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Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?
Phil Robertson of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" has been suspended for his comments on homosexuality.
December 20th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - The Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has rallied around its patriarch, saying his controversial comments on homosexuality are "grounded in the teachings of the Bible." But Scripture is fiercely contested ground, and some experts say Phil Robertson misinterprets a key Bible verse.

A&E, the network that broadcasts the hugely popular "Duck Dynasty" show, suspended Robertson for a now infamous interview with GQ magazine. In the article, Robertson, who became a born-again Christian in the 1970s after a prodigal youth, is asked to define "sin."

Here's what Robertson says: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

Robertson, 67, then paraphrases a Bible passage from the New Testament: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”

That's a pretty close citation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which is a letter from Paul, often called the father of Christianity theology, to a fledgling Christian community in Corinth, Greece.

Here's what Paul's passage says, as rendered in the New International Version, by far the most popular translation among evangelicals and conservative Christians such as Robertson:

"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the U.S. population, tend to take that passage at face value. The Robertson family pastor, for instance, told CNN on Thursday that "the verse explains itself."

Robertson himself is no religious neophyte. He's an elder in the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ and offers spiritual counseling, charity and Bible studies to many in his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana, the family pastor, Mike Kellett told CNN.

The "Duck Dynasty" star also preaches around the country to conservatives that flock to hear his blend of woodsy, plainspoken Christianity.

Many conservatives backed Robertson's views on Scripture and homosexuality this week, if not the "crude" way he argued his point to GQ.

My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality

But other Bible experts said the Scripture Robertson cited isn't quite clear about homosexuality.

"A lot of people misread this text because it's so complicated," said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

First, scholars say, we have to look at the context surrounding Paul's letter.

The Christian leader is trying to get the quarreling Corinthians to stop taking each other to civil courts and being judgmental. "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already," Paul says.

Things were supposed to be different after they became Christian believers, Paul continues; they were supposed to stop their sinful ways.

Then Paul lists some of their sins of the past, including greed, drinking too much, worshipping idols and sexual immorality. "That is what some of you were," Paul says. "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

The list of sins is likely based on rumors that Paul heard about Corinth, says Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania who has studied the Bible's teachings on homosexuality. Bible scholars call it a "vice list," and it appears several times in Scripture.

So what does Paul's "vice list" say about homosexuality? That's the tricky part.

The first word Paul uses is "malakoi," which means "soft" in Greek, according to Allen. By analogy, the word came to mean "effeminate," which is how the King James Version of the Bible translates it.

"In the ancient world, it would refer to a boy in a relationship with an older man," Allen said. "It was pederasty, not homosexuality as we think of it today."

The other relevant word on Paul's "vice list" is "arsenokotai," which means "male sex." It refers to the other half in the man-boy relationship, common in Greece at the time, Allen said, the older male having sex with the "soft one."

"It isn't anything to do with what we would see today in an intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults," said Allen, who is co-authoring an upcoming book on homosexuality and heterosexuality in the church.

My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality

Even so, scholars such as Allen acknowledge there are no Bible passages that support same-sex relationships, and at least seven that appear to condemn gay sex.

"There's no way around the fact that those passages take a negative view of homosexuality, and nowhere in the Bible is a positive view offered," Allen said. "So conservatives and liberals continue to debate."

Liberals say that some parts of the Bible offered particular truths for a specific times and places but those times and places, as well as human understanding of sexuality, have progressed dramatically.

"The Bible may be divinely inspired, but its authors were human and saw, as St. Paul puts it, through a glass darkly," said Jim Naughton, a Christian gay rights activist and communications consultant. "On the subject of homosexuality, the Bible doesn’t mean what Phil Robertson thinks it means."

Conservatives such as Robertson, on the other hand, argue that the Bible is the bedrock of their faith, unchanging and unalterable. "We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word," the Robertson family said Thursday.

For decades, the gulf between the two sides has divided denominations, churches and families. To paraphrase Lincoln, both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke his aid to argue against each other. Which is why our contemporary debate over homosexuality is so fierce, and so seemingly unending.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • gender issues • Prejudice • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality

soundoff (5,719 Responses)
  1. Terry

    Many defenders of phil's philosophy have non pro-creation relations with their spouses in the bedroom, that is a uncomfortable subject that is not addressed and talked about in that crowd.. biblical morality starts in your own bedroom

    December 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • igaftr

      If you read the bible, you would know that "biblical morality" is an oxymoron.

      December 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Don

        If you understood it, you wouldn't think so.

