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My Take: Does Netanyahu's Bible gift to Obama mean war?
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House this week.
March 8th, 2012
09:12 AM ET

My Take: Does Netanyahu's Bible gift to Obama mean war?

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Being president is stressful. Even the presents you receive can turn your hair gray.

Take the gift Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bestowed upon President Obama on Monday: a copy of the Book of Esther. This book, which appears both in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament tells a tale that Jews commemorate on Thursday with the holiday of Purim.

In this tale, set in the Persian Empire in the 5th century BCE, Persians plot to destroy the Jews. The villain of the story is Haman, whom Netanyahu described in his AIPAC speech on Monday as “a Persian anti-Semite [who] tried to annihilate the Jewish people.” The hero is Esther’s cousin Mordecai, who urges Esther, the queen to Persian king Ahasuerus, to prevail upon her husband on behalf of the Jews.

In the end, Ahasuerus, who initially supported the evildoers, flip-flops, allowing the Jews to go to war against their Persian enemies. The Jews are victorious and 75,000 Persians are killed in an orgy of “slaughter and destruction.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

It’s not hard to imagine how Netanyahu wants Obama to read this ancient story. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Haman, threatening Israel with destruction by a nuclear bomb. Netanyahu is Mordecai. And Obama is King Ahasuerus who needs to decide whose side he is really on.

But this isn’t the only way to read the story.

I was in Jerusalem on the eve of Purim a couple years ago. It's a raucous celebration that commemorates the events of the Book of Esther. I say raucous because it is actually a commandment during this joyous holiday to drink to excess. Jews are supposed to drink until they cannot distinguish between the evil Haman and the virtuous Mordecai.

In a Purim sermon I heard at the Wailing Wall, an Orthodox rabbi spoke of driving into the city every day through an Arab section, and greeting the Muslims he saw there not with fear and anxiety but with love and joy. He then urged his listeners to drink of wine and God until they could not tell the difference enemies and friends, Arabs and Israelis, the cursed Haman and the blessed Mordecai.

So perhaps the Book of Esther is telling Obama to play the king, to give the Jews a green light to destroy their Iranian enemies, and lay waste to 75,000 Iranians in the process.

But perhaps this Bible story is telling the president to see beyond the virtues of the Israelis and the vices of the Iranians to the common humanity in all of us — to drink until he cannot tell the difference between our enemies and our friends.

It is up to the president to decide how to read this story, and how to read the mixture of intelligence and nonsense that is emerging out of Iran and the Middle East in recent days. Will he listen to Republican presidential candidates who are beating the drums of war? To Netanyahu, who seems to be doing the same? To the Israeli public, which is wary of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities?

In times like these, prior presidents have turned to God in prayer. But one curiosity of the Book of Esther is that it does not mention God. In extreme times, the story seems to be telling us, we cannot wait for God to act. We must act ourselves, or refuse to act. And in either case we and we alone bear the intended (and unintended) consequences.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Obama • Politics • United States

soundoff (470 Responses)
  1. STOP READING THIS WEIRD STUFF

    You GUYS ALL need to stop reading this stuff and reading stuff into it. are ya nuts?

    March 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  2. isreal loves to irritate

    is it netanyahu's way of poking a stick at the people that passed the notes in the quran? he's kind of an abrasive guy.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Susie

      Netanyahu has and estimated IQ of 180. I am sure his gift was a message that those who fail to do what is right will fade, while the rightwous will prevail.

      March 9, 2012 at 5:46 am |
  3. FredK

    I wonder if Obama even knew what it was. He is more familiar with the Koran.
    Way to go Netanyahu, I love that guy!

    March 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  4. Shahin

    Thanks a lot jews,

    no need to mention that part of the bible where you call Cyrus the Great a messenger of God because he saved your asses from the Babylonian empire and set your people free.

    Hypocrite lowlife. How dare you make such an analogy, comparing your present day situation with some messed up lie that was written in your mumbo jumbo book. Wanna read a book? Read a history book! At least then you'll recognize your true friends! The Persians were the only people in the world who gave you your liberty and rights to express your religion and this is what you come up with? I hope you rot in hell Netanyahu!!!

