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January 25th, 2012
12:52 PM ET

My take: Reclaiming Jesus’ sense of humor

Editor’s note: James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine and author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life," from which this article is adapted.

By James Martin, Special to CNN

Here’s a serious question about levity: The Bible clearly paints a picture of Jesus of Nazareth as a clever guy, but he never seems to laugh, much less crack a smile. Did Jesus really have no sense of humor; didn't he ever laugh?

Well, one difficulty with finding humor in the New Testament is that what was seen as funny to those living in Jesus' time may not seem funny to us.

For someone in first-century Palestine, the premise (or “setup” as a comic would say) was probably more amusing than the punch line. "The parables were amusing in their exaggeration or hyperbole," Amy-Jill Levine, a New Testament scholar at Vanderbilt University, said in an interview. “The idea that a mustard seed would have sprouted into a big bush that birds would build their nests in would be humorous."

People in Jesus’ day would probably have laughed at many of his intentionally funny illustrations: for example, the idea that someone would have lit a lamp and put it under a basket, or that a person would have built a house on sand or that a father would give a child stones instead of bread.

But contemporary Christians may be missing the humor that Jesus intended and that his audience understood.

Father Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, professor of New Testament at Boston College, agrees. "Humor is very culture bound," he told me. "The Gospels have a lot of controversy stories and honor-shame situations. I suspect that the early readers found these stories hilarious, whereas we in a very different social setting miss the point entirely."

Let’s repeat that: hilarious.

Or maybe we just know the stories too well. Too many Gospel stories have become stale, like overly repeated jokes. "The words seem to us like old coins," wrote Elton Trueblood, a 20th-century Quaker scholar, "in which the edges have been worn smooth and the engravings have become almost indistinguishable."

In his book "The Humor of Christ," Trueblood recounts the tale of his 4-year-old son hearing the Gospel story of seeing the speck of dust in your neighbor's eye and ignoring the log in your own and laughing uproariously. His son recognized the humor that someone else, who might have heard the story dozens of times, might miss.

There are other indications in the Gospels that Jesus of Nazareth had a lively sense of humor. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is castigated for not being as serious as John the Baptist. "The Son of Man came eating and drinking," Jesus said, "and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard.’ ” In other words, the Gospels record criticism of Jesus for being too high-spirited.

"Jesus and his disciples," said the Rev. Richard J. Clifford, SJ, a biblical scholar at Boston College, "are criticized for living it up!"

After his time on Earth, some of this playfulness may have been downplayed by the Gospel writers, who, scholars say, may have felt pressured by the standards of their day to present a more serious Jesus.

"There were probably things that were compressed and shortened, and some of the humor may have been leached out," Clifford said. "But I see Jesus as a witty fellow, someone who is serious without being grim. When the disciples argue among themselves, Jesus brings wit into the discussion."

Jesus also embraces others with a sense of humor. In the beginning of the Gospel of John comes the remarkable story of Nathanael, who has been told by his friends that the Messiah is from Nazareth. Nathanael responds, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

This is an obvious joke about how backwards the town was; Nazareth was seen as a backwater with only a few hundred people.

And what did Jesus say in response? Does he castigate Nathanael for mocking his hometown?

Jesus says nothing of the sort! Nathanael's humor seems to delight him.

"Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit," Jesus said. In other words, here’s someone I can trust.

Nathanael then became one of the apostles. Jesus’ welcoming of Nathanael into his inner circle may be the clearest indication that Jesus had a sense of humor.

Besides, what kind of a person has zero sense of humor? I asked Eileen Russell, a clinical psychologist based in New York who specializes in the role of resilience, how she would describe the psychological makeup of a person without a sense of humor.

“A person without a sense of humor would lead to that person having significant social problems,” she said. “He would most likely have difficulty making social connections, because he wouldn’t be able to read signals from other people, and would be missing cues.”

That’s the opposite of what we know about Jesus from the Gospels. Yet that's just the kind of one-sided image that many Christians have of Jesus. It shows up in Christian books, sermons and in artwork. It influences the way that Christians think about Jesus, and therefore influences their lives as Christians.

