4 big myths of Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation has terrified and confused readers for centuries. Few agree on its meaning, but many have opinions.
March 31st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

4 big myths of Book of Revelation

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The anti-Christ. The Battle of Armageddon. The dreaded Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

You don’t have to be a student of religion to recognize references from the Book of Revelation. The last book in the Bible has fascinated readers for centuries. People who don’t even follow religion are nonetheless familiar with figures and images from Revelation.

And why not? No other New Testament book reads like Revelation. The book virtually drips with blood and reeks of sulfur. At the center of this final battle between good and evil is an action-hero-like Jesus, who is in no mood to turn the other cheek.

Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s leading biblical scholars, first read Revelation as a teenager. She read it again in writing her latest book, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation.”

Pagels’ book is built around a simple question: What does Revelation mean? Her answers may disturb people who see the book as a prophecy about the end of the world.

But people have clashed over the meaning of Revelation ever since it was virtually forced into the New Testament canon over the protests of some early church leaders, Pagels says.

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“There were always debates about it,” she says. “Some people said a heretic wrote it. Some said a disciple. There were always people who loved and championed it.”

The debate persists. Pagels adds to it by challenging some of the common assumptions about Revelation.

Here are what she says are four big myths about Revelation::

1. It’s about the end of the world

Anyone who has read the popular “Left Behind” novels or listened to pastors preaching about the “rapture” might see Revelation as a blow-by-blow preview of how the world will end.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation was actually describing the way his own world ended.

She says the writer of Revelation may have been called John – the book is sometimes called “Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine” but he was not the disciple who accompanied Jesus. He was a devout Jew and mystic exiled on the island of Patmos, off the coast of  present-day Greece.

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“He would have been a very simple man in his clothes and dress,” Pagels says. “He may have gone from church to church preaching his message. He seems more like a traveling preacher or a prophet.”

The author of Revelation had experienced a catastrophe. He wrote his book not long after 60,000 Roman soldiers had stormed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., burned down its great temple and left the city in ruins after putting down an armed Jewish revolt.

For some of the earliest Jewish followers of Jesus, the destruction of Jerusalem was incomprehensible. They had expected Jesus to return “with power” and conquer Rome before inaugurating a new age. But Rome had conquered Jesus’ homeland instead.

The author of Revelation was trying to encourage the followers of Jesus at a time when their world seemed doomed. Think of the Winston Churchill radio broadcasts delivered to the British during the darkest days of World War II.

Revelation was an anti-Roman tract and a piece of war propaganda wrapped in one. The message: God would return and destroy the Romans who had destroyed Jerusalem.

“His primary target is Rome,” Pagels says of the book’s author. “He really is deeply angry and grieved at the Jewish war and what happened to his people.”

2. The numerals 666 stand for the devil

The 1976 horror film “The Omen” scared a lot of folks. It may have scared some theologians, too, who began encountering people whose view of Revelation comes from a Hollywood movie.

The Omen” depicted the birth and rise of the “anti-Christ,” the cunning son of Satan who would be known by “the mark of the beast,” 666, on his body.

Here’s the passage from Revelation that “The Omen” alluded to: “This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.”

Good movies, though, don’t always make good theology. Most people think 666 stands for an anti-Christ-like figure that will deceive humanity and trigger a final battle between good and evil. Some people think he’s already here.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation didn’t really intend 666 as the devil’s digits. He was describing another incarnation of evil: The Roman emperor, Nero.

The arrogant and demented Nero was particularly despised by the earliest followers of Jesus, including the writer of Revelation. Nero was said to have burned followers of Jesus alive to illuminate his garden.

But the author of Revelation couldn’t safely name Nero, so he used the Jewish numerology system to spell out Nero’s imperial name, Pagels says.

Pagels says that John may have had in mind other meanings for the mark of the beast: the imperial stamp Romans used on official documents, tattoos authorizing people to engage in Roman business, or the images of Roman emperors on stamps and coins.

Since Revelation’s author writes in “the language of dreams and nightmares,” Pagels says it’s easy for outsiders to misconstrue the book’s original meaning.

