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My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’
The author argues that there are many meanings of the adjective 'biblical.'
November 17th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’

Editor's Note: Rachel Held Evans is a popular blogger from Dayton, Tennessee, and author of “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”

By Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

On "The Daily Show" recently, Jon Stewart grilled Mike Huckabee about a TV ad in which Huckabee urged voters to support “biblical values” at the voting box.

When Huckabee said that he supported the “biblical model of marriage,” Stewart shot back that “the biblical model of marriage is polygamy.”

And there’s a big problem, Stewart went on, with reducing “biblical values” to one or two social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, while ignoring issues such as poverty and immigration reform.

It may come as some surprise that as an evangelical Christian, I cheered Stewart on from my living room couch.

As someone who loves the Bible and believes it to be the inspired word of God, I hate seeing it reduced to an adjective like Huckabee did. I hate seeing my sacred text flattened out, edited down and used as a prop to support a select few political positions and platforms.

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And yet evangelicals have grown so accustomed to talking about the Bible this way that we hardly realize we’re doing it anymore. We talk about “biblical families,” “biblical marriage,” “biblical economics,” “biblical politics,” “biblical values,” “biblical stewardship,” “biblical voting,” “biblical manhood,” “biblical womanhood,” even “biblical dating” to create the impression that the Bible has just one thing to say on each of these topics - that it offers a single prescriptive formula for how people of faith ought to respond to them.

But the Bible is not a position paper. The Bible is an ancient collection of letters, laws, poetry, proverbs, histories, prophecies, philosophy and stories spanning multiple genres and assembled over thousands of years in cultures very different from our own.

When we turn the Bible into an adjective and stick it in front of another loaded word, we tend to ignore or downplay the parts of the Bible that don’t quite fit our preferences and presuppositions. In an attempt to simplify, we force the Bible’s cacophony of voices into a single tone and turn a complicated, beautiful, and diverse holy text into a list of bullet points we can put in a manifesto or creed. More often than not, we end up more committed to what we want the Bible to say than what it actually says.

Nowhere is this more evident than in conversations surrounding “biblical womanhood.”

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Growing up in the Bible Belt, I received a lot of mixed messages about the appropriate roles of women in the home, the church and society, each punctuated with the claim that this or that lifestyle represented true “biblical womanhood.”

In my faith community, popular women pastors such as Joyce Meyer were considered unbiblical for preaching from the pulpit in violation of the apostle Paul's restriction in 1 Timothy 2:12 ("I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent"), while Amish women were considered legalistic for covering their heads in compliance with his instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:5 ("Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head").

Pastors told wives to submit to their husbands as the apostle Peter instructed in 1 Peter 3:1, but rarely told them to avoid wearing nice jewelry as the apostle instructs them just one sentence later in 1 Peter 3:3. Despite the fact that being single was praised by both Jesus and Paul, I learned early on that marriage and motherhood were my highest callings, and that Proverbs 31 required I keep a home as tidy as June Cleaver's.

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This didn’t really trouble me until adulthood, when I found myself in a childless egalitarian marriage with a blossoming career and an interest in church leadership and biblical studies. As I wrestled with what it meant to be a woman of faith, I realized that, despite insistent claims that we don’t “pick and choose” from the Bible, any claim to a “biblical” lifestyle requires some serious selectivity.

After all, technically speaking, it is “biblical” for a woman to be sold by her father to pay off debt, “biblical” for a woman to be required to marry her rapist, “biblical” for her to be one of many wives.

So why are some Bible passages lifted out and declared “biblical,” while others are explained away or simply ignored? Does the Bible really present a single prescriptive lifestyle for all women?

These were the questions that inspired me to take a page from A.J. Jacobs, author of "The Year of Living Biblically", and try true biblical womanhood on for size—literally, no “picking and choosing."

This meant, among other things, growing out my hair, making my own clothes, covering my head whenever I prayed, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church (unless I was “prophesying,” of course), calling my husband "master,” even camping out in my front yard during my period to observe the Levitical purity laws that rendered me unclean.

During my yearlong experiment, I interviewed a variety of women practicing biblical womanhood in different ways — an Orthodox Jew, an Amish housewife, even a polygamist family - and I combed through every commentary I could find, reexamining the stories of biblical women such as Deborah, Ruth, Hagar, Tamar, Mary Magdalene, Priscilla and Junia.

My goal was to playfully challenge this idea that the Bible prescribes a single lifestyle for how to be a woman of faith, and in so doing, playfully challenge our overuse of the term “biblical.” I did this not out of disdain for Scripture, but out of love for it, out of respect for the fact that interpreting and applying the Bible is a messy, imperfect and - at times - frustrating process that requires humility and grace as we wrestle the text together.

The fact of the matter is, we all pick and choose. We’re all selective in our interpretation and application of the biblical text. The better question to ask one another is why we pick and choose the way that we do, why we emphasis some passages and not others. This, I believe, will elevate the conversation so that we’re using the Bible, not as a blunt weapon, but as a starting point for dialogue.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (4,657 Responses)
  1. Answer

    To the theists and religious adherents..

    If you think this public forum should be a dedicated place for you believers – why do you think that it should?
    Time and time again you scream "foul" about it. Even in the naming of this section it is "Belief".

    There is no adjective in front of that word that says it like this: "Muslim Belief" ..nor does it say "Christian Belief".
    Your particular brand of religion is just an adjective.. it doesn't feature in CNN. So why do you constantly whine about it?

