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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. Dyslexic doG

    Honestly Christians, don't you feel at all embarrassed that your whole belief system is so obviously flawed on so many levels? How can the bible be the word of your god when it is so obviously flawed historically, scientifically and logically? And if you do accept that there are parts of the bible that are shown to be irreparably flawed historically, scientifically and logically, how can you believe any one part of it over another part of it?

    Denial is one thing. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful force. But don't you even question this belief system that seems unable to stand up to even the slightest scrutiny?

    April 18, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • justpro86

      If our belief system is so flawed than why do you feel the need to continue attack it? Why do so called scientists? I mean come on don't be kidding yourself....I think your belief that we came from nothing is far more tedious than the belief in a super intelligent being.... LOL

      April 18, 2014 at 10:57 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        tedious?

        April 18, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • justpro86

          too long, slow, or dull: tiresome or monotonous yes tedious... Atheists constant attempts of kicking dirt in Christians worldviews face is Slow, Dull and tiresome...Its getting stupid... If my bible is wrong than why do you still attack it? Why don't you attack Greek myth or Islam?

          Because the Bible is truth and its teachings Atheists don't like because it holds them morally accountable.... LOL Truth hurts

          April 18, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          DD: Do you not get the feeling that justpro never made it past 3rd grade. No-one in their right mind or educated thinks like this person does, if he had an education he'd know that his buybull is the furthest thing from truthful and in the very least still doesn't prove his imaginary friend exists.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • justpro86

          Truthprevaills, A third grader would not understand fully about the science behind the bible... Sorry to spoil your theory that we came from absolutly nothing... NOW that is 3rd grade material

          April 18, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • commonsensed01

        justpro: Just because you can't or won't understand the quantum theories and physics involved in the formation of the universe, doesn't make it "tedious" to believe.

        Do you fully understand the biology, chemistry, and thermodynamics required for a tree to grow? Yet, I am confident you believe that a tree is formed from an acorn (in the case of an oak.)

        April 18, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • justpro86

          LOL Physics is more proof of god nothing can create the laws of physics because one portion of the math to be wrong than life would never be nor will the universe sorry the quantum theories is flawed... I understand fully biology, chemistry, and thermodynamics oh and Evolution goes against the laws of thermodynamics which makes that theory also flawed LOL...

          April 18, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Dalahäst

      I'm flawed. Religion is flawed. You are flawed. Your belief system is definitely flawed.

      But God is not.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:05 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Right because nothing imaginary is flawed, it is simply man's justification of that god that is flawed.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Wrong. Even imaginary things can be flawed.

          But God is not imaginary. Your understanding and justification of God can be flawed. Yes.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wrong, that god exists is simply your opinion and has no evidence to back it!

          April 18, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No. That is just your opinion. Most people believe in God.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Not the christian god...that number only works out to 2.3 billion of the 7 billion on this vast plain we reside.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm talking about God. Not the christian god.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Sorry but unless you specify it is hard to tell. However majority doesn't win...believing it doesn't make it true.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not trying to win.

          It is true, so I believe.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Belief doesn't make it true though....it makes it your opinion.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. Belief doesn't make your opinion about my beliefs either.

          My belief is not what makes God true. I agree.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          Dala, what makes God true to you, if not your belief?

          April 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Jesus Christ makes God true for me. I'm just a recipient of the grace, mercy and forgiveness. I attempt to carry that love to others.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • sam stone

        it's hard to be flawed when you are mythological

        April 18, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Myths are flawed.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          And yet all we have to support any god is myth.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is definitely not all I have.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Do share.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          God is alive and available to us. We need to seek His will. He is not just something we read about. I had to change my thinking and ways I lived to begin and realize God is real and available.

          Definitely not just something from a book. No way.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          So no evidence other than what you were told that the bible provides.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, there is plenty of evidence that exists outside of that book.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          So provide it; you're always saying it exists and all you ever say is it's in your head.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Humbly ask God to reveal the truth to you in a way you can understand.

          http://hlhussmann.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-humility-is-not.html

          I trust a person like Martin Luther King, JR and what he says about God, over what you say. And he certainly did not suggest the only evidence comes from a book.

          I disagree with your theory. And I know, I can't prove that to you and you alone. You've definitely been beating that drum for quite awhile.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
  2. dangeroustalk

    Yes Candida, Christians Did Steal Easter! – http://www.skepticink.com/dangeroustalk/2014/04/18/yes-candida-christians-steal-easter/

    April 18, 2014 at 10:23 am |
    • Dalahäst

      There are a lot of questions regarding Eostre.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2014/04/easter-myths/

      April 18, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  3. Dalahäst

    There is a big difference between what people say appears in ancient literature and what actually appears in ancient literature.

    And if you learned about Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus and Mithra and how Jesus is a copy cat of those gods from the movie "Zeitgeist", you might try and seek out the ancient literature that supports those claims. Most of those similarities were added after Jesus Christ's time.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • justpro86

      f you do an Internet search on this subject, you will come across lists of supposed parallels between Jesus and Horus that are much longer than Bill Maher’s filmic litany. What they all have in common is that they do not cite their sources.
      Should you encounter people who try to challenge you with these claims, ask them to explain where it is they got their information. Many times you will find that they originate with Gerald Massey or one of his contemporaries. Sometimes they have been repeated and expanded on by others. But these claims have little or no connection to the facts.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:30 am |
      • midwest rail

        " What they all have in common is that they do not cite their sources."
        Oh, the irony.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • justpro86

          LOL your a funny guy my information comes from a summary of 1,000 different scientists for me to cite my sources it would take up the whole blog..

