home
RSS
December 19th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Christianity goes global as world's largest religion

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Christians are by far the largest religious group on the planet, and the religion has gone truly global over the past century, according to a new report out Monday, which finds some of the world's biggest Christian communities in surprising places.

Europe was the clear center of world Christianity one hundred years ago, but today the Americas are home to more than a third of all Christians. In fact, the United States has the world's largest Christian population, of more than 247 million, followed by Brazil and Mexico.

China also appears on the list of top 10 largest Christian populations - with an estimated 67 million Christians, it has more followers of the faith than any western European country.

There are nearly 2.2 billion Christians around the world, making up about one-third of the world's population - the same percentage as a century ago, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Islam is the world's second largest religion, with about 1.6 billion followers worldwide, the Washington-based organization calculates. That's just under one-quarter of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the biggest explosion in its Christian population in the past century, going from about 9 million Christians in 1910 to about 516 million today - nearly a quarter of all the world's Christians. Three of the world's ten largest Christian populations are in Africa: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

The study, "Global Christianity," is based on demographic and opinion data from 232 countries and territories. It's part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project, which has also included reports on the current and projected number of Muslims in the world.

It does not measure practice or belief, merely counting as Christian anyone who says they are.

The report calculates that half the world's Christians are Catholic, 37% are Protestants, and 12% are Orthodox. The remaining 1 percent belong to other traditions such as Mormonism.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (2,648 Responses)
  1. Bob

    George, enough of your usual blathering, god-slobbering, and dodging. Put up actual evidence for the existence of your Christian god, or shove off.

    Oh, you can't find any evidence? Thought so.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • gman

      Bob, where are your answers. How do you explain 10^80 particles appearing from nothing with a rate of expansion tuned to 127 decimal places that allows the universe to expand at just the rate for matter to coalesce and not to slow down to form a big crunch? How do you explain the origin of life? Most origin of life researchers will tell you they are no closer to an answer now than at any other time in human history ... how do you explain macro evolution vs micro evolution? how do you explain the cambrian explosion? how do you explain that we are in a spiral galaxy at just the perfect position where life extinction events do not happen with regularity like they do in most galaxies of the elliptical or irregular variety?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      gman
      You nor I know what caused the Big Bang or what came before it or what will come after. One interesting theory, but you have to allow yourself to think in both very large and very small capacities, is that there are an infinite number of universes, thus an infinite number of possible realties. Each of which MUST be true due to inevitability.

      Example, you, George, me and Hal are sitting around a poker table for a really long time. I deal the cards so many times, that eventually I have dealt every possible combination and have to start over. Now take the analogy and spread it out over trillions and trillions of galaxies over trillions and trillions of years. Perhaps forever. Eventually, ever possible combination of chemistry, universes, weirdness, disasters, earths would come about. Again and again forever. In fact there would an infinite number of Georges’ spread throughout the multi-verse.

      The reason we are here is because we are possible. Since we are possible, we must exist.

      As far as the Big Bang, I like the brain theory. If you are not familiar look it up, it is interesting.

      As far as a God? A have never been able to get past the “If there is a God, who made Him” thing so I just quit thinking about it. Not knowable, at least in my time and space.

      One thing I do know with certainty, God did not write any silly books for humans on Earth to read and abide by. If there is a God, at least he gave me common sense.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • AC361

      @gman

      Did you just get back from the creationist museum?

      What are your answers to that barrage of questions? God did it!?!?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Bob

      gman, spend some time reading up on basic fallacies such as the "argument from ignorance". It will serve you well.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  2. SeanNJ

    @Chuckles: I think what you're saying is what Dawkins proposed in The God Delusion. Mainstream religion isn't the problem, but mainstream religion enables the people that are the problem by lending credence to the basis for their actions.
    They're the proverbial mafia wives of the extremists.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    Christianity was accredited yet around 300 a. D.. Here is the evidence. Christianity is the legitimate religion of the world for times immemorial (at least 1700 years!):

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggwf8c0wkck&w=640&h=360]

    December 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Again RainerWhiner, we know that your sick religion exists. We get bombarded with it every day. That's not the question at hand. Put up actual evidence for the divinity of your sky fairy of your Christian supersti-tions, or shove off.

      Oh, you don't have any evidence? Yep, thought so.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Ungodly Discipline

    These are only baby steps George. Now walk into a Children's Cancer hospital and LOOK at all the little bald heads and weeping parents and tell me how intelligently designed humans are. We can do this ALL day.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • George

      So you're saying that the fact that some children get cancer that intelligent design must be false? That's quite a big leap of logic even for you. Nobody knows what God's plan is for those children, only that he has one.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • gman

      If you would bother to understand anything about Christianity, you would KNOW that we consider the world fallen and that there are cruelties at play. God did not intend the world to be this way, according to Christian views. It was a result of our pride and wanting to be on an even playing ground with God

      December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      So George, you would agree then the God is responsible for every abortion that has every taken place, and that if you oppose abortion you are opposing God's will, correct? It is God's will. (according to your Bible)

      And YES I am saying if God "Intelligently Designed" humans (or Rabbits) then he is one reall dip-sh.it. Can you defend that position? Of course you can't.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      gman
      Oh I UNDERSTAND Christianity and Christians. You want everything both ways. Always an excuse when reality doesn't jive with your Bible. If God is Divine and perfect, then NOTHING YOU SAY makes the slightest bit of sense unless you are reading a Fairy Tale to scare little children.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • George

      @Ungodly

      "So George, you would agree then the God is responsible for every abortion that has every taken place"

      No, I would not agree. God gave everyone free will. It's not God's fault that people use that free will for evil.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ok, so you DON'T believe in the Bible. You are confusing me. I thought you were a Christian.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • gman

      pride is also your sin ungodly. You think that your feeble human brain can comprehend the universe and your version of logic/reason. You are very childish and not open minded with a statement like :" If God is Divine and perfect, then NOTHING YOU SAY makes the slightest bit of sense unless you are reading a Fairy Tale to scare little children."
      So in your view of how God should function (your feeble view) he should have made us all perfect robots that never sinned and he could play grand master puppeteer for eternity – what a wonderful world you have created devoid of evil ... after all how can you even define good without defining evil

      December 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • George

      @Ungodly

      That's such an absurd statement that I'm going to let it stand without further response.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Hal

      I agree with George and Gman. Very good points and very accurate.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Madtown

      George
      No, I would not agree. God gave everyone free will.
      -------
      George, above this post you mentioned "God's plan" for everyone. Here in this post, you mention we all have free will. That's a contradiction, how can we have free will to make decisions if God already has a plan in place for us, and we're merely acting it out?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Joe

      Hal, I disagree with George and gman. They made supposed points with no substantiation.

      There, see, I can make declarations too. Cheerleading doesn't help make your case.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      @George, of course you are not going to respond. As usual, you can't. Your Bible says that your God knows the exact time and date of life and death for every person. If that is true, then he has determined, in advance, who will be aborted. Therefore there necessarily cannot be free will. How is the absurd? It is only absurd because you can't answer it my friend. Unless of course you are saying the Bible is absurd, in which case I agree.

      @gman
      Yes pretty much that is what I am saying. If God is perfect and all knowing, then why would he introduce Evil into the world and then blame it on others. GOD has to blame others? He made everything. He is therefore responsible for all things good and bad. Where is the perfection?? Where is God? Why isn't he here with us having a good time on the paradise he made for his children. Does he just get off on suffering?? Additionally, I am the first to admit I know nothing about the origin of this or any other universe. But I do love the hunt. That is exactly why I am weak agnostic and exactly why you’re reasoning about my belief system is completely contrary to the truth or what I said.

