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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 • Evangelical • Faith

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Actually "God helps those who help themselves" is usually attributed to Aesop (Wagonner's tale?) – hundreds of years before Jesus.

    The association of the Serpent with Satan is from Revelation 12:9. Thus it is based on theology not ignorance. You may not agree with the theology, but you show your own ignorance if you dismiss it so blythely.

    Ditka's quote sounds more like a Simon and Garfunkel song "El Condor Pasa" than a Bible quote, but why not mention Ecclesiastes 6:12 as a (loose) source?: "For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow?"

    June 5, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • preachonit

      So because you saw the word "serpent" or "snake" there, you assume a reference to Genesis? Could you show the reference you found back to Eden in the preceding or subsequent passages, because I'm not seeing it.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • preachonit

      Oh, and I'm curious about your conception of what theology is exactly. From what I understand, theology is hardly a conclusive field, subject to constant scrutiny and change. Much like philosophy, for example. There are many theologies; which one does the Bible belong to?

      June 5, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • sammy

      preachonit needs to do some studying before making these ignorant comments...we do not have time to teach u..please get educated!!!

      July 3, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • chris

      Sammy – religion is not education. I take offence to the fact that you refer to learning it as such.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Time2Talk

      I thought Jesus was a "teacher" and wanted his followers to do the same. Is that another misbelief?

      September 1, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  2. quah

    If the truth is to be known most of mainstream Christianity is not Christian at all and that is definitedly in the Bible. But never mind no one is really interested in what is really true anyway. People mostly just want to believe whatever they want to believe and to feel that they are superior to all others who don't agree with them.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Richard Nygaard

      Couldnt agree more. If you listen to mainstream "christian" radio you will find a very over simplified path to salvation that takes Baptism completely out of the equation, nothing like the examples we are given in the book of Acts.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  3. Keith

    And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

    Revelation 12:9

    Talk about the author of the article not reading the bible... Lord have mercy

    June 5, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Rick

      Nobody cares. The bible is a load of malarkey anyways.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • david55

      revelations was written thousands of years after the genesis story, after even the death of christ. Thus at the time of christ, and for all judaism, the text made no mention of the serpent being satan. You are, as the author suggests many faithful do, cherrypicking from the book and ignoring his point. People zealously cling to their own interpretations, and lash out when evidence is shown that conflicts with that which they believe.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • Kevin B

      Such is the foolishness of King James putting all these different and separate texts into one binding. All sorts of silly and inaccurate assumptions jump through the less than logical minds.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Justsawyomamma

      The author states "But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden." Revelations is in the NEW Testament. Two different books. Separated by around four thousand years. Sounds like you need to waste some more time reading the bible, or reading Fox News instead. Best to keep yourself uninformed.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • James

      Why are you quoting revelations when the artile talks about the serpent and satan as it pertains to GENESIS... who didn't read?

      June 5, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • someguy

      @Just about everyone replying to this post: Just because Genesis didn't explicitly say the serpent was Satan doesn't mean the story of Eve being tempted by Satan is wrong, as Revelation proves. That's all the original poster is pointing out. Honestly, do you really believe that a literal snake/serpent actually spoke words to Eve, or do you believe that Satan in the form of a serpent did?

      June 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Respectful Question

      So the serpent was introduced as a mystery character in the first few pages of the books, so you had to read the entire book to almost the very end to find out who the serpent really was? That must have kept evryone on the edge of their seat. Especially the common folk of the day that didn't even read and write.

      Actually, Satan and the devil and its other names weren't introduced to the Bible until the Jews were taken into captivity by the Babylonians, who were conquered by the Persians, who Zoroastrian priests (the Magi) had a very strong sense of good and evil extremes, with dieties to match.

      Also there were more like a thousand years between the time the old and new testaments were written down in the forms we have today; though the old testament was meant to describe oral tales supposedly known for 4000 years. They all borrowed heavily from their neighbors and rulers ideas though, some of which may have pre-dated them.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      Almost nobody in the United States has read the Bible which was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek – NEVER English. Everyone puts their faith in translators who all had agendas. Different English translations don't match. What kind of faith is that if you don't read the book? Might as well read a comic book bible for all the relevance.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      Never give satan nor his demons the joy of seeing their name preceeded with capital letters.