    March 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      If you represent the FRIENDS I guess the Jews don't NEED any Enemies.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Shahin

      onestar: What's that supposed to mean? I was talking about Persians, not the Islamic Republic. Demonizing Persians is not the same as demonizing some backward regime that is hated by 80% of all existent Persians.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • OS Bird

      Calm down.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Shahin

      his week, we will read how one woman changed Jewish history. In Synagogues throughout the world, the Jewish people will celebrate the festival of Purim. We will read how some 2,500 years ago, a Persian anti-Semite tried to annihilate the Jewish people. We will read how his plot was foiled by one courageous woman – Esther. In every generation, there are those who wish to destroy the Jewish people.

      "history', he calls that... pathetic. Why doesn't he claim to be Adam and Eve's grandson as well while he's at it.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • danny smith

      back in the day of the old testament there was no Islam as we know it now – it came later. so your analogy is a little screwy. Still i have no pity for Israel. I would have pity for them if they made good and settled with the palestinians and then got blown up. however what will happen is they will never get along and will then get blown up anyways..... i give you an LOL over that.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Shahin

      danny, my analogy has nothing to do with Islam...
      Believe it or not, Persians existed well before the advent of Islam.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  5. rick

    Sometimes a book is just a book.

    March 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Actually

      A book is never just a book, even if the author intends it as such (which is rare).

      March 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • danny smith

      and a story is a story.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Susie

      and sometimes a story is true.

      March 9, 2012 at 5:49 am |
  6. Kill The King

    Change your view.

    Think of all of the countries on this planet as nothing more than departments
    in a large corporation. OK ?
    I am the CEO, i dont care how you run your department as long as i get results, got that ?
    There is a pecking order, those departments deemed more important to the bottom line
    Have more influence.
    If there is a problem, i as the CEO, expect you to have meetings and solve those problems.
    If you cannot solve those problems, i will step in, and changes will be made.
    Understand that ?
    Good.

    Now.
    Apply that to the planet Earth.
    Each nation is a department.
    Yes you have a CEO, lets just call him (for the sake of argument)...Big Brother.
    You have people running departments, some are called presidents
    others are called monarchs, kings, princes, dictators, prime ministers...understand ?

    Again, as long as the bottom line is met, no problem.
    But every once in a while you get a roque department, because the ruler of that department
    decides that what he does with his department and his control of his department, is more
    important than the bottom line.
    His control has gone to his head, and he thinks he can out wit, and out smart
    big brother.
    Now we have a problem.

    This is not a "Greece may default" problem.
    We can fix that.
    This is a problem that will play major havoc with the bottom line,
    and that is NOT acceptable.

    So, people, do you understand ?
    You are allowed your beliefs, your tribes, your nationalities, your customs,
    and what freedoms and liberties are granted to you.
    as long as you "The sheep" help produce that bottom line.
    But when the head of your department goes rogue, your department
    is going to have new management, one way or another, even if YOU pay the price.
    Even if you had no control over it.
    Its the price you pay, for the bottom line.

    The CEO has told his managers, solve this problem
    by any means, or i will solve it and make changes.

    That my friends is the real world we live in.
    Hope your department fares better.

    Kill The King.

    March 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      Think of ALL the Oceans of the EARTH as a Giant Pond – OK? Now, Try to imagine that Pond filled with OIL – Got That? Now – Imagine a FROG on a Lilly Pad in the Pond – can you see him sitting there? Good Now Imagine a Bird Flying over Head. It Sounds familiar and you can just make out what it Looks like as it POOPS on the Frog. ITS A DUCK

      March 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Just like giving him a lessen in history...saying go read the book...
    Any way history has changed this is now Iran and not Persia...Persians were pagans worshipping fire while Iranians are now worshiping the GOD of Abraham...and therefore as religious as Jews...
    Any way insisting on declaring war against Iran is meant to shoot as many birds with one shot because the flames of such war in the area would spread it's destruction to all the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsular countries therefore such act is satisfying Israel to see to that all of her fears are wiped out..while for others in Europe or the US it sounded tempting to see all such destructions and the movement of financial wealths of those countries to their own banks and countries beside taking grab of what ever rebuilding contracts after wars are down...!!

    March 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      maybe not pagans .. but barbarians .. crude .. ugly.. evil .. want to have a nuclear conflict .. immoral .. ambitious at the expense of all others.. no concern for consequences .. no respect for life .. unjust (phony trials .. phony t.e.s.t.i.m.o.n.y) .. Judge Roy Bean .. hanging judges (theocracy) .. psychos .. but probably not pagan..

      March 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Reality

      Putting the kibosh on it all in less than 500 words !! Priceless!!!