          April 18, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • midwest rail

          A dodge. Pick ONE that makes the claim that something came from nothing.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • justpro86

          Ok fine here is a good read...Creation and Evolution: Rethinking the Evidence from Science and the Bible
          by Dr. Alan Hayward....

          Even non-Christian scientists are attacking the traditional evolutionary theory still taught in many schools as fact. In Creation and Evolution British physicist Dr. Alan Hayward draws evidence solely from these non-Christian researchers to discredit gradual evolution and Darwin's mechanism of natural selection. Hayward also examines in detail young earth theories, flood geology, and geological testimony to an ancient earth. In the end he suggests a surprising interpretation of Genesis that argues for both a historical Adam and creation over eons of time.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • midwest rail

          Still dodging. Pick ONE reputable scientist that makes the claim you have asserted.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          The 5 laws of the Theory of Evolution have proven their validity thousands of times by millions of people.
          The principles are practically applied on a daily basis in fields like medicine, geology, mathematics, molecular biology, robotics, chemistry, astrophysics, agriculture, epidemiology, aerospace engineering, architecture, data mining, drug discovery and design, electrical engineering, finance, geophysics, materials engineering, military strategy, pattern recognition, robotics, scheduling, systems engineering etc.

          Tangible proof can be found by studying vestigial features, ebryonic development, biogeography, DNA sequencing, pseudogenes, endogenous retroviruses, labratory direct examination of natural selection in action in E-Coli bacteria, lactose intolerance in humans, the peppered moth's colour change in reaction to industrial pollution, radiotrophic fungi at Chernobyl... all of these things add to the modern evolutionary synthesis.
          We have directly observes speciation in Blackcap birds, fruit flies, mosquitos, mice, Shortfin molly fish and other specimens.

          Some of the methods used to determine the age of the planet include:
          Stratigraphy, Dendrochronology,Obsidian Hydration Dating, Paleomagnetic/Archaeomagnetic , Luminescence Dating, Amino Acid Racemization, Fission-track Dating, Ice Cores, Cation Ratio, Fluorine Dating, Patination, oxidizable Carbon Ratio, Electron Spin Resonance , and Cosmic-ray Exposure Dating.

          Evidence for the Genesis Creation account comes from The Bible and... nothing else, I'm afraid.

          - Doc Vestibule

          April 18, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • justpro86

          The theory of Evolution violates two laws of science. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (law of increasing entropy) says that things which start out concentrated together spread out over time. If you heat one room in a house, then open the door to that room, eventually the temperature in the whole house evens out (reaches equilibrium). Knowing how far this evening-out has progressed at any point in time tells you the entropy. Entropy can measure the loss of a system's ability to do work. Entropy is also a measure of disorder, and that is where evolution theory hits an impenetrable wall. Natural processes proceed in only one direction, toward equilibrium and disorder. Things fall apart over time, they do not get more organized. We can overcome this by making a machine and adding energy, but the Second Law prevents such a machine from assembling spontaneously from raw materials.

          The Law of Biogenesis was established by Louis Pasteur three years after Darwin's book was published, and simply says that life only comes from life. Living cells divide to make new cells, and fertilized eggs and seeds develop into animals and plants, but chemicals never fall together and life appears. Evolutionists often call certain chemicals "the building blocks of life", giving people the false impression that you just stack the building blocks together and you get life. No one has ever done that, including the famous 1953 Miller/Urey experiment where all they got were clumps of amino acids. Many people mistakenly think scientists have made life from chemicals in the lab, but they have not (though many have tried very hard). If one were to succeed, you would know about it. He would get every science award there is, be all over the news, and have movies, books, buildings, statues, and schools dedicated to him, so desperate are evolutionists on this matter. For something to be a law of science, it can never be found to have been violated, even once, over thousands of trials. No exceptions. A theory that violates two laws of science is in big trouble.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          justpro, Total nonsense.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          This is fairly simple, justpro.

          Every time you copy and paste, like you just did, you cite the source you copied and pasted it from....easily done by copying and pasting the website you...borrowed it from.

          Otherwise, it looks like just plain stealing. Which is against God's law.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Yea, I've noticed a lot of the similarities were made up.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:44 am |
    • Doris

      Of course one should also look into the notion of plagiarism by anticipation put forth by Justin Martyr and several other early Christian apologists. They called it "diabolic mimicry". It was their best excuse against charges that the Gospels were similar to other earlier stories. They claimed that Satan had performed plagiarism backward in time to fool people.

      Another necessity in the Christian Apologist Toolkit – Satan. I would think if Satan was capable of performing plagiarism in reverse time order, that he may have fooled everyone all the way back through and with the Christian account of Genesis.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • Doris

        And perhaps more importantly, with such capability maybe Satan fooled everyone with the Christian account of Isaiah, and other older writings that Christians felt needed to be interpreted differently in the light of their God that had received a makeover.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Great point Doris, how can anyone be sure Satan isn't actually the "good" one. The "master of deceivers" would be much more impressive playing the role of "God".

        April 18, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • Dalahäst

        I'm familiar with that. There are a lot of other theories, too.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Zeitgeist" is a terrible movie with a lot of misinformation wrapped around some things that are true.

