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December 19th, 2011
05:15 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, December 19

By Dan Merica, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: My Take: An evangelical remembers his friend Hitchens
More than bad food, however, he disliked unintelligent conversation. “What do you think about gay marriage?” He didn’t wait for a response. “I don’t get it. I really don’t. It’s like wanting the worst of both worlds.” He drank deeply of his whiskey. “I mean, if I was gay, I would console myself by saying, ‘Well, I’m gay, but at least I don’t have to get married.’” That was classic Hitch. Witty. Provocative. Unpredictable.

CNN: ‘Tebowing’ leads to teens’ suspension
Four student athletes were suspended after encouraging several others to do the 'Tebow' prayer pose, blocking a hallway in school.

The report, which covers a period from 1945 to 2010, says the scale of the abuse is relatively small in percentage terms, but is a serious problem in absolute numbers.

CNN: Thousands of children abused in Dutch churches over 65 years, inquiry says
Thousands and thousands of children suffered from sexual abuse in the Dutch Roman Catholic Church over more than six decades, and about 800 "possible perpetrators" have been identified, an independent Commission of Inquiry said Friday.

CNN: ‘A great voice falls silent’: Christopher Hitchens tributes pour in on Twitter
"My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends," wrote Christopher Hitchens in June before his death Friday from complications of esophageal cancer at the age of 62.

Tebow satirized on SNL:

The comedians on NBC’s Saturday Night Live pulled no punches when the satirized both Tim Tebow’s success and his devout faith in God. The scene opens in the locker room when Tebow is addressing the team after this weeks game against the Chicago Bears. “And also, I’ve got to thank the most important person in my life, my lord and savior Jesus Christ, because I could not do this without him,” enthusiastically said the Tebow character. “Thank you Jesus!” All of the sudden, the locker room doors open and Jason Sudeikis playing Jesus enters the room in. Let us know what you think.

Tweet of the Day:

From @jaweedkaleem: Kim Jong-il considered Christianity to be “on of the greatest threats to his power” http://bit.ly/vOiV2P

(Explainer: North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, the embodiment of the reclusive state where his cult of personality is deeply entrenched, has died. He was believed to be 69. Regarded as one of the world's most-repressive leaders, Kim Jong Il always cut a slightly bizarre figure. His diminutive stature and characteristically bouffant hair have been parodied by some in the West.)

Enlightening Reads:

New York Times: Russian Orthodox Church Asserts Role in Civil Society
Just over 20 years ago, any religious education outside church walls was still banned in the Soviet Union. Today, churches are being built on state university campuses, theology departments have opened around Russia, and the Russian Orthodox Church has built its own educational network with international contacts and even become something of a model for the secular system.

Rick Perry has made faith a central part of his campaign platform.

ABC News: Perry Urges Worshipers to Disregard ‘Politically Correct Police,’ Take Faith into Public Arena
Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged churchgoers today to ignore the “politically correct police” who believe separation of church and state does not allow for faith to be present in the public arena, telling the churchgoers they are “biblically charged” to take their faith into the public sphere.

Christian Post: 5,000 Christians Attend Rally to Support Nativity at Texas Courthouse
An estimated 5,000 people showed up for a rally Saturday in Athens, Texas, to support a Nativity display in opposition to an atheist group that had requested the county remove the display.

The Guardian: Bid to evict St Paul's protest camp begins at high court
The City of London Corporation has lost control of St Paul's Cathedral, the high court will hear on Monday, with members of an activist camp "setting rules and policing behavior" in the churchyard. A trial, lasting up to four days, will determine whether Occupy London protesters can stay on the land outside the building or not.

Quote of the Day:

I’m scared about that. We have a weak government that can’t protect us. The Americans should have stayed longer, until security is better.

Father Immanuel Dabaghian of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad is concerned about how both the American’s leaving and his steadily emptying pews means the end to his church.

Today’s Opinion:

CNN: My Take: My love/hate relationship with Hitchens
My love/hate relationship with Christopher Hitchens started when I read “God Is Not Great.” Before that, he was a hero of mine. I loved his slashing style, his intelligence, his learning, his self-possession and, above all, his passion. But I hated this book.

Join the conversation…

This Christmas, says Ekhoff, will be different than last years.

CNN: My Take: Being poor on Christmas
Tangela Ekhoff, an inspirational speaker and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., discusses both the difficulties of being poor at Christmas. “Every year, my husband (the better shopper) picks one big-ticket gift for our boys, the one we call ‘the Showstopper’…” writes Ekhoff. “This year, there will be no Showstopper.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (131 Responses)
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    December 23, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  4. Ungodly Discipline

    Some of my atheist and agnostic brothers and sisters may not appreciated this blog, however I feel the need to be honest about this so I am going to set the record straigt.

    I have many religions friends and family. I DO NOT talk politics or religion with them. That does not make for a good Holiday meal. An besides, who cares.

    I am not concerned about being right about anything. I just want to be left alone. Now, that may sound hypricrecial since I enjoy arguing a bit on the blogs, but hey, if you are on the blogs, that is why your are here. To blow off a little steam and that is fine with me.

    I don’t take anything personally and I don’t mean anything personal. It is just fun. That is my take.

    Now having said all of that, I have noticed that he Christians and other religious folks have been ramping up the rhetoric about Jesus and Heaven and how that relates to Jews and Muslims and this conflict just goes on and on.

    Therefore I am going to say this to all of you religious people, whatever that religion may be:

    You are absolute and complete morons. The world would be a MUCH better place without you. You really should listen to the Agnostics and atheists and their wisdom and put your hate an petty discrepancies aside. You are EVIL, WRONG, WICKED and everything you say and do is harmful to society. Take your hate, bend over, an shove it all up you’re a-ss. Enough of you and your angry, destructive religions.

    Now having said that, let’s build a peaceful world, togeher, with love.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Hobart

      Ah, hippypoet you really should put that into a song.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • DefToeN

      Yeah. A song. That's all we need. woo. yay.

      December 23, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  5. Doc Vestibule

    @rainer

    There is a fair bit of historical data pertaining to Gilgamesh.
    He was a real King who lived from 2500 years before Christ and many myths have popped up around him.
    There are a number of striking similarities between Gilgamesh and Genesis:

    G:Anu, the sky god, creates Enkidu, the wild man of the forest
    B: The Lord God creates Adam and places him into a garden

    G: Enkidu is naked in the forest
    B: Adam and Eve are both naked in the garden

    G: Enkidu is tempted by Shamhat, the temple prost.itute
    B: Adam is given the forbidden fruit by the woman

    G: Ediku falls to Shamhat’s charms, loses his strength but gains knowledge
    B: Adam eats the fruit given to him by Eve, his eyes are opened with the knowledge that they are naked and he is removed from the garden

    Given the archaeological evidence, do you believe in a 3/4 divine mesopotamian king who ruled for 125 years or do you think it more likely that his life and works have been mythologized over the millenia?

