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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. Jean S.

    oh yea, and "Spare the rod and spoil the child" – Proverbs 13:24 / 23:13.

    Also, check out the oft-quoted maxims from Sirach.
    "Birds flock with their kind" -Sirach 27:9

    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0107fea2.asp

    June 18, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  2. Jean S.

    Actually, it IS in the Bible.

    "All things must pass" or "This too shall pass" – Matthew 24:6-8

    http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2010/06/top-50-most-popular-phrases-from-bible.html

    However, good article, agree with the premise.

    "75 per cent of Americans believe the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves.
    That is, three out of four Americans believe that this notion, at the core of American politics and culture and which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, appears in Holy Scripture.
    And Franklin's homily is counter-biblical. Few notions could be further from its radical summons to love thy neighbour. On this essential matter, most American Christians are simply wrong...
    ...it's as if 75 per cent of American scientists believed that Isaac Newton proved that gravity caused apples to ascend."
    -The Christian paradox: How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2005/08/0080695

    "This philosophy is greed, not God. The God of the Bible is the saviour of the helpless."

    http://uncleluther.badasschristians.com/god-helps-those-who-cant-help-themselves

    25% of 2500 Australians in a recent survey thought it was Jesus, not Ben Franklin, who said "God helps those who help themselves."

    June 18, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Muneef

      Jean S.

      Actually we as Muslims believe the same that... "God helps those who help themselves." ... We refer about that to the last verse of Sura of Mary in the Quran;

      The Birth of Jesus
      [19:22] When she bore him, she isolated herself to a faraway place.

      [19:23] The birth process came to her by the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "(I am so ashamed;) I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten."

      [19:24] (The infant) called her from beneath her, saying, "Do not grieve. Your Lord has provided you with a stream.

      [19:25] "If you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop ripe dates for you.
      ----
      So you see although pregnant and about to deliver but she was still asked to help her self and shake the trunk of the palm tree to get her self ripe dates...!

      June 18, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Ruth

      Thank you for pointing this out!!! :D
      I KNEW I've read the phrase in the Word.

      Praise HIM! and may we continue to "...love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:30
      :D

      June 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Don

      Read it again not there

      June 22, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  3. hereticzero

    Pro_13:24 He that spareth his rod, hateth his sonne: but he that loueth him, chasteneth him betimes.
    Pro_23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
    Pro_23:14 Thou shalt beate him with the rod, and shalt deliuer his soule from hell.

    Sounds like religious child abuse to me in any translation of the babble.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Muneef

      Beating children is not a good way of bringing up children...but rather ought to be firm and strict when repeating what they been told was wrong or bad since they are to be brought up knowing what is right and what is wrong to enable the child to recognize it in the reality world...Which in the end it is called morals and ethics as for the Soul and the Physical body since they say the worst parts in the human body are the Heart and the Tongue, again they said the best parts are the heart and the tongue....these teachings of the Holy Books and The Stories of Prophets of God are supposed to purify our hearts and straighten our tongues....beside we are told that the Relgion to God is the Treatment,Dealing,Behavior in between people of all beliefs and religions since this is the only one step ahead on the way towards peace in the world other than that would mean bringing up lost astray souls can not tell the difference between right and wrong or good and evil...!!!

      June 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Muneef

      The best thing is to use face expressions,turn of voice and words but when persist at age of 9 might need to pinch and threaten, but at the critical age might be driven to be firmer to protect them and drive them towards becoming straight and taking life seriously for their future benefit....some perents at this late critical age if not been able to straighten a son would ask the assistance of police and even medical care if not some sessions of electrical shocks or chained although those would be the dangerous ones to them selves and others (Madness/Insanity).... Many parents had lost what they built in years whether reputation or business or wealth or high status because of one or all of their children if they had not built up their growth well and straight...God said we will after life be held accountable for had not brought our children well spiritually and physically to becoming a positive citizen to his com-m-unity and country...

      June 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Divine Law

      [64:11] Nothing happens to you except in accordance with GOD's will. Anyone who believes in GOD, He will guide his heart. GOD is fully aware of all things.

      [64:12] You shall obey GOD and you shall obey the messenger. If you turn away, then the sole mission of our messenger is to deliver the message.

