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January 10th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Explain it to me: John 3:16

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – When quarterback Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass Sunday to secure an overtime victory for his Denver Broncos over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, some saw a biblical connection.

The completion gave Tebow, an outspoken evangelical Christian whose penchant for last-minute heroics have given him a reputation as a miracle worker,  316 passing yards for the game. His ten completions averaged 31.6 yards a piece.

Those figures inspired plenty of conversation and debate about a connection some saw to one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16.

The New Testament verse is held up by Christians around the globe because it neatly summarizes some key points of Christianity:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)

In the third chapter in the Gospel of John, Jesus is having a late night discussion with a Pharisee, one of the Jewish teachers of the law, named Nicodemus. The chapter is also where the expression "born again" originates.

Jesus tells Nicodemus: "...no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." In his longer explanation of that idea, Jesus gets to the core of his message in verse 3:16.

The verse is popular with Christians looking to share their faith because it's short and information-packed: God loves humankind, man has sinned and is destined for eternal punishment, but eternal live awaits all who believe in God's son, Jesus.

John 3:16 also has a long history with football and pop culture.

During last year's Super Bowl, the Fixed Point Foundation, which promotes Christianity in the public square, tried to buy an advertisement pushing people to a website to learn about John 3:16 but the ad was was rejected.

The spot showed people watching a football game noticing the phrase John 3:16 on a player's eye black - a sticker or grease that players wear under the eyes to reduce glare from the sun. A man in the ad says he's going to look up the verse, while the ad directed viewers to www.lookup316.com.

At the time, Fixed Point Executive Director Larry Taunton told CNN that Fox Sports said it rejected his commercial because it contained "religious doctrine," though Taunton said the ad avoided featuring the actual words of the verse.

“Increasingly religion and Christianity is treated like smoking – you can do it but only in designated areas,” Taunton said. “They were saying there’s no place for (faith) in the public square. There’s a place for the soft core porn of Go-Daddy, violent movie trailers, and irresponsible drinking, but not for faith."

As a workaround, the Fixed Point Foundation ran its ad on Fox stations locally in Birmingham, Alabama and Washington, DC during the Super Bowl.

Tebow wore Bible verses on his eye black when he quarterbacked the Florida Gators in college.  In the 2009 BCS championship game, he wrote John 3:16 on his eye black. After he left college football for the NFL in 2010, the NCAA banned players from writing on their eye black, which some have called the "Tebow rule."

John 3:16 came into the pop culture view in the late 1970s and early 1980s at sporting events, when a man named Rollen Stewart would don a rainbow colored afro wig and a John 3:16 T-shirt. He was especially good at getting himself in front of the cameras at sporting and big cultural events, including the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Stewart grew increasingly fanatical about his crusade. In 1992 he took a maid hostage with a loaded gun at a Los Angeles hotel, demanding a national press conference to proclaim his new message that the end of the world was near.

He plastered John 3:16 on hotel windows.  CNN reported at the time that it took a SWAT team nine hours to free the woman.

At his sentencing hearing Stewart had to be removed from court when he would not let the judge speak.  As deputies were dragging him out of the courtroom he screamed, "Don't take me out, I said.  God sends love to the world.  Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they're doing.  They know not what they're doing, Lord."

That last phrase is also biblical, attributed to Jesus while he was praying for his executioners as he hung on the cross.

Stewart was convicted and sent to prison in 1993 on three counts of hostage taking and is currently serving three life sentences at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.

Despite Stewart's story, many sports fans continue the tradition of evangelizing at sports games by holding up John 3:16 on placards.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Sports

soundoff (2,029 Responses)
  1. chisolm 1040

    E:veryon: Please read Mathew 6: Verse 5

    January 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Da King

      And Mark 6:20. If you get it you will blessed.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  2. Robyn Harris

    "Once I was all messed up on drugs.
    Now, I'm all messed up on the Lord."

    - – - Cheech and Chong

    Truer word are rarely spoken.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Da King

      Hang in there, you will eventually get it.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Amused

      I think Robyn does indeed get it! It appears to YOU who doesn't quite "get it" , Daking!

      January 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  3. Derek

    Its annoying reading through all this radical christian nonsense. Its impossible to argue a point with religious people because they can literally spin anything to fit. Not that its that hard to do when its made up.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Dustin

      Seriously. These religious psychos cannot prove a thing, they just scream loud.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Da King

      Hope someone turns the light on for ya over there.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "Hope someone turns the light on for ya over there."

      You're the one lost in the dark.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  4. VaConservative

    Let every man Judge according to the way they want to be judged. When Tebow does something to you personally let me know. In the meantime let the kid live his life, and let God judge his motives. So far what I see he is one of the very few athletes I can point my children to and say he is a person who loves God and does good things. Should I point to Koby, Tiger, Brett? I don't think so. Great athletes but people not so much. However I believe God loves those guys and even though they made mistakes he has their salvation as a goal as well. John 3:16

    January 13, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Doc

      Halllujah, Amen!!! VaConservative

      January 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Robyn Harris

      For Tim Tebow so annoyed the world, that God told him to stuff a sock in his pie hole.
      - – - John 3:16.25 (may not be available in non-premium, abridged Bibles)

      January 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Peggy

      VaConservative my question to you is, why would you want a any athlete to be a roll model for your children, why can't it just be you and their mother as their top roll models?

      January 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • anna

      Amen !!! Just leave him along !!! For God's SAKE !!!!!!!!!!!

      January 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  5. Da King

    TO CNN AN ALL READERS, ALSO INTERESTING TO KNOW: MARK 16:20 SAYS " And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs" New Living Translation. Tebow is indeed a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV version Says: And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  6. Daniel

    Just saw the clip live on TV. "Big man upstairs" and other comments and laughs shows a lack of respect and reverence for something that many hold as dear and holy. Shame on CNN. How sac-religious.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      Ideas are not people. Ideas do not automatically or legally deserve respect. Religion is a bad idea that deserves all the mockery it gets.

      RAmen.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Doc

      for Mo Pasta,
      Just as we accept your point and comment, why not Tim Tebow's expression?? Preach what you practice. Your comments deserve to be in the public forum, so does Tebow's regardless of whether it is religion or philosophy. And, in case you don't know, ideas are people and people are ideas. Jesus and the ideas in the Bible were one. He is the Word "made flesh." Learn what that "idea"means and you will solve the riddle of humanity. Jesus Did. Now, its your turn!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Dustin

      Mo Pasta is right. Mockery is deserved!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  7. Thanks God

    Hey Thanks God for spending your time on football, I mean we all know football is way more important for a loving God than starving children, horrific diseases, wars and many other horrors. Yes who would expect a loving God to do anything about the big things when he is so busy using the joystick to make Tebow win at football.

