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My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible
April 1st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible

Editor’s note: David Hazony is the author of "The Ten Commandments: How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life," published recently by Scribner.

By David Hazony, Special to CNN

I am a person of faith. But sometimes I like to step outside of faith and just think about things rationally. Usually this oscillation between faith and skepticism serves me well, with faith giving reason its moral bearings, and reason keeping faith, well, reasonable.

It’s a nice balancing act — except when the question of who wrote the Bible comes up. My Jewish faith tells me that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch. Reason tells me to be open to the idea that somebody else had a hand in it.

And there are definitely a few glitches in the text that back up those suspicions - notably the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, which describe Moses’ own death.

But try as I might, I just can’t believe that the Five Books of Moses were written by J, E, P and D – the four main authors whose oral traditions, biblical scholars say, were cobbled together to make the Torah. (The letters stand for the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Priestly source and the Deuteronomist. Those, we may assume, were not their real names.)

Call me an academic infidel.

I know, it’s been generations now that Bible study scholars at universities around the world have accepted as true that:

(a) the Pentateuch was composed over many centuries through these four oral traditions, which were later written down;

(b) these main texts were woven together by an editor or series of editors living around the 6th century B.C.E.; and

(c) these different traditions are detectable by scholars today, to the point where you can justify entire conferences and an arena’s worth of endowed chairs to figure out not only the source document of every scrap of biblical text, but also the gender, political inclinations, subversive intentions, height, weight and personal traumas encumbering every one of its authors.

The first two are plausible, I suppose. But the third has always struck me as pure fantasy, the point where idle speculation gives way to heavily funded hubris. Of course, if I’m right about the third, the first two lose their authority as well.

Why don’t I buy it?

It’s not just because of how stark, uninspiring and vaguely European those four letters look in a byline. Nor is it the fact that in more than a century’s worth of digging up the Middle East by archaeologists, not a single trace of any of these postulated “source texts” has ever turned up. And it’s certainly not because the scholars’ approach contradicts my faith — after all, it was the willful suspension of faith that led me to consider it in the first place.

No, faith and skepticism dwell together in my confused bosom like pudding and pie.

Rather, my rebellion against these scholars comes from experience. Specifically, my experience as an editor.

It all started a few years back when, as the senior editor of a Jerusalem-based journal of public thought, I ran into trouble on a 10,000-word, brilliantly researched essay about Israeli social policy composed by the sweetest man on earth who, unfortunately wasn’t a stellar writer.

I spent a few weeks rewriting, moving things around, adding and cutting and sweating. Finally I passed it up the chain to Dan, my editor-in-chief.

"Hey Dan," I said. "Could you take a look at this? I added a whole paragraph in the conclusion. Tell me what you think."

A few days later I got it back, marked up in red ballpoint. On the last page, in the conclusion, he had written the words “This is the paragraph you added,” and drawn a huge red arrow.

But the arrow, alas, was pointing at the wrong paragraph.

You see, it turns out that it’s not very easy to reverse-engineer an editing job. To take an edited text and figure out, in retrospect, what changes it went through — it’s about a million times harder than those tenured, tortured Bible scholars will tell you.

Language is fluid and flexible, the product of the vagaries of the human soul. When an editor has free rein, he can make anything sound like he’d written it himself, or like the author’s own voice, or something else entirely. It all depends on his aims, his training, his talent and the quality of his coffee that morning. A good editor is a ventriloquist of the written word.

That’s when I started to suspect that what Bible scholars claim they’re doing — telling you what the “original” Bible looked like — might be, in fact, impossible to do.

Think about it. My case was one in which the author, editor and reader are all known entities (in fact, they all know each other personally); the reading takes place in the exact same cultural and social context as the writing and editing; and the reader is himself a really smart guy, Ivy-league Ph.D. and all, who had spent a decade training the editor to be a certain kind of editor, with specific tools unique to the specific publication’s aims.

Not only that, but he was even told what kind of edit to look for, in which section. And still he couldn’t identify the change.

