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. James Quinn

    Puzzled about the bible. Why follow this god? As I read he choose the Jews. Said at the time there were more deserving peoples but he god wanted to make a point. Then eventually god gave the jews a promised land.. OK. So far so good. Then as I read I find the land god gave the jews was occupied by others. So what does god do? Send the current people's a message giving them a month or three to move? Saying He god here you'd best leave or something. What to the Jews do? Ask the current owners to leave? Now keep in mind these people's who were there could not follow god cause well god choose the jews and there was no christian movement and no Jesus. So calling these people evil cause they worshiped other gods is a bit far fetched they actually had no choice in the matter god in effect rejected or ignored them. So what happens the Jews move in and kill everyone. Not liking this story any bit and god seems quite the blank.

    Pagan jim

    June 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • brooke

      Ok so the Jews did a bad thing but you should still worship God because one day you'll really need him.

      One time my cousin was sick with cancer, and every day and night i prayed for her. Then after a week or two she got all better and I thank God every day for her safety and protection 9along with the rest of my family and friends)

      June 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Cara-Lynn

      God gives everyone a choice as to which god they will serve. The people dispossessed by the nation of Israel were no different. Prior to that men and woman of other nations were able to leave the false gods they worshipped and turn to the Creator to give their devotion, alongside the nation of Israel. They did have a choice. The Mosaic Law even made specific provisions for such ones. See Exodus 12: 48, 49. Also Leviticus 19:33,34; 24:22. God is merciful and open to any who choose to follow him. They just have to do so by his terms, and not according to their own.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • James Quinn

      @Brooke... Possible vs probable. So god heard your prayers and did not hear the paryes of others who's loved one's have died? Or probable your loved one's natural immune system fought off the disease?

      @Cara-Lynn. So the Jews made attempts to convert them before the slaughter began? Funny it did not say such in the bible. So where was the notice for these people's to move? How much time did they get? And where were they going to go? How many were their thousands or 10's of thousands? As I read the bible God choose the Jews and he talked to them regularly at least for a time. I don't recall god reaching out or talking to anyone else at that time. I read this in the bible I don't recall any our reach program mentioned in the bible to these people it was just the Jews show up and ,ill everyone. And I think you are trying to dance around the point that the people living there had been there long enough to have build entire cities and even had older cities that were had been abandoned so they had been there for sometime and had a life there. It was crule and rather rude of god or anyone for that matter to just move in some other people, and to add insult to injury alliow residence to be slaughtered. Bad form god.

      Pagan jim

      June 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • CaraLynn

      Pagan Jim – You pose a great question, which has an even better answer. One that I've studied and come to understand for myself. If you really want the answer, you should do likewise.

      In short, God IS a loving God. All of His acts and dealings give evidence of that. Will I be able to convince you of that with a few posts? Not likely. But if you really want to know, search for yourself. Many feel how you feel because they haven't read and understood the entire Bible (I'm not talking about bits and pieces) for themselves. If you want the whole picture, you'll have to put in the work. I can tell you that there IS an answer. I've researched this topic for myself. But to try to answer such a question that requires much background information by posting it would be a disservice to you. You would have to understand some background information on God, the Israelites, and the nations they warred against.

      Perhaps you can ask someone who is willing to show you FROM THE BIBLE (for free!). It's not a personal opinion you're looking for, but the Bible itself answers your questions. I hope you find them....

      June 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Chrisp909

    From this article [“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.]

    I think this professor is selling his students short on intelligence. This is so completely NOT a quote from the bible, if i was in his class I would feel stupid for calling him on it. Thinking he was obviously making a joke.

    It's sad he thinks his students are so completely ignorant.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Kay

      If no one laughed, then they didn't think it was a joke. On the other hand, they *could* all have been texting and not paying attention, so totally missed the joke.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  3. Cara-Lynn

    Very well written article. It is true that many fail to study the Bible for themselves, and as a result take a stand either for or against things they have no personal knowledge of. Many that claim the Bible is false or contradicts itself, have not actually read the entire Bible themselves to try to understand any supposed contradictions. I can agree with quite a few of the things stated. However, as far as Eve speaking only to a serpent, reading the rest of the Bible makes it clear that Satan was in fact using the serpent to deceive Eve. Texts at Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 describe Satan as the ORIGINAL serpent, evidently because he employed the serpent to communicate with Eve. That would be a quick answer. A study of the Bible goes on to make that point clear. Perhaps it would be a good idea for individuals to take time from their busy schedule to actually read and study the Bible for themselves. It could be a life changing experience.....

