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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. aronpaulkirk

    The MAJOR difference between Jesus and any prior resurrection myths that actually matters: Jesus was real (as in actually really existed and actually rose from the dead) while the other myths were, well, just that – myths. Read "The Case For Christ" by Lee Strobel (former atheist who set out to disprove Christianity). Jesus was real. No scholar would debate he was a real historical person. Most scholars would even agree that he was really crucified by the Romans at the request of the Jews. The question then becomes did he really come back from the dead. Even the Apostle Paul says in the Bible that if he didn't, our faith (Christianity) is useless. If he did come back from the dead... then he is LORD. As C.S. Lewis said, Jesus was "either a liar, lunatic, or Lord." Based on the evidence, I have come to believe he is who he said he was – the Savior of the World.

    April 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #1 – “From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

      April 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • yeahright14

      Please list one credible source that confirms jesus was real. Christians keep lying about this. You always claim proof, but never show any. In fact, the proof that these almost identical myths were around long before your version should tell you all you need to know about this myth.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • igaftr

      While the person may have existed, the myths surrounding the man cannot be verified and likely are quite untrue.
      There are many such myths surrounding MANY famous people.
      Geaorge Washington never chopped down a cherry tree and then admitted it saying he could not tell a lie, he never had wooden teeth ( they were ivory) nad he never threw a coin acrossed a river. Real man, many myths...same for you jesus. If he existed, the myths have left the actual man behind.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rynomite

      "Jesus was real (as in actually really existed and actually rose from the dead) while the other myths were, well, just that – myths."

      He probably existed. However, there is most definitely NOT ANY evidence that he was resurrected.

      "Even the Apostle Paul says in the Bible that if he didn't, our faith (Christianity) is useless."

      How sad for you. I'm an atheist, but I see use in many of the philosophies of Jesus. They were not particularly unique, but I would agree many of the things attributed him are good ideas to pattern after. Whether or not someone is a myth does not negate the good ideas.

      "As C.S. Lewis said, Jesus was "either a liar, lunatic, or Lord.""

      Ah the trilemma, sadly this fails to recognize another myriad of possibilities such as Legend, Philosoper, etc...

      April 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • G to the T

      "either a liar, lunatic, or Lord"

      Or Legend. He was a real person (like Davy Crocket for instance) but many of the stories about him aren't true (he killed a bear with his bare hands). Lewis' failing was that he was taking on faith that the bible was an accurate testament to the life, times and sayings of Jesus.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • religionismanmade1

      lol what evidence? A bronze aged book written and edited by many humans over the course of 1500+ years? bhahahahaha

      and gullible is written on the ceiling.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • aronpaulkirk

        New Testament writings were written 2000 years ago (not bronze age) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (2nd Century BCE) show us that they have not been "edited" or "changed".

        April 18, 2014 at 9:56 am |
    • thorspower

      Lee Strobel is a bit biased in his writings I think there are many other authors from both sides of the spectrum. If you only read cases for and never the against you do not gain a clear understanding.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • aronpaulkirk

        I appreciate your comment. Do you have a book you could recommend that is from the opposite point of view? I would be interested to read a good one!

        April 18, 2014 at 9:58 am |
    • tallulah131

      There is actually no contemporary evidence for Jesus. Everything about him was written decades after his alleged death. Perhaps he existed. Perhaps he is an amalgam of some of the many messianic cult figures rampant in Rome at that time. But there is not a shred of evidence to indicate that any of the miraculous events claimed about his life actually occurred. Indeed, there is not a shred of evidence that ANY of the miraculous events recorded in the bible actually occurred. You have simply chosen to believe something that is not substantiated by fact.

      April 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
  2. Letting go of superst.i.tion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWJfdRpHWuk

    April 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
  3. mimedicalmj

    Sigh. Silly myths. Easter is nothing more than the celebration of what religious people believe was the resurrection of whatever mythological god it is they believe in. In REALITY what is actually being celebrated is the SAME THING that was celebrated for 1000's upon 1000's upon 1000's of years before the mythological story of Jesus (and all other so called gods) were invented by man. We are celebrating the fact that on December 25th, the SUN in the SKY rises one degree on the horizon after appearing to sit DEAD on the horizon for three days. We are celebrating the "resurrection" of the SUN in the SKY. As for why we celebrate the "birth" of the SUN on the 25th of December but don't celebrate the "resurrection" of the SUN until "Easter", it's simple. Easter is the time of year when the SUN (or the "truth" or the "light" if your a believer in the myth of a god) officially overpowers or wins the "battle" with the DARK (or the night, or the "devil" if you believe in the myth). The days are getting longer and warmer, and "life" (plants, animals, crops, etc) are returning. And thus life is "resurrected".

