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'Bible Belt' meets 'Borscht Belt'
Rachel Held Evans is the author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood."
December 28th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

'Bible Belt' meets 'Borscht Belt'

By Michael Schulder, CNN

(CNN)– Something tells me if Rachel Held Evans were my childrens' Sunday School teacher they'd never want to miss a Sunday.

Evans is an evangelical Christian and my family is Jewish.

Evans lives in the town where the term Bible Belt was coined* and my father was a professional standup comic who worked the buckle of the Borscht Belt in New York's Catskill Mountains.

But Evans bridges the divide between the belts in her new book, The Year of Biblical Womanhood, the result of an experiment in which she lived the Old and New Testament's instructions for women as literally as possible for an entire year.

As Evans tells us in this week's audio show, CNN Profiles, she aims to "teach the gospel of Jesus with humor." That's hard to do without offending some people.  Evans does have her critics, but she has an ark full of followers too.

Listen to the the CNN Profile of Rachel Held Evans at CNN Radio's Soundwaves.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Leaders

soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Philipe12

    Christians who concern themselves with the views of imperfect (and oftentimes immoral) men are only fooling themselves.
    All sin and fall-short of the glory of God, and is why Jesus Christ is the leader of christians rather than a mere President Obama, a born sinner. (as we all are born from imperfect parents)"
    No? "Why, then, do you call me 'Lord! Lord!' but do not do the things I say?"-Jesus Christ, as quoted by Dr. Luke. (ch6, vs46)

    December 30, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • sam stone

      Obama was not elected to be the leader of Christians. He was elected to be President Of The United States

      January 2, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • yabba dabba

      @sam well said sammy

      January 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  2. Philipe12

    There is only ONE point of view christians need-be concerned with, and that is the point of view as recorded by Jesus' early followers in God's word The Bible.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  3. Chad

    I know Jesus might be cross with me, but this Rachel Held Evans broad looks like she has one heck of a rack!

    December 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Rachel Held Evans

      Hey! I'm telling Jesus on you! Quit looking at my t i t s!

      December 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    Apple Bush wrote:
    " (no) recorded instance where Jesus disgraces, belittles, reproaches, or stereotypes a woman. These writers claim that examples of the manner of Jesus are instructive for inferring his atti.tudes toward women and show repeatedly how he liberated and affirmed women.Starr writes that of all founders of religions and religious sects, Jesus stands alone as the one who did not discriminate in some way against women. By word or deed he never encouraged the disparagement of a woman."

    really? he never disparaged a woman? a woman comes to jesus and says her daughter is possessed and asks him to help. he tells her she is a dog and he's only here to help jews. she agrees and calls herself a dog. jesus likes that she belittles herself and kisses his @ss, so he finally heals her daughter. nice!
    Mathew 15:21-28
    21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
    22 A Canaanite WOMAN from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
    23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
    24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
    25 The WOMAN came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
    26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
    27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
    28 Then Jesus said to her, “WOMAN, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

    hmmm.... maybe you're right. it's more of a story of jesus' racism than misogyny....

    December 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Reveck

      "
      In this first part of the story we see a woman who asks for compassion from someone she's pretty certain will reject her. [The Greek word for "mercy" in this text is better translated as "compassion."] It's a pretty gutsy move, to say the least. The Jews of Jesus' time had a deep seated hatred toward the Canaanites. They saw them as pagans and sinners; as people beyond the reach of God's mercy. Therefore, Jesus' rebuke merely echoes something he had heard all his life. It was a knee jerk reaction; the byproduct of his cultural upbringing. I know the idea that Jesus would say something so unkind is a bit disturbing. However, as we will see tomorrow, the Canaanite woman takes charge of the conversation and helps Jesus to grow in his understanding of who is worthy of mercy. [Maybe there's hope for the church as well!]

      As we pause and reflect on the first part of this text, a few questions arise: Who do we treat as dogs in our world? What are our long-standing prejudices? What types of people do we see as undeserving of God's blessing and mercy?"

      December 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      " I know the idea that Jesus would say something so unkind is a bit disturbing. However, as we will see tomorrow, the Canaanite woman takes charge of the conversation and helps Jesus to grow in his understanding of who is worthy of mercy."
      *** you're making excuses. disturbing? it was downright cruel. jesus is the only one on earth that can cure her daughter and he won't help her until she agrees that she is from a race of dogs? awful. and yes, it reflects the ideas of the day - which goes to show the bible is not the word of god but a book written by very fallible men.
      *** to say the woman takes control of the conversation is ridiculous. she takes control by begging jesus and agreeing that all Caananites are dogs? stop sugar coating it - she had to agree to jesus' racist accusation in order for him to help. once she agreed that she's a dog, jesus says she's worthy of the kingdom of heaven. sickening.

