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. Suffolk100

    I think most religious folks are nuts. They do not read the bible but believe what some MORON at the pulpit tells them to believe. You see these MORONS with their bible but sadly they don't open it at home. They don't understand the MORON at the pulpit is giving them his/her interpretation of things. Then you wander why we're in the sad shape we're in. Religious want one thing only – your money. That's it. Give your tides to the homeless or wounded veterans and see how quick these MORONS will tell that's wrong and that your suppose to give it to the church. FOOLS. A sucker born every day.

    December 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  2. Van

    Something else that is not in the Bible is the proof that Yahweh is an all-loving god. Read the entire book of Joshua. Read it many times, in as many different translations as you can. Then you will know that the Bible is not about an all-loving God.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  3. Celestine Simpson

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    December 8, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  4. Israel Cordoves

    Is true the Bible does not say “that all things shall pass, but it says: Matthew 24: 35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”. Literally, do not say, “That all things shall pass,” but the meaning that every thing will pass is there. That is what is important the principle, the teaching.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  5. A couple things

    -So while the Bible refers to Satan as the dragon that doesn't mean he was a winged serpent, just like Jesus is called a lamb but isn't of the sheep variety.
    – Adam and Eve were not kicked out for eating from the tree of the knowledge, but to prevent them from eating from the tree of life
    -Just because the bible doesn't mention something doesn't mean it can't exist, the Bible doesn't mention Kangaroos but we know they exist that is why just because the Bible doesn't mention dinosaurs doesn't mean they don't exist.
    – While the bible only mentions the first two people created that doesn't necessarily mean there weren't people created after, some scholars believe many people were created just Adam and Eves family was the only one worth mentioning.
    -Also you need to be careful when talking about the Bible vs the Church. For instance there is nothing in the bible that says the earth doesn't revolve around the earth. When Galileo first started teaching this theory many in the CHURCH said it was hearsy because a verse that said God made the day longer and the 'sun appeared to stand still in the sky' (though i forge the exact words of the verse). Now that only means the sun didn't move in the sky not that it had been revolving around the earth. In fact Galileo himself said that if the theory contradicted the bible he wouldn't be teaching it.
    -The same goes for evolution he bible doesn't contradict it, in fact the last pope (not sure about the first) said that evolution happened, though with the exception of the evolution of man, which to be fair you can't at this moment prove happened without the missing link.
    -The bible is a book of RELIGION not SCIENCE, God made scientists to write those books, keep in mind science hasn't always been right either, anyone remember the Nazi doctor scientists? If you look into the history of any culture or religion you will find some people who twist an Innocent thing into something dark.
    – Christians are in a covenant of FAITH while Jews are in a covenant of LAW. This is why there are contradictions between the two testaments because they are for different faiths. Jesus specifically said that the old testaments was no longer a requirement for Christians. This is why Christians are supposed to live in faith and kindness to others, and this means to all people, in Corinthians (i believe could be another letter) it says being kind to your 'brethren' means nothing because of course your going to be nice to someone you like but that you must be kind to all.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  6. Toshia Volner

    I need one of these right now to make it through the work day! Love it!

    December 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  7. Mishka

    The writer of this article writes about certain topics that are supposedly not mentioned in the SO-CALLED Bible, but they don't mention that the "Bible" is a book OF BOOKS, and that those books were put together to form one complete volume. In fact, the original writings were NOT bundled and many other writings that belong to the ancient Isarelites and their ancestors were not included in the "church-approved" cannon, such as the book of Adam and Eve. In the book of Adam and Eve, it clearly states that a fallen Cherub spoke THROUGH a serpent (used it as a mouth piece).

    The book of Enoch is another suppressed scroll that was not included in the so-called canon. Those suppressed books reveal a lot that people are just not aware of because they've never read the books, and many have no clue that the books even exist. And as far as '...quoting verses that really aren't there': Try again, ignorant One. Many of us quote verses that ARE in other books that were SUPPRESSED, and are obviously books that you have not read. Time to get to researchin'!

    December 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
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    November 29, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      download Firefox or Google Chrome

      November 29, 2011 at 6:41 am |
    • Mirosal

      Firefox works great, but the font might be a little different, that's all

      November 29, 2011 at 7:04 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Or get the Chrome Frame add-on for I.E.

