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. StevenBaw

    Oh God deliver us from this twisting of the Bible! What a shame, how can this person claim to be a Bible scholar? This is such a shameful lie.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  2. Marty

    How come the lamestream media just is biased and doesn't report both sides of the coin meaning not just that gays are "born that way" and that's the way it is but that on how many people who sincerely repented to God and are now are straight ?

    February 17, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  3. WWJSay

    The simplest, pedestrian Biblical investigation (to be done over a weekend) into the thought of, 'If God is so all powerful. Why didn't He make all the population in an instance?" would expose this woman's premies for the risible speculations of a confused person's take on plain straight forward scripture. She is not unlike the reprobate pastor in the CS Lewis 'The Great Divorce', only she uses the facade of "promoting dialogue" as her impetus. Jesus speaking to His disciples concerning such people is best found here Matthew 15.14

    February 17, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  4. Scott Slater

    This is a great example of a mix of eisegesis, bad theology, and liberalism. I don't know if Knust will read this comment since there are literally thousands already, but I would love to have a discussion on what exactly she means by saying she is a "Bible scholar". I don't know what else to say but that she has gone off the deep end on this one, the way that she presents her position in this article as being supported by history, and scripture is almost offensive. To read her presuppositions into the text the way she does takes away the ability for scripture to speak for itself. I think that even the most uneducated person were to open a bible and read it even one time through with no outside influence (even from me and my positions) would NEVER come to the ridiculous conclusions that this "biblical scholar" comes to. Unbelievable...

    February 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  5. PeterVN

    Given all the debate and commentary about different interpretations of the bible, it seems that the Christian god, a purportedly omnipotent being, has major communication and marketing weaknesses. It simply can't reliably get its message out.

    So, Christians, think about this a bit more. This is an all-powerful being that you are claiming, yet it apparently needs a clunky book to get its message across. and the messaging is subject to multiple interpretations. That's utterly ridiculous for a "god". An all-powerful being could easily just insert its message into its subjects minds, no book required and no room for interpretation.

    Also, the message isn't even accepted by billions of potential flock members. So, in that sense, the communication is also flawed, and Christian "god" is again clearly not omnipotent, nor omnipresent. Therefore, the Christian god must be pure fiction. Case closed.

    It's also noteworthy that many of the recent posters have no understanding of the implications of "omnipotent" in the current story context. It's not a valid excuse for such a being, to say that the flaw is in the interpretations by readers; such a purportedly divine being should be perfectly (yes, stress that word 'perfectly'!)) capable of getting its message through, yet this bible "god" is very obviously not so capable.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  6. Calin

    Never ever in my life of 37 years, have I read a more out of picture interpretation of the Bible. Go on like this guys, and in 50 years the gay marriage will be mandatory.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  7. Ace

    I dont think anything nowadays can be judged past or present....we may never know the true intentions of our historical backgrounds nor should we, the deeper we research into the rights and wrongs of religion, the darker and more controversial it all seems...believe what you want or need to.

    February 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  8. Kathleen

    Jennifer, enough has already been said by the pros. The cons are in your class, unfortunately. I fear for people like you, because you also will have to stand alone on that GREAT DAY and give account of your life. I imagine instead of stepping up confidently, you will shake and tremble at the call of your name. I'm not making fun, just the opposite. God didn't bite his tongue. Read Revelation 22;18. You are one of these he speaks of. Since after he made Eve he said "go forth and multiply", I'm 100% positive he didn't expect two men or two women to just try to make it happen. (Guess why?) It can't !!!!!!!. Read Judges 19:20-26. How plain can it be said.? I'll be praying for you. Kathleen

    February 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Daisy

      Kathleen I do feel the need to point out that in the last chapter of Revelations it says "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book." To me that is God CLEARLY stating that people WILL add or delete from this book. So based on that you cannot assume that every word is exactly what God intended for us. A missionary friend from Italy explained it to me like this. The adventures of Tom Sawyer didnt translate well into Italian. The quirky southern way of talking that made the book so charming to Americans was "lost in translation" and it never caught on in Italy. The Italians thought it was a big joke.
      The Bible has been translated many times, from many languages, by people with many different beliefs. Look at King James who had the bible translated into English...he was a terrible man, and committed terrible acts, yet he was the one in Charge of commissioning the translators and over saw the whole process. Can you really believe that he didn't "change " things to justify some of his own beliefs? And before you go and say "well God guided him to preserve His holy word" remember that verse from Revelations.
      Aside from all that you seemed to take great pleasure in describing how someone would feel standing before God as an unbeliever. As a Christian that should sadden you, not send your pulse racing. Please calm down. God will be your judge too and I don't think you are behaving very Christ-like.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • PeterVN

