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5 takeaways from new Pew survey on global religion
December 18th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

5 takeaways from new Pew survey on global religion

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The world is religiously diverse and overwhelmingly faithful, according to a study released Tuesday by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The study, which is a snapshot of world religions in 2010 and does not show trends, brings to light a unique religious landscape that's defined by a burgeoning Islam, a shifting Christianity and a large group of religiously unaffiliated. It took Pew three years to compile.

Five big takeaways from the study:

1.) Muslims and Hindus are noticeably young

The median age of Muslims (23) and Hindus (26) is significantly lower than the global median age of 28 years old.

“Those with a large share of adherents in fast-growing, developing countries tend to have younger populations,” the Pew report says. “Those concentrated in China and in advanced industrial countries, where population growth is slower, tend to be older.”

Other than Muslims and Hindus, all other religious groups have a median age that is older than the global median.

“Christians have a median age of 30, followed by members of other religions (32), adherents of folk or traditional religions (33), the religiously unaffiliated (34) and Buddhists (34),” reads the study. “Jews have the highest median age (36), more than a dozen years older than the youngest group, Muslims.”

According to Hackett, these young median ages for Muslims and Hindus are largely because of high fertility rates and “indicates that they have a significant growth potential.”

2.) The world is faithful and diverse

According to numbers compiled by Pew, more than 80% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group.

While Christians are the largest group, with 31.5% of the global population, Muslims (23.2%), the unaffiliated (16.3%) and Hindus (15%) together make up more than half of the global population.

Jews, a religious group that makes up 2% of the United States, have a tiny share of the global pie. Only .2% of the global population practices Judaism, a number that puts the religion behind Buddhists (7.1%), folk religionists (5.9%) and a combination of religions like the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism (1%).

3.) The unaffiliated are third largest global group, equal with Catholics

The religiously unaffiliated, a group that has experienced marked growth in the United States, make up 16% of people worldwide, according to the Pew survey. With 1.1 billion people worldwide, the number of religious unaffiliated people is equal to the number of Catholics.

The Asia-Pacific region dominates that number, where almost 900 million, or 76% of the worldwide population of ‘nones’ – a term used to describe people with no religious affiliation – reside.

China, with 700 million, boasts the largest population of religious nones. The Chinese government mandates state atheism, a practice that promotes the practices of disbelief and, in some cases, suppresses religious freedom.

The Pew study acknowledges that getting accurate numbers that reflect religious populations in China is extremely difficult, largely because the country does not conduct a census to understand the faithful. In their methodology, the study states that “the unaffiliated are all who do not identify with one of the other religions.”

“For China, we had to look at a number of different sources to come up with estimates for all the groups we looked at,” said Brian J. Grim, a senior researcher at Pew.

Previous studies of nonbelievers in China have found numbers much smaller than the one published by Pew. According to Grim, this stems from how you define belief.

“This study does not look particularly at whether people believe in god or believe in a higher power,” Grim said. “If you look at just belief, you would find a much larger number of Chinese people that believe in some supernatural force.”

Grim went on to say that if the definition of belief was broadened, the number of Chinese folk religions, which currently makes up 21.9% of the country, would increase and the number of nonbelievers in China would go down.

Japan, with 72 million, boasts the second largest population of religious nones, followed by the United States, with around 50 million religiously unaffiliated – or 16.4% of the countries population.

“The unaffiliated population in China is almost twice the entire population of the United States,” Hackett points out.

These nonbelievers are also younger than their religious brethren. In Africa, North America, South America and Europe, the unaffiliated median age is lower than the age of the faithful. The overall average age of the unaffiliated – 34 years old – is pulled up, however, by the mass of followers in Asia.

In previous studies – like a study released by Pew in October – this lower average age has some demographers assuming that this group will be growing in the next few decades.

4.) Less than 1% of global Christian population resides in the religion's birthplace

Though Christianity emerged in the Middle East and North Africa, it's practiced by less than 1% of the population there.

A combined three-fourths of Christians now reside in  Europe (26%), Latin America and the Caribbean (24%) and sub-Saharan Africa (24%). North America is home to over 12% of the global Christian population.

In the Middle East and North Africa, which includes Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan, Christians are experiencing little growth, according to Conrad Hackett, a demographers with Pew.

“In Egypt, for example, it seems that the Christian population just hasn’t kept pace with the Muslim population,” Hackett said. “The data we have says they have lower fertility than the Muslim population.”

But the Pew report shows that Christianity has become dominant in other parts of the world. One-in-three people worldwide identify as Christian, and 87% of them live in a country that is majority Christian.

Of the 232 countries studied, 68% have Christian majorities, according to Pew.

5.) To Pew, this is the definitive study of world religions

Branding it as the “largest project of its kind to date,” Hackett says that the Pew study used censuses, large-scale demographic surveys and country specific general population surveys.

“In order to present data that are comparable across countries, this study focuses on groups and individuals who identify themselves in censuses, large-scale surveys and other sources as being members of five widely recognized world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism,” the survey says.

In total, Pew worked through data through 232 countries and territories that the United Nations Population Division provides 2010 estimates in.

About 45% of all the people in the world were counted by government-sponsored censuses, the study says.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • China • Christianity • Hinduism • Islam

soundoff (531 Responses)
  1. New Alias

    I'm amazed at how bad at math this story is, and also amazed no one seems to notice-

    December 19, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  2. 1 takeaway from the survey is...

    .. in the future, you will see more of sun/moon god worshippers ;)

    December 19, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • December

      It makes more sense to me to worship the sun and moon's creator.

      At least He knows I exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Huebert

      December

      The creator of the sun and moon is gravity. Do you really think gravity knows you exist?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • December

      > Huebert

      > The creator of the sun and moon is gravity. Do you really think gravity knows you exist?

      You can not create a sun and moon with gravity. You need much more.

      So no, I don't think gravity knows I exist.

      God created gravity. It shows God's power. It is part of His creation.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Huebert

      December

      Well, you would need mater and gravity, but that is really it. Both gravity and matter have existed since the big bang so no god is needed to create either.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • December

      >>Huebert

      >>Well, you would need mater and gravity, but that is really it. Both gravity and matter have existed since the big bang so no god is needed to create either.

      Really? To make the sun and moon you just need some matter and gravity. Do we just pull that out of thin air?

      Who started the big bang? I'm sure you know it is just a theory. There is not 100% proof that the big bang happened. It seems plausible to me. But if it did, who started it? God?

      December 19, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Advent

      I would worship the Creator God and not the creation such as Sun and Moon and Stars etc. I am thanful to the Almighty God for his wonderful creation though :)

      December 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Huebert

      You are misusing the term theory. A theory is not an educated guess, it is an explanation of observed phenomena that is supported by evidence. We know the universe is expanding in all directions. This means that it used to all be in one place, and is scattering out from there. So while the big bang is "only a theory" there is no evidence that contradicts it. The Big bang theory only covers the universe from the singularity, when the universe was all in one point, onward. As far as what started it, that may be an unknowable question. We may not ever be able to travel, or observe, outside of our universe.

      Now as far as the formation of the sun and moon being mad by only matter and gravity, that is absolutely true. We have observed the formation of other stars. It is done by a process called accretion.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • December

      Huebert –

      We used to think the world was flat. That's how it appeared to us.

      It appears to us now that the universe is expanding. And that may be wrong. I think it is right, but appearances can be deceiving.

      And it may have started with a big bang. Ok. What set off the big bang?

      I would say God created the big bang. It is part of his creation. Just like he created me, the sun and the moon.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Huebert

      I don't know what caused the big bang, I don't know of anyone who claims to know. I do know that there is no reason to assume that the big bang was caused by a conscious enti.ty.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • December

      There is no reason to assume that the big bang was caused by a conscious ent.ity? NONE??? There are some really good theories that contradict that opinion. I would hope you could see that it is possible.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Huebert

      Actually there are no good theories to support the Idea that the big bang was caused by a conscious ent.ity. There are no, none, zero, zilch, scientific theories about what caused the big bang. No scientist would ever be able to imagine the conditions that existed before our universe. We don't know if time or dimensions existed before, or outside of, our universe. Therefore it is impossible to speculate about events that could occur in such a "time" or "place"

      Sure it is possible that the big bang was caused by a conscious agent, but it is also possible that my next fart will create a unicorn.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • December

      There are scientists who believe in Jesus Christ. The believe in God. They are trying to study God's creation.

