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Battlefield chaplain’s war unfolded on many fronts
Army chaplain Darren Turner, left, wound up quitting the Army for a spell after returning home from Iraq.
May 26th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Battlefield chaplain’s war unfolded on many fronts

Editor’s note: CNN.com writer Moni Basu is author of “Chaplain Turner's War,” published by Agate Digital.

By Moni Basu, CNN

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - Darren Turner insisted on going to war, even though the Army usually reserves desk jobs at home for new chaplains like him.

Turner was young and green, enthusiastic about taking God to the battlefield. The Army captain had learned that people in pain are often wide-open to inviting God into their lives.

Jesus always ran to crises. Turner was going to do the same.

He’d enrolled in seminary in 2004 at Regent University in Virginia, founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. And early in his spiritual journey, he was inspired by Christian writer John Eldredge, who suggests that American men have abandoned the stuff of heroic dreams, aided by a Christianity that tells them to be "nice guys."

God, says Eldredge, designed men to be daring, even dangerous.

Turner arrived in Iraq in May 2007 with the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment amid a raging insurgency. His soldiers faced an invisible but lethal enemy in booby-trapped houses and roads laced with massive bombs.

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Chaplain Turner’s war would unfold on many fronts. He would be a soldier on the battlefield. A counselor behind closed doors. He was a friend, even a father, to his men.

And when his 15-month tour was over, Turner returned home to face all the problems he had counseled his soldiers about: anger, depression, stress and – most important for him – preserving relationships with loved ones.

Nearly 4,500 American troops died in the Iraq war. More than 30,000 more were physically wounded. Countless others live with scars that can't be seen, like post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury. Many have struggled with regaining their lives at home.

Darren Turner counsels a soldier inside a sleeping container at Patrol Base Hawkes, southeast of Baghdad.

Turner had recognized the needs his soldiers would have after witnessing the horrors of combat, after losing friends.

In Iraq, he had comforted and advised soldiers at Forward Operating Base Falcon, in southeastern Baghdad, and in the combat outposts around the villages of Arab Jabour.

Preparing clergy for war: How chaplains train for combat

At Falcon, the Army provided a morale phone that allowed soldiers to make free 15-minute calls home. But Turner knew it wasn't enough. He carried a cell phone in the left shoulder pocket of his uniform and whipped it out whenever a soldier signaled domestic distress at home.

"Call her," he would say. "Call her now and tell her you love her."

When they returned to Georgia in the summer of 2008, Turner told his soldiers that their families would be their cushion. He knew his men were suffering; that the ghosts of Iraq would haunt them, maybe for the rest of their lives.

What he did not know then was that he would not himself be immune to the same threats. He neglected to heed his own advice and his life floundered.

I’d spent many weeks with Turner in Iraq for a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but I didn't know about his troubles until I drove up to meet him and his wife, Heather, earlier this year at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

An exhausted Darren Turner catches a nap at his desk inside his tent at Forward Operating Base Falcon near Baghdad.

On that rainy February day, Turner told me that he’d come back from Iraq and felt like the bomb defuser in the movie "The Hurt Locker," who goes into a grocery store and is overwhelmed by the mesmerizing variety of cereals.

Remembering the fallen: Learn about casualties

It was a lot to process after having few choices in Iraq. Reverse culture shock.

"I wanted everything in there but I wasn't sure what to buy," Turner said.

He also detected a lack of public concern for the men and women fighting overseas. Off post, people went about their lives without a real understanding of the sacrifices made by American service members.

At first the anger boiled inside. But then it began to surface. He took it out on Heather. It was a release so that he could keep his work as normal as possible.

Little things like arranging the dishwasher became big fights with Heather. Big things like Heather’s life plans became small issues that Turner mocked or discounted because they did not fit his own plans.

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"I came home angry," Turner told me. "Even my attitude, which I thought I was in control of, was walling me in. I didn't realize it until my wife told me, 'You're no longer welcome in our house.'"

During the deployment in Iraq, Turner had pined for Heather and his three young children, Elie, Sam and Meribeth. Now, he was losing them.

"The thing I was angry at was the very thing I was longing for during my deployment - my family," he said.

Heather said her husband was disengaged, impatient. She wanted them to seek counseling but Turner refused, insisting that she was the one who had issues.

Just a few months after his return from Iraq, Darren and Heather Turner separated.

“I was very selfish and tried to control my surroundings, which crushed those closest to me,” Turner said.

Turner eventually realized how much he had hurt his wife, he said. How he had stepped away from God's calling by failing those he cared about most.

After finishing Airborne School, he quit the Army in August 2009, believing the military would demand too much time away from his family at a critical juncture in their lives.

He took a job in sales at a Home Depot not far from his house in Dacula, Georgia. He struggled to mend his marriage and reconnect with his faith.

Four months later, Turner and his wife reconciled. He chose to return to the Army as a chaplain, he said, "a renewed man both in marriage and profession."

He and Heather found their calling. God, he said, gave them a special connection with soldiers and their families. They know they will stay busy for a while.

The U.S. mission in Iraq ended on December 18, 2011, as the last American soldiers climbed into hulking trucks and armored vehicles at Camp Adder, the southernmost base in Iraq.

The war, however, is sure to continue on a second front - in America's cities and homes. And in the offices of counselors and chaplains like Darren Turner.

Turner reminisces about Iraq often, and when I saw him at Fort Campbell, he told me he wrestled with mixed feelings on the day America's military presence ended. He hopes that, in the end, the war will have been worth the blood that was spilled.

Another war, the one in Afghanistan, is far from over, with casualties mounting every month. Today, Turner counsels soldiers serving there. His words, honed from experience, are more specific now.

Get Skype, he says.

Perhaps it's not what a soldier expects to hear from a man of God. It’s certainly not the stuff of Sunday sermons.

But it's practical advice that Turner knows will go a long way toward filling the emotional vacuum. He believes distance from one’s own family can trigger a breakdown, especially when a soldier is coping with injuries and combat stress.

"Being away from your family for that long is way more difficult than I anticipated," Turner said.

Skype, he discovered, is the next best thing to being at home. You can't feel someone or smell them but you can see and hear.

"That's two of the senses," he said. "That's exponential."

Turner’s pastoral passion is still driven by the force that first drew him to the chaplaincy: Jesus.

Everyone has faith in something, Turner said. His own conviction is that Jesus answers longings in the human heart and provides perspective. Beyond immediate emergencies, the larger story is one of hope.

“He's been there on the other side, and came back to tell us,” Turner said. “That's the biggest event in human history, something that maintains hope, even in battle. When soldiers get that, it changes everything.”

Turner said he may not have been God’s perfect messenger, but that his selfish choices do not negate God’s love.

Turner is thankful for that. And that he can carry on with his calling.

- CNN Wire editor

Filed under: Christianity • Military

soundoff (2,230 Responses)
  1. Edwardo

    Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.
    Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.
    Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?
    The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Jn

      "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures."

      May 27, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Andrew Hall

      "Wanting to bring Christ onto the battlefield" is exactly the problem here. These wars were started based on lies by a lot of Christian fundamentalist generals who wanted a new Crusade – and so they have it.

      I long for the day when all these supposed "Christians" remember that Christ tried to teach us NOT to kill...

      May 27, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  2. buffalo

    As a Viet-Nam veteran I had absolutely no use for chaplains and their silly little prayers to "give us the strength to smite our enemies". To kill them in "God's name", blah, blah. Get out of the way and shut up. Welcome to the wonderful world of PTSD, Padre!

    May 27, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Edwardo

      Many many thanks for serving Buffalo. I greatly appreciate it. I'm flying my flag proudly this weekend, in your honor.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Thank you for your service Buffalo.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Andrew Hall

      Did you have fun murdering the Vietnamese for Johnson's lies, "Buffalo"? You know the second Vietnamese boat never fired on us, right? That's right – information was declassified two years ago. That means you slaughtered a bunch of innocents, not the "evil Communists" you thought you were fighting.

      You headed off to murder innocents for Uncle Sam, and you're still bragging about it to this day. I wish my country would wake up.

      May 27, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • buffalo

      @Andrew Hall: I didn't "go". I was "sent". How's the view from up there, from your "high horse"?

      May 27, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • sqeptiq

      The one place Jesus would NEVER be found is in uniform on a battlefield.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Mike

    I may be an agnostic and not a major fan of any kind of religion, but some of these comments are down right hateful. Granted it is probably written by either A) stupid kids who think we can all get along (we can't get used to it, wars will always happen until we die out) or B) stupid young adults who probably hate the soldiers but profess to love all the rights these soldiers are protecting.

