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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. Damocles

    @tony

    Careful, you are dangerously close to saying the rich are more moral than the poor.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      Hope this helps:

      Ecclesiastes 8:11-13
      11 Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad. 12 Although a sinner may be doing bad a hundred times and continuing a long time as he pleases, yet I am also aware that it will turn out well with those fearing the [true] God, because they were in fear of him. 13 But it will not turn out well at all with the wicked one, neither will he prolong his days that are like a shadow, because he is not in fear of God.

      Roman 13:1-5
      1 Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves. 3 For those ruling are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you, then, want to have no fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; 4 for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear: for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword; for it is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad.

      5 There is therefore compelling reason for YOU people to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of [YOUR] conscience.

      Romans 2:12-15
      12 For instance, all those who sinned without law will also perish without law; but all those who sinned under law will be judged by law. 13 For the hearers of law are not the ones righteous before God, but the doers of law will be declared righteous. 14 For whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. 15 They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Damocles

      @gab

      Good grief man, do you not see that these lines right here:
      Roman 13:1-5
      1 Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves. 3 For those ruling are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you, then, want to have no fear of the authority?

      Those lines make anyone who can convince you that they speak for god, your master. I mean, how would you check if they were telling the truth?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  2. Gabriel Malakh

    To GodFreeNow

    You stated:
    "Scientist also commonly use words like, design, empowering, directing, influencing... without at the same time suggesting a designer, empower-er, director, or "influencer" of intent. Follow?"

    That's the point! Who gave scientist the authority to change meaning of words to support their foolishness?

    August 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What makes you think scientists changed the meaning of those words? Look them up. "Design" has several different meanings. Just because something has a design doesn't mean that someone or something necessarily designed it.

      You apparently believe that a god designed the universe. Not everyone believes that and there is no evidence of one.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ah, I see that you think science is "foolishness", so there's no point in discussing anything with you.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Many words have multiple meanings depending on context. There is no conspiracy, put away your tinfoil hat.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Welcome back Tom...

      @Gabriel, They are not changing the meaning of words as you already pointed out when you sent me the dictionary definition of rules and governing. You are just assuming their intentions further than they imply. Surely if there's foolishness to be found, it would be in drawing conclusions without understand all of the facts.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      GodFree, thank you! Nice to 'see' you here.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  3. Tony N.

    At the risk of sounding cynical, I think religion has value for keeping order in society even if it is not true. Most people are not deep thinkers. They don't steal cookies out of the jar for fear that mommy or daddy will catch them. I believe it is useful for most people to believe in a great sky enforcer, whether he exists or not.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      And that would make sense if there was any proof that those who do not believe act less morally than those who do, but alas there is not, so there is really no basis for your assertion.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Damocles

      Fine. Let's drop all human laws and go with god will punish bad people at some point.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Tony N.

      Well I only know of one study and the results are somewhat ambiguous, I would say the verdict is still very much out. Atheists overwhelmingly come from more affluent backgrounds than most people , so saying the prison population is mostly composed of Christians is meaningless. I am not sure I want everyone in this country to wake up tomorrow and suddenly believe...really believe...that there is no god. I think it plays a useful puropose.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @damocles:
      No wonder you have a sword over your head.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Damocles' argument makes sense. Obviously, since the majority of people believe in a god, yet still commit crimes, the threat of punishment in the afterlife must not be much of a deterrent. If it were, we could do away with our laws.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Damocles

      So be honest, is the fear of a deity the only thing that keeps you from running wild in society?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @tom:

      Sorry, that makes no logical sense at all. It is ridiculous, actually. What you are saying is that belief in god automatically makes you perfect and incapable of "sinning". It is Silly with a capital S. I hesitate to use the word "sin", because I do not mean it in any "religious " sense.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The same issue has been raised multiple times by the irrepressible Chad, who insists that atheists have no 'absolute morals', only subjective ones. My contention is that it is not important, because Christians who supposedly believe in the absolute morals still commit crimes.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @damocles:

      No of course not, but I think it does make many people think twice about some things they would otherwise do. I don't think there is any doubt about it, actually.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that we have laws BECAUSE people will still commit what you call 'sins' even if those sins are prohibited by the Bible. If the Bible were enough to keep people from committing crime, we wouldn't need laws. The threat of a god's punishment doesn't deter people from sinning or from committing crimes.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Can you back up your argument with any statistics? Any facts?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @tom:

      Sure, of course. That is what they call" "sin". Once again, I hesitate to use the term, but I will. The fact that religious people do sometimes sin, does not prove that their moral system is completely ineffectual as a guide to behavior. They might sin a whole lot more without it.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Tony N.

      Actually, you are probably correct. I'm guessing too, that the 'only' thing keeping some crazies from doing no-no's is their fear in a Deity.

      Probably good for those crazies that they have that fear in God for the rest of us in society.

      Peace...

      August 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Tony,

      Regardless of whether someone believes or not, I would say people who examine their basis for morality tend to act better.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Tony

      The problem is that many believers DO feel that their deity is the ultimate judge, hence human laws have no bearing on them. Once they have this belief, anything and everything is justified because no mere man can judge them, so they think. After that, its just a matter of time before they do something truly stupid.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They might. But you don't have any way of proving they would.

      You're simply assuming that fear of God's punishment is the only thing that keeps most people from running amok. I don't agree.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tony N.

      Like I said, I only know of one study. Do you have any facts to back up your assertion that are free from demographic bias? Please do not tell me that because there is a low crime rate in Sweden or Norway that the same results are necessarily true everywhere.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @ Tom:

      I never said that fear of god was the ONLY thing keeping people from running amok. I simply said that I think it helps.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Damocles

      @notruth

      This is my problem with 'morals' and why I like to rely on 'acts and consequences'. Your (meaning anyone's) act, should have consequences, regardless of your belief. If you do wrong, you are punished in the here and now. Morals being so fluid, it would be rather simple for a person to convince another of their 'morality'. Punish the act.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      If the only thing keeping someone from r.a.p.i.n.g and killing is a belief in a god then by all means I hope they keep on believing....

      August 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm not telling you anything; I'm simply stating my belief that religious beliefs do not deter people from committing crime. You are free to believe otherwise.

      I do agree with Damocles that some people who commit crimes are convinced they are above the law because they believe they are doing God's work; those who bomb abortion clinics, like Eric Rudolph, for example,

      August 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @damocles:

      Well, all I can say is that I believe that is sheer nonsense. The vast majority of people who believe in "god" are not megalomaniac wackos...

      August 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Damocles

      Why can't I use Norway as an example? If a country tends to hold to a non-belief in a deity and they have a lower crime rate than a country who does tend to lean towards a belief, then that would poke a hole or two in your theory, wouldn't it?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you think that most people who DON'T believe in God are megalomaniacs wackos?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Tony N.

      You guys are going to believe what you want for sure. There are very few crimes of the sort you mention. But, whatever.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Tony N.

      Well let's see...what is the per capita income of Norway? Do you think that people who are economically advantaged tend to commit fewer crimes that those who are not?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Tony

      Doesn't matter if the vast majority aren't maniacal. It only takes one maniac to ruin my day.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Domacles,

      I agree, especially since I don't believe in an afterlife.

      Tony,

      I think it can work the other way too though, a believer can think they can get away with small 'sins' by asking for forgiveness later, even if it sub-conscious.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's exactly the point, Tony. Most people, whether they believe in God or not, have a moral compass. For some of those who do not, no amount of religious belief is going to deter them from murdering or stealing.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Tony N.

      @tom:
      No. I think most "people who do not belive in god" just do not believe in god. They probably don't even think about it very much.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't understand what you're saying, Tony.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Tony

      Since you changed your tune from belief vs. non-belief to have vs. not have, I guess it does poke a hole or two in your theory. I don't know what the earnings of the average Norweigan (sp? I probably brutalized it) is. What kind of crimes are we talking about? Or crime as a whole?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Tony N.

      Well, I am a complete Agnostic with all that it entails. I think religion is very Darwinistic. Obviously you can believe what you want. People do have a moral compass, of course. But it I think it helps if they believe there is someone watching them.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Damocles

      @notruth

      This is why the judge and jury should never, ever know the religious leanings of a suspect brought before them. I don't care if your religion sanctions honor killings or legalizes ra-pe in certain cases. The only thing religion can do is make the gulity feel justified.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Damocles, could you please explain this to Chad? He seems to be a bit confused.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Tony N.

      @damocles:

      I don't know what you are talking about. I simply said that well off people, as a rule, commit fewer crimes. Is there any doubt about this? I did not change the subject at all. Do wealthy people commit crimes? Sure. What does this prove? Anyway, I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe and history and anthropology show that all societies have evolved some form of religion as a guide to behavior.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Damocles

      @Tony

      So you are saying that even though I, Damocles, know that certain things are wrong and wouldn't do them, its still necessary for me to have a big bruiser breathing heavily on my neck as a friendly reminder? Sounds awfully big brotherish.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Damocles

      @tom tom

      I've seen @chad's posts. It would require me to imbibe large amounts of spirits and painkillers to actually try to converse with him.

      @tony

      Do the rich commit fewer crimes? Violent crimes? Probably, but I think they have the lock on white-collar crimes, wouldn't you say?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Someone earlier put up an old Arab proverb, which is great:

      "Trust in God [if you like] but tie up your camel."

      August 11, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ Damocles: well, that must be the problem; I have nothing to drink tonight!

      Anyway, I've enjoyed reading your posts.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Tony N.

      I am a pragmatist and so have no problem with that particular "Big Brother". I just want to keep the fundamentalist nuts under control-easily done-and evolution will take care of the rest.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Tony,

      While that could be true I have not seen anything to believe it is true, I think humans ability to rationalize behavior negates the benefit you think belief has.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      We must have civil, secular laws in society because "God" does not do anything in that regard. It's almost like he doesn't exist.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Damocles

      @tom tom

      Many thanks! I've enjoyed your posts as well. You seem to not shy away from telling it like it is.

