My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions
The Bible presents us with an evolving story, writes John Shelby Spong.
December 29th, 2011
09:10 AM ET

My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions

Editor’s note: John Shelby Spong, a former Episcopal bishop of Newark, New Jersey, is author of "Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World."

By John Shelby Spong, Special to CNN

The Bible is both a reservoir of spiritual insight and a cultural icon to which lip service is still paid in the Western world. Yet when the Bible is talked about in public by both believers and critics, it becomes clear that misconceptions abound.

To me, three misconceptions stand out and serve to make the Bible hard to comprehend.

First, people assume the Bible accurately reflects history. That is absolutely not so, and every biblical scholar recognizes it.

The facts are that Abraham, the biblically acknowledged founding father of the Jewish people, whose story forms the earliest content of the Bible, died about 900 years before the first story of Abraham was written in the Old Testament.

Actually, that's not in the Bible

Can a defining tribal narrative that is passed on orally for 45 generations ever be regarded as history, at least as history is understood today?

Moses, the religious genius who put his stamp on the religion of the Old Testament more powerfully than any other figure, died about 300 years before the first story of Moses entered the written form we call Holy Scripture.

This means that everything we know about Moses in the Bible had to have passed orally through about 15 generations before achieving written form. Do stories of heroic figures not grow, experience magnifying tendencies and become surrounded by interpretive mythology as the years roll by?

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Jesus of Nazareth, according to our best research, lived between the years 4 B.C. and A.D. 30. Yet all of the gospels were written between the years 70 to 100 A.D., or 40 to 70 years after his crucifixion, and they were written in Greek, a language that neither Jesus nor any of his disciples spoke or were able to write.

Are the gospels then capable of being effective guides to history? If we line up the gospels in the time sequence in which they were written - that is, with Mark first, followed by Matthew, then by Luke and ending with John - we can see exactly how the story expanded between the years 70 and 100.

For example, miracles do not get attached to the memory of Jesus story until the eighth decade. The miraculous birth of Jesus is a ninth-decade addition; the story of Jesus ascending into heaven is a 10th-decade narrative.

In the first gospel, Mark, the risen Christ appears physically to no one, but by the time we come to the last gospel, John, Thomas is invited to feel the nail prints in Christ’s hands and feet and the spear wound in his side.

Perhaps the most telling witness against the claim of accurate history for the Bible comes when we read the earliest narrative of the crucifixion found in Mark’s gospel and discover that it is not based on eyewitness testimony at all.

My Take: Yes, the Bible really condemns homosexuality

Instead, it’s an interpretive account designed to conform the story of Jesus’ death to the messianic yearnings of the Hebrew Scriptures, including Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

The Bible interprets life from its particular perspective; it does not record in a factual way the human journey through history.

The second major misconception comes from the distorting claim that the Bible is in any literal sense “the word of God.” Only someone who has never read the Bible could make such a claim. The Bible portrays God as hating the Egyptians, stopping the sun in the sky to allow more daylight to enable Joshua to kill more Amorites and ordering King Saul to commit genocide against the Amalekites.

Can these acts of immorality ever be called “the word of God”? The book of Psalms promises happiness to the defeated and exiled Jews only when they can dash the heads of Babylonian children against the rocks! Is this “the word of God? What kind of God would that be?

The Bible, when read literally, calls for the execution of children who are willfully disobedient to their parents, for those who worship false gods, for those who commit adultery, for homosexual persons and for any man who has sex with his mother-in-law, just to name a few.

The Bible exhorts slaves to be obedient to their masters and wives to be obedient to their husbands. Over the centuries, texts like these, taken from the Bible and interpreted literally, have been used as powerful and evil weapons to support killing prejudices and to justify the cruelest kind of inhumanity.

The third major misconception is that biblical truth is somehow static and thus unchanging. Instead, the Bible presents us with an evolutionary story, and in those evolving patterns, the permanent value of the Bible is ultimately revealed.

It was a long road for human beings and human values to travel between the tribal deity found in the book of Exodus, who orders the death of the firstborn male in every Egyptian household on the night of the Passover, until we reach an understanding of God who commands us to love our enemies.

