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April 10th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

Study: 'Jesus' wife' fragment not a fake

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – A team of scientists has concluded that a controversial scrap of papyrus that purportedly quotes Jesus referring to "my wife," is not a fake, according to the Harvard Theological Review.

"A wide range of scientific testing indicates that a papyrus fragment containing the words, 'Jesus said to them, my wife' is an ancient document, dating between the sixth to ninth centuries CE," Harvard Divinity School said in a statement.

Scientists tested the papyrus and the carbon ink, and analyzed the handwriting and grammar, according to Harvard.

Radiocarbon tests conducted at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology produced an origination date for the papyrus of 659-859 CE, according to Harvard. MIT also studied the chemical composition of the papyrus and patterns of oxidation.

Other scholars studied the carbon character of the ink and found that it matched samples of papyri from the first to eight century CE, according to Harvard.

"None of the testing has produced any evidence that the fragment is a modern fabrication or forgery," the divinity school said.

At least one scholar sharply disagrees, however, calling the papyrus scrap "patently fake."

Unveiled by Karen King, a Harvard Divinity School historian, in 2012, the scrap has sparked a heated debate over Christian history, archaeological accuracy and the role of women in the church.

The fragment, which is about the size of a business card, contains just 33 words, including: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …" and "she will be able to be my disciple." 

Though she dubbed the fragment, "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife," King said that the papyrus does not prove that Jesus was actually married – just that ancient Christians discussed the possibility.

"This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus's marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family," King said.

Other Christians have suggested that Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically in the sentence fragments quoted in the papyrus. Some New Testament writers refer to the church as "the bride of Christ."

King and other scholars said they are equally intrigued by Jesus' mention of a female disciple.

"The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus—a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued," King said.

5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'

The Harvard Theological Review also published on Thursday a sharp-worded rebuttal to King's hypothesis by Leo Depuydt, a professor of Egyptology at Brown University.

"I personally—and I am not sure whether I share this feeling with anyone—experience a certain incredulity pertaining to how something that is at first sight so patently fake could be so totally blown out of proportion," Depuydt writes.

Depuydt's criticism centers on the fact that the papyrus scrap contains a grammatical error in Coptic - one that mirrors a similar miscue in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas.

The chances that two ancient works would have the same mistake are minuscule, the scholar said, strongly suggesting that the author of the"Jesus' wife" scrap copied from the Gospel of Thomas.

“As a forgery, it is bad to the point of being farcical or fobbish," Depuydt told the Boston Globe. "I don’t buy the argument that this is sophisticated. I think it could be done in an afternoon by an undergraduate student.”

The Vatican's newspaper has also called the papyrus fragment a fake. “Substantial reasons would lead us to conclude that the papyrus is actually a clumsy counterfeit," L'Osservatore Romano, said in an editorial in 2012. 

Vatican newspaper calls fragment referring to Jesus' wife 'a fake'

King and Harvard acknowledge that "nothing is known about the discovery of the fragment." King has said it was given to her by an unnamed donor. 

"All the known data about its origin and circulation need to be publicly disclosed and thus made available for scholarly discussionas is the norm in the handling of manuscripts. Is there some reason we cannot just be told?" Depuydt said.

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • History • Jesus

soundoff (2,539 Responses)
  1. fishisfirst

    to igaftr:
    You wrote: "Stop trying to start with a conclusion and incorrectly applying logic to backtrack to a premise." In other words, don't do as you did? Because your conclusion is that there is no God, and then you set out to prove why, although you can end up being eternally wrong.

    May 3, 2014 at 11:27 am |
  2. monkeyabeyman

    the bride or wife is his heavenly organization..it is symbolism..

    April 14, 2014 at 10:19 am |
    • esmiranda

      That's a cop out. And a ridiculous one at that.

      April 30, 2014 at 12:22 am |
    • santonioo

      Only if you are a free thinker, irrespective of what you believe, read through the page of this link http://www.freechristianillustrations.com/defending.html

      May 1, 2014 at 10:22 am |
  3. Theo Phileo

    Wow, there's STILL conversation going on about this? It's a fragment from a gnostic gospel, probably the gospel of Thomas. If it IS actually an ancient manuscript, then it is an early equivalent to the National Enquirer, or The Onion...

    April 14, 2014 at 7:26 am |
    • ausphor

      Right on Theo way too many posts on this topic. Why not start your illogical rant on first start, and casual chain, we have only heard your views a few hundred times before; ready, set, go.