      @tony

      The problem with nuts is that you don't keep them under control. The best you can do is to strip away the shield of 'faith' that they think protects them. If you treat them like any other criminal then at least they know they are no better or worse than anyone else on this planet.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Tony N.

      @damocles:

      Of course. And so your point is? I already said that of course wealthy people do commit crimes. Just not at the rate that poorer people do. I will leave it at that. I have no agenda and no need to prove myself right.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Damocles

      @notruth

      Again, the only problem with that is that anything can be rationalized, even if its just on the individual level. Actually its far more dangerous on an individual level. Every criminal has rationalized his/her thought process.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Tony N.

      @damocles:

      Wow. I really can't believe that last post. You are as self righteous as they are !!! I don't argue with loons. I am out.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Damocles,

      I agree, I just don't think a belief in god makes anyone more or less moral based on belief alone.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What was THAT all about?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Damocles

      Think my posts are getting pushed around and dropped in random locations.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which post was Tony so upset about?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Damocles

      Might have been the one where I said he was getting dangerously close to saying that the rich were more moral than the poor.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's what I thought at first, but the time of the posts don't jibe with that theory: you posted that at 12:26 and Tony flounced off a minute before that.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Damocles

      Hmmm yeah that post got sent to the top of the page somehow. Maybe I just posted instead of posted to the thread. My bad.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Damocles

      Oh, then I guess it was about the individual rationale. *shrug* Who knows?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Shiloh

      Romans 7
      J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

      How to be free from the Law
      7 1-3 You know very well, my brothers (for I am speaking to those well acquainted with the subject), that the Law can only exercise authority over a man so long as he is alive. A married woman, for example, is bound by law to her husband so long as he is alive. But if he dies, then his legal claim over her disappears. This means that, if she should give herself to another man while her husband is alive, she incurs the stigma of adultery. But if, after her husband’s death, she does exactly the same thing, no one could call her an adulteress, for the legal hold over her has been dissolved by her husband’s death.

      4 There is, I think, a fair analogy here. The death of Christ on the cross had made you “dead” to the claims of the Law, and you are free to give yourselves in marriage, so to speak, to another, the one who was raised from the dead, that you may be productive for God.

      5-6 While we were “in the flesh” the Law stimulated our sinful passions and so worked in our nature that we became productive—for death! But now that we stand clear of the Law, the claims which existed are dissolved by our “death”, and we are free to serve God not in the old obedience to the letter of the Law, but in a new way, in the spirit.

      Sin and the Law
      7 It now begins to look as if sin and the Law were very much the same thing—can this be a fact? Of course it cannot. But it must in fairness be admitted that I should never have had sin brought home to me but for the Law. For example, I should never have felt guilty of the sin of coveting if I had not heard the Law saying ‘You shall not covet’.

      8-11 But the sin in me, finding in the commandment an opportunity to express itself, stimulated all my covetous desires. For sin, in the absence of the Law, has no chance to function technically as “sin”. As long, then, as I was without the Law I was, spiritually speaking, alive. But when the commandment arrived, sin sprang to life and I “died”. The commandment, which was meant to be a direction to life, I found was a sentence to death. The commandment gave sin an opportunity, and without my realising what was happening, it “killed” me.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Shiloh

      It wouldn't let me post the rest in Phillips so here is the NIV for this portion

      The Law and Sin
      7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[b] 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
      13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

      14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
      21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
      So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d] a slave to the law of sin.
      Footnotes:
      a.Romans 7:5 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.
      b.Romans 7:7 Exodus 20:17; Deut. 5:21
      c.Romans 7:18 Or my flesh
      d.Romans 7:25 Or in the flesh

      August 11, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Shiloh

      What I Learned in the Gulag

      --------------------------–

      by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
      Following an operation, I am lying in the surgical ward of a camp hospital. I cannot move. I am hot and feverish, but nonetheless my thoughts do not dissolve into delerium, and I am grateful to Dr. Boris Nikolayevich Kornfeld, who is sitting beside my cot and talking to me all evening. The light has been turned out, so it will not hurt my eyes. There is no one else in the ward.

      Fervently he tells me the long story of his conversion from Judaism to Christianity. I am astonished at the conviction of the new convert, at the ardor of his words.

      We know each other very slightly, and he was not the one responsible for my treatment, but there was simply no one here with whom he could share his feelings. He was a gentle and well-mannered person. I could see nothing bad in him, nor did I know anything bad about him. However, I was on guard because Kornfeld had now been living for two months inside the hospital barracks, without going outside. He had shut himself up in here, at his place of work, and avoided moving around camp at all.

      This meant that he was afraid of having his throat cut. In our camp it had recently become fashionable to cut the throats of stool pigeons. This has an effect. But who could guarantee that only stoolies were getting their throats cut? One prisoner had had his throat cut in a clear case of settling a sordid grudge. Therefore the self-imprisonment of Kornfeld in the hospital did not necessarily prove that he was a stool pigeon.

      It is already late. The whole hospital is asleep. Kornfeld is finishing his story:

      "And on the whole, do you know, I have become convinced that there is no punishment that comes to us in this life on earth which is undeserved. Superficially it can have nothing to do with what we are guilty of in actual fact, but if you go over your life with a fine-tooth comb and ponder it deeply, you will always be able to hunt down that transgression of yours for which you have now received this blow."

      I cannot see his face. Through the window come only the scattered reflections of the lights of the perimeter outside. The door from the corridor gleams in a yellow electrical glow. But there is such mystical knowledge in his voice that I shudder.

      Those were the last words of Boris Kornfeld. Noiselessly he went into one of the nearby wards and there lay down to sleep. Everyone slept. There was no one with whom he could speak. I went off to sleep myself.

      I was wakened in the morning by running about and tramping in the corridor; the orderlies were carrying Kornfeld's body to the operating room. He had been dealt eight blows on the skull with a plasterer's mallet while he slept. He died on the operating table, without regaining consciousness.

      And so it happened that Kornfeld's prophetic words were his last words on earth, and those words lay upon me as an inheritance. You cannot brush off that kind of inheritance by shrugging your shoulders.

      But by that time I myself had matured to similar thoughts. I would have been inclined to endow his words with the significance of a universal law of life. However, one can get all tangled up that way. One would have to admit that, on that basis, those who had received even crueler punishments than imprisonment,those who were shot or burned at the stake, were some sort of super-evildoers. And yet it is the the innocent who are punished most zealously. And what would one then have to say about our torturers? Why does fate not punish them? Why do they prosper?

      The only solution to this would be that the meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul. From that point of view our torturers have been punished most horribly of all: they are turning into swine; they are departing downward from humanity. From that point of view punishment is inflicted on those whose development . . . holds out hope.

      But there was something in Kornfeld's last words that touched a sensitive chord, and that I completely accept for myself. And many will accept the same for themselves.

      In the seventh year of my imprisonment I had gone over and re-examined my life and had come to understand why everything had happened to me: both prison and my malignant tumor. And I would not have murmured even if all that punishment had been considered inadequate.

      I lay there a long time in that recovery room from which Kornfeld had gone forth to his death, and all alone during sleepless nights I pondered with astonishment my own life and the turns it had taken. Looking back, I saw that for my whole conscious life I had not understood either myself or my strivings. What had seemed for so long to be beneficial now turned out in actuality to be fatal, and I had been striving to go in the opposite direction to that which was truly necessary for me. But just as the waves of the sea knock the inexperienced swimmer off his feet and keep tossing him back onto the shore, so also was I painfully tossed back on dry land by the blows of misfortune. And it was only because of this that I was able to travel the path which I had always really wanted to travel.

      It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhlemed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.

      Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: they struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.

      (Excerpted and abridged from The Gulag Archipelago.)

      Incredibly beautiful – amazing

      August 11, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      TL, DR x3

      August 11, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Shiloh

      @Tom, Tom – that's too bad, it's really good – it takes a little digestion.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you have nothing but interminable quotes to post, don't bother. I doubt more than one or two other people will read them, especially when you're the one posting them.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Shiloh

      Tom, Tom – that's fine, I'm just glad to be in America where I can. Most things of depth usually are more than snippets. Have a great day : )

      August 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I'm grateful to be in the USA where religion is not the basis of our laws or our government. Where I'm not required to live by your beliefs.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Shiloh

      Tom tom – blessings!

      August 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  4. Arvoasitis

    "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."

    Even if there is no God, evolution and biology have taken care of the problem. According to the philosopher, Henry Sidgwick, there are only three approaches to moral problems:
    (1) Appeal to self-interest
    (2) Appeal to the public good
    (3) Appeal to universal principles.
    If you accept Freud's vision of the human psyche, all three are active in every individual, although one or the other may dominate in a particular individual, and be more apt in a particular situation. Appeal to self-interest is the fount of our freedoms, which must submit to the public good (as in democratic elections), which in turn must submit to universal principles (otherwise you might find it perfectly moral to kill a lot of people). Now, the most intense moral or ethical disputes between Christians and atheists involve the third category. Atheists, when they take the humanistic approach, are more likely to be on the right track because they do not have to worry about the question raised by Socrates: Is an action right because god approves of it, or does God approve of the action because it is right?

    August 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      There lies the quandary, God. An idea, a thought, a belief. One has to place a definition to this idea before we can even ponder contemplation for the merit of thinking of it.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  5. Franklin in Tenn.

    @I am a GOP'er:

    I am sorry, but your post proves you have never even taken a class in Moral Philosopy, but you are trying to come off as a teacher of Moral Philosophy. It is OK not to have an anser to every question.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I did once take a class in morality. It was a high-school class, and not at a college level so I don't know all the formal philosophical terms but that's irrelevant.

      Why do you object on my sharing my opinions here on the belief blog. I simply stated what are my empirical observations.