    April 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • chadtg

      Sorry Easter is not a Christian holiday and honestly never was. However, that being said if you don't want to believe in God that is cool but don't insult people for believing in something. I could say that your thinking everything is here by accident is just as irrational. to simplify the most complex planet in the solar system and for what we know in the galaxy and say that it is here by mere chance is not sound reasoning either. That by chance single celled organism were able to mature and to the point that I am sending you this message over an electronic device with confidence that you will either read it or ignore it and even knowing depending on what I write will some type of emotional charge from you further confirms to me that this is not all just a mistake or some random convergence. That some design and for thought went into you and I being here. I am not saying you should believe in the God of the bible or any god to any known religion but to deny that some intelligent design didn't go into the design of one blade of grass that not one scientist can duplicate even photosynthesis process within that blade of grass is pretty silly. My point is disagree but have respect... an no not all Christians celebrate or even condone Christmas or Easter or even the wars that are fought. Your study of religion is probably limited and in some cases even corrupted by word of mouth from what I see in the worlds religions I wouldn't be surprised that most people feel the way you do but they are not all the same. Just so you know, before the water cycle was even discovered the bible mentioned it Job 38:34-38. Before the world was known to a sphere hanging upon nothing the bible mentioned it Isa 40:22 and Job 26:7. I respect and understand why some chose not to believe in any God because many religions are so focused on tradition that they never even peer into what they profess to believe many are too busy trying to figure out how to make money in the name of Christ or whatever they never even noticed that Jesus himself was a poor man and he denied riches yet these guys will lie cheat and misrepresent everything they are but even the bible for told that at 2 Tim 3:1-7. Yes from the fairy tell book you talk about..lol Pretty mush those promoting Easter fall in this category.

      April 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  4. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    Longwinded, but necessary for the sake of YOUR salvation. HE wants you!

    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.

    Here we go again. I know. But for the sake of YOUR salvation I will repeat it endlessly.

    HE wants you!

    April 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • igaftr

      long winded? ALL of your posts fit that description. Also baseless belief fits them as well.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Tuscany Dream

        He's so bloody long winded that he posted it TWICE on the same page!

        April 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • 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 Yates, who drowned her children because God told her to.
      Or the small Christian cult in Chile 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 2:12 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      ^^ religious brainwash babble ^^

      April 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • nepawoods

      "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."

      Against which faith? There are many. Do you accept them all? Or are you a hypocrite?

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

      Don't assume that Jesus forgives "our" sins. What if I don't buy the concept of original sin? I don't need the kind of redemption you go on and on and ON about. Just because YOU believe it doesn't make it "true."

      April 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      Yep, long winded and asinime. As Bugs Bunny would say: "What a maroon'"
      Music for Rainey; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9S7yhD5M9A

      April 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Sara

      And speaking of the "...germ of evil..," nice judgment of Islam and Muslims.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Rainey's not happy unless he's judging. Hate makes him complete.

        April 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        "Self-righteous" is Rainy's middle name. Helmut is his strip'per name.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      "He wants me" ? What if I'm not gay like you, Rainer Helmut Braendlein, (formerly known as just Rainer Braendlein) ? Even your name is long winded, Rainy. Why did you add "Helmut" ? Do you actually think your nonsense sound more authoritative with the extra name ? You're a joke Rainy. You really need to stop taking yourself so seriously. Youre Church Lady imitation is good, I must admit.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    classic quote: "But there are ways around some of these problems."

    typical christian method ... dodge, dodge, slide, evade, reinterpret, twist, contort, lie, re-read, reinterpret ... see!!! the bible says exactly what I told you it says!!!

    April 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  6. jamesroyalty05

    People can say all they want to ridicule God and think themselves smarter than the Bible, but that isn't going to change the coming judgment against them in which they will see that evidence FOR God has been all around them all along. All the universe in all its order cannot have come into its own without the intelligent design of God. Its scientifically absurd to think this all happened by chance and plenty of Science proves the theory of evolution wrong. See the book called The Handbook of Evolution, it has a lot of scientific evidence to prove evolution wrong. But yet schools are told to teach it as fact? Who is really the looney ones, the ones who's world view actually makes sense, or someone who bets on the impossible odds of this all happening by chance? Its takes greater faith to believe the latter.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • religionismanmade1

      LOL considering the bible was written and edited by men and not a god, your point is moot.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • justageeker

        Most, if not all, science books are written by humans as well...right?

        April 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          Yes but none claim they KNOW of an absolute all powerful god, with zero evidence......

          April 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – You are correct. Which also means it cannot be proven to be untrue. Neither side has the horsepower needed to win the argument of who is right...not yet anyway. Both side are just as silly and childish when they say the other is wrong at this point in time.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • joey3467

          Nobody needs to prove something to be untrue, however, if you want me to believe it then you need to prove that it is true.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          @justageeker

          The burden of proof is on the one making the claim of an all knowing all powerful god....not me the one asking for the proof....

          Sorry.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1, @joey3467 – Religious folks say everything exists so that is their proof. You may not believe it, or like it, or whatever but it is hard to deny things do exist and we really only have two theories right now. Everything came from nothing or everything came from a deity. One of those theories is probably right.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " Everything came from nothing " is not a theory accepted by any reputable scientist that I am aware of.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Religious folks say everything exists so that is their proof"

          That's the God of The Gaps argument and it fails!