      [64:13] GOD: there is no other god besides Him. In GOD the believers shall trust.

      [64:14] O you who believe, your spouses and your children can be your enemies; beware. If you pardon, forget, and forgive, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

      [64:15] Your money and children are a test, and GOD possesses a great recompense.

      [64:16] Therefore, you shall reverence GOD as much as you can, and listen, and obey, and give (to charity) for your own good. Anyone who is protected from his own stinginess, these are the successful ones.

      [64:17] If you lend GOD a loan of righteousness, He will multiply the reward for you manifold, and forgive you. GOD is Appreciative, Clement.

      [64:18] The Knower of all secrets and declarations; the Almighty, Most Wise.

      June 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  4. Muneef

    [18:27] You shall recite what is revealed to you of your Lord's scripture. Nothing shall abro-gate His words, and you shall not find any other source beside it.

    [18:28] You shall force yourself to be with those who worship their Lord day and night, seeking Him alone. Do not turn your eyes away from them, seeking the vanities of this world. Nor shall you obey one whose heart we rendered obl-ivi-ous to our message; one who pursues his own desires, and whose priorities are confused.

    [18:29] Proclaim: "This is the truth from your Lord," then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve. We have prepared for the transgressors a fire that will completely surround them. When they scream for help, they will be given a liquid like concent-rated a-cid that sca-lds the faces. What a miserable drink! What a miserable destiny!

    [18:30] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, we never fail to recompense those who work righteousness.

    [18:31] They have deserved gardens of Eden wherein rivers flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and will wear clothes of green silk and velvet, and will rest on comfortable furnishings. What a wonderful reward; what a wonderful abode!
    ----–

    June 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      [18:43] No force on earth could have helped him against GOD, nor was it possible for him to receive any help.

      [18:44] That is because the only true Lord and master is GOD; He provides the best recompense, and with Him is the best destiny.

      [18:45] Cite for them the example of this life as water that we send down from the sky to produce plants of the earth, then they turn into hay that is blown away by the wind. GOD is able to do all things.

      [18:46] Money and children are the joys of this life, but the righteous works provide an eternal recompense from your Lord, and a far better hope.

      [18:47] The day will come when we wipe out the mountains, and you will see the earth barren. We will summon them all, not leaving out a single one of them.

      [18:48] They will be presented before your Lord in a row. You have come to us as individuals, just as we created you initially. Indeed, this is what you claimed will never happen.

      [18:49] The record will be shown, and you will see the guilty fearful of its contents. They will say, "Woe to us. How come this book leaves nothing, small or large, without counting it?" They will find everything they had done brought forth. Your Lord is never unjust towards anyone.
      ------

      June 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Muneef

      [18:54] We have cited in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature.

      [18:55] Nothing prevented the people from believing, when the guidance came to them, and from seeking the forgiveness of their Lord, except that they demanded to see the same (kind of miracles) as the previous generations, or challenged to see the retribution beforehand.

      [18:56] We only send the messengers as simply deliverers of good news, as well as warners. Those who disbelieve argue with falsehood to defeat the truth, and they take My proofs and warnings in vain.

      [18:57] Who are more evil than those who are reminded of their Lord's proofs, then disregard them, without realizing what they are doing. Consequently, we place shields on their hearts to prevent them from understanding it (the Quran), and deafness in their ears. Thus, no matter what you do to guide them, they can never ever be guided.

      [18:58] Yet, your Lord is the Forgiver, full of mercy. If He called them to account for their deeds, He would annihilate them right there and then. Instead, He gives them a respite until a specific, predetermined time; then they can never escape.

      [18:59] Many a com-m-unity we annihilated because of their transgressions; we designated a specific time for their annihilation.
      ------

      June 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      [18:100] We will present Hell, on that day, to the disbelievers.

      [18:101] They are the ones whose eyes were too veiled to see My message. Nor could they hear.

      [18:102] Do those who disbelieve think that they can get away with setting up My servants as gods beside Me? We have prepared for the disbelievers Hell as an eternal abode.

      [18:103] Say, "Shall I tell you who the worst losers are?

      [18:104] "They are the ones whose works in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good."

