April 11th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

Leading atheist publishes secular Bible

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

The question arose early in British academic A.C. Grayling’s career: What if those ancient compilers who’d made Bibles, the collected religious texts that were translated, edited, arranged and published en masse, had focused instead on assembling the non-religious teachings of civilization’s greatest thinkers?

What if the book that billions have turned to for ethical guidance wasn’t tied to commandments from God or any one particular tradition but instead included the writings of Aristotle, the reflections of Confucius, the poetry of Baudelaire? What would that book look like, and what would it mean?

Decades after he started asking such questions, what Grayling calls “a lifetime’s work” has hit bookshelves. “The Good Book: A Humanist Bible,” subtitled “A Secular Bible” in the United Kingdom, was published this month. Grayling crafted it by using more than a thousand texts representing several hundred authors, collections and traditions.

The Bible would have been “a very different book and may have produced a very different history for mankind,” had it drawn on the work of philosophers and writers as opposed to prophets and apostles, says Grayling, a philosopher and professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, who is an atheist.

“Humanist ethics didn’t claim to be derived from a deity," he says. "(They) tended to start from a sympathetic understanding of human nature and accept that there’s a responsibility that each individual has to work out the values they live by and especially to recognize that the best of our good lives revolve around having good relationships with people.” 

Humanists rely on human reason as an alternative to religion or belief in God in attempting to find meaning and purpose in life.

Determined to make his material accessible, Grayling arranged his nearly 600-page "Good Book" much like the Bible, with double columns, chapters (the first is even called Genesis) and short verses. And much like the best-selling King James Bible, which is celebrating its 400th year, his book is written in a type of English that transcends time.

Like the Bible, "The Good Book," opens with a garden scene. But instead of Adam and Eve, Grayling's Genesis invokes Isaac Newton, the British scientist who pioneered the study of gravity.

"It was from the fall of fruit from such a tree that new inspiration came for inquiry into the nature of things," reads a verse from "The Good Book's" first chapter.

"When Newton sat in his garden, and saw what no one had seen before: that an apple draws the earth to itself, and the earth the apple," the verse continues, "Through a mutual force of nature that holds all things, from the planets to the stars, in unifying embrace."

The book's final chapter features a secular humanist version of the Ten Commandments: "Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least, sincerely try."

Grayling, reached Friday at a New York hotel just as he began his U.S. book tour, has been dubbed by some a “velvet atheist” or an “acceptable face of atheism,” he says, in contrast to more stridently anti-religious writers like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, both of whom he counts as friends.

In other contexts, Grayling - who will soon take over as president of the British Humanist Association - admits he’s written critically about religion. But not in "The Good Book."

“It’s not part of a quarrel,” he says of his latest work. “It’s a modest offering… another contribution to the conversation that mankind must have with itself,” and one he says he wrote for everyone, Bible lovers included.

Given where society is today, inviting that conversation is all the more important, he says.

More than 16% of Americans say they are unaffiliated religiously, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Even so, Grayling says the hunger for a spiritual connection continues. That yearning, he argues , can be satisfied for many by taking a walk in the country, curling up with a beautiful book of poetry or even in falling in love.

“In all different ways, we can celebrate the good in the world,” he says.

While many intellectual traditions – religious and otherwise – teach that there’s “one right way to live,” Grayling says he hopes “The Good Book” will encourage people to “go beyond your teachers, your text” to understand that “we have to respect and relate to one another.”

Early sales indicate that people are open to what this new "Bible" teaches. On Monday, Grayling’s book was number 41 on Amazon’s UK bestseller list and number 1 in the philosophy and spirituality categories.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • Bible • Books • Culture & Science • Ethics

soundoff (3,021 Responses)
  1. Merlin C

    What an interesting conversation! But hasn't it occurred to anyone that the great benefit of "good books" is that those who read them assiduously are able to find things in them to use to "control" (at least to judge or or to attempt to control, to have power over) the activities of the rest of us. By identifying with an external authority (hence "authoritarian") they become the "priesthood' that supports, protects and become the only "authorized" interpreters of the "words" of that external authority (whether that authority is Yahweh/God/Allah, Marx, Hitler, Beck, Palin, whoever). It's these "priesthoods" who are the source of the crusades, the jihads, the cross burnings. Real people talk to one another and solve their interpersonal problems that way, rather than relying on the words of an authority interpreted by a "priesthood".

