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January 15th, 2013
08:28 AM ET

iReport: Why I Raise My Children Without God

Editor's Note: Deborah Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas, blogs about raising her children without religion. An avid reader of the Belief Blog, she said she shared this essay on CNN iReport because 'I just felt there is not a voice out there for women/moms like me. I think people misunderstand or are fearful of people who don’t believe in God.'

By Deborah Mitchell, Special to CNN

(CNN)–When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.

For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories that I didn’t believe about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.

One day he would know this, and he would not trust my judgment. He would know that I built an elaborate tale—not unlike the one we tell children about Santa—to explain the inconsistent and illogical legend of God.

And so I thought it was only right to be honest with my children. I am a non-believer, and for years I’ve been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I’ve found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever.

Read Mitchell's 7 reasons she's raising her children without God

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Opinion

soundoff (1,688 Responses)
  1. truth be told

    What one so called atheist lies to others will swear to. All atheists are liars all the time. Being appraised of Truth all decent people can now read atheist crap with a proper perspective.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • SImran

      I am an atheist and I am lying right now! :)

      January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Pete

      "All atheists are liars all the time."

      More lies from the xtians – 113!

      January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • ME II

      "All atheists are liars all the time."
      This seems practically impossible.
      Your own statement has exposed your own truthfulness.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Christ

      tbt
      If you keep proving to people that you are such a brainless tool, the more you scare them away from the collection plate. Smarten up, cash is king in this business.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm surprised none of the atheist bibliophiles have realized truth is laying the Scripture on you from 1 John 2:22;

      \New International Version (©1984)
      Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son

      January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Pete

      "\New International Version (©1984)
      Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son"

      Oh please that is just crap Bill and you know it. TBT state atheists are liars all the time, that is an outright lie. Give us a break with your twisting to the truth.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Christ

      Bill Deacon
      Pretty lame there Bill. tbt is just showing his intolerance to people that do not believe as he/she does, I thought you were above that sort of thing? You may have 2 billion or so sort of christians but according to that verse you have 5 billion anti christs, looks bad on your lot.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm confused. Are you saying I'm lying that that is the Scripture? Or are you saying that I'm lying that that is what truth is laying on you? Or are you saying that I'm lying that I'm surprised that all the self professed bibliophiles haven't recognized the pill they've been choking on?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Science

      Thanks everybody.
      Science peer reviewed.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill, the scripture is lying, it is a form of "cult logic". It is a way to literally demonize anyone who does not believe, not by using logic or reason but by saying "don't listen to them they are the devil". Would you accept that sort of argument in any other part of your life?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow, Bill, a quote. How fvcking convincing

      January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Which God?

      tbt, you are the biggest liar. Not only that you are a yellow-bellied.coward. You can't give up your illusion of being saved as well as being 'special.' You are terrified of your loving goD sending you to that imaginary pit. We all die, and when that happens, we try to go with dignity, if possible. Sometimes it isn't. Your goD won't be there for you at those last moments, just like it isn't here to comfort you in your agony of delusional belief. Your 'faith' in it is just that, empty. Your 'faith is just you, talking to yourself.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Pete

      "I'm confused. Are you saying I'm lying that that is the Scripture? Or are you saying that I'm lying that that is what truth is laying on you? Or are you saying that I'm lying that I'm surprised that all the self professed bibliophiles haven't recognized the pill they've been choking on?"

      So Bill you agree with TBT that atheists are liars all the time because of the scripture you posted?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Christ

      Bill you are using a Chadism. I am confused. Who said you were lying at all? You felt it neccesary to expound on tbt's rather stupid statement, why? Do you actually belive his original post that you managed to relate to a rather silly bible verse? The reason I am answering questions with questions, another Chadism I am afraid, but I forgive myself, easy when you are the man.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • frank

      Has this truth be told nutter ever backed up *any* of her little emotional outbursts??

      January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think it was Pete said I was "twisting the truth". I'm not twisting anything. I'm merely pointing to the reference with which truth is yanking everybody's chain. It's really humorous and even more so that some think I want to engage in a debate over the Scripture and the accusation it contains. I really don't. I just think it's funny that none of you realized the source of his comment and attacked it from that angle until I highlighted it.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Pete

      " I just think it's funny that none of you realized the source of his comment and attacked it from that angle until I highlighted it."

