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My Take: Counting the Bible's words doesn't yield a Republican Jesus
How many times do hot-button issues come up in the Bible?
November 5th, 2012
09:43 AM ET

My Take: Counting the Bible's words doesn't yield a Republican Jesus

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) Over the last few days I have fielded hundreds of angry e-mails from pro-Mitt Romney evangelicals about a recent Belief Blog post in which I took Billy Graham and other white evangelicals to task for turning Jesus into a water boy for the Republican Party.

A disturbing number of these complaints about my alleged "evangelical bashing" have been hateful, ill-informed and explicitly racist. But the more intelligent responses have taken two tacks.

First, readers have told me that they are voting for Romney not because Mormonism is proper Christianity but because Romney is the lesser of two evils. Some in this camp, convinced (wrongly) that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, say they would rather vote for a Mormon than a Muslim.

Second, readers have argued that Romney's political views are more biblical. And repeatedly they have referred me to two central issues: abortion and same-sex marriage.

One pastor who reports he is working on a doctorate in theology says he believes “that the Bible is the literal word of God.” Because of this belief, he will vote for Romney: “ If you claim Christ as your king, how on earth can you justify the murder of God given life through abortion or any other means?" he writes. "If you accept Christ as your king, how on earth can you accept the moral deviancy of homosexuality as normal?”

In my book "American Jesus," I demonstrated how American views of Jesus, rather than adhering strictly to the unchanging biblical witness, have shifted with the cultural and political winds. Over the course of U.S. history Jesus has been a socialist and a capitalist, a pacifist and a warrior.

In other words, he has been used, by both the left and the right. Or, as I put it, “The American Jesus is more a pawn than a king, pushed around in a complex game of cultural (and countercultural) chess, sacrificed here for this cause and there for another.”

This problem of mistaking your God for the God the problem, that is, of idolatry was captured beautifully by Albert Schweitzer, who suggested that scholars on a quest for the “historical Jesus” were looking down into a deep well and seeing not the real Jesus but reflections of themselves.

This is what is happening, in my view, to my angry evangelical readers. In this case, however, they are looking down the well and seeing some mashup of Ronald Reagan and Romney. Instead of the biblical Christ, they are seeing the Republican Jesus.

There are many ways to support my argument that the preoccupations of the Christian Right today are not the preoccupations of the Bible.

One is to point out that abortion is never even mentioned in the Bible. (Yes, Jeremiah 1:5 reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” but when did that formation happen? At conception? At quickening? At birth?)

Another is to point out that American evangelicals didn’t care about the abortion question until the GOP taught them to care.

As Jonathan Dudley observes in a recent Belief Blog post, U.S. Catholic leaders began to take on abortion right after Roe v. Wade legalized it in 1973, but American evangelical leaders continued to teach that life begins at birth until the late 1970s and early 1980s. If the Bible clearly teaches us that our politics should center on the abortion question, why did it take nearly 2,000 years for Bible believers to figure this out?

Here is my basic proposition: Bible-believing Christians who want to base their politics on the Bible ought to get the Bible straight, which is to say (a) correct and (b) directly from the page, rather than filtered through the spin of the GOP.

To this end, I would like to challenge them to look at an amazing website, part of “The Official King James Bible Online,” which lists each and every word in that translation of the Bible in order of popularity.

Not surprisingly, “and” and “the” are the top two.  But how do more meaningful words rank?

Abortion, of course, is not on the list. Neither is homosexuality, though there are, I will admit, perhaps a couple dozen references to what we now call male homosexuality (and either one or zero to lesbianism, depending on how you read Romans 1:26).

So these issues are not central. But which issues are? Well, faith, grace and salvation, for starters. (They appear 231, 159 and 158 times, respectively.)

But if you turn to the political questions that beset us today, what does this quantitative approach to the Bible yield? First and foremost, a preoccupation with "war” (280 times) and “peace” (470). Second, a preoccupation with economics, and especially with the rich (109) and the poor (233).

The Bible also seems far more concerned with “prison” and “prisoners” (109) than we are in U.S. politics today. And, I might add, with famine (101).

Finally, the Bible mentions Israel a lot (2,509 times) even more than heaven (644). So that seems to be something that both candidates got right in the third debate.

To conclude, I have no problem with evangelical Christians voting for Romney. My complaint arises when they say they are doing so because the Bible commands them to vote for the candidate who is opposed to abortion rights and opposes same-sex marriage.

The Bible itself is relatively unconcerned with these matters. It is far more concerned with questions of poverty and wealth, war and peace, and (need I add?) theology.