    So come on, keep on spouting your venom. But remember this: America is one of the few countries where you can do this and not be shot and killed for it (some may argue it is a bad thing that you are not, time will tell). No wonder America lost its way, our own citizens do not appreciate the sacrificies of our men and women. They follow the orders, they do not issue them, hate the politican but not the soldier; the soldiers are the victims.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      They chose to be soldiers.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Kevin

      Great post Mike, thanks for sticking up for us.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Edwardo

      Great post! Agreed.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Jn

      Finally, a post containing valid reasoning! (But I wouldn’t advice anyone to hate, including politicians)

      May 27, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Steve the Goat

      They chose to fight. They are responsible for their actions. If they know an order is wrong, and the truly had honor, they would not follow the order and deal with whatever consequences might follow. If you truly believe in doing what is right, you will make sacrifices for the true greater good, not the almighty dollar going to the pocket of the suppliers of the military industrial complex. "I was just following orders" is not a valid excuse for immoral or illegal actions. They made their choices, they suffer the consequences.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      "[O]ne of the few countries"? What utter nonsense. You need to get out more often. There are many countries with similar freedoms.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  4. Navin Johnson

    Proving God with the Bible is like proving Superman with a comic book. There is just as much evidence that Superman exists as God exists. Why do you all reject one and not the other?

    May 27, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Mark Taylor

      Study the Big Bang and the rate of expansion of the universe in the seconds after the singularity. The rate of expansion was precisely what was needed for hydrogen to form from subatomic particles that were produced by the Big Bang. If the fifteenth decimal place of the number that represents the rate of expansion were off by 1 then hydrogen would never have formed and you and I wouldn't be here to discuss this question. Now go read about Pascal (yes the famous mathematician & philosopher) and something he wrote extensively about – Pascal's Wager (google it). No, you can never prove God with science (see Brian Greene) or the Bible; however, given that rate of expansion, really think about Pascal's Wager. What is wrong with living a life based on loving others as oneself anyway?

      May 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  5. Andrew

    i am just really tired of people telling me, and others that we "truly don't know the sacrifices servicemen are making for us"
    I forgot you learned how to read minds while over seas...

    May 27, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  6. dc3gal

    What a heartfelt story. I am so happy this man of God was able to mend his life as well as helping others.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  7. sybaris

    Religion, the ultimate ponzi scheme

    May 27, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Gordon

      You can say the same for secularism, capitalism, communism, etc. They are all ponzi scheme for the select few powerful ones. Basically, anything devised by men are imperfect and selfish. Basically, we are all doomed.

      Only true God, completely independent of human thinking, has the perfect love and justice for all. And He has a perfect salvation scheme.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  8. Edwardo

    Why doesn't god heal amputees?

    May 27, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • BG

      For the same reason he doesn't make your fingers fall off and prevent you from typing nonsense.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • immobee

      he will: Isaiah 35:6

      May 27, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • immobee

      actually all of Isa 35

      May 27, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • sybaris

      People who use bible verses to prove something have no understanding of weight of evidence.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • dc3gal

      He does, from the inside.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      he will: Isaiah 35:6
      prove it

      May 27, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  9. sybaris

    Look at that picture

    Two grown men, standing in a tub of water, one has his god antenna raised and the other is about to be immersed in the water and "reborn" and accept some mythological figure as his benefactor.

    C'mon man.

    And you think Muslims are whacky?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • BG

      Only when it comes to adolescent cli torises.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  10. FWesley

    War brings an opportunity for the charlatans to recruit more whose lives are destroyed. Young men... almost still boys... thrown into trauma then leave it to the religious leaders to comfort them. Ironic though... it was religion that got us into this war... and a war president who claimed "Jesus" was his savior.

    I am tired of pretending there is a great man in the sky... whom all Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peoples worship. They maintain this foolish division of Earth's humans by INDOCTRINATION. Indoctrination.. the wrecking of young persons minds prohibiting them from reason and being simply human. Please let's listen to John Lennon. Imagine no religion!

    May 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      Visit atheist-experience.com to find more information.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • immobee

      negative. I'd be rational and thoughtful as at now.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  11. ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

    This will inevitably stop. This is insanity. The Const'itution requires the Separation of Church and State. The delusions will end. A generation or two from now, this will not be happening. Why is my tax money paying for preaching idiots to foist their nonsense on people ? (And then the churches are complaining about Obomba's Health Mandate forcing contraception on the churches). It's ALL royally screwed up. THIS is all preachers are good for :

    May 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      Visit atheist-experience.com

      May 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • immobee

      actually it doesn't say separation of church and state. look it up

      May 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Who cares ? It's State support for religion. If there were "atheist" chaplains, (as there are at Harvard), you would be screaming your head off.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • immobee

      negative. I'd be rational and thoughtful as at now.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      sorry. I took it the wrong way.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • John

      immobee is correct. Read it before you propogate a myth!

      May 27, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • immobee

      my tact is not intact at midnight. apologies

      May 27, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • seancarey88

      Please read all who think this is a Christian nation
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

      May 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  12. immobee

    "Darren Turner wanted to bring Christ onto the battlefield."
    Because this is what christ was all about.... killing people??? What a moron and a joke of an article. The true God is about peace. Satan is ruling this world which is why there is so much badness. Jehovah God will end all evil soon.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Cq

      Being all-knowing, wouldn't God have known that Satan would bring evil into the world before he actually did it? Why would God allow this to happen if evil is so against his plan?

      May 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • dmd

      Soldiers are under the command of government to the battlefield. Turner was bringing Christ to the soldiers who was commanded by the government for fighting or killing. Christ did not order the fight or killing but human is.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • immobee

      God gives everyone free will, even the angels who decided to rebel following Satan. Adam and Eve could have CHOSEN to do what's right, but rebelled. God lovingly gave them freedom of choice. Would you rather someone be programmed to obey, or CHOOSE to obey out of love. Everyone has a choice and sadly, most people choose bad, which is why the world is screwed up and people hurt others. They are CHOOSING to do what's wrong. But God will hold all accountable. Eternal life, or eternal death. (not torture)

      May 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • immobee

      people can choose not to go to battle. Christ is nowhere near these people that take part in war.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      sorry immobee,
      "free will" is debunked.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • John

      Cq... God is not a puppet master. He gives us free will. We choose the path.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • immobee

      really? so you didn't CHOOSE to respond? you were programmed to? because some guy with a PHd says something then it's factual?... those images make it even all the more believable. I choose to believe the one who created my little pea sized brain. I think he knows more of how it works... SEE? I'm choosing to dignify your rebuttal.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      No one "created" anything. If it "created" something, the "creative act had to BEGIN before it created the dimensions of spacetime. THAT is meaningless.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Chance

      ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Interesting comment you posted about creation. You see a verity of comments on these types of blogs about creation but the key reason people believe in a planned creation is the complexity behind the Universe’s origin that gave human life a chance to develop. Science is not an enemy of the God movement; nor through religion, the bible, philosophy or science do we have a clear picture of the origins of the universe or of life. Science has its theories and other beliefs have their reasoning but none have put to rest reasonable doubt. For some it all comes back to the beginning of the Universe, if there was nothing then why is there something instead of nothing. No I don’t believe in the God of the gaps or in the theories of the gaps. I believe everything has an explanation we just don’t have the means to understand all there is to. Looking at all the complexity of the universe and of life; I chose to believe in “intention” that the Universe was calculated and life was precisely intended, that they are not a product of a multi-verse or chance but a product of intention. Simply put God is the force that brought to life the laws physics to rule over the matter of the universe. In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter).

      May 27, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "You see a verity of comments on these types of blogs about creation but the key reason people believe in a planned creation is the complexity behind the Universe’s origin that gave human life a chance to develop."
      The processes described by science are actually pretty simple. The basics can be understood by anyone with a high school education. The current complexity doesn't necessitate a creator. Ignorance (willful or otherwise) of a scientific explanation doesn't provide support for a creator.

      You said, "Science is not an enemy of the God movement; nor through religion, the bible, philosophy or science do we have a clear picture of the origins of the universe or of life."
      If you are looking for a clear picture of life and the universe, the bible is the last place to look. If you want to understand how sheep herders, 2000 years ago, thought everything started, that might be a decent start.

      You said, "Science has its theories and other beliefs have their reasoning but none have put to rest reasonable doubt."
      The doubt that you consider "reasonable", is entirely based on unfounded rejection of evidence based science in favor of a fairy tale. There isn't a single shred of evidence to even suggest there are any gods, let alone the christian one. Believing there are any is therefor unreasonable. It can't provide reasonable doubt.

      You said, "For some it all comes back to the beginning of the Universe, if there was nothing then why is there something instead of nothing. No I don’t believe in the God of the gaps or in the theories of the gaps."
      That implies that you don't believe in a god that has an active role in the universe anymore.

      You said, "I believe everything has an explanation we just don’t have the means to understand all there is to."
      Science is the method to describe what we know and how it ties together. If there is an explanation to be had, about anything, it will be provided by science. In other words, if science and religion disagree, religion is wrong. No exceptions.

