Actually, that's not in the Bible
Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden right? Nope. That's one of many phantom passages that people think are in the Bible.
June 5th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Actually, that's not in the Bible

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people  - quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And there is this often-cited paraphrase: Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.

None of those passages appear in the Bible, and one is actually anti-biblical, scholars say.

But people rarely challenge them because biblical ignorance is so pervasive that it even reaches groups of people who should know better, says Steve Bouma-Prediger, a religion professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

“In my college religion classes, I sometimes quote 2 Hesitations 4:3 (‘There are no internal combustion engines in heaven’),” Bouma-Prediger says. “I wait to see if anyone realizes that there is no such book in the Bible and therefore no such verse.

“Only a few catch on.”

Few catch on because they don’t want to - people prefer knowing biblical passages that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs, a Bible professor says.

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

“They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in,” he says, “but they ignore the vast majority of the text."

Phantom biblical passages work in mysterious ways

Ignorance isn’t the only cause for phantom Bible verses. Confusion is another.

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom.

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Both sound as if they are taken from the Bible, but they’re not. The first is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper (“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform).

The “cleanliness” passage was coined by John Wesley, the 18th century evangelist who founded Methodism,  says Thomas Kidd, a history professor at Baylor University in Texas.

“No matter if John Wesley or someone else came up with a wise saying - if it sounds proverbish, people figure it must come from the Bible,” Kidd says.

Our fondness for the short and tweet-worthy may also explain our fondness for phantom biblical phrases. The pseudo-verses function like theological tweets: They’re pithy summarizations of biblical concepts.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child” falls into that category. It’s a popular verse - and painful for many kids. Could some enterprising kid avoid the rod by pointing out to his mother that it's not in the Bible?

It’s doubtful. Her possible retort: The popular saying is a distillation of Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”

Another saying that sounds Bible-worthy: “Pride goes before a fall.” But its approximation, Proverbs 16:18, is actually written: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

There are some phantom biblical verses for which no excuse can be offered. The speaker goofed.

That’s what Bruce Wells, a theology professor, thinks happened to Ditka, the former NFL coach, when he strayed from the gridiron to biblical commentary during his 1993 press conference in Chicago.

Wells watched Ditka’s biblical blunder on local television when he lived in Chicago. After Ditka cited the mysterious passage, reporters scrambled unsuccessfully the next day to find the biblical source.

They should have consulted Wells, who is now director of the ancient studies program at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. Wells says Ditka’s error probably came from a peculiar feature of the King James Bible.

“My hunch on the Ditka quote is that it comes from a quirk of the King James translation,” Wells says. “Ancient Hebrew had a particular way of saying things like, ‘and the next thing that happened was…’ The King James translators of the Old Testament consistently rendered this as ‘and it came to pass.’ ’’

When phantom Bible passages turn dangerous

People may get verses wrong, but they also mangle plenty of well-known biblical stories as well.

Two examples: The scripture never says a whale swallowed Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, nor did any New Testament passages say that three wise men visited baby Jesus, scholars say.

Those details may seem minor, but scholars say one popular phantom Bible story stands above the rest: The Genesis story about the fall of humanity.

Most people know the popular version - Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. It’s been downhill ever since.

But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden.

“Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent,” says Kevin Dunn, chair of the department of religion at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

“Not only does the text not mention Satan, the very idea of Satan as a devilish tempter postdates the composition of the Garden of Eden story by at least 500 years,” Dunn says.

Getting biblical scriptures and stories wrong may not seem significant, but it can become dangerous, one scholar says.

Most people have heard this one: “God helps those that help themselves.” It’s another phantom scripture that appears nowhere in the Bible, but many people think it does. It's actually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of the nation's founding fathers.

The passage is popular in part because it is a reflection of cherished American values: individual liberty and self-reliance, says Sidnie White Crawford, a religious studies scholar at the University of Nebraska.

Yet that passage contradicts the biblical definition of goodness: defining one’s worth by what one does for others, like the poor and the outcast, Crawford says.

Crawford cites a scripture from Leviticus that tells people that when they harvest the land, they should leave some “for the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:9-10), and another passage from Deuteronomy that declares that people should not be “tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.”

“We often infect the Bible with our own values and morals, not asking what the Bible’s values and morals really are,” Crawford says.

Where do these phantom passages come from?

It’s easy to blame the spread of phantom biblical passages on pervasive biblical illiteracy. But the causes are varied and go back centuries.

Some of the guilty parties are anonymous, lost to history. They are artists and storytellers who over the years embellished biblical stories and passages with their own twists.

If, say, you were an anonymous artist painting the Garden of Eden during the Renaissance, why not portray the serpent as the devil to give some punch to your creation? And if you’re a preacher telling a story about Jonah, doesn’t it just sound better to say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, not a “great fish”?

Others blame the spread of phantom Bible passages on King James, or more specifically the declining popularity of the King James translation of the Bible.

That translation, which marks 400 years of existence this year, had a near monopoly on the Bible market as recently as 50 years ago, says Douglas Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“If you quoted the Bible and got it wrong then, people were more likely to notice because there was only one text,” he says. “Today, so many different translations are used that almost no one can tell for sure if something supposedly from the Bible is being quoted accurately or not.”

