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My Take: Learn about the Bible, even if you don't believe it
April 20th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Learn about the Bible, even if you don't believe it

Editor's Note: Kristin Swenson, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time.

By Kristin Swenson, Special to CNN

"True Grit's" stern little girl Mattie - shoot, the Coen Brothers’ entire movie - dramatizes a single line of biblical text. And the way the film interprets that particular text makes that biblical verse directly related to the governor of Illinois' recent decision to ban the death penalty, a decision which was reportedly informed by the Bible.

The movie’s and the Illinois governor’s conclusions - about capital punishment in this case - are exactly opposite. While Mattie's justice requires death for the man who killed her dad, the governor's has no place for such execution. Yet both have biblical precedent.

So knowing about the Bible not only makes the movies more fun and enables critique of public policy, but it also paradoxically encourages you to think for yourself.

The Bible's long history of development, reflecting many voices, and the fact that it’s usually read in translation invite our engagement with it not merely as passive recipients of a fixed meaning but as unique individuals bringing different points of view to bear.

The trick, of course, is knowing something about the Bible, even if you don’t believe in it. And the more you know, the more intriguing it gets.

If you're not biblically literate, you can get along all right, but you're missing out. It's like a cocktail party with raucous conversation. You're invited, but until you know something about the Bible, you'll be stuck talking about the weather at the punch bowl.

Yes, "True Grit" is entertaining no matter what, and you can take Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn at his word that his death penalty decision has biblical basis, but each invites a deeper understanding. And together, they reflect the Bible's ambivalence - in this case about crime and punishment.

"The wicked flee when none pursueth," a line from Proverbs 28:1, hangs auspiciously on the screen at the beginning of "True Grit."

Knowing that Hebrew (the original language of Proverbs) creates its poetry out a system of parallel lines, might lead you to check out the line after the one quoted in True Grit: "but the righteous are as bold as a lion."

Linking the criminals' running to the boldness of a lion, the biblical verse suggests a world in which courageous good guys chase down the yellow-bellied bad with the same determination, cunning and strength as the king of beasts.

That's our Mattie, at 14 years old a cub, but single-minded in her quest to bring to justice the man who killed her father. Mattie is "the righteous," of course, and the justice she seeks is death.

Because the Bible is sacred scripture, authoritative and instructive for millions of people, many people believe, like Mattie, that certain criminals should be put to death because of what it says.

After all, the Torah, or "law," prescribes execution in several specific cases, including murder.

Yet Illinois Gov. Quinn is said to have consulted the Bible while wrestling with his decision to abolish the death penalty. What gives?

People looking to the Bible for a single, clear, yes-or-no answer about the death penalty will be disappointed, just as they are when seeking a simple, one-size-fits-all answer to abortion or environmental ethics.

For one thing, another translation of torah is "instruction." So maybe those "laws" shouldn't be taken so literally.

Indeed, while the Bible allows for all sorts of killing and would seem to demand criminal execution in certain cases, it also commands "thou shalt not kill/murder," identifies God as the only ultimate judge, and praises forgiveness and mercy.

I don't know Quinn, but I suspect he knows enough about the Bible to know that he also had to think for himself. He wisely considered that our human systems, justice included, are imperfect - and that the wrong person might be pegged for a capital crime.

Knowing about the Bible, no matter what you believe, enables you see not only why Quinn would settle on the ban but also why it was such a difficult decision: sometimes the Bible says different things.

"God said it, I believe it, that settles it," is available for bumper stickers, t-shirts, mugs, and posters. Yet the Bible's multiplicity of voices and complex history invite you to learn more and in the process to add your own voice, thoughts, and deliberations to the conversation.

First, though, you’ve got to learn about it.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Kristin Swenson.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Movies • Opinion

soundoff (1,814 Responses)
  1. mehmet

    In other words let's say that "Read the Quran even if you don't believe it."

    April 20, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Dexter Skagway

      Read the Satanic Bible, even if you don't believe it.

      Read the Book of Shadows, even if you don't believe it.

      Read the Book of Lies, even if you don't believe it.

      Or maybe it's not a good idea to read things that pretend to be true but clearly are not.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Muneef

      Well said brother

      April 20, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • HeavenSent

      1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • cynthia-494

      Yes! Another beautiful great wisdom tradition!

      April 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I like to copy and paste bible quotes in here without context. I want people to think I'm real smart.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > 1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

      The Devil is God's scapegoat. Otherwise people might realize that an omnipotent and omniscient God is actaully responsible for everything we do by definition.

      April 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  2. Freethinksman

    If more people read the bible and considered it thoughtfully, there would be far more atheists. Why is it that Christians are so quick to dismiss Greek and Roman and Norse mythology as mere myth, but attribute some kind of "holiness" to the Bible. I did read the Bible. I spent 16 years in Catholic schools. By the time I was in high school I had become skeptical, and by the time I graduated from college, I was convinced. The Bible contains some good stuff. But it contains a whole lot of pretty horrific stuff as well. Knowing that today's King James version consists of translations of edited translations of previously edited translations of poorly written ancient oral recitations makes the the argument that it is the actual "Word of God" ridiculous.

