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My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?'
August 4th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?'

Editor’s note: Timothy Keller is senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and author of The New York Times best-selling book "The Reason for God." His book for church leaders, "Center Church," will be published in September.

By Timothy Keller, Special to CNN

(CNN)–When I was diagnosed with cancer, the question “Why me?” was a natural one.

Later, when I survived but others with the same kind of cancer died, I also had to ask, “Why me?”

Suffering and death seem random, senseless.

The recent Aurora, Colorado, shootings — in which some people were spared and others lost — is the latest, vivid example of this, but there are plenty of others every day: from casualties in the Syria uprising to victims of accidents on American roads. Tsunamis, tornadoes, household accidents - the list is long.

As a minister, I’ve spent countless hours with suffering people crying: “Why did God let this happen?” In general I hear four answers to this question. Each is wrong, or at least inadequate.

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

The first answer is “I guess this proves there is no God.” The problem with this thinking is that the problem of senseless suffering does not go away if you abandon belief in God.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that if there was no higher divine law, there would be no way to tell if any particular human law was unjust. Likewise, if there is no God, then why do we have a sense of outrage and horror when suffering and tragedy occur? The strong eat the weak, there is no meaning, so why not?

Friedrich Nietzsche exemplified that idea. When the atheist Nietzsche heard that a natural disaster had destroyed Java in 1883, he wrote a friend: “Two-hundred-thousand wiped out at a stroke—how magnificent!”

Because there is no God, Nietzsche said, all value judgments are arbitrary. All definitions of justice are just the results of your culture or temperament.

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

As different as they were, King and Nietzsche agreed on this point. If there is no God or higher divine law then violence is perfectly natural.

So abandoning belief in God doesn’t help with the problem of suffering at all.

The second response to suffering is: “While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything. He couldn’t stop this.”

But that kind of God doesn’t really fit our definition of “God.” So that thinking hardly helps us with reconciling God and suffering.

The third answer to the worst kind of suffering – seemingly senseless death – is: “God saves some people and lets others die because he favors and rewards good people.”

But the Bible forcefully rejects the idea that people who suffer more are worse people than those who are spared suffering.

This was the self-righteous premise of Job’s friends in that great Old Testament book. They sat around Job, who was experiencing one sorrow after another, and said “The reason this is happening to you and not us is because we are living right and you are not.”

At the end of the book, God expresses his fury at Job’s ”miserable comforters.” The world is too fallen and deeply broken to fall into neat patterns of good people having good lives and bad people having bad lives.

The fourth answer to suffering in the face of an all-powerful God is that God knows what he’s doing, so be quiet and trust him.

This is partly right, but inadequate. It is inadequate because it is cold and because the Bible gives us more with which to face the terrors of life.

God did not create a world with death and evil in it. It is the result of humankind turning away from him. We were put into this world to live wholly for him, and when instead we began to live for ourselves everything in our created reality began to fall apart, physically, socially and spiritually. Everything became subject to decay.

But God did not abandon us. Only Christianity of all the world’s major religions teaches that God came to Earth in Jesus Christ and became subject to suffering and death himself, dying on the cross to take the punishment our sins deserved, so that someday he can return to Earth to end all suffering without ending us.

Do you see what this means? We don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be.

It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself.

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Someone might say, “But that’s only half an answer to the question ‘Why?'” Yes, but it is the half that we need. If God actually explained all the reasons why he allows things to happen as they do, it would be too much for our finite brains.

What we truly need is what little children need. They can’t understand most of what their parents allow and disallow for them. They need to know their parents love them and can be trusted. We need to know the same thing about God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Timothy Keller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • God

soundoff (3,664 Responses)
  1. Voice of Truth

    The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      He's making a list
      and checking it twice.
      He's going to find out who's naughty and nice.
      Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You better watch out
      You better not pout
      You better not cry
      I'm telling you why
      Santa Claus is coming to town

      August 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Voice of Truth

      Keep mocking, you'll get to meet him someday.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      He knows when you are sleeping

      August 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      He knows when you're awake.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      He knows if you've been bad or good

      August 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So be good for fucks sake, or he'll stab you in the eye!!
      Beware his unholy ice pick of doooooooooom!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      HA!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Shiloh

      How old are you kids? I'm just curious.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      *whisper* doooooooom *whisper*

      August 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Shiloh

      You said, "How old are you kids? I'm just curious."
      Old enough to have outgrown fairy tales. Can't say the same for believers, it appears.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Shiloh

      27 actually. Oh I forgot, anything to attempt to descredit people. Got it.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Keep mocking, you'll get to meet him someday."

      mock, mock, mock....

      your god is an impotent petty punk.

      now, get back on your knees and grovel

      August 8, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  2. GOD PARTICLE UK Dave

    WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A SORE LOSER? 😦 😦 😦

    August 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  3. Shiloh

    Food for Thought

    A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers–including even his power to revolt...It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower. –C.S. Lewis

    To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, "I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge" –Ravi Zacharias

    A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. –Francis Bacon

    My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying that it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.–C.S. Lewis

    August 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @Shiloh, well said. "Mere Christianity" a fantastic read.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shiloh

      You have no clue what an atheist is and neither do the quotes you posted. You are sorely misinformed and totally oblivious to reality.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Lewis was angry at god. We just think the whole christian fairy tale is absurd.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Shiloh

      "To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, "I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge" –Ravi Zacharias"

      It's too bad that atheism is not the assertion that there is not god/gods. Then again, facts are to be ignored when it doesn't work for idiotic hyperbole right?

      August 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Chad

      You will need to qualify that with correct modifier..

      Strong (positive) atheism is a term used to describe the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist.[1]

      Weak/soft (negative) atheism refers to any other type of atheism, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deities, but without asserting there to be none.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      The correct modifiers would be gnostic atheist and agnostic atheist.
      Now, the word atheist itself does not automatically equal someone who asserts that there are no gods, so my comment still stands.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Chad

      Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact

      if you want to be known as an "agnostic atheist", you are no longer allowed to say you disbelieve in God
      😉

      quite a conundrum.. not be allowed to ever again say you disbelieve in God.. or,, accept the "weak atheism" moniker..

      what to do.. what to do..

      August 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad, why do you even post here? Do you really think you're making a difference?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Oh Christ! Not more of this same-old-tired-strong-atheist-weak-atheist equivocation from Chad-the-Dishonest?!

      hawaiiguest – why, oh why, do you encourage the moronic narcissist to continue peddling his shopworn nonsense?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      And when have I said "disbelief"? I have always said I do not believe, or have a lack of belief. Just because you can't comprehend what others believe doesn't give you leave to make it up as you go along. Besides, disbelief would still apply, since it is the refusal to accept something as true or real. Nothing within that definition gives information on whether the actual thing is really true or not. Useless dishonesty from you chad. Then again, there's not much else that I could expect from you.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "if you want to be known as an "agnostic atheist", you are no longer allowed to say you disbelieve in God 😉"
      Bullshit. There is a fundamental difference between:
      a) Believing there are no gods, and
      b) Not believing, or disbelieving there are any gods.

      Option a) is a statement of belief (strong atheism or gnostic atheism), while option b) is one of disbelief (weak atheism or agnostic atheism).

