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Expectations high for first Hindu member of Congress
January 10th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Expectations high for first Hindu member of Congress

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN)-– Just days after Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was sworn in as the first Hindu member of Congress, Hindu American advocacy groups made it clear that they hope Gabbard will help represent the nation’s wider Hindu community, on top of her Hawaiian constituents.

Groups like the Hindu American Foundation and the Hare Krishna Society have lists of priorities they plan to present to Gabbard, making clear that expectations are high for the groundbreaking congresswoman.

While many of these groups priorities for Gabbard center on faith – “international religious liberty,” “religious diversity and freedom in America,” and “generating appreciation and respect for Hindu American contributions” – some focus on legislating in general, like being a “voice for moderation and ‘reaching across the aisle’ in Congress.”

CNN Belief: On religion, Capitol freshmen are more diverse than their incumbent colleagues

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that there are 1.79 million Hindus in the United States and slightly over 1 billion worldwide, making the Hinduism the third largest faith behind Christianity and Islam.

“The human rights of Hindu minorities around the world,” said Suhag Shukla, executive director of the Hindu American Foundation, when asked about her top priority for the congresswoman. “We have gotten a number of congressmen to advocate on behalf of those issues and we will hope that she will to given the fact that this is affecting people of her tradition.”

Additionally, Shukla said that she believes Gabbard will bring a different point of view on U.S. foreign policy and church and state issues. “We will seek her support on any type of legislation that is promoting religious accommodation, anything that support religious pluralism and religious respect,” she said.

CNN Belief: My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election

Anuttama Dasa, director of communications for the Hare Krishna Society, outlined a number of priorities in an interview with CNN that he hopes to pursue with the congresswoman.

“The United States is a religiously diverse country, but bigotry, prejudice and violence against religious minorities still exists and harms innocent Hindu Americans and other minorities,” Dasa said. “We hope she will use her position to be an advocate for the protection of the rights of Hindu Americans and other minorities.”

Dasa continued: “We hope that while in office, Rep Gabbard will, a.) serve as a symbol of the positive contributions that Hindu Americans make to our country and b.) bring greater awareness of the contributions that Hindu Americans make to the cultural, religious, and economic strength of America.”

For many in the Hindu American community, Gabbard will serve not only her constituents in Hawaii, but also as a key representative for the Hindu community in America, the Hindu leaders say. Being the first Hindu in congress has both elevated Gabbard’s profile and set that anticipation for her leadership higher than other freshman members of congress.

Shukla, from the Hindu American Foundation, said she addressed these expectations with Gabbard during her campaign and after her win in November. With the number and diversity of Hindus in America, Shukla said she told Gabbard, the expectations of representing all Hindu Americans can be daunting.

CNN Belief: First Hindu elected to Congress

In an interview with CNN, Gabbard said the emphasis that Himdus put on service will influence what she bring to her work in Congress.

Standing outside the Capitol on a brisk Washington morning, Gabbard said: "Those personal experiences and the background that I bring give me great opportunity to be of service not only to the people of Hawaii," but also to the people of the country.

But at the same time, Gabbard said she was ready to get past the labels that are applied to new congressmen and women as the enter the legislative body.

“I served in the Army National Guard, been deployed a couple of times to the Middle East, and one thing that I appreciated so much about my time in the military and being deployed, is that none of these different labels matter,” Gabbard said. “We are all there, working towards the same goal, the same purpose.”

But Gabbard hasn’t run away from her Hindu faith either, a point that Shukla says is inspiring to young American Hindus. After Gabbard won her election, a victory that was heralded by Hindus, the congresswoman was sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred religious text and the first member of congress to be sworn in on that work.

"It is a really exciting time, the community has kind of a sense of arrival," Shukla said about Gabbard. "When you have someone from your community that is representing at the highest levels of government, it does firm your position in American society.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Church and state • DC • Hinduism • Politics • United States

soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=390]

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=390]

    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUliLKSJ4bQ&w=640&h=390]

    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Peace

    May 4, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  2. Will Debeast

    I have not established any credibility. I am unable to provide an alternative comprehensive moral system. Yet I dare to criticize Christ's teachings. You must believe everything I say just because I said so. You must believe I'm a good person and better than Christ just because I said so. It does not matter that 1.3B people believe in Christ but not me. I'm smarter than all those people. I have no proof that I have done good works or have been helpful to millions of people. Like I said, just trust me.

    January 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
  3. Knet

    THOU SHALL NOT WORSHIP IDOLS!

    January 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • fanboi

      It's ok to worship Steve Jobs and Justin Bieber. Worshipping myself is ok too.

      January 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  4. elefant

    Hurray. We can now have a holiday for Dumbo.

    Bet you didn;t think of god having eight arms did you ?

    January 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Science

      Talkin' about the octopus? How about the p e n i s god?

      January 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Lenin

      Did you hear the worship of cows, monkey, elephant, mice, snake? Now, that is what is called progressive.

      January 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Ganesha is cool

      Why do you posters always do this. If it's Christianity you talk about blood drinking, if Hinduism you talk about elephants. This stuff all has a symbology to it. What is the point in hating symbolism?

      January 13, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  5. just wondering

    Who is watching the counter at the Quickie Mart?