    December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • captain america

      How'd be chances of keeping your qu eer canadian opinions in your own country, in your own yard so to speak. We Americans need no information, instruction or interference from bull sh it canadians. Your opinion is the equivalent of dog sh it on these blogs sidewalks. There's your sign

      December 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Cap
      By now we're all quite used to your pointless anti-canadian rambling, but I am curious about your "sign" comment.
      To what in the million names of God are you referring?

      December 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • BRC

      @Doc,
      I think he is poorly referencing the catch phrase of "Blue Collar" comedian Bill Engval, who coined the phrase "here's your sign" in a bit about wishing stupid people wore signs so others would be able to readily identify them. It produced the colloquialism "Here's your sign", to be said when you feel someone else has done something stupid. In which case it was either a spelling error or a slight misquote that intended to reference the described comedic device.

      Or he was just rambling on with more intolderant non-sense, as per normal. I feel like the comedian explanation makes more sense, but in Captain America's case the historical evidence is really pointing towards rambling. A little close to call for me, but one of the two should be the right answer for you.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Oooooh I get it now.... You're plagiarizing a redneck stand up comedian!
      If you're going to steal other people's jokes, at least steal funny ones, Cap.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • just sayin

      Since Captain America not saying here's your sign how can it be plagiarism? I kind of appreciate an American willing to take a stand against Canadian interference with our values.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  6. Rainer Braendlein

    @BRC

    Sorry, BRC your assumption is absurd. It is like the assumption that 9/11 had been organized by the CIA.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • BRC

      @Rainer,
      It's not an asumption, it's a HYPOTHETICAL. A statement that doesn't need to ever be true, it is merely provided for discussion and consideration.

      The purpose of this exercise is to determine if your distaste of alternative lifestyles is dogmatic or personal. That's all. If you would be willing to accept other lifestyile IF (big hypothetical IF) the religion actually was okay with it, then your distaste is dogmatic; but if you still would not accept them, then it is personal, and you are a bigot. That simple.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @BRC

      I distinguish the person and his or her deeds.

      I condemn gayness, but I don't condemn gays.

      I condemn my sins (which I don't want to list here), but I don't condemn myself.

      This all bases on God's love, who doesn't want to condemn the sinner, but save him.

      Furthermore I distinguish between people who suffer from gayness like from a disease and people, which try to promote it.

      I could have some pretty fierce argument with someone, who promotes gay lifestyle. I would not be very kindly towards him.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • YeahRight

      "This all bases on God's love, who doesn't want to condemn the sinner, but save him."

      Yeah right that's why it supposedly created a eternity in hell to punish those he doesn't forgive or save, your god is a monster, dictator, nothing more and doesn't deserve to be worshiped.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @YeahRight

      In the hell you will find only very wicked people. People, which will get into hell, will really have deserved it.

      Matthew 25:

      31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • BRC

      Okay, what if noone ever said that "God" considered gayness a sin. What if there was no evidence that he did? Would you care that some people are gay?

      December 19, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • YeahRight

      "In the hell you will find only very wicked people. People, which will get into hell, will really have deserved it."

      That's not true if a person rejects your god, doesn't believe in your Jesus then they spend eternity in hell. That is why the god you worshiped is a monster, dictator and doesn't deserve to be worshiped since it doesn't even follow it's own teachings in forgiveness and love. DUH!

      December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @BRC

      Dear BRC,

      you may be a wise man in your own sight, but I as a Christian don't want to scrutinize too much. There are areas on earth, which are prohibited to enter, because of danger (restricted areas). If you go there, you suffer a damage. It is not good to think thoughts, which are totally out of line, because you will suffer a damage. We should not leave the good areas, which are illuminated by divine light.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • YeahRight

      "It is not good to think thoughts, which are totally out of line, because you will suffer a damage. We should not leave the good areas, which are illuminated by divine light."

      In other words, don't use your brain when worshiping this God, it doesn't like it because you might find out it's all a con! LOL!

      December 19, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @YeahRight

      You may have a distorted sight of Christianity, caused by the lousy re-baptizing, american Free Churches.

      At Judgement Day God will not ask someone, if he has believed in Jesus, but God will really judge his life according to the real works, which he has done (look at Matthew 25).

      This is not against the doctrine of salvation by grace. We get saved by grace, yes, but true faith exists only in obedience (Bonhoeffer). A man, who believes in Christ has to live a life of Christian love. Love is the fulfillment of the law.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • YeahRight

      "At Judgement Day God will not ask someone, if he has believed in Jesus, but God will really judge his life according to the real works, which he has done (look at Matthew 25)."

      LMAO! This is a great example of why atheist know more about your book than you do. LOL! So what about all those other passages that state about being saved and lets not forget the that in John 14:6 stated Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

      LOL! Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5, Ephesians 4:4, John 14:6, John 10:9, etc...etc...etc... LOL!

      Your god is a monster and a dictator, nothing more.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • J.W

      Using LOL after everything you say does not really make you look smarter.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @YeahRight

      I know the verses, which you have cited, but it is all about having the real faith. This problem was solved by Bonhoeffer. He proved by biblical evidence that true faith exists only within a life of obedience.

      Faith is more than regarding the biblical statements as true. Faith is a supernatural thing, which is caused by the Holy Spirit. In fact believing in Christ means to follow him (Sermon on the Mount). A Christian, who doesn't follow Jesus, is no true believer or a believer, who has turned apostate and will die.

      The real faith is also connected with the sacramental baptism according to Romans 6. It is not possible to imagine a true believer without the sacramental baptism. In Romans 6 St. Paul says that the true baptized believer will do divine works. Assumed a believer denies the new life, which God gave him, he will die.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Using LOL after everything you say does not really make you look smarter."

      Nor does your comment make you look smarter either. LMAO! LOL!

      December 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • YeahRight

      “He proved by biblical evidence that true faith exists only within a life of obedience.

      If you are not obedient then you go to hell. OL!

      “Faith is a supernatural thing, which is caused by the Holy Spirit. In fact believing in Christ means to follow him (Sermon on the Mount). A Christian, who doesn't follow Jesus, is no true believer or a believer, who has turned apostate and will die.
      The real faith is also connected with the sacramental baptism according to Romans 6. It is not possible to imagine a true believer without the sacramental baptism. In Romans 6 St. Paul says that the true baptized believer will do divine works. Assumed a believer denies the new life, which God gave him, he will die.”

