By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – The Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has rallied around its patriarch, saying his controversial comments on homosexuality are "grounded in the teachings of the Bible." But Scripture is fiercely contested ground, and some experts say Phil Robertson misinterprets a key Bible verse.
A&E, the network that broadcasts the hugely popular "Duck Dynasty" show, suspended Robertson for a now infamous interview with GQ magazine. In the article, Robertson, who became a born-again Christian in the 1970s after a prodigal youth, is asked to define "sin."
Here's what Robertson says: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Robertson, 67, then paraphrases a Bible passage from the New Testament: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”
That's a pretty close citation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which is a letter from Paul, often called the father of Christianity theology, to a fledgling Christian community in Corinth, Greece.
Here's what Paul's passage says, as rendered in the New International Version, by far the most popular translation among evangelicals and conservative Christians such as Robertson:
"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the U.S. population, tend to take that passage at face value. The Robertson family pastor, for instance, told CNN on Thursday that "the verse explains itself."
Robertson himself is no religious neophyte. He's an elder in the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ and offers spiritual counseling, charity and Bible studies to many in his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana, the family pastor, Mike Kellett told CNN.
The "Duck Dynasty" star also preaches around the country to conservatives that flock to hear his blend of woodsy, plainspoken Christianity.
Many conservatives backed Robertson's views on Scripture and homosexuality this week, if not the "crude" way he argued his point to GQ.
My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality
But other Bible experts said the Scripture Robertson cited isn't quite clear about homosexuality.
"A lot of people misread this text because it's so complicated," said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.
First, scholars say, we have to look at the context surrounding Paul's letter.
The Christian leader is trying to get the quarreling Corinthians to stop taking each other to civil courts and being judgmental. "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already," Paul says.
Things were supposed to be different after they became Christian believers, Paul continues; they were supposed to stop their sinful ways.
Then Paul lists some of their sins of the past, including greed, drinking too much, worshipping idols and sexual immorality. "That is what some of you were," Paul says. "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
The list of sins is likely based on rumors that Paul heard about Corinth, says Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania who has studied the Bible's teachings on homosexuality. Bible scholars call it a "vice list," and it appears several times in Scripture.
So what does Paul's "vice list" say about homosexuality? That's the tricky part.
The first word Paul uses is "malakoi," which means "soft" in Greek, according to Allen. By analogy, the word came to mean "effeminate," which is how the King James Version of the Bible translates it.
"In the ancient world, it would refer to a boy in a relationship with an older man," Allen said. "It was pederasty, not homosexuality as we think of it today."
The other relevant word on Paul's "vice list" is "arsenokotai," which means "male sex." It refers to the other half in the man-boy relationship, common in Greece at the time, Allen said, the older male having sex with the "soft one."
"It isn't anything to do with what we would see today in an intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults," said Allen, who is co-authoring an upcoming book on homosexuality and heterosexuality in the church.
My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality
Even so, scholars such as Allen acknowledge there are no Bible passages that support same-sex relationships, and at least seven that appear to condemn gay sex.
"There's no way around the fact that those passages take a negative view of homosexuality, and nowhere in the Bible is a positive view offered," Allen said. "So conservatives and liberals continue to debate."
Liberals say that some parts of the Bible offered particular truths for a specific times and places but those times and places, as well as human understanding of sexuality, have progressed dramatically.
"The Bible may be divinely inspired, but its authors were human and saw, as St. Paul puts it, through a glass darkly," said Jim Naughton, a Christian gay rights activist and communications consultant. "On the subject of homosexuality, the Bible doesn’t mean what Phil Robertson thinks it means."
Conservatives such as Robertson, on the other hand, argue that the Bible is the bedrock of their faith, unchanging and unalterable. "We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word," the Robertson family said Thursday.
For decades, the gulf between the two sides has divided denominations, churches and families. To paraphrase Lincoln, both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke his aid to argue against each other. Which is why our contemporary debate over homosexuality is so fierce, and so seemingly unending.
The buy bull was written by men. Only a fool would think it's the word of god. Religion was created to control people. Most
who be lie ve in this nonsense, were brainwashed as children. "Prophet" means "Profit". Your "souls" are on the bottom of your feet, "soles". Just a word game, baby.
You have it all figured out, don't you?
is not what he said about gays, he also said that blacks were happy during the Jim Crow era.
Due to the fact that the letter is long, I will only give the link to it but promise it is worth the read regardless of what you believe:
It's amazing to me how everyone feels someone interprets the Bible wrong if it doesn't fit their belief. The Bible has always been about a Righteous God and the desire to have a relationship with mankind...but on His terms. It's never been about "accepting everyone as they are" without change going forward. "Repent" God, Jesus, the Apostles said. And you have to ask from what? It's in the Bible.
40,000 versions of christianity...seems EVERYONE interprets it wrong.
Many claims in the bible have been dismissed due to actual observance and factual evidence. Why should anyone care what the bible says at this point? It's 2013.
Certain single sins including gayness are not the basic problem of today (single sins are only the consequence of a deeper problem).
What is our basic problem?
