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My Take: There’s no such thing as the Bible and never has been
February 22nd, 2011
06:00 AM ET

My Take: There’s no such thing as the Bible and never has been

Editors note: Timothy Beal is the author of "The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book." He is a Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University.

By Timothy Beal, Special to CNN

When things get messy, when the ground drops out from under us, we conjure myths of pristine and happy origins.

Unemployed, we might find ourselves longing for that former job as though it had been ideal, a time of complete self-fulfillment, forgetting how we dragged ourselves there some mornings, hoping for something better to come up.

In the middle of an ugly divorce, we might find ourselves longing for the early years of the relationship as though that had been our time in Eden, forgetting the stresses of money, unreliable used cars, in-laws and learning to live together.

These Edenic myths are illusions whose power lies not in their real presence but in their expression of what we really, really wish were true. But they also have the power to remove us from full, mindful living in the present, which is messy, unstable and insecure.

And that’s the stuff that opens us up to others, making us vulnerable to the real-life risks of relationship.

So too with the life of faith. We may long for an original, solid rock, a foundation that will not falter in the storm. For many, that rock is the Bible. But that, too, is an illusion.

Ronald Reagan once said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island and could have only one book to read for the rest of his life, it would be the Bible.

I wish someone would’ve asked, which one? Which version? Protestant? Jewish? Catholic? Orthodox? Syriac? Each has a different table of contents.

The Jewish one obviously doesn’t include the New Testament, but it also has a different order, beginning with the Torah, considered the core of scriptures, then the Nevi’im, or “prophets,” then the Ketuvim, or “writings.”

The Catholic Bible includes all of the Protestant Bible plus seven additional books, known as the Apocrypha, as well as significantly different versions of and additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.

Different Orthodox Bibles (Greek, Ethiopian, Slavonic, etc.) include those plus other apocryphal books as well as a collection of poems known as the Book of Odes. So does the traditional Syriac Bible, but it does not include Revelation and four other New Testament books found in other canons.

And which translation would he bring? There are dozens available, and they vary widely in both style and theology. Many of the most popular ones today are highly interpretive “meaning-driven” versions in which translators don’t translate word-for-word but instead write what they believe conveys the equivalent meaning of larger blocks of text.

So “my cup runneth over” might become “you blow me away.” Or a passage buried in Leviticus that prohibits a man from lying with another man as though with a woman (other no-no’s in this list include adultery, sex with a woman on her period, and marrying a divorcee or a brother’s widow) becomes a universal ban on homosexuality. Put two translations side-by-side, and you may find yourself hard pressed to know if they’re even translating the same passage.

And which edition would he bring? A good old-fashioned floppy black leather one? Or a niche-market edition like "The Golfer’s Bible," loaded with full-color pictures and “inspirational messages teed up to reach the golfer’s heart.”

Then again, depending on the terrain and climate of his island, "The Waterproof Bible: Sportsman’s Edition" might be a more practical choice. How about one of the many Manga Bibles on the market? Or a Biblezine, a Bible in magazine form filled with jump-off-the-page callouts and graphic features on balancing work and play, shopping, healthy eating, and finding love? Or one of the thousands of study Bibles loaded with notes and commentaries telling you what it means according this or that (usually conservative) viewpoint?

These various Bibles are not only different in physical form, but their value-adding content is also values-adding, steering readers toward theological, moral, and political views.

You get the point.

There is no “the Bible,” no book that is the one and only Bible. There are lots and lots of Bibles. They come in many different physical and digital forms with a great variety of content – different canons, translations, notes, commentaries, pictures, and so on.

Don’t believe me? Next time you’re in a big box bookstore, check out its huge Bible section, or just type “Bible” in the search box of an online store, and prepare to be overwhelmed. The Bible business sells more than 6,000 different products for over $800 million a year – all sold as “the Bible.” It’s a flood of biblical proportions.

“Hold up!” some will say. “Stop the madness! We’ve got to save the Bible! We’ve got to get back its original, pure, unadulterated Word, before there’s no turning back the tide.” An understandable response to this alarming scene of biblical liquidation.

In my new book, "The Rise and Fall of the Bible," I say, OK, let’s try that. What we discover is even more surprising than all the diversity of Bibles on the market today. Here’s the thing: Not only is there no such thing as the Bible now; there never has been.

There is no pure original, no Adam from which all Bibles have descended. During the time of Jesus, there were many different versions of Scriptures in circulation, and no central publishing house or religious authority to standardize the process.

