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January 16th, 2012
04:28 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, January 16

By Dan Merica, CNN

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

From the Blog:

The Christian conservative leaders eventually decided on Santorum as their endorsement.

CNN: Christian conservative leaders vote to support Santorum
A meeting of Christian conservative leaders resulted in the group backing GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins announced Saturday.

CNN: Pastors protest New York ban on religious services
Pastors and their congregants took to the streets of New York on Thursday to protest and to pray for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse a ban on religious groups' use of public schools for worship service, scheduled to go into effect February 12.

The change in demographics of Christian evangelical communities is leading to political shifts.

CNN: As number of Latino evangelicals grows, it’s not politics as usual
When Jobe launched New Life Community Church 25 years ago, the Midway neighborhood where his main campus is located was primarily populated by descendants of Polish, Lithuanian and Italian immigrants. Now, the neighborhood is primarily Hispanic. Jobe estimates that as much as 70% of New Life’s 6,000 members are Hispanic.

Belief on TV:

Tweet of the Day:

From @TheMuslimGuy (Arsalan Iftikhar): Tim Tebow threw for 136 yards last night. Mark 13:6: "Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many."

Enlightening Reads:

The Guardian: Sharia law compatible with human rights, argues leading barrister
A leading barrister has called for the UK to become more sharia-literate, while arguing that Islamic law can be compatible with the toughest human rights legislation.

LA Times: Stop-Romney conservatives face a tough climb in South Carolina
The conservative contenders trying to slow Mitt Romney's sprint to the presidential nomination are running out of time, as the same dynamic that kept the right from coalescing in Iowa two weeks ago again plays to the front-runner's advantage.

One of the many things Tebow has become known for is the way Tebow put John 3:16 on his eye black before college football games.

Huffington Post: Focus On The Family Unveils Tim Tebow-Inspired John 3:16 Ad During Broncos-Patriots Game
Out of the mouths of babes came Tim Tebow's favorite Biblical verse. During the second quarter of last night's Broncos-Patriots game the Colorado Christian ministry Focus on the Family unveiled a new, 30-second spot featuring young children reciting John 3:16.

Christian Post: ‘Sexperiment’: Ed Young Suffers Eye Injury; Leaves Before 24 Hours Over
Ed Young, founding pastor of Texas-based Fellowship Church, suffered a minor eye injury from exposure to the sun during the 24-hour bed-in with his wife, Lisa, on the church’s roof to discuss truths about sex with pastors and friends from around the world.

Quote of the Day:

"We believe people who ask for forgiveness of sin and redeem themselves should get a second chance, and 20 years in the penitentiary is time enough to come to grips with getting your redemption and forgiveness.”

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour defended his decision on Friday to pardon 200 criminals, four of whom were charged with murder, by saying this on Fox News.

Today’s Opinion:

New York Times: Mitt’s Big Love
Democrats and independents may have fallen out of love with President Obama, but Republicans and independents can’t fall in love with Mitt Romney. The two Harvard Law School grads are heading into a match with oddly matching flaws: both became famous while staying enigmatic and inaccessible.

Join the conversation…

CNN: GOP posted to make history with non-Protestant presidential nominee
The race for the Republican presidential nomination is on track to break new ground: For the first time in modern political history – some say ever – the GOP nominee could be someone who is not a Protestant Christian.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. John


    .

    January 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  2. Merde

    Modern versions of the rhyme include:

    Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
    Stole a pig, and away did run;
    The pig was eat
    And Tom was beat,
    And Tom went crying [or "roaring", or "howling", in some versions]
    Down the street.[1]

    The 'pig' mentioned in the song is almost certainly not a live animal but rather a kind of pastry, often made with an apple filling, smaller than a pie.[1]

    This rhyme is often conflated with a separate and longer rhyme:

    Tom, Tom, he was a piper's son,
    He learned to play when he was young.
    And all the tune that he could play
    Was over the hills and far away;
    Over the hills is a great way off.
    The wind shall blow my top-knot off.

    Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
    That he pleased both the girls and boys,
    And they all stopped to hear him play,
    'Over the hills and far away'.

    Tom with his pipe did play with such skill
    That those who heard him could never keep still;
    As soon as he played they began for to dance,
    Even the pigs on their hind legs would after him dance.

    As Dolly was milking her cow one day,
    Tom took his pipe and began to play;
    So Dolly and the cow danced 'The Cheshire Round',
    Till the pail was broken and the milk ran on the ground.

    He met old Dame Trot with a basket of eggs,
    He used his pipe and she used her legs;
    She danced about till the eggs were all broke,
    She began for to fret, but he laughed at the joke.

    Tom saw a cross fellow was beating an ass,
    Heavy laden with pots, pans, dishes, and glass;
    He took out his pipe and he played them a tune,
    And the poor donkey's load was lightened full soon.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Merde

      And I still don't understand why someone would use it as their name in a blog. Guesses, anyone?

      January 17, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • You two are two of a feather

      Tom Tom is a tomboy, a woman with a gutter masculinity, a shrew, a fishwife, a harpy.

      But at least she doesn't call herself shit. Merde? Tish! That's French!

      How about German? Scheisse
      Maybe Russian? Gavno

      You can be crap in any language you like, Frenchy!
      Lots of naming opportunities for yourself

      January 17, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Bob

      Someone said that Tom Tom the Piper's Son is some sort of s.ex toy. That's probably apocryphal.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a bunch of dolts. I use it for the same reason you use "Merde". No reason at all.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  3. Gen. Pandaemonium

    But what of the Apocalypso? You know, THE END, but with a catchy beat.....

    January 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Omar Ravenhurst

    The Discordian Society has no definition.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • In pursuit of SLACK

      But the Church of the SubGenius is "the only religion that is proud to pay its taxes." Which is true, by the way.

      "Eternal Salvation or TRIPLE Your Money Back!"

      January 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • The Gospel of Po

      Well, as a devout Teletubbievangelist, I know FOR A FACT that the both of you will wail and gnash your teeth for the rest of eternity as you sit outside Tinky Winky's Happy Heaven and cannot get in!

      But Lord Tinky is merciful to the unrighteous, and you can gnash your teeth into some tasty pizza at the nice restaurant we set up outside for you – Tinky Winky is not as punishing as Jesus. And Flying Spaghetti Monster brings over brewski's from his heavenly beer volcano for the unsaved, so it is a good time had by all. Unless you are Christian, where you have to spend the rest of eternity listening to a dull endless nonsensical sermon for the rest of eternity. And Muslims, they have to spend the rest of eternity with their 72 whiny, issue-crazed up-tight virgins, who will make them wish they had a bomb vest before eternity is over.

      January 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  5. Malaclypse the Younger

    Eris lives!

    January 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Eris lives, but Bob Dobbs rules!

      The Church Of The SubGenius is an order of Scoffers and Blasphemers, dedicated to Total Slack, delving into Mockery Science, Sadofuturistics, Megaphysics, Scatalography, Schizophreniatrics, Morealism, Sarcastrophy, Cynisacreligion, Apocolyptionomy, ESPectorationalism, Hypno-Pediatrics, Subliminalism, Satyriology, Disto-Utopianity, Sardonicology, Fascetiouism, Ridiculophagy, and Miscellatheistic Theology.

      January 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Merde

      I bet if you try to say those all at once your lips will fall off.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  6. Malaclypse the Elder

    Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

    January 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Discord

      January 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage!

      January 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for hermaphroditic pickles and other non-existant things

      Prayer changes things!
      Prayer makes everyone you meet today be happy and friendly and generous
      Prayer makes donuts have no calories
      Prayer always turns a tornado onto the atheist part of town
      Prayer will keep your PMS from ever happening
      Prayer works!

      January 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  8. Iqbal Khan

    January 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  9. The Central Scrutinizer

    More Bible Fun! This week, the New Testament!

    1. Matthew and Luke disagree
    Matthew and Luke give two contradictory genealogies for Joseph (Matthew 1:2-17 and Luke 3:23-38). They cannot even agree on who the father of Joseph was. Church apologists try to eliminate this discrepancy by suggesting that the genealogy in Luke is actually Mary's, even though Luke says explicitly that it is Joseph's genealogy (Luke 3:23). Christians have had problems reconciling the two genealogies since at least the early fourth century. It was then that Eusebius, a "Church Father," wrote in his The History of the Church, "each believer has been only too eager to dilate at length on these passages."

