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4 big myths of Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation has terrified and confused readers for centuries. Few agree on its meaning, but many have opinions.
March 31st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

4 big myths of Book of Revelation

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – The anti-Christ. The Battle of Armageddon. The dreaded Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

You don’t have to be a student of religion to recognize references from the Book of Revelation. The last book in the Bible has fascinated readers for centuries. People who don’t even follow religion are nonetheless familiar with figures and images from Revelation.

And why not? No other New Testament book reads like Revelation. The book virtually drips with blood and reeks of sulfur. At the center of this final battle between good and evil is an action-hero-like Jesus, who is in no mood to turn the other cheek.

Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s leading biblical scholars, first read Revelation as a teenager. She read it again in writing her latest book, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation.”

Pagels’ book is built around a simple question: What does Revelation mean? Her answers may disturb people who see the book as a prophecy about the end of the world.

But people have clashed over the meaning of Revelation ever since it was virtually forced into the New Testament canon over the protests of some early church leaders, Pagels says.

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“There were always debates about it,” she says. “Some people said a heretic wrote it. Some said a disciple. There were always people who loved and championed it.”

The debate persists. Pagels adds to it by challenging some of the common assumptions about Revelation.

Here are what she says are four big myths about Revelation::

1. It’s about the end of the world

Anyone who has read the popular “Left Behind” novels or listened to pastors preaching about the “rapture” might see Revelation as a blow-by-blow preview of how the world will end.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation was actually describing the way his own world ended.

She says the writer of Revelation may have been called John – the book is sometimes called “Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine” but he was not the disciple who accompanied Jesus. He was a devout Jew and mystic exiled on the island of Patmos, off the coast of  present-day Greece.

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“He would have been a very simple man in his clothes and dress,” Pagels says. “He may have gone from church to church preaching his message. He seems more like a traveling preacher or a prophet.”

The author of Revelation had experienced a catastrophe. He wrote his book not long after 60,000 Roman soldiers had stormed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., burned down its great temple and left the city in ruins after putting down an armed Jewish revolt.

For some of the earliest Jewish followers of Jesus, the destruction of Jerusalem was incomprehensible. They had expected Jesus to return “with power” and conquer Rome before inaugurating a new age. But Rome had conquered Jesus’ homeland instead.

The author of Revelation was trying to encourage the followers of Jesus at a time when their world seemed doomed. Think of the Winston Churchill radio broadcasts delivered to the British during the darkest days of World War II.

Revelation was an anti-Roman tract and a piece of war propaganda wrapped in one. The message: God would return and destroy the Romans who had destroyed Jerusalem.

“His primary target is Rome,” Pagels says of the book’s author. “He really is deeply angry and grieved at the Jewish war and what happened to his people.”

2. The numerals 666 stand for the devil

The 1976 horror film “The Omen” scared a lot of folks. It may have scared some theologians, too, who began encountering people whose view of Revelation comes from a Hollywood movie.

The Omen” depicted the birth and rise of the “anti-Christ,” the cunning son of Satan who would be known by “the mark of the beast,” 666, on his body.

Here’s the passage from Revelation that “The Omen” alluded to: “This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.”

Good movies, though, don’t always make good theology. Most people think 666 stands for an anti-Christ-like figure that will deceive humanity and trigger a final battle between good and evil. Some people think he’s already here.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation didn’t really intend 666 as the devil’s digits. He was describing another incarnation of evil: The Roman emperor, Nero.

The arrogant and demented Nero was particularly despised by the earliest followers of Jesus, including the writer of Revelation. Nero was said to have burned followers of Jesus alive to illuminate his garden.

But the author of Revelation couldn’t safely name Nero, so he used the Jewish numerology system to spell out Nero’s imperial name, Pagels says.

Pagels says that John may have had in mind other meanings for the mark of the beast: the imperial stamp Romans used on official documents, tattoos authorizing people to engage in Roman business, or the images of Roman emperors on stamps and coins.

Since Revelation’s author writes in “the language of dreams and nightmares,” Pagels says it’s easy for outsiders to misconstrue the book’s original meaning.

Still, they take heart from Revelation’s larger message, she writes:

“…Countless people for thousands of years have been able to see their own conflicts, fears, and hopes reflected in his prophecies. And because he speaks from his convictions about divine justice, many readers have found reassurance in his conviction that there is meaning in history – even when he does not say exactly what that meaning is – and that there is hope.”

3. The writer of Revelation was a Christian

The author of Revelation hated Rome, but he also scorned another group – a group of people we would call Christians today, Pagels says.

There’s a common perception that there was a golden age of Christianity, when most Christians agreed on an uncontaminated version of the faith. Yet there was never one agreed-upon Christianity. There were always clashing visions.

Revelation reflects some of those early clashes in the church, Pagels says.

That idea isn’t new territory for Pagels. She won the National Book Award for “The Gnostic Gospels,” a 1979 book that examined a cache of newly discovered “secret” gospels of Jesus. The book, along with other work from Pagels, argues that there were other accounts of Jesus’ life that were suppressed by early church leaders because it didn’t fit with their agenda.

The author of Revelation was like an activist crusading for traditional values. In his case, he was a devout Jew who saw Jesus as the messiah. But he didn’t like the message that the apostle Paul and other followers of Jesus were preaching.

This new message insisted that gentiles could become followers of Jesus without adopting the requirements of the Torah. It accepted women leaders, and intermarriage with gentiles, Pagels says.

The new message was a lot like what we call Christianity today.

That was too much for the author of Revelation. At one point, he calls a woman leader in an early church community a “Jezebel.” He calls one of those gentile-accepting churches a “synagogue of Satan.”

John was defending a form of Christianity that would be eclipsed by the Christians he attacked, Pagels says.

“What John of Patmos preached would have looked old-fashioned – and simply wrong to Paul’s converts…,” she writes.

The author of Revelation was a follower of Jesus, but he wasn’t what some people would call a Christian today, Pagels says.

“There’s no indication that he read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or that he read the gospels or Paul’s letters,” she says. “….He doesn’t even say Jesus died for your sins.”

4. There is only one Book of Revelation

There’s no other book in the Bible quite like Revelation, but there are plenty of books like Revelation that didn’t make it into the Bible, Pagels says.

Early church leaders suppressed an “astonishing” range of books that claimed to be revelations from apostles such as Peter and James. Many of these books were read and treasured by Christians throughout the Roman Empire, she says.

There was even another “Secret Revelation of John.” In this one, Jesus wasn’t a divine warrior, but someone who first appeared to the apostle Paul as a blazing light, then as a child, an old man and, some scholars say, a woman.

So why did the revelation from John of Patmos make it into the Bible, but not the others?

Pagels traces that decision largely to Bishop Athanasius, a pugnacious church leader who championed Revelation about 360 years after the death of Jesus.

Athanasius was so fiery that during his 46 years as bishop he was deposed and exiled five times. He was primarily responsible for shaping the New Testament while excluding books he labeled as hearsay, Pagels says.

Many church leaders opposed including Revelation in the New Testament. Athanasius’s predecessor said the book was “unintelligible, irrational and false.”

Athanasius, though, saw Revelation as a useful political tool. He transformed it into an attack ad against Christians who questioned him.

Rome was no longer the enemy; those who questioned church authority were the anti-Christs in Athanasius’s reading of Revelation, Pagels says.

“Athanasius interprets Revelation’s cosmic war as a vivid picture of his own crusade against heretics and reads John’s visions as a sharp warning to Christian dissidents,” she writes. “God is about to divide the saved from the damned – which now means dividing the ‘orthodox’ from ‘heretics.’ ’’

Centuries later, Revelation still divides people. Pagels calls it the strangest and most controversial book in the Bible.

Even after writing a book about it, Pagels has hardly mastered its meaning.

