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My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality
February 9th, 2011
10:31 AM ET

My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality

Editor's Note: Jennifer Wright Knust is author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire.

By Jennifer Wright Knust, Special to CNN

We often hears that Christians have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin - that Scripture simply demands it.

As a Bible scholar and pastor myself, I say that Scripture does no such thing.

"I love gay people, but the Bible forces me to condemn them" is a poor excuse that attempts to avoid accountability by wrapping a very particular and narrow interpretation of a few biblical passages in a cloak of divinely inspired respectability.

Truth is, Scripture can be interpreted in any number of ways. And biblical writers held a much more complicated view of human sexuality than contemporary debates have acknowledged.

In Genesis, for example, it would seem that God’s original intention for humanity was androgyny, not sexual differentiation and heterosexuality.

Genesis includes two versions of the story of God’s creation of the human person. First, God creates humanity male and female and then God forms the human person again, this time in the Garden of Eden. The second human person is given the name Adam and the female is formed from his rib.

Ancient Christians and Jews explained this two-step creation by imagining that the first human person possessed the genitalia of both sexes. Then, when the androgynous, dually-sexed person was placed in the garden, s/he was divided in two.

According to this account, the man “clings to the woman” in an attempt to regain half his flesh, which God took from him once he was placed in Eden. As third century Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman explained, when God created the first man, God created him with two faces. “Then he split the androgyne and made two bodies, one on each side, and turned them about.”

When the apostle Paul envisioned the bodies that would be given to humanity at the end of time, he imagined that they would be androgynous, “not male and female.” The third-century non-canonical Gospel of Philip, meanwhile, lamented that sexual difference had been created at all: “If the female had not separated from the male, she and the male would not die. That being’s separation became the source of death.”

From these perspectives, God’s original plan was sexual unity in one body, not two. The Genesis creation stories can support the notion that sexual intercourse is designed to reunite male and female into one body, but they can also suggest that God’s blessing was first placed on an undifferentiated body that didn’t have sex at all.

Heterosexual sex was therefore an afterthought designed to give back the man what he had lost.

Despite common misperceptions, biblical writers could also imagine same-sex intimacy as a source of blessing. For example, the seemingly intimate relationship between the Old Testament's David and Jonathan, in which Jonathan loved David more than he loved women, may have been intended to justify David’s rise as king.

Jonathan, not David, was a king’s son. David was only a shepherd. Yet by becoming David’s “woman,” Jonathan voluntarily gave up his place for his beloved friend.

Thus, Jonathan “took great delight in David,” foiling King Saul’s attempts to arrange for David’s death (1 Samuel 19:1). Choosing David over his father, Jonathan makes a formal covenant with his friend, asking David to remain faithful to him and his descendants.

Sealing the covenant, David swears his devotion to Jonathan, “for he loved him as he loved his own life” (1 Samuel 20:17). When Jonathan is killed, King David composes a eulogy for him, praising his devotion: “greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).

Confident claims about the forms of sex rejected by God are also called into question by early Christian interpretations of the story of Sodom. From the perspective of the New Testament, it was the near rape of angels - not sex between men - that led to the demise of the city.

Linking a strange story in Genesis about “sons of God” who lust after “daughters of men” to the story of the angels who visit Abraham’s nephew Lot, New Testament writers concluded that the mingling of human and divine flesh is an intolerable sin.

As the New Testament letter Jude puts it:

And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and went after strange flesh, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire (Jude 6-7).

The first time angels dared to mix with humans, God flooded the earth, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals. In the case of Sodom, as soon as men attempted to engage in sexual activity with angels, God obliterated the city with fire, delivering only Lot and his family. Sex with angels was regarded as the most dangerous and offensive sex of all.

It’s true that same-sex intimacy is condemned in a few biblical passages. But these passages, which I can count on one hand, are addressed to specific sex acts and specific persons, not to all humanity forever, and they can be interpreted in any number of ways.

The book of Leviticus, for example, is directed at Israelite men, offering instructions regarding legitimate sexual partners so long as they are living in Israel. Biblical patriarchs and kings violate nearly every one of these commandments.

Paul’s letters urge followers of Christ to remain celibate and blame all Gentiles in general for their poor sexual standards. Jesus, meanwhile, says nothing at all about same-sex pairing, and when he discusses marriage, he discourages it.