      But there are mythological similarities that were admitted by the earliest CHristian apologists.

      April 18, 2014 at 11:07 am |
      • Dalahäst

        What mythological similarities were admitted by the earliest Christian apologists?

        April 18, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without se.xual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.

          -Justin Martyr

          April 18, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          He definitely went on to say there were vast differences between Jesus Christ and the sons of Jupiter. One was real, the others were false.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Stating that the myth he believed in was "true" and the others were "false" is not impressive. There is no reason to think ANY of them are true.

          The point is CHristianity used the same types of mythology that was common at the time.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There is no reason for you to think any of them are true.

          You don't get to decide that for other people.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I am not deciding anything for anyone. What is "true" can be demonstrated. Claiming someone is a god and was able to act in a supernatural fashion is nothing more than a claim until its truth can be demonstrated...and it is no different than other mythological claims. Claiming "X" to be true and "X" actually being true, are two completely different things....I am not saying "X" isn't true but until shown otherwise believing "X" to be actually true is not justified.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You can't "demonstrate" all that is "true".

          Only God can do that.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Only God can do that."

          And why do you get to decide THAT?

          You can't demonstrate that there is a god, nor that it is the god that you believe in. You are making a claim and nothing more. Stating it to be true is not the least bit impressive...you have to demonstrate it....but as you said only god can do that and as of yet he has failed to do so short of requiring "religous faith" ...which is used in lieu of demonstrable evidence.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I've never met a human being that was able to demonstrate everything that is true.

          Usually people that claim they can do that display arrogance. Not truth.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          If it cannot be demonstrated as true, how do you know it is?

          April 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I have experienced God to be true.

          I can't demonstrate to you what God does. I can try to describe it. That is what the Bible does. That is why it often uses metaphors and non-literal descriptions.

          You seem to be looking for something you can control and demonstrate to others. That is an idol, not God.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I've never met a human being that was able to demonstrate everything that is true."

          Nor have I. But you are the one making this claim and are not able to demonstrate the veracity of it. All I am saying is I have no reason to believe you or anyone making such claims. This started with the point that many religions have made similar claims to Christianity, and I am only pointing out that there is no reason to accept any of it as true until such time that those claims can be demonstrated to be true. Same with psychics, astrology, alien abduction, ect. Lots of people believe in unfounded claims and I am guessing you don't accept those without proper demonstration.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I believe in God. Not religion. Religion is often the enemy of God.

          God has demonstrated to me to be true. The only thing I did was ask and became repentant.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          You don't need to demonstrate – you could point to the verifiable evidence that convinced you.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I listened to a speech and read things Martin Luther King, JR said about God.

          I sought God in those same ways, and experienced things similar to Martin Luther King, JR.

          I've met lots of people who demonstrate the love they have received from God to other people.

          I'm amazed at the self-less giving and honesty from some of these people. They testify that God enables them to be that way.

          From you I just see hypocrisy and religious-like preaching.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "God has demonstrated to me to be true."

          I can't deny your personal experience, but at the same time your personal experience is not valid for anyone but yourself. The same is true for people who believe in all sorts of things including those I mentioned. God has not demonstrated himself to be true to me. If your god does exist he would know exactly what it would take for me (and others) to believe so he either does not exist or he does not want me to believe he exists.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. That is why I just talk about my experience. There were reasons why I couldn't see God in my life before. I had to change my preconceived notions and overcome cognitive dissonance.

          And you should just talk about your experience, instead of trying to cram my understanding to fit into your understanding.

          To thine own self be true.

          April 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          " instead of trying to cram my understanding to fit into your understanding."

          That is not what I am doing. You are making specific claims about reality and I am saying "I don't believe you".

          April 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Oh. I don't believe you, either.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I am not making a claim here, so what exactly don't you believe me about?

          April 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm just sharing what I believe.

          I don't believe your claims about how and why I believe in God.

          April 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
      • The Answer is 42

        I find it hilarious that this movie gets tossed about like it is sacrosanct to atheists...that's as stupid as someone getting their OT religious education from DeMille's The Ten Commandments or getting their daily need from The Drudge Report and Infowars.

        April 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          That should be 'daily news.' I don't care to know what anyone's 'daily need' is ...

          April 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  4. justpro86

    I don't believe that Jesus Christ died on a Wednesday. I do not believe that Jesus died on Friday. Let's turn to Matthew 12:40, and notice Christ's own prophecy pertaining to His death, burial, and resurrection. "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40)." "Three days and three nights" means seventy-two hours. Jesus defined the length of a day in John 11:9. Our Lord said, "Are there not twelve hours in a day?" Well, if there are twelve hours in a day, then there are twelve hours in a night. And therefore, three days and three nights would be 72 hours. Anything less than 72 hours would not fulfill the prophecy of Jonah or the words of Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps you're wondering why the vast majority of Christians accept the Friday-to-Sunday burial of Christ if it is wrong? The only answer that can be given is tradition. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)." This is a tradition not taught in the Bible. Ash Wednesday and Lent also are not in the Bible. Even the word "Easter" is pagan, and it is not found in the Bible. In the King James Version the word "Easter" does occur in Acts 12:4, but is a mistranslation. The word "Easter" comes from the word "Ish-tar" and is the same as Ashtaroth, a pagan deity. We celebrate the resurrection of Christ again from the dead.

