Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) – There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:
1. “It was God’s will.”
There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.
2. “Jesus called the children home.”
I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday – that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir. Even the most fervent Christians I know want to live out their lives on Earth before going “home” to “glory.” The Hebrew Bible patriarchs rightly wanted long lives. Moses lived to be 120. Abraham was 175 when he died. Madeleine and Daniel deserved more than 6 or 7 years.
3. “After death, there is the resurrection.”
In the Jewish tradition, it is offensive to bring up the afterlife while in the presence of death. Death is tragic, and deaths such as these are unspeakably so. So now is the time for grief, not for pat answers to piercing questions. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” says the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and now is not a time for laughing or dancing or talk of children raised from the dead.
4. “This was God’s judgment.”
After every hurricane or earthquake, someone steps up to a mic to say that “this was God’s judgment” on New Orleans for being too gay or the United States for being too secular. I’m not sure what judgment of God would provoke the killing of 27 innocent women and children, but I certainly don’t want to entertain any theorizing on the question right now. Let’s leave God’s judgment out of this one, OK? Especially if we want to continue to believe God's judgments are "true and righteous altogether" (Psalms 19:9).
5. “This happened because America is too secular.”
Unlike those of us who are shaking their heads trying to figure out what transpired in Newtown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical icon, apparently has it all figured out. We don’t need fewer guns in the hands of killers, he said Friday on Fox News, we need more God in our public schools.
“Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability,” Huckabee said in an astonishing flight of theological and sociological fancy.
Just keep plying people like the killer with Glocks and Sig Sauers. As long as we force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers, then the violence will magically go away. The logic here is convoluted to the point of absent, leaving me wondering whether what passes for "leadership" in America can sink any lower.
6. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. The logical fallacy here is imagining that people are killed either by people or by guns. Come again? Obviously, guns do not kill people on their own. But people do not shoot bullets into people without guns. At Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine, people with guns killed people. This is a fact. To pretend it away with slogans is illogical and revolting.
The question now is: Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded? Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap? I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade? Then why in God’s name would any U.S. civilian have the right (or the need) to bear a .223-caliber assault rifle made by Bushmaster?
If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
Nothing can happen unless it is God's will. No leaf can move in the wind, no speck of dust can fall, no one can die. God is all powerful and all knowing and controls every single thing. Otherwise he is not God, just some guy like a human royalty whose abilities and powers are very limited. Not only it was God's will, it knew it way in advance. When Lanza was born, God knew that he will do such and such on this day at this time. God knows which baby being born today, Dec. 18, 2012, will commit a murder in the future. Because God knows the future.
I can't imagine what trash will next come out of your mouth same time every month !
So with your argument, then pro-life / pro-choice dosen't matter because "God" already knows which babies will be aborted and which ones won't. So it's his will to allow abortions, which in turn makes them ok. Mrs. Lanza was obviously pro-life and look what happened.
Congratulations on officially becoming the most ignorant person in America.
God is sovereign, but man has free will. Our finite minds cannot completely understand or reconcile this dichotomy. What we *do* know is tha God is NOT the author is evil. Evil grieves His heart. Murder grieves his heart. A man killed these children, and it was never part of God's original, good plan for mankind for such evil to exist in this world.
good answer ELKA. I agree 100%.
So with your argument, then pro-life / pro-choice dosen't matter because "God" already knows which babies will be aborted and which ones won't. So it's his will to allow abortions, which in turn makes them ok. Mrs. Lanza was obviously pro-life and look what happened."
I beleSilver Back
So with your argument, then pro-life / pro-choice dosen't matter because "God" already knows which babies will be aborted and which ones won't. So it's his will to allow abortions, which in turn makes them ok. Mrs. Lanza was obviously pro-life and look what happened.
I could give a sht if any of you believe in God, but to refute the many bottom barrel arguments, he also gave everyone free will to make poor decisions.
This was a great article! Religion is a private affair. No one knows anything for sure. Religion is for the living. It is designed to help you cope. Great! I hope yours helps you cope and let's leave everyone else the privacy to cope in their own way.
There are those Christians (me being one)who believe that free will means that we have responsibility to our own actions and we are not a puppet on God's strings. I believe there is a God and in his son Jesus Christ. I live in a country, thankfully that still allows me my freedom of religion. I believe that Jesus is the way, truth and light. But with believing this is just that "my belief" I share my belief with others as they too share theirs (many different beliefs) with me. We (all of us) have the right to our own beliefs and to express them at will. We do not have the right to cram our beliefs down others throats or condemn them for stating theirs. Waterman you need to wake up and understand that people do good and bad things and they take the FREE WILL to do both. If you think life is like an electric football game and God is plugging and unplugging the cord and we are just moving around with no way to control our actions you need help. If this is true then we all need to go Rob banks tomorrow shoot people down because it doesnt matter because God's in control. Shirleyurkidding!!! Have some gump and quit hiding behind your God and accept responsibility for your actions. As for the 26 murders in Newtown I believe my God is weeping with us over this horrific tragedy. Could he have prevented this? Should he have prevented this? I don't know. I just know I do believe there is a God and I have a lot of questions for him when I see him. To all the families that lost love ones in this Horrific Tragedy my broken heart aches for you.
