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Will camel discovery break the Bible's back?
Camels, shown here in the Liwa desert outside Abu Dhabi, are the subject of a surprising new discovery.
February 11th, 2014
01:56 PM ET

Will camel discovery break the Bible's back?

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - It’s been a rough 2014 for the book of Genesis.

First a Noah’s Ark discovery raised a flood of questions, then there was the much-hyped debate over life’s origins between Bill Nye the Science Guy and creationist Ken Ham.

And now this: a scientific report establishing that camels, the basic mode of transportation for the biblical patriarchs, weren’t domesticated in Israel until hundreds of years after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are said to have wandered the earth.

Using radiocarbon dating of camel bones that showed signs of having carried heavy loads, Israeli archaeologists have dated the earliest domesticated camels to the end of the 10th century BCE.

But according to the traditional biblical chronology, the patriarchs were schlepping around Canaan on camels over a millennium earlier, all the way back in 2100 BCE

Taken on its own, this may seem a rather minor problem.

After all, this is Genesis, in which some people live to be 900 years old (hello, Methuselah), all of humanity emerges from Babylon, and the Dead Sea is created from the backward glance of Lot’s wife. (Not to mention the six-day creation story and the stuffing of all land animals on a single boat.)

How important could camels really be?

For those who believe the Bible to be fundamentally true, this is hardly going to change any minds. For those who believe it to be entirely false, this is surely not the most damning piece of evidence.

What the camels in Genesis reveal, in fact, has nothing to do with the “truth” of the biblical story at all.

Instead, the presence of these camels in the story highlights, in a very clear way, the essential humanity of the biblical writers: like the best authors, they simply wrote about what they knew.

The patriarchs are depicted as nomadic, never settling for long in one place, but moving constantly from location to location throughout Israel (and beyond).

An ancient Israelite, wanting to tell the story of the wandering of his ethnic and national ancestors, would have naturally looked to the nomadic peoples around him as models. And indeed, throughout the Bible camels are commonly associated with those tribes who lived in the desert: Midianites, Ishmaelites, Amalekites, Kedemites.

The biblical authors simply transplanted the nomadic standards of their time into the distant past.

There is nothing deceptive about this. They weren’t trying to trick anyone. They imagined, quite reasonably, that the past was, fundamentally, like their present.

They had no real alternative. In ancient Israel, in the period when the Bible was written (which ranges, conservatively, from the 10th to the third century BCE), no one had any way of knowing that camels had not always been domesticated pack animals. After all, we didn’t know that for sure until this past week.

Without any evidence to the contrary, it is perfectly natural to assume that things have always been the way that they are now. Today we have more information about the past than any other moment in history. In ancient Israel, they had virtually none.

And yet we still fall victim to this basic, very human, historical fallacy.

It has been suggested that this anachronism in the biblical text is akin to importing semitrailers into the medieval period. But this is a level of ridiculousness too far.

I would suggest that it is more similar to describing a medieval Italian as enjoying pasta with tomato sauce. How many people, even today, know that tomatoes only came to Italy from South America in the 16th century?

The camels in Genesis may be “wrong,” but they are not a “mistake.” We all imagine the past to the best of our knowledge, the biblical authors included.

The lasting lesson of the camel controversy, such as it is, is a simple one: no writing, not even the Bible, is timeless or without context. Views of the past are contingent on both what we know and how we know it.

The Bible is a historical record, but it tells us just as much, if not more, about the people who wrote it as it does about the people they wrote about.

Since the stories of the Bible remain so central to who we are as a culture, even today (and even for those who dismiss it), it seems entirely fitting that we should be equally interested in the ancient people who composed them.

Despite their lack of historical knowledge — and, equally, because of it — they, more than the characters in the Bible, are our true cultural ancestors.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Creationism • Evolution • Judaism • Middle East • Opinion

soundoff (3,276 Responses)
  1. raforrester

    I don't believe the Bible is historically accurate, but I do have some questions about those camels. According to the article, they know that domesticated camels didn't appear until the end of the 10th century BCE because they looked at all the copper mines, and found lots of camel bones, but none of them had evidence of carrying heavy loads until then. They say that was also the time when Egypt invaded and probably brought in its own domesticated camels. They also say that before that there were camels in the area, but they did not show signs of carrying heavy loads, so they were probably wild.

