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My Take: How Thomas Jefferson’s secret Bible might have changed history
A Smithsonian conservator displays the cover page from Thomas Jefferson's Bible.
January 11th, 2012
11:38 AM ET

My Take: How Thomas Jefferson’s secret Bible might have changed history

Editor's note: Mitch Horowitz is editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin and editor of Penguin’s new reissue of The Jefferson Bible.

By Mitch Horowitz, Special to CNN

(CNN) Imagine the following scenario: A U.S. president is discovered to be spending his spare time taking a razor to the New Testament, cutting up and re-pasting those passages of the Gospels that he considered authentic and morally true and discarding all the rest.

Gone are the virgin birth, divine healings, exorcisms and the resurrection of the dead, all of which the chief executive dismissed as “superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications.”

Such an episode occurred, although the revised version of Scripture remained unseen for nearly seven decades after its abridger’s death. Thomas Jefferson intended it that way.

During most of his two terms in the White House, from 1801 to 1809, and for more than a decade afterward, Jefferson the third U.S. president and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence committed himself to a radical reinterpretation of the Gospels.

With a razor and glue brush at this side, Jefferson lined up English, French, Greek and Latin editions of Scripture and proceeded to cut up and reassemble the four Gospels into an exquisitely well-crafted, multilingual chronology of Christ’s life.

Jefferson lined up different editions of Scripture.

In Jefferson’s view, this revision represented a faithful record of Christ’s moral code, minus the miracles that the Enlightenment-era founder dismissed as historical mythmaking.

The book eventually became known as The Jefferson Bible and is now being rediscovered in new editions, including one published this month by Tarcher/Penguin, and as the focus of a Smithsonian exhibit.

Ask most people today if they have heard of Jefferson’s Bible and you will receive blank stares. Indeed, for much of American history, The Jefferson Bible was entirely unknown. Jefferson intended it as a work of private reflection, not a public statement.

As contemporary readers discover the work, it is tempting to wonder how American history might look different had Jefferson’s radical document come to light closer to its completion.

Jefferson was still working on his Bible during his presidency, so its theoretical publication wouldn’t have compromised his electability. But if the book had been made public after its final completion in 1820, when Jefferson had only six more years to live, it likely would have become one of the most controversial and influential religious works of early American history.

A curator handles a "source" Bible from which Jefferson cut out passages.

That was a scenario Jefferson took pains to avoid. After being called an “infidel” during his 1800 presidential race, Jefferson knew the calumny he could bring on himself if word spread of his “little book.” Although he had his work professionally bound, he mentioned it only to a select group of friends. Its discovery after his death came as a surprise to his family.

Jefferson’s wish for confidentiality held sway until 1895 when the Smithsonian in Washington made public his original pages, purchased from a great-granddaughter. In 1904, Congress issued a photolithograph edition and presented it for decades as a gift to new legislators, a gesture that would likely cause uproar in today’s climate of political piety.

Because of the book’s long dormancy following Jefferson’s death, and its limited availability for generations after arguably the first truly accessible edition didn’t appear until 1940 The Jefferson Bible has remained a curio of American history.

So how would the earlier publication of The Jefferson Bible have changed American history? It's impossible to know for sure, but the 1820s inaugurated a period of tremendous spiritual experiment in America: It was the age of Mormonism, Unitarian Universalism and Shakerism, among other new faiths.

There’s little doubt that many Americans, who were already fiercely independent in matters of religion, would have seen The Jefferson Bible as the manifesto of a reformist movement call it “Jeffersonian Christianity” focused not on repentance and salvation but on earthly ethics. Such a movement could have swept America, and also have spread to Europe, where Jefferson was esteemed.

A broad awareness of Jefferson’s work would have surely engendered a more complex view of the religious identity of Jefferson and other founders. Indeed, one of Jefferson’s most trusted correspondents while he was producing his Bible was his White House predecessor, John Adams, who in turn confided to Jefferson his distrust of all religious orthodoxy. These men were impossible to pin pat religious labels on.

Because Jefferson published relatively little during his lifetime, the appearance of The Jefferson Bible would have created a different, and more confounding, public image of the statesman as someone struggling deeply with his own religious beliefs. The Jefferson that appears behind his reconstruction of Scripture is someone who brushed aside notions of miraculous intervention and canonical faith.

As The Jefferson Bible conveys, however, Jefferson considered Jesus’ moral philosophy the most finely developed in history, surpassing the ethics of both the ancient Greeks and the Hebrews. He insisted that Christ’s authentic doctrine was marked by a stark, ascetic tone that clashed with the supernatural powers attributed to him.