        December 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • FTC

          If it was the word of god, it wouldn't need to be understood.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • MR

          If you didn't worry so much what other people are doing in the bedroom, you'd be happier...if you stopped trying to legislate it, I'd be happier.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  2. Dave Henderson

    Some of you whom live in darkness should read your bible more. Read Leviticus chapter 18: verves 22- 24 what the God that created all things including you says about HIS standards for people to live by. Also you can turn a few pages to chapter 20: verses 10 through 23 for even further condemnation of these immoral practices. Jesus Christ came calling for people to repent and be saved. I Corinthians 6:verses 9 through 11 that the people that commit these abominations and do not repent and turn from them have made a choice that dooms them to fiery pit, hell. Their choice.

    You learned one's talk about Phil Robertson's credentials as a bible scholar. That he is just a uneducated man. Maybe you should look at the 12 disciples that Jesus chose to spread the "good news" to the world. All were just common fishermen, one was a tax collector, couple of farmers and Jesus Himself was just a carpenters Son born with nothing. Phil Robertson is just a uncommon man in a common world standing on God's Word.

    I say this, repent of your sinful ways and follow Jesus.

    Dave Hendersaon

    December 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • igaftr

      So you are a christian supremacist.

      Everyone else is wrong, I'm right. The bible says I'm right, and I know the bible is right, because the bible says so.

      Zeus can get pretty jealous...he might not take too kindly to you worshipping the wrong god.

      December 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Dave? Prove that your god exists. Then maybe your comments will have some credibility.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • MR

      Um, Dave? You know that Leviticus was written for Levite priests, right? Not for the general public. Levi priests. Them. Not everyday people. Not women. Not men who aren't Levi priests. Just for Levite priests.

      Stop using Leviticus as your tool against gay people. It's ridiculous.

      Jesus said NOT ONE WORD about gay people. Nada. Nyet. Zero.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • james

        MR, actually Jesus compared the time of Lot to the time when he will end all this madness and we know why that time and place was mentioned, The immorality was the reason for the destruction of those places and it was clear what kind of perversions were taking place. So just like in the time of Noah and Lot something has to be done.

        December 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Realist

      --------------
      ...................................................

      Christianity is built upon a LIE ...

      ................ because ....................

      ..... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ...................... http://www.EvilBible.com

      -----------------
      .............................................................

      December 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Seems I upset someone. Allow me to re-phrase:

      Go away and get professional help for your delusions.

      December 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Thomas

    bring them out unto us, that we may know them: Gen. 19:5 .
    Thou shalt not lie with mankind … it is abomination: Lev. 18:22 . ( Lev. 20:13 . )
    There shall be no … sodomite of the sons of Israel: Deut. 23:17 .
    declare their sin as Sodom: Isa. 3:9 . ( 2 Ne. 13:9 . )

    men … burned in their lust one toward another: Rom. 1:27 .
    nor abusers of themselves with mankind: 1 Cor. 6:9 .
    them that defile themselves with mankind: 1 Tim. 1:10 .
    as Sodom and Gomorrha … going after strange flesh: Jude 1:7 .

    December 21, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • FTC

      "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." – Stephen Roberts

      What's your point?

      December 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • vinster76

        I wish I had a dollar for every time I have read that idiotic quote from Stephen Roberts, as if Roberts has some knowledge the rest of humanity doesn't......It's like quoting Voltaire or Russell, mere men who were expressing their faithless minds.......I will trust Jesus over them all. He is the only one worthy of listening to........

        December 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You trust what MEN wrote about Jesus....

          December 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • FTC

          vinster76,

          In your opinion. Because that's all you've got. I prefer rationality and logic. Roberts opinion is just as valid as your "jesus".

          And BTW, "WISHING you had a dollar" seems a lot like the idolatry and the worship of money...

          “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

          December 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Thanks for proving proving the truth of what you would like to be false. Now, why do you believe jesus is the one and only when there are so many other alleged, and also unproven, gods to follow?

          December 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • AY

      Thomas: You've given these unbelievers the scriptures to look up. Let them take it from there. We can only hope they will have a change of heart and listen – before it's too late for them. We know we're in the last days and Satan is really putting on the pressure globally. Shake the dust from your shoes, pick back up your torture stake and keep following Jesus. You've done your job here.

      December 22, 2013 at 5:17 am |
      • tallulah13

        Christians have been claiming it's the end days for 2000 years now.

        December 23, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  4. mindstorms1

    The interesting thing about the bible is it can be interpreted to justify some of the most inhumane actions. It was used to justify slaughtering those of different faiths, enslaving people, denying people certain rights because of their gender etc..

    December 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  5. Dan

    I have yet to meet or hear of anyone from the Christian conservative community who takes the entire Bible literally word for word.The conservatives merely pick and choose what they want to hear.They are hypocrites.A more consistent reading of the Bible enlists the more accurate assertion that the Bible is a reflection of the times it was written.

