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

Actually, that's not in the Bible

By John Blake, CNN

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

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

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

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

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

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

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

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

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

“Only a few catch on.”

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

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

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

Phantom biblical passages work in mysterious ways

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

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

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When phantom Bible passages turn dangerous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do these phantom passages come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Writer

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

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. Wastrel

    The phrase "This too, shall pass" is supposedly from Persian writers. There was a story of a king who challenged his wise men to think up a sentence that would be true at all times and all places, and that was the answer. The Biblical scholar didn't know that, apparently, because all he knows is the Bible.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      The origin of the expression “This too shall pass” has been attributed to many sources, including King Solomon, a Middle Eastern tale of a potentate, and American President Abraham Lincoln. In the King Solomon parable, the powerful and wealthy king chooses to test his most loyal and trusted minister, Benaiah Ben Yehoyada, by asking of him an impossible task. The king asks Benaiah to find for him a ring, knowing full well that the ring does not exist, which has magic powers. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy,” he tells him. He expresses his desire to wear the ring for Sukkot, which is six months away. After months of searching, Benaiah finds himself, the night before Sukkot, walking through the poorest neighborhood of Jerusalem. He happens upon a jeweler, who, when asked if he’s heard of such a ring, produces from his pocket a plain gold ring, to which he adds an engravement. Benaiah returns just in time on the eve of Sukkot to give the king the ring he has requested. When the king looks at the engraving, he reads four words: “gam zeh ya’avor”, which translates to, “This too shall pass” or “This too will pass”. At that moment, Solomon realizes that his wisdom, tremendous wealth, and power are fleeting things, for one day he will be nothing but dust.

      I think that people confuse this saying with the Matthew 24:35 scripture saying, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

      June 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  2. Shamrock6

    Is anyone surprised that ignorance and confusion surround religion?

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

      I'm not surprised. The ignorance and confusion comes from not knowing God or His Word at all. But, as long as a person draws breath, they still have hope.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  3. Colin

    It is difficult to understand how we can still give any credibility to the supernatural and ethno-centric stories in the Bible. Since it was written, we have learned

    (i) that the Earth is not flat, it is round;

    (ii) the Middle East is one part of a much bigger planet, involving 5 continents, countless islands and thousands of cultures and societies, many of whom do not believe in the Judeo-Christian god;

    (iii) there are eight planets in our solar system and it is one of 100,000,000,000 solar systems in our galaxy; (iv) our galaxy is one of 200,000,000,000 galaxies in the observed Universe;

    (v) the Universe is quite possible one of an infinite number of universes comprising the “multiverse”; and

    (vi) the world is at least 4,000,000,000 years old, the Universe at least 13,700,000,000 years old.

    Six days and a talking snake starting to look a little silly? A magic sky-god made up by Bronze Age tribesman in a Palestinian hovel staring to look a little silly?

    June 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      I just wanna know why Adam and Eve have belly buttons, (umbilici), in this picture. Did they have the DNA for that embryological trait, and not use it ? Or what's the deal here ?

      June 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      I was where you are regarding belief. The universe, in all it's glory is so huge and magnificent.

      What I had to do was surrender my human ways of thinking. When I now hear about other planets, and when i recently went to the UGA observatory.....I am filled with awe and wonder, and love for our amazing Creator.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Faux Paws

      @ Karen
      Agree that it IS wonderful and awe inspiring. BUT, the jump from that to a position of "faith" is not necessarily logical, or your only option.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • One Who Knows

      Well said, Faux Paws. The universe is vast and magnificent but that is not, in and of itself, proof of any deity.
      @Karen – When *I* see the universe, I am filled with awe and wonder over how something so seemingly dry as mathematics can describe the motions of the planets and galaxies. I am filled with awe and wonder over how fragile the balance is between life and non-life.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • fernando

      @BuckyBall, I think its safe to say that Adam and Eve did not have umbilical chords as they were made not born.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Ogre

      fernando: "Adam and Eve did not have umbilical chords as they were made not born."

      Yep, made (up) by primitive Middle Eastern desert tribal men as an explanation for things in life which they didn't understand.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      @Faux Faws- correct! Not logical at all.

