By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – In a stadium filled with 8,000 evangelical Christian women, one person near the stage stands out.
Sporting short salt-and-peppered hair, broad shoulders and a high-collared shirt, the man sits calmly as ballerinas flutter across the stage, women tell jokes about menopause and the event’s emcee announces that almost all the men’s rooms at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington have been converted to female restrooms for the night, provoking a round of applause.
For Kurt Warner, former quarterback for the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals and two-time National Football League MVP, this is about as far away from the testosterone-driven world of the gridiron as you can get.
Onstage is the reason Warner’s here: Brenda Warner, her angular face and close-cropped blonde hair radiating in professional lighting, telling the audience about God’s plan for her life.
For years, Brenda was known as Kurt’s uber-supportive wife – a woman whose unflinchingly defense and championing of her superstar husband sometimes made news in it its own right.
Today, two years into Kurt’s retirement, those roles are changing.
My Faith: What people talk about before they die
Brenda has become what some call "Christian famous" - a renowned evangelical speaker who tours the country with the likes of the 2012 Women of Faith tour, which will reach tens of thousands of Christian women with a message of hope and faith. As one of the tour’s headliners, Brenda will travel the country each weekend until November to tell her story – one of heartbreak, love and growth.
Through much of it, Kurt will be there with her, sitting in the audience as his wife does her thing before throngs of adoring fans.
“Brenda Warner is no longer Kurt Warner’s wife,” one awestruck woman says after listening to Brenda’s story at the Verizon Center. “Kurt Warner is now Brenda Warner’s husband.”
‘We need each other, we all have a story’
Brenda Warner’s story is a tear-jerker, whether or not you accept the God part.
When she was 18, she joined the Marine Corps, a job that took her from her hometown of Parkersburg, Iowa, to bases in Japan and in Virginia Beach, Virginia – where she would marry another Marine and give birth to a baby boy.
When Brenda begins to explain her life to the crowd in Washington, women applaud for the lines about joining the Marines and having baby Zachary.
Then the story takes a dark turn.
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While working one day in Virginia Beach, Brenda got a phone call that changed her life. Her husband had dropped Zachary on his head, an accident that would leave their toddler legally blind and developmentally disabled. Speaking in Washington, Brenda recounts the scene at the hospital.
“Zachary had a seizure – they worked around him trying to stop it,” she says. “I did all that I knew to do – I called out, ‘Jesus, Jesus, let this be the last seizure.’”
A hush has fallen over the stadium. Women wipe tears from their cheeks; one has pulled her pink T-shirt over her eyes.
She and her husband struggled to make things work with Zachary, Brenda continues. She got pregnant again, she tells the audience, but when she was a month from her due date her husband told her he had feelings for another woman. “I got out of bed, I called home and said mama come get me,” she says. “He doesn't love me, after all that we have been through.”
Brenda became a registered nurse, largely to learn how to better cope with Zachary’s condition. To make ends meet, she stood in line for food stamps and moved out of her parent’s basement and into low-income housing.
Then, another bombshell.
One night in 1996, Brenda’s sister called to report that their mother and father, who had retired to a cabin in Arkansas, had been killed in a tornado. Their house had been wiped off the map.
“They were always my soft place to fall,” Brenda tells the crowd.
At this point, the woman with her head in her T-shirt is a sobbing headless body. But as quickly as she has just dropped the mood, Brenda builds it up by telling the women that God brought her through it all.
“I married that football player,” she says, gesturing toward Kurt. “He adopted my two and we have five more.” Tears are giving way to applause.
Kurt and Brenda Warner first met when Kurt was playing college football at University of Northern Iowa.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Near the end of the speech, Brenda brings Zachary out to say hello to the crowd.
“If you have ever felt like life has cheated you, stand up with me,” Brenda says. “If you have ever felt disappointed in life, stand with me. If you have ever received a call that changed your life forever, brought you to your knees and took your breath away, look around, we are all in this together, we need each other, we all have a story.”
Afterward, many women say they saw themselves in Brenda’s story.
“She is just a normal everyday mom raising a family just like everybody,” says Sena Hohman, her two daughters accompanying her to the event. “Hearing these stories, you find out she is just like me, with ups and downs in life, with peaks and valleys.
“To be able to see somebody has overcome” what she has, said Judy Gerlitz from Centerville, Virginia, “shows me that I can do it.”
Super Bowl champion, philanthropist
When she’s offstage, Brenda and Kurt often operate as a team in their faith-based work.
On the recent Friday morning before Brenda addresses the Women of Faith conference, the couple find themselves in a small, bland conference room in downtown Washington.
Kurt takes notes while Brenda’s eyes stay fixed on the architect who’s briefing them. The topic: plans for a multi-apartment home for developmentally disabled young adults that the Warners want to build in their hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The project is inspired by Zachary, now a 23-year-old high school graduate.
“Zach has probably impacted more people than all of us combined because there is something unique and special and honest about these individuals that see it like it is and call it like they see it,” Kurt says.
Zachary lives in a group house in St. Louis. The Warners are modeling the group home they’re building in Arizona, called Treasure House, on the St. Louis Life concept for independent living for those with special needs.
