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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. Muneef

    Why has the truth be killed?;

    You people have not explained to me why would God need to have a Son when we all creatures are of his own and from his own Spirit ?

    Why would God have a Son of his created among us when all the time we been sent human messengers ?

    Why when among us comes a man asking us to the light of truth,proving him self to be different from date of birth, and when he showed us love,cured our sick,even brought back to life our dead ones,who was able to tell us what we stored and what is  in stored for us.why do we condemn him to death as a transgressor ?

    Why did we take the privilege of sacrificing him as an offering or were we repeating the crime of the Sons of Adam when Cain killed his brother in jealousy about some sacrifice offerings that were made and was accepted by God for Cain's brother but not to Cain him self ? Then he learnt after killing his brother how to hide the crime unfounded out by burying of the corpus as the Crow bird had showed him !

    Strange isn't it that Satan has always mislead our fathers and us in jealousy ?
    First as disguised as a Serpent as told by elder bibles, he mislead our fathers into eating the forbidden fruit and succeeded into getting them out of heavens into earth and he with them ?

    Always where there was evil there was Satan behind it. He talked the Son of Adam Cain into killing his brother and into hiding his Crime !  

    Then Satan inspires and reveals to man evil verses that are not of God's words into the aim of putting the Light of God's Truth out of light !

    When here comes to us a Righteous Prophet full of Miracles, but instead of appreciating same and thanking God for, we rather drove him into crucifixion?

    The Sabbath people of the children of Israel who betrayed,ploted,conspired against him were of a closed religious society that is not accepting converts. The believers and followers of the Prophet were begining to claim his blood, when here Satan came again to teach them as to how to hide their crime, so they gave excuses and verses that made the crucifixion as legal ??? 

    Any way the establishment of a second religion was necessary and as well  keeping it astray off track was  necessary as well as that it was intended to relieve them from the burden of opening up their Religion faith for new converts to join up in theirs ???

    The Crime myth of being crucified beside other things became a religion formula to cool the mass of angry prophet followers and to drive the masses to convert into it.

    Then the Romans learned the trick and became to make use of this further to control and drive their complex masses of many faiths into one integrated mass where they turned the Sun God Day into Son God Day ! Meaning gathered pagans,idolaters and joined them with the right mass into one big mass of a faith that contain all in one....

     Until the day when the One Cell had broken into small divisions,where each thinks he is the righteous more than any other, so here it is it went multiplying to unend to becoming to suit each culture and race ???

    Finally God has chosen a messenger from the race of the children of Ismael to bring back his words of light to the children of Israel by a member of the family tree, and that was because when ever God chosen a prophet from among them children of Israel they had always disbelieved and killed their Prophets and messengers one after another even the Prophet Moses was not spared the agony and the failures that they drove him into due their disbelief in him and in what he has brought up to them to follow ?

    Now the same story is being repeated against the Seal of Prophets of God and the Words of the Message of God which was this Prophet only miracle that God has sent him with if compared with the line of Prophets and messengers that came before him.. ! The Light and the Power of Words were totally Rejected by the children of Israel because it came to them by the children of Ismael since they had rejected Ismael before that considering him a slave a son of a slave woman "Hager" !! 

    Turned to be in the size of the jealousy that Satan had for Adam or the jealousy that the son of Adam Cain had towards his brother for which he killed him or like how jealous those of the Sabbath were from Jesus by rejecting what he has came up with to ease their hardness that they had applied on them selves of which God had not told of.

    Jesus was attacked as the Seal Prophet was attacked by the pagan and the jews of Mecca for bringing that does not agree with the culture and customs they wanted to live with such as freeing slaves, forbidding the drinking of spirits and all that was mentioned and known about the people Mucca doing before any signs of Islam !    

    History is being repeated,mankind does not want to learn from stories of nations of old in order not fall again and again with out hold his steps for moments to think for his self as 'why' when ever some one brings by the truth has to be killed ???
    Peace to all,

    April 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Sadly, Munneef, you overlook the real issues, and get bogged down with something that satan magnifies to you, so you would not see the Christ Jesus for who He really is...
      I tell you friend, you have been given much light in some of the posts written to you by some of people here, and on the other blogs.

      But as it is , you have no covering for your sins. No man can approach God in his own righteousness, because our own righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of Holy God..
      Even our best intentions are nothing in His sight, because when we do hings by our own intentions, it is still OUR OWN offering to God.... But it is ONLY Christ's righteousness that pleases God, and unless you are covered by the blood of the Lamb who sacrificed His life for you and lives forever to intercede for you before the Holy God who ordained it to be so, and unless your life is hidden in Him and His righteousenss, you will be lost, dear friend....
      I am so sorry that you do not see how important it is for you to understand that...

      I will tell you a profound secret: It is the ultimate aim of satan, the archenemy of God, and the enemy of our souls, to separate us and keep us separate from the only real hope we, human beings have.... He has a scheme of deception of every type possible, but his main SINGLE GOAL IS to discredit the Person of Jesus Christ.

      The Holy Scriptures which were inspired by and given by God to mankind, are all pointing to ONE SINGLE PERSON , and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. All points of tha law, the ceremonial things Jews were told to perform, all the rituals, sacrificial offerings... all of them wer pointing to the Lamb of God whom He would send to the world... All the prophecies about Him date way before His birth, and every thing that Old Testament speaks about was pointing to Him..
      When He came into the world, He fulfilled the law which was burdensome to those who were under it. But when Christ came, and fulfilled the law, He freed those who were under the burden of it....
      I don't want to say this to offend nor grieve you, Muneef, but teh book of scriptures you put your trust in is NOT the revelation of God you think it is. Because IF IT WERE, it would acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the SAVIOR of mankind, who gave His life the redeem us, just like all the other Scriptures written afore speak and testify of Him.... Yet your book denies even His death and resurrection....You are stuck on thought that God can not have a Son, but yet you put your faith in a man who didn't even display carachteristics of a holy man, an had bizzare encounters ath do not match the nature or carachter of God. And it disregards the Deity of Jesus Christ, who is God who came in the form of man to redeem us, and without whom no man can be saved... In your book it says that He will go BEHIND Mohamed on the Resurrection day, and proclaim that he, Mohamed is the true prophet ...Can't you see?!!!! That's exactly what Satan wants people to believe, to discredit WHO CHRIST JESUS IS !