    2. Why genealogies of Joseph?
    Both the genealogies of Matthew and Luke show that Joseph was a direct descendant of King David. But if Joseph is not Jesus' father, then Joseph's genealogies are meaningless as far as Jesus is concerned, and one has to wonder why Matthew and Luke included them in their gospels. The answer, of course, is that the genealogies originally said that Jesus was the son of Joseph and thus Jesus fulfilled the messianic requirement of being a direct descendant of King David.
    Long after Matthew and Luke wrote the genealogies the church invented (or more likely borrowed from the mystery religions) the doctrine of the virgin birth. Although the virgin birth could be accommodated by inserting a few words into the genealogies to break the physical link between Joseph and Jesus, those same insertions also broke the physical link between David and Jesus.
    The church had now created two major problems: 1) to explain away the existence of two genealogies of Joseph, now rendered meaningless, and 2) to explain how Jesus was a descendant of David.
    The apostle Paul says that Jesus "was born of the seed of David" (Romans 1:3). Here the word "seed" is literally in the Greek "sperma." This same Greek word is translated in other verses as "descendant(s)" or "offspring." The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.
    Women did not count in reckoning descent for the simple reason that it was then believed that the complete human was present in the man's sperm (the woman's egg being discovered in 1827). The woman's womb was just the soil in which the seed was planted. Just as there was barren soil that could not produce crops, so also the Bible speaks of barren wombs that could not produce children.
    This is the reason that although there are many male genealogies in the Bible, there are no female genealogies. This also eliminates the possibility put forward by some apologists that Jesus could be of the "seed of David" through Mary.

    3. Why do only Matthew and Luke know of the virgin birth?
    Of all the writers of the New Testament, only Matthew and Luke mention the virgin birth. Had something as miraculous as the virgin birth actually occurred, one would expect that Mark and John would have at least mentioned it in their efforts to convince the world that Jesus was who they were claiming him to be.
    The apostle Paul never mentions the virgin birth, even though it would have strengthened his arguments in several places. Instead, where Paul does refer to Jesus' birth, he says that Jesus "was born of the seed of David" (Romans 1:3) and was "born of a woman," not a virgin (Galatians 4:4).

    January 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Ooh, I like that post! Very nice!! Is that original content of yours or copypasta stuff?

      January 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      No I am not that bright. I found it at:
      http://www.infidels.org

      January 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Oh. Don't sell yourself short if your writing abilities seem lacking. Mine aren't that good either. It doesn't mean you're stupid.
      You were able to pick out some good stuff that others wrote after all, right? Those are good words no matter who wrote them.

      January 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      You are very kind Ironicus. I must write a poem in your honor in the near future!

      January 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ironicus

      I'm afraid I'm not very good at accepting compliments that aren't completely true. I'm a nice ass-hole. Let's leave it at that.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinzer

      As am I my friend.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Merde

      Stay thirsty my friends. Always drink Captain Morgan. Absolutly.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • Paul

      The genealogies in Matthew and Luke don't contradict. One is the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph, the other is the genealogy of Jesus through Mary.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  10. Ironicus

    ""From @TheMuslimGuy (Arsalan Iftikhar): Tim Tebow threw for 136 yards last night. Mark 13:6: "Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many."""

    I laughed!

    January 16, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Merde

      I wanted to laugh, but I'm so sick of Tim Tebag I just couldn't.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  11. hippypoet

    has anyone seen the article discussing the day of peace – thats a good idea and one day will then change the world and forever history – well thats the hope at least...

    Great conversation for today – Is world peace worth trying?

    i personally think we can't go without killing eachother -
    first off the population would engulf the planet much faster if we all live without complication -
    and second the food sources would dry up creating a hole in the greater circle of life's food chain and the trickle down effect would be rather a tsunami of death... so we need the angry to be angry and the killers to kill just as much as we need the peace makers to be peaceful, we all have our place in this world and some peoples place is that of a position of death, they exist so they may die so that others can exist longer...there is always death when life is in bloom and there should be no shame in saying this out loud... wars are fought and while the warriors die the civilians live life so the warriors can fight a battle to protect those living life all the while knowing the risk of death...its an odd thing but very true – even if those living are living for the other side weather they know it or not…realization is not a requirement to life…. the food they grow can still be eaten by those that seek to kill the warriors of those that grew said food....confused yet? :) well then i guess i should get back on topic – yeah the DAY of peace would be great but i imagine it as a precurser to the idea of peaceful living year in and year out for the globe and that i don't see as a true possibility to human life on this planet. With disease, some random acts of nature, and animal attacks – maybe there is enough population control for say 3 billion humans, but there is 7....... perhaps if there was a set ratio to animals who will hunt and eat humans to the human population and land we occupy to create a rather harmonious life – like an eden of reality where the animals bite back – every alcohol commercial says the super sercet of how to live like this....... everything in moderation!

    And theres my spew for the day! enjoy

    January 16, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Brad

      I have noticed that a lot of tombstones say "At Peace" or "At Rest". This suggests that the ground state (sorry about the pun) of humans and maybe all living things is peaceful. Are we ready to drink the Kool-Aid?

      About predators: lacking predators we became our own predators, but that hasn't yet led to a harmonious life. I wonder if any animals that are in balance with their predators feel that life is harmonious. Are they at peace? It seems like they spend a lot of their time fleeing for their lives.

      January 16, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Hippypoet
      Human beings have an interesting place in nature where we feel as though we've mastered it and are immune to it's va.garies.
      Mankind has no serious predators – save for ourselves.
      Other species' populations are kept in check through predation and disease – but we have removed ourselves from predators and made serious strides when it comes to mitigating disease.
      As a result, we must provide our own indispensible competi/tion is order to keep the gene pool from stagnating and to keep from drowning in our own waste.
      This can be done pre-emptively through controlling birth rates, or reactively by killing each other.
      Should we refuse both of these options, nature will purge itself.
      It is a truism that any organism left to unrestricted growth in a finite area will eventually be choked off by its own waste products – a fact that we are now only beginning to experience.
      I believe that low infant mortality, high birth rates, artificially increased life-spans, the coddling of those who would normally have been removed from the gene pool through natural selection (ie: the handicapped) and unrepentant, unchecked consumption will push our species over that brink in the next 100 years.
      We're in for a terrible wake up call and a serious depletion of our ranks in the near future.

      January 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Ironicus

      hippypoet, define "peace" and I'll show you why we cannot have any until we address the human brains that we all use in functioning as human beings and how we use them in relation to one another.

      No, we cannot have world peace. Whirled Peas maybe, but no world peace. A lack of personal violence would be good, but that's never going to happen with this DNA created insanity we all share. We are a product of evolution, not a quantum leap beyond evolution. We are no better than a bunch of monkeys throwing poo.
      It's nice you want world peace. It's just not realistic at this point. That's all.

      January 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • hippypoet

      clearly we aren't exactly divided on this but a bit of differences going on with the particulars – no big....we do have natural preditors, they are just no match for us anymore...we once ran from tigers and bears, we swam as fast as we could to avoid being eaten by whatever was biting at us in the water – we aren't all powerful on this planet but with the addition of guns to the mix we do have a tendency to feel all powerful and by default act like it. With a sword and shield a tiger was still more then a match for us, sometimes we'd get lucky and kill it but not often, we survived more so with spears then swords – it keeps the teeth and claws at a distance – bows are the best for distance but what if you miss! The down sides of hand to hand weapons is you need to have knowledge of the attack in order to defend against something.... tigers hunt by stalking, lions, cheetahs, they all hunt by stalking – and they blend in too... if we didn't kill off the majority of them we might have had our arch enemy in big cats with dogs as friends and protectors to them.... so the issue here is the ability to use a weapon such as guns that really puts us above and beyond our once fears of being preyed upon. Now we fear the next man with a gun! Peace may be found by removing the gun and again balancing out the playing field for those animals that once hunted us as a food source and perhaps allowing us to once again play an active role in the food chain besides the removal of species from it. Not having the power to quickly do away with a threat our population would shrink to a mannagibly size and out of fear of further death we would move to a protected location – so what we see happening is we are relocating to better places where food is easily accquired and protected from large beasts....then we keep the population at a certain size with laws such as the allowance of children only after a certain age or only so many children allowed at all...this is to maintain the animal population via by the amount needed to feed a village being kept small and so we always have food as well – thats peace and harmony thru balance of one with the environment and it creates respect thru understanding of moderation.

      yeah i got hight hopes but i know the reality of what i say – aint gunna happen!

