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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. Dee

    Some other misquotes in the Bible:
    (1) The Saturday Sabbath is the Jewish Sabbath and the Sunday Sabbath is the Christian Sabbath. The truth is, the Saturday Sabbath is the Sabbath for all men, says Jesus. God started this Fourth Commandment with the word, "Remember" cause guess what??? people forgot through the years. The Sunday Sabbath is pagan created by satan himself. Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity and told the followers they had to worship on Sunday when the followers of the sun god worshipped. To distance themselves from persecution that the Jews went through, the Catholic Church (another vessel of satan) told its followers to worship on Sundays. Read the last chapter of Revelation where it says those who keep the Commandments (all 10 of them) will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and those that do not will be on the outside. If you are one of God's children, you must keep the Sabbath on Saturday - no work for yourselves and don't make others work for you too. You can still worship on Sunday - Romans say that's okay - but you MUST keep the Sabbath on Saturday holy. From sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday you MUST keep it holy. A day starts and ends at sundown. Read Genesis 1:5 starting there to understand when a day starts and ends.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Read the Whole Book

      Read from " Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grain field; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of grain, and to eat." to verse 8 and you will better understand what the Sabbath was meant for and why it can be any day of the week.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  2. Stormy One

    What about when Noah "begat all of his relatives? Does this the bible make it the word of God so it's okay for kids to be molested?

    June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  3. Come to Jesus

    Bible Prophecy

    "Evil Men (and Women) Will Wax Worse and Worse"

    Deceiving . . . (Lying)

    and BEING Deceived"

    Jesus (Yeshua) called Satan the "father of all lies." The Bible warns "in the last days" evil men (and women) will be prevalent. Lying and deception (which are now called "spin") will characterize the generation (and the leaders) who will pull the world down into the dark abyss and terrors of the coming "Apocalypse" . . .

    "But KNOW this,

    that in the last days

    perilous times will come . . .

    Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse,

    deceiving (lying) and being deceived."

    (2 Timothy 3:1, 13)

    The Scriptures tell us God cannot lie and He hates all lies. God says truth is non-negotiable and is fundamental to His law. In the past, liars and perjurers were held accountable and dealt with harshly and severely. Today we see lying casually accepted in the news, in the movies, and on television. Lying is now being presented as funny and harmless. This generation is unique in its reaction to liars and perjurers. This nation even lifted up and still glorifies a recent President whose most notable characteristics were flagrantly staring into a TV camera lying and deceiving ... and then later being convicted of criminal perjury. This generation mocks our rules of law. This generation mocks God's Law. As noted, telling the truth is fundamental to God’s law. In the Bible we find when a nation and its leader(s) defiantly mock, ignore, and turn their backs on God’s law, God will turn His back on that nation and will remove His protection and blessings from that people. God help us. The future of that nation and people is always very, very grim ...

    June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  4. ww

    This article is as misquoted in the comments as the bible is, mostly by people who would rather TALK than listen, which is a major problem. People love being outraged by the secular media ignoring the church, then love being outraged when christianity gets some attention. 'Pantom Scriptures' are interesting

    June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  5. james poynor

    the old testament, the new testament and the koran all stem historically from the same tribe of abraham and thus are from the same writings and merged and modified over time. the "GOD" remains the same

    June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  6. Bob

    Actually, both John Blake and zeus-z have a point. Nowhere does the Biblical story of Genesis, itself, mention that the tempter, the snake, is Satan. However, it was commonly accepted that that's who he was, even before Christ came. In any case, Revelation 20:2 states quite plainly ("He" referring to an angel sent from heaven), "He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." "...That serpent of old..." clearly cannot possibly refer to anything or anyone else than the serpent in the Garden of Eden story. So yes, the Bible does actually teach that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was, in fact, Satan. So let this clear up a little more Biblical ignorance (this time from the author of the article). Incidentally, overall I thought the article (outside of this glaring deficiency) was actually quite good. The only other objection I had was the implication that somehow it's wrong or leads to greater misunderstandings for people without theological/Bible degrees to sit around and read the Bible and ask the question, "What does this passage say to you?" How else will people began to clear up their ignorance of the Bible, unless they actually start to read it? And the reality is that many Biblical passages have things in them that can be reasonably well understood and applied to people's life situations (not withstanding a few misunderstandings and often minor misapplications along the way) regardless of whether or not they have theological training. Additionally, there are many very good study Bibles with notes written by very capable scholars which can help correct most misunderstandings and also give wonderful background and context to the reader. Also, for people who actually believe the Bible as God's word, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is able to instruct believers about their faith and thus assist them in understanding the things God wants them to.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • shofar

