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. Dorothy

    You have to study Islam in the religious and cultural context of seventh-century Arabia. The political laws which governed seventh-century Arabian tribes were made the laws of Allah, their God.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • In One Many

      The same is true of all religions being communicated to the people of the times, in concepts they could understand and that applied to survival in those times. We should trust God/Allah/Brahma to lead us to more relevant understanings today in sync with the old intents, but understanding these are different times and we will be judged differently in these times by the letter of the law, but not the heart.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  2. Muneef

    In one of the meetings on TV programes an Islamic scholar was asked why mankind is so violent and all those killings ?

    He simply answered because all mankind had derived from a criminal that had killed his brother,meaning that all mankind derived from the son of Adam named as Cain who killed Abel who had not performed any attack or even self defense;

    The First Murder*
    [5:27] Recite for them the true history of Adam's two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, "I will surely kill you." He said, "GOD accepts only from the righteous.

    [5:28] "If you extend your hand to kill me, I am not extending my hand to kill you. For I reverence GOD, Lord of the universe.

    [5:29] "I want you, not me, to bear my sin and your sin, then you end up with the dwellers of Hell. Such is the requital for the transgressors."

    [5:30] His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers.


    April 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Lord of the Universe:
    Surprised to have seen many of you to state that God Allah is the Lord of the Moon ! When he is the Lord of the whole Universe and Creation ! You accuse Muslims of Worshiping of the Moon ! When the Quran clearly indicated that the Sun and the Moon are being used for knowing the number of days,other than that known or unknown forms of uses and needs for !

    Now the only verse that in which God clearly has indicated that he is Lord of is the "The Planet of Sirius" that can be found within Q/S/V's 53:49
    An-Najm (The Star) 53:
    And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius; (49).
    Pronounced in Arabic "El-Sherra".

    Links for you to gain the knowledge of this opportunity which i feel thankful to those who drove me to search for it and research it, adding to that i became to understand that the planets are responsible for what ever goes on in the universe as to disasters on earth and to creations, i take it from the Quranic verse that this "Sirius Planet A&B" is or are the Head Star or Planet of all Group of universal Planets in being responsible as a Head Gear for the entire movement of all Gears of the the Ticking Clock of time "The Universal Life time Granted to it to work..!

    The Question that we should be asking or looking for an answer for is: 
    Would time here haste for manking being hasty or would it be granted more time by becoming:
    -a non corruptor to earth and sea.
    -for holding right God Message of revelations and laws.
    -for showing mercy and being charitable paying out the poor dues.

    Wouldn't that make a change when majority become as that since as seems that the darker side overtaking the brighter side meaning Evil-being taking Over the Good-being in their deeds ? It is only when signs like that are shown the earth shake and maybe the whole universe shake that same shake ! After all "The head Key Planet of all those universal planets "The Sirius" is in the hand of God the creator and the lord who is either crediting or debiting our intentions and actions on what was deposited upon us to maintain uncorrupted but rather to go on spreading Justice,Respect even before Love since they say "Some Love do Kill more than hate kills" !!!

    Sorry having got carried away kindly read the links that i found to be very interesting and very informative :         



    April 17, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • In One Many

      Knowledge always leads to better understanding God/Allah's powers and wishes for us. I've heard it said that the crescent moon and star is on so many Muslim flags and the the crescent often tops of some Mosques. It's also been said the star is Venus. That would make both symbols hold overs from earlier times much like many Christain and Hindu symbols are from times when men's understandings were less developed. It is good to remeber our ancestors and pay homage to how they got use here.

      I've read that the crescent reminded ancient man of a bull's horns in the sky and that Venus was used to predict planting seasons etc. One of my earliest celestial memories as a child was seeing the crescent and start in the summer evening sky at sunset as they sky cooled. Do these symbols mean more in Islamic teachings? Perhaps these moons are what brought about the misperception of others. Thanks,

      April 20, 2011 at 3:30 am |
  4. Iqbal khan

    Folks check this out a very easy to read the Quran (english translation)


    April 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  5. Iqbal khan

    The Infamous Surah
    May 8, 2010 — Ebrahim Saifuddin
    The Infamous Surah at-Tauba

    By Ebrahim Saifuddin

    The Issue

    This surah is one of the most popular surahs of the Noble Qur’an among the non-Muslim propagandists. One of the first verses they will quote, in their attempt to prove violence against non-Muslims in the Qur’an, is from Surah Tauba. The verse quoted is the 5th verse and is as follows:

    فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُواْ لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّواْ سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

    Faitha insalakha alashhuru alhurumu faoqtuloo almushrikeena haythu wajadtumoohum wakhuthoohum waohsuroohum waoqAAudoo lahum kulla marsadin fain taboo waaqamoo alssalata waatawoo alzzakata fakhalloo sabeelahum inna Allaha ghafoorun raheemun