    Give me a break – hey Tebow how bout praying for God to help all the starving children, people with horrible diseases.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • VaConservative

      Hey lighten up. God is God and he can do more than one thing at a time. God does care about the needs of all people, especially the fatherless, poor, and widows. What have you done today? Instead of out partying and getting arrested Tim Tebow spends his time with needy children. Maybe if more people followed his lead we would meet the needs of those you seem so concerned about? I hope you did your part today.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Doc

      for Thanks God
      God is able to give attention to football and to starving Children at the same time. He is omnipresent, unlike you or I.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Dustin

      VAConservative is a bloody moron. If "god" cared, children wouldn't starve to death everyday. And it is in places where psycho evangelicals go spread their bogus message. People like you are ruining the world.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Da King

      Saving souls is actually right up there. After all Tebow is a disciple of the Lord.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  8. JOHN

    Hey... relax Christian... once again our Lord reveals that He is interested in every aspect of our lives. He loves us remember? Do parents show up at their child's football game? Especially the most important one of the season. Well should we expect our Father to be any different. Just His way of saying, "Hello, Tim and family... I got your back no matter if you win or lose this little game". So cool... what would happen if He did it again this week? Nay..... Hmmm... The God Who Is There.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      Apparently god just isn't interested in helping millions of innocent, starving kids, and those with awful diseases that they were born with and did nothing to deserve.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      Great medicine, Doc.

      Here's to your health!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @JOHN: Your idea makes your god sound like a guy who divorced his wife, left her with the kids and only shows up for birthday parties and graduations, if he even shows up at all. For any of the hard parts of parenting, he's conveniently "unavailable."

      So, "Hello, Tim and family... I got your back no matter if you win or lose this little game...oh, there's a drought in your country and you and your children will starve if the dysentery from the dirty water doesn't get you first....yeah, I've got an important client meeting that I simply can't reschedule. You got this one, right?"

      January 13, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Pete

      The Pats are going to win, they've done it once they'll do it again. Go Pats!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Sean

      It's interesting to me that most of the people I know of who like to use the "million starving children" argument as their excuse for not believing in God, do little to nothing about these people themselves. Perhaps those who are using this argument in this debate are different. Maybe they are giving much of their time and resources to help out the starving masses they seem so concerned about. That would make sense. Since you don't believe in God, that means that all the world's problems are ours to solve. Since you are so concerned about the starving masses, I am sure you will want to sacrifice greatly to ease their suffering. The truth is that God and his people have and continue to sacrifice greatly for others. Look at the lists of who provides the most aid to the lost and hurting of the world. Christians rank very high if not at the top. So comfort yourself with sarcasm and feigned concern for the starving masses if you wish; but realize that if you don't believe in a deity, you and I are their only hope. I'm helping provide clean water, small business opportunities, schooling, medical and humanitarian aid, etc. in Northern Uganda -one of the most poor and war-scarred places on planet earth. I'm doing my part (for God by the way in light of all He's sacrificed for eternity's sake). Are you doing your part or is this simply a convenient argument to allow you to ridicule the faith of those you find annoying? We may never agree on whether their is a God or not; but it seems to me we could at least agree that there are a lot of hurting people and be willing to forfeit some of our own American prosperity for the good of making a real difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Of course, that is a biblical theme and mandate as well...

      January 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "but it seems to me we could at least agree that there are a lot of hurting people and be willing to forfeit some of our own American prosperity for the good of making a real difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Of course, that is a biblical theme and mandate as well."

      The problem with your argument is that christians in America like to tout that 70 – 80% of people in America claim to be christian, yet they are all still greedy. If the starvation issue really is one that can be solved by opening your wallets then you have done it. The reality is you can claim to be christian but you are all really to lazy to actually follow the teachings, which is why you are all going to hell too.

      January 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Sean

      OhPlz,

      Your response to me was: "The problem with your argument is that christians in America like to tout that 70 – 80% of people in America claim to be christian, yet they are all still greedy. If the starvation issue really is one that can be solved by opening your wallets then you have done it. The reality is you can claim to be christian but you are all really to lazy to actually follow the teachings, which is why you are all going to hell too."

      Interestingly enough, you make a lot of assumptions about me personally that I have no idea what possible evidence you have to support. First, I have no illusions that 70-80% of Americans are Christians, not in any real biblical sense of the word. I think we would be doing well if 20-30% were really followers of Christ. Second, did you not see the kind of work we a group of us are engaged in around Northern Uganda. We are not just throwing money at the problem. We are building relationships, supporting local business endeavors, providing clean drinking water and medical aid which enables the people to focus more energy and health toward building their lives and families...you do a great injustice to us by assuming we writing checks and not engaging beyond that. As a matter of fact, the things we are developing AND helping resource in country were goals that came from the local community itself -not things we derived from a distance. Third, I agree whole-heartedly that Americans as a whole are greedy -especially by global standards. We have an unfair share of the world's wealth and still seem largely discontent. However, to lump me in with all Americans as greedy without knowing anything about my personal life is a bit unfair. The truth is my family and I live very modest lives -poor by normal American standards, though admittedly still well above many by global standards. And, we are content. Finally, you assume that I am lazy, don't follow Christ's teaching and am going to hell. What do you base this on? Because I am an American? If so, I'm sorry you have such a low view of America and its citizens. And I'm sorry we have done a lot of things to earn people's lack of trust and scorn at times. But I assure you, there are legitimate Christians who follow after God with their whole heart, mind, strength and life. And, I hope someday you meet at least one of us so you can see the error in over-generalizations and assumptions such as those above.

      January 15, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  9. RaptureNot

    Since y'all seem to like throwing around Bible verses here's one Tebow seems to have forgotten:

    Matthew 6:5

    "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."

    January 13, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • JOHN

      The motive is not to be seen... rather to bring God, the invisible, into the practical aspects of life.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Sarai

      JOHN...Yet it is not God who is being edified ..it is the man. In this respect RaptureNot is correct.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • David

      This will be my last response, CNN loves to get people going on Religion. Please see below;

      Actually that Bible verse is talking about looking to get rewarded for the good deeds you have done, it has nothing to do with preaching the bible. We are called to go out and spread the Good News.

      Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      Next time you think it's god calling you telling you to push your religion on the world, ask him why he lets so many innocent kids starve to death. Then tell him to stuff his crank calls, get his lazy butt off his divine couch and get some work done, and then hang up on the useless jerk.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • fred

      Mo Pasta
      Give up on the starving children argument already. God has taken care of that. We have had the technology and resources for over 50 years to end starvation but man desires other things more. God lets man choose to follow his own desires because life is about the choices we make based on who we really are not who we pretend to be.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • OhPlz

      "God lets man choose to follow his own desires because life is about the choices we make based on who we really are not who we pretend to be."

      So when they pray to your god but continue to starve it's man's fault not your gods. What lame excuses you keep making for your god.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • fred

      OHPiz
      Not a lame excuse but a fact of life. We waste enough food that would eliminate hunger. God already answered the prayer of starving children by giving us the technology and resources long ago. Each of us makes the choice to buy a new I phone or send $60 per month to feed a starving child. Dont blame God tweet someone or use the GPS app then pat yourself on the head while a starving child prays. We waste enough on fun I phone apps to feed starving childern 10 times over. You and I will both face God on that issue. If you don't believe in God or there is no God at least feed some children instead of punching God in the nose for not doing that for you. God never does what we are expected to do and gifted to do.
      Look where Obama put 2 trillion dollars. Not in the mouth of children but the mouth of wall street. 600 million per year is what it would cost to feed every starving child. That is not even one half of one percent of our GDP in the US.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • OhPlz

      “God already answered the prayer of starving children by giving us the technology and resources long ago.”

