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Your Take: Comments on misquoting the Bible
June 6th, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Your Take: Comments on misquoting the Bible

Our Sunday post about oft-quoted biblical lines that don't actually appear in the Bible struck a chord, with 5,000 comments so far.

Lots of atheists and critics of religion used the piece to ridicule believers, taking several different lines of attack. Here are a two:

Amanda
Because most people would prefer to be ignorant rather than think for themselves. That is what the whole of organized religion is based on, especially Christianity and Catholicism. Organized religion has never done anything good for humanity in history.

Atheism is Great!
Actually, the bible is nothing more than a collection of stories and moralities written by human beings thousands of years ago who's max age was maybe 30, who thought the Earth was flat, and who did not have access to scientific or medical science/information. It's not from "god" people, god doesn't exist either. Whatever helps you get through your life I guess. I personally don't need that crutch. Have a nice day.

There was also more nuanced criticism of organized religion, with some commenters arguing that the prevalence of biblical misquotes suggested that religious folk have been overly dependent on religious authorities for a long time:

Witchytiger
The point to remember here is that just up until very recently, the masses believed whatever their clergy told them. They either didn't have the skills to read (for whatever reason), or simply didn't believe they should read the bible themselves.

I once asked an elderly Catholic where her bible was ... (I love old books and thought her bible would be a real treat to look at ... ) She was horrified that I thought she'd even HAVE one ... Her thought, at the age of 90, was that Catholics are not supposed to read the bible on their own. It was their job to believe what the Father told them, and it was the Father's job to know the bible.

So many times it's either just plain ignorance, or the situation that they come from (IE: can't read, etc) that produces these types of situations. Thankfully we're coming out of those situations, if only little by little.

All the criticism of religion brought out plenty of faithful. One responded to Amanda, the religion critic whose comment is above:

Zach
Really, Amanda? I would encourage you to try to prove your statement about no good ever coming from organized religion. I can think of a few well-known and recent organized religionists who have done quite a bit of good – Mother Theresa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandhi. I can also think of a few anti-religious people who have done a lot of bad – Stalin, Mao, Hitler. "Never" is a big word.

Others believers lobbed ad hominem  attacks on atheists:

Bottom line
Atheists/Agnostics have nothing of substance to do on weekends. Also since they are empty when it comes to faith or beliefs they have to make the attempt to urinate on ones who do so they can feel full and superior.

A fair number of commenters, meanwhile, criticized our piece, arguing that some misquoted scriptural lines have biblical roots:

David
Many of these phrases many not be in the bible verbatim, but their intent is very much contained in it, specifically "Spare the rod spoil the child". This phrase is a direct distillation of Prov 13:24 & 23:13-14 "He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14).

I find it disingenuously nit-picky to state that a faithful paraphrase of a verse is "not" in the bible.

Mahanaim
I find it very disturbing that the "CHAIR" of a "SCHOOL OF RELIGION" would go record as say that the "the devil was not in eden". Kevin Dunn is right in saying that the word "devil or satan" was not mention in Genesis but if Mr. Dunn is "BIBLICAL SCHOLAR" then he should be familiar with the "BOOK OF REVELATIONS" which equates "THE SERPENT, DEVIL & SATAN" as one and the same: Revelations 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:". And you wonder where people get the wrong impression about things that are "IN" the Bible. Mr. Blake, apparently you did not know your Bible well enough to call Mr Dun on that one.

And, as always, there were plenty of attempts at humor, including this on Adam and Eve eating that apple:

Sean
If he didn't want man and woman to eat it, he should have made it broccoli or spinach.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Comments

soundoff (1,118 Responses)
  1. Sean

    Jesus saves. Moses invests. Buddha enlightens.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Hulk smashes!

      June 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • ScottK

      All religion enlightens...your pockets that is...