      >> Therefore it is impossible to speculate about events that could occur in such a "time" or "place"

      It is possible to specultate. God gave us an imagination. Without an imagination nobody would have come up with the theory of a big bang.

      And the big bang doesn't really answer the questions I'm most curious about. Like why are we here? What is the point of this?

      >> Therefore it is impossible to speculate about events that could occur in such a "time" or "place"

      The big bang theory started as a speculation about events that occurred at another time or place.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • fred

      Huebert
      Depending on what you have been eating I place my Pascal wager on my God over your unicorn

      December 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Huebert

      I shouldn't have said speculate, I should have said theorize. It is very possible to theorize about another place and time, just not about a moment when place and time do not exist. The big bang theory starts with the presuppositions that place and time exist. Those presuppositions are not valid prior to, or outside of, our universe. So while you can speculate, you can't support said speculation with any evidence.

      And you are right the big bang theory does not address why we are here, assuming there is a "why", or what is the point, again assuming there is a "point."

      December 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • December

      The only thing you truly know about is things that have happened to you since you were born and you have seen with your own eyes. Everything else you believe is on faith.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Huebert

      What is your point?

      December 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • December

      My point is you are a man of faith.

      You have faith in things that have happened in different times and places. According to your logic the big bang could not be proved, because it happened at a different time and place.

      You use faith as much as Christians.

      You place your faith in man.

      I place my faith in God.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Huebert

      I place my faith in evidence. There is evidence that man exist, thus I have faith that he does. There is evidence that the big bang happened, thus I have faith that it did. And while you are correct in saying the big bang theory can't be proven, it is supported by evidence. I don't have a problem with faith, I have a problem with faith that is unsupported by evidence. The idea of God cannot be supported by evidence.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • December

      When I say "God" you know who I'm talking about.

      Whether it is a spiritual being, a concept, an idea... it exists.

      There is evidence for you.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      If you are going to define god as a concept or idea, I will agree with you that God exist. But I would remind you that, by this definition, Zeus, Apollo, Allah, and Santa Clause, also exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • December

      > Zeus, Apollo, Allah, and Santa Clause, also exist.

      Yea, but they are not God.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • SImran

      December,

      They are god for some! Just like the Bible god isn't god for many.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • SImran

      Also add to that list Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, Allah.....

      December 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Huebert

      True, but according to your definition of god, they are his equal.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • December

      > True, but according to your definition of god, they are his equal.

      No, not at all. He is the true God, they are false gods, myths and characters in stories.

      They couldn't exist without Him.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • SImran

      @ december,
      So you think the god of the Bible is the only true god and Brahma is a myth? That people in 5000 BC were worshipping the false god, and only some stupid farmers could conjure could have the fortune of having the real god visit them about 2000 yrs ago! You are not just lame, but also arrogant about it!

      December 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • December

      @sim

      > So you think the god of the Bible is the only true god and Brahma is a myth? That people in 5000 BC were worshipping the false god, and only some stupid farmers could conjure could have the fortune of having the real god visit them about 2000 yrs ago! You are not just lame, but also arrogant about it!

      No. I don't think that at all. It came from your sick mind.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      You are changing your definition of God. Earlier you were saying that he was just an Idea. Now you are saying that God is a supernatural creative force. There is no evidence that the creative force God exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • SImran

      But you do suggest that they are all myths and false gods! How can you demonstrate that Brahma is a myth and a fictional character? "He is the true God, they are false gods, myths and characters in stories." And yet, it is my mind that sucks!

      December 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • December

      Huebert

      > You are changing your definition of God. Earlier you were saying that he was just an Idea. Now you are saying that God is a supernatural creative force. There is no evidence that the creative force God exist.

      I never said that I believe that God is just an idea. I believe he is real.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Huebert

      You can believe that God is real all you like, but there is no evidence that he is actually exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  3. Gerri

    Can you explain this?

    "Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation."

    December 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      There could be many factors that explain that.

      Can you explain why cricket players have the highest suicide rate in professional sports?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • ME II

      "perhaps because individuals with no religious affiliation have fewer moral objections to suicide than believers"

      December 19, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • sanjay

      why did Dan Merica use the photo of Sikhs.

      Why not Jains or Zoroastrians who are far less numerous and on the verge of extinction.

      Dan Merica is a racist and a bigot.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Sing

      Oh well, apparently Dan Merica cannot please everyone on this planet?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Huebert

      @Gerri

      A one point before I get in to the reasons. This study examined persons that had already under gone a major depressive episode, so the furthest reaching conclusion that can be supported by this study is that people with major depression, that are religiously affiliated, are less likely to commit suicide than depressed persons with no such affiliation.

      As to the reasons for this phenomena, as stated in the conclusion of the article, most religions have a strong moral objection to suicide. If a person is a follower of such a religion they are less likely to commit suicide because they view suicide as an immoral action. Another factor relating to suicide attempts is a sense of belonging, people who feel as though they belong to a group are less likely to commit suicide. Religious affiliation inherently involves group membership, and thus provides a bit of protection against suicidal thoughts and actions.

      http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=177228

      December 19, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Akira

      December:
      Didn't you just do the same thing to tallulah?

      December 19, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  4. Gerri

    Religion. Opiate of the people? A true opium for the people is a belief in nothingness after death – the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murder we are not going to be judged.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Please explain why 90% of the prison population is christian.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Gerri

      90% of prisoners are Christian! In which country?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Yet another religious person claiming to know how others think.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Sorry, 75% are christian. And we are talking about America, where less than 1% of the prison population are atheist.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Gerri

      Oh! In America 75% of the prison population is Christian – at least in name. Well probably for the same reason that 75% or more of the doctors, teachers, CEO's, bus drivers, soldiers, auto workers, and airline pilots are Christian.

      You might find this interesting that in China, over 75% of the prison population are athiests. The other 25% are political prisoners for being religious.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Oh! In America 75% of the prison population is Christian – at least in name. Well probably for the same reason that 75% or more of the doctors, teachers, CEO's, bus drivers, soldiers, auto workers, and airline pilots are Christian."

      LOL yet your original statement said "A true opium for the people is a belief in nothingness after death – the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murder we are not going to be judged"

      Evidently this is not the case or there would be ZERO christians in prison.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • December

      > Evidently this is not the case or there would be ZERO christians in prison.

      What? Read the New Testament, Jesus' followers were imprisoned. The rulers hated that they believed in Jesus.

      I am a Christian, and the Christians I know don't claim to be perfect. We make mistakes. We can commit crimes.

      We are trying to get better. We face the same issues in this world that atheists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, ect., face.

      Some of us *go* to church, but we are not really a follower of Jesus.

      To be a follower of Jesus you have to do some uncomfortable things, and you may end up in jail. Look at Nelson Mandela for a good example of this.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • tallulah13

      I would rather account for my actions in this lifetime. Christians would rather delay accountability, and pretend that it will all be taken care of after they die. I don't know why they think that is virtuous.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      Gerri,
      According to christianity, the follwing scenario is possible, which negates your entire point.

      A person can kill 10 people for no reason, get away with it in terms of law enforcement, and accept jesus before he dies and asks to be forgiven.

      How is christianity holding this man accountable? It is not. It is letting him in paradise, not holding him accountable for anything, and not helping his victims at all. Your argument is invalid.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      And a christian person trying to use prison stats in their favor? LOL. Less than 1% of prisoners in America are atheist. OVer 99% of prisoners beleive in a god, which evidently doesnt stop them from committing crime. And what is the atheist population in China? Im guessing its aroujnd 75% or more. This is truly funny.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • December

      > tallulah13

      > I would rather account for my actions in this lifetime. Christians would rather delay accountability, and pretend that it will all be taken care of after they die. I don't know why they think that is virtuous.

      Nope. I take full accountability for life and actions. When I make a mistake I try to fix it. If I harm someone, I make amends.

      I don't pretend it will all be taken care of when I die. I don't think that is virtuous.

      THINKING THAT WAY IS NOT CHRISTIAN.

      It is actually quite the opposite.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • tallulah13

      I was responding to Gerri, who judges that not believing in god makes a person immoral. I know many fine christians who are decent, good people. I suspect that Gerri isn't one of them.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • December

      > tallulah13

      > I was responding to Gerri, who judges that not believing in god makes a person immoral. I know many fine christians who are decent, good people. I suspect that Gerri isn't one of them.