      "As we pause and reflect on the first part of this text, a few questions arise: Who do we treat as dogs in our world? What are our long-standing prejudices? What types of people do we see as undeserving of God's blessing and mercy?"
      *** i agree that we should treat our brothers and sisters better, support and help those in need, give more of ourselves for the benefit of the less fortunate... but what type of people are undeserving of god's blessing and mercy? who cares? god doesn't exist. it's like asking who is deserving of Zeus' blessings? irrelevant. have more faith in humanity and our ability for logic and compassion. have faith in your family, friends, co-workers. have faith in higher ideals, like love and empathy. but don't waste time on a god that isn't there.
      *** and according to the bible, most people are not worthy of god's mercy. most will be killed in revelations when jesus opens his daddy's seven seals: death, famine, plague, war, etc. yeah, lots of compassion there. kind of like when god drowned every human on earth but one family. so god drowned babies. read that again: BABIES. only a monster could fill a child's lungs with water and call it divine justice.

      December 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Reveck

      >BABIES. only a monster could fill a child's lungs with water and call it divine justice.

      God gave us free will. He has to let our bad consequences play out. Even if that means His babies drown. He loves them more than you do. He has a plan for them.

      I'd worry about myself, not them.

      December 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Reveck

      > you're making excuses. disturbing? it was downright cruel. jesus is the only one on earth that can cure her daughter and he won't help her until she agrees that she is from a race of dogs? awful. and yes, it reflects the ideas of the day – which goes to show the bible is not the word of god but a book written by very fallible men.

      If you’re into the prophetic nature of scripture, I think it’s a microcosm of the larger story told by the New Testament in particular, which is: LOVE WINS.

      > to say the woman takes control of the conversation is ridiculous. she takes control by begging jesus and agreeing that all Caananites are dogs? stop sugar coating it – she had to agree to jesus' racist accusation in order for him to help. once she agreed that she's a dog, jesus says she's worthy of the kingdom of heaven. sickening.

      LETS TAKE IT OUT THEN. OR WAIT...

      "Jesus switches course. "Woman, great is your faith," he says. First of all, addressing her as "woman" implies a relationship of equality. Moreover, he calls her faith "great," a stark contrast to the several times he says that his own (male) disciples are people of "little faith." It's the only time in the scriptures that you could say that Jesus loses an argument, and he loses it to a foreign woman identified as an enemy of his people."

      December 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @rev
      that's disgusting. he has a plan for the babies he kills? are you listening to yourself? he loves them more than me? loves them so much he murders them? you are showing exactly how warped cult thinking can be. you seem like a good person - but to justify murdering children in horrible. there can NEVER be a justification for murdering a 2 year old. period. done. end of story.

      December 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Reveck

      How much of this stuff do you have to read before it starts to dawn on you that the Jesus movement was pro-women?

      December 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "First of all, addressing her as "woman" implies a relationship of equality"
      wow, you just can't help adding what is not there. calling a woman 'woman' doesn't imply equality. are you nuts? you need to take a step back and take an honest look at the bible. but that's impossible, isn't it? you can't remove the rose colored glasses while you're still in the cult. read the bible with religious, historical and skeptical reading guides. be honest when you read the passages, don't twist them into something good because after all, god is good so it couldn't have been bad, right?

      there are rules in the bible for selling your own daughter into slavery. there are rules for how to beat your slaves. isn't that enough to say, this is not a book of wisdom, but a dated book written by fallible men? wouldn't god have gotten that one right? slavery, the most evil inst.itution ever visited upon man by man, yet god missed that one in his commandments? jesus tells slaves to obey their masters. no so loving and compassionate. how did god miss that one? easy answer - he was never there. men wrote a book and were victims of their times. see how nicely that explains things?

      December 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Reveck

      DEATH IS NOT THE FINAL OUTCOME!!!!! Those babies are in *HEAVEN* with God who loves them more than their WICKED, EVIL CHILD MOLESTING PARENTS!

      * Men’s hearts were wicked and all they thought of was evil all the time (Genesis 6:5)
      * The Earth was corrupt and full of violence (Genesis 6:11)
      * The holiness of people were gone and completely corrupted (Genesis 6:12)
      * The Earth was so evil it made God’s heart grieve in pain that He made them (Genesis 6:6-7)

      We could only imagine how vile and wicked the Earth was, to the point where God was heart-broken. Remember, since God is all-knowing, He knew that mankind was headed towards eventual self-destruction unless He intervened. But through his mercy He gave us hope by starting all over again and wiping the Earth of all evil except the righteous.

