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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. Dave

    Just curious how many folks will question God at judgement. If so many people are willing to take such a huge risk....wow! As for people saying that unless we follow Jesus, etc., etc., well, the bible is quite clear He is the ONLY way to heaven. This isn't surprising however as His book (the one everyone thinks is bunk) did say that people will "fall away in the last days."....You can believe what you want but can you HONESTLY gamble and say there is no heaven and no hell? I personally am not willing to risk that. Just sayin'.....By the way, devisiveness? Just look at all the posts!

    February 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • popeye47

      @Dave- What judgement???? Oh that is from your bible and the only true religion. Sorry guys in other countries, your religion has been trumped by good ole god and jesus.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mr. S.

      So your best argument is that I should believe because there might be a god and I wouldn't want to risk it? Hardly compelling.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiousity Law #1 – Using words and phrases like " His book (the one everyone thinks is bunk) did say that people will "fall away in the last days."....You can believe what you want but can you HONESTLY gamble and say there is no heaven and no hell? I personally am not willing to risk that. Just sayin."

      Then you are definately mentally retarded.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Snake Oil Salesman

      Step right up! Step right up! Take a look at my collection of the finest bottled miracle this world has ever known! Thats right, it cures, it calms, it pushes the devil right out of you, it will bring you peace and happiness when all others around you will be burning with a wretched fever! Do not trust the doubters! For there will be many who mock and scorn, but you will have the last laugh, oh yes! They will be writhing in the dirt from sickness and demons and you will stand over them as shining beacons of light!! Just $19.99 and this little bottle will make you the envy of your village and all your dreams come true... Can you really afford NOT to buy this bottle? Think about what your risking if you don't! Think about your kids, your family and your loved ones! Do it for them! Step right Up! Step right up!! Take a look at my... (rinse, repeat...)

      February 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  2. Chaz

    nice article....there are so many instances of incest in the bible that its shocking

    But God is Good and we live under His Grace

    February 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  3. Damo

    How in the world has this drivel stayed on the front page since Saturday?

    CNN, get your act together.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  4. Mona

    I like t a copy of the Stop Sugarcoating the Bible. I know all the religtion Leaders a lairs, I left the church a long long time ago, they are nothing but lairs, the biggest lairs are the Katholics, their Priest like little boys. God never said they could not get married, that is a coverup for Gays.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Awesome. It didn't think it was possible but I think your english, spelling and grammer is actually WORSE than Nii Croffie.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Phil

      That's why just don't believe by listening what people say about bible or salvation, always refer bible and see what it says.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Now that you've dismissed Katholics and other religious people as evil you've come face to face with something else: good old human nature. Do you suppose that the weekly school shootings in our country are religiously motivated? The current nuclear fear we all live under was introduced by godless science and proliferated by godless capitalism and godless communism. If you listed all the things humans have done to themselves w/o religion, the magnitude would swallow you.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  5. PrimeNumber

    The Bible chronicles man's emerging relationship with God. No one should be surprised that violence and treachery were common thousands of years ago. And will violence stop when religion is gone? THe Victorian author Wilkie Collins observed "I begin to believe in only one civilizing influence – the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace." Sounds a little like the godless nukes and the Cold War

    February 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      The Babble chronicles nothing – it is just bad fiction, unless of course you can prove the existence of your, or any, god.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • TR6

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

      February 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  6. jb

    Well, it looks like Jehovah's Witnesses are right. They do not water down the Bible or tickle the ears of people who want to hear vaildation of their own ideas.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Glenn Parker

      Well, but then there's that whole heretical doctrine thing. Oh – and following false prophets. Ah yes and denying the soul exists, which is clearly taught in Scripture. Oh and saying Jesus is the Archangel Michael, which the entire first chapter of Hebrews spends refuting.

      Yes I'd have to agree. If you throw out all their wrong ideas that clearly contradict Scripture, they do seem to have some truth in their teaching.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Maximus

      I have never a read a more polluted translation of the Bible. The Jehova's Witnesses are nice people, but it is incredible how incoherent and inconsistent their beliefs are. Their Bible was accommodated to fits those beliefs.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bizarre

      It might turn out to be quite ironic that JW's strict interpretation of those old-timey writings is the one which finally convinces people that the supernatural beings and events are wholly imaginary!

