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How religion has been used to promote slavery
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, but he and other religious giants accepted slavery for others, scholars say.
March 29th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

How religion has been used to promote slavery

By John Blake, CNN

Editor’s note: The CNN documentary 'Slavery's Last Stronghold' airs on CNN International TV March 29, 30, 31 and April 22. Check local listings for times.

(CNN) - Which revered religious figure - Moses, Jesus, or the Prophet Mohammad - spoke out boldly and unambiguously against slavery?

Answer: None of them.

One of these men owned slaves, another created laws to regulate - but not ban - slavery. The third’s chief spokesman even ordered slaves to obey their masters, religious scholars say.

Most modern people of faith see slavery as a great evil. Though the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – disagree on many matters, most of their contemporary followers condemn slavery.

Yet there was a time when Jews, Christians and Muslims routinely cited the words and deeds of their founders to justify human bondage, scholars say.

At times, religion was deployed more to promote the spread of slavery than to prevent it.

Read about present-day slavery in Mauritania

“The lesson in all this is we need historical humility,” says Daniel C. Peterson, author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God.” “It’s stunning for us to look back now and say, how can people face themselves in the mirror after doing what they did, but they did.”

But what did the founders of the three great Western religions do? Did they have slaves and did they condemn the practice? Or were they, at least on this issue, squarely men of their times?

The answers to these questions are as murky and contradictory as history itself.

What’s a slave?

Part of the problem is historical context. Most contemporary people think of slaves as people condemned to a lifetime of bondage, working on plantations and being whipped like oxen.

That kind of slavery did exist during the lives of Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad. Many slaves were prisoners of war; concubines, gladiators, laborers in salt mines. They could be killed, raped and discarded at any moment.

Yet there were layers of slavery in the ancient world. Many slaves would be seen today as indentured servants, or people trying to pay off debts; royal bodyguards and entrepreneurs, historians say.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Sometimes the slaves became masters. In medieval Egypt, Muslim rulers trained and educated slaves to be their bodyguards. One group of slaves grew so powerful that they overthrew the rulers of Egypt and established their own dynasty, says Ali Asani, a professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Languages and Culture at Harvard University.

“Slavery meant different things in different cultures,” Asani says. “There wasn’t always this sense of powerlessness and oppression. In certain forms, it became an access to power.”

In other forms, it became access to freedom, says John Dominic Crossan, one of world’s leading scholars on the life and times of Jesus.

That was the case in the world of Jesus. The Roman Empire was the dominant power of Jesus’ day, and it survived on the backs of millions of slaves. Yet there was only one mass slave revolt against Rome, which was led by Spartacus, a gladiatorial slave, Crossan says.

The reason there were so few massive slave rebellions against Rome was because some of its slaves had avenues for advancement, dim though they may seem to modern sensibilities.

Slaves could buy their freedom. They ran businesses for their masters or tutored their children. Greek slaves, in particular, were often valued because of their education and culture, he says.

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Roman slavery was cruel and capricious, but not all Romans saw slaves as subhuman.

“One of the most extraordinary aspects of Roman slavery,” says Crossan, author of “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became Fiction about Jesus,” was that the Romans ended up with a huge number of slaves who were smarter than their masters.”

The uncomfortable historical record

It’s been said that great religious figures transcend history. They rise above the peculiar customs of their day to show a new path forward.

It’s a matter of debate if Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad did that with slavery. All three seemed to either ignore or tolerate some forms of slavery, some scholars say.

The parables of Jesus, for example, were full of references to slaves. Terms like “servants” or “stewards” are what we would call slaves today. Yet Jesus doesn’t seem to make any moral judgments about slavery in his parables, Crossan says.

The subject may have been irrelevant to him or his audience, says Crossan, the Jesus scholar. Jesus didn’t own any slaves. Neither did his disciples or the crowds Jesus addressed. They were all too poor and lived under desperate economic circumstances.

“It may well be that the people he talked to were small farmers who would not have the luxury of slaves,” Crossan says. “He [Jesus] doesn’t say anything for or against it.”

Still, Crossan says that he believes that Jesus would have opposed slavery, given the nature of his teachings. Scholars aren’t so certain about Jesus’ most influential disciple, the Apostle Paul.

The man whose writings make up most of the New Testament had to deal with slavery. As Christianity spread through the Roman Empire, many slaves joined the church.

At various parts of the New Testament, Paul seems to accept slavery. He tells slaves to obey their masters. At other times, Paul seems to challenge the morality of slavery. In one New Testament letter, Paul intercedes on behalf of a runaway slave and chides the master for calling himself a Christian and holding a slave.

Crossan, along with some other biblical scholars, says there are actually two versions of Paul in the New Testament: the authentic, “radical” Paul who opposed slavery and a “Pseudo-Paul” inserted into the texts by early church leaders who were afraid of antagonizing Rome.

