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Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion.

Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.

On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.

“Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”

The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s presidential campaign.

It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

O’Reilly, in turn, called Silverman a fascist.

Despite Silverman’s knack for making headlines, however, other prominent atheists are putting a softer face on the movement, including during Christmastime.

“I just think the whole war on Christmas story is bizarre” said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, who has emerged as another spokesman for the burgeoning atheist movement. “I think that any atheist or humanist that is participating in that story needs to find better things to do with their time.”

From his point of view, atheism and religion can happily coexist, including at the holidays.

At the chaplaincy, Epstein has reached out to local religious groups, packaging holiday meals and breaking bread with believers to discuss their similarities and differences.

Sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, along with a number of atheists, were among those represented at a recent meal packaging event for hungry kids in the Boston area. Around 250 people participated and over $10,000 was raised – including donations from local Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Epstein calls this sort of inter-religious dialogue “healthy.”

“We as a community need to be about the positive and we have so much positive to offer,” he said. “I think that we really can provide a positive alternative to religious holidays that are not meaningful because of their religious content.”
Silverman, for his part, is more than comfortable being negative when it comes to religion.

“We should look at the results - people are listening to us because we are shouting,” he said. “They don’t hear you unless you shout. … Sometimes you have to put political correctness aside. We need to get louder. I believe we are seeing the fruits of that volume.”

As proof, American Atheists points to the way their donations skyrocket after every billboard campaign. “We get donations and memberships because we are taking the stand that we do,” said Silverman, who would not give specific numbers on fundraising. “The donations are flowing in right now. People are loving it specifically because of the billboard.”

Epstein would rather see more emphasis on volunteerism, though he acknowledges that some atheists are drawn to Silverman’s vocal model. Both men said they appeal to different parts of the atheist movement.

“We are GOP and Dem, man and women, black and white – the only thing that holds us together is atheism,” Silverman said. “A movement like ours needs all sides. It needs people who are working to be conciliatory and it needs people who are willing to raise their voices.”

Religious “nones” – a combination of atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated, have been growing their ranks in recent years. According to a Pew Research study released this year, the fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all as one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The survey found that the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated.

Though not monolithic, younger atheists, according to Jesse Galef, communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, are more prone to celebrate a secular version of Christmas than to ignore the holiday.

“I am very much in favor of celebrating the secular Christmas,” Galef said. “It is a celebration of the spirit of giving and I think religious divisiveness goes against that effort.”

Other atheists celebrate Festivus, a December 23 holiday meant for atheists looking to celebrate during the winter without participating in a Christian holiday. The holiday, which entered into popular culture through the television show “Seinfeld” in 1997, has gained popularity in recent years.

At the Secular Student Alliance office in Columbus, Ohio, the staff will play Secret Sagan, a nod to the famed scientist, instead of Secret Santa. And instead of Christmas decorations, they put up a Winter Solstice Tree with ornaments from the movie “When the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We celebrate the holiday season, just not the religious holiday,” Galef said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas

soundoff (4,367 Responses)
  1. clubschadenfreude

    A rift between atheists? Whodathunk! Yes, Virginia, atheists don't all agree on how to deal with theists attempting to force their religion on others. Some hope that the theists will just go away, or think that "someday" the theists will finally realize what they are doing and get a clue. We had the same kind of people sure that white people would either just give up segregation or finally come to their sense in their own time. However, we'd still be waiting for civil rights if everyone had listened to them.

    Christians are welcome to celebrate their holiday. You can have as many nativities as you want at your houses and churches. You can tune into the hundreds of religious radio stations and the dozens of religious television stations. But your rights end where mine begin. IN fact, I like to see you using decorated trees, the wrong date for the birth, making up the number of "kings" visiting the child and telling the nonsense of the "massacare of the innocents" which no one notices when it was supposedly happening. It shows that your religion is totally made up.

    You do not have the right to declare that you own the month of December and that only your religion is on the public square. Even in the history of the US, Christians did not agree that celebrating Christmas was even Christian; the Puritans forbidding it.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Gripe, gripe, gripe. And YOU wanna fix things. Here come prohibition, AGAIN. Tell the little ladies to hold their tongues. Puuullleazzze.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  2. Sid Airfoil

    "Unaffiliated" is NOT the same as "atheist". I wish they would flesh these survey questions out a bit more. How many people are actual atheists? I can"t tell from this article.

    On another topic, I find that the best way to talk to believers is to CALMLY point out how their own beliefs contradict themselves, and contradict the beliefs of all other religions. If you can get a believer to see the contradictions, they will argue with themselves, saving you the time and effort. If you plant the seed, it may grow into real doubt. And if the believer is NOT open to acknowledging any flaw in their system, then you're wasting your time trying at all. This approach works well on people who are basically rational, but who were raised into a faith.

    Sid

    December 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      ""Unaffiliated" is NOT the same as "atheist". I wish they would flesh these survey questions out a bit more. How many people are actual atheists? I can"t tell from this article."
      The survey questions are fleshed out more. I will agree that quoting the 1 in 5 number is lazy and misleading. People use it because it sounds more impactful than 1 in 17.

      They have been covered many times here. It's not very hard to look it up.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  3. cm

    Secret Sagan - please...almost as bad as bowing to Jobs. They were smart and developed technology, but can anyone here actually say that they were 'good' people or selfless individuals? Atheists egos need to calm down and be watched not humored and pay heed to.

    December 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what are you babbling about?

      December 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  4. The Truth

    Merry Mythmas Everyone!!

    December 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Keep the "Sol" in Solstice!

      December 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      ... and keep the Saturn in Saturday!

      December 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • John A

      Enjoy your opinion while they last.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  5. lol??

    Affirmative Action NOW for the A&A's. That'll make em feel gud.

    December 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  6. lunchbreaker

    A guy on vacation in Ireland walks into a bar. The bartender says, "You Catholic or Protestant?". Th guy replies, "I'm an atheist." The bartender looks at the man very confused and then says,"Are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?"

