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. Derek

    Robertson looks like Bin Laden. Check out the camo, the beard, the gun, and the crazy religious delusions. Go speculate.

    December 28, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Opposing View

      guns are fun...bang bang-kind of like what I would like to do to all Atheists

      December 29, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • sam stone

        Come and get us, pen-day-ho

        December 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Fake "Opposing View"... Stop using my name. Any worthless moron who has to highjack someone else's name is worthless indeed...

        December 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • ANDRES

        That is utterly disgusting!!! Look, if you have nothing constructive to further God's kingdom, then SHUT UP!

        January 6, 2014 at 5:41 am |
  2. Science Works

    No dougie the bible is full of BS like YOU !

    December 28, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  3. Douglas

    Phil got it right...the Bible condemns h-o–m-o behaviors in both the Old and New Testaments.

    A&E has come to its senses and GLAAD has gone back to partying in LA where it belongs.

    GLAAD cannot change the eternal word of God. When the pressure hit and the angry, pro-Phil emails and tweets
    poured into GLAAD's in box, they tucked their tails between their legs, folded up their tents and
    went back home.


    December 28, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • sam stone

      still on your knees, doogie?

      December 28, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • midwest rail

      Delusional idiocy from our resident closet case.

      December 28, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Mary

      Bull. It was a publicity stunt. For attention. Similar to your cries for attention.

      December 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Mary

      And chapter and verse where JESUS condemns being gay, please.

      December 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Doris

      More insanity from the BB's very own gay Shaker.

      December 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Pete

      "GLAAD cannot change the eternal word of God. When the pressure hit and the angry, pro-Phil emails and tweets
      poured into GLAAD's in box, they tucked their tails between their legs, folded up their tents and
      went back home.


      OH look another Christian lying for their god.

      December 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  4. Reality # 2

    And once again some reality for the Robertson family and the other red-necks out there:

    o "Abrahamics" 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 28, 2013 at 6:36 am |
    • BK

      Some choose most do not. To cite published work in order to prove every single gay person since the beginning of time is nonsensical. Some chose most do not. Whats your stupid point anyway?

      January 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • Really

      It is not for me to judge, BUT....... You have not given any PROOF.

      "Being Ho mo se x" as genetic (I was born that way) would go against evolution and existance.
      Ho mo se xes can NOT reproduce, therefore if it was genetic, then we would soon cease to populate this planet.

      Which gene is inherit to make someone BORN that WAY?
      What is next? Pedophiles saying they were born that way and should be accepted?

      January 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
  5. Surprise, Surprise

    A&E has decided to reverse their decision and star filming new episodes of DD in the spring WITH Phil Robertson back in the show.
    Big shock, right?
    DD got publicity, GLAAD got publicity; a win win sitch for all concerned.

    What a stunt.

    December 28, 2013 at 1:25 am |
  6. Honey Badger Don't Care

    He does get the bible wrong.

    He should be advocating for the kiIIing of gays, not saying that their lifestyle is wrong. Read the bible. It is a horrible book.

    December 27, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Joe Cool

      No – it's not a horrible book. I would give my reason but apparently my comments were probably deemed to spirtual for the Belief board. The irony.

      December 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Joey

        NO, the most likely thing is that you are just not smart enough to figure out how to get around the dirty word filter.

        December 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        the irony is that you are simply using blocked words. no-one is preventing you from posting your fairy tales.

        December 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
      • Derek

        Joe Cool is too stupid to figure out why his comments are being blocked, even though it has been explained to him. That sure parallels his religious delusion nicely.

        December 28, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Opposing View

        will you marry me?

        December 29, 2013 at 9:11 am |
        • Opposing View

          Stop using my name. Any worthless moron who has to highjack someone else's name is worthless indeed...

          December 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  7. OBD

    I am surprised that no one has quoted the book of Jude...Enjoy

    December 27, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  8. OBD

    My comments are not showing up either...go figure....Most of these comments are to generate website hits so they keep this going. Its a Ploy CNN is using now. Most of you are arguing with people who are professional spin doctors and they are here to keep a topic alive. Just like Jesse Jackson is all washed up...He still has to bring himself out against stupid stuff that he knows Phil is right because Phil quoted from the scripture and spoke from his personal experience. But Jesse Needs to be out in the public so what better way to keep the public looking at you. Folks This Network is just generating hits...

    December 27, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • midwest rail

      Including yours....

      December 27, 2013 at 8:11 am |
      • lol??