Same with the early Christian movement. Indeed, it wasn’t until the 4th century that there was even an official canon of Christian Scriptures. Even then, moreover, there were lots of unofficial varieties. The “story of the Book” is a fascinating one, with many surprising turns, but the upshot is that the further we go back in history, the more biblical variety we discover. “That old time religion” is an illusion.

For many of us, it’s more than a little disconcerting to realize that there’s no pristine original Bible to recover, that it’s messy and plural all the way back to the beginning. But is it not also a very familiar feeling?

Trying to save the Bible by recovering the Adam of all Bibles is as futile as trying to save the marriage by recovering the Eden of married life. There’s no such thing, so there’s no going back. Our desire for a pure, unadulterated, original Bible, “in the beginning,” is an illusion that shields and distracts us from the real, unstable, often terrifyingly ambiguous relationship with another that is the life of faith.

Life is crazy uncertain, so it’s understandable that many of us want religion and especially the Bible to offer deliverance from it. But it doesn’t. It’s not a rock but a river, not a book of answers but a library of questions. When we take it seriously, and soberly, it calls us deeper into the wilderness – away from the sunny shoreline of the island and toward the uncharted interior.

That wilderness, like the ones in which the Israelites wandered and Jesus was tested, can be a place of danger and disorientation, but also of renewal and reawakening.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Timothy Beal.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (1,016 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Al-E-Imran sura 03:
    And lo! there is a party of them who distort the Scripture with their tongues, that ye may think that what they say is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture. And they say: It is from Allah, when it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly. (78) It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given the Scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah; but (what he said was): Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof. (79) And he commanded you not that ye should take the angels and the prophets for lords. Would he command you to disbelieve after ye had surrendered (to Allah)? (80) When Allah made (His) covenant with the prophets, (He said): Behold that which I have given you of the Scripture and knowledge. And afterward there will come unto you a messenger, confirming that which ye possess. Ye shall believe in him and ye shall help him. He said: Do ye agree, and will ye take up My burden (which I lay upon you) in this (matter)? They answered: We agree. He said: Then bear ye witness. I will be a witness with you. (81) Then whosoever after this shall turn away: they will be miscreants. (82).

    February 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • AmazingSteve

      Muneef, you are very annoying. Say something useful or go away.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Muneef

      AmazingSteve.

      You made me laugh as first time i am told that I am annoying any one...
      Any way what did you not understand so I may explain..?

      February 23, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • Muneef

      If you meant the above verses, they are about the possibility that scriptures were mutilated with words of man that are not of God...
      Then tries to warn that no messenger of God would be a true messenger nor the words would be his true words if said be my worshipers rather than worshiping God..nor he does tell you to take the angels(holy spirits)and prophets as Gods or lords.
      God has taken the commitments from his messengers to declare only true message and that to worship only him,then he says another messenger was sent with a holy book to confirm previous ones to believe in and support...

      February 23, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  2. prc2125

    MB
    You make a good point. But what is the foundation for living then? Where do we get the basis for a moral law?

    February 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  3. Roger T On Maui

    Faith comes by... Hearing, and hearing the word of God. Not all persons can or will hear the word of God.. Jesus said.."My sheep hear my voice" Not all hear Gods call or voice in their life time , because as Jesus explained " The cares of this world, Jesus spoke many parables that explain why some individulas can and can't believe... for those who want to know, just read Matthew , and Jesus answers and explains the author, Timothy Beals delima...

    February 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • AmazingSteve

      Wait... according to your belief, not all people CAN hear the word of God? He made them that way, right? Also, what in the world is he doing leaving all those faulty bibles laying around?

      Your god sounds like a jerk. I still don't believe in him, but on the statistically insignificant chance you are right, I'll side with the other guy. Guess that makes me some kind of satanic atheist?

      February 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Christfollower

      @AmazingSteve
      Not all can hear because after a while, God give you over to your unbelief. We have freewill. If you want to disbelieve in the God of the Bible, at some point God truly gives you that ability. Jesus died not to only save SOME people, but to save ALL people. The catch is, a gift is not yours until you receive it. Jesus' gift of salvation is being offered to you. Take it before you become unable to take it.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • AmazingSteve

      How am I supposed to know to take Jesus's gift instead of Mohammad's, Buddha's, Zeus's, Shiva's, Jehovah's, Elohim's, or that of countless other long forgotten or not yet invented gods or prophets? For that matter, how am I supposed to know the "gift" even exists? Until he makes a little bit better of a case for himself, I'm sticking with my original assessment.

