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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. npulpit

    Really? This is the best "theologian" or "religious authority" CNN could find? Knust doesn't even have the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative in the right order – God had determined to destroy the cities BEFORE the angels even show up in the city. Abraham actually pleads on behalf of the city because he knows God is going to destroy it (see Gen 18.20-32). Give me a break!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Everly

      Thanks, npulpit. That was the same point where I realized we were in trouble. 😉

      February 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • GoodGrief

      Knust is clueless to the fact there are two creation events. Without comprehending this, she has no clue about their differences.

      Adam and Eve were not the first people on the earth. The Creation event in Genesis 1:27 is different that the Genesis 2:7.

      This was a special event, no other woman was made from any other man by any other ribs (aka meaning the helix curve). Eve was from Adam, but all other women were created alongside the other men in the sixth day of God's Creation. There is no way that this Genesis chapter two event regarding Eve can be construed as simply a further explanation of all the women being created in Genesis chapter one.

      No wonder non-believers have no clue what is going on if Knusts is the best that you can conjure up. It's the blind leading the blind with you folks that have absolutely no clue how to read the Bible.

      .

      February 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  2. DB

    This was a well written article, filled with excellent information that may or may not be flawed, in some areas. It is too bad that much of the commentary was written by ignorant, arrogant and neo-violent people, who cannot seem to offer alternative points of view with anything resembling intelligce. The vehemence and ugliness of the responses is exactly why I am a long time agnostic. Thank many of you, for reinforcing my decision.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Jp

    Please do not teach or preach the Bible to others. First, meditate the Bible, then, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the inner meanings of the scripture. Then, preach.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  4. Jerry

    In reference to this highly educated author, Romans 1:22- Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools...

    February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  5. Dot44

    Here some news that isn't a myth....Putting your penis in someones anus is disgusting, unsanitary, and repulsive. It is a psychological disorder. Forget the Bible. Talk to a MEDICAL DOCTOR.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  6. Concerned Reader

    While I understand that the Bible can be interpreted in many ways, you still need to have good arguments. You need to back up your claims with well thought out ideas, Mrs. Jennifer simply does not do that here. She shows a shallow understanding of scripture, a shallow understanding of historical context, and her article is a complete waste of time for Christians, Atheists, and all other readers. I have no idea how CNN could publish something like this

    February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Patrick

      Wow, I had the exact opposite reading. Can you provide some support for your claims? It would allow me to take them seriously.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  7. Brandon

    So...something is considered a sin base upon how many times it is mentioned in the Bible? Murder is largely considered wrong but is also only condemned a few times in the Bible. What a goof....thanks CNN for posting this crap.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  8. BETSY JAMES

    This lady is crazy as the other comments have alluded to is that she knows nothing about the Bible, God inspired word, little does she know that by adding or removing to the Scriptures makes her liable to eternal destruction according to Revelation 22:19, 20.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • ellid

      And Revelation trumps the rest of the Bible how?

      Your ignorance of the book you claim to honor is revolting.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  9. rickh

    And you David...do you not believe that something/force unseen can pick up the paperclip when the magnet is held over it? Do you not concede that dogs hear noises at levels even you, in your great wisdom can't? Then why would it be so hard for even you to consider/believe the Plan of Salvation? That our bodies separate from our spirits (unseen) when we die, which I'm sure you'll agree happens where they exist right here around us...until we are ressurrected into a body of immortalized, perfected flesh and bones – hence the Plan of Salvation aka the Plan of Happiness! So, be happy!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  10. Disgusted

    Wow, She calls herself a Bible scholar and a preacher. Oh my... I am now dumber after reading that and may God have mercy on her soul and the souls of those she has led astray. Such heresy!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  11. Wkiser

    Please read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah again and you will see that God had already decided to destroy the cities before the angels visited Lot.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  12. bob joynson

    it is silly to base moral decisions on a piece of obvious fiction like the bible

    February 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  13. JfBK

    Jesus was not real, there is no god, nothing happens when you die. Only weak minded people who can not accept responsibility over their own lives need to turn to a book of silly stories to dictate their actions.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • FLB

      Well, u know what! I'm preparing/waiting and trying to do good things for my death with the mind that "God exist", but I also know that, only He for knows where I am (heaven or hell). So I don't have anything to lose, whilst u: If u rank in hell u don't have time to pray or to apoligize.
      This is just one of the many logical/rational views.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  14. questioner

    When will someone address the whereabouts of the text removed from the Bible when King James revamped it to serve his purposes and control his people? No one ever questions exactly what the name "King James Version" means. Blind ignorance.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • joe08

      It means it's the verson writen by the request of King James.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Patrick