At the meeting in Washington, Kurt is very much in control, with the architect and a consultant urge the Warners to use Kurt’s celebrity to help raise funds. “Leverage your history,” the consultant says, looking at Kurt and talking football.
Kurt’s story, like Brenda’s, includes some letdowns. After going unselected in the 1994 NFL draft as a quarterback out of University of Northern Iowa, Kurt became a Hy-Vee grocery store stock clerk to make money. While stocking shelves, he signed with the Iowa Barnstorms, an Arena Football League team in Des Moines, Iowa. With his big arm and accuracy, he became an AFL star.
After a short stint with NFL Europe, Kurt became the third -tring quarterback for the St. Louis Rams for the 1998 season. In 1999, after an injury to the Rams’ starting quarterback, he got his chance. Leading the Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory, Kurt won both the league and Super Bowl MVP award that year.
Kurt Warner drops back to pass in Super Bowl XXXIV, a game his St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans, 23-16.
Brenda was there through all of it, from AFL to NFL. She and Kurt met while Kurt was attending college in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at a country bar where she was taking line dancing classes. She worried he wouldn’t be able to handle the fact she was divorced with two kids.
When he showed up the morning after their first date and said he wanted to meet her kids, Brenda says, “I feel in love with him before he fell in love with me.”
When Kurt led the Rams to their 1999 Super Bowl victory, not only was Brenda there - she became part of the story.
Brenda was vocally defensive of her husband when he had a bad game, even calling into radio stations to criticize the Rams coaching staff. That zeal and her on-camera postgame kisses for the star quarterback had some fans calling her the Yoko Ono of football.
Throughout his 12-year NFL career, Kurt was known for both his skill and overt faith. “Well, first things first,” Warner told a reporter after his first Super Bowl victory. “I've got to thank my Lord and Savior up above — thank you, Jesus!”
The interview provided a name for Kurt’s foundation, First Things First, which is “dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities.” The group raises money, taking advantage of Kurt’s NFL connections, and organizes events for ill and developmentally disabled children.
Today, Kurt spends much of his time on such work. It’s why he’s talking building schematics instead of defensive schemes.
“My retirement isn’t quite like what people think about with retirement,” Warner says. “I am very busy and have a lot of things that I am active in. It is not a complete 180 from being gone every day to being home every day.”
But talking about civil engineering in a drab hotel conference room is a long way from the National Football League. The common thread: Brenda and their religious faith.
Bonded by faith
Kurt says he had wanted Brenda to pursue her speaking career for years. But while he rose to superstardom, Brenda was a stay-at-home mom.
Now that Kurt is home more, he says, Brenda is free to pursue her dreams.
“What we have realized is there are seasons in all of our lives and dreams take sacrifices but they become family things,” Kurt says. “Dreams are family dreams.”
Brenda and Kurt now work closely together planning the couple's newest philanthropic venture – Treasure House.
Armed with her story and the star power that comes with her last name, Brenda has carved her own path on the Christian speaking circuit. Asked about the Warners at the Verizon Center’s Women of Faith event, only a few of the attendees know about her famous husband.
The tour is marketed to evangelical women to “celebrate what matters,” and also features appearances by female evangelical authors and media personalities. The tour is like a conference, with sessions on different challenges women face.
Kurt and Brenda see their changing professional seasons as part of God’s plan for them. “I don’t think that is the way that I would have written it, but I see that God has worked it out for good,” Brenda says. “I can see how he has been faithful. I can say now I am grateful.”
Telling her story has become second nature for Brenda. She has become expert in pitching God as the cure to heartache.
“He called me by name, he loves me and he won’t leave me,” Brenda repeats in her speech. “God was true to his word that he wouldn’t leave me.”
And neither, it seems, will Kurt.
"To make ends meet, she stood in line for food stamps" So she's a socialist with her hand out. Probably wants children to have healthcare too the liberal!
Threre is no shame in accepting food stamps if you truly need them. That is what they are there for. It's those who abuse the system that are a problem. "Probably wants children to have healthcare". HUH????? Who wouldn't want children to have health care? You make no sense.
He's being sarcastic
If you feed them they breed like rats.
You're right Janey33, but most people that take food stamps are dumb christians that still support the very government – The GOP – that put them in the position to NEED foodstamps in the first place. You GOPer's don't get that the GOP doesn't want you poor fools. They want servants. That's all.
Great story, but she's definitely the exception to the rule. Not everyone ends up with a rich prince.
The Bible says something about dashing babies' heads against stones like it's a good thing. Why does this woman go against her god in this way? Doesn't she know a woman is supposed to keep her mouth shut according to her god?
And she's rich. Jesus said rich people suck. I guess she will be cast into Hell....except it doesn't exist. Ooopsie!
Jesus never said rich people "suck" nor does He say they'll go to Hell for it.
With all your rantings, it's very obvious that you don't really know anything about the BIble. You are just blindly attacking anyone who doesn't agree with your nonbelief. You are doing so in vain. Christians are secure in their beliefs and nothing you say will make any difference. It must be very sad to be you. The good news is that Christians will go to Heaven and they won't have to put up with you.
He said it was impossible for them to get into heaven. I guess they must suck for having money. Hey, it's your religion, not mine anymore. Where are the words Jesus wrote? Funny how he never wrote down anything.