      [18:105] Such are the ones who disbelieved in the revelations of their Lord and in meeting Him. Therefore, their works are in vain; on the Day of Resurrection, they have no weight.

      [18:106] Their just requital is Hell, in return for their disbelief, and for mocking My revelations and My messengers.

      [18:107] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, they have deserved a blissful Paradise as their abode.

      [18:108] Forever they abide therein; they will never want any other sub-sti-tute.

      [18:109] Say, "If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we double the ink supply."

      [18:110] Say, "I am no more than a human like you, being inspired that your god is one god. Those who hope to meet their Lord shall work righteousness, and never worship any other god beside his Lord."

      June 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Muneef

      Adding;

      [18:100] We will present Hell, on that day, to the disbelievers.

      [18:101] They are the ones whose eyes were too veiled to see My message. Nor could they hear.

      [18:102] Do those who disbelieve think that they can get away with setting up My servants as gods beside Me? We have prepared for the disbelievers Hell as an eternal abode.

      [18:103] Say, "Shall I tell you who the worst losers are?

      [18:104] "They are the ones whose works in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good."

      [18:105] Such are the ones who disbelieved in the revelations of their Lord and in meeting Him. Therefore, their works are in vain; on the Day of Resurrection, they have no weight.

      [18:106] Their just requital is Hell, in return for their disbelief, and for mocking My revelations and My messengers.

      [18:107] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, they have deserved a blissful Paradise as their abode.

      [18:108] Forever they abide therein; they will never want any other sub-sti-tute.

      [18:109] Say, "If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we double the ink supply."

      [18:110] Say, "I am no more than a human like you, being inspired that your god is one god. Those who hope to meet their Lord shall work righteousness, and never worship any other god beside his Lord."

      June 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  5. Muneef

    MANNERS AND MORALS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD 

    http://www.elazhar.com/prophetstories/Chapter1-2.htm

    EISA 'Jesus'

    http://elazhar.com/prophetstories_u/Chapter2.asp

    June 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  6. Mom

    What about Matthew 12:40? " For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Or doesn't the New Testament count as part of the Bible these days? It does say whale when referring to Jonah.

    June 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Totally depends on what translation of the bible you're using. Many translations just say 'great fish'.

      June 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Artist

      Actually, the New Testy is not relevent to some. As for Jonah, I think the original version is the standard and guide. What someone says in a different book and time is really not relevent. It must match and it does not. Like someone noting what the Mormon bible says...non-mormon christians scoff at it. Therefore people scoff at the New Testy much the same way. Christians are clearly part of a cult.....it just happens to be an old one

      June 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      Come on guys that was discussed before and whale is the right answer being a mammal and teeth less only swallows shoveling waters full of fishes and sea plants then shooting water out leaving his caught be dissolved like in to liquid...the whales of the times of old were so big that sailers landed on their backs thinking of it as islands in the sea.

      Jonah was brought back and spitted to shore by the whale "Skinless" as due heat and being dissolved in the whale belly he lost his skin and therefore was at a very weak and sensitive situation for which God has grown for him a green plant that covered the ground for him from the heat of the sun then the plant was some kind "Pumpkin plant" which provided the food for him...as well drinks were provided from the deers that fed on the leaves of the plant....

      June 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  7. Dave

    What does the bible actually say about whether life begins at birth or conception?

    June 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  8. Charle

    Hallalullah!

    June 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  9. BluChunx

    But there is so much MORE science for them to get wrong. Let's hear about that soon–before the apocalypse. Once evangelical says dinosaur bones were strewn around by Satan to mislead us into believing in evolution. Fabulous!

    June 16, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Muneef

      Evolution might be right for Animals by cross breed but not for Mankind who was created at his best from Adam & Eve times.

      Check this;

      About mankind evolution.
      Verses from the Quran;

      [95:4] We created man in the best design.

      [95:5] Then turned him into the lowliest of the lowly.
      ----

      My words It could be saying that Monkeys and Apes come out of mankind when they were turned him into the lowliest of the lowly.
      Meaning that Mankind was not a result of evolution of Monkeys & Apes...rather the other way round on reversed evolution...!  

      As mentioned in these verses;

      [2:65] You have known about those among you who de-sec-rated the Sabbath. We said to them, "Be you as de-spi-cable as apes."

