Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says
May 13th, 2011
11:47 AM ET

Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - A frail man sits in chains inside a dank, cold prison cell. He has escaped death before but now realizes that his execution is drawing near.

“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come,” the man –the Apostle Paul - says in the Bible's 2 Timothy. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

The passage is one of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament. Paul, the most prolific New Testament author, is saying goodbye from a Roman prison cell before being beheaded. His goodbye veers from loneliness to defiance and, finally, to joy.

There’s one just one problem - Paul didn’t write those words. In fact, virtually half the New Testament was written by impostors taking on the names of apostles like Paul. At least according to Bart D. Ehrman, a renowned biblical scholar, who makes the charges in his new book “Forged.

“There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman, an expert on ancient biblical manuscripts.In “Forged,” Ehrman claims that:

* At least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries.

* The New Testament books attributed to Jesus’ disciples could not have been written by them because they were illiterate.

* Many of the New Testament’s forgeries were manufactured by early Christian leaders trying to settle theological feuds.

Were Jesus’ disciples ‘illiterate peasants?'

Ehrman’s book, like many of his previous ones, is already generating backlash. Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar, has written a lengthy online critique of “Forged.”

Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

All of the New Testament books, with the exception of 2 Peter, can be traced back to a very small group of literate Christians, some of whom were eyewitnesses to the lives of Jesus and Paul, Witherington says.

“Forged” also underestimates the considerable role scribes played in transcribing documents during the earliest days of Christianity, Witherington  says.

Even if Paul didn’t write the second book of Timothy, he would have dictated it to a scribe for posterity, he says.

“When you have a trusted colleague or co-worker who knows the mind of Paul, there was no problem in antiquity with that trusted co-worker hearing Paul’s last testimony in prison,” he says. “This is not forgery. This is the last will and testament of someone who is dying.”

Ehrman doesn’t confine his critique to Paul’s letters. He challenges the authenticity of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. He says that none were written by Jesus' disciplies, citing two reasons.

He says none of the earliest gospels revealed the names of its authors, and that their current names were later added by scribes.

Ehrman also says that two of Jesus’ original disciples, John and Peter, could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.

“According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,’ ’’ he writes.

Will the real Paul stand up?

Ehrman reserves most of his scrutiny for the writings of Paul, which make up the bulk of the New Testament. He says that only about half of the New Testament letters attributed to Paul - 7 of 13 - were actually written by him.

Paul's remaining books are forgeries, Ehrman says. His proof: inconsistencies in the language, choice of words and blatant contradiction in doctrine.

For example, Ehrman says the book of Ephesians doesn’t conform to Paul’s distinctive Greek writing style. He says Paul wrote in short, pointed sentences while Ephesians is full of long Greek sentences (the opening sentence of thanksgiving in Ephesians unfurls a sentence that winds through 12 verses, he says).

“There’s nothing wrong with extremely long sentences in Greek; it just isn’t the way Paul wrote. It’s like Mark Twain and William Faulkner; they both wrote correctly, but you would never mistake the one for the other,” Ehrman writes.

The scholar also points to a famous passage in 1 Corinthians in which Paul is recorded as saying that women should be “silent” in churches and that “if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.”

Only three chapters earlier, in the same book, Paul is urging women who pray and prophesy in church to cover their heads with veils, Ehrman says: “If they were allowed to speak in chapter 11, how could they be told not to speak in chapter 14?”

Why people forged

Forgers often did their work because they were trying to settle early church disputes, Ehrman says. The early church was embroiled in conflict - people argued over the treatment of women,  leadership and relations between masters and slaves, he says.

“There was competition among different groups of Christians about what to believe and each of these groups wanted to  have authority to back up their views,” he says. “If you were a nobody, you wouldn’t sign your own name to your treatise. You would sign Peter or John.”

