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Your Take: Rebuttals to rethinking the Bible on homosexuality
What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Readers responded to a professor's views on the issue.
May 17th, 2012
02:10 PM ET

Your Take: Rebuttals to rethinking the Bible on homosexuality

The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality - and, by extension, same-sex marriage - right?

A guest "My Take" post we ran this week from a college psychology professor who has a background in religion (he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, for instance) challenged that conventional wisdom.

The professor, Daniel A. Helminiak, argues that foes of same-sex marriage have assigned modern, ethics-laden meanings to biblical passages on homosexuality to make it seem like the Bible unequivocally condemns it. In fact, Helminiak proposes, the original meanings of such passages about gays are at the very least ambiguous.

The piece has generated an avalanche of response: 10,000 Facebook shares, 6,000 comments, 200 tweets and a couple of blog posts.  Giving the other side its say, here's a rebuttal roundup of critical reactions from across the Internet:

Kevin DeYoung, a conservative Christian blogger, calls Helminiak's piece "amazing for including so many bad arguments in so little space." DeYoung, who leads a Reformed Church in Michigan, challenges Helminiak's argument that the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah doesn't condemn homosexuality per se.

"Jude 7 states that Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities 'indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,' " DeYoung writes.

"Even the NRSV, translation of choice for the mainline (and the version Helminiak seems to be using), says 'pursued unnatural lust,' ” he continues, referring to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

"Clearly, the sins of Sodom lived in infamy not simply because of violent aggression or the lack of hospitality, but because men pursued sex with other men."

DeYoung also takes issue with our guest blogger's argument that the Greek term the New Testament writer Paul uses when describing homosexuality, para physin, has been misconstrued by modern translators to mean "unnatural." Helminiak says that the original term does not contain ethical judgment and should be translated instead as "atypical" or "unusual."

Absurd, says DeYoung. "We know Paul considered same-sex intercourse an ethical violation, and not simply something uncommon. ... (N)otice what Paul goes on to say: 'Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error' (NRSV)."

DeYoung writes, "When you read the whole verse, Helminiak’s 'nonethical' argument becomes implausible. Paul thought homosexuality not just unusual, but wrong, a sinful error deserving of a 'due penalty.' '"

On Facebook, Helminiak’s piece, "My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality," provoked a mix of positive and negative response. Some of the latter was very, very negative.

"The following article appeared on the front page of CNN. ... I was so grieved and troubled, I had to respond to the writer," Vince Smith wrote on his Facebook page Thursday. "This is what is most tragic and terrifying about beliefs on homosexuality in this nation.

"When you take Scripture and twist it to 'reinterpet' what it means, and then teach others, you are literally playing with fire ... eternal fire," Smith continued. "I pray that The Lord has mercy on Mr. Helminiak."

Readers' comments on the piece included much criticism, too (although there was plenty of support for Helminiak’s argument).

"Daniel's argument misses the glaringly obvious condemnation of gay sex in the Bible," writes a commenter named Mike Blackadder. "Catholics believe it is a mortal sin when it is premarital, masturbatory, and when we deny the possibility of conceiving children (i.e., through the use of contraceptives).

"Unfortunately, the faith suggests that gay sex falls under the same category as these others and if we interpret differently for gays, then we must accept a new interpretation of these other acts for the same reason," Blackadder writes. "The corollary is that if your faith accepts hetero impurities (such as contraceptives or [masturbation]) but condemns gays, then you may be rightfully accused of hypocrisy."

Many commenters avoided quibbling with Helminiak’s logic, instead taking aim at the piece's very existence.

"Why can't gays leave other people's sacred things alone?" asks a commenter named iqueue120. "Instead of redefining 'marriage,' just call your pervert juncture 'pirripipirripi.' We will grant you and your 'pirripipirripi-other' all the 'rights' that you want.

"You can write your own sacred book, call it, for instance, 'Pirripipirripible,' and make it teach how awesome is 'pirripipirripi,'" this commenter continues. "... All we ask in exchange is that you leave 'marriage' and 'Holy Bible' as they are."