    January 11, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • lol??

      The tax man sure ain't.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  6. lol??

    T I T le:"Expectations high for first Hindu member of Congress"........They have every reason to be hopeful. Hopey Changey is Hinduism.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  7. Science

    @chadie
    Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven' – Under God – The ...

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...god/.../stephen-hawking.../AF6...

    by Elizabeth Tenety – in 624 Google+ circles – More by Elizabeth Tenety
    May 16, 2011 – There is no heaven... that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Hawking told the Guardian.

    Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  8. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    Word Buddha means , the unwise one, he had nothing of his own, but he stole it from 10 tribes of Israel, happen to be settled in Pakistan with their defeated masters Assyrians, rest of it, he borrowed from hinduism, absurdity of hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, and preached every one to be a hindu gentile, filthy slave of Kings and their hindu criminal priest. Loved by hindu King's and Buddhism, ignorance ism was forced on humanity with sword. Son of blessed Mary was for human equality, unlike Buddha, the unwise one, a hindu out law by nature and preacher of nothing else, but his hinduism, absurdity of hinduism, slavery. Dr, Dumb.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Thank you for good use of my post.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • meifumado

      What makes your god right but hers wrong?

      January 11, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Sooltan Achmed Muhammed Bin Fak ru din

      My Muhammed is better than all. He is like you and me. He kills, have s.ex with young girls, smokes Hasees Ganzza, throws hookah and belly dance parties. He is cool man.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      hindu's, ignorant s, God is truth absolute, constant, no one can exist without, not a person.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    OK, so she is Hindu. Big deal. Saying she is a Hindu is like saying someone is Protestant. As there are many denominations of Protestantism (which, per the USDoD also includes Anglican, Coptic, and Eastern Orthodox), there are also many paths in Hinduism. Some are followers of Vishnu, with the various avatars associated with him; Some are Shivites, with his various aspects; some follow Ganesh, or any of the other various dieties. In a similar vein to Judaism, it is more in the rituals observed than in other religions. The way you keep your home or your personal life is as much of a practice of the religion as the actual worship rituals.
    Old anecdote – back when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister of India and Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel, Gandhi visited Meir. One place they visited was a Synagog. Supposedly Gandhi asked if Prime Ministers always got to sit in the Balcony, not realizing in an Orthodox service that was where women HAD to sit.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      It is not OK to be hindu, denier of truth absolute GOD, foundation of American cons ti tution, but hinduism, treason to be a hindu denier of truth absolute God for a American.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  10. IAM

    Shiva will be proud of her.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      The hindu fabrication, one never existed.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      there is no other blah blah.. you have as much evidence for your god as the existence of unicorns. To tell others that their particular god is not real is hypocritical.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  11. Reasonably

    Separation of church and states applies to all religions. Have a nice day.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • lol??

      Reincarnation is great for the ________ business.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  12. Banjo Ferret

    Um, hello? Tim the Destroyer of Worlds is still waiting for all Congressional representatives to covert to the the one true religion of Ferretianism. Repent!

    http://www.banjoferret.com

    January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jeffy the Smelly Platypus, Banjo's PR liaison to Congress

      There's been a glitch, Banjo. It seems you don't have a scripture to swear in on. The representatives cannot agree on what to swear in on in your glory and honor. Rush Limbaugh sent over his favorite animal porn DVD, while Al Gore promised to send over the internet he invented (he is apparently having trouble getting it in the box), and Rand Paul offered his extra large prescription of anti-psychotics (not working for him anyway).

      January 10, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Banjo Ferret

      But alas Jeffy, for there is Ferretian scripture to swear on. We have this all figured out to aid our Congressional representatives. There is the glorious Tweet According to Tim, so all one needs to do is whip out a smartphone, illuminate the most holy of tweets, then place one hand upon it. Voila!

      January 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Jeffy the Smelly Platypus, Banjo's PR liaison to Congress

      I'm a freaking PLATYPUS!!!! Apple is bigotted against platypi in their making of iPhone bottons the wrong size for our cute little paws. When we try text Lindsay Lohan that we will join her to party, we always manage to somehow end up arranging an orgy with Karl Rove . . . which really isn't all it's cracked up to be, I can tell you!!!

      Steve Jobs is the AntiPlatypus.

      So your scripture doesn't work. We are going with the text of Nigeria's nefarious secret conspiracy with Hawaii to get one of their own into the presidency and turn the world to a communist fascist socialist platonist islamist exhibitionist sadomasochist neodadaist nightmare.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Banjo Ferret

      Oh, don't get us Ferretians started on the communist fascist socialist platonist islamist exhibitionist sadomasochist neodadaist nightmare. That's one of our most heated topics, especially over Wednesday brunches. So what if the Tweet According to Tim was printed out on a Chinese fortune slip? That could solve this swearing in problem once and for all. And who says it needs to be a hand? Can we not just superglue the slip to the rep's forehead? I sense a victorious solution.

      January 13, 2013 at 1:15 am |
  13. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    Expect nothing in truth absolute from a hindu, denire of truth absolute, essence of existence, WHY?
    Word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, HUN, Great, HAN, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativirty, hinduism, way of negativity. One has to be a hindu ignorant to expect matter's resolved to their crux, truth absolute constant, a hind lair, have no faith in truth absolute, but hind filth of hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism, child of hindu Lucifer, filthy secular of all..