The transition moments on this journey can be studied easily. It was the prophet named Hosea, writing in the eighth century B.C., who changed God’s name to love. It was the prophet named Amos who changed God’s name to justice. It was the prophet we call Jonah who taught us that the love of God is not bounded by the limits of our own ability to love.

It was the prophet Micah who understood that beautiful religious rituals and even lavish sacrifices were not the things that worship requires, but rather “to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” It was the prophet we call Malachi, writing in the fifth century B.C., who finally saw God as a universal experience, transcending all national and tribal boundaries.

One has only to look at Christian history to see why these misconceptions are dangerous. They have fed religious persecution and religious wars. They have fueled racism, anti-female biases, anti-Semitism and homophobia.They have fought against science and the explosion of knowledge.

The ultimate meaning of the Bible escapes human limits and calls us to a recognition that every life is holy, every life is loved, and every life is called to be all that that life is capable of being. The Bible is, thus, not about religion at all but about becoming deeply and fully human. It issues the invitation to live fully, to love wastefully and to have the courage to be our most complete selves.

That is why I treasure this book and why I struggle to reclaim its essential message for our increasingly non-religious world.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Shelby Spong.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (6,068 Responses)
  1. Jefferson

    Nice article. I'm an atheist, and part of what makes me recoil from the religion is people who espouse those misconceptions articulated by the Bishop.

    I don't 'hate' the bible, though. I'm an academic in philosophy and history, and I see the bible the same way I see any other ancient religious, mythological or philosophical book – whether it is the Mahabharata, Hesiod and Homer, the Daodejing or anything else. Books like these are full of fascinating myths and stories. Sometimes there is a grain of truth in these stories, sometimes they are wholly made-up.

    But it doesn't matter. What matters is the MESSAGE that we learn from these stories. And the bible's messages aren't all bad – there's some good moral ideas. These are what we should focus on. To learn them and become better people. Focusing on the truth of the stories themselves is, unfortunately, missing the point.

    Think of it this way: When we hear one of Aesop's Fables (let's say, 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf'), what reaction are we supposed to experience?
    1, A belief that these events with the Boy and Wolf actually occurred. To look at the surface of the story and take it as a factual account.
    2, To look deeper and perceive the 'moral of the story'. And learn a lesson from it.

    Most people would say number #2, right? That is the point of the story. It is also the point of many of the stories in the bible and many other ancient texts from all over the world. You're supposed to LEARN LESSONS from these stories and hopefully BECOME A BETTER PERSON. They are parables and myths created in order to teach lessons to you.

    People who believe biblical stories are factual and true, but don't bother with the actual LESSON, are missing the point of the stories entirely.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Russ

      Per your statements on myth, as I have posted elsewhere: from an expert on myths & fables – why the Bible cannot be regarded as one...

      CS Lewis' essay, "Fern Seed & Elephants" delivered among fellow academicians, some of whom were making such a claim. Here, in CS Lewis' own words [except for my square bracket clarifications] – selected highlights...

      1) he distrusts them as critics – b/c they miss the obvious
      [if they’re claiming these are legends, they haven’t read many like he has – there's no myths with superfluous detail like this, which is a clear sign that they were intended as factual reportage, not metaphor]

      2) all liberal theology seems to thrive on the idea that Xnty was quickly corrupted & only modernity has begun to exhume it as it really was originally [self-projection w/o awareness]

      3) they all begin by as.suming the miraculous isn’t possible – but the text doesn’t teach that. They come with that disposition

      4) if contemporary critics of my own works almost always (if not always) get it wrong [when they try to reconstruct his motives/audience/meaning/etc.], & they actually *share* my culture, how much more impossible is it for biblical scholars dealing w/ more barriers?


