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Americans reveal their 3 favorite sins
Eve couldn't stay away from the apple, but a new survey reveals that most Americans struggle with three other temptations.
February 8th, 2013
10:25 AM ET

Americans reveal their 3 favorite sins

By John Blake, CNN

 “Lead me not into temptation. I can find it all by myself.”

That line, taken from the country music song “Lead Me Not,” evokes smiles because it underscores a truth: The struggle against temptation is universal.

A new survey, however, gets specific about the type of temptations most Americans battle against, and shows that men and women seem to wrestle with different vices.

“Temptations and America’s Favorite Sins,” a survey conducted by the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, concludes that the moral struggles that vex most Americans aren’t the salacious acts that drive the plotlines of reality television shows. Most Americans are too worn down or distracted to get snared by those vices, the survey concludes.

The top three sins seducing most Americans: procrastination, overeating and spending too much time on media.

“You would think it would be sex, drugs and rock and roll,” said Todd Hunter, pastor and author of “Our Favorite Sins,” whose book was consulted in conjunction with the survey.

The survey said that 60% of Americans admitted that they’re tempted to worry too much or procrastinate; 55% said they’re tempted to overeat, and 41% said they’re tempted by sloth, or laziness.

The sex, drugs and rock and roll-like vices fell dead last in the temptation categories: 11% of Americans said they were tempted by drug abuse; 9% were tempted by sexually inappropriate contact.

Even young people put sex and drugs way down on their list, according to the survey, which broke down temptations by gender and age. It  found that 21% of millennials (born between 1984 and 2002) considered sexually inappropriate behavior their chief temptation. It was the lowest percentage attributed to any vice by millennials. Their top two temptations were worrying too much and procrastination.

The battleground for temptation has also shifted – it’s gone digital, according to David Kinnman, president of Barna Group, which based its survey on 1,021 online interviews with a representative sample of white, African-American and Latinos.

“Temptation has gone virtual, ’’ Kinnman said. “Nearly half of Americans admit to being tempted to use too much media and one in nine admits to expressing their anger digitally.”

Temptation also seems to affect men and women differently – more women said they’re tempted by gossip and overeating, and only 8% of women admitted to being tempted by online pornography versus 28% of  men.

Many Americans who admit to being tempted aren’t putting up a big fight. The study said that 59% of Americans admit that they don’t do anything to avoid temptation and half can’t explain why they give into temptation.

Many Americans still can’t explain what sin is, Hunter said. Worrying, for example, is not considered one of the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth). Yet survey respondents listed it as one of their top temptations.

“There’s no agreement on what sin is,” Hunter said. “It’s one of the aspects of the world we live in. It’s becoming more relativistic. It’s hard to talk about sin when everyone disagrees about what it is.”

Hunter knows a little bit about temptation. One of his is chocolate. He once shot up to 330 pounds because he overate. He said all temptations start with a desire for something good: tasty food, rest, intimacy. They become “disordered” when they enslave people and spread pain through their lives.

“Disordered desires imprison us,” he wrote in “Our Favorite Sins.” “In the end they give us nothing – not one lasting shred of goodness, freedom, joy, or love.”

Hunter’s advice for staying clear of temptation: fasting, praying and staying out of places and relationships that lead you toward temptation.

For those who aren’t religious, Hunter recommends thinking about sports. He cites the practice habits of superstars like NBA legend Michael Jordan. They practice progress, repeating athletic exercises every day until their body complies.

Little victories lead to big things, Hunter said. In his book, he quoted the legendary college basketball coach John Wooden:

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. So don’t look for the quick, big improvement. Seek the small improvements one day at a time – that’s the only way progress happens – and when that kind of progress happens, it lasts.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Church • Faith • Internet • Media • News media • Sex • Trends

soundoff (1,295 Responses)
  1. M.E.