On Twitter, most RTs, or retweets, endorsed the piece, but not all. "Another pastor,"  tweeted @BarbRoyal "trying to pretend the ugly parts out of the Xtian (Christian) bible. ..."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Comments • Gay marriage

soundoff (3,580 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Trolling changes things.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  2. simple faith

    Wow I thank God that folks even care about what the Bible says!! I take that as proof that deep down many folks know the truth. Keep reading!!!

    May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Jackleg

      The bible doesn't "say" anything......

      May 18, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • sweebach

      yes, people hunger for the truth
      . . . they also hunger for reason
      does truth stand up to reason?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Richard

      Your Bible and the clowns who follow it make me want to vomit.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Patrick

      What do you take from the fact that millions care so much about the Koran?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Tom

      That must be why Harry Poyyer is so popular as well. You should know that a bunch of people read the Bible because so much injustice has come out of it from the stupid people who actually believe it and who influence policy. People read it because it is a significant part of our literature and was so influential in the past and still is today. In fact, the Bible is so outrageous that even most Christians do not believe everything that is written in it.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Imagine

      For those of you who make the argument about "reason" you really have no foundation when it comes to religion. If you want reason, then there has to be a beginning and and end, but the universe does not. IF there was a beginning, what was before that? Where did energy come from? What is love? You cannot explain everything with reason. Also, as a scientist I follow many areas of the scinces other than my own- medical research. One of the most fascinating to me right now is Super String Theory. In the past, if you spoke of parallel universes you would be considered crazy. Today, string theory calls for 11 dimensions. In exssence, there can be another dimension right in front of you yet you will never feel or see it! That is what theoretical physics points to. We cannot detect it or see it or feel it. So is it there? Physicist belive it is and hope to find the appearance then disappearnce of gravitrons to prove this. My point, you are very neaive to think that God cannot exist because you never see Him. There is so much we dont see that really is right in front of our eyes. Perhaps we are getting a glimpse today of just how God can be here, yet we never "see" Him. Science, my friend, is opening at least the possibility that this can very well happen and not be a pipe dream. You really need to read more and open your mind. It is you who is narrow minded.

      May 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  3. mjg

    "When you take Scripture and twist it to 'reinterpet' what it means, and then teach others, you are literally playing with fire ... eternal fire," Smith continued.

    Mr. Smith, isn't that what MOST religions that derive from Christianity do? Isn't that WHY we have so many Christian-based religions, because they interpret parts or all of the Scripture differently?

    May 18, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • *sigh*

      And they're all wrong and you're right? I smell another crusade coming on.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Colin

      Approximately one hundred and ten thousand million (110,000,000,000) people have lived on Earth. Given all those who have, over the centuries, rejected the Christian god, or who have otherwise committed mortal sins, there must be literally thousands of millions of people burning for all eternity in the cosmic oven of hell set up by your all-loving god. Some must have been burning for thousands of years by now.

      About 100,000 people die every day. There must be a constant stream of thousands of forlorn souls every day into the one way pit of hell your all-merciful god set up and maintains.

      But, far, far worse than sheer overwhelming numbers is the extent of the punishment. There is no way out, no parole, no time off for good behavior. You don’t just burn, you burn for all eternity. Billions of people and thousands of daily new arrivals burning for all eternity!

      No criminal justice system in the history of the Human race, even those established by the most despotic of tyrants, comes close to matching the unfathomable barbarity of your “infinitely benevolent” god. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, hell I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is refuse to believe in the Christian god and it will impose a penalty on me an infinite times worse than the death penalty.

      Hitler murdered six million Jews in his concentration camps, but compared to your god, Hitler was a bleeding-hearted wimp. A goose-stepping girlie-man. Your all-caring god not only burns billions more than Hitler, Pol Pot and all other dictators and tyrants added up, he keeps doing so to them for all eternity! I would not wish a bad sunburn on a person simply because they have a different religion to me, let alone fry them for ever.

      It is also odd that your all-loving god is also all-knowing and knows which souls will go to hell before they do. He even knows it before they are born, and yet he still creates them. He is worse than a psychopathic teenager than breeds litter after litter of kittens so he can slowly roast them in ovens.

