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Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age
January 10th, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.

When asked if “God used evolution to create people," 73% of pastors disagreed - 64% said they strongly disagreed - compared to 12% who said they agree.

Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.

A movement called Young Earth creationism promotes the 6,000-year-old figure, arguing that it is rooted in the Bible. Scientists say the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

The Southern Baptist Convention survey, which queried 1,000 American Protestant pastors, also found that 74% believe the biblical Adam and Eve were literal people.

“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a report on LifeWay’s site. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”

The phone survey was conducted in May 2011, sampling ministers from randomly selected Protestant churches. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, LifeWay said.

A 2010 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans believe God created humans in their present form, versus 54% who said humans developed over millions of years.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Evangelical • Science

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soundoff (6,504 Responses)
  1. Believe is not fact, All science is theary

    Belief is the wishful story that bridges the gap of ignorance and seldom has any factual backing. Science starts with observation, questions the observation, then concludes that it needs to continue to question to know the whole truth. Religion is never science, belief is not science. Science is fact, belief is not. . . . is this at all clear to anybody. I personally think that spontaneous generation is the only fact of life, reading the Bible only convinces me that the Mother Goose is more interesting.

    January 22, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  2. Bumper

    momoya:

    I seriously doubt that you have read the Bible. By reading your comments I can tell that you don't know anything about basic theology or the historical redemptive history of Christ and Biblical teachings. In fact, some of your comments remind me of the sort of stuff that grade school children inquire about in Sunday school. You don't know the basics (God, faith, etc...).

    January 22, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • turtlemom

      You know, that is funny, because my first doubts were in early grade school... (to my sunday school teacher): "So, are you saying that this Noah's Ark thing Really happened?" I was told it did, and at 8 I called BS on that one. I knew I was being lied to even then, so I think grade school questions are some of the best, most honest questions asked. This was around the same time I realized adults were lying about Santa Claus, too. Same thing. so, not to sound elitist, but I had the ability to call BS at 8 for things which christian adults still believe in. It's amazing how much denial, fear, and unreasonable thinking religion breeds.

      January 22, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • jean

      I agree, turtlemom.

      I went to catholic school and they taught us the old testament in first and second grades, moving on to the new testament in third. I remember thinking that the stories of Abraham as well as the entire garden of Eden scenario made no sense whatsoever and couldn't be stories about a loving deity. I was told that I would understand these things when I got older and I accepted that answer at the time.

      When I was in sixth grade I learned that teachers weren't always right and I also learned about comparative religions. In a flash I realized that all religion was arbitrary – if I lived in India I would probably be Hindu, etc. I became an atheist at that moment and years of being compelled to go to church never changed that.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  3. Bumper

    momoya:

    I seriously doubt that you have read the Bible. By reading your comments I can tell that you don't know anything about basic theology or the historical redemptive history of Christ and Biblical teachings. In fact, some of your comments remind me of the sort of stuff that grade school children inquire about in Sunday school. You don't even know the basics (God, faith, etc...).

    January 22, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Bumper is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      January 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  4. False Dichotomy

    Personally, I believe the entire universe and all living things were pooped out by a giant zebra. Evolution is just a theory, there are gaps in the fossil record, and I don't understand it ... and therefore the universe and all living things were pooped out by a giant zebra.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Angela

      That makes as much sense as most of the stories in the bible.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  5. iminim

    Christ told parables (illustrative stories to convey a message.) Christ is one part of the Christian Trinity. God is another part of the Christian Trinity. Why is it so hard to accept that God conveyed a creation parable to early monotheists? What if God had conveyed the actual story of creation to ancient writers......... " There was a big explosion or "big bang" and all the matter/energy in the universe was created. It expanded outward rapidly and, over the course of billions of years, it coellesced into enormous structures we now call galaxies......" etc, etc. Think an ancient could have gotten that down on parchment or papyrus?

