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September 13th, 2012
07:03 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, September 13

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

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

From the Blog:

CNN: Reaction to anti-Islam film fuels debate on free speech versus hate speech
The deaths of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans amid protests against a film that denigrates Islam has sparked global discussion and debate about whether there is a line between free speech and hate speech and, if so, where it lies. “They don’t regard perceived insults to the Prophet Mohammed or the Quran as being protected by free speech, they regard it as a capital offense,” says Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, referring to protesters in Libya and Egypt, where the U.S. Embassy was attacked, who were angered by the film.

CNN: Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed
Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: that the Prophet was a man, not God, and that portraying him threatens to lead to worshiping a human instead of Allah. “It's all rooted in the notion of idol worship,” says Akbar Ahmed, who chairs the Islamic Studies department at American University. “In Islam, the notion of God versus any depiction of God or any sacred figure is very strong."

Tweet of the day:

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: U.S. Muslims worry about fall-out from Libya attacks
Muslim Americans condemned violence in Egypt and Libya that left four Americans dead, but remain concerned that the deaths could rekindle anti-Muslim sentiment just as post-9/11 resentment was starting to ebb.

The Los Angeles Times: Anti-Muslim film consultant says he's not responsible for violence
A consultant who worked on the anti-Islam film that has sparked outrage in the Middle East and led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans said he did not expect violence and doesn't "give a darn" if Muslims find it offensive. Steve Klein, a Hemet insurance agent, compared himself to an unsophisticated James Bond" who ferrets out terrorist cells in California and Muslims who sympathize with terrorists. He said he served as a consultant and fact-checker for the movie "Innocence of Muslims."

The Miami Herald: Florida pastor says he did not promote anti-Islam video because church website was hacked
The retired Florida pastor who got international attention two years ago for threatening to burn the Quran was again in the media spotlight on Wednesday for purportedly promoting a video that may have incited the violent attacks in Egypt and Libya. But Terry Jones, 60, told reporters from his now-dismantled church here that his organization’s website was hacked and that he had not been able to post the short video mocking the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Catholic News Agency: Catholic group reaches out amid hostility to religion
The evangelization group Catholics Come Home says its “hopeful and faith-filled” messages can help combat rising hostility against U.S. Christians. “It appears that the amount of hostility is increasing and the amount of anti-Christian sentiment is growing. At least, it’s getting more visibility,” the Georgia-based organization’s founder and president Tom Peterson told CNA Sept. 12.

Quotes of the Day:

Religion that promotes violence is something else parading as religion. None of the great faith traditions embrace violence as a value.

– Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance, spoke at the American Muslim, Faith Leaders Press Conference Condemning Murder of U.S. Diplomats on September 12, 2012.

Yesterday’s events in Libya and Egypt point to what is at stake. We need to be respectful of other religious traditions at the same time that we unequivocally proclaim that violence in the name of religion is wrong.

– Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, reacted to the violent attacks that led to the deaths of the ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and members of the embassy staff.

Join the conversation…

CNN: My Take: The Mother Teresa you don’t know
David Van Biema, the chief religion writer at Time Magazine for ten years, is author of the illustrated biography Mother Teresa: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint, now being reissued and made available in Spanish as La Madre Teresa: La Vida y las obras de una santa moderna. Van Biema offers a “quick Blessed Mother Teresa primer, emphasizing the stuff that you probably don’t know, some of which we only learned recently.”

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. PAUL

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

    September 15, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  2. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2_cjYg29Sc&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  3. Pat RAUGH

    REGARDLESS OF YOUR BELIEFS – IF THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESSMAN WOULD STAY IN D.C. AND DO THEIR JOBS INSTEAD OF OUT COLLECTING MONEY FOR THEIR OWN CAMPAIGN – PERHAPS USA COULD H
    HANDLE ALL OF THE DISASTERS AND UNJUSTICE !!!!!!

    September 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Athy

      Turn off your caps lock. You seem to be an eight year old.

      September 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  4. G

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

    September 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      OMG – Gary Shandling gained a lot of weight.

      September 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  5. G

    src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/62xHNvvGsFU?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0"

    September 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  6. William Demuth

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62xHNvvGsFU&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  7. William Demuth

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNN-M4wMbT4&w=420&h=315]

    September 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  8. Religion is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    @Athy

    “I agree! So there!”

    Well, you got me there.

    September 14, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  9. It's like this

    So if you are not personally mentioned in the Bible, the rules don't apply? Really?

