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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. Paul

    No wonder the God of the Bible, Jehovah is going to have judge guys like this.

    Jesus Christ condemned men like this while he was on earth and this man will have the same outcome. Jesus said they make the Word of God invalid by their tradition. Empty headed reasoning. Makes you wonder why he even believes in God. Well I guess it is clear he doesn't.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Pot or kettle?

      "Empty headed reasoning."

      Because your circular logic is much better? At least there is research to back up the author's assertion. All you have is your overly-translated and heavily edited ancient text.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  2. adam

    How ironic that someone with so many misconceptions would write an article about avoiding misconceptions.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  3. jj

    Oh please, the Bible and other ancient writings by the Sumerians, East Indians, etc., tell the story of extraterrestrials who came to earth and were observed by ancient man. The "gods" came down out of "heaven" and required men to kill and roast meat "burnt offerings" for them. The "gods" engaged in nuclear war with each other, as recounted in the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah. They came back in the 1940s when they found that mankind had themselves invented nuclear bombs.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  4. burnz

    God doesn`t exist, the bible is a cherry pick of some random stories thrown together by sheep herders. If Jesus EVER lived, he was a charlatan.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  5. Simon "Sam" Gutierrez of The Solomon Formula

    When ever you are ready, you can learn for a theophysical fact that The Holy Bible (KJV ONLY) DOES CONTAIN a simple code (360-111-222-333-444-555-666-777-888-999) that clearly points us of understanding to the EXACT dates (day, year, etc.) of all the people and biblical events, that would include Jesus' real birth day, etc., for Moses, David, Solomon, etc., etc., all you need to do is look: See Genesis 2:22 for the first mention of "woman", its all very easy. Why? Because God wants us to KNOW!

    February 7, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • momoya

      If it were that easy, the world would already know about the code. Why don't you explain how it works so that others can attempt to apply it and test it out for themselves?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • White Horse Writer

      You got my attention about your knowledge of a code when you mentioned Gen. 2:22 as I also noticed it a few weeks ago and made a note of it in my writing concerning my new Revelation of God. I had noticed how the verse in Genesis 2:22 has a direct connection and correlation to the fact the word "WISDOM" also happens to appear in 222 verses according to my electronic bible E-sword. This is yet another confirmation of my Revelation concerning the Original God of the Universe actually being the Goddess El Shaddai and Her only begotten Daughter (like Eve who came from Adam) is Wisdom as I have revealed in clarity and detail on my facebook page in "the Mountains of God" and further in "the Arrows of Orion". In addition, this new Revelation and understanding of God I received over the last 18 years has been confirmed by 8 specific "signs in the heavens" since Supernova 1987A which perfectly coincided with each successive revelation I received. El Shaddai is the Holy Spirit and "Virtuous Woman" who has hidden Herself in Her beautiful humility from the masses...even the masses of Christianity...most of whom think the Father is the Original...since She brought Him forth within Her womb to be the Greatest of All...bearing Eternal testimony to Her Pure and Holy Love...as She never seeks Her own (ICo. 13:5) neither seeks to be worshipped, nor be the greatest. Her only pure desire, as all of Her Children scattered across heaven and earth is simply to love and be loved...so it is Her Son Jesus gave us Her one new commandment to love one another...forever.

      SN1987A (The sign of the Son of Man; Matt 24:30) developed over the course of 20 years to create an image in the heavens of 2 wedding bands overlapped, each with their own solitaire diamonds as it were. One diamond is external to the ring, while the other is internal... a clear picture of male and female...as on a natural level reproductive organs are respectively external and internal. The oval where the rings overlap representing Jesus born of their union (Luke 1:35) and the progenitor star representing a third male generation of which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were an earthly reflection of, the progenitor star also laying directly on the male band to confirm what I had previously written.