    December 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • karl from az

      Glad to meet you, Dan! Obviously, you know little or nothing about God, about His Holy Spirit, about His Word, the meaning of Salvation or the meaning of any of it. I am under no obligation to justify my beliefs to you, nor do I stand before you to be judged by you. You are free to believe whatever you want to about me and my beliefs, or say whatever you choose to say about me and God. Because, at the end of our lives, I will stand and give an account of my life before the creator and you will give an account for yours. Regardless of whether you believe that or not, it doesn't matter, it will not change what is, what will be and what is to come.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • JustaSlob

        How old is the earth?

        December 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Name* hrevo

          I'm assuming your referring to the Christian claim that the earth is only 5000 years old or whatever it is. I don't think the bible says anything about how old the earth is, and I don't know any religious people who claim to know. Some of them even side with the big bang theory, which itself is being challenged by scientists.

          in my opinion, whether you are a man of god or a man of science, your guess of how old the earth is is only a guess. Just when you think your right, new research will prove everything you think you know wrong.

          December 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • steve

      YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT ! IF YOUR GAY AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN ,THEN YOUR BIBLE IS YOUR ROAD MAP. IF YOU READ YOUR ROAD MAP, YOU KNOW WITHOUT A QUESTION ,THAT YOUR GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION . IF THAT OFFENDS A GAY PERSON ,THAN HE LOVES HIMSELF AND HIS SIN ,MORE THAN HE LOVES HIS GOD. OVER TIME ,THE ROAD MAP IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE JUST TO REFLECT THE TIMES!

      December 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • magnius159

        When a sinner sins, it is between him and God. What you should do in turn is to love one another as God has loved us.

        December 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • sam

        Gluttony is a sin too – get off the internet and go screw your fat wife.

        December 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  6. JakeAZ

    while everybody seems to be in an uproar over this duck dynasty bs...it makes me proud to be american. phil robertson is free to speak his mind and did...and will. A&E is free to conduct their business in a way the they feel benefits them. and fans of phil robertson are free to boycott A&E. can't you feel the freedom? lets rejoice.

    December 21, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  7. Adam Smith

    Little men using the Bible to advance their small causes and God's name to justify their own prejudices. These self-professed 'Christians' have nothing to do with Christianity.

    December 21, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • bostontola

      It's funny, while I don't believe in an invisible man in the sky, I do believe in the invisible hand.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • Adam Smith

        What these people faking Christian faith don't understand is that the Bible and Christianity is the means of interaction between you and God – the only reality that matters. It's not about what other people do or not do – the judgment about that is reserved to God, not some yahoos who claim they know what God's judgment is. It's about your personal relationship and your personal salvation. It has nothing to do with other people's deeds or misdeeds. This is the position a true Christian adept takes. Those who try to condition behavior of others by using 'threats' from the Bible are simply people on the power trip who lack true faith.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • FTC

          Now that's a position I can respect. Don't agree with, but can respect.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • bostontola

          You can't be certain that there is no god, but you can be certain that the Christian doctrine and dogma are false, the evidence is in the bibles.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • Correna

          Amen!

          December 21, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • james

      This issue is about what is coded in the bible.
      Gay is coded as SIN.
      It is also about the deceivers promoting that it is ok to commit a SIN.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • Adam Smith

        No, the deceivers try to claim they know what the Scripture means. They know that no better than a street drunk.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • igaftr

        james
        Isn't it a sin to allow someone else to take your just punishment?
        We go to a lot of trouble to make sure we punish the guilty, not a proxy.

        How do you justify the sin of allowing another to take your punishment in order for that person to suufer for your sins.....sort of a catch 22 thing.
        Christianity is immoral at the outset for that one reason.

        December 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  8. Jesus' Beloved

    Derek Prince "When we confront the Scripture we confront the authority of God Himself"
    This would not be a wise thing to do since God tells us in 2 Tim 3:16-17 ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    Not Some Scripture.... ALL Scripture is God Breathed, and God doesn't waste His breath.
    They are life and light and truth.
    This is your manual for an abundant life, in all areas.

    God Bless.

    December 21, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • igaftr

      So it is true that you can test you wife's fidelity by having her drink magic water mixed with dust from the floor?

      There are MANY other passages in the bible that are cleraly false.
      Just because you WANT them to be true, does not make it so.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • FTC

      I agree with you.

      "And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights."

      Exodus 21 7-11

      So, how much for your daughter?

      December 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  9. bostontola

    This controversy shines a bright light on why we should appreciate our secular Government.

    It doesn't matter what the original author of the bible meant, which interpretation is used, etc., all that matters is what US law and the Consti.tution says.

    The morals enforced by our system is far superior to that in the bibles. US law allows individuals to be themselves as long as they follow the law. The bible makes many behaviors that are no one else's business punishable by an eternity of pain. In US law, penalties are proportional to the crime, you can't be guilty by association. The bible and its God punishes generations of transgressors. Biblical morality is barbaric and since it is the word of God, it can't improve over time as new insights are learned through science and debate.