      You conclusion is Exactly what is wrong with the Protestant movement and the fundamental conclusion of this article. If everybody can learn from the Bible because the Holy spirit will guide them, then Theology is overrated. churches are overrated. Pastors are useless and in overall the whole Christian movement is doom , because I can make it without any help, but divine help. It is absurd, and that's the reason why we have so many movements in America that try to teach their way. This is the reason why the English church was created, Why the King James Bible was printed and why every "inspired" person creates a church as they please in America. At the end, with so many "inspired by the Holy spirit" churches roaming around our country, Can you tell me who is right? Jehovah Witnesses? Mormons? Quakers? Amish? Methodists? Lutherans? Baptists? The new church? The church in the rock? The universal church? etc, etc, etc. Everybody from the same Bible and yet with different convictions. Very funny the "Holy spirit" isn't it. The answer is theology. Experts unified to teach and explain the religion. Good Luck.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • someguy

      @shofar: I will agree with you. Theology is probably over-rated. And, I'm a Christian saying that. I've seen far too many examples of theologians mess-up the truth as it's told in the Bible (the Bible, I believe, being God's own Word, and the ultimate source of all truth on this world). The truth is (as taught in Acts when the apostles received the Holy Spirit, and were instructed to go out and spread the news of the gospel) we all who are followers of Christ are supposed to tell people of this gift mankind has been given (salvation through Christ). We are not to leave that work to one person in the church. And, as with the apostles, the Holy Spirit does teach and guide us in our faith. There are a number of passages that talk about that, including John 14:26, Ephesians 1:17-18 and John 16:12-15.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • someguy

      @Everyone: Let me make one more point, here, to everyone. How many times during your life up to this point have you been misled by people, or weren't sure whom to believe because you see lies occur all the time? What is truth? Who decides what truth is? There is only one source of truth, and that's God. The same God who created the universe and this world we enjoy, and all of the miraculous things on it (what else would have created energy and matter in the universe?).

      So, instead of putting your faith in other faulty people (we are all errant and imperfect), I would encourage you to put your trust in God alone.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  7. freedom

    Sorry for the miss types in my comment. Im on a phone and it has a mind of its on:)

    June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  8. Rbudlm

    It is hard to read further when in the very beginning the writer uses the wrong word, the word is GLEAN not gleem

    June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Susan

      Lol that's all it takes to throw you? You would be easily manipulated.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • The Choobs

      Agreed – that ain't even a word! :-)

      June 5, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  9. someguy

    I'm not about to read through 1788 responses to see if this was mentioned already, but the author of this story should have done more research, themselves, before citing the scholars he quoted who are incorrect about the Bible not mentioning that the serpent was Satan. Revelation 12:9 makes it clear that it was: "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world;"

    June 5, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Karen Flanders

      Amen.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • MadDawg

      I think he was talking about in reference to Genesis and the Garden of Eden where people assume the snake there was Satan but never mentioned by that name.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • The Choobs

      The article clearly explains that the story of Genesis predates almost all of the rest of the Bible, and Revelations was written many many years later. Also, nowhere in your quote does it confirm they are talking about the serpent from Eden, just "that serpent of old." You are making a leap that is not present in your quote.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Susan