      I have no knowledge of any gods currently existing, or ever having existed, hence I'm agnostic. The complete and utter lack of even so much as a hint at their existence leads me to disbelieve there are any. The complete lack of evidence actually make belief in gods rather silly.

      It really is that simple.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Chad

      LinCA..
      try again, especially the difference between "disbelieving" and "not holding a belief"

      buy, you guys sure hate that moniker "weak atheism".. you want to shake your fist at God so badly..
      why?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Why do you say Lewis was angry at God – do you mean while he himself was an athiest?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @LinCA –

      Chad is either too dishonest or too thick (or both) to understand nuance – this has been demonstrated over, and over, and over again. Don't engage him. Ridicule him. That's the best he deserves.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Chad

      disbelief: the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.
      fundamentally different than "not holding a belief"

      embrace your weakness!!
      😉

      August 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard, do you shake your fist at leprechauns because when you get to the end of the rainbow there's no pot of gold?

      Why are you such a fvckin' moron that you think anyone is angry at something that they don't see any evidence for?

      What atheists get angry about is morons like you that insist there IS a god because you believe in one and you are sure you're right.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Thick"? Hardly. He's a needle-dick.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Are you seriously saying that "refusal to believe as true" and "not believing" are different?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "try again, especially the difference between "disbelieving" and "not holding a belief""
      There is no difference.

      You said, "buy, you guys sure hate that moniker "weak atheism".."
      I have no problem with the term "weak atheism", although I prefer agnostic atheism as it more clearly describes my position.

      You said, "you want to shake your fist at God so badly..
      why?
      "
      You really are dense, aren't you? You have to be a believer to shake your fist at gods. An atheist can't. It's the complete insanity and delusion on the part of it's followers that is a major cause for concern.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Even Chad's own cut&paste definition demonstrates he lacks comprehension (idiot). I'm sure LinCa and Tom-TTPS saw that; however, Chad never will.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Really-O?

      OH! Clearly LinCA and Hawaiiguest already spotted Chad's idiocy. What to go, Chad!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I just can't resist stating the obvious –

      Chad = dishonest asshat

      August 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true."
      Until there is evidence for gods, it is completely moronic to believe they exist, therefor I refuse to believe that there are any.

      You said, "not holding a belief"
      Until there is evidence for gods, it is completely moronic to believe they exist, therefor I will not be holding a belief that there are any.

      Looks identical to me. Neither says that I believe there not to be any gods. Better try a little harder.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Hey Chad...have you considered my recommendation to pursue some higher learning? You really would benefit.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Chad

      I refer you to the definitions of the terms (sorry.. I know you dont want to do that.. but it seems best when arguing about definitions to consult the definitions?).

      Strong (positive) atheism is a term used to describe the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist.[1]

      Weak/soft (negative) atheism refers to any other type of atheism, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deities, but without asserting there to be none.

      Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact

      as you can see, the differentiation from agnostic atheism and weak atheism is "not holding a belief" vs "disbelieving"

      August 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad still can't see his idiocy. He's like one of Skinner's pigeons. Tragic!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Wow chad you really are either a moron or a poe.

      "Strong (positive) atheism is a term used to describe the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist.[1]

      Weak/soft (negative) atheism refers to any other type of atheism, wherein a person does not believe in the existence of any deities, but without asserting there to be none.

      Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact."
      EXACT. SAME. WORDING. YOU. ASSHAT.
      I'm willing to think that you're just a poe. I don't know if you could really be that fucking stupid.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @hawaiiguest –

      It's like playing a board game with a five year old!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You seem to be grasping at straws.

      The fact that I find a belief in gods patently ridiculous means that my atheism is close to a form of strong atheism, but that doesn't mean that I'm not an agnostic atheist. Virtually every atheist that isn't explicitly a strong atheist is an agnostic one.

      Even newborns, are agnostic atheists. Not because they've evaluated all available "evidence" and have come to a reasoned conclusion that religious beliefs are bullshit, but because they have no knowledge of gods.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Is anyone other than me starting to think Chad is a poe?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Chad

      From http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/strong_weak.htm

      Weak atheism, also sometimes referred to as implicit atheism, is simply another name for the broadest and most general conception of atheism: the absence of belief in any gods. A weak atheist is someone who lacks theism and who does not happen to believe in the existence of any gods — no more, no less. This is also sometimes called agnostic atheism because most people who self-consciously lack belief in gods tend to do so for agnostic reasons.

      so if you go by the atheist definition of the terms, if you dont hold a belief that God exists because you feel it cant be known, you would be an agnostic atheist.

      so, adopting the moniker of "agnostic atheist" means you cant come on here anymore and yell at people for not proving He does exist, all you can do is say "it cant be known"..

      what to do.. what to do...
      😉

      August 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @hawaiiguest

      You said, "Is anyone other than me starting to think Chad is a poe?"
      No, I don't think so, but I could be wrong. He is awfully persistent. I expect him to be a "true believer", but one that now is forced to mostly convince himself that his god is real.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Ok I am officially stating my opinion that Chad is a poe. Too stupid to be real, or maybe I just have too high an opinion of humanity.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I tend to agree with LinCA. If Chad is a poe, he's wicked clever.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I guess I do just have too high an opinion of humanity.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Chad

      I did forget about option #3.. call me names, ignore the definition because you want to say you dont believe in God, but hate the "weak atheist" moniker.. and proceed as usual...

      The only problem with option #3 is the obvious challenge to intellectual honesty it (may) present..

      August 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "so, adopting the moniker of "agnostic atheist" means you cant come on here anymore and yell at people for not proving He does exist, all you can do is say "it cant be known".."
      Well, duh.

      I know that. But I'm not the one making the ridiculous claims. By requesting that the believers back up there bullshit assertions, I hope to encourage them to rationally evaluate their beliefs. I know they won't be able to back up their infantile beliefs, but one can hope that they realize that too, at some point.

      It's the exact same thing as if someone claimed to firmly believe in the Tooth Fairy. I'm positive you can't conclusively prove that she doesn't exist, but it is even less likely to be proven that she exists.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      "Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact"

      That's from your own post moron.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad...master of denial.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      agnosticism does not stop at "oh it can't ever be known oh well", and YOU even acknowledged that it included "currently unknown" until it became better for your point to ignore the part where it said "currently unknown".

      August 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      An apology from Chadwatch:

      Earlier it was suspected that Shiloh was actually just another Chad alias, but we at Chadwatch make every attempt to be certain of our claims and were unable to release a warning in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this has led to an unfortunate incident in which otherwise good, earnest, thoughtful people have been drawn into an engagement with The Chad.

      The current situation appears to be that The Chad has drawn several citizens into a maddeningly tedious semantic argument, relying heavily upon selective cut and paste quotation (often quote-mined or misrepresented) which as we speak is circling down the drain. Chadwatch recommends the following safety measures be taken:
      1. Protect the occular and orbital muscles from fatigue or damage from sudden and repeated eye rolling.
      2. Consider wearing protective head gear to avoid pulling your own hair out.
      3. Neck braces are recommended to avoid damage from head being spun around by runaway circular reasoning.
      4. Consider a breath mint as you may find frequent violent sighs of exasperation escaping your throat.

