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December 8th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Winning, by God. Joe Gibbs' third act: Evangelist

By Tom Foreman and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN)—Joe Gibbs moves through pit row at Dover International Speedway with purpose. On this clear day he has three NASCAR teams competing under the banner of Joe Gibbs Racing. The NFL coach and Hall of Fame legend barks encouragement as his teams gather in their fire suits in front of racks of tools.

“We’re due one today! Let’s go!”

Then the team members put their hands together at the center of a circle, Gibbs slaps his on top with the sun catching his Super Bowl ring, and bows his head in a sudden moment of calm before the high-octane storm. “Father thank you for this day,” he begins to pray.

The white hair under his logo covered ball cap is an oddity here. The pits of NASCAR are a young man’s world. Top speed, quick reflexes and raw power are prized.

The drivers are the captains of the cars, but speed and precision of their pit crews – leaping over walls, changing tires and filling gas tanks – is often the difference between winning and loosing.

So what is the 72-year-old Gibbs, well past retirement age, doing amid the chaos and thundering noise?

The same thing Gibbs has always done: He's calling the shots.

“To me, life is so exciting. To me, life is always trying to beat someone in something competitive. It's kinda been my whole life," Gibbs explains while sitting in the sprawling Joe Gibbs Racing Complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a recent race.

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He sips on a large green tea, nursing a sore throat he claims is from allergies but is more likely from all the hollering over the racing weekend. Dressed in a polo shirt tucked into khakis, he is fit and trim, likely in better shape than most men half his age. He says he’s as excited now about all he is doing as he was when he was young.

"I really think I am,” he says with a wide, convincing grin.

The rise of Joe Gibbs

Gibbs' rise to sports superstardom began in the 1980s, when he took the struggling Washington Redskins, a team with few stars and even fewer playoff hopes, to not one but three Super Bowl championships, earning the respect of the league and the adoration of fans.

As the cold February rain poured down on fans who came out for the team parade after the 1983 Super Bowl, Gibbs praised their dedication with the enthusiasm that has long made them love him. "There's no other fans in the world who would come out in weather like this except in Washington, D.C.!"

A young mustachioed CNN sports reporter, Keith Olbermann, reported a half-million fans braved the weather for a glimpse of the team, Gibbs and the gleaming Lombardi trophy that day.

“Each one of you has a small piece of this trophy today,” Gibbs yelled into the microphone, pumping the Super Bowl prize for the roaring crowd.

Less than a decade later, he stunned those same fans by turning from football to auto racing, setting up shop in his native North Carolina with admittedly little knowledge of what he was getting into. "I was kind of a novice,” Gibbs said while touring the floor of the JGR workshop. “I was scared to death, you know, 'Can we do this?' "

But Gibbs applied his formula: He worked around the clock, hired great people and relentlessly pushed for perfection. Soon enough the championships started rolling in for his racing teams, too.

Gibbs addresses the media after returning to coach the Redskins

In 2004, Redskins owner Dan Snyder lured Gibbs out of the pits and back to the sidelines. He coached the 'Skins for a four-year stint, helping them get back to the playoffs. But by 2008, Gibbs was ready to go back to racing and he walked away from football for good.

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

As an owner, Gibbs' teams have won three NASCAR Cup Series Championships. He talks a lot now about being a small business owner. His racing enterprise employs 450 people and includes the 250,000 square foot facility complete with state of the art garages, offices and gym.

That success in racing makes his latest career turn so unusual, because now he is talking perhaps more than ever before about losing.

When winners are losing

"When people look from the outside, they see you've won Super Bowls, NASCAR championships,” he said. “But what people miss when they look from the outside is, they miss the heartaches and the defeats and the mistakes you've made. And my life is full of them."

In a new edition of the New International Version of the Bible, “Game Plan for Life Bible, NIV: Notes by Joe Gibbs,” and a book of biblical devotions, “Game Plan for Life: Chalk Talks,” Gibbs writes frankly about many of his failures, about how just as his coaching career was soaring he was facing private calamities including a bad real estate deal that had him losing $35,000 a month and spiraling into bankruptcy.

"Bad, bad decisions. Really bad," he explains. “I was broke.”

Gibbs on the sidelines during the height of his coaching career, when he says he was facing personal woes.

Years of neglecting his health were followed by the startling news that he had developed diabetes, which he's now had for two decades; years of choosing work over family led to strained relations. Asked if he would do it all again and sacrifice his relationships with his family, he frankly and quickly says, “No. I look at that as probably one of the biggest mistakes I made in life."

A few years ago he said he took his sons out to out dinner and told them, “Don’t do what I did.”

“I could have organized that a different way. I could have found a way to spend more time with them and I think that’ll be one of the things I really second guess … at the end of my life.”

Finding his faith again

Gibbs says he found comfort amid the turmoil in a renewal of his faith. A life-long Baptist, Gibbs says he’s not fond of denominational distinctions and says he and his wife have always gravitated toward, “Bible-believing churches.”

He became a Christian at a young age, “I made that decision when I was 9 but I spent a part of my life drifting, you know, I was on God’s team but I wasn’t playing for him.”

Church of NASCAR ministers to drivers in a 'life-or-death sport'

He says spiritual mentors like a Sunday school teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and some of his Redskins players helped him get back on track with a deeper, more meaningful Christian faith even while the struggles were at their worst.

“Part of playing the game of life is you’re going to have some losses,” he is fond of saying.

That is why he is sharing his private trials in this public way: so others can understand his belief that even winners lose when they lose their way. He regularly tours the country speaking about his faith at Game Plan for Life Outreach Breakfasts, designed so he can present his faith and help men by “getting off the sidelines and into the game,” the organization says.

"I really want to spend the rest of my life getting out this word, you know, 'What is the right way to play the game of life?' You and I are the players, God's our head coach and we're all playing the biggest game of all."

Those struggles have all made him more introspective, more humble and more inclined to leave the office a little earlier for family time. He now has eight grandchildren.

"If I keep God first in my life, if I keep my family and friends as second, and then I keep my occupation third,” he said, “that's when I've found success."

