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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. Raul

    Shame that those guitly will never see the error in themselves...

    June 6, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  2. Rob

    Rev. B what passage is it that you speak of? I have not read the passage where Jesus accepted someone that is Gay? I believe he would not condim them, but he would be quick to point out their incorrect behavior. Just as with the women who commited adultry. Go and sin no more.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Charybdis

      How is the Bible's condemnation of an idolatrous chic culture in ancient times applicable to modern LGBT people?

      June 6, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Asa Trenchard

      Actually, some biblical scholars point to the story of Jesus healing the slave of the Roman soldier. I'm not going to go into the details, but if you look at the origional texts and understand the language used, as well as the historical context of the life of a Roman in that part of the world, many suggest that the soldier and his male slave were lovers. Jesus, no fool, would have understood this relationship and yet, he healed the slave. There is a very real possibility that Jesus tacitly accepted their relationship and was moved by the soldiers love for his slave and his faith in Christ to heal him.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  3. James Black

    `
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=390]
    .

    June 6, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  4. Shamrock6

    What better way to further discredit religion than to have Mike Ditka as a centerpiece of the article. Folks like myself who want to see the end of organized religion really need not do anything to hasten it's fall. People like Harold Camping, Fred Phelps and Mike Ditka are doing a great job for us. Keep up the good work guys! People are leaving christianity by the thousands each year! Woohoo!

    June 6, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • erik

      yeah Shamrock and guess what!!! The Bible predicts that to it's called the great falling away, anything else? The evil ones are being weeded out. Lastly, Camping and the other fake ones do not represent Christ and the Christian church Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first..." 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV).

      June 6, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • KS

      The Bible predicts that people will see through the sham? No way! I am sure for a lot of people, it is a great work of fiction but that's all it is. I think Isaac Asimov could have written a better one.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • jim

      The only reason any of us can say that we are here is because we have everyone else here to tell us we are really here.... If we were just here by ourselves, like we are in our mind then our thoughts would be our world. Our thoughts are shared with God and he is sharing his with us. His thoughts are everyone else here including ourselves, we are all a thought. A possiblity of consciousness. We seperate ourselves because we choose to do so from each other and God which is one in the same by the way. If we could share ourselves with everyone without fear of judgement then the world would be great but fear runs this place. Real unconditional love is a distant second, but we make it that way. The only 2 true emotions LOVE and FEAR. Consciousness is God we are just pieces of the whole.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  5. Rev. B

    As a Biblical professor I can honestly say that one is foolish to accept the Bible at face value. It is a book one can draw inspiration and some historical reference to but not much more than that. The Bible was written by several authors targeting specific communities. The Bible is not infallible. It has many contradictions just read the two different creation stories in Genesis.
    The Bible is a canon or collection of works. There are many Gospels and other books that are not mentioned in today's Bible, for what we call “The Bible” is actually a canonization of works. This canon was made by a “supreme” council who was deemed important enough to sort and file this collected works.
    The 4 Gospels are even arranged in a specific way– not chronologically. Mark was the first Gospel to be written followed by Matthew. This council had an agenda in the way they organized the Bible.
    We are arguing about a book that has absolutely NO original manuscripts and has been translated NUMEROUS times. The game of telephone has evolved much since Jesus’ birth and death.
    Being a man of God I can honestly say reading The Bible is recommended but in no way is it safe to construct your life around principles that we formed by a society and author’s that were not writing for you—especially for modern times.
    I want every “Christian” to accept gays the way Jesus did. If you don’t believe me read Matthew 19:12 a verse often ignored by ignorant “Christians.”
    If Jesus were walking on this Earth today he’d be very disheartened to see where we focus our attention.

    God Bless.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Shamrock6

      Let's be honest. If Jesus were walking the earth today he would be pi$$ed.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • theydontkno

      I can tell your a professor. With all do respect you should not put Rev up there, because you do not understand the Bible you just study for historical knowledge and other non Biblical things

      June 6, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • erik

      You compromise the gospel just like the rest of those sell out fakes like T.D. Jakes, there is a place set aside for you if you do not repent and come to the complete truth and it aint heaven

      June 6, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • erik

      lol wowww Matthew 19:12 has nothing to do with gay people and you are supposed to be a Bible scholar? to funny

      June 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Debbie

      you are far far far from a Godly man you need to repent and turn to Jesus who is the word of God John 1:1!

