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. adamant (not real name)

    it was actually Satin "That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan" (Revelation 12:9) was the one that tempted eve it goes on to say 2Corinthians 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ". so do not be tricked that serpent of old is satin.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • dillchik

      Here is a good link with more information on the serpent being Satan.


      June 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • dillchik

      And it is Satan, not satin. Satin is a pretty smooth fabric often used in dresses.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • The Truth Will Set You Free

      Satan was not always his name. No human knows his given name! His course of action is how he obtaine the name Satan..Devil... His name has been blocked from all mankind only the CREATOR has such POWER and capability! I personally wouldn't go "searching" for that name ... There are more things to research like... Who IS the MOST HIGH of the UNIVERSE? What's HIS NAME?

      June 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • The Truth Will Set You Free

      Ps 83:18

      June 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Junaidi

      Its really funny about aniidns.After 96 world cup it is a habit that Sri Lankan team throw them out of multi nation tournements.In Asian cup also aniidns last match is against Sri Lanka.I really feel soory for them. Best thing for india is playing their own country.the pitches are made for them.out of their country indian team is nothing.I hope atleast they will win 2 t20 matches against zimbabwe.After that they can think about making a good fight against Sri Lanka. (0)

      April 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  2. Sb

    Did this author do his research? The Bible says in Matthew 12:40 that "For as Jonah 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." How can the author state that the scripture never says a whale swallowed Jonah????

    June 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • The Truth Will Set You Free

      In Jonah's own words in Jonah 1:17 the kind of fish was NOT named. Are there sea creatures CAPABLE of swallowing a Man? Certainly among them are white shark and the sperm whale.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Maty

      Most translations of the Bible mention Jonah's swallower as a "sea monster", "sea creature" or "great fish". Only the KJB specifically describes it as a "whale".

      June 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • e2verne

      because "Sb" – as noted in the article, the Bible (King James Version pre 1970) did not say WHALE, it says, as noted in the article – Jonah was in the belly of a great fish. Now if you want that to be a whale, OK, but don't use the Bible as your reference.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  3. James Black


    June 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  4. Walter Weinzinger

    The "serpent" is simply another name for Lucifer/Satan/the Devil (see Rev. 12:9; 20:2). There was no snake coiled around the Tree of Knowledge magically speaking words out of its mouth to Eve. At some point, God allowed Adam and Eve to be tempted by Satan just like at some point He allows Satan to start tempting us as we grow older.

    Mainstream Christianity's biggest scriptural misinterpretation is perhaps the idea of the Trinity. People say that the Trinity is a concept that is impossible for us to fully understand with our finite understanding. That's because the Trinity explanation of God is wrong. The correct understanding of the Godhead (which IS mentioned in scripture whereas the word "trinity". like "rapture" is not) is that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings who are perfectly one. There is not one thing that Jesus Christ would do that His Father would not. The Holy Ghost will never teach us something that is out of harmony with the teachings of the Savior. Understanding this makes everything fit into place, like:
    – why the LORD God states in Genesis 3:22, "the man is become as one of us"
    – how the Word (Jesus Christ) could both be WITH God and BE God at the same time
    – the manifestation of all three members of the Godhead at Jesus' baptism ("this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.")
    – why Jesus would often pray to His Father (no, He wasn't speaking to Himself!)
    – the entire chapter of John 17 where Jesus prays to His Father that His apostles and the saints (his followers – NOT extraordinarily spiritual people who could work miracles) "may be one, as we are"
    – how Jesus' spirit could take up His body, never to be separated (die) again (resurrection), and yet the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit and can dwell in our hearts
    – how Stephen could, while being stoned, see "the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56)
    The list goes on and on. Folks, try reading the Bible thinking of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as three separate personages who are perfectly of one mind and one purpose rather than one body/spirit, to help us return to live with them and be happy eternally. You'll find the scriptures so much easier to understand. The incorrect idea that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are somehow three different manifestations of the same amorphous, ethereal being had pretty much been developed by the end of the 4th century after a lot of disagreement and controversy. Since the idea has been around for centuries, many people don't even question its validity. Folks, read your scriptures and ask God for understanding and enlightenment and see what he brings into your mind as you ponder the scripture you read about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost!