Still, they take heart from Revelation’s larger message, she writes:

“…Countless people for thousands of years have been able to see their own conflicts, fears, and hopes reflected in his prophecies. And because he speaks from his convictions about divine justice, many readers have found reassurance in his conviction that there is meaning in history – even when he does not say exactly what that meaning is – and that there is hope.”

3. The writer of Revelation was a Christian

The author of Revelation hated Rome, but he also scorned another group – a group of people we would call Christians today, Pagels says.

There’s a common perception that there was a golden age of Christianity, when most Christians agreed on an uncontaminated version of the faith. Yet there was never one agreed-upon Christianity. There were always clashing visions.

Revelation reflects some of those early clashes in the church, Pagels says.

That idea isn’t new territory for Pagels. She won the National Book Award for “The Gnostic Gospels,” a 1979 book that examined a cache of newly discovered “secret” gospels of Jesus. The book, along with other work from Pagels, argues that there were other accounts of Jesus’ life that were suppressed by early church leaders because it didn’t fit with their agenda.

The author of Revelation was like an activist crusading for traditional values. In his case, he was a devout Jew who saw Jesus as the messiah. But he didn’t like the message that the apostle Paul and other followers of Jesus were preaching.

This new message insisted that gentiles could become followers of Jesus without adopting the requirements of the Torah. It accepted women leaders, and intermarriage with gentiles, Pagels says.

The new message was a lot like what we call Christianity today.

That was too much for the author of Revelation. At one point, he calls a woman leader in an early church community a “Jezebel.” He calls one of those gentile-accepting churches a “synagogue of Satan.”

John was defending a form of Christianity that would be eclipsed by the Christians he attacked, Pagels says.

“What John of Patmos preached would have looked old-fashioned – and simply wrong to Paul’s converts…,” she writes.

The author of Revelation was a follower of Jesus, but he wasn’t what some people would call a Christian today, Pagels says.

“There’s no indication that he read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or that he read the gospels or Paul’s letters,” she says. “….He doesn’t even say Jesus died for your sins.”

4. There is only one Book of Revelation

There’s no other book in the Bible quite like Revelation, but there are plenty of books like Revelation that didn’t make it into the Bible, Pagels says.

Early church leaders suppressed an “astonishing” range of books that claimed to be revelations from apostles such as Peter and James. Many of these books were read and treasured by Christians throughout the Roman Empire, she says.

There was even another “Secret Revelation of John.” In this one, Jesus wasn’t a divine warrior, but someone who first appeared to the apostle Paul as a blazing light, then as a child, an old man and, some scholars say, a woman.

So why did the revelation from John of Patmos make it into the Bible, but not the others?

Pagels traces that decision largely to Bishop Athanasius, a pugnacious church leader who championed Revelation about 360 years after the death of Jesus.

Athanasius was so fiery that during his 46 years as bishop he was deposed and exiled five times. He was primarily responsible for shaping the New Testament while excluding books he labeled as hearsay, Pagels says.

Many church leaders opposed including Revelation in the New Testament. Athanasius’s predecessor said the book was “unintelligible, irrational and false.”

Athanasius, though, saw Revelation as a useful political tool. He transformed it into an attack ad against Christians who questioned him.

Rome was no longer the enemy; those who questioned church authority were the anti-Christs in Athanasius’s reading of Revelation, Pagels says.

“Athanasius interprets Revelation’s cosmic war as a vivid picture of his own crusade against heretics and reads John’s visions as a sharp warning to Christian dissidents,” she writes. “God is about to divide the saved from the damned – which now means dividing the ‘orthodox’ from ‘heretics.’ ’’

Centuries later, Revelation still divides people. Pagels calls it the strangest and most controversial book in the Bible.

Even after writing a book about it, Pagels has hardly mastered its meaning.

