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.
god directly drowned countless babies in his great flood. god filled their lungs with water and murdered them. not hard to believe he stood and did nothing at Newtown. the christian god is a monster.
"the christian god is a monster."
the christian god just is'nt. That is the only way any of it makes any sense.
You can't outlaw evil. Bad things happen because of THEIR will, not God's will. The 2nd amendment's purpose is to allow people the right to defend themselves and their property. Sometimes the 2nd anendment is trampled, such as in the case of the school shooting. Sometimes the 1st amendment is trampled, such as in the case of this article.... Which was obviously written by a very stupid person expressing their right to a very stupid free speech
yet god, being all powerful, could make all children bullet proof. why doesn't he? why let one person's 'free will' choice take the life of another? how is that fair? if god is all powerful, he could protect all children. if he was good, he would. one of those two is not true.
god = fail
Brad the Bill of Rights applies only to the actions of the US gov't. This article by definition cannot conflict with the Consti tution. You need to take a Civics class.
How is the 1st amendment being trampled ?
The man who quoted Is. 45:7, is quoting it out of context.
So what is the "correct" context when God says he "does evil"?
do explain the context.
It is always "out of context" when it does not mesh with your belief. Funny how that works.
Evangelical Christian Rule of Thumb:
If a Bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally.
If a Bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical or metaphorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.
I just wanted to let you know that after killing those kids and adults, I repented my sins to Jesus. Than I took my life. And here I am...in heaven! Amazing how that works. Can't wait for all my fellow Christians to join me!
Say hi to the Manson girls and the Son of Sam while you aer in heaven. They repented too.
Don't forget to go up to each of the children and apologize...
I'm sure that will make all their parents back here on earth feel better...
Here's the thing: We get caught up in a debate about how, why, etc. We get caught in the debate as to why God let it happen. I am a firm believer in the existence of God, however, I am also a firm believer in the existence of evil. Remember Lucifer? a.k.a Satan, the devil? He's real people, and events like this drive that fact home. Yes...let's look to God to help us heal, especially the parents of those poor children, but let's also look to God to help conquer Satan.
So what's wrong with evil?. God does it.
you are in a cult. god, satan, jesus - all made up. figures of your imagination. christianity is a cult, like ALL religions. get up off your knees. think for yourself. you can be a good person without god. try it. instead of wasting time on prayer, go outside and put those hands to use helping your brothers and sisters.
and btw, the idea of lucifer is just silly.
"Remember Lucifer? a.k.a Satan, the devil? He's real people, and events like this drive that fact home"
No, it just reinforces an opinion. Don't confuse your opinion with facts
James 1:13 God does not cause our trials.
Job 34:10 God never causes wickedness.
John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19; Matthew 4:1, 8-10 Satan is the ruler of the world.
Ecclesiastes 8:9 Man causes much suffering to man
Ecclesiastes 9:11 Bad things happen to good or bad people at any given time because they are in the wrong place at the
Proverbs 2:21, 22; Psalms 37:8-11 God will put an end to wickedness.
Isaiah 25:8; 1 Cor. 15:21, 26; Hebrews 2:9, 14; Revelation 21:3, 4 God will put an end to death and suffering
god created and causes evil:
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
God does evil. Read the rest of the Bible sometime.
Stephen your knowledge of both the bible and gun topics is very lacking. Let's leave religion out of it and talk guns. No assault rifle was used in this shooting. An assault rifle is a fully automatic rifle. You can not have a class 3 rifle unless you have a special permit. He had a Semi-automatic rifle that is used all across the US as a hunting and target practice rifle. Would you preferred that he used explosives? The worst US school massacre happened in 1927 and they didn't have "assault rifles" back then.
It is about the evil in mens heart. On the same day of the school shooting, 22 kids were stabbed in a Chinese elementary school, by yet another crazy guy. Stop misguiding people and focus on the real problems...
anyone into guns can modify their semi to make it full auto, not hard to do.
the chinese guy attacked 22 children - and all of them lived. much easier to kill with a gun than a knife.
And another off the wall article from the "religion expert" Stephen Prothero. No wonder CNN's ratings are dropping...
Doesn't look like that from the number of responses this article's fetched!
LOL, yeah right. They put the most controversial posts on here to drag up comments. Thus making it look like better than they are. Check CNN's stats verses Fox. Very interesting...
Yeah, While Fox stats are on the rise in US the CNN has reached far and wide. It happens to be the most widely viewed international news network in my country!
But what can I say, with stats showing that 40% of Americans believe in creationism!
Oh, BTW, my network guy doesn't even provide access to Fox unless you pay a special fee. But CNN is a part of the news channels package!
First off. We were talking about God. Atheists go Away. When you are sitting there hoping "please let me get this job" who are you PRAYING to? A tree? If you wanna be a true atheist never do that. Never HOPE. because thats a part of christianity. 2nd obviously no one has ever read the book of Job. Cursing God is the last thing you want to do. Always makes things worse. And along the same lines as hope, have faith. Faith that theres a bigger picture. Not just "God raising a killer" everyone has a purpose. Did you ever think that it was a plan for the parents and families? Maybe they had lost faith and through this they will gain faith some how some way, while the children already had their faith and they were safe. So what if YOU feel as though it wasnt their time to go. But GOD KNEW it was their time. He is the one who controls every single thing on this earth. So why argue with it? All youre doing is digging your own hole when it comes time for judgment. And personally I envy the children. "Having the faith of a child" is hard to do in these times. Them going to heaven should be used as inspiration for us to better ourselves and become righteous in the eyes of God. And how? By having good morals. Not rules like so many people think. If you have good morals and a good soul and faith in God that the right thing has happened then you are golden in the eyes of God.
