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. John Sharp

    No Phil Robertson got it right. That silly book says all kinds of crazy stuff that have no relevance in our society.

    Just nutty stuff.

    December 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Agnostic

      Maybe so. I did cherry pick one good one from it.
      "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
      I expected that quote trumped everything else in the book. It's a good one, even if it's an impossibility.

      December 29, 2013 at 5:04 am |
  2. tony

    If god is everywhere, why do people knee down in church.?

    December 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  3. Hmmmmm

    I'mr eally glad that the public face of Christianity is guys like Robertson. Honestly, people like him and the things they say are waaaaaaaaaaaaay more effective at recruiting seculars that anything we can do.

    Go Phil! You're keep up the good work!

    December 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  4. tony

    He's holdinga GUN!

    There's quite a bit on food safety and sox safety and marriage management in the Bible, but NOTHING ON GUN SAFETY!

    If god had wanted us to shoot ducks, he would at least have mentioned not pointing guns at unmarried virgins, or something like that.

    December 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  5. Bill Fat

    Who cares if he interpreted the bible correctly or not?? The bi-bull is nothing but a collection of fairy tales for the weak minded.

    December 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Billy

      You could at least be a little more respectful during this time of year when speaking about Gullible's Travels.

      December 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  6. The bible is perfectionl

    Anyone who reads it reads becomes as perfect as God.

    As a bible based country, in a world that is 6000 years old, eating pork must again be met with capital punishment.

    Reading the bible will tell us the time of the second coming, starting a new Christian religion every time we get it wrong, which is perfect, because the bible says no man knows the time of the second coming.

    All men should be shaggy like those of duck dynasty, it is in the bibles how to cut your hair, it is perfection.

    December 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  7. raeder10

    This editor must be a perfect person that make no mistakes.
    He should be in the bible.

    December 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |

    All everyone needs to know is the story of the downfall of the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed these villages/towns BECAUSE of the actions of men there. Doesn't anyone know that Sodom is the root word for "Sodomy"; men sodomizing men, which is sin in the eyes of our Supreme Being, our God.

    December 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • tony

      They didn't have women and children there?

      December 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • tallulah13

        God doesn't care about collateral damages. He just kills 'em and lets himself sort them out.

        December 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      So you're suggesting that the Bible proves the Bible. You sir, are in line to win today's award for the Fundy Method of Inquiry and Verification. (See the earlier post currently on this page regarding this award!)

      December 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • tony

      is that just two eyes, or more?

      December 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Scholar

      Travelers given sanctuary in a home were thus protected and under the protection of the entire town.
      It could well have been the sin of inhospitality and violation of the sacred protectin of travelers that doomed the city.

      December 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Opposing View Needs Help

      Yet men and women perform sodomy

      December 29, 2013 at 7:51 am |
  9. Doris

    Theists always claim to know "Truth". It may be a moral truth or any other kind, but they speak of it in a way to say that it is absolute and comes from their god. Just like their God, they have yet to demonstrate any such "truth" objectively. I've asked many times for such demonstration, and I have yet to get any kind of reasonable answer. For what kind of "truth" does man claim to know without such claim being tainted by subjectivity or consensus....

    December 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Nothing has been shown to come from God. It seems like any elementary thing that should be demonstrable.

      December 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Since you don't even believe in God, you wouldn't know whether something came from God or not. So you have no argument...

        December 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • Julie

        So if nothing came from God, are you saying that nothing created EVERYTHING!!!!!

        December 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Doris… There is only one truth, and that is the truth which cometh from God. All other kinds of truth will send your soul to hell. There are no "subjective" or "objective" viewpoints to the truth of God. You either have the truth or you don't. And the only way to get that truth is from a true sent preacher. All other sources of information is false…

      1 John 17:17 – (Jesus praying to his Father) Sanctify them (his apostles) through thy truth: thy word is truth…

      The world and all of man's truth will pass away, but the word of God shall abide forever...