      Your god did no such thing. If your god was as powerful as you imply then it should at least be inspirational enough with the millions of Christians out there to follow through and answer the prayers of the starving by that stupid remark. But sadly your god isn’t that powerful and almighty as you claim. It supposedly made earth in 6 days but can’t give food to millions of starving people. You blame man for that but the reality is it’s your god. If a mother doesn’t feed her child and demands it fends for itself and starves to death we would blame the mother not the child. Your excuses for your god is a joke and only continues to prove it’s a man made concept, just like the lies you keep making up to defend your delusional position.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • fred

      OhPiz
      We are not little chidren it is up to us to feed those that cannot. If God was going to do it for us then there is no choice it becomes Gods choice not ours, God has inspired us to feed the children and we have a feeding center.
      Now this is where you say..........see no god necessary.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "If God was going to do it for us then there is no choice it becomes Gods choice not ours"

      So as long as you are going to continue to choose this stupid argument then all the christians in the world are making a choice to allow these people to starve to death and die – that is murder and you're all going to hell. LMAO!

      January 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • OhPlz

      Murder = knowingly, and recklessly with extreme indifference to human life. ;-)

      January 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  10. Richard

    Tim Tebow is good mand and great for the NFL. I hope his fans remember he is just a football player however and shouldn't get to wrapped up in the drama as teams win and lose. I love god and jesus but do not like organized religion what so ever. Mainly because of the people similar who are posting here.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  11. Antony

    If there is a god, it is feline. I offer sacrifices and praise to my cat. In return, she provides me with unconditional love without threatening me with eternal damnation. Now that's a god I could believe in!

    January 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • JOHN

      Antony, The last portion of Proverbs chapter one addresses your condition. It also gives you the medicine you'll need to return to your right mind.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      JOHN, Antony's post is a great comment on one of the many absurdities of what is apparently your religion. Maybe it is you who should consider looking for a cure, for your delusion.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  12. AvdBerg

    Mankind in his natural state is not able to understand the Bible as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14) and that includes Tim Tebow.

    The above article by Eric Marrapodi is silly as God does not involve Himself in football. It is a lie and a fabrication of the truth and the article does not contain any spiritual truth.

    Please know that he that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15).

    Tim Tebow does not know what he worships as he worships after an image of a false God. He does not understand the Gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 2:14) but rather follows after a false Christ and the spirit of this world in which there is no salvation (Matthew 24:24). He was born in sin and in his natural state is separated from God and unless he repents and turns from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit he is of) unto God (Acts 26:18), he will remain spiritually blind. God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:31). For a better understanding who Tim Tebow worships and what it means to be a sinner, we invite you to read the articles ‘Repent’, ‘What is Sin’ and ‘Victory over Sin’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    It is sad but true but Sports and Entertainment is a stronghold of Satan’s divided kingdom (Matthew 10:26-28; 2 Cor. 10:4) and any reference to Jesus Christ is falsehood. Tim Tebow’s prayers are all in vain as he follows after the teachings and the doctrines of men and the principalities and powers of this world (Matthew 15:9; Eph. 6:12). Any sports figure that claims himself/herself be a Christian is a deception as they follow after a false Christ and the god of this world. Their faith does not stand in Jesus Christ but rather they do service unto them which by nature are no gods (Gal. 4:8). As a result of their spiritual blindness they do not know that they are all of the same spirit as they prefer darkness over light (John 3:19).

    For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world (1 John 5:4).

    For a better understanding what it means to be a Christian we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12). The truth is that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). This is why we call all of mankind to repentance.

    Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).

    http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

    January 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • AKA

      or... http WWW A MAN CRAZY AND DELUDED . COM

      January 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      AKA

      John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

      The problem is that by nature you will not be able to understand it (1 Cor. 2:14). For this reason our message remains the same: Ye must repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of) unto God (Acts 26:18). Without the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4) you will remain spiritually blind and separated from God.

      The words John 3:16 Tim Tebow has painted on his face, he has stolen from the Bible (John 10:1-15) and unable to understand

      The Gospel we preach is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11,12).

      For a better understanding what mankind must do to be reunited with God, what it means to repent and to be a sinner, we invite you to read the articles ‘Repent’, 'What is Sin?' and 'Victory over Sin' listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      January 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • ......

      Report abuse on all AvdBerg blogspam.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Keith

      Are you saying that Tebow is not a Christian?

      January 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Keith

      That is correct and according to God's righteous judgment. He follows after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24). The Bible is correct even when it records that the whole world is deceived (Rev. 12:9) and if it were possible even the very elect would be deceived (Matthew 24:24).

      Tim Tebow was born in sin and conditioned therein and unless he repents and turns from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit he is of) unto God (Acts 26:18) he will remain spiritually blind and separated from God.

      For a bettter understanding what it means to be a Christian we invite you to read the article 'Can Christianity or Any Other Religions Save You?' listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      January 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • AvdBerg

      Make sure to visit our great website at http://www.gaychristian101.com

      January 13, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • AvdBerg

      ........

      They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick (Matthew 9:12). They that are sick is a reference to the atheists, members of the gay and religious community.

      Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      January 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      "They that are sick is a reference to the atheists, members of the gay and religious community."

      I know lying is a sin but I just can't help myself. Yes, everyone including the religious community is sick and need help.

      But PLEASE visit our website to get God's REAL TRUTH http://www.gaychristian101.com

      Amen!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  13. BoldGeorge

    The true word of God is the Bible. It is a book like no other. No other book offers any peace, forgiveness, righteousness and a true hope for salvation, and no other book makes the claims it makes. More importantly, no other book exalts Jesus Christ as the bible does–from beginning to end. If we all stuck to the word of God, we wouldn't have all these religions, denominations and cults we have. As a matter of fact, if we all just stuck to and adhered to God's 1st and most important Commandment, "to love the Lord with all of your heart and not have any other gods before Him"...we wouldn't even be commenting about this. But since we live in a different scenario, we could only look to Christ for redemption and Salvation commonly. By the way, it is true that there are so many belief systems out there, even so many denominations within a same "religion". But Following Jesus Christ and trusting Him is a matter of relational, not religion. Better put, true religion is about acknowledging our sinful and hopeless state before God, knowing that we cannot ever meet His holy and righteous standard of living–following His Ten Commandments, but through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can meet all of the above. God imputed His righteousness in us through Christ's death and resurrection. He did it all for us, and thank God that He did because we fail miserably everday. Accept this, live in thankfulness to Him and possess a yearning to grow closer to Him, and you may rest assure that you have salvation and eternal life with God.

    January 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • One one

      Simplistic certainty is a seductive lure indeed.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Jimmy

      If God happens to be a myth, then is the Bible still his 'true word'?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Jimmy

      "But Following Jesus Christ and trusting Him is a matter of relational, not religion."

      Still, I'd be willing to bet that two fellows claiming to be doing just that would be extremely likely to find fault in the way the other guy does it.

      Besides, we're still talking about belief in and worship of a god, right? You don't actually have a 'relationship' with it any more than a poet has a 'relationship' with alliteration. So, in reality then, it's still plain old religion, no matter what you label it.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      It is a very personal relationship where there is a constant dialog. Prayer is communication with God plain and simple. When your read the Bible you receive revelations from God through the Bible. Faith gives you the assurance in what cannot be seen. Dare I say Love?

      January 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Beth

      It's the best in a relationship: god, the partner, never talks back! Probably doesn't make you sleep on the wet spot either. I like that in a man.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • fred

      Beth
      The best part is you know it is forever, it is filled with Joy

      January 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Beth

      fred, I thought being carnal just landed you in he.ll. I'll do without that Christian hangup, thanks. I don't date religiofreaks anyway.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • fred

      Beth
      Hell is reserved for satan and his demons is all we know for sure. Those who cause little ones to stumble are really going to get it. As far as the rest of us are concerned it is hard to say.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      "Prayer is communication with God plain and simple."