      I am an atheist. I don't believe in divinely administered morals. Empirically it is clear that all societies irrespective of religion develop similar fundamental morals. This would evidence something in the human condition.

      Why do I have no right to an opinion, nor the right to share it here?

      Who died and made you king?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      Sorry, I am at work and had to do something.LOL. Gotta cut this short. There are many Moral Philosophers-even most Atheist ones-who claim that there are objective moral values. You made the blanket statement, and I quote: "Morality is never objective. It is a societal consensus of conscience and it changes, with time and with the population. It is never an absolute.
      This was after saying: "Chad struggles with this, too". Sorry, it was just a really patronizing post. No one made me god. I have been doing nothing but asking questions...

      August 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Franklin in TN,

      it was certainly not intended to be patronizing. I was simply being direct.

      If you prefer, I will happily restate it as "I don't think that morality is ever objective ... etc."

      Does that make it feel less 'patronizing' to you? I'm happy to have a conversation, but you tried to jump on me there for no good reason. I said nothing derogatory to you nor do I do I have any ill will toward you.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Franklin,

      if your issue was with the Chad reference, take look at the thread below, started by none other.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I should clarify, the Chad reference was really not directed at you.

      If if offended you, I apologize.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  6. Chad

    It is an interesting contradiction that the same people who claim there is no such thing as an objective moral standard for humanity claim at the same time that no one should be allowed to force their morals on someone else.

    Interesting, because if there are not absolute standards, every enforced rule is by definition imposing your morals on someone else..

    August 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad, how many times are you going to go around the same stupid mulberry bush and pretend that you are really attempting to understand what people write in response to you?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, a society of people decides what makes the most sense to have as rules for behavior. No one person is forcing anything on anyone. The majority rules. It's interesting that you claim subjective morality is right for your god and his chosen ones on one hand, but claim that it makes no sense on the other hand.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad really is a silly piece of dreck, eh Tom, Tom?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And his sort of dreck is so friggin' boring. I'm so tired of the stupid ===> and @Chad sh!t. And he never even has an intelligent argument or any facts to back up what he says, over and over and over and over.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "The majority rules"
      @Chad "I'll remember you said that :-)

      =====
      @Moby Schtick " It's interesting that you claim subjective morality is right for your god and his chosen ones on one hand, but claim that it makes no sense on the other hand."
      @Chad ";hmm.. not what I argue at all,.. right?
      what I argue is that humanities moral values are objective because they are set by God

      ====
      @Really-O, nothing to offer on the topic as usual? ;-)

      August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Chad

      As well, I definitely dont argue that it's wrong to impose morality.. that's what ATHEISTS always argue, and the point of my post.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      why is it always about 'objective morality' when by simple observation we can conclude that it empirically subjective.

      All societies come up with morals. They'll all pretty much agree on the idea that killing, stealing and lying are 'wrong'. They will always be directed at the survival and propagation of the society.

      Morality is the consensus of conscience. Hundreds of thousands of years of tribal behavior have given us pretty clear ideas of 'right' and 'wrong' behaviors. These get handed down over generations and change with time.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why bother, Chad? You won't understand it and you'll just lie and obfuscate as you always do.

      It's a waste of time to bother with you.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @TTTPS –

      I find it humorous that Chad doesn't even know what "@" indicates on a blog – evidenced by the fact that his own posts contain "@Chad". What a knucklehead.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad

      Of course you claim that your god and his chosen have moral subjectivity–that's what it is to say that god can command the genocide of other peoples and the destruction of their towns and farms and homes–that's what it is to say that god can choose to torture people forever in a pit of fire–nobody but your god and his followers can be "right" and do those things. So of course you claim subjective morality for you and your pet idea that you call "god."

      Then you turn around and complain about other people's subjective morality.. You're an idiot. go figure.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No kidding. The emoticons always lend such an air of gravitas, too, don't they?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I asked Chad before, and he wouldn't answer, so I doubt he will this time either: If Chad's religious beliefs and "absolute morality" are so effective and desirable, then why do Christians still commit horrible crimes? Why aren't all crimes committed by atheists?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby

      please try again... :-)

      I dont "turn around and complain about other people's subjective morality"
      right?

      what I observed was that the ATHEISTS are the ones that complain about imposing morality, and THEY are the ones that claim that all morality is subjective, so they are by definition imposing subjective morality.

      hopefully you got it that time.

      =====
      @Really-O, still nothing on the topic eh?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @TTTPS: having an absolute rule doesnt mean people wont break it

      right?

      Christians arent perfect, sorry if someone told you we were..

      August 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And Chad, this one (objective morality) was number 4 on my top 10 list.

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

      Then what difference does it make, Chad? If people are going to break the absolute rules, they're not effective. That is why we have laws, which are not based on morality but on the preservation of our individual rights. If your idea of imposing absolute morals based on your religious beliefs was effective, we wouldn't require laws.

      Why do you even bother arguing about this issue?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And no, atheists are not imposing subjective morality on others. Our entire society creates laws based on protecting our rights and consequences for breaking them. Those laws are not based on morals, nor are they unique to Christianity.

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

      GOPer, I swear Chad has a little rolodex that contains each of his pet topics. It just so happens that today on his "Issue of the Day" calendar is "objective morality". Again.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I actually do have something to offer on this topic (although I've said it before and don't especially see the need – unlike Chad – for redundancy). Human morality is intrinsic, not extrinsic as we, as a species, are highly social animals and require the support of others, from infancy to death, for our very survival. Those of our species who cooperated best, survived and reproduced. Empathy, compassion, and cooperation are hard-wired in our species. That said, our species is not the only one to posses these traits – all highly social animals (gorillas, bottlenose dolphins, canines, etc.) exhibit these cooperative traits. In comparison, Chad's version of "objective moral standards" – I'm assuming the ten commandments is the foundation – is pathetic. Seriously, most five year olds exhibit better moral behavior than is demanded by the ten commandments.

      You're a dou'che, Chad.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, if you want to lie to me or this board, then fine, but do you really think you're pulling a fast one on your god? Of course you take issue with "subjective morality" or you wouldn't bring it up all the time.

      And, both I and Tom, Tom have explained to you that the reasoning behind your premise was faulty, and therefore you no longer even have a viable question. Have you always been this stupid, or were you hit in the head at some point?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, TTTPS,

      yesterday it was "what happens before the big bang, ergo evolution is impossible" Again! (Number 9 on the top 10 list.)

      The day before that it was some imaginary semantic debate on 'weak athesism', 'strong atheism' and 'agnostic atheism' and 'atheistic agnosticism' rather than a simple disbelief in God (number 1 on the top 10 list).

      Once or twice he's been really genuine and I quite enjoyed engaging with him then.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Hey Chad...when will we see the reference to the definition of "evolutionism" from Collins' "The Language of God"?

      Anyone who's interested in what this reference mean, please read the following thread, starting at August 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm –

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/10/controversial-mosque-opens-in-tennessee/comment-page-3

      August 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Moby, I really thought that maybe Chad would answer this time, but he pulled his usual disappearing act instead.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Chad

      GOPer: "And Chad, this one (objective morality) was number 4 on my top 10 list."
      @Chad "think you are a bit confused.. this was your #4

      @GOPer "4. Incomprehension that morality is a societal consensus of conscience; changing and pluralistic:"

      which, of course is exactly what I said in this root post.. Atheists dont believe in objective morality, and you confirmed that.

      right?

      you guys sure loose track of the discussion...

      August 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @TTTPS "Then what difference does it make, Chad? If people are going to break the absolute rules, they're not effective.t is why we have laws, which are not based on morality but on the preservation of our individual rights. If your idea of imposing absolute morals based on your religious beliefs was effective, we wouldn't require laws.
      "
      @chad "people break laws also.. does that mean they arent effective?

      the thing you are confused on is this: being an objective truth doesnt mean that everyone follows it, it means that it is a truth for everyone, no one gets to deny it's truth.
      An objective standard is one that applies to everyone, we dont get to define our own standards.

      get it?

      August 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And that is why we have laws, Chad. Because our society determines what is legal or illegal, based on what is best for the society's welfare. There are consequences for breaking those laws, right here and right now, not in some future after we die. Of course people are going to break laws, but there are consequences for doing so. Breaking your god's laws? You have no idea whether anyone suffers consequences for that. You simply believe they will.

      I'm not confused about a thing.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Chad? It's "LOSE" track.

      Not "LOOSE" track.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "Of course you take issue with "subjective morality" or you wouldn't bring it up all the time."

      @Chad "ugh..

      i'll go slow, just for you, as you are conflating two issues and you dont seem to be aware of it.

      objective vs subjective morality
      1. there is an objective morality for humanity, God defines it
      2. atheists do not believe in objective morality, they dont believe in an absolute "right" and "wrong", only opinions. They believe in subjective morality.
      3. I object to atheists incorrectly claiming that there is no such thing as subjective morality

      "imposing morals on other people
      1. many atheists claim that it is wrong to impose morality on other people, @moby is an exception to that rule, he claims above to support that imposition. My root post points out that atheists (with their claim that all morality is subjective) face a dilemma, as enforcing any rule is an imposition of a morality.

      2. I have no problem with the majority imposing their morals on the minority.

      get it?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What I 'get' Chad, is that you're hell-bent on proving some point that makes not an iota of difference. As usual. You're all about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin, and how many ways you can use semantics to prove that atheists are bad and Christians are good.

      And it's a bore and a half every time you do it.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Chad

      @TTTPS " If Chad's religious beliefs and "absolute morality" are so effective and desirable, then why do Christians still commit horrible crimes?"
      @Chad "having an absolute rule doesnt mean people wont break it, Christians arent perfect"
      @TTTPS "Then what difference does it make, Chad? If people are going to break the absolute rules, they're not effective. That is why we have laws"
      @chad "people break laws also.. does that mean they arent effective? being an objective truth doesnt mean that everyone follows it, it means that it is an
      An objective standard that applies to everyone, we dont get to define our own standards.
      @TTTPS "And that is why we have laws... There are consequences for breaking those laws, right here and right now, not in some future after we die."