      February 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bizarre

      p.s. Phred Phelps group is doing a bang-up job of it too.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • justme

      glenn and max; it is evident that neither of you have researched the bible with JWs or you would know more about the soul,. Jesus, the New World Translation, the archangel and more. please look them up in your area if you are sincere about truth and for everyone else please seek the truth before it is too late. you will love what you learn.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Kayann

    I have questions for the atheists out there. What are you living for? What's the purpose of your life? do you comimit crimes and do whatever you want – no hell, right? Do you really believe this great big beautiful universe (that humans are methodically destroying) really was an accident of exploding stars? Butterflies and roses are accidental results of the big bang? I don't get why you even bother to go on if you believe that there's no life after this one.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You're either a troll or stupid. Either way, i'm not wasting any effort on you.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • popeye47

      @kayann- It is not more of a stretch to believe than think of a god that has no beginning and no end. If god had to appear at some time in the past what caused that. Most believable that the big bang happened.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      We go on because there is no life after this one. I enjoy this one and want to continue to enjoy it. Why would I end my life just because I have no predestined purpose? I make my own reasons for life and I enjoy the little things.

      And yes, everything we see was am accident, but why not just enjoy it? Things can have beauty without having a purpose.

      Also, universe from exploding stars? Come on man, read up on these theories before you knock them.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • marsmotel

      Yes! I sure don't live for any made up by man mythological ceature. Why should I live for someone I never have met. If god wants me to join his squad, then let him recruit me himself. Oh, wait, he does not exist, so I guess I will live my life for me and my family.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • DOUG

      FAKE, FAKE, FAKE, FAKE

      February 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Anvil of Reality

      I won't speak for other atheists, but I choose to enjoy this life and do as much good for this world as I can. That is enough for me.

      FYI, Christians make up about 80% of the prison population, and about 80% of the US population in general. Atheists make up about .2% of the prison population and about 8-10% of the US population. (1997 FBP study)

      February 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Anonymous Botched

      Because, to quote Maxwell Smart, "Good is better than Evil because it's nicer."

      February 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • marsmotel

      You live in fear, fear of what happens when you die. Me, I don't care what happens, I am dead. Stop living in FEAR and release yourself of that burden of life.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Spiders and spacedust

      I have questions for the theists out there. What are you living for? What's the purpose of your life? do you commit crimes against your fellow man and do what a convoluted 1500-year-old mind-control text tells you to? – there's hell, right? Do you really believe this great big beautiful universe (that humans are methodically destroying) really is the masterwork of some all-powerful being who is absolutely undetectable and who gives no evidence of existing instead of the very provable result of exploding stars? Butterflies and roses just appeared one day instead of the product of evolution? I don't get why you even bother to go on if you believe your life amounts to nothing but servitude to your imaginary friend.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Amused

      It is precisely because this is the only life that we consider it precious and not to be wasted.

      This is entirely aside from the fact that disbelief in god or religion doesn't necessarily equate to belief in a finite existence.

      And what does hell have to do with moral behavior? If the only reason you aren't stealing and murdering is because you're afraid of divine punishment then you aren't really a moral person are you? I act in a kind and good fashion not because I fear some imaginary punishment, but rather because most humans are born with a social interest in cooperation.

      Contrary to popular religious beliefs people aren't born wicked and worthless... that's one of the biggest crimes judaic religions have perpetrated upon young minds. Convincing them that they are inherently wicked and worthless.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Anvil, sorry that stat has been debunked time and time again. Simple search on here for the long version. But first as.sumption is everyone that checks the box is telling the truth, but then again they are criminals. But for argument sake if that is true. Then the the really percentage is Christian Prisioner/ Christians vs Atheist Prisioner / Atheist. Then the percentage of Atheist criminals is much much higher. If you are the only red hair, blue eyed Chinese-american, and you go to prison, there is no value in saying that red hair, blue eyed Chinese-american only make up .00001% of the total prison population, since you only made up .000000000000000001% of the population to begin with.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Pie in the Sky

      Kayann,

      You will eat, bye and bye,
      In that glorious land above the sky;
      Work and pray, live on hay,
      You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • QC

      Kayann, I can't speak for my fellow atheist out there, but I'm sure they will agree;

      What are you living for? What's the purpose of your life?
      – Same as anyboy : seek happiness, love, shelter, food...

      do you comimit crimes and do whatever you want – no hell, right?
      – We don't commit any more crime than any other peoples, we don't believe in hell, but most of us believe in laws...