        Rail, are you bothering other folks, too?? That's a trait of IL mobsters.

        December 30, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Joe Cool

      I agree with your comments about Phil and I think you may be on to something about this board being a ploy as my comments seem to not make it through also. And this is also a test to see if this goes through.

      December 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  9. zbazy

    I've heard actors who are vegans rant about how disgusting it is to kill and eat animals. How much it sickens them to watch someone eat a rare piece of meat. I eat meat. I don't consider it a hate crime that someone is disgusted by it and says so on TV. That's their opinion, and it's their right to express it. I don't write letters to get them fired. Frankly, I don't need everyone in America to approve of what I do in my personal life and then try to "get even" with them if they don't. Time for GLAAD to accept there are many of us out here who are sickened by what they do. Get over it - we're not telling you to stop, we're just telling you we're sick of being forced to listen to you tell us we have no right to be sickened by it or, heaven forbid, SAY we're sickened by it. Live and let live, say what?

    December 27, 2013 at 2:47 am |
    • Observer


      "Get over it – we're not telling you to stop, we're just telling you we're sick of being forced to listen to you tell us we have no right to be sickened by it or, heaven forbid"

      You obviously haven't been reading the comments. Please pay attention before commenting.

      December 27, 2013 at 2:57 am |
  10. lol??

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Socie talk. Look at the national debt if ya wanna see slavery, big time, courtesy of the "Wegodians".

    December 24, 2013 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    GI Rock sir, Peter considered Paul's doctrines as scripture. That means they were inspired by Jesus. No superman, supersessions needed. Sorry for your misunderstanding.

    December 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  11. lol??

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The Frankfurt School turned the "golden rule" into the golden calf. Pwogwess.

    December 26, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  12. d taylor

    There are many false teachings concerning what a person must do to have eternal life and the false teachings all involve people adding works or placing their trust into other means.
    This is done by people taking verses from the Bible, out of context to make the verses fit their eternal life plan, not God's

    Besides simple Faith, Belief,Trust they add to their false attempt : Praying a sinners prayer, Walking a church aisle, Inviting Jesus into your heart, Baptism, Being sorry for your sins, Turning from your sins, Doing good works, Believing with a special kind of faith, Promising to serve God, Confessing Christ, Church Membership etc..

    When the Bible is crystal clear, eternal life is given to anyone who by simple Faith,Belief,Trust. Believe that Jesus is The Christ the promised Messiah and The Christ will give eternal life to all who will trust in His promise that anyone who believes in Him for eternal life will be given this life.
    Let the Bible speak for Itself :
    Verses from The Gospel of John
    1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
    3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
    3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
    3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
    3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.
    4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you had known the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
    4:14 But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.”
    4:39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I ever did.”
    4:41 and because of his word many more believed.
    4:42 They said to the woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one really is the Savior of the world.”
    5:24 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.
    5:39 You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me,
    5:40 but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.
    6:28 So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?”
    6:29 Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires – to believe in the one whom he sent.”
    6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.
    6:40 For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    6:47 I tell you the solemn truth, the one who believes has eternal life.
    6:50 This is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person may eat from it and not die.
    6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

    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 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Walter Johnson

      We are all such great sinners, and what happens when we hear of Christ Jesus? Acts 2:36-39 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
      REPENT, : to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right. 1. : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life (Merriam-Webster) The Greek word translated "repent" means; to change one's mind, i.e. to repent...to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins.
      Of course we can not do any of this on our own but, "2 Timothy 1:8... according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

      December 27, 2013 at 3:18 am |
      • d taylor

        find repentance & baptism in The Gospel of John, it is not there and as John 20:30,31 says it is the only book of the Bible written to tell people how to have eternal life.

        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 27, 2013 at 7:09 am |
      • d taylor

        Christ took away the sin of the world sin is no longer an issue unbelief and people relying on their actions for eternal life is the problem.
        John 1:29 On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
        John 19:30 When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is finished” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

        Also besides Luke, John wrote more about repentance than any other author of the New Testament around 12 times in the book of Revelation. so John knew and understood about repentance. with that being said for John to leave repentance out of the Gospel of John shows he did not consider it a condition for a person in receiving eternal life.

        December 27, 2013 at 7:56 am |
        • sam stone

          sin is a man made concept that does not exist outside of the minds of believers

          December 27, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • Opposing View

        d taylor… You stated "find repentance and baptism in the Gospel of John. It is not there…"

        Answer: You are absolutely correct about that. It is not in John. But do you even know what you are saying? You are admitting to the the fact that the key and the formula of salvation is not written in the Book of John – but is only written in the book of Acts (Acts 2:38). Which is precisely what I informed you of previously. So why are you still clinging to the Book of John?….