Okay, the standard answer is that we have free will. This cannot be be reconciled with the fact that God knows the future. Did God know that Lanza was going to do this? Yes or no? According to what most people believe, he must know because being all knowing, he knows the future. So it is necessary that he must know who is going to do what when. While Lanza may feel that he decided to do this by his free will, God already knew what he was going to do. Like all of us, Lanza was merely a puppet in God's plan – God knowing all along exactly what he was going to do.
If God DIDN't know what was Lanza going to do using his free will, he is not much of an omnipotent god, is he? God is just like an average guy who can't predict the future.
In sum, free will and an omnipotent God both cannot possibly coexist. At least one of them must be false.
It is no wonder many thinking people tend not to believe in God when there are comments like this made. To portray Almighty God as a God that predestines everything in a every person's life in in the world would make God the worst sinner in the universe. How could he be a "God of love"? The Bible shows that man has free will and each person acts according to his own will. That is why God gave Israel the choice between the "blessing and the maediction" at Deuteronomy 30:19. Eccesiastes 9:11 it explains 'time and chance or unforseen occurrance befall us all.'
It is shameful to portray God as a God that would predestine humans to such suffering or to say God took my child because he needed another angel in heaven or whatever. The Bible explains what the truth about God is. Unfortunately religous leaders have taught lies about who God really is.
Wow waterman so let me guess you still think the Earth is the center of the universe, the Earth is still flat and your "God" makes it rain?! SMH you sir should be seen by a licensed professional and get on some medication.
Hey guys, waterman is only saying what most christians say when something like this happens and is quetioning this like it should be questioned. If God is all knowing and that powerful then God did know and it was his plan. You can't have it both ways and only say it is God's will when ever you agree with what happened. The problem here is you either leave God in it and deal accordingly or remove God and deal. It does not matter any way, this has happened and we have to deal with it.
@Holy Moly got it. You can't have it both ways – God's will when you prefer and "free will" when things go wrong. You also can't have an all knowing God, and yet have free will. If your God didn't know that Lanza was going to do this, and was shocked and and angry and is grieving like ordinary humans, it should bother you. If your God did know what Lanza was going to do, it should also bother you.
You are not taking into account that God gave us free will to follow him or Satan. I disagree with your perception.
GOD is.He is not a traffic controller or upper management.When we try to place our actions on GOD we our showing our ignorance.
And where is your GOD wen this massacre took place? where were your God when his poor innocents victims were crying screaming in the verge of being killed? please don't talk about your God ! I hear God is love and kindness ...where is the love and kindness now? for sure not my GOD!
Waterman : takeyour meds and go to bed your irrational thinking is making me dizzy already!
THE FACE THAT SOCIETY HAS CREATED CAN BE CHANGED BY GETTING RID OF BIGGOTS SUCH AS YOURSELVES
i didnt know jews are being forced to pray like christians in school like the author stated. He also said jews dont bring up the afterlife at times like these...Now isn't he preaching Judaism to us? who cares about jewish traditions and beliefs? since when is shoving jewish rhetoric to the public meaningful? in other words jews are 2% of the population , why do people feel the need to always refer to them as if they're perfect? Maybe the author should look into the war crimes committed by Israel before telling us to be like jews
And how, do tell, would you do that?
Jews and other non-Christians WERE forced to say Christian prayers before mandatory prayer was ended.
God's Will is fully defined and there will be no more development from God. God laid down the rules for our universe, set things in motion and left for a trillion year vacation. The fact that killing children is a possibility with God's laws does not mean it is God's will.
some seriously flawed logic in this statement.
Martinian, are you from Mars?
Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny didn't do anything about this either.
The paranoid ensemble of dichotomized socialists need weaponry to ease their mind's forsaken buttresses candor. Their idiotic desires to keep weapons are a crewel synopsis of leveraged psychological paranoia brought about via lame socialists fearing the worst thereby creating social unease upon the mobs massing around gun enthusiasts delusional animosities.
English do you speak it?
looks like someone forgot to take their meds.
Can you prove that, because I am under the impression that guns are more of a right wing conservative thing.
In the words of the common peasantries, " Owners of weaponry such as guns are delusional in their dumb wants to keep weapons as a safe guards against s p o o k y feelings of paranoia"!