    Could it be that it is your fear of being confronted? If that is the case.. why not employ your own blog and have your own login system to screen us "atheists and non-believers". Set up your own secure niche to talk to each other about your delusions. Of course you ALREADY HAVE.. what was I thinking? :P

    So why do you want CNN as another front for your gathering? When you already have other secure channels?
    I'll tell you why – you want somebody to fight with. You think you are doing other people a favor "by saving them".

    Well you are wrong. You are polluting the public with your delusions.

    November 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      I can't speak for others. For myself, I'm frustrated that CNN can't find some thoughtful, educated writers FOR their Belief blog section. While I've even agreed with Rachel from time to time (gasp!), her level of education in the subject matter is obviously lacking. While I realize it is an opinion piece, I expect a bit better in journalism... especially on topics I happen to know something about.

      BTW, you're welcome to stop by my blog and discuss and debate, so long as you can behave. (TilledSoil DOT org) I'm not sure where you get this idea Christians need to wall themselves off. If that has been your experience, I'm sorry, and suggest you find a bit more mainstream venue to learn about what Christianity really teaches.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Danny

      Read the majority of the posts on every single article mentioning anything about religion, then tell me most of the people are theists or religious adherents :) Nice try on that one.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Answer

      @Steve Wilkinson

      Do tell....

      Out of all the 38,000 sects of your faith – I'm sure you can say that your p-a-r-t-i-c-u-l-a-r brand of failure has the real meaning.
      It's like "what cereal should I be eating..?"

      So what brand is yours?

      November 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ Answer -
      I'm not sure where you got that number from.... but if you're speaking of Christian denominations, yes, we're all human and humans often misunderstand and disagree. MOST of the denominations agree on most of the basics, so what ends up dividing is fairly superficial to the religion. Where the biggest disagreements come usually come down to method of Biblical interpretation, church structure and governance, or sometimes politics.

      On those bigger differences, yea, I think I got it right (and I can explain why the others are wrong). On all the details, I can't say I'm 100% right, but at least I'm trying. From your posts, apparently, you aren't.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Answer

      @Steve

      "On all the details, I can't say I'm 100% right, but at least I'm trying."

      –At least you're trying... lol

      Self flattery ..cute. Well go on tell everybody what you personally will guarantee for people who "come unto your lord". do your best. You got time today right? -I'll mock you as often is needed because it'll be fun to see your kind confess your depraved nature.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Answer

      @Steve

      Let's start off how your kind loves to tear down a human being first to get them to accept your brand of delusion. I love this psychological aspect of religion.

      Explain for everyone how depraved, corrupt, debased, perverted and sinful they are. Then tell us the path you would take to accept your lord. Tell us about the original sin. Tell us how it is that your lord "made it all clean" if you now go and repent.

      Or try to use your emotions to tell us your past and string on a few more s-u-c-k-e-r-s. Tell us that "you're lost and you have a personal relationship problem." Tell us that if you accept your jeebus then that relationship will develop and you'll go to heaven. Preach it.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Goth Glad

      JUDGE NOT!!! Satan is very smart and knows by mastering Christians and Christianity, the most powerful religion in the world, that he can control anything on the face of this planet earth. I speak to both Satan and God constantly. They both are brilliant. After each conversation with GOD or Satan, I have a choice to make. I always ask myself what Is the RIGHT thing to do. Fear has no dominion over me. MORTAL Death is the inevitable, thank GOD. Satan has made it know that through influence from modern media he will continue to divide the christian ranks even more. The bible is just the beginning to the end. With the bible being written by mortal hands. I must state. Those who were not perfect can not write what we perceive to be perfect. Only blazed before your own eyes by the hand of GOD is anything true. If I said GOD inspired me to write the piece almost all will deny it. The chosen ones are still amongst all mortals. But so are the deceivers. It's real simple, how do you want to be treated? Work on saving you first. GOD will handle all. That is if you truly believe in GOD.

      November 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Answer

      This god's name is what?

      November 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ Answer -

      Yes, we're absolutely depraved (not in a sense of, at every time, as bad as we could possibly be). Isn't that obvious? I think it is to anyone who has done serious self-examination and put much thought into it. To undo this situation, yes, God has to change us... not just in our various behaviours, but at the core of who we are, so that we no longer want the depravity. This is what repentance is about, being made to realize that we've been wrong and that God is right about us, and allowing God to fix us. It's kind of like AA, where there is no change until you first admit the problem. Yes, Jesus accomplished what Adam failed, and if we trust in His accomplishing that on our behalf, we get His reward rather than Adam's penalty. We're traitors in God's kingdom, and Jesus is offering the truce terms and conditions, as well as the adoption papers into the family.

      But, I'll probably disappoint you in my testimony, as while it's true, I also recognize that it is simply that, my testimony. I'm sure you've got one too, as does the Muslim or the Hindu. That's why I'm a Christian apologist & theologian (the why and what we believe). I work from the evidence to show why Christianity is the best worldview (and the only truly coherent one).

      November 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  2. ?

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

    November 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Arnold

      Ya. Datz how it hoppened, you little girlie boy.

      You stick it up yaw ahss, too.

      I'll be bock.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • davedave2

      atheism, the belief that nothing created the Universe out of nothing

      November 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Sane Person

      Poor dave. Buy a book sometime, you'll figure out what atheists believe. Assuming you understand the big words.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ Sane Person -
      Well, maybe they don't speak for all... but I've heard a number of pretty prominent atheists put it pretty much like that (OK, yea, with some added big words meant to confuse and cloak that basic message).