    January 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ahhh, much better....all is right with the world now.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • IAM

      I like your train of thought.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Thank you.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • IAM

      youre very well come but I meant train of stupid incoherent thought

      January 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Matter of understanding, in truth absolute or hinduism, ignorance. your choice.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • IAM

      fire your English teacher son

      January 11, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  14. New Athiest

    Okay William,
    you need some help here today. Allow me to assist:

    Of course the Hindu people all over the country want her to support them. It is only normal. The blacks, mormons, jews, and christians all expect the same from other politicians.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  15. Rational Libertarian

    Hindu: What do you call the moisture on your hin?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Do they call their atheists Hindon'ts?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      some thing just before performance of holly tradition hinduism, sodomy by a hindu sanatan, filthy man god of hindu's chicken queens, to baptize them in to hinduism, denial of truth absolute in following of hindu Lucifer, criminal secular of all. Please visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, denial of truth absolute.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  16. rebeccahoeffner

    Six paragraphs from the bottom, "Himdus." Hopefully the editors read this!

    January 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  17. Wondering

    Where is hinduhater jellobrain guy? He should be in a total freak about this!

    January 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I think he is the congress womans ex-husband

      January 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Wondering

      I think it is safe to say that the only woman HinduRage RabidFroth guy could ever get is the inflatable variety, and even she would leave him.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  18. Reality

    So the question of the morning is: "What was Rep. Gabbard in her former life?" A member of the lower caste? A man (is that a step up or a step down :), :), a monkey? – The door is open for added answers.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • LOL

      This life is all we get. Reincarnation is a lie for the liars of the world.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Perhaps she was a Palestinian carpenter in the Bronze age, begat of a Virgin and crucified by the Romans?

      You seee Reality, the Bible predicts the return of Christ, but not the returning Christs religion.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  19. ME II

    "...making the Hinduism the third largest faith behind Christianity and Islam."

    The third largest faith, but technically, it's the fourth largest grouping, behind Christianity (31.5%), Islam (23.2%), Unaffiliated (16.3%), then Hindu (15.0%) world-wide. (http://www.pewforum.org/global-religious-landscape-exec.aspx)

    January 10, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • William Demuth

      Actually, unaffiated is a misnomer in many cases

      It indicates potential affiliation

      We really need the "none of the above, they are all Bul@@it" option to be included in these things before we get real numbers.

      In truth, I suspect once the stigma is removed, a full 20 percent of ALL humans know it is all lies.

      It was like being gay in the states back in the fifties. Feds said it was like 3 percent.

      Stigma was listed, and it became obvious it was really several fold larger percentage

      For example, we "religion is a lie" folks ALREADY outnumber Jews, Zoroastrians, Wiccans and Confuscians I believe

      January 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • LOL

      ME II, Christianity isn't a faith but the truth about life and the hereafter.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • William Demuth

      LOL

      Reality and Truth both mentioned in the same posting

      Alas, it has neither :)

      January 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Reality

      From another reference:

      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      Religion………………………… Adherents

      Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

      Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

      Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion

      Hinduism 900 million

      Chinese traditional religion 394 million
      Buddhism 376 million
      Animist religions 300 million
      African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
      Sikhism 23 million
      Juche 19 million
      Spiritism 15 million

      Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

      Baha'i 7 million
      Jainism 4.2 million
      Shinto 4 million
      Cao Dai 4 million
      Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
      Tenrikyo 2 million
      Neo-Paganism 1 million
      Unitarian Universalism 800,000
      Rastafari Movement 600,000

      January 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • LOL

      William Demuth, you're right on target, it's all been written.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Chad

      @William,
      I'm curious, what investigation have you done into the Christian claims that have led you to reject them?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      Half a century of reading (Bible: 18 Versions I can recall : KJV at least three full reads) I have been fascinated by it since childhood. Thousands of books, articles and studies on religion and personal discussions with untold numbers fo the faithfull and various clerics in at least three contries, and several dozen cities.

      I had once considered using it to fleece simple minded folks out of money, but felt it would be immoral

      January 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @william,
      What particular claims did you find to be false?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      The basic falsehoods are listed below

      That a sentient being created reality
      That said being interacts and communicates anything in any way
      That any humans insight into said being has merit.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "That a sentient being created reality, That said being interacts and communicates anything in any way
      That any humans insight into said being has merit."

      @Chad "what I meant was, what in the bible did you find false, that led you to those conclusions?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Read my post again.

      The entire premise is absurd

      In conclusion, Christianity is merely a Ponzi Scheme, and not even a good one.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "The entire premise is absurd"

      @Chad "what I meant was, what in the bible convinced you of this.
      I'm trying to understand your process in coming to that conclusion. I would think that you would have had to find some catastrophic errors in what the bible claims is true for you to have completely rejected it?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      Again Chad, Yes I have found dozens

      The first and foremost is that an intelligent being created reality.

      The second is that being actually is in communication with humans either now or at any point in the past.