    The notion that a person can commit heinous crimes and rewarded with eternal salvation by worshipping Christ, while someone who honestly seeks Truth will suffer eternal damnation for unbelief is so obviously a human invention. If that's how it really works, how would a good, thoughtful, honest person want any part of it? I know I don't.

    The mere fact that the universe exists certainly points to forces humans don't yet fully understand. But making the leap from "Something set all of this in motion" to "An omnipotent God who ostensibly loves and cares for us, but will punish us for eternity for not worshipping him" is a bit of a stretch, doncha think? If I treated my kids the way that God has treated humanity, I'd be considered pure evil. Why can't we hold God to at least the same standards we expect from imperfect "sinners" here on earth?

    This whole religion nonsense doesn't help anyone. Human beings are social animals. We have evolved with a sense of what's right and what wrong; what benefits society and what harms it. It takes blind faith in a god to justify evil and hate. As far as I am concerned, religions should be considered hate groups and treated as such.

    April 20, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Mjollnir

      First off, saying "Greek and Roman" in regards to mythology is redundant. The Romans just renamed the Greek gods. Second, not all dismiss such mythologies.
      As for the rest of what you said, well it started out fine, but then that bit at the end makes me disagree. It does not take blind faith to justify hate, and who are you to define evil.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • HeavenSent

      The Bible is Jesus' truth about life and the hereafter. You non-believers don't get it. You are horrified over scriptures that tell you what some are capable of. Why should Jesus leave that truth about ungodly men/women out? Talk about fools. You folks take the cake on foolishness.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'First off, saying "Greek and Roman" in regards to mythology is redundant. The Romans just renamed the Greek gods.'
      Actually thats not strictly true. Both had their own dieties that covered the same sphere of control and so they become almost interchangable. Gods of rain, sun, love etc are common to most cultures around the world.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • ibk18

      Your post had some good points. The Bible has been edited, translated, and whatnot. It is hard to be sure what to believe. Having religion pressed upon you at an early age is sometimes traumatic. This also happened to me.

      Also had some riduculous points too. You are thinking of religious fanatics when you mention hatred – something like the category I put some athiests into. Why can't people see things simply? You see, my hubby is an atheist. But he does not try to interfere with my belief in God. It isn't hurting him, I'm not hurting anyone, and I don't pass my faith onto him or anyone else. What they want to do or believe in is their own business. Yet there are those out there (like yourself) that will put others down for what they believe or base their entire life upon (which is THEIR business – their life, not yours, remember?), claim something ridiculous like faith should be banned and religions should be labeled as hate groups, etc. Your statement in itself was made of hatred!

      Come on now, let people be. Some of you hear the word "Bible" or "God" and about have an aneurysm. This goes for religious people too. Chill. Live and let live. Do you go around shouting that Santa isn't real in the mall during the holidays? You view God the same way you view Santa, correct? So why go around shouting that God isn't real, he is a myth, blah blah blah? People that have a true faith aren't going to budge, and neither will you. You don't want to be preached at by any religious group and I don't want to be preached at by an atheist. Common sense and respect – that is all this subject needs by BOTH sides of the table.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  3. Mjollnir

    Gaunt, repeatedly you ask for evidence, and claim that none is given. What you fail to understand is that, for Christians, the mere ability to ask anything – to think, to breathe, to exist – that is proof of God. While I personally can no longer pay homage to that God, I know why people believe in him. And don't arbitrarily accuse people of cowardice and lies. A lie is only a lie when the liar knows it's a lie. If they believe it to be true, it isn't a lie. And just because someone doesn't reply to your comments on the internet, that doesn't mean they're a coward. Maybe they have a life.

    April 20, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Gaunt

      Firstly, thats not evidence, in fact that is an insult to the very word 'evidence'. That is the exact same evidence as me saying "I invented cheese. seriously, I was the first and only person ever to invent it. want proof? Open your fridge. is there cheese there? See Told you."

      Secondly, I dont accuse anybody arbitrarily of anything. I only point out the cowardice of those who repeatdly and shamelessly act like cowards, and I only label as liars those who repeatedly and flagrantly lie. Adelina is overqualified in both those categories.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Mjollnir

      To Christians it is. How can we be here, unless God created us. Cheese can be in the fridge because someone put it there. God put us here. That's how Christians see it.
      And how is Adelina qualified. I confess I haven't given her comments too much thought, but you seem intent on not letting anyone disagree with you.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Gaunt

      No it isn't, even to Christians. faith does not change the nature or dictionary definition of the word 'Evidence'. It is IDENTICAL to chees in your fridge being 'evidence' that I created it.

      As for Adelina, if you are not going to bother going back and finding out for yourself, and if you admit you have no idea, then why comment on it at all as if you had some idea what it was about? Adelina is an oft and easily demonstrated liar and a coward. And unlike chriostians, I actually do have evidence, printed in the very words she blathers on this forum.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

      Jude 1:15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

      Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

      Jude 1:17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Alvin 33:12 And the Eunuchs shall juggle the fruit loops, prophesizing the Coming or the Lord

      Simon 14:3 And ye, though I maketh not a bit of sense, I am right and you are a sheep's bladder for not obeying the holy one

      Theodore 4:719 Cometh the Lord, who will look around and sayeth "Holy sh!t, what a bunch of dumb-asses my followers are. I'm outa here."

