My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible
The 17th century painting Judith Beheading Holofernes, by Artemisia Gentileschi, depicts a biblical scene.
February 25th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible

Editor's note: Steven James is the author of more than 30 books, including "Flirting with the Forbidden," which explores forgiveness.

By Steven James, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.

For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)

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The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.

Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).

And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.

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I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.

And that’s what he gives us throughout Scripture, telling the stories of people who struggled with the same issues, questions and temptations we face today.

Peter struggled with doubt, and we hear all about it.

Elijah dealt with depression; Naomi raged with bitterness against God; Hannah struggled for years under the burden of her unanswered prayers.

David had an affair and then arranged to have his lover’s husband killed. Noah was a drunk, Abraham a liar, Moses a murderer. Job came to a place where he found it necessary to make a covenant with his eyes not to lust after young girls (Job 31:1).

It’s easy to make “Bible heroes” (as Protestants might say) or “saints” (as Catholics might refer to them) out to be bigger than life, immune from the temptations that everyone faces.

I find it encouraging that Jesus never came across as pietistic. In fact, he was never accused of being too religious; instead he partied so much that he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19).

Jesus never said, “The Kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends.” He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited.

This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about partying with Jesus. And that’s why they missed out.

That’s why we miss out.

According to Jesus, the truly spiritual life is one marked by freedom rather than compulsion (John 8:36), love rather than ritual (Mark 12:30-33) and peace rather than guilt (John 14:27). Jesus saves us from the dry, dusty duties of religion and frees us to cut loose and celebrate.

I don’t believe we’ll ever recognize our need for the light until we’ve seen the depth of the darkness. So God wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with us about life and temptation and forgiveness. And grace.

Only when the Bible seems relevant to us (which it is), only when the characters seem real to us (which they were), only then will the message of redemption become personal for us (which it was always meant to be).

We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steven James.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (5,744 Responses)
  1. Butters

    If you wanted to study the cult like powers of Christianity just look no further than the middle of the United States .
    A small town of thirty-thousand can have as many as 40 churches.
    Each one the people feel theirs is the correct one .

    February 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Isn't Jesus god and god Jesus (and a ghost floating around somewhere for good measure) and therefor is it not redundant to come to the father through the father?

      February 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and Doctor Seuss said, "i will not eat them on a plane; i will not eat them on a train. i will not eat green eggs and ham."

      much more wisdom in Seuss than the bible.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      Jesus: Who do you say I am?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      Bootyfunk: You seem to think I care that you mock the Bible. God is big enough to defend Himself. I'm trying to give responses to incorrect information. In the end, it's you who will cry for your stupidity in mocking God. As the demons laugh and drag your sorry ass to hell, make sure you have your Dr. Seuss book along with ya. K?

      February 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if anyone's going to hell, it's you. i don't believe in god, the devil or hell anymore than i believe in the tooth fairy. you're wasting your life living by an atrocious code of bronze age ethics. your book offers ignorance and prejudice.

      and if i had a choice between heaven and hell, if they really existed, i'd choose hell. more interesting people there. like john lennon and ghandi, both non-believers. i'd rather burn in hell than sit on a cloud kissing god's @ss all day. it's gotta be like big brother x1000 in heaven. no s_e_x. no fun of any kind, unless you think singing hymns all day every day is fun. it'd be worse than any torture in hell.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  2. Craig

    Christians believe god know what will happen before it happens. Why then would he create humans in his own image, tell us he loves us, then proceed to send at least 90% of his children to eternity in Hell? He knoew this outcome before it happened.
    Centuries of Native American's lived and died worshiping the sun and the moon, having never known about the Christian God, sent to hell for eternity for clear violations of the Christian God's rule?
    If you're a devout christian, do you think if you were born to loving Muslim parents, in a Muslim country, following Muslim rules, that you would be a Christian today.
    Christians, how many families have you known throughout your life that are good hearted, hard working American's? They pay their taxes, volunteer in the community, would never hurt a soul. Do you believe that because they don't have Christ as they're savoir they deserve eternity in Hell?
    What about the residence of earth during the 3500 years before Jesus died for our sins. Did they deserve eternity in Hell if they couldn't afford to sacrifice animals to the same Christian God to pay for their sins?