    Thank goodness we don't live in a Christian country.

    December 21, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Austin

      its sad that you would reject salvation for just a more greedy sense of freedom. that you would rather be cut off from the Creator and drag others along with you. .

      This is a spiritual war where people perish for lack of knowledge and understanding. you can be the most moral person around but if you despise the savior, you can not take part in HIs blessings.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • Drake

        There is more than your religion in this world.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • bostontola

        Austin,
        I sincerely appreciate your concern. Happy holiday.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • igaftr

        Austin
        nogomain created everything, including himself, who he created out of nothing. Sounds more powerful than YOUR god.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • bob

      Law?? What law??
      signed,
      King Barry the Moronic

      December 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Your post reveals the fear of your heart.
      However, reading the Bible you would have known that this fear is unfounded.

      God already punished sin in the body of His Son Jesus. The issue of sin has been dealt with.

      Because Sin has been judged and punished already doesn't mean it's not a transgression against God. It's still a transgression against God to knowingly sin and to continue in it.
      A person who knows the wages of sin and continues to sin leaves an open door into their lives for the devil to enter and mete out the wages of sin to them.
      When one continues in sin, that sin through the accusations of the devil will allow them to be separated from God, that is why when bad things happen to them instead of using the word of God and seeing things for how they are, they fall prey to the devil and think God is against them, when God has always been for them.

      Before you knew you needed a savior Christ died for you. You are the most important person to Him.

      God Bless you and reveal himself to you in a powerful way.
      So it's not God who is punishing an individual for their sin.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • bostontola

        It is my reading of the bible that revealed it's injustice and immorality. I conclude from reading it that while I can't be sure there is no god, I'm sure that Christian doctrine and dogma are false.

        December 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • Doyle Cannon

        Amen

        December 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  10. Motarr

    "A lot of people misread this text because it's so complicated," said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky."

    It is only complicated to those who have a vested material interest (interpretive book sales) in complicating it.

    O. Wesley Allen, Jr. is the Associate Professor of Homiletics and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary. An ordained United Methodist elder, he has served as a pastor and campus minister. He is the author of several books, including Good News from Tinyville, Preaching Resurrection, Reading the Synoptic Gospels, and Preaching and Reading the Lectionary. http://www.chalicepress.com/Author.aspx?AuthorID=169

    December 21, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  11. Jeb

    May of the vile comments remind me of the phrase "casting pearls before swine'. May have expressed opinions, but the only way to understand the bible is to study it in depth. Most comments show strong emotion, but a complete lack of study.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • truthprevails1

      The quickest path to disbelief is to read the bible, so please do...we welcome more rational minds in this world. 🙂

      December 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Austin

        the natural mind says what you have said. But unlike unspecial Israel who were a vehicle for God to deliver the world through atonement, other rational Bible rejecting individuals were simply the recipients of a supernatural call.

        example , Paul the apostle directed the killing of Christians. another example of 'God is bigger than unbelief"

        is Tamar, who was part of the bloodline of Christ, she prost.ituted herself to her father in law, Judah.

        our unrighteousness and unbelief, disobedience, is smaller than divine truth and resurrection.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • sam stone

          the natural mind sees one thing

          austin's mind sees another

          he was dropped on his head several times,

          or damaged it through much alcohol

          December 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • Saraswati

        We definitely see less religiosity with every increase in literacy and language skills. A solid general education is a big help in getting a good perspective on the bible.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Austin

          Saraswati, is a secular system that that rejects God the author of life, smart?

          again, you cant' measure spiritual power. you can reject spiritual freedom however.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Yes Austin, it is well noted that nations with higher secular populations tend to be better educated; more peaceful.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • FTC

      Many of the passages in the bible remind me of "Fantasy Island".

      December 21, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Sue

      Jeb, you might want to cite a few of those "vile" comments. Maybe you should take a closer look and think about what you should infer from them. It is notable that in several studies, it has been shown that atheists generally know the bible in much more depth and detail than Christians do.

      Give that some thought, in more depth.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • Jesus' Beloved

        One may know the Words of the Bible (believer, nonbeliever)... however, it takes the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom) to understand the Bible.
        That is the reason many read but don't understand, they are the ones who talk about contradictions etc.

        How does one obtain revelation without relationship?

        The Bible is man's guide to an abundant life. Everything he needs for any and every situation is found right there in God's Words to him. His Words are life and light and truth.

        Be Blessed in Jesus' name.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • igaftr

          Every religion makes the same claim, and has just the same chance that they MIGHT be right, amid an infinite number of other possibilities.