    I'd like to know how they ruled out several possibilities, which the original article did not explore.
    - Perhaps nobody used camels for heavy loads before the Egyptians invaded, but instead used them only for meat.
    - Is a rider heavy enough to cause the same evidence in the camel legs as the loads of copper? Could camels have been used for riding before they were used for cargo?
    - Maybe they did not invent a way to load a camel with a heavy load until the Egyptians, but only used them for light loads.
    - Maybe there were plenty of domesticated camels carrying loads but not at the copper mines.
    - Maybe they could not figure out how to get their camels to cooperate with carrying heavy loads until the Egyptians came.
    - Maybe the camel owners refused to allow their camels to be used at the copper mines because they were mistreated there, before the Egyptians arrived.

    Just curious.

    February 11, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • bonza1982

      Thankyou! I do believe the Bible, and had the same questions you do. Just because they found those particular camels in that particular place doesn't mean it's proof that they were the first domesticated camels! Good grief!

      February 11, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
      • bspurloc

        grats...
        score u think u have a camel resolution...
        now tell us how u explain a mr jesus zombie, a human embryo fertilized without a man meat injectin, parting the red sea, etc etc

        February 12, 2014 at 12:06 am |
  2. joethejust

    Evolution is still a hypothesis. Often times scientifically using the S.W.A.G. methodology. (Scientific Wild A $$ Guess) And always the question of the origin of the 'spark' of life. How was the fuse lit on the big bang? For now we have a choice:
    1. Intelligent Design
    2. Magical Accident
    Don't know about you kids but I quit believing in magic back when I found out ice cream cones were hollow. And if you kids want to believe in accidental magic you go right ahead. But don't think my belief in God is anymore weird. There is no proof of evolution – none. I see and hear of miracles daily. Amen

    February 11, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
    • bertfuhr

      "Miracle: A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency."
      Since you said you "see and hear of miracles daily" please list the last 14 that meet the definition above.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
      • bspurloc

        why dont u list even one mircale that meets those, and please supply your proof. the proof lies on u to provide since u r the once declaring something

        February 12, 2014 at 12:05 am |
    • evolveddna

      Joe..you are mixing up abiogenesis with evolution. Evolution is a fact ...the "spark of life" as you call it ...abiogenesis.. is still open to debate.

      February 12, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    • doobzz

      "Evolution is still a hypothesis. "

      No, it isn't.

      February 12, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  3. momwizmom

    There are theories and scientific bases to many Bible stories that confirm them. It is foolish to dismiss the Bible wholesale based on ones that don't have a solid connection with science (the creation of the Earth does, by the way, but not the time frame which is often assumed). Especially since the Bible is a library written over millenia, not a single volume written by one author. The common thread is inspiration for life, and confirmation of what lies beyond. Faith in what it represents has its rich rewards!

    February 11, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
    • bertfuhr

      "There are theories and scientific bases..."

      Bases or facts?.

      "....to many Bible stories..."

      You got that right, i.e. "stories."

      "...that confirm them."

      If that were true that stories "confirmed" things then it is absolutely true that stories – backed by repeated scientific facts – are just as true.

      Let's have some (more) fun with your post:

      "It is foolish to dismiss the (series of Harry Potter books) wholesale based on ones that don't have a solid connection with (magic) that the creation of the (Harry Potter universe) does, by the way, but not the time frame which is often assumed). Especially since the (Harry Potter books) is a library written over (many years), where not one single volume was written by one author. The common thread is inspiration for life, (mystery) of what lies beyond, respect for your family and loved ones, be prepared for animosity and adversity, and education is what is most important. Faith in yourself and expectation of "do upon your neigbnors" is the goal.!