      @Chad "ok, just provided the entire context so that you could perhaps see how you have completely spun around here..

      did I ever argue that society shouldnt have laws? Did I ever argue that no one is punished for anything while in this life?

      how in the world do you hook any of this up to your original point?

      August 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Chad

      @Really-O? "...Human morality is intrinsic, not extrinsic..."

      =>well then, if everyone gets to define their own morality, how do you rationalize imposing your morality on other people?
      who are you to tell me what is right and wrong?
      ;-)

      August 11, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your "original point", Chad, is exactly what it always is, and that is just what I said: that atheists are bad and Christians are good. You can continue to yap on and on and on, and I have every confidence you will. You want to believe that somehow or other, atheists are imposing subjective morality on others. You refuse to see that it is not morality that is being "imposed"; it is law. Laws are not based on morality, subjective or otherwise. They are based on rights and the common good.

      But you'll continue with your "get its?" and your LOLs and @ and ===> . And you'll come back in two weeks and argue the same nonsense again. And it will still not be the truth or fact.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're the one who doesn't 'get it', Chad. Laws aren't about "right" and "wrong". They are about what is beneficial for our society.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Chad

      so you are saying there is no such thing as morality?
      really?

      I actually have never heard anyone make that claim .. is that what you are saying?

      Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and those that are bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. The adjective moral is synonymous with "good" or "right." Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles.[1][2][3][4] An example of a moral code is the Golden Rule which states that, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself."[5]

      August 11, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Chad

      @TTTPS "...Laws aren't about "right" and "wrong"...."

      QFT

      August 11, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Chad.That is not what I'm saying. I'm not saying anything more to you tonight. It would be like trying to wrestle with a pig. I'd just get dirty and the pig might enjoy it.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Damocles

      @chad

      I'm going to attempt to converse with you against my better judgement. To me and quite possiblly only to me, there is no such thing as 'morality'. As Ive said in other posts, I think there are actions and consequences. A deity is not needed to make you act nor can a deity save you from the consequences of the act.

      Morals change, acts do not.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Damocles,

      I take issue with your last post to chad in that I do agree morality and legality are not the same, but there certainly are morals and it seems (though I could be wrong) that your issue is you don't like equating the two. There are many things I find immoral but are actually perfectly legal. There are also many things that are illegal that I do not feel are immoral. I understand and agree with judging people on action alone.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Damocles

      @notruth

      My problem lies with the fact that morality is often used to justify or rationalize acts. Since morals are fluid and everchanging and easily swayed, this can lead to problems. I would not want a violent criminal set free because someone feels it is morally wrong to remove that person from the population.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Chad

      @Damocles "there is no such thing as 'morality'"
      @Chad "so you think there is nothing "right" and nothing "wrong" (that's the definition of morality).
      interesting..

      August 11, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Waltz

      Chad looks like when you are on the side of truth doesn't matter how may people dare take on you. Hands down you are clearly the winner on these posts!!! Bravo!

      August 11, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chadwatch: Now Chad has to mas tur bate using a sock puppet named "Waltz."

      August 11, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Chad

      And I disagree with your premise (that atheists object to the imposition of morality) and furthermore, I disagree that your objective is what you say it is. You're lying. You want to put forth the idea that your god provides objective morality by attacking WHAT YOU SEE as a problem with how people think of subjective morality. I'm cutting your underlying position off at the knees by explaining that your god uses subjective morality. In other words, I see where you're going, and I've already blown up the bridge we'd take to get there. That you're still complaining about the pebbles that get into our shoes on the path three miles before we get to the bridge shows just how shortsighted and stupid are your attempts to "debate." LOL>.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "And I disagree with your premise (that atheists object to the imposition of morality)"
      @Chad "how exactly do you figure? "stop imposing your morality on us" is one of the most common atheist refrains on this blog. Yes or no?

      we'll establish the premise first.. so, answer the above question first.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Damocles

      @chad

      You're as sharp as a bowling ball. I did not say I didn't believe in right or wrong, I said morality is fluid, everchanging. *takes a few aspirin and washes them down with a shot*. I believe in acts and consequences. An act can be good or bad but its still an act and then you suffer the consequences of that act. Morality can make senseless murder justified and can make saving a person's life criminal.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Chad

      right, well that's the atheist view.. there is no right and wrong, just opinions..

      so, if that's true, then who are you to tell me what I can and cant do?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Damocles, that is an insult to bowling balls.

      Chad doesn't get the acts/consequences thing, even now.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Damocles

      @tom tom

      You owe me 10,000 aspirin and 5 bottles of whiskey.

      @@chad

      I didn't say opinion but if you want to use that word then wouldn't your morality simply be an opinion?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Damocles, thanks for your sacrifice. I'll have those aspirin and the whiskey shipped post-haste.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Damocles

      @tom tom

      Yes, I imagine I will have an amazing number of gutter balls the next time I go bowling.

      I don't mind the sacrifice, if its for a good cause... I'm still wondering about that.

      @@chad

      I don't know how to make it any easier. Help me to help you, what are you finding difficult to grasp?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @Damocles " wouldn't your morality simply be an opinion?"

      =>Morality is God's opinion, which makes it an objective standard for humans.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Damocles

      @@chad

      Im beginning to agree with tom tom.... I did insult bowling balls when I compared them to you. I offer my sincere apologies to all bowling balls everywhere.

      According to the bible, your deity is the mass murderer to end all mass murderers. Is it then right of me to as sume that mass murder is moral?

      August 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Chad

      all killing is not "wrong", there are many times when it becomes necessary.

      correct?

      that is established, has precedence, nothing unusual about that statement.

      Our legal system permits killing, correct? The determination of unjust/just killing is done based on the motive and circumstances.

      correct?

      August 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes otherwise rational adults into believing in imaginary friends like many children do.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  8. Gabriel Malakh

    To GodFreeNow

    How about "LAWS"? And what is the different between "LAWS" & "RULES"?

    You should grab a dictionary to confirm!

    Rules:

    One of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles "GOVERNING" conduct within a particular activity or sphere.

    Laws:
    1 (often the law) the system of "RULES" that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members (such as the members or heavenly bodies that are in the communities of the universe)....

    • a thing regarded as having the binding force or effect of a formal system of "RULES"

    August 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Scientists use certain expressions loosely, but no atheists scientist when asked if the Rules/Laws or whatever word used here are transitively "governing" the universe will say, "yes". Your suggestion lacks integrity if you are implying otherwise. Governing implies a governor and suggests intention. If you are willing to acknowledge that the use of the word govern is not suggesting any intention or governor then I am willing to continue the discussion using that word.

      Scientist also commonly use words like, design, empowering, directing, influencing... without at the same time suggesting a designer, empower-er, director, or "influencer" of intent. Follow?

      Now, seemed to have conveniently skipped over all of the points I made in favor of a semantic argument. Was that all you felt comfortable responding to or can I expect a reply in the future?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "Scientists use certain expressions loosely, but no atheists scientist when asked if the Rules/Laws or whatever word used here are transitively "governing" the universe will say, "yes". "
      Why don't they? Becasue theenthey'll have to admit taht there is a Designer? Becasuse taht's exactly how it is: There ar rules'Laws govreerning th Universe and they hav been created by a Designer!

      August 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "Scientists use certain expressions loosely, but no atheists scientist when asked if the Rules/Laws or whatever word used here are transitively "governing" the universe will say, "yes". "
      Why don't they? Because then they'll have to admit that there is a Designer? Because that's exactly how it is: There are Rules/Laws governing the Universe and they hav been created by a Designer.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @PRISM

      No, because it would be a misapplication and equivocation of the word Law when speaking of scientific Laws. Then again, you won't care will you. How will you brush it off this time? Conspiracy theory? Oops, you already used that. How about irrelevant drivel about atheists? Or maybe an ad hominem?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @PRISM 1234, I think you would be more convincing if you offered evidence of your belief rather than jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

      By your reasoning, scientists are all convinced there is a god and are actively covering it up. It's a grand conspiracy! How can you expect to be taken seriously when that's what you bring to the discussion?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @vocal:

      OK explain to me the basis for Altruism. Remembering of course that society is proof that not everyone posses even a shred of it...

      August 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "PRISM 1234, I think you would be more convincing if you offered evidence of your belief rather than jumping to conclusions and making assumptions"
      That goes for you too, buster, you should do the very thing you tell me to do.
      You and those like you, are of whom the God of all Creation says that they are ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth.... You're as a blind men poking around with their walking canes, stumbling over the objects before them...
      So the best way to sum it up would be yo say,
      You both are full of hot air, that's all!....... LOL!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aaaannnd, Prissy does the usual. No evidence, no proof, not even a reasonable argument.

      But the LOL was a nice touch!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      My, what a surprise. PRISM does not provide anything and attempts to shift the burden of proof. Who could have ever predicted this.
      /bored voice

      August 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Dead can not know what life is, and blind do not know what is it like to see. What proof would suffice for you' other then apearing before God your Maker face to face? But that will happen soon enough, so why wasting time blabbering about how foolish we are..... Then you'll have it all settled forever, and won't parrot "I wanna proof" any longer, and that willl be a day you'll never forget!

      August 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gosh, how original, Prissy! Never heard that before! What a convincing argument!

      August 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Besides, Prissy, what do you care? You'll be sitting up on a cloud, strumming your lyre. You can look down on everyone in hell and gloat, just like you do on here!

      August 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Hg.
      Your response to my question was "No, because it would be a misapplication and equivocation of the word Law when speaking of scientific Laws".