      Daisy and Kathleen, the set of logical fallacies that you are both exhibiting is known as Pascal's Wager. It corresponds, essentially, to betting on the existence of your particular god. I suggest you look up Pascal's Wager on e.g. fallacyfiles.org or google it. That might cure you of your religious delusions.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Pastor Munya

    A lot of people call themselves pastors but God did not call them that, this is a perfect example.
    When you violate the basics of good biblical hermeneutics you can make any text to say what you want. This article is a classic example of someone that the bible talks of when it God said, "professing to be wise, they became fools".
    My prayer is she gets an encounter with the one true God and ask for God to show her the real truth.

    February 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • JackieInDallas

      May I ask you what right you have to judge her "call" by God? Were you there? Can you truly see into her soul? You are judging, when your own faith says that you are NOT to judge.

      The "truth" of the matter is that faith is personal, belief is personal, and both faith and belief are subjective. There is a reason why there is a difference between TRUTH and FACT in law. Facts are provable and objective. Truth is a belief.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Jackiein Dallas,

      1. God does not oppose His own word! This woman is, thus she is a liar! Let God be TRUE and every man (whose opposes, disagrees) a liar!

      2. Paator Munya his comparing her words to the word of God. That is what the Pastor is judging as such again, she is lying, NOT proclaiming the TRUTH of God's word and leading peopel astray and thus not of GOD! Read 2 Corinthians chapter 11. Paul is warning the church of false teachers! Is Paul judging them by calling them false teachers? YES! What is he judging? Their works and their teaching! Same thing applies here !

      February 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Boy with seven limbs:
    Are those signs to mankind from God to mean some thing or nature telling us that there is some thing wrong with the way we are living,the medication we take,the pollution and corruption to fresh clean air to breath,earth we feed from,pure clean drinking waters from (rain,rivers,springs,groundwaters),salt waters (seas and oceans).
    What do we expect in return but to change with it from generation to other.
    Thank you God for that you gave us and made us realize how lucky we were tobe normal and no one pointing and laughing at while you cry your life out as the boy in the picture...may God have mercy on his soul.

    February 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  11. xcatfish

    dont many religions of the world speak badly of mortals passing false judgements?

    February 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  12. Shawn

    What a waste of time. If all the energy that is put into deciphering ancient text was put to something productive the world would be far better off. The bible was written by men that the thought the world was flat and that the stars revolved around the earth. We’ve learned a lot since then people.

    February 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Jack

      Clearly you haven't read the Bible. Biblical authors were thousands of years ahead on claiming that the earth was circular.
      Isaiah 40:22 – "He (God) sits enthroned above the circle of the earth."
      Research next time before you make that claim.

      February 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • hillbilleter

      I believe you are thinking of a time that came much later than the Bible, after many of the ancient libraries were burned by marauders and leaders who did not want the common people to have access to the studies of those who had come before them. Kind of like people who would keep the ancient writings from the commonfolk in this day and age, in order to maintain their own view of the world, rather than allow all philosophies to circulate so that folk can choose.

      February 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Shawn

      Jack, Last time I checked the earth was a sphere, a circle is flat. Where in the bible does it say the earth is a sphere? Where does it say the earth revolves around the sun? Where does it say the stars are suns? Give me one shred of text to convince me this book has any more merit than Greek Mythology.