      Even if you call it a "gift", a god who makes a world with no real evidence of himself, then demands worship (but only of the correct god, which you must arbitrarily choose from infinite options) or eternal torture, is a jerk.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  4. elgeevz

    Many of the comments on this article serve to confirm my long-held belief that man has the intellectual honesty of a chimpanzee.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Billy

      Yeah, I can't believe how easily people are manipulated by a book either.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  5. MB

    I love it when arguments FOR the bible/religion include quotes FROM the bible....

    February 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  6. thefarmgirl

    It may be cliche, but it would take more faith to believe the Bible never was than to believe it is the true word of God. Read the "God questions" and see what you take away from that.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • anon

      Ever notice how similar the characteristics of a "good Christian" and an obedient peasant are? The simple sad truth is really not hard to believe at all; The human equivalent to a silverback gorilla using extremely ugly tactics to maintain power. That is still here with us today, and you're living in it. The bible never once mentions a pope, it's something the old kings and queens crafted up to give "God's" blessing to the rulers themselves. How could a peasant forced to go to church (remember freedom of religion is a very new phenomenon) under threat of death believe anything else? So many many years later, long after the majority of the bibles "truth's" have failed under scientific evaluation, you're born. Your parents indoctrinated you into the same system their parents did to them, handed down to them from old European descendants. The flood of data disputing everything your book holds dear is relatively new (or at least the access to it is), so you can and should be the one that breaks that cycle of indoctrination. Let your kids decide if they believe in that book without it being forced down their throats.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  7. Wow

    I only read the first few lines from this article. I didn't want to waste my time. The Bible is real and I happen to like it.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Billy

      Which one do you like most? Childrens Bible? Easy to understand that one? I prefer Dr. Seuss myself.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  8. caldgb

    Same old lazy arguments against Gods holy word. It has survived for centuries despite false accusations and will stand until Christ's return regardless of your superficial objections.

    February 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Billy

      Well, if the easily manipulated masses got a clue we could shut down this pyramid scheme once and for all!!

      February 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  9. prc2125

    Perhaps " If I believe, I will have to answer for my behavior and maybe change my life. Its more a willingness to disbelieve, than a lack of factual basis.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  10. LivinginVA

    It doesn't sound to me like he doesn't believe – he just doesn't take it literally, but takes it for its overall themes.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  11. prc2125

    Perhaps " I don't want to believe because then I will have to come to terms with the fact that I will have to answer for my behavior and maybe change my life. Its more a willingness to disbelieve, than a lack of factual basis for belief.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  12. prc2125

    Nice try to sell more books. I mean really? this is all he's got?
    too many versions? Try to come up with a real reason not to belive

    February 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • AmazingSteve

      You don't have to come up with a reason "not to believe". The burden of proof is on believers.

      February 22, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  13. Bill

    He definitely raises several good points. The Bible claims divine inspiration. Taking all of his points, they are actually very weak. Yes there are many "versions" – but overall, they retain a good portion of the original context and meaning. As the English language (and many others) have evolved over time, so have the translators of the Bible. I personally do not read King James English, but back in that era, that's all there was. Does that mean if a science book is translated from English to Swahili, and something was lost in translation, would that invalidate the translation? No.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Johnsosa

      I think you missed the big point: There IS NO original meaning and context.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • AmazingSteve

      Well actually... yeah, a faulty translation could very easily invalidate a scientific book or paper. A mistake in translating a scientific paper could render the experiments within unverifiable (perhaps a "micro-" got changed to a "milli-", that would do it), or completely obfuscate the conclusions, both of which would leave the paper worse than useless. Now, in science this could easily be corrected by talking to the original author, or even someone who knew him, and working it all out; or you could do experiments to try and verify the actual intent (an unpleasant solution, but do-able); but the original authors of your silly little book aren't really around anymore, and it doesn't seem to hold much weight under any kind of scientific rigor, does it?

      Look, you and I both know you guys don't really hold your book up to the same standards as scientific literature, so don't pretend you do.