      Remember, the safest policy is to avoid engaging Chad at all. Maintain eye contact, back slowly away, and remember to protect any nearby children as their understanding of science and critical thinking may be severely damaged.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Chad is no poe. From my conversations with him (I assume him for convenience) he appears to enjoy thinking that he has 'trapped' people in intricate logical webs of his own weaving. Only he does no such thing.

      Terms like 'weak atheism', 'strong atheism', 'agnostic atheism', 'atheistic agnosticism' – these are a drawerful of useless pseudo-academic terms.

      They're no different to making up terms like Chreasters – Christians who only show up to church on Christmas and Easter. Humorous diversions, but don't have bearing on belief.

      One either believes in God, or not. There is no need for further refinement of the definition of atheism.

      The nonsense about transferrence of belief in God to belief in the non-existence of God (aka atheism is a religion) is intended as an intellectual trap which I presume is passed around at prayer groups when the topic is 'how to handle atheists'. It presupposes belief instead of disbelief, which I suppose is understandable for those who have insufficient critical thinking not to believe.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Chad

      This may help some more:

      One of the earliest definitions of agnostic atheism is that of Robert Flint, in his Croall Lecture of 1887–1888 (published in 1903 under the title Agnosticism).
      The atheist may however be, and not unfrequently is, an agnostic. There is an agnostic atheism or atheistic agnosticism, and the combination of atheism with agnosticism which may be so named is not an uncommon one.[5]
      If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist – an atheist because an agnostic... while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other

      the key qualifier is clearly the motivation for the disbelief. To be known as an agnostic atheist, is to not believe on the grounds that you feel it cant be known.

      what to do!!!

      August 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Hey Chad – are you in seminary? I have a lot of friends who have gone and was just curious. I went to Capernwray Bible School in the north of England for my fortieth birthday – great experience, it was international – 190 students from 26 different countries. It really gave me a different understanding of the Church meeting so many believers from so many cultures. I take it you like C.S. Lewis – I visited Oxford, Cambridge and even went to the Kilns. Are you familiar with the college that is opening in the northeast – C.S. Lewis College. Hobby Lobby bought an old D.L. Moody campus in Mass. and has committed it for this purpose – it will be all graduate students. Keep posting : )

      August 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      the full entry from the online Oxford English Dictionary:

      athesim, n
      Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God. Also, Disregard of duty to God, godlessness (practical atheism).

      Normally the OED has all kinds of definitions. In this case there is only one definition.

      Q. Why is that?
      A. There is only one.

      It is quite satisfactory to me and I am an atheist, so on that matter, I feel my opinion is more relevant than yours.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Chad

      Hi @Shiloh, no, not in seminary.. lot of bible study that's it 🙂

      I like C.S. Lewis a great deal, and I love listening to the debates between leading theists/atheists, great stuff.

      keep the faith!

      August 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer, the discussion of weak/strong only comes in when an atheist is queried as to whether or not they have a belief that God does not exist.

      Do you believe that God does not exist?

      August 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Really-O?

      As though more copy&paste from Chad really makes a difference.

      atheism roots –
      a – without
      theism – belief in the existence of a god or gods

      ...therefore, atheism literally means "without belief in the existence of a god or gods". Chad continues to deny this fact (dishonest) or is incapable of understanding it. Either way, Chad's an asshat.
      ...

      August 7, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "the key qualifier is clearly the motivation for the disbelief. To be known as an agnostic atheist, is to not believe on the grounds that you feel it cant be known."
      It doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. It doesn't mean that agnostic atheists are somewhere in the middle. Some may be, quite a few aren't.

      But let me reiterate. It can't be known whether there are any gods (I'm agnostic). That means that it is therefor unreasonable to believe it exists (and hence, I don't believe so I'm an atheist). And by extension, the atheistic position is the only rational one.

      I'm an agnostic atheist because there is no evidence in support of any gods, but also no conclusive proof there aren't any. It can't be known with 100% certainty that there aren't any gods.

      The fact that I can't establish with 100% certainty that there aren't any gods, doesn't lend any credibility to the claim that there are. The complete absence of any support for the claim that there are gods, makes that a rather silly one.

      Enough about me, let's talk about you for a while. Where do you stand? Do you consider yourself a gnostic theist? An agnostic one, perhaps?

      August 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "Normally the OED has all kinds of definitions. In this case there is only one definition."

      =>hmm.. sort of..
      athesim, n
      Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God. Also, Disregard of duty to God, godlessness (practical atheism).

      Disbelief: inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real:
      Denial: the action of denying something:

      as above.. do you simply disbelieve, or do you deny the existence of God?

      August 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Holy crap! In the same thread, the "definition" Chad uses for disbelief has changed! What a dishonest SOB!

      August 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Chad

      I am most certainly a theist, I know that the existence of God can be known.

      The God of Abraham is real, He sent His son Jesus Christ to this earth to save it thru His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Chad

      really wish you would pay attention Really-O, I was responding to GOPer's use of the OED definition of the word "atheist"...

      August 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Really-O?

      More than unsupported claims from the incorrigible Chad

      August 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Really-O?

      "More unsupportable", not "More than unsupportable".

      August 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "do you simply disbelieve, or do you deny the existence of God?"
      In general I disbelieve gods exist, or I don't believe gods exist. Now, if on the other hand, you ask about belief in a specific god, you may get a different answer. For a specific god to exist, it can't have any mutually exclusive traits.

      Since you capitalize the word "god", I suspect you have a specific god in mind.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      as you well know, having told you several times, I simply .... don't ... believe ... in ... God.

      I don't have "faith" in the non-existence of God. (Atheism is not a religion, based on core 'beliefs').
      I don't secretly think that God exists and that I am in denial.
      I'm not looking for proof that God exists.
      I'm not looking for proof that God doesn't exist (a non-sequitur, as you well know).

      I simply don't believe in God, which is as I am laboring to point out, the definition of atheism.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @LinCA –

      Of course Chad means the god of Abraham, because, in his own words –

      "I dismiss all other gods other than the God of Abraham because the God of Abraham has told me that they aren't real."

      HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

      August 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad, (reposted)

      your (invented) defintion: Disbelief: inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real.

      From the OED:

      disbelief, n
      The action or an act of disbelieving; mental rejection of a statement or assertion; positive unbelief

      I mentally reject the assertion of God.

      It really isn't a complicated concept – you just try to make it so as you weave your pointless little webs of words to try to trap people and score points. It doesn't change anything.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Good night, I wish you all the best. I leave you with one last tidbit from Gamaliel – who is referenced in multiple texts apart from the Bible, hence I have no valid reason to not accept his input as real – it is quoted in Scripture, but I don't see the logic in someone going to the effort of making it up – we know he lived and that he was involved with the Sanhedrin.

      The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. “Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!”

      But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”

      When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them. But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.

      “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”

      The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.

      Gamaliel was a wise man (Paul's teacher in Judaism) – I wonder what he would say 2000 years later.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Hey Asshat (yes you, Chad). I'll detail for your dishonest (or/and stupid) self where your definition of disbelief changed in this thread.

      Here – August 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm – you stated 'disbelief: the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.
      fundamentally different than "not holding a belief" embrace your weakness!!' (with a lame emoticon)

      Whereas here – August 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm – you asked GOPer, "as above.. do you simply disbelieve, or do you deny the existence of God?"

      So which is it Chad, dishonest, stupid or both? Jac'kass.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Really-O?

      One has to ask, Chad...how many times will you take a shot to your junk before you decide to hold your knees together or leave the ring?

