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. AIZEN

    not all in the bible are to be taken literally..there are a lots of legends in there...but it is in itself a good book either you believe or not...but also have lots of bad things in it...racism, inceste, adultery and the list goes on...

    April 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  2. VegasRage

    Read it even if you don't believe? Uhm, no.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Steve Luke

      I read many things I do not believe. I believe the Bible, but I didn't believe it before I read it. How do you know that you will not believe it if you have never read it? Going on what others say about it is like thinking you understand a movie because you have heard a review of it.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Matt

    Ok, author, why not read them ALL (like I did) and become an Atheist because each story is its own brand of crazy. Yeah I understand religion, and reject it all, because there are THOUSANDS of religions in the world, from tribes, to towns, to cities, to nations and ALL of them think they're right... and are willing to kill for it. It's much easier to entertain the notion that we made it all up and fight each other over something so stupid as an invisible man with invisible plans, and invisible rules, and invisible punishments. Honestly, why even bother after we all know that religion, its books, and its practices are all meant to control you. Faith my left n()t.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • to matt

      i will tell you why read the Bible
      Because God, whom you choose to reject, loves you still.
      what are you going to do with His Love?
      You know He is and He is God. stop struggling in rebellion. it only takes a minute being humble and stop and admit.
      He is waiting.
      Christ paid it all, just take the gift. Because He lives.
      "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and You will be saved."
      Believe, as long as it is today still.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  4. Cindy

    If everyone that has made a comment here knew that this would be the end, that within the next second or so it would be the final breath that they ever took. Still you wouldn't believe in God Almighty, don't understand how an atheist looks around at everything that the good Lord created and not realize that he had a hand in it. You will find out in the end, every knee shall bow and every tounge shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. What will you do then...if indeed like you say God does not exist??

    April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Matt

      I'll tell you how... because I understand the sciences of geology, evolution, and the Big Bang. It's not that hard.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Renny

      @Matt, still, even Darwin admited his theory of evolution had lots of "holes" in it that could not explain various leaps/advances from one species to the next. Not that I'm that religious mind.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Matt

      Darwin had a rough theory that has since amassed more evidence to support it as fact. Would you fault the first chemist for not knowing everything about chemistry??>

      April 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Renny

      Ummm, Matt, the "holes" still have not been filled, mostly around the Cambrian era. Also, please don't take my discussion to be advocating religion either.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Cindy, what if the Torah holds the real truth? Or the Koran? What will you do?

      April 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Hmm


      Darwin did not have the science we have today and a great many of those gaps have been filled in. Darwin was a brilliant man but he simply did not have the same resources we have today.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  5. Renny

    For those atheists among us, "there are stranger things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
    God is everywhere? Surrounds us and binds us together? Wow, God is also the Force!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Damn

      atheists !! to whom your talking you fool!!

      April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Matt

      They totally plagerize from ancient sun-worshippers and deified the sun and stars. Then they forgot they did that and believed their own made up stories. Sad but true.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Renny

      Just observing that there are plenty of unexplained/unexplainable phenomena in ths ole' world.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Fish&Chips

      So god is a Jedi?

      April 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Renny

      No, god seems to be the "force" that gives the jedi his power. not a jedi himself.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Fester N. Scab

    In the Beginning Dog created The Bone. I don't need no stinking bible to tell me if I'm not a Jew, that I'm not a child of God. Who are these idiots to impose their superiority over us Gentiles?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  7. Damn

    The Bible, is the biggest lie in History

    April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • to damn

      But if the Bible is not a lie, you are in deep trouble

      if the Biblie is true, and it is, you and all will have to give account
      and you ain't got enough to pay your debt.

      but some one does,
      come to Him, and live.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "But if the Bible is not a lie, you are in deep trouble "

      And if the bible is false, you just wasted your entire life believing in a false god and gave your money to the scam artists who run the church.

      Please explain how you KNOW for a fact that your religion is the one true religion in a universe where we as humans can only see a fraction of?