    So, when the sacred months expire, kill the Mushriks wherever you find them, and catch them and besiege them and sit in ambush for them everywhere. Then, if they repent and establish Salah and pay Zakah, leave their way. Surely, Allah is most Forgiving, Very-Merciful. – [Qur’an 9:5]

    After quoting this verse the non-Muslim propagandist claims that the Qur’an commands Muslims to kill all mushriks (polytheists) wherever they can find them. They try to imply that Muslims are to carry out some sort of a seek and destroy mission against the polytheists. Unfortunately honest non-Muslims who are sincere to knowledge fall prey to this propaganda.

    In this article we will go through a little about Surah Tauba, its historical context and reason for revelation to establish why the Qur’an says “kill the mushriks wherever you find them” and whether the Muslims are really required to carry out a seek and destroy mission against the polytheists.

    Introducing Surah Tauba

    Surah Tauba is the 9th surah (chapter) of the Qur’an which has 129 verses and 16 sections. It was revealed in Madina during the last days of Hijra. This surah is also known as Surah Bara’at and has about 11 names (Tafsir Madarik at-Tanzil wa Haqaiq at-Ta’weel).

    While it was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) to give instructions where to insert the verses; in what order and in which surahs, there are no express instructions by the prophet (saw) as to where these verses should be inserted. Therefore, on ijtihadi basis, it was inferred that these 129 verses form a separate surah of the Qur’an (Tafsir Uthmani).

    This surah is the only surah in the Qur’an which does not have ‘Bismillah’ written in the beginning. As per a hadith in Hakim, ‘Bismillah’ was not added in the surah under instructions by the prophet Muhammad (saw). During the arrangement of the Qur’an at the time of ‘Uthman (ra), due to the absence of ‘Bismillah’, a doubt arose as to whether this is an independent surah or part of another surah. After this doubt, it was to be decided which surah is it a part of. In terms of subject, the best option was Surah Anfaal (Ma’ariful Qur’an).

    Without going in to much detail, this section will be concluded by giving the precise reason of not adding ‘Bismillah’ at the beginning of the surah. This has been given by ‘Uthman (ra) which has been recorded in Sunan an-Nasai, Abu Dawud and others. ‘Uthman (ra) said that Qur’an is a serious matter and precautions need to be taken. He added that in case Surah Tauba is part of Surah Anfaal, these verses would have to be placed after the verses of Surah Anfaal and thus to place Surah Tauba before Surah Anfaal would be incorrect as it has not been directed by Wahi (revelation). This is the reason why Surah Tauba, although being longer than Surah Anfaal, is placed after it instead of following the general format of arrangement of the Qur’an. And it was due to this doubt that it may be part of Surah Anfaal, ‘Bismillah’ was not added at its beginning.

    Moreover, due to this, the jurists have stated that if someone is reciting the Qur’an and from Surah Anfaal he proceeds onto Surah Tauba, ‘Bismillah’ will not be recited. However, if someone begins recitation from Surah Tauba then ‘Bismillah’ has to be recited and books of fiqh can be referred to for this.

    For more detailed study on Surah Tauba, books of tafasir can be referred to.

    Historical Background

    In 6AH, there was a treaty between the Quraysh and the Muslims at Hudaibiya. One of the clauses of the treaty was that there will be no war for a period of 10 years and the tribes which wish to join alliance with the Quraysh will be allowed to do so and those who wish to join the Muslims are free to do so. Following this, Bani Khuza’a became allies of the Muslims and Banu Bakr joined the Quraysh.

    After 17 to 18 months of the signing of the treaty of Hudaibiya, Banu Bakr attacked Bani Khuza’a. The Quraysh joined in this attack thinking that it is night time and no one will know what happened (Tafsir Kamalayn Sharh Tafsir Jalalyn).

    This was a clear violation of the treaty and even though Bani Khuza’a took shelter in the Ka’aba and begged for protection, they were butchered without any mercy shown by the Quraysh and Banu Bakr. Only 40 of Bani Khuza’a were able to flee and reach the Muslims. Amr Ibn Salim Alkhizai pleaded to the prophet Muhammad (saw) in the following words:

    “The Quraysh broke their pledge and committed break of agreement which they had concluded with thee.

    They uprooted us like dry grass and understand that none will come to our help.

    They are mean and low, they surrounded us in slumber and butchered us in state of kneeling and prostration.” (Muhammad, Mercy for the Worlds)

    It was at this time that the concerned verses of Surah Tauba were revealed.