      August 8, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      Chad/Shiloh does not see himself as having taken yet another shot to the junk. In the uniquely unique mind of The Chad he has triumphed again, having defended the honor of the Lord in his own "Eddie Haskell of Christianity" idiom.

      (and furthermore, if you would just actually read Gould's work on Punctuated Equilibrium you all wouldn't sound SO FOOLISH)

      August 8, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Chad

      Not sure where you got that from,
      Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
      disbelief/dɪsbɪˈliːf/
      ▶noun
      inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real.

      Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
      denial/dɪˈnʌɪəl/
      ▶noun
      1 the action of denying something.

      so again, do you deny the existence of God? If you do, you are a strong atheist, if you dont, you are a weak atheist.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      dis·be·lief/ˌdisbəˈlēf/
      Noun:
      Inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real.
      Lack of faith in something.

      ---

      Funny how Chad has to lie to make a point. I can "gasp in disbelief as I watch the film of the 9/11 attack", you moron. I know that it happened; it's a fact.

      That is ONE of the definitions, and conveniently and dishonestly it's the only one you chose to post.

      You're such a slime-ball.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Chad is the slime on the slime ball's nuts.

      August 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Really-O?

      What happened to Chad using dictionary.com as his source for definitions? Oh, that's right...several weeks ago I ridiculed him for his ignorance of the OED. Now he refers to it as though it sits on his nightstand. Well, I guess at least he's capable of a semblance of learning. Too bad he simply uses good resources in dishonest ways. You are one slimy SOB, Chad.

      August 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who knew a self-professed "Christian" like Chad could be such a lying sack of sh!t?

      Oh, wait. So many of them here are just that.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "so again, do you deny the existence of God? If you do, you are a strong atheist, if you dont, you are a weak atheist."
      There is a fundamental difference between your specific god (capital "G" gods), and gods in general.

      With respect to gods in general, I am most certainly an agnostic atheist. There is no conclusive evidence there aren't any.

      The contradictory traits often assigned to the christian god make it impossible to exist and should lead any rational person to be a strong atheist with respect to it.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  4. Shiloh

    Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist. –C. S. Lewis

    August 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Chad

      right.. never heard an atheist explain why they are so angry at what they view is a fictional character..

      August 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shiloh

      Rage against a god? Give me a break! This is really stupid stuff your posting there shi*thead.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Voice of Reason –

      I find it interesting that you consider yourself qualified to assess the mentality of an Oxford professor – where is your degree from?

      August 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad & Shiloh

      Can't hate something that we don't think exists. Perhaps you're just using a soundbite from someone ignorant about the subject to try and make a complete non-point. Nah you wouldn't do that that's dishonest, and we all know that religious people are never dishonest . . . wait.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Shiloh

      You said, "Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist. –C. S. Lewis"
      I guess you have to be a believer to utter something so profoundly moronic.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Shiloh
      "Voice of Reason –
      I find it interesting that you consider yourself qualified to assess the mentality of an Oxford professor..."

      I am definitely qualified to assess an outright lie. I could give a rat's azz who the fu*ck says what as long as it rings true and this snippet that you offered-up as some sort of overpowering proof of atheists is plain ludicrous. Grow the fu*uck up, will ya?

      August 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Not angry at god of the bible or Jesus, they are fiction.

      Here is a just a taste as to what we are angry at.

      Faith healers bilk money out of believers by making them think prayer heals when there is no rational reason to think it does, or they don't get proper medical help for children because it is 'god's will' whether they live or die.

      Or they teach children satan is real and he is coming to steal their soul and they will burn in a lake of fire for eternity, it is child abuse.

      Or when they don't like someone or something (Barney, Tele Tubbies, Smurfs) and equate them to devil worship.

      Or when they blame natural disasters or tragedies as their gods judgment on the nation for the "sins" of h.o.m.o.s.e.xuality, atheism or anything else they don't like.

      Yep, no reason at all to ridicule these nutbags.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Shiloh - take two

      Voice of Reason – why would I receive something as truth from someone who sounds like an imbecil?

      Hawaii Guest – you'd have to talk to Oxford about such "lies" – they're the ones who published his material.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Shiloh – take two
      Voice of Reason – why would I receive something as truth from someone who sounds like an imbecil?"

      Listen, if you're going to call be an imbecile please learn how to spell it, that way it's more effective. By the way.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Shiloh

      So what? OoooOxford published something that must mean it's true. Sorry but it doesn't work that way.
      Although I'm sure that publishing has a rigorous process of fact checking so that it's all true...wait a sec.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      You said, "right.. never heard an atheist explain why they are so angry at what they view is a fictional character.."
      I'm pretty sure it's been explained to you numerous times. It's hardly the atheists fault that you are incapable or unwilling to understand it.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yah, but Lin, you forgot one salient point:

      CHAD IS AN IDIOT.

      This has been a public service announcement.

      THE MORE YOU KNOW....cue music.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Chad
      " never heard an atheist explain why they are so angry at what they view is a fictional character.."

      Is this the regular poster @Chad?

      That is a statement made only by newbies. I don't read every post here and I see that contention dealt with several times a day.

      This @Chad is either:
      - a newbie
      - suffering from severe memory loss
      - intractable
      - obtuse
      - lying

      August 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Voice of Reason

      Since we're into spelling errors me is not spelled be. : )

      Also, Truman Davis was not the author I was referring to. I did find another article on crucifixion in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine – 2006.

      In your comment you included his reference to ancient Christian authors and non-Christian authors, as well as modern authors – but then you jump to only focusing on the Bible – it's clear in his comment that wasn't his only source. He actually had a pretty decent bibliography listed – medical journals, archeology and so forth.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @A Frayed Knot –

      Yes, that is from the one and only dumba'ss Chad. He's posted (trolled?) that same comment numerous times in the past. Your list neglected "dishonest" (certainly) and "suffering from cognitive deficit" (not certain about this one, but little else makes sense).
      ...

      August 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Chad – they definitely are angry.

      No Truth Just Claims

      In your post you reference a number of things that any grounded true believer would agree with – the things you list are not Christianity per the Scriptures. As a Christian of 30+ years I take note of such red flags when I encounter some, if not all, of the things you listed (I don't have the list right in front of me so I won't say for sure). Just because someone attends church or is religious doesn't mean they are a true Christian. Besides that, people do stupid things across the board.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Correction to previous post – any true believer would not likely agree with.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      Even we at Chadwatch feel more sad than alarmed when The Chad is observed to not only take on aliases to prop up his own comments, but to actually stage conversations among his aliases. It almost makes us feel sorry for the little fella.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Shiloh,

      And just who is a "true" Christian? I'll bet you think that you are, right? How about Pat Robertson... is he a "true" Christian?; or Jerry Falwell... is he a "true" Christian? They just a couple of the ones who espouse those things that @No Truth, Just Claims mentioned. I can imagine that they would say that you are not a "true" Christian.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Really-O?