Now compare that with what Bible scholars do when they talk about J, E, P, and D. Not only do the readers not know the writers and editors personally, or even their identities or when or where they lived. The readers live thousands of years later and know nothing about the editors’ goals, whims, tastes, passions or fears — they don’t even know for sure that the whole thing really went through an editorial process at all.

(If anything, the same textual redundancies, narrative glitches, awkward word choices and so forth that the scholars claim are the telltale signs of an editing process are, in my experience, very often the opposite: the surest indicator that an author needs an editor, desperately. If the text was edited, it was done very poorly.)

As with any field of research that tries to reconstruct the distant past, biblical scholars get things wrong on a daily basis.

And that's OK: Getting things wrong is part of the nature of reconstruction. Whether you’re talking about the origins of galaxies, dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, medieval history or World War II, the conclusions of all historical research come with a big disclaimer: This is the best we’ve got so far. Stay tuned; we may revise our beliefs in a couple of years.

With biblical scholars, however, you often feel like they’re flying just a little blinder than everyone else. At what point does a scholar’s “best guess” become so foggy as to be meaningless?

The Five Books of Moses take place somewhere in the second millennium B.C.E., centuries before our earliest archeological corroborations for the biblical tales appearing in the Book of Joshua and onward. We have no other Hebrew writings of the time to compare it with. So all that scholars really have to go on is the text itself — a wild ride on a rickety, ancient, circular-reasoning roller-coaster with little external data to anchor our knowledge of anything.

This would be fine, of course, if there weren’t so much riding on it.

With other fields, we usually don’t have our own dinosaur in the fight. But with the Bible, it’s not just the scholars duking it out with the clergy. There’s all the rest of us trying to figure out what to do with this stupendously important book — either because it anchors our faith, or because it contains enduring wisdom and the foundations of our cultural identity.

Where does that leave us? Some people, sensing their most cherished beliefs are under siege, will retreat to the pillars of faith — whether that faith is religious or academic. Either it was Moses, or it was J, E, P, and D. End of discussion.

As for the rest of us, it may raise questions about whether we really ought to care that much about authorship at all, or instead just go with Mark Twain’s approach. “If the Ten Commandments were not written by Moses,” he once quipped, “then they were written by another fellow of the same name.”

Using our reason means sometimes admitting there are things we just don’t know, and maybe never will.

Maybe that’s all right. After all, isn’t it enough to know that the book is really important, that it has inspired love and hate and introspection and war for thousands of years, that it is full of interesting stories and wisdom, poetry and song, contradiction and fancy and an unparalleled belief in the importance of human endeavor - in the possibility of a better world - despite the enduring and tragic weaknesses that every biblical hero carries on his or her back? That it is an indelible part of who we are?

Isn’t that enough to make you just read the thing and hope for the best, forever grateful to Moses, or that other fellow by the same name?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Hazony.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • History • Judaism • Torah

soundoff (2,549 Responses)
  1. Alex

    So it doesn't matter, huh? First mistake. So if I know a bunch of charlatans wrote a scientific papers and all what they claim there was faked it doesn't matter, huh? Wow. Nice logic there.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  2. butt lance

    I stopped reading where you almost stopped... speaking of needing an editor, use some punctuation there, chief.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Chip

    Jesus....you either accept Him or reject Him.....but He ain't gonna force Himself on anyone

    April 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Colin

      Leprechauns, you either accept them or reject them, but ......

      April 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • crucified

      @Colin, the Wheat and the Tares......I guess you just were not chosen! maybe next time...

      April 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Jesus....you either accept Him or reject Him.....but He ain't gonna force Himself on anyone'
      nah, he leaves that to his followers.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Soda Bob Curtis

    Mark Twain also said:

    "One of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed it. They also believed the world was flat."

    "There is nothing more impressive than a miracle, except the credulity that can take it at par."