          April 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • justageeker

          @midwest rail – That is just a phrase to point out that science has not accepted that everything just existed always. Science is always looking to find out what came before this or that.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          LOL your logic is flawed and your simple mind is showing if you really think those are the only two legitimate possibilities in a universe as large as the one we reside....

          April 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " That is just a phrase to point out that science has not accepted that everything just existed always "
          If that is the way you are using it, fine. But the phrase is normally employed by those who disparage science in general, and misrepresent it in the process.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          "Religious folks say everything exists so that is their proof."

          And some crazy people think leprechauns exist......so they must.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – Perhaps you didn't catch that by everything I mean the universe itself. Not this silly little rock we're on. But I'm all ears as to what other 'leading' theory there is besides a God or the Big Bang.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – And some people (scientists included) believed the world was flat at one time so what is your point exactly?

          April 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          "But I'm all ears as to what other 'leading' theory there is besides a God or the Big Bang."

          LOL quit assuming humans know everything....we dont. There are likely many other factors in our universe we do not know about and many others that we know about but do not fully understand, yet you want to believe that these two theories are the only two legitimate ones....smh

          April 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • justageeker

          @midwest rail – I very much believe in science. I just don't believe it'll ever answer the ultimate question and it itself struggles with that.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          yeah because scientists were threatened by religious leaders if they stated anything contrary to the man made and edited bible.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – I don't assume we know. Have you not read any of my posts with an open mind? And I truly would like to know other theories on how the universe was born so please share if know of any others. Singularity and multiverses and banes and such all lead to the Big Bang theory. Then there is the God theory. What is yours? You spend time saying what you do not believe. Throw something useful out for us to ponder.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          "but it is hard to deny things do exist and we really only have two theories right now. Everything came from nothing or everything came from a deity. One of those theories is probably right."

          Your words not mine....."One of those theories is probably right"......zzzzzzzz you dont know that, quit speculating.....its tired.

          Sorry I do not speculate on things that I do not know about. And the difference between a "god theory" and other scientific theories is actual evidence for those theories and peer critique and review of that information.....Saying "there is a god" is HARDLY a "theory".

          April 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – And again you offer nothing useful and criticize me for trying to learn.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          "And again you offer nothing useful and criticize me for trying to learn."

          Nothing useful? bhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha....I only offer the truth, that you, I, or anyone else cannot KNOW about a god, or gods......we speculate at best without evidence. I refuse to do that while you adhere to a belief that one of only two possibilities that humans have come up with "probably are correct" bhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

          April 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Since you asked, here's a starting point:

          http://www.space.com/24781-big-bang-theory-alternatives-infographic.html

          April 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – So perhaps you could offer a third theory? Any will do. I think you missed the fact that I used the term 'probably'. I simply do not know either and apologize if I came across as pretending to know.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • justageeker

          @tallulah131 – Thank you. I did point out a few of them in a different post in this thread. I'm aware of them all and personally the one where we are in a simulator is most intriguing to me. I like to ask folks, such as religionismanmade1, who try to shame others what their beliefs with the hope they are not simply trolling. Sadly it is often the case that they are trolling and offer nothing genuinely useful unlike what you just did.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          It seems tallulah131 already beat me to it....check out the link he posted for alternate theories.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          "who try to shame others what their beliefs with the hope they are not simply trolling"

          LOL you think I am trying to SHAME you? bhahahahahah wow....so pointing out the obvious is shaming someone....get some thicker skin please.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • justageeker

          @religionismanmade1 – Not shaming me but you have to others.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          "Not shaming me but you have to others."

          By stating that one cannot possibly know that their god is the one true god? That the bible was written and edited by men?

          Those are truthful statements. If you feel shamed, I apologize.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • jamesroyalty05

      http://www.chick.com/catalog/books/1254.asp is the link to that book.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • joey3467

        You are joking right?

        April 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • religionismanmade1

        bhahahaha

        April 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • igaftr

        That is hiarious. The depths of the lies believers will go to in order to delude themselves their baseless beliefs are true. It is hilarious when they try to attack science.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I truly hope you are kidding.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        james 05, Seriously!? Are you for real?

        April 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      So the one with more faith is tha bad one. Got it.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • Doris

      Well that's a great big bowl of self-serving mental gymnastics..lol.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tuscany Dream

      Do you think I an going to take the word of some book written anonymously? There is no author. Get real, sparky.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • joey3467

        The author appears to be some guy named Vance Ferrell.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mind.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • igaftr

      james
      "All the universe in all its order cannot have come into its own without the intelligent design of God"

      Really....cannot? Why not. You could potentially win a Nobal Peace prize if you could show that to actually be true, but other wise, that statement simply shows your arrogance and ignorance.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
      • justageeker

        You could potentially win a Nobel Peace prize if you could show that to actually be untrue as well. Hence the work being done at the HLC. No one knows the truth yet.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Right, no-one knows the truth and therefore, plugging a god in to it is dishonest!

