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. Full Throttle

    Oh yah. God was betrayed by the theist Lucifer. Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself. I am an atheist so it can't be me or the infidels who can't even get near god.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:08 am |
    • yannaes

      heck, atheist, see ya in the end..if you are wrong, you lose..big time...it believers lose they have lost nothing..so good luck no problem. God is not concerned about you being and atheist or not..in fact the ability is freedom of choice. so no problem

      July 13, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • yannaes

      heck, atheist, see ya in the end..if you are wrong, you lose..big time...itf believers lose they have lost nothing..so good luck , and no problem.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Lenin

      I have been dead for million of years until I came. Before I came, I need no god or heaven. Fear no sins, hell or devil. That really is the heaven for me. Well since god still have to judge regardless who. It doesn't mean theist will have better chance than you. They just hope to get into his good books that's all.

      July 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Godzillamenace

      You should believe in rebirth. What If it is right? Are you going to spent 500 years or more as an animal, insect or ghost wandering around in miserable states. Whenever I watch real stories of haunting on TV. Some cases revolves round pastors. I can't help asking myself since they are all theists. They should be having a great time in heaven. What are they doing wandering around as evil spirits? Surely this is rebirth in the realm of the ghosts and they are still there for hundred of years.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • H8UPrimitives

      There's the predictable Pascal's wager, usually happens about now...
      It's impossible to fight a logic-less battle with logic.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  2. Full Throttle

    A piece of wood burnt to the last splinter will quench the fire. How does god burn u for eternity if u r not eternal by default? Who says going to heaven means u r free from heaven? Satan was in heaven once. Didn't he end up in hell as well?

    July 13, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • Johnintally

      Exactly. It is not a matter of whether you will live forever, it is a matter of where. But once you are in "heaven" the Bible says you will live there forever. Satan is not a man, he is a spirit, so his is a special case, a result of his rebellion against God. You have made me think a bit about our concepts of heaven and hell. Most of our images are medieval and not from the Bible. All we really know is that God is the source of all that is good. Heaven is in that presence. Hell is the state of being separated from that presence.

      July 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Lenin

      A heaven plagued by pride and ego cannot be eternal which is why Asian religion centraling around rebirth have made it clear than pride is the typical trait and bane of all heavenly beings which eventually cause their fall and migration to hell and beyond. Atheist are separated from god. I dun see the hell with that separation and they are living happy lives. The role of a slave and servant to god will always be less satisfying. I dun see the need for a CEO when this world has proven that there are CEOs who haven proven their worth in their own ways and styles which benefit man.

      July 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  3. Full Throttle

    Why must we be created? We could have been as old as the universe since it begin. Whoever tells you that this is the first universe to begin with? Gods do exist. Many of them as a form of higher consciousness but none created the world as all claimed to have created the world. The existent of higher consciousness is a sign of different planes of energy or states of existence in the cosmological makeup of this universe. We too are a form of consciousness and are eternal to begin with. If u r not eternal to begin with. How then does god burn u for eternity in hell or spend eternity in heaven. U r oredi eternal. But we keep taking forms in non eternal gross forms in cycles of evolution and rebirth. Anyone can claim to be a creator. I just created this drawing. Does it make me the god of my drawing?

    July 13, 2011 at 5:54 am |
  4. pookie

    The whole problem with Eve and the Tree of Knowledge is set up by the author as a parable: God tells them to never eat from the tree, even though the magical fruit would make them as omniscient as the creator himself. The punishment would be very harsh if they ate from the shiny, brilliant Tree of Knowledge...that Tree is just dangling in front of Eve's lying eyes (Moses could be rather negative when the female subjects were in question) and POOF! There's that snake in the grass...FORCING poor Adam to ruin himself by flaunting that naked body of hers- At this point who really remembers if the damn thing was an apple or a pomegranate? God punked them both as they and the rest of the human race never really got any smarter.

    July 13, 2011 at 5:02 am |
  5. John


    July 13, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  6. Randall12

    In Casper Parks' novel Perceptional Threshold, he quotes a lot of scripture. Some of the characters quote scripture and then argue its meaning. Often they used dialog that sounds like scripture but isn't. Freakiest books I've ever read, kept me up at night.

    "Actually, that's not in the bible" writer John Blake" should take a look at that book.

    If that pastor in Florida has another book burning, wonder if he'd toss this one into the flames. Alien intervention to off-set an earlier alien contamination has got to upset that guy.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      You are not the only one that has a hard time understanding the Bible as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). What does that mean? For a better understanding what mankind must do to be able to understand the Bible please read all the pages and articles of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      July 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  7. James

    I'm just laughing at all the comments and posts here. Everyone thinks their God is the true God, so what? The reason we don't exist in the same places is because we have different beliefs, period. Deal with it. My God.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Wasi

      Hi James...