      January 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Peace is not part of human nature. But, as the poets of Megadeth once said "Peace sells, but who's buying?"

      January 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Regarding the advantages humans have in manipulating small objects and the brain developments that deal with this...makes me realize that if the human race becomes a space-traveling species to the point that we spread throughout the galaxy.....there is a very real likelihood that we might encounter an extra-terrestrial race intelligent as ourselves who do not have hands but manipulate small things internally.
      They could take a piece of paper, write on it inside their body, and then excrete the results.
      Editors everywhere would worship them as gods. A new religion would be born at that moment. (joking)

      January 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Merde

      I did that once and was lucky not to get a paper cut.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  12. John

    January 16, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • .......

      TROLL ALERT – don't bother viewing this garbage, click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      January 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  13. _____

    "Theists are sufferers of Stockholm syndrome, they have fallen in love with the abusive kidnappers of their minds."– Shane Jones

    January 16, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • ______

      Non-theists are enthralled by sound-bites and rhetoric.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Ironicus

      Actually that a very good "sound bite" because it's true.

      January 16, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  14. Yolanda Weiner

    Im celebrating by taking a big ole SHYT!!

    January 16, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  15. Bo

    @ Mirosal: Why is it that infidels think believing in God is to have a closed mind, but to turn it around isn’t?
    And, BTW, yes, even though sin is responsible for all the diseases and sometimes overcomes and destroys the body, God actually did give the body the ability to heal it self so long as mankind obeys the natural laws of health, unfortunately even religious people disobey the laws of health that God has given man. They eat unhealthy diets, abuse the body in different ways, and practice other unhealthy habits, i.e. use of “legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol drinks. Yes, I agree, "The mind can do amazing things if the mind will let it. It takes more than a belief in God to have a healthy body.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      You do not need a 'god' to live a healthy lifestyle. I can appreciate the beauty of the world without thinking 'wow look what god made'. Just because I see the flowers in a prairie, doesn't mean i have to believe in faries who water them. Get your nose out of the buy-bull, and take a look around this planet. Or, look at pics from a space telescope. We know how stars and planets form, we're watching them NOW. We also know why plants are usually green. Doesn't take a deity to see those answers. I had a rather structured religious education. When I started to question "Why?", I became 'the devil' in their eyes. Unwillingness to look at other options makes for a closed mind. Using a babble .. oops, buybull .. sorry ... bible for science or history is like using a Chem book for P.E. class. It isn't going to work.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Mirosal's right. As with most Atheist's, once we left behind the brainwashing of religion we are able to see the world for what it really is...awe inspiring and answer seeking...without the need for a god (that just finalizes the unknown to the brainwashed), we are able to find greater beauty in everything from love to nature. We see the world for what it really is and when we don't have an answer we simply are honest and state that we don't know. Religion takes away from the need to seek answers and think for yourself...as long as you have the god (of the gaps) to fill the spaces, all is good in your world but it really isn't...it has no pertinence in our justice system or in our public. Religion makes a thinking brain stop.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • Two Tone Timmy

      So, the 4 year old with Leukemia is a sinner ? Bwahahahahahaha. (And BTW, how did Noah get the TB bug aboard the ark ?)

      January 16, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Chad

      @TruthPrevails "Mirosal's right. As with most Atheist's, once we left behind the brainwashing of religion we are able to see the world for what it really is...awe inspiring and answer seeking..."

      =>I'm wondering, can you provide an example of an atheist culture that actually did that?
      A few that didnt: USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Czechoslovakia ('48-'80s).

      January 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Chuckles

      It's great to see chad still failing to grasp the difference between communism and it's effect on a culture and atheism. If you want to see a real atheist center culture that is not a tool of a political ideology, look at scandanavia, specifically Norway.

      Chad, please learn the difference between Communism and Atheism. Communism uses atheism insofar as outlawing religion so that all authority and worship streams directly to the politburo and head of the politburo. Atheism is simply rejectiong of religion (NOT outlawing it). Once you can understand the difference chad you'll realize why all the examples you gave do not pertain to an "atheist culture" as you put it.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad's not capable of 'learning' anything.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Chad

      State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice.[1] In contrast, a secular state purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion... State promotion of atheism as a public norm was first practised during a brief period in Revolutionary France. Since then, such a policy was repeated only in Revolutionary Mexico and some communist states. The Soviet Union had a long history of state atheism,[10] in which social success largely required individuals to profess atheism, stay away from churches and even vandalize them; this atti tude was especially militant during the middle Stalinist era from 1929-1939.[11][12][13] The Soviet Union attempted to suppress religion over wide areas of its influence, including places such as central Asia.[14] The Socialist People's Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha went so far as to officially ban the practice of every religion ...
      The People's Republic of China was established in 1949 and since then the government has been officially atheist. For much of its early history maintained a hostile att itude toward religion which was seen as emblematic of feudalism and foreign colonialism. Houses of worship, including temples, mosques, and churches, were converted into non-religious buildings for secular use.
      Religious people were killed in the killing fields, as the leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, suppressed Cambodia's Buddhists: monks were defrocked; temples and artifacts, including statues of Buddha, were destroyed; and people praying or expressing other religious sentiments were often killed. The Christian and Muslim communities were among the most persecuted, as well. The Roman Catholic cathedral of Phnom Penh was razed. The Khmer Rouge forced Muslims to eat pork, which they regard as an abomination. Many of those who refused were killed. Christian clergy and Muslim imams were executed.
      North Korea ""There's no knowledge of priests surviving persecution that came in the late forties, when 166 priests and religious were killed or kidnapped." which includes the Roman Catholic bishop of Pyongyang, Francis Hong Yong-ho."

      source – wikipedia

      as you can see, all adopted atheism as official state policy.

      Quite a stunning track record for atheists and human rights, freedom of expression, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... lol

      January 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      So you're just going to completely ignore my post altogether or did you think you actually responded?

      January 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Told you so. Chad mistakes the fact that these governments' suppression of religion was the RESULT of their policies of totalitarianism, NOT the cause of them.

      Chad is a dolt.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Tom Tom

      Truth, I was hoping that chad would at least understand a tiny portion, but apparently he would rather compare "atheist" track records of freedom and human rights to those of theocracies (you know, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, basically any governement pre 1800's) as if that really makes his case.... I guess either he'll have to retake an 8th grade civics course or we could help walk him through the steps to understand where his fallacies lie.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, of course he would, Chuckles. It's expedient for him to do so, as he can simply have a knee-jerk reaction and bypass his brain entirely.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Chad

      Fact 1: every state that has had an official policy of atheism has had a catastrophic human rights and civil liberties record. Can't be argued.

      Fact 2: NOT every state that is totalitarian, is also atheist. The attribute that makes a state an atheistic state is precisely that suppression of religion.

      Fact 3: Although there are some examples of communist regimes that are not anti-religious (Central America), there is a clear 1-1 relationship between Marxism and atheism:
      "Communism, as originally laid out by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, required the abolition of all religion in order to reach its ideal end-state. It was interpreted in this fashion by Vladimir Lenin and the Governments of the Soviet Union until the country's dissolution. Other communist states adopted similar doctrines and combativeness towards religion." – Wikipedia (Marxist–Leninist atheism)

      Fact 4: Norway and Scandinavia are secular states.

      conclusion: Atheism has a demonstrated track record of horrific human rights abuses

      January 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "Truth, I was hoping that chad would at least understand a tiny portion, but apparently he would rather compare "atheist" track records of freedom and human rights to those of theocracies(you know, like Iran, Saudi Arabia,"

      =>interesting that when searching for "theocratic abominations" you came up with Islamic ones. Not to say there arent Christian examples also (Inquisitions), but the percentages are extremely disproportionate.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Norway and Scandinavia are secular states." So's the US, much to your dismay ===========> Chad.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "required the abolition of all religion in order to reach its ideal end-state."

      Does it not dawn on you that this is exactly what I said, Chad? It wasn't that atheism spawned Communism: Communism needed to abolish religion to achieve its goals.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad=dense.