      Do you really believe this great big beautiful universe (that humans are methodically destroying) really was an accident of exploding stars? Butterflies and roses are accidental results of the big bang?
      – Well, yes. But we don't pretend we can explain every Nature's secrets yet...

      I don't get why you even bother to go on if you believe that there's no life after this one.
      – For myself, I do believe life as we know it is not the end, I just don't need a god in the story to make it work...

      All in all, we are not worst or better than average Joe. We simply don't believe in a god. Not believing in a god does not mean we do not believe in goodness, freindship or honesty.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Amused, if "Contrary to popular religious beliefs people aren't born wicked and worthless"... then please explain the problem of evil?
      Please explain why a four year old will bite her younger brother for the (remote, toy, whatever) when she has never seen that behavior exhibited towards anyone else?
      Please explain why the largest section in any book store is self-help?

      You don't have to read the Bible to agree that something has gone wrong with the human race, everyone on each side of the aisle agrees on that point. Just read a news paper. Today's headline: One dead, four hurt in Ohio high school shooting

      The Bible just explains why people are wicked, but not worthless

      February 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Kayann, I once heard a conversation that interested me a lot. One person asked "Do you believe in life after death"? The other person answered "Well. I got this life." Apparently, some facts are so large the atheist can't see them.
      The trouble atheists are having is that they have been drummed into ordinariness. They read how Jesus healed a paralytic and then jeer. But they miss the greater miracle: the human body itself. Maybe God has denied them the ability to "see".

      February 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • TR6

      “I have questions for the atheists out there. What are you living for? … I don't get why you even bother to go on if you believe that there's no life after this one.”

      Actually I am much happier and my life is much richer and more fulfilling then it ever was back when I was a Christian. Leaving the church set me free to enjoy this world to its fullest instead of spending all of my time feeling guilty about everything I thought or did and constantly worrying about receiving gods punishment in this life and the next

      February 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  8. RJS

    Steven, do you mean "pietist," or "pious" or "piety"? Pietism is a movement that began in Germany but shows up in Methodism, a lot of Baptist denominations, etc., as emphasizing a deep devotion to God and that recognizes emotion, reason, and behavior as all part of that devotion. One friend talks about pietism as involving orthopraxy–right behavior–as well as orthodoxy–right beliefs. When I read your sentence "God is much more interested in honesty than pietism" I think "piety" makes better sense–pietism is a movement in worship and theology. God's more interested in honesty than "dutiful devotion to God and observance of religious principles," i.e., conventional thinking and doing that isn't necessarily deeply honest, which is what "piety" is about. Again, Jesus isn't "pious"–conventionally or routinely religious, but he _is_ pietistic, some would suggest, in his deeply personal relationship with the Father.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  9. grandmasharon

    PLEASE can I get a copy of STOP SUGARCOATING THE BIBLE?????

    February 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Anonymous Botched

      Why don't you just print out the article???

      February 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Pie in the Sky

      grandmasharon,

      I'll bet that sweetie pie, Shirley Phelps, could help you out...

      February 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  10. Sinjin Smythe

    Funny thing is that Jesus Christ was widely considered a pagan, he consorted with pagans, preached his newfangled ideas to pagans, and his status as described by the bible is as anything but then present day Jew.

    Think about that! Christians throughout history have demonized pagans but it was their Jesus that was the pagan. Christians are pagans!

    Talk about sugarcoating the bible?

    February 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Stephen

      LOL, have fun over there man. 🙂

      February 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • booboo

      you have no idea what you are talking about

      February 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Kevin

      You don't understand the Bible or Jesus. Jesus caught the religious authorities flat footed and showed them how they mis-read the scriptures. They killed him to shut him up. Any accusation of paganism was patently false. Jeses was the son of God, the real deal.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • TR6

      For a Christian, you sure don’t know much about jesus. He specifically said that he was sent only for the Jews.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  11. MsMinKC

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! Finally a real perspective of the Bible and how mankind, the human race struggles with it.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  12. Nii Croffie