So people claiming to be Peter and John - and all sorts of people who claimed to know Jesus - went into publishing overdrive. Ehrman estimates that there were about 100 forgeries created in the name of Jesus’ inner-circle during the first four centuries of the church.

Witherington concedes that fabrications and forgeries floated around the earliest Christian communities.

But he doesn’t accept the notion that Peter, for example, could not have been literate because he was a fisherman.

“Fisherman had to do business. Guess what? That involves writing, contracts and signed documents,” he said in an interview.

Witherington says people will gravitate toward Ehrman’s work because the media loves sensationalism.

“We live in a Jesus-haunted culture that’s biblically illiterate,” he says. “Almost anything can pass for historical information… A book liked ‘Forged’ can unsettle people who have no third or fourth opinions to draw upon.”

Ehrman, of course, has another point of view.

“Forged” will help people accept something that it took him a long time to accept, says the author, a former fundamentalist who is now an agnostic.

The New Testament wasn’t written by the finger of God, he says - it has human fingerprints all over its pages.

“I’m not saying people should throw it out or it’s not theologically fruitful,” Ehrman says. “I’m saying that by realizing it contains so many forgeries, it shows that it’s a very human book, down to the fact that some authors lied about who they were.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture wars • Faith

soundoff (2,204 Responses)
  1. WH Uffington

    The forgeries have been acknowledged for a long time by academics, what they still insist though, is that the story is true. It isn't. There is no evidence at all that Jesus existed and his story is just the Jewish version of the Dying/Resurrecting God-Man that existed around the Mediterranean for years. It's promotion as truth, is The Greatest Lie Ever Told!

    May 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  2. TheOneIndependent

    Isn't hard to believe because not one story in the old testiment was written by anyone in the Bible. Written approximately 400ad by a goup of Rabbi's commissioned to write what they thought was the word of God. Most just regurgitated and embelished stories told for centuries by storytellers. All scriptures were submitted and a committee decided what WAS the work of God and what wasn't.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • BR

      Yes and no. The council of Nicea still used existing texts as the basis for the bible. Still...best estimates for the earliest surviving texts are between 30 and 70 years after Jesus's death. That's a full generation for the lifespan of the day and a long time for stories to be embellished.

      May 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  3. Ivan Libya

    LMFAO, you mean like the hundreds of millions of Christians thinking the Bible stories are real?

    Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

    May 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  4. Steven

    G-d says to man: "I refuse to prove that I exist because proof denies faith and without faith, I am nothing."

    The Bible (New or Old Testament) contains no proof of G-d's existence. If you have faith, then you believe and accept - no proof needed (or provided). If you question, there's no proof available.

    Jesus may have said that he is 'the way'; but every religion may make that claim. We can argue all we want about the contents and the meaning of holy books, but we won't receive proof. If there is a world to come, we'll find out then.

    May 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  5. AGuest9

    It took THIS LONG for someone to realize this???

    So much of the bible is fiction, and people BELIEVE it. Please don't lecture me about faith and "inspired works". The passage above from 2 Timothy fits into this category. Would a Roman prisoner be writing in his cell prior to his execution? Did the guards provide prisoners with parchment and ink?

    Put your college literature courses to good use. Sit down with a bible, a notebook, a pen and REALLY READ the new testament. Read the historical sections; the footnotes. Take notes. Do the math.

    The gospels were written (except, perhaps "Mark", which is missing the ending) well after any of the apostles were dead. (Let’s not get into the whole old testament nonsense of people living for centuries.) By 100CE, it was readily apparent from biographical information of the leaders and luminaries of the era that people's life spans were usually no more than 5 or 6 decades. "John", put together with Revelation or taken on its own with its flowery descriptive language, stands apart so much that it appears to have been written in a completely different time, and likely not by a lowly fisherman. "Matthew" and "Luke" seem to not agree on a number of key areas, so that it was M/M/L that formed the core of Jefferson's bible.