      Atheism was not the driving force behind Communism, and there is no proof that atheism was the cause of the horrors you're ascribing to it, Chaddy.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Oh chaddy, chaddy chaddy,

      First, naming an opinion as a fact does not make it set in stone. When you say, "every state that has had an official policy of atheism has had a catastrophic human rights and civil liberties record. Can't be argued." – You still are completely missing the reasoning behind WHY there's a policy of atheism insofar as where the supremacy of the state lies. To look at any communist regime, lets say Soviet Union, and say that it's the atheism that led to its terrible policies and human rights record is ignoring fundemental facts.

      Let me walk you through it because you clearly don't understand. As you correctly stated, ""Communism, as originally laid out by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, required the abolition of all religion in order to reach its ideal end-state. It was interpreted in this fashion by Vladimir Lenin and the Governments of the Soviet Union until the country's dissolution. Other communist states adopted similar doctrines and combativeness towards religion." – Wikipedia (Marxist–Leninist atheism)" So communism shoots for the ideal state where everyone believes the government will provide everything to them and has ultimate authority. To undercut that authority in anyway (say believing in a magical, invisible being that is technically the one behind the government giving you stuff and so much more the government can't provide) basically takes away all power the government could posesse. Communist governments must have complete and utter control in order to interpret the "will of the people". Sadly, communism breaks when met with any human emotion and as we've seen time and time again, power corrupts. You might also notice that even though atheism is a policy within communist states, it doesn't stop ALL religion, it just focuses on diefying the current leader and awarding him supernatural power. Add in the rituals like pledges of alliegance, massive rallies and you have a religion created within communism. There is no such thing as an atheist state, nor has there ever been one, in the way you suggest because no culture in all of human history has outlawed religion for the simple sake of religion being poison.

      Next, you try and highlight the difference between atheist states and secular states. I'll grant you that they are different, however I would argue that althogh different, most atheists aspire to create and maintain secular states. Very few people who are atheists want to see a government mandate banning religion. We enjoy the freedom to not practice religion and if that means allowing others to practice religion then thats a price I will gladly pay. Secular states however have governments that can make decisions without being impeded by the scourge that is religion and we can run a country based on real solutions to real problems instead of outrageous solutions to non-issues (see: gay rights). Secular countries are a shining beacon to the rest of the world where countries that include less religion in civics are run better, are happier and generally work well. There's a reason that America's growth of rabid evangelism and other religious people have led the way in lowering americas standards in all aspects.

      Lastly, sure the main theocracies in the world today are muslim. If it makes you feel any better, I think that all religion, not just christianity, needs to come to an end so when I rail against religion, I mean all, which is why Muslim theocracies are fair game when pointing out the problems with religion. If you really feel a christian theocracy would be much better, please provide an example that shows a country run specifically as a christian theocracy has a sterling human rights record, affords all its citizens (regardless of relgious creed, or heck even se.x, country of origin, race, orientation, etc...) equal and fair rights.

      Did I go too fast for you bud? I tried to walk you through all this but since I know your reading comprehension is on par with a 3rd grader I'm pretty sure you'll catch about.... oh maybe a sentence or two.
      Please prove me wrong.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By the way, Chard, did you ever manage to figure out that the morning-after pill, also known as plan B, is not the same as RU486? When are you going to admit you were wrong?

      January 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • JohnR

      True secularists are as opposed to state mandated atheism as they are to state mandated religion. Indeed, atheism was promoted by the communists as a part of the Marxist ideology they wanted to cram down everyone's throat. Freedom of thought, belief, conscience and speech protects everyone's freedoms, not JUST those of the religious or JUST those of the non-religious. Secularism should be the great common ground. Why do so few people get that?

      January 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If by "people" you mean Chad, it's because it's easier than thinking.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Ironicus

      In that secularism is not atheism, I will gladly enforce secularism and let people have their fantasy-world nonsense as long as equal rights are a part of that secularist movement.
      I will not support anything that violates equal rights for all. Secularism does not automatically mean equal rights, as any viable ideologies can be given prominence under a secularist banner, like communism in the examples given.
      Nor does atheism automatically mean equal rights. Atheism is only the lack of a theistic belief system. It is not an ideology.
      Atheism does not have rules, holy texts, or any structure. Atheism is a lack of belief structure. It cannot be a motivational force for that reason.
      Atheists tend to be against religion for other reasons than a lack of belief, like taking a rational stance in favor of rationalism as opposed to saying everyone must have a lack of belief like they do for no apparent reason.
      A lack of belief is to have a lack of reasons to believe. A lack of something is not a positive stance and should not be confused with one.
      With that said, seeking a generalized form of society that is not subject to religious domination is what secularism is usually understood to mean and it has no bearing on what rights are to be given to all or some. Secularism doesn't address rights at all.
      The only reason communism gave rise to so many totalitarian regimes is because it used the gullibility of the oppressed against them so easily. Gullible people are the problem in almost every case.
      If Stalin hadn't had people who followed him unthinkingly, he never would have risen to power in the first place.
      He took advantage of force and guile to manipulate others without regards to communism itself or anyone's rights.
      That's why he murdered people. They were a threat to his power. Not because they were right about anything, but because they also used gullible people as a power base.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • fred

      Ironicus
      Nice, everyone that is not an atheist is gullible and will be used by atheists to kill large numbers of people and darn if they don't have it coming to them. Yeah, I think you fit the athesit leadership model very well.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @fred: Nice! You went from strawman right into ad hominem. A little steep on the entry though. 5.2 from the East German judge.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @SeanNJ

      Now now, don't be too hard on fred, his transition might have been a little sloppy and heavy handed, but his landing was just outstanding. The Soviet Union judge awards fred 6.5 pts.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      You’re a history buff and you know history repeats itself. The common crack in all societies is that they become tolerant at their core. Secular governments are not the light on a shining hill. Please consult your Torah to find that a people that love God are the shining light on the hill. When your people demanded a King like the other nations God warned them about Kings but, they demanded one anyway and God gave them one. Since that time we have seen few if any benevolent Kings. We have never had a country ruled by someone that actually follows the commands of Jesus so we will never know what that would look like. That would also be a light not only on the hill but throughout the world.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Chuckles: Au contraire mon frere, I was impressed with the difficulty. fred could've simply stayed within the confines of his sweeping generalization, but he went with the extra twist. It think it was a courageous choice, even with the ham-fisted execution.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      SeanNJ
      A 5.2 or a 6.5 is a good score given the bias of the Judges. Either way I will do a Tebow and say thank you Lord for a great country.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Sean

      Fair enough, I wanted to give him props on his ending. Ironicus just wanted to point out the advantages of a secular society and fred someone gleaned from that that Ironicus wanted to pit gullible idiots against one another until everyone was dead. I found it impressive enough to get at least a 6.

      @Fred
      I'm missing it a little, are you saying that the downfall of society wasn't corruption, or greed or war but acquiesence? If you were right and it was handing over the reigns of power to the christian god in order to survive, the Holy Roman Empire would still be around. Considering secular governments are a very new phenomenon, not to mention in a globalized world where boarders are starting to become increasingly irrelevant, your take on history is faulty and irrelevant to todays modern age. I agree that history repeats itself and it most likely will again, but that's pretty much regardless of whatever religion (or lack thereof) a government is.
      Also, if I want to study history and the rise and fall of nations, the Torah is the LAST place I would look

      January 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      fred, were dropped on your head? Why would you think atheists want to kill anyone? Why would a secular government want them to?

      January 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Tom Tom

      I like to think that he ate paint chips as a kid.

      January 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      It would be a matter of accountability. Being held accountable for actions taken during life by a perfect judge impacts your general att-itude and perspective. To have a standard by which to measure good and evil that has stood the test of time rather than a few generations puts current values into perspective. Knowing there is a God and you are not the top dog (Stalin etc) provides a different perspective. The value of life takes on different meaning. Even if hell is not a deterrent the heart of someone who loves God and loves his neighbor as Jesus suggested seems like a better alternative.

      January 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @fred

      What a load. Your entire posts rests on there absolutely being an afterlife and that afterlife has a being, preferabbly your god specifically, who is completely wise and never wrong.
      First, this whole "good and evil" thing that has stood the test of time. It hasn't, except in the most va.gue sense. There's equality now, no slavery, a better standard of living. It's our embrace of secularism that's really helped shape a society where equality of everyone is a virtue. We may not always follow it, but I contend it's when we hit religion is when people's liberties are threatened.
      You're right that the "value of life takes on a different meaning". When you live life thinking that there is no such thing as an afterlife, you enjoy the current one you have instead of waiting for a second life.