      God is God.

      satan is nothing but a fallen angel. demons are nothing but fallen angels.

      God created all. God is all powerful. God is all knowing.

      satan and his demon followers didn't even know how good they had it so they rebelled. Foolish satan. Foolish demons.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • JustJosh

      @ Chuck – Why not? Your bible capitalizes "Satan". Are you suggesting you're beyond its wisdom? And since when does Satan care about grammar and punctuation? (though, by the way most creationists avoid these two things, it really wouldn't surprise me if they *did* believe they were "of the Devil"). You Sir, are a complete joke.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Nooneofconsequence

      Certainly we have all heard the phantom book of "Revelations" quoted, Justsawyomamma just referenced it in fact. Keith and I prefer the book of Revelation (The Revelation of St John the Divine). I do, however, have a personal preference for the King James Version. Anyone with an interest in the Bible should also read "God's Secretaries". It reviews the process and difficulties associated with biblical translation.

      Strangely absent from the article is the common biblical misconception that Noah put "two" of every animal on the Ark. The actual number is: (Genesis 7:2) Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3) Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

      June 6, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Hayden71

      Rick said,

      "Nobody cares. The bible is a load of malarkey anyways"

      It is painfully obvious that this kind of quote can only come from someone who is completely ignorant in respect to the bible

      June 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • freeindeed

      The Author of this article didnt read all of Genesis because they missed Chapter 3 vs.16 when God told the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
      There was only one woman in history that gave seed, because Jesus was not born of an earthy man. And we know that his heel was bruised.that was a prophecy of our Savior and he shall bruise Satan's head!

      June 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Free of Thought It Seems

      Sleep through biology did we? Miss the birds and the bees maybe? Its bad enough to misinterpret but to use ignorance and self righteous satisfaction in doing so leaves so much left to be said. Every woman's egg is a seed scientifically. Even if you're trying to use Jesus as a seed of righteousness or learning such, he stil isn't the only creation ofGod in that respect, unless you feel you and your friends are powerful enough to limit God so.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • What?

      I think that one of the largest issues here is that the people get in the way of Christ- it's not Christ they hate, but his followers. Just like a jerk that sells you a cell phone- the product isn't bad, the jerk is. There are jerks in all religions- and theologies, etc- as well as atheists, too. Let's not lose the forest for the trees- there IS a God, and there IS truth: it's not relative.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Sara

      What?-If you read the gospels you will see that Jesus was hated as well as loved and told his followers we'll be hated for loving him. So it's not only his followers that people hate. Jesus told us some very hard things-like to enter though the narrow door, that no one comes to the father except through him, that we need to lay down our lives for our friends, that we are defiled by our evil thoughts. Would you be willing to read the gospels and see what Jesus' contemporaries said about him?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Richard Nygaard

      The GEN text never says the serpent is satan. Was it Satan, maybe. If it wasn't Satan was it moved by Satan? Probably. Does REV refer to Satan as "that great serpent". Yes. That DOES NOT mean that every time a serpent is mentioned it = Satan. Every time the word lamb is used does it mean Jesus? No.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  4. Monte Sonnenberg

    Well thank you CNN for moderating my comments. I'm sure I've spent a lifetime of reading, research and reflecting just to make up what I shared with you tonight. Let me know what your midnight, minimum-wage intern comes up with. Bye.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Tom

      Interns don't get paid, they get college credit.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Helpful Henry

      Thank you for providing the list that was put out on this blog originally by @Sum Dude with some additional help from @Reality.

      Peace...

      June 5, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • frank

      Apparently you're not very good at research...

      June 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Helpful Henry

      Well, it looks like the list of no-noes from the auto-filter was deleted.