    Besides, belief in a mode of creation of the universe has nothing to do with the message of Christ. It is sad that so many who minister cannot see the difference.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  6. Mike

    Momoya..."You guys have no way to determine which of you is believing correctly"...that's a good point, we don't and things would be a heck of a lot easier if God had simply made things crystal clear. Why didn't he? I don't know. I suppose because, perhaps one of the best ways and maybe the best way of learning to let one's pride die, is by learning to discuss one's differences with other people. This REALLY becomes apparent when Christians are discussing different viewpoints...it doesn't take long for pride to flare up. If God had made everything crystal clear, there would be no need for discussion and thus the best opportunity to learn about one's pride would be lost. As the Bible points out, humans are born into pride and only through Christ can we be rid of it...but even then it still takes time. Why can't I become the perfect person as soon as I receive Christ? I don't know, that's just not the way God does it but I wish he would. It would be nice if we could all see things perfectly clear but as the Bible says "for now we see through a glass darkly". I'm sure God has his reasons for that and I suspect learning about pride is only one of the reasons.

    Time for me to hit the bed and I wish you all peace and prosperity for this new year...and even if you don't believe in him...may God bless you and your families.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • momoya

      Mike, the point is, people shouldn't be telling others what the mind of god is or what happens after death. I think that we could come up with some great principles that any caring god should have, but he doesn't seem to care what anybody thinks of him. There's no evidence of any god, thus there is no reason to believe in one. Christians recognize, deep down, that had they been born in a different society worshiping a different god, they'd be believing in that one just like they believe in the god of their current culture. God's not talking, or i f he is, then he's lying to everybody but one or two who have managed to contort their minds into a what god considers a pleasing brain sculpture.

      January 22, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • dan

      God did make things crystal clear. The problem is when we trust theory over scripture. God's word has to be the foundation. thousands of years were never seen from Genesis one by anyone attempting to understand the timing of creation. They were read into it by an assumption that the age of the earth was billions of years rather than thousands. The Hebrew in Genesis one could not be more clear then if a 12 year old wrote it. It comes down to an issue of authority and you have only two choices. 1) God is correct and I am mistaken, 2) I am correct and God is mistaken.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Q

      "The problem is when we trust theory over scripture." Tell that to the children who died when their parents chose scripture over the "Germ Theory of Disease" and antibiotics...

      January 22, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Ladonna

      Dan,
      "God did make things crystal clear" According to who? You? You missed the point. You think God made things perfectly clear and you believe your "subjective" interpretation of scripture and concept of God is true. Well, so does everyone else, but no one interprets it or conceptualizes god exactly the same way you do. You see. You are bias to your own ego. You believe you are correct and everyone else who disagrees is wrong. Ok. What makes you special over everyone else? Do you have special supernatural powers or something?

      January 22, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  7. Bumper

    momoya,

    I think one of your major problems is that you don't seem to understand anything about the nature of spirituality and that God is who He is, and not what the world wants him to be. I don't believe that you have ever read the Bible. You can't design your own God or project your wants and desires into your own form of theism. Stop trying to tell God who He's supposed to be and SUBMIT TO HIS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Bumper

      Further, you are living a life of atheism and hedonism. You will almost certainly get delivered to satan on the day of reckoning unless you change your lifestyle and surrender to Christ. This is not a threat, but represents reality as revealed in God's word.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Bumper: "You can't design your own God or project your wants and desires into your own form of theism."

      That's precisely what you (and the old Middle Eastern Hebrew tribal leaders) have conjured up.

      There is not a whit of evidence that any god inspired the Bible.

      If there is some kind of god, it may just smite you severely for believing in and worshiping such a hideous monster, and perhaps may just grant your wish of eternal submission.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • momoya

      Bumper, why won't you discuss the topics instead of continually falling back on the same old sermons about how nasty your god will be to me because I honestly don't see evidence of him? So your god is going to be my tormentor, big deal. The bible makes sense as a collection of myths. It makes wrong claims because they weren't god's words, they were primitive man trying to understand his mysterious world. If you god hasn't provided you a measuring stick, so everybody understands what's serious and what isn't, what's literal and what's figurative, and what's time-specific guidelines versus universal principle, then you have no room to talk. You're just one more acolyte who believes in the dominant religion of his community and his era. You're a common enough breed.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • momoya

      Oh, and Bumper, I'm certainly not proud of this, and it's not a boast, it's a darn shame, but I know the bible far better than you ever will. I just really wish that I hadn't wasted the time.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • turtlemom

      Bumper is a perfect example of brainwashing emptiness. I should know I have lived there. From about the age of 15-19 I was spewing the same garbage with such conviction, not knowing what the hell I was talking about. Did you know Bumper that man created religion. MAN CREATED RELIGION. God did not create religion. This should really open a door for you to start asking questions. WHY did man do this? ... Please start asking questions. You will not burn in hell, it's not scary over here on this side. It's actually very freeing, wonderful and empowering to know that you can be a great, good, moral person and you can do it all on your own! No guilt, no fear, no answering to or fearing an invisible man in the sky who doesn't exist. Try to see things logically and not emotionally for once.