      Yeah and if you don’t believe in any of that crap but lead a good life you will go to hell for eternity that is why your god is a monster and a dictator that doesn’t deserve to be worshiped.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't care if it did or not. But you seem to try to discredit what other people say by using LOL after it.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I don't care if it did or not. But you seem to try to discredit what other people say by using LOL after it."

      So what I am allowed to write any way I see fit moron, you are NOT the moderator of this blog! LOL!

      December 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • J.W

      I am not saying that. I am just saying that you seem to think you are smarter than others by doing that. You called me a moron so you must think you are smarter than me.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I am not saying that. I am just saying that you seem to think you are smarter than others by doing that. You called me a moron so you must think you are smarter than me."

      LOL! No, you're posting like an idiot which makes you look like a moron. You're the one injecting your own thoughts into what I am writing that's YOUR problem not mine. LOL!

      December 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @JW,

      I believe this is the epitome of a "useless discussion."

      December 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      ....LOL

      December 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah I think you are right Damian. He doesn't really seem to understand what I am saying.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bo

      @YeahRight, What happens in the end isn't a matter of what your opinion is of God, (I don't agree with you) truth is truth; opinion doesn't change truth, what matters is choice. (neither does LOL) People call God a monster, I don't know why, except that it is an opinion?

      God is a dictator? maybe, depends on what you mean, but if God is a dictatator, He is a benovolint and rightious dictator; after all, He is the creator, He has the right to say what is right and wrong and deal with it as He sees fit. Your opinion doesn't matter; your choice does.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Bo

      OXYMORON ALERT! Benevolent and Rightous dicatator? seriously? Riddle me this, do you ever think ti's a good idea to live under the rule of a dictator? I mean, seriously, Dictators by definition are tyrannical and power hungry, so to put that term with "righteous" and "benevolent" is just flat out odd and disheartening to realize that many people like you believe that it's totally cool to live under the iron rule of a dictator as long as he's righteous.

      The chinese believe it too you know, or rather that's a confucian belief that There are different types of relationships and the ruler/servent relationship (like all others) is based on perfect benevolence from the top and perfect obediance from the bottom. If either one of these is out of synch the whole relationship is jeopardized and needs revision. That's how the mandate of heaven was first formed and accepted in china and still currently in place (only now it's not really called the "mandate of heaven" but the "will of the people"). Now, do you believe that China is a utopia that's well run with perfect love and perfect obediance? If not you might get a glimpse of the point of view of an atheist who looks at christianity.....

      December 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      To be fair, the definition of dictator does not state that a person be cruel and tyrannical. From Merriam-Webster "a : a person granted absolute emergency power; especially : one appointed by the senate of ancient Rome b : one holding complete autocratic control c : one ruling absolutely and often oppressively." It does say OFTEN, but that does not imply always.

      The point is, you can't compare the regimes Pol Pot, Hitler, Chairman Mao, or Stalin to an omnipotent, omniscient, omni-present deity. It's like comparing American government to how an ant colony is run. Essentially, assuming God created everything, does He not have the right to say empirically how He wants things run?

      December 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      Ok, fair point that a dictator doesn't HAVE to be tyrannical, but god, being the creator and all and granting us free will, should know that man has never done well with the whole "dictator" thing. I mean, maybe I;m brainwashed in my own way by American ideals, but shouldn't everyone have a voice? Doesn't the idea of a dictator imply oppression in some form? If god gave us free will and a choice, wants us to be happy and live a good life then wouldn't god also want a different form of government other than a "my way or the highway" dictatorial regime? I guess we're getting down to those darn semantics again, but I don't think I could stomach living under ANY dictators regime no matter how benevolent it is.

      I guess my whole point is, if god wanted to be a dictator, a benevolent dictator, but a dictator nonetheless, then why the hel.l would he give us free will where we could chose to disobey him? I've heard the answer "because he wants us to CHOOSE to love him" (which is a rabbit hole I don't want to necessarily go down yet, but also doesn't really make sense), but even the most basic governments wish their subjects to be perfectly loyal. As humans we try to curb the disloyalty the best we can by insti.tuting laws and programs that hopefully benefit everyone (which is seemingly impossible), but if god has the power to create a system where he wants to be supreme ruler, wants us to have free will to CHOOSE him as supreme ruler, then shouldn't it stand to reason that god would at least create an environment where we WANT* to choose him? There are some really great things about the world of today, but considering all the leg work we've had to do to create the comfort and harmony that exists (not to mention all the bad uncontrollable things that we still fight against) why hasn't god created another garden of eden at this point, only allowing the faithful to enter. Wouldn't that be a perfect way?

      (* as a footnote, I capped those words because I don't know how to bold or italicize them,)

      December 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      Ok, you know I don't really do well with "whysdom", but I'll give you my opinion. Forewarning: Damian's breaking out some Christian-ese God-speak.

      Here's where it is. Sure, you have a voice. It's your free will. You get to choose how you are going to live. But that doesn't mean you get a voice on the rules. You just get a choice on whether you're going to follow them or not. Think of it this way. Would you let a five year old come in and tell you how to manage your finances? While I'm sure your "Toys 'R' Us" budget would sky-rocket astronomically, would that be the best way to spend your money? How much do you think this five year old would put towards your 401k? How about rent? At the end of the month, sure, you have all of the new video game systems and toys, but you don't have a residence to store it in. This is like with God. We're the five year olds trying to tell the adults how to run things. God knows better than we do and while it may not make sense to us, the question comes down to, do you trust Him?

      Let me point this out to you. Why do you want to have a say? Because you want some measure of control. Why do you want control? Ultimately, it's motivated by fear. Where does fear come from? A lack of trust. And let's make one thing inexplicably clear. I'm preaching to myself here as much, if not moreso, than I am to you.

      So the question becomes, do you believe God has your best intentions at heart? Do you believe He will never leave you nor forsake you as He said in Deuteronomy 31:6? If you do, then you have no problem submitting yourself to His rules and regulations because you understand that the things that He says "no" to are not in your best interest. I don't believe God is a dictator, to be honest. I was more playing the Devil's Advocate (heh, no pun intended). I believe God to be a loving father who is instructing us. And He sets ground rules because He knows what's best for us, just like a mortal father does for his children. And if you choose to ignore those rules, well, there are consequences for those decisions. But it's up to you. It's your choice what you want to do.