      Can you prove that prayer is actual communication with an invisible being and not self-talk combined with selectively viewing only the positive results in one's life? You can 'love' the book, and even the ideas within the book, but in no way do these things actually 'talk' to you as individuals do.

      So the only sense in which you can intelligently say that you have a 'relationship' with God is to liken it to a fit person saying that they have a positive relationship with food and exercise, right? Your belief works for you, thus you have a good 'relationship' with it.

      Seriously, how can you even hope to avoid skepticism over the notion of communicating with invisible beings? What would you say to someone claiming to have an 'invisible friend'?

      January 13, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      "Those who cause little ones to stumble are really going to get it."
      What if God counts those who teach children to reject scientific knowledge amongst these people? Or those who use charity as a means to gather vulnerable people for conversion? Good intentions, you say? Well, we all know what the road to hell is paved with, right?

      January 13, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      “Can you prove that prayer is actual communication with an invisible being and not self-talk combined with selectively viewing only the positive results in one's life?
      =>Cannot be proved to anyone that does not have a personal relationship with God.
      “You can 'love' the book, and even the ideas within the book, but in no way do these things actually 'talk' to you as individuals do.”
      =>Well, when I say thank you Jesus I am saying thank you to Jesus even though I understand Jesus is not an invisible man. When I say thank you Lord for giving me another day who am I speaking with? I am speaking with Jesus who sits at the right hand of God. The presence of Jesus is not the same as an invisible friend as it more of a spirit to spirit communication.
      “liken it to a fit person saying that they have a positive relationship with food and exercise, right?”
      =>no
      “Seriously, how can you even hope to avoid skepticism over the notion of communicating with invisible beings?”
      So how would you define say the prayer of mother for a dying child?

      January 13, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      =>Cannot be proved to anyone that does not have a personal relationship with God.

      Just as UFO aliens, ghosts and Bigfoot cannot be 'proved' to anyone who hasn't also seen one. So, what's the difference between your unproven belief and these others? I bet you're skeptical about most of these too, and look at these believers just like I do. So, don't the rest of us have a right to be skeptical of your thing, or are you just being hypocritical?

      =>Well, when I say thank you Jesus I am saying thank you to Jesus even though I understand Jesus is not an invisible man. When I say thank you Lord for giving me another day who am I speaking with? I am speaking with Jesus who sits at the right hand of God. The presence of Jesus is not the same as an invisible friend as it more of a spirit to spirit communication.

      So you imagine, just as others have imagined different gods being 'there'. How is you claim any different from those of clairvoyants who say they can communicate with dead people. Well, I guess one big difference in favor of clairvoyants is that at least we really know that the dead were once real.

      =>So how would you define say the prayer of mother for a dying child?

      Hope.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      "=>So how would you define say the prayer of mother for a dying child?

      Hope"

      Jimmy the Apostle Paul would reply:

      Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”Romans 4:18
      For in this hope (redemption in Christ) we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? Romans 24-25
      Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
      Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
      And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Corinthians 13:13
      If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. Corinthians 15:19

      January 13, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      =>So how would you define say the prayer of mother for a dying child?

      Hope.

      Sorry, I forgot to mention that a certain amount of desperation is also part of that definition. You don't pray for every little thing, right? Only the stuff that you don't want to leave to chance, or your own efforts to resolve. People can become desperate enough to try anything; magic crystals, homeopathic remedies, faith healing, and even prayer.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      Yes, and most people that have a conversion experience are finally depserate enough. People that do not need saving do not need a Savior. A stack of testimonies from people saved by grace would only evoke the ad populum fallacy rather than acceptable evidence of a living God.
      To "see" God you must first come to the desperate realization that you are lost and sin has alienated you from God. Then you must dilligently seek God in earnest.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      Thanks for the concordance list of verses that contain the word 'hope', but how do they prove your point? We all have hope. If prayer is merely the framework you use to explore all your hopes then more power to you, but if you think that it can magically bend circu.mstance and probability in your favor, then how is this any different than using a charm for luck?

      Paul said "Faith is confidence in what we hope for" but where this fails is that not everything you hope for actually comes to pass, and all the plati.tudes about prayers unanswered being part of God's plan end up just being excuses, right?

      Nice discussion, but I gotta go for now. Talk later, OK?

      January 13, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      OK, I would pray that you find yourself desperate enough to see God but, then you would need to hope God does not answer all prayers.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      fred, you're deeply deluded. Jimmy has posed some straightforward questions to you and all you can do is reply with dogma. It's interesting to compare Jimmy's posts with yours.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • fred

      Mo Pasta
      The Bible is the Word of God and the only written word of God. God reveals himself through his creation, Bible and Spirit. If we were talking about fixing up my old car we would use a car manual. The Bible is the manual (if you have it on your Ipad would it be Immanuel?) of redemption.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Pete

      "fred, you're deeply deluded. Jimmy has posed some straightforward questions to you and all you can do is reply with dogma."

      I noticed that too.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Mo Pasta: I think fred really tries hard, at first; he just gets overloaded, his circuit breaker pops and all calls go to voicemail.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • OhPlz

      "The Bible is the Word of God "

      That's not true, men wrote it and edited it.

      Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states, let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her. The crowd dissipates out of shame. That story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. The story is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

      After Jesus died, Mary Magdalene and two other women came back to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, according to Mark 16:1-2). They were met by a man in a white robe who told them that Jesus had been raised and was no longer there. The women fled and said nothing more to anyone out of fear (16:4-8). Everyone knows the rest of Mark’s Gospel, of course. The problem with the remainder of the story is that none of it was originally in the Gospel of Mark. It was added by a later scribe.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • fred

      Pete
      For Pete's sake you expect me make up stuff about God? The only revelation we have of God was carried forward from Moses on in the Bible. Jimmy was asking why I have faith, why God is real etc and that all is sourced from the Bible. I mentioned my personal experience but never counts, I mention other peoples personal experience but that never counts. So tell me what would you like to hear me say?

      January 13, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • fred

      All gods are made up.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • fred

      Oh Piz
      When Jesus referred to Jonah and other Scripture He made it clear there is a difference with all the stuff men add to the word of God and what is truth. The entire Bible must be taken as whole and there the truth comes out loud and clear. Of course it was written by men over time, yet these men were inspired by God recording their life experiencies with God. It is a story of redemption. If you choose to be saved that is where you go for the road map. If you do not need to be saved read Harry Potter

      January 13, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • OhPlz

      "Of course it was written by men over time, yet these men were inspired by God recording their life experiencies with God."

      So it's ok that the scribes embellished on the stories by adding lies to it. Right...that is why your god is so great. LOL!

      January 13, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      Let's see, you said "People that do not need saving do not need a Savior." So, that would be like saying that people who are strong swimmers do not need a lifeguard to save them from drowning? Of course, even strong swimmers can be put in situations where they become desperate enough to require saving, but to hear some Christians warn us about the perils of hell for nonbelievers you'd think that lifeguards are attaching anchors to everyone who refuses their help.

      "Yes, and most people that have a conversion experience are finally depserate enough."
      Sure, there are some very desperate people out there, and some of them probable can't help control their selfish impulses without something like this to keep them in check, but that's still not everyone, right? Why then is there a belief in hell for non-believers? It just doesn't make any sense.

