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July 16th, 2012
04:41 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, July 16

By Laura Koran, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Businessweek’s Mormon caricature cover draws fire
Reaction to a recent Businessweek cover was swift and direct, with some bloggers and commentators going as far as to call the magazine exclusive bigoted and out of bounds. The article titled How the Mormons Make Money, by Caroline Winter is an in-depth look into the business side of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with much attention given to the tax benefits the church enjoys and the extent of its holdings of property and stock in multinational corporations.

CNN: In Queens, carver tells religious stories through wood
The sounds of hammers and saws fill the air in the small workshop of the Byzantion Woodworking Company in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria. The smell of sawdust and wood polish is thick. At the center of it all, woodworker Konstantinos Pilarinos lovingly chisels elaborate carvings destined for Greek Orthodox churches across the country.

Tweet of the Day:

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

The Guardian: Angela Merkel intervenes over court ban on circumcision of young boys
Angela Merkel's spokesman has promised Germany's Jewish and Muslim communities they will be free to carry out circumcision on young boys, despite a court ban that has raised concerns about religious freedom. The government said it would find a way around a ban imposed by a court in Cologne in June as a matter of urgency.

BBC: The rise of Pakistan's televangelists
Islamic groups in Pakistan were initially hostile to cable TV because of concerns about "obscene" foreign imports, but religion now dominates the airwaves. A new breed of Islamic TV evangelist has emerged, leading to a confrontation with liberals.

The Daily Herald: ‘Apostate’ challenges radical FLDS sect with lawsuit
Isaac Wyler is one of the unwanted ones. For years, he has endured a cruel banishment from those he once considered brethren - followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Out here on the desert high plains, guarded by big-shouldered buttes, church outcasts are dismissed as "apostates," ostracized in life and condemned to burn in hell after death. Wyler was among several members banished by church leader Warren Jeffs in 2004 for unspecified sins.

The Huffington Post: An Inside Look At Mass Weddings Of The Unification "Moonies" Church
"Every bride wants her wedding to be perfect, but what if she has to share the spotlight with 2,000 other brides in one of the most bizarre weddings on the planet?" That's the question producers of TLC propose in a new one-hour special airing 10 p.m. Eastern time Sunday about the Unification Church, whose members are best known for their mass weddings.

Quote of the Day:

Fifty Shades of Grey is all that people are talking about at the moment, but I know that some are too shy to buy it for themselves. I thought it would be a special treat for our guests to find it in their bedside cabinet and that includes the men. They are as desperate to get their hands on a copy as are the women.

Wayne Bartholomew, manager of Damson Dene Hotel in Cumbria, Northwest England, told the UK’s News & Star about his decision to replace the Bibles in his hotel’s rooms with copies of the best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Opinion of the Day:

Joseph Loconte looks to C.S. Lewis for help understanding the reaction of Joe Paterno, above, and others to Jerry Sandusky.

CNN: My Take: Penn State’s dark fellowship
Joseph Loconte, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at the King’s College in New York City and the author of The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt. Loconte writes about how a culture of reverence played a part in the decision by Penn State officials to conceal information about Jerry Sandusky. This culture included a secular equivalent of high priests, holy rituals, secret initiations, unquestioned dogmas and fanatically devoted followers.”

CNN: My Take: 5 ways to survive 'post-traumatic church syndrome'
Reba Riley is a graduate of 15,000 hours of Christian education, the Focus on the Family Institute and the Ohio State University. When she isn’t selling construction materials for a living, she’s writing a reverently irreverent memoir Thirty by Thirty: 365 Days. 30 Religions. 1 Chance to Recover Faith by 30.

Join the conversation…

Hotels' in-room movie selections should not include porn, according to two religious scholars.

CNN: Strange religious bedfellows unite for letter against hotel porn
A letter penned by two notable scholars – a Christian and a Muslim – and sent to a number of different hotel industry executives has asked those hotels to remove pornography from their company’s in-room movie selections. Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton University and the past chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, a Muslim school, wrote the letter to urge hotels “to do what is right as a matter of conscience.”

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  2. the TRUTH - Atheist - Theist

    the TRUTH – Atheist – Theist
    By 2100 – when all of us in this forum die – we will know if God exists or not so take your side.