    December 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • lol??

      The guy responds, "Who made this slop beer, an atheist? Gimme some Scotch and a KJV on the side."

      December 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      ...and though they grieved and rent their clothes, it was in the pub the followers gathered for darts and dark ale which they hoisted in sadness and drank with great sorrow. Many libations they consumed and they called it the blood of the son of God.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  7. Apostate

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9H9Fi4Qcus&w=640&h=390]

    December 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Very nice.

      Blessed be.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • New Alias

      I'm not sure how setting this to music is supposed to make it more appealing.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  8. HeavenSent

    I see tommie tom has been busy stealing my handle and spewing lies about Jesus' truth again. Atheists lie when they talk about freedom of speech. My couch was returned by the FBI but some stains were removed. Humble yourself and ask Jesus for forgiveness.

    Amen.

    December 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Akira

      You remind me of a very dear friend from NYC, Sheryl©™.
      Especially the stained couch part.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Christians are on these articles to ensure Jesus Christ's truth is posted. Satan's lies are built on quick sand foundation. My 12-year-old daughter smokes at the table in front of her kids. Serpent is just one of the multiple names of Lucifer aka satan.

      Amen.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  9. Jonathan

    As an atheist, at present I don't have a problem celebrating Christmas, and Winter Solstice, and Festivus. I don't have a problem with Merry Christmas. But, I will say that when the government erects Christmas trees or puts up Christmas messages, they should not just describe the Christian view of things. The post-Christian Enlightenment-embracing view should be there as well. Axial tilt is the reason for the season after all. A true new year celebration with days starting to get longer on solstice. Getting together inside because it's cold outside. That's all good. The people who take xmas too seriously though, do require fighting – for example people who think there's a "war on Christmas." There's a war on Christmas the same way there's a war against lies, deception, & group think by reason & telling the truth. There's a war on hangovers when you drink coffee and decide you have to go to work. There's a war on sleep when the sun rises in the morning.

    Liberals often have no concept of what it's like to be in a real religion. So their preference is to have "good strategy" when responding to what religions do & claim. People who >havehonest< than it is to be strategic. And they also realize that yes, people can be convinced by the truth, even if they pretend like they aren't. The truth builds up in a person's brain, and eventually there's a breaking point. So, speak the truth & be honest.

    Merry Christmas. Happy Solstice. Have a fun Festivus. Whatever. Go love your friends, family, and lovers inside out of the cold. We can all agree on that.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Jonathan

      p.s. One paragraph didn't post correctly. Here a reposting to correct:

      Liberals often have no concept of what it's like to be in a real religion. So their preference is to have "good strategy" when responding to what religions do & claim. People who have spent time in real religions (eg: Mormonism, Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, evangelical Christianity, and Islam) realize though that it's more important to be honest than it is to be strategic. And they also realize that yes, people can be convinced by the truth, even if they pretend like they aren't. The truth builds up in a person's brain, and eventually there's a breaking point. So, speak the truth & be honest.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      “speak the truth & be honest” My favorite part of your post. The truth will set you free. What could be better than to be free.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Johathan,

      "when the government erects Christmas trees"

      Yuletide evergreens are a pagan fertility symbol coopted by Christians. They don't bother me.

      Nativity scenes are specifically Christian. They are a lovely part of the Christian tradition and I find them to be very welcome in front of churches or other private property.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Jonathan,

      "Liberals often have no concept of what it's like to be in a real religion."

      Given that *most* Democrats are Christians, what is this supposed to mean?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • New Alias

      @Robert Brown you ask what could be better than to be free?
      Bondage done right deserves some consideration.

      Is it fair to use 50 Shades of Grey as a sourse, as I think it is 100% as real as the bible?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Jonathan,

      "People who have spent time in real religions (eg: Mormonism, Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, evangelical Christianity, and Islam)"

      Scientology is a "real" religion??? Smirk! Sorry, but I can't contain myself. What a silly thing to say.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      "What could be better than to be free"

      Dunno....why do you feel you need salvation?.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  10. Captain Fantastic

    @ Huh?

    I extend the same comment to you I did to fred. yours is a wonderfully written display of your thoughts on the subject that is actually a joy to read despite its length.
    Another couple of thumbs up!

    December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  11. The Life of 3.14

    Quit forcing your beliefs on everyone else...you...you....atheists!

    December 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • HarryJames

      You quit first.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • New Alias

      As soon as they quit trying to make us pray in our schools, i'll quit trying to make them think in their church.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      @HarryJames- I never started. You may apologize at your convienence.

      @New Alias- I don't know of anyone that is trying to make anyone pray in schools. Are you stuck in the 1950's or something?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      guess you missed Huckabee and others talking about bringing prayer back...

      December 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      Bootyfunk- "guess you missed Huckabee and others talking about bringing prayer back..."

      Nope but they are not making anyone pray now are they? People talk about doing a lot of things but our form of govt doesn't exaclty allow those things to just happen. I have faith in our system...do you?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      You know guys, being Pi bothered to type a stutter, he/she might be joking.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      wrong, trying to make it happen and failing is not the same as not trying.

      here's a pet.ition to get prayer back in school:
      http://www.thepet.itionsite.com/takeaction/496/469/861/
      (for link to work, take the period out of 'pet.ition - CNN word filter)

      here's a campaign to put prayer in school:
      http://www.charismanews.com/culture/32060-campaign-aims-to-put-prayer-back-in-schools

      but no one is trying to get prayer back in school, huh?

      December 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      faith in the system? no when i see the 10 commandments in a courthouse. but i suppose to you that's not promoting christianity... take off the rose colored glasses, you'll see better.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      @lunchbreaker- lol, don't get in the way of their self-righteous crusade by pointing out the reason of my original comment

      December 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      @Bootyfunk- "wrong, trying to make it happen and failing is not the same as not trying."

      Lol...there is a difference between serious threats and toothless threats.