      @OneWhoKnows We will never have "proof" until HE returns! That's the beauty of it...the trust factor!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Faux Paws

      @ Karen Flanders
      Then why did he make us logical creatures ? And why did he make us to require logical patterns ? It is all a "Grand Trick" ?
      But, thank you....I have noticed today your thoughtful posts and polite and sincere manner. You add a lot to this discussion ! :)

      June 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  4. Rebee

    I almost totally Agree with this article although they did get one thing wrong. You can't understand the bible unless you have read the whole thing Genesis says Eve was tempted by the serpent in Genesis but Revelation reveals who that serpent was very clearly in Revelation 12;9 . 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
    The entire bible is beneficial so don't just read the New testament @ Timothy3: 16 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good
    If you really have a desire to know what the entire bible says try opening your door when Jehovah's Witnesses call they can teach you what the bible says all their literature come directly from the bible all bible texts are quoted and referenced they can also show you directly from the bible. Jehovah's witnesses have the most accurately translated bible it has restored God's name you can not understand the Bible with out knowing God's name and it's meaning. LOOK IT UP

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

      You mean the same Jehovah's Witnesses that I, an atheist, regularly school when they come to my door? The guys that, through me asking very simple questions, are always forced to admit that they have no basis for their belief other than "it feels right to me"?

      June 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Aezel

      "If you really have a desire to know what the entire bible says try opening your door when Jehovah's Witnesses call they can teach you what the bible says"

      Yeah lol. Spoken like a true religious nut. "Don't actually READ the bible if you want to know what it says, just listen to people indoctrinated in my particular brand of religion. They'll TELL you what it says!"

      So.....utterly......hilarious.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      Hi Joshua–
      What questions did you ask the Jehovah's witnesses?

      June 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Jack

      @Joshua – Hypocrite. You have no basis for your belief other than that it feels good to you. (I say good because I know it doesn't feel "right.") It's just the way YOU want it to be. You have no scientific proof for your theories or beliefs.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Ky Ly

      The "Bible",is a STORY written by MAN. Not a deity, just a earth bound man.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  5. Vincent

    “God helps those that help themselves.” is from the French author Jean de la Fontaine. It predates Benjamin Franklin by... a century.

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

      It predates both of them by a large margin. It's from Aesop's fables (500 BC). The fable is about a wagon driver who breaks down and expects Hercules to fix the wagon for him while he reclines.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Vincent

      The sentence and the idea are not in Aesop, it is an addition from Jean de la Fontaine who was indeed a borrower... It is the last verse of the fable. Aesop wrote "do not pray in vain", which is not exactly the same. Seventeeth century is I believe the most accurate.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  6. Daniel

    ...............people who believe in this garbage are generally bottom feeders , they feed off anything to get them by .
    People who carry a bible are wanting others to see them as having values , a mere decoy .

    June 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  7. RevolutionX

    I'm all for religious freedom and firmly believe in the quote (which doesn't appear in the Bible either lol) "live and let live," however, I also like to entertain the idea that religious belief is a psychological disorder. How can seemingly normal, intelligent people believe in something that is so utterly ridiculous and full of hypocrisy (if you actually read it)? I'm sure it's quite comforting to think that there's a big man in the sky watching over you, but for the rest of us it's simply not that easy to say ignorance is bliss.

    Life can't be explained, only described

    Peace & Love

    June 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Eric

      "Live and Let Live" is a quote from Mary Baker Eddy, American Founder of the religious faith known as Christian Science, 1821-1910.

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

      I have witnessed/experienced God in my life so many times that it would be impossible to not believe. Unfortunately, God/Jesus is being used by a lot of religious people to enhance their agendas not Gods.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Sam

    Seriously if you profess to love the bible, you should at the very least read the damn thing. Just READ it and you will see all the crazy crap in it.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tibbs

      The average "bible lover" I've met hasn't struck me as being sufficiently thoughtful to get anything out of the bible anyway. Instead they go to church and get the cliffnotes version of their faith with convenient one-liners that they can spew at anybody who disagrees with them.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • CanUSayDelusion?

      All the killing in the name of god, swords coming out peoples mouth, full of dumb, nonsensical sh|t!