“It’s one thing to say that Jesus is Lord,” Crossan says. “Now if you’re saying a Christian can’t have slaves, then something must be wrong with slaves. So now you’re attacking the Roman system, which is a slave economy.”

Jesus’ apparent silence on slavery and Paul’s ambiguous statements on the issue had dreadful historical consequences. It helped ensure that slavery would survive well into the 19th century in the U.S., some scholars say.

American Christians who owned slaves had a simple but powerful defense in the run-up to the Civil War. The Old and New Testament sanctioned slavery and, since the Bible is infallible, slavery is part of God’s order, says Mark Noll, author “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.”

“The defenders of slavery said Jesus condemned quite a few things that were standard in the Old Testament,” Noll says. “He condemned polygamy, violence, easy divorce, but he never condemned slavery.”

Let my people go, but keep the others

Neither did Moses, the founder of Judaism, say other scholars.

There’s no record of Moses owning slaves, but the Mosaic laws permitted and regulated slavery, says Peterson, the author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God” and a religious scholar at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Still, under Mosaic law, a master was encouraged to free slaves and forgive debts after a certain period of time that was called the year of jubilee, Peterson says.

“They were not trying to create a permanent underclass of slaves that went from parents to child and child and grandchildren,” Peterson says of the ancient Israelites.

But how could ancient Israelites sanction any form of slavery given their exodus from Egyptian captivity? Didn’t their God explicitly condemn slavery when he ordered Moses to tell Pharaoh to “let my people go?”

The text is not clear on that question, says Brannon Wheeler, a religious scholar.

He says the Exodus stories suggest that the God of Israel was angry at Pharaoh not for enslaving a group of people, but for unjustly enslaving the “Chosen People” - the people God had promised to give their own homeland.

“In order to make that promise stick, He [God] has to get them out of Egypt,” says Wheeler, director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.

“It’s not like He [God] says slavery is bad and I want to abolish it.”

The Prophet Mohammad never explicitly condemned slavery, and actually owned slaves, some scholars say.

Yet he recognized the humanity of slaves, teaching followers that freeing slaves was an act of piety. He allowed slaves to buy their freedom and demanded that they should be treated with love and respect, says Asani, author of  “Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry.”

“He himself did own slaves but he treated them as family,” Asani says. “One called Zayd he treated like an adopted son and one of his wives was a Coptic Christian slave.”

The followers of men like the Prophet Mohammad, though, would take a harsher attitude toward slaves.

By the time of the crusades, Christians and Muslims were enslaving one another by the thousands. They cited their faith as justification, says Robert C. Davis, author of “Holy War and Human Bondage.”

“Religion was the defining principle of slavery—this person is another faith and can be enslaved,” Davis says.

Some church leaders preached that enslaving others was an act of evangelism, Davis says.

“One pope said that the justification for slavery was that it was important for spreading the faith,” Davis says. “Once they were enslaved, they would more readily take to Christianity.”

Those kinds of actions may now seem barbaric, but the texts and stories that were used to justify slavery still exist in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Few, though, would quote those scriptures today, and many don’t even know they exist.

“We shouldn’t be surprised,” says Jonathan Brockopp, a religion professor at Pennsylvania State University. “Religions redefine themselves and people draw on different stories and underplay other stories. This happens constantly.”

It happened with slavery, and, who knows, perhaps it’s happening again in our time. There may be a religious practice accepted today that future generations will look upon and ask the same question we ask about people who enslaved others in the name of God:

How could they?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church and state • Egypt • History • Islam • Islamic law • Islamic law • Israel • Jesus • Moses • Muslim • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,207 Responses)
  1. Terrance

    More agenda, agenda agenda...no journalism. Theres a reason cnn's ratings suck.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  2. Leo

    This is just CNN's way to help Barrack Hussein Obama get re-elected. Get that sympathy vote for the poor guy, since things aren't looking good. Strengthen that Black vote behind him.

    Just as the poor kid that was killed recently!! Do you know how many people are killed every day? White on White, White on Black, Black on Black.

    These are all terrible subjects, but the Liberal Press has a gameplan and those that don't see are simply blind.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Dennis

      Go google "conspiracy theory".

      Yes, we're all out to get you. Better start stockpiling.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Cq

      Better yet, go hide out in the woods and dump your computer and cell phone because that's how we get you! Baah Haa Haa Haa!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Tin foil hats

      http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

      I hear you get a discount if you buy in bulk.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  3. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Mark

      I just love your screen name. Nice retort to the nut below on here everyday. This article is just great.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Joel DeWitt

      "...the texts and stories that were used to justify slavery still exist in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
      1: Delete them in print.
      2: Archive the prior version, perhaps online. File under: "historical" and keep somewhere it won't be lost or a traffic hazard.
      3: Teach children it was taught and still exists and is still available for inspection,
      but like the Pyramids, not everyone needs to know it intimately.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 30, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Jesus

      You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!