      You said, "Looking at all the complexity of the universe and of life; I chose to believe in “intention” that the Universe was calculated and life was precisely intended, that they are not a product of a multi-verse or chance but a product of intention."
      The key phrase is "I chose to believe". You do so without support of any evidence.

      You said, "Simply put God is the force that brought to life the laws physics to rule over the matter of the universe. In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)."
      That still doesn't answer any questions. All you do is push it to "where did this god come from?"

      May 27, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      @chance
      Human are the Pattern Seeking Monkey. You NEED to find patterns. "Reasonable doubt" is for the courtroom. It's a legal concept. It's NOT Philospohy, (and if you know the Scientific Method you KNOW there NEVER is a "Proof").
      You DO beoieve in the god of the gaps. You tell yourself you don't, just like you TELL yourself what you do, because your brain need an answer to "why is there something, rather than nothing". "There is an explanation" means "the universe is intuitive". It IS NOT. (Einstein/Heisenburg). Complexity does not lead to Yahweh. "Precisely intended" is the Anthropic Principle, redone for religion. Forces are not persons. So you are NOT Christian. There was NO "beginning" (as I stated above). The MPOST you can do, is remain silent. "In the beginning" presupposes time. It is meaningless, unless time already exists. You have just expanded the "same ole" to a larger venue, and to fit your NEEDED concepts. The only question remaining is, "where does the NEED come from". It's ALL in your brain chemistry.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Gordon

      @immobee, I didn't realize the words (beginning, heavens, earth) in the bible verse corresponded to time, space, and matter. I learn something every day. Thank you for posting that.

      I do realize our human language is wanting, and the bible doesn't escape that (not to mention it was written eons ago before science developed, and not to mention multiple translations from Hebrew to Latin to English). It's a wonder it still retains the whole truth about the state of our being. I can now imagine how someone in millenium BC tried to understand space and matter, and could only write it as 'heaven' and 'earth', because those were the only terms he could understand and use.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      It's about time he reformed from his murderous ways. How soon can we expect this magical transformation?

      May 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chance

      @LINCA

      First off nice try but let me further explain. The most fundamental theories of science support the idea of a planned creation IE the Big Bang. Like you said any person with a high school edu can get the science behind it. The science we know today tells us that there was little room for variation while our universe was being formed to give life an opportunity to exist. This is all easy text book stuff we know; the complexity for believers gives us a strong reason to believe in “creation”. For you complexity is just complexity and that’s OK but till you can provide a shred of evidence that we belong to a infinite string of universes and we lucked out and happened to be in the right one complexity is a great foundation for “creation”. You ask a great question where did God come from? No one knows and that's OK. To help you out though let me use science. All of our theories we have now point to our universe being finite. All things finite have a beginning. So obviously our universe had a beginning and will have an end; we just don’t know how it will end but we have our theories. God has no end so he has no beginning. A important idea is if you believe our universe came to be with no God; then you believe that the matter and laws of physics are also infinite, in other words they always existed. So either way we both believe a force always existed; in your case a force and the building blocks for the universe.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Chance

      @ ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq
      The same reasoning arguments you make for me can be used for you; we are both human, it’s a lame argument. Let me further explain the forces of the universe; I believe they were brought into existence by God. When there was nothing God made something ie the forces and building blocks of the universe. I believe God created the laws of the universe and the complexity we see being a finger print of his work. You believe in the theories of the gaps and I believe God made the forces of the universe and I’m just waiting to find out more of the unknown. Nice try but you don’t have me figured out. Till you can prove the complexity of our existence is a product of a multiverse or that intelligent life is abundant you won’t move me with your narrow arguments…I need solid evidence to reduce the complexity we observe in the universe.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "The most fundamental theories of science support the idea of a planned creation IE the Big Bang."
      They don't. The fact that they don't explicitly exclude the possibility of a creator doesn't mean it is supported in any way, shape or form.

      You said, "The science we know today tells us that there was little room for variation while our universe was being formed to give life an opportunity to exist."
      Have you ever considered that, had the conditions not been exactly as they are, we wouldn't have been around to observe it? The only universe that we can observe is one that is just right for life to evolve in. It is a prerequisite. That doesn't mean that this universe was created with the intent to let life occur and humans evolve. It only means that we can only observe one that is just right. There could be others that don't have these features. This one could be one in an ongoing process of formation and destruction. The big bang forms a barrier for our observations, just as the speed of light puts our event horizon at 13.7 billion light-years.

      You said, "This is all easy text book stuff we know; the complexity for believers gives us a strong reason to believe in “creation”."
      The only reason to believe in creation is the need to have an answer. Only when the need for an answer, any answer, is more important than getting the right answer, will creation fill that need.

      You said, "For you complexity is just complexity and that’s OK but till you can provide a shred of evidence that we belong to a infinite string of universes and we lucked out and happened to be in the right one complexity is a great foundation for “creation”."
      Using "complexity" as a reason to believe there must have been a higher power is an argument from ignorance. It relies on the fact that we don't know everything. It fills gaps in our knowledge with divine intervention. Any creator story is, by definition, a god-of-the-gaps story. The gaps vary from believer to believer. Most gaps are simply caused by ignorance of the scientific explanations. Some believers actively keep gaps that science has filled, simply because it doesn't fit with their preconceived notions and beliefs.

      You said, "You ask a great question where did God come from? No one knows and that's OK."
      So why is it OK to not know where the creator comes from, yet it isn't OK to say we don't know what appened before the big bang? By inserting a god for which you have no evidence you add unnecessary complexity.

      You said, "To help you out though let me use science. All of our theories we have now point to our universe being finite. All things finite have a beginning. So obviously our universe had a beginning and will have an end; we just don’t know how it will end but we have our theories."
      That sounds very sciency but it doesn't hold up. You extrapolate your basic understanding into a realm that it can't be extrapolated into. The spacial dimensions and time as we experience them today weren't anything like that at the start of the universe.

      You said, "God has no end so he has no beginning."
      There are no gods that have been shown to exist. Believing there are any is infantile and unreasonable.

      You said, "A important idea is if you believe our universe came to be with no God; then you believe that the matter and laws of physics are also infinite, in other words they always existed."
      Nope. "Always" is a relative term. It started with the start of this universe.

      You said, "So either way we both believe a force always existed; in your case a force and the building blocks for the universe."
      I believe that we don't quite exactly know how the universe came to be, but just willy-nilly inserting a creature for which you have no evidence is not the way to find out.

      May 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Chance

      @LinCA
      again nice try...
      First the Big Bang coincides with the belief of a planned creation; whether you accept it or not. Yes the theory was not intended to promote creationism but the theory gives us a scientific view of creation; that’s the point I’m making. The Big Bang is an excellent theory for the foundation of creationism. Too blindly say “well God just did it” is Stone Age; we now have scientific means to see “how God made it.”
      You said “I believe that we don't quite exactly know how the universe came to be, but just willy-nilly inserting a creature for which you have no evidence is not the way to find out.” Which is fabrication by your part; point blank I also believe we don’t know how the universe came to be. We don’t have an absolute picture from science, the bible or any other explanations. We need scientific means to better understand what took place. I’m not just saying “God did it”; I also want to know “how God did it” through scientific research. I’m for finding answers through scientific means and answering the unknown.
      Furthermore you said” Have you ever considered that, had the conditions not been exactly as they are, we wouldn't have been around to observe it?” Yes I have considered it; that’s why I believe we are a product of intention not chance. That statement is essentially the drive behind creationism.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Chance

      @LinCA
      You also say ”The only reason to believe in creation is the need to have an answer.” I don’t need an answer, I would love an answer like most of us humans…I chose to believe I’m a product of intention because of the known universe; not made up universes. To further explain I also want scientific research to find more answers; I’m not just content with “well God did it”; I want to know more. You say “Using "complexity" as a reason to believe there must have been a higher power is an argument from ignorance. It relies on the fact that we don't know everything. It fills gaps in our knowledge with divine intervention.” Complexity is one of the reasons of my belief system. The argument from “complexity” is based on what the evidence tells me; till a shred of evidence proves intelligent life abundant “complexity” points to humans being special and one of a kind. I want to patch the gaps, I want to know more, and I’m for scientific discoveries.
      You Say “So why is it OK to not know where the creator comes from, yet it isn't OK to say we don't know what happened before the big bang? By inserting a god for which you have no evidence you add unnecessary complexity.” First I believe in God and I don’t know what happened before the Big Bang; hopefully science can get the answer. It’s OK not to know what happened before the Big Bang. I who believe in God would like to know how it happened but to say God makes for unnecessary complexity is off. God makes for the purpose behind the complexity we see.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "First the Big Bang coincides with the belief of a planned creation; whether you accept it or not."
      It only coincides with some versions of a planned creation. It has to for a believer to not make a complete and utter fool of him or her self. But just because the possibility, however remote, that a creator kick started it all exists, doesn't mean it is a valid theory. Until there is evidence to suggest there are gods, all you have is an unsupported hypothesis. For it to hold any water, you'll need evidence of your god.