      That's the problem with using the same sky-fairy to be both the carrot and the stick. It gets REALLY silly, really quickly.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Patrick

      Colin, thumbs up! Thanks for that.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  4. David

    if you are actually interested in seeing both sides of the debate take a look at the Herzog-Brauch debates at http://www.bridges-across.org/ba/hbintro.htm . Not laid out very well but the content is great.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  5. Faithful

    To all who have asked me question... I barage of questions is hard to answer one at a time. And what the questions you have posted are legitimate questions. Even questions I have had before. But honestly I doubt you want to read on a blog a huge response. It is very detailed on these answers. So after getting my thoughts together, here is a website if you have questions relating to the Bible, Christianity, and God. Please go to it. It would answer things better and more consice than I can.
    allabouttruth.org
    It is a great site.
    God Bless! 🙂

    May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Faithful

      It is all true. The Bible, the Word of God, is where truth is found whether we recgonize it or not.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Richard

      "It is all true."

      Two possibilities, here:

      1 – You have not read the Bible

      2 – You're a moron.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Faithful

      Richard,
      I have read the Bible, studied it, memorized it, took classes on it.
      And no, I am not a mormon. Check out that site I mentioned. allabouttruth.org

      May 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Jack

      Why did Faithful respond to his/her self?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Faithful

      Jack,
      I was finishing my comment.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Patrick

      I know the site. "allaboutfallacy" would be a better URL.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Faithful

      Truth is truth. Whether we accept it or recgonize it or not. And that truth is found in the Bible, God's Word.

      May 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Truth is truth. Whether we accept it or recgonize it or not. And that truth is found in the Bible, God's Word."

      LMAO the bible isn't even an historical book. duh!

      May 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Faithful

      @YeahRight,
      Then look through some of the articles on this site: allabouttruth.org

      May 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • PFUI

      Faithful,

      The author of that allabouttruth site needs to come here to the Belief Blog to get some valid refutations of his "truths".

      May 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "allabouttruth.org'

      So if you want to know who is behind this site check out his page, he has no credentials except for marketing.

      http://www.allaboutgod.net/profile/GregOutlaw

      He is part of the http://www.allaboutgod.com/aboutus.htm

      May 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Faithful

      @YeahRight,
      Did you look through those articles? I could ask the same thing about you. What are your credentials? But this site, quotes credible sources... Read through the articles. If you can't look at the other side of the arguement, then how do you know your side is right? Please read those articles.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "But this site, quotes credible sources... Read through the articles. If you can't look at the other side of the arguement, then how do you know your side is right? Please read those articles."

      Dude we've been giving you legitimate remarks from reputable experts. For example i the Smithsonian is just one of the sources that has state the bible isn't an historical document. This guy you want us to believe is a former drug addict alcoholic with no theology degrees. LMAO! I have been quoting bishops and priests with PhD's. LOL!

      May 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Faithful

      @YeahRight,
      His life'stestimony points to that it is true. So does mine. And I have had theological training as well. See, I don't have to perform to my God. I want to live for Him because of the love he showed to me! It is so incredible. Also, it does take faith. You even have faith in somethings. But overall I can tell you one thing. I have never found something more solid than the Bible. Yeah you can say all the contradicitons you want or whatever. But it is still true whether you want to believe it or not. I am praying that God opens your eyes to the truth one day.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I want to live for Him because of the love he showed to me! It is so incredible. "

      Science has proven being spiritual is all in your head, you have a chemical reaction in your brain. The one that is loving you is simply yourself. Everyone can have that experience and you don't need a god for it. Once you realize it's really just yourself it actually gives you greater strength than believing in something that doesn't exist.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Faithful

      @YeahRight,
      Then explain one thing, why would I a sinner and hater of God who completely despised God from my youth turn to God has my only savior and give my life to him? Seriously I have had a life transformation! There is no other explaination than God. There has to be God. Look at creation! You can't say he doesn't exist. It is so clear that he does.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Seriously I have had a life transformation! There is no other explaination than God. There has to be God. Look at creation! You can't say he doesn't exist. It is so clear that he does."

