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April 17th, 2014
08:00 AM ET

Did Christians really 'steal' Easter?

Opinion by Candida Moss, special to CNN

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(CNN) - It’s that time of year again: the time when chocolate comes in pastels, cherry blossoms start to bloom and well-marketed religion exposés are released to the world.

In other words, it’s Easter.

Among the rash of sensationalist stories we can expect through the season, the annual “Easter was stolen from the pagans” refrain has sprouted again just in time for Holy Week.

Don’t believe the hype.

Perhaps most misinformed theory that rolls around the Internet this time of year is that Easter was originally a celebration of the ancient Near Eastern fertility goddess Ishtar.

This idea is grounded in the shared concept of new life and similar-sounding words Easter/Ishtar. There’s no linguistic connection, however. Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon.

Just because words in different languages sound the same doesn’t mean they are related. In Swedish, the word “kiss” means urine.

But the biggest issue for Christians is the claim that Jesus’ resurrection - the faith’s central tenet - might have pagan roots.

Even apart from whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead, many Christians claim that the very idea is unique.

There are other biblical examples of people being raised from the dead – think of Jesus raising Lazarus. But those people went on to die again. Only Jesus was raised from the dead to live forever.

But there’s a problem: Pre-Christian religions are replete with dying and rising gods.

Dionysius, most commonly thought of as the Greek god of wine, is one such example. He was lured to his death by the Titans, who then boiled and ate him. He was revived by his grandmother, and from his ashes humanity was formed, the Greeks believed.

Farther afield, Osiris – an Egyptian god-king who became ruler of the realm of the dead – was slaughtered before being brought back to life by Isis.

A similar story is found in the case of the Greek goddess Persephone, the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter. Persephone was carried off to the underworld by the love-struck Hades. Because she ate pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she was permitted to leave only for six months a year.

Her annual resurrection is a metaphor for the changing of the seasons, and many scholars think that stories about dying and rising deities are essentially explanations for the coming of winter.

Then there’s Mithras, an ancient Iranian deity popular among Roman soldiers.

Among the many claims made about Mithras are that he was born on December 25, that adherents to his cult practiced baptism, and that he died and was resurrected.

The connections between Christ and Mithras are further amplified by the fact that the church of St. Clement, near the Colosseum in Rome, is built on top of an ancient Mithraeum.

The list goes on, and I’ll admit it’s a bit unsettling.

That's why the accusations that Christians “stole” the Resurrection from the Pagans is so popular and rhetorically powerful.

If, as many Christians claim, Christianity’s against-the-odds success is in some way proof of its authenticity and truth, then what does it say that parts of its truth were stolen from religious movements that no longer exist?

Spiritual “Manifest Destiny” looks less persuasive when extinct religious traditions supplied the backbone for the modern-day Church.

But there are ways around some of these problems.

Lumping all of these stories of dying and rising gods into a single category obscures important differences between them. Some of those who rose as gods, for example, were mere human beings prior to their return. Jesus, in contrast, was divine before his death, according to Christian theology.

Also, some of the parallels between the traditions come from a later period (post-Christianity) or are completely unsubstantiated. The arguments about Mithras and Jesus, for example, have completely fallen apart in the past 50 years because there simply isn’t enough ancient evidence to support them.

We should also ask whether the fishermen who followed Jesus around Palestine would have known about (much less adopted) stories from ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

Greek and Roman mythology circulated widely on coins, but would the followers of Jesus who first claimed that Jesus was resurrected have known these stories in great detail?

Perhaps, perhaps not.

On the other hand, many Christians claim that Jesus’ death and resurrection is subtly different from that of other ancient deities and, thus, that the resurrection of Jesus was a wholly new idea.

The problem is, these apologists are one archeological discovery away from disaster. In the meantime, they are trying to pry Christianity apart from other late antique religions in order to protect it.

Perhaps the real problem here is with the idea of uniqueness.

As the University of Chicago scholar Jonathan Z. Smith showed, there’s a huge ideological and religious investment in the idea that Jesus was unique.