      April 20, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Mjollnir

      Look, no one can prove God exists, but neither can anyone prove he doesn't exist. For many people, existence is proof that God exists because there's no other explanation that makes sense. After all, the other biggest explanation that I hear – the Big Bang theory – makes even less sense. So people come up with their own beliefs. And maybe they're right. Maybe they aren't. Let them have their beliefs. I've said my piece.

      April 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Breezy

      Gaunt,

      This response it not meant to spark debate but to simplify the evidence that christians rely upon in their belief. It comes directly from the Bible, which you must undersatnd a christian takes as seriously as a medical student does Grey's Anatomy. Again whether one agrees or disagrees with the validity of this evidence is not something nessisary to debate. You will never be convinced by this evidence and a christian will never be convinced of your belief structure. SO here it is simplified by Paul in the book of Hebrews.

      Hebrews 11:1-6
      "Now faith is the substance (evidence) of things hoped for (promise of salvation through Christ), the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN (God is spirit, He is not physical, you can neither see, touch, hear or proove with your investigative senses that which is spirit in composition)....Through faith we understand that the worlds (ages, which can be explained in far greater detail if requested) were framed (intellegently designed, as an architect) by the word (relevatory thought – logos in greek) of God, so that the things that are seen (the physical world you can study and research around you) were NOT made by things which do appear (they were not created by the physical universe around you).... but without faith it is impossible to please Him (God) for he that comes to God must beliefve that He is (exists), and THAT (faith/ EVIDENCE) is the reward to them that seek Him diligently"

      Again this is not meant to convice your mind of anything at all, I understand your perspective and actully know that you have it by design and for great purpose, but this reply was meant to simply shed the EVIDENCE you are demanding from the christians on this sight.

      Thank you for reading.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    Certainly everybody should read The Bible.
    The book has far too great an impact on western culture to be ignored.
    A society's myths reveal much about its people and their core motivations.
    Even the most atheistic American cannot help but be infected by the puritan ethic than runs deep in the national subconscious.
    In some cases, the infection manifests itself as obsequious submission to authority – often to a shamanic insti.tution but sometimes just to the thought of an invisible, universal arbitrator.
    Sometimes, the infection elicits a self-perpetuating cycle of righteous indignation, giving a sense of superiority to those who believe themselves to be following the rules better than their neighbours.
    The infection can be the catalyst for bitter disillusionment when what is presented as fact is proven to be false.
    For some, the infection seems asymptomatic – and it is for those people that the understanding of the mythologies and rituals is essential! Stumbling through a society without paying at least lip service to the prevailing supersti.tions will inevitably lead to being shunned. If one is shunned long enough with comprehending why, misanthropic depression – or sometimes anger – will likely follow.
    So read that Holy Book! Get a grasp on why the neighbours hang decorative torture devices on the walls. Figure out why there are gatherings every Sunday where people go to be told how they're inherently evil.
    And always remember that nobody is a villain in their own eyes. If you keep this in mind and try to understand their reasoning, it may offer a way to make them your friend. If it doesn't, you can reject them and their company quickly and without guilt.

    April 20, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Eric G

      Well said, my friend.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • HeavenSent

      1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

      1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

      1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Artist

      Cudos heavensent you quoted writings of man.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  5. Gaunt

    Though Adelina, perhaps the question should be: if you are so in favour of the death penalty as it is proscribed in the Old Testament, then I assume you favour obeying the bible in its application of the death penalty as well? Or are you a complete hypocrite and liar about your faith as well?

    because your book is pretty explicit. Death penalty crimes include: telling your husband you are a virgin when you are not, any kind of adultery, insulting or cursing your parent, working on saturday, tarot card reading... and a host of others.

    So be honest Adelina, are you a hypocrita ena d aliar in this case too, or do you believe a teenager who calls his mother a 'b1tch' should instantly be beheaded in the town square? Or that an odl woman who offers to read your tea leaves should be hanged from a lampost immediately? Or that a gilr who lies about being a virgin should be strapped to a gurney and given a lethal injection?

    (Note: my bet? Adelina's response is to act like a complete coward and not address any of these issues, as always.)

    April 20, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Gaunt, it's you non-believers that change the law. Then you get miffed because those pedo priests aren't prosecuted. I wonder if the gov listened to the Pope?

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Joe

      Dear Gaunt,
      Please explain how the Bible has harmed you? Did someone beat you with it, is that what it is? Otherwise, I see it as just another harmless book, like any other book, don't you? If it is filled with "lies" then it is a fictional book, right? So, if you had the displeasure of reading it, put it down and burned it, threw it out, whatever, then why does it still haunt you so much? Was there something you read in the book that caused you to feel this way? If it is printed lies, so what? Are you seeking "Truth" or something? What the hell is truth and who defines truth, Webster, Wikipedia??? So, what the hell are you seeking? Do you want to be "right?" How do we verify you are right so we can start believing or unbelieving like you, please give your wisdom so we can all be like you. Afterall, you are a man who spends an aweful lot of time dispelling that their isn't a God, and that the Bible is full of lies. You must know something that we don't? When was the initial point of the origin of life? Not how it evolved, but what was the initial point in where an inaniment object (i.e. floating speck in space) gave life or brought life about? Please advise, thanks!

