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Will camel discovery break the Bible's back?
Camels, shown here in the Liwa desert outside Abu Dhabi, are the subject of a surprising new discovery.
February 11th, 2014
01:56 PM ET

Will camel discovery break the Bible's back?

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) – It’s been a rough 2014 for the book of Genesis.

First a Noah’s Ark discovery raised a flood of questions, then there was the much-hyped debate over life’s origins between Bill Nye the Science Guy and creationist Ken Ham.

And now this: a scientific report establishing that camels, the basic mode of transportation for the biblical patriarchs, weren’t domesticated in Israel until hundreds of years after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are said to have wandered the earth.

Using radiocarbon dating of camel bones that showed signs of having carried heavy loads, Israeli archaeologists have dated the earliest domesticated camels to the end of the 10th century BCE.

But according to the traditional biblical chronology, the patriarchs were schlepping around Canaan on camels over a millennium earlier, all the way back in 2100 BCE

Taken on its own, this may seem a rather minor problem.

After all, this is Genesis, in which some people live to be 900 years old (hello, Methuselah), all of humanity emerges from Babylon, and the Dead Sea is created from the backward glance of Lot’s wife. (Not to mention the six-day creation story and the stuffing of all land animals on a single boat.)

How important could camels really be?

For those who believe the Bible to be fundamentally true, this is hardly going to change any minds. For those who believe it to be entirely false, this is surely not the most damning piece of evidence.

What the camels in Genesis reveal, in fact, has nothing to do with the “truth” of the biblical story at all.

Instead, the presence of these camels in the story highlights, in a very clear way, the essential humanity of the biblical writers: like the best authors, they simply wrote about what they knew.

The patriarchs are depicted as nomadic, never settling for long in one place, but moving constantly from location to location throughout Israel (and beyond).

An ancient Israelite, wanting to tell the story of the wandering of his ethnic and national ancestors, would have naturally looked to the nomadic peoples around him as models. And indeed, throughout the Bible camels are commonly associated with those tribes who lived in the desert: Midianites, Ishmaelites, Amalekites, Kedemites.

The biblical authors simply transplanted the nomadic standards of their time into the distant past.

There is nothing deceptive about this. They weren’t trying to trick anyone. They imagined, quite reasonably, that the past was, fundamentally, like their present.

They had no real alternative. In ancient Israel, in the period when the Bible was written (which ranges, conservatively, from the 10th to the third century BCE), no one had any way of knowing that camels had not always been domesticated pack animals. After all, we didn’t know that for sure until this past week.

Without any evidence to the contrary, it is perfectly natural to assume that things have always been the way that they are now. Today we have more information about the past than any other moment in history. In ancient Israel, they had virtually none.

And yet we still fall victim to this basic, very human, historical fallacy.

It has been suggested that this anachronism in the biblical text is akin to importing semitrailers into the medieval period. But this is a level of ridiculousness too far.

I would suggest that it is more similar to describing a medieval Italian as enjoying pasta with tomato sauce. How many people, even today, know that tomatoes only came to Italy from South America in the 16th century?

The camels in Genesis may be “wrong,” but they are not a “mistake.” We all imagine the past to the best of our knowledge, the biblical authors included.

The lasting lesson of the camel controversy, such as it is, is a simple one: no writing, not even the Bible, is timeless or without context. Views of the past are contingent on both what we know and how we know it.

The Bible is a historical record, but it tells us just as much, if not more, about the people who wrote it as it does about the people they wrote about.

Since the stories of the Bible remain so central to who we are as a culture, even today (and even for those who dismiss it), it seems entirely fitting that we should be equally interested in the ancient people who composed them.

Despite their lack of historical knowledge — and, equally, because of it — they, more than the characters in the Bible, are our true cultural ancestors.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Creationism • Evolution • Faith Now • Judaism • Middle East • Opinion • Scholarship

soundoff (3,276 Responses)
  1. Vic

    [
    "While these claims have been made repeatedly over the last century, the truth of the matter is that skeptics and liberal theologians are unable to cite a single piece of solid archaeological evidence in support of their claims. As Randall Younker of Andrews University stated in March 2000 while delivering a speech in the Dominican Republic: “Clearly, scholars who have denied the presence of domesticated camels in the 2nd millennium B.C. have been committing the fallacy of arguing from silence. This approach should not be allowed to cast doubt upon the veracity of any historical document, let alone Scripture” (2000). The burden of proof actually should be upon skeptics to show that camels were not domesticated until after the time of the patriarchs. Instead, they assure their listeners of the camel’s absence in Abraham’s day—without one shred of archaeological evidence. [Remember, for many years they also argued that writing was unknown during the time of Moses—a conclusion based entirely on “silence.” Now, however, they have recanted that idea, because evidence has been found to the contrary. One might think that such “scholars” would learn not to speak with such assurance when arguing from silence.]"

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/11/is-camel-discovery-the-straw-that-broke-the-bibles-back/#comments
    ]

    February 12, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • Vic

      http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=858

      February 12, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Vic

      Sorry about the hyperlink typo in the OP.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      The problem with that argument is that with this new evidence they are not making a claim based on "silence" they are basing it on actual archaeological data.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:33 am |
      • Vic

        http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/11/is-camel-discovery-the-straw-that-broke-the-bibles-back/comment-page-1/#comment-2943091

        February 12, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Dating techniques are not as flawed as AiG etc. would have you believe. I'm not suggesting that they've made an air-tight case with the camels but there is evidence. That also ties in with the fact that much of the bible is not factual. In combination it suggests that the stories were either not contemporaneous or could have been embellished later. Camels bone are not the only straw.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Vic

          Point taken.

          Now, this new evidence shows that particular bone fossil of a later camel show a load stress. That's perfectly fine, but that does not mean it is the cut-off when camel domestication started.

          Also:
          https://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/03/02/Bronze-Age-Camel-Petroglyphs-In-The-Wadi-Nasib2c-Sinai.aspx

          February 12, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • ugetthefacts

      "This approach should not be allowed to cast doubt upon the veracity of any historical doc-ument,"

      You have to be kidding me!! too funny.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:59 am |
      • Vic

        I get your drift.

        He is not suggesting by that it is proof the historical document of concern is true, rather, he is advising that method—arguing from silence—should not be used to refute historical documents.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  2. cooldela1966

    If science spent as much time being productive as they do on bring down religion then we would live in paradise with no war or disease.

    February 12, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • Doris

      Lol. Do you really believe that is the goal of science?

      February 12, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • ugetthefacts

        good point.. Now what about the horrors brought down by religions and dictators, destruction to innocent lives.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          They were horrible. Just like the non-religious and atheistic dictators horrors committed. Evil.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      It's just an unavoidable side effect – the more we learn, the less relevant are the ancient superstitions.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:24 am |
      • gmscan

        On the contrary. Science is confirming what the Bible says - the Big Bang (the creation), the idea of other universes (God is not of this universe), the human genome project ("the language of God" according to Francis Collins), quantum mechanics, etc. To real scientists, the more we learn the more of a mystery life becomes.