But there doesn’t have to be. Just because one idea is influenced by another idea doesn’t mean that its meaning is determined by the chronologically prior idea.

The Founding Fathers may have been influenced by Greek classical tradition, but this doesn’t mean that we should interpret the Constitution in light of Aristotle. You can recognize both the importance and innovation of the Constitution and its roots in ancient European civics.

Rather than battening down the hatches and looking for other signs of uniqueness, Christians need to think about how meaning relates to tradition.

Christians didn’t steal Easter, but it probably wasn’t a wholly new idea, either.

Candida Moss is the author of the “Myth of Persecution” and “Ancient Christian Martyrdom” and professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Easter • Easter • Holidays • Jesus • Opinion • Paganism • Traditions

soundoff (2,118 Responses)
  1. doc4subs

    It's seems that the rest of the world is dismissed with a wave of the religion wand, there is irrefutable evidence that the Egyptians had repeated contact with what we now know as South America. New World herbs, tobacco and cocaine have been found inside the wrappings of mummies that were wrapped six thousand years ago. Modern day contamination? Nope unwrapped in a positive pressure clean room, everyone present wearing sterile gear etc. Every ancient civilization ever rediscovered has a foundation myth and share common threads.
    Religion began to help people understand the changes that took place seasonally, why bad things happen to good people, survive the pain we feel when a loved one passes from an accident while hunting, etc...once priests found they could accrete, money and power..vavavoom!
    Historically most religions had remained regional however Emperor Constantine opened a bag of worms in 492AD when he setup the Roman Catholic Church as the required state religion. His military was recruited from every conquered province and they brought their religious practices with them, leading to over a hundred religious holidays/celebrations a year. He gave them one religion with only 4 holidays per year, allowing them much more time to conquer in the name of the Holy Roman Empire! His new "Chaplain's Corp" had the mandate to forcibly convert his entire army and everyone in the areas they conquered! They also sadly took the opportunity to destroy as much of the indigenous writings no matter what the subject they could find in every country they invaded.
    Today we see the rise of the "fundamentalists" who are once again seeking to codify a state religion using as justification the
    "irrefutable truths" that thankfully the vast majority understand and accept as "religious beliefs". Be happy, don't worry; just keep it inside your church and find the grace to understand that while there are many religious beliefs, there is only one way to find the "truth" and I chose to wait as long as possible before experiencing it....

    April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
  2. jeffpoleet

    The arguments from Mithra have not been "completely destroyed" as the Christian Candida Moss asserts in this poorly researched and written article. Imagine that, a Christian apologetic denying known history and science. Shocking. Christians stole the date of every known holiday in existence.

    The arguments from apologists are becoming more and more trite as time goes on, and even more ridiculous, if you can imagine that being possible.

    April 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      What are the arguments from Mithra?

      April 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
  3. threedoterdad

    I notice who pays Candida Moss' paycheck.

    April 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • jeffpoleet

      Exactly. This is about a decent explanation of Easter as the church gives for their priests praying on our children.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • atty23

      I noticed that her first name means "fungus." Talk about name similarities.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
  4. otoh2

    I often wonder why Pope Gregory VIII kept the pagan god-centered calendar names.

    Every week (52 times per year) in English-speaking places we have:
    Sunday = Various Sun gods
    Monday = Various Moon gods
    Tuesday = Tiu's day (Norse god)
    Wednesday = Woden's day (Norse god)
    Thursday = Thor's day (Norse god)
    Friday = Frigga's day (Norse goddess)
    Saturday = Saturn's day (Roman god)
    And every year:
    January = in honor of Janus (Roman god)
    February = Roman purification rite, februa
    March = in honor of Mars (Roman god)
    April = in honor of Aphrodite (Greek goddess)
    May = in honor of Maia (Roman goddess)
    June = in honor of Juno (Roman goddess)

    We could easily be calling today Paulsday the 17th of Marksmonth or something!

    April 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • guidedans

      I am still pi/ssed that October is the tenth month, but "Octo" refers to eight.

      Same with September-December.