      http://www.facebook.com/#!/mbasalyga1

      I will be placing all my writing and book of poetry on my website this month and making it public for the first time.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Gerard

      that God doesn't want humans to beocme "as gods" in power, vitality, or glory. Perhaps the idea that humanity is "flawed" is something you heard in the church where you were raised, or from door-to-door evangelists, rather than from the text of Genesis itself?No doubt, when these stories were first being told over campfires in front of the Hebrews' tents, the elderly storyteller would talk with his/her young hearers about why God might have had such a concern to limit humanity's power. Perhaps he might have approached the matter by using comparisons: would God have wanted the locust to have unlimited power? Would he have wanted the lion to have such? The young might have come to an understanding that the big argument against unlimited power is that the creation is designed in such a way that it works only when each creature, each species, remains in its proper place. And so for humanity as well The idea that creation is designed along the lines of a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place will beocme clearer, I think, when Peter turns his attention to the prohibitions of Leviticus.If the logic of Genesis does not require us to view humanity as "flawed" (and it is my opinion that it does not), then why should it require us to view God as "flawed"?Finally, you write that "it seems [I am] assuming that we can beocme equal in power and capacity to God." Maybe so, but I don't personally think I am making any such assumption. All through the Bible (as also in Greek myth) we see the divine operating to prevent humanity from becoming so powerful or so capacious. That may be an arbitrary limitation (in which case, human beings do have the capacity to beocme God's equals, and as it happens, that is the conclusion that Joseph Smith and his Latter-day Saints drew from their own study of these same texts).But I would propose that in the original Hebrew world-view, the limitations that the divine imposes on humanity are actually not arbitrary at all: they are built-in, as ordinary, everyday, continuing conditions of our existence, just as our dependence on gravitation is. Without the constant pull of gravitation we would fly off into space; without the constant humbling activity of the divine we would fly off into self-destructive chaos. The fact that when we rise too high, we are cut down by the divine, is part and parcel of the cosmic economy outside of which we humans cannot endure, just as the fact that when we jump off a cliff, we fall, is part of that economy.And if it is in the nature of the cosmic economy that this is how things always and inevitably work that whenever we step off a cliff, we fall, and whenever we gain too much power, we are cut back down to size then we do not in fact have power and capacity like God's, any more than we have power and capacity to live without gravity. For we humans do not and cannot exist on our own; we do and can exist only in community with all the rest of Creation and with God from whom our existence derives. We cannot speak of what we would be without our interaction with God; we were made to interact with God, our interaction is what makes us human, makes us what we are, and without that interaction we would not be. So our interaction with God keeps us limited: that is simply the way things are. That is what I think these stories have to tell us.That's my personal understanding, of course. I won't claim that there is a general scholarly consensus upholding it. But if it works for you, you're welcome to it Marshall

      March 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  6. Scott

    This article is ludicrous. So this guy claims to be a Christian, but denies Christ's miracles, miraculous birth, and ultimately his own sacrifice? A wolf in sheep's clothing.

    February 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • hello

      You weren't paying attention. He wasn't saying Jesus isn't the Christ, that he didn't live, that he didn't perform miracles. He is saying that the Bible isn't wholly accurate or the only source of religious teachings.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  7. sean

    Misconception No1:
    "people assume the Bible accurately reflects history"... "ABSOLUTELY not so, and EVERY biblical scholar recognizes it."
    NEVER make absolute statements :). Absolutely and every are used as if Mr Spong knows ALL about every biblical scholar and their beliefs. He is saying the Bible is inaccurate, but gives no facts or scientific evidence for that statement.

    "facts are that Abraham...died 900 years (before story was written) " "Can a defining tribal narrative... orally ... ever be regarded as history". This is called conjecture. It is often used in court without real evidence. People blogging about what they ate for lunch is a phenomenon and mankind has not had the ability to chisel out in stone in real time. In "Chinese whispers" game say gibberish like money toothache 123 cherry pie, to 4th graders in a line and pass it on and when it reaches the end it has changed. This is his proof of Biblical tampering? Saying oral tradition is not history. I guess to him, for something to be true it has to be written, we all know when something is written it turns into truth right!?

    "Yet all of the gospels were written between the years 70 to 100 A.D..." This is a reoccurring theme here on CNN, something could not have been written accurately because it was oral tradition. Language, writing tools, who can read or write, were all apart of why things got written later. Here you have 1st hand accounts of the life and times of Jesus by his own disciples and since they did not have their own printing presses and blogging with their iphones in real time it did not happen. The original texts do not exist, the "oldest" are all dug up from the earth, and they are still complaining.