      April 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  8. Mateezy

    To Christians- all this bickering back and forth to athiest and non-beilevers is a waste of your time, They will never believe so don't waste your time/effort. What you need to realize that these athiest weren't born atheist. Most of em were born to Christian families. Over time because of the confusion and illogical beliefs of Christianity they realized that its better not believe in what they call fables and stories and myths. Many of them also have issues like one of their relatives dying, etc, something bad happening and they have an issue with God. Their minds can't comprehend or understand, so the easiest way is to back out and start hating the religion they grew up with. Also Atheist are the minority and have the most nonesense belief, they think Science created everything and this entire world is by chance. Why would religious people (the majority) make up a belief about a God etc. thats much harder to comprehend. What I'm getting at is, you need to wake up and use your rational minds, stop getting emotional with the Atheist and let them be. Many of them love making you mad. Also if you love Christ, then worship his Creator, God, not his creation (s)

    April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Observer

      Reality: a recent test/poll showed that the average atheist and average agnostic know more about the Bible than the average believer. They also had higher educations. Rationalize all you want.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Matt

      You were off to a good start until you said "Science created everything".... listen pal, SCIENCE IS A METHOD NOT A PERSON. Science is the method to which you discover FACTS. It makes TONS of sense were your feeble mind able to even comprehend an ATOM. So take your smack talk and shove it buddy.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Eric G

      Actually, everyone is born an atheist. You were taught to believe as you do.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Russell

      Exactly! Great points. They'll believe soon enough

      April 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • nick2

      Religion is the opium of the masses [Karl Marx] Agnosticism and Atheism is fast becoming the predominant belief of the developed world, the contrary to what you claim.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Eric G – Actually, everyone is born an atheist. You were taught to believe as you do.'

      Exactly right. If a person was born to a hindu family they would likely be raised hindu, muslim family as a muslim. Everyone starts off atheist. Some unfortunately are brainwashed at a young age.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Mateezy

      Cedar Rapids/Eric that is incorrect, but you may believe in what you wish, however every human is born with a natural inclination its creator, even you, whether you like it or not were born with this natural state. Its your parents and society that make you a christian, jew, muslim, hindu, fire worshipper, etc. That is why in Islam any person that dies before the age of reason (puberty) will not be held accountable. God gives you until this age to figure things out, the proof is all there. No one besides the mentally ill have an excuse in front of God. Even if your parents were Christian and raised you Christian, when you become an adult and you can reason, you should be able to decide what is truth from falsehood. Its very simple, worship of One God (alone) or the worship of many gods (polytheism). you chose the 3rd, worship of No God, two of these are doomed for failure. (hint the one that goes against your nature)

      Tell me if someone was born on a secluded island and no one there to teach them religion or this and that, what would they believe? they would believe in a creator because of the perfect things they see around them. even if they don't know who it is or what it is, etc. they would probably acknowledge a fashioner, designer, provide. it just makes sense. (cuz its in their nature)

      April 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Mike

      When I read the diatribe that you people write I am reminded that one of the great writers, C.S. Lewis, started out as an Atheist and wanted to prove that God did not exist. And in doing so, discovered that there is a God and his son Jesus Christ. Even Einstein believed, as do many hundreds of millions. Jesus was hated during his time, he was turned over to those who wanted him dead and this "sinless" man was crucified and was raised on the 3rd day, the very reason we celebrate Easter.

      Sola Scriptura-Scripture alone! Scripture alone is absolutely authoritative for doctrine and practice, and following scripture alone is sufficient to please God in all things. I will pray for all of you non-believers that Jesus and the Holy Spirit will embrace your heart this Easter weekend and that you will repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Suzie

      ok to funny...

      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 unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

      I believe in Spi-noza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

      April 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  9. el_incr

    What a foolish thing to say!
    1 Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
    1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Judas

    "Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." (Psalm 137:9)

    April 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • nice name Judas?

      but you need to read context and get some Bible lessons. Psalm 137commentary here:
      What we love, we love to think of.
      Those that rejoice in God, for his sake make Jerusalem their joy. They stedfastly resolved to keep up this affection. When suffering, we should recollect with godly sorrow our forfeited mercies, and our sins by which we lost them. If temporal advantages ever render a profession, the worst calamity has befallen him. Far be it from us to avenge ourselves; we will leave it to Him who has said, Vengeance is mine.
      Those that are glad at calamities,especially at the calamities of Jerusalem, shall not go unpunished.
      We cannot pray for promised success to the church of God without looking to, though we do not utter a prayer for, the ruin of her enemies.
      But let us call to mind to whose grace and finished salvation alone it is, that we have any hopes of being brought home to the heavenly Jerusalem.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  11. Hmm