    Christ's death and Resurrection are in Genesis 3. The seed of the Woman is an indication that He wud have virgin birth. Satan will strike his heel is that he will die on earth. Him crushing Satan's head is killing Satan eternally. Moses wrote so much about Him that the rest didn't have to continue.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • JohnR

      Another intellectually vacuous execise in prophetic retro-fitting. Ho hum.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Nii, given your abject failure at proving the existence of any god, I'm shocked that you continue to post your drivel. But then, if you believeThe Babble, you will believe and say anything to prop up your cult's moronic beliefs.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Kevin

      Thanks HotAir, you have a lot of "theories" to protect, don't you. Read up on science some time and you'll find that they really can't prove much of the hypothesys they push about germs springing to life in primordial ooze. On the other hand, nature is filled with proof of design and not accident. Read up on blood clotting or the eye and explain how that came about by chance mutation and billions of years. Hog wash, ya gotta want to believe that drivel.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • JohnR

      The people who don't just "read up" on things like blood clotting, but do the original research, never invoke god in their explanations. You yourself should read up on some real science written by scientists, not ID fantasies written by increasingly desperate Christian apologists.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  13. Bob

    All those who have trouble understanding the existance of God ask for proof. They want to touch him and bring him down to their laval. Everyday you believe in things you cannot see or touch and yet the miracle and orderliness of creation points to a creator and you can see that and still will not believe.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Butters

      What sort of things are you talking about?

      February 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "yet the miracle and orderliness of creation points to a creator" No it doesn't. The universe is ordered chaos.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • popeye47

      @Bob- Evidently he never talk you how to spell or articulate.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  14. Age of Reason

    It seems that this humble interpretation of Jesus is very much in concert with multiple passages in the New Testament. Right next to those passages are those when Jesus is condemning men to hell (or Hades in the Greek translation) for not following his beliefs (Mt. 11:23; Lk. 10:15,Lk. 16:23-24). Stark contrasts are common in the Bible which reveals the problem with holy texts, the range of interpretation one can take to justify any action with divine consent. It tickles me that in one article you can advocate the bloody truth of the Bible yet in the same breath misrepresent the severity of Jesus' message.

    It is no surprise that the more educated people on religion are non-religious or atheists. It is not alarming that more atheistic countries tend to be more peaceful and have lower crime rates. It is reasonable that the U.S. prison system is dramatically underrepresented by atheists and over represents the religious. Generally, those who engage with holy texts find them wanting.
    And it is almost always the case that WITH divine sanction, anything is permissible.

    So please, encourage the original bloody interpretation of the scripture. I welcome it. The more you show your hand and backtrack on what is basic in your beliefs, the closer we get to an integrated, peaceful, and reasonable world. An atheistic world.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • pastmorm

      WELL SAID!!!! And I never use all-caps.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      You should find a better moniker. The Age of Reason ushered in by the French Revolution was one of the bloodiest periods in Europe's history. It also ushered in the concept of total war a la Napolean.
      You atheists use that word "reason" pretty freely. How good are you at using reason? Is your reasoning capacity the best, or is someone elses's better? If his is better, will you follow his reasoning like a sheep?
      Apparently, Reason has disposed of God. Now you need to turn reason to the next most important thing – yourself. If your are like the rest of us, you'll think something one day and unthink it the next. Your reason, however faulty, leads you one way and your emotions take you the other way. You think you want something but when you get it, it doesn't satisfy. In dealing with yourself – the new center of the universe – reason in inept.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Scott

      That's assuming that every atheist is the epitome of peace, love and transquility, which is extremely far from any semblance of truth.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • WorkingDad

      I am curious, just what countries are totally athiestic? And where are the stats that say they are less crime ridden? Making up data is easy for anyone to do. And, since the vast majority of this country has a religious base, it stands to reason that most of those incarcerated would have a religious background. Preachy people are useless, whether they are religious or athiestic. If you want me to listen to what you say – provide some real substance, or go away.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • liv

      Oh yeah, North Korea is a really peaceful place. China, too. Maybe you're too young to remember a USSR that was devoid of God and how well it treated it's people and others around it. Check your facts my friend. Misguided faith has led to some atrocities, but the absence of faith has led to many more. A world based on self is not a world I want to live in, and if there is no God, and nothing beyond this life, it's all about self. But there is One worth living for and His love compels us to live beyond ourselves and love others. I testify as one who has been changed by that love.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Kevin

