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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. Tank Manhammer

    Pride goeth before the fall, Mark Burnett. Eventually, you're winning streak will end.

    March 4, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Dippy's sub

      "You're" = you are
      "Your" is a possessive

      March 4, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  2. Too Much

    An article about the Bible? Queue the atheists!!!

    March 4, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Dippy's sub

      It's "cue."

      March 4, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • JJ

      But we are all in the queue to laugh and scoff at you believers in talking snakes and talking burning bushes.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Dippy's sub

      Correct, JJ. You get a gold star.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • richunix

      Hey! I'm in it for the unicorns!

      March 4, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  3. dwight

    If you want the real unadulterated story of the bible just read it. Unlike the Koran and Book of Mormon it is cohesive in its form and doesn't wander all over the place from beginning to end. It has become the go to book for archeaologist to find lost ancient civilizations and cities right where the Bible says they are.

    March 4, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • richunix

      Done that, wonderful blend of fiction and historcal facts...

      March 4, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  4. sativa619

    Keep God out of California!

    March 4, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      By all means. Its doing great without Him.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  5. ScottCA

    The words Reality and Bible have no place being in the same sentence. The bible is a work of pure fiction.

    March 4, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Even God is bored with yet another remake of the Bible. She told me so herself.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      The reality is that the bible is a book of fiction.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  6. anthonyhantonh

    Opps the producers are Catholics, let the Catholic bashing begin. Its okay to bash Catholics and Christians you know. Just don't bash Muslims they'll cut your head off, or blow up your building....

    March 4, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • palintwit

      Chester The Molester is going to be the next pope.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      @twit. Ah yes there it is. Dusting off the trust liberal jibes at the church. Don't say anything against Mohamed now, your own peeps would call you a racist and intolerant.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • The Lord

      sounds like you xtians need to step it up a notch then aye!?!? ... otherwise i gotta give props to the peeps that take my shizzing serious enough to muurder in my name...

      March 4, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  7. Kim

    Dear God, you delivered your people from the Egyptians and delivered man from the grips of sin through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. Now, deliver us from Obama.

    March 4, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Tim

      And God says: "Ok, once his second term is over, Obama is out!"

      March 4, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • End Religion

      You realize that Moses never existed and the Exodus never happened? You realize miracle Jesus never existed, right? I mean the facts are all right there, and there is no credible evidence whatsoever. Why are you treating fairy tales as fact? It's just plain silly. Grow up and help us drag the rest of your Neanderthal friends into the beautiful godless future.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      @ Tim. Don't be so sure his Obamaness is out after his second term. He is the liberal's messiah don't you know.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • jrcomo35713

      Please already.... Why don't you try delivering yourself from yourself. Stop blaming and carry your cross.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • sam stone

      Kim: You are delivered from sin? So, you no longer sin?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • sam stone

      anthony: calling obama "the liberal's messiah" identifies you as a moron

      presidents are limited to two terms

      go off and have a hissy fit

      March 4, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • sam stone

      Anthony: You do realize that Obama is more conservative than Reagan, who the psuedo-convervatives get wood thinking about, don't you?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      @ Sam. More conservative than Reagan. LOL You are either a comic or bold faced liar.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • The Lord

      do i have to literally do everything around here??? get off your lazy bu tttt and take care of shome shizzzzy yourself... praying is another word for LAZY ...

      March 4, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  8. SMJ

    Watched the first episode last night and was under-impressed. The acting was average, the special effects almost humorous, and I found myself bored. I was hoping for so much more from this outstanding couple.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Tim

      The acting was average for Christian movies, which is to say, bad. Ever watch Soul Surfer?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • End Religion

      Walking Dead was awesome. Biblical thing was typical, glossing over horrible/controversial stuff and then poorly acted out the fluff.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Jimmy

      At least Walking Dead is about realistic zombies, whereas the stories about the Resurrection...

      March 4, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  9. palintwit

    We arrive in rusty 1964 motorhomes.
    We bring our bibles and loaded assault weapons.
    We wear ridiculous clothing and have teabags dangling from our earlobes.
    We carry misspelled racist signs as we stomp all over the White House lawn.
    We eat Chick-fil-A and wash it down with Everclear.
    We are Sarah Palin's real Americans.
    We love the baby jesus but we love to boink our cousins even more.
    We believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that early man walked with the dinosaurs.
    We believe that nascar is a real sport and that Dale Earnhardt was a great American athlete.
    We are the birthers. We are the tea party patriots.
    We are bigots and inbreds. We are morons and we are proud.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Sounds like you need some more medical pot.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • jrcomo35713