      It's called self love dude, people who meditate get the same reaction without believing in a god. There is no proof of your god, the more we understand about our environment the more it proves it doesn't exist. What about all the other gods, all the other religions they make the exact same claim as you without any proof and history has shown over and over again those gods didn't exist either.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Faithful

      @YeahRight,
      If I just was into myself, I would have never turned to God. In fact, I would have committed suicide. If I was loving myself, why do I wake up every morning of every day realizing that at heart I am a worthless sinner only saved by grace?
      And have you considered creation? Yourself? There has to be a designer and He is God! The God of the Bible created the world. I will say this, that those are false religions. If you look at them closely, they have to earn their way to their heaven. Not with the God of the Bible, I can't make it on my own merit. Only through Jesus Christ can I go to heaven and have a right relationship with God.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "If I just was into myself, I would have never turned to God. In fact, I would have committed suicide. If I was loving myself, why do I wake up every morning of every day realizing that at heart I am a worthless sinner only saved by grace?"

      Nah, you knew you wanted to live and you've proven it's yourself because your god doesn't exist. It's you believing in yourself that gets you through the day, you've gain your personal self love, you didn't have it before. There is no proof of your heaven, there is no proof of your god. There is proof it's all in your head and it causes a chemical reaction that makes you feel better about yourself.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  6. DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire
    May 18, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  7. Brandon Brown

    If you'll actually read the scriptures and meditate on them, you'll find that they are remarkably consistent in their teachings ACROSS books and authors. The scriptures support, not contradict each other. That's ONE of the reasons (there are more) that I believe in Christ and his death, burial and resurrection.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Imagine

      You absolutely right. unfortunately most people do not look into the Bible, they just "see" what they want to see. The bible is the most verified and authenticated piece of historical text ever written. Man will be blind to the truth. It is sad, but true.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • BRC

      Because you believe that a collection of men stringing together a book did a good job of making the chapters relate to one another, you believe that the impossible happened? I'm sorry but that is horrible logic.

      "Because there were no errors in my mathbook I believe that a magical calculater can change the direction of the rotation of the Earth". Same principle, except in my case you can verify the lack of errors, in yours it's an interpretation. There are VERIFIABLE contraditions, so that makes your even shakier.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Imagine

      BRC, your logic is flawed and totally irrelavent. The Bible is very consitent and if it were just stories made up by man, then it would have been written very differently. without going into the minions of examples, just look at who the Bible tells us first saw Jesus ressurected? A woman. Never, in that time period would anyone say a woman as a woman's word or position in society would mean nothing. One other thing, the "stories" told do differ slightly just as any two or more witness do today. Only when a story is made up do they tend to follow the precise detaisl exactly. Any investigator would call that collusion and spot it a mile away.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • BRC

      @Imagine,
      I'm sure the Encypledia Britaninca would like to have a word with you. IT gives facts proven through history/science/math. The Bible tells stories, many of which are impossible and some have been proved untrue. From things you've posted I'm forced to wonder if you've actually read the book, or if you read interpretations. "God" has ORDERED people to kill, and when they balked from those orders he killed them with fire. there are lots of issues open to interpretation, but no matter how much you want it to be true you can't change the fact that the Bible describes "God" killing and telling others to kill. How do you deny that?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Flatpicker

      BRC – Just wondering if your math book can predict a man will be born at a precise location, give him a name, tell how and when he will die. What are the chances of your math book doing that.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • sweebach

      Actually, after much meditation I see the Bible being contradictory on the penultimate Christian goal: getting into heaven.
      Jesus basically said to behave and sacrifice yourself - NOTHING about belief.
      John 3:16 says something entirely different

      May 18, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • BRC

      @Imagine,
      Your critique of my logic is welcome, I always enjoy exercises in thought, but you might want to try harder next time. I didn't just say his was wrong because one person said it was 3 and another person said it was 4. I pointed out that believing the impossible because you like a book is a very bad idea. There are plenty of philosphical criss-crosses in teh bible; but those are all up for interpretation. Those of us who don't believe in christianity believe your "God" to be a monsterous tyrant, but you're never going to agree with that, so why bring it up, it doesn't change the root issue.