      January 22, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • fred

      turtlemom
      You say you once knew the truth when you were 15 or so? Truth is always truth and a lie is always a lie. Religion is often so far removed from the truth that we forget what is real. Basically you are now saying that you can do all the things a child of God can do yet you can do it without God. That is great. Guess you read the first part of Genesis where the serpent baited the women and she thought "I could be like God". Well way to go, just like all the other doubters you managed to prove Genesis right on. Truth hurts so it is you who has just layed down a line of lies to keep in denial. It it you who is afraid that God is real otherwise why all the excuses. God said we were wired to know our creator. You know and thus you will contiue to make up line after line of rediculous justifications to cover your guilt, cover your fear and cover your pride.

      January 22, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Ladonna

      Fred, did you ever notice that everyone has a different concept of god? Why is that? It is because man created god. God is a concept in our brains. There is no universal evidence that christian dogma is true. Quite the opposite. There are tons of reasons to believe it is not true. You can spute out what you call a concept of truth all you want, but that is your subjective truth alone. The Bible is way to ambiguous and contradictory that i doubt even any two people conceptulize it exactly the same.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Mirosal

      I'd like to know wherer Bumper equates Atheism with hedonism. The Romans and Greeks worshipped many gods, and prayed to them constantly. Sounds religious to me. And from the surviving records of those societies (and there is a LOT that survived!!) they certainly knew how to P-A-R-T-Y!! to-ga to-ga TO-ga ..TO-GA

      January 22, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • jean

      Mirosal,
      Ironically, the Roman Pagans considered Christians to be atheists because they didn't believe in many deities. Lol...

      January 22, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • seriously seeking

      Ok, but which version of God should I try to know?

      January 23, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  8. momoya

    Mike, another thing. I assume that people would rather have a conversation than not with an actual loving being who is going to decide their eternal fate. Absentee parenting sucks, and god should know better than to leave us to ourselves with a bunch of books that completely contradict what they purport to sustain as absolute truth. Your god's sloppy and uncaring.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Asamov

      momoya: Good god your responses and posts have been a pleasure to read! Keep wasting your breath!

      January 22, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  9. momoya

    Mike, you're missing my point entirely. I am saying that it is unfair for god to provide a system and the evidence to study the principles of math more and more while not providing a similar system and the evidence to study him and what he wants more and more. I'll try again.

    If god wants people to believe in him then he should be communicating better to the people that study him. The people that study god don't agree on anything, much less a system whereby a guy in India will RELIABLY come to the same principles as as a guy in the Arctic. You guys have no way to determine which of you is believing correctly. A mathematical formula can be proved right or wrong by the principles of math–and those principals are the same no matter who discovers them or how long it takes them.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  10. Mike

    Jeff......you did not read the comment. I did not say that God cannot speak through blasphemy, I said that he does not...and I meant that in a general sense...because generally he simply will not do it. But there are exceptions, otherwise no one would ever hear from him.

    January 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • jeff

      point taken, i did not read close enough ... must be getting tired as i have noticed i have many typo's as well

      January 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • What IF

      Mike,

      There is no evidence that anyone does hear from "him".

      Listen, Mike, I was a believer for close to 50 years (granted in lessening degrees as time went on). I thought that I was one of you special ones, who communed with the divine. I practiced every command, every ritual, every prayer and incantation.

      Over many years I found out that I was talking to myself. There is no one there. Sometimes, I sort of wish that there were someone there - it was fairly easy being a believer and a follower, and it often produced pretty awesome feelings. Living in realism can be real difficult, I'm sorry to break it to you.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  11. momoya

    Mike, you asked me what god should do concerning our belief or nonbelief in him and how he should advertise what hell will be like.

    1. I think god should provide ample proof of who he is to each individual person, for example, he could meet with each person for a few hours every 7 years or so, and invite us to test him according to our desire to know him. Since everyone would be getting similar answers and advice, we'd all want to know him and love him more (if he was the sort of chap people would want to know and love more–I admit some presumption, there).