      When you start stereotyping Christians, you bring me into your small-minded viewpoint. You stated a philosophy about Christianity that I believe to be false, so I wanted to offer you a broader viewpoint.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • December

      > According to christianity, the follwing scenario is possible, which negates your entire point.
      > A person can kill 10 people for no reason, get away with it in terms of law enforcement, and accept jesus before he dies and asks to be forgiven.
      > How is christianity holding this man accountable? It is not. It is letting him in paradise, not holding him accountable for anything, and not helping his victims at all. Your argument is invalid.

      That is not Christianity. That is your idea of it. But it is faulty.

      Christianity can't hold that man "accountable". He should be punished by the law enforcement. But if he wants to save his soul, he can repent and turn to God.

      Accepting Jesus is not a "get out of jail" free card. You still have to deal with the bad consequences of your sins.

      Nobody is letting him into paradise without holding him accountable.

      God has a plan of salvation for that man. It is between that man and God.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      December,

      What are you talking about? He insinuated that that christianity is needed to hold people accountable for wrong-doings. He said that clear as day. I explained to him why that doesnt make sense, because christianity doesnt hold people accountable for anything due to that scenario, then you seem to agree with me that christianity doesn hold people accountable by saying "Christianity can't hold that man "accountable". He should be punished by the law enforcement."

      NO KIDDING! Thats the only way he is going to be held accountable. We agree, and you still try to find a reason to argue with me. It sounds like you have more of an issue with the original poster than me. Perhaps you two can argue about who's following the "true" form of christianity.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • December

      >religionb

      He said that our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murder are going to be judged.

      Christianity isn't the end. God is.

      God will judge you. God will judge me.

      God judged Jesus Christ as perfect.

      Jesus Christ will share his perfection with you. And you will be made into a new creation. The spirit of God will dwell in you.

      Not all people who say they are a Christian have this spirit in them. We have been warned and understand this. We can tell if they have the spirit by the "fruits of their labor."

      December 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      But what good is the judgement if you are forgiven and allowed into heaven? Thats like telling the judge you're sorry and beleive in him, and he lets you walk without jail. DOes that sound like judgement?

      Are you denying that my scenario is correct? Are you saying a murderer cant be forgiven and allowed into heaven? If you agree that he can, then you beleive in can be denied judgement, becase the judge is a moron who just let the criminal off scott free. Again, you are disagreeing more with some christians on here than me.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • December

      ReigionIsBS

      > But what good is the judgement if you are forgiven and allowed into heaven? Thats like telling the judge you're sorry and beleive in him, and he lets you walk without jail. DOes that sound like judgement?

      It sounds like judgement. Not punishment. But it is judgement. It doesn't sound like wise judgement to me, for a judge to let a murderer go free.

      But that is not what God is doing.

      > Are you denying that my scenario is correct? Are you saying a murderer cant be forgiven and allowed into heaven? If you agree that he can, then you beleive in can be denied judgement, becase the judge is a moron who just let the criminal off scott free. Again, you are disagreeing more with some christians on here than me.

      Murder is a sin. God hates it. Even if I think about hurting someone, I've commited murder in my heart. God hates it. I'm as guilty as the man who killed 10 people and was set free by a judge. No difference in God's eyes.

      Jesus Christ loves me even though I've had murder in my heart. He buys God's forgiveness for me.

      We don't believe in going to paradise. We go to be with God. If we commited murder, we probably have to make amends for that. We ask God for mercy.

      We change.

      With Jesus a murderer can change.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      "It doesn't sound like wise judgement to me, for a judge to let a murderer go free.

      But that is not what God is doing."

      So what is he doing?

      What is he doing when he lets a murderer in heaven? It sounds like a judge letting a murderer go free. Unless there is some type of penalty box in heaven, where he needs to sit out for a while, maybe get tormented in the process?

      Please explain, what is he doing?

      December 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • December

      It is God's world. He is soverign.

      If I go to meet God when I die, I will not be pointing my finger saying "why this?" "why that?".

      I'll be laying flat on my face unable to move in the presence of his HOLY HOLY HOLY being.

      He will be asking the questions.

      He is soverign. He can do what he wants.

      I don't know what he does with a murderer.

      I know what we do on Earth to one.

      His ways are different.

      If the murderer is sorry and repents, maybe God forgives him and has a place in His Heavenly Kingdom for him. Maybe in Heaven he is a servant to those he killed.

      If the murderer is not sorry and says he only believes in the big bang and that he came from nothing, maybe God has a different plan for him.

      I really don't know.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      Well if you dont know, then what was your point? Was there a point? Just wanted to argue?

      December 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • December

      > ReigionIsBS
      > Well if you dont know, then what was your point? Was there a point? Just wanted to argue?

      I tried to answer your question the best I could. I don't know everything. I am not God.

      I don't know what happens when we die because I have not died yet.

      But I gave you an idea of what Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven looks like.

      He died. And was resurrected. If you really want to know, ask Him. He lives.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      You have some issues.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      "I don't know what happens when we die because I have not died yet."

      So why are you trying to tell me that I will be judged when you actually dont know?

      I dont know what happens after we die. Do you see me telling you that you have to face a fire breathing dragon who will ultimately stomp you out because you are not worthy? No. Because Im not an idiot and i dont want to fill peoples heads with nonsense.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      "I tried to answer your question the best I could."

      No you didnt, I asked what was your point about disagreeing with me when I told the original poster that christians beleive that god lets murderers in heaven. You told me that is not what christians beleive, then I explained that that is pretty much the entire point of christianity, that you can be forgiven for anyhting. Then you started to disgree with me for no reason and went off on another tangent.

      So again, what was your point of telling me that christians dont beleive a murderer can forgoe punishment and enter heaven? When you obviously belive they can.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • December

      > So again, what was your point of telling me that christians dont beleive a murderer can forgoe punishment and enter heaven? When you obviously belive they can.

      I was explaining my theology.

      Your idea sounds Christianity is very warped and hateful. You seem to have these "feelings" but no real understanding.

      I said God forgives.

      The point of Christianity is not to just let murderers into heaven. That is ignorant and wrong.

      Christians don't believe a murderer should forgoe punishment. That is ignorant and wrong.

      A murderer can go to heaven. A guy who never murdered someone can go to he||. It can happen.

      Our spirits are eternal. God lives in eternity. If you murder someone, you will probably see them again in the after life.

      Whether that eternity is heaven or he|| may be up to you.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • December

      ReigionIsBS

      "I don't know what happens when we die because I have not died yet."

      > So why are you trying to tell me that I will be judged when you actually dont know?

      God will judge you for everything you do. I don't know exactly what that means.

      I can admit I don't know things. Can you?

      > Do you see me telling you that you have to face a fire breathing dragon who will ultimately stomp you out because you are not worthy? No. Because Im not an idiot and i dont want to fill peoples heads with nonsense.

      No. And I have not said anything like that to you. That came from your sick mind.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      "I was explaining my theology." You were explaining it incorrectly. God allows murdererd in heaven, which forgoes punishment. You were implying that doesnt happen, then you admitted to it.

      "Your idea sounds Christianity is very warped and hateful. You seem to have these "feelings" but no real understanding."

      No, I understand it very well. I was explaining to the original poster that his statement was contrarty to what christiainity beleives. You agreed. Where am i missing anything?

      "I said God forgives. The point of Christianity is not to just let murderers into heaven. That is ignorant and wrong. Christians don't believe a murderer should forgoe punishment. That is ignorant and wrong."

      But according to christianity, it does happen. And you beleive it is ignorant and wrong. And its the entire point of christianity, that you can forgoe punishment by repenting. And you think its sick and wrong. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      "A murderer can go to heaven. A guy who never murdered someone can go to he||. It can happen."

      So you agree. Which means you think christianity is sick and wrong.

      "Our spirits are eternal. God lives in eternity. If you murder someone, you will probably see them again in the after life." Great, that means murdered victims can be reunited in heaven with their killers. Sounds awesome.

      "Whether that eternity is heaven or he|| may be up to you."

      Every other religion in the world is saying the same thing to you. Why not beleive them? Why not heed their warnings?

      "God will judge you for everything you do. I don't know exactly what that means." How do you know if you've never died?