      June 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  2. Dave From Philly

    As people are going to believe what we want to believe and there are few words that will change our minds. My earliest memories include going to sunday school, sunday service, sunday night service and wednesday night service, so it would be hard to convince me that GOD does not exist. However, my belief is not just based on attending church, it is based on personal experience. As a christian the only thing I would suggest is for people to read the New Testament and then decide for themselves.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Colin

      "My earliest memories include going to sunday school, sunday service, sunday night service and wednesday night service, so it would be hard to convince me that GOD does not exist."

      My earliest memories include the joys of waking up Easter morning and Christmas morning to a large pile of gifts. It was NOT hard to convince me that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny do not exist.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Dave From Philly

      Colin, did someone teach you that Santa existed? That the easter bunny existed?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • BillyBones

      Dave, some people can't help not developing past fifth grade, but why would you be proud of the fact?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • vo1citw

      Amen to that.

      Why not at least take Jesus up on His offer in Matthew 7:7, and see what happens?

      Ask and see if you do not get a response. Seek and see if you do not find Him. Knock and see if He does not open the door.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes Dave, as with most small children it was a delightful story told to me to enhance the joys of Christmas and Easter. I, along with everybody else, outgrew them. I also outgrew gods, angels, pixies and fairies, I am at a loss as to whay so many do not.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Dave From Philly

      Colin, my question was were you taught to believe in santa or easter bunny. not if you were told a story. BTW, santa is based on the Saint Nicholas.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Colin

      Sorry Dave, thought I answered. Yes, I was told they were both real. I was quite disappointed to find out Santa was not. Easter Bunny just sort of "went away". Gods, ghosts and goblins also sort of faded away, the more I came to understand science.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • ScottK

      "When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superst ition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispas sionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circu mstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superst ition. I doubt if I could do it myself." – Mark Twain

      "my belief is not just based on attending church, it is based on personal experience." A personal experience that does not "examine sincerely" anything that may cast a doubt on the belief's you learned as a child "going to sunday school, sunday service, sunday night service and wednesday night service".

      June 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "A personal experience that does not "examine sincerely" anything that may cast a doubt on the belief's you learned as a child.."

      Now I have no idea about the person this statement is directed toward, but it is not consistent to all ppl of faith. There are many of us that examine our beliefs, study about them and question them to have a better understanding of what we believe in.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Dave From Philly

      If you never had a personal experience then there is nothing I can post that you will accept. I accept that many of you don't believe, but why do you many of you try to force the rest of us into believe what you believe, which is nothing. As Joshua said in the 24th chapter, choose for yourself who you will serve, ....but as for me and my house we will serve the lord.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Scott

      Yep, same experience, exactly the opposite conclusion

      June 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  3. frp

    The Bible, among other Books, are written in metaphors. Once one understand that, what these books say can't be taken literally.
    For example, the passage of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, who converted water into wine at a wedding when they run out of wine. The actual conversion didn't happened, Jesus said "Drink this water and pretend it is wine."

    June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Arnold

      what are you talking about read john 2 verse 9 and u will see that the water was changed into wine, when they tasted it, it tasted like win

      June 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Arnold

      wine*, Jesus never said to pretended it was wine

      June 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • lelanded

      however, I do not think your example of "water into wine" is not a very good one. It is impossible to know exactly what Jesus said, and where does it say in the bible that he asks us to "pretend"?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • lelanded

      *I don't think it is a good example, not "I don't think it is not a good example". Sorry.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  4. Scott

    "Christians" make up their own version of the bible as they go along. Especially when they're trying to bully certain people if not murder.

    Like a volume of "Mad Libs".

    June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Joel Bryan

      You're right, Scott!!! All people are capable of such evil, even those Christians! Just like the Bible says. Wait, umm, I think something went wrong there.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      True, they used it for so long to justify slavery for starters

      June 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Scott

      With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. For example George Bush

      June 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  5. believer5

    would one of the many who say there is not God kindly tell me their personal belief as to how the earth came to be. If you say the big bang, then please provide your opinion as to how that came to be.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      What, you want to hear my personal belief? Why, so you can disagree? Fine, here it is: the world hatched from an egg.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • believer5

      yes, blow the question off and don't answer it. It is uncomfortable thinking about what you can not explain.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @believer5: You're the only one that's uncomfortable and requires an answer. Atheists have no problem saying, "I don't know. I'll let you know when we figure it out."