But make no mistake: Joe Gibbs still preaches the gospel of winning and he still thinks that's part of God's plan for him, too.

Ask him how long he’ll keep coming to the office, stomping through the pits and sharing his testimony, "I think you're asking the wrong guy on that one. I think you need to ask the Lord on that one. I think you know at some point I'll probably run out of gas, but man, right now I feel like I've still got a full tank. I'm still going."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

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soundoff (978 Responses)
  1. Believer

    Luke 16:31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

    http://www.near-death.com/storm.html

    This guy used to be an atheist. I saw him this morning on tv. He seems genuine.

    December 12, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Saraswati

      Do you really want to go there? Because it takes very simple math to realize there are more "used-to-be" Christians than "used-to-be" atheists out there.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Primewonk

      Except, of course, the NDE's are a brain function. We can trigger one in a person having their brain mapped prior to cutting and removing brain tissue. We can also trigger floating above your body, seeing ghosts and aliens, and number erois other things.

      Just because you choose to be ignorant about science, doesn't mean the rest of us are.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Reality

      Not so fast. Luke 16: 31 as per many contemporary NT scholars, was not uttered by the historic Jesus. See for example, http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb471.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's studies in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years pp. 369-370: "This passage no more goes back to Jesus than the parable of the rich farmer Luke 12: 16-20.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • End Religion

      Good thing reality is not based on "seems to."

      December 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Believer

      Saraswati – "there are more "used-to-be" Christians than "used-to-be" atheists out there." That's the point of the verse. It is very difficult for atheiests to believe in the Gospel; because:
      1. Aetheists ignore the fact that faith is part of the human experience. You use it everyday.
      2. Faith seems childish to aetheists. They are adults and it is illogical to humble yourself to a childs level.
      3. People tend to believe the first thing they hear. The heart is what neurologically controls what you believe. Aetheists are constantly reinforcing their beliefs through "new knowledge" and ridicule. i.e. "we now know"; "scholars say"; and "this has been debunked".

      December 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @believer, I don't know if you'd call me an atheist, but I don't believe in a god or gods and, while open to the possibility that some may exist, am highly unlikely ever to believe in the Christian god, mostly because 1) most versions require an anti-scientific concept of "free will" and 2) I think there's abundant evidence of human creation of the Christian god concept.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Believer (cont.)
      That background out there, I am very aware that humans act on faith on a daily basis. I take on faith that I existed a few minutes ago and I take on faith that I am now communicating with a conscious enti'ty. My reasons for personally rejecting Christianity as an option have nothing to do with an unwillingness to accept things on faith, as to reject faith outright would obviously lead to a quick death. Rather since I already take on faith that you can't, under normal circu'mstances, have both B and not B, that premise conflicts with my understanding of science and the Christian religion, which I see as incompatible (in most forms).

      December 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Believer

      "many contemporary NT scholars,"..."was not uttered by the historic Jesus" The early Ecclesia authenticated the letters written under apostoloic authority. It is foolish for scholars to consider themselves as close as these church leaders. It is not the place of scholars today, whether they are Christian or not. There are some passages which do not appear in "most manuscripts". The passages have been left in the Bible, however, because of the lack of authority to take them out. The content, however, is scriptual, because other passages in the Bible can confirm the teachings. It is entirely possible that the manuscripts that do not have the passage are the manuscripts which are lacking.

      Your link ... "Jesus was not interested in moral admonition on the dangers of riches"- Crossan. These reasonings are outside of scripture. I think that appears obvious from that reference. Crossan tries to determine whether this is a parable or not, not whether Jesus said it or not; yet he reasons the same. Using Jewish study methods, you would understand the importance of when a name is mentioned and when a pronoun is mentioned.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Believer

      Primewonk – "We can trigger one in a person having their brain mapped " Can you program the experience? Or, is it generally the same, fire and demons or a bright light and loved ones? Perhaps its someone elses program?

      December 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Believer, you might want to play around a bit with lucid dreaming if you're interested in programming these kinds of experiences.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Believer

      Saraswati – "science and the Christian religion, which I see as incompatible "But when you weigh the evidence, The Bible wins. Hands down...Natural selection is the only true science that is out there. Evolutionists have nothing. Even the missing link coming out today is only some ape or man that has been dated to 2 million years old. That means its a missing link, because it is outside of their time tables of modern man. The Bible, however, indicates that man used to be genetically different, because they lived to be over 900 years old. This would require a fuller set of genes than people of today have. We do still have people that have reached 122, verifiably, and Javier Pereira at 169, who died in modern times. Creationistis do not agree with the methods used to arrive at these monstrous ages. It is more theoretical than it is scientific.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  2. Pedro

    Life always comes from preexisting life. The Big Bang is a myth. Evolution is a myth. Do you believe that a frog can turn into a prince? If you do, you believe in fairy tales. An atheist believes in unproven scientific claims.

    December 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Pedro

      Read 'Darwin's black box' and 'evolution: a theory in crisis'

      December 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Pedro

      Antony Flew an ex-atheist became convinced that the universe, the laws of nature, and life could not arisen by chance

      December 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Pedro

      Evolution "is more like a principle of medieval astrology than a serious . . . scientific theory." Molecular biologist Michael Denton

      December 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Talking to yourself is a symptom of mental illness. Especially when the person you're addressing is a complete moron, Pedro.

      December 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Pedro

      When you try to put people down by calling them names it is a symptom of insecurity. Besides, I wasn't talking to you. I don't associate with people who are bitter and insecure which is evident by your disparaging remarks

      December 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • mama k

      Evolution is not a myth. I encourage readers to do their own research and not listen to uneducated, fundamentalist IDIOTS.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Huebert

      Pedro

      If you, or anyone, can come up with a better theory for the diversification of life on earth you should publish your theory and evidence in a scientific journal and collect your Nobel Prize.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Primewonk

      Pedro wrote, " When you try to put people down by calling them names it is a symptom of insecurity"

      The problem Pedro, is that you, and the other fundiot nutters purposefully choose to be ignorant, and you wear that ignorance as a badge of honor. You come onto these boards and post lies about science. We correct you, and even give you links to actual science sources. You then ignore the actual science, turn around and re-post the exact same lying bullshit.

