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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. BigSkyHumanist

    Christian propaganda just in time for Easter.

    March 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Well those chocolate eggs don't sell themselves.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  2. Nietodarwin

    Religion survives by means of murder. All of history proves it. Evolution is THE FOUNDATION of modern biology, completely proved. Religion preys upon children and the weak minded, (including the physicist quoting xstian here.) There is no logic argument for religion, all of the arguments lack evidence. Xstians need to SHUT UP and go practice their delusions behind closed doors. They are harming our country, and limiting xstian influence is not only moral but patriotic. NO EVIDENCE means it's all a BIG CON for the stupid and mentally ill.

    “The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.”
    _ William Harwood, Dictionary of Contemporary Mythology

    March 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  3. Ben Thare

    CNN must continue to do stories like this one.

    These stories, which yield ridiculous statements from ridiculous ego-inflated people always provide us with the most entertaining reader comments.

    March 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    “What I have a problem with is not so much religion or god, but faith. When you say you believe something in your heart and therefore you can act on it, you have completely justified the 9/11 bombers. You have justified Charlie Manson. If it's true for you, why isn't it true for them? Why are you different? If you say "I believe there's an all-powerful force of love in the universe that connects us all, and I have no evidence of that but I believe it in my heart," then it's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that Sharon Tate deserves to die. It's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that you need to fly planes into buildings for Allah.”
    _ Penn Jillette

    March 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  5. End Religion

    In a recent scientific test proving existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Christian communion wafers were compared against a FSM communion meal after participants fasted for 72 hours, and the following result was noted:

    "Both subjects had their vitals recorded before and after communion. Upon completion of the test, the Christian was found to be listless, with decreased heart rate, body temperature, and brain function. The Pastafarian recorded increased heart rate, body temperature, and brain function, commenting that he felt "full," which we interpreted to mean whole(2)

    (2.) That is, the FSM test subject was showing signs of His [Noodly] presence."
    – Gospel of FSM

    March 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Akira

      More carbs for energy, also.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      Yes, once it was pointed out that a spaghetti meal was 2500 calories and a wafer was 2, the experiment was expanded to have 1250 wafers eaten which simply resulted in someone getting sick, once again firmly establishing the sanctity of FSM's Noodly Goodness versus some inferior god's wafers.

      March 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Reality

    Ten hours???? Give us a break !!!

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    March 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    March 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • ArthurP

      I am sorry but God is busy right now but your prayer is important to us so please stay on bended knee with hands clasped repeating it and God will get to you as soon as he is free. You are currently 2,345,678,534 in line.

      (angels singing ..... )

      I am sorry but God is busy right now but your prayer is important to us so please stay on bended knee with hands clasped repeating it and God will get to you as soon as he is free. You are currently 2,345,678,530 in line.

      (angels singing ..... )

      I am sorry but God is busy right now but your prayer is important to us so please stay on bended knee with hands clasped repeating it and God will get to you as soon as he is free. You are currently 2,345,678,519 in line.

      (angels singing ..... ) ...

      March 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ben Thare

      Good. Then let's pray this insipid show doesn't air.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  8. us_1776

    The Sky Fairy does not exist.

    Get over it.

    .

    March 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Christian7

      How do you know?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • lol??

      Don't you reallllly mean that they are no longer flyin' and they landed in D.C.??

      March 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Akira

      No, lol, he means "The Sky Fairy does not exist.
      Get over it."
      But obviously that's what YOU reallllly mean, since you talk about it incessantly.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • lol??

      I don't remember the last time I burnt incense.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  9. Jesus' Footstool

    Someone help me. Please spray me with Lysol. Jesus' feet are dirty and stinky. I can't take it anymore.

    March 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  10. Christian7

    Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible
    mathematics because God created it."

    Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind
    it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of
    design is overwhelming."