    If you are trying to claim that only the rich kid has to sell his goods, do look at Luke 12, where Jesus says it again, and that kid is not there. Sorry bub, but he meant EVERYONE, and I doubt he will go for your lawyerly, self-enriching version.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  10. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62xHNvvGsFU&w=640&h=360]

    September 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      To our Muslim friends:

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

      September 14, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Bell Peppers Can Be Very Fast In The Right Funnelator

      What has prayer ever changed? Does it change your socks?

      September 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • nope

      @bell peppers...
      nope

      September 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Nope. Not at all.

      Okay, so, the answer to "Does it change your socks" is a nope.

      Does prayer change terminal cancer patients into well people?

      Nope.

      Does prayer stop theater and school shootings?

      Nope.

      Does prayer prevent world wars amd tsunamis?

      Nope.

      Does prayer end birth defects and child abuse?

      Nope.

      Will prayer help me with a health issue?

      Nope.

      Is there anything prayer actually does change?

      Nope.

      So what does prayer actually change?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Does Nope have spiritual discernment?
      Nope.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      September 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • busted hal

      Walked right into it LOL ... at you not with you.

      September 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      how stupid can hal /phony jesus be?

      September 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism !

      September 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jesus

      Because the poster hal and Jesus are not the same people but only Christians are too dumb to figure it out, which is why they believe the crap in the bible. LOL!

      September 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  12. Primewonk

    @ Toby –

    Deuteronomy 13: 6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    Certainly looks to me like your god is ordering you to go kill people.

    September 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Toby

      Mr Brown beat me to the punch. I guess my last post was incorrect as you all point out. I should have been more clear that we cannot do violence as we please but the fact that God used violence doesn’t deter the fact that the Quran, Torah, and Bible all in other passages promote loving.

      I certainly don’t believe everything in the bible by the way.

      Also, just b/c we have a different point of view doesn’t mean we all can’t be friends. I say we all bury the hatchet.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • It's like this

      "I certainly don’t believe everything in the bible by the way."

      Then why do you believe any of it?

      How do you know what parts to believe and what not to believe?

      You hit upon a major problem atheists have with religious people – they are very selective on what they choose to conform to and what they select, and they disagree radically on what is and isn't okay to ignore. For example, none of you sell your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, and yet that is one of Jesus' strongest instructions (he even repeates it).

      Christians also are very arditrary in what is to be followed in the Old Testament. For example, you all claim the 10 Commandments, but those commandments are immediately followed by instructions for burnt offerings, proper protocol for Hebrews to own Hebrews as slaves, including selling your own daughter into slavery!

      Why is one part mandatory, and the other conveniently forgettable. There is no instruction from Jesus that you no longer have to; indeed, he said: “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew), and "It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." (Luke).

      This is what is so troubling for us atheists – you claim God's laws, and yet you are all heretics, choosing to ignore parts of the Bible, including what Jesus clearly instructed..

      September 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Toby

      I don't want to sound critical but I noticed that a lot of atheists seem to have an all or nothing mentality with religion. I have indeed read a number of scriptures in the old testiment that probably caused a lot of people to become atheists but I still feel that there is a purpose in life and that there is a higher power that loves me.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Athy

      I think Toby needs a "bible guide" of sorts to tell him what to believe in the "big kahuna" bible. But then he'd have the problem of what to believe in the "bible guide". Quite a dilemma isn't it, Toby. So how do you decide what to believe?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Toby

      May I ask why has to be full belief in the bible or no belief in God whatsoever? Can it be somewhere in between?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Athy

      No, Toby, you really can't. You can't cherry pick because then you're basically building your own version of the truth. You either accept it as is or reject it completely. I long ago chose the former option.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Athy

      Sorry, I chose the latter option. And it's not a Freudian slip!

      September 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • It's like this

      I'm afraid Athy is right. If you pick parts of the Bible (or the defining scripture of whatever religion), then you are necessarily inventing your own God. YOU are inventing your god.

      The one thing a real god cannot be is whatever you want it to be.

      Now note that every religious person invents their own God. Even the strictest adherents get into disagreements.

      You all invented your own god, but you have the illusion of unity because you all say Jesus. But Christianity is not one religion with 2,200,000,000 followers; it is 2,200,000,000 splinter factions that only appear to be one religion.