“The book is the hardest one in the Bible to understand,” Pagels says. “I don’t think anyone completely understands it.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Church • Devil • End times • Faith • History • Jerusalem

soundoff (8,460 Responses)
  1. Love

    Jesus loves every person who commented on this....just make sure you love Him back!!!

    April 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • OhPlease

      "Jesus loves every person who commented on this"

      Prove it.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • northern light

      If this Jesus guy is a god and is all powerful and all knowing and created everything .....and loves everyone so much..... why did he create a world with cancer and cholera??

      April 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      @ northern light
      He didn't. Death and disease entered this world through sin. The original creation was perfect, as will be the restored world, where the lion will lay down with the lamb and a child will be safe with a poisonous serpent. The last enemy to be defeated will be death. God bless

      April 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Rich Harp

      You skeptics might reserve your opinions for what happens in the next two years.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • sam stone

      entered the world through sin? are you daft?

      April 5, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  2. Doc Vestibule

    I see that AtheistHunter has decided to bow out of the debate.
    Surprise!

    April 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • captain america

      Too bad the F'n canadians wouldn't take a hint. Go screw up your own country doc. There's your sign.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Captain America – you seem to be quite xenophobic. Is it just Canadians you hate? Or is it any other country?

      CNN covers Canada, so why shouldn't Doc comment here? I did go ahead and pull up the Terms of Service for this website. There is no mention of this website excluding Canadians.

      Why are you such a puts?

      April 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • northern light

      "Too bad the F'n canadians wouldn't take a hint. Go screw up your own country doc. There's your sign"

      Doc it seems you struck a nerve there as some Americans are a tad testy when it comes to things like religion.

      They should not stop at finding untrue elements in the revelation .....the whole book and the book before that is full of myth, supernatural hog wash and things that, by the laws of physics, cannot be true......but what does a few few distortions matter to belivers....it's the feeling you get from beliving that counts.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      doc....sorry got sidetracked....Life is God's to give and take...He breathed it and if his creation is so evil that it is destroying the life and liberties of the innocent then he can take it...Just because King David was a man after his own heart doesn't mean he was sinless. The bible is full of believers who were punished for their sins. God chastises those he loves. All have sinned and come short...The difference is that David and Paul were repentant. God sees mans heart.

      Then why does it say be drunken not on wine???

      April 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Atheist Hunter
      I'm rather interested to see you answer the questions God Isn't posed regarding the flood.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      The oldest organisms still alive on Earth today, the Californian Redwoods, Sequoias and Bristlecone Pines, are around 3,000-4,000 years old. Nothing is older that the date of Noah's flood.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Love

      im gonna take a wild guess and say he might have something to do

      April 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      captain. go sodomize yourself. there is your f'ing sign

      April 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • King David

      "Sorry Uriah, my bad. I know the frontlines are hard, but i've decided to give your wife some hard on her frontlines too, and maybe even the backlines if i'm feelin frisky. But don't worry, you'll be dead and my God will forgive me because he's just that kinda guy and his holy son will be born in my lineage anyway, Sux-2-B-U..."

      April 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • captain america

      sam how is kissing foreign butt and letting canadians do your thinking for you working out. There's your sign

      April 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Atheist Hunter
      Adding up the begats in Genesis from Adam to Noah:
      Adam-Seth 130 years
      Seth-Enosh 105 Years
      Enosh-Kenan 90 Years
      Kenan-Mahalalel 70 Years
      Mahalalel-Jared 65 Years
      Jared-Enoch 162 Years
      Enoch-Methuselah 65 Years
      Methuselah-Lamech 187 Years
      Lamech-Noah 182 Years
      This means that Noah was born 126 years after Adam's death at age 930, which brings us to the year 1056.
      Gen 7:6 tells us that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, which brings us to the year 1656.
      If the Earth is 6,000 years old, minus 1656 gives us 4,344 years since Noah built the Ark.
      The oldest living tree thus far found (measured by ring count) was a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine which was 4,862 years old. That means the tree was around 400 years older than Noah's oldest son Ja.pheth when the flood happened.
      In California there is a colony of Palmer's Oak trees called Jurupa Oak that has been alive 13,000 years through clonal reproduction.
      Professor Frank Vasek confirmed the age of a Creosote bush in the Mojave Desert known as "King Clone" using two different methods. His project counted rings and measured the distance of annual growth, and then used radiocarbon dating on chunks of wood found in the center of the ring. Both dating methods yielded an age of 11,700 years.
      That makes the plant more than 7000 years older than Noah's flood.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, Cap'n, you sure are a mouthy rhymes-with-hunt

      April 5, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  3. HawaiiGuest

    I have yet to get any kind of rational answer for this question.
    Why would an all powerful god capable of creating the universe give half a crap about a bunch of violent little apes on a ball of dirt and metal.
    Even ignoring that question, why would an "all-loving" god judge us on belief rather than actions and the true nature of a persons heart? Why would a god that is supposedly so benevolent care what we worship as long as we live a good life and do our best to enrich mankind?
    I hope I'm pleasantly surprised that there will be an answer that consists of than "GOD SAID IN THE BIBLE...."

    April 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Cause he created them as his family, same reason people care about the children they have.

      Cause God is holy and good and he created us for his glory and fellowship with him. He can't be glorified or have fellowship with evil so he sent his son to shed his blood to pay for the evil.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well there went the hope of any kind of reasonable response.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Snow

      @AH.. You mean to say that god dude is such an arrogant schmuck that he created a whole race of beings with singular purpose of sucking up to him? Really.. that makes sense to you?

      April 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      He created adam and eve to live in the luxury of eden. they sinned and from that we were all descendants born in sin. God created a way out for us to share his heavenly home and kingdom with you so that you can rule and reign with him. You call him what you want, but I'm grateful to be extended such an opportunity and to be so loved that he would let Jesus be beaten and tortured just to spend eternity with me and save me from the grips of Satan's jealousy and desire to torment me eternally. Truth is there are two choices, Heaven or Hell, that's it. There is no dark void for atheists. Sorry. Your choice spiritual life or death, which is eternity burning in hell. He's given you the road to life. It's your fault if you refuse to get on it.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Atheist Hunter

      You are still not addressing any points brought up. Are you truly incapable of doing so?

      April 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Love

      because nobody can truly do any good without God......i know many christian charities but i've never heard of an athiest charity in my life

      April 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Love

      That doesn't really address my question, but what the hell I'll correct you.

      DonorsChoose.org
      Kiva.org
      The Union of Concerned Scientists
      Doctors Without Borders
      United Nations Children's Fund
      The Nature Conservancy
      The SEED Foundation
      PlanUSA

      All these groups are completely secular (non-religious) organizations and charities.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • northern light

      @ Atheist Hunter
      "He created adam and eve to live in the luxury of eden. they sinned'

      So all the troubles in the world today stem from a woman eating an apple after having aa conversation with a talking snake?

      Well if that is the view of most Americans "athiest hunter" than you got a pile of catch up to do in your school system cause the world ain't 6000 years old.....ask any non US high shool student......Oh sorry I forgot the US has the best school system in the world....cause it produced peole like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs ...oops seems they dropped out.......wonder why??

      April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      That list is also in no way complete, I'm just to lazy to type the rest of them.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • dude

      @ Love

      Show me one evangelical church that is heavy into revelationist end times prophesy that has a charity (that benefits the needy not their own church).

      April 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Commenter

      HawaiiGuest,

      As for completely secular charities you can also add these biggies:

      The Red Cross
      St. Jude Childrens Hospital
      The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

      April 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      “Why would an all powerful god capable of creating the universe give half a crap about a bunch of violent little apes on a ball of dirt and metal.”
      =>In case you have not noticed out of those violent apes on occasion springs up the likes of Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Paul etc. which actually want to have an eternal union with God. Gods whole purpose is to demonstrate perfect love in unity. It is the Glory of God that radiates perfect goodness.