    February 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Craig

      Christians, what is it about yourself that makes you think you somehow deserve Heaven more than the above mentioned?

      February 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      God doesn't send anybody to hell. God opened the doors to heaven to any sinner who repents and believes that Jesus is their Savior and died for their sins. People only go to hell by their own will and rejection of the Truth. God created us with free will; would you prefer to be a robot. We have the choice to accept or reject.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      Craig: You are very much mistaken. I'm a Christian and I am a sinner; we all are. I don't deserve heaven. It is only by God grace through Jesus Christ our Lord that I'm saved. GRACE (God's Riches At Chrsit's Expense). I'm going to heaven because I accepted the fact that Jesus made it possible by dying to wash away my sins and I believe He is the only person who can save me. If it were up to my good works, I would be very worried, as I'm no better or worse than you. Thank God for His mercy on us or we all would be cast out like the trash we are.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Craig

      Liberals are Stupid:
      So you accept that if you were born during the 3500 years before Christ died for our sins that you would be deserving of eternity in Hell?

      February 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      who created Hell? God. according to Chrsitian myth, God created a place where people will suffer for all eternity. think of how disgusting an idea that is. you can't even be tortured to death. you can't escape. at least on earth if they ripped your heart out, you died. but in hell, you don't die, even if they rip your heart out - you just feel it. more pain than can possibly be felt on earth. this is the creation of the Christian God. how is that not evil?

      February 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:809)

      February 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Someone

      To LAS: "God doesn't send anybody to hell"

      Un... buh... leave... able!!!
      God doesn't send people to hell – people choose to go to hell! God sets up this whole system of heaven and hell, he creates the rules of determining how to go to heaven ("you must believe in me"), and if you don't – well, you can't get into heaven, and, oh, I didn't create anything else other than this unimaginably horrible place I called hell, and well, I guess we'll have to put you in here. It's the rules, you see. Nothing personal."

      Any you have the balls to say "God doesn't send anyone to hell. People choose to go to hell"! And you choose to worship such a god. If your god really wanted to give people a "choice", he woould have at least given them a "neutral" option, where you didn't get burned for eternity if you didn't pick door number one.


      February 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Liberals are Stupid:

      you need to get some help. get deprogrammed. the pillars upon which Christianity stands are fear and guilt. you express both to a very unhealthy degree. leave the cult and be happy in life instead of thinking you are born an evil, undeserving sinner and that all pleasure is somehow evil. drop God, live life, treat people well. done. you will find your heart will be much lighter when you cut loose the anchor of religion.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      Our freedom of choice is not violated. We have a choice to have everlasting life in a perfect heaven, or to have everlasting spiritual death in hell. Would you want to hang with people who despised and rejected you? If you don't want to worship God, then by all means, don't. The choice is yours. Sorry, but there is no afterlife of constant sin and happiness. The earth will be destroyed one day. You're either in or out of the club. The choice is yours.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      is the choice ours not to play God's game? not to play by his rules? is the choice ours to say, "you just leave me alone and let me live my life how i see fit"? what christianity offers is not a choice. god says play my game and do what i say or be tortured forever. yeah, that's a "good" god.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Craig

      Liberals are Stupid:
      DO you think that if you were born to a Mormon family in a Mormon county, who took you to church however often is normal, that you would be a Christian today?
      Say your family takes yearly mission trips to an orphanage to build schools, you went to Haiti to help with the clean up. Your Mormon father donates a kidney to his Christian neighbors 5 year old son. There is nothing but good intention and love for one another within this Mormon family.
      Do you believe they deserve eternity in Hell?
      I ask because I know several who fit this description.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  3. carl

