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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. tony

    The 2nd vilest thing you can do in life is to give your children religious belief. The vilest is to insist on forcing in onto other people's children.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  2. Steve O

    Explain the commandment "Tho Shalt Not Kill"? Right afterwards, God sent Moses out to slaughter. What's up with that???

    April 1, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Pumbaa

      The correct translation is "thou Shalt Not Murder". No country that ever existed told its army not to kill. There is plenty of killing in the Bible and some murder too.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  3. George Bush

    The bible is man made.. not the word of God or the will of God. 99% of the sheeple out there who believe in the bible haven't even read it. If you did you would know its all a bunch of dog feces!

    April 1, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  4. Apotropoxy

    John wrote: I'm a believer in Jesus Christ. It is my hope that all who do not believe will come to know Him as I have personally. Have a great weekend all!
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Tell him he still hasn't paid the bill for The Last Supper.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  5. tim

    This guy is right. It doesn't matter who wrote this fictional story. The only concern is that people are willing to believe in virgin births, walking on water, levitation, cosmic jewish zombies and a boat to hold all species. Everyone DOES realize these things are impossible, right? There are some decent moral lessons in the bible, but if you take it as literal truth and anything more than a metaphorical account, you're simply an idiot.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Ryan

      You know what's even crazier: believing humans come from monkeys, that the universe created itself when nothing exploded, that black people fall between chimpanzees and neanderthals on the evolutionary ladder, that dinosaurs morphed into birds, stuff like that – all teachings from the Atheist "bible" called "The Origin of Species."

      April 1, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • tim

      You know what's even crazier? Assuming that those who do not believe in the bible are Athiests and subscribe to all the theories presented in the Origin of Species

      April 1, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Where does it say in Darwin that Blacks fall between Chips and Neanderthals? Point to the page, and quote the passage. Neanderthals were not even identified until after the " Origin of Species" was published. More shoddy research on your part.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  6. Seeker

    I have come to believe that the Bible is sacred, not because it is written by God, but because it is written by men (no women so far as we know), who have searched for God through the ages. Some writers got closer to what we call God through their writing, and some missed the mark–like Mr. Leviticus.
    I also believe that unquestioned faith is not worth much.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  7. Byrd

    Leonard Cohen says that he's,"...the little Jew who wrote the Bible." Remind me to have some words with him about that someday.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  8. Apotropoxy

    These days, modern archaeologists can find and date an individual's overnight camping location that happened 3,000 years ago. You'd think that some trace of the Jews post-Exodus time in the desert would have been located, huh?
    Now that Passover is 'round the corner, it might be time to reflect on why this simple fact has been passed over.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  9. Ryan

    The basic point the author is missing is that, while people did write the Bible down, they aren't the Author. They simply took God's dictation and wrote it down for people to read, much like we receive history books. That's basically what sections of the Bible are, particularly the first half of the Old Testament – history books. If we can't trust one history book, why should we trust any of them?

    April 1, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Krreagan

      Because a history book should be based on evidence that is available for verification by anyone... The Bible is nothing more then a violent, sadistic collection of fairy tales.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Erin

      You kind of answered your own question. You can't trust any history book, or history for that matter. Every single thing ever said and written down is subjective. There's no escaping that. There are many apocryphal books that are not considered part of the cannon, but they are highly debatable when it comes to relavance and importance. Just like the Spaniards focus on an imperialistic approach to history justifying them as a super power, and how United States history books focus heavily on how White Europeans were the main people who solidified this country, the Bible too is as subjective as either of these histories. It was a man-made book as a means to teach morality and basically scare the general population into being "civilized." It was a form of government as well as one of the earliest "how-to's" or "self improvement" works. The story of Adam and Eve for example uses characters derived from Sumerian tales, but instead of using them verbatim, they utilized intricacies and skewed them to become their very own unique characters. Lady of the rib anyone? Yeah, that was a Sumerian character. I'm just saying. The Bible is a good book to teach morality: to base you whole life on? I don't know about that one. Just remain open. Without discourse and dialogue, we all lose our civility. Keep it clean, and God bless!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Ryan

      Krreagan – First off, there only nation that is predominantly Atheist is Albania, where anyone who isn't an Atheist is subject to fines, jail time, discrimination, and sometimes even torture. Hardly the shining star of Atheism, isn't it? Most of the country is actually Muslim, but who'd want to put down that they're religious on the census when you'd be marked by the government for it?