      [2:66] We set them up as an example for their generation, as well as su-bse-que-nt generations, and an enlightenment for the righteous.
      -----–

      [5:60] Say, "Let me tell you who are worse in the sight of GOD: those who are condemned by GOD after incurring His wrath until He made them (as de-spi-cable as) monkeys and pigs, and the idol worshipers. These are far worse, and farther from the right path."
      ------

      June 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  10. Brother Maynard

    My favorite biblical passage can be found in the Book of Armaments, Chapter 2, verses 9-21:

    "...And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats . . . And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

    June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • David

      Skip a bit, Brother.

      June 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  11. Marie Kidman

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

    June 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  12. Leon

    My mistake . On page 37 , by mistake , I pushed the wrong button .
    It took about 5 seconds before I realised that I have pushed the "report abuse" button .
    My mistake , I was to push reply .
    I dont remember the name , just the page .
    Sorry .
    Just to make sure it doesnt happen again , I will not write more here . I have already written enough from page 33 to 37 .

    June 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Mike

    This is why the Protestant reformation did nothing other than create confusion. The bible was never meant to be read without the help of a scholar or theologian. The original church never wanted it to be distributed for fear that it would be misinterpreted. Today we have over 30,000 christian churches. If you're the devil, is't this what you want – confusion, misunderstanding and every church thinking it is better than the next! There is only one true church and while it is not perfect or without controversy, it is still Christ only true church –The Roman Catholic Church!! Wise up people and come home!

    June 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Artist

      No thanks, I don;t want my package fondled by your pope.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Mike

      First of all you're an idiot!! The church condones this behavior. Is that what you're saying. Moron. These individuals would be child molestors no matter what career path they chose. What package? Idiot!

      June 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jamie

      Mike, first of all he has a point. This is a wide-spread problem in your church. You need to help fix it before you go trying to recruit others into that mess.

      June 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • fra59e

      There is only one church – the body of Christ, consisting of all persons baptized with water according to the Matthew 28 formula. The Catholic Church consists of the Orthodox, Roman and Anglican communions. The Orthodox Communion inherits the original Christianity, first known by that name at Antioch. The original Church was Greek-speaking. The Latin branch of the church based in Rome seceded in 1052.

      June 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Epicurian

      It has more to do with controlling the sheeple than wariness about misinterpretations.........

      June 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Epicurian

      What do you think Jesus' reaction would be if he were to return to earth and see the abomination that is the Roman Catholic Church claiming to represent his philosophies? Jesus preached giving up ones worldly possessions to spread his word and the RCC is the richest bunch of hypocrites on earth.

      June 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Scott

      Actually no. The roman catholic church only came into existence about 1000 years ago when it split from the rest of the Christian church over the primacy of the roman bishop (pope)

      June 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  14. Maid

    Yes there are MANY Biblical passages have been modified into cultural "sayings" (see below) but, isn't that the point? Indeed, these sayings aren't word-for-word but, were modified overtime as witty reminders for day to day living. You see similar modified phrases taken many popular plays ("The rest is science") , Movies ("Damn it, Jim! I'm a doctor not a..." – Leonard McCoy, "Play it again, Sam"), linguists ("A language is a dialect with a Navy.") Poets ("Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned") etc and used daily by common folk. That is simply the way culture works and I'm not sure why your article seems so upset about it.

    “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”
    Specifically Prov 23: 13-14 (not Proverbs 13:24) Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

    "Cleanliness is next to Godliness "
    2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
    James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

    June 15, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  15. Ben

    This story is so full of wrong I feel sorry for the writer. I was looking for his email to email him about all the wrong things in here but I see many posts that correct him.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:28 am |
    • jimtanker

      And I guess that you have it right? This book has so many holes and contradictions it is no wonder why there are over 38,000 different denominations of christianity.

      June 15, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • Ben

      I never said I had it right, all I said is that this article has many wrongs in it. I mean, let's get real, if you are a writer for CNN at least get your facts straight, I could make up stories like this all the time too. Would you like to point some of the contradictions in the bible?

      June 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mike

      The Writer is absolutely correct. The bible was never meant to be studied without the help of a Scholar or Theologian. Today it is the most misinterpreted book in the world. Over 30,000 so called Christian churches, all thinking they understand the Bible correctly. Sorry Ben you are wrong!!