      April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • i wonder

      Joe,
      "Otherwise, I see it as just another harmless book, like any other book, don't you? "

      Excuse me, but who is it that wants Harry Potter books banned? (not saying that it is you, but certainly your ilk).

      April 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • New Wicca

      Joe,

      "Please explain how the Bible has harmed you? Did someone beat you with it, is that what it is? Otherwise, I see it as just another harmless book, like any other book, don't you?"

      Not a lot of warriors go into battle carrying "Alice in Wonderland", crying "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date", do they? The Bible is not a 'harmless' book when you consider the damage it does when the people who read it and believe it then use it against weaker nations/groups of people to subjugate them. When a group of people use the 'laws' in the book to persecute other groups of people it can't be considered a 'harmless' book...

      April 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Please explain how the Bible has harmed you? Did someone beat you with it, is that what it is? Otherwise, I see it as just another harmless book, like any other book, don't you?

      Really, it's a harmless book? Doesn't it inspire people to take action on regards of their faith? Don't you act in a way that you think is consistent with that book? Your comparison is flawed and silly.

      > If it is filled with "lies" then it is a fictional book, right? So, if you had the displeasure of reading it, put it down and burned it, threw it out, whatever, then why does it still haunt you so much?

      It doesn't haunt him. At least, I don't think it would. The problem is that we have people in this country that think their beliefs are absolutely correct and everyone should follow them. For example, Gay marriage. If you're a sane and rational person you basically say "I don't care what gay couples call themselves". If you're a bible thumper, you do. We have to combat the nonsense that this book generates because those who believe it use it to affect our rights and liberties.

      > Was there something you read in the book that caused you to feel this way? If it is printed lies, so what? Are you seeking "Truth" or something? What the hell is truth and who defines truth, Webster, Wikipedia???

      This is just moronic rambling.

      > So, what the hell are you seeking? Do you want to be "right?" How do we verify you are right so we can start believing or unbelieving like you, please give your wisdom so we can all be like you. Afterall, you are a man who spends an aweful lot of time dispelling that their isn't a God, and that the Bible is full of lies.

      The truth is that there is no proof of the supernatrual and therefore you should not believe it. Like how if there's no evidence of bigfoot, faeries or unicorns, you shouldn't believe in those either. Not believing is the intellectual default position on any topic where evidence is not present.

      > You must know something that we don't?

      Yes, logic and reason.

      > When was the initial point of the origin of life? Not how it evolved, but what was the initial point in where an inaniment object (i.e. floating speck in space) gave life or brought life about? Please advise, thanks!

      We don't know when life started or by what mechanism. But because we don't know doesn't mean it requires some God to do it for us. Just like how we didn't know how lightning formed 2000 years ago didn't require Zeus to thrown them down from Olympus.

      Your arguments are moronic. Pick up a damn book and get yourself educated.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  6. Adelina

    The Bible's ambivalence gets a perfect harmony when the whole content is interpreted by the whole. It's completely Biblical certain crimes result in capital punishment. What the Illinois governer adopted is actually humanism. It's always easy to take out verses to support one's own agenda, as the Bible is a massive book. Knowing and understanding the whole Bible content along with having other authentic knowledge and information leads to sane, truly Biblical conclusions. The reason there are Bible schools and seminaries all over the world.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Gaunt

      Agfain the liar spews her drivel. here she insists that when Christ said 'thou shalt not kill', and 'veangance is mine, sayeth the lord', he was really mistaken, and only the divine Liar and coward Adelina can REALLY tell what good ole JC meant to say. Here she justifies judicial executions, ironic considering Christ himself was judicially executed. If you are pro-death penalty, then I assume you are entirely in favour of JC being strung up, nailed to a cross and bled out?

      You know nothing of the bible, you gleaned the tiny tidbits of knowledge you posess from bumber stickers and the biblical quotes your inbred father yelled out while he was beating you.

      And yes there are bible schools all over the world, and you know what? There are fewer and fewer every year. You lose.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Adelina

      Gaunt, you simpleton. Those quotes are regarding personal revenges, not judicial justice. You just proved my point. Human courts and governments, just like individuals, can be wrong in judicial decisions; the reason people must come back to the Bible again and again. Individuals can revolt if governments are wrong in God's sight. That was all about the Western civilization, though the issues are complex and grand. The Bible schools are increasing all over the world except your own rotten society.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Gaunt

      Adelina, once again you are a liar. I am not even remotyely surpised.

      As well as being a liar and a coward, you are also really bad at this whole debating thing, probably due to the aformentioned need to lie and act like a coward.

      Among your lies, no in fact the NT is pretty astraightforward about the idea of not killing, it is quite a theme throughout, and considering JC's personal experience with judicial executions, for you to support it makes you a hypocrite. We will add that to your list of demonstrated personal defects.

      Secondly, if you actually triesd to look things up as opposed to just lying every time you posted, you would discover that Christianity is and has been on the decrease for decades, with fewer Christians and even fewer active christians year after year.

      have you ever tried NOT lying every time you post? Try it out, see how it works.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Gaunt, Jesus is very specific about pre-meditated murder as follows (if you have eyes to see these scriptures) ...

      Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

      Exodus 21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

      Exodus 21:14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

      Leviticus 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.

      Numbers 35:16 And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he [is] a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

      Numbers 35:17 And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he [is] a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

      Numbers 35:18 Or [if] he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he [is] a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

      Numbers 35:19 The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.

