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Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls to be available online
October 19th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls to be available online

Editor's Note: CNN's Kevin Flower brings us this story from Jerusalem.

In an ambitious application of 21st century technology to a first century wonder, the Israel Antiquities Authority and internet search giant Google announced a plan Tuesday to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls and make the entire collection available to the public online.

The authority's general director, Shuka Dorfman, called the project a milestone that will enhance the field of biblical studies and people's understanding of Judaism and early Christianity.

"We have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivaled cultural heritage treasure, which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a click of the mouse will be able to access history in its fullest glamour"

Made up of 30,000 fragments from 900 manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many historians to be one of the most important archaeological finds ever made.

The ancient manuscripts, made of leather, papyrus and copper, were first discovered in 1947 by a nomadic shepherd in a cave near the Dead Sea. In the years that followed, more scroll fragments were located.

Dating back over 2,000 years, the scrolls reveal details about the development of Judaism during the Hellenistic period and shed light on the relationship between early Christian and Jewish religious traditions.

The project will employ the latest in spectral and infrared imaging technology to scan the thousands of scroll fragments into one large database.

"This is the ultimate image of the scroll you can get," explained project manager Pnina Shor as she showed reporters an example of the imaging. "It presents an authentic copy of the scroll that, once online, there is no need to expose the scrolls anymore"

Conservation of the ancient manuscripts is a major concern for the Israel Antiquities Authority, which recently began limiting photography of them. Flawed preservation and display practices in decades past had, in some cases, "catastrophic" consequences, Shor said, and the authority decided it needed to create a new active image record that would spare the manuscripts from further degradation.

The entire collection of Dead Sea Scrolls was photographed in 1950s, but access to the photos and the documents themselves has been limited. Only four conservationists are allowed to handle the scroll fragments and scholars are limited in how much time they can spend studying them in person.

Google, with its high-powered search and translation services, will help catalog the mass of material, but the internet heavyweight says the project is not for profit and not exclusive.

"I can envision scholars or other companies contributing their own technologies so as to get some additional value over the data " said Yossi Matias, Google's head of research and development center in Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has raised $3.5 million to fund the project, and project managers say the first images could be online within months.

Matias said it is too early to detail how the scrolls will be displayed online, but he assured that "the idea is an open platform and an open approach"

See more images of the scrolls here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Israel • Israel • Judaism • Middle East

soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. maggie

    Search for God With Your Heart and Mind

    True Christianity encourages the use of both the heart and the mind in building faith that pleases God.
    IN FACT, Christianity's founder, Jesus Christ, taught that we must love God with our "whole mind," or intellect, in addition to our "whole heart" and "whole soul." (Matthew 22:37) Yes, our mental faculties must play a key role in our worship.

    When inviting his listeners to reflect on his teaching, Jesus often said: "What do you think?" (Matthew 17:25; 18:12; 21:28; 22:42) In like manner, the apostle Peter wrote to fellow believers in order to 'arouse their clear thinking faculties.' (2 Peter 3:1) The most widely traveled early missionary, the apostle Paul, exhorted Christians to use their "power of reason" and to "prove to [themselves] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1, 2) Only by such a thorough, careful approach to their beliefs can Christians build faith that is pleasing to God and is equal to the tests that arise in life.—Hebrews 11:1, 6.

    To help others build such faith, early Christian evangelizers "reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references" the things taught. (Acts 17:1-3) Such a reasonable approach elicited a fine response from honesthearted ones. For example, a number of people in the Macedonian city of Beroea "received the word [of God] with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things [explained by Paul and his companions] were so." (Acts 17:11) Two things are worth noting here. First, the Beroeans were eager to listen to God's Word; second, they did not blindly assume that what they heard was correct, but they referred back to the Scriptures. The Christian missionary Luke humbly commended the Beroeans for this, calling them "noble-minded." Do you reflect such a noble mind in your approach to spiritual matters?

    Mind and Heart Cooperate

    As mentioned earlier, true worship involves both the mind and the heart. (Mark 12:30) Think back to the illustration in the preceding article of the hired painter who used the wrong colors when painting a house. If he had listened carefully to his employer's instructions, he could have put his heart and soul into his work and had confidence that his work would have the owner's approval. The same applies to our worship.

