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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. tantalum

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

    Unless you are reading from the ORIGINAL scripture what you are reading IS an interpretation. Not to mention the original scripture having been written well after Chirst (supposedly) existed is itself an INTERPRETATION. Every sunday sitting in your pews you are listening to an INTERPRETATION of the bible from that pastor/priest/preacher. The same piece of prose is being explained in a different way somewhere else. The bible at the very best is a basic guide of how not to be jerks to one another. Nothing more. Personally I learn the same lessons from Dr. Suess and he is soooo much more fun to read.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  2. Kevin H

    I once attended a Bible study with a friend. He convinced me that I would enjoy it. I did. Nearly every Bible study I attend since then – I usually end up causing more damage than a bull in a china shop. It's not because I'm an atheist (I'm not) or because I don't believe in "God" (I do) but it's because of time. So we were discussing Genesis and the time for questions came. I slowly raised my hand. "I do have one question..." I was so meek and mild. Poor things didn't know an avalanche would hit them. I was polite too. I asked simply: "how long is a day"? Then I asked: "how could day be defined if there was no "day" and "night" before God created it? And the the kicker, "is a day the same in 1989 as it was when Jesus walked the earth – is it 24 hours? What about when God created man – how long was a day then?" Seemed immaterial until they started thinking. I wasn't too popular from that moment onward. People were pretty silent. They chatted politely. We ate our snacks and we went home. I asked my friend what I thought and he said, "I don't know. You raised some good questions." So I said, "so what are the answers." And he replied, "I have no earthly idea."

    May 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Tom

      That's a very easy question Kevin. The term used as "day" in Genesis refers to a 24-hour period; as it is used the same way throughout the remainder of the Old Testament. "Day" only refers to a shorter or longer period of time when it is used as allegory, such as "With God a thousand years is as a day and a day as 1,000 years."

      May 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Tom

      Personally, I think you are lying, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt; even if it is such a simple question.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Searching for Hope

      The bible is clear that God's time frame is not the same as mans so no one can know for sure if the seven days are earth days or God's definition of days. But it really doesn't matter...the point is that God created the earth, animals, and man and how many actual earth days it took... matters not. It was seven segments of times. Unfortunately a lot of Christians don't think beyond the surface of what they believe. Thats a disadvantage for discussion sake but causes no harm to their faith.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • The Lonely Grave Of Paula Schultz

      Keep asking questions. When you realize that the answers . . . well, just keep asking questions.

      Here's a good one for your Bible study class: When God was unhappy with humans, say at the Noah part or the sodom and Gomorrah part, why didn't he just make an appearance and tell them he was unhappy and that they needed to behave? Why did God go straight for mass murder? Is that reasonable behavior for a human, and if not, why is it reasonable for God?

      There are lots of great questions like that. Keep asking them.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Huebert

      @tom

      If god created the universe why would he use earth's particular 24 hour revolution as the definition of a day?

      May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ty

      As I recall, the word for 'day' used in the original Hebrew text more accurately translates into 'forever'. Quite different than a 24 hour period, no?

      May 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  3. ProfEmeritus

    Western civilization is founded on the family-father, mother,and children. Just relabeling "family" something else because some people have unusual inclinations makes no sense. Why not 2 + 2 = 5 for some people? Indeed a culture can die in 30 years with no children. And, we see that children without fathers at home are at much greater risk for poverty, crime, abuse, etc. Why work to further weaken the family?

    May 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      what has marriage got to do with having kids?
      and why do you think that allowing gay marriage will mean that 'families' in general will be weaker?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • sbp

      Nonsense. You've constructed a premise to match your conclusion. Professor.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Observer

      If you actually are a "professor" you should know that gays and lesbians can reproduce. Basic Biology 101.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Huebert

      Yeah, all families consist of a father, mother, and children. Their is no such thing as a single mother, or an extended family, or an adopted family.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      No, western civilization's version of the family is based on the father, mother, perhaps a second or third mother, children, some from mothers who have died, some number of grandparents, and perhaps a few uncles or aunts, who might have also brought some kids into the picture. Western civilization has had the kids, the ones who survived, working from the time they walk, and working hard by the time they were ten. That's not the only model of family, just the prosperous one. You are thinking not of western civilization, but of 1950's television. That was based on mother father, and two or three kids, all with clear skin and good teeth.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  4. Dan

    This is from people that think the World is 6000 years old.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Steve

      LOL

      May 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      oh dont get me started on that. For that to be true they have to claim that practically every area of scientific discipline is wrong, and their book is right.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Poochillio

      Not all Christians believe that.

