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. tony

    I still don't get what "he died to save us" means in terms of results. Lots of people died before and after, but no-one claims that caused anything.

    December 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Justin

      No one else who died claimed to save anyone, because they did not have the power to save anyone. Jesus was the perfect Son of God- the one and Only. He is the only one who's death could save anyone. Study ancient laws and you will see there had to be a " perfect blood payment" for any sins that had been committed. Jesus offered His own Blood as a one time payment for all the sins of the world. Only the blood of Jesus could offer this because everyone else's blood is not perfect, we have sin in our life.

      December 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Bob

        That's a heap of nonsense, Justin. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

        Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
        Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

        December 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • BldrRepublican

          You obviously miss the ENTIRE point, there, Bob.

          Yes, God could have saved Christ, he could have wiped out the entire Roman army, he could do anything. He COULD have FORCED you to worship Him also. He could scare the living daylights out of you, drive you to your knees, then wipe you out of existence in a mere microsecond.

          But He doesn't. He gave you one of the Greatest gifts of all – the FREEDOM to reject Him, which you are using right at this moment with your pride and arrogance, because you somehow *know* better than the rest of us, huh?

          Rest assured, someday you WILL be feeble and weak, and will be gasping for breath on a hospital bed, with your friends and family disinterested and long gone. But, if you get past your arrogance, and ask for Jesus, he will hear you.

          December 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • jtkuenzi

          Read this today:

          Matthew 24:3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

          4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

          9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

          15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’a spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

          22“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.

          26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

          29“Immediately after the distress of those days

          “ ‘the sun will be darkened,
          and the moon will not give its light;
          the stars will fall from the sky,
          and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’b
          30“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earthc will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.d 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

          32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that ite is near, right at the door. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

          The Day and Hour Unknown

          36“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,f but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

          42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

          45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

          December 23, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Bob

          BldrRepublican, nope, you are the one who missed the point, and you lacked the fortitude to answer my question directly. So, the question again:

          How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

          December 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • The Bobinator

          > You obviously miss the ENTIRE point, there, Bob.

          Actually, no he didn't.

          > Yes, God could have saved Christ, he could have wiped out the entire Roman army, he could do anything. He COULD have FORCED you to worship Him also. He could scare the living daylights out of you, drive you to your knees, then wipe you out of existence in a mere microsecond.

          Actually, no he can't becaue he doesn't exist. Well, not the Christian God because he's not logically consistent.

          But let's just say for the moment that he does.

          I have a really good question. In the beginning there was only God. God created the heaven and the earth. God can do this because he's all powerful and all knowing. And just before God creates Adam, God knows, because he's all knowing, that if he creates Adam in one way, he will be duped along with Eve into eating the apple from the tree of knowledge. If God creates Adam a different way, say, with a better sense of loyalty, this will not occur.

          Or hell, how about not allowing the snake to trick Adam. Just a thought.

          So, given the option to not set in motion the first instance of sin and given that he had the power to stop it, the only conclusion I can reach is that God intended sin to be created. I mean, think about it. Either God made a mistake because he hates sin or he intended it to occur. There's no other options here.

          My question is this. Do you think it's silly to argue that the all knowing creator of everything is not responsible for the creation of something?

          > But He doesn't. He gave you one of the Greatest gifts of all – the FREEDOM to reject Him, which you are using right at this moment with your pride and arrogance, because you somehow *know* better than the rest of us, huh?

          It's not about better. It's about accepting reality. People die and they stop existing. That's what happens. They don't go off to a land of gumdrops and sugar canes to live out the rest of eternity and are constantly happy. I mean, this is the sort of thing you tell your child when they're upset their pet has died.

          People stop believing in Santa because when people say "He doesn't exist" people stop reinforcing it. For God, when someone says "God doesn't exist' they say "Yes he does, and when you're going to die, you'll stand before him and yada yada yada."

          The gods as described in the primitive relgions of the past, Christianity included, do not exist.

          Rest assured, someday you WILL be feeble and weak, and will be gasping for breath on a hospital bed, with your friends and family disinterested and long gone. But, if you get past your arrogance, and ask for Jesus, he will hear you.