    "The true worshipers," Jesus said, "will worship the Father with spirit and truth." (John 4:23) Hence, the apostle Paul wrote: "That is also why we . . . have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him." (Colossians 1:9, 10) Such "accurate knowledge" enables sincere individuals to put their heart and soul into their worship with full confidence because they "worship what [they] know."—John 4:22.

    Do you grasp
    the meaning of Jesus' model prayer? Understanding the Lord's Prayer
    To see the difference between having an accurate knowledge of the Bible and having a passing acquaintance with what it says, let us consider what is commonly called the Our Father, or the Lord's Prayer, recorded at Matthew 6:9-13.

    Millions regularly recite Jesus' model prayer in church. But how many have been taught its meaning, especially the first part of the prayer dealing with God's name and Kingdom? These subjects are so important that Jesus placed them first in the prayer.

    It begins: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified," meaning hallowed, or made holy. Note that Jesus said to pray for God's name to be sanctified. To many people, that raises at least two questions. First, what is God's name? And second, why does it need to be sanctified?

    "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified . . ." The answer to the first question can be found in over 7,000 places in the Bible in its original languages. One is at Psalm 83:18: "That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." Concerning the divine name, Jehovah, Exodus 3:15 says: "This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation."* But why does the name of God, which is the very epitome of purity and holiness, need to be sanctified? Because it has been reproached and maligned from the very beginning of human history.

    In Eden, God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 2:17) Satan brazenly contradicted God, saying to Eve: "You positively will not die." Hence, Satan accused God of lying. Yet, he did not rest there. He heaped still more reproach on God's name, telling Eve that God was unjustly withholding valuable knowledge from her. "For God knows that in the very day of your eating from [the tree of the knowledge of good and bad] your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad." What slander!—Genesis 3:4, 5.

    By partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve took their stand with Satan. Most humans since then, knowingly or not, have added to that original reproach by rejecting God's righteous standards. (1 John 5:19) People still malign God by blaming him for their suffering—even though it may be due to their own bad ways. "A man's own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the Lord," says Proverbs 19:3. (The New English Bible) Can you see why Jesus, who truly loved his Father, prayed that His name be sanctified?

    "Let your [Messianic] kingdom come . . ." "Let Your Kingdom Come"
    After praying for God's name to be sanctified, Jesus said: "Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth." (Matthew 6:10) Concerning that passage, we may ask: 'What is God's Kingdom? And what does its coming have to do with God's will being done on earth?'

    In the Bible, the word "kingdom" basically means a "rulership by a king." Logically, then, God's Kingdom would refer to a rulership, or government, by God, with a king of his choosing. This King is none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ—the "King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19:16; Daniel 7:13, 14) Concerning God's Messianic Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, the prophet Daniel wrote: "In the days of those kings [human governments now ruling] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite," that is, forever.—Daniel 2:44.

    Yes, God's Kingdom will take complete control of the earth, ridding it of all the wicked and ruling "to times indefinite," that is, forever. In this way, God's Kingdom is the means by which Jehovah sanctifies his name, clearing it of all the lying reproach of Satan and wicked humans.—Ezekiel 36:23.

    Like all governments, God's Kingdom has subjects. Who are these? The Bible answers: "The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace." (Psalm 37:11) Similarly, Jesus said: "Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth." Of course, these ones have accurate knowledge of God, which is a requirement for life.—Matthew 5:5; John 17:3.

    "Let your will take place,
    as in heaven, also upon earth"
    Can you imagine the whole earth filled with meek, mild-tempered people who truly love God and love one another? (1 John 4:7, 8) That is what Jesus prayed for when he said: "Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth." Do you appreciate why Jesus taught his followers to pray that way? More important, do you see how that prayer's fulfillment may affect you personally?

    Millions Are Now Reasoning on the Scriptures
    Jesus foretold a global campaign of spiritual education that would announce God's incoming Kingdom. He said: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end [of the present world, or system] will come."—Matthew 24:14.

    October 20, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • Petel2

      ..A post as yours reaffirms why religion and these supreme beliefs should be kept away from children. Let kids be kids, end the cycle of delusions now. In fact we should treat this as Ppporrrrnn, keep it away until children turn 18. Then again, the religious won't like that since early brainwashing lasts longer. And not to forget, addicts want others to share in their addictions.