      I'm not writting this to argue with you , Muneef, and I don't have ill feelings toward you....In fact my heart is filled with love and compassion for you. I don't think your "Alah" an your prophet Muhamed talk much about love in your book. Ours is filled with it, but it is the love of God toward the poor, lost mankind. It is that love that He puts inour hearts twhen we know Him, andf have that relationship with Him in Christ Jesus, our Lord, our Sasvior , our brother and friend...He causes us to see other lost souls with His eyes... You are not a rebellious mocker, and I believe your heart is tender toward God, but you are defending what you THINK is true, but you think it, because of what it has been passed on to you, and you find your comfort in it, because of it's familiarity to you... But God is the living God, and He wants for those who come to Him to do so in truth, disregarding their own knowledge, wants and preferences.... To those who would come to Him, this is what He says: "you shall seek me and find me IF YOU SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART" Please, seek God to show you, and reveal Himself to you.... I will hold you in my heart and my prayers...

      April 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.

      Don't worry about a thing we are merely discussing some thing and no hurt intended...and can feel from your words...

      Any way dear The Prophet Issah or Jesus was created to be sent to the children of israel to bring them back to straight path from which they strayed....we respect that but for us Arabs the Children of Ismael it was for us to follow the message of the path of our Prophet and Messenger Muhammed of Mecca who we are to follow his path of the Quran..
      Our call of witness is That No God But Allah and that Muhammed was his Messenger.
      Your call of witness should have been that No God But Allah and that Issah(Jesus) was his Messenger.
      We pray to all messengers and prophets of God treating as equal but we are on the path of Muhammed (saw) so you see no problem if were on faith of Abraham but in the path of Moses or Joseph or David or Sulaiman or whom ever but the main thing was the faith of Abraham (monotheism) is the main issue....that which mankind strayed from path making up to God things that he told not of such as having a (A Mate,A Son,Partners) for which was not in the era of Abraham but after Moses and after Jesus that the Children of Israel has claimed God has chosen or Beggoten a Son...! For which God had brought down upon our chosen prophet and messenger the Quran to tell the truth to expose light to those who are astray to bring them back to the True Righteous straight paths of monotheisem worshiping no one but he....God is all over us with out the need to come to us in flesh and blood...!?

      We believe in the Return of Jesus to earth to kill the corruptor and bring Justice to earth where the lamp will eat beside the beast with no fear....yes on that day only we will follow him Jesus in belief because that what our Prophet has told us to do and that is to fight in his side along with the Mahdi or Muhdi who will be present on that day and under his flag Muslims will take side with Jesus to fight battles against the corruptors...so yes we believe and accept Jesus the son of Mary as being the Prophet and Messenger of God,the Messiah,being the spirit and the word of God (The Creation of which is a miraculous as was the Creation of Adam from Clay)..
      You are just to adjust yours to be as ours as to (Jesus was not a Son nor was he a God)but just a Prophet and Messenger of God sent to the Children of Israel)...if that was done no one would have wronged you nor were you strayed...

      April 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Hello, Muneef, I read what you are saying, and we'll leave it at that. One day there will be no hidden things, no doubts, and no disputes. It will be settled. And the whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord. It's just that some will find out the truth to late.
      But my heart goes out to the people in other lands who are poor, oppressed, trodden down, and have much hardships in this life. They are the ones who deserve to hear the message of salvation that comes in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      That's why my heart goes out to people like in country where you are.... The harvest there is plentiful, but laborers are few....And there is a dark cloud over the land, satanic hinderance being hoovering over the land.....
      And yet, here, in this country, and in most Western world, people are so steeped in their comforts, well fed, having need for nothing.... and out of their abundance comes the proud and arrogant spirit.
      They don't think they need God... I tell you, they are much worse off then those who are poor, needy, hungry and desolate in this life! Their judgment will be much worse then of the uncivilised "heathen", for even the heathens will stand in judgment against them on that Great Day of reckoning, apointed by God!.....

      Well, friend, I believe something new has been born in my soul, since I have corresponded with you on such personal level.... and it is a deep desire to see your people come out of bondage of darkness, and be set free by the glorious Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe is just one person's desire (although I know God has many people praying), but He says that even when one prays a prayer with a faith of the size of a mustard seed, will be able to move the mountains.. So , that's what I will do, move the mountains in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, who came to die for those precious people also!
      I don't put faith in my abilities, but I know that the One in whom I put my trust, He is able to do far more then we are able even to think, or ask!
      We Christians need to stand in the gap, that many of those people who are in false hope and in bondage to false religions be set free! So, that is what I will do! And you , friend will feel my prayers! I hope that others here who know the Lord will do the same!
      Good night to you!

      April 27, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      We as our truth believe in Jesus but as a Prophet&Messenger of God and when we follow him on his return would be in these bases but not as you claim him to be neither being as a Son nor being as a God....You got it now ?

      An-Najm sura 53:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      They are but names which ye have named, ye and your fathers, for which Allah hath revealed no warrant. They follow but a guess and that which (they) themselves desire. And now the guidance from their Lord hath come unto them. (23) Or shall man have what he coveteth? (24) But unto Allah belongeth the after (life), and the former. (25).

      Al-Hajj sura 22:
      Unto each nation have We given sacred rites which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with thee of the matter, but summon thou unto thy Lord. Lo! thou indeed followest right guidance. (67) And if they wrangle with thee, say: Allah is best aware of what ye do. (68) Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein ye used to differ. (69) Hast thou not known that Allah knoweth all that is in the heaven and the earth? Lo! it is in a record. Lo! that is easy for Allah. (70) And they worship instead of Allah that for which He hath sent down no warrant, and that whereof they have no knowledge. For evil-doers there is no helper. (71) And when Our revelations are recited unto them, thou knowest the denial in the faces of those who disbelieve; they all but attack those who recite Our revelations unto them. Say: Shall I proclaim unto you worse than that? The Fire! Allah hath promised it for those who disbelieve. A hapless journey's end! (72) .