    I never sin, mostly because I don't believe in such a thing. If I was a Christian, I would be sinning a whole lot, so I suppose it's good I don't play by their rules. I just figure being nice to people and trying to live a balanced life is the best way, no particular religion needed. Besides, being too much of anything, be that on the traditionally sinful side or the pius side, is never a good thing. Usually it leads to all sorts of bad feelings which lead to wasted energy and time. Just be nice, it's very simple.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  2. CrossCountry

    @niknak

    Agreed. Pretty useless poll.

    Besides I like the outdated definition of 'sin'....all my favorite things.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  3. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    My favorites are blasphemy and denying the holy spirit.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Have you tried attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • The Truth

      I'm perfecting one of my sins right now, actually.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Nah, I deny Satan too...

      February 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    No great observations here, just have to say what a gorgeous snake. :-)

    February 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  5. Sharp

    Such trivial sins. Where is false pride? I know many Christians who live in a mutual admiration society; Smug in their certainty of salvation. A real Christian is humble & non-judgemental.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  6. The Truth

    So if that snake starts talking blasphemy, don’t listen.

    God wants more for you.

    And always has.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He must be terribly disappointed in you.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Damocles

      Hear a lot of talking snakes do ya? I'd say seek help but I know my advice would go unheeded.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • M.E.

      If I thought a snake was talking to me, I'd beat a hasty retreat to the nearest hospital. Snakes don't talk, mental disorders do.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Damocles

      Sadly, by the time you hear the snake, you have been brainwashed into believing in talking snakes.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Baby Snakes

      Baby snakes
      Late at night is when they come out
      Baby snakes
      Sure you know what I'm talkin about
      Pink n wet
      They make the best kinda pet
      Baby
      Baby
      Snakes

      Looked around
      An there's a couple right near me
      Baby snakes
      Maybe I think they can probably hear me
      Pink n wet
      Ill take all I can get
      Baby
      Baby
      Sna-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-kes, yeah

      They live in a ho-ho-hole
      (tiny hole)
      That is usually empty
      (usually empty, tiny too)
      They live by a code
      (dit dit dit dit)
      That is usually SMPTE
      Which stands for
      Society of motion picture & television engineers
      Maybe I think
      That is what keeps them in sync
      They're wet n they're pink
      I think I'll give em a, give em a,
      Give em a drink

      Baby sna-a-a-a-a-akesss

      February 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  7. lol??

    CNN is desperate.

    February 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The desperation is all yours, C.L.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • niknak

      Then what does that say about you loloser, if you are here reading it and wasting time commenting on it on their board?

      February 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  8. CrossCountry

    @Sam

    hahaha! I am picking up what your throwing down. funny.

    Seriously, it is that simple. It's all the religious folk that complicate life.

    February 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  9. CrossCountry

    We would all do well to stick to the basic principles that we learned in Kindergarten: share, be kind, don't lie, help others.

    Simplistic yet important.

    @December.....Um....wow.....chill out.

    February 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • sam

      It's that easy, too. Don't be a dick, and don't do anything to someone else that you would hate to have done to yourself. Unless you really like pain...then maybe, you know, just make sure the other person is on your wavelength first.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Alan

      They got to December and they fell for it hook, line and sinker, when that happens you loose your integrity.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • niknak

      I call that just being stand up guy. Or gal, as the priciple of a stand up guy is the same for you gals too.
      The religious might construe that as their WWJD motto, and maybe jeebus was a stand up guy. He died standing up, or should I say nailed up, but that is another topic.

      I have to say none of those "temptations" would be very high on my list, as they really arn't temptations.
      They seem more like human behaviour.
      How does one get tempted by procrastination?
      That is more like a condition or personal trait then it is something that someone craves or wants to do.
      But that is just me. Maybe for some it is a craving.

      Anyway, pretty useless poll.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  10. lol??

    The pollsters are desperate.

    February 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  11. lol??

    "Jer 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

    February 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Yes, I see a lot of that in Christians

      .

      February 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  12. December

    For the past week Akira and End Religion has been harassing me. They claim I am some Douglas guy, that I live in Colorado and that my girlfriend and me have been harassing them.

    They also claim to know where I work.

    And End Religion likes to post anti-gay remarks to me.