      What a rip-off.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
      • bostontola

        Sticking July and August (Julius and Augustus) screwed everything up.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
      • otoh2

        guideans,

        And that is only a soupçon of the things that the Church "ripped you off" about regarding reality.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • guidedans

          Zing!

          But at least I am not getting ripped off out of Heaven later.

          Also, Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar, which was then slightly altered to make the Gregorian Calendar. All the Church did with it was perpetuated the error.

          I blame the Greeks more than anyone else.

          Pretty much for everything actually.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • stevem2424

      ya we should use hilter you would like better i bet

      April 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • Tuscany Dream

        Are you 9? On Spring Break from school?

        April 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  5. vomitfist

    Christians didnt "steal" easter or any other holiday, as people converted (by force or not) they adapted, brining old beliefs with them. The same thing happened with jews that migrated to europe. They blended in by using more religious names, they inherited different foods and added their own twist and names to them and called it their own.

    April 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • widem1575

      LOL, So they conquered Easter. To the victor go the Eggs.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
      • ljgathena

        ...and Peeps

        April 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      If you take elements of a festival, slap your own deity on it and then call it your own, then that is stealing it by anyone's definition.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
      • peterson1974

        Dont rappers and other various "musicians" do this all the time?

        April 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          Lol, they call it "sampling."

          April 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • Doris

      Regarding of whether one considers Easter stolen or not, what is laughable to me is the excuse given by Justin Martyr and several other early Christian apologists who were trying to dispel the charges that the Gospels borrowed from older stories. Their claim was that Satan had performed plagiarism backward in time (diabolic mimicry). So that's the best excuse they could come up with? If one believes that, maybe Satan has just tricked everyone with since the beginning of mankind beginning with Genesis.....

      April 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • jeffpoleet

      So if I come and take your car (by force or not) that doesn't mean I am stealing it right? I am just "incorporating" it into my garage?

      April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • Tuscany Dream

        Yes...you're "sampling" it, lol.

        April 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • atty23

      Sure, as you said, when they weren't converted BY FORCE. You know what's less evil than stealing an idea? Forcing others to follow your beliefs (I wish you could see my epic eye-roll sequence here).

      April 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
  6. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    All religions save Christianity exacerbate the situation.

    If a Muslims keeps the 5 Pillars of Islam, he is yet a very good Muslim. He is not supposed to love people of different belief, rather to hate and kill them.

    Why do suicide bombers blow themselves up?

    Muhammad commands Jihad.

    Conclusion: Islam worsens man, instead of improving him or her.

    Also a Catholic is not required to exercise unbiased love towards everybody, but he or she is supposed to do good deeds: Praying a rosary, fasting, keeping certain feast days, pilgrimage to Rome, etc.). Moreover they sacrifice Jesus in form of the host every Sunday again so that they can sin again very week. Sin is the opposite of love of neighbour.

    Conclusion: Catholicism worsens man.

    Protestantism: They have reduced Jesus sacrifice to a mere atonement, neglecting the redemptive character of Jesus sacrifice. They sin without limit because Jesus has payed the bill in advance.

    Protestantism of the cheap grace worsens man.

    What do we need?

    True Christianity of the costly grace.

    Get the real thing!

    April 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      'Also a Catholic is not required to exercise unbiased love towards everybody'

      Are you suggesting YOU are supposed too? I ask because you havent shown one iota of it so far.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
      • Tuscany Dream

        He is also wrong about the Catholics, but he projects his idiocy on every religion other than whatever congregation of one he belongs to.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
    • Tuscany Dream

      Muhammed doesn't command jihad, God does. Similar to God commanding His other prophets in the OT to slay enemies. And before you open your gigantic judgmental mouth, no, I'm not Muslim.

      You sound very unhappy if you cannot practice your faith without lying about others.

      Conclusion: buy a diary.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Your mental state is that one of Muhammad. My sympathies!

        April 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          And before you open your gigantic judgmental mouth, no, I’m not Muslim.

          You hate being wrong, don't you?

          Can't admit it?

          When you have to LIE for God , do you think that gets extra points?

