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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. Gudshel

    I've made $84,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I've made such great money. It's really user friendly and I'm just so happy that I found out about it. The potential with this is endless. Here's what I do Rich45.c om

    March 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Holysmokeandmirrors

      Gudshel,

      I've seen this one hundreds of times before. Usually, it's your sister's friend, or brother-in-law, but this time you are the one claiming to make great money in you spare time. Stop posting this garbage here!

      Folks, most likely this person is making minimum wage posting these ridiculous claims on many different sites. Respond at your own risk.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  2. Bill

    Something smells with this story. We have more empty churches that ever before, but they keep building. Old and new preachers are on the tube and radio, they try different formats to attract young people. Now we have another character with another way of making money. Nothing wrong with calling yourself a Christian or if you know the bible from one end to the other, I know a good person of any faith by his behavior and his acts. For the last fifty odd years this country has not acted as a Christian nation, based on wars and killings. Jesus was non violent. Good luck Mr Burnet, did not watch you other shows and will not watch this one.

    March 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  3. nc1965

    Here we go again with the fake, white, long haired, 6 ft. hippie Jesus again.

    The bible states that he had hair like wool (nappy), and skin like bronze (dark). He was a "brotha". The discovery channel also says the he was around 5' 5".

    White people. Always rewriting history in their own likeness.

    Go figure.

    March 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  4. Correctlycenter

    To say that GOD doesn't exist if the same as saying YOU do not exist. It is silly, like the lies of evolution...

    March 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      Another nonsense comment from Corruptlycenter......which god are you talking about pen-day-hoe?

      March 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Who told you evolution was a lie?Did they tell you why?Does it contradict the bible?Do you believe the Koran is the true word of god?Why not?Why do you disregard the scientifically accepted theory of evolution?Not enough evidence?What evidence can you provide for the truth of the bible?The bible?...

      March 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  5. Treavor Glendell Cornish

    soory, jesus died his crossroad for his punishments from the people betayrd an wanted they worked for an importants to earn everything make to an moneys as payed to the bills before his and heirs collection the jobs as hard work; after people telling his king has punish for Jesus mistakes inside no sinster his work for job an lazy as theft to carrying to his egoist honors, before The God of Jehvoah has punish to an only swallowed son ingroned his promise sent to hellfire unto the father order to God Satan grabs his has an friends were death come after Jesus First Killed;Becuase jesus raise there an heavenly come back to see to an agains to an new friends for hate peoples stabblings as Three Came Alived before falsen jesus steal to twin faces.

    March 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  6. Christian7

    Knowing that God exists does not save you; Satan knows God exists. You must except redemption thought Jesus Christ.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

    You are guilty of sin. Sin does not enter heaven. Knowing or not know about God's existence does not wash away the sin you decided to have. Jesus' gift of salvation is a very generous gift with an exact requirement: You must accept him before you die. It is an easy requirement, but you must actually do it.

    March 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • ME II

      Why is it limited to "before you die"?

      March 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Odd that John/Christian7 can't answer. Why is it one must believe before death? Why is it too late once one dies?

      March 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • was blind but now I see

      uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
      well........
      becuase that is why we are born in these earth suits to begin with, that's why.
      if we could make the decison in our spirit form, we would not have to go through this hell hole.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  7. PM

    iF ONE PERSON TURNS TO THE BIBLE TO EXPLORE THE TRUTH IT IS WELL WORTH IT. AS YOU CAN SEE FROM ALL THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS, THIS WORLD NEEDS ALL THE HELP IT CAN GET.. MAY GOD BLESS YOU UNBELIEVERS ANYWAY..

    March 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Caps lock,it's to your left....Of which god do you speak?What and where is god?Do you speak to him?Does he speak to you?Does he speak to anybody?Male or female?Does it have a face?Has god ever lied?Does god have a sense of humour?

      March 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  8. lroy

    This was featured last week (while waiting for the conclave to begin with anticipation) on The World Over (EWTN-a devoutly Catholic network). That's good enough for me. While I may not be able to watch it, I hope it will be available on DVD.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  9. us_1776

    The Sky Fairy does not exist.

    Get over it.

    ..

    March 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Fred

      Evolution is a fake. Get over it.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • The Devil

      Fred the devil is going to get you get ovrer.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  10. Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom!