      So what about the babies? This is probably one of the most difficult ones to answer. We must understand that God is the sovereign creator of life and as the creator, He has every right to take life because it belongs to Him. I do not have the right to take your life because I do not own it.

      Furthermore, if God did not put a stop to all this evil, mankind would surely perish and you probably wouldn’t be reading this as we speak. We know that before God flooded the Earth, innocent babies were already dying from the evil and warfare. If they didn’t die young, the chances are that they probably would grow up to be evil and thus continue on with the endless cycle of mass evil.

      But let’s say that God didn’t allow the babies to die and rid the evil of only mature men, women, and those at the age of accountability. Who then would nurse all those millions of babies? They would eventually suffer a slow death from animal attacks, the heat, freezing to death, starvation, and thirst. This is by far crueler then a quick death. It is easy to see that God is preventing the babies from impending cruelty. God could have chose to keep the babies alive however the Bible does not really state as to exactly why he didn’t. We just know that God chose that method for a higher reason that we could think of.
      wit
      The skeptic also has a hidden assumption that all death is evil and the final outcome which is not true. When you understand that you understand the fate of the innocent babies.

      December 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    the bible is one of the most misogynistic books ever written. it's incredible that ANY woman would be a christian. the book tells you to be silent and subservient. this author is demented. she's fighting against women. the bible says to kill all non-virgin brides. really think about that. KILL. the book is disgusting.

    December 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Reveck

      I know a lesbian pastor at a church near me.

      I'm sure she'd love to have you tell her how the book tells her to be silent and subservient.

      And she would probably love to point out how you are wrong.

      Lots of women are Christians. And they are intelligent. And they are productive members of society. And they have a different point of view than you.

      It is kind of weird, that you, a MAN, seem to think you know what is better for WOMAN than they do. Mind your own business, buddy!

      December 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "I know a lesbian pastor at a church near me.
      I'm sure she'd love to have you tell her how the book tells her to be silent and subservient.
      And she would probably love to point out how you are wrong."
      *** great, so you know a church that disobeys the bible's implicit instructions that women shall not teach scripture:
      1 Timothy 2:12
      "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

      so perhaps you should go and tell the female pastor that she's wrong. show her the above bible passage, since she apparently doesn't know it or ignores it.

      "Lots of women are Christians. And they are intelligent. And they are productive members of society. And they have a different point of view than you."
      *** agreed. not sure how you think i don't. they are intelligent, just brainwashed. lots of intelligent people have been members of cults.

      "It is kind of weird, that you, a MAN, seem to think you know what is better for WOMAN than they do. Mind your own business, buddy!"
      *** wrong. i know that being in a cult and not thinking for yourself is bad for anyone, not just women. but for women to follow a book that specifically tells women that they are not equal to men and to be submissive to men is ridiculous. it'd be like black people going around telling people blacks should not have the right to vote. women supporting christianity support misogyny. read the bible sometime, cause you obviously skip parts you don't like.

      December 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Reveck

      1 Timothy 2:12
      "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

      I'm sure you hear this a lot, but CONTEXT IS IMPORTANT!

      Look at the writer. Look at the intended audience. Look at the culture. Look at the mission.

      The pastor is not wrong, YOU ARE! But that is ok.

      "Although 1 Timothy 2:12 appears to be prohibiting all women from teaching, a careful examination of this verse, in its context and compared to other Scriptures, reveals that it does not prohibit godly, gifted women from preaching and teaching."

      "In his instruction to Timothy, Paul is speaking with regard to a specific area of disorder and misconduct. His concern is with the unlearned, disruptive women in the congregation, and not godly, gifted women in the pulpit."

      "The instruction is made with reference to the unlearned and/or disruptive wives who were to learn quietly and peaceably under the headship of their husbands. In Ephesians 5:22, wives are instructed to be submissive to their own husbands. They are not to dominate or rule over them, but rather, with a peaceful and submissive spirit, a wife is to cooperate with her husband and follow his leading. Therefore, Paul is reinforcing this instruction, with his goal being to guard the integrity of the Christian church, reject the dominant beliefs within a pagan society, and instruct on the proper and acceptable conduct in the house of God. "

      December 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Reveck

      *** wrong. i know that being in a cult and not thinking for yourself is bad for anyone, not just women. but for women to follow a book that specifically tells women that they are not equal to men and to be submissive to men is ridiculous. it'd be like black people going around telling people blacks should not have the right to vote. women supporting christianity support misogyny. read the bible sometime, cause you obviously skip parts you don't like.

      Read about the role of Christianity and African-Americans. Peter Gomes (who was black and Christian)

      "...the truth claims of Jesus Christ were seen to be true despite their corruption at the hands of white Chirstians and that those truths proved relevant to the condition of black men and women."