So why are we pretending that the Bible is dictating our sexual morals? It isn’t.

Moreover, as Americans we should have learned by now that such a simplistic approach to the Bible will lead us astray.

Only a little more than a century ago, many of the very same passages now being invoked to argue that the scriptures label homosexuality a sin or that God cannot countenance gay marriage were used to justify not “biblical marriage” but slavery.

Yes, the apostle Paul selected same-sex pairings as one among many possible examples of human sin, but he also assumed that slavery was acceptable and then did nothing to protect slaves from sexual use by their masters, a common practice at the time. Letters attributed to him go so far as to command slaves to obey their masters and women to obey their husbands as if they were obeying Christ.

These passages served as fundamental proof texts to those who were arguing that slavery was God’s will and accusing abolitionists of failing to obey biblical mandates.

It is therefore disturbing to hear some Christian leaders today claim that they have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin. They do have a choice and should be held accountable for the ones they are making.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jennifer Wright Knust.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Homosexuality • Opinion • Sex

soundoff (4,235 Responses)
  1. Patrick

    Okay, I don't know which "bible" that woman is reading or which church she "pastors," but she needs a course in the original Greek and maybe Hebrew (Aramaic) so that she doesn't continue to get it wrong !!!

    The Book "ROMANS"
    Romans: 1:24 Dio; parevdwken aujtou;ß oJ qeo;ß ejn tai'ß ejpiqumivaiß tw'n kardiw'n aujtw'n eijß ajkaqarsivan tou' ajtimavzesqai ta; swvmata aujtw'n ejn aujtoi'ß, "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves."

    Romans: 1:25 oi&tineß methvllaxan th;n ajlhvqeian tou' qeou' ejn tw'/ yeuvdei, kai; ejsebavsqhsan kai; ejlavtreusan th'/ ktivsei para; to;n ktivsanta, o&ß ejstin eujloghto;ß eijß tou;ß aijw'naß: ajmhvn. "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen"

    Romans: 1:26 dia; tou'to parevdwken aujtou;ß oJ qeo;ß eijß pavqh ajtimivaß: ai& te ga;r qhvleiai aujtw'n methvllaxan th;n fusikh;n crh'sin eijß th;n para; fuvsin, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (vile passions identified in vv.12.27; 1 corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:9,10; Jude 1.)

    Ro 1:27 oJmoivwß te kai; oiJ a~rseneß ajfevnteß th;n fusikh;n crh'sin th'ß qhleivaß ejxekauvqhsan ejn th'/ ojrevxei aujtw'n eijß ajllhvlouß, a~rseneß ejn a~rsesin th;n ajschmosuvnhn katergazovmenoi kai; th;n ajntimisqivan hJ;n e~dei th'ß plavnhß aujtw'n ejn eJautoi'ß ajpolambavnonteß."And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

    How you could read this in different ways is beyond me, maybe beyond everyone who reads her article and then reads the Bible.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • rebel_angel124

      amen (kinda what I was trying to say)

      February 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Religions are a scam

      hey moron, the bible is just a fable!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • BB

      The Jenster is a cofused professor at Boston University and has her brain addled with gender politics. Womyn's Herstory anybody?
      Jennygirl- LOL

      February 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Brad

      You don't need to be a greek/hebrew/aramaic scholar to see the truth of God's word.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Religions are a scam

      Hey morons, the bible is just a fairytale!

      Trust me - they all (the Vatican folks included) beat off! 🙂

      Wanna bet?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Xto

      I got my comment moderated for quoting the exact same scripture, only in english.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • karma1959

      Or you could approach the situation rationally and understand that people are going to believe and interpret things differently. Personally, my education leads me to believe the Bible is a collection of very good morals to live by (generally speaking) but I don't believe it's meant to be interpreted literally, as it's a collection of writings from very philosophical authors during the bronze age. But no.. not to interpreted literally.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Bisaacs

      Awsome.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Truth

      Patrick is right on the money.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Brian

      @ Patrick

      She's reading the same Bible that allows her to be a Pastor. As soon as she said that I tuned her out.

      @ Meh I tell you what I'll use the Bible to demonstrate his existence AND I'll use the 1st and 2nd century historians who reference them. Now, you can dismiss those individuals as reliable as they were not eyewitneses. Of course, if you do that, then we shall dismiss everything the say about anything as unreliable. Of course, that would be absurd as many scholars and historians put full weight and authority into the writings of these individuals. While we are at it we can apply the same approach to the alleged 'Father of History' and see how well he does.