      April 1, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  10. Krreagan

    It's amazing how the religious can be so blind to the evils of their church and so clear of vision when it comes to the evils of other churches... From the outside it's obvious that most (if not all) mainstream churches are only really interested in maintaining their power and influence regardless of the cost to individuals and society.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Ryan

      It's amazing how Atheism can be so blind to it's own hipocrisy, claiming tolerance for all and accepting none. From the outside, it's obvious that most (if not all) Atheists are interest only in maintaining their power and influence over public schools regardless of the cost to individuals and toward the detriment of society (notice the crime rate skyrockets in America once the Bible was removed from public schools).

      April 1, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Krreagan

      Look at the crime rate of the countries that are predominately atheist. Much-much lower then in religious America. Athiests tend to be the better educated, this explains your ignorance I presume?

      April 1, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Ryan, what is the basis for your statistics on crime following the removal of the Bible from public schools? A little fact you might find intersting: church membership shot up in the country as states disestablished official religions in the early 19th century. Linking public education and religion also lead to an emphasis on wrote learning, or memorization, as opposed to developing critical thinking skills. That, along with the fact that with an increasingly diverse country in terms of faith led to the decision to study the Bible only in terms of literature. Personally, I don't want my children to be forced to listen to a servmon from someone other than the minister of whatever Church my wife and I decide to attend. Do you really want state-sponsored religion of the kind we had in the early years of the Republic, and someone other than your minister forcing kids to read a Bible you may not approve of? A Supreme Court Decision involving 2 familes suing their schoool district because their kids were forced to listen to prayers from another denomination made it clear that this was coercive: the families were Catholic and Mormon, not atheists.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  11. Another Believer

    Those who observe the Jewish Fate believe that every word of Torah was transmitted from G-d to our teacher Moses...and from Moses to our scholars. Not one word of Torah has ever changed in over 5000 years...every Torah is identical. It is not in any one's interest or power to force one's beliefs on others. As a returnee to the faith of my ancestors, I'll leave you Atheists with a few thoughts: There are no Atheists on Death Beds or in Fox Holes! Any fool can see that the "simplest" forms of life were made with a master plan...the complexity of a single cell organism is beyond human comprehension...think about the complexity of multi celled organisms and extrapolate the logic!!!! Finally, for those who believe in G-d, there are no questions. For those who don't believe, there are no answers!!

    April 1, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Dubhly

      I would suggest you do some research buddy the two oldest torahs differ quite a bit..it has changes considerably

      April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Erin

      Well didn't you just put me in a bind? I believe in a higher being, and that higher being I call God. But you can keep your Torah and Bible because I think the word of God is within us and not within a book. I think the more God is with you, the more morality you have, the more civility you have, and the more open you are. God gave me the choice to believe in a man made book or not. And so far I haven't been smote by God for not believing in it, so I think I'm doing alright.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      You are under the mistaken impression that the end of the journey is important, not the journey itself. Any inquiry, whether spiritual or scientific, begins with taking the first steps beyond the accepted orthodoxy. You make the mistake of leaving the journey to others, and demanding they send you postcards without going on a journey yourself. Quie simply, you are not qualified to condemn anyone because their journey for truth takes a differnt path from yours. Frankly, I strongly suspect you don't have the courage to really put your "faith" to a real test. You don't have any answers either, because you don't question anything.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  12. hamstar

    I'm thoroughly convinced this article lost it's importance with "It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible", however I still read it anyway.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  13. Andrew

    "It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible" LOL, of course it does!!! If it is man-made, as it clearly is, then christianity is a big lie, and christians must be asked to step aside and let the world progress.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Eduardo

      What do you know about christianity and it's history? + what do you know about world history and ancient civilization.?
      put a side christianity, or ( true ) christianity is erasing human history and where we came from, is like you had no grandparents.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • agarron

      The Torah (the 5 books) are encrypted code (gemmatria). Perhaps u might find a 'black hat' here & there to possibly explain small pieces of it. But, on it's own, it's exceedingly deep, the 'English" language translation starts out saying something like...."Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters".....lol, it's not a storybook. The word Torah, translated, means, 'instructions', it's incredibly deep and fascinating. Man made? Dude, no man can make this stuff up, it's got code in there that wraps the end back into the beginning. No man can get there.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  14. John

    I'm a believer in Jesus Christ. It is my hope that all who do not believe will come to know Him as I have personally. Have a great weekend all!

    April 1, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Drew

      Amen brother! May you have a great weekend too and may the Lord be with you in all your travels.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  15. DDA

    complete bullshi***.....faith/hope/compassion should come from within not from a BOOK!!!!!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • skoobalon

      DDA

      you write:

      "complete bullshi***.....faith/hope/compassion should come from within not from a BOOK!!!!!!!"

