty need to begin by rejecting Christianity (and Islam, etc.).

    March 17, 2014 at 2:44 am |
    • wilburw7

      Roman history talks about Jesus living at that time. What is the meaning of the year 2014?

      March 17, 2014 at 2:52 am |
      • otoh2

        The B.C./A.D. dating system was the brainchild of a monk named Dionysius in the 6th century. The Church was very powerful in those days and controlled many aspects of society, including politics, economics, literature and history-writing... still, his dating system took hundreds of years (nearly 1000) to be inst-ituted world-wide. Many cultures still keep their ancient calendars going on the side.

        Roman history reports on the Christians and what they claimed about their hero. There's not a peep from any Roman who ever saw/heard the alleged Jesus.

        March 17, 2014 at 3:00 am |
      • observer


        If you look at our calendar, you'll see it's loaded with days and months that were named after OTHER GODS.

        March 17, 2014 at 3:04 am |
    • jls1950

      Just because you say it does not make it so. The existence of Jesus or Y'shua is is better established, historically, than the existence of Homer or Odysseus or even Archimedes – especially in Jewish and Roman records.

      March 17, 2014 at 3:33 am |
      • ssq41

        Just 'cause you said it doesn't make it so, either...so, there!

        March 17, 2014 at 3:45 am |
  5. ssq41

    Doris, thought you might enjoy this headline from the Huffington Post and other sources:

    "Rev. Franklin Graham Praises Putin For Stance Against Ho.mose.xuality"

    March 17, 2014 at 2:37 am |
    • observer


      In agreement about gays:

      Franklin Graham
      Muslim extremists
      The Bible

      March 17, 2014 at 2:40 am |
      • Doris

        I'm not surprised. But thanks, I'll check more about that later in the am – I'm calling it a night.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:44 am |
  6. observer

    “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.” – Benjamin Franklin, “Poor Richard’s Almanack”, 1758.

    March 17, 2014 at 2:34 am |
    • wilburw7

      Benjamin Franklin: "Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped."

      March 17, 2014 at 2:41 am |
      • observer

        “He [the Rev Mr. Whitefield] used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.” – Benjamin Franklin, “Autobiography”

        March 17, 2014 at 2:46 am |
      • Doris

        Of course toward the end of his life old Ben was quite the Deist and wrote about it in his autobiography. Of course the Deist then would not believe in any of the supernatural content of the Bible, would not believe Jesus was the son of God and would not believe that the Creator God played an active role in people's lives.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:47 am |
  7. wilburw7

    "Science does not know how life began on earth" - Neil deGrasse Tyson (March 2014)

    "God created everything by number, weight and measure." - Issac Newton

    March 17, 2014 at 2:32 am |
    • sam stone

      science has come a long way since the 18th century, wilburrrrr

      March 17, 2014 at 5:58 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        oh but wilbur still thinks we live in that century...poor wee child like mind he has. I wonder if he realizes that the machine he uses to spread his delusions is an invention by mostly Atheists.

        March 17, 2014 at 6:18 am |
  8. observer


    Do Christians who don't support the Bible when it comes to slavery, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped, etc. get sent directly to hell?


    March 17, 2014 at 2:30 am |
    • wilburw7

      I have already addressed the Slavery misunderstanding. Go back and read it.

      "I just want to do God's will." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      "Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." - Abraham Lincoln (slave liberator)

      March 17, 2014 at 2:39 am |
      • observer


        No. You didn't address YOUR MISUNDERSTANDING of God's support for slavery.

        Do you agree that 8-year-old girls should have been sold into slavery (for s3x, etc.)?
        Do you agree that slaves should be treated like property and owned for their entire lives?
        Do you agree that it's okay to BEAT female slaves with RODS as long as they don't die in a day or so?

        How about some ANSWERS?