      June 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  9. Raymond

    Even though the term "Save the Rod and Spoil the child", is NOT in the Bible the verse Proverbs 22:15 does say, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Also in Genesis chapter 3 it starts out by saying, " Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made . And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said , Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
    Even though it doesn't say that Eve was the woman that Abraham was writing about, at the time there was none other women except for Eve so I believe it safe to say that it WAS Eve who partook of the Fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
    One misconception was that it was an apple. It says nowhere that it was an apple but a fruit. The tree of Life had 12 different fruits. These trees are referenced in Genesis 2:9,17 and 3:17,22,24 and Revelations 2:7
    Revelation 22:2 KJV
    In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
    Pretty neat huh?

    June 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Leonid Brezhnev

      The fruit every month you are referring to is a woman's period.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tibbs

      If you had actually bothered to RTFA, the part that people screw up is by saying the serpent was Satan. As the article says, Satan isn't mentioned in the story, and in fact the story was written half a millennium before Satan became the sort of evil character he is today.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • John

      It just amazes me how folks can look around, and see the unbelievable wonders of nature and draw their conclusions. The miraculous birth of an infant; how an fertilized egg can contain all the characteristics of a grown human; the wonders of nature; how a seed can grow into a beautiful flower;the beauties we see in the sky; the balance of nature. And then believe that this just happened without any thought or direction. Unbelievable.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • aerie

      So, in other words Raymond,
      -use harsh, corporal punishment upon your children, women are evil, too much knowledge is evil and willful ignorance is the rule, am I right?

      June 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  10. CanUSayDelusion?

    Delusionists will believe anything, and I mean ANYTHING! This reinforces their delusions and exacerbates their mental illness. And then try telling them they're wrong. In darker times, they would've just killed you outright. If that's not a disease, I don't know what is.

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

      Just because you don't believe it, doesn't mean everyone else is mentally sick. Although I am seriously questioning your health.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • jayman419

      Societal bonds, the willingness to risk yourself to help others of your community, doesn't spring forth fully formed from some sort of "better" human nature. It is built slowly, over time, through bonding rituals. That's why it doesn't matter what religion is used, only that there is one.

      Societies rise and fall, and the god(s) they worship change whenever it is convenient. Today America is closer to worshipping sports and consumerism than it is christianity. But any ritual of societal bonding that does not include moral components ends up with Giants fans in comas.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • CanUSayDelusion?

      Having delusions, believing in things that can positively be shown to be false, is a mental illness. How can you say it's not? The flood didn't occur in the geologic column. Creatures have evolved that were not originally on this planet. The solar system is 4.5 billion years old. The sun was made from material left over from supernova explosions. Have they found that ark yet? Just wondering.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  11. Cap'n

    Every single religion going back to the worship of Ra is structured exactly the same, and people keep falling for it. Sheep.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  12. CommonSense

    Your scriptures are fables. Your gods are illusions.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • real commonsense

      and you are boring and lack much.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • sarahfalin

      Ramen brother, Ramen!

      June 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jack

      But your own self-deification is the most delusional and ill-fated of them all.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  13. Snooky

    Religion is a fairytale, used to take advantage of those who are afraid of the inevitable death, and it's used as a form of mass control. Religion has caused so many wars and so much hate in human history, is it really making our world better? It's a scam and it's about time everyone grew up and just accepted that maybe there is no heaven and there is no God. I understand people want something to believe, but how about believe in yourself. You are real and you can actually make a difference, don't wait for so called "divine intervention", it won't come!

    June 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • DivideByZero

      Well said, best paragraph I've read all day.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jack

      Your opinion doesn't truth (or facts) make. Funny how non-believers demand Christians present scientific facts and evidence but then come up with drivel like this, that sounds good to them, in order to justify their own feelings. There isn't a single scientific fact in anything you said.

      Since you like fairy tales so much, it would appear the first little piggy who made his house out of straw is your favorite character.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Spirit rules

      Snooky believing in one self is a given since the majority of humans you will meet will not. Believing in something beyond yourself does matter and the Divine will intervene. There are countless personal narratives and stories from history and the now that proves faith does and at times move 'those mountains'.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Pearl

      absolutely great advise, we are the universe...it is all within us. It has served it purpose...trust in one's self instead...