    The New Testament, which Christians should be following, does not prescribe death for anything. The author is specifically referring to the Old Testament, or the Torah, which is a Jewish holy book. No real Christian should be using the Torah as their religious guidelines. Those that do are simply misinformed.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  12. Gingeet

    I wish people would actually read the Bible so they then would finally understand how full of BS it is. But then I assume most would have the reading comprehension of at least a third grader.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Matt

      I read the stupid thing from cover to cover and walked away even more angry that people could even entertain it as fact. Pretty plain to me people did not know how to explain natural disasters and magic tricks back then.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • b careful

      MATTHEW 12:31
      And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men,
      but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Jonny

    @barry – that is perhaps the most self involved piece of drivel that i have ever heard. The concept of their being just one god is about the only unique idea the Hebrews had. all other concepts about "higher ethics" is just YOU, trying to elevate your religion above others.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Hmm

      The Hebrews did not invent the concept of one god. Zoroastrianism came before Judaism. In fact, most unbiased scholars believe many of the tenets of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were derived from Zoroastrianist beliefs. Don't take my word for it though. Look it up.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      And the ancient egyptians flirted with the idea for a generation or so before reverting to former gods.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jonny

      well that shows it. Hebrews didn't actually come up with anything original in their religion.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  14. Damn

    Bible lead to Dark ages...

    April 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Steve Luke

      You've got it reversed. The Bible was suppressed from distribution among the common folk, causing an age of ignorance. Religious knowledge was a weapon the Roman Church used to keep people in bondage.

      Then the reformation happened and men began translating the Bible into languages that common folks could read. This reformation brought about a desire for knowledge, leading many to become literate. The first book printed on a printing press was the Bible translated into German. With the readily available word of God, the world actually came out of the dark ages.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  15. Isaiah 45

    They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.’”

    All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • marcia

      oh please...drone on...god fearing dude!

      April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Matt

      Know what sucks for us Atheists? That we know when you die, you wont be punished in an afterlife.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  16. Epidi

    I'm Pagan and I've read the Bible and many other texts from the Book Religions. Just to educate myself and read some good literature. Now I know why I don't belong in a Book religion's church, synagogue, or mosque. It has nothing to do with how I conduct my "lifestyle" or "morality". I'm hetero (though with friends who are gay), charity contributing (my time is worth more than my miney), love my nieghbor (I still respect your spiritual path no matter how much you may stomp on mine in conversation). A book religion person would find it hard to find fault with how I live my life. But many of them would stone, burn, or exile me for not having a desire to conform to thier way of "thinking". Peace.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Trey

      I have learned from being a Christian in a sea of non-Christians the value of logic, intellect, and simple acceptance (not mere tolerance) of other people. You can believe what you choose, but we could also have an erudite and prehensile conversation, regardless of differing beliefs. My interpretation of the Bible has lead to respect people of all faiths. Not all Christians burn Qurans or hate gay people, plenty do, in fact, love people for what they are. We can all walk side by side in this crazy thing called life.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  17. marcia

    who could possibly believe the fairy tales in the bible??
    however...it is a good historical novel!

    April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Renny

      Calling it a "fairy tale" and a "historical novel" in the same breath. hmmmmmmmm.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • nick2

      It actually has very little historical value. Much of it was plaguearized from beliefs thousands of years earlier.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • i wonder


      The Bible is quite an assemblage of different genres... those which @marcia mentions, along with some morality tales, poetry, sci-fi, horror, fan-fic and others.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  18. Natty

    The bible is not the only "holy scripture" in the world. Its not even the best at revealing spiritual truth. What is in the bible is not what "God says". It is written by men, obviously, and it says what THEY say God says. According to its own words, there was no witnesses when Moses obtained the tablets of law. How come he couldn't have made it all up to reign in the people? When Jacob was on the mountain top supposedly "wrestling" with an angel (?) no one was there,right? So how did the story reach us? These stories obviously were either related by the principles themselves or other sympathizers (in Jacob's case). The reason the bible seems so preeminent in the world is due to the utter (and mostly brutal) domination of the european cultures that espoused it. Aint that a hoot? So I personally feel less reading of it would be a help!