      I think you bring up an important issue. The fact IS that everyone thinks there are different Gods. i.e. Christian God, Hindu God, Islamic God....But the reality is that there is only ONE God (according to my belief)....If we suppose the other way, then there can be an infinite number of gods (which is just plain polytheism and straying from the right path)...

      Thanks and I respect your opinion.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  8. Wasi

    Funny that the myth of trinity was never mentioned in this....In fact the word trinity is NOT in the bible either. Maybe they should also mention how Jesus never said he was God...Read Mathew 19:17.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      Trinity was mentioned in the Quran sura 05:73

      July 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • pookie

      However, Trinity was a lead character in The Matrix trilogy as well as Oppenheimer's nickname for the bomb the FBI nearly ruined his life over.

      July 13, 2011 at 5:05 am |
    • Kevin

      But you have ignored the Gospel of John 1:1 and then 1:14. It explains the Word was at the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God. Verse 14 says, the Word became flesh and made his dwellilng amoung us (NIV).

      July 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  9. Muneef

    Prophets and Messengers of God
    It's not right that God would reveal on his Messengers or Prophets different Religions that contradict each other in essentials. A messenger is a prophet who comes with abrogating some of the laws brought by the previous messenger or receives a new set of laws. But the religion is one, believing in the oneness of Allah.

    Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet, Whom they find mentioned in their own Scriptures, in the Torah and the Gospel... (Holy Qu'ran: VII – 157; Translation: Yusif Ali)


    July 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  10. Wasted time

    Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”

    So, uh, what does this mean? The author seriously attempts to say "Spare the rod, spoil the child" isn't in the Bible? I guess he's only saying the literal words are not in the Bible? Wow! Amazing! Neither are the words he used, as it was written in Hebrew. So, what's the point? Damn, wasting my time, he succeeded!

    July 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • pookie

      Solomon's Proverbs are really just a wordier version of Le Rochefoucauld's Maxims and should be taken with a grain of salt, time waster.

      July 13, 2011 at 4:30 am |
  11. Go Ahead Read it - please

    This article is not incorrect – read the bible – please. if anything it does not go far enough. It was not an apple – it is an un-named piece of fruit – from the tree of knowledge – right off the bat the jewish bible(old Testament) attacks anyone that chooses to learn.
    Read Thomas Paine – one our counties founders – " The age of Reason" with a bible handy.

    As Mark Twain said – "The only cure for Christianity is to read the bible."

    Go ahead read it from begining to end – it will wake you up – revolt you and move you forward as a human being into something better.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  12. Mickey

    I think that if Christians want to profess Christianity then they should get the bible straight. There are many different denominations of Christianity (now im not talking about other religions or faiths like muslum, hinduism, or any others out there im talking about the Christian faith only that refers to the holy bible.) out there that profess DIFFERENTLY then other professing Christians. Study the bible if you are Christian. Scripture interprets scripture. I saw one lady comment on another article that said in Galatians 6:7-8 that at the end of the scripture is said eternal life in heaven. Go read it and you will find that it does NOT say in heaven. Actually heaven is NOT the reward of the saved nor is anyone in heaven or a supposed eternal hell fire in hell when they die. The reward of the saved is the earth, yes earth read it it says that "The meek shall inheret the Earth" nothing more nothing less. Jesus will reign over the whole Earth. Hell simply means the grave not eternal suffering in hell fire. Remember at the end of Revelations God says "Do not add or take away from the words in this book." These are just a few examples of how Christianity gets screwed up. Im not disclosing my faith or religious beliefs here just making a point that IF there is only ONE God of Christianity wouldnt it be wise if ALL Christians got HIS words right and correct? May be less confusion out there and less BS coming from all sides! I can see the point that Atiest make about religion being crap when not even Christians can agree on one way to believe and have one faith and be united under one God. Be careful too of the scripture warning you about worshiping another Jesus 2 Corinthians 11:4. My point is that the words in the bible are misrepresented in almost all forms and taken way out of content and sometimes the true meaning of scripture are lost.

    July 12, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Chris

      Wiggle around Matthew 10. There isa hell. I'm guessing you a Jehovah Witness. Talk about adding to scripture! Wow!

      July 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • pookie

      Got to admit that whoever "edited" Leviticus to the point where the heating instructions given for the food offerings caution strongly against combining meat and carbohydrate (unleavened or leavened bread, depending on the day of the week) with statements like " a-bakin' in the frying pan" and "baking in the oven" (obviously a much more recent change to my KJV) when such cooking implements as well as processed pork delicacies would not have been in existence or considered clean enough to eat by most Jewish Biblical characters.