      CNN, get with it, please, and publish a list of your own if you don't like our presentation.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  5. jabba the hut

    I prefer the Iliad. It's more precise and historically accurate than the Bible. Hail Zues, whom I can prove exist's by using all the same arguments Christians make for their God

    June 5, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • JH1978

      Blasphemer!
      There is no Zeus!

      Hail Odin! Hail Odin! Hail Odin! Hail Odin who rules in Asgard with the magic spear Gungir by his side and his steed Sleipnir.

      Hail Odin! Down with the false Christian God! Hail Odin!

      June 5, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • JJP

      Um...I think you mean 'ZEUS' not Zues. BTW, Homeric scholars will show you that the genius of Homer and his 'ILIAD' does not come from what you call its accuracies. The Iliad is a great poem of force, perhaps the first in Western culture that we know of; as to whether its battles actually occurred, that is very debatable but more importantly, it does not matter. Poetry is about metaphor and allegory, not factual truth. Approached in this way, the King James version of the Bible ought to be valued for its poetic beauty more than anything else.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • ThinkAgain

      I think it's best to take the whole Bible as metaphor. At the very least, it would lessen the amount of hatred and killing that have and continue to occur, simply because of another's interpretation and/or lack in belief in a literal reading of it.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • JDinFLA

      I'm Latino and you must be talkin bout Hey Zeus!
      I believe in Hey Zeus!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  6. Arthur Digby Sellers

    A survey by the Pew Research Center found that atheists tend to know more about religion than religious people - a lot more, in fact.

    I doubt it's any coincidence. My undoing as a Christian first began when I actually opened the Bible and started reading from the beginning. (Ironically, I did this so I could defend my religion from atheists!) There are some bits of wisdom and morality in there... between the contradictions, absurdities, and outright evil messages. A lot more people would give up their religions if they actually read their religious texts.

    But who wants to do that, right? Mindlessly bashing atheists on the internet is so much easier...

    In closing, remember to kill the children of your enemies (just as the Bible says).

    "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities." Isaiah 14:21

    June 5, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • Yubee Crazy

      Facts would be nice. Like which study? When you realize what God really is, you'll need more than an iron lung dude.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • Jim

      Reading the Old Testament without a complete grasp of the new covenant in the New Testament can be challenging to new Christians. I always recommending the NT first, then reading the OT, but just as importantly, new Christians need to be in quality Bible studies where they can ask questions and get real Biblical answers.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Yoube

      http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1745/religious-knowledge-in-america-survey-atheists-agnostics-score-highest

      That one, for only one.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Hello

      I remember that study...I also took the test. I only missed one question. Who knows where Pew got their study group.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • DavidP

      @Hello. If you read the study, http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1745/religious-knowledge-in-america-survey-atheists-agnostics-score-highest you'll see that the study was of a random group of adults. The idea of using random groups means that the study ls less likely to be biased in it's results, which why they didn't get their group from "somewhere." Yes, you may have scored 31 out of 32, but that means that it's likely somebody who claims to be religious probably scored 1 out of the 32, and between the two of you there is an average of 16 (again, that's why they don't do studies that only include 1 or 2 people).

      June 5, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Sarah

      You are not allowed to post links here, but if you go to pewforum.org and search for "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey," it will show you the results.
      As for my personal experience, I was raised as an atheist by an atheist. I was taught to read the bible and familiarize myself with it; It was the best tool to understanding Christian people. I think it is a great book, full of amazing stories and history and advice for living that make societies work more smoothly at the time it was written. I think there are some things that still apply today and some other stuff that really doesn't make sense in a modern era. He also told me never ever to tell anyone that I was an atheist because he said that the ones claiming to be the most pious will beat you down the quickest and hit you the hardest.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • TheWiseOne84

      Didn't you hear? Judgment day was a dud!