      Once you get rid of these two absurd ideas, the rest are just minor annoying inconsistencies.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • me

      The guy who keeps asking what in the bible struct him as false, if you listened he said the whole premise, and I'll add one more all these books were written by man, not an omnipotent being. Man and men who sought to gain control of everybody else morality. Nothing man has done has ever been perfect, except maybe the toilet.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "The first and foremost is that an intelligent being created reality. The second is that being actually is in communication with humans either now or at any point in the past."

      @Chad "well, many fantastic and hard to believe notions turn out to be true.
      A thing isnt not-true simply because it is a fantastic and hard to believe notion, one first needs to investigate the claim of it's truth to see if it is true, even if it is perhaps fantastic and hard to believe being so.

      So, what did you find in the bible that led you to conclude that this fantastic claim was in fact false?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      As you are probably aware, there are many statements in the first book and in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible that do not agree with what we understand to have happened in the past. There are more, of course.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      The immorality of the god of the bible is enough to realize it is not true, the concept of free will and punishing and rewarding based on belief or non-belief. Not to mention that the bible comes from the Torah and the Torah is rooted in polytheism.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "As you are probably aware, there are many statements in the first book and in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible that do not agree with what we understand to have happened in the past"
      @Chad "not that I am aware of, which ones are you referring to?"

      =======
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers "The immorality of the god of the bible is enough to realize it is not true"
      @Chad "how is God portrayed as being immoral in the bible?"

      =======
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers " the concept of free will and punishing"
      @Chad "you dont believe in free will?"

      ===
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers " rewarding based on belief or non-belief"
      @Chad "what do you find irrational about the notion that if you believe in God you spend eternity with Him, and if you dont, you dont?

      =======
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers " Not to mention that the bible comes from the Torah and the Torah is rooted in polytheism."
      @Chad "perhaps the most bizarre misstatement I have encountered on this blog, congratulations.
      A. The Torah refers to the first 5 books of the bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
      B. Where in the world did you get the notion that it is rooted in polytheism????

      you'll get nowhere developing your Christian theology based on infidels.org.. Why not try reading the bible?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad,

      Beliefs are not a choice. I can't suddenly believe Vishnu is a real god. I have studied more than enough of Christianity to reasonably and honestly come to the conclusion it is not true. Even if I was wrong why should a god punish me for non-belief? Where is the benefit? The god that would do that would not be acting in a moral sense. The bible was consolidated in a politcal commitee. You can argue that the hand of your god directed the proceedings but that requires faith and "putting the cart before the horse". It is more than reasonable to conclude the proceeding were not directed. There is no resonable evidence to conclude the bible is anything other than a man made publication.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Oh and there are plenty of reputable biblical scholars who agree that Judaism was originaly polytheistic, you know this, it is not bizarre is the least. It just scares the hell out of you, pun intended.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers "I have studied more than enough of Christianity to reasonably and honestly come to the conclusion it is not true"
      @Chad "I have met hundreds of atheists that claim to have "studied the bible", however, of all those people I have met perhaps one that could actually describe exactly what in the bible caused them to come to that conclusion. The rest just do what you do and say something vague like "it's all nonsense", leading me to believe that their conclusion preceded their investigation.

      ======
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers "Even if I was wrong why should a god punish me for non-belief?"
      @Chad "Why would God allow you to spend eternity separate from Him, if that is your choice?
      because.. that's what you wanted.. right?"

      ======
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers "The bible was consolidated in a political committee"
      @Chad "ok, so:
      Old Testament wasnt consolidated by anyone, its content has been in place for well over 2500 years.. right?
      New Testament: The oldest and best eye witness accounts were collected as the canon, This did not in any way shape or form "shape or otherwise craft" its theology.

      =========
      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers: "Oh and there are plenty of reputable biblical scholars who agree that Judaism was originaly polytheistic, you know this, it is not bizarre is the least. It just scares the hell out of you, pun intended."
      @Chad "??
      name one :-)
      reputable, dont forget.. I can find people that believe the world is flat, the moon landings were faked and 9-11 was an inside job.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The bible is not a bunch of nonsense. It makes perfect sense when you read it for what it is. A book of collected, adapted, reimagined, myths and folk tales. Because it makes a lot of sense that way, but its god is horrible, disgusting, and stupid when read as if it were any sort of spiritual guidebook, then it makes more sense to treat it as it actually is instead of how the indoctrinated/brainwashed want it to be read.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • ME II

      Chad
      @ME II "As you are probably aware, there are many statements in the first book and in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible that do not agree with what we understand to have happened in the past"
      @Chad "not that I am aware of, which ones are you referring to?"

      Here's a few:
      – The Earth was not created "in the beginning" at the same time as the rest of the universe, or Heavens.
      – There was a morning and evening on the first day, but the Sun was not created until the fourth day.
      – Birds were supposedly created before land animals, which the geological record shows to be false.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      still tediously looking for more grist to grind in the same old mill.

      The Chad doth protest too much, methinks.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "The Earth was not created "in the beginning" at the same time as the rest of the universe, or Heavens. There was a morning and evening on the first day, but the Sun was not created until the fourth day."