        You also said "Christ took away the sin of the world, sin is no longer an issue, unbelief and people relying on their actions for eternal life is the problem…"

        Answer : You are WAY WAY wrong and you're not even close to the truth. Your actions, and any sins you commit, can indeed still send your soul to hell. Yes, the blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse a person of their sins, but the part you are overlooking is how is that accomplished? How do a person get their sins forgiven in this age? And what have you personally done to get your own sins forgiven? You're assuming it was a one time thing, that Jesus came and died and then suddenly everybody sins were forgiven, past, present and future. That's a lie and is not the case. For an unbeliever, forgiveness of sins beings ONLY when you follow the scripture Acts 2:38. Until that moment, your sins are NOT forgiven, and you are still bound for the lake…

        December 29, 2013 at 2:43 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          For an unbeliever sins don't exist anymore than the various concepts of God do. Sin isn't simply wrongdoing or evil as Christians depict. Sin is by definition the defiance of Gods' will. No God equals no sin. A system of morality based on secular humanism doesn't follow Bible precepts. Common sense and empathy for others are all that's required to live a life based on good behavior and fair and equal treatment of others.

          December 29, 2013 at 8:40 am |
        • Mantid

          Yeas but where did the morality come from??

          January 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • stevec

          Wrong doing as Christians see it, I thought it was God that defined sin. Maybe I 'm wrong.

          January 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • d taylor

          interesting that the only proof you have that i am wrong is that you say i am.

          No where have you ever proved your statements by scripture, but i have time after time shown verses, that shows eternal life is given by Faith alone in Christ alone.

          December 29, 2013 at 9:00 am |
        • d taylor

          AtheistSteve i know many unbelievers that believe sin exist

          December 29, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • igaftr

          Then you know unbelievers that use the wrong word. No gods means no sin. They may be using the word sin incorrectly.

          December 29, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • d taylor

          Actually it is a misunderstanding of the word believer and unbeliever. you and AtheistSteve are defining unbelievers as people who do not believe in God, but the word believer is a person who believes that eternal is given to them by placing their faith in The Christ.

          That The Christ is the promised Messiah (God took on the body of a human) and gives eternal life to all who will trust in Him for this life.

          many people are believers in God but few of those people are believers as defined in Biblical term's being that they are believers in The Christ for eternal life. and thoses same groups that believe in God and reject Jesus The Messiah are by the Bible defined as unbelievers but those same people if asked do believe in sin.

          take this person (Opposing View) posting here he believes in God but rejects Faith alone in Christ alone for eternal life. He is trying to establish his own righteous by doing things (baptism, repentance, obedience, commitment etc...) so by his comments here it sounds like he rejects Faith alone in Christ alone and if that is true he is an unbeliever along with anyone else who again seeks to establish their own righteous.

          so the term unbeliever is not just: unbeliever = atheist. It encompasses much more than just atheist from a Bible perspective

          December 29, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • igaftr

          Sin is a transgression againt divine law. If there are no gods, there is no divine, so no divine law, so no sin.

          I cannot sin, because there are no gods. I can do immoral acts. They are not sin.

          You use the word incorrectly.

          December 29, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          No true scottsman? Please.

          If you want to call some god believers "Unbeliever" because they don't judge and condemn exactly as you do, then feel free when ya'll have your little pot-luck luncheons on sunday afternoon after service, but in the real world, a person either believes that god exists or doesn't have such a belief. A muslim is a believer, as is a mormon, as is a Jehovah's Witness.

          December 29, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • Opposing View

          d taylor… You are a complete and utter liar. I have proved EVERYTHING I have said to you – by scripture. Yet, all you have done is cling to some false truth you have regarding the Book of John. In my previous posts to you, is Acts 2:38 not scripture? Is Matthew 13:34 not scripture? Is Matthew 13:10 not scripture? You are a liar if you say that it is not. You're as bad as the atheists, if not worse. And your being in denial about it is not going to change it or save you. I have told you the truth. You can either accept the truth I have spoken, or you can continue on to hell. It matters not to me…

          "AtheistSteve", "lgaftr"… You guys are ridiculous and beyond hope. You're also bound for the lake. And once in the lake, you'll be able to debate that nonsense for the rest of eternity. And thank goodness you won't be around for me to have to listen to you…

          December 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Opposing View

          Suppose you were talking with a Muslim, and that Muslim claimed that he had PROVED "everything" he had said through the Koran. Would you accept his "proof" that is nothing more than his own scripture? Why or why not?


