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November 9th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Humanists launch huge 'godless' ad campaign

The new humanist campaign cites holy books

The Bible and the Quran contain "horrific material, and to say  you get your morality from there" is a problem, the head of the American Humanist Association said Tuesday as the group launches what it calls the  largest, most extensive advertising campaign ever by a godless organization.

The group is putting ads in newspapers across the country - and  advertising on NBC - in the $200,000 campaign, AHA head Roy Speckhardt told  CNN.

The point, he said, it to "challenge the fundamentalists" who "spout  their backward ideas," he said.

The target audience is people who may not realize they are humanists,  Speckhardt explained.

"We're targeting for criticism those who read the Bible literally, not those who pick and choose what they like," he said. "We're telling (people who  pick and choose), 'You're more like us.' Biblical literalists and Quranic  literalists are holding us back.

"We know that you can be good without God, but many folks in America don't know that," he said.

The campaign features violent or sexist quotes from holy books,  contrasted with more compassionate quotes from humanist thinkers, including  physicist Albert Einstein.

A screen grab from the new humanist campaign

"We're calling it like it is," Speckhardt said. "It's quite obvious that  the Bible contains horrific material - and the Quran - and to say you get  your morality from there" is problematic.

"We don't expect to convert people from the billboard signs," he said.

But, he said, "there are millions of people - approximately 34 million  people - who are unaffiliated" with a religion in the United States.

Only one in 20 Americans does not believe in God, according to the Pew  Forum on Religion & Public Life, and of that group, only a quarter call  themselves atheists. The rest say they are agnostic, "nothing in particular" or members of a faith.

More than half of all Americans pray every single day - as do more than  one in five Americans who say they're not affiliated with a religion, according to Pew's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.

Speckhardt knows the numbers.

"There has only been one member of Congress in the history of the United  States who has come out and said he doesn't believe in God," Speckhardt said, identifying the legislator as Rep. Pete Stark, D-California.

The Secular  Coalition for America said Stark responded in 2007 to an inquiry from that  group by saying he was a "nontheist."

"We feel those (unaffiliated) folks don't yet know they can admit that  they don't believe in God," Speckhardt said.

Marketing guru Allysen Stewart-Allen thinks the campaign has potential.

"They will certainly get people talking," she said.

"One of the things that the humanists need to articulate is what success  looks like for the campaign - if it's converts, I wouldn't think that is a realistic measure," said Stewart-Allen, the director of International Marketing  Partners.

"I would hope what they want is for people to talk about faith in the  widest sense, and I think they will achieve that," she said.

"If your objective is to shape the conversation, I think it can't hurt,"  she added.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Atheism • United States

soundoff (346 Responses)
  1. The Gorilla Atheist

    This is another step toward a brighter future. Good work ladies and gentlemen.

    Speak Up, Fight Back!

    November 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Florence

      'This is another step toward a brighter future. Good work ladies and gentlemen.

      Speak Up, Fight Back!'

      --Yeah a brighter future under atheism. Like the ones in atheistic regimes in communist Russia, China, and Cambodia under Pol Pot. So when will you be moving to North Korea

      November 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Yeah, those theocracies have never done anyone harm.-lol

      November 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Megatron

      @Florence You mean more like Swizterland or Sweden? North Korea has a personality cult which more closely resembles faith then non-faith. Perhaps you should do research before making non-sensical statements.

      Perhaps also, you should investigate the role of faith in other deplorable socieities. Like Nazi Germany. Hitler was a catholic. He was also a vegetarian.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • NL

      "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf

      Hitler remained a Catholic until the end, as far as we know. There is a chance, I suppose, that he got 'saved' in that bunker, in which case one assumes he is in God's glory along with all the rest of the redeemed. Another reason to want to stay clear of that place: They really would let anybody in, wouldn't they?

      November 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  2. rachel

    NL
    The type of assumptions you make based on the fact that I said I am a Christian are more damaging than the so called "damage" you think my good intentions may have. If you think volunteering at a program that improves neglected schools with paint, construction, etc. in our community, or donating to a program that purchases christmas gifts for children of convicts (a program our church participates in every year) and I could list more...then I have no words for you. If you think that type of thing is "butting in other peoples business" I'll gladly do it until my last dying breath is taken.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Megatron

      Are people brought to the chruch because of your actions? If no, it's purely altruistic and commendable. If yes, then it's not a good act, merely an expensive recruitment drive.

      It's like all the African Christian Ministries. Theyr'e converting people, they're not there solely to heal the sick. That's deplorable.

      November 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • NL

      rachel-
      Hey, if you are not the kind of Christian who butts into people's business while handing out charity then all you had to say is that my comment does not apply to you. I consider charity to be a free gift handed out without any cost, but you have to admit that there are Christians out there who use charity as an opportunity to deliver their gospel message to a captive audience. What's wrong with just helping people out of the goodness of your heart, right? Sorry if you felt yourself painted by that brush, but your anger really ought to be directed towards these self-serving people who are using somebody's miss-fortune to further their cause.

      November 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • jeff

      @Megatron – you said, "Theyr'e converting people, they're not there solely to heal the sick. That's deplorable" You are too funny!

      grace and peace,

      -jeff

      November 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • NL

      jeff-
      What's so funny about what Megatron said?

      Whatever good Christian charity actually does very often seems to be merely a byproduct of the evangelizing effort. Like training a seal, the animal eventually does get fed by the fish, but they have to earn the meal by performing tricks first. Is it right to treat humans looking for aid like this? I believe in doing good just out of the goodness of my heart, because it's the right thing to do. So, is that something that only atheists believe in?

      November 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • jeff

      @NL, it is funny because we view things upside-down from one another. Here's the way I see things. The Christian, upon apprehending grace, desires to share that same grace (or at least news of that grace) with others. Viewing the soul as eternal, he sees spiritual sickness, both his own and that of others, as being more pressing than the physical. Nonetheless, he is called to live in the world, and to relieve suffering, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoner. If, in these acts of kindness, he is given the opportunity, he shares the hope that is within him with those he encounters. But, being flawed, his actions are not generally sufficient to generate inquiries about that hope from others, and so he sometimes shares the good news in conjunction with his acts of Christian charity.

      I can't imagine anyone on a mission trip withholding medical care until the patient first hears a sermon or is coerced into making a (false) profession of faith so that the missionary can notch his belt with the number of "souls saved", nor can I imagine that the missionary's home church receives any monetary benefit from this new member you imagine they have strong-armed into joining. In actuality, the mission trip has probably cost the home church a fair sum of money. Hopefully, it has brought some relief to suffering in the world, it has provided an opportunity for the mission trip members to share their faith with others, and it has given the mission trip members a larger view of the world and a greater appreciation for mission.

      So, yes, I read that sentence, and laughed at the images it conjured up in my mind. I certainly meant no disrespect, I just found it funny!

      grace and peace,

      -jeff

      November 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • NL

      jeff-
      Yes, you do see things upside down from my perspective.
      Here, in this forum, I speak my mind because people know that that is the nature of this place, but I do it on my spare time because giving my opinion and advice has nothing to do with the job I am charged with doing. The same goes when I do charity. I keep my opinions to myself despite being every bit as excited by my growing understanding of truth as you seem to be. If people are hungry, I help feed them because that's the job. If they want to talk about baseball briefly I'll offer what I can to the conversation, but I won't drop the work just to carry on a conversation. I'll avoid talking about religion altogether for the same reason I avoid talking about politics; it divides people, it is often time consuming, distracting and people generally don't want to hear why they are wrong about something.

