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Reality TV Goliath takes up Bible miniseries challenge, hopes for better outcome
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on the set of "The Bible," the 10-hour miniseries Burnett produced and directed.
March 2nd, 2013
11:00 PM ET

Reality TV Goliath takes up Bible miniseries challenge, hopes for better outcome

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Mark Burnett is the king of reality television. His shows and spinoffs command hours of prime-time television real estate. The seal of his production company One Three Media appears at the end of “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “The Apprentice,” “Shark Tank,” “The Job” and “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

He will tell you each show was No. 1 in the time slot. He will tell you he will take on all comers in his bare-knuckle, ratings-driven world and beat them. He will tell you on any given day he has 150 video-editing systems churning through edits on his dossier, which spans the three major broadcast networks.

But if you suggest he may not have the chops to take on a massive scripted dramatic presentation of the Bible as a 10-hour miniseries, his eyes will tell you he wants to throttle you.

My bad.

Burnett and wife, Roma Downey, have been barnstorming the country like roving preachers on horseback trying to evangelize the West. Their gospel is spreading the news of “The Bible” - their ambitious project that aims to tell the story of the Bible in 10 installments. It begins its weeklong premiere on the History Channel Sunday night.

We met in the lobby of the Washington Hilton the night before last month’s National Prayer Breakfast. They were in town to speak to Washington journalists and show clips from their project.

Burnett and Downey’s project tackles the narrative of the Bible, a story woven through 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament. It’s a story revered by billions as divine revelation – and one they’ve compressed into 10 hours of television. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot.

Many have taken aim at dramatizing the stories of the Bible. Few of those productions stood the test of time. They knew all that going in 3 1/2 years ago when “the light bulb went off,” as Downey puts it.

“It’s been a great fun journey right, Roma?” Burnett said to his wife of nearly six years.

“And we’re still talking to each other,” Downey said, smiling.

Both Downey and Burnett were raised Catholic, Burnett in England and Downey in Ireland. They still regularly attend Mass in Los Angeles. Growing up, both watched the classic Biblical films that the Hollywood of yesteryear churned out, like “The Ten Commandments” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

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“In Ireland, we used to sit up and wait for John Wayne to say, ‘Surely that man was the Son of God,’ at the end of 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' every Easter,” Downey said, with her thick Irish brogue dipping into a delightfully terrible John Wayne impersonation.

After showing their kids "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston, their three teenagers had one request for the Bible project. They told their parents, “Please don’t make it lame.”

Making it work

The project is personal for Burnett and Downey, coming from a deep spiritual desire for more people to see and experience the stories of their faith. As Europeans, now naturalized U.S. citizens, they are stunned the Bible is not taught in public schools.

“It was time for an updating. Adding fresh visual life to a sacred text,” Burnett said.

“People have great hearts and great knowledge but no experience of filmmaking and no budgets,” Burnett said of past telling of the stories on film and television.

“Or the resources,” Downey chimed in. “We wanted to create something that was gritty and authentic. We certainly didn’t want everyone to look like they stepped out of the dry cleaners.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wir4fH6hUxw&list=UUt_Q-xP9pUFpalCF-e_ZhtA&index=18]

Burnett and Downey may not have been high on the list of many studios as producers and directors to put a massive scripted project like this together. "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" starring Donald Trump and Gary Busey is not exactly" Ben-Hur," and Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green spinning in chairs on the singing competition "The Voice" isn’t often (or ever) compared to the "Ten Commandments."

When I asked Burnett about this, he seemed genuinely insulted.

“Based on viewership, maybe I should be giving a few lessons to the people who are doing stories. Because we have five nights of No. 1 wins on prime-time television,” he started. “As a family we’ve made over 2,000 hours of American television and 8,000 worldwide.”

As he cooled down, ticking off a list of reasons why he and his wife were best suited for the job, he delved into how this project was made.

The production, he insisted, was a lot more like the production that goes into "Survivor" than nearly any feature film or television show in production.

"Survivor" typically includes a cast and crew of 400 people in a remote location with multiple helicopters and boats.