      December 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Dont be that guy

      Very well said! Its great to read a response from an athiest that is not condescending and childish. As a theist, conversations like these is what these articles should promote, not the immature comments i'm sure we can all think of.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • ajbuff

      Don't even bother, Jefferson. It's much too threatening – their fragile structure will collapse around them if they look at large, thematic lessons rather than the diddly. Heck, people are running for president and trying to pass laws based on quoting imaginary diddly. Best of luck.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Lydia

      Amen Jefferson! Well said.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  2. Jim R

    We have the same job that we have always had, to say as thinking people and as humans that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution that says if you will just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you will simply abandon your critical faculties, a world of idiotic bliss will be yours – Hitchens

    December 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  3. Sam

    Christianity was given to black people when they were slaves with no rights, basically it was forced on them either directly or indirectly. All Blacks in America are christians by force, now they got used to it.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  4. Geroge

    Hey! Let's argue like fools about the ineffable! 🙂 Baa baa little sheep.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  5. revelations

    there evil people in this world like there are evil demons...there is no forgiveness or salvation for demons. the punishement is death and the Gods laugh hahahah

    December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  6. Jon

    There is only one (1) truth. Thats all there can be. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He also said He is the Word. Either Jesus is a liar or He is who He says He is. If you put your faith in Him, and follow His will, you will gain understanding, knowledge and peace beyond compare. If you choose to deny Him, and call Him a liar and the leader of fools, and most of you will, you do so at your own peril. You then of course will not want to read the Bible because your future is spelled out quite clearly, and perhaps worse yet, you will have a long time to regret your decision of saying NO to the One who created you and offers you Life as it was meant to be.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Tante Waileka

      Praise the Lord! We all know that cnn is part of the devil's network, and its 'writers' are really minions. We have a long battle before us in these end days, but GOD will prevail! The devil worshippers will always lose.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • I Dream of Jeannie

      guess he was a liar then

      December 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Jon

      Good luck with that Jeannie.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Athla

      You're telling people they will suffer if they don't love Jesus. Should you not be telling them YOU care about them regardless, as God is asking you to do? Or is it more important that you tell someone they're wrong and to be very, very afraid?

      December 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Jon

      I do care, thats why I posted my comments. I wish everyone would put their faith in Chirst because He loves them enough to die for them. Regarding suffiering if they dont love Jesus. It is not me that says that...it is the Bible. Jesus spoke about hell often. Or should we just ignore that part?

      December 29, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  7. Andrew Melcher

    I can't even read this whole article. Who writes about a book that doesn't even believe it
    The writer of this article doesn't know God. God is going to punish those who don't know Him.
    God punishes those who don't know Him in eternity, hell fire, punishment forever.
    You can't mock God. Peter in his letter refers to the Old Testament as the WORD OF GOD>
    Paul in his letters to the various churches refers to the Old Testament as the WORD OF GOD.
    All the writers of the books in the bible refer to the Word of God as the Word of God.
    I AM CALLING ON CNN TO REMOVE THIS ARTICLE, Because they have no business writing about what they know nothing about.
    the writer, people who published the above defamation of JESUS CHRIST are all condemned.
    bottom line.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Truth Hurts Donut

      "I can't even read"
      you could have stopped typing there.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • ijreilly

      Sounds like a really loving guy... tell me more about him...

      December 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tante Waileka

      You speak the Truth!!!

      December 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Peppermint Patty

      Do you even know where that "word" thing came from ? It's a Greek concept. Not a Judaic concept.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Trevor Pugh

      Boy oh boy, you need to get out and about a bit. Maybe a little real world experience will change your mind – nah I don't believe that for a minute, but one has to live in hope!

      December 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Lydia

      And Andrew are you calling the kettle black?

      This is someone's opinion about a book beloved by many who think it is based on actual events or stories handed down.

      If you had bothered to read the entire article, he points out very logical and sensible explanations about fallacies that people attribute to the bible. Instead you choose to remain ignorant and rant against someone for whatever reason.

      His next to last paragraph says it all:

      "The ultimate meaning of the Bible escapes human limits and calls us to a recognition that every life is holy, every life is loved, and every life is called to be all that that life is capable of being. The Bible is, thus, not about religion at all but about becoming deeply and fully human. It issues the invitation to live fully, to love wastefully and to have the courage to be our most complete selves."