      June 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • believer5

      more like you stop thinking about it when science does not have the answer. That is just what it looks like from here.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      It's been here for millions of years, and we can only guess at the origins of matter and energy since we are made out of them and subject to their limitations. Get back to me in a million years and if I'm still here, I'll know more. Certainly it wasn't made by some god who thinks the earth is flat and is afraid of witches and gay people.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bob

      I don't know, nor do I particularly care. The universe *is*. It does not require my belief to continue to *be*.

      That said, the Big Bang theory of creation is just as plausible as a superior being creating it. Who am I to say that some superior being didn't cause the Big Bang? That's just as plausible – that a superior being is using our universe as some sort of supercollider experiment – as a story in a book.

      The Big Bang theory has one huge advantage over a literal interpretation of Biblical Creation: it can be verified by observation and those observations duplicated ad infinitum. Creation can't; instead, there is only the most oblique inference and unverifiable personal experience.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Science

      Starting with the Earth's formation by accretion from the solar nebula 4.54 billion years ago (4.54 Ga),[1] the first eon in the Earth's history is called the Hadean.[3] It lasted until the Archaean eon, which began 3.8 Ga. The oldest rocks found on Earth date to about 4.0 Ga, and the oldest detrital zircon crystals in some rocks have been dated to about 4.4 Ga,[4] close to the formation of the Earth's crust and the Earth itself. Because not much material from this time is preserved, little is known about Hadean times, but scientists hypothesize at an estimated 4.53 Ga,[nb 1] shortly after formation of an initial crust, the proto-Earth was impacted by a smaller protoplanet, which ejected part of the mantle and crust into space and created the Moon.[6][7][8]

      During the Hadean, the Earth's surface was under a continuous bombardment by meteorites, and volcanism must have been severe due to the large heat flow and geothermal gradient. The detrital zircon crystals dated to 4.4 Ga show evidence of having undergone contact with liquid water, considered as proof that the planet already had oceans or seas at that time.[4] From crater counts on other celestial bodies it is inferred that a period of intense meteorite impacts, called the "Late Heavy Bombardment", began about 4.1 Ga, and concluded around 3.8 Ga, at the end of the Hadean.[9]

      By the beginning of the Archaean, the Earth had cooled significantly. It would have been impossible for most present day life forms to exist due to the composition of the Archaean atmosphere, which lacked oxygen and an ozone layer. Nevertheless it is believed that primordial life began to evolve by the early Archaean, with some possible fossil finds dated to around 3.5 Ga.[10] Some researchers, however, speculate that life could have begun during the early Hadean, as far back as 4.4 Ga, surviving the possible Late Heavy Bombardment period in hydrothermal vents below the Earth's surface.

      For further questions feel free to enroll at your local collage.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • believer5

      Sean... I thought christians always got grief for taking what their parents and priest said without question? Now I am getting it for requiring an answer?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Karl P

      Why does it really matter how God created the Earth or for that matter is still creating and changing our planet? I can't even pretend to understand, all I can do is marvel at what has come to be and wonder where it may lead. It amaizes me that Christians think that this is the end of the game and that God is finished, maybe He's just getting started and has taken this breif period in time to get a few laughs before He gets serious.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "requiring an answer?" Good, so you've given up on religion and accepted reality? Fine with me. Bbye.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • believer5

      I have a degree in Mathematics. What I am pointing out is that even with your long theory You will always start at a place you can not explain. That is where we all start. You still start with a super nova.... which came from... If we are going to debate we first have to come up with at least one agreed upon fact.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • believer5

      @Sean I have not given up on Religion. I have had quit the opposite course. I have come to it.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @believer5: You said, "If we are going to debate we first have to come up with at least one agreed upon fact."