      • There was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • There was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      Added supporting references are available upon request.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Shahin

      rightturn: Looking in the mirror are we? You sad sad little man.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Elias

      It is ironic that organized Christian religion is based on the old religion of Iran, Mithra. No, they were not pagans worshiping fire. The fire was within in another dimesion, very wonderous and beautiful to the Soul. They spoke in parables so they would not get boiled in oil by the arabs.

      March 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Susie

      Perhaps Iran's fearless leader needs to stop saying he wants to anhilate Isreal. When a leader of a large country threatens other countries they can expect that country to take them seriously, Didnt this guy learn anything from Saddam? Tell people you have WMDs and they believe you.

      March 9, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • Muneef

      Well both have the same technology and both have built it up in fear of their surroundings and in fear from each other as the books history tells...so why one should not have it while the other is allowed !? Isn't that hypocrisy now...? Well for me as Arabian I have my fears from both sides and since we are in the Arabian Peninsular in between both sides we will be the basket for what ever they throw on each other...

      March 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  8. Sam Yaza

    dude i dated a girl named Esther shes is an Orthodox Jew and guess what she thinks Israel should burn to the ground for their genocide and Zionistic views in the middle east,... its the new age stop being such a.sshole

    March 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  9. RightTurnClyde

    Everybody knows Obama does not like Christians or Jews and bows deeply to Islam. Pretty clear he is a Muslim (and favolrs their views and causes... that is .. as one of them
    April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”
    February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011.
    April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech.
    May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House.
    April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion amb.a.s.s.a.dors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three.
    October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” w.hen quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions..
    November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law.
    January 2011 – After a federal law was p.a.s.s.ed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court.
    February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom amb.a.s.s.ador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress.
    April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges p.a.s.s.age of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring.
    August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      re .. they did not like this part
      "N o v e m b e r . .2 0 1 1 . .– . .O b a m a . .o p p o s e s . .i n c l u s i o n . .o f . .P r e s i d e n t . .F r a n k l i n . .R o o s e v e l t ’ s . .f a m o u s . .D – D a y . .P r a y e r . .i n . .t h e . .W W I I . .M e m o r i a l .
      ""D e c e m b e r . .2 0 1 1 . .– . .T h e . .O b a m a . .a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . .d e n i g r a t e s . .o t h e r . .c o u n t r i e s ’ . .r e l i g i o u s . .b e l i e f s . .a s . .a n . .o b s t a c l e . .t o . .r a d i c a l . .h o m o s e x u a l . .r i g h t s .
      ""F e b r u a r y . .2 0 1 2 . .– . .T h e . .O b a m a . .a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . .f o r g i v e s . .s t u d e n t . .l o a n s . .i n . .e x c h a n g e . .f o r . .p u b l i c . .s e r v i c e , . .b u t . .a n n o u n c e s . .i t . .w i l l . .n o . .l o n g e r . .f o r g i v e . .s t u d e n t . .l o a n s . .i f . .t h e . .p u b l i c . .s e r v i c e . .i s . .r e l a t e d . .t o . .r e l i g i o n . ""M a y . .2 0 0 9 . .– . .W h i l e . .O b a m a . .d o e s . .n o t . .h o s t . .a n y . .N a t i o n a l . .D a y . .o f . .P r a y e r . .e v e n t . .a t . .t h e . .W h i t e . .H o u s e , . .h e . .d o e s . .h o s t . .W h i t e . .H o u s e . .I f t a r . .d i n n e r s . .i n . .h o n o r . .o f . .R a m a d a n . "
      "A p r i l . .2 0 1 0 . .– . .C h r i s t i a n . .l e a d e r . .F r a n k l i n . .G r a h a m . .i s . .d i s i n v i t e d . .f r o m . .t h e . .P e n t a g o n ’ s . .N a t i o n a l . .D a y . .o f . .P r a y e r . .E v e n t . .b e c a u s e . .o f . .c o m p l a i n t s . .f r o m . .t h e . .M u s l i m . .c o m m u n i t y . "
      "M u s l i m s , . .i n c l u d i n g . .j i h a d , . .j i h a d i s t s , . .t e r r o r i s t s , . .r a d i c a l . .I s l a m i c , . .e t c . "
      "A u g u s t . .2 0 1 0 . .– . .O b a m a . .w e n t . .t o . .g r e a t . .l e n g t h s . .t o . .s p e a k . .o u t . .o n . .m u l t i p l e . .o c c a s i o n s . .o n . .b e h a l f . .o f . .b u i l d i n g . .a n . .I s l a m i c . .m o s q u e . .a t . .G r o u n d . .Z e r o , . .w h i l e . .a t . .t h e . .s a m e . .t i m e . .h e . .w a s . .s i l e n t . .a b o u t . .a . .C h r i s t i a n . .c h u r c h . .b e i n g . .d e n i e d . .p e r m i s s i o n . .t o . .r e b u i l d . .a t . .t h a t . .l o c a t i o n . "
      "2 0 1 0 . .– . .W h i l e . .e v e r y . .W h i t e . .H o u s e . .t r a d i t i o n a l l y . .i s s u e s . .h u n d r e d s . .o f . .o f f i c i a l . .p r o c l a m a t i o n s . .a n d . .s t a t e m e n t s . .o n . .n u m e r o u s . .o c c a s i o n s , . .t h i s . .W h i t e . .H o u s e . .a v o i d s . .t r a d i t i o n a l . .B i b l i c a l . .h o l i d a y s . .a n d . .e v e n t s . .b u t . .r e g u l a r l y . .r e c o g n i z e s . .m a j o r . .M u s l i m . .h o l i d a y s , . .a s . .e v i d e n c e d . .b y . ."
      "O c t o b e r . .2 0 1 1 . .– . .O b a m a ’ s . .M u s l i m . .a d v i s e r s . .b l o c k . .M i d d l e . .E a s t e r n . .C h r i s t i a n s ’ . .a c c e s s . .t o . .t h e . .W h i t e . .H o u s e . "
      "F e b r u a r y . .2 0 1 2 . .– . .T h e . .O b a m a . .a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . .m a k e s . .e f f u l g e n t . .a p o l o g i e s . .f o r . .K o r a n s . .b e i n g . .b u r n e d . .b y . .t h e . .U . . .S . . .m i l i t a r y , . .5 1 . .b u t . .w h e n . .B i b l e s . .w e r e . .b u r n e d . .b y . .t h e . .m i l i t a r y , . .n u m e r o u s . .r e a s o n s . .w e r e . .o f f e r e d . .w h y . .i t . .w a s . .t h e . .r i g h t . .t h i n g . .t o . .d o . "