        March 17, 2014 at 2:43 am |
        • wilburw7

          Yes I did. I wrote it out in several very long paragraphs hours ago. Go back and understand how YOU misunderstood the Bible Jesus talked about the law of Moses and God's ideal and how they were different when asked by the Pharisees. Slavery is not condoned by God. That is your wish so you have a stick to beat Christians with it.

          March 17, 2014 at 2:49 am |
      • observer


        Sorry to tell you, but Lincoln was a politician and you've said you can't trust them.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:50 am |
    • enderspeakerforthedead

      willbur and others et al.

      I have no fear of this place you call hell and here is why. With sound scientific principle we can emphatically say that hell is not eternal and therefore we have no need to fear being there. Using the premise that E=mc squared we can deduce that energy has mass. Knowing energy has mass and postulating that souls are the energy that lies within us to make us individuals we can use Boyle's law to disprove that hell is eternal.

      To begin with we need to know the mass of hell and assume that it changes over time. This leads us to need to know the rate of which souls enter hell. Since we can assume that no souls ever leave hell, then we need only to know the rate at which they enter. For this we need to examine religions. Since most religions state that if you are not a member of that religion, your soul will go to hell, and since you cannot belong to more than one religion at a time, we can assume that all souls will go to hell. Since birth rates are rising we can deduce that the number of souls entering hell will be exponential in nature.

      Next, we need to look at the volume of hell because in Boyle's Law it states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to remain constant, the volume of hell needs to expand in proportion to the number of new souls added. This leaves us with two possible outcomes.

      a) If hell expands at a rate slower than the rate of new souls entering hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell would increase until all hell breaks loose.


      b) If hell is expanding at a rate faster than the rate at which new souls are being added then the temperature and pressure will fall until hell freezes over.

      In either postulate, the concept of hell being eternal is disproven as in both scenarios it destroys itself, ergo there is no reason to believe you would suffer for all of eternity and hell is not to be feared.

      Just sayin'

      March 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
  9. observer

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
    - Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

    March 17, 2014 at 2:24 am |
    • wilburw7

      "I did not have s e x with that women, Monica Lewinsky" - Bill Clinton

      March 17, 2014 at 2:30 am |
      • observer

        Looks like you can't trust politicians. Bush said he talks to God all the time and he was a disaster.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:33 am |
        • wilburw7

          He said there were WMDs in Iraq.
          Obama said you can keep your doctor.
          Wow Politicians lying. How rare (sarcasm)

          March 17, 2014 at 2:45 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        “We are amazed to find how often a man, who would be behind bars if he were not a Priest, is entrusted with the care of souls”
        -Father Gerald Fitzgerald, 1957
        Founder The Servants of the Paraclete

        March 17, 2014 at 2:35 am |
  10. Doris

    The BGV Theorem is saying is not "the universe had a beginning", but that inflationary models cannot go infinitely into the past, and require physics other than inflationary models to describe the boundary condition. This paper is a direct response to physicists who attempt to use inflationary models to describe an eternal universe. In case that's not completely clear, the authors elaborate in the paper itself:

    "What can lie beyond this boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event. The boundary is then a closed spacelike hypersurface which can be determined from the appropriate instanton.

    Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary. This is the chief result of our paper. "

    How has Craig made the leap from "inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the universe" to suggesting that the BGV Theorem has proved "the universe began to exist"? Even Borde, Guth and Vilenkin clearly suggest that a "beginning" is merely one possibility that might correspond to the boundary condition.

    In Many Worlds in One, Vilenkin talks a bit about a quantum tunneling model that constitutes these "new physics". He compares and contrasts his approach with that of Stephen Hawking, known as the Hartle-Hawking No Boundary Proposal. There are many other options, and I believe Sean Carroll makes a valid point by stating:

    'The definition of “singularity in the past” is not really the same as “had a beginning” — it means that some geodesics must eventually come to an end. (Others might not.) Most importantly, I don’t think that any result dealing with classical spacetimes can teach us anything definitive about the beginning of the universe. The moment of the Big Bang is, if anything is, a place where quantum gravity is supremely important. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin results are simply not about quantum gravity.'