      You must have thrown your 'logic' and 'reason' out the door, and so have your scientists who deny that Laws/Rules of the universe can not exist without a Law-Giver or Ruler who set them there, and who is keeping them. in tact. There is NO LAW WITHOUT a LAWGIVER, and without a Lawgiver there is only CHAOS.
      Your reasoning and of those scientists is a CONTRADICTION.

      On page 39 poster 2357 wrote some things that those of you who boast of 'logic and reason' should recognize and take on , considering it being a challenge to your reason and logic and EXAMINE it.
      But soon someone comes up challenging you, you scat and start parroting the same old "I wanna proof" thing, a begin resorting to your " circular logic"..... And then you end up labeling the person whose post exposes your weakness and shallow-mindedness , as ignorant.
      Here is an example for you: If I have an unique idea that elevates my position in my company, and hold as the best of the kind existing, but then someone else comes with better idea, will I fight his idea , and try to prevent it from being revealed, because I want to protect mine? If I do, I would be a dishonest person!.
      But all you people show is what you really are – insecure, bitter, hostile bunch of persons whose hostility and refusing to face obvious truth, only proves your turmoil inside , and made up facade to cover up outside so to hide the real issues you're plagued with! So don't boast yourself of your intelligence, reason and logic, and in finds of lame scientists who make themselves lame by denying the Source of all things they are trying to understand, because you will never heal what you're trying to wipe out by running from facing it. It doesn't work that way!

      This post is not written to you with any wrong motive, but just because that's the way things are. And whether you admit it or not, it won't change the fact that it is so!
      Good day!

      August 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Good Day!

      hawaiiguest, you have been dismissed! :)

      (Prism would have been one of the ones who insisted on tossing virgins into volcanoes to appease the angry gods who lived in them. Science and reality - bosh!)

      August 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Tom-Tom
      You said to me "what do you care"
      I care enough to pray for you. I care enough to want to see you not to go to that place of the damned where no human soul was ever intended to go. But you are bitter and hostile to everyone who cares enough to tell you the truth.
      But it hurts to kick against the pri/cks..., doesn't it, Tom-Tom?! It is better to swallow your hurts now then face them in eternity!
      I believe there are many people praying for you, Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      August 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, malarkey! You couldn't care less about me or anyone who doesn't swallow your pap, Prissy. You do nothing but make threats against anyone you believe isn't worthy of your vision of eternity. Every time you post your "warnings" ("You just wait until Dad gets home; he's gonna beat you with a belt! You won't be able to sit down for a week! He's gonna be so mad at you and it won't matter what you say then. You'd better tell me the truth or I'll sic him on you for sure!"), it just makes me laugh. You are so desperate to convict anyone who doesn't conform to YOUR view of the world or worship of a god that whenever someone tells you to go pound sand, you get mad and threaten them with eternal fire. It makes every word you speak about love and compassion and respect a complete and utter lie.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      >-- :) -–<

      August 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  9. GodFreeNow

    Can someone please repost the moderated word list? I've lost mine.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The commonest ones where you hit them unexpectedly are are:

      t-it
      c-um
      v-ag
      j-ap
      sp-ic
      h0m0
      s-ex

      August 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      hm... none of the above.... maybe one of the more obscure ones. thanks.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      GFN, Here ya' go:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      August 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Many thanks!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Found it... tw-at.....as in salt.water

      August 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      saltwater – that's worth adding to the list!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Yes, GFN, will do... good catch!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      Here is my list. There may be some slight differences:
            arse             as in Arsenal
            bastard
            bitch
            cock           as in cockatiel
            coon           as in cocoon
            cum             as in circumstance
            cunt
            douche
            effing
            fag
            ftw
            fuck
            homo         as in homosexual
            hooters
            horny
            hump
            jackass
            jap
            jism
            kinky
            kooch
            nipple
            orgy
            pis
            porn
            poo           as in spooked
            prick
            queer
            rape         as in grape
            sex           as in homosexual
            shit
            slut
            smut
            snatch
            spic         as in despicable
            tit               as in constitution or title
            twat
            vag           as in vague
            whore
            wonderful us
            wtf

      August 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  10. Gabriel Malakh

    To Moby Schtick

    Yes I do know! Just cause you don't does not mean I don't! God plainly gave us the answer, but you refuse to except the answer, cause you didn't come up with it. You see, that's the problem with atheists, just cause the they can't explain it or didn't discover it first, they rather reject it and come up with a whole lot of nonsense.

    For example: When did scientists discover that the universe was stretching/expanding out?

    God told us in his word the Bible over 3,000 years ago:

    Isaiah 40:21,22
    21 Do YOU people not know? Do YOU not hear? Has it not been told to YOU from the outset? Have YOU not applied understanding from the foundations of the earth? 22 There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers, the One who is stretching out the heavens just as a fine gauze, who spreads them out like a tent in which to dwell,

    Isaiah 42:5
    5 This is what the [true] God, Jehovah, has said, the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it:

    Isaiah 44:24,25
    24 This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: “I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me? 25 [I am] frustrating the signs of the empty talkers, and [I am] the One that makes diviners themselves act crazily; the One turning wise men backwards, and the One that turns even their knowledge into foolishness;

    August 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The bible also says that insects have four legs and bats are birds. Are you going with science or the bible on those verses? The bible is demonstrably stupid, but easy enough comfort for those who want easy answers.

      GodFreeNow said it best, to you, so here it is again. Read slowly and carefully:

      "Atheists do not pretend to know the origin of existence. That's the realm of religion. What scientists do is put forth theories and test them until they can verify with a relative level of certainty that what they are suggesting is outside of a reasonable margin of error. If you like absolute, simplistic, certainty, then religion is your bag. Science rarely gives 100% certainty on any subject.

      In particle physics they use a Sigma rating system. Before something can even be considered a discovery, it must reach the level of 5-Sigma which indicates 99.99995 percent chance that the result can be reproduced. As you can see, there is still a lot of room for doubt and shows the integrity of scientist who err on the side of caution rather than state arrogantly that "we know for certain."

      So if you prefer your system of blindly accepting what people tell you without any reproduce-able or concrete evidence, then that's the kind of life you've chosen. Ignorance is bliss. If it makes you happy, then I'm happy for you. But when you compare your system of "certainty" against what atheists gauge as "certainty," you'll have a really hard time convincing any of them that your way is better."

      August 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  11. Franklin in Tenn.

    Atheist moral philosopy is very deep. It boils down to this:

    Hurting others is bad.
    Helping others is good.

    That is just about the whole ball of wax. I would like an objective proof of these propositions.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      I would like objective proof that the moral propositions of your religion do in fact come from god. I will await your proof.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      Nice try. I asked you first.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      You appear to be in agreement with the whole theme of the Bible that many atheists claim is foolishness.

      Leviticus 19:18
      18 “‘You must not take vengeance nor have a grudge against the sons of your people; and you must love your fellow as yourself. I am Jehovah.

      Matthew 22:36-40
      36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”

      Matthew 5:44-48
      44 However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; 45 that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. 46 For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? 47 And if YOU greet YOUR brothers only, what extraordinary thing are YOU doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing? 48 YOU must accordingly be perfect, as YOUR heavenly Father is perfect.

      Luke 10:27
      27 In answer he said: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and, ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

      Romans 13:9,10
      9 For the [law code], “You must not commit adultery, You must not murder, You must not steal, You must not covet,” and whatever other commandment there is, is summed up in this word, namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore love is the law’s fulfillment.

      Mark 13:34,35
      34 I am giving YOU a new commandment, that YOU love one another; just as I have loved YOU, that YOU also love one another. 35 By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves.”

      Now can you please explain, how we came into existence?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Morality isn't based on proof as it's making claims as to how people should BEHAVE, not that one idea or another is absolutely "true" or not. Our evolution makes us social mammals, which makes us care about others, which makes us choose to conduct ourselves in ways useful to the species as a whole. There's no "Truth" or "non-Truth" about it, and there's nothing to prove.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      So, when I realize that my empathy is just a survial advantage, I can do whatever I want and it is in no objective way "wrong" or "evil" or "monsterous".

      August 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Franklin, Shouldn't we first agree that your assumptions are correct before we start offering objective proof of it?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      If you have another basis for Atheist morality, please explain it.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Franklin, because your society determines what behavior qualifies to be defined as "evil" or "monstrous." Those calls aren't made at the level of the individual.

      But you bring up an interesting point. In the christian belief, might makes right (god is mightiest, and he makes the rules), and morality is subjective, too (god commands the slaughter of millions or the r.a.pe of thousands or the torture of billions and he is right to do so when it would be wrong for anyone else other than him). Hits you right in the frontal lobes, doesn't it?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Gabriel Malakh

      why do you people assume that atheists think everything in the bible is automatically wrong in some way? There's no need for us to throw the baby out with the bible. It is just as interesting as the Quran or the I Ching.

      Jesus' teachings are words to live by. I just don't believe he is God. I don't believe in God.

      Bible stories were written (amongst other things) to teach morality. There is much regarding moral behavior in the bible, particularly in the new testament, that is clearly consistent with contemporary morality.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – bathwater, not bible. Funny Freudian slip there ;)

      August 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      No it does not. And I am not a Christian, though I kinda like the red stuff in the New Testament.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Franklin,

      The truth is our morals are evolutionary in nature. What was moral yesterday is not moral today. This applies to your bible if you are in fact a christian. In the bible it was moral to kill gays, babies, adulterers, children that misbehave, people of other faiths, it was moral to own slaves. None of these things are acceptable in today's civilized society. So please explain how these things which your god condoned as moral, you have rejected as immoral. And while you are at it please explain why behaviors that result in no harm to others should be consided immoral.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      But actually, there is no logical reason god couldn't be a real stinker. Just like you claim.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Quite right. If god exists, I would say the chances are much better that he is a huge azzhole.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @notruth

      Your quote: "In the bible it was moral to kill gays, babies, adulterers, children that misbehave, people of other faiths"

      Show me anywhere in the Bible it says that killing any of these people is moral.