      If we agreed, then it's not really a debate, is it?

      You also said earlier, "more like you stop thinking about it when science does not have the answer. That is just what it looks like from here."

      Well, I don't know where you are and how things look from there. I will say that the mere act of "thinking" about something doesn't instantly provide an acceptable answer. So, in lieu of giving a poorly supported answer (which it seems you're more than willing to accept), we choose to say "I don't know. I'll let you know when we have more info." That doesn't mean we're not thinking about it. It just means we're not accepting your version as the correct one because we have no evidence (translated: "reason to accept") that anything started the universe.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • believer5

      keep an open mind to the answer Sean. Stick with it and you may get there some day. I will pray for you. Don't take that as an insult. From me that is sincere, I pray for my family and friends. It may not mean much to you but in I my opinion I have given you the greatest thing I can. If you look at it from that perspective you may even respect that. Though I know you do not believe in it.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Science

      @Beleiver5
      Posting the scientific explanation for the formation of the earth (which was your question) is giving you grief? If you do not want an answer (wouldn’t be surprised) then why waste your time asking the question?

      Neither my parent nor a priest taught me these things. Comparing the average parent or religious leader to a scientist is laughable. Scientist use physical evidence. Evidence we can see, touch and measure for the bases of their theory.

      There is as much evidence for your version of ‘g0d’ as there is for Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @believer5: I was, at one time, a believer. I stopped when I realized none of it made any sense.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'believer5 – more like you stop thinking about it when science does not have the answer. That is just what it looks like from here.'
      Then you need a new vantage point.
      Personally I dont understand physics enough to understand what the scientists are fully saying, I can admit that, but what I do know is they are not trying to say it was magic and therefore we need to stop exploring it.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • believer5

      @scence, the grief comment was posted before your opinion so clearly not directed at you. Yes I compare parents and religious leaders to scientist. You have not met my father nor mother and they are the only parents I have to compare. Father, Two Uncles.. all professors. And no, not some JC. Texas Tech Engineering (father), Yale (passed away), and Oxford (retired lives in England) and as for the religious leaders they all went to higher education as well. Not that you agree with those particular schools. Not all are great or even good. Some call themselves scientist who you probably wish the would not for they too are less than worthy. Does not mean I judge all by the few.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • believer5

      @science, sorry my grief comment showed up just after yours so I can see the confusion. I typed it when yours was not there and you entered first. It was directed to Sean.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • believer5

      What did not make sense Sean? The biblical explanation for the formation of the Earth? The Bible teaching the is a higher power we cannot see? Surely the moral teachings are ok to you.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @believer5: Epicurus.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Dan

      The big bang theory is based on the fact that stars and solar systems in the universe are moving away from each other. As far as the events leading to the big bang? Who knows. But I'm OK with not knowing, and not knowing does not prove the existence of the Biblical God.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • believer5

      Sean...only believe what can be tested... I don't know. I just can not believe this is just all an accident. I believe in natural selection, things happen after something is started. I can see characteristics disappearing but non that have formed. You can not gradually gain wings. For many, many years they would be a hinderance to survival as they formed. They can never show a trait created only lost.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • believer5

      Nor does it disprove it Dan. It is always easier to disprove than to prove.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • believer5

      THanks to all who have responded. Nobody had to insult each other or act like the other is not smart enough to see it their way. Bye.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • LinCA

      The chain of events to explain a phenomenon:

      For the Non-believer:
      Step 1. I see "A". But what caused "A"?
      Step 2. For "A" to exist, "B" must be true. But how can "B" be true?
      Step 3. I found some evidence for "B", but that requires "C". Where can I find "C"?
      Step 4. I've found "C", but "C" implies the existence of a previously unknown entity we'll call "D". Can I prove that "D" exists?
      |
      |
      |
      Step n-1. To prove "X", I have to prove "Y". Can I?
      Step n. Can I prove "Y"? I don't know, but I'll try to find a logical and testable explanation. Until I do, I'll be satisfied with "I don't know yet".