      Al-Hajj sura 22:
      O mankind! A similitude is coined, so pay ye heed to it: Lo! those on whom ye call beside Allah will never create a fly though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly took something from them, they could not rescue it from it. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought! (73) They measure not Allah His rightful measure. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty. (74) Allah chooseth from the angels messengers, and (also) from mankind. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Seer. (75) He knoweth all that is before them and all that is behind them, and unto Allah all things are returned. (76) O ye who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good, that haply ye may prosper. (77) And strive for Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Abraham (is yours). He hath named you Muslims of old time and in this (Scripture), that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that ye may be witnesses against mankind. So establish worship, pay the poor-due, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protecting friend. A blessed Patron and a blessed Helper! (78).

      April 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  2. Iqbal khan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhsWc41qPb0&NR=1

    April 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  3. Iqbal khan

    Watch this all the rest of the parts....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3gSusPS34w&NR=1

    April 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  4. Muneef

    For peace;
    From reading some of the various posts i may have reached a few  conclusions but not sure of therefore might just write and ask few questions now to see if they were correct or not :

    For Atheists might ask any of them to give me an honest answer although am sure the answer will vary from one to another ?

    Q1) Do you atheist believe even if slightly that there is a superpower of a creator but deny existence because of Religions, Doctrines  and their Complexities as on a state of rejection ? 

    Q2) Do you feel as being special as Atheists in not believing in God and that what ever you do good or bad will neither be rewarded or punished for it by any Divine because you do not believe in Divine nor resurrection or judgment day but rather you think we are here by a mere coincidence and not been created to serve a purpose in life ?

    To Christians:
    Q3) To those considering Jesus being the Son of God: Do you feel as being more special as if you were as sons of God and that what ever you do good or bad you will not be held accountable for but rather will go streight to the heavens, paradise directly with out any judgment or any punishment ? 

    Q4) To those considering Jesus God being in Trinity : Do you feel as being more special as if Gods on earth and that what ever you do good or bad you will not be held accountable for but rather will go to straight to the heavens, paradise directly with out any  judgment or any punishment ?

    Q5) Do all Christians think that in this life, God has not created us for Testing us as to who will do as told,warned and who will not ?

    Q6) You do all Christians believe in this life, God has created us for Testing but think you are exempted from it and ever your deeds were ?

    Q7) Do you consider any none Christians "Religious or not Religious",as Slaves of God and not as Godly as you are ? 

    Q8) Do you as Christians accept any other Race converts as equal as you are in your Earthly life and at the After life what ever their Race is or Christian Doctrine ? 

    Q9) Do you as Christians and Atheists wish at times if you had a sperate state for each to live in,where each of you can do as they please as in their favorite way of living,where each can impose his own laws and beliefs,and would that mean accepting to live among the mass Races of that belief or rather would favor a state or county for each mass of Race within the same belief ?

    Sorry for being hard asking sensitive questions but that is the only way to find out more of what is going on,and what really man wants.

    Beside I feel that the same descriptions might be required to be asked or be questioned to Muslims of Different Doctrines,Races and Cultures, who might have among them that who are similar to your nations,such as those who are Atheists,Agnostics or even Satanic but there still will be those who are considered as religious believers "Moderate or Extremes".. ! Surely you will find like those in every Nations,Faiths and Beliefs.
     
    Hope have been clear that these were intended as to help us realize our inner "Thoughts and Wants" beside the real understanding of each other, and was not meant or intended for hurt or for dispute.... Peace to All.

    April 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Muneef, I won't go here into detailed discussion, but just to sum up the answer to your questions above that you had about Christians....

      It is NEVER about who we are, or how special we are.... It is about who He is, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who came, gave His life for us, so that we may live. It is Him who gives us new life in Him, and who by His Spirit said "If any man is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; behold , all things have become new" ...
      That's what it means to be born of God, to become a new creature in Him, which ONLY can happen through the sacrifice of the Cross of His Son Jesus Christ.

      What did we do to make us special, to feel special?! Not a thing, Muneef, not a single worthy thing... we were the beggars who wallowed in our own mire of sin, and He stretched out His hand of mercy toward us.
      What good did the beggar do who lifted his hand to the hand stretched out toward him?
      He is the same, just as the one who is beside him, but who didn't stretch his to reach for God's hand. They both were beggars, only the first one got rescued the second didn't.... It's God's doing, not ours, so that no man could boast of his own worthiness.

      As for the ones who take the Hand stretched out, but think that's their ticket to salvation, yet they presumptuously take the mercy and grace of God for granted, and keep love for their sin, instead of allowing God to cleanse and wash them.... well, that's how God sifts the hearts of people.... Those who come and want the gift, but in their hearts don't seek the Giver, they have only deceived themselves. God is not a man that He can be fooled, nor can any man trip Him up, by thinking he found legalities in His Word, as some think, even in Christian circles..... No crooked lawyer can make Him stumble and hold Him hostage... Those who ar true Christians, they bear fruit, which is the works that are produced by the Spirit of God working in them. Even after Christians are redeemed, it is very important that we do not "do our own works, to please God" because God does not want fruit of our own works, but of His Spirit in our lives. That's the only way we can live lives pleasing to Him....

      I hope that this explains at least some things you were enquiring about. We are all in the same boat, it is only the grace and mercy of God that saves us, through accepting the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world, Jesus the Son of the Most High God, who is the Word of God made flesh, to whom and of whom the Spirit of Truth testifies, and without whom there is no way, and no truth and no life.....

      April 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234..

      Fine you explained although thought your books told you differently in the slavery parts...any way thanks for your comments and remember that there are enemies who want to mislead us from the right way and therefore ought to see if he did mislead you or not;

      The Creation of Mankind
      [7:11] We created you, then we shaped you, then we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except Iblees (Satan); he was not with the prostrators.

      The Test of Mankind Begins
      [7:12] He said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?" He said, "I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud."

      [7:13] He said, "Therefore, you must go down, for you are not to be arrogant here. Get out; you are debased."

      [7:14] He said, "Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection."

      [7:15] He said, "You are granted a respite."

      [7:16] He said, "Since You have willed that I go astray, I will skulk for them on Your straight path.

      [7:17] "I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative."

      [7:18] He said, "Get out therefrom, despised and defeated. Those among them who follow you, I will fill Hell with you all.

      [7:19] "As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin."

      [7:20] The devil whispered to them, in order to reveal their bodies, which were invisible to them. He said, "Your Lord did not forbid you from this tree, except to prevent you from becoming angels, and from attaining eternal existence."