      @Chad "your first clue that you were misreading something should have come when you realized that even ignorant goat herders know that the sun provides sunlight, and without the sun, there is no sunlight, and no day, so there couldnt be day one-three without a sun. So, clearly you are misreading, and here is how:

      1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

      3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Genesis

      Genesis says that God created the universe, sun, earth, everything. Verse 1.
      then, some time passed.. how long? no idea doesnt say.
      then, verse 2, we start looking at the progression of life on earth.

      It is important to understand the difference between the hebrew word translated "created", and the Hebrew word translated "Let", they refer to two dramatically different things.

      Day 4 talks about stars becoming visible, some kind of early atmospheric obfuscation previous, we dont know. But the sun was created, along with everything else, in verse 1.

      ===
      @ME II "Birds were supposedly created before land animals, which the geological record shows to be false."
      @Chad "not exactly
      A. It isnt really known when "Birds" first came on the scene
      B. "birds" is a classification that we invented, one certainly can not impose that on the biblical narrative. Modern birds came on the scene during the Cretaceous period following mammals. See for example:

      http://www.livescience.com/9433-mammals-soared-birds.html

      http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/766167/mammals_may_have_flown_before_birds/

      January 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      Perhaps I am misreading the Bible, it's hard not to.

      I'm not really certain what goat herders 1000's of years ago actually knew, but I'm not at all certain that they knew that the Earth's rotation relative to the Sun causes "morning" and "evening". Furthermore, if it was so obvious to them, then why did they state it incorrectly?

      "1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
      This appears to say that God created the heavens and the earth "in the beginning", not the heavens in the beginning.... then the earth, but both in the beginning. ~9 billion years after the fact hardly seems like "in the beginning" to me. But regardless of how much time passed between "." and "N", the point that I'm really trying to make is that they seem to have been created at the same time, which is incorrect.

      I'm not a Hebrew scholar, but it seems that Day 4 not only talks about stars becoming visible, it says "God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night" (Gen 1:16 NIV) "made" is also used in ESV, KJV, ASV, D-R, etc.
      ... 1:16 hardly seems like verse 1:1.

      So are you saying that flying mammals, if you want to include them as "birds", came before land animals, when land animals came before mammals? That seems impossible to me.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II " but I'm not at all certain that they knew that the Earth's rotation relative to the Sun causes "morning" and "evening". Furthermore, if it was so obvious to them, then why did they state it incorrectly?"
      @Chad "I said they knew that sun created sunlight, and without the sun there was no sunlight and no "day".
      Like I said, even an ignorant goat herder would know that talking about sunlight on days 1-3, without a sun, dont make much sense.. :-)

      Your reading is flawed, not their statement. The entire universe was created in verse 1, that included the sun, moon, stars, earth, everything. Following vs 1, is a description of what happened on the earth.

      ====
      @ME II "~9 billion years after the fact hardly seems like "in the beginning" to me. But regardless of how much time passed between "." and "N", the point that I'm really trying to make is that they seem to have been created at the same time, which is incorrect."
      @Chad "it just says in the beginning, it simply does not say how much time elapsed for that to be accomplished. You are reading into the text detail that isnt present.

      ======
      @ME II "I'm not a Hebrew scholar, but it seems that Day 4 not only talks about stars becoming visible, it says "God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night" (Gen 1:16 NIV) "made" is also used in ESV, KJV, ASV, D-R, etc."
      @Chad "
      Hebrew "bara'", translated as "created" Strongs h1254 refers to a direct creation, ex-nihilo
      Hebrew "`asah" translated as "made" Strong's H6213 is sets in order, sets into function where it is supposed to be.

      ======
      @ME II "ISo are you saying that flying mammals, if you want to include them as "birds", came before land animals, when land animals came before mammals? "
      @Chad "remember, our classifications are our classifications.
      The biblical order is fish-birds-land animals

      my point above is it is not clear how to overlay our classifications with the biblical ones. Perhaps they were talking about anything that flew, perhaps winged reptiles, we dont know.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Grundig Glasswerks

      Chad's homies give him a shasta blasta for each time he posts.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Chad

      I know I'm going to regret asking, but what is a "shasta blasta"

      January 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      CHad,

      I didn't say I studied the bible, I said study christianity, but regardless you are of the mindest that it is true. Everything you do is an effort to confirm it. You are biased. You have already said that our very existence is proof of your god and therefore admit your mind is closed. Working from that perspective you are unable to EVER change your mind, the very definition of being closed minded.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      I'm saying that it doesn't matter what they knew, they described it incorrectly.
      Day 1: "morning" and "evening"
      Day 4: the sun was "made"
      Are all the Bible translations incorrect and "made" really means... something else?
      Then why did nearly every translation from Young's Literal Translation to the New Living Translation use "made"?

      You are reading things into the text because you want it to be absolutely correct, hence "even an ignorant goat herder would know that talking about sunlight on days 1-3, without a sun, dont make much sense." That statement does not change the text. And maybe that text is just incorrect.

      Similarly, you keep expanding the definitions of simple words to make the text work, e.g. first "bird", then flying mammal, then flying reptiles. What next? "Birds" really means meteorites, like those that fell during the bombardment phase? If you can't trust the word "bird" in the Bible what do you do with "love", "good", "evil", "sin"? (rhetorical, I don't need a hebrew lesson on each) Perhaps it's just wrong.