      I'll use Lord of the Rings. Tolkein was in my opinion a great author, his characters were who they were, they were consistent in their character and their actions. OF COURSE THEY WERE HE WAS WRITING A BOOK THAT HE WANTED PEOPLE TO READ. The bible is written by men, who in my opinion did a crappy job, even if they did an AMAZING job, it still wouldn't be proof of the divine. Thinking it is a poor conclusion.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • BRC

      @Flatpicker,
      No, its a book. Where is your evidence that the Bible did that?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • ialsoagree

      That's kind of a dumb reason to believe, isn't it?

      If I wrote a story about a super hero, and got others to write about said super hero, and we kept our teachings our story very consistent, that wouldn't make it any more true.

      I'm not saying that is how the bible was manufactured – how the bible came to be is ENTIRELY irrelevant to my point – your argument that you can accept something as true because it is consistent doesn't hold water. Consistancy doesn't create truth. There are MANY consistent UFO stories, even by people who don't even know each other, but you don't accept that those people were abducted by aliens do you?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Richard

      "The bible is the most verified and authenticated piece of historical text ever written."

      You do not know this. You have only been brainwashed to believe this. It reflects poorly on you that your mind is easily deceived by nonsense.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Rett

      The Bible is nothing but a 1500 year old book of "morals" used to control the weak minded. If you believe all that crap, guess what you are?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Imagine

      BRC- yes I have read and studied the Bible. I am very familiar with research as I am an Immunologist. I also love theoretical physics and very interested in String Theory. Hopefully the new collider will once and for all prove what String theory predicts and that is a multi-dimensional universe made up of 11 dimensions. If they are succesful they will see a gravitron disappear in what they belive is another dimension. You see, scince is actually opening up the possibility that God can exist right before us, yet we never see Him. You, my friend need to open your mind as you are the one with a narrow interpretation of the world.

      May 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Imagine

      Rett- my answer would be....hmmmm..... more open minded than you and certainly a lot more content with my life than you! I suspect that deep inside, no matter how you try to portray yourself, you are a bitter and insecure person.

      May 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • BRC

      @Imagine,
      And you need to get better at understanding questions. I haven't said anything about the existence of gods. I don't believe in them, but I don't fault those who do, my argument is with religion, and the 2 are completely independent of one another. Now, since you have read the bible and your background makes you very familiar with research, how do you cope with the fact that the "God" of the bible calls for and personnaly executes violence, yet in multiple posts you have claimed he doesn't? All the qualifications and hoobies in the word don't change the fact that you have said something false, what do you say about that?

      May 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  8. Atheism is the natural state or all living things

    To embrace a religion or a supernatural proposition is something a person has to be taught, sometimes indoctrination is required. It is a choice and not something you are born with.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • just sayin

      Creation is endowed with the creators signature, atheism is a vile misrepresentation of what God has done. God bless

      May 18, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • just sayin

      God watches me when I am po.oping. It is really sick and disgusting. I pray that He stops, but he won't. He just keeps watching me po.op

      May 18, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Nicholas

      You are completely right. People are born without a knowing anything about creation or Jesus Christ. They also don't know how to feed themselves, find shelter, etc... When mankind first fell from God's grace, He stated that all people would have to be born under the curse of sin. It is because Jesus died on the cross that this curse can be lifted and people can be right with God. But the natural state of mankind is not to believe. The Bible instructs that the path of belief in Christ and therefore to eternal life with him is "narrow" and few people actually follow it. This is why Jesus commanded the disciples to go tell the world about His death, burial, and resurection; because the natural state of man is atheism.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  9. pellmellus

    Dr. Helminiak is a professed gay so he definitely has a dog in the fight.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  10. Badley

    The Bible will always be Cherry Picked and interpeted by fanatics to achieve their personal goals and beliefs. Religion should not be in intwined into politics or forced on others, it can not be force feed or it will not be absorbed, a good example that religion does not always make things right is all you have to do is look at the catholics priest that are around religion 24/7 – eat and sleep it, yet they commit sins against young boys. Religion is in the heart and soul

    May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer,

    May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  12. DJ

    Are there really still people out there that think "God" wrote the bible? It was written by men, who I am sure had their own agendas and values in mind when they wrote it. It was written using their "Free Will" which in this sad and pathetic species is usually used to hurt others and to lift themselves up. Believe whatever helps you sleep at night, but stop preaching from a Bible that was not penned by "God".