      July 13, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Mickey

      Nope Chris wrong not a Jehovah Witness, guess again my friend. The point here wasnt my religious background just an observation from my time studying the bible in its contents and yes I will refer to Matt 10 and read it!! Im all open for correction if its in there, BUT we can also read that the wages of sin is death, not eternal fire. Like I said tho I will read it!

      July 13, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Mickey

      ok Chris I read Matt 10, and for the record I never said Hell wasnt in the bible I said that people dont burn for eternity in hell. For example John 3:16, Romans 6:23 (wages of sin is death). In Matt. 10:28 it says this; And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. This is plain that while satan and man can kill the body they cant kill the soul, however God can kill BOTH body and soul in hell. IF he can kill both why would peoples soul burn forever? Thats my point not that hell doesnt exist but just that it wont be eternal burning just thats where God will cast people to be killed. Revelations 20:13-15, states that this is where he will cast the people and it would become the second death. How can someone die but yet burn forever knowing they are burning? Look up what God declares death in the bible. The dead know nothing. Hence I said Hell simply means the grave not eternal hell fire where people will burn forever. Another good scripture to support this is Ecclesiastes 3:19-20.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Satwinder

      He's out of his mind. Also I would like you all to pray for my Aunt Lyndsay and Uncle Billy. They are expecting their first baby which was due in April but we got news tgohnit that my Aunt Lyndsay has high blood pressure and they are going to induce her labor and my baby cousin Emma will be born on Thursday. The doctors say she will weigh about 2 pounds and she will have to be in neonatal intensive care unit for 6 to 8 weeks. I know that Jesus can help the baby live and come out healthy. I know that Uncle Billy is also worried about his wife and the baby and I hope she lives. And I know that my parents are also happy for Aunt Lyndsay and their family. I hope you and Mrs. Rachel get to see her also. Love you. Good night. Alayna.

      April 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  13. madiesmith

    When we all realize that regardless of our beliefs, we each are just people...Only then can we ever start to progress towards peace. Unfortunately I do not believe this is possible because of human nature. That is what rings most true about what is written in The Bible. If you do not understand what I am saying then I can only suggest you read the book and see what it might mean for you

    July 12, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Steven

      iI have read it cover to cover and don't see your point.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • pookie

      Peace is still a free will choice for each individual human, regardless of what anyone else is doing in the world right NOW.

      July 13, 2011 at 4:49 am |
  14. YvetteS

    The reason for saying that it is actually Satan tempting Eve comes from Revelation 20:2, which equates the dragon, Satan, the devil and "that old serpent" as the same person. So it is Biblically accurate to say that Satan tempted Eve, it's just not all spelled out in Genesis.

    It is true that we need to be more careful about throwing out random Bible-sounding quotes as if they were the Word of God. But in addition to paying attention to the details of what the text actually says, we need to understand what the text means **in the context of other Bible texts on the same topic**. Some things will jump out right away, on other topics you have to search through the whole Bible like a treasure hunt, before you know what the Bible actually teaches on that subject. It won't always come from one simple "proof text."

    July 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • rkn

      (insert facepalm here)

      so, your getting this from the LAST book in the bible to say "hey you know that snake WAY WAY WAY before the was a new testament? yeah, he was the devil the whole time."

      so im guessing this is what they call "blind faith"
      logic plz

      July 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  15. Muneef

    Let me remind you of one thing that you might have not thought of before.
    You must have read about the wars and killings between Catholics and Protestants when there were only Two of them Christian branches but since then you became to have more than Two in branches and each claims to be on right path or true Church...this was noted from the words of fights i was able to read within several posts on these Religion blogs ...

    Guess if you go back reading your history in Europe or in the MidEast you will remember that your ancestors were because of such wars and conflicts driven out or migrated in force measure to overseas for finding the land they were told that they can practice their religious or non religious beliefs and rituals...
    Since then from different continents for many years made of the few branches many more branches in Black and in White...

    Could you tell me why the majority or the extremists did not try to enforce their Beliefs and Church upon all as did in the previous lands...
    Although can be seen that they might be working as "Missionaries" towards converting more at overseas countries ?  

    Tell me why you have this fragile unity and democracy among you there on that land ?

    Guess old Islam was the first to be a cause for your unity from the dates of the crusaders... Then in modern history there came the "Nazi's" then came the "Communists" but today you have the  "New Islam"....they were those who united you and got you to abolish slavery and made of you equal as it is today  in Black and White  !? 

    Guess always having a "Boogeyman" has been the only modern Secular way to serve controlling masses since with out Bible teachings here to get people follow,they have made this "Boogyman system" since this makes it a security alert measures taken ... 

    The existence of Islam and Muslims is behind your unity as Branches and Secular systems...while secular systems might be behind the fragile unity of Islam Branches and Bloodlines.

    In such cases if we were enemies we should at least have respect towards each other after all we still in need of each other in business,trades,consumer market Goods...
    God knows what else for centuries that we might have exchanged no matter who were the real pirates or bandits to the other all through ancient and modern history...