    Amen & Amen!

    March 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  11. khrog

    on the 12th day of existence my true love (TV) gave to me...

    dogma is much like people who love pets or animals more than people.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  12. ME II

    "Mark Burnett is the king of reality television. His shows ... “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “The Apprentice,” “Shark Tank,” “The Job” and “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”"

    Honestly, Burnett could probably do more for humanity by just not producing anything than by producing this Bible show.

    Hasn't he done enough damage?

    March 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Bills Cat

      Those programs alone say dude shouldn't be named as a guru of anything - except making raking in money for mediocre TV series.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  13. lol??

    "2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"

    March 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  14. Holysmokeandmirrors

    I look forward to Burnett's biblical miniseries. In particular, I am looking forward to the creation of Earth.

    The bible says that good created the heavens and the earth. Okay so far. He then created light, flowed by night. That took the first day. The next day, he created the dome above the water and called it the sky. End day two. Okay, onto day three, god creates land and separates it from the sea. Then he creates every kind of plant and vegetation. Right on! Okay, here is where it gets weird?! Let me stop here and say that, religious or non religious, I think we can all agree that without the sun, life can not exist on Earth, yes? Also, without the sun, there would be no light on Earth, nor would the moon, which of course gives off no natural light be able to reflect the sun's light giving it the appearance of having light, yes?

    So, after creating light a couple days ago, then creating all of the vegetation that we all know depends on photosynthesis from the sun, then and only then does he create the Sun, moon, and stars(psssttt, the sun is a star). Now here is my question; where did the light come from on the first day? Did god have a really keen flashlight? Why was the moon referred to as a lesser light? Wouldn't god know that the moon has no light?

    Clearly, the writers of the Bible had no physical knowledge of the Earth. Why not? Well, probably for the same reason that the ancient Egyptians thought that their sun god Ra, came out of the ground each day, and returned there each night. In other words, the bible is just another attempt by ancient man to explain that which they knew nothing about, namely Science.

    However, I am looking forward to Burnett clearing this major biblical blooper up, and turning us all into believers.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      For starters, the original version of Genesis never states that this story is the beginning. The oldest tale of the Elohim creating the garden takes place after a great naval battle and eludes to taking place after the epic of Gilgamesh. The gods even use their own hands to clear the trees and "push back the water". If the Canaanites held it as their beginning under the ruler El, then they were discussing a new settlement of an already existing people.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Topher

      "In other words, the bible is just another attempt by ancient man to explain that which they knew nothing about, namely Science. "

      So science knows better than the Bible?

      March 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Akira

      Topher, I've never seen science claim to "know" anything. It doesn't think, per se.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bills Cat

      Hope you're not holding your breath. LOL And sponsored by Progressive Insurance!

      March 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Topher

      Akira

      "Topher, I've never seen science claim to "know" anything. It doesn't think, per se."

      I agree. Thus the old adage, "Science doesn't say anything; scientists do."

      But Holysmokeandmirrors said religion is just used when we don't understand science. But there are MANY instances when the Bible got its science right thousands of years before "science" did.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Topher,
      "But there are MANY instances when the Bible got its science right thousands of years before 'science' did."
      ... and there are MANY instances when the Bible got is wrong.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • 88 the Alien a.k.a. Fire Eyes

      The Bible is Science...Just as Buddhism is the Science of the Mind....not only did the original languages it was written in need translating, but the metaphors and slang as well.....the example you used about the Sun god Ra going into the ground at night gives way to the truth about what happens when we go into the ground for the eternal night a.k.a. death......but yet people claim no one knows what happens after death.....like the Sun, we still are shining/being, but only somewhere else......in another part of this world and universe.....to go deeper than that is the Doctrine of Immortality...which is dangerous...that's why Man created religion and it's doctrines.....for the weak and timid....who believe ignorance is bliss...thus we have Christianity with a God who doesn't like questions and giving answers....only wants you to follow along....I'm sorry but as one of the guys in this world but out of it at the same time......that doesn't sound like something a God would want, but rather like somebody with an ego complex......like a Man and man....A controlling one at that....How could such a controlling person then give you "Free Will"......That sounds ridiculous and that's why Jesus 2.0 has it out for the Church....Christians are the antichrist......Let it be known that it is you that have perverted, contorted the teachings of Jesus.....Even the men around Jesus were guilty of the same....with bias they wrote the bible....with egos they decided what to put in and what to leave out....If you knew that all human beings have the abilities and capabilities of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and every other being and creation of Light....our world would be more advanced than it is....hell, you guys are still using your hands and bodies as weapons when the most dangerous weapon is the brain...or rather what propels/fires in the brain....molecular energy....X_____Jesus was here..88