Our basic problem today is materialism. Never in history people worldwide were so busy with manufacturing and consuming goods – it makes use of our whole time.
The most crazy point of the story is that even very many Christians, maybe nominal Christians, spend their whole time for the service of the Mammon, the God of materialism, whereby in most cases they don't feel guilty but regard this as the usual Western lifestyle which they cannot escape. However, when we serve the Mammon, we are spiritually dead, and it is only a matter of time until we sink into the abyss of sin.
The ancient Greeks and Romans had not completely forgotten the Creator but beside him they adored their idols like Zeus and Hermes and the Roman Emperor. Today certainly many of us have not forgotten the invisible God but beside him we adore Mammon.
Conclusion: We should not have too many strong feelings about gays but consider our own state. Do we serve God or the Mammon? Jesus said that we cannot serve God and the Mammon at the same time. That should make us minding.
Right now everybody can return to the source of life, the invisbile God, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Abandon the Mammon and follow Jesus right now. Administrate your work life and possession according to God's will.
Being connected with the source of life, we certainly will not sink into the abyss of sin.
Of course, by natural power we cannot follow Jesus but we need "his call", the call of the sacral Jesus. What is that today? That is sacramental baptism including infant baptism where we get connected with the releasing power of Jesus' sacrifice, and become able to follow Jesus.
Let's face it, they dynasty is a good example of what happens when you put money in the hands of dumb people.
The fool has said in his heart "there is no God."
For God has made it evident to them.
They are without excuse.
If you really want to know the evidence, it fills a book. There are several written by people who started on a journey of proving Christianity was a crock, only to turn based on the real evidence. THE CASE FOR CHRIST is one although I like EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT.
Doubt you really want to put the time into it, but if you really wanted the evidence, thought I'd share.
Paula: Using the book to defend the book is not evidence. That is circular reasoning...try again!
I have put time into it, sadly it looks like you are the one who hasn't!
Just because someone wrote a book, does not validate what is written in that book. Any evidence that is verifiable and corroborated?
If there was evidence for a god then you would no longer be dealing with religious belief. Self explanatory. No god has ever been measured. There isn't even any evidence for christ. All sources for christ come from people who never witnessed the events long after the events were claimed to occur. There are no sources contemporary to the time all this was said to taken place from actual eyewitnesses.
Self affirming crap. Standard brainwashing/indoctrination technique.
Odd your religion of "love" calls any who do not believe in the wild impossible stories, and many that are clearly false, fools and swine....some hypocritical religion you have there.
Basically that means the Dalai Lama is a fool and swine.....You are a christian supremacist.
A fool has said in his heart, "I will dismiss observable evidence for wishful thinking." Observing the universe....shows nothing of gods, let alone a specific god. No god has ever been measured or presented observable evidence to claim it real. It is nothing more than an assertion. Therefore, nothing has been made evident.
no, the fools are the ones who feel they speak through god
fvck you and your proxy threat, d-bag
And you see what happens when you allow a certain portion of the population to vote more than once, and when you allow illegals to vote, you get a bogus potus.
Thank goodness the president isnt voted into office by a popular vote of the people. Otherwise ALL of our presidents would be just as disasterous as President Obama.
Well, that didn't take long! I knew the illegitimate President issue would come up, you forgot the part about being born in Kenya and his mom wasn't really his mom, and in reality he was created by Black Voo Doo WitchDoctor in order to bring down the mighty U S A, oh yea don't forget Donald (the elaborate combover King) Trump for President!!! Yea Right!
I am with you, Joh. I still have not gotten over what happened in Florida back in 2000.
Let’s face it, the dynasty was never the same after Fudd shot Daffy. I still shudder when I recollect the way his beak spun round and round, before finally settling on the back of his head.
So that's what this show is about.
I agree, poor little black duck.
PG; now you ruined it for the rest of us that missed the final episode. thanks,j
Sure, like anyone at CNN would actually know what the Bible says . . . ha ha ha. Good one.
Apparently many christians themselves don't know what the bible says....let alone the history behind the bible.
Yeah I like the part in the bible where it says sodomy is ok.
It doesn't. Quote it. Dare you
I was going to say the same thing. The left consistently twists Scripture whenever it is politically feasible to score some sort of Christian points but ignores those portions of Scripture that disagree with its ideology such as abortion and gay marriage.
Its interesting to me that every one brings up whats in his contract except none of us really knows what his contract says or doesn't say. The man stated his views right or wrong they are his views he is allowed to have them and yes if he says them out loud then he must suffer the consequences. A&E have stated their views and now must also suffer the same consequences.
thanks, I really wonder why people who fight for rights to have freedom of expression and speech and marriage and now after gaining these suddenly want to keep these same freedoms from others.
