Editor’s note: Johnnie Moore is the author of Dirty God (#DirtyGod). He is a professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University. Keep track of him @johnnieM .
By Johnnie Moore, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.
You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God.
But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God.
He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.
To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.
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What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.
Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?”
“Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.”
It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head.
But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.
I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.
They could relate to him.
He was the teacher from a small town who knew and understood the economic insecurity that was common in the first century. Times must have been rather tough for Jesus at points in his life, for he even spoke of being homeless, having to sleep on the ground with no roof over his head.
He also knew what it was like to have his message rejected and how it felt to be misunderstood. Jesus was regarded with such little significance in his hometown that one of his critics once remarked sardonically, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” Jesus eventually had to move to different city (Capernaum) because his teachings so infuriated the people living in his hometown that they drove him out of Nazareth and even tried to throw him off a cliff.
'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article
The real Jesus had dirt underneath his fingernails and calluses on his hands. He probably smelled badly from sweating profusely in the Judean sun on his long hikes to Jerusalem, and Jesus was, without a doubt, rumored to be a hypocrite or absolutely mad for all the time he spent with prostitutes and those afflicted with leprosy.
Not exactly have a clean-cut image.
He had a rather shady reputation.
Some people thought he was a revolutionary. The religious leaders called him a heretic, and others even accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton - in no small part because of the vagabond group of disciples he had with him. No serious religious leader of his day would have ever recruited such people.
For his core 12 disciples, Jesus included a tough-as-nails, bombastic fisherman (Peter), a chief tax collector named Matthew (the most hated popular figure of the time), an eventual traitor who was stealing money out of the offering bucket (Judas), a prolific doubter (Thomas), two jocks nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” (James and John) and Simon the Zealot, a member of a radical political party which believed in using violence to kick out the Romans.
Jesus was sarcastic, too.
He often snapped back at the Pharisees with a tone fit for late-night television, and in a terribly embarrassing moment for all those around him, Jesus even called these respected religious teachers “snakes” that were probably sons of “Satan.”
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That’s not exactly the behavior of a sweet, self-help teacher with a halo over his head.
It’s the behavior of a frustrated man who might also be divine, but sure knows how it feels for annoying people to get under his skin.
Christians believe that Jesus chose to be born fully human, too, but why?
Lots of theologians have laid out opinions over the centuries, and in their opining they have tried once again to hijack Jesus’ humanity by defining it in philosophical terms. I believe it’s simpler than the philosophy and church councils and centuries of argument.
The brilliance of Christianity is the image of a God, named Jesus, arrived with dirty hands.
Jesus came in a time period when Greco-Roman gods were housed in gigantic temples and portrayed with superhuman powers and with superhuman physiques. Gods were believed to be far away from people on their mountains or hemmed up in their sanctuaries.
Jesus arrived in defiance of this prevailing imagery.
Jesus didn’t come flinging lightning bolts from a mountaintop, or playing politics in Rome. He came to live in a typical Middle Eastern village called Nazareth that was home to a couple hundred typical people. He didn’t decide to brandish his power, but to spend most of his time with the powerless and disenfranchised. And when he started a religious movement that reshaped history, he did it in the most profound and anticlimatic way:
He let himself be killed, and then he busted open a tomb.
In Jesus we meet a Savior who understood the desire to sleep just a few more hours, and who had to control his temper sometimes. In Jesus we find a God we can relate to because he chose to relate to us.
He was the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Johnnie Moore.
Plus the fact that he dis not look white like the portraits you find in churches, where he looks like a Jew from Europe. He was middle eastern.
Agree with the author about his human side. And as human of his time, he probably went through all that. And yes there is a point of being so dirsty. he needed to show that we can make it too. Otherwise why would a God bother to come to earth and go through this dirty mortal life, full of poop, sweat and dirt
And for the millions of people BC?
Why didn't god "bother" to get down and dirty for them?
Oops, sorry, not supposed to think, just believe. My bad.
m p, you need to think before you type since he came for all before B.C. and after but you would have known that if you had read and understood what was written. please give it a try and do not just believe before you read and study His Word. you will after if you ask.
Jesus was not God.
Sssh! You're not supposed to notice that Johnnie slipped that major bit of fundamentalist revisionism into his link-bait, replacing god with jesus and all.
Hey Johnnie, did God put a penis on Adam before or after God created Eve?
