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My Faith: Returning to church, despite my doubts
Andrea Palpant Dilley as a child with her missionary family Kenya.
May 5th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Returning to church, despite my doubts

Editor's note: Andrea Palpant Dilley is the author of “Faith and Other Flat Tires.”

By Andrea Palpant Dilley, Special to CNN

During my junior year in college, I took a butter knife from my mother’s kitchen  and scraped the Christian fish decal off the back bumper of the Plymouth hatchback I’d inherited from my older brother. Stripping off that sticker foreshadowed the day, a few years later, that I would walk out of church.

The reasons for my discontent were complicated. By most standards, I had a healthy childhood.  I grew up the daughter of Quaker missionaries in a rural Kenyan community that laid the foundation for my faith. I spent the rest of my childhood in the Pacific Northwest, raised in a stable Presbyterian church that gave me hymns and mission trips and potluck dinners.

I was surrounded by smart, conscientious Christians, the kind of people who read 19th century Russian novels and took meatloaf to firefighters when much of eastern Washington state went up in flames in the fall of 1991.

When I started into my skeptic phase, my Christian community gave me space to struggle. They listened to my doubts about faith. They took my questions seriously.

And yet when I turned 23 I left the church.

Listening to a sermon at my older brother’s church one Sunday, I stood up, leaned over to my father and said, “This is bulls**t.” I made my way to the end of the pew and marched out of the sanctuary. The sermon didn’t sit right with me. The pastor was preaching about Psalm 91, saying in so many words that a person just needed to pray and have faith in order to be protected from suffering.

More than just that sermon, I was sick of church. I was sick, too, of all the spiritual questions plaguing me: Why does the church seem so culturally insulated and dysfunctional? Why does God seem distant and uninvolved? And most of all, why does God allow suffering?

These questions didn’t come out of nowhere. I’d spent time in high school volunteering in refugee camps in Kenya and in college working with families on welfare in central Washington. I saw hungry babies. I walked into homes that were piled with garbage and dirty laundry.

In an orphanage in the slums of Nairobi, I held AIDS babies and worked with disabled kids who’d been left at the front gates of the orphanage by parents who couldn’t afford to feed them. I saw things that I couldn’t make sense of as a Christian.

Walking out of church was a way of saying “To hell with it; I’m done.”

For two years, I skipped church. My Bible gathered dust on the shelf. The local bars became my temples. I indulged in the cliché rebellions of a Christian girl, smoking cigarettes and drinking hard alcohol. I got involved with men twice my age without thinking twice about it.  I wanted a break from being “good.”

And then, strangely, I woke up one morning at age 25, climbed into my car, and drove downtown to attend a 10 a.m. church service. I won’t relate here the whole story of how I came back to the church. But if I had to follow the standard testimonial narrative for Christians, the script for my life story would go something like this:

Step 1: Grow up in a Christian church.

Step 2: Go off to college away from said church.

Step 3: Be exposed to the enticements of secular life.

Step 4: Try drugs and cigarettes and Pearl Jam.

Step 5: Leave the church because of aforementioned enticements.

Step 6: Experience epiphany; realize vapidness of secular enticements.

Step 7: Return to church with penitent heart.

Step 8: Reestablish faith, discover good living.

In reality, I left the church more because of my own internal discontent than the lure of so-called secular life. When I came back, I still carried that same discontent. I was confused, and still bothered by questions and doubts. I stayed in the back row and didn’t sing or pray. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be there.

And yet I sat there, Sunday after Sunday, listening to the pastor and the organ pipes and trying to figure out what was going on in my dark, conflicted heart.

Although I never experienced that dramatic reconversion moment, I did come to peace with two slow-growing realizations.

First: My doubt belonged in church.

People who know my story ask what I would have changed about my spiritual journey. Nothing. I had to leave the church to find the church. And when I came back, the return wasn’t clean or conclusive. Since then, I’ve come to believe that my doubts belong inside the space of the sanctuary. My questions belong on the altar as my only offering to God.

With all its faults, I still associate the church with the pursuit of truth and justice, with community and shared humanity. It’s a place to ask the unanswerable questions and a place to be on sojourn. No other institution has given me what the church has: a space to search for God.

Second: My doubt is actually part of my faith.

In Mark 9:24, a man says to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” The Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor called this the foundation prayer of faith. I pray that prayer often and believe that God honors my honesty.

I also believe God honors my longing. The writer and theologian Frederick Buechner said “Faith is homesickness.” C.S. Lewis called it “Sehnsucht,” a longing for a far-off country. I feel that sense of unshakable yearning. It comes from the deepest part of my heart, a spiritual desire that’s strangely, mysteriously connected to my doubt.

Sitting in church every Sunday, my doubt is my desire – to touch the untouchable, to possess the presence of God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Andrea Palpant Dilley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Opinion

soundoff (3,753 Responses)
  1. Atheist Hunter

    A little nugget for all you doubters. Praise be to the lamb of God!

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/archaeological-find-stirs-debate-on-david-s-kingdom-1.429087

    May 9, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Just because we know Las Vegas is a real place doesn't mean David Copperfield can do actual MAGIC.

      Get a grip.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      To us who KNOW our God no proof is necessary , although He proves Himself to us over and over again.
      But to the lost who through pride in their hearts have already made up their minds, no proof would be sufficient.
      For this reason they will live their lives being deceived, walking in darkness, till the day of their Appointment comes, and then they will have to face what they refused to do when they still had time.

      Praise be to God for every new discorvery that leads the world to see the authenticity of Scriptures. But even if they don't find anything at all, it is the Spirit of the Living God who testifies to the Truth, whom the whole creation obeys, and acknowledges... all except rebelious, sinful mankind who will not come to Him because it is written:

      "the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John3:19-21)

      Pride is the most damning sin to humankind. its the disease of humankind, that infects and destroys human soul. Only Christ can deliver us from our own predicament! That's why satan hates the name of Jesus Christ with everlasting hatred. Because H exposes his works!

      May 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "To us who KNOW our God no proof is necessary , although He proves Himself to us over and over again.
      But to the lost who through pride in their hearts have already made up their minds, no proof would be sufficient."

      Prism,

      What is more humble, believing you know the creator of the entire universe, that that creator interacts with you and you do that creators bidding AND that creator blesses you for your belief and will give you immortality and endless pleasure, AND that creator will punish all those who don't agree with your belief

      OR

      withholding belief is such a creator until there is sufficient evidence...

      I would change my mind with better information, you wouldn't because you already claim the have the BEST information possible.

      Which view is the more prideful?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      NO Truth,
      There is no need to put on facade... You KNOW WHY you don't come to God.
      You KNOW what I'm saying in my posts. They are written in depth, yet are not hard to understand to those who are really sincere, seeking answers to their questions. I don't claim to have all the answers, but the ones I have I will try to help to give to those in which I sense sincerity .
      I'm not here to play game. I've posted quite few posts, as well as few others who speak the same.
      You have our testimony, you have the Word of God in the Scriptures of Holy Bible, and if you have still, "but"-s to object with, it is IN YOU that the answer lies, deep within your own heart. I find no need to carry a conversation with you, all's been said already.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      " I don't claim to have all the answers, but the ones I have I will try to help to give to those in which I sense sincerity ."

      Prism,

      You don't claim to have all the answers but you do claim to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe AND to know what that creator thinks, at least partially.... including that because some people use reason and logic to form beliefs and not some bronze age book of myths they will be punished by your immoral god.

      You then have the audacity to claim I lack belief based on 'pride' and your beliefs are 'humble'....and because I don't accept your BS claims I am not sincere.

      This would be funny if it was not so ignorant....

      May 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Chance

      @NTJC
      You hold your beliefs so high on a pedestal everything is beneath your system, nothing will ever be enough for you... The logic you use to disprove God can be used to prove God its just a matter of what you want to accept. You deny God, thats the grounds for judgment from God; not from me or any other person on earth, because no one is perfect to pass judgment. No side stepping the question. You deny God knowing all that you know, yes your a good person but your not with out faults like me or anyone else. Thats the grounds for judgment from God. Through Jesus judgment is pardoned, with out Him you are open for judgment because your not perfect.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      @Chance

      You are right. I am going to take what your are saying and apply God's teaching to my life and the life of my son. He is young enough so I can leave his life and he will not remember me, I will however have my neighbor down the street write a book about me and let my son know I exist. I will return to his life when he is about 40 years old, if at that time he believes I am his father and he loves me I will buy him a car, if he does not I will set him on fire. It all makes sense now, whatever happens he is responsible for the outcome, I will have done everything I can, my conscience will be clean.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Chance

      @NTJC
      If that is your view of God I can see why your atheist; I would be too. If God wasn't active in my life; I'd probably think like you. The problem with your analogy is God isn't absent from our lives, we influence how much He moves in our lives; also it doesn't mean adversity will never come. I can see why you despise the God crowd so much now; but your take on God isn't absolute its your take. Your belief system isn't greater than mine nor do I feel greater than you. Jesus was Humble so should His followers be. The flaw in your system is people have active relationships with their creator but to you they are delusional; your system paints your views absolute but what if your wrong? I live right, I respect life, I live and let live and serve God. Lets say I'm wrong and your right so when I pass nothing is there for me; well I won't even get the chance to be disappointed; I'll just be nothing, but what if I'm right and wasn't delusional and God is real in my life, what then? Yes my belief system is based on a absolute with consequences and guidelines to help me live right; specifically to be a reflection of Jesus. If your right what harm did I cause you? To want and live like Jesus did what is the harm to the world, to love my fellow man as myself? If your wrong and just rebelling against God what harm did you cause? How many would be believers would you have helped turn away? You make science out to be bigger than God; nothing is over God and one day we will know the truth. Me inserted in your belief system = no negative repercussions, no disappointment, just non existence, like I was never here. You in my belief system are the poster child for rebellion, nothing is never good enough ie the Israelis exiting Egypt. In my system you have all the potential to be in fellowship with God or be on your own. Your choice, it can't be forced into you, scared into you, preached into you...it's a personal commitment with the consequences of life or death. To me you come off more as someone who hates God as apposed to someone who doesn't believe in Him. Nothing personal but I'm just standing against the misconception of judgement. If your as righteous as you paint yourself to be God would welcome you in His arms when your life is over. While you have life God will take you in, in any moral condition through the sacrifice of Jesus.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Chance,