To film the Bible series, they set off for the southern tip of Morocco in Africa with a similar-size crew and hundreds of extras. Not to mention the chariots and horses.

“It was epic,” Downey said.

“Our experience with large-scale productions was very, very important,” Burnett said.

To help further bring the story to life, they brought in Lola, an Oscar-winning CGI team from London who created similar scenes for the film "Gladiator."

They went with an international ensemble for the cast because they didn’t want to distract the audience with recognizable celebrities.

Jesus was played by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado. Many other actors came from the Theatre District in London.

An actor portrays an Egyptian slave driver in 'The Bible' miniseries

Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus in 'The Bible' miniseries

The most recognizable face to most in North America will be Downey herself, who stepped into the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary is portrayed in the series as a young woman at the Nativity, then later in life.

“It was a privilege to play it,” Downey said. For nine seasons, Downey starred in the CBS show “Touched by an Angel,” then went on to star in a number of TV movies.

“The scripts at one point just said Young Mary, and then as the scripts progressed it said Old Mary. I said, ‘OK, we have to change that right now.’ The last thing I need to see is ‘Old Mary’ played by Roma Downey,” she said with a laugh. “So we changed it to Mother Mary.”

The budget for the 10 hours was under $22 million, Burnett said, a small price tag for a production on such a grand scale. (NBC paid $4 million per episode for the show “Smash” this season, according to an estimate by the New York Times)

“It’s not easy, even for us, to sell and get placed on prime time television, 10 hours – Genesis to Revelation,” Burnett said. “Do we wish we had 25 or 100 [hours], yes but we got 10. We got a great budget. It looks like it’s a $200 million movie. Of course it’s not. It’s just our combined experiences, our hearts and efforts that make it look like that.”

Getting it right

As they considered which parts of the Bible to shoot, they had to pare down hundreds of stories.

“The first decision was, it’s one story,” Burnett said. “It’s not a series of unconnected stories, it’s one grand narrative.”

“You could call it the meta narrative.”

The series encompasses five hours of the Old Testament and five hours of the New Testament.

They took many artistic liberties to compress the story lines while hoping to remain true to the story.

A public relations manager for the project described the liberties to me as “extra-biblical but not contra-biblical.”

For instance, in the series opener, the Book of Genesis stories of Adam and Eve and Noah unfold together. Noah and his family are already on the ark while the flood waters batter their boat. To calm his family, Noah tells them the story of creation: “In the beginning! ... ” Noah bellows as he runs around plugging leaks and comforting his family and the animals.

An actor portrays an Egyptian slave driver in 'The Bible' miniseries

An actor portrays an Egyptian slave driver in 'The Bible' miniseries

Similarly, in the story of David and Goliath, when David heads out to face the giant Philistine foe, he clutches his sling and quietly begins to recite the 23rd Psalm, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” David is considered the author of the psalm, but nowhere in the text of the David and Goliath story does it address what he said as he walked out to battle and slay Goliath.

The dialogue in much of the story is similarly constructed along the lines of the bare-bones text. When Jesus calls Peter to be his disciple, Peter asks, “What are we going to do?” Jesus answers, “We’re going to change the world.” Those lines never appear in the Gospel accounts, but Burnett and Downey insist it is consistent with the text.

“Every step of the way we’ve had scholars and theologians working with us,” Downey said.

Burnett and Downey consulted a wide range of pastors and academics, including a major evangelical leader and a Catholic cardinal.

Their advisory panel consisted of many people from varied backgrounds familiar with sharing the stories of the Bible rather than of a "who’s who" of Biblical academics.

Joel Osteen, a popular television preacher and pastor of the 30,000-member Lakewood church in Houston, was among those consulted. Osteen and Burnett are friends and were developing a television series together that went on the back burner during the production of this series. Osteen even took his family to Morocco during some of the filming.

“[Burnett] would send scripts our way and ask doctrinal or Bible questions about it, but a lot of it was a friendship and an advisory role,” Osteen said.