      December 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • tony

        You'd think that a squared plus b squared equals c squared for a right angle triangle would have made it into the bibles eternal truths.

        Perhaps that's why there aren't any Isralite pyramids?

        December 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • tony

      God is the "truth fairy". Didn't you know that?

      December 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      It looks like Opposing View has easily clenched our next award for The Fundy Method of Inquiry and Verification. The method works like this:


      December 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  10. Opposing View

    Five Ways You Can Know An Atheist Is Not Interested In Truth…

    1) Such atheists will always disagree with everything you say, no matter what evidence you have to back it up...

    2) Such atheists will never provide proof to back up their own claims, and even if they do provide proof, it's worthless...

    3) Such atheists will avoid talking about Jesus Christ in the flesh. Instead they prefer to talk about some "invisible man in the sky"…

    4) There are some things in this world that support the idea that God exists, but such atheists will never acknowledge that fact…

    5) Such atheists will habitually lie about anything they don't want to accept, and they have no qualms about telling lies...

    December 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • igaftr

      Now I know you are a poe, since you are violating one of your gods top 10 no-no's by bearing false witness. You risk eternity in hell, just to lie about atheists?

      December 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And Truth will set you free:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      December 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Well thank you for proving Atheist Rule # 4...

        Atheist Rule #4: When you can't compete against the truth – try imitating the truth. Maybe someone will think it is true…

        December 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Also, thank you for proving Atheist Rule # 1...

        Atheist Rule #1: Denial is the first line of defense of any atheist. Deny anything you don't want to accept…

        December 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

          I thought denial was a big river in Egypt.

          Anyhoo, OV, you clearly believe in god. Or God. Which is your right – absolutely and unequivocally. Can I ask – and I'm not being facetious, or sarcastic, but very serious: why do you believe in a god?

          December 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • Hayden71

        Wow buddy I guess you also believe that the holocaust didn't happen as well. It's interesting how that some folks think that by sticking their heads in the sand and denying historical figures negates or shall I say "kiboshes" historical fact. Even so-called half intelligent atheists will accept the historicity of the bible. They just ignore the supernatural element.

        December 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • lloyd trawick

        And according to you there are no Socrates, Aristotles, no Shakespeares, no Caesars. Yesterday does not exist because you weren't there to observe it. And all that happened out of your observation is bs. Have you ever seen your brain, Sport?

        December 23, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • tony

      Heaven is pure socialism. So why to rich business men want to go there so much?

      December 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • tony

        Where's "opposing view" input on this aspect?

        December 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • lloyd trawick

        I doubt Heaven will be socialist. If it is, it will be run by someone who is God, not someone who thinks he is.

        December 23, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Opposing View

      I confess to having never made it past grade 2. I confess to never having studied science. I confess to having an iq of 55. I confess that my Dad is also my grandpa. I confess that my sister and I are lovers.

      December 29, 2013 at 8:18 am |
  11. Opposing View

    The Four Rules of An Atheist…

    Atheist Rule #1: Denial is the first line of defense of any atheist. Deny anything you don't want to accept…

    Atheist Rule #2: Change the topic or evade the issue, that is your second line of defense. Use this when cornered with no way out…

    Atheist Rule #3: When all else fails, mock or speak evil of that you understand not. That is your last line of defense…

    Atheist Rule #4: When you can't compete against the truth – try imitating the truth. Maybe someone will think it is true…

    All atheists adhere to this criteria. If they didn't, they wouldn't be an atheist...

    December 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Au Contraire:

      The Apostles'/Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)
      Posted February 5, 2007 11:11 AM

      December 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Opposing View

        All your references, whatever they are, are of the devil, and not of God (I can tell by the way it's written). Therefore, all your information is not of God. So you have no argument...

        John 8:47 – He that is of God heareth God's words. Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God...