      April 14, 2014 at 8:33 am |
      • ausphor

        first cause....

        April 14, 2014 at 8:39 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        If you refuse the reason behind the argument of a First Cause, then you only have three alternatives:
        1) The universe created itself – this is logically impossible and defies reality as nothing can create itself
        2) The universe is eternal – everything we see is mutable, and that which is mutable is not eternal
        3) Multiverse Theory – This is an unobservable, unproven and unprovable model. In other words, it takes FAITH to believe this.

        So if you refuse to logically deduce a creator, you are left with two impossibilities and one unprovable...

        April 14, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • igaftr

          Theo, first off, the "creator" hypothesis is also completely unproveable, and also, there are MANY more possibilities. Your religious bias shows all too much for you to be able to logically argue.

          Apply the first cause garbage to your god, and don't try to say that something has to begin or end for it to apply, thus excluding your god. Your god began AFTER the first men, when the first one imagined and defined "god". That is the first cause of your god.

          Stop trying to start with a conclusion and incorrectly applying logic to backtrack to a premise.

          You seriously need to learn how to CORRECTLY apply logic.
          Firat off, you should be able to some up with far more possibilities than your "only three".

          April 14, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Your religious bias shows all too much for you to be able to logically argue."
          "Your god began AFTER the first men, when the first one imagined and defined "god". That is the first cause of your god."
          --------------
          Wow, and you say that I have a bias? Yours is shown in that you posit that men created God. So by your own reasoning, because you begin with a conclusion and have bias, you are unable to logically argue.

          April 14, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          How many dimensions are there in your belief system , just the three we can observe? Surely there has to be at least a fourth where your "spirits and gods exist" The math regarding quantum physics works much more elegantly using as many as 10 dimensions. Continue with your rant, start at the beginning, that would be the conclusion you have already reached.

          April 14, 2014 at 10:11 am |
        • Doris

          It's total nonsense to think there are no more options than what Theo proposes. Why? Because we just don't have enough information to know or even project a good likelihood of one proposal over another among the suggestions that have been put forth by leading scientists. So when we lack knowledge, why make suggestions and then limit the possibilities to those suggestions? To limit possibilities in this way is foolish and shows a mind that can't cope with unknowns and that will, if necessary, create answers or lock onto answers created by others to pacify their discomfort.

          Alex Vilenkin, co-author of the BVG Theorem has ideas about what could have been before the proposed beginning to this universe. Multi-verse is one option. But along with and since BVG, he has also written and spoke about the problem of limiting possibilities, and also about frailties of BVG. People like Craig have, of course, ignored the problems these warnings of limiting possibilities, but instead, have only latched onto the primary argument of BVG and then leapt to the God of Abraham. So predictable and so foolish.

          April 14, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "To limit possibilities in this way is foolish and shows a mind that can't cope with unknowns"
          -----------–
          No one is as closed-minded as the man who knows the truth and refuses to be persuaded otherwise.

          April 14, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • Doris

          "No one is as closed-minded as the man who knows the truth and refuses to be persuaded otherwise."

          That's your best answer, Theo? Did you get that from a fortune cookie?

          I'm always amused how theists throw around the word "truth" like it was something they bought in bulk at Costco.

          April 14, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          There is a great deal of evidence showing men create gods, NONE showing gods at all let alone creating anything.
          The thousands of gods men have worshipped is the first clue. Yours appears to be no different than the others, created by men to answer their own ignorance.

          April 14, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Both arrogant and absurd that you know the "truth". Prove it again, you are hilarious.

          April 14, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • tshorey2013

          If nothing can create itself who or what created God? You entire 3 point argument is just a copy and paste from several different Christian apologist web sites.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • kermit4jc

          THAT is to assume God is created..which He is nOT

          May 26, 2014 at 2:30 am |
    • kudlak

      Theo
      More like a different interpretation of the events, like getting your news from CNN, or FOX, with FOX being more like the gnostic way of thinking, right?

      April 14, 2014 at 10:32 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Every news agency adds bias into their reporting – it's human nature. And if a man strongly disagrees with the reporting of a certain news agency, it just may be revealing his own bias.

        April 14, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • kudlak

          Yes, the irony is that the news agency that thinks of itself as the most "fair and balanced" has actually proved itself the least.