      “ why would an "all-loving" god judge us on belief rather than actions and the true nature of a persons heart?”
      =>The true nature of a persons heart is revealed through this journey you were privileged to take. That is the bases of judgment not anything external.

      “Why would a god that is supposedly so benevolent care what we worship as long as we live a good life and do our best to enrich mankind?”
      =>what you worship is a function of many things. Jesus said I have other sheep that are not of this fold. Our benevolent God provides every necessary opportunity for a heart inclined towards God to be revealed.

      “I hope I'm pleasantly surprised that there will be an answer that consists of than "GOD SAID IN THE BIBLE...."
      =>Sorry to disappoint but God said it in the Bible

      April 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      I don't know why you even bothered to post anything. You didn't answer any of the questions at all, and bought up names of people that cannot even be confirmed to exist.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      meant to write *to have existed*

      April 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaii
      I answered every question in your post:
      "HawaiiGuest
      I have yet to get any kind of rational answer for this question.
      Why would an all powerful god capable of creating the universe give half a crap about a bunch of violent little apes on a ball of dirt and metal.
      Even ignoring that question, why would an "all-loving" god judge us on belief rather than actions and the true nature of a persons heart? Why would a god that is supposedly so benevolent care what we worship as long as we live a good life and do our best to enrich mankind?
      I hope I'm pleasantly surprised that there will be an answer that consists of than "GOD SAID IN THE BIBLE...."

      Exactly what did I not answer?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • just sayin

      HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      I don't know why you even bothered to post anything. You didn't answer any of the questions at all, and bought up names of people that cannot even be confirmed to exist.

      >
      Welcome to Christianity. lol Remember all other Gods are false...as their God is false to other religions based on each ones bibles. They don't live in reality, rather their self created and self perpetuating fantasy. Our world is run by self imposed delusional people. The reality is most are insane to a degree.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • just sayin

      "Gods whole purpose is to demonstrate perfect love in unity. It is the Glory of God that radiates perfect goodness."
      >
      I assume you have evidence of this outside the biased writings of men? Have you talked to God? Have you heard his voice telling you this?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      Here let me rephrase:
      HawaiiGuest
      “Why would an all powerful god capable of creating the universe give half a crap about a bunch of violent little apes on a ball of dirt and metal.”
      =>To raise a few little apes that actually want eternal unity with God.

      “ why would an "all-loving" god judge us on belief rather than actions and the true nature of a persons heart?”
      =>God judges us based on our hearts.

      “Why would a god that is supposedly so benevolent care what we worship as long as we live a good life and do our best to enrich mankind?”
      =>what and how you worship reflects the true nature of your heart.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • just sayin

      I will be the first to say..some people need religion. Some people seriously cannot face reaility because of "mental issues". I am being fully serious. Mythical, fantasy type thinking does serve a purpose to some.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      “Why would an all powerful god capable of creating the universe give half a crap about a bunch of violent little apes on a ball of dirt and metal.”
      =>In case you have not noticed out of those violent apes on occasion springs up the likes of Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Paul etc. which actually want to have an eternal union with God. Gods whole purpose is to demonstrate perfect love in unity. It is the Glory of God that radiates perfect goodness.

      Here you merely make a statement of what you believe god DID, not why he would care, unless your saying that god created us so he could have an audience for his supposed "awesomeness". This reason would strike me as a very vain act.

      “ why would an "all-loving" god judge us on belief rather than actions and the true nature of a persons heart?”
      =>The true nature of a persons heart is revealed through this journey you were privileged to take. That is the bases of judgment not anything external.

      You give no basis on what we are judged on, which was what I was asking.

      “Why would a god that is supposedly so benevolent care what we worship as long as we live a good life and do our best to enrich mankind?”
      =>what you worship is a function of many things. Jesus said I have other sheep that are not of this fold. Our benevolent God provides every necessary opportunity for a heart inclined towards God to be revealed.

      I don't see how you could even view this as an answer.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Love, I will ask again... If religious insti.tutions care so much, why don't they give up their tax exempt status and recommend that money go to paying for healthcare. With the billions and billions of dollars of tax revenue, we could feed and clothe every poor person in America, AND provide healthcare for all.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "It is the Glory of God that radiates perfect goodness."

      The excuses and lies people will make about their god. The God of the Bible also allows slavery, including selling your own daughter as a sex slave (Exodus 21:1-11), child abuse (Judges 11:29-40 and Isaiah 13:16), and bashing babies against rocks (Hosea 13:16 & Psalms 137:9).

      April 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      "God judges us based on our hearts. "
      >
      Again, what is this based upon? Please tell me your God is not like every other God in history that required men to speak and write on their behalf. I assume you have something direct from the hand of your god that you can present????? No???? If you don't then yes you have faith...faith in man who says he/they speak on behalf of a God who has not mastered talking or writing.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Leo

      God still seeks to be with His people. A.In John 1:1,14 it says, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God... and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

      The Greek word there for "dwelt" is skanae. It means to tabernacle.
      God is seeking His people, but this time, instead of dwelling in a temple, he was then walking around among the people.

      Jesus, who was God in flesh, was again walking with His people, just like the Garden of Eden.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • just sayin

      Fraud alert . God bless

      April 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      So god wants people that want him? Why not just do that with the angels? According to biblical teachings, angels were created to serve god, and after the fall of "The Morning Star", he removed free will from the angels that fought for him.

      Then he wants more things to worship him, yet creates them as creatures vastly inferior to his original servants the angels (why an all-powerful being would need to create servants is beyond me). Was this to prevent another uprising? If that is the case he knew how many humans would reject him, yet created them anyway. Are you saying he did this for the paltry few that would be "worthy" of heaven by the definition that you espouse? He justifies so many being tortured for all eternity, and only keeps those he likes. This is the kind of inconsistency with an "all-loving" god that makes many question the validity of the entire belief system.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      Leo

      God still seeks to be with His people. A.In John 1:1,14 it says, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God... and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

      The Greek word there for "dwelt" is skanae. It means to tabernacle.
      God is seeking His people, but this time, instead of dwelling in a temple, he was then walking around among the people.

      Jesus, who was God in flesh, was again walking with His people, just like the Garden of Eden.

      >
      Your faith is in the man who wrote this not a God. I find this quite interesting. I supsect if John said Santa existed you would believe that as well. lol

      April 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Leo

      But we know what they did to Jesus. They killed Him. They crucified Him.

      But God was not surprised by this. In fact, it was part of his plan. Instead making a sacrifice by a high priest, once a year, in the holy of holies, Jesus became that sacrifice once and for all by dying on the cross so that we can believe in Jesus and be forgiven of our sins.

      That is why it says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

      April 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Leo

      If you're not going to even try to respond to the questions posed then don't bother to even post.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      So now your saying that we are judged by our hearts, but the only way we can have a good heart is by worshiping the right thing the right way? Do you see the bad logic here?

      April 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "But we know what they did to Jesus. They killed Him. They crucified Him."

      You will worship something that kills it son, that is just so wrong on so many levels. It takes a twisted mind to believe in this crap.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • fred

      Just sayin
      The whole Christian, Muslim, Jewish faith revolves around God who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth and said it was very good then rested. The purpose was to raise up a people that want to spend eternity with their creator.
      If there is no God then you have your empty reasons and will die. I will die in the fullness of my purpose in life which is to Glorify and Worship a Holy God. We will both die is the only guarantee.
      What every good or bad you have done or whatever good or bad I have done becomes meaningless in the absence of purpose for existence. This applies to Christians and Atheists alike.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • just sayin

      HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      So now your saying that we are judged by our hearts, but the only way we can have a good heart is by worshiping the right thing the right way? Do you see the bad logic here?

      >
      Are you seriously asking this question? lol

      April 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "What every good or bad you have done or whatever good or bad I have done becomes meaningless in the absence of purpose for existence."