      For the Believer:
      Step 1. I see "A". But what caused "A"?
      Step 2. For "A" to exist, "B" must be true. But how can "B" be true?
      Step 3. I found some evidence for "B", but that requires "C". Where can I find "C"?
      Step 4. I've found "C", but "C" implies the existence of a previously unknown entity we'll call "D". Can I prove that "D" exists?
      |
      |
      |
      Step n-1. To prove "X", I have to prove "Y". Can I?
      Step n. Can I prove "Y"? I know, "god did it!".

      The number of steps in the process varies from person to person and depends on a number of things, such as intelligence, age, education, etc. It seems though that for quite a few people on this blog n=2:
      Step 1. I see "A". But what caused "A"?
      Step 2. I know, "god did it!".

      June 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Scott

      "If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If his is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weakness? . . .If he is reasonable how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable? If he is inconceivable why occupy ourselves
      with him?

      June 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  6. Karl P

    In my humble belief, religion or one’s way of worship is a gift from God to their particular culture. The Native Americans, Buddhist, Christianity, Islam, Judaism as well as many others were all given to mankind to enhance their faith and promote harmony within their culture. It was a gift to help guide us to know right from wrong and to promote a sense of morality. What we did or do to this gift to warp it into a way to justify or own short comings is the true sin. Who are we to say that the person beside us is wrong and damned forever because they don’t follow our beliefs? I believe that any religion that teaches love, tolerance, forgiveness, and social justice is truly blessed by God (no matter what we may call him or her). Besides, won’t we all be surprised to learn the maybe the Aztecs were right.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  7. frp

    The Spanish army with the blessing of the Catholic church, an organized religion, killed millions of natives in the Americas and the Caribbean.
    In the Middle East organized religions are killing people.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Joel Bryan

      And those darn child sacrificing Incas and Aztecs! who only stopped when the Spanish killed their leaders! Wait, who was the bad guy again?

      June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Joel, that would be the Spanish. Read your own post. Geez, man.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Dan

      Actually, the Indians were sacrificing humans in the name of an unseen diety. Both killed in the name of an invisible "god" and both were wrong.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • demetri

      The Catholic church is not the be all or end all of religions or christianity. The two are not mutually exclusive but one does not define the other.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @demetri
      They sure think they do/are.

      June 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  8. demetri

    RE = Manhanaim comment.

    It's a pity that there are people who take the bible literally, and believe that the serpent (snake) (dragon) are all symbols, creatures and or the devil.

    If believers in the holy scripture, would just stop and think, and take the bible and it's many versions into context: who wrote, who put it together, the order in which it was written, why it was written, who oversaw the actual content, etc... If they would stop to think about this and other questions that will arise: 1.) they would be less insecure and threatened by its flaws (it is a book, made up of pages), there is nothing mysterious or magical about it, but most important they would realize where the truth of our creation lies.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • TBW

      demetri,

      Since you are so full of information about the flaws and magical thinking in Scripture, I have a question for you. Do you realize that many Bible scholars have Ph.D.s in their particular fields? If you were to put your Biblical knowledge against someone like C.S. Lewis for example, who would you have us believe?

      June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Bible knowledge and Star Trek Trivia are about equally useful in the real world.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Bible Clown

      Don't be ridiculous.

      Trek trivia has helped me seduce large numbers of nerdy broads.

      For Christians, you just need cheap wine!

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Will, I actually thought the same thing right after I posted: Well, there was this one time . . . .

      June 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • JayMac1221

      TBW:
      What does having a PhD in biblical studies have to do with it? Of course there are scholars who study the bible to no end. But that doesn't preclude the idea that the bible is nothing more than a book of stories and myths handed down by man for thousands of years:

      Long before Christ there was a Roman deity name Mythrus. He is the forerunner to Christian religion. His birthday just so happens to be Dec. 25th. Does that ring a bell? How about the fact these followers had a "baptism" ritual with the cleansing and dunking water? Does that sound familiar?