          April 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • Akira

      So? Why did you comment then?

      April 14, 2014 at 11:18 am |
      • ausphor

        Akira
        If that was directed at me, I love getting old Theo going with his tortured logic, on a slow day a little comic relief is welcome.

        April 14, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Akira

          No, ausphor, it was directed at Theo.
          I swear , Theo reminds me so much of Live4Him, it's uncanny.

          April 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • dojams

      I agree Theo... just because it might not be a modern forgery does not make it a historical truth. How many times will this be presented as a seed to instigate biblical doubt and questioning.

      http://www.numindedproject.com

      April 26, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
  4. blessed137

    Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12 God Bless everyone! Good Bye!

    April 13, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      like to feel persecuted, do you, blessed?

      do you beat yourself, also?

      April 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Of course they made that up. If one wanted to play the martyred victim you would put something like that into the mouth of your main character, and have him say that. We can only hope you and your idiocy are really leaving.

      April 13, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • kudlak

      Blessed
      Jesus faced all kinds of ridicule in his own day, right? The Pharisees and Sadducees supposedly found fault in his interpretation of the Law. Other Jews made fun of him for being from the backwater Galilee, for being the son of a carpenter. So, Matthew is likely talking about the failure of Jesus to be taken seriously in his own time, and jesus preached that the end was coming within the lifetimes of that generation, right? So, why should it surprise people like you that some people still find the whole thing laughable, especially since Jesus' prediction never came true?

      April 14, 2014 at 10:25 am |
  5. Peaceadvocate2014

    I cant judge science findings because i may be wrong. Our courts could judge the findings and find the exhibit is indeed very old.

    April 13, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • doobzz

      What the hell are you blathering about now?

      April 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Akira

        I'm not sure that Peace knows the function of the US judicial system.

        April 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
  6. Peaceadvocate2014

    Science findings which raises more queries. It begs the question, is it a way to justify more study? More funding? Jobs?,moe ey? Better than a findings that would contribute to humans moral decay i guess.

    April 13, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Doris

      What?

      April 13, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • bostontola

      Peace,
      I agree that scientists lobby for funding, that is a fact. But if you're alluding that the drive for funding biases the science, in general I disagree. We should be skeptical of corporate science, where the results are used to directly sell their own product. But there is little evidence that Govt funded science is biased. The scrutiny given high intense. Any misstep will run the scientist out of his career. That is more persuasive than monetary gain for most scientists.

      It is a fact that the scientific method works better than any other ever devised. Humanity has benefitted by science more than any other field of study. Medical science improves the quality of life and the duration. Physics leads to communication, navigation, weather, etc technologies, all saving lives.

      April 13, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Akira

      Now why does science findings lead to moral decay? What an odd thought.

      April 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      FYI:
      http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/begs-the-question

      April 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
  7. blessed137

    I am not amazed by all the false accusations, twisted logic, crude comments, mindless arguing. Just living up to what you believe you all are: Descendants of the Apes. No matter what answer is given, those who's hearts are hard will not believe.As for judging, then i suppose by your standard, that since no one should judge, you dont have the right to put baby rappers in prison. So if someone sodomized your children, dont judge. He is an animal afterall, and having no freewill he made the decision before he was consciously aware. I guess he will get off on the insanity plea.

    April 13, 2014 at 10:01 am |
    • midwest rail

      Could you be more disingenuous ?

      April 13, 2014 at 10:03 am |
    • bostontola

      Since when do atheists say, Don't judge. That is a Christian commandment. I'm not bound by that, you are!

      Please, provide one of the mindless arguments for the falsity of Christianity given by atheists.

      April 13, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • blessed137

        All the time. At least to christians anyways, when they are told that according to God's Word, their behavior and lifestyle are sinful.

        April 13, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • bostontola

          Atheists I know don't tell people to not judge. They point out hypocrisy. Christians have a commandment to not judge, when you do, it is pointed out. I don't care if a person is judgmental, that is human. I am amused when righteous people violate their own commandments while castigating others.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • igaftr

          137
          Wow...First off, all you have is the word of man. There is no sign any gods had anything to do with it. Considering the violent and destructive history of belief in the bible, it seems there is more evidence that Satan inspired your bible than any gods, and you have fallen for the devils greatest trick...the bible itself.