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

      Are you listening to yourself? some evil ground fairy takes the form of a talking snake to fool humans? Where did you get your education. "Harry Potter's School of history"?

      June 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Chrisp909

      Your explanation is circular. John wrote Revelations thousands of years after Genesis. Just as we are living thousands of years after he wrote his work. He speculated that the serpent was the devil but there are no texts from that time that corroborate the speculation. Proof would be something from before or in Genesis or at the same time as Genesis that ties them together.

      Also there are plenty of contradictions in the bible:

      In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus tells us to love our enemy as well as our friends.
      but Luke 14:26 (KJV) Jesus says we have to our own families if we are going to be his disciples.
      and David sings about hating with "perfect hated" in Psalms 139:22

      If you look you will find apparent contradiction and if you want to look the other way you can ignore it. It doesn't make the Bible bad or even wrong. Each book was written by a different man with a different point of view and some centuries or millenia apart. The bible and what it has to say to us can be great and powerful and help us to live fulfilled and good and caring lives. Please do not do as this article warns against and speak without knowing what you are saying. It hurts the cause. Remember there was no 'bible' as you know it for hundreds of years. Love the Lord, be a good, charitable person and give thanks to him for all you have. you will be happy and God will be pleased with you.

      Academic questions about translated texts are not as important as giving doing the right thing in your daily life and living a happy and fulfilled life with him in your heart.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Karen Flanders

      David's Psalm to the Lord was before Jesus came.
      13 For you created my inmost being;
      you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
      14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
      your works are wonderful,
      I know that full well.
      15 My frame was not hidden from you
      when I was made in the secret place,
      when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
      16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
      all the days ordained for me were written in your book
      before one of them came to be.
      17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
      How vast is the sum of them!
      18 Were I to count them,
      they would outnumber the grains of sand—
      when I awake, I am still with you.

      19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
      Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
      20 They speak of you with evil intent;
      your adversaries misuse your name.
      21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
      and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
      22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
      I count them my enemies.
      23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
      test me and know my anxious thoughts.
      24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
      and lead me in the way everlasting.

      We all know now not to hate. THAT IS NOT WHAT JESUS MEANT. Jesus preached, taught, professed, and showed LOVE. All HE was saying in Luke 14:26 was that GOD comes first in your life~!! Above your own life. Above your mother. Above your father.

      Luke 14:26 falls into a category of "extreme language," the language of absoluteness used to express a preference, and may refer to disattachment, indifference, or nonattachment without any feelings of revulsion involved. To seal this matter completely, let's look at some parallel materials which prove our point. The closest example comes from Genesis 29:30-1:

      And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
      Here, "hated" is clearly used synonymously with one who is loved less. Let it be added that if Jacob hated Leah in a literal way, it is hardly believable that he would consent to take her as his wife at all. (See also Judges 14:16 and Deut. 21:15-17.)

      Now here is another example from Jesus, Luke 16:13:

      No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
      Such extremes of feeling would be atypical, but the extremes are not meant to be taken literally; the point is that one master will get more dedicated labor than the other.

      Now let's move into some secular works with the same sort of hyperbolic language. Fitzmeyer's Lukan commentary offers this example from Poimandes 4:6:

      If you do not hate your body first, O child, you will not be able to love yourself.
      Would critics suppose that this teaches literal hatred of the physical body? It does not - it emphasizes the need to give preference to the whole self before the body alone. Literal hate of the body would have us cutting it with razors or hitting it with blunt objects - an extreme practiced in some Eastern faiths, but not among the Greeks.

      Here is another example from a war song in the Poetae Lyrici Graeci (see James Denney, "The Word 'Hate' in Lk. 14:26," Expository Times 21, 41-42): it is said that in battle, men "must count his own life his enemy for the honor of Sparta" - is this a literal hatred of one's own life being taught? No! It is emphasizing the need to make one's life secondary for Sparta's sake. Here's a final example from Epictetus 3.3.5: "The good is preferable to every intimate relation." This is just a more abstract version of Luke 14:26!