      ..with some long and heavy editing sessions.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • David Thompson

      Ok thats all fine and dandy but what about the NIV translation. The NIV New Testament purports to be based on an older and better text than the text that was the basis for the translation of the KJV. As much "editing" that might have gone on by or for King James the two still say pretty much the same thing just in an older language... guess he didn't edit it that much

      February 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • miche

      It means that as many as 20 books were left out from the original collection of works that made up the Bible and that over 10 major translations/interpretations have taken place leading up to the current Revised Standard Version of the King James Bible.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Paul Bishop

      Where are you getting these ideas from? This is totally incorrect.
      The KJV didn't edit out anything, any 20 books or what have you; even if it did, it wouldn't matter, because we could see it, since modern archaelogists have found various manuscripts in Israel, Egypt, and the Sinai penninsula of the complete Bible dating from 250BCE to 350CE, which the KJV translators didn't even know about. Look up the Dead Sea Scrolls (for OT), Codex Sinaiticus and Bodmer papyri (for NT). The KJV is an English translation from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that were newer and farther removed from the originals penned by Paul, John, Moses, etc, but when you compare the new and old manuscripts they are very much the same. The KJV isn't perfect, but that has nothing to do with what we know about the Bible today from physical manuscripts and from modern English versions of those manuscripts (NASB, ESV, NIV, etc)

      February 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • miche

      @Paul, I did not say that the KJV edited out those books. So go look up the apocrypha.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Paul Bishop

      @ Miche. Ooooh, I see.

      But the aporypha isn't Scripture. From the earliest foundations of the church and of Judaism, the apocryphal books (Maccabees, Tobit, etc.) were never considererd as coming from God. They were for teaching or educational aides. Jerome included the apocrypha in the Latine vulgate not because anyone thought them to be Scripture but for 'the education of the church.' Over time people began to think of them as on par with Scripture since it was in their Bibles, and with the Protestant Reformation the Catholics at the council of Trent declared their canonicity, since they found support for RCC doctrine in them not found in the OT and NT books. The Protestants removed them to avoid confusion and to make clear the apocrypha never was considered from God, but is a LATE idea long after they were written.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  15. Ray in Ohio

    30 minutes and my original post is still waiting for moderation. Nice to see how open CNN really is.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    Also, even Jesus apparently believed the earth was flat.

    You would think a god would know better, but I guess not.

    It sort of make you think that maybe Jesus... Never mind!

    Thank god for Bill Maher!

    Cheers!

    February 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Citation, please.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  17. David

    The way this lady interprets scripture, you can pretty much prove anything you want. She places the same level of authority in ancient traditions and the personal views of uninspired authors on passages like the Creation account as she does in scripture itself. THAT'S why you find "contradictions" in the Word of God, mam. Let the Bible defend itself, and when you run into passages that contradict YOUR beliefs, guess who's wrong...

    February 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Israel

      I especially love how she says the following as if it's meant to be a justification of her position: "Biblical patriarchs and kings violate nearly every one of these commandments."

      That's like saying I can murder someone because others murder! Oy vey.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Not to mention that it was Paul, not Jesus, who discouraged marriage. How can she be taken seriously if she can't even keep the the two straight.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Brian

      I think that's exactly her point.... The Bible can be interpretted every which way, so to say that it means 'gays are evil' and nothing more, is inaccurate.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  18. bg in oregon

    This is absurd on many levels. All religions, every single one of them, is based on nothing more than myths, ancient legends, fairy tales and imaginary friends. Who cares what the bible says?

    February 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Figured all that out on your own huh? All recorded history and peoples point to a different direction but since you figured it out, we are all now proven idiots. When are people going to realize that every belief is a matter of faith and no one really can prove one theory or another. that is why tolerance of belief is important. You may be right, so may a Christian. Having respect for that is what we all want. You want respect for being Atheist? Have respect for others beliefs. It is individuals choices.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      Jonathan, there are as many direction being pointed at by recorded history as there are records of history. Being the such a young faith, Christianity sometimes forgets it is one of thousands that have come and gone over time.
      The issue bg in oregon seems to have is a frustration with those inside a faith like the Christian faith who are intolerant to some affect of the large majority of people who are on the outside.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • bg in oregon

      Ok …more specifically, here in the US there appears to be efforts to either move, blur, or simply eliminate the line that separates church and state. This cannot be allowed.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Matthew