    Tafsir 9:5

    1.Here is a disavowal (proclaimed) by Allah and His Messenger against the Mushriks (polytheists) with whom you have a treaty.
    2.So, move in the land freely for four months, and be aware that you can never frustrate Allah, and that Allah is going to disgrace the disbelievers.
    3.And here is an announcement, from Allah and His Messenger, to the people on the day of the greater Hajj, that Allah is free from (any commitment to) the Mushriks, and so is His Messenger. Now, if you repent, it is good for you. And if you turn away, then be aware that you can never frustrate Allah. And give those who disbelieve the good news of a painful punishment.
    4.Except those of the Mushriks with whom you have a treaty, and they were not deficient (in fulfilling the treaty) with you, and did not back up any one against you. So fulfill the treaty with them up to their term. Surely, Allah loves the God-fearing.
    5.So, when the sacred months expire, kill the Mushriks wherever you find them, and catch them and besiege them and sit in ambush for them everywhere. Then, if they repent and establish Salah and pay Zakah, leave their way. Surely, Allah is most Forgiving, Very-Merciful. – [Qur’an 9:1-5]

    Fighting back against the enemies of Islam was made lawful because they violated the treaty and thus initiated war with the Muslims. Verse 4 explicitly mentions that war is not permitted with the Mushriks who did not violate the treaty. This is enough to refute the claims of non-Muslim propagandists that the Qur’an tells Muslims to go on seek and destroy mission against the polytheists.

    Thus it is clear that “kill the Mushriks” mentioned in verse 5 refers to those who violated the treaty and thus initiated war.

    Zamakshari (rh) in his tafsir mentions, “faoqtuloo almushrikeena means those who have violated their agreement and helped (the enemies) against u.”

    In tafsir al-Baydawi it is written regarding the same phrase, “Those who violated the terms of agreement.”

    So, contrary to the propaganda spread by some, this verse does not command Muslims to go out and kill all Mushriks.

    Moreover, those who love to quote this verse also somehow always manage to not read the following verse which is reproduced below:

    And if any one of the Mushriks seeks your protection, give him protection until he listens to the Word of Allah, then let him reach his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know. – [Qur’an 9:6]

    This verse is self-explanatory and refutes the propaganda of the non-Muslims.


    When studied in its appropriate context, there remains no doubt that this verse has nothing to do with killing every single Mushrik. It was revealed regarding a specific group of people who had violated their treaty with the Muslims and thus by default initiated war.

    April 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • In One Many

      Thank you. Can we have a similar pronouncement on those perceived to be polytheists? It's no secret that many Muslims see Christains as polytheists rather than monotheists because of their reverance for the Father, The Son, The Hoy Ghost, Mary, the Angels, the Saints, not to mention their fear of the diety Satan/the devil; The Hindu's the same with their many lesser dieties to their one Supreme being.

      They all see these as different appendages or aspects of their One Supreme God, yet it sometimes seems Muslims do the same with arch angels like Gabriel, angels, jin etc, but do not want to see the similarity. The other faiths are just as guilty of not wantig to remove the wooden beam from their own eyes while complaining about the splinter in their brother's eyes.

      Can we not get past this and see everything as an aspect of God, or do the devil worshippers still hold the most power in these matters; not being able to see that they are guilty of the same practices they accuse those outside of their religion as being guilty of. We need more faith in God/Allah rather than that of Satan which makes us only see the evil in others.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:16 am |
  6. Da King

    We know who wrote the Bible. Your creator through believers in Him. Nonbelievers can not understand because spiritual things of God are spiritually discerned. So unless you have the Holy spirit through your belief in Christ you are lost. Watch the Passion of the Christ. It will disturb you but you may be saved. Blessings!

    April 17, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Fairy Tale Answers = Mud for Brains

      Truth does not require dramatics, especially SM vo-yuerism.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:55 am |
  7. Darkwilz

    Gameshow: Cute, "funny", clever, altogether-childish-nevertheless. Your gameshow is a diversion; a diversion from the fact that anyone can find "contradictions" in the Bible when it's read out of context, or not read [objectively for understanding] at all. In approaching it as typical literary prose, you're already out the gate on bad footing. For instance, your gameshow contestants were both "correct" in their answers concerning whether or not God would punish children for the sins of their fathers [Deut. 24:16 and Deut. 5:9 as cited by you]. 24:16 specifically says "put to death" while 5:9 says "punish". Cannot one be punished without being put to death? I'll answer for you: Happens everyday! Don't look now, but your "contradiction" just vanished. My question for all the bashers is this: Who split time? {Of course, that fact is undergoing it's own attack by the new designation of B.C.E in place of B[efore] C[hrist] } This B.C.E approach is a beautiful example of what the Bible refers to as willful ignorance. I love it! Keep it coming yall.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • LoneZero

      "God is not like men, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. whatever he promises, he does"

      "So the Lord changed his mind"

      do you see that? It is human error now remember The Christian God is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)

      Put those words together then look at those scriptures, contradictions shouldn't exist and no one should be able to take anything out of context.