      "To "see" God you must first come to the desperate realization that you are lost and sin has alienated you from God. Then you must dilligently seek God in earnest."
      So, to come to believe in God, to "see" him as you put it, you first have to believe that he is missing from your life, right? If I say that I think I'm a good person despite not believing in God do you accept that, or think that I must be deluded?

      And some folks have to be convinced that they are hopeless sinners first. When my son was going through puberty he use to call it a disease until I reminded him that everyone goes through it and that it was normal. It seems like so many things that are normal for humans to feel, like skepticism, for example, are treated as bad or even dangerous ideas to even have. It seems that conversion amounts to a person being broken down into a neurotic mess and then convinced that only what you're selling will cure them. So, how is this any different than what scam artists do?

      "OK, I would pray that you find yourself desperate enough to see God but, then you would need to hope God does not answer all prayers."

      I've heard enough conversion stories to know that finding myself "desperate enough to see God" means having a terrible tragedy occur to my. If you think that this is an OK thing to wish upon someone then you really aren't convincing me of the moral superiority of your belief system.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • fred

      OhPiz
      No, that is why it must be taken as a whole.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      “Why then is there a belief in hell for non-believers? It just doesn't make any sense. “
      =>The perils of hell for nonbelievers as you called it seems over played. You cannot find God, receive faith or get into the “Kingdom” because you fear the perils of hell. It could happen that fear of fire drives you buy a Bible but the fear factor will not produce faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the world of God.
      The two hanging next to Christ says it all. The one mocked Jesus while the other said “do you not fear God, this man has done nothing, remember me”. With those words Jesus said today you will be with me and to the mocking criminal Jesus said nothing. It is the fear of God the mocker lacked not a fear of hell.
      We know Hell is reserved for Satan and his demons and the rest a bit open ended. Jesus said to him whom much is given much is expected and as with the parable of the talents there is a relationship between the gifts God has given you and final accountability. My take is that we will be surprised at what awaits us. Some will have a joyous surprise while others could range from nonexistence to eternal separation from God (not so bad since that is what some desire anyway )

      January 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      “So, to come to believe in God, to "see" him as you put it, you first have to believe that he is missing from your life, right? If I say that I think I'm a good person despite not believing in God do you accept that, or think that I must be deluded?”
      =>No, throughout the Bible just a few loved God with all their heart and the rest were busy with life
      “And some folks have to be convinced that they are hopeless sinners first.”
      =>Yes, a hard enough fall so that the memory remains works if one is driven to repentance because of it and diligently seeks the Lord continually. There are tons of self help books out there and certainly people do change. Not everyone has a conversion experience based on brokenness yet they are drawn to Christ resulting in repentance. In short you are drawn towards Christ.
      A scam artist asks for something whereas God wants to give you something.

      "OK, I would pray that you find yourself desperate enough to see God but, then you would need to hope God does not answer all prayers." –Jimmy I was playing with your comment on hope verses faith in order to highlight the difference between your “hope” and my “faith” in prayer. It could not be a proper prayer.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Alice

      Some of you other atheists could take a page out of Jimmy's book here. See how easily he gets fred to reveal how his beliefs don't make any sense just by asking polite questions? Using profanity and insulting these guys just encourages them in thinking that they're right, and gives them an excuse to dismiss your arguments outright.

      Good job, Jimmy!! :-)

      January 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • fred

      Alice
      What exactly does not make sense (just one)

      January 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      Well, nonexistence is what I believe happens after death, and I'm separated from God already, so I guess I'm already golden! :-)

      Tell me, however, if God does not send people to hell then why fear him? I ignore him and he ignores me. I can live (and die) with that.

      =>No, throughout the Bible just a few loved God with all their heart and the rest were busy with life
      I guess heaven will be about as crowded as Canada. Northern Canada even.

      =>In short you are drawn towards Christ.
      Oh, I think that someone can be drawn towards repentance for their past misdeeds without ever even thinking of Jesus. Add the secular self-help books you mentioned and your notion of a God who doesn't torture people just for not believing in him and I'm at a loss as to why anyone would actually need religion, or a 'relationship' with Christ, if you prefer? Seems like I can get all the benefits that your faith brings you without having to sacrifice an inch of my intellectual integrity. Am I missing anything from your pitch?

      =>A scam artist asks for something whereas God wants to give you something.
      Well, God supposedly does ask for worship, and for you to believe in his existence, rules, and eventual plan for you as well, right? What does he want to give you in return? An eternity of further time to worship him? Gee, that sure doesn't sound very selfless of God, does it?

      There is also the question of unscrupulous clergymen to consider. All clergy get 'something' out of selling their particular version of God, so how is one supposed to define where heartfelt preaching ends and scamming people for personal gain begins? You can't read any of their minds to determine who is genuine. So how can you tell when you are being scammed when they could all potentially be doing it?

      –Jimmy I was playing with your comment
      Glad to hear that. For a second there it sounded something like wanting to get somebody addicted to crack just so that they could experience the relief that comes from beating the addiction. Boy, would that have been twisted, right?

      January 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      “Tell me, however, if God does not send people to hell then why fear him?”
      =>Fear of the Lord is most often used in terms of having the utmost respect, reverence and basically in awe of. In awe of his wonder, love and power which includes the negative also such as condemn to hell.

      “ I ignore him and he ignores me. I can live (and die) with that.”
      =>I do not know what God has gifted you with or purposed you with or how God has attempted to reach you. That said I have no clue as to which Kingdom or state you will be in after this life. However, if even Ho.mo Neandertalensis made provisions for the after life there may just be something out there.

      “I guess heaven will be about as crowded as Canada. Northern Canada even.”
      => According to Jesus narrow is the gate and narrow is the path and few find it.

      “ Seems like I can get all the benefits that your faith brings you without having to sacrifice an inch of my intellectual integrity. Am I missing anything from your pitch?”
      =>Yes, you miss out on the assurance of that which cannot be seen. You miss out on the joys and suffering that comes with knowing God (hard to say which you would have more of). There is no loss of intellectual integrity as you have added additional knowledge not taken away.

      “Well, God supposedly does ask for worship”
      =>Worship flows from the abundance of praise in your heart. God will not ask you for it or demand it.
      “What does he want to give you in return? An eternity of further time to worship him?”
      =>No, an eternity filled with everything you were created for to begin with. This perfect unity with God is enjoyed because you realize you were given everything. It would be one big bundle of love, peace, joy forever.

      "So how can you tell when you are being scammed when they could all potentially be doing it?”
      =>The Bible says to look for those that preach Jesus is Lord. Sorting out preachers and denominations takes a lot of prayer. If you have a trusted friend or relative do they behave as Jesus did, would they give their life for you, do they have intellectual integrity, are they givers not takers, are they orderly, law abiding, express joy, love, mercy, patience and kindness. If so see what they believe and where they go to church. That is a good start.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      Ho.mo neanderthalensis was very primitive, so this isn't helping your case any. He probable believed in animal spirits.

      => According to Jesus narrow is the gate and narrow is the path and few find it.
      Yet I'd wager that most American evangelicals sincerely believe that they personally will make it through the pearly gates. That's quit a few, or some people have rather inflated egos, right?

      =>Yes, you miss out on the assurance of that which cannot be seen.
      What would those be, if they are unseen?