      Funny you say respect Jonathan. If Christians were so tolerant and respectful of others, why do THEIR beliefs become laws and restrictions on others freedoms? If your church, or your own beliefs, prevent you from doing something, such as gay marriage, or drinking alcohol on Sunday, why don't YOU abstain from it, and let others live freely? Why do your restrictions dictate my freedoms? Most adults in this country don't have the intelligence to make it through a novel, how can we trust them to make good judgments based on an ancient text from an ancient people? Are we to trust church leaders? If Catholics can be used as an example, our religious superiors aren't exactly the most trustworthy. Religion is a cure (more like home remedy) for the troubles and shortcomings and FEARS of the people. A fear of not being let into heaven. A fear of social rejection. A fear that you can't control your impulses or urges. Sure, religion brings bundles and bundles of joy to your life, but in reality, it simply removes responsibility and stress from your shoulders which allows you to focus on more important things. Believe what you want, but keep your beliefs and your absolutely punitive hateful and disgusting restrictions to yourself.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Matthew. I think you are missing my point. Respect does go both ways. You are talking about religous extremists that force their views on others. If people would actually practice the true religion of the bible, they wouldn't force it on people. it is those extremists that give religion a bad name, it is not the religion itself. Religion is completely nuetral to peoples choice. it is people that choose to make it oppressive or tolerant. I am for tolerance for individual belief without oppression. My beliefs should only be my own. To force them on anyone or make people feel stupid for thinking different would be completely ridiculous. It is this extremist, bashing type talk that I do not respect. To say it is okay to speak that way because other Christians do just continues this circle of intolerance. This is the type of thing that needs to change in this country if we are truly ever to get a long.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • David Thompson

      @Matthew simple... same reason that your parents tell you not to touch the hot stove. Its all really to protect us. Look at our government laws, they come from the bible and its all to protect us as a society. So we as Christians try to follow those guidelines and as Christians we shouldn't force our beliefs on other people but its frustrating because you want everybody to know the truth of the Gospel and to live a better life we really aren't that bad lol. One other thing being a Christian increases your responsibility. The Bible says you are held accountable to that which you know so if I as a Christian know the right thing to do I have a greater responsibility to not only do that but to spread the word, not by shoving it down people's throats but in hopes that other people will catch on to the incredible joy, security and peace God has to offer

      February 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  19. rick

    She claims to be a "Bible Scholar" but her assumption on David and Jonathan is horribly inaccurate. Look at the meanings of the words in the original texts! Of course people will believe what she writes, because a non-Christian and even most Christians will probably not go back and fact check her and do their own homework.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Joe

      Please give your basis/sources for the claim that she's got it wrong because she has not done her homework. Lay out the missing homework. Thank you.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Ron

      Not everyone has Access to the original Texts...Yeah..How would I(a regular Joe) know?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • ellid

      Sorry, but she clearly did exactly that. YOU, on the other hand, seem to be working from a position of bigotry. Very sad.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Patrick

      No one will be swayed by her because facts do not sway opinions. Only desires do. People who do not want to believe in God will not no matter if proof is put in their lap. People who want to believe gay relationships are evil or wrong won't change their mind even if God sends them a memo.
      Most laughably, those who think there is only one interpretation of the bible that is correct are lost to us, and themselves.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • miche

      Which version of the Bible are you referring to Rick? I know there are discrepancies between some of the main ones and even from the initial revamping of the KJV to some more "modern" versions.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Daniel

      I echo Rick's reply. Miss Knust is NOT a Bible scholar. CNN should be embarrassed to even put this on their website.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Patrick

      She is very clearly a Bible scholar, as her accreditation states. Why do you challenge this fact? Bizarre.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jeff B.

      Sorry – she's a scholar ? I dont buy it. A scholar does not purposely omit things that dont agree with her theory. Knust takes "quotes" from the Bible, the ONE she omits, is the ONLY one which is unambiguous. Levitcus 16/22: "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman". Why does this "scholar" not address this ?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • kim m

      Too true. It's kind of scary when people calling themselves Bible scholars twist the same scriptures from which they declare themselves to be experts. When quoting the 2 Samuel 1:26; the author conveniently omitted the phrase from the first part of the verse:"my brother Jonathan". This is just a reminder that if you want to know the truth, read for yourself and check behind what people say. Re: the complex statement, it's only complex when your weaving something bogus into the text.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Ronald

      Great answer! Can you give me the verses you are referring to? Do you believe intercourse should only be for procreation?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Jeff B.

