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

    All about the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)

    April 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  2. Muneef

    Salvation in Islam (part 1 of 3): What is Salvation?
    Salvation in Islam (part 2 of 3): Worship and Obey God.
    Salvation in Islam (part 3 of 3): Repentance.


    April 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Description: Why God revealed His message in the form of scriptures, and a brief description of the  two of the Scriptures of God: the Bible, and the Quran.
    Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 04 Oct 2009
    Islam is more inclusive in the holy revelations it affirms than any other heavenly religion in its present form. Muslims uphold and respect the following scriptures: (i)   The Quran itself, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. (ii)  The Torah (Tawrah in Arabic) revealed to the Prophet Moses (different from the Old Testament read today). (iii) The Gospel (Injeel in Arabic) revealed to Prophet Jesus (different from the New Testament read in churches today). (iv) The Psalms (Zaboor in Arabic) of David. (v)  The Scrolls (Suhuf in Arabic) of Moses and Abraham. Third, Muslims believe whatever is true in them and has neither been altered or  deliberately misconstrued.

    April 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  4. Muneef

    All articles ;

    April 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Truly found to be fine articles source to read whether in belief or in no belief... many questions that were put to me and for which I had not been able to express as rightfully in my own words now can be found here at it's best of form;
    Description: The Core of the Islamic Creed: the belief in God and His worship, and the means through which one can find God.
    Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 29 Mar 2011

    Introduction At the heart of Islam lies belief in God. The core of the Islamic creed is bearing witness to the phrase, La illaha illa Allah, “There is no true deity deserving worship but God.”  The testimony to this belief, called tawhid, is the axis around which all Islam revolves.  Moreover, it is the first of the two testimonies by which a person becomes a Muslim.  Striving after the realization of that oneness, or tawhid, is the core of Islamic life. For many non-Muslims, the term Allah, the Arabic name of God, refers to some distant and strange deity worshipped by the Arabs.  Some even think it to be some pagan “moon-god”.  However, in Arabic, the word Allah means the One True God. Even, Arabic speaking Jews and Christians refer to the Supreme Being as Allah.

    April 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Description: Why God revealed His message in the form of scriptures, and a brief description of the  two of the Scriptures of God: the Bible, and the Quran.
      Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 04 Oct 2009

      April 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  6. Moon Reef.

    Thanks for the new name.

    April 30, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  7. PRISM 1234


    You said " People move forward and you want me to move backward and to believe in yours more than in mine !?"

    If this is what you can say, after the things I've spoken to you, explaining them in such depth,

    I don't think anything else needs to be said.... Take care, friend!

    April 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.

      Don't understand what you mean with your words,but would inquire if you were hoping to convert me?
      Well would you have asked me if had interest,i would have saved you your wasted time and breath...why? It is because I have no doubt what so ever that (La-illah Illa Allah and Muhmmed is Rassol Allah)...No God but Allah and Muhammed his Messenger..the Quran brought by him is our light in the darkness of life....

      April 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.

      You see Friend my belief is not because of birth nor out of fear to be killed but out of full confidence and knowledge that God "Allah" was always there when needed he is our guardian in this hard life of the conspiracy of the corruptors and transgressors to Islam from out and from within, the wars here against it are not just weapons but all that could be used including web and media...
      Any way thanks for your consideration and kindly don't take it hard we are merely exchanging knowledge of what every body says,allowing therefore to increase knowledge of our indifference's but believing or not believing is a personal issue that no truth can be found or told from other than the heart which non than God "Allah" knows of just as he only knows the hour when earthly life ends not even Jesus nor Muhammed knew of from Allah ....

      April 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  8. Barry

    Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

    Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.

    Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

    (The Holy Bible; The book of Proverbs 9:9; 14:9; 23:9)

    April 29, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Muneef

      Please explain if I had annoyed you by any means or was meant for me? Thanks

      April 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  9. Muneef

    Al-Anaam sura 06:
    Wait they, indeed, for nothing less than that the angels should come unto them, or thy Lord should come, or there should come one of the portents from thy Lord? In the day when one of the portents from thy Lord cometh, its belief availeth naught a soul which theretofore believed not, nor in its belief earned good (by works). Say: Wait ye! Lo! We (too) are waiting. (158) Lo! As for those who sunder their religion and become schismatics, no concern at all hast thou with them. Their case will go to Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do. (159) Whoso bringeth a good deed will receive tenfold the like thereof, while whoso bringeth an ill-deed will be awarded but the like thereof; and they will not be wronged. (160) Say: Lo! As for me, my Lord hath guided me unto a straight path, a right religion, the community of Abraham, the upright, who was no idolater. (161) Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. (162) He hath no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him). (163) Say: Shall I seek another than Allah for Lord, when He is Lord of all things? Each soul earneth only on its own account, nor doth any laden bear another's load. Then unto your Lord is your return and He will tell you that wherein ye differed. (164) He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Lo! Thy Lord is swift in prosecution, and Lo! He verily is Forgiving, Merciful. (165).

    April 29, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  10. Muneef

    Why one with out the other?
    Does believing in findings made by science compel you to disbelieve in the Divine beings of God (Divine Force) ?
    Does believing in the Holy Bibles and Books compel you to disbelieve in the findings of science or to reject science or discourage the scientifical  knowledge from it's findings as a 'Saltan' beside the Heavenly Books to seek the true light from the false dim's that might have polluted our Heavenly References by mankind generation after generation that has distorted it's scientifical means !?! Does that was found does not means to reject  the whole existence the being of God the Creator !?! Nor for religious to reject the findings without accepting the challenge to prove otherwise in join efforts where the 'Men of Knowledge' who believe in the Seen and the Unseen jointly in Minds and Hands with the 'Men of Science' to search for truth of each thing or word given that leads us together to the light of the straight path that we are told of ?!
    Let us see, if it wasn't to the misleading verse that told earth was laid flat , men would have not tried to approve or disapprove with his findings ?! It is this the challenge that God would want us to search and research finding out the truthness of words that might have been lost or changed unintentionally for some reason or another, after all there are verses in the Quran that has told us to seek the advice and consultation from the men of knowledge and science !
    Then another Quran verse that says only men of knowledge and science would be God fearful more than ordinary men ! 
    We are told in our Quran that we are allowed to search and research every being and the purpose of it and with which as per the Quranic verse we will be able to penetrate Heavens and Earths, but here we are told not to search or research the being of God as to where abouts or what does he look like or shape or components of his being ! These things we are told will mislead us further to being astray in disbelieve or demanding physical apperance of God since all mericales were doubted and were called witchcraft and sorcery !

    Can we go as per those rules may life improve for all since science alone with no divine knowledge has gone astray in to unacceptable things that brought corruption to cultivation and to the lines of progeny,the Earth (waters&soils) and the Seas (waters&soils) !? Those are the the trangrassers and the wicked disbelievers !? Haven't they used mankind for experiments as animals ? Haven't they not only distorted the words or God but as well distorted all from seeds to animals to menkind in some form of mutation !? No smoke with out Fire "NASA&Holiwood" are very much aware of the consequences of same and it can be seen from what they offer us in docu-men-taries or science fiction movies !?

    Tired upto here until another day, thanks     

    God's Colorful Creations

    [35:27] Do you not realize that GOD sends down from the sky water, whereby we produce fruits of various colors? Even the mountains have different colors; the peaks are white, or red, or some other color. And the ravens are black.

    [35:28] Also, the people, the animals, and the livestock come in various colors. This is why the people who truly reverence GOD are those who are knowledgeable. GOD is Almighty, Forgiving.
    [55:33] O you jinns and humans, if you can penetrate the outer limits of the heavens and the earth, go ahead and penetrate. You cannot penetrate without authorization.

    April 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  11. Barry

    Dear Muneef:

    I admire you for your religious commitment. I also appreciate you because of your interest in spiritual matters.

    Recently I read a book about Islam, which you may find interesting. The book was written by a well-informed Muslim scholar. It carefully examines the Qur’an and Islam, and compares this with Christianity.