      You said, "Yes the theory was not intended to promote creationism but the theory gives us a scientific view of creation; that’s the point I’m making. The Big Bang is an excellent theory for the foundation of creationism. Too blindly say “well God just did it” is Stone Age; we now have scientific means to see “how God made it.”"
      Yet you keep positing your god, but you provide nothing of substance. All you provide is that you believe your god did it without providing even the slightest support for the existence of such a creature. There is no difference between your god doing it, the Tooth Fairy doing it, or any other creature doing it. There is equal evidence for each, there respective hypotheses have equal merit.

      Also, if you claim that your god merely kicked it off and took a hands off approach since, that implies that the bible is complete bullshit. Glad we cleared that up.

      You said, "You said “I believe that we don't quite exactly know how the universe came to be, but just willy-nilly inserting a creature for which you have no evidence is not the way to find out.” Which is fabrication by your part;"
      So you are claiming you have evidence for this creature that you've inserted before the start of the universe? Please share it with the rest of us. If it holds up, I'm sure you'll be next in line for a couple of Nobel prizes.

      You said, "point blank I also believe we don’t know how the universe came to be. We don’t have an absolute picture from science, the bible or any other explanations. We need scientific means to better understand what took place. I’m not just saying “God did it”; I also want to know “how God did it” through scientific research. I’m for finding answers through scientific means and answering the unknown."
      You claim to want to use science to find answers, yet you poison the process by inserting mythical beings in the mix. If you wish for your god to be part of the scientific answer, you should start by looking for some evidence for him/her/it.

      Just because the big bang forms a boundary for our observations and science will probably never be able to prove you wrong, doesn't mean that you are right. Your creation story is very similar to the christian carrot and stick routine of heaven and hell. Since there is no evidence that your god rewards his faithful followers during their lifetime, to keep them in line, they are fed a cockamany story about being rewarded after death. Nobody has yet come back to tell us it is all bullshit, so your ruse is safe.

      When I asked, ”Have you ever considered that, had the conditions not been exactly as they are, we wouldn't have been around to observe it?”. I figured you'd understand that it means that there may be, and may have been, untold numbers of universes that are, or aren't hospitable to life. Conditions that are like they are, are required for us to exist. They don't provide any support for a designer. Just because this universe is the way it is doesn't mean it's the only one. It just happens to be the one that we're in.

      You said, "Yes I have considered it; that’s why I believe we are a product of intention not chance. That statement is essentially the drive behind creationism."
      And it doesn't support the basic premise of creation. It doesn't necessitate a creator. It isn't in any way, shape or form evidence of one. Just because believers are incapable of admitting that there is no rational basis for their belief, doesn't mean there must be a god. Even less that there is a creature like their god.

      Unless you can provide evidence that there are gods, all you have is your unfounded belief.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • Chance

      Also I think we should further discuss our universes future. All of the theories we have today from scientist point to an end. We don’t know how it will end but through modeling the expansion of the Universe we know it is finite. You said “You extrapolate your basic understanding into a realm that it can't be extrapolated into. The spacial dimensions and time as we experience them today weren't anything like that at the start of the universe.” I’m not leaning on my understanding I’m leaning on that of scientist. It’s agreed by scientist that the universe will end. Through science we can come to the conclusion our universe had a beginning and will have an end. So unlike God this universe has a beginning and an end.

      You say believing in God is “infantile and unreasonable” disregarding the idea that by studying the universe people come to a conclusion that human life was purposely intended. That the evidence we have coincides with a planned creation leading to intelligent life; the evidence of God is the fact that we exist; that's the evidence. Till you can disservice the complexity we see that is tangible and seen on a daily basis keep your theories close by. I don’t need an answer to the origins of the universe; those who don’t believe in God need one to validate their stance. For me I know what started the universe and gave it laws to follow; I don’t know the how it happened but hopefully science can shed some light on it. You haven’t given me any reason to doubt just redundant responses. Tell me why I should not see the universe as purposely intended. Why should I believe in an infinite string of universes that are unseen? For some asking them to believe in unseen universes requires more faith than believing in God. Please explain why I should believe that I am a product of multiverse…tell me why this theory isn’t infantile because we don’t have evidence to prove it…

      May 28, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "It’s agreed by scientist that the universe will end. Through science we can come to the conclusion our universe had a beginning and will have an end."
      Whether or not the universe will end (and contrary to your claim, there isn't uniform consensus on the subject in the scientific world), is irrelevant to the question of it's creation.

      You said, "So unlike God this universe has a beginning and an end."
      You have no evidence that there is a god anywhere outside your mind. Claiming it has no end or beginning is factually incorrect. Your god didn't come into existence until you first believed in it, and it will die when you do.

      Also, the end of the universe isn't a given (but irrelevant anyway).

      You said, "You say believing in God is “infantile and unreasonable” disregarding the idea that by studying the universe people come to a conclusion that human life was purposely intended."
      As there isn't a single shred of evidence even suggesting there is a god, let alone yours, it's story isn't any better supported than that of Rapunzel. The only difference is that we acknowledge one as a fable.

      You said, "That the evidence we have coincides with a planned creation leading to intelligent life; the evidence of God is the fact that we exist; that's the evidence."
      I understand that if you believe that your god created the universe purposely for humans that you will accept life as evidence of your god. Unfortunately that is classic circular reasoning. Unless you establish independently that your god exists, you've got nothing but a fairy tale.

      You said, "I don’t need an answer to the origins of the universe; those who don’t believe in God need one to validate their stance."
      You've got that ass-backwards. By inserting a god, you claim to have an answer for which you have nothing in support.

      You said, "For me I know what started the universe and gave it laws to follow;"
      You assume you know. You do so simply because you believe, without any evidence to back you up, that there is a god. You probably believe this because you were told so before you were able to think it through. That, by the way, is called indoctrination. Now it is part of your reality. It is, for you, beyond question. For anyone not indoctrinated, not so much.

      You said, "I don’t know the how it happened but hopefully science can shed some light on it."
      I'm guessing that you've come to realize that the traditional god stories are complete and utter bullshit, yet aren't quite ready to toss them on the scrap heap where they belong. You seem to have disconnected your belief in a god from the religion built around it.

      You said, "You haven’t given me any reason to doubt just redundant responses."
      Once you accept, without support of evidence, the existence of a creature, I doubt you can be reasoned out of it.

      You said, "Tell me why I should not see the universe as purposely intended."
      Why would you assume it is?

      You said, "Why should I believe in an infinite string of universes that are unseen?"
      I'm not asking you to. I'm suggesting that you don't dismiss the possibility.

      You said, "For some asking them to believe in unseen universes requires more faith than believing in God."
      Accepting that as a possibility isn't. It is very possible that, since it happened at least once, it happened "before", or "elsewhere".

      You said, "Please explain why I should believe that I am a product of multiverse…"
      You are not. You are the product of our universe. This universe may (but doesn't have to) be one in a continuous cycle. I don't know if it is, but it seems far more reasonable than one that was created by some being for which we have no evidence.

      You said, "tell me why this theory isn’t infantile because we don’t have evidence to prove it…"
      It's not a theory. It's a hypothesis. But it's one that doesn't require magic.

      May 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Chance

      @ LinCA
      It is consensus in the scientific community that most of our Universe is unseen ie dark matter which is considered to make up to 80% of the universe. If we can’t see most of the creation through scientific methods, how could we possibly see the creator under a microscope? I respect your skepticism; you have your point of view and I have mine. Nor through science or philosophy or religion do we have all the answers to the origin of the Universe or how mankind was brought to existence. We have pieces to the puzzle; one piece we do know is that precision was needed to give life a chance, we understand this through science.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Chance

      @ LinCA
      To believe in God doesn't mean you have to disregard science; your view of a believer who embraces science is narrow minded (obviously the Bible wasn't written to be a physics book; or was it intended to give an exact account of the origins of time,space, matter). People who believe in God see His wonders in the universe through science; He left us the universe to explore; get off the idea that God and Science don't mix.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Chance

      @ LinCA
      You haven't given me a single shred of evidence to diminish the idea of us living in a universe that was purposely made for humans. Till you can give me a shred of evidence how nothing can make something; please try again...

      May 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      Your argument falls short in the same manner that every religious argument falls short. Your argument for a creator relies entirely on your belief, and a refusal to accept anything that could diminish the role of your god. You have nothing else. I simply reject your notion until you provide a sensible argument in favor of your god.

      It is you who is making the claim that there is a creator. The burden of proof is entirely on you. Please provide evidence for that creature.

      Unless you can prove that Bob the Magical Blue Sock didn't create the universe, your demand for me to disprove your silly beliefs is a mere futile effort on your part to deflect from your complete inability to form a comprehensive case for your mythical being. You can't because it is outrageously ignorant.