    Moment when Christopher Hitchens die this is what he thought:
    a. Ooops
    b. Nothing – God doesn't exists

    UNHAPPY true Atheist or "Talking Monkey"
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC7hqk9v7yI&w=640&h=360]

    HAPPY Theist or "Human"
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmlTHfVaU9o&w=640&h=360]

    July 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Cal

      The same applies to other theists who believe in the wrong God. Why single out just atheists?

      July 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Let me share more of that not-angry-at-all-Christians video stuff

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39Trctc_fqU&w=640&h=360]

      Got that? One set of Jesus-loyal haters is so bad that the KKK, also Jesus-loving, protested them.

      I've got news for you: There is NO atheist individual or group that holds a candle to these Christians when it comes to hate.

      July 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Logic fail.

      If the atheists are right, nobody gets any confirmation when they die. Certainly DURING the final stages of death a person can have visions and feelings and hallucinations that they interpret as their god or going into god's presence, but if there's no god, NO ONE knows it when they die.

      July 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  3. What's a brony?

    Atheists mock something they don't even understand.

    Or they mock because they desire what the religious have.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • just sayin

      Well, at least we both can agree that My Little Pony is awesome.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Hey everyone.
      The ignorant troll is back.
      What idiotic non-arguments do you have for us today?

      July 16, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • What's a brony?

      The truth may be hard to accept but its the truth.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Who invited me?

      What truth trolldoll?
      You found some truth somewhere...oh please do share

      July 16, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Santa

      I'll have what Brony's having.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Satan

      I'll smoke what brony is smoking. Oh its meat pole? In that case I'll pass...

      July 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • What's a brony?

      Atheists claim to have truth.So I can claim anything as truth.

      I have logic and reason on my side so I don't have to prove anything.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Trolldoll/brony/unknown
      How did you get out of the straight jacket....here, let me just adjust those straps

      July 16, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • What's a brony?

      Jokes?

      How "logical" and mature of you.

      No logic,just lies.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Who invited me?: Don't forget the ball gag to shut it up and duct tape for its hands so it can stop typing. The delusional little freak apparently doesn't know what logic and reason mean.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      What's a brony?: None of us desire what you have. We gave up our imaginary friends and we don't live for something that doesn't exist. You are the one lacking logic and reason...otherwise you'd be an Atheist. The evidence that is peer reviewed is very clear and you're just too stupid to see it. Back to the rubber room little one...the Doctor's have your meds ready!

      July 16, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • What's a brony?

      Why stick around? That's right! To mock and make fun of people for not believing as you do!

      I see no logic and reason behind that.

      So logic and reason are just delusions to atheists.Lies made up by you to make yourself feel better.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • AGuest9

      Or mocking a farce because one realizes after 17 years that it really is a farce?

      July 16, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • AGuest9

      Logic and reason are just delusions? Logic and reason are the keystones of being atheist. Delusion belongs to the believers.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • What's a brony?

      Atheists are also believers.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • To a dyslexic, Satan is the fat guy who supposedly brings presents every December 25, but he's just a lie our parents tell us

      Hey bronyboy! Mommy says to clean up your room and take out the garbage!

      July 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @brony

      You continue to say you have logic on your side, yet you never present it. You merely continue to make wild assertions. If you have logical reasons for your belief, then present it. The longer you don't, the more you show everyone else how ridiculous your claims are.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      I can claim anything I want.

      Its you atheists who think we need to back it just for you like a spoiled child.

      This is the internet.People can claim anything as truth and you can't even stop them.

      That's why you troll so hard.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Derp

      obviously WAB is very good at what he does. Im mean look at all the morons to try to argue with him.

      July 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @brony

      Claim all you want, but unless you want to be labeled as you have been (troll, idiot, etc.) then you need to be able to back up your claims.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • What's a brony?

      You really think i care what some loser thinks?

      July 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Well then that just shows how little you care whether what you think or believe is actually true.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • .

      "You really think i care what some loser thinks?"

      Based on all your replies, yeah you do.