    April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Chip

      He also said, "It's not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me, it's the parts I do understand"

      April 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Greg

    Thanks, good point about the bible being poorly edited. The lack of a cohesive voice or an organized narrative is in a way similar to a body of raw scientific observations. I think the readers of the Bible are the editors, and the spin we put on it depends on our assumptions and our regard for truth.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Pastor Evans

    Many people don't really know the BIBLE because they've never been taught or have taken the time to be taught (humility and submission) by a sent "Anointed" and not false "Self-Apointed" true man or woman of God. These kind of people are not qualified or defined by the world's standards, but by God alone. So let me take a moment to educate those of you who have not been, and please do not get hostile and antagonistic about what I'm going to say. The BIBLE is a spiritual book for spiritual people. It cannot be understood by human intellect or a carnal mind, it must be understood and recieved by the Holy Spirit. Therefore a person must be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit in order to be able to know what the BIBLE really means in its foundation, principles, and in context. Amen!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Soda Bob Curtis

      That's circular logic, since it's the Bible that says so in the first place.

      And saying that it "cannot be understood by human intellect or a carnal mind" is just a cop out. It's a way of saying, "don't use reason, just believe."

      I choose, instead, to believe only those things which logic and reasoning can firmly plant into my mind.

      "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." – Thomas Jefferson

      April 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • lance corporal

      wow! OK so I can't understand it until I accept it?? how convenient for you and your business model..... pastor is one who leads sheep by definition and I understand you make a good living in the fleecing but keep in mind you only get the sheep and the abusers wishing to prey on those sheep

      April 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • ChildofGod

      Amen!! I am in total agreement with you, Pastor. It's actually kinda sad to read these posts. Even with all of the intellect and knowledge (which, by the way, God allows you to receive), these posts are filled with hopelessness and despair, desperately trying to use carnal things to understand spiritual things. I will continue to pray for those who rely on science, "proof", and reason to explain God and His Word. For it is written that "....blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29. Selah

      April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Right On Bye

      All: Faith without logic is delusion. So faith cannot equal delusion. It is simple Algebra. Its amazing so many who profess faith have been brainwashed to believe faith and science/logic are in opposition. What a sick world we've made doing so.

      April 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  7. William Roche

    Mr. Hazony, congratulations on a thoughtful and well written piece. It illustrates a point that has application to other contexts beyond the Old Testament. There are reams of scholarship on the authorship of the New Testament. There are even raging academic debates regarding the authorship of William Shakespeare's works. While these debates may be interesting, it is difficult to see how they are particularly relevant. They tell us nothing about the validity or significance of the texts themselves. Those texts – Old Testament, New Testament, Shakespeare – either reveal truth and beauty to the reader (to the believer), or they don't. They have significance that is not determined or constrained by their authorship. They should be studied and understood on their own terms.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  8. Mohareb

    I have a question, somewhat unrelated to this article. It's about free will, and why evil exists. Does evil exist so that we can have free will? So that we can choose to be good, and thus prove our worthyness? And if we make it to heaven, and God removes our desire to sin, won't we lose our free will? If not, then why didn't God just make us the way we would be in heaven in the first place so that we could all just start off in heaven, and skip all the suffering? And why doesn't he come down and make a personal appearance to each of us on a regular basis, so that we don't have to stretch our imaginations so far in order to believe he even exists? Why can't I tell my friends when I invite them to a dinner party that Jesus is coming too, and that he's beinging a casserole? And when my freinds arrive, they should be bale to actually shake Jesus's hand and say "Hey good to see you again." And why would a benevolent omnipotent God create a universe in which so many are destined for an eternity of torture? Why be so vindictive, why keep torturing people in an eternal afterlife instead of simply putting an end to their existence and putting them out of their misery when they die? If you think it through even just a little, it doesn't make any sense at all. At best, the bible simply sidesteps these questions with some hand waving about how it's too complicated to explain. Well then why didn't God make us smart enough to understand?

    April 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Right On Bye

      I give up. Why?

      April 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  9. Shannon Underwood

    It is time people knew where the Bible came from, a bunch of men who wanted an instrument to control people and subjugate women. Typical of men the book condons violence, and abuse against women, children and anyone they can control. The Church of Rome is big business and to admit this book was written by Greeks to keep people under the control of relegion and thus the "business" rich and powerful. Its time this was removed from our belief system and just taught as part of history to protect people from the con artists.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Eric

      Try to keep your feminist views to yourself if you're going to insult something for slander.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • True

      You are right Shannon, the primary purpose of religion in politics is to condone the actions of the political leaders, who were primarily men who in turn support the church. This was for mind control, the subjugation of both women and the working poor, and justification for a great many other inhumane crimes akin to slavery that still continue today.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  10. Tim

    The cross of Christ is foolishness to those who perish.....