      March 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      topher: science does not claim inerrancy. christians claim that bible is never wrong. science adapts to new information, the bible does not

      March 3, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      I'm looking forward to the biblical stonings in His name.Amen.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      If god knows everything and he wrote the bible,do you not think he could have slipped in something like this-Yee shall not drink from the trough thee doth fouleth- it causes death.Could have saved us a few problems.Perhaps He had more important messages to pass on.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Topher

      ME II

      " ... and there are MANY instances when the Bible got is wrong."

      Such as?

      March 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      topher: science does not claim inerrancy. christians claim that bible is never wrong. science adapts to new information, the bible does not

      Sure it does. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

      And the Bible hasn't NEEDED to adapt. It was right the first time.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      thanks for proving the point, topher

      March 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Topher – "And the Bible hasn't NEEDED to adapt. It was right the first time."

      Come on now, Topher...I know you don't really believe that (although I know you want to).

      Cheers

      March 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Topher

      Sam

      Thanks! I mean ... huh?

      March 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thick.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      @Topher
      ME II " ... and there are MANY instances when the Bible got is wrong."
      Such as?

      Such as ... Genesis 1 for starters, the Earth is created BEFORE the sun, stars, and other planets.

      March 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  15. Jim P.

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

    If you can do the New testament *without* a "Christian orientation", I'd be mightily impressed. Be kind of like doing the Pentateuch without a Jewish orientation.

    I've never watched a single minute of any of these so-called "hits" this guy has done and I certainly won't be watching this. Both because it seems a horrid compression of a very large amount of text and because I'm not interested in this sort of religious silliness.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  16. Common Sense

    "An actor portrays an Egyptian slave driver in 'The Bible' miniseries" No. I'm pretty sure that's Jesus.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  17. riodeoro11

    Let's look at the world before Christianity:
    – infanticide, genocide, and outright slaughter of innocents
    After Jesus:
    – End of infanticide among followers of Jesus
    – focus on helping the poor and less fortunate
    – Focus on creating a society in which all people had a voice.
    – End of war (although Christians have not always followed his message)

    Each chooses to interpret view history through his own prism. Let it be clear, however, that the Western culture we live in today started with Jesus Christ.

    March 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • ingatuma

      lmfao...where have you been? I bet you watch Fox News huh?
      all the wars are because christians and muslims cant agree on whose imaginary friend is better..
      More people have died in the name of your god....talk about brain washing

      March 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @riodeoro11,
      "- End of infanticide among followers of Jesus"
      Is there evidence of this?

      "- Focus on creating a society in which all people had a voice."
      ... except women and slaves.

      "- End of war (although Christians have not always followed his message)"
      Evidence?

      "Let it be clear, however, that the Western culture we live in today started with Jesus Christ."
      All sorts of ambiguity here. Christianity was a large influence on western culture, sure, but Ancient Rome and Greece were also large influences, as was the Enlightenment later on.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Randy

      For sake of argument let's just say Jesus gets the credit for all of those things coming to pass. It doesn't prove he was supernatural or a god.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  18. lksdjflkj

    Sounds like a cheesy disaster in the making, no thanks!

    March 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  19. Bob Lewis

    When an individual believes in something known to be false, it's call, "delusion." When billions believe without question in something that never has been nor never can be proven empirically true, it's called, "faith." Whenever the fantasy is challenged by the few rational people left on Earth, their egos, which have been emotionally invested, go crazy. For my empirical evidence, see below........

    March 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Bob Lewis:
      as Nietzsche said: "it is still a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science."

      The problem with scientism (a faith) is that its adherents seem unable to distinguish it from science.
      For example, claiming that only what is 'empirically verifiable' is real (your premise here) is itself NOT empirically verifiable. It is a faith-based statement.