          Liar. Bigot. Rainier.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • justsmileandrelax

        Your bigotry and hatred are palpable. Also, your generalization of people of faith is narrow minded at best. So, if you're trying to make the point that people who do not believe in God are better people....by your comments, you are no different than the people you describe as idiots.

        April 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • bostontola

      And you know the true way. Are you God? If not, why should I believe your interpretation of the bible more than anyone elses?

      No. Your post is a somewhat comprehensive "no true Scotsman" argument. It illustrates the absurdity of Christian claims to Truth.

      There is a simple way to resolve all the ambiguity. God could appear and set all 42,000 denominations straight. Oh, and by the way, all atheists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Odinists, etc. would instantly become Christian.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        When God appears, Judgement Day is there. That is why he doesn't appear so quickly. He wants to give us further opportunity to convert.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Doris

          Evidently he also wants to give plenty of time for mental gymnastics... (eyeroll)

          April 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • bostontola

          Helmut,
          You dodged the real questions; 1. Are you God?, 2. If not, why should anyone think you have a better interpretation of the bible than anyone else?

          April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You cannot expect serious replies when you ask frivolous questions.

          Ain't it clear that I agree with the doctrine of the Early Church? I don't spread my own crap, but the doctrine which has ever been spread by the Christian Church.

          My doctrine is nothing special. It is the ordinary doctrine of the Church.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • flyingspacemonkeys

          Wow. A prophet, right here on our own little comment section. Truly we are blessed by the Grace of His Noodliness, He who boiled for our sins.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dodge.

          "Ain't it clear that I agree with the doctrine of the Early Church?" No. Every other denomination (including your best friends the Catholics) think exactly the same thing. That is the point. You are not qualified to assess your own bias.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          I don't believe that we are saved through "good deeds".

          A good deed is praying a rosary, for example.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • Doris

          "My doctrine is nothing special."

          That's just what the last Christian said – you know, the one who says you're not a Christian..

          April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          Your doctrine is made up wholly in your head, and you sure as hell DO spread your own crap.

          You spread it with every lie you tell about other religions, from Jews to Muslins to Catholics.

          It's as if you think lying about then will make your opinion more valid.
          You lie about America, you lie about the people of America, and yet you see fit to come in this American blog to do that.

          Do you have any self-awareness or humility at all?

          April 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You hate me. Cheers!

          April 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • bostontola

          "You hate me. Cheers!"

          Are you 10?

          April 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          Is it hate to call out someone on their lies? No.

          You just dislike being corrected about when you lie about someone/something, and you extrapolate that into "hate".

          Although I feel you do hate Americans, Catholics, Muslims, gay people, and...have I missed anyone?

          You probably shouldn't post on a public blog and expect kudos when you lie about other people who use the sane blog....

          April 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Doris

      Translation: "My cult is better than your cult, so there!"

      April 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
    • onemanspeaks

      "True Christians" have cheapened true Spiritual Doctrine by insisting they are the ones who have it right.
      God Himself, whether you are Protestant, Muslim or Catholic, chooses His people it's not the other way around.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • flyingspacemonkeys

        "God Himself, whether you are Protestant, Muslim or Catholic, chooses His people it's not the other way around."

        But.....but....there's no money in that!

        April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
  7. barrywohlford

    Whether you are Christian or pagan or any other persuasion, you should be able to agree that this article is fence-sitting nonsense. As a Christian, the issue for me is simple – either Jesus physically rose from the dead, or He didn't. If He didn't, then I'm wrong and Christianity is a false religion. The Apostle Paul made this unequivocally clear in 1 Corinthians 15:12-18:

    We have preached that Christ has been raised from the dead. So how can some of you say that no one rises from the dead? 13 If no one rises from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, what we preach doesn’t mean anything. Your faith doesn’t mean anything either. 15 More than that, we would be lying about God. We have given witness that God raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if the dead are not raised.

    16 If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith doesn’t mean anything. Your sins have not been forgiven. 18 Those who have died believing in Christ are also lost.

    I wonder if Ms. Moss has ever even read Scripture.