Do you think a network should be forced to keep on board a kids science show host who posts videos online supporting the goals of NAMBLA or the KKK?If so, you are consistent. If not, you have to accept that there is an area of freedom that we allow to employers of public figures in limiting the speech in as far as it would represent their business.
sara, I have no problem with what they do since I would never waste my time watching those things but also do not judge them,(not my job) I believe there is a judge that can not be too happy with any of what is going on. Like the man that stated his belief when asked, I just like coming here to share mine but find opening my thoughts and typing them seems to bring various feedback. Like I said before I find it amazing how many seem to have a problem with that but are quick to want all to go along with their beliefs. Also I have seen your comments and enjoy when anyone uses some degree of intelligence but if I find someone disgusting I just do not respond. Sorry I missed yours earlier, thanks, j
also if you look back here there is another james and one with a cap.J. hope I am never confused with either since that is why I usually stop commenting. I try to end my posts the same, thanks, j
If you truly followed your Jesus character, you would NEVER tell others what they "need" do.
You would only criticize yourself...and judging from your posts, there is a huge amount to work on.
Mind yourself, and stop judging EVERYONE else.
Incorrect, igaftr. Christ told us to make a righteous judgment. In following Him, we are to ensure that the church teaches His message, that is what Phil is doing. We have the absolute right to point out sin and to declare it for what it is, a falling away from God's righteousness. Christ also spells out that we are to ensure that we are clean before pointing out the sin in others. But this does not preclude us from identifying sin in others lives.
Can there be justice without consequence?
To all the watchers of "Duck Dung":
o Is it a crime/sin to believe in mythical gods especially when said belief relies on the monetary support from those who believe in these inanities when said money could be used to feed the poor? Provide medical care? Provide education?
Indeed it is a crime/sin that cries out for immediate rectification !!!
Putting monetary values on these crimes/sins:
The crimes of Islam:
There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.
– One trillion dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan.
– Eighteen billion dollars/yr. to Pakistan
– Four billion dollars/yr. to Egypt.
The Christian crimes/sins:
There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!
– The Mormon ti-the empire is tax exempt as are all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits costing the taxpayers billions a year in tax revenue.
– the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama: $385 million/yr. and another $2 billion/yr. in grants.
Get this man a doctor, he has gone off the edge
You have absolutely no idea where Christians dollars go and what they are used for. Please climb back over the fence to the insane asylum and to continue your ramblings
Our founders of this country established this country on the Bible and it's teaching.
Please pack you bags and misguided opinions and take them to another country.
There are always economics built into one's beliefs. For example, is Susan Jacoby an atheist because there is money to be made from books, speeches and columns on the subject? Unless she and others in the business of making good income from books, etc. on religion, secularism, or atheism take a vow of poverty, we will never know.
Glen Beck, a Mormon, $32 million in 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/glenn-beck-earned-32-mill_n_529903.html
and from guidestar.org
Rev. Franklin Graham $800,000+/yr.
Rev. Billy Graham, $400,000/yr
Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield $331,708/yr
Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, $200,000/yr
Erica Brown $134,221/yr
Eboo Patel $120,000/yr and his “non-profit’s” investment portfolio of $1.2 million
Dr. Herb Silverman $100,000/yr. ?
Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy, $400,000/yr/ea estimated
Susan Jacoby ????
"The first divergence between Mormon economics and that of other denominations is the t-ithe. Most churches take in the greater part of their income through donations. Very few, however, impose a compulsory 10% income tax on their members. Ti-thes are collected locally, with much of the money pas-sed on informally to local lay leaders at Sunday services. "By Monday," says Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone, an independent Mormon magazine, the church authorities in Salt Lake City "know every cent that's been collected and have made sure the money is deposited in banks." There is a lot to deposit. Last year $5.2 billion in t-ithes flowed into Salt Lake City, $4.9 billion of which came from American Mormons."
"The Mormons are stewards of a different str-ipe. Their charitable spending and temple building are prodi-gious. But where other churches spend most of what they receive in a given year, the Latter-day Saints employ vast amounts of money in investments that TIME estimates to be at least $6 billion strong. Even more unusual, most of this money is not in bonds or stock in other peoples' companies but is invested directly in church-owned, for-profit concerns, the largest of which are in agribusiness, media, insurance, travel and real estate. Deseret Management Corp., the company through which the church holds almost all its commercial as-sets, is one of the largest owners of farm and ranchland in the country, including 49 for-profit parcels in addition to the Deseret Ranch. Besides the Bonneville International chain and Beneficial Life, the church owns a 52% holding in ZCMI, Utah's largest department-store chain.
All told, TIME estimates that the Latter-day Saints farmland and financial investments total some $11 billion, and that the church's non-t-ithe income from its investments exceeds $600 million. "
Interesting how Christians rally around Christian corporations that wish to discriminate and/or flaunt laws ( Chik-fil-A, Tyson Foods, Hobby Lobby, Service Master, etc.). If you do not toe the Christian line and grovel before the employer showing how pious you are, you are out the door. Yet when an employee of A&E disregards stipulations in his contract and is suspended, the Christians get all up in arms crying foul. Good for the goose not for the gander mentality of Christians, pathetic.
YES AND GAYS AND LESBIANS CAN PREACH TOLERANCE BUT NOT PRACTICE IT? SUCH A HYPOCRITE!
Yes, and those that comment on issues
Please tell me what you think "tolerance" means? Do you seriously think anyone is asking that every opinion be accepted without question?