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone - milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper - to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler - and the NFL coach - start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

- CNN Writer

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

soundoff (8,604 Responses)
  1. Timmy C

    The US is full of Jesus freaks, no wonder you're getting your butt kicked by China.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Ed

      But not nearly as bad as the victims of genocide as perpetrated by Mao.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • FairGarden

      China has far more functioning Christians than USA.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Greg

      Ed likes bashing commies.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • FairGarden

      Commies are better than American atheists.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -Ed...

      I believe that you 'may' have totally missed the salient point that -Timmy C did make.



      June 5, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Bob

      Agreed. Every country should get rid of Religion. There would be less wars. All wars are over Religion.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • FairGarden

      Atheists are the worst humans on earth.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • whoa whoa whoa

      "All wars are over religion" ??? More like: "under the guise of religion."

      June 5, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Chris

      You really think if all religion banished that wars would just...STOP?
      Let's say, you have something. I want it, might even need it. You won't give it to me, so I try to take it by force. Since you need it also, you try to keep me from taking it. Congratulations, we had the same rationale that every major war has ever had in the history of the world. Man is an animal, animals have instincts. War is the instinctively logical way to get what you want from someone else who wants it, too.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • UncleM

      FairGarden is just proving that atheists are rational, moral people and the religious loonies are the problem.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • It is what it is!

      Smh@ Bob. Bob, wars aren't over religion. Like Chris said...they're over oil, money, land, resources, and who owns them. Religion is a handy scapegoat.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • hahaha

      "functioning christians"

      August 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  2. Monte Sonnenberg

    Don't know what to make of the Koran. However, I do know that if you are praying five times a day, the world economy is going to pass you by. Especially if you have no oil or body guards at your bedroom door.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • PiousMuslim

      Actually, miss phrasing the Bible as well as the Qur'an is an everyday affair in Lebanon where both Muslims and Christians live and practice their religion side by side. They both borrow from each other's books as some of those phrases get used daily in our everyday lives. I believe the story of the apple and the serpant and satan is one of those examples. While the bible does not state that it was Satan but rather a serpant, the Qu'ran explicitly states that it was Satan and did not mention a serpant. The Qur'an mentions a fruit, while the bible mentions an Apple. the net result is most people not well familiar with their own scripture will end up mixing and saying combined statements. Regarding the "big fish" vs "the whale", the Qur'an states that it was a Whale, so I believe this the the source as well.
      Anyone who studies Lebanon will realize that it might have the largest number of miss-stated phrases by both Muslims and Christians, this is often the subject of conversation amongst intellectuals in Lebanon, it is a result of the highly intermingled Christian and Muslim societies in Lebanon. And God knows best.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Kevin B

      Dear Pious Muslim, the bible does not mention "apple" in the garden story. i wonder what else you don't really know.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Chuck

      The word apple does not appear in Genesis in any translation or in the original Hebrew. The word is "Fruit". The serpent, however, is clearly God's adversary and accuser, as demonstrated by his behavior. The that's what the word "Satan" means, whose personal name is actually Lucifer. A substantial part of this article was focused on the wrong misquote.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • GLMcColm

      In response to Chuck, the Old Testament makes scrambled eggs of Satan, Lucifer, the Adversary, the Serpent, all of which are different characters. The New Testament doesn't help by tossing in the Beast, the Dragon, etc., which may or may not be associated with characters from Daniel.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Classicist

      The "apple" phenomenon most likely comes from the Vulgatic tradition. The latin word for "apple," (malum) and bad/evil (malus) are very similar. As such it made a nice pun in talking about the fruit. I don't have easy access to a text of Jerome's vulgate to verify, and the more modern Vulgate translations don't have such an error. Nevertheless, from what I've been taught, that's the source of the error.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Frogist

      Thanks PiousMuslim and Classicist for the interesting insight!

      June 6, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  3. FairGarden

    The unbelieving American problem is not-opening the book of the Bible. Nothing else.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Kevin B

      From my experience, it seems the more a person reads the bible, they less they believe in it.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • Trewth

      Most of these "geniuses" who are trying to disprove the bible have never even cracked one open...

      June 5, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • Brynja

      @trewth Oh ye of little knowledge. The people that HAVE disproved the bible (over and over and over and OVER again) have done so scientifically and factually. They are the people that have read and studied the bible extremely well. I suggest you read it than just "crack it open"/ You just may come out the otherside as a "non-believer"... if you can swallow your fear of deadly fairy tales that is.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • mb2010a

      Most atheist have read and know more about the Bible than most Christians.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Jesus

      If you open the Bible and take the time to read it all, you will become an agnostic or an atheist. “Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” says Rabbi Rami Shapiro, who once had to persuade a student in his Bible class at Middle Tennessee State University that the saying “this dog won’t hunt” doesn’t appear in the Book of Proverbs.

      “They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in,” he says, “but they ignore the vast majority of the text."

      June 5, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • nolapearl

      What's even scarier than people not opening the Bible, is someone running for President, who professes a love of country and values and doesn't even know the history of the founding of her country.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Troy

      Actually, the problem is Christianity.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • david believer

      Actually the atheist types that did or do read the Bible can't, or won't believe in a spiritual world. They are materialists and want to only believe in , or have empirical knowledge in truth they can feel, see, touch, and prove out.