    It is weird, and these folks came out of nowhere.

    I tried to explain they may have me confused with someone else. Maybe somebody else was posting as "December".

    But nope. They claimed I was a liar. And they could trace my ip address. And it went to Colorado Springs, CO.

    I told them I live in KC. I even posted about that 3 days before they started harassing me.

    Yet they still kept calling me a liar. And posting that my ip address shows I'm in Colorado.

    ***These pics are my EVIDENCE that I live in KC*****

    http://tinypic.com/r/e0rgx4/6

    http://tinypic.com/r/zwgmch/6

    Akira claims she detests a liar.

    She knows she can't read my ip address.

    She tried this lie on another poster, and he seemed just as confused as me about it.

    Please stop it, Akira.

    And seriously, if you need help, don't be afraid to ask for some.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Seriously?

      Your EGO is getting the best of you, so much for following Christ's example.

      Seek some professional help.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Pete

      Yeah December just went lower than all the trolls on here.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • December

      What do you do if somebody keeps throwing false accusations at you?

      I tried be reasonable.

      Following Jesus can mean that the world will lie about you, but it doesn't mean you have to take it.

      I don't have to be a doormat to their lies and anti-gay slurs.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      Doug, how do you feel about gay sex? Note that asking you how you feel about it is not "anti" anything. It's just a question.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • END RELIGION LIES

      >> End Religion

      "Tell us how you feel about gay marriage, particularly the part about the consummation of the marriage."
      February 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      >> December

      "Yea, that seems right on topic.

      If you want to marry your boyfriend, or girlfriend, I don't care. I think you could even hire my pastor and rent out my church and do it there.

      How do you feel about gay marriage?"

      >> End Religion

      "I'm curious what your thoughts are on gay se.x, that's all. Since gays are allowed to marry now it seems to me that means it is OK with Jesus and/or God that women munch rug and men pile drive the Hershey Highway. But it doesn't matter that God says it is OK, I want to know what you say about it."

      >> December

      "I'm not gay so I don't think about it that much. I do have gay friends. I have even been to a gay marriage. I'm fine with it."

      >> Prince Peachez

      "December
      Never mind those atheists ,they are paranoid. Once upon a time, not too long ago they were absolutely bananas over 'Herbie' now they are nuts over Doug.
      Bless his heart , Doug must have a left an indelible mark on them."

      >> Uncouth Swain

      "Interesting how your questions to End don't seem to get answered much."

      February 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • lol??

      Complain about da narcissists and you will get their usual, over easy. They ARE cwacked.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • AKIRA LIES

      You do live in Colorado Springs. :)
      You are a liar. :)
      All you did was post one of Mary's, (Live4Him) posts to me, (who is, btw, at home today and posting from her Niagra Falls IP) who is, as everyone on TJI knows, is your little 'Internet Friend'. :)
      I am not mistaken. :)
      I am not being dishonest. :)
      You are a known liar, and this has been proven to you again and again. :)

      Deny, deny, liar, deny, liar. :)
      I expose the people I know who lie about themselves. :)
      Stop lying about yourself. :)

      Tbt has it wrong; SOME Christians are liars. :)
      You are one of them. :)

      February 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • AKIRA LIES

      His name is Philip Douglas, he also posts here as December, he is a known liar, and what you all suspect is closer to the mark than you think.
      He STILL doesn't know the difference between a gay person and a pedophile; this has been pointed out to him a million times, but he persists in hiding behind the Bible to promote hate and bigotry. He is no Christian.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      December, while I have a little sympathy for you, until you can prove the existence of your god, you are a women. :^)

      February 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • December

      HotAirAce

      LOL.

      Do I have to post pics to prove my manhood?

      Thanks for the sympathy. I am almost posted my facebook or blog as proof, but I'm worried about putting my real name out here.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • lol??

      akira lies just indicted every little boy that was attracted to a little girl. What a girlie man! Better gwow up and start using that Y chromosome.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Matt

      ha. turns out SOME athiests are liars
      Akira is one of them.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      Doug, can you tell us your views on gay sex?