        December 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Free Holiday Nuts

          Prove your god or satan – take your pick.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Narrow is the way to ignorance. Narrow thinking, anyway.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Nuts… Here is your answer: Jesus Christ….

          Or are you too ignorant to comprehend that fact…

          Your turn. Prove God or Satan "doesn't" exist?… (and don't even say you can't prove a negative, because you'd be a liar)…

          December 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • Hayden71

        His references have zero credibility. Even staunch Jewish historians who reject the resurrection admit that they have no understanding of the whereabouts of the body of Christ. The Romans authorities would have produced the body in an instant in order to negate the preaching of the resurrection and put an end to Christianity. I don't see a shred of intelligence or credible debate in this person's posts.

        December 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts.

      Let's look at #4. What "truth"? Convince me it's not your opinion. Give it a try...

      December 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • timtakegi

      I suppose it can be said that anyone who disagrees vehemently with someone else could have beliefs like yours about the opposing viewpoint. Conflict is difficult and one common way to cope with the angst that it inspires is to demonize the opposing view. So while this tendency is understandable, you only hurt yourself and encourage a negative characterization of your own views by falling into that trap. Most disagreements on issues like are based on sincere differences in values – go ahead and disagree, but try to do so without disparaging the sincerity of others. Your approach here undercuts your position by making you look rigid and judgmental.

      December 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Opposing View

        What I care about the opinion of the devil is nothing. It is fully expected that the devil would disagree with me. All I care about is the opinion of God...

        December 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • igaftr

          Too bad you have no way of knowing what that is...certainly not the bible...god would not have gotten so much wrong.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Opposing View

      I confess that I do not know anything about Atheists and make it up as I go along.

      December 29, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  12. Susan Brown

    This theologian is another "p.c." Of course GOD and Paul believe that pedophelia is a sin! Paul was saying that both was sinful.Remember GOD destroyed Sodom for that very reason.
    Back to Phil Robertson.... Phil Robertson could care less what any of us thinks.the bible is clear that when you speak the truth you will be persecuted. He knew when he said it that this back lash would happen. He is embracing this back lash. His purpose is to speak the word of GOD. He has done that. He just obtained an additional jewel in his heavenly crown. He has more earthly money than that entire family could ever spend. H could care less if A&E ever played another DD episode. He could care less if he is hated. The more he is hated on earth for telling the truth the more GOD loves him.

    December 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Why are you ranting about pedophilia ??

      December 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Susan Brown

        The article author states that the statements about men being with men is really about pedophilia " soft boys" not about consenting adults. The author stated that Robertson misinterpreted the bible passage.t

        December 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Melissa

      What truth is that exactly? The one created by bronze age sheep herders that thought the earth was flat? Or the one that's the actual truth and not based on an imaginary man in the sky who created a place to send everyone who stole and pencil and isn't sorry for it to suffer for all eternity and yet his id io tic followers still call him loving? Or is it the actual truth that doesn't resemble ANYTHING the bible says about anything in life?

      December 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Melissa

      Or how about the one where the bible talks about how to sell your daughters for a good price? That truth?

      December 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
      • Don

        Please cite book, chapter, and verse. Context is everything.

        December 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Melissa

          Honey, you pick and choose what you want from your bible. So stop trying to twist it to be something it isn't. The bible was written by bronze age sheepherders who thought the earth was flat. There is no more truth to the bible than to those choosing to worship the sun and moon.

          December 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • igaftr

        In Morroco, it is still customary to follow the bible and force a woman who was ra.ped to marry her ra.pist. The ra.pist pays her father and she then becomes his.

        A recent case of this, a 16 year old girl was ra.ped, forced to marry the attacker, who beat her every day and forced her to have $ex with him, until she killed herself.

        I guess the bible teaches you better to have your daughter beaten and ra.ped than to have the shame of her having $ex out of wedlock (even when forced). The muslims have similar traditions.

        December 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Susan Brown

          That's Islam . No one in Christianity would advocate for that

          December 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • igaftr

          False Susan Brown...christians.