"Never HOPE. because thats a part of christianity."
And all the world's Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Jews, SIkhs, Jains.... go down the CHAD DRAIN along with atheists, coz guys – HOPE IS A CHRISTIANITY THING!!!
Hope is part of more than Christianity, Chard.
As far as "Atheists go Away", go fvck yourself, you inbred diseased gash.
"All youre doing is digging your own hole when it comes time for judgment"
F you and this supposed judgement
"And personally I envy the children"
If you have a sidearm, or a tall building where you live, you could join them.....go ahead, jeebus is waiting for your silky mouth loving
God KNEW it was their time and decided that having them exist the world in pain and fear would be a good way to go? Your god's a jerk, which is why so many people don't believe in him. Hope is the domain of all people; delusion is obviously the domain of Chad.
Chad is making more claims that he has no basis for.
We are not going to keep our views on god to ourselves until you do the same.
I think Chad has finally lost it. He realizes his moronic arguments aren't getting him anywhere, and has degenerated into utter crazy.
"Them going to heaven should be used as inspiration for us to better ourselves and become righteous in the eyes of God. And how? By having good morals"
Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.
For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.
Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.
It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.
Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.
Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.
"Did you ever think that it was a plan for the parents and families? Maybe they had lost faith and through this they will gain faith some how some way, while the children already had their faith and they were safe."
I don't think that will give much comfort to the parents that know that their children had to watch their friends and classmates die, before they themselves were shot, most of them multiple times. And, I'm pretty sure that if I had believed in your god before this, the minute some jerkwad told me that my child was brutally murdered because of my lack of faith, or my doubts caused their death, they'd have to unwrap my hands from around that person's neck...
If you have good morals and a good soul and faith in God that the right thing has happened then you are golden in the eyes of God
looks like there is another "chad", note that we disagree theologically.. Jesus Christ atoning sacrifice is the only way one gets to spend eternity with the God of Israel.
"The purchase of a handgun is associated with an increased risk for suicide by any method, but when a woman purchases a handgun it is tantamount to stepping before a firing squad" says Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH. Wintemute's study of the impact of firearm purchase on mortality appears in Thursday's issue of TheNew England Journal of Medicine.
"We were astonished to see an almost 40-fold increase in the risk for gun suicide in the first year after [women] buy a gun," Wintemute tells WebMD. "The increase lasted for the 6 years of the study. And a woman's risk of homicide from a gun was doubled, suggesting for me that women who may be under threat or stress from partner abuse are purchasing a gun for self-protection ... but the purchase adds to the threat."
There are times when a persons ease of access to said method of self destruction can in fact increase the odds that they go through with the attempt. This is supprted by every single study that has been done on whether buying a gun increases your risk of dying by one. The fallicy that if a person does not have easy access to a gun would find some other method of suicide is not supported by any of the actual data regardless of whether the NRA and the gun nuts "feel" about it.
God hates facts . . . and so does the NRA.
How can you as thinking people, people who want to be proud of themselves and who they are be willing to let someone else dictate if you own a gun or if you do not. You will loose your choice. Your freedom to decide.
I can not believe thinking American's would so easily forfeit their right to bear arms. These are your own rights you are taking away from yourselves.
The paradox is that the people who are attracted to guns are all too often the people who eally shouldn't have them. I have know a LOT of gun people, and easily half of them had some very disturbing ideas about shooting people. Most who had a gun for self defense were pretty naked in their hope that someone would give them the chance to shoot them.
People do kill other people.
You seem to think that it is a fallacy, yet cannot get past the contradiction of that argument when compared to pencils being responsible for bad grades. It's quickly dismissed by people like you, saying that it's ridiculous to compare it. Gun regulations WILL NOT regulate what law breakers do. It will only LIMIT law abiders.
Again, your mindset will never fix the problem, but rather make it worse while actually thinking you're helping mankind.
Atomic bombs don't kill people, only people who use atomic bombs kill people. Therefore we should all be able to have atomic bombs.
Do you see how ridiculous your slogan is? Now, before you go all NRA on my ass, I do not think that guns should necessarily be banned. I just really want you to realize how your argument is based on logical fallacy, and you should consider abandoning it. The right to own firearms stands on its own merit, and stupid slogans like that are not helping.
OK Alexander, then the same arguement can be applied to the Conservative crusade on the "war on drugs". You aren't going to stop the pusher from doing his thing. In fact, you are going to make it worse.... you are just driving up the price to make it even MORE profitable for him/her. And at the same time, you have spent hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars (if not more) attempting to stop the import and trade of drugs since "the war" was declared 40 years ago, and even MORE to build/jail the users/pushers that you DID catch. You will never stop it.... EVER.
Drug regulations WILL NOT regulate what law breakers do. It will only LIMIT law abiders (i.e. people/users who have no harmful intention other than to use recreationally, with no harm to others). Again, your mindset will never fix the problem, but rather make it worse while actually thinking you're helping mankind.