      October 20, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Raison

      @maggie

      This post of yours is become a scriptural rant, insisting on scripture as the basis for truth. Such is not found to be true.
      Your previous post insisted on using your critical faculties to seek and find truth.
      This one is a turning away from truth – a blind acceptance of the words of men, and that will not do, I'm afraid.
      Too bad, I was hoping for more sense in the way of posts from you. (shrugs)

      October 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • kjcube

      @Raison
      -[Socrates] Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the cave.

      Can you be sure your not the one in the dark? Because you seem to be very sure. I would like to see an argument (I mean it, I'm not just angrily ranting here... well angrily anyway).

      October 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • Raison

      @kjcube

      Your Socrates quote is a soggy mess.
      If you have a real argument that you can put into plain language, please do so.

      As for being in the dark, why, sir, I feel very strongly that you must needs elaborate and clarify what you mean by that.

      I feel my position is strong. I have a base that does not rely upon others of your ilk, so feel free to debate me with your own words if you would be so kind....

      October 20, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Raison

      Hey Pal...! So, what kind of trouble have you created since the last you left me to deal with the 'fundies' by myself... Hmm.? 🙂

      October 20, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • Raison

      @Peace2All
      Sorry, I have been busy today. Many things deferred needlessly by the va-garies of our society. lol

      Me cause trouble? Is that what I have been doing? Gosh.....!

      October 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • kjcube

      @Raison The quote was taken from Plato's Allegory of the cave. The quote is a metaphor in which the the light represents reality as it is and not as it is perceived to be. Socrates is saying that the "mind's eye" (i.e.mental perception), just like real eyes, are categorized as weak in two ways. The first is when you leave a dark area (like a cave) after staying there for a long time your eyes are "blinded by the light" (understanding of reality as it is). The second is when, after staying in a brightly lit area (understanding), you enter a very dark area (ignorance) and cannot see anything (think ignorantly). In both situations people are prone to laughing at your ignorance. One however is a perceived ignorance and the other is not. If it is the ignorant laughing at the enlightened then they are just down right stupid and are actually insulting themselves. Only the enlightened have the "right" to laugh at the ignorant. The question is how can you be sure of your "enlightenment". Which quite simply is why you should refrain from mocking if there is any possibility that you are the one in ignorance. To have any merit you have to look at each possibility as if it could be true. Understand what is being said and see if there is in fact any truth to it. To do that you must put aside everything you want, you believe, and you think otherwise you will miss what is being said. I cannot give you an argument because I don't have one. I wasn't presenting any fact merely asking a question. If you truly have reached "enlightenment" (practically speaking simply understanding) then you should be able to very clearly state whether or not your in the "dark" or the "light". I guess I wasn't clear before when I spoke. I didn't intend to attack, insult, or even criticism you really. I simply used this quote as a tool to bridge your statement into what I was asking. I'll admit I probably should of explained Socrates' (technically Plato speaking through a character) quote. Sorry about that, After spending all that time trying to do a report on Hegel I assumed the quote was clear. Hegel is a bi*** to understand, Plato, by comparison is easy. I mean seriously Hegel uses thing like "the sensuous and plastic concrete" to describe some that can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or heard... What the f. Anyway that's what I meant. I hope it is clearer.

      October 21, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • Raison

      @kjcube
      Thanks for interpreting that soggy mess. The formatting made it incredibly difficult along with the unexplained symbolism. 🙂

      As to your ephemeral question ( lol ), as an agnostic I do not claim any great "enlightenment", but only sit on a log with the universe on the other end....
      😛

      October 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  2. maggie

    I find this article on line regarding faith and I think it makes a lot sence.

    Should Faith Be Based on Reason?

    "There are too many 'religious' people who become religious precisely to avoid having to think," writes the dean of a theological seminary in the United States. "They simply want to accept everything 'on faith,'" he adds.

    THE implication is that most people who profess religious faith give little thought to why they believe what they do or to whether there is a reasonable basis for their faith. It is no wonder that religion has become a topic that many are reluctant to talk about.

