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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. Dyslexic doG

    If man was created first and woman was created later as an afterthought ... why do men have breasts?

    March 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Hello

      the same reason many other males of other species do.. its called evolution...not creation.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • SanFranMan

      Maybe He (She??) recognized the needs of other 10%; even at the time of creation?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • ArthurP

      Why do men have se.x organs? Was Man initially meant to be hom.ose.xual?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  2. Bostontola

    Unlike many atheists, I find the bible stories compelling, interesting, and quite revealing of the social mores of the day. I hope this is done well. I would have preferred an unbiased depiction, but reading the director's quotes, it looks like it could be a propaganda piece. Since religion is one of the most important social inventions of mankind, I will be watching, hoping it's done well.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Hello

      the main purpose for the creation of myths that evolved in to religions was they are political tools to control the masses for the elite.
      To learn why and how the Roman Flavian family created the christian myth.. read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Arkmark

      Thanks for taking a reasoned point of view without calling names I am at best an agnostic and am tired of the "Radbid" athiest mocking what to so many is a vital part of their existence.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Bostontola

      Hello,
      You state that hypothesis as if it is a fact. While religion has certainly been used as a control mechanism, your assertion that the main purpose of their creation was control for the elite is quite a cynical stretch. Myths may also have been created to explain the world as best as they could, they could have been created to capture key lessons for the group to follow with longer term wisdom, etc.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Hello

      the currency of the early myths we food... that is why the payment of sins was paid in the form of animals, grain etc. The system was a way to bring food to the myth salesmen.. who did not work. but lived off of others by selling them tales and dogma. As the currency changed from food to material things. gold, gems, etc.. the sin tax as it were was change to those items. They whole system is based on endless scams.. to feed off of others.. like slaves... in exchange for a promise of life after death... the greatest human fear is death.. so the system created promises if you give to me.. aka god you will be rewarded.. from there the myth grew like a mythic snowball of tales, promises and punishments to convince the flock to feel the shepherds.. the priests.. and rulers.
      As these systems were developed so did the use of them as more hidden and more demanding political tools.
      Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill to see how the Roman Flavian used these rules of mass control and integrated it into their state religion Christianity.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Hello,
      All interesting hypotheses.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  3. John P. Tarver

    Once Relativity cancelled the big bang, there has been a lot of room for Creation to come back into vogue; this past century. If we add to that the Global Geological record, we can also know that Darwin was completely wrong. This reality TV will be as valid as most of what is on the populist science shows.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      JPT: you REALLY need to read a book from somewhere other than a christian book store.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Relativity hasn't "canceled" anything, you bozo.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      When did relativity cancel the big bang? The Big Bang is a fact, though there is some debate as to its cause, evolution is accepted as fact since we can test it and observe it all around us, though there might need to be some adjustments made as more information comes to light which is why it is not called fact yet.
      Religion is "knowledge" born of ignorance.
      Science is the search for truth...no adgenda like your religion.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  4. t3chsupport

    Theeeere you go. Commercialize your savior. Put him on the fast track to the North Pole to live with Santa and all of his elves, when your kids grow up and realize it was all just a bunch of stories that were misinterpreted thousands of times over before they were ever even on the screen.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      The outright lying about the Gospels keeps me away from church.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=88GTUXvp-50

    March 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  6. Wallace

    Wow... The Bible!!! I wonder if they will tell how the book ends? I'm a Christian so the book ends for me at Raptor, but reading some people comments I understand why the last chapter continues into tribulations. That part of the chapter is for the non-believers. Have fun with that one!! Free will is an option, some choose Jesus, others will choose the mark of the beast. As for me and my family its all about Jesus!!!

    March 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      "Raptor"??? Is that velociraptor?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Wallace
      You said " some choose Jesus, others will choose the mark of the beast"

      You forgot some. Some will believe in Bhudda, some Hindi. some will realize that threats and monsters from fairy tales are not what one should focus on.
      Some choose to live in reality...no gods required.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Really-O?

      Christians are their own best critics.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • NBA Fan

      Wallace
      Raptor, what a loser you are, are you a Canadian also?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Hello

      Joseph Atwill soon to be published.The Single Strand will address the book or Revelations.... will be a great read I'm sure, just like his Caesar's Messiah.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Wallace

      Free will; is always a choice! For years I chose to not buy into God, the bible, and all the drama. I was angry with God, and sounded just like many other people on here who are angry with God for whatever reason. But I can't change the situations that landed me in Max Security Lock up, I can't change the fact that I almost killed another human, and I can't change the fact that Jesus showed up in my cell set beside me, and released me from Jail in 2008 I should still be in Prison, but I'm free. Good luck convening a convict like me who was saved that Jesus is not real!!! I was all about me, but now I enjoy serving others.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      So tell me Wallace, did your victim(s) have the same free will not to be victims, or is it only criminals that have free will?