      Numbers 35:20 But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die;

      Numbers 35:21 Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote [him] shall surely be put to death; [for] he [is] a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @HeavenSent
      Genesis, Numbers, Leviticus and Exodus are Old Testament and therefore not the words of Jesus.
      If you're going to fuel your fiery finger of condemnation using the Old Testament's vengeful, smitey God then you'd best make sure you're living by ALL of the rules – which I somehow doubt.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Knowing and understanding the whole Bible content along with having other authentic knowledge and information leads to sane, truly Biblical conclusions. The reason there are Bible schools and seminaries all over the world'
      oh so who has it right then? catholics? protestants? which particular group out of the hundreds out there actually has the right interpretation of the bible?

      April 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  7. NL

    She may have a point in that a working knowledge of the bible may enhance the experience of watching a movie like "True Grit", but the same can be said for having a knowledge of the Iliad, and even the Aeneid before watching "Troy." A lot of myth is useful this way.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Eric G

      I agree. However, I had not read the Bible before I watched The Excorcist as a child. Still scared me.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Adelina

      I think movies are making people stupid, after all.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • HeavenSent

      None of your myths will save your soul. Saving souls belongs to Jesus Christ.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • NL

      HeavenSent-
      So, OUR myths won't save you, but YOUR myths will? That's hardly a convincing argument.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > So, OUR myths won't save you, but YOUR myths will? That's hardly a convincing argument.

      It is if you're a moron.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  8. SadieSadie

    I love when atheists read the bible and claim to know what is going on. The bible is a living book and God reveals different verses to us as we need them. Reading the bible without God is the equivalent to reading a French book. You might get the accent right but unless you know French it won't make sense to you.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Eric G

      "The bible is a living book and God reveals different verses to us as we need them."

      Are you saying that your God interprets the Bible for you? Are you sure it is not you that is interpreting the Bible?

      This is a non sequitur. You have not provided evidence that your God exists. Until you do establish through evidencial verification the existence of your god, you cannot make claims of attributes and actions to your god.

      Please provide your evidence for verification. If you are unable to provide the evidence without using your superior and sarcastic tone, please ask your god to do it for you.

      Thank you in advance for submitting the evidence for verification.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Adelina

      Atheists never take evidences or verifications. For them such things don't exist unless people say what atheists prefer to hear. Deniers.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Gaunt

      Adelina, please dont use words like 'evidence' if you dont even know what they mean. I bet you right now you cannot produce a single, tangible, measurable shred of evidence for your twisted version of your particular god.

      Why is it that you feel the need to LIE every single time you post? What is wrong with you? This has nothing to do with faith verses non-faith, this has everything to do with you being a cowardly liar and disgrace of a person.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Eric G

      @Adelina: Despite my asking for verified evidence, you still do not provide any.

      This leaves one of two options to define your position that you must choose.

      1. You make claims of knowledge without supporting evidence, which is ignorance.

      or

      2. You make claims of knowledge in spite of verified evidence that you know to be fact, which is dishonest.

      Please make your selection from the two opitons above and use them to clarify what position your future posts will be based on. Ignorance or dishonesty?

      April 20, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Adelina

      And atheists can never prove their points; all they can do is attacking individuals personally.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Eric G

      @Adelina: Not attacking you personally. Just pointing out that you still have not provided any evidence to support your positions. Please provide the evidence for verification, or admit that you cannot or will not.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Gaunt

      Gee Adelina, it seems your propensity to lie is finally catching uop with you, as is your inbred cowardice. here you have three sucessive people asking you to shred even the smallest, single shred of tangible, verifyable evidence for your delusions, and each time all you do is flee like a coward.

      To be fair, nobody expected any better of you. You have set the bar pretty low for yourself on here with your past history of pathalogical lying and universal cowardice.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • SadieSadie

      No God does not interpret the bible for me, but I have found that when I am struggling with something God will guide to a certain part of the bible that helps me with what is wrong.
      Secondly my belief in God is not hinged on whether you believe in God. I am actually allowed to state my thoughts without having to convince atheists to believe in something they are too blind to see.
      I am sorry that you think my post is sarcastic and superior, maybe you should look back at all the atheist comments and you will find out where I pucked up that tone?

      April 20, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Eric G

      @SadieSadie: Can you please tell me what your belief in your God is based on?

      The fact that you find parts of the bible inspiring does not prove it's divinity. I am sure you can find inspirational messages in your daily horoscope, but that does not make them divine.