      Are you really citing a peti tion from a pet ition site? Do you take the pet itions from the white house site serious too?

      "but no one is trying to get prayer back in school, huh?"

      Yep..."no one" is trying. Though I guess if Odysseus was one I might worry in that nobody.

      "faith in the system? no when i see the 10 commandments in a courthouse. but i suppose to you that's not promoting christianity... take off the rose colored glasses, you'll see better."

      It is acknowledging that our nation was brought about by a population that was (and still is) primarily of a judeo-christian background. Now if a courthourse was citing scripture where Jesus said he came to fulfill the law...then I would agree with you.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      It could be argued that as long as the Pledge of Allegiance contains the "G" word, it's a form of prayer...

      December 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    it's unlikely Jesus ever existed. his myth is based on previous cultural myths - see Mitra. if he did exist, he didn't walk on water, heal by touch, turn water into wine or any of that goofy "magical" garbage. if Jesus did exist, he was just another egotistical cult leader, like David Koresh. he told people he was the son of god - the arrogance is immeasurable, because he wasn't. he told people if they didn't follow him, they would burn in hell forever. he didn't die for anyone's sins but his own. he was one of thousands that were crucified, so he was nothing special. get over it.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      I believe you will find yourself on the minority on that thought. While your opinion on the supernatural is not in question, the idea that there was no historical Jesus is no shared by most historians.
      As for Mithra, I would suggest going beyond the easy to find Mithra/Jesus websites put together by the ignorant and do some research on your own.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      your appeal to agree with the masses is a logical fallacy. there is no good evidence, something you obviously don't require, to show that jesus ever lived. have any?

      and it's not just mitra where the jesus myth was ripped off. you should take off your rose colored glasses. read this:
      http://near-death.com/experiences/origen048.html
      the similarities are pretty striking between jesus and mitra, no?
      and it's not just mitra... see horus and other gods.
      the idea of jesus was taken from other myths, similar to most of the major stories in the bible.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Of course Jesus existed!!!! And so did Mothra! There's your sign!

      December 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • GlendaK

      The Life of 3.14
      I minored in Classical Studies and the more you dig into the cult of Mithras the easier it is to see how Jesus was built around it. You're just betting that people don't actually bother to check, right?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      If as is transpired to be a son of a comely young female as being a God's son, why then stay and choose one's stand to be posed upon? Which is safer a stand, Godly or godless or godliness or ungodliness? Which is more profound? Which gives ones conscious conscience breathing room? Is one who stands upon being a godless individual dare looses a sense of I d e n t I t y? Ask those also of ungodliness for does not such stands tend to berate ones conscious conscience leaving gaps they cannot rightly fill? The walls of the godless and ungodly does nothing but build up the stamina of the immorally sensitive conditionings establishing bitterness civilities of onward societal mayhems.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      Bootyfunk- "your appeal to agree with the masses is a logical fallacy."

      Even if those masses are educated historians? Hmm, guess the vast majority of atheists on here that cite what scientists say are in error as well. Thanks.

      "there is no good evidence, something you obviously don't require, to show that jesus ever lived. have any?"

      Ignoring your error in trying to insult me (you know that fallacy I bet), you do not consider historical docu ments about Jesus that coincide with archaeological evidence as evidence? If one looks at the archaeological record of such people like Pilate and sites like the Temple Mount....it supports the writings in the Gospels.

      Again, I am not saying that evidence of a historical Jesus is a basis for belief in the supernatural aspects of Jesus. Seems many on here are not able to separate the two. Kind of tragic.

      Um, no...looking up conspiracy websites don't prove much.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      @GlendaK- offer up one piece of evidence that shows that any Christian writer of the early church took from Mithra's faith. Not similiarities because that isn't anymore evidence than saying auks and penguins are related because they look alike.

      Oh I have very little hope that most ppl (atheists or christians) will research much into Mithra. For those against Christinaity, a google search of Mithra and Jesus will give them what they already believe. Most Christians won't feel the need to look it up.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you point out that i insulted you? yes, after you called me ignorant - but i guess that's a compliment in your book. get off your high horse.

      "you do not consider historical docu ments about Jesus that coincide with archaeological evidence as evidence?"
      such as? what historical doc.uments? that's the problem - there are none that support jesus.

      and the gospels have people walking on water - wouldn't exactly call that 'historical'. more like a child's story.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you ignore evidence because it doesn't suit you. jesus not based on mitra? you really haven't done your research. but i suspect you have - you just didn't like the answers.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      Bootyfunk- "you point out that i insulted you? yes, after you called me ignorant"

      Hmm, someone's reading comprehension is lacking a bit. I never called you ignorant.

      "such as? what historical doc.uments? that's the problem – there are none that support jesus."

      I guess you ignore the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

      "and the gospels have people walking on water – wouldn't exactly call that 'historical'. more like a child's story."

      Ah, so you do not agree with the supernatural aspects (fair enough) but that doesn't mean you can write off the historical applications of those books.

      "you ignore evidence because it doesn't suit you. jesus not based on mitra? you really haven't done your research. but i suspect you have – you just didn't like the answers."

      I have ignored nothing. No one, including you, have shown that ANY christian writer of the first three centuries took from the Mithra religion. Coincidence does not equal proof. Heck, much of mithra's faith is from the "mysteries" and no doubt that helps those that support the notion that christianity took from Mithra. Cherry picking from a little known (and lets be honest..Mithra isn't as well known as other ancient faiths) religion and applying it to a well known religion is a bit dishonest.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • cm

      There was a man named Jesus. There is way too much evidence. Now to believe he is divine well that is up to you to decide.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • John A

      Thankful your opinion will not count for all of mankind.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  13. Chad

    Why are anti-theists so rabid in their attacks on Christianity?