      July 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  4. deano

    Why no mention of the Arizona pastor who was jailed and fined for holding bible study in his home? Seems like a perfect avenue for for the athiest attacks CNN seems to instigate against Christianity.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      He broke the law plain and simple, he gets what the only laws that matter say he gets...next time maybe he won't be stupid enough and think he is above the law.
      http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/12068-phoenix-pastor-jailed-over-bible-studies-on-his-property

      July 16, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Robert Brown

      “…..The God of the Bible is the Almighty God. He is still the moral ruler of His universe. He is
      still upon the throne of justice — He has not abdicated — and He punishes sin. This universe is
      operating for Him and not for man at all. He today is the One who is to be pleased, and everything
      must be for His glory or it must ultimately be exterminated and put out of His universe.
      Back in the song of Moses (Exodus 15), which the people of Israel sang after they crossed
      the Red Sea, there is an expression that keeps recurring in my mind — “Jehovah is a man of
      war.” Yes, He is! And He will not compromise with sin. He will not accept the white flag of surrender.
      He is moving forward in undeviating, unhesitating, and uncompromising fury against it.
      There would be hope today for man if he, with Isaiah, could see “the Lord sitting upon a throne,
      high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1). The picture that man has today of God is blasphemous. He is
      the moral ruler of this universe…..
      ….Is it smart today to be an atheist? I’d like for you to know what God is saying to the atheist.
      He says the atheist is more stupid than an ox or an ass. Why? Because the animals have sense
      enough to know who takes care of them. America is being brainwashed today with atheism. The God of the Bible is being left out of everything. The TV and the press will pay scant attention to the sins of the rich and famous, but you let one preacher get into trouble and he’ll make the front page. Yet the thousands who are attempting to preach the gospel and stand for God today — they’re not news to an atheistic society. Yet God still says that the ox knows his owner, the ass knows his master’s crib, but My people — they do not know. They are stupid! Oh, my friend, they’re stupid not to recognize God. May I say, this is a commentary on our sophisticated and suave generation that thinks it no longer needs God, that it can rule Him out. Or as Julian Huxley, the biologist, said, “God has nothing left to do. Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.” And most people today are living as if God does not exist.
      Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet,
      they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as
      wool. (Isaiah 1:18)”
      Excerpts from America Needs a Declaration of Dependence by Dr. J. Vernon McGee 1960,s

      July 16, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Who invited me?

      There are no gods except the ones that exist in the minds of the believers.
      Man created all religions including all religious texts.
      Religions are used to control people

      Excerpts from common sense and reality

      July 16, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • BRC

      @Robert Brown.
      You're quoting excerpts from a source who's very name is the exact oposite of what our nation stands for. That is just one of my reasons why I would love to see LESS influence from organized religion in our society.

      More to the point of the quotes. They're all just speculation, opinion, and threat. The author thinks that atheists are stupid for nod admitting the existence of "God'. We think people who accept the existence of an all powerful being that they must constantly love and obey on faith alone with no observable proof are making themselves intentionally ignorant. AT the end of the day, neither one wins, so we should maintain the position that allows both to exist freely.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @deano

      Persecution complex much? Maybe CNN's articles aren't 90% favorable to the christian/believer viewpoint like 90% of the US population is christian, but that doesn't mean that they are instigating "atheist attacks on christianity." Most of the articles CNN puts on the Belief Blog are favorable to religion and christianity in particular. It's easily researchable. When you christians make such false accusations all you're doing is exposing your own bias and unwillingness to deal with the reality.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Who invited me?,
      There is only one God. All the others were created through men who are and were deceived by that crafty devil. The devil has deceived men who have wormed their way even into the church. So, yes some organized religions are doing things that are outside the will of God.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Robert Brown

      The god of the bible is too incredibly stupid to be believed. Perhaps you should look inward to your own motives when you want to call atheists stupid for not believing in something that cannot be independently verified in even the smallest way. People don't debate the existence of gravity or the usefulness of such concepts as math or chemistry. People debate philosophies which don't have any measurable, testable subject at their foundation.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Incorrect Robert
      ALL gods were created by men
      You put your god second anytime you give the names of the planets, or the names of the days of the week.
      They were named before your god was created.
      your faith is what is blinding you to the truth

      July 16, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      This is the god of the bible :
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg&w=640&h=360]