      "Big long words name little things. All big things have little names, such as life and death, peace and war, or dawn, day, night, hope, love, home. Learn to use little words in a big way; they say what you mean. When you don't know what you mean, use BIG words…That often fools little people." Arthur Kudner

      "Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice." – anonymous

      November 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  3. Monkeys to Men

    Humans are too stupid to have been evolved from monkeys.

    We monkeys would never invent a weapon that would incinerate the whole world in a flash.

    God, you humans are dumb dumb dumb!

    November 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Humans did not evolve from monkeys.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • MeAtheist

      Yes we did freak

      November 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Monkeys to Men

      Wow! That's a relief.

      You people are so friggin' stupid!

      November 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Humans evolved from apes. Not monkeys.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Graham Krueger

      @meatheist, I appreciate the sentiment, but technically we didn't evolve FROM monkeys. We just have a common, monkeylike ancestor with them that predates both modern humans and monkeys.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ Graham Krueger -
      Of which, we have no evidence.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • .

      @ Steve Wilkinson....%99.9 of scientists believe in evolution.Not good enough for you?Atheists will admit the origin of the universe is unknown.Big bang is the best explanation.Simply now-If god created the universe,who or what created god?

      November 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Steve Wilkinson – Yeah. Because a robust and geographically/temporally consistent pre-hominid through H. sapiens fossil record isn't evidence. The phylogenetic relationships, particularly of our uniquely distributed endogenous retroviruses, isn't evidence. Our distinct status as species, yet demonstrated gene flow with H. neanderthalis isn't evidence. Our fused 2d Chromosome isn't evidence. Etc, etc.

      None of this is evidence because??? Answer: It contradicts a preferred magical alternative...

      November 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ .
      I believe in evolution (depending on how we define that term... so long as we stick to the science, I'm fine with it... it's the metaphysical implications I disagree with).

      re: big bang – and from this, what might we conclude? (Hint: Check the mad rush of atheists trying to figure out some way around that conclusion.)

      re: who or what created God – Seriously? I think you need a philosophy 101 course, or at least a bit better understanding of what is being claimed by theists. If God were created, God wouldn't be God. That's kind of the point. Also, if there were no God, there is also no creation.

      @ redzoa -
      No, not really. Those are details (if true), from which you might draw such a conclusion based on your worldview. It doesn't necessarily follow though. What I said is that we have no evidence of that common ancestor, only conjecture that it might explain the data we do have (along with other explanations).

      Yes, we have fossils, but the proposed trees based on a phylogenic analysis don't match the genetic (DNA) evidence. And, in fact, we're just starting to understand DNA to a level that is under-covering a layer of complexity which will dismiss the silly idea that some percentage of matched DNA indicated lineage. (cf. 'Junk DNA' for example) There could have been interbreeding with Neanderthals, but I'm not sure what point that would make, as they aren't in our lineage in the first place. Apart from what I already said above about what we can't necessarily tell from simple genome similarity, I'm not sure if chromosome 2 proves what you want. It would be HIGHLY unlikely to have such an event (on evolutionary terms) that didn't die and could reproduce afterwords. I guess that could be another 'just so' story, but I'd prefer some evidence over speculation.

      November 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Steve Wilkinson-

      The examples I listed are empirically-derived facts indicating common descent. By worldview, you clearly mean empirically-logical inferences v. magical a priori beliefs. Of course there will never be a point at which we say, "this is definitely THE one." What we can do is follow the divergence in extant species, look at the genetic/morphological data and then cross-reference this to the extinct species in the fossil evidence with the occasional support of an extant/extinct genetic analysis. Again, a strong fossil record indicating common descent from species up through the class levels which has validated a number of evolutionary predictions.
      Regarding phlyogeny v. phylogenetics, if what you meant to say was that phylogeny based on morphology has been shown to be false or is confounded by unreasonably high error rates in light of phylogenetic techniques, you're patently incorrect as the prior trees based on morphology have consistently, albeit not perfectly, matched the trees produced by genetic comparisons. One notable example is the recent T. rex collagen analysis which again supported the morphometric analyses indicating bird evolution from dinosaurs.
      The "complexity of DNA" is rather well understood, including non-coding junk DNA. In fact, it's the fine-scale resolution junk DNA provides which enables us to include and exclude particular suspects. When we consider coding regions for more or less critical genes, we can readily identify relationships between species. This is done directly in the lab for microbes and directed evolution experiments.
      The doc-umented gene flow with Neanderthals indicates they were related enough not to reject, at either the molecular or organismal scale, mating with H. sapien. At the same time, the H. neanderthalis genomic evidence indicates that they truly were distinct from H. sapiens. That we could interbreed with a truly distinct group again suggests a common ancestor for H. neanderthalis and H. sapien, particularly in the context of the temporal and geographical relationships these two groups have with H. erectus and H. heidelbergensis. We again have molecular evidence to support the morphological/fossil evidence of common ancestry. Otherwise, we have in intelligent designer who can't help but redundantly overlap his designs; hit-or-miss tinkerer, but certainly not an intelligent designer.
      Our chromosome 2 is a fusion of two independent chromosomes found in the extant apes (that is, they bear the exact same genes in the exact same order, etc). Evolution predicts common ancestry and prior to its discovery, our 23 pairs v. the other apes' 24 pairs was a non-trivial dilemma. What are the odds that we should find a chromosome fusion which perfectly explains the discrepancy? Chromosome fusions happen all the time, they are generally bad, but not exclusively so. Chromosome 2 and its extra centromere and telomere regions argues against special creation for the same reason male nip-ples and our defunct egg yolk protein gene argues against special creation. In fact, for the very reasons you suggest, Chromosome 2's fusion argues against the literal view of a genetically perfect Adam/Eve who only suffered mutation after the fall, that is, an overnight fixation of this fusion throughout the entire human population.
      http://science.kqed.org/quest/2008/05/12/chromosome-fusion-chance-or-design/