    In order to explain the Good Friday tradition, the proponents say that Christ was buried during parts of three days and nights. That is Christ was buried for part of Friday, part of Saturday, and a part of Sunday.

    Sometimes people ask, "Didn't the Jews count part of a day a whole day or part of a night as a whole night?" Whenever you have the expression "day and night" mentioned together in the Hebrew Scriptures, it always means a full day and a full night. For example, "And the evening and the morning were the first day (Genesis 1:8)"; "And the evening and morning were the second day (Genesis 1:13)"; "And the evening and morning were the third day (Genesis 1:13)"; and so on. Other examples are Esther 4:16; 5:1; II Samuel 30:12-13 and Jonah 1:17, where you will find the expression "three days and three nights," and in every instance it means full days and full nights – not part of a day and part of a night.

    Let's see what the scriptures teach us as we look at an example in the life of Christ. The Scripture says, "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered (Matthew 4:2)." Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights. If we say, as some do, that "three days and three nights" does not mean "three days and three nights", then we must also say that "forty days and forty nights" does not mean "forty days and forty nights." Where do we stop? Do we say that we really can't be sure about anything? Of course not! We believe the Bible to be literal.

    Part of the confusion has come from verses like John 19:31. This verse says, "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that Sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." The Sabbath in John 19:31 is not the regular Saturday Sabbath. It was the Passover Sabbath, which occurred on Thursday of the crucifixion week. Note that John 19:31 says, "For that Sabbath day was an high day." If it were talking of the Saturday Sabbath, then Christ would have been crucified on Friday. All the feast days God gave to Israel were considered Sabbaths though they did not fall on Saturday. Jesus was crucified on the preparation (Wednesday) of the Sabbath (Passover Sabbath) which was Thursday.

    Now at what time of the day did Jesus die? It was around three in the afternoon on Wednesday. "And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: And having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Luke 23:44-46)." When it says the ninth hour, it means the ninth hour since the break of day. In other words, it was three o'clock in the afternoon. Jesus was taken away from the cross and hurriedly buried the same afternoon before sundown or 6:00 p.m.

    Now remember that the Jewish day always begins at sundown or at about 6:oo p.m. Our day begins at midnight, but the Jewish day began at sunset. In Leviticus 23:32, the Lord said, "From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath."

    If you count 72 hours from late Wednesday afternoon at around 6:00 p.m., then Jesus would have been in the tomb until late Saturday evening at about 6:00 p.m.

    So, a Sunday morning resurrection is not what the Bible teaches. We believe that Jesus was resurrected on Saturday evening at about 6:00 p.m. Jesus was placed in the tomb at around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Seventy-two hours later would be at around 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, exactly when the first day began (Sunday). Even at this hour the Jewish Sunday night begins at Saturday night at 6:00 p.m.

    When the women arrived at the tomb early Sunday morning, Jesus was already gone. The Gospel is summed up in I Corinthians 15:3-4, "...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." Those who arrived early Sunday morning simply discovered an empty tomb. The angel said, "He is not here, for He is risen (Luke 24:6)." So the discovery occurred in the morning. Not the resurrection.

    One objection to a Wednesday crucifixion is found in Luke 24:21, which says, "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done." This conversation takes place on Sunday, the day of resurrection. The answer is found in the word "since." Counting from this verse, Sunday is the third day, Saturday the second day, Friday is the first day SINCE the Passover. The Thursday Passover (Jewish reckoning) had its night on what we would call Wednesday night and twilight of that night, meaning between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., is when Christ was crucified. The twilight of Thursday afternoon would have counted as the twilight of Friday night, which began at 6:00 p.m. by Jewish reckoning. So we see there is no conflict.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:12 am |
    • justpro86

      "I don't believe that Jesus Christ died on a Wednesday"

      I believe Jesus Christ died on a Wednesday not a Friday....

      April 18, 2014 at 10:14 am |
      • Keith

        Just like the book they believe in, contradictions on every page.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • justpro86

          Many Christians read and misinterpret the bible in so many ways which explains why so many denominations of Christianity... Some people like the mormons take stuff out or add stuff so they can feel better...

          April 18, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • Keith

          Everyone has been adding and subtracting for a long time now. Christians from 400 years ago would not recognize todays Christians as belonging to the same religion.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • justpro86

          No because there are so many different versions of it... The Roman Catholic Church claims to have started in Matthew 16:18 when Christ supposedly appointed Peter as the first Pope. However, the honest and objective student of the Scriptures and history soon discovers that the foundation of the Roman church is none other than the pagan mystery religion of ancient Babylon.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • Keith

          And Abraham was a follower of Zarathustra. Moses switched god's for the children of Israel and then the Christians invented a whole new god all together.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • The Answer is 42

          And JW's don't think Jesus died on a cross at all.

          All you've done is show the many different interpretations of the Bible that different denominations come up with.

          "Some people like the Christians take stuff out or add stuff so they can feel better…"

          -Paraphrased justpro

          April 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Keith

          yes, for centuries.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • Keith

      So, why would you spend so much time and energy defending and analyzing a book of myths and legends? If the "bible" needs to be the literal truth for you to be a believer you will spend your life in confusing minutiae and in the end you neither convince others or yourself.

      Either you have faith or you don't

      April 18, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • justpro86

        I have faith and I defend it day and night because its not a book of legends and myths and has not been proven to be a myth but true... The events happened and a book written centuries before high technology and getting scientific principles correct and biology and many more is not something to take lightly....