          December 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          Since you are a poe, clearly not an actual believer I'll be brief.

          You violate time and time again one of your basic commandments whe you lie about my destination that you refer to as the lake. You do not know that I am going to hell, since you do not know if it exists, nor if I have done anything to warrent going there.

          I do have a nice retirement house on one of the many lakes in the USA, so when I retire, I will go to the lake....do some fishing, soem baoting etc....quite lovely there year round.

          As far as the lake you claim....nonsense taught to children. Grow up.

          December 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Cpt. Obvious… The Koran is not scripture. The Koran is nothing more than a book written by Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and is not of God. Whereas the bible itself was written by God. This is confirmed by Jesus Christ himself…

          A person's "proof" is only as good as the source of that proof. If the source of that proof is of the devil, then so is your proof...

          December 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • d taylor

          you are making yourself a god when you make a statement saying their is no God.
          No person can make an absolute statement like that, without first being God because that statement requires the maker to know everything (omniscient) when all you are doing is making an observation about evidence (if you believe it or not).

          You do not believe the evidence,1.That there is a God 2. That this God is the God of the Bible. all you can truthfully say is that you do not know if God exist. Truthfully you or anybody else can not say that God does not exist in an absolute statement.

          Cpt. Obvious
          i would expect no less of a comment like that from and unbeliever. Being that the Bible is just words on paper to you.

          December 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          So you're not going to answer my question?

          You want others to accept X from you as "proof," while you refuse to accept X as proof from someone else. (Where "X" = "the scripture text I consider to be god's holy word).

          Christian: I've "proved" it by my own scriptures
          Muslim: I've "proved" it by my own scriptures
          Christian: Don't accept Islamic scripture as proof of anything!! How foolish!
          Muslim: Don't accept Biblical scripture as proof of anything!! How foolish!

          December 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Mantid579

          honest question for sceptics whether athesist or Christian- Can we agree that it's impossible to know 100% of most subjects? If either side could show proof of beyond a shadow of doubt, would you accept it?

          January 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          I am not making myself a god. That is ridiculous. It is my opinion that there are no gods as defined by any human ever. Is that better.
          It is not a definitve statement when I say there are no gods...it is an opinion, like when you say there are....opinion.

          There is no evidence that there are any gods, but in the infinite number of possibilities, some involve a god or "god", but again...no evidence whatsoever of any gods. There is a huge amount of evidence that men make gods in answer to his own ignorance.
          Why is the ground shaking, and the mountain smoking? ( MANY gods created to explain volcanoes)
          Why does the sky light up like that and make that enormous noise? ( many gods created to explain lightening)

          Yours is the same...Where does life come from ( many current gods created to explain the phenomena of life)

          Men create gods, and I do not believe ANY definition of any of the thousands of gods men have worshipped is sufficient.
          The god of the bible IS an impossibility. Either your god is all powerful and all knowiing and the bible had nothing to do with "him" OR your god is weak and doesn't even know that there was NEVER a world encompassing flood, We did not all descend from one genetic set, and a second set made from the first genetic set...impossible, and that you can't make striped goats by having mating pairs stare at striped objects....I mean come on....some of the bible is just plain silly.

          December 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Opposing View

          So you have absolutely nothing to offer the Muslim who considers the Koran to be god's holy scripture and the bible to be "of the devil" exactly as you view the koran? Interesting.

          When you and the muslims come up with a measurable way of determining which has "god's word," I'll look into it. Right now, the two of you just point fingers at the other side and make the exact same claims about your own scriptures and beliefs.

          December 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • d taylor

          Cpt. Obvious

          I answered your question just because you do not like the answer, again why would i want to elaborate on the Bible when in the first place you do not even believe in God and see no difference between muslim, catholic, mormon, etc.. again i am not here to prove God exist God is fully capable of doing that Himself.

          My message is if a person wants eternal life it is given to all who will place their trust in The Christ for the free gift of eternal life.

          if you want information on whether the Bible is the only true source of information about God and all other writing are not God inspired and just writing of man. you can go to the website below.


          December 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • igaftr

          d t

          "My message is if a person wants eternal life it is given to all who will place their trust in The Christ for the free gift of eternal life."


          You can get into Valhalla if you die in glorious battle....


          You can get a great view from Mt. Olympus if you please Zeus....