Man Stabs 22 Children in ChinaBy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 14, 2012
BEIJING (AP) — A man wielding a knife wounded 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes on Friday, the police said.
Duh, knives don't kill people...
"wounded 22 children"
I fail to see your point as it seems you just made mine for me.
"Min Yingjun, 36, slashed an elderly woman before zoning in on the schoolchildren, police said. No deaths have been reported."
I wonder what the outcome might have been if he had an AR-15 or a couple handguns with 20 round clips?
Thank you, Mr. Prothero, for a badly-needed, common-sense perspective from a faith-oriented person. Thank you so much. It is reassuring to know that not all faith-oriented observers and commentators are as ridiculously limited and far off-base in their conclusions as the disconnected and risible Mike Huckabee and his FOX enablers.
i agree, athiests think so very highly of themselves, they are their own Gods, when something good happens they pat themselves on the back, when something bad happens, they blame a God that doesn't exist. They are beyond confused, angry, and sad. All you have to do is read through the majority of the comments by them and see they are not a peaceful and purposeful people.
If there was a God, and he was good, then he would have prevented this– that's what you say. So let's say that happened. God prevented this tragedy– he stopped the guns from firing. Would you a) have recognized that God caused that miracle to happen (NO, you wouldn't), and b) if God did stop every bad thing from happening to good people, what would the world look like? Who would draw the line at what is good or bad- what is sin or not sin? Bad people would be punished and good people would not- they would live forever? Nobody would be sick or die or have unfair things happen to them or their family? hmm...sounds alot like what God intended for us...before the fall of mankind and our own selfish sinful desires got in the way. I mean really- you are basing your opinion on whether or not God exists on the fact that bad things happen in a sinful and disgusting world???
"i agree, athiests think so very highly of themselves"
As we should/
"they are their own Gods"
No we don't believe in Gods, remember?
"when something good happens they pat themselves on the back"
Of course, what are we susposed to do?
" when something bad happens, they blame a God that doesn't exist."
No we don't. We laugh at people like you who try to make up excuses why your God allows bad things to happen
"They are beyond confused, angry, and sad."
Everybody is at somepoint in their lives. Atheists are no different.
"All you have to do is read through the majority of the comments by them and see they are not a peaceful and purposeful people. "
You are stupid.
You sure have some issues.
"Would you a) have recognized that God caused that miracle to happen (NO, you wouldn't), and b) if God did stop every bad thing from happening to good people, what would the world look like? Who would draw the line at what is good or bad- what is sin or not sin? Bad people would be punished and good people would not- they would live forever? Nobody would be sick or die or have unfair things happen to them or their family?"
a. If there was a god and miracles did happen, why wouldn't everyone accept them? But they don't!!!
b. So, you want the world to look bad and good both? WHo would draw the line? Well, apparently, if god did exist, god would draw the line. But he doesn't. So every society over the ages has drawn the line based on its cultural perceptions of that time, place and era. Sacrificing humans was okay in one era, it is not now. Sacrificing animals is okay in some cultures, not in others.
c. Why would bad people live forever if there really was a god? Well, actually, why would there be any bad people? Does god not have it in his powers to convert the heart of everyone to goodness? Or has he no control over his creation?
d. How is it okay for unfair things to happen to someone if there was a omnibenevolent god? The fact that unfair things happen is reason enough to question if there is a god in the first place.
"when something bad happens, they blame a God that doesn't "
Present just one example of this.
I don't know a single atheist who blames god for anything.
See, an atheist doesn't believe that god exists. How do you blame something that doesn't exist for something real that happened.
Yawn. Sin sin sin, blah blah blah.
"i agree, thiests think so very highly of themselves, they think they have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, when something good happens they pat their god on the back, when something bad happens, they blame mankind for a decision that was made thousands of years ago in their dogma for all the problems today. They are beyond confused, angry, and sad. All you have to do is read through the majority of religious books by them and see they are not a peaceful and purposeful people."
"i agree, athiests think so very highly of themselves, they are their own Gods, when something good happens they pat themselves on the back, when something bad happens, they blame a God that doesn't exist."
>Wow! I don't blame your god or any god for that matter. I simply reject the notion that your god or an other god is real. So when something good happens I give cvredit where credit is rightfully do...to the human's involved.
They are beyond confused, angry, and sad. All you have to do is read through the majority of the comments by them and see they are not a peaceful and purposeful people.
>We are not sitting here threatening people with eternal torture for not believing as we do...that would be the angry christians who believe that they know it all and yet only have one book to get their answers from. Science is questions that may never be answered, Religion is answers that may never be questioned. I'm not angry, since growing up and leaving religion in my past I am a much happier person...I no longer have a scapegoat and I value life a hell of a lot more now then I did as a believer. I treat my planet now; I am much more at peace.
If there was a God, and he was good, then he would have prevented this– that's what you say.
>Where are you getting that from? You are the ones blaming us because you think we are responsible for your version of god not being in schools (which of course you're wrong about...the only thing prohibited is school official lead prayer-it's called equality for all-a concept that you appear to have a hard time grasping...kids can still read their bible and pray-that's their freedom of religion)
So let's say that happened. God prevented this tragedy– he stopped the guns from firing. Would you a) have recognized that God caused that miracle to happen (NO, you wouldn't),
and b) if God did stop every bad thing from happening to good people, what would the world look like?
