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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. Wisdom4u2

    @ Sam ~~~ Why don't you MAKE ME use the "REPLY'?! idiot!

    February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Ah, you are Cauliflower McPugg today, eh?

      February 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • ....

      It's because you're a azz hole and a moron, keep showing it by not being able to use the reply button. LMAO!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @.... "....you're a azz hole and a moron..." ~~~ That would be 'you're 'an' azz hole and a moron...."
      See what I mean, folks....? These poor dummies really don't know any better!

      February 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • ......

      "See what I mean, folks....? These poor dummies really don't know any better!"

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot. What an idiot.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  2. David Claytor

    @sam What is S&M? Excuse my ignorance.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Sadism & Masochism

      One likes giving pain, the other receiving.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  3. David Claytor

    @Yo! And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. John 21:25 The bible does not and cannot contain all that Jesus did but these were written that you might believe.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Yo!

      "The bible does not and cannot contain all that Jesus did but these were written that you might believe."

      Quoting something written by a scribe doesn't make it any more believable. There is NO proof your god exists or people would have been shouting it on the rooftops by now. What has been proven is the chemical reaction in your brain but you don't need a god for that either.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • jimtanker

      @Yo,

      Try not to use the word proof. We are looking for credible evidence. Proving something is very hard to do without evidence.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.~~

      February 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • nope

      nope .

      February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Nope

      "nope

      nope ."

      More desperation for the xtian proving nope right. LMAO!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • nope

      nope .

      February 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nope

      "nope

      nope ."

      And yet again more desperation from the xtian – keep proving me right. LOL!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • nope

      nope .

      February 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • nope

      nope .

      February 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Nope

      "nope

      nope ."

      Thanks for continuing to show your desperation. LOL!

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      This is my favorite post every day. Mostly because I'm the one who makes it.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • just sayin

      Another miraculous answer to prayer, I can post without being on line ! Match that !

      February 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • nope

      nope. .

      February 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Huh?

      I think Nope's posts scare the Christians so they have to post more nonsense. It's pretty comical and typical of their mentality.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  5. AverageJoe76

    As an agnostic, I'd like to express what drove me to that decision; we are human. I don't know any perfect humans. I don't know any humans that have successfully gone from Heaven to Hell, to confirm anything. I generated any conversation I had with God (to be completely honest). Never in my life have voices came from nowhere to speak with me and counsel me. It was me, in my head. Humans are animals (not in a BAD way, just in a realistic way). I don't believe in ghosts, nor have I seen any reason to believe in them. Science doesn't answer everything, but it answers if you seek them. And even after all that.... I don't say there IS no God. Reason? I honestly don't know if there is, or if there isn't. So... I remain uncertain. And I've never felt better. I release myself from the burden of such things. Guessing on things I CANNOT possibly confirm. No one will ever have definitive proof. Period. So live, man-apes. Live and die well!

    February 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bjalpha

      To answer the question, “How long is eternity?” Think of a bird that flies to earth once every hundred years to rub its beak on the ground to sharpen it. When the bird has worn off the entire earth by this motion; that will only be the beginning of eternity.
      So if you choose not to believe in God and in the message of salvation even though you have heard it and known it in your heart to be true, yet you reject it- think of how long you will have to regret your decision.
      I mean not to judge or despise your position, but merely urge you to consider the length of your life and the length of eternity, that you may make your choice wisely- and be informed.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Bjalpha – I have thought my decision through extensively. If there is a God, we don't know too much about him. So listening to mortals, who haven't been any closer to God than I have, speak on him, would seem to be a mistake. What I know in MY heart is this; we are beings of fallacy attempting to pass a message from an infallable being. That in itself, will lead to all types of misconceptions and ill-concieved ideologies. Like teaching astro-physics to a termite. ALSO, every religion claims to be true. With everyone speaking with such vigor that they behold the only 'truth'; obviously someone is WRONG. So now I gotta choose the right religious gang to join or I'll miss out on this awesome 'truth' to life. But no one can produce a definitive truth. It's all based on faith. And I lack that.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  6. David Claytor

    @Huh? Yes, wise only because I chose him or rather was chosen by Him (Christ). I have surrendered my will and acknowledged my folly, I recommend that you do the same.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • sam

      It kind of sounds more like you just have S&M tendencies.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I would go more with M/s tendencies actually. He reads more submissive than masochist, though I've always believed that the very conservative are a bit of both.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • sam

      @myweightinwords – I think you may be on to something.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  7. David Claytor

    @Yo! I can see you've taken a lot of time to study and convince yourself that you are not in error. Yet, the error of your ways screams in your ears reminding you that you are (in error). The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil. John 3:19

    February 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Yo!