    The quotation "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act III, scene II, where it is spoken by Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. The phrase has come to mean that one can "insist so passionately about something not being true that people suspect the opposite of what one is saying."[1]
    Furthermore, the above meaning is based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word "protest" as it was used in Shakespeare's day, as the "protest" of the lady is not a protest in the modern sense of the word, but an affirmation or avowal.[2]
    The phrase's actual meaning implies the increasing likelihood of suppressed feelings for the contrary of that which is being argued. I.e., the more pa.ssionate and fervent the argument, the greater likelihood the cause is a suppression of belief for the contrary argument, and the subsequent confirmation that it is the (actual) truer statement.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Generalize much Chad?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bob

      "the more pa.ssionate and fervent the argument, the greater likelihood the cause is a suppression of belief for the contrary argument, and the subsequent confirmation that it is the (actual) truer statement."

      So then all the Christians constantly arguing against gays are actually suppressing the fact they know being gay is normal and they should be allowed to marry. Good to know.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Since you've defined your target as an "anti-theist" one presupposes that an anti-theist would attack beliefs such as Christianity.

      The point of the article – if you bothered to read it, is that atheists are not a monolithic group of people whose purpose is to attack believers.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Hahaha

      Oh kiddo, using wiki to back up a Hamlet quote as a way to ground your statement about atheists is so pathetic. Is this how you make yourself feel better? By telling yourself that "anti-theists" are arguing with you because they agree with you?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @Chad
      want a serious answer? i'll give you one.

      politicians try to pass laws according to the bible for non-christians, have been successful so far on keeping evolution out of the classroom, etc. non-christians don't want to live by christian law.

      another big reason - you are in a cult. all christians are. all religions are cults. cults are unhealthy. they teach you to turn off your brain. we don't want to see our brothers and sisters in religious cults. we want you to abandon the fairy tale of god and think for yourself. imagine, seriously, if you woke up and most of the country had joined a cult. - pretty scary, huh?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Because you guys keep blaming us for the actions and inactions of your loving god.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      Chard: It is because you inbred fvcks try to legislate your belief system

      December 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      "the more pa.ssionate and fervent the argument, the greater likelihood the cause is a suppression of belief for the contrary argument, and the subsequent confirmation that it is the (actual) truer statement."

      like the evan-fvcking-gelicals, chard?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chad

      You've figured me out. I secretly believe that that God gave birth to himself through a virgin to sacrifice himself to himself to free humanity from the punishment he condemned us to. Truthfully I profess to be an atheist because I want to go to hell, in order to hang out with all the good musicians.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • mama k

      I think part of the answer comes from within. It's a very conflicted religion, and Christians attack one another as much as they are attacked from non-Christians.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • GlendaK

      Chad
      So, by your "logic", the Christians who most strongly denounce such things as the gay lifestyle, abortion, pre-marital se x, and a host of other things must all be secretly, and guiltily in favor of all these things? Well, Ted Haggard might just prove your point. The next time I see a crowd marching against gay marriage, or abortion I'll just give them a sly little wink, and you guys can keep your closeted liberalism on the down low, OK? :-)

      December 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Pete

      Goper, I believe what is he doing is called projecting.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Chad

      all:
      1. merely being pa.s.sionate about something isnt what the quote refers to, (I dont blame you for not knowing that, as you probably didnt actually read my post )

      what it does say is this
      "insist so passionately about something not being true that people suspect the opposite of what one is saying.

      it's the "insisting fervently that something IS NOT true", that is an indicator that a person may be thinking quite the opposite.

      ====
      2. @mama k "lol. tell me, what color is the sun in the world where you live? :-) "

      ====
      3. "So, by your "logic", the Christians who most strongly denounce such things as the gay lifestyle, abortion, pre-marital sex, and a host of other things must all be secretly, and guiltily in favor of all these things?"
      @Chad "if a Christian is on the blog day after day, rabidly posting unprovoked attacks on gays, etc, then one might have cause to believe that they indeed believe the opposite.
      In other words, if they behaved like atheists, and continually produced nothing but root post attacks, then one might have a case.
      However, if the reality is that Christians are merely responding to posts by atheists voicing their objections, then it doesnt fit the model.

      The delineation is between voicing an objection, and protesting so much that one starts to wonder if they actually believe in the truth of that which they are protesting.

      Do Christians post billboards in time square denouncing the gay lifestyle? Pre-marital sex?
      Abortion would be a different case, that isnt a "behavior"

      December 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      First, there are billboards all over the place about jesus, pro-life, anti-gay, etc... Maybe not in times square, but go to Kansas.... or really anywhere else in the midwest.

      Second, using a quote for shakespeare as "proof" that when someone protests too much, it's a sign that they believe the opposite is asinine, even for you. Chad, sometimes people get angry because they are embarrassed about being called out, but it's clearly more on an individual level AND after the person is being accused. Most atheists, like myself, come to the decision to reject religion and question the validity of the god hypothesis from rationality, not some insecure part where we feel the need to rebel, that's just your mind making yourself feel superior believing that the people yu debate actually agree with you. It's pigheadedness, pure and simple.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Chad

      1. Pro-life and pro-retaining-the-existing-definition-of-marriage are obviously completely different than anti-Christian.
      2. The quote merely illustrates the known psychological condition that many excessively vociferous protesters of something have, namely a suppressed belief in it's truth.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Chad

      oh, and
      3. the vast majority of anti-theists can not, in any way shape or form, articulate a rational defense of their position.
      Which is why they spend the vast majority of their time and efforts just calling Christians names, it's all they have.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "2. The quote merely illustrates the known psychological condition that many excessively vociferous protesters of something have, namely a suppressed belief in it's truth."

      So you agree that this applies to all those h0mophobic opponents or marriage equality as well?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad
      "1. Pro-life and pro-retaining-the-existing-definition-of-marriage are obviously completely different than anti-Christian." – I fail to see the difference, both are fueled by hate and directed at the other side. Just because you use the the pro prefix for your positions and the anti prefix for your opponents doesn't change the general message.