          You are a christian supremacist...something your christ would have an issue with.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • laceydon

        I've spent a lot of time over several decades interacting with atheists. Yes, some know the stories of the Bible – particularly the puzzling one – quite well. But almost none have understood the Bible. They consistently fail to use the most common principles of reading anything – newspaper, informational texts, poetry, narrative, etc. In particular they neglect or ignore context. If you don't consider context, even the daily newspaper can be misunderstood. In fact, ignoring context may be the whole reason for the brouhaha over this Internet story. So do atheists know the Bible? No really.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • igaftr

          Yes. athesist tend to know the bible in far more depth than christians.

          That is one reason they reject its contents as myth. That and the clearly false stories that scientific data has proven wrong.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • Motarr

          Yes, Lacey. Context is important. But Jesus' Beloved states a fact. Without the regeneration that comes by grace through faith and without the inspiration of the Counselor, all Bible study is in vain.

          A seminary degree and a list of published works concerning the Bible does not a Christian expert make. Spending time with Christ will enhance time spent with atheists.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • igaftr

          Motarr
          beloved states OPINION...not fact.

          It could be that Quetzlcoatl will be most angry with him for worshipping the wrong god all these years.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          If you get 10 different christians in a room you will get 10 different versions of "context". You claiming atheists don't understand "context" is hillarious. According to your argument the only ones who don't believe lack understanding, apparently in order to understand "context" you have to accept the claim....that is a ridiculous argument, unless circular reasoning is employed. Then it makes sense.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Motarr

          Iga,

          Without the regeneration that comes by grace through faith and without the inspiration of the Counselor, all Bible study is in vain. It's a fact.

          December 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • igaftr

          for it to be fact, you would require some concrete evidence.

          What is your evidence? Verifiable and corroborated evidence.

          Otherwise it is opinion.

          December 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Motarr

          Iga,

          "The most common form of evidence is the testimony of witnesses."
          http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Evidence

          December 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You don't have the testimony of witnesses, you have hearsay. Hearsay is not accepted as evidence.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Motarr

          "Hearsay is a statement, made out of court, offered in court to prove the truth of the matter asserted. The statement may be oral or written, or it may be nonverbal conduct intended as an assertion..."

          "A witness can be a person who actually viewed the crime or other event at issue, or a witness can be a person with other relevant information..."

          http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Evidence

          December 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  12. Jenny

    my thoughts are my own

    December 21, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  13. Randy

    The verses in the bible are like astrology readings. Everyone reads into them what they want to read into them. If there really was a god he most certainly would have made his message clearer to understand. Instead, you literally have more different Christian Sects than you do sentences in the bible. That's because each sect interprets the words differently and have a different understanding of them. They can't all be right, can they. But they can all be wrong.

    The bible was written by men. It was edited by men. It is interpreted by men. Just because you claim they had divine inspiration does not make it so. Jim Jones, Charles Manson and David Koresh also claimed to have a direct connection and to speak to god.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      That's right, it is a religious version of a Mexican stand off with bibles. No one can demonstrate they are correct but most claim to be on the side of Ultimate authority.

      December 21, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • Austin

        there is authority in Christ, not in the individual.
        that is the only thing that matters, the confusion is to be expected. Paul and Peter were confused.

        if you read the bible, you see that all these accounts are ALL, about doubt, confusion and sin. But the Redeemer is faithful and His promises are never failing.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You didn't say anything Austin, as usual. There are at least 33,000+ different "versions" of Christ and there is no reason to think ANY of them are correct. Especially yours.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • bostontola

          There is no authority in science, that is why it can improve with time. Authority stunts learning and improvement.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Kev

      How do you know that every single religious POV is wrong?

      December 21, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        The real question is how do you know any are correct?

        December 21, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • Kev

          Actually, that's not the question. The question still hasn't been answered.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Then the answer is "I don't know" and there is no justification to believe any of them.

          December 21, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Kev

          So then I take it that you have tried it for yourself even prayed

          December 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh yes Kev, I was a believer, I was scared of the devil and I bought into the whole thing. I prayed for guidance and got not real answer. In fact I was at a point that you seem to be where I figured that everyone had to come up with it themselves. But that lead to the realization that I was just "making it up" myself. That is not a path to what is true, it is a path to self-delusion.

          December 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • Randy

        No one made the claim that every single one was wrong. I simply said they can't all be right. If you think you have it right though, what makes you believe that? Why, out of the tens of thousands of different Christian Sects and the millions of different individual interpretations in the bible, what makes you think that you got it right? What makes you so special?

        December 21, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • Kev

          As far as providing proof of fact is concerned, I can't think of any way. But then again perhaps God intended it that way. If God wants us to develop a faith in him instead of just flat out knowing, then perhaps the only way to find out is to search for it ourselves and perhaps even pray to find out.

