August 10th, 2013
02:33 AM ET

'Breaking Bad' and the evil within us all

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - The other day I was asked in a radio interview why I’m still a Christian. Since I’ve never been shy about writing through my questions and doubts, the interviewer wanted to know why I hang on to faith in spite of them.

I talked about Jesus—his life, teachings, death, resurrection, and presence in my life and in the world. I talked about how faith is always a risk, and how the story of Jesus is a story I’m willing to risk being wrong about.

And then I said something that surprised me a little, even as it came out of my own mouth:

“I’m a Christian,” I said, “because Christianity names and addresses sin.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about sin lately because like many Americans I’ve gotten hooked on “Breaking Bad” and am plotting ways to avoid any sort of social interaction on Sunday night so I can catch the first of the final eight episodes of the award-winning AMC series.

What I love about “Breaking Bad”—besides its gripping plotlines, flawless character development, pitch-perfect performances, and the unmatched chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, is the way it traces teacher-turned-kingpin Walter White’s descent into total moral ignominy, one frighteningly relatable decision at a time.

5 questions 'Breaking Bad' must answer

Walter doesn’t start off with the goal of making millions and killing anyone who gets in his way. He just wants to survive at first. Then he wants to provide, then he wants to impress, then he wants to spite, then he wants to rule. His desires aren’t that different from yours or mine, really, and neither are his decisions.

In fact, Walter is at his most infuriating not when he’s cooking meth or even shooting a gun, but when he’s betraying a friend, indulging his vanity, engaging in truly staggering feats of self-deception, and using other people for personal gain … basically when he’s acting just like me on a given Tuesday morning.

Which brings me back to Christianity.

In Christianity, evil isn’t something that simply exists “out there” among thieves and murderers and meth makers. No, Christianity teaches the hard truth that the evil we observe in the world is also present within ourselves.

Racism, greed, misogyny, hatred, violence, inequity, selfishness, and pride all take shape within the human heart, so if we’re going to tackle injustice in the world, we have to start with ourselves. Christianity rejects the idea that we’re all okay.

The good news is that liberation comes not from climbing some holy ladder to try and escape sin on our own, nor from wallowing in shame and self-hatred because of it, but receiving the grace of God through Jesus and extending that grace to others.

This process begins with naming the evil within us and turning away from it—a process called repentance.

In one of the most riveting “Breaking Bad” scenes of all time, we see Jesse on the verge of such a moment as he indirectly confesses his most haunting transgression to his Narcotics Anonymous support group.

Unwilling to justify his sins like Walter, and desperate to stop numbing himself from them through drugs, Jesse gets frustrated with those in the group urging him to accept himself without judgment.

In a fit of frustration, Jesse cries, “So I should stop judging and accept? So no matter what I do, hurray for me, because I’m a great guy? It’s all good? What a load of crap …You know why I’m here in the first place? To sell you meth. You’re nothing to me but customers …You OK with that? You accept that?”

The group sits in stunned silence until the leader finally whispers, “No.”

I’ve heard from many addicts who say meetings like these are the closest thing they have to church because it’s the only place in the world where people tell the truth about themselves, even the ugly parts.

This is what the church calls confession.

Confession gives us the chance to admit to one another that we’re not OK and then to seek healing and reconciliation together, in community. It’s not about pointing out the sins of others, but acknowledging our shared brokenness, our shared capacity for destruction, our shared rebellion against what is beautiful and good.

I think this is one reason we find Walter White so compelling—and, for that matter, Dexter Morgan, Don Draper, and Piper Chapman. They may be meth dealers and serial killers and prison inmates, but what drives them isn’t all that different than what drives you and me.

Nor is the grace that would ultimately save us all.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Evans. 

Evans has written previously for CNN's Belief Blog, including: Why millennials are leaving the church; and Not all religious convictions are written in stone.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Opinion • TV

soundoff (1,137 Responses)
  1. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    She states that "The good news is that liberation comes not from climbing some holy ladder to try and escape sin on our own, nor from wallowing in shame and self-hatred because of it, but receiving the grace of God through Jesus and extending that grace to others."

    That is not "good news". That is stating that belief in some being is the first and most important action OVER treating others properly. Belief or unbelief should not need to be rewarded or punished...it is an immoral premise.

    August 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Don

      What you stated makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

      August 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • Pete

        You need to work on your reading comprehension Don.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • Roger that

        You should not be punished simply for not believing something, particularly not believing the coc.kamamy Jesus story.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Not sure what you are having a problem with Don. She is essentually saying that we (humans) cannot overcome our selfish and negative traits without a belief in the CHristian god. I say that is Cr@p and her premise is completely flawed, she is fractally wrong. If you dissagree...present your argument.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • R.M. Goodswell

        it was pretty clear.....

        Belief trumps action – The Church wants you and your check in the pew on Sunday, all other concerns are secondary – including 'sin'.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • Vic

        Don is right!