    I encourage you to read the book, and I would very much like to learn what you think of this fine book.

    The book is:
    Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, by Abdul Saleeb


    April 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  12. Muneef

    "Behold! Allah Promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah Willed to justify the Truth according to His Words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers; ”
    —Qur'an: Al-Anfal 8:7



    April 28, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • Barry

      Dear Muneef:

      I admire you for your religious commitment. I also appreciate you because of your interest in spiritual matters.

      Recently I read a book about Islam, which you may find interesting. The book was written by a well-informed Muslim scholar. It carefully examines the Qur’an and Islam, and compares this with Christianity.

      I encourage you to read the book, and I would very much like to learn what you think of this fine book.

      The book is:
      Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, by Abdul Saleeb


      April 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      Dear Barry.

      Well thank you but just bit surprised that for you to read about Quran and learn about Islam you had to read and learn from a Christian scholar even if he was Arabic...!! To learn about those you should read and learn it from Muslim writers and not Christians....!!! After all do you understand the meaning of the name of the author ? "Abdul Saleed" !!?? No Muslim scholar will be named as such because it means to say "Servant or Slave of the Cross" We Muslims are Servents or Slaves of God him self and no one or nothing else...!?!.so friend you are being mislead here...

      April 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Muneef, you said "No Muslim scholar will be named as such because it means to say "Servant or Slave of the Cross" We Muslims are Servants or Slaves of God him self and no one or nothing else"
      But no man can approach God without the Cross! The Cross of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed fo our sins, is the BRIDGE between GO an man. When HE stretched Hi s arms on that Cross, an died, the veil in the Temple was torn , not from the bottom, but from THE TOP, because GO has torn the veil between Him an mankind. It was accomplished, and when Jesus said right before He died " IT IS FINISHED" the whole creation trembled... IT WS FINISHED! No more anything to be accomplished... Mohamed didn't tell you that, dear friend!

      April 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.

      So now you worship the Cross? I thought you worshiped Jesus when you should be worshipping God...!

      Any way our Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) has not given us the Cross to save us but rather gave us the Quran as our saviour ;
      Greatness of the Quran

      [59:21] If we revealed this Quran to a mountain, you would see it trembling, crumbling, out of reverence for GOD. We cite these examples for the people, that they may reflect.


      [59:22] He is the One GOD; there is no other god beside Him. Knower of all secrets and declarations. He is the Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

      [59:23] He is the One GOD; there is no other god beside Him. The King, the Most Sacred, the Peace, the Most Faithful, the Supreme, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, the Most Dignified. GOD be glorified; far above having partners.

      [59:24] He is the One GOD; the Creator, the Initiator, the Designer. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Glorifying Him is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, Most Wise.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Hashr sura 59:
      If We had caused this Qur'an to descend upon a mountain, thou (O Muhammad) verily hadst seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitudes coin We for mankind that haply they may reflect. (21) He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible. He is the Beneficent, Merciful. (22) He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). (23) He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (24).

      April 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      ...didn't realize my post had much misspelling, especially the word God... This needs to be corrected.....
      So here it is again:

      Muneef, you said "No Muslim scholar will be named as such because it means to say "Servant or Slave of the Cross" We Muslims are Servants or Slaves of God him self and no one or nothing else"
      But no man can approach God without the Cross! The Cross of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for our sins, is the BRIDGE between God and man. When He stretched His arms on that Cross and died, the veil in the Temple was torn .... not from the bottom, but from THE TOP, because God Himself has torn the veil between Him and mankind.
      It was accomplished! And when Jesus said right before He died " IT IS FINISHED" the whole creation trembled... IT WAS FINISHED! .....No more anything to be accomplished... Mohamed didn't tell you that, dear friend...

      And also I like to explain to you, we Christians do NOT worship different Gods. There is ONE GOD, yet, three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. They make up all that God is. When Jesus came, God was born into the human race, to become like us, yet without sin, so to bring us to Himself.
      Jesus came to declare the invisible God.
      It had to be this way, because no other could save us. If He didn't do this, satan would have LEGAL right over all human race, because we were dead in our sins. But through death and resurrection of Christ, He redeemed us, made us alive in Him... that is, all those who come to Him, under the fountain of His shed blood.
      That is why Jesus Christ is called the Lamb of God, spotless, without spot or blemish, which God Himself provided!

