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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. 3N1Amen

    Jesus loves you!!

    February 26, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Kendyl

      Amen 🙂 He's madly in love with each and every one of you.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • *facepalm*

      But if you don't love him back, he'll torture you.

      Sounds more like an abusive parent than a loving and omnipotent deity.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • truthispain

      Go to hell. I'm just kidding, There is no hell.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • There_Are_No_Gods!

      jesus does not, nor never existed! Question! Do you believe in santa claus as well? How about the easter bunny?

      February 26, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • David

      And all you have to do is repent and and accept Him.

      February 26, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • BG

      @There_Are_No_Gods! Yikes, I might study a bit more on your history. Jesus existed, that is a fact you would study in any history class. Now who you believe he is is the important question.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  2. Matt

    I think that was very well written...

    February 26, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  3. R.G.

    OK religion and politics are 2 subjects where people will always disagree... Well, We all grow up with certain beliefs and then we add on or subtract along they way of our process of growing up... Now I agree to disagree, for the same reasons. We all think different and everything makes a difference in the out come of our answers. We go back to the problem. Think outside the box. this is exactly why we have different religions. We interpret what we learn our own way. And the bible is used to manipulate people aswell... We take out the words and verses that benifit our point but we don't use the bible a it is meant, as a whole. For example: I text me friend, she wanted me to hang out but I couldn't I had homework, for whatever reason we end up arguing. So were texting and I say some colorful words. She later forwards my rudest texts to our other friend and "sums it up" that I'm a bad friend and I don't ever hang out or spend time with her... instead of forwarding the whole conversation... now my other friend thinks different of me... what we point out and what comes out of are mouth is very power that's why he wrote this Revelations 22: 7-21 this verse sums up the Bible in ALL BIBLES even in the new translations.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  4. DC

    Whether you are religious or not, the Bible is still worth reading for its historical and cultural significance. You may not share the same religious beliefs as billions of Christians across the world, but you may still find its narrative value to be both insightful and enriching. There are so many stories, teachings, songs, and principles in the Bible that make for a fascinating read. If you're constantly analyzing the Bible like a Darwinian scientist trying to discredit Creationism, you'll undoubtedly be frustrated. But if you can read the scriptures with a broader understanding of what people were going through and how they lived during that time period, I think you'll appreciate what you learn.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  5. Doug

    If you are an atheist, and are ceaselessly offering your opinion on a religion to try to 'enlighten those crazy fundie christians who still believe in a sky wizard,' then you are no different than the people who proselytize.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Yes, using logic and reason to point out logic and factual inconsistencies is the exact same as saying 'believe or be tortured ... because my book says so."

      Spot on.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • hal9thou

      So we should just shut up? We will if you will. Darn.......

      February 26, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • AGuest9

      Unfortunately, we can't allow them to take hold in our schools. We are too far behind the rest of the industrialized world to allow such foolishness in science classes across the country. They can study "comparative topics" and "Intelligent Design" as much as they want, in University-level philosophy courses, where that nonsense belongs.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  6. Aristocles

    Why is it that so many non-believers hang around the faith blog on CNN.com? Is it because no one listens to you in real life? Few people want to hear you here either.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • Kingofthenet

      Are you part of the American Taliban?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ Aristocles

      YUP!! Exactamundo!

      February 26, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Actually we are here to attempt to clue you in to the fact that this is the 21st century and it's time for you to start living according to it, instead of in accordance with a book written 2000 years ago. We only state a disbelief in god because it CAN'T be proven to exist and there's no point in believing without evidence.
      And yes, people do listen to us in real life...that's why the number of Atheists in this world is increasing.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Mirosal

      It's because a lot of the posts are worthy of a stand-up comdey act, that's why.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • malacoda

      The same reason you might glance at the science blog.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • malacoda

      ....and there are a ton of people here who want to listen to us, including you. or you wouldn't have posted in the first place.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • AGuest9

      For the same reason that believer nonsense is posted all over science blogs. Disgusting, isn't it? Now, you have an idea of how WE feel!