      Why do Christians have to tell lies like this to justify to themselves in their delusional beliefs. Our lives have purpose, our lives have meaning, you don't need a god for that.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Leo

      HawaiiGuest you state "If you're not going to even try to respond to the questions posed then don't bother to even post."

      I saw your post earlier on the Atheist Charities how come you could not come up with a single Charity that wasn't ashamed to call itself atheist??

      That was too funny!!

      April 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • fred

      Yeahright
      Get a grip. Jesus on the cross was a picture of what man (sin) looks like to a Holy God. It was not Gods fists that punched Jesus, it was not Gods hand that scourged, mocked, stripped and nailed Jesus to the cross. That bloody pulp was the handiwork of man. I doubt an explanation of the trinity would be of value if you cannot see that simple picture.

      April 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Yeahright

      "I saw your post earlier on the Atheist Charities how come you could not come up with a single Charity that wasn't ashamed to call itself atheist?? "

      I am an atheist and I do a great deal of charity work but unlike Christians we don't have to blow our own horns to the public. Christians do that so they can try to recruit more into their cult. We use logic and reason to finally show the real truth and myths of the bible without having to "recruit."

      April 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • fred

      Yeahright
      Based on your statement you strive to tear down the belief that we should love our neighbor as ourselves and love God. Sounds like a real healthy goal.

      April 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • just sayin

      The majority of just sayin posts are made by a fraud. God bless

      April 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Leo

      Continuing to ignore the actual questions of the original only shows how little you can defend your own position. I hold no hope that you are able to actually answer the questions, or even to contribute to any sort of intelligent conversation on the topic.

      April 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • GodPot

      "you strive to tear down the belief that we should love our neighbor as ourselves and love God."

      Sorry fred, but you are only half right, atheists strive to tear down the belief that we should love a God, but most of them also believe firmly that we should love our neighbors and are far more humanist and accepting of others than most theists I know.

      April 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I guess fred isn't going to be answering my post anymore. Looks like the low expectations I had for the responses was correct.

      April 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      “So god wants people that want him?”
      =>In case you have not noticed God is not flesh and blood (Jesus 30 years on earth is different issue). God wants to give people perfect unity, just like it was before man rejected God. It is not wanting God but being in awe of Gods Glory.

      “ Why not just do that with the angels?”
      =>not sure he removed free will from the angels or why that book was left out of the Bible. We will be one with all others in Christ and God will dwell in this new collective “body”. There is only tree in that garden which is the tree of life.

      “(why an all-powerful being would need to create servants is beyond me).”
      Beyond me, perhaps it is just the servants heart not action that is key.

      “ Was this to prevent another uprising?”
      =>We still don’t make the cut we only get in by being “in Christ”, “covered by his grace”

      “ If that is the case he knew how many humans would reject him,”
      =>yes, but you are moving through time from beginning to end which is the timeline we accept or reject Christ in (i.e. true heart revealed). God did not “know” in the order we assume knowledge of a fact is acquired.

      “ yet created them anyway. Are you saying he did this for the paltry few that would be "worthy" of heaven by the definition that you espouse?”
      =>you propose it would be better to scrap the evolutionary process then just snap say 53 humans into eternal unity ….end of game? You’re right back at the beginning with only the tree of life in the Garden. So what you have is a short cut for God. Gee, why didn’t God think of that.

      “ He ustifies so many being tortured for all eternity, and only keeps those he likes.”
      =>what we know for sure is that Satan and his Demons spent eternity in hell. This is what they want anyway as that is the heart they have demonstrated. As to everyone else we are not sure what will become. This is because there is a relationship between what was given to them by God in the first place and what their heart reveals. You are not suggesting the consequence for you is any more harsh than it was for Adam or Eve? That would be your idea not what is written. So, what happen to these first people who’s rejection of God brought all this about? Their penalty was a hard life tilling the land.

      “ This is the kind of inconsistency with an "all-loving" god that makes many question the validity of the entire belief system.”
      =>Your base assumption is that an all loving parent would give a child all the candy bars that child wants and when that child is used as an experiment by Hitler or Stalin all three of them have the same purpose in life and if there is an afterlife all would enjoy the same reward, consequence or nothingness?

      April 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • fred

      GodPot
      I was referring to an atheists that want to take down God and all God stands for. When one loves God as Christ directed and lead by example that is pretty nice person that seeks only to serve and treats everyone with same respect Christ did. How could anything positive come from removing that kind of love.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      You give no rebuttals to some of my points, merely opinions based on your own beliefs. The mistake you're making here fred, is that you are not actually giving any type of rational answer to many of the points.
      “ yet created them anyway. Are you saying he did this for the paltry few that would be "worthy" of heaven by the definition that you espouse?”
      =>you propose it would be better to scrap the evolutionary process then just snap say 53 humans into eternal unity ….end of game? You’re right back at the beginning with only the tree of life in the Garden. So what you have is a short cut for God. Gee, why didn’t God think of that.

      I propose that yes it would have been better to merely create the souls that a "god" would have known to be "worthy" to be in its presence immediately, rather than allow nearly uncounted amounts of people to be thrown into eternal torture.

      “ This is the kind of inconsistency with an "all-loving" god that makes many question the validity of the entire belief system.”
      =>Your base assumption is that an all loving parent would give a child all the candy bars that child wants and when that child is used as an experiment by Hitler or Stalin all three of them have the same purpose in life and if there is an afterlife all would enjoy the same reward, consequence or nothingness?

      With this, I am taking into account the assertion that many believers give, and that is gods love is beyond anything man can assume. When taking this into account, I look at my own thought process, and whether I could consign ANYONE, let alone my own daughter (yes I actually do have a daughter) to an everlasting torture for any reason. I cannot fathom doing that to somebody, I cannot even concieve of keeping anyone out of a "paradise" for all eternity. Now if I am able to have that amount of compassion for any type of "souls" that humans may have, then wouldn't it follow that the god you espouse would be beyond even that?

      April 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Based on your statement you strive to tear down the belief that we should love our neighbor as ourselves and love God. Sounds like a real healthy goal."

      You don't need a god to be good to your neighbors atheist already do that. It's also why we have laws in this country, don't need a god for that either.

      April 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • fred

      “ yet created them anyway. Are you saying he did this for the paltry few that would be "worthy" of heaven by the definition that you espouse?”
      =>no,God did this for any that would repent and accept the things of God.
      “I propose that yes it would have been better to merely create the souls that a "god" would have known to be "worthy" to be in its presence immediately, rather than allow nearly uncounted amounts of people to be thrown into eternal torture.”
      =>no, we only know Satan and his Demons are going to hell for sure. So, you agree with me that life has no meaning or purpose without God because 99% of mankind would never have experienced life.

      And, yes Gods love far exceeds anything you can imagine.

      sorry gotta run................

      April 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      yet created them anyway. Are you saying he did this for the paltry few that would be "worthy" of heaven by the definition that you espouse?”
      =>no,God did this for any that would repent and accept the things of God.

      And yet god is supposed to know the hearts and minds of all humans before they're even born, according to your bible.

      “I propose that yes it would have been better to merely create the souls that a "god" would have known to be "worthy" to be in its presence immediately, rather than allow nearly uncounted amounts of people to be thrown into eternal torture.”
      =>no, we only know Satan and his Demons are going to hell for sure. So, you agree with me that life has no meaning or purpose without God because 99% of mankind would never have experienced life.

      Again, supposed to know everything beforehand. And don't try to twist my words in an attempt to feel like you have a win. That's a pretty transparent attempt.

      You also didn't even try to address my last point. Why is that fred? You're starting to defend a position like a 5 year old, and I was hoping for a little more.