      June 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Ben

      Mike, the Bible does say that a fish swallowed Jonah, and it does say spare the rod, lose the child. Sure not in the same exact words but me saying to a girl you are cute, can mean that I think she is pretty or attractive. Correct?

      June 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  16. David

    You seem to be assuming that Ditka has familiarity with the KJV. I suspect what he was thinking of was the I Cor. 13:8 RSV "..."as for prophecies, they will pass away...as for knowledge, it will pass away." Certainly he has a very good sense of what Paul is saying in I Cor 13:8

    June 15, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  17. Truth

    The serpent tempts Eve:
    Genesis 3
    1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

    3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      Satan or the Devil...is able to take and make him self in all shapes...he can come as a serpent or as a Peaco-c-k....so whether he became to them in the shape or a form of a serpent or else...it is still him Satan the Devil who misled them it to what God has forbidden on them...
      Say like the bible forbids spirits&pork but still people ignore that and go according their wills and not God will...!

      June 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Bible Literary Critique

      If Adam and Eve had not yet eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then how were they able to know enough to make a good decision in the first place?
      Why would God keep them ignorant?
      And why would He tell them to obey him at all if they couldn't tell the difference between good and evil?
      *
      There are many ridiculous things in the Bible like this.
      Two versions of Genesis, each different enough to contradict common sense, but they are also contradicted by what we can analyze of the universe around us.
      The Garden of Eden is a wish-fulfillment fantasy that makes no sense.
      And God sure liked looking at their nekkid bodies, eh?
      When they wore leaves, he got mad that his private po.rn show was over.
      jWhy else would it even be an issue at all?
      *
      When the interpretations are always different, they are no better than a guess and cannot be considered factual or true but only opinion or hearsay.
      *
      I have no doubt that anyone from the time period from whence each docu.ment originated would be laughing at our misunderstanding of the jokes and double-entendres in the original writer's mind.
      What some might have taken as a serious thing might only have been a popular sort of sarcasm in that ancient foreign subculture.
      There is no way to be sure, and thus no credence can be given of any accuracy in translation whatsoever.
      *
      But as a basis for guilt? You have got to be kidding. There can be no guilt coming from allegorical characters in some mis-translated morality play. Nor can you hold someone accountable for what someone else did. Both absurdities are very prominent in Christian doctrine, by the way.
      *
      If Genesis is a parable / allegory, then all the belief in a god has no basis.
      *
      With no real guilt to worry about, what of the New Testament?
      A fringe cult taken to new heights by a mega-pastor who wasn't afraid to make up whatever he wanted.
      Guilt over simply existing is a pretty underhanded way to go for any religion.
      Undeserved shame is not a healthy thing. It is clearly wrong for one thing, and dangerous to the mind for another.
      *
      Anyone can claim anything with a religion. There are no restrictions on personal interpretation or modification.
      When no one has to prove anything, the con-artists come out of their holes wearing religious masks.
      *
      No reliance can be put on any religious text when it can be manipulated to "mean" whatever someone wants it to mean.

      June 15, 2011 at 5:34 am |
    • Muneef

      BLC.

      Did you think that God did not know that Adam & Eve were going to eat from the fruit whether Satan tempted them or not ending to be descended down to earth?

      God said in the Quran informing Angels that he will create a new inhabitants for earth and that was even before Adam was created....!

      It was a test for Adam & Eve the key players here they had the choice to live peacefully in satisfactions in the Gardens or eat from the forbidden tree whether misled by Satan who promised them immortality and eternity.... Greed wanting more than what been given was the start of this test of choices that we are in today which tomorrow we will be answerable for....!

      Quran sura;
      [17:11] The human being often prays for something that may hurt him, thinking that he is praying for something good. The human being is impatient.
      ----–

      [17:67] If you are afflicted in the middle of the sea, you forget your idols and sincerely implore Him alone. But as soon as He saves you to the shore, you revert. Indeed, the human being is unappreciative.
      -----

      [17:100] Proclaim, "If you possessed my Lord's treasures of mercy, you would have withheld them, fearing that you might exhaust them. The human being is stingy."
      ----–

      [18:54] We have cited in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature.

