home
RSS
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.)

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. Steve O

    My Take: Stop Pretending the Bible is Real or Relevant

    February 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • just sayin

      The Holy Bible is both real and relevant.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • jimtanker

      The bible may be real but it's just a work of fiction and therefore no more relavent than any other poorly written work of fiction.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Just the other day I killed my disobedient child. I feel much closer to god now, having followed His instructions.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Real? Well, it exists. I have several copies of it on my bookshelf at home.

      Relevant? If you're a Jewish person living in ancient Israel it is. Beyond that? Not so much.

      The culture and society in which the words were written is completely alien to us today. We can not comprehend that world any more than those people living in that world would comprehend ours.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      it's only relevant to those who accept it

      February 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Keel

      Do any of you "God made them kill their children", and "The Bible is a book of fairy tails" people ever get past the Oprah show to draw your conclusions?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Mark

      The Bible is very relavant, whether fictional or not, it has proven life lessons that when followed makes a person happier and healthy and benefits society as a whole. Can your non-God beliefs say the same?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      There are no "life lessons" in The Babble that can't be found outside The Babble. The Babble adds a completely unnecessary supernatural being that has never been shown to exist.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      @ just sayin
      “Just the other day I killed my disobedient child. I feel much closer to god now, having followed His instructions.”

      Is this the same just sayin that I met at the adulterer’s stoning event at the city gates last week?

      February 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  2. Truther

    Jesus was an alien

    February 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  3. John

    To the believers – There is a growing militant, intolerant, atheistic movement in the United States. They are on this blog to spew hate from behind hypocritical stances of pseudo-logic. This article is about not sugar-coating the Bible and has nothing to do with the unbelieving atheists but they are drawn here out of envy of a fulfilled life that can't seem to allow themselves to grasp.

    To the unbelievers – Don't be afraid to try a love that will provide purpose to your life. Believers aren't perfect and evil has been done in God's name by evil people that claimed to be believers but weren't. You are responsible for them but you are responsible for your own life and soul. Please seek God and let him into your heart.

    That is all.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • beautyforashes11

      Amen!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I've been a much happier and more fulfilled person since I let go of my faith. Please stop speaking for people that you clearly don't understand.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      John.
      Surprise to know the majority of hate spewing "atheists" are not American they are foreign instigators and ne'er do wells.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      facepalm You never had a faith to let go of, you have been deceived your entire life.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Horus

      Militant atheistic movement? Really? Care to expand on that one? Most of the militas spotted around the country are decidedly fundamentalist / extremist Christians.......

      February 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • jimtanker

      There is no god. Live your life knowing that this is all that we have and stop wasting your time on a delusion. Religion is just a shelter for bigoted people who need something to hide behind.

      Your god is an evil megalomaniac at the very least.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Just sayin

      Doesn't your book say something about not judging. You know nothing about me or my life. I was a very devout Christian with very strong faith for the majority of my life. I'm sorry if you find that fact inconvenient.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      When you use the word "believers"...do you mean only those who believe as you do?

      Because there are many who believe. There are many more stops along the spectrum than Atheist and Christian. I believe many things, however, I do not believe as you do.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Nope

      "This article is about not sugar-coating the Bible and has nothing to do with the unbelieving atheists but they are drawn here out of envy of a fulfilled life that can't seem to allow themselves to grasp. "

      You have to tell yourself this crap so you can feel better in believing in something that doesn't actually exist. LOL!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  4. SJVALDEZ48

    I AM A BELIEVER IN ALL THAT GOD AND THE BIBLE OFFER. I DARE TO BELIEVE.. I BELIEVE IN JESUS,FOR THOSE WHO THINK THAT IT IS NOT REAL, THERE WILL BE A TIME THAT YOU WILL QUESTION YOURSELF, MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE LOOKED IN TO THE GOD THING A LITTLE MORE.. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE THAT IS A BELIEVER THAT CAN SAY I AM SORRY I EVER GOT MIXED UP IN THIS STUFF

    February 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      1) Why are you screaming?
      2) You presume that those who do not believe as you do have never read your book or listened to your gospel or even that they have never believed. This is a false presumption.
      3) Two people can experience the exact same thing and draw different conclusions from it. Thus it is with religion and belief.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Yeppers! I was a missionary...knew the bible inside and out. Grew up pious and fantatical about Jesus.