      Those who think that Jesus is preaching literal and misogynist hate in this verse are anachronizing.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Cara-Lynn

      Chris, I appreciate your viewpoint. But could the "contradictions" you see just be a matter of not understanding a passage clearly? For example, what you call a contradiction is really not a contradiction at all. Yes, Jesus teaches us to love. The expression "hate" in the Bible can at times refer to loving less. Not a hatred in the sense as you may be thinking. Would it make sense for the one telling us to love our enemies to also tell us to hate our families? No, he was simply saying that those following him would need to love him above all others. By loving and following him, we will naturally show love and affection for our families.

      Again, there are no contradictions. It just takes humility to acknowledge that at times there are things we may not understand. Rather than assuming there is no answer, just because you haven't found it, why not ask someone who may be able to help? Or do some research? Comparing other Bible texts can often clear up any confusion.

      As far as nothing linking Satan to the Genesis account, as I stated before, a study of the Bible makes it clear who that serpent was. I'm not talking about a theory or speculation. I could link together many texts to explain it, but if you really want to find the truth, you'll have to search for yourself. Why not start with Genesis 3:15? Understanding that prophecy may clear up the matter.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  4. Bob

    It should also be noted that the "apple" in the garden of eden story wasn't an "apple," either. It was never stated what kind of fruit it was, it was just "forbidden." Later, people guessed it was (or simply decided to refer to it as) an apple, and that's it.

    As for the debate regarding whether Christians or Atheists know more about the bible, a recent well thought of study, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that, in fact, atheists and agnostics trump everyone with regard to not only Biblical/Judeo-Christian knowledge, but religious knowledge in general (i.e. non-Judeo-Christian religions). Among believers, Mormons topped the list (just after atheists/agnostics), with believers of other faiths/denominations falling below that. This is after accounting for other variables, such as age, level of education, etc.

    Google "Pew US Religious Knowledge Survey" to see the study's results, and also take the study's survey quiz yourself.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      I don't doubt that, it took me 20 years of comparative religious studies and therapy to get over how I was raised by Fundamentalist Christians.

      June 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  5. Chrisp909

    I think Ditka's quote is probably an attempted paraphrase of Ecclesiastes Chap 3. The one that talks about everything having a season and "All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again."

    BTW 2 great songs are taken from this Chapter by The Byrds and Kansas.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • John Richardson

      No, it actually comes from the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence. It's one of the pithier translations of one of the most important lines of Buddha's last sermon.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  6. killian

    depends on what the meaning of "scripture"is. kinda presuming that the only "scripture" is the christian bible isn't? ancient persian poetry qualifies under at least one definition of the term.
    be well.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  7. Nacho1

    Now you know where mothering came from......the Garden of Eden........Eve wanted to control Adam....so she gave him a green apple...............Adam had a very bad belly ache from the green apple..........Eve put her arms around him and soothed him and now you know I have solved the act of mothering.............

    June 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  8. Dan Johnson

    I checked. "Time on the slide is wasted time" is also not there! Who knew!

    June 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Dan Johnson


      June 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  9. Mr Marmite

    I think I realised God was just a story before I realised that about Santa Claus. This biblical god seems like a sadistic genocidal egotistical maniac to me.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Sean

      But just think of the presents!

      June 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  10. Jen

    The false quote that bothers me most has to be the one that goes: "It is better to cast your seed in the belly of a wh*re than to spill it on the ground."

    It's interesting, though, how anyone is trying to [de]convert each other using online forums. >.X Not gonna work.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  11. Dave

    Swallowed by a great fish? Fishes breathe water, don't they? Jonah is going to drown if he's hanging out in a fish!

    June 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Chris

      No one breathes water ... fish use gills to breathe the air in water

      June 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • No, Stupid

      Fishes have gills that separate oxygen molecules in the water so they can breath. They do not breath "water."

      June 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Omar, Riverside, California

      Still a valid point. Jonah was in a whale. Which breathes through a spout.
      Spout connected to lungs not to stomach.
      Jonah would be digested nicely but never get any air.
      But again believers forget that simple point.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • wendy

      Jonah didn't stay alive in the fish. the reason Christ used the story of Jonah as a sign for his coming death and ressurection, that he would be gone in the earth 3 days and nights.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Sean

      Could there be a fish inside the whale? With a snorkel?