    His persuasive argument continues about time, when things are written and when they happened. The trouble is, we are not dealing with 4th graders in line, we are dealing with historical events involving real people and plenty of high government officials. If the 3 days of darkness and the earthquake at the time of Jesus crucifixion did not happen, you would think if that society could easily reject that teaching. If I wrote that George Washington rode a unicorn into space, that book could never leave the fiction side no matter how much time passes. The story of Hercules has not changed and is still a myth.

    "...an interpretive account... to conform the story of Jesus’ death,,, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53." You head it here folks, the first coming of Jesus and the pain he would suffer was written hundreds upon hundreds of years before he existed. The author of this post seems to think that this is too great of a coincidence and calls foul play. This author can not make up his mind, if the old testament was changed to conform to a contemporary crowd, ( oral tradition is inaccurate), or if the new testament was changed to conform to the old testament stating Jesus' story is an "interpretive account" to conform to the OT.

    February 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • GodPot

      Aside from the use of "absolutely" which I grant was poor, the rest of your argument seem's to hinge on the reverse of the question this article raised. This article asks if we can rely 100% on the historical accuracy of the bible when we know much of it was passed on orally or was supposedly "inspired" of God giving men like Moses the ability to write down events that took place thousands of years before hand such as the creation story. You ask the opposite question which is why couldn't we rely on it 100% since the little archaeological evidence works both ways where a lack of it means we can't disprove much of it's claims. Neither of you answer any questions, you just ask questions that currently have no way of being verified so Christians take the bible on faith and the rest of us have to keep on asking "why?".

      February 7, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  8. Sophia

    If ALL of the bible is not 100% true then there is cause to exclude the hateful, child killing, Gay hating, woman bashing, slave taking bits of it yes? Your sky daddy irritates me. Argue amongst yourselves and leave the rest of us alone.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  9. Dan Bednarik

    You forgot one - the Catholic religion. About 90% man-made.

    February 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • The Great and Powerfull Trixie

      Double posted N00B.

      February 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  10. Dan Bednarik

    You forgot one - the Catholic religion. 90% man-made.

    February 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  11. Abe

    Unbelievable. He is a writer on CNN. and he does not even doing fact checking prior of making his statements. not talking about other arguments that is solely his own wisdom understanding but he is writing them as known to all that know the bible.
    So as one that knows the bible very well. For your information, Abraham's story was written 365 years after abraham past away, NOT 900 years. That is a simple fact written in the bible.
    Next, The bible was written by moses itself, of course while he was still alive and not several hundred years later. And this is, as well, a known fact to all that ever looked into the bible. So how can the writer write such huge lies?
    Further, the writer writes that “only someone who has never read the bible could make such a claim that the bible is the word of God”, why, as the writer wrote: because it comes out that he hates the Egyptians, the Amorites, and the Amalekites. Now, did anyone of us, including the writer, ever think that God likes the bad people that are killing others? Of course No, and therefore God wants to give good to the good people and punish the bad people, only then will all the people of the world try to be good and do only good. and because the Egyptians have kept the jewish peple as slaves for hundreds of years, God wanted to punish them, not before he sent Moses to ask them to let the jewish people out, and not before giving the Egyptians a chance each time before God slapped them.
    And like the Egyptians, the same is with the other bad people like the Amorites and the Amalekites and more, God wanted to pay them back after they did wrong and killed innocent people & did other crimes. God will punish the bad people that deserve that, and this is well known to all people, and especially to those that have studied the bible.
    Is this called “Immorality”? To pay back for those who deserve it?
    Further, the writer writes, Quote: “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!”
    Again, why don’t you look before you write? It is written over there the words of those people that were exiled, and while they were taken away from their homeland, and while they were killed in all kind of ways, and while the Babylonians have taken the babies of their new slaves and killed them by dashing their heads against the rocks. At that time, these tortured people have been standing and crying, while saying “Who will come and get revenge for all the torture and pain that the Babylonians have done to us, who will dash the heads of the Babylonian children just as they did to us”.
    It is very clear, that when people like the Babylonians do pain for others, then everyone wishes that God should get revenge on those people. And of course we all believe that God will pay back, not just punishment for the bad but good for the good as well, Not only will the Babylonians get what they deserve but all people who did bad and have not done to correct it, beware, God will get you, sooner or later.
    I am able to continue writing in details, to show you how wrong is every word in this article, but I am sure that I have written enough for you to see how this writer is misleading the readers.
    If you really want additional answers, you could just do a fact checking by looking into the bible wherever he mentions it, and you can ask anyone that knows the bible to explain them to you.
    I would suggest that all writers/authors need to sign a promise, before the write anything, not to mislead the readers, and to write only true facts and true explanations.
    Be well my friends, and may God bless you.
    Abe, abeeinstein1@gmail.com

