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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. b

    it's all mythology, all religions are historically that way. If you look around and things seem bleak, it's what you look to, in order to give you hope.

    Unless, you're the type that accepts that life is just like that, good, bad, hard, fun, and deal with reality, without having to ask or seek some sort of answer from the sky, air, your preacher, a book.

    A bit too much mythology though, and a bit too metaphorical. Like believing in Santa, just kind of different, funny, but different.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • Susie

      Because you can know everything being God yourself no doubt.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • Deborah

      The last paragraph in the article says it all. "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."
      Check out this web sites: http://paulwhiteministries.com/site/
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=390]

      February 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  2. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    The Bible is not EVIDENCE of anything. It's just literature. Why can't people read it and other "holy books" for what they are, just books of mythology? We would all be a lot better off and avoid endless conflicts if they could!

    February 26, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Susie

      None of the major wars of the last two centuries had anything to do with religion. As we move further away from religion society's problems increase exponentially Good luck if you are under 50

      February 26, 2012 at 3:41 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Good luck telling the american solider in Afghanistan, the people of afghanistan, and the survivors of the twin towers that we're not currently in a major war. Exactly how many people need to die, and how long does a war have to last, before it is considered major?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:44 am |
  3. Tim Fitzgerald

    'But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead'. I have tried to understand you but cannot find it in my heart to accept that 'menstrual' is more crass than 'filthy'. As you say language is important. The misogyny that underlies what you have written is simply unchristian.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Valorie

      "Menstrual" can be more crass than "filthy." It depends on our girl parts. Loved the article, but I have a question to all about this part:

      "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."

      It sounds like all the church people who are strongly encouraged to attend week after week is not really part of the program. They just added it on... am I reading this right? Please educate me. Thanks.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  4. Franklin

    Who among you made yourselves? We are the created. HE is the CREATOR!!! Who are we to question GOD? GOD is awesome!! We are finite, HE is INFINITE. HE is OMNIPRESENT. HE is OMNIPOTENT. HE is OMNISCIENT. HE isTHE GREAT I AM! I don't know about anyone else out there, but that gives me comfort and hope in these times we live in today.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  5. john cougar mellencamp

    Yes, they say that the translation of the bible written originally in ancient hebrew and aramaic will never be totally accurate because the original languages have been defunct for more than a couple millenia. The Quran is best read by a person who knows arabic because the nuances are lost when translated to another language. But, isn't it nice to be able to simply believe in somebody more powerful than us.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • J

      My opinion – this doesnt change the fact that the Bible is nothing but a load of crap! Just because you want to act like the Government and "Censor" or Omit parts of the Bible – doesnt mean your legitimacy has higher chances at being just that (Legitimate). If this is supposed to be a book of "realism" and your so-called "one and only true faith" – then leave it the way it is – all of you (sarcasm follows) have done a nice enough of a job making excuses for Holy Wars and Political Slaughters and Mandates since history can be recorded.

      Honestly, (author of this article) – youre not doign anyone a favor and you have just wasted your time writing a non-sensible article.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  6. Susie

    I have lived through the rawness of human life,, and I will cling to Jesus and His saving grace because, I dont want to go back there. It su x.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • CJP

      Amen Susie!

      February 27, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  7. a sinner

    filthy rags or menstral rags you still would not wipe your face with it there for it makes the same point you cant fool a beliver you heathan writer

    February 26, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  8. Aaron

    I don't think the trouble with the unfiltered truth is that it forces people to see their biblical heroes as human beings who murdered or lusted after children. Being blunt also shows people troubling things about their God. A God who advocates stoning people to death for such pettiness as gathering wood on the Sabbath. People like to distance themselves from those acts by using the New Testament as a kind of firewall that only lets in the good stuff from the Old Testament. It's kind of like them brushing all the ugliness of the Old Testament under the carpet and saying, "God's not like that anymore... He was forced to be that way because of us and he didn't like having to be that way so he came up with this new way". The unfiltered truth (a literal reading of the Old Testament) makes God look particularly evil. That's why people like Fred Phelps gets so much flack. He's all about literally readings of the bible and it forces him to see things the way they are written. And people don't like that. And when I say people, I mean Fred's fellow Christians. They like to act like they aren't associated with Fred, but from what I can tell, Fred is just keeping it real.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Susie

      you miss the point, Dismissing the Creator who gave you life is an act deserving of death. Fortunately we dont have to pay that price because Jesus did it for us. When viewed with righteousness you are as filthy rags because you have missed the purpose for your being. Viewed with grace you are a child of God. Take your pick. Like it or not these are the choices.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:33 am |
    • CT