      I, like many atheists, was a believer. I prayed and talked to god all the time in my head, that relationship was a one way street. You say god is active in your life, I don't know if that means he talks to you in your head or what, there is no way for me to say that you are not experiencing something real, but YOUR experience does nothing for me to believe, it is your experience. God has never talked to me even when I was a believer and asked him too, when this point is brought up the usual response I get is "you were not doing it right", it is my fault for not believing enough or something, it was never gods fault for not making himself known. So then I looked at the religion from a historical standpoint and found its basis lacking, I looked at from the theological standpoint and found it absurd and contradictory. I will still change my mind if given proper information. Quite frankly Chance I know far more about Christian history, the Bible, Christian beliefs than most people that claim to be christian (I am NOT saying I know more than you as I have no way of knowing if that is true). I find it fascinating that people believe the things they do, for the reasons (usually lack of reasons) that they do. The more I open myself to the actual information of religion and christianity (NOT faith), the less reason I believe. Faith is not a virtue, it is a tool used to circ.umvent reason. If you ever claim I need faith to believe anything you have lost the argument.

      The rest of your post, whither you know it or not, deals with "Pascal's Wager". It is an extremly flawed argument and if you are curious as to why, just do an internet search for "Pascal's Wager Critcisms", many others have explained its fallacious argument in such a way as to explain its difficiancies better and quicker than I can here.

      I will address your assertion that your belief does no harm, that is itself a fallacy. Your actions are informed by your beliefs and if your beliefs are false your actions are based on a lie, and therefore either directly or indirectly harmfull to others. I find the assertion that your beliefs have no effect on others but mine do, to be arrogant and willfully ignorant.

      At least my beliefs are based on what can be proven true, you don't seem to care about actual truth because in your mind if you are wrong you lose nothing, you are therefore content living a posible lie. I will change my mind if provided better information, you have already made up your AND have come up with a convienient rationalization (Pascal's Wager) to never change your mind. That mindset confirms my accusation that religion breeds ignorance.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "While you have life God will take you in, in any moral condition through the sacrifice of Jesus."

      Chance,

      I find this line of thinking interesting, Jeffrey Dahmer accepted Jesus as his savior before he died and according to this belief he is with god in paradise. I on the other hand wish no one harm, have a family, am responsible and I would never want to see even my worst enemy tortured forever. But according to your belief I will be punished for eternity because I cannot rationalize my belief in Jesus. Your point that I hate god is partially correct, I think the christian god is immoral, illogical and a tyrant, but these are also the same reasons I don't believe he exists.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • No-mystery- to- it!

      Jeffrey Dahmer repented of his sins. He seen himself for what he was, and called of Christ to save him.
      You are righteous in your own eyes. You don't need God. Christ's sacrifice means nothing to you.
      That's why he was forgiven and your sin remains!

      May 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Chance

      I here your argument; nothing will change your mind, your upset with God, He let you down but you would change your view if God meet what ever need you have or proof you need. As far as your beliefs to be proven; please don't tell me science has it all figured out... There is good theories in place stacked on top of other theories but nothing has disproved God or proven how we came into existence. For one we cant see how the elements that gave us life from star dust are formed we just have theories, we don't know if dark matter exist but if does it is the most abundant matter around that is unseen just as dark energy. There is plenty more question than answers in Science; Science is just one reasoning why I believe in God. I love the discoveries we make but they don't by any stretch rule out a creator.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Chance

      @NTJC
      "Pascal's Wager" I'm not using that as a reason to follow God; that would be a 5yr old argument. My point is that you say you where Christian; than you know of the life of Jesus; if people follow His example the world wouldn't be worse off. I'm not saying follow God and play it safe; that is worse than being atheist in my view. To be a fake Christian just to play it safe; just to play the odds is bad for everyone. Nobody likes a fake and that was not my point; the point was people who try and live like Jesus did are not a threat to anyone. He didn't force Christianity on anyone, He was humble and loving. I have moral guidelines a atheist has none; good and evil do not exist in your world; people who take innocent lives are not evil in your world, you cant even consider them bad because wrong and right don't exist in you beliefs but you hold on to the a lame argument that I'm morally good people and getting punished by God proves Him fake. Morally good doesn't make you without faults no one on Earth is perfect and that's the point, if you were Christian you know the fundamentals and that is perfection is required for Heaven. You keep dodging responses to suite your position. Yes you could be moral but you have no standards your way of thinking is dangerous because you live for the here and now. Your argument on morality is ridiculous because you have no standard so how could you gauge my standard. What is your standard of morality that is greater than that of Jesus? No bad or good exist to you so move on about morality because it holds not weight in your belief system. You said it yourself you to degree hate God, so you take that out on any argument you hear from a believer. Nothing from God would be good enough for you seems like; you have already drawn a line in the sand so to speak. Like I said you portray yourself more as a person who despises God vs a real atheist. Plus science has evidence to start its theories but it doesn't have enough evidence to bring the most important theories to full circle. What we have now is theories stacked on top of other theories ie the M-theory, science is why many young believers believe in God. So your argument "at least my belief can be proved" is not as strong as you make it to be, science hasn't even given us evidence of how we came into existence we have theories that from stars the right elements came together but we don't have physical proof. I can also prove historical sites in the Bible, I can start a theory but like science my belief hasn't come to full circle not till God returns for us or I go to Him. We both have strong beliefs but please don't say science has it all figured out, we just have different vantage points.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  2. heehaww39191

    Wow. Thanks so much for writing this article. My story is eerily similar to yours, and after 4 or 5 years I am just now getting my foot back in the door of church (I sit in the back and I refuse to sing or pray). I have the same objections, particularly the lack of involvement in conjunction with the heartwrenching suffering I've seen. I've also had the same epiphanies, the shocking emptiness, isolation, self-centeredness, shallow, arrogant, and aggressive cynicism implicit in a purely secular existence, an existence that, in reality, recognizes no higher power other than one's self. Simply put, it's depressing. Thanks again for the food for thought.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      How important is 'what is actually true' to you? There are many secular people that live moral fullfilled lives. Andrea just went to the bar and it is not surprising she found that empty.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • J

      Just read this:

      'Christianity is a Gospel of crisis. It proclaims unmistakably that this world’s days are numbered. Every graveyard and every cemetery testify that the Bible is true. Our days on this planet are numbered. The Apostle James says that life is only a vapor that appears for a moment and then vanishes (James 4:14). The prophet Isaiah says that our life is like the grass that withers and the flower that fades (Isaiah 40:6,7).

      There is no doubt that nations also come to an end when they have ceased to fulfill the function that God meant for them. The end will come with the return of Jesus Christ. He will set up a kingdom of righteousness and social justice where hatred, greed, jealousy, and death will no longer be known. That is why a Christian can be an optimist. That is why a Christian can smile in the midst of all that is happening. We know what will come. We know what the end will be: the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ!'

      -Billy Graham

      May 9, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      J

      So the fact that people die proves the bible? Wow, why didn't I see that before?

      May 9, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  3. Tom Paine

    Andrea: Well written. Thank you for sharing your experience. Faith and doubt surely do exist together and your excellent questions hopefully are welcomed in the sanctuary where you worship. We need more folks in church asking the deep questions. Faith seeking understanding. Again, thanks for sharing and CNN – kudos for your religious blog. You have great material, even if sometimes the comment page is filled with less than quality musings.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • myklds

      Couldn't agree more.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  4. wow

    I have not seen where either side has improved anything, nor made their side attractive to consider. Yep like I said a long way to go. My philosophy, be as good as I can be and count on the other guy to disappoint..

    May 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • wow

      All I see on this blog is people (on both sides) making sure that as they hide behind monikers they can be as mean as they can be so there is no mistaking where their view comes from. Then when someone gets offended they cry victory! I have worn them down and shown them how little I care for humanity. Nice peeeepole consider yourselves very successful

      May 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Pioneer Muslim Physicians 
    5/7/2012 – Science Education – Article Ref: SW1101-4447 
    By: David W. Tschanz 
    Saudi Aramco World* – 

    http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=SW1101-4447

    http://www.islamicity.com/articles/articles.asp?ref=SW1101-4447&p=2

    May 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Other forms of Islamic "healing":

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began.

      May 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  6. wow

    65 million years of evolution has produced this type of vitriolic name calling, we have a long way to go

    May 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Well would you perfer the old ways Wow?

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij79LQXZDEk&w=640&h=390]

      May 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • wow

      just saying still not any better, you could pick a clip from the streets after the NCAA championship, same old thing

      May 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You are right. You would think that this blog would be a place to foster and work towards tolerance but in the end its often a platform for the extremes on both side.

      May 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sez the guy who lies and obfuscates every chance he gets.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  7. bill

    andrea
    listen

    May 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • bill

      Did you hear that? I just farted! Jesus is so happy now!

      May 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  8. PRISM 1234

    Madtown,
    I came this morning to respond to your post from day before(pg 33), but felt need to spend time to respond to John. I hope to get back to you on it by tonight. I realize the importance of it, so I will try ti make it...:)

    May 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Madtown,

      Left you a post on pg. 33.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  9. JM

    3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
    3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”
    4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

    5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]
    9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

    10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven —the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]
    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

    John Testifies Again About Jesus
    22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

    27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]

    31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Question: How do you know there is a god?