      Careful who you pick fights with. You may actually run into someone that knows what they are talking about. I doubt you do though as it seems you are simply throwing arguments around without my substance behind themself. I mean, I didn't see you offer up anything worth reading other than 'prove it.' Nice. Do me a favor and prove that the universe created itself out of nothing. When you are done with that I want you to use empirical science to demonstrate macro-evolution happens. Of course I want you to do that WITHOUT using any references from any Science website or textbook as they were not eyewitnesses or second to the actual events mentioned above. You may contact me with your empirical evidence at cnncommentator at hotmail com

      February 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Brian

      @Brad, true. But knowing and understanding the languages that the Bible was original written in would only enhance one's understanding of the Word of God.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • qanerd

      Hey Religions are a Scam: You're the only moron here. You're a fable

      February 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Religions are a scam

      The bible is a POS! Trust me – they all (the Vatican folks included) beat off! Wanna bet? 🙂

      How did human learn how to touch themselves – via the bible, jesus, etc? 🙂

      Get a clue, sheep!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • lex luthor

      also, what is it with all the 'vesions' of the bible???? king james anybody? I can make a lex luthor big print version too!!!take out what i dont think is good in it and call it the King Luthor version Bible

      February 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Religions are a scam

      qanerd, you beat off! So, what do you want to pontificate about? 🙂

      BTW, how often you do it? 🙂

      February 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dave

      I agree. If the author is going to claim to use the Bible, then use all of it.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Mattski

      That's the beauty of Christianity - you can morph it to fit your beliefs. Different Christian sects have been doing it for generations. It makes it hard to take any of it seriously, but that's just the truth of it. If Christians could come up with one truth among them, it might all be more credible.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Patrick

      Patrick,

      Are you a scholar of ancient Greek, or modern?

      February 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  2. Reader

    The Bible (God's Word as revealed to Man) does not want us to hate each other. But we are to hate sin. Love the sinner – hate the sin. There are instructions from God that a man shall leave his mother and take a wife. There are further instructions that man is not to lie with another man or animal as he would a woman. When God was trying to save the world He instructed Noah to take his wife, his sons and their wives and two of each animal (male and female) and several pairs of those needed for personal survival. God created mathematics, science, psychology, chemistry, etc. What man has been able to do with it, is no accident. The Old Testament was revealed to selected authors to write God's Word. The New Testament was written by apostles, disciples and other men of faith. King James had the original manuscripts translated into a language he could understand and learn from. The King James Bible was not created for King James but was provided in English so he could read it for himself rather depending on Greek and Hebrew scholars. The believe in the Bible and its teachings comes down to FAITH. Without faith, it is nothing but a book with words on it and myths. With Faith, it is a whole lot more. And without that faith, it is something those who have no faith cannot even begin to fathom.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Truth

      Right on the money.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  3. John

    I have never read a more blatant distortion of the Bible before. This woman is a Bible scholar and pastor? Scary!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      It is heartwarming to see the Juedo-Christian-Muslim community growing more accepting of the notion that there is no one interpretation of the Testaments or Koran that is correct. We've seen it over the past few decades, it is just nice to see them catching up with the scholarly world.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  4. Mcaswell82

    I just can't figure the Bible out a lot of stuff doesn't make any sense at all. For example Noah's Ark why did God have to flood the Earth for 40days and nights? It's God if God want's to kill everybody on Earth why can't he just think it or snap his fingers and every wicked person disappears? It seems wildly inefficent and overly dramatic to flood the Earth. Also I have a problem with the whole God and Satan thing. According to the Bible Angels are created by GOD. So then how can you explain the existence of Lucifer. So if there is an ultimate evil it exists because of God's will that doesn't seem right to me. If God is perfect why did one of his own creations rebel against him? Why was it necessary to flood the Earth and start over I God created the Earth shouldn't it be perfect? If God destroyed the Earth because we abused our free will why give it to us again we obviously can't be trusted with it?

