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White House, State Department condemn Iran on pastor's execution orders
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani shown in an Iranian prison.
February 23rd, 2012
07:59 PM ET

White House, State Department condemn Iran on pastor's execution orders

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian charged with leaving Islam, has received a local trial courts final verdict, according to sources close to his legal team, and may now be executed for leaving Islam.

Jodran Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said he was informed on Monday by the pastor's legal team that the final execution order had been issued. At this point, said Sekulow, the pastor could be executed without the legal team's knowledge.

The White House issued a pointed statement on Thursday, strongly condemning the reports and renewed calls for Iranian authorities to release the pastor.

"This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran's international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values," stated a release by the White House. "The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution-a fundamental and universal human right. "

Mark Toner, spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State, released a similar statement on Thursday.

"We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani's conviction and call for his immediate release," read the statement.

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial in September 2011 at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs and later refused to recognize Muhammad as his savior.

Mohammad Dadkhah, attorney for Nadarkhani, told CNN in October that the court has asked Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, the highest religious leader in Iran, for his input. At the time, the move was seen as unusual by the pastor's legal team.

Nadarkhani's case has become the cause célèbre for a number of Christian and legal organizations, including the ACLJ. From small churches to large organizations, Nadarkhani's case has galvanized American Christians.

Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that monitors and attempts to assist with persecuted and minority churches around the world, issued a statement on Thursday that they have seen posts for Nadarkhani to the groups Facebook page grow over the last few days.

But the issue has not been solely spearheaded by Christian organization - Muslim organizations have also been vocal about condemning Iran.

"These types of cases, especially around apostasy, are too frequent occurrences in the Muslim world and as a Muslim, I am appalled," said Harris Zafar, national spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. "To do this in the name of Islam, I know that this isn't Islam. It is a violation of human rights and it is a violation of Islam."

Zafar, whose organization is considered more liberal than other Islamic communities, cited scripture to make his point. "Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve," reads the Quran 18:29.

The ACLJ was asked by the pastor's lawyers in 2011 to help publicize Nadarkhani's case, according to Sekulow. Since that time, Sekulow has been in somewhat regular contact with the pastor's legal team and the ACLJ have organized a Twitter campaign called "Tweet for Youcef."

Eighty-nine members of Congress signed a letter condemning Iran for their treatment of Nadarkhani and one congressman, Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania, issued a House resolution that if passed would stand as a condemnation from the entire House of Representatives.

Citing the Iranian constitution, the resolution "condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran and its continued violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

Among the seven co-sponsors of the resolution is Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the first Muslim in Congress.

Though Sekulow said it was a strong sign that the White House and State Department have issued statements, he did tread cautiously when speaking about the future for this case and the volatility in Iran right now.

According to Sekulow, Nadarkhani's attorney's last confirmed their client was alive on Tuesday and are currently working to see if they are able to appeal any further.

"Based on all of the work (Nadarkhani's lawyers) have ever done before, they really felt this execution order is really serious," said Sekulow."His legal team is still trying to figure out if there are any legal routes left, but execution orders being issued is basically when people end up disappearing."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Iran

soundoff (519 Responses)
  1. Jeffrey Offeh

    There is no name under heaven given amongst men by which we might be saved. Jesus Christ remains the way, the truth and the light. No man comes to the father except via Him. I encourage christians everywhere to pray fervently for the spread of the faith and also for the peace and safety of the church. For those who are being persecuted happy are ye. Hold on tight and I pray God releases angels to deliver you out of all afflictions. Love.

    April 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  2. Mr Everyman

    Pastor Nadarkhani accepted Jesus as Savior. Jesus is a Prophet of Islam and the only Messiah or Savior in the Quran. It is time for Islam to see Jesus as its only Messiah as the Quran says. Salvation is only granted by God. the Awesome One. Standing in the Spirit of the Awesome One, Jesus is the only Messiah and way to Salvation. Mohammed is a simple human messanger as he claimed. The truth is before Iran and Islam in the Quran. Pastor NadarKhani without knowing it, and unrealized by Muslims, accepted the truth in the Quran. Jesus is Messiah, Savior. Pastor NadarKhani should be freed.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  3. K. H.