      If the job is to feed, or cloth, or help out, I keep to the job at hand and by not wasting time can help more people. I have worked charity alongside some religious folks who kept to the job at hand as I do, and I appreciate that, and I think that the extra few people who were able to get help because of it appreciated it too. Preaching is self-serving, wastes time, and is very often unwelcome. If clients want some spiritual guidance they can go to a church after they get helped just as they can learn about atheism from me after my shift is over, if they want to. Sorry, but that's the way I see it.

      November 11, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • NL

      jeff-
      I forgot to add that those same work-oriented Christians I do charity alongside seem to share my lack of appreciation for the way preachy Christians have a habit of disappearing every so often to 'chat' with clients in a corner, or in the parking lot. But maybe I'm being too harsh and they are just being lazy and not out to win souls.

      Sorry, it's getting late and I'm getting cranky. I've enjoyed the conversation. TTFN

      November 11, 2010 at 12:32 am |
    • jeff

      @NL – thanks for sharing your viewpoint, I appreciated it and read it with interest. Some of my favorite activities are feeding the homeless on the soup van, handing out lunches at a day laborer place, and breakfasts Saturday mornings underneath the overpasses. Using the day laborer ministry as an example, we feed people, provide them coffee, and then, after everyone appears to have gotten fed, we ask if any would like to join us outside for prayer. Out of 40 or so folks, anywhere from 5-10 join us, there's no obligation, completely voluntary, and out of the way of the rest of the folks. I feel like that is fairly non-intrusive, the folks who participate enjoy our time together, and the rest enjoy the sack lunches from "those church people". 🙂

      grace and peace,

      -jeff

      November 11, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • NL

      jeff-
      Thanks!
      I'd like to get back to you, but today is kinda a special day for me and I've got places to be, so maybe another time. Peace.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  3. rachel

    Frogist- because most people will not look at the fine print and see that this campaign supposedly doesn't target those of us who aren't fundamentalists but it will give the impression that anyone who believes is an unthinking, mouth breathing dolt. They will only see the billboard that implies that people that believe don't think- it's an arrogant assumption. That's my impression- that's why I care.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:02 am |
    • Needing what you cannot give me

      @Rachel
      I happen to agree with you about the campaign and the impression it gives. It's a dumb campaign and I think it does imply a certain insult – as if people cannot think without being humanist or something.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:27 am |
    • Megatron

      I don't say that they're dolts. I say that they are intellectually unable to confront the the issues in their belief. I mean, you grew up with it, you have memories in church and it's ingrained inside you.

      Look at the people in Iran, the people who think the United States is in essence the devil. Obviously they are wrong, but they believe it even if you tell them why they're wrong. Quite simply they're not intelligently investigating their thoughts. They merely accept it and move on.

      When you think about the concept of an omnipotent God as the christian doctrine states, what sort of issues does that raise. Given that God creates the situation we're in, our minds and controls exactly what we experience and how we're going to react, how can we have free will?

      November 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • salmos8318

      @Megatron
      Not all who claim to be Christian believe what you state: "God creates the situation we're in, our minds and controls exactly what we experience and how we're going to react, how can we have free will?" Actually, the teaching regarding free will is just that... we're not robots nor remote controlled devices of some sort... but rather we're individuals with reasoning and ability to make choices. Just as a parent would prefer that their children obey them because they want to please them, the Creator wants people to make choices that are aligned with him because they want to and are motivated by love. God is not responsible for the ugly mess mankind is in... no more than loving parents are responsible for bad choices their wreckless kids may take.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • Megatron

      @Salmos8318

      Do you not believe that an all powerful God created the universe? If so, you really can't believe in free will.

      God created our minds, he created the rules for existence and he placed everything in a spot so that the chain reaction of events will lead to what it is he/she desires.

      God knows what you will do and has engineered your environment to do his will. You do not have free will.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Megatron

      @Salmos8318

      If an all powerful (omnipotent) being created our world and everything in it, knowing what would happen, God is in fact responsible for the mess we are in. He's the one that set the balls in motion.

      It's like claiming that it's the knife's fault that it is sharp and not blaming the person who sharpened it.

      God created the universe, he created our minds, he set the rules, and he knew what the limitiations of our mind would cause us to do.

      He is ultimately responsible as a programmer is responsible for his program.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • salmos8318

      @Megatron
      Yes, I definitely believe there's an Almighty Creator that created the universe and all physical things in it. Yes, our awesome minds (one of the great mysteries of our universe) were also created by him. Yet, how do you go from that to the conclusion of we're in the mess we're in because of him or that humans don't have free will? To get into any discussion of who the Creator is or what his qualities are one would have to base their discussion on something (other than reason, that is). I base mine on what I've read in the Bible. Just curious as to what your basis of belief is.

      November 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • salmos8318

      @Megatron
      By the way... "omnipotent (all powerful)" is not the same as "omiscient (all knowing)". Though the Bible teaches that God has the power to fix things (and he will) and he knows "from the beginning the finale" (after all, prophecies are history written in advance) it also shows us that God is selective when it comes to foreordaining the future.

      God’s control of his powers magnifies his greatness, and it endears him to us, for it shows that his sovereignty truly is exercised not only with omniscience and power but also with love and respect for the free will of his intelligent creation. If God predetermines everything, including every nasty accident and vile deed that has ever happened, then we could blame him for all the misery and suffering in the world. However, upon closer inspection, the teaching of predestination (or, as you say, that everything we do is because of a supposed free will caused by God) does not honor God, but rather paints him as cruel, unjust, and unloving—the very opposite of what the Bible says about him.

      November 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Rachel: And that's what they get, those who don't read the fine print, and follow up on their ideas, which vindicates a campaign that is asking that people read the fine print. I do understand your not wanting to look like an idiot. I think you have a right to your concerns. And I don't think that just because people call themselves something, it means they take on all the negative (or positive) aspects of that group. We are all individuals after all. But if you are going to stand on the side of the literalists and fundamentalists, then you have to understand, from the point of view of someone on the other side, you will come out looking as bad as they look.
      Beyond that I don't think we should jump to conclusions since we don't even know the full content of the campaign.

      November 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Megatron

      Yep, you are exactly right. I get sick of fundies talking about their free will and their god's attributes.

      God cannot be both omnipotent and omniscient. God can’t both know the future and change it. In fact, an omniscient god can’t actually decide to do anything! His omniscience would be as binding on him, as it is on us.

      If god knows what we are going to do, then we have no free will and are just characters in a play created by god. Without free will, morality for humans makes no sense. Without free will and morality, any sort of divine punishment and reward system loses any justification. Heaven and Hell would be places where god could watch the souls he created, predestined for eternal happiness or agony. Understand that last sentence. God would be allowing humans to be born, knowing they would eventually burn in agony, forever. This is what the Westboro Baptist Church members believe ( 5 point Calvanism).