    March 17, 2014 at 2:22 am |
  11. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”
    ― Penn Jillette

    March 17, 2014 at 2:16 am |
    • wilburw7

      "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." - Jesus Christ

      March 17, 2014 at 2:26 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "For god so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,
        that whosoever would believe in him would believe in anything."

        March 17, 2014 at 2:29 am |
      • ssq41

        "Afrikaners were deeply attached to their version of Christianity, which they
        invoked to justify apartheid."

        Found in: Politics by Other Means: Law in the Struggle Against Apartheid, 1980-1994 By Richard L. Abel

        March 17, 2014 at 2:32 am |
  12. observer

    “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
    - Adolph Hitler, Munich, April, 1922

    March 17, 2014 at 2:14 am |
    • wilburw7

      You are the first one to quote a politician. Aren't politicians the most honest people you know of?

      March 17, 2014 at 2:20 am |
      • ssq41

        "Christianity is politics by other means."

        March 17, 2014 at 2:27 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Politicians and theologians....and theologians are worse.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:28 am |
  13. wilburw7

    "I just want to do God's will." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    March 17, 2014 at 2:12 am |
  14. wilburw7

    "I am a Christian...I believe... only and alone in the service of Jesus Christ...In Him is all refuge, all solace." –Johannes Kepler

    March 17, 2014 at 2:04 am |
    • observer

      "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
      - Isaac Asimov

      March 17, 2014 at 2:07 am |
      • wilburw7

        “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 2:11 am |
      • wilburw7

        “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Into his tiniest creatures, God has placed extraordinary properties ...” - Louis Pasteur (Germ Theory, Pasteurization)

        March 17, 2014 at 2:11 am |
  15. wilburw7

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

    March 17, 2014 at 2:01 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The men you quote are only interesting because of what they could objectively prove....not for the stuff they couldn't.

      March 17, 2014 at 2:10 am |
      • wilburw7

        The men I am quoting are the people that showed the greatest ability to reason correctly.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:15 am |
        • observer

          Except, of course, for Albert Einstein and included few people from the last century when science has greatly advanced and knowledge of Darwin's work has spread.

          March 17, 2014 at 2:18 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Truth does not ask to be believed, it asks to be tested. Scientists do not join hands every Saturday or Sunday and sing…”Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have Faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down! Amen!” If they did we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.
          -Dan Barker

          March 17, 2014 at 2:31 am |
  16. wilburw7

    "The Gospel 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)

    March 17, 2014 at 2:01 am |
  17. wilburw7

    “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

    March 17, 2014 at 2:00 am |
  18. wilburw7

    Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of design is overwhelming."?

    March 17, 2014 at 1:45 am |
    • 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 1:47 am |
      • wilburw7

        Real quote: "I am not an atheist" - Albert Einstein,

        March 17, 2014 at 2:00 am |
        • ssq41

          So typical, wilbur...only quote what fits your philosophy...discard everything else that doesn't fit... real integrity there.

          March 17, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • observer


          That was a REAL QUOTE. Try doing some research next time.

          Here's another REAL QUOTE:

          "It was, of course, a LIE what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
          - Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist, 2/24/1954

          March 17, 2014 at 2:06 am |
        • wilburw7

          "I believe Jesus Christ shall come with the clouds of heaven to judge the world in rightousness and that those who have believed in him shall inheit eternal life through the grace of God." Edward W. Morley (Michelson-Morley experiment that is used in Relativity, atomic weight of oxygen)

          March 17, 2014 at 2:07 am |
        • wilburw7

          "God our Lord is God indeed." - James Clerk Maxwell (Maxwell equations that form the foundation of classical electrodynamics, classical optics, and electric circuits and were based on Faraday's work.and are used in Relativity)

          Einstein's equations were mostly just minor adjustments to Maxwell's equations.

          March 17, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • observer


          Right. That's why James Clerk Maxwell is famous and nobody's ever heard of Albert Einstein, right?