          You can acheive enlightenment if you truly give up all desires and live a good life...


          You will be reincarnated as a higher being if you live a good life this time around, a worse one if you do not...

          OR on and on and on....many unfounded belliefs....and that is all they are...no evidence of ANY of them.

          December 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Cpt Obvious… Then you'll go straight to hell and will get your answer in hell. Both you and the Muslims already have all the proof you need. His name is Jesus Christ. You can accept that proof or reject it. If you reject it, then you shall continue on to hell….

          Matthew 12:39 – (Jesus speaking) "This generation seeketh for a sign, but there shall be none except the preaching of the gospel"…

          That same Jesus also said this –

          John 8:24 – (Jesus speaking) "If you don't believe that I am He, then you shall die in your sins"…

          Meaning, if you don't believe he is the Christ and the Son of the Living God, then you will die and go to hell. As no more proof shall you get…

          December 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious


          And the muslim would say that you and I have all the proof we need in the pages of the Koran and the words of the Prophet (fhpa).

          Again, you have no tangible evidence. Nothing to verify that your opinion is correct...it all comes down to threats if people don't believe just like you...just like the muslims. Sad.

          January 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Christians are funny...

      The Bible: proof that gullible people will believe any dumbass thing that you tell them

      December 27, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • fred

        Goes both ways Lucifer!
        It cuts like a two edged sword. Your heart is revealed in your reading of the Word just as my heart was revealed by the reading of the Word. One thing we have in common is that you are correct in that the Bible does reveal what "dumbazz" we are. After that however I know how much I need forgiveness for the dumb things I do whereas you do not think you need something greater than self to overcome that which has you in bondage.

        December 27, 2013 at 8:53 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Thanks for all the religious double-speak dumbo-jumbo... Whatever ridiculous thing lets you sleep at night I guess...

          December 27, 2013 at 8:55 am |
        • fred

          You are somewhat correct in that I am comforted by the presence of God. If I am wrong then I have still been comforted by the presence of God. Exactly how you propose one escape the reality of God? Real or imagined you cannot and have not. Gads, you even take on the name of Gods most beautiful of angelic beings. Real or imagined God is with you.

          December 27, 2013 at 9:05 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          You are obviously insane and I have lost interest in you...

          December 27, 2013 at 9:10 am |
        • fred

          That is the view of self revealed as you hear the Word of God. Lucifer was cast down to earth from a very lofty place to crawl on his belly yet could not see truth. The evil twin of perfect goodness is evil perfected. That would not be you and could not be you but at least you have goals. Can you even explain to yourself what is accomplished by taking away hope from others?

          December 27, 2013 at 9:20 am |
        • sam stone

          god is not a reality, god is a fantasy

          December 27, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • fred

          Sam Stone
          Like it or not we live under the influence of the Western World View which is God centered. That may change someday but at present it still remains. Even the worlds superpower remains a nation where the majority of people believe and every president ever elected was or claimed to be a strong believer.
          Sorry, that is reality not a fantasy of any kind.
          You should question how is it you are so wrong in your assessment. It is one who does not grasp reality that is considered delusional not those who see the world as it is.

          December 27, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • sam stone

          a popular fantasy is still a fantasy, fred

          December 27, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • sam stone

          "You should question how is it you are so wrong in your assessment. It is one who does not grasp reality that is considered delusional not those who see the world as it is."

          Back atcha, Freddie

          December 27, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • fred

          sam stone
          No, you are missing the point. You cannot deny that our world remains and is dominated by the belief in God. Even atheists are subject to laws and disposition of a society (in U.S. for example) that believe in God. The Middle East is dominated by the Old Testament God of Abraham and Israel the God of Abraham. The conflict in the Middle East infects the globe. You cannot escape what is. Now, it really does not matter if God is a delusion (according to you) or not the impact remains the same and your reality as well as mine reflects God. End of story.

          December 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • sam stone

          It is dominated by a belief in god(s).

          Again, popular fanatasy is still fantasy

          December 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • sam stone

          Our reality is impacted by beliefs in god, either ours or others

          That does not mean that those beliefs are not fantasy

          December 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
        • fred

          sam stone
          Correct it does not matter if the object is fantasy or not. Reality is what actually is regardless of your opinion or my opinion. God is the only reality we have known and your belief and my belief regarding the object (God) does not change reality.

          December 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
        • Damocles

          I disagree. It is the belief in a deity that impacts our reality. It still does not make it real.