          December 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Who cares what bible god thinks is good and just? According to him, it's a sin to want a slave somewhat like your neighbor's, but it's not a sin to own another person. What kind of ridiculousness is that?

          December 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  2. Scintillator

    Anyone else notice the similarities between Robertson (and the rest of his crowd) with certain Islamic extremists: the bushy beards, even the fatigues and the guns, and the extreme, crazy religion-supported, bigoted viewpoints?

    American Taliban is perhaps not a bad term here for these domestic nutcases.

    December 23, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Bob

      Pretty alarming (but accurate) observations there. Scintillating stuff indeed.

      December 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • hI

      Seriously? You want to compare a man who shared his personal opinion to a group of people who have killed THOUSANDS of people b/c they both have beards and carry a weapon? Ducks are the only thing Phil Robertson has been killing. Stating a personal opinion doesn't make you an extreamist. I'd argue that firing someone for expressing their personal opinion is more extream than the opinion itself. And to that fact, what happened to "tolerance?" How can you preach tolerance but not tolerate anyone's opinion that is opposite of yours? That's not tolerance. The gay & lesbian community are a bunch of BULLIES trying to push people into agreeing w/ them or risk punishment. If we're supposed to tolerate each other then how about the gay and lesbian community start first!

      December 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • Mindy

        I find it funny that you denounce his opinion in defense of someone who stated HIS.
        Hypocritical hyena.
        You call all gays and lesbians bullies ? Look in the mirror, you hypocritical witch. You're just as intolerant. You merely agree with Phil, so you're on the defense.

        December 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • Reed

        Scinti's observations are pretty accurate. It's a matter of degree, but the similarities sure are there. hl, maybe you should look in the mirror (and make a reso to use a razor in the new year some time hey!)

        December 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Piccolo

        LOL at calling gays bullies! That's like calling black folks bullies during the 50s when they were fighting for equality. Those darn bullies always wanting equal rights after being oppressed for centuries! The nerve of them! Now this millionare who's already set for life can't make even more money. You gotta feel bad for him... NOT.

        December 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • MIKE D

          I actually saw a video of gays bullying a old lady who looked to be in her mid 80's, because she was passing out crosses made out of reeds to them. If pushing an old lady around isnt bullying then I dont know what is! I've seen gays get violent and furious when the courts in the past struck them down. They are some overly-dramatic drama queens fueled by their female hormones that they keep putting into their bodies. Go figure.

          December 27, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    At this time of the year, I send out a reminder to all my friends:

    Jesus wasn't born, he was written!

    December 23, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Bob

      Good one, DD. Happy holidays.

      December 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  4. alkihawksfan

    Look at the last book in the Bible, Revelations, in the first 3 chapters. Jesus appeared to the Apostle John in a vision, and had John write 7 letters to 7 churches. In less than 100 years after Christ ascended to Heaven, only 2 churches received letters of encouragement, while the other 5 churches received letters of warnings, pleadings and scoldings. DO THE MATH!!!
    Also, pay CLOSE attention to the fact that Jesus kept on telling us to believe in, pray to, and love God, the Father. Especially look at John 14:6 – No man comes TO THE FATHER but by me.
    It should NOT be Christianity, as John 12:44 says that "Jesus cried and said, he that believes in me, does not believe in me, BUT IN HIM THAT SENT ME."

    December 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      You do know that John of Patmos was obviously a druggie.

      December 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      how can you possibly speak about "what jesus said"?!?!

      The King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      So we don't even know if the jesus character existed, much less what he may or may not have said.

      Seriously?! Claiming that jesus said certain phrases is utter mind numbing nonsense, and yet you seem to base your belief on this! Your belief has more holes in it than swiss cheese! It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

      December 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Doris

    Nichole below suggests reading Romans to answer the question "Does Phil Robertson Get the Bible Wrong?".

    It sure doesn't seem like there has ever been any right or wrong way to "get" the Christian Bible. But maybe we should not be surprised. Currently there are an estimated 41,000 sects of Christianity and some here on this blog advocate that only reading the Bible without church (a sect of one person) is the true way to find God's intention. As a result there have been vast differences in interpretation. The key founders of the U.S. government were quite aware of this dilemma, which should be no surprise considering the infighting they witnessed involving Christian sects in their respective states. (Jailing of Baptists by Anglicans and worse in other states.) Madison was furious and wrote about it in his A Memorial and Remonstrance. Jefferson – just as harsh:

    "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."