      @Hal
      Hi.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • AC361

      @George
      "Nobody knows what God's plan is for those children, only that he has one."

      Doesn't sound much like free will to me if god has a plan for all of us. Or does he just have a plan for children dying from cancer?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Inexplicably good things happen: God is Love! Isn't He great? Miracles! Prayers answered! Hooray for God – for He is nothing but goodness and light and love and rainbows and kittens.
      Inexplicably bad things happen: Satan did it and/or God works in mysterious ways. Now be quiet, fill the collection plate and pray.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  5. Ibry

    God is the one who can do and prove better.
    toibry.blog.com

    December 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Whaa?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Doc Vestibule

    @George
    Intelligent design has been thoroughly and completely debunked.
    the Discovery group's objective in pushing for creationism to be taught in schools as "to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies". They want to use Intelligent Design as a "wedge" to separate science from its allegiance to "atheistic naturalism".

    @Rainer
    Withough violence? REALLY?
    Crusades anyone?

    December 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hey doc how do you spell BULL SH IT?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Just sayin

      I don't think that question works when you spell it out to ask the question..... but that's cute that you want to disagree without actually refuting it.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • George

      ID has never been debunked. Only people who want it to be be false think it has been debunked.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Just Sayin'

      Please look up the Wedge Doc.ument
      http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.pdf

      In the first parapgraph, it lays out the principles of the Intelligent Design / Creationist movement:
      "To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies"
      "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"

      December 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      Yeah Doc whatever... BULL SH IT

      December 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @george
      It was debunked in a court of law.
      Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District.

      The star creationist witness, Professor Behe, was good and thrashed under cross examination and had to admit that all of his arguments in favour of ID were a load of horse $h1t.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • George

      One court case doesn't debunk anything. And you better check the ruling in that case. It was disposed of under the "no establishment" clause. A court doesn't have the power to decree that ID is wrong.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "no intelligent design hypothesis has even been ventured as a rival explanation of any biological phenomenon. This might seem surprising to people who think that intelligent design competes directly with the hypothesis of non-intelligent design by natural selection. But saying, as intelligent design proponents do, "You haven't explained everything yet," is not a competing hypothesis. Evolutionary biology certainly hasn't explained everything that perplexes biologists. But intelligent design hasn't yet tried to explain anything.

      To formulate a competing hypothesis, you have to get down in the trenches and offer details that have testable implications. So far, intelligent design proponents have conveniently sidestepped that requirement, claiming that they have no specifics in mind about who or what the intelligent designer might be." – Daniel C. Dennett, professor of philosophy at Tufts University

      December 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      THE U.S. COURT SYSTEM DEBUNKS INTELLIGENT DESIGN'S LEAD PROPONENT

      "Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God."[51] "As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition's validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe's assertion const.itutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition."[51] "First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to 'change the ground rules' of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology. Moreover, defense expert Professor Minnich acknowledged that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened to allow consideration of supernatural forces."[52] "What is more, defense experts concede that ID is not a theory as that term is defined by the NAS and admit that ID is at best 'fringe science' which has achieved no acceptance in the scientific community."[53] "We therefore find that Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large."[54] "ID proponents primarily argue for design through negative arguments against evolution, as illustrated by Professor Behe’s argument that 'irreducibly complex' systems cannot be produced through Darwinian, or any natural, mechanisms. However, … arguments against evolution are not arguments for design. Expert testimony revealed that just because scientists cannot explain today how biological systems evolved does not mean that they cannot, and will not, be able to explain them tomorrow. As Dr. Padian aptly noted, 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'… Irreducible complexity is a negative argument against evolution, not proof of design, a point conceded by defense expert Professor Minnich."[55] "Professor Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity depends on ignoring ways in which evolution is known to occur. Although Professor Behe is adamant in his definition of irreducible complexity when he says a precursor 'missing a part is by definition nonfunctional,' what he obviously means is that it will not function in the same way the system functions when all the parts are present. For example in the case of the bacterial flagellum, removal of a part may prevent it from acting as a rotary motor. However, Professor Behe excludes, by definition, the possibility that a precursor to the bacterial flagellum functioned not as a rotary motor, but in some other way, for example as a secretory system."[56] "Professor Behe has applied the concept of irreducible complexity to only a few select systems: (1) the bacterial flagellum; (2) the blood-clotting cascade; and (3) the immune system. Contrary to Professor Behe’s assertions with respect to these few biochemical systems among the myriad existing in nature, however, Dr. Miller presented evidence, based upon peer-reviewed studies, that they are not, in fact, irreducibly complex."[57] "In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fiftyeight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not "good enough."[58] "With ID, proponents assert that they refuse to propose hypotheses on the designer’s ident.ity, do not propose a mechanism, and the designer, he/she/it/they, has never been seen. ... In addition, Professor Behe agreed that for the design of human artifacts, we know the designer and its attributes and we have a baseline for human design that does not exist for design of biological systems. Professor Behe’s only response to these seemingly insurmountable points of disanalogy was that the inference still works in science fiction movies."

      December 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      For the full article if you are so inclined: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/opinion/28dennett.html?pagewanted=all

      December 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • George

      Doc, Doc, Doc,

      No court has the authority to debunk any belief system. I can't sue you to debunk atheism. You can't sue me to debunk Christianity. Courts can only try cases. And in this case, it was one particular judge. I suggest you read up on jurisprudence.

      Also, what is wrong with the Discovery Inst.itute? I fully support and even donate to the Discovery Insti.tute. You act like mentioning the Discovery Inst.itute in the same sentence as ID somehow tarnishes ID. The Discovery Insti.tute does great work. Why don't you check out their website for some of their publications.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @George
      Again, I invite you to read the Wedge Docu/ment to which I have provided a link.
      It is as insidious as the PNAC doc from the republicans a few years back.
      The Discovery people fear that teaching FACTS will drive people away from their religion.
      Their goal is not education, it is obfuscation.
      Every example the Discovery Inst/itute could provide as "evidence" was thrashed by the scientific community.
      Though the Discovery Inst.itute describes itself as a think tank 'specializing in national and international affairs,' the group's real purpose is to undercut church-state separation and turn public schools into religious indoctrination centers.
      The Discovery Inst.itute knowingly misquotes scientists and other experts, deceptively omits contextual text through ellipsis, and makes unsupported amplifications of relationships and credentials, and are often said to claim support from scientists when no such support exists. A wide spectrum of critics level this charge; from educators, scientists, and the Smithsonian Inst.itution, to individuals who oppose the teaching of creationism alongside science on ideological grounds.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      The fact that you believe in ID and support the DI is sad. I pity you.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Ungodly Discipline

    For George:

    The case for Intelligent Design….NOT!

    Bunnies

    Unlike most other mammals, lagomorphs (including domestic rabbits) produce two types of droppings, fecal pellets (the round, dry ones you usually see in the litterbox) and cecotropes. The latter are produced in a region of the rabbit's digestive tract called the cec.um, a blind-end pouch located at the junction of the small and large intestines. The cec.um contains a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients and may even protect the rabbit from potentially harmful pathogens.