          December 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • sam stone

          "God is the only reality we have known"

          the belief in a god is not the same as god being real

          December 27, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • sam stone

          On 9/11, the reality of many people in this country was affected by those who believe in allah

          It is not same as allah being real

          December 27, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • fred

          "I disagree. It is the belief in a deity that impacts our reality. It still does not make it real."
          =>You are contradicting yourself. If belief impacts our reality then the object of our belief has impacted our reality. Exactly how do you separate the object of belief when belief is based upon the object and it is by faith that belief enters our reality. You are correct in that it is our belief that impacts reality. Reality includes the impact of that belief. There is absolutely no logical or reasonable way you can deny God (real or imagined) is evidenced by the creation which reflects the power of that living God.
          It seems atheists go to extreme in order to maintain non belief. Simply because atheists like to pretend they have no object as foundation for belief is not cause nor is it reasonable to insert their faith in no object (which cannot be seen) is somehow better than the object Christians place their faith. What hypocrites to base your belief in nothing based on faith then attack my belief by faith in what cannot be seen. Atheists and Christians have one thing in common as those of other faiths cannot see what we see by faith.
          =>Atheism and its belief in nothing has not made a noticeable impact on reality. Science in its various disciplines has made a significant impact by subtly instilling the belief that man can know and create what is needed to satisfy human desires. Given enough time there is no God needed according to this new belief. Until such time arrives God (real or imagined) remains the major force in shaping reality.

          December 28, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • fred

          sam stone
          "On 9/11, the reality of many people in this country was affected by those who believe in allah. It is not same as allah being real"
          =>Allah is not real. Allah is the perversion of God in the same manner which the Jews perverted God by the time Jesus came. The Jews and Muslims denied Jesus was Lord then set out to destroy those who believed otherwise. The Bible reflects the history of man twisting the words of God to suit their own purposes and satisfy their own.desires. This was the warning from the Garden when the serpent asked "did God really say that".
          =>the belief in God is real and should not be confused with man running away with religions based on God yet confusing God who is with the god they want. It was that belief in God which was real and the militant Islamic sects twisting of God that was real on 9/11. God is real and brings about the purpose of creation through that creation as you have evidenced in your own comment.

          December 28, 2013 at 12:20 am |
        • sam stone

          "If belief impacts our reality then the object of our belief has impacted our reality"

          If one believes in something that isn't real, is it the belief or the object that is impacting our reality?

          "There is absolutely no logical or reasonable way you can deny God (real or imagined) is evidenced by the creation which reflects the power of that living God"

          There is no logical or reasonable way you can state that a creator HAS TO be synonymous with a God

          December 28, 2013 at 8:25 am |
        • sam stone

          "God is real and brings about the purpose of creation through that creation as you have evidenced in your own comment."

          And how have I "evidenced" this?

          December 28, 2013 at 8:27 am |
        • fred

          sam stone
          You stated "On 9/11, the reality of many people in this country was affected by those who believe in allah"
          =>this is your statement. Belief does impact reality even when it is a perverted belief.
          =>God is expressed though creation. In people we see the need to find God or explain God. That driving force to justify and put God in perspective with what we know and understand points to existence of God. This has been the consistent pattern of man since recorded history. To suggest it does not exist or is not a key part of the creation of mankind is nonsense.
          =>I agree with you that it is doubtful our understanding of God is close to embracing even a glimpse of God and those visuals we get are limited to our ability to express. The God of Abraham as revealed and Christ as God is the best we have done to date in expressing how we see God or have seen God. Bits of other religions and faiths have some added characteristics that touch upon the God who is. For all I know what we do know about God may be as limited as what I know about sam stone. I say that not in disrespect but to point out we see something in the smoke and shadows of the old testament and the way to God in the New Testament. But we do not have a visual of God only expressions that we can understand.

          December 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • Science Works

          fred Phil was way off base on the human rights issue was he not ?

          Maybe religious rights should be last on the menu what do you say ?

          For human rights to flourish, religious rights have to come second


          December 29, 2013 at 8:01 am |
        • fred

          science works

          "Phil was way off base on the human rights issue was he not ?"
          =>No, he said it was simply his opinion. He is not saying you must believe as he does. He has every right to believe the Bible just as you have every right to believe science somehow confirms no god needed.