      Remember the story of Jesus's prediction that Judas would betray him? Or Peter would deny Him? If either of these did not come true, then Jesus/God would not be omniscient. So, Judas did not have free will. He had to betray Christ. The same for Peter. How can we blame either of them for what they did? They had no choice.

      Fundies are non-thinking sheep.

      Happy Trails!

      November 11, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • David Johnson

      @salmos8318

      Hmmm... That is fundie fuzzy math, designed to explain the all knowing, all powerful god problem.

      The idea being, that god intentionally does not allow Himself to know the future, of say, humans. Now, with god's blinders on, free will can exist. This is inherent omniscience.

      The fact that god could know the future, but chooses not to, still does not negate the fact that everything is predestined.

      A couple expecting a child, may decide to not know the $ex of the child until it is born. The fact that it is a girl or boy, is not changed by the parent's ignorance.

      Either you must accept predestination or God is not omniscient.

      Cheers!

      November 11, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  4. GSA

    Having faith and a belief system is a good thing, following blindly without knowing history or facts is horrible, which is sadly what most of the religions are about, blind faith with no facts. I said most of the religions though, if you look, study and get the facts then there are some belief systems based on fact. This is a great group and I hope they run more ads and get ppl talking.....and thinking.

    November 10, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • NL

      That's one hope of humanists: That people choose belief systems based on fact. The other kind causes unnecessary grief.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  5. Rachel

    So I'm beating people over the head by being compassionate, donating money to different projects in our community. So sorry to offend....

    I don't have much else to go on? the arrogance displayed by you who put down those of us who choose to believe is breathtaking – very sad – hope you enjoy your life anyway.

    November 10, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Needing what you cannot give me

      Thank you for putting that so charmingly, dear. Your arrogance is breathtaking as well. Hope you can enjoy your life – I am merely waiting to die. Pray for my death if you truly care.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • MadPanda

      You are forgetting that the religious force their values upon others via political means. Most of the time, other people's religion is harmless in my life. Others times, not so much.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • MadPanda

      Ask the LGBT community how they feel about religious influence.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • NL

      Rachel-
      Haven't you heard that "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"? I don't doubt that you believe that what you (believers) are doing is good, but hear the cries of those who tell you that you're actually hurting them. So, stop being like the overbearing older sister who takes it upon herself to run the lives of everyone in the family 'for their own good'. Concentrate on your own life because ours really isn't your responsibility, OK?

      November 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  6. Rachel

    I am a Christian and I do think and question all the time. I don't have all the answers but I have found my faith comforting, exhilirating and life changing. Why do you want to mess with that and why do you care? I do not wear my Christianity on my sleeve and beat people over the head with it – I try to have my actions towards other make my faith come through in my daily life. Why can't you believe what you believe without putting me down – I just don't get it and never will.

    November 10, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • This existence is hellish

      Hi Rachel,
      making your faith come through your daily life IS beating people over the head with it. Your religious values color everything you do when you make that effort.
      You cannot help it. You don't have much else to go on. I am not trying to "put you down", I am just pointing out how it looks from my end.
      Enjoy what you can. If you are allowed anything, that is. But maybe that makes you happy, too. Enjoy your "gifts". Christmas is just around the corner – more gifts!
      You are "truly blessed".

      November 10, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • Frogist

      @Rachel: Since this campaign is aimed at people who do the things you say you don't, people who wear their religion on their sleeve, poke their noses in where it doesn't belong, try to legislate fundamentalist ideas, and generally want to make the world conform to their ideas no matter how horrible, I have to ask... Why do you care? If you already think and question and have found your path that works for you, and you keep it to yourself, obviously this isn't attacking you. if you feel it does, please explain why.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Megatron

      I dont' think you do question your faith. Because you'd then ask yourself "Why am I a Christian instead of a Muslim or Buddist? What evidence does Christianity supply that these other faiths don't."

      The answer is that they all have the same amount of evidence for them. None.

      November 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  7. Needing the peace of death and freedom from the physical

    The only way religious people are going to be convinced is for them to die and see for themselves – assuming that they will be able to do anything so complicated as form an opinion, perceive anything, or feel anything without a body and a brain for them to misuse.
    But reason with them? With those who refuse anything that threatens their closely-held delusion? Are you people stupid?

    The best thing that could happen to humanity is extinction or universal mutation that takes us beyond the psychotic brain functions we have now. Otherwise it will only be "business as usual" – another term for group psychosis.

    Why not give me some of that money instead of wasting it on billboards. I have real bills to pay. My disability does nothing for me but it makes other people despise me for being unable to function as they do.

    Real hate and contempt for being disabled – that's what I put up with in public – and I'm not misinterpreting people's actions and words nor am I saying everyone is viewing me this way. I have to be as objective as possible in order to survive from day to day. I don't have a lot of wiggle room.

    And religious people tend to have the most hate, the most intolerance, the most prejudice, the most stubbornness, the biggest delusions, the most vicious things to do and say to other people, and the least justification for anything they do.

    The easiest thing to point out is their hypocrisy, and the hardest thing to do is to get them to admit the truth.
    We need freedom FROM religion. Billboards are not helping people like me live with religious people. I hate being disabled and can only wait to die to be free of this body that does not work in an "accepted" manner.

    But reason with deluded, hate-filled people who only got that way because of massive and historical indoctrination techniques?
    There aren't enough billboards in the world to make one cult member turn and think outside their maniacal cult mantras and dogma. That's not how you fight brainwashing and indoctrination. Try using those brains you people have got and quit wasting your money like a bunch of irrational cult members. Give me some of that money. I can put it to better use.

    November 10, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Mike, not me

      "The easiest thing to point out is their hypocrisy, and the hardest thing to do is to get them to admit the truth."

      You may be right but Christians should be quick to admit their hypocrisy, how much does God love us that in our hypocrisy He first love us and sent His Son as a Savior who was without hypocrisy and fullfilled the law and allowed us to take on His righteousness as He took on our infirmaties.

      November 10, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • Mike, not me

      As for "But reason with them? With those who refuse anything that threatens their closely-held delusion?"

      Well then how do you explain away great works like Mere Christianity, the Reason for God to name modern writings?

      November 10, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • Needing what you cannot give me

      @Mike, not me
      I have no idea what you are talking about. Are those book ti-tles?

      November 10, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • Mike, not me

      yes. I tried to post links from that famous book site starting with A and my comments didn't even wait moderation.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:03 am |
    • Needing what you cannot give me

      @Mike, not me
      I will not read your books. Please do not bother posting links.
      Pray for a miracle to happen to me, if you like. I am not unwilling to be "healed" of all the things I was born with.
      You might be one of those Christians with real faith. Will you not use it to heal people like me?
      Maybe Jesus hated me before I was born so that I was born this way on purpose to punish me for being me and to punish me for what "Adam and Eve" did.
      A tiny baby consigned to a living hell. Thanks be to God!
      Now pray for me if you have that kind of understanding, "Mike, not me", and we will see just what sort of power your prayers have of helping the helpless.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  8. Mike, not me

    Ok what about the crucifiction itself? When Paul pleads with people not to believe "on blind faith" just him but ask what is left of the 500 that witness it.

    Or in Mark 15:21... you can put in a doc-ument sources that can be verified with and pass if off as myth.

