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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. William Demuth

    So we see the cracks in the Thiest's ranks.

    The fall from divine to mortal, then from one mortal to another.

    BILLIONS of people know these so called holy books are frauds, and the facade of organized religion is wearing away with time.

    The ONLY real question that remains is how many more innocent people with be tourtured and killed by zealots until the human race finishes puberty and puts these absurd beliefe systems behind us?

    April 4, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      When and if they are ever gone, they will only be replaced by other misleading ideas used to gain power and justify killing of those who are different than we. You only have to looks at the French Revolution, Nazi Facisim, and all the Communist revolutions etc. that strove to do away with religion around the worrld to know that.

      The real question should be, is when are we gonna start questioning all of these responsibly and come up with a way for all people to understand, based on their own level and experiences without devolving intosuch animalism. Evolution and growing up is definitely the key, but many of those, both in and out of such systems, still have a long way to go. That would seem to imply there need to be some steps along the way, rather than just wishing it would all be different or unnaturally trying to force it to be so.

      April 4, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • NL

      The Beginning Didn't and End Won't-
      "You only have to looks at the French Revolution, Nazi Facisim, and all the Communist revolutions etc. that strove to do away with religion around the worrld to know that."
      Wouldn't it be more fair to say that these movements strove to do away with the power of religious inst.itutions and the clergy classes who claimed unequal rights? Kinda like the separation of church and state, and the check against the establishment of a state religion found in the First Amendment?

      April 4, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      NL: No. These movements actually tried to do away with religion, because of the reasons you mention, but the attempts failed obviously. The efforts to limit the power of the priests in power had been slowly going on for a long time until these efforts tried to wipe them out entirely; Ankenaten tried to do away the many Egyptian priests and replaced them with Sun worship; the Christains did away with the pagan cults for eventually for similar reasons regardless of the martyr's intents at the beginnings; the French earlier tried to do away with the Templars and Cathars/Albigensians to gain the wealth and lands they had aquired (for Catholicism of course); Henry VIII did the same in his realm against the Catholics and Protestants. I may be wrong, but I don't think it was until the French revolution that religion was attempted to be replaced with "humanism". We only end up with a new belief system. It's kind of like the 60's. Eventually folks learned its easier to change the system from within and then end up be subverted by it like the me generation of the 80's, not to say there wasn't something learned in the excercise. Like the people in the streets in the middle east today, we hope they'll get something better for all of us, but we're not sure. Often it ends up like the Who song "Won't Get Fooled Again": after its all over "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

      If its what you are implying, I do agree there should be a check against State Religion, but not that people's freedom of Religion or freedom of not-religion should be restricted to do so. People have a right to speak and do things and people have a right to reply or ignore them. The government should not be made up of atheists either. It should represent the people while still protecting the rights of all minorities. It's structured to do that despite what some have tried to subvert it to do for the last 31 years.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • NL

      The Beginning Didn't and End Won't-
      There is a big difference between organized, inst.itutionalized religion and personal beliefs based on faith, right? What people believe in their private thoughts is their own concern, but organized religion tends to dictate what beliefs are acceptable, tends to seek out political power, and basically seeks to usurp the place of government in people's lives. That's what makes religion a threat to governments, not that they believe in the supernatural, but that they follow spiritual leaders who speak for the supernatural further than they follow their secular leaders. You may not see this as a problem in the US, but how many religious leaders are elected as democratically as secular leaders? Fundamentalism is the enemy of democracy. It as.sumes to already know what decisions are acceptable and rejects public opinion, right?

      April 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • In the beginning etc.

      NL: So how are these usurpers any different than the other usurpers? Corporations are aok right? Unions? Left or right wing PAC? Military/Industrial complex? Lobbyists? That's what democracy is all about. Fortunately our forefathers set our Republic up to have checks and balances that prevent majorities from riding rough shod over minorities; and the Supreme court is supposed to uphold the Const-itution. Though I do wonder sometimes. The recent decision to allow unlimited contributions as a form of free speech, actually denies free speech by essentially allowing only the wealthy to have a voice. And no I don't think the const-itution gives atheists the right to usurp or control power either. I would be much more concerned about those who control an unjustified percentage of this countries wealth, subverting democracy than any one branch of religion doing so. Its the rich that only manipulate these groups to get what the rich want. How long has the abortion promise been made and nothing done except using it as a means to block other more meaningful legislation?

      April 5, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • NL

      In the beginning etc.-
      Oh, every organization to which people belong can have an influence on one's political choices. The thing about religion is that it can tap into people's fear of dire consequences far more effectively than just about any other influence in people's lives, especially if it includes an all-powerful, vengeful, judging king figure with a list of outdated social demands. When you have that as your primary worry in life it's difficult to see the value of progressive social reform.

      April 5, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Beyond human reason

      NL:(Again this is for more tha just NL). I agree, but I have a funny feeling there are lot more out of work people now, who's hard hearts are suddenly turning soft, now that they're on the outside looking in. Its funny how social programs become important when you or your freinds or your relatives need them. And those with jobs are so much more concerned about whether Corporations are going to take their jobs away and take the bread out of their mouth, forcing them have to more seriously contemplate the things you mention more seriously.

      There are just as many people blindly going through the motions of their religious social club, as there are fire breathing dragons to slay though. Its why the "religious" know so little about the contents of the Bible. So hitting them hard with crticism will only make them draw back further into their group, not bring them to understanding. Think like Gandi lived.

      If we want to change people we have to educate them... without insulting them like focusing on the extremes tends to do. I know I get frustrated sometimes too and I don't always live up to this either. However, you can lead a horse to water, but you certainly can'y push them in if they don't want to go.

      I agree the childish spoiled God ideas have to go, but if you're allowed to exclude others from government for their beliefs, then why are yours so good, that others shouldn't be able to do the same to you. It works both ways. Ostracizing and exlcuding groups for non-criminal acts or thoughts never works; never has and never will. Inclusion was what this country was based on; escape from religious persecution. It's built into the checks and balances. We have to trust them or revert back to the 60's and what's happening in Libya and the Middle East now. Sometiimes that becomes necessary, if logic fails, but we should please apply gentle logic first.

      April 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • NL

      Beyond human reason-
      The average churchgoer may be warming a pew out of some instinct, but they're fairly tolerant of other people's beliefs and wouldn't be the ones posting on CNN's Belief Blog regularly either, so the criticism here isn't really aimed at them. It's the group who are here citing the rapture like it's actually something that will happen, for example, who need some exposure to scholarly thinking, history, and even the parts of the Bible they avoid reading.

      You said "Ostracizing and exlcuding groups for non-criminal acts or thoughts never works". Well, slavery and segregation were not yet illegal when people of conscience decided to take a stand against them, right? They were bad, but still legal ideas. The law had to change and challenging that ideology was called for. There are other similar challenges today, like equal rights for gays. It's just one long struggle against the same foe it seems, backwards thinking.