      March 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Some Dude

      Sounds more like he's atheist, than Muslim. Either way, I'm glad he is atheist.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • JackBeHumble

      While a President can have strong religious faith, he cannot allow that to influence the political decisions he makes as the executive of our country. When JFK made his Santorum sickening speech to the religiousl leaders of the day, he was making that point clear. It is not easy being President of the US... I don't think I could do the job.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • OS Bird

      You make it sound like a President MUST be Christian. To Hell with everyone else, right?

      March 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  10. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    Bringing Netanyahu, Obama and Prothero up to speed in the 21st century:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument. "

    March 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      You do not know .. "probably" goes both ways .. maybe they did and maybe they did not.. Esther is p.r.e.t..t.y well d.o.c.u.m.e..n.t.e.d.. in other .h.i.s.t.o.r.i.e.s. (Greek, Persia) ... d.a.t.e.s. may be l.o.o..s.e. ..not very good. But Esther was r.e.a.l and was in the k.i.n.g.s c.o.u.r.t .. and the h.i.s.t.o.r.i.es of B.a.b.y.l.o.n-P.e.r.s.i..a-G.r.e.e.c.e. were very real.. T.r.o.y. too. P.y.r.a.m.i.d.s. too.. Z.i.g.u.r.r.a.t.s .. Ur and L.a.g.a.s.h. It is all there and v.i.e.w.a.b.l.e today..

      March 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Reality

      More fromt the above reveiw of the New Torah for Modern Minds:

      "The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      March 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • UhYeaOk

      Seems to me "Reality" needs a reality check. The bible speaks of people who will attempt to change peoples minds in regards to their religion. People like "Reality" will listen to anyone who says something that supports his thinking on religion no matter how inaccurate it is.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  11. sam

    Don't underestimate Israel's Military. Even though they're a small country, they have a strong military and about 200 nukes. Nobody imposed sanctions on Israel when they became a nuclear state or threatened to go to war with them.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  12. Deborah from Judges

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OuLtFHJOJw&w=640&h=360]

    March 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Psalm 83

      We pray for your Peace!