    March 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • kso

      the impression of design is simply embedded in our nature of being pattern finding beings. Implied design isn't evidence of existence and implied design could just simply be that which is referred to as grand design—the nature by which all things existing in in the physics of this universe fit and are ordered. The problem of infinite regress is not simply solved by adding "god did it."

      A complex singular intelligent all-caring being that exists w/o out any evolution in and of itself into existence outside of time and space intellectually really complicates the fundamental questions.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Reality

      o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      Was the following also part of the grand design and fine tuning???????????

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      March 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  11. Christian7

    It is no longer enough that we pray that God may be with us on our side. We must learn again that we may be on
    God's side.
    — Wernher von Braun (chief architect of the Apollo Saturn V rocket that successfully made it to the moon and back)

    March 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You like posting other peoples opinions. Do you have one of your own, do you have a point or are you just spamming?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Christian7

      They would post their opinions but they are dead so I have to.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Nobody can speak to the question of whether or not gods exist, but history and science have vastly disproven all the ones we've created. Jesus, Abraham, and their ilk are yet another in a long line of myths.
      Believing in a creator is fine. Believing in the Bible is delusion.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Michael

      Gott Mit Uns, God['s] With Us – Motto on Nazi belt buckles.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • tom LI

      No big deal, another movie...likely more of the same old propaganda. What would be nice to see is someone NOT do the same old scenarios, the High Drama ones that feed the true mythical parts of the Bible. Like Noah – do we really need to see this myth of myths reenacted over and over? Its truly not that important to the overall story, and certainly not needed for an honest and true faith.

      All sounds like another Pop-culture filler, more pop-culture that becomes and/or supports already weak theology and doctrines, and generic street beliefs. Much like the art work of the hey-days of the Church in Europe – pop-culture influences that "taught" more false theology and certainly portrayed the central Bible characters as being not of their true origins

      Burning Q; will we get another blue-eyed/light eyed, and very European looking Jesus, like always...? Probably...

      March 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      So the answer to my question is you are just pointlessly spamming...got it.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Art

      Keep posting, Christian7. There are many who applaud you.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  12. Christian7

    “God existed before there were human beings on Earth, He holds the entire world, believers and non-believers, in His omnipotent hand for eternity." - Max Planck (Founder of Quantum Mechanics)

    March 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Again...the OPINION of one man...Do you have a point?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Christian7

      Richard Cranium, It is not illegal to post other people's opinions. It is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Hello

      Richard.. Christians point is he does not think for himself... which is the goal of the myth masters.. the flock should not think but believe.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Christian7

      Hello, No It is not? My point is that people with excellent brains that thought for themselves believed in God.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And many with excellent brains don't believe there's evidence for a god.

      Some with very good brains were smart enough to know that professing a lack of belief would result in the lack of a head.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  13. Nietodarwin

    It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    Mark Twain

    March 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  14. saganhill

    How low can reality shows go? How about making a show about imaginary history and people. I would feel better if this were advertised as fiction/fantasy. That's all it is.

    March 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  15. revbates

    "Jesus was played by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado" Since Jesus was Jewish, it might have been a smart idea to have a Jewish actor play the role.

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

      Just because he's Portuguese doesn't mean he isn't Jewish. I didn't see his religion listed.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Holysmokeandmirrors

      Oh come on! Where are you going to find a Jewish actor in Hollywood?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Christian7

    "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."– Issac Newton

    March 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      So?...The opinion of one man...what is your point?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Issac Newton was by far a brilliant man and if he held a belief in god, it is perfectly understood for the time period in which he resided. If you are incapable of looking at the big picture of why in the 1600's there was a firm mob thinking that god exists, to now 500 years later when people are walking away from religion, you seriously need to do some reading. Look at how information spread in the 1600's opposed to now.
      I would wager a guess that if Newton was alive today, he probably would not make that statement. Times change and with that comes greater knowledge.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      You ignorant xstian, no wonder you're quoting Newton. I'll take a better physicist.