    [audio src="http://denton.thevillagechurch.net/resource_files/audio/200901130630HWC21ATAAA_MattChandler_DwellDeepPt02.mp3" /]

    November 10, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • Megatron

      Perhaps you should think about what evidence you are accepting instead of regurgitating it as if it's somehow meaningful.

      There's easily 500 people in the US today who would say that Elivs is still alive. And given we can prove his death, he must have risen from the dead just like Jesus. It's the ONLY LOGICAL CONCLUSION!

      November 10, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  9. JohnQuest

    Maggie, that is the point, Nietzsche is as dead as God\Jesus.

    November 10, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  10. civilioutside

    "God will put it into the hearts of men to hate religion."

    Seriously? God will deliberately cause people to turn from religion, then punish them for doing it? You think this is a being that deserves to be worshipped, and held up as our model for morality?

    The fact is that there have been people unconvinced by religion in every period of human history. Just as thre have been people claiming we were living in the end times described by Revelations since pretty much the day it was written. People believe the Bible because they want to, or because they have been indoctrinated to do so. Not because it describes anything real.

    November 10, 2010 at 8:44 am |
    • Mike, not me

      "Not because it describes anything real." – oh you mean like the Roman Empire? Really you don't believe that the Roman Empire existed?

      November 10, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • civilioutside

      If you're going to be deliberatly obtuse about the discussion, then there's no point in having it is there? You know very well that I'm refering to god and the supernatural attributions thereof in this discussion, and yet you choose to derail onto side tracks of no relevance. Do you think this scores you points somehow? Or do you simply not have any cogent argument to present?

      November 10, 2010 at 9:04 am |
    • Mike, not me

      I didn't know there was a scoring system, is it more like baseball or football?

      You made the ridculous statement.

      November 10, 2010 at 9:14 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Ok what about the crucifiction itself? When Paul pleads with people not to believe "on blind faith" just him but ask what is left of the 500 that witness it.

      Or in Mark 15:21... you can put in a doc-ument sources that can be verified with and pass if off as myth.

      [audio src="http://denton.thevillagechurch.net/resource_files/audio/200901130630HWC21ATAAA_MattChandler_DwellDeepPt02.mp3" /]

      CNN-On a side note why saying you are moderating something when you truely are not

      November 10, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • civilioutside

      I'm certain the crucifixion itself proves nothing – hundreds of people were crucified, after all, and none of their deaths proved anything other than that people can come up with some really cruel ways to kill each other. What you really want me to believe in is the resurrection... which I don't. Heck, even some of Jesus' own apostles didn't recognize the supposedly resurrected dude they were presented with, but we're supposed to believe he could be positively identified by 500 random people off the street who may or may not have even existed anywhere outside the pages of the Bible? Sure, it's easy for Paul to tell his followers to go ask them, in an age when most people lived and died within twenty miles of the village of their birth. Assuming that any of those witnesses could possibly be identified and located by Paul"s followers years later. It's a mighty thin thread, IIMO, and certainly doesn't consti-tute proof.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Megatron

      @MIike You ask "what about the death of Christ and the 500 witnesses."

      Excellent question and I have an absolutely killer answer for you. How many people today think ELIVS is still alive? Hmmm? Think I could find 500 people who have claimed to see elvis? The concept of having "witnesses" reported in a book is about as good as evidence as the weekly world news is. Perhaps you should scrutinize your evidence so you don't sound foolish when you post on these forums. 🙂

      November 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      So scrutinize it. As recommend about in post #29.

      Your explaination to Mark referencing people of his time, Paul in Acts appealing to a King who knows of these events.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Some_Truth

      Mike, not me

      "Not because it describes anything real." – oh you mean like the Roman Empire? Really you don't believe that the Roman Empire existed?

      Harry Potter stories depict a bunch of stuff about England... does that mean that because England is real the entire tale is true?

      Re: Paul's 500 witnesses - none of them were identified nor interviewed nor verified. Jesus, if he were "God", would have known that the purported 'evidence' of truth in the Bible not valid. The most earth-shaking event since the dawn of time, and we are presented this weak doc-umentation?!

      November 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • Frogist

      Has it ever occured to believers that maybe if their god put this stuff in the bible knowing it wasn't true so he could test them? He apparently likes testing people... So maybe he's just messing with you. And you're taking it to be absolute fundamental fact and failing god's test? Just a thought. A very funny thought. I think I'll be composing a limerick of it.

      November 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • NL

      Frogist-
      Maybe God put in some of this stuff just to check if his worshippers have really read and considered what they are buying into, instead of just blindly clicking the "I accept" button? It's a contract this Covenant they are entering into with God. That way they really don't have any right to complain if God turns out to be exactly as the Old Testament clearly describes him to be. They should have read the fine print.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  11. CW

    @ to all non believers on this comment page,

    Dear Lord...Please forgive these people for they do not know of you Glory to come. Yes in your book it says that ALL WILL BOW AND DECLARE YOU ARE KING. I pray that all these non-believers will come to know the only one true way.

    To all of you who don't believe.....lets play a game for a moment....if your right...then we all die...no coming of God...BUT...WHAT IF THERE IS A GOD....DO YOU WANT TO STAND UP ON JUDGEMENT DAY AND BET YOUR ETERNITY ON THIS? Think about it...do you really want to base your beliefs on what man as errored as he has always been said based on HIS OWN research OR do you want to base your beliefs on THE BIBLE where God used man to write his perfect infallible book. Its your choice....you will be the one to stand up...and tell God why you believed as you do.

    November 10, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • JohnQuest

      CW, have you considered that maybe the early Greeks were right and Zeus is the most powerful of Gods? By your logic if you are wrong then you will make Zeus angry or Baal, or Isis or (you get the point). Why are you not worried about offending these other Gods, is it because you don't believe in them and no amount of "logic" can convince of their divinity? If that is the case, then you should be able to understand the non believers, we just applied the same logic you used on all Gods not just the ones we didn't grow up with.

      November 10, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • Frogist

      @CW: Yes, I will be the one to stand up and tell god why I believe as I do. And a just, kind, intelligent being will look at his creation and say, "Thank you for fulfilling the promise of free will. Thank you for thinking for yourself and putting the care and love of another human being above the fear of my wrath. This is why you were created. To think, to act, to learn and to love."

      November 10, 2010 at 10:04 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Frogist, so I understand what you believe in, you do believe in a ultimate authority being you will be 'interview" with?

      November 10, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • NL

      CW-
      Oh, non-believers know the stories of God's prophesied future 'glory', but there have been many, many prophecies handed down throughout the ages from many ancient peoples and not one of them has panned out yet. So, why would anyone just assume that yours will be the one that comes closest to coming true sometime in the future? It's been 2000 years of sitting on the edge of your seat, isn't it about time you relaxed those muscles? I guarantee that it will give you a rosier outlook on life.

      Most people are also aware of how self-serving your prayers for our deliverance are. You believe that you will get the same benefit from God whether He changes our atheistic hearts, or not. You asked, and that's what counts, right? Just playing up to God in hopes that He will some day smile upon you, and if other believers offer you some praise for making the effort, then all the better for you as well, right?