          "Maybe religious rights should be last on the menu what do you say ?"
          =>truth is absolute and our religions, most of which reflect more of man than God should be held up to the words set down by Jesus. There is no second place to what is truth or a menu of what is or is not less truthful. I have yet to see anything Jesus said that takes away your rights more than anyone else.
          =>Britton is heading down as is the U.S. because we have lost sight of the truth. I hope you exchanged your rights for something real valuable when you tossed out truth and joined hands with those who find truth to be whatever they believe it to be this week.

          December 30, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • verymarriedtoo

      MARK 1:4 John the baptizer turned up in the wilderness, preaching baptism [in symbol] of repentance for forgiveness of sins LUKE 3:3 So he came into all the country around the Jordan, preaching baptism [in symbol] of repentance for forgiveness of sins,
      MATTHEW 3:13 Then Jesus came from Gal′i·lee to the Jordan to John, in order to be baptized by him. 14 But the latter tried to prevent him, saying: “I am the one needing to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?” 15 In reply Jesus said to him: “Let it be, this time, for in that way it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous.” Then he quit preventing him. 16 After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. 17 Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”
      MARK 1:9 In the course of those days Jesus came from Naz′a·reth of Gal′i·lee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 And immediately on coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being parted, and, like a dove, the spirit coming down upon him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.”
      many more scipts. baptism is needed for everlasting life. BAPTISM.

      December 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  13. Douglas

    There is no condemnation for celibate LGBTQ on the road to glory.

    Phil is wrong to paint all of them with a broad brush.

    Lest we forget...Rahab the harlot was saved for protecting the spies and Jesus intervened to save the
    adulteress from death by stoning.

    Celibacy is a beacon of hope for those ready to jettison past transgressions!

    December 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Max

      Always a red-letter day when our resident gay shill shows up to illustrate his repression.

      December 26, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • doobzz

      Still worried about gay coitus, Doug?

      December 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      Doogie is still dreaming about the Glory Hole

      December 27, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  14. Jon

    The bible also says that pre-marital relations is a sin. Does Phil expect us to believe he was a virgin when he married his 16 year old wife?

    December 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Austin

      that is a good point we should uphold the standards of purity and practice.

      December 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • sam stone

        the standards or purity established by iron age sheep molesters?

        no thanks

        December 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • nclaw441

      It doesn't sound like Robertson was a virgin when he married. He also talked about using alcohol and drugs, I believe. What is your point? His Christian faith has led him to repent and seek forgiveness and change his ways.

      December 26, 2013 at 9:05 am |
      • igaftr

        Yeah...now he uses his christian faith to be a bigot, holding a characteristic that people have from birth against them.

        Amazing how hypocritical christianity really is, since you can use it to justify hatred of gay people, on up to AND including genocide against the jewish people.

        Horrible belief system.

        December 26, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • The One

          If you don't believe in God then why do you care what this guy or that guy said? Go out and do whatever feels good. All he said is that you're gonna pay for it at judgement... And the reality is that you don't like being told you have to "pay" for your sins so you call them names and become a hypocrite yourself by doing so. Quit whining about it if you do not believe what the bible says about the things you want to do just go do what you will. Do you just want to "force" everyone to believe as you do? Stop being a hypocrite.

          December 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Sounds like an excellent way to treat muslims and their beliefs....even if they do want to destroy your belief. hmmm.

          December 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • igaftr

          the "one"?

          This guy is trying to use the bible to justify his bigotry, and will site passages that he doesn't even follow himself.
          HE is the one who is a public figure putting his bigotry out there for all. How exactly am I being a hypocrit?

          Do you have anything other than "mind your own business" and ad hominem?
          I simply pointed out that this bigot is a fine example of what I have come to expect from "neighbor loving" christians.

          December 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • sam stone

          "the one" judgement is a hoax designed to fool the gullible

          get back on your knees, b1tch

          December 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • sam stone

        using drugs is a sin?

        December 26, 2013 at 9:53 am |
        • The One

          Yeah Sam it is... Now stop burnin that weed bro. lol

          December 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Bill

          Sam, if i smoke pot, I stop having dreams.

          December 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • sam stone

          that's too bad, bill. perhaps you should go beyond that mexican dirt weed

          December 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • The Church Of Lord Obama in Washington, D.C. in Dupont Circle

          Please read this article because our church in Washington, D.C. is uriging Americans to worship and praise president Obama because He is our personal Lord and Messiah and will protect us from insurgents overseas. Satan caused the kidnapping of journalists like Daniel Pearl and others but Obama is the new Jesus Christ of the world! For info, call us at 240–344-1323 or 202–895-3000. Thank you for your service!