      I am curious as to why you believe what you do, and what methods you use to justify belief.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Good post SadieSadie. Pay no attention to the dry bones, wells without water, spiritually dead writing among us on this site.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Dustin

      I see someone is partaking in the holiday, someone should pass that stuff around.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Ted Kaslawski

      Dustin, whatever drugs Adelina and HeavenSent are on, YOU DON'T WANT THEM ! ! ! Bad trip. No fun.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Obadiah

      Eric G,
      You keep asking for believers to provide you with proof of God's existence or to explain to you why they believe in His existence. This is not necessary. Those who have accepted Christ have accepted that Christ died for all mankind in order to pay the price for the sins of all mankind. By accepting His sacrifice for us, we have gained salvation. Those who have not accepted Christ (atheist and the like) do not have the assurance of His salvation and His promise of an eternal home. Whether or not that eternal home is real or fictional is not relevant and shouldn't be the basis of your argument. The belief in the eternal home provides believers in Christ with peace. If they are at peace then let them alone. The constant need for evidence or proof of existence from non-believers is due to an uncertainty of where they will spend eternity. Judgment is coming, and the uncertainity of that judgment brings anxiety. Their peace comes from trying to rationalize someone else's belief instead of dealing with the issues relative to their own belief. The central argument for non-believers should be "What do I believe in?" Don't focus on negative statements like "there is no God, no heaven, no need for salvation". Focus on what you think there is that allows you to have peace, and then enjoy your peace.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • cynthia-494

      Well interpretation is subjective and any reading will speak to you differently depending on where you are in your life but fortunately I also speak French lol

      April 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • brucemo

      Wasn't the Protestant Reformation a result of this kind of thinking?

      April 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Estevan

      HeavenSent said: "Pay no attention to the dry bones, wells without water, spiritually dead writing among us on this site."

      What? Hahahaha! Really? That is the kind of stuff I hear from crazy rambling old coots at the park screaming at the top of their lungs that the end is nigh....

      April 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  9. Eric G

    I am not sure about the point of this article. Is the author suggesting that the Bible is just a guide to help with moral issues? If so, why does she claim that the Bible is open to interpretation and translation? Why does she state that the bible contradicts itself? How can a book this poorly writen be used as a moral standard?

    Having read the Bible several times, I do not need to think that I am morally superior to the Bible, I know that I am.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Oil can Dry Bones?

      LOL.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Bite the Wax Tadpole?

      LOL!

      Amen . .

      April 20, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  10. Reality

    "Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time."

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

    "New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

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

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    April 20, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Why do they let you work for CNN?

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  11. Your fortune cookie for today

    From the Buddha:

    1. A jug fills drop by drop.

    2. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

    3. You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

    4. In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

    5. I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

    6. Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

    7. Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

    8. There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

    9. Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

    10. Virtue is persecuted more by the wicked than it is loved by the good.

    11. The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.

    12. Do not speak unless it improves on silence.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • Kevin G.

      Buddha did not say any of that

      April 20, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • Muneef

      This one is the most correct no matter who said it;

      6. Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:20 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > This one is the most correct no matter who said it; 6. Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

      It's odd, I have had a spiritual life for the last 25 years. It's only now that I've given up the nonsense, the magical incantations against harm and the cherry picking of faith, that I realize how good life is.

      As an atheist now, someone who lacks a spiritual life, I consider myself more "alive" then ever.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  12. Happy Hippie

    Some real biblical truth. In revelations it speaks of a plant that will heal all nations, this is proven truth by the legalization of medical marijuana.

    Praise Rastaa

    April 20, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      It's obvious that you read into what you want to read. Jesus' truth in Revelation 21:8.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • cynthia-494

      Appropriate for 4-20 lol!

      April 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  13. Arthur Worthington

    Wasn't this broad involved with that idiotic distorted survey a few months back that supposedly found that atheists were angry at God, the one that was posted here? The one that asked non-believers to pretend that God existed, and then how they felt about that pretend God considering the bad things that happened in their life, then published those garbage-in-garbage-out findings as proof of atheist anger at god? Her name is familiar. If so, she had the brains of a barnacle.

    They should not award Ph.D.s for religion, just like they should not award them for SpongeBob studies either.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • Evodevo

      Somehow she got tenure. She's bucking for Full Professor now. She'll probably get it: her university will worry about bad press from not promoting a high-profile "scholar."

      April 21, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  14. Adelina

    Too many atheistic fools in America... Americans should read the Bible and get educated on reality before these ignorants bring down the nation.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Michael

      Remember "The fool says in his or her heart there is a God or Gods"

      April 20, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Gaunt

      Oh look Adelina the proven liar and demonstrated coward is back. Here to shriek out a few more incoherent zealous one-liners, and then flee like a shameful coward from every time your lies are challenged?

      You should look to your own soul, after all Aquinas himself declared 'God hates a Coward'. But, you have never heard of him have you? Didn't think so.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • HeavenSent

      What's the matter Gaunt, hate reading Jesus' truth that she posts? You send yourself to the eternal flames. Blotted out. No eternity for you if you don't humble yourself to Jesus Christ. Ask Him for forgiveness of your sinful ways and sin no more.

      Stop shooting the messengers on this site. They are writing Jesus' truth and waking you up from satan's lies to help you, help yourself wingnut.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • HeavenSent

      And he turned me into a newt !

      April 20, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • QS

      "Americans should read the Bible and get educated on reality..."

      LMFAO!!!! A more obvious oxymoron there has never been.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      and what is the reality?

      April 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • EvoDevo

      You are too late! The Dark Ages ended centuries ago. Your religion has hung on much longer than it should have, but it will be extinct soon. I hope you have a better justification for a life than a lie!