If part of being human includes having a sense of humor, and if Jesus was “fully human,” as Christians believe, he must have had a fully developed sense of humor. Indeed, his sense of humor may be one unexamined reason for his ability to draw so many disciples around him with ease.

It’s time to set aside the notion that Jesus was a humorless, grim-faced, dour, unsmiling prude. Let’s begin to recover his humor and, in the process, his humanity.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • TV

soundoff (1,367 Responses)
  1. melissa

    I'd like to think that Jesus & God both have a wonderful sense of humor. I mean, look at what we do & how we act. Think about the things people pray for. Think of how ridiculous we are. They have to put up with us. Thank God he loves us!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  2. MeMelvin

    When children are laughing, they are learning.
    The same can be said about God's children.
    Subtle humor requires an inquisitive mind to get the full meaning and message.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  3. r

    ><

    February 9, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  4. r

    <b

    February 9, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  5. PRISM 1234

    What will they do, and to what length will they go to allow satan to use them to make Jesus Christ , His Person and His message of no effect?!
    I could hardly read the article, becoming sick in my spirit..... that's how offensive and God-unlike are the things they are saying.... They've done all but called him an entertainer!
    These people DO NOT KNOW who God is, they do not know His nature nor His character. If they did, they would not make Him unto their own image.
    Humor has no place in Gospel's message, not where the souls of people are at stake, not where the price to redeem them is so immeasurably great, deep and painful.! What these people are saying is against the grain of the Word of God, and portrays FALSE IMMAGE of God, Christ mission, and His purpose, and the witness of the Holy Spirit of Gd "screams out" against it! The people are tossing out everything the prophecies in Isaiah reveal about Christ ! ! ! These ar false shepherds, standing at the door, preventing the sheep from going in, and they themselves not entering in. Jesus Himself talked about them... Would they make it out like He meant this also in a humorous way.
    Epistles of 2Peter and Jude reveal more about those kind of shepherds, specifying also what their end will be.... Maybe our knowledgeable experts will find some humor in them too!

    February 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Claudio

      Dude, lighten up. It's obvious you wrote this with lots of anger. Try some joy.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ claudio
      God says that He is angry with the wicked every day, and those who attempt to make Him unto their own image, dragging Him down to their own level are in that category, no matter how much polished they are outside. God sees the motives of their hearts!
      As for joy you're telling me to exchange for my anger. There is an anger every child of GOd better have! If they don't, they are not one of His!
      And lastly, those who don't know Jesus Christ, DO NOT KNOW real joy. Because only HE can fill the void in a human heart, because God has put this void their so that only HE could fill it. But those who don't know Him attempt to fill it with things other then Him , and end up living all their lives in pretense, displaying a fake "joy". So, no, you can take your fake, "plastic" joy, I chose Jesus Christ, the Joy of human desiring, of whom the whole creation test/ifies and proclaims His glory.

      February 10, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  6. sonotso

    So Jesus turns to Paul and says: "hey Paul, did you hear the one about the 12 loaves and the fishes" The crowd went wild.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  7. KellyG92387

    LinCA started with the insults and obscene language, not me!
    Sorry for messing up "your" debate, last time I checked it was free for anybody to participate.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Intellect over insight

      Kelly I read the discourse between you two, she never once said a single profanity at you. It was to another poster. And you were equally aggressive and disrespectful. There is a way to debate issues and not proceed into hurling insults at each other. Find it. And I am pretty sure she has every right to say whatever she wants to on HER blog. Why go there if you are in such opposition to her views?

      February 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Listen Up

      KellyG,

      You sound like a bratty tattletale from the 4th grade... but more vicious and vindictive.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  8. Intellect over insight

    Well I was hoping to continue disussing this with LinCA, but thanks a lot for everybody getting all bent out of shape and taking this debate into the sewer. Why does somebody always have to get rude and make things unpleasant?
    ?

    February 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Intellect over insight

      You said, "Well I was hoping to continue disussing this with LinCA, but thanks a lot for everybody getting all bent out of shape and taking this debate into the sewer."
      I'm open to continue it right here.

