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December 17th, 2012
01:16 PM ET

My Take: Obama's Newtown remarks show presidents as pastors in chief

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Presidents wear a lot of hats. They serve as commanders in chief. They nominate Supreme Court justices. They veto congressional legislation. Increasingly, they are also coming to serve as our pastors in chief.

In his remarks Sunday night at an interfaith service at in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama vowed to use “whatever power” he has to prevent more mass shootings, and he all but promised to push for stricter gun control laws in the next U.S. Congress. But policy was not top of mind yesterday for either the president or a grieving nation.

Obama began by quoting from the second letter of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:

Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away ... inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1).

He then reminded us that, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, we are all “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.” The tragedy that visited Sandy Hook Elementary School could have been visited on any school in any town in America, Obama said. So Newtown’s grief is not its alone: “All across this land of ours, we have wept with you."

As a pastor among pastors at Sunday's interfaith event, Obama spoke of sadness and comfort and evil and inspiration. As a parent among parents, he referred to "caring for our children" as “our first task” as a nation.

Presidents are often tasked with posing difficult questions about foreign or domestic policy. In this speech, Obama asked philosophical and theological questions instead: “Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?” He then spoke, as Lincoln did at Gettysburg, about moving through the darkness, without easy answers, “often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.”

In his famous hymn to love in his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote that "the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). For me, the most surprising turn in Obama's speech came when our president did the same.

"Love" is not a word that typically comes flowing off the tongues of our chief executives. But on Sunday, Obama spoke of love nearly a dozen times. In an uncertain world, he said, love is the “one thing we can be sure of."

Then he read the names of the 20 children who died.

Earlier, Obama had spoken the names of the six teachers and administrators who were killed. As he did so, the wailing in the auditorium was audible. When he read this litany of the children, the wailing returned. He read the names slowly. He read them surely, like someone looking out loud for a fallen friend on the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He then asked for the blessings of the Almighty on those who were killed and his comfort on those who are grieving.

It wasn't a speech. It was a sermon. And it is worthy of the talents of our current pastor in chief.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Christianity • Opinion • Politics • Schools • United States • Violence

soundoff (1,110 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    Thank you Mr Prothero for your viewpoint. I appreciate it and I appreciated the President's comments yesterday. Although the President cannot remove the deep grief of the victims' family and friends, I'm sure that many were comforted by his speech and by the fact that he showed up! How difficult it must be for him to repeatedly face the raw grief of so many. How many of his critics could do it?

    December 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • lol??

      What's his job commie mommie? Being a bully usurper? But you are DESENSITIZED TO THAT.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:56 am |
  2. carlkrammit

    RATIONAL HUMANIST: this event transcends his oath of office. it is also in his oath that he must care for the american people. that is what he did here, to the best of his ability. there is no greater comfort than the comfort offered in the scriptures regarding the hope of Christ's return

    December 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      What part of THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND do you not understand?
      He violated his Oath and will do so again because religious idiots never learn or even question the stupid things they do.

      Nowhere in the Consttution does it require the President to give sermons to religious people to comfort them with their own delusions. It is not part of his duties at all.

      He can comfort them without babbling religious dogma. Comforting people who lost children does not require religion to be a part of it. Those people who are suffering already have their comforting delusions.

      It is not the President's task to reinforce their mental illness but to give them the support of the country as the country's leader.

      By giving government support to one religion in any way, he violated his Oath, the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and did NOT speak for ALL AMERICANS by preaching a goddamed SERMON!

      Get it through your head, racist-god-lover: The rule of law is what rules here, not your religion. Your god does not exist and so will never be able to support anything you say or claim about your religion. Time to wake up and realize the truth.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure the entire Obama administration is just terrified that some anonymous dweeb is going to expose the chicanery of the President for all to see!

      What a weenie.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      It's easy enough to see the corruption inside the Beltway, yet nothing is ever done. Fix stuff like that FIRST and then we should be able to clean out DC from top to bottom and finally make a country where the children are SAFE.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • ssmote

      Rational Humanist – I'm about as anti-religion as you'll find but Obama is not violating the supreme law of the land. People are free to practice any faith they wish and government cannot mandate a religion. Obama chooses to practices Christianity and fall back on his faith to address tragedies that go beyond tax structures and military operations. Presidents have done this since the beginning of our country.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Like I've said elsewhere:
      Just because every President has violated this throughout this nation's history is no excuse for the violation itself.

