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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. Lauren

    What I find ironic in debates is how the agnostics and atheists often are able to win them, as they have studied the history behind the passages in the Bible, and not just what they think the words could mean.
    "Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."–Thomas Jefferson

    June 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • TeaClown

      It's difficult to defend the veracity of a fairy tale.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      I long for the day when we stop lowering ourselves to argue with self-deluded people. Do we go to asylums and argue with patients? Do we argue with our children about the existence of Santa Clause? Moreover, I long for the day when CNN and other supposedly responsible news organizations stop pandering to those who believe in fantasies just to earn more participants.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Luis

      @Ashrakay

      You think religious people have the disorder but you can't keep from commenting on them.
      What I find fantastic is that you believe that this is all an accident. You have no evidence oncesoever that this life is an accident without purpose. You can't bring yourself to admit it but you are drawn to religion. You have to read, comment, insult to justify yourself. It's okay. Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • I_get _it

      @Luis – "You can't bring yourself to admit it but you are drawn to religion."

      Listen, if you were living in an area where lots of folks believed in Leprechauns (excuse me, but I as.sume that you don't), and
      – laws and public policies were made according to Elfin dictates,
      – Little Folk lore was expected to be taught as fact in your schools,
      – people argued all the time about how many buttons are on a Lep's vest,
      – shamrocks adorned your money and public buildings, and
      – you were expected to pay more taxes so that these beliefs could be propagated...

      I'm just betting that you would be 'drawn to' commenting on those issues.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Luis

      @I_Get_It

      Everything you just said makes my point. If it's religious peoples' laws that keep you from stealing or killing that offend you then I'm sorry to hear you are opposed.

      Schools aren't legally allowed to teach about God. A court said the other day that a graduation ceremony in Texas couldn't start with a prayer. Children are suspended in schools for praying with friends at lunch. It's not the religious people who are forcing anything on anyone there. You don"t have to pray if everyone else is just like you don't have to swear, drink, smoke, etc.

      Also in schools theories of man, like evolution and global warming are taught as fact no matter the contradictions. They are called theories for a reason yet they are taught without question and doubters are belittled and insulted. If you want to graduate you have to learn the talking points.

      If people want to argue about doctrine you don't have to listen. It's not forced on you like schools force evolution and climate change education.

      Our national motto was on our money before you were likely around so I don't see the complaint there. If you don't want to use it you can give it to me. I don't mind.

      My tax dollars have not been spent to propogate religion. In fact I think my tax dollars have gone to support schools that teach children that God is not real, pays justice officials to prosecute people who practice religion in public, and transforms a country that was founded to have a place where people could worship how, where, or what they wanted. You could say home school if I don't want to go to public school. I still pay taxes either way though.

      You are not prosecuted, taxed, or shunned for your beliefs. Religion has not done anything to you, but I guess you would be more than happy to have restrictions placed on me to limit my ability to practice my religion.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Ashrakay

      @Luis – Where is the courage in blind faith? And how do you know I think everything is an accident? People that don't believe in fairy tales, don't automatically believe everything is an accident. There's this things we non-believers have called, "causality." Our very way of life is based on this.

      I don't want to even have to write comments like I do. I'd rather live in a world where people are ruled by rational thought. Unfortunately, I don't live in that world, and I find the burden of responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who have found their way free of the prison of god, to help others free themselves too—even if they are blind to the fact that we are trying to help them.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Ashrakay

      @I_get _it – I think Luis is a lost cause. Either that, or we're dealing with an adolescent.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • I_get _it

      Luis,

      Thanks for your detailed reply. The main point of my original post was to dispute your claim that non-believers are 'drawn to' discussions of religion by some deep-seated quest to believe religious ideas. My (off the top of my head) bullet points were just to illustrate why we have concerns and why you might have them also, given other circ.umstances. Yes, some of those concerns have been addressed and dealt with, but only because the separation of church and state has been insisted upon in this country.