    April 12, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  2. Dan

    I've never put a comment before, but all I see lately is the argument of the existence of God with all the violence in the world, natural disasters and now this. I am Catholic and I often question myself on the existence of God. I always lean towards more that there is a God but I can never bring it to 100%. Some of the reasons are obvious such as why did God invent tectonic plates that shift when it causes so many deaths Another reason is cancer to children. Some less important questions such as what happens if you find your true love, die after a couple of years and your true love re-marries while you're anxiously waiting to hold her again in heaven. I find the argument of atheists has to do with the violence in the world or the violence between religions. The suffering in the world, ect. It never goes more profound than the obvious. Personally I think the author of the book found a way to make money off the young and ignorant. He is probably on a resort somewhere having a mojito thanks to the controversy he knew his book would have. I again personally think there is a fine line to everything, including God. I don't think God would invent humans to start them off as cavemen. But I do think God "set the rules” on how life is to evolve on Earth including the eventual evolution of man. This was all part of his plan when he invented the earth. I know a lot of you will say, it was not God, it was millions of years of evolution. Yes I too believe it was millions of years of evolution but it had to start somewhere. How water was first brought to the earth? The gases that make water or make us live. How did the sun start? I believe God's plan was not to invent the earth in 7 days. It would make more sense if it took him millions of years so everything can co-exist with each other in a perfect balance. If there is no God then why is the ozone programmed to get thinker when the sun's rays are stronger. It is to protect life on earth, no other reason. Is it coincidence? I could be wrong but I believe Vitamin C is the only vitamin that cannot be made by the body. It always has to come externally. Coincidence the orange peel is so thick? Why is everything in a perfect balance? Why can everything we eat be reproduced? Why is there flowers other then to make the earth look pretty and give it to someone we love. All the fruits and vegetables available to us along with their unique tastes. Imagine is only 1 fruit existed, how boring that will be. Humans have urges just like animals. It was given to us purposely so we can reproduce. In my fine line theory, we still are smarter then animals so we just have to use it more wisely. I believe God's intension was to set a guideline for Man. We'll take the simplest guideline in the bible. The Golden Rule. Be respectful, helpful, nice ECT. to all humans! So let’s say if this rule was followed from the first day, we’d have peace on earth. We'd be helping the poor. Find cures for the sick. (Real cures, not pharmaceutical so called cures) There would be no CNN comments about God's existence. It would be the opposite, there would be comments thanking him. Unfortunately very quickly after the Word of God was given to us, humans lost their way and started to get greedy and selfish and have a lust for power. Also some found the potential profit in religion. Is this God's fault?? Or ours? In the end, aren’t both books telling you to do the same thing? I haven't read this book but it seems to be saying that you can be a good person and be yourself without God. I'm pretty sure the bottom line of the bible is to be a good person and to be yourself. This book is telling you pretty much the same thing. I'd like to see more profound arguments from atheists other then the obvious.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  3. Klaark

    Nobody has any definite proof of what lies beyond this life, or even proof that nothing lies beyond, so the arguments over it seem a little stupid after a while. It's a fine thing to think about and discuss, but I really don't care if a Christian thinks I'm going to hell or not.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  4. OpenYourMind

    Nothing spurs debate like religion!

    It is amazing how Christians react as though their existence is threatened when anyone speaks of views other than their own. This article is about a book written from a Humanist point of view, which challenges the human race to do good. It in no way suggests that people start burning the Holy Bible. So why are so many people acting as if it did? That's the problem with the religious right... their high propensity for INTOLERANCE. If you think "The Good Book" is not for you then walk away and stop slinging around all the judgments about people who don't believe what you believe.

    The next time a religious debate comes along remember:
    1) Christianity is one of the youngest religions around, therefore it did not set the stage for everything in our human history.
    2) Look up Code of Hammurabi. It set the code of morality that most of us follow these days and it pre-dates Christianity and the Holy Bible by thousands of years.
    3) Atheism in not a religion. It is a lack of god belief.
    4) There are religions that are atheist in nature, such as Buddhism. How many immoral Buddhists do you know?
    5) Not all Christians are alike and not all Atheists are alike, so stop generalizing each other.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  5. Cameron

    Slavery is OK in the Bible!

    Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly

    April 12, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  6. Kevin

    All Christians today will have children or grandchildren that will become atheists. There are many pious Christians who have had atheist sons and daughters. I know many of them and so do you. Are you saying that they are going to hell because they question something that goes against everything they know about the world? Why would a god play such a cruel trick on good people? If you do not yet believe that evolution occurred, then you do not know enough about it. There has yet to be one piece of evidence that points to it being true and the evidence for it is confirmed every day in almost every field of science. If you believe you have discovered (rather, if you heard it on the radio or at a NASCAR race) the obvious answer to why it must be true (i.e. if humans evolved from monkeys, why are they still here?), you are ignorant. Please do not pretend that you know more in front of your children.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:04 am |
  7. Water to Whine

    The only reason religious folks are angry about this is because the compiler decided to call it a bible. If it had been called something else, religious people would probably have paid no attention. It's almost like the compiler is trying to provoke, instead of enlighten. That said, I have no problem accepting that there is wisdom outside of The Bible. Anyone who thinks there is no wisdom outside of The Bible really hasn't considered enough overall wisdom to make a judgement about The Bible. You have to have an understanding of a counter point to understand a point. Not to say that all wisdom outside of religious text is counter to the wisdom in religious text. It can be almost exactly the same, except perhaps where it gives credit. All wisdom understood by mankind is anchored back to the human mind.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  8. md2205

    “Humanist ethics didn’t claim to be derived from a deity," he says. "(They) tended to start from a sympathetic understanding of human nature and accept that there’s a responsibility that each individual has to work out the values they live by and especially to recognize that the best of our good lives revolve around having good relationships with people.”

    G-d beat the author to it: After G-d created the world and people did so many bad things to each other that He had to destroy them, he allowed Noah and his sons to live to start over. He gave them the Seven Laws Of Noah, which are: Believe in One G-d, do not blaspheme Him (that means blame or curse Him, roughly), do not kill, do not steal (kidnap), create stable family life and do not do adultery, etc., do not eat the limb of an alive while it is still alive (cruelty to animals), and create an effective justice system. This is the law of G-d for all people.

    Human reason told the Germans to kill the Jews. Human reason tells many people every day to hurt other people. Abortion, euthanasia, and any crime can be rationalized and is rationalized every day all over the world. Human reason caused the Greeks to kill their deformed babies and leave their elderly parents on the mountaintops to die. Human reason caused any people with power to hurt and kill any people without power to resist. Come on, you see this every day. Just look at what goes on in Africa. Human reason is dependent on knowledge, which may not be complete enough to make a decision. Human reason is variable and is dependent on desire and emotion. Think about it. The only way to divorce rationalization from what a person wants to do is to admit that only G-d causes anything to be right or wrong.

    "Humanists rely on human reason as an alternative to religion or belief in God in attempting to find meaning and purpose in life." Reason only goes so far. Why am I alive? To eat? To be happy? For what? What if I am sick and not happy? Why am I alive? What if I don't have a comfortable life, and even have a painful life? What purpose am I here for? To make money so I can eat and sleep, and work so I can eat again and sleep again? For what? To raise children who are similarly perplexed so they can work to eat to have children to do it all over again? Maybe I can make a goal, but not everyone can. Then what are they here for? Ultimately, it cannot be reason defining anything like meaning or purpose, because someone will not have what you say is meaningful. And what if they can't find anything meaningful? Is their life worth nothing? What if their reason says their life is worth nothing, or someone else's life is worth nothing? What will he do then? You can go around and around this way, arguing back and forth, but those who say reason will find a meaning in life is not thinking to the end of their own logic, because it is not there. Meaning and purpose in life come only from G-d, and people would do well not to be afraid of this. I think people shy away from it because they don't want to be tied down to not being able to do whatever they want when they want, and they are comfortable living that way. However, the Seven Laws Of Noah are the guidelines G-d gave us and we would have a much better society and personal life if we would follow them.