    Thus was born the "wall of separation" concept that both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote about that provided the footing for the 1st Amendment to the Constitution along with its Establishment Clause.

    Has anything improved in the past two hundred years with regard to this splintered, conflicted nature of Christianity that constantly catches bystanders in its crossfire?

    If I were considering becoming a Christian again today (and no, I would not), I think some of the choices I would have help answer that question:

    -I could join one Lutheran sect who still officially categorizes the Pope as the Antichrist.

    -I could join the RCC and help spread disease in poorer countries (because of the unrealistic stance on contraception).

    -I could join a sect who would rather me let my sick child die rather than seek medical care.

    -I could join an SBC church and since I am female, expect to strap on an apron, keep quiet and get ready for inspection.

    -I could join a sect in Mexico that still sacrifices people.

    -I could join a sect that believes the OT is superseded by the NT

    -I could join a sect that believes that the NT brings along all of the OT law

    -I could join a sect that believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    -I could join a sect that believes Americans are being killed at war because America is tolerant of homosexuals.

    What does all this madness have at its core?

    Writings from mostly unknown authors and unnamed alleged "witnesses".

    It's insanity.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  6. Sharona

    Wow, so you went to a progressive seminary and got that whole "he reads the bible wrong" perspective. And that's all... http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/12/that-oh-so-predictable-cnn-article-on-ducks-and-doctrine/#more-115330

    December 23, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Steve Kiely

      Sharona, I'm sorry to tell you this, but the Bible was not written in plain to understand English. The OT was in Hebrew and the NT in Koine Greek. That's the flaw with the Conservative viewpoint on Scripture, we have to understand it in the "clear English in which it was written." This ignores all the errors made in previous translations. The translators at the time of Tyndale and later during the King James Version, did not understand the languages as well as we do today. The approach of forensic science within the field of Biblical studies has advanced our understanding of the languages used by the numerous Biblical writers. It is amazing though how conservatives will pick these few verses and hammer in on them, yet will be "open to understanding" on issues like divorce – which scriptures are more adamant in its proscription. They condemn the thing that doesn't affect them, and overlook the thing that does affect them.

      December 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  7. skb8721

    Oh, for the good ol' days, when A&E was nothing but wall-to-wall high-brow murder mysteries from the BBC!

    December 23, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • JJ

      Or when the History channel was about History and MTV was music videos.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  8. Nicole

    I would like to hear what this writer thinks of Romans 1:24-32.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  9. Anti-Atheist

    The gay community only cares about rights for themselves not other groups. I find it highly selfish.

    December 23, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • MarcB

      What Gay community are you familiar with? Can you provide links to support your assertion?

      December 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • sam stone

      Not even a good attempt at trolling, pen-day-ho

      December 23, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  10. Reality # 2

    o "Abrahamics" like the Robertson family believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    3. See also the From the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    "Most scientists who study human se-xuality agree that gay people are born that way. But that consensus raises an evolutionary puzzle: How do genes associated with h-omose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?"


    December 23, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  11. Opposing View

    Imagine This Experiment…

    Imagine you were a parent and you had a child. And when the child was born you wanted to run an experiment. Also imagine you had the ability to erase the child's memory. So imagine if you took your child and some other parent's child and you erased their memory and placed them on some far away planet in the galaxy, a planet just like earth. And behind the scenes you helped the children to survive but you never revealed yourself. And imagine that over time the children grew up, got married, had kids, their kids had kids, and pretty soon you had a growing population. And in time, they learned to read and write, to write books, to have scientists and doctors and all that. My point is, it would be a population of people who would grow up knowing nothing of earth, knowing nothing of their origin or how they got there. All they could do was just look up at the stars at night and imagine…