        August 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Vic, the failure to support the Christian postion with a cognative, rational argument is one of the big reasons I no longer count myself among your ranks. Don't feel bad though....I haven't heard any authority on Christianity succeed either.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Robert

          Vic all you did was prove you have poor reading comprehension too.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • Vic

          All what God wants from man is to believe in Him to be saved. He took the heavy burden off of our shoulders; it is a free pass. He knows we fail at every work of the flesh (including how we treat others) so He did not make them requirements for Salvation. That's how Graceful God is.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


          It is not a "free pass". I have to give my belief and devotion. It is the same as saying God has "unconditional love" for us....under certain conditions. It is oxymoronic. Christianity is selling Snake Oil.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Robert

          "All what God wants from man is to believe in Him to be saved."

          Since you are making the claim, prove your God exists and you can't use the bible because if you do then you will validate all the other thousands of religions that also claim to have holy writings.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Shawn

          "All what God wants from man is to believe in Him to be saved."

          That's why you have a rule book you have to follow, it's not just believe and be saved. It's also you have to buy into your cult and follow the rules or be kicked out.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • The truth


      Work on your reading comprehension.

      August 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Precisely, Blessed.

      August 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Henry

      And who are you?

      August 11, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Henry

      And who are you? Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      August 11, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Henry

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers- and who in hell are you?

      August 11, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Same question right back at you Henry.

        August 11, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • Henry

          I am not speaking to you Richard Cranium or whatever or whoever you are!!! Let cheesecake answer!!

          August 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  2. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "“I’m a Christian,” I said, “because Christianity names and addresses sin.” and no other religion or sect in the world does that. Oh, wait, hold on, it seems that every religion and sect does this... so why am I a Christian again? Oh yeah, that's right, because of where I was born and to whom.

    August 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Story telling are we..? Parabolic parabolas promiscuously parlor towards negative ambitions....

      August 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Why in the fvck would you use the adjective version of a noun to modify that exact noun? You're not stupidly stupid, are you?

        August 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • LMAO!

          Yes, this LL is a joke.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Sometimes I get the word and sometimes the word gets me... The perverted rationale usually gets more attentive innuendoes than just a mundane commentary... 😀

          August 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • LMAO

          No you are just demonstrating you're a joke and stupid poster.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Thank you for proving my point L&M of A&O... 👿

          August 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • LMAO!

          You didn't prove anything, you're just trying to make excuses for your stupid posts.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Vic

      If you read through the article, Rachel leads up to that Christianity acknowledges sin and evil are inherent in all of us and therefore provides the Free Gift of of Salvation by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      Here are quotes by her:

      "In Christianity, evil isn’t something that simply exists “out there” among thieves and murderers and meth makers. No, Christianity teaches the hard truth that the evil we observe in the world is also present within ourselves."

      "Christianity rejects the idea that we’re all okay."

      "The good news is that liberation comes not from climbing some holy ladder to try and escape sin on our own, nor from wallowing in shame and self-hatred because of it, but receiving the grace of God through Jesus and extending that grace to others."

      August 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • AE

        Yea, that is how I see it, too.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Huh?

        "If you read through the article, Rachel leads up to that Christianity acknowledges sin and evil are inherent in all of us and therefore provides the Free Gift of of Salvation by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

        Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

        For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

        Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

        It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

        Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our
        species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

        Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Sired huh..?

          What about dopamine's interactions within the neural networks..? Too much dopamine brings about schisms and too little..?

          August 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • Vic

          Morality is "built-in" in all of us, which is part of God's "Natural Revelation."

          Isn't ironic that it takes "sentience" and "common sense" to believe in God while it takes "rocket science" to disbelieve?!

          August 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Vic, I can't remember when I've hear a more stupid argument. It does not take "rocket science" to disbelieve in a being for which there is precisely ZERO evidence.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Pete

          "Morality is "built-in" in all of us, which is part of God's "Natural Revelation."

          Isn't ironic that it takes "sentience" and "common sense" to believe in God while it takes "rocket science" to disbelieve?!"

          All you demonstrated is that you have to be stupid to believe in your religion, cause that was a really lame argument.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Sired Vic...

          Moralizing subjective reasoning are everyone's concerns no matter one's stance upon their proportional dyslexia...

          August 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Vic

          Did you read the above "scientific analysis"?! by Huh??!

          August 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Vic

          Did you read the above "scientific analysis"?! by Huh??! That was for Cpt.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Shawn

          "Did you read the above "scientific analysis"?! by Huh??!

          Thanks for the laugh, typical Christian twisting what is written to try and justify their religion.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

          August 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that,

          I wish I had a quarter of that man's mental firepower on his worst day. Well into the scotch and rocks at times and still more coherent than me at my best.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • AE


          It really is quite simple. God doesn't require us to get a college degree to seek His will. I think He wants our hearts, not just our minds. I can't imagine any of our minds really impress Him.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Pete

          " I can't imagine any of our minds really impress Him"

          That's why men used their imaginations to come up with your god and create the back story for it. No, the minds of man are actually better than your god.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • AE

          I definitely think there is a great intelligence behind life and the universe. And that intelligence created human beings and thus their minds. This intelligence actually knows me better than I know myself. And this is actually a good thing to be aware of.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Pete

          Oh you're one of those new age religion people huh? The problem is you can't be a new age believer and a christian the two are not compatible, otherwise you'll end up in hell. If you don't know what I am talking about then you don't know the bible.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • AE

          Oh, no.