      "2. The quote merely illustrates the known psychological condition that many excessively vociferous protesters of something have, namely a suppressed belief in it's truth." – Like I pointed out, you are using this "psychological condition" to try and classify an entire group of people vs. an individual, which is foolish and pigheaded. To believe that every person who disagrees with you and debates with you as someone just repressing their desire to agree with you is narcissistic, at best.

      "oh, and
      3. the vast majority of anti-theists can not, in any way shape or form, articulate a rational defense of their position.
      Which is why they spend the vast majority of their time and efforts just calling Christians names, it's all they have."

      Chad, just because you reject the rational defenses, which there are plenty, well thought out and presented correctly, doesn't mean they haven't, it just means you are ignoring it, probably due to your narcissism. Apparently all you have is your selective reading, narcissism and stubbornness to see the other side.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • John

      Chad
      When gays say that they were born that way, or when people say that an embryo isn't alive yet, or when rational people say that all the evidence suggests that no god was necessary for either the creation of the universe, or the diversity of life don't conservative Christians "insist fervently that this IS NOT true"?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Well done Chad! You threw up a bullsh!t argument and got a few folks to respond. But here's the bottom line. You, and not a single believer, can provide one bit of independent, factual, verifiable or objective evidence for your silly beliefs. You can throw up all the arguments you like, and quote The Babble as much as you with, you still have nothing. The onus is on you to make a factual case – no nonbeliever has any responsibility for proving the negative. So get on with it, or fuck off!

      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  14. SEND BARNS

    Huebert is the French word for shower.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  15. sam stone

    Gosh, Gopher.....perhaps you need to feel all warm and godly, and that is fine. When you start preaching, do not be surprised if peopole call you on your drivel

    December 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  16. fred

    Perhaps we do not have sufficient compassion for atheists that just don’t get it. Consider the simplicity of the Bible yet they put on their intellectual hats and attempt to find the Kingdom of God their own way rather than the one God specifies. Take the tree of knowledge which was chosen by man over the perfect heaven and earth provided by God. The atheists are still climbing the branches of evolution forever unable to shake the DNA of their ancestor which they must cling to in order to justify their godlessness.
    From the beginning man has had the capacity to choose his own knowledge or the wisdom of God. The simplicity of Gods plan remains. The choice remains the same to this day. Mans way (the world we live in) or the Kingdom of God. Exactly what do atheists not understand about the plan? That children’s book referred to by atheists is written so the most intelligent or challenged could easily comprehend. Adam and Eve in the perfect Garden choose the deception of that tree of knowledge to become wise like God rather than accept the gift of God which they always had. Existence outside the will of God is life as we know it complete with the knowledge of good and evil. The rest of the Bible shows mans continued struggle outside the will of God which will continue to the end of days.

    Interesting that atheists will argue that this is not the way it is yet it is before them every day of their lives.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Huh?

      "evolution forever unable to shake the DNA of their ancestor which they must cling to in order to justify their godlessness."

      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.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The first rule of public speaking is to connect with your audience. You seem to be talking only to those who already agree with everything you state, and that seems fairly pointless to me (and I would assume, most people on this board).

      December 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Really??

      Just because some men got together, created your god and your bible does not mean that all people will beleive what they wrote. Considering how ancient the bible is, and the fact that these men knew little of the world, believing what they wrote is not rational.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      What's interesting to me, freddy boy, is that you think it's good and virtuous to be a simpleton and that atheists are dumb because they want to be smart and learn things. Think about what you just wrote for a moment. You're saying that knowledge is bad and being a mindless sheep is good...... and the saddest part of all is that you don't see anything wrong with that.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The Bible is simple. Very simple. Special perhaps. Or in non PC terms, absolutely fvcking retarded.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Huh?

      " That children’s book referred to by atheists is written so the most intelligent or challenged could easily comprehend."

      If that was true it wouldn't have split up Christianity the way that it has. It's so much like a child's book there wouldn't be so many interpretations of the texts and so many denominations of Christianity.

      Acoemetae
      Adelophagi
      Adventist Movement
      amillennialism
      Amish
      Anabaptism
      Arminian Theology
      Assemblies of God
      Augustinians
      Baptists
      Benedictines
      Cahenslyism
      Calvinism
      Capuchins
      Carmelites
      Christadelphians
      Christian Identity
      Church of Christ
      Church of England
      Church Universal and Triumphant
      Congregationalism
      Coptic Christianity
      dispensationalism
      Dominicans
      Eastern Orthodox
      Episcopal Church
      Ethiopian Christianity
      Evangelicalism
      Franciscans
      fundamentalism
      Gnosticism
      Huguenots
      Hutterites
      IURD
      Jehovah's Witnesses
      Liberation Theology
      Lutheran Church
      Mainline Protestant
      Maronites
      Mendicant Orders
      Mennonites
      Methodism
      Neo-Orthodoxy
      Old Catholic Movement
      Pentecostal Church
      People's Temple
      Pietism
      Pilgrims
      postmillennialism
      premillennialism
      Presbyterian Church
      Primitivism
      Protestant
      Puritanism
      Quakers
      Quietism
      Roman Catholicism
      Sabbatarianism
      Scholasticism
      Shakers
      Spiritual Baptists
      staret
      Thomas Christians
      Thomism
      Transcendentalism
      Trinitarianism
      Unification Church
      Unitarian Universalist
      Unitarianism
      United Church of Christ

      December 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • fred

      Huh?
      Get down from that tree there is more to life than the monkeeee (sung to a rap).

      Without the wisdom of God you are left with your own thoughts and ways. I agree with you that the human mind has great capacity as we were given certain gifts that allow us to understand the creator which the rest of the animal kingdom does not possess. That does not translate into no God needed. Given you seem to have some knowledge as to workings of the mind then you know that the mind must justify its position relative to space and time as well as foundational beliefs. Your mind (atheist or believer) will justify your thoughts and behavior otherwise we would need to put you in a straight jacket.
      You have chosen to justify your godlessness by way of scientific study while others justify their love for God by faith.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Huh?