    April 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • lance corporal

      and pithy self righteous statements like that are self serving nonsense that is soooooo incredibly off putting to those who choose to not take the "kool aid" approach to these questions

      April 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  11. mat

    You people are just lucky you are in America and talking about the bible and not the Koran. Go after the real threat. Bigots all and blinded by your own hate at that. Live and let live. Facists.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Mohareb

      I tend to agree that Islam seems to be the most odious of religions. But that does not excuse the others.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Right On Bye

      Socially its alway the poor that show the most hatred and discrimination. Islam is about 700 years behind Christianity, so if you look back to where Western Civilization was about 1300, it was still crusading, against different versions of itself, as well as Islam and varieties of Paganism. Perhaps the communications of the 20 and 21st century could help acclerate the pace, if we ffocused a little more on understanding and cooperation (when possible, for all of those about to pounce).

      April 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  12. C+

    You would think that common sense would tell you not to base you opinions on something that you can't prove. Whether you be a christian, muslim, scientist, scientologist, buddhist, taoist, zoroastrian. Who cares!! If only this was a requirement for creating laws and making political arguments we would be a happier and less confused society, planet, whatever, you consider you group.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • All in All

      So you actually prove evry time you flip a light switch or turn a car key, that the desired results will happen, before you try to make them happen? Must be an awfully tiring life.

      April 2, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  13. crucified

    Scientific Law "Entropy increases with Time" Thermal Dynamics second Law... Therefore, since we are still here.. God sustains us.. The Atheist theory does not work.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Red

      Crucified,
      I'm not an atheist, but that was pretty brutal, dude....as far as, ya know...making any sense at all.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Scientific Law "Entropy increases with Time" Thermal Dynamics second Law..'

      So kindly explain how this law of thermal dynamics means god must exist?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • lance corporal

      so it's all black and white – either / or? because the universe is still expanding, you know that right?
      how about this one? an innocent child was brutally ra-ped and murdered so an all powerful loving god could not possibly exist, case closed the theist theory does not work..... I could come up with a million more

      April 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Mohareb

      Gross misunderstanding and application of thermodynamics. Take it from a mechanical engnieer who has taken college courses on it.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • mondoniko

      The second law of thermodynamics only applies in a closed system. The universe is not a closed system. Religious "thinkers" typically use the 2nd law argument as "scientific proof" for god and order in the universe, but they grossly misunderstand and misstate it.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • mondoniko

      @Mohareb: I didn't even see your post first. Funny we came up with the same words. In an open system, all energy escapes and instead of entropy, the collective system forever trends towards absolute zero. If god is infinite, thus encompassing every single particle in the universe (including the atoms making up the earth and you & me), then god is an open system.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  14. lance corporal

    "Isn’t that enough to make you just read the thing and hope for the best" WOW! I am always amazed at what the religious zealots say with a straight face...... OK 1st, classic republican logic about the editorial process; since I have this one personal experience where an editor couldn't figure out what I wrote than no one, no matter how educated, how much time and how much resources can do it.......I almost stopped reading there as that particular intellectual leap of willful stooopidity bugs me to no end, it is snowing at MY house so the planet is not actually warming..... OK sparky science is a method that NEVER relies on ONE persons observation and this author is an educated man who DOES or SHOULD know better.. and what's with the back and forth on the editing? starts out with a statement that the editing is a given and then goes back and forth saying well maybe not, simply out and out insulting biblical scholars (again classic american radical right, if you can't argue the message then demonize the messenger) and ending up with a who cares conclusion ..... this really threw me, yes you vacillate between faith and reason BUT you are not bringing the 2 together, that description of "sometimes you like to think about things rationally" really defines your "faith". it is a CHOICE based on fear that a fairy tale may be true... how ridiculous!! the bible or the dudeo/christina/muslim religions are NOT the creator of human goodness or anything else and your article is pointless to anyone who reads with an editorial eye and you are as full of contradictions as the bible, maybe YOUR comfortable with that, I choose to look deeper and study more and not to look to the past for a definition of god, maybe if we stopped clinging to this pathetic old book (yes I have read/studied it....) we would have less of the wars and more of the inspired reaching for human perfection you ascribe to inspiration from the bible, maybe your just a lazy scholar settling for what's comfortable instead of challenging yourself to grow? maybe when you come up against these questions you should really work at the answers because this entire article is rife with intellectual laziness, assumption and bias, YOU desperately need an editor.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • lance corporal