    2. God should also share with each person what they will experience after death, for example, if I was living a very immoral life, when god met with me, he could allow me to experience a few seconds or minutes of what I would experience after death according to his system of punishment. (You know, a sort of Scrooge in the Christmas Carol type thing). That way, people could modify their behavior according to what they know their experience would be in the afterlife if they died the next day.

    3. God should also make his system of punishment one that leads the "sinner" into greater and greater knowledge and maturity. A person who was in "hell" could work his way towards god until he was behaving exactly as god wanted and share more and more experience with god. If god cares for every person and wants a deeper and fuller relationship with each person as that person understands god more and more, that is the most sensible paradigm.

    The problem with god is that he says different things about the afterlife, in one verse claiming hell is absolutely horrible and in another saying that the dead do not know anything in the afterlife; in other scriptures, god implies that he would never made a person suffer in the afterlife like some evil people make humans suffer in life. God should be as obvious and attainable as the principles of mathematics. Everyone has to use the same rules in math, whether they are an evil terrorist, or a church secretary, or a theoretical physicist. The sheer number of different forms of god belief and denominations and sects demonstrates that god choses to remain a mystery to the very people that seek him. That's incredibly irresponsible of him.

    January 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • jeff

      Agreed, the problem is that the interpretation of the bible has been done many times with many differnet results, why is there a new version, an old version, a king james version etc., it is done to hold sway over the people of different times, control the masses. At the same time people are taught that anything opposing those views is heresy and shouldn't be listened to. how else could someone rationally belive the earth is less than 7000 years old or that we all sprung form adam and eve. The more modern revs and pastors that realize people jus aren't buying it like they used to start saying things like ... we didn't evolve from a common ape like ancestor but form a rough draft of the first human god made. first if he's so omnipotent, why the bad first draft, secondly it just sounds like the bible being re-interpreted yet again.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Mike

      Momoya.....It all seems to come down to "why isn't God readily apparent to everyone?". Two thousand years ago, the Son of God was here and ...what he did...healing people and raisng them from the dead, was not enough to dissuade people from nailing him to a cross, because they didn't like...what he said. It would be no different today even if God was readily apparent to everyone, the human race in general would still want to nail him to a cross, even if people were being healed, because people do not like being told the truth about what they are. We are not kind and benevolent and good and God has no qualms about pointing that out to us. All the other manmade religions claim that we are and that we can attain "godhood" because that is the kind of thing that humans make up. The God of the Bible makes it clear we cannot attain it. I would prefer the opposite to be true, but it isn't. So if God were readily apparent, it still would not do any good, because the only ones who would trust in him then, are the ones who are willing to trust in him now. To make himself obvious would be to add to a person's guilt, because if they are not willing to receive him, then the less they know the better off they are. The good news is that the Bible says he can be found if we will seek him. Knowing that Christ was willing to die for me...I simply could not refuse to seek him.

      The two thieves that died with Christ on the cross represented the human race. They BOTH mocked him at the beginning, but one CHOSE to turn to him. Each person must make their own choice.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  12. Birds are LIVING Dinosaurs

    I'm a christian and a scientist. The two can coexist. Life is wondrous, diverse and adaptive to ensure it survives and lives on. GOD made it that way! To deny this, is to DENY HIM! Obviously, SATAN has gotten hold of you! Seek exorcism NOW

    All you righteous bible thumpers could spread the message of the Bible more by accepting science than by doing everything you can to tear it down! Give people more credit – they can intellectually figure out that all your creationist arguments are flimsy and that scientific theory is MUCH MORE believable. And you wonder why so many are turning away from the church – this is one of the reasons!

    January 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • momoya

      Birds are LDs.

      I appreciate your comment. Why isn't god as obvious and testable as evolutionary theory– or the principles of math?

      January 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Suzanne

      Faith is a wonderful human trait. Why do we have to test and prove it like math or science? Why do we have to make christians feel bad for believing in GOD or a higher being? On the same note, why do we have to try to tear down scientific theory and scientists because there are a few holes in their theory?

      BTW, evolutionary change has already been proven scientifically for many animals thanks to DNA. Mutations in DNA have shown scientists where evolutionary change happens. We're still learning. But one day as more and more of these changes are made know to the world, all the extreme christian nay sayers who deny scientific theory and evolution, will have egg on their face. If you think people are turning away from the church now, just wait until that day.