      November 29, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Justin

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      December 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  9. you're nuts

    you all are crazy!! just plain nuts!!

    November 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  10. Eleyesha

    Before you suggest that the devil was not the serpent, you may want to find out the exact translation in Hebrew as it was originally written. The serpent isn't a snake. It goes as far as meaning that it was a beast, possibly a dragon. Remember that the devil is a fallen seraphim. A winged serpent like creature in his case. That's why they call him the dragon in Revelations. What other creature so closely resembles the serpent in Genesis? God doesn't name Satan in Genesis, but you may find it isn't necessary. Perhaps its because God wants us to see that in the beginning it's about us and Him and the trust we were to have in Him. But that trust was broken and we fell.
    Once this is understood, one finds out later that the devil did something similar (Seeking to be like God) and fell as well. The devil sees himself as equal to God though he is not. Perhaps God makes a point that his uniqueness is irrelevant in the beginning. To amplify the fact that the devil is nothing like God... he's but a number. A serpent.
    One has to use faith to learn from God. Remember to give God the benefit of the doubt when mulling over His word. That means one will try to understand how His word IS possible, before wondering how it isn't. To be honest, after reading the Bible I've never found fault in it. All things declared by God were possible and the story teaches every lesson I needed to learn about life. Which is the point.
    See Jeff Cavins writings on the serpent. He's a catholic scholar who knows a great deal on the subject.
    Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!

    November 21, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      'Possibly a dragon'?? Tell me you aren't serious!!! A dragon?? ok, just where can we find them now, or where can we dig up fossils of dragons?? Just another fictional creature from the world's best selling work of fiction. If you lend ANY credence to a 'dragon' .... no one will ever take you seriously. Let me guess, Harry Potter is also real?? They have dragons there too y'know. Let's all go on a werewolf hunt. Maybe we can find a vampire to be our guide. But .. you better ask Bigfoot if we can hunt on his land first. or he'll get mad!!

      November 21, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • Eleyesha

      Oh and just to throw a curve ball at you unbelievers -

      Ser – To be or not to be
      Pent – Confined

      That would be the definitions for both parts of Serpent. Now... what was the author saying again. 😉

      November 21, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • Mirosal

      You're using Latin root words to describe something written before Latin was even a language? 'Lost in translation' comes to mind.

      November 21, 2011 at 6:09 am |
    • Eleyesha

      HEY! Thanks Mirosal!

      She's right, we could dig up a winged serpent. They're called Pterodactyl

      I suppose next you might say "They don't talk!"
      Sure enough they may or may not talk. I'd ask but it was long ago they lived. You know, come to think of it. Adam and Eve lived some time ago too.
      Next you might tell me, dinosaurs aren't mentioned in the Bible. Well...there too your right. God didn't mention you have genes in the bible either. But sure enough you have them. With those genes you can tell a lot about where a person is from and how they are constructed.
      I wonder...I wonder if God thought to do the same with the earth? Hmmmm.....if He made genes for humans, I wonder if he made genes for the earth itself.
      I must admit that I too love children like God does. If I made genes for the earth, I'd put dinosaurs into them too. Specially if I wanted to children to believe in what they can't see.

      Use your imagination a little faith and you'll get it. 😉

      November 21, 2011 at 6:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      All living things on this planet have a genetic code. DUH!! As far as Adam and Eve ... so the entire human gene pool came from only 2 people?? Yeah, nice try. They had sons .. where did the females come from? You want me to use imagination and faith?? uh-huh ... I actually have a Jesuit education. To use faith and imagination is the core of religion. "Forget what you know, and believe something that no one has ever, or will ever, prove beyond any doubt." All other 'gods' have fallen by the wayside into the realm of mythology. Your 'god' is no different and will eventually join the others as well. 500 years ago, when people finally woke up from the dark ages and entered the Age of Discovery, the churhc wwas PIS-SED because real evidence was in direct contrast to what they were teaching. Asking questions is how you learn. Philosophy is all about life's questions that may never have answers. Religion is all about their answers you may NEVER question. I have heard that reason (and logic) is the enemy of faith. You have just shown me why that really might be true.