      "You miss out on the joys and suffering that comes with knowing God (hard to say which you would have more of)."
      I hear from an Indian friend of mine that I'm missing out by not being a cricket fan. Somehow I manage to carry on.

      "There is no loss of intellectual integrity as you have added additional knowledge not taken away."
      I do not consider that which would be added as being "intellectual". I do have a great deal of knowledge in religion, however, which is what led me to becoming an atheist.

      =>Worship flows from the abundance of praise in your heart. God will not ask you for it or demand it.
      But it is expected, right? Kinda like it was expected for North Koreans to cry at Kim Jong-il's funeral.

      "It would be one big bundle of love, peace, joy forever."
      Aren't you skeptical about claims that anything can be enjoyable forever when forever hasn't passed yet? Face it, this is just a claim. People imagine that the joy would last forever. Nobody has been happy with God forever yet, so how can you tell that such a thing is even possible?

      ""If you have a trusted friend or relative do they behave as Jesus did, would they give their life for you, do they have intellectual integrity, are they givers not takers, are they orderly, law abiding, express joy, love, mercy, patience and kindness."
      Yes

      "If so see what they believe and where they go to church."
      They are atheists, and they only go to churches for social events and ceremonies.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      Yes, Ho.mo Neanderthalensis was primitive, just seems as far back as we go an instinct says something is out there. They could not explain and you cannot explain.
      Yes, inflated egos are a sure sign you do not know God who hates pride.
      The assurance we have is in a hope that Christ has gone to prepare a place for us. Your assurance is that there is no place for us and never was. We can see it you do not want to.
      Knowledge of religion is not the same as knowing God. Knowing God does not have a negative impact on knowledge rather it adds a dimension.
      Intellectual integrity demands you look at a known observable bias or blind spot. You do not know what you do not know. That being faith which opens a dimension that goes beyond materialism.
      “Worship flows from the abundance of praise in your heart. God will not ask you for it or demand it. But it is expected, right? Kinda like it was expected for North Koreans to cry at Kim Jong-il's funeral.”
      =>No it flows from the spirit of man that has the perspective of Ho.mo Neanderthalensis
      “Aren't you skeptical about claims that anything can be enjoyable forever when forever hasn't passed yet? Face it, this is just a claim.”
      =>aren’t you skeptical about non existence before and after your life
      “Nobody has been happy with God forever yet, so how can you tell that such a thing is even possible?”
      =>Jesus has and our hope is in him. Forever is absence of time. You are still in materialist mode of minutes and hours. Nobody has ever gone into nonexistence so how can you tell such a thing is even possible. Go ahead clear yourself awareness and let me know what you see.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Jimmy

      fred
      "we go an instinct says something is out there."
      It's called 'imagination'. We are hard-wired to be put on edge by things unknown because they are dangerous. Unknown sounds at night, the weather, darkness, accidents, and a whole bunch of other things all trigger this reaction. Being jumpy usually helps keep prey animals like us alive, but with our developing brains and ability to think conversationally within our own heads the idea of animals also having this ability seemed logical. Thus 'religion' was born. From the beginning it's always just been in our heads.

      "Yes, inflated egos are a sure sign you do not know God who hates pride."
      Yet, how many Christian never claim to know what God wants? God, who is supposedly so alien to us that his foolishness is wiser than our wisdom, or something like that. How can anybody ever claim to understand such a creature, and how do you know that his idea of 'paradise' is actually something you'd enjoy? He may be using people's souls as food in heaven for all you really know, right?

      "We can see it you do not want to."
      Works both ways. We can see that there is nothing else after death, and you cannot accept that. There have been many ideas about what an afterlife may be like. Why should anyone just assume that yours is the correct one? Because it's popular these days?

      "Knowing God" then seems to be the ability to put aside all the rational reasons why it just isn't so and believing anyway. It's like being in love. Who can see the faults of the person whom you have fallen in love with?

      Gotta go, for now.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      “We are hard-wired to be put on edge by things unknown because they are dangerous.”
      =>Simply speculation we have nothing to go on when it comes to why people of old and today (knowing all science) still sense there is more to our existence than this skin we are in.
      “Yet, how many Christian never claim to know what God wants?”
      =>Even Isaac got it wrong and was going to bless Esau his favorite then realized his error. There is some speculation that Abraham got it wrong because God told him He would provide a lamb to sacrifice yet Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. The will of God still prevailed and always does. We have clear instructions and when followed we are in the will of God. Often times we can best see it looking back.
      “How can anybody ever claim to understand such a creature”
      =>No one can know the mind of God. If he is our master than we simply obey when we do not know and the knowledge comes later.
      “ how do you know that his idea of 'paradise' is actually something you'd enjoy?”
      =>We only have the words of the Bible and personal experience with what God had done in our lives. Everything points to a loving God that has gone to great lengths for us. You know your friends character such that you can trust his or her intent.
      “ He may be using people's souls as food in heaven for all you really know, right?”
      =>That would go against the general character of God but may well fit Satan’s.
      “We can see that there is nothing else after death, and you cannot accept that.”
      =>You see a dead body as do I observing the cold empty shell. It is the consciousness or self awareness of a lifetime that you think is attached is to the body when everything you have ever experienced says it is outside the body. If you can tell me that your thoughts and feelings are bottled up between your ears then I would wonder who put the boundaries on your thoughts and dreams.
      “ There have been many ideas about what an afterlife may be like. Why should anyone just assume that yours is the correct one?”
      =>If there is a God then God put you in the exact place where the real essence of your soul could be fully exposed. If there is no God nothing will eventually matter or have existed.
      "Knowing God" then seems to be the ability to put aside all the rational reasons why it just isn't so and believing anyway. It's like being in love. Who can see the faults of the person whom you have fallen in love with? “
      =>Yes to a great extent. However, there is often great doubt some of which in my case has not been explained yet; I trust based on everything else I know, that it will be explained to me. It is not as if we cannot see how Christ raising from the dead or Lazarus (who’s body had already begun to stink) alive again makes zero rational sense. It is not as if we cannot see the trap where Jesus said I am not going to do that trick for you or your friends to see my power just take my word for it 2,000 after the fact when there will be no evidence except an even older story of Jonah that was in the belly of a big fish. How foolish to the wise is that? How foolish is a talking serpent or donkey today when it was believable 4,000 years ago. How foolish was it that people would die at the beginning of the church rather than deny Christ. Peter denied Christ when he was with him yet after the Holy Spirit entered something changed at Pentecost now he was ready to give his life.

      January 16, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  14. chuck wagon

    This is one of the best articles ever seen on this website. I'll try to get to all the comments too. There is one thing to mention – in one part of scripture it states Jesus would not return until the work has been preached to all mankind. I wonder with this story gaining much attention along with other gospel messages the end time may be approaching faster than anyone realized it.

    January 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Huh?

      "I wonder with this story gaining much attention along with other gospel messages the end time may be approaching faster than anyone realized it."

      Not everyone is into football or reads this blog. The sky is falling, the sky is falling....RUN! Chicken Little RUN!