      And I think it's funny that you're supporting someone you think is quoting scripture but actually lying about others. There is NO truth to all atheists are liars all the time. Keep trying to spin it so you think your right, when you're not. Again answer the question do you agree with TBT that all atheists are liars on the time and this question has nothing to do with scriptures.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      you make a good point. I don't think anyone recognized tbt's recent trolling as nothing more than tedious 'chapter and verse' from the big book of smiting – until you pointed it out.

      There's a simple explanation. Atheists don't think along the same lines as bigoted bible fundamentalists.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Thanks, Bill. I suspect you may be right. Or he's a straight up nutter, but interesting reference nonetheless.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Kelly Spence

      Bill Deacon, I'm just surprised that you're trying to sidle your way out of your prior posts like that. What a slimeball.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      But don't they claim to know the Bible better than the religious? I think this pokes a big gaping hole in that claim

      January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill,

      I ignore tbt, she is a troll. I may not agree with you but at least you are not a troll. I made my point to show scripture cannot not be reasonably trusted.

      "It's really humorous and even more so that some think I want to engage in a debate over the Scripture and the accusation it contains. I really don't."

      I don't blame you, it is indefensible.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OH Hi Kelly, nice to meet you too.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Pete

      "But don't they claim to know the Bible better than the religious? I think this pokes a big gaping hole in that claim"

      Really Bill, how is that scripture claiming that "all atheists are liars all the time" in that scripture? It doesn't, but it does show that you have a big gaping hole in your knowledge of what the bible really states.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      There is no defense of the Gospel. One either accepts it or denies it. As for me, I accept.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill,

      "But don't they claim to know the Bible better than the religious?"

      For most of us? Of course not. But many if not most of us know it well enough to refute the accusation by believers that we know nothing about it and reject it without considering it on it's merits.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Billy D

      Do you have a point? The fact remains that tbt is an ignorant tool, and you're backing him on this. It's hilarious that christians will call atheists "intolerant" and "mean-spirited" when those same christians accept as truth a book that is more intolerant and mean-spirited than most people I know could ever be.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Christ

      Well Bill, being that dishonest, I think I will have to have a word with old Ratzinger and get your deaconship pulled. The RCC has enough embarassment without you making a fool of yourself on a blog.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill
      "But don't they claim to know the Bible better than the religious? I think this pokes a big gaping hole in that claim"

      And now I have to disagree with you. The atheist here have, with evidence, claimed that on average US Christians know more about Christianity than non-Christians. Even when this claim is made specifically about the Bible, it is still a statement of averages. This would only poke a hole if the original claims references all atheists knowing more than all Christians or if this were a scientific study of carefully regulated population samples.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Not counting you and tbt of course, your just as intolerant as the immoral, intolerant ass of a god you believe in. So congrats, your the exception to what i've found.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I feel some lies coming on.

      "Richard Nixon was a woman
      He was not President
      He did not resign
      He always told the truth..."

      January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      There is no defense of the Gospel. One either accepts it or denies it. As for me, I accept.

      Bill,

      I know you accept it, the question is why do you accept it? It is full of the "cult logic" and "fear" based arguments without a shred of actual evidence to make any reasonable person think it is true, unless they have been conditioned. How many people would think Christianity is "true" if they waited to teach it until people were at least 16 yrs old? There would be some, but the numbers would be much, much smaller.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Point taken Sara. Rather than a big gaping hole, I will just submit it as the joke it is.

      To answer Pete's question and avoid being called slimeball again by Kelly, I will answer that, in my opinion, Yes whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ is lying. Does that make them a permanent, reflexive liar? Probably not. But even myself, claiming Christ, I am capable of a lie from time to time. Does that invalidate my claim as one of His? Hopefully not.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Oh Cheesy, I'm glad you asked. I've been developing this thought for a few days based on a book I'm reading by Bonhoeffer. It appears to me that for unbelievers, a conversion to belief looks like the end product of an intellectual exercise in which compelling evidence is presented which the unbeliever cannot refute. I claim, and I think Bonhoeffer supports, that belief is not the end product of an intellectual debate but rather the starting point for a life of surrender to the authority of Jesus. When a person "lays down his life, picks up his cross and follows" revelation is supplied which produces faith. For this reason, I believe atheists have the paradigm wrong when they demand proof on the front end.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill, If you want to stick to common usage of language, I would think in most cases you'd want to claim people are mistaken (based on your assumptions) rather than lying. Or when I say that I don't believe Jesus in the Christ do you think I really do belive that and am just sayingotherwise (normal use of the word lying)?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • tcarter213

      "All atheists are liars all the time." Really? What if we said, with much more evidence on our side, that all believers in God are lying all the time? Think about it. With no proof of existence and logic against you, isn't it lying to say you believe? Well, lying or delusion. Take your pick.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill

      "I believe atheists have the paradigm wrong when they demand proof on the front end."