      "@Yo! I can see you've taken a lot of time to study and convince yourself that you are not in error. Yet, the error of your ways screams in your ears reminding you that you are (in error). "

      I thought your bible told you that lying is a sin moron! LMAO! You have to tell yourself this crap so you can feel better about your delusions. LOL!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  8. robert landbeck

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

    And there's the rub! How do we know the 'authorship' is indeed from God and not just more tortured theological, politically correct theodicy? As all tradition is an all too human theological conception, how is it possible to know if anything is truly from God? Does not scripture warn many times of human understanding pretending to be the wisdom of God? There may finally be a way, but it hasn't come from any existing tradition or teaching. With Easter approaching and preparations in the making to celebrate the Resurrection, one might ponder if the true significance of that event has been understood correctly.

    As the first wholly new interpretation for two thousand years of the moral teachings of Christ is published on the web. Radically different from anything else we know of from history, this new teaching is predicated upon a precise, predefined and predictable experience and called 'the first Resurrection' in the sense that the Resurrection of Jesus was intended to demonstrate Gods' willingness to real Himself and intervene directly into the natural world for those obedient to His will, paving the way for access, by faith, to the power of divine transcendence.

    Thus 'faith' is the path, the search and discovery of this direct individual intervention into the natural world by omnipotent power to confirm divine will, Law, command and covenant, "correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries." So like it or no, a new religious teaching, testable by faith, meeting all Enlightenment criteria of evidence based causation and definitive proof now exists. Nothing short of an intellectual, moral and religious revolution is getting under way. To test or not to test, that is the question? More info at http://www.energon.org.uk,
    http://soulgineering.com/2011/05/22/the-final-freedoms/

    February 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  9. oobydoodby

    this article is complete B.S. it is easily proven to be so: do you have a soul? what color is it? how much does it weigh? is it acidic or basic? can it be measured in any way shape or form? if it can't, then it does not exist in reality. If it does not exist in reality, then it is not real. If it is not real then it does not exist. there is NO SUCH THING AS A SOUL! the whole bible is much ado about nothing and so is every other religion that concerns itself with souls, humanity needs to understand this.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • bob

      Good luck with that upon your death.....may you seek and find the one true God and Savior, Jesus Christ before

      February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • sjj668

      Question 1: Yes, but BoA has a mortgage out on it and they keep trying to foreclose.
      Question 2: Red, with a kind of orangy-coral tinge at sunset. Very nice.
      Question 3: 1.23891g at the equator. YMMV at other locations and planets.
      Question 4: Amphoteric. If you don't know what that means look it up.
      Question 5: I used an ectoplasmometer ™. You can find them all over Craigslist.
      Next question?
      BTW you might want to look up the definition of "faith". It might seem a silly concept to you, but when it can get people to strap bombs on their chest an blow up school children, it prefer to respect a concept like that.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  10. David Claytor

    @Ummmm You call me an idiot therefore you must be supremely more intelligent than I? "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:21

    February 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Huh?

      ... and you?... you are not claiming to be wise???

      February 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • ...

      LOL!

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot. That log in your eye is getting huge!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam

      Gaaaah, use the goddamn reply link!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  11. David Claytor

    @Yo! You "believe" the historical inerrancy of the Smithsonian and I "believe" the word of God. I guess we're both believers after all.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Yo!

      ""believe" the word of God. "

      It's all made up by men idiot and altered by men because there is no proof of your god.

      Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states, let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her. The crowd dissipates out of shame. That story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. The story is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

      After Jesus died, Mary Magdalene and two other women came back to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, according to Mark 16:1-2). They were met by a man in a white robe who told them that Jesus had been raised and was no longer there. The women fled and said nothing more to anyone out of fear (16:4-8). Everyone knows the rest of Mark’s Gospel, of course. The problem with the remainder of the story is that none of it was originally in the Gospel of Mark. It was added by a later scribe.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  12. David Claytor

    @Yo! The historical accuracy of the Bible is not what brought me to faith. It was the hearing of the word that brought me to faith. There are many things in the Bible that I do not understand but this one thing I know, I once was lost but now I am found was blind but now I see!

    February 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Ummmm

      Hey idiot learn to use the reply button!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Yo!

      "There are many things in the Bible that I do not understand but this one thing I know, I once was lost but now I am found was blind but now I see!"

      LMAO No dude what is happening is you found that part of your brain the releases a chemical that makes you feel good and yes that has been proven. It's all in your head. You wouldn't know the truth if it bit you in your azz.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Historical accuracy? According the bible the earth is less than 10k years old. How can that possibly be historically accurate when everything around us says otherwise?