Wow, someone can use a thesaurus but not a dictionary. CRUEL.
Crewel is for decorative tapestry
Epic failed attempt at writing. Take a composition course in college, please!
Punctuation wouldn't be a bad idea either.
high power rifles with large capacity magazines have been around for a long time – while these psychotic breaks we're seeing are a much more recent development. yes, these weapons make killing a lot of people a matter of speed and efficiency – but they're not to blame.
an industrious person can make gunpowder rather easily... and no one needs to goto a lawn and garden store to obtain fertilizer. someone who wishes to make a devastating impact – like they see on cnn.... will find the means.
disarming the united states is impossible and for some reason – people can't seem to get it through their increasingly dense skulls that if you prohibit any form of weaponry – the state, and criminals will be the only ones who possess it.
crying GUN CONTROL! is the childish response. it's immature.
the culprit is mental illness. it cannot be put any more plainly than that.
anyone who points to anything other than that is just injecting noise into all the discourse, and they're a huge part of the problem.
Well said. +1 internets for you.
I agree with you on about 99% of it. Gun control is certainly an issue albeit a small one, for example I think we can all agree citizens should not own thermonuclear devices. I think we can all agree that people should not use firearms while intoxicated. So gun control is something that needs to be looked at: were the laws enough, do they need to be strengthed etc.. but you're 15000000% correct in that the real discussion should be about mental health and how we go about helping those individuals.
If it will save the life of one single child I will gladly waive my right to own an assault weapon.
I agree and would add that though many believe otherwise there is not such thing as an accident. It is totally up to each and every one of us, all the time, what we do, when we do it and how.
Than you must be for Obomacare right? If the problem is mental illness, not guns, than as a society we need to address this problem, allowing all who need treatment, access to mental heath. Are you willing to pay higher taxes? How about we put a high tax on all guns sold to pay for mental health treatment!
martiniano – if you waive your right to bear arms – will it save anyone?
i do not own any "a s s ault weapons" – i feel no need to. i do own several pistols (which i am authorized to carry concealed) and some rather antique, c.umbersome shotguns which i consider heirlooms.
having served in the united states army as an infantry soldier – i got that fascination out of my system the first time i had to clean my rifle.
again – while you and i may feel no need to own these sorts of devices, others do – and it is their right to own them. should there then be new means of insuring those weapons are adequately secured? maybe so. enacting new legislation to do so won't, however – prevent these sorts of psychotic breaks from occurring.
subtracting all this noise from the system – we're left with one simple flat fact:
the culprit is not the weapons.... it's mental illness.
it really cannot be stated any more plainly than that.
But how do you keep the guns out of the hands of the mentally disturbed? Can't do a medical background check due to HIPPA Laws and doctor/patient confidentiality. People can lie on a gun application. My spouse did just that. Suffers from depression and bought a gun last year. Lucky me.
martiniano. YES. That is the gun question here. It isn't will it solve the problem of mass shootings alone, but will banning assault style weapons potentially save a life. Does that trade-off in any way remove any rights of gun owners.
To say that the entire problem is mental illness is equally ignorant. The easy available of as.sault style weapons is without a doubt a factor in this tragedy. Yes, Adam Lanza would most likely have gone on a rampage without or with out a high powered rifle, but the efficiency of his weapon is what made his rampage so deadly. Now, don't think I am advocating banning guns, I know that is impossible. But I am advocating reasonable restrictions, like magazine size limits, and maybe no semi-automatic rifles.
chris – with three children in college – and being as heavily taxed as i already am – i suppose i'm willing to toss in a few more dollars if it's going to something intelligent to help identify mental illnesses much earlier – and hopefully establish some national standard for cognitive competency and stability.
that being "said" – once more – this isn't a political issue – it's not a gun issue... it isn't a religious issue.
it's a mental health issue -and truthfully – i'm open to any intelligent ideas on how to solve the problem.
thank you for playing.
numbnut: "Can't do a medical background check due to HIPPA Laws and doctor/patient confidentiality."
– i agree with you – this is a huge problem. it needs to be addressed intelligently – and soon.
Huebert – i certainly do not mean to insult your intelligence...
when you restrict or prohibit anything – those restrictions and prohibitions do little to remove that thing which was restricted or prohibited. creating a black market isn't going to solve the problem.
once more – an intelligent person doesn't need high cap magazines or even a rifle to wreak havoc.
while technically true that gun control would mean the only ones with the guns are the criminals and state, that statement ignores the fact that there may be fewer criminals with guns than without gun control.
Some kid who decides to go shoot up a school, for example, may then not have a gun because he didnt happen to have a black market hook-up as well as the urge to kill.