      Telling someone "I'll pray for you" is the equivalent of saying "I'll do nothing for you." Fact

      June 5, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Tank1035

      The problem is that most miss the big picture and it's often lost through an educational process. The whole reason for the inspired word, the Bible, was to help us develop our relationship with God. If we did that more than all the extra study time and worrying about defending God, we would really get it. Its like someone studying a transportation and walking everywhere but hopes to defend the priviledge of driving.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • JustJosh

      @Jim – It doesn't matter which one you read first (Old vs. New). Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the old law, but to fulfill it. In other words, everything in the Old Testament is wholly endorsed by the lead role of the New Testament. There IS no explaining it away – the Bible is a falsified, misleading, inaccurate collage of competing fairy tales. FACT.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      There is a huge difference between "knowing a lot" about something and participating with it.

      You may "know a lot" about nutrition yet eat like a fool.

      You may "know a lot" about alcoholism yet nothing about the illness and nausea feelings.

      You may "know a lot" about many things yet not experience what you know.

      Atheists are probably guided by demonic influences and "know a lot" but they don't know God and they don't have
      a relationship with him. Atheists are merely malcontents who hate anyone enjoying a relationship with God himself, Jesus Christ.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Sean

      The only hatred I see here is coming from you, Chuck E. Cheese.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • David

      A person that is religious wont be able to understand. You have to be born again. Read John 3:

      There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
      3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      June 6, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • tom

      Although, if you are an atheist, then you don't believe in evil (or good for that matter) since the terms would be meaningless without any moral authority. Without God, evil is determined by the beholder, there are no definite evils or definite acts of goodness. Amorphic morality, or absence thereof.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Louise

      @ ChuckiE
      You DO KNOW that you are named after a demonic doll right? Thats so ironic! Oh, Oh, I just had a thought – maybe the doll is named after YOU!?! I am assuming, maybe incorrectly that you are a follower of God or Jesus or something similar and yet you are so nasty to people? I thought you relioious folk were supposed to follow Jesus' example and be good to people and considerate and forgiving, that's the problem I have come across with bible thumpers, preaching stuff they don't come close to living up to themselves.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  7. Dave

    The only reason why this dumb article is on the front page is because it has something to do with Religion. Religion = views because bigot Christians, Muslims, and Atheists have to argue and insult each other.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Beyers

      And man have to argue with man, a story as old as time.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Dave

      Did you miss the part that this article -'is'- on the (Religion/Belief Blog)...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 5, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • Dave

      @Peace

      What does that have to do with making the CNN.com front page? I'm pretty sure not all religion blog postings make it there.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • DavidP

      @Dave: I found it on the list of "Most popular stories right now" and that is based on how many people are reading and/or commenting on it. If a lot of people weren't reading it, it wouldn't be a "Most popular" story. Other than being in that column on the CNN front page, I don't see it anywhere else, so it must have become popular by people visiting the Religion blog.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • DavidP

      @Dave: My mistake, it is a lead story, but I picked it up on the Most popular list, where I find a lot of interesting stories.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Dave

      Hi -Dave...

      Maybe I have misunderstood your original posting, however now i am more confused by your second posting to me. The conversation, so far has gone like this:

      @Dave Said: "The only reason why this dumb article is on the front page is because it has something to do with Religion. Religion = views because bigot Christians, Muslims, and Atheists have to argue and insult each other."

      @Peace2All Said: "Did you miss the part that this article -'is'- on the (Religion/Belief Blog)...?"

      @Dave Said: "What does that have to do with making the CNN.com front page? I'm pretty sure not all religion blog postings make it there."

      I am 'sincerely' trying to understand your thoughts here:

      So... "(Only Reason) this article(religious one) is on the (front page) is (because) it(religious article) has something to do with (Religion). (Religion =views)... because Christians, Muslims, and Atheists have to argue and insult each other."

      Then you said..."I'm pretty sure not all religion blog postings make it there (front page)"

      So, help me out here. #1) If the 'only' reason that an article makes the front page is because it is a religious article, because (religion= views), then why would you counteract your original statement with "not all religion articles make the front page"...? There are numerous variety of articles from 'all' the different sections in CNN that make the front page. They seem to continually have a mix. Makes sense to me. What am I missing here, in regards to that...?