      March 30, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • TR6

      If prayer actually changed things, the pope (Mr, prayer himself, god’s representative on earth) wouldn’t need to drive around in a bullet proof pope mobile

      March 30, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  5. Me

    First....... This time

    March 30, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  6. reason

    The gods of all organized religions, if true, would all be horribly unjust and evil deities to send billions of people to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong one or being born in the wrong place. Looking at organized religion objectively, they are myths from stone age societies that were trying to explain the world, and there is virtually no chance any one is truth.

    Rationally speaking if there is a just god and an afterlife, you will be judged on how you lived your life. Rejecting reason and deluding yourself in blind faith does not help your case.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  7. brown_dog

    Well in their times there were no employee and bosses. But master, servant or slaves,

    Servant is equivalent to employee
    Slaves equal to Blue collar employee

    Human trafficking is a different story.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • WASP

      @brown: back then human trafficking was better known as employee relocation program. lmao

      March 30, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Primewonk

      " Slaves equal to Blue collar employee"

      Really?

      "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property."

      I don't know about you, but around here, if an employer beats a blue collar employee, they go to jail.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Leo

      Primewonk, you are right on that the comparison was not very good.

      We need to look back at the times when this was ALLOWED not commanded, and understand that there was no welfare state and that being a slave was sometimes better than starving.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Leo,

      So, your god is obviously a moral relativist. Got it.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Primewonk

      Leo wrote, " We need to look back at the times when this was ALLOWED not commanded, and understand that there was no welfare state and that being a slave was sometimes better than starving."

      You'd think that an omnipotent and omniscient god would have had the balls to write an 11th commandment saying, "Thou shalt not own another human being"?

      You'd think that an omnipotent and omniscient god wouldn't need for people to enter slavery in order to survive, even if it meant getting beaten by a loving master to within an inch of dieing.

      I don't know, seems like this omnipotent and omniscient god is a bit of a putz.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Primewonk – you're assuming that omnipotent and omniscient implies omnibenevolent. Clear, the god of Abraham is demonstrably not omnibenevolent.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ facepalm – sorry, you are obviously right.

      I forgot that this sick, twisted, psychotic, schizophrenic, god is anything but all loving or good.

      My bad.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  8. TING

    People will always try to use this ancient literary work to justify their behavior regardless if it is immoral.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  9. Shehu

    Islam is the only region that systematically wiped off slavery by saying that "one of the righteous deeds in Islam is the freeing of a slave" and even went further to say "freeing of a slave is one of the options of compensation of made a Muslim who intentionally void his fasting".
    The Holy Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) free his slave and also encourages other Muslims to do so.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Anon

      Ha, ha, you're kidding right?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Thinker23

      The two places where slavery is practiced TODAY are Sudan and Mauritania. Both these countries are Arab Islamic states.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  10. BobbyTN

    I find it interesting that the first to write in favor of abolishing slavery in America was Thomas Paine ("African Slavery in America" 1775), the same Thomas Paine who wrote:

    "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national inst itutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

    and

    "The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally payed to the sun."

    March 30, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • F San Diego

      Wrong again their mate. Please learn more about Christianity.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Anon

      The founding fathers actually did research on comparative religion, not unlike the pandering fools at Capitol Hill.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • mstke

      I can say nothing more than this: Thank You. Facts speak louder than anything. Keep speaking.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Leo

      Anon, great point and what was their conclussion?

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Wayne

      Anon, don't pretend that creator means Jesus. It doesn't.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Dennis

      F San Diego, it is apparent that BobbyTN understands Christianity better than you do. Perhaps you should actually look at it critically. You might learn something.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Leo,

      The many of the founding fathers, as with Paine, were deists who's views on Christianity ranged from highly skeptical to downright hostile. Hence the use of the word 'Creator' – not God or Jesus. As to the person who penned that line – he wasn't exactly very friendly to Christian beliefs. Get thee to a history book!

      March 30, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Leo
      The Declaration was a group effort edited by the Congress of that time, a time long before Darwin and Einstein began laying the groundwork for an alternative view to there being a Creator. All this demonstrates is the current thinking which, you may note, does not extend equality to women or, as it turns out, to non-whites. So don't get all caught up in any everlasting meaning with this.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Yes, the Declaration mentions "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" before this, and that "Nature's God" is a Deist term. Deists cannot rightfully be called Christians, or even "religious" as we understand the term. Quite the opposite, really. They criticized religion, clerics, and scriptures and, if anything, they sounded more like the atheists of today than any religious group. If they had access to 20th century scientific research most, if not all, of the deist Founding Fathers probably would have become full atheists. They just didn't have the knowledge at the time to take that final step.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Anon

      Wayne: Of course I know that creator doesn't mean Yahweh or Jesus, but tell that to religious revisionists.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  11. Cornelius

    1 Timothy 1:10 speaks against MENSTEALERS, or kidnappers, who sell men into FORCED slavery...people just chose to ignore that part and refer to the term slave, which as others have mentioned, really referred to what would be called employees today(and many people do still work 12+hours a day 6 days a week so but thank God for labor laws in the US or we'd all still be slaves to the very rich instead of just employees).