You've swallowed the whole Council of Nicea's line of BS. Just as the Jews have swallowed five books without thinking.
Your brain is warped. Anything I say will be warped as it passes into your extremely delusional and biased mind, so it really doesn't matter to me if I make you understand anything real. Enjoy your imaginary friend. He's only as nice as you want him to be. Funny how that works.
He's obviously attempting to get a rise out of the believers... And it appears to be working. Fenton doesn't make very good/valid points. However, if it wants to point to scripture in which God explicitly endorses the murder of children then one need look no further than the story of Passover, or my personal favorite exemplifying the pettiness of the lord, 2Kings 2:23-24. Implicit endorsements of wanton slaughter can be found in Genesis (the flood), and in the destruction of Sodom/Gomorrah
"Where are you going with this...?"
Sorry, I thought I just said ... I'm asking him questions to see whether he's eligible to go to Heaven based on the Bible.
Feel free to answer them yourself. Are you a good person?
"Good" according to what culture?
Fenton, there is no universal good or bad. All cultures and religions use moral relativism. Time to grow up and learn how gullible you've been....
Having read some of your comments in this thread, there is no doubt in my mind that you are well versed in your philosophy and reasoning skills. At the least your probably a lot smarter then me. So I am not going to sit here and try to debate with you on the existence of the Christian God using reasoning. I do ask you to do one simple thing for me. Don't worry its nothing too crazy, and it will actually help shut up every Christian in this thread once and for all. Ready for the challenge, here it is:
Tonight or Tomorrow night when your all by yourself I just want you to kneel beside your bed or wherever you feel comfortable and pray this simple prayer for me: "Dear Christ if your the one true God, then I ask you to please reveal yourself to me." And that's it. That's all you have to do.
The thing is I believe as Christian that when you pray that prayer that the Lord will actually supernatural reveal himself to you. For Mathew 7:8 says "For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds." Look I don't know if its going to be through a burning bush that talks or some random dude stopping you on the street and is able to express all your innermost thoughts, but I do know that he will reveal himself to you in a way that you won't be able to deny him anymore. At least I wasn't able to.
The great thing about this challenge is you have nothing to lose. If you pray that prayer and nothing happens then awesome you'll be able to discredit every Christian without even ever using a brain cell, not that you have a tough time doing that anyways haha. But this way you can point to a verse and show irrefutable evidence to Christians on why they are wrong once and for all. And hey if you pray that prayer and something happens then that's awesome too because you'll be starting the most loving and life-changing relationship you'll ever have. Either way in less then 24 hours you'll have irrefutable evidence to back either side.
Also I apologize for the myriad of grammar mistakes. Like I said before I'm not that smart haha.
Paul, I already answered this. The mind is easy to deceive, so, any testament of personal experience, unless it can be empirically corroborated, is, basically, unreliable.
Your right, but I'm not asking you to believe me or my personal testimony. I'm just asking you to conduct an experiment, evaluate your results and arrive at a conclusion. And if you can't trust your self then ask your friends to do it as well so you can evaluate a large set of data.
Are you going to take up my prayer challenge that I posted below?
Paul, I used to be a "born-again" Christian. I was raised by Christians, lived with Christians, and wanted to become a pastor.
I had a very strong faith and even started to become a fundamentalist...and that was the end of my faith for I wanted to do the thing right and so sat down to evaluate the Bible as best I could so that I would know what I should really be doing and how to do it and all that.
I prayed for the absolute truth. I prayed for total guidance. My whole imaginary soul was in my imaginary god's hands.
Then the Bible became clear to me. It was a bunch of primitive religious babbling that had zero workability for anything honest or consistent. The Bible is impossible to follow. That is a fact because there are so many contradictions and unclear bits of mystical nonsense that it can only be used piecemeal to justify whatever it is you want to justify without anything to guide you at all.
My desire to do the best as a Christian led me straight out of my faith because I went looking to see what made enough sense for me so that I could rely upon it. I found nothing but a few sentences here and there that are good advice for a few things, but nothing I could rely upon.
I could pray if I wanted, to the inside of my skull, but there is never anything that comes back. Never did. Just a good feeling from having tried to do something in cases where I could do nothing anyway. It feels good to think that you've put your burdens somewhere else. It feels good to ignore problems. That is what prayer or meditation does. It helps you cope by focusing your attention on other things and letting the stress leave you for a few minutes.
But I have examined the proof. I have examined enough science, history, human psychology, and searched my memories for useful statistics. I KNOW there is no god out there. We are just organisms that have developed enough in random ways to be where we are now. Nothing more.
Pretending can be thera..peutic. I know only too well how this is a truism for human beings. I prefer honesty no matter how harsh or painful. I have had enough of lies.
At the end of the day this is not about you vs me, Christian vs. NonTheist, but rather this about two individuals trying to find out the truth. I'll be honest with you I've never issued this challenge before. I realize if you pray this and nothing happens then you can completely prove me wrong, and for that matter every Christian. But hey I felt God urging me so I did. Surely your not so adamant against trying to find the truth.... At the very least you might be helping others to see the wrong in their religious beliefs.
I apologize I did see it. Do you mind re-posting it again. I couldn't find it.
I apologize I did not see it. Do you mind re-posting it again. I couldn't find it.
Go to a hospital, find an amputee and pray the limb back.