“In extracting the pure principles which he taught,” Jefferson wrote in 1813, “we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms. ... There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

Jefferson’s minimalist approach to the Gospels reveals an attitude that he disclosed only privately, just months before his death: “I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

In that sense, Jefferson the politician wouldn’t have stood a chance in the current presidential race, where faith and piety are on constant display. The political process might be more open today to candidates of varying degrees and types of belief if The Jefferson Bible were more central to the nation’s history.

The Jefferson Bible opens a window on Jefferson’s struggle to find a faith with which he could finally come to terms. It was this kind of intimate, inner search not the outward pronouncement and establishment of religious doctrine that the man who helped shape modern religious liberty sought to protect in America.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mitch Horowitz.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: History • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (1,432 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Seems the elder books must be containing many of those foretold of scriptures and that's why they do not tally;

    So woe to those who write the "scripture" with their own hands, then say, "This is from Allah ," in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. (2:79)

    January 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful. (7:157)

      Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death." So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided. (7:158)

      January 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  2. mwords

    Is anyone here realizing that Thomas Jefferson was a man, a mere man....his words and ideas are not inspired by God.
    The Gospels and writings are divinely inspired by the Creator.
    Poo poo on all of this talk of Thomas Jefferson, he is only a man....just like the pope....nothing special, just ordinary people like you and I.
    Sure, you may not believe, but that is your perogative.
    Enjoy your life here, because when you die, nothing good awaits you.

    http://www.godspeaks.com

    January 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Manny

      It's funny. You say all this, but then state, "Enjoy your life here, nothing good awaits you." Well, I can say the same back to you, you deplorable piece of crap. Why can I say this back to you?

      Because I have this memory of mine and I remember something written in the Bible. To respect your fellow man, to do unto others as you would have done unto you–would God want you to chastise others for not believing? NO! That's GOD'S purpose in that individual's life. He doesn't need YOU to vote people in and out of Hell. He probably dislikes you for criticizing others just as much as murderers. After all, a sin is a sin, and you sir, just sinned.

      January 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Brian

      @mwords, and YOU are just a man, and clearly among the worst of them.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  3. NHWoman

    Can't wait to read it!

    January 15, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  4. AGuest9

    It's simple. Jefferson took the writings and left out the hocus-pocus which was likely added later on in the Middle Ages to make the waning religion seem more important to try to convert the Moors.

    January 15, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  5. lis

    this is exactly what the mormons did....joseph smith took different parts of the bible, re-worded them and put it back together. the book of mormon, as silly as it is, is just part (not all) of the bible re-done. the other non biblical "books" are joseph just being a resentful kicked out mason trying to make a statement. what an idiot!

    January 14, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Peter

      Both Jefferson and Smith were Freemasons (or sons of light as the French word means). They don't really believe in the Christianity, but in a gnostic kabbalistic version of it. This can explain why they copied and pasted parts of the Bible, to not only find passages they could relate to in their gnostic views, but also attract people to their, well Smith's, version of "Christianity". Smith's origin in the Freemasonry also explains the square and compass on the Mormons infamous underwear.

      January 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  6. Leo

    To take out the miricles that Jesus performed is to minamize the love of God, and this is the stratagey satan uses. aspecially if he can use someone who is well known and respected. Jefferson was used.

    Jesus was the Word made flesh and dwelt among us and that Word is God

    January 14, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • SFC Mike

      Oh yep, the ol' devil made him do it. Maybe critical thinking and intelligence are the devil's tools as well?

      January 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Mike, unfortunately, critical thinking in some of these churches is discouraged. They aren't even sure they agree with free will.

      January 15, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  7. Dave

    Of all our forefathers, Jefferson was my favorite even before I learned of his version of the bible. When I found that he, like me, respected the morality over the divinity, my respect for him grew further. I wonder if he would have gone so far as to consider himself agnostic, of only in private.

    January 14, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • AGuest9

      You might enjoy "Revolutionary Deists: Early America's Rational Infidels" by Kerry S. Walters

      January 15, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Cory

      Not just Jefferson!! The most influential founders/frameres were not Christians. They were diests who believed in a creator who was then hands off. Look at the quotes of : Adams, MAdison, Washington, and Franklin. Also look at foxhole atheist Ethan Allen and also Thomas Paine. Beck and company are wrong, We were not founded as a Christian nation. One crucial question for CNN: If Gingrich and other presidential candidates, made similar bigoted comments against ethnic groups or religous groups as are made against atheists, would you give it so little attention?

      January 15, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  8. Missouri Boy

    My Momma's COMPLETE King James Bible changed my life history. And I think God for His unspeakable Gift!