OK, I think most Christians get that Jesus was fully human an fully God and that means that he had biological functions just like the rest of us humans. But to emphasize them ad nauseum seems rather juvenile. And to focus on the dirt under his nails and his sweat forgets that Jews were very clean, compared to other people in the 1st century. They bathed often and the levitical rules required cleanliness as a matter of religion, not just culture or health. So the image of a stinky dirt encrusted Jesus is probably no more accurate that those images of him in pristine condition. In Christianity there is always a tension between the transcendent God and the imminent God – this author seems to get lost in the one while forgetting the other, as so many do.
'And to focus on the dirt under his nails and his sweat forgets that Jews were very clean, compared to other people in the 1st century'
compared to whom? The Romans were the ones that were practically religious about baths and such.
This was a class issue, and the commenter is being presumptuous. It was easy for the affluent and the elites to maintain cleanliness, but what about those too poor (the majority) who had less access to sufficient water? There's evidence this was a major issue that especially affected the laborers, the vast majority of people.
Some of the responses here are completely predictable. And they are consistent with the last two millenia. When Jesus walked the earth, he was extremely irritating to people who needed to be irritated. Some wanted to stone him. They eventually crucified him. Today he's a "fable" or "fairy tale" or "hokus-pokus (Dawkins)". And he's still all the right people. They are driven to the edge of sanity by a "delusion" (Dawkins). May he go on being irritating for another 2000 years.
jesus will go the way all gods go.
I love how atheists quote Richard Dawkins with the same reverence that Christians quote the bible.
I don't quote anyone.
Why is it so hard to believe that Jesus did not look anything like most Catholic art depics him. Isaiah 53:2 teaches us that Jesus "...had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." The reason God chose to deliver His son in this unassuming fashion was so that he could blend in amongst the people, like the article states, so that the people could relate. Isaiah 53:3 also states that, "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem." Why would people hold someone in low esteem if he had a beautiful, regal, Godly appearance like most art work depicts Him? They would have bowed down to him immediately if that were the case. It's not heretic to think of Jesus getting is hands dirty and calous while helping those in need. The bible says that Jesus became poor so that we could become rich. A generous, all powerful God who became flesh and came down to my level, and took my sins to the cross, so that I could have an abundant life. Wow, that deserves all my praise and worship.
Double R "most Catholics" depict Jesus how? Last time I looked some (not MOST, but some) Catholics and Protestants had depictions of Jesus as blue-eyed, light haired western european! Today, I think most Christians (Catholics and Protestants) understand that this depictions is inaccurate.
'The reason God chose to deliver His son in this unassuming fashion was so that he could blend in amongst the people, like the article states, so that the people could relate.'
- Hmm Seems to be a bad tactic on god's part. IF Jesus were born a real king he would have had greater power and the ability to have his will done in a more effective manner
'The bible says that Jesus became poor so that we could become rich. '
- Hmm begs the question 'Couldn't have jesus been rich and still mad US rich?' Seems as if the all-powerful god isn't so powerful
'A generous, all powerful God who became flesh and came down to my level, and took my sins to the cross, so that I could have an abundant life'
What jesus SHOULD have done is become imoratal while still here on earth. IF he is god he could have lived and ruled from that time until now. HE IS GOD right? He resurects from the dead and LEAVES? Why ? seems he really didn't want to rule over heaven and earth afterall.
I mean c'mon ... I'm some cheeseball mortal and MY plan for ruling the world is far superior to this so called 'god'
In summary Jesus and his teachings are a failure
the amen is for double r and the reason god didn't wanna stand out is for 1 it was not time for god to stand out and 2 he wants us to have faith just like his disciples did when they walked with him you have to believe that Jesus is God and that he was raised from the dead and that he will return again when he is ready
chriist child sez:
'... he wants us to have faith just like his disciples'
See this is the problem ... his disciples did NOT have FAITH. NO FAITH AT ALL ZERO NONE
They had empricial evidence. Faith is the acceptance of a premise with OUT evidence.
I'll accept jesus as god when I get the "faith" that the disciples got. Until then ... no need.
ok they had proof after the miracles were done but they had faith in who he said he was when he called them to follow him so I have that same faith and I have seen what Jesus can do in my life and my family and my friends
My apologies, you are correct it is not just Catholic art that depicts him that way. That was wrong of me to say. In the same way that there are a lot of art depictions of Christ with a halo, which is not scriptural at all.
@ Brother Maynard
I would agree with you in one respect, Jesus did on many occasion question the faith of His disciples. That was to be expected, which is why He put up with it. He knew of the Glory that was yet to come. He also told Thomas, "you believe because you see, blessed are those who believe and do not see." Peter's faith made him walk on water, his doubt made him sink. Without faith, however, those twelve men would have never left everything they owned and loved, to follow a man who was making radicals claims. They knew there was something about this man and it propelled them to leave it all behind to follow Christ. And I'm sure they are not regretting that decision today.