      The bible is a collection of stories written by men based on what they remembered hearing from someone else. If you've ever played the "telephone game" then you know that the Bible is, by it's very nature, is filtered by the beliefs and perceptions of the ones that originally put the stories into writing.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • Susie

      CT the 66 books of the bible fit together into a seemless narrative. Kind of odd since they were written over a 1000 year period.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Susie,

      Sure, that's a real seamless narrative. Well, as long as you ignore the dozen of contradictions throughout the books. And really, if the bible were the word of god, don't you think he would have been clear on exactly how many books he wanted? Cant your christians agree on anything?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • ThePROFESS10NAL

      @Susie, as if your comment was subjective and educated. I could pick up where The Twilight book series left off and make a seamless transition too! So 2100 years from know will the Twilight Saga be considered fact? Your an imbecile. Enlighten yourself, accept the consequences of your actions, no one is going to save you and stop spreading the lies and bigotry that strip people of being able to live a life without your invasive beliefs in our everyday lives.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • W247

      ThePROFESS10NAL

      Why do you think it is necessary to be mean and nasty to someone just because you are hiding behind a false name?

      Let's forget religion for a moment and just get back to the basics of being kind and respectful to eachother.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  9. Navin Johnson

    There's a positive side to Christianity?

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

      You appear to be completely uneducated. Go and read some studies in the benefits of religious belief and the generousity of Christians compared to non-believers. Heck even insane people do better globally when they believe in God.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • Susie

      on*

      February 26, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • malacoda

      That's right, go study the benefits. The Inquisition, the Crusades, the spread of AIDS in Africa since the church banned condoms, imprisonment and murder of men of science, torture, molestation and cover ups, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggert, and on and on.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • CJP

      Hey Malacoda! How many of these things you are mentioning actually have a basis in some teaching from the New Testaments. The Crusades, Inquisition and all the other atrocities are not based on the New Testament. They resulted because biblically illiterate individuals motivated by something other than Jesus Christ went wild and crazy. Fortunately, none of these things are an actual reflection of the Christianity of the bible or Jesus. It might help you to see that your criticisms of Christianity actually are a result of the lifestyle you choose to live that contradicts the righteous life Christians are called to live.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • ThePROFESS10NAL

      @Susie, YOU are clearly an imbecile! All you have to do is look at the news to see the destructive and deadly force religion brings with it! 1 death in the name of religion completely nullifies any amount of good. You're as evil as the devil your little book describes.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  10. god s u c k s little boys c0ks

    the bible, no ALL religions...are for people who not fully matured mentally
    they cant accept that death is final
    there is no afterlife
    the only law that there should be for all people is-- treat others like you would want to be treated
    ban all religions

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

      Actually any scientist that studies human behavior will tell you that is B S. Religious belief is THE most advantageous coping skill a person can master.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • god s u c k s little boys c0ks

      Susie

      Actually any scientist that studies human behavior will tell you that is B S. Religious belief is THE most advantageous coping skill a person can master.
      ,
      ,
      ,

      u must be a bible thumper
      only religious freaks believe that BS
      there is no god
      there is no heaven
      there is no devil
      we come from the earth, we live, we die, we return to the earth
      there is no light at the end of the tunnel
      there is no afterlife
      religions are for weak minded people who cant face reality

      February 26, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  11. Gino Punsalan

    I didn't now this. I will like to read a more accurate bible.

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

      Dont bother, hes full of it. The King James is the most accurate of the texts word for word. Others try to capture the nuances of the original language.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • Zach W

      Right now the English Standard Version (ESV) is probably the most accurate/readable version out there. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is the most literal but a little harder to read. I highly recommend the ESV study bible because it includes extensive notes to help you understand the background of the scripture and deals with many of the troublesome verses. However, if you really want to understand all the nuances going on in the Bible then you really need to read a good commentary alongside the Bible. Commentaries vary in complexity. I have found the New American Commentary series is very readable and informative. Baker makes a good one too. The Word Biblical Commentary, on the other hand, is very extensive and academic focusing on the original languages. If you are curious about doctrine and/or philosophy, a good systematic theology would be helpful. Wayne Grudem has a very readable systematic theology book. Hope this helps.

