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Actually, that's not in the Bible
Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden right? Nope. That's one of many phantom passages that people think are in the Bible.
June 5th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Actually, that's not in the Bible

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people  - quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And there is this often-cited paraphrase: Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.

None of those passages appear in the Bible, and one is actually anti-biblical, scholars say.

But people rarely challenge them because biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”

Few catch on because they don’t want to - people prefer knowing biblical passages that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, a Bible professor says.

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

“They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in,” he says, “but they ignore the vast majority of the text."

Phantom biblical passages work in mysterious ways

Ignorance isn’t the only cause for phantom Bible verses. Confusion is another.

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom.

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Both sound as if they are taken from the Bible, but they’re not. The first is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper (“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform).

The “cleanliness” passage was coined by John Wesley, the 18th century evangelist who founded Methodism,  says Thomas Kidd, a history professor at Baylor University in Texas.

“No matter if John Wesley or someone else came up with a wise saying - if it sounds proverbish, people figure it must come from the Bible,” Kidd says.

Our fondness for the short and tweet-worthy may also explain our fondness for phantom biblical phrases. The pseudo-verses function like theological tweets: They’re pithy summarizations of biblical concepts.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child” falls into that category. It’s a popular verse - and painful for many kids. Could some enterprising kid avoid the rod by pointing out to his mother that it's not in the Bible?

It’s doubtful. Her possible retort: The popular saying is a distillation of Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”

Another saying that sounds Bible-worthy: “Pride goes before a fall.” But its approximation, Proverbs 16:18, is actually written: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

There are some phantom biblical verses for which no excuse can be offered. The speaker goofed.

That’s what Bruce Wells, a theology professor, thinks happened to Ditka, the former NFL coach, when he strayed from the gridiron to biblical commentary during his 1993 press conference in Chicago.

Wells watched Ditka’s biblical blunder on local television when he lived in Chicago. After Ditka cited the mysterious passage, reporters scrambled unsuccessfully the next day to find the biblical source.

They should have consulted Wells, who is now director of the ancient studies program at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. Wells says Ditka’s error probably came from a peculiar feature of the King James Bible.

“My hunch on the Ditka quote is that it comes from a quirk of the King James translation,” Wells says. “Ancient Hebrew had a particular way of saying things like, ‘and the next thing that happened was…’ The King James translators of the Old Testament consistently rendered this as ‘and it came to pass.’ ’’

When phantom Bible passages turn dangerous

People may get verses wrong, but they also mangle plenty of well-known biblical stories as well.

Two examples: The scripture never says a whale swallowed Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, nor did any New Testament passages say that three wise men visited baby Jesus, scholars say.

Those details may seem minor, but scholars say one popular phantom Bible story stands above the rest: The Genesis story about the fall of humanity.

Most people know the popular version - Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. It’s been downhill ever since.

But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden.

“Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent,” says Kevin Dunn, chair of the department of religion at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

“Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years,” Dunn says.

Getting biblical scriptures and stories wrong may not seem significant, but it can become dangerous, one scholar says.

Most people have heard this one: “God helps those that help themselves.” It’s another phantom scripture that appears nowhere in the Bible, but many people think it does. It's actually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of the nation's founding fathers.

The passage is popular in part because it is a reflection of cherished American values: individual liberty and self-reliance, says Sidnie White Crawford, a religious studies scholar at the University of Nebraska.

Yet that passage contradicts the biblical definition of goodness: defining one’s worth by what one does for others, like the poor and the outcast, Crawford says.

Crawford cites a scripture from Leviticus that tells people that when they harvest the land, they should leave some “for the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:9-10), and another passage from Deuteronomy that declares that people should not be “tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.”

“We often infect the Bible with our own values and morals, not asking what the Bible’s values and morals really are,” Crawford says.

Where do these phantom passages come from?

It’s easy to blame the spread of phantom biblical passages on pervasive biblical illiteracy. But the causes are varied and go back centuries.

Some of the guilty parties are anonymous, lost to history. They are artists and storytellers who over the years embellished biblical stories and passages with their own twists.

If, say, you were an anonymous artist painting the Garden of Eden during the Renaissance, why not portray the serpent as the devil to give some punch to your creation? And if you’re a preacher telling a story about Jonah, doesn’t it just sound better to say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, not a “great fish”?

Others blame the spread of phantom Bible passages on King James, or more specifically the declining popularity of the King James translation of the Bible.