      June 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Question

      Does the Bible not say that Jonah prayed inside of the great fish? ......Therefor, how could he pray while he is dead?

      August 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  12. guy

    Gee...do you think there might be a few other things changed in the Bible over the years......rewrites can happen!!!...dddduuuhhhhhhh!

    June 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  13. aaron

    "spare the rod spoil the child" doesn't appear in the Bible in that exact quote; however, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him."-Proverbs 22:15 That is found in the Bible.
    As for the chair of that college... It is common knowledge that Satan is referred to as a serpent. Please check Revelation 12:9 and it is seen that John refers to Satan as "that serpent of old". It is foolishness to think that Eve was deceived by a mere serpent/snake (of the animal kingdom). The serpent in Genesis can clearly be seen as Satan with further studies of the bible. See Rev. 12:9, 20:2 and 2Corinthians 11:3.....

    June 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • paul

      it is foolishness to believe any of this religious nonsense

      June 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Lex Agan

      Genesis is just a tad bit older than Revelations, you know.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Omar, Riverside, California

      It is in fact God who tempted Eve. It is very clear.
      God knows everything. He/She (take your pick) knows the past present and future.
      Knows everything because He/She is god.
      Therefor if you believe in the bible and you believe in the bible god then you must believe that god put the tree
      there and made a clear dicision that eve would be tempted and therefor
      he/she is a willing participant in mans fall.
      So if you are a reasonable adult and have some education to your background you can understand that
      2+2 = 4 and god tricked eve for his own sick joke.
      But most who believe leave common sense at the door and blindly believe for the sake of fitting in.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Bob

      Satan is referred to in the Old Testament in only one book that I know of, that being Job (where quite frankly he seems more like a friend of God than his enemy). It is only in the New Testament that Satan is referred to as a "serpent," and even then it doesn't necessarily (I don't believe) equate him as "the serpent" from the Garden of Eden story. Even so, the original text never equates the serpent in the Garden with Satan. Only much later tradition does so, which may have flavored the New Testament writers. Remember, the Bible is not a single book, but a collection of books, stories, sayings, anecdotes, poetry, and laws that were written, re-written, copied/transcribed, and compiled/recompiled over many, many centuries by Jews and early Christians.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  14. Jim Bob

    The Pope forbade public Bible reading for a thousand years. Before the Protestant Reformation it was actually a capital offense.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Grumpy

      And many of those who dared translate it from the Latin were executed for their efforts.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Peter E

      Puritans outlawed the celebration of Christmas because it's heretic and not supported by the Bible

      June 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • wendy

      The old testament was carefully transferred from one scroll to another first by Jewish scribes who took extreme care that even the slightest mark on a page be carried to the new page, and then Christian Monks who also looked at the job as a worshipping experience and of utmost importance the exact transfer of line by line to the newer scrolls. That is why the Dead Sea Scrolls copy of Isaiah is almost exactly the same as what we have now.

      June 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      But Wendy – the Dead Sea scrolls are proof that Fundamental Christianity is misguided. How do you suppose to use it to prove your point?

      June 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  15. Chris Frazier

    So, the phrase "spare the road and spoil the child" is not in the Bible. Perhaps, but Proverbs 22:15 (KJV) says: "Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." I'd say that's pretty close to what YOU say ISN'T in the Bible. And what is your background for writing a "faith" blog?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  16. Huh?

    “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?

    Proverbs 13:24, we find:

    He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes

    lol same thing aint it?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No. And LOL is so over.

      June 5, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  17. mark


    June 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Mark, I think you are referring to the KJV which incorrectly translated the Greek and Hebrew texts as whale when it should have been big fish.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  18. Chuck E.

    I agree that many people do not know the Bible at all, and some don't know it well, and many misinterpret the Bible to suit their own agenda.

    But, then again, nobody should trust the media to provide an accurate account of the Bible text, either. No better way for satan & his demons to derail a well meaning person or a fully believing Christian.

    I suggest that all readers simply go online to a site such as BibleGateway (dot) com and read any verse you like in any translation you like. Its free. Its easy. Its multifaceted. Its accurate.


    June 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Nick

      ...and it's all nonsense.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Chuck E.

      You said: "But, then again, nobody should trust the media to provide an accurate account of the Bible text, either. No better way for satan & his demons to derail a well meaning person or a fully believing Christian."