And one last thing, If God would have made Jesus rich and immortal like you say, then there would be no reason for His death and resurrection, which was his purpose in life. He knew he was to suffer and die for the sins of mankind, because that was the will of the Father. God never makes things easy on us. In the resurrection, God's glory is proven! It was the biggest "I told you so," in the history of mankind. Hallelujah!!
Just another snapshot of CNN's and much of today's media to undermine the importance of Jesus in people's lives. No, the article doesn't denounce the Christian belief that Jesus was a divine savior, no the article doesn't even claim that Christianity is flawed, but one has to question what the purpose of this article is. Why do we continually see more and more articles, news items, movies, tv comments, and even simple jokes, that seem to undermine Jesus' stature in people's minds? To weaken people's faith and to gradually create a new view of Jesus as just an ordinary man.
Consider who runs CNN and much of the media. No shock.
Why do you care? Don't force people to believe in what you heard from a priest.
so you believe this article, by a professor of religion, from a religious christian university, is an attempt to undermine jesus huh? ok then.
'Consider who runs CNN and much of the media. No shock.'
oh, and who does run cnn and much of the media?
You do realize that this article was written by the vice-president of Liberty University ? One of the largest Christian Universities in the nation.
if the media can undermine your faith, it ain't much of a faith to begin with
i just can't believe why people mock Jesus ,the honorable man ,how dare you???!!!! people have no manners no respect ,well let's go back to the bible probably that's where they learn that ,where they called The prophet Noah an alcoholic addict ,david commits adultery ,Lot’s daughters commit incest with him,.....list goes on .
Doesn't make sense an alcoholic prophet will preach the word of god an invite pople to right path nor the fornicator nor the dirty............
NO SENSE IN THE BIBLE ,sorry!!
why do you assume he was an alcoholic? because he drank wine? if you knew anything about history you would know most cultures drank some kind of alcoholic beverage over water because there was no good way to clean water other thanto frement it
Yep your God Mao and Stalin are the ones to emulate.
The prophet Noah an alcoholic addict ,david commits adultery ,Lot’s daughters commit incest with him,.....list goes on . ok so they made mistakes your point is? God forgave them of those mistakes and we all make mistakes its called sin and it started with adam and eve
i am not assuming nor drunk to say that,but it's from the bible . what make sense is: to be a good teacher you have to be a good exemple .......
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
B. David tried to deceive Uriah with drunkenness after committing adultery with his wife.
2 Samuel 11:11-13
And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
first accept that he was a man, then accept that because of that he's not god, and god does not exist so now it's all so simple.
Wait, what does that have to do with poop?
You are free to accept whatever you want. The mystery of the Christian faith is that Jesus is both human and God. That's what we accept. If he was just a guy – like you and I – then there is still mystery. How can one regular guy, denied, betrayed and abandoned by his (male) followers (the women stayed with him), executed in such a horrible way as a common criminal have such a profound impact on the world 2000 years later? How did he inspire those same bunch of cowards/deniers to get up and leave their locked room, risking death themselves, to spread word of his Gospel ("Good news") to the Greco-Roman empire? Pretty amazing for just a "regular guy" don't you think?
An opinion piece from Liberty Univ. .....founded by Jerry Falwell.....kinda says it all.
Christianity is built around GOD and Jesus, which was based on various myths (mostly Greek), not on fact.
Actually christianity draws from much older cultures whose legends and lore were revisioned, and rewritten by christians to compete with the Greek and Roman pantheon of gods and goddesses.
i prefer jerry halwell
dan: who doesn't?
These ideas are not new; but given. However, it reiterate the humanity of Jesus, majesty of the God who became man to save humanity.
Excellent proclamation of absolutely nothing meaningful.
Humane? The same jesus that equated a woman begging for his help to a dog begging for scraps. The same jesus who specifically stated he was only there for certain people? Yes, he was certainly the poster child of humanity.
This article is one of the dumbest I have seen on CNN. Lots of evidence and research backing this one up!
The evidence for the man's existence is tenuous, but the evidence surrounding his bathing habits is so much more concrete!
Maybe so, but he sure was a great guy!
pfft, Zeus was greater
People, people... let us not forget that Liberty "University" is not a real school. In the words of Bill Maher, "This is a school you flunk out of when you get the answers right."