That translation, which marks 400 years of existence this year, had a near monopoly on the Bible market as recently as 50 years ago, says Douglas Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“If you quoted the Bible and got it wrong then, people were more likely to notice because there was only one text,” he says. “Today, so many different translations are used that almost no one can tell for sure if something supposedly from the Bible is being quoted accurately or not.”

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone - milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper - to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler - and the NFL coach - start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Faith

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. Kevster

    I smoke, I drink, I'm gay, I curse, and I sometimes judge. To many 'Christians', I'm a sinner of all sinners. But I've read the Old Testament three times and read the New Testament seven times. I've done more faith-based research than probably most devout Christians, yet they deem me less than them. This has great points about people's ignorance to actually read this book they dedicate their lives to.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • jfonty1

      Reading the OT or NT X amount of times or any amount of faith-based research can eliminate you
      from those sins you mentioned. No amount of knowledge you hold can either.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • CV

      Reading the Bible a million times, or doing research does not make you a Christian. We are all sinful! Devout people do not necessarily read the Bible multiple times, they have Faith that they are saved by grace alone. You can not force others to believe that your lifestyle is acceptable, to each it's own...that's between you and God. Don't worry so much about being accepted or judged by "Christians", instead worry about your relationship with God.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Tanner

      I drink, I'm gay and occasionally smoke. I have never read the bible nor do I intend to at this point in life or any point for that matter. Fact is people are ignorant, stupid and self serving even when you take religion out of the mix.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • vbscript2

      There's a difference between reading the Bible and following it. The latter, not the former, make one a Christian. However, I do not deem you "less than me." I deem us both people who have sinned and need God's mercy and grace. However, I have chosen to accept it and live for Him. I hope you'll make the same choice.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • fixed that for you

      jfonty1, CV, vbscript2: way to miss Kevster's points. Entirely. By several country miles and many more city blocks. Way over your heads. You're way under the cloud cover. You didn't even hear them go by.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:39 am |
  2. James Black

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=390]
    !

    June 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Solace

    The Church is a wh0re yet a mother at the same time— what an ironic balance. Am I talking about unfaithfulness? I’m talking about The Church, the unfaithful bride of Christ failing to live up to its marriage vows to the Lord— it’s a wh0re. But she is also my mother. I wouldn’t know about Jesus nor believe in Christ if it wasn’t for this thing called The Church. We the few must restore Christ’s bride.

    Being a shepherd is a delicate job— it’s easy to scare sheep. Many of today’s “Christians” do not know what they are doing when they frame a discussion in such an antagonistic, polarizing, and hateful manner? The Church is the body of Christ, but as of recently its hands and feet have been amputated carelessly leaving a big mouth. Perhaps, we have recklessly attempted to sow ourselves together only to create a Frankenstein’s Monster frightening any who come near.

    If we were to call ourselves Christ-like rather than the synonymous term Christian, The Church may be reminded that we should be spreading the Gospel of Love not the Gospel of Being Right. Outrage is more exciting than humility, but Jesus thought otherwise. Only love will reach the “unreachable.”

    June 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Adamah

      Somebody hand this guy a metal!

      June 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • tom

      Exactly!

      June 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Advice

      Agreed. Very true. Thank you, Solace.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Joe Blow

      Solace, you're my hero!

      June 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  4. paxman2

    My dear atheist brothers and sisters, please go to http://www.medjugorje.com/medjugorje/scientific-studies/627-specific-tests-administered-to-the-medjugorje-visionaries-and-their-results.html and look at the results of the scientific studies done by more than a dozen scientist, neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. The names and degrees held by each of the testers is listed at the bottom of this web page. Why would the people who tested them lie about the results? Gives an awful lot of authority to 6 'psychotic' kids. You believe in science until it goes against your beliefs.
    Pax.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Jess

      THANK-you for this link! And I agree with your last statement...people love and adore and 'worship' science–until it proves Christianity right.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Artist

      "Pope Benedict XVI expressed similar doubts when they discussed Medjugorje during the Bosnian bishops' visit to the Vatican."
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      June 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Artist- just because you can copy/paste a definition of Schizophrenia, doesn't mean you have accurately diagnosed someone with it.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • MM

      "You believe in science until it goes against your beliefs."