      May 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  5. wizzzard in the sky

    The term worship can also be translated from the early text as meaning work.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  6. wizzzard in the sky

    I'm still trying to understand the referance to the "sons of God" in Genisis. Christians claim there is only one son?????

    May 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  7. n8263

    People should care as much about what the Bible says regarding homosexuality as it does about stoning your disobedient children to death.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Portland tony

    Never realized there was a gay problem around the time of Christ. If there was, they kept it a secret. I don't remember mention of too many gays being outed and crucified in the New Testament.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  9. John

    The bible is, at best, an ancient work of fiction written by men, to impose thier will on other men. How anyone could possibly believe it is anything more is beyond comprehension.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I disagree, at best it makes for good TP.

      Amen.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • royalthird

      The apex in your bible is the first three chapters in The Book of Revelations, followed by the inate psychology of man. What sits 3rd is the crucifixion of Christ which feeds into the inate psychology of man. Man will do anything to protect ego, arrogance, greed and deceit. And you have widening expansion of this notion in government and people of stature. So much for your notion of fiction.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • JCMars

      It is beyond your comprehension, John, because you are a short-sighted, unimaginative, anti-religion bigot. But hey, it obviously works for you! Thanks for playing.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Ben

      royalthird – It's call the Book of Revelation (not Revelations).

      May 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  10. Quentin

    This rebuttal is most refreshing. If you put your mind to it, you can make a case to justify anything using the Bible (ex: slavery was said to be justified in the 1850's). However, if God does not stand for such arguments, and you are sending your faulty argument with God's name signed...well, I pity you.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • VinoBianco

      and what if there is no god? what if "god" is how we treat each other?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Joey

      And again, what if you're worshiping the wrong God? They can't all be right, but they can all be wrong.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      One Thing that all Christians, Jews, and Muslims agree on is that there is only one God. That is 62% of the world's population. Are 4 .2 Billion people wrong and you are right, or are you mistaken? What He teaches and how His People interpret or reflect what He teaches are two vastly different things, unfortunately. There are Miracles among the horrors of this world, yet people still refuse to believe.You will find out in the end. Hopefully you chose right.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  11. tlsm

    MWB 72 your entire country was built under a Christian influence. Laws included, and laws dictate. How can you say the Christian influence that built this country does not apply now? Because you don't value the Bible? So now we do it based on your influence or someone else's? You cannot get around the fact that this country's government, its culture and its laws were built under the Christian influence. Take a walk around the Capital building in DC. Too many in this country look for easy answers so they won't have to do anything difficult. The fathers of our country stood for something, and they based our country on Christian principles. They were not afraid to stand by that when people disagreed with them. The people of this country have lost their convictions and over time our culture will die unless we stand firm.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • LouAZ

      No, over time your silly religious beliefs are dying. We may not ever really know all that "is", but we damn well know what "isn't".

      May 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • sbp

      The founding fathers wrote extensively how they wanted to keep religion out of their system of government. Jefferson thought the bible was 50% ethics, 50% fairy tale fiction. The idea that the founding fathers were deeply religious is just not true. At best, Washington talked a good game, but in practice.... Most of them were anti organized religion.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Where has your education gone?

      Hello? The founding fathers were mostly atheist or deist. How on Earth can you say this country was built on Christian principles and that they STOOD for christian principles. Its people like you that think they can use religion as a means of justifying stupid laws and bans on freedoms. I shake my head at you sir.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Momof3

      If the Founding Fathers wanted to create a christian nation, why didn't they go all out? Why wasn't it written into the Const.itution and Bill of Rights? Why wasn't there a church named as the National Church? They were in the perfect position to make this nation what ever they wanted, and since so many feel they wanted to make it a christian nation, why didn't they just come out and say it!?!

      May 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • MidwestBoy72

      Yeah... what they said. The other posts beat me to it, but they summed it up nicely. Thanks y'all.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • tomsimon

      Oh yes! Please! Let's have a political and legal system based on Christianity. There is so much hard evidence about how well that works. Just look at the middle east. Granted, it's not Christianity but it is religious based. And every time one type of religious belief replaces a different type in the ruling government, there is war, and killings and death.
      So yes please....let's base our system on religion. But which one? Yours? Mine?

      May 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Huh?

      "MWB 72 your entire country was built under a Christian influence."

      Huh, they murdered and stole the land from the Native Americans, they believed in slavery, not allowing African Americans and women their civil rights. It wasn't till we started getting away from Christianity that this country actually became more moral.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Take a walk around the capital building in washington DC? What would that have to do with the founding of this country? The area we now call washington DC was designated as the capital in 1791. Congress first met in that city in 1800. our country was founded, somewhat earlier.

