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My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible
The 17th century painting Judith Beheading Holofernes, by Artemisia Gentileschi, depicts a biblical scene.
February 25th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible

Editor's note: Steven James is the author of more than 30 books, including "Flirting with the Forbidden," which explores forgiveness.

By Steven James, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.

For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)

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The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.

Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).

And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.

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I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.

And that’s what he gives us throughout Scripture, telling the stories of people who struggled with the same issues, questions and temptations we face today.

Peter struggled with doubt, and we hear all about it.

Elijah dealt with depression; Naomi raged with bitterness against God; Hannah struggled for years under the burden of her unanswered prayers.

David had an affair and then arranged to have his lover’s husband killed. Noah was a drunk, Abraham a liar, Moses a murderer. Job came to a place where he found it necessary to make a covenant with his eyes not to lust after young girls (Job 31:1).

It’s easy to make “Bible heroes” (as Protestants might say) or “saints” (as Catholics might refer to them) out to be bigger than life, immune from the temptations that everyone faces.

I find it encouraging that Jesus never came across as pietistic. In fact, he was never accused of being too religious; instead he partied so much that he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19).

Jesus never said, “The Kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends.” He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited.

This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about partying with Jesus. And that’s why they missed out.

That’s why we miss out.

According to Jesus, the truly spiritual life is one marked by freedom rather than compulsion (John 8:36), love rather than ritual (Mark 12:30-33) and peace rather than guilt (John 14:27). Jesus saves us from the dry, dusty duties of religion and frees us to cut loose and celebrate.

I don’t believe we’ll ever recognize our need for the light until we’ve seen the depth of the darkness. So God wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with us about life and temptation and forgiveness. And grace.

Only when the Bible seems relevant to us (which it is), only when the characters seem real to us (which they were), only then will the message of redemption become personal for us (which it was always meant to be).

We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steven James.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (5,744 Responses)
  1. burnz

    We need to get back to the "REAL" Spaghetti monster. He wasn't kind, and He didn't have a face. He rained pasta down for 7 straight days flooding the world in carbohydrates, thus creating a swarm of moths that nearly killed us. Do not ignore his Noodlie-good, or His Noodlie vengeance.

    The Pasta Hath Spoken

    February 26, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • Kingofthenet

      I was touched once by his noodley appendage.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  2. Hepe

    I'm curious where I can find one of this unedited bibles to read.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • Brett

      You would have to go way back to the original texts, Hebrew and Greek before the King James era.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Keith A. Sillsbury

      Actually... what you want is a complete set of the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch are all the books the bible was made from. Now the hard part is translated or not translated. And remember, even the non translated was translated into that text. Like mosses crossing the Red Sea. The Romans didn't have a word for REED so the Sea of Reeds became The Red Sea.

      February 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • For your info

      I am not sure where you can buy an en-edited version of Bible. However Quran has remained un-edited for greater then 1400 years. The version available to mankind 1400 years ago is still found in every major bookstore all around the world. Non-Muslims who have read Quran without any prejudice have found it easy to understand. However good luck in finding the un-edited version of Bible

      February 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • The slave

      Why would satan edit his book. He thinks he is perfect and so his works so he would be unable due to his massive amounts of pride and arrogants to revise his works. He knows how awesome Jesus is and If he tried to mess with it he might make the main caractor into just a child molester inted of the pedifile it describes him as.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Jim

      You will need to go back for thousands of years to collect all the originals – probably not a doable task.

      FORYOURINFO:

      The Koran has been edited as well. Most importantly, the Koran edited the original texts of the Abrahamic faith tradition and that is easily observed by the fact that the Koran's "OT" works only go back to around 88 AD while and that the text does not agree with the previous transmission of the texts. In other words, those who wrote about the prophet didn't translate the earlier texts anywhere near accurately and thus calls into question the entire body of texts that make up the Koran.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. allthesame

    judaism = christianity = islam. they are all the same. Fear. Murder. Barbaric Acts. Conversion.

    Today we call similar preachers Cults.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • LHandRBrain

      I'm not Jewish, buy most Jews do not believe in hell and do not actively try to convert people. Your argument has some flaws.