      February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  13. Old Shoe

    The Biblical illiteracy of America amazes me when reading some of these comments. Especially so, considering the reason this nation was founded. This writer hits the mark on all points and I agree that to understand the Bible to it's fullest extent, we need to understand the Bible from the context of the original languages it was written in. But understanding and knowing God does not come only by what can be read in the Bible. We only get a mental image of what we read. If people want to really get to know someone, the best thing to do is to meet them personally and develop a close friendship. Only then does the understanding become 3 dimensional. This why so many fail to understand the Bible, they don't know the God of the Bible. Mankind, after being tossed from the Garden of Eden has been living in a metaphorical cesspool and God made a way to remove mankind from it. The point of the Bible is to point out we are in a cess pool and to also point out the exit from the cesspool.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • sam

      If god as portrayed in the bible wasn't such a d!ck, there wouldn't even be a cesspool. C'mon.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Actually Old Shoe, it's been proven that atheists on average know more about the Bible than theists. Kind of depressing, huh?

      February 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • ashrakay

      This is yet another kind of christian self-delusion. "Clearly they have to have access to some secret knowledge. Atheists couldn't possibly be reading the bible properly or else they would be christians." As a person who grew up in a very devout christian home (my father was a minister), I went to a baptist school for 13 years and a church for 18 years. Throw in all of the family bible study times, mandatory memorization and extra activities, and I can assure you that I've read the bible, and have had it presented in a host of contexts. There is so much cruelty, as well as many contradictions. The only way you can read the bible "properly", believe all that is written there and still remain a christian is if you are a) selectively reading, b) a sycophant who suffers from battered wife syndrome, or c) a cruel person yourself.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Old Shoe

      @ Joe T It's not depressing to me at all that some Athiests know the bible very well and I am not offended in the least that you are trying to prove me wrong. Why? Because there are too many Athiests through history who studied the bible and sought to prove the bible wrong, only to find it is truth. There are quite litterally thousands of famous people who studied their way to understanding. I name a few contemporary examples: C.S Lewis, Lee Strobel, Malcolm Muggerage, William Murry (Son of famous Athist Madalyn Murry O'Hair) Aleksandr Sohzhenitsyn, Edith Stein, Larry Darby, Peter Hitchens, (Brother of Christopher Hitchens) and Alister McGrath. Studying the Bible (Gods Word) regardless of motive does not come back to God void. Scripture clearly states that the person studying scripture will find God. And no, there is no mystical, hidden or excusive messages or code in scripture. God is not exclusive, but inclusive. God wants all people to know and understand Him.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  14. Wisdom4u2

    @myweightinwords ~~~
    Grow a brain. I was addressing the bozo's who falsely believe that the Bible isn't 'truth'. Therefore, it has everything to do with the article….okay?

    February 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Joe T.

      If the Bible is "Truth", prove everything that it says, really happened. You can't. You would make a horrible lawyer. All of your proof is just "The Bible says the Bible is true, so it must be true."

      February 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I guess I'm one of the bozos...

      So, I guess you can prove, with independent, verifiable, factual evidence, that your god and The Babble are true. Please enlighten us with your novel proof as no one has ever proven either previously.

      I suggest that those that believe in something that has not been proven in 2000+ years, despite numerous attempts, are not only true believers, but true bozos.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • sam

      Use the goddamn reply link.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      As I said,

      Forgive me, I was attempting to engage you in meaningful conversation regarding the topic of the article and your use of that particular quote. I was rather hoping for you to expound upon your reasons for choosing that particular quote and how you believed it spoke to the concept of language and the evolution of religion out of the context of the bible, how translations and "sugarcoating" have affected the way we see the bible.

      I was unaware that faced with such a request, you would divert to insults. I will leave you to your juvenile trolling and seek civil discourse with another.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      joe t ~~~ You are spiritually blind....no one, not even God, can explain or show you anything spiritual, until you're ready to SEEK....then, and only, then will you FIND.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @myweightinwords ~~~~ I will repeat what I said to Joe T:

      You are spiritually blind....no one, not even God, can explain or show you anything spiritual, until you're ready to SEEK....then, and only, then will you FIND.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ sam
      Make me.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • sam

      You're spiritually constripated, though. That's probably more uncomfortable.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Wisdom4u,

      I find it interesting that with nothing more than a few words on a screen you can make this conclusion about me. You know little to nothing about me, other than what I have written here, or possibly on my blog if you have followed that link to see what I'm about.