    April 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • Tuscany Dream

      Where did you plagiarize this from? You should have given credit to the author.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • ljgathena

        He does give credit: Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:12-18.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          So he does. Oops. Sorry.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • widem1575

      This reasoning fails and needs to be rid of. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, it doesn't mean that everything you preach is wrong. If he did rise from the dead it doesn't mean everything you preach is correct. It doesn't even mean he was a god since those are not mutually exclusive.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
      • barrywohlford

        Well, take that up with the Apostle Paul. I was just quoting him. And incidentally, I don't think you understand what "wrong" in this context means. Sure, a Christian can still preach some truths even if we are wrong about Christ's resurrection, but Christianity itself is fraudulent. For Christians, the Resurrection is central to our faith. If we preach Christ crucified and resurrected and are wrong about that, then we are wrong about the very core of our faith, and our faith is worthless. We cannot be redeemed by stumbling upon some truths every now and then.

        Kind of like buying a car from a car salesman who tells you a lot of great things about the car. You know that some of the things he says are true from your own research, but you also happen to know that this particular car salesman did time in prison for fraud. Does the fact that he tells you some true things make you trust him?

        April 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Doris

      Of course we could say that motor-mouth Paul's word was given the stamp of approval by Peter in Peter 2, except that most NT scholars agree that Peter didn't author Peter 2. What else is there besides the hearsay "historians" to back up the words of the one who may as well be considered the Joseph Smith of his day?.....

      April 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • jeffpoleet

      So the bible is true because the bible says it is true? That's brilliant. Where else in life do we get to use that type of logic?

      Frankly, who cares if that is what you have been preaching, as you got that from the bible, and you are using a logical fallacy known as self referential sources. You don't get to hold the bible out as a true account of history, and then when questioned of the authenticity, cite the bible simply because "it says so". This is nonsense.

      Further, this article is worse than fence sitting, it completely glosses over the fact that Ishtar was celebrated as a pagan fertility festival using bunnies, flowers and eggs as symbols of new life. The lengths to which you all will go to turn yourselves in knots trying to obfuscate the truth, and known history is mind boggling. FAIL! CNN.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Is there a reason you chose to capitalize Christian but not Pagan? One might be more inclined to believe you're being respectful if you actually show respect.

      Whether you are Christian or pagan or any other persuasion, you should be able to agree that this article is fence-sitting nonsense.

      I don't know about fence sitting, but it is certainly poorly researched and lacking in actual facts. But most Pagans don't really know the truth either.

      As a Christian, the issue for me is simple – either Jesus physically rose from the dead, or He didn't. If He didn't, then I'm wrong and Christianity is a false religion. The Apostle Paul made this unequivocally clear in 1 Corinthians 15:12-18:

      As a Pagan, that doesn't matter to me. The misinformation spread by anti-Christian contingents of Paganism when it was first beginning it's rebirth does. Ishtar was a goddess of war and sovereignty along with fertility and sex. Her specific celebration was not the Spring Equinox. She is not associated with eggs or rabbits, aside from a modern-mind connection of those things to fertility.

      As to Eoster, well, there are very few places the name even can be found. The only literary reference of Easter being derived from that name to be found is by a scholar in the early medieval era. In fact, that goddess name is very difficult to track down.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  8. widem1575

    "The arguments about Mithras and Jesus, for example, have completely fallen apart in the past 50 years because there simply isn’t enough ancient evidence to support them."

    This is obviously taken out of the authors context, but the statement alone brings a smile to the face.

    I think an apologist's academic research into ancient religions is great, nevertheless I find it hard to trust the weighing of religious ideas that one does not cherish vs. those that one does cherish. One is observed through the lens of reason, while the other will be viewed through the lens of faith.