          Second, by studying the other life forms on the planet, we can see the relativism of morality, and see morality in MANY life forms, especially the other social animals. If you say "behaving like animals", well, we bahave like many different animals in different situations, and they hehave like us...varying with the situation. We are after all, animals, and our relative morality has evolved with us.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • tallulah131

          Call me crazy, but I'm thinking "blessed" here is a troll. Or perhaps I'm just giving him/her the benefit of the doubt.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Akira

          I think you're right, tal. blessed is kind of all over the place with hizzer stories.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
      • blessed137

        Christians arent perfect were only forgiven. If you receive Jesus into your heart there would be added to the church another hypocrite.

        April 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Madtown

          Others who have no knowledge of christianity are NOT forgiven? What kind of God sets up a system like that?

          April 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • blessed137

          I can be hypocritcal myself. But I know what God expects. Telling someone that their lifestyle is sinful is just pointing out the biblical true (according to my beliefs). Just because I have a weaknesses doesnt mean I should be tolerant throw the towel in and say op well im a glutton mine as well drink and have an orgie. it is written let us live up to what we have already attained.

          April 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • blessed137

          The gospel is being preached to the ends of the earth. There is an account in the bible of one of the disciples who was actually moved from one location to another supernaturally to preach the gospel to an ethiopian. I believe that may happen again if necessary and God saw that person would repent and that was the only was for him to hear the gospel. There are many evangelist who travel into remote country to tribesmen people secluded.

          April 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          blessed137
          And those missionaries have brought diseases to that have killed vast numbers of native peoples. Missionaries today are bringing their h0m0ph0bia to African nations like Uganda, endangering the very lives of gays. Missionary schools have featured prominently in child abuse cases featuring Christian clergy. All told, isn't it fair to say that most of these people would have been better off if they had never met a missionary?

          April 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • blessed137

          People who are wolves in sheeps clothing do all kinds of evil in the name of Jesus. I was religiously burned growing up, used to be an atheist myself. We were molested by people professing to be christian. I got saved in my 20's.

          April 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • Madtown

          many evangelist who travel into remote country to tribesmen people secluded.
          --–
          The very idea of missionaries is arrogant. Who are you to tell someone else how they should think about spirituality/religion? Turn the table, put yourself in their shoes. If someone knocked on your door, told you that their religion was the "true" one give by God, that your religion was false, and that you should convert to their ways....would you be open to it? Why not? It's what you expect of others.

          April 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • sam stone

          "Christians arent perfect were only forgiven"

          If you need to be forgiven for being imperfect, your judge is a vindctive pr1ck, and you are a snivelling sycophant.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • blessed137

          Madtown, anyone may come to my door and share their beliefs, i dont mind. I have in the past share faith, we exchange beliefs with mutal respect. No i do not believe what others believe, they not do have to do the same. Christians believe it is God's desire to share the plan of salvation with all men. You can deciede to take it or leave it.

          April 13, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • blessed137

          Mutual respect is my point. I not going to continue aswering people who are disrespectful and dont really care what I tell them.

          April 13, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • Madtown

          Christians believe it is God's desire to share the plan of salvation with all men
          ----
          Yeah, but maybe that's already occurring, and the people we're referring to still have no knowledge of christianity. That's my point.....you think there's only 1 correct way of thinking of God, the way you follow. Others follow a different way, and you're no one to tell them they're wrong. If there is a "plan of salvation", why would you think you know what it is, as compared to someone else with no knowledge of christianity?

          April 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • sam stone

          poor baby.....you duck a question and people call you names.....

          April 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          It's "we're", not "were". Did you go to Grade School ? . Maybe you would have an ounce of credibility if you could write a sentence in English. Maybe not.

          April 13, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • kudlak

          blessed137
          Why would perfection be a reasonable standard to judge humanity? Has anything ever been proven to be "perfect"?

          April 14, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • kudlak

          blessed137
          How do you know that you're not being abused in some other way in your present experience as a Christian? Maybe someone is getting you to believe in a lie?

          April 14, 2014 at 10:14 am |
      • blessed137

        Also mindless arguing I was referring to was debating giving no care about what the answer is are the questions are. I sincereley care about your questions and what to answer them. And I was not crude name calling, you all claim that you are descendants of apes. Just pointing out a fact based on behavior. the secular notion:I Think therefore I am. I wasnt be a smartass. I apologize it was taken out of context.