      You said, "It is consensus in the scientific community that most of our Universe is unseen ie dark matter which is considered to make up to 80% of the universe."
      Yes, so? That doesn't mean jack shit for your argument.

      You said, "If we can’t see most of the creation through scientific methods, how could we possibly see the creator under a microscope?"
      You may want to read up on what dark matter is. You are clearly clueless.

      We won't find a creator, for the simple reason that if there is one, it would operate outside our universe. The boundaries of the universe form an absolute boundary for our observations.

      You said, "To believe in God doesn't mean you have to disregard science;"
      Not necessarily, but as soon as you mix the two, it ceases to be science.

      You said, "You haven't given me a single shred of evidence to diminish the idea of us living in a universe that was purposely made for humans."
      Delusional much? For a mind stuck in a belief in a god, I fear I have no argument. Once you close your mind to reason, no rational argument will convince you.

      You are free to believe whatever nonsense you want, just don't call it science.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Chance

      @LinCA
      I've already told you the evidence of a creator; it is the fact we exist; the fact that there is something rather than nothing. There isn't intelligent life abundant in the universe; please try again. I know what dark matter is theorized to be...the point is if most of creation cant be seen how could we see the creator under a microscope.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Chance

      Your so emotionally invested in this; you have more faith in your beliefs than some who believe in God. Congratulations! Also God and Science do mix; even if you don't like it.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Chance

      You come off as someone who would like to keep people who believe in God in the dark about Science; its a shallow stance.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "I've already told you the evidence of a creator; it is the fact we exist;"
      But that is complete and utter bullshit. The fact that we exist doesn't in any way provide any evidence for a creator. You simply deny that other possibilities exist, and then use that to show that your creator is the only possibility left. That reasoning is illogical.

      You said, "the fact that there is something rather than nothing."
      Again, dismissing other explanations, just because you don't like them, doesn't provide evidence for your particular favorite story.

      You said, "There isn't intelligent life abundant in the universe;"
      Only as far as we can tell at the moment.

      We've only been transmitting evidence of our existence for about 100 years. The leading edge of the evidence of our existence hasn't even reached the other end of our own galaxy yet. There is no way of knowing whether we are alone or not.

      You said, "Your so emotionally invested in this;"
      I get exasperated by refusal or inability of people to step back from their preconceived notions and be open to options other than the one provided by their beliefs. I very much dislike to see this country fail to compete on a global level, because science is held back by ancient fables.

      You said, "you have more faith in your beliefs than some who believe in God."
      You clearly are clueless about what I believe. I have not once professed a belief in this conversation. I have merely rejected yours because they are not supported by even so much as a single shred of evidence.

      I've even said that I don't completely dismiss the possibility of a creator. I don't consider it likely, as it requires magic, but I don't outright dismiss it. I find that other explanations are more believable. That doesn't mean that I claim to know if any one of them is true. I would be very surprised if evidence was provided that shows one to be true.

      You said, "you have more faith in your beliefs than some who believe in God."
      Like I said, when they mix, it is no longer science. Not until there is a rational case for a god can it be part of science. All god stories fail this most basic test. Your god(s), and those of everyone else, are no more likely to exist than the Tooth Fairy. Even the Loch Ness Monster is more likely, as there is at least some evidence for it.

      You said, "You come off as someone who would like to keep people who believe in God in the dark about Science; its a shallow stance."
      On the contrary. I would love for everyone, especially believers, to embrace science. The problem is that beliefs in fairy tales and science are a poor mix. It isn't me that is holding believers back. It is their refusal or inability to honestly explore the roots of their beliefs.

      May 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Chance

      @LinCA
      One of the roots of my belief in God is because of science. The fact that there is something rather than nothing along with the precision needed to give human life a chance point to creation.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "One of the roots of my belief in God is because of science."
      It appears you do be because of a lack of understanding of basic scientific principles. You draw conclusions that are not supported by the evidence.

      You said, "The fact that there is something rather than nothing along with the precision needed to give human life a chance point to creation."
      Unfortunately, that reasoning is faulty. The fact that the universe gave rise to, and sustains, life doesn't in any way imply that is was designed to do so. While it doesn't exclude the possibility of design, it is unscientific to draw the conclusion that it was. The correlation doesn't imply causation.

      A simple example of the difference between correlation and causation is the following. A study of governmental records will show that all divorces are had by married people, while no divorces are had by people who aren't married. There is a very high correlation between marriage and divorce. But, that high correlation doesn't automatically mean that divorce is caused by marriage. Marriage is merely a prerequisite for divorce. you simply can't get divorced unless you are married.

      Just as you can't get divorced unless you are first married, life can't evolve unless the conditions are just right. The conditions being just right is simply a prerequisite for life to evolve. Life evolving doesn't say anything about how those conditions came about.

      May 30, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Chance

      @LinCA
      I like your example above about divorce; it also relates to singularity.
      You cant have divorce without a marriage to begin with. Think of it this way you cant have something if there was nothing. So till you can give me a reasonable explanation how nothing made something please try again.

      May 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Chance

      @LinCA you say "Life evolving doesn't say anything about how those conditions came about." Really that's your stance? the conditions are everything. Without the right conditions you have no life!

      May 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Chance

      The most confusing thing is your stance on science and believers.
      @LinCA you said “I would love for everyone, especially believers, to embrace science." "It is their refusal or inability to honestly explore the roots of their beliefs.”
      @LinCA You also said “Not until there is a rational case for a god can it be part of science.”
      If a believer is to look at science and weigh their belief system on the scale God has to be me mixed in. How can one make a case for idea A if you have to ignore idea A. Or how could one disprove idea A by ignoring idea A. When I brought my system into science I looked at the best answers science had and none leave me feeling confident in them. We need more exploration! Based on what I have studied the more we learn the more creation will be noticed. If better ideas come up then those have to be weighed. We have to explore more and more!

      @LinCA you said speaking on the idea of my creation view “I have merely rejected yours because they are not supported by even so much as a single shred of evidence.”
      @LinCA You also said “I've even said that I don't completely dismiss the possibility of a creator. I don't consider it likely, as it requires magic, but I don't outright dismiss it." "That doesn't mean that I claim to know if any one of them is true. I would be very surprised if evidence was provided that shows one to be true.”
      The fact a skeptic like yourself can’t rule God out is my point. All I’m saying looking at all the data we have and what we think happened; it’s not crazy to come to a conclusion we could be part of something planned out. I’m not saying I have all the answers! I’m saying based on what I’ve studied, I find creation more evident.

      Do you understand? Through science I’m lead to creation. We need more science to help skeptics like yourself make a better choice. What are you standing for anyways? You don't deny God but you don't know what answer is best... I hope you find clarity you seem confused...

      May 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "You cant have divorce without a marriage to begin with. Think of it this way you cant have something if there was nothing. So till you can give me a reasonable explanation how nothing made something please try again."
      But that's the point. I'm not arguing in favor of any particular option. I'm not trying to convince you of any one particular option. I'm merely trying to show you that your reasoning for your option is faulty.

      You are the one claiming there to be one, and only one, possibility. But, unless you provide independent evidence that your god, or any god, exists, your position is not supported in any evidence. What you believe is evidence, isn't. All you really do is jump to your favorite conclusion.

      In effect you say: " I'm ignorant (willfully or otherwise) of other possibilities, therefor my god must have done it.". Your argument hinges on nothing but rejection of all science based explanations, in favor of "the only one left". You arrive at your conclusion because you reject all others, not because it's the one that has merit. You reject all others because they don't fit your preconceived notion. Your reasoning is entirely circular, and therefor invalid.

      You said, "you say "Life evolving doesn't say anything about how those conditions came about." Really that's your stance? the conditions are everything. Without the right conditions you have no life!"
      Duh. Of course, life can only evolve under favorable conditions. But the fact that the conditions were favorable doesn't in any way imply that they were designed that way. It also doesn't mean that life will evolve, even if the conditions are favorable. But it does mean that, unless the conditions are favorable, life will not evolve, and had the conditions not been favorable, we wouldn't have been around to know it. Just because we are around doesn't mean there was a creator. The favorable conditions don't establish that there was a design.

      You said, "The most confusing thing is your stance on science and believers."
      I suspect your confusion stems from differences in understanding of what science is. It also clearly stems from a failure to understand logic and scientific evidence.

      Anything that is clearly myth, isn't science. The notion of gods is clearly not rooted in scientific endeavors. While the study of religions can be scientific, the beliefs in gods are not.

      You said, "If a believer is to look at science and weigh their belief system on the scale God has to be me mixed in."
      If you wish to mix your god into science, you will have to devise a theory that can be tested. You have to establish what traits your god has that can only be his/hers/its. you will have to make a rational case for it. Just filling the gaps in your knowledge by inserting magic isn't science.