    Regrettably, such practices as using religious images and repeating prayers by rote also discourage reasoning. These practices, along with impressive architecture, elaborate stained-glass windows, and captivating music, more or less define the extent of the religious experience of millions. Though some churches claim that their faith is based on the Bible, their message of 'believe in Jesus and you will be saved' makes light of serious Bible study. Others turn to preaching a social or political gospel. What is the result of all of this?

    Concerning the situation in North America, one religion writer said: "Christianity . . . tends to be superficial, [and] its adherents are poorly educated in the faith." A pollster even went so far as to describe the United States as "a nation of biblical illiterates." To be fair, these observations would also be true of other countries where so-called Christianity prevails. Many non-Christian religions likewise discourage reasoning and instead emphasize chants, ritualistic prayers, and various forms of meditation that involve mysticism, rather than logical, constructive thinking.

    Yet, in their everyday life, the same people who give little thought to the accuracy or truthfulness of their religious beliefs often think other matters through very carefully. Does it not strike you as odd that the person who does extensive research just to buy a car—which one day will end up on the scrap heap—would say regarding his religion, 'If it was good enough for my parents, it's good enough for me'?

    If we are truly interested in pleasing God, should we not consider seriously the accuracy of what we believe about him? The apostle Paul spoke of certain religious people of his day who had "a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge." (Romans 10:2) Such ones could be compared to a hired painter who works hard to paint a house but uses the wrong colors because he fails to listen to the owner's instructions. The painter may be pleased with his work, but would it be acceptable to the owner?

    What is acceptable to God regarding true worship? The Bible answers: "This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth." (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) Some may feel that it is impossible to find such knowledge among the many religions of today. But think—if it is God's will that people should come to an accurate knowledge of truth, would he unfairly conceal it from them? Not according to the Bible, which says: "If you search for [God], he will let himself be found by you."—1 Chronicles 28:9.

    How does God make himself known to those who sincerely search for him?

    October 20, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Petel2

      A post as yours reaffirms why religion and these supreme beliefs should be kept away from children. Let kids be kids, end the cycle of delusions now. In fact we should treat this as Ppporrrrnn, keep it away until children turn 18. Then again, the religious won't like that since early brainwashing lasts longer. And not to forget, addicts want others to share in their addictions.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • Raison

      @maggie

      an excellent post, even if you got the words from someone else. Thank you. It is the sort of thing I try to say, but I am not so eloquent or brief...lol

      @Petel2
      As a person who is addicted to posting here, I had to laugh at your mention of addiction...LOL...a good post! 😀

      October 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  3. Keith

    The existance of God can be found here: http://tiny.cc/gira8

    October 20, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  4. LaTeia

    WHY ARE YOU SO AGAINST THE BIBLE? IT TEACHES SOME GOOD PRINCIPLES LIKE NOT COMMITTING FORNICATION. AT FIRST THIS SEEMS TO BE TRYING TO HAVE CONTROL BUT IF YOU LOOK CLOSER IT IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT. THERE ARE A LOT OF DISEASES (I.E. AIDS) CAUSED BY FORNICATION.

    October 20, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • Some_Truth

      LaTeia,

      There are some pearls of wisdom for human behavior in the Bible, as there are in many religious texts. There are also many errors in it. Just because you find a truth or two or seven, it doesn't make the whole thing true. The supernatural myths, the historical legends, the science-fiction fantasies in these texts have no basis in fact.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  5. LaTeia

    THERE'S A LOT OF EVIDENCE THAT BACKS UP THE BIBLE. LOOK AT THE HISTORY CHANNEL. THEY HAVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR STORIES IN THE BIBLE. THE BIBLE ALSO TALKS ABOUT A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT AND ONE WORLD CURRENCY AND I HEARD THE PRESIDENT IN THE NEWS A FEW WEEKS AGO MENTIONING ESTABLISHING A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.

    October 20, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  6. butlerbulldawg74

    is the gospel of st thomas online yet?