      November 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Steve Wilkinson – One last point. Do you not see the irony in an ID/creationist dismissing as "just so stories," scientific hypotheses based empirical physical evidence and on replicable, predictable and validated mechanisms? We can empirically demonstrate mutation producing completely novel functionality (Lenski's E. coli; the Pod Mrcaru lizards, etc). We can empirically demonstrate the split of one species into two. We can empirically demonstrate a progressive fossil record. We can empirically employ phylogenetic analysis to discover genes associated with developmental disease. Etc, etc. All of these transpire regardless of one's "worldview." You are free to maintain an unreasonable doubt, but you do so offering no positive empirical evidence for an alternative, only negative arguments of incredulity.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      @ redzoa -
      I'm not a biologist, so I'll not enter into an argument on the fine details... I'll leave that to the experts. However, I follow some of them closely enough to, I think, understand the various views and implications. The problem with what you're saying, is that 95% of the data fits BOTH a macro-evolutionary or an intelligent design view. It's that other 5% where the debate is taking place, with each side claiming various parts support their view better.

      Have you heard of ENCODE? Or, here is a recent article by Behe on Lenski and the E. coli.
      evolutionnews DOT org look for: "Rose-Colored Glasses: Lenski, Citrate, and BioLogos" (Nov 13, 2012)

      The stuff you're calling certain, isn't certain at all. Previous top 'evidence' like so-called 'Junk DNA' has pretty much been overturned.

      And, no, I don't see any irony at all. What I do see as a bit ironic, in fact, is people who call themselves scientists ignoring the entire history of human experience so as not to have a design explanation, when every indication is that it looks designed.

      November 19, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • redzoa

      @Steve Wilkinson – If you leave it to the experts, their overwhelming consensus is evolution, not intelligent design. Your 95% of the data is apparently pulled out of thin air. Intelligent design simply does not account for the overwhelming redundancy of forms at either the macro or micro/molecular scales nor the clear examples of molecular and anatomical vestigial structures (again, male nip-ples, a defunct gene for egg yolk production, etc). There is no support for intelligent design in the numerous transitional and intermediate fossils nor the temporally and geographically progressive ordering of the fossil record. Again, the "designs" are neither intelligent nor do they stand out as truly unique in the context of those which came before and those that have come since, rather they all fall along a continuum predicted by evolution. If you are relying on the "God did it" position, well, any answer which can explain any and every outcome effectively explains nothing. Evolution is falsifiable (humans alongside dinosaurs, true chimeras, etc). ID remains the same untestable, non-scientific philosophical position its always been with no viable claim to "supporting evidence," just a series of arguments of incredulity.

      At the heart of your Behe article are two concessions which simply don't support ID: 1) the ability of evolution to produce functional novelty via gene duplication/mutation and exaptation exists; and 2) that evidence of "new information" in the form of "new Functional Coded elemenTs, or 'FCTs'" also exists. The article represents the same failure of Behe's testimony at Dover v. Kitzmiller. That is, he is arguing by definitional fiat that anything less than an ex nihilo production of a completely novel gene undermines evolution's creative capacity failing to recognize that the absence of such genes is, in fact, an argument against ID.

      Regarding "Junk DNA," yes, previous assumptions about the role of non-coding DNA have been replaced with an appreciation for other roles in regulation of coding regions, but this simply doesn't support the notion that our genomes were intelligently designed. Regarding ENCODE, an ability to transcribe otherwise non-coding regions does not translate into functionality, particularly in light of experiments where non-trivial portions of an organism's genome have been removed with no discernible effect. Again, parasitic elements like endogenous retroviruses and tandem repeats which generally do not appear to contribute to functionality (but can actually lead to various diseases) represent a significant portion of our genomes. Lastly, the phylogenetic relationship among pseudogenes and their respective rates of mutation acc-umulation in contrast to more critical genes is again strong evidence in favor of common ancestry.

      Your last paragraph ignores the difference between an evolutionary hypothesis based on physical evidence and demonstrable mechanisms versus the magical causation inferred by scientifically ignorant ancient tribes resulting from a human tendency towards teleological thinking. Your preference for the latter is the epitome of a "just so story" given there is not a shred of positive evidence nor demonstrable mechanism to support the ID proposition. Were your training in science rather than apologetics, you would understand that science and its methodologies developed precisely because we understand intuitive teleological thinking is not a reliable tool. This fact has not changed, particularly in the context of ID's modern embrace of anthropocentric apophenia.

      Again, ID offers no positive evidence and no testable hypotheses, only flawed negative arguments of incredulity attempting to undermine evolution. Worse still is that the arguments of incredulity offered for ID by Behe and the like are consistent only in their need to modify their definitions to keep excluding the steady flow of positive evidence in support of evolution.