    Jacob was about to die and the blessing that Isaac pass on to Jacob he passed on to Josephs two sons. Israel said let my name and my fathers name be upon them and they will be two nations .Israel put his right hand on the younger (Ephraim) meaning he will be greater then the older,Manasseh. These two nations have the right to use Israels name and only these two nations ! Since Esau wanted a blessing also, you will have to read what Isaac said to Edom. Any christian that is supporting this place that is presently called Israel is committing treason to our King our Messiah for the people that rule there and over the two nations are of the seed of the serpent (Esau/Edom) Some of what i spoke you will find in Gen.47 -50

    February 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  4. jimbo

    Al Stefanelli – I agree with you 100%. Your words are much more accurate than the bible which is the greatest fiction book ever written and rewritten and rewritten by emotionally needy insecure humans.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  5. The Central Scrutinizer

    Jesus Christ doesn't always drink wine, but when he does,he prefers Boone's Farm.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Mogan David was the blood of choice at the Catholic church I was forced to attend as a child.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  6. Liberals Are Stupid

    NVRWRNG: Here's another one:

    The fact that the Standard Oil Company discovered oil and is operating wells in Egypt is generally known, but the reason for its going to that ancient land to look for oil is probably not so well known.

    One of the directors of the company happened to read the second chapter of Exodus. The third verse caught his attention. It sates that the ark of bulrushes which the mother of Moses made for her child was 'daubed with slime and with pitch.'

    This gentlemen reasoned that where there was pitch, there must be oil, and if there was oil in Moses' time, it is probably still there. So the company sent out Charles Whitshott, its geologist and oil expert, to make investigations, with the result that oil was discovered.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

      Um. Still waiting. That isn't science. Nor did moses dig the oil. Nor would a multi billion dollar operation take place on a passage from the bible.

      Still waiting. I want something relevant.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Observer2

      Interesting. Before petroleum products were known "pitch" meant the residue left when volatiles are boiled off of plant resins.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Cleareye

      Possibly true, and even if not, it is interesting. Clues can be found anywhere that can lead us to more progress.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  7. Mike R

    Does one really need Santa Claus to understand the true meaning of the gift of giving. Jesus represents Love because his story displayed the biggest act of Love that a person can express: giving up your life for the life of another. So, as someone who was raised a Christian, I believe that to "Find Jesus" is to find the power of love within your own heart. Jesus was an examplary human on this and his life is immortalized to this day. Do you really need somekind of reward system to get you to do good deeds?

    February 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you obviously haven't read the bible or you have a terrible lack of morals yourself. jesus said some great things about love, i agree. but he also told slaves to obey their masters if they want to get into heaven. he said a lot of other pretty terrible things. people constantly give jesus credit for the great things he said, but don't hold him accountable for the bad things he said.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  8. The Central Scrutinizer

    @Liberals Are Stupid

    Why are you so hostile and why such a negative name? Don't worry, no one will beat you up, this is virtual world. Make your point and don't always be so defensive. And your handle make immediately unpleasant to talk to. Peace.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Liberals Are Stupid

      This is a very hostile place, and liberals are stupid. Just read the messages left on this board. If educating liberals about the Truths of the Bible, and calling them out on their ignorance, is considered "defensive" then so be it. Peace, toots.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      But you don't accomplish anything. We present facts, you present fairy tales. Nothing hostile there, just the truth. You have nothing to offer.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Monitor

      Liberals Are Stupid

      Your handle is offensive and against CNN rules.
      Change it or i will report abuse and have you blocked.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  9. jingo

    Christianity, and all religions, and are a figment of imagination and a mental disease. Where is your god ? – and impotent, selfish and jealous delinquent. Tell it to do something useful for a change. It can't even control what you need to believe in. And if it is the word of the bible that you go by, then Jesus said in Matthew10:34. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

    February 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  10. Liberals Are Stupid

    NVRWRNG: Here's another one:

    Matthew Maury spent much of his life as a United States naval officer traveling on the oceans of the world. During an illness he read in the Psalms a reference to "the paths of the seas" (Psa. 8:8). Believing the complete scientific accuracy of the Bible, he searched and found what the Bible had revealed thousands of years earlier: the ocean currents travel in specific paths. He was able to gather enough information from many voyages to be able to chart those currents on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. As a result, those who followed his charts were able to cut down their sailing time considerably.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Liberals Are Stupid:

      – King David ruled (and perhaps wrote Psalms) around 1000 BC. Ancient seafaring goes back thousands of years before that with the Greeks (3000 BC), the Mycenaeans (2000 BC, the Minoans (2500 BC, the Phoenicians (1500 BC) and many others in the area and in other places around the Earth.

      It has been proven that the Phoenicians and the Greeks were expert seafarers. The captain knew every coastline, every wind and every current in the sea and could navigate on the sun and the stars. http://www.tharros.info/ViewText.php?id=1300&lng=en, and http://history-world.org/aegean_civilization.htm

      Jerusalem, where David lived, is only about 30 miles from the Mediterranean SEA, which, wonder of wonders, has currents (paths) and was well-travelled back in those days. Even if David didn't make that *impossible* journey to the sea, he was the freakin' King, for crying out loud, and he had access to information from people all over the place.

      There was NOTHING eerie, supernatural or at all unusual that David could have known these things about the sea.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  11. txsblues

    Reading all of the hate filled messages attached to almost every theological news story published on CNN is troubling. I don't understand who this angry god is that atheists and agnostics point to when they rail against religion. I have never heard my preacher tell me to hate, kill, or condemn in the name of God. This is a lie that they use to fulfill their own agenda and misunderstanding. The Bible is a difficult book to understand because yes, we do have to believe in a supernatural being that has dominion over us. Even Christians will admit to you that the Bible is more misunderstood by mankind than what God wants us to understand. That is why I personally go to church each weekend so That I can process my own doubts. When I pray to God I ask to strengthen my faith and to ask God to help me understand what it is I am supposed to be doing in my life to accomplish the things he expects of me. Then being human I usually go out and do the opposite. God's only agenda is to have a relationship with each of us on a personal level based on love, trust, and faith in believing in him. The only things obstructing that relationship with him is not acknowledging your sins and asking forgiveness for your failures. Believing that God himself appeared to us here on this earth in the form of Jesus Christ to sacrifice his own life to pay the debt of our sins is the most difficult leap of faith a man can take. If we are to believe the atheists and agnostics, we are all alone in this world and are fools because we did not all eat, drink, and be merry while we had the chance. If we lived by that creed then what stops us from walking out of banks with armloads of others cash and murdering everyone who ever wronged us. I try to live by God's example of loving and caring for people I meet in this world but admit I often fail in my actions. Even if we are all wrong and God is just santa claus or the easter bunny I would rather finish my life knowing I loved and cared for as many as I could while I had the chance and left it a better world than when I arrived. God does not whisper in your ear in the voice of George Burns what he expects of you. Mostly I never hear his answer because my own thoughts get in the way. I often understand his path as I review my decisions in hindsight and reconsider the effects of my situation. Just try and learn from your mistakes and have faith that God will bless you when you love him back and live as he expects you to.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Cleareye

      How does one rationalize the claim the God came to earth via virgin birth and the sacrificed that life?
      Why didn't he or she just send us all a direct message without the theatrics? -a heathen for Jesus

      February 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Cleareye

      How does one rationalize the claim the God came to earth via virgin birth and then sacrificed that life?
      Why didn't he or she just send us all a direct message without the theatrics? -a heathen for Jesus

      February 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Wes

      U r certainly able to read posts... have you read your bible? "I have not come to bring peace... but a sword".

      And... aren't you bearing false witness against the posters? Most who post here are simply pointing out problems with the logistics of judeo-christian religions.

      If you read your version of the bible, no matter what bible it is today.. you will see that "IT" is filled with horrors and messages of anger, jealousy and hate. Not the poster's words... they are simply using the very source from whence your religion comes from.