    June 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  5. AC4C

    Check out: Matthew 12: 40

    June 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      check out: anything OTHER than the bible.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  6. Leo

    How could the bible be wrong. It’s a group of 400 year old English translations of a group of tangentially related ancient middle eastern texts transcribed from Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic oral histories. Should be right a s rain.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Linda

      exactly! the bible is inerrant "for sure" 😉

      June 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  7. GodisNonsense

    Those with Faith have a major disability. You minds and synaptic pathways were hijacked by supernatural thinking at a young age.
    You now seek supernatural answers to all problems and fears.
    You LACK the courage to realize we live in a real world, and that the answers are HERE and not out there somewhere after death.
    You are programmed to hate, distort facts, and deny common sense.

    Religion needs to be constantly exposed as the mythological nonsense it is. It must be eradicated from human society.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Real Life

      To each man is given a measure of faith. You use yours to have faith in man, others put there faith in GOD. You can't prove there is no GOD! And I'm not going to try to prove there is. So why the hate and condemnation of other? We will all die someday and find what our faith was for. Blessings to all.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Oso

      Real Life didn't even hear you. Just covered his eyes and ears and went "la la la la la".

      We have proof of the non-existence of your god, "real life", but you refuse to face it. You are a mental coward.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Walter Weinzinger

      It appears, GodisNonsense, that you've merely extinguished that spark that God implants in all of us when we come into the world and, that you haven't had any spiritual experiences that strengthen our faith in the Divine. Until you've had some of those experiences, you really have no clue about spirituality and experiencing life with God at your side. Sure, there are some "believers" who also have no clue and are simply maintaining traditions. Then there are also people who believe, like jihad, that they are justified in condemning all who do not believe the way they do. Understandably this leaves a bad impression on others. However, please don't let bad experiences in the past with "believers" stand in the way of your personal search for the truth about deity. This is your life. Don't let others determine whether you are going to seek to experiences with the Divine. I can tell you from personal experience, God lives and once you have personally experienced Him in your life, however it may be, you are never the same and life is a whole new experience. God bless!

      June 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Real Life

      Well said Walter.
      Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
      It requires faith to come to GOD and so those that do can say without a doubt that GOD is real and can experience Him in everyday life. But, you have to seek first.
      @Oso I hope someday you will understand what we are talking about. Until then just enjoy life.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Oso

      "Real Life" I understand what you are talking about very well indeed. Better than you, I guess.
      Too bad you don't understand where I am coming from. You are wasting your life on lies. Why don't you read Harry Potter or something? It's vastly more entertaining than your rotting filth you claim is "holy".

      June 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • John

      It has impacted my rsintioaehlp with other Christians only to the degree that I disclose my ideas about these topics (which is only with select trusted friends). There are few church going people who would agree with me. I have yet to really come out but it is coming to the point where I actually believe some people could benefit from my honesty about these issues it might be freeing for them in some ways. I very rarely go to church these days. Thanks for your thougths! Dave

      April 1, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  8. James Black


    June 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm |

    People believe and base their whole life on religion without even knowing the whole story. " Grandma is dead but im sure she is looking over us" Most people believe that their loved one will be looking over them when they die! If you study the bible you will know that that is not true. No one knows what heaven is like ( if there is one) yet they put clouds and gold in every picture. Bottom line is, we have no real clue what any of it is and if it is real. I don't base my life on something without real proof.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  10. God Illusion

    Seriously, who cares if some nugget of wisdom was in the bible or not? Common sense is useful wherever we get it from and the bible was written by men as much as any other fable or proverb was. It's the mistaken belief system of threats, promises and wish thinking that screws people up, not the derivation of trite little sayings.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  11. Halem

    Consider that the present-day Bible in English or any other modern language is at least 5 or more distinct and different languages and probably cultures away from the original Aramaic spoken by Christ. Better to look to the lilies of the valley, the sun and moon, the stars for Divine inspiration and guidance.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  12. opinion8it

    What the writer says:

    "“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?