      Given the current set of knowledge we all share, the notion of insistence on proof is somewhat specious. It's purpose is to deliberately argumentative as essentially a defense mechanism to the question of "why don't you have faith like me".

      Faith itself is clearly not a product of critical thought.

      Critical thought can certainly be applied to aspects of faith and there is a long history including the likes of Thomas Aquinas but faith itself is not the product of critical thought.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sara, technically you are correct. I only use the word lying because that is what what truth used and that is what the Scripture says. A person could either be lying or mistaken. I suppose Paul's argument is posed in the context of a philosophical debate such as appears here. people have been having these debates from the beginning you know.

      GOP I agree, faith is not the product of thinking. It is the product of obedience to the Word, which is Christ Himself.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @BIll

      Are you still pushing your "believe then you will get faith to believe" confirmatory bias idiocy? Wow, you really have nothing worthwhile.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill,

      That argument seem to admit there is not reasonable or logical reason to believe in christianity, and in fact using reason and logic actually is the wrong starting point. 2 things.

      1. What other problem in life would one "submit" and "surrender" to find "truth"?

      2. What kind of "loving" and "moral" god would expect people to throw away logic and reason in order to then believe in his existence AND actually punish people for not doing so.

      Bonhoffer seems to be just dressing up his "cult logic" to make it more appealing.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Following that line:

      Suppose a person were obedient to Christ. There are two possibilities One he finds Christ. Two he does not

      In the event he does not, there are two possibilities One, there is no Christ. Two his effort to follow has been flawed

      I know of no one who has followed Christ to the point He Himself trecked; to their own crucifixion for the benefit of their friends without finding faith in the example Christ himself set. So my supposition (and this is what Chad has been asking lately) is that there is a flaw in the following. To what degree have you investigated the claims of Christ? Makes perfect sense to me. My own investigation is underway and I can tell you it is a fascinating discovery of freedom and life.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Free nuts

      But the G-od dame bolts will cost you for that arc OK.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The only situation I can think of that one would submit and surrender to without investigation is the power of love. From before the time we are even born, we are loved and we are born into love and hunger for love without questioning why we need it and why we need to give it. For this reason God is love, I suppose as we have been told.

      I don't think Jesus thought of it as the Apostle's surrendering and submitting to his will. He merely told them the truth and asked them to follow if they would and described the cost to do so. In not very appealing terms either, it seems They were compelled by his authority and His promises are true. Men will revile you, you will be brought before Kings and judges, imprisoned and martyred for the Gospel.

      Makes no sense at all does it?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Are you so pathetic that you have to consistently ignore when someone calls you on your confirmatory bias bullshit?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry, I didn't respond to the punishment part. Trying to be consistent with the catechism so this doesn't become the Gospel according to Bill: Hell is a spiritual state defined as lacking the presence of God. Therefore, it isn't a place God sends us for punishment, it is a place we go to by our own choice.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes, Hawaii, I only respond to you when I want to "poke the bear". You're not capable of a reasoned discussion. Sara, GOP and some others have better manners.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Science

      Doc-umentary states it has the smnoking gun!
      No go-ds required. Brand New Show Jan 9 2013
      DNA can't be disputed. But they are still trying.
      PBS Nova Decoding Neanderthals doc-umentary
      In public schools in the US already .

      January 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      Chad's challenge of "have you investigated the God of Israel" is as equally specious and argumentative as "show me definitive proof of the divine".

      While it may be a relevant challenge to someone who has no fundamental understanding of having experienced a faith, it is dissembling to suggest that this is a meaningful question for people who have rejected that same faith.

      Faith is a gift and it has value for those who accept it. Rejecting it – particularly having first experienced it – is as equally valid a choice as accepting it.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "I know of no one who has followed Christ to the point He Himself trecked; to their own crucifixion for the benefit of their friends without finding faith in the example Christ himself set."