      That said, church services were held in the capital building in the early years. It is tricky to get away from deeply help beliefs, and the founding fathers were clear in their rhetoric, and only so good at actually following through. Some of them were deeply christian in their personal lives, but they focused very strongly on not inflicting their interpretation of that belief on others. They didn't always succeed, but they tried. Which is a lot better than some people today. If you want to legitimize the use of government to enforce religion, remember, it may not be your religion that gets enforced....

      May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Society should conform to the Church, The Church does not conform to Society. The Founding Fathers, whatever their faith or lack thereof, saw the opposite happening in England where the King/Queen is the supreme head of the Church and is influenced by their subjects. Trying to separate themselves from England is largely where Freedom of Religion came from.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  12. VinoBianco

    the bible can be twisted and interpreted a myriad of different ways; it doesn't MATTER what the bible says about anything because it was written in the context of 2000 years ago and thus should not automatically be taken to apply to today!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Basic principles like Love is Superior to Hate are timeless. Try to understand what the Bible teaches instead of hating the whole book.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  13. JamesW

    Religion is not the problem, never has been. People are the problem. They get wrapped up in "their" beliefs and yes want everyone else to believe the same as they do. Problem comes in when they are over bearing, pushy, any other negative term you wish to use. Religious folks seem to forget we are supposed to "teach in truth and love" too many times it seems they feel the whip'em in to shape method is a better approach and we all know that it is not. People want their laws to reflect their believes and that is fine, what is not fine is when you go to extremes to get your way rather than accepting the democratic process and living with the outcome. Non believers can wish for a religion free state or country but i would challenge that maybe in the short term, maybe for what ever point of interest you are trying to fight it will only be a short term victory. Long term we need the kindness, loving behaviour that religion teaches that we are supposed to have, not some of the crap folks do instead. Strangely enough I support the idea of a true seperation of church and state and the let cards fall where they may, because i believe that what the country has left in its Christian ties could soon be replace by a religion non of us want to deal with.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • TonyInNYC

      I think that if it's true that the meek shall inherit the earth, maybe Christians should renounce power - because it's definitely true that power tends to corrupt (and absolute power corrupts absolutely).

      May 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • JamesW

      @TonyinNYC,,,,,well Tony i hate to say so as a Christian, but according to my personal belief, there are going to be some awfully dissappointed Christians in their next destination and mostly due to the way they let things go to their head.
      I find it entertaining as a Christian that they speak of 'what would Jesus Do' and I beleve he would not only be ashamed of their behaviour but tell them how wrong they are for the things they say do. Maybe if he would really do that in real time it would scare the crap out of them enough to change them,,,,,,nah, I do believe in the Bible and he did plenty of things directly to folks and they still didn't care. So if nothing else, maybe you will see that not everyone Bible believing person feels the way so many do......they are as wrong or more so than those the preach against.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Henry

      That is very well said. A good unbiased respectul comment.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  14. Sotzume

    This is such a ridiculous discussion to begin with....the Bible is a book of myths, unfortunately, believed by many mentally ill people whose goal, it appears to make life miserable for others. All these "Christians" are hypocrites to begin with. They should just crawl back into their antediluvian caves and rot.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  15. LouAZ

    The Cadillac Motor Car Co. of Detroit Michigan announces they are selling Raffle Tickets to own St. Francis Catholic Church. Tickets are 5 for $1.00. The Drawing will be held Dec 23, 2012. All proceeds will be donated to starving children throughout the world. You need not be present to win. The cost of Raffle Tickets is, of course, Tax Free. However, applicable City, State, and Federal taxes apply to the ownership of St. Francis Catholic Church.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  16. John

    Why do so many people argue about a fictional book?? The bible has no basis in fact nor is there any real supporting evidence to all the myths and dreams expressed in it. Please for the love of God (whoever he is) deal with facts and not beliefs.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Trent

      Actually, I was watching a show on National Geographic not too long ago that was finding scientific evidence for some of the plagues in Egypt. Of course, the bible all claims they occured one right after the other, and all created by some diety. Historically, they would have happened over the course of several hundred years. The science was interesting, but the implications involved in the production of the bible (mainly that historical events were twisted and shaped to reflect a religious approach) was fascinating. Historical writers of the bible were just as apt at twisting the truth as modern politicians. Different objectives is all.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Complain and disbelieve all you want. It doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of people in this country do believe in it. We just don't talk about it as much as the people who don't accept it. Saying you don't believe is not going to convince anyone to give up their beliefs. If you can't see or hear what is all around you your mind is closed and there is no hope as long as it is that way. Open your mind to what is possible, read and accept The Gospel, and maybe you won't be a lost cause in the end.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Rosemary