      Playing your game, if you die and there is no God then you have lost nothing, right? Sure, if you can live with the knowledge now that you are condemning people in the name of a being that may very likely turn out to be non-existent doesn't bother you, then you are again acting completely out of self-interest, right? Who cares whose lives you help make miserable in life as long as it might earn you passage into heaven. Talk about selfish.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mike, not me: I can't say I do believe in some ultimate authority. It would be nice. But I just don't know. My point is that should there be some greater power, it makes no sense to give it rules that we as humans could never understand. This is what CW is doing. And if he can, then so can I. Our goal, as I see it, is to live as we see fit. If there is a god, s/he will have to deal with me as I am anyway. And should I be asked to justify my decisions and existence, I hope that I can do that to the best of my ability because in this existence I am acting in the best of my abilities.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • CW

      @ NL
      @ Frogist
      @Mike.notme

      NL,

      On you first point on the prophesy's: There is evidence that proves some of them. In addition for those that haven't happened that is why as a Christian you have to have FAITH.

      On my self serving prayers: That is your take...can't change that. The simple fact is that as a Christian we are to pray FOR ALL PEOPLE. As in The Bible is says we are to pray without ceasing. In addition....if my prayers helps save one person...then I'm doing something to help my fellow brother'in.

      Playing the Game: I said that because God does exist: Do you really want to take that chance? As for condeming you....no its your choice...your FREE WILL...if you want to say that. The Lord tries to reach everyone through prayer, using other people....those he doesn't reach...its because the followed THEIR OWN FREE WILL.

      For making your life bad: Let's look at living According to God: Following good morals, Helping your fellow man...seem like good items to me.

      Now lets look at the things most worldly people as yourself want: No morals(only according to our own wills)..bad or good, Family morals out the door....g-a-y marriage, divorce, audultery, lying, cheating, stealing..etc. Yes...this is everything The Bible stands against.

      frogist & Mike,not me

      Yeah...you have free will....hope you make the right choice in the end.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Frogist

      @CW: Wow you have assumed a lot about what people stand for without asking them, haven't you?

      November 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • NL

      CW-
      What evidence has proven any prophesy? All you have is your faith that the bible accurately records that prophesies were made before the actual events. You have to ask yourself if this was the purpose of 'professing', or was it to illustrate why ill befell the Jews?

      You still can't deny that you get a lot out of praying for others, and that it's not just out of compassion. God rewards those who worship him, and any prayer you offer is just part of that equation. Helps convince God that you deserve heaven which, in your mind, is the biggest prize of all, right? So, do something that won't also benefit you this much and I'll say that you aren't doing it out of self-interest, OK?

      Playing your game, I'd rather end up in Hell then die knowing that I made people's lives miserable, but that's just me. I don't mind the remote chance that I may be sacrificing myself in exchange for staying out of other people's business that causes no harm anyway. Stuff that I do know causes harm I will speak out against, as you are witnessing here, and if there is a being out there that will torture me for doing that then I wouldn't want to spend eternity in it's presence anyway.

      I'm all for following good morals and for helping my fellow man, but I think that some people's idea of living according to God is not conducive to this. I'm for g.ay marriage, because I don't see any harm coming from it, and I think some people are better off divorcing than living miserable lives together, but I'm not for anything else on your list (adultery, lying, cheating, stealing). Where would you get the idea that I would be? Just because I don't believe in the bible? The bible was not the first code to speak out against these kinds of things, so stop treating it as if it invented law and order.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  12. Mike, not me

    Where are my separation of religion and state fanatics?

    Does this not qualify? Would you willingfully except Christian advertisements on NBC, without crying boycott?

    November 10, 2010 at 8:33 am |
    • civilioutside

      No, it doesn't qualify. This is a private organization spending its own money to spread its ideas. It's a philosophical discussion, not an attempt to pass legislation or get a specific candidate elected.

      November 10, 2010 at 8:49 am |
    • Mike, not me

      What are you babbling about do you not think the CMA is not a private orginization?
      The SBC?

      " not an attempt to pass legislation"– did you not even go to the website and see all the ongoing cases they have going how can you make such a statement and be proud??

      November 10, 2010 at 8:52 am |
    • Frogist

      I wasn't aware our country was run by NBC... Is Tina Fey the President?

      November 10, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • Mike, not me

      So that is a no for you Frogist you would not cry boycott?

      November 10, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • civilioutside

      You're going to have to be a little clearer here. Which website? Because there isn't one listed in the article, and I rather thought the advertising campaign in the article was the subject of this conversation. Perhaps there is a specific piece of legislation that you feel is religiously motivated that you wanted to discuss.

      November 10, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • civilioutside

      Oh, and just to be clear... I would not necessarily cry for a boycott of NBC if they were running paid advertising for a church. I do happen to believe in free speech.

      November 10, 2010 at 9:25 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      http://www.humanistlegalcenter.org/legalactivity.html

      and american humanist one word with a dot and an orginization extention.

      "advertising campaign in the article was the subject of this conversation" it was until you changed gears and stated "It's a philosophical discussion, not an attempt to pass legislation "

      November 10, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • civilioutside

      I was refering to the ad campaign being a philosophical discussion, as it is targetted at exposing a wider range of the public to the beliefs of Humanists (at least as American Humanist Association understands them).

      The lawsuits I saw on the site you linked me to all seemed to relate to situations where government agencies were explicitly or implicitly holding up one particular religion over another. Contrary to popular belief, doing away with government endorsement of a particular religion is not the same thing as seeking government endorsement of atheism. The government renders no opinion on what salad dressing I use, or whether I should even use salald dressing – I certainly don't interpret this to mean that the government advocates the abandonment of all salad dressings.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Frogist

      @ Mike, not me: No, no boycott. Why? Do you think I should?

      November 10, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Contrary to popular belief, doubt or rejection in A is belief in B.

      November 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • civilioutside

      "Contrary to popular belief, doubt or rejection in A is belief in B."

      Firstly, that logic is so awful it's almost indescribable. It completely misses the fact that there are a literally infinite number of possible "not-A" beliefs out there, and not everyone who believes "not-A" believes the same thing.

      Secondly that logic is flawed as an argument against the removal of government endorsement of religion because nobody is asking the government to endorse rejection of religion either. Actually, scratch that... I'd be willing to bet there's more than a few people out there asking for just that, but I'm not one of them. My position is that the government has no valid religious function at all, either for or against. I don't ask the government to "doubt" religion, or "reject" religion (even assuming you can claim that a societal construct can have beliefs, or dooubts, or any feeling whatsoever), I ask it to refrain from making dictates about religion.

      November 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Megatron

      @Mike Contrary to popular belief, doubt or rejection in A is belief in B.

      Only if you're a moron.

      November 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • Megatron

      @Mike Here's an example of why what you said was moronic.

      You: "God created the universe."
      Me: "I cannot accept that because there is no evidence."
      You: "Then you're believing B because you reject A."
      Me: "Actually I don't believe in anything because I don't know how the universe originated."
      You: "???"

      Talk about failing hard.

