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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.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

Opinion: What all those Jesus jokes tell us

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

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  6. Polycarp

    Religion is not healthy for children nor any living thing
    If reading those ancient and primitive "scriptures" convinces you to be a good person, then good for you! Personally, I do not require a 2,000 year old book of questionable meaning and source simply to understand how and why I should be a benevolent person and help others in need. I have no problem with your dependence upon archaic opinions, but please do not presume that I nor anyone else must do the same simply to live a moral life!------------------

    Exactly what is Moral Life??? Do people really believe that they are more morally superior ( physically stronger also) to that of Christ Jesus??? If YOU actually lived the life He did, before he went on His 3 1/2 year preaching tour, YOU wouldn't of survived. with over 7 billion people on what we call earth, they really don't care how YOU, yourself live your life, in fact let alone caring that you EVER existed with yourself.

    February 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  7. 1n1n1s3

    In Romans 2:12-15 it states, “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts ultimately accusing or defending them. In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

    No one can pick and choose verses, the Bible is not simply a collection of random writings. It does not always point out how we should act but demonstrates the result of sin. Look at Lot and his two daughters – a so-called unbelieving "Bible scholar" would point out that is an example of Bible values, just like polygamy, etc. The Law was written to show man could not live up to it and that man alone could not save himself. Also, there is no excuse for those who have not seen the Law or heard the Gospel. God will judge our hearts and thoughts regardless of what you choose to believe or not. As a modern Christian, somethings are hard to deal with; women in the church – I don't know, what does the Bible say?

    Biblical values, though, is what the article was about. Most of the answer can be found in the red letters of most Bibles starting in Matthew. Need a more "intellectual" debate, read Romans. If you are looking for answers, don't read books about the Bible, read the Bible. in Col. 2:16-17. He says, "Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." In Romans 14, Paul writes that some Christians consider "one day more sacred than another," whereas other Christians consider "every day alike." In the Roman church, partly composed of Jews and partly composed of Gentiles, it is obvious what kind of days might be considered sacred. But Paul says, "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." In other words, he is saying that it is permissible for a Christian to think that every day is alike! He did not feel any need to explain that one day of the week should be considered different. He was quite content for Christians to consider them all the same. His concern here, as it was in Colossians, was that Christians should not judge one another about their different customs. Read the whole book as a whole book.

    February 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Keith

      You just proved the author right, you can make the "Bible" say anything you want it to.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  8. Mrs. D. Blakeslee

    Oh how the "popular" public loves to cut up the Bible into little bits, throw it on the trash heap and belittle others who have a genuine faith in Jesus and the words of the Bible. Dr. Ben Carson just recently spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and is a man of faith whose brilliant words were spoken from the heart not spitefully but genuinely and sincerely. I know from my gut that he is telling the truth. The love and faithfulness of a dedicated godly mother certainly kept him and his brother from falling into crime and most likely an early death. His words of wisdom spoke volumes to me and many others who have experienced the life-changing influence a Holy God and his Word have made in our lives. The world with all it's power, money, influence and charm can't give people the inner peace, contentment and rest they long to have. But with God, NOTHING is impossible.

    February 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • issa

      I would like people to ask themselves why does this girl claim to be an evangelical Christian? Her message seems to make me think she does not believe in the Bible. I thought a Christian believes in the Bible. Is she a Christian or not? Someone please make sense of this for me.

      February 14, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Keith

      Dr Ben Carson is a phony trying to sell books

      February 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      "But with God, NOTHING is impossible."
      LOL, deluded much? Try walking on Mars without a suit.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  9. roman2819

    This book "Understanding prayer, Faith and God's will", is dedicated to all who believe (in Jesus), and to those who haven't .

    About the book:

    Do unanswered prayers cast inner doubts on your faith? Do you seek God’s will for your plans but are not able to discern His guidance? Do you face perpetual problems of job insecurity, financial burden and health issues?