    How does the rabbit get those essential nutrients? She eats the cecotropes as they exit the anus. The rabbits blissful expression when she's engaging in cecotrophy (the ingestion of cecotropes) will tell you that she finds this anything but disgusting. In fact, rabbits deprived of their cecotropes will eventually succ.umb to malnutrition. Cecotropes are not feces. They are nutrient-packed dietary items essential to your companion rabbit's good health.

    A rabbit may produce cecotropes at various times during the day, and this periodicity may vary from rabbit to rabbit. Some produce cecotropes in the late morning, some in the late afternoon, and some at night. In any case, they usually do this when you're not watching (quite polite of them). This might be why some people refer to cecotropes as "night droppings," though cecotropes are not always produced at night. A human face is apparently an excellent and refreshing palate-cleanser, as a favorite activity immediately post-cecotrophy often seems to be "kiss the caregiver". Mmmmmm.

    Do you WHY this very bizarre and seemingly inefficient digestive system exists? You guessed it, evolution (from fish actually)

    Now if you want make a case for Intelligent Design, go ahead and try! LOL

    December 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Don't even get me started on cows!

      December 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • George

      "Do you WHY this very bizarre and seemingly inefficient digestive system exists? You guessed it, evolution (from fish actually)"

      So we are supposed to take your word for it? In no way does this prove evolution. Big fail. Try again.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      My dear George, my point here is not to prove evolution. I am saying to you, does this look like Intelligent Design? You would have to be a moron to design something this ridiculous! How can you disagree??

      December 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      Um just to through this out here but I study bioengineering, and every time I look into the microscope I can’t help but to see how complex life really is,.. It hard for me to say that all this is an accident or did not have some kind of help, you just don’t find Eiffel towers accruing in the wild. I’m actually less likely to believe that the life is an accident then I am to believe it was created by the Christian god,… witch is ridicules because ou was born 3500 years ago. So I give you this a non-arrogant answer for “why?… “ I don’t know.” I really don’t think mankind is any closer finding an answer then, when we were swinging in trees eating fruits.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Reality

    Only for this blog's "newbies":

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.
    ------------------–

    December 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • .........

      for the blogs oldies just go ahead and hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      December 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  9. Bob

    George, Abinadi, Rainer, Keith, et al, again, what really is your evidence that supports the existence of the nasty sky fairy that you so vociferously and frequently post about here? So far, no one has ever presented any evidence for the Christian divinity that stands up to examination.

    For that matter, why did your sky fairy create the world to make it look like he didn't do so, and why did he make it so hard (impossible, actually) to find evidence of himself?

    Your whole Christian religion looks to be a giant belief pyramid scheme, a successful but evil and insidious meme that propagates and supports itself but has no footing in evidence, nor in reason. I'm here to tell you that your religion emperor has no clothes.

    December 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • George

      I don't know any sky fairy, but GOD made the world exactly as if He made it. Google intelligent design if you have any doubts.

      The paradox of God is that the evidence of God is made available to those who open their hearts to Him. People don't believe in God for no reason at all. Every person must reach a personal epiphany where it becomes clear that God exists. Contrary to what atheists think, we do not all go the way we are taught. I was raised Catholic, but converted to evangelical Christianity. If you want to find God, you must come to him on your own.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      In Germany there is a church building, which is 1700 (!!!) years old and, that it is without limit, it is still in use. It is the basilica, which was built by the Roman Emperor Constantine (around 300 a. D.) the Great in Trier/Germany.

      Yet 300 after Christ Christianity was about to conquer the civilized world without use of violence, just be the power of its inner truth. That is a clear evidence for its truth.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoCaywfYk6A&w=640&h=360]

      December 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If "If you want to find God, you must come to him on your own." is true why did I just throw 2 bible thumpers off my property? Why can't you believers leave others alone?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Bob

      Nope, Rainer. You failed to present any evidence for the divinity of your god. Humans could, and did, put up that building. It may have been done in honor of their "god" enti-ty of their superst-itions, but it is not proof that said enti-ty exists, and certainly not that it is divine.

      Wow, you're really desperate, Rainer. Next, please.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Bob

      George, enough of your usual blathering, god-slobbering, and dodging. Put up actual evidence, or shove off.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Bob- What evidence would change your mind?

      December 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • HellBent

      "Uncouth Swain
      @Bob- What evidence would change your mind?"

      For me, let's start with something easy – a repeatable double-blind study showing that prayer actually works. god wouldn't even have to show himself/herself/itself.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "For me, let's start with something easy – a repeatable double-blind study showing that prayer actually works. god wouldn't even have to show himself/herself/itself."

      Plz let us know how that goes when you conduct one.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  10. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Woo hoo...!!! Now i'm at the top of the slide!

    December 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      aaah. bummer.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  11. What IF

    As an agnostic, for many years I would check the [x]Christian box on surveys... out of habit, remnants of superst-ition or a tiny bit of paranoia that I would be harassed somehow. I no longer do that, but I wonder how many do...

    December 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    No age has faced such a confusion concerning the Christian doctrine like ours (it would be essential to have a profound knowledge of the true doctrine in order to gain salvation). Thereby it would be pretty easy to figure out the true doctrine.

    Bonhoeffer and Luther were very gifted teachers of the Christian Church, but they were not that proud and presumptuous that they tried to interprete the Bible completely on their own. Both Luther and Bonhoeffer considered the doctrine of the Early Church beside the Bible. This does not mean that the Bible is not the most authoritative docu-ment of the Church. The New Testament was drafted by leading persons of the Early Church and thus contains the genuine doctrine.

    Of course the true Church kept the doctrine of the Bible and was thus a living example of the true doctrine. Hence, accounts from the Early Church, even after the apostolic age will help us to understand the Bible.

    An example:

    The most important feast day of the Early Church of the winter half year was not Christmas, but epiphany (appearance of the Lord in the world). At epiphany not only Christ's birth was celebrated, but also his baptism. This gives us a hint that Christ's baptism is pretty important. And, indeed, Christ's baptism is mentioned in the New Testament. By his baptism Christ came completely down to us. By his baptism he received the label to be a needy sinner like we are (of course Jesus never committed a sin; it is only about his status). Christ's baptism makes it impossible for us to judge any sinner.

    Further example: The ecu-menical councils of the Early Church (Byzantine Church). Records of the councils are still available and we could learn much from these records.

    Ecclesiastical history gives us many hints on the true doctrine.

    To a large extent the re-baptising Free Churches of today are very presumptuous. They are proud to regard the Bible as genuine word of God (which is even true), but in their presumption they fail to interprete the Bible correctly. They have a very small knowledge of ecclesiastical history and thus go from one error to the next one, when they interprete the Bible.

    The Roman Catholic Church was a Christian Church up to 600 after Christ, but then papacy was established, the Holy Spirit forsake the RCC, and the RCC became a p i s s p o t of heresies.

    Protestant mainline Churches of today to a large extent teach the gospel of the cheap grace, which leads to eternal fire.

    I would really like to know, where I could find true Christians.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Press to skip to the next comment

      December 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Rainer Braendlein

      Why live in confusion Braendlein? Instead, why not live in wonder!

      One can revel in the cosmos and the joy of learning without the burden of guilt. Just as Einstein, Hawking and many other thinkers of our time and space, the universe still holds many secrets, and those secrets are far more enjoyable when you don't have a pre-disposition to a belief in any God; whatever shape that may take.