CNN Belief: Five things we learned from Joel Osteen's visit

Osteen said much of his work was confirming if the extrabiblical material stayed true to the Bible.

His encouragement to Burnett was to “use your creativity to fill in between the lines.”

Another consultant was Rabbi Joshua Garroway, an assistant professor at the Hebrew Union College and an expert on early Christianity and the Second Jewish commonwealth (circa 530 B.C. to 70 A.D.) Judaism. He was a paid consultant on the project.

“One of the issues that came up frequently in the comments was the goal of the production was to remain faithful, or at least as faithful as possible, to the narrative and text of the Bible, as opposed to a historical critical approach,” he said.

“The series is not meant to be a historical feature but as a representation of the biblical narrative which is at times historical and at times not,” Garroway said.

One reason Garroway thought he was brought in was because in parts of the New Testament, “there are less than generous depictions of Jews, Jewish leaders and Jewish traditions.”

One of several Jewish scholars involved, his role as a New Testament scholar was to help the production stay faithful to the text but also “diminish as much as possible scenes or statements that could be construed as overly negative toward Jews and Jewish judgment.”

While he thinks the project has an overall Christian orientation, “I think they did well.”

“I don’t think it will run into the same problems that Mel Gibson’s movie ("The Passion of the Christ") did because the producers have been somewhat conscientious about forestalling some of the things that could produce that effect in the Jewish community,” he said, referring to perceptions of anti-Semitism from the 2004 film.

Osteen thinks the project will have a lasting impact in churches. He plans to use pieces of the project in his services to help illustrate points he’ll make in his sermons.

“I know I’m biased because I’m their friend, but I think it’ll be something that will live on for generations because it’s done with excellence, not knocking anything else, it’s just this is production 50 years past where some of the other films were made,” he said.

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

Burnett and Downey also think this project will be their most lasting and most viewed.

Burnett said the couple have deferred all their fees for the project. They probably don’t need the money anyway. Forbes lists Burnett as among its 100 highest-earning celebrities with an estimated income of $55 million in 2012.

While the History Channel owns the exclusive North American rights to the project, Burnett and Downey own the rights to global distribution and theatrical airings, which are in the works. There is also a book tie-in, games and apps attached to the project.

For the couple, the project was not about turning a profit, though they likely will. Instead, it was about bringing new life to the stories of their faith for a new audience.

“Will it be screened in movie theaters? Yes, for sure. "Already been approached. Arenas, churches, every way you can imagine,” Burnett said.

Burnett ticked through the shows he and Downey have put together over the years. “Over the next 25 years," he said, "more people will see this than all the others combined.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Entertainment • TV

soundoff (2,068 Responses)
  1. palintwit

    Tea Party Patriots are still mourning the loss of Peggy Rea, the actress that played Boss Hogg's wife.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • End Religion

      mourning the loss of a hogg...

      http://youtu.be/q7ASVoGCyjU

      March 3, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  2. What the heck

    What the...? Hey author of this article, my my, don't we hate religious activities.... there's liberal, atheist, democrat written all over it..... what a nice looooooong rant!

    March 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Long rant? Really? It seemed more like he wanted to make sure the bible was done right and was questioning the credentials of these people to I it. Doesn't sound like an atheist to me.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Mark

      Huh? you sure manage to read in whatever your petty hatrets seems to hold? Likewise I obviously must have read a very different article – nope didn't see any liberal monsters under the bed either. What I did clearly see was, as the other poster notes, the author clearly and openly questioning if Burnett has what it takes to do something of this caliber. Didn't even see a democrat in there, imagine that.

      You folks are truly pathetic – just another hateful "christian".

      March 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  3. spaceaudiobooks

    So, do I take it Mark Burnett has been Touched by an Angel? 😉

    March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  4. scallywag

    So these guys are catholics eh. I wonder if they've heard about the new, updated 'Exorcist' movie being made. Yeah. In this one, they send in the devil to take the priest out of the child.
    rotflmfao

    March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  5. thinker

    Jesus is not blond haired and blue eyed? This isn't accurate! He's supposed to come down on bald eagles with a shotgun shooting up all them Al-Qaida folk! KILL THEM GOD DAMN ARABS ... but wait... Jesus came from there.... oh hold on, you mean Christianity started in the Middle East?!? No! That can't be!