      Revelation was written thousands of years after Genesis was originally orally passed down. You are a perfect example of what this article says, real ignorance about the Bible. I was educated at a leading Catholic university, and we were well versed on the origins and meanings of the Bible, without all the crazy rhetoric thrown around by fundamentalists. It's sad, really. Please take the time to educate yourself, the Bible is very inspirational and full of truth – just not the black and white truth that you all try to throw at people to hurt them. That is the actual evil. It's God's test for you, and if you are trying to throw pieces of scripture at other people to hurt and divide, you are failing.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • zsuzsika

      Thank you! Exactly the scripture I thought of!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • someguy

      @MadDawg: That's where I'm saying it does say in Revelation that the serpent was Satan, even though it's not mentioned in Genesis.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • lizmc

      Actually someguy, that would be an example of the author(s) of Revelation looking back to ancient scripture and putting their own spin on it. In much the same way that readers of Revelation do today. Believe as you like, but "Satan" or "the Devil" were not concepts the ancient Israelites believed in.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • The Choobs

      You say, "I think he was talking about in reference..." - so first, you admit you are interpreting this yourself, it's not obvious. You have to think about what the reference is about, And second, by using "he" instead of capitalizing "He" or using "God," you indicate it was written by a person...a fallible, interpreting person putting his own spin on things.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • someguy

      @The Choobs: As you know, animals do not have the ability to speak, nor the ability to carry on a human-level dialog like a man or a woman does. So, who do you think the serpent in the garden was, if not Satan? There are clear examples in the Bible of animals being possessed - both by the spirits of demons, as well as by God. Again, Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 make it clear that the serpent was Satan. The Bible doesn't reference "a" serpent in Revelation. It says "the" serpent of old. "Of old" meaning from long ago from the point Revelation was written.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  10. John Richardson

    The garden of eden story is actually a myth about the end of the ancient hunter-gatherer societies and the birth of agriculture. That's all.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Susan

      That's all? That's pretty significant.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Kirk

      Wow, you publicly ADMIT that sections of the bible are not inspired holy writ, but mere human MYTH??? So YHVH cannot safeguard the holy scriptures to exclude human additions? Wow.

      Next question: How do you rationally tell which part is devinely inspired message from God to man, and which part is fairy tale?

      You just opened a real can of worms there. Either it's all scripture, or none is, or it's mixed- and it's source cannopt gurantee it's reliability, making it undependable. You sure you weant to go there?

      Too late, you just did.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Hi JR
      Speaking of mythology....Have you ever read any Martin Buber ? He was a popular, (I heard), Jewish philosopher from the 1940-70's. He wrote a book called "Good and Evil". He effectively "debunks" the Genesis attempt to explain the origin of "evil", as the simplistic, childish literal "talking snake thing", and suggests that the more authentic original concept was more about one of "chaos", and the "encompassing of opposites" than "bad" or "evil;". It is the best explanation I have ever read of that mythology, and in a sense is continued by Paul Tillich in his "The Courage to Be". Their concept of evil is (oddly ?), very similar.
      Would love to hear more about what you think it says about that transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian. I always forget about that. Seems like the nomadic period, for some, extended for a very very long time, (even into today...so the transition is not complete), into what was an attempt by the nomads, (hunter-gatherers) to transition to and settle on land that was ALREADY "settled", and over which they are still actively fighting today !