          I am a follower of Jesus Christ. If I am in hell, that is probably because I'm reaping the consequences of what I sow. Not because of your or some other Christian's interpretation of the Bible.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • G to the T

          If morality were only a matter of what's "built-in" then we would expect to see consistency across all peoples and times. We don't. In fact there isn't an act that most would consider "evil" that wasn't condoned (even endorsed) in a society at some point or another.

          Personally I prefer Buddhism – no reliance on nebulous terms like "evil" or "sin". Buddhism starts with suffering, and I don't think anyone could deny that suffering exists. Christianity sells an answer to a problem they created in the first place (the idea of sin).

          August 12, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  3. JG

    Thank you for the article. Thought provoking.

    August 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • The truth

      Not really.. same ole religious drivel with a sprinkle of self righteous indignation.

      August 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        So says the dribbler's truth... 😳

        August 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  4. Mopery

    What the hell kind of article is this? What does your belief in an invisible man have to do with Breaking Bad? One is a delusion, the other is an award winning television show. Keep your smug proselytizing to yourself, your kiddy fantasy of a malevolent tyrant deity who has created you ill, and commanded you to be well. Breaking Bad touches on the human condition without the need for some messianic superman flying in to save the day.

    August 10, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Vic

      It is a parable!

      August 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Sired Mopery...

      Does subservient divinities make you feel so uneasy that your gestured accolades dares bring upon these folks posting blamefully one's self justifications of bitterness sensations..? I iterate kindly yet I could bewail even as bitterly as your post does so declare yet I am holding in reserve my contempt in order for you to sensualize your worded usage...

      August 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • .

        Just another great example of why this poster is a pseudo intellect because of their really poor writing skills, don't bother reading their posts, just laugh and move on.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Thanks for bringing to light my commentary... 😳

          August 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Anon

      This is why this is the RELIGION blog, because it talks about religion. You don't like it? go search for articles elsewhere

      August 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Aghast

      @Mopery: If you deny a role for religion and morality, and insist that only Huh?'s mirror neurons have any control, then AMC is broadcasting a poison that will encourage everyone to become murderous sociopaths. Only when you allow for the idea of a "morality play" in which we hold up the example of bad behavior by others against our own ethical standards, does the show become acceptable.

      If you really (dis)believe that there is no place for religion or morality, aren't you obligated to try to stop the broadcast of these "behavioral viruses"?

      August 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • Robert

        "If you deny a role for religion and morality"

        Then you say

        "If you really (dis)believe that there is no place for religion or morality,"

        You don't need religion to be moral. Religion has proven over and over to be immoral itself and the definitions of morality have changed over time. Get an education.

        August 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  5. NorthVanCan

    Pure and utter HogWash as usual . Nothing she said has a leg to stand on. No logic or substance or reason. Nothing!
    Typical religious mumbo jumbo. Every time, All the time.

    Sound off Sucks.

    August 10, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  6. lamelionheart

    The troubles travailing one's mindsets ever are as prevailing mental issues be they positive or negative... Therefore the more one is negative the less one is positive and vice versa... Our emotionalisms are likened to one riding a rollercoaster... For the more one rides the more accustomed one becomes and the lessor one's sensations are aroused...

    Rollercoaster sensationalisms are positively and negatively woven within any prevailing mental crisis ultimately subduing one's amorous propensities when the occasion lessens and comes to a smoothness evening out from the ups and downs of socialistic metaphors sublimely tenacious episodic whirling ways... Being at peace with one's rollercoaster ride(s) is never truly anyone's outright ambition... Always seeking a higher rollercoaster hill with even lower valleys are what many folks endeavor to seek out....

    August 10, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  7. Robert Brown

    Very good Ms. Evans, before someone can come to God, they will agree with him about sin.

    August 10, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You have no verifiable method to know that you are "in agreement" with "god" who also provides no verifiable proof of his own existence. Imagination land can be fun if you give it your all.

      August 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Sired Brown...

      Though the devil-trees are sometimes witty, their branched limbs need pruning regularly... 😳

      August 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  8. Juanito

    Terrific article.

    For believers and non-believers alike, I think she hit the nail square on the head.

    No one is above or without sin. I akin It to everyone, including the pastor or preacher, in any church wearing a black sweater, holding a candle and saying, 'hello, my name is Juantio, and I'm a sinner'.

    The only thing that separates the believer from non believer isn't sin, but the fact the believer acknowledges their need for a savior, accepts Christ as the Savior, and turns away from the things that seperated them from Christ(otherwise known as sin).

    Then the believer gets to wear the t shirt that says, 'I'm a Christian, watch me stumble' because we're still in this world, just not of it. So we're prone to temptation and will not always overcome temptation. But as we stumble, our faith will catch us and bring us back to Him.

    That's the awesomeness of His grace. It's a free gift, and Jesus is especially fond of the 'scratch and dents' of this world, so that's terrific news for me!