    February 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • ohPlease

      are we assuming god is perfect? are assuming god wants the world to be perfect? are we assuming god is fair or reasonable?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  5. pete

    This sounds an awful lot like someone hearing what they want to hear.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Patrick

      Everyone hears what they want to hear. No one has the courage to challenge how they think or what they believe. Denial is so much easier to embrace, why would you or I want to question our way of thinking?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  6. George

    I have spent my life in studying the Scripture. I knew before I read the article that it likely included much bias. I am sorry Jennifer Knust, but your article had some of the worst Biblical exposition I have ever read.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • JT

      You knew before you read it? How? Are you psychic? Aren't you afraid that your buds will burn you as a witch? You know...in the name of God?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  7. barbara

    First of all the head of man is Christ the head of the woman is the man, you my dear as a Pastor have no head, it should be your husband not another female. Then the issue of what God Almighty decides to do with his EARTH is not of your bussiness because he is the CREATOR of everthing, then you are the "False Prophet that Jesus spoke about in the last days, so that the ilumination of the good news don't shine through because of the garbage you speak off, because of you and EVE who stupidlyl listen to SATAN who posed as a serpent convinced her to betray GOD and now we are all sinners, SO ask me where she is, cause she is not going to be in no PARADISE and Heaven is only for the annointed 144,000 read the BIBLE as GOD commands. Also Revelation states at the very end, that who ever taketh a word or adds a word to his WORD(scriptures) will be thrown in the lake of Fire. ( symbolic) meaning you will be destroyed in GEHENA forever!!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • JT

      ...and reindeer really know how to fly. Decaf, honey....decaf.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  8. Rick

    I find myself questioning her ability as a bible scholar because her argument based on the story of Sodom is deeply flawed. Sodom was not destroyed because the angels were attacked. Sodom's destruction was already proclaimed. The angels visited in search of ten virtuous inhabitants, per Abraham's request. Absent Abraham's request, the angels never visit and Sodom is destroyed. The way the angels are treated is not the cause for the destruction of Sodom, it is the punctuation of a judge's gavel.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  9. AD

    First of all ! Ms. Knust is simply a False Prophet. Secondly it's amazing how all of you atheist, agnostic's and Anti-Christians, have a way of fulfilling scripture ! Everything that each one of you say, the bible already have told us that you will be saying this.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @AD,
      The Bible mentioned the possible genetic basis for se.xual orientation and the possibility that the hormone level during embryo development is a significant factor and mentioned which web sites to find references to ho.mose.xuality in nature, such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_hoREMOVEmoseREMOVExual_behavior. Amazing!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Until the people who oppose gay marriage are willing to live 100% by everything written in the Bible, they need to shut their pie holes. I'll add that if your marriage is so weak that it can be damaged by my marriage, you have a crappy marriage that is not worth saving.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  11. Dave

    why do atheists hate gays so much!?

    February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  12. Meh

    Well golly gee....isnt that convenient

    February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  13. JD Edwards

    Are you completly nuts? What kind of seminary school did you go to? There are no contridictions on this subject, you just need to know how to read the Bible and know how it is written. I feel sorry for the people that have put their trust in your teachings, because they are wrong. Yes, the Bible states that being gay is a sin, but it also states that we are to love the sinner. It is wrong to think that Christianity works that way. You need to go back to school, or better yet, just read the bible as it is written and not try to make it fit into your beleifs.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  14. Ura Montal

    If you believe that the Bible is the word of God, then you need to know when to stop interpreting and to obey.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  15. Jeff

    I am sorry Jennifer but your article looks to be trying to justify something that is both unnatural and clearly wrong in the bible. You theory is in no way based on any fact stated in the bible only your own misguided interpretation in an attempt to justify something that GOD says is not right. Part of our responsibility here on earth is to procreate and obviously this can only be done through the marriage of a man to a woman according to God. I pray you would reread the bible and maybe even talk to well respected pastors such as Rick Warren to listen and understand his interpretation. May God's peace be with you always.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Patrick

      Unnatural? Like flying airplanes?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Dog Hates Dyslexia

      Jeff: " Part of our responsibility here on earth is to procreate and obviously this can only be done through the marriage of a man to a woman according to God."

      Obviously? Only through the "marriage" of a man and a woman? And just what rock do you live under, Jeff? Have you never heard of children conceived of unwed parents? What about IVF? Do you believe that sterile men and women should be allowed to marry? They have as little a chance of procreating as gay couples. And just makes Rick Warren's interpretation better than anyone else's? It's still an interpretation? How do you decide who is right? Could you please explain this to the rest of us?