      Sounds like the pure truth to me.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Rob

      When it comes to dismissing religion entirely as foolish, you better hope that you're right.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  10. richunix

    @Reality:

    Been working some of the difference contained in the Bible and how ver the years we have change them and the meanings (example):

    2nd Thessalonians
    Chapter 2 verse 3 (circa 1605-10 KJV NT)

    Let no man deceive you by any means: for
    That day shall not come except there come a falling away first
    And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

    Translation of Sinaiticus (Koni Greek, circa 330CE)

    Εὐχαριστεῖν ὀφείλομεν τῷ θεῷ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοί, καθὼς ἄξιόν ἐστιν, ὅτι ὑπεραυξάνει ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν καὶ πλεονάζει ἡ ἀγάπη ἑνὸς ἑκάστου πάντων ὑμῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους,

    No one should trick you by any means, because unless the Revolt should come first and the person of lawlessness be revealed – the son of destruction, the one who opposes and who lifts himself up above all things that are called a god or august, so as to seat himself in God's temple, displaying himself that he is a god.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Reality

      richunix,

      2 Thessalonians was probably not written by Paul but was authored by a "psuedu" Paul. See Professor JD Crossan's book, In Search of Paul, pp. 105-106 and Father Raymond Brown's book, An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 591.

      March 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  11. JerseyCatt

    The whole movie you never hear God's name mentioned which is annoying.

    Psalms 83:18 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

    Exodus 6:3 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

    Isaiah 12:2 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

    Isaiah 26:4 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

    March 4, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Jimmy

      They're Jews, out of respect they would never say God's actual name out loud.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • richunix

      Jersey,

      Words like "Ye" and "verily" are Old English and do not exist in the earliest (complete) Greek text, like I was discussing with Reality, I gave example from the KJV and the Sinaiticus

      March 4, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • End Religion

      Christianity: The belief that a Cosmic Winged Jewish Zombie, who is his own Father and virtuously r@ped his own 12 year old mother, can make you live forever in some other dimension if you symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood while telepathically telling him that you accept him as your Master so that he will remove an evil force from your soul, which is present in all humanity because a woman he made out of one rib bone and a mound of dirt was tricked into eating fruit from a magical tree by a talking snake.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • richunix

      This is your version

      Psalms 83:18 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

      This from the Greek Septuagint:

      And let them know that thy name is Lord; that thou alone art Most High over all the earth.

      Were did it say his name...Septuagient is the oldest verson of the Hebrew text that has survived.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  12. Jack

    I nearly fell the floor laughing when one of the angels in Sodom revealed himself to be a Jackie Chan stunt man who pulled some major kung fu moves with his Tarantino swords. How silly is this show?!!!!!!

    March 4, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Blame that on the multi-cultural crowd who want to see their patricular group represented. It makes more sense that the angels would of tried to look as local as possible. Olive skin, dark hair, brown eyes etc.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • dippy's sub

      "Would have," not "would of."

      March 4, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Jimmy

      Just appealing to their base audience. If they thought they could have gotten away with Schwarzenegger going all Terminator on the people of Sodom with an AK-47, they'd have done it.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Tim

      Looks like Samson and Delilah are both going to be black in the next show. Maybe Jesus will heal somebody in a wheelchair later on?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Michael King

      That and other things were not even close to what the Bible says. Not top mention, it was Angels, not men who could bleed when cut. (Genesis 19:1) And to even think that they needed cheap ninja tricks is absurd. The miracles seen in the Bible is by the Power of God and not cheap theatrics or the strength of men. This simply put is a money making adventure and not an attempt to spread the Truth!

      March 4, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • fintastic

      @michel.............."The miracles seen in the Bible is by the Power of God "

      "Truth" requires evidence. There is not one shred of evidence regarding bible miracles. Just mythology... nothing more.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  13. Only one true God

    A

    March 4, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Tim

      Who are you, the Fonz?

      March 4, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  14. Charles Buzbee

    CNN can't even get the captions on the pictures correct.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • cybermonkeytech

      I was wondering why an Egyptian slave driver was wearing a crown of thorns, too. 🙂

      March 4, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  15. anthonyhantonh

    Ah...another excellent opportuntiy for CNN/Hollywood/Entertainment Media to bash religion and the Bible. Yawn....I'll just read the book instead.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Jack

      If Hollywood were bashing religion, why on earth would they spend millions of dollars to pay two famous and loyal catholics to filma mini series on it. If Hollywood hates religion somuch, why do we have Duck Dynasty? Seems to me a lot of people of faith like to complain more than admit that things are changing in their favor.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      @ Jack. Duck Dynasty? That all you got? Let me see now. Ah yes...Morrisy an English singer (who I never heard of) would not appear on one of those late night shows with Duck Dynasty's cast because they were engaging in animal genicide and the show was "in your face Christianity."