      Here is a link to my last reply to you:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/25/my-take-reclaiming-jesus-sense-of-humor/comment-page-12/#comment-996794

      Before we continue, I would like to amend the last part of that post to read:
      "Belief in gods isn't reasonable or rational. It is no better than that of a 5 year old expecting a quarter for his or her tooth." (modifications emphasized)

      February 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  9. KellyG92387

    @LinCA I would reply to your arguments but but frankly, your responses are so immature and egotistical I wont even bother. The other posters said it best YOU ARE A TROLL

    February 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • .....

      "your responses are so immature and egotistical "

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot

      February 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      Now she goes on anonymously... epic fail you troll

      February 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • .....

      "Now she goes on anonymously... epic fail you troll"

      No idiot it's not her but you are a moron who's been handed your ass by her. Thanks for proving you're an idiot.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      Nice try troll, go back and write in your blog, it will be shutdown in 2 days you better get crackin

      February 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      You should have read wordpress' terms of use. Better luck next time. Troll

      February 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • ....

      "You should have read wordpress' terms of use. Better luck next time. Troll"

      Oh, poor moron, you actually think they enforce it. Your such an asshole. 😉

      February 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      They do. I already talked to them for you, they agreed. No matter, i am sure you will find another place to blog your idle rantings.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bizarre

      We should not be so quick to as.sume things - that LinCA is female.

      I have no idea about this (not that it makes any diff.). "Lin" could be a male nickname too... or it could be a last name.

      I also have no idea whether CA stands for California or Canada, or maybe something else entirely.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      Except I already have her user account info. And her blog is going bye bye all because she decided to get in the dirt and start calling out profane language. If you have to use cuss words to refute an argument then your position is weak. And I am no fool. Civility is always honored with the same for me, but when you start dishing out hate and obscenity then you lose always. Her blog being closed down for violations of the terms of service will give her time to ponder the nature of her actions.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      From the WordPress "Abuse" page:

      "We will not suspend blogs for other reasons you might find objectionable. For example, we don’t suspend blogs for describing a negative experience they have had with a business, or for being generally offensive (see this section on freedom of speech for more information)."

      Guess it won't be going anywhere after all. *shrug*

      February 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bizarre

      KellyG,

      If you are referring to the little f-bomb below, GET REAL. Go after the highly influential people such as Donald Trump and Vice-President Biden and a few others who have let one go.

      Your petty little vendetta is as dirty and offensive as any single word could ever be.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • LinCA

      @KellyG92387

      You said, "Now she goes on anonymously... epic fail you troll"
      Nope. Wasn't me.

      You said, "Nice try troll, go back and write in your blog, it will be shutdown in 2 days you better get crackin"
      Nope. Wrong again. It's still there.

      You said, "You should have read wordpress' terms of use."
      I did. I'll take my chances.

      You said, "If you have to use cuss words to refute an argument then your position is weak."
      May I suggest that you go back to the thread that's gotten your panties in a wad and read the comments (in order that they were posted). My little profanity was posted after, and in reply to, a post that hurled an insult at me.

      My profanity wasn't even an insult, per se. It was part of a suggestion to make an argument or go away.

      You said, "Civility is always honored with the same for me, but when you start dishing out hate and obscenity then you lose always."
      As near as I can tell, I have yet to direct an insult at you. But you appear to have no problem with the name calling directed at me, and even added your own.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  10. Chutedamoon

    dudes nothing will solve for x!! let it go maaan..let's hit the beach and ride bro

    February 1, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Intellect over insight

      Thanks for bringing so much to the conversation!

      February 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  11. KellyG92387

    Your fallacy is argumentum ad ignorantiam and bordering on auto-epistemical. And I dont need a book, I graduated with honors in Philosophy. So you are invoking that there is a new phase of atheist guilt, now they can be agnostic and atheist in the same instant. Quite boorish to be hagging on others beliefs when yours are so very poorly defined (i.e. illogical)

    February 1, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Wholly Goats

      KellyG,

      Maybe you should get your money back from that school for awarding you a degree without teaching you the difference between "agnostic", which has to do with knowledge, and "atheistic", which has to do with belief.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      Hey goats,you should try using a better website.. wikipedia is not a reliable source. Atheism, Agnosticism and Theism are all interrelated you noob.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      Hey Goat, From Websters:

      Definition of AGNOSTIC

      : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.