      June 6, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • AgnosticBen

      So you do or you don't believe that Jesus Christ is lord and savior?

      June 6, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Free

      Yes, interesting how the very people who put the Bible ahead of what they call merely man-made 'tradition', wouldn't have had the Bible without a decision by those same bishops. The Bible is a product of the Church 'tradition'. They selected only the books that agreed with what was traditionally held at that time. The Bible did not establish what would become traditional, orthodox belief like most Christian typically believe. It was clearly the other way around.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @ youdontknoweither
      With all DUE respect, YOU don't know.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  6. erik

    Wow many of you are evil and of your father the devil, no wonder we have to die and this world will be destroyed!!!

    June 6, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Jerry

      At least we aren't completely nuts.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • erik

      Neither am I and you may not be nuts but you are just a reprobate.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • erik

      Far from a sissy boy and the reasons you stated for me believing in God are wrong. I believe in God because he is real, he made me, he loves me and he walks with me and tells me that I am his own and the joy we share as I exist here you DO NOT KNOW. God is greatest and he even watches over you who don't believe because he is just that merciful, you still have a chance.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • MarkinFL

      All in good time. We'll diver over the next 3 to 10 decades. The world, a couple of billion years from now. But you ARE right, we will die and the world will end.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • MarkinFL

      die not diver... :)

      June 6, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • KS

      "Judge not lest ye be judged" <– wow, by your own beliefs, you're going to hell too! Guess I'll see ya there, buddy.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Jerry

      Reprobate? What have I said here that indicates I have no principles? I don't share YOUR principles, but that's not the same thing.

      I'm basing my assertion that you are nuts on your posts here that blindly regurgitate a book which is almost certainly a mistranslation from the original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. It will probably have been manipulated and heavily edited for political and personal reasons over time from the original versions which were necessarily transcribed from oral traditions several centuries after the events they describe.

      This quote from the article is very revealing –

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

      That is a pretty neat synopsis of religion in general. God did not create Man in his image. It was the other way around.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • jim

      Erik your father is the father of the devil too, so I guess that makes us cousins or something. Were family, be nice.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • erik

      Bottom line is humans are to special and to elite for there not to be a God

      June 6, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Michael

      "That book written by men was God breathed and is filled with great things like honor the father and mother and a host of other great scriptures!!!" - You can't prove God, therefore you can't prove he inspired anything.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Michael

      "Bottom line is humans are to special and to elite for there not to be a God" – once again speculative statements without evidence. Science – 1,000,000, Magic Man – 0

      June 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • KS

      Why don't you take your elite self and go up against a bear. See who is really elite.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Classic example of why religion will never die. People want to feel special, even if they aren't. Even though I am one of 6+ billion ants on this planet, a god thinks my actions and thoughts are important.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  7. Kyle

    Religion is for the lower intelligent people of the world. Pick up a science book or two. Here is a good one that is ACTUALLY in the bible.
    “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30)
    I see a lot of idiots with eyes and hands still. The bible...when it comes down to it. Does not actually mean anything to any christian.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • erik

      Actually Christ is for the smart people of the world, it is the fools like you who don't get it and think you are so smart on your own.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Debbie

      you are wrong to a true christian the Bible is EVERYTHING because without it you are nothing. If you read John 1:1 you will see that Jesus is the the word of God.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Jimbo

      You do understand the concept of a parable right? The idea Jesus is getting at is radical submission. If our right eye would cause you to sin then we should get rid of it. Obviously that doesn't happen and Jesus wasn't advocating for self mutilation. He was referring to other aspects of our lives which may cause us to sin like our careers or our stuff.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  8. Michael

    Misqouting the bible? That is about as bad as misqouting Harry Potter, both have something in common. I don't give a crap what you do with either.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  9. erik