Fenton...how sad it must be to be you. You can not "used to be" a born-again Christian. IF you are born again, you WILL go to Heaven. You obviously weren't really what you thought. I hope that someday you really will find Jesus.
Paul, that "urging" you felt was nothing more than your own brain working at a level you are unable to appreciate due to your crashing ignorance about everything to do with how our brains work. Our primitive ancestors used those sorts of things to solve problems on how to get food, mate, defend, etc. Religion is a paranoid fantasy that speaks to the animals terrified of the dark and being alone within one's body. You have to use empathy to do nice things. Believing in a fantasy that gives you paranoid jolts once in a while is not proof of your god. Those jolts are electrochemical responses in your synapses that are caused by levels of things like seratonin, oxytocin, endorphins, and the like.
Why don't you pray to your limbic system? Pray that you will receive endorphins soon. I guarantee that, if you wait long enough, endorphins will come to your brain from where they were secreted by another part of your body, and you will feel good.
If you interpret that feeling as being from outside of your body, then I have news for you...........
I apologize for not responding to you. I really appreciated your comment and will try to respond to you by tomorow. I sadly have to go study. I actually wrote this whole thing out and then for some reason my window automatically refreshed and I lost everything.... But one quick note I realize the urging i felt could of been the bad pizza I ate yesterday causing hallucinations. That's why I am issuing the challenge to see the results that other people get. That way i can make sure I just wasn't just feeling some biochemical reaction rather then something supernatural. The only true way to the test the validity of an experiment is to have re-done over and over again, and then evaluate the data.
janey33, if you want to believe such nonsense, then even when I tell you the whole thing with Mary and the bullshlt "Holy Spirit" was some guy getting his jollies with a young unmarried girl and not any supernatural even at all, you'd say I'm still going to someplace that makes no sense and is worthless as a rational concept?
So when I speak about your Jesus being a filthy son of a rapist who said nothing about soap because he was ignorant and stupid, you think he's going to enjoy it and welcome me in la-la land because that's the idea you have in your head?
Sure, that would suck. Going to be forced to worship some glorified priest-fantasy from the days of superstltious idiots who thought women were worthless except as birth-machines to produce male heirs?
That god who does nothing and says nothing to anyone? That nothing piece of trashy drama-queen jealous whiny narcissistic son-of-a-fairytale god? That one?
No, you'd be wrong about that. But enjoy your fantasies while you can. Whatever floats your boat with all the holes in it...
You keep too much bottled up inside, you really need to learn how to speak your mind.
The whole 'nothing to lose' mantra is just another rehashed version of Pascal's Wager
Sorry I didn't mean for it to become a mind numbing slogan. But the difference between what I'm asking and Pascal was the time requirementt. The only way to find out the truth in Pascal's view is after you die. I'm only asking for 24 hours.
I have already undertaken your challenge... only I did if for SEVEN nights straight, at the request of a friend. Result: Nothing. (and my friend was praying like all get-out the whole time too.)
Thank you for your comment. Like I said before the whole point of the challenge was to find out the truth. And if you honestly prayed and nothing happened then you have all the right in the world to not believe a word the Bible says. I appreciate the fact that you tried and were willing to share your results...Please allow me to continue to pray for you though. I realize that you took the experiment and disproved my belief, and that I might just be praying to the some imaginary creature but hey I've seen God do to many things in my life for me to stop believing so I will continue to pray that he reveals himself to you. And if he doesn't I guess you get to continue to sleep in a little extra on sunday mornings haha.
Thank you too, Paul.
I wish you well.
Sorry but you are a telling us untruthes or at hthe very least you are not very bight. Your statement about the Bible show a lack of knowledge of its contents. If you studied to be a pastor, you would have more cogent arguments.
Predictably, stories like this always bring out the skeptics...I think they thrive on them.
It's interesting to compare the very, very few "fair" responses that they get, compared to the nasty, sarcastic ones that are from skeptics but then, it takes a "tall" person to share their perspectives in a polite way without slighting anyone.
yes, of course your 'side' is the honorable one.
My Mother took care of a handicap child for 26 years and her faith in God took her thru good and bad days. The love of God and her Bible was her guide. She showed love to her family and friends . I understand that a person who is not a Christain can not experience the love of God; however, if that person wants to experience that love,
just ask God to come into his heart,and mean it. As my Mother always told us. "God is everywhere. Look at the beautiful sunset or a new born baby..God is in charge"
I will say this, in ends times Christians will be persecuted, probably to much of the populations happiness. But, there will be a point or dcision in each persons life in what they stand for. That will determine each persons destiny .
Simon, your omniscient god already determined what your future would be before you even acquired consciousness.
Thank him for setting you up.
You do realize that the entirety of the Book of Revelation is nothing more than a thinly veiled political tract, railing against the Roman overlords of the time, that names were converted into a numerical value so as not to provoke the ire of Rome?
NoTheism, predestination is a belief by Calvin. Free will is where it is act, either way a decision has to be made. You'll get your chance, it will as clear as day
My mother took care of a handicacap child for 26 years. She had a strong faith in God that took her through bad times and good times. If one is a Christain, then you feel the strength and love to keep going on with everyday activities. Love dominated my mothers's life and the Bible was her guide. I personally do not understand all of the Bible;: however, I do not understand how the world stays in orbit, but I do have faith that God is real. If you don't believe this, ask him to come into your heart and mean it. He will help you thru troubles and life just as he did my Mother and me.