    What the bible says:
    "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes..." Proverbs 13:24

    Perhaps the writer of this article should read the bible before giving his "expertise" as to what it contains and what it does not.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      Maybe you should read the article. The phrase used does not appear in the bible, pure and simple.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • opinion8it

      @Cedar rapids - "...Could some enterprising kid avoid the rod by pointing out to his mother that it's not in the Bible?"... my point is that the expression "spare the rod, spoil the child" is paraphrasing actual scriptue, thus the child has no biblical defense to support not getting disciplined.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  13. Ed

    what a disgusting nicolayish artlcle. Its purpose seems to try and make you doubt that you can understand the Bible and that you need "clergy" or a "theologian" to explain to you plain English. They would love all of you to stop reading and believing and instead give up your liberty to be ruled by sinful men. Let God be true and every man a liar. You needeth not that any man teach you but the same anoointing which taught you from the begining which is truth and is no lie. OH BY THE WAY YOU BIBLE BABY WHO WROTE THIS , JOHN BLAKE. JESUS told us in the New Testament that that "great fish" in Jonah was indeed A WHALE !!!!!!! ( Matthew 12:40)KJB. "Study to shew thyself aproved unto God...."2Tim. 2:15

    June 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Oso

      "Let God be true and every man a liar"
      When you say criminally stupid things like that...I find myself wishing I could order your execution for being criminally stupid.

      If every man is a liar, then you have no Bible, no God, no Jesus, and nothing but your babbling noises to rely upon.
      When you say "let God be true" – you are wishing for what is not true to become true.

      Billions of years and your "god" is still unable to communicate with anybody.
      Billions of years of evolution and your "god" is obviously unable to produce creatures able to think clearly, nor can he produce anything else worthy of the name "sapient" on this Earth.
      Trillions of ways in which he could prove he exists but does not.
      Not a single signature or merest iota of discernible "design" has ever been seen by anyone in all of history.

      Solid conclusion: Your god does not exist. It is proven by the overwhelming lack of any evidence.
      You are believing lies without proof. You are a sucker, a fool, a gullible human being.
      You are special, Ed. But not that special.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Martial Monk

      No, the point of the article was to survey the history of misattributed phrases that many biblically-illiterate persons ascribe to the Bible. Poor reading comprehension was only discussed at the end of the article as a possible origin for these phantom phrases. Your poor comprehension on this subject matter would logically extend to comprehending other work as well, theoretically including the Bible. You sir, made the author's point.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Mike

      @ Oso
      There obviously is a creator or higher power or whatever you want to call it. Science has shown that there is no way we could have happened by random chance + time. All religions can be good or bad, teaching morals, or killing non believers. All religions teach that you have to do good to get to heaven or at least do more good than bad, so the good is enough to cancel out the bad. Christianity, or one that follows Christ, was never meant to be a religion, but man made it that way. If you follow Christ and His teaching, it is Jesus who gets you to heaven by His sacrifice for man. You can’t be good enough on your own so God made a way and that is what makes true Christianity different from all religions. God gets you to heaven, not you or any other man. Read the words of Jesus in the New Testament and not what any man might teach you.

      Ed states that he studies and reads to educate himself and encourages others to do the same. And you say you are so advanced in your thinking that you put your faith in yourself?