      Personally I think they are a sad lot, they lose touch with faith, love, and hope, and the commandments Jesus taught above all others- "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind, and the 2nd- love thy neighbor as yourself" Both are taught and are tied together for a reason, and without loving God, it becomes very difficult to love others"

      Atheism is just another failed philosophy , with selfishness at its core.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Reason

      Actually there is only one way to make someone a non-believer, just hand them a bible. There are multiple ways to make someone a believer without handing them a bible. Kinda makes sense since unlike atheists religious folk feel the need to spread their message. I don't see caravans of atheists traveling the country to spread the "good news."

      June 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Reason

      Dear DaveBeliever,

      Atheists don't claim to know what happens when you die. Christians say if you don't believe as they do you'll burn in hell when you die as they ascend into heaven. Explain how the atheist view is the selfish one.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • tommas

      Lot was rewarded by god because he offered up his daughters to be gang ra ped by a mob, great source of a moral code. Either chrisitans don't read their bible or they are crazy to follow it (or both).

      June 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • david believer

      It is not the threat of hell that should motivate anyone- at least not the main thrust of the message of Christ is empowering yourself through the power and of God. The atheist believes he/she can do this on their own, and that there is no evidence of God when clearly by looking at the universe we can see His handiwork

      June 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Monty

      This whole notion that atheist know more about the bible than Christians is absurd. Their lack of understanding spews forth from the words they speak. They say what kind of loving God destroys people who disobey? I ask where in the bible does it say God is ONLY love? Even He uses words like vengeful and wrathful to describe His being. The other thing is while life is valuable and precious, it is the Lords to take. If Atheist really understood the bible then they would know that the Lord God said "For dust you are and dust you shall return." And He also said "My Spirit will not strive with man forever for He is indeed truly flesh." The Lord has every right to take life that He has given and created. Get over it. Also the bible is so full of truth. It's just that most people reject it. "So he called it Shebah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day." Gen 26:33 Yes it is still called Beersheba to this day. Google it. It's in Israel. Also this passage was written well over 2000 years ago when you look at the carbon dating of the dead sea scrolls. Which most people admit that the dead sea scrolls are not an original but a copy. A way to preserve history. "And the Lord said to Abram after Lot had separated from Him: 'Lift your eyes nw and look from the place where you are-northward southward, eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever." Gen 13:14,15 The Children of Israel who came from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who got his name changed to Israel have been in Canaan for a long time. That's why they refuse to leave. Further more Israel officially became a state in 1948. I know people are going to reject this just because they have to. But can we please quite talking like everything in the bible is made up. Is there an ounce of truth in people who reject the bible?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Monty: The claim that God does what he does out of pure love is a long-held position by a majority of Christians. They consider that his cruelty is a part of his love. The fact that you say God does not love is a minority viewpoint. An atheist would agree with you that the Bible's God is a cruel character indeed. The point that I've heard from atheists, and one that I support myself, is why would you worship a cruel being unless it is out of fear. And then you can't really profess that your religion is one that demonstrates a high moral expression of love, kindness, caring etc. It's simply one of fear, cruelty, shame and otherwise. A relationship like that between humans is considered an abusive one. And an unhealthy one that shouldn't be tolerated. Yet it is not just tolerated, but revered in terms of religion.
      As for the factual proof you offer. There are many books with historical and geological references but sadly that does not make them factual in every detail. Many fiction writers incorporate some facet of reality into their books to lend an air of believability. They do not for a minute intend us to think that everything in their book really happened.

      One thing I find insulting is the insinuation that non-believers are ignorant, materialistic and selfish. As many non-believers have shown, their lives are as equally filled with charitable works, a propensity for kindness, and a longing for tolerance as many professed Christians. Yet still we have these lies told about us that we are monstrous people simply because we do not believe in the same higher being that Christians do. We must remember that even Christians have among them liars, cheaters, murderers etc etc. Your philosophy has not provided any immunity from these incidents among your own. There is ugliness in the hearts of people on both sides of the debate as well as beauty. For anyone to ignore that, is to do a disservice to all people.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Oso

      Frogist, you are a wonderful human being. Your husband is a very lucky man to have someone like you nearby.
      I miss Kate's jokes terribly, too. This internet thing can be such a pain in the patookus sometimes.
      Best wishes for you et al, etc. 😛

      June 7, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Nadine

      The more I read the Bible the more I see and love God. The Bible is like a puzzle. It's NOT for dummies. 'Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little.' (I'm also university educated, since people like to think that only people that haven't gone to university believe in the Bible).

      June 9, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • hahaha

      Atheists no far more about christian mythology then actual christians.

      August 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  4. Tom

    John Blake and CNN comically make the unsubstantiated allegation that the Bible is one of the "most misquoted" books in America. John Blake and CNN list a number of so-called, self-described "phantom passages" that are allegedly said (by some unidentified people) to be from the Bible. The problem with Blake and CNN is that they provide absolutely no evidence that anyone has ever claimed that “God helps those who help themselves", “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, et al., were from the Bible. Do you people have any idea what evidence is? How about the names of the people who allegedly claim that "Spare the rod, spoil the rod" came from the Bible?