      Your position is self-refuting.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Science provides predictable results and relies upon utmost doubt of its own statements. Nobody said it was perfect.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Lisa

      Bob Lewis, you say "Many people can't bear the sense of moral superiority that spouts from so called Christians, who are usually hypocritical when actually dealing with their fellow man." You can choose the strongest and most faithful Christian in our society and he or she has no power to effect your life one way or another. Yet the weekest, lowliest government official has the power to have you imprissoned, detained, sanctioned or harrarassed at the very least. People such as you that derive your moral superiority from a government instead of God are the real bullies and the real hypocrites.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Schtick: science is wonderful. I'm a fan.
      Scientism is not science. It's a faith going under the guise of science.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPeyJvXU68k

      March 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Honey Hush

      Lisa
      Of course you do realize that lowly government official that decides to hazzle you could also be a christian with a power complex, don't you? Your rather dumb arguement fails on that level, try again if you can.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Akira

      No one is morally superior. No one.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I think I would go with something more like "no one is superior under any acceptable system of morality".

      March 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Christian7

      I see no reason to believe in something without good reason. Faith in God is not about whether He exist or not. You have faith that the pilot can fly the plane so you board the plane, not because just anyone is going to operate the controls. The pilots existence is not the question; Can he fly the plane. You have faith he can fly the plane because the airline has flown many times and not crashed.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Akira

      TTTOO: perhaps. But then I have never encountered an accepted system of morality that didn't marginalize a whole segment of society because it went against their belief that the system they believe in is the only true and correct one. Which I believe can harbor its own immorality.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Christian7,
      Horrible analogy. I can see the pilot when I board the plane, not so with a god.
      I place a certain amount of trust in the procedures the airlines use to qualify their pilots and also the FAA to oversee the airlines, but I also acknowledgy some risk. There is no "faith" involved.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Akira: where does your judgment of 'accepted systems' come from if not the exact same exclusivism you are criticizing? from what vantage point (if not a moral high ground that excludes) do you have disgust for moral abuses?

      are you not excluding bigots? what about pedophiles & racists?
      how is your position any less exclusive of segments of society than those systems you are criticizing?

      March 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  20. Fox

    I don’t understand the seething hate that comes from the non-religious. Maybe you may have been offended by a Christian who was not living the teachings but are what are the quotes from Christ that bother you?

    March 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Bob Lewis

      Here's why: Many people can't bear the sense of moral superiority that spouts from so called Christians, who are usually hypocritical when actually dealing with their fellow man. As to those quotes from Christ...that's the problem. Many call themselves "Christian" very few pay actually pay any heed to those teachings you allude to. It's not hate so much as cynical resentment.

      March 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • JMEF

      Fox
      Gandhi had the best answer.
      I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
      The christian religions that are more about wealth, power and politics deserve all the derision they get. the few that actually live by the teaching of jesus christ should be praised. How many inside organized religions deserve that praise?

      March 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Christian7

      JMEF, IF Gandhi became a Christian before he died, then he make it to heaven.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • JJ

      Stop demonizing those who do not believe as you do by calling that lack of belief "hate". You Christians have been persecuting everyone for 2000 years and those of us who have been living under you jack booted thugs have had enough.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Christian7

      JJ, That is backwards. Christians are the ones that have mostly been persecuted over the last 2,000 years. It is only that last few hundred years that we have gained strength by numbers and technology that we have been able to defend ourselves. Today in many countries, it is dangerous to be a Christian (i.e., Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, China etc) .

      March 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • PM

      It is very clear, their soul is in the hands of satan, which they of course also do not believe exists. To each his own, but the truth will be seen when end time arrives and judgement day arrives for each person... I hope they find peace

      March 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • ME II

      @Christian7,
      "Christians are the ones that have mostly been persecuted over the last 2,000 years. It is only that last few hundred years that we have gained ..."
      Wow!?
      Holy Roman Empire
      Crusades
      Inquisitions

      March 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Fred

      @ME II
      Good job of digging up stuff from ONE THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
      How about the atheist purges of less than a hundred years ago?
      Check out Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.
      Don't even claim Hitler was Christian because he was into pagan worship.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      Maybe what you see as "seething hate" is a reaction to the over the top pompousness of believers. Maybe it is a reaction to believers using their beliefs to deny other their civil rights

      March 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      It comes from the christians who want to make laws based on their faith and force every one to follow those laws.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.