          Deuteronomy 22: 28-29
          28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and ra.pes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[a] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Doris

      Your opinion is only one among the myriad of weird individuals and sects that make up Christianity. Maybe the sect in Mexico who still sacrifices people have it right. You have no more evidence than they do.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • igaftr

      Truth? There is GREAT reason to NOT believe the bible is truth, especially when it is used to justify hating someone for being born gay.

      The bible also says you can tell if you wife is unfaithful by having her dirnk "holy" water and dust from the floor....truth or silly?
      You can make striped goats by having a mating pair stare at striped objects...truth or silly?

      The bible is wrong in SO MANY places...to then claim it is truth is just willful ignorance, to then use it to justify bigotry proves you have learned nothing from it.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Opposing View

        I can always tell when an atheist is not interested in truth. It's because they will always disagree with every true statement, no matter how much evidence there is to back it up...

        December 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Free Holiday Nuts.

          What have you said that is "true"?

          December 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Nuts... Hold that thought until you wake up in hell, and you'll have your answer...

          December 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • igaftr

          since you only post very short sighted opinion, with no fact or verifiable corroborated information...I doubt you understand the term truth.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • Opposing View

          I confess that I do not know the meaning of the word truth. I confess that I have never used a dictionary.

          December 29, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Opposing View

      Susan... Yes, I admire what he did, Susan, and he did the right thing by standing up for God. But the real question is – Will he hold out? Or will pressure from the devil and from sinners cause him to capitulate? All too often (and we've seen it many times before) when a person's religious opinions causes controversy, Lucifer will apply so much pressure on them (by threatening their livelihood, their career, their future, if not their lives) that he eventually makes those people back down. Lucifer will have those same people later apologizing for it in public, have them apologizing to sinners and gays for telling the truth. It is the truth that "gays shall not inherit the kingdom of God" – that is written clearly in the scriptures. But if you're not strong in God and strong in faith, Lucifer will make you back down and will have you apologizing for speaking the truth. I hope he doesn't capitulate. But we'll see. Time will tell...

      December 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Opposing View

        I confess that I belong in a home for crazy people.

        December 29, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Sodom? Another NT myth.

      Some added details:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

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

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

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      December 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Ooops, been a long day, make that Sodom, another OT/Torah myth.

        December 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • Opposing View

        The New York Times is of the devil (and controlled by Lucifer). Thus all your information is of the devil. So you have no argument...

        December 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Free Holiday Nuts.


          December 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
        • timtakegi

          I would imagine that you would say any publication that speaks against your view is "of the devil" . This means that by default your views are always correct as the only disputing views that can be found are devil constructed...
          There is a logic there I guess. Of course, it's the type of logic rarely employed by anyone over the age of five...
          It's also an approach to debate which is guaranteed to completely fail at convincing anyone who didn't already agree with you.
          Maybe you should be posting on sites that are more likely to share you views, man. Your 5-year old "I am right and you are wrong because your the devil and my views divine" line of reasoning is too childish to be considered debate...

          December 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  13. john rosen

    Who cares if he quoted the bible verbatim. He was expressing his views and paraphrasing from the bible. We are rapidly becoming a nation of anything goes and I really don't understand why so many people mock religious beliefs. At the rate of decline we are experiencing our village idiot will get his wish to legally marry his dog

    December 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Even if the dog were able to give legal consent, I suspect he'd say "No".

      December 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Observer

      john rosen,

      Why are you fantasizing about marrying a dog? Trouble staying on topic?

      December 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Melissa

        Because christians are some of the most twisted people on the planet.

        December 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Melissa

      Because religion is a curse on this planet, thats why. It promotes hatred against others, while claiming that it promotes love. Grow up.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Unconvinced

        Huh, yet here you are, clearly a non- believer spitting a line of vitriol of your own. You are some how better simply because you don't believe? Here's a good line for you, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"

        December 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Melissa... If religion is a curse, then please tell me a single other thing anywhere on the planet that can save your soul and take you to heaven? Name it...