      April 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      “I cannot even concieve of keeping anyone out of a "paradise" for all eternity. Now if I am able to have that amount of compassion for any type of "souls" that humans may have, then wouldn't it follow that the god you espouse would be beyond even that?”
      =>yes, God is bigger than we give credit for.
      Looks like you agree with some sort of consequence or reward just not Gods. You continue to circle around hell which I keep saying is reserved for Satan and his demons. That is the one fixed consequence and everyone else is impossible for man to second guess there consequence if any at all. That is not our call. What you seem to miss out on is that God is Holy and pure and will not be in the presence of evil. Satan and his demons made a choice to reject God. You are of the opinion that somehow they learned their lesson after say serving 10% of their eternity in hell judgment. Unfortunatley I am not sure how you do the math on that.
      Paradise what are you worried about? There were two hung on a cross next to Jesus. One mocked Jesus to his last breath and the other looked at Jesus and said “I deserve this yet you are innocent” to which Jesus responded “today you will be with me in paradise”. God could not make it any simpler for you to get in. You want to reject God (however God presents himself to you), choose how you live and what your purpose of existence was during your short stay. Sounds like a heart issue from this end.

      o “And yet god is supposed to know the hearts and minds of all humans before they're even born, according to your bible.
      o =>again you put God into your linear time sequence. God is not bound by constraints he places on us. When God said he knew you before you were born it is because from his eternal perspective yesterday can be viewed from any position of time (before, after, during).
      o You suggest God should not have created someone that he knows is going to hell. Well, you have not concluded that choice until death when there can be no further change in life that has passed. Now, that final moment is viewed as being known in the past present and future.
      Now, does the Bible say this is how God knows you before you were born? No, it is our attempt to explain how God knows before hand yet our lives are not predestined.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  4. Deist

    I like what the Deist Thomas Jefferson wrote about the Book of Revelation. Jefferson, in a letter to General Alexander Smyth dated January 17, 1825, wrote that the Book of Revelation is "merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." He continued, "What has no meaning admits no explanation; and pardon me if I say, with the candor of friendship, that I think your time too valuable, and your understanding of too high an order, to be wasted on these paralogisms. You will perceive, I hope, also, that I do not consider them as revelations of the Supreme Being, whom I would not so far blaspheme as to impute to Him a pretension of revelation, couched at the same time in terms which, He would know, were never to be understood by those whom they were addressed.” ( http://www.deism.com/jeffersonversusrobertson.htm )

    Progress! Bob Johnson
    http://www.deism.com

    April 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Yes and Thomas Jefferson is dead. Jesus defeated death.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • mandarax

      I can claim that Thomas Jefferson rose from the dead and was lifted into the sky with just as much objective evidence as you have for Jesus (just so you know, second- and third-person accounts from 2,000 years ago don't const.itute objective evidence)

      April 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  5. Mike from Toronto Kanada

    ..."No one knows if this Jesus Christ existed, and if he DID, NOTHING is known about him!" Bertrand Russell 1928

    April 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • just sayin

      That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hand have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life... his Son , Jesus Christ
      John 1st century A.D.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Sorry just saayin, but there are no contemporaneous reports of your Jesus.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  6. mandarax

    Definitions 1 and 5 seem particularly relevant:

    myth  (noun)
    1.a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
    2.stories or matter of this kind: realm of myth.
    3.any invented story, idea, or concept: His account of the event is pure myth.
    4.an imaginary or ficti.tious thing or person.
    5.an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social inst.itution.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  7. Snow

    Ok AH, if everyone knows intuitively that there is a god, then why is there a need for the church to try and convert so many into their cult? why argue with people to make a stance that they are correct in believing in god? you do not see mathematicians all around arguing that 2+2 is indeed 4.. so why shove your idea of god into everyone's face?

    Isn't one of the responsibilities of a chirstian to try an convert as many into their cult as possible? why go to such lengths when, according to you, everyone already believes in god and don't need to be brought to him?

    Isn't it a rule that everyone MUST suck up to this one dude god and no other or burn in hell? if they knew intuitively that there is only one god, then why put that rule at all? you do not see a rule that says "you shall taste food only with your tongue and if you taste it with any other organ you will burn in hell".. ??

    All these prove that Christians truly in their heart know that there is NO GOD. They simply like to push their rules and agendas on to others to enslave them and keep them in power.. Thanks for clarifying this AH..

    April 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Snow...2+2 won't save you from hell. We care enough to share our knowledge of the key to Heaven and God. Jesus. We actually care enough for the souls of those we don't know to want to spare you from eternal suffering and torment by the deceiver who has blinders on your eyes and mind. Just like if i passed you on the street and saw imminent danger in your path I would warn you then too. Most atheist were once believers or raised by believers and have become angry or disenchanted for whatever reason. If that is the case then you will be held accountable because you have the knowledge of God/Jesus and have rejected it. We tell you because we love you with the love of Christ, and if Christ lives in us then we do the work of Christ and he wishes that none should perish but that all should have eternal life. You have a knowledge of God but it doesn't mean that you accept him or his son and give him your life. If you didn't you wouldn't waste hours on this blog. God made a way of escape for you from hell by sending his son to pay the price for your sins. He gave you free will. He doesn't make you chose him. He just offers you a way out to eternal peace instead. Are you saying that you believe murder is okay? Adultery is okay? Drug use is okay? etc. or is there something inside of you that tell you right from wrong? That's God. The truth has been shared with you either way now. Jesus is the answer.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • God Isn't

      "spare you from eternal suffering and torment by the deceiver" So God has nothing to do with sending you to heII? He's a loving caring God who is love, but also allows billions of humans to be born and then die only to be sent into eternal torment with no hope of redemption based on a few years of life here on the earth, but it's not his fault, it's the deceiver...

      April 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • momoya

      If god wanted to save people from his own eternal torture chamber, he might have not built it and continue sustaining it or, he could just make the way to avoid it as simple to discern as "2+2=4"

      Right?

      What kind of stupid god isn't as obvious and testable as math or chemistry?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @AH
      Murder seems to be OK so long as it is done at God's behest. See – Crusades, inquisitions, etc. ad nauseum
      Adultery? God is OK with plygamy. King David "A man after God's own heart" had multiple wives, as did many other "righteous" men.
      Drug use? Alcohol is a drug and is an integral part of the Jesus mythology.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Snow

      Ok.. here I am thinking from your point of view, and still your argument does not make sense. if they came preprogrammed with the touch of god, why is there a need to be re-saved? The only reason why they would need to be brought to god and saved as said in your bible is if they did not come with the touch of god..

      That kind of invalidates everything you said in this page and you have contradicted yourself..

      and like Doc said above, almost every sin mentioned in the bible were performed by righteous men and is all OK as long as it is done in the name of god.. which again doesn't make sense.. well except if there is no god (or if the christians in their heart know that there is no god and simply like to push their power hungry agenda of controlling people)..

      April 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  8. Atheist Hunter

    “I've challenged you repeatedly to cite even a single instance of an atheist stating that nothing created everything, and have been met with silence every single time. Every time.” – C. Howdy

    “It is now becoming clear that everything can—and probably did—come from nothing.”
    - Robert A. J. Matthews, physicist, Aston University, England [1]

    “Space and time both started at the Big Bang and therefore there was nothing before it.”
    - Cornell University "Ask an Astronomer.” [2]

    “Some physicists believe our universe was created by colliding with another, but Kaku [a theoretical physicist at City University of New York] says it also may have sprung from nothing.”
    - Scienceline.org [3]

    “Even if we don't have a precise idea of exactly what took place at the beginning, we can at least see that the origin of the universe from nothing need not be unlawful or unnatural or unscientific.”
    - Paul Davies, physicist, Arizona State University [4]

    “Assuming the universe came from nothing, it is empty to begin with . . . Only by the constant action of an agent outside the universe, such as God, could a state of nothingness be maintained. The fact that we have something is just what we would expect if there is no God.”
    - Atheist, Victor J. Stenger, Prof. Physics, University of Hawaii. [5]Author of, God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist

    “Few people are aware of the fact that many modern physicists claim that things—perhaps even the entire universe—can indeed arise from nothing via natural processes.”