      April 6, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • ROOTS and TREE TOPS

      NL: Me again. I understand your points. Not everyone will be so enlightened but at least we can say things like we do in this country and try to influence minds in the right direction. Also, as you have kind of noted you can probably find just as many and possibly more ignorance down at the bar or sportsfield etc. etc. as you wil find in the average person making an effort at being religious. A little subtle education never hurt anyone. The challenge is how to work on them subliminally, so they end up thinkig it was their idea. That always works better than in your face even if thats how they work. Many paths up the mountain and some of us start lower than others.

      April 7, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • NL

      ROOTS and TREE TOPS-
      I am beginning to appreciate just how little effort many people actually put into checking what they are told is true. I watched the Trump interview on CNN today with his Obama birth certificate nonsense and I can't help but be reminded of Jesus' life. It's so easy to see in this case how you can have total disagreement on key points about a person's life even when we have solid evidence leaning towards one sequence of events. People will believe what they want to in spite of evidence, it seems, and some people actually want to remain ignorant, and to keep an ignorant misconception going. Deep down, I think they know it's dishonest, but how they can justify that with any personal sense of ethics, or morality they have is beyond me.

      April 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • ROOTS and TREE TOPS

      NL: I was told in business to write tech doc-umentation on the 7th grade level because that was the average level of intelligence. This was in a highly technical complex industry. I think that says a lot towards your points. I also remember 7th grade as being a most cruel age. That too says something. Often people never grow beyond that and afraid to challenge their social group. Social leaders know that and take advantage of it.

      Hopefully a man smart enough to make miilions isn't so stupid, to actually think what Donald is saying. So that says something. If he is..ditto. So there, you have many of the challenges in bringing about change.

      Hi-tler said people will believe a big lie quicker than a little one; and the purpose of oratory is not to tell the truth but to have the ma-s-ses do what you want. (funny if you drop the m like the filter did you have the same meaning:)

      April 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  2. Doughboy

    For a bunch of people who are so down on the Bible, you sure spend a lot of your time worrying about it. If you don't believe, why are you so interested? Get a life.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Eric

      If the followers of the bible weren't butting into my life then I wouldn't care.

      April 4, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • NL

      Doughboy-
      When scriptures are taken so literally that real harm is caused it should give everyone reason to worry, or haven't you been watching the news this week?

      April 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  3. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    Refer to my postings evidence on the fraudulent teachings in astronomy, and other sciences, which you are saying supports biblical evidence through its archeological areas of study and research. Frederica above, didn't you read how i explained that noah is a pure fiction story. No such person of interest existed as such with that weird tale of how the earth was destroyed by floods with ony noah's family and a pair of each animal. If there was there wouldn't be the bible as it is discussed and continued without evidence of historical interruption by such flooding event. One group of lies and phoney storytelling keeps getting caught by another group of lies and phoney story telling. fraud on fraud. theresa noelle younan ymma-iii

    April 4, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Frederica

      @You-r, all related archaeological findings support the Bible accounts are accurate. The evidence of universal flood is everywhere on our planet. Don't cling to your false belief system.

      April 4, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • NL

      Frederica-
      The only places where your 'evidence' seems to be is in creation museums, so why should anyone who actually respects science believe your claim?

      April 4, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Actually stories of Epic floods exist in writings and tales all over the world. Not to mention some found by scientific discovery. Many are explained by post-ice age polar cap melting.

      For instance the Black Sea used to be a below sea level valley before ice age melting caused the higher ground of the Bosporus to open up or overflow and flood the entire area. Being so close to where the first Great Flood Epic in the middle east occurred, Sumeria and studying human migrations afterwards from the Black Sea area to Sumeria, its fairly easy to postualte that ancient rememberings in the days long before television etc. and people trying to explain how they survived such a catastrophe to tell about it, most likely resulted in the Noah story. They also found that for hundreds of years afterwards, there were no settlements next to the sea. The people all moved into the mountains. The Greeks also had such a tale and even the Maya on the other side of the world, not to mention others in other cultures.

      Drop the literalism and try to get at the meanings and Biblical occurences don't sound so far fetched, just embellished a bit to add meanings for ancient people.

      If you don't want meaning or to learn anything, then your no different than the rude rowdy kids at the back of the class doing all they can to disrupt anyone else from getting anything of value from it. You also speak in absolutes of no evidence without doing the research to prove such statements, so what is the difference morally. Please don't spit out one instance of what somebody said. You have to review all the sources and weigh them against each other scientifically to come to any meaningful conclusion.

      April 4, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • NL

      The Beginning Didn't and End Won't-
      "Drop the literalism and try to get at the meanings and Biblical occurences don't sound so far fetched, just embellished a bit to add meanings for ancient people."
      Embellished to add meaning like all myth, or even the details surrounding the first Thanksgiving for that matter, were? I'll take that as a fair view of the Bible.

      April 4, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      NL: A myth is not a lie as we have allowed the church to make it in order to denounce paganism. A myth was like a fable or a parable, only maybe a little bigger; a story with a meaning. When Jesus told parables, he wasn't lying. He was just putting ideas into stories so people that wanted to understand would and those who didn't or weren't ready would just be confused. Kind of like some of the modern action movies. I just look at them and often think, this could be a good story if the action sequences weren't rediculously unbelievable.

      That aside I agree with the Thanksgiving analogy, having several great great great grandmothers who were Native Americans. Sometimes the embellishments do have dishonest motives. It's just as important to acknowledge that as well.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • NL

      The Beginning Didn't and End Won't-
      A myth may not be a lie, but it is a story, and should never be mistaken as actual history as we now understand the word, or the prediction of things to come, right? In modern terms we may consider the entire Bible as people's attempt to put a positive spin on tragedy and failure. The ancestors of the Jews get conquered again and again, exiled and never build much of a kingdom for themselves so they spin this as the intention of their god to enlighten them about proper piety. The New Testament was written to spin the failure of Jesus to fulfill messianic hopes and they ended up creating a new religion where nothing could have been further from his intention. Call it spin, myth, propaganda, or just theology it still doesn't pass as history, or even 'truth' in the strictest sense of the word.

      April 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • TRUTH DOES NOT REQUIRE SHOUTING OR VIOLENCE

      NL: You have cutely skimmed the surface of what is in the Bible. Your logic has some truth, but the extreme interpretation of all or nothing, seems no worse that the extreme interpretations of those "believers" you take issue with. No. I don't believe in scary predictions, but I do believe in cause and effect. You do bad things, they come back to you eventually.

      There are indeed historical occurrences in the Bible that really happened. Of course the entire truth is not there because men wrote the books, not God, and no man will ever know the absolute truth behind anything historical. Even witnesses to a crime that happened 5 minutes ago will often have very different versions of what they thought they saw.

      We are all restricted in our understanding by personal perceptions molded by past experience, all of which is extremely different for each person. Ancient perceptions of course will be very different than how we would perceive the same events if they happened today, because most of us know more today than they did then.

      Things that were called miracles were most likely unknown science, like the parting of the Red Sea actually being a huge tidal ebb before the tsunami at the time of the most violent erruption in history at Santorini, where a whole mountain volcano, essentially hollowed out over years and collapsed into the sea wiping out coastal life all over the Eastern Mediteranean, and the Red Sea was actually the Reed Sea on the coast one of many translation errors. This is one of many scientifc hypothesis of archaeologists, for which most knowledge, including Reality's, on these blogs seems half a century or more behind. For lesser miracles they were probably the science only known by magicians. You do realize magicians only know tricks bound by science, that the average person doesn't, right? It's not really supernatural or magic.