    Why can't I find a recent "real" news segment on this Iranian pastor's death sentence when I use the search bar? I only find a little in blog form. Congress just passed a unanimous resolution condemning Iran. ANYTHING unanimous from this Congress is news worthy. Is CNN really the biased forum the right claims? Even this blog got the lawyer's name wrong. It's not Jodran. It's Jay. CNN has the know how to do a good job on anything it covers, and it has the resources and time to cover anything it chooses.

    March 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  4. Keith

    In a shocking case out of Pennsylvania, an American judge has thrown out an assault charge against a Muslim immigrant based on Sharia law.

    The assault victim was the head of the Pennsylvania chapter of American Atheists, Ernest Perce V, who was marching in a Halloween parade as “Zombie Mohammed” next to a fellow atheist dressed as “Zombie Pope.” The former depiction didn’t sit well with Muslim onlooker Talag Elbayomy, who then attacked Mr. Perce. And with an admission of guilt by the assailant and video of the incident, it should have been an open-and-shut case.

    But that’s not how it turned out.

    As Andrew McCarthy at National Review reports:

    Magistrate Judge Mark Martin, a veteran of the war in Iraq, ruled that Talag Elbayomy's sharia defense — what he claimed was his obligation to strike out against any insult against the prophet Mohammed — trumped the First Amendment free speech rights of the victim.

    Yes, you read that correctly.

    Al Stefanelli of American Atheists provides some more information, writing:

    The defendant is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet....

    The Judge not only ruled in favor of the defendant, but called Mr. Perce a name and told him that if he were in a Muslim country, he'd be put to death.

    I wonder, if Elbayomy had put Perce “to death” not knowing that such an action in response to an insult to Mohammed was illegal in America, would Judge Martin have thrown out the murder charge?

    Stefanelli also reports, “Judge Martin's comments included, ‘Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam.’ ”

    I’m sure. But it appears Judge Martin knows only a little bit — at most — about American law. Perhaps he should consider the benefit of spending time in a Muslim country permanently.

    February 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Keith

      What it shows is that Sharia law, whether you like it or not, whether it is consti-tutional or not, is HERE. Thanks to cnn and others for promoting it. The law was broken. Justice was not served. I'm a Christian and I support the right of the atheist to do what he did. God gives us free will. If he wants to reject the forgiveness of sins and the grace of our Lord, he's free to do so, albeit to his detriment. I hope he'll reconsider. What I'm afraid of is the support the US is giving in the UN in terms of blashemy laws on an international scale. This is happening. If it continues, no one-atheists included, will be able to speak out against islam in the US. Therefore, this case is extremely relevant. Why does cnn refuse to report on it? This judge needs to be removed. Cnn ignores this because their "pet religion" is exposed for the ugly, horrible religion that it really is.

      February 27, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Observer

      The message this Judge is sending is -You will be assaulted if you speak out against the muslim, if so live with the consequences.

      February 27, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • K. H.

      You are right. This is shocking. An assault case is an assault case. If the judge wanted to make a point that the actions of the victim were inflamatory, he could have given a light or suspended sentence after conviction. In my opiniion those actions, that I have been able to find out about from the small amount of background that I've gleaned, were not very inflammatory at all compared to say flag burning or funeral protests. It was a guy in costume in a parade – tacky! – just like dressing as nuns in parades when you aren't one.

      March 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  5. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    READ CAREFULLY:-->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Dear Muslim sisters and brothers,

    Your imams and ayatollahs have been conning you.

    The real Mohammed:

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The global Sunni-Shiite blood feud (e.g. Syria) and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    And if I uttered those words in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan or Pakistan, I would be executed. And yet my tax money supports four of these five countries.

    Today, the absurdity of Islam significantly overshadows the absurdity of today's other religions.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ==========================================================================================

    February 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Maikon

      Rehmat the story of manipulation of US pesoinn funds by zionist organizations, including UJF, has not been told boldly enough. Once again using Iran as the boogey man, zionist organizations embarked on a nationwide campaign to induce state employees\' and teachers pesoinn funds to divest from shares in international companies doing business with Iran, EVEN WHEN and EVEN THO those positions formed the safest and surest portion of the pesoinn funds\' portfolio.California was the first state to so dives and was used as a model by UJF. Today, California\'s pesoinn fund is bankrupt. Cause and effect relationship? That would be unfair to assert. But it certainly didn\'t help California\'s pesoinnersand pesoinn fund managers to have to navigate around threats of financial punishment from zionists AS WELL AS the normal difficulties of maintaining a massive portfolio.Similarly, when the US economy is in deep trouble, why has the US Treasury created an office, directed by Stuart Levey, to go around the world threatening and strong-arming companies that do business with Iran, exacting fines from them for transacting with Iran? Doesn\'t the US Treasury Dept have enough to do to keep the US fiscal house in order?