      June 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Religion is not a fairytale. Those things actually happened!

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

      @ (youdontknow) Jack
      "Funny how non-believers demand Christians present scientific facts and evidence"
      It's not our claims, but yours. You have the burden of proof, not us.

      Your comments have absolutely no merit what so ever to anything from the OP. Additionally it's ironic that you made references to yet another fairy tale (and confused 2 of them together I may add) within the same context.

      @TheTruth – bahahahahaha not even worth replying too.... too easy.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  14. Who cares if it is in the bible

    Dependancy on a 2000 year old book in today's world is the reason why ignorance is prevalent. People relying on "the word" should look to science, not deity worship. This religious push has resulted more deaths in our world than any other. Although there are good people who practice good deeds under the claim of religion. One of the best things America has is the ability to believe or not believe. If we depended only on believer to create, we would still be in the 1st century.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  15. Leonid Brezhnev

    There is no god. The bible is just a collection of fairy tales and folksy sayings. Quit wasting your life on such nonsense.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • JANCE

      I pity you because you are a fool by saying that there is no God and again do not say that Bible is nonsence or you will bring Curse to yourself.May God Help you.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Will

      You are completely unaware of whether or not God exists, so leave it alone

      June 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Sean

      @Jance
      It really cheers you up to think things like that, doesn't it?

      June 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  16. Max

    Few mistakes by the author of this article:

    Ditka specifically said that "all things shall pass" is in the Bible and he's basically correct according to Matthew Chapter 24.

    "all shall come to pass" – Matt. 24:6 (KJV 1611)
    "Heaven and Earth (all things) shall pass..." – Matt. 24:35

    Ditka did not claim, "This, too, shall pass" was from the Bible.

    Second, the author makes a mistake by saying Eve was tempted to partake of the Tree of Life. Oops! Eve was tempted to partake of the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" not "The Tree of Life." It appears the author doesn't know the Bible.

    Third, you can't say it's not in the Bible by limiting your discussion to just one book: Genesis. Revelation 20:2 clearly states that the serpent is Satan: "that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan" – Rev 20:2

    Three strikes and you're out... Ditka wins!

    June 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Max

      Ditka plays baseball too, right? ;)

      June 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Kim

      Thank you. This article made me crazy! It is obvious that the author is not a fan of "the Word" or "the Truth!"

      June 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • CanUSayDelusion?

      It just goes to show that no one knows what the hell the bible says, and everyone thinks they do, and reads between the lines. Ditka didn't say the passage that you quoted, but he's 'basically' correct from your delusional point of view. He could have said 1+2=4, and we could then say he was 'basically' correct, eh? And why didn't you quote from a more modern bible? They've changed all the words and meanings in those to be all washed down and presentable. If you look hard enough, you'll probably find one that does actually have the phrase. This is one of the the things that muslims really love about christinsanity; changing the (supposed) word of god.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Mike

      While the exact phase "spare the rod, spoil the child" isn't in the Bible, it is taken from Proverbs 13:24...
      "Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
      but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."

      June 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Ashley

      It doesn't really matter if there is a god or not. Misquoting the Bible is just as heinous as misquoting Poe or Rushdie. People take things out of context, and believe what they want. Period. The author of this article has admirable intentions, but he also seems to suffer from "bible illiteracy" or whatever term he used. Everyone needs to stop trying to be RIGHT, and instead be content with dissolving ignorance. I'm just thankful that I can write on this blog and say whatever I want. I do believe that in the end, for whatever reason, we will know all the answers. Clearly we all have a lot of questions. Just remember, religion is a dangerous word.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • JackStraw19631

      “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.” This is what Ditka said. How can you claim that he didn't say this was from the Bible? Or do you distinguish Scripture and Bible?

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

      "Now the LORD had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights" Jonah 1:17

      "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" Matthew 12:40

      June 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Max

      It's not delusion to correct the errors within an article that has been exalted to the front page of CNN. There are people who have their minds made up, people who are formulating their opinions in life, and people who have no idea whatsoever and don't care one way or another because they don't see how it relates to them personally. My post is for open-minded folks.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Max

      Ditka quoting: "Scripture says, 'All things shall pass.'"