      February 26, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • John

      Meh, just another Evangelical Atheist.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • John

      show me one single place in the Bible were Jesus did or commanded his followers to take vengeance, commit violent acts, murder or insult others. You are right, there aren't any. Even those who crucified Jesus could not make one single accusation stick, so they had to come up with one. Jesus taught about and exemplified forgiving those who hurt you, being willing to humble yourself to serve others and loving other as yourself. What a contrast to the teaching and practice of Muhammed. Muhammed conquered the world by shedding the blood of others, Jesus conquered the hearts of people by shedding his own blood for the sake of others. You can't disqualify Jesus' life and teaching based on misrepresentation of some of those who have claimed to be his followers. Jesus himself said that there would be some who would do various things in Jesus' name, thus claiming to represent him, who never really knew him (Matt.7:21-23). On the contrary Jesus taught that only those who do the will of his Father would enter His Kingdom. You must therefore look at the fruit to find what kind of tree it is from. Those who exemplify the kind of life Jesus taught and lived are truly his followers.

      February 26, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • A Muslim

      Dear John

      The Muslim Scripture (quran) is full of respect for Jesus.It gives high respect to Mary the mother of Jesus.In the life of Muhammad, no country was captured, just for your information.I would like you to read Quran.Then look at the rules and regulations of modern world in which we live. You shall be surprised that majority of them follow Quranic teaching.Yes in Quran there are at many places mention of forgiveness.However it also mentions the need to reward good deeds and punish for the bad ones. Just like how you have to pay for breaking a red light while driving or going to jail for hitting your neighbor.

      Please point out to me if at any place in Quran the pious people of God were ever mentioned like this "David had an affair and then arranged to have his lover’s husband killed. Noah was a drunk, Abraham a liar, Moses a murderer. Job came to a place where he found it necessary to make a covenant with his eyes not to lust after young girls (Job 31:1).

      If Quran is a fake book and Mohammad was not a prophet of God,above disgusting references in Bible about the pious prophets of God, would have been exploited left and right by Quran and Islam.It has not been done.Please read Quran and you would be amazed at its eloquence and exquisite language. Good luck and I hope I did not hurt your religious views.

      February 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Reason vs Faith

      John, you are asking for proof that the bible states Jesus commanded his followers to take vengeance, commit violent acts, murder or insult others. Why are you not asking for proof and God himself? You will blindly follow a faith based on a book written by infallible men, yet refuse to ask proof of a God that you have not seen, felt, or hear? Interesting.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • CJP

      All the same? Wrong! Show me one New Testament passage promoting murder! Show me one NT passage promoting violence! They don't exist in the New Testament. Regardless of what people who identify themselves as "Christians" have done in the past, these religions are not all the same. Maybe you should do a bit of research instead of making blanket statements that have zero basis in fact.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Jim

      The only thing that is, "allthesame" is the collection of ignorance that you are part of.

      Jews have never missional nor have they ever attempted to "force" conversion (an oxymoron that only those who know nothing about the faith would ever say. Ignorance may be temporary bliss for you but it is painful for humanity.

      Xians cannot and do not and have not attempted to "force" conversion – again, it is an oxymoron.

      The only faith of the three you listed that has used violence and approves of forced conversion is Islam.

      Amazing how those most virulently anti-theistic have no clue as to what they speak generally.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • joshualater

      I don't think some of you read the Bible with any critical thought or honesty... violence in the new testament?? Oh it is very present! Jesus, filled with zeal for the temple, created a cat of nine tails then chased the vendors out of the temple! Ha! That's called premeditated violence. And I think its a pretty interesting point seeing as how your arguments are that Jesus was some great peace maker. And ever read revelation? The blood is going turn rivers red! I mean cmon! Be honest with yourself! Whats your argument??? God is the ultimate destroyer of cultures and people groups in the old testament but is now peaceful and sheep like yet master of destruction in the end times??? How bout you let the Bible dictate your worldview and ideas on morality instead of trying so desperately to shape God into someone who would fit into our Godless culture. You really think God is trying to write up a press release to defend Himself to abunch of anthropologists?? And all you atheists agnostics and the like... I wish you'd be intellectually honest too and not even talk about your ideas on morality seeing as how you have no basis or foundation for establishing morality...

