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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. frank

    Have you heard the Good News about Lord Satan?

    June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Tom

      No. What's the news? He made you do it? and it's not your fault? Me too!

      June 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Rosky

      You might want to talk to this guy http://twitter.com/#!/Azazelzz. I think he knows something you don't. o.O

      June 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  2. Nicholas

    Uhm, did you ever really stop and ask yourself if he was talking about the situation he was in(being fired) when he said “This, too, shall pass.” I think it's kind of obvious that it's not a biblical quote at that point, only what he hopes for.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Buzz

      Or perhaps he was talking about a kidney stone.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  3. Mail

    The following statement was made in the article: “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,”

    In keeping with the spirit of the article on accuracy of statement, then truth be told: sorry, but YES, the Bible does refer to Satan in the garden of Eden. ITure, that specific book does not use the actual name. Actually only 3 Bible books written before Jesus use the actual name, however, other passages connect Satan with the serpent. Consider Revelation 12:9 as one example. You discussed the matter in a way that would it seem that that Bible never made the link between Satan and the serpent. That is not correct.

    READ Revelation 12:

    June 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Tom

      Revaluation 12:9 – The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

      WOW i never knew that Genesis was referring to a Dragon. That's Kick ass! Too bad all of those animated Genesis stories make the serpent look like a snake.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Jean

      Revelations was a literary genre that was popular at the time. Could the writer of Revelations have been familiar with the story of the serpent in Genesis?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      ummm....satan in the old testament is speaking of satan not as a person or thing but as a messenger for God for his council to show who is following his tenents...In other words God is satan's boss... Revelation is NOT referring to Genesis when it speaks of satan as a serpent....

      June 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      I think the direct translation of satan is "the accuser" and is God's prosecutor to test mens faith....ie. Job

      The NT Satan as the chief of the rebellious angels.....Also this is the same for the doctrine of the Hell's Angel's

      June 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Todd

      Revelation 12:9
      So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

      Not in there huh? Skeptics will say anything. Unfortunately the sad thing is that Christians don't know their Bible's well enough to know that all of this is simply rubbish. But simply because I don't understand my combustion engine, deosn't mean it isn't actually there.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • lulu

      Yes, well said, thank you. Revelation 12 does mention Satan as a serpent ("that old serpent" Rev 12:9). To the person who asked if the author of Revelation could have known about the book of Genesis, the answer is yes. The author was a Jew, a follower of Christ, who would have been familiar with the Jewish texts of Genesis and in addition, I'm sure, taught by Jesus.

      Ask yourselves this: Would Eve had trusted Lucifer himself if he had appeared to her in his fallen form? Could it be that God himself had a chance to talk with Adam and Eve and let them know about the fall of Lucifer/Satan? (see Isaiah 14:12 to Revelation 12:9 – Lucifer/Satan did fall to Earth, and since misery loves company, is bent on destroying the people Jesus is so desirous to save) I don't know for sure, but what we do know from the Bible is that God, before sin entered the world, walked in the garden, in their presence – see Genesis 3:8. For whatever reason, Satan appeared to Adam and Eve in serpent form. This is not very hard to infer using the Bible – for after all, the Bible tells us that Satan can even transform himself "into an angel of light" 2 Corinthians 11:14.

      We also know that the serpent represented Satan because of the beautiful, victorious passage of Genesis 3:15: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between they seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Yes, even on the day that Satan succeeded in bringing untold misery into this world, God pronounced upon him his own death sentence. Because the devil bruised the heel of the seed of the woman – Jesus, the son of man, borne of a human woman – yet he was not destroyed, and was raised up again, and Jesus will come again to put an end to Satan and the misery on this earth – to bruise his head, deliver the final blow, and to redeem his faithful children.

      To his children, I say – do not get discouraged by people who in this world are called theologians yet who cast doubt on the Word of God. However, this article brings up a wonderful point in that we all need to really read to know what we believe! And I say bravo to that – but I would urge the author to look a little further into the Bible's view on Genesis.