      February 27, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  7. manny

    Great article very interesting i like how egypt has 10 christian followers and 12 million jews living in the same hood we should go over there and all be homies and read the quran and the bible at the same time whoever finishes their book the fastest can be known as the most dominate religion ever created then we can all have a pizza party at cicis pizza unlimited pizza is a good deal then we all go to a catholic church service then party and get drunk right guys because thats the motto for our generation YOLO cuz we bout it er day er day you you know we dont wanna real niga what up w.w.J.d what would jordan do god bless you all, i salami lakers

    February 26, 2012 at 3:08 am |
  8. Roger

    It was a few years ago that former police chief Daryl Gates was on some news show commenting about a video of a bank robber being gunned down by several police men after he raised his weapon toward them. The video itself did not show the man being gunned down. Rather, it only showed the officers firing their weapons. That is, the "gory" stuff was edited out.

    And so Gates was expressing his disapproval of the footage being edited to not show the suspect being gunned down. He goes, "People need to see that this isn't a game. They need to see what happens to you raise a firearm toward law enforcement officers."

    People look to the bible to give them a sense of spiritual direction and to represent what in their minds is the concept of "purity." But this outlook on holy guidance leads to an imbalance of perspective which can act as an enabler of social injustices. That is, people can eventually become accustomed to focusing on that which brings them their desired state of mind, later resulting in a subconsicous yet willful tendency to ignore anything that threatens their feelings of "bliss," so to speak.

    The American civil war would be an example of how much of an impact it had on society when the gritty reality of war took center stage for the first time in human history through the lens of a camera. Until then, there just wasn't that kind of an awareness by the general public as to how horrific war really is. Fast forward a century and the same effect was created with the first truly "embedded" war correspondent and the accompanying cameraman who brought the horrors of the Vietnam conflict into the living rooms of families across the nation. Suddenly the euphoric context of words like "bravery," "service," "heroism," and "freedom" was tempered by images of American men being grinded by enemy fire.

    If one simply can rely on no other compass besides the bible for moral enlightenment, then I would think it imperative that its message in entirety should be conveyed if its full potential is going to be realized.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • notheism

      Interesting post, thank you.

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

      @Roger, great post and view. I agree fully. I am in the military and for the most part a Christian (I am American and that is what most of us are hence the "for the most part".) I would like to give credit towards to the religion of Islam in that the Qu'ran states that the book cannot be translated into any language outside of Arabic. This holds the Qu'ran unedited and true to its original writings unlike our Bible. At the same time this is a downfall to those who cannot speak Arabic, ie. Americans, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iranians etc....The ones that are able to, often twist the words of the book so those who cannot read Arabic are slaves in a sense to what they hear. Us Christians have many versions of our holy book that has been twisted for centuries and by word. I believe only a fully unedited and untranslated version of the book is the way to go, however this would prevent the word of holy books to be spread seeing as most people would not take the time to learn the language it was written in. I am a professional translator in our military and can say that a mistranslation of a single word or grabbing the wrong translation of one word, that might have two synonyms that vary slightly can and do change an entire sentences meaning. The Taliban does not "speak" Arabic, as well as most Muslims. They "recite" Arabic without understanding the true meaning of the Qu'ran. The same goes for every Christian who cannot speak Aramaic, Hebrew or whatever language the original writings of the Bible were written in... Once again, great post Roger and thanks for the view

      February 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  9. Duncan

    Believe whatever bronze-age mythology you please, it's really not meaningful.
    The cold fact is that everything is doomed and meaningless, that fact is also meaningless.
    All is pointless and hopeless, get used to it.
    That's the real truth, if that upsets you, that's irrelevant also.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Happy Nihilist

      You can believe that there is no intrinsic value in the universe without disregarding a value of life altogether. We can live for enjoyment, success, happiness, family, or whatever gives you pleasure while recognizing that none of these things matter beyond you. But that's the whole point, it matters to you. I am an atheist, but I grow tired of defeatist atheists who find no purpose even of themselves.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Patrice

      Pretty negative there Duncan and have to say I don't agree,tried an anti-depressant lately? There is a lot going on in history and pretty scary @ times, but please try to cheer up a little and think of all the good positive things there are like maybe your health or you have a job and family. Future worrying isn't good for anything one and doesn't solve a thing.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • memyself