      February 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • The Moral of the Story

      Dear December,

      When a talking snake like 'end religion' talks, don't listen.

      Praise God.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Get a life, Doogie.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • The Truth

      She only needs help if she actually believes her own lies. We've seen her paranoia at play for quite awhile, just ignore it.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Ring of Gyges

      End Religion, what is your obsession with other people's views on se x? And g ay se x in peticular?

      February 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      PETICULAR???

      Jesus Melmo.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      I haven't asked anyone but December his views on gay sex so it isn't "other people" in general. I'm just curious about his view.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • Damocles

      @ER

      Obviously doug's views on gay s-ex would either be the mirror on the ceiling, or possibly seeing himself reflected in tbt's eyes.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • from above

      >> End Religion

      "I'm curious what your thoughts are on gay se.x, that's all. Since gays are allowed to marry now it seems to me that means it is OK with Jesus and/or God that women munch rug and men pile drive the Hershey Highway. But it doesn't matter that God says it is OK, I want to know what you say about it."

      >> December

      "I'm not gay so I don't think about it that much. I do have gay friends. I have even been to a gay marriage. I'm fine with it."

      February 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • from above

      Why do you keep asking? What is your obsession with December's view on gay s.x? What are you doing to yourself as you ask and read? OVer and over?

      February 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Whatever Jesus did with his unit was by definition ok with his Father in heaven. So, in your prayers at night ask God what did Jesus do? And keep an open mind. Remember, Jesus was mostly about hanging out in upper rooms with burly fishermen. And don't worry. The foot sex was just harmless experimentation.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      December, no pix required – there's nothing wrong with being gay (in general, not specific to you) but its not my thing and I wouldn't want the more immature deniers her to be over stimulated.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • December

      I'll just say I feel stupid. I'm working late on a Friday because I wasted half my day on this.

      Of course, by looking at my IP address you already knew I was at work. Right?
      :)

      February 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • fred

      Why did you keep coming back to this site?

      February 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  13. Bootyfunk

    trust your lust

    February 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      *snicker*

      February 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Sloth, Lust and Gluttony. Fun times.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  15. The Seeker

    God: you gotta get all of that religious crap outta your head before you can listen to me.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  16. Fiona

    Major miss. The "top three sins" listed are actually two of the classics: sloth and gluttony. People don't change even if the "temptations" do.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  17. empresstrudy

    I love it when some precious idiot liberal on a website tells me I'm a sinner for consuming THEIR product. Where is CNN liberal hell? A strip mall without a Cinnabon.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  18. Cypher

    So our three favorite "Sins" are actually 2: Sloth and Gluttony. What is "spending too much time on media"?

    February 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Answer

      Spending too much time on media equates to a heavy ratio of using your eyes to read the media, and of course the other is using your ears to listen to podcasts and video news. So in essence.. reading and listening are sins.

      If you like to become educated through the application of using your senses you're committing a sin. That is why the religious people don't want to be educated and they'll fight for your rights to be like them.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  19. Cody Franzoni

    IThese viruses are too much .I'm done . Time has come. Through the military I Have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and seen all of what has come and lit the fire in side Jesus grave. I didn't believe in god for years . God hid me from high priests and blinded me from reality until i started to believe in myself and figured out In the name of God from the davidic line, that I am the messiah and this is the new age. All those who believe in me will start this new age process and peace will be created on earth and i will reside in Israel and rebuild the city and there will be no more illegal drugs and war in that city in this world. I will show you the path of treasury and secrecy and there will be no more poverty. There will be no more sickness in health and we will overcome death. Since i was born in america I will have good relations with all government officials . and my first personal gift to the world is freedom of choice Oligarchy and Centralizing Power.

    February 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Answer

      You can pray, but technology and progress will be made through the application of science.

      Your god doesn't exist .. never did.

      February 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      3400 years ago Moses recorded the story of Abraham where God promised the land to Isaac’s descendents and blessings for the descendents of Ishmael. 3,400 years later we see the children of Isaac in the promised land Israel exactly where God said it would be. 3,400 years later we see the children of Ishmael (Arabs) still kicking at brother Isaac just as God said.
      Enough proof to the Living Word of God?