        February 12, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          The bible does say that there was a creation, but that is axiomatic given that we're here. The bible describes the creation of the universe that is different from the Big Bang; the bible describes life in a way inconsistent with evolution. The bible is not factual in any of the foundational events. So no science does not confirm the bible.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "Should a priest reject relativity because it contains no authoritative exposition on the doctrine of the Trinity? Once you realize that the Bible does not purport to be a textbook of science, the old controversy between religion and science vanishes . . . The doctrine of the Trinity is much more abstruse than anything in relativity or quantum mechanics; but, being necessary for salvation, the doctrine is stated in the Bible. If the theory of relativity had also been necessary for salvation, it would have been revealed to Saint Paul or to Moses . . . As a matter of fact neither Saint Paul nor Moses had the slightest idea of relativity."

          - Father Georges Lemaître (and father of the Big Bang Theory)

          February 12, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Dalahäst

        “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

        –Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., who received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics

        February 12, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • igaftr

          " Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world"
          Opinion...still no evidence of gods

          February 12, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Thanks for sharing your opinion.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance
      - deGràsse Tyson

      February 12, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • Dalahäst

        I know certain posters on this blog hate context, but....

        "Does it mean, if you don’t understand something, and the community of physicists don’t understand it, that means God did it? Is that how you want to play this game? Because if it is, here’s a list of things in the past that the physicists at the time didn’t understand [and now we do understand] [...]. If that’s how you want to invoke your evidence for God, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on – so just be ready for that to happen, if that’s how you want to come at the problem. "

        February 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • SeanNJ

          I fail to see how the additional context alters the intent of the succinct quote.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          deGràsse Tyson is not an anti-religious atheist like dyslexic doG. T

          February 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • SeanNJ

          Still not seeing it. deGrasse Tyson's perceived tolerance or intolerance notwithstanding, the "context" you provided doesn't shed any additional light on the quote.

          The one line sums up Tyson's opinion on the matter perfectly accurately.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Dalahäst

          Tyson doesn't go around saying God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

          It is more in response to those people who say "God did it", instead of searching for an answer. He admits there are believers in God that contribute to and support science and certainly do not believe or demonstrate God as though it is a receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

          February 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      If the religious spent just half the time they spend on their knees and in prayer doing something actually productive we might be living in paradise now as well.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:35 am |
    • kudlak

      "Science" doesn't spend any time trying to bring down religion. It simply states what has been discovered. Sometimes, those discoveries are at odds with religious beliefs rooted in an earlier time, but many religious people aren't bothered by this.

      Other religious people, however, do spend a lot of time, time that could otherwise be spent productively, trying to discredit science. This often forces actual scientists to have to defend their work to non-peers when they could be working on new things. It's kinda like a home builder having to spend a week after building a house explaining how nails can hold up a roof, instead of just going on to the next job, where they wouldn't have to do that to fellow contractors or anyone who's lived in a wood-framed house with confidence before.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • bryanshaw848

      There is a bit of irony in your criticism of science while simultaneously using the internet, a computer, electricity, etc. to do so. And, I presume that you were born in 1966...without the benefits of science you would more than likely be dead by now. It appears that science has benefited you more than you appreciate and I might be more willing to accept its arguments.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The goal of science is to explore the natural world and chronicle it's workings.
      Falsifying supernatural suppositions is simply a byproduct of a better understanding of natural phenomena.
      It is lamentable that Thor had to die once lightning was explained on naturalistic grounds.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:45 am |
      • believerfred

        Don't you find it amazing that unlike Thor nothing has ever been falsified concerning God.

        February 12, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • Pete

          "nothing has ever been falsified concerning God."

          You would first have to prove your god exists in order for this statement to even be close to being true.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • believerfred

          For Pete's sake read the Bible and note how clearly God is not of substance known to man. Thor and the like are man made from known matter and energy with most having human or other animal physiology

          February 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          fred, Thor was never proven to not exist. Christianity spread across Europe with the Roman Empire and to the New World by those European powers.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • kudlak

          believerfred
          "Thor and the like are man made from known matter and energy with most having human or other animal physiology"

          Yet, God is a "jealous" god, who gets angry while supposedly being loving, just as we are, right? How is he any less anthropomorphic than Thor then when he is so emotional and even "walks" in his garden?

          February 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • believerfred

          kudlak
          God is described as having the appearance of never as actual appearance. No one has seen the face of God and recorded the encounter. As to "walks in the Garden" that depends on how one understands the nature of Adam and Eve as actual physical humans or representative first Hebrew/mankind. Some suggest this was Jesus or other manifestation. Because the keepers of the word knew God could not be seem by man.

          February 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • kudlak

          believerfred
          "And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts." (EXO 33:23)
          "And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend." (EXO 33:11)
          "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (GEN 32:30)

          And doesn't Jesus being in the Garden violate his being fully human?

          February 13, 2014 at 8:17 am |
      • gmscan

        You are right. Science is very good at studying the world our senses can perceive. But there is a reality beyond that. Science hasn't a clue about all that. This is the point.

        February 12, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Without evidence, what convinced you of a world beyond human senses. As you by definition cannot sense it, how can you verify it?

          February 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • igaftr

      cooldela

      LOL.
      People find data using science. That data directly conflicts with religious texts and you think it is an attack on religion?
      Science finds REALITY...so you are complaining that REALITY conflicts with your religious belief.

      In typical fashion, your should now react the way that the religious have reacted to their belief being shown wrong....it is simple...just say " oh that part isn't meant to be taken literally" and move on...

      complaining that knowledge interferes with your belief...hilarious.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:47 am |
  3. menalogue

    A problem here is the Orthodox Jewish community has always attributed authorship of the Torah to God Himself. If the Torah is inaccurate on this camel issue, either God made a mistake (unlikely) or the carbon dating evidence is fundamentally flawed.

    February 12, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • Alias

      Or your god doesn't exist.
      That would explain this too.

      February 12, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  4. Michael

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10625036/Camel-bones-do-not-cast-doubt-on-Bible-stories.html

    February 12, 2014 at 10:50 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    "faith": believing something without a single shred of proof.

    it amazes me that religious folk see this word as a badge of honor while any logical thinking person sees it as a mark of foolishness or insanity.

    quite a disconnect.

    February 12, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Dalahäst

      I know you copy and paste this a lot, but that is not how all people define faith. It is not how Jesus described it. Nor most of his followers.

      The primary definition located in the dictionary describes what Christians call faith, a complete trust and confidence in something or some one.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • jsharp2014

        Well that may be your just now definition of faith, but as he indicated very clearly.

        it is defined as belief in something without evidence. That has how it has been defined by those in and out of religion as long as I have been alive. Nice try in trying to re shift that conversation.

        And by the way at this point. The evidence is overwhelming that god does not exist. As in never shows up, no one I know has ever seen him or her. as in there is 2,000 years of NO evidence. Nothing.