>Once again we reject your god due to lack of evidence. So asking those questions to someone who doesn't believe is rather moronic.
Who would draw the line at what is good or bad- what is sin or not sin?
>We don't require a book to tell us not to kill...what would you do if you didn't have that book guiding you? Would you be randomly killing? The kid that killed those innocent children was catholic...75% of prisoners in the USA are christian, less than 1% are atheists.
Bad people would be punished and good people would not- they would live forever? Nobody would be sick or die or have unfair things happen to them or their family? hmm...sounds alot like what God intended for us...before the fall of mankind and our own selfish sinful desires got in the way. I mean really- you are basing your opinion on whether or not God exists on the fact that bad things happen in a sinful and disgusting world???
>We are basing our opinion on whether or not your god or any god exists due to lack of evidence. I'm not certain why that is so hard for you to understand? How are you certain you are right? How are you so certain that you have the right god?
One who considers themselves God would be an "autotheist", not an atheist.
It is proper for humanity to pat itself on the back (as you put it) for our positive achievements. It has been a long journey from nomadic tribalism to modern society. We are so spoiled now, most of us cannot survive the travails our ancestors endured as a matter of course.
Morality and ethics do not come exclusively from Divine Mandates. We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
Religion binds communities by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
Take a look at Ja.pan for an example of a successful, ethical, secular society. Their people rate themselves happier than most others in the world, their educational system is exemplary, their rate of violent crime a fraction of the Western World's – all without God.
Moral relativism is a truism. Most of the children born in a 1st world, 21st century society understand this fact thanks to exposure to different opinions and cultures via the internet's gift of instant, global communication.
You're very wrong there little girl. Atheists don't blame any gods when things go wrong. Only idiots thank a god when something goes right or wrong. Perhaps you should look up the definition of atheist.
"if God did stop every bad thing from happening to good people, what would the world look like? Who would draw the line at what is good or bad- what is sin or not sin?"
That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Do you work for Fox news?
WOW.........there you have people another great theological mind at work......unbelievable just unbelievable.
every 20 seconds a child dies because they do not have access to vacines. every 10 seconds a child dies with the horrific symptoms of malnutrition,hunger. I AM A REALIST. I SEE WHAT IS REAL,NOT IMAGINARY, AND WHAT I DO SEE IS YOU WORSHIPING A SERIAL KILLER OF CHILDREN. YOUR GOD IS A MYTH.
emily: atheists think highly of themselves? unlike those folks who are certain that the creator of the universe loves them and desired a eternal personal relationship with them?
as far as atheists blaming god, NO ONE (including you) can have any feelings toward beings in which they do not believe. is that a bit too logical for you?
In response to the other religions going down the drain. Buddhism and other religions are all based off the same thing. Remember the part in the bible where they were building the temple and God made everyone speak in different tongues and sent to different parts of the world? Those religions are all based from God just different interpretations of our Lord. And also its a sin to be religious to begin with. Religion is all propoganda and thiss and thats. Thats why I call myself a christian. A real christian. It means I follow Christ. The way Jesus and God meant for it to be. Nowadays people call themselves christians because they go to church but they dont practice what is preached. These are fans of Christ. Not followers of Christ. And if any of you have ever actually read the bible you wouldnt have argued with my statements.
You believe that all the religions in the world are simply offshoots of the Abrahamics becuase of the story of Babel?
What of animistic religions like Shintoism or the totemic beliefs of many tribes of indiginous Americans? What of polytheistic religions like Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse etc?
What of those cultures like the Inca and Aztec whose highly sophisticated theologies were eradicated along with the cultures when Christian Conquistadores came a-plundering their gold?
Many, if not all, of these religions pre-date the Abrahamics significantly.
wow– i am a convert now! i think you guys sound so smart- so much smarter than God himself- I want to be just like you! if i was comforting someone who lost a child, I'd just have to say "i'm sorry, that sucks. too bad you'll never see them again and their souls went nowhere (if we athiests believe in souls).
-if you are all so smart, (and i'm a little girl- haha), then please, answer this question.
*where did everything in the world come from? before there was the big bang, or whatever we athiests believe in– how did we come from nothing? all that matter and energy together– where did the matter and energy come from? i would love to hear one person be able to explain something supernatural in scientific terms. what started the beginning to start the beginning?
one day you will all answer to God. wait until you lose a child or sit on your deathbed- you may start to think about things differently, or atleast hope for things. i really feel sorry for you to have to live this way- all caught up in yourself. but i have to admit, some of you don't seem sad and angry. some of you seem like those annoying professors that think they are so well-read and so well-spoken they have to be right.
Many things are unknown, but nothing is ultimately unknowable.
Awe and wonder is the proper response to the grandeur of existense – but to dismiss the universe's grand complexity by saying "Godiddit – case closed" is nothing short of intellectual apathy.
It is a problem of infinite regress – who or what created God and who or what created that Creator, ad infinitum
Why is it OK to say that God has always existed, but it is not OK to say that the Universe has always existed?