      February 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      You love your babble. You can dream all you want and be satisfied with the little comfort that you gain from it. You can deny the ultimate fear of death but you'll still die. You want to stay in the bubble of comfort where you don't have to face discomfort that is your right.

      You still don't have a reason to believe what you believe. You're a lump of emotional need and that is all you will ever be.
      Shove your babble up your behind because it's purpose is just that.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Bet

      @ fred

      Moses didn't exist, Abraham didn't exist, Ishmael and Isaac didn't exist. Using the babble to prove the babble isn't proof.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      If I understand you correctly you were caught flat footed that we have proof of a promise given to Abraham 4,078 years ago and recorded by Moses 3,400 years ago staying true to this very day. Not knowing what you say you retreated to the darkness.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      Caught? By what?

      In all your life you just have your babble. Have you ever had a decent thought in your entire life outside of your babble?

      February 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      Tell me fred just how pathetic you are? Define your status – do an introspection on yourself.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • fred

      Bet
      Oh, so your excuse for a fact that is known without doubt (descendents of Ishmael and Isaac) to confirm what the Bible says is a simple shake of the head in disbelief? The worst of skeptics attributes the accounts in Genesis to the Jews of Babylon in 750BC. I image your claim would be…………….eh they just got lucky?

      February 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      At best we would be equally pathetic. You post godless material with a passion and I find the need to correct your babble while you find a good place to hide the babble.
      I would like to think I am driven by good thoughts how about you? If there is any confusion about good thought verses bad thought I keep my Bible in plain sight while you think of a nasty place to keep it.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      You're driven by good thoughts? How do you define what is good? Go on.. let everyone hear your thoughts are as 'good'.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      No one is good but God as Jesus said.
      The rest us are shades of gray.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      So you're an idiot then. You turn to a delusion to say only that 'figure' can tell me? Do laugh at yourself for saying it.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      Any other response would be relative and as you know it was moral relativism that led to the pederasty of the Greeks. Need I remind you how the mothers would offer their young boys up to dirty old men in order to gain social status. Have you forgotten how the entire community applauded the $exualization of children.
      It was not much different in the days of Baal 4,000 years ago where they justified the sacrifice of babies into the red hot brass arms of their fertility god.

      Ok, we could drift towards today’s concept of good in which case my first conclusion still stands you and I are equal in terms of goodness. Do you really think we are good?

      February 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      You can ask yourself can you not? If you're asking me – why? You have your babble to quote from so do go on.

      Since it's your job to convince me that your delusuion is real .. try it and keep failing because you have nothing.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      “it's your job to convince me that your delusuion is real”
      =>I just did at the very beginning when I clearly showed the promise God made to Abraham was true and remains true to this date.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      No fred.. you're just being an idiot. What you made was a claim. You based your claim through you babble. Do you understand that fact? You made a claim. Produce a god to back it up stupid.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • fred

      Prove to me that Answer is Godless you say. Well I would produce your posts and cite your very words.
      -ok, I did cite the words of God which everyone can read and by golly they are true there is the Nation of Israel and Nations of Ishmael God answers promises to this day.

      -In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…..oops I see the creation do you?
      -carry my Gospel to all the lands of the earth…..oops the gospel is in all the lands
      -my children (believers) will walk by faith and not by sight…..oops we do!
      -the Holy Spirit will dwell in you and you will see the things of God…..oopps we do!

      February 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Posts by fred contain multiple instances of the fallacy of Circular Reasoning.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      February 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      Still no god there stupid.

      Try again. Try til you die and you'd still be that empty wretch that you are.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Really?