      June 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Oso

      Mike, I am not putting any faith in myself, you, Ed, or anyone. I am not believing whatever bs comes my way or even my own bs when I catch myself making unwarranted assumptions.
      Science has been able to explain pretty much everything so far without going to the poisoned well of human-generated falsehoods.
      If you understood chemistry and evolution, you would not say such idiotic things about "life" and how it came to be.
      No mystical claptrap is needed to explain life as we know it.
      These are provable, testable, and repeatable bits of scientific knowledge I am using. There is no "faith" needed to accept them.
      And I have done no wrong to any non-existent being, so your fanciful concept of Jesus is not needed.
      Nor am I responsible for what some couple did thousands of years ago. To suggest that any of that crap is my fault is ridiculous and insulting to anyone's intelligence if they have a clue.
      You obviously don't.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  14. JC

    One potato, two potato, three potato, four-that's in the bible isn't it?

    June 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  15. Alverant

    Here's another little known bible fact. Many bible stories are really shamelessly plagiarized pagan myths. For example:

    Divine father, human mother, performed miracles from birth, came to symbolize that cultures values and mores, died through betrayal, rose from the dead to go to his father; Jesus or Heracules or Gilgimesh or any one of a dozen heroes from ancient myth.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  16. Josh

    " dont believe everything you read on the internet " ~ Abraham Lincoln


    June 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  17. DRP

    The man who wrote this article is not famaliar with the scriptures. Jonah was swallowed by a whale and Jesus Christ himself makes that clear in Matthew 12:40. Half the book of Genises was removed and the book of Moses which has been found and translated restores the missing parts of Genises. In the Book of Moses it is made very clear the Serpent or Satan was in the Garden of Eden and did offer the fruit of the tree of life to Eve. There are so many mistakes with this article it would take a book to correct them all and the King James Version is the most accurate translation, even with it's errors, mistakes made in hundreds of retranslations by hand and omissions. Things added which were not there in the beginning etc. For example James name was not James, it was Jacob and changed to honor King James at the time Constintine convened Christian Bishops at the council of Nicea to determine the nature and character of God and Jesus Christ.
    There is much evidence that the Bible we have today is remarkable true to the original writings. Of the thousands of copies made by hand before AD 1500, more than 5,300 Greek manuscripts from the New Testament alone still exist today. The text of the Bible is better preserved than the writings of Caesar, Plato, or Aristotle.

    8. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the astonishing reliability of some of the copies of the Old Testament made over the years. Although some spelling variations exist, no variation affects basic Bible doctrines.
    Much of what this writer has said is pure nonsense and so it the comments by athiests who chose not to believe to their everlasting sorrow.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • pithymcgee

      My everlasting sorrow is having to live among morons like you.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Sierra

      You DO realize you just illustrated the point of the article, right?

      June 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  18. Pigeonman

    Who really cares? It's not real. People just need something to believe in and what's in the bible are good stories to fall upon.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Dude

      You can't prove it's not real any more than people can prove it is.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Oso

      To believe in lies just because they make you feel good does not mean you should be using them to guide your decision-making.
      And if they reinforce your erroneous thinking, then they are dangerous stories.
      Religion is madness. Religion makes you hide your brain while refusing to use it.
      Religion needs to be eradicated from human society.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Hmmm

      One word: Falacy

      June 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Oso

      Dude, we can prove thousands of passages to be false. You are wrong again.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • AustinTony

      @Dude: He doesn't have to prove it's not real. He's not the one making the claims. The burden of proof is on those who say it is real.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • someguy

      @Oso: I think you should list some of the passages that you believe are false, and provide the proof that they are false vs. just saying so.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • God Illusion

      You don't need to prove it's not real – any more than you need to "prove" that Thor is not real or the tooth fairy. All you need is clear thought, an absence of fear and brain washing. The onus of proof is on the one making the insane allegations, not on the one who refuses to believe total nonsense.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • someguy

      @AustinTony: The burden of proof always being on the one claiming something is real, why do so many people believe that life came to be through some evolutionary process that can't be explained by scientists saying maybe it happened this way, or they think it could have happened that way. "Maybe" and "we think" don't sound definitive.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Oso