      November 21, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Mirosal: You're far too smart to argue with someone who still believes in fairy tales. Quite obviously from her posts and comments she is deluded and rather brainwashed. She doesn't seem to comprehend that a catholic scholar is not an actual scholar of anything but mythology. She doesn't seem to understand that dragon's don't exist and there were no dinosaurs on her precious sky daddy's ark.

      November 21, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Mirosal

      And good morning to you m'lady, 🙂 ... I am still trying to get over her(?) telling me it was a DRAGON .... I mean ... wow .. I've heard some thumpers go off the deep end, but she's drowning!!

      November 21, 2011 at 6:31 am |
    • Eleyesha


      Can you do me a favor TruthPrevails? Can you tell WHICH creatures were my Daddy's Sky Ark? Cause you were there of course. You'll likely have them alphabetized within your great wit.

      We can argue about what God didn't say in the Bible all day. But it shouldn't be necessary.Since we know He only brought up what we needed to know.

      November 21, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • Mirosal

      'Brought up what we needed to know' ... sounds like a control freak. No, humans can't learn that i forbid it!! How dare they question ME .. I made them I love them all but I'm sending most of them to suffer forever after they die!!!! That will show 'em who's boss around here!!! How petty can this 'god' be? If he needs us to worship 'him', then your god has a SERIOUS inferiority complex and needs therapy ASAP. .... No one can tell you what animals were there, but we know from the song there were no unicorns!! There was no planetary flood, and there was no ark. Look, I spent 2 decades in the U.S. Navy, do you REALLY want to get into the actual physics and details of shipbuilding? Why don't we need to know some things? Are we a threat to this 'god' if we learn something? Does 'it' fear us as we acquire knowledge? 'it' should. Humans have the ability to kill off ANY 'god' ... for reference just ask Zeus, Apollo, Odin, Thor, Osiris et.al.

      November 21, 2011 at 6:45 am |
    • Eleyesha

      You got some built up frustration in you. You didn't counter any of what I said with logic, so I'm signing off on this one.

      Not to knock your great ship building abilities, but I don't believe God said how the ark was built technically.

      You do seem like you have something against God that likely came from some hard knock life lessons. I'm sorry that you carry some of the pain with you if you do. Anyone reading what's been written up to my last post can get an idea where God may or not be coming from. I hope these views posted help open some minds to what's possible for His sake.

      Take care and have a blessed day!

      November 21, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • Mirosal

      One cannot argue logic with someone whose only source of material is a 2000 year old book filled with 3000 year old stories that were verbally handed down for generations before being written down, and corrupted along the way. If you REALLY want a logical debate, I'm ready. But, if your only source is that buy-bull, you're going to lose. Bring your "A" game, and your Mensa card (I've had mine for almost 30 years).

      November 21, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Mirosal

      How can one argue logic with someone who thinks dragons were/are real? Should I get some 20-sided dice and we'll roll on it?

      November 21, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Eleyesha: Can you prove they were? Better yet, could you provide any proof that the ark existed or what animals were on it?? How about your god? Where is the proof for it?? See, here is the way this goes with any rational person...if you make a claim you need to back it by evidence that can be demonstrated according to the scientific method. Since we are not making claims such as the ones you are making, the burden of proof lies on you. It is quite obvious you have never read your buybull or you too would be an Atheist. When you are attempting to provide proof please do so without use of the buybull or anything god apparently said (you were not present to even know if the beast existed) or using theological experts (pseudo experts). Your proof needs to use the scientific method and if you're not aware as to what that is, you might wish to google it. Until you are able to provide the evidence in accordance with that, it stands to reason that your claims are complete fallacies.

      November 21, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Truth ... if you and Steve ever spilt ... I'm coming after you!! lol 🙂 She wanted logic, but cannot provide any logic of her own.

      November 21, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Mirosal: Very flattering...thank you 🙂
      On the note of her wishing for logic but yet not being able to provide any of her own...I wouldn't expect many who believe in a non-existent deity to ever be logical...we'd really be asking too much and it is obvious from her posts that she is not capable of thinking for herself without the use of the buybull to guide her. People like her fail to understand or see how we can be good without the god delusion in our lives...they automatically a.ssume that we are evil and hateful...not realizing how hypocritical they make themselves sound. Oh well, you can change stupid!