Look at it another way for a second. The lack of gun control currently enabled lots of people to have guns in addition to criminals – nominally to protect themselves. Did that prevent this shooting? nope. If it were illegal for people to get guns, and therefore more difficult for criminals to get guns, would this shooting have happend? probably not. It may have taken the form of something like the knife attack that happend in china on the same day – still not a good outcome, but preferable to this many dead.
joe – prohibition does not work.
it just gets more people killed.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, guns are for pu$$ies. Any man that can't use his fists and needs a gun to satisfy his manliness, or macho-ness is a wimp @$$ pu$$y!
Guns + violent video games and movies + bored minds + psychotic issues = disaster
America is not the only country in the world that watches violent video games, movies and have citizens with mental illness, unless you believe that America is the only country in the world! The difference between America and the rest of the world is that the rest of the world have sticker gun laws...It is much more difficult for a killer to kill 20 kids and six adults without a gun...so I see the mentally insane as the ones who claim "guns don't kill people, people kill people" .
You don't suppose that there might be a middle road? Maybe making it harder for people with mental illness to get a gun?
The last time the christians ran anything it was called the dark ages
Not to be picky, but that was when christians ran everything.
But don't worry, it's not like they are trying to write our science and history books or anything.
Perfectly said. And that is where these religions belong, in the dark ages. Their childish attempts to explain the mysterious world around them carried weight during that period.
But we can now read and see for ourselves that it is false and simply made up. We are no longer in the dark.
We atheists have the stuff you want to hear. It's all God's fault. he may not exist but it's still his fault.
Christians are bad people. They have a bible we love to criticize. We may not be able to point to our own alternative comprehensive moral system that is written down but that's ok. It just goes to show that we're smarter than christians. God does not exist. It's all a fairy tale. But when we tell you that atheists are moral, then everyone should believe it. Even if we have nothing written down; everyone should still believe it. We atheists are free to criticize everything that is Christian. We are not obliged to show our alternative moral system. Even if we actually do not have an alternative, we will still argue against christians. It doesn't matter that atheists are not actually united in their moral system. We are still better moralists.
How about a harm based approach to morality....Oh you mean you don't want to hear that cause you made up your mind Atheist= no morals.... please
What a lot of arrogant assumptions and generalizations.
You speak only for yourself, and not for anyone else but.
spoken like a true a s s clown.
All you have to do is point to your alternative comprehensive moral system.
Blah. blah. blah. whine. whine. whine. Put up. or shut up.
Spoken like a true Christian trying to be sarcastic. You are the person Gandhi spoke of when he said "I love your Christ but I do not love your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."
The stuff that is written in the bible is enough to denounce it as a book for lunatics. Oh you don't mean old testament, just new? It's too bad people are denied rights because of the old that is filled with barbarism. Oh just the 10 commandments, the first one is directly against the first amendment so we have to throw that out. Thou shall not kill, that's a good one, but it isn't a christian invention. I don't see how having anything written gives you a leg up on anything.
I feel sorry for anyone who needs a book to tell them that lying and cheating is bad. And even more sorry for those whose "comprehensive moral system" includes killing any children who disobey their parents.
Yes, and the bible is filled with lovely "morals".
And if you would care to look there is plenty to read concerning the evolution of altruism and morals.
And many of the atheists have contributed their share of hate just as much as many of the Christians have. And the blame game goes on and on and on. The world would be so much better if he didn't have X. It's soooo boring.
I'm an Atheist and I'm embarrassed my this comment.
This is a pathetic argument. There is nothing more frightening than a moral absolutist whose ideas are based on a made up fairy tale.
We can read. It is obvious that God had no part in writing that book. For that to be true the God that wrote that book would have to be a psychotic delusional self absorbed jerk.
And none of us believe in that B.S.
The bible is like a "Nigerian Email" from the bronze-age.
I can't imagine what trash will next come out of Huckelberry's mouth same time every month ;-)
I have to say, Stephen Prothero did a good job on this one. I find it refreshing to hear a Christian recognize just how crazy and offensive the usual Christian responses are. Thank you for reminding me that not all Christians are the total nutcases who have come to dominate that side on the discussion, that some can be thoughtful, and that some have the courage to look at the excesses of their own side and say "you people are nuts!"
"own side"? Does your side have a groom and a bride? Which side would you like to sit on? Sorry, you're not dressed properly. Don't even think about tryin' to crash the reception, either.
What do you see in this "opinion" that leads to to think this writer is a Christian? I'm not seeing it.
SadC, he's judging. So he thinks he's one.