      This is such an awesome thing that God did, it is too hard to comprehend! But to those who seek Him, with humble and contrite hearts, not willing to settle for anything less then truth, to them He will reveal Himself....

      No man can understand those things in himself. It is only God who can reveal it to him. That's why I say to you, friend, seek, seek with all your heart, and ask God to show you.......

      April 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Isra sura 17:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      And when thou recitest the Qur'an we place between thee and those who believe not in the Hereafter a hidden barrier; (45) And We place upon their hearts veils lest they should understand it, and in their ears a deafness; and when thou makest mention of thy Lord alone in the Qur'an, they turn their backs in aversion. (46) We are best aware of what they wish to hear when they give ear to thee and when they take secret counsel, when the evil-doers say: Ye follow but a man bewitched. (47) See what similitudes they coin for thee, and thus are all astray, and cannot find a road! (48) And they say: When we are bones and fragments, shall we forsooth, be raised up as a new creation? (49) Say: Be ye stones or iron (50) Or some created thing that is yet greater in your thoughts! Then they will say: Who shall bring us back (to life). Say: He Who created you at the first. Then will they shake their heads at thee, and say: When will it be? Say: It will perhaps be soon; (51) A day when He will call you and ye will answer with His praise, and ye will think that ye have tarried but a little while. (52) Tell My bondmen to speak that which is kindlier. Lo! the devil soweth discord among them. Lo! the devil is for man an open foe. (53) Your Lord is best aware of you. If He will, He will have mercy on you, or if He will, He will punish you. We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) as a warden over them. (54) And thy Lord is best aware of all who are in the heavens and the earth. And we preferred some of the prophets above others, and unto David We gave the Psalms. (55) Say: Cry unto those (saints and angels) whom ye assume (to be gods) beside Him, yet they have no power to rid you of misfortune nor to change. (56) Those unto whom they cry seek the way of approach to their Lord, which of them shall be the nearest; they hope for His mercy and they fear His doom. Lo! the doom of thy Lord is to be shunned. (57) There is not a township but We shall destroy it ere the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with dire punishment. That is set forth in the Book (of Our decrees). (58).

      Ash-Shura sura 42:
      And it was not (vouchsafed) to any mortal that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation or from behind a veil, or (that) He sendeth a messenger to reveal what He will by His leave. Lo! He is Exalted, Wise. (51) And thus have We inspired in thee (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. Thou knewest not what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of Our bondmen. And lo! thou verily dost guide unto a right path, (52) The path of Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Do not all things reach Allah at last. (53).

      April 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      LOL! I see you answered before I got to correct my post.... I added more explanation about things which confuse you about Christianity....
      Muneef, I am not being sarcastic toward you, and you need not to be toward me!

      April 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.
      Am sorry am not trying to be sarcastic about any thing but this how you made it look like, you have just added another One to the Three you already have !
      Any way the base of the Islamic belief is sura 112:

      Al-Ikhlas sura 112:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Say: He is Allah, the One! (1) Allah, the eternally Besought of all! (2) He begetteth not nor was begotten. (3) And there is none comparable unto Him. (4).

      [112:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
      [112:1] Proclaim, "He is the One and only GOD.
      [112:2] "The Absolute GOD.
      [112:3] "Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten.
      [112:4] "None equals Him."

      Besides you want me to believe few verses of yours while all my Quran verses that stated as above you are not accepting at all so how can we get along..!?

      People move forward and you want me to move backward and to believe in yours more than in mine !?

      April 29, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  13. RightturnClyde

    One thing that has been dramatically evident on this thread: most of you cannot read and understand English. That is very limiting in any context where English is the common language. It stifles communication. If you cannot read and understand (or write) English then you cannot express your thoughts clearly and accurately. Actually you are unable to read the Bible because that is a complex form of English, i.e., Elizabethan. It seems that you are confined to "texting" fragments on your cell phones. Your minds have not developed complex language skills.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Muneef

      Some thing better than nothing as it is with late better than never.....!!!?