        So it is not faith anymore, because believing in something when there is overwhelming evidence that it doesn't exist isn't faith, it is just wrong.

        February 12, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Most Christians do not define their faith as belief with no evidence.

          I have evidence of God. Or else I would not believe in God. It is not like I've been brainwashed or I'm delusional and living in fear of hell. It is not like I've fallen victim of a scam, or whatever the fringe atheist webpages like to theorize about today.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • robertbeliefblogginbrown

          Amen

          February 12, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "1faith
          noun \ˈfāth\

          : strong belief or trust in someone or something"

          - Merriam Webster

          February 12, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Isn't it just possible that you were taught what to expect as "evidence" for God, and then you went ahead and invented your own evidence out of your need to feel connected with this God that you were looking for? That's the indoctrination process as we see it.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • Alias

          would you please share this proof that you have of god?

          February 12, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • Doris

          Dalahast: "I have evidence of God. "

          I'm guessing you shared that with Oprah already. Which episode #?

          February 12, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          If someone told you that the feeling of déjà vu that everyone experiences is actually evidence for reincarnation, would you suspect that they were trying to indoctrinate a presupposition in order to support their belief in past lives, or would you just take their word on it?

          February 12, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Dalahäst

          @kudlak

          It is possible I've been indoctrinated to believe in God.

          It is not likely, given my background. But possible.

          Just like it is possible that people are indoctrinated to not believe in God or other realities.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Alias, Doris

          What evidence do you want? I've found Jesus reveals the truth about God for me. I have evidence in my levels of serenity, happiness and improved relationships with other people that this is a positive thing for me in my life.

          I never said I can prove God to you. It is not like God is an idol. Or a science experiment I can conduct for you. But science definitely points to God for me and improves my understanding of the divine.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          @kudlak

          déjà vu? No, I wouldn't take it for evidence of reincarnation. I've never had anyone try to tell me that.

          I doubt I would just take their word for it. I'm much too skeptical for that.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • wrathfuldiety

          I actually think a good way to define the faith believers are talking about is that it is between subjective and objective.

          A scene in the movie Contact describes it well. In the film Jodie Foster's character is a very rational scientist while her boyfriend played by Matthew McConahey iks a famous spiritual speaker. In a conversation she says she only believes in what cane be analyzed and proven. Her boyfriend thinks for a moment and asks her, "Did you love you father?" A little surprised she answers, "Sure". "Prove it" he says. She is completely taken aback and has no answer.

          Her love for her father is as true and real as the sky is blue and the sun is a ball of hydrogen....but she can't prove her love in any objective manner. It's true FOR HER and not for others. I think this is what those with a religious belief/faith are trying to say.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          What background do you have which would make indoctrination unlikely?

          Sure, some people could be taught that belief in God is unreasonable, but that's not what I see happening. What I see is a difference between accepting what nature shows you as reality and accepting what somebody tells you in reality despite what nature shows you, and it's not just rational vs Christianity here. There are hundreds of competing gods that have been claimed to be behind natural events, not just God.

          Under your world view, are you suggesting that every other religion indoctrinates people into seeing different gods and atheists indoctrinate people into seeing no gods whatsoever? If so, what makes you think that your accepting God is in any way different from how people accept Vishnu, or once accepted Ra?

          February 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - What background do you have which would make indoctrination unlikely?

          Non-religious. I went to a very secular, very public school. Talk of "God" was a no-no. I came out as an atheist at the age of 16 to my Mom. She supported me.

          - Under your world view, are you suggesting that every other religion indoctrinates people into seeing different gods and atheists indoctrinate people into seeing no gods whatsoever?

          No. I was playing devil's advocate. If it is possible I have been indoctrinated, it is possible you have been, too.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • kudlak

          wrathfuldiety
          Are you saying that people cannot demonstrate their love of someone else? In human relationships we evaluate how others feel about us based on their actions towards us. That is indeed real evidence.

          I have no doubts that Christians love this character God, but the question here is whether it can be proved that this character is actually real. As it is, God is like the awesome boyfriend living in another town, that nobody has ever seen, but is claimed to have given wonderful gifts like jewelry and flowers that the lady in question could easily have bought for herself.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Just because you were once an atheist doesn't mean that you could not have been indoctrinated as an adult. Witness all of the adults who join cults or otherwise change religions. In your world view, why would they ever leave Christianity unless they were indoctrinated to accept another set of beliefs?

          You might be able to argue that atheists are indoctrinated as well, but indoctrinated to believe what, exactly? To trust what nature is showing of itself rather than what some religion would have you believe? I see my way of looking at the world as one without the filters that religions place, filters that alter what our eyes and minds see as reality.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - Just because you were once an atheist doesn't mean that you could not have been indoctrinated as an adult. Witness all of the adults who join cults or otherwise change religions. In your world view, why would they ever leave Christianity unless they were indoctrinated to accept another set of beliefs?

          I know that doesn't mean I could not have been indoctrinated as an adult.

          But, there is no evidence of anything like dangerous indoctrination or cult-like tactics at play in my life.

          - You might be able to argue that atheists are indoctrinated as well, but indoctrinated to believe what, exactly? To trust what nature is showing of itself rather than what some religion would have you believe? I see my way of looking at the world as one without the filters that religions place, filters that alter what our eyes and minds see as reality.t is possible you have been, too.

          What have I been indoctrinated to believe? To love others? To give more to those in need? To not just accept what religion would have me believe? To admit that my religion does not have all the answers? To practice love and tolerance of others?

          Is that so bad?

          What kind of indoctrination tactics do you imagine I've been victim to? By who? Why am I so free to choose my own paths and beliefs? We probably aren't that different as you imagine.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • wrathfuldiety

          kudlak

          Yeah, I am saying that. If in the case of the movie Contact again, even if Foster's character stayed with him, bought him presents, took care of him when sick, got him b-day cards or cried at his funeral, someone could always say "Well she could be a psychopath and is just pretending to love him because its expected of her or she expects to get something out it like inheritance." She can't make other people feel the incredible love that is in her head whenever she thinks of him or misses him. It's all between her ears. It is for all of us.

          Of course in life we pretty much assume people who say they love us really do because the demonstrations of it are good enough. We don't run into this type of psychopath too often. At least I hope not. But the person who loves someone cannot make you or me feel the intense emotions they have. Neither can we feel the intense emotions of love and faith a believer in some form of spirituality has. You can say, "There is no God because of this whole list of reasons." But its real for them They KNOW its real.

          February 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Do you honestly believe that members actually realize that they're in cults? From the outside it may seem obvious to you, but I personally know a lot of people who would describe Catholicism as a cult, and still others who would say the same thing about Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Evangelism, and a few others. Homeschooling under a particular faith seems very cult-like to me. Separating yourself from "the world" because it just doesn't "understand" also seems like a common sign, along with any claims of "hidden knowledge". The people I've known who joined fundamentalist Christian groups later in life all describe being mentored into accepting that set of beliefs, and being taught to view non members like cults do. I really don't see any real difference.