          March 17, 2014 at 2:12 am |
    • colin31714

      "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." – Albert Einstein.

      “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." – Stephen Hawkins, 2013.

      “First of all, I’m an atheist. The second thing I know is that the name was a kind of joke and not a very good one.” – Peter Higgs, the discoverer of the Higgs Boson, the so called “God particle,” commenting on how he wishes people would stop using the term to describe the particle.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:51 am |
  19. colin31714

    5 REAL things you didn’t know about Jesus.

    1. What he believed was so different to your average Christian in the USA today that he would probably not be considered a Christian. He was an apocalyptic Jew who expected the World to end within his life or shortly thereafter. HE was just flat wrong.

    2. He never once mentioned the Christian God- the Holy Trinity (nor does the entire Bible for that matter). It was developed by the early Christians a few hundred years after he died. There is a telling irony in the fact that the book supposedly inspired by the Christian god does not even mention him.

    3. No author of the entire Old or New Testament ever met Jesus. Further, he did not even speak the language of the writers of the New Testament. The entire book was originally written in Greek, but Jesus spoke Aramaic. All authors of the New Testament lived (with the exception of Paul of Tarsus , who never met Jesus anyway) well after Jesus died.

    4. The mythology that has built up around Jesus since his death has been heavily influenced by earlier mythology about similar figure, including the virgin birth, betrayal by a follower, his death and resurrection after three days, being called the “son of God,” and being born on December 25. Many of these traits were earlier attributed to Apollonius of Tyana, Horus, Mithras and Dionysus.

    5. No book of the Bible was written during Jesus’ life. They all either preceded him (the Old Testament) or post dated him – the New Testament. He wrote nothing himself and was likely illiterate. The chances of the supernatural acts attributed to Jesus in the four canonical gospels being true are as low as the stories about Korean dictator Kim Jong Il getting 18 holes-in-one in his first ever game of golf.

    March 17, 2014 at 1:05 am |
    • wilburw7

      Jesus is God and just read what you wrote. What you need to know about Jesus is that if you accept his gift of salvation, you will be forgiven of your sins. Hell is real; stop deceiving yourself.

      March 17, 2014 at 1:41 am |
      • colin31714

        Really? Does he read all posts all over the World by all people? In addition to answering prayers, allowing or causing deaths, admitting or denying people into heaven? Well, I'm sure he will appreciate a bit of grounded historical reality then.

        March 17, 2014 at 1:44 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Signs you are in an abusive relationship
        – Monitors what you're doing all the time
        – Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
        – Threatens to hurt you, or your children if you don’t love him
        – Blames you for his or her violent outbursts or shortcomings
        -Being se.xually controlling
        – You have an impending sense of consequence that will come if you don't "obey."
        -Tells you that you are “nothing” without him and you don’t deserve his love

        March 17, 2014 at 2:00 am |
      • Doris

        Of course the other thing about colin's #4 is that when charged with plagiarism, the early church couldn't find any better excuse than this notion of diabolic mimicry. They claimed that the devil had performed plagiarism in reverse time order to confuse the faithful; that he placed the real gospels after the "fake" ones in time. LOL. That's best they could do for an excuse? And this was Justin Martyr and several other early apologists that are frequently referenced in support of early Christianity.

        March 17, 2014 at 2:01 am |
  20. sunstandsstill

    #2 If I covered my eyes and said I don't want to know what color shirt you're wearing, it's not that I couldn't look with my eyes, it is that I choose not to look. Jesus was God. It's not that He couldn't know everything, it is that He chose to cover his eyes on some things because he wanted to – I don't think anything was hidden from him that he didn't chose to hide from himself. So, in my mind, #2 goes slightly beyond my own belief.

    #4 I don't think Jesus "needed" anything. I think He benefited from time alone and also perhaps set an example for his disciples and all of us. I just think it's wrong to look at God as if He ever "needs" anything.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:59 am |
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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.