          April 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • justageeker

          @TruthPrevails1 – Plugging a God into it is not dishonest if the person who does it honestly believes it.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      christians sure hate facts.
      you're brainwashed.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • yeahright14

      1. If your best proof for your god is a threat that he will harm us if we dont beleive in him, its obvious your god is fake.

      2. "the universe in all its order cannot have come into its own without the intelligent design of God" So the universe cant have created itself, but god can create himself? Please explain how that makes any sense at all.

      3. You dont understand evolution, so you think its false. LOL. There is so much evidence from evolution you would be amazed if you actually honestly tried to understand it. In fact, if there is a god, its probably pretty insulting to him for you to pretend that he didnt create everything through the process of evolution.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Ah, James. Your ignorance is not proof of god.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • QuestionsEverything

      Please learn the difference between the Big Bag Theory, Abiogenesis and the Theory of Evolution before trying to discredit Evolution.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You list one book and somehow think that disproves Evolution? Are you really that simple-minded?

      As for the whole judgement crap, how very loving of you to wish eternal torture on your fellow humans.

      April 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
  7. moiraesfate

    Typical christian... anything against their religion goes right over their head. Ishtar isn't the only goddess surrounding this time of year. It's been celebrated all over the planet, usually as a "turning of the seasons" celebration. How about NOT cherry picking the argument and actually learning something about it.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      Ishtar gets singled out because there is a huge number of people out there that try to link Easter to Ishtar based purely on the similarity of the names. Easter (or some derivation of Easter) is only used in germanic languages, the rest of the Christian world uses the local word for passover.

      As for finding parallels between the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of pagan deities, that really shouldn't trouble Christians at all. In some sense, all religions, pagan, judeo-christian and others are attempts to come to terms with the divine. It seems possible that echoes of the resurrection could repeat over and over again in history, some prefiguring and some post-dating the true resurrection of Jesus.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
  8. geladius

    They stole Christmas too...not exactly news, just news for those who don't read.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • Rynomite

      shhhh The Grinch stole Christmas!

      April 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • chadtg

      I guess the part I find annoying is that not all Christians celebrate Christmas or Easter. People act as if this is some kind of revelation that these holidays have nothing to with what the masses where told what they. I personally am a Christian and I have not celebrated any of these holidays in over 30 years once I found out the origins. First of all the bible is full of examples where people didn't practice things because they didn't originate with their creator. I would say that Christians stole these celebrations more then being misguided by persons who were supposed to be responsible caring for them spiritually and hiding information. Instead they have caused more distrust by lying and trying to control them in the first place. Christmas which is even a bigger offender is based on mostly lies.. Jesus was not born on December 25 that would been in the winter and the reason his family was traveling was to take senses. No ruler in his right mind would have subjects travel that time of year. He was born most likely in in Oct. Next the three wise men where actually following a start that was set up to kill Jesus, read the account carefully and see where it went first and see what the affects as a result. Reminds of a scripture that says Satan transforms himself into an angle of light.. people put that death star on top of a tree. simple reasoning would help with that. Then in general what do you do at Christmas basically lie to your kids. openly sin. Is this God or Jesus fault no because those who call themselves Christians has failed by pushing teachings on their people for money and let God and Jesus be the fall guy once they get found out. As I said not all Christians fall for the foolishness.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  9. nels1967

    The writer seems to be unaware of the Germanic goddess Eostre whose spring-time feasts are considered to be the fore-runners to Easter. I never heard the Ishtar theory before. Moss needs to research Anglo Saxon history before writing about it.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • lasherxlr8

      Well you know Moss can't help but try to skew this in a positive Christian direction. I find it funny how no one mentions Christmas/Winter Solstice at all when you regard the Christian mythos and how they reversed the meanings from the pagan traditions. IE Christmas is birth while Winter Solstice regards the end of the seasons the death or ending of what that years bounty had provided, and how Easter is the death of Christ while the Vernal Equinox is about the rebirth of the earth and all the coming fruits and vegetables she will provide.

      Going further Santa which is adopted by most Christian dogmas actually originates from Norse mythology, Trees and presents under them are more Celtic in origin. Then lets head into Easter symbols we see, because nothing epitomizes the death of Christ like bunnies, chicks, leaves from a tree, eggs. Oh wait those all seem like aspects of regeneration and rebirth don't they. These things were added by Christians in power to make an easier transition for many of the Europeans who were mostly pagan.

      Christianity is fine, like any religion or dogma there are pluses and minuses, but the audacity of trying to deny the roots of the biggest Holidays and how they mysteriously came on the heels of pagan cultures biggest traditions(which went on for thousands of years before Christianity was even a blip) is just ridiculous.