      Athiests do not have any such record. As pointed out above, they have some of the bloodiest. And we (Bible believing Christians) DO NOT speak in defense of "religion" so don't hang me with the violence of Islamic countries as some sort of proof that I'm going to be violent. The New Testament doesn't condone violence of any kind by the believer. I have read through it a few times and I understand Athiests will jump on Peter with his two swords or a couple other inocuous passages but Jesus said one of the most important things for us to do is to love our neighbor. That's why Christians give of their own funds and liberals vote for higher taxes from other people. Besides, the most violence in this country is the lefts most sacred act, sacrificing unborn babies on the alter of their pathetic labidos. Talk about violence? The "pro-choice" are the mass murderers of the millenium..

      February 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  15. BibleBeliever

    Quote: "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."
    ====================

    FYI – the above Scriptures are being taken out of context. By no means does having grace and "freedom" mean disobedience to His Word. Faith AND obedience are required: this is the eteranl teachings of His Word – from Genesis to Revelation.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • bigot

      the above scriptures were also written by fallible human beings.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  16. reason

    If you look at organized religion objectively there is virtually no chance any one is truth, and even if one does turn out to be true, that god has provided no rational basis for believing in it. The gods of all organized religions, if true, would all be horribly unjust and evil dieties to send billions of people to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong one or being born in the wrong place.

    Christians who think God is truly just and will receive non-Christians into heaven simply for being good people give little reason to believe in their long obsolete world view.

    Nobody knows for absolute certainty what the truth is and deluding yourself in organized religion does nothing to change the reality of whatever the truth actually is. If there is a just god and an afterlife atheists are more likely to go to heaven than those who reject reason and lie to themselves and others about organized religion.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"If there is a just god and an afterlife atheists are more likely to go to heaven...."

      "We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low." Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu

      February 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Anon

      Real Christians, i.e., people that follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, do not believe that "God will receive non-Christians into heaven simply for being good". In fact, one of the central teachings of Christ is that man is incapable of 'being good'. "There is none good but God."
      "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
      "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."

      February 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Anon

      Hey fake christard Anon, up yours too.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  17. Nii Croffie

    The Bible said the Jews were polytheistic too. YHWH fought long and hard to purify them. However like the Arabs, Eli(Allahi) was the Creator from ancient times. The others were lesser gods more like deified angels. If u don't know this from reading the Bible, you wudn't know it anywhere.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • bigot

      all according to MEN. Next argument?

      February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Kevin

      bigot The Bible was penned by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is truth to those being saved and nonsense to the perishing. I hope the light comes on for you.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • fintastic

      Kevin; It's either truth, or not... one or the other... can't be both!

      How insane...

      February 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  18. Melvin

    Good read.

    February 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  19. MikeD

    Great article, should have included how the Bible totally supports Slavery and gives specific directions how slavery should be conducted and orders in the New Testament how slaves should remain with their masters. The Confederacy LOVED the Bible. Also we need to remind those people in the pews that if you kill your daughter like Jephthah did you will be called a HERO in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:32) . Judges 11:29-40 NLT Because God loves human sacrifice as he ordered virgins sacrifice to himself in Numbers 31. No question, people need to know more about this book.

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

      Great points.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      And only an idiot can read those verses and come to those conclusions. Other than that atheist will do just fine. The Bible does say that the fool is an atheist at heart. They even think atheism is modern.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • bigot

      "And only an idiot can read those verses and come to those conclusions"

      how else should you read the "word of god" other than literally?

      February 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Bigot reading it literally like saying things like 'God wanted human sacrifice so he aasked virgins to be sacrificed to him.? Why were some people born after having s.ex in the womb?

      February 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • booboo

      not again.. jessh, you guys love pointing out the slavery thing, as if god "totally loves slavery". have you taken into account that god was speaking to the slaves and slave owners about how to conduct themselves? and it has nothing to do with whether it was right or wrong? there were millions of slaves in those times. It was an everyday part of life. Yet there is scripture addressing slavery and suddenly "god is a slavedriver". so weird, i swear..