    January 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Des

      So did you follow the bible's guidance and do unspeakable murder and torture?

      January 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Missouri Boy

      Such a foolish statement. Bsiedes the fact that we do not know each other, there is the fact that you and so many others are talking to hear their heads rattle. The unspeakable tortures and subjugation are found only in the OLD Testament. The reason that you find the Israelis invading the heathen lands at the behest of the Almighty is that said people (Canaanites) were in pro-longed violation of their Maker's Laws. (See Holy Bible) Also, these attacks (if you begin at the start) were hardly un-provoked. God intended for "His chosen ones" to survive. I understand how severe the blow of this must be to all Social Liberals who will not stand up for Morality, National borders,etc. But if only you will seek to apply yourself, I think perhaps comprehension may yet be within your oft-illusive grasp.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Yes, That's SO Old Testament! When people refer to the bible, they only mean the new part, of course, because then they 'd have to accept the 6,000 year old earth, a world-wide flood, talking snake and other nonsense (as well as a deity that kills so many of his creations that he loves so much).

      January 15, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Cory

      Is that the same bible in which God kills a bunch of kids for making fun of a bald guy?

      Is that the same bible that said that people were created before animals, and also says that animals were created before people? They can't both be true?

      PS Abraham pimped his wife with the pharoah.

      January 15, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  9. lebowski1776

    King James edited the bible into Holy War Propaganda. When you believe God lets you kill in his name (any religion) you're a terrorist. Jesus was about Love, Forgiveness, and Mercy. Satan is Hate, Judgement, and Vengeance. The greatest trick the Devil played was getting Christians to Hate and Kill in Christs name.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Des

      You saying Leviticus isn't in earlier versions? And the miserable cruelties done by and for god in Genesis and elsewhere?

      January 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  10. boocat

    What Jefferson did to his bible is no different than what the roman catholic church did to theirs. There are books called "The Gospel according to Mary Magdalene and the Gospel according to Judas (yeah, that Judas) which the RCC expunged. Bottom line, in my view, the bible is one of the greatest books of fiction ever written.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Dan

      "...is no different than what the roman catholic church did to theirs. There are books called "The Gospel according to Mary Magdalene and the Gospel according to Judas (yeah, that Judas) which the RCC expunged."

      This demonstrates a remarkably ignorance of the history of the RCC and of the history of the Bible, which was canonized by the RCC in the fourth century. Do you expect us to believe that there were no other works of literature in those nearly 400 years that had religious themes? The works you cite were never expunged because they were never accepted by the RCC as Holy Scripture in the first place.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • AGuest9

      No, that pretty much sums up what the Council of Nicaea did. Mary M was a woman, and therefore, unimportant. So, they threw her book out. Maybe she should have written it as "John".

      January 15, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  11. Chris

    Mr. Jefferson was at least right about the supernatural being complete nonsense but the bible teaching morals I think is wrong. The bible condones slavery which is probaly why us white peoples' ancestors had a distorted view of the world because of the old testament. Apologists want to say well that was indentured servents but that's a straight up lie. I know this article is about the new testament but it's also awful in my mind since it's so anti family. It says in the new testament even your family doesn't matter compared to Jesus Christ. I've seen families disown their children because they didn't believe after reading and realizing the bible is nothing but fairy tales with the reasoning being they didn't put Jesus first in their lives.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Believer in Jesus as my Savior

      Where does the bible condone slavery? Yes, it commands slaves to be good to their masters and vice versa, but if you actually look at the Jewish scripts "slave" refers to someone like an indentured servent who is paying off debt. On top of that the Bible says to expunge all debt and release said indentured servant after 7 years.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  12. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":

    And if Jefferson were alive today thereby having the Internet and many more sources of historical records would he agree with the following prayer?

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    (References used are available upon request)

    January 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • mikegcny

      Well done. I think it is quite fitting as Jefferson, at best, was agnostic, but most likely was an atheist. This is why, against popular belief, he was not a Freemanson. He liked the idea's of freemasonry, using religous references to build a moral code, but disagreed with putting trust in an unproven being.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • .........

      given opportunity hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      January 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  13. Tom

    I have always admired Thomas Jefferson, and this story further deepens my admiration. I'm not religious at all, but I agree with the notion that the Founding Fathers looked to the bible for moral guidance in their task of creating a nation. That fact that Jefferson attempted to cut out what he felt was mysticism, and instead create a "custom" guidebook for himself based on his interpretation of morality, using reason, is very interesting. And then, he had the good sense to keep it to himself, letting his own actions demonstrate his beliefs rather than shoving it in everyone's' faces – leading by example. The man was far from perfect, but we could sure use more like him these days.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Missouri Boy

      Well spoken, Sir. God bless you, too.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Muneef

      Truly the world in need of good honest people to gain justice and peace for all...!!