      February 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. BIBLES AND QURANS ALL GARBAGE

    JUST WORDS WRITTEN NOTHING MORE

    February 26, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • 3N1Amen

      You either believe or you don't believe. What do you exactly believe in? When will you believe? When you are in hell...when it's too late??

      February 26, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • caw

      Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Santa Claus? Why not? Because it becomes obvious that your parents lied to you when you were a child. Well there is one more lie that told you and that it that there is a god. If god existed then why does he break most of his own commandments. Though shall not murder? He kills millions every year with starvation and natural (which means god created) disasters.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:50 am |
    • RiHughes

      @Caw, first off, nothing in the Bible ever says life will be easy. Jesus himself says we will suffer at the hands of goofballs like you for what we believe. Mock a way! We accept that. So you are mad at a god you don't believe in because people die? So every person who ever lived should never die? Good plan, you should run for government. Trophies, candy and hugs for everyone!

      February 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • JM

      caw: everyone's going to die. The point is: death isn't the end of the story. There's life after. What matters here is what we do with the time we have. Are we actually helping people. Jesus taught that we are supposed to give everything away we have to the poor. We are not supposed to judge anyone. We are supposed to forgive everyone, love everyone. His teaching is GREAT. We don't follow it. But there is grace/mercy. God loves....everyone....and wants us to look to Him. Instead of ignoring him.

      When I look at a computer, I don't think: it came into being through random chance, a big bang. I think "someone created it". You might say, but we 'know' there is a creator we can "see him". Not if the "creator" doesn't want to be seen by us. That doesn't mean that we automatically assume that there, therefore, isn't a creator. We have faith that someone created that computer. The universe, galaxy, this earth, my human body, DNA are too specific for me to think that all of that came into being through some random chance.

      February 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Reason vs Faith

      @JM – how do you know there is life after death? Have you been there? Probably not. Faith tells you it is there – your belief in God tells you it there. The Bible tells you it is there.

      When we are 5, how do we know there is a Santa Claus or an Easter Bunny? Because we are told so by those we trust. Because we see the tangible gifts and the baskets left by these magnificent beings. Because we WANT to believe in the magic that is God, Santa, and the Easter Bunny.

      But what happens after we are 10? The man behind the curtain is revealed. For some, we've seen the man behind the curtain, and it isn't God.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • hudsonbend1

      No, they are words written to enslave others. They have been perverted for political gain.

      February 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Jim

      Who created God? Now that's the guy I wanna worship!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Concerned

      Yes, just words, nothing more....... Besides who needs written instructions when putting complex things together

      February 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  5. Abd

    With unimaginable time and and planets of various environmental combination, the right one for life is out there.

    Chemicals in dissolved in a vast ocean acting as solvent.

    Over time some of these chemicals that combined and re-combined in this vast solvent, one structure was finally able to self replicate.

    That structure took over and saturated the ocean taking up all immediate available energy....call it STRUCTURE A

    A slight twist of STRUCTURE A...created a new chemical combination that was better/faster at replicating...

    That chemical become increasing complex and complex...until today you find it in everywhere in this planet with different, nearly infinite variations....

    At times growing super protein structures to make itself mobile (called legs)...growing other structures to allow it to process information...etc etc.

    It is not us, it is that molecule that has grown on this planet like a virus.....there is no God...the universe is either possible or not possible, and if it was the latter, we wouldn't be asking this question.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • queenbee10

      ..so according to YOU–there is no god–only a series of very lucky and random events and occurences that somehow self perpetuated for eons and it all hinges on "luck" which of course also means that since randomness is not predictable at any moment all our "luck" could run out too"

      True ignorance is not the belief in a higher being, it is the implicit faith in a random act then the application of "laws and theories" to support what was supposedly random and relying on that mantra and PROOF in a tangible form to back up what is believed...but then we have quarks, string theory, black holes, nova, red giants, the temperature of the Sun, the distance to the Sun and everything else that we actually have NEVER proven because no one has ever measured it or has the equipment to measure those things–oh yeah–we rely on Mathematics which is based on Proof? No–most mathematics esp when it comes to things outside the ability of us to travel to or measure–is based on belief in a system we established but NOT on actual proof.