“The book is the hardest one in the Bible to understand,” Pagels says. “I don’t think anyone completely understands it.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Church • Devil • End times • Faith • History • Jerusalem

soundoff (8,460 Responses)
  1. Spence

    Human's are story telling, pattern seeking animals. It's natural to tell stories and try to understand things from the intellectual ability of an individual group as best they can. Science has gone a long way to explain many things according to current scientific knowledge. But to deny man's stories and pattern seeking entirely is to deny our humanity. Not all stories are true, some are stories that teach principles and some stories are just nonsense, like just about anything Hollywood has put out in 50 years.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • lfw

      This author standing as a biblical scholar is nothing in and of itself. Men and women are called of "GOD" into service for "HIS" purpose, not theirs. Pagels is an outsider looking in- The Bible must be spiritually discerned. In order to obtain spiritual discernment, you must possess the "SPIRIT" of "GOD". Pagels is not qualified to interpret what she obviously does not understand. By the way , Believers are those who believe the word of "GOD" not those who doubt the word of "GOD."

      April 1, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • Spence

      IFW - Doesn't matter. No one can claim to be qualified to know the will of God. We are all people that try to interpret what we can observe and try to understand reality as best we can. We look for direction and inspiration, it's the Human thing to do. There are more than 2,000 flavors of just Christian in America alone. And thousands of other philosophies and religions the world over. Matthew 7:14

      We cannot deny out humanity by having different perspectives and understandings of the same information. People interpret the same passage from scripture differently. This is part of the Human Condition. And always will be.

      April 1, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  2. Justin H

    This article illustrates one of the problems I have with Christianity and the Bible, besides the fact I am atheist. So many Christians either don't know, or don't care, that the Bible was selectively compiled from a variety of sources for political purposes.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Brandon

      most of them haven't even read it, they just listen to the preacher talk about his favorite passages on Sundays. You expect them to actually understand it's origin? Good luck

      April 1, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • ka02rma

      well said.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:32 am |
  3. Randy Vernezze

    1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural man does not except the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Romans 8:7 For the mind thet is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Tracy

      So, if your were an all powerful being who demands obedience and judges people into eternal suffering, why would you design in your children a psyche that is doomed to fail, a body & mind pre-disposed to sin & free will to screw up in a world of unfairness and pain? Setting your kids to burn eternally? Isn't that a jerky thing to do?

      April 1, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • primatica

      I thought religion was a uniting force but it sounds rather divisive in your hands

      April 1, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  4. Brandon

    Revelations is a book that was carefully crafted to install fear so that the populace was more malleable to control by the church, which (naturally) held the key to salvation.

    Napoleon summed it up nicely:
    “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet” & “Men are Moved by two levers only: fear and self interest”

    April 1, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  5. dk

    It is finally nice to see the bible relegated to the mythology department where it belongs. religion has held the world hostage to violence for thousands and thousands of years. Murdering innocent people in the name of their non existent god.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  6. lowang47@aol.com

    "Authors debunks four big myths about the Book of Revelation"? Debunks? Myths? Give us a break! Regardless of what you believe about the Bible or religion, what appears in this article doesn't debunk anything, CNN's apparent endorsement notwithstanding. It is an opinion. How about "Author claims to debunk . . ." or "Author challenges . . . "? At least attempt to give the appearance of impartiality.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  7. Mike

    Wanna make some extra cash online? go here for more information – > http://www.cashcrate.com/408741

    April 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • ka02rma

      seriously? get lost.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:35 am |
  8. ka02rma

    geez people. the bible, by nature, is open to INTERPRETATION. if not, it would have been laid out straight forward. many people choose to decipher meanings based on a scientific perspective on facts rather than by faith & metaphors alone. doesn't mean she is wrong any more than any one of us is. roads to discovery & learning true hard fact are much more tangible to some than just going off of what u are told/taught to belive or what u read in antiquated texts. how it applies based on your beliefs & intelligence is all your own to decide. NO ONE will ever know the truth FOR SURE. let everyone have their own ideas & conclusions. no one is right & no one can be wrong. end of story.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  9. pntkl

    The Great I AM has no recognizance of a great 'we are'. Even the greatest minds do find it impossible to recognize color in a spectral gradient transitioning between light and darkness. People wear a set of blue or red lenses. Yet all are lacking the combination thereof, which in conjunction does proffer spectrographic vision. Without it, the zographic logos have no depth, no field, of which such a Sword no man of this world may wield. Monochromatic deception is the reward for those lacking polychromatic perception. It is to have disparate simile rather than a unified facsimile–a curse for those that would take upon my Father and His Son's name, all for one mind, which this path does end as non compos mentis.