      You said, "How can one make a case for idea A if you have to ignore idea A. Or how could one disprove idea A by ignoring idea A."
      If you feel strongly about idea A, you are free to devote your resources on developing and studying it. If you want it to be accepted as science, you'll need to follow the scientific methods and rigor. God stories tend to fall flat in that regard.

      You said, "When I brought my system into science I looked at the best answers science had and none leave me feeling confident in them."
      Could it be that you are driven by a need to have an answer to "Why?"? Are you expecting there to be an overarching reason behind the universe and life in it? Could it be that you feel there must be a reason, and that your need for a reason has led you to believe there must have been a creator?

      What if there really is no reason?

      You said, "We need more exploration! Based on what I have studied the more we learn the more creation will be noticed. If better ideas come up then those have to be weighed. We have to explore more and more!"
      Of course we need more exploration. But inserting an "answer" hampers progress.

      You said, "The fact a skeptic like yourself can’t rule God out is my point."
      The fact that you accept it as the only option, is mine.

      I don't rule gods out because I can't disprove the existence of them. But the complete and utter lack of any evidence to support their existence, makes believing they exist unreasonable.

      You said, "All I’m saying looking at all the data we have and what we think happened; it’s not crazy to come to a conclusion we could be part of something planned out. I’m not saying I have all the answers! I’m saying based on what I’ve studied, I find creation more evident."
      But what you think is evidence for creation, clearly isn't.

      You said, "Do you understand? Through science I’m lead to creation."
      No, you are not. Your belief has led you to creation, at the expense of science.

      You said, "We need more science to help skeptics like yourself make a better choice. What are you standing for anyways? You don't deny God but you don't know what answer is best... I hope you find clarity you seem confused..."
      If you were to apply scientific methods to your search for your god, you'd find there to be no case for it. More science will inevitably lead people away from ancient fables and the delusions associated with them. I'm all for more science.

      I stand for rational thought, logic, and evidence. It helps provide great clarity.

      While I have no evidence to dismiss all gods, I most certainly deny the existence of the christian one. That one is said to have mutually exclusive traits, making it impossible to exist.

      May 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Chance

      @LinCA you said "But that's the point. I'm not arguing in favor of any particular option. I'm not trying to convince you of any one particular option. I'm merely trying to show you that your reasoning for your option is faulty."
      You are obviously in favor of atheism; all of your responses sympathize with atheism. If you where truly neutral you wouldn't still be discussing the subject you would agree to disagree. Your in denial, you favor a position.

      Secondly @LinCA you have totally ignored my comment about your example about divorce as it relates to singularity.
      "You cant have divorce without a marriage to begin with. Think of it this way you cant have something if there was nothing. So till you can give me a reasonable explanation how nothing made something please try again."

      Your also wrong @LinCA saying "You are the one claiming there to be one, and only one, possibility."
      What is so hard for you to understand that I have looked at the best alternatives to God and we have big holes to fill with little to no data to rationally dismiss God. You keep talking about evidence like if there is a mountain of it that without a doubt excludes the need for a external force to have started the universe ie GOD. @LinCA you haven't even given a alternative to God just comments about evidence without producing any evidence. I've looked at the alternatives and they lack evidence to fully commit to them.

      I have truly looked at ruling out God but an atheistic universe requires extreme theories and hypothesis, which have little to no evidence. In fact some hypothesis such as the M-theory have no means to fully prove. You keep falling back to there being "no evidence for God" but in the same breath you have to also reason there is no evidence to fully prove alternative hypothesis to explain the universe. How could nothing make something? That is the point you have been avoiding. How could nothing make everything? I don't have the faith required to believe that nothing made something. There isn't a logical explanation for this; but your comments all suggest I should just ignore this and rule out a creator; which would have provided the something to make something. I don't have big enough blinders to ignore this or the faith you have to believe in any possibility of nothing making something. Till a break through discovery reveals how nothing can produce something the other possibilities have to take a back seat to God.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "You are obviously in favor of atheism;"
      Of course. Belief in a god is exactly the same as a belief in the Tooth Fairy. I outgrew that at age 6.

      You said, "all of your responses sympathize with atheism."
      Until there is evidence for a god, that's the only logical and rational stance.

      You said, "If you where truly neutral you wouldn't still be discussing the subject you would agree to disagree. Your in denial, you favor a position."
      You can convince me of your position by simply providing scientific evidence of a god. It doesn't even have to be the one that you believe in.

      You said, "Secondly @LinCA you have totally ignored my comment about your example about divorce as it relates to singularity."
      My example about divorce requiring a prior marriage was to show that correlation doesn't imply causation. The fact that there is a divorce only says that there must have been a marriage, not how or why that marriage came about.

      I don't claim to know how the "marriage" came about. From the perspective of the "divorce", it merely was. In the same vain, life requires condition that suit it. Life itself says nothing about how those conditions came to be. In our case, the life sustaining universe predates life on Earth by some 10 billion years.

      For me, spontaneous generation of matter and antimatter from a vacuum, is more believable than some god that poofs everything into being, as that god must have come from somewhere. Inserting a god in the mix does nothing but push the question back a notch AND add magic to the mix.

      You said, "Your also wrong @LinCA saying "You are the one claiming there to be one, and only one, possibility.""
      By your insistence that a god must have done it, you allow for only one possibility. Simply claiming that you don't know all the details does nothing to lessen that.

      You said, "What is so hard for you to understand that I have looked at the best alternatives to God and we have big holes to fill with little to no data to rationally dismiss God."
      I accept without reservation that you have looked at the alternatives. I accept that you have found nothing more convincing than that your god did it. Yet you accept an answer that was formed by your religion and that is in no way based on science.

      You said, "You keep talking about evidence like if there is a mountain of it that without a doubt excludes the need for a external force to have started the universe ie GOD."
      Gods are so ridiculous that nobody should accept the stories about them as true without demanding evidence. The evidence that you have for your god, and with that for your entire religion, and with that for your life style choices is no different from the evidence for the Tooth Fairy. Even Santa Claus, the Abominable Snowman and Loch Ness Monster have a leg up on your god, as there is at least some evidence these creatures exist, or have existed.

      You said, "you haven't even given a alternative to God just comments about evidence without producing any evidence."
      Anything that doesn't require magic is better than your god story.

      You said, "I've looked at the alternatives and they lack evidence to fully commit to them."
      Maybe you should quit looking for an absolute answer. Even if there is one to be had, I doubt that we'll find out in our life time. Start by accepting that there is no "why" question to be answered. There is likely no higher purpose to life. Not anymore than what we make of the one we have between our birth and death.

      You said, "I have truly looked at ruling out God but an atheistic universe requires extreme theories and hypothesis, which have little to no evidence. In fact some hypothesis such as the M-theory have no means to fully prove. You keep falling back to there being "no evidence for God" but in the same breath you have to also reason there is no evidence to fully prove alternative hypothesis to explain the universe."
      Having to choose between a theory without evidence or magic, and a theory without evidence but with magic, I'll always favor the one without magic.

      You said, "How could nothing make something?"
      Just because you can't grasp it doesn't mean it didn't happen. I don't know how it happened and I'll readily admit that, but I won't just assume it must have been some god.

      You said, "How could nothing make everything?"
      Matter and antimatter can spontaneously occur from a vacuum. Who knows, maybe that happened on a large scale.

      You said, "I don't have the faith required to believe that nothing made something. There isn't a logical explanation for this; but your comments all suggest I should just ignore this and rule out a creator;"
      I suggest you rule out a creator because it's illogical. A creator doesn't answer any questions. It merely pushes them back to where the creator may have come from, and how it made everything from nothing.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • Chance

      @LinCA you said "A creator doesn't answer any questions. It merely pushes them back to where the creator may have come from, and how it made everything from nothing."

      The idea of a creator answers why we benefit from the precision required while our universe was being formed, it also answers the question where the building blocks of the universe and life came from. Spontaneous generation is a argument for creation. You prove my point out of nothing God made something. Dark matter and anti matter are theoretical and not proven to exist; they have been brought to existence to sustain theories. If Dark matter and anti matter are your only refuge to answer the question of how nothing made something then you have more faith then me, I don't have big enough blinders not to look at the question how nothing made something. Please try again.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You clearly have made up your mind and either can't comprehend, or are not swayed, by anything I say.

      You said, "The idea of a creator answers why we benefit from the precision required while our universe was being formed, it also answers the question where the building blocks of the universe and life came from."
      No it doesn't. it simply makes up an answer, not supported by any observation.

      Inserting the god-did-it "answer" provides "definitive answers" to questions that don't have definitive answers (yet). It provides closure for those that can't handle not knowing. It eases nagging feelings of inadequacy and insignificance in the minds of simpletons.

      You said, "Spontaneous generation is a argument for creation."
      Everything seems to be an argument for creation to you. It is because you've made up your mind that your god did it. Once you've accepted, on faith, that your god did it, everything will "prove" to you that your god did it. Not surprisingly because to accept something on faith means you abandon reason.