      If you think you need absolutes before you can learn anything of value from something, then that is your flaw and you should work on it, because as said above no human knows the absolute truth of any historical event they witness. They all put their spin on it because the only see as they perceive. So just like court you have to gather all the evidence, noit just that which you like, and reconcile. I agree there are many ways to understand the texts, but they are not all lies and worthless.

      So you're missing so much in an all or nothing approach. A starving man will not refuse a piece of bread because he can't have the steak dinner. Why can't you accept what is worthwhile, or at least HONESTLY ask yourself why people see these texts as worthwhile, and let it be. No, just believing those who can find truth in the are idiots, is not HONEST. The users of the books are not all fundementalists either. There isn't a boogie man under every bed. There is history and truth in religious texts, whether you yourself are capable of seeing it or not.

      If you can't understand... there is always the possibility.... that its you that doesn't understand and not necessarily the other guy. As I said you did a nice brush over of things that might be learned in childrens Sunday School, and i agrre there are many fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists that get no further than that. The truth is still there though and you have to bounce it against reason and history and other texts and reconcile if the truth is what you really want.

      April 5, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • NL

      TRUTH DOES NOT REQUIRE SHOUTING OR VIOLENCE-
      Thank you for the thoughtful response.

      Jesus could have gone far with just a bit of medical knowledge, but remember that there were many workers of wonders operating at that time in the region. The willingness to forego customary ritual cleanliness rules by simply cleaning an infection may have been all that was needed to affect a cure in some. Perhaps Jesus' healings relied more on a rational thinking than the supernatural.

      I actually don't have an "all, or nothing approach" towards the Bible. I think that you can indeed get something of value from the Bible even with the foreknowledge that what you are reading is story with a bit of historical fact thrown in. Many of Shakespeare's plays also had some historical basis and look at how much we would lose is we dismissed them because of this? Some of Shakespeare's stuff is also grounded in ancient myth and legend, like the fiction of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, yet few Christians would deny the power of their stories to illustrate moral lessons, despite the presence of magic within them, and fewer still would take the supernatural elements within them as factual.

      You speak of honesty, but my argument is that those who stupidly take the Bible as some kind of absolute literal truth, like Jerry Falwell did, are not being honest. That's all.

      April 5, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • God is All aaahh

      NL: Thanks as well for the kind response. I wasn't necessarily writing only to you, so I hope there was no offense. I can be abrasive and humourously insulting sometimes I know, like when I sense I'm responding to a response that only seems to be fighting fire with fire. It only makes more fire and accomplished nothing intended. What a waste.

      If you haven't noticed I use quite a few screen names, sometimes answering my own responses, just to try and stir more intelligent thought up and sometimes take the edge off. Kind of like God has many names and human peceptions, even if you only look in the Bible, which I don't.

      Along the lines of the actual CNN article, it would be interesting to see if someone doing text analysis could tell all of which entries were me and which were someone else, without looking at the computer data behind it of course. I even left clues in some and I still bet you they couldn't. And my entries were all done within a few days, by one person from roughly one point in historical time and culture. I do however agree with the "experts" regarding many of their claims, simply based on why else would the same story be told several times in different versions in both the Old and New Testaments and often back to back. On the other hand, for the reasons I mentioned about finding all of my entries, its not all as easy as some want to make it seem.

      I think both sides would come to more understanding if they worked at understanding, more than attacking each other. It would be better to meet in the middle and grow. I do agree with your statement about those like Jerry Falwell, though I've seen just as much faulty logic from the other side.

      I've heard you shouldn't argue with an idiot though; because even if you are right, they'll never understand, and you only end up with both of you looking bad. So that makes it tough sometimes to do some intelligent prodding, but it must be done for every one's sake.

      Thanks again

      April 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • NL

      God is All aaahh-
      "Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." as Mark Twain once commented, eh?

      My thinking on this is that if you choose to live according to some idea being true, then it's important to take all due diligence in making sure that the idea is, in fact, correct. Still, how you run your life is your own business, but if you're spreading this idea to your children, teaching them to let it direct their lives, then even more care is needed to be sure that this is a good idea, right? Finally, if you are using this idea as a guide in how to treat others, and how to act politically, thus widening the possible harm or benefit you could spread through it's implication to it's fullest, then you had damn well better have made every possible effort to check if this idea is correct.

      There is so much room in Christian scripture, origins and doctrine for doubt that I fail to see how anyone who has been careful in checking facts can be certain of any of it without taking it all on faith, but having faith in something being right isn't good enough when you are affecting other people's lives. We wouldn't accept that standard in anything else, so why do people accept it in something as important as this? It simply boggles the mind!

      April 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Stuck in the Middle with You

      Clowns to the left of us, Jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle.

      there are several deffinitions of faith. We shouldn't let the church cose the one that applies for real. Here's one I prefer:

      That which is believed on any subject, whether in science, politics, or religion

      There must be someway outta here, said the joker to the theif, there's too much confusion, I can't get no relief, Business men they drink my wine, plough man dig my earth, none of them will level on the line, what any of it is worth. Outside in the cold distance a wildcat did growl, two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howlllllllllllllllll.

      I'm just trying to keep the two riders at bay. God is All aaaahhhh.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  4. untestableClaims

    god sure killed a lot of babies.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      untestableClaims wrote: "god sure killed a lot of babies."

      Probably because he loved them and wanted them near him... (at least, that's what some people might be tempted to think...)

      April 4, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • LoneZero

      What about when God killed every first born child in Egypt? Couldn't he just punish the Pharaoh or smack him around, curse him, something to teach him the error of his ways? Why did a loving God do that to innocent children? Not the people or the Pharoah who commited the crime but their children? How is that justified?

      April 4, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • Frederica

      God is the sovereign Creator. He is not a fellow creature. Fellow creatures such as atheists truly massacre their fellow humans. In Egypt, most of the dead included grown men. God took care of truly innocent children. The whole Egypt was guilty, not just Pharaoh, and they needed to see what happens if they do things like massacring other people's infants or enslaving others brutally.

      April 4, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Frederica

      LoneZero, why are you guys so naive? Sin brings punishment collectively to all nations. I think you guys should worry about American future rather than the Egyptian babies. This is a planet awaiting a divine judgment like Noah's days and you guys are unrepentant and downright haughty against the Creator God just like Noah's days.

      April 4, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Reality

      LoneZero,

      Read the following very closely.

      From: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      "When I grew up in Brooklyn, congregants were not sophisticated about anything," said Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and a co-editor of the new book. "Today, they are very sophisticated and well read about psychology, literature and history, but they are locked in a CHILDISH version of the Bible."

      April 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • LoneZero

      I know Reality if you were reading my past post I also said the bible was man made too. I was trying to get Frederica to open more more and see things not so black and white.

      I'm not malicious towards anyone I shouldn't be, Just because we have different views doesn't mean I should be malicious towards those who don't agree with me.