Remember Roberston's wealth is built on geese genocide.
That explains his fowl mood
If you want to say nasty things about people don't sign a morals contract that forbids it. These are legal for media personalities and have stood up in court. If you want to object become an activist to change the law, but don't whine about someone being held up against a legally recognized breach of contract. If you think a children's TV show should be forced to keep on a host who decides to also host a show promoting white supremacy or who is arrested for child molestation then you may really be against morality clauses. If so, contact your representatives. If not, then you have to accept this guy just screwed up his contract.
I was framed and didn't have a Pope covering my ass.
Phil is a model American, him and his family. I think there is something wrong if any American thinks its ok, cool, in style to be gay. I am not against people being gay I just don't think my kids need to see it. I would let my kids hangout with phil before I would let them watch a show where some gay guy is running around being a flamer. AND duck dynasty has 14 million viewers I bet none are gay .
You'll just have to suck it up and be a better parent. You nor your children will avoid gay people, they exist on this planet regardless of how small minded you may wish to be about it. They cause no harm...not much that is natural does; they pay taxes like you, they work, they raise children and as of yesterday they are granted equal rights in 18 states.
Phil and his family are ignorant bigots who base their judgement of gays off of their belief...a belief that is outdated in what the doctrine says about the subject.
It is people like you who raise the bullies of this world, teaching innocent children that gay is wrong and that they are not good people.
The only ones doing anything wrong are people like you who remain ignorant of the updated facts. Bad parenting at best!
I'm sure you'd change your small mind about this if one of your children was gay or maybe you wouldn't.
God destroyed sodom and gomorrah for what? Just who is not being tolerant of another's views and opinions!
It is the discovery insti-tute that is trying to prevent that facts from being taught.
Ah but your imaginary friend is not my imaginary friend and those words you disgustingly accept as truth don't have pertinence in reality, at least not outside of your home or church. You reside in a secular country where the laws pertain to everyone and are not based off of your bible...are you saying the founding fathers were intolerant?
He is well entitled to his views and bigotry and we are well entitled to call him out on them. Views like that belong in the dark ages, not in the 21st century.
Bigotry wrapped in scripture is still bigotry..
God destroyed sodom and gomorrah for what?
Well considering that fairy tale story never happened reasons are unimportant. But the sin of Sodom was greed not gay coupling.
You are so correct GOD IS NOT TOLERANT OF SIN! Why? Because it cost Him, His one and only sinless Son. To give you a taste of what this means. Think of giving up your only child for a stranger, not just a stranger but the worse pervert ever to prevent him from going to an endless hell of suffering, why because of His love for mankind, for God is Love.....through this response, the Lord is speaking to you to repent of your ways, surrender to His will in your life. He will then come into your heart, change you and make you His son. By the way, contrary to popular belief, we are not all God's children. We are all His creations, but only those that have received Him in their hearts are His children...I beg you, do this now.
GEB: See that is the difference between us and your god, we wouldn't be so quick to give up our children to 'teach' a lesson. Your god is a vindictive, hate mongering, pedophile, women hating, war mongering, murderous beast...read your bible some time and not just the warm fuzzy parts.
My, my, what a temper we have....it's your choice to believe in what you want, however, it is a fool who discounts a thing without fully investigating it. I have found that people that have opinions similar to yours have drawn a conclusion either based on complete ignorance of as a result of a past hurt, instead of humbling themselves FIRST and not drawing a preconceived opinion and truely seek God through His scriptures. The fact of the matter is God loves you so much that He used His only Son as a ransom for you, should that alone be enough of a reason to try and seek the Truth.
Keep in mind, we will all live forever (that is our spirit will) the only question is where
No temper at all. You are the one making fallacious claims based strictly on faith, intolerance of those claims is not anger or anything, it is simply intolerance. I do not seek that which I dismiss due to the complete lack of evidence for it.
It is a weak, gullible mind that accepts things without evidence.
There is no evidence that jesus died on a cross and what kind of parent would allow that to happen to begin with?
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens.
So do you think gays have rights? What would you do if your child told you they were gay? How are you so sure you have the right god? Have you personally looked past the bible for answers or did you stop looking for answers due to having that book?
The book does not speak of gays but it does speak of greed and Mr Duck Dude had no problem making millions off of the silly fans...seems rather hypocritical.
I see no reason to believe that we live forever, that totally devalues the only life any of us are guaranteed of...if you're only living for what could be then you're not really living.
First of all, the truth of God will not be revealed to those who resist it, those who choose to live in a willful ignorance. As I once was, until I hit rock bottom (and I praise God I did). The bible says that God resists the proud but He lifts up the humble. I pray that you too hit your personal bottom and you loose your pride so that you can gain His Truth, before its too late.
GEB: Using the bible to defend your god is circular reasoning, outside of your bible there is no evidence for your god, just like outside of the Quaran there is no evidence for that god. Willful ignorance is believing without evidence. I happen to care that my beliefs are supported by evidence and in turn facts...you strictly base your beliefs off of one book that can be shown to be wrong on so many issues; a book that we know was written by man; a book that hasn't been updated in 2000+ years.