      September 7, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  6. Paul Felix Schott

    Miss led Middle Easterners have threatened to kill and take measures against Christians sounds like bullying bad boys. That their Mother and Father never showed them right from wrong. All the good on Earth want peace Not War. If you cannot have your way you are going to hurt someone this sounds like a mad men to most of the world.

    If someone really cares for them, give them a Bible with red letter print. That is a red letter edition words that were spoken by are Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With a Pray for them the lost maybe they will be saved, and not go to hell.

    Remember for over a Thousand years you have taken you life at risk from the
    wicked for carrying a Bible. They have burned the Bible in public many times they have cut off the head of anyone carrying one many a times. They have bombed many a Christian Church, Killing many.

    The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has gone on for over two thousand years.

    The Leaders of many Christian groups have criticizes Muslim leaders and Leaders of governments for failing to intervene after series of deadly attacks on Christians and their Churches in many countries around the World, each Christmas.

    Killing at least 35 Christians Christmas day Church, Nigerian 2011. Killing over 20 Christians New Year's Eve mass Egypt 2011. 50 killed Christians at a Catholic Cathedral
    Baghdad 2010. Over 200 injured Christians Imbaba region by Cairo 2011. The list goes on
    and on and has for many years now. Have you for got so easy many American's like Paul Marshall Johnson, Jr. that was kidnapped and then beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 2004. While thousands gathered and prayed for the wicked to let him go, Till all heard the sound coming from THE PATRIOTIC TRUMPET PLAYER, Monica D. Key Lindbergh playing taps.

    How many Muslim Churches have been attacked or bombed while they are in there
    church by Christians? Answer 0

    The World wants Peace not more wars.

    If you think the wicked want peace read this then go look at some of their web sites!

    There is a video on official Hamas TV that calls for Allah to all kill Jews, Christians,
    Communists and any of their supporters they can find. This video asks Allah to "count
    them and kill them to the last one, and don't leave even one."

    Hamas TV. You will have Air mail incoming very soon. It is Very Sad you do not want
    peace and ask for WAR.

    If you think or believed that Israel-Iran relations will improve or Iran with The
    Persecution of Christians World Wide.

    Just read this

    1997
    Iranian President Mohammad Khatami,
    called Israel an
    "illegal state and a "parasite,"

    The Iranian Chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps,
    "The IRGC"
    Mohammad Ali Jafari
    said "Israel was within the reach of Iranian missiles".
    IRGC is listed by the U.S. Government and our CIA as a terrorist organization.
    With many ties to an assassination campaigns in the
    1980s and early 1990s with paid mercenaries from many countries
    that targeted many opponents, and rigged elections.

    December 2000
    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei he has called Israel many things even went as far as to say it is a
    "cancerous tumor" that should be removed from the region.
    "Act Of War" against Israel.

    JULY 2008
    Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki said "that Israel was
    not capable of an attack".

    JULY 2008
    Ahmadinejad.....he said, "The Iranian nation never recognized Israel
    and will never ever recognize it.

    Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei he stated, "It is incorrect, irrational,
    pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of Israeli people...
    we are on a collision course with the occupiers of Palestine and the
    occupiers are the Zionist regime. This is the position of our regime,
    our revolution and our people."

    February 7, 2010, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said
    "the destruction of Israel was assured" According to the daily newspaper Teheran Times.
    Another "Act Of War" against Israel.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei,
    said "that if Israel attacked Iran it would be destroyed within a week"

    Iranian Funding of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah
    A mural in Tehran, Iran. The mural depicts the emblem of Lebanon's Hezbollah,
    and quotes the founder of The Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, saying:
    "Israel must be destroyed."
    Another "Act Of War" against them.

