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. Eric

    Want to know what the Bible actually DOES teach? Cut through the popularly held opinions and join 100,000 other people who are currently studying at http://www.BibleUniverse.com

    June 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mr. Spock

      When humans figured out that the world was NOT flat, at the beginning of that process, there were only 5 who did understand it. Your 100,000 may be the rest who didn't. Your logical fallacy, "Appeal to popularity" is invalid.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  2. Fairfax

    Most of the Christian religious scholars at Colleges and Universities are NOT Christians. So it's not surprising that they don't believe the bible. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish - sure we don't know what kind of fish - maybe it was a wale, maybe a big goldfish either way it doesn't change the meaning and teaching of the lesson. I'm a Christian I'd never say something like "God helps those who helps themselves" because that's not biblical at all.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe it was a 'wale'? Umm, would that be wide-wale? As in corduroy?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Intelligent Protestant

      Your ignorance of spelling, grammar and marine biology renders any opinion you may be trying to convey as meaningless and unworthy of consideration.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Dan

      You are correct that the Old Testament does not say Jonah was swallowed by a whale. However Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 "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."

      June 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Chris

      @Dan, actually Whale, as has been stated before, is a new addition, to revised versions.


      June 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  3. Adriana

    So basically, what this article is saying is that The made-up stuff in a made-up book can be dangerous when it's not the true made-up stuff?

    It's religion. Its meant to comfort people. If those "Phantom Passages" comfort people, then what's the problem?

    June 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Spare the rod and spoil the child"? How's that meant to 'comfort' people? It is those kinds of phantom passages that ARE dangerous.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Matt

      I am not sure if religion has ever been around to comfort people though it can. I have always found that in every respect it was and is a way for people to understand their surroundings. Possibly some comfort could be from the after life idea but that is it. Instead people have always understood that there are many unexplainable things, and these things are attributed to God. Life's very question of Why? I am pretty sure that is what led to Religion. Of course I think God gave the answer Himself but that is my opinion.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  4. Nicole Michelle

    I've always took that to reference passover, and God telling his followers to not worry, this bad thing is happening but it will pass over you because of your faith. The coach isn't totally off key. People have been applying scriptures and tailoring them to their personal life. Which is okay.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • steven harnack

      Then you don't even know that passover celebrates the time when your merciful god killed all of the first born sons of the Egyptians, passing over all of the Hebrew homes with the proper marking on the doorways. And I'm an atheist, showing once again that we know more about your bible than you do.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You should have figured that out after you read Nicole's first few words: "I've always took".

      June 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  5. John in VA

    Speaking of mis-quotes and mis-representations, maybe this astute author can show me where in the Quran it is OK to murder innocent men, women and children by beheading, blowing them up, and treating any other religion or even you own religion with so little tolerance that it is OK to kill anyone that dares to have different views. Yes it has happened in Chritianity too but right now the terrorists we are engaged in worldwide are using the Quran out of context, seems this would be more relevant than misquoted origins of fairly good words for the most part.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • chf

      Basically what you're saying is that all religions can and have been twisted for evil purposes, and as such are inherently dangerous. Hence the bright line separating church & state in this country. Why the ultra-religious folk don't understand this is baffling.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      The 'line separating church and state' was only meant to keep the government out of the church's business, not the other way around. Ethics have no power apart from God. Good intentions will not keep the evil in society in check.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • John in VA

      CHF, I'm not saying religions are dangerous at all...Man is dangerous when they take things out of context and justify their evil deeds with religion. Sort of how you took my post out of context and gave it a different meaning while stating something I never said… Religion isn't bad; it is the person with evil in their heart and those that mock religion by blaming it for all evils committed by these poor twisted souls. Religion twisted to suit one’s own beliefs and to commit massacres is not religion at all. You are correct each religion has had their share of radicals that claim to be doing evil in the name of God... I assure you they were not doing God's will but their own...

      June 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      @Phil in Oregon- LOL at separation of church and state, it worked out so well for the Church of England. Also, two words: Spanish Inquisition.. where were the ethics you preach of God in there.. another example of church and state gone wrong. The founding fathers weren't even Christian, they were masonic; and smart enough to know the power of making sure of the separation of church and state.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  6. Barbara S.Boyd

    As one who teaches Bible in a university, I run into such incidents each semester. My favorite is the verse students quote in order to support war, quoting Exodus 21:24, and then putting these words (eye for an eye) into Jesus' mouth, thinking they are quoting Matthew 5:38, where Jesus precisely contradicts this passage. This one comes up every semester-fun!