      You are certainly free to practice your religion. Others are also free to state their alternative viewpoints and to call out the fallacies.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:44 am |
  2. Carlos Marin

    The phrase 'All things shall pass' is believed by Buddhists to have been uttered by the Buddha on his deathbed.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  3. Tevii

    I do know the bible as well as the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, and many other religious books.... that is why im agnostic, its all BS. I find most people who are religious, know nothing of their own religion, they are just following their parents brainwashing. Do due your due diligence and you will probably be agnostic as well

    June 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Chris

      I see what you are saying, but aren't you doing the exact same thing you accuse "parents" of doing by trying to impose(brainwash) your agnostic beliefs on others. I respect your belief to be agnostic, but I think it is hypocritical of you to judge other people for what they believe whether it be Muslims, Jews or Buddhists. You already are guilty of the self imposed judgment you have placed on others.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Tevii2

      CS Lewis did his research and became a Christian. You give yourself too much credit.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • bluemax77

      Well, woop di doo for CS Lewis...!!

      June 6, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Free

      Tevii2
      Lewis said that he was "very angry with God for not existing" and that he was too lazy in his youth to keep up with worship. Hardly a convinced atheist by today's standard, eh? JRR Tolkien convinced Lewis to became a Christian again. Actually Tolkien was hoping he'd become a Catholic, but Lewis reverted back to the faith he grew up in, Anglicanism.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  4. Raj

    Within the "phantom Bible passages of the King James version" that your article points out, most of them (not all) are as what you mentioned, but hidden among them are some that are genuine which you haven't seen because it requires a revelation from God Himself. Everyone has a aprt in the plan of God and you are of the kind that these verses refer to in Matthew 13:13-16:

    "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."

    June 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  5. Lairbear

    I'm beginning to think the ancient Egyptians, ca. 3500BC, may have had it right in regards to Gods.
    There were many gods during this time, around 80+ I believe. Amun-Ra, Osirus at the top and the other Gods were to follow.
    Their belief system lasted for many years without backlash, until the Christian/Judeo beliefs became the main "attraction," 1500BC to present time.
    Perhaps the bible is a take from the ancient Egyptian beliefs?

    June 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  6. Fireoasis

    It was rather funny to me that of the quotes/sayings they listed I was not under the impression that ANY of them were direct quotes from the bible and instead simply believed them to be 'sayings' that society had picked up over the years. Assuming anything is a quote without some reference to where it came from is just silly.
    On the topic of the bible and what is or isn't true or what is or isn't fact, please remember that there are -MANY- versions of the bible, the King James bible alone was written and rewritten MANY times to please King James, that is why it holds his name. Almost every branch of the 'Christian' religion has a varying 'bible'. The bible is a book of stories put onto paper by MAN. If it is fact or not, we can not really say and one can only trust in their FAITH, as to what to believe. Stop making the bible a hard and fast 'law' rather then a book of stories that is meant to give you guidance on how to live a reasonable life without harming others. Furthermore, stop thinking that some quote from the bible is going to be the changing factor to someone's faith. Either you believe or you don't, one verse should not change your mind or heart. To do so makes you quite wishy washy. ALL religions are based on FAITH, not fact.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  7. Perry C.

    And, if you want to read an interesting book about "banned questions" that aren't supposed to be asked about the Bible, check out Christian Piatt's new book.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Jacob

      It has four reviews on Amazon and appears to be self-published. Are you Christian Platt?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  8. frank

    The 10,000 yammering posts in here about Revelation when the quote was explicitly about Genesis alone are a most instructive demonstration of how people choose to ignore what's right in front of them, yet are dead certain of something that simply isn't there; which explains a lot about the phenomenon of religion. Frickin imbeciles....
    ...........................................................................