          Now there is probably many who have already done that and as a result there are many differing POV's out there, so then how do you know whether or not the answer they got is legit or even whether or not those who actually claimed to receive an answer actually did get an answer? Again, as far as providing conclusive proof one way or the other I can't think of anyway. Perhaps it's like someone who has never tasted salt before who asks you what salt tastes like: what would you tell that person?

          Perhaps in the end the only way to know can only be done on an individual and personal level. If you then tell others that they should do the same and that they claimed to have done so, but got a different answer than you did, you really have no way of knowing that one way or the other. All that you know is what you experienced. It does all seem to boil down to finding out for yourself and perhaps that may be that's why we are living in this world of uncertainty; to find out for ourselves and to act accordingly by our own free will.

          December 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • Randy

          I don't have to go any farther than this;

          "As far as providing proof of fact is concerned, I can’t think of any way. But then again perhaps God intended it that way. If God wants us to develop a faith in him instead of just flat out knowing, then perhaps the only way to find out is to search for it ourselves and perhaps even pray to find out."

          Then stop pretending to know things you can't possibly know. The rest of your comment is basically a lot of verbal gymnastics to get your world view to fit the story line.

          December 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "But then again perhaps God intended it that way."

          Well isn't that conveinient...and ridiculous. It also contradicts the bible where it says god is not the author of confusion. Is there any book that is more confusing, contradictory and misunderstood than the bible even if you only count its believers?

          December 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • Randy

          Agreed. It's as if when they insert "So it must be magic!!" that we're supposed to say, "OK, that's a good answer.'

          December 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • Kev

          So then I take it that you have tried it for yourself even prayed

          December 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Kev

          Whether you like it or not there are certain things in this world that you cannot know without first hand experience such as what does salt tastes like. It's not arrogance, it's just the way certain things are. I didn't tell you what path or what religion, or what way you have to perceive things. What each of us has is an open invitation to find out for ourselves.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Whether you like it or not there are certain things in this world that you cannot know without first hand experience such as what does salt tastes like."

          I agree, but we know objectively salt exists. What is you change "salt" to "spiritual essense". What does spiritual essense taste like? Can you demonstrate spiritual essense? The taste of "salt" may be to some extent subjective, but the existence of salt is not. The funny thing is the taste of "salt" is far more agreed upon than the subjective "experience" of the supernatural. Nothing you say is the least bit convincing that there is actually a thing like "salt". In other words I don't dispute people have feelings that they attach to their belief in a god, I have no reason to think a god is the cause of those feelings.

          December 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • Kev

          Cheesy,

          "The funny thing is the taste of "salt" is far more agreed upon than the subjective "experience" of the supernatural."

          Really? So just what is the universal opinion as to what salt tastes like? The question brought up for the comparison was not whether or not salt exists? The chemical composition of sodium-chloride can be sought out and learned about without some first hand experience to know something about it. The point that was being made is that can you tell me what salt tastes like if I was someone who never tasted salt before, meaning that there are in fact questions out there that cannot be answered second-handed.

          To put it in another way, is there any way to know second hand or by having clearly presented and conclusive evidence that there is no omnipotent being out there who does not want to be made known but would rather have us develop faith in said being, because simply not finding conclusive evidence that there is such a being isn't evidence itself that there is no such being. So, how are you going to find out whether or not there is such a being without having to put it to the test and ask God yourself?

          December 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • Randy

        You said; "Actually, that's not the question. The question still hasn't been answered."

        I said; "No one made the claim that every single one was wrong. I simply said they can't all be right. If you think you have it right though, what makes you believe that? Why, out of the tens of thousands of different Christian Sects and the millions of different individual interpretations in the bible, what makes you think that you got it right? What makes you so special?"

        You have not answered, but I do hope you are thinking about your arrogance.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Kev

          Whether you like it or not there are certain things in this world that you cannot know without first hand experience such as what does salt tastes like. It's not arrogance, it's just the way certain things are. I didn't tell you what path or what religion, or what way you have to perceive things. What each of us has is an open invitation to find out for ourselves.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Randy

          Again, a no-answer. One last time. Why do you believe that you have it right and all of the millions of others have got it wrong? What do you know, that we do not? What special knowledge do you possess?

          December 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • Kev

          I never said I have it right. All I've said was that you need to find out for yourself. It's not something that is exclusive for me only and that you cannot find out for yourself; in fact I'm saying just the opposite. I'm actually encouraging you to not take my word for it. That's what the encouragement to try it for yourself is about.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Randy

          Well that's easy then. I was raised a Catholic and went to church every Sunday for 18 years. As an adult the lingering questions of faith kept nagging at me and so I started to read. And think, critically think for the first time in my life. I have come to the conclusion that there is no god, other than the one man has invented to comfort himself. I don't have to prove it any more than someone who does not believe in leprechauns has to prove they don't exist. You believe in god (and want me to too?), prove it.