      So, I say to you now, the evidence is mounting. The anti-science movement can save face now if they accept science and move on. We all know that the Bible was not WRITTEN DOWN at the time of CHRIST. Stories were passed down orally. We've all played the game "telephone" and know what happens to the original story after passing through only 10 people!! It is was it is. At the same time, the Bible provides an excellent guide for how to live our lives – very simplistically to love one another and treat others as you would want to be treated. I believe in this!

      The Bible does not have to be proven or disproven to have FAITH. The anti-science movement forces scientists to prove science before they will accept it. Fine. Be careful what you wish for!

      January 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • jeff

      Suzanne,
      The people that are currently naysayers to the current evidnce will not be swayed by DNA evidence, they have already chosen "blind faith".

      January 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • jeff

      Suzanne,
      While i agree that the bible gives a good outline on how to behave, we shouldn't need a guide to "treat people as you would like to be treated", because i have met many religious people who are not nice people and do not follow thier religious laws or the laws of the land but who go to church and are more than willing to preach to me.
      The bible doesn't make people good or nice, but it gives them something to hide behind.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Suzanne

      Jeff,

      I know I'm going to get flamed for this – I don't have a problem with faith, even if it is blind. Faith is a tool that we humans have learned to use to help us. Just like the Bible, people take from it what they "need" at the time. If you have read passages in the Bible, have you ever noticed that the same passage can be interpreted differently (to you) at different? You don't have to be a "nice" person to have faith or believe. Sometimes it seems like those that "need" it (insert faith, church, Bible or whatever) the most are the ones who "go" the most! = ) There are hypocrites everywhere – even in religion, church and especially politics!

      January 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Suzanne

      Jeff –

      Forgot to address this... You're right- the anti-science religious extremist will never accept science until the day that they can see it benefits them. Don't know how that's going work out... You know, there are still people that belong to the flat earth society. There's even a website for it!

      My main point is that scientific evidence has proven evolution through DNA mutations. The problem is that it is not widely publicized in the media. More and more evidence is mounting every day. If the anti-science churches and people out there don't want to get "left behind", they had better get on board. This is the way that life as we know it was made by whatever supreme being you may believe in. Therefore, in my mind, denying adaptation and evolution in general is like denying GOD!

      January 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  13. mandarax

    Within less than 50 years of the publishing of the Origin of Species, the mechanism (genetics) and the physical apparatus (DNA) through which evolution occurs were discovered and whole new fields of study were opened up. Several thousand years after the writing down of the book of Genesis, why has there been absolutely no progress toward identifying any mechanism or physical apparatus through which things can be made to appear out of nowhere?

    January 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  14. Mike

    I'm just a dummy (yes I know, this is the one point on which most of you will agree with me) and I cannot begin to understand the pros and cons of evolution, but from what I have read, it takes far more faith to believe in evolution with all of it's gaps and holes and generalizations than it does to simply believe that there is an extraterrestrial God who created it all, particularly when one understands the numerous prophecies of the Bible and that they could not have taken place without some kind of ET intervention. To those who believe in it, I suppose it's absolutely impossible that it could not be correct and thus there are no gaps, holes and generalizations, and that's fine because believing in evolution certainly does not amount to a denial of Jesus Christ. But the problem is that those who believe in it generally do not believe in God. To those of us who have heard the voice of God, we KNOW that he exists, and we would know it even if there were no Biblical prophecies, and even if there were no Bible. I do not know exactly why God speaks to some followers of Christ and not to others, but he has given me a fairly good idea as to why. For those of you who believe in evolution because that is the perspective that makes sense to you, I would suggest that you also receive Christ and listen to him, because while it may not make sense now, it will when you hear his voice and in the end we will ALL hear the voice of God...but sadly, for most of you, it will be too late.

    January 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • ALBERT

      Mike, You are full of craps :D

      January 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • momoya

      Mike, it's silly of your god to use unprovable threats (torment in afterlife) to get attention. He should act more responsibly in regards to people that don't understand him or his qualities. If the bible helped us to understand biology, and its predictions were proven by the evidence, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The bible obstructs biological understanding, evolution describes how biology functions. Can you think of any good reason why this is the case?