    Take away the "miracles", the unlikely resurrection/ascension and the political push that Jesus' brother James made in the church he and Peter built upon Jesus' sacrifice (which continued for millennia as it moved to Rome), and you are left with a fairly simple message: “quit killing each other.” It is this message that is most ignored as people fight to cram the politics of James' and Peter's church down the throats of others who believe something else. Please quit desecrating the memory of a wise and caring individual by continuing to politicize his life and death.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  6. maggie

    My nine year old son understands the bible much better than these people. The word of the bible will stand to time indefinite but man's word changes every second. The author is trying to sell books.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Maggie wrote: "My nine year old son understands the bible much better than these people."

      Many never grow beyond the intellectual level of a nine-year-old... Perhaps that's what the promoters of organized religion have in mind...

      May 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • propaghandi

      It's pretty good to know that a 9 year old can essentially explain how space and time was created better than a scientist

      May 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Joe

      "It's pretty good to know that a 9 year old can essentially explain how space and time was created better than a scientist"

      I fail to see how you rationalized your statement from what Maggie said. She said her son understood the bible not theoretical Astrophysics. The bible is a collection of works (written by man and inspired by the Divine) to impart the moral code by which man should aspire to live to.

      If however you are merely stating that because at nine he understands that "In the beginning when God created the heavens and the Earth, the Earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..." and some scientists refuse to accept or even fascinate the idea of intelligent design, then yes, you are quite correct in that it is "Pretty good to know." It constantly amazes me what children are capable of.

      May 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Some nine year olds still believe in Santa Claus...

      May 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  7. Valus

    "[If] our theory of revelation-value were to affirm that any book, to possess it, must have been composed automatically or not by the free caprice of the writer, or that it must exhibit no scientific and historic errors and express no local or personal passions, the Bible would probably fare ill at our hands. But if, on the other hand, our theory should allow that a book may well be a revelation in spite of errors and passions and deliberate human composition, if only it be a true record of the inner experiences of great-souled persons wrestling with the crises of their fate, then the verdict would be much more favorable."
    ~ William James

    May 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  8. pasigiri

    You know religion can lead you down the wrong path and in some cases, get you killed. Ask Jesus. Ask Peter, John, James, etc.

    By the way, when the Bible said they were "unlearned" it meant they didn't go to the same schools the pharisees and Jewish scholars went to or better put in todays terms, non-high school graduates. That doesn't mean they can't read.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Claire

      I was wondering the same thing. I thought perhaps unlearned meant perhaps they were not taught in the synagogues. If we review the context of this verse, the disciples are speaking of Jesus and how he is the way to salvation. So when they refer to them being unlearned, it almost seems the meaning of that has to be that they were unlearned in the scriptures specifically. (One translation is translated to "no special training in the Scriptures" (NLV). Although I do not want to use that as reference because it is translated by humans. It is not as if they were trying to write something and someone was thinking, "Wow, that grammar is horrible, they must be unschooled." The second half of the verse states that the people the disciples were talking to knew they must have been with Jesus, because of how they spoke of him and knew so much about him, while being 'unlearned'. I didn't look into this until now, and I was wondering if this author was possibly correct, but by the context of the verse I don't believe it could possibly mean illiterate and unable to write. While it could be possible they really were illiterate and couldn't write, I don't believe this verse is is backup for that theory at all.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  9. Amer

    Typical Jewish belief, nothing new. That's what is taught to them! Somehow trying to devlue other book

    May 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Amer wrote: "Typical Jewish belief, nothing new. That's what is taught to them! Somehow trying to devlue other book"

      Which "Jewish" belief? The belief in a god? The bible? The Jews relevant to this story are Jesus and his followers... the rest of the characters named in the article have never been remotely Jewish... Perhaps you should try removing your anti-Jewish bias and actually read what's written...

      May 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, Jews don't believe in the new testament. Try again.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      AGuest9 wrote: "Jews don't believe in the new testament. "

      Some did – those that are reputed to have written it... then there are those modern nutcases calling their group "Jews for Jesus"... can't generalize...