      July 16, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Robert Brown

      BRC,
      There is a lot of difference between a nation declaring its independence from its colonial ruler and believers declaring their dependence on God. As to the quotes, the author spent his life studying the bible so while you do get opinion in any commentary and no one would 100% agree with everything someone opines, I think he did a pretty good job most of the time. I agree with you that believers live by faith. We see evidence all around us, while nonbelievers deny the evidence. Faith is the key. God could have explained exactly how, step by step, he did everything, scientist could verify and everyone would believe, right? God chose to require faith and he directs believers to spread the gospel. The rest is up to him. We are dependent on him for everything, including faith. I don’t by any means declare that we can’t both exist freely; I am just making an attempt to spread the good news. It is clear that God directed that the believers and nonbeliever grow up together on this earth and be separated later.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Moby Schtick,
      You can’t see wind, just it’s effects. You can’t see gravity, just its effects. You can’t see dark energy, just its effects. You can’t see God, just his effects. Are effects proof? Just as you test for gravity there are scientific principles that must be followed, if you seek God there are spiritual principles that must be followed.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Robert Brown

      llɐq ʎʞɔnq,
      I cant watch the youtube on this computer, perhaps you could summarize the video’s contents in words.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Who invited me?,
      God let adam name all the animals. Does that mean he was putting God second? Your lack of faith is what is blinding you to the Truth, the Way, the Life, and the Door.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Who invited me?

      R Brown
      I am lacking nothing
      Your god was created out of myths, superst i tions and folklore. Just like all gods that have ever been.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • BRC

      @Robert Brown,
      Except, the piece you refrenced doesn't say "Believers need a Declariation of Dependence" it said America does, and it doesn't. The nation as a whole doesn't need, and has nothing to do with any specific god or deity. It's a person to person issue, the nation should be left out of it.

      Also, your examples above (wind/gravity/dark matter) are not corollary to observing "God's" influence. You can't see "wind", but you can observe and measure pressure differential that it's crossing, and you can observe its effect in a way that eliminates all other possibilities. You can isolate gravity in the same way. dark matter is still technically a theory, we don't know that it cna't be observed, or that it even exists, only that we can scientifically derive evidence for its existence. "God" doesn't match any of the above. you can't measure a god, there is nothing that has been attributed to gods that doesn't have an equally or more plausible alternative, and there as of now is no evidence of one's existence.

      Believers don't see evidence for "God" everywhere. They DECIDE that there is evidence for "God" everwhere, there is an enormous difference. Ironically, because many believers have the bottom line position that ALL creation is proof of "God", they would be less likely to notice an anomoly that actually did stand out as unique compared to the rest of the observable world, and could draw the supernatural into serious discussion. that would be found by the skeptic, who actually asks questions and views the world critically.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Who invited me?,
      I am sorry you think that way. Hopefully, someday you will have a change of heart.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Who invited me?

      R brown
      Don't try that holier than thou pity crap on me.
      You follow a beleif based on nothing but the works of man, created by men, to control men like you, puppet
      I would need a complete lobotomy to lower my intelligence enough where any of the bible would seem even slightly plausible.
      There are none so blind as those who are told what to see.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "You can’t see wind, just it’s effects. You can’t see gravity, just its effects. You can’t see dark energy, just its effects"

      You can test for all those things, unless of course you're floating and given your posts and the number of fallacies within, it is safe to say the only thing floating is the one brain cell you have left. You can't test for god!

      July 16, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Robert Brown

      BRC,
      You are correct the author did use America instead of believers, undoubtedly because it is where he lived, he was very patriotic, and he knew a lot about history and how God has dealt with nations as a whole in the past. You are also correct it is a person to person issue.
      The proof of God is primarily spiritual not physical. So while skeptics do explain it away, to someone who has had a very real experience with God it is not easily dismissed. Further, with each spiritual experience faith increases. Faith does cause the believer to decide that creation is the work of the creator.
      In the cases I am aware of, those who came to God, came believing that he is. What varies is how they came to believe he is.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Cal

      Spiritual "experience" is one of the things that makes me question religions the most. Members of each religion have claimed an "experience" that to an objective observer appears the same as those of every other religion, yet the members of each religion claim that "experiance" as prove of THIER God. No offense intended Mr Brown, but yours is not the only religion who has used that argument.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Get Real

      deano, "Arizona pastor who was jailed and fined for holding bible study in his home?"