      Is your religion the same as Fred Phelps' at Westboro? The Copts in Egypt? The Russian Orthodox Patriarchs? Is it the same as the person who calls himself the exact same kind of Christian as you, but has thinks Jesus has a different opinion about gays than you say?

      All of you invented your own variation, and believe everyone else is wrong.

      Oh, you avoided my questions about how you know what to follow and what to ignore.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Chad

      "The one thing a real god cannot be is whatever you want it to be."
      =>Well said!

      "Is your religion the same as Fred Phelps' at Westboro? The Copts in Egypt? The Russian Orthodox Patriarchs? Is it the same as the person who calls himself the exact same kind of Christian as you, but has thinks Jesus has a different opinion about gays than you say?"
      =>Yes, they are all the same. Any person that says Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and salvation can be obtained from no other, is a Christian regardless of their other views.

      For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures – 1 Corinthians 15

      You believe that, you are a Christian.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • It's like this

      So Chad, you have sold all your goods and given the proceeds to the poor, as Jesus repeatedly mandated? You follow the old testament laws to the letter as Jesus mandated you do?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      It's like this: "So Chad, you have sold all your goods and given the proceeds to the poor, as Jesus repeatedly mandated? You follow the old testament laws to the letter as Jesus mandated you do?"

      "Chad" [the cnn commenter] is not mentioned in the Bible, therefore "It's like this" is a liar, a fool or both.
      I say both.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @It's like this "So Chad, you have sold all your goods and given the proceeds to the poor, as Jesus repeatedly mandated? You follow the old testament laws to the letter as Jesus mandated you do?"

      @Chad "he mandated that? where?

      remember when answering that:
      1. Jesus came to do away with the law by fulfilling, thereby being the only person in history to have done so
      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them Matthew 5

      2. Jesus encountered may wealthy people who he did not condemn, the bible does NOT promote socialism/communism anywhere.

      3. The bible says to be good stewards of what you have been granted (that's also where ti thing comes in).

      4. Most importantly, the bible declares we are to help those that cant help themselves. But if you CAN help yourself, you are supposed to.. If you dont work (because you dont want to), you dont eat.

      5. Christians are the most generous people on earth

      September 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Chad

      One last thing.. I have never met an atheist that could answer this question..

      there have actually been two covenants established by the God of Abraham (a covenant is an establishment by God of what we must do to be reconciled with him (go to heaven)).

      An "old" and a "new" covenant.

      you get bonus points if you can say what the stipulations of the old were, what the stipulation of the new are, and when the new took effect, replacing the old.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • It's like this

      Oh you two, chery picking passages. You are proving that Christianity is a do-it-yourself religion.

      Luke 12, Chad. No rich kid, just instructions to his "flock" to sell your goods. And do go back where I quoted Jeses saying the old laws were in place, that heaven and earth shall not pass before they are no longer valid.

      And by your weird standards, if he fulfilled them, then the Ten Commandments are fulfilled and no longer valid either, nor anything else in the Old Testament. So where does he say that you do not have to follow those rules any more, because in two places, he says you do, absolutely? And where does he list the new rules? Nowhere. Rather funny the Son of God does not bother to replace the old rules that you claim he says are no longer in force.

      Point those new rules out to me. Point out exactly how you decide, based on Jesus, what parts of the Old Testament applies and what doesn't.

      Go for it.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Chad

      @It's like this "Luke 12, Chad. No rich kid, just instructions to his "flock" to sell your goods"
      @Chad "see my bonus question above..

      =======
      @It's like this " And do go back where I quoted Jeses saying the old laws were in place, that heaven and earth shall not pass before they are no longer valid."
      @Chad "AH,, but that's not what He said was it 😉
      your paraphrase is badly in error..
      For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished.

      when was it accomplished? (see bonus question above)

      =======

      =======
      @It's like this " And by your weird standards, if he fulfilled them, then the Ten Commandments are fulfilled and no longer valid either, nor anything else in the Old Testament"
      @Chad "sort of.. breaking a commandment wont keep you out of heaven, but it wont be beneficial to you either (law of sowing and reaping).
      I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians

      .
      100% of your confusion is due to you being completely unfamiliar with the bible (dont get me started on the absurdity of a person criticizing something that they are completely unfamiliar with..)

      September 14, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • It's like this

      Hey stupid, I didn't paraphrase it. That is a direct quote.

      Your cutesy-pie "bonus question " gibberish is irrelevant to an atheist. It's just more absurd BS, and abstruse detail that means nothing more to me that a similarly tedious and minute passage of the Quran means to you.