      We can't have rational conversations with you dumbfuckers because you choose to lie for your god.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Pedro
      Professor Behe's assertions have been absolutely decimated by the scientific community.
      For example, in court, he was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not "good enough
      Furthermore, Behe is closely tied to the Discovery Inst/itute, who openly admit that their goal isn't to teach what they think is fact. An internal doc.ument leaked in 1999 described the Discovery group's objective in pushing for creationism to be taught in schools as "to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies". They want to use Intelligent Design as a "wedge" to separate science from its allegiance to "atheistic naturalism".
      In other words, they fear that teaching FACTS to children will drive them away from religion.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  3. Jeffro211

    Why is it those who believe they are "called" by God are so full of themselves. It is sickening.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  4. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    December 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  5. Dave

    For those of you that are aying you ar an athiest or just don't believe in God, I have a message for you:

    You may not beieve in God, but He believes in you.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • chuckie

      Which God are you referring to? Jesus? Allah? Buddha? Ra? Which imaginary voice in your head do you mean?

      December 11, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  6. t sonofking

    People, GOD want all of us to come to Him Faithfully and Freely. If, this not for you, so be it..Trust me, if you do not have GOD in your life, you have proven that He indeed do exist. He said some will embrace Him, and some will deny Him, point made. Don't knock us because we have something you wish you had!! GOD and I have a personal close relationship, and that is something that i don't have to prove to no one, just to share...If you don't want Him so be it, your choice, I want Him, my choice!!!

    December 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Athy

      Then you can have him, I don't need him. And while you have him, pray for him to help your writing skills.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Tdog: the bar you set for evidence is mighty low, friend. You don't, by chance, still put freshly lost teeth under your pillow at night, do you?

      December 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • saggyroy

      There MUST be a god. He made me an atheist.

      December 11, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  7. TheRationale

    It's amazing how people can continue to be so dumb as to think God plays sports, and NASCAR of all sports. I mean it's dumb enough to think one exists anyway, but that he cares about your car races? Honestly you've got to have a tremendously limited perspective to do this.

    December 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Everyone knows Jesus is a fisherman.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bill
      I hypothesize that Jesus started his ministry becuase he was a terrible at woodwork.
      The gospels don't bother to recount what happened between the ages of 11 and 30 because the trials and tribulations of a thumb fingered carpenter's apprentice aren't very spiritually enlightening.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      He did some good work with a cross though

      December 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bill
      Touché, sir.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Athy

      How is he at golf? I talk to him a lot when I play, but it never seems to help.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • saggyroy

      NASCAR is more fun to god. Who wants to spend Sunday taking care of disease ridden starving and suffering children?

      December 11, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  8. End Religion

    fun resources from author of upcoming "Manual for Creating Atheists"
    http://philosophynews.com/peterboghossian

    December 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  9. Nietodarwin

    Quit the church. Quit giving money to an evil church, get a subscription to National Geographic, and learn something. I won't throw any more quotes, after this one. I won't quote the bible either, it's TOO BLOOD CURDLING . (Thanks for all the additional "quote mining" from the other people of reason out there. As I wrote, you can't use reason or logic, based on EVIDENCE when conversing with people who will use the word "faith" as a retort, or counter point.

    Religious faith not only lacks EVIDENCE, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.
    Richard Dawkins

    December 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Without arbitrarily labeling as mass mental illness, how do explain the personally experiential, spiritual revelations of countless people throughout the centuries, many by people previously not convinced by the faith of others?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      A person is a committed atheist. Hates organized religion and is a "better" bible scholar than all his Christian buddies. Wins every debate on history, politics and ethics. Has a Phd and live s according to the highest ethical standards.. One day he has a conversion experience. He "sees the light". Is there a brain scan, MRI or other scientific test we can apply to determine the cause of the change? If so, can we attribute religious revelation to a brain malfunction. Is it, in fact, a brain malfunction given that the man seems happier and better adjusted now? If we cannot measure it, how can we prove it happened other than the testimony of this previously reliable person? Did it really happen?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      Does this person you are describing exist?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Without arbitrarily labeling as mass mental illness, how do explain the personally experiential, spiritual revelations of countless people throughout the centuries, many by people previously not convinced by the faith of others?"

      Millions every day "feel" they picked the winning lottery numbers. Millions every day, while shopping, "feel" one purchase might be better than another for a myriad of reasons. All of these "feelings" are chalked up to fate, and some people call fate God.

      "Spiritual revelations" are nothing but choices that work out well enough that someone chalks them up to having been "divine intervention". It is mass mental illness. It's cute when you're 5, not so much when you're 20.

      December 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      spent the last several minutes researching neuroscientific analysis of religious experience. Huebert, certainly, such people exist. ER, you appear to be simplistic in your reduction of the question and in error regarding the MRI signatures that have been measured in people having in depth religious experiences. While neuroscience cannot prove nor disprove the veracity of theism, it is apparent that religious ecstasy is a broad phenomenon that correlates to neurological signatures across wider swaths of brain regions than formerly believed. An early conclusion by researchers indicates that nuns subjected tot he study were indeed experiencing interaction with something outside of their own physiology. Very interesting huh?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • niknak

      Hey look, its Deacon Blues back to enlighten us on the sky fairy.

      Hey billybob, have you had any time to post some of that proof of you sky fairy?
      We are kinda sticklers for facts you know.