      "You have chosen to justify your godlessness by way of scientific study while others justify their love for God by faith."

      faith = belief that is not based on proof.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      More condesceding bullshit from the useless fuck fred, who can't even answer a question about his own bible without dodging.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Murderface

      God doesn't exist. That's a simple assertion that fits.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • JWT

      and yet the pure fact that I have no god remains.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles

      Merry Christmas! I hope you have braced yourself for another Hanukkah that will surround you in lights shortly.

      To the contrary God specifically states man was made in the image of God. That image of course is not physical as God does not manifest physical attributes that we can account for by scientific method. That image according to the Bible is cognitive in nature allowing us to make an intelligent and heartfelt choice to accept or reject a personal relationship with God. You know the Bible well and can see the chosen ones were given capacity to walk in the presence of God or go their own way. They were given ability such as to form tools, arts, language. That capacity was significant enough that when united in thought they could erect a tower that would reach the heavens (You know that Bible babble that goes on and on ending in Babylon).
      The story of why we are where we are is made for my simple mind while that same story traps those who approach it with great knowledge void of the wisdom of God.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      simplicity of the bible? yes, like when God simply drowned everyone on earth but one family. he drowned every baby, the elderly, mentally challenged, physically challenged, the infirm, etc. looking at the bible simply - God is a disgusting monster.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • fred

      Really?
      The fact that we have not moved far from that tree in understanding the purpose for existence makes it relevent. The fact that our western world view is attached to the words of 3,400 year old sheep hearders makes it very relevent.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • fred

      Huh?
      Go back to the Bible it is all explained to you. The tower of Babble would have been the heights of godlessness lead by Nimrod. God stepped in and scattered the language and the peoples resulting in the knowledge of God remaining in hearts so inclined while man in his own ways put their spin on it. You are the evolutionist why wouldn’t one foundational truth evolve into many that over time would appear different yet have the same apparent “DNA”?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      @Fred

      As a Christian I don't find the Bible to be simple at all. One must do meticulous research into the the societal norms and customs of the times in order to understand most stories. More than that, there are so many different speakers and audiences. There are also the many translation errors and the many differing versions. When you add those to the fact that the vast majority of Christians in America claim it has a simple message that anyone can understand your words seem patronizing.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Thanks for the well wishes freddy boy, and a happy holidays to you as well.

      Your idea of an intelligent choice is to accept god, but how does that make sense? If we look at just facts alone, make everything completely objective, then the simple answer is the god of the bible does not exist. It's only when you add the scourge of intelligence, belief, that people think they have legs to stand on when they say that god exists because they "feel it". If you really think that intelligence is a good thing, then the only logical path here is to use that intelligence and realize that god most likely does not exist.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Huh?

      "You are the evolutionist why wouldn’t one foundational truth evolve into many that over time would appear different yet have the same apparent “DNA”?"

      LOL! You're the one that said it's was child like and simple, I merely proved you wrong. Plus the bible has been proven to be myth so the fact you're trying to tie it to science is hysterical and proves your one desperate person. LOL!

      December 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • fred

      JWT
      “and yet the pure fact that I have no god remains.”

      =>correct, the Bible is true and you have made the choice to reject God. Why is it everyone will make that choice if it does not need to be made? Why did you find it necessary to make such a choice?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Captain Fantastic

      fred,

      that was very beautiful. I don't agree with everything you said but that's on me. On you is a nicely written, eloquent comment on your beliefs and a hand reaching out to non-believers. Thumbs up.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "correct, the Bible is true "

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Captain Fantastic

      @ Huh?

      I extend the same comment to you I did to fred. yours is a wonderfully written display of your thoughts on the subject that is actually a joy to read despite its length.
      Another couple of thumbs up!

      December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • fred

      Bootyfunk
      You are mixing up a simple story that displays our fallen world with a non believer’s morality. In short what you are saying is look at what a chaotic mess this world is. That is the simple overview of what the Bible is trying to tell you. The world you have chosen is filled with good and evil. That is not Gods fault it was our choice.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Does it make you feel good to be a self-righteous, self-important, pious little fuck who can't give a straight answer to anything?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • JWT

      I never made such a choice Fred as there was never an existant god to reject. It was never a matter of acceptance or rejectance, never a matter of turning away. I never had a god to start with. You may of course, as you do, believe that I do but that is your your own belief in your own reality. While many atheists once believed in a god but not do not I am not the same as them.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • fred

      Craniumthedumb
      Thanks, I agree and was not being patronizing. The Divinity of the Bible is such that theologians and others with great intelligence could spend a lifetime seeking and being in the presence of God through the Word while at the same time a simple help me Jesus from a broken heart will open the floodgates of blessings.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      “a simple help me Jesus from a broken heart will open the floodgates of blessings.”
      Amen fred.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And here's the confirmatory bias. Unbelievable that fred and Robert thinks the same arguments that have been refuted before are still valid.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • GlendaK

      fred
      I'd prefer that you guys just give the same respect for atheists and other nonChristians that you would like to have shown for you. It goes both ways, you know?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      HG,
      The good ground in the parable of the sower is the broken heart and the contrite spirit.
      Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
      Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
      Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
      Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert

      And like I've said before, I don't give a flying backward fuck about your immoral book of death. I don't care. It's worthless.
      Oh that's right, you don't give a shit. It doesn't matter whether other people accept your assertions, because your right becuase you say so because you say so, because you say so.
      Fucking moron.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      “If we look at just facts alone, make everything completely objective, then the simple answer is the god of the bible does not exist.”
      =>correct assuming objectivity is limited to the 5 senses.
      “If you really think that intelligence is a good thing, then the only logical path here is to use that intelligence and realize that god most likely does not exist.”
      =>correct, god and gods we have read about most likely never existed. How does the creator become self evident when an atheist and believer can look to the heavens and see the awe and wonder of the miraculous? Did Einstein and Billy Graham see the same thing when they looked up? Objectively assuming the same optics and internal wiring yes, yet one became filled with the awareness and presence of God. Both men took a logical path and used their intelligence then continued their meaningful existence on earth. One person though aware of the unknown did not experience God.
      Awareness of the unknown exists yet is cold and void compared with the presence of God that is personal and overflowing.