    In His awesome Name and love, Juanito

    August 10, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • bostontola

      "The only thing that separates the believer from non believer isn't sin, but the fact the believer acknowledges their need for a savior"

      As a non believer, it isn't that I don't feel the need for a savior as much as there isn't a savior. I recognize the powerful romantic and alluring notion of a savior. I recognize that that meme has helped many people become better people and it comforts them in time of pain. Much like the beautiful notion of how nature makes us feel part of one organism in Avatar, it feels good and is a guide light, but it doesn't make it real.

      August 10, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • lamelionheart

        No two individualized relativisms are of sameness no matter how closely one seems them to be...

        August 10, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "No one is above or without sin."
      Since sin is a strictly religious concept, you have to adhere to the particular religion that considers a particular behavior a sin to be able to commit it. Atheists are incapable of sin.

      You said, "The only thing that separates the believer from non believer isn't sin, but the fact the believer acknowledges their need for a savior, accepts Christ as the Savior, and turns away from the things that seperated them from Christ(otherwise known as sin)."
      You call it a need, I call it a delusion.

      You said, "Then the believer gets to wear the t shirt that says, 'I'm a Christian, watch me stumble' because we're still in this world, just not of it."
      Would it be too much to ask for you to do your stumbling in private?

      You said, "That's the awesomeness of His grace. It's a free gift"
      It isn't free if you have to surrender your critical thinking skills.

      You said, "Jesus is especially fond of the 'scratch and dents' of this world, so that's terrific news for me!"
      The more damaged the sheeple, the easier it is to con them into buying into the baloney of religion.

      August 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  9. bostontola

    Of course you don't have to be Christian to realize that people's characters are a complex blend of noble and base. We value the benefits of living in a functioning society so we strive to accentuate the noble. But the base is there because that is what we came from evolutionarily.

    Christianity shed an important light on that noble goal historically. As Christianity grew in power, it inevitably got corrupted. Modern secular society also recognizes sin, we call them crimes. Our secular society is quite imperfect, but it is designed to limit power. I trust that power limiting structure much more than the religious power concentration structure.

    August 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • JR

      Christianity as a human organization certainly is corrupted. But that doesn't negate the existence of Jesus.

      August 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • bostontola

        I can't say if any god exists or not. I find any of the man made creation myths beyond belief and Jesus is attached to the biblical version. Any of those, which have significant factual errors and don't foresee then contemporary human knowledge, including Jesus, is beyond belief to me.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          How abysmally profane...

          August 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  10. Guy Baez

    If you require an imaginary friend to function in life, it's ok with me. Most people outgrow the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.

    August 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  11. Markus

    Jesus ordered his followers to abandon their wealth and their families, on pain of infinite torture. This is enough to put him in the same category as David Koresh, Jim Jones, Charles Mason, L. Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith. Imagine how weird and wrong a history and a civilization founded by their followers would be. Surely the greatest evil comes from those pretending to be superhuman.

    August 10, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      True. Any god who allows a place of eternal torture to exist when he could destroy it is a colossal azzhole.

      August 10, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Jon

        He gives us a choice between hell and heaven. If someone lands in hell, it's because they failed to choose God when given the chance. God isn't "forcing" anyone to go to hell, but he gives them a choice.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Pete

          Fear has been the greatest selling tool in human history, the writers of the bible created hell to bring in the fear factor to sell their god.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Jon, you didn't read very comprehensively.

          God is an azzhole because he could eliminate hell as an option for anyone and he doesn't. If god wants to be a non-azzhole, he should destroy hell. If when you come to my house, I give you the option of pizza or a fork in the left eye, I'm not being kind or gracious, I'm being a psychopathic criminal and a d!ck.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Vic

      That was only a "test of faith" for that man who asked Jesus Christ, and it is not a requirement. Also, Jesus Christ ministered to the Jews during the "Time Dispensation of the Law" which ended by the reign of the "Time dispensation of Grace."

      August 10, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Vic


        I am only addressing the "giving away wealth" part. The other points are just not true.

        August 10, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Markus

          "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. - Matthew 10:37

          The typical call for total obedience of any cult leader.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Markus

          Another indication of a cult leader preying on the desperate:

          "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." – Luke 14:26

          August 10, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • lamelionheart

          The biblical commentaries around one understanding their stand in life thru the denigrations by which one views life's wholesomeness within which one sees the negatives toward all life mannerisms is what seems to me your misinterpretation of your quoted scriptures... The fending for one's self should ever be your obligatory rationale...

          August 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • .

          lamelionheart is the belief blog pseudo intellect because of their poor writing skills, don't bother reading just laugh and move on.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • AE

          Jesus does not command his followers to abandon their families. Read what is said before and after those verses. Jesus is making a point about the level of commitment that one needs to follow him.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Jesus is just an attention w.h0re who went to the cross "for the glory that was set before him" and not any real care or concern for anybody but himself.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Tamara

      Jesus didn't preach hell. He never once threatened anyone with "infinite torture." That's a doctrine originating in Greek mythology that was picked up by Christians many years after Jesus.