    March 29, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Anon

      Fck your piece of sh|t desert god.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • BobbyTN

      1 Timothy 1:10 refers to slave traders in most translations, but if it does refer to stolen people made slaves why does Paul command slaves to obey these people?

      "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Ephesians 6:5

      Doesn't this justify the authority of the slavers over people?

      March 30, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • AGuest9

      "make trespas.s offerings after se.xual involvement with an engaged slavewoman" (Leviticus 19:20-22),

      “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone." (Exodus 21:2-4)

      "And if a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do. If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights. And if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free, without paying money." (Exodus 21:7-11)

      "Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.'" (2 Kings 4:1)

      "And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor." (Isaiah 24:2)

      "When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, and seest among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou mayest go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife." (Deuteronomy 21: 10-13)

      "You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another." (Leviticus 25:46)

      Paul, in his letter to Philemon 1:10-16, says "I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord."

      March 30, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • F San Diego

      Such knowledge of scriptures but such very little understanding of it. Quite frustrating actually.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Anon

      What is there to understand since it's all BS.
      Fck Yahweh/Jesus/Allah/Satan/Lucifer/etc.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Anon, you are a genuine intelectual and cultural speciment of your kind, and you reveal much about yourself, much more then you know!
      At least, you're not sugarcoating it, but letting it all out... not quite all, but giving us a real, genuine sample....

      March 30, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • .....

      "Anon, you are a genuine intelectual and cultural speciment of your kind, and you reveal much about yourself, much more then you know!
      At least, you're not sugarcoating it, but letting it all out... not quite all, but giving us a real, genuine sample...."

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot – that log in your eye is HUGE!

      March 30, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • AGuest9

      Why, F San Diego, has the meaning of "slave" and "servant" changed since then?

      March 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  12. JD

    Yes, agreed. Thankfully, God is not equivalent to religion, as I'm sure 90% of the people reading this blog, and possibly the author too, might erroneously think. The author inadvertently makes the point in the last full paragraph that (paraphrasing) "who knows what atrocities we will look back on in 100 years and blame the Bible on for encouraging our misconduct?" The point here being that as we as a people grow and change the Bible (or Qur'an) doesn't, thereby making something like slavery entirely cultural. I don't know about the Qur'an cause I haven't read it as thoroughly but the Bible obviously doesn't openly propagate slavery and then it obviously doesn't speak out against–as a whole. The point being that it was the cultural context that actually propagated slavery (universally, not just in Christian, Muslim and Jewish nations, I think we should point out). What Jesus (and maybe Mohammed too) points out is that there are rough political situations/realities in which we live (i.e. slavery, poverty, war) but that doesn't give us the excuse to let our morals slide because of them. In a hypothetical world, lets say we abolish all war in 100 years. In 200 years the people will be appalled that the Bible allowed and even encouraged war! But today we see war as a sad yet real part of the fallen political world we live in. Culture changes over time for sure, and our opinions with it, but the Bible (and I suppose Qur'an) don't, and at least with the case of Christ we DON'T see outraged civil rights avocation because "civil rights" weren't even invented by culture yet. But what we DO see is Christ appealing to the morality of the people of the time (be they slaves or slave owners) to live righteously within their paradigm according to their morality, because this doesn't change with time, its absolute (that is to say, apart from human interpretation).

    March 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Anon

      Fck Yahweh/Jehovah/Jesus/Allah/Lucifer/Satan/and whatever deity you crazies pull out of your @$$.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
      • JD

        Mmm good one. This is why atheists don't scare me: they have no intellectual leg to stand on, its just a bunch of people burned out on religion. You don't know God, why curse Him if you don't believe in Him? You're not mad at God, you mad at people! Please look past your own biased worldviews and experiences!

        April 9, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • BobbyTN

      JD
      God is not equivalent to religion, but "God" is a religious idea and, most likely, nothing more tangible than that. The point is that the various scriptures were written by men reflecting their society's values, many of which have been outdated for many hundreds of years now. We can't judge these people for what they valued, but we can judge ourselves for holding onto backward ideas. Slavery may be all but out, but there are still prejudices and things like war that are being justified by a selective reading of scripture. How will Christians 100 years from now judge the folks who used religion to be anti-gay, or anti-science? I'm betting, pretty harshly, maybe as harshly as the slave owners, witch burners and Inquisitors.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:06 am |
      • JD

        You don't understand my point. My argument is that God IS separate from religion: if God is a religious IDEA than he most definitely IS a part of religion. Obviously haha. My argument is that God IS apart from religion, signifying that yes, He does exist. We can argue that if you want, but realize the fallacy in your first sentence: if God is different from religion, he exists APART FROM IT. Let's keep talking but, realize what I'm saying. ...And my original point still stands, God is not affected over time but "religious, man-made ideas" are, and are affected by time.