I agree with SadCitizen. This man is an idiot.
ok. So we know what things you don't want to hear. So tell us, what would YOU say ? You're not exactly the most wise person on earth. Your theological understanding is child-like. You dare to speak on theology but have nothing to show for it. Remember the Pharisees ? All talk; no action. Compare that to Mother Teresa. At least she did something good for thousands of poor & sick.
Learn to be humble. And the explanation may come to you.
Thank you for that humble comment.
Mother Teresa was a sadistic monster who took all the money donated to her and used it to build nunneries instead of using it to help the victims of her sadistic methods. Catholics view suffering as good and this engenders sadistic expression as Mother Teresa showed in treating the suffering with verified and documented malicious neglect to her "patients".
Good riddance to that evil hag. Don't bother ever using her name as a good thing. She was a horrible woman.
Perhaps you should research into what mother Theresa actually did (and did not do), as opposed to her PR spin, before holding her up as an icon.
As an atheist, I don't agree. Theresa made some poor choices along the way, like the whole "keep Charles Keating's stolen money" thing, but she did do more good than most Christians. I'll take her to the Chads and Tophers any day, warts and all.
Huckabee is right
Prothero is an atheist committed to the destruction of the Christian foundation upon which this country was built.
Chad: Huck is right. We should bring back God and guns back into school so that in the future the Children are forced bring AK-47 and pray at least 5 times a day ;-) Right ;-)
Well, it's not like Chad can make a bigger ass of himself than he already has, but at least this comment didn't bring him any closer to being considered sane.
Prothero an atheist committed to the destruction of Christianity: Keep up the psycho talk and you might recruit him to atheism. Christians are the best recruiters for atheism.
You must have to wipe the spittle from the monitor after you go into your religious convulsions and write stuff like that.
Chad excellent news then.. and your point is?
Thankfully, the Christians who laid the foundation of this country, in its Consti.tution, did it in such a way as to make this a secular country, using elements like the No Religious Test clause, the Establishment clause, and the Free Exercise clause.
A. I wasnt aware that we ever forced children to bring AK-47s to school and pray at least 5 times a day? LOL
B. I am well aware atheists agree with Prothero's conviction that the US is far better being modeled after other atheist states such as North Korea, former Soviet Union and China.
However, the vast majority of the citizens of the US disagree, as does the weight of history.
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
@ME II "Thankfully, the Christians who laid the foundation of this country, in its Consti.tution, did it in such a way as to make this a secular country, using elements like the No Religious Test clause, the Establishment clause, and the Free Exercise clause."
=>utter nonsense, as has been shown before, and you are quite aware of.
You are being very dishonest to say that the founding fathers wanted to create a secular nation. You are of course free to try and "make the constitution what ever we want it to be", but you arent free to re-write the intent of the framers.
Chad, Well articulated! Good point!
"utter nonsense, as has been shown before, and you are quite aware of."
The same can be, and probably has been, said to you but it was accurate then.
She likes to pretend that a fair chunk of founders had beliefs other than the ones they did. Even those that were christian weren't practicing a religion many would recognize today. But hey, it's easier to malign and mutilate the founders who aren't here to defend themselves than to deal with the reality.
Oh good grief Chad. There are plenty of secular countries in the world that don't seem to have the same level of violence in their schools. Stop spouting drivel. You can be a christian in the states and I'll fight to protect your rights as I would for any other religion. We should just keep ALL religion to our personal life.
Imagine if we didn't have seperation of church and state and 100 years from now there are more Muslims than Christians, Would yopu be for public prayer in schools if they were praising Allah? Probably not.
Chad said " I am well aware atheists agree with Prothero's conviction that the US is far better being modeled after other atheist states such as North Korea, former Soviet Union and China."
First, Prothero never said that and that is very unlikely to be his "conviction." Second, I have never heard any atheist I know suggest the USA should be modeled after those economically failed experiments.
Our position is simple, there is no god. It is just that theists have such an untenable battle in providing any evidence to the contrary that they have to spin off and look for secondary arguments – like the one you just made.
@ME II "The same can be, and probably has been, said to you but it was accurate then."
what always happens is the exact same
– anti-theist "our founding fathers wanted a secular nation"
– theist "no, that's nonsense. "
– anti-theist "well, none of that matters, it's our constitution anyway, we can make it what ever we want. We dont have to be restricted to the founding fathers intent.
– theist "you are free to try and rewrite the constitution, but you cant rewrite the framers intent
– anti-theist "our founding fathers wanted a secular nation"
utter nonsense. over and over.
@Colin " First, Prothero never said that and that is very unlikely to be his "conviction." "
@Colin " Second, I have never heard any atheist I know suggest the USA should be modeled after those economically failed experiments."
@Chad "ah.. being a bit tricky there eh?
communism/socialism as an economic policy isnt the rallying cry, but exclusion of any mention of God in any public forum certainly is :-)
And that was the precise point I was making. Which of course you knew..