      Hmmm....

      "complete bullshi***"..."faith/hope/compassion"...sound like conflicting comments "from within".

      Maybe this is the reason:

      And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mar 7:20-23)

      "A book", as you put it is dead letter, unless God's truth is revealed to you by His Holy Spirit.

      But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. (Rom 7:6).

      Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? (2Co 3:5-8).

      April 1, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  16. Pedro

    Is not a question but it does matter. whould you believe in anybody?
    I believe in my personal Friend.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  17. skoobalon

    Wm Ingold

    you write:
    "THE BIBLE!
    A fairy tale of stories written by people with shortness of knowledge AND
    little Intellect, conveying to the Ignorant.
    THIS IS STILL WORKING TODAY"

    Good April Fool's joke.

    For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1Co 1:21-25)

    The Holy Bible is God's Word.

    Peter explains it better than I can:

    For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 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.(2Pe 1:16-21)

    April 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • RVH

      The article delved with the veracity of the Bible with respect to its original authors. If Moses did not write the material in question, does the material itself lose its credibility as the word of God?

      You need to ponder this same question as the verses you quote were written hundreds of years after the death of Christ. How are they the word of God when they were written by men?

      If they were written by men (they in fact were written by men), why have there been no more recent God inspired writings?

      I wonder how blind faith trumps the validity of simple questions such as these.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • geauxLSUtigers

      RVH- there have been no more inspired writings by man because the task has been completed in the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all sins. Now we are in the stage where it is our time to spread his good word until everyone knows about Jesus. The goal is for everyone to know. Because once everyone knows (and has presumably made their choice of acceptance or rejection) Jesus will return. So- back to your question- the word is complete.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  18. amy

    It matters who wrote the bible as much as it matters who originally thought up the fairy tale of Santa Claus.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  19. Ryan

    I love it when people in here quote Wikipedia as evidence against the Bible. They don't seem to remember that Wikipedia was written by loads of different people and practically nothing in it can be verified either.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • jeffRI

      right Ryan – just like the BIBLE – all subjective crap

      April 1, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Krreagan

      Ryan, That's why atheists are less then 1% of the prison population yet ~15-20% of the general population. More "religious" truths I presume?

      April 1, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Kevin

      How can you NOT verify anything on Wikipedia? Try harder.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Patrick

      Questioning the credibility of Wikipedia, which is put together much like the Bible was? But not questioning an ancient book that was written by many people (most unknown) and contradicts itself constantly?

      April 1, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Now Thats Funny

      Your problems with Wikipedia, are the exact same problems with the bible. Now thats funny.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Ryan

      Yoni – the whole point behind God being God is that he didn't come from anywhere – He's always existed, has no end and no beginning. After all, what came before your "Universe?" It's something you obviously can't wrap your puny mind around.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Guillaume

      Kinda like the Bible. Except Wikipedia can actually be corrected when an error or a fallacy is found. Wikipedia 1, Bible 0.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • jack

      LoL. citation needed for the bible as wiki would say.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Ryan, how do you feel about all the different versions of the Bible that are out there? If you really believe the Bible is the Word of God, how can you accept one that has been edited by Man/men numerous times? Science requires proof that can be verified and replicated: sometimes its wrong, and sometimes its right, sometimes it goes in an eunexpected direction. The Bible is an edited series of books constructed by people who decided which books should be included: if thats not control ( referring to your earlier post), i don't know what is. As for your comments about pedophilia and other abuses that you accuse atheists of committing in greater proportion than believers, one only needs to look at the Catholic Church, the numerous scandals hitting evangelicals on a regular basis involving behavior the Bible condemns, to see that your statements are knee-jerk attacks without any basis in fact. Religion does not prevent pedophila from occurring, it may even give the pedophiles more ppwoer over their victims: I would suggest you look up David Koresh and the Branch Davidians to see what happens when a sick person uses religion to abuse underage kids in a controlled setting.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  20. jeffRI

    Sorry folks – nice to believe in – but any cogent examination of the history of the church (particularly Catholoicism) quickly reveals this philosophy's complete LACK of any VERITY whatsoever. This is and always has been constructed hubrus. The Egyptians were much closer to the truth by worshiping the SUN, because as a matter of PURE SCIENTIFIC FACT we are all truly made of 'star stuff' and if the Sun decides to blackout or nova – we're all gone in very short order. Wake up to some REAL TRUTH for a change. And while I'm at it – if you don't understand HUBRUS try – the Pope excusing the Jews for the murder of Jesus (WHAT??? – ain't that just too magnanimous) – the chronic lack of truth telling (pedophiles, political manipulations, theft) – the lack of true charity (try selling ALL OF THE ART the Catholics have and see what tangible GOOD you could really do by truly practicing POVERTY) – – it's all BULL

    April 1, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Ryan

      I see all these negative points such as theft, pedophilia, murder, ectetera, far more among Atheists than Christians. Besides, under Atheism, there is no one god, so theft, pedophilia, murder, and the like would all be legal anyway, as there is no right and wrong. Where do you think we got laws against it anyway? Oh, right, from the Bible. That's why there are carvings of the Ten Commandments in courthouses around the land. Duh!