I understand that you have appreciation for the nice things your relatives did for you. All that means is that they were nice people. It does not prove that their imaginary god existed. But it's always nice to hear of nice people, sure.
Nice people will do nice things no matter what their religion or lack of religion. Nasty people do nasty things, also without regards to their personal beliefs. None of what they do proves the existence of their imaginary deities or whatever imaginary things they hold dear in their heads.
You can be nicer than a Christian without hardly trying. Christians are bigots, unreasonable hatreds without logical reasons to hate those things. They are nuts about certain things. That's what religions do to people. I'd bet your relatives were bigots about something if they were Christian. But at least they tried to be nice. They probably had to ignore most of it to be that way...
"I do not understand how the world stays in orbit" take a basic science class.
The answer is gravity. It's also the same thing that pulls the glass to the ground when it slips off of the table and keeps you from floating off into space.
I distrust those people who know so well what God (Dog spelled backwards) wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. Susan B. Anthony American Feminist 1820-1906.
The innocent description of the culture of the times, of supposed god actions, recorded in the bible pretty much proves the non-existence of a god, even without the lack of any evidence found by astronomy looking back almost the whole 13 Billion years.
And how are you looking back 13 billion years to see God?...a telescope?...lol.
Never doubt a concept that you cannot see or hear.
Don't be daft. He's getting the 13 billion year figure from the fact that we can see stars in the night sky (obviously not those that are billions of light years away...) Unless of course your going to argue against all accepted science that concludes light travels at a constant speed.
Never doubt a concept you cannot see or hear? What are you? 12? That is without a doubt the most asinine comment I have had the displeasure of reading in quite some time.
For those who don't believe in a God, you certainly give him a lot of credit when it comes to all the hard parts of life.
If I was a believer in a deity that I say created everything I would have to praise both the good and the evil that it does. If I choose to pick and choose and say 'oh my deity is responsible for this, but not for that', I become a hypocrite.
I can't remember when was last time I did that... Fighting cultural indoctrination is very difficult, indeed!
Beliefs have no validity. They're just beliefs.
God is not required for any of this, nor is any of it evidence for a loving god. If you think it is, then ask yourself why god does nothing about the millions of dying kids in Africa suffering from terrible diseases and hunger. Either god is uninvolved or is a jerk, but either way, the Christian god does not exist as advertised.
Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?
@Topher, probably not, and it is easy to do. Now, I'm assuming you'd want to propose Pascal's Wager, saying something like it's better to be safe than sorry, therefore one should believe just in case. Am I wrong?
No. I don't like Pascal's Wager. Just "being safe" won't save you. Jesus said you must be "born again."
@ Denise Maybe He's wanting you to do something about the sick and dying.
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[f]
or gives the rooster understanding?[g]
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
Ok then, what's your point? Was it just a curious question?
In any case, whatever Jesus said, doesn't mean it is true... How can I put this? There is no reliable evidence that he had any super powers. Is that good enough for you?
Simon, you should stop quoting so much. Christians always complain when atheists quote scripture because it [magically] is always out of context. However when Christians do it, it's all fine...
You Said to -Denise: " Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? "
I'm taking a guess from the post that Denise made that the answer is no. I'm guessing that you already knew that, so where is your line of questioning coming from on this ?
"Ok then, what's your point? Was it just a curious question?"
Yes, I'm curious. I asked Denise, but since she isn't answering, I'll ask you. Do you believe in Heaven?
"In any case, whatever Jesus said, doesn't mean it is true... How can I put this? There is no reliable evidence that he had any super powers. Is that good enough for you?"
@Juanita I would then argue free will and the incompatibility of it with omniscience to show you that your god planned for all of it and that what you do was already decided. How can he want for people to do something when he knows whether they're going to do it or otherwise? You need a smarter god.
The problem of evil is a difficult one, and one that has not had an adequate response for over 2200 years.
So your deity is ok with letting people die if help doesn't arrive quick enough?
"22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?"
"I'm taking a guess from the post that Denise made that the answer is no. I'm guessing that you already knew that, so where is your line of questioning coming from on this ?"
Lots of people believe in an after-life but don't believe in God. I'm just trying to figure out where people are coming from in their thoughts.
Topher, no I don't believe that heaven exists and, frankly, I'm pretty happy about it. Hitchens used to call it the "divine North Korea", but that's irrelevant.
If there is proof about your Jesus being whatever you claim he was, go ahead and present your information.
I'm almost afraid to ask this but what evidence do you have that proves deific super powers?
"If there is proof about your Jesus being whatever you claim he was, go ahead and present your information."
No problem. We'll get to that in a minute...
"Topher, no I don't believe that heaven exists and, frankly, I'm pretty happy about it ...
I understand. I didn't used to believe, either. But IF (yeah, I know, that's a pretty big if) it exists, do you think you'd be good enough to go there?
Topher, it depends what you mean by 'good'. If your god is evil (in the typical understand we have of the word), which is very possible, then no, I would definitely not be good in that respect.
I'm still not sure what it is that you're trying to get at.