      May 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  10. PassingThru

    Witherington – what a putz. Arguing based on theories instead of facts. Just accept the seemingly factual evidence present and let's move on. you believe what you want, we'll believe what we want. When you are ready to prove your side, then let's talk.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  11. shawn

    The writer says: "Only three chapters earlier, in the same book, Paul is urging women who pray and prophesy in church to cover their heads with veils, Ehrman says: “If they were allowed to speak in chapter 11, how could they be told not to speak in chapter 14?”

    If you 1 Corinthians Chapter 11 it does not say "in church" and therefor is not a contradiction.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Claire

      What Shawn states is correct. Reworded, chapter 11 states that in the church women are to be silent. In chapter 14 it states that when praying and prophesying (presumably then in their homes, as it does not state 'in the church' in any translation) they are to cover their heads.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  12. Roger Williams

    Even with all the name calling among the Christians here, none have actually been able to produce a shred of evidence for any deities at all, much less a specific god of the Bible.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  13. Glen

    I don't why this is so surprising. The people who doubt will use this to continue to doubt. The people who believe will use this to continue to believe. He's just trying to sell books and take a shot at the church. It's more or less the same argument that's been going on since the church was formed. I say read The Bible for yourself, make your own conclusions.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  14. timd

    The bible is as valid or invalid as The Book of Mormon or Scientology.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  15. Bob

    We've known this for years, why is this just now being published?

    May 16, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  16. Frespech

    Just one more jew trying to refudiate the new testament. Surprise!!!!

    May 16, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Michael

      If you hate Jews, why not just come out and say so? You don't need a news article to use as an excuse to let everyone know how you feel, do you? Ehrman, however, is not and has never been Jewish. He was a born again Christian and a biblical scholar.

      May 16, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Something


      "Refudiate", did you say, "refudiate"?.... Bwahahahahaha

      May 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Kurt

      Wait....wait....this is a Poe, right? I'm hoping that 'refudiate' is a dead giveaway.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • BR

      ...hillarious. The screen name too. Frespech. "freh spehch"

      Actually I was thinking it was Dubyuh...or Will Ferrell's version of Dubhuh.

      May 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  17. T. Lee

    Mr. Ehrman is well known for these assertions having publish other such material. He has "discovered" that he can make a lot more money making sensationalistic claims whether well founded or not than teaching in a seminary. Bart Ehrman is a prime example that a higher level of education does not necessarily carry scholastic integrity with it.

    First – Bart Ehrman COMES LATE TO THE PARTY – in relation to observations about Jesus' disciples' "education":

    "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were __unschooled__, ordinary men, they were astonished" (Acts 4:13, NIV, underline added)

    "The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get __such learning without having studied__?" (4th Gospel, 7:15, NIV, underline added)

    So Ehrman's claims of "discoveries", "conclusions", etc., does so about material that has already been well known by the theological-scholarly community for years so what he is doing amounts to nothing more than self-serving financial capitalization upon that which is already well known an published by scholars. It's an old story of basking in the "credibility" accorded by the general public to someone like Ehrman with letters behind their name.

    What the beginning premise of looking at the writings called the new testament SHOULD be, is that Jesus himself wrote no words, he taught orally and others wrote. That Jesus was a historic figure for those who doubt he ever existed is testified to by the Jewish historian Josephus who speaks in his Testimonium Flavianum of Jesus by name and also comments about some of the things and works attributed to him.

    Secondly, Ehrman seems to be claiming that ALL of the disciples of Jesus were "illiterate" – which presumes Matthew the Tax Collector and Luke the Physician could not read and write which is absurd given their own level of education to do the work they did. Are we to think Matthew could "count" money and revenues collected but not read or write? Did Luke treat, prescribe, advise on medical matters of his day with no knowledge imparted by his training on how to read and write? It's a ridiculous premise on the part of Ehrman which onlly underscores his disingenuousness !