      Christianity is nothing new. It is the evolution and simplification of religion over time. The ancients had so many gods, they couldn't keep track of them. They all had their own names. But with the evolution of religion it was eaier to have only one god. And to make it simple he is called god (notice the non-capitalization, strike me down for my blasphemy oh lord). Could you water it down and simplify it any more for the masses?

      As for being a magical book, do you really believe that? Come on it's a book with pages written and re-written and re-interpreted thousands of times, so much so that there is no way it carries the same meaning. You want a book of magic, try the Necronomicon.

      As for Christ, Jesus Christ. That was his real name right? Um, no. Jesus is a Greek name, not Jewish. Christ means a messiah. So his last name wasn't Christ, his first name wasn't Jesus. So if you don't even know what his name was, how can you be certain he was an actual person. There is more evidence for the existence of Santa Claus than Jesus.

      And for serpents.. We are talking about Genesis, we aren't talking about Revelations, a whole different book written by a totally different group. We are talking about one incident in the bible, and if it is the word of god, you cannot deny it. The incident was a serpent conning Eve into eating the Forbidden Fruit. This creature is not given any other worldly powers or magical abilities, Or even a name other than serpent. It wasn't a deity, it was nothing but a serpent. And if you read the bible you will note that after the deception and fall, god cursed the serpent to ever crawl on its belly. That's not a vengeful god or anything. And why a serpent? That's simple, all primates have an innate fear of snakes. Chimps and baboons have a particular call that they make only for warning about snakes.

      Lastly, in all of literature, name the character with the most negative traits: anger, vengeance, vanity, covetous, lack of control, huge ego, concern over things that have no effect on him, demanding, jealous, and full of avarice. Is it Scrooge? Is it Moriarty? How about Sauron? Nope, the answer is god.

      So you don't need to be a biblical scholar to look at history and human behavior to figure out the bible is a book of myths contradictions, and is so misquoted it isn't even funny.

      I wish I could say more but I need to go to the store to get some toilet paper. Oh wait, nevermind, I have a bible.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Lucy

      : “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6; 3:5)

      They allow God to rule them as they observe “the law of the Christ” and apply inspired Bible principles in their day-to-day lives. (Galatians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 9:21; 2 Timothy 3:16; see Matthew 5:22, 28, 39; 6:24, 33; 7:12, 21.) To do this, they have to be Bible students. (Psalm 1:1-3) Like the “noble-minded” Beroeans of old, they do not follow humans but constantly verify in the Bible the things that they are learning. (Acts 17:10, 11; Psalm 119:33-36) They pray like the psalmist: “Teach me goodness, sensibleness and knowledge themselves, for in your commandments I have exercised faith.”—Psalm 119:66.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  9. rt

    No way to prove anything one way or the ohter, so why argue about it. You can't do it. No way to argue with anyone what happens after death, or before life, because no one has gone there and reported back. Those who think they 'know, know nothing.
    And those who 'Know they know, know the least of all.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Lucy

      The reason no one has reported back is simply stated in the Bible:

      5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun.

      Great example how man's teaching has influenced the thinking of mankind with lies. What does the Bible really teach? Open it up and study it. Phrase by phrase, break it down, it is our manual of life, just as a cell phone or computer has it's manual to benefit the user to obtain maximun results. Studying it cover to cover without getting the sense of it doesn't educate us.
      (John 17:2-3) . . .. 3 This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ. . .