    June 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Jack

      How sad that you think it's "fun."

      June 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Colin

      Barbara, I gotta ask, do you tech it as though it really is the inspired word of [the Judeo-Christian] god or as of pure historical interest?

      June 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  7. GreenAndShoes

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

    Now you know where those priest got the idea from......

    June 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      Sick. No, the priest/children thing comes from the Catholic Church needing priests so bad they shoved a whole bunch of men into celibacy who couldn't do it. Not very many men are called to be celibate(by God). Without His supernatural help, it just won't work.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      LOL, it does mention rods and staffs quite a bit in the bible.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  8. Helen

    Hopefully this article will help closed minded people to understand our World & Universe is all about Love, Forgiveness, etc. There is no such thing as a vengeful God.........

    June 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      Drop the word "vengeful" from that last sentence and you can join the ranks of the informed and intelligent.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Judith M

      So is "Vengance is Mine saith the Lord" just another misquote?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • John in VA

      Pithymcgee, so only people who don't believe in God are the informed and intelligent? That's considered an informed opinion? I would recommend that you read a book called "The Language of God" written by Francis S. Collins, the medical geneticist who once headed the Human Genome Project. He was an Agnostic then and Atheist and now a Christrian. I'm fairly certain he is informed and intelligent but now enlightened. I don't think you are uninformed nor unintelligent, your beliefs are your own, I respect that but for those that have faith and believe in God, why mock us as uninformed and unintelligent?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  9. M.C

    Just to clarify, did Ditka ever say that he was quoting the Bible with the words, "This too shall pass?" To me it appears that everyone is assuming that he meant to directly quote the Bible when in fact he was merely using a commonplace aphorism. Paraphasing at first that an idea that is in the Bible does not mean that whatever words that follow are meant to be Biblical quotations. While this was a very good jumping off point to start this discussion, it is neither fair to misattribute quotes to the Bible or sources of quotes to Mr. Ditka. Just as many suggested that you do your own research on quotations being fed to you, I suggest that you also do your own research on what people actually say before you jump on the bandwagon of lashing out against his words.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • DA BEARS

      You guys better apologize to Da Coach

      June 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • ficheye

      Wow. You are ranting against something that you are doing yourself. Like many who don't actually read the bible, you didn't read the ARTICLE. It quotes Ditka as saying " Scripture tells you that all things shall pass". It's right there, in black and white. But since you don't want to read the article, you are making assumptions about the article, and grievous assumptions about what everyone else is saying as well. I think you need to take the grade school test again, where there are 30 questions. The first one says 'Read everything before doing anything'. The last question says 'Now that you've read everything, check the last question 'Yes' and hand in your paper.

      And, yes, maybe you should read the bible. Or any other book, for that matter.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      Maybe Mike Ditka mixes up his play book and bible.. too many hail mary's... or bloody mary's.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Raise eyebrow up! Seriously!

    Stop fight after the Bible but most important when you read the Bible you should to PRAY FIRST then read so the holy spirit will guide you to be right and understand to find the truth and make sense to you? Always Pray FIRST! It will help you understand better. YOU ARE FOOL TO FIGHT OVER BIBLE BY EGOS THAT FROM SATAN'S WORK. How it work okay
    when Satan with 1/4 angels fell from Heaven so they what do with themselves so they decided to play the games on this earth so Satan dived in Serpent to spoke to Eve that Eve had never been expernice being bad or evil so Eve fell in with serpent convinced her which she didn't see actually Satan's doing but didn't realized that the devil did this. That's how it work. Satan is very powerful than human! But of course God is so hugo pure powerful than Satan! We can't see Satan in person but Satan's spirit working on human mind and heart to be doing in evil ways. Understand? Amen!

    June 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      Sorry, but actually i don't understand what you just said.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • OnanismO

      We can't see Satan in person for the same reason we can't see God in person....because NEITHER exist! Understand? R'Amen to eh Flying Spaghetti Monster!

      June 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

      Respected readers,
      My request to all of you, read the quran, which is the only unchanged holy book. Quran was revealed over 1400 years ago, nothing has been changed in the quran. All over the world and in all languages you will see same quran. If you don't believe it try it!