      There is something that Jesus is reported to have said in the bible, about judging another person. I'm sure that you've read it since you seem to like to quote from the book. He warns that if you judge others, you yourself will be judged by the same measure. There's also that bit about taking the log out of your own eye before you go digging around for the speck in your brothers.

      I offered you no insult. I requested some insight into your thoughts so that we could communicate. You chose to respond by telling me to "grow a brain" and now have declared me to be spiritually blind without even making the attempt to communicate.

      Trust me when I tell you that I have done the seeking, and I did find. I found that the truth is found in the journey, not the destination.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Wisdom4u2... I used to be a devout believer in the Bible. Everything in it was true. God is great!

      Then I actually read the Bible with an objective mind. I woke up. I hope you can do the same.

      February 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  15. Leeanne

    Joe T & Hotairace:

    I am not delusional at all. Faith – believing what you CAN'T see. I have faith. Sorry you don't. Blessing on you both anyway.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Joe T.

      So you haven't refuted my point, that air is different than God. You can see air. Your original point was that atheists show faith in what they can't see because they believe air exists. We proved that you can see air. There is tangible proof. There is no proof for the Judeo-Christian God besides a book that was written by people 2000-4000 years ago.

      If you get a chance, look up the origin of the Judeo-Christian God Yahweh (the one that you worship). Did you know that the Canaanites worshipped him? Yahweh was a war God. He was one of many God children of El.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  16. Wisdom4u2

    I see the troll is on board….I guess it’s sitting around waiting on the mail carrier to deliver it’s ‘mental’ disability check …..poor thing.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      Whoops...that's actually me.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  17. David Claytor

    @jimtanker How much faith does it take to believe that Jesus does not exist? How many times do you have to tell yourself that there is no GOD before you actually....BELIEVE it? It looks like everybody is a believer of one kind or another.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  18. David Claytor

    @jimtanker What evidence do you have that he DEFINITELY did not live. Scholars like E.P. Sanders, Geza Vermes, John P. Meier, David Flusser, James H. Charlesworth, Raymond E. Brown, Paula Fredriksen and John Dominic Crossan have variously argued that the gospel accounts of the baptism of Jesus, his preaching, and the crucifixion of Jesus, are generally deemed to be historically authentic.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Yo!

      "argued that the gospel accounts of the baptism of Jesus, his preaching, and the crucifixion of Jesus, are generally deemed to be historically authentic."

      The Smithsonian actually released a statement saying the bible is NOT an historical document but a book on religion. Nice try but it's still fiction with some historical points thrown in to make saps like you believe it. There are many books that reference historical facts but are still works of fiction, doesn't make it all true. DUH!

      February 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  19. reason

    God commanded his followers to murder non-believers and people of other faiths in Deuteronomy 13:5-15. The primary difference with Islam is they have more adherents taking the Quran seriously. Modern theology has sugarcoated the Bible to be compatible with Western society.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Watchman4GOD

      @ reason: God commanded his followers to murder non-believers and people of other faiths in Deuteronomy 13:5-15. The primary difference with Islam is they have more adherents taking the Quran seriously. Modern theology has sugarcoated the Bible to be compatible with Western society.

      What an idiot thing to imply: God was actually talking about people just like you "reason" (Idolaters and Liars) who willfully and knowlingly lie and lead people astray; away from God, because people of your ilk "reason" already know that the majority of bloggers will never crack a Bible; thus, will never go back to see if what you just stated was true or not; but, not everyone is like that; some people will actually read ... and, you lied. God was talking about "Deceivers and Seducers"... those that hate God.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • reason

      Read the verses, I did. It says to kill your neighbor if he does not believe in god.

      I am leading nobody astray, just trying to enlighten others out of their delusions.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Lee

      Christians are bound by the New Testament. Luke 10:27 "And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." ESV and in the Old Testament Leviticus 19:18 "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." ESV. Since we are all our neighbors Good Samaritan, no quotations not to bore the readers but you are beginning to get the idea. Judeo-Christian faith is based on love and forgiveness; not vengeance.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Well Lee, since the OT is all about vengeance and little about love, I guess that means if you follow the NT, you need to throw the OT out then.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • reason

      Based on this contradiction it seems this god meant to love your neighbor as long as he is Christian, otherwise murder him.

      February 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  20. Its me Jesus

    Sorry guys most of its BS

    February 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • David Claytor

      Most of it? Some of it? or all of it? If most of it is false, what do we say about the rest that is not false. How do we appease our consciences when we know that there is Truth and and yet we do not know it. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, theTRUTH, and the life..." John 14:6

      February 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Concerned

      like you would know.......

      February 27, 2012 at 3:34 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.