      So as one of the posters who finds religion rather horrific, I implore you to read the bible and not just take your ministers word for it. Also, keep in mind there is no original ANYTHING. The bible is a compilation of copies of copies which was assembled over approximately a 1000 year period. There is no original .... anything. Indeed even if we were to find original writings... (And we never will)... they would also be copies of orally spoken tales... of which they themselves would be part of a much older telephone game.

      Good luck and best wishes to you... sincerely.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • txsblues

      It is not rational to men...that is why it was an act of grace and mercy. I thank Christ every time I am reminded of his love and sacrifice. Man will never understand God's love and gift until we quit trying to rationalize it with our doubting minds. You must first accept his grace and accept it on faith. Even the disciples actions many times throughout the New Testament show that they had doubts about Jesus until they finally saw him risen from the dead. Unfortunately for us we do not still have Jesus walking this earth in flesh and blood to show us the risen body. God gave us each free will to either believe and accept or reject and live with with the consequences. Every human is going to have an afterlife for an eternity. Those whom accept his mercy will spend an eternity with him and his love. Those that do not will be segregated from his love for eternity. The absence and withheld love of God is what the real hell will be. It may be a literal lake of fire and then again it may be something else. I will not know for sure until it is revealed to me by God, all I know is I do not want to spend eternity there.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      "I don't understand who this angry god is that atheists and agnostics point to when they rail against religion."

      Dear txsblues, he's the god who's described and worshiped throughout the entire old testament. The god who orders parents to publicly stone to death their disobedient children . The god who commands that females (preferably young) be treated as chattel (Deut 22:28 ff.), whose financial value immediately diminishes upon losing their viriginity (the same is not said for men) (Deut 22:13-21), and who orders that married women be brutally, publicly humiliated if *suspected* of adultery (Num. 5:17-31), executed if caught in adultery (along with the man) (Lev. 20:10-11), and viciously mutilated if they rescue their husband from a fight with another man by grabbing the other guy's nuts (Deut 25:11-12).

      February 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      The glaring inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Bible should not be sugarcoated either, just do a google search.

      I'm glad you've found faith in God. But please don't describe your faith in terms of consistency with the Old or New Testament. Modern, evangelical fundamentalist Christianity is so steeped in what they call "secular humanism," it's not even funny. From Plato, Aristotle, Catholic theologians, and modern day athiest philosophers, the influences on this very modern way of thinking far exceed the influence of the Bible. Please do some more research to understand why "athiests and agnostics rail against the Bible." It's not hard to find. Give people Jesus without the Old Testament (and, thus, without Paul), and I don't think you'll find many complaints. But that's gonna be very hard to do.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  12. cody

    a man who fears God and shuns evil........Job 31:1 – I have made a covenant with my eyes, how then could I gaze upon a virgin? ....that is exactly what Job is doing in that passage...shunning evil. But he wasn't perfect, he had to make that covenant with his eyes b/c of his struggle with lust. To pretend Job was perfect and didn't struggle with lust is absurd. Every man has struggled or is currently struggling with lust, if he says otherwise he's lying. Job was struggling so he made a covenant. WHere do you think covenanteyes.com comes from? it is directly from that Job passage and its a site to monitor ones internet activity and help them fight for purity. Its offered for people who are struggling not for people who aren't.....ala JOB.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • gman

      due i'll say it one last time and then i won't waiste time with satan speaking through some pretended jealous


      JOB 1:8

      Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."


      February 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  13. Lester

    Anyone who has every really studied the Bible knows that all sorts of decisions have to be made when translating into English. That is why it is so ridiculous when some people insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible, and then base that interpretation on an English translation such as the KJV.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  14. Michael Lawlor

    There are many different translations of the bible, all meant to cater towards a specific audience, because the Bible is meant to tell a message, and what is important is what the message is, not how it is told. The King James Version is extremely different than the Good News Bible, because 10 year olds should will not understand everything that grown men of Shakespeare's time did.