      January 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • mandarax

      Mike, I have never been able to understand people who say it takes more faith to believe in evolution than in Genesis creation. How can it take more faith to accept something that is a logical argument backed by abundant but less than 100% complete evidence, than it does to accept something that is almost entirely illogical and backed by no objective evidence? It makes me wonder if the faithful really understand what faith means.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • What IF

      Mike,

      What you think you KNOW (wisdom) is folly, according to your own Bible.

      You have been grandly misled about those "prophecies" and their alleged "fulfillments".

      This "God", who chooses pet humans to "speak" to and ignores others, makes it "too late" for "most of us"? And you love and worship this thing?

      January 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Mike

      Albert.......heh heh heh, I think you meant crap...but that's okay, i get the point.

      January 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Mike

      Momoya......People quite often make generalizations about what THEY think God should do or not do and to be honest, I do too on occasion, particularly when I do not like what he's doing. Now in regards to hell, what would you have him to do...not tell anyone and simply let it be a surprise? As for the proof of hell...that will come in it's own time. God has made it clear that not everyone will be punsihed the same. Some, and perhaps many or maybe even most, will be punished lightly and thus maybe no "torment" as we would think of it. But in reality there are only two places to be...either in God or apart from him...there is no in between. You either receive Christ and cross the line to his side, or you don't. For those who don't and yet live a fairly good life, punishment will be light, BUT separation from God and from ALL love, joy and ANY kind of peace will be eternal and that is the REAL hell. There are no human words to describe what that separation is like...it was the one and only thing that caused Jesus to cry out on the cross. I have experienced just a tad of what that separation is like for about 10 seconds. I have also had a large toenail purposefully gouged and ripped off of my body without any anesthetic whatsoever. I screamed and cannot even remember when I finally stopped, and yet that was nothing compared to those 10 seconds of separation from God. It is incomphrehensible...do not choose it, but choose Christ instead.

      As for the Bible obstructing biological understanding...do you know of a specific example?

      January 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Mike

      Mandarax.....While we apparently both agree that the evidence for evolution is not 100% complete, you perceive the evidence to be abundant while I perceive it to have too many holes and generalizations. On the other hand, the reverse is true when we are talking about God. To you, there is no evidence for God, but to me the evidence is abundant. The real question is, are you willing to allow God to show you that evidence, or would you prefer not to know? If you truly prefer to know, then why not ask him, and keep asking because he does not always answer right away. Asking is a simple thing and at least you will have done what you can do.

      January 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Mike

      What If.......I cordially disagree. Also God does not choose "pet humans" to talk to. Most people in this country, "Christians" included, have homes that are filled with blasphemy....books, cd's, dvd's, computer games...all take God's name in vain and God does not speak through blasphemy. God told me to clean out my home if I wanted to continue to hear from him...and if you want to hear from him, you will have to do the same.

      January 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • mandarax

      @Mike – while I appreciate your concern for my soul, I would point out two things. First, before leaning on that vacuous notion of "too many holes and generalizations," actually look into what is known regarding those issues. You may find that that the supposed holes are either holes in your own knowledge, or false problems as.serted by the anti-evolution community. Even reading through these posts you will find very specific information, rather than generalities, from a handful of people with legitimate expertise on the subject.
      Secondly, I believe our definitions of evidence are different. Strong feelings, emotional reactions, and internal voices do not consti.tute evidence. Neither do "just-so" stories about how seemingly natural things are the result of supernatural forces. They may be very real to the individual, but they cannot be demonstrated to exist outside of that individual, and thus can't be considered objective evidence in the way that measurable, observable phenomena are. There is measurable and observable evidence on only one side of this supposed dichotomy.

      January 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • mandarax

      Imagine if someone in a court of law insisted that the defendant was guilty because God told them so. And if the judge would just quiet his mind and clear away all evidence to the contrary, then God would tell him, too. What if the defendant was you? Would you accept that as evidence against you?

      January 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • jeff

      yes you are correct Mike, you are a dummy.
      How can it be more difficult to beleive in concrete evidence like fossils than a piece of fiction written eons ago that has been re-interpreted several times to be current to the times.
      Evolution is not a theory it is a fact and these pastors simply have there heads in the sand, they want you to believe in a myth and they can't see facts, INSANITY.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Mike

      Mandarax.....In regards to your last scenario, would I accept that as evidence? No, not against me or anyone else. Of course, God doesn't do that. But I think I'm missing the point you are trying to make (see my previous dummy comment).