    Reading through stories of those being resurrected and determining that they are silly, should impart the same response by your reasoning faculties for that which is the same.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • theemptyone1

      Mitrha was a Persian sun god. Mithraism had been popular with Romans who were open to other religious ideas as a rule. Mithra's birth date was at the period of the winter solstice, officially, December 25 on the Roman calendar. That is all the evidence that is needed to establish the relationship. The Roman Catholic Church does not even deny this and other such facts of appropriation of pagan forms.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • joey3467

        Plus early Christians tried to explain away the similarities by claiming the the Devil had gone back in time and invented those things so that it would look like Christianity wasn't all that original. That right there tells me all I need to know.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
  9. peacejay17

    Actually the goddess name they should be referring to is called Ēostre, her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: "eastre." Saying Easter was stolen is a bit strong, but there are borrowed elements from the ancient religions in all aspects of Christianity. Pagans celebrate the Spring Equinox, a time of "rebirth". Granted the rebirth they celebrate focuses on nature, but they do celebrate rebirth. To discount the many similarities is just silly and irresponsible. There are more similarities in many of our religions than differences, maybe that should be a more positive focus.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • Tuscany Dream

      Ah, but then that would have made the whole paragraph moot. I think she knows...I knew that, and I don't know paganism from a Kinderegg.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • atty23

      If the author actually followed her own beliefs and respected the views of others, she'd be angrier that candy and party companies have hijacked her religious holiday, instead of complaining that her religion is accused of theft.

      April 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
  10. Jubei

    I like finding the chocolate eggs. Thats a lot of fun!

    April 17, 2014 at 11:56 am |
  11. Rynomite

    What I want to know.... why don't we have any talking snake celebration festivals?

    If we believed the story of Adam and Eve to be the truth, the only reason any humans other than Adam or Eve exist is due to the intervention of the snake. God says to go forth and multiply, but evidently he was talking about math because the Bible mentions no children in the garden. Adam and Eve evidently don't know how to reproduce until after they ate the fruit. So YAY sin! Without it we wouldn't be here!

    April 17, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    Please tell me what sort of asinine fool spends so much time and effort and goodness to create from nothing a perfect universe and a perfect existence with all of its intricacy ... and then tricks Eve into eating an apple so that he can then undo his master work that he put so much time and effort into and turn it into the barely holding together chaos that we see today that he has to constantly micromanage? Seriously? Seriously?!?!

    April 17, 2014 at 11:47 am |
  13. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    We enjoy scrutinizing similar to our "father" Adam who experienced a fall. I don't refuse rational consideration to a certain degree. Yet, there is a point when rational consideration becomes a smokescreen for disbelief: Somebody not wanting to believe simply tries constantly to find new rational arguements against the faith. I have heard there are people refusing to go to work saying that there could be a lion outside (indeed, the mathematical probabiltiy that a lion is around is not zero). Would we call them rationalists? No, we would call them lazy.

    Christianity fits too good in our world. A few people doubt the reality of the sun and the moon. We should not doubt the reality of Christianity.

    It is too manifest that mankind is beset by evil. Turn on TV, and the first news will be that somewhere a Muslim idiot has blown himself up using an explosive belt killing many innocent people. Ain't that evil? Of course, that is evil though Muhammad, the worst of all idiots, has commanded Jihad. What about the US spree killers? What about former German Nazis? What about former Stalinists? What about former Catholic crusades? The list is without end. Endless bloodshed!

    Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    What about our evil acts through which we harm our fellow human beings daily? What about our lack of worship?

    Even if there would be no Bible, we could not deny that evil is there. It befalls us daily.

    When people harm each other daily, it is odd to imply that man has got an evil germ inside which can take control of him under certain conditions?

    Wouldn't it be reasonable to welcome a religion which provides a solution for that issue of evil?

    The core of the solution is Jesus death and resurrection which we really should celebrate at Easter. Jesus laid the foundation for the destruction of evil: "He is the death of death and the destruction of the hell."

    Even (religious) people putting in every effort to improve (to sin less, and to love more) notice that they cannot overcome their intrinsic sinfulness (their evil germ) by natural strength. We are interwoven with evil.

    St. Paul says that when Jesus died also we have died, our evil germ. It is only that we have to believe that, and to get sacramentally baptized in order to participate in Jesus death and resurrection. All religions try to improve man by ridiculous means, but don't mind the evil germ within us. The man who smells of sweat should be washed, but not doused with perfume. All religions save Christianity do that. The only real solution is to humble the evil germ within us. No painkiller, but killing the cancer.