      Then I did the historical research. I went to college. I kept praying but noticed that if I meditated each day I felt better than I did begging some unseen god for relief from some suffering.

      Now I'm a Buddhist and I find peace in the fact that I can love my fellow human beings without condemning the ones I don't like to h e l l. I can meditate and feel the god within; that's the god inside each and everyone of us that doesn't live out "there" but creates our own day by the choices we make. There's no need for an archaic, angry god like Jesus. Remember, the Buddha came before Jesus and taught the same things and today there are more and more Buddhists because they find true peace.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  5. tom

    What a bunch of rubbish! I am so glad I awas born in a secular household and did not have to deal with any of this hogwash growing up.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Maybe this "hogwash" isn't for you, so don't worry about it. Jesus said " I know mine, and mine know me."

      February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • justme

      then why are you even wasting your time here and not out hunting for another piltman man?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • justme

      sorry, should have been piltdown man. just as stupid.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  6. Godfrey

    Christianity, in its "original" form, is much too vicious and primitive for modern people to accept. That should be obvious to anyone who has actually read the Bible.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  7. chris_n_sd1001

    The writer is just making a point. Just read it for yourselves (Horus and Anon)! You won't need to argue with others – unless you just want to "troll" for reactions.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Horus

      It's a "sound-off" board. We're interested in commenting to either correct misrepresentation, or better understand someone's point of view. Sorry if that upsets you. Are you an angry christian?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  8. MY UNITE EARTH ORDER

    Ava, I'm going to ask you to gather more names for the inventory list. Trying to get everyone fired up and might need some more characters in here. These Bitter Agnostics are name dropping the "Atheist Label" again and it's getting quite old, but still having fun and make sure you inform "Pastor Pam Jonestown", that Kool-Aid will definitely be served tomorrow night at the Humantory Lodge meeting for the Knight of Columbus. Amen girl FWD: to 5 before the next full moon. Undalay ! Now get er done !

    February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Bob the Janitor

    This was a great article and a good read. As a Christian who knows Jesus, I agree that we shouldn't sugarcoat the truth.

    For those who do not know Jesus, it's not too late for you. He offers you complete forgiveness for every sin you've ever committed and a love greater than anything you could ever find here on earth. And it's free...you can't beat a deal like that anywhere!

    February 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chris

      I've always learned if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't....

      February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • vinobianco

      assuming for a second that the god of the bible is real, I don't think he's any being I would choose to worship...seems like kind of nasty guy, no? the bible describes him as jealous, vengeful, etc. if w don't value these characteristics in humans why would we for a diety?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Sounds like a plan. Do I first need to kill an uppity child, someone who touches a pig product, someone whose hair is too short or too long, someone who does work on the Sabbath, someone who commited adultery, someone who didn't marry her rapist, someone who wasn't a virgin upon marriage, someone who eats shellfish, or someone who wears mixed fabrics?

      And if you think your religion is free, maybe you should start watching the televangelists who claim you will get miracles if you donate money, first.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      the cosmic scapegoat.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Bob, I wonder how some of these Christian haters sugarcoat their own behaviour.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      bob: many of us do not believe in either sin nor salvation.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  10. jimtanker

    Christianity – The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Greg

      If we're being nitpicky, I'd say He had a great weekend considering He conquered death and all. Just sayin.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  11. PrimeNumber

    People have different reactions to the Bible. Maybe it's because they see themselves in that book. Maybe that's why atheists are always angry when they read the bible.
    A question for you atheists: If the car ahead of you had a bumper sticker that said "Love you neighbor", would you think he was an atheist or a Christian?

    February 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Horus

      First I'd think they were grammatically challenged. Then I'd say it proves morality needs no Gods.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      It’s not the bible that makes them angry; it’s the hypocrisy, and absurdity of its content.

      To answer your question, I would make no assumption about a person’s beliefs based solely on a bumper sticker on the car they’re driving.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Atheist. A christian would have a sticker that said, "Love your straight, Christian, conservative neighbor. All others go to he'll."

      February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Based on the bumper sticker alone I would say Xtian. Now ask yourself if he actually does what that sticker says. Most likely not. Xtians are some of the most intollerant people in the world.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Just that they're a good person, nothing about their religion though.
      A question for theists: why does everything always have to have a religious spin on it? More specifically, a Christian religious spin?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      Love Your Neighbor is probably something we can all agree one. Gods are unnecessary for morality.