      January 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  14. Dave M

    This 'bible' does not mean that the man was against Christianity, he wanted to use the bible as a moral guide not just a religion which is what you need to do if your aim is to separate state from religion. Am a christian and tto me he bible is not only a holy book and but also a moral guide.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • momoya

      DaveM, your morals are bound to be better than the ones in the bible. Yahweh is a very vindictive god and a torturer and a builder of eternal damnation lakes and such. If you are able, read the bible as if it was not a 'holy' book, and replace "god" in its passages with "my uncle Martin." If you can do this, you will quickly discover that your uncle Martin is very horrible much of the time and hands down unjust punishments for 'crimes' against him that really don't make any sense. If it's wrong for your uncle Martin to act that way, then it's wrong for god, too. Your morals are bound to better than the ones in the bible.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Des

      Right said momoya.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Missouri Boy

      Dave M.: Sir, the ol' Missouri Boy here is on your side, but I would warn you in advance in case you don't already know: Many(but not all) of the Founders were under the spell of France's so-called "Enlightened" thinkers. Be very careful before you enter into a public debate, say, in the work-place or whereever. Deists, agnostics, and atheists certainly "know their stuff" about anything to do with the Founders. Study on the era of the French Enlightenment. KNOW what these men actually believed, at least as much as is known of what they believed. God bless you, Sir.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  15. Anon

    Well at least this shuts up the christian apologists for a while until they make up new crap.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • holly

      Anon- No, sorry, it won't shut us up! But God bless you, I was once where you were. This nice little article doesn't prove anything except that one man, Thomas Jefferson, did not believe in the supernatural. It merely proves and clarifies his own opinion. If we want to know what is true, we can arrogantly assume that we have all the information- there is nothing outside our knowlege and wisdom- and we therefor can begin from ourselves in order to find out all truth. Or, we can stop listening to our own biases and other people's nonsense, and ask God Himself what is true- he is not intimidated by our opinions and in him is fullness of JOY. I love how shocked some of you will be when he answers- I certainly was! Jesus is God poured into a body- He is the son of God, his word is truth, he suffered the punishment we deserve for our sins for us and conquered sin and death by rising from the dead. He went to be with the Father (they are One) to send us the helper- the Holy Spirit. He said we need to believe and follow him to be saved from our sins (wickedness). The JOY of the Lord is my strength! God bless you all- and may you seek truth with all your heart. I pray for God to persue you. He is full of love, mercy, and kindness. It is we who have turned against him.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Anon

      Up yours too you brainwashed christard!

      January 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Robert Sutherland

      Anon........Your contribution to this discussion demands a response. In the words of Homer....DOH!

      January 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    prayer brings the full council of God into focus.

    January 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Fladabosco

      Not only is there nothing wrong with atheism it is the height of arrogance to tell me that you know more about god than I do. Really!

      January 13, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • The_Countesss

      prayer does indeed change things.
      the brain, in the same way meditation does. no god required.
      but that is all it has ever changed.

      you might have heard storied of unlikely events happening after prayer, but what you don't hear are the millions of times nothing unlikely happened. those unlikely events do happen from time to time, with or without prayer.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:15 am |
    • Mirosal

      You'll have to give "Atheism is not healthy..." - she is a vinyl record (remember those? lol) and her needle is stuck in the same groove. Just give her a nudge, MAYBE she'll skip to the next song.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • Anchorite

      99.999999999999999999% of all living things do not have religion. Children are not capable of understanding or knowing religion or God. Whether your children parrot back prayers or religious politically correct words or not they are atheists. If they can understand a 2500 page book written in old English give them Beowulf and tell them to explain it to you.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • boocat

      So does LSD, mescaline and marijuana.....

      January 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Missouri Boy

      Anchorite, I must say you are wrong in your assumption that small children can not understand God or religeon. My Mother began reading a book to me at the start of my 4th year in this world. This book is called "My Good Shephard Bible Story Book." I still have the book in my book case here in my house. I read it to my children with the hope that it impacts their lives as wonderfully as it has impacted my life. God bless you and make His face to shine upon you.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Des

      Had your mother been a Muslim, you would have swallowed all that she gave you at that age too, and you would have followed Islam. Understand?

      January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • tokencode

      Actually I'd argue that religion is far less healthy than atheism. How many wars have athiests started? How many torture chambers have been run to force people to believe in (or not believe) atheism? Organized religion is the root of much evil in the world. I don't care what you believe but far too often it is used as an excuse for mistreating others.