      Epic fail you troll, epic fail.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • LinCA

      @KellyG92387

      You said, "Definition of AGNOSTIC
      : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.
      "

      You appear to have a problem comprehending the difference between:
      not committed to believing, and
      committed to not believing. Word order matters.

      The former is a statement of disbelief which allows for the possibility of existence, however remote, while the latter is one of belief, and therefor one of an absolute claim.

      You said, "Epic fail you troll, epic fail."
      No, really, the failure is entirely on your part.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  12. Schubertr4

    I have read a great deal of the comments and as an agnostic, I find it disturbing that the apparent atheists are so weak in their arguments or that they are even bothering to aruge their side at all. Atheism makes God a non issue, so atheists who fervently rally against theism are obviously conflicted with their own beliefs when they try to convince others that they are correct.

    February 1, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • jeremyBrg

      Some good conversation about it though. Even with the obvious troll LinCA

      February 1, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Sharon

      I agree, you always get a troll like that it seems. It's best to ignore them. Miserable little people.

      February 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Chad n Meg

      LinCA is a troll, no doubt, but so simplistic in her machinations on religon that it just comes off as pathetic.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      LinCA is a troll, but give credit where it is due. Such a small mind that trying to cope with a big subject, amazing she figured out how to copy/ paste all that nonsense onto here.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bizarre

      You folks would be lucky if you had one-tenth of the knowledge, information, wisdom and insight that LinCA has.

      All you have is a hunch and a "feeling in your heart" that your supernatural scenario is true.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • KellyG92387

      Thats great I am the luckiest woman alive then! ha ha you tool

      February 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Schubertr4

      You said, "I have read a great deal of the comments and as an agnostic, I find it disturbing that the apparent atheists are so weak in their arguments or that they are even bothering to aruge their side at all."
      You assert a great deal here. Care to present an actual argument? Just presenting your claim doesn't establish anything.

      You said, "Atheism makes God a non issue, so atheists who fervently rally against theism are obviously conflicted with their own beliefs when they try to convince others that they are correct."
      If the theists kept their beliefs to themselves and out of public policy, you won't hear from me, and probably a lot of other atheists.

      -------
      @jeremyBrg

      You said, "Some good conversation about it though. Even with the obvious troll LinCA"
      Would you care to specify what I said that makes you claim I'm a troll? I ask because I attempt to tailor my replies to very specific statements made by others on this board.

      -------
      @Sharon

      You said, "I agree, you always get a troll like that it seems. It's best to ignore them. Miserable little people."
      Same request to you as for jeremyBrg. Please be specific.

      -------
      @Chad n Meg

      You said, "LinCA is a troll, no doubt, but so simplistic in her machinations on religon that it just comes off as pathetic."
      Same request to you as for jeremyBrg and Sharon. Please be specific.

      Also, if my machinations are so simplistic, they should be easy to refute. So, instead of merely asserting that, how about actually formulating an argument?

      -------
      @KellyG92387

      You said, "LinCA is a troll, but give credit where it is due."
      Same request to you as for jeremyBrg, Sharon and Chad n Meg. Please be specific.

      You said, "Such a small mind that trying to cope with a big subject, amazing she figured out how to copy/ paste all that nonsense onto here."
      More insults? The "nonsense" that I copy/paste is typically the statement that I reply to (see immediately above). The rest is usually my own writing. And, again, if you have an argument, please make it.

      -------
      @Bizarre
      Thanks.