      There is a similar situation in having religious functions as part of the functions of Congress.
      That criminal behavior began in the very first session of Congress back in the 1700s and has continued ever since.

      And what about the "Red Mass" that the SCOTUS attends by coercion every single year? That's been going on for a long time as well, yet it remains a clear violation of the Consttution.

      So don't bother trying to argue that an illegal tradition has any legal standing or authority whatsoever. It's just stupid.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  3. Hope Ann Davinport

    The President was great to mention each kids name and that they may not be in this world anymore; however they are now with god and will never forgotten.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  4. john

    Barf!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  5. Jim

    Oddly enough this was debated a few months ago and most said we don't want or need a 'pastor-in-chief' and now? – we have a proclamation that Obama is the POC.

    Nice hypocrisy folks!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  6. chronickelly

    You should be thankful you've got Obama to represent US citizens internationally. He's an intelligent, articulate and thoughtful speaker. Unlike the idiot Bush you elected. Trust me, It's in your best interest. That's really what the rest of the world thinks, anyway. The US needs all the help it can get.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • gary

      Great! We got another smooth talking charletan for a president.they always lead us to destruction and not into the prosperity that Lucifer tells them to promise us!

      December 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  7. Rational Humanist

    Here's a clue that should put you on the correct legal path regarding the First Amendment: The Consttution is the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.

    That means NO religious laws can legally take any precedent or have any pre-eminence over the Consttution whatsoever.

    For the President, who swore an Oath to protect and defend the Consttution, that means his duties are to the Supreme Law of the Land as the Executive Officer of that law.

    Religious people always have a mind-block against this aspect of our nation's laws and why religious people are overwhelmingly more likely to commit crimes of violence if they "believe" that their religious reasons for doing so gives them carte blanche to do so.

    I'm not saying he can't give private sermons if he feels so inclined or worship privately in his own delusional brand of idiocy.

    I'm saying that AS PRESIDENT, he is Consttutionally BARRED from using his office as a vehicle from which to promote his individual religion no matter how many people share it or how hard he was trying to help.

    Look, I voted for the guy knowing he would be doing more of this because we have virtually zero accountability in our government anyway. I'm just pointing out the legal facts of the case here knowing that nothing will be done to set the guy straight on these legal mistakes he is making.

    He is not a pastor but a President. He is no longer a common citizen but an Executive Officer of our Consttution as well as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces.

    He has no free speech rights anymore, you numbskulls. He has no business acting like a preacher at all.
    Get it? No free speech rights for him now. He will not be free to give sermons until he is out of office. Period.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • gary

      Good point.After all, if the religion was a true one would such a spirit of violence towards brothers "evolve".religion and politics are bringing about a love child.An anti-creator king who will take a position of god and saviour.just ask newly evolved jamie foxx.LOL.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you often examine your own navel, Rat?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I have to say it is amusing to read Rational's post. Rant and rave, wail and fret, Rat. Nobody cares what you think of the president or his speeches in the wake of this event.

      Go find a hobby.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gosh, Rat, I wonder why your phone is ringing off the hook with the President's advisors seeking your incredible knowledge on the legal ramifications of the office! It's amazing that you're not being summoned to the West Wing THIS VERY INSTANT so you can impart your deep understanding of the terrible thing the President is doing by speaking at memorial services and vigils in the wake of a tragedy!! What a travesty! Why, they should be sending Air Force One to your town to pick you up. I'm sure there's a spot behind the Walmart for them to land the craft so you can be whisked off to help Obama! He's probably paralyzed by his lack of good advice and is just waiting on tenterhooks for your arrival! @@

      December 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Yes1fan

      But is was OK for the Tea party to falsely paint him as 'Muslim" for the two years leading up the election, right?
      And you have no problem with THAT injection of religion into our political process, right Rat?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      So.....nobody has any refutation to my declaration, eh? Ad hominem much?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes Rat, the refutation is that Obama did not surrender his rights as a citizen when he became President. That is ludicrous. He also has not violated the separation clause because he has done nothing to establish a state religion. He merely made a public announcement from the perspective of his own beliefs.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  8. gary

    Can you put a monetary value on a "soul"? It is priceless to the one who created it.he wants it to prosper and be in health.He desires good things for His children.But we must ask him as a child would.With a proper request with love and care.He is seeking to gather His people into His secret palce from this day of wrath that has come upon the face of the earth because of the deeds of wicked man.For Yahuwah so loved the world that he gave His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,THAT WHOEVER WOULD BELIEVE ON HIM SHALL NEVER PERISH BUT SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.HIS SON'S NAME IS YAHUSHUA!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  9. Jim P.