I'm not getting at anything ... yet. I'm simply asking if you consider yourself to be a good person.
" Lots of people believe in an after-life but don't believe in God. I'm just trying to figure out where people are coming from in their thoughts. "
O.K... fair enough, as I am trying to figure out where 'you' are coming from with your thinking here.
Yes, there are some people who believe in some form of continued existence or "after-life" as you call it, however, you used the words..."Heaven and Hell." *Usually*, especially in modern times, these words are as.sociated with Christian theism.
So, I'm still a bit confused here, as to why you would wonder if -Denise believed in "Heaven and Hell" ?
Did I miss something here ?
@Topher, Hell and heaven are such funny concepts when you really think about them. They're obvious tools of manipulation. Any good scam involves something too good to be true (heaven) and a hell you're trying to avoid.
However, I'll paraphrase something I've asked on a previous page to gauge your response. Is god everywhere (omnipresent)? Is he in hell too? If not are there other places god isn't as well?
Ah, now I see what you're doing. You're trying to get me to say whether an objective right or wrong exists...
Sorry, but I do not subscribe to any kind of celestial understanding of the universe.
NoTheism, I only quote what has been quoted through the ages, If you can't see what is going on in the world, you are blind. For me to tell you is only my opinion, but for a book from the antiquities ? Christianity doesn't require you to do anything, except to confess and believe in Jesus, all other religions require you to work or do something to gain access to heaven. The problem today is people talk Christianity, they don't live it. God said he will spit them out.
"Ah, now I see what you're doing. You're trying to get me to say whether an objective right or wrong exists...
Sorry, but I do not subscribe to any kind of celestial understanding of the universe."
Huh? I just asked you IF Heaven exists if you'd be good enough to go there? Why is that a hard question to answer?
@Simon, it's called confirmation bias.
It's a loaded question, Topher. If not, then objective morality exists, if yes, then objective morality still exists.
That's why I answered you like I did.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then don't worry about it.
Topher, I see much of what passes today. Are you equating our problems with some end-times prophecy or something?
Because it would be really stupid if you did.
That question was for Simon Peter. Sorry.
At least, not any evidence that you can perceive.
Yeah, you're talking over my head a bit. I'm very simple.
We're talking about Christianity and what the Bible teaches, so I'm just asking you questions (or trying to) to see if based on those things you would qualify for Heaven. A 'yes' or 'no' would suffice. Are you a good person?
To answer your answer, yes.. so what?
Good. Now, let's test it. And thanks for your honesty. First question: In your whole life, how many lies do you think you have told? Just throw out a ballpark figure.
Man, @No Theism has way more patience with you than I could muster.
Where are you going with this...?
Topher, probably millions.. it's getting late so I'd like you to get to the point.
Paul, you're talking about personal experience, and I don't consider personal experience very reliable. For example, you might take some hallucinogenic drugs and end up thinking you're talking to super man... so what?
Are you serious? If NoTheism takes you up on that challenge I'd like to offer up one of my own: Today, tonight, sometime in the near future, go to a hospital, find an amputee and pray the lost limb back.
Sorry. Just a few more minutes. Second and third questions ...
2. Have you ever stolen anything? It doesn't matter if it was a long time ago or if the value was very little. It could be a toy from a sibling, change from your parents, downloading music you shouldn't ...
3. Jesus said you've heard it said by them of old do not commit adultery ... but I say to you if you look at someone with lust, you've committed adultery already with that person in your heart. Have you done that?
again, we're having an issue with terminology, but let us assume I answer yes to both questions..
O.K... done here.
Sorry. I thought I said. I'm asking him questions to see if based on the Bible he'd qualify for Heaven.
Feel free to answer these questions yourself. Are you a good person? How many lies have you told? Have you stolen anything? Have you looked with lust? (there ... now you are caught up, too. Just answer honestly.)
Topher, it would've been easy to answer that one, if you said that you were using the bible as the standard of measurement. I could've easily told you that I would be sent to the most remote part of hell or whatever.
Thanks for the conversation.
Ok. So by your own admission (I'm not judging you) you are a lying, theiving adulterer at heart. What we're looking at is God's standards for us, the 10 Commandments, of which we've only looked at three. If you were to die tonight in your sleep and stand before God you'd be judged. Based on these standards would you be innocent or guilty? And based on that answer, would He send you to Heaven or Hell?
"Topher, it would've been easy to answer that one, if you said that you were using the bible as the standard of measurement. I could've easily told you that I would be sent to the most remote part of hell or whatever."
Doesn't that concern you?
Yes, yes, you are describing a deific Kobyashi Maru test (not sure of the spelling on that, it's that unwinable test in Star Trek).
You mean the unwinnable test Kirk won?
Yes, the not real test that the not real Kirk won.
We can discuss Star Trek another time (the sequel is coming out, you know.) How did you do on those questions?
Is Denise's opinion about heaven and hell responsible for your god allowing millions of kids to die? I really don't get your line of questioning.
Oh man, Topher. I've figured out why your line of questioning is so familiar. It sounds like you "borrowed" it from that Kirk Cameron "way of the master" site. Didn't you already try to use the banana as an example of god's handiwork?