      August 10, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Markus

        "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." - John 15:6

        Not 'do good or burn'. It's 'abide by me' or burn. Loyalty/faith is more important than actual good deeds: the typical demand of a cult leader.

        August 10, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • AE

          I think it is simply like this:

          Sin has power over me.
          Jesus has power over sin.
          If I accept Jesus power, I can reject sin's power.

          It is not God's will that I'm burned (and he said burned, not sent to eternal torture). But that is the natural consequence if I live my life without Jesus.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          You're ignoring Revelation 14:11 and many other verses that contradict your OPINION. But lemme guess, your god always agrees with your opinion, even when it disagrees with scripture?

          August 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • AE

          No. That is not true.

          "The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever," It doesn't say sent to eternal torture. The passage speaks of the individual dying. It speaks of their days alive as being torture... day after day. Until you die.

          Romans 6:23 that "that wages of sin is death," God is not a sadist that desires eternal punishment for everyone. But if you live in opposition to God, you will die, as if in a fire, and the smoke or your torment will ascend away.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Markus, that line sounds to me like it could be talking about earthly actions rather than an infinite hell (I did just look it up in context). I'm not sure if that would matter to your point, but I don't know that I'd read that as hell.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • Henry

        Jesus says in Matthew 10:8, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

        August 11, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Vic

      All what you are quoting are reference to Faith/Belief in Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that during the Ministry of Jesus Christ, the opponents were rebelling against Him. Also, Jesus Christ always spoke in parables. If you take those statements out of context, you miss the moral of them!

      August 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • LMAO!

        " Also, Jesus Christ always spoke in parables. If you take those statements out of context, you miss the moral of them!"

        LOL! No the writers of the bible wrote in parables, there's no proof this Jesus did.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • AE

        The parables are great at revealing truths. They have helped me face some uncomfortable truths about myself.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • Markus

          But why select this one particular set of stories and this one character? Emotionally appealing, morally respectable characters can be found in many stories.

          And don't lie to me about miracles or fulfilled prophecies. I can find them everywhere. It is a painfully simple point that we all understand when any other example is used:

          The Legend of King Arthur is not evidence for Merlin.
          The Greek Myths are not evidence for Heracles.
          The Epic of Beowulf is not evidence for Grendel.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • OTOH

          "The parables are great at revealing truths."

          So are Aesop's fables... and we are not required to think that those animals actually lived and spoke.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • OTOH

          p.s. Aesop's fables go back to 500-600 BCE. Buddha told many parables too, 500+ years BCE. Yes, they can be enlightening, but they were nothing novel to the alleged Jesus, nor is this evidence of "divine" inspiration.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • AE

          Jesus' parables, when put in context, reveal religious hypocrisies and God's will for followers of Jesus Christ. Other stories are useful for this, too. Yes, I agree. The author of this article demonstrates using another story. I hear pastors use other stories outside of the Bible often. A truth is a truth, no matter how it is revealed.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Pete

          " A truth is a truth, no matter how it is revealed."

          The definitions of truth have changed over time.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Myths provide truths through falsehood.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Jon

          If you are so confident that there is no God, then why waste time trying to defend that belief? It's as if you're subliminally trying to prove that to yourself as well as those on this blog. The reason Christians are trying to defend God is because Jesus wants us to proclaim the gospel. But your belief doesn't require any such notion, so why waste time?

          August 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I comment here because I don't think that unsubstantiated belief should be presented as fact. I respect truth and reality too much to allow them to be cast aside for the sake of religion.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Shawn

          "The reason Christians are trying to defend God is because Jesus wants us to proclaim the gospel. But your belief doesn't require any such notion, so why waste time?"

          You don't understand much about your religion do you. Christians are trying to force those beliefs on others, oppress others who don't believe in their religion. If you don't recognize that, then you are completely brainwashed.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          "The reason Christians are trying to defend God is because Jesus wants us to proclaim the gospel."

          That's exactly why we have to do what we can to limit that delusion spreading.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Jon, I would explain my motives to you if I believed you capable of understanding them. I understand you perspective because I've been there. Perhaps, one day, you will understand my perspective, and then, perhaps you will understand my motives.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Jon, people comment here for a lot of reasons. For many, debating is just fun. For others, they recognize the very real connection between beliefs and actions and politics and hope that by changing belief they can change the world. For others they want to learn about the thoughts of people they wouldn't normally meet (I, for instance, currently live in a place with almost no fundamentalists of any kind).

          August 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  12. Henry

    Jesus Christ reigns with the Church today on the earth, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit

    Satan and his demonic minions have power over all unbelievers, but not over those that abide in Christ, since we have Christ authority. Therefore the powers of darkness must obey us, since we have been crucified with Christ; is no longer we who live, but is Christ who lives in us. We have the power to say no to Sin, to say no to Self, to say no to the Flesh, to say no to the World, and to say no to Satan, who dwells under our feet, since the victorious risen Christ lives in us.