      November 20, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  4. davedave2

    The Gospels are full of instances of the Pharisees trying to get Jesus to take a political position. He always refuses. If you want to be like Christ you cannot be a politician like Huckaby

    November 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  5. MeAtheist

    Death to all religions! Well, except for buddhism..they are cool

    November 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • davedave2

      Buddhists don't even believe in God - they live forever by reincarnation because they are bad until they get so good at meditation they become enlightened and die

      November 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  6. masterchief2819

    Reblogged this on Mjölnir and commented:
    Add your thoughts here... (optional)

    November 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      My Word Which Lays Upon Truths' Opening the Door

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

      Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

      John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

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

      The troubles with trinitarians, those who belly-up to one god times three is, they read but only into it and get very little out of what they make 'go-spellingly' in amplifications of unblessed pleasings. Their preaching in devilish tongues beatifies only the dumb-hearted relics of their christiandumbness's idiosyncratic marmoset-like redundancies. Their godly moralisms are but self-centered and self-censored upon redundant principles that are remorsefully archaic in cultured relics being those old fuddy duddies who fumble ever for their next glass worth of wine! Drunk and in temperamental stupors are the emotionally fallen in christiandumbs folds becoming sciatic pragmatisms unworthy of even one toasting for, but rather against!

      Godless and the ungodly, for these are the choices from which commonwealth atheists do make felt upon their habitual senses denying the goodly upon ever moving ways of godly intent. Many young-bucks of godlessness and the ungodly tender to avail themselves with the nailed doldrums' sciatica and do abound with much societal unpleasantries toward the abaters of wanton deniabilities against them, those ungodly and godless beings of smirked vials of randomized intention-abilities. Their deniabilities are not without compromising or so they do entail and also do weave upon the where-with-all seasoned laments.

      The mockeries of these godless and ungodly against the goodly who do themselves believe upon godly importance may well live on past all and onto every generation's aged endings. How else could Life Truly End and Real Living thusly Begin? To believe or not believe for these are Life's choices. Christ Jesus came to this world to condemn it and yet did He come here to also show how tenderly are mercies upon those being most merciful to others who did so deserve mercy to be freely given by those being most merciful! To believe or not believe for these are Life's choices. Still yet and forever are found many a mercies, for the mercifilled are one of Life's greatest treasures and livings' sweetest unending rewards.

      God does never change His spiritualism for His Holy Spirit is the Great Sea of Absolute Nothingness! Always was and is and will ever be no matter what matters of materialized shapes do tend to seemingly clutter up His spiritual abundancy It is truth that God has troubles within the fractal paradigms of inter-cellular cosmologies as protruding insolent 'activists' are sometimes revolting against the grains of our embodied sanctifications creating many undulations of travesties not uncommonly being viewed by us celestial beings as being viral and bacteriological in the way we understand things to be and become. What was first made can never again become that which was made first for only in varying differential constructs can another thing be made to be outdone against that which was firstly made. The pillars of one's DNA, the spirals of all celestial life forms and formations is where God's Sons and their given wives are taken in as residents there abouts.

      The Kingdom Domains of God lay where the inner structures of celestial Life do share in the abundancies of Living Fractals in Inter-Cellular Cosmological Paradigms. As mankinds' continual hunting for the Codifying of Life's laws in Cellularized Confinements continues onwards, many folks will ever become unendingly complacent upon our societal grandeurs for wanting sakes, trying valiantly never to be outdone by those who tend to be in broadest simplifications' adjuring. May we be merciful upon those who deservidely aspire to be merciful toward others.

      A scattering is upon us in these trying days and Age. Leave therefore your harshest 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 should not. Your loving this Life is for the world to have needs of 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 yet unfinished 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 true life really end and real living truly begin?

      For this world knows not the time nor the place for the 'son of man' and his coming upon this world to make judgement upon the world's governance. Behold you now the time is upon mankind for this 'son of man' is now placed in mankind's midsts. He does see much goodness upon many lands and he does also see much bitterness as well. This son of but a simple minded man knows well the bitterness of torments and much of the social egress. The tears that flows from this man's son is bitter with much consolations gathering together as wasted nuptials being leveraged by time's undoing. The angst of one man's son is but now the two-folded spark of leavened thanks giving and no more trickeries to be unfolded upon mankind!

      Though my sights are now set my heart there maintains a pleasing maleable notion. I do so love my brother beyond the bounds of the wateriness of baptismal complacencies. My brother and I are one blood and nothing dare comes between us lest they be but friendly natured. God as my soul's judge and Christ Jesus is my defender of my ongoing maleable heart hell-bent to be my brother's keeper foresaking the watery conditionings of religious persuasion. May men nor women scorn my lot in this Life's consortium in brotherly assets. God forbade me in time's past and did allow me the freedoms to be hung with! May the son of man be never found unwilling to set things right no matter what was so done in passing!

      Who before this day's Age is found those worthy of Goodly praises? Who after us will find peace set before them? Who in today;s timeline is this "son of man" that many should fear him for his worthiness stance? Who above can see the below? Who that is below can see what be above? From the very smallest crevice to the most high chasms, the Sea of Nothingness is the Holy Spirit. May the elemental gods find favor in this found son of man that he may not be afflicted with this world's power but rather he should carry upon him the angst from his manhood till his natural death.

      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 faulterings of waywardness and some for willingly wanting to continue 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 after a spell do walk on and are parted.Therefore, walk placidly amid the noise and waste ever being mindful of the peace one finds in finding peace there about.

      Is God to be made a mockery by those who tend to instill anti-leveraged pragmatisms? Are we to believe in the godless and the ungodly who care little about the piecemeal subjectives' ordinates?