      Reason and intelligence can be a stumbling block as with the Sanhedrin that were tripped up by the cornerstone.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • fred

      GlendaK
      sorry, I missed something...when did I not respect you.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • fred

      Huh?
      "the bible has been proven to be myth "
      =>I was not aware of that ! So help me: Exactly how does a myth change lives to this very day? Exactly how does a myth reveal the glory of God in Christ 1,400 years after its first writing? Exactly how does a fact become a myth during the lifetime of contemporaries that could refute the fact (resurrection of Christ). Exactly how does a myth manifest its presence in the heart of a believer at this very moment?

      December 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Believing a myth can still change a mindset. If you think it can't you have no knowledge of how the human brain works.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Ok, beliefs effect our thoughts and actions. How could Christ resurection as witnessed for 40 days after Jesus death have been a myth. There was not time for myth or legond to develope and no one contested that fact at that time?

      December 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • redzoa

      @fred – Now would a perfect time for you to remind us why 1 Sam 15:3 was a moral edict...

      December 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • fred

      redzoa
      As to Saul he could have experienced the goodness of God had he not obeyed his own fears and desires instead of God.
      As to the Kenites they were blessed and spared because they showed kindness to Israel while the Amalekites were destroyed totally because of their atrocities against Israel. This is a standard of God where God said I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.
      I suspect you are contesting the goodness of God when it comes to the killing of all Amalekites. Does a loving God have the moral right give life and take it away? Yes, given the attributes of God. The creation does not have the right or wisdom to judge God. The creation does not know anything about Gods plan for the eternal souls of the current or future generations of Amalekites. Fear not that which can kill the body but that which can kill body and soul.
      When man takes a life it is immoral and murder because we have taken the life created by God and that life was created for the purpose set by God not man. Do you know the temporal and eternal purpose of the Amalekites? Did Saul know? No, and that is why we obey God

      December 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And the only contemporary account for that is in the bible. Without anything else it can't be confirmed.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      I assume what you are saying is that there is no proof it ever happened in which case you default to claim it is a lie or to be gentle it was simply a tale of an old goat. In that case you cannot call God an immoral killer of women and babies from theses verses because that would be based on what you claim is a lie. Sorry, you cannot have it both ways. Either you believe it is true thus God is an immoral killer or you believe it false in which case it tells us nothing about God.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Voldemort is a fictional character. I can still call him an immoral douche. Same applies to the fictional god. Difference is you believe in that god so you get all butt-hurt when his character as portrayed in the bible comes up, and then need to twist into all kinds of shapes to justify it and defend it.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      You cannot back out of this one. You do not believe the Bible so you base your illogical thought (God is an immoral killer of babies) on what you do not believe is true. Your conclusion is wrong by your own admission or at best unsupported. Please think again who is twisting in the wind.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Let me help you out of your dilemma before you get in over your head. What you really must say is “God is an immoral killer of babies if the Bible is the Divine Word of God”. My reply then would be “if the Bible is true you can just go to hell”. The good news is that both those statements are wrong.

      December 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Sensitivity and points

    From a Christian world view, if a person does not believe that belief than eternity as they see it is anguish and torture. Nothing could be scarier than that idea. Add to that their fellow man on belief blog calling them "Christ-tards" or "idiots" or just the factor of miles of people calling them names is I am sure disconcerting. Beyond that there is always the fear of the end of the world or the fear of large groups of people who might want to cause harm, the stuck place of being stereotyped and all of that frustration.

    I would imagine that all of the above would be a scary place to be in one's mind.

    When I am clearing up a misconception (like dinosaurs or promoting marriage equality) with a strong believer I find it works very well to approach the subject with a sensitivity to their perspective. Infact you would be surprised how receptive someone is to new ideas when they come with the reassurance you want to discuss ideas in a respectful forum.

    Human beings who feel afraid are not responsive to new information. The same holds true for humans who are angry. I think this bill board will cause more harm than good due to it's seasonal timing and format.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • New Alias

      Very well said.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Sensitivity

      I agree – Sort of. Yes, you get more people to listen to you and discuss their beliefs rationally when you turn a sympathetic ear rather than smear them right off the bat, but it's also dangerous to start respecting certain beliefs and giving them more power than they deserve. For instance, if someone said, " 2+2 = 5" are you going to say, " I understand why you would think that, lets discuss how it could actually be 2+2 = 4.". Granted, the idea of god is a little more nebulous, but you have to be careful giving too much credence to an idea that does't deserve to be equated with fact.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • John

      I think H. L. Mencken put it best when he said

      "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

      December 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  18. SEND BARNS

    Ooh – Hubert is so quick with the wit! Searing, I tell you.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Huebert

      You said it. I'm quick, I'm witty, and I know how to use the reply function properly. You really don't have chance do you Barns?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • John

      Better than being slow and dull, eh SEND BARNS?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  19. SEND BARNS

    "Oh Professor, does life have any meaning?"

    "I'm glad you asked that Ginger, because as a botanist I know the answer to that question . . . "

    December 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Oh, religious leader, does life have any meaning"

      "Well let me pull something out of my ass that sounds good but is absolutely meaningless, and then you can bend over and I will put it up yours"

      December 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Murderface

      Send help for barns....he is being owned. Maybe he should pray to god for help. We await his response.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  20. SEND BARNS

    I think the self-styled scientific types on this blog (of which +95% who think they are, are not) have seen one too many episodes of Gilligans Island. They all think they are The Professor – the final authority on everything.

    "Let's ask the Professor!"

    Let's not and say we did . . .

    December 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Topher

      Ha! It's funny 'cause it's true!