        April 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          you don't sincerely care. you avoided my direct question

          April 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Akira

          Regarding your OP:
          That same logic can work against you: baby rappers (sic) would automatically be forgiven by Christians because they would turn the other cheek.

          So if someone sodomizes your children, forgive them. It’s the Christian thing to do.

          Is what I wrote true or false?

          April 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • blessed137

          I answered your question on a different post, read upward.

          April 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • blessed137

          True. It is God's desire that all men be saved. We forgive because we are forgiven. But justice and holding people accountable for there actions is right.

          April 13, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • blessed137

          sam stone for whatever reason when I try to directly reply it doesnt allow me to. I have to respond with new post. I didnt avoid your question.

          April 13, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • blessed137

          I care about peoples questions, but people dont care about the answers. All i get is hatred and crude comments. If all you want to do is argue, im not going to respond. Good Day. God bless.

          April 13, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • blessed137

          Typo, I meant to say sometimes when I try to respond.

          April 13, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • sam stone

          N

          April 13, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          No you didn't. Let's try it again

          If I APPARENTLY have two choices, A or B, and god KNOWS I am going to choose B, what are the chances that he (being omniscient and all) will be shown wrong by me choosing A?

          April 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • Akira

          Blessed, the capacity to forgive doesn't belong soley to Christians. Atheists are no different than Christians except in one respect: they do not believe in any gods. That's it.

          Your 10:01 post was designed to slander. If you get blowback from it, it is because you wrote it in such a way as to invite it.

          April 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • sam stone

          seems that others have no problem posting on this thread, blessed

          perhaps the logial answer is inconsistent with your belief

          April 14, 2014 at 6:05 am |
    • MidwestKen

      @blessed137,
      "Descendants"?

      We are apes (Hominoidea) and more specifically Great Apes (Hominidae).

      Also, being an animal does not preclude being ethical.

      April 13, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • truthfollower01

        Ken,

        When a lion kills a zebra, does it murder the zebra? When a male shark forcibly copulates with a female shark, does it ra-pe the shark?

        April 13, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • Doris

          Midwest wrote "Hominoidea", not "Hitler".

          April 13, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • igaftr

          belief follower
          Only if you attempt to apply the relative moralityof humans to other life forms.It makes no sense to apply other life forms relative morality to us, so why do it in reverse?
          We can see morality in other animals, and can study it to compare against ours, see how it evolved, but you cannot apply that morality to other life forms. Morality is relative, so a moving target.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Iga,

          "It makes no sense to apply other life forms relative morality to us, so why do it in reverse?"

          If morality, who says you can't apply it?

          April 13, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Doris

          truthf: "If morality, who says you can't apply it?"

          Huh? No one says you can't apply it. Likewise, no one says you can't run around screaming "Harry Potter is God!"

          April 13, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Doris

          Notice the characteristic disingenuous form of truthf's last question. Without addressing the differentiation just made by igaftr, he attempts to reduce the argument to his level, presupposing that there is only one (divine) "morality" via "If morality".

          April 13, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Sorry. I should have quoted Iga, "but you cannot apply that morality to other life forms."

          If morality is relative, who says you can’t apply it?

          April 13, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • igaftr

          belief follower
          You can apply it, but why would you expect the same results?

          Plants show morality, but it is relative to the plants. It has been shown they nurture their young, but they have no brain. Is it just an instictual response, or an evolved programed response? or is it morality? When you nurture your uyoung, is it morality or evolved, preprogrammed response? How much of your though patterns are actually controlled by you, and how much is simply the learned and instinctual repsonses, the same as a computer program reacting to data input?

          You like to ask a lot of quetsions regarding morality, but it is relative, subjective, and a phenomenon that we are barely scratching the surface on.
          Morality issues are not evidence of any gods, so I wonder why you are so hung up on the question.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @truthfollower01,
          When a lion kills a zebra, it is lunch.

          While animals are not precluded from acting ethically, such as some behaviors seen in primate groups, it does not mean that our ethics, as more complex, more self-aware, beings should be applied to simpler life-forms. We don't after all hold infants accountable for their actions, mostly because they don't know any better, adults on the other hand are expected to know the basic rules of behavior in our society (because they are taught them, not because they are 'written on their hearts').

          April 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • kudlak

          truthfollower01
          God would be a different "species" than we are, right? So, what gives him the right to judge us?