    May 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • JM

      Yes.

      Including Obama, Colin Powell, etc.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Madtown

      JM
      Yes.
      Including Obama, Colin Powell
      ---–
      Politicians say all sorts of disingenuous things to garner votes. Obama is exceptionally smart, whatever you think of his politics. I sincerely doubt he believes that the bible just "poofed" into existance, and every word in it was literally written by God. I'm sure he realizes full well, as does anyone with a functional brain, that is was human beings that crafted every word, in every version, of the bible.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • JM

      We don't believe the Bible came into being magically.

      We believe it was inspired by God and written by man.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Madtown

      JM
      We don't believe the Bible came into being magically.
      We believe it was inspired by God and written by man.
      ------
      Why do you believe this? Because the authors told you so? Lots of nasty stuff has happened throughout the course of human history under the guise of "divine inspiration". I'm not saying that the writing of the bible is nasty, I'm saying that human beings use the justification of divine inspiration for all sorts of things. Humans are an imperfect species, and anything they create similarly contains their imperfection. Why trust the authors of this word, when they tell you to believe it's essentially the word of God? That seems exceptionally gullible.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • JM

      I agree. A lot of evil things have been done in the 'name' of Christianity, but if you actually read Jesus' teachings, their actions don't reflect what He taught.

      True Christians are full of love. They care about others. The Bible is about God's love.

      My dad's favorite hymn is The Love of God.

      The love of God is greater far
      Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
      It goes beyond the highest star,
      And reaches to the lowest hell;
      The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
      God gave His Son to win;
      His erring child He reconciled,
      And pardoned from his sin.

      Refrain

      O love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure
      The saints’ and angels’ song.

      When years of time shall pass away,
      And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
      When men, who here refuse to pray,
      On rocks and hills and mountains call,
      God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
      All measureless and strong;
      Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.

      Refrain

      Could we with ink the ocean fill,
      And were the skies of parchment made,
      Were every stalk on earth a quill,
      And every man a scribe by trade,
      To write the love of God above,
      Would drain the ocean dry.
      Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
      Though stretched from sky to sky.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes

    May 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      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!.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  14. christianbeliever

    The Bible states that fools hate instruction – well here is another example – also need to read what the Bible says will happen to people that make changes to the Holy inspired Word of God. It aint pretty and its final – we all want to justify what we do – BUT if we do it by changing the Word of God – you're gonna have major problems – that is for all eternal UNLESS you see the truth and make changes to your life. The Bible also tells about the times we are currently experiencing at the hands of all the unbelievers – again – not a pretty sight. Our Bible teacher reads things out of the people and sounds like it coming from the front page of the newspaper – she also says – look at whats happening in the Middle East and you can see the Bible being fulfilled daily. We best not be changing the Bible – read the other day that some people are wanting to "delete/drop" the first 4 commandments – boy are they walking on shaky ground. I would hate to be in their shoes on judgement day – wailing and gnashing of the teeth the Bible says.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • sam stone

      your empty proxy threats are laughable. now, get back on your knees

      May 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Alex

      Unless you're reading it in ancient Aramaic, you're reading an altered version of the bible. Are you 100% confident everything was translated into English correctly?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • SAS6907

      The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is the most literal of the translations.
      We don't have to fear anything. How about you?

      May 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      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!.!

      May 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      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!*!