      December 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Source for Huebert
      :http://www.soulscode.com/a-radical-faith/

      Source for ER:

      http://www.utne.com/2007-10-01/Can-an-MRI-See-God.aspx

      Others exist just google them

      Source for niknak:

      Any third grade elementary classroom

      December 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • fred

      Bill
      Yes, it is interesting that often Christians are called delusional, mental etc. yet all our past presidents in the U.S. were Christian. Interesting that atheists hold high the APA when they claim ho-m0$exuals are normal based on criteria of mental stability and socially adjusted behavior yet are mum to Christians, Jews and other believers normal according to APA standards. Given that even materialists and evolutionists are normal evidence for God would be self evident in the outward behavior.
      Believers see God, “walk” with God, talk with God, witness miracles and answered prayer. It is self evident that they have the presence and perspective of God as revealed in the Bible.
      Non-believers see a godless world, walk with the things of man, accept only the proof of man, cannot see miracles, cannot see answered prayer and basically have only the presence and perspective of Richard Dawkins bible.
      A very good moral believer and non believer are very normal with similar lives yet the believer lives with eternal hope while the non believer lives with finite man. If there is indeed a soul or purpose for man that is greater than self (animal) evolution would point towards something greater not something less than or limited to the purpose of an ape or a plant. That also is self evident

      December 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • niknak

      They prove the existence of god in third grade?
      I must have been sick the day they had that lesson.
      Don't seem to remember the teacher proving god.

      But then again, I did not go to the same school you went to deacon blues, I am sure they proved god every day in your home school.
      Free yourself from religion bobster, and get off your knees.

      December 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Herewith closes the discussion of reason and logic.

      December 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Bill "Con Man" Deacon: When religion can't defeat an enemy it attempts to absorb. As Christianity did with Paganism, it attempts to do with science. Why am I not surprised to see you into Neurotheology/NeuroCreationism? Can't wait for you to begin divining the future with forked rods or chicken parts.

      Your study was roundly debunked years ago: http://www.process.org/discept/2009/04/20/neurocreationism/

      Also, maybe some MRI studies are flawed?
      http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2009/06/features/guilty?page=all

      In essence the study has had a layer of pre-supposed guesses applied to it since it proves nothing. The researchers seem to feel the results could be consistent with something other than an emotional state. The results seem to show nuns didn't appear to be faking their thoughts, whatever that means. But the science of it was flawed from the word 'go.'

      This means yet again, zero evidence for god, and just enough "maybe" and "possibly" that you will wave it around as a triumph for god. It is simply more delusion.

      December 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      @fred "the sock puppet": "yet all our past presidents in the U.S. were Christian."

      Lies. You do realize this means you're going to hell?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_affiliations_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States

      December 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Actually ER my original question was designed to produce evidence of this so-called "mental illness that 98% pf the planet appears to suffer from. It seems to me that if that allegation was correct there would in fact be an MRI signature. Sem there is no such signature, hence religiosity is not a mental illness.

      I also figured it was only a matter of time that someone would discard any scientific evidence that contravenes the atheistic party line. Let's see, you don't accept Holy Scripture, you don't accept personal accounts, you don't accept the weight of history and you don't accept scientific inquiry. Makes your case easy to win doesn't it? Just disregard anything anyone else says.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Bill, Faith by definition excludes reason and logic.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • fred

      End of Religion
      You dig way to deep to justify your false beliefs which sould be a clue that your agenda is lacking at some level. Regarding you post calling me a liar here is the direct quote from your own source as cited:
      "No president thus far has been an atheist, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Sikh or an adherent of any specifically non-Christian religion."

      December 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: unless they are believers in a different god

      December 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Bill "Still Deluded After All These Years" Deacon: "Let's see, you don't accept Holy Scripture, you don't accept personal accounts, you don't accept the weight of history and you don't accept scientific inquiry. Makes your case easy to win doesn't it? Just disregard anything anyone else says."

      I do not accept fraudulent books of lies or eyewitness accounts as sole evidence. Historical accounts can usually be judged by having a number of other historical accounts in agreement; note the bible is NOT an historic account of anything and so it is not evidence of anything. What this means is, bring me a study that has been peer reviewed and accepted as evidential by a majority of scientists and I will go with it as an additional fact in our shared reality until/if such time it is refuted.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Beliefs held "by faith" may be seen existing in a number of relationships to rationality:

      Faith as underlying rationality: In this view, all human knowledge and reason is seen as dependent on faith: faith in our senses, faith in our reason, faith in our memories, and faith in the accounts of events we receive from others. Accordingly, faith is seen as essential to and inseparable from rationality. According to René Descartes, rationality is built first upon the realization of the absolute truth "I think therefore I am", which requires no faith. All other rationalizations are built outward from this realization, and are subject to falsification at any time with the arrival of new evidence.

      Faith as addressing issues beyond the scope of rationality: In this view, faith is seen as covering issues that science and rationality are inherently incapable of addressing, but that are nevertheless entirely real. Accordingly, faith is seen as complementing rationality, by providing answers to questions that would otherwise be unanswerable.

      Faith as contradicting rationality: In this view, faith is seen as those views that one holds despite evidence and reason to the contrary. Accordingly, faith is seen as pernicious with respect to rationality, as it interferes with our ability to think, and inversely rationality is seen as the enemy of faith by interfering with our beliefs.

      Faith and reason as essential together: This is the papal view that faith without reason leads to superstiition, while reason without faith leads to nihilism and relativism.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Huebert

      Bill

      Though your example does not have a PhD, and is most likely not a master debater, I will accept your hypothetical scenario and address your questions.

      Most "seeing the light" conversion experiences can be traced to some form of epilepsy, however if, in this hypothetical, there is no trace of brain abnormality, it would still be unwise to believe such a person's account. An extraordinary claim, seeing God, requires extraordinary evidence. A single individuals account is simply not sufficient evidence to believe that said individual is seeing god. I would not believe the claimant is lying, I would believe that they believe they saw God, I would simply say that it is impossible for me to determine what actually happened.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      Fred, dear Fred.... you are so mercifully free from the ravages of intelligence.

      You stated "yet all our past presidents in the U.S. were Christian." The exposed lie is right there on the page that you now even say you agree with.
      The sentence...
      "...yet all our past presidents in the U.S. were Christian."
      ...does not equal...
      "No president thus far has been an atheist, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Sikh or an adherent of any specifically non-Christian religion."

      You lied. Just admit to it, ask forgiveness, do your act of contrition or whatever and get on with life. God will punish you worse if you attempt to lie again to weasel out of the first lie, don't you think? I mean, if you don't admit the first lie, then you are really challenging god' authority. he watches over all we do, right? You can't pull one over on good ol' god, right? If you don't admit to the first lie then you will be basking in sunny Hell for an extended vacation because 'bearing false witness' is a Top 10 No-No.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      ER we seem to be having two different discussions. It is not my purpose nor intent to provide you with empirical evidence of the existence of God. I stipulate that such does not exist and, in fact, cannot. The revelation of God is a gift which must be experienced.