      #2)When you say "Religion=views is (because) Christians, Muslims and Atheists have to argue and insult each other"....... I would suggest that certainly may be one of the reasons that 'views' are abundant here, but remember, this (is) a Religion/Belief Blog Discussion Board. Not all Christians, Muslims, and Atheists are 'insulting each other.' This is a place for discussion. Which leads me into point #3.

      #3)If you look at 'all' of the other countless articles in the other areas of CNN, you will often find thousands of 'comments' and 'discussion' and sometimes people insulting each other (in totally different sections and articles other than the Religion/Belief Blog), which obviously = Views !

      See... 'We' are having a perfectly 'civil' discussion about our respective postings without 'arguing' or 'insulting' each other, yes...?

      And, if 'ALL' the other articles on CNN in other areas lead to 'view' because people are discussing and debating the merits of the article, what's wrong with that...?

      I would go back to your original posting with the first sentence where you said: "The only reason this (dumb article), etc..."

      It may be 'dumb' to you... but... that is just 'your' opinion, which of course you and everyone else is enti-tled to here on this discussion board,...which is one of the reasons and purposes of said 'discussion boards'... yes...?

      Anyway, sorry for the long posting, and 'if' I somehow misunderstood you.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      June 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      Beware of anyone who spews hateful messages. They are demonically inspired. satan & his demons hate God and hate anyone who obeys God and anyone who worships God.

      Read God's word itself...

      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      Even God warns you in his Holy Bible that you will be persecuted. When someone calls you a "bigot," you are being persecuted. That is one thing that God guarantees because satan and his demons hate you if you worship God.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      The link will take you to a free website where you can view God's word in any translation for free.

      BibleGateway (dot) com

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Dave (comment starter)

      @peace The second post is not from me. The only post I have done was the one starting this comment.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • UncleM

      @ Chuck E writes "beware of anyone who spews hateful messages." He then accuses (atheists I assume) of being demonically inspired.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  8. Cantard

    This article reminds me why I'm troubled about people listening to the 'spirit' of the Word instead of reading the 'literal' Word. If you place your faith in the greatness and the glory of Gods Word you can make that Word mean what ever best pleases you without regard to what the Bible actually says. This is the main reason I despise Apologetics for spinning what the Bible actually says into something more family friendly. Case in point: read Job chapters one and two. Now tell me who told Satan to do what he did to Job. Then read the rest of Job and tell me if Job is really about triumphing through faith in God in difficult times. An apologetic will never admit that God is the bad guy in this story.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • cslewislover

      What happened to Job – if it's a literal story and not an illustrative story – proved that people had faith in God and loved Him WITHOUT God buying them off. If you read what you said to read, you'd see the point. If God made all of his followers prosper, then people would believe in God in the same way that they believe in money (this issue is revisited in Jesus' time, when people loved the food he gave and they wanted him to be a worldly king). God is not a believer's genie or bank account – He is very much more. The story also illustrates something very important otherwise – bad things happen in this world apart from people sinning. That is, Job's friends kept believing that Job brought the disasters on himself because of hidden sin, but this was not the case. We can't point fingers like that, and God doesn't operate like that. What's unfortunate is that God had to do what he did to prove His point, all the way to the present generation of people. Your comment about family friendly apologetics is just very strange! None of the pastors I've known went out of their way to make "family friendly" sermons, and apologists sure don't. There are very graphic and intense actions and issues in the bible, and they are not ignored.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Jon

      Regarding the "Job" Story, cantard comments "An apologetic will never admit that God is the bad guy in this story." Your conclusion is un-founded. Yes, God allowed Satan to strike Job. Yes, God allowed loss and tragedy and illness and all these horrible things to befall Job. But your summation ends there. According to scripture, the temporary sufferings that we endure in this life – brief as it is – is miniscule compared to the eternal joy of Heaven that awaits. So if the story ends with Job enjoying the fruits of his faith... in Heaven... I should think he may draw a different conclusion. God is not a BAD guy for at least TWO reasons: 1) out of Job's temporary sufferings, millions if not billions of people's live have been touched by this story, PLUS I doubt that Job would change anything if he could, and 2) It's God's story, so He kinda gets to decide what is GOOD and BAD. He is the protagonist of the story which He is writing. You don't have to like it.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Chuck E.