      Answer: The Bible says so.

      Q: How do you know the Bible is true?

      A: The Bible says it is.

      Q. Isn't that circular reasonaing?

      A. LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

      WIllfull ignorance is ugly.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #2 – Circular "holy" book reasoning + sweaty fervor = mental retardation (aka: christians/muslims)

      May 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • JM

      Because I've experienced the Holy Spirit. That's why people believe; they feel God's presence; they pray; He leads them.

      God is love; however, he'll leave you alone if you want him to. If He does exist, we'll all see Him face to face one day; at that point, it'll be too late to say: "I didn't know". We're given free will.

      There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' – C.S. Lewis

      "You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England". – C.S. Lewis

      May 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      JM

      So people who require 'reason' before they are going to believe something are going to be punished for eternity by your moral (and I use that term sarcastically) god. Your personal experience does not prove god, it is hearsay, your 'holy book' is hearsay. Our court system does not allow hearsay as evidence because to do so would be unjust. So your god is going to punish people because they will not accept hearsay. Your god is therefore less just that our judicial system.

      May 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • JM

      If I saw a computer on the side of the road, I wouldn't assume that it had come into existence through random chance. I would assume that someone had created it. DNA is a bit more complicated than a simple computer.

      The world is too perfect for random chance. Scientifically, that doesn't even make sense. Not to mention that no one has actually discovered a missing link between man and apes (but atheists have no problem making that leap of faith).

      Read the Bible. Listen to Ravi Zacharias. Try praying (as an experiment).

      I'm not going to argue you into believing.

      I wish you well.

      May 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      JM

      The watchmaker argument is a fallacy. But hypothetically lets say it does prove a creator. You are not just claiming a creator, you are claiming a specific creator, the Christian god. A "perfect being" who requires worship (which is in itself a contradiction) and acknowledgment or he will punish his creations and the only evidence he is willing to provide is "hearsay".

      May 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      JM,

      You couldn't argue me into believing if you wanted to.

      What I want to know is how can you claim to believe in a moral god who would judge people in such a way? I am a flawed human being and I would not treat my worst enemy in such a way, how can that god be moral?

      May 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • JM

      God is God. The God of the Bible was the Jewish God. He chose to extend His salvation plan to the rest of us: the Gentiles. That would be everyone.

      You mean how could He, a perfect God, create a tiny creature called man who He could lavish His love on? You mean how could He, when that man rejected His one rule (tempted by the devil who was an angel who chose to try to rise above God) and had to then be cast out of the perfection of Eden, how could that God choose to punish His own son rather than the offending party by having Him die to cover our sins so that He could restore our relationship? How could He then create heaven so that one day we could go there and have the perfect existence that He originally intended?

      What a jerk.

      May 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      JM,

      I have to believe that god is real before I can reject him, do I 'reject' other things that I don't believe in? The only evidence for his existence is hearsay, punishing anyone because they don't accept hearsay evidence is immoral, Please explain how that would be moral.

      May 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      JM,

      I have to leave now but I am truly interested in your response and I will check back later tonight.

      May 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • JM

      Faith on some level is hearsay. You hear others talking about it, wonder what the heck they are talking about (or, like this article indicates, you grow up in the church accepting what you hear but then later start to wonder if you actually believe it or if you just believe because your parents do) and then, at some point, have to try to figure out what you yourself believe about it. In my case, I grew up in the church; in my 20s, I started disbelieving; I lost a job and randomly ended up in another state thinking my life was over; instead, I found myself at an amazing church. I have felt led my entire life. What initially seems to be the wrong way turns out for my benefit. I learn things; meet people; have conversations/experiences that could never have been random. I pray; God answers (through situations, comfort); a few times, I've prayed and have felt God's actual presence: a light. This is why people believe; these types of experiences. I mean some people just "go to church" and that's the end of it. But people who seek God, find Him. It's crazy. It's nice. It gives one further faith/hope.

      The Bible mirrors life. People think Christianity is awful because people claiming to be Christians have done horrible things or acted horribly towards others. Christ taught love and forgiveness.

      I've found that reading C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Corrie ten Boom, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, etc. also reflect a lot of what I experience.

      May 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Stephen

      @JM says: "God is love; however, he'll leave you alone if you want him to. If He does exist, we'll all see Him face to face one day; at that point, it'll be too late to say: "I didn't know". We're given free will."

      JM - so what if someone doesn't believe? God, you say, gave us free will, and we exercise it - what's the big crime? Don't say, "well, you turned away from God, and chose evil instead" because I'm as Christian or even more Christian in my behavior and morals and compassion than most Christians. The only difference is that I don't believe. Doesn't that sound a little ruthless to you, like a psychotic dictator we'd dismiss as insane here on Earth? - "You must believe! I don't care how righteous you are, you must believe!! BELIEVE, damn it, or I'll punish you for eternity!!!" God says. Why do you love and follow this fantasy brutal dictator?

      Not that your answer has any relevance to whether He actually exists or not - the fact that He is so unlikable a character stretches credulity enough. I'm just curious as to why you find such a character, even a fictional one, to be so admirable?

      May 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Nii

      ATHEISTS
      Not all those who call me Lord' Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven but those who do the will of the Father.
      The Father's will is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. That is true faith. That is true worship. That is believing in the Son. Not being a Catholic, Southern Baptist, etc.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Stephen

      Nii - let's stipulate that I'm a good person - but I'm not a believer. Would you applaud my arrest, imprisonment, and torture by U.S. government authorities for the crime of non-belief? I'm going to assume you would not - so why is this ok with you on the eternity scale? Please don't beg the question by quoting Bible verse as your answer - instead, confront this obvious contradiction and explain in your own words why worship of this brutal and vindictive authority. How do you look in the mirror and live with yourself?

      May 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Chance

      @ Stephen,
      You may choose not to believe in God, it is your right; your freewill. To answer your question...When you choose to disbelieve you choose to reject God and thats OK because its your choice. What I'm getting at is I assume you have read the Word or been preached too in some way but for your personal reasons you chose not to believe. You are alive and have heard the news its up to you to pursue God or live out on your own. You see when we stand before God, the excuse "well I didn't believe in you because no one ever told me about you" wont hold a candle because you had the chance to turn to God but found him to be fictional for whatever personal reason, I hope you at least gave faith a chance. I'm not saying your a bad person but there are bad people; good deeds don't erase bad deeds in effect being good is not the ticket into Heaven; the only way into Heaven is via Jesus. You don't have to believe but the choice is yours, its not on me or anyone else, you've been encouraged to seek the Word.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Faith on some level is hearsay."

      JM,

      That is my point and I am glad you have found peace, I truly am, but you ducked my question of "is god morally justified to punish people for non-belief when the only evidence is hearsay?" I have asked this question of many religious leaders and followers and the questioned is never answered properly, it is like listening to a politician. Before you list Bible references and assert people will be tortured for non-belief you should really try and answer the question honestly.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Stephen

      @Chance,
      I'm 65 years old, I've heard the word, and my reason for not believing in god is not personal. The story of your god is simply no more believable to me than that of Zeus or Neptune - gods, by the way, for which I will assume you are a fellow atheist.

      Why don't you try actually answering my question above - why do you worship this god whose qualities we would find reprehensible in a mortal?
      @ Stephen,
      You may choose not to believe in God, it is your right; your freewill. To answer your question...When you choose to disbelieve you choose to reject God and thats OK because its your choice. What I'm getting at is I assume you have read the Word or been preached too in some way but for your personal reasons you chose not to believe. You are alive and have heard the news its up to you to pursue God or live out on your own. You see when we stand before God, the excuse "well I didn't believe in you because no one ever told me about you" wont hold a candle because you had the chance to turn to God but found him to be fictional for whatever personal reason, I hope you at least gave faith a chance. I'm not saying your a bad person but there are bad people; good deeds don't erase bad deeds in effect being good is not the ticket into Heaven; the only way into Heaven is via Jesus. You don't have to believe but the choice is yours, its not on me or anyone else, you've been encouraged to seek the Word.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      So in essence your answer to his statement is:

      "I'm not going to express my opinion. It is what it is and I'd rather not think about decent people being tortured for eternity, so I just won't address it and va.guely justify a highly immoral belief system."

      May 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Stephen

      Oops, sorry for repeating @Chance's post . . .

      May 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Chance

      @ No Truth, Just Claims
      You have the time and the ability to come to your own conclusion on God; God is justice and I believe He will be good to those who trusted in Him. There is room for judgment if you where given a choice to follow God or reject God. You have been encouraged to give God a chance to work in your life; people have presented Jesus to you. You want tangible proof but what can measure God? We cant even measure Dark Matter which is believed to be the most abundant in the universe (up to 85%) You want Him to show is face to you? That would force your hand because then your unbelief would be rebellion and free will wouldn't be the same because you know for sure now sin equals death just as the rejection of God. I don't believe God would punish someone who Genuinely never got the chance to accept Him, I agree with you in that aspect if you never had the opportunity to accept Him it would be wrong. Its up to the believers to spread the Word and fill in the gaps but me and you have been presented with the opportunity to accept Jesus or not and will be judged accordingly.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Chance

      God doesn't want anyone to be punished, I wouldn't want any one to be eternally punished. The problem is Heaven isn't for good people its for perfect people. No one is perfect! agreed! no one is perfect. Thats why God sent Jesus to redeem the world, in Jesus we have perfection. All discussing and reading have been given the chance to give God a opportunity to work in their lives. If you genuinely give God a chance I believe He will show up and make a difference. If you don't even give Him a chance, you reject His offer of Heaven. Your already good and God only wants the best for you, He doesn't want a robot, He just want to be a part of you life. He made you for a reason but the choice is yours; God is going to judge you on your choice.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Stephen

      @Chance: "God is going to judge you on your choice."