        You are deceived.

        December 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • igaftr

          Dying in battle gets you into Valhalla.
          Pleasing Zeus, gets you an honored view on Mt Olympus.

          Belief is all you have...nothing to back it up, and YOU will be going straight there. I see you violating your commandments here all the time, and doing EXACTLY what Jesus told you NOT to do.

          As far as I can see, YOU fit more into the realm of follower of satan, as you try to use "scripture" to make false statement after false statement.

          December 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

          @ OV: The K-Tel SuperDuper Soul Saver and Celestial Transport Device. Only $19.95 plus S and H!

          But wait!!! Call within the next 20 minutes and we'll DOUBLE your order, and throw in bottle of Holy Soul Shineroo: guaranteed to remove those little spots of tarnish on your soul before you make the big trip! Sneak a peak down your neighbours wife's top? Just rub Holy Soul Shineroo liberally onto the naughty bits that caused you to sin, and soon you'll be saying "Jesus! I'm Co-ming!"

          Call now!

          December 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • RKelly

      I now pronounce you John Rosen and Rover! You may now kiss the bride.

      There is only one issue here. The right the employer had to require the employee to act in accordance with it's stated policy. JUST LIKE ALL OFUS! Work is work. That is why they call it work. You do what they want. Not what you want.
      Mr Duck had all the rights the US offers. However now he faces the consequences. Just like any of us mouthing off while under contract.
      My job is contingent on a clean arrest record, (required security clearance). So I don't break the law. Same thing. Work.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • RKelly

      I now pronounce you Rosen and Rover!
      There is only one issue here. The right the employer had to require the employee to act in accordance with it's stated policy. JUST LIKE ALL OFUS! Work is work. That is why they call it work. You do what they want. Not what you want.
      Mr Duck had all the rights the US offers. However now he faces the consequences. Just like any of us mouthing off while under contract.
      My job is contingent on a clean arrest record, (required security clearance). So I don't break the law. Same thing. Work.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Wally

      So, you don't care that he is paraphrasing the English interpretation of the Bible and completely missing the intended point of the original passage?

      December 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  14. Melissa

    I'd say 99% of christians don't even know what the bible says. They just believe whatever they're told to believe by their religious owners. If they actually read the book, they'd place it in the realm of fairy tale along with Harry Potter.

    December 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Wally

      Even if they do know the bible, they seem to only know the English language version and those interpretations are often in direct conflict with the original written passages.

      December 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  15. RKelly

    The Bible: Man written, Man interpreted. Really not to shabby in some areas. Actually helped humans survive back in that time.Put into perspective (a work of fiction/cult manual) there are some helpful comments throughout. The religion attached to it also helps people, the hook.
    But to base your life on either Bible or any of the religions is no more valid than hooking your wagon to a tribe of Yeti, getting in the line for your anal probe (back on forum target:)), sacrificing joy in this life for the life after death (otherwise know as philosophical suicide), crystal power, ANY supernatural anything.

    December 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  16. d taylor

    Show me a parable between Matthew 4 and Matthew 12 Jesus spoke clearly to the Nation of Israel not in parables it is only after the sin of Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke in parables starting in chapter 13.

    Also show me a verse in Acts that says this book was written to unbelievers like what John 20:30,31 says about the Gospel of John

    John 20: 30, 31
    20:30 Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
    20:31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    December 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      Show me a fundy Christian and I'll show you a person whose method for inquiry and verification works like this:


      December 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Melissa

        lol That was awesome.