      December 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Huebert

      Obvious troll needs a new hobby.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Science threatens your dogma, I would think your all powerfull god could help quash it.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Topher

      Hey, Huebert!

      Why do you say that?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      Gopher wouldn't know truth if it bit him on the rump

      December 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • SEND BARNS

      @Topher = because he is a troll in need of a hobby

      December 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      As opposed to theists, like Gopher, who think that they are god's spokesman and only come here to preach?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Huebert

      Topher

      Because Barns's comment is nothing more than an insult meant to provoke a reaction from non believers. Sorry if you thought the troll comment was directed at you.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Topher

      Huebert

      No, dude. I know it wasn't directed at me. You and I get along well. But why am I getting attacked by everyone else?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      Barns

      If I wanted my own comeback I would have wiped it off of your mother's chin.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am attacking you because you are an intellectual coward, and a pompous a$$

      December 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Huebert

      Nasty. Can you imagine what kind of buck-tooth redneck simpleton spawned Barnsy?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Topher

      Wow. Someone sure is a cranky-pants today.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Being that Barns is making a statistical claim with no study to back it up, and Topher agrees with him, I suppose we can rule both of them out as "self-styled scientific types".

      December 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      I think you can say one of them is a snivelling preaching sycophant

      December 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Topher

      The only thing I'm agreeing with is how most on this site think they know everything ... not only about science but about God and the Bible. They clearly don't. I had one guy arguing with me the other night about what the Bible says about the Rapture. They clearly had never read the Bible before. As I've said before, if you guys want to reject God, that's your business, but you should at least know what you are rejecting. Otherwise, it's foolishness.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Topher

      So I assume you have a deep understanding and knowledge of the thousands of religions and deities that you reject?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Really??

      Topher
      Foolishness is the belief in mythical creature such as the easter bunny, leprechauns and god. All created by men.
      I cannot reject a god because he does not exist. How can someone reject that which is non-existant?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The only thing I'm agreeing with is how most on this site think they know everything"

      Including you, Gopher

      "about God and the Bible. They clearly don't."

      You do? Why then do you run like a little girl?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Topher

      I haven't run from anything.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "I had one guy arguing with me the other night about what the Bible says about the Rapture. They clearly had never read the Bible before."

      Topher,

      Religious leaders who have studied the bible for years do not agree on most anything in the bible. The last thing you could claim is that there is concensus among BELIEVERS. Put 10 in a room and you will get 10 different takes on it. That is what makes it a joke.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      Are you kidding, Gopher? You are famous for tucking your head between your legs like a scared little puppy and running.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • sam stone

      i meant your tail between your legs?

      you have not run? doesn't your babble say something about lying, or is it acceptable for the truly pious?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Topher

      Lying is a sin. I haven't lied to you.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      Topher: You lied when you said you don't run. Now you lied when you claim you did not lie. Once you get in the habit, they sort of pile up, don't they?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      Okay, Gopher.....here is one for you......given the subject of our recent conversation, I suggest you put your track shoes on. What makes you think you know the mind of god?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Topher

      God wrote 66 books and gave them to us so we can know Him.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      Topher: Man wrote, translated and edited 66 books that you attribute to god.

      If god wrote the books, and is so omniscient and omnipotent, why could he not write books that everyone could understand?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Topher

      I don't think it's all that difficult to understand. Small children read it and understand it.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      No Topher. Small children are told which parts to read, and are then told how to interpret it according to the denomination. What you just said is a flat out lie.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      'God wrote 66 books and gave them to us so we can know Him."

      Topher,

      God made man and according to your beliefs man is flawed and corrupt so why would a god that wants to get his message accross to his flawed creations USE his flawed creation (man) to get that message out? It is a completely inept way and by definition your god would absolutely know that said message would be, in the end, FLAWED. It is absurd.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      "I don't think it's all that difficult to understand. Small children read it and understand it."

      That must be why there is a unified christian view of the bible, right?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      hawaii: topher lie? he can't....he is practically god's right hand man.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Akira

      God wrote nothing.
      Men did, (and if one considers what was prevented from be included, women, too.)
      Many other books were kept out of the Bible; why is that?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Really??

      Topher
      God didn't write anything. Those 66 books, and the ones that were not included, were all written by men, edited by men. Show me ONE word that god wrote, and you will prove you are lying.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Topher

      Sam

      Yeah, yeah, I know. There's lots of denominations with different views. But for the most parts, the differences are with minor issues and so are still within orthodoxy. We "major on the majors and minor on the minors."

      And I can lie. I am a liar. I just choose not to anymore.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      I pointed out a lie not to long ago, so saying you're choosing not to lie is yet another lie, not to mention ignoring being called out on something.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Topher

      Just because YOU say I lied doesn't mean I did.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Topher

      Well, it's time to go get some reading in before work. I'll check back in before I leave and see if any of you have any honest questions about Christianity and I'll do my best to answer them.

      Have a good day, everyone. Merry Christmas and God bless.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      Denominations have different views? How can that be? God wrote the bible, god is omniscient and omnipotent.....is he just a poor writer?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Why did you ignore my honest question Topher?

      Too hard to justify?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Well, it's time to go get some reading in before work. I'll check back in before I leave and see if any of you have any honest questions about Christianity"

      I have and you post delusional blather then run like a little punk.

      I suppose your god must like slaves. Don't forget your kneepads

      December 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      Just like you saying god exists or wants certain things doesn't make it so. The difference is I lived in a very religious setting when I was young, went to a private school, and what I said was from first hand experience over 11 years with hundreds perhaps thousands of children going through the same thing.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • John

      Of every character on Gilligan's Island you'd rather emulate the Professor the least?!? Really?!

      December 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Topher

      Hawaii

      Just because you lived in a religious setting or went to church doesn't mean you knew God. You clearly weren't saved.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      Oh how convincing. A fallback that doesn't address what I said, and really just shows you continuing your run as a condescending, dishonest fucktard. Congrats Topher, you are now even more of a moron than when you started.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.