      I am not going any further until you back up the nonsense you are spewing.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @notruth:
      But nice try in attempting to change the topic again because you cannot answer the original question.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Franklin, Atheists don't think in black and white like religious people like to do. We understand that the world is a complex place and morality IS subject to interpretation. Even christians, when confronted with particular questions recognize that context is important.

      Is killing wrong? Well according to the bible, yes. (10 commandments) Except, according to the bible, no. Wrong to steal? yes! Except, according to the bible, no... hm. Why is that? However archaic the teachings of the bible may be, the people who wrote them were still subject to reasoning and moral ambiguity.

      Is it wrong to hurt someone trying to hurt my child? Is it right to help someone trying to hurt someone else?

      Atheists do not claim moral supremacy. That is the realm of religion. In a best case scenario, we look at situations, weigh the evidence, consider the consequences, then we act. Worst case scenario, we act on selfish desires or act unconscious of the consequences. This is what it means to be human.

      Where does this come from? There are many attempts to explain this scientifically. Biologists suggest this comes from basic genetic programming gearing us to survival. There is some great evidence you can avail yourself to in various books, but I recommend, Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene". There is a particularly beautiful section dedicated to reproducing the survival model on a basic game of 2 choice: Help or Defect. It's complicated to get into the maths here but when a system of ti.t for 2 tats was involved the computer model achieved a evolutionary stable solution (ESS). The concept of "kinship" is born out of this as it suggests forgiveness.

      Another field of study is opening up now in regard to brain activity. We can now measure the fact that the brain makes a choice before we are even conscious of that choice. These choices are influenced directly by our experiences in life. For example, among death row inmates, and overwhelming percentage of them (forgive me because I don't have the exact number, but it's something like 78%[will try to find the number]) come from an abusive home and spent time in juvenile correction insti.tutions. Interestingly, the earlier and intervention occurs, the less likely that criminal will end up on death row.

      Based on my studies, I feel confident that the question, "where does morality come from?" will be answered by the science community. I'd further wager, the answer won't be "god". I'd even go one step further to say that the science will be unlikely to convince religious people and they will protest the medicines that will arise for "adjusting" morality genes.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      So, in other words, the basis of Atheist morality is just what I stated in my original propostions or has no basis at all out side of quite easily discarded gentetic empathy. I can do what ever I want as long as I get away with it. Jerry Sandusky was in no way "bad".

      August 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Franklin, don't be a dvche. I've already explained it to you. SOCIETY determines for you what is considered "evil" or "bad." If you decide do what society considers evil, then society will probably be somewhat "evil" to you and change your living environment somewhat. Morality obviously functions somewhat adequately regardless of the fact that good and evil are not intrinsic values.

      What's your game, here?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Franklin, you sure do enjoy jumping from a statement to an assumption don't you? Explain for us how you get from what I said, to "I can do what ever I want as long as I get away with it. " Perhaps you can enlighten me with the bridge you put up to connect those two things. Asking in another way, why does moral ambiguity = I can do whatever I want as long as I don't get caught?

      Also, in regard to the word, moral being used in the bible to justify the killings that god commanded, to my study the word, "moral" does not even appear until the New Testament. Feel free to correct this. But the word "just" does.

      just |jəst|
      adjective – based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair

      As you can see there is a direct association with "morally right" and the old testament repeatedly states how the actions done "in the name of the lord" are just. Do you dispute that?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      My "game" is to find out why, under Athesit logic, it is not perfectly OK for someone to take any action he pleases as long as he can get away with it. Especially those in power. Those who make the rules.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Franklin,

      I did answer the question. I said our morals are evolving. There is not an "atheist" position on morality other than saying there is no evidence of god and therefore no evidence come from a god. You seem to imply that there are objective morals (which I agree with to a point) and that they originate from a deity (something I don't agree with). I feel I have answered your question, if I haven't please explain what more you are looking for. You said you are not a christian, and you don't seem to be an atheist so explain where you think your morals are rooted.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      I am not going to let this become a formal logic class. my use of terms was in response to another poster. I completly dispute the notion that any action taken in the name of "the Lord" is justifiable contextually by any writings in the Old Testament. Not that that matters anyway, since Christian's believe the coming of Jesus supercedes the Laws of the Old Testament. But once again, nice try in trying to change the subject.

      As far as what you are saying about Athesit morality...either I am possibly a robot as you contend in your second to last paragraph or morality is nothing but genetics and I can discard it once I realize this. Please explain to me the logical basis for Athesit morality. It it is simply genetics, I can easily do away with it and do whatever I want without the slighest feelings of guilt.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Franklin, No doubt you will choose whatever is most expedient regardless of the evidence.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @notruth:

      Got it. Your morals are subjective and evolving with no logical basis. If they are objective and have a logical basis, please explain them. It sounds as if you think the world is divided up between Atheists and Christians....

      August 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @godfree:
      Morality is a genetic remnant or possibly the result of a lack of freewill. I get it. It is kind of easy to do whatever I want under the first propostion and I can't be blamed for anything under the second. Sounds like the makings of a future Negative Utopia.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Frankin in TN

      your original premise was:

      "Hurting others is bad."
      "Helping others is good."

      Now it is how can atheists claim objective morality. They don't. Chad struggles with this discussion too.

      Morality is never objective. It is a societal consensus of conscience and it changes, with time and with the population. It is never an absolute.

      Even for Christians with a rigid set of moral standards – morality changes. In the bible, slavery is condoned. It's even implicit in the commandments (the coveting one). But today Christians agree that slavery is wrong. So what changed? Not the immutable bible!! The morals of Christians changed, all by themselves without Jesus appearing in a cloud to anyone.

      Every society independently comes up with the idea that killing stealing and lying are wrong. You don't need a burning bush or graven tablets. The collective wisdom of a society defines morals for the survival of the society. It is normal primate social thinking – even survival of the fittest Darwinian thinking if you need it in a non-religious abstract.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Franklin, there is NO SUCH THING as "atheist logic." To ask what the rules of "atheist logic" are is like asking what fish use to lubricate the wheels of their bicycles. Atheists simply agree that there's not enough evidence to believe in god. That's it.

      On matters like morality, they will disagree and say all sorts of contradictory things. If you want to know why one atheist thinks it's right or wrong to do certain behaviors, then go for it, but quit your stupid nonsense bullsh!t that implies atheists have some sort of agreed upon code of ethics and reasoning. They don't.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      Your premise proves you have never even taken a class in Moral Philosophy, yet you are trying to come off as a "teacher" of Moral Philosophy. Nice.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Franklin in Tenn.

      My take and again, just an opinion, is morality can be a "learned" behavior based on results of observing first and seeing favorable or unfavorable results. For example in the evolution of the social structure as in tribal living we use an example of a child or another tribe member falling into a fast moving stream or river. Will the tribes people stand on the bank and watch or will one of them act. This is where right and wrong is born. There will be, after some time an innate urge by one of the tribe's people to jump in and attempt to help the drowning person. They most likely will not be successful the first time and probably die. But one day they will be successful and save the person. The other tribes people will gather around this "altruistic" person, they will gravitate to him/her. All the while, there in the tribe is a bully, beating-up and forcing others to do his will. When the tribes people weigh the two behaviors they will always pick the good over the bad. Why? One is survival while the other is destruction.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @moby:

      So I can assume that a logically consistant ethical system is unimportant to you.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @vocal: I get it. I understand the Darwinain model. I am sure it has some validity. I think it is also very easy to discard, especially when it has been proven to be nothing more than a survival advantage

      August 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Franklin,

      I never said my moral were not logical. I don't want to cause needless suffering because that type of suffering hurts society and will eventually hurt me. I want to help people because helping others supports society and therefore helping others supports me in the long run. Where theists get it wrong is that morals on a basic level are and should be selfish in nature but they claim they are completely selfless, they are not. Most of us are rewarded with positive feelings when we help othere, though not all of us and corresponds well with moral evolution. We are social animals and require society in order to live. To act in an anti-social fashion would be illogical. This is the foundation that I use in teaching my children which I think is superior to "god is watching and will reward or punish you accordingly". Especially considering that what religion teaches as moral, s.e.x, procreation, ect. really have nothing to do with morals.

      Now are you going to explain your moral foundation?

      August 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Franklin in Tenn.

      I think you're missing the point. It's the altruistic nature of survival, the unselfishness, the disregard for oneself over another. The bully will be murdered.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You can a/ssume anything you like, dipsh!t, but this conversation evidences your unwillingness to follow the reasoning where it has been shown you. You are arguing as if the only possible conclusion is some sort of objective morality, yet you refuse to explain why and instead make stupid arguments against those who are putting forth cogent ideas while never admitting when a fair point has been made. It's rude. You're rude. I feel more and more disgust the more I observe your sh!tty conversational tactics.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      So once again, the only basis for moral behavior is genetic in nature...sorry but altruism is just empathy...or as Gdfree says that we lack freewill. That is fine if that is all you have got. It kind of explains Stalin's purges and Mao's purges and Tinamen square, etc. I don't think I like the moral example set by those few avowed Atheists in history who have ever risen to power.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "sorry but altruism is just empathy

      Empathy is someone understanding someone else's feelings, it has nothing to do with altruism.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @vocal:
      History is proof that the bully will not always be murdered. Sometimes he winds up writing the rulebook.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Franklin in Tenn.

      You are absolutely correct. Not all bullies get killed.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Franklin in Tenn.