      April 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • New Wicca

      I don't understand how reading a book about a man and his followers, written 400 years after his supposed death, by people who never met him, supported by an organization that had an agenda (the Catholic Church) helps me to understand the Christians the world today.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • gomezbaby

      @New Wicca

      Just replying to your text alone, most of the New Testament was written 30-70 years after his death, not 400. Three out of the four Gospels were written by Apostles that knew him and walked with him. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament encountered Him on the road to Damascus. Peter, who knew Him personally and was one of his Apostles wrote 2 books in the New Testament. James & Jude were his half-brothers...so um, I would say most if not ALL of the writers of the New Testament knew him on a very personal level. It would be really unfortunate if you missed out on something wonderful because you didn't have the correct facts...Peace!

      April 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • New Wicca

      gomezbaby,
      I meant the the bible was complied by the church 400 years after the death of jesus. But since you mention the four gospels, supposedly written by the people surrounding jesus, then what about the gnostic gospels? They were also written by the people surrounding jesus during that period of time, one was even reportedly written BY him. One was written by Mary...why weren't these included in the bible? Didn't they prescribe to the essence of the book the church was trying to create?

      Please don't suppose that I haven't read the bible, I had 13 years of Catholic education and contemplated entering a convent. Now that I am following a different path than christianity, I have found peace! Thanks...

      April 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  15. Estevan

    Read it. Re-read it. Read another version. Re-read it. Read yet another version. Re-read it. Read yet another version. Re-read them all and....

    ...rejected them as contradictory works of myth and fiction.

    Read the bible like you would read Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings...for entertainment purposes. There is NO reason to think any of it is true.

    I recommend everyone take the time to read THIS version of the bible:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

    It's not perfect but it gives a pretty good idea of how silly it is to even think the bible might be accurate or the inerrant word of a god.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Suzie

      Ok it's really silly that when someone posts the Bible is pure fiction after claiming to have read it, then someone replies with scriptures.

      Thanks for the laugh that was hilarious!

      April 20, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Estevan

      I laugh at your quotes HeavenSent! You are always good for a chuckle. Sometimes I think you're a POE...

      No amount of quoting religious texts will "convert" a rational human being simply because there is no rational reason to think that those religious texts are anything but works of fiction.

      April 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  16. Derp

    Anyone can get a degree in some religious nonsense. All it takes is money.
    The article proves that there is nothing to these degrees at all.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, like the BAs, Ph.Ds, masters, doctorates?

      All proving if you KA enough and jump through those man made hoops, you too, can get a sheep skin. It's only when one humbles themselves to read Jesus' wisdom is when they are a can do person.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > All proving if you KA enough and jump through those man made hoops, you too, can get a sheep skin. It's only when one humbles themselves to read Jesus' wisdom is when they are a can do person.

      That's right. Ideas shouldn't be read and critically examined. We should humble ourselves and accept it's true without any thought or question.

      Faith isn't a virtue. Faith is gullibility.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  17. Mephitic Critic

    She has as much going on in her head as any young girl with a junk degree.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Armand Hammer

      That's an insult to junk degrees everywhere.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  18. Chipe

    Read it. Discovered it's total BS. Threw it away.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Jude 1:5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • CRAIG

      Without Gods spirit guiding you, the bible is just words on the page, ONly the Holy spirit can make them come alive.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

      So, your response to "The bible is BS" is to quote something from the bible. Intelligent.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Without Gods spirit guiding you, the bible is just words on the page, ONly the Holy spirit can make them come alive.

      Clearly the bible is false and it's Satan whispering in the ear of believers to lead them away and trick them to overlook the horrible things that have occured in the bible.

      My statement is just as valid as yours Craig. Probably moreso because it explains the idiocy and wrong things we see in the bible.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • i wonder

      The Bobinator,

      Yes, "'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to [worship] God" sounds much more like something that "Satan" would be hankering for.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • vanessa

      Good! you read it. No one was asking you to convert to it– but you should at least know what's in there. It is a huge part of our culture, and as such, knowledge of the stories goes towards making you a viable part of that culture.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Yes, "'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to [worship] God" sounds much more like something that "Satan" would be hankering for.

      I would figure a God worthy of worship would not want it.

      April 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  19. Dexter Skagway

    Nonsense. The one thing the Bible does NOT do is encourage you to think for yourself. It clearly and repeatedly demands that you obey, that you not think for yourself or apply critical thinking or you will be condemned to eternal torture. Moreover, Ms. Swenson conveniently ignores all the other religious texts that, by extension of her odd argument, should also be read and considered.

    She also conveniently ignores the non-religious and all questions about whether any deity exists, taking for granted that God exists, and is the Protestant Christian version. Not a word about why anyone would want or need to read a religious text if they do not believe in the religion. Ms. Swenson is quite narrow-minded for a Ph.D., though all she is really doing here is pimping her book.

    I read the Bible, as well as most other major religious texts when I was younger and exploring the possibilities. Not a one convinced me – indeed, they consistently convinced me that they were not believable and, being weird ancient ideologies, not worth obeying. I keep wondering how people could actually believe this obviously untrue stuff, whether it be the Bible or the Quran or the Book of Mormon or the Bhagavad Gita.

    Oh, never mind. Rush out and buy her bible-thump book, have your opinions and prejudices reaffirmed to you.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Adelina

      Dexter, the West developed critical thinking because objective thinking was necessary to understand the Bible properly. Other texts are absolutely primitive comparing to the Bible; that's why only Bible was recommended. Of course God exists. The function of the universe alone proves He created it all. So what do you remember in reading the Bible? You didn't understand a thing during the reading and don't remember anything from it; the reason you put it down illogically.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Adelina

      Dexter, you must be just another stupid Westerner who try to equate Christianity with plain stuff without knowing the meaning and significance of your own civilization. You guys are wasting history.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Dexter Skagway

      You never miss an opportunity to prove your insanity, do you?