      May 18, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  17. Painurse

    "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them; for the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse; because that, knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, neither gave thans; became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became as fools, exchanging the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four footed beasts, and creepiing things. Wherefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored amoung themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this cause, God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lusts one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting." Romans 1: 18-28

    May 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  18. Imagine

    It is man who is the murderous one, not God. In the Old Testament, God time and again pointed man in the right direction. He even revealed Himself and the "jews" followed Him. Then, like always, they went back to "their" old ways. They chose not to follow God. If God were a murderous vengful god He would not have come back time and again to steer man back on course. You simply are looking at this from man's point of view. God did create a perfect world, but man, given free will, chose not to follow. Would a loving God simply give us everything "we" wanted with no consequences if we do bad things? Would He simply shower us with everything we wanted to make us happy? As I recall, this is precisely the lifestyle so many celebrities want and get from their sychophants and the wealth they have to "buy" happiness. Yet, time and again we find these people live hollow lives filled with drug use etc. Why? Because having everything and getting everything is not the answer. That is why spoiled children often become terrible adults. God, like any parent, needs to disipline to teach us how to live a right life. Kids that are given limits are much more civil, patient and caring than those that are let to run free and wild. God gave us rules to live a good life. We chose not to listen. Just like a judge, God has to be "just". If we break the "law" there has to be consequences, if not we have chaos. He gave us free will. We chose to behave bad and therefore we face the consequences brought on by "our" choices, not by God. Time and again God was patient with man, yet time and again man turned away from God. Still, God wanted reconciliation, and paid for "our" sin by His son's death on the cross. Again, God is just and a penalty has to be paid just like justice is upheld in any civil society. Yet, he chose to pay that price and give us mercy free. It is called grace- undeserved mercy. When one accepts Christ's payment for "our" sin we are forgiven, not condemned. It is a free gift. God does not require us to pray to someting publically like Muslim or do "good works" like Mormons do earn it. It is free. Here is the clincher though, when one does truly, TRULY accept this gift of salvation one's heart is transformed, not physically, but spiritually to change behavior and follow God. We do not become perfect, but we are forgiven and it is in our hearts desire not to sin and do the best we can to follow God's path for ourselves, vs. our own selfish ways. We still stumble and make mistakes, but we do not do it intentionally or spitefully. We also thank Him for forgiving us again. To a non-believer this would be a trump card to commit all kinds of sin and simply ask forgiveness. Sorry, it doesn't work that way, as that person truly has not accepted God's forgeveness and turned from his or her selfish ways. Folks, you simply are looking at God from a very worldy view just as man did in biblical times. The Bible is very clear that man will be blinded to the truth, but that the truth will set you free. It is all about forgiveness, not condemnation.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  19. James PDX

    It is unjust and hypocritical for a perfect being to hold imperfect beings to a higher standard than he does himself. God murders, God aborts, God judges, God hates, God tortures, God plays favorites, God is jealous, God is vain, God damns.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • JM

      God created a perfect world and man w/o sin. The devil was the highest angel but wanted to set himself up above God. Cast out of heaven. Tempted man to sin. We have been 'sinning' ever since and, therefore, requiring punishment (law/justice).

      That's the entire point: Why it is actually good news.

      16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • pellmellus

      Using your infantile logic, then it's fine for a kid to say to a parent, "You can't punish me since when you were a kid you did bad things too." And quite frankly, unlike us, God is perfect and his judgements a true. So he can do whatever He darn well pleases.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • James PDX

      JM, your quoting of scripture does not in the least refute my point. Of the sins God thought greatest, murder made the list. Yet God murders more than any being. Also, God made Lucifer. God knew what Lucifer would be, because God is all-knowing. God made man imperfect. God left naive and imperfect man unsupervised and allowed Lucifer to have access to them. Every mistake that has been made in Biblical history is either attributable to God or to God's negligence.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • BRC

      @JM,
      When "God" created the angels he did not give them free will. Yet Satan opposed him? So he either made a mistake when making Satan, or he did it on purpose. Ergo, he is either falable or malicious. In either case it is good reason to ignore the bible.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • James PDX

      pellmellus, you're inferring a lot there, buddy. Are you saying that parents are perfect beings? I said a PERFECT being shouldn't hold imperfect beings to higher standards than he sets for himself. Feel free to try again.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • JM

      A kind God would give someone free will but protect them from evil. That's what kind parents do; they allow their children freedom but try to protect them from evil.