      Why would you bring Noah into this? The Story probably happen on the Euphrates river, every spring it floods, archaeologist say in June around 2900 BC there was a 6 day storm over flooded the levees spilled over a lot of people were killed, on survivors Sumerian king ziusudra , he commandeer a commercial barge loaded with merchandise and rode it down stream into the Persian gulf where he landed a ground. We have archaeological and geological proof to support this. Also we have at least 5 other cultures in the region that have a similar story as Noah. There is no possible way Noah could of retained 10 billion known species on a single boat then distribute them appropriately where the marsupials are all in Australia it's just ridicules with no facts or evidence of it every happening.

      And what evidence that Egypt? You tried to justify the story allowing an all loving and forgiving God to kill all of Egypt without even feeling bad about it. Do you know there are no traces of Moses or his people in the desert? No remains, no pottery, no signs they were ever there. they roamed the desert for 40 years yet is no not a single shred of evidence to prove it or evidence Moses ever existed, it's only mentioned in the bible. Even the parting of the red sea probably didn't happen that way. Many believe Moses crossed the reed sea, the sea of reeds, a good offshore breeze would dry up the land and make it accessible to walk through.

      you have no evidence or proof in anything you claimed it's all faith. All related archaeological you claim lead more to support evolution more and more and I know why can't believe that, if creation is proven wrong so goes your faith.

      If the Creation Story is wrong and evolution is right, then Adam and Eve did not exist.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.

      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason God allows so much suffering in the world.

      f there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.

      If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise. Then the resurrection never happen.

      If Creation is false, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.

      The Bible has written all over it the fact that it was a human edited, social constructed, collection of books put together by people over many many years, mythical storytelling.

      That's the big problem using the bible as a guide for moral behavior and moral thought which parts are you gonna use? Which parts aren't gonna you? Why is it okay to pick and choose What to follow? What to enforce? What to ignore?

      April 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Reality

      LoneZero,

      The 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis who follow the New Torah for Modern Minds have already noted what you have concluded about Noah. Might want to reread the reference. : http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      April 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  5. Reality

    Again, the 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis are way ahead of David Hazony. No mention of this in Dave's comments. One wonders why that is? And he does not mention The Code of Hammurabi or the Egyptian Book of the Dead both of which predate the Torah as "Ancient Moral Codes".

    An excerpt from the New Torah for Modern Minds:

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

    April 4, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  6. Frederica

    The whole Bible was written by servants of God and eyewitnesses of the events, filled with the Hoy Spirit and guided by Him, as the Bible claims so and the supremacy of the Bible content and powerful effects from reading prove it throughout the history all over the world. The Bible wasn't written only for fattened, hedonistic Westerners of the 21st century. Hedonists understand not a thing in life.

    April 3, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      If only you knew the hedonistic history of many church leaders through out the ages, you be a little more humble, and actually do as Jesus said. Judge not lest ye be judged. Let those who are without sin, cast the first stone. I agree that writers had good intent but they weren't all eyewitnesses. It's been proven the tales were told and retold verbally for years, sometimes hundreds of years, before ever being committed to paper, scroll or stone. Still that does not mean they aren't useful.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • LoneZero

      Also like I mentioned before Frederica

      All we know is that supposedly it was an authorship inspired and guided by God, other then that we don't know anything else. How do we know they were truly inspired? What if they just claimed they were inspired and wrote down whatever they felt would lean the masses in their line of thinking and worship? Just because the bible tells you so doesn't make it factual.

      What about all the gospels and other holy books not added or removed from the Bible? All are considered canon with the Bible and are just as holy.

      The Bible is the inspired word of God right? Why weren't they added? Who decided? What was the reason for it being left out and forgotten? Was it a committee? Who was in the committee? How did they vote on what stays and what goes? In this time frame the masses were generally illiterate, church and noble men were the few who could read, did they have a hand in it's construction? Was it only churchman? Or did nobles have a say as well?

      Why was the Bible written years and years after Jesus' death? Shouldn't it been written while Jesus was alive? Why did God wait so long to inspire and direct these men to write it?

      Don't you wanna answer these questions?

      we live in the age of science were we ask for evidence and challenge beliefs it's all intresting to know how it was done and who truly wrote it.

      Going even deeper if God truly had these men write the bible how come the other Gods couldn't do the same for their holy books? Some were written before the bible and the bible even uses some scriptures from previous holy books How can the bible be the one true holy book with so many after and before it's construction? Isn't it all intresting how it all works?

      April 4, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Their are no god so it is impossible that any god inspired the writers of the bible.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Frederica

      @LoneZero, the Bible claims God's authorship and it is proven in actual human lives. The Bible changes people as the Bible claims so. Evidences. Non-canons were rejected by Church Fathers as they were proven not genuine or trustworthy by internal and external observations and texual criticisms. The Church leaders had the Holy Spirit with them and also working intelligence when they gave verdicts. Canons met all the criteria that needed to be met to be treated as the Word of God and it has been proven right for 2,000 years. Gospels were written within 20 years of Jesus' ascention when most eyewitnesses were still alive. The Bible alone must be revered as God's Word because of its command to discard everything else and also the quality of the Bible contents. If you read them all, you will know why.

      April 4, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Frederica

      LoneZero, I realized you are not malicious like other atheists. But all you do is asking questions and never get into serious study of the Bible which you are so desperately wanting to discredit. The mankind in its all wisdom and brilliance still failed to produce anything quite like the Bible. Don't dismiss it; it will be a total loss on your part. The Holy Bible is too profound and eternally effective to ignore because it is the living Word of God as it so claims.

      April 4, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • NL

      Frederica-
      If you want people to just accept the Bible without question doesn't that require someone to 'tell' what it all means? Allow yourself to be proselytized into a particular creed rather than study the Bible independently, right?

      April 4, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • LoneZero

      just accept the Bible without question is all your saying, you have no facts, you have no proof,

      "Non-canons were rejected by Church Fathers as they were proven not genuine or trustworthy by internal and external observations and texual criticisms."

      Who were these church fathers? How could they prove it was genuine or trustworthy? There are books that are considered canon and are just as holy as the books bible but were not added. Why weren't they if the book is just as holy and just as important why wasn't it added?

      "he Church leaders had the Holy Spirit with them and also working intelligence when they gave verdicts. Canons met all the criteria that needed to be met to be treated as the Word of God"

      What was the criteria? How did they give verdict? Treated as the word of God? It's not suppose to be treated it is suppose to be the word of God, you just admitted what I've been saying all this time it was man made for man with nothing but the word of God to justify it.

      "it has been proven right for 2,000 years. Gospels were written within 20 years of Jesus' ascension"

      If it was proven right we wouldn't have atheist, agnostics, or other religions, why did it take 20 years to write gospels after his death? Why not while he was alive?

      "when most eyewitnesses were still alive"
      Who were these eyewitnesses? Do you know how many innocent people go to jail for faulty eyewitness accounts?