    It must really suck to be an atheist. You have no hope beyond this life that is filled with ups and downs. Life hands us things that can elate us one day and then crush us the next but yet you have no hope for the future and believe your souls deserve no better, I mean really? A human creation that is above all and can do miraculous things that God gave us th intelligence to do but yet you believe when your body dies your just dead nothing else left. That is truly sad you must live miserable lives with no hope for eternity.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • KS

      I'm not an atheist, but you obviously have no clue what atheism is. No belief in a god or higher power does not mean that you do not believe in an afterlife, reincarnation, etc.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • John

      Actually, Erik, I think that not believing in an 'eternal after life' makes us appreciate the short lifetimes we have even more.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • jeff

      You are a joke! Beleieving in God because you would hope for eternal life, man up sissy boy. I want millions of things to be different than the reality, however wishing it true does not make something realisitc. I hate you so much, you are so dumb. I have a feeling your "faith" will have an outcome no different than those who worshipped golden cows in the Bible in about 100 years. Oh, that's right, you have never read the Bible, because if you have there is no possible way to believe what it says.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • erik

      This world is not our home, we are just passing through and I do not know how someone can believe in a supernatural afterlife without believing in a supernatural God, they go hand and hand. Trust me you do not want to do this because I am powerful and stand on the truth but if you want to throw blows lets go, I have my sword.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • erik

      You fools! I have never read the Bible? I was raised in the house of the Lord you idiot, I went to a Christian school, Montrose to be exact the same school that Kevin Durant went to. I know the Bible like the back of my hand and THAT IS WHY MY FAITH JUST GETS STRONGER EVERYDAY AS I ENCOUNTER DEMONS LIKE YOU

      June 6, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Michael

      " A human creation that is above all and can do miraculous things that God gave us th intelligence to do but yet you believe when your body dies your just dead nothing else left."-- What makes you even believe of this after life? A book written by men? Who wrote in there that it was the word of god so it is flawless? If that is all the proof you need for an insane argument for an afterlife, you are extremely gullible.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • erik

      Look what happened to the demon Murray Ohair or whatever her name was, killed by a fellow atheist and bones found in the desert. Not surprised that happened to a God hater at the hands of her own atheist.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • erik

      That book written by men was God breathed and is filled with great things like honor the father and mother and a host of other great scriptures!!!

      June 6, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Michael

      "Look what happened to the demon Murray Ohair or whatever her name was, killed by a fellow atheist and bones found in the desert." -– You point to one crime commited by a couple Atheists and chalk it up to Atheists being immoral? Oh give me 5 seconds and I will post 3 billion murders in the name of your religion, GIVE IT A REST RELIGIOUS NUT CASE.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • jeff

      Trust you I don't want to do this?? I would love to punch your teeth out for being an idiot. Where you want me to start dummy boy. Is there a god? Yes, there probably has to be something more intelligent than us, certianly than you, because well right now we are the most advanced and we certainly didn't create ourselves. But Jesus wasn't even that cool. He gave his life, who cares, thousands of people have done the same, for much less, without the "garentee" of an afterlife. Point is just because there is a God, does not mean it's Bible God, because there have been thousands of God's that have come and gone, your God is no different, nobody knows, Jesus didnt even exist, you wouldnt even admit if you were wrong, nobody intelliegent can beleieve in the Bible.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • erik

      So now I am a religious nut case lol. One thing for sure if I encountered her I would have given her water to drink, clothes to wear or met any other need that she may have had. Oh yeah thats right you may not understand how I could do that because you don't believe the Bible

      June 6, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • erik

      I wish you would try to punch me in the teeth and I would be the last one you ever did that to because this man hasn't been saved all his life and I would knock you the f out or worse.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • erik

      Jesus died so that you may have life eternally and yet you blaspheme God, wowwww

      June 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • KS

      Troll.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • jeff

      i try to stay away from wild monkeys

      June 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • satanlovesvulva

      Hi Erik. It's actually not bad being a sane person, aka non believer. I don't miss going to church and listening to a rich person on the podium telling me how bad things are in the world and how I need them to help me from all of the catastrophes that are besieging this world. I rather listen to some one who knows nothing about religion, yet is full of happiness because of not knowing the fantasies that you've been taught.