      November 21, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • @Mirosal

      @Mirosal The word dragon in reference to biblical texts does not necessarily mean your movie inspired idea of what a dragon is. Lots of words in Hebrew do not translate perfectly to english so translators had to come up with the next best thing. "Dragon" could mean a winged reptile, Pterodactyl is one there's a reptile in south america that has "wings" and can glide from tree to tree. A winged reptile. And yes all thing have genes and you expect me to believe that the creation of the earth came from a random explosion? and all life started from a single celled organism?? I'd say the Adam and Eve story is more likely...

      November 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Ark

      Many religions and cultures have the story of the great flood, where a man is chosen to save his family and a few animals. Including those from the Americas where they could not have been influenced from other peoples stories over time. Theoretically if each of these people saved certain animals from there region, they could easily have made smaller more realistic 'arks'. They wouldn't even have to save similar species as they species would then later adapt to their surroundings and branch of into different strands say saving one kind of K9 that than adapted into huskies and greyhounds.
      Also most of the time the bible is very symbolic, a dragon doesn't have to be an actual dragon anymore then Jesus is a two foot tall fuzzy baby sheep.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Abhilash Dwarakanath

      @ Mirosal – You are way too smart to be debating an ignorant bunch of nutjobs. They're all deluded mate. Let them go on believing in their sky daddy. I really hope that they all become Christian Scientists and stop taking medical care for their issues so that gradually they de-select themselves from the gene pool, thereby rendering the human race smarter as a whole.

      On another note – Here in Germany, a Mensa is a cafeteria and we have Mensa cards that we swipe to pay for the food. 😀

      December 30, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  11. Sara

    The reason people put satan as the serpent in Genesis is because later in the bible it compares the Devil, Satan, that old serpent. Calling modern day Christians stupid is a wrong and hate filled thing. I, as a matter of fact, took the religion quiz on cnn.com/belief and got a 100%. You people shouldn't be so judgemental on people's beliefs. There are people from all kinds of different religions who take their "bible" out of context, not just Christians.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • nonbeliever

      @Sara- If you read the passage in Genesis, God does not once refer to the serpent as Satan, nor does he rebuke him as anything other than your every day snake. Within interpretations and the actual passing down of scripture and the idea that Revelation was written thousands of years after Genesis does not make it the same thing.

      "I, as a matter of fact, took the religion quiz on cnn.com/belief and got a 100%" I think your statement proves a lot of what the author of this article was getting at. –Romans 12:16

      November 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  12. stevec2

    This is an album and song by George Harrison, not Bible, but sounds bible. Here is a good explanation about the origin of all things must pass and its relationship to the Bible.

    November 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  13. mark midland

    Half the peoplein the ununited states of america do not have more than a eight grade education because dropping out of school and selling crack made more sense. Thier lack of education damns themselves in ignorance.

    October 29, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • EssEm

      This is very funny. Please tell me it was written that way as a joke.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • LadyTamborine

      @ mark midland Check your own spelling & grammar. People in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks.

      November 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • nonbeliever

      @Lady- It's stones not rocks! Quit taking old parables out of context! Kidding...

      @mark- Half of the united states, 150 million people dropped out of school in 8th grade and started selling crack? I truly hope this is a joke, if not, it proves the authors point to a T.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Muneef

    And who would be averse to the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous. 2:130

    When his Lord said to him, "Submit", he said "I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds." 2:131

    And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], "O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims." 2:132

    Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, "What will you worship after me?" They said, "We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac – one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."

    That was a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do. 2:134

    They say, "Be Jews or Christians [so] you will be guided." Say, "Rather, [we follow] the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists." 2:135

    Say, [O believers], "We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him." 2:136

    So if they believe in the same as you believe in, then they have been [rightly] guided; but if they turn away, they are only in dissension, and Allah will be sufficient for you against them. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. 2:137

    [And say, "Ours is] the religion of Allah . And who is better than Allah in [ordaining] religion? And we are worshippers of Him." 2:138

    Say, [O Muhammad], "Do you argue with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord? For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. And we are sincere [in deed and intention] to Him." 2:39

    Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants were Jews or Christians? Say, "Are you more knowing or is Allah ?" And who is more unjust than one who conceals a testimony he has from Allah ? And Allah is not unaware of what you do. 2:140

    That is a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do. 2:141


    October 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  15. Muneef

    And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. 2:163

    Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason. 2:164


    It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge. 65:12
    Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], 'Believe in your Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. 3:193

    Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise." 3:194


    And Noah said, "My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant. 71:26

    Indeed, if You leave them, they will mislead Your servants and not beget except [every] wicked one and [confirmed] disbeliever. 71:27

    My Lord, forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women. And do not increase the wrongdoers except in destruction." 71:28

    October 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • From-other-side

      This is so poetic and beautiful. Thanks for sharing. What is it though?