      February 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  14. LivinginVA

    My uncle is a minister, a Biblical scholar and was involved in translating the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has read the Bible in many languages and many versions and he would agree with the gentleman who wrote this. In fact, I've heard him say similar things. Trying to read the Bible literally is a ridiculous proposition.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  15. john

    I am not able to read all of the comments here, and perhaps someone has said these things. You read all these various ideaologies from unbeliever to believers. Within the Christian church we have the same problem because every one wants to believe they know the truth better than the other. I have now walked with Jesus now for @ 16 years and all this so called head knowledge is fine but until you have a personal relationship with God through His only begotton Son Jesus, I don't believe one can speak the way many of you are. See our place is before the cross understanding that only Jesus can save, and that He did it all. Now I know that there is a large number of you that are going to urinate all over me right now. Mostly those of you who see my beliefs as fantasy. Who are you anyways. Who gave you all the correct answers. Notice these are statments not questions. You all have made yourselves into your own gods or worship the gods of sience or what ever it is you worship. What makes you more right than the followers of Jesus. Nothing. You see we each choose who it is that we will serve, and as Dyln wrote we will all serve someone. Who you serving? That's a question for you to answer yourself with. As for me I serve the God of Abraham.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      Well said!

      Post- modernism; no one can know what the truth is..... unfortunately for those who make this statement they just claimed to know what the truth is .......: )

      February 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Billy

      I don't believe you. I know Jesus better than you and he would not allow someone to talk like that!

      February 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      John, I don't mean to pis.s on you, but I must take exception to the following statement:

      > What makes you more right than the followers of Jesus. Nothing.

      this is a ridiculously arrogant and obnoxious statement, given that it is you christians who are constantly telling the rest of us that you've got the market on TRVTH cornered, that there's no way to the father except thru jesus, that your faith is the one true faith, yadda yadda....

      in other words, right back atcha, pal: who are you followers of jesus to declare that the rest of us are absolutely going to burn in hell for all eternity, that only you guys are good with god?

      this absurd persecution complex that so many christians whine about is simultaneously both amusing and nauseating to those of us that you christians are constantly relegating to the eternal fires of hell... when you guys start showing a little humility and a little tolerance for those of us who choose to follow different paths (and i'm not talking about that smarmy, condescending "well, if that's how you want to exercise your god-given free will, that's your choice... but you'll find out how wrong you are, come judgment day" bul.lsh.it), then maybe you won't feel so persecuted, simply because we hold you to the same standard of "prove it" that your statement above tries to throw back at us!

      March 15, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  16. BuddyKowalsk

    "Ronald Reagan once said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island and could have only one book to read for the rest of his life, it would be the Bible."

    Not me, I would want a book on how to build a boat.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sadam of Iraq was excuted holding a Quran to his heart...,if any to be jailed has to be with a Holy Book or even as Reagan said. Because such times the only truthful friend you would need is a Holy Book full of wisdom teachings towards light and repentance.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Bill

      instructions for building a boat – found in the book of Genesis. Sorry – had to say it 🙂

      February 22, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Muneef

      Was that in Swahili ? Anzory sanna .

      Al-E-Imran
      But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear thou witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). (52) Our Lord! We believe in that which Thou hast revealed and we follow him whom Thou hast sent. Enrol us among those who witness (to the truth). (53) And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers. (54) (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. (55)

      February 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Christfollower

      Instructions for that are in there. You would just need to scale it down a bit!

      February 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  17. Steve

    Two things jump out as obviously true after reading this:

    1) While I've never met the author and I don't know a single thing about him beyond the bio above, I'd bet anything that he was raised evangelical/fundamentalist and this book is part of his attempt to come to terms with struggling with an evangelical heritage he now rejects, but feels the need to justify his rejection.

    2) Big claims sell books. That there were disputes over the canon of Scripture is obvious to anyone who has devoted even slight attention to the history of the subject, but to go from that to the conclusion "there's no such thing as the Bible" is such a jump that it can only be explained by the perverse logic of marketing and sales.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  18. docmm

    Ok, the reality is that he is suffering under the illusion of an illusion of the truth. The truth is that there IS one Bible according to the one faith that a person believes. I'm Catholic. I believe the Catholic Church was given Divine Authority through Christ to the apostles (Apostolic Tradition – Divine Inspiration) to present the Bible in its structure that the Catholic Church uses today. Everyone else is wrong. We will know at the end who was right. (p.s. It's the Catholic Church)

    February 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • eyesopen

      If you think that the catholic bible is the only one then you don't know the history of the catholic bible very well. Even though Constantinople was trying to establish a single version of the bible with the council of Nicea he never succeeded and the version to which you refer only became used in Rome. The version of the eastern roman empire used another. It was only because the western empire has had more influence on western culture that you think that it is correct.