    June 5, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Reasonable

      I have an idea of what evidence is. That's why I'm an Atheist.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Kevin B

      Tom, either you are very young or very ignorant.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Chuck

      Hey "Reasonable", why are you in the faith and religeon section if you're really an atheist? Look up the second law of thermodynamics and compare it to the theory of evolution. If you really are reasonable, you will conclude that they are opposites, therefore the universe is not contingent, therefore it is created for a purpose and therefore has a creator. The purpose can be found in John 3:16.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:55 am |
    • Dogwelder

      yo Chuck. Evolution is a theory. Kind of like your god. I have a theory that you're an idiot. If you manage to disprove it that doesn't make god real. Think before you type.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:59 am |
    • Kris

      To chuck- the 2nd law of thermodynamics only applies to a CLOSED SYSTEM...Why the hell can't you people get this right?


      June 5, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • david believer

      Yo Dogwelder nicw swearing- shows your upbringing.... if it is a open system, where is all that new matter and energy coming from?

      Think about it- there is a CREATOR producing it. He is called almighty GOD !

      June 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • JustJosh

      Hey Chuck – Only a certifiable moron still uses the "2nd Law of Thermodynamics" argument. Quick, what's the first law? Or the third?! ALL laws of Thermodynamics apply to closed systems. That means: no outside energy sources (i.e. – no Sun) or outside sources of matter (no comets, no meteors, etc.) – given this precedent, it doesn't take much to arrive at the conclusion that for the sake of argument, this does NOT apply to planet Earth. Try again.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Luis

      Wow Tom,

      That should be a story in and of itself: How the media tries to make religious people look stupid, naive, uneducated, etc. by making false accusations and using demeaning language.

      One more thing:
      Who tempts people in the Bible? Who is called the serpent in the book of Revelation? If you answered Satan, you're right,
      The article says, "Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden right? Nope." How does he know that he is correct? Based on what Biblical verse does he know that the serpent in question is not Satan.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Reasonable

      Chucky, thanks for the laugh. Also, thanks for giving more evidence to support this article's writer's contention spilling over to other facets of life, such as evolution. You obviously have no clue as to what thermodynamics and evolution actually are. My guess is that you're simply regurgitating something some other misinformed person told you to support something convenient to your beliefs.

      David Believer, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Don't know where you're getting your information from either but this is a fundamental rule that is commonly understood. Again, thanks for the laugh.

      Dogwelder, yes evolution IS a theory, like any god is. The only difference is that evolution has a tremendous amount of evidence to support its validity, unlike any god that has come to pass.

      June 6, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Chuck

      Hey reasonable and JustJosh, how do you figure the sun, comets, meteors, etc. are external? Define an isolated system. There is no such thing. Where is the external energy source for the universe? The universe is progressing toward total entropy. That is the direction of all things in the universe. Progression toward entropy is the opposite of evolution.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Frogist

      @Chuck: This is the Belief section – not the "faith and religion" section. Atheists and other non-believers come to here because any discussion of belief automatically includes a discussion of the lack of belief. CNN vindicated that standpoint by posting articles regarding atheism here as well.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Frogist

      Also @Luis: By your logic how do we know that the serpent that tempted Eve isn't Tom Brokaw? That "fact" is about as certain as saying the snake is Satan.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Oso

      OMG Tom Brokaw is Satan! OMG! 😯

      June 7, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  5. Faqi

    Atheists are convinced that ‘god’ and ‘devil’ are human and social constructs that have fairly clear-cut functional purposes, and are but metaphors that have got waylaid by the manipulative and thereafter invested with powers and values beyond original intent. I believe that the true and final residence of god and devil is self, that the human being is in the final instance the refuge of both good and evil, of right and wrong, teacher and student, hero and villain, lunacy and lucidity, wise and moronic. People were killed for saying this. We live in happier more enlightened times.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Jesus

      Atheists by definition do NOT believe in Gods, devils, angels, prophets, fairies, Santa Claus, etc. No admissible evidence in any US court of law exists for any of their existence

      June 5, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • trooperchix

      Jesus. I'm glad you, who clearly do not understand the concept of atheism, find yourself educated enough to define it. Try again.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • trooperchix

      Jesus "Atheists by definition do NOT believe in Gods, devils, angels, prophets, fairies, Santa Claus, etc. No admissible evidence in any US court of law exists for any of their existence"

      If you believe in anything after the word "in", you are a pagan by definition. Welcome to the fold, my friend.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • BoDacious01

      Well said Faqi

      June 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • JustJosh

      "Jesus" pretty much got it right. You don't exactly have to be a rogue scholar to know what atheism is. "A", the prefix, means "without" + "theism", the suffix, which means "belief in a deity or deities". So "atheism" means "without belief in deities". Not exactly quantum physics... or even basic multiplication for that matter. Atheism is a religion as much as bald is a hair color.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Faqi: Well said! Sadly however many people are still persecuted for their beliefs or non-beliefs in this world. Hopefully one day we will see that come to an end.