      Jesus, was the very first of many immeasurable 'elemental beings' and was in the Beginning an elemental king of all the elemental Gods. Jesus, in His cunning, did thru Chaos' manueverings, established the gravimetrical waves for the elementals to gather in broods thusly was formed the beginnings of celestial nebulas.

      As time did force the nebulas to progressively surround the gravimetric oscillations where from did come about galactic formations of the elementals' soundness. As systems of photonic elementals, the infinitesimal finite elemental Gods did shower the solarized systems with their embodied beings. And in the Now, we are but made from the photonic elementals' stillnesses, the stardusts of the Ages.

      My "Physicist" knows very well the quantum physicalities of natured atomic stimulations. I call this "Physicist" God. He has strewn His Sea of Nothingness with 'photogenitisms' or the stillness of the photons creating all manner of the first materials needed to become thru timeliness all the elementals' members of our declared Periodic Table of Materialized Photogenitis.

      Microbiologists are today's inner-seeking astrophysicists for they are searching among our embodied core-roots to find answers regarding biological fractals of inner cosmological paradigms. We truly are God's buildings! Some of our bodies are condominiums and some are for storage purposes and some are the temples where God's family members and His servants do pay homages in. 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      Sciences are but the dreams dreamt and are atheists' treasure troves of good books they hardly ever do read, for many atheists aren't too bright yet they stand by these scientists without one iota of deniability to question science books that even the commoner seldom reads nor truly understands. Who among us knows about that 'Self-Similar Cosmological Paradigm' lays open the doors to Cosmologies of the Fractal kinds? Who among us truly understands that energy equals mass times light squared and its' true potential? What is the point in adoring scientific reasoning when one's IQ level can be counted on ten fingers?

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

      Inside of the Fractals within Bio-Cosmological Paradigms lays all inter-cellular activities only just recently becoming known by mankinds' Sciences. All religions have been left in the dustiness sideroads where Truth does prevail upon many of mankind's teachers students of Bio-Technicalities wanting to willingly know about the kingdoms of God which lay upon the insides of all celestially nomenclatured biological life forms and life formations.

      As this Age of Great Enlightenments upon the Kingdoms of God does progressively teach one is taught from its outward creviced distances toward almost absolute finiteness or the very very smallest of distinguishable degrees, God will allow our students and teachers of such studies to meaningfully create biologic mechanisms for the better welfare of all our physical needs and trade orientated desires.

      What I believe is; "The Cosmos is immeasurably full of ever unkowable to us universes." The 'analogous' variabilities of moving universes is so slow in their plights that trillions upon trillions times triliions of our years will pass by before any other universe will gain entrances onto any other universe. As our Ages of tenureships figuratively coalesce in the extemities ponderances, the forlorn and the 'un-abled' will ever need others to carry them along and alongside the tapestries of Life and its garnered adaptabilities. Love therefore and do never 'not' love for one would be wasting away their love for living and the need for loving is tantamount and above reproach.

      I feel a compelling want to tell you about some verses in Gospel scripture. Is it not written to above all things to seek firstly the "Kingdom of God". This said, have you ascribed to doing so? Where does one look to or towards in order to find that which we are told to seek as scripture does declare one to do?

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God."

      I've searched the Gospel writings and have found a single verse telling all who have found it as to the true and literal location of God's Kingdomly Domains!

      Luk 17:21 "The kingdom of God is inside you."

      I take Luke 17:21 quite literally and so should all who believe in One God and His One Son of perhaps oodles upon oodles of otherly Sons and Daughters too numerous to really expound upon! Christ is special because he was born to take upon his being the sins of those who were and then were also and of times yet to come! God's Kingdoms being inside us and within our ownliness bodies can also be associated with another verse of scripture ,,,,

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

      The just above verse does tell much more than just glimpsing over it could proclude! Our being labourers with God may well seem to give us all an equal footing with God and his aspirations for our betterment's sakes! His being our husbandry may well regard God as having a firm footing in our conceptions of childbirthing beyond mere genetic understandings!

      But in the aboveness verse, the very understanding that we or our bodies are God's buildings may well inspire one to disavow such a claim due one's foresightedness sakes and lacking of rationalisms' of credible resources. Yet, as I see things, we, our bodies are not only God established and God created buildings for the benefits of the Godly who reside inside of us, but are for our benefits for learning and understanding the precepts of "Fractal Cosmologies"!

      We have seen that which our bodies are made up of and they are of cellularized structures not "unlike" nebula structures in outer space places! These celestial nebula structures are yet a work-in-progress and our body-like buildings are a progress in the works!

      While the charge is truthful that Christ will never come back, our problems regarding life after death does ever remain. If one does so believe that nothingness is one's finality, then, so be they, however if one faithfully believes in a hereafter, they may well be faithfully rewarded no matter how small their faith is bequeathed upon them. The Great Sea of Nothingness does not come about without perilless underpinnings whereupon the common atheist concerns are afforded them. Freezing Cold is this Great Sea of Nothingness and colder still may well become of the atheists who declare upon nothingness to be their finalities' End means. Like hell's fury does Nothingness's cold strike out! Only the very devoted atheists might garner the freezing bitter cold of Nothingness for Christ was never of them even though words were said to them being those ungodly and godless souls of deniabilities aggressions!