      How can we think freely and explore scientifically the theories of the multi-verse, string theory, intelligent life on other planets, space travel and what preceded the Big Bang when we are anchored to the Earth by a ball and chain called religion. It is enough to look up at the Milky Way and say, here is my church.

      I am not commanded to worship. I am COMPELLED to be astounded by its magnificence. And no matter what you believe or say, none of us has the slightest idea what will happen when we die. So live and learn, then die knowing you have embraced life. Be nice and fear not.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Ungodly Discipline

      "It is enough to look up at the Milky Way and say, here is my church."

      A very beautiful sentence. It sounds like lyrics.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      You are too kind Rainer.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  13. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    It's fun to come on her and see how the fight progresses. Unfortunately, I can't follow everything. Somebody around here has to work to pay the bills.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    put your behind in the past! 🙂

    December 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Post asteroid extermination event = peace on earth. chew on that.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Abinadi

    "Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."
    Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence

    I have to go do something. This has been fun! I wish you all a very merry Christmas and that the peace of Christ shall enter into your homes and his love bless and keep you!

    December 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • hippypoet

      again with your ants at my picnic, how dare you! next time i'm bringin my Doodlebug!

      December 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • hippypoet

      What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?

      December 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ooooooh I do Hippy Poet! Can I pour Glen Fiddich on your half naked body (instead of SPF 50) and sing some Frank Zappa tunes? (and drink your whisky??)

      December 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Waste Glen Fiddich? What's wrong with you? You crazy?

      December 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • hippypoet

      yes i agree, never EVER waste the best scotch in the world – thats a crime and death will become you faster then it takes you to pull the cork! anyway – i just bought the 21 and the 18... the 18 is for tonight and the 21 is for when that is empty! 🙂

      December 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I'm a cheapskate next to you hippy. Johnny Walker Green (15yr), still 60 bucks a pop though.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      what so moral about ra-pe and genocide. Christians are not moral

      December 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Please forgive, I got all excited and lost track of the priorities.

      I must now drink Boones Farm Strawberry wine to repent.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I really thought you had better taste.

      December 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  17. hippypoet

    Man: [aggressively] What do you want?
    Ace Ventura: HDS, sir, and how are you this afternoon? All righty, then. I have a package for you.
    Man: Sounds broken.
    Ace Ventura: Most likely, sir. I'll bet it was something nice, though.

    December 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  18. hippypoet

    the devil and god before the falling out –

    When you're the best of friends
    Having so much fun together
    You're not even aware, you're such a funny pair
    You're the best of friends

    Life's a happy game
    You could clown around forever
    Neither one of you sees, your natural boundaries
    Life's one happy game

    If only the world wouldn't get in the way
    If only people would just let you play
    They say you're both being fools
    You're breaking all the rules
    They can't understand your magic wonderland
    Hu-hu-hu

    When you're the best of friends
    Sharing all that you discover
    When that moment has passed, will that friendship last?
    Who can say if there's a way?
    Oh I hope . . . I hope it never ends
    'Cause you're the best of friends

    December 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Rainer Braendlein
      You see Rainer, read Hippy's lovely poem. Out there in the real world, we could be best friends. I could give you noogies, we could go fishing. You could talk about God and I could laugh and laugh. It would be a hoot! Then we can get drunk on some Boones Farm Strawberry wine, pick some mulberries and fish for Perch in the lake. You bring the sun screen New Best Friend!

      December 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  19. Ungodly Discipline

    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 most of what you say and do is harmful to society. Enough of you and your angry, destructive religions.

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

    December 20, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Boredom!

      December 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Rainer Braendlein
      Yes you are boring, but don't be down on yourself. There are many exciting activities you could try. Skiing, a trip to Six Flags, praying to the almighty nothingness, master-bation, kicking the dog. Hey, go find something and have fun!

      December 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Did you ever imagine that we are just responding in kind to the arrogant, hateful posts of you atheists? This is a "belief" blog. I don't know why you atheists are even here. We were all just minding our business on "our" blog and you attacked us.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • HellBent

      "Did you ever imagine that we are just responding in kind to the arrogant, hateful posts of you atheists? "

      So much for turning the other cheek. I suppose that you only follow your bible when you find it convenient. That pretty much makes you the definition of a hypocrite.

      And if believers own this blog, why are there so many articles about atheists?

      December 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Ungodly,
      Please explain

      "I just want to be left alone." but you public post waiting for a response.

      Please prove
      " The world would be a MUCH better place without you. "

      "Now having said that, let’s build a peaceful world, togeher, with love."
      One thing you can try is not to provoke anger by calling people morons but have civil conversations over the points of disagreement

      December 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      HellBent,
      You really need to read the "turning the other cheek" in context before responding. Then look at the passages talking about edifying each other.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      You can’t have peace and love you need to pick one or the other it’s kind of like saying jumbo shrimp, it’s an oxymoron
      Peace is the absence of change it is pure contentment
      ..and well love is,.. love is.. take it girl
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgDLaO2Rhl4&w=640&h=360]

      December 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Yet one more time...

      – to keep an eye on the believer crazies that want to turn the USA and other western countries into theocracies,
      – to refute the bullcrap and hatred believers spew,
      – to save even just one person from the delusion of religion by showing them that there is a logical and sane alternative,
      – for the sheer entertainment provided by seeing the incredibly rediculous things believers believe and
      – to show my children the dark side of christianty by showing them posts by George, Keith, Chad, HeavenScent, captain america, Herbie and others of their ilk (sorry, Abinadi, you haven't shown enough venom or original thought to be named).

      December 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • HellBent

      "You really need to read the "turning the other cheek" in context before responding"

      Please explain how if Jesus felt someone was being arrogant and rude to him, that he would advocate being arrogant and rude back. The whole 'read it in context' thing gets to be a very tiresome cop out after a while.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      Please make a clear distinction between religion and the Abrahamic faiths. Only they want a theocracy and actually my god is backed by science.

      My god gives life and warmth to this inter world. That’s a scientific fact. And unless you failed third grade you know this
      I’m against a theocracy because there are many ideologies. I’m perfectly sane and rational. Not all religions are a loony and Christians, Jews and Muslims. So please make the clear distinction

      December 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      HAA,

      – to keep an eye on the believer crazies that want to turn the USA and other western countries into theocracies,
      Please give an example of where this is occurring.
      To have shape laws theocracy

      – to refute the bullcrap and hatred believers spew,
      I would extend this to edify everyone who believes in bull crap

      – to save even just one person from the delusion of religion by showing them that there is a logical and sane alternative,
      So the whole world knows that it is broken, the recent evidence of this is book stores. The largest section in a book store is self help, so everyone agrees something has gone wrong.
      The Bible states the sin, iniquity and trespasses against the creator is the thing
      What is the alternative?

      – to show my children the dark side of christianty by showing them posts by George, Keith, Chad, HeavenScent, captain america, Herbie and others of their ilk (sorry, Abinadi, you haven't shown enough venom or original thought to be named).
      Are you going to show them the good side, Jesus and William Wilberforce and the other benevolent giving, loving followers of Christ
      Also are you going to show the dark side of places that attempted to crush Christianity, Communist Russia, China, Cambodia?

      December 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Hellbent,
      I guess the issue is we disagree on whether Abinadi was being rude or asking a valid question for better understanding.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • HellBent

      @Mike – fair enough – I took the comment to be rhetorical, having seen other comments that Abinadi has made.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • rick

      "Did you ever imagine that we are just responding in kind to the arrogant, hateful posts of you atheists?"