      My discussion here is to refute the assertion that people of faith are devoid of reason and suffer from mental illness or delusion and therefore incapable of intelligent debate. I assure you sir, I am not deluded, I am quite reasonable and capable of advancing my arguments with intellectual integrity and an open mind.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So Huebert, if I understand you correctly you are saying that given a reliable subject with a genuine experience, there is no subjective way to determine that his observation and experience are anything other that what he claims. Is that correct?

      December 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Huebert

      Bill

      There is no way to know for certain, but there is reason to doubt his claim.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK, so hang with me. If the simplest explanation is most probable and our trust in mankind in general and this particular gentleman specifically is positive, why would you demand irrefutable proof of his story? I mean I respect your right to reject his version of events and I understand cynicism but doesn't that mindset extrapolate into nihilism?

      December 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      BillyD said: "Without arbitrarily labeling as mass mental illness, how do explain the personally experiential, spiritual revelations of countless people throughout the centuries, many by people previously not convinced by the faith of others?"

      Since when once is seeking an honest answer one does not limit the discussion by setting boundaries such as: "Without arbitrarily labeling as mass mental illness," especially when that could very well be the case.

      I said: ""Spiritual revelations" are nothing but choices that work out well enough that someone chalks them up to having been "divine intervention". It is mass mental illness. It's cute when you're 5, not so much when you're 20."

      But it depends on how you define "spiritual revelations." I was thinking more of the "i prayed to god and he gave me answer" type. It is clear to me praying is like flipping a coin and "unanswered prayers" are disregarded just like the avid gambler discounts the losses and thrives on the wins. The studies have been posted over and over for this, and the one "study" I saw attempting to show prayer worked was flawed to the degree that the "researchers" had changed their study premise AFTER collecting the data: a serious intellectual honesty flaw.

      But I suppose there are other "revelation types" you would define as well. I don't think anything is divine revelation so you'd have to supply your false definition first if you want to get into the nitty gritty of refuting you yet again.

      BillyD said: "ER, you appear to be simplistic in your reduction of the question and in error regarding the MRI signatures that have been measured in people having in depth religious experiences. While neuroscience cannot prove nor disprove the veracity of theism, it is apparent that religious ecstasy is a broad phenomenon that correlates to neurological signatures across wider swaths of brain regions than formerly believed. An early conclusion by researchers indicates that nuns subjected tot he study were indeed experiencing interaction with something outside of their own physiology."

      I then showed you the study upon which you base your wild assertions is flawed and debunked, therefore your assertions are likely incorrect. It is NOT apparent that "religious ecstasy" (whatever in the world that could factually be or how it could be measured) correlates to neurological signatures across wider swaths of brain regions than formerly believed. I don't even really care whether "religious ecstasy" is local or regional within the brain, what I care about is intellectual honesty. You've taken something flawed and waved it as a flag of victory for god.

      You then complained that I don't accept anything as evidence. I then outlined exactly what I do accept – what most anyone within science accepts: overwhelming supporting evidence.

      Now you claim I have asked for empirical evidence of God. No where have I asked you for that.

      You further claim your goal in this thread has been to refute the assertion that "people of faith are devoid of reason and suffer from mental illness or delusion and therefore incapable of intelligent debate." Who claimed nutters are devoid of reason? Who claimed nutters are incapable of intelligent debate? I'm sure you can reason and debate intelligently as long as religion is not involved, which is where your internal morphine drip kicks in - when something religious gets mentioned, whoah buddy look out, here come the hallucinations!

      Did I miss something or are you practicing Ad Hoc Hypothesis yet again?

      If you want to stop your AHH there, I will claim my belief that nutters suffer from some mental illness. I posted links elsewhere in this thread to supporting hypotheses - i think they're even on this page. So go refute those. I don't claim them as evidence of proof. They're only hypothesis at this point. There are individuals seeking to have religious delusion added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. I don't see how it would be successful but if evidence shows religion is a mental illness then indeed it should be listed as such.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • End Religion

      I should point out the links I posted elsewhere aren't to "scientific hypotheses" but rather web pages that cite sources for studies or as reference to their discussions.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      ER, I would refer you to the original post which contains the language about religious peoples mental state. I won't cut and paste it, it's self explanatory. I also admit, I am not conversant enough with the studies on MRI to substantiate or refute them and I suspect neither are you since this is an emerging field of inquiry, it is too early to draw final conclusions on what they mean. To clearly state, my stance is that if religious belief were a mental illness, there would be a brain signature for it. There is not. In fact, the brain signatures that have been measured in the studies I cursorily submitted seem to support the very opposite of mental illness. You are free to refute them but what you cannot show is that religious people suffer from any form of mental illness. You only continue to reassert the accusation. Again, I am not here to offer you proof of any kind for the existence of God. I suspect that anything short of shaking hands with him yourself or hearing that your beloved Dawkins had converted would be insufficient. My argument is that if a reasonable, sane and reliable witness tells me he has experienced something which modern science, in all it's glory cannot explain, much less degrade, then the simplest rationale is to accept that he has indeed had an encounter with the supernatural. The fact that it cannot be measured is what qualifies it as supernatural and so your insistence that it be measured is closer to a symptom of mental illness than my assurance that you will never attain proof and that your only hope of experiencing the same phenomenon is to submit yourself to the experience of it by whatever path you feel "calls you". Even if that path is the path of disbelief until such time as you are lucky enough to be gifted with a visitation, epiphany or get struck by lightening. Until then, you do yourself no favor by labeling others mentally ill for relating their experience to you.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Believer

      "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 This is an intelligent definiton of what faith is. Can you proove that there will be a "Manual for Creating Atheists" coming up? You absolutely cannot proove it with your reasoning! You can proove it with the faith model.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      @BillyD: "I am not conversant enough with the studies on MRI to substantiate or refute them"
      "my stance is that if religious belief were a mental illness, there would be a brain signature for it."