      June 6, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  6. Chad

    "He who spares the rod, hates his son. But he who loves him is careful to discipline him" (Proverbs 13:24). You are really splicing hairs if you suggest this is not equivalent to "He who spares the rod, spoils the child" (the latter version just has better parallelism and alliteration). Or how about Genesis 3:1, where it reads, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, 'you must not eat from any tree in the garden? [...] You will not surely die'" (Genesis 3:1)? Yes, it's not an apple, and yes, the named evil is a serpent, not Satan by name. How do you jump to the conclusion that the serpent in Genesis is not synonymous with Satan? And the injection of the apple is simply an absurdity than would cause any good Sunday school student to smirk. You are making huge theological and linguistic leaps here. Sure, these leaps serve your purposes to discount modern translation, but your writing doesn't do service to the truth either. A small request: please do a better job of sincerely discussing an issue before getting your blog post on the front page of cnn.com. This is sensationalism, not genuine academic inquiry. These questions could have been asked in a more authentic way.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Zed0

      Yeah, cause talking serpents isn't already sensational.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • trooperchix

      Did you miss the part about how the KJV and many versions before have been mistranslated? Believe it or not, your language version is not the originating version. Problems happen. Ask Chevy in regards to the Nova. Ask them how it went when that vehicle was promoted in spanish speaking countries.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • oops

      trooper – I agree with what you're saying, but you should read this:

      June 6, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  7. Bill

    Making up verses and misquoting the ones that are real is certainly a problem, but the question is this: Are you in love with the One who wrote this Love Story! That's really what the Bible is. It is a love letter from God to Man. If you know Him, He will help you understand. If you don't know Jesus all the scholars in the world can't help.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • summerseale

      If you think that the bible is a love letter, you really have never read it. You don't even know what is in the bible, do you? And even if you did find out, you wouldn't care because all that is important to you is your little fantasy about what god means to you and damn the facts and evidence. You just can't deal with reality, can you?

      June 5, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Zed0

      Not all the scholars in the world, but a few scholars, here and there, like the scholars who originally translated it from Greek and Aramaic, couldn't hurt.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Reasonable

      Awesome!!! A love story with genocides, the smiting of people, adultery and mass killings of animals! This promises to be one both the boys AND the girls will like.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Beth

      @Reasonable – the genocides, smiting of people, adultery and mass killings of animals were all due to the actions of man. The love story part is that God loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son to give us eternal life. That is Grace, which none of us deserves. No one can understand the Word of God if they do not read it prayerfully. You cannot understand it or comprehend it with a simple human mind. You must have God's guidance for the truth to be revealed to you.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Bill

      @ Beth

      So Man is able to turn other Men and Women into pillars of salt? So Man can flood an entire planet for 40 days and nights? I also assume you believe Man is responsible for everything that happened to Job?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -Bill...

      I'm curious as to your postings. Are you not only making sure that @Beth (who seems to be a Christian) understands that 'God' really committed all of these atrocities, 'not man'... and... it (the Bible) is a "Love Story"...?

      Really...? Interesting...



      June 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Humanity


      Do you really think your sins can be washed away because harm was done to another person? Where is your humanity to praise such a thing? This is the book humanity is supposed to have derived its morality from? I think not. I don't see myself being made in the image of a being who would suggest such a thing.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • rick taylor

      What foolish, naive commentary. The American public is grossly under-read and ill-informed.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ Bill & Beth: I have always thought it a dangerous position this claim that only certain Christians have the authority to read and interpret the bible. They claim it's because god gave them the ability above all others to understand it so no one else has any right to claim they understand it differently. Doesn't it beg the question: how do you know yours is the only right interpretation? How do you know that God hasn't chosen an atheist or a hindu to interpret it correctly?

      June 6, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  8. citizen and american

    the first phrase, and that too shall pass, is from Alexander the Great, who gathered all the wise men of the then known world and wanted to know the wisdom of the ages. finally, after many exhausting attempts, he accepted 'and this, too, shall pass.'

    June 5, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Rob

      Another place where it gets confused is the phrase, "And it came to pass." This is used in older English translations as a transition statement showing something that happened over a passing of time.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  9. Monte Sonnenberg

    Don't know what the Koran is saying. But it sure as hell hasn't got them anywhere. Maybe someone should start misquoting it. Maybe doing them a favour.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • rick taylor

      The Qur'an is just as as 'ugly' as the Bible ...in many places.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  10. wtex23

    I dare you to print an article like this about the koran!!!!

    June 5, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Ed


      June 5, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • What?

      Several have been printed...but both Christians and Muslims have denounced them. Why? Because the articles have discussed how hatred and violence towards other religions isn't in the Koran. It seems extremists in both religions would prefer if it were there.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • R Kent

      TRIPLE dog dare! 😀

      June 5, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • PiousMuslim

      Actually, miss phrasing the Bible as well as the Qur'an is an everyday affair in Lebanon where both Muslims and Christians live and practice their religion side by side. They both borrow from each other's books as some of those phrases get used daily in our everyday lives. I believe the story of the apple and the serpant and satan is one of those examples. While the bible does not state that it was Satan but rather a serpant, the Qu'ran explicitly states that it was Satan and did not mention a serpant. The Qur'an mentions a fruit, while the bible mentions an Apple. the net result is most people not well familiar with their own scripture will end up mixing and saying combined statements. Regarding the "big fish" vs "the whale", the Qur'an states that it was a Whale, so I believe this the the source as well.
      Anyone who studies Lebanon will realize that it might have the largest number of miss-stated phrases by both Muslims and Christians, this is often the subject of conversation amongst intellectuals in Lebanon, it is a result of the highly intermingled Christian and Muslim societies in Lebanon. And God knows best.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Bill


      The Koran and Bible both have enough examples of violence being perpetrated by their respective Gods. Muslim extremists just aren't shy about it, much like those Protestants and Catholics who were blowing each other up for so long (at least white people like to leave the battlefield alive, if not in one piece, hence Mecca doesn't need to worry about Anglo-Saxon Suicide Bombers).