    August 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • truthprevails1

      "Satan and his demonic minions have power over all unbelievers, but not over those that abide in Christ, since we have Christ authority. Therefore the powers of darkness must obey us, since we have been crucified with Christ; is no longer we who live, but is Christ who lives in us."

      >What powers of darkness? And exactly who must those powers obey? How is it possible that you were crucified with christ when you didn't exist when he apparently lived?

      You live in a world where only 2 billion of the 7 billion residing here believe in your particular version of god....are the other 5 million wrong??? If so, how are you so certain?? The country you reside in is secular...the laws within are the only ones that matter.

      August 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • Henry


        August 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Satan has no power over me, since he is just a character from a story book.

      Watch out Henry, Valdemort will get you, and don't say beetlejuice three times, throw salt over your shoulder when you spill it, etc, etc, etcf.

      Understand this. When you say that people are in league with the devil or satan or whatever, since you have absolutley no evideence to support it (not the bibel, actual verifiable evidence), you are bearing false witness, which is one of your top ten no-no's.

      Apologize, then repent and beg your man made god for forgiveness.

      August 10, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Henry


        August 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
      • Henry

        As clearly seen by those who have eyes, there are two kinds of people living in the world side by side, the offspring of the devil and the offspring of God. The problem is how do you tell them apart since both have the same physical attributes. However, they differ in the inner part, the part that is unseen or the conscience, which is the awareness of one's moral conduct, urging to prefer right from wrong.


        August 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  13. Carlin123

    This article reminds me of a breakfast cereal slogan. I'm Coo coo for CoCo Puffs.

    August 10, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  14. Eric Folkerth

    And this column reminds me of one of my favorite quotes...

    "If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who among us is willing to destroy a piece of their own heart?"
    – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    August 10, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Anyone who values true love.

      August 10, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  15. Glen McGraw

    This reminds me of some on my thoughts on a show we have become hooked on: "Hell on Wheels". While a violent show, it is raw. They address the sin and evil around them. There is forgiveness and mercy, sometimes at a cost. There is where a Christian has a voice. Christian mercy is freely rewarded and unmerited. We call it grace.

    "Hell on Wheels" also shows judging people by their cover is dangerous. You find those who are the proverbial misfits of the town find love in some forgiving souls. This reflects the Christian belief of welcoming all.

    Can't say I've watched "Breaking Bad", but it sounds like a good parallel to "Hell on Wheels." Maybe you can replace your how as it goes off the air with a new one.

    August 10, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  16. Saraswati

    Ms. Evans seems to be under the impression that there are two perspectives in the world: Christianity and some sort of 1960s "Everyone and everything is good" hippy view. Does anyone actually know anyone who believes the latter? Every modern psychologist recognizes that people are fighting instincts and learned behaviors that could be harmful to others and secular ethics seek to reduce that harm. It seems that Ms. Evans has just set up a false contrast based on some imagined simpleton view in order to justify her own lazinessness about doing any real evaluation of her belief system.

    August 10, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Glen McGraw

      I find your statement about two "perspectives in the world" interesting. I reread the article three times and I don't see it.

      Christianity will most likely be healthier as people question their faith and work though difficult issues. Wrestling with faith is essential to the building of a strong one. So the "hippy view" you speak of is very healthy in some senses. It welcomes questioning, introspection, and builds upon the great command to love one another.

      The church is different than it was in the '50's. over the next 10 years there is a high likelihood the church will change radically – for the better I hope. We need to approach this new era with an open mind. There are many "right" ways to do church.

      August 10, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • AE

        I agree, Glen.

        –as people question their faith and work though difficult issues. -

        I think in some Christian circles, questioning faith is shunned. In my experience with Christianity, it is welcomed and encouraged.

        August 10, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • L.E.A.P.

      Guess what "saws" your secular ethics theory isn't working, it is what breeds evil men like A. Castro

      August 10, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • Saraswati

        Ariel Castro was a Christian who left his victims locked up to attend church. And no, I don't think that his religion made him what he was; that would be as silly as your own statement.

        August 10, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  17. AE

    I've been thinking about why I am a Christian lately, too. And I have also been thinking of the role of evil.

    Like most people, I strive to make reasonable and rational decisions. But there is something in this world that actually exists that makes no sense and that is illogical: evil.

    And yes, I can try to explain it as something that others do. But when I do what Jesus asks of me, there is evil that is exposed as coming from within me, too. And it really feels like I haven't sought this condition out, it is as if I have just inherited a disease.

    And today, I'm slowly learning what it really means that Jesus takes away the sin of the world. I've experienced this to be true. I'm still a work in progress and my willingness determines my progress. Some sins I won't let Jesus take. Like anger, for example. I like to use anger to justify my bad behavior and to feel superior to other people. But I'm working on this today.

    Anyway, great article Rachel.

    August 10, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      If evil is illogical, then so is good. They are two sides of the same coin. Truthfully, they are just words used to describe the same thing, and that is behavior. A man steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, to him he is good, to the person he stole from, he is evil.

      A group of religious fanatics slam airplanes into tall buildings, to them they are striking against evil, to us, they are the living embodiment of evil. Good and evil, there never is one without the other.