      [7:21] He swore to them, "I am giving you good advice."

      [7:22] He thus duped them with lies. As soon as they tasted the tree, their bodies became visible to them, and they tried to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Their Lord called upon them: "Did I not enjoin you from that tree, and warn you that the devil is your most ardent enemy?"

      [7:23] They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged our souls, and unless You forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be losers."

      [7:24] He said, "Go down as enemies of one another. On earth shall be your habitation and provision for awhile."

      [7:25] He said, "On it you will live, on it you will die, and from it you will be brought out."

      [7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD's signs, that they may take heed.

      [7:27] O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.

      [7:28] They commit a gross sin, then say, "We found our parents doing this, and GOD has commanded us to do it." Say, "GOD never advocates sin. Are you saying about GOD what you do not know?"

      [7:29] Say, "My Lord advocates justice, and to stand devoted to Him alone at every place of worship. You shall devote your worship absolutely to Him alone. Just as He initiated you, you will ultimately go back to Him."

      April 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Sadly, Munneef, you overlook the real issues, and get bogged down with something that satan magnifies to you, so you would not see the Christ Jesus for who He really is...
      I tell you friend, you have been given much light in some of the posts written to you by some of people here, and on the other blogs.

      But as it is , you have no covering for your sins. No man can approach God in his own righteousness, because our own righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of Holy God..
      Even our best intentions are nothing in His sight, because when we do hings by our own intentions, it is still OUR OWN offering to God.... But it is ONLY Christ's righteousness that pleases God, and unless you are covered by the blood of the Lamb who sacrificed His life for you and lives forever to intercede for you before the Holy God who ordained it to be so, and unless your life is hidden in Him and His righteousenss, you will be lost, dear friend....
      I am so sorry that you do not see how important it is for you to understand that...

      I will tell you a profound secret: It is the ultimate aim of satan, the archenemy of God, and the enemy of our souls, to separate us and keep us separate from the only real hope we, human beings have.... He has a scheme of deception of every type possible, but his main SINGLE GOAL IS to discredit the Person of Jesus Christ.

      The Holy Scriptures which were inspired by and given by God to mankind, are all pointing to ONE SINGLE PERSON , and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. All points of tha law, the ceremonial things Jews were told to perform, all the rituals, sacrificial offerings... all of them wer pointing to the Lamb of God whom He would send to the world... All the prophecies about Him date way before His birth, and every thing that Old Testament speaks about was pointing to Him..
      When He came into the world, He fulfilled the law which was burdensome to those who were under it. But when Christ came, and fulfilled the law, He freed those who were under the burden of it....
      I don't want to say this to offend nor grieve you, Muneef, but teh book of scriptures you put your trust in is NOT the revelation of God you think it is. Because IF IT WERE, it would acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the SAVIOR of mankind, who gave His life the redeem us, just like all the other Scriptures written afore speak and testify of Him.... Yet your book denies even His death and resurrection....You are stuck on thought that God can not have a Son, but yet you put your faith in a man who didn't even display carachteristics of a holy man, an had bizzare encounters ath do not match the nature or carachter of God. And it disregards the Deity of Jesus Christ, who is God who came in the form of man to redeem us, and without whom no man can be saved... In your book it says that He will go BEHIND Mohamed on the Resurrection day, and proclaim that he, Mohamed is the true prophet ...Can't you see?!!!! That's exactly what Satan wants people to believe, to discredit WHO CHRIST JESUS IS !

      I'm not writting this to argue with you , Muneef, and I don't have ill feelings toward you....In fact my heart is filled with love and compassion for you. I don't think your "Alah" an your prophet Muhamed talk much about love in your book. Ours is filled with it, but it is the love of God toward the poor, lost mankind. It is that love that He puts inour hearts twhen we know Him, andf have that relationship with Him in Christ Jesus, our Lord, our Sasvior , our brother and friend...He causes us to see other lost souls with His eyes... You are not a rebellious mocker, and I believe your heart is tender toward God, but you are defending what you THINK is true, but you think it, because of what it has been passed on to you, and you find your comfort in it, because of it's familiarity to you... But God is the living God, and He wants for those who come to Him to do so in truth, disregarding their own knowledge, wants and preferences.... To those who would come to Him, this is what He says: "you shall seek me and find me IF YOU SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART" Please, seek God to show you, and reveal Himself to you.... I will hold you in my heart and my prayers...

      April 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  5. Barry

    Reality,

    You stated: The Chinese and Indians of India are flourishing without Abraham and Jesus.”

    Is this true?

    If you do some research, you will find that India—far from flourishing—has been mired in poverty and corruption for many, many years.

    In fact India is virtually synonymous with the word corruption.

    You will also learn that China has an abysmal history of human rights abuses. Ask any of the human rights advocates who have spent time in prison for daring to think or question the status quo. China has also suffered because of corruption, which has had tragic and costly consequences.

    Fortunately for China, Christianity has been spreading throughout the country, and there is now a substantial and rapidly growing Christian movement there.

    I would hardly consider these countries—despite their massive sizes—to have flourished over the past centuries.

    April 25, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  6. Joe Redbear

    Sooo? THere is another Book out there that is suppose to tell you how to live your life? Why not try Better Homes and Garden,or better yet Mid West Living. It's all crazy! You people are all Nutt's. And you have the Nerve to say our way's are Wrong...try and stop us from practising our way's. Why must you live your life from a book? Are people beleive in the creator....no book told us so. Don't tend church on sunday...were doing just fine...we give thank's everyday. I don't get it.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  7. RightturnClyde

    This Munreef is an example of how the Muslims want to supplant the Bible with their Quran .. and our faith with theirs. We are supposedly commenting on "My Take: Read the Bible, even if you don't believe it" by: Kristin Swenson, Ph.D. She made no mention of read the Quran. The atheists don't even want to read the Bible let alone the Quran. The Quran holds no curiosity to a Christian and has about the same literary significance as a Norman Lear TV sitcom. What I learned about Muslim culture over the last 10 years is that they like to b*head POW's on cable news, abuse women, shoot AK-47's in the air and strap devices on their kids. Oh sure, that's in the Quran or they would not be doing it... (*they don't do things that are not in the book .. Munreef tells us that .. some book) .. I think I'll stick reading the Bible

    April 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Muneef

      RightturnClyde...