      June 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Islam – the belief that the creator of the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies whispered the secrets of eternal life to a sixth century pedophile in a cave.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • OnanismO

      Yeah, sorry dude. Screw the Quran! A counterfeit of a counterfeit of a counterfeit at best. That would make the Flying Spaghetti Monster more true since it was only just made up in the 20th century.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  11. Reality

    And then there are things that should not be in the bible:

    Saving Christians from the Resurrection Myth:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  12. Jenn

    I'm so glad I don't believe in religious bullsh!t

    June 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Trevor

      but yet you censor a word that has been deemed inappropriate because of religion. oh irony

      June 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually if she didn't censor the word, CNN wouldn't let her post.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      No, CNN censors the word because of your religion. I'm sure she would have no problem saying the "censored" word. Not ironic, just clever.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • someguy

      @Jenn: You may be glad now. But, will you be after you die?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Monster: I'm not sure if you're being funny or what, so I'm just not gonna touch that.

      Someguy: The thing about atheists it we believe that when we die, we're dead, so I'm sure she won't give a rip about anything. Religious people are the ones worried about their hypothetical afterlife. Atheists deal in what can be proven. So far, no sign of any afterlife.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      I would have to agree with Jenn here. Religion is Bullshit.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • LinCA

      ... or bullshit.

      June 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  13. Ellis Dee

    BEWARE the beast man and his pawns.. Guess who runs CNN? The masons run CNN like everything else. They are conditioning the very way humans think. SOOCIAL engineers at full speed. Mission is to abolish Christianity and RFID chip the human people. That is a big NO NO. You think they are coming after you? WRONG, they are coming after our kids.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      Can I pleeeeeeease have some of what you're smoking?

      June 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Adriana

      I agree with pithymcgee
      How does that statment make ANY sense??

      June 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Megan

      Note that you are the one who volunteered to read this article on CNN. There is nothing wrong with this article....it simply points out that many people misquote the bible. This is true. And lest you think I am biased against you, I am a Christian who reads the Bible and I do my best to keep with its tenants. It's simply unnecessary to get so defensive just because this article points out that not everyone knows the Bible as well as they profess.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Ellis Dee

      Lol and NOTE you are the one who decided to read and reply to my post. Anyways the post was a REPLY to everything I've been reading from this articles thread.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Sean

      Is that a Mayberry RFID chip?

      June 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  14. DoodleSheep

    The bible is a fairy tale, so who cares what things aren't actually in it.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Nick

      True, but even fairy tales are used to teach good lessons. Just because there was no magic beanstalk doesn't mean the lesson in the fairy tale should be ignored.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      Actually religion has done more harm than good through the years. the world would be a better place without it.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  15. davidsworld

    Of course we will have those moron none believers who tell us to choke on the bible...Go away if you want to burn in Hell and dont want help then fine you will burn., I'd rather you try to open your heart. Whats so bad about believing in God and helping others? They tell you how you should live your life but they dont tell you at what time of the day you can eat, what you should wear or anything just that you be good to others.

    I dont have atheist but I do pity them, they believe in nothing, and what a sad pathetic world they believe in.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Jenn

      Believing in some sky fairy is even more sad.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Ah yes, the whole believe or burn theory. One of the sillier Christian superst-itions. It allows believers to smugly tell non-believers they’ll get their “comeuppance” – Like david'sworld just did.

      Think it through, though. You don’t have to kill, you don’t have to steal, you don’t even have to litter. All you have to do is refuse to believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a punishment on you an infinite times worse than the death penalty….and he loves you.

      Dark ages nonsense. Perhaps you should change your name to "Wayne's World"

      June 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • aerie

      There is nothing sad or pathetic in my atheist world except that I must suffer Christian fools such as yourself on a daily basis.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Eric

      I didn't become happy in life until I gave up the idea of a God who was controlling my life. Now I understand that I'm the one who either causes good or bad things to happen, and that if I want to succeed I damn well better start working for it.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Gingeet

      First, I would like for you to learn to spell correctly.
      Second, What is wrong with religion is that it perpetuates ignorance an gullibility. If you believe in things as true that have no evidence or are untestable and make others (children) believe in them you are doing our society and species a disservice.

      When you disregard the evidence that opposes your "beliefs" and label it as wrong or evil just to satisfy your fragile ego from admitting that you are indeed the one who is wrong it just proves your ignorance.

      Lastly, bumper sticker logic/philosophy such as "Atheists don't believe in nothing" isn't helping you. Get a grip! Stop saying that you look like a complete moron!