      In the Holy Bible book of Job, God did indeed allow satan to torment the man Job and to murder his family.

      But it was satan that demanded that God allow him to do that.

      When it was all over and Job had survived satan's torture (physical and emotional), God restored Job's family and his health and his wealth.

      It was a demonstration by God that his believers would reject satan even upon pain and pressure and satan lost the bet.

      Always, by the way, use small letters to preceed satan and his demons. Never give them praise by using a captial "S" in satan's name. Always dishonor satan and demons by using the lower case letters.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • SatanMcDevil

      Haha, Satan.. SATAN.. Devil... DEVIL.. SaTaN.. R? Republican, REPUBLICAN.. chuck? CHUUUUCK.. E.. e? chuck e. All of those periods are capital periods, by the way.

      June 6, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • John

      Chuck E. your a weirdo and so are the rest of christians on this blog. Cantard claims the apologists make apologies for god and you all claim they don't by making apologies for god. Totally classic christian BS.

      June 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  9. TRUTH

    Christians regurgitate phantom biblical quotes they hear other Christians say. And this is news to who? Walk into any religious place of worship and talk to several different people and tell me if you don't come out feeling like you just left a building of clones. People who claim to be religious rarely think for themselves...

    June 5, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Jon

      Oh, so Christians "regurgitate," do they? And what do you call what YOU do? When you parrot every word you've ever learned? Or did you grow up in a vacuum perhaps? You're deluded if you think yourself original. A hundred years from now, you'll be gone most likely. Your words at an end. But God's Word will remain. His Word bears repeating.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Chris

      Wow, that was..........eloquent. And I mean that with utmost sincerity. Not saying I'm particularly religious, but damn it all if that isn't a fantastic point.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:39 am |
    • Chris

      I'm referring to Jon, of course. Not the super original idea that "we're all sheep, but YOU....YOU sir, are a unique snowflake, with your amazing non-conformist views."

      June 5, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • Mike

      @Jon
      So will the words of Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Douglas Adams, etc.
      Massively read books are funny that way.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • Chris Mankey

      "But God's Word will remain. His Word bears repeating."

      Nobodies ever provided any evidence that the bible, koran or the book of mormon are the words of anything other than human beings.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Sean

      Ba-a-a-a-a-a-ah!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • rick taylor

      The bible is NOT 'God's' word. It is the word of hundreds of copiers and redactors ..... from material copied from Babylonian, Egyptian and Sumerian writings.
      Lets get a grip here and look more deeply.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      You know you are being attacked by demons whenever someone verbally insults you for worshiping God and Jesus Christ.

      They call you "bigot" and "fool" and "clone" but the Bible teaches us that we need to expect that. Its called "persecution."

      Don't believe the lies of satan. Always follow and worship Jesus Christ. God is safe. God is honest. God is just.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • SpiderBaby

      Oh Cool! Someone commented on what the article was actually about.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • It is what it is!

      Thanks, Jon. The only original thought was God's...and he may have days when he regrets making us :) Only us, as humans, must serve as his greatest sadness.
      My hope for humanity is that we establish a personal relationship with Him and fulfill our purpose in being a blessing to each other while we're here...Christian or not.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Cori

      Failure to think for one's self is hardly limited to "christian' cirlces. It is a universal, equal opportunity, human misery...like the majority of those who criticize Christianity based on the last ten movies they saw with a Christian character in it instead of ever reading anything the Bible at all...thus following the heard through ignorant peer pressure as opposed to reading the text in question and learning what they are talking about.
      What is more disturbing is the freedom with with people in our culture can simultaneously see themselves as unpredjudiced while slamming a chosen demographic with blind sterotypes. Would you also say those "stupid" Muslim, Jews, or pin on names ot a certain race? No, because that would be PC wicked...so why do you get a freebie on Christians. Cultural double standards like this have a way of getting out of control and there never was a genocide that didn't start as simple "permissable" stereotypes of a given sector of society.