      Nice I like the way you used my name to sound more like "Moon Reef" ...
      Yes I know I shouldn't be here specially not being related to Quran or Islam...but can say I am here rather because we all are derived from the Abrahamic faith....and that those Holy Books are completing each other sourced from God the Creator whom we all worship...So if am supposed therefore required to read the older books of yours why shouldn't you read ours which supposedly the last book of the last and the seal of God's prophets? Reading more than your book will only encrease your knowledge, unless you think that your faith is not that strong and fear if you read the Quran you might convert? Challenge your self and get the confidence you need as if you are on the right true path or not...!

      April 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • RightturnClyde

      So you intentionally overlook the subject of Kristin Swensons article (Read the Bible). If her article had been about drinking coffee would you be attempting to discuss Coca-Cola? No mention was made of the Quran. No matter what the origin of the Quran may be (and I really do not care) it is not western literature, not in English, and not something I'd devote any time to reading. I am not going to read a servicing manual for a 1963 radar set. You are merely using co-opting this (and other articles) to blather on and on about the Quran. Swenson's point is well made that the Bible is western literature (and a significant element of western culture) even if you do not believe it is inspired reading. You ignored that and imposed your unsolicited diatribe simply to co-opt the comment page. Do they teach you to do THAT in the Quran? Your motives are transparent. Your diatribe is ill received.

      April 25, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Muneef

      Well sorry but you can blow your self up...

      April 25, 2011 at 5:22 am |
    • Muneef

      Western Culture is no longer a Western Culture but rather it is now a Multinational Culture, if you are forgetting that or do not know that then you should leave your basement now and then to see the changes that is taking place in your area. Poor soul you are still living in the past (Westren Culture) he says....the whole of Asia&Africa are in the so called Westren Culture.

      April 25, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Muneef

      Another thing i think the so called western culture of yours only orginated from the MidEast so since when it became western?

      April 25, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  8. Muneef

    The reason for which the Quran was revealed ;
    The Quran came to conceal and correct the distortion that has taken place in previous scriptures;

    [5:15] O people of the scripture, our messenger has come to you to proclaim for you many things you have concealed in the scripture, and to pardon many other transgressions you have committed. A beacon has come to you from GOD, and a profound scripture.

    [5:16] With it, GOD guides those who seek His approval. He guides them to the paths of peace, leads them out of darkness into the light by His leave, and guides them in a straight path.
    ----
    Quran: The Ultimate Reference
    [5:48] Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you. For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites. Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you. You shall compete in righteousness. To GOD is your final destiny – all of you – then He will inform you of everything you had disputed.
    The Quran: God's Message to the Jews and Christians
    __________________________________________________
    (01) Distorting the Word of God
    [2:75] Do you expect them to believe as you do, when some of them used to hear the word of GOD, then distort it, with full understanding thereof, and deliberately?

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

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

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

    [2:79] Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say, "This is what GOD has revealed," seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.
    __________________________________________________

    (02)  Make no Distinction Among God's Messengers

    [4:150] Those who disbelieve in GOD and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among GOD and His messengers, and say, "We believe in some and reject some," and wish to follow a path in between;

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

    [4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
    _________________________________________________

    (03) About the Crucification;

    [4:157] And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him – they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him.

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

    [4:159] Everyone among the people of the scripture was required to believe in him before his death. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.
    __________________________________________________
    (05) about being the Son of God...     
    Az-Zukhruf sura 43:
    When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), he said: I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So keep your duty to Allah, and obey me. (63) Lo! Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. This is a right path. (64) But the factions among them differed. Then woe unto those who do wrong from the doom of a painful day. (65).
    ---–
    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth is His. All are subservient unto Him. (116) The Originator of the heavens and the earth! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. (117).
    ---
    Yunus sura 10:
    They say: Allah hath taken (unto Him) a son – Glorified be He! He hath no needs! His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Ye have no warrant for this. Tell ye concerning Allah that which ye know not? (68) Say: Verily those who invent a lie concerning Allah will not succeed. (69).
    ----
    Al-Isra sura 17:
    And say: Praise be to Allah, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son, and Who hath no partner in the Sovereignty, nor hath He any protecting friend through dependence. And magnify Him with all magnificence. (111).
    ---–
    Al-Kahf 18:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Praise be to Allah Who hath revealed the Scripture unto His slave, and hath not placed therein any crookedness, (1) (But hath made it) straight, to give warning of stern punishment from Him, and to bring unto the believers who do good works the news that theirs will be a fair reward, (2) Wherein they will abide for ever; (3) And to warn those who say: Allah hath chosen a son, (4) (A thing) whereof they have no knowledge, nor (had) their fathers, Dreadful is the word that cometh out of their mouths. They speak naught but a lie. (5).
    ----
    Maryam 19:
    They will have no power of intercession, save him who hath made a covenant with his Lord. (87) And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. (88) Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing (89) Whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruins, (90) That ye ascribe unto the Beneficent a son, (91) When it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should choose a son. (92) There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (93) Verily He knoweth them and numbereth them with (right) numbering. (94) And each one of them will come unto Him on the Day of Resurrection, alone. (95) Lo! those who believe and do good works, the Beneficent will appoint for them love. (96).
    ----–
    Al-Anbiya 21:
    And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no God save Me (Allah), so worship Me. (25) And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but (those whom they call sons) are honoured slaves; (26) They speak not until He hath spoken, and they act by His command. (27) He knoweth what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot intercede except for him whom He accepteth, and they quake for awe of Him. (28).
    ----–
    Al-Furqan sura 25:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Blessed is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the Criterion (of right and wrong), that he may be a warner to the people. (1) He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. (2).
    -----
    Az-Zumar sura 39:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    The revelation of the Scripture is from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise. (1) Lo! We have revealed the Scripture unto thee (Muhammad) with truth; so worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only). (2) Surely pure religion is for Allah only. And those who choose protecting friends beside Him (say): We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah. Lo! Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Lo! Allah guideth not him who is a liar, an ingrate. (3) If Allah had willed to choose a son, He could have chosen what He would of that which He hath created. Be He glorified! He is Allah, the One, the Absolute. (4).
    ------
    Al-Jinn 72:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Say (O Muhammad): It is revealed unto me that a company of the Jinn gave ear, and they said: Lo! we have heard a marvellous Qur'an, (1) Which guideth unto righteousness, so we believe in it and we ascribe unto our Lord no partner. (2) And (we believe) that He – exalted be the glory of our Lord! – hath taken neither wife nor son, (3) And that the foolish one among us used to speak concerning Allah an atrocious lie. (4) And lo! we had supposed that humankind and jinn would not speak a lie concerning Allah – (5).
    -----
    Al-Maeda 05:
    And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I had ever said it, then Thou wouldst have known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden? (116) I spake unto them only that which Thou commandedst me, (saying): Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. I was a witness of them while I dwelt among them, and when Thou tookest me Thou wast the Watcher over them. Thou art Witness over all things. (117) If Thou punish them, lo! they are Thy slaves, and if Thou forgive them (lo! they are Thy slaves). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, the Wise. (118).
    ----
    Quran came to unvail many disputed or concealed facts of many other things  although still elder books are considered part thereof the Holy Quran because it is only complete with it as sura:verse 05:48 states.