    We elected a President, not a preacher in chief and most especially one who "preaches" sermons that exclude those who do not believe in his version of "god".

    This was a tragic event, no question and those who believe they have an invisible friend can take such comfort as that may provide (as long as they don't ask where this loving, all-powerful friend was when the shooting went down).

    December 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • gary

      Soon obama will declare his version or name of his god.By then it will be too late for the sheeple who in government god they have trusted.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Pat in Jackson

      I wonder...are your post so hateful when the Republicans preach and talk down to women. Then try to regulate a women's body (based on their religious beliefs) or when they close Parent Parenthood, where women get information for basic health screenings. Yes, they also give information to women about ALL of their choices if they are pregnant. They trust a women will make the choice that works best for them, I can say this because when I was pregnant 22 years ago I went to a Planned Parenthood center, after receiving all of the information I and my family made the decision that worked best for me. I worked a full time job and had access to insurance but used Planned Parenthood because there hours worked best with my job schedule.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  10. carlkrammit

    i am a ron paul supporter and therefore NOT an obama fan. but i did greatly appreciate his remarks, biblical references and all, following the connecticut tragedy. only God knows the heart of a man, and maybe one day obama will come out and state that he is not a christian, but until he does, i am not willing to make that judgment call.
    you atheists and agnostics should acknowledge that the words of the bible bring great comfort to people.
    as you should acknowledge that you also believe in a god, an idol, your beliefs. everyone believes something which they cannot test in the physical world to the point of establishing it as THE truth. you have faith in your own doctrine, just as christians and tom cruise does in his. like that? :o

    December 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      The cluelessness is strong with this one.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Greg

      Obviously you don't know the difference between an Atheist and Agnostic. Atheist do not believe in God. Agnostics believe that a supreme being cannot be proven but cannot be disproven. Hence, there is somewhat of a belief in Agnostics whereas Atheist simply refuse to believe. real Agnostics are always looking for the proof. May I suggest some reading for you. Anything by Bart Ehrman. He went into Princeton Seminary to become a priest but after years of studying the bible and the science being it he left as an Agnostic. It's some of the truest and most honest writings when it comes to dissecting the history of Christianity from a man who would have been a priest. A biblical scholar. Real Christians and not ones who are blinded by faith often refer to his writings at sermons and hold no grudge against him. Pick up one of his writings. That's if you want to be open minded of humans, faith and facts and not faith alone. You'll be surprised by the discrepancies in the bible especially the gospels and how they each contradict themselves. Start with Jesus Interrupted.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Yes1fan

      It is possible to prove with logic, that the position of Agnostics is irrational.
      Not Christians, not Atheists, but Agnostics – yeah.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Yes1fan

      You said, "It is possible to prove with logic, that the position of Agnostics is irrational."
      Please enlighten us.

      Agnostics take the complete and utter absence of even so much as a single shred of evidence to mean that no god has been shown to exist, but they accept that absence of evidence doesn't constitute evidence of absence. Agnostics are therefor uncommitted to either the belief there is a god, as well as the belief that there aren't any.

      Agnostics span the entire range from, but not including, believers to, but not including, strong atheists (those that believe there are no gods). Atheists (those that keep the option of the existence of gods, however miniscule, open) among the agnostics will typically state that they don't believe there are any gods until evidence is provided.

      The agnostic position is the only rational one.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @LinCA,

      nicely put.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @LinCA.. LOL
      this statement is demonstrably false
      some definitions may help :-)

      Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable
      - Hepburn, Ronald W. (2005) [1967]. "Agnosticism". In Donald M. Borchert. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy

      which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of strong atheism:
      Positive atheism (also called strong atheism and hard atheism) is the form of atheism that asserts that no deities exist

      - Flew, Antony (1976). "The Presumption of Atheism".