        December 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Opposing View

      d taylor… Do you know why you are so confused? Do you know why you have no truth? Answer: It is because you didn't follow the system God set up by getting your information from a true sent preacher. That's way. All of your info is of the devil, because all of your info is of your own understanding, and your own understanding is of the devil. To have the truth, you must get it from the right source. And the only right source is God. And you cannot get any info from God without first going through a true sent preacher. Period. There are countless people just like you the world over who are deceived. And they are deceived because they refuse to follow the system God set up…

      For all of your talk, when have you ever followed the scripture Acts 2:38? When?… When did you ever get baptized in Jesus Name and receive the Holy Ghost? When?… If have. Yes, I have the Holy Ghost. But if you have not, then you are not even saved. And the Gospels were not even written to unsaved people…

      You love to quote scriptures from the Gospels, but those books were not even written to unsaved people. Therefore, those books were not even talking to you. The bible clearly states that every word Jesus spake, he spake in a parables. And that at no time did he NOT speak in parables. That is written in plain english in the scriptures. So you have some gall to dispute it. You say show you a verse in Acts where it says that book was written to unbelievers. Ask any true sent preacher about it, and he'll tell you so. Not everything is written out in the scriptures. If God wrote everything out in the scriptures, and if he wrote everything so everybody could understand it, then he wouldn't need to have any preachers, now would he?… God wrote the entire bible as a mystery – all of it is a mystery, from Genesis to Revelation – because he didn't want the devil and unsaved people in the world reading it and understanding it. Devils and unsaved people can still read the bible, but they have no clue what it means. That is why you are so confused, that is why you are so full of questions, and that is why the scriptures are so puzzling to you. It is because you are not saved. To understand the scriptures like I do, you must get your understanding from a true sent preacher. That is the system God set up. You can't just read the bible and get it for yourself…

      I have told you the truth. You can either follow the truth I've shared with you and follow the system God set up, or you can remain defiant and continue on to hell. But if you end up in hell, rest assured, you'll have plenty of company down there, because there are countless others down there who were just as defiant. You must drop your arrogance and your pretense of being saved and ask: What must I do to be saved? To be saved – you must follow Acts 2:38. No exceptions. If you haven't done that, then you are not saved. And once you have done that, all of your questions will be answered…

      December 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        Come on, OV – I asked you about 3 hours ago how you could tell someone was a "true sent preacher" as opposed to a fraudster. Other posters have asked you the same thing. Time to ante up: what criteria does one need to identify a "true sent preacher", and how do YOU YOURSELF know that those criteria are the correct criteria?

        December 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          The true sent preacher asks for the most tithing.

          December 23, 2013 at 6:30 am |
      • d taylor

        I will also add there are no parables in The Gospel of John

        December 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
        • Opposing View

          d taylor… First, as for your statement there are no parables in the Book of John. I have no idea where you even get that idea or concept from. It is certainly not true. Absolutely "everything" Jesus said in those four Gospels were said in a parable. Everything. The scriptures do not have to specify on every occasion that it is a parable, for it to be a parable. Even if it doesn't say anything about it being a parable, it is still a parable. The scriptures make it clear that at no time did Jesus say anything that was not a parable. You still try to dispute that fact when the scriptures plainly say otherwise and call you a liar. It's time to give up that false concept and accept the truth. So I hope this ends the discussion about that. Now to the main part of this post...

          Everything I said to you previously still holds true. However, I just remembered there is also another way to easily prove that the book of Acts is the only book in the entire bible that's directed at unsaved people. Here's how…

          For starters, you should already know the entire Old Testament – from Genesis to Malachai – was written to Israel. Those books are not talking to us in the New Testament. You should already know that. That leaves the four Gospels (Matthew Mark, Luke, John), the Book of Acts, plus the New Testament books from Romans to Revelation…

          Concerning the New Testament books from Romans to Revelation, those books are all written for and directly at "saints", at people who are already saved, baptized in Jesus Name and have the Holy Ghost. Those books are not talking to unsaved people. Those books are "doctrine" written for saints and is instructing them on what to do after they have received the Holy Ghost. It instructs them on how to stay saved until Jesus comes. So none of those books from Romans to Revelation are talking to unsaved people either. That leaves only the four Gospels, plus the book of Acts…