      Hey John, do you know anything about history? Say, the Civil War perhaps, or World War I, or perhaps, do you know anything about the War of 1812, or about how the Minute Men battled the Britsh? If you do, where did you learn these things . . .in books you say? Nay, you do not believe in books that taut such rederic! These things, since published in books, are merely a figment of someones imagination . . . a work of fiction by men wishing to impose their beliefs on others. . .Perhaps John, you should move to a country that does exist. . .say Iran or Irag. . .where you will be told, nay, strongly encouraged without a doubt to know the truth of their history . . .Geez, guy, get a life – Oh wait, now I get it. . .Its like the song right. , .that's what you beleive. . ." . . you will swear there ain't no Heaven and pray there ain't no Hell"... good luck. I'm praying for you!

      May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Tell you what Rosemary, show me a book that says Washington walked across the surface of Delaware, or that Meade defeated Lee by calling down a tempest of the lord to smite the soldiers, and then you might have an argument.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      SouthernCelt, you really think that belivers talk about it less than non-believers? What could you possibly be smoking? I've never had a non-beliver knock on my door to talk to me about the bible. I've never even had an agnostic stand in my driveway and preach at me while I have my hands full of groceries. I've never been approached by a skeptic wanting to discuss the bible with me in a park. And I haven't ever found athiest tracts in restrooms, library books, or in place of a tip when I worked food service. I can't name a single weekly television show devoted to disbelief in the bible.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      @Rbnlegnd101, ever been on a college campus (personally I doubt it 🙂 )? You will find both opinions expressed on street corners at any given hour. The best discussions are one on one, friendly and charitable, but CNN would never report it because only violence, greed and the other 7 deadly sins are considered News. Open your mouth or express belief on this website and atheists and agnostics will crawl out of the woodwork to denounce you. There are also numerous Television channels misinterpreting or trying to prove/disapprove what happened in Palestine 2000 years ago. I believe and will say so.
      If you don't that is your right in this country, and so is my belief. We also have the right to try to change each others minds (as if :-)). Only Congress is forbidden to have a religious opinion. NOT Congressmen or Congresswomen outside Capital Hill.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  17. rAmen

    *you're

    May 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  18. TonyInNYC

    Not everyone in the United States is Christian. Also, the United States isn't a theocracy. If marriage equality were legal in all states, Christian gays would be welcome to refrain from marrying or any other conduct if they felt violated their religious beliefs. This is a country that has religious freedom - especially freedom from other citizens' religions - so, the bible represents one point of view, not the only point of view.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  19. Don

    Religion and the Tea party are for children and their imaginary friends. Is science is difficult to understand try religion.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  20. jbmar1312

    Do you believe in supernatural things? Angels, Demons, Spirits, miraculous healings, etc. Those who say no would deny the evidence of the supernatural. Those who would say yes still deny that the bible could have been supernaturally inspired. Jesus was mocked, the prophets before Him were mocked. The church today is mocked. It changes nothing. You should seriously consider if it is worth dying lost because you want to believe you are right and that there is no God. I propose this question to you. What if you are wrong? Isn't it at least worth a small amount of your time to sincerely consider the possibility?

    May 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • rAmen

      um, what if your wrong and Gandalf is the real god?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      jb.....most non-beleivers are former believers. And it is our sincere consideration that led us to non-belief. Another fact you might find interesting....study after study reveals that most atheists know more about the bible and other religious texts than most of the believers of those texts.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jbmar1312

      If I am wrong, and specifically the christian bible is correct, then that god is not worthy of worship, or devotion. The god the bible paints is a vain, jealous, sadistic, and really a very inefficient god.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Huebert

      Their is no verifiable evidence for the supernatural. that includes god.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      you think that the only criteria a god would use to determine eternity is whether you believe?
      and why on earth would any diety setup such a system? what would be the point? is god bored and wants company? is he egotistical and wants what would insignificant beings to worship him to make him feel better? why?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Me

      Lets say your right...and your god/ afterlife exists....I would not change my life one bit...if there is not a god/ afterlife....i would not change my life one bit. What you are referring to is called "Pascal's Wager" but a HUGE possibility is missed in that...what if the God/ afterlife you are worshiping/ awaiting is the wrong one? Pascal's Wager is putting all the "Eggs" in one "Basket", aka the christian god, so you are taking just as big a gamble, if not a bigger one, in believing in one of the many possibilities, instead of all or none of them. BTW, i believe in some of what people call "supernatural"...just think if one out of every 10,000 people who claim to have seen/ experienced something "supernatural" is right, then it is true.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Aron White