      =============
      therefore, this statement is demonstrably false:
      @linCA "Agnostics take the complete and utter absence of even so much as a single shred of evidence to mean that no god has been shown to exist

      agnostics believe the existence, or non-existence of any deity is unknowable.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      That's as bad a case of cover-your-ass as I've ever seen. You are doing a cosmic Pascal's Wager and saying it's the "only rational" position.
      By saying a god is possible, you are saying you have a reason to have that position. What is your evidence that one is possible?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      You said, "That's as bad a case of cover-your-ass as I've ever seen."
      Reading for comprehension isn't your strong suit, is it?

      You said, "You are doing a cosmic Pascal's Wager and saying it's the "only rational" position."
      There is no evidence there are any gods, ergo it is unreasonable to believe there are any. And, since it is impossible to prove that there isn't some god hiding somewhere, claiming they are impossible to exist excludes the miniscule possibility they do.

      So, both believers and strong atheists make claims, unsupported by evidence.

      You said, "By saying a god is possible, you are saying you have a reason to have that position."
      I have no reason to exclude that possibility, however small. The odds that there are any is idiotically small, but not zero.

      You said, "What is your evidence that one is possible?"
      Are you fucking stupid? I said that there is no evidence either way, but absence of evidence doesn't constitute evidence of absence.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      So you are making the assertion that a god is possible...admittedly without proof either way and claim that you simply cannot "rule it out" aaand...
      ..
      ....so you must have a reason to support your position that it has already been ruled in or maybe you need to go back to school and learn logical analysis again and review all data to find out why you should feel it is possible, no matter how tiny a possibility, that a god exists for you to maintain your erroneous position in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to wit: the sum total of human knowledge at this point in time.

      And by claiming it is "unknowable" you must support that assertion with evidence as well or STFU and GTFO.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • LinCA

      @Chad

      Grasping at straws, aren't we.

      You said, "agnostics believe the existence, or non-existence of any deity is unknowable."
      Knowledge comes from evidence. The absence of evidence now, and likely for the foreseeable future for, or against, the existence of gods means their existence is unknowable.

      I realize that it is in your nature to disagree with anything any atheist says, but simply phrasing it slightly different doesn't change the meaning. Nice try, though.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      You said, in part "or against", meaning you believe there is no evidence of the non-existence of a god.

      So you deny the sum total of human knowledge has nothing either way? Where'd you come from? Planet Ignoramus?
      Are you for real? Wow. I have no words to describe your deliberate ignorance of science. Wow.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      You said, "So you deny the sum total of human knowledge has nothing either way? Where'd you come from? Planet Ignoramus?
      Are you for real? Wow. I have no words to describe your deliberate ignorance of science. Wow.
      "
      Kinda slow on the uptake, aren't we?

      What part of "absence of evidence doesn't constitute evidence of absence" is so hard to comprehend?

      December 18, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      No, what you are doing is saying that the lack of evidence you perceive is enough to send you screaming to the position that this lack of evidence evidently proves that a god is possible, no matter how tiny the possibility.
      You are arguing from ignorance and saying ignorance clearly causes a god to always be possible.
      Yet there is evidence, and puh-lenty of it, to show that no god exists in any way, shape, or form that would fit the definition of a god.
      Define the god that YOU think might be possible in that tiny possibility you say exists. Go ahead. I'll wait.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      You said, "No, what you are doing is saying that the lack of evidence you perceive is enough to send you screaming to the position that this lack of evidence evidently proves that a god is possible, no matter how tiny the possibility."
      Jesus H. Fucking Christ, you are stupid, aren't you?

      You said, "You are arguing from ignorance and saying ignorance clearly causes a god to always be possible."
      All I say is that it hasn't been conclusively shown it is impossible. That doesn't mean I consider it likely. On the contrary, I consider the existence of gods about as likely as the existence of the Tooth Fairy.

      You said, "Yet there is evidence, and puh-lenty of it, to show that no god exists in any way, shape, or form that would fit the definition of a god."
      And that evidence is?

      The completely ridiculous notion that most believers have of their god(s) can most often be dismissed as infantile and completely irrational, but that doesn't mean no gods can exist.

      You said, "Define the god that YOU think might be possible in that tiny possibility you say exists. Go ahead. I'll wait."
      Any god that doesn't show any interest in us.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      You said, "Any god that doesn't show any interest in us." as the one you think might exist. Okay, now we're making progress.

