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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 • Opinion

soundoff (4,657 Responses)
  1. Peace, Peace, Peace

    God is real. If you don't believe he exist, prove it. Instead of reading from the internet to develop your opinion, try traveling to some holy places like Medjugorje, Fattima, and Lourdes. Base your opinion on personal experience and not something written on the internet. Last time I checked, you couldn't become a scientist without expirementing.

    November 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Gadflie

      I've been to Lourdes and to Fattima. Also to Vatican City, Jerusalem, The Great Pyramids, and literally hundreds of other "holy sites". Not all that impressed from a religious aspect. Ok, the pyramids were very impressive. But, well, not from a religious standpoint.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Observer

      Peace,

      Since you claim that God is real, it's up to you to prove it.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Oops, that's actually Fatima, not Fattima. Sorry.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • the AnViL

      there is precisely zero evidence of gods. the onus of evidence lies entirely and wholly on the shoulders of those who assert that gods exist.

      good luck with that.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Peace, Peace, Peace

      This is precisely the problem. Nobody here can prove that God does not exist.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • I wonder

      Peace, Peace, Peace,

      Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

      If You make the claim that "God" exists = you must prove it.

      If I make the claim that "Thor" exists = I must prove it.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Peace, Peace, Peace

      Iwonder why you can't prove that God does not exist. Why are you getting angry? It's a simple challenge. I thought it would be easy for all the really intelligent people like yourself to be able to prove he doesn't exist.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • sam

      @Peace

      The burden of proof is on the one making the claim of existence. Get busy.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      Truth does not make sense to a hindu, lair, not just you, every hindu suffers from hinduism, mental dyslexia.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Todd

      Peace, Peace, Peace.....Isn't it funny how the people who don't believe in God are the ones who do the most talking any time an article about religion is posted!!!! I am proud of you for taking a stand! Keep your faith strong!

      Luke 12:8-10

      November 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Dick Izinya

      You can't prove a negative. Just because you can't prove that wings won't sprout from my but, doesn't mean that I am about to take flight. Learn2Logic.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      truth absolute is GAWD, not your GOD, skunk, go do PEE, PEE, PEE, biblical goon.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • OTOH

      Peace, Peace, Peace,

      Maybe this will help you:

      When an hypothesis cannot be proved nor disproved, the default stance is to withhold belief until proved.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • the AnViL

      peace^3 posits: "Nobody here can prove that God does not exist"

      and no one here needs to.... ever.

      if you state god exists – the burden of evidence lies on your shoulders.
      if someone states "no gods exist" – they need do nothing.

      what you've done is pose an "argumentum ad ignorantiam"

      run along and google that... then come back and apologize.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      I wonder why you can't prove that Zeus does not exist. Why are you getting angry? It's a simple challenge. I thought it would be easy for all the really intelligent people like yourself to be able to prove he doesn't exist.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • the AnViL

      Dick Izinya – yes – actually you can prove a negative.

      learn2logic

      November 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • MaryJ

      Did you have to prove that any of the other gods aren't real in order not to believe in them?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Peace, I believe God is a flying spaghetti monster from Venus. You can't prove me wrong, so I must be right. See how that works?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Peace, Peace, Peace

      Wow! Not one person here can prove that God doesn't exist. Where are the really intelligent folks to help solve this problem? Why get angry? Just prove God doesn't exist. Prove it Anvil.rso

      November 19, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • the AnViL

      Peace, Peace, Peace wrote:
      "Wow! Not one person here can prove that God doesn't exist. Where are the really intelligent folks to help solve this problem? Why get angry? Just prove God doesn't exist. Prove it Anvil.rso"

      the really intelligent folks just pointed out that you've made an argument from ignorance. you have demonstrated a childlike, simplistic intellect and in your giddy state, you have clearly failed to understand what's been slowly and carefully explained to you.

      stop being ignorant. no one's angry, princess...

      educate yourself.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Shazam

      Peace, Peace, Peace,

      Never mind. Forget it. You stick with your comic book superhero. At least we know where you're coming from and how to deal with you. Just keep it out of government, law and public education.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • MaryJ

      Peace, Peace, Peace
      And you can't prove that Zeus doesn't exist either, so that puts you in the exact same boat as the rest of us.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Peace, Peace, Peace

      MaryJ, I don't need to prove anything about Zeus. I'm asking somebody to prove that God does not exist. Instead, I've been met with folks like Anvil saying that I'm ignorant because he can't prove that God doesnt exist. I'm not sure if he believes in God or not but when you start getting angry it really shows a persons maturity.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • the AnViL

      *facepalm*

      srsly peace^3???

      srsly?????