      January 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Keith

      And God uses Tebow because so many preachers are teaching milk/toast health and wealth garbage.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Beth

      A football player is just so much more credible. Well, I suppose, compared to a priest, that might actually be true.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • AKA

      Beth
      Football players and priests; two kinds of grown men who like to pat other guy's bottoms. :-)

      January 13, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Da King

      Chuck, I think your are right. There are many more signs that just this. Hope to see you up there. It has been preached, that doesn't mean they believe.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  15. dave

    the writer is comparing tebow to a lunatic? we get your point. for centuries scholars have said Christianity will soon be a dead religion – they have all died but the truth is still strong and gates have hell will not prevail against it.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • momoya

      Christianity today (in all its weird forms and whatnot) bears absolutely no resemblance to the Christianity of 200 years ago or 2000 years ago. It's either dead already or has evolved into a completely different species. Take your pick.

      January 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Chris

      I saw the same thing, Dave. This swipe at Christianity isn't even thinly veiled. Less of a report and more of clever, dishonest presentation of facts.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Mo Pasta

      The "swiping" is well deserved, and you ought to think about why that is.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  16. Lars J

    After spending much of my life studying the Bible and related literature, both pro and con, I've come to believe that the Writer intended to provide just evidence of Himself and His will for individuals. And enough doubt that one can choose, without overtly rebelling against a known fact, to not believe in Him. To make the decision and individual one. Which brings us back to Tebow. Nothing in the Bible addresses God reaching men through a popular cultural figure, or through politics. Jesus reached men and women on a personal individual level. What you see in the media is a faux version of Christianity that makes for good ratings and meaningless "culture wars" but is not the place the Spirit dwells.

    January 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "I've come to believe that the Writer intended to provide just evidence of Himself and His will for individuals."

      I am assuming you are referring to god when you say "writer". I hope you realize that book you are speaking of was written by men not god.

      January 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  17. Sean

    @Greg s: "A 3400 year old text that is over 50 percent prophecy that has not to this day been proven false."

    The oldest biblical texts, through textual criticism, places then at 1000bce (Im being generous by 50-100 years). They were redacted into the form we basically have today in around the 6th century bce.

    Being that it's given through textual families, obviously not all texts are exactly like. We cant have texts that vary and have them all be 100% accurate at the same time. Per specifics, despite the bibles prophecy (Ezekiel) about Tyre, the city still stands. Even the gospels report Jesus' travels through the "relgions of Tyre and Sidon". As much as we may WANT the bible to be totally accurate, we don't get to say it is...since it's not.

    Please look up the term "proof texting". The bible is not 50% prophecy. The Psalms, for example, are not prophetic texts. Theyre songs for worship. We don't get to reassign genres to books because we WANT them to be what theyre not.

    Just as people have different reasons for believing, others have different reasons for disbelieving. Another phrase I would reccommend investigaing is "strawman". It's a term used to apply to informal logical fallicies.

    "The Lord God Almighty does not look at death the way mortal man does"
    Greg, please. You don't know what god thinks. Youre in the middle of TELLING people they dont know what god thinks – and then you go on to tell us how god thinks. It strains ones credibility. Another informal fallacy. This one is called "stealing the concept".

    Sean

    January 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  18. Jason

    Wait, so people are comparing Tebow to Jesus????

    January 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Jason

      It will be funny when Tebow gets "crucified' this weekend.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  19. BoldGeorge

    John 3:16 is the heart of the Gospel in a nutshell. Either you believe it or you don't know. There is no in between or trying to say that God really didn't mean that." It's a take it or leave it thing. Take it and you will have God's promise of this verse...eternal life. Leave it and you have just condemned yourself.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Jimmy

      "Take it and you will have God's promise of this verse...eternal life. Leave it and you have just condemned yourself."

      This, of course, still hinges on the question of whether God is actually real, right? If you cannot provide any proof of his existence then why should I fear him any more than I should fear Thor, or Apollo?

      January 12, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • rick

      Can't be concerned about retaliation ("judgment" for you pious folk) from a being in which I do not believe.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      That's ok, you have the earthly right to believe or not believe.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      Actually, the problem is deeper than believing or not believing. It is: who actually wrote John 3:16? Bible scholars say it most likely was not "John" – whoever John was. Most likely, the gospel of John was not even written until some 40 to 70 years after Jesus' death, so the writer was not quoting John, nor was he quoting Jesus. The same is true for the remaining Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. We have no definitive proof as to who wrote the gospels, nor exactly when they were written. I'm not implying that Biblical scripture is worthless. Was it divinely inspired? It probably was. But is it without error and literally true? Definitely not.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Rick...either the bible is divinely inspired or it isn't. If you can't believe the the Scriptures in one facet or more, then when can you believe the Scriptures? So, we would have to believe that God is not that all powerful or too divine if He let's His great message to humanity be tainted. This means we have no true hope for Salvation. That is basically what you are stating.

      I would rather accept someone that does not believe the bible at all than one who believes it somewhat. Actually, the bible says this about "half" believers: Revelation 3:16 – So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Get Real

      BoldGeorge: "either the bible is divinely inspired or it isn't."

      There is no more evidence that it is 'divinely inspired' than there is that 'divine inspiration' is responsible for the Hindu Vedas, The Quran, The Book of Mormon, L. Ron Hubbard's works, Aesop's Fables, or Dr. Seuss.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Steve

      Rick, you don't have to but what do you have to lose?

      January 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "Was it divinely inspired? It probably was. But is it without error and literally true? Definitely not."

      LOL this is the dumbest statement I have seen in a while. So what you are saying is that God inspired the bible, that he told the writers of the bible what to put in the bible, yet it is full of error and not literal. How can you believe in a god and book that is supposedly divine yet not literal.

      January 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @BoldGeorge wrote, "Rick...either the bible is divinely inspired or it isn't." So, what's your point? Scripture may be divinely inspired without being perfect. Several spiritual texts (the Torah, the Bible, the Quran, the book of Mormon) all claim divine inspiration, but they each conflict with the other. It is not God who is trying to confuse us, it is man who is confused about the true nature of God, and God is NOT some judgemental tyrant who condemns us to hell for not believing in Him. The concept of h-ell and damnation is man-made, and not from God. The quicker we realize that, the more peaceful this world will be.

      January 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bryan

      Should be the non-belief blog. Anytime people post that they do believe, they get bashed.

      January 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Yeah

      Keep preaching, Rev. Rick, you've got it!

      BoldGeorge – if there is no conflict, what about the differences between protestants and catholics, fundamentalists and contextualists, eastern and western orthodoxy, etc? Christianity is full of conflicts and different thoughts. Some believe in the trilogy, others do not. The role of Mary is different in the different versions. And, each of their bibles are different. So, which one is the true word of god? And what are the others?

      January 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Yeah...

      The true word of God is the Bible. It is a book like no other. No other book offers any hopeand no other book makes the claims it makes. No other book exalts Jesus Christ as the bible does. If we all stuck to the word of God, we wouldn't have all these religions, denominations and cults we have. As a matter of fact, if we all just stuck to and adhered to that 1st Commandment, To love the Love with all your hear and not have any other gods"...we wouldn't even be talking about this. But since we live a different scenario, we could only look to Christ for redemption and Salvation. By the way, it is true that there are so many belief systems out there, so many denominations within a same "religion". But Following Jesus Christ and trusting Him is a matter of relationship, not religion. Better put, true religion is about acknowledging our sinful and hopeless state before God, knowing that we cannot ever meet His holy and righteous standard of living, but through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can meet all of the above. God imputed His righteousness through Christ' death and resurrection. He did it all for us, and thank God that He did because we fail miserably. Accept this and live in thankfulness to Him and possess a yearning to grow closer to Him, and you may rest assure that you have salvation and eternal life with God.