    That the Apostle Paul, the former Pharasee, could read and write, is admitted to by Ehrman.

    Whether or not the disciples were actually "illiterate" by today's standards and that Mr. Ehrman's we do not know – but remembering the reactions of those who heard them and Jesus speaking and marveled at their knowledge being "unschooled and ordinary" – much Bart Ehrman cannot speak to with the authority he presumes to do and maintain scholastic integrity.

    Simply comparing handwriting and grammatical construction does not take into account that others were writing as the disciples were teaching just as they taught what they heard Jesus speaking.

    All in all, if there is a God (rhetorically speaking only) then what that being desires for man to know – as delivered by representatives – would certainly have the power to insure the message/information retained everything essential to maintaining the integrity of the message regardless of how the material in which it was delivered changed in other ways over years, decades, centuries, and millenniums.

    Apparently that part was left out of ancient language and NT studies 101 as Mr. Ehrman progressed towards his Doctorate.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Chuck D.

      To T. Lee: An excellent analysis and observations. I would only add that Ehrman is 'spiritually illiterate' . Most agnostics, scholars or otherwise, apparently are NOT taught by the Holy Spirit and therefore lack divine revelation. The believing community should lift him up with prayer.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • AGuest9

      "How did this man get __such learning without having studied"

      It's a very simple way for someone who came after to cover their tracks.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • InFormed99

      If god wanted his word to be heard, you would think he would get the grammar right.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • David

      That argument is silly. Any scholar is free to write a scholarly article, or to write for the masses (or in Ehrman's case, both). Reading 'John Adams' by David McCullough doesn't make you a historian–it gives laypeople a sense of President Adam's life, without requiring that layperson to become a professional historian. The same with Ehrman writing about the new testament for a general audience. Review Ehrman's other publications. He's written plenty on the subject of the New Testament that was aimed at academia. You wouldn't have made the attack if Ehrman's book agreed with your views. They don't. Get a life.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • GSoldier

      Much knowledge puffs up...and apprarently that's what happened with "Bart!" Let God be true, and every man a Liar.
      You don't have to believe the Word of God...that's your choice! God doesn't have to prove that His word is true, creation itself bears witness of that...(sorry Darwinians)!

      May 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • BR

      @T. Lee – Ehrman regularly acknowledges that these incongruences are long known to bible scholars. He questions why these incongruences are confined to those upper echelons of biblical study and seeks to make the layman aware of them.

      He correctly points out that there are no surviving original texts from any witnesses to Jesus or any of his acts, much less the resurrection itself. There aren’t even any credible reports that any ever existed or any recorded first hand from scribes to apostles themselves. So whatever level of literacy Matthew and Luke may have had, the evidence is lacking for any of the passages attributed to the apostles having actually being recorded by them in any way.

      It is widely agreed that Josephus’s reference to Jesus is a later addition. In fact the best evidence we can get for a historical Jesus is that the story is probably based on a real person. That’s it. It’s a long way from there to divinity. Paul never met Jesus, so he might just as well have been a bronze age Shakespeare and it would lend no credibility to the story.

      You don’t appear to know anything about textual criticism. Handwriting and sentence structure are extraordinarily important keys in determining authenticity. You can try to dismiss it as relaying what they heard, but writers follow patterns and when a piece of text departs significantly from all the text preceding and following it, that is a huge indication that it isn’t original to the author…particularly when other/older copies can be identified without the same passages.
      The god of the bible is extraordinarily stupid if it wants to achieve its goal of accurately communicating its message through text.

      May 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • BR

      @GSoldier – Actually, yes he does. Just like bigfoot, loch-ness and fairies. We are all justified in dismissing claims of their existence without proof and “just look around” doesn’t cut it. You count your change and check your receipt at the grocery store…we all deserve at least that much tangible evidence for god.