      WHY? This is what I don't get. Why should my choice be judged? The choice is not to be an evil person, the choice is just to withhold belief in something I have reasoned to have insufficient evidence for belief. What's the big crime in that? What is it that warrants such severe punishment, or ANY punishment, and why do you pander to the insanity of this vindictive retribution over nothing criminal?

      May 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      So in other words, those who are naturally skeptics (like me) are doomes to hell supposedly for the way your god made me. The god you propose is a tyrant, and is uncommonly evil in that case.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      doomed*

      May 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      @Chance,

      Belief is not a choice, information is presented and each person judges that information to be true, false or undetermined. What you are spouting is the same garbage that has been spewed at people throughout history. God gets all credit for everything good and right but gets none of the blame for the things that are wrong even though he set up everything. The idea that god would somehow take away our free will to believe in him if he gave solid evidence of his existance is intellectually dishonest, it is an idea theologians created to gloss over the absurdity of the theistic claims. Moses talked directly to god according to your myth, was his free will taken? How about the free will of the people who observed the supposed miracles of god (Jesus). None of your arguments hold water. The idea that he had to send himself (Jesus) to sacrafice himself to himself to create a loophole for rules god created is absolutely absurd to anyone who has rationally thought it through. If these are the best reasons your god can come up with he is incompetent as well as immoral. Go back to your "religious leaders" for better arguments because these are useless. It is not that I "choose" not be believe these claims, the claims themselves are so moronic a non-indoctinated child would find them silly.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Nii

      STEPHEN
      Let me make it plain to u n de Evangelicals that professing belief isnt faith.
      Ur religion doesnt matter. Salvation is given to those whose deeds show them to love their neighbor as themselves.
      That is what de Bible says. Sola fide doesnt mean confessing Christ but loving ur neighbor as urs

      May 9, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Nii,

      Well what you are saying is that it does not matter that I don't believe in god just that I follow the golden rule? Just making sure I understand your point.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Nii

      NO TRUTH
      For starters "Love your neighbor as yourself" is the 2nd Greatest Commandment not the Golden Rule. And yes obeying it no matter the religion you profess will guarantee you Heaven. Why you may ask? Cos it is the only way to obey the 1st Greatest, " Love the Lord your God with all ur being".

      May 9, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Nii,

      I don't believe in god because there is no rational reason to believe. I try and treat people well and have empathy and compassion for others. If your god or any god would condemn people based on non-belief alone, that god is an immoral pric.k.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Double R

      I've read a few people so far speak about how can a morally good person be punished for eternity. What we should all remember is, no matter how good you think you are, believer or athiest, we are all sinners. None of us are full fledged "morally good" people. We all fall short. I would guess that most of us on this blog, believer or athiest, have lied more than a few times in your life, stolen a pen or a stapler from work, rolled their window up on a homeless person who needed the help, told a homeless person "sorry I don't have any change," when your pocket was full of it, looked at a woman or man (women aren't exempt) in a lustfull manner, desired to have what someone else has, hold unforgiveness in your heart, hate at least one person in your life, worshipped money, or countless other sins that we consider part of everyday life. God holds us to a higher standard, believer or non-believer. And if you choose to not try and live up to those standards, then there will be consequences. It happened to Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden. It even happens to the most failthful, like Kind David. If you choose not to believe in the justice system, and willing disobey and kill someone, will there not be consequences? Won't the state hold you accountable and more than likely take YOUR life in return? And simply saying to the Judge, "I don't believe the justice system works and therefore do not follow your rules," in not good enough. God is the final judge, the final authority, and the wages of sin is death. But if you are truly repentant, accept Jesus the Son of God as your Lord and Savior, turn away from sin, and do your best to reach out to those who are "lost" in this world, bringing people to Christ, then there is nothing to worry about. You will have a special place in the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity. It's actually not that complicated. It only gets complicated when people choose to reject it.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Double R,

      You are also ducking the question. If you have two equally moral people, one who believes in god and one who has decided that there is not sufficient evidence to believe, is your god morally justified to punish the non-believer based only on his non-belief.

      Your ana.logy of not believing in the Gov't Justice System is garbage as an offender would not be punished any more or less by the gov't because he did or did not believe that the jusdge existed.

      Try again.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Chance

      @ NTJC
      Your missing the answer. I'll make it as clear as possible using your example.
      2 equally moral people.
      Both will do good, both will mess up in life, making immoral decisions along the way. The one who is non believer will try to learn from it an avoid messing up in the future. The believer will also learn from it and try to avoid from doing it again but he will also ask God for forgiveness and the strength to overcome immoral behavior. You see me and you will make immoral decision, it may be on a small scale or large scale and no immorality can enter Heaven. You keep saying people are ducking the question, I say your ducking the answer. People may be overall morally good but they still have a past & future with immorality, you and me are not perfect we have made mistakes and will make mistakes. I have faith I'm forgiven and will enter through the gates. Believers who do not ask for forgiveness will also not enter, they are good people but haven't made good with God.

      You may hold standards but to enter Heaven there are higher standards. Thats the answer, so yes good will not be enough because the mistakes along the way. You need Jesus to reach the higher standard. Ultimately I believe not all punishment will be equal but I'm not God. If you don't like that I'm sorry, I really am but good people still have baggage and forgiveness is the only way to overcome that baggage. You make it seem good people are perfect they never did nothing wrong, people mess up, no one will be able to stand on a soap box before God because of their imperfection. I wish you the best, I can agree to disagree, but please stop ducking the answer.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Chance

      @ NTJC
      When Jesus did miracles He was proving Himself to us. When God talked to Moses it was for a purpose, Moses never got to see God because God told him no one may see my face and live. God as already done what is required for us to believe in Him. Garbage is having theories on top of theories to try and remove God from creation, its a lot of claims but no prof. ie m theory – multi universe, parallel dimensions. Top scientist say if you don't believe the m theory then the only alternative is God. All this knowledge for me only points to a awesome physicist God. You make it seem like science has all the answers and no flaws. We people have to power to irradiate so much of the worlds problems, God made us more than able. No child should die of starvation, lets blame God because that's the easy way out...It is our fault when kids are hurting we have the means to end it but we don't; we buy iPhones by the thousands per second. Your stance is not as strong as you make it to be, I wish you the best, I'm sure your a good person, I just want you to know God made us able.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      @Chance

      In order to ask god forgiveness you must first BELIEVE in god and more specifically Jesus. In order to BELIEVE in god you must accept hearsay evidence. You are under the false impression beliefs are choices.

      My question was not about being rewarded with heaven, it was about be punished for non-belief when there is not sufficient evidence to believe the myth to begin with.

      Let's say you are trying to get into an exclusive restaurant, it is morally acceptable for the matredee to not allow you in because you do not meet the standards of the establishment, it is not morally acceptable for him to take you out back, douse you with gas and light you on fire.

      Try again.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "When Jesus did miracles He was proving Himself to us. When God talked to Moses it was for a purpose, Moses never got to see God because God told him no one may see my face and live. God as already done what is required for us to believe in Him."

      @Chance

      You are so wrong. The "evidence" for the existence of god, much less Jesus as god, would not even be allowed to be HEARD in a court of law, it would be thrown out.

      There is no more reason to think your religion and god is any more real than the Hindu's or any other religion. Try and prove yours is real and theirs is false. You can't use the Bible because they could use their holy book, that is not evidence.

      So now explain again how god has done all that is required for us to believe?

      May 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Through faith you can obtain all the evidence you need. Someone very close to me had faith but had doubts. She prayed to God with a broken heart and a contrite spirit to take away her doubt and to show her for sure. He did. I can’t help but believe that those who earnestly seek God, believing that he is, will be satisfied.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Through faith you can obtain all the evidence you need."

      @ Robert Brown

      This statement is a non-sequitur.

      The faith you are talking about is by definition the 'acceptance of a claim in the abscence of evidence.' It makes no rational sense. If it did than this statement would also make sense.

      "I had faith that Santa Claus was real and that faith led to the evidence of his existence."

      May 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Who do you suppose is going to give you the evidence you seek?
      There are 3 levels of faith mentioned in the bible, little faith, great faith, and perfect faith. It may be that there are multiple levels within the first two, but the point I failed to make was that how do you expect God to provide you with more faith or evidence if you have zero to begin with. If you are convinced there is no God and take the position that the only way you will believe is if you are shown some evidence, then while I know that God could provide that to you, I am not aware how anyone else could.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Chance

      @NTJC
      We are moving from the initial topic now? about good not being good enough. I just want to make sure you got the answer no ducking or side stepping. You may not agree with it but I just want to make sure you got my answer because I'm not ducking...

      May 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Robert Brown

      So in order to get the evidence to believe you need to accept it in the first place. Do you see the fault in reasoning that you give?

      May 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Chance

      @NTJC
      I agree with Robert, what do you want from God? what would suffice? I don't think there is a instrument on earth that could measure Him we cant even find the supposed God particle or Dark Matter or Dark Energy.... What do you want?

      May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      You haven't addressed my points either. I am a skeptic by nature. I do cannot take things on faith because that is just not my personality. According to your beliefs, your god made me and knows me before I'm even born. He was also, according to your beliefs, personally involved in my creation and who I am, so I will never be good enough directly due to how your god made me, and will be going to hell. Do you think this is true?