    "Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least, sincerely try."
    G-d beat him to it again: In the Five Books of Moses, it says to do all these things. He took it from there and called it his own. That is a problem. The Jews gave the world the Bible. Do not deny the Original Author of all these ideas. To learn more, go to an Orthodox Jewish bookstore and buy "The Bible Unauthorized". It is an accurate translation from the Hebrew and you will finally understand what the Bible is trying to say.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:50 am |
  9. Sharon

    Why is it that Christians are always under attack?

    April 12, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Mike

      Because when you set yourself up to always be right, i.e. the absolute truth, i.e. perfection, you are going to constantly be under attack by the very nature of man and the universe itself.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • steve88

      "christians are always under attack"
      hmm, I think your perception is based upon a numbers thing; The majority of the population is christian so it seems like they are criticized, poked, or attacked more; I don't see it as more or less then any other group though, and all groups believe they are right (no exceptions), creates an environment of tension and abrasiveness. Anyways take care. =)

      April 12, 2011 at 2:56 am |
  10. TG

    Only the Bible provides the real reason why we die (Rom 5:12) and of the hope of living again.(John 5:28, 29) Only the Bible gave clues and details that covered some 4000 years until the arrival of the Messiah or Christ in 29 C.E. that gave genuine hope to mankind concerning a heavenly kingdom or government that would restore genuine peace to the earth, starting with the first prophecy at Genesis 3:15 in the Garden of Eden.

    No other book can give a basis for everlasting life on a paradise earth. Only the Bible unveils God eternal purpose for the earth as an everlasting home for obedient mankind, those whom are "meek".(Ps 37:11, 29) Philosophy of men gives no hope of living forever in perfection whereby all wickedness has been removed; only the Bible.

    The apostle Paul wrote: "Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ."(Col 2:8)

    In addition, Proverbs 11:7 says: "When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished." No human can sustain his life nor anyone else's forever, but all eventually die. Only our Creator, Jehovah God, can keep a person alive forever in perfect conditions.(Luke 23:43; Rev 21:3-5)

    April 12, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  11. Michael

    another reason for attention from an anti-Christian view

    April 12, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  12. Tova

    Didn't Thomas Jefferson do something almost identical to this?

    April 12, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • Robert

      Similar but not identical. Jefferson cut up a number of Bibles and spliced them together to focus on Jesus the man. I think he subtracted all the miracle accounts, for example. His purpose was to focus on Jesus the man and his teachings. This book, on the other hand, is a completely secular work. The only similarities to the actual Bible are the contents that reflect many lessons that the Bible teaches, but in the words of everyday man, as opposed to men that were directly inspired by God as to what to write.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:50 am |
  13. Johnny Cage

    "Its nice to have an open mind... but not so open your brains fall out" .... at least that's what i'd be saying to myself if I believed that God existed.

    Now that THAT's aside, I still can't understand those who do not understand how evolution works. Those that believe an ape gave birth to a human over one generation. For the uninformed, it works like this... if my dad had toes that were 1mm shorter, and his dad had toes that were 1mm shorter than my dads, and that pattern continued up the generations to 10 generations above... that 10th generation ago would ahve toes that are 10mm shorter (aka 1cm). That covers about 200 years.

    Lets say that pattern stayed its course back 100 generations... well i guess that guy's feet would be half as long as mine are today! What if that pattern went back 10,000 years... a million years... 300 million years. Well I'd expect the things that lived that long ago to not have any foot left to shrink, and infact maybe their legs were smaller. What if it wasnt just toes that were changing from generation to generation, but rather every part of your body, some growing, some shrinking, some changing shapes... but only a very little bit each time, so much its unnoticable over even a few generations?

    Well that's how evolution essentially works, only its based off small genetic changes in DNA (only my example follows it in reverse). Kind of like when VHS was around, if you made a copy of a tape, it didnt look quite 100% right, and if you made another copy of that copy, it would be even more degraded... and so on until it was not even the same video anymore. DNA has little errors and changes on each generation too, and little changes add up over millions of years... even thousands of years. Infact micro evolution happens in just a few years and has been observed in birds in central park new york. The birds food ran out and after just 2 generations their siblings had different shapped beaks so they could eat other types of food that were still abundant.