    Iran has been for years supplying weapons and political support to Hamas an
    organization that is committed to the destruction of Israel by Jihad According
    to Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, "Hamas is funded
    By Iran.
    It has claimed it has been financed by peace loving donations, but the donations
    they get are nothing at all like what it receives from Iran for its
    Wicked Deeds and acts. All the Big Bankers of the World can see this.
    Another "Act Of War" against Israel.

    Iran is also supplying another enemy of Israel, the well know terrorist organization
    Hezbollah with more then what you would call just a substantial amount of financial
    support and weapons, explosives and training of how to use them and political,
    diplomatic, and organizational aid while persuading Hezbollah to take wicked actions
    against Israel. Hezbollah's 1985 manifesto listed its four main goals as "Israel's
    final departure from Lebanon as a prelude to its final obliteration" According to
    reports released in February 2010, Hezbollah has received $400 million dollars from
    Iran. That the World knows about.
    Another Clear "Act Of War" against Israel.

    October 11, 2011 the CIA AND THE FBI Of the United States Of America stopped a
    terrorist plot by the Iranian Government Leaders that included (bombing the Israeli
    "as well as Saudi"
    Embassies in Washington, DC and Buenos Aires).
    All Nations involved do claim this as
    An "Act Of War" against them.

    Can you carry a Bible in Iran without them trying to kill you.
    Devil at war with GOD.

    Israel Will Strike Iran, British Intelligence is now saying.

    The 43rd President George W. Bush’s National Security Adviser and Chief Foreign Policy
    Adviser Stephen Hadley is now Warning the world. That there clearly exists a very high
    risk to say the least that Iran and the United States very soon will most likely end up
    in a military conflict. As the deterioration of views and political relations between
    Iran and many other countries as Iran Leader acts more like a little kid. Making all
    the Middle East more unstable.

    With growing reports out of Israel that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is likely,
    former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Ron Kessler of Newsmax's in an one
    on one interview that she has no doubts in her mind that Israel will take the necessary
    actions to stop Iran's mullahs from making or getting Nuclear Weapons. Condoleezza Rice
    has a book, Called "No Higher Honor" A Memoir of My Years in Washington," reveals her
    insights into the war against Al-Qaida, what really happened in Iraq, and the real rising
    threat of Iran.
    From her work as the National Security Adviser with President George W. Bush in his first
    term before succeeding Colin Powell to become Secretary of State in his second term.

    May our Lord Jesus Christ and GOD the Father that is in Heaven,
    Guide and Watch over us.

    In this time of TRIBULATION, Strengthen your Faith, and encourage
    all to pray for their souls. The strong in the word of our Lord will Now
    Help the World and be the disciples of our Lord's Word.

    United We Will Always Stand That
    In GOD We Trust
    True Patriots

    The Lord's Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    PS.
    Further diligence is required stay on your guard and watch. The LORD’s Amy will come soon enough.

    GOD Bless You and Your Love ones
    Give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ every day.

    READ
    Luke 21:20-22

    February 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Elias

      The Lord is going to send an army against us? Is this the same army Joshua sent against the Canaanites. The Creator is right within you waiting for you to purify your mind and awaken your soul and go back to him. We do not want to get involved in your man made religious quarrels. Do not fret so much about these worldly affairs. Go into your closet and pray in secret where your father is in secret.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Michael

    http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Persecution_of_Non-Muslims

    This is the 21st century and it is unbelievable that this kind of intolerance towards others is being overlooked.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Gabriel

    Congress allows Bush to kill over 700,000 innocent people and then get together to save 1 christian life. Really ?

    February 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Hey, congress allows over a million abortions a year, qualifying it to be labeled as a domestic holocaust. And you can't really blame Bush for this one.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • momoya

      Hey, Bold George, god aborts almost 25%; most of them miscarriages before the woman was a aware of pregnancy. Maybe god should do a better job protecting first trimester fetuses.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      And what does that have to do with anything? Are you saying that natural or accidental occurrences most times caused by biological malfunctions are the same as willful, conscious and intentional abortions? So, is it possible you might have been a mistake made, not by God but by your mom?

      February 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Besides, why would God do a better job in protecting life in their first trimester so that you can go ahead and abort them in the second?