    March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Athena Minerva

      LOL Thank you for this...

      March 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  6. Jeebusss

    Interesting that a "reality" series producer would turn to something so far from reality.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  7. Anotherchancetosaytheyreright

    Can only imagine how many starving people could have been fed with that budget. Good thing they made the next installment of LOTR instead.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  8. Big Man

    Producing a film series like this is affront to history. Much of what comprises the "the bible" is either manufactured, manipulated, or worse. It was assembled by people with an agenda: nationalism. Most folks, particularly in the US, will take all this visual media material and consider this real history. We should investigate pthers who are backing the show – besides the $profits$, what they hope to achieve.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Organized religion is the oldest con game on earth. It's all about the "profits"...not the "prophets".

      March 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Luis Wu

      It's fitting though. Christians live in a fairytale world. So fairytale stories will make them very happy.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  9. Dana

    The only see that I see in the trailer is a bunch of religious people committing acts of violence. Nothing has changed.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Big Man

      The Romans who entered the Levant have even stated in their writings that the people were weirdoes and loonies.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  10. Jonathan

    Why do Christians still depict Jesus as a Nordic God? Can the white Baptists from the South finally come to terms that Jesus was a dark swarthy short cool dude?

    March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • tony

      and lived in Palestine. . .

      March 3, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • inspiration for you

      Yup, he was an A-rab!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Tea Clown

      ...but that would spoil the fantasy

      March 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  11. Elliot Carlin

    Our country was founded on one of the principles that our rights come 'from our Creator'. If you do not agree with this, please distinguish the origin of our rights as our Founding Fathers did. (no name-calling, no obfuscation–if you can't take a decent stab, don't bother)

    March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Tea Clown

      "My" country was founded on the principals of religious freedom. I guess we don't live in the same country. 🙂

      March 3, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The founders didn't specify a particular god, doofus.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • tony

      Your creator choose to favor another country other than this one, and then happily arranged some god-awful violence for the innocent others.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • inspiration for you

      To them, the "creator" was merely a metaphor for "natural".

      March 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Thanks tomtom for the name-calling. we expected no less.
      The founders were referencing a god, like it or not. Never said it was the "Christian" God, just a spiritual being. I guess you don't disagree then with the statement. Thanks for nothing.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Inspiration: Nice try, even Jefferson said every man is going to answer to his Maker. You really are walking the semantic tight-rope this morning. Try again...

      March 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't know that they were referencing anything of the sort. God isn't mentioned even once in the Const itution, Elliott. The DOI has nothing whatever to do with laws in this country. Just FYI, dear.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jefferson? You're referencing JEFFERSON?

      You are ignorant.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • End Religion

      Elliot, is the mythical creator you're referring to "all powerful"?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Elliot
      Just because the founding fathers had belief, does not make it real...it was their opinion and proof of nothing.

      Their beliefs were varied, and they could not agree. That is why the original Declaration of Independance had references to god, but ALL were removed, before it was signed.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Love it when the 'modern' atheists stakes his claim to Jefferson. he was no Christian, but he certainly believed in a Providence, Maker etc. He said Christ, though not divine (wrong about that one!) brought about the most ethical principles ever devised...Tom Jefferson was far from the hate-spewing we have here today.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Just because the founding fathers but "creator" in the Declaration of Independence doesn't mean any of that ignorant nonsense called religion is real. Human rights are just common sense, we don't need an invisible, supernatural sky fairy to tell us what they are. Although based on your comments here, you probably need someone with a lot more intelligence than you to explain it to you.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Funny that you glossed right over the fact that the DOI has nothing to do with our laws, Elliott. I guess that's what red state education will do for you.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • JMEF

      Elliot
      Check out the definition of deist, could be applied to any creation myth, sans the talking snake, right?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Cranium The Troll: Answer the question then: Where do our rights come from? The state? go ahead...say it.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Sorry to burst your bubble Elliot, but Jefferson didn't believe in miracles. He wrote his own bible and left out all of the so-called miracles. He didn't believe in the Diety of Jesus. That's because he was an intelligent person.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Elliot
      Our rights come from the people, by the people, for the people.
      Ask any second grade student.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Well, proved my point....the opposition resorts to name-calling etc. Seems a thought out respectful answer that doesn't attempt to re-write history, isn't forthcoming.