      November 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefts. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because "There can't be just one true religion," you must recongnize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts. If you went to the Middle East and said, "There can't be just one true religion," nearly everyone would say, "Why not?" The reason yuo doubt Christianity's Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt, therefore, is based on a leap of faith. Some People say, "I don't believe in Christianity because I can't accept the existence of moral absolutes. Everyone should determine moral truth for him- or herself." Is that a statement they can prove to someone who doesn't share it? No, it is a leap of faith, a deep belief that individual rights operate not only in the political sphere but also in the moral. There is no empirical proof for such a position. So the doubt (of moral absolutes) is a leap.
      Some will respond to all this, "My doubts are not based on a leap of faith. I have no beliefs about God one way or another. I simply feel no need for a God and I am not inteerested in thinking about it." But hidden beneath this feeling is the very modern American belief that the existence of God is a matter of indifference unless it intersects with my emotional needs. The speaker is betting his or her life that no God exists who whould hold you accountable for your beliefs and behavior if you didn't feel the need for him. That may be true or it may not be true, but, again, it is quite a leap of faith. The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubt and then to ask yourself what reasons you have for believing it. How do you know your belief is true? It would be inconsistent to require more justification for Christian belief than you do your your own.

      November 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Mike, not me
      Unless I'm missing something, the government isn't involved, therefore no Establishment Clause issues.

      rejection of A is acceptance of Not A, but that's as far as you can take it.

      November 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Mike, not me
      "The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubt and then to ask yourself what reasons you have for believing it."
      To use the typical examples: What is the "alternate belief under your doubt of" invisible pink unicorns or teapots orbiting the sun? Assuming of course that you do doubt them.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Nonimus, correct I was wrong to bring the Establishment Clause into the discussion. but more I was waiting for the people that say "Christians are invading everything, how dare they push their beliefs on TV"

      As for A and Not A, but acceptance of Not A is backed by belief B.

      hopefully this is the correct tread.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Mike, not me
      "As for A and Not A, but acceptance of Not A is backed by belief B."
      Actually, acceptance of Not A is backed by a lack of support for premise A. Nothing else is required.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • NL

      Megatron-
      I believe it was Socrates who said "The beginning of wisdom is the admission of one's ignorance."

      I fail to understand how accepting any answer, let alone a far-fetched one, is somehow better than admitting that you just don't know what the correct answer actually is. All that serves to do is get people to stop looking for the actual truth and if people were all inclined to settle for just that then science would never have gotten off the ground.

      November 10, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Nonimus,
      “What is the "alternate belief under your doubt of" invisible pink unicorns
      or teapots orbiting the sun? “
      In short, there is no doc-umented sightings nor any empirical testing results of such a thing.
      However, when one or the other and not necessarily both of those conditions exist then one must take a look at the evidence and make a determination.

      "Actually, acceptance of Not A is backed by a lack of support for premise A
      Which again is true if you believe in B
      B=lack of support for premise A
      As I even stated in my argument against unicorns above.

      Then you must complete the exercise of "then to ask yourself what reasons you have for believing it"
      IT, in this case would either be no God at all or a God just not the ones the prophets and the apostles described

      November 11, 2010 at 7:57 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Mike, not me
      "In short, there is no doc-umented sightings nor any empirical testing results of such a thing."
      If by doc.umented sightings you mean confirmed sightings, no religion has them either. However if you mean sightings that are written down in a doc.ument, here you go:

      I just saw the invisible pink unicorn! It must be a miracle! How else could I see something invisible?! Five other people saw it too. If you don't believe me, just ask them.

      "B=lack of support for premise A"
      If you are just relabling "lack of support" as B, as in, I believe there is a "lack of support" for A then you're just playing word games.

      One doesn't need to provide support for an alternate position/proposition if the original position is unsupported, as you stated with "no doc-umented sightings nor any empirical testing results."

      November 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Ok now to step 2
      "then one must take a look at the evidence and make a determination." Since you lack specifics about such claim, and you have not visited me personally, therefore I do not know the other people also I am going to dismiss your claim as false.

      November 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Mike,
      The point is that there is as much solid evidence for an Invisible Pink Unicorn, a Celestial Teapot, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster as there is for God or the supernatural.
      And, as you have shown you don't need to believe in some B in order to not believe in the Unicorn, that would be a false dichotomy.

      November 12, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  13. Frogist

    Anybody know where I can actually see the ads? I think anyway we can get people to talk about this stuff is better than not. Somebody needs to put the fundies back in their cage. We are better off without their black and white nonsensical morality.

    November 10, 2010 at 8:27 am |
    • NL

      I would settle with doing away with the cultural taboo against discussing the likelihood of God being real. You bring up the topic in a room of adults and you get treated like the insensitive uncle who spills the beans about Santa to little Jimmy.

      Sorry folks, Santa may have helped keep Jimmy in line when he was three, but he's in college now and sneaking gifts into his dorm room labeled 'Santa' just isn't cute anymore. God served his purpose when we were a child society, but it's really time to put away childish things.

      November 10, 2010 at 8:39 am |
    • Frogist

      @NL: Yes, that would be a good step, but I don't think we are at the point yet where people are ready to take on that discussion openly face-to-face. (On the interwebs, well that's a different story!) But maybe people are ready to think about it and find questions in their own heart in private. I think the campaign could start that wheel turning for those in the middle. It'll just pi$$ off the fundies!
      From a practical standpoint relieving the world of the concept of god doesn't really help us live peacefully together. It is slightly more feasible that we recognise that our moral codes are the same or very similar regardless of the name we give it. And I think that's why this campaign could have teeth, if in addition to pointing out the despi-cable parts of the various holy books, it pointed out the parts that humanists also consider worthy. I mean evangelical fundies thump their Bibles at muslims saying look at the awful things in your Quran! And muslims turn to catholics and say how can you allow this in your church?! And catholics point at jews and say your ways are irrelevant! Religious people are used to this. That's their bread and butter. What they are not used to is pointing out how their teachings are similar.
      The most common point that the religious make is that people who live without god are morally corrupt. So not only is it important to show them their ways are no better morally like this campaign is attempting to do, but also that the path away from a traditional idea of god is no worse.
      BTW I still think it's cute when I get presents from Santa! 😉

      November 10, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • NL

      Frogist-

      "The most common point that the religious make is that people who live without god are morally corrupt."

      Not all religions, but yes. Perhaps the most hopeful step would be to free their minds of the fear that they themselves are only restrained from total mayhem by believing in the all-watchful supernatural. For some who came into religion from a life of selfishness and greed, and who managed to use these beliefs to control these impulses, I would say there has been a benefit, but not all believers will automatically become serial killers once they stop having faith as the pastors love to preach.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Nonimus, correct I was wrong to bring the Establishment Clause into the discussion. but more I was waiting for the people that say "Christians are invading everything, how dare they push their beliefs on TV"

      As for A and Not A, but acceptance of Not A is backed by belief B.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  14. Maggie

    JohnQuest:

    Haven't you heard? "Nietzsche is dead." – God

    November 10, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  15. JesusisLord

    The Resurrection is the watershed event of human history. It proves Christianity and disproves all else. Read Book of Revelation; God will judge human sin, making way for a New Heaven and New Earth. What about you? Have you asked forgiveness for your sins? What's going to happen when you die?

    November 10, 2010 at 5:54 am |
    • Mic4life

      Revelation also indicates that during the last days, God will put it into the hearts of men to hate religion. At the start of the great tribulation the empire of false religion, identified as Babylon the Great, will fall. Revelations Chapter 17 prophesies this, and Chapter 18 indicates the resulting judgement.