      January 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'd believe your crap, fred, if you show any proof that all Christians are moral. Or even that they are more moral than others. Or if you could show the atheists and agnostics are less moral than Christians.

      Go ahead and prove it, dear. I've only been asking you and your ilk to do so for months.

      You're full of it. There is NO indication that belief in a god prevents someone from committing a crime or that lack of belief propels anyone to commit one.

      Idiot.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      I do not know if you are any more or less certain about what happens after death than I am. We both know there is no acceptable scientific evidence for either possible alternative and they are mutually exclusive. I came to believe in my position as a result of a miracle and you came to your position based on rejecting what you knew. I now see what you rejected as truth and you justify the miracle in my life as a coincidence or luck. Neither one of us has scientific evidence on our side so what was the basis of your rejection? You did not disprove what you once knew based on science as the things of God from the Bible are not subject to that analysis.
      As far as how live our lives you say you enjoy it more knowing this is all you have. Solomon tried that and came up empty. What do you know that Solomon didn’t?

      January 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      I have a friend that I used to race with who is an atheist. His life would even match up with the apostles with the exception of rejecting Christ. On the other hand I need the accountability that comes from final judgement. I also enjoy life through rose colored glasses and the hope of paradise is place I long for.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Chad

      Chuckles "every state that has had an official policy of atheism has had a catastrophic human rights and civil liberties record. Can't be argued."

      =>you can try and argue that atheism isn’t the underlying reason why states with an official policy of atheism have an atrocious human rights record, but you can’t argue that they do, obviously. USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Facts are facts.

      Chuckles "Atheism isn’t the reason atheist states have atrocious human rights records, they use atheism as a tool to ensure totalitarianism” [paraphrase mine]
      =>So, you would agree then that religion isn’t the reason theocracies are bad? Amazing how inconsistent you are
      1. The leaders of the Marxist-Leninist movement were avowed atheists
      2. Atheism was central to their world view
      3. Religious persecution was central to their government

      Atheism is just as much a central component of the Marxism-Lenninism of USSR/China/North Korea/Cambodia under KR as Islam is a central component of the Iranian theocracy.

      Chuckles "There is no such thing as an atheist state, nor has there ever been one, in the way you suggest because no culture in all of human history has outlawed religion for the simple sake of religion being poison”
      =>ah.. please update the wikipedia page for that then.. they seem to have a vastly different view, I’m sure they would appreciate you educating them.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism
      “State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice… Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression,and, ultimately, the elimination of religion. Within about a year of the revolution the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed (a much greater number was subjected to persecution).[”

      – You still are completely missing the reasoning behind WHY there's a policy of atheism insofar as where the supremacy of the state lies. To look at any communist regime, lets say Soviet Union, and say that it's the atheism that led to its terrible policies and human rights record is ignoring fundemental facts.

      @Chuckles "Very few people who are atheists want to see a government mandate banning religion”
      =>hmm.. just three off the top of my head

      “Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class” - Lenin

      “but of course, religion is poison. It has two great defects: It undermines the race ...(and) retards the progress of the country. Tibet and Mongolia have both been poisoned by it." - Mao Zedong,

      “I think that all religion, not just christianity, needs to come to an end” - Chuckles

      January 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard, you twit, Chuckles SHOWED you why. Are you mentally impaired?

      By the way, have you figured out that RU486 and Plan B are not the same yet?

      Or are you still just as ignorant about that fact as you are about atheism, secularism, and Communism?

      January 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Chuckles "Very few people who are atheists want to see a government mandate banning religion”
      Chad=>hmm.. just three off the top of my head
      ----–
      And who would those "three" be, off the top of your pointy little noggin?

      I guess that's the underlying meaning of your goofball =====>, isn't it? It's the shape of your head!

      January 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chuckles "There is no such thing as an atheist state, nor has there ever been one, in the way you suggest because no culture in all of human history has outlawed religion for the simple sake of religion being poison”
      Chard: =>ah.. please update the wikipedia page for that then.. they seem to have a vastly different view, I’m sure they would appreciate you educating them.
      -----

      The fact that he, you, or a baboon could update the information on Wikipedia should tell you how stupid you look using it as a reference, Chard.

      Maybe you can find the info on RU486 and Plan B there, though.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Chad

      I'll number them and put the names at the front so it's easier for you to read:

      @Chuckles "Very few people who are atheists want to see a government mandate banning religion”
      =>hmm.. just three off the top of my head

      1) Vladimir Lenin – “Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class”

      2) Mao Zedong – “but of course, religion is poison. It has two great defects: It undermines the race ...(and) retards the progress of the country. Tibet and Mongolia have both been poisoned by it."

      3) Chuckles – “I think that all religion, not just christianity, needs to come to an end”

      January 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Chad

      Question: Are Christians more moral than atheists?
      Answer: Yes

      Definition: Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong).

      1) Since atheists do not believe in an objective "right" and "wrong", only opinions, it is impossible for an atheist to claim to be doing the "right" thing. They can only claim that "so and so thinks I'm doing the right thing".
      Since there is no absolute moral standard atheists can't claim any degree of morality to begin with.

      2) "Religious people are statistically more likely to give than secularists (91% to 66%), and give more of their money (3.5 times more than secularists), are more likely to volunteer their time (67% to 44%), and volunteer more of their time (almost twice as much). The fact that the conservative population is more charitable than the liberal population is due to the fact that religious people tend to be politically conservative." – From "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters"

      January 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Chad pulls the same tired argument out of his azz yet again. There is no proof that giving to charity equates with moral character. None.

      Nice try on the quotes, you boob. None of them prove that atheism causes Communism.

      And I see nothing about RU486 or Plan B, Chard. Why is that? Egg on your face again?

      January 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You and fred must both have been dropped on your heads. You contend that atheists are immoral because it's impossible to have moral standards without a belief in a god. Prove that, Chard. There's no evidence that it's the case at all. I've asked you and fred before and you still cannot prove that atheists are less moral than believers or that Christians are more moral than atheists. Pretending that your opinion equals fact is unbelievably stupid, even for you, Chard.

      January 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      It is not that atheists are immoral it is that they reject the foundation of moral standards:
      a question twice asked Christopher Hitchens to label bestiality as an immoral act, but he refused to do so.[112] Dr. Craig said the question posed to Hitchens was a good one and it helped illustrate that atheism cannot offer objective moral standards

      January 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are using Hitchens as a yardstick? What an idiot. Atheists and agnostics do not ALL do anything of the sort, freddy. You're generalizing, and just as ridiculously as Chard. Do ALL Christians obey their marriage vows? Hardly.

      You have no basis whatsoever for your assumption that atheists and agnostics have no moral compass simply because they don't believe in your idea of a creator. It's just your opinion, and you know what they say about those, freddy.

      January 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And really, Dr. Craig, freddy? Why should his opinion be considered as fact? It's simply what he believes and you swallow it up and lick your chops because it makes you feel superior.

      You're not.

      January 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      One more point, freddy: there is no proof that god or religion is the basis for moral standards. You and Chard would love to believe that moral standards don't exist without your god, but again, you have no proof or even any solid evidence that this is so.

      January 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      There are good Christians and bad but we have 10 commandments in stone for 4000 years. Something is wrong as the moral bar is lowered. There are studies that show people are more honest in a test room that contains pictures with eyes looking vs a room with no "eyes". The study concluded people are more honest when there is the thought someone is watching. I know you will say that means nothing. In New York 15 years ago a woman did not need to worry about her purse. Today, foreign turists are warned to put the strap around the neck so theifs will not target an easy hit.
      Total public disrespect for Jesus and God on the streets and all over the media. Forget the fact Jesus is or is not, just the disrespect is alarming. London last year compared to just 6 years ago and definatly 12 years ago is very different.
      What is your take if it is not fear of the Lord that has changed?

      January 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Look, you dope, if you are so ignorant that you think 15 years ago, a woman didn't have to worry as much about her purse being stolen as she does now, then you're beyond help. Either that, or you're no more than 20 years old.

      Violent crime is DOWN, dummy. Over the past decade, abortion rates have DROPPED.

      What planet are you living on?

      January 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And gosh, gee, I WONDER what could POSSIBLY be DIFFERENT? Do ya think maybe the fact that many people are losing their jobs MIGHT have something to do with the lack of civility and respect? That people have lost their homes? That they can't find jobs when they graduate from college in DEBT?