      Ditka commentary: "This, too, shall pass."

      June 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  17. ali

    need an article like this about the quran. americans have a flair for ascribing all kinds of whacked out ideas to islamic law and scripture just because some deranged muslims believe it (take this nonsense about 72 virgins for instance).

    June 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Beverly Tatum

      MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN GOD AND MOST ARE FAITHFUL AND GOOD AND CARING PEOPLE.

      WE ARE ALL GOD'S CHILDREN AND YOUR RELIGION IS NOT MORE RIGHT OR TRUE THAN ANYONE ELSE'S.

      PEOPLE WHO COMMIT VIOLENCE IN GOD'S NAME – WHETHER THEY BE ABORTION LUNATICS OR MUSLIM SUCIDE BOMBERS ARE NOT OF GOD OR HIS TEACHINGS.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  18. Karen Flanders

    There is some truth, something worth while in it. In other words, I shouldn’t be lazy. “God get me a job,” but I’m not going to go out and look for one. I’m not going to lift a finger to do anything. I don’t think God is going to honor that either. So, there is some common sense, wisdom in this. On the other hand, it’s not what I’m trying to do. I should say, Lord, would you guide me? First of all, what job do you want me to have? Where do you want me to work? Where do you want me to live? What do you want me to do? Paul puts it like this in Colossians 1:29—he’s talking about God’s purpose, His plan and he says, “Whereunto I labor, striving according to His working which worketh in me mightily.” Or you can go to Philippians 3, where he says, “Work out your own salvation.” Now that’s not working for salvation, but the salvation that He has given us, now we’re to work it out in our lives. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good will.” So there must be a cooperation between me and God. I’m not just going to sit down in a chair and God is going to feed me, do everything, I must be—well, you remember the servant of Abraham who went out to find a bride for Isaac, he said, “I being in the way the Lord led me.” In other words, he started putting one foot in front of another and he headed out to where he was supposed to go, and then he trusted God.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • aerie

      As I recall, g o d ordered good ol' Abe to play Russian roulette with his own son, did he not?

      June 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  19. Vito LaBella

    This article seems cleverly timed and positioned so that it attacks people of faith, particularly conservatives who tend to embrace the bible with greater emphasis. However, Jews do ardently believe in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, and yet Christians are the ones repeatedly coming under fire for their belief in those very same books. Perhaps it's these critics' innate fear of being labeled "anti-Semites" in 2011 that sticks in their craws and fuels the lack of recognition. Or, perhaps it's because many Jews are considered to be avowed liberals and therefore a key part of the more important demographic.

    It's no wonder that in light of a steadily faltering administration combined with a dismal economic outlook, a nagging lack of jobs, the looming 2012 elections and Ms. Palin's increasingly popular whistle-stop tour through America, this site would take on a mercenary's role and stoop to carrying the water by trying to subtly discredit "the other side" at its core. It's as though it's ancient Rome once more and time to feed the Christians to the lions for amusement.

    Despite all in the U.S. and the World that should be reported upon and discussed this morning, the common man's command of the bible is what got the play. Fear can drive people to do very foolish things.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • HOD

      When in doubt, plead victimhood

      June 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Jon Bernstein

      This article is not attacking people of faith. It's attacking fake people of faith.

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

      "Fear can drive people to do very foolish things."
      Like you posting a response to things that aren't even in the article? Like you making up boogeymen and then ascribing the article's authorship to them? Or like you somehow thinking that this article, written on CNN's belief blog, somehow is pushing out other world news (when said other world news is plastered on the main page of the website)?

      June 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • jasonda

      You're right– CNN does anything and everything it can to obfuscate and distract for the failed Obama administration. While I'm no Christian, it is so transparent that attacking Christianity as crazy, radical or inane is their first tool. Second one is obsessing over race. CNN does both habitually. The other liberal networks aren't much better.

      This article is so frought with false premises that it isn't even worth delineating them all, so I'll just mention one: just because people say things like "spare the rod, spoil the child" does not mean they literally thought those were the exact quote from the Bible. Those themes ARE taught in the Bible, and people use them AS EXPRESSIONS!