      February 11, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Origin myths. Justifications for acts, often heinous, carried out by ambitious men. Establishment of a religion. A failed attempt to reform that religion – the account of which was transformed into the strange foundational myth of a variant of that religion.

      Sorry, I'm just thumbing through the Bible wondering what it's really about.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
      • joethejust

        Keep reading. Check out the wisdom in the book of Proverbs.

        February 11, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • bertfuhr

          Unlike you phallus cranium, I have "kept reading."
          Matthew 5:17

          February 11, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • bspurloc

          the library has many books with better stories.
          it also has history books with factual stories. unless u live in TX where they are modified to remove factual history

          February 12, 2014 at 12:09 am |
    • bspurloc

      the only scienctific proof in relation to the bible is proof of its falsehoods

      February 12, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    • evolveddna

      Monwizmom..I notice that the bible clearly explains how the sun generates it energy, the vastness of the universe, how the elements in your body came from dead stars... how it explains the creatures that were not know to the desert dweller.. polar bears, penguins..and what about the ole Duck Billed platypuses..have you heard about Black smokers? reading about them in the bible really leaves no question that this book was inspired by a god..

      February 12, 2014 at 12:16 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Oh dear, someone who doesn't comprehend much about science. The 'wiz' portion of the alias is lacking meaning. The bible is full of fallacies meant to fool the gullible!

      February 12, 2014 at 5:54 am |
  4. bertfuhr

    Eden = Incest. Great Flood = incest. So, all surviving humans (Pygmies, Aussies, Polynesians, Inuits, Persians, Koreans, et al.) are from the same "tree."
    Or another favorite of mine: Kill or be killed?
    If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    February 11, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
    • joethejust

      Old Testament. Check out what Jesus says.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
  5. johnn23

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_F9nIps46w&w=640&h=360]

    February 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
    • Doris

      OK for your next assignment, Dieter, I'd like you to incorporate some tempo changes.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
  6. realityyyyyyy

    It would have made no difference since there were no patriarchs to ride said camels even if they existed.

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation."

    See p.1 for added details:

    February 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
  7. thefriendlyagnostic

    No one has yet to prove that the Bible is right, (I believe it is just stories to comfort us when facing death. I think someone just removed Jesus's body from the tomb, he did not rise from the dead).
    Science has shown absolutely no solid proof of our origin and how we got here, not even close once you really investigate their proofs and theories. I kind of see why the religious zealots still have hope. Does anyone really believe radiocarbon dating. They have no idea if something is 4,000 years old or 4 million years old. Just because the word science is mentioned people seem to believe it. Science has believed many facts over the centuries that are ridiculous now.
    No one has yet to show me, (Christianity theory or evolutionary theory), how I got here or where I am going.

    February 11, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      theignorantagnostic

      February 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
      • thefriendlyagnostic

        Cornell '83, Astronomy class with Carl Sagan about in '82. University of Pennsylvania '85.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:28 am |
    • realityyyyyyy

      This should help you on the road of life: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01

      February 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      • thefriendlyagnostic

        Wow, I usually get replies from Christians attacking me , this is a little different. Yes, the Evolution 101 site from Berkeley. Read it a while back. Nothing here to change my thoughts ,it is like all the hundreds of others.On their Big Issues page, they conclude that life on Earth evolved but they do not know how it did!!!

        February 12, 2014 at 12:11 am |
    • johnbiggscr

      ' They have no idea if something is 4,000 years old or 4 million years old.'

      Of course they do, where on earth do you get such a ridiculous idea from?