      Nah. It MUST be those damn atheists. It's ALL their fault.

      What a freakin' nut-case you are.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and freddy? Cite those "studies" you brayed about that show people are more honest in a room where there are pictures of eyes, and then prove that has a single thing to do with morality OR god. If people are truly moral, they don't NEED to have anyone watching them. Apparently, it's just folks like you who require a celestial babysitter to make you behave.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • fred

      TOm Tom
      Here ya go:
      The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality

      Ara Norenzayan* and
      Azim F. Shariff

      + Author Affiliations

      Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

      * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ara@psych.ubc.ca

      Abstract

      We examine empirical evidence for religious prosociality, the hypothesis that religions facilitate costly behaviors that benefit other people. Although sociological surveys reveal an association between self-reports of religiosity and prosociality, experiments measuring religiosity and actual prosocial behavior suggest that this association emerges primarily in contexts where reputational concerns are heightened. Experimentally induced religious thoughts reduce rates of cheating and increase altruistic behavior among anonymous strangers. Experiments demonstrate an association between apparent profession of religious devotion and greater trust. Cross-cultural evidence suggests an association between the cultural presence of morally concerned deities and large group size in humans. We synthesize converging evidence from various fields for religious prosociality, address its specific boundary conditions, and point to unresolved questions and novel predictions.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Merde

      LOL That study proves that religious people use moral relativism! HA HA HA AH AH AHA AHAHA!

      January 17, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Normally I would let this thread stay the course and die, but I felt compelled to addreess the claim made by you (twice!) that I am not only a communist, but a communist the likes of Stalin and Mao.

      Wow..... really? I mean there are some people here who say some pretty effed up sh.it, but I don't think I've ever sunk as low as calling you Hitler or ranking you up there as evil as Hitler.

      Not to mention, your arguments..... they're so breathtakingly faulty you've used quotes that bolster MY point.

      First and foremost, to say completely the opposite of what I said, namely that I would like to see a government mandated atheism throughout the US is insulting and just uncovers your horrible reading comprehension skills. When I make it a point in my previous post to point out that the freedom to worship any religion is something I would gladly pay to have that same freedom to not worship isn't secret code for the exact opposite I assure you.

      You also decided to stick more words in my mouth as well as insert your own idea that Atheism is the cornerstone of communism. NOT true chad, not true at all. It's a piece and a large one at that, but Communism first tenet is simply that everyone is equal, only some people are more equal than others. The basis is big all encompassing government that has absolute control and the populace has to be happy about it and trust they will be provided for in all things. When you start talking about how government gets ultimate control is when you mention atheism, not before chad.

      Theocracies on the other hand begin with stating that whatever religion is leading the country, that god is the ruler and the laws set in the holy book are the law of the land.

      Lets go a step further though, attempting to compare theocracies with states that have atheists policies is comparing apples and oranges and further uncoverers your complete ignorance/ aversion to the truth. Think of it this way, if I were to ask you who is the supreme leader of a christian theocracy, now answer that for a government with an atheist policy.....

      I'll answer for you because I can already in essence sort of see where you think you can squirm your way out of. In Christian Theocracy, jesus is the supreme leader, the head honcho. However, an government with an atheist policy can take the form of communism, or facism, or democracy or any other political idealogy (except theocracy for obvious reasons) that you can think of.

      You have also failed to show me any, I repeat ANY, country run as a christian theocracy that has a better or even as good as record as any of the communist states that you listed. Please show me a place that was run according to jesus and his laws and that is loving, embraces freedom and worked.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      freddy,

      What is the definition of "moral"? Whose defining it? How do you know it's a valid definition?

      Now, you and your mentally challenged pal, Chard, assume that:

      1)People who give more to charity are more "moral" than those who give less or none.
      Where's the evidence for that, given the definition of "moral"?
      2)People who are believers are more "moral" than those who aren't.
      Given that the crime rate in places like Denmark are very low, where is the evidence for your assumption?

      You and Chard are simply unable to make any argument that is based on facts. You simply believe you're right.

      I do not.

      Why should your beliefs hold sway?

      January 17, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Freddy's vaunted "study": Although sociological surveys reveal an association between self-reports of religiosity and prosociality, experiments measuring religiosity and actual prosocial behavior suggest that this association emerges primarily in contexts where reputational concerns are heightened.

      ----------

      Care to translate that, freddy?

      Here's the gist: the appearance of 'morality' among the subjects is largely due to their concern about their reputations with other members of their community.

      Bwahahhhhahha!

      January 17, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Tom Tom

      It's their conflated egos that both their belief and their opinions hold more sway because their god (ie their own minds) has said so, but I ask you, how do you point out the incredible hubris, arrogance and utter idiocy to someone who can doublethink their way into both rejecting and embracing that statement and then painting you as the exact same even though for all intents and purposes what you and I try to explain and fight for is literally being humble enough to remove any grand design and understand that we are tinier than the tiniest thing in the universe. The mental gymnastics I had to go through to just articulate the twisted morality is enough to make my brain sweat a little on this dreary, rainy tuesday morning.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chuck, your posts are well written and quite detailed. Unfortunately, it will make no difference to freddy or the Chard. They believe what they choose. That would be fine if they didn't attempt to use their simplistic nonsense as a yardstick for everyone else.

      Chard, in particular, posts these grandiose epistles that cause me to imagine him as Foghorn Leghorn.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Edit: "Who's defining it", not "whose". Sheesh. Need more coffee.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Tom Tom

      I say, I SAY I think we might have beaten those dogone nerferherders. I tip of the hat to you m'lady.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "I felt compelled to addreess the claim made by you (twice!) that I am not only a communist, but a communist the likes of Stalin and Mao.

      =>First, I certainly never made the suggestion that you are a communist, dont know where you got that from
      =>Second, although you did said that religion should come to and end, as I read back I do see that you never endorsed state banning religion so I apologize for putting your quote under the heading of "Very few people who are atheists want to see a government mandate banning religion”

      @Chuckles "[Chad you said that] I would like to see a government mandated atheism throughout the US is insulting and ....."
      => agreed, I apologize

      @Chuckles "your own idea that Atheism is the cornerstone of communism. NOT true chad, not true at all."
      =>atheism is as central to marxist-lenninist thought as religion is to theocracy. They go hand in hand. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist%E2%80%93Leninist_atheism
      The ultimate authority of a islamist theocracy (There has never been a Christian theocracy that I am aware of) is the rulers. They use their religious rules (ostensibly) to govern
      The ultimate authority of a marxist-lenninist atheistic state is the rulers. They use their anti-religious rules (ostensibly) to govern

      @Chuckles "In a Christian Theocracy, jesus is the supreme leader...",
      =>example of a Christian theocracy? I dont know of any.

      @Chuckles "You have also failed to show me any, I repeat ANY, country run as a christian theocracy that has a better or even as good as record as any of the communist states that you listed. "
      =>1) Has there ever been one?
      =>2) There are some states with an official state religion (that doesnt make them a theocracy)

      would you rather live here: Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco
      or here: USSR, Cambodia under Khmer Rouge, Mao'ist China, North Korea, Cuba

      hmm... what was your question again? :-)

      January 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      Put on your history hat for moment and tell me what country has ever been run by the guidelines established by Jesus. Your statement should have been qualified because even the Pope does not follow Christ in his state. A State where people actually followed guidelines established by Christ would be as close to Kingdom living as one could get. Even your family of old did well when God was with them. The entire Bible from the time the Hebrews demanded a King like every one else through today points to man's inability to follow basic guidelines established by God.

      @Tom Tom
      Country's like Denmark have common bonds within their people. Community and family is the key. When people belong and are not cast out there is greater common good. This is why family and community are the center of Gods plan for man. This is why Christ says we need to not only love those who love us but love those who hate us. My statements about atheists never claim Chuckles and Tom Tom are immoral because for one I have no idea what you do when only God can see you. If atheism offers all the benefits of Christianity Jesus would have said so. There is only one truth and so far no one has shown Christ wrong. Given this track record I believe if the way the truth and the life was in a godless society He would have made that clear. The only purpose was to save man from evil and just as he warned us about the Pope he would have led us to the truth of atheism.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad
      "First, I certainly never made the suggestion that you are a communist, dont know where you got that from" Ranking me with two other well known and particularly vicious Communists has the implied effect. You may not have explicitly stated it but had you, lets say, ranked me with Christopher Hitchens, or Richard Dawkins, I wouldn't have drawn the same conclusion, saavy?