We had the opportunity to spend a week with Kurt & Brenda with the Children's Miracle Network and other families of special children from all over the US and Canada.(Thank you Foresters) Kurt and Brenda are truly remarkable people. There was a Limo provided for the Warner's.....they refused to use it so the limo driver would follow our bus as Kurt and Brenda would ride with the kids, wrestle with them, carry them around, tell them stories, push their wheelchairs and be parents. They were so humble that you would never have guessed their social status. Kurt has taken the term Champion to a whole new level.
Yeah, one would never know that one can gain some very positive publicity by acting 'humble' for a few hours or days.
You wouldn't know.
You're letting your ignorance show and get in the way of being able to carry on a rational discussion.
Your mother's calling you...Isn't it past your bedtime?
whatever you say, John...
You make them sound like a couple of coke-heads or meth-heads. Hyperactive people who found a lucrative niche in catering to the needs of a few, done very publicly, making a show of everything they do...sound familiar to you yet?
Does anyone give them a random drug test? What do they do when they are not in public? Do they just make a great big show while you are there and then shut it all down as soon as you're gone? Prayers do not help the children to heal. Amputees never grow limbs back. No matter how good you are as a person, the universe continues in an impersonal and often lethal way. Nice people are not protected by their niceness. No matter how hard you pray or how strong your faith – there is no way to make changes, affect anything outside of your brain. There is no god listening, only your imagination that can't even tell the difference between what is real and what is not because it has been warped by your delusions over time.
You can break free, but you have to seek the actual truth of everything before understanding how badly you've been fooled.
God is not required for any good that they might do, nor are their actions evidence for a loving god. If you think they are, then ask yourself why god does nothing about the millions of dying kids in Africa suffering from terrible diseases and hunger. Either god is uninvolved or is a jerk, but either way, the Christian god does not exist as advertised.
@ Denise... (again)
God commands us to take care of the weak, poor and hungry. That's why hunger and disease exists, and, you'd know this if you ever studied scriptures. The only problem is, mankind is failing at taking care of their own because they are too busy thinking of themselves (self absorbed skeptics)..
Christians all over give daily as best they can to help the hungry. Do you?.
Alicia, horribly reasoning. What you're saying is that you do good because you're told to do so, not because it is good to do so. Divine Command Theory at its best.
So your deity sets up some people to be poor and diseased solely for the reason of seeing if anyone will take care of them?
I've asked this before, but have never gotten an answer, maybe you can give me one: What is an acceptable body count to your deity to bring people closer to it? I mean, is it ok that 50 people die needlessly if it brings 1 person into the flock?
The Warners have a non-profit called First Things First. As per guidestar.org, they don't take a salary but said non-profit does have an investment portfolio of over one million dollars. The interest, dividends and capital gains on this portfolio are not taxable. They should sell off this portfolio so one does not get the idea that they are using their non-profit as a tax-dodge.
In response to your reqest for added details:
origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.
New Torah For Modern Minds
“Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."
Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.
If God doesn't matter to all the heathens, why are you spending so much time deriding our faith in God? Does our belief in God really make you that angry?
I have to say, those disparaging people of faith, you truly are a sad lot when you have to elevate yourselves by belittling others.
Look, you little festering puddle of idiocy: Your imaginary world of schizophrenia is normally YOUR problem, but when you shove your religion into MY LIFE it becomes MY PROBLEM and I have no patience with schizophrenic Jesus freaks like you!!
Don't worry. Someday all you schizophrenic people will be wiped from the face of the earth and the rest of us will finally be able to live in peace without worrying about some crazy idiot attacking others because they heard voices in their heads!!
Until that happens, expect us to continue complaining about your imaginary reasons for acting like idiots all the damn time!
Get the hell off the internet, you idiot. We don't need your insane droolings here. Go drool in your church.
@Manuel, your belief has huge ramifications on your understanding of reality, what you teach your children, and so on. These things, in the end, have great impact on society as a whole.
Either way, look at how you began your argument: "If God doesn't matter to all the heathens". First, you assume that a god exists. Now, I would typically ask you to prove it, but I know you can't. Secondly, you call atheists heathens, in the derogatory sense. Not only are you inviting a strong response, but you deserve one.
You have no way to justify your beliefs and, yet, you go around talking nonsense. Get a grip.
11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him.
Simon, let us think about this:
"But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness;" do you know what a non-sequitur is?
Simply, it means that it does not logically follow from your premise (whoever hates etc) the conclusion that they walk in darkness. The two have no relation whatsoever, so I don't know what it is that you're saying.
I could be a little more lenient about this but I don't want to, just to show you how empty your scripture is.
Nothing is more vomit inducing then these con men and women husband and wife team evangelicals. Look them up...they are EVERYWHERE.....carrying on the tradition of Jim and Tammy and countless others.
Wake up people....religion is the biggest con game on the planet....has been forever...and still going strong. You "believers" are being taken for pure schmucks....and you don't even know it!
Why SHOULDN'T I believe?
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
Because it is something only gullible simpletons like you do, Topher.
We don't want to be stupid like you, giving money to liars for them to continue pumping lies into your personal delusions!
We happen to value honesty enough to say we do not believe in your god due to an overwhelming lack of evidence that such a being even exists in the first place.