      I can admit I don't know things. Can you? Yes, I just explained to you that I dont know what happens after we die. And I dont pretend to.

      "No. And I have not said anything like that to you. That came from your sick mind." So if I beleive that a fire breathing dragon might stomp you out, thats sick. But if god wants to throw me in hell forever, thats not sick? Nice logic.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Wow, please keep posting TV1

      Do you know how many atheists you are making with this nonsense? You are a walking billboard for atheism. Nothing you are posting is making sense. This dude is embarressing you. Even if you were right, you would be doing your religion a favor by just not saying anyhing, since you clearly cannot explain it.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Wow, please keep posting December

      Sorry, I mean december. Cant tell my atheist billboards apart.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • December

      ReigionIsBS

      I was responding to your ignorant and prejudiced blanket statements about Christianity.

      Whether you believe in Him or not He will judge you.

      You don't control this. Christians don't control this. I don't control this.

      Good luck with it.

      >"A murderer can go to heaven. A guy who never murdered someone can go to he||. It can happen."

      >So you agree. Which means you think christianity is sick and wrong.

      I DO NOT THINK IT IS SICK AND WRONG IF GOD CHOSES TO FORGIVE A MAN. MAYBE THAT MAN WAS MOLESTED BY HIS FATHER AND HAD SOME MAJOR ISSUES. AND HE MURDERED BECAUSE HE WAS SICK IN THE MIND, DUE TO SOMETHING HE DID NOT DO OR ASK FOR.

      AND HE ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS.

      AND GOD GRANTS IT.

      If you don't like this, you can go to he||.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "I was responding to your ignorant and prejudiced blanket statements about Christianity." What ignorant statement, that murderers can get into heaven? HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO GO OVER THIS, WE AGREEEEEEE!!!!!!! Unless you are talking about some other statement that Im not seeing.

      "Whether you believe in Him or not He will judge you." How do you know if you havent died yet. How do you know a Hindu god wont judge me? How do you know no god will judge me?

      "You don't control this. Christians don't control this. I don't control this." agreed

      "I DO NOT THINK IT IS SICK AND WRONG IF GOD CHOSES TO FORGIVE A MAN. MAYBE THAT MAN WAS MOLESTED BY HIS FATHER AND HAD SOME MAJOR ISSUES. AND HE MURDERED BECAUSE HE WAS SICK IN THE MIND, DUE TO SOMETHING HE DID NOT DO OR ASK FOR. "

      so you think its sick and wrong if a murderer goes unpunished, unless god is the one not punishing him? Please explain how that makes any sense at all. Even if your molestation scenario is true, he is still going unpunished. You're just making excuses for his actions, which are going unpunished anyways.

      "AND HE ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS. AND GOD GRANTS IT." So he goes unpunished, which is my whole point.

      "If you don't like this, you can go to he||." Hell isnt real. And even if it were, I wouldnt wish it on anyone. Im not a sado-masocist. Have a nice day!

      December 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • December

      so you think its sick and wrong if a murderer goes unpunished, unless god is the one not punishing him? Please explain how that makes any sense at all. Even if your molestation scenario is true, he is still going unpunished. You're just making excuses for his actions, which are going unpunished anyways.

      I am against murder.

      God is against murder.

      God hates murder more than I do.

      With Jesus, God can forgive this man.

      That does not mean he goes unpunished.

      If he is not repentent, he may be punished for eternity.

      I a man murders he should spend his life in jail.

      Even if he accepts Jesus, he still have to pay for that very real consequence of his sin.

      In jail. That is his earthly punishment.

      May God have mercy on him.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Are we having the same conversation?

      "I am against murder." agreed

      "God is against murder." god probably isnt real, but if he were – agreed

      "God hates murder more than I do." ok, what does this have to do with anything?

      "With Jesus, God can forgive this man." probably not real, but if he were, agreed

      "That does not mean he goes unpunished." So if he is in heaven, what is the punishment?

      "If he is not repentent, he may be punished for eternity." probably not real, but if he were – agreed

      "I a man murders he should spend his life in jail." agreed, but sometimes he gets away with it. Thats why the original poster said christianity is necessary so that murderers can be punished. Thats simply not the case if he repents. He gets off scott free. Except you say he doesnt, but you wont explain what the punishment is if he is still allowed in heaven. Like I asked before, is there a penalty box or something? Why wont you explain????????

      "Even if he accepts Jesus, he still have to pay for that very real consequence of his sin." And that payment would be???????????

      "In jail. That is his earthly punishment." correct. Unless he gets away with it, which happens. Then I explained to the original poster that christianity offers no solution to this problem, since he can go unpunished in the afterlife too. You are disagreeing with me for some reason. What is the punishment,if he's allowed into heaven? Penalty box? Timeout? Hell for a day? You simply wont tell me.

      May God have mercy on him.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Mmay god have mercy on him" If he does have mercy on him, then whats the penalty?

      December 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • December

      ReligionIsBS

      Mmay god have mercy on him" If he does have mercy on him, then whats the penalty?

      Why are you so concerned about punishing people?
      Do you not think God has a plan for redeeming His creation?

      Ok, I'll play:

      The murderer serves the rest of his life in jail. His roommate r@pes him each night. He gets A.I.D.S. And then he dies.

      Now what?

      He changes his heart. God forgives him.

      He refuses to change his heart. God rejects him. He lives in eternity without God (he||).

      December 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. You know you're wrong so now you're going off on another tangent.

      "Why are you so concerned about punishing people?" Im not, the original poster is. He said christianity is necessary so murderers go punished. I pointed out that if they dont get caught on Earth, then there's a good chance there is no punishment, whether there is a christian god or not. Seriously, why do I have to keep telling you this? Im not the one demanding punishment, the original poster is, and you agreed with him, thats why you started the argument.

      "Do you not think God has a plan for redeeming His creation?" No, I dont believe in god.

      "The murderer serves the rest of his life in jail. His roommate r@pes him each night. He gets A.I.D.S. And then he dies." We are talking about what if he doesnt go to jail, remember? Thats what the OP stated. This whole argument is what if he doesnt get caught on earth? How can your answer to that be, he gets caught on earth? LOL

      "He changes his heart. God forgives him." So he goes unpunished? But you say he doesnt, but wont explain what the punishment is. LOL

      "He refuses to change his heart. God rejects him. He lives in eternity without God (he||)." He's probably not real, but agreed.

      Just answer the question already. I honestly cant keep expalain the question any more clearly. What is the punsihment if he avoids jail on earth. Youve stated numerous times that there is some kind of punishment even if he makes it into heaven, but you wont say what it is? What is it? Im dying to know?

      December 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReigionisBS- If a man kill 10 people and he then repent and say he believes in Jesus. Is it not true that he would then have to confess his sin to the court, if he truly believes in Jesus. Just remember you can fool man but you can't fool GOD. Just something to think about.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "ReigionisBS- If a man kill 10 people and he then repent and say he believes in Jesus. Is it not true that he would then have to confess his sin to the court, if he truly believes in Jesus. Just remember you can fool man but you can't fool GOD. Just something to think about."

      I dont know. I dont even beleive in jesus. What makes you think I know what conditions he is putting on his forgiveness? IS that a condition? If it is, then the original posters claim is still invalid. Because the courts are punishing him, which means christianity isnt necessary for judgement/punishment. Also, what if he does confess to the crime and dies before he can serve his sentence? Please explain.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReligionisBS- If you are no fool, rest than sure God is None, if you think that you are going to wait until you are ready to die to ask to be forgiven, even the courts know that that's malicious intent, and if the court knows this, what would make you think that God don't.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "ReligionisBS- If you are no fool, rest than sure God is None, if you think that you are going to wait until you are ready to die to ask to be forgiven, even the courts know that that's malicious intent, and if the court knows this, what would make you think that God don't."

      Im not going to ask to be forgiven by something that probably doesnt exist.

      "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." – Koran 98:1-8

      The koran says you are going to hell becuase you dont beleive in islam. Why are you scared of the bibles warnings and not the korans?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • December

      > "The murderer serves the rest of his life in jail. His roommate r@pes him each night. He gets A.I.D.S. And then he dies." We are talking about what if he doesnt go to jail, remember? Thats what the OP stated. This whole argument is what if he doesnt get caught on earth? How can your answer to that be, he gets caught on earth? LOL

      He will pray for Earthly punishment over eternal punishment, for sure. If he gets away with it on Earth, God's judgement might be more severe.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReligionisBS- If he dies before he serve his sentence, he is going to be judge anyway like we are all going to be.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "He will pray for Earthly punishment over eternal punishment, for sure." First of all, you dont know what other people are praying for, second, and most impotantly, YOU DIDNT ANSWER THE QUESTION AGAIN!!!!