        April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Keith

          Bronze age myths, is all the old testament is, and iron age legends is all the new testament is. Little of it can be proven at all and it was never meant to be a book of science or history. I can be a man of faith without believing all the ignorant things the Fundamentalist Christians believe. The Jews do not believe the things that the Christians claim about the old testament and it is their book.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • justpro86

          Thats where your wrong its proven through archaeology and some discoveries that the ancient civilizations did exist... Jewish people never deny King Solomon and King David...

          April 18, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Keith

          I know the people existed, their gods didn't

          April 18, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • justpro86

          you are correct... One thing the bible does teach is not blind faith... The Bible tells its reader to TEST everything which no other book in any other faith has done so...

          April 18, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • Keith

          I see you have never studied any comparative religion.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • justpro86

          Studied a little bit Islam and a little bit of buddahism..and some egyptian and I was interested in Greek Mythology the stories are entertaining to be honest....

          April 18, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Keith

          Sign up for a college course in Comparative Religion, that is not in a Religious college, and you will learn a lot. If knowing the truth will destroy your faith don't go.

          As I said before, my faith is not dependent on the stories in the bible being historically factual. They are teaching stories like every culture in the world has.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • commonsensed01

          "Getting Biology correct"
          Since when is a bat a bird?
          Insects with 4 legs?

          Science correct?:
          The earth is far older than 7,000 years old.
          There is a solid firmament over the earth?
          The earth was created before the sun?

          April 18, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • justpro86

          Your right and the Bible agrees with you... To the contrary the Bible really does not clarify how long god created the heavens and earth... I do agree young-earth creation is silly though... I happen to believe in Old-earth creation =)

          April 18, 2014 at 11:34 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    You mean to tell me,
    that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
    if I telepathically accept him as my master…
    all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
    to eat from a magical tree?
    Really???

    - Rainer Braendlein

    April 18, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • Dalahäst

      It is kind of a humorous joke, but that is not what Jesus Christ is about. That is not what they meant to tell you.

      A zombie is the living dead. Jesus was resurrected back to life. There is a big difference.

      Here is a humorous joke along that same kind of reasoning:

      Atheism – The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:12 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        WOW! It all makes sense now. Given your staggering level of ignorance as to what science has actually shown us, it is no wonder that you still believe in your primitive cult. I'll leave you to it.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You are not a scientist. Science increases and improves my understanding of God.

          I don't believe in a primitive cult. People in my "primitive cult" are paid good money to teach people like you about science. (Should you ever decide to study science, not just talk about it like a fanboy).

          April 18, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        I get your "nothing" rhetoric and i'm sure that makes people who think they have a special link to the supernatural super special themselves, and that's always fun. But the reality is that the universe is chock full of high probability events that we can predict but it also is constantly flipping that coin looking for low probability events as well. You call those low probability events "divine events" because you can't fathom how they could happen when they are surrounded by so many predictable high probability events. But that is your problem, not the low probabilities problem.

        Personally I believe that a low probability event creating life is far more amazing and wonderful and full of exciting possibilities that increases the value of life. If it's just another bad batch in some alien deities kitchen then we don't really matter, he can discard us and whip up a new batch at anytime. And without the supposed "net" of an intelligent creator who believers think won't let man destroy itself and will always rescue some of them if they pray hard enough, maybe they will try harder to be better people without the threats and bribes.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:09 am |
  6. Dalahäst

    Romulus was not born of a virgin. His mother was ra.ped.

    Dionysus was the God of wine. He didn't actually exist, though.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • G to the T

      "Romulus was not born of a virgin. His mother was ra.ped."
      I think the point is both were reputed to have had no mortal father involved in the conception/birth.

      "Dionysus was the God of wine. He didn't actually exist, though."
      I think it could be argued that he did according to his believers.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:59 am |
      • Dalahäst

        But no virgin birth. It is not even clear which of the gods fathered the children (she gave birth to twins, not 1)

        No, I don't think anyone met Dionysus.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • sam stone

      "Romulus was not born of a virgin. His mother was ra.ped"

      And did Jesus' mother consent?

      April 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        She was not ra,ped,

        She reacted with humility and obedience when told of God's plans for her.

        April 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  7. blessed137

    How exactly Resurrection Sunday blended with easter I dont know the complete history of that. Easter is the pagan goddess of fertility, how the easter bunny came to be, it is a symbol of fertility, as the saying goes "multiply like rabbits". I dont personally get into the pagan aspect. I cant speak for all Christians and the way they choose to remember. I honor Resurrection Sunday as my act of worship and thanks for all Jesus Christ did for me. Jesus said I lay my life down willingly and have the power to take it up again. It is for us that he paid the price. Thank You Jesus.

    April 18, 2014 at 9:36 am |
  8. TruthPrevails1

    Thank you christards, due to your love of death and torture today is a day for all to relax...as morbid as your love of death and torture is, the day off is appreciated.

    April 18, 2014 at 8:38 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Christards is a derogatory name. It is a slur word that is hurtful to mentally retarded people and Christians. Please stop using it.

      April 18, 2014 at 9:52 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Dala: It is but when it is called for when they celebrate torture and it is not different than Christians like justpro who go around calling people dimwits.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't celebrate torture.

          That claim of yours is far to simplistic.

          The Holocaust Museum. Do you think they are celebrating torture and murder? Or is it a remembrance to those who were tortured and murdered?