      February 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  19. Pajarita Sanchez

    What difference does it make which Bible is read, or which one has more books than the other? This 'educated' professor misses the entire point. And I am susre he hasn't read all the 'bibles' he refered to.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Okay I'll bite, since the professor here according to you has not read the different bibles he speaks of I guess this means you have right? Just face it they ARE different why do some of myfriends hate the King James version because of its colorful language or disapprove of the Eastern Orthodox Bible? it is simply because they ARE ALL different. The Bible has some good in it, no one is knocking that but please put this make believe fantasy in its place. That is right in the Fiction category, the Bible is no guide to anything, the book not only has many contradictions but also establishes as fact concepts mankind has proven false for over 500 yrs. It is time to wake up and be spirtiually awake and accountable for your actions and that means developing your own relationship with the powers that be. Use all instructions, use all teachers, then find your own path.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      That what has happened and still happening to Holy Books;

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations – they are the substance of the Book – and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed. (7) Our Lord! Cause not our hearts to stray after Thou hast guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Thy Presence. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Bestower. (8) Our Lord! Lo! it is Thou Who gatherest mankind together to a Day of which there is no doubt. Lo! Allah faileth not to keep the tryst. (9).

      February 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      Same verse told by different translators.
      Al-E-Imran
      He it is who hath sent down unto thee the Book, wherein some verses are firmly constructed they are the mother of the Book: and others consimilar. But those in whose hearts is deviation follow that which is consimilar therein, seeking discord and seeking to misinterpret the same whereas none knoweth the interpretation thereof a save Allah. And the firmly- grounded in knowledge Say: we believe therein, the whole is from our Lord. And none receiveth admonition save men of understanding. (7).

      Al-E-Imran
      He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not of well-established meaning. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not of well-established meaning. Seeking discord, and searching for its interpretation, but no one knows its true meanings except Allah, and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it is from our Lord"; and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. (7).

      February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  20. godsman

    B – basic
    I – instructions
    B – before
    L – leaving
    E – earth

    February 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      So let me get this straight rules to die for? Rules to die with? I will keep living for a while thanks

      February 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Juan

      Ok, I believe now.

      February 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Eric Rippetoe

      This author's basic premise is all wrong. Anyone who has read the bible (try to pick a version if you're a cynic) knows that very few scriptures conjure up feelings of pristine origins and blissful happiness. Jesus states that in Matthew 10:22, "all men will hate you on account of me." I don't know what the author has read, but if men made up the bible to provide comfort and fill them with peace they would have come up with something much different.

      The first century SECULAR historian Josephus gave eyewitness validation to Jesus' claims that he miraculously healed the sick, blind, leperous, and possessed. However, although Josephus many of the works of Jesus he still denied that he was the Christ, and instead thought his powers were evil. Many of Jesus's followers were willing to die for his Name, based on what they saw and believed to be true. What would you have to see, feel, and hear so that you would rather die than to refuse its existence?

      Also, anyone looking for a rebuttal to the biblical "contradictions" involving the life of Jesus should check out A Case for Christ. Anyone looking for a SCIENTIFIC rebuttal to Macro-evolution should read A Case for a Creator

      February 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Akira

      Instructions like: how to cure leprosy with the blood of dead birds? How to build a boat designed to house every species of animal, and keep them all alive for a year at sea, using only pre-Bronze Age technology?

      February 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Agnostic

      It is always about the money and power. The weak always fall prey to the ones holding the bible, looking for answers in al the wrong places. Most of the bible follows the same stories of the Egyptians a deity who rose from the dead, born of a virgin, etc. Unfortunately the wealth of the religious sect keeps the ignorance alive. Same as with most religions. Surprisng that people don't still believe in Zeus and his crowd. But then they wouldn't have given all of their money to the likes of Benny Hinn, Jesus in Brazil, The pope, etc. That is why people want to hide evolution and indoctrinate children with creationism. Don't believe in truth. Have faith??!!

      February 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • eyesopen

      Erick, are you sure you read the article? No where does the author talk about "feelings of pristine origins and blissful happiness". When he referenced pristine origins he is referring to the lack thereof regarding the bible. When he talks about happiness it is in reference to his example of people divorcing remembering the beginning of the relationship. The author's point is very well taken. I personnally have around 25 different translations and distinct editions of the bible which are quite distinct in their point of view. His point is that you can't point to one as being The One and that you get very different theologies depending on which one you choose.

      February 22, 2011 at 7:30 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.