      February 11, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • somethingstellar

        Probably some nonsense apologist.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:07 am |
      • thefriendlyagnostic

        You do not know when the carbon became part of the structure you choose to date by measuring it. You do not know how or when the carbon molecule was created, nor do you know whether the rate of decay was constant (you assume it instead) because you cannot measure the conditions in the past. You have to 'assume' it which requires blind faith.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:22 am |
        • raforrester

          No blind faith about it. They calibrated the process using known artifacts. It is a safe bet that when a plant grows, it gets its carbon from the atmosphere at that time. But the atmosphere keeps making more radioactive carbon, and none of that gets into the plant after it dies. But they didn't just theorize this. They actually measured the amount of radioactivity found in wood of known age. They had to calibrate the process that way because the amount of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere really does vary a bit, and they had to account for that. There really is no doubt at all about the accuracy of the process.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:30 am |
    • willthefree

      That's nonsense. There is no doubt that carbon dating works. The only thing is that it doesn't work precisely, as in it gives a range of years. To suggest otherwise is silly, akin to saying that silicon chips don't work (despite writing the comment on a computer using them.)

      February 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
      • thefriendlyagnostic

        The silicon chips and computer usage is all rather immediate in history, we see the whole process. Back then their was no one to record the facts. Their is a lot of assumption in science.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:25 am |
        • evolveddna

          thefriendly agnostic. blind faith, in science..do you fly on a plane built on blind faith? or do you think the ideas and engineering were tested and proven before it flew? i think your understanding of the scientific method is your problem, not the actual science.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • raforrester

          If there is one thing that science is good at, it is challenging assumptions. If you state something based on any shaky assumptions, you can be sure someone will call you out on it.

          February 12, 2014 at 12:34 am |
    • averagejoe7six

      You may never get a 'comfortable' answer from other humans, friend. I called myself agnostic earlier last year then swtched to atheism. My reasons: 1) science 2) common sense

      I leaned towards science b/c it's something tangible. It's a tool to work with. I can navigate reality with it. Also, scientists have to prove their theories. And anyone is welcomed to debunk a scientific theory. Don't believe in gravity? Prove it doesn't exsist. Science is a proven, workable method to be used by humans. Which ties into my common sense. I can rely on science as a tool.

      Faith is for those that need to know everything. I accept that I will not know the entire story of life. I will die ignorant to the entire story of reality. I doubt I will get all the answers before I leave this world. I don't know if there's a god, but I sure don't believe in the claims given so far. I accept NOT knowing my creator. If my creator [which there may be none OTHER than Mom & Dad] wanted me to know them, I would have clear instructions to find it. I have none. If there is a creator, can it respect that I wouldn't accept just any explanation? Who knows and I can't worry about it.

      February 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
  8. mornelithe

    The Bible, when looked at in a factual manner got something wrong? Please, tell me more Professor.

    February 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
  9. burtward

    I can't make you believe in the Bible or the Easter Bunny. But all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed. I can only speak from experience with all the jobs I have ever had, my professional and civic clubs, and school. People who live by faith and personlaly accept that teachings of God and Jesus are a metaphor of the verb and not noun, these people are the happiest I have known through life. On the other hand, people who categorically deny the existence of God and live life in the "nothing matters here on Earth" philosophy, those are the people who are bitter, often depressed, and find no hapiness in life. I'm not saying that people who don't believe cannot find hapiness. But this from walking in my shoes and wearing my hats that I see people who find no final reward for going that extra mile to be a good steward of resources, help the people in need, and be there when someone is down. I would go on to say that people who are disbelievers can look at someone having a bad day and say, "Sucks to be you."

    February 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • Doris

      "these people are the happiest I have known through life."

      So where are you from, Burt – Pleasantville?

      February 11, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      be careful not to ever visit the insane asylum burt ... you'll see all those people there happy and smiling and drooling ... they look soooo happy you will probably want to become like them ...

      February 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      Funny Burt but I've found the reverse to be true.
      I've found believers to be uptight, a nal, worried about how their actions are going to affect their afterlife, ready to condemn at a moments notice.
      Unbelievers I've found to be people who know this life is it and so enjoy it.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • joethejust

      I see your observations were spot on. I have read all the bitter sarcastic comments from some who claim THEY know the truth. It appears they don't like it.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • Doris

        Who laid any claim about "truth"? That's your specialty to throw that word out every time you feel the need to throw up some cloaking device.