      So let me just toss this out there: It appears that you think there is some sort of supernatural force that exists or may exist without any reason to even entertain the notion and you cling to this possibility of a supernatural entity despite being one of the more intelligent people to come here. Okay so far?

      Okay, here is a few chunks of evidence of the non-existence of anything supernatural at all: The space-time continuum itself, with all the laws of physics and how there is no magic and nothing to indicate anything more than essentially random events at any time even down to the quantum level.

      Here's a confirmation that this is useful evidence that directly points to the fact that there is nothing supernatural that is affecting anything in this continuum that could ever be construed to mean that what we see was "created" by "design".
      And let me point out that we live at the macro level. If you think some tiny god is hiding behind a quark, then let me point out the fact that there is nothing supernatural to be found throughout all of humanity's scientific knowledge.

      Quantum indeterminacy is not a supernatural event and does not cause anything magic to occur in any way that could be called intelligently manipulated. Quantum events are fuzzy due to the expansion of space-time itself.

      At our macro level, any claim of intelligent purpose to purely physical events can be tested. At no time throughout human history has any supernatural event been claimed that could not be accounted for by brain malfunction or bias or hallucination or whatnot.

      Without any indication whatsoever of any sort of "intelligent order" at the macro level down to the quantum level, there is left no place for your Spinozan god to fit. You are a closet ID freak I guess, clinging to the tip of the fencepost refusing to come down to where a decision can be made. You fear making the decision and so stay agnostic, worshiping ignorance because you prefer ignorance to knowledge.

      Also, there are things like the conservation of energy law, which completely locks out any possibility of anything supernatural all by its lonesome. With nothing being added to or removed from an energy equation, there is nothing else that can be inserted into it, as would something supernatural would do by definition.

      We have evidence against the existence of anything that could credibly be labeled a "god" by definition, so if you were to accept actual scientific facts as evidence that any god can indeed be "ruled out", then you would be adjusting your position to account for the scientific facts that show that there are no gods in existence at all.

      You already have the information but perhaps you have not realized just what it was you were holding when you say "Any god that doesn't show any interest in us." – You admit there is nothing to indicate any god existing right there. Wake up.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      You said, "So let me just toss this out there: It appears that you think there is some sort of supernatural force that exists or may exist without any reason to even entertain the notion and you cling to this possibility of a supernatural entity despite being one of the more intelligent people to come here."
      No. I don't suffer from those delusions. I don't "cling to", but simply don't exclude the possibility.

      You said, "Okay so far?"
      No. No. No. You still don't get it. No matter how much evidence you produce, or how unlikely it is that any gods exist, you can't prove it with 100% certainty. Even if you were able to exclude their existence within our universe, you can't conclusively exclude the possibility of them outside of it.

      All your evidence would lead a reasonable, rational person to not believe any gods exist, but it doesn't exclude the possibility. It may exclude the possibility of a god like the christians, or muslims, worship, but not a generic, not-involved supernatural being. Your evidence makes a case for weak atheism, but not strong atheism as you seem to suggest.

      You seem unable to reconcile atheism and agnosticism. The two are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to be both.
            Gnosticism is about knowledge about gods, or the lack thereof (agnosticism).
            Theism is about belief in gods, or the lack thereof (atheism).

      Now do yourself a favor and read this post again. Repeat until you get that I don't hold infantile beliefs in any gods, but that I remain open to new evidence that might show there is one, however unlikely that is to emerge.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      Sorry, but I DID prove it 100% so you just need to put on your big-boy pants and admit that as far as physics is concerned, you are woefully ignorant and don't mind covering your ears and going "la-la-la" when faced with real scientific analysis that would push any other reasonable person into admitting it.

      You have a clear cognitive bias, bub. Time to learn how to grow as a thinking individual or be prepared for more scorn from realists like me who understand physics.

      December 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      I've met some dense believers on this blog, but you seem to be one of the rare examples of a non-believer that has a hard time grasping simple concepts. Maybe you should do yourself a favor and quit while you're behind.

      It looks like you (unsurprisingly) failed to take my advice. You replied before you understood my post.

      You said, "Sorry, but I DID prove it 100%"
      Bullshit. You didn't prove jack-shit.