      It is not a cult. Come on.

      December 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      all religions are cults. when a cult becomes accepted by society, it's becomes a religion. when there are no more cult members to worship, the religion becomes a mythology. realize you are only one god away from being an atheist. you don't believe in zeus, ra or odin, do you? they thought their religions would never die too. christianity is no different than any other cult/religion that came before it. the only reason you don't see that is because you are part of the cult.

      December 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Reveck

      Ok, we have different points of view on this. No problem.

      I'm free. With Jesus Christ I have a new life. I know have a relationship with God. And I know that God has a plan for me and all of His creation.

      I'm a member of a worship community as diverse as our society. We also help an oppressed area of Africa so we have special foreign members in our community that add to our perspective.

      We have read the Bible. Even the quotes you like to throw at me.

      One thing we keep in mind: Just because an even is recorded in the Bible does not mean God approves of it. The nature of historical narrative is to record what happened. The writers of scripture assume the reader will look at events from God's perspective.

      I think your perspective is, well... ugly. Mean. Small-minded. Angry.

      I'll take God's perspective. He doesn't fail me.

      Good luck in your spiritual journey (there is more to life than what you see).

      December 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      good luck in your journey as well, brother. i am angry. angry that cults/religions exist at all. there is much more in the bible to divide us than bring us together. i wish all of my brothers and sisters would unclasp their hands, get up off their knees, think for themselves, go outside and put those hands to use helping others. i'm sure you and i both want humanity to be good to each other, so in a sense, we're not so different. the difference is, imo, that i want that without being part of a cult. you are sugar coating the bible. to say god doesn't approve is disingenuous, especially when it comes directly from his mouth or a direct action from him. you say you love and trust god? explain the great flood. explain god drowning babies. i want you to stop believing in fairy tales and believe in the world around you. i want you to be a free thinker.

      December 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Reveck

      There will be people with different points of views than you (cults/religions). Learn to accept that and how to live in harmony with them. You seem to have difficulty with this. You point your finger at "religion" and "Christians", are you really any better?

      December 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    The only Apple Bush is in blue hyperlink. I am male and fake AB could't hold my jock strap,.

    December 29, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Akira

      Apple! Is that really you?
      Sounds like you.

      December 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  7. Colin

    Ever wondered why, out of the 613 commandmnets in the Bible, all have direct, immediate application to Jewish life 2,000 years ago. For e.g., there are rules about crops, eating local food, dealing with local animals treating other Jews, but virtually none applicable solely to conditions encountered by eskimos, the people of the Amazon Rain Forest, the Australian Aboriginals etc. Also, all commandments were very relevant two thousand years ago, but no commandments dealt with electricity, computers, flying, modern medecine. etc.

    Hmmm, did God create the Bronze Age BJews or did the Bronze Age Jews create God and his commandments.

    December 29, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • J.W

      I agree. We need a more modern Bible that applies to the issues of today. It would be impossible for every group of Christians to get together and decide what would be included though, so it will never happen.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Saraswati

      It will likely be a new work, as was the new testement, the quran and the works of Bahá'u'lláh. Each version strives to update itself for the time, but each, ultimately, lives out its time.

      December 29, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Colin, I never thought about it because it is so obvious and absurd. And god forbid someone wrote another one. 2000 more years of nonsense and potential world desstrution.

      December 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      exactly right, colin. it shows that the bible was written by people in a specific geographic area that applied only to them. it shows there is no all-knowing god or he would have included more than just one group of people in the middle east in his book. it's obvious the people who wrote the bible had no idea north or south america existed, along with most of the other parts of the world. it shows the bible was written by men that thought the earth was flat.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Saraswati

    "In fairness to gun enthusiasts, no reasonable observer could pin the blame for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting solely on the lack of effective gun laws. Even President Barack Obama and other influential voices have called for a balanced approach that looks not only at guns but also at mental illness, violent video games and a culture of fatherlessness that produces young troubled men. "

    A good summary of the factors involved and how they all matter.

    December 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  9. Argle Bargle

    Apple Bush has turned into a poe.

    December 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      There are 2 Apple Bushes.

      One is that resentful person who trolls religious & belief blogs ridiculing people's viewpoints that differ from his.

      And the other is me. 🙂

      December 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      You couldn't come up with your own handle?? What kind of garbage is that??

      December 29, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Apple Bush

      I got a wordpress login in so no more baby boo boo.

      December 29, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      People who steal other people's handles are the lowest life forms...everything you said today is rendered suspect, phony AB. Hope you're happy with the level you have sunk to, jack ass!