      Secondly – Like I said in the previous post, Atheism clearly plays a part communism, never said otherwise, but atheism is not what endows communist rulers to rule, it's just an obstacle obliterated by the communist while they use armies, secret agencies, and conrolling everything that comes in and goes out of the country. Theocracy, conversely endows the rulers with divine right and not only are they fully in control of the country, but they control morality and the keys to the afterlife for their people. I'm positive you still fail to see the difference, but chad, atheism can't not be insti.tuted solely as a form of government the way a theocracy can, can you at least agree to that? If not, then there's no helping you buddy because you can't untie the idea of atheism from any of type of political idealogy.

      Example of christian theocracy..... hmmmm let me think.. Oh yeah, Holy Roman Empire for one. The English empire for a fair amount of time after the reformation and the King was also the head of the church and ruled by divine right. Both were great in their time, but brutal to anyone who was not a citizen, or even their own citizens that weren't christians. One could make a case that the Vatican is also a theocracy, but since I don't really count it as a country (although thats more opinion than technical I suppose) I don't think the vatican applies as it rules over an extremely small and limted population, all of whom are catholic and so they don't really have the problems that occur in other theocracies since they mostly get sloughed off into Italy.
      Apart from that however you fail to understand the underlying meaning of what I'm pointing out, which is theocracies in general are bad, not just specific theocracies. Where would you rather live, North Korea or Iran. I think this comparison illustrates perfectly what happens when communism takes control of a government attempts to abolish religion and instead replaces that with a leader who (apparently) was a god himself, made something like 17 holes in one during a golf game among his many other supernatural feats and people have to kowtow and go through rituals to glorify the leader (see who this is actually a religion in itself and thus isn't really state atheism but rather a rejection of every religion in favor of person as a god worship rather than god worship?). Then you have Iran, classic example of a theocracy and something that could easily be warped into a christian theocracy by just replacing the word "allah" with "god", "mohammed" with "jesus" and "imam" with "preist, father, pastor, etc...".

      If you really want to start moving towards the center instead of using fringe countries to illustrate the difference between theocracy vs. communism inst.ituting atheism then lets go towards the center. One one side we have the countries with the state religion of, as you listed (and I'll choose the most desirable place here) Costa Rica. On the other end you have a secular government that has seemingly a very very small amount if any of religion on government in Sweden, or Norway, or really scandanavia in general. Now, where in terms of freedoms, education, general happiness and all that is more desirable to live in? ......

      January 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @fred

      First and foremost, please stop trying to use the bible as a history book and proof of this or proof of that, it's just embarrassing for both me and you. Step outside of the bible and watch jewish progression and it's nearly as rosey (if you could even call it that) as the bible. It's precisely the reason that jews were "god chosen" and didn't give up is the reason why we've gone through hardship and persecution. Also, if you lived in a society that was completely befreft of a physical leader in favor of an invisible one, how long do you think it would take you to demand someone to take the lead instead of looking in a book with a va.gue direction that supposed to address your very individual problem. Think fred! Think!

      It's funny that you said if atheism offered everything christianity does than jesus would have said so – HA! that's fabricated bulls.hit and you know it. Any religious figure in any religion is not going to try and spread their religion and message and at the same time endorse atheism as long as they follow the basic. That's nonesensical at best freddy, you're going to have to do better than that.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      As much as I hate to embarrass you further the Bible certainly contains some history that we know to be true. My problem is that when it comes to God’s Chosen Ones my assumption is that Moses has given a clear picture as he saw it. Further, Moses had the sense of the people and God as the community saw Him. I understand the perspective will be different than other accounts and certainly I would take that into account yet, a lot more weight must be given the writer who would be most knowledgeable.
      I agree with you that God chose the right people. Being stiff necked has its advantages and disadvantages. I believe they of all people did just what they were designed to do and that was carrying the truth from Adam and Eve until the Bible could be put into written form for all to see. The accuracy of transmission is itself a testament to Gods choice of the right people.
      Although we do not know the author of 1Samuel 8 we are given the account of God giving the people a King like the other nations together with a warning about what the means. What was stated was very true of a monarch and what they will do to a people. To this day history has proven that governments of men will fail to provide lasting security. If what is said rings true over time I take it as true until proven otherwise. I have not found any proof that God is not exactly God as revealed by the chosen ones whose purpose was to bring this image forward to the day of Christ.
      Forget about if you believe there is a God or not, would you agree they (chosen ones) brought forward the image of God as revealed to them? If so then the Bible is the story of God redeeming a people for Himself just as it was intended to be.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Fred

      It's a very tricky and dangerous ledge you cross at the moment. To say that true events happened in the bible is false and as close to unprovable as proving that jesus a) existed and b) did the stuff that the bible claims he did. Remember (I didn't think I had to keep repeating this, but alas) just because there might be some real places or people mentioned in the bible does not prove the veracity of the bible or the truthfulness of particular parts of the bible.

      Secondly, to still believe it was Moses or even a singular writer who wrote down the bible shows just how far you are willing to go to ignore the inconsistencies and falsehoods that appear. It's pretty common knowledge by religious scholars and people of faith that it wasn't moses who wrote the torah, but 4 separate people.

      Secondly, you don't need a written record of what it means to be under a monarchy or know where a monarchy will lead. What I think you are advocating however is that instead of having any government at all, we should just live under the rule of the bible and hope everything goes well.

      As to your last question, I honestly don't understand it, if you're asking if the israelites image of god has consisted for the last 5,000+ years in its original form, HELL NO, of course it hasn't. I mean, just look at the 3 separate religions that use the supposed "same" image of god in such audaciously different ways that they are completely unique from one another except in name. Even the modern jewish god of today looks nothing like the god of the ancient israelites. To think otherwise is pulling the wool over your own eyes in order to see the audacious and ridiculous changes that god has gotten over the centuries.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Chuckles: I had to read that last paragraph a couple of times because I wanted to be absolutely certain it said what I thought it said...

      fred said, "Forget about if you believe there is a God or not, would you agree they (chosen ones) brought forward the image of God as revealed to them? If so then the Bible is the story of God redeeming a people for Himself just as it was intended to be."

      As best as I can interpret, I think fred is saying (and I'm paraphrasing, obviously): if you agree that the people that wrote the bible believed what they wrote, then it must be true.

      I sincerely hope that I'm reading it wrong.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @SeanNJ

      I fear that you are probably right in how fred thinks/believes, however I came to understand what fred asked in his last question (paraphrased) the jews were given the word of god to spread to the earth and in todays time they have done so through christianity and islam and judaism, allowing for god to spread to every part of the earth was the goal and that's been achieved, ipso facto god is real and the bible is true (scoff)

      January 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      I have assumed that the image of God as brought forward in the Bible, excluding that which the New Testament added, was the complete image of the God of Abraham to the Jews. Thanks for bringing that to my attention I will check into it and perhaps update my source code then reboot.
      Our image has changed as God was revealed to each generation over the years. This was not God changing only revealing more and more as we were capable of comprehending greater revelation. The revelation of God in Christ highlighted Gods love and compassion. I am not buying into any other revelations following the completion of the New Testament. God as revealed in Christ fits into the character and attributes of God we have from the Bible. The God of Islam does not fit the god of Joseph Smith and L Ron Hubbard does not fit either. This is different than the God of the Catholic Church which fits but was given a purple robe and much that God would find silly if not offensive.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @fred

      First, I sincerely hope you don't really think that the jewish religion and god and writings and all that just froze in time and wasn't updated after the arrival of jesus. Yes jews still hold the god of the torah as the right god and the pansy one that gets changed in the bible is some false-a.ss shi.t, but the jews have done some of their own updating themselves and spawned some different sects that all have a different idea of what god and what god isn't.

      Second, what makes you stop and not believe in say Joseph Smiths revelation? Why is that any more absurd or ridiculous than anything else that happened in the bible, is it the timing part? geographical location? Since god isn't really inhibited by time or space then shouldn't that not be a factor?
      Do you also not see the absurd notion that you can embrace something like christianity which is basically the joseph smith equivalent of judaism and still outright reject mormonism?