      Moss needs to learn the world is changing and Christianity is no longer ranking in the top spot like in years past, and I know this terrifies many in the bible belt, but time marches on. Also regarding Rainer Helmut Braendlein I think my evil germ will stay put he's got a great thing going on.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • kanneroo

        I would say less that they were stolen, and more like they were "co-opted"... aside from Easter, regardless of what you call it, is very strictly attached to the Jewish Passover feast, seasonally-speaking, Christmas, however, as a celebrated feast, was indeed placed around the traditional Winter Solstice festivals to "ease the transition" of newly converted former-Pagans (and to entice new converts), by offering a Christ-based festival at around the same time. We're all pretty well convinced that Jesus wasn't born in December, nor was he born in 1 A.D. The co-opting of festival times was definitely purposeful to facilitate conversion. This has been long known... don't know why it keeps coming up, actually.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  10. Letting go of superst.i.tion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yceHh5khkXo

    Speakers in order of appearance:

    1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
    2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
    5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
    6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
    7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
    8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
    9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
    11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
    12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
    13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
    14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
    15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
    16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
    18. Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
    20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
    21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
    22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
    23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
    24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
    26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
    27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
    28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
    31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
    33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
    34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
    36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
    37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
    39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
    41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
    42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
    45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
    46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
    47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
    49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
    50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    FEATURED MUSIC:

    Mozart – Requiem Mass In D Minor K 626 – 1. Introitus 00:03
    Massive Attack – Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water 02:28, 19:14
    Max Richter – Embers 05:13
    Ludovico Einaudi – Andare 09:27, 24:30, 26:31
    Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche 13:13
    Max Richter – Vladimir's Blues 29:21
    Ludovico Einaudi – Eni 30 Percento (The Earth Prelude) 33:16
    .

    April 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  11. sadlysensible

    Ishtar??! Where in the world did you do your research? Try Eostre or Ostara, the Anglo Saxon Goddess of Spring.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  12. believerfred

    Simply because the word Easter has pagan origin says nothing about Jesus origin or the truth concerning Christ. Christians had a festivals just as did the Hebrews before them. As the Bible says God is not at all impressed with our celebrations and feasts as God is concerned about the salvation of mankind.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Wow freddy, you admit there were other gods before your god, so what exactly makes you so certain your god is the right one???

      April 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • believerfred

        TruthPrevails1
        That is easy for me because I have personally experienced God. I did not experience the vindictive god of your imagination but Christ. I am still waiting for one person to show me one thing that Christ said which is false. I have no reason not to believe.
        Everyone has the "God" of Spinoza in their life, even you, because existence itself has the appearance of eternal presence. Your mind formed a belief regarding the entirety of your existence which reflects your "god". I do not believe in your god or others that man has created for self over the known history of mankind. We are a wonder of creation and beauty is in the eye of the beholder so there could be no way my vision of God compares with any other. We may see some similarities that may run down doctrinal lines of say Jewish, Baptists or Catholic etc. as to the God of Abraham. I doubt any one could be 100% right and certainly never the exact same.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I don't have a god and the god of the bible that you apparently worship is not worthy of worship.
          Noahs Ark is false, virgin birth is false, Genesis 1:1 is false...shall I go on?

          April 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          LOL yet you believe in a book and religion written and edited by men over many years..........hence you believe in men, not a god.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • believerfred

          religionismanmade1
          see below reply to your comment

          April 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • believerfred

          TruthPrevails
          Yes, please do go on so that I can get a compete image of your god.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          As thought...no rebuttal....but Ill play along. I dont know if a god or gods exists, so I cannot paint a picture of "my god"

          April 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • believerfred

          religionismanmade1
          "I don't know" is a lie. You do know as anyone with normal capacity subconsciously justifies purpose for existence in order to explain awareness of preexisting and post existing positioning. There is past, present and future in our known timeline and present can only be understood in past tense while future has not happened. That said you are reading this in the past yet unable to capture the future. Now that we have our foundation straight. Tell me why are you here?

          April 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          ""I don't know" is a lie."

          No thats the truth.. I dont know if any god is real...neither do you. If you think you do, you have a deep arrogance rooted in a self centered superiority complex...

          April 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • believerfred

          religionismanmade1
          You did not tell me why you were here. I set the foundation in time and space thinking you wanted to address the reality of particle physics (typical limitations of those predisposed to philosophical naturalism) relative to the metaphysical.
          Do you know why you are here? If not conceptually then simply tell me what you want to know. I will attempt to reply without any arrogance.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          I dont know why I am here.....Sorry.

          What do I want to know? What do you mean by that exactly?

          April 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • believerfred

          Oh, I just had a moment of clairvoyance thinking I had all the answers and wanted to share them. Not so much now.

          However, I was thinking many people come to terms with why they exist and develop a life journey around that. This journey as we know it is the only one within a given time line. It should never be wasted and always be intentional which is the foundation of the most successful on this time line. My assumption is that you are not just wasting time so there must be a reason why you are on a belief site. Why we spend our time where we do reveals purpose (real or delusional).

          This is why I asked why are you here and what do you want. Still happy to answer just not as confident in the response.

          April 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
    • religionismanmade1

      the bible is the word of men not god.....