"I don't know" is the beginning of wisdom. Supernatural explanations don't really explain everything.
doc- i can understand someone being agnostic and not truly knowing, for even as a christian we are taking a leap of faith to believe in that which we cannot always see. i cannot understand someone being an athiest and not having an answer for the biggest question of all (not how did we get from this to that), but how on earth did we get the beginning to create the beginning? something supernatural is needed to create all the natural. nothing comes from nothing. the reason we are at peace with this is because we believe in the supernatural God. you believe we are a bunch of atoms thrown together. we are the most intelligent life form, yet we are supposed to believe we cannot create life with our own two hands and huge and complex brains, yet a bunch of natural laws without brains formed life on their own...randomly..without purpose...i can see how you can buy into science once creation is made, but how you can buy into the awe and wonder of it before the fact, knowing full well nothing comes from nothing, is beyond me.
And I'm not a little girl and I resent that comment.
I am a 54 year old mother who lost a child years ago. I cannot fathom how I would have made it through without God's comfort and reassurance that the soul of my child is safe and one day I will be reunited with her.
I understand some of what the author is saying. I do think there is a time for shock, grief, and anger, and talk of heaven etc made by well-meaning christians can seem out of place. For however long it takes, hugs, crying, and "why?" is going to be all you want and need and that's okay in my book. But the worst part is when people say nothing at all, rather than the wrong thing. When they avoid comforting out of fear of saying something cliche.
I don't see christians coming in droves to put down the athiest point of view when something great happens. "See! Look how great this is– God is behind this great thing– you're all so stupid!" or even when something bad happens. So why do you come out of the woodwork screaming at the top of your lungs "See, God doesn't exist! Stop trying to comfort, speaking of heaven, making light of this terrible thing!" Why not just be quiet and let the people who believe in God do their thing? Deal and heal in their way, make sense of things in their way? Instead there is just so much anger thrown about.
Especially when I see so much sarcasm and distasteful remarks, it really makes me all that much more proud to be a follower of Christ and have standards other than my own. And the countries/cultures have changed their moral standards throughout time, but the Bible has remained the same. Since the NT and Christ, we know what is right and wrong and we know why. We see so many that do not believe, do not embrace God in their homes, and because of that we see more and more secularism that is running rampant in sin. I don't care if you all trash me, tell me I'm stupid, etc. I know where my child is and I know where I am going and when I am persecuted that means I am on the right track.
I hope I'm at least allowed to lay down in my deathbed, and not just sit there...I'm pretty sure I'm going to be tired from all the living I've done.
“Many things are unknown, but nothing is ultimately unknowable.”
=>that statement carries a lot of assumptions in order to ring true. Such as direction in time etc. We have no idea what exists or does not exist outside the limits of current boundaries of knowledge or the limitations of human capacity.
“ to dismiss the universe's grand complexity by saying "Godiddit “
=>I am not aware of one Christian scientist that would dismiss or limit their thirst for knowledge on the basis God did it. Contrary to the atheist sound bite that advancement in science reduces the need for God or causation the last 100 years has shown the opposite. The more we learn about our position in existence the greater the probability random events did not have sufficient time or dimension to allow life as we know it. Based on fine tuning alone there is today more evidence for fine tuning then when the supreme court removed intelligent design from the classroom.
“ a problem of infinite regress”
This is not a problem for God or the Word of God which opens with “In the beginning God”. Mankind with all her intelligence has yet to move beyond that point in 3,400 years. The Bible opens with a statement that defines the limit of mans knowable first cause. Non believers are happy to toss that into the unknown but knowable basket yet they have no proof or evidence whatsoever that is knowable.
“Why is it OK to say that God has always existed, but it is not OK to say that the Universe has always existed?”
=>simply because we know baryonic matter is composed of that which was formed from other known or unknown matter. God is not of baryonic matter which is evidenced by the inability to define or express God in terms of any and all matter known or unknown to man. God cannot be proven or disproven by use of tools or senses that are limited to man. God (or the unknown cause) must exist outside our known dimensions of space, time, length, width and depth in order for the theory of relativity to hold true.
"I don't know" is the beginning of wisdom”
=>according to Solomon( the wisest and richest man known) wisdom begins with the fear of God. I don’t know is the beginning of knowledge.
“Supernatural explanations don't really explain everything.”
=>Is it necessary that we all become indoctrinated into naturalism. Would you consider Stephen Hawkings M theory a supernatural explanation of spontaneous creation? Naturalism is limited to the known which you claim has no limit thus you have declared it a false belief.
What's hilarious is that all of freds arguments are arguments from ignorance, and defining god ina way that is unfalsiable, untestable, and completely dependent on unjustified assertions. Completely worthless.
hawaiiguest– i've found the athiests have a lot of sarcastic and dismissive one-liners, but not a lot of substance. why don't you negate what fred said, point by point? go ahead, i'd love to hear it!
“defining god ina way that is unfalsiable, untestable, and completely dependent on unjustified assertions”
=>If I defined God in a way that was falsifiable, testable and completely dependent on justified assertions that would be a man made god. This is what man has done for all recorded history (create gods with physical matter with known physical properties). In case you have not noticed this is why I believe God is unique to all the other gods and god myths.
God cannot be known or knowable by man. God is revealed to man according to Gods grace and mercy by faith. God is revealed trough creation, God is revealed through the Bible, in Christ we see the full radiance of the Glory of God and through the Holy Spirit the truth of God is made known.