      As though more copy&paste from Chad really makes a difference.

      atheism roots –
      a – without
      theism – belief in the existence of a god or gods

      ...therefore, atheism literally means "without belief in the existence of a god or gods". Chad continues to deny this fact (dishonest) or is incapable of understanding it. Either way, Chad's an asshat.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Shiloh

      A Frayed Knot

      When I say "true Christian" I am referring to classic Christianity, not just someone who goes to church on Sunday or who is looking for emotional mish-mash. Classic Christianity as I have been taught is following Christ, allowing Him the final say in my life, trusting Him in His character – not as a vending machine or someone I control as in prayer. And He does answer – I've had enough intimate God & Lord experiences in my life to be confident that He is who He says He is. When I became a believer 30+ years ago I had a medical condition that was intractable – I prayed that God would heal it and it continued, I trusted Him in that and 11 years later I was blessed with a complete recovery, unexpectly – a surprise. I had been told at Mayo Clinic that it would never go away – Hallelujah! My life changed radically after that gift. During those years I didn't stop praying because God didn't give me what I wanted. He continued to show me His faithfulness and care, even when I struggled – and He brought me further into His love. In the Bible there were references about sin and there were references about lifestyle concerns to do with current culture at the time. I don't feel the need to necessarily submit to those lifestyle parameters from that period, but I do submit regarding abstaining from the things He tells me are sin – not because He'd throw me away if I did something – trust me, we all have – but because I appreciate everything He has done for me, in me and around me – I want to bless Him and so I make a choice to obey. That is a snapshot of true Christianity. I am not familiar with Pat Robertson's theology or Jerry Falwell's, so I will refrain from any comment. From what little I do know I'm skeptical of your accusation of them.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      So Shiloh, god took the time to heal you but allows children to suffer and die of cancer, starvation, ms, and any other number of maladies? What a humble position to take. Add this to my list above. And add your no true Scotsman fallacy. Add the fact you ignored my questions yesterday, something Christians who claim to know christianity have a habit of doing and was a large reason I realized the whole thing is bunk (actually that one turned out to be positive).

      August 8, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Shiloh

      No Truth Just Claims –

      Yesterday I finally went to bed – I have a restaurant to run and needed some rest. Which question are you referring to?

      Having a relationship with Christ does not remove my experience of suffering in a fallen world – what's the problem? Life is hard – I've had plenty of things in my life God hasn't changed, just because He doesn't give me everything I want doesn't mean He doesn't love me – duh!! Oftentimes children suffer because of adults and the choices they make......everyone suffers – do you think being born is easy for anyone – that's where it starts. I was lucky – I was a C-Section. I have learned to appreciate the quote" "Life must be lived forwards and understood backwards".

      I'm glad you're happy and content with your position as am I – I don't get points for changing anyone's mind – I might get a personal satisfaction of knowing someone else is receiving the same blessing I've come to know, but no points. If God doesn't work in your life to convince you of Himself that's fine with me – He knows what He's doing and He knows the ones who are and will be His. I wish you the best, your beliefs are your beliefs. I always appreciated the quote of Einstein's – "My reason tells me that God exists but it also tells me I can never know what He is." I may not know what God is but He has allowed me to know who He is, and that's better anyway.

      August 8, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Shiloh,

      My point was you claim god took the time to heal you but ignores others, I think that is an arrogant position, much like the idea that you have to be "humble" to have a personal relationship with god. Let's put that another way, " you have to be humble to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe"...yeah...ok.

      Also I know you ignored my question because I asked it multiple times, and you responded to others well after I posted.

      And Einstein was not a Christian, the type of god he believed in, I conceed could exist. Your personal god is a contradictory, bronze age myth.

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly." A. Einstein

      August 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Shiloh

      No truth just claims

      I don't believe that God ignores others – where do you get that? He chooses not to answer every request exactly as it is put to Him – that's His privilege, I've learned that He knows what He's doing when He doesn't. I have things that He hasn't given me the answer I was looking for – I don't consider that being Him ignoring me, that would be silly.

      Last night you made three demands for me to provide you with something – that's not asking a question. I'm going to call some of my friends who have a bit more involvement in that arena and see what is out there, if anything. This isn't where I spend most of my time, so it might be a few days – I think one of them is in Norway and I will need to check and see if they're back.

      I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are mere details – Einstein

      August 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Shilow,

      Your contention is god's answer is sometimes "no". My contention is if he answers prayers "yes" he always answers in such a way as it is indistinguishable from random chance and therefore it cannot be attributed to him. For instance if I have a headache and I pray to god to make it go away, and it goes away it is unreasonable to give credit to god. Why doesn't god heal an amputee, if someone grew an arm back after it was chopped off it would at least make the argument interesting. And please don't give me the tired argument that making his power obvious would take away our free will. The bible is full of instances where god interacted with humans and I have never heard their 'free will' was in any danger.

      As far as details, Einstein was refering to a god that does not interact with in time and space, that is a deistic god. A deistic god is possible but would completely rule out the christian god.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Colin

      Shiloh – a bit of ignorance or dishonesty on your part there, Shiloh

      If the former, please research facts before stating them. Here are some Einstein quotes on religion. In point of fact, Einstein was a complete atheist. I know he admired Spinoza and brandied the word “god” around as a metaphor for the numinous, but he certainly did not believe in the notions of life after death or a god that in any way worried itself with human beings. Indeed, he referred to this as “the god of the naïve man.” For example, in his 1954 letter to the Physicist Eric Gutkind, Einstein wrote,

      "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

      Here are some more quotes.

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

      "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

      "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

      "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his bodÿ"

      Ironic that a theist chooses to quote a famous atheist in support of their (most unlikey) proposition

      August 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Shiloh

      No truth Just claims

      I agree with your headache analogy, but that isn't as good as it gets. Especially when you go into the church around the world – the Lord continues to do amazing things, miraculous things where people are open to receive. A friend of mine – a well respected physical trainer – college educated type – went on a mission trip to Kenya (I think.....somewhere in that vicinity). A crippled deformed man came up at a service they were holding and asked for prayer – Jim, my friend, was a bit overwhelmed by the man's condition and evident need and asked the senior pastor to pray with them. The man was healed and became straight and undeformed in front of his eyes. Later on a man who had been watching – a Muslim actually who was the mayor of the village – came up and stated to them...."I have seen your God do mighty things today – I used to beat that man." That's just one small incident – God gives where He finds hearts willing to receive – He is a genleman.

      Have you every watched the movie "The End of the Spear" – very powerful true story, I can write off the primitive isolated tribe's experience as coincidence.

      Blessings

      August 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Shiloh

      No truth Just claims

      I agree with your headache analogy, but that isn't as good as it gets. Especially when you go into the church around the world – the Lord continues to do amazing things, miraculous things where people are open to receive. A friend of mine – a well respected physical trainer – college educated type – went on a mission trip to Kenya (I think.....somewhere in that vicinity). A crippled deformed man came up at a service they were holding and asked for prayer – Jim, my friend, was a bit overwhelmed by the man's condition and evident need and asked the senior pastor to pray with them. The man was healed and became straight and undeformed in front of his eyes. Later on a man who had been watching – a Muslim actually who was the mayor of the village – came up and stated to them...."I have seen your God do mighty things today – I used to beat that man." That's just one small incident – God gives where He finds hearts willing to receive – He is a genleman.

      Have you every watched the movie "The End of the Spear" – very powerful true story, I can't write off the primitive isolated tribe's experience as coincidence.