      April 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • believerfred

        I take it you think the Word of God must be the same as the alpha numeric characters in a particular translation of the Bible which you are familiar with. There is nothing Divine I could find in the codices before I was given what atheists like to call the secret decoder ring......so I thought. After seeing the Word of God come alive in my life I realized it was always Divine and that I was just now observing it as the author intended.
        The flood story was nonsense based on known science but to have favor in the eyes of the Lord so as to be lifted above and saved from all wickedness should be the beginnings of a chosen people. Simply thinking about it makes me feel good....good and proud to finally be among those chosen.
        The Divine nature of the Word of God revealed the coldness of my heart when I relied on scientism as there was and is something greater than the observed physical which is measurable and known to science. The Divine nature of the Word revealed my god to be self image with a desire to be chosen or among the chosen which always rises up in pride.
        Experiencing God I fell to my knees not just in regret over my sin of pride but a humble awareness that I was always loved even in darkness yet completely forgiven, not because of anything I could have possibly achieved but the very nature of one who would take my sin bearing its full burdens simply to set my soul free from the bondage of sin.

        The Word of God as I heard it through the flood story was the cleansing waters (the Word) washed me and purified me of the wickedness of this world placing my soul into the ark (Christ) and in Christ is where I found favor in the eyes of the Lord

        April 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          lol delusional.....

          So you think I am an atheist? Typical.

          April 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          Keep believing in words written and edited by a bunch of men.........

          April 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          He never said you were an atheist. You jumped to that conclusion on your own.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • believerfred

          religionismanmade1
          Exactly where or how did I say you were an atheist?

          That set aside it is not possible to be an atheist if one understands basic tensors since atheism is based on an existence that is only populated with baryonic mater. This presents a conflict since you must certainly be aware that something existed before causation correct?

          April 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          LOL then why speak of "atheist decoder rings"? stupid comment.

          To answer your question, again. I DONT KNOW if something existed before causation, neither do you. Be honest with yourself.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • believerfred

          religionismanmade1
          "LOL then why speak of "atheist decoder rings"? stupid comment."
          =>oh, if I had not put that in my post my friend Fallacy Spotter 101 would have spammed me with the "secret decoder ring fallacy" even though such cipher typically operates on larger groups of letters termed polygraphic.
          =>you are correct it was a stupid comment

          "I DONT KNOW if something existed before causation, neither do you. Be honest with yourself"
          =>unfortunately I do know. It would be easier to look at the opposite. If their was nothing or simply non existence we could not be having a conversation. Nothing and something cannot exist in the same space and time. This would apply to the physical as well as the non physical. Even in a philosophical discussion it would present a conflict which cannot exist.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • religionismanmade1

          Ok, that makes more sense. I can see why you would add that comment in your response. I misunderstood you obviously.

          And I guess I understand your second point as well. Thanks for clarifying. But I will still hold onto my belief that you an I cannot possibly know how this universe was created or if there is or isn't a god or gods..

          April 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • believerfred

          religionismanmade1
          Agreed, in 10,000 years or so of extant history of mankind we know very little. Even at the current rate of increase in knowledge the scope of the unknown only increases. There is no evidence that pattern would change.
          As to god and gods you could write most of them off based upon substance alone. The gods of antiquity which show no evidence of effect or affect can also be ruled out which leaves a handful. Belief in God where genuine exhibits radical transformation and the imparting of "knowledge" which was not previously observable.
          One consistent pattern is that we find what we really want to find when it comes to things of God. I needed to find an answer to purpose for existence because existence in itself without purpose was contrary to the observed order of our universe and known natural laws. There exists a relationship between order and chaos even at the subatomic level that brings harmony. Non existence is not an option in the present and it is not reasonable to assume anything to the contrary outside of the only presence known. If you disagree consider the future which just became the past while you were in the present.
          The moment experienced can never be finite

          April 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Yep. My ancestors carried over some of their traditions with their new beliefs. There is nothing Christian about eggs, rabbits and a lot of Easter traditions. And not all Christians celebrate Easter like we do in America. We are free to use such symbols, or not.

      April 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
  13. fcjaybird

    It's funny that a supposed historian would write something so wrong. Easter comes from the pagan goddess Eostre who walked around with a basket full of eggs and a rabbit. The complete lack of research in this article is shameful, especially for a Notre Dame professor. What a joke.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • joey3467

      If he did any actual research into the history of Christianity he might find it difficult to remain a Christian.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • tpm3000

        Indeed. The easiest way to become an atheist is to read the bible. Not only is full of illogical fantasy, but it also endorses everything from slavery to misogyny. I remember as a kid going to Sunday school asking the teacher how Noah got animals like kangaroos and white tail deer from across oceans. Her answer was that the continents were still joined as Pangaea back then. *facepalm* Simply learning that other people worshiped different deities and believed in different afterlives, and had just as much proof for theirs as I did mine, was enough to wake me up and make me realize I didn't really "know" anything, and nobody could. Maybe there is a godlike being out there, but there's no reason to believe it's Yahweh or Vishnu or Rah or giant turtles. Gods are a man made concept. Is it any wonder why all gods resemble the culture that worshiped them?