      Arrogant? Coming from someone who purports to know the likes and dislikes of "god"

      "This is a "belief" blog. "

      Yes it is. Even for those who believe there is no god.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Tallulah13

      @abinadi

      Unless your name is CNN, it's not your blog. Stop trying to stifle free speech.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Mike from CT said "Ungodly,
      Please explain
      "I just want to be left alone." but you public post waiting for a response."

      (I think you meant I post in public waiting for a response. First you are taking my words out of context. That is ok, is was not the most well-written post in the world. I meant in “the real world” I want to be left alone. In this “virtual” world, it can be fun to bat the ball around a little. I thought that was clear but oh well. Additionally, if I am waiting for a reply, I will be clear on that. Example, “George? George? LOL he never want to talk. Other than that if you want to reply great, if not that is fine too. I don’t care.

      He said "Please prove " The world would be a MUCH better place without you. "

      I am not in a position to prove anything. It is my opinion that the world would be a much better place without religion based on all the wars fought in the name of religion. To name just a (very) few:

      French Wars of Religion
      Second Sudanese Civil War
      Crusades
      Lebanese Civil War
      The ongoing strife in the Middle East

      And before you go to the Hitler card, he was a Catholic.

      He said, ""Now having said that, let’s build a peaceful world, together, with love.” One thing you can try is not to provoke anger by calling people morons but have civil conversations over the points of disagreement"

      I was making an attempt to be ironic. Either I failed or you are, in fact, a Moron.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      Yeah CNN does enough stifling of free speech on its own so unless your name is CNN you can’t do it

      December 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      Hay moron you cannot build a peaceful world with love

      Did you not listen to my girl Hatsune Love is war all wars can be traced back to love

      Weather is love of country or love of God. Nobody would fight in war unless something they love is being threatened

      fu-cken hippy

      December 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • captain america

      We as Americans must realize the undermining nature of canadian qu eers like hotairace.This ba stard has an agenda that includes meddling in the exclusive business of the USA,and has openly stated his opposition to the self determination of a free peoples.If fellow Americans stand by for this ass hole, what is next. There's your sign

      December 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      M’k I don’t see what that has to do with anything but here’s my take

      Annex Mexico and annex Canada

      December 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Louisa Ferre
      Not sure if you are talking to me or to yourself or someone else, but the sentence was intended to be ironic. You are a hateful person. Shame.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      I’m not hate full, I’m a realist, I’m here to knock you atheist and Christians down of that pedestal. Im actually all about love,… there world needs more,.. but you fooling yourself if you think love can be with peace, and clearly you have never been in a relationship love is conflict, you just can’t have peace,… and clearly you have never studded peace, because that’s something I don’t want,.. Sound boring
      Thant again look what name I’m using, I got no problem having peace for a day but any more then that I’m going to burn something down….

      Fu-ck Peace
      Now I got the 26th to plan for

      December 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      To Mike from CT, one only needs to read the drivel from Keith and George or listen to most of the GOP presidential nominees to find examples of people who want to put the USA on the road to becoming a theocracy.

      The alternative of course is altheism.

      I undrestand the use of fairy tales, such as the jesus myth, to help simplify complex subjects for children, when they are children, recognizing that they are just that – fairy tales.

      I have no problem discussing with my children various political systems and the evil things some of them attempted to do, such as trying to silence freedom of speech in general.

      CA, please show me where I "openly stated his opposition to the self determination of a free peoples."

      December 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • captain america

      If the USA chooses to be a theocracy it is none of your f'n business. Right there. There's your sign

      December 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      Yeah that why democracy’s su-ck,… we need to go back to a republic

      December 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • captain america

      I like boy parts. would you like to trade pictures?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I like 'em. too, captain ass hole. But then, I'm female. What's your excuse?

      December 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • captain america

      It is appropriate that tom tom the qu eer canadian is fooled by a phony captain america.There's your sign

      December 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  20. DamianKnight

    Wow...I didn't realize the number of Christians in the United States was that high. I thought it was somewhere around 65% or so. According to this data, it's almost 80% of the U.S. population.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      DamianKnight
      These numbers are seriously inflated in my opinion. Other research shows the population is shrinking (see CNN article earlier this week). I believe people lie about their religion to avoid being discriminated against. Christians are NOT tolerant people. They are quite the opposite.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • DamianKnight

      I think that's a pretty large generalization to state all Christians are intolerant. We're not all like Pat Robertson.

      The worldwide numbers make sense, considering most I have seen from secular sources state the number to be 2.1 Billion Christians in the world and between 1.5 and 1.8 Billion Muslims in the world.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Chuckles

      Not all christians are intolerant, I would actually say there are a fair amount who's heart is in the right place and only think about their religion every so often, however the numbers are sort of inflated because they didn't define what being "christian" was. In most peoples opinions, Mormons aren't christians, but I have a sneaking sus.picion that in this study it does.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles

      From the article:

      The report calculates that half the world's Christians are Catholic, 37% are Protestants, and 12% are Orthodox. The remaining 1 percent belong to other traditions such as Mormonism.

      December 20, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • J.W

      I am a Mennonite, and I am not sure if this is true of all the Mennonites (like the Amish), but it is actually part of our doctrine to not try to get involved in the government and make laws based on our beliefs. That is one of the reason why I joined this denomination. They are by far the most tolerant that I have seen.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      DamianKnight
      I am speaking in terms of the religion, not ALL of the individuals. The "religion" of Christianity is, again in my opinion, very intolerant indeed. As are Jews and Muslims. Seems relatively obvious to ME. Believe what you will.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      J.W.
      You stay away from my beard brother! (sorry that was too easy, just breaking your balls bud.)

      December 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Chuckles
      Exactly. And RC's and non-practicing Christians who don't have the balls to define themself any other way than Christian, even though they have never lifted a Bilble or stepped foot in a church in years. The study is bogus.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • J.W

      lol, well my group is a little different than the Amish. We believe we can shave and the women dont have to war dresses all the time. And we are allowed to use modern technology. Basically besides what I mentioned above our main doctrines are that we are pacifist and anabaptists (do not baptize children), but we do believe in simple living, that way you have more money to give to charity and to the church.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      I meant it sort of like Ungodly is referring to. I'm not just saying the breakdown of denomination, but as you've obviously seen here, there are a good amount of people who ident.ity as christian but wouldn't be counted as such by their peers. Furthermore, out of the 247 mill in America who identify as christians, how many have actually read the bible and know what they ascribe to? I have a coworker who sometimes likes to take jabs at my atheism and sometimes I take the bait but more often than not I just quietly say nothing because my work environment could become a very host.ile place (i've already gotten a bit of it just by identifying as an atheist in the first place), last friday though she admitted to me she had never actually read the bible and started reading it earlier last week, but the kids version because the real version was too hard.... all I could do was just sort of stare,,,,,,

      December 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      I disagree with your whole pacifist thing. You are ruining my perception that all religious people are nutbags and I will not stand for this! I have an aunt who just converted to judaism from being a mennonite. she told me about all the freaky deaky things you do in your religion. I hear a part from all the charity and feel goodery, you also do ritual human sacrifice, eat still beating hearts and use electricity just for fun just to, as she put it, "stick it to the amish"

      December 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • J.W

      Lol Chuckles wow we haven't done any of that. So do you know why she converted? I think I am the happiest I have ever been since I became Mennonite. You think my thoughts on the Bible are strange, but a lot of people in my church like to look at the Bible more critically. I even had a pastor say that certain things said in the Bible were probably just wrong, especially like certain things Paul said about gayness and about women.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      That seems like the "No True Scottsman" argument.