    In such a society with no guidance, imagine what kinds of crazy ideas those people would probably come up with, ideas about where they were from, what their origin was, and what was their place in the universe. The ideas they would come up with would likely not be too far removed from some of the crazy ideas our scientists have come up with here on earth. Given enough time to dream up stuff, and without any guidance to tell them otherwise, I'm sure they'd come up with some pretty crazy ideas. To them, their ideas would make perfect sense. But to you, it'd be the craziest of stuff. Because all the time behind the scenes as their original parents, you'd be well aware of the truth. You'd know everything about them and where they had come from. And the worse part is, imagine if you ever revealed yourself to those people, and you appeared unto them as a man, and you told them of their origins and how they got there. How would they react to you? They'd think you were out of your mind. A looney. They'd say, "A place called earth? A place with oceans and stuff. Hah! You're crazy." They'd say that because you see, on their world, they had never seen an ocean. You'd actually be telling them the truth about things they had never even seen. But they wouldn't even believe you…

    My point is, on earth, right now, it is pretty much the very same way. The entire scientific community we have is caught up in that same mental loop. The eternal God knows full well how the earth was created. He also knows how old the earth is. He knows how man came about and came into existence, and he knows what man's purpose is in the universe. God knows all those things because he created man, and is responsible for man being on earth. Nonetheless, many men don't even believe it. And they don't believe it all because they haven't personally seen it with their own eyes. They feel, if they haven't personally seen it, then it must not exist. Fools they are…

    Fools that are caught up in their own self delusion. A delusion where they think and feel they know everything. But how can you possibly know everything, when you haven't even "seen" everything? All you have are just assumptions and theories about the universe. When the reality is, man hasn't seen even 1/1000th of the universe, and has no clue what's out there. And when God comes along and tells you otherwise, and that it's not like that, you have the nerve to get offended at God, and feel God don't know what he's talking about. In the same like manner that the growing population on that distant planet would look so silly to you with their crazy beliefs, that is precisely how you look to God yourself right now here on earth with your crazy and silly beliefs. In his eyes, you're as silly as can be, and you don't know a thing…

    1 Corinthians 3:19 – For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God...

    December 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Observer

      Opposing View,

      Corinthians (I 11:6) also says “For if a woman does not cover her head (while praying), let her also have her hair cut off”.

      So what is your point?

      December 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
      • Opposing View

        If you're too ignorant to comprehend the point, then you're too ignorant for me to tell you...

        December 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      A short synopsis of the Resurrection Con,
      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      "Heaven is a Spirit state" as per JPII and Aquinas i.e. there can be no bodies. i.e. there was and never will be any physical resurrection/ascension of human bodies."

      And is it not ironical that JPII along with Aquinas are the ones who put meaning to the words "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless."

      December 23, 2013 at 12:17 am |
      • Opposing View

        What has that to do with the issue that was posted? Answer: Absolutely nothing. So your response is irrelevant...

        The reason atheists talk about nothing is because they're not intelligent enough to talk about something....

        December 23, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          It is all about your "preaching" and how worthless it is.

          December 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Mary Mallon

      You can come up with as many inventive scenarios as you want. You cannot, however, make a person believe you, or in any gods.

      December 23, 2013 at 12:19 am |
      • Opposing View

        No one is trying to make you believe anything, Mary. You have perfect free will. You can either believe the truth that has been set before you by God (his son Jesus Christ), or you can continue on to hell. Those are your choices. And once in hell, you'll have no choice but to believe...

        December 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • skb8721

      "They feel, if they haven't personally seen it, then it must not exist. Fools they are…" First, why do you speak like Yoda? Second, it's called skepticism, which merely means "the belief that one should not embrace a view until seeing convincing proof." It's an ancient Greek idea and one that heavily informs the modern world's scientific viewpoint. You may disagree with it, but calling people "fools" is merely an ad hominem (personal) attack that doesn't help to convince anyone of anything. In fact, I think it's counterproductive.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • Opposing View

        Focusing on the word "fool" and it's meaning, has nothing to do with the point of the post. Everyone already knows what a fool is. So your response is irrelevant...

        December 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      OV is a troll

      Don't attempt to reason with it

      OV.....suck a 12 gauge

      December 23, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • Opposing View

        The reason atheists talk about nothing is because they're not intelligent enough to talk about something....

        December 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • tony

      They'd have no religion, because you have to be indoctrinated by a human to get that.