      April 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  7. LoneZero

    @The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

    Couldn't have said it better =)

    April 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  8. perdition bound

    I agree , who wrote the bible does not matter, because the bile does not matter. that dude in Florida should burn the bible

    April 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      It all matters and burning books is only one step before burning or blowing up people, whether it be up close and personal or long distance through sterile computer screens.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • NL

      Ever read Fahrenheit 451? Burning a book could be seen as the resort of those who haven't the intelligence to effectively articulate a criticism, or those who are afraid of a truth people may learn if given a chance. Having your favorite book burned could be taken as positive sign that those who would do such a thing are operating under a lesser ideology.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  9. LoneZero

    @Right on Bye

    thanks for heads up, I'll see if I can track the questions through the pages

    April 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  10. 2 cents

    @ Stank Nasty , you are doing a better job than I am with explaining your argument, the first line of your post says it all. I will bow out for now!

    April 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Sorry but I had it pumped into me Wednesday and Saturday nights, Sunday and Sunday Evenings, as well as week long revivals and Bible Schools at church. Not to mention radio and TV sermons, and religious radio music and gospel records day in day out at home for 18 or so years. I'm not really ignorant of it and recent surveys show that the non-church goers often know more about scripture than those that go regularly, or at least on Sunday morning.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Know What

      The Beginning Didn't and End Won't,

      I hear ya'. Declaring some (lotsa) expertise on the matter at hand is useful. Be aware, though, there are a couple of folks on here who will say you are just being rebellious.

      What did cause you to reject those things, if you would like to share?

      April 4, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      I didn't reject all of what I learned just the parts that didn't work. I did learn about parables in fundamentalist church. late I learned in school about metaphor and allegory and how Greek Myths were structured to give meaning by such.

      I heard preachers say how proud they were to be just a dumb ol' country boys and believe in every piece of the word, just before my teens. Sounded good to me. Then when I almost flunked 7th grade my parents, who I honor but don't worship, had other ideas. Doing well in school after that, learning about the history of other people through independent research, instead of the sanitized history you get in schools helped a bunch.

      People talked about how God would always provide and lead you if you asked, and it led me to libraries and book stores where it seemed there was always some information to prod me on a bit further. Eventually you start to see all the connections between all the religions, philosophy, science and history. So much that there were often times I thought I'd write a book to tie it all together. Much of the things I've written on here, I learned about 20-30 years ago, but life kept me from ever writing such a book. My family had medical issues that needed providing for and managers building computer systems rarely had any idea about the real effort it took to create and manage such complexities so they actually worked properly; so tons of overtime always resulted. So now here I am 40 years later writing something that tries to get the word out and help, under several screen names. Its the ideas that count.

      April 4, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Oh I almost forgot. There are plenty of shows on the history Channel and PBS, plus Netflix has much of the same that help. Don't expect any easy first grade answers though. It takes some effort to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      April 4, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  11. 2 cents

    @Moldy Vort
    So sorry to have upset you, not my intention. Yes I am full of the Bible! Thank you for reading my post, your input is rather negative though and really I don't understand the mind of God but I try my best to do what I believe He wants. Again, sorry!
    @ Right on Bye, I appreciate the books of other religions as books of wisdom and philosophy but I cannot accept them as the word of God.

    April 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Your God is so very small and somewhere out there. Not right here and now.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  12. stank nasty

    Most people who dis The Holy Bible are ignorant folk who have either never read it or worse yet, quote someone else who didn't read it. Because if you read it, with an open mind, you will amazed that it wasn't a man that wrote. How do I know you ask? Simple: What man (human kind) who is selfish, policitically motivated, self absorbed and all the rest of the sinful traits he/she has, would ever write "one woman for one man" no one I know would ever write that seeing how greedy and sinful people are. Secondly, what man would write " love your neighbor as yourself' and "do good to those who spitefully use you and mistreat you...pray for them" Oh yeah I'm sure the people you know think that way... NOT!!! What man would write "Love your enemies".... Oh yeah every human soul does that right? no way.... most people will beat you down if you even stare at them wrong let alone love their enemy and pray for them.... This is devastating proof that no man wrote the Bible....that it was inspired by God and people penned what was revealed to them by the Spirit... No man with he tendencies that are in man would ever write such loving things...most men will write "get him before he gets you", or Kill or be Killed! "It's a dog eat dog world you have to fight to survive"... this would have been what all men would have written... which proves that whoever wrote this book was not from this planet... So simple that even a cave man can think it ! hahahaha

    April 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • LoneZero

      The logic can be said to justify all holy books. Some holy books were written before the bible with similar messages. Hell, the ten commandments and the book of dead are very similar to each other and how many years was the book of the dead written before the bible was? Did the Gods write the book of the dead too? According to your logic, Gods wrote all holy books (Thor, Zeus,Horus) since humans are too immoral, selfish, and self absorbed to care for and look out for one another with no moral bone in the body. Correct?

      April 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Good point Lone Zero. It's part of the whole brain washing sermon scenario. First you have to convince people how they StankNasty, then once convinced, you give them the solution to StankPretty. Anyone who has grown up in tough neighborhood can easily understand turning the other cheek. If you beat the stuff out of the guy, he'll only go home and get his older brother or gang to do the same to you. These things really aren't as hard to figure out as they want you to think. Only you have to question the mindset of anyone trying to tell you no one thinks like that, when really what they mean, is they don't.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  13. 2 cents

    The Bible is a complex work and it shouldn't be easy, you should think on it everyday of your life. You will not ever imbibe all it's meaning in one reading. Why should God make it easy? When God made life easy for Adam and Eve look what happened. When God made life easy for the Israelites they sinned and turned away from him, in His wisdom He does what is necessary for His flock. His ways are not our ways. God does not think like a human. However humans decide to interpret His word is up to them, yes sadly, many use His words to furthur their own ends. I understand what the skeptics are saying because I was a skeptic too. But curiosity about this subject got me to read the New Testament and I was intrigued enough to keep reading. And while I know how you feel
    please if you really have strong opinion about this subject read the New Testament at lest before you judge the Bible.

    April 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Moldy Vort

      You say god does not think like a human, yet you have no idea what that is. And then you turn around and say you know how and what he thinks. You are so full of it. Gimme those damn pennies and STFU!

      April 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • LoneZero

      2 cents you said "The Bible is a complex work and it shouldn't be easy, you should think on it everyday of your life. You will not ever imbibe all it's meaning in one reading. Why should God make it easy?"

      that line of thinking has led to 38,000+ denominations of Christianity, Each denomination can show you scripture, that they believe "proves" they understand the wants of God or what they think he may want (as you just showed). All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory with eachother.

      Saying it's too complex or shouldn't be easy, is like saying you and your own are the only deserving or capable of the task. Is that fair to everyone?

      April 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      The Bible's not the only book and not all religions or religious people think you have to think just like them. They are many yes, but I would guess they are the extremely vocal minority, just like politics, and everyone else feels just like you. Where's the beef?...if you remember that commercial. We're not in first grade any more. What we make of it is up to you. We need to stop blaming It for human misunderstandings and do as best we can with what we have and if we don't like it look elsewhere. It won't stop you unless you are looking where you shouldn't. Only other humans will try and keep you ignorant of the truth.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • NL

      2 cents-
      "The Bible is a complex work and it shouldn't be easy, you should think on it everyday of your life."
      Yes, and taking the Bible literally is about as easy and simple a level of meaning as you can get, right? The 'hard' way then would be to evaluate the Bible after studying the higher criticism of scholars like John Dominic Crossan and others. That's the only way to get a handle on something as complex as the Bible.