      Have a blessed Sunday.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Funny how they never thought these creator given freedoms could be applied to black slaves.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Elliot Carlin –

      To which rights, specifically, are your referring?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • The Devil

      Chad change his name ?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Really-O?

      "you referring", not "your referring". First post and I've already screwed-up.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Looks like Elliott decided to sound "retreat."

      March 3, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • End Religion

      Really-O we'll give you a mulligan!

      March 3, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • End Religion

      http://youtu.be/6fgDxAASI_c

      March 3, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      It is obvious that elliot never read Thomas Payne's (one of the founding fathers and major contributor to the DOI) Age of Reason, in which he publicly acknowledges that men wrote the bible, and it therefore is fallable.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Why do

      I think Elliot had to go put on his white robe and hoodie to go out to the meeting?

      March 3, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Richard Cranium – Thomas Paine was a mensch; all would benefit from studying his works.

      @End Religion – Thanks for the do-over. Cheers

      March 3, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  12. Luis Wu

    Yet another attempt to brainwash people into blindly accepting ancient mythology and ignorant superst!tious nonsense. More opiates for the ignorant masses. Hopefully it'll have dismal ratings. People are moving away from archaic fairytales and embracing logic and reason these days. Religion is a curse on America, the sooner it's shown for the ignorant nonsense it is, the better.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • tony

      Huge profiteering isn't being blind.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Can we have, say, just a few states to continue in our liberty-ways? We'll give you all the big metropolitan areas. See how that works out in 5 years.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What are "liberty ways"?

      If the red states seceded, they'd fall apart in months, not years.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Tom tom...the red states are the makers, the blue the takers. We're already falling apart because of the blues. Move to Detroit, Philly NY, LA, heck, Chicago. Nice places...low unemployment, bustling economies. Right.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I hate to break it to you, Elliott, but you're wrong. The red states have the highest level of poverty and the poorest education systems in the nation.

      You lost the Civil War, honey. Time to surrender your stars and bars.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • End Religion

      elliot still hears the echoing trumpet calls "to battle!"

      March 3, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Betcha his cell phone plays "Dixie."

      March 3, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • callnews

      Funny, as I was reading your comment, I was thinking the same thing about your writing. It's odd how nay saying can become a religion.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Blue states takers? Is that why there are far more people on welfare in the red states? Look it up dimwit.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Apparently, Elliott doesn't understand that Philadelphia and Detroit aren't states.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Really-O?

      Looks like Elliot already shot-his-wad of ignorance and nonsense.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Really-O?

      I wonder if Elliot knows that nine of the top 10 state economies (as a percentage of GDP) are blue states and that these nine states account for over 47% of U.S. GDP? I also wonder if Elliot knows that California alone accounts for more that 13% of U.S. GDP and, as of 2011, ranked as the eight largest economy in the world? Probably not. Educate yourself, Elliot.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  13. inspiration for you

    We need to start moving away from out and out fraud of religion, not keep re-asserting it. Are we really that stupid? Bernie Madoff should be celebrated, if that's the way people feel about fraud.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • tony

      But then the industrial/military complex would lose justification for most of its obscenely profitable wars.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  14. End Religion

    Proof Every Christian Goes to Hell by End Religion
    1) The only irredeemable sin against your Lord thy God is denying him, the Holy Spirit
    2) To deny is to refuse to admit truth of or to refuse to give that which is requested
    3) Any sin is to deny god of his commandments
    4) Therefore, even one sin results in a soul that cannot be forgiven. Sin once, and you're going to hell whether you repent or not. Since Christians are "born into sin" they're automagically damned to hell and cannot be forgiven.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      I guess the word "mercy" isn't in your dictionary. That's the point-we are given Salvation EVEN THOUGH WE DON'T DESERVE IT...and we were given it by someone who DIDN'T DESERVE TO DIE.