      Psalm 119:130 reads that the word of God is understandable even to the "simple"

      The Christian God would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity, The bible is ambiguous as you helped me show full of contradictions and can be read out of contexts, This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denomination of Christianity, thank you for gameshow you really helped my point, 24:16 specifically says "put to death" while 5:9 says "punish" an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient, God would make this more crystal clear and direct a man wouldn't as you helpled me prove, thank you

      April 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Magic

      " Who split time?"

      The use of BC and AD for numbering calendar years was invented by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD. His purpose was to determine the correct date for Easter under the direction of Pope St. John I.

      The Church was very powerful in those days. They spread the use of this new dating system. It wasn't widely adopted until the 1500s.

      April 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Magic

      Evangelical Rule of Thumb:

      If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally.

      If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      April 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Fairy Tale Answers = Mud for Brains

      He put in his thumb and pulled out a plumb rediculous and said what a good boy am I. You naughty kitten, you spoiled your mitten and you shall have no pie. Muddled translation, but you can still get the point.

      The contradictions exist because they were written by different men trying to inderstand God as best they could with the knowledge they thought they had. Inspiration is not infallibility.

      The Logic (not word) of God is easily understandable with observation. The texts help direct that SOMEWHAT with a little effort.

      Its only when trying to understand human motivated self centered egotistical translations that it gets confusing. Humans are just the meesengers though. Don't kill God because ITS messengers were not God like enough to fully understand ITS Message and got it wrong sometimes. Drop the fairy tale communications that would be expected to be infallible as well. Everyone drop all the other fairy tale conceptions and try to understand what may have actually happened and what can be learned from it by those who desire. Those who don't – don't.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  8. LoneZero

    The bible is only the work of man, we should find out who wrote the bible.

    "God is not like men, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. whatever he promises, he does; He speaks and it is done." Numbers 23:19"

    "So the Lord changed his mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he threatened." Exodus 32:14

    wait what? I thought he wasn't like us? For everything good thing written there is much more human fault and human error inside.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  9. avsecbostjan


    April 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Muneef


    In return of your few YouTubes find my comments to contents and verse that are self explaining; 
    Not fair that God and his prophets&messengers are blamed for the wickedness of men who worshiped some thing they made of gold that looked like a Bull and being hollowed it makes a sound from winds passing through it rather than worshiping the God of Moses who had freed and saved them by the Exudes....for that reason God had to purify them from the guilt and sin to grant them repentance...

    [2:49] Recall that we saved you from Pharaoh's people who inflicted upon you the worst persecution, slaying your sons and sparing your daughters. That was an exacting test from your Lord.

    [2:50] Recall that we parted the sea for you; we saved you and drowned Pharaoh's people before your eyes.

    [2:51] Yet, when we summoned Moses for forty nights, you worshipped the calf in his absence, and turned wicked.*

    [2:52] Still, we pardoned you thereafter that you may be appreciative.

    [2:53] Recall that we gave Moses scripture and the statute book, that you may be guided.

    Kill Your Ego*
    [2:54] Recall that Moses said to his people, "O my people, you have wronged your souls by worshipping the calf. You must repent to your Creator. You shall kill your egos. This is better for you in the sight of your Creator." He did redeem you. He is the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
    Another wickedness of men was to change the words of God in the scriptures and books;

    Distorting the Word of God
    [2:75] Do you expect them to believe as you do, when some of them used to hear the word of GOD, then distort it, with full understanding thereof, and deliberately?

    Concealing the Word of God
    [2:76] And when they meet the believers, they say, "We believe," but when they get together with each other, they say, "Do not inform (the believers)of the information given to you by GOD, lest you provide them with support for their argument concerning your Lord. Do you not understand?"

    [2:77] Do they not know that GOD knows everything they conceal, and everything they declare?

    [2:78] Among them are gentiles who do not know the scripture, except through hearsay, then assume that they know it.

    [2:79] Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say, "This is what GOD has revealed," seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.
    The Quran: God's Message to the Jews and Christians
    [5:15] O people of the scripture, our messenger has come to you to proclaim for you many things you have concealed in the scripture, and to pardon many other transgressions you have committed. A beacon has come to you from GOD, and a profound scripture.

    [5:16] With it, GOD guides those who seek His approval. He guides them to the paths of peace, leads them out of darkness into the light by His leave, and guides them in a straight path.
    You Shall Not Make Any Distinction Among God's Messengers
    [4:150] Those who disbelieve in GOD and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among GOD and His messengers, and say, "We believe in some and reject some," and wish to follow a path in between;

    [4:151] these are the real disbelievers. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution.