      The man around the block from me was fined for repeatedly ignoring city codes by having huge garage sales every weekend. He is Portuguese. I wonder if he'll file a discrimination suit?

      This "pastor" was breaking city codes and regulations.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      TruthPrevails :-),
      You are correct you can’t test for God using methods that test for physical things. To “test for God” you will have to follow his spiritual directions.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Who invited me?,
      I can’t claim any level of holiness so I don’t claim to be holier than anyone. You keep referring to men controlling men. I just don’t see the motivation for anyone wanting to do that, now, or, in the past. Control when the bible was written was literally by brute force. Today, it is primarily by economic means. I am sorry for upsetting you, it was not my intent and I hope you have a great day.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Cal,
      1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
      Have you tested any of them for yourself?

      July 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      R Brown
      You do not see where religion is used to control people?
      Look at any of these blogs, you will see this one and that one quoting "scriptures" to condemn the actions of others.
      Go to any service and try to question anything, you will get peer pressure to conform (control)
      If you do not see that religion is ABSOLUTELY used as a control mechanism, then I would advise you to take some sociology, psychology and anthropology classes. You will see evidence of EVERY religion being used to control people.
      It IS what religion is for.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Robert Brown

      Attempting to use wind, gravity, or dark energy as an analogy for "the spirit" is sooooooooooooo stupid. I really expected more from you. Christians and other god believers cannot provide skeptics with MEASURABLE, reliable, and verifiable elements to prove that their actually is a "spirit realm" or anything you guys claim that is there in relation to your god belief. We can reliably measure and verify wind, gravity, and dark energy all day long.

      What "spiritual law" can a skeptic "follow" / put in to practice that will provide measurable, verifiable results that demonstrate ANY god or spirit realm–much less the one you claim is THE one-and-only god? Please, do tell.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Who invited me?,
      No, I don’t see the motivation for the people who wrote the bible to use religion to control people. What would be their motivation to control others? I think there are so called religions who use Gods word to steal peoples money. Thieves and con artist exist in organized religion. I was really trying to point out that when the bible was written I don’t believe that was the writers motivation. I think they were led by God’s holy spirit to write what they wrote not to try and get in someone ones pocket or exert control over others for the writers purposes.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Moby Schtick,
      I think you are probably not sincere with your question, but I could possibly be wrong or someone else would benefit, so I will try to answer. Faith comes by hearing the word of God preached in the power of his holy spirit. So, if the skeptic is interested enough to listen then what he hears can increase his faith enough until he accepts Jesus as his savior. A person hears the word, realizes they are a sinner, asks for forgiveness, and receives Jesus. I certainly hope you give it a try Moby. What trips up really smart folks is that they think there is something more they have to do. How could it be so simple and absolutely free?

      July 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Robert

      So, you offer nothing measurable or verifiable. Feelings about "this god" or "that preaching" being effective or bringing about "a wonderful peace" or "a measure of faith" are claimed and felt by believers of almost every god and cult out there. For myself, I was a christian for almost half a century and had all sorts of feelings. Even now, I could preach to "bring down the house" and I would have all the as.sociated feelings of power and presence and faith. I can sing along to certain praise and worship or pray or be in a group of believers and feel the exact same way without belief as I did with sincere belief.

      Feelings aren't proof. What can be MEASURED and TESTED to insure that your belief in your god is the correct one? What can a person with the correct faith DO that a person without that faith cannot do? Nothing; nothing. Nothing.

      July 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Moby Schtick,
      I will agree with you that feelings are not proof. People define feelings and emotions in different ways. Some people are much more emotional than others. My personal spiritual experiences while at times involve feelings, are not merely feelings. I don’t write that to downplay your experiences or feelings. I just mean, to me, the Holy Spirit and feelings are not comparable.
      I haven’t been alive as long as you were a Christian so I don’t suppose I will win you over with my worldly or spiritual wisdom. Haven’t you ever wondered why God saw fit to give us 11 chapters out of the first book in the bible to cover 2000+ years of creation and human religious history, knowing that someday humans would develop scientific knowledge and wonder. Then he gives us the remainder of it to cover 2000 years of human religious history. I think it means that he intended for us to know that he is the creator period, and that we are to live by faith, because all the rest of his book is the history of the spiritual redemption of mankind. All those who pleased him lived by faith. While there are examples of those who tested him, the ones he loved and blessed lived by faith.
      I have lost count of the folks I have shared ideas and thoughts with on here who were former Christians. I have searched the scriptures and prayed and have found nothing to respond with other than the parable of the sower. I have come to believe that he is ultimately responsible for the good ground that the seed falls in, and I am hopeful that you reach the point where you are good ground soon. The good ground is a broken heart and contrite spirit. No doubt if you were of the faith for over 50 years you have had good ground and will have it again. That is where your faith can be refound and just like the prodigal son, or daughter, you can return to the loving father.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert

      I don't know ifyou're aware of this, but you're sounding like an incredibly condescending dou.che.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Robert Brown

      Firstly, I appreciate your honest discussion and sincere tone. I have christian friends that tell me similar things, and I know that they mean well and that they only want what they think is best for me. After almost half a century as a christian and a handful of years as an atheist, I would agree that without some faith/delusion, the cold reality of our existence can be too daunting. I just disagree that the faith must include a god figure for which there is no proof or good reason to believe in.

      I experienced many feelings and "spiritual experiences" as a christian. I don't want to embarrass myself, so I'll refrain from telling one or more of several dozen stories, but I know what you mean about sensing "the power of god." At the time, I saw the experiences as incontrovertible knowledge that my ideas about god were correct. Now I believe otherwise and that those experiences were simply produced by certain functions of my brain. As an atheist, I have found GREATER peace than the incredible peace that I experienced in times of lengthy fasting and intense prayer. I would never have believed it possible at the time, but now I know otherwise. I have found GREATER meaning than the meaning that I understood as a "child of god" and a "workman for his glory." I have a DEEPER spirituality than the wonderful warmth and "river flow" of being "in god's presence." And here's the kicker: I can still do all those things. I can and have gone along with christian excursions and "entered in" to their experience and "joy in the lord." I have zero doubt that I could preach even better than I ever have before and every believer would fully believe that I was "anointed by god" and that my message was "straight from god's heart to theirs." And NONE would doubt that I was a "fellow brother in christ."

      But the center does not hold. Pure and accurate logical reasoning falsifies the god of the bible. It took me years from the time I realized this to the time I was able to more fully investigate it, and years and years more to the time I was able to face it squarely and admit that I had no reason to continue on in the delusion I had been taught my entire life. Agnostic atheism wasn't a change in belief, it was a simple realization. Not an easy one, but an obvious one nonetheless.

      Yes, your experiences are valuable. So are/were mine. The fact of the matter is that your god comes from within you–so all the benefits that you receive from it are still there even after you realize that it's silly to believe he actually exists. A former believer has that "gift." After reading "Virus of the Mind" by Richard Brodie, I realized why that was so, and I realized that I could program myself according to the virtues I wanted to express within my being. I wont go into detail, but I never knew that living and thinking this way was even an option.

      It's the belief that's so crucial, Robert. Faith is appropriate when you use it to better yourself–not judge others or feel superior to them or feel as if "god will get them one day" or "fry them for eternity." Faith doesn't do anything, except change the inner being, and faith in a stupid, bronze age god, with fvcked up methods of showing "goodness" and "mercy" and "love" is just too stupid to get you very far. I left your god behind because he doesn't make as much sense as he needs to. There's better concepts out there. The gospel (good news) is that YOU get to define what is right and positive and then go about making it your reality. You can do it. You know full well where your god acts like a dvchebag and where he is a tyrant. You're much, much, much better than he is. Start acting like it and quit being a slave to an idea that does you more harm than good. C'mon, you can do this! Not most christians, but you can. I have faith in you! 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert

      I justrealized that my words could be taken wrong. I'm not trying to mock or dismiss your post, I'm just pointing out something you might not be aware of in your words, because I don't think that you mean to come acrss that way.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "But the center does not hold. Pure and accurate logical reasoning falsifies the god of the bible."

      @Chad "really? how?
      What was the irreconcilable contradiction that you found?

      July 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      There are many, Chad. But you don't enter into discussion or debate honestly, and you move the goalposts anytime you see the ball move an inch toward your goal. Go troll someone else.