          Really, I don't care if someone personally believes in a god. Just keep it out of our schools, our government and our laws. Otherwise i am going to question you on it & ask you how you can possibly know things that are impossible to know.

          December 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • David Alicea

          Good morning welcome to the thing called the light, don't you let it pass you by, we laugh, we cry and then we dry our eye,
          we fall, we rise, ready for another try, when life gets tough remember we were never born to die, and when times get rough remember we were born to be alive, good morning wake up and live the life, and don't you ever forget to dream the dreams and don't forget to live the dream and dreams, and don't you ever forget to dream the wonderful things to add to our life, and when you die you will see the same dream that you are not die but alive that wonderful light we call life.

          December 22, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • Kev

          If that is what you believe then that is what you believe. It's not like I can prove those beliefs to be incorrect, but the thing is that your conclusions are in fact beliefs just like my conclusions are in fact beliefs, and that in the end it's all a matter of belief.

          And it's my belief that God gives us free will and that is why we are living in this world, which is to find out find out for ourselves what is true about God and whether or not we are willing to trust and follow the teachings we were given about God and find out if we are better for it if we follow those teachings.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Randy

          What you're saying, in essence is, facts, logic and reasoning do not matter. You are going to believe what you want to believe regardless of what the actual evidence is. If that's the case then this conversation is over. The guy who believes in a magical unicorn in the sky is just as right as you, and you can't prove any otherwise. That is a pretty silly way to live your life, don't you think?

          December 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Kev

          One other thing I was also curious about. When you were thing and going through your struggles with your previous faith, did that involve praying to God as well to see if God was even there?

          December 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Randy

          Of course. I prayed to him, talked with him, sought help and advise from him. I was a believer, as much so as anyone is. But I had never really thought deeply about why I was. So I started to think. And read. And listen. I came to the conclusion I was only fooling myself. There was actually no good evidence to believe the things I had believed my whole life. So I stopped believing.
          . : )

          The farther I get away from the indoctrination the clearer what a shell game the whole thing was. I stopped believing in Santa when I was 7 or 8. I stopped believing in god when I was 49.

          Listen. Read. Think. You too, may change your mind some day.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Kev

          Sorry, when I typed in "thing" I meant "thinking".

          December 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • Kev

          Randy,

          What is not logical or not reasonable about finding out for yourself?

          December 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Randy

          Of course you need to find out for yourself. But to get a true, honest answer you need to use logic, facts and the scientific method. The same reasoning we use for everything else in our lives. Do you want truth, or do you want to just feel good?

          BTW. I'm the first person to say "I don't know." if there is not a clear answer.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Kev

          Randy,

          You didn't say whether or not you actually prayed to God asking if God was actually there. All you said was that you prayed and then questioned your faith and then no longer believed in God and that was it.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Randy

          And if I say I did and got no response (which is what happened) are you going to tell me I didn't pray hard enough? Or that god works in mysterious way? Or that we need "faith." ?

          Enough already, it's all bull****. Believe if you must, but keep it out of our laws, government & schools.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Kev

          And Randy,

          Just what facts or logic did you find to conclude that there is no God other than there is just no conclusive proof that there is a God even though there is also no conclusive proof that there is no omnipotent being out there who does not want to be made known but would rather have us develop our own faith in said being.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Randy

          Done. I do not have to prove a negative. That is not the way the scientific method works. You made the claim (that there is a god) , the burden of proof is on you to prove it.

          Cheers.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Kev

          Randy,

          I just wanted to find out if you did actually pray and asked God if God was there. As to whether or not if you didn't pray the right way or hard enough or whatever, I have no way of knowing. All I can say is that when I did sincerely ask God in prayer to see if he was really there, I had very different experience. Only we ourselves know whether or not we are sincere in our quests for the truth, so then I'll take your word for it.

          The thing is whatever the answer may be it is important that we have to find out for ourselves, which is a logical and reasonable thing to do, because just like in order to know what salt tastes like, there are certain things out there that can only be known through first hand experience.

          December 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Kev

          Randy,

          Of course you can't prove a negative, so if you can't prove a negative then why do you conclude a negative?

          December 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Kev

          The thing is that I'm not claiming that it is a fact that there is a God, I'm claiming that I believe that there is a God.

          December 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • laceydon

      In the end whether I am right or Jim Jones was right or .... doesn't matter. What matters is whether you are right. In fact, that may be the most important thing in life.

      December 21, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  14. Bill Kirkham

    People who belittle Mr. Robertson are afraid that what he is saying might prompt them to reassess their lifestyles and cause them to feel guilty. People who know their lifestyles are not righteous try to make themselves feel better by attacking any speaker who uses the Bible as a reference. This is demonstrated in our news media every day. When people follow the advice from the Bible they will have a much happier life. Freedom of choice is what God has given us and that choice is to love and serve God or to love and serve sin, you cannot do both.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • igaftr

      There are not just two sides of the coin.
      SInce there are thousands of gods, and many ways to live and be a good and moral person without any belief in gods whatsoever, your opinion while noted, is invalid.
      I do not follow any gods, yet I do not embrace "sin"

      December 21, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • netanyahu

        you may not embrace it, but sin has embraced you my friend.