    If we can see it in small periods of time, i'm positive that larger periods of time would yeild larger noticble changes... and these changes are proven with carbon dated skeletal remains FOUND by us showing how parts have changed over time as further proof.

    Any person who claims an ape gave birth to a human is grossly misinformed and just plain ignorant to the facts that exist just a few keystrokes away (www.google.ca). Evolution is not a theory, it is a fact, the only aspect that is a theory is what each phase looked like at any given moment, when we only have pieces. The fact that the changes might vary doesnt mean the changes never happened! And the atomic halflife of carbon particles is a mathematical constant which is used to date these skeletal remains to their respective time frames. We are able to map branches of trees of evolution for many types of animals, not just humans.

    Just a little background for those who won't bother to look online or in a book and open their eyes to whats right infront of them. Quoting the bible or religious beliefs do not prove a single thing except that you can read a book and believe it because people told you from birth that it was truth.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • jeff

      Aside from your 2nd grade education on Darwinism and evolutionism, did you actually spent any time researching and studying the topic at hand? Have you kept up with the scientific community concerning the 1st and 2nd exodus theory? The missing links, specifically the ones between cro-magnon and neanderthals which now has been more accepted as 2 distinct species rather than the evolution of 1?

      probably not. which makes your point quite ignorant and laughable. but then again what am i expecting from someone who uses a name from mortal kombat?

      April 12, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  14. beelzebubba

    RE:"ALL the founders of scientific fields were religious....Atheists are championing Communism."
    Comments like this beggar beilief. You're joking, right? You couldn't have figured this out on your own. Was it Glenn Becks show?

    April 12, 2011 at 1:02 am |

    "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. Luke 13:28

    April 12, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Paul

      "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. Luke 13:28
      does it please god or the so called believers to see people gnashing teeth and weeping? to me i seems 'heaven' is full of sadists and weirdos whose pleasure comes from the agony of others....and i never want to be a part of that!!!

      April 12, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • steve88

      What will we lose ? How do you know ? -answer is; you don't know.
      Actually, there will be cake, because god secretly favors atheists.
      Can't prove my beliefs wrong, so there. =P

      April 12, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Johan S

      Since Abraham never declared and accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior, how come he's in heaven? I was told by evangelical fanatics that the only way to get to heaven was by declaring that that Jesus will save you. None of the prophets mentioned actually made that declaration, what are they doing in heaven?

      April 12, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • JB

      There is no agony or suffering if you do His will, which is to be more than merely good to your fellow man, as this supposed "good book" suggests. Our God is a God of love, and God has already extended that love to us in the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for all our sins. Pick up a real Good Book...God's living word...and read the New Testament. Learn how to be inside His kingdom and not outside, where there will surely be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It's only possible through Jesus Christ.

      John 3:16
      For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

      Acts 2:38
      Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  16. Kevin

    Some of the nicest people in the world will be in hell. Sad really.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Glenn Henshaw

      Kevin, What does it say about the god you believe in that he would send "some of the nicest people..." to suffer for eternity in hell? Use your brain.

      There is no evidence for god. If you still insist on believing in god, presumably because it makes you feel good, then why not believe in a god that is fair. Why believe in a god that is obsessed with what we do when we are naked? Why believe in a god that punishes all of humanity for the sins of their ancestors? Why believe in a god that sends people to burn in hell just because they don't believe in him and they don't believe in the vicarious forgiveness of sins through human sacrifice (Jesus)? Why believe in a god that is clearly the invention of a stone age tribal society?

      April 12, 2011 at 1:36 am |

      @ Glen Hen...you seem like a nice guy...refer to Kevins comment above!! God's obsession with naked people??-never heard that one before. Hell is Gods way of punishing people for not giving Him what is His-your soul. After all, He did give you life and one day it will be taken from you and you'll know the truth-I just pray that you and many others on here WAKE UP. Anyone see my slingshot!!

      April 12, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  17. IDK The Answer, but neither do you.