      [18:55] Nothing prevented the people from believing, when the guidance came to them, and from seeking the forgiveness of their Lord, except that they demanded to see the same (kind of miracles) as the previous generations, or challenged to see the retribution beforehand.

      [18:56] We only send the messengers as simply deliverers of good news, as well as warners. Those who disbelieve argue with falsehood to defeat the truth, and they take My proofs and warnings in vain.
      --------
        

      June 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Muneef

      God informing Angles before creating Adam&Eve;

      [2:30] Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative (a ruler) on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know."
      -----

      Next Ruler After Adam on Earth;

      [38:26] O David, we have made you a ruler on earth. Therefore, you shall judge among the people equitably, and do not follow your personal opinion, lest it diverts you from the way of GOD. Surely, those who stray off the way of GOD incur severe retribution for forgetting the Day of Reckoning.
      -----

      June 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • @ Bible Literary Critique

      Dear Critique
      You asked "If Adam and Eve had not yet eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then how were they able to know enough to make a good decision in the first place?"
      Adam and Eve knew enough do make good decisions in the same way all children know. We either obey our parents, which is good, or we do not, which leads to our destruction.
      You asked "Why would God keep them ignorant?"
      God did not keep them ignorant, He kept them innocent. There is a huge difference, clearly observable in the way good parents raise their children.

      You Asked "And why would He tell them to obey him at all if they couldn't tell the difference between good and evil?"
      Our children do not know the difference between good and evil, which is exactly why we tell them to obey.

      You said "There are many ridiculous things in the Bible like this." You also claim to be a Bible Literary Critique.
      How is it you are completely missing the clear message of the Word of God? I pray that you and all the others who seem to think that the bible is open to multiple interpretations will discover the truth.
      The truth is that the bible by far is the best attested ancient writing in the entire world. We can go back to multiple sources in the original languages and clearly understand the message as it was originally given. The proofs offered here, that all the different denominations attest to the "fact" (not hardly) that the bible is open to personal interpretation is wrong. The different denominations are the proof of God's wok in many different places in many different times, and the FACT that all Bible believing denominations hold to the same core beliefs proves the trustworthiness of the Bible.
      Their is truth for anyone willing to look for it.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • i wonder

      @ "We either obey our parents, which is good, or we do not, which leads to our destruction."

      First, Wow! You destroy your children for disobeying? Just, Wow!

      I raised 4 children very successfully (if I do say so myself). I always explained the main reason for my 'commands'. "Don't touch that vase; it is very breakable." "Put on your shoes here; there might be broken glass around." "Let that dog get to know you a little before you pet him; some dogs can be mean." You get the picture. I am incredibly annoyed by authoritarian parents who just bark, "Because I said so!" If you have time to say that sentence, you have time for a quick explanation - even if it's, "I'll tell you later." - then follow up afterward.

      Second, there are some valid, practical guidelines for beneficial human behavior in the Bible. There is no evidence for the supernatural claims in it, however.

      June 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      God has not kept us ignorant,he taught the Angels,he taught Adam and then taught us all the knowledge there is today encouraging us to read and write;
      ------

      [2:31] He taught Adam all the names then presented them to the angels, saying, "Give me the names of these, if you are right."

      [2:32] They said, "Be You glorified, we have no knowledge, except that which You have taught us. You are the Omniscient, Most Wise."
      -------

      [55:1] The Most Gracious.

      [55:2] Teacher of the Quran.

      [55:3] Creator of the human beings.

      [55:4] He taught them how to distinguish.
      -------

      [96:3] Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted.

      [96:4] Teaches by means of the pen.

      [96:5] He teaches man what he never knew.
      -------

      June 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      @ "We either obey our parents, which is good, or we do not, which leads to our des-tru-c-tion."

      New generations Losing the Contact Prayers (Salat);

      [19:58] These are some of the prophets whom GOD blessed. They were chosen from among the descendants of Adam, and the descendants of those whom we carried with Noah, and the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and from among those whom we guided and selected. When the revelations of the Most Gracious are recited to them, they fall prostrate, wee-ping.

      [19:59] After them, He sub-sti-tut-ed generations who lost the Contact Prayers (Salat), and pur-su-ed their lu-st-s. They will suffer the conse-que-nces.