    If we believe in Jesus Christ, and get sacramentally baptized (or refer to our infant baptism) the evil germ within us gets disempowered, the sin gets dethroned. The evil germ is still there even after conversion and baptism, but through remembrance of our baptism and Jesus' sacrifice we can suppress it which is actually dead, declared dead.

    Through baptism we also resurrect together with Jesus who is love in himself. In Jesus we are able to love God and our neighbour. Love is the opposite of sin or breach of law, love is the fulfillment of the law of the Torah.

    Repent, convert, believe in Jesus, get sacramentally baptized, and you will experience a real Easter.

    Jesus waits for you. He loves you, and he can set you free.

    If you accept all this, Jesus sacrifice is also an atonement for your sins, for our sins. We are forgiven.

    Don't scrutinize, but believe in the Ruler of the Universe who is ready to come to judge the quick and the dead.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      cult speak.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Tuscany Dream

      You reposted this? Are you a vanity writer? You didn't even edit the obviously bigoted parts.

      You forgot a few things in your bigoted diatribe.
      Such as the Christians murdering each other in Rwanda.
      Or Andrea Yaes, who drowned her children because God told her to.
      Or the small Christian cult in Choke who sacrificed a baby to God.
      Or the Pritestants blowing up children in Northern Ireland.

      Come now, man, if you're going to pout out the the other religions, take the plank out if your eye and point out the hypocrisy of your own.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • Tuscany Dream

        Should be Andrea YATES.
        The country of the baby sacrifice is Chile.

        April 17, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • mythless

      Really, you expect people to believe what you say when there is no evidence to support it. Sorry, not buying your snake oil.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      again, its a weak argument to claim that because bad things happen christanity must be true. The same argument can be used to claim the veracity of every religion.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • Tuscany Dream

        I find it amusing that he doesn't seem to recognize that Christians have been just as complicit in those bad things happening.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • johnbiggscr

          Ah but he does, he mentions 'What about former Catholic crusades?'
          However I would be willing to bet that he is protestant and will claim catholics are not christians.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • johnbiggscr

          I stand corrected. He seems to blast both catholics and protestants.
          Hes more troll like than religious.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          You'd be right; he diesnt consider Catholics to be Christians. He bashed them regularly.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • jeffpoleet

      Don't scrutinize? In other words, do not use your brain or think about the nonsense I am writing, just believe that Christianity is true because it is bad to question god. Where do they make you people, the bronze age?

      April 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Don't scrutinize too much. Rational consideration is good up to a certain degree. You must know for yourself how far you can go.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  14. Rynomite

    Ahh Easter!

    The celebration of an all knowing, all powerful god creating original sin and then sacrificing himself to himself to eliminate it!

    April 17, 2014 at 11:42 am |
  15. eighteencharacters

    What do eggs and rabbits have to do with the resurrection of Christ?

    Nothing.

    What do eggs and rabbits have to do with the pagan celebration of the spring equinox?

    Everything.

    Enjoy your ham feast, pagans.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:42 am |
  16. QuestionsEverything

    And, uh, the Romans thought, "Relaxed and groovy. No no no no no!" Um, so they murdered him. And then kids eat chocolate eggs because of the color of the chocolate and the color of the wood on the cross . . . well, you tell me! It's got nothing to do with it, has it?!

    You got people going, "Remember kids," the kids are eating the chocolate eggs, going, "Remember kids, Jesus died for your sins."
    "Yeah, I know, it's great!"
    "No, no. It's bad! It's bad!"
    "It's bad, it's very bad! It's terrible! Whatever you want. I mean, just keep giving me these eggs."

    And the bunny rabbits! Where do they come into the crucifixion? There were no bunny rabbits up on the hill going, "Hey, what're ya gonna put these crosses in our warrens? We live below this hill, alright?"
    Bunny rabbits are for shagging, eggs are for fertility! It's a festival, it's the spring festival!

    -Eddie Izzard, Dress to Kill

    April 17, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  17. magicpanties

    "...some of the parallels ... are completely unsubstantiated..."