@Colin "Our position is simple, there is no god."
@Chad "really?? can you prove that?
now, remember, "the theist hasnt proved that God exists, so then He doesnt" is just as fallacious as "atheists havent proved that God doesnt exist, so He does".
@Colin "It is just that theists have such an untenable battle in providing any evidence to the contrary that they have to spin off and look for secondary arguments – like the one you just made."
@Chad "nonsense of course..
origin of the universe, fine tuning of the universe, origin of life, empty tomb.
now, please remember, it is only atheists that believe "no it isnt" is a perfectly complete refutation of any point, no one else does.
Chad, just to let you know, most of our founding fathers would not be consider "christian" in todays context. Jefferson reworte the bible and left out all of jesus "miracles" and his "resurrection". Opps.
@Chris "just to let you know, most of our founding fathers would not be consider "christian" in todays context. Jefferson reworte the bible and left out all of jesus "miracles" and his "resurrection". Opps."
=>actually, the vast majority of them would be considered Christians, Jefferson was a notable exception.
Or, you know, it's not.
"[...] The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" –John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli. (One of the founders of this country in case you've forgotten.) People came here to get AWAY from religion. Separation of Church and State DOES exist. It's one thing to have your beliefs, but it's another to completely ignore anything you don't like and make up your own facts and then claim them to be real and then use that to try and justify your BS. Try again.
@anonymouse "[...] The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" –John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli."
@Chad "sigh, again?
ok, so you havent actually read all of it, you just googled "our founding fathers were not Christian" and that's what you got.
so, some free education for you:
A. John Adams was a devout Christian
B. The complete text, demonstrating that the purpose was to show that the US was not a theocracy, NOT that it was a nation that allowed no mention of God by officials in the official pursuit of their jobs.
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims),—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
@anonymouse " People came here to get AWAY from religion"
@Chad "you never took early american history?
actually, freedom of religion was what they came to the US for. What they wanted to get away from was a state mandated religion.
@anonymouse "Separation of Church and State DOES exist"
@chad "separation of church and state, means:
1. no official religion is designated
2. freedom to practice your religion free from govt interference
As to your post of December 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm.
I did not make that argument, that is a stawman.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. != the right to secularize theological ideals.
it's always funny when delusional people misinterpret the establishment clause – because it also means we're guaranteed to have a government free from religious ideals.
@ME II "I did not make that argument, that is a stawman."
@Chad "it works a lot better if you say something like:
"I said X"
"you said I said Y"
"X is not equal to Y"
stating it the way you did, makes it seem like you are saying "I may not have used those words, but that's exactly what I meant"
@the AnViL "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. != the right to secularize theological ideals."
@Chad "well, if by "secularize" you mean "acknowledge the God of Israel by public officials..
you are incorrect.
If by "secularize" you mean "may not create a state religion", then you are correct.
@anvil "it's always funny when delusional people misinterpret the establishment clause – because it also means we're guaranteed to have a government free from religious ideals.
@Chad "er.. no.. The founding fathers wanted a country with freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
Our Const.i.tution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams
[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind. - Benjamin Rush
"The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts." - John Jay, Original Chief-Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court
What the fuck? How exactly do you intend to protect freedom of religion fairly without freedom from religion? Are you that much of a fucking moron?
@hawaii, dont know what you mean by freedom of religion.
the accepted definition of that phrase is "Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion.
as you can see, nowhere in there does it say "to have freedom of religion, it is necessary that any and all govt persons and/or legislation refrain from any and all acknowledgement of, or appeal to the God of Israel"
I think you are thinking of a different thing "State atheism is the official promotion of atheism by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice
Your cult also used its influence to have 'in god we trust' printed on our money. Then guess what they said about that? They use it to 'prove' we are a "Christian Nation". Our founders, however, (unlike those who make money selling untrue religious dogma) made damn sure people like you would not be allowed to force their religious view on the public... not in public squares, not in public schools... so, feel free to teach your dogmatic, hate-filled fundamentalist beliefs to your OWN children... just don't expect anyone to let you bring them into public classrooms. Our founders insisted that we all are free to choose our own religion. Why don't you learn what our founders REALLY said... you won't learn the facts from Huckabee and his Westboro Baptist cousins...
Wow, you really are completely fucking moronic when it comes to this.
This was a good article.
If you're a power grabbin', money grubbin', Socialist livin' off the Masters' dime.
I thought so, too.
Especially for Stephen Prothero.
Good article. lol??? Go away
So that lol??? fully understands. This IS a good article. Now... go away and take your politics with you.
You got all that from an innocuous sentence like "that was a good article"?