      ... and we didn't even get to things like flowering plants (seeds and fruit) before land animals.
      ... and we didn't even get to things like 6 "days" vs 4+ billion years (or 13+ for the universe).
      ... and this is just the first chapter of the first book.

      You say something like,
      Obviously they couldn't have meant that, because it wouldn't make sense.
      (paraphrased obviously)
      Well, perhaps it just doesn't make sense. :)

      ...perhaps it wasn't meant to be a history or science book. :)

      I don't claim that there is no god, although I don't think there is, nor that the Bible completely wrong, but the Bible cannot be read literally, especially the beginning.

      Peace

      January 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cheesemakers "I didn't say I studied the bible, I said study christianity"

      =>well, on one hand, that explains a GREAT DEAL
      on the other hand, how exactly is it possible to study Christianity, and NOT study the bible??

      If you havent studied the bible, you havent studied Christianity. End of story.

      and, while we're on the subject of "closed mindedness", I'll make you a deal. I will read any book you recommend, if you will read any book that I recommend.

      deal?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL, chad thinks that because he believes the bible somehow someway even if you have to make words mean what they don't mean and clip big chunks out of facts that everyone else should do it.

      Chad, of course you can make anything fit your bible. That's not a special talent. Most intelligent christians who have spent any time thinking about it can perform the same feats--not because they can but because they MUST. You have to get good at it because it's so necessary. You do something a lot, and becomes easy to you and you fail to see why others don't do what you do. It's the same process a muslim uses with his Koran, Chad. It makes neither the bible nor the koran accurate, it just makes the believers able to do semantic gymnastics.

      If you could ever drop your apriori notion that the bible MUST be correct on all matters, you'd see just how easy it is to make everything fit with what you already assume MUST be true because all else MUST be false or secondary. We could do it with any text that covered enough ground. We could do it with Dr. Seuss. It's incredibly easy to make your own view of reality match a text you consider to be overarching. What believers don't realize is just how simple it is to do, so they think it's special and unique to THEIR text and so have false security that their belief is correct. Sad, actually.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Are all the Bible translations incorrect and "made" really means... something else?"
      @Chad "even in English, the difference between "created" and "made" is clear.
      "Bring (something) into existence" vs "formed or fashioned"

      so, the translation is good, but there is a subtly that is missed, especially if a person comes in with a bias.

      ======
      @ME II "Similarly, you keep expanding the definitions of simple words to make the text work, e.g. first "bird", then flying mammal, then flying reptiles. What next? "Birds" really means meteorites, like those that fell during the bombardment phase? "
      @Chad "lol
      no, what I am saying is that it is easy to get so caught up in our classification schemes,
      If you survey the various opinions on what a bird is, and what "wild animals and livestock" are, it looks like both were in the Jurassic period. Deciding which came first boils down to which species you figure is the first appearance of each.

      @ME II "and we didn't even get to things like flowering plants (seeds and fruit) before land animals."
      @Chad "that one, I dont understand..

      =======
      @ME II "and we didn't even get to things like 6 "days" vs 4+ billion years (or 13+ for the universe)."
      @Chad ""day" can also be translated "age"

      statements like this clearly support theistic evolution:
      Let the land produce living creatures
      Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being

      January 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @moby
      I started out not believing the bible, in an agnostic home. I actually set out to show how irrational the whole thing was and how it would fall apart with scrutiny.
      I mocked Christians incessantly (sound familiar?)

      the thing was, my mocking and derision was NOT based on any knowledge (sound familiar?). When I started really studying the bible, it quickly became crystal clear that it all held together, and it was true.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Reality

      And in summary, the latest word from many scholars of religion:

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

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

      earlychristianwritings.com/

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

      Current RCC problems:

      Some very dirty, very sick pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

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

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

      January 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, I don't believe you because you have proven yourself over and over and over to be a liar. And even if you just happen to possibly maybe been telling the truth, it means nothing because had you been living in Saudi Arabia your whole life, you'd have used the Koran and come to the conclusion that Islam was correct.

      Of course you can make anything fit with the bible. Muslims make anything fit with the Koran. What you fail to realize is that it's irrelevant. God's existence is irrelevant because of his invisibility and undetectability. If one of the "holy texts" had a much better claim than any of the others, there'd not be the continuing debate between religions. If god wanted his will to be known, he'd have used methods as convincing and certain as the methods he used to impart the truth of math or physics.

      God obviously wants us to disbelieve him Chad, or we'd agree because of VERIFIABLE methods that showed us clearer and fuller pictures of his nature--–like with math and chemistry. Why believe in what can't be proved just because you can and because you can always manage to justify it to your own thinking? It's silly. If you can look at your religion the way a person raised in a society with a different dominant religion can view it, and if you can apply the same criticisms as you apply to other religions, you'll see that you have nothing. But I don't advise it. Just stay stupid and satisfied. :)

      January 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @moby,
      these incessant accusations of lying really lack just one thing..

      an example!

      please remember two things:
      1. The statement "The God of Israel is real", is not a lie. You may not feel it is true, however that doesnt automatically make it a lie for me to make that statement.