    April 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  9. Muneef

    The Qur'an does not merely challenge man by the use of its language hut also by the depth of its meaning. Those familiar with the Arabic language (both prose and verse writings) are reduced to silence and astonishment when they attempt to describe it.

    The Qur'an is neither poetry nor prose but rather seems to draw qualities from both; it is more attractive and dazzling than poetry and clearer and more flowing than prose A single verse or phrase from the Qur'an is more illuminating, more penetrating, and more profound than the complete speech of most eloquent speakers.

    http://www.al-islam.org/quraninislam/5.htm

    April 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • JCDC

      The Old Testament in the Bible was written between 1000 – 300 BC, and the New Testament between 48 and 90 AD, over 500 years before the Qur'an came on the scene. "If we are to accept the Qur'an as an inspired message than it must pass the test that the previous books did. First it must be in agreement with the former revelation of holy writings because they supposedly came from the same source that is the one God. Just as in the Old Testament. they tested a prophet by the standard of the scripture if they spoke in harmony with the word of God and the former prophets. Since the Qur'an comes 500 years after, it too must comply with the tested words of scripture. If we are to accept the Muslims argument of the Bible being corrupted this means God could not preserve His Word. If He failed to do this for the Bible what makes one think he would not fail to do this for the Qur'an? There are no guarantees. If a Muslim rejects the Bible he must also reject the Qur'an because Mohammed appeals to the Bible as an authority. If he accepts the Bible he must then reject the Qur'an, because of the contradictory stories that challenge essential eternal truths."
      There are many reasons to question the autenticity of the Qur'an, whether prose or poetry. If you are willing to consider some of difficult questions surrounding this book, read the article at:
      http://www.letusreason.org/islam5.htm. and be willing to think about the questions asked withing its context.

      April 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Muneef

      JCDC.
      Have read the link and am sorry to say it was not correct in many things it claimed about the meaning of the Quranic verses, it was prepared with the intention of making Islam look bad rather than in trying to explain views of both sides in a fair comparison.  
      Prophet must have known about Nazareth belief from those living in Mecca among Jews and Pagans who used to live there before and during the first Islamic signs.
      Nazarene Waraqah_ibn_Nawfal 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waraqah_ibn_Nawfal
      http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Sources/BBwaraqa.html

      But it was not the Prophet who judged the Bible, the judgment came from Quran revelations which used the word of (Concealing) verses or words of God but not used the word (Corrupted) although it would mean the same...

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

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

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

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

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

      [5:16] With it, GOD guides those who seek His approval. He guides them to the paths of peace, leads them out of darkness into the light by His leave, and guides them in a straight path.

      April 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  10. Hope

    Reading the Bible increases the IQ. Trust me. I know.

    + you have God holding your hand as you go through life. What an amazing Creator we serve!!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • RightturnClyde

      Reading the Bible does increase your I.Q. Often we read it when we are seeking (something new) and growing (to deal with bigger challenges). It takes several years to read the bible and digest (not merely to skim the words) and become familiar with its content. [the same is true of most literature]. I think most of these nay-sayers are very young, testosterone driven with limited life experience. As we go along we learn humility and we learn to accept limitation and we learn to deal with things as they come to us (not necessarily as we'd prefer to have them). Great challenges faced Americans of earlier centuries and they had faith to sustain them. We have raised a generation of spoiled brats who see themselves as omnipotent and all knowing. Most of them have never faced any challenges (and so many have never accomplished anything). They began school at five years old and many are still going (even at 30 and 35 years old). So they think they know so much. God bless them. Yes, the Bible increases your IQ.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Clyde
      "We have raised a generation of spoiled brats who see themselves as omnipotent and all knowing"

      Oh, what a mouthful of truth!
      And they are so proud self absorbed, that they can't see further from their own noses, from the overinflated egos which obstruct their vision!

      April 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Kevin

    it is amazing how little many know of the bible. they claim to know it well, but their actions, beliefs, prove otherwise. Just my opinion, i speak about the bible on a weekly basis with many people.

    Matthew 7:21-21

    21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.

    few even know what the will of God is yet they pray for it daily in the Lords prayer.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  12. False Reality

    "If you cannot prove something, does that make it untrue?"

    Yes. It means it is unproven and as such is untrue until it is proven to be so. I can say I definetely have a magical unicorn in my backyard, how else do you explain all my grass being green? That Unicorn is unproven and therefore indistinguishable from falsehood.

    "Just because you can't see something, does that mean that it doesn't exist?"

    No. I can't see air, but I can demonstrate its exsistance by blowing up a balloon. You don't need to be able to see something in order to demonstrate it.

    " I can't see gravity, but I know that it exists because I see its effects in the world around me. It is the same with the truths in the Bible."

    Gravity's affect can be demonstrated over and over again. This is why we believe it exsists. You can not demonstrate that God exsists, not can I seperate a world WITH GOD from one WITHOUT GOD, this is why we have so many forms and appearences of God which are disputed by different groups; from Zeus to Jesus. Simply put, until you demonstrate it, it doesn't exsist.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Yes. It means it is unproven and as such is untrue until it is proven to be so.
      -------–
      So gravity was untrue until it was proven? All these "lost" species of animals recently "found" never existed until someone laid eyes on them? Your answer is FALSE! Unproven is exactly that...unproven and has no bearing on what is true or false! To borrow a phrase from NL and Eric G..........Logic Foul!