      "words of God which everyone can read and by golly they are true"

      The fact that archaeological evidence confirms that Jehu was an actual historical character confirms only that he was an actual historical character. It does not confirm the historical accuracy of everything that the Bible attributed to him. Did a "son of the prophets" go to Ramoth-gilead and anoint Jehu king of Israel while the reigning king was home in Jezreel recovering from battle wounds (2 Kings 9:1-10)? Did Jehu then ride to Jezreel in a chariot and massacre the Israelite royal family and usurp the throne (2 Kings 9:16 ff)? We simply cannot determine this from an Assyrian inscription that claimed Jehu paid tribute to Shalmaneser, so in the absence of disinterested, nonbiblical records that attest to these events, it is hardly accurate to say that archaeology has proven the historicity of what the Bible recorded about Jehu. Likewise, extrabiblical references to Nebuchadnezzar may confirm his historical existence, but they do not corroborate the accuracy of such biblical claims as his dream that Daniel interpreted (Dan. 2) or his seven-year period of insanity (Dan. 4:4-37). To so argue is to read entirely too much into the archaeological records.

      The Moabite Stone, for example, corroborates the biblical claim that there was a king of Moab named Mesha, but the inscription on the stone gives a different account of the war between Moab and the Israelites recorded in 2 Kings 3. Mesha's inscription on the stone claimed overwhelming victory, but the biblical account claims that the Israelites routed the Moabite forces and withdrew only after they saw Mesha sacrifice his eldest son as a burnt offering on the wall of the city the Moabites had retreated to (2 Kings 3:26-27). So the Moabite Stone, rather than corroborating the accuracy of the biblical record, gives reason to suspect that both accounts are biased. Mesha's inscription gave an account favorable to the Moabites, and the biblical account was slanted to favor the Israelites. The actual truth about the battle will probably never be known.

      A notable example would be the account of Joshua's conquest and destruction of the Canaanite city of Ai. According to Joshua 8, Israelite forces attacked Ai, burned it, "utterly destroyed all the inhabitants," and made it a "heap forever" (vs:26-28). Extensive archaeological work at the site of Ai, however, has revealed that the city was destroyed and burned around 2400 B. C., which would have been over a thousand years before the time of Joshua. Joseph Callaway, a conservative Southern Baptist and professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spent nine years excavating the ruins of ancient Ai and afterwards reported that what he found there contradicted the biblical record.

      The evidence from Ai was mainly negative. There was a great walled city there beginning about 3000 B. C., more than 1,800 years before Israel's emergence in Canaan. But this city was destroyed about 2400 B. C., after which the site was abandoned.

      Despite extensive excavation, no evidence of a Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B. C.) Canaanite city was found. In short, there was no Canaanite city here for Joshua to conquer (Biblical Archaeology Review, "Joseph A. Callaway: 1920-1988," November/December 1988, p. 24, emphasis added).

      This same article quoted what Callaway had earlier said when announcing the results of his nine-year excavation of Ai.

      Archaeology has wiped out the historical credibility of the conquest of Ai as reported in Joshua 7-8. The Joint Expedition to Ai worked nine seasons between 1964 and 1976... only to eliminate the historical underpinning of the Ai account in the Bible (Ibid., p. 24).

      Archaeological silence is another problem that biblical inerrantists don't like to talk about. According to the Bible, the Israelite tribes were united into one nation that had a glorious history during the reigns of king David and his son Solomon, yet the archaeological record is completely silent about these two kings except for two disputed inscriptions that some think are references to "the house of David." This is strange indeed considering that references to Hebrew kings of much less biblical importance (Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Zedekiah, etc.) have been found in extrabiblical records. This archaeological silence doesn't prove that David and Solomon did not exist, but it certainly gives all but biblical inerrantists pause to wonder.

      Another case in point is the biblical record of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and their subsequent 40-year wandering in the Sinai wilderness. According to census figures in the book of Numbers, the Israelite population would have been between 2.5 to 3 million people, all of whom died in the wilderness for their disobedience, yet extensive archaeological work by Israeli archaeologist Eliezer Oren over a period of 10 years "failed to provide a single shred of evidence that the biblical account of the Exodus from Egypt ever happened"

      February 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • fred

      Really?
      Go back and look at all the atheists and skeptics that said the Old Testament was made up in 400AD then bang the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Then they said the translations were so bad it was meaningless. OOpps 99.9% accurate.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Bob

      fred, errors in the bible are legion. That's hardly even worth debating. If there weren't errors, then why has that Christian book of nasty needed so many corrections?