      August 10, 2013 at 8:55 am |
      • AE

        Ok, maybe logical wasn't the right term. I definitely believe seeking the good, and not the evil in this world is desirable.

        Most good things that happen I can understand and embrace. Evil things I can't understand and want to reject.

        August 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • Saraswati

        Richard, AE,

        I think you are using the word "Evil' in two very different ways, neither of which is the way I would use it. I don't think that any of us is right or wrong, as language is just a social construct, but to have a discussion without defining the terms seems pointless.

        When I say evil I mean something very strong. The word evil, as I use it, refers to actions taken either with the desire to inflict pain and suffering or with complete disregard for another's suffering, despite having it displayed directly in front of you. I use "selfish" for actions that disproportionately disregard the feelings and well-being of others, but are not intended to harm and are not done with utter disregard. I use "bad" or "unethical" for actions that decrease well-being, but may or may not be intentional. None of these are subjective terms, unlike Richard's evil which refers to personal or community morality. And my evil is again different from Richard's, which refers to a religious term, and I'm not quite sure how it lines up with modern psychology. The language belongs to all of us and there's no authority to give us a right definition, so it's up to use to be sure we define our terms, or to eliminate the problematic terms from the discussion. Every problematic term if definable should be able to be replaced by other words.

        August 10, 2013 at 9:28 am |
        • AE


          Good points and thanks for sharing.

          Yea, I can't make sense of evil, so I'm not surprised if I don't define it correctly. But I do know evil exists. And I know it is dangerous for me to pretend otherwise. Whatever people want to call it: the devil, darkness, sin, bad morals – it is out there. The Boston bombings, NFL Murderers, Darfur. And it also exists in subtle ways in my life: self-involvement, anger, arrogance. Depression, addiction, obsession. For me, there are forces that seek to defy good that swirl around me and even within me.

          August 10, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • Saraswati

          AE, I don't know that you defined it incorrectly; it's more that the word is kind of fuzzy and we all tend to use it in slightly different ways. I wonder, though, if a single word might be too broad for all the things you're talking about? I think when people talk about fighting their "demons" it might be somewhat more accurate in using a plural to refer to a large number of things that can cause differing negative impacts on self or others. (I'm assuming most people who use that term don't mean literal demons!)

          August 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • G to the T

          Nope. "Good" and "Evil" are completely subjective, human, terms. I (personally) don't believe in either in that respect. Certainly I believe in "right" and "wrong" but I also understand they are social constructs, not commandments carved into stone.

          August 12, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Vic

      Good and evil/bad are two opposite qualities. Good is a "positive quality" and bad is a "negative quality." That is the basis of "Morality," which is "built-in" in us.

      August 10, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  18. Saints, sinners and demons

    How to receive the gift of forgiveness from God?

    By Confession, repentance and transformation!

    Neatly written opinion piece!

    August 10, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • AE

      –By Confession, repentance and transformation!–

      Yes! And in my experience this is just the beginning. I can't presume that by simply examining and confessing my sin that all will be well. That my resentments, pride, fits of anger, lust, materialism, gossiping, arrogance, and selfish ambition will simply disappear.

      In my life God did not instantly remove the desire to repeat those sins by virtue of my efforts. The next phase of my battle involves my mind: my will. Am I willing to give up all my sins?

      August 10, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • midwest rail

      Contemporary evangelical Christians speak of the transformation of being "born again". One would assume that this transformation would be dramatic and telling. Why then is so much of this group characterized by arrogance, condescension, and hatred ?

      August 10, 2013 at 9:42 am |
      • AE

        For me, I have to daily seek God's will. Perhaps some people have a sudden and dramatic rebirth into spiritual perfection, but not me.

        I think some people, since God forgives sins, feel they are now free to sin. And that is where arrogance and such things are birthed from.

        I think this is abuse of God's grace and is causing us to live in rebellion toward God. Paul asked this rhetorical question:

        "Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?" His response" "May it never be!"

        So, for someone like me, when sins are exposed in my life I can either continue to live in sin. Or stop sinning.

        I'm promised that Christians have the power to not sin. It may not happen all at once for me, but I'm committed to changing.

        August 10, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • midwest rail

          AE – thank you for the honest reply. We may disagree on plenty of things, but you seem to be a committed individual – introspection to change one's behavior is a good exercise no matter the person's faith.

          August 10, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • AE

          Thanks, I appreciate it.

          I feel encouraged to face some honest introspection, or else I'm left to suffer the consequences of my actions, decisions and ideas (and that is not a fun way to live). In other words, I'm kind of a screw up and need help!

          August 10, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        being born again implies a rebirth .the new born is filled with an innoscense and purity . Unfortunatly, over time ,life's problems and other's influenses can erode and reshape the new person into something different.The initial state can be changed into something altogether different.That's why its important to seek God and his truth daily .