      July 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "There are many"
      @Chad "really, such as? I see many atheists that make that claim, but have yet to meet many that would/could actually provide specifics... Virtually all atheists just arent familiar enough with the bible to put together a case in the first place.

      @Moby Schtick "But you don't enter into discussion or debate honestly, and you move the goalposts anytime you see the ball move an inch toward your goal. Go troll someone else."
      @Chad "that's another very common accusation leveled against theists, but here's the thing that always puts it to bed: "example please?"

      July 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad

      I'm not talking about "many theists," I'm talking about YOU, specifically. There's a wide range of behavior from theists. Some of them are quite honest in their approach and willing to debate with a true desire to attain more understanding about the topic or the various viewpoints of the theistic or atheistic position. You are not one such individual. I've had several conversations with you and I've read several others. I'm not giving you some "typical response," I'm giving you a specific, just-for-Chad as.sessment.

      From my perspective, you're not worth talking to because you would rather demonstrate how easily a believer of any non-provable position can squirm and weasel out of or into any corridor of your philosophy than address the poor logic your position makes necessary or the reasonable logic of the opposing position. I already know how easily any believer of any esoteric belief can perform such feats. I don't need your further demonstration.

      July 17, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @chad

      Ok...I've got one. Not exactly a contradiction so much as a passage in the OT that was taken out of context...plus a translation that is skewed to mean something it doesn't.
      Isaiah 7:14
      Matthew(or more accurately the anonymous author who penned the book attributed to Matthew) uses this Ot passage to create an apparent prophesy where none actually exists. Isaiah wasn't talking about the birth of Jesus 600 years later. He was referring to a pregnant woman who was alive when he was and predicting that her son would grow up to depose a king who was a reigning at the time. This is where an atheist can throw the word "context" back at the believer who glosses over what Isaiah was actually talikng about. Further Isaiah uses the hebrew word "almah" which means "young maiden". If he truly wanted to specify that she was a virgin he would have used the word "betulah". But "Matthew" was eager to mystify the legend of Jesus both by linking the OT to the NT with this false prophesy and creating the "miracle" of a virgin birth.
      Clearly both camps(literary scholars and biblical apologists) have a different views about what is going on here but the common sense approach clearly shows that the scribes of the burgeoning christian faith were willfully distorting what the Old Testament said to favor their agenda. Otherwise you must accept the impossibility of centuries old prophesy and magical impregnation. There is no middle ground. Maybe that was convincing to second century uneducated peasants but not to 20th century intelligencia. There is a disparity of grandeur to the scope of miracles that would settle the argument quite easily. In the OT God performed massive displays of power...talking animals and plants, global floods, parting the sea, people turned to stone, the sun halted in it's motion across the sky, In the NT Jesus performs David Copperfieldesque parlor tricks by comparison....loaves and fishes, water into wine, walkiing on water blah blah blah. Today what do we get...events that are indistinguishable from coincidence or blind luck, claims of medical healing(but never a regenerated lost limb) Jesus' image on toast...etc. What's going on? Has God lost the ability or power to do really big mind-blowing things? Why waste the really cool stuff on ancient people who were ignorant enough to be impressed by much less yet not show us, people who would be properly impressed by physically impossible things. God's obvious flaw is the fact that he isn't obvious at all.

      July 17, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "But you don't enter into discussion or debate honestly, and you move the goalposts anytime you see the ball move an inch toward your goal. Go troll someone else."
      @Chad "that's another very common accusation leveled against theists, but here's the thing that always puts it to bed: "example please?"
      @Moby Schtick "From my perspective, you're not worth talking to because you would rather demonstrate how easily a believer of any non-provable position can squirm and weasel out of or into any corridor of your philosophy than address the poor logic your position makes necessary or the reasonable logic of the opposing position. I already know how easily any believer of any esoteric belief can perform such feats. I don't need your further demonstration."

      @Chad "I guess I wasnt clear enough.. I asked for a specific example..?