      You said, "so you just need to put on your big-boy pants and admit that as far as physics is concerned, you are woefully ignorant and don't mind covering your ears and going "la-la-la" when faced with real scientific analysis that would push any other reasonable person into admitting it."
      I sure hope you don't make your living in physics.

      The simple fact that our knowledge is limited to our own universe means that you can't prove with 100% certainty that there are no gods outside of it.

      But even within our own universe, the fact that we've yet to find any indication of any supernatural doesn't prove they can't exist. You seem to keep falling into the same trap where you take the fact that there is no evidence to mean you have evidence of non-existence.

      You said, "You have a clear cognitive bias, bub."
      You seem to have a really difficult time reading for comprehension, don't you? You seem to still be under the mistaken impression that I am trying to hold on to some last ditch effort to claim that "you can't prove my god doesn't exist", and that I can therefor cling to my delusion. You seem to fail to understand that I don't believe there are any gods.

      I'm an atheist. I'm not "a closet ID freak". I don't believe there are any gods, and I certainly don't subscribe to the infantile god stories of believers. Furthermore, I'm entirely indifferent to the existence of gods. I couldn't care less whether there are any, as there is no indication they affect our reality.

      You said, "Time to learn how to grow as a thinking individual or be prepared for more scorn from realists like me who understand physics."
      I understand that for someone of your obviously limited capabilities, the following may be too much to ask, but I'll ask anyway. Do you understand how a mirror works? If so, please use one.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA

      I don't often meet people like you, which is nice.

      Here's a little education for you, since you are such a baldfaced dumbfuck.
      --

      god
      — n
      1. a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force. Related: divine
      2. an image, idol, or symbolic representation of such a deity
      ....

      God (big "g")
      — n
      1. theol the sole Supreme Being, eternal, spiritual, and transcendent, who is the Creator and ruler of all and is infinite in all attributes; the object of worship in monotheistic religions
      ....

      su·pernatural

      adjective
      1. of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.
      2. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.
      3. of a superlative degree; preternatural: a missile of supernatural speed.
      4. of, pertaining to, or attributed to ghosts, goblins, or other unearthly beings; eerie; occult.
      noun
      5. a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.
      6. behavior supposedly caused by the intervention of supernatural beings.
      7. direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.
      8. the supernatural.
      a. supernatural beings, behavior, and occurrences collectively.
      b. supernatural forces and the supernatural plane of existence: a deep fear of the supernatural.
      ......

      I thought I'd better educate you some more since your head is clearly too far up your fat ass to even know what those words actually meant.

      Read the words. Learn their definitions. Realize you are a dumbfuck. I don't need a mirror. You do.

      You claim, openly and ignorantly, that your ignorance is what you base your conclusions on because you are too ignorant to understand just how far we've come in physics and really hate to admit you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

      I proved it, you stupid fuck. You're just too stupid and stubborn to even want to investigate to see if I'm right.
      If you did, you'd find I'm right. Go talk to another physicist. Go to school. Learn to science. Actually take some time to think about just how ignorant you are about the things I've talked about. You don't know jack sht and you know it.

      You're a fraud who thinks something as easily tested as a claim of something supernatural couldn't be tested to see if it were real or not because you think it is "unknowable" without any rational evidence for saying it is "unknowable" and so you don't even want to try or even think too hard about it.

      You're intellectually lazy and intellectually dishonest. You should be in the Agnostic Hall of Fame for being so stupidly ignorant on purpose. You are like an agnostic god. Go ahead and worship your ignorance, punk. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      Feel better now?

      Did you figure out all on your own how to circumvent the filter? Or did someone have to show you?

      Are you sure you don't need a mirror? Or do you need to "Learn to science" before you gasp how to use one?

      One thing is clear. You have closed your mind like a true believer. Good luck with that. But tell me, how does it feel to be a believer and be blissfully ignorant?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @LinCA
      The fact remains that I gave you more than one set of solid evidence that proves, to a reasonable and rational person that there is no god possible at all and that the "tiny possibility" that you keep trying to hang your hat on, actually does not exist anywhere in physics or any other branch of science.

      I laugh at your lame attempt to troll me some more. I have proven you wrong over and over, so your transparent side-stepping of my arguments show the world just how close-minded YOU are, and thus I see no need to respond to any more of your dishonest posts.