      Funny, that's exactly what I think of most fundamentalists. Now, would you care to explain which of my beliefs science goes against? You see, when the evidence changes, I change my views, not the other way around.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  5. Jess

    Genesis 3:1-16
    1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
    2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

    4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

    8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

    10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

    11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

    12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

    13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

    The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

    14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

    “Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
    You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
    15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and hers;
    he will crush[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

    June 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Jess

      Then there's the ESV (English Standard Version) of the Bible, which says:
      " 8And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." 11He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."

      13Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate.""
      (BibleGateway)

      So...which version was the author of this article referring to or using to back up his claims?
      Obviously the words "Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden." were a paraphrase of the Biblical text (anyone with a brain can see this), but in the ESV Bible, it is clearly written: The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

      June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Jon

    To connect the serpent of Genesis with Satan see Revelation 12:9 and 20:2. We need the complete story.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • believer

      John 8:44-45

      June 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • believer-

      John 8:44

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • MM

      And yet again, you're doing what the people in the story say you're doing.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  7. Shar

    I agree, while there is no mention of an apple. We have good reason to know that the Serpeant/snake represents Satan as it is referenced in the scriptures at other times (Rev 12:9, Rev 20:2). While I disagree with a few points in the article, I like how the article points out it’s just not "phantom scriptures" but also phantom stories. Like for example the three wise men or kings. READ the account at Matthew Chapter 2. The bible never uses the words three or kings to describe the men who wanted to “pay obeisance”. In fact most common renderings and translations of the Greek text refer to the individuals as "astrologers" or "magi" That is they were involved in a practice in which God condemned (Deuteronomy 18:10). Another inconsistency is the idea that these “wise” men or rather astrologers witnessed the very young infant Jesus being after his birth. According to the account, Jehovah sent his angels to ministers to lowly shepherds regarding Jesus birth not astrologers or anyone partaking in practices he deemed detestable. The biblical account in Matthew2: 9-10 says that Jesus was a “young child.” Verse 11 states: “And when they (astrologers, magi, wise men) went into the house…” Remember Jesus was in a manger (place for animals) not a house when he was born. The magi served Herod’s purpose not God’s. God intervened with these astrologers by divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod as to protect and preserve Jesus alive. It should not shock us that God allowed these astrologers to see his warning. He has done this in times prior to that with the unbelieving (Nebuchadnezzar for example) to reveal and reemphasize His will and purpose. There are many more inconsistencies. Examining them closely exposes the “Nativity Scene” which is so popular in many churches and elsewhere as man’s contrivance not God’s.

    Though these may seem like minor differences at first. They have a huge impact on our understanding how God operates in the scriptures and impedes our understanding of His will and purpose in the world.

    This article brings to light that much of what many “Christians” believe is not really based in accurate bible knowledge and truth. For God himself, along with Jesus and the apostles knew this would be the case as it is written that men would be : “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. ” (English Standard Version, 2001)

    June 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  8. believer

    Nowdays you can read a King James version on line for free. I encourage all readers of this blog to read just one book in the Bible today–I suggest John. Careful though, you might like it!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  9. abb

    I do not see the purpose in posting this? The only reason I see why someone did is to try and make some christians lose faith in what they believe. Trying to make them doubt what they believe. This country was based on religion and everyday you hear something about someone trying to take that away from people. God created this country, world, and the person that wrote this.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Steven

      You are the PERFECT example of what this article is all about. You dont actually KNOW what your faith is...you choose to believe what you want to believe without knowing the facts written in the very thing you claim you have faith for. There is ZERO persuasion of doubt here...they are simply clearing up misconceptions. If you are threatened by it, perhaps your faith is wavering. You really should study the holy book more if you cant grasp some simple error checking.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Tobi

      Are you serious? The point of the article is clear, and has nothing to do with telling people that they should be Christian. It says that if you are going to quote scripture, get it right and do not use it just to back-up your own ideals.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  10. JR "Bob" Dobbs