      March 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    Why the fuss? Making this movie about the Bible is no different than making movies about Harry Potter. A fictional sory with lots of far fetched magical events. It should be great for kids and the young at heart. Just don't think about it too critically because there are lots of flaws in the plot. 🙂

    March 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  8. John P. Tarver

    This looks to be another big money maker. Lots of viewers and very little to do with reality.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • CaEd

      IT'S A MOVIE !!

      You want reality? read the book.

      If you want more, go to a library and read some of the thousands of "Oh, they really mean that" books that have been written over the years.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  9. Luis Wu

    Reality TV??? HA HA HA HA HA HA! More like FAIRYTALE TV.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  10. Geoffrey

    "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.” "
    -
    It would be wrong to diminish the truth about Judaism of the period. Jews need to be confronted with the "truth" of their rejection of "their" messiah, and their continued rejection of "their" messiah. Does this mean that I am anti-Semitic, no, not in the least. I love the Jewish people. I consider myself, a Christian, a wild branch grafted into the true olive tree of Israel. I believe that that one day the scales will be removed from the eyes of the Jewish people and they will know the truth and truth will set them free.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Funny how they don't want to portray Christianity in a bad light by pasting over the anti Jewish parts of their bible.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Christianity, like all religions, is nothing more than ancient mythology and ignorant superst!tions. It has nothing whatever to do with reality.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Hello

      One of the main purposes of the bible is to promote antisemitism.
      It was written to convert the militant Jews to a religion favorable to Rome.
      Most of the Jews at the time were made into slaves.. as we all know slavery was very important to Rome.
      and the War with the Jews.. was draining Rome of its resources... So the Flavian family created a myth that would
      give the Jews their much waited for savior...that has a pro Roman foundation.
      for the details.. Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • John Diomitron

      Refreshing to see one who sees and understands truth. Indeed, sometimes truth is sweet and sometimes it is bitter. Even when it is bitter, it is still the truth. And yes...God has a special plan for Israel and has not given up on them. The branch that was broken shall be grafted back into the olive tree when they say "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" and mourn for the One who was pierced. Who does He send to do this...ELIJAH! He is here for the time is near.

      REPENT FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD IS AT HAND!

      March 3, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  11. Seyedibar

    Maybe they can squeeze the Hunt for Jesus right between episodes of Bigfoot Hunters and Ancient Astronauts.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Could it be that Jesus was the son of god, as ancient astronaut theorists believe? Jesus hunters goes to the forests to find out.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      perfect!

      March 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  12. One Voice

    Nice to see the religion page filled with the lost on Sunday morning sharing all their wonderful negative comments and ideas about God and Christians which they by their blindness, unknowingly, are only proving the teachings of the Bible.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Aren't they also proving the teachings of the Koran?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Proving the teachings of the bible? Puleeeeze. I'm here because I will take every opportunity to oppose ignorance and stupidity.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Never2Late

      exactly!!!

      March 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Valerie

      Agreed!!!! They are only fulfilling prophesy of what we were promised they would do. Amazing.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Wallace

      Great point, why do non-believers show up on the religion.blog and read an article of something they don't believe in!! I think they are seeking God, and angry because that can't find the answer they are looking for in a blog!!!

      March 3, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  13. Geesh

    Man that Tom Tom dude is one kinda angry

    March 3, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Smacked your ass again, didn't I?

      Poor baby. Have a cookie.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Geesh

      Nope just saying you are sad and angry

      March 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you're not. You're a troll and you got your ass handed to you. And it just gripes your pride.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • lol??

      Pipe's spouse is happy.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Geesh

      Man you are hysterical

      March 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      lollypoop, you can keep posting under 85 different names, but everyone knows it's you. The smell gives it away.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Geesh

      Yep just saying you are one bitter angry dude

      March 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you're just lollypoop, posting under yet another name, and acting like the same azzwipe you always prove to be.