      Blessings

      August 9, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Shiloh,

      Once again it is very convienient that the "evidence" you provide is anecdotal, and second hand. Not to mention the most miraculous of claims seem to happen in third world counties where it is next to impossible to verify. If this type of story is true how come it can never be replicated and verified by doctors in this country or another first world country?

      August 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Shiloh

      No Truth, Just Claims

      I have no reason to distrust my friend, it was his experience – just like going to a SUNS game – I'm not that paranoid to think everyone is lying – some people are, but I would bet they're still in the minority. In "The End of the Spear" the tribesmen recounted spiritual experiences that they had no previous exposure to – even imaginings often have their base in our present realities, these men had nothing to related their experiences to – they had not reason to lie, for pete's sake they had killed these men – and we have film footage of the massacre site from 1956 with the bodies laying there. I don't think it is logical to attribute everything to deceit, the odds are against that – that's just common sense.

      August 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  5. correctlycenter

    The LORD God is Almighty! Praise His holy name. His ways are not necessarily our ways and sometimes we cannot comprehend why bad things happen. This life is only temporary, our eternal home is in heaven to those who trully believe in the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

    August 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Manda

      I seriously doubt it's the holy spirit, but you're certainly full of something....

      August 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  6. Henry

    According to Jesus Christ atheists are the hellbound offspring of the devil. The devil is a fallen angel as stated in Isaiah 14:12-15, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.”

    Now read carefully what Jesus Christ our creator said in Matthew 13: 36 –43, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

    Although the offspring of the devil look like ordinary human beings, they lack the spirit of God since God formed only man in His image and likeness from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life becoming a living soul. Atheists on the other hand are not fully human, they lack the spirit of God as stated in Job 32:8, “But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding” and as stated in Ecclesiastes 12:7, ”And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”

    And Jesus Christ reinforced that fact in John 8: 42 – 47, “Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.””

    August 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      Great post henry words of truth.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So why is god such a fvcking azzhole dvchenozzle that he won't clear up all the confusion about who he is and what he wants? Why can he make mathematics and chemistry so obvious that muslim terrorists and christian snake handlers have to use them in the same way but he can't make himself that obvious? Why can't he be verified with testable, repeatable processes? Nobody debates the existence of the "true gravity" or uses the "real math" because the reality is obvious. So also, god's imaginary status is obvious.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Manda

      "Although the offspring of the devil look like ordinary human beings, they lack the spirit of God since God formed only man in His image and likeness from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life becoming a living soul. Atheists on the other hand are not fully human..."

      I swear, some of the things I read on here are just voices-in-the-head, batshit crazy.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      GOD makes complete sense to His CHILDREN which is why we have NO doubt, and no problem accepting Him. To the children of satan i cannot say the same. Your lack of understanding and your disbeliefs prove you are not of GOD. It is very simple.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Henry
      As you may know, when you speak the truth on these blogs, you will have the mob lashing out at you.....What you said is the truth...God knows His own, He foreknew them before time begun.
      And no matter how you present the truth to those who are the rejectors of it, it is offencive to them, because they are arrogant and proud.
      But man's opinions have no affect on God's standards, His principles and His justice, which is, that everyone who keeps rejecting Christ and goes out into eternity without Him, and whose names are not found in the Book of Life – is of their father, the devil.
      But I would caution the pure 'predestination' doctrine, as some Christian denomination teach to such extreme, that they contradict themselves even by preaching the Gospel to the unsaved, since according to them, those who will get saved will do so regardless, and those who won't, just won't – period....According to them, the free will is not even in the picture!
      There are things that we best don't oversimplify, in order to say we've got explanation for them... Some things we can't grasp with our finite minds, we were not meant too... God is sovereign, He is infinite. He is able to perfectly balance His foreknowledge with predestination, and with His gift of free will to each of us, and making it fair and just, leaving nothing undone and incomplete. That's where we, His sons and daughters need to rest....understanding who He is, and trusting His sovereignty.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  7. Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

    Ive noticed that people who do not believe in santa clause, the easter bunny, fairies, leprechauns, or any other character considered to be fictional; never stress their non-beliefs in these characters. Never will "facts" be brought forth to prove their non-existence. Never have i whitnessed as much energy and time used and spent on these characters as much as it is on Jesus. I believe all of these characters to be fiction and made up, but never would i waste a second trying to prove this due to my confidence in their non-existence. Atheist CLEARLY feels threatened by Jesus which is why they constantly have to prove to themselves ( in the form of bashing Jesus and Christianity) that He doesnt exist. They believe some how this will put their insecure beliefs and unstable minds at ease, but evidently it doesnt due to their constant attacks. I dont blame them though it is hard trying to prove that the most powerful man to ever walk this earth doesnt exist. It must be tormenting trying to silence the name of a man who lived more than 2000 years ago whos name is more famous than all names in history. It's frustrating to whitness a "fictional" character claim more followers than any other non-fictonal character in all time. It must stir up great fear in those deny the Son of God who says that anyone who denys Him will be cast down in hell for all of eternity. Here is some advice and wisdom for such beings "I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is"- Alber Camus P.S. Salvations is offered to everyone freely. The choice is yours use your free will wisely, it will determine your final destination. God bless

    August 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Some of us spend our time on this issue because we think that ignorance is harmful to the development of man. When you continue to subscribe to fairy tales or mythologies as "fact" and forsake reality, you retard the overall development of the human race. When you try to take these mythologies and base political or legal standards on them, you segregate people and limit human rights. If you kept your beliefs to yourself, likely no one would ever challenge them. However, when you enter a public forum, you open yourself to scrutiny.

      We don't hate you. We don't fear you. We're trying to help you. Arguably some of the help offered is less than gracious, but I can assure you that almost all atheists have the same overall goal. To help usher in a new age of conscious reasoning for the betterment of mankind as a whole. You may not like it. You may disagree with it. But for me, this comes from a position of love and empathy. Many of us have family members and loved ones who are still under the spell of religion. We could no more hate you than we would hate them. I hope you'll be able to see that one day.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      And your way of showing me love is by trying to convince me that our solar system with order and ineffable engineering was designed by no one? Your way of showing me great love is by trying to persuade me that this beautiful world and system of life has no Creator, but all came into existence by mere coincidence? Your way of showing me love is by trying make the people of the world commit blasphemy by denying the existence of the Living GOD? My Father the One who made me is the One you want me to deny? My Savior the One who died for me is the One you want me to deny? Truly you are blind just as your master wants you to be. Your "love" will only lead souls to eternal death.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      I read Godfreenow and I thought the posting was gracious, thoughtful as well as respectful BUT here you go being a real fu*ck head. Don't you see how you are? You're a pitiful human being that doesn't deserve the air you breathe. Go f*uck yourself azzhole!

      August 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      Sometimes bold truth hurts.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      The followers of Santa ect. are not trying to make this country a theocracy. When they do they will get the same attention.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @No Truth, Just Claims "The followers of Santa ect. are not trying to make this country a theocracy. When they do they will get the same attention."

      =>I would dearly love for one atheist that makes this claim to explain exactly how Christians are attempting to make the USA a theocracy..

      theocracy
      1.a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical ( church or the clergy) authorities.
      2.a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
      3.a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Teaching creationism in schools, and the bible. Creating situations where people of other faiths or no faith are not trusted to hold office. Opposing any beliefs that are not Christian. I will grant not all Christians support these causes, but their silence is deafening.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Chad

      so, as you can see from the definition, what you are describing is CLEARLY not a theocracy.

      right?