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

      Horus, watch youself now. You'll be next to use bad spelling. And stop kidding us about your reaction to the bumper sticker scenario.

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

      Obviously, if someone puts part of a biblical verse on their car, I'm going to guess they're Christian AND they they've got their bumper sticker from someone who took it from one of the newer translations of the bible.

      However, I don't care! Are you suggesting that only Christians are nice to their neighbors? or are you suggesting that without the bible telling you to be nice, you'd be a nasty person?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Horus

      Prime – I was trying to prove I'm not angry by having a sense of humor....come on now....you're right though. I'm the king of missing a keystroke or three.....

      No, I very much believe "love your neighbor" dates more to ancient cultures trying to live together for survival. I do not believe Gods are required to care about fellow man.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Chach

      To the bumper sticker "Love thy neighbor" I would think that's a great message. I would believe that if it was an atheist, it would be a heck of a lot more believable that they actually practice the words. But, I would tend to believe that it would be on the car of a hypocrital Christian. They love to talk a lot about good deeds, but fall short when it comes to actually doing what they talk about. Do you think that Christians have a monopoly on goodwill? Do you believe that atheists inherently lack good will? I would argue that "Christians" have proven throughout history that they practice very little of "loving their neighbors", in favor of vilifying, persecuting, murdering and committing genocide on any that dare to disagree with them.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Why is it that we get to this stage all the time. The Bible is a book to be practised. If u read it and talk about it. You have not practised it. How wud u know if I am lying? Let me guess because a great scientist didn't believe in God. Unfortunately most do!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Horus

      @Nii – could you provide sourcing for your claim that "most scientist" believe in God....thx... waiting.....

      February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      @Nii
      “Can u prove this in a court of law or u r just running ur mouth. Prove it!”

      February 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • truth

      i would think he was was a hypocrite

      February 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  12. Bryan

    I disagree with the authors conclusion: "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." True religion teaches us a way of life that is enabling, not captivating. Living a righteous life LIBERATING. A God-fearing person will not feel that they "missed out" on life because they never tried sin A, B, or C, but will be better off abstaining from those things.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Why, in this modern day and age, would anyone want to be "god-fearing?" Why would anyone believe in a god that they fear. What kind of god can love you unconditionally, be your father and then say, "go to H e l l !" It sounds like a massive pack of dysfunction with a god that has a personality disorder.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bryan

      God is a perfect balance between justice and mercy. Perfectly Just because He is is the source of all Good, and no unclean thing can dwell in His presence. Perfectly Merciful because through the infinite sacrifice and grace of His son, the rest of his imperfect children can be restored to his presence and experience His love. But, that grace isn't a straight-up give-away (that would negate justice). We must ACCEPT Christ through faith, repentance, and baptism.

      That is PERFECT JUSTICE and PERFECT MERCY. Fear God's justice, embrace God's mercy = Experience God's love.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • becca

      Ur His child if u confess Him as ur Lord and savior otherwise ur only His creation. Of course it hurts Him to send the ppl He created to hell, but that's your choice and as He is a God of love, He's also a just God...He's not going to force u to believe in Him hence "free will". He will teach you to live the right way if u ask Him and let me tell u...its the best choice you will ever make. Its not easy but its always satisfying to know u have full assurance of a good life. From experience I can say so.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Greg s

      Life on this earth is many things but one of the obvious things I see as a Christian is its a test. I can choose to not believe becasue of my free will and live a life any way I wish and in the end Fail or I can accept Christ into my life and live a Life as best I can, I will still sin I will still make many mistakes but at the end of My Life I will win. To a Natural man (artiest) this will never make any sense whats so ever. The Bible teaches that the word Of God is Foolishness to the Natural Man! And Natural men prove this daily on CNN.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Really, after reading the responses to my post I have one word: Barf.
      You all sound like a bunch of programmed automatons. That's one BIG reason people think you christians are all nuts...you can't think or speak for yourselves. You just spew out the things you are told as though you don't have a mind of your own.

      Ah well. Good luck with that.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      I'm with you Greg s, except it's not jesus that leads me to salvation, it's Thor. If I'm right, then I'm all good, and if I'm wrong then it doesn't matter anyway right?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • pastmorm

      hmmmm....Thor is kinda cool...