      November 16, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • From-other-side

      I am sorry I did not see your last comment. It is from Quran

      November 16, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Shelley

      Muneef thank you for sharing. I'm just so saddened that so much hate is directed towards Christians on this post but you've gotten no negative comments. I will also offer none except one that why if this is what Islam believes there are so many Muslims that want to hurt or destroy the United States. Just wondering. I completely respect EVERYONE'S right to freedom of religion (or lack there of) but when people are openly attacking my religion when all I do is love and not a religion that has leaders that have openly admitted to acts of terrorism.. I have to ask. Thank you again Muneef for sharing and I do not in any way suggest that you are apart of any violent faction of Islam, I just want to point out a real difference between the two religions. I hope you are not offended. أن تعيش في سلام

      November 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Islam

      (Hopefully this part doesn't sounds racist) but I'm assuming your american and from my understanding the news vilifies Muslims. So when you see those "DEATH TO AMERICAN' Muslims you have to realize that those aren't the majority. It's like if in Saudi Arabia they only showed Westburrow Baptist so all the citizens there thought all christians hated Jews and Soldiers. One Hadith (saying of Mohammed but no the divine word of God like the Qu'ran) has the Prophet saying 'anyone who harms a Jew or Christian will have me as an accuser'. You'll find that there are a lot of misconceptions about Islam and I'd recommend reading about it as it is neither violent nor oppressive to women. While many people in the middle east are angry at the united states you have to remember that the US has often invaded their country, killed innocent people (even if was while in the process of killing the 'bad guys') and often corrupt leaders are able to stay in power simply because they were backed by the US. Now of course this is why many Americans are angry a muslims, 9/11 did kill a lot of people, the war in Iraq (worth mentioned no one invovled in 9/11 were from Iraq) did to, facts are when you loose a child or friend you want to blame someone because your angry.

      You don't really find this hatred of Americans in other countries, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country and doesn't have a problem with the US. China has more Muslims then Canada has people, and all our stuff comes from there!

      December 8, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  16. JeremyJK

    I had to laugh through this article because I can relate. My wife's grandpa who we visit once or twice a year is quite the opinionated talker. He will ramble on and on about his ignorant opinions and say "well as Jesus says in the Bible..." and his qoutes are either completely off or very twisted. He will say things like, "Jesus says in the Bible, women are to be seen and not heard and only speak when first spoken to." Scary thing is he actually believes thats what Jesus said.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Writer

      II live in Texas, and most of the population here, is just like the person you described. I'm sorry you have to put up with that.

      November 13, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  17. Read what it says.

    For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the WHALE'S belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Mathew 12:40

    And the great dragon was cast out, that old SERPENT, called the DEVIL, and SATAN, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9

    And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. Revelation 20:2

    October 11, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • AllenS

      You missed the point, didn't you? Those were embellishments added in later translations. Having fun taking a book literally that no one can agree on the translation to?

      October 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • n3kit

      AllenS you missed the point and you were given the verses already. Read what it says.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Dave Winston

      I missed the point when he wrote about when embellishments turn dangerous. I was waiting for it and...it wasn't really dangerous.
      Some of these embellishments aren't really that literal. And some quotes attributed to the bible are not done by the speakers quoting these old sayings as much as by a writer trying to make a point that really isn't there.