      April 28, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      You need to examine your own posts. You should be ashamed to write things you do, and then identify yourself with the Bible. I replied to one of our comments where in some places you spoke the truth, but you are so full of it, that you don't even see that you yourself belong to the same crowd you were criticising.

      As for the people who do not speak English to your "perfection" ....Here is something for you to chew on, buster!

      When you yourself learn someone else's language the way some of us here speak English, plus some other foreign languages; then you may be able to criticize others. But then, that kind of person, whose intelligence is high enough to spell, write, read and speak some other language other then their native one, good enough to communicate to others; this kind of person is much more civilized then to evaluate others according to their mastering another language. You are a disgrace, and everything else that you may have said good, you hav "thrown it out through the door" , by your disgusting rambling!

      April 28, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Liz

      "by your disgusting rambling!"

      Yet, you did the very same thing. LMAO!

      April 28, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • jimtanker

      You mean the bible has only ever been published in English? And here I thought that it was printed in many different languages. Silly me.

      April 28, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      LOL! It looks like clyde-boy got himself an equal..... therefore, your opinion is of the worth about as much worth as his! LOL!
      Go take a brisk walk , it'll do you good to clear your head, so you could read, and comprehend what you read!

      April 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • RightturnClyde

      I does not matter what language you would read the Bible (or any other communication) since you do not ever respond to the main or salient point then obviously you cannot understand what you are reading. If you cannot understand what you read then, simply put: you can't read. Moon-reef does not read he simply "dumps" what ever is on his mind (the Quran). He never writes anything that relates to what has been posted (so obviously he is NOT reading it). Moon Reef reminds me of Bronson in Dirty Dozen responding to the shrink. If you cannot understand what you read there is no value in reading it. None of you exhibit any understanding of even a simple paragraph. You are illiterate.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Com'on, Clyde, you should know that all the su'perior literal ability that one may have will NOT cause him to understand the Word of God! it is a spiritual Book, and only those who humble themselves before God , to them HE gives understanding of His Word .... You must have an aw'fully big chip on your shoulder, or else you would not talk the way you do, in the atti'tude you display!
      The Bible did not enter your heart, only your head!

      April 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Muneef


      Silly me I was not sure that you were pointing at me but just felt it might and that's why I said some thing better than nothing...

      Just as mentioned by PRISM1234. English is my second language and my only first times to write in length was only here in these blogs therefore might not be in the perfect grammar or words arrangments but hope at least is understood what it wants to reflect to you...you said I did not write of my own and only paste Quran, while easily the posts I made above was not at all Quran but only my words....you said I am not commenting about the subject of the blog...ok who is ? We always in every blog wander far from the subject blog into far more important issues that become to be connected or related and after all it is all about religion....besides from my post above It was some how related to subject blog since I was pointing out that those scriptures came through generations to become bibles and the Holy Quran that all ought to be read to learn wisdom and knowledge so where was the wrong here?? Sorry guys I tried to express my self at my best of knowledge but if seemed as failed then there is no alternative but to go back to pasting self-explanatory Quran verses...

      April 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Muneef

      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).

      Ghafir sura 40:
      Those who wrangle concerning the revelations of Allah without any warrant that hath come unto them, it is greatly hateful in the sight of Allah and in the sight of those who believe. Thus doth Allah print on every arrogant, disdainful heart. (35).

      Ghafir sura 40:
      Lo! those who wrangle concerning the revelations of Allah without a warrant having come unto them, there is naught else in their breasts save pride which they will never attain. So take thou refuge in Allah. Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer. (56) Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind; but most of mankind know not. (57) And the blind man and the seer are not equal, neither are those who believe and do good works (equal with) the evil-doer. Little do ye reflect! (58).