      February 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • momoya

      No, George, I am saying that all abortions are natural–we're nature. It's just nature when a fetus miscarries, and it's just nature when we instigate a miscarriage by abortion. If it was impossible for fetuses to miscarry (like it's impossible for something to fall "up") then we'd be much more hesitant to try to accomplish the impossible and would likely attribute a more sanctified status for the fetus.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Momoya which church did u attend dat taught u n allowed u 2 teach de DOLT PROPOSITION
      Suffering(God's will)=Joy(Satan's will) n vice versa when from GENESIS CH2
      Suffering(Man's will)=Joy(Man's will). The dolt position if u hold it leads u 2 blame God 4 events that shudnt happen in a perfect world.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Elias

      Does the Creator send a human soul into a piece of tissue without the fully developed brain and organs to function. Where do you get this notion. Must be painful. Would it not be better to think the soul appears when the body is ready to receive it. Why not.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  9. BoldGeorge

    We need to understand (and believe me, it took me forever) that before we can have any faith in God, we need to come to a point of acknowledgement of our sinful nature and how we offend God immensely and then we must come to repentance before God, and a deep willingness to turn from our sins and turn towards God for help, guidance and deliverance. This is where faith comes in. Biblically, none of this is in any chronological order nor is it a process of feelings or emotions you go through, but rather these are steps that move you forward toward a life-long progression of a redeemed state, until your Creator calls you up. After having 1) acknowledged, 2) believed, 3) turned from your sins and turned to Christ...if there has been truthfulness in all these 3 points, then God will have saved and justified you through Christ His Son, and there will be an obvious and visible transformation in your thought pattern, your actions, and a yearning to grow closer to Him. You will want to glorify Him in most, if not, all things you do. This is what the bible calls "the EVIDENCE" of salvation, not "the works" of salvation, as we can do nothing in it of ourselves to get saved, but just evidence of it.

    Now, this does NOT mean that once we are saved we will instantly become perfect and we will sin no more. NOT WHILE ON EARTH! But it does mean that you will have a yearning, a desire to know more of God through His word so to be sanctified...and when you do sin, it will pain you greatly but continue to grow even closer to Him.

    This is NOT my opinion, as I am not the source of Truth. It is, however, all biblical. Besides, this is the truest message of love I can ever give you. I believe it is my christian duty and godly command to help others see that there is a hope in the after-life. You just have to acknowledge, believe and turn from & to.

    February 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Amen brother! Lent is a great time to reflect on our sinful condition and take steps to move toward God. Acknowledge your sins, seek forgiveness and reconciliation, accept God's grace, repent and celebrate in his resurrection! He has given his life on the cross for your sins which is the greatest act of divine love ever express in human history.

      February 27, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  10. Leo

    Here is a website by an atheist that you might find interesting. http://www.shroudstory.com/

    February 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Leo

      If you are relying on faith to assert that the T shroud wrapped jesus, it's not going to convince those who don't already believe as you.

      If you are asserting that scientific examination of the T shroud implies it wrapped Jesus, you're absolutely wrong. Scientific examination of the T shroud piles evidence upon evidence that the T shroud could NOT have wrapped Jesus. Research both sides.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Leo

      Mo, Previous carbon dating has been shown to be invalid by peer-reviewed scientific studies including the work of Raymond Roger and subsequently a team of scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

      If you are not going to check out the article and rely on past failures of science thats fine.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • momoya

      Ah, you're relying on your faith which makes, for you, the shroud a moot point. If you're going to accept science only when it agrees with your stated position, then it's pointless to use science at all. Just skip the middle man and use the same faith you use when science doesn't agree.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Leo

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=140g0qmZZ24&w=640&h=390]

      February 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  11. Rosey

    Please – pray for this Pastor. Christians are under heavy attacks at a rate of speed like never before. Why? Because we just want to offer the simplistic reality of a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior who died for us.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  12. Leo

    Mo, you claim "no, archeological places are shown to have existed & have not proven any of the Bible's stories"

    Jerusalem? Megiddo? Jerrico? Tel Gezer? Shechem? there are also Non Hebrew artifacts like the Tel Dan Stele? The Mesha Stele?

    You really should vist Israel first hand and find out the vast archeological finds that verify the history of the Bible.