    “Understanding Prayer, Faith and God's Will” present biblical truths not realized before – truths that we can see and apply in our human journey. It clarifies wrong notions we have about prayer and God's will, and strengthen faith with knowledge.

    http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781620241431

    There are 12 chapters in this book:

    1. Inner Doubts
    2. What does the Bible mean?
    3. Prayer: What did Jesus Intend to tell us?
    4. "Why doesn't God answer more prayers?"
    5. To Pray Again
    6. Does Sin impede prayer?
    7. Faith in God
    8. How does God call people? (if He has a designated plan for them)
    9. Understanding God's Will
    10 Being in God's will
    11 Journey of the Bible
    12 Reading the Scripture Fruitfully

    you-tube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPxQfh_I0dk

    http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781620241431. Released Feb 2013, available at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon

    February 12, 2013 at 4:23 am |
  10. Science

    Evolution works better Thanks Doc.
    University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube
    http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_429344.html

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    February 2, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • Polycarp

      Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.------------

      Thankyou " Belief in NOTHING" for these two renowned man, "we" no longer have to worry about being attacked by foreign aggressors, poverty no longer exist's, and we live in the land of utopia. Almighty and ever living Nothingness, please save us, from ourselves with your omnipotent NOTHINGNESS, Amen!
      You people actually believe you have something with your almighty nothingness wonder??? Take your college degrees and books away and what do you have??? Your almighty nothingness, so please start reconciling with yourselves that your not going to amount to anything in life other than being piggy bank for the U.S. Govt.
      Using other people with yourselves, isn't going to make "something" with ourselves.

      February 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your anti-intellectualism is boring. It's nothing more than the pitiful ignorant mewling of the lazy masses. The demonizing of education is holding back the U.S. and you are a part of it.

      February 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  11. Julie

    Genesis tells what God intended and it was God created them male and female – man needed a mate and that was a female – The bible used to be very hard to understand but I sought the Lord with all my heart and I read it now and it does not contradict itself – Many prayers have been answered and I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – I cannot imagine living in this world as it is and not having that anchor that holds me together day after day.

    January 22, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Phil

      No, it still contradicts itself (a lot), now you're just willing to rationalize the contradictions.

      February 4, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Whiteman

      The bible is loaded with inconsistencies and contradictions. These can only be explained by being intellectually dishonest.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Phil; Whiteman,

      Please, give your evidence of the Bible's contradictions.

      February 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  12. Douglas

    Gay marriage is strictly prohibited in the Holy Christian Bible.

    Christians are joined by Judaism and Islam in defending family life
    the way God intended...the nuclear family.

    In Matthew 19, Jesus defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

    They were made as complementary partners as God intended.

    Gay mariage blurs this natural union and takes us down a slippery slope of sin.

    Reach out to LGBTQ and let them know that salvation is possible if they set their minds
    like a flint and reject wholeheartedly fornication and the desire for same s@x coitus.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Once again

      Yes, you are correct it is not biblical. However a Hindu, Wiccan or Muslim marriage ceremony is also not biblical. The issue is not how the GLBT community is doing at being Christians, the issue is how they are doing as Americans.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Science

      Evolution works better Thanks Doc.
      University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube
      http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_429344.html

      Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

      By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

      Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

      “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

      February 2, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • Phil

      @Once again–very well said.

      February 4, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Mrs. D. Blakeslee

      Biblical values were not only taught to me by my mother; she lived them out every day of her life. She demonstrated the kindness and love of Christ not only to her family but to many others. I saw Jesus through her. Yes, Virginia, there is a living God who created this planet and everything on it and He gave us the laws of what is right and what is wrong. Today's society seems perfectly content to make up their own individual laws for whatever suits them at the moment. Those with faith-based views are seen as holier-than-thou bigots who don't want anyone else to enjoy life. Personally I know I'm not holier than any other person. I'm just a sinner who was saved by the grace of God and who desires to live my life for the One who was willing to give His on a cross for me. I can't explain the mystery of that act. All I know is that He lives in me and II want desperately to live for Him to the best of my ability. To be one who will stand with the likes of a Saint Peter or Saint Paul I count as a high honor.

      February 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  13. nickie carol

    my husband was sentenced to 7 years in prison, i was not my self when i heard the sentence likewise my 3 and 5 years kids.He was all we had and i was thinking of committing suicide.His friend that worked with him took me to a spiritualist,after we negotiated,he prepared something for me afterwards which i used perfectly well.After 1 week the state pardoned my husband and he was set free.we are happy together thanks to him.i decided to share his email address on this site for those that has a similar problem with mine doctorjeffersontemple@gmail.com

    January 6, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  14. Bob

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ-e3_31sdM&w=640&h=390]

    January 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  15. Sheldon Kallevig