      If God does not exist, explain creation! Big bang? Fossil records? You witness anything? You read about the fossils in a book, right? Explain how that works for you but not for Christians.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Dumb Illiterate

      You're just words on a screen, written to try to coerce me and others to follow your belief system. All made up. Conjecture. Random bits of cosmic flotsam created by the naturally occuring reaction of simple elements. And I can demonstrate that fact by shutting you down. Ergo, your hypothesis is proven. You don't exist.

      April 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @DI- who is trying to make you believe in something?

      April 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Adelina

    Women are not good at teaching religion or teaching spirituality. Women usually make things too domestic and make nothing of supreme importance. Women are better at sharing or encouraging or serving. Self-smart women and hobby-oriented men do not really benefit a society, especially for long-term.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • False Reality

      "Women are not good at teaching religion or teaching spirituality. Women usually make things too domestic and make nothing of supreme importance."

      And if they did demonstrate this they would be witches and we should burn them. Thanks for that public service announcement from the 13th Century.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're certainly evidence that some women aren't good at much of anything, Addie.

      April 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  14. john

    what is the truth?

    April 22, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Dumb Illiterate

      The truth is something you have to find out for yourself.
      Don't take anyone's word for it.
      If you decide that Jesus is the truth, fine.
      If you decide that it's all hogwash, that's fine too. (But I would disagree with you. 😉 )
      It's up to you to decide.

      April 22, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      @John
      You asked "what is the truth?"
      Pontius Pilate asked the same thing while Jesus Christ who is the Word of God made flesh, stood before him. He did not see nor recognize Him.
      So it is with people today. If Christ Himself would come in the midst of them, if He would speak the same things as then, and do the same t miracles as then, they would do the same as then: reject Him, and crucify Him! Because te same thing that was in the hearts of men(kind) then, it is today! And these blogs confirm very clearly what I'm saying!

      April 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Muneef

      John.
      The truth is the Oneness of God the Creator...

      [72:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

      [72:1] Say, "I was inspired that a group of jinns listened, then said, `We have heard a wonderful Quran.

      [72:2] " `It guides to righteousness, and we have believed in it; we will never set up any idols beside our Lord.

      [72:3] " `The Most High is our only Lord. He never had a mate, nor a son.

      [72:4] " `It is the foolish among us who used to utter such nonsense about GOD.

      [72:5] " `We thought that neither the humans, nor the jinns, could possibly utter lies about GOD.

      April 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  15. Tom

    I believe that Dr. Swenson has several good points. Though I say this with the disclaimer that I am a Christian, I think that there is definite merit to knowing the Bible considering it's role in the history, culture, and politics Western civilization. Reading the Bible will lead to a better grasp of people's motivations throughout history. It will also help the reader to understand how often Christians in history have acted in ways contrary to Biblical Christianity.

    If you read the Bible and you are unconvinced, then at least you have made the effort. However, given the its significance I would recommend that anyone read it, regardless of their current beliefs.

    April 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Reality

      Updating the new section:

      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".

      April 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  16. Muneef

    All that been mentioned about John (Yahia) in the Quran.
    The Birth of John
    [3:38] That is when Zachariah implored his Lord: "My Lord, grant me such a good child; You are the Hearer of the prayers."

    [3:39] The angels called him when he was praying in the sanctuary: "GOD gives you good news of John; a believer in the word of GOD, honorable, moral, and a righteous prophet."

    [3:40] He said, "How can I have a boy, when I am so old, and my wife is sterile?" He said, "GOD does whatever He wills."

    [3:41] He said, "My Lord, give me a sign." He said, "Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three days, except through signals. Commemorate your Lord frequently; and meditate night and day."
    ------
    Zachariah
    [19:2] A narration about your Lord's mercy towards His servant Zachariah.

    [19:3] He called his Lord, a secret call.

    [19:4] He said, "My Lord, the bones have turned brittle in my body, and my hair is aflame with gray. As I implore You, my Lord, I never despair.

    [19:5] "I worry about my dependants after me, and my wife has been sterile. Grant me, from You, an heir.

    [19:6] "Let him be my heir and the heir of Jacob's clan, and make him, my Lord, acceptable."

    John
    [19:7] "O Zachariah, we give you good news; a boy whose name shall be John (Yahya). We never created anyone like him before."

    [19:8] He said, "My Lord, will I have a son despite my wife's sterility, and despite my old age?"

    [19:9] He said, "Thus said your Lord: `It is easy for Me to do. I created you before that, and you were nothing.' "

    [19:10] He said, "My Lord, give me a sign." He said, "Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three consecutive nights."

    [19:11] He came out to his family, from the sanctuary, and signaled to them: "Meditate (on God) day and night."

    [19:12] "O John, you shall uphold the scripture, strongly." We endowed him with wisdom, even in his youth.

    [19:13] And (we endowed him with) kindness from us and purity, for he was righteous.

    [19:14] He honored his parents, and was never a disobedient tyrant.

    [19:15] Peace be upon him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he is resurrected back to life.
    -------
    Zachariah and John
    [21:89] And Zachariah implored his Lord: "My Lord, do not keep me without an heir, though You are the best inheritor."

    [21:90] We responded to him and granted him John; we fixed his wife for him. That is because they used to hasten to work righteousness, and implored us in situations of joy, as well as fear. To us, they were reverent. 
    -------
    [6:85] Also, Zachariah, John, Jesus, and Elias; all were righteous.
    --------

    April 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  17. Mark from Middle River

    Thank you clyde for being everyone's grammer judge.We look forward to more of your leadership in this field.

    It's a blog you Dumb A. If we closed it or dismissed anyone who did not post grammatically correct we run the chance of losing the function of this board. Do not be an elitist Clyde. I can guarntee that if the the message is good and worthy then it can pound through all of the misspelled words and grammatically inncorrect sentances.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Unbeliever

      While I agree that some leeway can be granted to a blog, we should still strive to use proper grammar. That's how we can properly understand you. It's not the case here, but sometimes I see people expressing themselves so poorly, I have no idea what they are trying to say.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  18. The LORD

    What kind of arrogant peice of trash would write something like this? Are you kidding me?
    "Like oh my god, you should so totally read the bible because like, True Grit was like so totally based on a bible verse and like everybody talks about it all the time so even if you don't believe you don't want to miss out on the conversation and seem stupid riiiight?!?!? Because you know, being stupid will make you seem so totally lame, but if you read the bible you'll be totally awesome!"
    That's what I get when I read this article...some arrogant, suburban, spoiled little sorority girl trying to educate you about what's cool.
    Get out of here Kristin Swenson...you're just a kid and obviously don't really know of what you speak.
    Doctor???
    In religous studies??? That's like getting a Phd in mouth breathing....you're no doctor and you disrespect that tens of thousands of honest doctors in this country who actually do some good.