          War memorials. Are they a celebration of war? Or are they a remembrance to those who died and suffered? A remembrance to the victims?

          April 18, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You celebrate today for the day that jesus apparently was crucified on a cross...right? So how is that not celebrating torture? Do you think it is just to torture a person in such a manner for mistakes of people who didn't even exists?

          When you provide sufficient evidence that the jesus story actually occurred, you can argue about the other things that did but until then you as a Christian are celebrating death-it's what the cult does best.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No.

          We don't celebrate. We remember. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are actually quite somber. Like a funeral.

          We celebrate the resurrection on Sunday.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          The resurrection is a little far fetched.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Dalahäst

          It is what we celebrate. Not torture and death like you imagine.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You can see it that way and I can understand it, I have many Christian friends and many family members who think like you do, however that is not my impression any longer.

          I stated the resurrection is a little far fetched but not on the basis of torture. I stated that due to the complete fallacy of it....it's unheard of that a dead person comes back to life after 3 days (outside of belief system's relying on a god...stories, no actual evidence to support them).

          I personally won't be partaking, I will be doing something much more important and spending the time with an elderly Aunt of my husband's for a true celebration-78 years of wonderful living.

          Enjoy the weekend regardless of how to partake in it.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I hope you enjoy your weekend, too.

          It is far-fetched and difficult to believe. Only something like a God can create life from death.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
    ― Isaac Asimov

    April 18, 2014 at 8:37 am |
  10. colin31714

    The article says, ‘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?”

    Well, every religion had to start somewhere with a very small group of followers. Buddhism began with Siddhārtha Gautama and his immediate followers, Islam with the prophet Mohammed and Mormonism with Joseph Smith. They were all “against the odds” when they started, just like every small business that grows into a large, multinational corporation and every baby turtle that dodges the seagulls in its first walk to down the beach.

    There is nothing special about Christianity in this respect. Secondly, if it was so “special,” why did it break up into so many denominations, sub-denominations, sects and sub-sects. Catholics, Methodists, Calvinists, Anglicans, Seventh Day Adventists, Amish, Mennonites, Lutherans etc.

    If Christianity’s “success” if evidence of the existence of its god, then he is a doddering, indecisive fence-sitter.

    Secondly, the article says, “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.” A pretty fine distinction from an argument grasping at straws. More fundamentally, it is only the Gospel According to John who claims this, not Matthew, Mark or Luke.

    It is pretty clear that Jesus was constructed as a collage from prevailing regional mythology. The article fails to mention some, such as Apollonius of Tyana. Before Apollonius was born, his mother was visited by an angel who told her that her son would be divine. His birth was accompanied by miraculous signs and as a child he was religiously precocious. As an adult, he left home to be an itinerant preacher, teaching the good news that people should live for what is spiritual, not the material things of this world. He gathered disciples and performed miracles. He raised the ire of those in power who had him brought up before the Roman authorities. His followers saw him after he died and he ascended into heaven. Bart Erhman.

    April 18, 2014 at 7:19 am |
    • realbuckyball

      We know for a fact that Christianity's "success" was principally due to the Roman Emperor's, (Constantine) desire to unify his disparate empire with one religion. He didn't really care what they believed, as long as they agreed *what* they would promote. Thus he called the Council of Nicaea. You can read the proceedings of that council, during which humans cooked up the "trinity" and attempted to establish "orthodoxy". The success of Christianity is due to Constantine. He *said* he *converted*, but we know he continued to worship his previous gods throughout his life. The "political gimmick" of using religion to create political "cohesion" was used before when the Persian Emperor (Artaxerxes) caused the Torah of Moses (the Pentateuch) to be created to cause unity in the buffer-state he created against the Greeks, (when he permitted the Jews to return from exile as recounted in Nehemiah and Ezra), and was used again later in the Arabian empire when Arabs cooked up Islam for the very same purpose. It's a clear historical pattern. The use of religion for political control. It is successful. But the gods have nothing to do with any of it.

      April 18, 2014 at 8:43 am |
      • realbuckyball

        BTW, the Gospel of Matthew says "rocks were split, tombs were opened, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, there was an earthquake and the bodies of many of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised". So not only Jesus rose, (yet the Romans and Jews who had gone to all the trouble to execute him didn't even try to go find him or see what was going on, and re-arrest him, despite the fact they found him dangerous ebough to kill in the first place, and in fact in Acts when Peter tries to tell them they caused his death they have no idea what he's talking about), but a bunch of other zombies rose also. Yet not one historian finds it noteworthy that the only time in Jewish history the curtain of the Holy of Holies spontaneously ripped, or there was a total zombie invasion, or pointed out ONE "empty tomb", or one "split rock", or the naturalists who recorded all the other known earthquakes just happened to omit this one. Right. Uh-huh.

        April 18, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • ausphor

          realbuckyball
          Fiction writers tend to embellish their story lines.

          April 18, 2014 at 9:33 am |
    • ausphor

      Colin
      Christian religions operate as a franchise type service industry. If some of the franchises are not profitable they are quickly closed down. Europe is a great example of this with many churches being sold off for the property value. The Easter weekend and Christmas can be the make or break financial events of the year, like Black Friday is for retailers. The SBNR crowd is finding their god outside the religious establishments and do not provide the financial support they once did.
      "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Denis Diderot

      April 18, 2014 at 9:00 am |
      • colin31714

        I certainly hope you're right.