          April 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          midwest
          "seen in primate groups,"
          Agree, but needs expanding. Not just primate groups, but also in bird species, and many other mammals. The more social the animal, the more it is seen. Rats co-operate and share, bird make elaborate tools...the more we study the other life forms, the more we find the same behaviors we possess. Most animals do have culture, language, social; structures.
          it has been seen that trees exhibit nurturing behavior to their offspring as well.

          April 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @igaftr,
          Agreed, although I hadn't heard the bit about trees, I was just being brief.

          April 13, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • frankbeattys

        Have you ever seen an ape in a Physics class? What is the likelihood of an ape reading his own genetic code? Not very good.

        April 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @frankbeattys,
          As I said, technically we are apes, so to answer your question, I've seen a lot of them in physics class.

          However, you are probably talking about gorillas, in which case, that's just a silly non-sequitor.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • otoh2

          frank,

          Humans **are** a type of ape (primate):

          Kingdom: Animalia
          Phylum: Chordata
          Class: Mammalia
          Order: Primates
          Family: Hominidae
          Tribe: Hominini
          Genus: Ho-mo
          Species: H. sapiens

          You wouldn't see a Gorilla primate or a Chimpanzee primate studying formal physics, but you certainly see H. sapiens studying it.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Akira

          Love the oversimplification because complex issues are too hard to fathom.

          April 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
    • Doris

      Well that's a great big bowl of presupposition. One of the foremost being "free will" which is a necessary component of the Christian Apologist Mental Gymnastics Toolkit. And not necessary for moral assessment outside of that tangled mess.

      April 13, 2014 at 10:13 am |
      • bostontola

        Christians have swept the medals at the Mental Gymnastics for the last 2 millennia.

        April 13, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • Doris

          Lol – yes and I've been to the Vatican – their team frequently won gold – a LOT.

          April 13, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • frankbeattys

          In the last 400 years we Christians were the primary contributors to science. The science before 400 years ago was trivial by comparison.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Before the renaissance, when reason reclaimed science from the church, most knowledge was in the hands of Muslims and before that the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
          I'd guess that the rise of science in the Christian world was mostly a coincidence or even in spite of the church, rather than because of it.

          April 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • kudlak

          MidwestKen
          Maybe the Christians of those times were so arrogant as to just assume that whatever they did discover through science would, of course, reveal how God operated? Once the Church realized that discoveries weren't doing this, it turned on science.

          April 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • colin31714

      Evolution is a fact. The only people who have an issue with it are those whose minds are so wrapped up in their religion that they either try and pretend it does not occur or, as in your case, make idiotic arguments about its consequences. By the way, even if your diatribe about evolution leading to a lack of morals were true, it would not disprove evolution, it would just mean that we would live in an immoral society. As we do not, clearly your absurd conclusion is rubbish. Belief in a god or gods is not a prerequisite for a moral code.

      PS: "After all" is two words.

      April 13, 2014 at 10:21 am |
      • truthfollower01

        Colin, can you give a specific piece of evidence for Darwinian evolution, a change in kinds (for example a change from say, feline to canine)?

        April 13, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • igaftr

          belief follower.
          YOU are an example. We can see a clear path through DNA. Embrace your inner fish, for they are your ancestors.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • colin31714

          Good Morning Truth. Yes, I do. I will need to respond in a separate posting though, as there is a little bit to explain here. Give me a few minutes.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Colin,

          Just your best piece of evidence will do.

          April 13, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @truthfollower01
          "Colin, can you give a specific piece of evidence for Darwinian evolution, a change in kinds (for example a change from say, feline to canine)?"

          This is what someone called 'So bad, it's not even wrong.'
          While there is a huge amount of evidence support the modern theory of evolution, evolution does not entail "a change in kinds" over a single generation.

          First, "kind" is not a scientific term and therefore is difficult to identify and measure.
          Second, no organism produces offspring of a different species, but populations can and do evolve into different species.
          Third, no one ever suggested that evolution means that a dog (canine) can produce a cat (feline) or vice versa.

          April 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • colin31714

          Truth – have a look at the following from the Ivy League University, Brown http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BIO48/23.Cases.HTML. Other examples can be found at the Berkeley University site http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VC1fEvidenceSpeciation.shtml.

          Can you point me to an article published in Science, Nature or any other scientific periodical in support of creationism? Alternatively, can you point out any university in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia or Australia with a creation science department? I ask because they all have evolutionary biology departments.