But where else can you get a doctorate of divine poop, like the author?
yeah, and we should be taking the word of a comedian (bill maher) as an absolute truth.. like he is in any way credible.
Bill Maher is an idiot.
Good article – wrong on the Jesus is God thing (see 1 Cor 11:3 – head of man is Christ, head of Christ is God... no equality).
But it is a good perspective to realize that Jesus was a carpenter, and was used to manual labor. People often portray him as weak, pale and emaciated, when in truth we would have been tan and in excellent shape.
Yes, he was sweaty and had BO, but no more than anyone else of his day.
And he was from Israel, which meant that he had the same dark complexion that all people from that region had.
A few jabs at traditional religion... he was jewish so never would have eaten ham (rethink Easter Sunday), he was born in the fall, not during the Saturnalia and was against mixing pagan and christian tradition (2 Cor 6:14) and when the Magi came to visit him, he was a child in a house, not a babe in a manger (Matt 2:11)
So thank you for the truth about the man. But try to separate the traditions added on to make it more pagan friendly. Christ never was in Christmas, so let's not try and add him.
Obviously you don't believe that Jesus was God – that's fine, but Christians do believe he was fully human and fully God. We don't know when he was born (although there are many theories), you are right about the ham and any other pork products, he lived and died a Jew so said nothing about mixing "pagan and Christian religions), and no one knows where the Magi visited him (the word "house" being open to much interpretation. At that time, people often housed their animals in a portion of their "house" and so using that word does not eliminate the stable scenario. Jesus IS in Christmas regardless of when that holiday is celebrated because Christmas is the celebration of his birth.
@tbay But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.1 cor 11:3 ok but what does that whole verse say you cant just take what you want from a verse " But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." there is that full verse and 2 cor 6:14" Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? " never says he is against mixing pagan and christian traditions the word yoked means do not let the unbelievers be stronger than the believers. Matt 2:11"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh." by this time Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus had left the Inn and the wise had traveled a long way to see him so when they found him he was no longer a baby but at least a 1 1/2 to 2 years old. and the December 25th day is a set day but what does that day matter to someone who celebrates his birth and death everyday
You make some very good points, and very true at that. With a few exceptions, Yes Jesus was Jewish, however he would have eaten ham. Jesus says in Mark 7; 18-19, " 'Are you so dull?' he asked. 'Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.' (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)"
Also, Jesus said that if you have seen Him then you have seen the Father. He is in the Father and the Father is in Him (Paraphrasing John 14). Why would a person claim that to see me is to see God, if he weren't God himself. They are one and the same. That's one of the great mysteries of the Holy Trinity. Three and yet one.
I agree with you on the Magi point. If Jesus were still a baby at the time the Magi arrived, then Herod would have ordered the slaughter of all "newborn" babies. Instead, he ordered all babies 2 years and under slaughtered. He knew some time had passed. The Magi coming to Jesus as a baby is a mixture of Luke with the shepards and Matthew with the Magi. The two stories have always been blended when the Nativity story is told.
And finally, about the pagan festivals mixed with Christian traditions. For whatever reason these Christian traditions were started, today that has no relevance. The bible teaches us that, "... God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28) He has taken these celebrations, regardless on how they were created by man, and works them for all our good, to celebrate His Son's birth (not birthday), and His glorious resurrection.
@double r again amen
Thank you all for your replies.
However, you are making the same mistakes that the Israelites did when they carved the golden calf and then chose to dedicate the worship of it to God. Can't can't Christianize something that isn't Christian. You can't gloss over something that was rotten and expect it to be clean. It's like painting rust, or putting chocolate frosting over dung.
And the bible repeatedly calls worship of false idols dung.
So rather than taking a holiday that everyone knows is pagan and making it Christian to show appreciation for Christ... just show appreciation for him every day. Peace on Earth, Good will towards men should be a daily thing... not once per year.
Johnnie Moore, professor of religion and vice president of Liberty University wrote: "I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom..."
You need to find some colleagues with at least as much sense as your god gave the lemon. Have you any idea how deeply degraded you've just revealed Liberty University to be?
So you're saying you're better than poop?
Fascinatng article. An interesting perspective of a human who is also a God walking amongst us as a regular guy, who used his left hand for toilet paper, as was the common practice. Makes sence. Such a God elevates all people, not just the rich.
Yeah, but the rich poop don't stink.
W T F does this have to do with "news"? Is CNN going to stop by my door tomorrow to reborn me? Ridiculous.
You don't think Jesus Pooped is news?
@ Sniffit. Surely you knew not to come to the faith blog looking for news? News is found on other pages.