      Allowing this person to give his opinion is THE Christian thing to do. To say otherwise is hypocrisy.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • poopmeister

      I could only read a few posts before I said a big WHAT! Andrew, dummy, it is a former Bishop that wrote the article. Word of God was a phrase, not to be meant literal. So which version of the Bible was the word of God, we want to make sure it was the version that he signed right? If I told someone a bit of info a week prior, I guarentee that if they told that info back to me it would be inaccurate. We are talking about stories passed on verbally through multiple generations. I am a 100 percent positive that the stories in the Bible are not an accurate representation of what occurred at the time; so what. The Bible is to be used as a moral compass for those seeking guidance, not a literal account of history. Why can't believers take it as so. Take it as it is and don't worry about the details, life is too short.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  8. fda

    Wouldn't it be amazing to see CNN do a cynical perspective on the 3 greatest misconceptions of Gay Marriage...

    December 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • asrael

      Better still, an exposé of the various ways to attempt the highjacking of a discussion...

      December 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  9. KennyG

    What an idiotic article. Certainly every atheist will use this to encourage others to join their cause. The Bible is the Word of God, as written by man, therefore not His verbatim word but giving us what He wants us to know. Jesus came, received the Holy Spirit and is the Son of God. He died to take away our sins thus giving us a chance to eternity with Him. God is three: father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hard to explain and understand but one day we will.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Peppermint Patty

      Too bad he didn't want us to know about Penicillin, I guess. That was the plan I see.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Trevor Pugh

      I don't suppose you have actually read Leviticus recently? My favorites are 15:19-30 – unclean women – basically you can’t touch them or they you or any of your positions for what amounts to 4 months out of the year – sounds like prison for being a woman to me. Oh and then there’s 25:45-46 – the bit about how it’s ok to own slaves as long as they are not in your tribe. What? How bloody stupid can you be?
      No, don't answer that as I am sure it will evolve some really nasty suffering on my part when I am dead – oh darn!

      December 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  10. revelations

    Chapter genesis and revelations is the only chapter that is real...the bible is 50% story of life of biblical jesus..and to teach kids about religion via metaphors like 7 days to create the universe...there is no forgiveness for demons, or evil witches or evil spirits...all the evil will be killed and burn in hell. no you cannot buy salvation like the church tries to sell you...your sins will not be forgiven if it's murder.....etc an eye for an eye is the law of the universe.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  11. James

    No serious biblical scholar actually agrees with the "historical facts" you present in this article. In fact this blog post only shows your either ignorance or pointed ignoring of established and accepted historical facts. This article is more how you think the bible should be, not what it ACTUALLY represents itself to be. So if you don't mind Im gonna keep sticking with the facts, not your opinions you try to dress as the latter.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • KennyG

      Strongly agree with you.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Peppermint Patty

      Too bad you know nothing about what "serious Bibilcal scholars" think or do, or write about, except at your Bible College.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  12. Cristi

    We all have to find our own way through God. While I believe this article had good intentions, I also think that fundamentalists, whether Christian or Athiest, use similar means to try to convince others to choose their side. My take is this: Read, study, pray and decide for yourself what you believe. I dislike anything or anyone who tries to convince me that their way is the only way, their view is the only view, etc. This author is no different from a so-called fundamentalists sect or an athiest spouting that all Christians are idiots.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Marc

      If believers would only keep their religion to themselves, then atheists (people that don't just believe in stuff without a hint of evidence, logic or reason) would not be so inclined to point out the "realities" of the bible/koran/whatever! And the truth is that most so called "believers" haven't even read the bible in its entirety. They cherry pick the "good stuff" and ignore whatever they don't understand or doesn't suit them. They also ignore history and how oppressive religion has been through the ages. I could go on and on. But if religion wasn't put in my face 24/7, I guess wouldn't really care.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  13. TJ

    I am sorry that you are so blind. The bible is clear that some will lead many away, following lies. This article amounts to one of these. A day is approaching when God will complete what He started. I do not understand why God chooses and does the things He does, so thankfully I am not God. May Jesus Christ be praised forever!!!