      June 5, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • shofar

      Kyrk you have two problems with this. One is this fact that your aversion of religion challenge the protestant movement , but in the process you criticized the whole spectrum, not knowing that that in Christianity, (everybody protestant and Catholics) not everybody is taught as the protestants said. Catholics would never try to convince you that the book of Genesis is a historical fact. Catholics would teach you that the book of Genesis was written after the recollection of an oral tradition that was in place for thousands of years. That the value of Genesis is in not in this story of in the wisdom that this brings. Unfortunately you've been fighting against of an enemy that has incomplete knowledge of God. That only uses the Bible as the only text, although they know there are hundreds of text written with insightful information about Jesus and Christianity. My point here is if you deiced to fight the idea of God, please at least pick the real contender and not he little brother. There is more in the old doctrine (Catholic) than the protestant can give you. Pay attention that I say doctrine than Church. Not everybody is happy how it has been administrated lately, but the philosophers and teachings is another thing. Another thing, Is pointless that you base your fight only in the Bible and in the traditional method (the protestant way) to study the theology. If you win, then you deserve to be atheist, but I warn you, the difference of Protestant vs. Catholics is 2000 years of theology vs, the arrogance that NAYONE can read the Bible and understand that.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Susan – You are right. It is VERY signficant, but not THE great cosmic morality tale halfwitted religionists have turned it into. (I tried to write a bit about how interesting the details are under this understanding, but many attempts to evade the filter have failed and I'm just giving up in disgust for now.)

      June 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • someguy

      @shofar: If the "Catholic" faith is, as you say, leagues ahead of everyone else in its biblical knowledge/understanding (an extremely arrogant claim), how do you reconcile all of the Catholic doctrine and traditions that are completely unbiblcal and completely contradict what God teaches in His Word? I'm thinking of examples like praying to dead saints or to Mary (mother of Jesus); the belief that Mary was sinless, like Jesus; forgiveness of sins by priests, etc.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Kirk Your dichotomy is unnecessary. There's no reason to adopt an "all of it or none of it" at-ti-tude towards what parts of the bible are divinely inspired. "None of it" will suffice! :-D

      June 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @BuckyBall I am only lightly familiar with Buber and don't know his genesis work. Would love to look into it. Having looked around at a lot of creation myths, however, I had noticed myself that most such myths really aren't about CREATION, but about the differentiation of a bunch of primordial goo into land, water, sky, etc, etc. So my ears perked up when I heard a "modern orthodox" Jew I knew in grad school say that the word translated as 'void' in King James (and probably lots of English translations) actually means something more like 'chaos'.

      One detail I like about the genesis story when read as about the neolithic agrarian revolution is that it was triggered by the actions of a woman towards a plant. Early plant agriculture was surely a female inventions, as they learned to plant the seeds they gathered. The later rejection of Cain's vegetable sacrifice and acceptance of Abel's animal sacrifice probably reflected the passage from purely plant agriculture to a mix of plant agriculture and animal domestication. The story deserves a reread.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • shofar

      @someguy. I'm impress you ask that question, but the answer is very simple. The Catholic faith was created about 1800 years ago. Thousands of theologians, priest and many philosophers have contributed to what Catholic all the cathesism. In contrast Protests are a phenomenon created about 400 years ago and introduced to America about 250. In terms of leagues, Catholicism have been questioned, thought, meditated for at least 1400 more than the Protestant movement. All your claims are answered the the Theology. All what you call unchristian is explained. You know, the thing with Protestant is they nurture their believe and base their ways from the point of view that catholics are wrong. Therefore, everything coming from them is wrong and has to be questioned. However to win a battle of theology with more than 15000 years of development, you have to use the Bible as your only text and stick to it as literal as possible to have and edge, even if this makes you say that earth was created 5000 years ago and humans an dinosaurs lived together. You see, because your obsession to prove catholics wrong, you calling this stupidity leaving the door open for Atheist to say how stupid the idea of God is. Furthermore and what is more sadly, almost everybody in the Protestant faith doesn't know anything about the Catholic faith, but whatever is has been told to them. You know know why are you protesting, but you still protesting. Sir, my advise is Study the theology behind the Catholic faith and then open your mouth.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • someguy

      @shofar: So, we do go back to theology. Theology is over-rated. There is one source of truth, and that is the Bible (God's own Word). The problem with putting your faith in people (the 1800 or so years of "Catholic" theology you mentioned) is that people are errant and also tend to twist things to suit themselves (it's our sinful way). So, to put your faith in people, rather than in God and God's Word, is to eventually lose touch with reality and truth. There can't be more than one source of ultimate truth. Somewhere along the line, they will conflict with each other.