      So you're saying you don't know MRI technology well but you're sure if religious belief were mental illness an MRI would show it. LOL
      1) you don't understand it but yet are sure there'd be an outcome supporting your pre-supposed position BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BELIEVE IT no matter the evidence or lack of it
      2) the study didn't prove anything at all about religion or belief or anything else – it was flawed altogether, a sham set out to prove a pre-supposed position, which is why it appeals to you.

      ***
      "...seem to support the very opposite of mental illness"

      They may "seem" to support any number of things you care to read into it, just like tea leaves and chicken parts, divinign rods and "prophecy" in the bible. The study is not, however, evidence of anything. What is it about this you do not understand?

      ***
      "what you cannot show is that religious people suffer from any form of mental illness"

      There have been some studies that religious delusion appears tied to mental illness. The links are on this page. I believe there is evidence supporting it, but I wouldn't call it a sure thing like gravity or evolution. But since believers of the bible call it "truth" without ANY supporting evidence, my assertion about nutters being mentally ill is even "more true" since there is at least some tangible evidence. Fair is fair, eh?

      December 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      @BillyD: "... if a reliable witness tells me he has experienced something which modern science, in all it's glory cannot explain, much less degrade, then the simplest rationale is to accept that he has indeed had an encounter with the supernatural."

      That's just dense. Look, there's not much more freaky than talking with someone who has experienced something they can't explain. They are spooked. It spooks you, it spooks me. But then knowledge and intelligence should kick in. We've been around long enough to know there are no gods hurling lightning bolts. There are no Bigfoot hairy dudes wandering the woods. Snake oil does not cure all that ails you. No one will really sell you the Brooklyn Bridge for a great price. And there are no ghosts.

      When someone has an experience he can't explain, it's creepy because they can't explain it, not because it's supernatural. There is a natural explanation, you just don't know what it is yet.

      The "simplest rationale" is *not* to believe the complex machinations required for religion to be real. The simplest rationale is that the person simply didn't understand how to explain what happened. We are all ignorant to various degree, and there's nothing shameful about it. It's *willful* ignorance that is disgraceful. Choosing ignorance - "god did it" - is shameful and cowardly.

      ***
      "The fact that it cannot be measured..."

      If the person experiencing the event knew more about the cause it probably could be measured. The MRI scans you claim as proof above weren't devoid of info – they captured brain activity. It is measurable to the degree that the brain was processing: chances are what you might feel was "prayer" was just people using that part of the brain to "think." Your "supernatural event" may in the end just be brain misfire. We are only beginning to understand the brain – one of the last few gaps for god to hide.

      ***
      "you do yourself no favor by labeling others mentally ill for relating their experience to you."

      I do not label people ill for having an experience. I've had plenty of my own experiences that I don't understand. I realize people experience kooky things they do not understand. I label people ill for talking to and believing in imaginary creatures, especially to the degree they then insist others live their lives by that imaginary friend's pretend rules. It's absurd and its time is coming to an end.

      December 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      Again, Believer, you discredit other believers with your immense thickness. And I ain't talkin' bulge inequality here. Can I prove a book will come out? Um, why no, I can't. And faith in it coming out is the opposite of proof. "The proof model" lol... man, you should take a rest and come back after you graduate elementary school to try again. Let me ask how you are even able to read this blog when it is not written in crayon?

      December 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Believer

      "Can I prove a book will come out? Um, why no, I can't." Right, you can't. So you use faith everday. It's a sign E.R. "Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kindom of heaven." -Jesus. Thanks for the Crayola complement. Strange how many signs you have received today.

      December 12, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • End Religion

      I think I get it now. The word "faith" exists in the English language, therefore god created the universe. I marvel at your softheaded nature.

      December 12, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  10. Sam Yaza

    god first, family second?

    fuck that shit

    I'm sorry but i even put my family above god, my highest goddess (Amaterasu) tells me to
    family
    nature
    gods
    in that order

    December 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  11. $$$$$$$$$$$

    Courts have ruled here in USA public schools CAN NOT teach ID/Creationism . Happy Holidays!

    December 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Believer

      Because it is tied to religion, not because it isn't valid.

      December 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      "Because it isn't valid????" The Courts say it isn't valid. Science says it isn't valid. Even Mr. 700 Club Pat Robertson has now said that it isn't valid to say the earth is only 10,000 years old. THE BIG TV EVANGELIST now admits it isn't VALID. His quote in the article from last week was, "If you go against science, you're going to lose your kids." This ignorance is why our students are scoring lower and lower on test scores every year in comparison to other countries. Talibangelicals are the OPPOSITE of patriotic.

      December 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • sam stone

      Nor does it mean that it is valid

      December 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      Would you care for more Kool-Aid, Believer?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Whoa, guys, relax, I think Believer was saying that the reason you can't teach it isn't because it's wrong (which is really what it should be) but because it's religious. It shouldn't be a 1st Amendment issue at all but instead an educational issue.

      Why don't we teach ID/creationism? The answer shouldn't be "because it's religious and a violation of 1st Amendment rights." The answer should be "because it's wrong."

      The topics also shouldn't be hush hush in class, if they're brought up it's the duty of a good educator to unequivocally say that they're wrong and explain why to anyone who has questions.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  12. Nietodarwin

    The internet is the best new thing, (for we atheists, who can now talk science and reason without fear of murder by the faithful)
    Those who are still clinging to faith and delusion NEED HELP. Most atheist were brought up in some faith and found their way free from the sickness that is religion through education and help from friends. I generally don't like to cut and paste so much on these comment boards, but it is a quick way to bring some enlightenment, humor, and REASON from some of the smartest people in history. Those of faith and those who are atheists should visit Dan Barker's org. ffrf.org, for the bible quiz and quiz on separation of church and state. Those of faith who still decide to persist in their faith will at least sound a lot less ignorant when posting on here if they get a little bit more informed. Maybe we atheists will learn to TRY to talk reason to people who will not use reason but only answer with "faith means faith, it means no proof, so there" like the guy below. Google "religion as an addiction" as well. Reasoning with people of faith is more tricky than the happiness one finds by abandoning their own faith in religious delusion.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Saraswati

      Assuming everyone finds the same joy in abandoning religion that you do is like assuming that everyone finds the same joy in eating roasted brussel sprouts or gnawing on chicken feet. People are different for both biological and cultural reasons. Age and experience of death also play an enormous role. I stand by any arguments about the dangerous aspects of unchanging or unscientific religion, but to make these kinds of universal claims either about people or religion, both of which are complex, is to be willfully ignorant of the complexities and diversity of both psychology and sociology.