      February 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • fintastic

      He makes thunder, right?

      February 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  13. Chuck

    Asimov was President of the American Humanist Association, vice president of Mensa, a PHD in biochemistry and writer of many non-fiction books, science and historical. So no idly musing hack.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Asimov wrote such books but I have not heard of Him. Jesus did not I hear about Him everyday. Seems like Asimov is going to be a myth veeery soon.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Anon

      Unlike the fabricated farce known as Jesus, Asimov was a real person.

      February 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  14. Kavinsky

    I love when people talk about the bible as if what was written inside of it actually happened.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Something for you to consider, Kavinksy. A declaration more recent than the Bible says that all men are created equal. In fact, humans evolved unequally.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      @PrimeNumber

      What are you talking about?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Greg

      This reasoning means that no one can write a historically factual book about Abraham Lincoln today because he died nearly 150 years ago. Do you believe that's also true?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Greg,

      People today can use primary sources to write about Lincoln. No such source exist for Jesus, the great flood, Adam and Eve, Moses, etc. You should have learned about historical scholarship and using accurate sources in roughly the seventh grade.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • adk522

      Kavinsky,,, there is more evidence that Bible events happened then most modern history. It takes more faith to be an Athiest.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      @adk522

      Why don't you enlighten me with some of that proof please.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  15. Scott

    I'm not interested in arguing with the non-believers over the validity of the Bible or the existence of God, however I pray that they find God's love before it is too late. We have become so "smart" as a society that we have rationalized the removal of God from our lives. All the technology and science in the world cannot save your soul...only the grace of God, through Jesus, are we saved.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Joe T.

      As soon as somebody offers proof of your God besides "The Bible says", I will not believe in your God.

      The reason atheists do not believe in your God is the same reason you don't believe in Zeus and Horus. It's because they are just myths. You can't offer me anything to say your God is any different or real.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • LAKE OF FIRE

      OR ELSE...YOU GET IN ME.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • AWMessenger

      I agree and I think this author nails the veracity of Christ. All too often critics are too busy judging the followers to actually get the point that it never had anything at all to do with ritual, piety and religion, it had everything to do with an eternal relationship.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bryan

      Scott, I agree with you...
      and to Joe, the real proof of the Bible isn't in that the book exists. The real proof is in living the teachings of Jesus and experiencing for yourself the enabling power of God.

      God isn't out to PROVE he exists. He will never force us to believe in Him. It is our opportunity in life to DISCOVER he exists, and that discovery is a journey of faith. With a desire to know, diligent study, humble prayer, and applying what we learn, we will come to understand that God is very much real, and very much aware of us, and very ready to let us feel His love.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      Until you prove god exists, the default is that a god probably doesn't. Especially the Xtian god.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Mister Howdydoody

      We don't rationalize not needing Godah (said in Cartman voice). The more "enlightened" of us have matured and grown to see that religion is a parable and device used to control people.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • MarcTTF

      "He will never force us to believe in Him."

      ... but he will send you to a fiery hell for all of eternity for not believing right?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Scott

      The constant implications that unless all nonbelievers will go to hell unless they subscribe to your particular god is tiresome at this point. If I go to hell, despite being as good a person I can, because I didn't bow and scra.pe to a god who acts like a 5 year old that wants mommies attention then whatever. If it's filled of intolerant, egotistical jacka$$es then who would want to be in "paradise" besides those who think exactly like them. Save your poorly disguised condemnation for those who might actually be scared by it.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Greg s

      And what would a man like you do with Proof Joe, If Christ arrived and set up shop in New York, Healing the sick and curing disease, then He begins to lay down the Law on what you can and cant do, What then Joe, When hes telling you exactly what to do. Would you believe him then, Would you hate him then. If God was on this earth ruling from his mountain, Your free will would be toast! Would you love him then or would you resent him like you resent him now!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  16. DcMan

    Why is it only the atheists blog after these articles? Such a small % of the population; the conversation is so extreme and single minded.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Look at stuff that religion claims. Look at stuff the Bible claims. I'd say that's way more extreme than what some atheists say.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      Atheists also tend to know more about Christianity (in the US) than the Christians actually do.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • AWMessenger

      Mostly I think it is because believers for the most part know that there is no way to earthy persuade an atheist in changing their mind: it requires divine intervention from within. As you stated, mostly the flagrant atheists are the ones that want to shed their hatred of belief down here. And the Word does tell us we shouldn't waste our time casting pearls before swine. So yeah, a great number of believers will just let the non-believers vent down here in their close-mindedness.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

      Sorry we don't live in a delusion. I just find gods and especially the bible very very unlikely to be true. Talking snakes and donkeys don't help the credibility either.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "it requires divine intervention from within."