      May 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  18. Pete the Ninja

    Actually, Paul wrote less of the new testament than Luke. So Paul didn't write the bulk of the New Testament. An often overlooked piece.
    I'm sure the author will sell enough books that it won't matter to him what he really wrote...

    May 16, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • InFormed99

      Paul did not write anything because he couldn't write.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Rick

      Actually the same guy that wrote the book of Luke also quite probably wrote the book of Acts. And, its pretty certain that Paul didn't write all of the books attributed to him. (Although not all scholars agree on this the weight of the arguments suggests that this is probably accurate.) Okay...so what? I don't think that means we throw out the messages just because we don't like the messenger. Getting lost in those arguments is a pointless exercise. However...learning why folks like Thomas Jefferson would say "Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and firm corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." became an interesting exercise for me. I learned more about the Bible through that research than just reading the Bible (actually wound up getting copies of the Septuagint and other direct translations from ancient Aramaic and Greek to compare to King James). Another caveat: if you're going to learn something you might try to find researchers who did pure research (as best you can), who put out the facts as they found them, and then you choose how to interpret them. For me – I am skeptical of "researchers" who obviously have a position and then interpret and report only "facts" that support their position.

      May 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  19. Ed across the Atlantic

    When you read most of the comments you come to realise that people's faith in the bible has been eroded by: the actions of orginzed religion, a lack of accurate knowledge of the bible as well as ideologies of intillectuals such as Stephen Hawkins. You should not allow that others shape your belief, find out for yourself what the truth is and then make an informed decision. There are lot of people that want you to adopt their half baked philosophies on God, our existence and the future. Do your own study

    May 16, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • InFormed99

      Peoples faith in the bible has been eroded because it is not true, not because any one scientist (Stephen Hawkins included) said it is not true. Proof denies faith, but faith denies the truth.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Something

      Please, people, get this man's name correct - Stephen Hawking.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Al

      You allow others to shape your belief...

      May 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  20. angrysmell

    two scholars arguing over something neither of them can prove, regarding a book written via divine inspiration. humans suck.

    May 16, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • TrainBear

      two scholars arguing over something neither of them can prove, regarding a book written via supposedly divine inspiration. humans suck.

      There, fixed it for you.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • al

      Two scholars arguing over something neither of them can prove, regarding a book written to control people and enrich the religious elite. Religion sucks.

      Yeah, still wasn't quite right...I think that got it though.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Unbeliever

      Prove that the bible is true using something other than the bible.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Carol

      Aptly stated. At one point some so-called scholars said certain locations mentioned in the Bible didn't exist until they were found. Man's reasoning ability is finite and small as demonstrated in this article whereas the Bible stands always ready to impart Wisdom to those who seek. This "scholar" misses the entire point of the Bible that is to arrive at a personal knowledge and respect for the Infinitely Majesty of God and His Love. We humans are as dumb as dirt. In fact dirt is smarter than most humans and more productive. The only forgery is the "scholar's" own faulty scholarship!!!

      May 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Tom

      How infinite is GOD if he put out a book that a scholar misses the point (as you see it)? Seems if you infinite power you would be able to put a more clear message out.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • eric

      @Unbeliever: Try living the better parts of its teachings. You have to ignore some of the book, no doubt about it for me personally. But to try and live a life of love and compassion towards all is something you have to experience. You can't read it, you can't be told how it is. You have to live it with an open mind and open heart and then see what you feel. Just an invitation.

      May 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      eric wrote: "to try and live a life of love and compassion towards all is something you have to experience. You can't read it, you can't be told how it is. You have to live it with an open mind and open heart and then see what you feel."

      Many people do this – and this has nothing to do with any sort of religion or "god"...

      May 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • eric

      @PTL: Agreed. You can live the teachings without belief in any God or Monster. The value is in the teachings. One does not have to dismiss, belittle or hate an entire belief system to live it better wisdom.

      May 16, 2011 at 7:09 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.