    Moby Schtick,

    I read your words with due consideration. I don’t know what we might call your thoughts (recommendations?)—certainly not the truth about anything. Because if there is no God then there is no truth or meaning and nothing matters, if as you believe, we live in a “bleak and indifferent universe.” However, and quite surprisingly I should add, you might be interested to know the effect your words have upon a believer in God of forty years, and by the way I wish to thank you for your words in this province, that when I read such terse thoughts they have the distinct effect of deepening, in an extraordinary way, my faith and cause me to love and worship God even more than ever. I cannot explain this phenomenon except to quote one of the fathers that was alleged to say that: “Faith has its reasons that reason doesn’t know.” Again, thank you, and I pray you will return to the faith.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • heather

      It has meaning if you give it meaning.

      January 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Religion,

      Please enlighten me.

      February 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  16. kbell

    I never leave comments on stupid articles like this one...but this has to be the most shallow and pathetic piece of writing I have read. The bible is a collection of stories and stories can be descriptive and/or prescriptive. So when the bible is telling a store of a man with many wives it is descriptive, not prescriptive. My intentions are not to argue if the bible is true or not, but we should at least be intelligent enough to know when a story is describing an historic event and when it is giving a command!

    December 31, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Randy

      First of all; the “biblical model of marriage,” is with Adam and Eve...They ar the creation model. .All bible experts know this. "Polygamy.” is and always has been against the “biblical model of marriage. Jesus made that exact point when asked about a bill of divorce. Those that had more than one wife at a time even though they were used by God,..... sinned... That means Solomon, the Psalmist and others.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Randy, Biblical marriage is all sorts of stupid sh!t, like a guy having 300 wives and a couple thousand conc ubines.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw&w=640&h=390]

      January 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Randy

      Just about everything in life is in the bible. Marriage, Divorce, multiple wives, Adam and Steve and Eve and Jane, But to a Christian we believe That Jesus Christ showed us the Model by living the way. Concerning the multiple wives and the lifestyle choices of some; Christ said, that in the beginning it was not so. A Biblical marriage, or any biblical point worth making, is based on "the word" and the word was in the beginning all things were made by him and for Him and in Him was no darkness at all. The word is the light of men. The bible is about Jesus Christ from the first page to the last. In it we should learn from the mistakes of others and the truth of the only one that knew no sin. He was tolerant and did not condemn. He loved in a way that Christians don't know how yet. All have sinned and do sin and come up short. This is where grace begins.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Randy

      Moby Schtick,......... the video was funny though stretched to the max and meant to slam. Ill informed Atheist are notorious for this. Case in point.....Genesis 5: 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man." (human).... this is Plural.... even when Cane killed Abel he was given a mark on his forehead so that the neighboring towns could identify him a murderer. Insest was not the Model of God but is the Model of Satan. Insest always has been a sin is a sin and always will be a sin.... Again, Jesus said in the beginning it was not so. The Apostle said " all I want to know is Jesus Christ and Him crucified" .........in a nutshell,......Adam by transgression fell (Mankind fell That is you and me) you let one man sin and sin is in the world. Sin is in the DNA of humans (all of us) ... therefore it would take an eternal miracle of God, to send His only begotten son to this sin sick world to heal them of their disease. He was not angry with the world for God so loved the world that He gave us His son Jesus Christ.... OH yea ....and they will call His name Emmanuel, meaning God with us. The stain of sin washed away and is kept from killing me by His amazing grace.

      January 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Randy

      I'll make this quick so pay attention. I was a minister for most of my life and spent decades researching various topics in the bible that I was working on with teams of ministers or smaller groups. We spent a lot of time researching the scripture and making sure that our publications were as 'accurate' as we could determine by taking into account as much of scripture interpreted through multiple reliable sources. I became an atheist by deep, long study of the bible.

      I think that it's reasonable to believe in some sort of deistic "creative force."
      I think it's mind-numblingly stupid to believe in any sort of personal god who cares about anything we humans do on this planet. God's existence is completely irrelevant as long as he is as invisible and undetectable as he is. The universe exists and is cold and indifferent to our existence. We have each other, though.
      I think that it is absolutely laughably retarded to imagine that any sort of being who was involved with the creation of the universe would care one slightest bit where some mammal does with his reproductive parts. It's hard to imagine a sillier concept. IF there is some sort of creative power that (LOL!!!) just happens to be concerned with human beings, it's bound to be much more concerned about how we generally treat each other: you know, decency, concern, empathy-–all the things that are so important in this otherwise bleak and indifferent universe.