If you think otherwise, it's not the Bible speaking. It's the political operative at the bottom of the well.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Bible • Economy • Jesus • Mitt Romney • Opinion • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,060 Responses)
  1. Just Sayin"

    Although I can see the point your are trying to make Stephen about people using the Bible in different ways, I do believe your train of logic just drove over the trestle.

    The problem comes from looking at the words of the Bible in a literal sense, not taking into account the difficulty of translating ancient language into words that we will recognize today. Any language scholar will tell you that.

    Consider that nowhere in the Bible does it say "Though shalt not commit a mafia hit". However, a mafia hit doesn't quite align itself properly with the CONCEPTS and principals that the Bible teaches. A mafia hit is a murder, even though you can't find those actual words listed there.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Edwin

      You are correct that the word counts may be off if we don't include synonyms, but the Bible clearly says not to do a mafia hit.

      So if you want to know how the Bible deals with abortion, you might also search for its synonyms, or references to pregnant women (or 'with child' or 'womb' or so forth). I don't wish to perform such a data analysis, but it sounds very doable.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  2. Horus

    You know, I saw a woman at the supermarket the other day wearing a huge button that read "Vote Bible". What does that mean I asked myself. I assume that means Jesus is on the ballot?

    November 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Edwin

      It means vote the way she wants you to vote, because she believes the Bible commands it.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  3. His panic

    El Chupacabras is coming to get you Mr. Protero. That's what happens when you speak against the celestial Powers that be in Wall Street. You under-estimated the Power of St. Reagan and his devotees. They will make you cry like a baby.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • His panic

      Devotees of St. Reagan go every summer on a Pilgrimage to see Russia from Alaska. From there they will send the abominable Snowman, Frosty the snowman and el Chupacabras to get anyone who dares speak evil against St. Reagan and the celestial Powers of Wall Street. The Prophetess Sarita P. has said so!! :-O You are in deep, deep trouble Mr. Prothero.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jorge

      HAHA, good one Hispanic, the Boss Hoggs and Elmer Gantrys in this country would love to roast Mr. Prothero on a spit, preferrably Southern BBQ style. They would also looove to wash our His panic brains so that we all dance, rank and file, to their Pied Pipers. Little do they know that we've already seen the poor rats march those tunes in our own native countries, never to be seen again...

      November 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • steve

      Not for nothing but there are a lot of worse things going on in the world than to be so butt hurt about religion in the USA. I know its very PC to talk smack about relgion and to wear hipster sayings on your buttons. But really its safe, and getting old forum posters. You are not new original etc, people were saying what you are saying for thousands of years where they could be killed for speaking out. Its safe and boring. yes yes there is no god, now go listen to your death cab cd and stop clogging up every forum that mentions religion with your very old statements. This article had nothing to do with Is there a god, Maybe if you had more insight than what you leaned reading Ayn Rand for your English lit class you could make interesting comments.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  4. norman

    the real religion that molests kids and protects the criminals! nice try-there is no "real" religion-its all made up to combat man's fear of death

    November 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  5. debb

    Firstly, I'm Canadian so what I have to say has no bearing on tomorrow's election. The bible was written for a people who for the most part couldn't read. The stories were meant to provide guidance in decisions that have import in your life. But the conditions of then, are not the conditions of now. Fail to change in order to address those conditions based on paradigms and myths and contra – science is a sign of mass stupidity.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. storymagination

    Whatabout Romney's support of Israel – every good "Christian" and "Republican" supports Israel's policy of abortion "on demand." All those supposed Evangelicals who donate to Israe indirectly support abortoin on demand, compulsory participation in a national health insurance bureaucracy and Israel's 43% tax rate on the rich. They don't know where their money goes and they don't really care. That's how important all these issues really are to Evangelicals and Republicans. What's hidden so it's ok. Those upper class Republicans are laughing all the way to the bank because their semi- literate fellow Republicans do their dirty work.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  7. Sarah Dogood

    Catholicism is the only real religion. Protestantism originated with vandals nailing their rags to holy buildings. They're the Australians of religion: descended from convicts so why should anyone expect better.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • debb

      I don't subscribe to any religion. I'm free from religion.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • debb

      You are an ignorant doofus.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Australians call their nation the "Lucky Country".