        February 12, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • doobzz

      Laughable, Batman.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
  10. mickinmd

    This Biblical error has been known for decades. Additionally, most of the tribes Joshua defeated on entering the Holy Land did not live there until hundreds of years after Joshua. Jericho was also in ruins long before Joshua's time. And Egypt controled the Holy Land area in Joshua's time. And we now know the Jerusalem of David's and Solomon's time was composed of perhaps just 300 residences, many mud huts.

    Consequently, it's clear that the Bible's stories were created long after the events they portray. They may have been based on a grain of truth here and there, but they were likely amended over and over to justify the rule of one king or another. When the nation of Israel (of which Jerusalem was NEVER a part) was destroyed by the Assyrians in the 700's, the nation of Judah, with it's capital of Jerusalem, shared the same religion and hill-based people and many of the Israeli's escaped to Judah. For the next 200 years, the kings of Judah tried to grab what had been Israel. Much of the Bible's propaganda against Princess Jezebel of Israel was done to discredit the Israeli kings and claim the kings of the relatively tiny state of Judah were, by right, the kings of Israel. The Bible was re-written in the 600's B.C. to make king Josiah of Judah the clear righteous ruler of Israel. There are a couple accounts where Josiah either warred against the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco or else met him and asked him for the lands of Israel. Neco, the Bible says, killed Josiah.

    A generation later, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem in 576 B.C. and the defeated Jews were moved to the area of Babylon. Here they learned new stories for the Bible. The Sumerian (Babylonian language) word for "garden" is "Eden." They had a story with a flood called "The Epic of Gilgamesh – fragments of which have been dated back to 2800 B.C. In it, the earth was flooded and a boat was built by a guy called Utnapishtim to save his relatives plus the animals of the Earth. He released a bird to find land and then landed on a mountain. Sound familiar? All this was written 1000 years before Abraham – who probably knew the story if he was a real person.

    February 11, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Agree. Where do these CNN people live, anyway. The date of the common domestication of camels has been known to archaeologists for years. Most Biblical scholars agree Abraham was a myth, as well as Isaac, and Jacob. The archaeology PROVES they could not have originated form a central location. And NO DOUBT there will be literalists here claiming there are camels protrayed on royal tombs, and temples earlier. They were. BUT, it in no way means camels were domesticated, and available for use by the masses. See "NOVA's" "The Bible's Buried Secrets" on YouTube, for the archeological facts.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
  11. wesscott2014

    This article contains one very glaring fallacy of logic. It states, "The biblical authors simply transplanted the nomadic standards of their time into the distant past.

    "There is nothing deceptive about this. They weren’t trying to trick anyone. They imagined, quite reasonably, that the past was, fundamentally, like their present."

    Considering that most believers in the bible claim that it is the "divinely inspired word of god" and that it is inerrant, how can this article claim that it was merely a mistaken assumption on the part of the authors to falsely claim camels were domesticated and used for transportation and cartage centuries before that actually happened? One would think that "god" would have been aware of this fact and given the correct "divinely inspired word" to the authors free of such errors.

    We can, therefore, surmise one of two possibilities – either the bible is not really the "divinely inspired word of god", or else god made a major mistake. Either way, it does not look for the bible and those who accept it as accurate.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • danab1234

      Those bible writers did have quite an imagination.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
    • maanirantel

      Actually, the majority of believers do NOT consider the Bible "inerrant." In fact, the Catholic Church has NEVER done so, and neither do the vast majority of Protestant denominations (though, yes, both believe it to be the "inspired" word of God," which is a different thing). Indeed, although the concept of Scriptural inerrancy has been known since the 18th century (again, mostly among a very small number of denominations), the idea of Scriptural inerrancy did not become "mainstream" until the late 19th/early 20th centuries, with the advent of the capital-E Evangelical denominations (Pentecostals, Charismatics, Adventists, etc.). However, both globally and within the U.S., the MAJORITY of Christians are NOT "Scriptural inerrantists." (Some estimates put it as low as one-quarter or less.) That said, you would be correct that the belief in Scriptural inerrancy has grown precipitously since the mid-1900s, and has had an increasingly dangerous effect on politics, education, and other areas.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm |
  12. bootyfunk

    did you know the bibles talking about unicorns, dragons, satyrs and c.ockatrice?
    did you know the bible has talking snakes and donkeys (just like in Shrek)?
    did you know a man in the bible lives in the belly of a whale for 3 days (just like in Pinocchio)?

    fairy tales sure are fun....