      December 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Saraswati

      " the happiness one finds by abandoning their own faith in religious delusion"

      Do you realize how similar this is to the lines many Christians use for why you should join their faith?

      December 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Nietodarwin,
      It is a good thing to find happiness. Do you also have joy? Are you at peace? Do you have hope? God provides these things to people of faith. No amount of human knowledge will give you these things.

      December 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      "No amount of human knowledge will give you these things."

      Maybe it won't give those things to you, but it can to others

      December 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      robert: people find all those things with whatever god they worship. it is the worship that gives you those things, not the object of the worship

      December 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Do you realize how similar this is to the lines many Christians use for why you should join their faith?

      OF COURSE I REALIZE how similar it is, why do you THINK I did it. The similarity ends with the way of phrasing it however, because I "believe" in evidence, not in something like "faith" (or "brainwashing" I would say) for which there is no evidence, and in fact there is MUCH EVIDENCE to conclude "faith" is a form of mental illness.

      December 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Nietodarwin, No, it doesn't remotely fit the definition of mental illness in most cases. And do you seriously think any definition of mental illness that encompasses the vast majority of humans over history would be remotely useful?

      December 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      studies cited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_delusion

      December 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • End Religion

      very little to distinguish between "normal" religious belief and pathological delusions: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15990520

      December 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • End Religion

      http://goo.gl/OoXKp
      common symptoms of schizos, sources cited

      December 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      Dr. Peter Boghossian, professor of philosophy at Portland State University, in a great talk on faith-based epistemology: "I disagree with granting religious delusion as an exemption, and I want to mention there's a budding young scholar here at Portland State University, Renee Barnett [sp?] who is working to eliminate the religious exemption from the DSM and I am helping her to do so."
      http://www.philosophynews.com/post/2012/02/14/Jesus-the-Easter-Bunny-and-Other-Delusions-Just-Say-No.aspx

      December 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @End Religion, If they modify the DSM in such a manner (which won't happen) they would be saying that until recently 99.9% of the human population was mentally ill. Additionally, it presupposes that non religious folks don't also hold a lot of unfounded beliefs – which they do in about equal measure to the religious. Essentially, I could come up with a definition of sanity that makes only a skeptic starving in a cave sane.

      This is just how the human brain works. My undergrad degree was in philosophy and I guarantee you philosophers are, while usually brilliant in many ways, generally grossly ignorant of how the human brain works – heck, it's one of the reasons I left the field. I don't know Boghossian's academic history, but I would be stunned if it included a degree of any sort in psychology, or even substantial reading in the field.

      December 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • End Religion

      @sara: I hear you. I wouldn't think mankind could bring itself to label that many people with a mental disorder either. Whatever the outcome hopefully it would be based on evidence, so that even if it comes to it, a majority would be labeled as such if the evidential shoe fits.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      People who have been dismissed from mental hospitals often have a certificate of mental competency. If you do not have this certificate I would say your mental status is questionable.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • SImran

      @ Bill,
      Okay, are you suggesting that we should all go to a mental hospital and get ourselves certified for mental fitness? Interesting! :)

      But do these mental health workers have a clue to what they are doing? It is a medical branch in its infancy for all I think.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  13. Nietodarwin

    “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
    _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

    “If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.”
    _ Edmond De Goncourt

    December 10, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      “I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
      _ Albert Einstein

      “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
      _ Stephen Hawking

      “Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There`s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”
      _ Bill Gates

      December 10, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Roger that

      Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.

      Mark Twain

      December 10, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Roger that

      If God had meant for us to be naked, we'd have been born that way.

      Mark Twain

      December 10, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • VanHagar

      "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein.

      See, I can quote famous people too.

      December 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  14. Nietodarwin

    I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
    Bertrand Russell

    December 10, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Religion. It`s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
      Charlie Chaplin

      It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
      Mark Twain

      The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
      Thomas Jefferson
      “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”
      _ Thomas Jefferson

      December 10, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Huebert

      "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion."
      -Steven Weinberg

      December 10, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      All this quote mining. You do, of course realize that it is just as irrelevant, or more so than the Scriptures you disregard from the other side of the argument. In fact, most of the celebrities quoted here today have verbalized contradictory statements at some point in their pronunciations similar to the contradictions you use to disregard the Bible? One would think that an intelligent rebuttal of religion would compose an argument of a substantively higher order than the argument for.

      December 10, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  15. Scott

    As per usual the religion hater come in bashing the man's beliefs. No where in the article did Mister Gibbs bash, slam or call non-believer names. Pretty stark contrast between the morals of the religion haters and a man of God.

    Scott

    December 10, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • sam stone

      How incredibly pompous to speak of the morals of folks you don't know.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • sybaris

      When a President (Bush) utilizes his military to invade another country (Iraq) and cause the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians all because he believed his god told him it was the right thing to do................yeah, I think we have a right to bash people who take direction from invisible sky fairies.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Scott

      Sam,
      Don't know? Just look at their (religion haters) rantings, ravings and especially their name calling. What one says reflects their morals.

      Scott

      December 10, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • niknak

      Really? Who called him a name?
      I have been reading these posts since the article was posted and I have not read any post calling him a name.
      We have made fun of his religion, and the people who follow him, that is true.
      And we will keep making fun of you until you can give us some actual proof of you magic man and it's magic kingdom.
      We have been waiting for that proof since like forever.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Scott

      Nor will you ever get any "proof" Niknak ... other than maybe a lighting bolt and a voice from the heavens which are incredibly rare ;) The belief in any god is based upon faith and faith cannot be proven. Therefore, you request for "proof" is an empty request.