      No man made anything has journeyed to the SUN...or actually entered and sent back data from the 4th dimension or experienced a black hole–we've never actually seen or have any true concept of a supernova–we have seen what we call the results or aftermath –but they are only as good as theory–not proof.

      In other words, a lot of science holds onto the naive belief in not what is proven but what lines up with what is already known and accepted.

      which brings to mind the story of the little frog, who insisted that his pond was the ONLY body of water in the world and there was nothing larger or greater than his pond–because THAT is what he knew and could see and experience and to describe an ocean to such a creature would be a waste because on many levels–he lacked the capacity to see beyond his own extrapolations. a lot of people are like that too.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • SRain71

      Only problem with your explanation is; where did all these planets, oceans and chemicals that you speak of, come from?

      February 26, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Trixibelle

      You have the same problem. Where did god come from?

      February 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • David

      The universe began fifteen billion years ago in a blinding flash of light, without any cause whatsoever. Then five billion years ago lightning struck a mud puddle and created life. Now after billions of years of natural selection and genetic mutations giving rise to adaptations, we sit writing comments on the Internet because it is so incredibly biologically adaptive to sit and write comments on the Internet. Yes, you've convinced me. Right. I'll go worship a flying spaghetti monster now.

      February 26, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Faith

      Good theory but the stastical chances that all this happened are so astronomical that they truly require faith to believe them. True science is supported by data and reproducibility (spelling?) since we most certainly can't test and recreate these evolutionary theories I think it's time to accept that not believing in God/Creator takes some Faith as well.... Guess we r not that different after all.....

      February 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • D19407

      @ David The universe began two thousand years ago in a blinding flash of light. Then God creates Adam from clay (a puddle of mud). Yes, you've convinced me. Right. I'll go worship Jesus now..

      February 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  6. SkipJunkman

    Skip Junkman in the hizzie.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • shane the plumber

      up in the hizzel!

      February 26, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  7. aizen

    people have been perverting the bible for generations..they appropriate to themselves, the message and act as if they speak in God's authority. preachers, clerics etc act as if they are holy and they mold the scriptures to fit their own agendas..these people abuse the people, God's name and his teachings...it is sad the bible is so diluted to the point the took out a lot of stuff out of it anf people read it wrong....this is the reason we have christians and muslim extremists...men have made a perversion of the bible and its teachings..it is sad...thank god i have no denomination, i just believe there is God.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • Moron

      You are right on:) There is God very close to you, Christians refer to it as Christ which means Savior.
      And they are led to believe that this Savior was a man called Jesus. Now that is a complete pile of you know what:)

      Stop waiting for the Second Coming of Christ, instead activate the Christ within and make it happen:)

      February 26, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • Mw

      I agree with your statement here even though I am an atheist. And I will explain?

      I find that most of the debate between believer's of all creeds and non-believers of any kind is simply one of ownership. They argue ideas of the self. Believer's often get it wrong when they themselves evoke God as if God manifests them some authority. And in turn non-believer's argue protection from the self. Ultimately it is just an argument of possession. Who possesses the self? And who dictates the authority of the self?

      However one finds that ownership doesn't arm them any superiority over the other. So there must be some treatise when engaging the people of either creed that respect is more important than winning.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Kingofthenet

    Jesus is like a gang...Blood in and Blood out...

    February 26, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  9. Moron

    God only knows what was the original message of the so called Good Book.
    The author here talks about a relationship with God, talks about Freedom, Celebration implying that he gained the understanding of these words, expressions. Perhaps he didn't.

    So called God as well as Christ, but not Jesus, exist within every human being. Listen carefully, FEEL, don't intellectualize. The REAL BIBLE is within you. You might want to read a book by Eckhard Tolle – Power of Now, to understand the real teachings of the Good Book.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  10. Speaktruth22

    Great article though i would question when and how we are to cut loos and celebrate. The Lord Jesus also said if they persecuted him they too would persecute his followers. If he served and washed the feet of his followers we too would. Simon was stoned and Paul executed. So when is the ultimate party to cut loose and celebrate. When Christ returns!