      Theirs is not one of imagined greatness or noblity, divine exceptionalism or revisionist history.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Romnesia

      The Anne Coulter of CNN blogs. Few facts, plenty of venom.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Judaism is the only true religion because it was around before Catholicism.
      No wait – zoroastrianism is the only true religion because it is the first monotheistic faith.
      Hmmm.... or maybe they're all a load of hokum – vestigial rationalizations from pre-scientific cultures.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Are you aware that the US was originally a penal colony?

      November 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Huebert

      hehe...you said penal.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • birdgirl

      Catholicism is an abomination, Sarah Dogood. It is idolatry, plain and simple. You worship the Pope not God or Jesus. You check your brains at the door and allow child molesters to dictate your every move. Wake up. Those rags tacked on church doors saved us from the likes of you!

      November 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Bridal Party

      Are you high, Sarah? What a stupid thing to say. I suspect you're troll.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Catholicism is of the devil. Are you aware that the Roman Catholic Church is the "Mother of Harlots" (the mother of all false churches on earth) as spoken about in the book of Revelations?...

      November 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • HA25

      Realizing full well you are merely an internet troll – nevertheless in your language you might say "Judiasm is the only real religion. Catholics are merely following a miscreant who had his brains scorched while wandering in the desert."

      November 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jorge

      If Catholicism is "the mother of Harlots," does that mean that all Protestant "Christian" faiths (which denial aside), derived from it, are b-a-s-t-a-r-d-s?????

      November 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • JKNBTJKNBT

      your church will hold services as usual the Sunday after the Rapture.

      November 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  8. Reality

    Contering the "way behind prof P" and his Exodus "thum-ptation" with the New Torah for Modern Minds:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

    November 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  9. Jack

    Any religion that endoreses, even indirectly, a candidate for political office should pay taxes. Any Minister, Preacher, Rabbi, Priest, Imam etc who gets up and tries to influence how their congregation votes should have their church, synagogue, temple taxed. And, BTW, Jesus said we have a duty to help the poor, feed them, clothe them and heal the sick. The is welfare, unemployment insurance, the Affordable Health Care Act, etc. Jesus, remember, chased the money lenders from the temple and gave everything he had to the poor.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Reality

      Maybe not !!!

      Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      November 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Evangelical

      First off, church members, including the pastor, have free speech rights, and they are also exempt from government regulation – all thanks to the First Amendment. My church does a lot of political organizing. We get the congregation and the surrounding area out to vote. We inform people about Biblical voting who might otherwise have the wool pulled over their heads by candidates that are not Christians.

      You just want to tax churches because you don't like religion. That much I get.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • sprat17

      When the pastor of my church made us watch the video about Romney and President Obama yesterday instead of having a sermon, I thought the same thing. according to the video, they collected more than $3m to run adds in support of Romney. I immediately thought about feeding the poor and helping the needy. As Christians the bible teaches us to love one another. It also teaches us to pray for our leaders not to persicute them. This country is in trouble if our churches are now also entrenched in our political process as well.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Ambrogino

      A Reality

      Zoroastrianism. which predates Judaism by about a 1000 years held the first monotheistic belief of that god created evil, angels, and the svaior at the end times, souls and all sorts of other stolen teachings.

      You may want to get your facts straight.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Reality… The bible speaks of people like you, people who speak evil of things you understand not. It says the following…

      2 Peter 2:12 – But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;..

      Romans 1:25 – Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature (Lucifer) more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Irine

      Jack, you are 100% right!!! Political view is our rights, protected by First Amendment, but we don't get tax deductions on our contributions to a political party. And if you look at t Jesus that way, He seems like "socialists" -dirty word in GOP terminology.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Edwin

      Evangelical: you are actually quite wrong in your analysis.

      You are right that your pastor has the right of free speech. But he is using your church in a POLITICAL capacity. The rules governing the tax-exempt status of religions strictly forbid the endorsing of specific candidates. If your church engages in heavy political activity, expect the feds to revoke your tax-exempt status.

      And when they do, don't worry about free speech - you still will have it. The federal government is not at all concerned about people meeting to discuss politics or push a political agenda. But they are VERY concerned about groups doing it without legally registering as a political organization.

      Under your interpretation of the law, a pastor could use tax-exempt church funds to campaign for a particular candidate - including paying for advertising. If you don't see that as abuse of the system, I don't know what would sway you.

      Fortunately, though, this sort of thing has come up before, and every church that crossed the line (for EITHER party's candidates) has faced heavy fines and penalties. If I were you, I'd look into setting up a legal defense fund for your pastor.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Edwin

      sprat17: you should have walked out and complained to the church elders. This is a violation of U.S. tax law, and it might put your church in legal trouble - never mind the moral implication of spending millions on advertising instead of helping the poor.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      "prof" P has his Boston U angels?