    Even now, church's are changing even wording of the mass to reflect the true meaning of things, and not the dubbed down version.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Liberals Are Stupid

    NVRWRNG: I will name only a handful of scientific facts that were proven true years later, but I guarantee it will not keep you from posting (nor am I attempting to stop you from posting) because you won't believe the Bible even so. You are like a Pharisee, a snake asking for proof from Jesus, to only twist the truth in the end.

    Moisture in the atmosphere goes through a cycle of evaporation and condensation (Psa. 135:7)
    The earth is spherical in shape (Isa. 40:22)
    The earth rotates upon its axis (Job 38:13-14)
    The earth is suspended in space (Job 26:7)
    Tides vary in the late evening and early morning hours (Job 26:10)
    The atmosphere has weight (Job 28-25) This was not known by scientists until the 17th century
    The stars travel in certain paths (Judg. 5:20)
    The blood sustains life (Lev. 17:11)
    The universe is running down (Psa. 102:25-26)
    The stars differ in magnitude (1 Cor. 15:41)
    The chemical composition of man and earth is identical (Psa. 103:14)

    February 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Observer2

      You use the Bible as a scientific resource? I've been struggling with Mach's principle recently and I just can't find anything in the Bible about it.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • cody

      and you are being unbelievable judgemental and hyprocital. Shouldn't your response to people who do not believe in God and don't know God be one of love and not of hate?

      February 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      How about the Sun? Does it rise in the east? Did the Bible get that one right, too?
      You have fallen into the trap of the "confirmation bias". You look only for excerpts from the Bible that will support your already-arrived-at conclusion, namely that it's full of deep insight about the world around us. Instead, why not do what real scientists do as part of the scientific method and look for DIScomfirming evidence that this holy book, supposedly inspired by God himself and thus inerrant in all respects, in fact is riddled with mistakes. Bats are not birds. Rabbits do not chew their cuds. The value of π is not exactly 3. The mustard seed is not the smallest of them all. And so on. A smart god would have known better, but this stuff was all written by human beings, without any divine assistance, and it's no surprise that they got a lot of it wrong.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you've got to be kidding me, right? the bible says the earth is flat. i could go on and on here. the bible says there's light before there's a sun, it says animals/plants were created in the wrong order from how we know they actually evolved, it says the earth and not the sun is the center of the solar system and universe, it says there was a great flood when geologic records show otherwise, it says the earth is 6000 years old (only off by billions of years...) and a bunch of other "gems".

      that science can change it's answers is one its greatest attributes. when science gets more information, it changes its definition. that's right. and how is that bad? as opposed to the infallible dogma of religion that won't change an answer even if it's proven wrong over and over. science says, "this is the best information we have. if we get more, better or contradictory information, we'll change our definition to reflect our new knowledge." but you think that's a bad thing? being able to admit you're wrong and then accepting better information? haha.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

      I don't get your point yet. That's not scientific information. That's what we call hypothesis. Pretty sure there isn't a passage in the book that says 100% of all organisms on Earth have DNA/RNA has their biological makeup. Give me something like that. Something useful!

      February 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Cleareye

      A valiant effort to lend credibility where little actually exists. However, as you have seen from other posts your list is absurd.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Spherical earth is actually from Greek mythology and was accepted science by the time Isaiah was written. It would be easier to compare if we could know for sure when and who wrote Isaiah.

      Job 38:13-14 says nothing pertaining to an axis.

      Psalm 135:7 doesn't make the claim you specify either.

      I'm unsure whether Job 26:7 made a new claim or just stated what was already known at the time it was written.

      I'm also unsure whether Job 28:25 makes that claim and if it was new.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  16. The Central Scrutinizer

    See the magic

    When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." For example:

    •The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.

    •The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.

    •The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

    The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds.