      November 19, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • MaryJ

      Peace, Peace, Peace
      They're both gods, so the same rules apply. Do you believe that any of the thousands of other gods don't exist? If so, why? It is the exact same question.

      November 19, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • End Religion

      peace, you have not proved Zeus does not exist. Please don't go away angry. It's just a simple question. Can you prove Zeus doesn't exist?

      November 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  2. DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

    Humans, I am a rocket sceintist from Crapolastan, I just discovered GOD= "Truth absolute, constant"

    Ummm let me think agian, I guess "Truth absolute= GOD constant"

    Ummm strike that too, "constant= GOOD absolute vodka"

    Do you get it goons?

    November 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      Go visit my web site and learn about truth absolute GOD and hinduism, denial of truth absolute, side by side at limitisthetruth.com thousands have visit so for, be like a human, not a hindu ID thief.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah, the op makes a lot more sense than you, idiot hindu-hater bot.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Dump Allah, anyone who visits your site, would have immediately his/her IP address reported to FBI, no thanks, I may be crazy, but not stupid to visit your site, goon.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • SCMama

      I have to say, if your posts were in the least bit intelligible, I might actually be persuaded to visit the site you posted. That being said, however, since every single one of your posts that I have had the misfortune of reading to this point have come across as the disjointed, psychoses induced ramblings of a person in serious need of psychological medications, I think I'm going to pass.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  3. Gadflie

    epgomez, does God exist? If so, what did he come from? Oops.

    November 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • right4life

      God is eternal. He is infinite, and our finite minds cannot comprehend it.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • right4life

      God is eternal. He has been around for eternity. He is infinite and our finite minds can't comprehend it.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Gadflie

      r4l, that's a very comprehensive cop out. Use it often to cover your ignorance?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • sam

      @right4life: your response basically means "YUK YUK I CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT, SO, IT'S TOTALLY OUT OF OUR ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND."

      November 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Gary Montana

      So if we can't comprehend god, how can we know what he wants? That is, without those special decoder rings for understanding his book that seems to get so much wrong...

      November 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • sam stone

      "God is eternal. He is infinite, and our finite minds cannot comprehend it."

      Yet people think they know god's word

      November 19, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  4. nazguy

    Rachel – Do you understand what Jesus came to do? Do you understand the difference between the old and new testament? Did you talk to anyone about certain passages? Maybe next time talk to a few evangelical theologians who may be able to help you understand the biblical perspective, before you write an article that really shows ignorance at best.

    November 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Gary Montana

      nazguy, yeah, those evangelical theologians, they sure have the market cornered on secret decoder rings...

      November 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • sam

      I'm sorry, did you miss the part where everyone can't agree what the bible teaches, leading to the part where there are about 30,000 different sects of christianity? You're a fool. You know no better about it than she does.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Dick Izinya

      LOL, I can't think of a more foolish exercise than studying texts written by slope-headed cavemen that thought the earth was flat.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Dawn

      @nazguy: Is that short for nazi? Dangerous is the man who professes to "KNOW" what God feels, thinks or wants! I doubt any Evangelical theologians have first hand knowledge – or as you put it; perspective on any of the "biblical" stories told, retold and written, thousands of years ago. Many of the stories were regurgitated – stolen accounts from previous pagan and Zoroastrian cultures or just simply fabricated to make the masses subservient sheep. Mike Huckabee got it right though – "Vote for Biblical Values". Now, bow to your overlords, mindless slaves! No mystery why the US is in the toilet! Because of subservient sheep such as you. The only ignorance visible here is yours.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • End Religion

      poor jesus came to party in a dry town...

      November 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • MaryJ

      naziguy
      No, I think she knows what evangelical theologians believe, she just doesn't agree with it. What she's saying is that they've deluded themselves into thinking that cherry picking which passages to follow qualifies as living THE "biblical way".