    February 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Abe – "It is very clear, that when people like the Babylonians do pain for others, then everyone wishes that God should get revenge on those people. And of course we all believe that God will pay back, not just punishment for the bad but good for the good as well, Not only will the Babylonians get what they deserve but all people who did bad and have not done to correct it, beware, God will get you, sooner or later." What I find funny about all of your rambling, besides the fact that you missed the point of the article, is that it was the Hebrew God YHWH that sent his people into Babylonian slavery to have their babies heads bashed in because of Jewish disobedience.

      Oh, and by the way, even if Moses did write his portion of the Hebrew scriptures (not as you say "The bible was written by moses itself") he was writing about events that took place thousands of years before him, and most scholars do not believe he did it by himself. As Wiki points out "According to Jewish tradition, the entire Torah, both written and oral, was revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai.[2] According to medieval Jewish mysticism the Torah was created prior to the creation of the world, and was used as the blueprint for Creation.[3] Modern biblical scholars have concluded that the written books were a product of the Babylonian exilic period (c.600 BCE) and that it was completed by the Persian period (c.400 BCE)"

      February 7, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  12. To every Christian who's posted here

    I've got to tell you guys, I'm a Christian, and I don't like when people say that the Bible isn't historical, or that the God of the Bible changes. I don't like it at all. But. One thing I don't like more is when fellow Christians bite the bait and argue and make every other Christian in the world look foolish. I agree, theologically, I don't believe that people who oppose the historicity of the Bible have the Holy Spirit in them. I don't agree with the way you're dealing with them though. Do you think that giving them some evidence for why the Bible is true is going to change them? It might. The Holy Spirit can do work with that. I think it's foolish to do so in this context though. If you're going to talk to non-believers about Christianity, do it in person. Online, you're just another person. In person, you develop friendship and trust and you get to show them love. When we post religious thoughts online, no matter how much you edit before you post, it will come across as a sweeping generalization, a brash statement, and what you really need is a well thought-out answer addressed to someone where you can dialogue about it, rather than thousands of comments on this article offering a few pieces of evidence at a time. I'm not a liberal Christian at all. I accept Biblical authority and historicity. I'm a very conservative Christian that loves talking to people about my faith and answering their questions. In person. I apologize to all the other religions represented in this discussion, because my brothers and sisters in Christ are making themselves and me look like a fool. To all the Christians who are trying to defend our Scriptures, good initiative in doing it, bad judgment in doing it on here. This is not the place for it. Some of you have shamed the name of Christ in posting here and have done it out of emotion. Think before you call someone a fool and condemn them to hell, because while you may be right and they may need to hear that, it is tactless and it works against the Holy Spirit to tell them that in an environment where you haven't yet built trust to tell them that and have them consider you credible. They'll know you by your love. Just be careful.

    February 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Mr All

      Way 2 go 🙂

      February 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  13. Sunny 62

    Well John Spong, all I can say, is you are playing "Russian Roulette" with the word of God....and you are in for a rude awakening when you stand before the "Great White Throne" and are told..."I don't know You".....and what part of the word "inspired" word of God don't you understand?....that is why it is called "inspired"....it was told to the apostle , writing the book of the Bible....the visions, words were given to the writer by God...."Blessed are those who believe and do not see"....that is where Faith comes in and trusting in the Lord God.....You obviously have not experienced the Holy Spirit or a miracle from God....I have experienced both and have not one doubt as to the truth of the Bible....I feel sorry for you and will pray for God to open your heart, ears and eyes to know the truth..