      “I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the
      structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
      _ Albert Einstein

      March 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Pulling figures out of history that believed in God but also contributed to science is a bad argument. Their belief didn't inspire or provide the answers for their discoveries, the scientific method did...most times contrary to accepted doctrine. That's how all the God of the gaps holes got filled.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Hello

      Newton was a smart boy.. he knew if he said anything other than that he would have been burned at the stake like the rest of the heretics.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Christian7

      Nietodarwin, Eisenstein wrongfully disagreed with Quantum Mechanics.

      “God existed before there were human beings on Earth, He holds the entire world, believers and non-believers, in
      His omnipotent hand for eternity." - Max Planck (Founder of Quantum Mechanics)

      March 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  17. MagicPanties

    looking forward to the episodes on killing woman for sleeping around and taking advantage of virgins because after all, women are men's property (according to the bible)

    March 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  18. Geoffrey

    Really, Melissa, Is this not a public forum? If you did not care what I thought, why are you reading what I write? You try to silence me by calling me names and put downs. I only desire to share what I myself find so valuable.

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

      Geoffrey, so what. That's the problem with you religious... you expect us to live by your bible whether we believe in it or not. The only reason I care is because you people won't butt out and you're so rude and condescending about it.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      Melissa, actually, that is why I love being an American. I can speak what I want, and you can too. I do not "expect" you to live by the Bible. I do offer you the opportunity to learn its wisdom and truth. Can you have a reasonable discussion without name calling and put downs?

      March 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      Melissa, please show me how I have been rude or condescending? If I have been, I assure you that it is unintentional. I am sorry if I have offended you.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Melissa

      Geoffrey, just look at the other christian posts on here. If I said to you what they are saying to everyone else about another religion, you'd be angry. And if they did it enough, you'd probably get close to wanting to punch them or punching them. What if it was Islam saying the same stuff that you are saying right now? Or Wicca? Or any of the other religions on the planet? You think you're right just because you're Christian. All other religions feel the same way. What you need to learn is that it only applies to you and no one else. Don't like gay marriage? Then don't do it. Don't like abortion? Then don't do it. But you have no right to try to forcibly dictate how other people live their lives just because you don't happen to like what they're doing. There are lots of things people don't like in this world, but that doesn't give them the right to force that on other people. It really is as simple as that.

      Let me put it to you this way.... I really really hate those body covering and face covering things from Islam. Its insulting and degrading. But so long as the person wearing them actually agrees, I don't particularly care except for one fact.... it's a danger to other people because bombers can dress like that and we would never be able to tell until too late. It also covers a womans face and body when, if she's being abused, it would otherwise show and she could be protected.

      March 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      Melissa
      "You think you're right just because you're Christian"

      My answer is a resounding YES...You call it arrogance. I call it faith. When you know, you just know.
      Christianity solves the problem of humankinds search for God in that God came to humankind. God, Himself, restored the relationship that was lost at the beginning. No work required. No payment needed. Free gift. You can have it too.

      .

      March 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  19. ArthurP

    Any parent of a 5 year old who continuously asks 'why' knows why God was invented.

    March 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Akira

      Lol. My mother never said "because God says so, that's why", although she did say "because I said so, that's why" plenty of times. Even more powerful to my 5 year old self? The words "because Dad say so, that's why!" Shut me right up.

      March 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      “Science” is the study of “why”. I as a Christian love to understand why God made it so. Yet, sometimes it is just beyond my limited human mind.

      March 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Melissa

      Geoffrey, you do not understand why, you just pretend to. The sheer magnitude and arrogance (also called pride in the bible) of thinking you could EVER understand a god even remotely (especially from a book written by mankind) is mind boggling. You claim that your god wrote the ten commandments... well your kind of arrogance is called pride and is a straight trip to burning in the hell you so vehemently insist is real. Either you stop acting so prideful or you burn. Or you admit that you're wrong.

      March 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  20. Jeebus Chreebus

    Fairytales

    March 3, 2013 at 12:17 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.