      April 1, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Bob

      I think you would make your point better if you used a few more caps.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Delores

      He's not talking about the church or religion. He's talking about the construction of the Bible. Worship what you want. This is another topic.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • geauxLSUtigers

      Sorry Jeff, but your 'scientific facts' are only man-made reality that has huge gaping holes in it. I want to know, please tell me .... how was the world created? You can give me some hodge-podge example like the big bang theory (which, might I add is hilarious that something could be created from nothing!). But even so, your thoughts are only OPINION. Why? Because you weren't there- meaning NO facts. That is why Christians 'Walk by faith, not by sight'. That is the meaning of faith- believing without having to see. It amazes me most that the lost ridicule and spit on the Bible without even cracking it open!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Yoni

      This guy Ryan must not be familiar with this little thing called the Crusades. D1psh1t.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Yoni

      Oh, and since the universe was so OBVIOUSLY created, where did our beloved "Creator" come from, eh? Oh yeah, the flying spaghetti monster must have had a noodle-hand in it.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Scott

      Hey Ryan, If you actually want to compare behavior of atheist and Christian populations, try looking at secular and Christian countries. (like Sweden and the US, for example) I'm afraid you'll find it's the other way around from what you've just said.
      The average atheist is at least as moral as the average Christian- they follow what they know is right rather than what an ancient book tells them is right.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Lee

      You talk of religious art as if it were mere property. The church has no right to sell it money, it belongs to all of us. itnhas more meaning to us than money. Which is sadly your basis for everything it seems. No organization on the planet does more for the poor. I know I've seen it first hand. As for you, sitting at your computer in your comfortable home, why don't you sell that and give to the poor? Put your money and possessions where your mouth and words are. The pope doesn't own anything of the church anymore than the president owns anything in the white house. I'll bet my life savings he lives a lot less frugally than any president as well. He won't be selling any books making millions of dollars for his own gain either. Get over your anti religious blinders good sir, or you will become the very hypocrite you accuse others of being.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Guillaume

      If you could reason with religious people, there would be no more religious people. Trying to mix faith and reason is bound for failure. Faith has its place, science has its place. When faith tries to dictates what is and isn't, it's overstepping its boundaries. When science tries to dictates what to believe, it's overstepping its boundaries. Stay in your court, and everyone's happy.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • KristeninDC

      I hate when people put misspelled words in caps. It's HUBRIS. And the pride/arrogance to which you are referring relates to the Catholic church. The Catholic church does not equal the Pentateuch. In fact, any conversation related to the Catholic church and its leadership is irrelevant to an article on Judaic faith and the Torah. Nice try, but find an article about Christianity/Catholicism to employ this particular rant.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Adam

      @jeffRI – This is excellent, in fact borderline brilliant, thank you for the post. It's shocking to watch grown men debating protracted arguments of what can only be proven as a fiction.

      @ Ryan – Your statement is also fiction. You made it up without proof. It's what you believe life is without faith. I for one worship the sun and didn't need the sun to tell me the list of horrid things you described were wrong. Are you more afraid of what humans would do and be without ghosts telling them how to live than trusting their hearts to extend goodwill to their fellow man? Some eye-opening facts: the Catholic church scarred for life MANY young children with offensive atrocities and it's indescribable how much blood has been spilled over religion. Look at the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition of brutally torturing people until they devoted themselves to your lord.

      @Bob – WAKE UP AMERICA, FROM THE DREAM OF A MAN-MADE GOD, STAY PRESENT AND APPROACH WHAT IS REAL IN LIFE AND WORK FROM THERE. Life is a cosmic phenomenon and no one human has the answer of what happens after death. We have to figure it out for ourselves, and we're not wrong (or right) for dismissing the myths of the Bible.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Dorianmode

      Agree with your underlying themes, but it's a pet peeve of mine that the phrase "scientific fact" is meaningless. Science is a method. The word "fact" does not appear in any of the steps of the scientific method. There are theories, and there is evidence. Theories are accepted until there are better theories, and more and different evidence.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:45 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.