      Really, poop, you think posting under a name that's never appeared anywhere else and repeating your sh!t ad nauseam is going to do something for your credibility, you little piece of sc um?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Geesh

      Back at ya angry man, you're the one who's spuing, I think you are silly

      March 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. I'm not "spuing" (sic), lolly. I'm just outing you.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Geesh

      Yawn now you are just boring and angry ....but still ridiculous

      March 3, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then why are you responding to my every post, foolish poop?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Geesh

      Because I find you so prosaic (dull) predictable and sometimes funny that's all – you offer nothing of substance just the same old semi amusing vitriolic babble....

      March 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Consulting your word-a-day calendar again, are you, poop?

      If you're so bored, leave. I don't think you're bored at all. I think you're an addict.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You know, your inability to punctuate reveals your ident ity, honey. Style will out.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Geesh

      Thanks for walking into that so predictably, the everlasting grammar,syntax and spell check. That's all you got,and yet still so funny

      March 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Here, fishy, fishy, fishy.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      What's the matter, Geesh? Did you get your spacebar all gunked up with Cheeto dust and emissions?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He's the same stupid little troll who follows me all over the place. Pathetic loser.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • lol??

      Geeshshee's she. You really got her rcokin' a whole lot o' rockin!

      March 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Geesh

      Like I said hysterical....confusing these comments as " a following" albeit sad, but amusing....and predictable

      March 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  14. Joe

    Love bible freaks. I will sin all the time and will be forgiven. The bible is based on stories or older cultures. Go look it up. In fact the baible was written like 75 to 100 years after Jesus's death. So a lot of tall tales there.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • lol??

      Go look it up?? I can't find yer tall library.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Joe: You're so right. I know of a kid who called an elderly lady a horrific name, never apologized and went to his bishop who in turn told him it was all right because 'god' forgives him....so belief now becomes a free pass for immorality.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Hello

      truth maybe there might be more to that story.. perhaps that boy paid the bishop with his bung hole...use to get forgiven too.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  15. ArthurP

    If Man was made in God's image we would not exist.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Sheen

      Yet, God is selfish so we aren't. therefore, we do.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  16. dean

    Considering the bible is full of violence and obnoxious fiction this should make for some good TV.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Geoffrey

      Yes, Dean, the Bible does “record” human passion and misery. It does not “condone” such, it only speaks of it in a “real” way. Yet, Jesus Christ provides the way out.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  17. hondo in seattle

    Yikes! I don't get it. Burnett, a Catholic, made a mini-series about the Bible and the History Channel is showing it. As a Buddhist, I don't get the problem. I may even watch it. Biblical stories are historically relevant. Many have a core of historical truth. Others have been told and retold and thus helped shape not only our culture today, but the cultures of our forebearers.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  18. servantofTHEWORD

    God is love.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • JJ

      That's one of the biggest problems with you fanatics, you are a "servant of the word", a slave to a book written by men to control other men.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • lol??

      Well JJ, when the women want to be on top does it have to be always??

      March 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody wants to be on top of, under, beside, or anywhere else near you. lollypoop.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • lol??

      Oh yeah??!!

      My boy Lollipop
      You make my heart go giddyup
      You are as sweet as candy
      You're my sugar dandy

      Whoa oh, my boy Lollipop
      Never ever leave me
      Because it would grieve me
      My heart told me so

      I love you, I love you, I love you so
      But I don't want you to know
      I need you, I need you, I need you so
      And I'll never let you go

      More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/m/millie_small/

      March 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  19. LoverofJesus

    By seeing some of the negative comments posted here, this scripture comes to mind..."But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned." – 1st Corinthians 2:14.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Melissa

      And yet, you assume the arrogance of understanding the mind of any god. So much so that you christians wrote a book and hold it above all others. It was written by mankind, NOT by a god. Yet you think you can ever possibly know the mind of a god? Are you crazy or suicidal?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • JJ

      Thought I'd throw out a positive verse as well:

      Psalm 137:9 – Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • EvidenceBased4

      Yeah, those fools just create every medicine, technology, and luxury you depend on, even as you attribute them to magic.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Bible Verses

      Lof J
      How silly, to take a bible quote to make a point about the babble.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • LoverofJesus

      @Melissa- The Ten Commandments were writen by the finger of God Himself, which happens to be one of the most important writings in the Bible. And as for knowing the mind of God...the apostle Paul said (speaking of esteeming others) ..."Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus". – Philipians 2:5 Jesus loves you Melissa 🙂

      March 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Bible Verses

      LofJ
      The big 10 were written by the hand of God himself, so why have the christian religions been screwing them around? Seems that would be a blasphemy, right?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Delusional much? Ancient mythology has nothing to do with reality.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Geoffrey

      This is for JJ.
      It is always good to read scripture in context. It seems to me this passage was recording a time of war and vengeance. The bible doses not “condone" such things as "dashing little ones against the stones". The bible records human passions, speaks about them in truth, and offers the answer to overcoming our human failings, murderous thoughts and traits. The answer is Jesus Christ.