      January 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Jimmy

      BoldGeorge
      "That's ok, you have the earthly right to believe or not believe."
      Which comes down, for many Christians, to something very like the choice a shopkeeper has between paying the protection money demanded by the local gang, or not paying it, right?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Rev.Rick

      @BoldGeorge said, "Better put, true religion is about acknowledging our sinful and hopeless state before God, knowing that we cannot ever meet His holy and righteous standard of living....." The problem is, there is no such thing as "true religion" as you put it. All "religions" are merely poor approximations – man's poor attempt at interpreting and recording what they were feeling when they wrote scripture, or perhaps wrote a hymn or a psalm in praise of God. The primary problem with most fundamentalist religions is they are based on two things: (1) love, and (2) fear. It's the carrot and the stick approach to salvation. If God created us and put us here to "test us", just to see whether or not we would worship and devote ourselves only to Him, that makes humans no more than lab rats in a twisted experiment, with God as the mad scientist who is ready to torture us for all eternity if we don't comply. No. That makes God all too human, and makes Him subject to the human weaknesses of jealousy, self-centeredness and revenge. That is NOT the God I believe in.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Rick,

      *****All "religions" are merely poor approximations

      The problem is if the above is a true statement then you claim the very knowledge which you claim cannot be true, thus invaliding the statement itself. It is understood that if Muslims and Jews are correct then Christians fail to love God in a serious way and if Christians are correct then Muslims and Jews fail to love God in a serious way. They cannot be approximations if they are mutual exclusive.

      *****The primary problem with most fundamentalist religions is they are based on two things: (1) love, and (2) fear. It's the carrot and the stick approach to salvation.

      I don't know why love would be a problem. I understand the people that do things out of fear and begrudging submission. That is an un-repented heart and does not glorify God

      *****that makes humans no more than lab rats in a twisted experiment, with God as the mad scientist who is ready to torture us for all eternity if we don't comply.

      Curious, would you consider humans that go to a court of law a lab rat? Would you consider the judge or jury as mad scientist(s)?

      Or does your heart deep down inside yearn for justice; yearn for righteousness, and when we fail yearn for mercy and forgiveness

      January 13, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Rev.Rick

      @ Mike from CT said, "The problem is if the above is a true statement then you claim the very knowledge which you claim cannot be true, thus invaliding the statement itself."

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply, but you have entirely missed the point. I make no claim to any knowledge. Just a "belief", and only a belief, that the vengeful, jealous God of the Bible is not who nor what man claims Him to be. And a belief is nothing more that. It is not knowledge, and neither are your beliefs "knowledge". What I "believe" is that the Bible, and indeed all scripture from all faiths, must be taken in context. I'm not saying we must throw out the baby Jesus along with the baptismal water, what I am saying is we must hold scripture up to the light of reason and say, "is this literally true?" Or is scripture simply a guide for how to live our lives, written by men who may have been well-intentioned, but who, like all of us, are subject to tinting our faith and beliefs with the sociopolitical, and cultural colors of that era? Men, mostly Jews, who daily dealt with oppression and discrimination, and looked for refuge and hope where ever they could find it. Even Jesus said that "the kingdom of heaven is within you." So, why do we continue to look for heaven elsewhere? The only forgiveness that is necessary is forgiveness for the wrongs that we do to others, and the wrongs that we bring upon ourselves. We are not punished FOR our sins, but we are certainly punished BY them. I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian, a "dyed in the wool" Southern Baptist. However, I simply no longer buy into the Judeo-Christian concept of a God who created us as flawed, sinful and imperfect beings, and then proceeds to punish us for being so. On the one hand, Christians speak loftily of love, mercy and forgiveness, and on the other they speak of judgement, damnation and hell. That makes God look like a schizophrenic, or a sociopath. The twisted theology of the last 2000 years has outlived its usefulness. Has God changed over the last 2 millenia? I believe not, but man's understanding of Him must.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Da King

      Rev Rick, Your new beliefs to not line up with The scripture. You have come to believe in the god of your own imagination. That makes you God. And that way doesn't work out so well.

      January 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Da King – Thank you. You just made my point for me. No one's beliefs line up with scripture, because no scripture has ever proven to be without error – not the Bible, not the Quran, not the Book of Mormon. If even one of these books of scripture had been proven to be without error then everyone would be of the same religion. If God is who Christians, Muslims or Mormons say He is, then God could easily make Himself unequivocally understood and we would stop fighting and killing each other in His name. Instead, each "religion" bases itself on its own texts that were written thousands of years ago, and in most cases in languages that must be interpreted for us. God is not unreliable – man is. And so are man's attempts to unequivocally define Him through scripture. God meets us on our own terms, and for you to say that my beliefs "make me God" is ridiculous. Your fear of who you THINK God is has blinded you to the fact that God loves us even more than we can imagine. Until you face and overcome that fear, you will continue to believe in a dualist God that offers us love and forgiveness on the one hand, but on the other also threatens man with vengeance, hellfire and eternal damnation on the other. It's wrong. Just plain wrong. And until humanity wakes up to that, we will continue to point fingers at each other and claim that "my religion's God is better than your religion's God" or "my religion's scripture is better than you religion's scripture." It just ain't so.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  20. TG

    Rollen Stewart was an extremist with the Bible verse of John 3:16. Jesus, however, exhibited a mild demeanor, saying: "Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”(Matt 11:28-30) Jesus likened himself to a shepherd that leads, not pushes, people to his heavenly Father, Jehovah God.(John 10:11)

    Jesus also identified the most important Scripture in the Bible, when asked by one of the Jewish religious leaders: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"(Matt 22:36) How did Jesus respond ?

    Verses 37-40 says: "He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”

    Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, putting them in the proper order. In fact, when citing what is called "The Lord's Prayer", he put first the hallowing of God's name, Jehovah, first and second that God's kingdom come and bring the same genuine peaceful conditions as in heaven, also on the earth, with our personal needs far down the line.(Matt 6:9-13)

    January 12, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Jimmy

      When Jesus said to "love Jehovah your God" why didn't he simply say to love him? He knew then that he was God, right?

      January 12, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Reality

      All of the NT verses and passages have been thoroughly studied by many contemporary NT scholars. Many of these scholars have concluded that the passages cited by TG with the possible exception of Matt 6: 13-19 are inauthentic. See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years and by Professor JD Crossan in his book, The Historical Jesus.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Jimmy: He did. Read John 14:6 – Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Also in John 14:9 – Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

      Reality: Those scholars you talk about have been gravely deceived in their quest to "prove" the bible. It seems to me all they are bent on doing is proving the bible wrong. They can just get in line with all the other folks who have been trying to discredit and disprove the Word of God throughout human history.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jimmy

      BoldGeorge
      Where in “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." does Jesus even imply that he's actually God? He could just be saying that he is God's only legitimate dealer currently on Earth. God may have authorized quite a few others since Jesus' day. The idea of Jesus literally being a demigod is most likely an imported idea from the surrounding Greek and other religions. The Jews certainly would have been right to consider it blasphemy within their faith and, at this time, Christianity was within their faith, right?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the "newbies":

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

      January 13, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Reality

      One must read the studies of contemporary historians and NT scholars to see how they decide the authenticity of historical events and passagess. Rigorous conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence. Professors JD Crossan and G. Ludemann's studies are top notch in this regard.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:32 am |
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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.