      To your next point, God has created another Garden of Eden for the faithful to enter. It's called Heaven. I tend to think of this life as the proving ground. I'm a sinner, no doubt. I'll be the first to admit I have not perfectly followed the laws of God. But through Christ's blood, I've been forgiven for my transgressions. He paid the price for my sins, so I don't have to. And I have tried to turn my life more towards following what God has instructed. And I know I will fall once in awhile. But just like in life, it's not how many times you fall down, it's how many times you get up and try again.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      Always comes back to my "Whysdome" I guess. Clearly many of these questions are impossible to answer because I don't believe there's a living, thinking being that exists to answer it and on your side you don't dare to try and second guess gods thought process because it's impossible for you to know.

      I will say this however. You've used the "father-child"metaphore before, and I've seen it countless times somewhere else and here's what I have to say. First and foremost, I can't tell you how much it bugs to me constantly be referred to as a child in this metaphore, especially because in our situation we don't have the opportunity to grow up and actually learn from our mistakes. As a father, you clearly wouldn't let your child of age 5 come and take over the company, but after the child grows up, learns from his mistakes, there's no problem letting the child take the family business right? The father-son metaphore for god-man precludes the possibility that we'll ever "grow" up and take control away from god and lead our own lives..... does that mean that god is purposefully keeping us stupid even after we ate from the tree of knowledge in order to stay supreme ruler? Is that really an admirable trait of a ruler/father to never allow their subjects/children progress further than 5 years old? Of course, the main difference here is that god is supposed to be immortal while we still live a very short existance in the cosmic span of things....but oh wait! our souls are immortal as well, so does that mean after our eventual death of our bodies, our souls rise to heaven (of fall to hel.l depending on how well you lived according to those nebulous rules laid out in a now defunct language) and we live under gods rule forever because he knows better? You could try to sigmund freud me and try to find out my innermost desires through this statement, but why shouldn't be the one to control and make decisions about things directly related to me? I think the father-son metaphor also fails when you realize that in your example, the father is clearly present can convey words of wisdom directly from his mouth. In our current situation however, god is at best a loving absent father who left his 5 year old to fend for himself with nothing more than a book of rules and promises of happiness if he can decipher and follow the rules. Furthermore, every so often dear old dad will send a random person to give new directions, playing a cosmic game of telephone where he says "read the book, learn it, follow it, but also listen to this guy and follow what he has to say. It's supposed to be confusing".

      Haven't we, since biblical times, learned to live in more harmonious situations with one another when we've disregarded some of gods commands. The bible shows this a very bad thing, and yet look at say, Canada, or Australia, or Europe or even America to a greater extent. We're enjoying more comfort and properity for more people than people in jesus's day could barely even dream about. The real question that lies here is this, was god wrong to make these rules in the first place? Would a benevolent and loving god really want us to live in a world rife with hate and anger that stem directly from his laws? I'm not even talking about the laws that have brought the hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage, but rather the 10 commandments which makes us worship no other god but God and keep the sabbath holy. I guess the major question is, it sounds like god wants us to all be the same but isn't diversity what makes us stronger?

      I guess there's a lot more "whysdom" in there and without trying to put too many words in your mouth, the answer is having faith in god and trusting that everything will work out in the end is the way to go. I guess these questions are more for you to ponder and ask god yourself or search within your self to find an answer, because if there's only one of a very small amount of things that christianity and science has in common its that there's an answer out there for everything.

      As for your last comment about heaven being a new garden of eden. First real question that I think is answerable but I don't know: Wasn't there a heaven in genesis when the first garden of eden still existed? and if so, what would be the point of having a heaven if it served the same purpose as the garden?

      Next are the rhetorical questions that always illicits the Christianese but have to be asked anyways. God may make the rules, but wouldn't his point be better demonstrated by creating a tangible real place where people could see the legitamet effects following gods rules has? Christians, among the many other religions, do not in any way enjoy a more prosperous life, happiness, health, etc.... more than anyone else. The only thing that comes from being christian is a way to ease my concscience if I do something wrong and the promise of the best thing ever in a place no person has every stepped foot in and come back to tell me about it. Wouldn't god gain a lot mroe converts of people choosing to a follower if he simply provided one or two things to his worshippers that other people didn't get?

      December 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CCdL-exG9M&w=640&h=360]

    December 19, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6ramPnZ10M&w=640&h=360]

      December 19, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      big whoop. I can post utube videos too. annoying isn't it?

      December 19, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Dear LET,

      why do you advertise your cult?

      I detest this!

      December 19, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • YeahRight

      "why do you advertise your cult?

      I detest this!"

      And we detest your cult.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      hilarious. what cult would that be? I actually picked this video almost randomly, I thought it was appropriate, since I equate christianity as a similiar crazy cult like fascism. oh, and I don't give a rat's ass that it offends you.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  8. Colin

    In relation to the nativity scene in Athens, we atheists need to be better at picking our battles. Even if it is strictly unconsti.tutional, it is a trivial and inoffensive peccadillo. Trying to have it removed just makes us look mean spirited and militant.

    It also gave 5,000 simpletons a chance to get drunk on the Jesus juice for the afternoon and rail against us, to the doubtless approval of most of the public.

    In the world of public opinion, where perception is reality, we need to do a better job of selling our message and helping young Christians escape the infantile superst.itions that so haunted their parents their whole lives. Alienating them en mass is a huge retrograde step.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • HellBent

      +1

      December 19, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I concur

      December 19, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I say fight them on all fronts. We just need to put more effort into some things than others. Like the letter in Athens is probably enought but we need to do it every year. We just need to make sure we put a lot of effort into the serious battles.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Chuckles

      Here here!

      Amen brothaman! If there's one thing many people hate, it's the whiner who complains about EVERYTHING. If we fight every issue, it'll only make atheism look like the Whiner's Club of America. Unfortunately religion in general has about a 5,000 year headstart and is so insti.tutionalized, attacking on all fronts will only drown on the message and just keep us sidelined as we watch horrible evnets unfold.

      I'm with you Colin!

      December 19, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • J.W

      I know I am a Christian but Colin is right about that one. The atheists seem to just want to argue about public displays, and it makes them seem like an annoyance more than anything.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Chuckles

      as a P.S. to my above post.

      I think you are right, however I think it's also necessary to at least voice concern if something feels like the merger between church and state. Basically, we don't have to use our legal rights to stage protests and make signs over every little thing, however we can't let anything fly under the radar and set a precedent either. It's a delicate balance that might be impossible.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Clayton

      Colin, I do not view these violations of law as trivial, and they are VERY offensive and in no way are they "peccadilloes"!!!

      They are breaking the law! Shall we break the law in some fashion at your house and see if you like it, view it as trivial, and watch as you fluff your hanky at what we do?

      Don't denigrate the efforts of people to hold others accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constltution!!!
      Maybe YOU view it as "too small" for your mighty powers to take note of it as an atheist, preferring, perhaps, something more meaty like fighting the Catholic Church over their instltutionalized child abuse or fighting against those who force schools to use religious history and creationism.