    But guess population masses every where are just used and abused to look like a "Large Dairy Farms" that are controlled and milked regularly for "Dr.Who's" of each nation.
    Some farms are more modern than others, while you will find in the Third World as some African or Asian tribes "cattle owners" live on the Animal Milk and Blood as vampires do while keeping the animal alive unhurt...

    July 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  16. Ike

    This is a nice attempt, but for anyone with true knowledge and understanding of the scripture, we can easily see where the saying come from. Many may not be actually in the Bible but the spirit of them is. We also have many examples like that of the serpent which may not be directly names as Satan, but are obvious representations of such figures. But when we're talking a couple pages of opinion and chopped up quotes... this is what you get...

    July 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Roy

      And whoever said it was an apple anyway? It says fruit, not apple. And what's bigger, it was in the garden. It says clearly that the two trees were in the garden. We're Adam and Eve watching from miles away when they saw the tree and they saw it was good eatin'? This writer doesn't know jack about God's Word..

      July 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Steven

      IIke and Roy, typical Christian responses to being called out. Downplay the ignorance or just attack back.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  17. Leonard

    the bible's so stupid that when obama was elected president, christians said "KILL THE MUSLIMS!"

    July 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Christan

      No, we Christians did not say "kill Muslims." It is the ignorant and uneducated who wish to cause create conflict where there is none. Christian and Muslim alike there are good and not so good people. God does teach us in both disciplines not to judge others because we ourselves are also never perfect.

      When we all realize that regardless of our beliefs, we each are just people...Only then can we ever start to progress towards peace. Unfortunately I do not believe this is possible because of human nature. That is what rings most true about what is written in The Bible. If you do not understand what I am saying then I can only suggest you read the book and see what it might mean for you.

      July 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Andrew

      Your post is a perfect, textbook example of a logical fallacy known as a "hasty or sweeping generalization."

      July 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  18. Sam

    This is one of the most poorly written and researched articles I have read in a long time...

    July 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Jan

      And you just leave it at that? Not even bothering to explain yourself or cite an example? Your comment, therefore, means NOTHING.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  19. waves

    I am an atheist and I have often felt that I understand the bible better than most Christians, I have actually read the bible and after having read the bible that is one of the reasons (key word being one) why I am an atheist.

    July 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • H.Martinez

      I also am an atheist that claims to know more about the Bible and the history of Jesus than many Christians. Why a film about atheism bother some people so much? I have seen lots of films and have read lots of books that defend Christianity and criticize atheists and I don't get offended. Whatever Christians believe is "their truth", not "my truth". Let everybody have and enjoy their truth. Nobody is going to change because of a movie or a book.Why Christians are always so adamant about not religious people?

      July 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Johnintally

      Gentlemen, you both seem to have honestly held beliefs. There is nothing whatever wrong with standing up for the truth as you see it. I honor you for it. I am a Christian and a long term student of the Bible. I believe I can say with confidence that Jesus, even though it might have hurt him, would have honored you for it also.

      July 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tricia0

      @H. Martinez

      I am a Christian and like you its just a movie and I am not offended by it at all. I can choose to watch it or not. I may watch it actually, why? Cause at the end of the day its just a movie, it doesnt sway my beliefs any way or another. Movies are pure entertainment thats all.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  20. William

    According to the Bible, the serpent IS Satan.... First of all, snakes don't talk. So it had to be God or Satan... and, since it was trying to deceive Eve, it was Satan. We also know it was satan because he WAS in the garden of eden... because it says it in the BIBLE, the book that this article is trying to work out of (Ezekiel 28:11-18). And, in that same scripture, it says that Satan was also the first to sin. Thus, he HAD to be around before Adam and Eve, and he was the only one that could have deceived and tempted eve to eat the fruit. You can't understand scripture without the help of the Holy Spirit.

    July 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • John

      In addition Revelation 20:2 explicitly equates "that ancient serpent" with Satan. The error with this popular rendering of Genesis 3 is that the bible never says Adam and Eve ate an "apple." It is always referred to as the fruit.

      July 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Goodness Snakes!

      "Had to be God or Satan?" The stories of the Bible are littered with supernatural beings apart from God and Satan, such as angels and demons that have plenty of speaking parts. If the text falls short, don't INVENT the explanation. Use your brain. And the idea that you can't understand the Bible without supernatural assistance (or Holy Spirit) is unprovable, unsubstantiated by any text from the Bible, and OVERWHELMINGLY narcissistic. This is like the Jeep slogan implying that only owners of Jeeps understand the value of a Jeep. Seriously, get over yourself. Some ideas require only logic to understand and if the text falls short of an explanation, you might fill it in with faith, but that doesn't make it true for everyone else.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:53 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.