      Look, moron, the only reason we atheists point out anything to do with scripture is to point out the ridiculousness and contradictions that mark your only soource of support. You have absolutely no evidence at all beyond your book of superstitions, and that book is just ridiculous. And the irony is, you see the ridiculousness of every other scripture, but still cling to yours.

      And again you failed to answer the question of what replaces your old laws? Anything goes as long as you believe in Jesus? The Ten Commandments are optional? Really? Jesus revoked the old rules (actually, he isn't finished yet, is he? All is not yet accomplished, is it? How can you say he fulfilled the earlier laws when he did not accomplish little things like the Kingdom of God coming on the earth, rapturing away the saved and everyone on earth seeing this?)

      Your Bible is a joke. You have absolutely no other evidence of what you believe.

      Your life is a phenomenal waste, in service to a delusion. And good, keep it that way. You deserve to waste your life on nonsensical fantasies, just as the Muslims deserve to waste their lives on their hatefest.

      You are a perfect example of how tangled religious thinking gets.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Robert Y.

      If I might point out, if you read the whole of Matthew 5, Jesus clearly is keeping the old ways in force. You really have to take that quote out of context to make it mean the old ways are no longer in effect, because all he says after it is actually adding to those laws, not removing them. He makes things like adultery even stricter.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • b4bigbang

      "He makes things like adultery even stricter."

      Now you have half of the truth – very good!
      So you see how impossible it is to perfectly fulfill the law. Now, just maybe God will open your eyes to the finished work of Christ. He will create in you a new heart [spiritually-speaking] and he will write his law on it so that you are no longer under it or its penalty.
      Cool! Read Acts and the decision of the apostles.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Robert Y.

      Only a fool would say Jesus was finished. You see, by fulfill, he meant he was going to make the existing laws fuller, not that he was finished. His finish is the end of Revelations. You are taking things out of context too.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Robert Y.

      Acts and the characters in it are not Jesus. Why would you give humans primacy over Jesus?

      September 14, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Toby

      “No, Toby, you really can't. You can't cherry pick because then you're basically building your own version of the truth. You either accept it as is or reject it completely. I long ago chose the former option.”

      So, if I don’t believe in say Noah’s Ark, does that mean I am now an atheist? I still believe in God but not EVERYTHING in the bible. Should I start my own religion?

      September 14, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Chad

      @It's like this “I didn't paraphrase it. That is a direct quote.”
      @Chad “your paraphrase “Jeses saying the old laws were in place, that heaven and earth shall not pa ss before they are no longer valid.”
      Is incorrect as I said, the real quote is “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pa ss away, not an iota, not a dot, will pa ss the law until all is accomplished.”

      @It's like this “Your cutesy-pie "bonus question " gibberish is irrelevant to an atheist”
      @Chad “of course, because atheists have no desire to understand what the bible actually says. Your criticism is without understanding as you say.

      @It's like this “And again you failed to answer the question of what replaces your old laws? Anything goes as long as you believe in Jesus? The Ten Commandments are optional? Really? Jesus revoked the old rules (actually, he isn't finished yet, is he? All is not yet accomplished, is it? How can you say he fulfilled the earlier laws when he did not accomplish little things like the Kingdom of God coming on the earth, rapturing away the saved and everyone on earth seeing this?)”
      @Chad “the difficulty you are experiencing is because you don’t have a clue what the bible says..
      Jesus fulfilled the law, he accomplished that and set the law aside. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.

      @It's like this “Your Bible is a joke”
      @Chad “how would you know?”

      @Robert Y. “If I might point out, if you read the whole of Matthew 5, Jesus clearly is keeping the old ways in force.”
      @Chad “correct, Jesus kept the law perfectly, thus setting it aside. Read the bible!!

      @Robert Y. “Only a fool would say Jesus was finished. You see, by fulfill, he meant he was going to make the existing laws fuller, not that he was finished. His finish is the end of Revelations. You are taking things out of context too.”
      @Chad “you have no understanding of what the bible says 🙂
      Right? I’m not making something up, that’s accurate. Have you ever actually read the bible?

      why atheists are compelled to criticize text they have no familiarity with is weird, right?
      why atheists feel justified in criticizing text they have no familiarity with is .... what is it?? is there any other area of your life where you just dive in and start proclaiming something that you are clueless on errant? It's just ignorance of your own ignorance..