    February 26, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Speaktruth22..you want this monster to return..he was imagined in the nightmares of the early human mind and continues to affect some. If you really see this as a positive you have some issues surely

      February 26, 2012 at 2:48 am |
  11. Tyler

    The bible is full of negative and positive accounts. Every account has a purpose but lets take the one where God says he regrets ever creating man! So there you have it we are screwed. Oh but wait. He didn't kill us all off. So then lets go to the part where the earth is gonna be consumed by fire (end times). Well there you go. Were Screwed. Oh but wait. We are promised eternal life if we do what? Exercise faith. But Jesus said there were two commandments. What were they? Love God with all your heart mind body and soul and love your neighbor. So I think that explains it. But yet those who are not a so called christian? Well you don't have to worry about the Bible because it doesn't apply to you. It in the eye of the beholder. If you don't behold it then your gonna be just fine.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Sandra

      And where are the passages you are talking about located within the Bible? Any serious discussion of a boo and it's "message" has to include either quotations and/or chapter and verse citations that we all can read. Without that, its just your own message, although it seemed to be an interesting one.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  12. Joe

    If religion makes people moral, why do atheists have the lowest divorce rate, and Christians have not only the highest divorce rate but the highest teen pregnancy rate (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm). Fundamentally if the reason you are moral is because you fear divine retribution that isn't morality, that is selfish behavior to save yourself.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Tyler

      Why do people who are muslims have the right to kill their wives and consider them selves holy in the eyes of God? And why is it ok to kill your so called fellow man and then get a bunch of virgins in heaven? SO called organized religions are so hypocrite.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • The Deist

      And you're doing nothing more than Christians do. Blowing your own trumpet in the hopes of gaining validation and praise from others. Those who are comfortable in their beliefs do not feel the need to belittle another group to show the world how right you are. You're not done with your soul searching just yet, sir.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • Thomas Armstrong

      actually your facts are completely off, there is no correlation between atheism and morality or divorce rate. Proven fact is that most of the world is religious while only 2 % is reported Atheist so some people who are very good people are also religious

      February 26, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Joe

      I don't normally care about beliefs of other people, I just want to try and understand the logic behind the fact that the people calling others out for destroying marriage are the ones most likely to divorce, that doesn't make any sense regardless of whether you are an atheist or christian.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      the diest..you should mention that fact to your side the next time we hear about gay marriage and such.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • ick

      @ theDeist. You are wrong, all religions continuously try to convert others to join their system of beliefs. They believe they are the "right" religion and one's only salvation is through their church. It is the mission of every Christian church I have ever attended to increase its membership. Are you saying Christians do not belittle atheists or try to show them how correct the Christians beliefs are and how wrong the atheists beliefs are? If anything, the religious person is the one discounting others beliefs or lack thereof to validate their own religious beliefs.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Concerned

      Because many Christians "profess" Christ, but do not "posess" Christ. We have been infected with popcorn beleivers. they pope them in the microwave and "poof", they are instant converts. This is simply not the way it works. One must develop a personal relationship beyond the crowds, beyond sunday mornings, one that will make them think before they act.

      In all fairness to the individual (for non is perfect) I lay much blame on today's ministers and preachers. We have gone away from traditiona bible teaching and opted for Dr. feel good and other forms of physcho babble.

      The bible speaks for itself (line upon line, precept upon precet) but through pride and arrongance, man has moved away from this basic teaching and placed himself in the position of being judge, jury and executioner.

      If we go back to the bible (original text, not watered down translations). We Christians and others who choose to beleive would learn more about ourselves and how we are supposed to act, we would then deliver the message but not force our beliefs upon anyone.

      Our job is to warn, not convince (one man plants, one man waters – God gives the increase)........

      February 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  13. kren

    most of the filth is actually found in jew tora, from their own pedo god hashem raping 32 virgins to murder of innocent kids, cannibalism, incest and excrement eating

    thats part of satanic jew cult, just say it like it is

    February 26, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • The Deist

      Such hate must be exhausting to sustain long term. That kind of fear is unhealthy.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Sandra

      Again, I say, as I said to Tyler, if you are seriously trying to say that it says these things, cite the books, chapters, verses of a given text. Otherwise, you are just expressing an opinion based on nothing, so far as we can tell. Intelligent discussion if you are going to claim to know what a book "says." requires citation.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • RiHughes

      He rejects everything, even Capitalization.