      The stage is being set for this. As time goes on, society, including those religious, secular, atheists, nationalistic, patriotic, tyranny rulerships, etc., are all moving away from the peaceful messages and rules provided in the bible. All groups twist these messages to have their own ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3&4), which another prophesy of the characteristics of people during the last days.

      November 10, 2010 at 7:38 am |
    • Palm

      >kick<

      *yawn

      November 10, 2010 at 7:38 am |
    • David Johnson

      The book of Revelation was written at a time when the early Christians were being heavily persecuted by Nero Caesar. Nero is the 666 referred to. It was not a prediction for 2000 + years into the future. LOL

      Jesus predicted He would return in the 1st century. He is 19 centuries late.

      Jesus is dead. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. Cheers!

      November 10, 2010 at 7:51 am |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the in-sanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a ma-niac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the inc-oherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an of-fensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      Also, note that most contemporary NT exegetes have co-ncluded that the Timothy ep-istles were not written by Paul but by a pse-udo Paul.

      e.g.

      From Father Raymond Brown's epic NT reference book.

      " The First Letter to Timothy

      – 80-90% of the critical scholars believe the letter was written by a pseudo Paul toward the end of the first century, early second century.

      "Authenticity – Probably written by a disciple of Paul or a sympathetic co-mmentator on the Pauline her-itage several decades after the apostle's death.

      -ditto for the T-itus ep-istles

      See also Professor JD Crossan's co-nclusions in his book (with Professor Jonathan Reed), In Search of Paul, about Timothy and T-itus. (Same conclusions as Father Brown).

      See also Professor Bruce Chilton's book, Rabbi Paul.

      And http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epistle_to_Timothy#The_challenge_to_Pauline_authorship

      November 10, 2010 at 7:55 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Nero is the 666 referred to.

      How did you come up with that I thought it was Ceasar, no I mean Napolean, no I mean Clinton, or was it Paul orChuck Swindell.

      How did you come to this concrete conclusion?

      November 10, 2010 at 8:31 am |
    • Mike, not me

      How come you don't post the rest of the argument

      Scholars who hold to the position of Pauline authenticity of the epistle include Wallace,[15] Knight[8], Fee[16], Witherington III[17], Johnson[18], Stott[9] and Towner[19]. Wallace, for example, writes that, "although the evidence against the authenticity of the pastorals is as strong as any evidence against the authenticity of any NT book (save 2 Peter), it still cannot overthrow the traditional view"[15].

      In addition, a number of computer studies, though they must be treated with caution[20], have indicated that the seven universally accepted Pauline letters and 1-2 Timothy have a closer "affinity" than is often assumed. Thus:

      Alivar has shown that the 'Timothy's' have greater 'affinity' to Romans, Ephesians and Colossians than do Romans, Ephesians and Colossians to other Pauline epistles e.g. 1 Corinthians or Galatians[21].
      Smith[22] corrected Morton, and showed that on his criteria 'the most likely interpretation is that St. Paul wrote all the Epistles'.

      doesn't look like 80% you may want to try 8

      November 10, 2010 at 8:49 am |
    • Reality

      Mike, Mike, Mike,

      You would be better served by the pseudo Pauls for if Paul actually wrote the Timothy epistles, he then continues to be the subjugator of women.

      e.g.

      1 Timothy 2:8-15 (New International Version)

      8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

      11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

      "He (Paul) feared the turn-on of women's voices as much as the sight of their hair and skin..... At one point he even suggests that the sight of female hair might distract any angels/ "pretty wingie talking fictional thingies" in church attendance (1 Cor. 11:10). (from Professor Chilton's book Rabbi Paul).

      November 10, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Reality

      And Mike all NT exegetes agree your hero Paul said the following:

      "St Paul, a very early Christian writer and the most influential saint of Christianity, wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 "...the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone! ... In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed".

      Said comment led to the atrocities of the pogroms against the Jews and the Holocaust.

      November 10, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • Mike, not me

      I am sad to say it looks like you have loss your mind.... to not understand the cultural context of the text as you so well display along with trying to tie the statement of truth to the holocaust and blame the author (God ultimately) and not the person responsible for twisting scripture is absurd.
      So either you refuse to reason objectively or you are incapable of reasoning objectively and therefore, “out of your mind”

      November 10, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • capnjammer

      The Bible proves Christianity in exactly the same way The Lord of the Rings proves Elves exist, and the Catcher in the Rye was about a real young man named Holden Caulfield.

      The Bible also says rabbits chew their cud, the earth is balanced on pillars, the earth is a flat disc, the stars are small ornaments hung up in the sky, which itself is nothing more than a black sheet covering the world at night... it says the moon gives off its own light, it says the world was created in 6 days less than 10,000 years ago... It says a lot of things that aren't true.

      Jesus is also only one of hundreds of mythological figures that pre-date him by thousands of years that were born on Christmas, had twelve apostles, started a ministry at thirty, were killed or crucified at thirty-three, rose from the grave three days later, and ascended into heaven, were called the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, etc. with the closest match being Mithras, son of the Sun God Mithra.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Reality

      Mike, Mike, Mike,

      We were led to believe that your hero Paul was devine-ly inspiried. That being the case how could he make so many glaring mistakes? Hmmm???

      And then there is that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 he reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now even Catholic professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology grad school notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly - earth bound distractions.

      Christ 's and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      November 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Wow, you did not even make it to the end of one chapter? Skipping over vs 33 and 34... grad school notes... really? Yale still has a school of divinity yet I wouldn't consider a grad student (who may or may not graduate) as a theological expert. I took you as a very learned person who likes to research both side of an arguement. In the recent days I can only take you as a person trying to win a debate by false argument.

      November 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Cap if you believe the bible says "the earth is balanced on pillars, the earth is a flat disc, "
      you should read the text in it context (again)

      November 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Reality

      Mike, Mike, Mike,

      Pay attention, the grad students did not make the comments about "heaven being a spirit state". The professor did taking his/her cue from Augustine and JPII.

      Check the EWTN library to get the reference.

      November 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • Reality

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      November 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Reality

      The Updated Apostles Creed

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

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

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under under Pontius Pilate,
      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

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

      Amen

      November 11, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike, not me

      WoW! Reality owned you, dude! I bet Jesus and Mary are both ashamed of you.

      Have a great day!

      November 11, 2010 at 7:44 am |
    • Mike, not me

      For those interested in the Apostles' Creed

      I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
      the Maker of heaven and earth,
      and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

      Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
      born of the virgin Mary,
      suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, dead, and buried;

      He descended into hell.

      The third day He arose again from the dead;

      He ascended into heaven,
      and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
      from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

      I believe in the Holy Ghost;
      the holy catholic church;
      the communion of saints;
      the forgiveness of sins;
      the resurrection of the body;
      and the life everlasting.

      Amen.

      November 11, 2010 at 8:11 am |
    • Mike, not me

      "After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing"
      So let me get this strait, the disciples slip past the awake guards and the chief priest that gather, remove a large stone without making enough noise to wake those who were already awake. Then for the rest of their lives live out persecution for this lie. Being burned alive and exiled, crucified upside down. Stone to death. Beheaded. Thrown off the temple then bludgeoned. And you believe that the apostles had financial security. Really? Because one guy, know to not have the correct studies and use very skeptical methods made a comment in a dialogue. And you have the audacity to say Christianity is farfetched. Self examination my friend.
      By the way even making the statement that there was a body to steal concedes the rest of the gospel accounts.
      http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t012.html

      November 11, 2010 at 8:24 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Reality why do you not post the next paragraph of the book if you are being intellectually honest.