      March 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  13. Ran

    An atheist had a near death experience and sees a glimpse of hell, now he is a Christian minister, please watch so that you don't end up here....
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXg82KuO184&w=640&h=360]

    March 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Nonimus

      {channeling Christian logic}
      Then he wasn't a true Atheist. There is no turning away from the Truth.
      {/channeling Christian logic}

      March 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Rellgion is deadly for children and other living things

    What a lunatic Netanyahu is.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • John N. Seattle, WA

      It could be argued that no other force, other than religion has been responsible for more death on the planet. Look in some history books and start counting how many have died because they worshiped the "wrong" god! Don't forget to include the Crusades and the Inquisitions!

      March 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Acts 2:38

      Shalom aleichem! Its time for obama to open his eyes. Ending days are nearby

      March 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  15. jhuesntdirniTX

    All of you that are using religious affiliation to justify Israels position on Iran need to re-examine the conflict with Syria first!

    The book of Isiah:
    HAPPY IS THE MAN WHO DEFENDS THE OPPRESSED!

    March 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • jhuesntdirniTX

      I may not have quoted that correctly but same substance anyhow!

      March 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  16. jhuesntdirniTX

    First of all, by Israel i mean its government not people! There's so many of you who keep touting Israel as a great friend and ally of the American people. Putting religious affiliation aside, this just couldn't be further from the truth! Here's why:
    1. They send their leader to our country and basically say the ball is in their court. (Something they would never do to a Conservative Republican)...NOT FRIENDLY "ALLY" BEHAVIOR
    2. They hold a press conference with our president and portray that they are cooperative with the peace process. Then deliver a contradicting speech not to our government but to a lobbyist group...WE SHOULD ALL BE UPSET THAT A FOREIGN LEADER IS GIVING A SPEECH PROMOTING WAR TO LOBBYISTS
    3. They take 9 BILLION dollars of our (the taxpayers) money a year. Guess what they do with this money first? Buy U.S. bonds with our money they will never pay back. WE HAVE TO PAY THEM INTEREST ON MONEY WE GAVE THEM!

    STILL SOUND LIKE A GOOD FRIEND AND ALLY?

    The only valid explanation for American support of Israel is a religious bias! I'm not religious but I can't imagine a world without it. That being said...Please tell me we're not a nation that would (A) allow Israel to use our "loaned" money to deceive taxpayers out of their money, and (B) come to our country and spit in the face of ongoing peaceful foreign solutions of our president and then address his opponents outside U.S. government talks to sway American support from that of our leaders ongoing foreign policy. THIS ADDRESS TO THE AIPAC SHOULD OFFEND EVERY AMERICAN REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT ALIKE! ITS INSULTING! AND I'M A REPUBLICAN!

    March 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  17. Keith

    Bibi quote from a tv interview in Israel today:
    He warned that Israel faces "an existential danger," and added: "If I do not make the right decision, there may be no one left to explain to [why I made the wrong choice]."

    March 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Keith

      Nevermind that. You should be more concerned with McCain and Panetta in dealing with Syria. Syria has a crapload of chemical and biological weapons and SCUD's to deliever them. Then again Damascus will cease to exist as a city according to the Bible:
      Isa 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

      March 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  18. Iain

    Prayer Schmayer. People should use their intellect to make decisions. By praying, and then doing the wrong thing, is a cop out giving one the excuse that a god advised you on that course of action so it is the gods fault that things went wrong

    March 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  19. Brad

    I'm curious. Do you keep a schedule? If not, what tells you it's time for another round of this?

    March 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I believe she is in a Korean mental hospital and can only post when the guards are having Sakki

      March 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Observer

      North Korean?

      March 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Observer

      Regretably no.

      But Asian behavior patters. Maybe a gulag in the Phillipines.

      March 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Brad

      Sorry – I'm curious. Do you keep a schedule? If not, what tells you it's time for another round of this?

      March 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Every comment is personal and a heartfelt call to talk with God
      Prayer changes things

      March 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      prayer is unproven

      March 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~~~~

      March 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      I set a little clock and every time it rings, I post again. My therapist suggested it.

      March 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • just sayin

      it is a pathetic low end atheist that is so bad off they have to steal a handle on an anonymous blog.

      March 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer really changes things God bless

      March 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      There goes my clock again, time to pray.

      March 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • jhuesntdirniTX

      It's not unhealthy either unless your the type of "non-believer" who uses this disbelief to attack those who do believe.

      wow..i'm kind of embarrassed that the above grammer-vomit came from me!lol

      March 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Some Dude

      Yes, it changes what time it is when you're done praying and nothing more

      March 8, 2012 at 5:20 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.