I was raised in a very christian home, my Mom was a devout christian believing to the very end she would be with god. I have read the bible and I have looked outside of it and I've done a tremendous amount of research, which is what has lead me to the conclusion I am at...I simply see no reason to believe due to the complete lack of evidence.
I don't want your prayers...it is a weak minded attempt from christians to play the 'pity card'...we don't want your pity, we're not suffering and in fact I would think most of us would agree that life has taken on a vastly, more awe inspiring meaning since giving up our imaginary friends-more value is placed on our lives or at least that is my opinion. I also face death head on now, before I could get by some of the grief by thinking it was only a temporary parting but once again reality sets in and once this life ends, that's it...no evidence to say otherwise. I don't judge people based on who they love or what they do in the privacy of their homes...I base my judgements off of how people treat each other in general. I don't need a god to tell me to be nice and polite, to show compasion and respect where granted or to tell me that inflicting pain is damaging or to tell me that denying equal rights over who a person loves is unfair and immoral. I'm honestly better off without your guidelines...if you can't live without them then you're not a moral person to begin with.
No I thank my parents for creating me by having se-x !
Because it cost Him, His one and only sinless Son.
That's BS and you know it. God sacrificed nothing. Jesus had a bad weekend(many have suffered far longer and worse) and he recovered completely, right? That is how the story ends, right?
The entire atonement idea is ridiculous on every level. Seriously, don't you people ever actually think about what you're saying?
"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." –
On your deathbed you may want to do a shout out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" because there is not going to be any judgement, heaven or hell, it is all man made myth. You have time to get straight with reality, try.
If I had the ability to make that stranger 'sinless' from the beginning, I think I'd go with that option.
S & D, just another OT myth.
Some added details about the OT:
origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.
New Torah For Modern Minds
“Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).
The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."
...and your point?
Your first post was irrelevant, you second Pascal's wager. His only son, always wondered about that him being god and all. I would have thought being a wise god he would have had sons in all of the diverse cultures of the time throughout the world, why just Israel? If you believe jesus is his only son, whose fault is that, he could have immaculately knocked up any number of Mary's. Sacrificed his son for a weekend, how magnanimous.
Dennis, You seem to be under the impression that people are arguing that all views should be tolerated. No one is arguing that. No one thinks that if someone spews hatred towards people based on characteristics of birth or things that don't hurt others that we should simply ignore that. I think you misunderstand the concept of tolerance.
I always find it so strange that people find a deity when they hit 'rock bottom'. I don't really hear a story of something like 'I was having a fantastic life, everything was going my way and I just decided to add worshipping a deity to my already long list of accomplishments'.
Ezekiel 16:49-50: 49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
GEB" If it is voluntarily given up, how is it a cost?
Could god not have forgiven without having his son whacked?
"it is a fool who discounts a thing without fully investigating it"
really, GEB? have you investigated the sacred texts of every religion you dismiss?
-you say, "First of all, the truth of God will not be revealed to those who resist it"
then....such a thing isn't concern about seeking truth. Truth will present itself whether someone seek it or not. That's what evidence does. Facts stand regardless of someone's opinion. Because facts present observable data to be confirmed. An individual can demand the earth is flat all they want....but when we see satellite imagery from outside the planet showing otherwise....we drop the opinion and accept the facts. Asking for evidence, which truth demands, isn't "resisting" anything. Nor is it being prideful. It's a logical step. If someone tells you to believe that $1000 will magically appear under your bed later if you give them the same amount upfront, it's not 'humble" to believe them. It's stupid. Attempting to force someone to believe a claim without evidence is sheer stupidity. THAT is the pinnacle of willful ignorance. It's not prideful to seek evidence so you won't be conned. How do you think so many religions began in human history. ALL religions depend on the willful faith of it's believer to remain relevant.
If this mere belief is something only limited within an individual's mind rather than outside it.....well congratulations, you and schizophrenics have something in common.
TEACH TOLERANCE BUT NOT PRACTICE IT! HYPOCRITE! FIRST OF ALL! YOUR ONLY 3% OF THE POPULATION! RIGHT THERE WITH THE KKK! CHRISTIANS REPRESENT 90% OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION! ENOUGH SAID!
Typical christian supremacist.
You are ware that the number of people that believe any given thing has no bearing on the validity of the belief, right?
And 90% is pretty far off, as is your 3%.
Try some research before screaming your post.
I think it's more accurate to say maybe 2% instead of 3%
onemadrussian: Nope, your stats are way off. Christians represent about 76% of the population but majority doesn't rule and majority doesn't make the belief any more accurate. There are 7 billion people on the planet of which only 2.8 billion believe in your god...what happens to the ones who don't believe? You do understand that the USA is not the center of the universe..right? If christians stopped being intolerant of equal rights, then we'd have no reason to be intolerant of them...keep it in your home and church and out of the public, you reside in a Secular country.
You are only hurting yourselves in the grand scheme of it...foot-in-mouth-syndrome...the more hate and bigotry you spew, the further behind you are left. Keep it up, the day will come when christianity falls in line with many other dead religions.