      Or maybe you're just scared of 5,000 people gathering together to support this "trivial" crime against our country?
      What would they do to you if you stood up before them and told them their god was BS? Something trivial?
      Bah! If you don't have the guts to fight them when they break the law, then we will not require you to wave your hanky today!

      December 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • fred

      Clayton
      Your fear over Christianity is irrational if you think a nativity scene is evil and violates the law. The law must be evil if a child in manger is deemed offensive. Your fear and clamoring argues in favor of Christ being God if even an image in the form of a Childs Christmas toy raises goose bumps on you back. If you feel the power of God in this plastic nativity then sit tight when you fall into the hands of the living God.
      Once again atheists prove the power of a living God to cut like a two edged sword the flesh of a wicked and evil generation. Offended by a plastic child, really Clayton get a grip.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • I_get_it

      fred,

      Ah, then you wouldn't mind a display of a little plastic crescent moon, or a hammer & sickle flag, or a papier mache Ganesh, or a twinkly lit-up swastika - they are just harmless images, right?

      December 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • fred

      I_get_it
      A swastika? So let us compare that to a plastic baby Jesus. You make atheists sound worse than the Taliban that smashed the non Muslim figures of antiquity in Afghanistan. Atheists make secularism look just like all other religious isms.
      Mammon is the god of secularism and glorified at every turn. This is not what the establishment clause had in mind.

      December 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "I ain't lookin' for help from on-high. That's a long wait for a train don't come." – Malcolm Reynolds, "Serenity"

    December 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Chuckles

      Browncoats Unite!

      December 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    @BRC

    The Church, which is described in the current translations of the Bible was the true, historical Church!

    You should not forget that the truth of Christianity is not only confirmed by the Bible, but also by ecclesiastical docu-ments. For example Eusebius of Caesarea (around 300 a. D.) has drafted a chronicle of the Early Church. Beside his chronicle there are many other historical docu-ments. These docu-ments would confirm that gays were not allowed to be members of the Church.

    It is impossible that new translations of the Bible will be found, which support gayness. We have too many historical docu-ments, which confirm the truth of the biblical stories. The accounts of the Bible and the historical Church fit together. The Church, which is described in the current translations of the Bible is or was the real, historical Church. Amen.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • hippypoet

      you didn't state an impossiblity but rather a generalization. Much like that of the whole bible. Bravo for you... please try again.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • onehippypoet

      hippypoet
      thinks hes wit
      but those who read him
      think hes full of

      December 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • BRC

      I'll respond here too.

      @Rainer,
      Didn't asnwer the question (or even correctly avoid it). I am well aware that various churches are formed based off of there interpretations of many different sources (not just the King James or NIV or any of the other dozen or so versions of the Bible). That's not the point.
      If in the new archeological finds (which all Christian faiths are excited about because they believe they may actually provice some indisputable historical proof) pages are uncovered that DO unequivically state that the original followers of the Hebrew god Yahweh (and thereby the foundation of the Christian God), felt that by divine mandate they didin't care one way or the other what a person's sxual orientation was, they were only to judge people on their character and their devotion to God; if the words said that in the beginning of the religion it was completely acceptable to be gay (and yes, this is a HYPOTHETICAL)- how would you react? Would you then accept those of alternative lifestyles, or would you continue to condemn them?

      December 19, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  11. hippypoet

    ok good morning people... i see the debates are off to a good start – lets put an end to this stupidity shall we...

    For the believers – you believe a god exists. OK. But why do you worship something that created you just because it created you – do you worship your parents in the same manner? Do you ask forgiveness from them for any wrong doings you have done or even thought about doing? If you do truly believe in god why are you not jewish? Afterall it was god who said that the jews are the chosen people. It was paul, a man, who said lets bring in the gentiles (non jews)..some say jesus was the person who said it was ok for the gentiles to believe. However if you remove jesus from that timeline and place him here at this time what do you get? a committed man in a straight jacket who completely believes that his father is god and only he can hear his words...rather poor argument i think. To sum that last part up, jesus is insane in todays world but 2000 years ago is totally understood to be the true son of god. Mass hysteria wasn't uncommon in those days with moldy bread and bad water. So lets just focus on what "god" said, not jesus...(and please don't try the whole jesus is god argument because it was man who claimed that, non even the J man himself, he just said that god was his father) Ok so if your not jewish you are going completely on a hope that because you believe you should be accepted as the jewish but not having to be jewish to get into heaven yet all people are welcome in the land called hell no matter belief. interesting!

    Non believers – Even if there is a god, its not worth worshiping for it gave us divisions, hatred, war, famine, and death...in that order too!

    my conclusion – people believe in god because they fear death and aren't willing to give up living and so to that end have created an after-life where you get to live "again". And it all plays out in the heads of those who claim to believe and claim to be happier for it yet seem very upset when others don't feel as they do....sounds like mass hysteria again only this time is not true hysteria but rather mass delusion brought on by the willingness to believe in your fellow man and there power to tell the truth....yet we lie...to eachother and ourselves! Has anyone ever lied? YES! Schizophrenia is an illness that allows one to speak with conviction because they don't have the power to tell the difference between reality and fiction, any psych doc can tell you the very same thing and would if jesus was here today commit the man for being schizophrenic! Do you believers often journey to the psych ward to see all the speeches they give to the fake listeners in there heads? I think not, yet lacking any intelligence of the psych nature jesus goes about thru life unchecked in his insanity untill he finally says something really stupid and gets dead....lovely messiah, but i don't remember reading about how the messiah is supposed to die before completing all the messianic prophecies... i imagine if we wait long enough it will be written into the bible and then some folks 200 years from are arguing about it is in there but was just another late addition to an already pathetically long story of woe!

    just my thoughts on the matter!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • hippypoet

      PS...Im starving, please pass the doo doo lumpkins.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • hippypoet

      oh yummy, food does sound good... breakfast is the best food! no matter what time it is its always breakfast time!

      December 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Hippy...the real one

      Agreed, I HATE breakfast, but I love breakfast food. I mean, what's not to like? You got bacon, omlettes, waffles, french toast, danish. The list is endless. I just don't understand why people think these foods should be reserved for breakfast! My breakfast regularly consists of coffee and nothing else because honestly, who can keep all that food down in the morning?

      December 19, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  12. BRC

    Rainer (or anyone else who cares to answer),
    Here's a hypothectical. What if in translating some newly discrovered scrolls, they find passages that predate the existing translations of the bible, that can be "authenticated" to the line of Moses and to the authors of the Tora, stating that it is completely acceotable for people to love those of the same genders, that each person is as God made them, and behaves only in the way that they were blessed to behave at their birth (or somesuch biblical verbage). What if they found something that showed that the Bible wasn't supposed to say against being "gay"? How would you react? would you become more accepting?