      No offense intended, but it seems like these arguments are all based on speculation, conjecture and varying degrees of definition of what "a true Christian is" in order to refute the study that has findings that the atheists don't like.

      It's not really a huge breaking news story to find out that the primary religion in America is Christianity, in some form.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Chuckles

      To answer your first question, she converted because she married my uncle, a jew and president of the temple, and their daughter wants to become a rabbi, however (and this part always made me laugh), they're totally cool with having a female rabbi, but since her mom isn't jewish she technically isn't a jew and can't not become a rabbi (even though she had a bat mitzvah and was raised as a jew). So my aunt converted. It wasn't really that hard for her though, she had been living a jewish lifestyle for a pretty long time and was only a mennonite in name.

      I can also hop on board with a religion taking a critical look at its own holy texts and pointing out the good roads and the bad and won't tether themselves to the past to deal with present issues. The problem I foresee though is that, if you can crtiisize the bible, look at some stuff written and say it's probably just blatantly wrong, whats to stop you from throwing out the entire book altogether and createting your own where you get to interpret what you believe god likes and dislikes. Keep in mind, if you did that and created a religion that strictly adhered to pacifism, I wouldn't be rabbidly trying to take you down, but you see the issue yes?

      December 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      It's absolutely the No True Scotsman fallacy, I don't like the study because it just sort of confirms that there are way too many people who identify as religious but I can't necessarily refute that America and the rest of the world has a humongous christian population. I've have to grow up being constantly reminded of that fact as both a jew and an atheist. I guess I also just have a problem whenever a study is released whether it's pro or anti-atheist whenever I see a clear unaddressed variable that invalidates the conclusion of the study.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      Well thank you for at least admitting it. 🙂 Many wouldn't, so I genuinely appreciate that.

      My main issue is being lumped in with the nutjobs, simply because we share the same faith. In fact, I would bet that 90%+ of Christians in the world are not the Pat Robertsons and other people making outrageous claims. Most Christians are people just like you and I, who work 8-5 jobs, have children and a family and try to live their lives. Not all of us are attempting to beat the gays into submission, blow up abortion clinics, and slaughter millions of people in the attempt to gain power and influence. In fact, those trying to do it are in the VAST minority and are using religion as a justification of their actions. None of those things are in line with the teachings of Christ.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • J.W

      I see the issue. I would never throw the whole book out. There are many rules laid forth in the OT that I don't believe were needed to be followed today, like the Mosaic laws, but the OT is still important I think because of the history of their relationship with God. Much of our doctrine I believe comes from words that Jesus spoke during the Sermon on the Mount. As far as Paul goes, he was a man of great faith, and much of what he said about having faith I believe is valuable, but his stance on what was moral or immoral was probably geared toward the culture at that time. Personally I always just think about when Jesus simplified the ten commandments to love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself. That is why it bothers me that morality is always tied in with s3x. Jesus never emphasized any of those rules. But anyways as far as pacifism, Mennonites are very strict on that. There was an article a while back about Mennonites not singing the national anthem. Part of the reason for that is that the national anthem is about a war. That does bother me that in this country patriotism=war. There are democracies that never go to war, but they still have the same freedoms that we do here.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      Fair enough, I guess the problem comes down to this, and I'm still trying to figure out if this is media or not, but how often do you see coverage of a Christian group outright renouncing those things? I'm not talking about just saying, "well they're not true christians" but going a step further and picking a fight with the church or group of people and saying, "That is not very christian of you at all and here's why it would make you a better christian if you did XYZ"?

      For instance, something I've seen on a couiple of occasions is when a Rabbi does or says something absurd, there's another rabbi to refute him and take the opposing side. It might be our penchant for debate, but the jews biggest critics have always been ourselves, maybe its bias but I don't see the same thing among christians other than calling eachothers credentials into question, not their message. If that makes sense.

      I haven't necesarily begun to believe that isn't true and I know there must be a fair amount of churches that accept gay and lesbian people, unwed mothers and so on and aren't getting media attention because the fringe groups are making more noise. Same thing is sort of happening in politics, but at least in that arena, democrats and republicans can't exactly call each others party affilications into question, they just go after character, which makes for more exciting news I would imagine.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • J.W

      This is off the topic, but do any other religions besides Christianity and Islam believe in hell?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Louisa Ferre

      Some do, Some have other places
      Like I have Yomi, it not so bad just wait around for reincarnation

      December 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      You do have that. But they're not loud and outrageous, so the media ignores them. Look at Westboro Baptist Church. Do you know how many religious leaders of different denominations of Christianity actually have condemned what they have said and challenged them? Many. But because our ministers aren't willing to light themselves on fire and run screaming at them, the media doesn't pay attention.

      Look at when the dude a few years ago walked in and executed an abortion doctor in the church. Many religious leaders condemned it.

      When that guy in Oakland was saying the Rapture was first gonna be in May, and then it was gonna be in October, do you know how many Christian leaders said that was nonsense?

      It just doesn't get media attention, which is why there's so much misunderstanding regarding what Christians believe...and then the realization that the reason there are so many denominations is because they all have fundamental problems with other doctrines.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • J.W

      I have seen it a couple of times Chuckles. When Rick Perry had his prayer rally most of the protesters I think were atheist, but there were Christian groups protesting as well. When Obama was elected, I saw a church with a sign that said something like "American has a Muslim president, the world is coming to an end." Many people wrote letters to the local paper talking about how wrong that was, and many of those were from Christians. Those were a couple of examples, but you are right, more people should stand up against it, and maybe Christians won't look like a bunch of nutjobs.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      1st post: Would you say that you are militant pacifists? Also, again I can get on board with looking at the teachings and distilling the meaning without having to go literal, but how far can you go before you become a separate religion altogether?

      2nd post: Judaism has a hel.l, but it's not a defined place, it's more of not being in heaven. Then of course you have Val Halla and Hades as two places you go in the afterlife, as well as the one from ancient egypt that I can't for the life of me remember off the top of my head.
      Buddhism operates on reincarnation and nirvanah so not really, and Hinduism is reincarnation and sort of afterlife after that when Brahman is the big judge man and judges your soul to see if its good or not. If it's not, you go back into the reincarnation cycle, so you could almost say that life on earth IS hel.l.