KKK are christian and the largest part of the USA prison population is also christian.
You'd be wrong.
6% of us citizens claim to be atheists, while 34% claim that religion has no part of their daily life.
That does not include those who are closeted atheists, who know how "loving " christians are to atheists.
It is still moot, as I said initialy...just because 10 billion believe something, does not change whether or not it is true.
Walking in Memphis, Marc Cohn
"She said. "Tell me are you a Christian, child?"
And I said. "Ma'am, I am tonight!"
Anyone can make a claim to a belief for any reason, just to go along to get along or for a perceived benefit. HALLELUJAH!
and your point??
I am a Christian American that you may label as "fundamental", "bigot", "intolerant", or "just plain stupid" as some will say.
I believe that the Holy Bible as the word of God and that Christ, God's Son came and died for all of mankind. I do not judge the Gay lifestyle. God does. I am commanded by God to love all. I am a humble sinful Christian and am thankful for all that God has done for me. I wish all who persecute my Biblical belief peace and love.
I don't care about the particular belief, I care about what is done in the name of that belief. You can hate, love, disapprove of, anyone you want, that's your right and I'd be the absolute last person to say that you must love everyone because that is just not realistic.
Aren't you judging it by calling it a lifestyle rather than an orientation?
I concur with Damocles here. If you wish for your belief and your personal rights to be respected than give that same respect to others, otherwise people will speak out...intolerance of intolerance is not bad.
In Response to Damocles,
I will be the first to apologize that the actions of "some" Christians has been hateful, rude and misguided. As I said before,
I am commanded by God to love. Does that mean that I find it easy to love everyone? No. But I must try. I live, work, and respect others rights to believe, practice, and voice their own opinions. I will again say I am not to judge. However, with that said, I have the right to say what I believe just as everyone else. I choose to talk out of respect.
Phil is no model to me. Just another fool who forget the truest saying, "The devil himself can quote scripture."
It is so surreal to read your rant. You who are the descedant of outcasts of many lands now find your selves now making rants about people who you find offensive. What is offensive here is that you enjoy the grace that has allowed you to be so insensitive to others unlike yourelves.
Phil says that "They are full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, god-haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil."
Phil Robertson sounds like a Rwandan warlord. No, we're not going to normalize this crazy talk from a culture in Louisiana that gave us Jim Crow, violence, oppression, and hate.
Oh wow, he's quite a piece of work. Extreme homophobic slander with creepy random hand gestures, suddenly he just goes off on duck calling, then abruptly to Terry Bradshaw?
Well, I never imagined he could think straight, and he didn't disappoint.
AMEN BROTHER!!!! YOU IGGORANT PEOPLE think this is just about what one man believes in.lol!!!! Do you not realize that the government is taking our right of freedom of speech and all you folks are following right along. This man speaks the truth!!!!!!
"To paraphrase Lincoln, both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke his aid to argue against each other."
Sin is sin, God doesn't want it. Argue all you like amongst yourselves, it won't convince God to want sin. You want to change the verses? You want to delete them? You want them left unsaid? What difference will it make? God doesn't want sin, regardless of what you think of the verses, he doesn't want sin.
You want to know how much God doesn't want sin? Ask the Son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he can tell you, in the Gospells, both how much God doesn't want sin, and how much he loves us, to send his only begotten son Jesus to die to pay the price for sins for those that believe him, repent and do the will of God.
God's version of sin does NOT include slavery, discriminations, and beating children for discipline.
So much for his definition of "sin".
But it does include wearing clothes made out of more than one fiber.
Strange guy, this god fella
Yes. After all, he does have his priorities. He can watch millions of people die, but the idea of s3x between 2 men is more than he can take.
If your God does not want sin and had foreknowledge of sin in its Creation, why did bring about its Creation? Did it have a choice? Was it able to refrain from Creation?
It's even messier than that. If God created it all according to his plan and had foreknowledge of everything that would happen, then even doing it is utterly pointless. There is no test because he already knows the results exactly. There is no sin or guilt because it all happens as he planned for it to happen, so it is only he who ever had any control. God is necessarily the only one who can be responsible, for he is the only one who chose. Everyone else only has the illusion of choice, but they can only do what he planned at the start.
And even he is trapped, for throughout the rest of time he must act according to what was put in motion at the start. Which is astoundingly boring, going through the motions exactly as you planned 13.8 billion years ago, no changes, knowing what will happen at every moment, no revelations or anything new. God is trapped too.
Just one of those lovely paradoxes of Christianity: God would have no motive to do creation as it offers him nothing he doesn't already know, and it traps him along with everyone else.
True. And Creation involves hell, a thing that did not have to exist but for Creation. God must coexist for eternity with hell and everyone who winds up there. God, perfectly good, would not have to coexist with evil but for its Creation.
Even if people can choose and do evil, the eternal torture of hell is cruel and unusual punishment of the most extreme sort. And worse, the only thing that gets you there is failure to believe; everything else can be forgiven if you believe. That's so astoundingly cruel and self-absorbed that God would necessarily have to be quite evil.