    Truths shared with ancient civilizations are long since willfully and purposefully destroyed. Without such remembrances, for the attainment of purity: speculative discourse has no recourse, a simple divorce of the force given by any that sit upon a horse, by way of man's collective lack of remorse. On one hand, seemingly so weak, the other, so strong.

    To wit, any such man that does claim understanding of the Hoste Antige, the old Army, without my Father's resonant chords played in sequence–they all do find themselves in discord, having not the wherewithal to cease a bellowing of hot aire, that for which is quickly dissipating in any accord. Any decency long since departed, divisions in frequency having been drawn millennia ago. To wot, not one jot can reverse this dry rot; that which does harden and form a recursion, a cyclic excursion that does stir waters I will no longer still. When you force a man to think–he will kill you. Even sow, is it too much to show all the supplanters that Love can overcome Hate?

    April 1, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • George Bush

      LSD is a heck of a drug man.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • NoOne

      That's over done and tried. Not going to work.
      Its time to do shake off a few fleas... and get renewed...
      Love not going to happen ever in this world the way it is. Never.
      so there is only one way to GO.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:32 am |
  10. NoOne

    Revelations was probably influences by the writer's time. I can see that for sure, but what people don't understand is how such a mystic can see prophecy through present times - through observation of matter and time and space. Divine Justice as spoken about in this article is Cosmic Justice. IT's not the justice of man swayed by the Sophistry of other men/women.. Cosmic Justice through the use of Divine Command will not be understood the way it would be in a human court of law. Mystics are real, and their Gnosis of understanding and symbols that they use and even borrow sometimes will never be understood in terms of objective logic. Unfortunately, revelations is real and good point one of the posters here says.. "the holy spirit will reveal the true interpretation of the scripture". That's very true. Mystics don't think like rational people do. In fact many mystics that the Catholic church declares are mystics are people with no education and can't read or write at all. You have to admit, at some level (even a scientific one), that humanity has reached K capacity and has grow exponentially without decline from a major catastrophe. We are due for one soon. But what people don't understand, even in terms of revelations this does not mean the end of the world (the end of mankind). It's simply a shakeup, a re-boot, the third try. It evolutionary sound and mystical. And very inevitable. If you want to see where we are going, look around you right now.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:20 am |
    • pntkl

      You should choose your words more carefully. Hope, Faith, and Love opposes Hate, Fear, and Lies.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • NoOne

      There is no Hope
      There is no Love
      and there is no faith, plenty of blind faith, but no real faith.
      It is time.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • pntkl

      Many have departed from me, in this time; that is to have fell behind the Body, with no uncertain or cryptic meaning. You can run from thunder, but there is nowhere to hide.

      April 1, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  11. CALDOC

    Reads like another attempt to put doubt in a weak Christians mind. Author is probably a supporter of Obama who is a devout secularist or Muslim in belief and a wannabe Christian in my opinion.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • George Bush

      Deuteronomy 17
      If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

      CALDOC, are you Jewish? If not you should be stoned to death, the bible commands it.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • NoOne

      I am a supporter of Obama, and I am a christian. I am very strong christian, not because of my strength, but because of my weakness. I am like the lamb, and so should you be, if you are a christian, and want to survive.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Tracy


      April 1, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • celietz

      Did not Jesus say, "Let he without sin cast the first stone." and did he not command us, "Do not judge others least you be judged yourself." and "Do not judge others, for it is God and God alone who has the right to judge."? Did not Jesus command us, "Do not bear false whitness against your fellow man."? Is it not also one of God's commandments?Did our Lord not teach us that as followers and believers in him that we should treat others better than we treat ourselves?

      As Christians we are sworn to follow our Lord Jesus Christ's teachings. We are suppose to be a beacon of light, an example for others to follow. How does judging others and repeating falsehoods and rumors adhere to Jesus's Teachings? Instead of judging people pray for them, put thing sin God's hands. If you feel Obama is this evil person than pray to God and vote for someone else. If it's God's will than do you think for one moment Obama or anyone else for that matter is going to be President? Or do you not have faith?