        April 9, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • bismarket

      "God is not equivalent to religion" True, but unfortunately religion exists whereas God/s do not & has a pernicious influence on the lives of anyone who refuses to take part in it.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:28 am |
      • JD

        You should check your grammar and get back to me. If you're arguing the existence of God, about 90% of the world does of some sort, and experiences some sort of God, and there are some rather strong evidences from philosophy and physics. So why don't you recoop and get back to me.

        April 9, 2012 at 12:29 am |
        • bismarket

          Sorry for my POOR Grammar GOD DID IT!

          April 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
        • bismarket

          p.s, it's recoup;-P

          April 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
        • JD

          you're so cute, it's like you're trying to argue or something

          May 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  13. Brian Ritchey

    "Atheists get real! There is nothing to look forward to if your an atheist. "...................................................And your real name is Jimmy Swaggart? That was one of his favorite lines.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • WASP

      @brian: atheists do have quite a bit to look forward to. i look forward to making my son's life better by actions i take while alive. i look forward to living a life that expects nothing in return. christians live a life expecting to be rewarded when they die. your statement alone proves that the only reason you believe in god and are a christian is due to your fear of death and needing something to comfort you, because you are expecting a reward. won't you be surprised if my atheist rear gets a nicer place in your heaven for living my life expecting no reward, then you living expecting a reward when you die. lmfao

      March 30, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  14. BrandonCowz

    How many people in the bible spoke out against poking puppies in the eyes with sticks? NONE OF THEM! They must have thought it was OK.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      The Bible doesn't mention poking puppy eyes out, now does it? The Bible does go on quite a bit about slavery, however, and not very much of it is negative.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Azzy

      Really? None of them spoke about cruelty to animals?

      March 29, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Jim Neumann

      I'm tired of all this empty rhetoric on both sides...does any one have an actual argument substantiated by historical data?

      In the meantime, Bobby, actually the general disposition of the Bible toward slavery is negative. If you want to, read my comment on page 39. I'm tired and don't feel like reposting it.

      The best to you all...

      March 30, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Anon

      Well the holey babble talks a lot on how to prepare your sacrifice.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • BobbyTN

      Jim
      I read your page 39 post and what you are arguing is that the Israelites regulated slavery, not that they disapproved of it in any way. These regulations generally follow closely those of the earlier Code of Hammurabi, which make them pretty much standard for the area at the time. They were not, as you suggest, radical improvements from the way others treated their slaves.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • bismarket

      I was unaware that there was a lot of Puppy eye poking going on during Biblical times.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Wayne

      Brandon, it's good to see that you are still stupid.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  15. Reality

    As per 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis, Moses probably was a myth as was the Book of Exodus:

    To wit:

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

    Then there was Jesus who did exist but keep in mind the following:

    Only for the newcomers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (Note: Professor Crossan's analyses of the NT, concluded that only about 30% of the NT is authentic. See for example,http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=Crossan_Inventory

    Professor Gerd Ludemann concluded from his thorough analyses of the NT (e.g. Jesus After 2000 Years) that even less than 30% of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John's gospels is historic. He lists what he considers the authentic passages of these gospels on two pages in the referenced book, pp. 694-695.

    Then there was Mohammed:

    A summary:

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, slave-owning, 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.

    Obviously, not a good example of a compassionate human!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • dnldav005

      The one unsolved anomaly then is how come all except 1 of said disciples were willing to die for the magician, and were martyred. The critical issue here is the resurrection; they had obviously seen his "magic" prior to his death, and became disciples on that basis- but if he had died and simply disappeared, well that would have put an end to their fanciful beliefs in a self-proclaimed messiah. However, your conclusions, and those of the paraphrased professors, are logically inconsistent with the actions of the disciples post-magician's-mortem. They all claim to have seen him risen after 3 days, saw the holes in his hands and feet, watched him ascend, and on that basis, being extraordinary, believed... So much so, they couldn't be dissuaded from their profession, even when facing imminent death!

      March 30, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Get Real

      dnldave,

      The fates of the apostles (and even their true ident.ities) are unverified and unknown... legends (often conflicting) about them abound, however.

      http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apostles.html

      March 30, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Reality

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the left hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      March 30, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • TR6

      The followers of David Koresh (Branch Dividians) willingly burned themselves to death for him and he didn’t even do magic tricks.

      As for the resurrection. Have you ever seen a magician escape from a locked trunk? Remember NO ONE, not even the apostils or the disciples claims to have seen the actual resurrection

      March 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  16. Reality

    Welcome to the new world of word fliters whether in be CNN or the NYC public school system.

    Some of the words and word fragments filtered by CNN, 165 of them as counted by Word.

    ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
    ba-stard
    co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
    co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
    cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
    cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
    do-uche
    ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
    ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
    fu-ck......!
    ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
    ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
    jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
    ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
    ji-sm
    koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
    nip-ple
    pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
    pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
    ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
    se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
    sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
    sh-it
    sl-ut
    sn-atch
    sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
    ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
    tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
    va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
    who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
    wt-f....also!!!!!!!

    There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
    -–
    Allowed words / not blocked at all:
    anal
    anus
    ass
    boob
    crap
    damn
    execute
    hell
    kill
    masturbation
    murder
    penis
    pubic
    raping (ra-pe is not ok)
    shat (sh-@t is not ok)
    sphincter
    testes
    testicles
    -

    March 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  17. Ade

    Check this out

    March 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  18. Rebel4Christ

    And you must be a fool not to believe in God!

    March 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • plucky

      Why?, Because there is no evidence of one?

      March 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      No evidence look AROUND YOU! Everything in creation screams God! You being alive right now is proof that theres a God. are you that foolish?

      March 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, it isn't. Provide evidence that nothing around us would be here unless some invisible sky fairy dipped his wand and said "There's no place like home."

      Thanks in advance, dolt.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • plucky

      Rebel,
      You are a poster child for the "god of the gaps" theory. Try something that hasn't already been totally debunked.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      Atheists get real! There is nothing to look forward to if your an atheist. You literally believe that for eternity you will be in a whole in the Ground! I am not scared of death, to die is gain!

      March 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      I meant hole

      March 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • plucky

      So this life means nothing to you and it means everything for us. You would have no problem flying yourself into a building... ooops, forget I said that!

      March 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Kebos

      @R4C: If your belief is done merely for concern to what lies beyond death then your belief is unimpressive and self-centered. There is nothing after this life. We all live with that proof within us. Think of where you were when Thomas Jefferson walked the American countryside. Or when King Nero ruled Rome. Exactly. Nowhere. Which is where you will be when you are dead. Live this life to its fullest and be the best you can be.

      But, if you're the religious type then this will make no sense to you.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      Yes of course my belief focuses on the after life. Mainly because this life is temporary and the next is eternal!

      March 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Rebel4Christ
      I'd love to look forward to winning the 500 million mega-lotto, but I'm a realist and I won't waste my money, and that's with knowing that somebody will actually win! I'd say the odds for your little heaven thing are much slimmer, especially when we don't have any evidence of anybody ever winning, but still there are folks who waste 1/10 of their income on this pipe dream.

      Atheists get real! There is nothing to look forward to if your an atheist. You literally believe that for eternity you will be in a whole in the Ground! I am not scared of death, to die is gain!

      March 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Rebel4Christ
      Everything "screams" of God? Where's the "made by God" stamp on anything? Take those God-colored glasses of and look at the world as it really is for a change.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • TING

      No evidence look AROUND YOU! Everything in creation screams God! You being alive right now is proof that theres a God. are you that foolish?

      When you say God, ou are referring to Pele the god of fire, right?

      March 30, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • F San Diego

      I agree with R4C you are a fool looking for green leprechauns if you are an aetheist. And non of your offhanded insults can change that.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Food for thought

      Before everyone of you attack me like rabid dogs please listen to what I have to say and respond in an intelligent manner. Everyone asks for evidence of a god and I am not speaking of a specific religion but simply a god so please do not respond with anything for scripture but what evidence exists to negate a god? regardless of any advancements in science we will never be able to answer the question of cosmic origin definitively because we can never goto the point where nothing became everything. to clarify I would like to point to the big bang theory which is widely accepted as the alpha of the universal cycle. How did the object which created the bang come about? This is a question science will never be able to answer because something had to exist before evidence can be found of it and with the big bang we can never know what existed before it.

      I am not saying that scripture is correct I am merely saying that nature, the cosmos, and life has a natural plan and flow to it. The are laws that guide everything from beauty to movement to sight, sound, smell. the golden rule of phi, utilizing the rule of thirds, the constant speed of light, gravity all of these things have systematic natural laws set for them that never change, this is an evidence for god. Even with the law of inertia What initially set the object into motion?? you can argue that potential energy has always existed for each and every atom but where did it all originate?

      now if we use scripture as a tool for proving the existence of god we can look at one statement in particular: God made man in his image. now if we look at this in a scientific sense what is the essence of man?
      we first start off stating that man is a body made up of organs and those organs are made of tissues and those tissues are made of cells and those cells are made up of organelles and each organelle is made up of molecules and each molecule is made of atoms and each atom is made of energy, so by simple logic we can deduce that Man is energy, so if man is gods image and man is energy then god is energy proven by science

      March 30, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • reason

      FFT, Einstein defined his "god" to be the sum of all the natural laws of the universe.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • WASP