    [4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
    Quran: The Ultimate Reference
    [5:48] Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you. For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites. Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you. You shall compete in righteousness. To GOD is your final destiny – all of you – then He will inform you of everything you had disputed.
    Crucifying "the Body" of Jesus*
    [4:157] And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him – they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him.

    [4:158] Instead, GOD raised him to Him; GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

    [4:159] Everyone among the people of the scripture was required to believe in him before his death. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.
    So what is your objection and denial to, is it the belief in the existence of God or is it towards the Religion which you might think that it had been distorted by men...?

    Do we want a religion of our own choice and design to practice or are we seeking the actual truth to believe in and practice??

    Well guess each will want it his own way accepting some and rejecting some choosing paths in between...??     

    April 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      [7:157] "(4) follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in their Torah and Gospel. He exhorts them to be righteous, enjoins them from evil, allows for them all good food, and prohibits that which is bad, and unloads the burdens and the shackles imposed upon them. Those who believe in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that came with him are the successful ones."

      [7:158] Say, "O people, I am GOD's messenger to all of you. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god except He. He controls life and death." Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in GOD and His words. Follow him, that you may be guided.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Who was Gabriel?

      Muneef: I have just read Sura 5 and find many wise things in its text. However, I am confused by the contradictions that do seem to be within its words. My intent is not to confound the word, but rather to state that I and others are confounded by it as well. Can you clarify?
      In several places it says wise things like:

      "Do not allow your hatred for those who would debar you from the Holy Mosque to lead you into sin."

      "God does not wish to burden you; He seeks only to purify you and to perfect his favor to you, so that you may give thanks."

      "God knows the innermost thoughts of men."

      "Our apostle has come to reveal to you much of what you have hidden in your scriptures, and to forgive you much".

      "If you stretch your hand to kill me, I shall not stretch mine to slay you; for I fear God, Lord of the Universe."

      "whoever killed a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be looked upon as though he had killed all mankind: and that whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as though he had saved all mankind."

      "Did you not know that God has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom he will and forgives whom he pleases. God has power over all things."

      ""let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein."

      "we have ordained a law and as-signed a path for each of you. Had God pleased, He could have made you one nation: but,... it is his wish to prove you by that which He has bestowed upon you. Vie with each other in good works, for to God you shall all return and he will resolve for you your differences."

      "If they observe the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to them from their Lord, they shall enjoy abundance from above and from beneath"

      "Do not transgress the bounds of the truth in your religion. Do not yield to the desires of those who have erred before; who have led many astray and have themselves strayed from the even path".

      "Who is a better judge than God, for men who's faith is firm?"

      "If a man charitably forbears from retaliation, his remissions shall atone for him". This seems to imply it is God that will pass judgement and punishment; many verses imply that God will do such punishment being in control of everything in the Universe and that each "nation" has been given their own guidance from God, but they should work out their differences in good will, or God will.
      However, it also says things like:

      "Who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands"

      "Believers, take neither Jews or Christains for your freinds.....God does not guide the wrong doers."

      "Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country." This seems to allow fallible men to make such terrible judgements.

      It also says the following, which perhaps in the reader's ignorance might make us believe that the inconsistency above, could show that perhaps the word was already tampered with. Were there not already "satanic verses" that were removed? Was it not also true that the words were told by mouth long before they were written down, much like other Holy texts? Were not men removed from the original revelation involved in writing the verses down?

      "They have tampered with our words out of their context and forgotten much of what they were enjoined. You will ever find them deceitful, except for a few of them, But pardon them and bear with them. God loves those who do good."
      Again, my intent is not to confound the word, but rather to state that I and probably others are confounded by it, as well. Can you clarify why such things that seem contradictions, do exist in the text?

      April 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Muneef


      Sorry that am not able to help if not given verses numbers beside what exactly the question as seem could not understand in what you found contradiction of...but may suggest you read it again in simplified English then let me know verses numbers and questions you want me to help you with...

      April 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Ali Hussein

      It's a long Sura but if its studied, the questions are clear. There are contradictions.

      April 17, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Muneef

      Ali H.

      He has not made my task any easier by not giving numbers so I could refer to each by number rather than writing the whole verse again,but if the questions are  not in regard of the few first verses and only starting from the hands being cut off then will take it from here;

      Muslims are not to take the Christian and Jew as a Protecters.
      Those in war with believers as against God and his apostle are to be crucified. The hands are cut off for those thieves who are not giving up their practice and became addicted to the habit of stealing.
      The cut off of one hand and one foot or deported from the land is a practice of law levied on those who act as pirates in the desert killing the travelers and stealing their caravans.