      February 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      Luqman sura 31:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it, (were ink), the words of Allah could not be exhausted. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise. (27) Your creation and your raising (from the dead) are only as (the creation and the raising of) a single soul. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower. (28) Hast thou not seen how Allah causeth the night to pass into the day and causeth the day to pass into the night, and hath subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is aware of what ye do? (29) That (is so) because Allah, He is the True, and that which they invoke beside Him is the False, and because Allah, He is the Sublime, the Great. (30) Hast thou not seen how the ships glide on the sea by Allah's grace, that He may show you of His wonders? Lo! therein indeed are portents for every steadfast, grateful (heart). (31) And if a wave enshroudeth them like awnings, they cry unto Allah, making their faith pure for Him only. But when He bringeth them safe to land, some of them compromise. None denieth Our signs save every traitor ingrate. (32) O mankind! Keep your duty to your Lord and fear a Day when the parent will not be able to avail the child in aught, nor the child to avail the parent. Lo! Allah's promise is the very truth. Let not the life of the world beguile you, nor let the deceiver beguile you, in regard to Allah. (33) Lo! Allah! With Him is knowledge of the Hour. He sendeth down the rain, and knoweth that which is in the wombs. No soul knoweth what it will earn to-morrow, and no soul knoweth in what land it will die. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (34).

      Fatir sura 35:
      Whoso desireth power (should know that) all power belongeth to Allah. Unto Him good words ascend, and the pious deed doth He exalt; but those who plot iniquities, theirs will be an awful doom; and the plotting of such (folk) will come to naught. (10) Allah created you from dust, then from a little fluid, then He made you pairs (the male and female). No female beareth or bringeth forth save with His knowledge. And no-one groweth old who groweth old, nor is aught lessened of his life, but it is recorded in a Book, Lo! that is easy for Allah. (11) And the two seas are not alike: this, fresh, sweet, good to drink, this (other) bitter, salt. And from them both ye eat fresh meat and derive the ornament that ye wear. And thou seest the ship cleaving them with its prow that ye may seek of His bounty, and that haply ye may give thanks. (12) He maketh the night to pass into the day and He maketh the day to pass into the night. He hath subdued the sun and moon to service. Each runneth unto an appointed term. Such is Allah, your Lord; His is the Sovereignty; and those unto whom ye pray instead of Him own not so much as the white spot on a date-stone. (13).

      February 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      Fussilat sura 41:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Say (O Muhammad, unto the idolaters): Disbelieve ye verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days, and ascribe ye unto Him rivals? He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds. (9) He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask; (10) Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient. (11) Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower. (12).

      Yunus sura 10:
      He it is Who appointed the sun a splendour and the moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge. (5) Lo! in the difference of day and night and all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth are portents, verily, for folk who ward off (evil). (6).

      February 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • dave

      Jack – Surely you know that a circle is a flat 2 dimentional figure - a sphere is round and a circle is flat

      February 17, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  13. Tom

    Who cares, let people be happy with their chosen mate and have done with it. Witch hunts should have ended in the days we were scared of trees and other stupid things. All of these people need to grow up.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  14. kme

    Silly me, I would have thought "Love thy neighbor as thy self" would have been enough.

    February 14, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  15. BR

    Well, if anyone is looking for a nowadays example of heresy, there's one right here.

    February 14, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  16. flo

    Neither Leviticus, nor Genesis (sodom etc.) nor Paul obviously knew modern same genered relationships based on love and respect. The closest fit is indeed David and Jonathan.
    We need to clear up the confusion. There needs to be communication and clarification.
    Same gendered relationships have moral issues, problems and purposes just like other ones too.
    It is time we talk about this openly, and stop the ignorance from running our lives.

    February 14, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • hillbilleter

      Well, now, that's a very uneducated statement. You have evidently only listened to people talk about ancient texts and not read any for yourself. At Berea College everyone studied Religious and Historical Perspectives – in order to understand human history and how we became who we are, you must understand the world's religions because that's generally why civilizations did what they did; that, and to gain property and power. Leaders kept the masses uneducated so they could only make choices according to the bits and pieces they were given by their political and religious leaders. Evidently that has bred a tendency in most of us to only take the bits and pieces today, and never read for ourselves.

      Ancient writings are full of all sorts of relationships. Read for yourself instead of repeating someone else's assumptions.

      February 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  17. flo

    The automatic moderation system on this site needs adjustment when topics like this are commented on.
    I wrote at least 4 different versions of my comment, none of which contained any insults or offensive material beyond the subject matter discussed.
    Next time, I'll spare the effort.