      Suffering alone exists, none who suffer
      Deeds there are, but no doer thereof
      Nirvana awaits, but no one seeks it
      The path there is, but no one walks it.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • BG

      This isn't a sarcastic question, I was just wondering if you have ever read Ecclesiastes in the Bible?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  10. mistamista

    First, the lack of definitive proof for, or against the existence of an all-powerful deity is cause enough to shake a finger at those trusting sheep that go out into the world and try to recruit blindly loyal individuals for admission to the greatest spa resort of all time.

    That said, there is certainly a vigorous and dynamic power in the belief of a new beginning, a new life and everlasting peace after this life is over, so much so that there have been endless wars, with both words and actions literally killing for their beliefs. Those who would call themselves Christians, Muslims and any one of the thousand of ancient storyline-based mythologies often sidestep their deity-of-choice in favor of Earthly pleasures, thus creating the shred of doubt that the non-believers require to demand proof.

    Conversely, those who put faith in the lack of a deity are often highly vocal and are more likely to be open-minded about social change and future events in their lives. “Proof” is the battle cry of the Atheist, Agnostic and faithless…and it will remain such until one or the other is proven wrong.

    Now, people can argue and finagle the rest of their lives and learn first-hand about the afterlife, or they can begin to understand that one belief DOES NOT overwrite another and move forward as men. It is no easy task to create the kind of animosity that humans have in such a short frame of existence…but we’ve been proven to inflict the worst assaults from within ourselves.

    Finally, religion was never meant to be the harbinger of the “Life & Times of Earthly Mysteries”, nor was it derived as a singular atlas of what happens in the next life…but the fact remains that WILL destroy ourselves if we continue to place ALL of our mental capacities toward the belief-of-choice and blindly rule out other options. There is no greater breach of faith than to be completely devout in ANY of the world’s most terrifying ideologies without tolerance. We need to know who we are and where we came from. Unfortunately, I fear that we’ll never find those answers as we’re too busy killing one another to get to the precipice.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Conan

      finally someone who makes sense. I agree with everything that you said. It is just pathetic reading about and watching people go on massacres due to their "one true faith". Want some examples? Witch hunt, Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Taliban and Al Quaeda. It is thanks to these idiots that humanity can not progress as a species. I wish more people could have as much reason as you, seriously.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  11. Philip

    Mr. James has a point, but he undermines his argument by going on to describe both the people and depiction off events as "real" there are something within the bible that probably have some historical truth, but a lot is well crafted, politically crafted, fiction. Many early followers of Jesus considered the old testament to be the work of Satan, a false book, many of the texts including the so called "synoptic" telling of Jesus's story were, by scholarly accounts, edited, re-written, "conform" before inclusion. The Bible as we have it now was essentially assembled edit, books thrown out, books included about 300AD by a hugely political event having more to do with th survival of the Roman Empire than spirit. Imagine the united nations getting alqaeda, the American social conservatives, libertarians, dictator and Marxists to agree on a text, and you have the idea. So while James is right to complain about biblical sanitization, it's a massive trivialization of a much more massive failure of truth and morality.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • christy

      your comment is absolutely meaningless without citing sources.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • memyself

      @cristy Council of Nicea, apocrypha, anathemas against Origen; study theology much?

      February 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • ThePROFESS10NAL

      @christy, your faith is absolutely meaningless without citing "sources" such as scientific, physical, mathematical or any other accepted forms of the classic definition of the word "evidence". Other than a rumor in a book written and edited by men, you are ignorantly following what boils down to: political manipulation.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • ThePROFESS10NAL

      @christy, your faith is absolutely meaningless without citing "sources" such as scientific, physical, mathematical or any other accepted forms of the classic definition of the word "evidence". Other than a rumor in a book written and edited by men, you are ignorantly following what boils down to: political manipulation. I read "For a good time call Christy" on a bathroom stall. Is that true? Same basic principle!

      February 27, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  12. Kingofthenet

    Couldn't be it was 'rough and tumble' because it was written by a bunch of bitter primitive goat-herders?