      April 20, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Adelina

      Dexter, why don't you answer? The fact is, you know nothing about the Bible. Stop talking about stuff you don't know. Be honest at least even if you can't give up self-worship.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Gaunt

      Adelina, why do you feel the need to lie all the time? have you no shame at all? Your knowledge of history is as horrendously bad as your knowledge of theology. You are a giant advertisment for the benefits of athiesm.

      Western civilisation developed critical thinking in a direct repudiation of the bible and the Church. After centuries of being kept in ignorance, forbidden to learn how to read, forbidden to read the bible for themselves, forbidden to question to contradictions of the text, the people of Europe rejected the church and turned away from the blind mysteciskm which had kept Europe in the aptly named 'dark Ages' for years. You do realise that the dark ages were dark WENTIRELY because of Christianity, right? And when mankind emerged from them, into the 'Age of reason', they embraced secular science, medicine, theory, all things long rejected by the church. It was in rejecting faith that manking finally pulled itself out of the mud and mire and started to progress.

      Please stop LYING every single time you post. Do you really think that kind of flagrant and deliberate dishonesty and cowardice will endear you to your mythical god?

      April 20, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Gaunt

      Well, it seems, as always, as soon as Adelina's lies were actually confronted and exposed, she fled like a coward without replying, as usual. Nobody is remotely surprised.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Dexter, like the rest of the non-believers on this site are into INSTANT gratification. All lies from satan who they love and follow. Hence why they detest Jesus' truth.

      Amen.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • HeavenSent

      All of you will sizzle on the devil's barbeque! He will serve you up on buns with mustard and relish but no onions, then eat you, then barf you back onto the grill to do it again! Only Adelina and I are going to heaven! Think of the heavenly heaven that you are missing, with people like Adelina and me in it!

      April 20, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Dexter, like the rest of the non-believers on this site are into INSTANT gratification. All lies from satan who they love and follow. Hence why they detest Jesus' truth.

      Sounds like you've got it backwards. Atheists have to wait for answers to the universe and the world. We have to go to libraries and read up on subjects that we're interested in. We take classes, we learn. And that akes a while.

      You on the other had say "God dun it." Which takes no time, no thought and no understanding.

      Who's about instant gratification again?

      April 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'HeavenSent – All of you will sizzle on the devil's barbeque! He will serve you up on buns with mustard and relish but no onions, then eat you, then barf you back onto the grill to do it again! Only Adelina and I are going to heaven! Think of the heavenly heaven that you are missing, with people like Adelina and me in it!'

      After reading what you post, if you and Adelina are going to heaven, you can keep it.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Badguy

      I think the author is talking about reading the Bible as a literary text, not as a religious text. She is correct in stating that regardless of belief, a lot of our contemporary culture has roots in Biblical text. This is no different than a scholar of Greek mythology saying that reading some of those myths can help gain a better understanding of how those concepts persist in our culture and society today. It is not saying that you need to believe in the existence of a higher deity, be it God, or Zeus.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • ibk18

      "Not worth obeying"? Wow. It's funny that you should say this. So is it fair to assume that you are a lying, conniving, adulterous, murderous, envious and low down simply dirty excuse of a human being? Many of what is considered to be acceptable morals and standards (not to mention some laws) come from the Bible. I am far from a Bible thumper but to say that you actually read several versions of the Bible from front to back and did not find ONE thing in them that was worth contemplation, time, or "worth obeying" seems more than a bit of a stretch. Unless you did not read it.

      If nothing is worth obeying, what results? Chaos.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Spirit Warrior

      Gaunt – It was not faith in God that Europe rejected when it emerged from the dark ages. It was the intolerance and inhumanity of man as exhibited by the Roman Catholic Church through events like the Spanish Inquisition. All Church's are made of men and men are weak and fallible. Faith in God will never fail you and it does not require anyone to leave their brain at the door. It simply requires a heart open to the Spirit of God.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • JIM

      So you read the Bible when you were younger... try reading it now that you are older.

      April 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • phagocyte

      Kriston Swenson,

      What if my child had read this article? The thought of him on CNN is laughable, but still...
      There are young, impressionable minds that use CNN for news. Exposing them to something that would alter their outlook on life; value of knowledge; ability to respect another is child abuse.

      April 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Rincon Surfer Dude

      @phagocyte,
      If there were such a thing as anti-logic, (like anti-matter), your post would self annihilate and be gone in a blinding flash of light. Let it be quick. If I try to read it again, and make sense of it, my brain will explode.

      April 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Bernie

      "All of you will sizzle on the devil's barbeque"

      SWEET, the devil has cookouts....Here I thought we'd all starve for eternity.

      If God is all knowing, he knows I"m not going to read this useless book of fables. He knew it before I was born. Some god, condemns you to an eternal cook out w/o ever being born

      April 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  20. Adelina

    Yes, save the secular Westerners from current illiteracy!

    April 20, 2011 at 1:44 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.

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