      There is no devil. No demons of any sort. Nothing under your beds. If there were, I would tell you.

      Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

      So, knowing the outcome, why would Satan persist??

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      What's funny, is that Christians bestow upon their god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.
      But, Christians never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Some have told me, that Satan knows he will be defeated. His goal is to take as many humans to hell with him as possible.
      But, Christians also say, their god is all knowing. If god can see the future, if the future can be known, He would know exactly how many souls will be lost and how many saved. He would know this, from the beginning.

      If god can know the future, Satan would be locked into his part. Like Judas and Peter, he would have no choice.

      If the predictions of the bible concerning Satan and the end times are true, then all the events and actions leading up to the fulfillment of these predictions, are predetermined. Predictions, cannot depend on chance.

      “For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
      – Carl Sagan


      June 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Scott

      “and many misinterpret the Bible to suit their own agenda.” I never thought I would agree with you on anything; but, to this I say amen

      June 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  19. RobertFTL

    If god is real he must believe in child molestation.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Chuck E.


      Here is a free link to reveal God's written word.

      Only a demonic person, or a foolish person being led by evil thoughts, would suggest that God isn't real or that he "must" approve of child molesting.


      June 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • RobertFTL

      @ Chuck E – I certainly don’t judge people, but I guess you do. Is that somewhere in the bible? You have every right to believe in some mystical character, but I choose reality.

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

      Well, believing as in it existing, I would hope so. Or that god has his head in a cloud (figuratively/literally?) But we do know it's better to kill a child who is stubborn and rebellious. Or sell your daughter into slavery. Hm..I wonder if I'd fetch full price in the black market.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Walt

      if the religionists are wrong, it only proves that their understanding is false – that doesn't prove that God is false.

      June 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Chuck E.

      You said: "Only a demonic person, or a foolish person being led by evil thoughts, would suggest that God isn't real "

      I'm not a demon. There are no demons. I try not to be a fool.

      Actually, since it is the believers that are positing a god, it would be their burden to supply evidence that god does indeed exist.

      Extraordinary claims, requires extraordinary evidence – Carl Sagan

      No one can prove a negative. I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable.

      In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. We can't prove vampires or werewolves or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you would agree, that they are not real. They just don't fit in with reality.

      So, we can look for attributes of god, that should provide evidence that He exists.
      If positive evidence is found, we should conclude that god probably exists.

      If positive evidence is not found, then we should conclude that the Christian God, beyond a reasonable doubt, does not exist. Just like Santa. Just like fairies. Just like vampires.

      One of the most compelling reasons for rejecting god, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      Why would the Christian god leave room for confusion? If He exists, wouldn't He want everyone to know He exists and is the one true god?

      1 Timothy 2: 3 – 5 says the Christian god does desire this:
      3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
      5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

      1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true Christian god.

      2. The Christian God's existence is not, in fact, obvious.
      This fact is evidenced by the fact that ~ 68% of the world's population is not Christian.

      3. Therefore, the Christian God is very unlikely to exist.

      In the same vein as the above, notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 34,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they understand the wants of Jesus/god.

      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      If this is not true, then why did He supply man with the bible in the first place?

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 34,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled.
      We don't want to postulate what isn't necessary.

      John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Hmmm...

      If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?

      I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes, and evolution but my explanation fails when I include an all loving Creator in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.

      Christians say their god is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)

      1. If the Christian god is all good, He would want to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      2. If the Christian god is all knowing, He would know about the suffering humans endure.

      3. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be able to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      4. Yet, evil persists.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.

      If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.

      1. If the Christian god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.

      2. If the Christian god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.

      3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another. The Christian god, with these attributes, cannot exist.

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who did?

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.

      If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.

      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world. We can dump the guilt trip.

      If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.

      If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise.

      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.
      If we evolved, there is no soul –> no afterlife –> no need of a heaven or hell.
      LOL, which is why the fundies fight so hard against evolution.

      Evolution is the Christian god's kryptonite.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.


      June 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Scott

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      June 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  20. norman

    call israel people flee Now from jerusalem .....then we can bomb to destroy it because it called old holy city there ll be come jesus christ come quickly

    June 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • frank

      deep breaths! ...deep breaths!

      June 5, 2011 at 7:27 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.