    October 20, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  7. Yankytanky

    I cannot help to make a few comments on you all"s blog. What the Dead Sea Scrolls shows is that the Bible is the same today as it was when the scrolls were first written. No other book in history has been done like this. As to proof there is a God, I have 7 ways for you to find out. #1 is creation demands a creature. If you think we came about in some sort of bio-soup, then it is like taking a bomb to a junk yard and exploding it and you produced a car that can reproduce itself. It doesn,t work. #2 Life demands a life giver. #3 Laws demand a law giver. Where did gravity come from?#4 Design demands a designer. #5Fulfilled Prophetic promises. About 30% of the Bible is propecy. What has happened is confirmed by history books. #6 Answered Prayer. Have you ever prayed and it came true. Where did that come from? #7 A way of life that works. The Bible is full of cursings and blessings of a way of life the God intended for mankind to follow. The Bible says that the whole world is decieved by Satan and that God has blinded the eyes of people. If you trust God and do things His way, you may have those blinders taken off and see things as they are.

    October 20, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  8. Raison

    @Peter F.
    This is in response to your good arguments with Peace2All and David Johnson back a ways...

    In your responses, there is a pattern in what you say, a pattern that shows me a few things about the way you view "God" and how real-world events are tied into that view.

    And that is the crux. Everything you point to as an answer has no logic to it, yet you are finding comfort in it.

    You didn't need to come up with these wild answers, as they had been given to you.

    Two thousand years worth of grabbing at any explanation that includes "God" is a pretty big list of "answers" geared to explain away anything that you do not understand and do not think you "could" understand, as you have also been told that you could not possibly understand an infinitely powerful being.

    Not knowing any better, these words comforted you at the same time they "answered" all your possible questions and you became a "believer" without testing the truth of any of it, for you did not have the tools to do so.

    To attribute everything to an infinite being that rules the universe can give comfort while taking away your ability to even seek after any real answers to the questions life can bring.
    Ignorance is indeed bliss in many instances, I enjoy my ignorance of certain things myself, and so I can identify with that. There are some things better left unanswered for those of us without the mental strength to handle them depending on the details...

    Yet prayers are not answered, but things go on as they would have even if they were, for your belief that random events is proof of an infinite will is not proof, but cheating.
    "All answers are to be found in God" is a handy and deliberately misleading excuse to use when nothing actually points to anything like that being an honest answer to the problem.

    It is just grabbing wildly at the straws, finding a saying that covers everything like a blanket, and flinging it back into the faces of those who insist on honest dealings with the facts of life, reality, and human behavior.

    Feedback loops made of delusional concepts, sayings, ideas, arguments, etc. are to be found in religious belief systems.

    Once you are programmed with delusion, nothing else will make sense to you, no matter the quality of proof that you are within a delusion. Delusions do not need to make sense, that is not their purpose.
    Yet they have purpose. We are only human, after all.

    That these delusions give such comfort is perhaps the deadliest thing about them.
    For it is the comfort that reinforces the belief, which reinforces the comfort, and so on, round and round until you are wrapped in a cocoon of lies, nonsense, delusion, and misdirected thoughts.

    We have logic that proves the usually-used attributes of "God" make no sense and are impossible to reconcile with either logic or reality, and thus those attributes cannot exist.

    We have facts and statistics that show no pattern that can be attributed to anything but human behavior, so pointing at a "God" with the usual attributes is shown to be nothing but a wishful fantasy.

    We have fields of scientific study that show no patterns, that show contradictions in most religious texts and outright lies in many places, yet you would base your belief on what another human being has written.

    Comfort as an excuse is reprehensible in such an important debate, as any criminal may commit a crime and say it gave him/her comfort. We are not seeking to destroy your comfort, but to show that comfort based on delusion is dangerous.

    Mental health is the issue, and the structure of our brains the field upon which we strive as human beings when we talk of religion, yet you would point to your lovingly printed book of deliberate fancies and deny us the truth that stares us in the face.

    I demand the truth, demand honesty, and expect that "God" if he exists will back me up on that, as a "supreme being" should know better than to do what has happened, and any excuse must needs be even more fantastical and inhuman than anything we could imagine for things to be the way they are.

    Not very comforting, I am afraid, but I say it as one who used to be driven mad by contradiction and lies.

    Delusions remain delusional, no matter the level of comfort we receive from them.
    Perhaps I could have just used the previous sentence and avoided the rest, but I am hoping that someone out there is seeking the truth, wants to use logic, reason, and seeks what is good hoping to arrive at something that finally makes sense.

    This post is for them.