      ITs evident that some murderers dont get caught. And christianity says murderers can still get into heaven, SO WHERE IS THE PUNISHMENT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT? PENALTY BOX? Can you at least tell me if it is some sort of penalty box or not? Im leaning towards penalty box. You said there is something? Is it a penalty box? LOL

      "If he gets away with it on Earth, God's judgement might be more severe." probably not real, but agreed. SO WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT IF THE MURDERER STILL GETS INTO HEAVEN? WHY WONT YOU ANSWER ME???????LOL

      December 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReligionisBS- No one knows who is going to heaven or who is going to hell except God. Now they are some who tends to believe that because of there works they are going to heaven, however it is written "Judge not would I be judge".

      December 19, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "ReligionisBS- No one knows who is going to heaven or who is going to hell except God. Now they are some who tends to believe that because of there works they are going to heaven, however it is written "Judge not would I be judge".

      That has nothing to do with this. THe OP stated that christianity is needed so murderers can be judged/sentenced.

      But christians beleive that murderers who dont get caugt on earth can still make it to heaven. December agreed. But then he disagreed that that murderer wont go unpunished. I simply asked what that punishement would be. December refuses to answer the question and you arent even talking about what we are talking about.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReligionisBS- I joined the conversation late so now I got it.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • December

      >ReligionIsBS
      SO WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT IF THE MURDERER STILL GETS INTO HEAVEN? WHY WONT YOU ANSWER ME???????LOL

      His punishment is he has to try to keep a conversation with you on a CNN message board.

      It is not my punishment to decide. IT IS GOD's.

      God knows more than me and you. He will know what is best.

      If I get into heaven, and there are murders there, that will be fine with me.

      Your question does not bother me in the least bit or cause me to doubt my faith. And you keep asking this *murder* question over and over. And I answer over and over.

      You are so fixated on the punishment.

      I don't have a vengeful God.

      I know God forgives. I know God will discipline me for my sins on Earth. He has a plan. I'm down with that.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      You seriously dont know what we are arguing about, do you?

      The OP (the actual person who is fixated on punishment) stated that christianity is needed to so that there is judgement/punishment happens. I stated that it doesnt make sense, sense its possible a murderer doesnt get caught and then repents and gets into heaven. Then you stated that there is some other kind of punishment in those situations. And now you refuse to tell me what that punishement would be and accuse me of being the one who is fixed on punishment, even though I dont beleive that people are punished after death. Please answer the question. Im not going to stop asking it until you admit you were wrong or you just make something up...again,

      December 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      Question yet to be answered:

      WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT SOMEONE RECEIVES WHEN THEY KILL 10 PEOPLE, GET AWAY WITH IT ON EARTH, THEN REPENT TO JESUS, GET SAVED, AND GET REWARDED WITH HEAVEN.

      Without any other explanation of anything, or any statement that you dont understand the question, or going off on some tangent, or stating that you've already answered me. Just type the answer, and only the answer, below.

      December 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReligionisBS- If someone kills 10 people repent, get save and is in Heaven he has already served his punishment. You seem to think because he got away with it through the courts he isn't punish. He may be tormented for the rest of his LIFE here on Earth.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      ReligionisBS- Was your questioned answered.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  5. Senor edals

    In the first place this is the first time I have ever responded to any kind post what so ever in my entire life, and I'm 55. After all these years of watching, listening, and reading all the responses people contribute to the Bible, it totally amazes me that it is obvious that very few people actually study the Word of God, or they would understand the plan and purpose of our Lord and savior. The dept of people's knowledge of the Bible is amazing.(Hsa 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge because thou hast rejected knowledge , I will also reject thee,) I pray that you (2Ti 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God , a workman that needeth not to be ashamed , rightly dividing the word of truth .) With this I will end my post never to return again!

    December 19, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  6. S Kopfter

    Only for the old members of this blog:

    Cats use their whiskers to check whether a space is too small for them to fit through or not.

    Brevity is often visually appealing when using the written word.

    Cash is king. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin' about.

    Every killing begins with "k".

    December 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  7. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • craniumthedumb

      Why do you have to return to the same diatribe where your evidence has no basis in or connection to your assertion. Do you have nothing else you can attempt to say that is of import to the conversation?

      December 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      December 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      Great... you attach an opinion piece as factual. Key word in section 1... "Probably" in other words they have no idea, they are just making a guess.

      The rest are writings of people who don't offer proof other than their own word. Not empircally drivent fact. Invalid as arguments to prove or disprove anything. Opinion.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Reality

      You will have to read the studies of contemporary historians and NT scholars to see how they decide the authenticity of historical events and passagess. Rigorous conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence. Professors JD Crossan and G. Ludemann's studies are top notch in this regard.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Also think about the logic (or lack thereof).

      “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

      x=Pat Robertson
      x=the ayatollah Sistani
      x=David Koresh
      x=the Koran”

      more “logic”?

      “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
      Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

      December 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      I have never stated that the Bible is completely correct nor is it infallible. Quite to the opposite it is rife with mis-translations and parable. As well, I do not claim the Bible to an accurate historical text, nor have I ever done so. I do believe that often religious text used parable to teach in ancient time. It was how people functioned and what they were used to and what they expected. You couldn't do that today, because we all think utilizing something more closely akin to the scientific method. In other words we expect

      I do claim it to be the word of God. Proof of that? Can you define love, or prove your love of another person to me? As you cannot prove your love for another person, I can not prove my believe in God nor my belief that His word is included in the Bible. Both of those truths come from within.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      WOW, I left off in the middle of a sentence... sorry about that...

      In other words we expect logic and facts and evidence.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Reality

      Tis called the Three B Syndrome, Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion !!

      December 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      You are incorrect, I have made a conscious choice based on personal experience. This is the only way one can know if He does or does not exist.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  8. Lisa

    I would rather bow down to an idea than to a person.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  9. franzus


    . ,
    ,
    : 107, 206, 207, 307, 308, 406, 407, 4007, Tepee,

    December 19, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  10. Apple Bush

    @ReligionIBS

    I enjoyed your posts tonight! Talk to you soon!

    December 19, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • ReligionIBS

      Thanks, you too. Keep up the good fight! The world will be sane some day!

      December 19, 2012 at 6:38 am |
  11. Chick-a-dee

    Matthew 6:34

    Dependence on God.

    * 25n “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?o 27Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?* 28Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. 29But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. 30* If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ 32All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness,* and all these things will be given you besides. 34Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

    * [6:25–34] Jesus does not deny the reality of human needs (Mt 6:32), but forbids making them the object of anxious care and, in effect, becoming their slave.

    * [6:27] Life-span: the Greek word can also mean “stature.” If it is taken in that sense, the word here translated moment (literally, “cubit”) must be translated literally as a unit not of time but of spatial measure. The cubit is about eighteen inches.

    * [6:30] Of little faith: except for the parallel in Lk 12:28, the word translated of little faith is found in the New Testament only in Matthew. It is used by him of those who are disciples of Jesus but whose faith in him is not as deep as it should be (see Mt 8:26; 14:31; 16:8 and the cognate noun in Mt 17:20).

    * [6:33] Righteousness: see note on Mt 3:14–15.

    n. [6:25–33] Lk 12:22–31.

    o. [6:26] Ps 145:15–16; 147:9.

    December 19, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Dmitri

      Would you copypasta idiots get the hell out of here already? You can't put together an argument to save your lives so just go away already or leave an actual comment of your own about the article. We don't need vast reams of bullcrap pasted here.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Apple Bush

      @Chick-a-dee

      I have a feeling you and I would be friends in first life (I have plenty of Christian friends believe it or not) but why do you copy and paste all this stuff? The Christians should already know and believe it and the Atheists already know and don't. The bigger question is (and always will be) why do you believe it? Indoctrination.