      December 23, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • Opposing View

        Tony… What you're saying is not true. How do you know they would have no religion? They were already human – and they weren't brainless monkeys. Any one of them could have started a belief by simply talking to another. They could have indoctrinated themselves. They could have thought there was a Fire God, or a Rain God, or they could have worshipped the Stars or something, and no one would have told them different. They would not have had to know about Jesus Christ or the earth to have a "religion", or to have a "belief". That is immaterial. And nor did I suggest that in my post. So in that regard, your comment is irrelevant…

        Furthermore, you're missing the point. The point was not about whether they'd believe in God or have a religion. That was not the point. The point was that without guidance of any sort, they'd very likely come up with some of the very same crazy ideas about the source of their origin as our scientists have on earth (Big Bang theory, the Evolution theory, or they might have thought their group evolved from "worms" or something.) All of that is likely, and my example does illustrate that point. And if you can only comprehend that point – (although I sincerely doubt that you can, because otherwise you would have already comprehended it, and would have responded differently) – then the example should show you how easy it was for our own scientists to have come up with many of their crazy ideas (Big Bang theory, Evolution theory). Yet, ideas not necessarily based on truth, but rather ideas based on the very first conclusions their feeble minds could reach. The first conclusions that made sense. And those same conclusions may or may not have anything to do with the actual "truth". THAT is what the example was strongly proving. And prove it, it did..

        December 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Your absurd example and the conclusions you've drawn from it have proved nothing.

          December 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Thank you for proving that the following is true:

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

          Proverbs 1:22 – the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge…

          The reason atheists talk about nothing is because they're not intelligent enough to talk about something...

          December 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Absolute nonsense – do continue trolling, though. You are better at it than most.

          December 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Midwest... Thank you for proving Atheist Rule # 3...

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

          December 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " And if you can only comprehend that point – (although I sincerely doubt that you can, ..."
          Do you mean mocking like that ? You're quite good at that, as well as trolling. Carry on.

          December 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Rrrrrring... Hello? Okay, just a sec...

          Midwest Rail? It's for you. It's a phone call from Lucifer. He says to come back to hell, because you're making yourself look silly...

          December 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • midwest rail

          No wonder you waited an hour for that "reply". I'd have been embarrassed too, if that was all I could come up with.

          December 24, 2013 at 5:24 am |
    • Damocles

      Ok, so I'm going to take a whack at this....

      1) I'm just going to as-sume that you mean that one child is male and the other is female, otherwise you run into problems from the onset....
      2) You say that this planet is just like earth, yet these kids have no idea what an ocean is. Oh, sure, the names might be different, they may come to call their oceans 'dollars', but a large body of water isn't easily misunderstood....
      3) If I'm helping them, whether behind the scenes or all up in their faces about it, what need have they of doctors, scientists, comedians, or anything else for that matter? Their need would only come about due to a lack of help.
      4) Why in the world would I erase their memories? Sounds nefarious to me.
      5) No deity, ever, has come to me and spoken of the nature of the universe.
      6) I imagine that if I have the capability to take these kids to a distant planet, I have the ability to bring them back to earth and actually show them that the place does indeed exist. Unless you are making me out to be weaker than I am....?
      7) You say that I am helping these kids, yet they grow up with no guidance. Which is it? Guiding or no guiding or selective guiding in that you will tell me how much I am guiding so as to fit with your story? Enlighten me.
      8) This sort of ties in to #7.... if I am helping, am I also hindering? If I am hindering, why?
      9) I'm not a colossal narcissist in that I would never make my help contingent on worship. I can choose to help or not help, my choice and nobody is the wiser.
      10) Yes, shockingly, there are things I need to see to believe. You strike me as a person that is a half-step away from believing that some Nambian Princess really does have a check with your name on it for a million dollars, if only you provide your personal information.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:36 am |
  12. Just Me & Nobody Else

    "They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways to do evil.”
    ~Phil Robertson, 2010
    Yeah, that pretty much sums up every gay or lesbian I have ever known. They're just inventing ways to do evil.

    December 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • atomD21

      Just sitting in their dark lairs, twirling their sinister mustaches and stroking their evil cats...

      December 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  13. Bryan

    I find it humorous that the GLAAD people talk about lies. Phil said no lies at all, If anything the American people have been lied to about the truth concerning gays and their lifestyle. We have been shown the "sanitized" view of their lives. Why has the media never broadcast gay pride parades? Just ask yourself that question. Google "Folsom street fair" and get just a small view into that disgusting "lifestyle". If the media ever broadcast a single gay pride celebration, they know the American people would finally see the truth.