Not a paradox I guess, but one of the red flag items for me were these early apologists including Justin Martyr who claimed that Satan had performed reverse plagiarism to make earlier pagan stories that were oddly like the Gospels be known to the populations before the Gospels.
was these . . .
Not a paradox? Care to explain that?
Oh sorry – I started that off poorly. I was referring to what I wrote after that (not your nor Tom's posts). But what do you think about the claim of diabolical mimicry – a paradox?
I mean it seems ridiculous and that the opposite is more likely true, yet (especially being highly agnostic) I can't really claim it's absolutely untrue, so yeah – maybe that is a paradox.
Occam's razor is useful – there is less unfounded stuff to believe if actual diabolical mimicry is rejected in favour of people inventing stories of it. For one thing Satan doesn't need to be brought into it.
Oh. Okay, I gotcha now.
I think it is a really lame conspiracy theory fabricated by a Christian with an agenda. One could similarly make the claim that since the Bible talks about how Satan will come as a false messiah and deceive many, that considering the evil in the Bible and God's behavior, Christianity is actually the Devil's religion and "God" is actually Satan.
Yes – thanks, Tom. Some argue that there are no surviving texts that would prove the pagan stories to be valid, but that was never my issue. The odd excuse has always seemed unreasonable to me.
And it was from a number of early prominent apologists. I mention Justin Martyr because apologists today will reference him in one way or another from time to time in an attempt to validate something.
The Gilgamesh predates the Old Testament by quite a few centuries. That is the Sumerian flood narrative that obviously was the source for Noah's Ark. I think they have actual tablets of it that date before the Old Testament, and the story is thought to be much older than that.
So there are surviving texts.
Thought we were talking about a news article.
There is nothing that limits what we talk about here, and the digressions are often more interesting. Especially after 4,000 comments.
Got a problem with people having whatever conversation they like? Or is it that you don't like what is being said, and you are trying to stifle it?
Yep. It's pretty bad. No way around predeterminism concerning biblical literature.
Isaiah 45:7- I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil; I the LORD do all these things.
Romans 8:20- For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it.
Romans 9:21- "Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?"
Isaiah 14:24- The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
John 6:44- "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.."
Proverbs 16:9- "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
Ephesians 2:10- For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 1:11- In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will"
Romans 9:19-20- One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will? But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?" -well gee....if god planned you a certain way and you're not allowed to question it...why would such a god be considered just & fair? Stupid.
Very good response and nicely said my brother. God the Father is very serious when it comes to sin....we would be too if it cost us our ONLY Son. This also demonstrates His love for us, when he gives up His Only Son as a ransom for US. He loves us so much, BUT He hates and must destroy all sin and those who choose to embrace sin and refuse to repent of it.
Some people are in love with God, and some people are not. Some people want to know what they need to do to be right with God, and some people do not. Sin is a big factor in all this. If you love sin more than God, he doesn't want it, he won't accept it. You need to work on ending sin in your life, and get help from Jesus Christ of Nazareth to get forgiveness of sins, and help from him to get sin out of your life. Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God, he's that close, one with God. And God can dwell within you too, that close, right inside you, a love that close. Jesus can get you there, if you'll just believe him, read what he said, and do it. Jesus is that worth it, he's the best there is. That's why God sent him.
Well I would expect better from the creator of the universe than what Jesus was said to have offered.
Sin, free will and absolute and moral "truths" are all characteristics of a belief in the God of Israel. If one does not believe in the God of Israel, then it's not necessary to subscribe to these notions either – at least not in the sense in which theists would like to include you. For someone who does not believe in the God of Israel, telling them they are in love with God or not is just plain silly.
You're ignorant on the subject. The Old Testament was written by ancients....different culture and a different time. It takes the minimum of a Masters to even grasp Scripture....it's very complex and very deep with much information to learn. Also, Christianity did not end with St. John in 90 a.d. .... but it is a continual story through the Church and History.
That makes no sense. You are saying that nobody could understand scripture until about 500 year ago because there was no education that even remotely mirrored a Master's degree until then.
Andof course, what kind of god would make his message so inscrutable when he wanted people to understand?
The Clergy were highly educated in Monasteries and the laity lived a simple faith. Again, different time and different culture. You people keep taking you 21st century mind and projecting it on other times....that leads to pre-judging.
So what is your masters in, Fred?
I think "post-judging" would be more accurate.
What is your masters in, Fred?
and you want us to accept rules from people that existed in the first century. as you said, different culture, different time
Hebrews 13:8...God is the same yesterday, today and forever" SO...2 Timothy 2:15...Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (If you can right divide the truth alludes to the fact that the Word can be wrongly divided, or understood).
fred doesn't answer, he just blathers
GEB: Making my point. Words from a different time and a different culture. God does not change because god is an illusion
No reason to think any of it is anything more than myths then.
the old testament was written by ancients, but the new testament was not?
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2Tim 3:16
Saying it don't make it so
Divine inspiration is a very easy claim to make
scripture is inspired by god because scripture says it was inspired by god
bang up reasoning you got there
don't forget the apostate Adolf Hitler.
and don't forget that this is covered in the prophetic Word. the new testament is loaded with this prophecy. you cant miss it.