      Saying Jesus set a decent example, (nothing he philosophically said was original to him) and saying he is "god" are lightyears apart.

      As for beliefs being choices.

      The christian god is "perfect" and therefore needs nothing, and yet that same god requires belief. Contrary to Christian teaching, "belief" is not a "choice", yet Christianity teaches it is a "choice" and those who do not "believe" are actually "rejecting" the belief. Can you "choose" to suddenly believe that Vishnu, the Hindu god is real? Of course not. Therefore rewarding and punishing people based on belief or non-belief is immoral. A perfect god would know and understand this. The Christian god does not exist.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      So tell me Bill, how am I incapable of reasoned discussion? You made the claim, back it up. Or did you believe it first, and now you have faith that I'm incapable of reasoned discussion?

      January 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "truth be told" and "Bill Deacon", but "Truth", "Christ", "Father and the Son", "the Gospel", "His", "the Word", "Himself", "He", and "God" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill,

      Also, I have examined christianity extensively for a lay person, more than most christians do. I find the notion that I "just didn't do it right" insulting. I don't take it personally from you though because that is the kind of rubish thrown around by christianity all the time and is just another form of "Cult Logic". I need to leave but I will check back in about 6 hours.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      bewarre of inbred, bloody gashes like tbt who capitalize the word "truth".

      fvcking cvnt

      January 16, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  2. PRISM 1234

    She's raising her children without God....
    Well, we reap what we sow. You can see the results in this perverse generation. We witness them weekly, even daily in the news. When God whom our forefathers honored lifts His hand of mercy and protection, guess who moves in?

    And We haven't seen nothing yet. This country and this society has NOTHING to boast about. Freedom is just one of empty clic.hes, sounding fake and hollow, especially to the outsider whose senses haven't been dulled by constant pounding of lies this society is fed 24/7, every day of the week perpetually! It is hard to feel pity for proud, co.cky arrogant people..... My heart goes out to the poor, unfortunate and outcasts (which this society looks on as lesser, calling them the THIRD world.. Just who made YOU to be the First?!), who know that they are dust and they have no problem seeing their need for their Maker. The Day will come when they will stand in JUDGMENT against this nation and its proud people!

    January 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • SImran

      "Freedom is just one of empty clic.hes, sounding fake and hollow, especially to the outsider whose senses haven't been dulled by constant pounding of lies this society is fed 24/7, every day of the week perpetually! "

      Who exactly is the outsider here?

      Actually it is the third world countries like mine who have made countries like US first world or whatever (developed) you may like to call it. If it were not for issues deep rooted in our own society which make progress of our nations very difficult, the West would not have been a dream destination!
      Ever try surviving in India with honesty! We free 16yr old ra'pists iand murderers n our country, we make mass murderers our political leaders and potential prime ministers of our land.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Jesus

      " It is hard to feel pity for proud, co.cky arrogant people"

      The reason you wrote that is because that is what you are, stop looking outward and look inward at your own dark heart.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Christ

      I guess you do not read what you write. You are an embarassment to my teachings.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'PRISM 1234' contains a series of Non Causa Pro Causa fallacies and concludes with a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Karen

      I don't need religion to teach my child to be moral, ethical and honest, or to teach my child to be respectful of the people around her.
      And I know plenty of people who scream their religious beliefs from the rooftops and then treat those around them like garbage.
      Religion isn't the key to a moral society, especially when it is used as a motivation for abusing those around you.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Prisms main argument is one of fear.

      "Do what my god says or he will beat you up forever and ever, but it's your choice, and remember....he loves you!".

      January 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Fallacy, that's not Pascal's Wager. Pascal's Wager is an argument for choosing between what are perceived to be two choices. This is just a statement, maybe a scare tactic or supporting argument, but not Pascal's Wager.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      Prissy: Your god is a vindictive, petty pr1ck, and you are nothing but a snivelling sycophant. F you and your empty proxy threats

      January 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Why, Simran, with that intelligence you've got, one would think you could comprehend my post! Well, every once in a while the real co/ndition of atheists glares through so clearly.....LOL!!

      January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Wait?