    April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • what do you believe in?

      They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
      They have turned their backs to me and not their faces;
      yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’

      Jeremiah 2:27

      April 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • nick2

      but isn't it true that all scriptures and holy words are actually man made ?

      April 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  19. God

    I made Kristin Swenson blonde so that you might have a visual clue as to her true intellect.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • David

      HA! Excellent post, best reply yet to this idiocy.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  20. Sam

    There is evidence that there is a God: LIFE. It is unexplainable and incomprehensible. To make a car run all you need is all the parts put together and gas. To make a living organism is impossible if its already dead

    April 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Damn

      God does not mean to read your Bible...

      April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Matt

      It's not unexplainable. It's complicated.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Dan

      Holy crap you are so wrong and clueless it's not even funny. Just because you can't comprehend something doesn't mean there's a supernatural explanation for it. Do you think people understood lightning and thunder? Now we know what they are. The same for the evolution of life. It's happened over MILLIONS...BILLIONS of years....and yes, THAT is very hard to wrap your head around. But it doesn't mean there's a supernatural explanation.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Eric G

      Sorry Sam, logic foul on the play!

      You are making an argument from ignorance. If you do not understand the verified evidence to support a theory, it does not invalidate the theory or the evidence. (Also, a penalty for argument from as-sumption for making claims of knowledge without presenting evidence.)

      10 yards from the spot of the foul. Repeat first down.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Hmm

      The Bible says to keep your religion to yourself. Maybe you supposed Christians here ought to read your Bible more often. Below are excerpts from Matthew Chapter 6:

      1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
      2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
      3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
      4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
      5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
      6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
      7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • what do you believe in?

      Genesis 1

      The Beginning
      1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was[a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
      3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Genesis 1

      April 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Zebula

      Read a science book or two. Maybe you won't be so (ignorant) confused....

      April 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Gingeet

      Life does not provide evidence for God. It does not provide evidence for whatever God you believe in as well as, any other God that others believe in. Also, it does not provide evidence that many other Gods exist. How you can make a jump from living organisms to the existence of a God is beyond me.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • william

      Maybe so, but who's to say that "God" put all this in motion quintillions of centuries ago, but has nothing to do with the day to day operations? He might know what will happen, and choose to not intervene.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • to HMMM

      sorry you have a little problem of confusing terms. did you read righteousness? or your edition reads religion?
      ejem ejem go ahead and explain to us what righteousness is, since you happen to analyze and know about what the Bible say?

      April 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • nick2

      "unexplainable and incomprehensible" is a pretty poor test of the existence of a divine being. Christopher Columbus was no messiah but the Indians had never seen anything as wondrous as a horse leaping of a huge sailing ship.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Francisco

      LIFE is evidence that there is a beginning, not that there is a god. And if it was, there is still not evidence pointing that god is a person or a thing, and there is no evidence that god wrote or inspired any religious book. All those questions are subject to philosophical discussion.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • irongoat81

      actually, i've seen a show where scientists have created the lowest levels of "life forms" by adding electricity (lightening) to certain conditions (mud).
      and yea... just cause you don't understand something that there is a god. that's bad reasoning.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Sid

      Sam: You make a fundamental mistake with this old argument. Your argument is called the "God of the gaps".

      You argue that the fact that humans can't explain everything is proof that there must a god to explain it. To you, god explains the gaps in our knowledge.

      But our ignorance is not evidence. Just because something is UNEXPLAINED does not mean that it is UNEXPLAINABLE. It just means that we haven't explained it yet. Human knowledge grows everyday. And as human ignorance shrinks, god has fewer places to hide. Remember, 5000 years ago no one could explain the sun and the moon. So the sun and the moon were considered gods. Science and reason killed those gods by filling in those particular gaps. I am hopeful that we will continue to kill gods.

      Further, we may NEVER explain certain things before the last human in the universe dies. But even then, none of this proves, or even suggests, that there is a god.

      Repeat: Ignorance is NOT evidence.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:56 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.