      December 29, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  10. John 8:1-11

    But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

    December 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Reality

      Actually, all of John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

      To wit:
      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      December 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • jarhead333

      Quoting a wiki? Really? As far as history goes, the Bible from a historical aspect is one of the most reliable as it pertains to the original writings. Whether someone believes in the contents (was Jesus who he said he was) that is up for everyone to decide.

      December 29, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      Why not quote a wiki? It's about as accurate as the Bible...really.

      December 29, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Reality

      Wikipedia's articles actually are typically very well researched and written. Check the references given in each review to verify the veracity of the information.

      From the cited Wikipedia review of John's gospel:

      "References

      Anderson, Paul N.; Felix Just, Tom Thatcher (2007). John, Jesus, and History: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views. Symposium Series. 1. Society of Biblical Literature. ISBN 978-1-58983-293-0.
      Bauckham, Richard (2007-11-01). The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids: Baker. ISBN 978-0-8010-3485-5.
      Bernard, J.H.; McNeile, A.H. (1953). A Critical and Exegetical Commentary On The Gospel According To St. John. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.
      Brown, Raymond E. (1965). "Does the New Testament call Jesus God?". Theological Studies 26: 545–73.
      Brown, Raymond E. (1970) [1966]. The Gospel According to John. Anchor Bible.
      Brown, Raymond E. (1979). The Community of the Beloved Disciple. Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-2174-8.
      Brown, Raymond E. (1997). An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible. ISBN 0-385-24767-2.
      Bruce, F.F. (2003-05-01). The New Testament Docu-ments: Are They Reliable?. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8028-2219-2.
      Carson, D.A. (1991). The Gospel According to John. Pillar New Testament Commentary Series. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-3683-0.
      Culpepper, R. Alan (1983). Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design. Minneapolis: Fortress. ISBN 978-0-8006-2068-4.
      Cross, F.L., ed (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press.
      Dodd, C.H. (1968-05-01). The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-09517-4. Called by F.F. Bruce "the most important work to appear in this field in a generation”.[173]
      Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-515462-2.
      Ehrman, Bart D. (2009-03-03). Jesus, Interrupted. HarperOne. ISBN 978-0-06-117393-6.
      Estes, Douglas (2008). The Temporal Mechanics of the Fourth Gospel: A Theory of Hermeneutical Relativity in the Gospel of John (BIS 92). Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-16598-4.
      Funk, Robert W.; Hoover, Roy W.; the Jesus Seminar (1993). The Five Gospels. HarperSanFrancisco.
      Funk, Robert W.; the Jesus Seminar (1998). The Acts of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco.
      Hill, Charles E. (2004). The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929144-1.
      Harris, Stephen L. (1985). Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield.
      Jensen, Robin M. (October 2002). The Two Faces of Jesus. p. 42.
      Hamid-Khani, Saeed (2000). Revelation and Concealment of Christ: A Theological Inquiry into the Elusive Language of the Fourth Gospel (WUNT 120). Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck. ISBN 978-3-16-147138-4.
      Lindars, Barnabas (1990). John. Sheffield Academic Press.
      M'Cheyne, Robert Murray (2007-04-30). Bethany: Discovering Christ's Love in Times of Suffering When Heaven Seems Silent (A Study of John 12). Diggory Press. ISBN 978-1-84685-702-7.
      Morris, Leon (1995). The Gospel According to St. John. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 978-0-8028-2504-9.
      Robinson, John A.T. (1977). Redating the New Testament. SCM Press. ISBN 978-0-334-02300-5.
      Thatcher, Tom, ed. (2007-11-01). What We Have Heard from the Beginning: The Past, Present and Future of Johannine Studies. Waco: Baylor University Press. ISBN 978-1-60258-010-7.
      Theissen, Gerd; Merz, Annette (1998) [1996] (in German). The Historical Jesus. Fortress Press."

      And please note, the Wikipedia reference was one of the three cited.

      December 29, 2012 at 7:23 am |
  11. Jesus Lover

    Her husband needs to beat off onto her face.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  12. Reality

    With respect to Paul's "unchristian", pru-dish comments about women, Professor Bruce Chilton, a contemporary historic Jesus and Paul scholar says it best:

    "He (Paul) feared the tu-rn-on of women's voices as much as the sight of their hair and skin..... At one point he even suggests that the sight of female hair might distract any pretty, wingie, talking, fictional thingie" i.e. angel in church attendance (1 Cor. 11:10)."

    December 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  13. Apple Bush

    "the men he named as disciples."

    Denied Him. Betrayed Him. Disobeyed Him. Abandoned Him on the cross.