      -------
      @KellyG92387

      You said, "Thats great I am the luckiest woman alive then! ha ha you tool"
      And more insults. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that's all you have.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  13. Intellect over insight

    i have enjoyed reading the comments. I hate to tell both sides this undeniable truth, but no matter what you say or do you will neither be able to prove or disprove that God exists. This renders your arguments all moot. It is ultimately a personal decision. I have made my choice to believe in God because even though I will never be able to "prove" God's existence, I have felt him inside me telling me what to do with my life. The problem with Atheism is the complete lack of a resounding alternative to faith in life and the lack of any shred of discourse on the concept of non-existence. Non-existence would be defined as the moment of physical death, when the body ceases to function. Where does the mind go then, do you just stop thinking and cease to exist or does some part of our essence carry on? Odd that the Atheist does not typically give any alternatives to what happens at the end of physical life? That is when all the questions will really arise! So tell me Atheists of the world, why do you not spend any your mental enegries on telling me what exactly does happen at death. You seem to just enjoy mocking God and making little headway in your own arguments. Not very productive use of the scant few years you have here on Earth if there is no existence to follow... just a thought.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • LinCA

      @Intellect over insight

      You said, "I hate to tell both sides this undeniable truth, but no matter what you say or do you will neither be able to prove or disprove that God exists. This renders your arguments all moot."
      There are very few atheists on this board that will claim that they have proof that there are no gods, but that doesn't mean that both arguments have equal merit.

      Merit of a claim is determined by the evidence in support of the claim. Less evidence, or lower quality evidence, reduces the merit of the claim. The believers are the ones making the claims. They claim there to be a god or gods. They claim one of these gods to be as they depict him/her/it. They do so without any evidence of any value in support. The only thing they have to support their claims is hearsay and highly suspect witness testimony.

      The existence of beliefs in thousands of gods, hundreds of thousands of religions, denominations, secs and cults proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no convincing evidence in support of on particular flavor.

      Without evidence in support, the reasonable position is to reject the claim. There is no reason to believe there are any gods, therefor I don't believe there are any. Note that that is different from if I were to say: "I believe there are no gods", which would be a claim, unsupported by evidence.

      You said, "It is ultimately a personal decision. I have made my choice to believe in God because even though I will never be able to "prove" God's existence, I have felt him inside me telling me what to do with my life."
      It is a personal choice. It's a choice between reason and fairy tales. You have chosen to believe in fairy tales.

      You said, "The problem with Atheism is the complete lack of a resounding alternative to faith in life and the lack of any shred of discourse on the concept of non-existence. Non-existence would be defined as the moment of physical death, when the body ceases to function. Where does the mind go then, do you just stop thinking and cease to exist or does some part of our essence carry on? Odd that the Atheist does not typically give any alternatives to what happens at the end of physical life? That is when all the questions will really arise!"
      That is total and complete bullshit. But keep telling yourself that, because you will lose faith if you realize that atheists live very fulfilling lives. I accept that the life I have here on earth is the only one I'll get. I will not waste a minute of it trying to please some dude-in-the-sky in false hope of an afterlife.

      You said, "So tell me Atheists of the world, why do you not spend any your mental enegries on telling me what exactly does happen at death."
      I expect to just stop living. Everything ends. There is no reason to believe otherwise.

      You said, "You seem to just enjoy mocking God and making little headway in your own arguments."
      I don't mock any gods as they are not very likely to exist. I mock the idiots that still believe in the nonsense that even a 6 year old should be able to realize is a total crock.

      You said, "Not very productive use of the scant few years you have here on Earth if there is no existence to follow... just a thought."
      If I can save just one believer from the delusion they so obviously suffer from, my life will have been worthwhile. </sarcasm>

      February 1, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Intellect over insight

      You said, " I don't mock any gods as they are not very likely to exist "

      Not very likely? wow you are so convincing in your atheist views!

      February 1, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • Schubertr4

      I have to agree with Insight, LinCA is not a particularly good atheist. A real atheist would not even offer the possibility of God's existence.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • LinCA

      @Intellect over insight

      You said, "Not very likely? wow you are so convincing in your atheist views!"
      Without a single shred of evidence to support the notion of gods, they are equally likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy. Even Santa Claus, the Abominable Snowman or Loch Ness Monster are more likely to exist.