          Indeed, evolution is taught in every major university and college biology program in the World. Not 99% of them, but EVERY one. Universities with extensive evolutionary biology departments include Oxford University, Cambridge University and the Imperial College in England, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Germany, the École Normale Supérieure and École Polythecnique in France and Leiden University in the Netherlands and the Swiss Federal Insti.tute of Technology in Switzerland. This is just a sample. ALL university and colleges in Europe teach evolution as a fundamental component of biology.

          The number of universities and colleges in Europe with a creation science department: ZERO. The number of tenured or even paid professors who teach creation science at any of these universities or colleges: ZERO

          In the United States, the following Universities have extensive evolutionary biology departments staffed by thousands of the most gifted biologists in the World; Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Colombia, Duke, the Massachusetts Insti.tute of Technology, Brown, Stanford, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago. These are just some of the more prestigious examples. Again, ALL university and colleges in the USA with tertiary level biology classes teach evolution as a fundamental component of biology.

          The number of universities and colleges in the United States with a creation science department: ZERO The number of tenured or even paid professors who teach creation science at any of these universities or colleges: ZERO

          In Australia and Asia, the following universities and colleges have extensive evolutionary biology departments manned by more of the most gifted biological scientists in the World; Monash University in Melbourne, The University of New South Wales, Kyoto University in Ja.pan, Peking University in China, Seoul University in Korea, the University of Singapore, National Taiwan University, The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, and the University of Sydney.

          The number of universities and colleges in Australia and Asia with a creation science department: ZERO The number of tenured or even paid professors who teach creation science at any of these universities or colleges: ZERO

          The most prestigious scientific publications in the Western World generally accessible to the public include: The Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, Scientific American, Science, New Scientist, Cosmos and Live Science.

          Every month, one or more of them publishes a peer reviewed article highlighting the latest developments in evolution. The amount of any creationist science articles published in ANY of these prestigious publications; ZERO.

          I could repeat the above exercise for the following disciplines, all of which would have to be turned on their heads to accommodate creation science – paleontology, archeology, geology, botany, marine biology, astronomy, medicine, cosmology and historical linguistics.

          Nearly every scientific society, representing hundreds of thousands of scientists, have issued statements rejecting intelligent design and a peti.tion supporting the teaching of evolutionary biology was endorsed by 72 US Nobel Prize winners.

          Number of creation science Nobel Prize winners: ZERO

          The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society with more than 130,000 members and over 262 affiliated societies and academies of science including over 10 million individuals, has made several statements and issued several press releases in support of evolution.

          Number made in support of creation science: ZERO

          According to The International Federation of Biologists, there are more than 3 million biological scientists globally who rely on the 5 laws of Darwinian evolution for their jobs every single day.

          April 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      The Lord is your shepherd...Right? That makes you one of the sheep. I'll take being a high order ape over being a lowly ruminant any day of the week.

      April 13, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • kudlak

        Especially considering what shepherds actually do to sheep, from fleecing them, roasting them and using them for ... "companionship".

        April 13, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • fortheloveofellipsis

      Gee, such a loving tone from you, sweetie! How could anyone fail to follow the Christ when they have such examples of selfless love overflowing from you!

      And yes, /sarc off...

      April 13, 2014 at 10:29 am |
      • bostontola

        Read the new blog article on Rwanda for more examples of Christian love.

        April 13, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          Oh, it's not just that, boston; the history of insti.tutional Christianity(tm) is drenched in blood, and I say that as someone who tries to follow the teachings of the Christ as closely as I can (usually with indifferent success, but hey...). And it's not over yet, as anyone keeping tabs on the monster Scott Lively and his crusade to execute all gays continues...

          April 13, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          "crusade to execute all gays continues KNOWS." Sorry, rented fingers...

          April 13, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • bostontola

          I respect that.

          When a religion sets perfection as the standard, I wonder if that builds in fault lines for new denominations (up to 42,000 now). It is bound to create subgroups pointing the "no true Scotsman" finger at other subgroups.

          April 13, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Doris

          Yes, forthelove – Scott Lively – I wonder if that case against him is still active. Then there is that nasty homophobic preacher in Harlem – James David Manning, the one who hates the Obamas, even describing Michelle's physical characteristics in a very derogatory manner to his listeners.