      If your god really gives a sh!t about what one species of mammal does with its reproductive organs, then he needs to reexamine his childish priorities. And if your god would actually punish anyone for any human action for all eternity in a torturous place instead of immediately destroying that place, then he's the most disgusting devil that exists. And we know that is true because no one can come up with a more disgusting and evil idea--there isn't one.

      January 1, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Moby S,

      The Bible prophesied about men like you, this strengthens my faith in the Bible even more so!

      Hebrew 3:12
      12 Beware, brothers, for fear there should ever develop in any one of YOU a wicked heart lacking faith by drawing away from the living God;

      2 Peter 2:15-22
      15 Abandoning the straight path, they have been misled. They have followed the path of Ba′laam, [the son] of Be′or, who loved the reward of wrongdoing, 16 but got a reproof for his own violation of what was right. A voiceless beast of burden, making utterance with the voice of a man, hindered the prophet’s mad course. 17 These are fountains without water, and mists driven by a violent storm, and for them the blackness of darkness has been reserved. 18 For they utter swelling expressions of no profit, and by the desires of the flesh and by loose habits they entice those who are just escaping from people who conduct themselves in error. 19 While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption. For whoever is overcome by another is enslaved by this one. 20 Certainly if, after having escaped from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they get involved again with these very things and are overcome, the final conditions have become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have accurately known the path of righteousness than after knowing it accurately to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 The saying of the true proverb has happened to them: “The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire.”

      February 26, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE, consider you've chosen your name poorly since you do not understand the definitions of the words comprising it.

      February 26, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Polycarp

      Moby Schtick
      Randy, Biblical marriage is all sorts of stupid sh!t, like a guy having 300 wives and a couple thousand concubines.---------------------------------------------------------–
      Because, as simplistic this is, THEY did not KNOW and UNDERSTAND any better, AT that period of time they "thought" that was the correct thing to do, BUT as time passed later generations came to the SOUND, RATIONAL conclusion, that ONLY 1 WOMAN for a wife, until death shall us part, is enough., and what was actually MEANT to be. "They grew up and matured".

      February 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So there's hope they'll grow up and mature to accept that hom0s3xuals can marry, too? Yay!!

      Are you going to mature at some point, Polly? Maybe even *gasp* evolve?

      February 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Religion,

      Please, enlighten me.

      February 26, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  17. Geoffrey

    I also have wrestled with many of the points brought pu in this article. At one point in my life I tried very hard to live the "biblical" Christian life. But when I failed I became very frustrated with myself. Very self condemned. I rejected the idea that God would have me live this way in frequent depression for reason of my "faults". One day it occurred to me that that is why Jesus died for me; to cleanse me of my faults and to bear the burden of my human frailty. Not to “eliminate” my human frailty, but to make me clean and whole despite my frailty. Now I am very happy just to stand at the foot of the cross in the shadow of Christ’s mercy. No reason to strive for perfection, No work required of me but to measure out the mercy I show others in the same measure of which I received mercy from Christ. I am merciful because I require much mercy.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Randy

      Grace truly is amazing; I am glad you understand this now.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Geoffrey,

      You stated: "No reason to strive for perfection, No work required of me but to measure out the mercy I show others in the same measure of which I received mercy from Christ."

      One must be careful not use the blood of Christ Jesus as an excuse to continue in their sins. One must also prove by "works" that they appreciate and have faith in the ransom.

      Hebrews 10:26
      26 For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left,

      James 2:24-26
      24 YOU see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone. 25 In the same manner was not also Ra′hab the harlot declared righteous by works, after she had received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? 26 Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  18. Atheism is healthy for children and all living things

    Nonsense book

    December 29, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • kyle johnston

      where is your faith? you see the world and all the things clearly made. therfore you are without excuse. jesus christ is the son of the living the God. the Christ, the messiah, there is no other way b c he is the way the truth and the life whosoever beliieves in him will not see death, whoever denies the son is condemned already b c he has not believed in the salvation of God.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Nancy

      BINGO

      January 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  19. Bill

    Unfortunately the author neglects to understand, as most people do, that Jesus, by fulfilling all laws, made the old testament irrelevent in terms of how we live our lives. We are no longer subject to the Old Testament law. But i understand that if you want to make fun of Christians, the easiest thing to do is use Jewish old testament laws.