      That's from the book, End of Ignorance.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Elliot is on a sanctimonious rant this morning. He's gonna shove it down our throats. That's how the self-righteous roll!

      March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Luis Wu

      How utterly stupid.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • LookANDSEE

      That is right, we all deserve DEATH.
      THank God for Jesus who died in our place.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      I agree Lius, Tea Clown is aptly named.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Tea Clown is right on. You and are the one who's utterly stupid, along with the original poster.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Sam

      Eliot is simply posting his point like you yet it feels shoved down your throat to you because you have hardened your heart to it. This is exactly the state of mind that will keep you blind to truth and cold to love.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Thanks Sam.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So it's okay for you two to post your points of view, Sammy, but the rest of us can't?

      Sorry, dearie, freedom of expression goes both ways.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • End Religion

      The truth is painful. All you Christian nutters had better pack flame retardant swim trunks for your journey to hell. You'll be spending eternity being lava-boarded in god's concentration camp 'neath the Earth's crust. Hey, your rules, not mine. Enjoy!

      March 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • callnews

      " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

      March 3, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Luis Wu

      callnews – and everyone else that doesn't believe in ignorant superst!tious nonsense, along with billions of people raised in other faiths will be sent to be tortured forever, burning and screaming for all eternity. Nice guy your god. Grow a brain.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • mark

      Wow End you used the same flame retardant joke earlier. One trick pony with no real debate skills. Go ahead lash out again and call me a retard because you can't think of anything else.

      March 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  15. heh

    Not a religion fan...but even I think a reality TV producer who specializes in superficial, unintellectual drama for a living is a very poor choice for someone to convey the bible.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • inspiration for you

      True – theBible is all of the above, plus a cynical fraud.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Each week we get to vote a disciple off.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  16. tony

    Reality is the entirely the wrong word for either the TV method, or the fairy tale it want's to emulate.

    Mammon on the other hand riddles the entire scenario.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Tea Clown

      "Christianity" is all about the profits – not the prophets. 😉

      March 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  17. a dose of reality

    Rather than inculcating our children with the primary-color simple Sunday school legends and myths most people do, might I suggest the following ten comandments to enable them to think for themselves.
    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars get frightened when you want to "look under the hood".
    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.
    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any religion or other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • callnews

      No, He met me, and performed the miraculous before my eyes. And no, I don't just mean a change of heart, but the moving of weather, bullets, knives, and disease to save lives. The Word of God does what it says it will. Try it, you'll like it.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  18. Elliot Carlin

    I see all of the tolerant diversity-minded atheists are out today. LOL.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Yup, we're peddling door to door thumpin' our science books on people's heads – just like missionaries.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • a dose of reality

      Yea, the religious are SO tolerant and full of diversity. Yea ever been to a church? Everybody in there looks just like everybody else.All blacks, all whites, all rich, all poor. You are the pot calling the kettle black

      March 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • tony

      Well so many religious folk were meaninglessly wiped out by the Tsunamis, the numbers have changed dramatically while your god given mind slept.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Of course. Ignorance and stupidity have to be opposed at every opportunity.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  19. ironage

    This has all been done before in Hollywood. White actors playing the parts of dark skinned Biblical characters. Look at the girls who plays Mary...mother of Jesus. She looks like she was just plucked right off the cover of Sports Illustrated. LOL! NOT!!

    March 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  20. Frannie

    A day in God time could be thousands of years in our time. Creationism is just something for the uneducated to argue over.
    I hope this is a good film and inspirational to all.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Elliot Carlin

      What I've always liked about Frannie is she never paints with a broad-brush and she has such precision when it comes to Biblical analysis.....sarcasm off.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • tony

      Which day has he/she ever appeared on Earth?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Why does god have a time period? And why would he need any length of time to do anything?

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 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.