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      November 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  10. Reasonably

    I'm no voting for Mitt primarily because he espouses a belief system not unlike that of the French Aristocracy prior to their revolution. The fact that his cult believes some pretty whack stuff is ancillary...

    November 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  11. SNoob

    Why is religion even part of the equation? I am an athiest and I think Obama and Romney are both wrong... So what? What does their faith have to do with how they run this country? I get more upset when resonable people take the Bible as absolute and discount all of us who do not buy into their position. Not very Christian of you if you ask me to discount everyone who does not believe like you do. It's crazy, Dark Ages baloney.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  12. Chris

    Well said Steven..... I guess these hypocritical self righteous Evangelicals need to actually spend a little time comparing the Book of Mormon to the Holy Bible. Has anybody ever wondered why a guy with five sons who professes to love our country above everything else, has none of his sons in uniform service our country? Too rich I guess.....

    November 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • john

      You write as if Romney could 'order' his sons into the military. Perhaps his sons, just like Obama, CHOSE not to join the military. I know the leftists are uncomfortable with this thing called personal choice, what with all the mandates and regulations they want to put on individuals and all, but really, if as you claim, Romney's kids didn't join the military because they were too rich, what's Obama's excuse?

      November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      John, the reason the GOP are pointed out is that they are hawks. So the reasoning is – if you are so hawkish why weren't you in the military and why not encob>urage your children to serve. But their children are too speb>cial to be in harm's way.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • LittleHero

      I am almost the same age as Obama, and the difference is that the Vietnam war was over, and we were at peace. The next war was the Gulf War, and we were both too old then to join. Romney should have gone to Vietnam, but didn't and all of his sons were the correct age for the Gulf War, Iraq or Afghanistan. That is the difference.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Edwin

      john: you have such hate in your heart, I hope you are able to release it after the election. We are not "leftists" and "rightists" (or whatever). We are AMERICANS.

      Don't write hate towards your fellow citizens - they may be the ones who rescue you when a hurricane destroys your city.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  13. God's Oldest Dreamer

    "Quotes" are like grains of the sands, they cannot be found worthy except when fired to make glass and even then the glass-blower needs to be taught by trials and errors. Christ the Lord Jesus may well be God's 1st 'Being' born of and by the very beginning moments regarding Creation yet, how many 'Beings' were created in the very 1st moments after God spoke, "Let there be light!"? These 'elemental gods' are now called 'atoms' and it is these elementals that make up and have established all manner of Celestial Beings from the very smallest single celled creatures to the most abundant multi-cellular giants like the whale.

    Lettuce Love,
    Let Us Love,
    G.O.D.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Reality

      And now moving into the 21st century:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      November 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      A scattering is upon us in these trying days and Age. Leave your wantings behind and never take wind of one's longings for the weightiness of one's longings will smite even the most influential. Carry away nothing and leave. Head to the places inside one's being and do not keep ajar your door for many will want to enter in and cannot. Your loving this Life is for the world to have and you should not heed the rumors from others as to just what is truly right. It is therefore best for mankind to simmer in their juvenile pottages never rationalizingly 'assaying' one's diffuse detriments, the very smallest of life's grains. As smitten breeds, our splendors reveal one's characters to be traitorous to one's analogous fold. Where then does Life end and living begin?

      What I spiritually believe in is that the Families of God including God Himself lives upon the very first created Cosmos which is the inner Cosmos. Our being but upon this celestial cosmos is due our being cast out of the Inner Cosmos for many reasons. Some were cast out of this Inner Cosmos for faultering and some for continuing to do the Lord's Will here upon this celestial realm of gigantic life forms whereupon their insides are living many families of God's members. We live upon this realm doing what we want while many of us unify ourselves in the communal. My way is not your way and yet when we cross paths we receive each other and walk on.

      Therefore, walk placidly amid the noise and waste ever being mindful of the peace one finds in finding peace there about.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  14. Ambrogino

    Decent article, but a couple of quick points, Aramaic, the original writing of most of the old testament did not have a word for wife and yet it is used repeatdly in the old testament. Therefore, it proves that the bible has been editted over time to encapsulate whatever the writer of the version wants and even showcases cultural differences.

    In addition, which version are we talking about and which branch of christianity? Because they are all derived from Judiasm which stole many concpets from Zoroaster... You know the religion of Sikhs...

    I just wish Christians were capable of actually thinking through what they say.