      January 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • jeff

      Mike,
      If god told you to clean out your home in order to hear from him, how was he able to tell you that prior to cleaning out your home. I think it was likely a dream after taking Nyquil or something.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • mandarax

      The analogy I was attempting is that it seems you are telling me that your evidence for God (and against evolution) is that he told you so. And if one clears their environment of any information to the contrary, God may speak to them too. That to me doesn't seem like comparable evidence to physical, chemical, biological phenomena that can be observed and measured by anyone regardless of what is in their home.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Mike

      Mandarax...Ah, ok I get it now. Actually, if someone genuinely wanted to receive Christ and hear from him, they probably wouldn't have to clear their home...at least not initially. However, you are correct, the evidence is not comparable and it would make showing the reality of God alot easier if it were. But that is not the way God has set things up, I suppose because if people will not receive him, then perhaps the less they know, the better things will be for them...although without Christ, eternity can never be good.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  15. momoya

    Bumper, I know what the creationist argument is; that's why I outlined it in my post, and why you replied as you did. I understand your position, you do not understand mine. The picture that emerges from the data does NOT line up with any creationist models that the christians hypothesize. You guys blame the picture emerging from the puzzle because you don't like it. As I said before, science can't cram in the evidence where you feel it should be, and it doesn't ignore evidence that slides perfectly into a slot within the paradigm. As Dr. K has admonished, if your paradigm describes the known facts in a better way, then do the research and publish your work.

    As to your incorrect analysis of inductive/deductive work used by biologists in more fully describing evolutionary theory, Dr. K. has set you straight on that account. Why are you ignoring the facts that obliterate your arguments?

    January 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bumper

      I believe that God created the universe, but don't label me as a creationist. That's just wrong.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  16. kme

    Why do allow the label of "belief" to shield the criticism of nonsensical ideas? The 6000 yrs claim is so obviously, measurable, factually bunk that if a child in class said it you would simply correct him/her and move on. But because it's a religious belief, we suspend judgement and treat is as a personal wisdom, sacred and immune from criticism.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bendelep

      No one with any scientific knowledge debunks it. The problem is lack of education on one hand, and a psychological issue of denial on the other hand. You can't fight stupidity and mental illness... They will just have to evolve out, but not in our lifetime.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • mandarax

      I agree with what I think kme is saying. Why do we treat religion so gently that it is considered rude not to accommodate ridiculous inaccuracies? Why does religion get a pass when it comes to getting facts straight? We would not tolerate that level of absurdity and dishonesty in any other social inst.itution.

      January 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • momoya

      Old belief systems die hard. Also, the more ignorant a person is, the tougher it is to decide and believe. It's easier for unintelligent people to deny evidence that would require changing long-held schemas. Fads are silly, (pet rocks, silly bands) yet those who go along with the ideas are encouraged to hold onto the fad by those who promote them and make the cash off the fad.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  17. Rev. Poetiq

    I believe God is the ultimate scientist .. looking biblically "one day is to God as a thousand years is to mankind." With this in mind it may have taken several thousand years to create the first "Humans." Yet and still the Earth "was formless" and the time span wasn't specified on how long it had been present in it's formless stage. After the "Human Race" was established it eveen spoke of snakes with legs and how they were "evolutionized" into legless snakes .. as far as the earth being six thousand years old WRONG.. It has been approximately +/- 6998 Years since earths last reformation I.E. the Ice Age (Noah's Flood) . God works in Sevens, and on the seventh day he rests. The upcomming "Heavenly Sabbath" Is at hand. May those who believe be bless and recieve knowledge. And those who oppose find correction.

    January 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Navin R. Johnson

      "I know we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days.
      The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days.
      And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days.
      And the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day, and then you came back and later on the sixth day.
      In the evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days.
      And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half. I have it written down, but I can show it to you tomorrow if you want to see it." – The Jerk

      January 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "It has been approximately +/- 6998 Years since earths last reformation I.E. the Ice Age (Noah's Flood) ."
      Where did you get this figure? I thought the last ice age was dated to about 10,000 years ago.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      The last glacial maximum was around 18,000 years ago, and most paleontologists/climatologists/archaeologists place the end of the last ice age (and the end of the Pleistocene) at roughly 12,000 years ago (10,000 years ago is used sometimes too – it is not an abrupt boundary). The 6,998 years ago that Rev. Poetiq refers to falls right into the period traditionally known as the Alti.thermal in the west – a period significantly hotter and dryer than today. So, not only is that not the ice age, it doesn't bode well for a worldwide flood either.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  18. Sharp

    Someone is wandering around this thread cutting off anything they personally don't believe in with multiple accounts & abusing the 'Report Abuse' button. I wonder who that might be?