      September 14, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  13. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 13, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Religion is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

      I disagree.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Athy

      I agree! So there!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Too bad that one of the hallmarks of atheists is the inability to attract a mate [of the opposite s ex that is], therefore children are out of the question [unless the single or g ay atheist manage to adopt].
      Not wise to go to an atheist for any kind of personal advice involving heterose xual relationships or child-rearing.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Keep Up The Good Work!

      Well that was psychotic, Bangy. Please say things like that to everyone you meet. You see, secularism and atheism are the fastest growing demographic in the whole religion/no religion spectrum, and that has far more to do with you crazies saying your piece and alienating the undecideds.

      And thanks for that.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • b4bigbang

      The argumentum ad populum fallacy is the only thing you have in your bag o' tricks keep up?

      Try harder.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Keep Up The Good Work!

      You're doing great! Atheism and secularism double every 18 years. 20% of Americans have nothing to do with religion. Well done!

      September 14, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  14. ME II

    Gilgoff, Maripodi, Prothero,
    Can someone do an article on the counter-protests or statements by Muslims against the killings and violence?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  15. William Demuth

    Toby

    That education your Church is supporting in Africa is INDOCTRINATION. In fact, just turn on the news and you can watch the carnage of Abraham in living color. His three cults have taken the cradle of humanity and turned into hell on earth.

    As for your charity, if one steals a mans loaf of bread and generously returns him a slice, that is NOT charity.

    Toby, you seem more genuine that most of the thumpers, at least wise enough to reject the obvious lunacy in some of the Bible, so you ARE capable of at least some independent thought.

    Please use that ability to see the real impact your cult and the others like it cause. Your madness is dragging us to the brink

    September 13, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Toby

      “That education your Church is supporting in Africa is INDOCTRINATION. In fact, just turn on the news and you can watch the carnage of Abraham in living color. His three cults have taken the cradle of humanity and turned into hell on earth.”

      Is all education in Africa like that? I never stated where they were receiving their education from. I just stated that they were receiving an education as oppose to not.

      “As for your charity, if one steals a mans loaf of bread and generously returns him a slice, that is NOT charity.”

      Huh? Are you stating that the people at my church steals from the people in Africa and here in the US to only give the money back to them? I have given numbers religious and non-religious charities plenty of money but I never stole it from anyone. Your views seem much more extreme than the other atheists on this board. I once heard Bill Maher speaking highly of numerous religious charities.

      “Toby, you seem more genuine that most of the thumpers, at least wise enough to reject the obvious lunacy in some of the Bible, so you ARE capable of at least some independent thought.”

      Ah shucks. I appreciate that.

      “Please use that ability to see the real impact your cult and the others like it cause. Your madness is dragging us to the brink”
      I don’t see how we’re doing any harm.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • William Demuth

      Toby

      You have a compulsion to spread "The Gospel"

      You find few that will listen

      You then find the vulnerable and entice them to endure the indoctrination. Prisons, homeless shelters, refugee camps.

      The Schtick is always the same, if you want to eat you get a dosage of Jesus. If you want the vaccine, you get a dosage of Jesus. If you want to go to school, we teach you about Jesus.

      It is THE poison of Christianity, the slow creeping pollution of the minds of the vulnerable.

      Your personal motivation might be genuine, but the "church" as a whole has been the same for several thousand years. It needs new recruits, new legions of the mindless to be indoctrinated each generation, so that those at the top of the pyramid can maintain power.

      If you want to feed and clothe some poor Africans, I suggest you begin in Detroit, but I doubt you will, because they would not be held hostage to your charity for very long.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Toby

      This does not happen in all instances. Again, you do not know what organizations I give my money to and how they operate. Even if this does happen aren’t those people be better off than going hungry? Also, would the independent charity ratings give a number of religious charities such favorable ratings to charities that do this? I notice that you seem to be specifying Christianity but I noticed a lot of Jewish charities are also highly rated. Are they also guilty of this?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Toby

      Also there are religious Salvation Army type stores where everyone is allowed to shop at. The people who shop there don’t hear the word of the Gospel before entering.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  16. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind

    but people who want to pretend it is right without proof or authority will claim otherwise using religion as an excuse.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Quote of the Day: "Religion that promotes violence is something else parading as religion. None of the great faith traditions embrace violence as a value."