          You could love others and give without believing that some god smiles kindly upon you for doing so. All religions teach that same thing; only the gods change. Some of us just do it because it makes sense, feels good and is the compassionate thing to do. Religion seems to hijack that natural human feeling and use it to further itself. In Christianity, for example, it's taught that people wouldn't do good things without belief in God, or that their good deeds are somehow "meaningless" without first believing in God. That's an indoctrinated belief placed upon a natural human reaction, just as much as the Hindu idea that good deeds only make sense in the context of people trying to improve themselves through reincarnation, isn't it?

          February 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • wrathfuldiety

          kudlak

          Oops forgot to answer the second part of your statement,

          Yes, it can be like the boyfriend off somewhere that you never see. The question is not if he is real. It is do you think he's real? I can't answer that for anyone. You can do alot of detective work to find that the boyfriend pretty much couldn't exist but if the person deeply believes then logical proof most likely won't work. It makes their map of the world work much better that the boyfriend is out their somewhere and loves them.

          Depending on your point of view this can seem irrational or non-rational. By non-rational I mean things like art and music aren't logical but they are something you can enjoy in your head and it makes life better for you.
          Again as long as you don't force somebody to like your art or music against your will.

          February 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          @kudlak

          My church teaches that we are not to separate ourself from "the world" because it just doesn't "understand". The opposite, actually. We are called to be a part of the world. We also don't talk about "hidden knowledge".

          If you knew me and what kind of churches I attend, you would be foolish to label them as a dangerous cult. We are an open book. Free to come and go.

          I never said I love others because of some god smiles kindly upon me for doing so.

          Is it possible you've been indoctrined to believe you know why and what I believe, despite having no real evidence to base those figments of your imagination on?

          February 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • kudlak

          wrathfuldiety
          In that case, why do Christians accept God's supposed word that he really loves them? Even if there was an actual giant head in the sky really giving away goodies that everyone could see, how could you know what he's actually thinking? He could be fattening people's souls up for snacks later on in heaven for all you really know, right? Taken that the reality is an invisible God that isn't evident to everyone, and a plain declaration in the Bible that God is supposedly so alien that no human could possibly know his mind, I frankly find it puzzling how any believer can have confidence in what this being actually thinks without falling to wishful thinking, can you?

          Again, there are millions who simply KNOW that Vishnu is real, or reincarnation, alien abduction, astrology, witchcraft, or a host of other things are real. So, you have the same evidence that they do, but I'll bet that you don't just take their word on it, right? Let's not forget also that every person who was ever cheated out of their life savings believed in the claims being made my the people who conned them. Belief in a thing, in itself, isn't any kind of proof of that thing's worth, now is it?

          February 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          So, your church is very liberal then, and doesn't teach that the Bible supersedes any scientific knowledge? I guess your church doesn't teach that God favors charity work, or treating your fellow humans respectfully in any way. My mistake. Can you tell me the name of this church and what you were taught so that I don't need to guess anymore?

          February 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I go to an ELCA church and a non-denominational church.

          - "So, your church is very liberal then, and doesn't teach that the Bible supersedes any scientific knowledge?"

          Nothing Jesus taught says "The Bible" supersedes any scientific knowledge. The Bible points to God. Like science. Neither are God.

          - "I guess your church doesn't teach that God favors charity work, or treating your fellow humans respectfully in any way."

          We are called to serve others. Love and tolerance of others is our code. We don't do it to please God or in some way save ourselves, like you seem to suggest. It is just how we respond to the love and mercy of God.

          February 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I'm not familiar with ELCA churches and "non-denominational" could mean anything from unitarian to Fred Phelps' group.

          How do you see science pointing towards God when every new discovery only reinforces the impression that no gods are necessary to explain anything?

          And I help others not because I see it as a response to a god, but just because it makes sense for me to help others. You might have been a bit young at 16 to begin thinking about service, but do you think that you'd just stop helping others if you lost your faith tomorrow, or if you never got faith in the first place?

          February 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          ELCA is a progressive Lutheran denomination. The non-denom church I go to is a large and young adult congregation that carries out Jesus' love to others. Both in our town, country and in Africa. It is not unitarian or like Fred Phelps group.

          - "How do you see science pointing towards God when every new discovery only reinforces the impression that no gods are necessary to explain anything?"

          Because science points to a greater intelligence at play in the universe. There is no scientific discovery that hinders my belief in God. I don't have a "god of the gaps".

          - if you never got faith in the first place?

          I helped others before I found God.

          What does it matter if I help other in response to God's love or do it because it "makes sense to me"?

          To some, especially in capitalism or a survival of the fittest mindset, charity doesn't make sense.

          February 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Are you really helping people more than some secular group without an accompanying agenda, like sharing Jesus' love, or some club bound together through another common interest like the Denver Broncos? Don't get me wrong, it's great that you're out there helping people, but can you understand why some people view Christian charity as being no different than, say, the charity work of MacDonalds? Can you understand why many people see Christian charity as just a tool for making money and converts?

          How does science point to a greater intelligence at play in the universe?

          Charity towards the poor can be called socialism by some as well. If you take Ayn Rand to her extreme then you're against unions and government standards aimed at protecting consumers. We generally do best as a society when we don't embrace the extremes, wouldn't you say?

          February 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I work with secular groups, too. My accompanying agenda is no different than your accompanying agenda of doing charity because it feels right or allows you to claim to be as charitbable as Christians.

          My church serves as a good venue to help other people. We can pool our resources to help those in need. We routinely contribute to programs that help others. We fight for equal rights for people in our community. We allow the community to use our facilties, both people of other faiths and non-faiths.

          - "How does science point to a greater intelligence at play in the universe?"

          How does it not?

          “I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”
          –Lord William Kelvin

          “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”
          –Sir Isaac Newton

          “Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn’t make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.”
          –Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born

          “God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”
          –Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul A. M. Dirac

          “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. . . It seems as though somebody has fine tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. . . The impression of design is overwhelming.”
          –Physicist Paul Davies

          February 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Just curious, but does your church fight for equal rights for gays as well? Many liberal churches do.

          Kelvin, Newton and the others you quote were expressing their personal opinions and, like I said once before, Newton died believing that he could change lead into gold using a philosopher's stone. He had his moments of brilliance, but that doesn't mean that he was always right. I admire the work of suffragettes, for another example, but many of them were also very racist by today's standards. I choose not to let their personal opinions tarnish their good work.

          Why would having just one thumb be a sign of intelligent design? Wouldn't an equal number of thumbs to fingers work better? How about something as simple as a separate tube for breathing through, thus eliminating choking hazards, or even the ability to make our own vitamin C, as pretty much every mammal except our closest ape relatives can? Contrary to popular opinion complexity is not the sign of design. If it were, everything we make would resemble a Rube Goldberg contraption, but the opposite is true. If there was a God who intelligently designed the universe and life then why would we have anything bigger than our solar system inhabited by single cell organisms? That would be elegant simplicity, and the ancients kinda knew this which is why they couldn't imagine a universe extending beyond the sky. That's the cosmology described in the Bible, a flat Earth inside sky bowl with holes poked in it for stars. Simple and elegant. Too bad it isn't the truth. The real universe is 99.9999999% empty of planets and stars, almost completely inhospitable to life. If this is the creation of God then he's more like a Goldberg than any kind of inventor making elegant, practical designs.