      @vocal:

      OK so what is the basis for altruism? ..rembering that many people do not seem to posses much of it

      August 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Franklin,

      If theistic morality is superior, (something you have in no way even attempted to support other than by slamming "atheistic" morality) then why do theists act with the same amount of immoraity as others. If you are going to claim a moral benefit for believing in a god, you have to support why your position is superior. It cuts both ways. You will not admit what faith you are, or what your foundation for moraity is, you just want to poke holes at others without justifing why your position is better. If you have a better solution I will change my mind but you seem to have nothing to offer.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Franklin in Tenn.
      @vocal:
      "OK so what is the basis for altruism? ..rembering that many people do not seem to posses much of it"

      As a disclaimer I am not in any way claiming this to be absolute, it is merely my thought process and opinion after considering many trains of thoughts and philosophies;

      The basis for altruistic behavior can be considered contradictory in nature, meaning; selflessness for selfishness, yes, survival of a species. For me this makes practical sense. Why many people do not seem to possess it? That's a good question and I don't have an answer for it. I could speculate that the selflessness gets overshadowed by selfishness by indoctrination of other thought and environmental influences, however, I think, left to natural selection and survival altruism is a very powerful force that will outlive selfishness.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Franklin, "Morality is a genetic remnant or possibly the result of a lack of freewill. I get it."
      Clearly you don't because you've got it backward.

      Genes motivate actions, there is no denying that. What we call morality is a human construct, based on a social contract that changes over time. True or False? The bible is full of moral precepts like if you r@pe a woman, you should marry her. Free will is also a human notion. It implies that we are in control of our actions. There are more neural connections in your brain than there are stars in our galaxy. Over 90% of your body mass is made of of bacteria. The science shows that your brain fires before you are even conscious of your actions. ALL of your choices are influenced in some way by your experiences. This is why you cannot know an answer to a question you don't already have prior experience solving or having prior knowledge of. If I ask you want are the 10 most common names in the world, you'd only be able to guess names you've heard. This does not imply anything "free" about will. Rather it suggests that it is circ.umstantial.

      This is not the same thing, nor has it ever been, as saying "actions don't matter". This is a good response to the above if you don't have any good points to make. But if you are truly interested in expanding your knowledge—which is the basic idea behind asking questions as you did starting this thread—then you might have to get out of your comfort zone a little and accept that not all answers make you feel good. We go where the evidence leads, no matter where it leads. This is why we now recognize(much to the church's dismay at the time) that the earth revolves around the sun and viruses and bacteria make us sick and not the wrath of god.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  12. Gabriel Malakh

    To Moby Schtick

    Where did the "strict rules" come from that governs the universe?

    August 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't know, and neither do you. I admit it; you don't.

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

      *sigh* Some days I feel almost too tired for this kind of thing. Rules do not govern. They are inanimate and there cannot have transitive qualities applied to them. Rather the universe works in a particular way. We call this way "rules". Also, they are not as strict as you make them out to be. There are quantifiable maths of course that equal zero or one, but we know that the rules that apply the macro-universe are different from the ones from the quantum universe. They are not strict and in fact they very fuzzy.

      If you actually study the Maths of the universe, (I recommend reading Martin Rees' "Just Six Numbers") you will find these numbers are actually quite extreme like N≈10 to the 36, ε≈0.007, and Ω ≈ 0.3. These do not imply any intent whatsoever. In fact they suggest that if a god does exist, he is subject to these mathematical rules.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Slacker

      Are you a determinist?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Slacker, Who is your question directed to?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  13. Gabriel Malakh

    To Moby Schtick

    Please enlighten me, how did we come into existence according to atheists belief? Intelligent design, blind chance/accident , Big Bang or something else?

    August 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Not blind chance, for sure. All matter exists because of the laws of physics. Atoms and molecules change and form according to the rules of the forces acting within them and upon them. Because of the property of atoms and molecules, many things cannot form, but a few things can form. The things that can't form, don't. The things that can form, do. Only "successful" patterns last, and the "unsuccessful" fail. Thus, at this point, we see the "successful" arrangements of stars, galaxies, atoms, carbon/life molecules, and etc.. You simply don't see the mechanics behind the success, nor do you see the trillions and trillions of "failures" where a molecule could not form due to the laws of physics or the environment.

      You see the very few "successful" patterns of matter and energy and conclude something that you have no proof of. I simply take the honest approach and say that I don't know, and I further take the approach that you don't know either, as the idea that you cling to so tightly does not provide us any useful predictions and is not verifiable. We can verify math and chemistry, and a terrorist muslim and a christian snake-handler must use the exact same math and chemistry. We canNOT verify anything about anybody's god belief, so anybody can believe whatever they want.

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

      Atheists do not pretend to know the origin of existence. That's the realm of religion. What scientists do is put forth theories and test them until they can verify with a relative level of certainty that what they are suggesting is outside of a reasonable margin of error. If you like absolute, simplistic, certainty, then religion is your bag. Science rarely gives 100% certainty on any subject.

      In particle physics they use a Sigma rating system. Before something can even be considered a discovery, it must reach the level of 5-Sigma which indicates 99.99995 percent chance that the result can be reproduced. As you can see, there is still a lot of room for doubt and shows the integrity of scientist who err on the side of caution rather than state arrogantly that "we know for certain."

      So if you prefer your system of blindly accepting what people tell you without any reproduce-able or concrete evidence, then that's the kind of life you've chosen. Ignorance is bliss. If it makes you happy, then I'm happy for you. But when you compare your system of "certainty" against what atheists gauge as "certainty," you'll have a really hard time convincing any of them that your way is better.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Gabriel,

      The answer is we (humans) don't know. "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer, "I don't know" does not mean your claim of "God did it" is true, especially when you have nothing to back up your claim.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  14. Gabriel Malakh

    To Moby Schtick

    The reason for man's plight in our world is due to man seeking their own purpose, wanting to do things their own way as oppose to our creator's way. I understand not knowing what man's purpose is, many christians and believers in "a god", don't fully understand their purpose either. But if one want's to truly know, you can't dismiss the Bible or read it with a Bias heart, then you would be resisting God's spirit, which you need to comprehend what it is you're reading. You need to investigate with an opened mind as many scientist have done in the past and present, many who has come to realize that science validates the Bible. Even history, when you get into Bible prophecies, validates the Bible when it comes to world powers and our present conditions in this dying world.

    Ecclesiastes 7:29
    29 See! This only I have found, that the [true] God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.”

    Proverbs 19:21
    21 Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but the counsel of Jehovah is what will stand.

    Proverbs 19:3
    3 It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.

    Jeremiah 10:23
    23 I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.

    Ecclesiastes 8:9
    9 All this I have seen, and there was an applying of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, [during] the time that man has dominated man to his injury.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You make far too many a s sumptions. Firstly, I investigated the bible as a very strong believer for decades upon decades. It was my research INTO the words of the bible that led me to discard my faith and the text as a source of spiritual truth. Secondly, a person could base his sense of purpose on one of thousands of interpretations of various bible verses and have a completely different "answer" than the one YOU or other bible believers think he should have–so the bible does NOT set all truth seekers onto a reliable, proven purpose at all. Far from it.

      The bible allows people to do whatever they want to do however they want to do it and claim that god is on their side. It's what every believer does, and it's what you're doing right now. It's one of the reasons we know the bible isn't true–so many people can use it for their own purposes and find a way to disagree with any one else who is also using the bible for their own purposes. Interpretation's a beeyatch, isn't it?

      August 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  15. Gabriel Malakh

    To Reason77

    The answer:

    Genesis 9:1-3
    1 And God went on to bless Noah and his sons and to say to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth. 2 And a fear of YOU and a terror of YOU will continue upon every living creature of the earth and upon every flying creature of the heavens, upon everything that goes moving on the ground, and upon all the fishes of the sea. Into YOUR hand they are now given. 3 Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for YOU. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to YOU.

    As you can see, cannot God who created all animals control them and give them laws to obey Noah and his family?

    But I do understand your ignorance, cause Jehovah God spoke of people like you.

    1 Corinthians 2:14,15
    14 But a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know [them], because they are examined spiritually. 15 However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.

    You see, as long as you keep denying God, you will continue to remain in your ignorance. How can a logical person, observing the world around them, seeing how intelligent the human race is, intelligence in the animal kingdom, how orderly the cycle of life, weather, seasons are, the sun moon and stars help us to calculate our daily activities with pinpoint accuracy, say that it all happened by accident, blind chance, that life started in a bowl of molecular soup. Tell a child with comprehension that foolish story/theory, they will look at you as someone foolish. Because as they well know, every human being and animals has a mother and a father, or else, they would not come into existence. These are scientific FACTS!

    Psalm 92:5,6
    5 How great your works are, O Jehovah!
    Very deep your thoughts are.

    6 No unreasoning man himself can know [them],
    And no one stupid can understand this.

    Proverbs 1:22
    22 “How long will YOU inexperienced ones keep loving inexperience, and [how long] must YOU ridiculers desire for yourselves outright ridicule, and [how long] will YOU stupid ones keep hating knowledge?

    Proverbs 15:2
    2 The tongue of wise ones does good with knowledge, but the mouth of the stupid ones bubbles forth with foolishness.

    Amos 5:8
    8 The Maker of the Ki´mah constellation and the Ke´sil constellation, and the One turning deep shadow into the morning itself, and the One who has made day itself dark as night, the One calling for the waters of the sea, that he may pour them out upon the surface of the earth—Jehovah is his name;

    Job 9:2-10
    2 “For a fact I do know that it is so.
    But how can mortal man be in the right in a case with God?