    February 25, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      February 25, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Bizarre

      Leo,

      The fact that places mentioned in the Bible have been verified archeologically has no bearing on the veracity of the supernatural stories put forth in that book.

      Mount Olympus (and many other places mentioned in their legends and myths) really exists in Greece. Does that mean that 12 gods really live there? Dickens' "The Christmas Carol" fairly accurately portrays the places and conditions of 19th century England. Does that mean that the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come were real? All sorts of fiction and fantasy stories are set in real places.

      The Bible is a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but a great deal of it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

      There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings or supernatural events in that book.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Leo

      http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/answers/exoduspottery.php

      February 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Leo

      My Point was clear and thank you for verifying it with "The fact that places mentioned in the Bible have been verified archeologically" my point was to refute Mo's claim "no, archeological places are shown to have existed & have not proven any of the Bible's stories" please note have not proven "Any".

      Expecting archeological evidence to provide proof of scriptural writtings is setting standards that you seem to ignore for other writtings.

      Did Plato Exist?
      Note: Plato supposedly lived approximately 424/423 BC – 348/347 BC

      http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/philosophy/collections/manuscripts

      The earliest manuscript written in A.D. 895 only 1200-1300 years later.
      Oxford’s most important manuscript of classical philosophy is the Clarke Plato (MS. E. D. Clarke 39), the oldest surviving manuscript for about half of Plato’s dialogues, which was acquired by the University in 1809: it was written in Constantinople in A.D. 895. Philosophical texts from ancient Greece and Byzantium are naturally represented by copies amongst the Bodleian’s Greek manuscripts, though scarcely any of these had reached Britain before the seventeenth century. The Bodleian also holds the oldest surviving manuscript of the Discourses of Epictetus (MS. Auct. T. 4. 13), a twelfth-century text acquired in 1820.

      The double standards are used very effectively, but are extremely Hypocritical.

      Are you going to throw nearly all of history out the door because you can't find written or archeological evidence?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Leo,
      "Did Plato Exist?"

      You know, except to hero-worshippers, it really doesn't matter if Plato (or any other historical person) existed or not. If any ideas or concepts attributed to him have been proven to be valid and are useful in our lives, that is all that counts. If he was correct about one issue, it might behoove us to learn about his other ideas, but they also must be tested for validity - each and every one.

      Same/same for the ancient philosophers of the Bible. There are no tested and verified facts regarding the supernatural claims made in that book.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Leo

      It was a typo. I apologize. I was trying to work in the same pattern of words that Russ used, but it didn't work and I didn't catch the error before posting

      It should read something like this:

      NO. . That archeological places depicted in the narrative are shown to have existed does not prove the stories that utilized those geographical setting. In other words, just because Greece exists does not mean that the Greek gods ever existed. The geographical setting in which a story takes place does not prove that the story is accurate.

      Leo, most christians are only interested in archeology and other science when it SEEMS to confirm what they already believe. The problem is that even intelligent christians are prone to this bias. For example, if the data confirmed a world-wide flood, the christians would claim that proved the bible true. But since we know that there was no world-wide flood, christians ignore that fact and use one of a various number of apologetic strategies to explain why the bible is not wrong even though it seems wrong. Christians need to use a little more intelligence and stop using dumb reasoning like: "Yeah, but Jerusalem existed, so that means the gospels are true!!"

      Archeology harms the bible's reputation much more than helps. The other sciences harm the bible's reputation much more than they help. The people who recognize this fact find ways around the problems. They claim that even though Jesus said the flood happened, he must have meant a local flood or something more reasonable. Or, they claim that magic was involved and on top of the flood, god was miniaturizing animals and popping food and water in and out of existence and the like. Okay, fine. But once you invoke magic to fix problems science exposes, you can't just turn around and claim that the archeology that matches is proof for your belief and book–that's dishonest to others and yourself. If you're going to deny the science that disproves bible passages, you shouldn't try to use science to prove bible passages just because they're favorable to the bible/belief.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The reasoning that natural sciences do not prove de Bible isnt true. In de neurological sciences de Bible is helping us discover more. De Mosaic Tabernacle is a model of brain function 4 instance. The miraculous cant b discounted either. The faithful seem able to predict their deaths even.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:35 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.