      December 19, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with John' gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      December 19, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • craniumthedumb

      @Apple

      You are incorrect, most Christians I know, myself included, believe because of our experience.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Pete

      Yeah, your experience of being forced to go to church by your parents when you were a kid.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      @Pete

      In fact I was forced to go as a child. Then I left church and lived much as you do for nearly 20 years. I then had experiences that provided ample proof to myself that He exists. It wouldn't prove it to anyone else, quite frankly, I would be shouted down in this forum as mentally ill. Its quite sad actually.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Hi AB,
      I'd be pleased to know you outside the cyberworld too. I believe in having an eclectic group of contacts. :-)

      "why do you copy and paste all this stuff?"

      I cut/paste because I want to make sure that I get it right. There's a gazillion people out there saying that they are Catholics, making statements that are contrary to Catholic teaching, and I want to be sure to get it right if I make a statement about what the Church actually teaches. News coverage of Catholics very often is sensationalized rather than journalistic. There's already waaaay too much nonsense floating around, Catholics and non being confused about what is doctrine vs individual opinion. I don't want to add to the chaos.

      "The Christians should already know and believe it and the Atheists already know and don't."

      Yeah, Christians should already know and believe. But they don't. Most of the Catholics I know don't really think about the faith until they have children of their own and then start scrambling around to find someone to teach it to them. We all grew up in the post-Vatican II '70s and our own formation was questionable. I had to play catch up pretty late in the game myself. As far as the block of Christians under the "other" heading. Who knows what they know. Some, like the Eastern Orthodox are almost identical in their understanding of doctrine. Way on the other end of the spectrum, I've got friends in the Mickey Rooney school of thought...only instead of putting on a play, Andy's character says something like "I found a bible and you've got an empty building. We can put on a church!" then proceed to come up with their own ideas about everything without any authorization at all. A couple of the atheists in my circle are quite knowledgeable – at least enough to be able to hold forth in conversation down here in the bible belt. One of them is a former Russian Orthodox seminarian. His theological scholarship is far more academic than that of my fundie friends.

      "The bigger question is (and always will be) why do you believe it?"

      When I was a young adult and basically a non-practicing anything, I met a woman who was so peaceful I wanted to know how she got that way. That set me on an investigative journey through quite a number of belief systems, none of which struck me as authentic except for the Roman rite of Catholicism...because it has that direct line of succession back to the original apostles who were given authority straight from Christ. ( I'll admit that there was a time that Judaism had its appeal but I found it lacking for not having recognized that the messiah has already been here and gone.) That's the intellectual side of my brain. The emotional side says it's because I have experienced incidents during my life that can only be explained as Divine Intervention or incalculable coincidence. I don't have that kind of luck or I'd be at a casino right now. There's been intervention.

      Now I'll pull a heavy piece of cover material over me while diatribes fall.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      p.s. If you were specifically asking about all those cut/paste quotations with footnotes... someone on the preceding page asked for a Christian to explain them...and the only taker was a fellow who said he'd put up his own interpretation – and that's about as valuable as asking me to explain a NASA lift-off procedure.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  12. TheRationale

    "Practices of disbelief"

    Using the word per its definition, this is nonsense. IE, it doesn't actually make sense. Someone messed up...

    December 19, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  13. Stephen

    The survery is interesting but really doesn't mean anything. Public opinion has zero effect on the truth. The truth always remains the truth, no matter how many people or how few believe it to be the truth. Jesus told us: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but be Me". ....John 14:6 God has provided a way of salvation for mankind. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If you have not done so, receive Him as your Lord and Savior and you will know God's forgiveness, His peace, and have eternal life. God bless

    December 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Well Stephen, your heart is in the right place, but you have a very odd concept of truth.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      Stephen, what makes christianity true? Why not beleive the stories of the other religions? Let me guess, because you were raised christian, so that makes it true.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Topher

      Stephen

      Sounds about right to me!

      December 19, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're right, the truth is the truth even if nobody believes it and a lie is a lie even if everybody believes it. Too bad you believe the lie.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • The Four Fluffy Kittens of the Apocalypse

      Funny how Christians say the majority is always right when the survey is limited enough to say they are the majority group.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • PHguy

      delusional and misled. sad reality of religions.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • sam stone

      Stephen: Do you seriously desire "eternal life"?

      December 19, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • Believe in Facts

      Why can you believe in facts . (PROOF)
      Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.
      Human Evolution (1 of 2)

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

      December 19, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      You're right when you say that public opinion has zero effect on the truth. And the truth is that there is not a single shred of evidence that supports the existence of any god.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  14. Apple Bush

    God's plan" is the way that Christians traditionally explain things like miscarriages, amputations, cancer, hurricanes and car accidents.

    For example, if a Christian dies a painful and tragic death because of cancer, she dies as part of God's plan. Her death has a purpose. God called her home for a reason. Even if something bad happens to a Christian, it is actually good because it is part of God's plan.

    You can see how pervasive "God's plan" is by looking in Christian inspirational literature. For example;

    Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    There is also this:

    Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.

    Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.
    Take a moment and think about this, "He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death." Let's examine one simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God has pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.

    If the concept of "God's plan" is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason. Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the "exact time" of the death, the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God's plan, are they not? What about all the Christians who are fighting against abortion? If abortion is part of God's plan, why are they fighting it? God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion.

    If God's plan is true, then each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God.

    If God does not intend for us to perform abortions, is it then wrong that God has a plan? If God has a plan, is he not the direct cause of every abortion? Simply think it through, and you will begin to see the problems in this proposition.

    Think about Adolph Hitler. He was evil incarnate, and Hitler is well known for the atrocious things he did. What I would like you to do right now is to consider this statement: "Hitler is part of God's Plan." Think about this:

    He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.

    If God has a divine plan for each of us, then he had a divine plan for Hitler too. It is when you stop to think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.

    Now let's imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they would still die. The idea of a "plan" makes the idea of a "prayer-answering relationship with God" a contradiction, doesn't it? Yet Christians seem to attach themselves to both ideas, despite the irresolvable problem the two ideas create.

    Think about what God's plan means for you personally. If the plan happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four times, then that's what will happen. It would be the same with any disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months later, that is God's plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the plan - no amount of prayer will help - because your death will have meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the plan.

    Who will you marry? You actually have no choice in the matter. God has pre-planned your wedding in minute detail. "God knew that those two individuals [your parents] possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom 'you' that he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you." Therefore, your spouse was pre-chosen by God for you so that you would create the children who are a part of his plan. You also have no choice in the number of children you will have - God has pre-planned their births.

    In addition, this sort of universe means that Hitler is blameless. Hitler was not "evil," because Hitler had no free will at all. Hitler was simply an actor forced to play his role in God's plan. God planned for millions of people to die in the Holocaust - he planned their deaths in exact detail. Hitler had to kill those people. Hitler was God's puppet in making that those millions of deaths happen right on schedule.

    In the same way then, every murderer is blameless. Since God has planned each of our deaths in exact detail, murderers are actually essential to God's plan. Why do we punish them? We should be rewarding them for doing their God-planned duty. What if you get raped tomorrow and get pregnant? God did that because he planned the exact time of that child's birth and death. God actually pre-planned your rape, and the rapist was God's puppet. Rather than hating the rapist, we should celebrate God's plan.

    Do you believe that murderers and rapists should be rewarded? Do you believe that Hitler was sent by God to kill millions of people in the Holocaust? Do you believe that God is the direct cause of every abortion on this planet? Do you believe that you have no choice in your spouse or the number of children you have? Probably not. But that is what you are saying when you state that Hitler or cancer or anything else is part of "God's plan."

    If you think about it as an intelligent person, you will realize that the statement "It is part of God's plan" is one of those meaningless palliatives. When you sit down and think it through using your common sense, the statement makes no sense.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      If you've read any of the posts here by christians, its quite obvious that the bible does not mean what it says. You have to come up with an excuse and secondary meaning to evertything in it. My theory is that there is a bible 2.0 with all the answers that they arent sharing with the rest of us, but I cannot get anyone to confirm or deny that.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Ex-Christian

      Wow Apple Bush, I really must applaud you! I could not have put it in better terms. I like your post so much because it was this reason, this exact reason you refer to, that made me realize that god is either non-existent or a genocidal maniac. Granted, it took me personal experience to come to this conclusion but hopefully someone will have read you post and one day that individual may be freed from the chains of religion when they realize your words are true.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Uh...not. Right now, I'm nodding off at the keyboard but I will do this one tomorrow.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Dmitri

      tl;dr

      December 19, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • craniumthedumb

      Once again, you confuse what is attributalbe to God to man and what is attributable to man to God. The foundations of your arguments are all based on personal opinion. You state nothing that is factual. There is no substance here.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      God may know what is going to happen, and He may not elect to interfere with your choices, but He does not create a plan and cause to you act like a robot and follow it, nor does He will for people to perform evil. But when evil does occur, those events give us individual opportunities to perform acts of kindness & bring about good – or to be complacent, even participants in the sin event and then deal with the results of the choice we've made.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  15. Pedro

    Is my great, great, great, great etc. grandfather a fish?

