March 29th, 2013
05:57 PM ET

Joel Osteen dismisses "The Bible" controversy

By Jake Tapper, CNN

Televangelist Joel Osteen is a consultant on the History Channel's series, "The Bible," which has become a runaway success. More than 10 million people watched last week's episode, and nearly 14 million watched the debut. Osteen's friend Mark Burnett produces the show.

Osteen is not surprised by the success.

"There are a lot of people of faith still in our country and when somebody takes a step of faith like Mark and [co-executive producer Roma Downey] did, people want to get behind it and see good quality, you know, production of something that's ... dear to all of our hearts, and that is the scripture and the bible," said Osteen.

Osteen also dismissed the controversy surrounding the actor cast as Satan bearing a resemblance in some people's minds to President Obama.

"I felt like it was nonsense," says Osteen. "People can draw funny conclusions."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity

soundoff (459 Responses)
  1. TomGI

    Can't wait to miss that show.

    April 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Bill

      You've probably said the same thing about your life

      April 4, 2013 at 5:23 am |
  2. Kari

    It's never been abour religion.... Its about Jesus. He did everything I needed so that I don't have to stress over it. I'm forgiven, I'm loved, I'm blessed.... and I can neither do anything to add to it or mess it up. It's never been based on my performance.... on my ability to be "good" or to refrain from being "bad"..... It's always about what Jesus did. I cannot make anything happen. I cannot mess anything up. Jesus took care of all of it for me... once and for all.

    April 2, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • sam stone

      Pretty sad that you feel you need to be forgiven for something

      April 2, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • MarylandBill

      You must have led a very sheltered life or be very self-centered to believe that you don't need to be forgiven something.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • cdub

      As a christian with no denomination, I cannot really say anything, nor can I judge for I sin all the time, and you are correct about what God's son did for us. Your theory though of being completely forgiven regardless of what you do I cannot condone though. If that were the case, and we are forgiven no matter what (and lets say we don't even have to ask for forgiveness as you've suggested) then what would stop any man or woman from going out and killing, or stealing whenever they felt like it? We are blessed in the sense that we have the option to ask for forgiveness. I do not believe it is just given to us freely as it states that we must welcome the lord into our hearts. If one does not welcome him, then how can one be forgiven?

      April 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      cdub, One doesn't need to believe in a god or any potential forgiveness to not go out to kill or to steal whenever one feels like it. Morals and ethics do not originate from a non-existent being.

      April 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Robyn


      I can lie, cheat, steal, covet to my heart's content, even take
      Big Daddy's name in vain and Jesus gives me the one size fits
      all 'Get Out Of Hell Free' card. All Right! All Right!

      I'll be down at the nursing home, beating up little old ladies and
      stealing their pension checks.

      April 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      MarylandBill: I have tried to apologize to those I have wronged. Nothing I have done would warrant eternity in a lake of fire. In that sense, I do not need to be forgiven

      April 3, 2013 at 5:14 am |
  3. Arthur in the Garden!

    The movie is so inaccurate! Every scene has something wrong! But than again, fools will believe anything when they are lost!

    April 2, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • sam stone

      including those who read scripture

      April 3, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  4. David

    The irony of the scene when Jesus overturned the money exchangers tables, to this for profit version of the life of Jesus makes one wonder, are the profits from "The Bible" going into the moneylenders pockets or as Jesus (fictional or not) would prefer, to help the poor and needy of the world?

    April 2, 2013 at 6:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      No different than passing the collection plate or demanding a 10% ti/the.

      April 2, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  5. Leni

    "THE Bible" miniseries has won it's time slot in every market, it's being watched by millions worldwide and to top it off it's a riveting, well produced and acted program, and this "controversy" is the only thing the media can focus on? Go away CNN and take your manufactured, out of touch, biased "news" with you.

    April 1, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    Proof that Jesus was a Caucasian Anglo white at prolapsed.net. See the light of white. God bless.

    April 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  7. Jake

    Joel Osteen is like many Christians who believe that one event validates an assertion. In this case, he believes that because there were many folks that watched it-that somehow it equates to many folks believing in it. What does Joel Osteen think about the statistic that when there's a Christian convention in Vegas, adult cable paid per view viewings also rise? There were 14 million folks that watched the debut, but 10 million stayed around for the rest of the episodes. So according to multi-millionaire tax exempt Joel Osteen, the program lost 4 million Christians to the show? I watched the show because I was curious not because I'm religious or anything and came out of it entertained not somehow converted or even enlightened. I could've sat there and poked holes in the story, but I chose to be entertained. And that Joel is why the vast majority watched it....not because they were seeking God or something. The same amount of folks watched Walking Dead....does that mean we all believe in zombies now? No, just like "The Bible" we all like to watch fiction.