      August 8, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  8. GodFreeNow

    "As different as they were, King and agreed on this point. If there is no God or higher divine law then violence is perfectly natural."
    – Great... now we have a preacher to explain Nietzsche to us.

    I wonder if christians will ever tire of making excuses for god. Why not shut up and let god speak for himself. Oh right... he can't or won't...

    August 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      You come onto a Christian blog with a picture of a huge cross demanding Christians to shut up? Wrong catagory this is the FAITH blog. Im pretty sure you were fully aware of this, your intentions are useless.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  9. blahblahblah

    Hey, atheists! You don't believe in God? Congrats! Aren't there better hobbies than perusing belief blogs and belittling Christians? I don't believe in big-foot, but I don't spend hours coming up with comments to post on big-foot forums. What drives you? Why does it matter so much that people believe in a God that you don't? Can't you give it a rest? Perhaps go outside? Great weather today...

    August 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      Its simple they clearly believe in God as well. Them bashing Christians is a way to put their mind at ease because the fact that their is a God is tormenting to them. The reason why it's tormenting to them because they want questions answered such as: Where did God come from? Who created Him? How did He create things? Why can i see Him? Where is He? etc They cant accpet the fact that their limited mortal minds could never possibly comprehend an unlimited all-powerful eternal being.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact),
      Boy, you really have atheists all figured out. You should feel a sense of completeness and great accomplishment. Congratulations.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      blahblahblahblah said "Why does it matter so much that people believe in a God that you don't? "

      Glad you asked. I like the idea that you and fellow believers simply want to gather here and discuss your faith with other believers. Honestly, on the surface that sounds nice. I respect that. The entire problem is that it doesn't end there. It NEVER ends there. Because that's not the goal of most believers. Your goal is to spread, infect, and convert, as your religious books tell you do to. Christians and Muslims completely share this trait.

      "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." – Mark 16:15

      "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." 2 Tim 4:2

      See your deity commands you to spread this garbage to everyone you can. Conversion has always been central to the major religions. Of course Christians will always say that they just spread the word and it's the Holy Spirit that does the conversion. My friends, this is absolutely splitting hairs. Their goal is still conversion, and I don't care for that mentality one bit.

      Let's add to this the fact that believers insist on forcing their garbage into schools, government, politics, and law.

      I find the Pledge of Allegiance to be a particularly good case, since the phrase "under god" was not included in the original pledge, and was added during the religious revival of the 50's.

      In 1951, the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization, began including the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings.

      In 1952, Holger Christian Langmack wrote a letter to President Truman suggesting the inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. He was one of the originators of the Prayer Breakfast and a religious leader in Washington, D.C. President Truman met with him along with several others to discuss the inclusion of "under God" and also "love" just before "liberty and justice".

      The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954. Interestingly enough, the phrase "In God We Trust" was also added to our paper money in that same time period.

      And let's not forget the Scopes trial in which a high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in any state-funded school.

      So, basically you have 3 or 4 cases of EXACTLY the kind of thing that Atheists are so p!ssed about. Your bullsh!t religions imposing their beliefs on the rest of the population. THAT is why Atheists like me visit these blogs...to sincerely try to understand how people come to believe in deities (usually it's trauma or early childhood indoctrination), and to verify if they seek to push their views on me and my children in ways I shouldn't have to fight against.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Because Big Foot does not try to drive public policy and teach kids pseudo science, or have the potential to destroy big foot society because some Big Foot may have a different shoe size?

      August 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  10. smadam1

    eh, even as someone with a Christian foundation but not particularly religious like myself, there are a lot of holes in this. I was in the airport one day and a man asked about the crucifix around my neck and I said, "well, it's there. some days my faith is strong, some days non-existent" and his response: "all you need to know is three things: Jesus was either a liar, a crazy person, or he was the Son of God". Slightly put off and irked at his condescending tone and simplicity, I replied "hmm" simply to have some sort of response. But this over-simplistic, throw our hands up, give up because our 'finite minds' cannot comprehend God is frustrating for me as day-to-day person of faith, constantly struggling with belief. My struggle and what I challenge people like the author as well as non-believers is the origin or morality as well as my issue of placing blame on humankind for 'sin' when 'sin' could have easily been wiped out with Satan, that is if the stories of the Fall are true. Why are we blamed for the evils of the world when God could have looked ahead and not created his once beloved Lucifer.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  11. Reason122

    Mr Keller

    You state 'The second response to suffering is: “While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything. He couldn’t stop this.” But that kind of God doesn’t really fit our definition of “God".'

    If God is real, we humans do not get to define who God is.

    If you are aware that God is a creation of man, be honest about it. Acknowledge that God is a construction of man that is used by men to comfort people and to influence behavior in both good and bad ways.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  12. Jake-413451

    "Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that if there was no higher divine law, there would be no way to tell if any particular human law was unjust."

    Its called reason, admittedly not a strong suit for believers.

    "Because there is no God, Nietzsche said, all value judgments are arbitrary."

    With a god they are just as arbitrary, except the believer surrenders their will in deciding to another. The religious belief is if god says it is good by definition. What is done is immaterial, only the rule matters, and the rules are often contradictory and includes cruel directives. So good is still arbitrary.

    "It is inadequate because it is cold and because the Bible gives us more with which to face the terrors of life."

    So it paints your god accurately? Let's just consider the power of prayer. The bible repeatedly asserts not only that your god hears prayers, but answers them. Yet every study into hte power of prayer finds no effect. But let's take the bible at face value, that your God does hear prayers, and answers them. Then your god must deny enough prayers in order to make those he does answer disappear into noise, to hide any possible evidence that prayer works.

    Such a decision can only be justified if you god is a cold calculating being who is intentionally trying to hide them self from those seeking him out.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  13. NVTS

    What a pile. If "God" is omnipotent then the "suffering" "he" went through is really a pretty shallow thing considering the whole "I'm immortal and it doesn't really matter if you stab me with a spear or not because I'm still omnipotent and immortal and your little sticks can't really hurt me" thing going on. When parents love their children they protect them so the whole parent child analogy is disingenuous at best insulting to parents at worst.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins" never took off as a marketing slogan

      August 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Lisa

      He existed as flesh and edured pain and suffering as any human being would. There was no divine intervention to protect him from experiencing the full brunt of what happened.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  14. scatheist

    You don't ask because there is no one there to answer.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  15. WASP

    "Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that if there was no higher divine law, there would be no way to tell if any particular human law was unjust."

    i always love this ignorant justification for religion.........regardless of whom said it.

    humans can figure out easy enough what is just and what isn't; the ironic part of this is the southerners were using religion to validate their hate and condemnation of minorities.......it took a secular movement to end that practice of segregation. funny isn't it.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Lisa

      Not entirely true.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  16. Flip

    Our little finite brain can't understand it.Thats how religious people explain anything

    August 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  17. Joel

    Arguing that morality is tied to God is ridiculous. In Christianity one can simply go to confession or ask Jesus for forgiveness. I mean, serial killers are given so called forgiveness by God. So why behave? Most of the awful acts in human history have been done in the name of God. I am an Atheist, I have no desire to hurt people. I don't like to be hurt, so why would I inflict pain on another. I have empathy. That is a biological reaction. Not God. Some people, psychopaths for instance, don't feel empathy. By your argument, such would prove there is isn't a God?