      May 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Chance

      When Jesus did miracles people still did not believe in Him, they always wanted more or they said it was demonic. When God lead the Israelites out of Egypt miracle after miracle was not enough they always doubted He would provide. What I'm getting at is people could see miracles over and over and still not believe, there is precedence for what you are asking for. People saw Jesus do incredible stuff but still the refused to accept it, the Israelites received from God over and over but still doubted. Some people will just never believe no matter what, like I said before there is precedence for this.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • 409

      @Chance
      "what do you want from God? what would suffice?"

      God Only Knows.

      (if he exists and is all that he is cracked up to be)

      May 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Chance

      @HawaiiGuest
      that is a great question. You are made to specification for a purpose God has given you but to fulfill that void you must come to Him. You don't have to because God didn't make robots nor does He want a robot He wants us for us because He made us just right. With out Him though we lose sight of our purpose and lose the relationship with Him and lose the blessings from Him. It doesn't mean you wont be successful or live a good life, He loves you either way but fulfillment is in Him. On my own I made a mess of things, I had a lot of mountains to climb because of my bad decisions, I was a good person but I made bad choices. In Jesus I can forgive myself and God can look past my wrongs and I can fulfill my purpose.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      HawaiiGuest,

      I understand the problem if you are speaking in absolutes. If you are absolutely convinced, beyond a doubt, that there is no such thing as God, then yes, without direct intervention from God himself, you have no hope. However, if you are unsure and seeking, then perhaps what I wrote will help.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      What a horribly transparent job of dodging the fact that according to your beliefs, I will go to hell as a direct result of how your god made me.

      @Robert Brown

      I'm an ex-Christian, born into it and raised as a christian in a private school. I started losing my faith around 16 and set out to renew my faith through bible study and prayer. The more I actually read the bible, the more horrific it was to me. I prayed completely sincerely for the strength of faith to continue. After about a year of this, there was nothing, and I began to really look at everything I believed without any preconceptions, and found that there is no intellectually honest way to believe in god. Going into something while already deciding it is true is circular reasoning, and is absolutely counter to determining whether something is actually true or not.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      Sorry I didn't get the question you posted but by your response its clearer now.

      Yes God made you and crafted you for a purpose. You can chose to do your own thing or follow God. If you turn from God and neglect your purpose yes you will not inherit the Kingdom because of your choice. You don't have to follow God. Hope that makes it clearer. Just to be sure I made it clear Yes anyone who does not align with God is not going to Heaven. I'm not the God but I believe not all punishment will be equal. I see what your trying to get at "God made me this way so I have no choice; I am who I am! so how could He punish me?" Your free to do what you want, if you decide to follow God it doesn't mean life will be perfect it means the next life will be. If you deny God then you made a choice to ignore his relationship with you.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      Well in that case your god is a pretty big jerk. Creates people extremely diverse, some people being naturally skeptical people that won't accept things merely on faith, then punishes them for following the very nature he gave them. Not to mention people who are born in areas that have no contact with your brand of god.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      Sorry to hear you think that way.

      First God gave you the ability to do as you please, He didn't make robots. He didn't make you to punish you, He made you to have a relationship with Him but gave you the choice to accept or not. Are you saying you would rather be a robot and follow of God? You are who you are because of your will. We make our own choices. How is God a Jerk if He lets you do as you please? Do you want Him to make you serve Him? In God we fulfill our purpose outside of Him its on us. Also God only wants the best for us, all His ways are good. Not everyone wants to live moral and thats there choice.
      As for those inaccessible its on us the believers to reach them, this world is growing smaller and smaller with technology. Like I said earlier if you live in a part of the world secluded from the reach of debate I believe God will deal with you differently more importantly we have to reach them and give them the opportunity to make their own decision. Jesus never forced His way into anyones heart we have an example and precedence to follow.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      I really hope you're not insinuating that I'm not living a moral life because I don't believe in god.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      We are at odds on God but i think we can both agree that we the human race were made more than able to make peace or make war. My point is having diversity is good because we can learn from one another; I'm glad no two people are alike. I would not like being apart of a robotic race.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      No I don't know you; plus I'm not God to judge...He doesn't need help in that department. Thats why I don't get all these extremist who say they are doing God's work...Jesus didn't come to judge so we who follow Him should do the same.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      You have a lot of company on this site. I have blogged with several ex-Christians. There are very horrific things in the bible especially in the Old Testament. This was all the penalty of sin which Jesus paid for once and for all. Although taken as a whole it flows pretty well and shows that God is willing and able to forgive and take us back no matter what. His chosen people rebelled he punished them, they repented, and he blessed them again, and repeat, and etc. If you read the Old Testament thinking about the promise of the coming messiah it can help.

      God is a spirit so when you say “there is no intellectually honest way to believe in god” I would agree. When a person is relying on intellect they are relying on the flesh. The flesh is at enmity with God. He even said that flesh and blood cannot enter his kingdom. He is a spirit and his kingdom is spiritual. No amount of human brain power (flesh) will allow someone to comprehend God.

      No one is in a position to question another person’s faith. So, we have to rely on what the word of God says. You said you were raised as a Christian. This of course doesn’t make you one. Salvation is an individual spiritual experience, if you had one, and I am not saying you didn’t, then you will definitely remember it. As Jesus described with the parable of the sower you can have faith and lose it. Also, in the story of the prodigal son we can see that even if you lose it he is waiting with open arms for you to return.

      If you are interested in reestablishing or establishing a spiritual connection with God then why not try it his way.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      You did side step my question though...Would you rather be a robot like people and be force to follow God?

      May 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      You don't want to be a robot. But taking your morality from a book along with a bunch of others, and wanting others to convert is essentially robot-like behaviour. You want others to think like you and behave as you see as moral. How is this not living like a robot?

      May 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      Simple because its my choice, no one else's. Therefore not programed in me not robotic, my choice. I could make the same lame argument for any movement including atheism.

      I don't ever try and force someone to convert, that is ridiculous. Its fake and wont last. I just try and answer questions.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      What is really offensive is you saying I want people to think and be like me. We all have our unique qualities that make us different I already said I like diversity. To be a believer is not be a the same as every other believer; what a lame stereotype. Like I said you could make the same lame stereotypes to any movement. We all have our unique relationships with God and our own personalities.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      Did Jesus consider Himself better than everybody he came in contact with? No. So why would any of His followers try and act morally better then other people. Just because I believe in God you think I feel superior in morals? Stereotypes are just wrong...In God being humble goes a long way.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      First off, I never said you wanted to force anyone to convert, I said that you wanted them to convert, and that's a big difference.
      Second off, if you don't want others to behave and think in ways that you consider moral, then why would it matter what anyone believes, and why would you care about those who live in places devoid of christianity? Reaching out a preaching what you see as "the word of god" is completely at odds with not wanting converts, or with not wanting people to behave as you feel is appropriate.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      Its all about giving people the hope in Jesus; thats all. Nothing more, nothing less. Like I said before we have precedence in Jesus, He didn't force Himself on anyone. It just about getting the message out and letting people make their own decision and being there to answer questions. A Christian believes conversion is done individually between person and God, not by anything else. A genuine belief is something you do on your own not something your born into or forced into... Hope that makes sense, its not about converting people. Its about presenting the hope and being there for support. Conversion has to be personal not forced.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      Not talking about you but I know (for lack of a better word) a lot of people who grew up in church and are now living outside of God. I also know pastors kids who live outside of God. Some are now atheist some just rather do things different. The point is if you choose to follow God its a personal commitment, it cant be forced. I know people who grew up with out God in horrible family conditions but later in life became believers. Trying to convert people is very destructive I don't think anybody wins, presenting Hope and being there for support if asked is the best way. I don't like the stereotype of Christians just want to convert everyone...its a shame because thats not the model we have. Jesus didn't operate like that, He was loving to all.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      And what is the hope of Jesus?

      May 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      I'm not against you, I understand you have your personal reasons that shape your belief system.

      I just try and answer the questions skeptics have and confront the ugly stereotypes associated with believers.

      You said you were Christian, if you recall Jesus was the cornerstone to everything. If Jesus didn't come to redeem the world nothing matters, if he didn't defeat death then nothing matters. My point is Jesus the model; He is the foundation. You attack idea of God for lack of evidence, I understand. Even the people who witnessed miracles with their own eyes rejected Jesus. The Israelites turned from God over and over even after witnessing supernatural things. For some people no matter what evidence is presented it will never be enough. I'm not saying you are like that, I'm just making a point of precedence. The Christian God is not out to get the world and through good people in hell; His motives are to have a relationship with you but its up to you.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      The hope of Jesus

      Jesus is the only reason I have purpose. I've been through the ringer, life hasn't been easy but I've never been in lack. You see Jesus came to Earth to take my guilt, shame, all the bad I could do in a lifetime and take the judgment for me. Because of Jesus my past is forgiven. In Him I can have a relationship with God and when I leave this Earth Jesus gave us the promise we would be with Him forever and no more pain would exist. If it wasn't for Jesus I wouldn't bother having this conversation, nothing would matter.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      Well to each his own. You find solace in christianity, and feel that that is the only thing that gives your life meaning.

      "If Jesus didn't come to redeem the world nothing matters, if he didn't defeat death then nothing matters."
      Are you saying this in a general sense or merely as a personal thing?

      If god wanted to have a personal relationship, then why is it that when I was still a believer and praying with all my heart to find the faith to continue serving I found nothing? I was completely sincere in my belief back then, and truly wanted that relationship, and nothing came to me. No feeling of comfort, elation, or certainty. I accepted all that the bible reported about jesus from his teachings to miracles, and the silence was deafening. What is the reason for that? Why is it that god "if there is one" didn't at least give me the strength of faith to continue the path I was walking? I wasn't asking for proof, just strength of faith. The only conclusion that seemed reasonable was that I was wrong in my beliefs, and that I needed to leave that behind and seriously reevaluate everything. Once I did agnostic atheism was the only thing I could be.