      Your only argument is that because you believe your god did it, he must have done it. You've picked your answer and apply it to every question.

      You clearly are completely clueless about evidence and logic. You should really see if your local community college teaches a class about that, and after you've done that, come back. So let me quote your favorite saying, please try again.

      Other options include, but are not limited to, remaining blissfully ignorant. Whatever gets you through the day. Your choice.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Chance

      @LinCA you said "Your only argument is that because you believe your god did it, he must have done it. You've picked your answer and apply it to every question." you go on to say "Inserting the god-did-it "answer" provides "definitive answers" to questions that don't have definitive answers (yet)."

      I've made my mind up based on the evidence; till a break through about our origins comes out I need more evidence. As each new theory comes out I will review it. It comes down to the beginning ie "how nothing made something". Logic tells me that nothing can't produce something. The Big Bang starts out in singularity; which leads to the question how did nothing make something? Now theories have been made to get around a absolute beginning for obvious reasons but all of the current theories have many gaps to fill and plenty of evidence to gather. Science is in search for a ToE – theory of everything but all of the contenders so far need plenty of work to be considered legitimately within the scientific community, that's not to say the theories don't have potential. I'm saying they face big obstacles mainly the origins of the universe. I'm OK with not knowing answers; in fact there is plenty we don't know!!! but I'm not OK with just ignoring the main question of how nothing can produce something.

      I'm not trying to sway you I'm merely defending that the case for God is founded on the logic of beginnings ie nothing cant make something. I don't have the faith required to believe laws of physics just appeared and sub atomic particles just appeared and the universe formed at the right speed just by chance. I believe they were caused by a force.

      June 2, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chance

      You said, "I don't have the faith required to believe laws of physics just appeared and sub atomic particles just appeared and the universe formed at the right speed just by chance. I believe they were caused by a force."
      If you think that science requires faith, you clearly are clueless about science. Science doesn't claim to know the origin of the universe. You are the one claiming to know. You are the one relying on faith, and nothing else.

      I suspect that you are projecting your own incompetence in the matter, and your own reliance on faith on the rest of the world. Not everybody is stuck in a fairy tale as you so obviously are. Just because you rely on faith to ease your feeble mind, doesn't mean that others have to lie to themselves.

      June 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Chance

      LIN
      No matter how much you despise it; the case for God is good.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  13. sybaris

    "The Army captain had learned that people in pain are often wide-open to inviting God into their lives."

    And there you have it. Inmates, addicts, alcoholics, the poor, the ignorant, survivors of the extreme all become susceptible to the god crutch.

    In Thailand they "find" Buddha.

    In India the "find" Shiva

    5000 years ago in Egypt they found Ra.

    Religion, just a delusion.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      Religious people wouldnt be able to tell you where their soul is. It's an obsolete term.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • dmd

      Religious may be a delusion but God is not delusion.
      One day, when you open your heart to God, you will find out God is not delusion.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • sybaris

      Which god dmd?

      If you had been born and raised in Egypt 5000 years ago your god would be Ra. Many centuries ago in central america your god would have been quetzoacotl.

      My god says you picked the wrong one.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Cq

      Pain is suffering, right? :-)

      May 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Certainly NOT that Yahweh dude.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • AGrey

      What's the difference between a crutch and a leg? Blow away the leg and the person can bleed to death.
      If something works for someone it works for them. End of story.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Cq

      AGrey
      I doubt that many people using crutches wouldn't rather go without needing them. Living with a crutch is a poor subst.itute for being able to stand on your own two feet, and religion is indeed a "crutch".

      May 27, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Jn

      “And there you have it. Inmates, addicts, alcoholics, the poor, the ignorant, survivors of the extreme all become susceptible to the god crutch… Religion, just a delusion.”

      Is not your crutch your pride? Ironically your self-righteousness points to a God. It’s exposing a heart that longs to be justified. If there is no God why even spend the time arguing your case?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Sue

      @dmd
      So, once you believe that there is a God you won't think anymore that God isn't real.

      Glad you cleared up that difficult concept for us.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Cq

      Jn
      You call self-reliance "pride"?

      Don't get me wrong; I depend on other people to get me through life in a lot of ways, but God is not a person like they are, right? You may think that God is, but that is just a belief.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Jn

      Cq
      Your statement is also a belief. Why believe at all? If everything is just here by random chance, where did belief come from and again, why is there belief at all? There is no reward for believing. There is no logical purpose behind it, yet every argument you express is still a belief.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • robert

      "If everything is just here by random chance, where did belief come from and again, why is there belief at all? There is no reward for believing. There is no logical purpose behind it, yet every argument you express is still a belief." well what is clear is that your beliefs are based on a complete ignorance of the facts. The questions you asked have been well answered and if you actually wanted to know the truth you would have found those answers, instead you have chosen to remain ignorant. The explains all we need to know about you.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Cq

      Jn
      There is, perhaps, much less "random chance" involved in a completely natural universe than what you've ben led to believe. Evolution isn't about random chance, it follows a logical pattern. The universe may have had no other "option" than to form as it did. People all over are making reasoned decisions that affect both of our lives, and so are we. What's so "random" about that?

      May 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  14. Clint

    "Darren Turner wanted to bring Christ onto the battlefield."

    Stopped reading at that point, no need to read further. THAT is what's wrong with our military right now. We need to replace "chaplains" with conselors, counselors who can send you to someone of religious faith if you desire, but whom can also treat everyone with equality when it comes to religion or lack of.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Bravo.. and applause, applause.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      I agree hundred percent.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      For those religious people ask yourself this: where is my soul located? If you really think about it, brain is all there is. The term soul is obsolete. If brain transplant were ever possible then you wouldn't be you but someone else.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Cq

      The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas
      You're right, when it comes to matters of the mind the idea of an eternal soul is as obsolete as the idea of demon possession.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Jesus would never be found in uniform on a battlefield.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Over It

      sqeptiq,
      "Jesus would never be found in uniform on a battlefield."

      Nah... he has armies of angels for that - he'll just come back spitting swords from his mouth and kill everyone someday.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  15. c s

    Religion affects different people in different ways. After all the Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan who are killing American soldiers beleive that God is on their side. I wish Darren the best of life, may his family find the peace that they deserve. Maybe one day all humans will find peace in their hearts for their fellow humans.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

      Well stated my friend

      May 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  16. TAK

    Is anyone else here disturbed by the close relationship between our military and christianity?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • gf

      No. I would be more concerned if they did not have this freedom while fighting for freedom. Perhaps you think otherwise.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      Absolutely. Muslims probably believe that this is another crusade from the western world and they need to protect their land and family from the infidels who are out to destroy them and iradicate Islam. We just think that this just a preemptive war to stop the terrorist from attacking us.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

      The govt needs the support of its people to prosecute wars. In this nation that requires the church, as this is a "christian" nation. So no it is not surprising. Nazi Germany was a christian nation, and so invoked God as well to incite its people. It is only necessary that you have the wisdom to notice it, and take it into account.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • immobee

      Not TRUE christianity. A TRUE follower of christ would never take up arms or go to war and fight for a government that will be destroyed in the near future. (Daniel 2:44)

      May 26, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Ann

      Absolutely. I remember reading a few years ago about how cadets at the Air Force Academy were under a LOT of pressure to become fundamentalist christians. It didn't surprise me – my brother went there, and when we visited, I was shocked at how there was this big, gorgeous, protestant chapel - with the synagogue in the BASEMENT.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  17. Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

    I imagine it can be difficult for a man of conscience to justify meaningless war. I am sure many chaplains (those who truely know themselves) have a rough time reconciling the war with their beliefs. "Are Non-Americans less then me?" they ponder "Do we have the right to dictate policy to the people of not only another nation, but another faith?" he turns to his creator "Am I doing your will? For sometimes I think when I send a soldier out with a prayer, I am condoning his actions in killing my fellow humans. Please lord give me guidance" yeah it can be tough.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Who are you kidding? The god of the bible loves destruction and death! He thrives on it. He even invented eternal death and suffering. Killing is his favorite sport. Drowning innocents in great floods, the passover... you name it. Never understood why Christians think their god is some pro-lifer.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

      Eduardo, The bible in the old testament does speak of such things. I can not respond to that comment properly here. I will only say this..you will have to research. 1. the hebrew language has no vowels. 2. it was written in symbols 3. It was an attempt by man at the time to pass on knowledge without the "swine" being able to understand. sorry, you will have to msg me if you want ,more.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Bill P

      Edwardo – "The god of the bible loves destruction and death! He thrives on it." No you are wrong. God is Holy while infinitely loving having sacrificed His Son for our sins. The "destruction and death" as well as "eternal" punishment that you cite is entirely the consequence of sin – your sin, my sin. The escape is faith in Jesus. Rejecting that is not on God, it is on the unbeliever.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @Bill P – You think god is a loving father? I'm a father, and I can honestly tell you.. There is not ONE SIN, one atrocity, any of my kids could do, to make me sentence them to such a horrible fate. If they beat me, stabbed me, murdered me, I still wouldn't send them to eternal punishment. Your god created hell, knowing people would go there. He sends them there, for the victimless crime of "not believing" something. Loving father's do not send their children to eternal punishment!