    June 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Jacob

      Spot on.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Duce

      Harshly put, yet brutally honest! Good one.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  9. Jeff

    My favorite is the christmas story as told in christmas pageants. When we review this, I read the passage, then ask my sunday school classes, "to what person in what town did the star lead the wise men?" They always answer, "to Jesus in Bethlehem." Problem is, that's not true. In the text, it's as plain as day that the star led them to Herod in Jerusalem. Yet we believe the christmas pageant and not the Bible.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  10. HeavenSent

    The bible sez god gonna wup your ass with tornadoes and tsunamis and lots other nasty. Doesn't matter if you's bad or good. Gonna wup your ass. God be real nasty at you. God is nasty yo.

    Amen.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Heaven Scent (the original) seems to be going by some name with a Garden in it, like Peaceful Garden or something. At least this person sounds like her. I haven't seen any comments about dry bones yet, so I can't be sure.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It was FairGarden. If that's not HeaveScent, is sound just like her.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • I_get _it

      Hmmm, I thought @FairGarden was Adelina !?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  11. Gnodges

    I am bibically ignorant.......thank god.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  12. Terry

    Really people, it's just a review of a book containing short stories passed down thru the generations. Do you always get this passionate when someone reviews a literary text?

    June 5, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  13. Matt M

    Speaking of, Benjamin Franklin probably didn't say "God helps those who helps themselves."

    It is "attributed" to him, but that's not saying much.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Matt M

      mmm..nevermind. I was wrong.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  14. Greg

    Actually the "serpent" in the garden of Eden is identified at 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.

    Not too hard if you just do a little research, that's why all these bible scholars are a joke.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • leecal

      The book of Revelation was written centuries after the book of Genesis. Why should we assume that the interpretation of Gen. offered by the author of Rev. is valid? The book of Genesis is just an odd creation myth and the book of Revelation is just the ranting of a mad man obsessed with astrology. There is not much point to any of it.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • Chalmer

      I think maybe you should so some research on the meaning of the word "postdated." Picking up a dictionary...not that hard either.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  15. friar

    Actually, we know that the serpent was Satan. Look in Revelation. Bible experts know less than you might think.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • shofar

      Between Genesis and revelation there is at least 3000 years of difference of being written. Not because you have a book neatly compiled means that the two stories are part of a sequence. The scholar is right

      June 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Chalmer

      Postdated!

      June 6, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  16. GodIsNot

    @ Clay – You have made your ignorance so obvious that I almost feel bad for you. You either have never read the Old Testament or you just chose to ignore it. The New Testament does speak of love, but it's premise of vicarious redemption is inherently immoral. No longer is one responsible for their own actions; they can toss their sins on the shoulders of god. With this type of thinking, any amount of evil is possible in the name of religion.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  17. Reality

    And then there are things that should not be in the bible:

    Saving Christians from the Resurrection Myth:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o
    p.4
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    June 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Robert

      So your saying Peter, Paul, Stephen and James (Jesus' brother who was over the early church in jerusalem) were all martyred for a lie. Would you die for a lie????? Get real Reality!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • I_get _it

      @Robert - "Would you die for a lie?????"

      No, I wouldn't. People do it all the time, however - we usually euphemistically call them "misguided".... 900 believers in Jonestown, Guyana; 39 Heaven's Gate followers; 76 followers of David Koresh; and uncountable Muslim suicide terrorists, just to name a few recent ones.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Tatarize

      Yes, because nobody dies for a lie. Wait, Jonestown. You lose.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  18. Robert Johnson

    So you take some Bronze-Age drivel, paraphrase the idea and come up with drivel squared. Then you take the paraphrased idea, modify it to fit what you want to say and it's drivel cubed. Next you misquote the modification in your sermon and you have: Ta-Da! Drivel to the 4th power. It's still drivel, only many times more drivelish.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  19. Dawesmeister

    well, who knows what's "in" and what's "not in" the bible because its basically a collection of stories written over a lot of years. And as for it being a source that speaks of love, Clay – oh yeah sure – eye for an eye, etc etc. And what's with that stuff about your neighbour's ass ?

    June 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Hogwash

      Shows you have not read the Bible......