      May 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  10. PumpNDump

    Who is this jeanine nutjob? Lol Obviously, she's unemployed and has no life.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Troll harder.
      1/10

      May 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So Jeanine is running at a score of 10 then G9?

      May 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things. .

    May 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. 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!.~.

      May 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  12. John

    Hello my name is John and I have a true story to tell you about something that happened to me. One day I became tired of my life. My wife and I continued to fight and I was fed up with all the bull so I decided to kill myself. I took a whole bunch of pills. I passed out in the restroom. The ambulance/fire department showed up and they worked on me and rushed me to the emergency room. I died and they were attempting to revive me at the hospital.

    The next thing I remember was that I started floating up and I could see them working on my body. Then I thought about my family and in and instant I was there with them, they were crying and mad at me for killing myself. I again started to float back up and I felt so good. I felt connected to everything and I was at peace. No longer was I in pain which I had been in for years, physical and emotional pain. Then I had realized I had overdosed and killed myself. In an instant I shot down to hell and I was on this ledge.

    These two demons were coming towards me; there was one on either side of the cave entrance. I knew (I don’t know how or why) when you land on the ledge they (the demons) come to take you into the cave and into hell. I knew that I would be there forever and those two demons are going to rip my soul to shreds. The demons were very angry and they hate people (all people). As they got close to me I saw this very bright light and heard the voice of my dad (who had already passed away). He said something that made the demons stop dead in their tracks. It was like a force field they could not pass but they were still trying to grab me with their hands but couldn’t. They were growling, snorting and grunting. Then my dad said something else to them in another language and they became even angrier (if that was possible) and my dad was standing there next to me and said “we need to talk”.

    He told me that he was picked to come and talk with me. He then told me that he and everyone else in the family were mad at me and ashamed of me. God and Mother Mary were also mad at me. He then told me that when you do good things it pleases God to no end but when you do bad (sin) it upsets God to no end. The only reason that I was getting a second chance was because of all the good things I had done with helping people for free and a couple of kid’s lives I had saved. If it was not for that I would not be leaving and I would stay there in hell forever. Hell is a very, very painful place. The fire is never quenched and never burns out. My dad told me I was very lucky not many people get a second chance.

    He told me that I had to change my ways and I asked him which ways are you talking about and he said “you know which ways I am talking about boy”! When he spoke like that in that tone of voice he was really upset.

    I knew what he was talking about. I had to quit drinking alcohol and quit doing drugs. I had to stop cheating with married women. Lust was taking me over. If I was not getting drunk and stoned it would not lead to cheating with these married women. I had cheated on my wife to get back at her for cheating on me. One sin leads to the next. I needed to go to church and start praying again to get the strength and grace to change my ways.

    My dad told me that if you kill yourself you go to hell forever no exceptions. I asked him what if you are in battle and you kill 6 of your enemies and save the seventh bullet for yourself? He said “no exceptions you will go to hell. It is not your life to take it is Gods life. God is the one that gave you life and it is His to take not yours”.

    My dad then told me I have to go back and tell people this story. I asked him how? You know I will forget it as soon as I turn around because my memory is horrible. He told me that I would not forget this because God would not let me forget it. He told me I am supposed to tell people wherever I go. I asked him what am I supposed to do go up to people at a bus stop and tell them “Hi my name is John and this is my story” and then tell them the story. He said “YES”. I then told him they won’t listen and will think I am a nut! He said “a lot of them will but some people will take it to heart. The ones that laugh and don’t want to hear it are the ones that need to be prayed for”.

    I was told to do this as soon as possible, as of yesterday. There is not much time left, God is getting tired. I tried to get out of this by telling my dad that there was someone better for this job than me. I am a drunk and druggie; I can’t read, write or spell very well. He told me that I am always asking God what he wants me to do for Him so I can do it and get out of this world. He said that “this was it. To tell this story that you can’t kill yourself or cheat with married women or you will go to hell. The people I tell will tell other people and before it is all said and done a lot of people will be saved and the ones that laugh or don’t want to hear it we need to pray for them”.

    I was sent back a few seconds before they were to stop trying to revive me. When I got back in my body I should have started telling everyone then and there but I did not. I only told a few people about it. The reason I did not do as I was told was out of fear. Fear of what people would think of me. That they would laugh at me and think I was a nut.

    The reason I am doing this now is two fold, first because I heard my Guardian Angel tell me that time was running out and I needed to pray, get back to church and do what I needed for God. The second is that I made a promise to my mother before she passed on that I would start telling people.

    The bottom line is do not kill yourself and if you are having an affair stop it and change your ways asking God for forgiveness and he will forgive. If you don’t change your ways you will go to hell.

    Please pass my story on as it just might save some one’s life. In the last seven years five friends of mine have committed suicide without my knowledge. Had I taken the time to tell them my story it could have changed this sad outcome. On another occasion a friend asked me to tell her my story, but instead of taking the time to tell her my story I told her that I would tell her in the morning because she was cutting into my beer time. I postponed telling her my story even though she offered me a Styrofoam cup for my beer. The next day I had a hangover so I didn’t show up. On the following day I went to her store and I found out that she committed suicide the night before.

    May 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Sorry, don't care. Your hypoxia delusions are not my concern. As to people offing themselves all around you, natural selection at work.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • PumpNDump

      I suggest you take your medication now. TL/DR

      May 8, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • n8263

      Jews, Muslims and Hindus all have similar out of body experiences, going to hell, going to heaven, etc.

      What you experienced is most likely a drug induced dream state and can also be caused by a brain "dying." Since you thought you were dying it is not a surprise you dreamed about going to heaven or hell.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      A couple of questions.

      1. So you were an alcoholic, druggie that had s.e.x with married women but you did enough "good" things to deserve a second chance. What about the guy who was an even better person than you but fell into a state of depression and used a shotgun and blew his head off? He does not get a second chance because of his choice of "weapon"?

      2. How come Hindu's don't see the Mary, Jesus and the Christian god when they have their near death experience?

      Any god that would punish people infinitely for finite crimes is an immoral pric.k.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      This post reminds me of those stupid prayer chain letters. Useless except for clogging up your email or transmitting viruses. Also the "prayer changes things" spam that JustSayin' posts incessantly seeking attention.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Dear John, your story is a compelling story. As I read it, I felt the spirit in which you wrote it.
      Be encouraged, dear friend. Do not let past neglects and failures disarm you of your calling, your mission and your faith.
      But we all fail miserably, it is becaue of the human frame we're in, combined with our fallen nature.... But Christ has risen, and in the strength of His power, the power of His resurection, we have boldness, that surpasses our weaknesses. You have TODAY, and as His word says, today if you hear His voice harden not your heart. But as Chrit said about his own disciples, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.... But, friend, be careful, our own failures can harden our hearts, becaue we tend to run and "hide" from God when we do wrong. But it is THEN that we MUST run to him who is our Father, who , even though He may chastise us and rebuke us, yet in His love HE will restore us.
      John, God's word instruct us to flee even from the appearance of evil. Read the Word of God. Pray before you read,that the Holy Spirit will imprint His word and seal it in your heart. You must look to chrit for strength, becaue satan desires to silence you and cut your life short, and if you allow him to allure you through the weakness of your flesh( meaning -human nature), he will. I gather you may be of Catholic background. I was too, but I left the church, because it didn't teach complete Gospel, but part of it.
      The Word of God – the Scriptures- is living, powerful and it has strength that you need. But you must immerse yourself in it. I like to explain it WHY:
      Jesus is the Word of God: " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"John1:1
      Jesus is the LIVING WORD OF GOD. When you read it, the Holy Spirit who is THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH makes the written word alive in your heart(innermost being), and gives you the POWER to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. You Cannot do it on your own, but you must YIELD yourself to God. You must hunger and thirst for righteousness, and if you don't ding this hunger in you, then pray earnestly to do so. God will answer prayer, but ONLY a desperate prayer.... desperate enough to want Him more then anything else in this world.
      I must go shortly, friend, becaue I have work to do, but I want to tell you, DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED by the insults of the ungodly. They are like a chaff, blown in the wind, the sound of their voices is like sound of corn husk that circles in the wind above the tombs of the ungodly!
      Find your strength i the Lord, our beautiful savior, our friend and brother.....OUR REDEEMER.....
      For as the heavens are high above the earth,
      So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
      As far as the east is from the west,
      So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
      As a father pities his children,
      So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
      For He knows our frame;
      He remembers that we are dust

      As for man, his days are like grass;
      As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
      For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
      And its place remembers it no more.
      But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
      On those who fear Him,
      And His righteousness to children’s children,
      To such as keep His covenant,
      And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
      Psalm 103 : 11-18
      I hope that you will find comfort , strength and HOPE in these words, keeping your eyes of Jesus our risen Lord!

      May 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiousity Law #3 – If you habitually spout off verses from your "holy" book to make whatever inane point you're trying to make, and not once does it occur to you to question whether your book is accurate in the first place, then you are definitely mentally retarded.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      @Prism.. I second that :)

      May 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  13. TheRationale

    What an ignorant author. She just wanted an excuse to act foolishly and, being a church sheep, said they were all "secular enticements" as if to paint atheism or secularism as the devil's work.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      There is a lot of money to be made with this kind of story.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  14. Grammar PoPo

    I love it when someone flames someone else’s English, and in doing so, leaves us with this gem.

    “But who cares what some white woman says, rite?”

    Maybe you can let Mark know what time class starts Jeanine

    May 8, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Like a G9

      Yeah, Mark, like nobody knows it's you. Rite. Can't handle slang, eh? Good idea. We all love to see you spell.