    Lasty, I leave you the most important quote in the whole of the bible:
    Matthew 18:18 says "whatsoever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven." Just think about that for a second.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • John Sharp

      THANK YOU
      Anyone that thinks this is the word of god and not the word of man, has no intellect.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Ambrogino,,,

      Can it be said and also inferred that all of Life here upon these celestial shorelines of life-forms resonate from a single celled life-form all the ways to massive cellularized life formations? Is it 'not' written within the Gospels that mankind is but buildings that are husbanded by the Godly? Do we not labour together with God in our tasks? Who among us can deny our psychic Being as being un/just and un/righteous God-Heads?

      Nothing is a Foreverness and Matter, in its' infinitesimally established finiteness, is a materialized foreverness unobtainable by us, human-like megaliths called mankind. We are all giants too huge and too vast for us to ever re-enter in wholeness back into the Kingdoms of God which are inside or within our bodies. So many damningly dumb buildings of evolution's ascension into the spatial voids of outward motions sanctioned by the Godly! Too little are our intellectual abaters

      1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

      Ergo. does that mean dumbness is genetical or is it societal hierarchies being the dumbness from which socialisms are currently adorned and auspisciously bequeathed?

      We are but celestial manifestations of God's creativities. Evolution is the Gods'(plural) works and there is reason why we were the last limb to be raised from Fractal Cosmology.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • john

      Don't forget to mention the many books of the Bible that are referred to by the ones we still have but that are no longer available to be read. Where'd they go?

      November 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Reality

      Not so fast !!!

      Many contemporary NT scholars have thoroughly analyzed the NT for historic reliability. And many of these experts have concluded that Matt 18: 18 is historically nil e.g.Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 205-206 and pp. 69-695 and http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=375_Binding_and_Loosing

      November 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Reality

      john,

      This website should help:

      Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      November 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the new members of this blog:

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      November 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Ambrogino

      @ Reality, Ha ha ha....

      Just because religious scholars don't like what Matthew 18:18 say doesn't mean they can change it... Then again, go ahead and change the "Word of GOD." It just proves my point.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Ambrogino

      @ Reality

      Sorry, I forgot the "Nah Nah I'm not listeneing defense" people use to refute passages they don't agree with, like Matthew 18:18.

      Feel free to put your tin foil hat on anytime...

      November 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  15. obamaphone

    Vote for OBAMA! He is the shizzle! He gave me my new free obamaphone and now I can call all my homies! With all these gov't handouts me and my 12 kids babys mamas get, we dont eva have to work! I would vote for Obama but I'm a convicted felon, so it's up to you America to keep my tax payer funded handouts rollin in! VOTE OBAMA! Now I'm off to watch Judge Joe Brown on my bigscreen TV. HOLLA!

    November 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bridal Party

      Troll ass mofo.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Hey bigot. In many states felons who have completed their sentences can vote – despite what GOP vote watchers say.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      I guess that's the kind of Obama voter YOU would be.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Pander Bear

      Wow your cleverly disguised anti-Obama post has made me want to vote for Mitt Romney. You must be a super intelligent genius!!

      November 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jose Garcia

      Obama good! He let me and me 8 kids stay in country free with no deport!

      November 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Michael, Chapel Hill

    Stephen Prothero is the prophet of the Left. He uses his Bible to support everything that is not Biblical. Bible can be interpreted. However, it may be interpreted to support ones views. One could interpret political ideologies based on Biblical principle. Even Obama says that he is a Christian he base Bible to support his ideology.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • John Sharp

      The Bible is worthless. if you use it to live your life I grieve for you.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      You're kidding yourself, Michael. I'm not a Christian, so I don't have a dog in this fight. But I've read the bible all the way through more than once, and the Jesus in the bible doesn't compare well at all with conservative political philosophy.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Ambrogino

      Just remember Romney's faith teaches that God lives on the planet Kolob.

      I wish I were kidding... And many of you have the audacity to say Obama is not a christian?

      November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Read your bible again. Jesus was not only collectivist, but a socialist as well. The Roman rich were deathly afraid of his policies and preaching. Where in the bible does it say to keep all of your riches to yourself and keep them in offshore tax havens?

      November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • His panic

      If you can claim to be a "christian" so can I and so can Obama in Alabama.