    February 11, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
  13. danab1234

    As if camels are the most absurd thing in that fairy tale.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
  14. hazelita28

    There will always be someone trying to prove the Bible is not true, but for those of us who have seen the work of God, who truly believe in him, it doesn't really matter what science says, or what they can "prove" to be false about God or the Bible, what God has done in my life and keeps on doing is proof enough to know He exists. I don't believe in man made religion or any religion at all, but I do believe that the Bible is the Word of God and the way He has spoken to me through the Bible is reason enough for me to believe in it no matter what people say. I really hope someday you get to see it too.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
    • bootyfunk

      yes, for the religiously brainwashed, no proof or evidence is needed to believe fairy tales...
      not something to be proud of.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
      • hazelita28

        I am proud to say I believe in God, I did have the choice to belive or not to believe just as anyone else does, just because I choose to believe in something doesn't mean I have been brainwashed, I could say the same thing about you, but I won't, people can believe what they want to believe, I don't need anyone telling me what to believe, if I believe is because I have seen what He has done in my life and in other lives too, and that's more than enough for me to believe in Him.

        February 11, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • willthefree

          Candidly, I'm glad that you are happy in your beliefs. And honestly, I would – as my ancestors have – fight wars for you to have the right to believe whatever you want. My only requirement is that you don't try to legislate your beliefs, and that you keep them personal (as in, not public). Other than that, I am sincerely happy that you are happy 🙂

          February 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • hazelita28

          @willthefree
          Thank you, I am happy and I'm not trying to legislate anything, people can believe what they want to believe and I respect that, but just as anyone else, I'm just giving my opinion.

          February 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
    • danab1234

      What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • danab1234

      There is no god so he/she/it is not doing anything. It is all in your head.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
    • Doris

      "He has spoken to me through the Bible "

      Oh, so you're one of those who got it right off the press. You know, it's not good for your head when the ink hasn't even dried yet.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
      • hazelita28

        I think that, just as anyone else and just as you do, I can have an opinion of my own, and I can believe what I want to believe, if you don't agree with it, it's ok.

        February 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • wesscott2014

      GREAT REPLY! Never allow truth and fact to get between you and your dogma! STAND YOUR GROUND! A little delusion never hurt anybody ...oh wait, yes it has!

      February 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
      • hazelita28

        I'm sure of what I believe in and if you don't agree, it's ok, I won't argue about it, I'm just sharing my point of view.

        February 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
    • raforrester

      I also believe in God, and I respect the Bible as a work of inspiration, and a source of inspiration, but I don't believe it is necessarily historical, and I certainly don't believe its creation stories should be taken literally, since the various stories conflict with each other.

      The Bible is a book of religion, not science. To say it must be taken literally is to say that neither God nor the writers of the Bible were capable of metaphor. There were plenty of smart people back then. As metaphor the story of Adam and Eve can easily be interpreted as the way that mankind must mature, by disobeying God, just as children become adults when they make their own decisions instead of believing everything that dad and mom say.

      Likewise when God says "Let there be light," that is much more understandable by saying it means the "Light of Understanding," like invention of language and tools, and the knowledge of right and wrong. And the days of creation after that are far more likely to represent the stages in which God brought mankind closer to cooperation, civilization, and spiritual understanding. Some religions say that the sun and the moon stand for the practices of prayer and meditation. In Revelations, when the sun and moon fail to give their light, it far more likely to mean that prayer and meditation cease to provide a link to God anymore, rather than that the actual sun and moon are darkened.

      To me, to say that evolution cannot be true because the Bible has guided me and therefore every word must be taken exactly literally is not logical.