    December 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • ajbuff

      I really found the article to be thoughtful and intelligent. Sometimes the truth is very hard to accept....

      December 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  14. Andre

    Sounds like a disgruntled priest by the name of John Shelby Spong who didn't just come out of the closet but got kicked out. It appears his feelings where hurt, and so he has decided to act out like a young child would. Who knows maybe like one of the alter boys he's had his hands all over. And now this message is for CNN: How offensive that you should put this story on your website during the Christmas season! How about tomorrow you have a story bashing the QURAN, and the day after that one for the TORAH.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Cristi

      I completely agree. If you're white, Christian, straight, conservative, etc. CNN thinks it's okay to mock your beliefs.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • James

      First of all ANDRE your entire comment sounds like you have tried to take on the role of Christ yourself by judging someone you don't even know. WWJD? Would Jesus have really made the comment about the priest having his hands all over an alter boy. NO. This is why people hate religious people, because they claim to be like Christ, but most comments that are posted by the ones that are "accepted by God" and they "know they know God and how he would respond" are typically the most hypocritical and are hiding something themselves. I actually left a Church because of people like you. Godly people have one face on Sunday and as soon as they walk out of the church doors, are the ones persecuting and ridiculing others. So if this is your God that your are trying to force on people by judging others, then maybe this is why church attendance is going down. Thanks ANDRE for be so Godly and so close to God that you know and felt it right to call the author a child molester. WAY to go TEAM GOD! Makes me want to listen to you and your GOD! So keep doing what you do and posting from behind a screen and placing your judgement on a man you don't know. Good job.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Lydia

      Andre, he is not trashing the Bible. He is just putting down the misconceptions some people use to justify their interpretation of it.

      If you actually gave it thought, you would have to agree it is highly improbable that the stories/parables passed down through generations would remain intact when written down on paper.

      Considering there were no books, printing presses and primarily the wealthy and the church were the only ones to have access to be able to write down on primitive writing tablets, scholars make a valid point about the "historical" aspect of the Bible.

      Many stories in the Bible are some of the most beautiful but many are not.

      Try to have an open mind if it is all possible but more important, be a bit more compassionate. Suspect God will look down upon you more lovingly.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • James

      Thank you Lydia for saying this in a more proper manner. You are correct. Nothing that has been passed down as many times as the story of the bible has, could possibly be the same that it started out as.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • James

      Cristi so why do you read CNN if it is so offensive for you? And so you also agree with Andre publicly calling a person they know nothing about a child molester? You didn't say anything about Andre falsely accusing someone on a site that is free for anyone to look at. If we want to talk bible then: New International Version (©1984)
      When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

      December 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  15. Tom


    He says that books were penned too many years after the events occurred. He has no proof for this, so he assumes that we will believe him simply because he said it. This is based on assumptions about Hebraic literacy that have not been proven.

    But clearly , the things he says about the bible ARE NOT TRUE. HERE IS WHY:"This man is wrong about the bible.

    He says that books were penned too many years after the events occurred. He has no proof for this, so he assumes that we will believe him simply because he said it. It's NOT TRUE.

    The things he says about the bible ARE NOT TRUE EITHER.

    Abraham's son Isaac loved his enemies by letting them steal 2 wells that he had dug. The Law of Moses teaches men to love their enemies in Exodus 23:4-5. The fact that our Creator inspired judgment on evil nations that were burning their sons & daughters in the fire to various idols does not make Israel a hater of their enemies. Rather, they were a tool of justice on wicked nations.

    A loving Creator is not a foreign concept to the law of Moses:

    Deut. 10:18 – "He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.

    Deut. 33:3 – Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand

    This man, to his own shame, DOES NOT KNOW THE BIBLE. If he doesn't know about those verses, how can we trust the rest of what he says?

    Abraham's son Isaac loved his enemies by letting them steal 2 wells that he had dug. The Law of Moses teaches men to love their enemies in Exodus 23:4-5. The fact that our Creator inspired judgment on evil nations that were burning their sons & daughters in the fire to various idols does not make Israel a hater of their enemies. Rather, they were a tool of justice on wicked nations.