Hawaiiguest, you are not the first to demand proof as even the Sanhedrin demanded proof from Jesus and he said none will be given but the sign of Jonah. What was the sign of Jonah? What was it that turned Nineveh from a godless country back to God? You cannot understand the sign of Jonah through knowledge or reason because it requires the ability to see a gift from God in order to receive
fred: "Based on fine tuning alone there is today more evidence for fine tuning . ."
Back this up, fred. What evidence?
fred: "God is not of baryonic matter which is evidenced by the inability to define or express God in terms of any and all matter known or unknown to man."
The picture that ancient man painted of his god (including assertions of what is there that cannot be detected via our senses) is not evidence that if some higher being existed or exists, that we know anything about what it is composed of. There is no way that ancient folklore can be good evidence. Even it your assertion is true, it would still not be good evidence. Of course if you have something else that's better that might be good evidence to ancient fable, well that's another story. Oh, but I see, outside the ancient writings, you actually have nothing – in other words no credible evidence.
Still up to the same old stories I see, fred.
I don't even need to. Fred has admitted that his own argument is not logically sound, and predicated on a premise that is not, and cannot be demonstrated to be true or valid. Everything after that is merely assertions with absolutely no foundation.
And I will say once again, confirmation bias, you haz it.
If your god is defined as unfalsifiable, then by definition there is no evidence. If this supposed being requires you to already believe before you can understand anything in his supposed "perfect word", then he just plays favorites and is a douche. If your only argument is once again "look around, my definition if complexity=my definition of design=my specific concept of god", then you're as worthless as the day you first posted that crap.
If you find my manner of speech condescending, please know that is not my intent.
I try to keep my postings brief and clear (often failing), but free of any kind of personal attack. You seem to be operating with all shields on full, anticipating ad-hominem attacks from the atheists who populate this comment board – but I am not attacking you.
Your faith has given you the strength to persist despite a loss I cannot comprehend. I can truly say that I don't know what I would feel, let alone do, were I to lose my daughter.
The truth of the matter is that there is no rational answer to an emotional argument – and there is no emotion more potent than faith.
For whatever it is worth, I am not a follower of Christ as such, but I am a believer in His message. Belief in the supernatural is not required to live a life of compassion, charity and humility.
We meet again, sir!
It is rare that anyone bothers to engage in thoughtful debate around here. Thanks.
My statement that nothing is unknowable is a personal conceit – my own article of atheistic faith, if you will. I believe that it is all in how people react to their personal "I don't know" epiphanies. I have faith in the potential of the application of the scientific method. I believe that there always has been and always will be intelligent, methodical people who will add to our species' shared pool of knowledge even though the results of their experimentation may wield no fruit for generations to come. The "current boundaries of knowledge" will expand, just as they always has. Look at how prodigiously our understanding of the universe has grown in the last two hundred years! And knowledge growth is exponential.
As for the problem of infinite regress – I don't see how you've addressed it. You begin with the conceit that the Bible is correct, then go on to say that there is no evidence either way, ergo it is unknown.
Your reference to "baryonic matter" is what us Trekkies refer to as "techno-babble". Once again, we come back to the argument from ignorance – "we don't really know, therefore God".
I will grant than wisdom and knowledge are separate things.
But I will not concede that fear is the beginning of wisdom. In the words of Dr. Graffin "ignorance is the root of fear and fear is the kindling of anger".
I've no opinion about M theory as I am not a pysicist. While I've a copy of "A Brief History of Time" in my household library, I haven't the mathematical mindset to comprehend advanced theoretical physics.
I do believe that Naturalism is a useful mindset. It is indeed "limited" to the known universe, but that which is known continues to expand at an exponential rate. Quantum mechanics were unknown until recently, for example. All of science is predicated on the practical applications of prior art. For every answer that is discovered, a thousand more questions open up. For me, that is the beauty of humanity's eternal quest for knowledge.
In the last 20 years science has discovered another 180 minimum requirements for intelligent life to have formed on earth bringing the total to 720. These are small things like carbon, not just any carbon but a specific form of carbon. The more we discover about our universe the less likely we could be here by accident. Fine tuning is but one of those remarkable discoveries. The latest being Dark energy. I hate to give away my favorite “God did it” site but it is Biologos. They also have a good summary that has a host of support for my fine tuning statement. Better yet these guys are good at communicating stuff I barely understand.
Here it is: “http://biologos.org/questions/fine-tuning”
Interesting how your view of the growth of knowledge resembles a stately tree. It was a tree in Genesis that drew mans attention and the deception was the fruit will give you wisdom. One discovery leads to another and the branches divide and sprout new disciplines of scientific endeavor. The boundaries of knowledge are at the tips of the canopy. The unknown continues to exist outside each known and due to the expansion of the known at exponential rates the immensity of the unknown is overwhelming and growing. Recent discoveries of Dark energy and Dark matter point to a strength and power in the unknown that is unimaginable. The unknown is taking on the attributes of God that drove Moses to his knees.
And there are freds Arguments from ignorance, and throwing out things we really don't know much about in an attempt to prove his god. Useless. Completely useless. Looks like he followed the exact model I laid out for his worthless argument.