      The Quran states that the words in the previous bibles were tempered with by those who did it...
      The Quran was memorized and then told by mouth by the Prophet for those who wrote to write it down after every revelation ...
      No verses omitted nor added in to the Quran...
      The Quran was written on behalf of the Prophet by his closest companion friend (Abu Baker AlSadiq) AlSadiq means in Arabic the Truthful.

      Now about finding contradiction it could be as God has mentioned that they have written the words out of context... This could mean when translations or rewriting the words in different languages than the original language that it was revealed with..
      Hope I was able to clarify few since my English language understanding is not so much but assure you of my assistance eagerly...  

      April 17, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Muneef

      [5:57] O you who believe, do not befriend those among the recipients of previous scripture who mock and ridicule your religion, nor shall you befriend the disbelievers. You shall reverence GOD, if you are really believers.

      April 17, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • The Abbasids Tried to Wipe Out The Ummayads

      "You shall reverence GOD, if you are really believers." There is nothing in that statement about putting textual interpretation, or anyone's religion, above reverencing God. How is worshiping text not as bad as worshiping the idols that Abraham destroyed, because they limited our perception of God/Allah? It is only by questioning our understandings of God/Allah that we bring ourselves closer to IT by increaing our understanding, which in turn increases our reverance. How can that not be good? Its only when we wrongly think that we limited humans, already know everything there is to know about God/Allah and resrtict ourselves or others, that we wrongly place ourself on the Supreme beings level in deciding what is right and wrong. We should not see others who may understand beyond our limitations as challenging our religion, whether they be froma heritage of the previous books or future books. We all owe God/Allah a faith to understand, trusting in ITS guidance and trusting in ITS mercy for our good intent.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  11. Muneef

    Additionally, it is necessary to differentiate between Islam and the politics of Muslims. Islam is a way of life that, naturally, includes politics and governance. However, political positions—even if they are adopted based on certain Islamic values—are not necessarily part of ‘Islam,’ and would not require every Muslim to embrace it. When it comes to women, there is a subtle but very strong link between many of the fatwas that demean women, and certain political agendas. 


    April 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  12. Lujain

    It is so unfortunate that anyone can believe God to be the source of confusion. We Muslims know for sure the source of The Qur'an. God says in the Qur'an: (Do they not then consider the Qur'an carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions)

    April 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • asrael

      And also unfortunate that anyone believes that a quoted text amounts to a proof of anything at all...

      April 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  13. CJ

    'most' believe in a higher power...although there are different names for it (God, Alla, etc.) sure, there are truth's to the bible, but also there is fiction. i am by far 'religious, but very spiritual & i do have a personal relationship w/ God (or whatever you choose to call it), and i also have issues w/ the bible. it has been re-written so many times (26 +). kings wrote their rules to benefit themselves and their community they ruled which was added in the bible along w/ so many other peoples stories. how can anyone say the bible is 100% true and fact?? you cannot. you weren't there to witness it. it's almost like telling a story to children and by the time it gets passed down, the story has totally changed (editing). we all walk different paths in life and shouldn't judge or discrimminate just because someone doesn't believe what we do or walk the same path. faith in a 'higher power' is important, along w/ a personal relationship, being a good person is important, having a good heart w/ good intentions is key.
    if one chooses to put everything into the bible, then great...so be it. we have to find what works for us as individuals.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Lee Cherry

      I understand your views. Been there, done that. But the Bible /God says "Test me" Search the Bible and see if what it says is true. I became a Christian believer because I was 'curious'. "Test Me and see if i wont open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing..." Malachi 3/5

      April 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Maybe

      Lee Cherry,
      "Search the Bible and see if what it says is true."

      Been there, done that... while a few of the historical figures, places and events can be verified, not one supernatural being, event or superst.ition can be verified.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  14. jonathan

    I thought I might say that the bible is true because it is..but that wouldn't be fair to them who have not yet understood..So i'll just say that God chooses them that are his anyway, so you have no choice in the matter..but God will blame you for not choosing him in the last day.. 🙂 the sad thing is there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.. Except choose him NOW while you got the chance.... Say unto God, Jesus if you are true let me know it!!!! Don't pass me by...If you are real, I'll do whatever you say!!!

    Jesus is real and he is the most fun person to ever know of...He is all that! 🙂

    April 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • jonathan

      Notice in my previous entry that I showed where you can begin with God by giving him commands.....easy now, don't forget who he is and what he can do... 🙂

      April 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Lee Cherry

      Cmon Jon—Jesus is a 'fun' person? He's serious about saving lives. Clown ministries for Jesus? That's why people look at us Christians as clowns. Now we should be "weeping between the porch and the alter. Blow the trumpet in Zion. Jesus is coming soon!!