      The Bible should have been made by God, able to Jump at people when they misuse her. God should make the Bible so Miraculous so as to jump and beat anyone and everyone who misquote, misuses and misrepresent it.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • john

      Where is the Bible does Jesus preach for us to take from someone to give to another? He taught for us to give of our OWN resources. Interestingly enough, studies keep showing that conservatives give more of their OWN money than liberals do.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • CNN_Grindel

      john, if you read the story of the feeding of the 5,000 at no point does Jesus or the disciples ask the lad (only mentioned in John, by the way) for the fish and loaves. Read John 6:11 where it says Jesus TOOK (not was given). That statement is pretty consistent across all the gospels, it doesn't say anything about Jesus relying on people to donate or not based on how they felt – there was a need and Jesus took in order to fulfill that need. And he used what he took to enrich many, many more than the one lad. Just something to consider.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  17. Siara Delyn

    Jesus said feed the poor and heal the sick. That does not not strike me as being open to interpretation, and yet the Christian Right is spinning it all over the place.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • DUMP hINDU FABRICATION MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      Spinning truth is way of hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters, and hindu crook Christians are good at it by faith.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • John Sharp

      It is still amazing to me that people read this book and think this is the word of God. Study of the how the book was created underneath Constantine's rule clearly removes that possibility.
      So I am not impressed when any one tries to argue a point with the use of this horribly written book.
      it obviously is not the word of any god.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Russ

      @ John Sharp: even just a brief glance at the scholarship debunks your assertion.

      The Bible is the most read & most heavily scrutinized text in history. Check the scholarship behind why:

      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/03/21/an-interview-with-daniel-b-wallace-on-the-new-testament-manuscripts/

      November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Terry

      It also says in Thes that if you do not work you don't eat. We are also to be good stewards. So are we helping or hindering? How can we really be helping if what we do maintains their poverty level? Thats were the disconnect comes in, I am a republican and I am for helping the poor but helping them get out and subsist on their own...not just pay them enough to survive on from month to month and keep them in their same situation. This is the current policy of both parties and its a class warfare on the poor only the American public is to blind to see it.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bridal Party

      EXACTLY, John Sharp!
      The way the books of the Bible were chosen is suspect, at best...what was left OUT gives a much truer meaning of the Bible than what was eventually left in...and Constantine wasn't exactly the nicest man either; his "piety" came late in life, as his own mortality stared him in the face. Hypocrite is the word that comes to mind.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Bridal party: as I said to John Sharp, stop perpetuating rumors and actually check the scholarship. that argument doesn't hold water. check the link i posted above.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Will

      @Russ

      Try getting your scholarship from less biased sources that already have decided on outcomes before they conduct their "research."

      November 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Russ

      @ WIll: you may not like Daniel Wallace, but that is immaterial. He is pointing to widely accepted facts in the field of biblical scholarship. What do you contest: the exponentially higher numbers of manuscripts than any other ancient text, the number of variants and their nature, etc.?

      In short, do you just not like him or do you actually contest the accepted facts he is presenting?

      November 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  18. Kevin

    VERY well-stated. Thank you!

    November 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Siara Delyn

      Agreed.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • babs

      and and Amen to that!

      November 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  19. His panic

    Is the wrath of the celestial powers of Wall Street, led from the clouds by St. Reagan the Patron saint of the GOP/TP. These are the same who believe and been promoting the Myth of the US as a "christian" nation. They are coming down from heaven in chariots of fire together with el chupacabra and St. Reagan to get you Mr. Protero.

    Never underestimate the celestial powers of Wall Street and the god of the re-Publicans, conservatives, idolaters, catholics/protestants; aka. Mammon.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • DUMP hINDU FABRICATION MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      Well said, Bunch of hindu, crooks using and abusing truth absolute GOD to hind, fool humanity. bunch of hindu's, crooks, united under hinduism, corruption of truth absolute , called religion.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • His panic

      They are the same people who go every year on a pilgrimage to see Russia from Alaska.

      They are the same people who can't find their street in a Map of their City, their City in a Map of their State, their State in a Map of the Country or the Country in a MAPA MUNDI. El chupacabra is coming to get them.

      The US of A IS NOT, NEVER WAS, NEVER WILL BE A "christian" nation. Forget that Myth, there is not a hint at all in Scripture to support that AB-SUR-D Claim.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  20. DUMP hINDU FABRICATION MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

    Word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity, Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn hinduism, criminality of hindu Jew's, filthy self centered , denier of truth absolute God to hind, fool humanity into gentile ism, slavery.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • AvatarofAwesome

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu#Etymology

      No, no it is not.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • DUMP hINDU FABRICATION MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      written by a hindu, lair, to substantiate hinduism, absurdity.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:57 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.