    December 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and women were never important enough to be in a position of trust. why weren't half of jesus' disciples women?

      from the beginning, the bible reinforces that women are 2nd class citizens, created from a man's rib to be subservient to men in all matters. this is reinforced in story after story in the bible. where does it tell men to treat women as equals? stop dancing around the question.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Chad

      I think if an atheist ever actually read the bible they would be astonished at how different it is from their misconceptions.

      what it actually says:

      Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

      22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

      25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. - Ephesians 5

      December 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Joel Osteen

      Chad, your religion is no more or no less valid than any other religion that has existed throughout the history of mankind.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Jesus Summarized A Little, by Stan M.

      The story of Jesus shows quite clearly how he was a racist, communist, cult leader.
      A sort of religious heretic who gave lessons on communism to the dismay of the power elite of his day and the ruling elite found a sympathetic informer in the person of Judas, who clearly had a strong desire to become a wealthy land owner and be part of the status quo of his day. He didn't like how Jesus' communistic teachings would threaten his chances of becoming rich within the boundaries of his culture and saw Jesus as becoming more and more of a heretic who did not follow the orthodox Judaism but preached his own brand of Judaism.
      It was a clash between a growing heretical cult...and the established and extremely wealthy priesthood who controlled every facet of Jewish personal life under the Roman Empire.
      It was no contest. Whatever the sordid details, the end would have been the same. Death for the cult leader and persecution for his followers to drive the cult into extinction.
      Jesus was a Jew of his times, oppressed by his priests and the Romans, and seeing poverty and starvation everywhere, he hit upon communism as his answer to the problem. Not really inspired, but that's what he came up with.
      He taught communism 18 centuries before Karl Marx. He taught only to Jews, because he was raised to be racist, inclusive, xenophobic, and tribalistic and it shows in the stories about him. He wasn't anything god-like, but a half-educated, well-meaning human being who tried to fight against the status quo and form a new way of life for those followers who were willing to go along with his ideas.
      He was unemployed and probably didn't have many prospects for survival. His parents were poor and he was the child of a rapist. The priests provided Mary a husband by casting lots, their "magic" of the day and easily manipulated to give any results necessary. Joseph lost the throw. Part of the deal must have been to get Mary out there and go live far away from where she was ra.ped.
      Look, if you people can't read between the lines of your own damn religion, or even read the book in the first place, what makes you think anything to do with your religion and how you view it makes any sense or have any credibility at all????

      December 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Argle Bargle

      It's that whole For the husband is the head of the wife thingy, Chad, in addition to the abject misogyny that is the OT.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • gary

      Lol. Many atheists know the Bible quite well, thank you very much. Then there are people like Thomas Jefferson who could, for normal purposes, do without all but 46 pages of his own reduced version of the Bible.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @Joel, what investigation have you done into Christianity that has lead you to that conclusion?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @gary, what investigation have you done into Christianity that has lead you to reject it?

      I have met many, many atheists that claim to be familiar with the bible, so far only 1 actually was.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      > "Jesus Summarized A Little, by Stan M." – Ugh.

      "So if that snake starts talking blasphemy, don’t listen. God wants more for you. And always has."

      December 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • jarhead333

      @Bootyfunk
      As I always tell you... PICK UP THE BOOK. You have no biblical knowledge. The Bible does not consider women as 2nd class citizens. If it was all made up, do you think that the resurection of Christ would have been discovered by women? The Bible states that women were the ones who discovered the empty tomb. If these same people did not believe that a womans word was worth anything, then why would it play such an important role in the Bible?

      December 29, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Saraswati

      @jarhead

      King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
      Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

      Booty never said the Bible called women irrelevant or worthless, but it definitely considers them second class in most parts. The are many authors over a long time, so the degree varies, but it is always at least second class.

      December 29, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • jarhead333

      @Saraswati
      I understand what you mean, but why do women always forget the verse that comes right after the one you quoted. "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church." I think that verse speaks volumes of equality. To love anything as much as Christ loves the church is not a small command. Are the women of the Bible second class... maybe. But look at what I was talking about. Bootyfunk 100% believes none of the Bible (due to conversations I have had before). If he believes that the Bible is made up, and women are not trustworthy, then why would the entire resurection hinge on the word of women?

      December 29, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Jarhead, I didn't see Booty say the bible said women weren't to be trusted, just that they were second cless? The line you cite merely asks that women be treated as children or pets, not good enough for most eomen I know. The christian religion also has recognized children as witnesses to miracles, but no one would claim they are to be recognized as equals of adults with regard to the kind or rights and intellectual respect that most adult women rightfully (in my view) deserve.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • jarhead333

      @Saraswati
      Bootyfunk does not believe anything in the Bible, as he has told me before. So the any biblical topic is lost. As for the line I cited, are your serious? Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church. You think that it pertains to women the same as children or pets? That is some extremist type reading you are doing then. Also, why would a religion hinge the resurection on women if they were second class citizens. My point being is that Bootyfunk believes that it is all made up, so why would a religion hang one of the most important events on women?