    December 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Well, if you are a fish, then yes. But I have never met a fish that could manipulate a comptuer so this is big news!

      December 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Dmitri

      Ironic that you should post here, fish-person! This is an international news site so you're in the right place! Congrats!

      December 19, 2012 at 3:07 am |
  16. Pedro

    Can a frog turn into a prince? Please explain

    December 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No, a frog can't turn into a prince.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @AB,

      are you waiting for Pedo's imminent 'gottcha' with bated breath like I am?

      December 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Pedro

      Did the house that you live in just appear from nothing (non-living matter) or did your house have a builder?

      December 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Pedro,

      yes and yes.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      GOPer, yes, I can barely contain myself!

      December 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      Pedro,
      Did your creator just pop out of nowhere, or did it have a creator? Please explain.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Pedro, a construction company built my house. Is this going somewhere?

      December 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Pedro

      Life always comes from preexisting life. A powerful Creator has always existed

      December 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      1. How do you know?
      2. Who or what created the creator?

      December 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      Life always comes from pre-existing life....except the life of the creator, which for some reason doesnt need a creator even though it is life. LOL. Nice statement

      December 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Russells Teapot

      With that line of reasoning, pray tell, what created your deity? As you've previously asserted: nothing comes from nothing. No cop out for you. It strains credulity to posit that the universe had to be created due to sheer complexity but that the creator always existed.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Villager #3

      A witch turned me into a newt.

      I got better

      December 19, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • PHguy

      A frog can turn into a prince if probably these religionists gods could do so? Hmmm

      December 19, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Huebert

      Pedro

      Life always came from existing life. Christianity worships the "living God". Where did God come from?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  17. HAPPY FARMER

    I love it when Pew does research like this. Some of it is well...duh common sense but the other stuff is amazing.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Maybe one of you Christian geniuses can explain this to me. Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.

    Then he set up his own death so that he could suffer on a cross to "die" (even though he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return and never shows his face again.

    Why?

    I would offer this counter possibility. Mary got knocked up by the blacksmith. Jesus was a cult leader. Jesus broke the law and was punished and died.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • HAPPY FARMER

      Why you no troll.. God, Son and Spirit. were all separate from one another. its the greatest mysteries of this world.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Pedro

      So let me get this right, my great, great, great, great, great, great etc. grandfather is a fish?

      December 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Pedro

      Newton defuted the trinity, and Issac Newton was correct. The word 'trinity' is not in the bible

      December 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      WAy to avoid the question, Pedro. Just like every other christian. Not just atheists are laughing at you, other religions are too.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      Pedro, you know where else the trinity isnt mentioned? In apple bush's quote. He/She just posted things straight out of the bible.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • TV1

      Why did he do that?

      Because He loves us so much.

      I'm sure you could have come up with a better plan. I'm sure you could of made this world much nicer.

      Why don't you try and do that?

      I can't do that. But God can and did.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • professoreugene

      #Apple Bush.

      "Maybe one of you Christian geniuses can explain this to me. Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.

      Then he set up his own death so that he could suffer on a cross to "die" (even though he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return and never shows his face again.

      Why?

      I would offer this counter possibility. Mary got knocked up by the blacksmith. Jesus was a cult leader. Jesus broke the law and was punished and died."
      =====
      Amazing!! Why have you become an anti-religious troll, when youl have such excellent knowledge of the Bible? Hey, it's too late now. I'll take you up on each of these misunderstandings tomorrow, but many thanks for the post. I'll be answering as a long-time Bible student rather than as a fundamentalist Christian, which I am not. (If a scientist tell me the earth is billions of years old, who am I to argue? The Bible says only "In the beginning..."

      December 19, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Hi ,Apple Bush,

      Since you asked nicely, I'll give it a whirl. Cut me some slack on this. I'm half asleep and composing as I type.

      Your take: "Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.
      Then he set up his own death so that he could suffer on a cross to "die" (even though he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return and never shows his face again. Why?"

      Well, that's not exactly the way it went down. One of the things I found difficult to wrap my head around is that we human beings are linear thinkers, but the universe is not linear or 3 or even 4 dimensions. It's way more than that and God, being infinite, is in all places in all times at once. So, while we tell a story like the story of the fall in a linear progression that's easiest for the most primitive of us to understand but is not necessarily how it happened. If God is infinite, that means he's infinite in time as well. The past, present and future are all different to us but He knows all of them simultaneously. So, yes, God made us and gave us free will. We don't know what the results of our choices will be but He does before during and after we make them. He knew that we would exercise our free will to bring about our own demise... aka the fall of original sin. At the same time He knew that out of Love, He would give us a way to redemtion because He wants to be with us and He wants us to want to be with Him too. It wasn't like He was surprised by us screwing ourselves out of Paradise and came up His passion and resurrection as plan B. He didn't come up with a “get out of jail free” card for us. He made reparations for us.

      God told the first people, call them Adam and Eve, to NOT partake of the fruit from the tree of knowledge – that it would bring them death. But they were tempted to do so because they thought by doing so, by gaining that knowledge they would become like God. I think about this sometimes and wonder about all the indigenous people we made contact with – even as late as the 20th century. How were they when they lived pretty much in the moment in stone age technology hunter gatherer tribes. Is that the way our first human parents lived? How did the new world we brought change the world of the indigenous people? Did exposure to modern technology and western culture make them happier or not? Is that what the Genesis story of the fall is all about? A description of loosing just our innocent simplicity? Or, is the story of the fall more like the story of us going from a totally uncivilized, pre-stone age – almost animal existence to the very first buds of civilization? But, I digress.

      So, Adam and Eve represent mankind as a whole. Their original sin, – not just doing what they were told not to but lacking humility in wanting to have God's knowledge and to BE God – that sin is owned by mankind as a whole. While you as an individual may come into the world as an innocent infant who hasn't done anything at all, you are at the same time not innocent because you are born into mankind and mankind has fallen and is guilty. Yes, the whole of mankind is fallen therefore each human individual as part of mankind is also fallen. He does not want to punish us. God wants us to be with Him as the innocent children that He created not as the sophisticated but sullied people we've chosen to become.

      Remember, God made everything including all of nature and all of natural law. Could He make rain fall up instead of down? Of course He could, He's all powerful. But He DOESN'T make rain or other objects defy the law of gravity...a universal law which He made...because doing so would be a supernatural event. Not only does God maintain physical laws He maintains the laws of justice. So, the sin of Adam and Eve...the one where they did something they were specifically told not to do...had a penalty. The penalty was the loss of paradise and everlasting life. But He loves us and doesn't want to have us estranged from Him so He paid the penalty FOR US. God the Father begat God the Son, Jesus, and became man. He is fully God. He is also fully human. He experienced the pain and suffering of the crucifixtion as a man to pay the penalty, as a man, for man's sin. Justice has been served. All an individual has to do is say “Yes” to what He asks of us the way to paradise is open despite ourselves.

      You DON'T have to believe it. You DON'T have do it. You've got the choice. But He does want you to love others and love Him – in the same innocent way a child loves.

      G'night.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Holy cow Chick, you are more long winded than me LOL. I will disagree with you some more later. Have a great day.

      December 19, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • tallulah13

      God loves us so much that he refused to forgive us for being human unless a man was tortured to death.

      I don't think I want that kind of "love".