      June 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • jayman419

      It could also be that Jewish folk rarely run around misquoting the Torah at public meetings, press conferences, and news broadcasts.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Faux Paws

      @HOD
      I think it's called paranoia, and I heard they have a pill for that now.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Beverly Tatum

      Did you read this article the same way you read the Bible?

      This does not attack people of faith. It is pointing out how many people do not really read or know the Bible. They do not know actually what the Bible really says and it is a reminder to go back and read it for the sake of accuracy. True believers would be reading the Bible and already know accurate scriptural statements and in what book of the Bible they are found.

      You sound very defensive. You must be one who twists scripture to fit your view of the world. Notice how you instantly began to use it to attack President Obama. He is more of a true Biblical Christian than you. He works to help ALL people. He is a good an decent man who has true family values. He is honest, has character, integrity, and leads with his best efforts to be fair, just, and help our nation recover from the ammoral and criminal Bush administration, Bush LIED to us, attacked a country of innocent people who had nothing to do with 9/11 to steal their oil, and endorsed TORTURE which is not only morally wrong but is an international CRIME. He liet the MONEYCHANGERS bring down the Temple. Greed destroyed our nation, our financial system, tax cuts for the rich bankrupted our nation and we lost more jobs than we had since the Great Depression. People were hurt, lost their homes, and were destroyed. What have these so-called "Christian" Republicans done to fix the mess they watch happen?? Not one bill on jobs. Not one bill to help those the banks defrauded. No – they are still hurting the PEOPLE most in need. They are killing our education system and giving all the school funds to corporations.

      I believe in the Bible, Joseph and Mary were on their way to Bethlehem to PAY THEIR TAXES when Jesus was born. They were working class, honest, law-abiding people of faith. Republicans trample people like that today. Republicans want the rich to pay NO taxes, to protect corporations from any regulation and continue to support them paying ZERO taxes. Republicans just voted to keep the Bush wars going when Iraq was a lie and the mission in Afghanistan is over. President Obama got Osama bin Laden and his top leaders. He did what Bush gave up on 6 months after 9/11.

      Why such hatred? Why support Republicans who work against your best interests? Why follow fake Christians who take from the poor and give it to the rich? Who want to kill healthcare? Who want to take away your pension? All while they earn 6 figure salaries, have the best healthcare and pension plans that exist and refuse to give any of it up??? Isn't that called HYPOCRISY?

      I don't know what your faith is – but you have misplaced it – personally and politically.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • JackStraw19631

      Yeah, I sure do feel bad about the poor, disenfranchised, downtrodden white Christians, They sure have it tough.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Vito LaBella

      Obviously, I struck a nerve with some folks. So, it's another good day at work.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Vito LaBella

      @Beverly Tatum, please go take your meds and stay away from your keyboard. You're just making a total fool of yourself.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  20. Bob Rock

    Actually, if one reads the bible and usese his "higher power" of human reasoning, he finds that the book is just a silly, primitive fable to be enjoyed by 10 year olds or younger and the rules preposterous. Primitive, useless, crude and naive.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • BGko

      Bob, if you were ACTUALLY using your 'higher power', you wouldn't so easily dismiss the bible, regardless of your beliefs on religion, God, or science. To call it childish, useless and naive only shows how childish, useless and naive you are yourself. The bible is, in fact, full of very useful information on how to live a successful life. I don't deny that leaders have used it for millennia to control masses and cause havoc, but you betray your bias and closed-mindedness by being unable to separate the message from the messengers. Take this gem for example: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If the whole world lived by this phrase, which has been echoed by all great civic and religious leaders throughout the aeons, then we would find ourselves living in a utopia today. Instead of promoting hate and separation like the misguided, greedy, and juvenile leaders we have today of the Christian faith and other faiths, why don't you use that "higher power" of yours and learn to love instead of fear. Looks like the bible just taught you something, but only if you are wise enough to learn it.

      June 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • aerie

      BGko,

      the concept of "do unto others" came centuries before your Ch ri st ian r e li g ion was even a twinkle in a goat herder's vivid imagination.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
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About this blog

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