      January 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • mwords

      There is nothing wrong with your belief in Atheism.
      You are free to be guided with your genuine inner voice.
      But you will be a believer about 1/10 of a second after you exhale for the last time.

      January 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      Des.

      Are you saying that atheists became atheists because their mothers were atheists and had them to swallow atheism...!?

      January 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @tokencode "Actually I'd argue that religion is far less healthy than atheism. How many wars have athiests started?"
      =>Atheist: Stalin, Pol Pot, Athiest states (China, USSR, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba).
      Gavrilo Princip (atheist, he as sa ssinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria triggering WWI)

      =>All religions (including Islam + Christianity)
      "In their Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod attempt a comprehensive listing of wars in history. They doc ument 1763 wars overall, of which 123 (7%) have been clas sified to involve a religious conflict" –

      Religious people are statistically more likely to give than secularists (91% to 66%), and give more of their money (3.5 times more than secularists), are more likely to volunteer their time (67% to 44%), and volunteer more of their time (almost twice as much).

      January 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Muneef

      Imagine life without at least the Ten Commandments....!?

      January 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  17. Monticello is made out of people!!!

    It's...PEOPLE!!!! AAAAAAGGGHHHGGGHHHH!!!!!

    January 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  18. Muneef

    USA only became a Christian nation when the White man took over it from the Native Red Indians...but as soon as it openned it's gates to mass immigrations it lost this privilege and became a Multinational nation of many religions and beliefs which has forced it into separating religion from state and become as a secular umbrella country for different religions and beliefs...after all the non Christians might exceed in numbers the Christian one's within it..

    January 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • BethP

      They do not in the US, or in the world. Look it up.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      Same is happening today for many Europian countries who opened their gates for mass immigrations of non Christians...

      January 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Warren

      As a "Mississippi" Choctaw, I agree with Muneef. The US forced many Native American tribes to undergo forced removal while urging the Natives to convert to Christianity. My ancestors did not leave "Mississippi" because it is our homeland near our mother mound Nanih Waiya in what is now Winston county, MS. Even today many native peoples are non-Christians reviving many of our traditional practices and beliefs. The imperial US has often used Christianity/religion as a guise to further its own agenda. Native peoples are often called "The Forgotten Minority."

      January 13, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Anchorite

      Not strictly true. It was not pagan Indians and non-Christian immigrants who invented and made laws about separation of church and state, but Catholics and Baptists each fearing the other would get the upper hand and use government to oppress them. However, now they are banding together to combine Christianity and state to oppress non-Christians and justify attacking Muslim countries.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Muneef

      Warren.
      My heart with you but this seems to be life as it is since we saw many countries follow up in a row the same pattern from Australia to South Africa to Israel and now eyes are on the whole middle east...!

      Anchorits.
      You are right but forgetting leaving out of the menu the Judaism who had the same interests and fears to seek the separation of Church from the State....?
      After all the Christians and Christianity was derived from the Judaism which both make up the Children of Israel and the joined followers...!

      ---       
      Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors. (5:32)

      January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      After all they say we all together descended from Adam family where a brother killed his only brother in coold blood out of jealousy to end up all nation descending from the murderer and his two wives..(His and his brothers confiscated one)..  
      --
      And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]. (5:27)

      If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah , Lord of the worlds. (5:28)

      Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers." (5:29)

      And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers. (5:30)

      Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, "O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?" And he became of the regretful. (5:31)

      Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors. (5:32)
      ---

      January 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Des

      Muneef, you must mean descended from the Addams family. As in here
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family

      January 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Muneef

      Des.

      Funny sense of humor...but those Addams were North American family while the Adams family we are talking about are supposed to have been some where in Africa... ;)

      January 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  19. DonniePhilly

    I am not sure on this. But there is nothing wrong with being big, heavy, or even 385 like you say you are. Be proud of your size. In these modern times one cannot control their size any more than the color of their skin or height.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  20. Beth P

    Does anyone know of any portions of the Bible that indicate that obesity is not only acceptable, but preferred? I have heard that one of the Gospels speak to this, but have no idea which one.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Ironicus

      There are some Muslim folk tales where large women were preferred over thin ones.

      As for the Bible, isn't there a passage about "where their eyes bung out with fatness" or something like that?
      I really can't remember and am going to bed. Turn off the website when you're done, okay?

      January 13, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • boocat

      One of the even deadly sins is gluttony....maybe that's what you are referring to?

      January 13, 2012 at 4:34 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.