    February 26, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • DOSman

      Thank you for posting the link Kendyl....

      That is a most excellent scientific video.

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

      February 26, 2012 at 3:05 am |
  13. Gina

    Excellent. Thank you, Steven James.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  14. JRlovesworship

    @ Bob and others questioning the "Old Testament" traditions/rules...

    There is an Old Testament and a New Testament.

    Jesus was sent by God to come and change things so that we may truly understand how God wanted us to worship Him and to be Saved (New Testament). Yes, the Old Testament had people sacrificing animals, giving of the best of their crops, stoning people, etc. among other things. But those things were not so important to God at the end of the day and were used more as a cultural/tradition/rule-setting of men.

    Matthew 15:1-3 "1 Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? "

    So is Jesus in favor of stoning? Is He in favor of sacrificing animals? The answers are very easy to find right there in the Bible...

    Please read the Bible from the beginning to the end. It is meant to be understood that way. If you pick at one line or another without understanding the background or the progression of our faith, you make the Bible, Jesus, or whoever you wish sound ridiculous. Which is also one of Jesus' pet-peeves. Matthew 15:12-14 "12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were [d]offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

    Don't be "blind". And please for your own sake, don't let a "blind" man lead you anywhere! I want all of you to get this basic tenant to the Christian faith right.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  15. Darrell Barker

    My Take: This Lacks Objectivity.

    Your first mistake is your assumption that a god exists. Then you give credence to a book written by a bunch of ignorant male Jews back when the wheelbarrow was considered hi-tech, and whos fraudulent authorships are highly questioned by most honest modern day scholars the likes of Bart Ehrman.

    Your article, though seemingly honest in showing the cruelty and dark side of humanity in the bible, you fail to point your critical finger at that ugly god who admits that HE is the source of all the trouble, for if you had quoted Isaiah 45:7 you'd of informed your crying and moved readers that that biblical god claims himself to have created evil.

    Now I ask you, why would any self respecting and kind and loving human being care to worship the maker of evil? Those that would resist a Hitler type would bow to the creator of evil? Go figure.

    If Isaiah 45:7 is true, then your article should've put the blame of humanity's biblical insanity right on the shoulders of the god who you claim to be in charge.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • SkipJunkman

      Like

      February 26, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Jeremy

      I am an Atheist. God is not real and the bible is a horror story written by men to put fear in the population and to control them.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • Joe Blow

      While "whos fraudulent authorship" could just be considered a typo (although even as I type, the red squiggly line under "whos" makes me want to correct it), the "you'd of informed" part just made me cringe. Typos are one thing...but using 'of' instead of 'have' is really just unacceptable. Perhaps next time have a third grader proofread before posting. They know the difference.

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

      I take it you've never actually researched the variant usages of the Hebrew word for 'evil'? You are no scholar.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  16. jaz

    Knowledge puffs up! Love built's up!!!

    February 26, 2012 at 2:54 am |
  17. patience

    I think this was a great read, i pray for those speaking blasphemy remarks against Christ Jesus i pray u seek him an repent....cause u obviously dont know who your speaking about....He is King of Kings the beginning an end

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

      Jesus is fake. Christianity like most mainstream religions is a scam.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Wisdom4u2

      I know, patience.....I hope we get to see their faces when they stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords....and when their knees will bow down, because, It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" Wow, I hope we get to see them.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • SkipJunkman

      lol. I'm happy that you'll never get that satisfaction. Love you anyway.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Kingofthenet

      Buddy he might be King of Kings, but where you are I AM KINGOFTHENET...you would be well advised to remember that...

      February 26, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Smite You

      Wisdom4, ""'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" Wow, I hope we get to see them."

      That sounds more like something that your egotistical "Satan" character would say... and you sound like a truly hideous creature.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Wisdom,

      You seem to delight in the torture of others. Not very xtian of you, is it?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Wisdom4u2

      *facepalm* "You seem to delight in the torture of others. Not very xtian of you, is it?'