        August 10, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • CCOhio

        As a Christian, I have found that transformation is a lifelong process rather than instant perfection. Unfortunately it takes a lot of Christians a long time to really get this. My life is a continual purging of the evil/darkness mentioned in this article. The further I get in the process, the easier it is for me to identify and name it. When I give name to it, God is able to begin transforming it. The problem is many Christians believe they are already "good." They come across as arrogant, judgmental hypocrites. But those Christians also live under the belief that perfection is necessary for salvation. What I have come to know is that this that God loves all of us as we are, even with all of our evil/darkness. He only wants us to turn to Him so that He can begin his transformation process. This is the truth He has called us to spread to the world. But a church that doesn't really believe/understand this can't possibly spread it.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I imagine it's a pleasant living for those, like you, who feel so privileged.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
        • CCOhio

          Cpt. Obvious. I'm not sure how you got "privileged" from that particular post. The whole point I was trying to make is that God's love is for EVERYONE and not those who believe they can make themselves "perfect." I don't believe any of us deserve anything. But I do believe in a God who freely gives to ALL who are willing to receive.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Aren't you privileged to have found the correct path and know the truth above those who are not so privileged to posses such knowledge? Doesn't that a.s.surance give you comfort and peace? When is the last time you worried that you might be wrong? The muslims I know feel the same way as you do, by the way.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • CCOhio

          You are wrong to assume I never have doubts. I believe that true faith is born through wrestling with doubt. Honestly, when I hear of terrible things that happen in this world, my first reaction is one of anger. I have had many conversations with God that may surprise you. I think the big difference between Christianity and other religions is that it allows for those kinds of honest conversations to occur because it is not about being "good" or making myself "good." It has always been in the difficult moments when I have been afraid and full of doubts that God has most shown up in my life. That is why I choose to trust Him.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • AE

          Ohio, I like to think of it as progress not perfection.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • CCOhio

          Absolutely, AE. One of my favorite quotes about Christianity is "Christianity is not about good people trying to get better, but more closely about bad people who are coping with their inability to be good." Tullian Tchividjian I think that is what makes it different from other religions. The sad shame is that many people...even many Christians don't understand this.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • AE

          Part of the blame has to do with people trying to use Christianity for political gain. It usually ends in failure. I can be guilty of doing that, too. I strive to seek humility and not go down that path.

          But we have to deal with the bad reputation. It is deserved in some ways. But not totally fair. God can use our failures, too, so I'm not going to worry.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Pete

          Typical xtian making things up for the short comings of their god.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Vic

      "Confession" is by the mouth and heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, "repentance" is by in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior, and "transformation" is by being born again in the spirit. Beyond that, we all have the same state of the corrupt mortal flesh.

      August 10, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • Sefora

        Great point! Without Christ those three are impossible for mankind.

        August 10, 2013 at 10:16 am |
        • evolvedDNA

          Sefora.. humans existed and thrived long before JC appeared in mythology.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • Vic

          God Almighty, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit, always IS. Since the inception of man, man is under God.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • ALD

        I see zero evidence that evangelical Christians have been "transformed". They are just as power-hungry, angry, judgmental, rigid, and self-righteous as anyone else on the planet.

        If Christianity is the way to address sin, it's obviously not very effective. I'll keep looking (and let me guess – the next post will be someone threatening me with eternal hell...that is what is typical – if you can't control 'em, threaten 'em.

        August 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Jonathan


          Do not forget that in every walk of life (even Christianity) there are pretenders and deceivers. If what you say is true, that you have seen no transformation, than by your words alone you have marked that person as a pretender/deceiver. Don't just label this as a no true scottsman fallacy. A Christian is marked by their actions, their speach and by the way they live their life.

          People deceive themselves much more often, and more easily, than anyone else.

          August 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • G to the T

        Sorry but all three only really make sense in a christian mindset and for those of us outside of it, they carry almost no meaning...

        August 12, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  19. John Stefanyszyn

    Miss Evans
    ...many different people....many different sins.....but all have a common starting point....the desire to serve and magnify "oneself"....the XES.

    All believe that their acts are justified and right in their own eyes...all believe that it is right to be free to do one's own will...freedom of self rights.

    BUT Christ, the Son of the One God, said that one is to SERVE the Will of the One God.

    AND it is Only Christ that will rule according to the Will of the Father and not according to the "freedom will" of man.

    August 10, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Which one god? There are thousands of gods, many of them are the one god.

      August 10, 2013 at 8:08 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Why does it matter what you call him? "The Great White Spirit" ,"Yaweh", "Allah", God hears all these people and understands all languages.

        August 10, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          It matters to the followers of each of those different gods.

          August 10, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • evolvedDNA

          Ingtumthnkr..its a pity them that he ,she or it has so many interpretations of its "words of wisdom"..It is precisely that lack of clarity and ambiguity that has forced the many religious sects to all claim they have the correct interpretation and we are seeing the consequences today.

          August 10, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  20. Reality

    Naming the sins before Christianity or Judaism:

    Many OT, NT and koran thu-mpers are actually thu-mping the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

    "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

    I have not reviled the God.
    I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
    I have not done what the God abominates . . .
    I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
    I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
    I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
    I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
    I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
    I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
    I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
    I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
    I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
    I have not blocked the God at his processions."

    "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

    August 10, 2013 at 7:40 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.