      May 26, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

      @ both of you, Man created hell. It is unjust to put on the creator that which he does not own. The only time you will find truth is to seek within yourself, if you possess a soul then the creator will show you the way. man has used the bible to justify wars for thousands of years. believe me the creator does NOT enjoy the suffering we put on each other, but it IS the only way to grow.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Chris

      Edwardo, but what if your son didnt want anything to do with you and rejected you? Would you allow him to separate from you and leave? Or will you force him to love you?

      The people who end up in hell REJECT God and want nothing to do with him. Hell is the separation from God and his love. This is because God gave us all free-will.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • John

      Edwardo...Children will grow up to be adults; they will refuse the wise counsel of their father because they think themselves wiser than him; they will choose their own paths with those paths leading to different destinations and consequences...and you will have no say about it!!! They will exercise their free will and freedom even if it takes them down the path of destruction. Who chose that path for them...the children or the father? The children not the Father choose their destinations.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Cq

      John
      Sometimes, as adults, we have to come to terms with the fact that our parents have either lost their faculties, or have at least not caught up with the realities of living in the modern world. In a great many cases we actually are wiser than our parents who are bogged down in the limitations of their era and plagued by old prejudices bred from ignorance. Is there no room for progress within Christianity?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Cq

      Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans
      Did the people who died in the great flood suffer? Did the parents of the Egyptian first-born suffer? Did the indigenous people of the "Promised Land" suffer?

      Wasn't God responsible for all this suffering?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Edwardo

      Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.
      Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.
      Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?
      The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Confused

      Question,

      My father is a republican, I'm a democrat. We disagree and I don't believe that he's right. Is there a right or wrong? Because I don't believe the same thing he does, should it warrant an extreme punishment for me?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Chris

      @Edwardo

      We dont have free-will just for the sake of happiness. We have free-will for many reasons, it makes us fully aware of the whole spectrum of good and bad. It makes us self-aware among many other things.

      You're right that there is no sin in heaven. The people who go to heaven voluntarily choose to be good and love God. If God simply created robots then it wouldnt be genuine, it would be nothing like the human experience.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Edwardo

      @Chris – God already knew what we were going to do, long before he ever created us. The bible makes it clear that it is better to not be born at all, than to live and lose your soul. Yet, he still created people he knew very good and well, would suffer throughout eternity. If he can't be trusted now, why would I think I could trust him with eternity? The concept of such a deity is absurd at best.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Confused

      Why does god need genuine love? Better yet, if god is all powerful why doesn't he just make his angels, humans, animals, etc... all genuinely love him and cut out the whole middle man of coaxing his creations to do as he tells them or sentencing them to eternal hellfire.

      By the way, please explain the idea of hell? I'm having issues understanding the point.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Chris

      @Edwardo

      Just because God knows that some people will reject him and embrace evil doesnt mean he shouldnt have created the all. You have to consider the world as a whole, there are also many good people who will voluntarily be good and love God.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Edwardo, "you can't reason people out of a position they weren't reasoned into." -Kurt Vonnegut

      May 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Atheists are not "souless humans" my wife claims to be an atheist but is probably the most moral, compassionate person I have met in my 57 years of this journey. I don't share her lack of belief in the divine and suspect she is mostly just mad at the Catholic church but atheists are not souless and that suggestion seems to lack love for others.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  18. MStephan

    Good article. I went through some of the same things when I came home from my first deployment as a Chaplain (Iraq 2006-2007). Lots of anger and withdrawal from my family. It took over a year to come to grips with it all, just in time for the second go around (Iraq 2009-2010). I was better prepared and had a great team of fellow Chaplains around me. I did not have that the first time.

    My only critical point with the article is the first paragraph. "New Chaplains" are not spared a deployment due to their inexperience. I was deployed 90 days after graduation from Chaplain Officer Basic. Several of my classmates were deployed within 9 mouths of graduation. On my second trip, every other battalion Chaplain in my brigade had been in the Army less than a year, most only a few months. The Chaplain that replaced me when I moved on to my second unit would up on the same cycle I did, fresh from basic and deployed after about 120 days.

    Other than that opening, the rest is right on point.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • The atheist experience tv channel Austin Texas

      If God is all powerful and purely good, then why does He let suffering happen and innocent people be killed? Either he is not all powerful or not entirely good.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • immobee

      The world you are suffering in is a result of Satan. Bible says satan is the ruler of this world. God is allowing everyone to see what life is like under satan's control. What Jehovah God will bring about is how things were before Satan convinced the majority to follow him. An earthly paradise. Ask one of Jehovah's Witnesses. They can show you in the bible.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

      The creator IS good, people are bad. It is not he who is causing the suffering. besides suffering of the body does not kill the soul. what hurts us makes us stronger.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Cq

      Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans
      Suffering leads to the Dark Side, didn't you know?

      The creator may be a good guy, but how can he be a good creator if he produced bad people? I mean, if you made a bad product how good a creator would you be?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Cq

      If this guy is baptizing soldiers does the military actually see converting people as part of his duties? Seems a bit self-serving, working to switch people in their faith when they're at their most vulnerable.

      Nite!

      May 27, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Oh yeah

      Religion is a way to control people. One day you will come to the conclusion that IF there is a god it would be MOTHER NATURE.. The only 'Higher Power" is time and coincidence.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans

      Prayer does change things, even if it is only for the person praying. Prayer is a method whereby your soul can commute with the creator. Those without may prayer for guidance, and consequently be entered upon by the holy spirit and become possessive of a soul.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Cq

      Are there truly atheists? or just soulless humans
      Are you saying that people only get a soul once they believe that they can go to either heaven, or hell? Cool, no hell and no heaven for non-believers then. I wouldn't have wanted to go to either place anyway.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Gordon

      Nature is not a mother. It's still a participant in the universe just like you and me.

      It's like saying your defecation is your mother because it promotes micro-organisms to thrive and break down nutrients for plants to grow so you can eat and live.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  20. At death atheists believe

    Atheists do nothing but complain..religion gone=perfect world? Strong delusion to believe and a childish fairytale

    May 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I still chuckle when I remember what a Christian posted last year about when an atheist dies ... they get all dressed up with no where to go.

      Good night.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Get Real

      HeavenSent,

      There is no evidence that a dead Christian, all decked out in his dress-up clothes, goes anywhere supernatural either.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Thegoodman

      A guy who believes a supernatural being poofed into existence, then went ahead to create the universe by rubbing his hands together, then he created each one of us and now knows how many hairs are on our heads: is saying atheists "believe in fairy tales".

      Haha. Show me someone who believes religion helps more than it hurts, and Ill show you someone who is delusional.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Your religion, like those before it, will fade into history. It will of course be replaced by yet another fairy tale. But none the less, it will fade away. Religion is how the feeble minded, cope with their ultimate demise... disentegrating back into the universe of non-existence.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Thank you HS for finally agreeing they DON'T go to hell.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • NoTheism

      I am an atheist and you seem to be misrepresenting me. That is called a straw man argument. Being an atheist only means that one does not have good reasons to believe in the supernatural, and you would be too if you were a bit more skeptical and a better critical thinker.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Oh yeah

      Atheists do nothing but complain..religion gone=perfect world? Strong delusion to believe and a childish fairytale.
      I really hope you see this post. What kind of fairytale do you live in?? Religion is dying.. Why? Because people aren't Ignorant anymore and we do not need some preacher reading his fairytales, to tell us right from wrong and that he can forgive us for our sins. Don't forget to pay me to go to heaven.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Cq

      HeavenSent
      Good point! Maybe I should request to be buried in the nude? Go out of the world the way I came in, completely natural and not believing in any gods. Besides, why waste a good suit? :-)

      May 27, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Gordon

      @NoTheism, actually atheism is against theism. What you describe is agnostic (realizing there is no proof for theism, which is different from arguing against theism).

      In reality, there is no proof for or against God, if you base it off your 5 common senses and human thinking, which science and philosophy are based on.

      So you cannot prove or disprove an idea with a model that cannot describe that idea in the first place.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Gordon

      @Edwardo, there was an article, I think Time magazine or something, probably a decade old, that asks the question, why did religion actually increase when it was supposed to die out?

      Maybe something in your premise is faulty. Maybe there is something in all of us that seeks a higher power. Come to think of it, most people who reject a conscious Higher Being, is because they themselves are in a comfortable situation and are of the illusion that they will live forever in the current state, or until they die.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Belief in something for which there is no evidence is proof of one thing: DELUSION.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      @sqeptiq – show me evidence of the Higgs bosson particle. Are string theorists all delusional?

      May 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.