The slogan about Guns don't kill people, People kill people still stands true... Guns are used by the VAST majority of people for the intended purpose for which they were aquired. Guess what guy? Knives can kill to. They also dish butter. same thing. Your going to hear it. this isn't a fight against guns. It is a fight against keeping them away from schools, out of the hands of people who have no business being anywhere near a firearm. To say that the slogan is a load of bull is very narrow-minded.
Nuclear bombs don't kill people, people kill people. Does that mean we should allow everyone to have personal nuclear weaponry? The power and ease of use of a weapon is one predictor of how often it will be used, how successful it will be, and how many it will kill. Comparing high powered weaponry to a butter knife is as stupid as comparing a tank to a nuclear bomb. These things *do* make a difference. And not I'm not saying that all guns should be outlawed, but to stick your fingers in your ears and continue to quote idiotic comparisons isn't going to help the conversation and just makes you look like an ass.
Here is the major point you are missing Tyler. There would not be 20 children being burried this week if this attacker was only wielding a knife. Might he have attacked and killed a few people with a knife? Yes, thats possible, but not such mass carnage as we see with weapons of war. You can kill a person with a rocket propelled grenade just like a knife, but rocket launchers are illegal and there aren't any crazy kid's able to go to their parents closet and whip out a missle. Just use common sense and this issue is no longer an issue. Weapons of war should not be made easily available to anyone over 21 without a felony record, it's just not sane. Law enforcement can deal with the knife wielders or even the low capaity magazines and non-armor peircing bullets. Will making common sense gun safety laws prevent any further atrocities? No, of course not, but it may limit the frequency if it is far more difficult to get your hands on such weapons of mass destruction.
I hope "proper" funerals bring the Sandy Hook families comfort, but there's no eternal reward waiting for those poor kids.
I find comfort in knowing there was no sad faced God standing in the corner watching as these children were gunned down. No all powerful deity turning his back as the first shots were fired, no sadistic creator watching with hands stretched out but powerless to stop another atrocity, no spirit in the sky waiting for the wailing parents to send their prayers skyward.
Why shouldn't a pastor have the answers to this type of issue? All the issues are solved in the book of Job, thousands of years ago. Non-bible believers don't get to have a reason or solution.
Job is one of the most patently ridiculous myths in the bible.
Bcoz there are several books written thousands and thousands of years before even the nook of Jobs, and they have several answers too. But what was culturally relevant to the society then, is irrelevant now (for instance human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, slavery etc...).
If pastors had all the answers, the first thing they should have been able to fix is their own churches!
Job proves God to be sick and evil. The Devil tricks him into torturing his faithful follower, and god happily kills Job's large family, impoverishes him, and covers him in painful boils. All to prove to the Devil that his follower won't bad-mouth him.
God is easily manipulated and rather stupid in the Job story, as well as cruel, capricious, insensitive, cavalier, egotistical, and just plain evil. The Job story proves God to be absolutely unworthy of worship.
And what about free will? God is violating his free will by intervening. If he can trash is best follower, then why can't he stop the Lanzas of the world?
It's a darn good thing that there is no God, for the God of the Job story does not love and does not care. He's evil. Very good thing that monster doesn't exist.
Why do you worship such a sick fuck?
.....or.....perhaps non-believers are seeking realistic solutions which require rational answers to obvious questions......just a thought.
I agree, religious pastors should get a real Job.
"All the issues are solved in the book of Job,"
...Could it be.....SATAN?!?!?!?!
"All the issues are solved" – and this is the solution working?
Surely, you don't actually believe what you're saying. You're having us on, right? You just posted this to see what the reaction would be, right?
Will: non-believers don't get to have a reason? kiss our collective a$$es, willie boy
“The Devil tricks him into torturing his faithful follower”
=>sorry but Satan (evil) is present in this world and seeks to destroy both the body and soul. God sees and knows all including the fact Job regardless of what the World, Satan and the flesh throw at him will hold onto his love of God.
“God is easily manipulated and rather stupid in the Job story”
=>no, God knew the ending Satan did not. Satan is limited/restrained by God.
“The Job story proves God to be absolutely unworthy of worship.”
=>so, tell me how is it Job loved and worshiped God for all eternity? Are you writing your own story?
“And what about free will? God is violating his free will by intervening”
=>this is where atheists go off track thinking free will is without limits. Even atheists have limits put on their free will much like Satan is limited. What happened to you did you sit in Dawkins lap when you read Job? I suggest you search for your own free will and try reading it with an open and honest mind.
Job had all the free will needed to reject God. Jobs wife told him to curse God and die yet Job chose to focus on his love for God during the worst of his trials.
“If he can trash is best follower, then why can't he stop the Lanzas of the world?”
=>you miss the part in Job where everyone around Job questioned his faith in God given what has happened. Our existence and purpose is not about the physical (which is the knowledge atheists limit themselves to) it is about the soul which is eternal. That eternal soul experiences the physical for a very short period of time (not even a blip on the radar of an eternal perspective). It is our response that elicits the true nature of our heart and reveals those who belong with God.
Did you fail to notice there were but two choices? Satan or God, it was not God that is tricked it is you.
spin spin spiin spiiiiiinnnnnn
It's like a freaking tilt-a-whirl.
That last comment cracked me UP!
I read the first amendment and I see no mention of anything other than printing presses, I guess freedom of speech doesn't extend to the internet or any other venue then. Before you get all bent out of shape about logically fallacies you may want to remove the illogical parts of your argument first.