      Christians, let us remember: In Matthew 18:3, Jesus said: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." And in Luke 10:21 said: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Like children, in prayer, we must come to God trusting that our Father will reveal to us the truth. We must humble our hearts and not lean on our own understanding to discern spiritual things. Finally, in Luke 11:10 Jesus says: "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

      June 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  4. Harry Kirschner

    I think people need to stop mis-quoting Srila Prabhupada, as well.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      OK! We'll stop! Promise!

      June 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • mike M

      The most dangerous and arrogant statement of the whole piece is in the last paragraph -stated by Mr. Hazen – when he says that common people get the "interpretation wrong". Who says his interpretation is right? This is how the church establishment has manipulated "common" people since the first writings of the bible. They always know what God really meant. Tell Hazen to get lost. Make up your own mind what Jesus meant when he spoke. Jesus taught in parables for a reason, so that each of us could take what we need from his answers. Otherwise he would of just said "yes" or "no".

      June 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • L.V.

      @mike M: I cannot go read a sentence, or even an entire paragraph or chapter in a book and assume I can know everything that was meant by the author. People who spend their LIFETIME studying the whole book, however, have an authority to say they understand it more than I do. For anyone to think they can just read a little bit of a book that has deep, profound meaning which is often not immediately apparent and know everything it intends is just arrogant, to start with. So you ask who Craig Hazen is? He's someone who has spent a heck of a lot more time researching and studying than Bible than most of us. I don't go try to practice medicine because I read one book on the human body once. I leave that to doctors who have learned and experienced the body far far more than I have. It's all based on authority on a topic, and someone who doesn't spend large amounts of time on something doesn't deserve to think they know all there is to know about it.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  5. tina noelle

    Newyorker, I think that people are misinformed because of what they have been taught. If you went to church every Sunday and were taught incorrectly, that's really not your fault but the fault of the teacher. Most people are very reluctant to take a deep and close look at their religion once they get older and that can be very dangerous beause what you were taught may be wrong. I think that most people see questioning their religion as questioning God and they are reluctant to do that.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Walter Weinzinger

      Right on, Tina!

      June 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Well, if you are the sort of lame brain who just sits there and passively absorbs (some of) what you are told, you are right. But that's kinda the problem, eh?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  6. John

    Also, about people referring to the Bible in speech what do you presume that they're quoting? It's rather normal to paraphrase when one's talking. IE "this too shall come to pass" is a paraphrase of Mark 13:29 about the end of days: "When you see these things come to pass....". This whole article was much ado about nothing.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Tom

      I'm glad you think the Bible is about nothing. Wish more Christians saw it your way.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • John Richardson

      No, you don't even have the phantom verse right. You are totally, stupidly wrong. You are an embarrassment to your faith.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • L.V.

      @Tom: Way to misinterpret what he said...he didn't say the Bible's about nothing....that this ARTICLE is.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Tom

      @LV way to misinterpret my snarkyness.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Janie

      He didn't say the Bible is about nothing. He was referring to the article – they are making much ado about nothing. Geez, "Tom," get over yourself.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Tom

      @Jamie, Thanks, i was all over myself and now i'm done.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • I_get _it

      "they are making much ado" = the article

      "about nothing." = the Bible

      June 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  7. Newyorker

    It's amazing how so many Christians are so misinformed about their so called religion. Pathetic.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tom

      Would you rather they take the Bible literally? I'll take dumb Christians any day the week.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Duce

      A great deal of them DO take it literally... One can only hope they will get a grip on reality. The bible can be a useful tool if you read it for life lessons. However, sheeple are unable to distinguish between "stories" and factual information.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • L.V.