Do you really think the NT authors would have just slapped it together against the OT and hoped that people would think the two always belonged together? Of course the two screenplays had to fit together nicely. Get a clue, Austin.
Yet here in about 5 days you're taking the day off for Jesus' birth. As for the New and Old Testament, it is very complex how the two are woven together. There are 1000's of cross references going both ways. Not bad for a bunch of uneducated fisherman, other than Paul and Luke.
Of course – look what it was born from. Why throw away some good old stories when you can just spritz them up with some new self-validating magic and walla!
Can you give me some of the names of the 500 witnesses, Fred?
How about something they wrote. Do you have some writings from any of the famous 500, Fred?
Famous 500? You're a loon, dude. First of all, 95% couldn't read or write. Second, we have many writing from that era that didn't make it in the Canon of the New Testament. Get educated and read how the Catholic Bishops of the 4th Century had to weed out inspired books from non-inspired books. The Vatican library still has copies of those books.
I didn't ask for any old writing. I asked if you had something from any of the 500 witnesses. Or if you have any of their names. OK, so you don't have any names and you can't produce any writings from them. Guess that leaves Paul, the Joseph Smith of his day. Well, unless you have something else to add that doesn't come from some hearsay "historian"...
"Yet here in about 5 days you're taking the day off for Jesus' birth."
You know, today is Saturday, named for the ancient god Saturn. Do you know that this god, Saturn, was greatly worshipped for a couple of thousand years, with temples and feasts and sacrifices and all sorts of hoopla. Your "Christmas" mythology is the same kind of thing. One day it will remain in name only as a reference to past beliefs.
*Auld Lang Syne = "old long since" or "times gone by."
You're ignorant and blind. The Catholic Church has all sorts of Saints recorded from that time and date.... Many could have been part of the 500. Also, Jesus had a huge following.....they were still in Jerusalem after his resurrection and he appeared to them. And, you asked why didn't any of these 500 write something and I told you they were illiterate. Also, they didn't have pen and paper back then, only the rich could afford papyrus.
ALS, the pagan religions were local to the Mediterranean and did not conquer the globe. Also, those religions are dead. Father Abraham's religion lives on through Christianity. The New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament.
"The Catholic Church has all sorts of Saints recorded from that time and date.... Many could have been part of the 500"
So you can't be specific. I suggest you come back and let us know when you can be more specific. You're the one that said you've spent thousands of hours on biblical studies. Get me some specifics and then let's see who is ignorant and blind.
Pinhead, no one knows for certain the 500's names. Why do you keep harping on this, it's stupid. The Gospels show us that Jesus had huge followings. Why are you hung up on the fact that he appeared to those followers after his death? Why can't you comprehend the number 500? He fed 5000 that followed him.....so it's no big deal that 500 were in Jerusalem after Hid Resserection.
Fred: "no one knows for certain the 500's names."
Ah – so we don't have names and we don't have writing from these 500 and yet they seem to be a point of validation for Christians in that they were "witnesses". You know, we actually have more information about Joseph Smith's witnesses than these 500. We know their names and you know what – we could probably dig up the bones of some of them.
Fred: "The Gospels show us that Jesus had huge followings."
So what? Now you're trying to validate the Gospels from the Gospels? Isn't that a bit silly?
"Many could have been part of the 500. Also, Jesus had a huge following.....they were still in Jerusalem after his resurrection and he appeared to them. Also, they didn't have pen and paper back then, only the rich could afford papyrus."
So to sum this up: you can't name EVEN ONE, but know they were ALL illiterate and couldn't afford paper. Classic!
Observer, your mind is very closed. I stated facts..... Most people couldn't read or write, this is a fact throughout human history. They didn't have paper back the in Israel, they had sheep skin. And as for the 500, why does there have to be a list of names? The fact remains: from 12 disciples and their Master, Billions have become believers over the last 2000 years. Christianity has formed Western Culture.... And Western Culture has influenced the World. Live With It.
"Observer, your mind is very closed. I stated facts..... "
What makes them facts? You stated stories as "facts". Facts by definition can be independently verified. C'mon Fred....where are the independent verification? You are talking out of your sphincter and then following it up with a huge fallacious argument from popularity. Not very scholarly there....
Fred: " And as for the 500, why does there have to be a list of names? "
I believe I've made my point now quite clearly on Paul's alleged unnamed 500 "witnesses" above.
Fred: "The fact remains: from 12 disciples and their Master, Billions have become believers over the last 2000 years."
I get thousands of pieces of email each month in my spam folder. I don't have much use for it really.
Fred: "Christianity ..... Live With It."
I do fine without thanks. I mean if I decided to join up again, I'd have to consider whether I go it alone or with some organization. I could run down and join that sect in Mexico City that still sacrifices people – that would be one option. Or I could join up with the one group of Lutherans who officially still consider the Pope the Antichrist – that would be another option. Or I could join up with those Christians who let their children die because they don't believe in medical care – that would be another option. Or I could join the RC and promote death by disease in Africa because of their insipid stand on contraception. Gee – all the choices – what to do...
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.