      Think about that though, what would terrorist organizations do if we started suicide bombing them. You think they'd just quit? I bet if they saw someone else do it they'd realize how pointless it was, especially when the news of it was preempted by a Lindsay Lohan story only moments later. "Damn, those Americans...they got a point, I don't even care they suicide bombed us. Is this how they see us?" Worth a shot.

      Any of you believers in here wanna join give yourself to God?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • MUSLIM


      June 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Respectful Question

      @MUSLIM: If I recall correctly (forgive me if I don't and correct me please), but Mohammed PBU was told to recite and there was much time between recitation and writing it down. So regardless of what some might think, the Koran's original form and intent, is and was debatable. Even shortly after it was finally written down, there were Muslims that did not see the Koran as complete, or they would not have felt compeled to write their own interpretations and follow up commentary, the Hadith etc. I have also heard that some of what passes as Muslim religious "requirements" are not actually found in the Koran, but rather come from such post-Koran cultural interpretations. There have also been many wars between Muslim sects over such interpretations etc. So I don't think Islam is immune from such differences of scriptural interpretation as some might believe.

      Even if the words were exactly the same as originally recited, unfortunately time and cultures tend to change or misunderstand the word and phrase meanings from the original intent. For instance, in English, a gay person in the early 20th century was just a happy person, not hom0se-xual as the word is more often interpretted today. The meanings of words and phrases change in many ways over hundreds of years and mean different things in different cultures from their original intent, even if the words themselves stay exactly the same over interpretations from various languages etc., which they don't.

      The respectful question is, when will we all learn to glean the wheat (truth) from the chaffe (cultural ignorance), in all religious texts, and focus on the common benefit of acknowledging our core similarities, while rejecting those who only focus on our irrelevant differences? (Of course it is good to hold on to cultural differences in honor of our past and our ancestors, but not to the point where they become harmful to the greater good or our perception of the greater God, Allah or whatever name is used to describe the Supreme Power)

      June 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • JustJosh

      @ "MUSLIM" – LoL. You should do stand-up. The fact that you think your book of fairy tales is any more relevant than anyone else's is quite hilarious!

      June 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Bill: You have an interesting point there about suicide bombers. But I don't think it will work to show terror orgs that what they are doing is particularly ridiculous. More than likely it will simply confirm what they believed all along – that their Western enemies are evil killers who will go to any ends to harm the innocents of the Middle East. It will just be an escalation that nobody wants to see.
      @Respectful Question: Loving the points you made about language and interpretation. Not to mention your conclusion about tolerance and relevance.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  11. Dan

    We call this a "factoid" in academia, where people constantly make new interpretations based on falsities that are created along the long line of people.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Ed

      You mean like the cult of people who suffer hair shirts everyday to remind themselves how pathetic they are without the guidance of someone else?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  12. @@

    John Blake's articles are always well-written and easy on the eyes. Thank you Mr. Blake. Me and my eyes thank you.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  13. Will

    I'm not sure what you're saying. I agree with pretty much all that you're saying about people referring to old sayings that they just swear are in the bible. I have to wonder about the Eve / snake reference though. I looks like the story is in Genesis 3.

    On a side note, I sometimes like to tell people to go look up 2nd Hezikiah or some nonsense just to see how they respond.
    Kudos to the atheist knowing the Samson story as well. Very amusing. Thanks for the post.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Will

      I will have to admit that it doesn't outright say that it is Satan or Lucifer or anything like that, and most of it is interpreted like that. I can only say that the reason we have so many different religions in the first place seems to be because everyone interprets the bible in their own way.

      To each his own though. If I choose to believe in a higher power and live with what most might believe to be misplaced faith, or whether someone wants to view themselves as enlightened and see their life as short and without any further purpose than to just live, I wouldn't every really be able to change anyone's mind. I have no credentials, I'm no expert, and you honestly have no reason to believe a word I say when you've already convinced yourself. That is just simply how I tend to view things lately. Thanks for the post. I still find it very informative.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • R Kent

      Your statement that "everyone interprets the bible in their own way" is a massive over-statement. There is wide spread agreement on the core truths, and interpretations of them. (As an example, all the points listed in the Apostles Creed are commonly held by almost all Christians - Protestant AND Catholic.) I do not deny that there is disagreement on some various issues. But your statement, as it is, promotes the falsehood that each and every person (i.e.: "everyone") has their own, unique interpretation, which differs from all others. This is a falsehood from which many erroneous assumptions are made.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Will

      I can see that I may have used too broad of a statement there, but to go through it all would have lead to a paper in and of itself.
      I was simply referring to some of the core beliefs in some of the different religions. Most believe Sunday is the correct Sabbath. Some believe Saturday is the Sabbath. Some believe in life after death, while others believe that the dead don't know anything. Ii could go on and on with little statements like these. That is all I was referring to. Sorry if it wasn't specific enough for you. Like I said though. I'm no expert, and I've definitely not studied enough to convince someone of something when they have their mind made up. I was just adding my thoughts on the topic.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Reasonable

      "If I choose to believe in a higher power and live with what most might believe to be misplaced faith..."