      What is the reasoning for Life? Are we to believe that nothingness is the ultimate conclusion of Life? Just how long did it take Life to create mankind? Kindly consider all the nuances and reasonings for the world's establishing of a biosphere wherein to place mankind upon. Why should such a sphere ever be needed if not for a sound reason? To stand upon the premise that 'naturalistic' phenoms made the world what is now is so falsely unreasoning that it puts assunder the amazing feat that creation itself did play out here amid a rock being at just the right place within the sun's solar system to give rise to mankind! Who'd have guessed we were made right, right here upon this rock?

      These words are revelations of my Faith as to my Godly understandings regarding the Kingdom Domains of God, his Sons and his Daughters-in-law and all forms and mannerisms of Life-ever-lasting principles and principalities of ever living progressives!

      Written by God's Oldest Dreamer

      November 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  7. Dr. D. Johnson

    The Gnostic gospels were indeed "scripture" far more so than the present form of the so called "Holy Bible". In fact, these scriptures tell the tale of Jesus the man. Married, a Buddhist, a nudist, a true renaissance man of his time.

    The Greek Phase: ανοιχ τή ο δο ιτ, simply means, "what time did you get in last night?” Loosely translated into today’s vernacular.

    November 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Dr. D. Johnson,

      Though my sights are now set my heart there maintains a pleasing maleable notion. I do so love my brother beyond the bounds of the wateriness of baptismal complacencies. My brother and I are one blood and nothing dare comes between us lest they be but friendly natured. God as my soul's judge and Christ Jesus is my defender of my ongoing maleable heart hell-bent to be my brother's keeper foresaking the watery conditionings of religious persuasion. May men nor women scorn my lot in this Life's consortium in brotherly assets. God forbade me in time's past and did allow me the freedoms to be hung with! May the son of man be never found unwilling to set things right n matter what was so done in passing!

      November 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  8. Gavin

    but what you have to remember is that there are certain truths in scripture that cannot be denied...and that understanding them in their historical context and in the context of text of scripture will make a lot of things clear- including what a true "biblical" marriage would look like...not everything is "relative" and "up for grabs" based on interpretation and application (can you base whatever your view is off of the Bible? sure. does that make it right? no. does that fact invalidate the true position? no.)

    November 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Reality

      'there are certain truths in scripture that cannot be denied.'

      Example please.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • 3vix6

      I'm curious too.. Where are these undeniable truths?

      November 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Gavy,

      The troubles with unfaithful trinitarians, those who belly-up to one god times three is, they read but only into it and get very little out of what they make 'go-spellingly' in amplifications of unblessed pleasings. Their preaching in devilish tongues beatifies only the dumb-hearted relics of their christiandumbness's idiosyncratic marmoset-like redundancies. Their godly moralisms are but self-centered and self-censored upon redundant principles that are remorsefully archaic in cultured relics being those old fuddy duddies who fumble ever for their next glass worth of wine! Drunk and in temperamental stupors are the emotionally fallen in christiandumbs folds becoming sciatic pragmatisms unworthy of even one toasting for, but rather against!

      November 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  9. Colin

    God Meets His Physics Teacher

    Teacher: God, I have some bad news for you. You’ve been getting away with murder for eons, but I’m afraid that now you have to start abiding by the laws of physics.

    God: But I don’t want to!

    Teacher: I’m afraid that doesn’t matter. Look, you made this Universe and set the rules, you have to abide by them. One cannot tell his servants to do one thing while he does another. I think Jesus said that.

    God: That fvcking kid. He’s been nothing but a problem since puberty. It’s his mother’s fault. All high and mighty the way she is, “I’m a virgin, I’m a virgin.” No big surprise there, she went to a liberal arts college and studied women’s rights. She loves the Indigo Girls and played a lot of sport. You do the math.

    Teacher: Anyway, the game is over. Time to start abiding by the rules.

    God: But I am omnipotent, I can do what I like.

    Teacher: Well….sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s the first thing to go. You see, the laws of physics state that an omnipotent being cannot exist. It is a meaningless concept, like a four-sided triangle, or a square circle. Once universal laws exist, omnipotence cannot.

    God: Not even for Rupert Murdoch?

    Teacher: No, not even for him. Now focus, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to start with Archimedes and get you up to quantum mechanics by the end of the day.

    God: But I’m omniscient. I already know everything.

    Teacher: Sorry kiddo, strike two. Omniscience is essentially a meaningless concept, too. Knowledge requires data to be input, stored and recalled in a useful manner. To be truly omniscient would require an infinitely large data storage unit with access to all parts of it at over light speed. Given the natural limitations of data recall, you are actually a bit of a dunce, by the standards of the gods.

    God: Why only light speed? What does that have to do with anything?

    Teacher: We’ll get to that, around 3:30 this afternoon. This is going to be a long day.

    God: That doesn’t matter, I’m immortal. I have all the time in the World.

    Teacher: Ok, so how do I break THIS news?....

    You’re not. To be a god means, at a minimum, that you must be a complex being at some level. Now that you are governed by the laws of physics, this means that you are subject to the laws of thermodynamics and entropy. Over the long term, you must decay. You can be sustained for a very long period, but ultimately it is a finite period.

    God: You mean…..I’m getting old?

    Teacher: Yep, I’m afraid so. Noticed that slaying the first born, sending plagues to kill thousands of innocent people and wiping out Canaanites has lost its allure? Nothing but a peaceful middle age, full of Viagra and memories ahead of you now. Look how fat Buddha’s become.

    God: So, if laws of physics exist, that means I’m not omnipotent, I’m not omniscient and I’m not immortal. Hell, I’m not even a god. Gods cannot exist. Jesus Christ, I don’t even exist!

    Teacher: You do the math.