    It's sad. We live in an age like no other. Where almost everyone in the US not only has the skills to read the bible, but can also have access to one. Almost everyone is literate, and paper, ink, and printing is dirt cheap. Moreover, anyone reading this column or this post has access to bible study aids more powerful than ANY biblical student in HISTORY has. With a flick of a keyboard one can compare 25 different English translations of the Bible, including some of the older, more obscure, possibly less "diluted" versions- not to mention a host of biblical translations in other languages. As I'm only familiar with the English, Greek, and Latinate family tree of translations, I can't comment on the provenance of translations in other languages- but it's still amazing that they are available to the commoner.
    For centuries, even millennia, it was necessary for a man in vestments, robes, or sometimes a simple collar, to translate the Word to the commoners. That means that whatever preconceived notions that the man had, or whatever he didn't understand, or whatever mood he was in, could change not just the flavor, but the actual meaning of the Word as he passed it on. It was a few thousand years game of "telephone".
    In this article, a man, quite possibly a believer, makes some important points on how very few people truly know their bible. That people are still holding on to fairy tales told to them by men-in-the-cloth. Men who could have been purposely distorting the word for their own purposes. There have been many men-of-the-cloth of ALL flavors of Christianity (and Judaism) who have shown themselves to be less than pure of heart. Afterall, they're just men. If they're committing adultery, or pedophilia in their off-hours, are we to trust that when they are at the altar they are imbibed with the magic of truthfulness?
    The author doesn't challenge religion- unless your religion consists only of what a man-of-the-cloth has told you. The author merely points out commonly mis-quoted, or common misconceptions of the bible. None of which ANY biblical scholar will argue with.
    Instead of removing the (big a$$ chunk of wood) in your eyes, and taking this as an invitation to re-acquaint yourself with the Word, so many of you are spending your time and energy "lawyering" for the men who told you fairy tales, and those fairy tales. Wouldn't your time be better spent with your nose in the bible? Or is your faith so threatened by a simple article stating nothing but truth, that you need to spend hours defending it... to people who see that all you're doing is trying to convince yourself that what you've been told is true.
    As Christians, your new covenant is with Christ. Sit and read the Gospels, acquaint yourself with what that means. With the love, tolerance, & understanding that that means. I've seen Christianity twisted into something completely unrecognizable. Something that absolutely does not reflect the Gospels. I watch todays neo-christians, sit and cherry-pick obscure biblical verses to justify hate and human viewpoints.
    Take this as a new opportunity, not as an excuse to continue using religion as a cloak for your insecurities, prejudices, and dislikes. If you think Christ wanted you to be a douch3bag, you got the message totally wrong.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Jesus of Nazareth

      I'm glad someone understands.

      I love you all.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  11. Student of the Course

    The real secret to understanding any scripture, Christian or otherwise, is to never read it alone. If you always consciously invite your Higher Power to be a part of your reading, to be there to share insights and allow your mind to grasp the meaning, and then you yourself are willing to entering that state of mind, and open to what you hear, you will learn.

    The wisest person I've ever met, who's been my best friend and spiritual mentor for almost half my life now, taught me that. It's not about dogma or supporting your own beliefs, it's about connecting with the Source of your Spirit and communing with that Source. "This holy instant would I give You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction brings me peace." That's from A Course in Miracles. Every instant is "this holy instant," and the message is that we should never decide alone what anything means, because we don't really know. But for people of faith, there is a Being that *does* know, and that Being wills for us to share the knowledge, we need only ask.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Seriously, how do you know you aren't fooling yourself? If you already believe that someone will answer you, and you are listening really hard and really want that answer, and nobody but you hears it, how can you know you aren't hallucinating? Not to be mean, but the world didn't end like God said it would.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Artist

      Bible Clown,

      You cannot tell a Skitz they are not seeing or hearing what they are hearing. They have faith.
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      June 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  12. felicia

    I think it would be safe to say that people are summarizing the bible and not quoting it. I don’t feel that it is dangerous at all for people to do so either. The bible has passages that are literally what they mean and others that are parables teaching a lesson. One lesson is that God helps those that help themselves. Not one farmer in the bible got a crop without first planting the seed. It simple means that you can’t lay back lazily and expect God to give you everything on a golden platter. As far as the Satan in the ground of Eden I have heard that one too. Yes it says that it’s just a serpent but that passage is sometimes used to show how anything that is convincing you to do against God’s commandment is just being used as a tool by the devil. Along with the other says as I stated before I think they are just summaries. It doesn’t mean that people don’t understand the bible or haven’t read the entire bible, I have read the entire thing several times, but it does mean that in the end we got the message. I doubt if quoting book, chapter and verse is a requirement for getting into heaven, but doing what the book, chapter and verse said is.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  13. Goddess Priest

    My real honest opinion since everyone is letting theirs out is. Jesus was a prophet. Not a prophet of One Religion but of ALL. I dont believe he had a religion. i believe he was spiritual and knew there was something greater out there. Basically He was what most would call a witch now days. Because he could use the energies around him to heal people and do miraculous things (like Criss Angel). And The Bible was written over time describing what people thought of as God or Gods. But were really intelligent beings from another dimension or world. And people back then didnt know how to describe what they were seeing. Its all over the world in all religious stories and beliefs. If you take the religious dogma out of it and look at it as a whole you see that there was something back then that was far more intelligent.