        April 18, 2014 at 9:02 am |
    • justpro86

      When Christianity became the religion of the Empire, the church either had to suppress the festivals or transform them. The winter solstice seemed an appropriate time to celebrate Christ's birth. Thus, the festival of the sun became a festival of the Son, the Light of the world.{27}

      The theory that Christianity borrowed its beliefs from paganism has now been largely discredited. If any borrowing of beliefs occurred it was almost certainly the other way around. Unlike Christianity, which claims to be the sole source of truth, one could be a participant in many of the mystery cults without giving up his or her previous beliefs. Even if all the Mithras/Christ similarities were true, nevertheless, since the two religions hadn't overlapped in Rome during the time when the New Testament was being written, Mithraism could not have influenced Christianity's primary sources. The Bible has withstood the test of time and still today stands strong in the face of continued critical scholarship.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:04 am |
      • The Answer is 42

        justpro,
        Again , when you are copying and pasting, copy and paste the source you're stealing it from. This way you are giving proper credit to the author. (This is called "citing your sources") and you don't appear to be ripping off someone else's hard work. Because right now, you are.

        April 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
  11. truth1914

    Easter is a pagan holiday and not celebrated by true Christianity ...take the time to research the origins of Easter.

    April 18, 2014 at 7:18 am |
    • Keith

      Which Pentecostal Cult do you belong to?

      April 18, 2014 at 11:22 am |
      • truth1914

        Jesus told his apostles to commemorate his death not his rising. 1 Cor. 11:24,25. There is no Biblical basis for Easter. The Bible tells use to worship God "with spirit and truth" John 4:23,24. Nothing about Easter is based on truth but is shrouded in pagan Babylonian rituals and unacceptable to God. It is an unclean celebration that is not sanctioned by God or his son. If you do the research you will see the God dishonoring aspects of Easter. DO THE RESEARCH AND STOP FOLLOWING THE CROWD! Matt. 7:21-23

        April 19, 2014 at 8:05 am |
        • Keith

          Nothing about religion honors god or is acceptable to him or Jesus. Religion is a man made organization that follows the will of man not god. If it followed god's will there would not be hundreds of thousands of religions.

          Trying to decide what the bible says by what it doesn't say is pretty ignorant. Do you communicate with people like that? Why would you read the bible like that?

          April 19, 2014 at 9:09 am |
        • truth1914

          The point you made about so many religions is an interesting one that's why God's word tell us that few are the ones following the narrow path to life. Matt. 7:21-23

          April 19, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • Keith

          My holy book says something completely different than that.

          That scripture simply says that most religious folks do not follow the true path at all.

          So, as I have indicated before a man's salvation, more than likely, depends on his relationship to the Devine and not on membership to some church.

          April 19, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • truth1914

          24 And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, 25 not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10. This is a religion

          April 19, 2014 at 11:08 am |
  12. Reality

    A defining question: Where is this heaven that Jesus and Mary reside in since their living, physical bodies went somewhere?? (And then there is their mode of travel? Rockets? Airplanes? Wings? And how far could each take them in 2000 years? Are they still on-board? Has the Hubble T or any other telescope detected anything remotely analogous to a place called heaven?)

    April 18, 2014 at 7:16 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Heaven is probably not physical. It is where God dwells, which is outside of our realm. You probably can't get there with a rocket ship and you probably won't find it with a telescope.

      April 18, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        a retreat into mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool ...

        April 18, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • Dalahäst

          How am I cornered? That makes no sense, I just attempted to ask the guys question.

          Why do you keep posting the same thing over and over? It doesn't seem like you even understand what other people are discussing.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • Doris

          "That makes no sense, I just attempted to ask the guys question."

          Talk about not making sense. Don't you mean you attempted to answer the guy's question?

          It's obvious that Dyslexic doG knows exactly what it being discussed here.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • mk

          I think what the doG means is that everytime there is a question asked about these questionable pieces of religion, an answer comes that implies what I heard throughout my christian upbringing: We don't understand it, we just accept it. Or, we can't see it, we just believe it. Or, stop asking so many questions, you contemptible hooligan! God's gonna get you!

          Just starts to make any reasonable person think that it's all a bit of baloney.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There is nothing reasonable about doG. Sorry.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  13. saggyroy

    Many other religions before Christianity celebrated a human sacrifice for the good of the community by giving children baskets filled with peeps, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.

    April 18, 2014 at 5:36 am |
  14. iowasundevil

    Christians didn't 'steal' Easter as it's more like christians assimilated the story and repurposed it for their mythology. Paganism didn't lose any of their mythical zombie deities when christianity came on the scene with a mythical zombie deity of their own. I know, I know.... Now I'm just being anal.

    April 18, 2014 at 5:26 am |
  15. packers15

    Right, it didn't come from Ishtar. That's because it came from the Germanic paganism goddess Ēostre. Funny you left that out.

    April 18, 2014 at 5:26 am |
    • Dalahäst

      It doesn't look like it came from Ēostre, either.

      A lot of her story was created after Christianity started.

      April 18, 2014 at 9:57 am |
      • The Answer is 42

        When, exactly, did Christianity start?

        April 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think it started when Mary Magdalene and the women with her saw Jesus Christ had risen and began to spread the good news.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          And a lot of His story was created later...just like Ēostre.