    November 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  10. In the Trenches

    A brave and honest set of views from Rachel Evans that I respect and learn from. Bravo!

    November 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Alan

    The  god theory of both Christianity and Islam are lies, there is no such thing in evolution. In order to control people these two little books were possibly fabricated from Indian text "bhagwadgita" which existed thousand of years prior to these two man made religions. In those days it was not uncommon to have magical powers in India.

    Both of  these books have a lot of loopholes like the earth being made in 6 years, and from Islam everyone else are infidels and should go to hell. Hello, I mean what "kind" of religions are these. 

    November 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Corner Cafe

    Apple Bush Bloody

    Clam and Horseradish blended with robust tomato juice, spicy and delicious. Salt and Pepper rim garnished with green olives, cocktail onions, lemon and celery. The best Bloody Mary on the Web!

    November 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Sunday Lush

      You forgot the V-8 juice.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Corner Cafe

      Try one our way! If you don't like it, we can make it however you like, no charge.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  13. MeAtheist

    I love Satan! Even though she is not real

    November 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Satan

      I love you too, baby!

      November 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  14. Belief Blog Bistro

    Goon Ginger Tomato Chutney (This dish can serve with dosa or idli) $7.99. Trolls get 10% off!

    November 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  15. Evangelical

    @Get Real

    Reason is no moral compass. Logic is cold. Reason will get you an atomic bomb. Morality will tell you whether to use it or not. You must have a standard of morality.

    November 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Mike

      Well said ... logic is best used to come to understanding why morality has to be the over-riding factor in our practical behavior. When directed towards morality - our logic and reason serves its own purpose.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • MeAtheist

      If god were real I would nuke him!

      November 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Reason will lead you to truth. Truth is in the opposite direction of religion.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      and reason can help you provide you with one
      Nobody (except Kant, maybe) advocates as reason being the only source to determine morality
      You're biased and you think that your religion grants you better options than secular morality, but it does quite the opposite.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      Morality: Using empathy as a guide for human interaction. AKA, "treat others the way you want to be treated" and "put yourself in my shoes". It has nothing inherently to do with the bible.

      Karen Wynn of Yale has a study showing even babies have an idea of wrong versus right. Neuroscientist Christian Keysers has done research to show that the brain of those who see others receiving pain themselves have similar neurological responses. There is a curve to empathy; some feel it more than others. But it certainly doesn't come from a hateful book about imaginary people.

      Frans de Waal shows that even monkeys employ "morality"...

      for Eva, yet again....

      November 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  16. Colin

    Given that Christianity is little more than Dark Ages philosophical musings over Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, this contiinued focus on Christianity is quite remarkable for a country and a people who are, otherwise, quite advanced.

    November 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • 3vix6

      It's a duality that will eventually split the country apart. There are the people clinging to the old gods and religion, then there are the people wanting to take the country into the future.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      Perhaps we will have to take religion away from the deluded as we had to take slaves away from the morally corrupt.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • DougNJ

      Amen to that

      November 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  17. spk

    This is a thoughtful piece. I appreciated the opportunity to read it. Can't say as much about the comments :)

    November 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Answer

      The comments by theists are all "Don't you dare touch my delusions. I want a niche somewhere, someplace.. to be safe from any confrontation."

      Anybody who can use the internet today will see the ridiculous nature of the religious adherents.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • davedave2

      never read comments at CNN

      November 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    You are at the Museum of Modern Art with a date. You have high hopes for this relationship. She is smart, pretty and a great cook. You just critiqued a group of Kevin Appel paintings when you felt a sudden urge to relieve your bowels. But where is the bathroom? Too late. And it is loose. You drag your smelly self to the elevator; she is behind you but gagging...

    Where is your God now?

    November 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • davedave2

      bent over laughing at the idiots he created

      November 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  19. The Mighty Hand of God Will Smite Thee

    Pray for Armageddon and Jesus' return. Pray that God puts the Atheists on the lake of fire.

    November 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • MeAtheist

      Pray to god they catch you for abusing little boys

      November 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • spk

      I don't think God prays for that.
      and I think your theology is really pretty sad... and hateful
      As a Christian I resent that!

      November 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      If your god were a just god, he'd side with the skeptics

      November 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • MeAtheist

      God is as real as santa claus is.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Answer

      Bruce Willis was great in that flick. XD

      November 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Colin

      Out of all the silly superst.itious beliefs of the Christians, I think the myth of hell is my favorite. Think it through. 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 have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.

      November 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  20. Michael J. Wise

    The Bible is not One Covenant, but Two.
    Christians have become so infatuated with taking their marching orders from the OT of late...
    They have become "Old Testament Christians" ... without realizing that the New Testament was something *NEW*.
    Truly sad.

    November 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • vincastar

      Yes, Mr Stewart suffered the over of the new testament in his rebuke referring to polygamy because the new testament does not refer to husband treat your wives... and if polygamy was ok, then why is divorce a problem in the Bible. Obviously, if you did not need a divorce to remarry because you could just marry as many wives as you like then there would be no reference to divorce in the Bible. What is even more sad is that some "Christian" had an even greater over sight of believing what Mr Stewart said is accurate and then cheered him on. Seek your wisdom from the Bible and applaud God not a comedian's charisma charm and wit to form your belief around. I pray for Mr Stewart, our Priests, all sinners, and anyone who divides instead of build up the body of Christ.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      It's all the word of god supposedly. Why is it up to you to discount half the book just because you think the other half is odd?

      November 18, 2012 at 5:11 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.