      February 11, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  16. Lush Rimfire

    I think this Pastor & many of these commentators need prayer.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  17. vtskivt

    All sort of nuts coming up with religions and interpertations of the bible all the time. Magic cool aid anyone?

    February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  18. my6cents

    If she's a pastor , her flock is being mislead.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Patrick

      ...and not just in the typical lead-people-to-believe-in-fairy-tales kind of way.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  19. I Can't Stand Self-Righteous Religious People

    I don't see anything wrong with what this columnist is trying to say. It's her opinion. At least it's an opinion of tolerance, not intolerance.

    I think I recall Jesus saying before: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" – Matthew 7:3

    February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  20. Kristin

    For the record, I believe in human rights, baptized Catholic, an opened to listening to all opinions though I may not agree. It's called respecting others. Sometimes I feel overly religions people forget that word sometimes, respect; AND always think they are RIGHT and "you" are WRONG unless you agree. Anyway, I have nothing against the gay lifestyle and to be honest I feel everyone has a right to live their happiest/fullest life possible, with a man or a woman.
    However, it takes a man and a woman to have a child; not a man/man nor woman/woman.... that has to mean something?!?!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Clint

      and right you are ... it means I won't be having kids any time soon 🙂

      February 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Patrick

      Why?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Clint

      the commentor, jennifer, above said "However, it takes a man and a woman to have a child; not a man/man nor woman/woman.... that has to mean something?!?!".

      and I said yeah it does mean something, it means I won't be having kids any time soon. that's what it means.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • RC WORD

      Nice to see a sister Catholic posting here. It seems everybody is losing the respect of each other. I have prayed to be more tolerant and hopefully God with share enough of His Grace to alow me to do that. What I feel we are witnessing Kristin, is the harvesting of the decline of Christianity in America. It appears, to me, that many people are confused about our religion, and ignorant of its teachings. This causes them to form an opinion that is extremely blasphemous, But it seems, to me, that our collective culture is shifting towards a society that places the needs of man above those of God. That is scary because it means they will never know the inner peace and grace He gives us. God Bless you and your family Kristin....

      February 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • clipper

      excellent comment.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Patrick

      Clint,

      I was replying to Kristin, but thanks for your comment.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Patrick

      @RC:
      But man has always put himself before his god or gods. Why do you think it is different today? Can you give an example of a time when it was different?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • RC WORD

      @ Patrick- true believers would never put their needs before God. It just isn't something we can do. The dirt of the colliseum in Rome contains DNA from the blood of people who refused to put their needs before God, many people were persecuted to death in the Middle Ages, and today Christians are dying at the hands of fanatics. These are all examples of giving your life only to serve. Mankind needs structure as human beings. We have laws to provide that. Jesus came to teach us the right way to love and treat one another. Some people try to point out Hebrew Mosiac law, especially concerning consuming non kosher food, claiming we sin by consuming pork for instance. These people are unaware of the Council of Jerusalem where the Apostles freed us from the bonds of Mosiac law, in the capacity of teachers of Christ. Many of St Paul's letters deal with the same concerns people were having back then, most notably the Greeks, in their journey towards becoming Christians. So, the Bible contains more good than bad, and has not been proven wrong yet, after over 2000 years. Pretty amazing if you ask me. It is very hard for a Christian to explain to non-believer what is meant by the feeling of God within us, and how we communicate through prayer. Accepting something you cannot see or touch is hard for some people, but try to explain love...you can't see it or touch it, but it is there in your heart, the same as a personal relationship with our Creator.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Patrick

      @RC WORD:
      1. "So, the Bible contains more good than bad, and has not been proven wrong yet, after over 2000 years. Pretty amazing if you ask me." Why do you think it is amazing? When you consider the same is true for the other thousands of religious texts in the history of the world, does that change your opinion?
      2. "true believers would never put their needs before God. It just isn't something we can do. " I think that would be a legal and clinical example of insanity.
      3. Love is a theoretical concept that does not exist in a technical sense, but is attached to a variety of experiences and feelings with no universal understanding of it across cultures. Like justice, vengeance, grace, it is a label that we use to refer to something beyond definition because the definition changes from person to person.
      4. The difficulty in describing the feeling you are talking about is understandable (as stated above). It may be some consolation to you to know that billions of others over thousands of years and thousands of different faiths have all struggles with that difficult of explanation.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
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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.