    A loving Creator is not a foreign concept to the law of Moses:

    Deut. 10:18 – "He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.

    Deut. 33:3 – Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand

    This man, to his own shame, DOES NOT KNOW THE BIBLE.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Jim

      You should try reading some scholarly work on the Bible. Many historians have dedicated their careers to researching it. Even if you don't believe them, it is worth investigating their work.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Joe

      You say that Mr. Spong "has no proof for this" when he questions the bible. That's odd. What proof do you have that what the bible says is the truth?

      December 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Chris

      Well he does cite some evidence relevant to the claim that many of the books categorized in the New Testament were written after the fact. Since the original texts were written in greek it is unlikely that any of Jesus's original apostles penned them. Jim is right check out some scholarly literature on the subject.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Lydia

      Could you please repeat yourself a few more times?

      Apparently he knows his Bible more than you. Why so angry? There are great stories in the Bible and some terrible ones.

      I have never read the Bible cover to cover. I have, however, read different chapters, verses. And if God's word is taken down as penned by all those authors, God comes across as very vindictive, arrogant, horrible, loving, peaceful, compassionate, vengeful, hateful, murderous and wise.

      If one cares to think about it, does this supreme being is one you would want to worship? Probably no. We are to take the word of all those authors who wrote down stories handed down from past generations as fact instead of faith.

      Instead of spewing hatred and anger, learn to have civilized discourse. That's the only way we will ever learn to live with one another. And if God is wise, then he will surely approve.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  16. iHateStupid

    Typical move by CNN. Get one of the world's most liberal "theologians" in John Shelby Spong, and have him pontificate on the Bible. To the masses they'll just think he's an "objective" religious expert giving his honest takes, what they don't realize is this man has been thoroughly discredited in debates and his exegesis and theories demolished.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • I agree!

      So true... can't believe that CNN would even give this guy a voice.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Lydia

      Your signage says it all. Attack the author without reading the piece in its entirety. Continue the path of self-righteous indignation and find out how vane and small you really are.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  17. shadraq

    i think that scientists an non beleivers keep posting and bringing up the smallest details about people in the Bible , remember those are people in the bible Abraham, Moses, non important details thats all you have but The Truth will set you free is an important scripture you need to know out of there, the Truth is Jesus he is also the way and the life there goes another important scripture , scientists and athiests say prove it i say prove it not to be the truth. Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin just like the one that is posted here yes it is a sin to deny God. it is a sin to kill someone or yourself in which you wont be able to ask for forgiveness after that because its too late. Athiests say they dont beleive but they have never took the time to read the book so how do they know they havnt read it. duhhh!!!!! Read then come and we will have a debate not about the self pittying Darwinism either No im not from a monkey but maybe darwin was?????? his wife and daughter died so he let the devil use him to try and bring up some non perfect human thinking , which non pefect would mean that there will always be flaw out of us, no matter what. lets have a debate sometime an itelligent debate dont bring me the big bang theory God is the Big Bang he is so Big you cant beleive to imagine how big he is in spirit another thing stop trying to bring reality in this world on the same playing field as reality in heaven its like Moron Mountain in the movie space jam with Michael Jordan.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Abednego

      Is this supposed to be written in English?

      December 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  18. Robert

    This man lost his position due to heresy, and yet CNN thinks they can present him as a reasonable theologian. I weep for the destruction of actual, honest journalism in our society.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • iHateStupid

      Exactly. But CNN knows exactly what its trying to accomplish: undermine Christianity and descredit it.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • JM

      This "man" is a bishop in the Anglican Communion who served his church with distinction for over 40 years. Regardless of what you think of his theology, please don't slander him.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Peppermint Patty

      fail. He retired.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  19. JohnR

    Fantastic article. Biblical literalism is beyond absurd.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Anocean Pearl


      December 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  20. Blasphemy

    Just because the bible was written later does not mean that it was passed orally until that time. Any of the people that could write probably did write.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85
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.