    February 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Mark

      Where in the bible does it claim that it is the "inspired word of God?" No where. The bible doesn't make a claim to be literal and it doesn't ever state how we are to interpret it.

      February 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Sunny
      You do realize that plenty of other christians would say the same thing to you about some of your beliefs, right? You're the one playing Russian Roulette with some belief or other and that they are the ones who know the true meaning of the scriptures having had signs confirming their faith that you must be completely wrong. That sort of bs...

      The bible provides no sure-fire method for its believers to determine correct translation. As a result, any nutcase can claim that their interpretation is correct and all others wrong. You get the Westboro Baptists and Bishop Spong- and nobody can definitively say which view is better. Why is math the same all over the world, but belief is different from community to community? God is a poor communicator if so many people who want to worship are called apostates by so many other believers.

      February 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • James2

      To Mark: Actually the Bible does say that it is inspired of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

      "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto good works."

      February 7, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  14. Disbelief in what is said!

    After reading the article, I am in disbelief that the author has not read the Bible for its true meaning but read it to prove his points. The one scripture that comes to mind is the one that says the Bible was written by inspired men. Not just anyone off the street after the fact writing a novel.

    February 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Sam

      I could not agree more... Its crazy how "off" many who claim Christ as King would find this. I agree that there are many misconceptions about the bible but CNN putting this type of article up further shows how biased they are. Im sorta speechless.

      February 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Mark

      The new testament hadn't been canonized when that was written. So the new testament doesn't apply to it.

      February 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Sam

      Doesnt apply to what?

      February 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  15. CoCoDol52

    jiovanni and Lophat, There is a Heavenly Creator it is YHWH the spirituality of righteousness and peace, in the so called OT, truly the book of remembrance from YHWH who many call God, but this is not His true name as He said in Ezekiel 36v22,23, of the masses of religions profaning His name as He says. His spirituality is for our 'Life' for living the best life, for ourselves, and for others, and to love all no matter the skin is what YHWH does. We all on this earth must humble ourselves to listen and learn the truth of our lives of how precious they are, but no one is listening anymore. no one really cares, Its all about money today. There is no indifference, no greed, no poverty, no hate, and no wars not any more when YHWH cleans all of the wicked off of this earth. For He said He made this earth for us to live on, and this is what is going to happen in Isaiah 45v12.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  16. CoCoDol52

    Stevie7, Who told peter to eat shellfish, it sure was not the Heavenly Creator YHWH, now the good ship jesus (first slave ship) legalized (forced) by Constantine in 311, might have told you guys to do this making it a contradiction to what YHWH said, for He changes Not in Malachi 3v6. and YHWH never changed the law. The religions made by man did, and beside jesus is not the son of YHWH, Israel is His Son and Firstborn, as YHWH taught us in Exodus 4v22,23. Just as the Islam, is bowing down to a rock, this is not YHWH this is pagan and so is the crucifix, it nor jesus, or his story is never mentioned in the book of remembrance, by YHWH, in the so called OT.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Sunny 62

      Where did you get your Bible?....and what books do you use for your religion?....obviously not the "inspired (true) word of God!....Hope you like the heat, because if you don't find the truth before the end of time, you will not serve my God....I will pray for you....that it will not be too late for you till you believe the truth.

      February 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  17. true cristian

    Every day I realize how much our world needs Jesus, wow based on this article and responses I wonder if people really understand what the true gospel is all about. Let me help you a little bit , the bible is the true word of God and is meant to to be taking literally. I do not understand how people can live in this world and witness every day , Gods creation like the sun, the moon the stars etc.... the universe the human body and functions,but yet doubt Sovereignty. God governs mans mind to create things like spaceships, medicine and much more great creations. But people don't think that God can govern the mind of men and women to write the holy bible , to record history and events that happened thousands of years ago , as if God was not there. All I can say is that we need to stop underestimating the power of the Holy Spirit . All things are possible with God and when we die we will meet our maker , I hope you accept the truth and realize you have to be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is lord and died for every man sins , "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3vs16-17.

    February 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Well

      "the bible is the true word of God and is meant to to be taking literally."