    In my 12 years of pre college education, I had the opportunity to go to Catholic School and read the bible...cover to cover...3 times...whether I wanted to or not. When I was in college, I took a lot of philosophy classes in preparation for law school, and my conclusion is as follows: If people would take the time to read these philosophers, they would find that the language and lessons are essentially the same, as they were both penned by a humanity which holds similar sociological values in order to keep their inhabitants in check (examples being: killing is a no-no, Stealing sucks, and the like).

    Furthermore, I believe that Jesus would have been a cool guy to hang out with...and I bet he would have been down to party with Darwin and Aristotle just the same as his disciples. Why? Jesus loved all his people and enjoyed gaining perspective from their opinions...I think that's a pretty important lesson which a lot of people have forgotten about.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Kevin

      I concur, Jesus would have been cool to hang with and look forward to the like. But, I seriously doubt He gained any perspective from their opinions...being omniscient and all.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • IDK The Answer, but neither do you.

      You have to know your audience in order to reach them. Also, if you'll recall, he had to pray to his father for answers as well.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Yobnoj

      I'm sure Jesus was a great guy if he were real. But Jesus is only a myth created to show how humans are supposed to act and behave. A Moral Model so to say.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  18. Roger

    The majority of the basic principles laid out by religious doctrine wouldn't make any sense to us if we weren't already moral to begin with. It's our intrinsic understanding of morality that allows us to recognize the meaning and purpose of books like the bible, shinto texts and –yes, even the quran. The initial assumption that so many among us make is that we are actually learning something about morality from these systems of thought. Point in fact is that we aren't. All we're doing instead is learning how to articulate the infinite variables of human wisdom within a context that is more easily expressed through linguistics. But, the basic morals upon which those variables of wisdom are founded were present all along. Without that instinctive and intuitive ability to recognize this wisdom, our subsequent interest in their articulation through religious text would cease to exist.

    And therein lies the common misconception that atheists would otherwise be immoral without laws and physical consequences due to the fact that "God" - in their minds– is not looking over them. This misconception is brought about by the mistaken belief that our underlying sense of morality was instilled in us from an outside source such as religious texts. And, as I mentioned before, what is unbeknownst to us is that that potential for a moral consciousness existed all along. It just had not yet been articulated.

    It's not unlike when a stray newborn animal looks upon its human rescuer and mistakes it for its mother. Its mind has not yet been developed to its full capacity, and therefore it is completely open to suggestion. It accepts unquestioningly the help of the human rescuer because that help is all that it knows. This is why we are so adept to believing that our own sense of morality, which was instinctive all along, can only be truly defined by whatever religious text first provided us with the ability to articulate that which up until that point had been inarticulable.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Mike

      Wonderfully stated comment. Gives me hope to read something this intelligent on the comments board; usually, the boards are full of comments that, in a sense, predict the extinction of the human race.....

      April 12, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • AmericanInfidel

      Mike, agreed 100% Good job Roger. I'm gonna copy and svae that post for future reference, hope you dont mind 😀

      April 12, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • GH

      How ridiculous.

      "The majority of the basic principles laid out by religious doctrine wouldn't make any sense to us if we weren't already moral to begin with." ?? Good grief. Tell that to the 6 million Jews who were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany.

      So when did this "begin with" begin? With Satan? Hitler? Stalin? Gary Rigway the Green River killer? Ghandi? Mother Teresa? Jesus? If "variables of wisdom... were present all along" some certainly missed out. And Hitler certainly was articulate now wasn't he?

      "This misconception is brought about by the mistaken belief..." Who's? This whole narcissistic concept of "it’s my morality and its been there all along" is simply nonsense and is just a device to escape the implications of the Creator of the universe's authority.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • I say

      You are making at least half a dozen untenable assumptions. You state certainties where there are none. You are either not expressing yourself clearly or you are messed up in your cognitive faculties. Or maybe you're just a troll. Did I miss anything?

      April 12, 2011 at 3:59 am |
  19. Yobnoj

    It all goes back to the first day of first grade the first thing we learned... Give up?

    The Golden Rule: Do un to others as is un done to you.

    No God or Jesus, just treat everyone else as you would treat yourself. Makes sense to me, maybe the rest world should go back to first grade.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Neville

      Does this include your enemies?

      April 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  20. perhaps

    Hell, to me, would be spending eternity with most Christians.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:42 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.