      January 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      “what makes you stop and not believe in say Joseph Smiths revelation?”
      As with Islam they took what the Bible said then added onto it. I could see where they added stuff. I sometimes add my take on the Bible the difference being it is just my take and not Divine. No one should attend the church of fred. In short Jesus referred to Scripture as Gods word and the Mormons believe most of it. Most is not all and worse yet they claim the Bible is wrong and have corrected it. What Smith added is not a death sentence but, could lead many people into a wrong position before God. I think God is big enough to sort out the good Mormon’s and bring them to the same place Christ will bring those that die in Him. A cup of coffee will not keep a good man down.

      “ Why is that any more absurd or ridiculous than anything else that happened in the bible, is it the timing part?” The timing part for one but, the initial vision has too many holes. You could have done much better with the information available in Smiths day. Many gods and becoming a little god yourself does not sound like the God I know.

      “ Since god isn't really inhibited by time or space then shouldn't that not be a factor?” The geographic location is not a problem as people could have visions anywhere. Rule of thumb when a vision says “you could be like god” look for a serpent.
      Do you also not see the absurd notion that you can embrace something like christianity which is basically the joseph smith equivalent of judaism and still outright reject mormonism? If it was just the vision of Paul yes it should be rejected. I believe something got a hold of the early followers that they were willing die for a story about the son of God born of a virgin. Who would be willing to die for a foolish story ! Then one day I suddenly believed after only reading the Words of Jesus I was convicted of my sins, asked for Jesus to help me find God if there is one when the truth of the Bible opened up to me. Now, I not only believed the foolish story I was mesmerized by it and could not put it down. I read the Bible for a week in awe not only of God but foolish stuff like a big fish and a talking donkey.
      If not for that moment in time I would be giving Colin a high five for raking fred over the coals.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles " Ranking me with two other well known and particularly vicious Communists has the implied effect."
      =>particularly vicious Marxist-Leninist atheists..
      a. again, for the umpteenth time, atheism is central to Marxist-Leninist, hence the page devoted to that union on wikipedia
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist%E2%80%93Leninist_atheism
      b. if you dont like it, don't be an atheist. There's no such thing as "Marxist-Leninist agnosticism" for a reason. Atheists actively oppose God.

      =>your continued attempts to divorce atheism from Marxist-Leninism are not persuasive to say the least.

      @Chuckles "Example of christian theocracy..... hmmmm let me think.. Oh yeah, Holy Roman Empire for one"
      => HRE wasnt a theocracy
      "While the Roman Empire was never a theocracy as we know it – it was not ruled by a priesthood in the name of any deity – it is also true that Roman emperors did often declare themselves to be gods, and erected shrines to themselves. That was a quasi-theocracy – much like the current government of North Korea, which has deified the current dictator, Kim Jong I"

      @Chuckles "Example of christian theocracy..... The English empire for a fair amount.. King was also the head of the church "
      =>I find no claim anywhere that Britain was a theocracy.

      Theocracy should be distinguished from other, secular, forms of government that have a state religion, or are merely influenced by theological or moral concepts, and monarchies held "By the Grace of God". – wikipedia

      =>your statement that "Iran could be come a Christian theocracy" is obviously absurd.. One doesnt convert an entire country from one religion to another merely by substi tuting "Allah" with "God".. D'OH!

      =>so we come full circle to the original claim, now completely and exhaustively demonstrated as true:

      Fact: every state that has had an official policy of atheism has had a catastrophic human rights and civil liberties record. Can't be argued.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, basically, freddy, you're saying that we shouldn't be atheists because God and Jesus said we shouldn't.

      Is that about right?

      Really, fred, you are just not all there.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      I should have just said that in the first place and saved you and Chuckles a lot of time

      January 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard, you can keep on pretending that reiterating your point makes it a fact, but it won't. You are claiming that the REASON Communist and other totalitarian governments had a poor record on human rights is BECAUSE they had a policy of atheism. You have failed to prove that atheism had any effect on the human rights of the citizens of those countries, other than outlawing freedom of religious expression.

      When are you going to prove that atheism was the cause?

      And when are you going to explain the difference between RU486 and Plan B? I just want to make sure you have recognized your error and now understand that you were wrong about them being the same thing. Are you a big enough man to do that?

      I doubt it.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It doesn't take much time to read your drivel, freddy, much less figure out that it's a load of hogwash.

      But thanks anyway.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Chuckles: Thank you, my dear, but I doubt Chard and ferd burfel will ever recognize or admit that they're wrong.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So interesting that poor little Chard doesn't have the balls to respond to some posts. He must be afraid of women who aren't subservient.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Really? Can you not see the difference between Atheism and Communism? Lets get started in saying that when I said Holy Roman Empire, I don't mean anyone pre-Constatine, you know the guy who converted the entire Roman Empire to christianity and followed Jesus and his teaching? Yeah, that guy. As for the British Empire as a monarchy ruling by the grace of god, if you feel the need (and rightly so) to distinguish this from a theocracy, then it's appalling you can't seem to do the same uncoupling of communism and atheism, but there it is, c'est la vie.

      Your "fact" of atheism being state mandated falls into the same pile as any specific belief being pushed on a population not having a stellar human rights record. If you want to start looking at GOOD human rights records, well that falls to the secular governments who separate religion from the government, doesn't that tell you something? No, of course not, you are so married to the idea that an Atheist Government is literally hel.l on earth and indistinguishable communism, that you would rather cling to the scant miscomprended "facts" rather than admit defeat. Which is OK by me, I'd be fascinated to see how far you get in life refusing to admit you're wrong even when presented with everything to the contrary.

      Oh, and my last part where I was showing what a Christian theocracy would LOOK like, not that Iran could somehow convert overnight. You kept not understanding what a christian theocracy is, I enlightened you by inserting christian theology into the current muslim theocracy in Iran, pretty simple. Do you really not understand what a christian theology would really look like or do you think that we currently live in one?

      January 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard doesn't think at all, Chuck. I'm not even sure Chard qualifies as male, as he obviously has no balls.

      January 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      You cannot insert Christian in place of Islamic and expect anyone to go for that substi-tution. We would need to first assume that the Christians in charge would break the rules established by Christ. In that case it is possible. A true Christian leadership group in Iran with Christians as opposed to Muslims would only function in a dream world. God in the Old Testament made it clear men are sinners and will sin. This is reality. God is supposedly in charge of everything and this is the game board we get to play on. When Jesus said give onto Caesar what is Caesars and give onto God what is Gods this included the need to remain separate (sound familiar). That being the case a secular government with Christians running about the streets with non Christians is the optimum design. The example countries of excellence you hold out actually function with a secular State and a Christian principled populace (note I did not say Christian or a religious bunch). The success of these countries is a result of high morals and family structure.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *Whoosh*

      The sound of the point flying WAY over freddy's head. Again.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, ferd berfel, when are you going to define morality? How about "Christian principles"? How do they differ from "Christianity"?

      If there WERE a god, he must be shaking his head in utter dismay at you, ferdy.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gosh, ferdy, didn't you claim that morals were only based on the Bible? How is it there can be a population of "high morals" if they're not all Christian?

      Really, dude, you're beyond the stage of mumbo-jumbo and well into the weeds.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes lives

    January 16, 2012 at 4:51 am |
    • Mirosal

      only in your own mind. But your mind is closed. Didn't you know that most "medicine" is in the mind? The body can do amazing things, if the mind will let it.

      January 16, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • ______

      Mirosal! Incredible concept! We have but to render leukemia patients comatose and they will get better. And I've wasted all this time on the Moon Cure and the Way of the Red Ant.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Ironicus

      Prayer changes lives by closing minds, encouraging delusional behavior, and by wasting time better spent elsewhere.

      January 16, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • ______

      Ironicus, don't you claim to be some sort of failed clergyman?

      January 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Ironicus

      No, that would be captainjammer, who hasn't been around lately. I was planning on being a pastor in my enthusiasm which led to a greater examination of the provably false Bible.
      Not the same thing. I did not "fail" anything except being gullible. I failed to remain gullible. If you don't like it, too bad.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Ironicus

      I should add that captainjammer didn't fail anything either by realizing his mistakes. Realizing mistakes is not usually considered a "failing" by anyone but religious people.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Puzzled

      Ironicus:

      Sorry to interrupt, but this is interesting, what sect had you chosen?

      January 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Merde

      Stay away from those religious insects!

      January 17, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Prayer is the evidence of life lived well

      January 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      When you wish upon a star
      Your dreams come true

      January 17, 2012 at 12:37 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.