      November 3, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • SDorn

      Exactly!!! What Im wondering is how Bible Scholars miss that!? Very confused. The entire bible is very clear on who was in the garden and who that serpent was.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Sandra

      Oh my. The people saying that "yes, the serpent was called Satan in the Bible" are TRULY missing the point. Unless you read the original scrolls for yourself, and they're dated to the Church's beginnings about oh, 2000 years ago, then all you've read/heard/learned is some random person's INTERPRETATION of what the Bible scrolls say. It's been rewritten and edited so many times, that some accuracy of the orginal writings have been lost, yet you thinkthe INTERPRETATION isthe actual when it's not. And some of those INTERPRETATIONS can be indeed very dangerous. More dangerous is that you've never thought enough to question any of what you've been taught, is it true, is it right. THAT is the real danger.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Sandra

      And even what I said is a bit off, because those stories, at least in the Old Testatment, were around and passed down verbally and then finally written down probably well before Jesus's time. I'm not knocking the Bible, nor Bible scholars, nor your regular run-of-the-mill Christians who through no fualt of their own erroneously learned that the serpent = satan. I'm simply saying it's a good idea to make sure for yourselves that what you're reading is the bonafide correct translation/version of what you're trying get knowledge of.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • nonbeliever

      @Reah What it Says- You do realize that in Greek in the scripture you are quoting (I'm assuming from the KJV) did not have the word whale, correct? That 'whale' was used when translated into english because it allowed for the best representation of how the translators felt it should be, not necessarily the actual context of the scripture.

      And do you really believe that if in Genesis 3 god was speaking to Satan he would have just said, "oh, well, you did wrong, I'll just make you crawl on your belly the rest of your life and eat dirt and get struck on your head by people when they try and kill you." Is it, again, possible that translators and authors used an ANALOGY and that when Eve was tempted in the garden it really was just by a regular, every day snake?

      @SDorn- please for the love of your religion, read and study your bible and its history.

      I mean, seriously, most of the christians in here debating this article are the exact reason these biblical scholars are correct. It amuses me too, that every day folk are questioning people that probably can read and write in greek and hebrew and have actually spent time studying their religion and history. I guarantee most of you probably believe Lucifer to be Satan as well, but then again, good luck finding reference to that in your bible.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Jon

    The most interesting thing I found on this.....is that they never pointed out it WAS NOT AN APPLE!! The Bible never says it was an apple....a common misconception. I thought thats what they were going to point out when they mentioned that passage LOL!

    October 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • A christian

      It was a fig tree.

      November 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • CJ

      I know I thought for sure the article would mention that! Also, it wasn't (definitively) a fig tree. Truth is, all the Bible mentions is a fruit and it is Milton in "Paradise Lost" that specifies an apple. That is where the misconception comes in.

      December 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  19. Scientificpoetry

    What I find particularly humorous is that people actually believe there was a talking snake...

    October 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • desultoryphilippic

      LMAO My husband's favorite quip is "They lost me at 'talking snake'."

      I've read this elsewhere on the internet, and I am paraphrasing here, "The bible is all about some Jewish zombie who was his own father, who, because some rib woman ate an apple given her by a talking snake, had to kill himself."

      October 5, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Tim

      There was a talking donkey too!
      Balaam in the Old Testament from 2nd Peter Chapter 2:16. So if there is justification to this "Passage" then by all means there to could be a talking snake. Sure it sounds outrageous but if God can do anything than we must believe that anything is possible, Even talking animals. For me personally I believe the verses because I haven't found anything to be False in them. History and artifacts can prove that. But God gives us free will and choices to make up our own mind. So if you do not believe than I know that that is your decision and I will still respect and admire you for standing your ground. Peace and Love

      October 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Talking Snake

      Ventriloquism. Of course a snake cannot talk. But it should be relatively easy for a powerful being like satan to make it appear so. Furthermore, Since there were no other humans by which to talk with Eve, it would have to default to an animal. What better animal, one that can live and slither in a tree — where the test of obedience resided.
      Is it scientific to not believe in invisible things? Right now I'm typing this message to a distant server from across the planet.

      October 23, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  20. Scientificpoetry

    I think the Eve/fruit story was put in by the writers to warn that if you become enlightened... you'll quickly realize that there is no God and the only true higher power is the human intellect... “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    October 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • K State

      well i can say that that is a very foolish assumption.... im seems like you may have grown up in a house hold where you had questions but no real answers....When you look at genesis and the garden and compare it with Jesus (Yashua's "hebrew") teachings, you see that man was place on the earth to govern as God's representative ( made in His image) on the earth. the restiction of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a divine restriction. that man would know his boundaries (not as though God was tring to his some secret from man). But then again pride is always the blinder of mans eyes not the opener

      October 11, 2011 at 4:28 am |
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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.