      Dude, every passage that makes claims of "God" is false, and the whole Bible is filled with them.
      The lack of proof on your part is my proof that you are just telling lies.
      I would say the same of any book written by con-artists, not just the Bible.
      The Koran is also filled with lies. There is nothing but pseudo-mystical claptrap in the Bible, the Koran, and all the "commentaries" and so-called interpretations written over the centuries.
      We can start at the beginning. Genesis.
      "1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
      There is no proof of any god's existence, so this is obviously untrue. Zeus also has not been proved to exist – are you saying that we should believe in Zeus? To have "faith" in Zeus? Why not? There is no proof of Zeus any more than there is proof of your god.
      We have scientific proof that the Earth was created by physical processes. Nothing supernatural can be inserted into the equations anywhere. Supernatural causes are clearly not needed in any way. Simple physics "created" the Earth and its environs, including all the galaxies and stars we can see. No god here.
      Passage 1.1 is debunked. Let's move on, shall we?

      Yet without any proof for a god's existence, every passage that presupposes a god is not proved true in any way.

      Well, that takes care of 99 percent of the Bible. And I did it without filling up a whole page or even breaking a sweat.

      June 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • BoDacious01

      @someguy: scientist have been explaining evolution for 150 years. People think they can "believe" or "or not believe" in evolution. Evolution just happens in an analogous way that gravity just happens....You do not have a choice in "believing" or "not believing" gravity is occuring....Gravity is occuring. They both are forces of the Universe. God's Universe mind you. Quit your blasphemy. I know evolution is not in the Bible so you have a hard time "believing" in it....but again.... Gravity is not in the Bible either. Quit confusing science and religion friend

      June 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  19. James

    The idea that "God helps those who help themselves" is much older than Ben Franklin. It can be traced back to Greek Paganism. This article cites the primary source:

    June 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Nacho1

      We are all pagans.................

      June 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      I doubt the veracity of this persons translations or where he got the information.

      As the article says, I can tell you that both old and new testament have a very common thread of people helping people. Cherry picking phrases that you like is a problem the article addresses. You have to read the whole thing and live by the entirety of what it says ... not just the parts you like and certainly not what someone else says in English about what was not written in English in the first place.

      ... a lot is lost in translation even with honest effort.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  20. Robert

    Those who use the Bible to emphasize morals forget one thing: morals don't define anything. My morals are different from the next person, as theirs are from the next person. Morals don't define anything. For example: how many of you think that lying to protect, be it others or yourself, is wrong? How many think it's okay?

    June 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Morality is written there in simple white and black, I feel sorry for you heathens...got to think about all that.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Matt

      This kind of relativism is absolute nonsense. "Don't define anything" – what is that supposed to mean?

      The bare fact that people have different beliefs about what is right or wrong does not mean that there is no right or wrong – people have different beliefs about the age of the Universe, too – there's still an objectively right answer, regardless of a difference of belief.

      The Bible is a very poor source for a moral code, but moral subjectivism isn't just foolish, it's an evil and untenable belief.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Oso

      Moral subjectivism is a proven fact of human psychology.
      There are absolutely NO moral absolutes and NO objectively based moralities.
      A modern Christian would be executed by those ancient Christians – using the same so-called "scriptures" to justify their murder.
      Moral relativism is real and it is the only reason we have any morals worth speaking of in the first place.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Greg Kells

      Morality absolutely defines a persons character. Morality may be a little subjective, and can vary slightly from person to person, but it is not entirely open to personal interpretation. Murder is wrong, anyone that believes otherwise is immoral. What defines murder is open to interpretation, but not the morality of the act. What Christians fail to recognize, is that morality and faith aren't connected. An atheist that lives by a a code of ethics is far more honorable and moral than someone doing it out of fear, or the promise of a reward.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:36 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.