    April 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Snow

      A page full of words and not a single argument that wasn't already debunked.. If anything, people will agree with them simply to shut them up..

      April 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • God Isn't

      You would expect a "Hunter" to use better ammo than this if he expects to actually take one down. Though i'm sure he could do better if he didn't have half his brain tied behind his back in an attempt to seem charitable.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I don't see your logic there @Atheist. I agree with you that the origin of the universe hasn't been explained. I would extend that one step further. Christianity has also failed to explain it - all the church has done is to fabricate an answer to the question, then compel the entire world to accept their fabrication.

      The unknown is unknown. So what? Why make up stories to fill in the missing information? I'm perfectly okay with not knowing until we know.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  9. StudierofRevelation

    The Book of Revelation is NOT about John's opinion of the world he lived in. It's about heavenly and divine visions that are confirmed and corroborated by Old Testament prophesies.

    Pagels couldn't be more wrong about this book. Which by the way, was written by the Holy Spirit through John. You want to understand this book, ask the Holy Spirit. He's willing to tell.

    There are plenty of inspired scholars who do understand this book. They aren't hard to find.

    For Pagels, how do you describe Revelation 4? John's opinion of his world? Hardly.

    Revelation 5 & 8 about the prayers of the saints filling the bowls in heaven? And God adding his own incense and fire, then pouring out those prayers on the earth, causing peels of thunder? That's John's opinion and view of his world?

    He would have to be having some drugs to get those kinds of visions.

    No, John was encountering the Living Lord. The one who was and is and is to come.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • God Isn't

      I'm sure you studied Revelation with a skeptics view point but were won over by the mountains of evidence that proves your position, right? Or were you maybe already a professed Christian who was trying very hard to fit anything and everything the bible says into your indoctrinated and saturated christian world view?...

      April 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Commenter

      StudierofRevelation,
      "ask the Holy Spirit. He's willing to tell."

      How odd, then, that "he" tells different folks different, vastly conflicting, things...

      April 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • dude

      Wow, John, being a Jew, never read the torah (Old Testament)? Don't you think a religious man of that time would use Old Testament prophesies to confirm and corroborate his revelation?

      You act as if John never read the Old Testament (torah) and his revelation just happens to be confirmed and corroborated by Old Testament prophesies as if it were some act of God!

      You know, much like evangelicals try to use revelations to confirm and corroborate their version of end times today.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Atheist Hunter

    http://www.pulltheplugonatheism.com/

    Take a look, what have you got to lose???? It's not like He's candyman or something! Your man Dawkins in on this site.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • momoya

      Well, who cares?? If anybody addresses your reasons for promoting that site, you'll just move on to a different topic that you believe supports your religion.. I mean, if you won't ever address the points you're wrong on that you thought were right, what purpose do you really have??

      AH: What is your purpose here since you abandon any discussion that you don't see going your way?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • God Isn't

      It's the Christians like AH that are scared of the "candyman" effect where they might just hear something that challenges their faith so they run screaming and yelling "God is real!" over and over with their hands over their ears and their eyes shut. Not a very productive method for learning anything, but thats their MO.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      So, by reading more paranoid Christian rhetoric about the dangers of critical thinking, you think that we atheists will be swayed to take Jesus as our Lord and Savior? I hardly think so, but thanks for the chuckle.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      try me. what's ur question?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • God Isn't

      "try me. what's ur question?"

      •If a canopy holding the equivalent to more than 40 feet of water were part of the atmosphere, it would raise the atmospheric pressure accordingly, raising oxygen and nitrogen levels to toxic levels."
      "•Cenozoic sediments are post-Flood according to this model. Yet fossils from Cenozoic sediments alone show a 65-million-year record of evolution, including a great deal of the diversification of mammals and angiosperms."
      "•Why are most sediments on high ground? Most sediments are carried until the water slows down or stops. If the water stopped in the oceans, we should expect more sediments there. Baumgardner's own modeling shows that, during the Flood, currents would be faster over continents than over ocean basins [Baumgardner, 1994], so sediments should, on the whole, be removed from continents and deposited in ocean basins. Yet sediments on the ocean basin average 0.6 km thick, while on continents (including continental shelves), they average 2.6 km thick."
      o "Ice cores from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting annual layers. [Johnsen et al, 1992,; Alley et al, 1993] A worldwide flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments, noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios, fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in trapped air bubbles, and probably other evidence. Why doesn't such evidence show up?"
      "How are the polar ice caps possible? Such a mass of water as the Flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the polar caps off their beds and break them up. They wouldn't regrow quickly. In fact, the Greenland ice cap would not regrow under modern (last 10k years) climatic conditions."
      "Why is there no evidence of a flood in tree ring dating? Tree ring records go back more than 10,000 years, with no evidence of a catastrophe during that time."

      April 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • fred

      God isn't
      The Bible does not give a date for the flood or a date for the beginning of the earth. You make up something then attack it. Dates assigned to the flood came from man not God. God is not limited by our calendar. Beginning about 2,500BC we can begin to use some dates based on outside evidence. Before that time, we are just making stuff up which could or could not be a lucky guess by man.
      My assumption is that you assume all Jews and Christians are locked into a flood that happened 5,000-5,422 years ago with Adam created about 6,000 years ago. Given that archeologists have found bronze tools in the area of the Garden of Eden dated 8,000 + years ago the bronze tools Cain used in the Bible were developed before man.
      Like you, I am curious as to what the explanation is for anyone that attempts to explain away current geologic evidence. There is always the default position that God can do anything. Accounts of great floods are common over time. The Bible tells those with faith a story of God redeeming his chosen people. Without faith you only have doubt which leads to skepticism.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Snow

      So fred, what you are saying is that we should take everything written in bible as absolute unquestionable truth and follow it unequivocally.. is that correct?

      April 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • fred

      Snow
      That is correct. Some parts of the Bible are for historic reference only, others are metaphors or allegory only. The entire Bible taken as whole reveals the story of God redeeming a people. You can apply some fundamentals of how to be the best baseball player ever to another sport but you would not want Tiger Woods swinging a club like a baseball bat.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Snow

      well then, how do you explain these gemstones then..

      Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
      If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
      All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)
      But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

      more to come..

      April 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  11. Annie

    Another article on the truth about the christian faith that blind followers will blatantly ignore. What a twisted way to live – without the desire for factual evidence or even to learn about why they believe as they do. Agnosticism is the only intelligently informed belief system.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  12. Atheist Hunter

    Justifying our actions
    So, what is at the core of the atheist's concern?

    As sinful humans, we have an amazing tendency to try to justify our actions. This is something that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. We do something stupid and try to invent plausible reasons why we did it. Sometimes this is to fool others; sometimes it is to convince ourselves that we are not as stupid as our actions indicate.

    Sometimes people who have taken a strong point of view on something that is wrong think it is their duty to get others on side, because there is safety in numbers. This is how cults form, and how dictators get away with murder.

    If atheists know in their hearts that there really is a God, but they don't want to be accountable to God for their actions, then it starts to make sense why they try so hard to convince others that God doesn't exist.

    This also explains why no-one bothers speaking out against belief in mermaids, pixies, and werewolves. People do not have the truth of these mythical creatures written in their hearts or on their conscience. Nor does nature declare anything about the majesty and power of leprechauns or hobgoblins.

    So atheists must know intuitively that God exists. They just want to convince themselves and others that He doesn't exist because if He does it means they have made the worst decision of their lives to reject Him. And that has eternal consequences that are too horrible to contemplate.

    God wants us to come to Him. He offers salvation to all, and has given two magnificent evidences of Himself. One is the overwhelming evidence of His physical creation all around us, and the other is the imprint of His existence in our conscience.

    There should be no atheists. The fact that there are shows human rebellion and arrogance — not an intellectual discovery.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • momoya

      AH:

      You have extremely poor reasoning skills and you are dishonest.. Why bring up prophecy, archeology, and other ideas to convince people and then ignore your own points when they've been defeated by superior ideas??