    January 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      Sharp, Please explain your complaint in greater detail, with examples. Cutting off? - what do you mean? Abusing the "Report Abuse" button - what do you mean?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • momoya

      Sharp, the "report abuse" button is right next to the "reply" button (at least on my browser). It's easy to hit the wrong one, and I have done it once when replying to Bumper. I felt really bad about it, but I didn't have any way to "take it back." I believe that Bumper's post is still up, though. I hope people are not abusing the system, but it is an easy mistake. peace.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  19. opinionatedc

    Another point they never said what stopped the apes from evolving into humans, Don;t you think if evolution was a reality apes would still be evolving into humans and their would be no need for humans to have childbirth.

    January 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • mandarax

      Troll. Surely you CAN'T be serious.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • I_get_it

      opionatedc,

      Does the "c" in your name mean what I think it means...?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Rev. Poetiq

      I wouldn't saw we exactly Evolved from "Apes" – So to speak But would belive it to be more accurate as saying we evolved from the primary Human form and Became "improved." God gradually built us into his best creation!!

      January 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Rev. Poetiq

      *typo Correction *I wouldn't say we*

      January 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Rev. "God gradually built us into his best creation!!"

      Huh? Best, eh? Starfish & axolotyls can regenerate severed parts; hawks & owls (any many others) have better vision; lots of creatures have better-developed senses; bacteria don't get cancer; humans (and others) have a reproductive center and a playground right next to a sewer. Your "God" is a barely passable designer/engineer.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Nonimus

      This seems to be a variation of the common, "If we evolved from apes, then why are there still apes," question. First, and quickly, we evolved from a common ancestor of chimpanzees, not apes or chimpanzees themselves. Second, this is a common misconception about evolution, that an entire species evolves at the same time, which is on the other end of the misconception spectrum from thinking that an individual organism evolves during it's own lifetime, but neither is correct. Populations evolve over generations, not individuals, and usually not entire species.

      The best analogy I've heard is, 'The American Colonies were populated by the British, yet there are still British.'

      Different population, or groups of individuals, are affected by different pressures, e.g. food, weather, predators, disease, etc., and those pressures will impact who lives and reproduces and who does not, which is the essence of natural selection. So some populations may survive if, for example, they are tall and strong, because of predators, while another group of the same species may survive better if, for example, they are small and relatively inactive, because of food availability. This difference might (not a sure thing, because evolution is not a directional thing), over generations, allow those traits that aid survival to be more successful, e.g. tall and strong in one area versus small and slow in another. If this continues long enough and with enough changes, it might result in two distinct species that cannot mate (a simplistic definition of species.)

      Hope that helps.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Clarification:
      'we evolved from a common ancestor of chimpanzees, not apes or chimpanzees themselves."
      We do also have a common ancestor with apes and all of the 'great ape' family, chimpanzees, however, are our closest non-human relatives, I think. (3000th cousins on our Mother's side... just kidding : )

      January 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • fred

      What Nonimus is saying is that they were all the ark 4,800 years ago and that is why they are still here today.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      LOL... thanks for the clarification. : )

      January 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Building on what @Nonimus said, we also share about 98.5% of our DNA with chimpanzees. So if we didn't evolve from a common ancestor, god sure does lack imagination and patterned humans after chimpanzees, since in the creation story he created the animals before man.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • mandarax

      @ashkaray, but you seem to be evaluating ideas based on evidence. Evidence doesn't count, silly. Religious people know because they KNOW, not because they have been considering evidence.

      January 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • griz5106

      Apes do not evolve into humans. Nobody ever said that they did. We do, however, share a common ancestor with apes. That is a fact.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  20. Bumper

    Albert:

    This one is way too easy. Yes, every human action, thought etc.... is indeed knowable to our God. We as human beings are endowed, by God, with free will agency. Therefore, are thoughts and actions are not the direct workings of God and we are subject to reward and punishment accordingly.

    January 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.