          ISLAMABAD (AP) – A 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by al-Qaida more than two years ago appealed to President Obama in a video released Thursday to negotiate his release, saying he feels "totally abandoned and forgotten."

          The video of Warren Weinstein of Rockville, Md., was the first since two videos released in September 2012. Weinstein, the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a U.S.-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors, was abducted from his house in the eastern city of Lahore in August 2011.

          In the video sent Thursday to reporters in Pakistan including The Associated Press, Weinstein called on the U.S. government to negotiate his release.

          "Nine years ago I came to Pakistan to help my government, and I did so at a time when most Americans would not come here, and now when I need my government it seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten," Weinstein said during the 13-minute video. "And so I again appeal to you to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release."

          It was impossible to tell how much Weinstein's statement, made under the duress of captivity, was scripted by his captors.

          The video and an accompanying letter purported to be from Weinstein was emailed anonymously to reporters in Pakistan. The video was labelled "As-Sahab," which is al-Qaida's media wing, but its authenticity could not be independently verified. The letter was dated Oct. 3, 2013 and in the video Weinstein said he had been in captivity for two years.

          In the video, Weinstein wore a grey track suit jacket and what appeared to be a black knit hat on his head. His face was partially covered with a beard.

          Al-Qaida has said Weinstein would be released if the U.S. halted airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and also demanded the release of all al-Qaida and Taliban suspects around the world.

          The White House has called for Weinstein's immediate release but has said it won't negotiate with al-Qaida.

          The videos last year showed Weinstein appealing for help from the Jewish community and Israel's prime minister.

          December 26, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  15. Inigo de Ona

    So it took a bunch of rich white people from the USA and Europe to explain to everyone what a 2000 year old religious text says. So everyone prior to now has been wrong. not likely. Self justification is more likely than accurate interpretation.

    December 25, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  16. DP

    Hi Paul. Thanks for your reply. You are correct. Belief is necessary for one to enjoy the benefit of any gift. I could extend a hundred dollar bill in your direction but you may be hesitant to accept it if you are unsure of my motives. For you to receive and make use of the money you must first believe that (1) I actually exist/you weren't dreaming lol and (2) I have good motives towards you. The gift of innocence and immortality has been extended to mankind – a free gift. But belief that the giver (1)exists and (2)that he has good motives is necessary for US to accept the gift and make use of it. Jesus' only desire in the NT is that we believe in Him. He is the gift God extended to us. One more thing: I am a free man. I don't live by any rule keeping, commandments, traditions, etc. We are free from the slavery of legalism. I live from my heart, which is influced by God's love. There is great liberty in this.

    December 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  17. DP

    I am a Christian, and all this 'sin' talk baffles me. Sin is dead. It was crucified over 2000 years ago in the body of Jesus. All mankind is now innocent and blameless forever. "Peace on Earth and goodwill (a favorable reputation) toward men"... We can all enjoy peace in our hearts because our reputation is honorable and pure in the sight of God. Merry Christmas! #Cheers

    December 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Paul

      So, all that you must believe, repent and follow Christ stuff does not matter? You are right with God even though you do not believe in Christ? You know there are plenty of verses that say you must believe to be saved. What do you do with those verses?

      December 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • DP

        Hi Paul. Thanks for your reply. You are correct. Belief is necessary for one to enjoy the benefit of any gift. I could extend a hundred dollar bill in your direction but you may be hesitant to accept it if you are unsure of my motives. For you to receive and make use of the money you must first believe that (1) I actually exist/you weren't dreaming lol and (2) I have good motives towards you. The gift of innocence and immortality has been extended to mankind – a free gift. But belief that the giver (1)exists and (2)that he has good motives is necessary for US to accept the gift and make use of it. Jesus' only desire in the NT is that we believe in Him. He is the gift God extended to us. One more thing: I am a free man. I don't live by any rule keeping, commandments, traditions, etc. We are free from the slavery of legalism. I live from my heart, which is influced by God's love. There is great liberty in this.

        December 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  18. Kebos

    The bible got the bible wrong. As a book written by man but claimed to be divinely inspired, it doesn't fail to underachieve.

    December 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • hearties

      Reading the bible is a great way to get to know God and fall in love with him.

      December 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • Chris

        Fall in love with Him?? Really??

        December 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • hearties

          God is the most incredible, awe inspiring, all powerful, intelligence and creativity beyond measure, being, ever, over all time.

          So yes, it can be easy for someone can fall in love with God.

          December 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Chris

          Then you have no clue as to what it means to fall in love.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:50 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.