      "in His wisdom He does what is necessary for His flock.His ways are not our ways. God does not think like a human."
      And shepherds do not think like the sheep they keep either. What sheep would even suspect that the shepherd doesn't actually have it's best interests at heart? Yet we all know that shepherds only raise sheep in order to fleece them on a regular basis and eventually butcher them. Who knows what God has in mind for souls in heaven? He might need snacks!

      "subject read the New Testament at lest before you judge the Bible."
      Why do believers just as.sume that anyone who can criticize the New Testament hasn't read it? Frankly, I find it hard to believe that some who have read the NT actually can't find something to criticize about it.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • HotAirAce

      The bible is bad fiction and there is absolutely no proof that it is anything but the work of man. There are no gods – not even just one. Get over the fact that you have been lied to since childhood and grow up.

      April 4, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Hot Air: More flatulence?

      April 4, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  14. LoneZero

    @Right On Bye sorry I wasn't able to put this under you're reply, no reply option.

    hehe good to know it's you lol I understand what you mean and I'm glad we can have a discussion in a civil considerate manor it's much more enjoyable that way.

    I do agree that a lot of us do make mistakes on what is good or what can be evil with no capacity to understand what is or isn't in larger picture and the bible is not to be taken literal as the fundementalists want us to believe as well but here is the thing I don't agree with.

    The Bible being allowed to continue growing well there shouldn't be a need for that, even if the issues I do have within the text would be adequately dealt with for sure, no doubt about that, the problem with that is if the bible is allowed to grow and change it takes away the authority and the word of God. It becomes more like the word of man if it is allowed to change. Also the fact that we always have different interpretatations and the belief that everyone is not on the same spiritual level and with everyone having different thoughts and methods that takes aways God credibility.

    You see, The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent therfore He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension would be the same?

    Instead were given a Bible that is ambiguous, where the text can be understood in two or more possible ways which in away explains the over 38,000 denominations of Christianity, various other religions, atheist, and agnostic that fill our world today. Would he not want everyone to know he is the one true God with the only true words without ambiguity?

    That's why I don't really give God a little more credit on the works in the bible. The Bible was written by man for man and it can be all warm and fuzzy in way but the devil is in the details.

    April 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Right On Bye

      So you believe in the devil but not God? Just kidding. Actually your criticisms are built on the fallacy of restricting the concept of God to one of the many old ones that should have been updated to a definition more along the lines of Eastern religions or maybe even Eastern forms of Christianity (though I'm not totally sure about the last, just that the Aramaic Eastern understanding is quite a bit different than the one Good God monolith you described frozen in time and yes drug into the present). 2 cents is part right, but the Supreme Power doesn't restrict its understanding to just one book; and that one book while very helpful does indeed take a lot of time. Again they are all man made. As we study the Bible we see that the concept of God changes from beginning to end. The newer version must be the pantheistic vesrion that God is the Universe. I think I covered this more in a question answer series where someone asked 7 questions and I answered them, a couple pages back, probably just a while ago. Rather than rewrite or cut and paste check it out and ask questions in its reply.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Where

      @Right On Bye,
      "someone asked 7 questions and I answered them, a couple pages back, probably just a while ago. Rather than rewrite or cut and paste check it out and ask questions in its reply."

      That is not much of a clue as to where we can find that reply. I don't have time to search all of these pages.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      It waqs only one page back, but here:

      1. "Ok, say that there is an actual 'being' that is the first cause of the universe."

      Never said nuthin bout a first cause. More like an eternal cause. Creation and destruction goes on eternal every milli micro second. There was no beginning there will be no end. Why waste time eternally postulating about what created God or what came before the Big Bang or when we're all gonna go together in some apocalypse? What purpose does it serve in everyday life? As far as a being... the universe is the being, not something conceitedly created in human image. The infinite universe in its original meaning. There is only one. Infinitely large. Infinitely small. Within and outside you.

      2."What do we know about it?"

      First, what scientific theories have proven. We also know that there are theories based on those theories already proven, that while based on such experience, have not been proven. We know science, philosophy, religions, mystics and many other things make such theories based on experience that are not yet fully understood or proven.

      3. "What if its physics are different from ours?"

      Its physics are ours. Its not our choice. We are not the measure. It is. If there's something we don't know yet, that does not mean it breaks natural law. It just means we are too dumb to fully understand all of natural law.

      You were created "within God's likeness", not to look like God, as "in God's likeness might imply". "Within" and "in" can mean the same thing, but "in" can lead to destructive egos that then lead and led to even worse misunderstandings.

      4. "What if its logic is different from ours?"

      See #3

      5. "What if its mathematics is different from ours?"

      See #3

      6. "What makes you think that it is even aware of us little pipsqueaks or cares one whit about our fates?

      We are not the center of the universe. Me or you or the Pope or preacher or Dalai llama etc. That being said, it should be considered... the overwhelming complexities that have existed throughout your life to sustain you every second of every day. What a miracle. Are you not thankful when you consider that alone, much less the things that sustained your ancestors to get to you? The more anyone has learned from science the more that is understood. Since we exist within its being, every breath and heartbeat is supported by it. On the other hand, you are correct to consider our lack of importance to the overall big picture. We influence what we can, but our will is not free. We do not alway get to chose how the big picture will treat us and we like to think we have free will enough at least to control how we react, but even that is shaped by all our prior learning experiences concious and unconcious. These things are also why we can not be the measure of what is good and what is evil when discussing what It does or has done. The overall picture, again, is way beyond our ability to judge.

      7. "One can make up properties for it – desires, needs, wants or intentions – but that does not make it so".

      Think I said above what makes it so. Nuthin that I/we made up. Things I/we don't understand sometimes, very true. We work on It. It... is the only thing that's certain about... It... though.

      Sometimes doses of Eastern thought will cure the Western perception sickness and put true religion and science back in sync making a better world if that is what we want. Sometimes we're just too stubborn and lazy and conceited thinking that we're already as good as we're ever gonna get. That stands as a roadblock to understanding It. Priests and Scientist both sometimes cause that.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  15. 2 cents

    @hot and bothered, After reading the Bible for myself, I realized The Bible blames Adam for the fall of man.
    Paul states that since humanity was ruined because of one man(Adam) it was also saved by one man(Jesus).
    Jesus himself was very loving and respectful of women. There are other translations than the King James version.
    Come on people the New Testament was written by people who died for what they believed in. They knew something or someone that inspired them to the point of giving up their lives. Think about that!

    April 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Eric

      So what? It still doesn't make it true. Just because it's old and just because it's popular still doesn't make it true. It's just as true as Zeus or Thor or any other god that you easily dismiss. "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

      April 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Eric, So the point is to just dismiss and not learn? How'd you get through school? I bet your teachers loved you. Or are you one of those i'm all grown up now and don't need to learn anything more. Wouldn't that make you no different than your imagined advesaries?