      Kim – I would agree with you, but would go farther.
      The best way to get accurate information is to read ANY book in the language in which it was written. Too often, things get lost in translation. (that's where the idea that Jews have horns came from). I am reminded that David Ben Gurion wanted to understand the world's religious texts, so he was fluent in 12 languages.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Charlie Brown

    It is kind of strange (and upsetting) that God made some people with the instinct and faith to absolutly believe He is real, and some people without this belief. Why can some people find God and some people can't? Religious people can tell me all they want, but I have never "felt" the Holy Spirit. I'm probably not going to heaven.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Selena

      Charlie Brown, that is one of the saddest statements I have ever heard. You need to get into a good Bible study group. That is where you will learn about God's plan for you and you will know what to do. Find a true church that does not follow man's doctrine but follows the New Testament. That will be Christ's church and you will be saved.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jerry

      You can go to heaven. Just call on the name of the Lord (Jesus), and you will be saved. Human feelings are fickle. They come and they go and they constantly change. God does not. Salvation requires trust and faith in Jesus Christ. He is the narrow gate.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Tommie Dee

      Hey Charlie,
      Just a note. Being saved is not a feeling. It is faith. If you believe that Christ is the Son of God, died for our sins, was buried and rose from the grave, you are saved. I'll see ya in heaven.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Aaron

      Charlie, The Holy Spirit is not a feeling, it's a belif that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, who died for the world's sins, so we would not perish, but have eternal life. He didn't make anyone able to believe, and others to not. We all have questions, we all are searching...but it depends on what you decide to set your belief upon. Some people are good story tellers, and can get you to believe anything they tell you. The Bible has been proven time and time again to be true, everything else is a story made up by one man, or a couple of men. Take Isaiah 19:1-3 for example...a prophecy from 2000 years ago, now explicitly being fulfilled before our eyes. God loves you Charlie, remember: "Ask and it shall be given to you, Seek and you shall find, Knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 – No one is destined for hell, Jesus saves!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Gabby

      God calls us all but are we listening. Everyone has knowing at some point in their lives but some people go dull to that voice. God loves you and is waiting for you. Those that believe have faith...he doesnt make them. You have to do that all on your own without question. Remember you also have a choose not to believe but it is your decision at the end of the day. Dont look at it as religion..its a relationship. People in the "world" are reading the bible with a natural mind and that is why it is hard to interpret. Religion under the law is wrong. Those that endure til the end shall be saved. Listen to your heart. Sometimes our minds gets in the way. Peace to you!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • monica

      Charlie Brown. Have you ever felt guilty about something you have done. Have you ever thought hmmm I shouldn't have said or done this or that? If your answer is yes, then you HAVE "felt" the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit often manifests itself as our conscience. Our conscience, just like the Holy Spirit, is something that is inside us from birth. Unfortunately, the world tends to convince us that the two are separate. Because we cannot see the Holy Spirit we tend to buy into this lie. Some say, well a conscience is a learned thing. If that's the case, then why when a child lies to his mom and dad for the first time in their lives, do they feel guilty? THe Holy Spirit that's why. Often times kids do things like this and because of their age, they have no reason to think it is wrong doing, and yet they do. We were created with this built into us, because God put it there.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Patrick

      Charlie Brown, the Flying Spaghetti Monster will embrace you in all his noodliness. All you have to do is have faith in Him, and his sweet and saucy Paradise will be yours. His love is eternal (though not gluten-free).

      February 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Denise

      Charlie Brown, sometimes we search for something that is right in front of us. Faith is not "religion". Religion is created by man. While I have faith in God, I cannot see him. However, His work is all around me. Visit a couple of churches in your communty and learn about the real loving God who already knows you Charlie Brown. He's just waiting for you to know Him.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • USMCVET

      That's because there IS no GOD! Anyone who believes there is an invisible man in the sky, or believes in "immaculate conception", or best of all, that JC was raised from the DEAD needs to have their head examined! And for those so called "Christians" who honestly believe G.O.D speaks to them you are probably suffering from a condition called SCHIZOPHENIA!

      February 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Magic

      Charlie Brown,

      "...but I have never "felt" the Holy Spirit."

      I used to *think* I felt it when I was a believer - but I discovered that it is just an intense emotional response to thought processes in the brain. There is no-one there. For some, it is a tough 'high' to give up.

      Just try to meditate on a lemon and not have your salivary glands go a little goofy...

      February 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • David Thompson

      The way I look at is as if God is simply reading a book. Because He knows all and sees all he already knows what is going to happen in the book. So just because He already knows who is going to follow Him doesn't mean He gives people the instinct or desire to follow Him, its a personal choice. I think He refers to people that are "chosen" because He already knows they are going to follow Him. You have the power to write your own story if you choose to believe God and follow Christ you are among the chosen and as for the "feeling" you talk about it is really just comes from what you know. Don't look for a feeling you'll only get frustrated. If you believe God and know that He is real, act based on that knowledge and He will find you (sometimes in the most bizarre ways lol), the feeling comes later... but if you do make the decision to follow Christ I strongly suggest you find a church to help you grow in your spiritual walk and to lead you in the right direction.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:15 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.