          February 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - Just curious, but does your church fight for equal rights for gays as well? Many liberal churches do.

          Yes. One of our sister churches has an openly lesbian pastor. We have a gay man serving on our council. Not a big deal.

          Those scientists expressed their opinions. Just like you are expressing yours. I trust some of these scientists opinions on God, especially their belief that science enhances, not hinders, their understanding of God.

          Thank you for sharing your opinion. Most of your views I've heard before. I used to even believe in the same way. But not today. "The more I study science, the more I believe in God."

          February 12, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Should I assume then that your church cherry picks which parts of the New Testament to follow if they've opted out of calling gay relationships a sin? If the verses condemning gay relationships aren't to be taken seriously why should any of it?

          Why do you just trust their opinions? The tobacco industry use to employ lots of scientists and doctors who would gladly express their opinion that cigarettes were not harmful, after all. The actual, hard science told a different story, as we all know. I put my confidence in the hard science, and that doesn't point to anything supernatural.

          "The more I study science, the more I believe in God."
          If Einstein actually said that you have to take it in context with the "God" that he said that he believed in, Spinoza's God, which is nothing like the personal God of Christians, but more like a poetic way of describing the natural laws that govern the universe.

          February 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - Should I assume then that your church cherry picks which parts of the New Testament to follow if they've opted out of calling gay relationships a sin? If the verses condemning gay relationships aren't to be taken seriously why should any of it?

          No. I would cease assuming so much. It doesn't seem to be doing you any favors.

          - Why do you just trust their opinions? The tobacco industry use to employ lots of scientists and doctors who would gladly express their opinion that cigarettes were not harmful, after all. The actual, hard science told a different story, as we all know. I put my confidence in the hard science, and that doesn't point to anything supernatural.

          Why should I trust your opinion?

          Science doesn't explain everything in life. Especially in regards to humanity. Our increase knowledge of our natural and scientific world has not led to an increase of peace and tolerance.

          That is great you put your faith in "hard science". It is like "hard science" is your God. Although for me "hard science" is the product of God. Not God. Maybe some day you can practice "hard science" and see it for your own self. Not have to depend on so much faith.

          "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
          - Martin Luther King, JR

          February 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Well, if you aren't following Paul's clear teaching on the subject, why shouldn't I assume that you're not just cherry picking teachings based on what you feel like following?

          You shouldn't just trust my opinion any more than I should trust yours, or you should trust the opinions of the guys in your church or those who wrote the Bible.

          The day that science can explain everything is the day that science ends, because there won't be anything left to discover. I highly doubt that that day will ever come because we are limited creatures who likely will never be able to answer all questions. I'm OK with accepting that.

          Our knowledge of the natural world, I would argue, has in fact increased our tolerance and peace. It took the scientific world's declaration of people being born gay to eliminate that bias in the minds of most rational people. I think that we have far fewer wars now than we did in the past. Many countries, especially the most secular ones, haven't been involved in any wars for some time now.

          Besides for science and religion, poetry, art, philosophy, music, and a bunch of other things can also help us understand ourselves and our place in the universe, right? The exception is that these things may call upon our imaginations, but they never insist on us actually believing in things as fanciful as gods.

          Hard science is not my "God". Why does everyone need a god, in your view? I trust what the hard science is saying, but only until it's proven wrong by other hard science. I see no reason to just pick a belief and doggedly stick with it despite what new discoveries tell us. That suggests closed-mindedness, right?

          Religious people can be "misguided" too, right?

          “With or without religion,
          you would have good people doing good things
          and evil people doing evil things.
          But for good people to do evil things,
          that takes religion.”

          —Steven Weinberg, physicist

          February 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I follow Jesus, not Paul.

          Yes, religious people can be misguided, too. And often are. They are no different than everyone else.

          You are describing "hard science" as if it were a God to you. It seems human being naturally worship something: money, career, themselves, others. I know some people that treat science as if it is their religion; they believe they have a better understanding of it – like that is disproves God. Which it doesn't.

          I've seen good people do evil things without religion. I wish it were as simplistic as Weinberg imagines.

          February 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Ah, a "red letter" Christian, eh? That means that you should still be against gay marriage and no fault divorce, right?

          "Hard science" is not a God to me. It may take the place you put God into in your own life, but saying it's my God is like telling a person who is into concerts rather than sports that concerts are their sport, see? It's kinda a egocentric way of viewing people when you imagine that everyone needs the same things you do.

          Some rigid ideology has to make good people do evil, and I don't hold any.

          February 13, 2014 at 8:25 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Religious faith is the willing suspension of rational inquiry in order to accepted dogmatic, supernatural tenets.
        Faith is belief in a proposition despite a lack of evidence, or even in the face of evidence that contradicts said proposition.
        That kind of faith is arguably the most powerful of all human emotions – it can inspire both great and terrible deeds.
        But in the end, there can be no rational answer to an emotional argument.
        Religious faith is the emotion that precedes thought.

        February 12, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • robertbeliefblogginbrown

          Saving faith is a gift from God.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That sounds like "blind faith". Which, yes, is a type of faith. But not all Christian faith is blind faith.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Faith in the supernatural is "blind faith" as the supernatural is unprovable by definition.
          Feelings are not proof.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • igaftr

          " But not all Christian faith is blind faith."

          Yes it is, since you have absolutely NOTHING to say any gods exist, or that this Jesus character was anything more than just a man.
          It is all blind faith.
          You claim to have proof of god...you don't, since I know you have not examined all other possibilities.
          You do not want truth...you want your belief to be true.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • robertbeliefblogginbrown

          There is no such thing as blind faith. No one can have a strong lasting faith without at least one powerful experience with God.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          How is faith in God any different than the faith humans have had in other gods, witch doctors, shamans, or lucky charms?

          February 12, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • igaftr

          RB
          " No one can have a strong lasting faith without at least one powerful experience with God."

          All people who have faith have blind faith.
          You do not know if you had any eperience with your definition of god.
          How do you know that it was a god?
          how do you know it was YOUR god?
          how do you know it wasn't satan.
          how do you know it wasn't your imagination, co-incidence, alien mind control.

          I am absolutely certain you wanted your experience to be god, so called it god, without examining any other possibility.

          THAT is blind faith.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • kudlak

          robertbeliefblogginbrown
          And there are millions of people with a strong lasting faith based on powerful experiences with other gods. Does this prove that these other gods are as real as God?

          February 12, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Dalahäst

          @ igaftr

          "You claim to have proof of god...you don't, since I know you have not examined all other possibilities.
          You do not want truth...you want your belief to be true."

          Do you have faith in that? You certainly don't have evidence on your side...