    All the stories no matter what religion talk about gods who had flying machines and abilities no human had. You can see that in religious painting there are UFO's in the backgrounds. And Even to this day we still are witnessing all of this. Its time for all of us to pull our heads out of our @$$e$ and start to come together for answers that the Vatican is Hiding and the Governments. Especially the US Govt. There are secrets being kept and relgion is falling and yet there are no answers and its time we all stick by each other and find out what they are.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Jesus was groovy like Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. History has skewed his message and built a mythology around him. It’s no more impressive than that.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  14. Solrac

    This article started out interesting and ended with a poor conclusion. I don't get the connection between a few miss quoted scripture and home bible being miss guided. Mr Hazen has obviously never Heard of the Holy Ghost which is the true guide for biblical revelation. Mr Hazen, how does a individual receive salvation?

    June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  15. Carbon

    "The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother" Proverbs 29:15
    "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with a rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." Proverbs 23:13-14
    "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death." Proverbs 19:18
    "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:11-12

    June 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • USminority

      I guess my mother lived by those words. To this day when she waves to me, i flinch...

      June 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  16. Linda

    "Religion is used by people to reinforce self acquired ideas on how the world Should work." btw.. VERY much agree with this

    June 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  17. SpiderBaby

    Ditka vs. God?" "Trick question. Ditka is God."

    June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Daaaa Bears da Bears da Bears da Bears...

      June 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  18. The Jackdaw

    Religion is a joke. If the bible was created by God, it wouldn’t be the disjointed mess that it is. God does not exist. Humanity needs to take off the religious diaper, put on the big boy pants, start taking responsibility for their own actions. Mankind will suck until it steps out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Pops

      What's funny about your post is that most of the knowledge that served as the foundation for the Renaissance was preserved by religious monks hand writing copies of books throughout the dark ages. How ironic.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Are you trying to convince me that the church was responsible for the Renaissance? When the Catholic Church gets it’s greedy and ignorant hands on education, you get Kansas, not CERN.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Larry

      Jackdaw: You're in good company. Many men have put on those "big boy pants" in the past; Stalin, Marx, Mao, Kim Jong Il, etc.
      Pick any one of those knuckleheads and you will find they slaughtered multiple times more than the so called "Christian Crusades." Those that did survive those purges of God are starving their butts off today aren't they (that doesn't include their glorious atheistic leaders.)

      June 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Larry, Big Boy Pants are different than Crazy Pants. Maybe you should shop elsewhere. If you are afraid of critical and free thinking, I suggest you go back to chuch and bury your head in their sandy floors.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • fitegirl

      Sorry Jackdaw, Every study done by the U.S. Department of Education has found that Roman Catholic schools are the best in the country. They consistantly and successfully educate students better than the best public schools in the nation and they do it with larger class sizes and 25% of the budget of the best public schools. The have the highest graduation rates of any US schools (public & private), the most "High Honors" grads in any schools and the highest rate of students who go on to college. Nobody leaves a Roman Catholic school illiterate & ignorant but many graduate from public schools in that condition. Be as Athiest as you want to be but at least know the facts before you post!

      June 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  19. TMorgan

    Ditka's comment was not structured as a quote. Nothing he said (as quoted in this article) suggested that he was making anything but a paraphrasing. The author's presumption that all references to the Bible can be assumed to be verbatim quotations is ridiculous. The comment about spare the rod & spoil the child is another good example. This notion is indeed in the Bible and that is indeed the intent of the passage in the Bible. To say 'that's not in the Bible' just because the wording was a paraphrase and not a verbatim quotation is ridiculous. Further, to suggest that someone has made a public blunder because they chose to paraphrase when you were expecting a verbatim quotation is equally ridiculous.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  20. USminority

    I read the bible when I was young, front to back, old and new testament as a book should be read. I've never met a christian who has done the same, not even priests (they ignore the old). Its obviously a story, but I'm always baffled that people think there are people in heaven. Or they're rewarded for goodness. Get your bibles out:
    "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man [Jesus Christ]" John:3:13. | "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten" (Ecclesiastes:9:5). | 1 Corinthians 15 Talk about Jesus being "firstborn of the dead" (refered to as "firstfruits of them that sleep") | ". . . man dies and is laid away; indeed he breathes his last and where is he? As water disappears from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dries up, so man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep" Job:14:10-12.