      You said that, and I quote
      "You fools! I have never read the Bible? I was raised in the house of the Lord you idiot, I went to a Christian school, Montrose to be exact the same school that Kevin Durant went to. I know the Bible like the back of my hand and THAT IS WHY MY FAITH JUST GETS STRONGER EVERYDAY AS I ENCOUNTER DEMONS LIKE YOU".

      Since you know the bible like the back of your hand, can you please explain to me what was that light that god created on the first day. was it the sun, the stars or just some big flashlight that he used to divide the day from the evening?(gen 1:2-3)

      Please make the answer brief. Thanks.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Lake City? Not surprised... No wonder you are hoping for an afterlife.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Sean

      @erik
      Your impotent rant amuses me.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  10. Rob

    richunix, then you would have an informed opinion that I would respect and agree to disagree. My belief in God does not stem from reading the Bible but my personal experiance.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  11. Charybdis

    Most religions contain moral truths of some sort. It is undeniable that many people's lives have been enriched by Christianity. The problem is that many people have experienced a "liberation" in departing from Christianity, and many people follow other spiritual paths. We do not know enough about the true meaning of the Bible to speculate that hevean and hell are real, that angels and demons exist on this spiritual plane, or that one group of people are "doing it properly." Since we do not know, we should embrace a mature solution, and that is tolerance.

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

      It is undeniable that many people's lives have been ruined by Christianity.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  12. sumday

    But that's the beauty of democracy, the "crazies" are averaged out, and most people fit into the center. Our goal as a civilization, though, should be to adopt the least restrictive laws that promote the health of our society.- yes but we do not have a democracy! Democracy means the MAJORITY rules, yet many times we find it is the minority that rules! Also we as humans don't vote or have a say in anything that gets passed- we vote on a face not policy or budget! Also define health of our society bc it is healthy for us to just invade every oil country and take it- that is healthy for us, but not healthy for the other countries. so unless you define the health of society as a global society you will always have 1 society trying to better themselves at the expense of another society- that is the way it's been since "Cain & Able".

    June 6, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  13. Michelle

    All you need is love.....was that Jesus or John?

    June 6, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Deep North

      Both!

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

      Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

      June 6, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Conguero

      Lennon said all you need is love, Jesus said in no uncertain terms "I AM all you need"....""I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6

      June 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  14. ModernMan

    You've been Rick-rolled!

    June 6, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  15. Dave From Philly

    I agree with Blake, many of the saying/proverbs we think are in the Bible are not. However, that does not mean scripture is not misinterpreted or mangled. Clearly Ditka understood the verse, he just got it wrong. The same with spare the rod and spoil the child. One of my favorites chapters in the Bible is in Joshua (24th). However, I can only remember the parts that I like. "Choose for yourself this day who you will server.........................................................but as for me and my house we will serve the lord." If you are a believer, study the Bible.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  16. Happy Atheist

    I have spent much time reading the bibe.... Thus the reason I do not believe it to be anything more than a story book.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Jerry

      Me too, and I'm also a happy atheist!

      I've noticed that when I come across these kinds of discussions that i've actually not met an atheist who hasn't read the Bible extensively, but I've met plenty of Christians who've barely skimmed it.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  17. mrsmoothalways

    The bible states at Gen 2:17 as for the tree of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will die". Gen 5:5 tells us that Adam lived to be 930 years old and he died. It appears that adam lived longer than the day that GOD mentioned in Gen 2:17. Not so, because 2 Peter 3:8 helps us to understand GOD's point of view. It tell us that one day is like a thousand years in God's eye sight and a thousand years is like one day. So Adam didn't live a day in GOD's Timing. So it would be safe to say that the Serpent in Genesis is non other than satan, because later scriptures can helps us to understand previous sciptures.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Kate M

      "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."

      June 6, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Molly Winston

      What? I hate the bs and wasted time people spend debating what this or that passage means. Fine, read the Bible once or a little every day if it makes you feel better, but don't waste your time reading anything when there is real work to be one and real people who are hungry or hurting or oppressed. As I recall, Jesus said (and I paraphrase, please forgive me) that all of the laws and all of the prophets' teachings could be summed up in two statements: Love God and love one another. I think it's tedious and ridiculous to nitpick over what God intends the Bible to mean beyond those two clear cut directives.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • satanlovesvulva

      To "mrsmoothalways" you're not that smooth.