      March 4, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  16. Genia

    I watched the first episode and hungered for more in the story but I realize the time slot and the cost. It appears to me that this is designed to spark interest in the wonderful stories of the bible. It will be criticized,but why would so many stories make it those many years./the Bible is the History book of creation-please if you ask me if If I believe in the myths of crawling out of the sea or monkey stories as creation or God's version;I prefer The Bible.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      There is a reason why the creation story in the bible is so simple. Try explaining advanced astronomy, evolution, and physics to sheep herder in first century AD. Doesn't mean that God did not create the world. It means that at the time it would not be understood.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Evolution is not a story.Gravity is not a story.The earth orbiting the sun is not a story.They are observable science.The bible contains stories without evidence.If you prefer easy stories and have a hard time comprehending cold hard facts,then you are beyond reason,and you have denied your human ability to think.Now go with god.GO-and believe one thing,you are on the wrong side of history.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Lisa

      Not much of a spark to anyone's interest, I'm sorry to say. Simply lame!

      March 4, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Try explaining gravity to someone from that time without a "story". Micro-biology? DNA?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Rob

      Evolution at least makes some sense. I can fully buy in that evolution played a role in where we are today. I certainly can see that more than saying that there was a "pre-law of physics" (a what?) explosion that somehow created the earth & spawned life.... aka "Big Bang". Christians need to think critically, but non Christians also need not accept all science (especially theories) as truth.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  17. Jen

    Remember the hysteria over The Passions of the Christ? How is Mel Gibson doing these days... ?

    March 4, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Tim

      Co-starring with stuffed toys last time I checked.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  18. El Flaco

    Mary Magdalene is going to date a different Roman Centurian each week. At the end of 12 weeks, she will choose one to marry. Jesus will marry them and guarantee the Centurian that he will go to Heaven.

    I hear that each week, Jesus is going to choose one apostle to be thrown off the show.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Not funny.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Tim

      How about they strand 12 apostles on an island, eliminate one after another, only to have some guy who never even knew Jesus become his apprentice! That's basically how the story of Paul goes, isn't it?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • fintastic

      I can just see Donald Trump saying "jesus!.... you're fired!!"

      March 4, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  19. JonathanL

    Many of these stories were passed on by word of mouth, and altered for story telling purposes, for so many centuries before being written down, then translated and retranslated (perhaps even mistranslated) multiple times, and now rewritten for entertainment. I would watch this for entertainment value, and not for a history or Bible lesson, or any other reason. One example is the Genesis story, the earliest version written in Sumaria, explains that a female warrior goddess, created the Universe in 7 days, separatnig the heavens from the seas, then creating land to stand upon etc... (there's more). But by the time it was written down in the old testament if was a male warrior and what happened each day had been altered as well. Even the myth of the serpant of the underworld, and the concept of Hades, a part of ancient Greek mythology, was borrowed. Much of the story of Jesus now appears to closely copied from the ancient Persian story of Mythra (who was born on the winter solstice, was the son of God, had 12 disciples, and was crucified, but not before having a last supper. He also was resurrected after 3 days. But hey if it happened once why couldn't it happen twice (that is if it actually did happen) LOL.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Anthony Chelsea

      To the contrary. ALL the myths copied facts from the Bible here and there. The Bible is the only one whose 66 authors speak in one voice. That is itself a miracle. The Scriptures come even the days of Jarede and Enoch. Moses was inspired by God to write and gather the facts. Amazing how myths in several cultures copied the Truth from the Bible. Every myth copied a little bit of the Holy Scripture, the Word of God, which stands forever.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Tim

      Anthony Chelsea
      So, you believe that the authors of the other world myths were somehow able to copy the Bible that was written much later?

      And that actually makes sense to you?

      Amazing!

      March 4, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Anthony
      66 books....40 authors, and no they do not speak with one voice. They were kluged together by groups of editors that tried to make it more coherent. ( epic fail)

      not 66 authors.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Anthony,

      So even the myths that came BEFORE the bible were copied FROM the bible? How does that happen?

      March 4, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • End Religion

      Anthony, there isn't one credible eyewitness to Jesus' life. The top scholars in the world can't even agree if he actually existed, and there is absolutely zero evidence of any miracles taking place.

      March 4, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  20. Mike S

    The Job was cancelled after 1 show, it was not #1 in it's time slot.

    March 4, 2013 at 9:22 am |
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About this blog

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