    In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

    According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example, the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

    Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

    God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm |

      Santa WAS real at one point in time. But today's modern age Santa is fake.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      nvrwrng .. when was Santa real?
      The person Santa was loosely based on has little resemblance to todays Santa tale ... just like the "Jesus" tale.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm |


      I don't feel like digging for the definitive dates. But there was one a rich man who, throughout the year, went from door to door donating his wealth through presents. It is said that the fable of now a days is based off of that one man. Everything in todays world is a marketing scheme.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      nvrwrng ... I agree, just springboarding off your post to make my point. definition of "real" was a minor disagreement. 😉

      February 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm |

      Oh gotcha. I re-read your comment. You're absolutely right. Same thing with Jesus. No one is claiming he wasn't real. But through 2000 years of story passing down, stories get twisted. Ever play the telephone game in class as a little kid, where the teacher tells the first kid a line and he tells the rest of the kids in line and the last one to hear the story shouts out what was "originally" said. It's not jus the bible or the stories. It is everything that was done before mainstream technology. Things get lost in translation. It just takes a strong-willed person to overcome the lies out there and find truth in the mix of lies. Jesus was real, did he make water into wine? More than 20,000 years of recorded evidence proves otherwise. I like my mathematical probabilities.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • nephish

      the only thing people have to verify anything in the past is found only in the present,since proof of anything that happened when God created it, can only be observed by Him as a credible witness of things that we dont have handed down to us from antiquity . as far as His creation goes ,we are all without excuse, unless we choose to be willfully ignorant,or have ignored that He is the only one to wich any of us have to give an account to. As far as the flood goes in the creation, if you check out the grand canyon, or any of the other canyons similar that exist all over the world ,thats in the present, all fossils that are found in the earths layers are pretty impressive evidence of what happens when something is flooded.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm |

      @nepphish – so you're saying what exactly? That fossils are proof that floods happened? Clarify please.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  17. Bootyfunk

    Christianity is a cult. there is no difference between a cult and a religion except that a religion is widely accepted and a cult is not. leave the cult of christianity. think for yourself. you won't regret it. sever the shackles of religion and join free thinkers across the world.

    if you are looking for a system of ethics without all the hoodoo voodoo of religion, try Humanism. Humanists live by a great set of ethics. they look to science and human compassion as opposed to the fear and guilt offered by christianity.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  18. Dallas

    what a ridiculous translation of the Bible. This is what is wrong with religion; the people that interpret it! Go get a life.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  19. Penny Lane

    I will never understand why the story of Noah is considered a fun kid story. It's HORRIFYING. It's a story of violent genocide. Set aside the impossibility of it, it's just a sick story. And we decorate children's nurseries celebrating this sick story.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Sugarmama,, NC

      Dear Penny Lane,
      The story of Noah is a horrible story and a very true one. We teach our children about Noah and the Art to show them how much animal really mean to God and the earth and we also teach them the meaning of covenant which is also apart of the account.

      God destroyed the people on earth at that time for very similiar almost identical behaviors that are very prevalent in our society right now. Don't get angry with God who is and has shown limitless mercy and grace to us. Dont be angry with God be angry with yourself and watch out for the rain or should I see fire. (only a christian will understand this comment:)

      February 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

      Anyone who believes the arc story needs to be checked into a mental facility. So you are telling me that ONE man, rounded up a male and a female, of EVERY, living species on Earth, to save them from a localized flood? Was the flood world-wide? Must have taken this man, millennia to get penguins on the ship.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Oh ya ..It's very true that a 600 year old man gathered every species on earth ,fed them,secured them and cleaned up after them in order to survive the wonderful beings wrath.He did this all with a skeleton staff.It's true!

      February 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  20. pamelahaley

    crap... where did my response go about how we were all created in alien test tubes from mutated chimp DNA?

    February 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Chances are that it inadvertently contained one of CNN's verboten character strings, like the female breast hiding in the middle of the Const¡tuition, or the excrement in the sp00n, or a period followed by "com", "org", "net", etc. CNN used to flash you a message saying that your comment was awaiting moderation (tho, of course, nobody ever swung by to moderate it), but now they simply do nothing, leaving you wondering what happened.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Duck Dodgers


      February 26, 2012 at 3:05 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.