      We worship a lot of things down here on planet earth (new gadgets, nature, etc.)...seems to me that if we were to actually behold (there's a word I don't normally use) God and heaven, we would not be able to look at Him because He would be so beyond anything we could imagine and so holy. According to the Bible, the angels behold God all day long and praise Him.

      A loving God would allow free will but not want His children to make wrong choices knowing the consequences (pain, sickness, death, sorrow). There's a lot of that down here. Call me crazy. I believe in God. I hope for heaven. I want to see my loved ones again. I want to be free from 'sin' someday; I want to be loving and not hateful, joyful and never sad.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Madtown

      JM
      God created a perfect world and man w/o sin.
      -------
      If we were perfect, wouldn't we be gods as well? If God created us, we're subordinate. We were created imperfect, not perfect and then just made bad choices.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • JM

      Perfect (as in, w/o sin). Not as in all knowing.

      Father/Child

      May 18, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • James PDX

      JM, wouldn't a loving god have just made us perfect? Or have protected us from his heinous creation, Lucifer? I highly doubt a loving God would have wiped out all of mankind, man, woman, child, and unborn fetus, and just started over with Noah's incestuous family, especially when he dedicated multiple chapters explicitly detailing the wrongs of incest.

      IMHO, Christianity started out like any other pagan religion of its time. Blood sacrifices, ridiculous rituals, etc... This type of religion would never have been accepted in modern times, and the people in the first few hundred years post Christ already recognized this. So they took a story and used it to entirely reboot an exclusive religion and made it inclusive to everyone. They also made it easier. No more pages and pages of laws to follow to attain salvation, now you just need faith and to repent. They began to plagiarize from other religions to make it more palatable to the pagans they wished to convert. What they ended up with is clearly imperfect, but it was good enough to win out over many other religions because it was so easy.

      And yet I have no problem with you believing in these stories. I only have a problem when I see Christian hypocrisy and Christians trying to usurp my freewill that they claim is God given. Keep your religion and prayers to yourself, as Jesus seems to have intended in the New Testament. Love and do not judge and leave me my freewill. I'm only asking that you follow the words of your own savior.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Madtown

      JM
      Perfect (as in, w/o sin). Not as in all knowing.
      Father/Child
      -----
      If God was "all-knowing"(not saying he's not...I don't know), then he'd know that we'd take a fall into sin. So, he created that to happen. I thought we had free will? If God knew we'd take a fall, yet still created us that way, we have no free will at all. We're actors in a script.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • JM

      True. The Old Testament prophets predict Jesus' life (the coming of the Messiah, someone to take the penalty for our sin).

      May 18, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  20. SAS6907

    As Christians, we don't need to defend God or His word.
    But we are obligated to not be timid about our faith. We are here for all of you who don't believe.
    Not because we hate anyone, but because we love you and want you to recieve the gift that can
    only be given by God. Grace and salvation.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • JM

      9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

      13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
      14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

      May 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • James PDX

      JM, well said. Oh, I mean JC, well said. JM, well quoted. 🙂

      May 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Mike

      “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • ChristianWithADifferentView (Otherwise known as Jake)

      Bravo!

      May 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • DrBob

      So if my faith told me that Christians needed to be converted to something else, you would be open to that?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • James PDX

      And yet Jesus told you to keep your prayers to yourself.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      Take that and shove it where the sun don't shine(politely of course)

      May 18, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Madtown

      we love you and want you to recieve the gift that can
      only be given by God. Grace and salvation.
      ------
      And, this gift is only available to people who believe what you believe, and worship the way you worship? What if I'm a primitive African tribesman(a creation of God), but I've never heard of Jesus or the bible, through no fault of my own? Why can't I get this eternal gift also?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • JM

      "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse"

      May 18, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Madtown

      JM
      "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse"
      ----------
      Is that to me? You didn't specify. You provide a bible verse to answer my question about what happens to me if I'm born in primitive Africa, and never see the bible?!?!? LOL!!! Can you answer the question by thinking for yourself, and not relying on scripture?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:33 am |
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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.