      So, if god doesn't choose to manipulate my neurons he's going to torture me for eternity? Why does your god play favorites? Doesn't seem very loving.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why are many/most posts by atheists? Because believers cannot defend their silly beliefs!! Best they can do is "please leave us alone....wahhhhh!"

      February 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Greg s

      Denying the one true God is not as easy as it sounds, God seems to constantly push on these non believers in such a way that they constantly have to fortify there disbelief, They do this by going out of there way to stop everyone else from Believing in what they do not believe in. I don't believe in Islam, or Hinduism, Or Buddhism, But I dont care one bit if someone else does, Neither do atheists, These religions do not believe in the One true God either, So the Atheists ignore them. Only the God of the Bible gets under there skin and it causes them to be agitated. They cant help it cant stop it cant stand it!! So here they are getting there own little self help dose of God denial, Help's them through the day.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      "God seems to constantly push on these non believers in such a way that they constantly have to fortify there disbelief"

      As opposed to Christians who have the great commission to get others to believe as they do?

      February 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      also, greg, your spelling is poor

      February 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • fintastic

      Maybe not as "small" as you've been lead to believe?......

      February 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  17. Ricky

    My take: the bible, as all the other so-called "holy" books, are a mixture of fairy tales, half-truths, and hearsay. They are an interesting read, because as other works of fiction, they do include some accurate historical references that give us some light of how people lived back them. However, just like other fictional works, they should not be taken seriously, and much less as the word of a god/s.

    February 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Your post equates the Bible to other holy books. Which one of those are u an expert at following. Reading is not the problem. Try following them and you will see which is a myth and which is not.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Horus

      Nii – all are myths because all were born in human conjecture. It is a fact that all were written by man, and based on human characterization of a God, or Gods.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Nii

      To claim that implies that you have followed other holy books. So praytell which ones have you followed? Which are you an expert in?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      I don't mind where u think they got it from. Einstein had a moment of genius which led him to give us Relativity Theory. The Bhuddha and Moses cud also have something to say so which have u followed?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible is my standard for life. If u think that means I disregard the books of other faiths you r wrong. I read them but I follow the Bible only. Now can you tell me the one that you have followed? Or u r atheist in ignorance?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Keel

      Really? And why should we "take", your "take"? It's all too common for people to have a "take" which is most often an uninformed, and misguided attempt to reach some sort of personal equilibrium. If there's one thing that's indisputable about the Bible, it's that it doesn't give you any space to feel comfortable. It draws a line in the sand that basically says "What did you do with Christ?" The article is good, because it tries to make the point that the reality of the Bible is there whether you like it or not. If you don't accept God's word, you reject Him. It's your prerogative of course, but when you say you think it's a book of fairy tales and half truths, you betray your ignorance. There are extensive manuscript, archeological, prophetic, and statistical evidences that are hard to deny, and simply saying that you've come to a conclusion because of these things you claim make up the Bible tells us all that you have not studied it, and probably have never even read it, or that you have chosen to dismiss its truth claims in spite of the evidence. In either case, I question your position based on its lack of substance, and extreme silliness. Give examples if you expect anyone to take you seriously.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Horus

      @Nii – I hate to bring up another point, but Nazareth (at least it's current locale) did not exist during the alleged god-man's time....just thought you might want to check in to that.....since you read so many books.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Nii

      I was born a Catholic and followed the dogma for years, I have also studied under and practised Buddhism, Hindu, and made it a point to study the Egyptian and Greek gods. I am indeed an atheist although I don't consider myself willfully ignorant. Those things I recognize as being ignorant in I make it a point to correct that. How is it that you tell someone to follow and not only read to decide which book is correct, yet you do not do the same? You claim a high ground through a hypocritical statement.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Greg s