      April 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Several believers believed in what Jim Jones had to say so much that they killed their children end committed suicide. Does that make Jim Jones or his followers right?

      April 4, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • NL

      2 cents-
      "Come on people the New Testament was written by people who died for what they believed in. They knew something or someone that inspired them to the point of giving up their lives. Think about that!"

      Think about how easy it has been for cult leaders to get their followers to give up their lives. Is this really a sign of truth?

      April 4, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Eric

      Did I say anything about learning? No. If you assert something and have no evidence to back it up then I can dismiss it without evidence. What I learn in school has evidence to back up the claim. You have no evidence that god exists much less a specific god.

      April 4, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Did I say anything about learning? No. If you assert something and have no evidence to back it up then I can dismiss it without evidence. What I learn in school has evidence to back up the claim. You have no evidence that god exists much less a specific god.

      Eric: Did those schools teach you anything about stereotyping? If they did that's pretty much what you consistently do to those imaginary people of yours called believers. Not all believers hold the thoughts in their heads that you have tried to put there for all of them. Over simplification and extremism is terrible no matter what the source. If you're so interested for evidence spend some time looking for it instead of saying it doesn't exist without any evidence you have made a responsible effort. Also, don't swear to the all the detailed end results of that experiment before you have even started the research. And don't look at the north pole or south pole for coconuts and then say because you have no evidence of cocnuts that they don't exist.

      April 4, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Eric

      Again, I did not say that. If you say that such and such exists but don't provide any evidence then I need no reason to dismiss the claim until evidence is provided. We do that all the time, if we didn't we'd constantly be trying to prove an indefinite number of negatives. If I say that big foot or unicorns exist, you're going to dismiss those claims because there's no evidence. This is just like the teapot example. If I say that there's a small teapot orbiting the sun between earth and mars but it's too small to be tracked or seen using our telescopes. You can't prove it's not there but you'll probably take the stance that there isn't a teapot or that it's highly unlikely. Same with god, with the lack of evidence of a god my current stance is that it's highly unlikely that there is a god. If someone had some sound conclusive evidence it would be front page news on every paper in the world. Until someone has something to offer I can dismiss the claim that god exists. And I have searched plenty to find something convincing but so far every argument holds no water. It would be awesome if there was an afterlife and heaven. Do I like the fact that once you kick it it's game over? No. But just because I don't like it doesn't make it any less true.

      April 4, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      You ideas and refutations seem very bound and tied up in knots by Western limitations concerning the concept of God. If you like to be limited, be limited. Keep wondering why others or nothing on the subject makes sense... or make sense of it. You have to do it for yourself. No one else can. Please don't reply with further denunciations of a limited God. That's just a waste of time by setting up the results of the experiment before its started.

      April 4, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  16. 2 cents

    It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible because it was inspired by God. The phrase "thus says the Lord" or something similar is stated over 2000 times in the Old Testament alone. These people were mere secretaries who were trusted to faithfully write what they were told. So no it doesn't matter who wrote them down.

    April 3, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Eric

      So if I find a book in my attic and I don't know who wrote it but it says that it's the word of god will you believe whatever it says? Probably not. But why not? It says right in the book that it's the word of god so it must be true.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Eat the Peanuts from my Shorts, Charlie Brown

      Because "thus says the Lord" is in it, means that it was inspired by God? Or dictated by a fat-assed priest who wants everyone to think he is important and talks to God daily? I think this is more likely.

      April 4, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  17. Randall Nevelle

    Perceptional Threshold by Casper Parks was clearly written based on Evangelical Theology, explained by science fiction. A frightening story to say the lest. I have to wonder is what he wrote, what Christians really believe as truth?

    April 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  18. Baruch

    hotandbothered, great comment!

    It matters that people understand that "the bible" () was written by flawed humans with agendas; written and rewritten, edited, politicized, not for the good of people but so that religions could exercise control over people. The bible has been rewritten and reinterpreted recently by evangelicals for the exact same purpose; to find ways to control people. Personally I find acceptance of the bible as anything more than metaphor and allegory to demonstrate an alarming lack of critical thinking. The fact that there are people who believe the bible is infallible and who wish to impose it's edicts on others is something I find to be completely unacceptable.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Dan

      Baruch, I couldn't agree more.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • tngirl

      Baruch, hotandbotherd and Dan,
      Will you marry me? signed, surroundedbyrepublicans

      April 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • calmo

      I'm reading the flood of comments here by people who do not accept religion, the Bible, nor the existence of God. The overriding theme is that all of you feel believers are acting improperly by trying to convince others. Yet it's more than evident that you are all here to advocate your beliefs. You call the believers' advocacy "trying to control others." How is your advocacy not equally "trying to control others?"

      April 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Calmo,

      I used to chuckle everytime I went to a library or book store and all that was under religion was christianity and right next to it were all the other religions under mythology. That's pretty controlling. Glad that's started to change some places. they all pretty much owe each other a bit for where they are today. Anyone with the truth will not be upset about being questioned or prodded about it, but will be able to have answers that make sense, not answers that don't because they don't have to.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • hotandbothered

      Baruch, tngirl & Dan,

      Thanks for your comments/thoughts. I have had a hard time making peace with how our society has viewed women. The Inquisition and the witch-hunts were especially dark times for women because of they way the Bible has been interpreted. Paul, in the New Testament, is quoted as saying "not to suffer (allow) a witch to live". This one sentence alone has lead to many thousands of deaths of innocent women.

      Knowledge was not something most men wanted women to have. In the 800's A.D. the world had 3 popes (yes, 3!) who had a meeting to decide once and for all if women even had souls! (The agreement was 'yes'.) Such arrogance.

      The leaders of most (if not all) religions pick and choose what they want to emphasize from the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, etc. The Catholic church is one big old boy's club. No women allowed (except as nuns). Women are advised by priests to tolerate abusive husbands and "try harder" to understand and forgive them. I call B.S.

      Until religions accept ALL of their members as equals then we shall always have a view of women as 'less'. That is what's the most heartbreaking thing of all (to me). Never good enough and always to blame. Sure, the bible may blame Adam but the religious world blames women. That is something no one can deny.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Hot and Bothered,

      I know its probably no consolation, but the New Testament starts with the Magi (Persian priests also know as magicians) using astrology, following the stars to come and find Jesus at his birth, because it was foretold what he would do and be. Now thats magic, astrology and fortune telling all right at the start of the New Testament, not to mention the Magic miracles Jesus performed. I'm pretty sure there were a bunch of thou shalt not about them as well, so why start the new testament with them front and center? Folks have always been fairly confused. And some of the other things the Popes have done, but thats probably true for everyone else as well.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • TD

      @baruch , obviously your parents don't agree, your very name is from the bible.

      April 4, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      TD: The Bible says honor your parents. That's quite a bit different than worshiping them and accepting what they say and do unconditionally. It's also another way of saying honor your ancestors, which implies we should consider the past and what got us here and take what God has shown through history since... to obviously work. Of course there's also a verse where Jesus more or less said he came to turn children against there parents. So its not all as clear as some want to make it.