      It doesn't take 1800 years to read and study the Bible, by the way.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • shofar

      @someguy. That is the reason why is another league. Besides You are the arrogant and not me. To be offended because I'm calling that catholic theology is more developed is another way of arrogance. One is 2000 years old and the other one 400. Actually you are the arrogant to try to put the two together at the same level. They are not.
      Sir. Protestantism is just that. to protest the Catholic CHurch. Sir. Luther Wrote his own bible. Tell me if that is not arrogant. He interpret the scripture and made one for himself. However, this one was more Catholic inspired than what was done in England.
      Sir. You must know that The English church was created because Henry VIII couldn't get a divorce from the Pope, therefore he severed the ties from the vatican and adopted the Lutheran way, and even worst He created his own religion. Religion from which all the christian movement in America branched off. How poor beginning. To be part of a movement that was created because the arrogance of a king who wanted to have his mistress legalize as Queen. his is the real Christian movement sir. same as Luther who splinted off the Catholic faith because he was denied the chance to be a Pope.
      Sir none of these reason has anything to do with Jesus. And sadly is the foundation of your church.
      Sir. The King james Bible is another example. Your Bible is different from the original Bible. It was compiled by the King's staff and modified to fit his agenda. this is not a lie, but a fact. The Catholic Bible and the Kings james are different. The Catholic is more ex-tense and have more books in it. Another example of arrogance. Your religion is incomplete and that is the reason why the modern Christian movement MUST STICK to the BIBLE literally or its core or foundation will be in danger.
      Catholic faith already went thou this phase during the medieval times, where is was thought the church had the ultimate word. Your movement is you young to understand this and the arrogance is to question the catholic way, for which thousands of people had poured wisdom to develop. YEs sir is Way out league.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Faux Paws

      @Kirk
      Duh. You got it O Brilliant one. NONE IS.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • shofar

      @someguy. What are you talking about? You also put your faith on people too!!!!! Are you telling me Luther was God inspired? He wrote his Bible almost similar to the catholic one, leaving the parts that he didn't;t want to have out!!! read the original Luther Bible and the Catholic Bible and you'll see So what happen with intention to become Pope??????? What about Henry VIII??????? Your church was created because he wanted a divorce!!!!!!!!!! he wasn;t suppose to be King, he was crowned because his oldest brother die before time. he was intended to be a clergy. he was Catholic and die catholic by hard!!! It is a well know fact. The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with this, sir. It is just arrogance, selfish personal interest. and that is the origins or the Christian faith in America.
      Sir , there is nothing Holy inspired on the kings james Bible. It drifts from the Catholic bible and it has less controversial books out. It is just an interpretation from the original to fit personal interests and make a new religion wholesome. Nevertheless you put your faith on the people who compiled it.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • someguy

      @shofar: I do not put my faith in any person. And, you're assuming that I consider myself a Protesant. I will tell you that when people ask me what "religion" I am - I say "Christian". Most would say the name of their denomination, as though that's what matters most. You're the making this about Catholics vs. Prostestants as though you have a chip on your shoulder against those counted among the Protestant-derived denominations. Ultimately, what I care about is following the Bible and God's Word. If a denomination doesn't do that (and there are many of them that do it in other ways in addition to the Catholic denomination), then I don't subject myself to their false teachings. Ultimately, the thing that matters is that a church teaches that Jesus is the Christ, and that faith in Him alone brings salvation. I would say that 99.9% of genuine Christian denominations do that. So, some of the other trivial things you and I have been talking about are sort of less relevant. I wanted to point out, though, that your Catholic church is nowhere near infallible. To say otherwise - especially when comparing its beliefs against what the Bible says - would be a downright lie.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • someguy

      @shofar: Where did the talk about the KJV Bible begin? I don't even use that translation - although have nothing against it. The Message would be another story (I do have something against commentaries like it).

      June 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • shofar

      @someguy: Sir. the article IS ABOUT Protestant vs Catholic. It is not about me or me having a chip in my shoulder. Perhaps you haven't read it in detail, but the last piece makes the whole story understandable.

      here is the article

      “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.”