      I think Zoroastrianism has a hel.l but I might be way off base, I think I need to brush up on my Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Sikhism and Shintoism.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • J.W

      Louis are you Hindu?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      You do what you gotta do JW, I like the fact that leave a small footprint.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian and JW

      Yeah, I know there has been backlash against westboro and the particularly vicious people who have used religion to attack politicians, I guess I just haven't seen, and again I can attribute most of this to media bias, a lot of churches get positive news stories without reacting to something. For instance, I think it would help your cause a lot if a lot of churches banded together and started to advertise particularly towards the LGBT crowd, to publically make large donations to planned parenthood, that sort of thing, but here's the crux of the problem that I've seen. A lot of churches and church goers aren't as vocal and don't actively hate like the fringe groups do, but there's a reason why they haven't pushed back as hard as they should, and thats because LGBT and abortion among other things DOES go against their values, they just aren't willing to make a big deal out of it... and that is where my true issue is, many churches would rather turn a blind eye and neither promote or advocate for pro or anti LGBT activities but sort of do the "ignore it and it will go away technique"

      December 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • J.W

      I think the definition of a Christian is one who believes in God and believes Jesus is their savior, and we do believe that. I think Christians need to concentrate more on Jesus than on other parts of the Bible, although I still do think the whole thing is important regardless of whether it is taken literally.
      As far as hell in Christianity, it seems that a majority of Christians believe that you will go to hell and suffer forever for not believing in Jesus. Why did Jesus not say that? Jesus never told anyone 'hey, you better believe in me or I will send you to hell, and you will suffer for all of eternity with no way out.' I dunno, maybe hell is the one thing that bothers me so I guess I am trying to avoid it.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • J.W

      Honestly in the Mennonite church since I have been involved in it, it seems like abortion is like the elephant in the room. We are pretty much against any killing so we are mostly pro-life. I would still say I am pro-life, although I recognize that there are times when abortion needs to be legal. So it is complicated, because we want to be understanding about it, but we do not want to go against our values of no killing. We talk a little bit more about LGBT issues. Marriage in our church is defined as between any two consenting adults, although gay marriage is not legal in our state. However Chuckles you are right there is more that we can do about it. I think in time more will be done.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW
      Jesus never really speaks about hell, but it's a damn useful tool when it comes to conversion and retention. I mean, I'm not scared of dying and enjoying jewish hell of not going into heaven, but christian hell basically plays on your biggest fears and lets you imagine the worst thing ever for eternity. I've have many different chats with believer friends who all have their very own version of hell that they truely believe they're going to if they aren't a good christian, and none of them are the same. I got to hand it to Paul and the other crazies, they sure do know how to scare the sh.it out of a lot of people.

      What do you mean mostly pro-life? Like do you specifically agree that abortion is necessary if a girl is ra.ped or her life is in danger? does your church? As for the LBGT thing, thats interesting that it's addressed the problem, but has it done more to follow through?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      Here's my thing. The church is not there to be politically correct. In fact, if you look at it, Jesus was pretty politically incorrect and went against the high priests in the Jewish community (the Pharisees). My pastor often says, "Truth sometimes hurts before it heals." Kind of like, re-breaking a leg in order to set it properly.

      That said, I think that the church has spent too much time condemning and not enough time loving. Jesus clearly showed that anything he condemned, He did it in love. The proper approach to someone who is gay is not to press a crucifix to their forehead and command the spirit of "gayness" to come out! Assuming your belief is that ho.mo.se.xuality is a sin, it is far more important to counsel and love the person. To me, being gay is not a sin. To me, the practice is the sin. Just like being an alcoholic is not a sin, but consuming alcohol to the point of intoxication is the sin. But in regards to ho.mo.se.xuality, we need to stop just pointing to that; it's far too easy of a target. We need to lump it in with se.xual immorality. It is no better or worse than having relations with your prom date (assuming you aren't married).

      Also, the main thing the church seems to skip over is the love aspect. The most commonly used word in the Bible is "love" but I don't see a lot of it coming out of our churches.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @JW: Pro-life doesn't have to mean anti-choice. The entire thing is really quite simple, whether it's abortion or gay marriage or anything else...

      If you don't want to do it, great. Just don't tell anybody else they can't do it when it doesn't affect you.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah Chuckles that is our basic belief on abortion, although I think that there are some who are completely against it and some who aren't against it at all. We probably do not have a defined enough stance on it. Seems to me like everyone wants to avoid that issue. As far as LGBT, we probably do not bring enough attention to it. My pastor does talk about it in his sermons sometimes. There is probably more outside of the church that we could do. I am not sure how much of a difference we could make in my state, but we could maybe get the ball rolling.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree Sean, but I think what makes abortion more complicated is that nobody really agrees at what point a fetus is a human. So if you do believe that a fetus is a human at say 28 weeks, then it would not just affect the mothers life, it would affect the life of the fetus as well.

      December 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      I can concede that the church has no obligation to be politically correct, but how you can say with a serious face that being gay isn't a sin but acting on it is? Would it be better if they COULD get married so they could do what they wanted within the confines of marriage? I also didn't realize that that drinking till your drunk is a sin, when did that happen? The bible does talk alot about love, but there's also so many different ways in which they don't have to love, doesn't it make you wonder what exactly is the point of the love spoken about in the bible is in the first place?

      This is my issue with religion and the churches and why I think that it's not just fringe groups but all congregations that are adding to the anti-LGBT and anti-abortion movements. It's tacit compliance that even though you make the point that it's only fringe groups on the front lines and that churches have renounced some actions, they don't renounce all and when they do renounce it, a lot of time it's the method they are against, not the message and that in my opinion is strictly spurred by religion itself. If you support the message of loving others as you would yourself, then why should an act that has literally zero bearing on your life concern you or any congregation all over the world. If the church was truely all about love and made that its top priority than regardless of political correctness shouldnt the chuch accept everyone regardless of anything else?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @J.W: But I would argue that, excepting the far right life-at-conception crowd, there already is consensus: "life" begins when it's capable of surviving on its own outside the womb. Generally speaking, between 24 and 28 weeks. If the viability of the fetus can be maintained at an earlier stage of development, then that's where the line will move.

      Late-term abortions are generally illegal already except for cases of the mother's life being in danger; and regardless of what the aforementioned far right people would have everyone believe, there aren't many abortions occurring outside the first trimester and it certainly isn't a form of post-conception birth control that's taken lightly.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      First, Both stances on abortion and the LGBT community is really what my main point boils down to. When I ask where are the churches speaking out against the fringe activities and I see none, its not just media bias, it's that no churches are speaking because even the most pacifist loving mennonites can't make a firm stand on something like abortion and appeal to reason from other churches, but instead would rather not step on peoples toes. Damian pointed out that its not the churches place to be politically correct and back in the days of jesus, it was jesus's rebellion that led to christianity and yet churches and entire congregations are being held hostage because they don't want to make a parishoner angry?

      December 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Always forget the "reply" link when individal threads get too long...

      @Chuckles: I think what you're saying is what Dawkins proposed in The God Delusion. Mainstream religion isn't the problem, but mainstream religion enables the people that are the problem by lending credence to the basis for their actions.

      They're the proverbial mafia wives of the extremists.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • J.W

      I understand what you are saying Sean, and what you are saying is probably why my church treats the issue the way it does. They believe abortion is wrong but they dont want to infringe on the rights of others, which may actually be the best policy. I think that the laws on abortion are probably never going to please everybody, but they are the best compromise I think.
      Chuckles I think you may be right about those issues. Mennonites speak out alot against war and against the death penalty, so in that way we do not completely shy away from controversy, but we could do more.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Christian: Sickening how that group of "Christians" beat up that gay person.
      Me: I know! There's nothing wrong with gay people.
      Christian: Oh, there is, but they still shouldn't have beaten him up.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @JW: You and me...we're OK. You can come over for the post-armageddon-crusade-jihad BBQ I'll be having at my place.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      I guess although its great that Mennonites are standing up as being against war and legal murder (@Damian *wink*), but I think the greater issue and this is not supposed to offend mennoites, but they don't exactly wield a lot of authority within the ranks of christendom. It's not something you or your church can really control,but to be effective in battleing against hatered, and bigotry more churches need to stand up and actively do more. They need modern day jesus's to rebel against the clergy in favor of love and peace, but the irony here is that many christians would rather teach jesus' message by doing exactly what he tried so hard to fight against.