      May 8, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Grammar PoPo

      You’re fucking crazy lady. I don’t even know what Mark you’re talking about.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Jeanine

      Thanks for replying to my post, Mark. I knew you could do it.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Jeanine, I saw the mis-spell of "rite" but as many time I misspell things I just thought it was cute when you did it. :)

      If I attacked peoples spelling then that would open up me up when I mispell. My view is that we are all adults or adult'ish here on the blog and should be able to understand the meaning anothers arguement even if there spelling and grammer mistakes.

      If a argument is so weak that all a person has to grasp on to is their opponents spelling and grammer, then it is the failure of his or her argument.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How'd the "final exam" go, Piddler? I noticed how you posted a very short time after you had said you were going to have to leave to go take the exam, Mark, uh camp.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Like a G9

      Isn't it interesting that Mark only makes this one post under his Mark name? Meanwhile I've drawn out a lying troll. Hmmm.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Grammar eyes

      If a argument is so weak that all a person has to grasp on to is their opponents spelling and grammar, then it is the failure of his or her argument.

      I second that!

      Look out, yellow bellies!

      May 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"How'd the "final exam" go, "

      94.75%

      ...One to go :)

      May 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      SURE you do.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  15. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    May 8, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  16. Joxer the Mighty

    I'm basing my opinion (which is most likely a fact) on your little screwup Jeanine, but I'm willing to bet you've been trolling the entire time with multiple handles. Anything else you say will be ignored. Please take your little troll game back to the avatar forums where others might find humor in it. Here, we try to debate real topics.

    Jeanine =

    WWJD
    Nii
    Jeanine by proxy
    Ling Shu

    You've been figured out. Goodbye.

    May 8, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Like a G9

      Joxer, you puny piece of cat crap, if you really knew which posts were mine, you'd see I'm not those other people.
      But since you include WWJD, you are clearly just full of shiit. So I guess you're Mark doing his slimy best to be hatin' on this white "biitch".
      Yeah, you go with that one. Oh, you're sooo clever. What a maroon.
      -Jeanine

      May 8, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • ...

      You two showed up around the same time posting your nonsense. It is no surprise that you got figured out.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Like a G9

      ...
      Since you are the one stealing names, it follows that you'd like to cover your tracks this way. Like anyone even gives a crap.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • ...

      How many screen names have you used? Oh, just testing the "proxy" to make sure your posts don't go "haywire," right? Whatever you say master overload IT hero. I'm still trying to understand what in the blue hell it is you meant by the proxy making your posts go "haywire" if you didn't change screen names, which you seem to do an awful lot. The only time I've ever seen "haywire" posts is if the poster itself is a complete mongrel retard. "Haywire?" Really? No one with any level of intelligence uses this terminology in terms of information technology unless they are a complete novice that watched the movie "Hackers" once back in 1995. This is how I know you are a liar and a fraud.

      So please enlighten all of us with your definition of "haywire" in terms of your comments when posting with varying screen names as you have already admitted to doing. This should be quite interesting fap-worthy reading material.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Like a G9

      ...
      Here is a test post. I will use my own name this time and even try to put it in the place I am planning to comment.

      Maybe it will go in the right place, maybe not. Why should I waste my time typing something that isn't going to be put in the right place?
      Why not try some proxies yourself before judging me, Mark. There have been times I only get to post once before getting the latest proxy IP address banned.
      Tell me how you would try to have a conversation under those conditions. Go ahead. You can't say anything without looking pretty stupid now. And here I've typed enough before seeing where all this is going to go. Here goes!....

      May 8, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Like a G9

      Fact: You don't know what IP address I'm using, how long I've been using it, how many posts I've been able to post with it, or how to ask intelligent questions.

      Fact: If I want continuity, I will use the same name and make an effort to continue that one name to provide consistency for my readers.
      Fact: You've probably never had to use a proxy, so all your bullshiit is just a fart in a windstorm.

      When you want to talk about something intelligently, why don't you try talking about the article instead of why your panties are getting bunched up. The article, remember? Shall we be on topic here or are you just a pathetic idiot like you appear to be?

      May 8, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • ...

      I don't care what IP address it is you're using. The majority of us have used a proxy server at one time or another. People usually have no idea they are sitting behind one. Most of them (including you) have no idea what a proxy server does. You also do not properly understand NAT. I can tell based on your inability to speak technically.

      What you are making the attempt to state is that you are using a proxy spinner. In short, a proxy spinner will "place" you figuratively in a different location to access various blocked websites. One would do this is the proxy they are sitting behind blocks specific connections. At best guess, this is what you are attempting to say, but because you have no clue what it is you are talking about, I can only guess based on your lack of technical understanding. To further illustrate, a proxy spinner works like this:

      The proxy you sit behind blocks a connection to CNN. Therefore you circumvent this by accessing a proxy spinner (hoping that the proxy spinner itself isn't blocked). This in turn forwards you to CNN where you can post. This of course has absolutely NOTHING to do with the name or email address you use. AT ALL. The proxy spinner simply works by fooling the proxy you sit behind into thinking you're on a completely different website. More advanced systems are capable of seeing proxy spinners for what they are.

      If I am correct, then this would mean that you are in one of two places that blocks news websites, and this is something I find rather peculiar because of what I do for a living. This to me is evidence that you have no reason to use a proxy spinner to begin with.

      I'd also like to point out that CNN does not block posts based on username or email address. Nor do they block proxies. I know this information for a fact.

      Oh, and I know this because I've been in the IT field for approximately 15 years. I've built domains and have a full understanding of DNS, DHCP, IIS and, you guessed it, PROXY SERVERS. Ever heard of Blue Coat? Didn't think so. I've also administered exchange servers. I've also built and administered firewalls. I've administered domains that handled well over 12,000 users on a daily basis.

      It REALLY must suck for you right now, knowing that you can't BS me.

      May 8, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • ...

      Oh and JUST one more thing.

      About the whole IP address thing. LOL

      It doesn't matter what IP address you're using when you're behind a proxy unless there is an exception for a range of specific IPs which can be reserved via your DHCP server. You know what they say about the first rule of firewalls? "DENY ALL."

      IP reservations are simple and easy. However, the only purpose one would have of creating a proxy exemption is for administration. That is, some businesses don't allow downloads, but an administrator would need this ability for patches if done manually, or for searching for drivers.

      Your IP doesn't matter because I seriously doubt you have any dire need for a static IP address. You use NAT whether you realize it or not, and your specific IP has no bearing on anything it is that you do.

      May 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Like a G9

      You know this information for a fact? How so? Do you work at CNN? Are you in charge of this blog? Do explain for us poor delusional people like me!

      Tell us. How do you know FOR A FACT THAT CNN IS NOT DOING THIS?
      Explain. I have an IT degree but it is pretty old. I can follow your arrogant pustulant dialogue quite easily.

      May 8, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Like a G9

      "I can tell based on your inability to speak technically. "

      If ever there was a more pompous and arrogant and IGNORANT thing to say to me, I guess I haven't read it yet.
      I've wasted more hours than I care to remember fiddling with various firewalls over the years.
      I've wasted plenty of time talking to you. Now you have shown yourself to be assuming things about me.
      If you can't handle my usual "dumbing down" speech, and you assume this means I'm completely ignorant, then that shows me you are just a giant bag of wind.
      I meet guys like you all the time. You jump to conclusions and do not bother to check anything. I'm surprised you even have a degree.
      So I'm still waiting for you to explain how you can be certain of what you clearly do not know. You don't work at CNN do you?
      Well, gosh, how about that?

      May 8, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • atheist fred

      Give it up G9. dot dot dot called your bluff, and my strikingly similar credentials can back up his claim that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Like a G9

      Give it up yourself "dot dot dot". If you can't talk to me using one name then I guess you're having some technical problems of your own, eh?

      Since I know whereof I speak, and you don't, simply shut up and go die in a fire. I don't need the peanut gallery chiming in.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Jeanine

      Still waiting...and using yet another proxy. DO explain why I am blocked from posting after a small but random number of posts through a single proxy, necessitating my use of another proxy to do the same thing ad infinitum.

      Still waiting and you're looking like some bullshtter who just grabbed at a bunch of crap to bluff with.
      Go ahead and giggle. I am blocked, It's not a browser issue, or an OS issue, or even my firewall, my router, my cable provider, and I can post...but only a few times or maybe a dozen. Then my IP is blocked at CNN as far as I can tell.
      When I post, it is a crapshoot on how long until I am unable to post.
      See? I know about NAT, proxies, and how they work well enough. I even have the guts to stand here and keep waiting for you to answer me.

      See...I am calling your obvious bluff here. Put up or shut up. I've been posting here for years. This started recently, after they finally made some changes after more than a year of complaining they made a few tiny changes.
      See a pattern? I do. Still waiting for you to cough up your so-called "proof" of nothing. You are bluffing. Good troll 10/10

      May 8, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • atheist fred

      Wow G9, paranoid much? I can assure you, not that it matters to you, that dot dot dot and I are not the same person.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Jeanine

      Still waiting "atheist fred".

      Your "strikingly similar" credentials should give you all the know-how you need to answer my questions.
      But all you can do is ad hominems.

      Cut the insults and answer my questions and quit bullshtting around. Quit bluffing. Put up or shut up.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • atheist fred

      Providing proof that you would accept would involve troubleshooting that would require you to reveal all sorts of personal information. If you’d like me to get started, please give me the IP address assigned to your router by your ISP, and the password and I’ll take it from there.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Jeanine

      If I ever needed proof you were full of shiit, your reply would be it, hands down. total and utter bullsht.