      Will...we don't "choose" to believe anything. You either believe or you do not. Choice does not take part in that process.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Will

      Sorry man. It seems that you present two options to me. Either to believe or not to believe. It still looks like I would have to 'choose' one of those two options. People have the choice to believe whatever they want to. People have the choice to follow God go or worships ants. If not for the freedom of choice, then what is the point of faith? I know I probably shouldn't respond if it seems I'm being goaded (and I apologize if that wasn't your intention), but choice, faith and religion seem to be fundamentally connected at least in my eyes.

      (side note) all of the above statements are simply my opinions and beliefs. Take with two grains of salt.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:20 am |
    • Reasonable

      Will, you weren't being goaded. Present to me how choice actually comes into play when belief is in question. If I were to hold an apple in front of your face and told you it was an apple, let you taste it down to the core, could you tell me you choose NOT to believe it was an apple? Need something less tangible? What if I told you a boogie man was in your closet?

      You didn't CHOOSE to believe there's a god. Though your experiences, personal convictions, education level and ability/inability to think rationally lets you believe there's a god. No child is born believing in god, is there? They grow to learn, live, experience and deduce from all the aforementioned. What we believe comes from that. It's never a choice.

      Having said that, I wasn't presenting anything to you. There is no in-between or gray area when it comes to belief in a literal sense. You cannot say, "Yeah, I sort of believe but not really." True conviction doesn't work like that.

      The only choice we really have when it comes to believing in something or not is gathering as much information as possible about it, compiling it all together and logically deducing the possibility of it being true, whatever "it" may be. Of course, this all takes into account the assumption we all include in this process, that which has been shown to us in the past to be factual.

      That's why I don't believe in god. I've done my due diligence and with respect to the skeptics, I have no reason, through the sheer amount of research I've done over the past 18 years of my life (questioning the possibility of the existence of any god at the age of 16 being raised in a Southern Baptist church) to list what my "due diligence" has been. I need only say it has been active, it has been persistent and it has most definitely been very very objective. The only choice I've consciously made in my not believing in any god, let alone yours, was to find out as much as I possibly could about it to begin with.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Frogist

      @RKent: I agree with Will. It is not an overstatement at all to say that each person interprets "the Bible" meaning their faith to his/her own ideas. Just because certain sects have similarities does not mean that each person within that sect follows along exactly (if that was your meaning). You would not believe the number of times I've seen one Christian turn on another by saying they were "not a true Christian" because their belief just didn't match up exactly with another person's. And it really isn't just the evangelicals who take this position. I've seen just as much dissension from Catholics and protestants too. And it is on a vast and varied number of topics although the controversial ones will give you an idea of how broad the spectrum of people's opinions are. If a Catholic can disagree with another from the same church on abortion, hom-ose-xuality, creationism, etc etc that certainly makes you wonder. Even on the basics, the most core principle – that Jesus was the son of God – there are many who reject that idea but still call themselves by the name Christian. There is very little, if anything really, that Christians have agreed on that define themselves all as Christian.

      June 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  14. William G. Morgan

    This phenomenon occurs in all religions. For example a lot of what the Muslims do is not supported in the Koran. The burka is not a requirement.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Anonymous

      That's the funny thing too. In the Koran, women are considered equal to men.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • VinceP1974

      Koran and equal rights for women? Qur'an 4:11 "Allah directs you in regard of your Children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females.... These are settled portions ordained by Allah."

      June 5, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  15. Ernest

    "But the story in the book of Genesis never places Satan in the Garden of Eden" Hmmmmmmmmm.........
    Actually, The tree of Life and the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil WERE in the GARDEN, and Adam & Eve both ate from the tree, and Satan (who is the snake!) talked them into eating from the tree thus Satan had to be in the Garden........?

    June 5, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • chuck

      But the Bible does not say that Satan is the snake. The Bible just says it's a snake. But for some reason you think the Bible says that. That's the whole point of the article. Way to prove their point!!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Anonymous


      Thumbs up.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • anonymous

      No, the bible just calls it the snake. The Christian interpretation of this verse is that the snake is Satan, but that's an interpretation, not a literal reading of the the text, and the Jews, for example, don't interpret it this way. The Satan is only mentioned by name once in the entire bible, and that is in the book of Job.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hi -Ernest...

      Unless I see otherwise, I'm going with -Chuck's and -Anonymous' postings.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Pat

      don't read into it.... look for "satan" "snake" or "apple" in the following. If anything....one might conclude that AFTER the incident, the serpent was converted into a snake (made to travel on his belly). Point is readers over the century have added their own words.

      And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
      005: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
      006: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
      007: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
      008: And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
      009: And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
      010: And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
      011: And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
      012: And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
      013: And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
      014: And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

      June 5, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Michael

      The theologians aren't stupid. Revelation 12 and 20 definitively associate "that ancient serpent" with the devil and Satan (both explicitly). And Romans 16:20 is very reminiscent of Genesis 3:15. I mean what insights do we gain by attributing the fall of man (one of the top 5 plot elements in the Bible) to just a talking snake?

      June 5, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • Jesus

      And next you're going to tell me that the snake didn't crawl up into Eve's mouse and give her one huge "O". I thought I read that in the Bible. Maybe it was Charles Bukowski?

      June 5, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Respectful Question

      For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil....so in the end we were punished because we knew good and evil? If that's the case why all the fuss about going to religious services regularly to learn the difference between good and evil? By these verses in Genesis, aren't we just asking for more punishment?