      Belief in gods isn't reasonable or rational. Your beliefs are no better than those of a 5 year old expecting a quarter for his or her tooth.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      You're right, we can't prove god doesn't exist and given the lack of evidence we are not so ready to fill that spot with said god. When we die, it is simply that...nothing more and no need to worry about it. We live better lives as a result of not holding on to the thought of an afterlife. We don't worry about what will happen to us because from what we know there is nothing after. We make the best of the short time we have and that is all we can do.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • KellyG92387

      LinCAa's line of reasoning is inherently flawed with logic issues. A logical fallacy is commonly asserted when the source is not a legitimate expert on the topic at hand. And I agree with the other poster, not a very good atheist if there is even a possibility of God, that possibility makes one an agnostic. You can't "almost" believe God dosen't exist and be an atheist.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • LinCA

      @KellyG92387

      You said, "LinCAa's line of reasoning is inherently flawed with logic issues. A logical fallacy is commonly asserted when the source is not a legitimate expert on the topic at hand."
      Please be specific. What logical fallacy did I commit? Am I not an expert on non-existing creatures? If you need to look fallacies up, here is a website that lists quite a few: http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      You said, "And I agree with the other poster, not a very good atheist if there is even a possibility of God, that possibility makes one an agnostic. You can't "almost" believe God dosen't exist and be an atheist."
      You can leave the possibility open because you don't know (agnostic), yet don't believe gods exist because there is no evidence for them (atheist).

      February 1, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • KellyG92387

      Your fallacy is argumentum ad ignorantiam and bordering on auto-epistemical. And I dont need a book, I graduated with honors in Philosophy. So you are invoking that there is a new phase of atheist guilt, now they can be agnostic and atheist in the same instant. Quite boorish for you to be hagging on others beliefs when yours are so very poorly defined (i.e. illogical)

      February 1, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Schubertr4

      LinCA: Poster child for confused atheists of the world. You cant have your cake and eat it too, you can't spout atheist dogma then present clearly agnostic statements and be taken seriously.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Chutedamoon

      obvious troll LinCA is obvious

      February 1, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • LinCA

      @KellyG92387

      You said, "Your fallacy is argumentum ad ignorantiam and bordering on auto-epistemical. And I dont need a book, I graduated with honors in Philosophy."
      Maybe you should return your degree. The argumentum ad ignorantiam is one commonly committed by believers when they insert their god where their knowledge ends. Claiming there must be a creator because they are ignorant of, or refuse to consider, scientifically valid explanations, is a classic example. I make no such assumptions.

      You said, "So you are invoking that there is a new phase of atheist guilt, now they can be agnostic and atheist in the same instant."
      The fact that speak of "atheist guilt" makes your entire argument laughable. If you can't grasp the difference between believing there are no gods (strong atheism), and not believing there are any gods (weak atheism), you surely don't deserve a degree in Philosophy.

      You said, "Quite boorish for you to be hagging on others beliefs when yours are so very poorly defined (i.e. illogical)"
      What part of "if there isn't any evidence for a phenomenon, there is no reason to believe it", is poorly defined, or illogical?

      I accept that there is a minute chance that there is a god, or gods. But if you consider the hundreds of thousands of religions, denominations, cults and sect that have existed, or still exist, the odds that there is a god exactly, or even remotely, as you imagine him/her/it are ridiculously small. You can't all be right, you can all be wrong.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • LinCA

      @Schubertr4

      You said, "LinCA: Poster child for confused atheists of the world. You cant have your cake and eat it too, you can't spout atheist dogma then present clearly agnostic statements and be taken seriously."
      Reading for comprehension isn't your strong suit, is it?

      It really isn't that hard. Let me try to explain it:
      I can't, and therefor don't know with 100% certainty that there are no gods, ergo, I'm agnostic.
      There isn't any evidence to support the notion of gods and I therefor don't believe they exist, hence I'm an atheist.