      It's a sad testament to how people are. It's not proof that Christianity is false, simply that people are selfish, lazy, prideful, and any other number of negative traits. So when they choose to think they believe in Christianity, they mess it up, and others look to that as proof against Christianity, but it's not.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Tom

      Proof against Christianity? Who cares. There isn't proof for fairies, witches, ghosts but there is going to be a segment of the population who will believe for various reasons. Why are you looking for proof against Christianity when there are many things you don't believe in which others are convinced as you are that their religion is the correct one.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  8. tina noelle

    Well Joe, God said that He did not want man to add to or take anything away from His original law (Deut 12:32) and if you study most religions, they have done exactly that. That is why I don't follow a specific religion but the Bible. Catholics are taught that it is a sin to get a divorce but God said that if there is uncleaness in your marriage, get a divorce. Jews do not belive that Jesus was the Messiah but he revealed himself as the Messiah to the woman at the well. Muslims pray to Allah and Asians pray to Buddah but God said that I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt have no other God before me. Most religions are hybrid mixtures of the Bible plus whatever peculiar doctrine is thrown in and this is why many people are religious but still confused.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Chris

      So many mistakes with this. First Allah, is another name for your god, they are one and the same. They believe in Jesus, he is just a prophet to them.

      In addition most separate religions are not a derivative the Jewish god. If you want to break Christianity down to many sub religions and then call them full religions sure, but really they are nothing more then parts of the one whole Christianity.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Duce

      No he didn't... The nomadic bard that told the story said that.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Kal

      "Asians pray to Buddah"? Could you possibly be any more ignorant? If you had any relevant formal education whatsoever you would realize many of the stories/morals found in the Bible are hybrids of older religions. Try reading up on what other "Asians" believe and you may actually find something familiar that predates the Bible.

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

      Kal, thanks for pointing out the ignorance of this bimbo Tina. Asians pray to Buh.....nevermind. I believe of the 4-5 BILLION people that live in the vast continent of Asia, a very small amount of them are Buddists. And futhermore, like Kal said, it was CHRISTIANITY that was molded after many religions before it. Many of the stories of the Bible were taken from other holy books, and reformed with a Christian angle. Its all out there to be known, if you really care to know the history of religion, and the world. Either way I could care less what anybody believes as long as they arent F'ing with my life.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:07 am |
  9. James Black

    "

    '

    June 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • mike

      The most dangerous and arrogant statement of the whole piece is in the last paragraph -stated by Mr. Hazen – when he says that common people get the "interpretation wrong". Who says his interpretation is right? This is how the church establishment has manipulated "common" people since the first writings of the bible. They always know what God really meant. Tell Hazen to get lost. Make up your own mind what Jesus meant when he spoke. Jesus taught in parables for a reason, so that each of us could take what we need from his answers. Otherwise he would of just said "yes" or "no".

      June 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Nitwits who think that "discipline" means "punishment" should look up the root word of "discipline". Actually, they should look up a lot of things. It would probably be best if they went back to high school and actually stayed awake, didn't get knocked up or knock someone else up, and managed to graduate.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  11. no kidding...

    That was Genesis 6:2. Sorry 'bout that.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  12. Romel Queddeng

    The author of this article does not know about the bible at all. It is very clear that the serpent in Genesis chapter 3 was Satan. The verse that confirms this can be found in Revelation. 20:2.. "And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan"

    June 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Jacob

      It's not clear unless you just make it up. The Israelites didn't believe in Satan.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Jean

      And Revelations was written how many years after Genesis? Was the author of Revelations familiar with the story in Genesis?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • L.V.