      April 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • asrael

      Just what everyone needs: a "perfect" god who "blames you for not choosing him"...

      April 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • David

      God and jesus are the perfect tools for so called "Christians". They can be what ever christians need them to be to justify their own psychotic, absurd behaviors. Don't think that's true? Look no further than your own claim that the bible is factual. Even the catholic church who assembled the books of the bible knew that these stories were not factual accounts, but 99% of christians ignore this or are just ignorant of this fact.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  15. Lee Cherry

    Those who "wrote' the Bible, wrote as they were INSPIRED BY GOD. Nuff said

    April 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Lee Cherry

      Now we use the Bible to interpret the Bible. The writers of the books of the Bible are stretched out over the years and all are consistent and agree with each other. "Line upon line, here a little, there a little..."

      April 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Magic

      "The writers of the books of the Bible are stretched out over the years and all are consistent and agree with each other."

      1. No, they don't in many cases.

      2. Do you know how the Bible that you see today was put together? It was voted on by a committee of early Church members. Any perceived consistency is because they chose to include writings which sort of agreed with each other and to exclude writings which did not.

      April 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • David

      Seriously- you need to learn about how the bible was "assembled" by man. How flawed men gathered ancient, flawed, inconsistent texts together and crammed them all into one mold picking and choosing ones that fit their purpose and trashing ones that did not. There was nothing God like about it. Deny it as all "Christians" do, but you are blind to reality. I doubt God would approve of such ignorance

      April 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  16. Noel

    On the secular bible the author claims that human kind has innate morals. That one doesn't need a moral compass. He claims that He quotes Ariistotle, Confucius, The ancient civilizations were big on morality. As history tells us they were baking people in Bronze bulls for punishment oh yeah and the Romans were throwing the people to the lions for sport.....yeah they were really moral are you kidding me what planet do you people live on That is not to say the Church was any more moral they were burning people at the stake...the French were decapitating people in the public square.........really human kind is basically primal in nature.....God only knows how bad it would be..........without spirituality

    April 15, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • David

      The a-historical and anti-experiential view of the innate goodness/morality of people frequently stuns me. I find it impossible to look around this world and come to any other conclusion than the innate corruptness and debaseness of humanity.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Spirituality is not Morality

      Morality and spirituality are different qualities. Either can exist without the other. History shows great acts of atrocity by both the faithful and the secular. The same applies to human kindness.

      As you pointed out, while non-thesit societies may have committed horrible acts, history does show that the church is equally guilty. In fact, in many cases, the atrocities committed by churches were even religiously motivated. The inquisition, the crusades, the Salem witch trials and, more recently, abortion clinic bombings have all been motivated by religious ideals. This shows that the idea of religion as a universal moral compass must be flawed. Otherwise, if spirituality were truly the determining factor in morality, these violent events would never have occurred.

      Although some people may not hold your beliefs, their existence may be equally grounded in morality. Your dramatic oversimplification of the issue discounts the fact that many non-religious individuals live with a high standard of morality.

      This should be respected, as they follow their standards not for fear of divine punishment, but for the sake of doing what is right and just. Many religious moral systems impose divine consequences for a moral violation and rewards for avoidance or atonement for immoral acts. An non-thesist moralist refrains from committing the amoral act because it is wrong to do so, not out of fear, not for a reward, and not for the sake of ritual.

      On a personal note, I have no problem with the religious. I just wish more people of faith would understand that the rest of us are just as able to live a moral existence. I don't know whether having a dogmatic set of rules makes it feel easier for you. What I do know is that I take morality seriously. When I see someone in need, I stop to help. I do my best to treat all others with dignity and respect regardless of their situation. I acknowledge the rights of others, like yourself, to disagree with me entirely. Part of that involves understanding why others hold beliefs different from my own, which is now my challenge for you. So where would we be without spirituality? Try to understand that some of us already get along perfectly fine without it.

      Really, I'm a lot like you.

      I may not believe in a deity, but my beliefs are just as valid and I am as capable as anyone of living with moral standards.

      April 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  17. Adelina

    Logan proves illiteracy on the Bible in the West is more serious than ever.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • George

      Thank god for that 🙂

      April 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  18. Logan


    April 15, 2011 at 4:30 am |
  19. Dorothy

    Saints, stand on the word of God, because it is true. Remember, many on here, don't know Christ, don't have a relationship with Him. Some may come to know Him, many will reject Him. Continue to pray for all. Mohammed and Buddha and others have not died for all mankind. Only Jesus did that. Rejoice saints our Redemptions is near. Remember, walk in the spirit and walk in love, cause its a matter of the heart.