      July 17, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe Moby wasn't clear enough for you Chard. You're a dishonest little sh!t who isn't worth the time.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad

      I'll try again:

      I don't care what you think about my position or my arguments. I don't care to provide you and specifics or examples. I don't care if you think I'm 100% wrong and you're 100% right. I don't care about these things because of your method of discussion.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby,
      ok, got it. unsubstantiated claim, that's fine.
      thanks

      July 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @atheist Steve

      excellent question, and if memory serves, you've posed good questions before.

      will respond in full later.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad

      Exactly, Chad. I don't care to substantiate anything or explain anything or tailor my arguments when it comes to a discussion with someone who uses such immature tactics of discussion as you do in every single conversation you have, here.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      I've given you the contradictory nature of the god of the bible, and the logical contradictions within the character and supposed actions of that god. All you ever do is move the goal posts, use special pleading, and shift the burden of proof. You're like a huffy teen whining about the grown ups using big words.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Moby Schtick,
      Thank you for all the kind words, and I, on one hand am happy that you are at peace and on the other disturbed. I agree with your statement that faith should not be used by people to judge others, but I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on the overall subject of God. While some of the things he did, as recorded in the bible, I wouldn’t attempt to explain, I do believe that it was all for our good. I have heard testimonies from people who were ardent God deniers, then, God did something that changed their heart and mind. If that is what it takes, I hope he provides it for you as well.

      July 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest I've given you the contradictory nature of the god of the bible, and the logical contradictions within the character and supposed actions of that god. All you ever do is move the goal posts, use special pleading, and shift the burden of proof. You're like a huffy teen whining about the grown ups using big words."

      @Chad "guess you are referring to your claim that God cant be omnipotent and omniscient? That was dealt with in depth.
      Or another claim (dont know if you made it or not) is that "free will" is incompatible with omniscience. that was dealt with also..

      actually, I see those are also dealt with here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_free_will

      If you have anything new, let me know.

      July 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      LOL your wiki page is funny. Reconceptualizing what the terms means, not to mention adding the whole "oh he's outside time as well". Well let's just ignore this then, since neither of us will give ground.

      I was speaking more to the concept of eternal punishment for finite crimes being wholly unjust (and god as defined by the bible is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of justice), not to mention being completely at odds with the concept of all-loving.

      As for Omnipotence, depending how you define it, itcould be self-contradictory all on its own.

      July 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "LOL your wiki page is funny. Reconceptualizing what the terms means, not to mention adding the whole "oh he's outside time as well"."
      @Chad "you really should endeavor to get educated, see what's out there in terms of philosophical arguments. None of what you are saying (of in my responses) is new stuff. This has been hashed and re-hashed for thousands of years.
      wiki has a good survey of the positions, read it! what do you have to loose?

      =====
      @hawaiiguest "I was speaking more to the concept of eternal punishment for finite crimes being wholly unjust (and god as defined by the bible is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of justice), not to mention being completely at odds with the concept of all-loving."
      @Chad "I guess I have lost track of how many times you said that, and I have responded, but here it is again:
      1. God doesnt torture us for eternity, we choose to be separate from God – He allows that separation, it is that separation that is the source of the torment.
      2.. God doesnt put us in eternal torment, we put ourselves there.

      again, I would encourage you to do some reading. You probably are completely unfamiliar with the enormous body of thought that has been chronicled on exactly these issues. Nothing that you or I say is going to be anything new...

      July 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  5. AGuest9

    A quick recap:

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still a cult, like all the others.
    The Greek Orthodox church is still a cult, like all the others.
    Sheep will believe that statues can bleed, cry, etc.
    Germany will allow baby boys to continue to be mutilated for "religious" purposes.
    Islamists are following in the footsteps of Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Jones.
    Someone thinks he can change the fairy tales taught by the LDS with a lawsuit.
    A look at yet another cult – one that the OTHER cults call "a cult."
    A hotel owner replaces one work of fiction with another in his suites.
    A "scholar" elevates a university sports program to the level of a cult, and CNN puts it on their Belief Blog.
    Post-traumatic church syndrome is finally addressed, and by the looks of people on this blog, an intervention is sorely needed across this country.
    Finally – get the hell out of my hotel room, and stop interfering with whatever my girlfriend and I want to do there!

    July 16, 2012 at 6:28 am |
  6. UK Dave & my fellow scientists

    Perhaps more handshakes are necessary!
    Drop the poison first!

    July 16, 2012 at 5:35 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.