      December 29, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Jarhead, I don't know what Booty believes. If he believes one person just sat down and wrote it (as, for instance is a common theory regarding the Book of Mormon) then I agree, it would be odd. However I don't believe there are many people who believe the Bible was constructed in such a manner. Most accept that at least some parts are historically roughly accurate Also, most who believe it is not devine believe it has many authors. So women's central presense in some sections, despite their second class role, would be unsurprising both because women actually were,present (miracles or not) and because with multiple authors you would have multiple, often very different positions on the place of women.

      With regard to Christ and the church, that is frequently represented as a parent child relationship, and certainly one of a greater power over a lesser one.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • jarhead333

      As a Christian then I should start treating my wife as if she were a child. Got it.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Saraswati

      I would't say that, only that the implied relationship of man to wife is similar to that of parent to child in that particular passage.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • jarhead333

      Agree to disagree then.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think on that one we'll have too. Agreeing with you on the other thread going though. 🙂

      December 29, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      jarhead wrote:
      "As I always tell you... PICK UP THE BOOK. You have no biblical knowledge. The Bible does not consider women as 2nd class citizens."

      you're insane. YOU need to read the bible. anytime someone criticizes the bible, the first thing christians say is, "you just don't understand!" lol.

      women are told to be silent. women are told not to teach or have a place of authority. women are told to be subservient to men. seriously, take the rose colored glasses off and take a real look at the bible. women are possessions of men. and the bible telling a husband to love the wife he owns isn't quite as endearing as you're making it out to be...

      December 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  14. Bootyfunk

    it really makes me sad to see women so whole-heartedly approve of the bible's treatment of women. women are no more than property in the bible. the book says to kill non-virgin brides. think about that. how many single women aren't virgins? how many married women weren't virgins when they married? the bible says to kill all those women. that'd be 98% of female adults in this country. according to the bible, most of the adult females in your life would need to be stoned to death for being w.hores. christians like this lady need to take off the rose-colored glasses and really look at what the bible says.

    the ironic thing is, christianity hates g.ays so much, but if we suddenly decided to follow the rules of the bible, there would be very few females left. we would be the g.ayest country on earth....

    December 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Jesus Christ's most devoted and loving followers were women. They were the ones that didn't run away when things got bad (unlike the men). Women were the first to see the risen Jesus Christ.

      Women continue to love Jesus Christ.

      Don't be sad.

      December 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Women = Outcasts

      Christianity is for the outcasts!

      "Women appear frequently, although they're not always named, in the gospels in the company of Jesus. I think it's part of a more general tendency of the gospels to represent Jesus as having to do with the outcasts, the down and outs of society. The people who aren't necessarily the high and mighty and powerful. Just as Jesus is represented as consorting with sinners, so likewise women are part of his entourage. Some of the gospels are more eager to portray Jesus in this way than others. The Gospel of Luke for example does have Jesus in the company of women quite frequently. You have a number of the stories about Mary and Martha in the Gospel of Luke."

      December 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the only strong female character in the bible is a virgin. what does that tell you? look at Eve: brought sin to the world. Delilah – cut off Sampson's hair to make him weak. then there's Bathsheba, Drusilla and more.

      "Jesus Christ's most devoted and loving followers were women. "
      oh, i thought that would be the men he named as disciples. where did jesus tell men to treat women as equals? unless he's a victim of his times, as most mythological characters are. where did jesus say women should be spiritual leaders? jesus supposedly didn't even know the touch of a women – sounds like he was g.ay or gynophobic. at any rate, he knew nothing about women and certainly didn't support women as equals of men.

      December 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The Bible is honest about the faults of its characters.

      What man, other than Jesus, is portrayed as good? What man is there that a woman would want to be considered equal with?

      Only one: Jesus Christ.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Noah was a drunk. Moses couldn't enter the promised land because of his disobedience.

      Men are not portrayed well in the Bible either. All of humanity had fallen and suffered.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      instead of stepping way way back and looking - step forward and give an honest a.ssessment. how about being equal as a leader? as a religious leader? as a leader of the household? as a political leader? how about being equal men in general? deserving of the same rights?

      December 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the men of the bible have infinitely more power than the females of the bible - but jesus didn't say a word against it. men of the day could beat their wives, r.ape their wives - but jesus never said that was evil. he could have. he should have. he's the messiah - people might have listened. in fact, even if they didn't in their time, we would now. how much better would the world be today for women if jesus had spoke up and said, "treat women as equals in every respect, for they ARE equals"?

      don't try to turn jesus into a hero for women - he wasn't.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "the men he named as disciples."