    But when it is something that God commands, it is by definition good and something that ought to be done. Here's two questions for any believer: How do you receive a command from God? How do you know that it is God that is issuing the command?

    September 13, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Toby

      I don’t know the answer to your questions but what religions are there that promote violence in this day and age? I never been in church listing to a priest say to beat the crap out of someone and not peace, love, and understanding.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      Toby

      Denial is more than a river in Egypt.

      They are on TV everyday. Beat your Kids, put the gays in camps, bomb ANOTHER country, and on and on.

      Furthermore economic and social policy can even be forms of violence. Positions on gun laws and government services have direct and permanent impact on people every day. In fact poverty may be the MOST effective weapon ever designed.

      In a world here church and state are seperate, religion can claim some innocence, but in THIS world, where Gods and Governments have blurry lines, it is highly insulting for you to claim your Church is an instrument of peace

      September 13, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Toby

      You seemed to have gone off topic there. If my church promotes violence then why does the speaker at my church state the opposite?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Toby

      I also noticed that a number of the top rated charities have a religious affiliation. If they’re trying to be evil, they’re doing an awfully bad job at it.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Garyo

      Toby, your Bible promotes violence and is considered "holy writ", yet your speaker avoided mentioning any such things, instead focusing on something else. Yet the words remain no matter how hard you ignore them. Read the Bible and see for yourself.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • BRC

      Toby,
      Assuming you foillow one of the Abrahamic religions, it's quite simple. The Torah, New Testament, and Quran all promote violence (to be fair the New Testament barely does, mostly just in its association with and connect back to the Old). Ergo, the religion does. If the religion holds the text, the WHOLE text as true and valid, then it promotes violence. If your speaker denounces violence great, that is a good speaker and a good person, but that's THEM denouncing violence, not the religion.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Bob

      Toby, here are some choice quotes from the horrid users' guide for your violent religion, from both OT and NT. Perhaps you should RTFM:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      September 13, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Toby

      I’m sure the bible does say that but the head of my church does not. There is plenty of volunteer and charity work done through my church and yet no violence. I think that I can safely say that millions have been donated to the poor in my particular church’s existence! There is one woman who drops by every year or so to thank everyone of the support she has received for her charity work in Africa. She states that w/o our help she would not be able to rescue many young children who otherwise would have gone hungry, not been treated for diseases, or never had a chance at an education.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Toby

      I see what you all are stating now. It does certainly seem hypocritical of a religion to promote a book that promotes violence and then speak out against it. I don’t know why they keep those scriptures in the book. A Rabbi isn’t going to obviously okay violence just because it states it in the Torah.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Violence exists because sin exists. The wickedness of man caused God to destroy them except Noah and his family in Genesis. God judged the Egyptians and their gods in exodus with the plagues and drowning a large number of them in the red sea. God instructed the Israelites how to live in Leviticus and several death penalties were imposed because he was preparing them to take Canaan. He didn’t want them to mix with the Canaanites because they were extremely wicked. They worshipped a god where they heated a molten image red hot then placed a child in its arms. God judged them for this and many other sins by giving the land to the Israelites. Sin still exists today and so does violence, but how much worse would it be if Jesus hadn’t walked the earth and ushered in the age of grace?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Making stuff up again, eh Robert?

      "God instructed the Israelites how to live in Leviticus and several death penalties were imposed because he was preparing them to take Canaan. He didn’t want them to mix with the Canaanites because they were extremely wicked."

      How do the dealth penalties for getting raped or disobeying one's parents helping to accomplish this very specific goal.

      And, since you're saying that god has different moral laws for different people at different times, why id your supposedly unchanging deity a moral relativist.

      And how is beating a slave to death a moral thing?

      Your god is a monster.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Toby,

      So the head of your church, and not the bible, is the authority for what you believe?

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      September 13, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom,
      “How do you receive a command from God? How do you know that it is God that is issuing the command?”
      The last time God told me to do something, I was in prayer, sensed the presence of God, and received a vision. I knew God was giving the command because of his presence.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • William Demuth

      Robert Brown

      Sir.

      The more of your postings I read, the more I sense your deep underlying need for therapy.

      Your using events from several thousand years ago intertwined with today’s realities is sufficiently bizarre to suggest you might be well served speaking to someone in the mental health industry.

      Age of Grace? Canaan? Your God uses violence against his children because they are violent? Violence is a sin, Yet God is divine and perfectly free of sin yet it espouses violent and murderous penalties, requesting his children be violent, so he can then be violent towards then once again?