          April 13, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          Speaking of what "other subgroups" do, I notice that very little attention is paid to the Thirty Years' War, started on religious grounds, ending in the breaking of the Roman Church as a secular power. Parts of Europe were reduced to cannibalism (at least according to reports at the time) over which church was the correct one as regards which one the government should enfranchise. The great irony was at the end, when the European powers–including Catholic powers such as France–rejected Roman authority in secular affairs in the Peace of Westphalia. I know I'm rambling, but the subject of the viciousness of insti.tutional Christianity is a fascinating subject...

          April 13, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • fortheloveofellipsis

          Well, Doris, those who foster frothing hate against one group of people tend to spread the vitriol to other groups, so that is not surprising at all...

          April 13, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • bostontola

          ellipsis,
          That is an interesting point, I'm going to research that.

          April 13, 2014 at 10:56 am |
        • Akira

          Oddly enough, I was just reading about the cannibalism and the Thirty Years War.
          That was started in Germany, wasn't it? Between the northern Protestants and the southern Catholics?
          I may have that backwards.

          April 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • Madtown

      put baby rappers in prison
      -----
      What do you have against young Rap artists? You mean, like Lil' Jon? You have to start somewhere. All rap music artists are young once.

      April 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
    • Akira

      blessed137

      You have to know that your post is a complete fabrication, don't you?

      That same logic can work against you: baby rappers (sic) would automatically be forgiven by Christians because they would turn the other cheek.

      So if someone sodomizes your children, forgive them. It's the Christian thing to do.

      And stop pretending you have any clue about atheists. I assure you, you have none. And this is coming from a person who is NOT atheist.

      April 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • kudlak

      blessed137
      Actually, we are apes. We belong to the Hominidae family, which also includes chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. There are two species of each of those, but only one species of human. We all share a common ancestor.

      April 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      false accusations? you refuse to answer a direct question. you are a coward. fvck you and the mythological jeebus you cower in front of.

      April 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • joey3467

      I'm not the biggest rap fan either, but baby rappers might actually be pretty awesome.

      April 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • fairytalesareforkids

      Baby rappers... like MC Pee-Pants?

      April 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
  8. bostontola

    Many religious people display a fascinating psychological phenomenon, two sided conflation. They conflate subjective evidence, objective evidence, and proof. That in itself is not peculiar to religious people. What does seem to be peculiar to religious people is that they treat the conflation differently when they are on offense and defense.

    When religious people are defending belief, the standard of proof drops dramatically. Subjective experience, broadly recognized as the weakest of all forms of evidence, is treated as conclusive proof of their God (even though people of other religions have exactly the same for their God).

    When religious people go on offense against some non-religious concept (e.g. Evolution), the standard of proof goes through the roof. Mountains of incontrovertible verified objective evidence is poo-poo'd.

    That behavior is very human. But you should be able to step back and recognize it in yourself and question what is bringing that out and ask, is this creating an enormous bias in thinking.

    April 13, 2014 at 9:29 am |
  9. igaftr

    kermit
    "I DO have evidence.."
    No you do not. You have absolutely no evidence that any gods exist, and none indicating YOUR specific god exists.
    You have experience you attribute to god, but you have not excluded all other possibilities for those experiences. For all you know, you are following Satan. You WANT it to be evidence for your god, so you don't even bother to look into the other possibilities.

    April 13, 2014 at 8:45 am |
    • kermit4jc

      You have experience you attribute to god, but you have not excluded all other possibilities for those experiencesre <<- Here you go again..making false claims against me..STOP projecting yourself on me...

      April 13, 2014 at 8:49 am |
      • igaftr

        I have made no false claims. How have you excluded all other possibilities, including the ones you have not conceived?
        How have you excluded that you are not just a pawn of satan?
        How have you excluded Zeus, or Odin or any of the other thousands of gods.
        How have you excluded coincidence, alien mind control, self-delusion....you see you have not excluded them, you have just accepted it as if it were true, and claim it to be, when you cannot prove it to be. You have accepted NO EVIDENCE at all than you can show to be exclusive to YOUR god alone.
        Odd, in the case of gay people, you claim there is NO evidence, while there is a great deal of evidence showing gay people ( at least the vast majority) are born gay, just nothing conclusive. There you claim no evidence where there is plenty, and yet you claim you have evidence regarding your god, where you have none.
        That is hilarious.

        Do you understand what the word evidence means?

        April 13, 2014 at 8:59 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.