      As you can see, this is the article's conclusion, therefore the discussion gravitates around PvC.
      And About KJB, where which Bible is the Christian American Bible, here is what the author is talking about.

      It is not me who brought it to the table. Here another part of the ARTICLE:

      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.’ ’’

      Another thing, I never said The catholic is infallible, what I said it has 2000 years of thinking, philosophy and development behind. It is not a new faith and it never relays on a single text, but the work of many other holy people that was around during Jesus time and many after that. It is a compendium of knowledge and the most important part , it is willing to adapt to modern times. That's why Catholics have no issue with evolution or things of that matter.
      Finally Sir, against of what you believe you are , or not , if you are not Catholic, but believe in Jesus Christ , then you are a protestant. Very simple. That's what 2000 years of being around as religion gives you. The right to say it like this.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • someguy

      @shofar: By stating that the Catholic church "adapts to modern times", you are admitting it to be the false-teaching religion that it is - if what you say is true. Truth does not change just because a culture does. THAT is exactly the thing the Bible warns us against:

      2 Timothy 4:3 - "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

      June 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  11. Nick

    The fact remains, if Harry Potter were written 2011 years ago, the conservative right would be howling into every news microphone that they could find, that dinosaur bones are actually dragons.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Grumm

      @Nick- How do you call a hypothetical suggestion about publishing a book thousands of years before it was really published "fact"?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • JB

      You shall not mock our Lord & Saviour, the boy with glasses, Harry Potter. Accepting him is the only way to heaven!!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Susan

      Dinosaur bones might be dragons, how do you know?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Harry Potter

      I shall mot be bocked !

      There WERE dragons. There is one down our science museum. It's also called a Pterosaur.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  12. Hope

    Spare the rod spoil the child – not worded that way but there are many scriptures that mean the same thing:
    Proverbs 23:13

    Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Josh

      I hate to break it to you, that none of the Old or New Testaments were written in English. None. Nor did Jesus speak in English. What you quote is a gross mistranslation, into the old English word "rod", which does not mean at all, what we think of as a "rod" today.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • J F Martinez

      Even if the "rod" is misquoted, it is absolutely misinterpreted. The rod is the staff of God that is meant to symbolize guidance and following the right path. It is NOT a tool for beating a child. If you really are Christian, stop believing in such an abusive deity.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  13. freedom

    I am just wondering? Why is Fox news putting these articles about the bible and ppl going to court over prWhat and trying to take prayer away. What is the mainstream up to now? I want all you ppl to know that there are true Christians left and we do live by the bible and GODS 1O LAWS. Most of these so called christains are not living a life of christains and its makes us true christains look crazy (may21) and bad. Read the bible yourself and dnt let ANY man tell you what's in there. That when deception starts. God bless you all and it's never to late to turn to GOD before your time is up. That time is near for us all because life is a blink of a eye compared to eternal life.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Susan

      We don't have any idea what eternal life involves. One of the biggest lessons in the Bible is not to judge others. You have just judged, and I'm willing to bet you do it all the time. Think on that.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  14. Michael

    Ummm yeah. First off, let's not make this a case for universal health care or a massive welfare state because the bible says to be generous. The point is to give of yourself willingly, not through cohesion or force. That path only builds resentment and does nothing to improve the human condition as is evident by our current economic and social state. Also it does give thanks in the bible for giving it to the lesser men and NOT those of stature and education. We DO NOT need experts in every part of our lives telling us how we should feel based on their interpretation, ever. People have the ability to discern for themselves what's right or wrong, and what a verse means to them on a personal level. We don't need experts telling us how to feel about a particular passage that has personal meaning to us, thanks.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Susan

      Actually, you kind of do need experts to help you out on the interpretations, or at least to have made a rather broad study. The most common problem with reading and understanding the Bible is not taking into account the historical perspective, and the culture in which it was written. That takes a lot of expert help to really learn about all that. Don't discount people who have learned and studied more than you have. It's naive to just read the Bible and look at it through your 21st century eyes. It's not quite that easy.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  15. Jesse