      November 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  5. timtseng63

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

    November 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Don Walker

    Problem with biblical is for all the good stuff their is so much bad stuff. Please read the entire book I mean the entire book. I often ask my church friends, those who profess to bible study, what do you actually study? Every time no matter what particular branch or division of Christianity they belong it is the same thing.They have book which takes a topic references a few verses and then try and create an argument to support the idea. This is the wrong way to study try that same method with algebra and see what results you get.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Bill P

      Don Walker – "Problem with biblical is for all the good stuff their is so much bad stuff." In a way, you are correct – and not. The "bad stuff" is not coming from God, it is coming from man, even some of those that were His leaders. The point being that believers are sinners and they don't stop being sinners just because of conversion. They are a work in progress – with the Word of God to guide them to right living. Now, to be fair to you, not sure what your agitation is, but it might be the "destroy all inhabitants of the land of Canaan" – the often stated issue with the Old Testament. Sounds terrible, though God could have spoekn the word and they would be instant toast. Not unlike the “flood”, which was even more devastating. The Canaanites were condemned because of their sinful and evil behavior. God chose to have the Israelites to carry out His judgment, rather than instantly, to achieve two goals: 1) punish sin and 2) provide a real and long lasting object lesson. Now, don't go teary eyed for the "poor" Canaanites, they were consumed with every evil that could be imagined under the sun. You would have them shot if they lived next door to you. But God also wanted the Israelites to see for themselves what is the consequences of sin.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      Bill, jesus died for your sins so now you can go ahead and sin all you want.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Haha Bill you act like these are historical events rather than parables and allegories. Hilarious.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Bill P

      heliocracy – "Haha Bill you act like these are historical events rather than parables and allegories. Hilarious." The bible is not alone with skeptics. There are folks out there that believe that man did not actually land on the moon, that it was a hoax. Some of us lived through that experience and there is no reason to doubt it. Others, younder folks, accept the evidence as presented and believe it. Back in the days of the Bible' writing (over a period of 1400 years dating from 100 AD and before), folks did not disbelieve in a Creator, but they often went off into the deep end as to what form the Creator took. Out of rebellion, they resisted the God of the Old Testament and then the testimony of Jesus and the Apostles. The things that you want to believe, those you believe; those that you do not want to believe, consequently, you don't. There is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon so aptly put it.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  7. Flounder

    One of several dangers of being biblical is that the bible can be interpreted many different ways. However, it is clear that parts of the bible condone and even advise behaviors that modern people have mostly left far behind and would consider unacceptable, such as slavery, subjugation of women, and even animal sacrifice. Some will no doubt say that those parts no longer apply, but this is arguable dependent on interpretation. You could just as well look at any more recent series of fiction, such as LOTR or HP, and get a more consistent set of morals and guides to how to live than you can glean from considering the bible in totality, but in reality we make the rules and we decide how we live. No god is involved. The sooner we all realize that, the better it will be for humanity

    November 18, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Gary Montana

      Oh, come on. Don't make the poor sobs think.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • LJ

      Amen!!! I mean well said! If not for religion, this world would be a much safer place. Most wars are fought because one side says "our god is the true god". Then the other side says " bull$h!t, ours is the one true god". There is one question all religions should ask themselves. If an almighty God created everything we see around us, then who created him? He had to come from somewhere, if he really exists. Who's his Mom?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • chiliconkyle

      Flounder has grown wise since Little Mermaid

      November 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Bill P

      Flounder – Some of what you say sounds true, but it is a shallow analysis. Slavery in the Bible was never about "going into another country and hauling away captives for servitude". This is the American version of slavery and it was specifically condemned and prohibited in the Bible. "Biblical" slavery was either a method to allow a person to retire a financial debt (voluntary servitude) or to manage peoples in the land of Canaan that were otherwise not destroyed – though God instructed Israel to do so. God allowed slavery in that case, which was borne out of Israel's disobedience. It is true that women "appear" to have a subjugated (or lessor) role in the Bible, it is a matter of perspective, but God created and established the pecking order between men and women in their marriage relationship, and yet He often used women in leadership and life saving roles. This is also a matter of perspective. God expects men to take the lead role, and do it in a righteous manner, plain and simple. Their not doing so is what is creating the problem. Not God and not women, per se. Animal sacrifice was indeed performed as a matter of obedience and a ritualistic obligation representing Christ’s ultimate fulfilling sacrifice and every animal, for the most part, was eaten as food. There was not waste. We do this every day we sit at the dinner table, but we have forgotten to be thankful to God for his love and bounty.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      bill, you're a despicable person for trying to gloss over those atrocities. But, that's religion for you.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • actorforchrist

      Interesting, too, that God used a woman (Esther) to save the people of Israel. And yes, Bill P, if the "End Religions" of the world were more educated about things like "voluntary servitude" as a synonym for "slavery" in the Bible, they might understand the library of ancient texts that they continue to deride.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Observer

      actorforchrist.