    October 20, 2010 at 4:35 am |
    • Raison

      I would like to add that this massive tl;dr post could not have happened without the support of Kate and my other friends here on this blog. Thanks guys! 😀

      October 20, 2010 at 4:40 am |
    • Truthspeak

      Again, in no way does disproving religion disprove the existance of God. Mans religions and understanding of God differ greatly and are incomplete and erroneous. Bu simply showing that humans don't know everything DOES NOT provide any proofs about God whatsoever. Considering God is not provable or disprovable then it's just as acceptable to believe in him with no "proofs" as it is not to believe in him with equally no "proofs" However you choose to see him, as a Father, a kingly ruler or as the First Source and center of science, he is the same being, the same concept. God speaks directly to the human heart in a faint small voice that says "I am the way, walk therein". He speaks to the Atheist as well as the Religionist.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • LaTeia

      I DON'T AGREE THAT PRAYERS GO UNANSWERED. IN APRIL I LOST MY JOB AND I PRAYED AND PROMISED I WOULD GO TO CHURCH IF I GOT A JOB. WITHIN 4 MONTHS I WAS BACK AT WORK. THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE NOW BECAUSE OF HUMANS. GOD GIVES PEOPLE FREE WILL. IF HE DIDN'T AND EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT THEN YOU WOULD BE COMPLAINING THAT YOU CAN'T MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:19 am |
    • Raison

      @Truthspeak

      I do not say that there is no "God", for I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I merely point to the lack of reasonable evidence and say that "God's" existence is not yet proven.

      Before you can prove his existence, you must define him in a way that makes sense, so we can use that definition to seek the evidence of his existence.
      To "prove" the ***non-existence*** of a being reputed to be so universal in scope, one would need to be able to search the whole universe at all levels and in all possible ways to do so.
      But why go so far afield? You insist he is close at hand, so prove he exists and I will stop saying you have no proof.
      Your religions are the ones who made him up, so the burden of proof is on YOU and YOUR RELIGION to show real evidence...
      ...and you have not done so. But I am not closing the doors to evidence, just saying that it is not here "yet".

      October 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Peter F

      I also answered your latest comment. I still crave answers, to my questions.

      Happy Trails!

      October 21, 2010 at 8:51 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Truthspeak

      You said, " Considering God is not provable or disprovable then it's just as acceptable to believe in him with no "proofs" as it is not to believe in him with equally no "proofs"

      I bet you would agree with me, that Santa Claus does not exist. Yes? But we can't "prove" Santa doesn't exist. We can't prove a negative. Would you argue that it is just as acceptable to believe in Santa, as to not believe?

      We decided there was no Santa, based on a preponderance of the evidence. There is much evidence, for there not being a god. There is no evidence for god. We give life to the gods through our imagination. We animate them, through our faith.

      You said, "God speaks directly to the human heart in a faint small voice that says "I am the way, walk therein". He speaks to the Atheist as well as the Religionist."

      What is odd, is that everyone's god speaks to their heart. The Muslim god speaks to the Muslim heart, the Hindu god(s) speaks to their followers hearts, the god of Abraham speaks to the followers of Judaism's hearts. The ~2000 different denominations of Christianity's gods speak to their hearts. All these gods speak to each believer's heart. All the gods give a different message. If there was only one true god, why would the messages be different? Why would the one true god speak to people worshiping false gods?

      Remember: All the different religions cannot be true. But, they can all be wrong.

      Throughout history, there have been thousands of gods. I recently read a book that had a 3 pages of gods that were once worshiped and now are forgotten. People prayed to these gods, loved and feared them. They heard the wee small voice of these gods in their hearts. The god's voices are now forever silent.

      These wee small voices are generated by our brains. If you had enough faith, you could hear the wee small voice of a can of green beans. Think! Don't be afraid. Thinking is not baaaaahd!

      Cheers!

      October 21, 2010 at 9:33 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Raison

      You said, "Delusions remain delusional, no matter the level of comfort we receive from them."

      Very good. You made my eyes happy from reading it! LOL!

      October 21, 2010 at 9:40 am |
    • David Johnson

      @LaTeia

      Why do you use caps? It makes you seem deranged.

      You said, "I DON'T AGREE THAT PRAYERS GO UNANSWERED. IN APRIL I LOST MY JOB AND I PRAYED AND PROMISED I WOULD GO TO CHURCH IF I GOT A JOB. WITHIN 4 MONTHS I WAS BACK AT WORK. "

      I lost my car keys. I prayed and after looking for an hour, I found them. Chalk another miracle up to god!