Also congratulation on perpetuation an incorrect use of the term "assault rifle". If the gun was obtained legally by the mother then there is extremely limited chance according to CT statute that it qualifies as an assault weapon according to our, CT's, very own assault weapon ban. Please know the facts before trying to write about them like you do.
This is why we allow a body of higly trained specialists called the Supreme Court to determine the meaning of the Constitution and the extent of laws, and not just any yahoo like you.
Assualt Weapon – A weapon designed to "assault" humans
Hunting Weapon – A weapon used to hunt animals other than humans.
Hunting weapons are and should remain legal.
Assault weapons and any weapon of war should be limited to our military. The conservatives like to say they support the troops but for some reason many think they need to be as armed as the army as if the US military and our son's and daughters would ever turn their weapons on us. It's shameful. Leave weapons of war in the hands of those we have entrusted with our protection, keep them out of the hands or ignorant hot heads and moronic secessionist's.
I absolutely agree 100%.
No one has said where the Bushmaster was purchased. She could have very easily bought it before they moved to CT and brought it with her...she could have bought it in a neighboring state. No one has stepped forward with the information, the only person who has commented, is the local gun shop owner, and he insists that she never bought any guns from him.
The Truth" as if the US military and our son's and daughters would ever turn their weapons on us."
Ever hear of Kent State (collage) and national guardsmen slaughtering 4 unarmed students?
Ah, but the NRA was in favor of those kids being killed. And if the radicals had taken up arms and fought back, the right would have freaked out.
Guns against the government was not the answer at Kent State. It was the Confederacy's answer, but it failed them badly.
Your gun won't defend you against the government. I hear all sorts of dingbat conservatives say things like that, but it's easy to talk big when there is no possibility that you would ever actually have to do it. And remember: it's the McVeighs who actually DID do it. Not exactly role models.
Satire is apparently lost on some of us.
Lets consider for a moment the fact that CT state police and every news agency has stated the gun was legally acquired and registered to the mother. Therefore it is very unlikely to be an assault weapon by CT statute because it is illegal to purchase an assault weapon in CT and one cannot be bought willy nilly from any gun shop. If the firearm was purchased out of state, and met the statutory requirements to be defined as an assault weapon in CT then it would be an illegal firearm according to CT's assault weapons ban. Yet again considering that all reports have said the gun was legally owned, acquired by, and registered to the mother then the likely hood of it being an assault weapons drops lower. But hey I will agree with you on one thing here, I haven't seen a picture of the actual rifle used, nor have details about purchase, registration date, model, etc come out. So it may very well be that it turns out to be an assault rifle by CT statute, but the current information and laws indicate that likelihood is NEAR ZERO.
An AR-15 is not a military rifle, is generally speaking functionally different from a military rifle, and can be manufactured in complete compliance with CT's laws. That makes it impossible to meet the CT statutory definition of assault weapon and passes your definition as well (The Truth).
"national guardsmen slaughtering 4 unarmed students?"
My obvious point was not that anyone who is in the army or ever been in the military won't ever become violent murderers, but that the military as a whole should not be viewed as the enemy that some feel they need to arm themselves against. It's insane and if you are sitting there holding your AR-15 thinking over and over in your head "From my cold dead hands, from my cold dead hands, from my cold dead hands..." you need to get some mental help.
@Matt – I have fired my friends AR-15 at a gun range and yes, it's true that it can be manufactured in compliance with current laws. But you know as well as I do that it was not designed for hunting animals, it was designed to hunt humans and was modified to hunt animals.
That kind of sophistry will get all semi-automatic weapons banned.
"That kind of sophistry will get all semi-automatic weapons banned."
So Auntie, how many bullets per second should we be able to fire? With a semi-automatic rifle you can fire at a rate of 45 rounds a minute with fully automatic rifles in 3 shot bursts clocking in at around 90 rounds a minute. How many are needed to take down a deer or a wild boar? How many are really needed to protect yourself from a burglar? That is the discussion we should be having, not whether or not the "gubmint" is coming for our guns. As long as you can legally own a rifle that can fire at least one bullet we are upholding the 2nd amendment, anything beyond that is up for reasonable debate, including the need for any semi-automatic guns.
@4 dead in Ohio,
Kent State? Really? You think that's the worst thing armed agents of the US government ever did against US citizens.
Let's start a list or armed opposition (as opposed to unarmed college students) to the "tyranny" of the US government and what happened to them shall we?
– the Whiskey Rebellion (1794) – a rebellion put down by the army and personally led by none other than George Washington himself.
– the John Brown raid at Harpers Ferry (1859)
– the Confederate States of America (1861 – 1865)
– the Bonus Army (1932)
– the Branch Davidians (1993)
Every time anyone asserts their Jeffersonian interpretation that the 'tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots' under the 2nd amendment they get killed.
The notion that the 2nd amendment protects you from a tyrannical government is pure delusion.
The second amendment is moot. Repeal it!
Pragmatically that won't happen. The next best step is to ban semi-automatic weapons (whose sole purpose is the killing of humans and have no sporting purpose) and to inst!tute a national background check for ALL gun sales, commercial and private, with severe penalties for any sale of a weapon that does not follow the procedure where the weapon causes a homicide.
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