      @r4c: so you need some kind of reward to be a good person, where as atheists don't expect any kind of reward when we die. nice to know you need an incentive and a threat of eternal pain to be nice to people.......even then with your posts the way they are stated aren't truly that nice.
      @food: the big bang theory doesn't state that "something came from nothing" here is the link for what NASA has on the big bang theory too much to cut and paste. http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm
      as far as the laws of nature regulating everything, that doesn't mean that a god was required to tell an atom that is positively charged to repel another postive atom or pull toward a negitively charged atom. a supreme being isn't needed to tell water to take the path of least resistance. it just means that the laws perform as the are suppose to due to our reality; during the big bang there was matter and it's opposite anti-matter they negated each other until only the remaining matter was left in this reality. the beginning was calm and even just like a summer evening something caused an imbalance that caused the instant expansion of our universe;a summer thunderstorm is caused due to an inbalance in the atmosphere. a great example for the big bang is a sun. take our sun it is sitting in space perfectly giving us light and warmth; the inside of the sun is a violatile nuclear explosion running out of control, only it's gravity keeps the sun from exploding or imploding. some time in the future the sun's inner core will burn down its fuel and either expand to a red giant, meaning gravity lost to it's inner forces wanting to expand or it will be crushed down by gravity, meaning it's inner forces lost to the forces of gravity. eventually the inner forces will cause the compressed star to explode violently in what is termed a super nova leading to the birth of a new star if gravity takes effect again. i hope this explains how existance doesn't require a creator, it just requires an inbalance and eventually the inbalance will correct itself.
      the number one question usually ask of theists is if a god created everything then where did god come from. answer from theists"god was always here". so if a god was always here then what about the other gods created throughout history? i'm an athiest, i don't think any god ever existed at any point ever in history. theists have to believe in all gods even though they choose to follow one or the other.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Huh?

      "made of energy, so by simple logic we can deduce that Man is energy, so if man is gods image and man is energy then god is energy proven by science"

      The problem with your train of thought is you didn't finish it, then what made the energy? What made your god? Here's a hint...man did to explain what it couldn't explain. If we can't explain it – it's a god! LOL! Time to come into this century.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Anon

      Take your Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot card and jam it where the sun don't shine.
      That BS has been debunked so many times that it's laughable.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  19. For the Truth

    There is a difference between fighting wars/dictating/owning slaves WHILE BEING an atheist and fighting wars/dictating/owning slaves BECAUSE AND FOR atheism.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • plucky

      Nobody does anything FOR a non-belief, only for a belief.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • rzzzll

      Atheism is certainly a belief – a belief that there is no G_d.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • plucky

      Most athiests say that they do not believe there is a god until some evidence shows up. That is different. It is not an ethos.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wrong. As usual.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Jim Neumann

      I don't really care right now to get into all of the argument that has been posed here right now, but I do want to clarify one thing:

      Atheism actually does mean "the belief that no god exists." Atheism is furthermore defined by most SECULAR Philosophy of Religion textbooks as a religion. A religion, strictly speaking, has nothing to do with belief in a god; rather, religion is properly defined as a particular belief or set of beliefs concerning the nature of ultimate reality. In that regard, atheism fits just as well as Christianity.

      There is no such thing as faithlessness either; holding beliefs is actually logically unavoidable. For instance, when you see a flash of lightning and hear thunder, you have no choice (given that you are of sound mind) but to believe that a storm is taking place. I'm not saying that people have no choice in what they believe (obviously they do), but holding beliefs (a faith statement) of some kind or another is actually unavoidable.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Anon

      Screw Yahweh/Jesus/Allah the desert God of the three desert blood cults.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Frank Farrina

      @Jim Neumann. Wrong. Describing atheism as a belief in no god is like saying not skiing is a sport...

      March 30, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Jim Neumann

      Frank,

      I'm sorry, but that's simply incorrect, even according to atheist philosophers themselves, such as Bertrand Russell, David Hume, Thomas Huxley, or even modern day atheists such as George Smith, or the late Christopher Hitchens. I'm sorry, but according to leading atheists themselves, you are incorrect in your understanding. Agnosticism, rather than atheism, is the position that espouses "not enough evidence to be able to believe."

      March 30, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Jim Neumann

      Furthermore, please read carefully. I did not describe atheism as "a belief in no god"; I described atheism as a belief that no god exists. Those are two entirely different statements. For instance, one can say "I believe that there is no god," just as one can say "I believe is a god." That is why both are equally statements of belief.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Chu

      Theist is to atheist as insane is to sane.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Food for thought

      i think its foolish and childish to blame the actions of human beings on a god just like its foolish for people to believe that if they pray today there dreams will come true tomorrow. scripture is maintained as a guide on how one SHOULD live there life. If man strays from that path its an act of free will. Just because an individual claims to do an action in the name of God does not make the individual godly and in no way should that be used as a tool to negate god. example if I read a physics book and an almanac come to the determination the sun will explode tomorrow based on the evidence of heightened solar activity and convince people to do a mass suicide with me rather that suffering the explosion and they do, you would say that I was crazy in leading my people astray but in no way would you blame physics and negate the science of physics but if I was to say that we are in the end times the bible calls this Armageddon and I offer the evidence that the world is going haywire with country revolting and rioting and the rise of religious turmoil and i asked my followers to do a mass suicide with me, you would not only blame me but the religion as well and people would speak against god the example being jonestown which was just a bunch of crazy people!