      2. "you've been told before", "I cant be bothered to look it up" or some variation of the same.. are not examples :-)

      January 10, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, I'm not interested in what you think about my evaluation of you as a liar. I'm explaining to you that BECAUSE you are a proven liar, I often don't believe stuff you say.

      I care as much about proving that you're a liar as you care about the arguments against your apriori beliefs about the bible being true and/or the how the Planck epoch means that its impossible to say for certain whether the universe ever "began" or not.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby, you are just willfully ignoring reality because it collides with your atheism.

      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176). Alexandre Vilenkin

      January 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, I'm not throwing pearls before swine. You'll lie and refuse to face the facts before you admit to anything that you've already decided must be the case in order for you to believe as you already do. I have no interest in debating you and I keep asking you to not answer my posts. You and I both know that if your holy book said that the universe was eternal you'd have plenty of quotes from scientists that describe how we cannot know whether the universe ever had a beginning or not. You've chose the quotes you have because of your apriori belief. Until you realize that you are only considering what statements are biased towards what you cannot disbelieve, you are lost, and worse, you are blind.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      And just to be clear, Chad, I do BELIEVE that our universe had a beginning. But I KNOW that we do not have any certain knowledge that it began. It is not fact that the universe began; it is an unknown. We cannot say "the universe began, therefore..." anything, because we do not know whether the universe began or not because a singularity is a zone and because the planck epoch does not indicate a beginning or prior state or passage of anything "before." And if the universe did have a beginning, as I believe it did, then there is simply no way to know (with current data) where/what/how it began or where/what/how it came from.

      "We don't know" is always a much better answer than "Welllllll.......GAWD must had didid it!!"

      January 11, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      Subtly can also be added where none is warranted, especially if a person comes in with bias. How does a sun that is not formed or fashioned cause morning and evening?

      You compare birds to "wild animals and livestock", but the Bible talks of land creatures, not just "wild animals and livestock". Birds before land creatures makes no sense from an evolutionary stand point or the geological record. However, if you believe in special creation then water fowl being created with fish might make sense, but it's wrong.

      Flowering plants didn't show up until after birds, which were after mammals, which were after reptiles, which were after amphibians. The Bible has them on what... day 3 (before the sun was "formed or fashioned" btw)

      "day" may be translated as "age", but what can "morning" and "evening" be translated as?
      Didn't we just have a discussion about when the sun was created, sorry "made", and how that causes mornings and evenings?
      "...there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Gen 1:5)

      Statements from the Bible clearly support a Bible-based view of the world? really?

      Really have to go now.
      Peace

      January 11, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Gabbard

      @Moby -what a fantastic idiot you are.

      January 11, 2013 at 6:35 am |
    • ME II

      on Vilenkin
      Besides his paper being on certain types of universes, i.e. average positive expansion over all past, it also does not deal with what might be beyond a past boundary, or beginning. For example, his 2003 paper states:

      "What can lie beyond this boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event [12]."
      ("Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete" http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0110/0110012v2.pdf)

      However, no conclusion is drawn, i.e. it does not necessarily point to God. Likewise, in the same book as the quote a few posts back, but a page later, Vilenkin states the following:
      "So, what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."
      ("Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes" Alex Vilenkin, pg 177)

      Since Vilenkin himself is saying that his work does not prove the existence of God, it seems that quotes to that effect are mere quote-mining.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Chad

      @ME II "How does a sun that is not formed or fashioned cause morning and evening?"
      @Chad "exactly, it doesnt make sense to think that the author (and by author, I mean God) intended for that to be read literally as "24 hours elapsed".

      there are excellent exegesis on Genesis 1-2. I would be more than willing to make you my usual offer of "I'll read a book you recommend if you will read a book I recommend". Unfortunately, I find that in the vast majority of cases, atheists are simply not interested in becoming more acquainted with that which they are vociferously condemning (even though one would think they would jump at the chance of getting more ammunition thru better familiarity).. I for one leap at the chance to better understand the atheist rationale, the problem there is it is extremely difficult to pry it out of people.

      ====
      @ME II "You compare birds to "wild animals and livestock", but the Bible talks of land creatures, not just "wild animals and livestock". Birds before land creatures makes no sense from an evolutionary stand point or the geological record. However, if you believe in special creation then water fowl being created with fish might make sense, but it's wrong."
      @Chad "again, it all depends on your species association with "birds" and "living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals,"

      ======
      @ME II ""day" may be translated as "age", but what can "morning" and "evening" be translated as?"
      @Chad "metaphorically, "beginning" and "end""

      January 11, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Since Vilenkin himself is saying that his work does not prove the existence of God, it seems that quotes to that effect are mere quote-mining."

      =>Now that is really utter nonsense, and you certainly seem rational enough to recognize it as such.
      1. I DO NOT CLAIM that Vilenkin believes in God
      2. I DO NOT CLAIM that Vilenkin states that the fact that our universe had a beginning, demonstrates that God exists
      3. What I do claim is simply that:
      –A. Our universe had a beginning a point where all of the matter in the universe came into existence. It is a proven fact that the universe is not eternal in the past.
      –B. The fact that our universe had a beginning, is consistent with the theistic claim of creation.