    December 19, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @BRC

      You should not forget that the truth of Christianity is not only confirmed by the Bible, but also by ecclesiastical docu-ments. For example Eusebius of Caesarea (around 300 a. D.) has drafted a chronicle of the Early Church. Beside his chronicle there are many other historical docu-ments. These docu-ments would confirm that gays were not allowed to be members of the Church.

      It is impossible that new translations of the Bible will be found, which support gayness. We have too many historical docu-ments, which confirm the truth of the biblical stories. The accounts of the Bible and the historical Church fit together. The Church, which is described in the current translations of the Bible is or was the real, historical Church. Amen.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • BRC

      @Rainer,
      You didn't asnwer the question (or even correctly avoid it). I am well aware that various churches are formed based off of there interpretations of many different sources (not just the King James or NIV or any of the other dozen or so versions of the Bible). That's not the point.
      If in the new archeological finds (which all Christian faiths are excited about because they believe they may actually provice some indisputable historical proof) pages are uncovered that DO unequivically state that the original followers of the Hebrew god Yahweh (and thereby the foundation of the Christian God), felt that by divine mandate they didin't care one way or the other what a person's sxual orientation was, they were only to judge people on their character and their devotion to God; if the words said that in the beginning of the religion it was completely acceptable to be gay (and yes, this is a HYPOTHETICAL)- how would you react? Would you then accept those of alternative lifestyles, or would you continue to condemn them?

      December 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  13. Rainer Braendlein

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXU5t8ZZv3w&w=640&h=360]

    December 19, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      this means what exactly? it provides nothing but fiction for the weak minded people.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      my god can kick your god's ass

      December 19, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 3:

    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circu-mcision by faith, and uncircu-mcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      The only laws that apply on this earth are those that our legal system recognize and those laws do not recognize gay as being against the law (at least not in the USA or Canada...there are oppressed countries that believe it is a crime). Your book of stupidity does not get to dictate what is right or wrong in accordance to the laws that we are required to follow and the laws that which when broken are punishable by the criminal code. Spewing scripture and theological crap proves nothing!!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Christianity- The belief that some jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat of his flesh, drink of his blood, and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master. So he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a sinful woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree!..... Yup, makes perfect sense!!!!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Lucifer

      Whoa whoa whoa! It was a serpent, not a snake!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      details details

      December 19, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Lucifer

      Honestly, that's my favorite part about some christian argument I see here. When someone says "talking snake" or "giant whale" the first response that comes to mind is that it's a serpent, or giant fish, as if it makes it a less ridiculous claim and if it somehow invalidates the incredulous statement being made in the first place.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      My favorite is when someone says, "So Eve ate the apple..." and then some holier-than-thou-I-have-to-always-be-right person yells out, "OMGZ!!!! THE BIBLE DIDN'T SAY IT WAS AN APPLE! IT WAS A FRUIT!" Oh who cares. Fine. Eve ate a giant watermelon. Is that really the point?

      December 19, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      Agreed, that's another one too! I sort of understand, if I get in the mindset of a crazy person that is, that if someone says "apple" when it's supposed to be "fruit" or "snake" instead of "serpent", they believe that applies to a large scale misunderstanding of the entire subject material and can therefore dismiss any arguement, all at the same time ignoring the bizarre fact that no matter if it's a fruit or an apple, the fact remains that this magical fruit gave us knowledge – apparently only knowledge of our nakedness, but not too much more than that, and god who deliberately set the tree in the middle of the garden and left chilren alone with it got extrememly angry once he learned they ate from the tree..... hmmmm....

      December 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      It's called "arguing semantics." Most times, it's just a way to divert the subject at hand. Like whether Eve at an apple, an orange, a watermelon, a tomato...it's really not the point of the story.

      Sometimes, you have to argue semantics. Like, when some PETA person says "The fur trade is murder!" Well, no. Murder is the "unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought." Since the people making fur coats are not skinning human or fetuses (unless they hired Wild Bill from Silence of the Lambs), it's not murder. Is it killing? Yes. But there's a huge difference between "killing" and "murder" and the PETA person's statement is using rhetoric in an attempt to invoke an irrational, emotional response.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Oh, I agree, Sometimes it's important to argue the semantics because there is a clear misunderstanding and needs to be corrected beforemoving forward. The PETA thing I agree with, however (and this is something we've already had a back and forth on) I think your separation of murder and killing is good until it comes to capital punishment, which I still considering state sponsored murder. By your definition it's state sponsored killing, but what it comes down to for me is if the lawmakers are the ones killing a person, then technically they can never be held accountable for murder.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      Here is my question. Why do you (and not just you, but anyone with similar points of view) need to use the word "murder"? I mean, you could change your statement to "state sponsored homicide" and be literally correct. The definition of homicide is "a killing of one human being by another." Someone throws the switch or injects the subject, etc and the person dies.

      The reason for the strict definition is because one implies criminal responsibility. For instance, if I kill someone who is threatening my family, am I killing them or am I murdering them? What about if I accidentally kill someone by hitting them with my car? Think about if you accidentally killed someone, like you hit a child who darted out into the street. Would you want to be labeled as a "murderer" for the rest of your life? This is the reason I want a clear delineation between "murder" and "killing." Generally speaking, murder is the worst crime one can commit in our society because murder is intentional with the intent to end someone's life with maliciousness.

      My only point is, the only reason to use the word "murder" is to inspire an emotional response which takes away credence from the actual point and devolves it to mere shock value.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      Of course the shock value is important, it furthers my point a lot more strongly than if I use words like "homicide" and "killing" because murder implies a maliciousness that the other two words don't convey. I'm not saying the word murder should be used in the other examples you gave because we have words for those situations already. Personally I think when a state does execute someone, especially the people who still might be proven innocent, do you not beleive that isn't a least a little maliciousness involved? I mean, we use words like Capital Punishment or even if you want to PCify my term to say state sponsored killing, it takes away from the fact that the state, the country even is condoning the act of killing someone even if the evidence is questionable, all for the sake of "justice" that at this stage is defined by the victims (who might not be very good judges of "justice"). I use "state sponsored murder" because I feel it does further my point that it's an action that should be treated as inherintly wrong and abolished.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      Then I suppose I have to ask this. What is your definition of "malice?" I suppose you could use the "desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another" but that's really stretching the definition. The difference between "murder" and "justice" for me is that one is brought from an impartial standpoint, while the other is generally done emotionally or for nefarious reasons (i.e. a hit man).