      Ben Meyer comments that most Jesus scholars of the day couple the liberal emphasis on the ethics with an equally liberal "hermeneutic of empathy" In turn, a host of imaginative these were put forward in an effort to understand more fully Jesus religious experience by tracing out the psychological development of Jesus's messianic awareness. This was very attractive in that it allowed the authors to write something akin to a biography of Jesus. The weakness of this approach lay in the fact that it depended more on the imagination than on the historical method. Again the resurrection is moved to the background as the light is focused on Jesus' psche and the effect hist teachings had on the early Chrurch.

      William Wrede responded to such ideas by insisting that the nineteenth-century psychological theories of Jesus' work were derived from somewhere other than the text. Wrede declares: And this is the malady to which we must here allude–lut us not dignify it with the euphemish "historical imagination." The Scientific study of the life of Jesus is suffering from psychological "suppositionitis" which amounts to a sort of historical guesswork. For this reason interpretations to suit every taste proliferated. The number of arbitrary psychological interpretations at the same time from the basis of important structures of thought; and how often do people think that the task of criticism has already been discharged by palying tuneful psychological variations on the given factual theme!"

      November 11, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike, Not Me

      Nero is a good fit. There are other possibilities, but none include a 2000+ year future prediction.

      Hint: Jesus is dead. Still and always.

      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=8&sqi=2&ved=0CEUQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpenelope.uchicago.edu%2F~grout%2Fencyclopaedia_romana%2Fgladiators%2Fnero.html&ei=Gz_dTOGJH4OqsAOD-_2NCw&usg=AFQjCNGyPm1h1fBfSLvggYkPb63pp4EWWg

      November 12, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  16. JesusisLord

    And what happens when a "atheist/ secular humanist" dies?

    November 10, 2010 at 5:52 am |
    • David Johnson

      Just as a believer does. Just as Jesus did. His brain dies. He ceases to exist.

      But, be of good cheer! We live on through our children and through the people that loved us.

      November 10, 2010 at 7:46 am |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      Good point, we all will live on in the minds of those who remember us. The trick is in how we care to be remembered. Some people obviously want to be remembered as the 'Unwavering Champion of Christ' and it matters not at all to them who must suffer in order for them to achieve that renown.

      November 10, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  17. Ed

    Will peace prevail in a world atheist with atheist only? How many people died in the Marxist/Stalin era. Do not be fooled when humans rule there will always be corruption, greed and no morality.

    November 10, 2010 at 3:15 am |
    • civilioutside

      Stalinism involved forcing atheism on a population not prepared to accept it. The regime treated atheism as a state religion to be forced on its citizens, and the abuses that resulted are more a reflection on the wisdom of the Second Amendment than the merits of atheism itself.

      November 10, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  18. Colleen

    Statements like the one Speckhardt offered -( "We feel those (unaffiliated) folks don't yet know they can admit that they don't believe in God,") make humans sound like they are nothing but chimpanzees looking for any "ist" vine to grab on to. I personally have a little more faith in humanity... I find us a rather intelligent species, capable of making up our own minds and capable of admitting whether or not they believe in God. Why gee whiz it happens every day. What shouldn't happen though no matter what side you are on... is this type of hammering at someone else's belief. It only leads to distrust, to hate, and eventually to genocide or war. It never ceases to amaze me that people just cannot let other people live and let live. If we really truly want to be humanistic... start there! Live and let live.

    November 10, 2010 at 3:09 am |
  19. HotAirAce

    I'm an atheist hoping to see all houses-of-silliness close their doors! Anything legal and non-violent that riles up the believers is good by me.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • tagnga

      To Riverrunner;
      You wrote;
      “we will be the majority someday.” – Christianity will outlive you.
      “pray all you want.” – we do and always will”
      “resistance is futile.” – Are you attempting to “force” atheism, on believers? It’s pretty ironic, to witness all this atheistic evangelism. What the AHA, is doing, will strengthen, not weaken Christianity. But it’s also pretty hard to witness your denial of our Creator, who loves you so much.

      November 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @tagnga

      I suspect your reply was meant to be in a different thread, but no matter...

      As an atheist, I am not interested in forcing anything on anyone, other than being "fundamentalist" about separation of church and state. I am personally more and more intolerant of religion and will point out the stupidity of religion if someone injects into my life in any way, but if someone wants to cling to their childish tribal myths, that is literally their problem, as in, in my opinion, their own mental health issue.

      Now that the USA is one step closer to becoming a theocracy, I'm going to have to decide whether to become more intolerant of religion (in legal and non-violent ways), or just give up on the USA.

      November 11, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  20. Gil T

    NL True. It eliminates the imaginary and make believe. However, my example of homicide was that there are intangible, impalpable things as well as hard physical evidence in a homicide case. The reason of law is to scrutinize even those claims of evidence not visible and which occurred in the past. That evidence is not discounted as imaginary and fictional. Furthermore, you are putting the burden of expectation on society that it will not all of a sudden condone homicide. I placed the burden specifically on the humanist who claims we can all be good without God. Assuming that to be true for the moment the reality remains not everyone (except perhaps in an imaginary, fictional world) is (or does) good without God. What is the humanist response to the one who embraces the godless code, but not your its code of good? Again, I was no more claiming the belief of theists as a solid deterrent than humanists have a deterrent for homicide and other horrific acts. My question was not about deterrence, but what is the humanist response to the visible, palpable, after-the-fact homicide act? How does engage his thinking process to discern and judge the matter?

    November 10, 2010 at 12:35 am |
    • NL

      Gil T-
      Sure, in a homicide case lots of the different kinds of evidence may be brought forward, but I ask you, would you put more stake in a mountain of DNA, fingerprint, trace material, videotape, tire track, and other scientifically testable evidence, or the testimony of the alleged perpetrator's mother as to his good character? What kinds of "intangible, impalpable" evidence do you think trumps physical evidence? Eyewitnesses? We can test their eyesight, have them pick out of a lineup, and physically access if they were in a position to see what they claim to, right? Completely testable as to how much credence it should be afforded. Nothing supernatural about that, is there?

      You say that I am "putting the burden of expectation on society that it will not all of a sudden condone homicide." Can you say that religion is incapable of suddenly redefining what is homicide? The folks who think it's OK to kill doctors who perform abortions seem to have. I think that religion makes it far easier to condone any manner of harmful actions. All you have to do is convince believers that God want's them to do it, which has proven to be a very easy thing to do. Kool Aid anyone?

      How would a humanist access a homicide? Speaking only for myself I would judge that the person must not have been concerned enough about the consequences at the time they committed the act to have prevented themselves. They either did not think that they would get caught, were unconcerned of what would happen if they did, or were not thinking clearly enough to make a rational decision, and then dig deeper from there. What else are you looking for? An emotional response to there being a life cut short? Sure, maybe even more of one than a believer in afterlives has. To us there is no happy hunting ground for innocents murdered. It's just a tragedy for them and their loved ones.

      November 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.