      NOW:
      1. I can certainly use the scientific findings of atheists to demonstrate 3A, regardless of their belief in God.
      3A does NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, imply a belief in 3B.
      2. Just because a scientist does not believe in God, does NOT MEAN that I am restricted from using their work to establish the truth of 3A.

      so simple.. I just dont get how utterly unfamiliar virtually every atheist I have met is with formal logic. amazing.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • mama k

      ME II: "Since Vilenkin himself is saying that his work does not prove the existence of God, it seems that quotes to that effect are mere quote-mining."

      Yes, this has been brought to Chad's attention at least a few times, I'll be curious to see his response, if he still contends any of this theory is a proof of anything.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • mama k

      My last post was constructed before this last post by Chad, so I will review his reply after I prepare my espresso.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Chad

      Be sure also to read this first:

      http://people.uvawise.edu/philosophy/Logic%20Text/Contents.htm

      January 11, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      I DO NOT CLAIM that you claimed that Vilenkken believed in God.
      I DO NOT CLAIM that you claimed that his work demonstrates that God exists. Technically, I said "quotes to that effect".

      "It is a proven fact that the universe is not eternal in the past."
      While Vilenkin seems convinced, he did state, both in his book and his 2003 paper that the assumption was of an "average expansion rate in the past is greater than zero". This appears, to me, to leave a possibility of a unverse with an average expansion rate of exactly zero. Negative, I don't think, would make much sense.
      I'm not knowledgable enough to fully debate this, but it was an assumption in the paper.

      "The fact that our universe had a beginning, is consistent with the theistic claim of creation."
      Ah, well, perhaps that clears things up a bit.

      A universe with a beginning would be "consistent with" some theistic claims of creation, I would agree.
      A universe with a beginning is "consistent with" many creation myths, that is true.

      "Consistent with" and what I've heard you claim before as "the best explaination for" are two different things.

      And on the Gen 1 discussion...
      You said,
      "metaphorically, "beginning" and "end""
      to the "morning" and "evening" question.

      Again, perhaps that clears things up a bit.

      If taken metaphorically, I have no real issue with Genesis. It is only when read literally, that it conflicts with what we understand about nature.

      Thank you Chad. This has been am informative discussion.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "While Vilenkin seems convinced, he did state, both in his book and his 2003 paper that the assumption was of an "average expansion rate in the past is greater than zero". This appears, to me, to leave a possibility of a unverse with an average expansion rate of exactly zero. Negative, I don't think, would make much sense. I'm not knowledgable enough to fully debate this, but it was an assumption in the paper."
      @Chad "you are misunderstanding what "average expansion rate in the past is greater than zero" is used for by Vilenkin.

      The BGV theorem of a finite past holds for any universe which has on average over its past history been in a state of expansion.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Chad

      and please explain how my use of Vilenkins work is quote mining.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "The BGV theorem of a finite past holds for any universe which has on average over its past history been in a state of expansion."
      That was my understanding of what they propose, yes. My point, I think, is still valid.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "The BGV theorem of a finite past holds for any universe which has on average over its past history been in a state of expansion." That was my understanding of what they propose, yes. My point, I think, is still valid."

      =>your point is that in some other universe, there may have been negative or zero expansion and in that case the BGV would not be applicable do show that there was a beginning.

      That is farlly meaningless when it comes to a discussion of OUR universe, which has on average over its past history been in a state of expansion. The BGV theorum holds for OUR universe.

      still waiting for the explanation of the quote mining accusation...

      January 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Grundig Glasswerks

      Chad's homies give him a shasta blasta each time he posts.

      January 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "your point is that..."
      No, my point was that there were assumptions built into the concept, that's it.
      This is reflected in statements such as, "...we have shown under reasonable assumptions that almost all causal geodesics ... reach the boundary [in the past] ..." (http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0110/0110012v2.pdf)

      Not to mention that it doesn't seem to address other time geometries (if that's the right term,) such as Hawking's no-boundary proposition.
      Additionally, Vilenken, himself, as I pointed out earlier, says that the boundary he is talking about is not necessarily something outside of science, but may indicate a "quantum nucleation event" or some other scientifically describable event.

      As for quote mining, (which, technically I didn't accuse, see earlier post,) I thought that was cleared up. Your quote appeared, to me anyway, to be claiming Vilenkin's statement as evidence of the existence of God, which he specifically said, in the same book, was not the case. Since you clarified your position that a universe with a beginning is simply "consistent with" a created universe, I don't see a conflict with what I thought was Vilenkin's position.

      January 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  20. JayneQP

    Haribol!!!!! Hare Krsna!!! It's about time. I hope the trend of cultural expansion within government continues so that we have leadership that is as diverse as our population. Outstanding.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • LOL

      The toilet water is spinning down the drain and you have no eyes to see what is happening.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      LOL

      Actually, it is us flushing your cult down into the sewers from whence it came.

      Christianity is dying, the internet age is killing it, and I couldn't be happier.

      Christ shall soon rival Hercules, nothing more than a character in a comic book, another Villan to be vanquished by SpiderMan!

      January 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Which God?

      LOL. May you and your goD flush with it as well. Both are of you full of schitt.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:42 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.