      If you were called back to your old job, it must be because you had recall rights or, that you performed your job well, and the company wanted you back. Where is the miracle?

      If you got another job with a different company, did you submit an application or a resume? Use a headhunter? Did you submit many applications and resumes, or did your faith in god allow you to put in only one?

      Or, did a company just call you, to see if you were available? Did your name and phone number just "pop" into the fellow at human resources head?

      You got a job, because you were looking for a job. Where is the miracle?

      You said, "THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE NOW BECAUSE OF HUMANS. GOD GIVES PEOPLE FREE WILL. IF HE DIDN'T AND EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT THEN YOU WOULD BE COMPLAINING THAT YOU CAN'T MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS."

      Free will doesn't explain why earthquakes and floods occur. Or disease. A cancer growing on a child's brain can't be explained by free will. There are hideous things that have nothing to do with free will. God is a master at causing cruelty and suffering.

      Does man have free will. There are some who say no. The Westboro Baptist Church believes in predestination.

      Remember, when Jesus predicted that Judas would betray Him? If Judas had not betrayed Christ, then Christ would have been wrong. So, Judas had to do what Jesus predicted. Right? Where was Judas's free will?

      Remember, when Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times, before morning? Did Peter have a choice? Not if Jesus's prediction was to come true. Peter had to do what Jesus predicted. Right? Where was Peter's free will?

      If god is omniscient (all knowing), then he would have to know if each person would be saved or damned, even before he was born. By gods knowing this, it means all things are predestined. Think about it! If god is all knowing, and people say he is, then he would have to know the future. If He does not know the future, then he is not all knowing. If god is all knowing and does know the future, then the future is set. Everything is predestined.

      It also means, that god allows humans to be born, that he knows will some day be tortured in hell for all eternity. That is their fate. And still, He lets them be born. Seems sort of cruel, but maybe its just me...

      The Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps) believes this. You can google 5 point Calvanist for more info.

      But worry not! It is all a myth. If not, I would tell you.

      If you want, for a mere $5.00 you can have a plastic dave statue for the dashboard of your car. My head bobbles when you pass churches and other religious shrines.

      Cheers!

      October 21, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Truthspeak

      I don't even know where to begin with all your rubbish. All you have done is argued with a bunch of assumptions about what I believe that are completely wrong.You must feel really smart making up something ridiculous then argueing against it. Lol Your using how dumb ppl describe God as proof he doesn't exist. That makes you dumb. Too much nonsense to even respond to you. Btw, we can prove Santa doesn't exist ANYMORE because we know where the tale originated and who it was "fashioned" after. Yes he was a real person who was generous to the children if his village. People later on made up and exagerated his story. Use a different example next time.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  9. Chris

    um....that's like photoshop cs2 haha.... "We have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivaled cultural heritage treasure" – best technological means would be photoshop cs5 :p

    October 20, 2010 at 1:17 am |
  10. Jay

    Two-thousand years from now archeologists will discover the writings of Sarah Palin, and probably believe they have historic religious importance as well. Meh.

    October 20, 2010 at 12:46 am |
    • Raison

      @Jay
      LOL

      October 20, 2010 at 2:07 am |
  11. Reality

    The Essenes were simply another Jewish group con-ned by the ancient Jewish scribes. Read the following and forget about the Dead Sea scrolls.

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

    New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

    evidence" backing up the Bible's grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    October 20, 2010 at 12:09 am |
    • Muneef

      Where did you get the notion that Abraham was Jew ? He was a believer but not Jew since the Torah came at later stage after many years to Moses where the term Jew started otherwise all those before were as Abraham just believers.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:10 am |
    • Raison

      @Reality
      Oh, for a time machine or viewing device that would let us see the truth! I read a sci-fi novel about something like that, it was a good story.
      Reality can be a strange place. The cutting edge of physics and the theories being cranked out are amazing. No heavy math needed to read the prefaces and summaries...and it can sometimes be easy to understand, va-guely, what they are talking about.
      Really! 😛

      October 20, 2010 at 2:13 am |
    • Raison

      @Muneef
      Hi Muneef! I see we've posted at Reality together. Why can't we refer to all those "believers" who came before Moses as Jews?
      They were slaves in Egypt long before Moses came along....and known as Jews then, right?...