      @Sean – "They're the proverbial mafia wives of the extremists." – love it,

      December 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      To give you the Bible verse in regards to drunkeness: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

      Now, when I talk about marriage, let me clarify. I believe in a definitive separation of church and state. I see no LEGAL reason why a gay couple cannot or should not get married. Because marriage is merely a legally binding contract between two persons for the purposes of taxes and inheritance, there's no reason that two consenting people of the same gender should not be able to get married.

      Then there's marriage within the church. There, the church should be able to make the rules. And if they believe gay marriage is a sin, then they shouldn't be forced to marry them.

      As to your question "but how you can say with a serious face that being gay isn't a sin but acting on it is?" Check out the scripture above. Being a drug addict isn't a sin, but taking those drugs is a sin. A person's state of being is not the sin, it is the act that is sinful. Just like a he.ter.ose.xual having se.x prior to marriage is a sin. Just being straight and attracted to women is not a sin, but lusting for a woman is.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @DamianKnight: You said, "Then there's marriage within the church. There, the church should be able to make the rules. And if they believe gay marriage is a sin, then they shouldn't be forced to marry them."

      I don't think anyone at any time ever suggested that would be the case. However, there are things like the Defense of Marriage Act and junk like that that serves no other purpose than to inflict a church's narrow worldview on others that don't subscribe to it.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • J.W

      Unfortunately you are right Chuckles about Mennonites not having alot of authority. We are probably at least one of the smallest denominations out there. I think that there are a couple reasons for that. 1. People think Mennonite=Amish. 2. Many people who agree with our worldview are not religious.
      And Sean is definitely right about the DOMA. Probably the first step in gay rights may be to get that repealed somehow.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Sean,

      You are absolutely correct. The Defense of Marriage Act is nothing more than a way to deny rights to a certain group of people.

      However, the Mormon church was responsible for the passage of Proposition 8 in California (amending the State Consti.tution to define marriage as between one man and one woman) by using propaganda stating that churches would now have to marry gay couples. This was not the case, but they used fear-mongering to get the law passed.

      My main point in my previous post was that I was separating "marriage" as a religious inst.itution from a legal inst.itution.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damian

      I agree that a church should never be forced by law to do something it doesn't want to do, separation of church and state should go both ways and I can respect that. It's the doctrine itself that I have an issue with. You say it's a sin for a heterose.xual male to lust after a woman, but if that same guy marries her and they have a healthy relationship there's no sin. The same is not true for a ho.mose.xual male couple and that's a problem. A state of being may not be a sin, but couldn't it be argued that in this instance the church is solidly against love? If two men love each other, then why the heck is the church trying so hard to get rid of it? Leviticus?

      @JW
      Yeah, if only mennonites were at the top of the pack, then you could start real change from the top, however I think it's important for all forms of christianity no matter how small to look at doctrine and realize that some of that stuff is severely outdated.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • LinCA

      @DamianKnight

      You said, "As to your question "but how you can say with a serious face that being gay isn't a sin but acting on it is?" Check out the scripture above. Being a drug addict isn't a sin, but taking those drugs is a sin. A person's state of being is not the sin, it is the act that is sinful. Just like a he.ter.ose.xual having se.x prior to marriage is a sin. Just being straight and attracted to women is not a sin, but lusting for a woman is."

      Sin is a violation of a religious rule or law. As such, people that belong to a particular religious denomination that break the rules set by that denomination, sin. Those that don't subscribe to that religion, don't sin, even when they act in a way that would be considered a sin for followers of that religion.

      It's a simple matter of jurisdiction. The bible, or any religion based on it, has no jurisdiction over those that don't follow it. Freedom of religion guarantees that nobody is subject to religious rules from a religion they don't subscribe to.

      If christians consider homosexuality a sin, they have but one recourse. Don't do it. The same goes for premarital sex, or lust or greed or any other activity they consider a sin.

      Of course, while atheists can't sin, they will still be held accountable should they break the laws of the land. But an atheist, even one that commits murder, doesn't sin. Ever.

      December 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      An atheist has $ex with amarried christian knowing that christian would be stonned to death. The atheist finds the chirstian dead from stonning in a field outside the city. The atheist feels bad for a short while then goes on with life without sin or guilt or legal ramifications since it happened in San Francisco.

      December 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @LinCA,

      Your idea of sin is the subjective standpoint, being that, Christians have one viewpoint of sin, while others have differing, and some may not even believe in sin at all. Your theory holds true, assuming of course, there is no God who judges everyone.

      For the sake of the argument, let's use Christianity (since that's the religion I am most knowledgeable about. I can't claim to know how Islam or Judaism or any other religion handles "sin") as an example.

      Both the Christian and the atheist commit the same "sin." Let's use adultery, for example. A Christian sleeps with a married man's wife, who is the atheist. Both have therefore, committed adultery.

      The Christian receives absolution of the sin through the blood of Christ being the perfect sacrifice and assuming the Christian truly repents, God forgives the sin and the slate is washed clean. Therefore, the Christian does not suffer the punishment for the sin because Christ took upon Himself all sin of mankind.

      The atheist does not receive absolution since they do not accept the blood of Christ, and therefore have not repented. God does not forgive the sin and the atheist is held accountable.

      December 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Perfectly lucid explanation, DK! And therefore a perfect reduction ad absurdum of the Christian faith. Forgiveness being conditional on true repentance simply makes sense. Forgiveness being conditional on kissing the butt of some demigod is just old neolithic "my city-state god can beat up your city-state god" nonsense.

      December 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "An atheist has $ex with amarried christian knowing that christian would be stonned to death. The atheist finds the chirstian dead from stonning in a field outside the city. The atheist feels bad for a short while then goes on with life without sin or guilt or legal ramifications since it happened in San Francisco."

      If the sex was consensual, and the atheist had no knowledge of the stoning, than he/she is in no way guilty. In engaging in consensual sex while married to someone else, the christian is the only one committing sin.

      As mentioned above, religion has no jurisdiction over those that don't subscribe to that religion. Since atheists don't subscribe to any religion, they are incapable of sin.

      December 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @DamianKnight

      You said, "Your idea of sin is the subjective standpoint, being that, Christians have one viewpoint of sin, while others have differing, and some may not even believe in sin at all."
      Not really. It's in the definition of "sin". Sin is a religious construct. You will find that each christian sect, cult and denomination will define sin in different ways.

      You said, "Your theory holds true, assuming of course, there is no God who judges everyone."
      Without a single shred of evidence to the contrary, that's a pretty safe assumption.

      You said, "For the sake of the argument, let's use Christianity (since that's the religion I am most knowledgeable about. I can't claim to know how Islam or Judaism or any other religion handles "sin") as an example.

      Both the Christian and the atheist commit the same "sin." Let's use adultery, for example. A Christian sleeps with a married man's wife, who is the atheist. Both have therefore, committed adultery.

      The Christian receives absolution of the sin through the blood of Christ being the perfect sacrifice and assuming the Christian truly repents, God forgives the sin and the slate is washed clean. Therefore, the Christian does not suffer the punishment for the sin because Christ took upon Himself all sin of mankind.

      The atheist does not receive absolution since they do not accept the blood of Christ, and therefore have not repented. God does not forgive the sin and the atheist is held accountable."
      That would be true, only if the christian god exists. Considering that that is extremely unlikely, the only negative effect would be guilt and remorse on the part of the christian (until absolution, of course).

      December 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Advertisement
About this blog

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