You are free to be gullible or not, to be a fool or not, to be educated or not. But if it was up to me I'd make factual education mandatory for every child on the planet and leave the rest up to your brain's ability to function. But it's not up to me, is it?
2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
"Because it is something only gullible simpletons like you do, Topher."
Note to atheists: Name-calling is not a defense. Hitchens is rolling over in his grave at all this silliness.
"We don't want to be stupid like you, giving money to liars for them to continue pumping lies into your personal delusions!"
Which liar have I given money to?
"We happen to value honesty enough to say we do not believe in your god due to an overwhelming lack of evidence that such a being even exists in the first place."
Lack of evidence to you, maybe, but I've got more than enough evidence to believe. In fact, God said in the Bible that He's provided so much evidence right in front of your face that you will be without excuse on Judgment Day.
"You are free to be gullible or not, to be a fool or not, to be educated or not. But if it was up to me I'd make factual education mandatory for every child on the planet and leave the rest up to your brain's ability to function. But it's not up to me, is it?"
Well, at least they'll stop teaching evolution in schools, then.
Good to know that evangelicals are everywhere. The more, the better. So what if you don't believe. Those of us who do don't care what you think. You are the one who needs to wake up. There is a God whether you believe in Him or not. It is your misfortune that you don't. You nonbelievers are extremely vile and rude to those who don't share your views. I'll take a thousand Christians to one of you any day. All of the Christians I know are very nice, friendly, caring people who are truly concerned for others, even if they don't share their views. You could learn a lot from them.
Brother within 60 days you will see the beginning of the end !
"There is a God whether you believe in Him or not."
@Topher, one can claim that a god exists whether you believe in it or not, but one can easily say just the opposite, which is that not god exists whether you think otherwise. I just don't see how your claim proves anything... because it doesn't. If you say that a god exists, please, make your case for it, after all, you hold the burden of proof.
Actually, the burdon of proof falls solely on the one making the accusation ... in this instance it is Con Men, Reality and Fenton. I don't have to prove anything.
That being said, if you want to have an adult conversation on why I believe or what evidence there is for God, then I'd be happy to do that with you.
Topher, I don't really care why it is that you believe that a god exists, I want to know whether you're saying that a god exists.
You would appeal to personal experience, a bunch of biased testimonies and so on. None of it actually proves anything.
Give me your best shot.
So, Topher, you sound like someone who has no way of praying the answers into our heads. Why is that?
It's because prayers only work inside your own head to the extent of your imaginationary and biased abilities to twist your perceptions so that they reinforce your beliefs.
So any personal, inside-your-head proof you may think you have is just worthless beyond words. Have you got anything else?
Her son suffers disabilities from being dropped on his head, her husband gets her pregnant and leaves her, and her parents are killed in a tornado. And this woman thinks "God" is standing with her? What, to apologize for his lack of competence?
An excellent point. About all that can be said for religion is that living in a fairy-tale illusion is comforting to those who have horrible things happen to them. And it also helps if you marry a rich ex-NFL jock with tons of money.
God? What god? There is no god here or there. There is no god anywhere.
There is no god who listens to prayers. There is no god for football players.
There is no magic that is real. There is no magic you can feel.
There is no god there in real life. There is no god to stop the strife.
I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am.
Fenton...you are a very sad excuse for a human being. Just because someone doesn't share your views, you vilely attack them. You have a lot of growing up to do.
Fenton – Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
Simpleton Simon Peter, those words are not directed to me but to you if you want to follow them.
For you, that would mean getting off the internet because your hatred is showing your inability to follow your religion's contradictory and hypocritical and whimsical "rules".
I am under no obligation to follow or even take heed of any lies told to me by liars. If you want me to be polite, you will have to be the one to start being polite, not me.
This is because your religion started the rudeness and hatred and bigotry all based on fake boojums to scare people into believing when they didn't know any better.
Well, we know better NOW.
The biggest mistake ever made by any fraudulent person was letting too much real factual information become available to the ones they were fooling. The Vatican should never have let anyone but a very select few ever learn to read and think.
Now we have technology and are more educated and knowledgable than those primitive tribes of the ancient past.
Now we KNOW there are no gods and that all the terrorism put into people's heads by religious frauds is just a pile of lies so high and so deep that part of the game is to get you to get lost in the complexity of it.
If you cannot see through the lies, then you are, indeed, a simpleton and that's me saying it nicely.
Religion is rude to everyone, including believers. You want to be polite to me or else I will be rude in return. You started it, remember? You need to stop being rude with your religious beliefs towards other people. Most bigotry is born of religion.
In the old days, it was considered normal to be a racist, a bigot about thousands of little things like how you dress and what you eat and how you deal with sxx.
But we've GROWN past that. It's time for you to GROW UP and realize that your imaginary father-figure will not help you to think or make decisions or heal or anything outside of your imagination.
Let go of your Santa Claus Daddy and join the rest of us in living and thinking like honest, mature, and caring adults who oppose bigotry, bias, and dishonesty. That's not what the word "atheist" means, but it is a popular and positive way to act individually. Do whatever. But you are the hater here and I am just responding to that. Think on that, if you will.
God is not incompetent and has nothing to apologize for. He is there for us if we need Him and answers our prayers, but he does not interfere with our lives. This world is far from perfect. Since you don't believe in God, why do you care what He does or doesn't do??
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.