      But yet here you are, Reading a Article on God, Why, Why do you even take the time to read this when you don't believe it at all. That's the part of Atheism I don't get, Why do you even give a thimble full of care about something you absolutely do not believe in, Yet right now 90 percent of those responding to this blog are non believers, Come on now doesn't that seem like a big waist of all you non believers time!! Look at the responses, There isnt a God, there never was a God, The Bible is all fairy Tells, Its all a lie, Over and over and over, Who are you trying to convince, those few of us on here that believe or yourselves!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Greg s

      Because I enjoy intellectual discourse, and constantly strive to challenge my thinking. I try to keep myself informed as much as possible, and enjoy differing opinions. I don't come here to bash the bible or religion, but I will call others out on their intolerance, false statements, and some of the general disdain shown in these forums.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  18. chris_n_sd1001

    Yes!! Thank you Steven James, for this article. You bring a very important point to light; most people do not read the Bible for themselves, instead, they stay content to believe what others have written about the Bible. That is, most are too apathetic or lazy to do so on their own, so they adopt other peoples' views without developing their own convictions. And this is true both for the atheist and the religious person. It is like eating pre-chewed food from a mouth not your own! Jesus is definitely no pious mystic but a real tough and courageous man, with honesty, integrity and character. The Bible calls us to be the same way.

    February 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Horus

      You knew the man did you?

      February 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Very true to read the Bible with historical and contextual accuracy and obey its teachings will help u become a better man. Its not enough to memorise verses and read commentaries. Meditation and obedience count.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Anon

      ^ Another lying apologist with zero evidence.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Horus

      Nii – "historical and contextual accuracy" ROFL...... apparently you haven't read, or haven't paid much attention if you did.....

      February 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Often, those with the drive to read and actually understand the bible will end up walking away from organized religion and many of those will eventually become Atheists as they realize that the book is filled with the myth story of a people that is not their own, historically inaccurate, and barbaric if applied to modern life.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      I know what you are saying! If we love our neighbor as ourselves the world economy will collapse!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "obey its teachings will help u become a better man. "

      I can be a better person if I kill my disobedient kid? Really? I hope I don't live anywhere near you!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • beautyforashes11

      I agree! I have no tolerance nor any respect for ignorant people that haven't taken the time to genuinely study this stuff before they spew out rude and immature arguments. And when I say study, I mean The Bible, scientific books, historical books, society, many many other religions, and of course, your own soul. Get back to me when you've finished. Otherwise, you are just mindless babble.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Greg s

      With the Bible you do not need organized religion, The bible is enough. In a Church your getting a man or mens version of the Bible, Best off getting your own from the source. You have turned your back on the Bible because you never believed what it had to say, You never accepted that it was the truth. There lies the entire rub. To believe in the word of the Bible you have to believe the Bible true, You have to believe an all powerful God would insure his Book did not lie and that his point was made in its entirety. The fact remains we can not prove the Bible true, It takes faith to believe that, But neither can the bible be proven false, Because once it is its useless.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  19. Steph

    WOW!! Great writer! So happy to see Jesus represented right. You rock man you rock. Thanks for making my day brighter!! 🙂 i looooove this article!!!

    February 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  20. Recovering Republican

    The Bible is not meant to be a pleasent read, and Christians aren't meant to be pleasent people. The Bible is a book of rules, and Christians are meant to be rule followers, and a good ten percent of Christians do follow the rules on a regular basis. The rest just lie about it and call themselves "Republicans". God does not acknowledge political parties, only obedience, and love, tow things the GOP knows nothing about as they push tax cuts.

    February 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      News flash! Majority of Christians are not Americans! Come again...

      February 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Anon

      ^ The majority are fcked up in the head then.

      February 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Anon u see if u were in a mental hospital u wud not be getting out with such language. lol

      February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • beautyforashes11

      What Bible were you reading? How many times did Jesus say we will never be able to attain the Law? Yes, we ought to strive for that because it is a BETTER way of life for everyone, but you are a liar when you say 10% of christians follow the rules. Look at the story of Sodom & Gomorrah...THAT'S WHY HE DIED! BECAUSE NO ONE CAN LIVE UP TO THE LAW IN THE BIBLE!!!!!!!!!

      February 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Greg s

      The Bible is a Book about Salvation, Christians and non Christians sin in equal amounts, The difference is Forgiveness.
      It has nothing to do with the Liberals or Conservatives.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Anon

      It's all myth! Why the fck you braindead christards devote so much time on a fcking myth!

      February 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91
Advertisement
About this blog

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