      You do not need all my personal info, you do not need my technical info, because you've already said you KNOW for a FACT that CNN is not doing this.
      You don't need any information of mine, whether or not you work for CNN.
      How does that grab ya, cheeseball?

      You've shown me you're just a troll, trolling merrily away, bluffing your way through this and now you are stuck because I called your bluff.

      You got 15 minutes to explain your sudden lack of technical knowledge. Then I will leave, having proven you a liar yet again.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • atheist fred

      I do in fact work for CNN Jeanine, and I can confirm that you are not being blocked. There you have it.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Jeanine

      LOL
      That's rich. That's a laugh. Now prove it or else you are just bluffing some more. Tell me the last 3 numbers of my IP address.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Jeanine

      I mean this address. Not the proxy I was using before.
      Or the email address I am using for this post.

      Show me proof, "atheist fred", and I'll listen to you, but you are just bluffing of course.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Jeanine

      You've got ONE chance in 255 of guessing right. Go ahead. Prove you are a CNN employee with access to this blog.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • atheist fred

      I was being facetious you idiot. Simply making a point that no matter what I say you wouldn’t believe me.

      The only way for me to personally prove to you that it’s all in your head, is for you to give me the information I requested, so I can trace it, then show you that proof. If you would like me to show you what’s going on, please give me that information, otherwise put up or shut up as you so eloquently put it.

      You have 15 minutes to provide me with the necessary information. Then I will leave, haven proven you a complete and utter schizophrenic psycho.

      PS. You’ve never proven anything about me because I’ve never had a discussion with you before today.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Jeanine

      So you admit you were bluffing and that you lied about being a CNN employee?

      WHAT A BIG SURPRISE TO DISCOVER YOU ARE A LIAR!!! *facepalm*

      So you aren't a CNN employee and cannot confirm nor deny the fact that my IP address is being blocked by CNN.

      Good show! Oh, aren't you a clever little boy! NOT.

      And where's you vaunted technical explanation?

      SOMEHOW YOU FORGOT ALL YOUR TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE ....oh, wait, you were just being "facetious". LIAR.
      Pants getting warm? I've got you fragged, tagged, and bagged, fred.

      You lost the bluff. Better luck next time.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • atheist fred

      I never claimed to be an employee of CNN with the exception of this blatantly sarcastic post:

      “I do in fact work for CNN Jeanine, and I can confirm that you are not being blocked. There you have it.“
      If you took that as me trying to be truthful then you’re a bigger idiot than I gave you credit for.

      All I did was chime in on a post because what dot dot dot said made perfect sense in my professional opinion. I don’t give a flying fuck if some wingnut on the internet believes my credentials are factual or not. I’m telling you for a fact, that if you give me the information I requested, I could find the root of the problem you perceive as CNN blocking your IP address. So one more time, put up or shut up you crazy assed bag of dicks!

      I know you won’t give me what I need to prove it to you so take this as a fond farewell.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Like a G9

      LOLOLOLOLOL!!!

      YOU ADMIT YOU LIED.

      That's all anyone needs to be convinced you are a wet sack of pig sht who doesn't know jack about how easy it is to ban an IP address.

      And you keep trying soooo hard to get my personal info so you can take it to 4chan. Right? Yeah, man, I know all about you now.
      Nothing left for you but to depart with your tail between your spindly white legs and go ask your mother if you can leave the basement today.

      Got you, sucka! You are too stupid to try this sort of troll. Go back to /b/ and tell them you FAILED, punk!

      May 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • atheist fred

      What did I lie about you tool?!

      May 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Fred, notice that it is probubly the same person that post under many names. They always declare that folks that disagree with them "lie" or are "liars". It's a common language and you are just wasting time and energy wrestling with defending yourself that you are not a "liar".

      Since CNN wants us to fight and flame war each other so they have no desire to install a simple "login" option.

      May 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • ...

      Oh Jeanine, you little name changing troll you.

      I see you posted the majestic "255" number. As in, "You've only got 255 guesses." You're really stupid when it comes to subnetting. Any idea what subnet it is you're on? I doubt that. You're sitting behind a device that performs NAT, which means that you're most likely using a private IP address starting with 192 or 10.

      Any idea how many IP addresses are available under classes A, B or C networks? I'll give you a hint. You're wrong.

      Please shove your "IT degree" into your bum. You aren't even intelligent enough to get yourself a cute little CompTIA A+ cert.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  17. Jesus

    Oh, I see some bad little boys here! Come sit on my lap and I'll forgive you! I'll even show you what God's pen!s looks like! :D

    May 8, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  18. AtheismIsCrap

    @ (fake) Nii

    There are lots of gaming sites out there. Leave this blog alone for adults.

    @Jeanine

    Listen to Nii, you BíTcH!

    @Mirosal

    Answer the goddámn question, STRAIGHT! You SUNDRIED-PIECE of CRAP!

    May 8, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      read this page, scroll down.... I asked YOU a question for clarification, and am waiting for an answer

      May 8, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Pot meet kettle! Calling Jeanine a b!tch, calling Mirosal piece of crap...How very moral of you...I'm sure your god is so proud of you for being such a d!ck!

      May 8, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • Jeanine

      This is just Mark the Racist having a meltdown that appears to be permanent. People in the racist closet don't like it when they out themselves on national news blogs.
      I just happened to be there. Not my fault if he outs himself.

      Tough tltties, Mark. But you deserve it, don't you? Yup.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Jeanine, I am vain when it comes to my post and only post with my name unless I get re-stationed at work where my name was locked in as "Marks" from Middle River.

      Also, most regulars might know that I am normally asleep at 5,6,7 and 8 am.

      I love your spirit Jeanine. :)

      May 8, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • bill

      @Mark the Slimy Black Supremacist Sc.um

      Like anyone cares what time you go sleep with your mother? Please.
      And we all know you are a pathological liar. So I guess you don't have anyone who is going to believe your lies today. Ooopsie!

      May 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Jeanine, interesting. My African American co-workers look at my views and all of my White friends and have called me everything from a Uncle Tom to Adolph Hitler.... but you call me a Black Supremacist.

      Please, if think that name calling will get a flame war from me, or make me get frustrated and go away.... You are wasting your time. Still glad to have you back :)

      May 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  19. Jeanine

    Really Mark, you should like totally work on you're English because your a rascist piece of garbage trash and we don't want you around hear! Get out already!

    May 8, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Jeanine

      So is this Nii? Aren't you clever to be stealing my name! You are a big boy now! Go and tell your mother I said so!

      May 8, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Nii

      Jeanine
      I won't steal your name for anything! I don't even comment on threads you r on!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  20. AtheismIsCrap

    To the Author

    Most (if not all) atheists had gone through the steps you've had, except 7&8. They continue living in sins and prove themselves to the society that they are nothing but a PIECE of Crap!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • Mirosal

      How can one live in sin if there is no "god" to sin against? Would it be a sin for 2 Atheists to get married at a court house, not in a church? Since they weren't married in a church, does that make the marriage invalid and they live in sin?

      May 8, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Nii

      Why don't you tone down the language! they are your fellow humans and God loves them. Love them as yourself too that is all He asks of u!

      May 8, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Are the 700,000+ believers that have an abortion each year in the USA pieces of crap too?

      May 8, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Where in your statement is the love that Jesus taught so much about? If they have chosen to reject God, that is between them and God. The hardness in your heart makes me believe you are the one who needs to ask Gods forgiveness.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      @Mirosal..you said:

      "How can one live in sin if there is no "god" to sin against?"

      Are you saying that sins are exclusively against God?

      @Nii

      Do you know that God is NOT ONLY a LOVING but ALSO a JUST God?

      Jesus didn't say I love you to the traders who are trading at the temple.

      @HotAirAce

      Are you saying that believer's population has a higher abortion rate than aheist's population in the USA?

      @Joxer

      See my reply to Nii.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • Jeanine

      Really Mark, you should work on your English. But who cares what some white woman says, rite? Racist.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • Nii

      When is that dumb cunt jeanine gonna figure out that it's attacking the wrong individual?

      May 8, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ crap .... what else are you going to sin against?

      May 8, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Nii

      ATHEISTS/CHRISTIANS/WHOEVER
      Why is it that whenever I talk about loving your neighbor as yourself someone tries to use my name to say nasty things! Jeanine my late mom is the greatest gift ever given me by God n I wud never countenance such language against women. I apologise my enemy used my name

      May 8, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Nii

      But then again, my mother wasn't an insolent, spineless whore either, so she didn't deserve that. You on the other hand.... I'm sorry. But I have to agree with everyone else on this one. You're vile. I take back the nice things I said. Chew on a succulent, delicious bag of wangs.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Nii

      JOXER
      I wud not get side-tracked by a troll using my name for his purposes! I know that God is a God of Justice (such Justice flowing out of love) but even here Christ drove them out without using untoward language. Christ saw they needed to be corrected not damned.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Nii

      With that being said, I cud just let it slide but it's my job to let the atheist jerk offs know how stupid and evil dey all is.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Jesus

      Having fun I see! Well, let's all have a bit of fun!

      May 8, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Nii

      I wud say that faking me is not that hard!
      Let me tell u my secret-
      Let the following thoughts dominate your mind
      i. I love God with all my life
      ii. I love myself
      iii. I love my neighbor as myself
      iv. and my neighbor loves me as himself
      v. because God loves us all as Himself with all His Life.
      Easy!

      May 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • HotAirAce

      To AtheismIsCrap(NotTrue), no I am not saying believers get abortions at a higher rate than other groups, just that 700,000+ believers per year in the USA get abortions which is against their cult's rule so I am asking what your view of them is. Why worry about atheists when your own fellow believers are committing mortal sins?

      May 8, 2012 at 11:21 am |
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About this blog

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