    There's plenty more on what happens after you die. Not limited by these. Basically when Christians, or anyone else dies, they do not go directly to heaven or to a heaven-like place. Their bodies simply decay in the grave, returning to the dust from which they were made. Genesis:3:19 says this and we all know it (lol) ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Or from dust we were created and to dust we will return.

    But thats not to say we are all doomed. I'm not bashing anyone. I'm only trying to enlighten because it really frustrates me how everyone goes on about heaven when they claim to absolutely believe and love God. By the way I don't believe in any Gods or Devils and have read other religious texts (as in other religions). So what's up with the eternal soul thing you ask?
    It is because Christ was resurrected from the grave that we can be assured we, too, will be resurrected. 1 Corinthians:15:12-21 | "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt" Daniel:12:2 | So just when will that happen? Its explained in Revelations:11:15 so you'd think everyone would know it, cause thats where all the action is...the dead in Christ will be resurrected to immortal life at Jesus Christ's return to earth, and those faithful servants who are still alive at that time will be changed from mortal to immortal. Specifically, this happens at the sounding of "the trumpet of God." Also Thessalonians:4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians15:52. There's also a couple versus from Jesus's own lips @ John:14:3 and Isaiah:11:1-9 that says: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

    I apologize for having to write so much but you know how stubborn people are when it comes to religion, even when faced with undeniable truth. The funny thing is even though I don't believe in God and understand all of this, someone who claims to whole heartily believe in God will STILL reject this and translate each and every verse in whichever way suits them. The reason for this is people have there own hopes and dreams of what will happen when they die or where their dead loved ones are at this moment and nothing will ever change that. Religion is used by people to reinforce self acquired ideas on how the world Should work. Good things happen to good people, and bad things to bad people, etc. Good day, and i'll see all of you in hell. If there is such a thing.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • MSfromCA

      People prefer a more attractive story. Religions "evolve" like anything else. More compelling religions take over, old religions die out or are reinterpreted.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Linda

      If it really was "undeniable truth", none of us would be here questioning it

      June 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Lincoln Place

      Many thanks – well thought-out and written!

      June 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • USminority

      @linda
      You misunderstand me. To a Christian undeniable truth should be what is written in the bible. Like Leviticus 11:7-8 , and Deuteronomy 14:8 which says “And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass." But mofos still eat pork : /

      June 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • C

      Revelation.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Linda

      @USminority.. I understand what you were getting at.. I was more expanding the fact that such believers can't agree on what is "undeniable truth". Take people from two different churches and have them read the same sentence, and watch two different meanings come from it.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Truth

      US Minority, please re-read the entire context of the verses you are quoting. For example, in John 3, Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus about "heavenly things" which He was the only one of the "you people" He is referring to that has seen Heaven. Meaning, people that were currently alive, like Nicodemus was alive. All of the other verses you have (deliberately?) taken out of context as well. Why? Are you frightened that there may indeed be a Heaven and a Hell? Often, we attack what frightens us. If you aren't fearful then what difference does it make to you? I don't believe what the Hindus teach, but I don't spend my time attacking them because I'm not frightened they are actually right. How about this: if you are so convinced that there is no God, why don't you pray to Him and ask Him if He is there to reveal Himself to you? What can be the harm in that? I mean, if He's not there then you have nothing to fear, right? Instead of attacking what I think you fear (the existence of God) just go ahead and face it head-on. Because this isn't about you and I or you and any other Christian. This is between you and God.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • M. Joseph

      I'm glad you said what you did about people dying and not going to heaven, because some Christian do believe the truth as stated in the Bible, that we are just sleeping waiting for the Lord's return, and no one is in heaven. Ever heard of the Seventh Day Adventist Church? Well they believe the Bible as you have stated, it's something you should look into :)

      June 6, 2011 at 2:34 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.