        April 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • joey3467

          When teachers/priests tried to tell me that people used to live to be 900 years old, even as a second grader, I knew that was extremely silly. If you can believe that people 5,000 years ago lived to be 900 years old then I have reason to question anything and everything you believe.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      I'm not so sure:

      "The problem with all of this is that the only source for the goddess Eostre is Bede. There aren’t any tales of Eostre throwing eggs to all of the good little Germanic pagans, or of her riding a giant rabbit, so it’s hard to say with certainty that she existed and is the source for the word “Easter.” The only thing really pointing towards her existence in Ancient History is that her name shares a linguistic origin with that of various Indo-European goddesses of the dawn (like the Greek Eos for example). The questions then becomes whether the dawn was named after the deities in question, or if the deities were named after the rising sun. The word Easter then could be linked directly to a pagan goddess, or simply mean beginnings (1)."

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2013/03/eostre-easter-ostara-eggs-and-bunnies/

      April 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  14. 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.

    Here we go again. I know. But for the sake of YOUR salvation I will repeat it endlessly.

    HE wants you!

    April 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

      John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

      Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

      Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

      John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

      Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

      John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

      Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

      Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

      Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

      John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

      Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

      Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

      Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

      John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

      Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

      Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

      Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

      John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

      Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

      John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

      Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

      Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

      Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

      John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

      Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

      John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

      Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

      Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

      Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

      John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

      Me: "Who's Karl?"

      Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

      Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

      John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

      From the Desk of Karl
      1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
      2. Use alcohol in moderation.
      3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
      4. Eat right.
      5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
      6. The moon is made of green cheese.
      7. Everything Hank says is right.
      8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
      9. Don't use alcohol.
      10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
      11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

      Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

      Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

      Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

      John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

      Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

      Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

      Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

      Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

      Me: "How do you figure that?"

      Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

      Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

      John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

      Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

      John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

      Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

      Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

      Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

      John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

      Me: "We do?"

      Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

      Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

      John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

      Me: "But...oh, never mind.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        love it!!!

        April 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        "Hank" seems to be a handle for "pope".

        Hank is a typical pope of the dark age.

        Well said!

        April 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Rynomite

          Karl could be a handle for the Pope.

          Hank is the handle for the christian god.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You are not better than any damned pope or capitalist!

          Get off!

          Do you think we will kiss your ... ?

          April 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          You aren't either, Rainier.
          You are, however, a proven liar.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Or Hank is a typical modern American capitalist.

        That is all what they have inherited from the 666 years long earthly rule of the RCC: Greet for honor, power and riches.

        Everybody is supposed to kiss their a-s-s.

        April 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Tuscany Dream

          Hank represents God in this joke.

          You STILL have to bash other religions in order to shore up your puny faith, don't you??

          April 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
      • kidpresentable

        Rynomite, that awesome.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • phantiron

        That was fantastic.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Rynomite

          Just an fyi, I didn't write it. I found it years ago and have no clue who wrote it.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • mk

      “St. Paul says that when Jesus died also we have died, our evil germ.”

      “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.”

      How can anyone even understand this circular gibberish, let alone be saved by it?

      April 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
    • Tuscany Dream

      Again, Rainier??

      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 Yates, who drowned her children because God told her to.
      Or the small Christian cult in Chile who sacrificed a baby to God.
      Or the Protestants 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.

      I'll repeat it as much as you, bigot.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  15. charlesdbruce

    It's all absurd. If the people of the world spent as much energy in the pursuit of science rather than on the fairy tales of religion, we'd all be much better off.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      AMEN!

      April 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • justageeker

      Yes...because all theories prove to be true and no time at all is wasted in the pursuit of science...right.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • joey3467

        Sure sometime is wasted, but with religion you are wasting every single second you spend on it.

        April 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • justageeker

          That simply is not true. If a person spends one minute thinking about religion and that one minute thought allow them to make a better decision than they would normally then it was worth it. Nothing wasted.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • mk

          Geek, maybe they could try common sense to make a better decision instead? Just a thought.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • justageeker

          @MK – Sure they could. But I'm responding more to the OP that said it was a complete waste of time.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • Rynomite

        You miss the point of science. Science accepts when a hypothesis turns out to be untrue. Science learns, grows and moves on. Science works in the realm of testing, evidence and proof. Contrast that to religion which would fight to the death to hang onto beliefs held without evidence.

        April 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • justageeker

          Religion does change. Of course the one thing that won't ever change in religion is where we (as in everything in the universe) came from. Religion will always say intelligent design. Science will spend an eternity trying to figure it out knowing they can never say for sure. That in itself will prove to be a tremendous waste of time.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • igaftr

          geeker
          Are you seriously trying to say that trying to determine actual truths by using science is a waste of time?
          You have medical advances...waste of time?
          We have ability to make better and more plentiful food...waste of time?
          We have technology that allows instant communication around the world...waste of time?