      December 19, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • professoreugene

      #Apple Bush--I spologize for the length of this theseis, but your questions were complex.
      1. Apple Bush
      Maybe one of you Christian geniuses can explain this to me. Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.
      Then he set up his own death so that he could suffer on a cross to "die" (even though he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return and never shows his face again.
      Why?
      I would offer this counter possibility. Mary got knocked up by the blacksmith. Jesus was a cult leader. Jesus broke the law and was punished and died.
      1. Last evening, I commended you on your excellent Bible knowledge. Well, I take that back, for the reason that what you wrote was actually a fine explanation of the dogma of Christendom’s churches, not Biblical knowledge. I should have said “religious knowledge.”
      “Maybe one of you Christian geniuses can explain this to me.”
      2. Because your word “Christian” implies a fundamentalist, which I most definitely am not, I’m replying to this as a long-time student of the Bible, which I believe to be the inspired word of our Creator.
      “Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God.”
      3. The Bible never ever presents Jesus as God. He does not claim to be God. God does not claim to be Jesus. Exodus 6:3 and Psalm 83:18 (KJV) do not use the name 'Jesus' to identify God. Indeed the Bible repeatedly shows Jesus was “sent” to the earth by God. Which one is superior, the sender or the sendee? I see no equality in that situation.
      “God wanted to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.”
      4. If God had wanted a physical manifestation of himself on earth, he could have had one. He is all-powerful, a magnificent scientific mind. Why should he not have the capability to deposit the life of his only-begotten son in the womb of a virgin. He CREATED life in the first place.
      “Then he set up his own death”
      5. Please refer also to 3. above for this segment.
      “Then he set up his own death so that he could suffer on a cross to ‘die’ event though he can’t die”
      I really shouldn’t comment on this, because it’s somewhat of a finicky little point, but, since you’re getting a verse-by-verse dissection, I will include the fact that crosses were not commonly used for executions back in Bible times. Jesus was the one who sacrificed his life as a ransom for mankind, but it would have been on a stake of some kind. Cross worshipers were lured into apostate Christianity by Emperor Constantine who was trying to unify his empire. At Acts 5:30 in many Bible translations, including many modern ones, it states that Jesus was “hanged on a tree.” (i.e. KJV, NKJV, NIV, etc.) I am not denying that Jesus was impaled and died. He did this to vindicate his Father’s sovereignty, as well as to get us off the hook with God. This is the very basis of my faith.
      “(even though he can't die)”
      6. You’re right! The Bible shows God to be “from everlasting to everlasting.” Refer to Psalm 90:2 which says, in the NIV: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
      “for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them.”
      7. In reality, this is an excellent statement on your part. May I respectfully point out just a tweak or two to help you with it? Actually, the reason for Jesus’ death was to cleanse the name of God, besmirched by the lies of Satan to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan said that God was a liar. That had to be countered, and Jesus was the angelic son of God chosen to do that. The salvation or ransoming of humankind was really a side benefit, so we’re are getting the crumbs falling off the table of God.
      “Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy”
      8. Amazing, you’ve done it again! The Bible says that, after Jesus died and was raised up, the apostle Peter assured his audience that Jesus “was not left in hell.” (Acts 2:27, 31, 32; Psalm 16:10; King James Version) The word translated “hell” in this verse is the Greek word Hai′des. Jesus did not go to some fiery place. Hades, or “hell,” was understood back in those days as the common grave of mankind. So, that part you got right. By the way, Christendom’s clergy are petrified at the thought of Jesus’ being in hell, because they are still clinging to the Greek philosophers’ expressions as to what “hades” really is. According to Rev. / Apoc. In connection with the resurrection, the Bible says: “Death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” (Revelation 20:13, 14, KJV) Emptying “hell” will mean restoring to life all those whom God judges worthy of a resurrection. (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) What a marvelous hope for the future—seeing our dead loved ones brought back from the grave, to a new life here on the earth, which will undoubtedly include our lost little ones from Newtown, along with their teachers. Jehovah, the God of infinite love, will do this. Trick is: How do we get to be there to greet them?
      “and then he ‘rises’ and walks about frightening people”
      9. This was really a demonstration of God using his capabilities which are far beyond those of humans. He was able to resurrect his first-born son back to spirit life; the Bible presents his human body/bodies seen after his resurrection as the materialization of of a human body or bodies. Hardly a ghost. Ghosts are Satan’s way of doing things.

      “and then disappears after telling everyone he would return and never shows his face again.”
      10. Finally, he returns to heaven, but he had given an extremely detailed prophecy of conditions that would exist on the earth that would prove his “parousia,” a Greek word meaning “presence,” his return. After the Gentile Times came to an end, he was crowned king of God’s Kingdom, as in “Thy Kingdom come.” He most certainly is showing his face now and has had his representatives call at your home dozens of times over recent years–Matthew 24:14. Both Jesus and Jehovah have turned their attention to the earth, you’ll be glad to hear.
      (professoreugene.wordpress.com)

      December 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Prof,
      Reading this was like taking an ice pick through the eye.

      Do you really think that God planned for the apostles to go out and spread the good news without any direction or guidance for a millennium and a half...until King James of England, without any authority but his own secular authority, decided to commission a translation of some of the books of sacred scripture? I don't. Further, I don't believe that King Henry VIII had any business breaking with Rome over whether or not he was allowed a divorce. Finally, I don't believe that any version of sacred scripture is the ONLY support for the Church. We also have tradition, including the Jewish tradition that Jesus followed while on earth, and we have the Magisterium. The Magisterium teaches us that indeed God the Creator and Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit are the same one God, in three persons.

      202 Jesus himself affirms that God is "the one Lord" whom you must love "with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength".6 At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is "the Lord".7 To confess that Jesus is Lord is distinctive of Christian faith. This is not contrary to belief in the One God. Nor does believing in the Holy Spirit as "Lord and giver of life" introduce any division into the One God:

      Catechism of the Catholic Church

      PART ONE
      THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

      SECTION TWO
      THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
      CHAPTER ONE
      I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER

      202 We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.8
      6 Mk 12:29-30
      7 Cf. Mk 12:35-37.
      8 Lateran Council IV: DS 800.

      If the doctrine of the church isn't good enough without the smoking gun of a bible quote, try Mk 12:35-37.

      * [12:35–37] Jesus questions the claim of the scribes about the Davidic descent of the Messiah, not to deny it (Mt 1:1; Acts 2:20, 34; Rom 1:3; 2 Tm 2:8) but to imply that he is more than this. His superiority derives from his transcendent origin, to which David himself attested when he spoke of the Messiah with the name “Lord” (Ps 110:1). See also note on Mt 22:41–46.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  19. Mohammad A Dar

    how this study helps? What does it matter if Hindu+Muslims are 26 or Christian+Jews are 36?

    December 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It's important for the same reason all information in the social sciences is – to better understand the world we live in and the way it is growing and changing.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Saraswati, with increase numbers of inter-racial couples, not just in Americas, but all around the world, my feeling is the world would be very different place in next 100 years, these Pew numbers would be like some old farmer's Almanac

      December 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • PHguy

      It's important to see that there is a huge fragment of the world population that could still be saved from the destructive and counterproductive effects of delusion we call religions. We just have to set information and truth more suitable to their age bracket so there won't be some sort of social shock.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Mohammed, and then in 100 years those numbers will be an important part of history. And when we have the new numbers, we can once again learn from how the population grew and changed between surveys

      December 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  20. ReligionIBS

    TV1,since you say that all of the jesus teachings I posted, dont really mean what they say, where exactly does god expect me to get the real meanings? Why didnt the bible just get it right the first time? Is there some bible 2.0 out there that im supposed to be following? Did god really intend to put out a bible that is incorrect and expect us all wait untill the internet was invented so we could google the real meanings? Thats pretty much what your getting at.

    December 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • TV1

      That's a lot of questions. I've asked them myself. I don't know all the answers. Some things in this world are mysterious, no doubt.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      "where exactly does God expect me to get the real meanings?"

      God, as Jesus, gave His 12 apostles the mandate to go out and teach and gave Peter the responsibility of heading the Church. He expects that you'll get the real meanings, the real teachings from the apostles or their direct successors. Incidentally, they began teaching the early Church by orally. Quite a few years went by before the Church compiled the cannon of books in the bible. That's why sacred scripture is only one of three supports of the Church. (The other two are tradition and the magisterium.)

      December 19, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • PHguy

      Well, Chick-a-dee, what if I tell you that who gives a crap about these Biblical hoohah fantasies you blabber about as if they all translate to something as equal as truth and reality science and logic express? Fairytales... you think they're some sort of fact? LMAO!

      December 19, 2012 at 2:18 am |
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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.