      As people, all of us are never going to agree. Sure, Obama has made mistakes, but truthfully honestly has the man done anything "evil". Remember, our Lord command us, our Father God command us, "Do not bear false whitness against your neighbor." That means anyone. If you have proof that someone has done something even then we wre told not to judge, but ultimately as people we will, But if we do, it should be based on cold hard facts, not rumors, not gossip. Obama has stated he believes in Jesus and that Jesus is his lord and savior. There is no real evidence which has ever shown that he is Muslim and even still if he was, has he done anything wrong, Anything criminal? Again based on facts, not he said she said.

      As Christians we wonder why so many people hate us and judge us. So many of us as Christians are more worried about our own personal wealth and riches than about our Christian duties. We make excuses not help people and we speak out for legislation to protect to help protect that wealth. It gives me no pride, no pleasure, but if Jesus were to come back today, he wouldn't be very happy and I am not talking about him looking any further than right at us, his people. I am ashamed. Not of the fact that I believe in Jesus Christ, but in how I and my fellow Christians have acted and are acting. It's time to wake up and realize that being Christian means more than just saying you believe Jesus was who he said he was. It's way more. It's following through and trying to do what he wants all of us to do, regardless of who else is doing what.

      As Christians we are sworn to follow his teachings and obey his and his father's commandments. So why are so many of us working so hard to do just what our Lord told us not to do? Jesus warned us that once we start judging others it opens the door for non-believers to start pointing out our own flaws and judging us. Ultimately it detracts from his message and keeps us all from being an example to others.

      April 1, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  12. George Bush

    Deuteronomy 17
    If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

    The bible is pro-murder, it says to kill all non-Jews.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • pntkl

      I never knew you.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Paul

      Showing your ignorance of the Bible. Abraham was promised that all nations would be blessed, not just the jews. However the jews as a nation rejected the messiah, but we still benefit from that promise to Abraham.

      Not that you will accept this, thought I would clarify the garbage you speak without knowledge. You are permitted to go about your Godless life, enjoy it while you can.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • George Bush

      Sure Paul, just pick the parts out of the bible you like. Just ignore all the parts that totally contradict everything you believe. Ignorance is bliss.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:40 am |
  13. tamramb

    in spite of all the racist replies (which are comical given subject – AND I WOULD LOVE A REVELATION NOW!) the article lost me at "Jesus". when someone intends to dissect history of biblical books but starts off with words like "Jesus" and "jews", that pretty much tells me person hasn't done their homework. but lemme give them a hint: Genesis 10:2 (physical geography – Ashkenazi – and southwest Asia/NE Europe, making "Russian Jew" redundant and also a
    confirmation of President Wilson's ignorance in relation to his foreign policy and helping establishing a state based upon Southern Baptist assumption of origin and failure to understand translation of "jews"), Exodus 4:4-10 (you can't turn white to white, it has no dramatic effect), Numbers 12:1-10 (Moses married to an Ethopian woman – that's black all day long!) and the entire Deuteronomy 28 (which technically we are living in now (esp. US region – south and west beyond the rivers of Egypt), and if you ask a Rabbi about this book you will 1st be asked "why do you want to know?" or given a runaround such as "it's not Deuteronomy in the Torah" even tho same persons AND words exist in whatever the book is called in Torah, Koran, etc.).

    but the biggest fallacy is the name Jesus WHICH is a translation. the letter J didn't come along until hundreds of years after Christ's (Yahshua) death. it's actually an offensive translation when you think about it: it's a Greek translation, meaning 1 of MANY OTHER GODS (there will be no other Gods...), like Zeus, Olympus, Hades, etc.