    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  19. False Reality

    "Why did Einstein, arguably the greatest human mind ever, say, "I'm not much with people, and I'm not a family man. I want my peace. I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomena in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.""

    Einstein also said " It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbound admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it"

    See–maybe Eisntein was not so religious as your quote seems to make it. However, it doesn't matter. It is irrelevant to reality what one person believes or another. The only thing that matters is what is provable and testable. Until that day comes when there is evidence of any God all you have is conjecture and appealing to a higher authority such as Einstein or C.S. Lewis or does not make the lack of evidence any more appealing.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Believer

      @False Reality: If you cannot prove something, does that make it untrue? Just because you can't see something, does that mean that it doesn't exist? I can't see gravity, but I know that it exists because I see its effects in the world around me. It is the same with the truths in the Bible.

      April 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • OK

      So if I can't see TinkerBell does that mean she is real! Yipeee! See I knew my mom was wrong when I kept telling my invisible BFF was really there.

      April 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      The reality of witness of existence of God, the Creator of all that exists, is all around us. Some see Him in everything , some don't see Him in anything, in spite of this witness.

      But the truth has no dependence of any man's approval, and so, regardless of man's opinions, He still is the Creator, the LORD of all creation.

      He has designed it this way, that only those who truly seek to know the truth, will see Him and recognize Him.
      He knows what is in the hearts of men, and reveals Himself to those whose hearts long to know Him without compromise, who is the GOD OF TRUTH. To Him belongs all glory honor and praise, so what makes anyone think that they could comprehend His mysteries, while hiding pride and arrogance in their hearts? Foolish people!

      April 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @OK- No no no, it's more like the belief that someone loves you. I mean, who could believe that right?

      April 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Unbeliever

      Believer-Really? You're comparing the existence of a god to gravity? You forgot that gravity is a testable theory that is proven with EVIDENCE. The is no evidence is any superior being. I think people should read the bible also.

      prism. I don't even know what to say. We are arrogant because we have the audacity to require proof? How arrogant is it for you to assert the existence of your particular fairy tale being over all others? You insist that there is evidence of this god in all we see. I see math and science working to actually learn why the world is the way it is. If it weren't for science, we would still believe the earth was the center of the universe.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ unbeliever
      You said "I don't even know what to say. We are arrogant because we have the audacity to require proof". You missed the crucial point in my comment, so I'll say it one more time....

      God has designed it this way, that only those who truly seek to know the truth, will see Him and recognize Him.

      He knows what is in the hearts of men, and reveals Himself to those whose hearts long to know Him, and come to Him with humble and repentant hearts, acknowledging their own poverty, and needing His righteousness.

      It is the pride in man's heart that causes his blindness toward His creator. Even the words you said above show what is behind them....
      But you go ahead, call me arrogant... I'm not subjected to your or anyone else's opinion of me... I have One to whom I answer, and whose thoughts of me are what matters. It is Him whose witness you reject , pretending you have none, demanding the proof. Yet if He Himself came down, and gave it to you you would still claim it's not Him. So why would He give you any proof while you DEMAND it ? He is God ! ! !
      We, puny little human ants have no business demanding anything of Him. It is by His infinite mercy he saves our bloody mess we made out of ourselves. But you in your own arrogance, go ahead and reject His mercy, thinking you don't need it, and you'll get your solid proof when you "graduate", and that day is comming...

      As for many choices of religions out there you mention, .. well, every one of them is made out of fig leaves, meaning, it's mans own attempt to reach God. But God does not need our attempts to reach Him. He wants sincerity of humble and seeing hearts!
      But this is what Christianity is: The revelation of God Himself to mankind through Jesus Christ, who was sent to declare Him, and explain Him. He is the Word of God made flesh, and THE ONLY WAY, THE TRUTH AND LIFE. No man comes to God without Him, and in Him all things consist. This is the way it is, and it can't be no other way. God made the rules, and can any one change them? Yeah, they may think they can and attempt, but they are braking HIS law. And we KNOW what it means to break the law and consequences of it.

      God's kingdom is not like our crippled democracy, where majority wins to rule, so if the majority is evil and desires things that are unjust and evil, they'll win!
      NOT SO WITH GOD. And that's why He is hated so much by this rebellious generation, because They want to be their own lords, and dispise WHO HE IS! And the posts on this bloog are reflection of what I'm saying, even your own very post.
      Good Day!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  20. False Reality

    "Yes, one can call an eye witness, delusional, drunk, hallucinigenic, ignorant, stupid, unlearned, fairytale teller, deluded, fooled, etc. etc., but God does not allow such convenient outs, for He is trying to save everyone, despite themeselves. Therefore, God has given the more sure word of prophecy (anchored in his word and history) which cannot be not beleived, only blatantly rejected, the rejector knowing he or she is rejecting irrefutable truth."

    Words written in a book, are not evidence nor are they irrefutably true. For every prediction in the Bible that you can claim "came true" I can find six more that did not. If I throw a hundred darts at a dart board and one hits bullseye it does not make me great at darts.

    Great Prophecy would not require its words to be mystical or pliable, it would be clear and concise and provide a date and a place that everyone can agree was a 100% accurate depicition of what was to come. That being said, everyone should read The Bible. As Charles Bukowski said "Properly read, The Bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived."

    April 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Dumb Illiterate

      False Reality: I don't believe you exist. I've never seen you, nor will I ever. You're just words written on a screen. Artificial intelligence is so advanced that a computer could be programmed to reply like you do. In fact, that's what I believe. You are just a random bit of flotsam generated by the naturally occuring reaction of various simple elements.

      Why should I believe YOU exist? What evidence can you show that you do exist? See? I can turn you off, just like this...

      April 22, 2011 at 9:29 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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