    Yeah, completely unsubstantiated just like your fairy tale bible, hoo hah.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  18. myweightinwords

    Christianity didn't "steal" anything per se. Religion and culture are products of what came before them, the evolve out of one thing and into something new. Sometime that process is deliberate (think the Reformation), sometimes it's gradual.

    There was no malice involved.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:34 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      so is your bible the absolute and unadulterated word of your almighty god? or is it a book?

      given the claims made in it, you can't have a little of both. It has to be one or the other.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I'm not Christian. I'm Pagan.

        April 17, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          ahhhhhh.

          so why have you been posting Christian propaganda for the last 6 months? Split personality?

          April 17, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • myweightinwords

          I haven't been. Ever.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • Tuscany Dream

          She hasn't. Ever. I know from my shirt time here that meiw isn't Christian.
          You must be thinking of someone besides myweightinwords.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          *short time here.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      'There was no malice involved.'

      Actually there was. Its easier to convert a group you just invaded if you can convince them they dont have to change their festivals. Christanity wasnt spread by peace and love but by the sword and conquest.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I mean prior to the church organizing. The grass roots mythology of Christianity. I doubt there was no real hard thought about "stealing" anything.

        In the early days it was likely much more organic. The similarities in the myths reflects that. The dying and resurrecting god grafted into Jewish culture.

        Had it been planned, and thought out, I'm sure that it wouldn't have the significant plot holes it has.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    In the time I have posted on this blog I have heard some of the funniest justifications for why the Christian religion MUST all be true:
    – so many people have died for this religion over the years, so it must all be true.
    – it says it's true in the bible so it must all be true
    – I have a personal relationship with jesus so it must all be true
    – millions of people in the world believe it so it must all be true.
    – the human eye could not have just appeared so it must all be true.
    – the prophesies all came true so it must all be true.
    – jesus died for our sins and was resurrected so it must all be true.

    Please add your favorites below ...

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    April 17, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • Rynomite

      – there is vast amounts of evidence for a global flood so it must be true

      That's my favorite. Anytime they use Christian "Science".

      April 17, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • mk

      An easter bunny hides chicken eggs but Jesus rose from the dead so it must all be true.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • johnbiggscr

      How about the classic......you need god in order to have morals so it must be true.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • joey3467

      I always enjoy when a Christian tries to tell me that Christianity is all about accepting personal responsibility, when the truth is the entire concept is to let Jesus be held responsible for all the bad stuff you have ever done.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
      • johnbiggscr

        I always like it when a right wing christian moans about socialist ideas being communism etc, and I point out that they hope to have an afterlife where everyone is equal, no rich or poor, with no needs or wants because everything is provided for you by the 'authorities', and you spend your days doing the authorities will and praising their name. Oh and if anyone ever turns against the authorities, who will forever be in charge, with no change, they will be sent to a gulag to burn forever as punishment for daring to speak out.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • Rynomite

        I have always felt that Christianity is completely opposed to personal responsibility. Not just the fact of the atonement doctrine that you mentioned, but the fact that they try and blame all the bad things in the world on external forces and out groups. The devil caused X. The Muslims are the fault of Y. Atheists are the reason for Z.

        April 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • mk

          Unless it's a good thing, then their god did it.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      The whole 'look around you' deal...as if looking at all the pretty things on earth prove their god.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  20. weebitwidd11e

    Every Continent has their God. Through out history they each had their own name for God. If you look into each continent there was always one God that stood out that resembled Jesus. History has told us that even in the years before Jesus men worshiped idols. So naturally you would have conflicting Gods because a few people invented Gods depending on their needs at the time. Perhaps Jesus fulfilled some needs? Doesn't mean a thing. But if you look all over the world Jesus was the same, born in the same way, died the same way. But he resembled the people, and he had many names depending on whom you was talking too. Even the American Indians claim to have seen Jesus.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:31 am |
    • ausphor

      Ah! Yes all Hail the Emperor Penguin of Antarctica, bow before him, beware his fetid fishy breath. All Hail, All Hail.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:01 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.