      June 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  20. Shadrach

    This article is yet another example of someone drawing attention by contradicting or mocking things people have said in regards to faith. The phrase quoted by Ditka is a great example. Though Scripture does not say "This too shall pass", the teaching that ALL things shall pass away is very much in the Bible. Jesus taught, 'Heaven and Earth shall pass away but my words shall never pass away." Matthew 24:35 The teaching is echoed again in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. The thought is that everything we hold dear, materially or otherwise if worldly, shall pass away. This was the point Ditka was making.

    Mr. Dunn, of Tufts University should be embarrassed at his own ignorance. He has damaged the school's reputation by spouting blatantly wrong information. Mr. Dunn says, “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,”. Mr. Dunn should research the very meaning of 'Satan' and the various forms he takes throughout Scripture. Just because Mr. Dunn states that this view of satan is 500 years too early, it does not make it so. Since it is very unlikely Mr. Dunn was present at the writing of Genesis, everything he would say in critiquing it is speculatory. Satan means accuser, tempter, adversary. Of what does Mr. Dunn think Revelation 12:9 is referring when it calls Satan the 'serpent of old'.

    I know this article was written for the very liberal-leaning CNN, but please at least adhere to basic journalism standards and cite sources who are worthy of speaking on a subject. Not every so-called 'professional' actually knows what they are talking about.

    The whole article is a pseudo-attack on Christianity and the Bible. The author and other pundits can't win a debate against either, so they resort to these flanking attacks on such spin-off wisdom. The result to the un-educated or baised is a sort of confirmation of their preconceived notions that the Bible is somehow invalid.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Len

      Excellent explanation!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Hogwash

      Amen!!!!!

      June 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Annabelle

      This article, whatever else you might think about it, certainly does NOT imply that the Bible is invalid. Frankly, you really have to stretch to get to that conclusion ... and I think it's a bit far-fetched to see this as part of some attack on Christianity. This article points out that the assumptions of the world can cause those of us who are Christians to misinterpret and misremember what is in scripture. I don't see see why this should be controversial for faithful Christians. It's absolutely true, and it's so important that we don't let the so-called "common sense" about scripture skew our actual daily study of scripture. We have an obligation to be thoughtful in our interpretation and not parrot back conventional wisdom. We have an obligation not to become puffed up with pride about our own perfect interpretation of scripture.

      And come on, obviously the expert meant that the Book of Revelations was written 500 years after Genesis! Genesis itself doesn't mention Satan; the interpretation / understanding that the serpent was Satan comes years later. Scholars of scripture weren't there when the book was written, no, but they do study it and devote their whole professional lives to it. Many of them are pretty amazing Christians themselves. You might try having some humility and learning more about scripture from the experts you insult. It can be a faith-promoting and enriching activity.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • shofar

      Shadrash, the author is either right or wrong, but you explanation seems to say both. If you agree that the word Satan is not present in the book of genesis and then it came out at least 500 years later, the the author is right! The bible is a compilation of books and the very first one doesn't mention Satan in the same way as the last one.
      You problem is to see the Bible as one book, when in reality is a compilation of several books authored by different people. And , as you said, nobody was present when any-book was written, it is also gullible to think that every book is a continuation of the next one. The relationship of the book that made the bible is just that a common patter, but many books were left behind because the different opinions about the topic. Any scholar would tell you there are hundreds of gospels from the time of Jesus, but the Bible only acknowledge a very few. Actually the catholic Bible includes more books in its edition.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • shofar

      @annabelle. I totally agree with you and you have no idea how much hurts me to have to point out something you seems to overlook. The Article IS against Christianity, but not in the form of Atheist against God. It is a subtle position of Catholic vs Protestants and how Protestants are wrong on their clinching and interpretation of the Bible. Believe me ,the Article is more than just criticizing the quotes, but the whole Protestant movement (Christianity as we know it in America), but never discredited the catholic position, because the knowledge base in the catholic faith uses more than the Bible in their theology. It is a subtle battle.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Spiffy

      There is no God. Sorry.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:33 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.