      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 7:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      An-Nahl 16:
      And when We put a revelation in place of (another) revelation, – and Allah knoweth best what He revealeth – they say: Lo! thou art but inventing. Most of them know not. (101) Say: The holy Spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). (102) And We know well that they say: Only a man teacheth him. The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech. (103)

      April 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  14. Muneef

    Enjoyed watching the Christian festival of race passing the Fire Torch from one to another.
    The same is used in the openings of the Olympic games where finnaly they are to light over the bigger fire torch.this was a practice followed from the times of the Greeks. 
    What do we learn out of this practice ? Isn't is just as A message of true light that is to be raced passing it from one generation to the second generation in order a day will come for the truth to prevail in a bigger light of wisdom and peace.!? We are all searching for the light of truth the whole truth nothing but the truth ! We are not seeking to brain wash selves to believe what we want to believe deillusioning or selves with what we chose to want to believe.!?
    We been given in the Whole heavenly scriptures including Quran stories that when are read or recited they are supposed to inspire us from it's wisdom of the old, reading those stories is like feeding our senses for knowing which becomes to be known as man's common senses.
    The message that has been passed and exchanged among generations was that (God is One & Only No Mate, No Son ,No Partner and that Iblis (Satan) is the Etenal enemy of Mankind and that he has taken an ought to make stray mankind ending them into the eternal Hell fires !? 

    The Paths of Mankind :
    -The Righteous.
    -The Strayed.  
    -The Condemned.
    The Rules been Given and laid out as to what the punishments or the rewards would be for each of our deeds,but then after all only the Mercy of God that would admit us into heavens and paradise and not only our efforts, after all, all that counts is what is in our hearts and our intentions,belief or disbelief !?

    Some are lazy or as hard as Rocks or Locks and just want to bury their heads into the sand or plugging their ears and covering their eyes as from the Thunders and the Lightenings of the The Truth that One day has to prevail,whether we have wanted or tried to put the light of truth off or block it from sight or bury it alive !!!

    The truth will come back to prevail with matter how ever may God wanted it to be ! By the Pen or by the Sword or by what ever God has willed it to be...it is only then upon confrontation where and when faith is tested and judged,then it is for God to decide whom to give victory over the other  the unjust ones. Our Holy Book told us that over Seven Thousands Angels on top of horses were landed as an Army to join the battle fight against the transgressors, in taking side of Muslim believers who were far less in numbers and less equipped if compared to the other-side who were far more in numbers, in equipments and in supplies .! 

    It was that battle fight who decided the existance of Islam against the will of the polytheists and the Pagans of Mecca.
    Those nights of the battle fight was named as "The Battle of Bader".
    Therefore we can say winning the War is Not by The Large Well Trained Number of Armies or Number of Equipments or Higher the Technologies an Army had but it is rather more about how much faith you have in course and cause ! ?

    It is more like who God will take side with?  (Faith and Will) have to go togather to bring back the Good wellbeing for Mankind such as Justice,Love and Mercy as such will only bring around Peace and prosperty !? 

    As Good brings back around Good, then Evil only brings back around Evil, (what ever Seed  we Plant We will harvest it's fruits ) so if the seed we plant is of Good seed,we will hearvest Fruits of Goodness but if of Evil seeds that has been planted then will only harvest Fruits of Evil  !?  The Holy Book told us that a word of kindness is like a Tree of a Good Seed that we plant and that we will hearvest ...while a bad hurting word is like a Tree of a bad seed.

    Atheists.agnostics.disbelievers,pagans what ever or whom ever you are suggest to leave faith,belief or religious disputes behind and just read the Bibles and the Quran as referance for history and for wisdoms that through reading helps us to think for our selves and decide for our selves with out being told what to believe or not to believe. Have we asked our selves how mankind learnt and reached what ever level he is in now today? If it wasn't for the knowledge that was gathered and passed on from Adam's times then generation after generation to revive,remind,warn the stray against the wish and will of those condemned ones who rejected,killed and exiled the Messengers and Prophets of God, then towards each crime they have made they packed it in a different shiny papers just as of the sweet candies to explain why or for what they did it for  !? 

    Peace2all/my regards !

    April 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  15. PRISM 1234

    P.S. Sorry it got posted twice....