      You have stated that and I quote "because 2 Peter 3:8 helps us to understand GOD's point of view. It tell us that one day is like a thousand years in God's eye sight and a thousand years is like one day. So Adam didn't live a day in GOD's Timing." if we are to understand your logic, then adam is actually 2930 years old and not 930, which will mean that the bible is wrong. If we are to believe in your logic, then, since adam was created in the 6th day – and that's already 1 thousand years and then god rest for another day, another 1 thousand years and then god puts adam in a garden that he creates, presumably after he rested for 1 thousand years. adam dies 930 years after he was put in this magical garden, but remember that he's already been around for 2000 years. He was created in the 6th day(which equal 1 thousand years) and then he's presumably around somewhere for the 7th day(another 1 thousand years)when god takes a nap.

      So which is 2930 or 930. Please use some intelligence when replying. Don't string verses together to make a point. Be concisely. Looking forward to your answer.

      satan has left the building. ciao baby

      June 6, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  18. lena

    I believe that as conscious humans we should choose only the best, ideal messages from the bible, this way we never go wrong or are mislead by the mistakes, changes and misinterpretations of the bible. For our current time and situation, in order to fix the damage done by our killing tendencies which affects the well being of our planet and our future generations, is to consider these two parts in the bible: Genesis 1:30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Issaia 11:6: The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 65:25 “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” We should remove our tendency of killing of animals because it breeds even more killing tendencies. We, the modern, compassionate, loving and humane great beings kill 60 billion animals a year plus billions more of marine life. Have you ever wonder how would it feel to have a knife pierced through your skin and your flesh? Have you ever wondered why they scream so loud? Could it be pain? The myth that we need meat is already proven to be wrong and actually animals products are the cause of all our health problems (be it directly or indirectly) Raising so many animals causes damage to all the aspects of our environment and cause 87% of the climate change. If we become more loving and compassionate, we will be in accordance with the world scriptures; our evolution was a learning process and the bible was a guide, no need to look at our past and repeat our ancestors’ mistakes and look at the bible through their eyes. We evolved to be more loving and God is love (the rest is history). Be vegan to stop all the distresses humans impose upon themselves and to get closer to God. God never approved of killing and blood is life. You eat blood, you took a life.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Kerry

      Better not step on an ant or disinfect anything in your household. You'll take a life...or millions... the horror.....

      June 6, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • what?

      Yeah, we'll just pick the parts we like and ignore the rest. But it's still the basis of our faith and life. Honestly, this just reinforces the author's point: Christians have been using the bible to prove they're right about everything from the Crusades to being freaking vegan. And all the translations means someone has edited your access to your faith. Even as a story book, the bible has been altered and watered down so much the morals of the fables have been impacted.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  19. eeniemeanie

    Matthew 24:34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  20. Andrew

    Two words that every column writer should consider: Who cares? This a knit-picky article that is exceptionally callous. The problem of quoting scriptures is that there are too many to remember them all, so people paraphrase. All of these quotes are paraphrases, and therefore, count as correct references. Just because the expression they use isn't ENTIRELY right, doesn't make it a misquote.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Robert

      Sorry – a misquote is a misquote, and paraphrasing out of context is just using what you THINK it means for what you WANT it to mean. If that is all you want to do, why not just write your own "scripture"?

      June 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Danger of Misquotations

      The statement of "Who cares" is why there is a major misquotation or paraphrase. The bible does not say "God helps those who help themselves". In fact, as the article implies, it is really against the biblical teachings. Take the paraphrase and bring it to its fruition: It means if you are Rich, you are god helped. If you are strong and able bodied, you are God helped. It is a major path difference to "The rain falls on the Just and the Unjust". I would rather paraphrase it to "God helps those who Cannot help themselves". Jesus did not go to the Rich man and give him bread and clothes. So as far as "Who cares?" I do.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:37 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.