          Seriously, do you think before you post.
          ALL pursuits of actual truth are rewards unto themselves. To think otherwise is foolish.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
      • charlesdbruce

        Scientists develop theories based on observations and evidence. These theories are constantly tested and challenged. That's how the scientific method works. Not all theories are correct, but those that stand up to scrutiny and testing are certainly far better than the "truth" that religion purports to be all knowing of. Even for those theories that aren't correct – the process of proving or disproving them is a far more fruitful journey than obtaining information from myths out of books written by men who knew almost nothing about the natural world (compared today). These allegedly "god inspired" men who lived in a society where there was barely any rule of law had to create myths and the threat of eternal damnation to keep the ignorant masses in line. Scientific theories beg to be challenged. Religion disallows any questioning whatsoever – you must believe without evidence (the definition of faith). I would much rather go with the reality of science than the myth of religion.

        April 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • kevinite

      Of course, because all of humanity can be summed up in science. But, then again that summary also includes history, art, music, and a shocker of all things beliefs. I mean how could beliefs ever be considered a part of humanity, or how could beliefs effect who we are as individuals or who we are as societies (both theistic and atheistic beliefs)?

      April 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
      • kevinite

        From Merriam Webster:

        Definition of ATHEISM

        1
        archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
        2
        a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
        b : the doctrine that there is no deity

        April 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • phantiron

          You know how a dictionary works right? That is THREE possible definitions of atheism.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • phantiron

          Haha...I mean two.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          It's funny that you use the definition from Webster... considering Noah Webster was a founding father and a secularist and created the dictionary to take the English language, and education in general, away from religionists.

          Oxford Dictionary – Atheism /noun; Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • charlesdbruce

        First, I never stated that all humanity can be summed up in science. I stated that if people spent as much time on science as they did on religion, we'd be better off. Imagine if man spent no time questioning anything. Just believe what ignorant men wrote in old religious texts. We would still be living in mud huts all over the world. It is the questioning of everything that has enable the ascent of man to where we stand today. Are we perfect, is our society perfect... No. I would argue, however, that mankind has a far better quality of life than during the time of the writing in the bible or other religious texts.

        Second, atheism is not a "belief", it is the lack of belief. What I believe in is that real truth is found by the scientific method. Not by believing in things without evidence (the definition of faith).

        April 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
  16. noahsdadtopher

    The usual silliness ...

    April 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • Doris

      The silliness of religion – I agree.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  17. rosenj72

    The Christian religion has "borrowed" many things from many different religions. The dying and resurrected god-man concept was prevalent for centuries under the Romans and when they conquered Israel, they internalized some of the religious aspects of the Jews to form Christianity. Out of all the religions in the world, Christianity is the only one that can be proven false because the entire belief system is based on mistranslations and errors taken from the "Old Testament". The funny thing is that Christians say the word of god is infallible and then invalidate the Old Testament with the New Testament. There's a great book on Amazon called 300 times 0 which lists out the 300 false prophecies of Jesus and how they have all been misinterpreted and forced into the Christian understanding. Fascinating book, highly recommended.

    http://www.amazon.com/300-Times-examination-prophecies-Jesus-ebook/dp/B00BDFMLAI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397755136&sr=8-1&keywords=300+times+0

    April 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  18. solbergeasycom

    "There is nothing new under the sun."

    While I agree that all of the religions have adopted elements from earlier traditions, there is a very specific similarity between the Christian Easter tradition and the Greek play "Alcestis" by Euripides, 500 years before Christ. Very briefly, Alcestis is the wife of King Admetus. Admetus is told by the gods that he can escape death if he can find another to die in his place. No one, not even his parents will die for him - except his wife Alcestis. She does die for him. In the meantime, the god Heracles (disguised as a stranger) is accepted into Admetus' house of mourning. (It was Greek tradition that one should willingly accept strangers into one's house because the stranger could be a god in disguise. If you turned a god away, you could be punished. If accepted, you could be rewarded. Because Admetus accepts Heracles in, even as he is mourning the death of his wife, Heracles decides to rescue Alcestis from the underworld. She returns but is not immediately recognized by Admetus (sound familiar?). Eventually he does recognize his newly arisen wife and accepting her back. However, Alcestis cannot speak for three days (again, sound familiar?) as that is the "punishment" one receives having spent time, though briefly, in the underworld.

    The author of the article above makes the point that the resurrection story was generated even as it was happening in the early first century. Probably not so, as Paul had considerable influence on reconstructing the resurrection story some years later. And, not so coincidentally, was influenced greatly by the Greeks and their philosophies - In fact, many of his early church contacts were in Greece!

    April 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
  19. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    LET's Religiosity Law #10 – If Jesus came back today he would be shot in the head. That's what you do to put down zombies; otherwise they eat your brains.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I prefer to use a cricket bat ...

      April 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Lets go the Winchester... we'll be safe there

        April 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  20. humanproblem

    the author, conveniently does not bring up the "easter bunny"
    ...or is that not pagan enough ?

    April 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      lol... I thought the exact same thing

      April 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.