      Being agnostic isn't exclusively for those on the fence. Agnosticism rangers from atheism to belief. There are people that don't know (are agnostic) yet elect to believe.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chutedamoon

      You said, "obvious troll LinCA is obvious"
      Your contribution to the discussion is mind boggling </sarcasm>

      If you have an argument, make it. Otherwise, fuck off.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Chutedamoon

      You are a funny little troll LinCA. Reported your vulgar uncivil remarks to wordpress and cnn, thanks for playing. bye

      February 1, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • jeremyBrg

      Definately a troll, love it when they break down and start cussing at people...let's you know you got them! BAM!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Sharon

      I agree, the second you start insulting people who don't agree with you, you lose all credibility. LinCA is definately a Troll. I reported her vulgar remark as well.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Chad n Meg

      To hear posters like LinCA rant on here does the concept of atheism great injustice. It's about belief systems and you can NOT be agnostic and athesit at the same time please, what a completely moronic statement from LinCA. The terms are by definition mutually exclusive.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chutedamoon

      You said, "You are a funny little troll LinCA. Reported your vulgar uncivil remarks to wordpress and cnn, thanks for playing. bye"
      Can dish it but can't take it, huh?

      Let me remind you of the flow of our "conversation". Your first comment was "obvious troll LinCA is obvious". By calling me a troll you immediately dispense with civility. There is obviously no need for me to stay civil in my response to you. Even so, I still didn't call you names. All I did was encourage you to actually make an argument or piss off. Your response was, again, nothing but an ad hominem.

      I'm guessing that you are just a believer that is uncomfortable with my argument, but unable to formulate a response. Sad.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • LinCA

      @jeremyBrg
      You said, "Definately a troll, love it when they break down and start cussing at people...let's you know you got them! BAM!"
      You've got nobody. See, I'm not the one calling you names. Both you and Chutedamoon have called me a troll without adding anything to the discussion.

      If you have a point to make, I suggest you do. I'm just guessing that you are also simply unable to refute anything, hence the insult.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Sharon

      You said, "I agree, the second you start insulting people who don't agree with you, you lose all credibility. LinCA is definately a Troll. I reported her vulgar remark as well."
      You can't handle my reply to an insult directed at me by Chutedamoon, but you apparently have no problem with name calling as you seem to condone it from him/her and add your own.

      Double standard much?

      February 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad n Meg

      You said, "To hear posters like LinCA rant on here does the concept of atheism great injustice. It's about belief systems and you can NOT be agnostic and athesit at the same time please, what a completely moronic statement from LinCA. The terms are by definition mutually exclusive."
      Your claim says a lot more about you then it says about me. It shows that you have poor comprehension skills and are prone to making statements not based in fact, nor backed up by any evidence.

      Let me try to explain it even simpler:
      Gnosticism is about knowledge. I don't know, therefor I'm agnostic.
      Theism is about belief in god(s). I don't believe, therefor I'm an atheist.

      Considering your poor understanding of the matter, I sincerely doubt that you care about the "concept of atheism". I suspect you are a gnostic theist (a believer who claims to know) pretending to be reasonable and failing miserably.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • THETruthwill

      Obvious Troll LinCA is obvious

      February 2, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • LinCA

      Wow. Yet another one who has nothing to add but personal attacks. I must have hit a nerve.

      From the comments of Chutedamoon, jeremyBrg, Sharon, Chad n Meg and THETruthwill it appears that they disagree with me. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume they are believers.

      The fact that they don't bring any arguments leads be to the conclusion that either they have no case, they are dimwits that even if they had a case, couldn't make it, or both.

      But there can be no doubt, as it is clear from the personal attacks, that they are assholes.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Harmon

      Obvious Troll LinCA is obvious, you said it Chute
      This guy needs serious help.

      February 5, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Harmon ... It looks like you think that anyone who doesn't follow your little book of fairy-tales is in need of 'help'. Does that sum it up?

      February 5, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • LinCA

      Jesus H. Fucking Christ! Another one! Repeating the insult and claiming that I, "need serious help.". Not a single argument to support their views. Nothing.

      Morons.

      Goes to show that there is a lot of truth to the findings of a recent study, where they found that there is strong correlation between conservative views, low intelligence and prejudice. http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism.html

      February 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  14. seo

    Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and we are looking to exchange techniques with other folks, why not shoot me an email if interested.

    January 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Moi

    I don't get it... seriously. Anyone who has read the Gospels has to have laughed at Jesus' humor.

    Also, could someone fact check... the last time I grew mustard plants they were about seven feet tall (and birds did rest in them).

    Makes CNN and this Catholic blog look ignorant. (That was a joke... for those who missed it.)