      February 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  14. jmiller

    Steven is spot on. "According to Jesus, the truly spiritual life is one marked by freedom rather than compulsion (John 8:36), love rather than ritual (Mark 12:30-33) and peace rather than guilt (John 14:27). Jesus saves us from the dry, dusty duties of religion and frees us to cut loose and celebrate." This was our view in the 1960s. Nice to hear there is a modern voice for this enlightened view.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  15. Kingofthenet

    God is pretty good, IF you can get past the part where he KILLS EVERY SINGLE LIVING THING on the Planet save one small boat.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • The Deist

      Myth. There has never been nor shall there ever be enough water to floor the entire world, even if you melted every glacier and ice cap.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • Duane

      That was no little boat. It must have been immense and magical to support all that weight. As to the rest of it, obviously the rest of humanity was no good. All those babies in all those lands? Ripe for killing and God did what needed to be done.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • Kingofthenet

      It LOVES you so much , it needs to KILL you!

      February 26, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Jim

      But if you're a christian death should be what you want ,,,,err heaven & all that. The best thing i could do for a christian today is kill him. Don't they approach every intersection thinking "take me now god,maybe god won't notice if I intentionally run this stop sign,in front of this semi,,,,,,.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  16. MikeD

    Sugar coating the bible?! How about we stop sugar coating reality? Today's Christians are just as violent, but these days they simply pay 20-year-old kids to do the killing and maiming for them, and then they try to tell everyone that they should honor the kids for "protecting" our country. Oh, yeah, and they also get to watch it on TV and buy bumper stickers.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • jpw2010

      Here we go ...

      February 26, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  17. Kendyl

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=688111496234161611

    February 26, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  18. aragonphx

    How do you people believe this crap? Do you also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy? Wake up and use a little critical thinking and see through the crap your parents forced on you as children.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • The Deist

      And why do you care how they believe? Do you have such a weak belief system that unless anyone believes as you do then they're just sheep? You can speak up just as soon as you have a stronger conviction in what you think you believe.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      The diest ..for too long we have ignored the religious and they are leading us to the brink. We are seeing god wars and each side thinks it has god on its side. We have a right to point out inaccuracies in their thinking and ask for proof of the assertions they claim. Folks are being killed as we speak because off a book that was burned..totally irrational but we are asked to tolerate this..as we were asked tom think that burning "witches" in the middle ages was pleasing god, or that threatening scientists who found the truth was different from what the clergy had told was acceptable. Being ignorant and proud of it is not the way humans will solve the problems we have.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • David

      EvolvedDNA: don't you see you are inventing your own millenial hope here? You think that once religion is eliminated that rational, logical, scientific people will deliver you to the holy land of milk and honey, don't you? Think again, my faithful brother. Josef Stalin was no secular saint. Neither was Mao, Pol Pot, or the leaders of any other atheist regime. You want to see rationality in action? Look at Auschwitz. History's most effective system of cold-blooded killing. That's your future, my friend. That's your world without a belief in God.

      February 26, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Me

      Let's sum up what David said: The sky will literally fall if everyone doesn't believe in God.

      Yawn. David and his kind do more for the destruction of Christianity than they'll ever have the brains to realize...

      February 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jim

      They have to somehow give all the logic & common sense that they MUST use to function in the rest of their day to day world. .Diest- EVERYONE needs to point out the folly of this every chance they get. Religion is the root of many many problems in the worlds.If we can convert one person to sanity today it would be a good thing.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  19. Wisdom4u2

    That's right....that's right....Steven James got it right!! That's one of the reasons I love reading the Bible, it's better than a soap opera! I agree, that many people have used the 'sugar coating' for explaining the Bible....but it's RAW and it's REAL and I just LOVE it!!

    February 26, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  20. V01D

    Nothing like a return to Christian barbarism to up the ante for Islam. Then we can *really* get this holy war underway.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • CJP

      Hey VO1D. Your comments is completely void of basis in fact. Read the New Testament. There are no commands to commit acts of violence. There are a lot of teachings on loving enemies and fighting hatred with love. You should really get your facts straight. There is no such thing as Christian barbarism in the bible (regardless of what so-called "Christians" have done in the past).

      February 27, 2012 at 12:22 am |
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About this blog

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.