      dudeo should be judeo but it's a funny typo, perfect for the lebowski worshippers... the dudeo religion hehehe

      April 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Pablo

      Bravo, sir.
      Well said.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  15. James

    Correct, it does not matter who wrote it because it's been subverted to the purpose of greedy and corrupt humans. If there is such a God, he'll judge each individual on his own merit and not because of faith. Your beliefs are irrelevant if your actions are poor. The reverse cannot be argued into truth regardles of the level of your faith.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  16. Cary Wood

    Not matter? But the semi literate authors need credit for their works of fiction. Gripping stuff, that fantasy of creation...and those final chapters...just amazing. Call me when the world finds common sense and stops deal with real problems with "faith"

    April 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Red

      Nobody likes that you're back on the Cubs...

      April 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  17. TheAlien

    Oddly enough, in some form or fashion, all stories of the Old Testament are comprised of peices of history from distant lands. Therefore when the Isrealites where captured and served time in Babylon, they learned of their history and later wrote about it in their favor. (note...they didnt have the bible during their captivity). And we can find those elements there after written down. In light of fact, all the god characteristics, and the ruling kings of that era where comperssed into what we know today as the Old Testament...sombody just composed it to favor a specific group of people rather than giving credit to the original nation of people in which they learned from. For the things that were done and not understood, were of devine power then. I believe that its best to learn the history of the multipal nation involved and find the relation...then youll have your truth. Faith is only what you make it. Yet, the Holy Bible, Old and New Testament, and the Quran is still the greatest stories ever told.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Right On Bye

      Agreed except there other great stories from the East, Persia, India and China and they all cross bred somewhat already due to the trade routes and conquering armies (Persian, Egyptian, Hittt-ite, Greek, Roman, Mongol, Turk); not to mention Buddhist and other missionaries long before Cchristain ones.

      April 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  18. gfym

    "I am a person of faith. But sometimes I like to step outside of faith and just think about things rationally."

    So by your own admission, people of faith do not think rationally.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Alex

      Exactly. The guy made an admission.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Diego

      Great Point.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • lance corporal

      the entire article is that same back and forth nonsense

      April 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Tim

      Though I am ALSO a person of faith......I was thinking the exact same thing. : )

      April 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • John

      You may find it useful to understand the difference between a scholarly use of the word and a colloquial one. As used here, 'rationally' refers to having full possesion of all the facts such that a person can use logic to assemble them in an order that all will agree with. It is effectively the opposite of 'faith'.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  19. Joey

    For all you know it alls out there, To say someone is wrong or should have said or done something different is simply your ego trying to back up it's own belief system. Nobody on this website knows any real truths. Truths are only truth until we stop believing in them. There is no answer to the universe....neither religion or science could understand the origin of the universe...its impossible to explain with a rational view point. Science is always evolving..why...because we are evolving....isn't it weird that science changes when our view points change. Try to think of a universe otuside of yourself. Try to think of all the things you don't know...Think outside of the box people...modern day conditioning has destroyed our ability to live outside of our egos for even a second. God exsists...why...because we believe he does...so does science...and everything else in between. Anything is possible because the universe is possible. The universe is evolving through us...learning. We are god yet we are only a small teeny bitty portion. Like a brain cell in the mind of the ultimate.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Chip

      "Nobody on this website knows any real truths". Does this include you?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • UrRight

      Wow, I've never seen someone so on target on a CNN message board. Nice job! Don't be a stranger now. P.S. I don't know the truth either, but it is a lot of fun pretending I do.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • James

      Yeah...are you sure about that?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • CS

      You're speaking the truth!!...oh wait, I thought there is no truth? so are we to assume that the only truth is that there is no trtuh? well then does that means therre is truth?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • All in All

      The universe will break you when you break its laws. That's the truth. Don't belive it. Stand in front of a speeding train and pray for deliverance without making an effort to move out of the way. Walk up to some one bigger than you holding a gun or a knife and impress them with your superiority. Karma happens. Maybe not always instantly but it does, eventually.