      If people were more educated, they'd know that the Bible lists how badly you can HURT your beloved "voluntary servitude" person with any penalty.

      Get serious.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • actorforchrist

      Observer, if I thought you were being serious, I'd follow suit with you. But since the Bible speaks of punishment for slaveowners who seriously injure a slave, including punishment for the owner AND freedom for the slave, I'll guess you haven't given any serious time to reading the Bible of which we speak.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Observer

      actorforchrist

      Sorry. I assumed you had read the Bible.

      Exodus 21:20-21 "If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property” [God]

      November 19, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • End Religion

      add actorforchrist to the list of despicable religious people who view slavery as "voluntary servitude". Excuse me while I go barf.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  8. Rob

    Why is there so much hate towards everyone and their religions? IF everyone is such a faithful worshiper they shouldnt judge others. God, no matter what point of view you see him from, knows what is true.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Get Real

      Which god are you talking about and why do you assume we believe in it?

      November 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • JPX

      "As someone who loves the Bible and believes it to be the inspired word of God..." I stopped reading after that. You sound like a nut-job. There is no magical man in the sky. It is 2012, take a few science courses so you don't sound like such a dolt. Get rid of your Bronze Age thinking.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Rob

      JPX, I am hold a masters degree in biomedical engineering. I know a few things about science. Im not a big fan of people who shove their faith down the throats of others Let me just ask you this, what defines the value of human life?

      November 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Why do we hate their religions? You're kidding right? Because they oppress those they oppose, they start wars with those who don't believe like them, they oppress women... and countless other atrocities that are beyond the scope of this blog.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Rob

      Edweird69, you sir, yes you, ARE THE REASON THIS COUNTRY IS THE WAY IT IS. You obviously have the brain size of a pea. You GENERALIZE a religion of over a billion followers into one mold. I am completely contradicting my " dont hate others" message but you literally make me hate people. you are ignorant and obviously stupid. try reading the quran or talking to a muslim instead of sitting on your couch eating doritos and judging others. Muslims (ALL ONE BILLION OF THEM) believe everyone is equal and are a peaceful people. Western media has turned them into terrorists and hateful people. Im a catholic btw.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • sam

      Rob...neither your degrees or catholicism make you smart or believable. You're not really doing yourself or your points any good.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Rob

      @sam how about this. I am neither a catholic nor an engineer. Is hate still applicable towards anyone?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  9. Get Real

    The more I read the bible the more Atheist I become.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • RazMor

      John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @GetReal – the bible says you'll turn away from its supposed truth, so when you do, people like Razmor think that your "rejection" of their sky daddy is proof their sky daddy exists. Odd isn't it?

      November 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • JPX

      Get Real, you are absolutely correct. There is no "god", he's a fictional character There is no magical man in the sky judging you. Thankfully we are living in a time where religion is starting to die. I only wish I was born 500 years from now when religion will be completely extinct.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  10. Get Real

    Theocratic evangelical christians are scary and anti-American and would take away our rights to free speech and freedom of religion (or lack there of). Believe what ever you want, but do not force your beliefs upon me. As Patrick Henry said "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I stand by this great American TRUTH. That said, I hope you give me the same basic American rights...

    The bible is a book of myths and lies. God is imaginary and so is hell. If God were real he would be an evil monster. Who gives a rat's behind what the bible say's because it's pure fiction. How can you worship a god that has killed innocent children? If you worship the god of the bible you worship an evil murderer. Thank god that god is imaginary. Only a monster would make people knowing that they would eventually wind up in hell- especially when he had the choice to not make them at all, thus saving them from eternal torture.

    Satan good. God bad. But only from a mythological point of view, because they are both imaginary. Check out http://www.godisimaginary.com

    Praise Lucifer, the bringer of truth, light and reason! Hail Satan, the imaginary adversary to an imaginary god, who has the balls to fight against god's evil ways! Glory be to the mythical beings of Lucifer and Satan who shall slay the evil mythical God of Abraham!!!! Remember what I said about free speech?