Agreed. Once of the best I've read related to the CT school shooting.
A "good" article must come from a "good" person, correct? That is the inference, sssooooooooooo, "Luk 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none [is] good, save one, [that is], God."
but of course this was a good article for you. is your fist up in the air now? is your tongue of steel? o, powerful being that you are! all knowing and all right in all you determine. what a little mouth you have.
The Universally-Formed Multiple Cosmos of the Living Triune Manifestation
We all live amid two chasms of cosmological orders. We have the inner-cosmos and the outer-cosmos. The inner-cosmos is atomically made and is the universal construct of the outer-cosmos. One could not have an outer cosmos without there being an inner cosmos. Both are synonymously of the same natures. It stands to reason the inner-cosmos was made first and the outer-cosmos came into being only after the passive finalization of the inner-cosmos was made near complete. The inner-cosmos is transcendent and fixed while the outer-cosmos is ascendant and malleable in their dualities natures.
The third cosmos is of life itself made from the inner-cosmos living upon the terrestrial planetary faces of the celestial outer-cosmos. This third cosmos is the celled cosmos or the cellular cosmologic orders duly ordained of and by and even for all life forms to be made anywhere cellular life can gain a foothold to evolve and gain in the abundant natures toward the evolution of its structures ever evolving in base pairings. Without the two main Cosmos coming into existence; living cellular cosmologies could not ever exist.
The trinity or threefold nature of chasm cosmologies is being one of the greatest and grandest gestures ever to have been formulated! To say God had nothing to do with such a feat of cosmologic inter-dependencies seems an infallible congruency inconsistent for one to say or think otherwise. To say the nature of God is to keep inflating the physical elements of the outer cosmos while deflating the essence needs for the inner-cosmos leaves one to wonder about the third cosmological construct’s real nature for having been created. Why then is there cellular cosmos of living cosmologies and when did such life become established?
The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism within celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary regularities and solarized objectivism wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.
more drivel ramblings from the belief blog idiot known as LL.
I'm impressed by how much time you must have invested in this world view.
@ lonely lamb, the question your inner / outer cosmo theroy has me pondering is where the hell cosmo-tology comes into play in the grand scale of the celestial outer-cosmos and the third cosmo? And are these cosmos being run by cosmo-politians or cosmo-pllitanism and was the inner / outer / third cosmos prior to cosmology?
"Pro 6:16-19 These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.".....God is about family. I wish dudes like the Proto hero would quit tryin' to worm into the family reunion.
Hmmm... Nothing about being gay in that list. Interesting!
this article is just a proof of his ignorance and pride.
IF the christian god exists – note the emphasis on if – them you all need to come to grips with just how little pain and suffereing in this life matter. Imagine that pain going on for not just a human life, or few thousand years, but all eternity. Also, what difference does pain in this life matter if you are going to receive eternal bliss in the next life?
Anyone who has ever voluntarily been vacinated is willing to accept a moment of pain to aviod a long term illness. If suffering here leads to being in heaven for ever, suffer and shut up about it.
Why do you think a life cut short on this plannet really matters if there is a never ending life after this one?
If you believe in a kingdom of god, that is.
1) If you truly believe that then why continue living? Just stop eating and your pain will soon end.
2) "Imagine that pain going on for not just a human life, or few thousand years, but all eternity"
Infinite punishment for finite crimes seems unethical to me, god or not.
Because according to christian teaching, taking your own life would lead to eternal punishment.
And don't assume i believe. I never said i did.
Early Christians committed suicide in droves until the Catholic Church decided to proclaim it a sin without proof.
There is nothing in the Bible against suicide and in any case most Christians look upon Jesus as a free ticket to anything they feel they can justify using their personal interpretation of what they believe about how Jesus works his "magic".
Sorry, didn't mean to imply you were a believer.
And, although, suicide may be considered a sin, would just not eating be considered suicide? I'm not sure.
There are many comments here saying that a christian god does not exist because if he did he would not allow things this evil to happen. They are using several different logical and philosophical arguements to try to make thier point.
The point I'm trying to make is that if you put this life in proper perspective – from a christian point of view – this insanity does not change anything.
You may as well ask why god allows children die within minutes (or months) of birth. There are a lot more of those.
"You may as well ask why god allows children die within minutes (or months) of birth."
Yes, exactly. However, this recent tragedy highlights the inconsistency of the all-good all-powerful god, whereas people don't normal examine the day to day tragedies, at least not en masse.
If you believe in the Christian god, then you believe that your god runs the worst torture camp imaginable. Such a thing on earth is always seen as the human race at its worst. The American judicial bans such things as being way too cruel and unusual.