      Or could it truly be that we are not capable of fully knowing good and evil because we are incapabile of grasping the overall enormity of the complexities in making such judgements? I often wonder this when I hear about "why does God let bad things happen?". Who are we to decide what is good and bad on such enormous scales of reality? Perhaps its the act to think that we are capable of making such judgements, that is the true evil. "Judge not, lest ye be judged". We are only a very small part of God's reality. Not the whole thing or center of it. We shouldn't let our ego carry us away when asking why God does what IT does.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  16. Monte Sonnenberg

    My favourite is Acts chapter 64 verse 92: "Git 'r done"

    June 5, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  17. Klaark

    Most people just don't know anything about the Bible. Those who claim to follow it are hypocrites and liars, while those who hate it are too stuck-up and ignorant to bother.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Lalalala

      Why would you say that? There are LOTS of people in this world. We all have different ways of believing. Please don't bunch people into groups unless you know for a fact the way every single person in that group thinks. Give people grace and think good of them. It helps their way of thinking and yours!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Reasonable

      Right on, Lala! Beautifully said.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • Mike

      Hahaha, trolled

      June 5, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  18. John McAndrew

    Yep. And people get the story of Paul Revere wrong, too. We've been complaining about education in this country for decades. But it never improves, and these are a couple of the inconsequential results. A profound lack of critical thinking and integrity will undermine any country.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Ed

      See the current administration.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Reasonable

      My favorite is that Christopher Columbus discovered America. As per a conversation I had yesterday with a teacher in my town, that's still being taught in our school system.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Jesus

      Reasonable, Christopher Columbus invented the Samba. Rumor has it that he never left Portugal until 1502, landed in Brazil, and danced the night away. So soon we forget.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  19. Mick Travis

    I've never seen that particular Far Side cartoon. Did Gary Larson get the hair right?

    June 5, 2011 at 2:18 am |
  20. Joe

    I'm an atheist and I know the bible better than almost any Christian I've met. One of my professors started each morning's PowerPoint with a FAR SIDE comic. One of them showed a big buff guy fighting soldiers with a jawbone. The professor then asked the class if they knew what the comic was referencing... I was the ONLY one who knew that it was Samson using the jawbone of a donkey to kill 1000 Philistines. He added 5 extra credit points to my next exam. X-D

    June 5, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • dd

      I think that's kind of sad..... I also think that the common depiction of Samson as a huge muscle bound guy is wrong.... if everyone wondered what gave Samson his strength and it was a gift....

      June 5, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • PCP

      Of course! You know the Bible, so therefore you are an athiest. That happens when you actually read the book instead of letting your preacher/priest do it for you. ;0)

      June 5, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • TheTruth72

      10 extra points of humbleness if you can guess who died for your sins that you have committed in your lifetime.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Anonymous

      I'm an atheist too and that's the real issue: atheists know more about religion than religious people. I had a Religion class that taught all religions equally: Christianism, Islamism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism (althought actually a philisophy rather than a religion). I end up knowing more than those who practice a specific religion. And those who practice a specific religion are usually misinformed about the other religions.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • JP

      Joe, you should help CNN write some of their Faith in America articles. It sounds like you're truly an expert on the subject and you deserve the utmost praise for how intelligent you are!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Bad Checker

      @The Truth - Intellectual integrity FAIL!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Ed

      Wow, and to think you imply only an atheist would have known that because only an atheist would spend so much time reading a book they do not believe is what it is claimed to be. Your second implication (nice pseudo-straw-man) is that the other dummies in class were Christians and did not know the reference. The facts are likely that the class was filled with agnostics, other atheists and Christians. The fact that you knew the reference only proves you knew more than those in class. Those other dummies were probably just dumb atheists who didn't understand that they were in the presence of an enlightened one (you.)

      June 5, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • Jing Hu

      @ JOE

      If you know more about the bible than the 2-3 billion Christians in this world then by all means write a book and prove us wrong!

      June 5, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • Reasonable

      Hey Jing, we don't need to prove you wrong. That's not our problem. It's yours.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Reasonable

      @ED – "I'm an atheist and I know the bible better than almost any Christian I've met." Why didn't you comment on that sentence? You seem so astute in interpreting his single anecdote about his opening statement , I would assume you would know the definition of the word anecdote as well as the common writing practice of using one (and only ONE in this case) to subsidize his earlier claim.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • asdfgh

      @ed: a lot of people read the bible for what it is...a work of FICTION.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Jesus

      That's how I became an atheist...I actually read the Bible and then researched its REAL origin (i.e. those "letters" and the First Council of Nicea). I concluded that the only way somebody can believe this nonsense is to NOT read the Bible.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • BananasandLice


      You didn't read the bible. You refused to read the bible. That's different.
      Take one vexing, troublesome passage -of your choice- from the bible. Read it one day, the next, the next after that. Continue for about a month. Don't bother reading other people's comments about your chosen passages. Don't research, or seek wisdom from Bozo the Clown or Sarah Palin (for what other people think, or what the words really meant in the ancient language, etc.)
      I did that for the story of Adam and Eve. It changed my life. I view everything differently now, a lot less caustically. And Adam's double whammy blame is...the greatest, ever. I never would have seen it, or seen its significance in my life, or even have appreciated it if my eyeballs just passed over his words.

      June 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Anonymous: I could use some enlightenment as well... is there a reason you use the terms "Christianism" and "Islamis" instead of Christianity and Islam?

      June 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.