          Shrug.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          We have writings from people who knew Jesus. None for Eostre.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
  16. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Happy Good Friday Everyone.

    The Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ
    Matthew 26:14-27:66
    Mark 14:12-15:47
    Luke 22-23
    John 18-19

    April 18, 2014 at 3:33 am |
    • veggiedude

      Even the Christmas season itself was ripped off by christians. FYI, Jesus was determined to have been born in the spring, around 6 BC (when Herod reigned).

      April 18, 2014 at 7:19 am |
    • Reality

      Jesus was indeed crucified. All of the detailed accounts are pure fiction. See the previous reviews.

      April 18, 2014 at 7:20 am |
    • mk

      If you're an atheist, every Friday is good.

      April 18, 2014 at 7:53 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Christians love death and celebrating it, especially when it comes to death that involves great torture!

      April 18, 2014 at 8:04 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Sorry dude. There was no trial. No Galilean peasant was ever once tried in front of Roman aristocrats. The gospels can't agree on what day he died or at what time. (We know John's was changed to make Jesus die on the day the paschal lambs were slaughtered). The Sanhedrin was never once in all of history called into session on Passover weekend. Troublemakers in the Pax Romana were executed with no trial. Your cult is all based on cooked-up myths.

      April 18, 2014 at 8:27 am |
  17. jcs6

    The Bible was a ripped-off version of the Torah, with their own sequel and hero added on.

    April 18, 2014 at 2:47 am |
  18. jondoe88

    Christians claim to have read all those different bibles. They've earmarked the pages, highlighted the stirring passages – yet they seem unaware of earlier religious stories, with many of the same events. The churches they built atop the temples they destroyed. Pretty uh-mazing!
    I have no problem if someone is comforted by a god that looks over them (if they keep it to themselves). But how can people not understand the stories are mostly lies, meant to enslave others? The bibles were written hundreds of years after jesus. There is no proof of a virgin birth, or a rebirth. It's all stories to hook the weak. Lies stolen from whole-cloth from earlier religions. We can all talk to god – not just select MEN. I appreciate our world and universe, and strive to understand it. I have no interest in the stories from thousands of years ago. They are as interesting as how the constellations got their names.
    And less so!
    I'm at a loss to understand why people are drawn to these stories, in whatever land. They can never prove any magical thing from their books, enlightened people can never disprove those beliefs – because it's all magical thinking!
    And anyone with a brain knows that if Jesus – or (mostly) any of the other ones, came back, christians and muslims would be lining up to kill them for their blasphamy!

    April 18, 2014 at 1:54 am |
  19. tomtaubken

    They stole Christmas and Easter. Romulus son of god born of a virgin.Dionysus turned water into wine. These sound familiar? Kinda sorta? These are just a few examples. More power to you if you follow the new testament, especially if it brings you comfort, but its stolen stories from antiquity.

    April 18, 2014 at 12:58 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Romulus was not born of a virgin. His mother was ra.ped.

      Dionysus was the God of wine. He didn't actually exist, though.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:09 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        No evidence for Dionysus except written myth yet you say he doesn't exist. No evidence for your god except written myth and you say he does exist. Do you see the inconsistency?

        April 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No. I see you are jumping to conclusions without looking at all the facts.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • The Answer is 42

          I see what you are saying, Santa. It's not hard to parrse.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          What facts? You say they exist but can never provide anything other than your opinion.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You said 'no evidence for god except written myth'.

          That is not a fact. That is an opinion.

          April 18, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
  20. realbuckyball

    We know that a belief in immortality was absent in Hebrew culture as late as Maccabees 1, but appears to be present in Maccabees 2. We know that in Hebrew culture "divine beings" were ubiquitous, but in NO way were equivalent to Yahweh. We know that "shades" (dead souls) were occasionally thought to appear to the living, but were "unrecognizable". There is a reason the gospels say that the disciples did not recognize him, and were afraid of (the shade) what they saw. We know at the END of Matthew's gospel, it says they "saw and were afraid", but "believed". If they actually saw a real risen *body*, "belief" would be unnecessary. We can concluded that whatever they actually meant in that culture by a "resurrection" the "exaltation" of yet another Jewish hero in the Apocalyptic period did NOT mean what it has come to mean today. (See Dr. Bart Ehrman's "How Jesus Became a god" and Dr. BB Scott's (Tulsa Seminary), "The Trouble With Resurrection").

    I've never heard anyone claim that Christians "stole Easter". (People claim Christians "stole Christmas). The fact is that "dying and rising gods were a dime a dozen", (Dr. Carole Fontaine .. Andover Newton School of Theology) in the Roman world, including a number of Jewish messiah figures (Simon of Perea .. announced by an angel, born of a virgin, died and rose in 3 days).

    If I said someone was 'the Way,' 'the Truth,' 'the Light,' 'the Life,' 'the Word,' 'the Son of God,' 'the Good Shepherd.' who would I be talking about. Yup Mithra. Mithras was represented as carrying a lamb on his shoulders. The "virgin mother" Petra ? Mithraism. What religion was the principle cult in Tarsus where Paul came from ? Mithraism. What happened to Jewish "ritual purification" when the Mithraist/Zoroastrian Saul of Tarsus transformed it into Paulianity ? "Salvation".

    Sorry Ms. Moss. You've answered none of the important questions, and in fact you seem to be totally unaware of the REAL scholarly debates here.

    April 18, 2014 at 12:56 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.