    April 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      This is such a messed up thread! This P.S. post was meant for Muneef on previous page....

      April 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  16. RightturnClyde

    The Protestant pulpit asked the church-members to self-govern honestly (building "bees," church upkeep, division of labor and talent .. true democracy) .. from the church in the Wildwood it was not a great leap to govern our villages and towns and counties and states .. the Virginia Burgess comes to mind (Williamsburg). From the pulpit came the inspiration of great leaders .. great authors, great poems and songs, e.g., the Battle Hymn of the Republic).

    April 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Artist

      As long as they stay in their churches/pulpit and out of the government, I have no issue. If you feel the bible and god should be in our government and dictate our leaders and laws then you are the same as the Taliban, rather you are part of the Christian Taliban and you are an enemy of the state.

      April 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  17. RightturnClyde

    One cannot overstate the power that emerged in American from what was being preached from the pulpits. In simple worldly things the Protestant pulpit preached (and delivered) universal literacy (every child can read – the bible). An entire nation of literate people (who could read and write .. and be employed in banks, newspapers, engineering firms, etc.). And entire nation that used the Bible as a primer .. understand it (read all of it many times).

    April 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  18. RightturnClyde

    My comment is awaiting moderation

    April 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • RightturnClyde

      where there is a will there is a way ... see below

      April 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  19. Barry


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

    Is this true?

    The country of India is notorious for two things: poverty and corruption. This has been true for a long, long time.

    China is notorious for its abysmal record of human rights abuses. Those who dare to think or question the status quo risk being placed in one of their prisons or labor camps, or they simply disappear.

    No doubt the focus of George Orwell’s famous book, 1984, was China and other similar societies.

    China is also known to be corrupt, and this has had tragic and costly consequences for the people of China.

    I hardly think one could say that these countries have flourished, despite their massive populations.

    I encourage you to research these matters.

    Was it not Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC); who said that Rome was great because of her justice?

    And didn’t the great French sociologist and philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, conclude after his 19th century tour of America, that what made America so great was–not her industry, not her great factories, but her righteousness–which he concluded was the result of what was being preached so powerfully from the pulpits of the churches throughout the country?

    Fortunately China now has a sizable and growing Christian movement. Surely this will result in good things for the country, as already seems to be occurring. I hope the same good things for India and for the whole world.

    April 27, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      yeah we know Christians are free of corruption. Well OK, just ignore Newt, Jimmy, and all those catholic priests

      April 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  20. Barry


    Your questions show that you have either not read the Bible, or you have not been paying attention to what has been happening in the world, since the beginning.

    I suggest that you begin by reading the Bible—Old Testament and New Testament. I also suggest that you pay close attention to what has been occurring throughout history. I believe that will answer your questions.

    I can save you some time, however. For the message is summed up in a single verse:

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son; that whoever believes in him should not perish but should have eternal life.” (The Gospel According to John; chapter 3, verse 16)

    April 27, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234...has mentioned old verses in your old testament that foretold about the coming of some one who will do that and this and there after you should take to crucify so to wipe alll your sins and be free of sins until date you die and resurrected..? You believed all those old verses and made it actual torturing a holy man and crucifing him as being the most justified crime man made....!?
      If you were such believers in verses, then why not believed your verses speaking of the becoming of Uhmed or Muhammed who you were ordered to believe and follow (In the Old Testment as I understand)....??!

      April 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      yeah, but neither of your religions has first-to-file on scapegoating. That crucifixion trade for sin is way unoriginal.

      April 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Muneef, in order for someone to understand why it had to be a suffering Savior to come and become a sacrificial Lamb for the sin of mankind (all mankind, not just one nation), one must grasp and understand the severity of sin, and what it does and causes....

      April 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Muneef

      PRISM 1234.

      My dear among you Christians you have not decided and are divided ? Some call him Son and Some call him God...? And each claim to be right ? So how do you expect others to believe when they are told that he was as human as Adam was and that he was merely the chosen prophet and messenger of God to the Children of Israel to bring them to light but they rather preferred to put the light off and stay in the dark as polytheists and idolaters...!!!

      April 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
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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.