      April 4, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Sina

      @hotandbothered,
      The verse "suffer not a witch to live" was changed from "suffer not a sorcerer to live" which sorcerer was meant as murderer. Man have changed the bibles words for ever. Which is why I think the bible is b s.

      April 4, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  19. cgold

    No it doesn't matter. Another article on CNN was about the most "successful people that never existed" The left out the real winner, God. Does it really matter who wrote a fairy tale from history? Nah.

    April 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • calmo

      What's your take on how the infinite orderly intricacies of all forms of life, the earth, and the universe came to be?

      April 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Eric

      Just because we don't know every minute detail about everything doesn't make the bible any less false. Just because the bible said the earth was flat didn't make it true, or that the earth was the center of everything didn't make it true or that a world wide flood happened some few thousand years ago doesn't make it true. You can't say well you don't know therefore god. Neither I or you know who made my shirt that I'm wearing, therefore god must have made it.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Dan

      calmo, if you don't know how it happened then there must be an invisible guy in the sky.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • calmo

      Dan, what about the idea that the design of all the universe and everything in it is too complex to have been produced without intellect.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Calmo, No God in human form designed the universe. It only takes intellect to sense the design, though we surely are lacking in sensing it all. Just because a man like thing builds complex machines it does not follow that a man like God built the complex universe. It always was. It always will be. World without end. Unless of course you can tell us who created God? What was his beginning and what will happen after his end? Its essentially useless to every day or moral life.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • calmo

      "Always been here, always will be." I haven't heard many claims with less evidence. But your out would always be that it makes no difference in day-to-day life, anyway. I believe that could be called "hit and run" reasoning. Avoid responsibility.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • The Beginning Didn't and End Won't

      Calmo,

      I said nothing about avoiding responsibility. Stop thinking for me. Cause and effect happen eternally. That's more relevant and has been proven regarding responsibility. You didn't answer my questions and then accuse me of avoidance?

      Who created God? What was his beginning and what will happen after his end? Oh and who desinged Its beginning and end?

      April 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • TD

      @Eric, where in the bible does it say the world is flat? or the earth is the center of the universe. Just curious.

      April 4, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Eric

      There's quite a few places where the "four corners of the earth" are mentioned, and i forget the details but there's a story of someone climbing a tower to see all the kingdoms of the earth (can't see beyond the curve of the earth so this is impossible) as for geocentric it's mentioned in a few places that the earth is fix an immovable.

      April 4, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  20. hotandbothered

    It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible? Really?

    The fact that men wrote the Bible makes no difference in 'who' wrote the Bible? The fact that King James (who did not like women, BTW) rewrote the Bible to his liking doesn't matter? Spoken just like a man.

    Had the Bible been written by women I can pretty much guarantee that women around the world (for centuries) would not be getting treated as lesser beings as they have been because they have been blamed for "original sin".

    How convenient that women always are to blame. No kids? Blame the woman. Adultery? Stone the woman. Men are weak and easily enticed by women? Make the women cover their heads, their hair, their arms and legs, etc. because women are to blame for the mens' lust, weaknesses and inability to control their urges.

    You obviously don't see what's wrong with your statement, while I find way too much wrong with it. "It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible"? The Hell it does!

    April 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Blahging

      Make me a sammich, woman!

      April 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • tngirl

      You make me wish we were girlfriends!

      April 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Chris

      I LOVE smart women!

      I wish I could live long enough to see religion go the way of Astrology, reduced to only a very small section, on page 14A of your local newspaper.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • squarf

      ... and it doesn't matter what anyone says about it not mattering whether God or man wrote the bible. Inishfallen, already! "It is all a chasing after the wind."

      April 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • runninjoe

      Bitter much? It's easier to blame religion instead of blaming human nature isn't it? I guess that's why men used to blame women for problems back in the day instead of working to fix what was wrong. It's just easier to blame someone for your own problems instead of doing something.

      April 4, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • Wake Up

      2 Peter 1:20-21

      Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

      For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

      April 4, 2011 at 6:56 am |
    • Dave in Indy

      The writers opening sentences sum up my philosophy on relion- there is religion and then there is rational thought. To combine the two is usually labeled blasphemy.

      April 4, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Doughboy

      If you accept the bible as the inspired word of God; it doesn't really matter who wrote it. The council of Lyons did more editing than anyone. Jesus didn't distinguish between male and female. King James didn't rewrite a damn thing. He hired it done. Get over your self-righteous indignation; it's misdirected.

      April 4, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Shukura

      Agreed...and this also applies to race. It is well known that racism was added to keep control of slaves as well as the poor. Be happy with the crumbs you have because your rewards will come AFTER you die! Yeah...my bones will be so excited!

      April 4, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • hilary O'Hare

      The bible does not require all that. Women are given hair for a head covering. Women were devalued because we are weaker. But the husband is to love the wife as Christ loves the church, enough to give His life. Christ stopped the stoning of an accused adulterous woman and asked whoever is without sin to go ahead and cast the firs stone. The Bible is filled with grace for woman and humanity, you must have mistaking this Holy book for the evil one that talks about destroying man to bring on the messiah.

      April 4, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • dbanks

      To "hotandbothered" and others: You bring up some very interesting points. I've been a Christian for some 30 years now, in that I believe that I must purpose in my heart every day to study, meditate and focus my decisions and way of life that conforms to what Christy and His apostles taught.
      That being said, for anyone to treat women as a lesser value, in Christ, misinterprets what is written. Men and women have differing roles in the Church, and God gave to men the responsibility to over see the day to day operations of the Church. However, the women’s role in that, in my own understanding of scripture is hugely misunderstood.

      There is no consideration given to the original sin based in scripture, that concept disagrees quite blatantly with the Word of God. In other words, you are not held accountable for anyone else’s sin but your own, not your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband’s or wife’s sins, so long as you do not condone or participate in their sin.

      As for as women in the bible, we have a number of wonderful examples of great women who were regarded by the Apostle Paul as fellow workers for the cause of Christ. Even though they were limited by God in their authority, they had profoundly important value to God and the work of spreading the gospel. Most of the women I have spoken with agree that the women’s role is misunderstood. The role of teaching our children how to be obedient to the Lord, the older women teaching the younger women how to be good wives, the fact that many women are very adept at helping others see the importance of Christ in their lives. Men tend to be weak in their ability to empathize and be sympathetic in regard to others, often not even noticing when someone has a true need, where women are very in tune to other people as they connect much better with others emotionally than men do.

      So to discount the scripture because of a popular and very modern or politically correct approach to scripture based on our on “life experiences” and self grown wisdom is misguided. I myself have to double check my own thinking to ensure I’m not exchanging the wisdom of God for incorrectly thinking that we have a better approach to handling things than He does.

      As for as who wrote the Bible and whether it matters, If you can truly believe that God was the inspiration for all scripture as He tells us it is in 2 Timothy 3:16&17, then I have to believe that regardless of whether by the actual hand of Moses or a scribe assigned the duties of writing down the things Moses dictated that God is powerful enough to ensure we have the right message and information he wants us to have.

      April 4, 2011 at 10:16 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.