In short, god is way more cruel than all but the worst humans. He will torture people forever for the single crime of not telling him he's wonderful. Which humans act that way? It isn't the best people. Horrific torture for not being loyal is a characteristic of the Stalins and the Hitlers.
It's a darn good thing there is no god.
dont forget we will all have our day. so start getting ready to figure out where are you going. Who told you that you deserve to live for ever? human fragilty is the proof of our condition. pay respect to your maker, the God of all creation, the ONe and True Living God. He is listening. do you really care about meaning and purpose? ask Him , humble yourself before Him, and things will change for you. a little bit of humility my friend, all sapient is not for us. what is man?
(except for the 2nd Amendment comment. It makes no distinction on type of weapon, just like the 4th makes no distinction on type of "papers", e.g. film, tape, CDs, etc. However, it is a living docu.ment and subject to change.)
Not a bad essay. Interesting that Prothero can correctly see the logical fallacy in "guns don't kill people, people kill people", and miss the logical fallacy in his own statement a paragraph later: "If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good...".
If the god of your choosing is either not all-powerful or not all-good, then there's no need to cover anything up. Right?
Statistically, my not owning a gun doubles my daughters safety. If I owned a gun it would double her chances of being killed by a gun in her lifetime. Anyone who does not believe this either does not believe in statistics or believes statistics don't apply to them and that 2+2 = orange.
This is because of lack of gun education, if everyone who bought a gun had to take a gun safety class along with a background check, that number would be much lower. If gun safety was taught in school at a young age, even if the kids didn't even know anyone who owned one. Those statistics would likely be the other way around.
Statistics don't "apply" to individuals, they apply to the population stated.
I understand that statistical correlation does not necessarily mean causation.
I have not researched the data, but is it possible that those who buy guns live in areas where violence is more common in general? Cite your source, please.
There is no reason for any civilian to have an assault weapon.
If an insurance company thought like you, it would go out of business very quickly (I'm refering to the academic aspect of your assertion, not the arrogant aspect).
Not sure I'd feel that way if I lived on the Rio Grande these days, or Falcon lake.
That'a my opinion on it; civilians do not need an assault weapon when a plain old pistol or rifle will do for their protection/hunting needs.
If that's arrogant, oh well.
Akira, I was replying to "The Truth"
What? 2 + 2 doesn't equal orange? OMG! 8O
Speaking of insurance, as a person who works in the industry I would like to see required insurance for handguns and assault weapons and a federal registry. If I have to buy auto insurance because I could hurt someone with my car why shouldn't I have gun liability if I hurt someone with my gun? Let the insurance company work out the statistics and premiums and let the free market decide how many assault rifles and high capacity magazine handguns people can afford to hold on to. Right now it's our tax dollars that have to pick up the tab for all the emergency personel and loss of wages and financial damage these weapons help create.
so where do you get your statistics, sounds to me you need to google a little bit more.
Akira, I do not feel people should be allowed to own or consume alcohol, it is responsible for more than twice as many deaths per year as firearms in the united states. For that matter, I don't think people should be allowed to own motor vehicles, they cause 3x as many deaths per year as firearms. In-fact, there are more than 50 million more guns owned in the US than there are vehicles, yet vehicles still kill more than 34,000 people a year.
The differences in our arguments is that US citizens have a right to firearm ownership. We do not however have a right to own a car, or consume alcohol. Further more, my right to own a gun "...shall not be infringed". That includes when someone decides to place an arbitrary name to a gun, like "assault rifle".
The one fact that is always overlooked with such extreme acts of evil is that for every murder committed with a firearm, 2 innocent people are still alive because of their right to own a gun (firearms are twice as likely to be used in self defense than they are to be used in a crime). And of course, there is the fact that people who commit crimes with firearms are ALREADY BANNED from even owning them (95% of gun violence is committed by those who possess them illegally).
We do not have an issue in the United States with law-abiding citizens and their firearms causing harm to others. We have a problem in the US where people who are mentally ill are not prevented from buying firearms, and a small amount of legal firearm owners not properly locking up their weapons.
This tragedy happened because a bad mother did not lockup her guns, especially when someone with a mental illness lived in the home, one that she was trying to have committed at that.
People need to ask themselves what would have happened if there was a police officer present at the school– it's not unreasonable to have each municipality/county/state place a single officer at every school. Most schools already have them.
Entry to a school, especially an elementary school, should not be as simple as breaking a window.
When faced with the truth Prothero screams "la la la" with fingers in its ears.
More like, when faced with the truth from people like Prothero conservatives scream "la la la" with fingers in its ears, or take down their Facebook pages like the NRA has. Cowards!
As always, Stevie' rant is childish and way off the mark
The NRA took down their FB page?
They got shot right in the FaceBook...
lets ban Protesis hero.
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.