      P.S. How many of the Bible bashers here have read either a commentary or a systematic theology Book? They typically deal with the philosophical arguments that most atheists like to use. If you oppose religion, I really hope you have at least looked at some of the opposing side's arguments. I am a Christian and I have read books about other religions and atheism (written by followers of those belief systems). I believe Christianity because I think it has the most evidence and my experience has allowed me to trust beyond the remaining questions and have faith in Jesus.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • malacoda

      Susie is a fool. The KJ version is in no way the most accurate. I can't believe the things people will just vomit forth because it fits their beliefs.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  12. There is no god.... but allah :D

    These comments are awesome.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  13. Scotticus

    Loved the article. It amazes me to think how Jesus still comes close into the mess of my life. So sad to see all of the hurt and venom spewed out in the comments. Amazing how scriptures can still cause so strong of reactions. Fairytales, fiction, horror story and yet thousands of years later we are still talking about it. I pray that Jesus moves the mountains and breaks the chains. #redemptionishere

    February 26, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Kendyl

      Wow, Scotticus. Amen. Beautiful words. Thank you.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Kendyl

      Okay, I've read your comment now 4 times and it gives me such peace. I can finally go to sleep. All these hateful comments are truly heartbreaking, and praying that God break the chains is such a powerful thing to say. Thank you again for this. It glows amongst the negative remarks. God bless you, brother. Oh and #Redemption Is Here... Hillsong? 🙂

      February 26, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Susie

      Awesome prayer brother, I agree.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  14. xkater

    I knew this even though I do not study the Bible. It validates my thinking.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Bryan Moffitt

      I challenge you to read two sentences per day out of the new testament and apply it to your life. It takes five minutes. Then, see how your life changes.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • *facepalm*

      You can start with these two tomorrow:
      "And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters."
      -to do: perform exorcsim. cast evil spirits into pigs. Kill pigs

      "Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:"
      -to do: torture some non-believer. It's in their own best interest.

      Now you're on your way to a happier and more fulfilling life!

      February 26, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Susie

      Apparently you missed the context of those, the first is a man being freed from bondage, what a great day for him. and the other referred to those already dead who had a chance to accept of reject Jesus and did not. Not something you can apply to your life. How about

      Galatians 6:7
      Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
      Galatians 5:22-23
      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
      Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Susie,

      Why would an omnipotent god need to kill a bunch of harmless pigs to get rid of some evil spirit?

      I feel like I'm debating various aspects of wizardry from Harry Potter...

      February 26, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • ThePROFESS10NAL

      I gotta say, Facepalm is hilarious. Had me rolling on the floor! I love the "to do" list LMAO

      February 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  15. Stan

    CNN just can't ever write a normal and positive story about Christianity.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • Susie

      Why would they, their founder declared that all Christians were idiots.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • ThePROFESS10NAL

      @Susie... well there is no arguing that.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  16. robert

    Awesome, totally agree!! Its about time someone put that out there.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  17. Tom Pratt

    I was once you.

    But this is special pleading.

    We all want to think that if we could just make religious fundamentalism lay down like a lap dog and play by civilized rules we'd all be better off.

    But fundamentalist religion is what it is.

    At some point, Christians have to stop claiming that nobody has ever really lived the Christian life and that Christianity has never been tried. That's the claim among the more thoughtful Christian types to explain the most appalling and recurrent themes of the actual Christian church. This looks like just another example of somebody trying to sell reviving a dead horse to a new and gullible market.

    Eventually, we all have to face the facts and stop retreating into manipulative and fictional accounts of our beginnings and our history. That's a challenge for individuals and for religions.

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

      The church lives around you, but being blinded by hate and jealousy, you cant see the good works and when you do they are dismissed.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Good works can be done by anyone. But it takes religion to fly a plane into a building.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  18. La

    I like this article because I feel that if the entire collection was left to itself without the editing or the add on, a lot of the so-called "freed" atheists would have nothing to say. Someone mentioned that the belief in God devalues humans. I disagree with that. Like meditation, having a relationship with God is seeing yourself as more than just a mass of flesh and bone- that you develop mentally, spiritually, as well as physically. People have different ways of doing that, believers in God have theirs. And to the people who try to insult God: since you are not afraid of Hell and took the time to click on a link you knew you were going to be offended by, mock God if it makes you feel better. Take the same words you use here and print them out onto paper fold it and leave it for the God- you don't-believe-in to "read". Just start off with Dear "God" (Or whatever name you want to insult him with) and say, "I think you're this, that and the third, and...your word is one, two and three". Because at the end of the day, there is nothing we can say or do that can or will make you change your mind. So you might as well take it up with God. The purpose of the word of God is so that you can find it and heed it if YOU want to. The best comeback to those who doubt arementioned in the older texts like the book of Jubilees: You know of God. You know of those who believe in God. You have heard his name. Therefore, you had enough time to heed him and be right by him (meaning your whole lifetime).