      April 2, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  20. Dan Bartlett

    It depends on your God. If, like me, you follow the God of Creation, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, then you must believe he is capable of delivering his Word by whatever means he chooses. And if he chooses to deliver it through man, He is certainly capable of seeing to it that we get it right. To think anything less is to demean the Sovereign God. I'm sure this will be a source of derision for the non-believer, but it always has been. If men want to split hairs on semantics or interpretations it smacks of the hubris of man to think himself greater than God. I don't find anything in the Bible, Christian or Jewish, any less profound because God used man to preserve it. No other writing in the world has as many historical manuscripts available for comparison. Even archaeology itself is proving the historicity of Scripture.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • King of Kings

      I 100% agree with you Dan!

      April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • lance corporal

      "demean the Sovereign God. I'm sure this will be a source of derision for the non-believer, but it always has been." what a convenient way to not have to discuss or prove anything, enjoy your delusion

      April 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • James

      Delusion? Really? This coming from someone...who, after all is said and done will ultimately be laying six feet underground with worms and maggots eating his flesh? Yeah, I will listen to you instead of God's Word. I feel so enlightened now...a MAN told me I was delusional. "I saw the light, I saw the light" I feel so much smarter now. Sarcasm.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'And if he chooses to deliver it through man, He is certainly capable of seeing to it that we get it right'
      And so which lot have it right? The Catholics? Protestants? they all seem to use the same bible so which lot is the correct reading that god made sure we got right?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • John the Baptist

      It never ceases to amaze me how hypocritical religious people can be when it comes to defending their folksy myths. Almost no where else, save religious writing, will you see the explanatory power of good reasoning and evidence both evoked and rebuffed in the same essay to establish "conclusions" for the trustworthiness of an obviously fictional text. We need only analyze the content of the Bible to conclude that its author–or authors as the case likely is–was not divinely inspired. This defence, therefore, is a case study in empty argumentation. The "faithful" want to play in the empiricist's playground, but never by the rules.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • lance corporal

      uh james your body is also going to be just as dead, worm eaten etc, your "word of god" comes from man, YOU have never heard the voice of god, you believe what you are told to believe and hatefully attack those who disagree with you, that is a delusion, if you where capable of discussing that would be different, but you say things that cannot be proven as if they are fact and do it in a spiteful way (and it is your spite that CLEARLY shows your uncertainty) I actually believe in god just not the bible and I am capable of a nuanced discussion on the subject which makes it frustrating to deal with people like you who plug your ears and loudly or graphically/disturbingly use hateful images or words to shout down those you disagree with instead of discussing, your faith without fact is by definition a delusion, sorry

      April 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Dan Bartlett makes assertions without evidence

      "Even archaeology itself is proving the historicity of Scripture."
      This is an interesting sentence for a variety of reasons. Grammatically, for one. Why wouldn't you just say "archaeology is proving," why insert the reflexive "itself" in the sentence? Is archaeology proving itself, or the Bible? Or perhaps archaeology not itself would be in a position to prove something?

      It's also interesting because it's an empty assertion with no evidential support–in other words, an argument masquerading as a statement of fact. It is, in fact, also a lie. There is, for example, no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the Jewish people were ever enslaved in Egypt, or that they had made some cross-desert exodus. None. Try that for "archaeology itself is proving."

      April 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • CS

      @ lance, so wht do you believe about God? Is God philosophical? I mean, he is God, how can he be a philoshpical or ideological? so what is your definition of God based on, a feeling, your upbringing?

      April 1, 2011 at 2:04 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.