      [19:60] Only those who repent, believe, and lead a righteous life will enter Paradise, without the least in-just-ice.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • DunnIsADunce

      "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."

      False. The book of Job is the oldest written book in the Bible and clearly references Satan and the sons of god with him. Now about the whole "apple" thing–this is not true and Adam and Eve never ate from the tree of life–they partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil(i.e. the Tree of Holy Wisdom or Tree of Gnosis) in disobedience. We only know it was fruit they partook of and are not told whether it was an apple. I also suspect there is a far more hidden allegorical understanding behind this and probably could have much to do with "Kabbalah" i.e. angels were teaching mankind corrupt arts(forbidden arts) like you have mentioned in the book of Enoch.

      Now Satan is referred to as Hebrew "Nachash" (translit.) it means the fleeing/ mythological serpent. KJV Bible makes reference to "fiery flying serpents" in books like Genesis but n Hebrew they can be a class of serpentine angelic beings "saraph" or a "seraphim" or a literal poisonous snake in other cases. My point being there is room in interpretations Adam and Eve spoke to a "fiery flying serpent" an angelic being and not some tree-hugging talking animal. In Job which is older you have mention of Leviathan and in Isaiah it is called "crooked serpent, and the dragon. So yes it was "Satan" in the garden or an angelic presence what is termed a "fallen" or rebellious angel. So Dun is lying.

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

      Yes. There are many who do not look carefully at original texts and misquote things. Dunn is just as lost as those who misquote texts.

      June 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • @ Bible Literary Critique

      @ I wonder.
      Poor choices lead to destruction. The cause of destruction is the choices made – not the parent. Sorry you missed that connection in my previous post. Don't know where you got the authoritarian parenting style from, but that wasn't in my post either. Keeping our children innocent means to protect our children from the destruction caused by evil and poor choices. It does not mean "obey because I said so". There is an order to everything. A disobedient child can not be taught – therefor, obedience is the foundation of training.

      June 17, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Truth

    "Spare the rod, spoil the child" – there are several passages that reflect this saying:
    Prv 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
    Prv 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

    June 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • jimtanker

      I'm guessing that you didnt read the whole article?

      June 15, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  19. robert

    The bible and it's stories are nothing more than a collection of cultural tales probably written a long time ago by a traveller who had heard them fireside, which became a tradition that was passed down. The collection of stories were then dicovered, translated, and used by people on others who were ignorant to reading and writing. These people probably professd themselves wizards or clerics aor what have you and used the power of the stories to sway over the population decreeing the book was the holy word of god. Mankind has paid, paid, paid, for that faith in ignorance, that blind belief in nothing ever since. While it is true that some goood has come from the bible. It is also true the holocosts, and holy wars, desruction, tragedy, and murder have followed it around like some pervading influence. Deception, greed, and depravity being spread by the very people who supposedly revere this work, and it's supposed god. I say to believe in something with no proof is the samee as buying something advertised on tv, and expecting it to work just as it was described to. It is ridiculous, and nonsensical to do so. One should not need the stories of the bible as a moral compass. Your own should do just fine. Belief, in my opinion, has left mankind kind open to the most horrid abuses it has ever seen, and chose to do so out of fear of the statement" I don't know." Ignorance should lead to questions. Theses questions are asked and asked til the right one is asked. In this search for knowledge, may come more questions. But at least the answers will be honest, and not interpretations from some book written thousands of years ago by people who explained the universe in stories, out of ignorance of true observation. Man writes books. Not omnipotent gods. All powerful beings have no use for them. That is if they even exist in the first place. To me, seeing through the very thin veil of lies that religion uses to conform others to belief is the most pervasive lie to ever have existed, and I for one ,will be glad to see it laid to rest. With no followers to carry it any further,than the bible being a book, written by man.

    June 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • ceejgee

      AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Thank you so much Robert. You took the words from my mouth. thank you.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Epicurian

      Excellent and intelligent observation of the misuse of religion for profit that has prevailed for many centuries......

      June 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  20. Joey Joiner

    Please read, 2 Peter 1:20 and this debate will be over.

    June 14, 2011 at 11:36 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.