      I am curious, does God speak directly to you? Is that how you rationalize the voices in your head?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Robert Brown
      God speaks to people all the time.
      In 2008, He told Boyce Singleton Jr. to shoot and stab his pregnant girlfriend.
      Deanna Laney heard God direct her to bludgeon her three sons, aged 9, 6 and 15 months. Only the youngest survived.
      Blair Donnelly received instructions to stab to death his 16 year old daughter, Stephanie.
      Christopher Varian was slaughtered with a cheese knife after God spoke with one of his employees.
      God told Jennifer Cisowski to dash her infant's head on the rocks, so ""Just like Jesus raised Lazarus, I threw the baby on the stones by the pool."
      Khandi Busby got a direct message from God advising her that the only way to save her 6 and 8 year old boys was to toss them off a bridge in Dallas. Fortunately, they survived.
      Angel Rico says he received a divine command to strangle his 4 year old son, so he did just that and left him at the side of the highway.
      Lashaun Harris threw her 3 kids – aged 6, 2 and 16 months, into the San Francisco Bay after God let her know that He wanted a human sacrifice.

      Since nobody has a device capable of intercepting and deciphering Divine Psychic communications, these people's messages from God are no more or less valid than those experienced by anyone else, including Moses, Abraham, George W. Bush and you.
      However, all of these people have been found legally insane by the secular judicial system.
      If you hear God's voice speaking to you, it's time to check in with your local psych ward.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Facepalm,
      Good morning, you are correct God does not change, but situations and times do change. I don’t remember the death penalty for getting rap ed. What has changed is how God deals with our sin, hence this age of grace. The death penalties for various things were imposed to create a deterrent from the things the Egyptians and Canaanites practiced. The people had just come out Egypt where there was idolatry and rampant sins of the flesh and were going into Canaan where there was idolatry and rampant sins of the flesh. I don’t doubt that those who have faced the wrath of God considered him way more than a monster.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Toby

      @ facepalm

      My church’s stance is AGAINST violence. I’m not a theologian and don’t know why those scriptures are there but as I said, a Rabbi isn’t going to promote violence b/c it says so in the Torah.

      Please don’t laugh at me. I’m very sensitive.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Robert Brown

      William,
      I was using the examples from the Old Testament in an attempt to explain the relationship between sin and violence. Don’t worry; I don’t have thoughts of harming myself or others.
      I’m afraid you are trying to apply a humanist philosophy to God. God is not human; your philosophy does not apply.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Robert Brown:
      "The death penalties for various things were imposed to create a deterrent from the things the Egyptians and Canaanites practiced."

      -How does killing someone for getting raped accomplish this?

      -How does killing an entire town if only one person worships another god accomplish this. And in what context would that ever be considered moral?

      -How does beating a slave to death accomplish that?

      -In what context is having a sex slave moral?

      -In what context is slaughtering innocent children of a rival tribe moral?

      At what point in the bible does god say that the rules have changed, because your supposed savior explicitly said that they haven't. Please cite chapter and verse where god says you don't have to follow the OT laws any more.

      Or maybe you could stop making stuff up to justify the evil in your book perpetrated by your god.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Toby, so preists/rabbi's > bible? Wow – can't say I've heard a xtian come up with that one before.

      How do you know that your priest is ignoring the right parts of the bible?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Toby

      @Facepalm
      I suppose the priest and I could interpret the bible differently but it doesn’t mean I should ignore someone else’s viewpoint. And it is not like he would promote the scriptures that Bob noted. If he did we would high tail out of there.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Bob

      Toby, if you are going to pick and choose which parts of the bible to follow like that, you should be honest and toss the whole thing, since it cannot possibly be the perfect word of the god that it is claimed to be. Once you do that, you have little else to go on for your religion, so keep at it and you can soon be free of your supersti-tion.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Toby

      There a lot of stuff in there I don’t believe or at least take literally, such as the world and all life were created in a matter of days but I do feel that is reason to toss the whole thing out. However, I certainly understand your viewpoint.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "And it is not like he would promote the scriptures that Bob noted"

      Why not? Are those passages not the (inspirational) word of god? Do you think that your god took the pains to have something written down just so that you could ignore it?

      Or do you think that perhaps the entire book was just written by man, reflecting man's own flawed immorality?