    the other issue is jews vs. hebrews (again see above books for more info). ONE is an organized religion (European jews, Spanish jews, German jews, Polish jews, black jews, etc.) confused with a distinct ETHNICITY: Hebrew (Abraham, Isaac, Yacob, Moses, Hoshea (Joshua), David AND Christ who's of same lineage IF ONE FOLLOWS BEGATS and sticks to the geography of each begat!). you can rewrite biblical books and even replace the language of the region with "King's English", but you cannot rewrite geography. you can't make Germany Jerusalem and vice versa because you feel like it. and knowing this makes it even more powerful when Christ is asked if he is King of Jews and he does not ever state this. how can he? why would he? and he's being asked a very dumb question by very dumb people! but for now, damage is done, people just assume "Jesus" was a "jewish guy" w/ blonde hair and blue eyes yet was Palestinian and of Hebrew heritage.

    but this is why I laugh at southern christians – sitting under a wooden idol (Deut 28 – cross and image of white guy who's name is Jesus) while clutching hate either with KKK or hate of others because of the wrongs of the past instead of figuring out who is really who today. and KKK uses Deut 28 to justify slavery but they're so ignorant they don't know they're the "alien" spoken of in Deut 28 – unknown, foreign to God 😀

    April 1, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  14. Craig

    It is too bad that people believe so strongly in the Bible being "the word of God" while not understanding that the book represents a compromise by men who established a dogma and then selected the books available at the time that support the premise. There are other gospels, and lots of other sources for history that weren't included, often because the original Council didn't happen to agree with what they said. If you read, for example, the Gospel of Thomas...one of the 12 original disciples, you'll get a whole different viewpoint. According to "history" he was there, so his thoughts, even when they differ, should probably be considered. Sigh!

    Genesis contains two versions of the origin of man, but we (society and the church) completely ignore that...citing the instruction to "have dominion" while ignoring that in Genesis 2 man wasn't created in God's image, nor was he made last, nor was he especially different from any other living thing. The Bible is a book, but it's a very selective book, and does not automatically present the only point of view. Blind faith isn't necessarily a good idea.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Susie

      To bad you havent bothered to talk to God and see if He exists.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • Brandon

      Dear Susie,

      You are a twit.



      April 1, 2012 at 5:26 am |
  15. cirilo esparza

    @ Jerry148: Where did science have its beginning ?was it not religion? Didn't Father Gregor Mendel start the genetic phenomena?As for the Number 666 with all the technology hackers are using and all credit card data being stolen, don't it sound like it's headed for that direction. Days are coming when Jerry is going to have a number implanted on his head to make sure hackers don't steal his money.Repent Jerry and make sure Y'shua is your savior,not science.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • George Bush

      Are you hiding in a basement scared of the world and science? Would you like some of God's pollio that scientists wiped out?

      April 1, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • Craig

      There were "scientists" within the church, but you'll quickly discover that they too were persecuted if they challenged the church with their findings. That FACT is that the church didn't allow anyone to tinker with the way they presented the world, and still don't. Galileo was just the best known "heretic" but not the only one. Mendel was acceptable because he didn't relate his genetic work to any concept of evolution. He was...in a word...harmless.

      Even today, the followers of the church can't accept the concepts of evolution or climate change, despite the science to the contrary. Why? Well, either because they can't stand the idea of having to question their blind allegiance to tradition, or because they seriously believe that mankind is allowed to change the climate...under the guise of "dominion."

      April 1, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  16. Erik

    Hitler was an atheist,,,,

    Read the book "Hitler's Table Talk", a revealing collection of the Fuhrer's private opinions, assembled by a close aide during the war years, shows Hitler to be rabidly anti-religious. He called Christianity one of the great "scourges" of history, and said of the Germans, "Let's be the only people who are immunized against this disease." He promised that "through the peasantry we shall be able to destroy Christianity." In fact, he blamed the Jews for inventing Christianity. He also condemned Christianity for its opposition to evolution. If Nazism represented the culmination of anything, it was that of the nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century ideology of social Darwinism = Atheism....More evidence, The Nazis also drew on the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, adapting his atheist philosophy to their crude purposes. I am not for a moment suggesting that Darwin or Nietzsche would have approved of Hitler's ideas. But Hitler and his henchmen approved of Darwin's and Nietzsche's ideas. So in addition to the mountain of corpses that the God-hating regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pot Pot and others have produced, we must add the body count of the God-hating Nazi regime. The Nazis, like the Communists, deliberately targeted the churches and the believers because they wanted to create a new man and a new utopia freed from the shackles of traditional religion and traditional morality