      July 18, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  10. Alex in NJ

    Most media outlets won't promote stories that don't push a left wing agenda, so... Oh well, guess it works out.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:18 am |
  11. Beyers

    None of the apostles were scholars, nor any of the prophets. The bible is the living word of God, a guideline of sort, food for the soul.The holy spirit is the only truth neither written nor verbalized, and live within and guide the faithful. Jesus not just through the bible or his apostles and profits pointed that the time will come, when those who claim to be wise and educated will bring the word to discredit and disrepute, and will argue among themselves and others as to what is true, what is not. What was correctly translated and what was not, and thus Lucifer succeeds, for he is the father of lies, the great illusionist the deceiver of men, and he is within those who speak halve truths and lies and are foul and prefer controversy and discontent to enhance their own worthiness of wisdom and knowledge. Such are fools listening to fools.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • dueqwell

      Very well put

      June 5, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • HOD

      And in English?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • rick taylor

      B.
      You need to look a little more deeply. No, a lot more deeply. Your historical ignorance knows no bounds.
      Read the Enuma Elish, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and then get back to us.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Glenn

      Actually, Beyers, that's not completely true. Paul was extremely well educated, being a high-level Pharisee.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Beyers

      The Pharisees (lat. pharisæ|us, -i; from heb. פרושים perushim/פרוש parush, meaning "set apart")[1] were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period under the Hasmonean dynasty (140–37 BCE) in the wake of the Maccabean Revolt.

      June 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  12. Aezel

    This is a pointless article. It's about as important a question as a bunch of nerds arguing over Star Trek. Both are total fantasy, who cares.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • IAMDAN

      Nice!

      June 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chuck E.

      Jesus Christ is the one God that will love you and care for you.

      When you are insulted and called "fool" or "bigot" ... you are merely being persecuted by demons just as the Bible tells you that it will happen.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/

      June 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • notashamed

      @Aezeal - then why are you here commenting if "no one" cares?

      August 14, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  13. shawn simmons

    the author is wrong
    Ezekiel 28:12 through about 15 covers who the serpent was in the garden.
    some of the sayings are paraphrases such as "he who spares the rod hates his child" into spare the rod spoil the child most big U religious professors are atheist and agnostics

    June 5, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • Jesus witness

      very good shawn . The exikiel verses well done sir. People dont know or read their bibles.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Rick

      Shaun,

      Here is the King James version of what your saying. Can you please explain further your interpretation?

      12Son of man, take up a alamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in bbeauty.

      13Thou hast been in aEden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

      14Thou art the anointed acherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

      15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • objecttothis

      Rick, I don't recommend using the KJV here. Not because it isn't a very good translation but because no one speaks King James English so it makes things more difficult to understand. Nonetheless 14 explains that he isn't talking about Adam or Eve because neither of them are or were a Cherub (class of Angel). Verse 16 reiterates it.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Christian

      I read Ezechiel 28:12-15 Shawn, and i don't see any hint of the serpent being portrayed as Satan. Can you be more cleared about what you mean?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  14. cslewislover

    Just because Ditka didn't quote verbatim a particular verse doesn't mean he was mistaken. Read Ecclesiastes. There are a number of verses, besides, about man passing like a flower or blade of grass; the earth, too, shall be destroyed and remade. If he was referring to an overall concept in the Bible, he wasn't wrong, he simply didn't quote a verse. The article does point out common sayings that are not in the bible, yet a number are paraphrases or summations. There's nothing wrong with that. It's better, in my view, to understand the concepts presented in the Bible and to be able to convey them, than to memorize a bunch of verses. Legalists do that, and they get a lot of the concepts wrong. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

    June 5, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • Richard Nygaard

      I agree, however you cant find a lie in the bible.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  15. Jaybird

    The bible is full of wisdom and ignorant lies. This means jews and christians are mistaken if they hold the full bible to be sacred. Denounce the lies in the bible and you have my respect, otherwise I detest your evil ways. Yes, EVIL ways, for ignorance and evil go hand in hand. Temples and churches who use lies to represent the spirit of creation are on the wrong side of right minded spirit. I love MY Lord, the Lord of Light and Truth.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • BlindSquirrel

      Great argument. Kinda gives you a blank check to pick and choose which passages can be interpreted to suit your own beliefs while denouncing the rest. I guess we all make God in our own image. If you don't start with the fundamental premise that all scripture is inspired of God, then of what use is any of it?