      And it's not like this information about the death penalty isn't publicly known. It's not like the State of Texas suddenly surprises people with "Guess what! We have the death penalty! We're going to execute you!" Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time, I suppose.

      I guess I look at it sort of like using the word "carcass" or "corpse" to describe a dead body. While both do, I'd be pretty offended if some funeral director says to me, "So, what do you want to do with your mother's carcass?"

      December 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • J.W

      I wonder if since the first thing that the Bible says Adam and Eve noticed was that they were naked if that is why conservative groups always want to tie s3x together with morality.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      "malice" and "justice" have become pretty convoluted. Is the state really killing every inmate with malice instead of justice? No. There are some instances where the prisoner in question is 100% guilty and by our current code and the harshest punishment we can come up with, we've killed him or her, called it justice and didn't think anymore of it. The issue at hand is during the trials of many people, 3rd party standpoints don't seem to exist. In front of a jury it's all about winning them over on emotion instead of facts. I think it would actually be a better system if the jury could conly be presented with facts without the battle between lawyers to win over people based on emotion.
      I can't provide exact proof because I've never been personally involved in a murder trial, but I'd be willing to be a large sum of money that there have been executions because juries wanted vengenance for a seemingly horrific crime, not justice.

      I think this applies to my religious side (or rather, a lack thereof) where I think the worst punishment a person could ever get would be a life sentence in solitary with no chance of parole. A religious person could look at a crime and deem the worst punishment is to be killed and be judged by god and sent to hel.l. Maybe that's the crux of the problem, but I still think that we should be the arbiters of life and death, absolutely NO one should have that power, regardless of how unbias they can be.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      My response to your first statement is that the reason it is considered justice is that the person is found guilty based on the evidence...and not just "likely did it" but proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And all of this is done by an impartial jury, in other words, someone who has nothing to gain or lose regardless of the outcome. It's mediated by someone (the judge) and there are rules and standards that all sides have to play by. Then the jury is done. They don't also get to make the decision on the punishment. In death penalty cases, the jury can RECOMMEND death, but the judge is ultimately the one who decides what the convicted person's sentence is. So really, it's at least 13, impartial people, who decide that a person be sentenced to death. And then there are generally years of appeals processes, so by the time a person is sent to death, there's very little doubt that a person was guilty of the crime.

      If you ask me, I'd much rather get the death penalty than life imprisonment. At least with the death penalty, you know when your sentence is going to end. If you want to end it sooner, reject your appeals. I can't imagine having to be locked down and realizing the only end to this is going to be when you die after 30...40...50 years...wow. That's almost too depressing to think about.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      I understand the process, however in practice it becomes a lot stickier situation. The jury is supposed to be impartial but in a murder trial, no matter how far removed you are, emotion still plays a key role in the decision. Furthermore, beyond a reasonable doubt should and usually is applied, however we've been able to vindicate people of crimes with modern technology and recanted testimonies and there's a lot of after the fact data that comes to light, which at least means we should reconsider the death penalty in its current form. If even one person (and there has been proven to be more than one already) can get through all those processes and killed when he is still innocent means their is profound injustice occuring that was preventable had we ruled death out.

      I mean look at the stats. Texas may not have just figured out they can use the death penalty and in practice the death penalty should be used in only the most dire of circu.mstances, but from the way texas is murdering people left and right, you'd think they just got a large shipment of the lethal injection co.cktail and have just been itc.hing to try it.

      As to your second statement, that's exactly why I think that sort of sentencing should be used on convicted serial killers. If the person is guilty, he'll have to live for an undertermined amount of time going over his crime over and over again. If the person is innocent and if we perfect technologies than we as a society would still be able to right that wrong instead of making a decision we can't take back and killing an innocent man or woman.

      December 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Apparently, Jesus loves the Patriots more than the Broncos. I can't blame him.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    St. Paul on gayness and (!) other sins (gayness is a sin, of course, but everybody, who condemns gays, should ask himself, if he is without sin):

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    We all suffer from a kind of madness: We don't adore God, although we see his splendid creation every day. We are very related to Adam. We don't maintain a connection with the source of life, which is God, hence we die and do works of death, which are called sins.

    How can we escape that misery?

    Let us believe in Jesus Christ and get baptized. We need to get born from above, so that our relationship to Adam gets dampened and we receive God's Spirit, who will give us an inclination to adore God and to avoid sin.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Once again, being GAY is natural...they do not make the choice-they are born that way and it is only due to bigots like you who follow a 2000 year old book that gays remain silent. They are human too and are not committing any bad in this world by being being themselves. I think this world has much bigger issues to be concerned with rather than concerning ourselves with who loves who. Religion has held this world back for far too long...you people need to learn some stuff in accordance with the 21st century and stop living in the dark ages.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Mirosal

      I will not fall prey to your mythology. Your moldy book means nothing to me, and I have an education courtesy of the Jesuits. Your book does not make up my laws. I follow the laws of my land and society. Last time I checked, a gay person just being gay is not a crime. There are laws, there is crime, and punishments for said scrimes against those laws. And being gay is perfectly legal. Your buy-bull is not law. Who would one be 'sinning' against? This god of yours? Hardly. If it's such an abomination, have your deity come on down to take care of it personally .. Oh that's right ... a 28 billion light-year diameter (so far as known) universe, and your 'god' is just soooo worried about who someone's partner is. Thee is no god, and hence no sin, regardless of what your book says.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I don't hate left handed people.
      In fact, I have quite a number of left handed friends, but if Southpaws want entrance to The Church, they must repent of their evil ways.
      Theyhave a choice not to act on their wicked left-handedness and live a godly life!
      "A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
      – Ecclesiastes 10:2
      "The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted."
      – Psalm 118 vv15,16
      Those who know and follow the true word of Christ will be laughing from up in heaven while the lefties fry forever.
      Better start using that right hand before Judgement day or you'll be sorry!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Doc Vestibule

      You cannot compare apples and oranges.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiot, "gayness" isn't any more a sin than being left-handed.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one's comparing apples to oranges, you illiterate dweeb.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you upset so much?

      December 19, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Tom is not upset...Tom is tired of your stupidity like the rest of us! You can't back your claims with anything other than theological mumbo that has no place in the 21st century and until you do, we will continue to correct you.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Apples and apples, my friend.
      Until recently, left-handedness was indeed considered wicked by many religionists.
      Why do you think nuns beat lefties knuckles with rulers in school?
      Both hom.ose.xuality and left-handedness are harmless natural variances in the human species that have been condemned as sinful, using scripture to rationalize the bigotry.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      using scripture is all Rainer has...Rainer is too afraid to look outside the buybull for answers of any form...(s)he just accepts what he has been mislead to believe is true.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • captain america

      Somebody must have scheduled a canadian circle jerk. We haven't seen so many useless irrelevant posts in one place at one time. canadian qu eer convention or what? There's your sign

      December 19, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • And @CA will be right there in the middle

      "Somebody must have scheduled a canadian circle jerk."