    December 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • iminim

      In fairness to the author, lots of Christians are "Old Testament" Christians. They argue about the historical veracity of the six day creation or the great flood as if their lives & salvation depended on them. They strongly support the "eye for an eye" concept and are proponents of capital punishment. They quote the very passages she mentions to tell others how to act & to justify why they deserve special priviledge as the chosen people of God.

      Smiting your enemy, and justifying it by quoting the Old Testament, is still much more enticing than turning the other cheek. Blaming the poor for their plight is much more comfortable than giving them the coat off your back. Being an Old Testament Christian lets you do both with justification. Until Christians are willing to accept the release from Old Testament law that Christ represents, we will remain slaves to Old Testament rules and restrictions.

      December 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Atheism is healthy for children and all living things

      Old or new "testament " is irrelevant. Same lies.

      December 29, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • KG2012

      Well put Bill! Amen!

      December 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Janice

      You failed to see what she said about Paul's instructions in the New Testament about women being silent in the church and it is to my recollection that that was said after Christ death. Even people of different denomenations pick and choose what verse will work where and for who.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Randy

      The Apostle Paul said we are freed from the curse of the Law because cursed is the man that is hung on a tree. Jesus became that curse, became sin, redeemed us so that we would be loosed from the law. Just because someone stops stealing and is no longer a thief does not mean he is saved. Believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God, that He died for our sin, and that He rose from the grave to give us power to live as the redeemed.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • meifumado

      Jesus did not eat pork.
      So why do christians?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children nor any living thing

      "Jesus, by fulfilling all laws, made the old testament irrelevent" "We are no longer subject to the Old Testament law"

      Then WHY is the old testament the LARGEST portion of the holy bible that all Christians "claim" to embrace and diligently follow???? HMMM?

      So here we have YET ANOTHER inexplicable and blatant contradiction!

      February 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Polycarp

      Atheism is healthy for children and all living things
      Old or new "testament " is irrelevant. Same lies.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Love your neighbor as yourself, and help other's is a lie????? Next you telling us that the U.S. A. doesn't exist and "we" are hallucinating the last 236 years.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Religion is not healthy...,

      Because men contradict themselves does not mean the Bible contradict itself.

      The importance of the Hebrew Scriptures cannot be overemphasized, for without their law code, history, and prophecies, much in the Christian Greek Scriptures would be doubtful in meaning.

      Romans 15:4
      4 For all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.

      1 Corinthians 10:11
      11 Now these things went on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.

      The Bible clearly states:
      1 Peter 1:25
      25 but the saying of Jehovah endures forever.”

      Hence, the Christian Bible writers repeatedly quoted from and alluded to the former Bible writings, carrying forward and expanding many of the themes and promises set forth in the Hebrew Scriptures.

      Example:

      Psalms 91:11,12

      11 For he will give his own angels a command concerning you,
      To guard you in all your ways.12 Upon their hands they will carry you,
      That you may not strike your foot against any stone.

      Matthew 4:5-7
      5 Then the Devil took him along into the holy city, and he stationed him upon the battlement of the temple 6 and said to him: “If you are a son of God, hurl yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels a charge concerning you, and they will carry you on their hands, that you may at no time strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him: “Again it is written, ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’”

      February 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  20. really?

    An ancient, written collection is correct and nicely put. However, there are many ancient, written collections from ALL over the world......why is this one " the inspired " word of "God' AND not the others....I will never understand that !!!! Perhaps "JUST ONE WAY" is not realistic, the christians ought to consider that!!!!!! Maybe then they can have understand and compassion for ALL, not just a superiority complex!

    December 29, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Jason

      Faith isn't a matter of fact or a line of proofs. Nobody saw the evengelists writing their accounts of the bible – It is impossible to prove who wrote it 2000 years after the fact – But what we do have is faith, for this no proof is needed. Follow the natural law written in your soul. That is, your sense of knowing what is right and what is wrong, if you do this the Lord will guide you to Himself.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Scott

      "Perhaps "JUST ONE WAY" is not realistic, the christians ought to consider that!!!!!!"

      Just one way is the only thing that makes logical sense. The law of non-contradiction is the overriding principle. It is more reasonable that we are all deluded, but we certainly can't all be right. Something can't be square and non-square at the same time.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.