    April 1, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • ronvan

      JAKE: Liked your comment. Kind of the same thing for me. Don't claim to be very knowledgeable but was very interested in the sampson & delilia part. Was sampson actually black? I do not remember, in my upbringing, about that one.

      April 2, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  8. em2u

    I'd like to see a more realistic version of "The Bible" with this tele-evangalist playing Satan.

    April 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  9. AJ

    and Greeks and Romans believed in their god's with the same commitment as some people believe the Christian myth.

    April 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  10. peter

    As if we aren't already propagandized enough on the Idiot box this clap trap is promoted as history. I shouldn't be surprised, even the history taught in our schools is edited and shaped and in some cases made up. Not to ruffle and feathers here, but even the story of the Revolution is a fairy tale and if any one is interested in the truth it is easily verifiable. American Independence was granted by King George of England on December 22nd 1775 a full 6 months before the Declaration of Independence was signed. American live in a make believe world of fantasy. Ignorance of truth reigns supreme.

    April 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  11. Reality

    Joel, Joel, Joel,

    We are still awaiting your rebuttal to the following:

    Countering your curly hair and gift of thu-mping biblical nonsense :

    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.

    April 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • AJ

      Dear Reality...
      Buddism is a philopsophy not a religion. Their is nothing divine in the philosophy of Buddah, mearly practices of the mind. Whether or not an actual Budda existed is irrelevant. Though I admire your pragmatism, your exuberance has made you a bit close minded and ignorant.

      April 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • GonzoG

      Do not attack people's faith.
      Like attacking people's race, creed, color, ethnic background, or the fact that you think they "look funny"–articles of the faith they practice are not yours to critique.
      It's rude.

      Your mother should have taught you better.

      April 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:
      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      April 2, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  12. Atheist, me?

    Indeed some fundamentalist literalist evangelical theologians accuse him and a host of others for heresy while not doing half as much in evangelism, spirituality and charity. All they do is criticise others for wrong theology forgetting that is the least of Christ's worries!

    April 1, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • fintastic

      Christian = belief in imaginary beings. .....

      April 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  13. RJP3

    I draw the conclusion you are a greedy false prophet Mr. whatever your name is.

    April 1, 2013 at 9:46 am |
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    April 1, 2013 at 6:19 am |
  15. Larry Lindsay

    'The Bible" portrayed as a historical narrative failed immediately as the 'races' of people involved in that long ago narrative was totally false.

    April 1, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Proof that Jesus was a Caucasian Anglo white at prolapsed.net. See the light of white. God bless.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  16. Righteo

    Did you know that other Christian theologians have accused Osteen of Heresy?

    I personally would call that perm of his "hairesy", for truly it is an abomination.

    April 1, 2013 at 4:41 am |
  17. marilyn

    He is just another rich pastor that used religion to scam us all. He always plays the safe side so he won't offend anyone because that would mean less money.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Is it wrong for a Pastor to be rich?

      April 1, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • fintastic

      Is it wrong for you to lie about a non-existent god?

      April 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Is it wrong for a pastor to be rich?"

      It calls into question his true motives. Joel has found a money maker and he knows it.

      April 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Jesus was not a "prosperity preacher".

      Jesus did not say "God wants you to be rich"

      Jesus did say (paraphrasing) "Give away EVERYTHING you have and follow me."

      April 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  18. gary

    When are you coming out into the rainbow,Mr. Osteen?

    March 31, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  19. Joel Osteen

    Grease is the Word! My hair and I will never let you run short of either!

    March 31, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  20. pepito espino

    Cameron. if you, thought Rose`s st0rry is shocking, last monday I got a great new Mini Cooper after I been earnin $4313 this-past/4 weeks and also 10-k last munth. this is really the most financialy rewarding I've ever had. I started this 10-months ago and practically straight away startad making minimum $83 p/h. I went to this web-site,.......... BIT40. ℂom

    March 31, 2013 at 5:42 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.