      Yes, the author of this article picked "experts" that he thought were experts, but he's not coming from the standpoint of what criteria is required. Here's on article explaining why it is believed/understood that the serpent in Genesis was in fact Satan:
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/09/05/feedback-satan-lucifer-serpent

      June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Senor Sammystein

      Romel Queddeng is correct. Another point is that in Genesis 3:15, it speaks of the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The seed of the woman was Christ, and Christ would crush the serpents head. Not a literal serpent, Satan himself.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  13. Jerry Whelan

    Maybe some of these are written in the Catholic Bible. This came before the King James Bible, Matin Luther (etc.) and the Catholic Bible does not cut out parts that King James / Martin Luther did not like. It's the original version. Maybe it's still not in there, but I just thought to ask.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  14. whall1971

    It is sad that most of these scholars of the Bible while right that most don't know their Bible have missed the boat themselves and while they can explain the Bible with what Paul called "wisdom of men" they often haven't taken the time to build a relationship with Jesus Christ.
    Most people forget that "the word was made flesh and dwelt among us" meaning that Jesus is the Word. The Bible is the words of God and while reading it can teach you things it alone can not get you into heaven. Only Jesus can do that.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Eric G

      If only Jesus can get you into heaven, only Jesus can keep you out. Hitler accepted Jesus. Did Jesus let him into heaven?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • whall1971

      Jesus wishes that all would come to know him as there Lord. You are the only one that can keep you out of heaven. And if Hitler repented of his sins before he died and asked Jesus to be his Lord then yes he did go to heave.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Tom

      @Eric. Don't be silly that's the most preposterous thing i've heard. Of course he let Hitler into Heaven.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Walter Weinzinger

      First of all, accepting Christ is so much more about what you do than what you say. If you come to accept Christ but make no effort to conform your life to His will, you really haven't accepted Him, regardless of what you say.
      Secondly, I can't judge, but I wonder how many "deathbed confessions" after a lifetime ignoring and denying God are truly sincere expressions of broken heart and a contrite spirit as opposed to a godless person realizing he's not ready for death and suddenly feels the need to cover all the bases. Frankly, I don't believe that simply saying, "I believe Jesus is my Savior" at the end of godless life with plenty of earlier opportunities to accept Christ is going to cut it, folks.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • whall1971

      Walter, If the Holy spirit convicts your heart of your sins and you repent of them then you will be saved. Second, God is the only one that can see the heart of men. There are alot of people in churches all over the world who have secret sin and are danger of the same Hell Hilter faced, This idea that you or anyone else can judge where someone went based on things they did in this life is just people fooling themselves. You can no more tell where Hilter went then anyone else. The fact of the matter is, the Bible is clear on how to get saved and if anyone follows those guidelines they will be saved and go to heaven regardless of what you or anyone else thinks.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Firestorm

      John 17:3 states This is life eternal to KNOW the one true GOD and Jesus Christ whom he sent. It's not about A 30 second prayer. It's about a relationship. Matt. 7:21-23 says Not everyone that says unto me Lord Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he the does the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord Lord, have we not Prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never KNEW you; depart from me you that work iniquity. As I said to start with, It's about a relationship not a 30 second prayer.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  15. mdhouse

    In Jonah, it says he was swallowed by a "great fish." We use the term "whale" for that because it fits the best in modern parlance. The author is reaching with this example (or didn't do all the homework).

    June 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tom

      So... who is wrong here. The Bible for having a reference to a Great Fish or the people saying it was a big swimming mammal (not a fish) called a Whale?

      June 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good grief. You idiots miss the entire point by focusing on some meaningless detail as though it mattered. None of this is supposed to be factual or real. It never was. The bible simply gave people a way to access the meaning of god's word through stories.

      Gah. What idiots.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Jacob

      Jesus first called the fish a whale. I guess he didn't know the difference between fish and mammals.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom

      Shesh I would have thought Jesus would have been able to remember that tid bit of info. Not I really don't trust the Bible.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • L.V.