      Torture? Where did you get that from?
      "xtian"? ....I'm not!!!
      What's your dumb point?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  18. SkipJunkman

    I would like one person, any person, to provide me with a reason, not proof, to believe in Jesus that did not come from the bible itself. We all know men put the bible together, and history shows the stories are a compilation of other figures from before the time Jesus was supposed to have lived.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • SkipJunkman

      No one. Yeah, I thought so.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • truthispain

      The whole story is just an old and very outdated collection of word of mouth tales that only meant something to the ancients and it spoke to their time and level of knowledge. How sad we still have those who "believe" in folk tales mostly about horror stories and boogie men who supposedly witnessed fantasmical unreal events in the archaic ancient past. How sad we have not evoloved spritually past this foolishness. Long live mythology, UFOs, and the fantasty and let's get on with some people's incredible ability to believe in the weird, mystical, occult, and impossible despite the facts in front of them. Who needs reality anyway?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • King Chaz

      Reasons to believe in Jesus...

      -when life goes terribly wrong, it helps to have faith in something that can provide comfort. Believing in nothing during these times of life just creates bitterness and a deisre to give up. This is not progress in any sense of the term. Looking up in these times gives MANY the confort they need in order to continue life itself.
      -giving in to selfish desires causes pain. An example include sins such as adultry- it destroys marriages and the future mental security of any children in the mix. Another example is drug abuse. It too eventually destroys things in your life. While these selfish desires may cause temporary pleasures, they eventually cause you to regret them. I don't know of many crack addicts that are proud of their situatuion. NEither do I know many people who have been part of divorce that say it was a good thing (unless abuse was involved). The bibler teaches these things.

      So "why" would anyone want to believe in anything, much less Jesus? Because life can be hard- and will be at some point for everyone. We pay car insurance in case we have an accident (and because its the law), we save money in case we need it in the future, we educate ourselves and our children so we can be prepared for a good job later in life. In the same way, we need to prepare our mental condition for when life gets us down in our heads. And these times come whether we are rich or poor, married or single, employed or jobless, believers or non-believers, sinners or saints. Find something to hold on to, because you're gonna need it as life progresses. Jesus will help you in these areas. there are other things that can help, but I choose Jesus myself. Not because of what the bible says. The choice is mine and yours first. Then, after the choice and experiencing Him in your life, you will WANT to learn more about Him. It is definately not natural in any sense to want to pursue and live according to the bible. Choose Him first, then you will see. Choose Him not, and you will also see.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  19. burnz

    Ultimately, the problem is that the bible is a fictional book(s) and simply not worth wasting one's time on.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • *facepalm*

      ".I hope we get to see their faces when they stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords....and when their knees will bow down, because, It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" Wow, I hope we get to see them."

      If you're not a xtian, then what the heck are you – every one of your posts has shown you to obviously be a xtian.

      And your god apparently tortures those that don't believe in him or follow his rules. did they not cover that in bible fundie school?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • CJP

      Sorry burnz. It is actually historical. Jesus and the apostle Paul and Pontius Pilate and many of the individuals names in the New Testament for example are all real historical people that lived on the earth. Non-biblical sources make reference to these people. You should really try to get your facts straight. You can't discredit the message just because you disagree with it.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • AGuest9

      CJP, here's the problem with your proposition:

      Josephus, Philo-Judæus, Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Arrian, Petronius, Dion Pruseus, Paterculus, Suetonius, Juvenal, Martial, Persius, Plutarch, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Justus of Tiberius, Apollonius, Quintilian, Lucanus, Epictetus, Hermogones, Silius Italicus, Statius, Ptolemy, Appian, Phlegon, Phædrus, Valerius Maximus, Lucian, Pausanias, Florus Lucius, Quintius Curtius, Aulus Gellius, Dio Chrysostom, Columella, Valerius Flaccus, Damis, Favorinus, Lysias, Pomponius Mela, Appion of Alexandria and Theon of Smyrna were all First and Second Century historians, and NOT ONE of them wrote a SINGLE word of this wondrous Jesus of Nazareth. Isn't that odd, with all of the miraculous claims made about him by his followers?

      February 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  20. Damo

    My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible. Call a book of hateful fairytales what it is.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.