      That is precisely the sort of thinking that turns people off to religion. Some are comfortable with the idea of an authoritarian God who sits in judgment and sends us to Hell for the slightest transgression against his will. On earth, we humans would call that tyranny and seek to overthrow such a system. Instead it would be better if you tried promoting the real messages behind religion and faith which are precepts like tolerance, love, respect, forgiveness and understanding, even to those you disagree with. Judge as you will be judged.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • jbmar1312

      I don't know that if there is supporting evidense that most non-believers were believers at some point but I do understand the sentiment. There is so much of ourselves that causes us not to be able to see God for who he really is or how all of this makes sense, me included. But I base my belief first in faith (trust that waht the bible says is true.... I realize this foolish to most of you) and then in my experiences that show me there is something at work in this world greater than all of us. I also want to say the Christian church has not done God any favors over the centuries and soem have used the church for personal gain, not serviing others. I am sorry that so many people take what I believe to be true and make it look like a lie. As for me, you would only need to ask my wife and children to know that I am no award winner. Just trying to continually be better at practicing what Jesus taught. To love others and to overcome the sin nature. To believe that Jesus came to help us do both. God Bless all of you, I truely mean that.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • n8263

      jbmar, we just had this conversation last page, here is a recap:

      .
      ME II: That's Pascal's Wager and do really think God wants you to 'play the odds' on eternity?

      n8263: What if it turns out Islam is true? You better hope you did not pick the wrong god!

      scott: ...and I worry about YOU choosing a religion of convenience (Christianity) based on where you were born and raised. Clearly, the one true religion is Hinduism. Prove me wrong.

      chiz3914: I got news for you. when you die you'll be dead just like the rest of us.

      Cedar Rapids: yeah, as someone said...better hope that the god you worship is the right one else you will be just as much out of luck, maybe you should worship them all to cover your bases

      sam stone: Gee, Donna, you must think that god is pretty stupid for not seeing that you are playing the odds.

      Kevin: It is an outrage for a fellow Christian to justify their faith by essentially saying it is a safety net ... either you believe or you don't ... you are only doing yourself and everyone else a disservice by saying that you believe just in case there is a heaven you want to make sure you get in.

      n8263: What are the odds the one true religion is even around right now? Maybe it already died out, or is yet to be established. You might have been born at the wrong time. Today's major religions including Christianity have been around for less than 1% of human history. The world has seen thousands of gods come and go.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • ME II

      @rAmen,
      "what if your wrong and Gandalf is the real god?"
      I'm sorry, but Gandalf would not stoop to such a position.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @jbmar

      A system that teaches that all humans, from birth, and fundamentally bad is a system to be abhorred. Abrahamic religions teach this concept in the form of original sin. Punishing untold generations for the sins of a single generation is not only unjust, but just plain absurd.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      @rAmen: Gandalf is a fictional wizard who believed in a power greater than himself. He is a main character in books written by a devout Roman Catholic (get used to it we are everywhere). Not the best example to make your point. Frodo Lives!

      May 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      southerncelt, how does that make jesus any different from gandalf......fictional character that believed in higher powers written by devout religious types.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • mikey

      I do believe in Jesus Christ because of what He has done in my life personally. I am a former atheist, the only reason I stepped into the church where I became born again is because I was going to get a free bag of weed out of it. My sinfulness was my desire. God ordained it and now my whole life has been changed. I see Him at work everyday. The only evidence one NEEDS is the work God does in their own life. I know some will appreciate the post and the vast majority will mock and rant about it. Which ever one YOU are. I say God bless you, and I hope you have an encounter similar to what I had, my proof is that this former drug addict/alcoholic is off of it due to faith, not to my own works or desires.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      jb....good response, but you are still missing the point. We can't "see" god for who he really is because there is no evidence he exists. Pointing to the bible and quoting scripture only proves our point. The bible contradicts itself on every other page. The journey to atheism was a very difficult one, but worth it and very liberating. I invite you to read about it on my blog.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "my proof is that this former drug addict/alcoholic is off of it due to faith, not to my own works or desires."

      sorry Mikey but it sounds like you were already the sort of person open to suggestion and easily led, and so I would say you just moved from one to another.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Momof3

      @mikey – you go to a church that gives out free weed? Wow, they'll do just ablut anything to draw you in these days! LOL!!

      By the way, what's that address...?

      May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • mikey

      I didn't realize I forgot to say it was a bribe. Sorry nobody is perfect.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
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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.