      Denied Him. Betrayed Him. Disobeyed Him. Abandoned Him on the cross!

      December 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Noah was a drunk. Moses couldn't enter the promised land because of his disobedience.
      Men are not portrayed well in the Bible either. All of humanity had fallen and suffered."

      and did Noah and Moses do great things? what great things did women do? you keep glossing over the fact that the women of the bible are treated no better than farm animals, possessions. they don't have power and don't do good things - but they do commit evil. see the difference? women in that time are too irrelevant to be taken seriously. men were in complete control. jesus could have spoken up against it, but didn't. violence against women in modern societies is atrocious. imagine what it was like before abuse laws, abuse support centers, etc? no legal recourse, no one to turn to. jesus could have been a champion for women, but failed. and what about women being able to be something other than housewives? the bible tells women to be silent and not to teach. where was jesus saying women should be allowed to do anything men can?

      it's obvious jesus was a victim of his times. he is a fictional character in a book written by men that thought women were worth as much as a good cart. it's obvious the views of the character of jesus reflected the views of the various authors that wrote the stories.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Jesus spoke against those men in power.

      And Jesus treated women as equals.

      What he did you don't understand.

      > don't try to turn jesus into a hero for women – he wasn't.
      I'm not trying to turn him into a hero.
      HE IS OUR SAVIOR.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      he said this and it meant that.... blah blah blah.

      where did jesus say to treat women as equals? why didn't he have 6 male disciples and 6 female? why didn't jesus contradict the bible where it says women are to be silent, to be subservient to men?

      December 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Y'all ought to go over to the HobbyLobby story. Chard's starting to talk to himself now.

      December 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I used to feel like you. But, seriously, in Jesus time women were treated like crap. It was a male dominated society.

      And Jesus showed us how to overcome that.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      " (no) recorded instance where Jesus disgraces, belittles, reproaches, or stereotypes a woman. These writers claim that examples of the manner of Jesus are instructive for inferring his atti.tudes toward women and show repeatedly how he liberated and affirmed women.Starr writes that of all founders of religions and religious sects, Jesus stands alone as the one who did not discriminate in some way against women. By word or deed he never encouraged the disparagement of a woman. Karen King concludes, based on the account of Jesus' interaction with a Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28, that "an unnamed Gentile woman taught Jesus that the ministry of God is not limited to particular groups and persons, but belongs to all who have faith.""

      December 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      This is just wikipedia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus%27_interactions_with_women

      And it is clear he was for women equality.

      Google Jesus and feminism. There are good readings.

      Jesus Christ opposed the status quo, not affirmed it. That is where Christians slip up today.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Joel Osteen

      Actually Apple, you are wrong. It's okay, seeing how you are a woman and all. Women are made from the rib bone of a man, therefore they fall below man. Amen.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wait. Apple's female?

      December 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No. I'm male. Don't listen to Joel.

      December 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thanks, Genuine AB.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      apple bush likes to skip the parts where the bible sh.its all over women.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Reveck

      The Bible describes the people as they were. WARTS AND ALL.

      And we get to see God's plan for redemption.

      And that’s the beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit — slowly, gently, graciously, she can change us…

      December 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  15. the only thing humorous about Christianity is that it is dying

    Truth.

    December 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The dumbing of America.

      Awakening is soaring in China, so your comment isn't accurate.

      December 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Nope

      nope

      December 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      christianity, per capita, is declining world-wide, but especially in this country. check the surveys. and the youth in this country are the most irreligious in the nation's history. christianity, like all religious cults, will die out and become a mythology. the more we are enlightened by science, the less we need the archaic philosophies of the bible. the pillars of the bible are guilt, fear and ignorance. humanism offers a much more ethical guide to good living than the bible.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Unfortunately if you look back through history you'll find that in hundreds of cultures the same has been said over and over about hundreds of beliefs. I hope we are moving towards improvement, but I wouldn't bet much on it.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  16. New Athiest

    I'm not sure who she knows at CNN to get these shameless plugs, but I wish it would stop.

    December 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • YPASFS

      Yeah, no sh!t.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  17. Mohammad A Dar

    I think Sarah Silverman is better, when comes to "teach the gospel of Jesus with humor"

    December 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      I mean "learning the gospel of Jesus with humor"

      December 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Sarah Silverman is better at everything when it comes to humor

      December 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  18. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Is there a point to this story, besides to shill a book?

    What did Ms. Rachel Held Evans conclude from this farcical excerise in futility?

    December 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  19. Sam Yaza

    who would want to..

    December 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. ReligionIsBS

    I like the book better the first time when it was callled "The Year of Living Biblically" by AJ Jacobs. Oh wait, thats a different book and this one is just a rip off? Ok.

    December 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.