      September 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Pete

      That is true, perhaps god does want you to kill as many non belivers as possible, and all of the parts about loving your neighbor were not meant to be taken literally. There really is no way to know, and that is why it is best to just ignore all of it.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Toby

      That’s some deep stuff there facepalm. To be honest, I do not know the answer to your questions. If you are really asking and not making a point then I suggest going on a theologian’s website and they probably have the answers that you’re looking for.

      To get back to my original point, even though the scriptures are in the book, it doesn’t change the fact that the religion preaches kindness.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "f you are really asking and not making a point then I suggest going on a theologian’s website and they probably have the answers that you’re looking for."

      No, they don't. Trust me, I did my research before adopting atheism.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "To get back to my original point, even though the scriptures are in the book, it doesn’t change the fact that the religion preaches kindness."

      I didn't realize that god operated a democracy, that you can believe whatever you want to about him as long as its popular. You've essentially rendered the bible completely useless since beliefs will necessarily change with the times and morals are relativistic.

      You're probably a lot closer to atheism than you think, since you already reject the immoral parts of the bible anyway.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • derp

      "I’m sure the bible does say that but the head of my church does not"

      So your church leader is telling you to ignore the bible?

      The whole religion things just gets sillier by the minute.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      facepalm*,
      To start, I want you to know, regardless of how you view me or my faith; I don’t consider you my enemy and don’t intend to argue with you. I enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas on here but if you are looking for a fight you might want to go exchange blows with someone else. Having said, or rather typed that, I would be happy to help you with specific passages in the bible to the best of my limited understanding. I don’t remember the one about killing a ra pe victim. I can also tell from your post that you think the judgments and statutes of God are immoral, as I wrote to William earlier, you are attempting to judge God based on a humanist philosophy. God cares for his creation but I hope you can understand that he is not going to come ask you if his laws are ok.
      There is a great deal of disagreement about the application of Mosaic Law to Christians, especially from nonbelievers. Jesus said he had come to fulfill the law, by this I believe that he was the ultimate sacrifice for sin. He lived a sinless life and yet took the sin of the world on himself when he was crucified. This paid the debt that the blood of animals could not pay. The sacrifices in the Old Testament only covered up sin, Jesus removed it. There are specific commandments for all believers and others for individuals at a specific time and place. For example, God commanded Abraham to go and sacrifice his son Isaac. We don’t interpret that as we should all sacrifice our children.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      So you really, honestly, think that beating slaves to death (not just owning them, but actually beating them to death) is moral? Just because someone put it down in a really old book? You don't actually have any moral compass of your own?

      Wow.....

      September 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      And I'll save you the trouble about having to look up passages about rape. Here are a few examples:

      Here's a gem from Moses sanctioning rape in Numbers 31:

      But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded. "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

      -----------

      More god-sanctioned slavery and rape from Dueteronomy 20:
      "But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you."

      -----------------
      Here's what I was referring to earlier:

      Deuteronomy 22:23-24

      If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

      -–

      Want more? I've got lots more examples.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Toby

      @Facepalm

      Just b/c God has killed individuals in the bible doesn’t mean that humans are allowed to in the confines of the religion.

      September 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Toby

      @ derp

      "So your church leader is telling you to ignore the bible?"

      I didn’t say that.

      September 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Toby – go back and actually read the bible. God didn't kill rape victims or innocent children (well he did, but that's besides the point) – he commanded his followers to kill in his name. There are a number of passages where your god calls on you kill non-believers. That's not god doing the killing, that's your god telling you to kill.

      But you'd actually have to read the book to know that and not just listen to the parts that someone else decides to tell you.

      September 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      *facepalm*
      “But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded. "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.”
      This was God’s judgment on those who followed Balaam. Go and read what those who followed balaam did and see if you think that was nice. It is harsh but God decided that they must be erased. He told them they could have the virgins. I take that to mean that could have them as servants or wives, not for ra pe victims.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Facepalm,
      “More god-sanctioned slavery and ra pe from Dueteronomy 20:
      "But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you."”
      No mention of ra pe in this passage and by the way, are you are aware that in that time bond servants were a common and accepted practice?

      September 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      You think they were maids? That would be funny if it weren't pathetic. I notice you didn't really pay any attention to the other passages.

      And bond slavery was reserved only for fellow Hebrews. Slaves of rivals tribes were not bond slaves, they were property that was inherited (as your bible clearly states). Also, you odn't get to beat bond slaves to death. I notice you're conveniently ignoring that part.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
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