          Concerning the four Gospels, I've already stated earlier that those four Gospels are not directed at unsaved people because everything Jesus said in those books, he spoke in a mystery and a parable. That still holds true and is correct. But another important point is that, no where in those four Gospels does the scriptures ever actually tell a person how to be saved. That information is not in the four Gospels. Yes, there were indeed certain references Jesus made to being saved, such as – "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned". He also said, "Except a man be born of water and of spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God etc". Yes, Jesus did say those things. But the problem is, those things were said in a mystery, a "parable". That means there was some sort of hidden meaning behind it Jesus did not reveal. And before you can actually DO what those scriptures say, and to comply with them, you must first know and understand what Jesus meant by it. And nowhere in those four Gospels is that part explained. Jesus did not explain what he meant by those things he said in the Gospels. The detailed explanation for how to actually be saved is not explained anywhere else in the entire bible except in the Book of Acts. That is where you will find the information and answer to it. The Apostle Peter explains it in Acts 2:38. Only there do you find out how to actually be saved – to be born of water and of the spirit. In that verse, the Apostle Peter stands up and explains it to the crowd. No where else is that information written in the scriptures. Therefore, if you wanted to know how to be saved, you had to get it from the Apostles. Jesus had explained that info to the Apostles privately. God set up the system like that so that you could not bypass the preacher. He knew that people would try it. But God set up the system so that you would need the preacher to be saved. He set it up so you would need the preacher to explain and to interpret the scriptures for you. Without the preacher in the equation, you cannot be saved and will go straight to hell. Many people who don't have any truth will attempt to cling to Jesus' own words written in the Gospels, while dismissing what the Apostles are saying in the New Testament. They feel Jesus was greater than the Apostles, so they only want to listen to him. It can't be done. You'll go to hell if you try that. Jesus and the Apostles are a team. They're working together through Christ to save your soul. And if you leave the Apostles out of the equation, if you ignore what the Apostles are saying in the scriptures, you will end up in hell. The only place you will find how to saved in complete detail is in the book of Acts. The book of Acts is the only book directly solely at unsaved people…

          December 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • Free Holiday Nuts

          Of course no one even knows for sure who authored John...

          December 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ d taylor: so you would agree that Matthew 5 is not a parable, but the actual words of Jesus? Okay. So that would include Matthew 5:18, where Jesus says that he is not here to change the law, but to uphold the law, not a jot or ti-ttle of the law will change. Which means the law set out in the OT hasn't changed. At least, according to Jesus. Which means all of that nasty stuff in the OT is still binding. Hmmm .....

      December 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • d taylor

        take a look at this link it explains Matthew 5:17 etc.. to long to post here


        December 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  17. urban turner

    So many preachers, so little understanding

    December 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  18. toolttime

    The authoe of this article got it wrong

    December 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      lol. what's an authoe?

      December 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • a reasonable atheist

        Clearly a Shakespearean term.

        December 22, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  19. imbruglia

    From Thomas Jefferson's memorial, panel three : "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever." Uh oh

    December 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Observer


      Thomas Jefferson was NOT a Christian. He thought that the Bible contains so much NONSENSE, that he edited it down to 50 pages.

      December 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.

      -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

      Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.

      -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

      History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

      -Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  20. aspblom

    Remember that Paul also said that the ugly shlal not inherit heaven, nor the left handed, nor those under 5 feet in height.

    December 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Carin

      And based on your comment, you ride the short bus to school. Duhhhhhh! I tupid!!!!!

      December 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • Syd

        Yes, you are. For Paul did say that. I'm sorry you don't know your own Bible.

        December 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Sean

        And based on your reply, you live life with a helmet on your head. Ugggghhh! I know evreetang!!

        December 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Don

      Cite book, chapter, and verse. Prove that it was said by Paul. Just because you say he said it, doesn't mean he did. Prove it.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
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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.