      Atheists discuss god-belief for various reasons, but just because somebody discusses something doesn't mean that they believe in it or that it is real..

      http://www.asktheatheists.com/questions/4-why-do-atheists-talk-about-god/

      April 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So everyone knows there's a God and those who deny it, no matter how smart and happy they think they are, are actually foolish and miserable. How very Kierkergaardian of you.
      And please don't reference Comfort. He has been proven an apex fool time and again – citing him just makes you seem an idiot by proxy.
      Awe and wonder at the universe's grandeur is (or should be) normal.
      To simply say "Wow! Goddidit!" and then wash your hands of attempting any true understanding of the Universe's inner workings is to deny humanity's defining characteristic – insatiable curiosity!
      Taking the easy answers – spouting rote replies concocted in ancient times by scientifically illiterate men is a developmental dead end. Our cultural evolution doesn't hinge on passivity.

      The reason the existence of fairies etc. aren't debated as hotly as God is that anglo-saxon culture was usurped by Christianity long, long ago. The old legends and religions have been suppressed, watered down and/or "christianized".
      A prime example is Beowulf – the tale survives thanks to Christian Monks transcribing the original Viking tale – it was accepted only becuase those monks did a rather ham-handed job at inserted Christian views and ethos into a saga with a very un-christian hero.
      Celtic legends are interesting to study – belief in Faeries used to be wide spread. When Christianity came at sword point, the legends underwent various transformations. The people still believed in Faeries, but the origin stories for the creatures became Christianized. One popular story held that when the angels revolted, God ordered the gates shut; those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became devils, and those caught in between became fairies.

      The existence of some other mythical creatures are still debated today – like the Sasquatch, the Yeti, Loch Ness Monster etc.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • WASP

      @AH: one major flaw in your "logic" is there is a difference in atheist reasoning and theist reasoning. atheists use reasoning to figure out the world and hold those accountible for their actions, religious or not. theists however have used their reasoning to excuse their behavior throughout history.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      doc....so do you believe in a devil? Why are you not on the satanist blog bashing them?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Atheist Hunter

      You said, "Sometimes people who have taken a strong point of view on something that is wrong think it is their duty to get others on side, because there is safety in numbers. This is how cults form, and how dictators get away with murder."
      There is no easier way than religion to justify atrocities.

      You said, "If atheists know in their hearts that there really is a God, but they don't want to be accountable to God for their actions, then it starts to make sense why they try so hard to convince others that God doesn't exist."
      Your god, just like every other god ever invented by man, is equally likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy. There's equal evidence for both. The only difference between the two is that children are encouraged to shed the belief in one (typically around the time they run out of teeth to trade), yet are typically not liberated from the patently nonsensical belief in the other.

      You said, "This also explains why no-one bothers speaking out against belief in mermaids, pixies, and werewolves. People do not have the truth of these mythical creatures written in their hearts or on their conscience. Nor does nature declare anything about the majesty and power of leprechauns or hobgoblins."
      All mythical beings are equally likely to exist. You've got to be particularly dense to still, as an adult, believe in mermaids, pixies, and werewolves. While there may be a glimmer of hope for those that merely believe in gods, those that haven't shed the belief in other mythical beings may very beyond the grasp of reason.

      You said, "So atheists must know intuitively that God exists. They just want to convince themselves and others that He doesn't exist because if He does it means they have made the worst decision of their lives to reject Him. And that has eternal consequences that are too horrible to contemplate."
      Patent bullshit. Anyone who truly believes that nonsense might as well proclaim his unwavering belief in leprechauns, as he is clearly incapable of rational thought.

      You said, "God wants us to come to Him. He offers salvation to all, and has given two magnificent evidences of Himself. One is the overwhelming evidence of His physical creation all around us, and the other is the imprint of His existence in our conscience."
      Religion, and the beliefs upon which they are built, are learned behaviors. Your god is merely a figment of your, or someone else's, imagination. He/she/it is an imaginary friend.

      You said, "There should be no atheists."
      Everyone is born one. In time we may be able to move past the infantile beliefs held by those afraid of the dark and shed the delusion of gods.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Do I believe in a devil? What a foolish question.
      I'm here, by the by, because for some reason the firewall at my office blocks 99% of websites – except for CNN.
      And where exactly did I do any Christian bashing in my post?
      I did some Ray Comfort bashing – because he is a proven idiot! Bananas as an example of intelligent design?
      The rest of the post is about mytho-historical revisionism. I await a more cogent rebuttal than ad-hominem deflection.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If Judeo-Christian morality is imprinted on the consciousness of all human beings, why are there so many different ethical codes?
      Why did the Easter Islanders, Aztecs, Binewurs, Krankawa, Wari, Kuru, Fore, Carib, Fijian, Popayan and Serengipeans not instinctively know that cannibalism is a sin?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  13. Atheist Hunter

    What's different with atheists?
    So what's different in the atheist's brain? If God doesn't exist, why do atheists such as Richard Dawkins care so passionately that some people believe in Him? Why do they bother writing books against the existence of God? Or waste time preparing videos for YouTube that ridicule God? Or fund ads on the side of London buses?

    In fact, why do atheists bother acknowledging that people believe in God at all? People believe all sorts of ridiculous things that atheists don't care about, so why does it matter to them if one of those things is God?

    Interestingly, the Bible gives some answers to this.

    Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” Atheists may be brilliant scholars or academics. They may be wonderful inventors, surgeons, or scientists. But if they say there is no God they are declaring themselves fools in spiritual matters. This is why atheism is sometimes called the fool's philosophy.

    The Apostle Paul pointed out in Romans 2:15 that God has written intuitive knowledge of His law in our human conscience. In a wonderful passage in Romans 1:20 he says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

    There is abundant evidence of God's handiwork written on our conscience and in nature all around us, and there is no excuse for not recognizing God's work in this.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I'm puzzled by your sense of urgency, fear, and downright panic that there are people who exist in your universe that haven't thrown out all logic and reason, and embraced the doctrine of blind faith. What exactly are you afraid of? I don't get it.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  14. Atheist Hunter

    Christian author Ray Comfort may have a point when he says atheists know there is a God.

    In his book You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can't Make Him Think (WND Books, 2009), Comfort says, “We don't have to prove that God exists to the professing atheist. This is because he intuitively knows that He exists. Every person has a God-given conscience. The Bible tells us that this is the 'work of the law written on their hearts'.”

    Just as every sane human being knows that it's wrong to lie, steal, kill, and commit adultery, Comfort says, they also know that God should be first in their life.

    Comfort's reasoning is this: People don't fight against something that doesn't exist, or something they don't believe exists.

    That's why you don't see groups rising up to fight against belief in werewolves. You don't see professors in universities ridiculing the existence of Santa Claus. You don't see organizations mobilizing troops to denounce bunyips, centaurs, or leprechauns.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • momoya

      AH:

      When are you going to admit that you were/are wrong on prophecy, archeology, and the flood proving the bible?. Shouldn't you address your wrongs before you move on to another silly tactic????

      People aren't imaginary.. When 90% of the population believes in werewolves, you'll se intelligent people confronting werewolf believers similarly to how intelligent people confront god-believers. Same for any imaginary being.. Atheists aren't fighting god because god won't show up–god-believers are the ones who show up; thus, atheists and god have no disagreement.. God's undetectability agrees with atheists as.sessment of him being imaginary.. Atheists argue with believers who do exist and say certain imaginary being do certain things that can't be verified.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      90%.... how does it feel to be one of the 10% who are deceived. YOUR numbers should tell you that you are on the wrong side of truth. You can talk to him even if you don't believe. Just tell Him, look, I don't believe in you, however if you are real like AH says then reveal yourself and truth to me...Then wait on Him.......