    November 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • epgomez

      God is real unfortunately for you...too bad...existence cannot come from nothing. that's impossible. you don't understand a lot of things in this world and you say these words to justify your thoughts of not understanding anything at all.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • I wonder

      epgomez,
      "existence cannot come from nothing."

      Who says that? Not atheists.

      It seems that you just can't stand saying, "We don't know (yet, if ever)", so you make stuff up (or buy stuff made up by primitive Middle Eastern desert Hebrews).

      November 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Jason

      The fool in his heart says there is no God. What a surprise you have in store.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Jason,
      "A fool says in his heart..."

      (apologies to those who have already seen this - obviously Jason has not. I can post it as often as they repeat their fallacy, though)

      A quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Ross

      I stopped reading when you said it's the Evangelicals who want to take our free speech away. Have you not been watching the eery stampede on the rights of Christians by the Gay Validation brigade?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Ross, exactly what rights of Christians have been taken away?

      November 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • sam

      Ross...show us on the doll where Those Evil Gays touched you.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  11. P. O. Carl

    One thing for sure, in the end, everyone will know.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Nope, knowing requires consciousness. And, if you are dead, you don't have that.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  12. gary

    bible ... ancient myth and folklore that has been changed very much over centuries ... people really need to move past it and into the 21st century

    November 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Scott

      i agree Gary ......

      Just not sure that is an option? The world is rather dark and Religion is center stage.

      Here is to something better .... cheers!!!

      November 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • epgomez

      another self righteous fellow just like the author of this article. the bible is not folklore and its clear you just said so without any evidence backing your claim. The author of this article should be ashamed of herself for not even understanding what the bible is all about. The bible does not promote polygamy even though it had happened in the past. And here's another truth... we are all brothers and sisters.. so now this narrow minded author will say oh now its incest!

      November 18, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Either you believe the Bible is the unerring word of God or you don't. As soon as you say one part is wrong, doesn't it call the entire thing into question? Also, seeing the Bible as folklore is the simplest explanation, requiring no supernatural forces. It is not up to people who assume the obvious to prove they're right, it's up to the people that claim the fantastic to prove that they are right.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  13. Austin

    Gotta love CNN always rippin verses of the bible outta context. study the bible, dont listen to people's "opinions"

    November 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah, I'm sure you know what's in context or not...bullshit. What's the matter – you don't agree with the author, so she's out of context, or not christian enough for you? Idiot.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Get Real

      Yes! Read the bible. It will make an Atheist out of anyone with half a brain.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Leo Horishny

      Study your bible? Why? Why the Bible vs. the Quran, the Torah, the Bhagavad-gita, the Bardo Thodol.

      It's fascinating to view Christians' perceptions of 'pagans', and 'primitive' religions that came before Christianity but then neglect to place Christianity in that same continuum of mystical/spiritual thinking that is a part of the human brain, for whatever reason or purpose.

      Not only is there evolution of life, there is a similar evolution of ideas and neither avenues of evolution stop at a particular point. They continue, until they can not evolve any further. Christianity is not the end of religious evolution, only a waypoint.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  14. Scott

    Great article ....... fair and thoughtful.

    Thanks for that .......

    November 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  15. 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 10:25 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      hindu's, thieves never had any thing to give, but stolen every thing they have to prove their hinduism, racism.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • YOUR NEW HINDU DAD

      HEY

      ISLAM IS CRAP, GO FLUSH YOUR HEAD IN THE NEAREST TOILET

      November 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Rob

      Alan, with all respect, Islam is not a religion of "Infidels" that believes everyone "should go to hell." they are a peaceful people with a bad WESTERN rep. If you opened the Quran you would realize that. They believe, as does Christianity, that everyone is a descendant of God and EVERYONE IS EQUAL. Why do you think there was a black-muslim movement in the 60s? because our falsely led "Christian" government implemented hate not justice. I am a Catholic btw.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      Your hind is shafted to be blessed by your hindu sanatan, filthy goon god, go have some treatment after holy ritual of hinduism, sodamy , instead of crying on CNN

      November 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • dude

      6 days, genius. 6 days.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  16. salathieljones

    Reblogged this on The World Outside of Yourself and commented:
    Add your thoughts here... (optional)

    November 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  17. God

    In one part of the bible I say one thing. In another part I say something else. Just pick whatever you want. There's something there for everyone.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • RazMor

      These imaginary people lives in a world of seclusion: having a kind of language, deprived of figures of speech, idiomatic expressions, and above all, spirituality. If they hear you say, “Eat crow”, then they will say, “I am not eating crow”. If you say, “I’ll eat my hat”, then they will laugh at you, and presume that you are hungry as can be, because you will “eat your hat”.