    April 15, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Adelina

      Amen, Dorothy. Jesus Christ is the only Savior in this world. The Divine Savior, the sure Way of salvation.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • George

      "Saints, stand on the word of God, because it is true."
      That actually makes no sense at all. How do you know it is true? (That is assuming there is a "word of God" and you actually know what it is.) Surely if "God" said something he wouldn't need the Saints to stand on it, he would be able to take care of it himself

      April 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • jonathan

      @ George the bible is true because it is.. nuff said... 🙂 actually if it is not true to you then you do not have to believe it..it it turns out to be true then on the last day...then well..sorry 🙁

      April 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ikky

      @Jonathan: That is essentially Pascal's wager, but the problem is, it falls apart for a ton of reasons, one of which is religion priority. If you were to stack the bet, I would bank on Hinduism, as it is the oldest modern religion and has had the most followers. My second bet would be Earth religions, same rational, and only then would I rank Christianity as third. But since all of the choices are silly and have next to nil odds of being true, it's just better to live with the assumption that all religions are false and to live a life using your own sentience and senses to navigate through it as you will without the limiting of basic human liberties that religions impose.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • David

      Wow- in just one nasty little sentence, you trash several of the worlds religions. I doubt Jesus would approve of your self serving egotistical, nasty viewpoint. I'm stunned by your lack of Christ like understanding. Jesus has more in common with buddism than you have with his teachings. I don't think God or Jesus intended for you christians to parade about proudly assuming that you've got all the answers and cr4p all over the beliefs of others. Wow. Just wow.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Blake

      So if dying for mankind makes someone "The Messiah", does that mean that all those suicide bombers who died for Allah (god) are Jesus Christ?

      Does that mean if I shout out "Im going to die for mankind!" and then commit suicide that I am Jesus?

      To be honest I think the Bible is a great story. A great FICTIONAL story. Whenever I see a Bible, I always move it to the fictional section of the library where it belongs.

      Truth be told, all those stories in the Bible might be fiction or (more likely) they were events that happened that people didn't understand.

      I think the ancient astronaut theory is more likely than a magical spirit sending down his magical born to a virgin mother (which we KNOW is impossible) who could cure blindness, make fish and a few loaves of bread feed thousands (unless they took REALLY small bites).

      At least if we said aliens are responsible for humanity, there's some scientific backing, as we haven't disproved life on other planets like we have with all those other stories.

      The Bible is fiction. It belongs with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, as an EXCELLENT fictional tome.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  20. moshe

    anything anyone would say to you non-believers would never convince any of you

    April 14, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Logan

      Christianity = The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...


      April 15, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Chris

      "anything anyone would say to you non-believers would never convince any of you"

      That would probably be because they want some kind of evidence or substantive reason to believe as you do. You cannot offer even one convincing, logical argument for your ancient and contradictory belief system. I do hope that you try though, pointing out differences between facts and assumptions is ever so amusing.

      Same goes for Dorothy and Adelina down there, give me one good reason or piece of evidence to accept that there is a god. I would just love to see it.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • David

      And Logan has proved your point.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Ikky

      That point is not true. What could convince a rational person to jump aboard your ship is reasonable evidence pointing to the validity of your claims. You have a positive affirmation/claim of something, in this case Yahweh/Christ, so I expect evidence and proof that they exist that is proportional to the extraordinary claims you are making.

      For instance, if I said I had a pet black Labrador, you would probably accept verbal, or if you're REALLY skeptical, photographic, evidence of the claim, as it is a very common occurrence. However, if I said I have a black Labrador that can jump over the Empire State Building and land on its feet unscathed, not even video evidence would suffice, you would need to witness this in person and examine the area that he is standing to look for possible illusions.

      Your claim is even greater than the one listed above, so I'm gonna need more proof than a fuzzy feeling you get. Hell, I get that just by seeing a picture of something cute. You guys need to work on something that is not a PRATT argument and get back to us.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Magic

      "I'm gonna need more proof than a fuzzy feeling you get. Hell, I get that just by seeing a picture of something cute."

      Yeah, I would get that feeling looking at a picture of your black Lab.... Awwww, Good Dog! If you want to sell me something, just put a cute puppy in the ad!

      The euphoria brought on by thoughts of the divine and supernatural is very seductive and addicting.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • David

      Anything anyone would say to a "believer" is lost because theyre so convinced of their own superiority. Pathetic.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • David

      It doesn't matter who wrote the bible? Seriously? It's called "consider" the source. If a group of power hungry men got together and voted on how best to manipulate the dull, ignorant masses for their own benefit using conflicting, ignorant and ancient texts, I sure as he'll want to know about it.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
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About this blog

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.