          February 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • believerfred

          Doc
          You are getting to close to a vision of the kingdom of God but keep circling around it. Actually, Isaiah would refer to your motion as spherical. The central emotion is love and when you love as God does you will find yourself in the kingdom of God, not outside looking in. What rational process could conclude it is better outside of that kingdom?

          February 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          dalahast
          I do not need faith in that. I have dealt with robert brown many times, so I know his take on it.
          He wants his belief to be true...he does not look for truth.
          He does not look for any other cause, he just says god did it.

          Next time consider that YOU were not who I was talking to.
          You are much the same tough...question everyone elses opinion, but have you really examined yours, questioned your own faith in your myths?

          February 13, 2014 at 9:10 am |
  6. jonathanlk

    They didn't have the Tabloids back then so they played telephone for hundreds of years, giving us a heritage of 15 or 20 generations worth of whispers and rumors all condensed into a group dusty old books. But just as I faithfully believe everything I read, especially in the Tabloids and in dated books, I believe everything that is written in the Bible, whether it is true or not because I use faith reasoning which does not have to rely on facts, logic, or science.

    February 12, 2014 at 10:31 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      The King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:34 am |
      • robertbeliefblogginbrown

        doG, The translation was done by 47 scholars. I’ve pointed this out to you on multiple occasions. So, what is the deal? Why do you keep posting 8?

        http://www.av1611.org/kjv/kjvhist.html
        http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/worlds-best-selling-book/2011/jun/24/men-who-translated-400-year-old-king-james-bible-1/
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorized_King_James_Version

        February 12, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          mea culpa.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  7. candycoatedapple

    Isaiah 59:2
    But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

    February 12, 2014 at 10:14 am |
    • Alias

      How can you cling so tightly to a book so full of errors?
      The illogical stuff is what bothers me the most.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • Dalahäst

        Does life, which is highly illogical, bother you too?

        February 12, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          why is life highly illogical?

          February 12, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Life is imperfect. It appears to be illogical.

          Why do things like poetry, art and music reveal truths that our logical disciplines can not? Not everything is logical. And no human being is logical, that is for sure.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • Alias

          Nice spin on the word 'logical'.
          I was clearly referring to errors in the written text. Your post would refer to people acting on emotion.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • Dalahäst

          The Bible, like all atheists, is illogical at times. Yes.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • Alias

          The bible clearly states that an allpowerful god HAD TO sacrifice a man so that HE could forgive us for a sin we did not commit.

          That is not in the same context that you are trying to use the word 'logic'.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • gmscan

          He didn't sacrifice a man, Jesus IS God. He sacrificed himself for the sins we did indeed commit .

          February 12, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • dandintac

          "we did indeed commit"

          Including babies and small children? No–not just for sins we supposedly committed, but for Adam and Eve's sin of eating from the tree of knowledge–that fable that Christians use to splatter every last person, no matter how good and decent they are, with the guilt tar.

          Why would God need to sacrifice himself to himself? How does this create the loophole to allow him to forgive us for Adam and Eve eating a fruit from the tree of knowledge? Exactly how does our guilt transfer over to him if he is murdered? And is it really a sacrifice if he's resurrected to live forever anyway? Have you ever really thought hard and seriously about this?

          February 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The Bible says God is perfect and logical. It says we were created imperfect and illogical, but that is ok. God offers us grace and mercy for our shortcomings. He still loves His illogical and imperfect creation.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Alias

          Another nice deflection.
          The bible has errors. Factual and locical errors.
          I cannot accept the book in its entirity because it is deeply flawed.
          I don't know how anyone else would either.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not asking you to accept the Bible.

          I read and study the Bible. No where does it tell me I have to accept everything in it as being logical and factual. How is a song or a poem logical or factual? Why dismiss a work of literature, motion picture or art as unworthy because it isn't logical or factual? Don't myths and fiction reveal truths?

          If we lived in a completely logical world you might have a good point. But we are not logical beings. We are human beings. Not robots.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      why quote from a book written by people in the same cult as you? what does that prove?

      February 12, 2014 at 10:31 am |
    • new-man

      Thank Father for Jesus' obedience... we are no longer separated from Him because...
      Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he (Christ Jesus) is, so are we in this world.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:35 am |
  8. budshot

    Considering how the entirety of the Bible is made up, why would this make any difference?

    February 12, 2014 at 10:09 am |
    • fintronics

      Love that mythology!!

      February 12, 2014 at 10:25 am |
    • martylk

      I believe I would rather put my faith in God than I would scientists. Carbon dating and such seems like hokum.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:36 am |
      • Dalahäst

        Archaeology is not an exact science.

        February 12, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • igaftr

        Marty.
        So a proven, verified, science is hokum to you, but a book written by ignorant men all about god magic makes sense?
        Seriously?

        February 12, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • martylk

          Nothing has been proven. They simply come to the conclusion they are correct based on things falling in line for them. They can't prove anything. The only thing they can do is come to the opinion that what they see is correct because of positive results.

          Ask them about the quantum world, they'll tell you it can't be nailed down because of the "uncertainty principal". Ask them what reality is. You'll get whacky answers like it could be a 3D hologram of a 2D reality elsewhere. And you'll get a wide variety of answers rather than a factual, proven answer. Science cannot answer in facts. It can only assume facts based on what it can see at the time. Science is as dynamic as a river.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • igaftr

          marty
          "Nothing has been proven"
          False. Many things have been proven, such as the Big Bang did happen...fact. The cause is what we still are trying to determine.
          Good luck in your fantasy world while the rest of us look to find reality.
          You choose willful ignorance...pity for you.

          February 13, 2014 at 9:04 am |
      • fintronics

        Yup, fairytales and mythology seems like a much better choice.

        February 12, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • martylk

          I agree. Believing that universe expanded from something the size of a grain of sand – or even out of nothing – does, indeed, sound like "fairytales and mythology" to me.

          February 12, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  9. colin31714

    Yale having a divinity school in the 21st Century is just too funny. Do they have an astrology department, or a flat Earth department? I actually wonder what these professors even do. I can understand historical biblical research, but still churning out people who believe in the literal truth of the supernatural elements of the Bible in the the 21st Century !!

    I mean, come on, to believe that garbage today, one must divorce themselves from the rational and disciplined approach to study that underwrites every other department at Yale.

    February 12, 2014 at 10:07 am |
    • candycoatedapple

      I feel so sorry for you.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:16 am |
      • Dalahäst

        It sounds like a resentment on his part. Perhaps he couldn't get into a school like Yale, so the fact that a lot of Christians actually can upsets him?

        February 12, 2014 at 10:18 am |
      • Alias

        Feelings are mutual, I'm sure.

        February 12, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • mk

        Do you really feel sorry or is it more accurate to say you feel superior?

        February 12, 2014 at 10:51 am |
    • igaftr

      Imagine where you can get a doctorate in the Silmarillian. Study the book, report on the book, have other people interpret the book...repeat...for 8 years or more. Then you can have other people who have degrees in the book, give you a degree in the book.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:22 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Yale, like any business, needs money. Christian donations means Yale has a divinity school.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:28 am |
  10. averagejoe7six

    Camelgate.