      February 11, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
      • bertfuhr

        What "bible" are you referring to? Ixnay that since the "official" stance is that any bible is official, as written by the diety itself, accurate, without error, has been F7'd, et al. So if anyone thinks you can"pick and choose" aspects, phrases, concepts, from the bible, koran, Harry Potter, Star Trek (pre and/or post movies), Star Ware (pre and/or post Jar Jar Binks) only means that you are now "on to a new religion." Or, like the rest of us that took one baby step further, realized that it is ok to say "I don't know, and may never know, but will ask questions until I am satisfied (which is never) and meanwhile will "treat all others with the respect I expect from a stranger, as well as whenever possible and reasonable will treat all life forms with respect and dignity."

        February 11, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
        • raforrester

          I agree with you completely. Lots of versions, translations, typos, etc. in the Bible out there. I also believe in God because of my own experiences, not because of the Bible, but there is a lot of inspiration in it. And also in Buddhism, the Quran, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc. But I'm really careful about not looking for facts in any of them.

          February 11, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
      • hazelita28

        I agree with you that some things are not to be taken literally, they have to be interpreted but it is Him who gives the interpretation, He is the one who gives the wisdom needed to know what it really means (Some people lie and say that God told them this or that and it's not true, but that's another subject...). I do believe every word on the Bible, I do believe it is His Word, not just a book I can learn from, but a book He uses to teach.
        I also agree that it is not a book of science, the way I see it, the Bible is a way for us to learn about God and one of the ways He uses to talk to us, and to be honest, I don't really pay attention to the evolution theory or any other theories, if it really happened or not (or if it keeps on happening), is fine by me, I respect those who believe them to be true.

        February 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
  15. jb109

    "We all imagine the past to the best of our knowledge, the biblical authors included." Right, we all imagine reality to the best of our ability, ourselves included. "In ancient Israel, in the period when the Bible was written (which ranges, conservatively, from the 10th to the third century BCE), no one had any way of knowing that camels had not always been domesticated pack animals. After all, we didn’t know that for sure until this past week." And here's a perfect example. We know that we only imagine things to the best of our knowledge, but lo and behold, now WE KNOW FOR SURE.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
  16. danab1234

    Next you will try to tell us that snakes can't talk.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
    • jimatmad

      You must not get C-Span.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
    • auntiekale

      I watched that debate with the creationist fellow a few days ago where he stated that YES, two of all "types" of animals could have fit on an ark, no problem. Micro evolution is creeping into their mythologies' belief systems, fascinating, but yet so utterly tiny minded to miss the bigger (and enormous!) pictures.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
      • derado8

        I had that debate too with a creationist. The creationist said that there was a spirit inside of it which is why it could talk. I said ok, what is a spirit? I haven't gotten an answer to that question.

        February 12, 2014 at 5:18 am |
  17. mariosphere

    Next up, Harry Potter and the Magicians who wrote the Bible.

    The Bible is just a collection of old tribal stories to keep genealogies and establish some sort of behavior. Plus, the Bible went through a lot of hands and translations.

    The Bible is no more true than an Edgar Allan Poe tale or a literary classic in any culture.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
  18. danab1234

    Does anyone living indoors believe anything in that book? What a bunch of absurd, magical nonsense.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
  19. colin31714

    Yale still having a divinity school is like Google still having a typewriter division. The only thing I can think is that it must bring in significant revenue.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Damn right it does.

      February 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
  20. auntiekale

    People, seriously! PLEASE stop looking for anything informative in the bible. It's drivel if taken seriously....and no, nothing special will happen when you perish, deal with it 🙂
    Humanity is better served sans gods and without craving the ego-filled goal of an "after" life.
    At least the Buddhists got that essential bit right, stop all the desire, the wanting this or that, the me me me.

    February 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
    • mariosphere

      Yeah, what you said.

      February 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
    • bspurloc

      BUT! those are the words of mr jesus too " stop all the desire, the wanting this or that, the me me me."
      only problem is man can not accept such things. me me me

      February 12, 2014 at 12:11 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.