    February 14, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  18. Muneef

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Alif. Lam. Mim. (1) This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). (2) Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; (3) And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. (4) These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful. (5) As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. (6) Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom. (7).

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And say: My Lord! Cause me to come in with a firm incoming and to go out with a firm outgoing. And give me from Thy presence a sustaining Power. (80) And say: Truth hath come and falsehood hath vanished away. Lo! falsehood is ever bound to vanish. (81) And We reveal of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy for believers though it increase the evil-doers in naught save ruin. (82) And when We make life pleasant unto man, he turneth away and is averse; and when ill toucheth him he is in despair. (83) Say: Each one doth according to his rule of conduct, and thy Lord is best aware of him whose way is right. (84).

    February 14, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  19. Sam S

    This is pure and utter crap.
    People go search out the truth for yourself
    Instead of reading and listening to unrealistic commentary from ignorant citizens of this GOD-forsaken-world
    THIS ARTICLE IS SOLELY AN OPINION ! neither facts nor neither truth and is being taken too seriously
    Things like this can lead you astray of your morals. Please use the brain that you've been given.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sam S.

      Brains needs feeding to think and work it out? But not any reading because many can lead you astray or just plain junk or false ? So how can we tell which is which? Even for Islam there are many books by many authors but we shouldn't take just any but only of reputable ones of each branch of Islam...since reading of one branch you can not judge all branches since they have their indifference's some few are right while many are astray...! Surely you have similar cases for other religions and their branches?

      February 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Connie Taylor

      I agree with you Sam! It is just someones opinion! Search for the truth yourself!

      February 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • buffoon

      Religious ideologues (some called it discussions) prove one thing – sheep are sheep!

      February 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Sam S

      By the same logic, the bible is pure and utter crap, as it is only (some) people's opinion that it is more than just manmade tribal mythology.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Auge

      This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. The Bible doesn't even hint at Adam and Eve being one. There was Adam, God decided he needed a "helpmeet", put him in a deep sleep, took his rib, created Eve. Adam was made from dirt. Are you saying that God originally planned for us all to be dirt? That's ridiculous. Read it for yourself, in context. This woman clearly has no concept of the truth.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • HotAirAce


      Perhaps this woman has no concept of the *bible*. The bible does not equal truth. The bible is just bad fiction.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  20. TJustSaying

    Excellent Point!

    Steve the real one


    1. Either we believe God preserves His word or we don't. I do!
    2. God's word does no change, cult does, but never His Word! There are plenty of scriptures to prove it!
    3. I understand that some writings were left out! That does not change the meaning of what remains!

    February 13, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Muneef


      Could cults of religions have changed some and left out some? Such as that God is One and not Three? And that He has no Son nor a Woman Friend?? Could have the Cults of Religions Changed and left out some words of Jesus companions  the 12 Apostles? Such as not being God or Son of God or that it was not he Jesus who was Crucified on that Cross ?  
      This is the only seriously disputed issues otherwise the rest are not as serious as those first Two...! Other than those I wonder what would be the differences of bibles and the Quran...after all the Quran came to clear the puzzle off your people taking us from the story of the creation of universe and creationsand from Adam/Eve down to Jesus so what more is needed to find out which is the complete book or how they can complete each other after all they all were back to Abraham and Abraham has called it Islam? While God says "I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM". Meaning all were One Islam before it got astray and became into many Religions,many Books and many Branches?   

      Al-Maeda sura 05:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine-flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (3)..

      Al-Hajj sura 22:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      And strive for Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Abraham (is yours). He hath named you Muslims of old time and in this (Scripture), that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that ye may be witnesses against mankind. So establish worship, pay the poor-due, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protecting friend. A blessed Patron and a blessed Helper! (78).

      February 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • buffoon

      There is a plethora of fact that "all" religions are the subjugation of self AND others! Religious ideologues prove one thing – sheep are sheep!

      February 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • JJ

      While i respect the author of this article, i must say that her understanding of the Bible is very much off course. The Bible says that immoral behavior is not appropriate for Christians. In fact there is very strong language that says we should not even eat with a believer who is engaged in immoral acts. Ms Knust indicates she is a Bible scholar. I am very curious as to what bible she is reading?

      February 16, 2011 at 7:11 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.