      @Tom Tom: If you're to the pitiful point of name calling, perhaps you need to move on. Resorting to calling people idiots simply proves you have no intellectual arguments against what is being said. Someone not believing in what you do does not make them an idiot. If you think someone's ideas are wrong or false, then intellectually argue why. All you do when you name call is show how intolerant and judgmental you are.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  16. John

    Several of the examples cited by the editor hardly qualify as phantom verses, but rather OCD nitpicking. The two sayings "Spare the rod" and "pride goes before a fall" may not be the exact king james wording but they carry the exact same message as the verses that they are inspired by. Lets not forget that English is not the original langauge of the Bible. The KJV translators did their best to translate ancient greek/ hebrew into English but due to enormous differences in sysntax, words with multiple meanings,etc...the english translation is up for debate but they all convey the same basic message. Not a religious guy just hate it when anti-religious people rant on this ignorance of religious people when their own is so brazzenly displayed.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Kay

      Except that we're not just talking the King James Bible. These misquotes are also substantiated by *all* the many translations published in the last 50 years.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  17. Chris Bortzner

    Ironically, Mr Blake needs to review his old testament stories better – Adam didn't eat from the Tree of Life, he ate from the Tree of Knowledge (and apparently the only "knowledge" the it imparted was that he was naked). God banished Adam and Eve because He (God) feared that now that Adam was enlightened, he might also eat from the 2nd tree (that of Life), and once he did, he would become immortal. Let's get our fairy tales straight.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  18. tina noelle

    Jacob, which post are you referring to?

    June 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Jacob

      Yours. Read Isaiah in context. It describes a child that will be born as a sign to King Ahaz. He is to be a warrior. That child was Hezekiah, not Jesus. Jesus was born long after Ahaz died so Jesus couldn't be a sign to him.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  19. joe

    I hope to live to see the day when Religion is considered a joke.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • GodIsNot

      It already is considered a joke...by any thinking person.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Bob Jackson

      Wow..religion as a joke huh?? What do you have against it?? If it helps enrich peoples lives...(and it does) helps them get away from drugs or alcohol or beating their spouse or whatever...why is that bad?? What happens to you when you die Joe?? If all you do is stay in the ground....?? How come we can't believe in a creator...and a far better place...not a joke at all...I hope you wise up someday...I will pray for you..

      June 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Duce

      You are alive now. Hope granted.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Chris

      Bob,
      There is several reasons that most religions are a joke, especially the one cited here.
      A) inconsistency- Stories contridict each other, and are often changed to meet the desires of the current generation–like the new testiment
      B) hypocrisy. The bible teaches what is moral, from a god that would not fit those moral guidelines, but still considers him a good god in terms of those same guidelines.
      C) it causes the worst wars in history, because people of religion can not keep to themselves, even though their religion says they should– see B.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • GodIsNot

      @ Bob – Are you willing to ignore all the harm caused by religion? If you can say say it helps alcoholics, I can say it kills thousands of people every year. Are you willing to ignore the hate and intolerance it breeds? The misogyny? The way it holds us back as human beings? The way it retards science? Wise up.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • L.V.

      It is already considered a "joke" by you, and people like you. Your hope that all religion will go away and the world will become secular will never happen. I imagine you think faith in something is ridiculous, yet you have faith that there is no truth or fact in any religion. You don't KNOW with a certainty that all religions are false, therefore you have faith in your idea that they are. Many people have predicted the Bible would become less and less popular over time, yet all it has become is moreso. It won't be going away, learn to live with that. :)

      June 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • L.V.

      Wow, lots of people replied to joe as I was replying! All I'm seeing is blaming the world's problems on religion, when what's to blame is the depravity of mankind. Humans sure do love shirking personal responsibility and blaming other sources! Anyone who attempts to blame religion instead of mankind is doing so. People doing bad things in the name of a religion doesn't prove the religion false. That's like blaming the knife someone uses to stab someone else.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • GodIsNot

      @ L.V. – You missed the point by not reading Bob's response. He defended religion by citing examples of the 'good' it does. Any respectable response would counter with the 'evil' it does. Additionally, the Bible defends misogyny, slavery, killing of nations, killing of gays, killing of disobedient children. Read it.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  20. tina noelle

    I agree Andrew. It is basically saying the same thing.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.