      March 30, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Terrance

      Murdered is murdered. Atheists have murdered hundreds of millions over the last 100 years.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Anon

      ^Take your Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot card and jam it where the sun don't shine.
      That BS has been debunked so many times that it's laughable.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  20. Rebel4Christ

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Xhf-BO_2wGw

    Evey atheist should see this video. For an Atheist death should be the scariest thing on earth but for a Christian to die is gain. Its so easy to accept Jesus ,and so worth it!

    March 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If death is gain, dummy, why are you still here?

      March 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Faithful

      Tom, Tom – it's not rocket science. You die when God decides! Without being rude I must say most 5th Graders could work that out!

      March 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • plucky

      Faithful,
      It certainly isn't rocket science, or any science at all. You must have only a 5th grade education to believe that.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Most 5th graders would understand the rules of capitalization.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • rzzzll

      No heretic and blasphemer, death is not something to be "welcomed", read the Tanakh, salvation is due to Hashem, the Name, the Almighty Redeemer, not to some zombie god. Death is part of life, no doubt, but death is repellant, we cry against it, we don't seek it for gain or promise of better conditions in the afterlife. The living should focus on living in this world. Read the only Book – the Torah, Prophets, and Writings.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZ

      Huh? Did you say something? Was it anything of note?

      Of course it wasn't.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      As long as you don't hurt anyone with your belief. All things in moderation.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Rscan1

      BobbyTN

      As long as you don't hurt anyone with your belief. All things in moderation.

      Hitler was a Catholic. That kind of moderation?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Food for thought

      @Rscan1 Hitler was as much a catholic as I am master of the universe. hitler was a catholic by name but in no way practiced Catholicism he believed in science more than god. and the moderation you speak of was in the name of science not god

      March 30, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • WASP

      @FFT: why do christians always reach for hitler when having a debate with atheists? here is fact, regardless of hitler's faith, he and the others theists enjoy heaping on to the atheist pile, commited such acts out of lust for power, same as the many popes throughout history commited horrible acts in the name of god. all men of power want more power, and can only be held accountible for their actions in the pursuit of said power; it can not be attributed to any belief or lack of belief. you have a gorilla warrior in the congo right now trying to make a country a theocrasy read up on some of his acts in the name of god.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Terrance

      "Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure." Hitler 10/10/41

      Actually its usually the atheist dweebs that play the hitler card calling him christian.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Oh, Terrance, isn't lying a sin? That Hitler "quote" was taken from his Table Talks. The problem is, it was likely made up – and is also the only source of his supposed non-Christianity, where as one can find a mutlittude of actually reliable quotes where Hitler speaks in glowing terms of Christianity. Here's a quick argument to the document Terrance quotes from:

      "Those who deny Hitler as a Christian will invariably find the recorded table talk conversations of Hitler from 1941 to 1944 as incontrovertible evidence that he could not have been a Christian. The source usually comes from the English translation (from a French translation) edition by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens, with an introduction by H.R. Trevor-Roper.

      The table-talk has Hitler saying such things such as: "I shall never come to terms with the Christian lie. . .", "Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity".

      The problem with these anti-Christian quotes is that the German text of the table-talk does not include them, they were made up by François Genoud, the translator of the French version, the very version that English translations rely on! (More on this below).

      Even if you believed the table-talk included the anti-Christian quotes, nowhere in the talk does Hitler speak against Jesus or his own brand of Christianity. On the contrary, the table-talk has Hitler speaking admirably about Jesus. Hitler did, of course criticize organized religion in a political sense (as do many Christians today), but never in a religious sense. But the problems with using Hitler's table talk conversations as evidence for Hitler's apostasy are manyfold:

      1) The reliability of the source (hearsay and editing by the anti-Catholic, Bormann)

      2) The reliability of multiple translations, from German to French to English.

      3) The bias of the translators (especially Genoud).

      4) The table-talk reflects thoughts that do not occur in Hitler's other private or public conversations.

      5) Nowhere does Hitler denounce Jesus or his own brand of Christianity.

      6) The "anti-Christian" portions of Table-Talk does not concur with Hitler's actions for "positive" Christianity."

      @Terrance – please stop lying. It's not very moral and your god would disapprove.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Terrance

      table talk, not made up. In fact if you have contrary evidence please by all means SHOW it. But when facts stare you in the face , do what the other d-bags bolsheviks try to do: revise history. :-)

      April 3, 2012 at 2:53 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.