    "The gods help those who help themselves" is based on the Greco-Roman religious tradition.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • mike

      The Fables of Aesop: Hercules and the Wagoner

      June 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Gina

      REV 22-16 IS THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR-VENUS WORSHIP ITS ALL ASTROTHEOLOGY-JESUS IS REPTILIAN WORSHIP-AND HE WAS BARIED IN SRINIGAR-INDIA ANYWAYS CHRISadadadadadadTIANITY IS A THROW AWAY SOLAR CULT RELIGION WAKE UP-THE SAME STORY WAS RUNNING AROUND THE MED FOR `1000 YEARS BEFORE RA HORUS MYTHRA-KRISHNA-SAME STORIES IT CAME THRU THE MEROVIGN BLOODLINE THIS RELIGULOUS NONSENSE understand ur own BIBLE-CHECK CONSPIRITUALITY-RAP

      December 15, 2012 at 6:36 am |
  16. C.A.

    The writer is a highly intelligent correspondent and makes a very valid point. If you're going to quote from the Holy Bible, make sure it is in the Holy Bible. If you do not, you are doing insult to God. It's also true that if you hate others, deny the rights of others and you condemn others, never do so in the name of God... be honest and say you are a bigot or you have a prejudice against another person or group, because God and His son Jesus loved everyone and never had hatred in their heart. This world is filled with many people of many faiths and many traditions and customs. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Is that in the Bible? You look it up! Great article and much to think about!

    June 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  17. OnanismO

    "God helps those who help themselves." It is not surprising that this is a phrase from a DEIST and not from the bible! But it is a surprise that so many stupid Christo-Fascists would (mis)quote it since it doesn't really help their cause. The only way to read that phrase is: "god" "helps" those who help themselves....yeah dummy, cuz YOU are the one who DID whatever it was you set out to do, not some imaginary man in the sky!

    June 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • david55

      it doesnt mesh with their christian beliefs, which is exactly what makes it so popular. It seems to reward selfish behavior, despite God making it clear that that is not the case in the bible.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  18. The Choobs

    Very interesting to read how many people in these comments here have always understood, and are trying to convince others, that "spare the rod, spoil the child" is supposed to be a specific directive. It is most certainly NOT a directive, it is a predictive warning, similar to "haste makes waste." (Or do you think Ben Franklin was admonishing us to make MORE haste?!) The direction is indeed CLEARLY paraphrasing the Bible's message to NOT do this. I mean...duh. I'm no Bible thumper – the opposite, if anything, but let's be sensible folks. Who would give OR take advice to "spoil the child"?!

    June 5, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  19. Y. Morgan

    This article is very misleading! One more example in addition to those mentioned: "God helps those who help themselves" doesn't mean you help only yourself! It means don't pray and ask God for help and then do nothing. Ie. "I need a job. I think I will just sit here in my livingroom watch tv and wait for God to bring it to me." You must do something, search for one, submit applications, then God will use that vehicle to lead you to a job! It's just plain silly to think that it means to take care only of yourself and not help the poor, or your neighbor. (unless your intention is to discredit the Bible as this whole article tries to do). If a person has actually read the Bible, they would know there is an biblical truth behind each example given.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • The Choobs

      Yes, perhaps that MESSAGE is in the Bible, but the words are not. And thus the content of the Bible is open to interpretation that might OR might not lead to your conclusion. It's a worthy sermon, but those words are not in the Bible, and that's all the article is really saying.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • shofar

      You said the article is misleading, so the question here is : Is the quote IN THE BIBLE OR NOT? This is not what you understand but if the quote ACTUALLY appears in the Bible. certainly not, so HOw come is Misleading? You are wrong. Also, the article is not against the Bible, but against of those who cite it in a wrongful way.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  20. Sean

    Then, and only then, a Jedi will you be.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:24 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.