      Psalm 137

      1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
      when we remembered Zion.
      2 There on the poplars
      we hung our harps,
      3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
      our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
      they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
      4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
      while in a foreign land?
      5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
      may my right hand forget [its skill].
      6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
      if I do not remember you,
      if I do not consider Jerusalem
      my highest joy.
      7 Remember, O Lord, what the Edomites did
      on the day Jerusalem fell.
      “Tear it down,” they cried,
      "tear it down to its foundations!”
      8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
      happy is he who repays you
      for what you have done to us—
      9 he who seizes your infants
      and dashes them against the rocks.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • LoverofJesus

      @Bible Verses – Having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not the same as involving ones self in mere religion. Jesus did not die to make us religious, He died so we could come to the one true God (His father). Jesus said..."no one can come to the father except through me". Most people on earth believe in a form of God but it's impossible to know God without first going to the feet of Jesus. Jesus told the Jews..."you believe in God, believe also in me". But they didn't and wanted Him crucified. They did not reconize their time of visitation, but the question is...do you? Receive Jesus as your Lord and savior of your soul before it's too late for you.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • context

      @JJ

      You really should have included v8 but that would have diluted your argument of naked and flagrant violence:

      O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. - Psalm 137:8 KJV

      If someone *had already* killed your nations children you might have a different perspective than the one you have sitting in your warm house, unmolested and intact. Maybe. Context is everything isn't it?

      March 3, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Melissa

      LoverofJesus, your bible versus mean nothing to me. Quoting them makes you look like a complete fool.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Bible Verses

      LofJ
      Thanks for the sermon, nothing I haven't heard or read before. Repent or else is as offensive to me as me saying you are a fool to believe in JC is probably to you. No thanks, I will take my chances with the FSM heaven or hell, I prefer a beer volcano, even if flat, and a stri-pper factory.
      RAmen
      PS: Read the Gospel of the Flying Spaghrtti Monster, you may have an epiphany and see the Truth.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Melissa

      LoverofJesus, and you are a perfect example of why so many people have begun hating you christians.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Hello

      gods do not have minds.. as said they are imaginary.... the imaginary and the invisible look very much alike

      March 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  20. EvidenceBased4

    Sorry to harp on this, but it just kills me to hear people in their warm, heated homes with food on the table, who have been vaccinated against numerous horrific diseases, who hold unimaginably complex technology in their hands, in a society that at least strives for equal rights and equal protection for everyone regardless of class, ethnic group, or gender... to hear those people talk about how far we have FALLEN since biblical times.

    The smug, pampered ignorance boggles the mind.

    March 3, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • lol??

      Well, you sounded OK and then you stalled and went into a spin. Happy funeral.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • truth will out

      addendum: with all of these accommodations and these self built luxuries and conveniences, this society has no need for God anymore. That is how it has fallen. And the destruction of the natural environment we are dependent on for sustenance will be a testimony to that.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Melissa

      truth will out, so humanity is growing out of its need for fictional hateful daddy figures to tell them what to do. That is NOT a bad thing.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Geoffrey

      You seem to misunderstand what Christians mean as "fallen". At the creation, human kind had a "one on one" relationship with God the creator. When humankind sinned against God, humankind had "fallen" from grace with God. At the "fall" Humankind had chosen to govern themselves and choose our "own" way. How is that been working for ya? Been reading the news lately? ... Yes, we have advanced technologically because of the Devine spark of creativity still imprinted in humankind’s character. But, without the governship of God the creator, we are doomed to constant war, disease and disaster. Until, that is, Gods judgment unfolds, and Gods kingdom again reins on earth as it is in heaven.

      March 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Melissa

      Geoffrey, your god is imaginary. There is no 'fallen'. Stop being so arrogant. It does not matter what you mean, what matters is that you are self righteous, condescending, rude, and pushy. Believe what you want, no one cares. What they care about is that you won't butt out of peoples lives.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Hello

      The shepherd needs the flock.. not other way around. but in the business of mythic sales the shepherd has learned the tricks and lies to convince the flock it needs the shepherd. and for falling for that scam.. the sheep ends up in the belly of the shepherd. not in some eternal life.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
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About this blog

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