    February 12, 2014 at 10:00 am |
  11. averagejoe7six

    "Cling, they will, to religion"

    - Barack Obama played by Yoda

    February 12, 2014 at 9:52 am |
  12. Rebekah

    Let me introduce myself, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor. I am the maiden who drew water for the camels of my father-in-law, Abraham.

    It was a hot day out in the desert and Eliezer took with him ten loaded camels and set out for the city of Nahor in search of a bride for his master's son, Isaac. I was out in the desert with my girlfriends, drawing water from the well.
    I am sure it was no coincidence that we should have a run in with Eliezer, it was G_d ordained for us to meet him at the well.It was later that Eliezer told me he had prayed to G_d as follows,"O Lord, G_d of my master Abraham, grant me good fortune this day, and deal graciously with my master Abraham: Here I stand by the spring as the daughters of the townsmen come out to draw water; let the maiden to whom I say, 'Please, lower your jar that I may drink,' and who replies, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels'–let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac. Thereby shall I know that You have dealt graciously with my master."
    When I saw Eliezer, I saw that he and his men and his camels(all ten of them)were tired, thirsty and looking for a place to rest.
    I immediately started drawing fresh water from the well for Eliezer and his camels.I know these camels of Abraham, they belonged to my father-in-law. To say that my father-in-law did not own camels is not truthful.

    Not to brag about myself, but forever, I will be known as the kind hearted maiden, compassionate, beautiful and charming bride of Isaac, who drew water for Eliezer and his ten camels.
    I wish all women of the 21st century would be like me– an epitomy of grace, beauty and character.

    February 12, 2014 at 9:29 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Have you seen the Egyptian petroglyphs depicting domesticated camels dating back to the 2300s BC?

      February 12, 2014 at 9:39 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Can't say as I have.
        Can you cite a reference?

        February 12, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          http://www.panoramio.com/photo/69808073

          February 12, 2014 at 10:10 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          That's a neat picture, but I see no reference to any dates.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • Dalahäst

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bir_Hima_Rock_Petroglyphs_and_Inscriptions

          February 12, 2014 at 10:20 am |
      • huhhmm

        Thanks for the info. I love to 2 way discussions that involve more than just insults.

        February 12, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • Vic

        https://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/03/02/Bronze-Age-Camel-Petroglyphs-In-The-Wadi-Nasib2c-Sinai.aspx

        February 12, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  13. blakenaustin

    Does the far left media and CNN in particular err in its repeated assaults on Christianity?

    February 12, 2014 at 9:27 am |
    • tv64

      Shoot the messenger much?

      February 12, 2014 at 9:35 am |
    • Doris

      This article does not seem to be focused on Christianity nor the NT. Are you starting to worry that retrofitting Gullible's Travels – Part 2 from Part 1 was a mistake?

      February 12, 2014 at 9:41 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      t's not so much an assault on Christianity as an adherence to historical facts and scientific facts and ... well ... just basically facts.

      When the foolishness and lies and inconsistencies and hypocrisy of christianity collides with facts, it comes apart at the seams and is easily seen for the scam that it is.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Stupid communist news agencies. Who do they think they are, publishing stories about scientific discoveries that might contradict ancient mythology? And especially here, in a Belief section dedicated to stories that interest those fascinated with religion?
      Why not more stories disproving Scientology or Islam? You'd think that Christianity was the predominant religion in America or something – or that fundamentalist Christians were a vociferous, politically and socially influential group.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:44 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        you have a gift.

        February 12, 2014 at 10:24 am |
    • ugetthefacts

      no wonder religion shouldn't be discussed,, it should be kept secret so that kids can be fooled; scared with hell where they will get painful third degree burns, ugly monsters will eat hem and called sinners to reduce them.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:53 am |
    • Dalahäst

      It is not an assault on Christianity. It is just a report on a couple of archeologists' findings. They didn't prove that camels were not domesticated in Biblical times. It is just a theory at this point.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:55 am |
    • candycoatedapple

      Ya, "persecuting" christians.... how original.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:18 am |
    • wesscott2014

      Nowhere near as much as christianity assaults the intelligence of people every day.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    HUMP DAAAAAAY!!!!

    February 12, 2014 at 9:26 am |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    It doesn't matter how much scientific evidence is presented proving that Genesis is not literal, actual, factual history.
    The level of cognitive dissonance amongst the fundamentalist set is such that any and all inconsistencies are quickly rationalized away.
    "Carbon dating? How do you know that radioactive decay rates were the same 1,000 years ago?"
    "No signs of being load bearing animals? Maybe God's people treated their dromedaries with more compassion than to use them that way."
    "Light from distant stars is no proof that the universe is older than 6,000 yeras. Who ever said that the speed of light is constant? Have you measured it outside the solar system? Do cars drive the same speed in the city as they do in the country?"
    And when all else fails – "God works in mysterious ways. You must have faith."

    February 12, 2014 at 9:01 am |
    • derado8

      So why would someone in your opinion cling to that level of cognitive dissonance?

      February 12, 2014 at 9:12 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Often it is a case of early indoctrination. It is very difficult to shake off the beliefs and taboos instilled by parents and community during formative years.
        It can also be a source of pride – the sense of superiority that comes with knowing the Will of the Creator while the rest of society wallows in ignorance and ultimately, winds up in eternal torment.
        Even if a believer does harbour doubt, the scorn, shunning and shame that is meted out by their fellow religionists can make life extremely unpleasant and difficult. If one has built a career, a home and family in a given community, the real world cost of outwardly contradicting the behavioural patterns of that community is too high for those unwilling to abandon not just the supernatural tenets and reliigious rites, but everything they've built in their lives up to that point.
        When the natives rub blue mud in their belly buttons, the safest thing to do is to rub it in yourself – and make sure you do it just as solemnly.
        There is also a great deal of comfort that comes with dogma. To be able to cast aside all doubt and fear and KNOW that the anthropocentric Creator has given all the answers and has a special place in the afterlife for those who follow His desires to the letter is a useful coping mechanism.

        "One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason – but one cannot have both."
        – Robert Heinlein

        February 12, 2014 at 9:30 am |
        • derado8

          That may be fore some people. I think some other reasons would include an attempt to control the uncontrollable. It is a way in some cases to cope with the inconsistencies of life and the impermanence of it. In some cases it can be akin to mind over matter.

          February 12, 2014 at 9:45 am |
    • candycoatedapple

      Yes because liberals and athiest Never rationalize anything like, abortion is stopping a beating heart but nobody wants to call it murder or republicans hate blacks yet under Obama and liberal aministration blacks are fairing worse than ever, or that scientist don't know how the world was created and that we came from slime but there's no proof. You "enlightened" folk seem to have cornered the market on rationalizing things.