      June 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  10. Phil in Oregon

    At the end of your life you will encounter Jesus standing in the doorway of heaven (not Peter, as an absurdly large number of people think). He will say one of two things: "I know you", or "I don't know you". Whether you did right or wrong on all the other tests will come after that. If you flunk the first test you go to Hell.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • tommas

      Everyone is going to someone else's hel

      June 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      You are going to be so sad to see all those people you hate right there in Heaven with you.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Me and J are tight, so no problem. The rest of you liars and angry haters can just hang out in the doorway until we're ready.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • demetri

      I know you or I don't know you, and whether you past the other test. You just described some fraternity or sority initiation rite of passage.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • wikiIeaks

      Why do so many who claim to be christian feel that way? That's not what the bible says. Ps 37 talks about that. Also revelation 7:4 and revelation 14:1. Please read that. John 10:16 also

      June 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  11. Kristin

    Wow! I didn't realized how many people had no faith at all being agnostic or atheist. My challenge to them would be to find some "Higher Power" other than themselves and pray for guidance on this matter. A sincere and honest prayer that is not steeped in pride or fueled by anger.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Why? Is there not a dichotomy here? If I don't believe in a higher power, what's the point of talking to it? I'd get more guidance talking to my dog; at least I can tell he's listening to me.

      I think something you're missing is that some of us don't need "guidance" from some Big Beard in the Sky to live our lives. When you pray to seek guidance you're really just accessing your own subconscious. Why not give yourself a little credit? Why not admit that the stuff "God" told you during prayer is really you being wise and thoughtful and powerful? Give credit where credit is due! To yourself.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Howard

      We agnostics and atheists are trying to live decent lives without any illusions about heavenly rewards or eternal damnation. We're just doing so because it's the right thing to do. Now, whose motives do you think a just god would consider purer? As for praying for faith, assuming you succeeded, how would you know the difference between having found actual faith and just having brainwashed yourself?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Kristin, how about if you carve an idol out of soap and spend a week worshiping it. Will you do that for us? I promise I'll pray to an imaginary god if you'll do the same. It's a crazy idea and shows how gullible some of you bible-thumpers can be.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • demetri

      You're challenge. My that's arrogant!

      June 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Kristin: A fair number of atheists and agnostics were once believers probably just like you are now. We've already done your challenge and came out the other side feeling good about discarding our previous "faith". The fact of the matter is we have no need for this "Higher Power" you name. And that's neither sad nor angry nor full of pride. It could and does bring a sense of calm though. Have a good day.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  12. Darius C

    First off, who do you think you are to say God almighty doesn't exist? If it says in the Bible He is real, then He is. Why would it be wrong? The only reason why a person wouldn't want to believe in God is because they don't want to face the fact that there is a higher power than themselves.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • T3chsupport

      I have a book extolling the greatness of green eggs and ham, and talks about a character named Sam I Am.
      Why don't you believe in Sam I Am?

      June 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Joel Bryan

      Darius I hate to say it but that's circular logic. You might want to stay out of this. They're going to eat you alive.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      Sam I Am is as real as you make him. Jesus is real.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Howard

      If Jesus is "real," then why doesn't he manifest himself in a way that every single person on Earth would see and would be unable to deny? I know parents try to bribe their toddlers into behaving themselves with promises of Santa Claus and lots of toys, but we're supposed to be adults with mature minds, not child-minds in adult bodies.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Darius

      Avengers # 8 says the HULK is real, but I don't base my life on comic books

      Why do you?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "First off, who do you think you are to say God almighty doesn't exist?" I'm the Bible Clown. I can walk into a Burger Doodle and buy fries; can Jesus do this? NO. I can post on this message board, and answer back to questions; can Jesus do that? NO. I can talk to girls, teach a parrot to talk, and even read a Bible; can Jesus do these things? No, because He doesn't exist. I do exist, and there's a big difference between existing and being said to exist. Sorry if this is hard for you to realize, but there's no person in existence who is actually the late Rabbi Yeshua bin Yussuf bint Miriam of Nazareth. Maybe He'll come back one day and you can meet Him then?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Bible Clown: If I pray to you, can I have some fries?

      June 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  13. T3chsupport

    As an agnostic, I'm always amused when it becomes apparent that I know more about Christianity than most of my Christian friends.