      April 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • momoya

      AH:

      Just because a large percentage of people believe a concept does not mean it is true–it only means that the belief is popular.. When 90% of the world believed the earth was flat, were they correct?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Dear "Atheist Hunter"
      I give glory to God for giving you the words such as you wrote in your comments, becaue they are true. The spirit of God bears witness to them.
      I'm so glad you posted! There are gems of truth in them!

      April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      The bible was because it has always said it was round. :)

      April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Annie

      If God doesn't exist, why do atheists such as Richard Dawkins care so passionately that some people believe in Him?

      Because there is legislation passed based on godcrap?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • momoya

      No, the bible says the earth is a circle (like a flat coin) since in other verses the bible strongly implies that the earth is flat and has a brass sky and rests on pillars..

      Men wrote the bible; since the sun, moon, and other planets are circular in appearance, they described the earth as circular, not spherical.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Snow

      The bible says earth is round?? is that why it talks about "ends of all the earth" many times? coz, you know, the bible can surely find the ends of spheres.. isn't it?

      Besides.. that 90% argument is hypothetical (look it up in this other book called dictionary)

      April 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • fred

      Mommoya
      Snow
      Actually, the verse in Isaiah that most people often point to as showing the world was round in Hebrew of that day has a different meaning. It relates to the wedding dance where everyone goes around in a circle. Because of this some say a circle is referred to. Actually, in the wedding dance it is a circle that is not one dimensional. This circle encompasses the newlyweds’ life together as if wrapped in the middle of a great ball which they all dance around. This is a basically our modern view of the Earth. Sorry, the Hebrew did not have a word for oblate spheroid

      April 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • momoya

      @fred

      Ok, so the Jews didn't have a word for "sphere.". Why couldn't god have helped them out on that point?. And as for accuracy, they could have compared the shape of the earth to the shape of a pomegranate or any other naturally-occurring sphere-shaped thing.. Excuses are never as good as reasoning.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • fred

      Momoya
      In case you have not noticed even Jesus spoke in parables so that only those who truly wanted to find God would and the others would think it foolish. When the Sanhedrin demanded Jesus give them a sign he said none will be given you but the sign of Jonah and the big Fish. Yieks, Jesus mentioned the big fish and the flood as if it happened. In short the Bible is but one revelation of God redeeming a chosen people and you and I are written about in that book one way or another.
      AS to use of a pomegranate for the earth you would have called it nonsense in the next verse. Just how is God supposed to use a pomegranate as a footstool?” “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool”
      See, the earth is not an oblate spheroid it is shaped more like a footstool. It has 4 corners and is flat. I am sure glad we did not use the Bible as the manual for getting to the moon.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The Christian author Ray Comfort is apparently one of the many Christians who don't have the intellectual scope to even be able to visualize how someone could possibly disagree with them. If atheists say they don't believe in god, he postulates, then there can only be one explanation - they believe in god but just won't admit it.

      That viewpoint is so foolish that I almost feel bad to have wasted these 90 seconds responding to it. But it was just funny enough to make it worthwhile.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Peter

      "Excuses are never as good as reasoning."

      What a great line but that reasoning will be lost on Christians since they don't live in reality.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "reasoning will be lost on Christians since they don't live in reality."
      LOL! And you think you do?!
      A person who is only partly alive is usually in vegetated state of being. Those who are spiritually dead are only partly alive. So, who is not living in reality? You precisely described yourself, Peter!

      April 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  15. Atheist Hunter

    If God doesn't exist, why do atheists care so passionately that some people believe He does? Why do they bother writing books against the existence of God? Or fund ads on the side of London buses to deny something that supposedly doesn't exist? They don't go out of their way to deny leprechauns or fairies or werewolves, so why God? The reason seems to be that atheists do know that God exists.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Annie

      Because education is important?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • God Isn't

      Also, leprechauns are not trying to pass legislation to restrict a womans access to healthcare because there just aren't enough pot's-o-gold to go around.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Because worshippers of leprechauns and unicorns are not trying to change laws to reflect their narrow view of the world.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • WASP

      @AH: if people were trying to passive-aggresively push their belief in werewolves and other magical creatures onto the population and into our schools, atheists would take a stand and debate their points. however christians ensured that anyone that thinks they have seen a vampire or werewolf are immediately labeled crazy...........so why is it that you get offended when we label you as crazy for stating their faith in another non-proven, non-testible creature?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Get a Clue

      Atheist Hunter,

      Your dogma and zealots *do* exist. That's what and who we are contending with.

      p.s. you have been informed of this fact many times - how dense are you anyway, Nimrod?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Let me help you with that, @Atheist. It's quite enjoyable to debate from a position of strength. It's entertaining. It doesn't mean that deep in my heart I know that a god exists. I don't really care, deep down, whether or not there is a god. Because there is no proof that there is, and no proof that there isn't. It's just fun to debate with people who are so convinced that their manufactured answer to the question is correct, when it can't possibly be without evidence one way or the other.

      So debating the point is fun, sort of the way that shooting fish in a barrel is fun.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      By the way @AtheistHunter, if god does exist then why do Christians care so passionately that all people believe that he does? Why put up Christian billboards all over the nation, and advertise their religion on TV, and preach to the millions every day of the year? Is this perhaps, because Christians know deep in their hearts, that he doesn't exist?

      April 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  16. Atheists Idio(ma)tic Expression

    Atheists craniums are like a colon. Ain't got somethin but load of craps!

    April 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Atheist Hunter

    Here's you something to look for in the future................... that way all you atheists can see prophecy unfold for yourself.

    Prophecies Yet To Be Fulfilled
    The Arab nations of the world will attack Israel in a coordinated effort to annihilate the state (Psalm 83).

    Israel will soundly defeat the Arab alliance (Zechariah 12:6).

    Israel will dwell in security and prosperity (Ezekiel 38:11).

    A Russian coalition consisting mainly of Muslim nations will invade Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-17).

    The Russian coalition will be destroyed supernaturally by God (Ezekiel 38:18-23 & 39:1-8).

    The Antichrist will intervene and guarantee the security of Israel, enabling the Jews to rebuild their Temple (Daniel 9:27).

    At the end of three and a half years, the Antichrist will enter the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be God (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15-18, & 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

    The Jews will reject the Antichrist, and he will respond with an attempt to annihilate them, killing two-thirds of them in the process (Revelation 12:13-17 & Zechariah 13:8-9).

    At the end of the Tribulation, when the Jews have come to the end of themselves, they will turn to God and receive Yeshua as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10, Romans 9:27-28, & Romans 11:25-27).

    Jesus will return and regather all believing Jews to Israel (Deuteronomy 30:1-9).

    Israel will be established as the prime nation in the world (Isaiah 2:1-4 & Micah 4:1-7).

    The Lord will bless the Jewish remnant by fulfilling all the promises He has made to Israel (Isaiah 60:1-62:7).

    The blessings of God will flow out to all the nations through the Jewish people during the Millennial rule of Jesus (Zechariah 8:22-23).

    April 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Start Here....

      http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=254607

      April 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • momoya

      AH:

      Start here: http://www.freethinkersbooks.com/100fbp.htm

      April 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  18. AtheismIsCrap

    Atheists craniums are like a colon. Ain't got somethin but load of craps.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      Still on your knees, begging for salvation from your petty punk god?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. 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.

      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.. . .

      April 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  20. Atheist Hunter

    lots of angry atheist. check the news site for yourself. world news many sites, never seen the enquirer list on it, but have seen your cnn and fox, etc. at times. not just american filtered world news, news from all over the world, not screened by bho.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      We are aware of that @Atheist. There are a lot of angry atheists. Christians have been in control of the Western world for 2000 years, and see that control beginning to slip (because of all those angry atheists). So now, there are a lot of angry Christians as well. (You appear to be one of them). The church stands to lose billions of dollars annually if people wake up and leave, so I don't blame them.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:44 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.