      February 12, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        A blastocyst is not an infant. It doesn't have heart that can beat.
        In August of last year, Pew Research Center wrote that “the unemployment rate for blacks has averaged about 2.2 times that for whites” since 1954.
        The current 12.5 percent unemployment rate for blacks is unquestionably high. But by historical standards the current black unemployment rate is consistent with the average from 1972 to 2004, and the ratio of black-to-white unemployment rates is actually below the historical average. The black-to-white unemployment ratio is lower under Obama than it was under Reagan, Clinton and Bush at this point in their second terms. The Bush administration saw the biggest increase in the black unemployment rate of any of the four preceding 2 term presidents

        While science may not have a rock solid explanation for teh origin of everything, hypotheses continue to be presented and tested – some of which have become workable theories. There is no supernatural rationalization – there is an admission of ignorance and an ongoing quest to lessen it.

        "We don't k now, but we're trying to find out" seems a lot less double-thinky than "we don't know, therefore magic".

        February 12, 2014 at 10:48 am |
      • fintronics

        You shoule change your handle to "candy coated ignorance"

        February 12, 2014 at 11:19 am |
  16. vancouverron

    Wait. I thought they rode dinosaurs.

    February 12, 2014 at 8:43 am |
  17. ugetthefacts

    why can't christians prove there is a god?

    Still waiting for proof..

    February 12, 2014 at 8:22 am |
    • derado8

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

      February 12, 2014 at 8:41 am |
      • ugetthefacts

        ah, so you are saying god is a delusion. Seems you have something there.

        February 12, 2014 at 8:43 am |
        • derado8

          I'd say a mind set or a philosophy.
          Philosophy and delusion are not the same thing. They might be intertwined with some people.

          February 12, 2014 at 8:49 am |
        • ugetthefacts

          philosophy cannot prove,, however it can become disproved as irrelevant.

          Therefore no god has been proven.

          February 12, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • derado8

          I guess it would depend on how relevant a mindset is on the external world. In some cases very relevant in others not relevant at all.

          February 12, 2014 at 9:09 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Theology is no help in the real world.
          It is searching in the dark for a black cat that isn't there.
          Gods are an explanation for the reason behind the universe's existence, something which is unknowable as has no bearing on what happens IN the universe.
          Reality doesn't work the way we want it to. We can only describe it and chronicle its workings.

          February 12, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • derado8

          Sorry about the long pause Doc. Mind over matter has a use in real life. It can be good or bad depending on the ideas. It certainly has limitations.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:00 am |
    • Vic

      This universe and life in it are "Prima Facie" evidence of God.

      Every living—and ever lived—soul is from the Breath of God.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:12 am |
      • JakeSeaVik

        Well there we have it. Vic said it was so, so we finally have proof that there's a god. Ok, onto the next subject.

        February 12, 2014 at 9:21 am |
      • ugetthefacts

        again, no proof of a god. I can understand people making things up, calling the 'made up' stuff as philosophy and theology. In the end, nothing is proven. I would imagine a child who makes up stories could be considered a philosopher as he tries to explain what he doesn't understand.

        February 12, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • derado8

          "All the rules were invented by someone no smarter than you, so make your own" _Jaden Smith son of Will Smith age 15.
          One of my favorite philosophy quotes of all time.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:20 am |
      • fintronics

        I assume you're going to provide us with some evidence to back up that claim Vic??

        February 12, 2014 at 11:25 am |
    • candycoatedapple

      Why don't you try to find Him? "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

      John 8:47
      Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

      February 12, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • fintronics

        Wow... how profound... meanwhile, god is just an invention of man...... nothing more.

        February 12, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • joey3467

        Sounds like confirmation bias to me. If you go looking for god you will eventually believe that you have found him, and it doesn't actually prove anything.

        February 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • zmccormi

      Its physical impossible to prove the existence or non-existence of an infinite being/source. Some might prefer a wager, if you'd rather, on whether it is statistically plausible to believe that an infinite being exists. Have you perchance read Pascal? Pensee 233, specifically.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
  18. headmouse

    Anyone else find it funny that CNN is doing an article about camels on Wednesday?

    February 12, 2014 at 8:12 am |
    • ugetthefacts

      I find it funnier that christians look to people who rode camels.. or at least they claim they did.

      February 12, 2014 at 8:34 am |
      • tv64

        why? what animal should one look up to, your highness?

        February 12, 2014 at 9:37 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      The article was done on a Tuesday, not a Wednesday.

      February 12, 2014 at 8:43 am |
    • Vic

      Well, in the corporate world, Wednesday is called "hump day" as well.

      And, as noted already, i was published on Tuesday.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:23 am |
    • Vic

      Well, in the corporate world, Wednesday is called "hump day" as well.

      And, as noted already, it was published on Tuesday.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:23 am |
  19. realityyyyyyy

    Only for the new members:

    And now the nitty-gritty of it all:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to their god to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed." J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that such religious supersti-tions, violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions

    February 12, 2014 at 8:06 am |
    • minuano72

      This is a point I've been making with my religious friends for years but no one seems to want to listen. Probably because it's such a relevant point. Think of this scenario.....if you had been put up for adoption and taken in by a couple that's of a different religion than you are today, you'd probably be your adoptive parents religion right now. That's how random it is.

      February 12, 2014 at 8:21 am |
      • derado8

        People switch religions all the time.

        February 12, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • Alias

          People change denominations a lot, but seldom change religions.
          Unless you want to count those who become atheists.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:31 am |
      • gmscan

        Except that it is not in fact true. There are more Christians in China today than in the United States. The growth of Christianity in Africa is explosive. In fact, Christianity is now mostly a religion of the "global south."

        February 12, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • Alias

          The christian population is growing in those areas because the christian population is growing.
          Christians are making christian babies.
          There are no mass conversions going on.

          February 12, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Billy

      But then by your reasoning, could we not conclude that your argument is a result of where you were born and how you were raised? Simplifying any world view and reducing it to outworkings of environment does little to understand the worldview. Let's be less hostile and try understand why people hold to their views, and understand how their views were formed, and see if they stand up to investigation.. In a civil, respectful way..

      February 12, 2014 at 8:50 am |
    • tv64

      Its the human condition... exacerbated by religions that claim to be the "one true religion" and that if you join this religion, you become a "chosen one" and have a first class ticket to the quiet luxurious place while the rest are going to an uncomfortable, hot, place. Therefore we must kill them to make sure they get there faster.

      February 12, 2014 at 9:41 am |
  20. jaydavid666

    Ha, ha, ha.
    I love it when people debate fairy tails.
    Jesus said it's easier to ride a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven.
    But most "Christians" worship Money, the one true God, and practice Capitalism, the one true religion.
    The unborn must be protected.
    But the born can go to Hades, preferably via capital punishment.

    February 12, 2014 at 8:04 am |
    • derado8

      Everybody adores money. It's a necessity. If you don't have at least a little of it you won't survive.

      February 12, 2014 at 8:13 am |
    • derado8

      Even in a resource based economy there wouldn't be a way to eliminate compet*tion for resources.

      February 12, 2014 at 8:37 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.