      June 5, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Jaybird

      As Judge Judy once said, "Once you've lied in your testimony, I must dismiss it in it's entirety". I tend to agree. This makes the bible somewhat misleading which means it is possibly a book inspired from both truth and goodwill as well as ignorance and mean-spirited evil. Sounds just like a reflection of human thinking thousands of years ago. It is unwise to be blind to the truth.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Jon

      So by that rationale, jaybird, let's assume that you have told at least ONE white lie in your life, stretched the truth a little, whatever, per Judge Judy the Divine, we can DISREGARD your entire testimony. Why even bother posting?

      June 5, 2011 at 4:00 am |
  16. wally zebco

    I don't care about facts. Religion is a belief much like The GOP, facts mean nothing to what's true to my heart.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • objecttothis

      Wow Wally, so you're saying if I tell you that when you fall off a tall building you will hit the ground and die that you won't believe me if you feel like that isn't true?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • talldarkandcynical

      @objecttothis: I think what we have here is a demonstration of Poe's Law.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  17. Bob

    Its all made up anyways. Who cares.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • rick taylor

      Bob,
      Anyone who uses the word 'anyways' like you do should NOT post.
      Get a grip.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  18. FairGarden

    China only has 0.1 billion Christians today because atheists killed off so many Christians in China for decades.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • oldostritch

      Those bloodthirsty atheists! They are a scourge on the earth with their daily slaughter of believers of all kinds! Every time I go on the street they are there flaunting their godless ways and they even come to my house periodically and challenge my beliefs!

      June 5, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Sean

      ...and the prisons are filled with atheists because they have no morals to guide them because they don't have anyone to tell them what to believe. Oh, wait. Never mind.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • rick taylor

      What an ignorant, mis-informed comment.
      Typical American education; or was this just your thoughtless swipe at intelligent comment?
      Get a grip.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  19. Reasonable

    Where are all the Christians? I'm not seeing them argue this article in any way. I'm only seeing them take stabs at what others are posting and referring to them as idiots and "enlightened". Why oh why, I wonder...

    June 5, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • preachonit

      Well isn't it obvious? The majority of "Christians" wouldn't know how to argue for or against their theology. I'm a Christian and about to enter seminary, and I can tell you that I haven't seen anything in this article that worries me. What impresses me about this article is that so many arguing it are perhaps for the first time engaging in (impromptu) Biblical scholarship for once. Yeah, they might be wrong, but practice makes perfect, unless you're unwilling to learn from your mistakes.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • Dreamer

      Because this is kids' stuff – an article meant to tantalize, but substantively juvenile. There are plenty of other things Christians dont' know about very well that is much more interesting to discuss. The one thing I did like was Hazen's comment about people in bible study asking: "‘What does this text mean to you?’’.

      I can't stand that. It's actually irrelevant what a particular text means "to you". What is relevant is the process of figuring out what the text means (and that can take a lifetime). If a text doesn't have consistent meaning that is at least arguable, then it's worthless as a religious text. I don't have to like what a text means, but if, without any overarching context or consistent hermeneutic people just interpret the text however the hell they want, then it becomes absolutely worthless as a article for faith. The whole point is that the words of God are supposed to transform you, not the other way around.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Kidwithabible

      Because many great christian scholars aren't wandering the internet to look at articles that tell them what they already know. :D

      August 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  20. Gerald

    So what if it's not in the Bible, if anything that is printed in the Bible was made up by who knows who. People should read other religious books so that they can realize how foolish they ALL are. It is just a compilation of stuff written by who knows who and re-arranged by other unknown people in charged of the printing press...it is as bizarre as it could be. As bizarre as the Guy who came up with the book of Mormon story.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:55 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.