    April 1, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • Craig

      At times Hitler was a realist. He understood that he could not simply eliminate the church in Germany, because it would unhinge society and create mayhem. So, he made a deal with the church. He managed to take control, and got the pope to agree to that. His own views were very much as you describe, but he saw the "deal" as a means to an end. I have no doubt that had he succeeded, the church would have been replaced in time, possibly by the "Nazi religion" that was created by Himmler. Hitler didn't have a direct hand in that, but he certainly didn't disown the effort either.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • George Bush

      God killed nearly every man, woman, child, and unborn fetus in the great flood. These are the children God made, if he was perfect why would God make people just to kill them? God sounds like a murdering sadist in the bible. You really follow that book?

      April 1, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • John

      I'm sorry, I haven't read "Hitler's Table Talk", however I did have to read "Mein Kampf" in a class covering Nazi Germany. You're completely wrong, Hitler was "Christian", his parents Catholic. He severely disliked the Roman Catholic Church, but it was his use of already existent racism and religious bigotry that allowed him to unite "Christianity" in Germany; most of the people at the time were actually Protestant.
      Anyway, a few quotes from Mein Kampf:
      "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."
      "Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise."
      "We don't ask the Almighty, 'Lord, make us free!" We want to be active, to work, to work together, so that when the hour comes that we appear before the Lord we can say to him: 'Lord, you see that we have changed.' The German people is no longer a people of dishonor and shame, of self-destructiveness and cowardice. No, Lord, the German people is once more strong in spirit, strong in determination, strong in the willingness to bear every sacrifice. Lord, now bless our battle and our freedom, and therefore our German people and fatherland."
      "I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work."

      April 1, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • Erik

      @ John

      Recognizing the absurdity of equating Hitlers Nazism with Christianity. Even Christopher Hitchens the famous Athiest is quoted as saying" Hitler may have been a polytheist who worshipped the pagan gods, But you know polytheism is still theism and NOT Christianity. It's true that Hitler and the Nazis drew heavily on ancient archetypes - mainly Nordic and Teutonic legends - to give their vision a mystical aura. But this was secular mysticism, not religious mysticism.

      April 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  17. callinmclaughlin

    Hot Damn! And here I thought we would all be judged for the deeds we do. Oh well, guess not..I think I will go out and by a toyota to celebrate!!!!.......

    April 1, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • Objective


      April 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  18. Tony

    The bible also talks about how in the end of the world, people will deny, defy and try to discredit the scriptures.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • Darrell

      Well that's a great way to get you sucked in to a story with fear

      April 1, 2012 at 5:15 am |
    • George Bush

      Saying people will think you are crazy for believing a crazy story is not exactly an unexpected outcome, it proves nothing.

      I say an Evil Bunny created the world, I also say that some people will be swayed by the Devil not to believe in the Evil bunny.

      According to your logic I just proved the Evil bunny is real.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:44 am |
  19. Calvin

    ...LIFE is filled with countless miracles that never cease; clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and even the sun that shines on our faces... Yet the funny thing is this coercive story that says it is better to believe in the words from God by way of man, or face eternal damnation, which of course causes many people to neglect all of LIFE's gifts and to anticipate a bigger reward in a place called heaven, while at the same time many people forget that even you and I are a miracle.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:06 am |
  20. winstonsmith

    A ton of negative comments here saying this article is BS and wrong and bunk, yet I've yet to read a SINGLE comment that refutes any of the points here specifically. Get specific or stop whining!!

    April 1, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • Likealion

      It's best to read the Bible from beginning to end, yourself, to have an understanding of what it means.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • Tony

      Rejecting this nonsense is whining to you, but you are the ignorant follower of this author who's trying to win a dishonest buck and should be researched/investigated in a personal background check and findings of the worthless material printed on this book this author wrote.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • lfw

      Why does anyone have to refute – to attempt to do so only gives false credence to this individual who apparently have never submitted to the "GOD" of the book he is questioning. This author is an outsider looking in-

      April 1, 2012 at 5:53 am |
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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.