    3 If he should find delight in contending with him,
    He cannot answer him once out of a thousand.

    4 He is wise in heart and strong in power.
    Who can show stubbornness to him and come off uninjured?

    5 He is moving mountains away, so that people do not even know [of them],
    He who has overthrown them in his anger.

    6 He is making the earth go quaking from its place,
    So that its very pillars shudder.

    7 He is saying to the sun that it should not shine forth,
    And around stars he puts a seal,

    8 Stretching out the heavens by himself
    And treading upon the high waves of the sea;

    9 Making the Ash constellation, the Ke´sil constellation,
    And the Ki´mah constellation and the interior rooms of the South;

    10 Doing great things unsearchable,
    And wonderful things without number.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Science can prove facts that are counter intuitive to the human mind. Because of how our brains process information, the number "zero" was at one time an "evil" idea that the greeks thought so heretical that they would put people to death for using it. Evolution seems not to make sense on the surface, but if you study it carefully, you can prove to yourself that it is true. The sun APPEARS to rise and set, yet the earth is spinning. The sky APPEARS to be a dome (as the bible states) yet it isn't.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh, and most atheists NEVER say that ANYTHING is due to "blind chance." What a stupid false dichotomy to say that it's either "blind chance" or "goddidit" The universe has strict rules in play, not "blind chance" at all.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      @Gabriel Malakh

      "... every human being and animals (sic) has a mother and father, or else, they would not come into existence."

      According to science, the first indisputable living things were simple bacteria called prokaryotes. They were the only form of life on Earth for about 1.5 billion years. They did not have a mother and father and did not die unless they were killed; they simply regenerated themselves by dividing into two new identical "daughter cells." Of course, accidents happened during some of these divisions, and mutations occurred. Whether as a result of these mutations, or by other means, a new type of life form appeared, the eukaryote, based on a cell with a nucleus, such as are found in the tissues of plants and animals. Now, se.x.ual reproduction became possible, and evolution took off because the new life forms had a mother and father. Unfortunately, with se.x.ual reproduction came certain death, for eukaryotes are programed to die.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  16. Paul

    No Truth, Just Claims wrote, “When you make a truth statement that can't be verified or falsified, it is then meaningless.”

    In all your posts YOU have not given one fact or truth statement, just that you disagree. How about you apply yourself to your own words and show some credibility.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't know what you are referencing specifically, but in general, the atheist is NOT making a claim, but merely not believing the claim of the believer. The person making the POSITIVE claim (something exists, something happened) must provide the proof. It's why you don't buy bridges from homeless people. YOU, the believer, is claiming that a particular being exists; therefore, YOU have the burden of proof–you must provide proof of your claim. Until you do, the skeptic is correct to disbelieve because what you claim cannot be independently verified. If I claim to own a dragon, I have to provide proof before I should expect you to believe me. Same deal. Provide proof of your invisible, undetectable deity, please.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Paul,

      1st. Please point out a truth statement I have made that you could not verify or falsify, other than my mockery with the statement of my farts not stinking and claiming that as "proof of god". Theists like yourself like to make claims that no one can prove one way or another and "claim" those statements as "fact"

      2nd What claim have I made that you think is false? I will back up anything I have said that you may have a problem with.

      2nd

      August 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  17. Paul

    No Truth, Just Claims wrote, “Noah's flood are just the biggies that are verifiably false…”

    Not sure where you get your facts? The flood is verifiable. For example most civilisations have legends of a flood where there were only a few survivors. And you will say, “oh legends”. Yes that is true, where a number of diverse civilisations, such as Chinese, Maori, Indian and many others talk of similar events in history normally has some kernel of truth.
    Apart from this archaeologists have verified a global flood. Prince Mikasa, a well-known archaeologist, stated: “Was there really a Flood? . . . The fact that the flood actually took place has been convincingly proved.” Monarchs and Tombs and Peoples—The Dawn of the Orient, page 25.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Paul, don't be stupid. A global flood never occurred. There are hundreds of reasons why it could NOT have happened. Massive, disastrous floods happen every thousand years or so and in most parts of the world which give rise to myths of massive floods in most cultures throughout the globe. To the locals without the internet or any knowledge of peoples farther away from them then they could travel–it would seem like a global flood that destroyed everything.

      The global flood as purported by the bible never occurred as we can prove beyond all doubt. Jesus referenced a global flood and therefore was either lying about the flood or lying about being the messiah. But who cares when you can use the "goddidit" excuse and the "faith-trumps-reason" card, right?

      August 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Reason77

      @Paul

      Genesis 7:23 "Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the land; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark."

      The existence of Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Asians, Africans, Europeans is indisputable proof that this verse is inaccurate. These people were certainly not "blotted out".

      Even your quote " For example most civilisations have legends of a flood where there were only a few survivors. And you will say, “oh legends”. Yes that is true, where a number of diverse civilisations, such as Chinese, Maori, Indian and many others talk of similar events in history normally has some kernel of truth." is indisputable proof that flood story is a myth. Sure there may have been floods that impacted these civilizations, but these civilizations were clearly NOT destroyed by any such flood.

      Be reasonable (I know, an unlikely stretch for a blind believer). Think about what the animals would do after getting off the ark. The predators (e.g the 2 lions) would eat the available prey (e.g. the 2 gazelle) then run out of food and starve. There would be no gazelle or lions left. The existence of lions and gazelles is proof that the flood is a myth.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      To Moby Schtick

      Please, from your "observation" of the world around you, has anything, animal or person just appeared out of nowhere? The house you live in, the clothes on your back, the food you eat, the computer in front of you, the animals around you, the roads you walk on, from observation, please explain where did they come from, and what are their purpose in the world we live in?

      August 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Of course. The material we see around us was formed by processes that are the result of the fundamental forces in the universe. The fundamental forces shape our universe and "dictate" the sort of patterns of energy and matter that can exist during this epoch of the expansion of our universe.

      As to the purpose of anything, nobody knows if there is a purpose or not, or if there is what it could be. Since we don't know and we don't seem to have the tools to find out if there even is a central purpose or not, then we should determine our own purpose. I have my own ideas about how a person should determine his purpose, but I don't see how that's germane to this topic.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Apart from this archaeologists have verified a global flood."

      Ummm, Paul no they haven't.

      Not sure your level of education but biology, geology, palentology, archeology, genetics have all proven the global flood story false. If you are a Young Earth Creationist you are daft and i would not matter how much information I or the science community would throw at you, you would deny it. The reason most civilizations have had flood stories is most areas of the planet where people have traditionaly lived flood from time to time, but not ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Paul, Questions for you...

      1) once the ark was wrecked on Mt Ararat, how did Noah get the kangaroos back to Australia, penguins back to Antarctica, Polar bea.rs back to the Arctic and the Komodo dragons back to their island...?

      2) How did the fish survive? Did Noah take all of them onto the ark, including whales? As you may not know, salt.water creatures cannot survive in brackish water. That much rain would totally disrupt the balance of the oceans.

      3) Why are there different species plants specific to particular regions of earth? For example, why do certain plants or trees like avocados or specific kinds of morning glory flowers, only grow in certain places, while they can be transplanted to other regions that have a similar climate? If all of the vegetation on earth were destroyed then it would all have to grow again from something. Are you suggesting some form of evolution?

      4) There are over 1 million species of beetle alone. Multiply that by 2 of every kind... Can you explain how that many beetles could fit on a boat the size of the ark? Are we talking some kind of Dr. Who dimensional thing or what?

      August 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  18. Gabriel Malakh

    Scientist and engineers are studying and mimicking the design features of various creatures-a field known as bio-mimeticsi-in an effort to create new products and improve the performance of existing ones. So ask yourself, who really deserves the credit for these designs?

    Fact: Aircraft wings already mimic the shape of birds wings.

    Fact: Sonar from dolphins is superior to the human imitation.

    Man-made product: Kevlar is a tough man-made fiber used in such items as the bulletproof vest.

    Natural product: Orb-weaving spiders produce seven types of silk. The sturdiest, known as dragline silk, is lighter than cotton yet, ounce for ounce, is stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar.

    The list goes on.......

    August 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Paul

      Well said.

      Isn't it crazy that man thinks he is so clever, but always has to resort to copying! Never an original thought.

      A bit like a child with his dad, copying him and saying his dad never existed, how weird is that!?

      August 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Mama Mia

      I like the one where the male seahorse gestates and cares for the babies!

      Oh yeah, but there's also the Black Widows who kill the males after mating!

      What to do? What to do?

      August 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Evolution accounts for the natural world without the necessity of a god, evolution does not prove there is no god, just that these changes can take place without the need of a god. And if you think these designs prove a designer, why were we designed so poorly?

      We have one tube to both eat with and breath through increasing the chance we choke to death.

      Our knees and spine are poorly designed to walk upright, good enough to get the job done but today's engineers could do better.

      Waste and procreation organs using the same equipment.

      The uselessness of the appendix.

      Poor design equals a poor designer. Of course once again evolution is a much better answer to this dilemma too.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  19. Paul

    No Truth, Just Claims wrote, “Noah's flood are just the biggies that are verifiably false…”
    Not sure where you get your facts? The flood is verifiable. For example most civilisations have legends of a flood where there were only a few survivors. And you will say, “oh legends”. Yes that is true, where a number of diverse civilisations, such as Chinese, Maori, Indian and many others talk of similar events in history normally has some kernel of truth.
    Apart from this archaeologists have verified a global flood. Prince Mikasa, a well-known archaeologist, stated: “Was there really a Flood? . . . The fact that the flood actually took place has been convincingly proved.” Monarchs and Tombs and Peoples—The Dawn of the Orient, page 25.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  20. Gabriel Malakh

    @ niknak and all atheist:

    In recent years, scientist and engineers have, in very real sense, allowed plants and animals to instruct them.

    Job 12:7-9
    7 However, ask, please, the domestic animals, and they will instruct you;
    Also the winged creatures of the heavens, and they will tell you.

    8 Or show your concern to the earth, and it will instruct you;
    And the fishes of the sea will declare it to you.

    9 Who among all these does not well know
    That the hand of Jehovah itself has done this,

    Ecclesiastes 1:9,10
    9 That which has come to be, that is what will come to be; and that which has been done, that is what will be done; and so there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Does anything exist of which one may say: “See this; it is new”? It has already had existence for time indefinite; what has come into existence is from time prior to us.

    August 10, 2012 at 3:57 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.