      Scott

      December 10, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • tony

      I don't believe in any god. Hence I don't blame "he/she" for the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the recent Tsunamis. Or similarly assume he/she saved the Israelites by parting the Red Sea.

      Nor do I give thanks to "he/she", as some of the recent US tornado survivors did, while others were senselessly killed by presumably what those survivors perceived as the same god.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • niknak

      Then your god is an empty god.
      Believing just because you are "told" to do so or because you really want it to be true does not make true.

      And are you saying that god makes lightning bolts?
      I think science has pretty much figured out lightning does not come from god.

      Maybe you might want to read a science book one day, they do a good job of proving things with FACTS, something your god hypothesis is sorely lacking in.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Scott

      O.K. tony, so what is your point? Fortunately we live in a country where your belief or non-belief in a deity is not dictated by the government hence you can continue not believing and I can continue believing in a deity. Ain't America GREAT! :)

      By the way, my initial comment was directed at the religion haters that spew their vitriol towards believers, NOT at people who are non-believers yet remain civil in their comments, e.g. your comment to which I'm responding.

      Scott

      December 10, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • sam stone

      Scott: What they say reflects their morals? I agree. Speaking out against what you feel is wrong is a moral stance. If you think that those speaking out against what you believe are immoral, you are a pompous jacka$$

      December 10, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Which God?

      Scott, when your "religious morals," derived from a falshoods, try to insert themselves into my life, and those who don't think and feel the way you do, you will have a problem. We don't want your "religious morals" in our lives. Period. We don't believe in your sky-fairy, or the religious pap from your so-called Holy Book of bullschiit.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • MaryJ

      What's so immoral about criticizing someone? Honestly, you guys have to get out of this idea that everyone who doesn't jump onto your bandwagon is automatically "evil". It comes off as very childish.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • sam stone

      Scott: Did Jesus have kind words for the Pharisees? Was his condemnation of them a poor reflection on his morals? As someone else asked, how is criticism immoral? Do you feel that only you and those who agree with you speak for god?

      December 10, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Scott

      MaryJ,
      I'm referring to the religion haters, i.e. the ones that are making snide remarks, name calling etc., e.g. "What God?" Sam Stone, etc.. I am NOT referring to non-believers like tony or niknak (scroll up) that state their view in a civilized manner.

      NO WHERE did I state, nor do I believe, that non-believers are "evil".

      Scott

      December 10, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Which God?

      Sam S. Those who can speak for goD, or interpret "his word," are delusional at best. Their ego does not allow them to see that they err on the same things that they accuse others of. The term hypocrite doesn't even come close to describing them.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • sam stone

      Which God?: Despite my not agreeing, I have no issue with those who believe in a "higher power". I do have an issue with those who purport to speak for that higher power and legislate their belief

      December 10, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • sam stone

      Snide remarks? Name calling? Could you be a bit more specific?

      December 10, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • sam stone

      Other than pompous, how WOULD you describe those who purport to speak for god, Scott?

      You don't know our morals

      You have no authority to say who is "a man of god"

      December 10, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Which God?

      Sam S. I agree to disagree. I too can accept that there are those who believe in a higher power. But those who choose to believe in an anthropromorphical being called god, or a poere called god that is our creator and needs to be worshiped, I draw the line. It this that causes the problems we face with (some) religions.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • sam stone

      "Just look at their (religion haters) rantings, ravings and especially their name calling. What one says reflects their morals."

      Right, the faithful never rant, rave or name call. On top of it, toss in the empty proxy threats

      December 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Scott, thank you for admitting that there IS no "proof." That what Christians have is faith and belief. If more of you would acknowledge that, instead of acting as though people who don't believe exactly as you do are doomed to hell, immoral....oh, wait, you DID say those things about non-believers, didn't you? Never mind.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • sam stone

      "It this that causes the problems we face with (some) religions."

      I agree

      December 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • At least you admit you have no evidence

      Scott " The belief in any god is based upon faith and faith cannot be proven. Therefore, you request for "proof" is an empty request."

      The request is not empty. The empty part is the response from christians that you must accept their drivel without any evidence. This puts their religion on the same level as UFOs, big foot, yeti, mormons and scientologists and below Santa Claus and the Easter bunny

      December 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  16. Brassmonkey

    I love when people on this thread argue that "In God we trust" was added in the 1950's. Go take a look at a Morgan Silver Dollar that was minted in 1878. It says "In God we trust" on the back if the coin. People please do your own research before you give wrong information that you are repeating from other Atheists. "sigh"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_silver_dollar

    December 10, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • midwest rail

      The phrase first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin. However, as a motto, it was not adopted til the 1950's. The phrase "under God" was also added to the Pledge in the 1950's.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Chris

      It was added to a coin in a period where there were more than a few coins and how they were made wasn't closely considered. Still doesn't mean it's acceptable. You wouldn't accept in allah we trust or anything else so don't make the rest of us deal with your crap.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • MikeO

      Every one, including atheists are "under God." They're just too stupid to realize it.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • niknak

      No Mikezero, you are the one too stupid to get off your knees and stop believing in a fairy tale.
      You are only a xtian because you were raised in a house that was xtian. Had you been born in India you would be Hindu, in Egypt you would be a muslim.
      It is all made up crap, that only exists in your head.
      Find real salvation by freeing youself from religion.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • sybaris

      @ Mike0

      Which god?

      December 10, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Huebert

      No one, including Christians, is under God. Atheist are just the only ones who have realized it.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, Mikey....calling people stupid. A fine technique....if you're 12

      December 10, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ MikeO – but surely you realize that you, too, are an atheist. Do you believe in Thor? odin? Ra? Zeus? Manitou?

      No? Well, then! You're an atheist.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Please present your evidence

      MikeO "Every one, including atheists are "under God." They're just too stupid to realize it."

      No, I have done many empirical tests of the possibility that I am "under god" and all of them failed totally. Perhaps, in all of your religious, god directed wisdom you could recommend an empirical test for your god that that doesn't fail miserably? I don't need proof, I would be happy to consider the slightest shred of an indication that any god exists.

      December 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.