    August 7, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      So you never took the last cookie?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Bill,

      Typical Catholic response. An appeal to guilt.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      No just a simple question for anyone who claims "I've lived a good life." Because the truth is no you haven't

      August 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Most of the awful acts in history.....? Can you give some specifics?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Joel,

      Have you ever read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Bill Deacon

      Hey -Bill... Hope all is well.

      " No just a simple question for anyone who claims "I've lived a good life." Because the truth is no you haven't. "

      O.K... I'm very curious now as to what you mean exactly by this statement.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Exactly Bill,

      No one can live a good life, we are all guilty from birth according to the church. The church dogma is centered around guilt.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  18. Devin

    Well then, looks like you've made up your mind. I hope it serves you well in the end.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  19. jqent

    As Ogden Nash said, "Here is a notable feat / of one-way thinking on a two-way street." Occam's razor would cut through this mystical quibbling in an instant, if you are bold enough to use it.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  20. JHarris

    Mr. Keller's story is intellectually dishonest at best. He created a straw man argument using select quotes from Nietzsche and MLK, as if each of them speaks for all members of their faith (or lack of faith, as the case may be). He does this to make a ridiculous argument that there cannot be a secular basis for morality. I can do the same for the opposite outcome:

    “I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.” – Carl Sagan, Scientist, Agnostic, and Peace Activist

    "All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested. O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if you do not aid those who, with us, profess the Christian religion! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago.” Pope Urban II, urging Christians to participate in the Crusades against Muslims in the “Holy Land”

    “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.” Osama bin Laden, urging Muslims to kill Americans in the “Holy Land”

    Clearly from the quotes above, religion can lead only to violence and war, and Agnostics and Atheists seek to preserve life.

    As an unbeliever, I believe wholeheartedly in peace and "loving thy neighbor" – not because I believe some inexplicable deity is watching me, but because quite simply, I believe that if human beings do not help one another, there is certainly no one else who will... Asking why things happen is ridiculous – there isn't a why – just a "what now?"

    I don't believe in a divine being, but I feel love and compassion. I love my wife. I love my children. I know intellectually that this is an evolutionary development to continue our species (just as I know, when I stub my toe, that the pain is an evolutionary development to keep me from injuring myself), but that knowledge is irrelevant – I still FEEL it. It is part of my humanity, and I do not need a supernatural explanation for it – in fact, that demeans the emotion.

    Finally, if religion is the basis for moral behavior and peace, then surely the Middle East (arguably the most religious place on Earth) must be the most peaceful and loving place on Earth, and Atheist activists must be the ones strapping bombs to themselves to blow up civilians...

    August 7, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Jim

      " . . . if human beings do not help one another, there is certainly no one else who will . . ." This assertion falls noticeably short of establishing any real obiligation to help anyone. As for the the evolutionary explanation for cooperative/empathetic behavior: There's an evolutionary explanation for religious belief as well, so it seems pretty arbitrary to exalt the one and demean the other.

      And Keller's point regarding the quotes from King and Nietzsche stands. Value judgements in a world without God – i.e., without a transcendent mind which our minds and judgements reflect in some sense – are no less arbitrary simply by virtue of resulting from random processes of evolution. The fact that "the strong eat the weak" is no less a part of those processes than our subjective feelings of "love and compassion."

      The essay addresses our internal urge to find meaning that transcends our transitory experience. If that internal testimony pointing toward transcendant, eternal meaning is founded in transitory illusion, then so are anyone's complaints about injustice, about religion, and about anything else; they all have the lifespan of a firefly. Keller points out that the problem of affirming values that transcend the flutterings of our subjective notions and feelings in a world where cruelty and injustice are rampant is uniquely met in the Christian worldview, wherein God – who is love – meets and even suffers the requirements of justice Himself.

      And speaking of intellectual dishonesty, your reference to the Middle East as the epitome of "religion," as if that were what Keller were arguing for, is either willfully or carelessly obtuse. Clearly he is not speaking for generic "religion," but for the faith represented by Christ and his apostles. The bomb-strappers represent Keller's faith no more than atheists such as Stalin and Pol Pot represent you.

      There is a real basis for meaning and for hope precisely because there is (contra Sagan) real evidence that Christ – and not some other founder of a "religion" – entered human history to solve the problem of justice.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Satan

      No evidence of "Christ" other than the ridiculous fairy tales from the buybull.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • exlonghorn

      Jim,

      So you're suggesting that religion is the only or best way to instill an obligation to help anyone. IF religion does not instill an obligation to help others, THEN individuals who are not religious will not help others. Then why are Atheists so often scientists, engineers, and doctors who dedicate their careers or free time to doing exactly that...helping others? You have a huge hole in your logic on this one.

      And please share what you propose is "real evidence" of Christ entering human history as the direct representative of God. Remember, you CANNOT use any portion of the Bible in your answer, because doing so creates unavoidable circular logic. Scientists must have independent verification of their claims, and so do you.

      I will wait patiently for your response. 🙂

      August 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      While the reconstruction of the life story of Jesus is the subject of wide ranging debate among scholars, almost all modern scholars consider the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion to be two historically certain facts about him.[17][49] James Dunn states that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent" and "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical facts" that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.[17]

      August 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Bill,

      Lots of guys were baptised and crucified and lots of people were named Jesus, what is your point? These things say nothing about the supernatural claims of Christianity.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      ex asked for non biblical evidence of Jesus' existence and I provided a snippet. It took about two minutes to find on the internet. If you don't want to acknowledge Jesus as Savior that's your business. If you don't accept the Bible as a scholarly resource that is debatable. But if you deny he walked the planet you are simply ignorant.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Bill Deacon,

      So you paste a section of a Wikipedia page on the Crucifixion which contains quotes from a BIBLICAL SCHOLAR (not a historian, scientist, or anthropologist) and you expect any Atheist to do anything but laugh at you???

      Tell me, when did you drop out of high school?

      August 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Ex longhorn,

      If you're interested there is a very good medical analysis of Christ's cruxifixion in the medical journal JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). It's an older piece, has been around for quite a while but gives an excellent report on the medical aspects of Christ's experience – I think the physician referred to it as doing an "autopsy" after the fact. I have copies around somewhere. If you went to a medical library at a teching hospital or medical school you could get a copy. It's not the only one but it's the one I remember the references for.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shiloh

      Is this the guy you're talking about?

      "Dr. C. Truman Davis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He is a practicing ophthalmologist, a pastor, and author of a book about medicine and the Bible."

      August 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shiloh

      And this?

      An attempt to examine the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the Incarnate God in atonement for the sins of fallen man is beyond the scope of this article. However, the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord's passion we can examine in some detail. What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture?

      August 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Shiloh, do y'all seriously do ANY kind of fact-checking before you post? From the EXACT article you quoted...

      "The source material concerning Christ’s death comprises a body of literature and not a physical body or its skeletal remains. Accordingly, the credibility of any discussion of Jesus’ death will be determined primarily by the credibility of one’s sources. For this review, the source material includes the writings of ancient Christian and non-Christian authors, the writings of modern authors, and the Shroud of Turin."

      So...once again...the proof of the stories in the bible is the bible itself.

      FAIL.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.