        December 21, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • igaftr

          Not true.
          You, on the other hand, YOU have born false witness against me. You do not know me, so you do not know that.

          Sin is a construct of religion., and all religions are created by men, so "sin" does not actually exist...unless you have some evidence that any god exists...otherwise, you are simply viloating one of YOUR gods rules

          December 21, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • sqeptiq

          Who appointed you the arbiter of god's intentions?

          December 21, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • laceydon

        How would you even know what sin is? You might know what is socially acceptable at the moment where you happen to be. But cross the street, and things are different. Without some standard that transcends yours or mine, how could you know what is sin?

        December 21, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Brian

        There is one God, Jehovah, Creator. Think otherwise and be deceived. Lean not on your own understanding!

        December 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • FTC

      It's not about making us feel better. It's about pointing out that the bible is, and always will be a contradictory set of rules that have no place in modern times. That the bible was written by men with an agenda specific to their particular region, time period, or just plain prejudice. And the inconsistencies across all the flavors of god... Don't get me started. In addition, you Christians seem to look at the bible much like your employer's cafeteria plan for health benefits (I'll take life insurance, but no vision... Dental but no AD&D, etc..) Not one of you follow or even try to follow every rule in the bible. If the bible was the true word of god it would be a one page book.... And there wouldn't be 100's of flavors of god, holiness, etc... If it were god's true word, it would be infallible...much like your god claims to be...

      I'm thinking the rule would be very simple for a god of infinite love and understanding. It would simply say.

      "Love one another"

      If anything you guys have f'd up a gods message more than anyone in history.. And it's getting worse all the time.

      December 21, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Tucker

      The bigger issue is the love we are supposed to have for one another. Christ's message is clear! . The issue is not just Phil Robertson, it is all who are intolerant of others who are not exactly the same color, without the same believes or without the same lifestyle. Phil Robertson has a right to believe as he does, but he has no right to condemn others. He certainly doesn't appear to live all of Christ's words.

      December 21, 2013 at 10:38 am |
      • FTC

        tucker,

        While I disagree with you Christ, I respect you for your message of love and understanding. I wonder (and I'm not sure) if your opinion is that of the majority of Christians, or the minority. It seems that (and this is just a perception of my own bias) that the "other" message is more prevalent (judgement, etc...).

        December 21, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Saraswati

      "People who belittle Mr. Robertson are afraid that what he is saying might prompt them to reassess their lifestyles and cause them to feel guilty."

      Every person I know who left Christianity did so simply because of the lack of evidence and number of contradictions they saw in the religion. most atheists are hete.ros.exuals and have nothing personal at stake in this argument. You might want to as.ses your own reasons for needing to believe that the motivations of non-believers are other than a simple quest for truth. What about your beliefs does facing that reality challenge?

      December 21, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  15. Kanageloa

    I've never been swayed by any of the naïve and comedic blogging authors on any forum. I do research myself. In this case Mr. Robertson is stating his belief and I happen to agree this time. I'm no Ditto Head and refuse to believe anyone without checking. There will always be two sides to a story and what you believe will be your own or what someone has told you to believe.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  16. stevie68a

    The buy bull was written by men. Only a fool would think it's the word of god. Religion was created to control people. Most
    who be lie ve in this nonsense, were brainwashed as children. "Prophet" means "Profit". Your "souls" are on the bottom of your feet, "soles". Just a word game, baby.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Brian

      You have it all figured out, don't you?

      December 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  17. Ozzie

    is not what he said about gays, he also said that blacks were happy during the Jim Crow era.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  18. truthprevails1

    Due to the fact that the letter is long, I will only give the link to it but promise it is worth the read regardless of what you believe:
    http://www.forwardprogressives.com/dear-phil-robertson-supporters-ive-got-a-few-words-for-your-christian-values/

    December 21, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  19. billc

    It's amazing to me how everyone feels someone interprets the Bible wrong if it doesn't fit their belief. The Bible has always been about a Righteous God and the desire to have a relationship with mankind...but on His terms. It's never been about "accepting everyone as they are" without change going forward. "Repent" God, Jesus, the Apostles said. And you have to ask from what? It's in the Bible.

    December 21, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • igaftr

      40,000 versions of christianity...seems EVERYONE interprets it wrong.

      December 21, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • ROO

      Many claims in the bible have been dismissed due to actual observance and factual evidence. Why should anyone care what the bible says at this point? It's 2013.

      December 21, 2013 at 10:39 am |
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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.