      June 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Peace2All


      First, I agree with my friend, -Colin here.

      And... You Said: "Whats so bad about believing in God and helping others?"

      I would just add that in your sentence structure you -infer- that they are somehow interconnected. They're not necessarily.

      One can just 'help others'... without having to 'believe in God.'

      And, for 'some' people... believing in 'God' can lead to some (actions) that may have detrimental effects on themselves or society as a whole. It certainly 'depends' on the person, and the nature of their beliefs and the actions they take.



      June 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • someguy

      @Jenn: I can't think of any Christian who thinks of God as a "sky fairy", or anything even close to resembling that image.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Doubtful1

      I don't believe in "nothing", I believe in being good to others, doing the right thing, helping when and where I can, and stepping in where abuses are occurring.

      I certainly don't believe in a book that teaches that it's ok to own slaves as long as they're from neighboring countries, that it's ok to sell my daughter, that I'm an "abomination" if I eat shellfish, or any number of the non-sensical things that are put forth in the bible.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  16. KEB

    I'd love to go through each one of the assertions in this article, but I am afraid the time would be ill spent since the author neither understands the context of the sayings nor cares about the substantive context of the basis for such. However, just for edification of those wanting to know, I'll point out a couple:

    The issue with satan tricking Eve into eating an apple is wrong, the most important ones being that:
    1) In Genesis, the Bible plainly states that the "serpent" is the one responsible for the trickery and in Revelations, the serpent is identified as satan.
    2) The Bible never says Eve ate an apple, it was a "fruit"

    The assertion about "this too shall pass" is misconstrued. Certainly the Bible never says such in those exact words, but in 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing a letter to the church at Corinth, and he is telling them that their ideas about their own steadfastness is erroneous. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" is a warning that that whatever they think is permanent is not .. i.e. it shall pass

    Apparently there are some "scholars" who don't understand this either.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • OnanismO

      HA HA HA! Are you really trying to argue that the serpent in Genesis is the same as that identified as Satan in Revelation? Do you realize how many hundreds/thousands of years passed between the time those two texts were written? Don't you realize how easy and convenient it was for the author of Revelation to already have the centuries old stories to build on. Oh yeah, well in retrospect, the serpent would have been Satan. Of course, I'll just write that down now.... DUH!

      June 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      my issues.

      1) a snake can talk?
      2) maybe the snake cares for Eve's fruit intake. it doesn't want her to get scurvy.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  17. 6T9

    I wonder who was the first person to make a plate of nachos?

    June 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Judders

      That would be Percival Oglethorpe Nachonian XII, a Spanish courtier of English descent in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He created the crunchy, cheesy treat one night after studiously torturing Jews with the king, who had developed quite a hunger.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  18. ralk

    I have never heard or read any where that it says satan tempted her to eat the forbidden apple...it says forbidden fruit...but of course the media is so right on what they report huh! NOT!

    June 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  19. becca

    we should all study the Bible and read it for ourselves, then follow what it says!

    June 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Gingeet

      Most sane/intelligent people have actually read the bible. Once they finish it they fully understand what a bunch of BS it is. The rest of the people say they've read it and go on merrily in living their delusion with their imaginary friends and have "Personal Relationships".
      Remember the church wants you to be uneducated and ignorant. Otherwise, they will loose their livelihood.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Doubtful1

      Becca, I have read/studied portions of the bible and am confused on some points, perhaps you can help:

      1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

      2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

      3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense. Should we pass a law that states that all women must say if they are menstruating or not when they enter a room?

      4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

      5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? (HUmmm...if the policeman does it, is he not working on the sabbath, and should be dealt a death blow too?)

      6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than ho-mos-exuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

      7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      I was 5, when i realized what hypocritical BS it was. I asked my parents why there were only 2 people to start.. then they had to mate with their siblings.. but yet that's wrong. There was a lot of mother lovin' going on back then.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  20. Ron

    Good for those who know enough about their Bible to recall Revelation (singular, by the way, not plural) 12:9 where Satan, also known as Lucifer, is also called that old Serpent, the Devil. While the author is correct that Satan is not named in Genesis, it is clear he is that enemy of God and mankind.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • monstertrucks_and_bibles

      So God is so powerful.. but yet lets Satan run the show on earth? This basic premise defies logic.

      June 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • A

      The real question may actually be why it bothers you so much, Collin, to know that someone chooses to believe in something bigger than himself?

      June 5, 2011 at 2:07 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.