    December 22, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Observer


      He did agree with the Bible. THAT was his problem.

      A&E also has rights. They decided they didn't want to project an image of ignorance and bigotry.

      December 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Yes, and let's not forget to check out the straight lifestyle that made America what it is: Spousal abuse, child abuse, child abandonment. Are these okay because they happen within the context of a ":straight " relationship>

      it's time for the United States to start to grow up.

      December 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • skb8721

      I don't think you can judge every gay person by the conduct of a few at a fair or parade. Would you judge every Christian by the conduct of a drunken few at Mardi Gras in the French Quarter of New Orleans? And yet Mardi Gras is tied inextricably to the coming of the Christian season of Lent on the very next day. Would you judge every Christian by the conduct of a few in a Black Friday mob fighting over cheap consumer goods? And yet these people are presumably marking the beginning of the season that celebrates the birth of their Savior.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • MarcB

      How do you know about Gay Pride parades if they are not broadcast? How would you know what goes on in them?

      December 23, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  14. Mark

    So, in order to properly interpret the Bible, you need specialists to explain these passages? Ummm, didn't Luther and other leaders of the early protestant movement have a big hang-up that Rome said to properly interpret the Bible you needed specialists, like priests? Seems like either Luther, Calvin, etc. were right and so Phil is on-target, or they were wrong and shouldn't have broken with Rome and become apostates.

    December 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      Of course if you start with unauthored texts verified only by hearsay "historians" involving alleged unnamed "witnesses", why should it matter so much?

      December 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  15. EdL

    Evangelists do not agree themselves on interpretations of the Bible, why shouldn't Robertson do likewise? Never did know who it is who has correct interpretations of the Bible, but certainly not political liberal commentators.

    December 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      I agree – it's a horribly conflicted mess for anyone to take seriously.

      December 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So basically you get final approval of which interpretation is right, Ed? Did god put you in charge?

      December 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • skb8721

      " certainly not political liberal commentators." Are you referring to Mr. Burke, the author of this article? Because he is not a political commentator, but a religion commentator, with an M.A. in Religion from an Ivy League school, if that means anything to you.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  16. ghost

    Wrong ? I think not. got it right on the money. truth hurts as A&E found out !

    December 22, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I don't think A&E is suffering. But if it makes your little vindictive heart beat faster, then you go on and hate all you want.

      December 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  17. Bob

    Since we've got Ron dumping bible bile on us again by the truckload, let's have a look at what is really in his Christian book of nasty. From both evil testaments:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    1 Timothy 2:11
    "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

    Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

    December 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Bob… Well here's a riddle for you smart guy:

      If after you've said all the above, you wind up in hell. And yet all those who have not said the above, wind up in heaven. Then what would that be saying?…

      Answer me this if you have understanding….

      December 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  18. Christina

    I personally think that this was taken wrong and that people took it the wrong way... as someone who is part of the gay community i myself believe phil has a right to what he believes and what he says is yes in the bible so why is everyone taking it so serious... and i also think a&e needs to not suspend him for an interview that if someone or a bunch of someones have a problem with. you people should be ashamed to take what someone comments or feels.

    December 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      I agree that Phil has a right to speak his mind even if I abhor what he says. A&E has a right to project their product however they want, but I think it is silly to have a reality show and then not allow one of the characters to be real. I avoid most reality shows because I've suspected for a long time that what you are presented with isn't very real. That being said, should parents have the option tp prevent their children from accidentally tuning into such programming? I'm not stating it emphatically yes as much as asking for the views of others.

      December 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
      • Maddy

        DD is a scripted reality show. It's far from real.

        December 22, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          Indeed, the photos of the family prior to the show airing circulating around social media demonstrate that everything is scripted down to the wardrobes and hair styles.

          December 23, 2013 at 6:40 am |
  19. Free Holiday Nuts

    The comments for this article are getting sour. It's time to get in the holiday spirit!


    December 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Free Holiday Nuts

      LOL- oops – wrong article. Just as well.

      December 22, 2013 at 8:01 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.