I'll take this over yet another article on the Kardashians
It's in the Opinion section.
Jesus may have been dirty, but I'll bet Santa Clause is even dirtier. For one thing, Santa spends the entire night sliding up and down chimneys. At 250+ pounds and with how small most chimneys are, his suite is going to be rubbing up against a lot of soot. Also, just imagine the crud his beard picks up!
That's not even mentioning the sweat. With the amount of ground Santa has to cover in one night, he's got to move pretty fast. If you've ever seen a big man move fast, you know it ain't a pretty sight. I'll bet the smell is so bad Mrs. Clause has to use special tongs to handle the suite when she does her post-Christmas laundry.
dingle bells, dingle bells...
Santa cleans the chimney up before he gets down.. Once hes doen he throwns the soot back into the chimnay..so there is no way he can be dirty ;-)
Kim, evolution is not proven. It takes as much faith to believe in the big bang, eveolution, etc... as it does to believe in an all powerful God. Even scientists agree they cannot say what happened before the big bang.
I will admit I am struggling with regligion at this point in my life given the atrocities in the world especially toward children but I cannot commit myself to believe macro evolution explains the process in which we came into existence.
There is more scientific proof of evolution than there is creationism. Reason why our children learn evolution as scientific fact rather than creationism.
Evolution has these silly things called "facts" to support it.
Religion does not.
You no longer believe in Santa Claus because you eventually realized it was just a story and not real.
Science is the anti-thesis of faith.
Faith is belief in a proposition despite a total lack of evidence. It is the willing cessation of rational inquiry in order to accept dogmatic, rote answers.
The scientific method is predicated on skepticism. Every step taken to quantify a hypothesis is meticulously docu/mented to allow for peer review. That means that anyone who is interested can repeat the tests to see if the results are replicated. If enough groups of detached researchers come to the same results, the theory is considered sound and effectively treated as fact. Scientific theories, unlike religious dogmas, can and do change with the introduction of new data.
"Goddidit" is not a theory – it is a rationalization.
hooligan, no one "believes" in evolution. it is simply the best explanation that we possess at this time.
Evolution, as it has been presented to us non-specialists is likely true. But so what? Evolution is only change and survival. We have to delude ourselves into calling it progress. We can't call it progress until we've identified the untimate good. Then we have to prove that we're moving toward that good.
'It takes as much faith to believe in the big bang, eveolution, etc... as it does to believe in an all powerful God.'
no it doesnt. It takes far more faith to accept a supernatural being using magic to make things by a long way.
Uhh, c catholic engineer. no we don't have to 'prove' any such good. false premise, and essentially a worthless piece of argumentation.. We don't call evolution 'progress.' You delude yourself into thinking such. Evolution is simply change. You can't state whether it is good or bad, it simply is. Life, it evolves and changes. No bad, not good, but is. Hard for you, huh?
There is no conflict between a belief in evolution and a belief in God. Most major Christian denominations do not believe that the Bible is a word-for-word dictation from the mouth of God to the writer's pen; instead, the Bible is the inspired word of God written by humans in human words characteristic of the culture and history in which the authors lived. So, the main point of Genesis is that God created the universe and found it to be good (very, good) not a blow by blow explanation of how he did so. Just reading Chp. 1 and Chp. 2 of Genesis with all the conflicting information in these chapters shows that it is not a science textbook! I agree that believing that all that exists just randomly occurred takes much greater "faith" than does belief in a Creator. I accept that there was a "big bang" but where did the stuff that banged come from in the first place?
As for the difficulties in believing in God given the horrors in the world, think about what God adds to the equation. The reason we see things as horrors in the first place is because we believe in right and wrong. For much of human history, horrors were wrong only if they happened to me! If you were shot, tortured, enslaved, etc., it didn't bother me in the least. The reason we in the western tradition see right and wrong as applying to everyone (even if we don't always live up to our belief) is because we have been raised in the Judeo-Christian moral tradition. The Romans and Greeks never thought war was wrong (unless they lost) and to them might = right. Jesus never promised to eradicate all evil in the world; instead he called on his followers to seek the kingdom of God, to act rightly, and to work for the day when the world would all know God. It's a process not a magic moment.
Dr. Greg Graffin's PhD thesis "Evolution, Monism, Atheism and the Natrualist Worldview" found that the overwhelming majority of the world's pre-eminent evolutionary biologists indeed find no conflict between religion and science – so long as religion is treated solely as a sociological adaptation.
We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
Religion binds communities together by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
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.