      Daydreaming again, ca?

      December 19, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      Good old Saul of Tarsus. He fell off his horse and saw Jesus (No Really!) which is amazing since Jesus had already been dead for at least 30 years. In fact, Jesus was dead by the time Saul was born.

      After his miraculous "vision", Saul, now calling himself Paul, successfully inserted his own rules into what was a grass-roots religion, distorting the rather simple message of Jesus with his own ideas. In reality, christians should call themselves "paulians", because it is his doctrine they follow, not the words of an alleged radical rabbi who actually had some good, sensible ideas.

      It's amazing. The same christians who scoff at verifiable and observable science believe every "vision"-inspired word of a man who lived 2000 years ago. PT Barnum said it best: "There's a sucker born every minute."

      December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't upset anything, Rainer. Oh, did you mean why do I upset you so much? Maybe because you're nuts.

      December 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    That last is to Rainer the Hypocrite .

    December 19, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      you mean Rainer the Bigot?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The same.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      so true

      December 19, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and...
      whoa wait a minute
      how can you tell tom tom from the pig?
      the pig has all the class
      that being said i guess old tom tom
      can go lick

      December 19, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You seem a bit obsessed with me, dear.

      December 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    “I mean, if I was gay, I would console myself by saying, ‘Well, I’m gay, but at least I don’t have to get married.’”

    Hitchens made a mistake. Marriage is a good state. St. Paul says there are some very few people on earth, which manage to develop a lifestyle, which makes it possible for them to be fully content with the mere presence of God. St. Paul himself was not married, but said that most people should marry, because they would not manage to live without a human partner.

    Yet Adam felt lonely and was not content with God's presence (although he should have been contented). Thus, God made Eve for him. We live after the Fall of Man and thus we are much weaker tham Adam. Most of us should marry a partner of the opposite gender.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Paul used the word "lifestyle"? Ahahhahhahhhhhaha!

      December 19, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Mirosal

      Then again, some people WON'T marry a person of the oposite gender. And it isn't for you tell them yes or no, nor is it up to your 'god'. Your view is bigoted nad prejudicial. You have your life, they have theirs. What someone does in their personal life is of no concern to you. Let someone live THEIR life. If a gay man or a lesbian wish to marry a partner, let them. It's no skin off your nose. Why should YOU care? It's not like they are going to come to YOUR house anytime soon. Love is love, no matter if you are straight or gay. What the hell did the gay community ever do to you for you to condemn them?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Giggle!

      December 19, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Mirosal

      I do not condemn the gays (I am a sinner too, who needs forgiveness), but offer the gospel towards them, so that they may get released. I could imagine to have gay workmates or to encounter a gay seller, etc..

      It is only that the gays have no access to The House Of The Lord, which is the Christian Church. A gay, who wants to enter God's house, has to repent before.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Mirosal

      I was right.. you are bigoted. Sounds like you want them to "pray away the gay". That's not going to work. You said you don't condemn them, but if they don't start practicing

      December 19, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, nonsense.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      Sounds like you want them to "pray the gay away". That's not going to happen. You'll throw your little book in their faces and tell them that if they don't get right with YOUR 'god", they spend eternity being BBQ'd. Way to go... yeah, let's threaten all the gays with pain, torture, suffering, and anguish for all eternity just because of who they are. You are no differnt. You think your little sect is the ONLY way to go, and all others are wrong if they aren't like you. "Do as my little book says or you'll be sorry". Do a little experiment; actually try that with a gay or lesbian... see what happens.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "It is only that the gays have no access to The House Of The Lord, which is the Christian Church. A gay, who wants to enter God's house, has to repent before."

      Could we please see a copy of the medical degree you have Rainer that states you are educated enough to make such a bigoted statement? Just b/c your buybull claims being gay is a sin does not mean anything. Medical professionals have stated that being gay is not a choice and is in fact purely natural. Science trumps religion here. Don't come back spewing scripture...it proves nothing except your ignorance of the truth.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Mirosal

      Have you ever heard that Jesus got baptized?

      Jesus actually did not need to get baptized by John the Baptist, because he was no sinner, who needed forgiveness.

      Why did Jesus insist on getting baptized?

      Jesus wanted to fully equate himself with the sinners. By John's baptism Jesus entered the community of the sinners, that means our communtiy. Jesus' baptism was the maximum revelation of God's love beside Christ's atonement.

      The highest feast day of the Early Church was epiphany. It comprised the commemoration of Christ's baptism beside other holy events. Christmas, the mere celebration of Jesus' birth, like we celebrate it today, was first invented in the fourth century. For the Early Church the baptism of Christ was very important and celebrated like Christmas.

      In a word, Jesus loved the sinners and he still loves them. Every true Christian will never condemn any sinner, but offer the gospel of grace, because his Lord did the same.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Bob

      RainerWhiner, we've all heard ad nauseum about your Jeebus being dunked in the water. There's hardly a person with modern communications that hasn't. Doesn't matter. Your Christian child bobbing rituals are just stolen from earlier supersti-tions. Nothing original or special there. Wow, taking a bath is good for your health ergo god. Not.

      And as for love, how come your "loving" sky fairy promises torture forever to anyone who happens to doubt him? What a jerk you worship. Fortunately, that jerk is fiction.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Bob

      Ain't you poor?

      December 19, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He might be poor, but you're stupid. Can't fix stupid.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Bo

      When I read or hear statements such as written here, it makes me wonder how this sort of interpretation is reached because it is so—I'm lost for the right adjective, but it is warped out of shape. We know that Paul was not married, there is no reason given as to why—there is only speculation, but most believe that for some reason he was had been unhappy with marriage. Before Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, he was a young priest. Secular history informs us that in order for a Jew to enter into the priesthood he must be married and have gainful occupation of some sort; Paul was a tent maker. Even more than this, there is nowhere that says Adam was lonely, but rather God said: “it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet.” [wife, soul-mate—whatever] God intended that man should have a wife. Why is it that some people want to “twist” things to meet their own needs?

      December 19, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig
      that won first place
      in the tom tom look alike contest

      December 19, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig
      that won 1st place
      in the tom tom smell alike contest

      December 19, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      it turns out the pig
      was way more witty and entertaining than tom tom

      December 19, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Clayton

      I see uncouth swain has turned to poetry of a sort. Pity.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I doubt it's US, but whoever it is has a bit of OCD.

      December 19, 2011 at 3:55 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.