      You might be smart, but your willful ignorance pretty much cancels that out. lol

      December 20, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      OK, let me try again.

      You said, "The fact remains that I gave you more than one set of solid evidence that proves, to a reasonable and rational person that there is no god possible at all and that the "tiny possibility" that you keep trying to hang your hat on, actually does not exist anywhere in physics or any other branch of science."
      I have no illusion that there are any gods, I merely stop just short of claiming that they are "not possible".

      Your "evidence" relies on the assumption that the laws of physics apply beyond what we can observe. Even if your evidence shows that there is no place for a god to hide, that only applies to the space that conforms to how we perceive the laws of physics.

      Your second assumption is that the laws of physics as we understand them today are correct. But you either fail to recognize, or conveniently ignore, that there is a difference between "not having been shown false" and "correct". Laws of physics describe what we observe. They are not rules that nature has to follow. While they may describe all of nature that we can observe, there is no way of knowing whether they describe it with 100% accuracy.

      While these are requirements for science to work and allow it to be useful, science doesn't prove that they are correct. You have no way to know whether that basic assumptions are correct beyond our universe, or even the observable part of it.

      You said, "I laugh at your lame attempt to troll me some more."
      I'm glad you can laugh at it.

      You said, "I have proven you wrong over and over, so your transparent side-stepping of my arguments show the world just how close-minded YOU are, and thus I see no need to respond to any more of your dishonest posts."
      I gave you the reasons why your arguments are not 100% conclusive. By pointing out that there are areas where they may not apply, their validity is limited. It is therefor irrelevant to the discussion at hand whether they are valid even within their boundaries.

      Your reasoning doesn't constitute 100% proof, not because your arguments aren't valid, they may very well be, but because they don't necessarily apply to all cases.

      Talking about side stepping and dishonesty, your refusal to address the points that I made that invalidate your "proof" shows that you are willing to bully your opponent to get your point across. Feel free to leave the discussion at any time.

      You said, "You might be smart, but your willful ignorance pretty much cancels that out."
      Again, right back at you.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      *rolls eyes*

      December 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Fascinating discussion from two people who can't agree on what they don't believe.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rational Humanist

      You said, "I see no need to respond to any more of your dishonest posts."
      What made you change your mind? I am taking from your "*rolls eyes*" that you are pretending to exasperated in the hopes of convincing anyone that you have won the argument. Unfortunately, your argument is riddled with logical fallacies, and therefor invalid.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bill Deacon

      You said, "Fascinating discussion from two people who can't agree on what they don't believe."
      Interesting isn't it?

      But I hope you realize that Rational Humanist is one of your brethren. He/she (I will use the masculine form in the rest of the post, but please accept that as his/her or he/she) appears to be a firm believer, unswayed by having his argument shot down. He firmly believes that his holy book is all there is to it.

      Make no mistake, while the manifestation of his beliefs places him at the opposite side of the religious spectrum from where you are, he is just as much an irrational believer like you, his handle notwithstanding.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  11. David

    I though Jamie Foxx was the pastor and B.O. is the lord and savior.
    If you are gonna worship a man at least get it right.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  12. gary

    All politicians and religious leaders take a vow to a higher power! That higher power is the LIE.It is the best way to make money.the love of money is the root of all evil.Where did that root originate? The garden of eden.Lucifer manipulated eve's words by getting her to add to His word and therefore she believed what she said and she disobeyed the creator.Lucifer has been at this for a long time.All the religions of men were created on a lie.Allah,is the moon.the jews,they refuse their creator's name and have rejected His sacrifice,Yahsuhua messiah and well,catholics,JZEUS never existed.So.Can you handle the truth or will you fulfill the call of the foll and mock and scoff and continue to love darkness rather than light! Your choice!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  13. gary