    I used to be Christian. Reading the bible on my own made me an atheist. It's filled with vile, cruel acts of this 'god', and a lot of hate and bigotry. Just as much suffering and joy as the Quran if you pick them both up for a read (also, mostly the same stories). After much exploration and searching, I'm now a very happy, agnostic Taoist.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  14. tommas

    YOU HAVE NO SOUL and of your consciousness lies in your material brain... no this is something worth debating! Whether or not there is something bigger than the universe is not as we have no evidence either way. If you have no soul, then god does not matter.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • tommas

      typo: "all" of your...

      June 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  15. Frank

    I pray the ignorant open their eyes and realize that God is real. If they can't open their eyes, hopefully they can open their ears. He stands at the door and knocks, all you have to do is open the door.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Bob

      Sorry. That's the pizza guy.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Deb

      AMEN!

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Howard

      I hope (don't pray because I'm an agnostic) that all the true believers find the courage to ask tough, penetrating questions about what they believe. If your god is as mighty as you claim, he can surely stand up to some tough penetrating questions that aren't easily answered. Of course, the simple minded don't ask tough questions. Deep down inside, they're afraid the already know the answers, and that scares them.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      I checked the door and there was no one there. Are you sure you mean God and not Domino's?

      June 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  16. David

    "The bible must be seen in a cultural context. It didn't just happen. These stories are retreads. But, tell a Christian that
    - No, No! What makes it doubly sad is that they hardly know the book, much less its origins."

    June 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  17. Mark

    It wasn't (necessarily) an APPLE!!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Lee

    But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
    Matthew 7:13-15

    June 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  19. Crag

    I love the never ending religious debate, regardless of what side is speaking. Everyone wants to convince those with opposing views they are wrong, all the while, refusing to see how they themselves could be wrong. Everyone has a right to believe what they feel to be true. If you believe in a higher power, be it God, Jesus, Buddha, Zeuss, so be it. If you do not believe in any of it, fantastic. Make up your own mind, and let others do the same. It is not religion, or the lack there of, creating problems in our world. It is the fanatics on any side of the argument, trying to prove they are right causing the turmoil.
    Personally, I am not a believer; however, I can understand why one would be. I can see the reasoning behind those beliefs, and completely respect anyone who holds them. I expect the same understanding and respect in return. If one is so ignorant as to believe their way is the only way, I simply turn the other cheek.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • tommas

      When has a lack of a religion caused any problems in this world (if not but from persecution of those who believe in a mythology) ?

      June 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Joel Bryan

      Actually, I'm just having fun. I was a bit bored till I saw the oppotunity to throw about some irony today.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Response

      Well put.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Dmarq

      Excellent points. As a believer – I would have been comfortable saying the same things! Funny how some people on here can only be happy by being negative. Cheer up folks!

      June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "If one is so ignorant as to believe their way is the only way, I simply turn the other cheek." You know, it sounds like you are saying that your way is the only way. Must be the way you actually said your way was the only way.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  20. John

    Examine the Bible if you will, it is our God given privilege.Jesus plainly said "if any man hears my word and believes not, I judge him not" presently that is –but later in the end of your life, He will judge us the way we judged His word. If you love it, He will love you--If you hate it , will He allow you to embarrass Him in the presence of all creation? Will He then favor such a one as that?Don't think so, away with such!

    June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Silliest thing I've ever heard.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Joel Bryan

      Umm. could you provide references for verses. It helps people to know whether or not you just like making stuff up

      June 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      That is the craziest thing I have ever read.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Are you trying to say that Jesus is easily embarrassed? Has He gotten a haircut and a nice suit so no one will point fingers at Him? Tell Him we think the "Love one another" parts of His book are great, but not the "kill heretics" and "beat your wife" parts, and maybe He needs to put out a second edition with revisions. So He can judge me as I judge Him: partly successful and partly failure, like all humans.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:40 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.