      For that matter, given that your "god" apparently knows our capabilities, why the use of such a stale, questionable text to get its message out, and the use of standards that we may not comprehend? A frequently retranslated text from 2000 years ago that is contradicted by our modern understanding of the world should not be accepted as certainty by any thinking person. Why is it that your "god" can't get with the past decade and produce his own website (no, religious shill sites don't count), or even push some tweets out? Even the pope, that sick hider of child molesters, can do the latter, as can most children.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Cindy

      That's a great point Bob. So where are God's tweets? How come he's not even on facebook. Heck, even my gran is.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      So you walk around with your eyes closed and trust your deity to guide you throughout the day? Ooops, no, you don't.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      Walk by faith means to trust God has your best interest a hand when you proceed with the presence of God.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      So find a busy intersection, close your eyes and trust your deity to see you safely across the road. Don't be a hypocrite.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      Systems were updated. We went from God in the smoke, to God in the ark, to God in the Temple, God in man (Jesus) and now God is with us through the Holy Spirit. We have been wired 24/7 for 2,000 years, it is the man that is just catching up.
      As for the godless they depend upon manmade devices since they chose the wisdom of man over the wisdom of God after listening to the serpent.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      Even Jesus refused to test God

      February 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      Are you praying those words on my screen or are you using a manmade device to put them on my screen? You godless heathen!

      February 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      Yeah, lots of people refuse to test themselves.

      How is it a test to put your absolute faith in your deity? Stay at home, pray and all will be achieved. Oh? You are unwilling to do this? Why is that? Afraid of possibly starving to death when the deity provides no food? Stinking badly when the deity provides no bathwater? Oh hell, I said stay at home, didn't I? Damn the home, the deity will provide shelter should it find you faithful enough.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      Did you forget the garden? Everything was taken care of until man elected not to be in that presence of God. Since that time we are not in the garden but in the world. We can choose to accept the presence of God back in our lives any time. When we do we have eternal life as before. Now we just want to help others find that life.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      Fine, help me find the way by finding that busy intersection and letting your deity do its thing. Scoot, go now, video evidence is always appreciated.

      Accidentally posted this on page 5, my bad.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  20. CrossCountry

    Pass the popcorn. Its always so amusing when people debate 'sin'. Get your bucket of stones ready!!

    February 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't fret. Chard is selling them, 3 for a buck.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Damocles

      Stone the unbeliever! Toppins a bag!

      February 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Dam! How you doin'?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Damocles

      @tom

      Living like a rockstar, as usual. Et tu?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Matthias: Look, I don't think it should be a sin, just for saying "Jehovah".
      [Everyone gasps]
      Jewish Official: You're only making it worse for yourself!
      Matthias: Making it worse? How can it be worse? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!
      Jewish Official: I'm warning you! If you say "Jehovah" one more time (gets hit with rock) RIGHT! Who did that? Come on, who did it?
      Stoners: She did! She did! (suddenly speaking as men) He! He did! He!
      Jewish Official: Was it you?
      Stoner: Yes.
      Jewish Official: Right...
      Stoner: Well you did say "Jehovah. "
      [Crowd throws rocks at the stoner]
      Jewish Official: STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW! STOP IT! All right, no one is to stone _anyone_ until I blow this whistle. Even... and I want to make this absolutely clear... even if they do say, "Jehovah. "

      February 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

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

      February 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Haha, Damo. You crack me up. I'm fine; so glad it's Friday!

      February 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Damocles

      Yes, it is definitely a good day to be friday. I should clarify that I live the life of a rockstar after all the fame, money and women have gone.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      But you have the memories, Damo....

      February 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Damocles

      They are a bit hazy and possibly not mine, but yes, I do have the memories.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      I feel like I missed the party! *pouts..kicks dirt with feet..hands in pockets*

      love love this video.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
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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.