    The earth needs its Creator.Mankind needs its creator.That revelation comes only from truth.Not falsehood.The people need a Moses,an eliyah.They will be here soon.They will tell us what Our creator wants from us.I know what obama wants.Worship.That is what the creator wants.Worship.Man or creator? Which one can save us? Not the pope or JZEUS CHRIST who never existed.Nice try,Lucifer. His name is Yahushua. He is the one who died and gave His blood for our sins and iniquities.He is the seed of Abraham,isaac and jacob.Not the seed of ishmael.Those who have ears to hear will understand.But the rest will remain blind because this is the "children's bread".Comfort ye,comfort ye,my people.the day of your chastening is here.Be zealous and repent for He is coming!!!! Learn from your fathers,like job when you consider human suffering! He confessed through it all,Yahuwah gives and Yahuwah takes away! Blessed be the name of Yahuwah! When he spoke those words,the devil who tormented him fled! The gross darkness gives way to the Son of Yahuwah! Yahushua messiah!!!! Overcome today!!!!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  14. joe

    I'm an atheist so I don't need pastors of any kind – religion is the last refuge of those who cannot face up to life (or, more likely, death).
    Obama disgusted me with his theatrics yesterday, his oh so carefully contrived pauses, the fake tears the day before... Leave the parents to grieve in peace – they don't need politicians looking to look good...

    December 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • me

      Go to hell Joe, oh I forgot, that's where you are going.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • joe

      can't go to somewhere that doesn't exist.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • lgbarn

      Give it a break Joe. Love him or hate him, the guy is a father of two girls. Any father worth a darn would shed tears over this tragedy...I sure did. I would expect George Bush to have the very same reaction as would Mitt Romney or any other father who happens to be a politician.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  15. Emma Davis

    Vomit.
    Obama is the elected leader – he's no 'pastor'.
    The media is just so goo-goo eyed over him they can't stop the drivel.
    Just sickening.
    I wonder who really writes Obama's biblical references for his speeches.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Still sore, huh? Poor baby.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • gary

      evangelical,catholic supporters.He loves their attention.They kinda worship him.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Greg

      Poor Emma, just can't get over the fact that a black man was elected President, TWICE. How do keep your white hood and robe so clean through all the mud you sling?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  16. blogo

    Politicians sure are chameleons!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  17. JDCD

    CNN looooooves Obama.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • InVT

      No, we love the truth, and give credit where credit is due.
      Unlike some

      December 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • me

      You have FOX, I will take CNN.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  18. blogo

    To push the fraud of releigion on these poor people is a travesty!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • JDCD

      Normally CNN would avoid such things, but they can't help fawning over Obama. Even if that means contradicting themselves from time to time

      December 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • John A

      Not allowing the right of people to choose religion is even a greater. If you don't like it, I'm sure there is a communist nation you can choose to live in.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      John A, the billions of helpless and defenseless children who are denied that very right every day might find it a kindness to have delusional indoctrination wait until they are old enough to choose it using adult consent, wouldn't you agree? Or are you one of those who don't give a crap about children's human rights?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  19. blogo

    Obama is an atheist. His step dad was an atheist. Do you think some of it might have rubbed off? Obama was not stupid then, and is not stupid now. He's a politician, and he knows how to play the game!

    December 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • dreucalypt

      What, blogo, I thought you guys were sure Obama is a Muslim. What gives here?

      December 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Take the beam out of your eye

      This is a chance for you to look inward and possibly do some reflection. Spend five minutes reading your Bible before you spew divisiveness. You have spent valuable time throwing stones instead of leaving some comment that might bring the rest of us peace.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Akira

      Sorry, blogo, he's a Christian.
      So, his step dad was an atheist...whoopee.
      If his step-dad was a vegetarian, do you think that would have "rubbed off" on him, too?

      December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  20. SDCinNS

    The killing of 20 children is certainly tragic – and we are right to feel outraged. However, we kill over 30,000 babies in the womb every day in this country. The president said he wants to do more to protect our young ones? Start there.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • blogo

      A fetus is not a child. It's a growing tumor at best.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The President cannot arbitrarily overrule the Supreme Court.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Dave

      When it can live on its own without the support of the mother, its a baby. Until then, at best, it is a shared lifeform. The mother was there first. She and her doctor get to decide what is best for her body. Not politicians.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, blow it out your ass, SCC. Fetuses aren't six-year-olds. If you can't tell the difference between a clump of cells and a born kid, YOU'RE the one who needs an education and a better pair of glasses, you boob.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • molly

      Get the pope to *officially* come out and support use of contraception. Start there.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      molly, why would the pope's position be important in this country? We don't live in a theocracy do we? If he has the authority to get people to do something you support why doesn't he have authority to enforce those things you dislike?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:07 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.