      February 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • justme

      Jephthah did not kill his daughter. if you come back to this spot, read the rest of Judges ch.11 and contact Jehovah's Witnesses and you will learn more about the true God Jehovah, Jesus and all you need to know about the bible to help you to be happy now and forever.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Anon

      There is nowhere in Numbers 31 where God directs virgins to be sacrificed. Quite the opposite actually. He requires that all the Midianite women, which the army had brought back, who were not virgins, to be killed along with all the male children. Not pleasant stuff, but not at all what you describe in your post.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Anon

      ^ Fake christard Anon spewing BS and defending a POS desert god.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  20. Nii Croffie

    If someone sees a computer and writes a book on computers he was inspired by computers! So if someone writes a book on God what inspired him?

    February 27, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • GodPot

      Right! So Logical! Same as the guy who wrote the book on Unicorns, I mean, what else could have inspired him... Or the book on fairy's, Santa, Bigfoot, Loch Ness, Goblins, Trolls... I could go on but it would seem as pointless as your comment.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      So by that logic, Star Wars is real too, right?

      February 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      OH BOY, THE NEVERENDING STORY IS REAL!!!!!!!!

      February 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Unicorns were inspired by Rhinos did u know that? Goblins by midgets. What else?

      February 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • MikeD

      Oh Dang, that totally proves Harry Potter is real. The tougher question now is should I be more afraid of Sauron or Lord Voldemort? Oh wait, heck @Lord_Voldemort7 has a twitter account. That nails it, he is totally real.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      And your "God" was inspired by Egypt's Amarna Period. Jesus and Mary were inspired by the Cult of Isis. His death by The Cult of Mithras. And the Christmas Tree by other pegan cults.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The Madonna and child is Isis n Mithras not Jesus and Mary who were live humans like you n me. The YHWH is an Egyptian invention also does not know a lot about ethical polytheism. There is a Supreme ethical God with lesser gods as in Semitic lore. Egypt had a system like Greece. The gods were equal.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      "So if someone writes a book on God what inspired him?"

      Hallucinogenic mushrooms

      February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      The myth of Jesus and Mary was altered to reflect the cult of Isis so that the followers of that cult would find it more appealing. And during the Amarna Period in Egypt, there was a monotheistic religion, similar to the Jewish faith that left Egypt around the same time the Amarna Period ended and was decreed to be illegal. Spend some time looking things up before you try to use your ignorance as a cudgel.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Unfortunately we tried drugs but it makes people stupid and behave like atheists. So the doctors recommended faith. Seems to work but for some few ones like atheists and religious conservatives and liberals. Extremists they are called.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Singling out one of dose Egyptian gods 4 exclusive worship is not like de Jewish faith. YHWH had no challenger 2 His throne in de pantheon. De only thing they added was discouraging de worship of de lesser gods. Amun-Ra was one of the coequal Gods in Egypt so it is more likely de Semites influenced.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Anybody who says “de” instead of “the” is clearly intelligent and holds the moral high ground. Still, I suggest you read about things before you prattle about them. In your case, you might need to find a friend or relative to read it to you, considering the low quality of your verbiage.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/akhenaten_01.shtml

      February 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      No sir! That was the first Messianic prophesy followed by the Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then Shiloh. Then a Prophet like Moses. Seeing the True Image of God. The Jews r still wauting so u can ask them.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Akhenaten's cult of the Sun God Aten (also Amun-Ra) was discontinued because of the reasons outlined above. He tried to purify. He was not driven out of Egypt but died there n his son Tuthankaten reigned as Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Do u have issues with shorthand? If u can read it why gripe?

      February 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      There are lots of people who once belonged to quasi-christian cults or spiritually abusive churches who after reading the bible leave the faith. Which church did you attend? Thinking u were a Christian is not enough.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      God is also innocent until proven guilty so start the prosecution. I will be His lawyer.
      your charges are genocide and murder by the Judaeo-Christian God also known as YHWH, Adonai, Eli, Elohim and syncretised to be the Supreme being of various pagan pantheons of various ethnic groups. Proceed.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Most of the Western atheists are former religious Christians, spiritually abusive church members, or members of quasi-Christian cults. They never had that spiritual connection. Parable of the Sower???

      February 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Most of the Wes.tern atheists are for.mer religious Christians, spiri.tua.lly abu.sive church mem.bers, or mem.bers of qu.asi-Christian cu.lts. They never had that spi.rit.ual con.nec.tion. Parable of the Sower???

      February 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • fintastic

      LSD??

      February 27, 2012 at 3:10 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.