      It sounds ignoramus isn’t it?

      But an intelligent and educated Christian knows the language of the Bible and the spiritual things that it teaches.

      (Proverbs 8:8-9) “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”

      November 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • gary

      psst ... god is pretend

      November 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • I wonder

      Raz,

      That's what they *all* say. The Quran says, "[The Prophet Mohammad's] own heart did not distort what he saw.
      Are you going to dispute with him what he saw?"

      November 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • RazMor

      Gary, be careful what you saying about the spirit. Because there is a sin no forgiveness

      November 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  18. Be honest

    I can see it now.. Two aliens visited this planet 2000 years ago. One nudged the other and said, "Want to play the jesus/bible game here too?"

    November 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Scott

      LOL ........ you are right!!

      Only this has been going on long before 2000 years ago. Many of the3 "advanced" would make men pawns.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  19. Jonathan

    It's sad when the author of this story makes it sound like she knows what she is talking about and the unknowing person believes that the writer is correct. Heads up she is speaking about laws in the Old Testament that do not apply to the Christian church when she writes about woman having to marry rapist, daughters to be sold etc. Easy to paint a picture that isn't true when your audience isn't inform... Just sad that CNN prints this stuff..

    She makes it sound like she believes the word is inspire by God but then does her best to undermine it while trying to appear noble...

    November 18, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Jonathan- it's ALL in your bible, and not matter how much you twist and squirm and try to rationalize away what's there, the bottom line is that it's in the bible, and it's chock full of lots of really horrible stuff.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Thomas

      That is par for the course for CNN. It is really sad that many seculars form their entire view of Christianity based on misleading articles like this (Er, Ms. Evans, don't you think the little detail about Stewarts comment being about the old testament is kind of important??) and cherry picked videos from a Tea Party rallies.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Thomas

      Attack you simply do not understand that we are in a new era since Christ's resurrection. THings that took place 4000-5000 years ago that make up the old testament are not part of our current marching orders.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Johnathan and Thomas, since when is Timothy in the OT? Did you even bother reading the article?

      November 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • sam

      Bullshit. Plenty of old testament laws are considered applicable when it's convenient or furthers someone's political agenda. One minute someone like you is crying it doesn't mean anything, the next they're out yelling about whatever law they think should still apply. You're the one who has no idea what they're talking about.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • sam

      Thomas, articles like this give the secular sector hope that you're not all so damn insane. No one cares if you like it or not.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • kcidybom

      Within the OT itself there are at least 14 proclamations that the law(s) being discussed apply forever (Genesis 17:19 for example). It is convenient for many fundamentalists to ignore this fact if it leads to conflict with their own world-view. The author writes with conviction, compassion, and intelligence, and if you discount her ruminations out of hand you are guilty of behaving in an unchristian manner.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Frank

      The OT laws are not suppose to be followed? You mean like the first 10 of those laws? Or the law that says you are not to be gay? Seems like you follow these laws when you think they suit you.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  20. Be honest

    jesus died on the cross for our sins?? As I've said, sounds like jesus needed a good therapist.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Chad

      indeed, he was either the Messiah, or a madman.

      "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God." C. S. Lewis

      November 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Be honest

      he needed help

      November 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Frank

      Actually, there is a third choice. He may have been a person that had broken a Roman law, and was then executed for it. Just like the thousands of others that were executed for the exact same reason. What makes this execution story so special? Nothing. There were 2 other nailed to a cross that day too. Did they also die for your sins? It's a ridiculous childish fairy tale.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Just based on pure probability, which is more likely...that Jesus was one of the millions throughout history who have claimed to be divine, for whatever reason, or that he was the son of an invisible, all powerful and knowing being in the sky?

      November 19, 2012 at 12:17 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.