      October 20, 2010 at 2:15 am |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.
      Dear they by then were the Sons of Israel who were named like that at the time of Jacob whom we call Yacoob and only Joesif whom we call Yousif has taken them to Egypt and were then on the belief of Abraham as to no God but one God. Only all became to be called as Jew when the Torah has been passed to Moses.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • Muneef

      Would have pasted for you all the verses...
      Our Arabic word for Jews is YaHood and there was a Prophet of God named Hood which i do not know what you call him other Holy Books and we have a Sura in the Quran named after him as Sura't Hood and numbered as Sura 11.

      October 20, 2010 at 3:24 am |
    • Raison

      @Muneef

      I roll my eyes at these labels. Group identification and projection of same is one of the leading causes of violence and warfare.

      October 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.

      You asked me not to paste Quran therefore search your self.
      Sura 0:127 to 133 
      Sura 01:135 to 140
      Sura 03:62 to 68
      Sura12:38
      Sura16:123 to 128
      Sura22:78
      There are many other Sura's related to the issue but have given you the most obvious of all that explains about Abraham and son rebuilding the house of God in Mecca that we go to Hajj for. But the issue here my dear is about them claiming the whole world for them salves in order to obtain the right to invade as was with Palestine. Any way seriously I would ask you to read and if your source has a search facility just enter the name Abraham and all verses stories would be shown to you to learn more. 

      October 20, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  12. David Houston, TX

    They should be chopped up and made into toilet paper

    October 19, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  13. Frank

    The Dead Sea Scrolls are old news. Would be interesting to look at them, but it's not like you can read them.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  14. Frank

    Noel, are you Orthodox? That's what the Orthodox say at Easter.
    And, yes – He is risen.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • Frank

      What the hell? How did my comment end up down here? Stupid blog.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Frank

      Hey pal... How the hell did ya' end up down here. 🙂

      October 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
    • Frank

      Hi, Peace2All.
      I don't know. This site hates humans. It seeks to thwart us all. :O

      October 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  15. savannah

    David and Zeit-Geist: How about the two of y'all go back to watching the X-Files with the tin foil antennae on your heads so you can listen for when the lizard people come? The truth is out there...nonbelievers in Christ will have their hearts hardened and will perish. Thats that.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
    • Eric G.

      Thanks for the threats! You think that others should put aside unsubstantiated beliefs because of lack of evidence and should instead believe in your unsubstantiated myth? Very weak post. Please stay in the shallow end of the pool, the adults are talking now.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  16. Adam Hussein

    To Jake:Your innocent statement that the problem is with the fans is funny.Please,note that Allah is an Arabic word that means God and not a proper name or a god of Muslims.Since there is only One God for all your problem "with their fans" is solved. As to the Dead Sea Scrolls-where have they been since 1947 and why all the hype today? Will it change the Bible? It was discovered by an Arab Bedouin when Palestine was under British mandate! God revealed the Quran after the Bible! I'm not surprised that most people are skeptical.I understand it is written in Hebrew the ethnic brethren of the Arabs as being a Jew is equivalent to a Christian or a Muslim. I think at best the scrolls will try to allign Christianity and Judaism with Islam in the worship of One God for all and at worst maintain the status quo of giving lip service to monotheism while profesing to other gods. The writer is the true author of "No god but God" plagiarized by a Mr. Reza Aslan/Random House & other copycats

    October 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  17. john

    Who cares about Scrolls?

    October 19, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  18. Muneef

    See every body here happy with the findings but if it comes with words that are different to what is wanted it will either not declared by the Churchs or if contents are declared they would not like to believe what's in it no matter what it says they will always have excuses not to correct their path of astray.
    Find it in.
    Quran Sura03:187 speaks of that

    October 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  19. totellthetruth

    Are they going to tell jews & christians the truth? That Jesus christ was blk an for once that pic in the church is a lie. Because if they are not.Then throw them back in the cave .Because u murdering jews an christians are still not ready for an awaking.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  20. ra691190

    This is yet another crime against humanity by keeping most of the scrolls out of sight for decades!

    October 19, 2010 at 8:37 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.