      There is absolutely NO proof your god exists, so you don't know if it's true or not.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • momoya

      You stopped short of John 3:18, the verse that really shows how disgusting your god is. Where the bible's claims about the natural world have been proven false time and again, and so its claims about the supernatural are false, too. The bible makes sense as a collection of myths, and that's exactly what it is.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • CoCoDol52

      true christian, I'm so sorry for how we were all raised up on religion, if you read the truth in the OT, the book of remembrance given to us by YHWH, you will see that in Ezekiel 14v14, that even Noah, Daniel, and Job, had to die for their own sins, and are responsible for their own righteousness. Also in Jeremiah 31v30, no one can die for another one sins, and in Exodus 32v31-34, Moses cannot die for the people's sins YHWH told him this. Also, another truth from the OT, is that the only Son and Firstborn, is the chosen people Israel, this is in Exodus 4v22,23, of YHWH the Creator.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Sunny 62

      Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Sam

      WELL,

      The God and Bible we believe in is about faith and not proof. Starting the argument that way is flawed... we are starting from different points. We need Jesus and you don't. Its a personal relationship for me.

      February 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  18. jiovanni

    So reading and understanding your knowledge and explenation it is safe to said what I always believed since I was a child, that the bilble is just a bunch of fable stories that were put together by the Romans and manipulated to their convennience back 2500 years ago. Good I always though I was the only one that sees it that way. For me the bible is just another book part of any library. My opinion is that before I follow the bible, I follow my instints and if I need any reference I will read Shakespeare, Don Quixote or a mythology book before I reach for the bible. Someone is getting rich for the sales of the so sacred book

    February 6, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  19. Lophat

    So would one tend to agree with the comment attributed to Mao that "Religion is the opiate for the Masses?"

    February 6, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Aegrus

      That was Karl Marx, not Mao.

      February 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  20. CoCoDol52

    People, YHWH the Creator is not contrary, He does not change His Word as He says in Malachi 3v6. There is no contradiction in the book of remembrance in Malachi 3v16, other than there is one typo about 7000 soldiers to700, I can't remember where this scripture is, but, back to the subject, of YHWH keeping His Word. In Deut.32v45-47, Moses tells us the people that the law is our 'life' to 'prolonged' it. And in Isiah 53v10, YHWH describes the servant as having a 'prolonged' life serving YHWH and doing the law. People once we die that is it for us, I know this is hard to take, but we have all been mislead. In Daniel 12v1, it tells of the angel Michael coming in the day that will have distruction of never before in a nation, and how those written in the book will be delivered. Next in vs.2 it goes on the tell us that some will rise to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt, this is of our seeds and seeds, seeds the 'life' of them for ever. Son of man is of flesh and blood, YHWH is the only one who can live forever for you know this when He says that He is the first, and the last, and besides Him there is nor will be non else. Now in Ecclesiastes 8-9, Solomon expresses about keeping the law, and about death. That a living dog is better than a dead lion. This is why we are to humble ourselves, and live a righteous, eat right, and live a wholesome life to prolong it, and to note life as being precious, but our society teaches us wrong, and take us away from the righteousness of YHWH the Heavenly Creator.

    February 6, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Stevie7

      "He does not change His Word"

      Is that why in Leviticus he says not to eat shellfish, but then later tells Peter that its ok?

      February 6, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • myGodrocks

      CoCoDol, That really is a sad perspective, although I understand why you see it that way. Jesus is my righteousness and hope for an eternity with YWHY. I believe Jesus is God's Word in human form and only God who is perfect can make us righteous, no mere man can do that.

      John 1

      The Word Became Flesh

      1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

      6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

      9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

      14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

      15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

      16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

      I perceive that you will see this as blasphemy, but I pray that as Jesus revealed himself to the Apostle Paul, originally named Saul, on the road to damascus, that he would reveal himself to you, for no one has more Zeal for YHWY's name, than YHWY!

      Acts 9

      Saul’s Conversion

      1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
      5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

      “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

      7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

      10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

      “Yes, Lord,” he answered.

      11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

      13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

      15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

      17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

      Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

      Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
      23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

      26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,[a] but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

      31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

      May God's grace be upon you always!

      February 9, 2012 at 3:24 am |
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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.