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

      Oh and there is nothing here said by those to hate God that is new to him. And all of your excuses (for example: "it's 2012") were mentioned in the bible and earlier text. The book of Enoch even mentions how your children will seek the "old way". Based on how children are raised today there will be nothing you can do about about it. So blast the belief of God all you want, but thousands of years says it won't change anything.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:27 am |
    • Wall O' Text

      You should go into the construction business - you're great at building walls.

      *badum tss*

      February 26, 2012 at 3:27 am |
    • La

      @Wall O' Text. I see why you would say that, but when I deal with those who have an ugly way of opposing a view. I really don't care to format for them. Hope you read it and not just commented.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:31 am |
  19. truthispain

    It is possible to understand the cocept of God and completely disregard the bible. In fact, it's probably mandatory. In reality – one concept eliminates the purpose of the other.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • JRlovesworship

      In John 1:1-3 it says "1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

      You cannot separate God from the Word.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  20. JRlovesworship

    @ SkipJunkman and Darrell Barker

    I would invite you to attend a worship service at any nearby church wherever you live. Just pick a church. The sentences that I could write would only be taken as my opinion and wouldn't do much good for you. But if you could see and feel a worship service for your own and if you dare God to show Himself to you in His time, I believe in my heart that you will hear and feel the Lord's presence. For those of us whom go to worship service, we hear of testimonies all of the time in church of new people to our faith whom didn't believe in God but dared God to show up in their lives and to their astonishment He did in a big way!

    The greatest gift that God gives us is choice. We can choose to believe in Him or not. We can choose to hear is soft voice through our prayers or choose to ignore it. Give God a chance. It is your choice to do so and He will not disappoint!

    I am writing this because I'm concerned for you and others whom might echo your sentiment.

    Matthew 11:28-30 " 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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

      I don't dare 'god' to show itself. I dare YOU to offer ANY tangible. credible evidence of the existence of ANYTHING supernatural. Your little 'holy book' is NOT evidence, if that's what you are offering. You'd have better luck proving unicorns, leprechauns, Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Just because a book says so, doesn't men it is so.

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

      @JRlovesworship,

      here's suggestion number one, do not quote bible verses to an atheist. Chances are that because they simply do not accept your god, they definitely will not accept your scriptures.

      Take 10 minutes and watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfUr7IxCmrA

      February 26, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Bryan Moffitt

      Here is some tangible, credible evidence for you. People at work have been trying for 50 years to get us our own office building built. Many bright people have been involved over the years, of which I am probably the least bright of them all. When I started praying about it, we received several hundred thousand dollars in the mail from people I have never met and still to this day have never met. I do not know anyone with over $5,000 in the bank. It was God's plan that this be done and all I had to do was step aside and not get in his way. Several hundred thousand dollars does not just appear out of nowhere.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Mirosal

      ever think there might have been a fundraiser or other campaign you DON'T know about? Word had to spread, and with today's mass media, the word would have easliy been spread about your office. People make anonymous donations all the time, I've even done it. Just because something good happens, does NOT mean there's a 'god' at play. If you really think that, then is 'god' to blame when something bad happens as well?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • Zach W

      @ Mirasol. Pascal's Wager: Ultimately you have two choices each with two possible outcomes. 1) Believe God exists and follow his commands and a) you are right and go to heaven for eternity or b) you are wrong and nothing happens. 2) Believe God doesn't exists or remain neutral and a) you are right and nothing happens or b) you are wrong and suffer in hell for eternity. Those are the odds. What is your wager?

      P.S. This comes from the same guy who came up with Pascal's Triangle

      February 26, 2012 at 5:06 am |
    • Mirosal

      Zach, I know about Pascal's Wager. You don't believe in Zeus or apollo do you? I'm pretty sure you'll answer "no" to that. Why not? They were gods as well. Oh, that's right, they never existed. They were replaced by ONE 'god'. All monotheism did was take the god of chocolate, and the god of peanut butter, combined it and NOW it's called Reese's. Instead of "everythiong has its god" it is now "one god has everything". Same stuff, new packaging. You have dismissed any belief in the gods of yesteryear, and for obvious reasons. It is that reasoning which prompts me to dismiss yours as well.

      February 26, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • JRlovesworship

      Just so you know. There is no hatred in my heart for any comments that are being displayed here. We are all born as unbelievers. Until we come into the knowing of God through our own or someone leading us to Him, we all start at the same point. So my prayer is that one day, that you will get to know God for yourself. And God be with you...

      February 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • memyself

      @Zach Historically, the number of gods that people worship is tending to zero. Remember that atheists believe is only one less god than you do; each of you shares a disbelief in hundreds of gods. You have so much in common!

      February 26, 2012 at 2:43 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.