    January 31, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  16. Patrick Vaz

    ReligIon is man's serch for GOD.
    Christianity being God's revelation of Himself thru' Jesus Christ.
    No man ever really finds GOD, man makes himself available to GOD and GOD finds him. Thats all to it.

    January 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  17. Believer

    Ur right we cannot proove that the great flood was the cause of all of the fossils. There is no way to proove what happened to any of the fossils. What happened to the dinosaurs? Wheres the proof? Anyways as to burden of proof, "the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges." As you have said most cultures have believed in a god or gods pretty much forever. The new idea is that of athesim, atheism is the one who is making the charges that there is no god. It can niether be proven or disproven. Niether can evolution. We cannot prove or disprove evolution. We do not see evolution happening today, you say that is because it takes to long to be seen. We have not seen any transitional fossils, you say that doesnt mean they are there, and evolution doesnt need transition. With God, we do not see him today we say he is working behind the science. You cannot find proof of God, we say that doesnt mean hes not there. Dont you see the similarities? Also if you can please tell me which chapter in Dawkins book talks of evoution without transition.

    January 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Believer

      Sorry Religion is for Dolts, I started a new post, it was getting anoying having to keep scrolling up all through those comments, thought this would be easier.

      January 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      "most cultures have believed in a god or gods pretty much forever"

      Only because they did not have any kind of knowledge like we have today. If they had we would have known it because they would have written it down. No one can carry all scientific knowledge ever acc-umulated in their memory and pa-ss it from one generation to the next. Even if your allegation that the "great flood" MUST HAVE wiped out all other written records, there would have been someone on Noah's boat that would have had some inkling of an idea about oh, advanced calculus, thermodynamics, astronomy, etc., even something as simple as the fact that the world is NOT FLAT, but there are no written records AFTER the alleged "great flood" to prove this. Therefore we have only to conclude that all ancient "gods" are unsubstantiated "fill in the gap" supersti-tion.

      Science keeps advancing, finding new answers all the time. All the religious advocate has to do is co-opt science's progress and say "that's what the authors of our ancient supersti-tious text meant," which is BS and you know it.

      Burden of proof: No where in the bible does it say that the "great flood" occurred when all of earth's land ma-sses were in a contiguous formation (Pangaea) and all the other crap you made up just to try to maintain a shred of validity in your overly-generic fable. You are the one laying charges.

      January 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Believer

      I am saying that the tectonic plates have decelerated since the start of the coninental drift. The way we got the age of pangea is looking at the speed we have now and saying it was constant. Does a bullet coming out of a gun stay at a constan speed? Here are some articles with sources and links.
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n1/plate
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n1/plate-tectonics
      How do you explain the cave drawings of Dinosaurs?
      http://www.myfoxny.com/dpps/news/dinosaur-cave-painting-stirs-controversy-dpgoha-20110329-fc_12529813
      Or the temple carvings?
      http://www.bible.ca/tracks/tracks-cambodia.htm
      http://createddinos.com/Creationevolution/dinosaurs.html
      Or pterodactyl sightings by natives in Africa?
      http://www.mysterycasebook.com/2011/mysteriouskongamoto.html

      January 31, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  18. Phillip Evans

    If Pithecanthropus erectus was a tiller of the ground, it was not sequitur in the text.

    January 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Why are you focused on this tiller/forager crap? It explains nothing.

      January 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  19. Rationalist

    Did Jesus have a sense of humor ? He probably did – God gave us the ability to laugh, and Jesus is God in the flesh. But He didn't come here to be a comedian or to tell jokes and be "buddy buddy". He came to show us who He is, to tell us how to be saved, and to die for our sins. Those who think He's just another prophet or just a good man have completely missed the point. He is God and the the only salvation offered from God. He said "I'm the way, the truth and the life – no one comes to the Father but through Me". You can't call Him just a "good man" or teacher, otherwise you'd also have to call him either a liar or a lunatic. If he's neither of those, then He's Lord. And He definitely is Lord.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  20. 2Kblink

    "By no stretch of the imagination can 2,000 years be considered 'quickly' LOL"... in the vastness of eternity past and future, what is 2000 years?

    January 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
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About this blog

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