      "Well, every once in a while the real co/ndition of atheists glares through so clearly"

      Really? Maybe you should look at Denmark and Sweden they are the most non-religious modern societies that show atheism isn't as bad as you are making it out to be. From the NY Times "Anyone who has paid attention knows that Denmark and Sweden are among the least religious nations in the world. Polls asking about belief in God, the importance of religion in people’s lives, belief in life after death or church attendance consistently bear this out.

      It is also well known that in various rankings of nations by life expectancy, child welfare, literacy, schooling, economic equality, standard of living and competitiveness, Denmark and Sweden stand in the first tier. "

      January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Karen, where do you think that standards of right and wrong, and of all morals come from?
      How do you know the difference?
      Do you think that it all came as an evolutionary process and accidentally "we've got it", to the point that WE ALL KNOW what's right and what's wrong?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • SImran

      Wow, you really know me to have figured out my intelligence quotient too!!! I am impressed!
      While I could not figure out your message, neither could you. Care to explain who the outsider is again?
      The third world is really third world bcoz they deserve to, they are not ready to question their stone age values and morals and still stick to it in the name of culture and religion. No wonder a large portion of the so-called cream of our society choses to settle in the developed world and easily adapt to it.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Do you think that it all came as an evolutionary process and accidentally "we've got it", to the point that WE ALL KNOW what's right and what's wrong?"

      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.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "where do you think that standards of right and wrong, and of all morals come from?"

      I know where they did NOT come from....your immoral god.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • SImran

      Humanity’s closest living relatives are common chimpanzees and bonobos. These primates are known to share a common ancestor with humans who lived four to six million years ago. It is for this reason that chimpanzees and bonobos are viewed as the best available surrogate for this common ancestor. Barbara King argues that while primates may not possess morality in the human sense, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of morality. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of "self", and a concept of continuity. Frans de Waal and Barbara King both view human morality as having grown out of primate sociality. Many social animals such as primates, dolphins and whales have shown to exhibit what Michael Shermer refers to as premoral sentiments. According to Shermer, the following characteristics are shared by humans and other social animals, particularly the great apes:
      attachment and bonding, cooperation and mutual aid, sympathy and empathy, direct and indirect reciprocity, altruism and reciprocal altruism, conflict resolution and peacemaking, deception and deception detection, community concern and caring about what others think about you, and awareness of and response to the social rules of the group.
      Shermer argues that these premoral sentiments evolved in primate societies as a method of restraining individual selfishness and building more cooperative groups. For any social species, the benefits of being part of an altruistic group should outweigh the benefits of individualism. For example, lack of group cohesion could make individuals more vulnerable to attack from outsiders. Being part of group may also improve the chances of finding food. This is evident among animals that hunt in packs to take down large or dangerous prey.

      All social animals have hierarchical societies in which each member knows its own place.[citation needed] Social order is maintained by certain rules of expected behavior and dominant group members enforce order through punishment. However, higher order primates also have a sense of reciprocity. Chimpanzees remember who did them favors and who did them wrong. For example, chimpanzees are more likely to share food with individuals who have previously groomed them.[9] Vampire bats also demonstrate a sense of reciprocity and altruism. They share blood by regurgitation, but do not share randomly. They are most likely to share with other bats have shared with them in the past, and who are in dire need of feeding as bats who haven't fed in three days risk death from starvation.
      Animals such as Capuchin monkeys and dogs also display an understanding of fairness, refusing to co-operate when presented unequal rewards for the same behaviors.
      Chimpanzees live in fission-fusion groups that average 50 individuals. It is likely that early ancestors of humans lived in groups of similar size. Based on the size of extant hunter gatherer societies, recent paleolithic hominids lived in bands of a few hundred individuals. As community size increased over the course of human evolution, greater enforcement to achieve group cohesion would have been required. Morality may have evolved in these bands of 100 to 200 people as a means of social control, conflict resolution and group solidarity. This numerical limit is theorized to be hard coded in our genes since even modern humans have difficulty maintaining stable social relationships with more than 100-200 people. According to Dr. de Waal, human morality has two extra levels of sophistication that are not found in primate societies. Humans enforce their society’s moral codes much more rigorously with rewards, punishments and reputation building. People also apply a degree of judgment and reason, not seen in the animal kingdom.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      Prissy's argument is one of fear because he likes to play god. The funny thing is that he does not realize that his god is as impotent as he is. Prissy....F OFF

      January 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • SImran

      Prism
      Come on, do you seriously yourself not understand what you meant with your post or you are just too arrogant to explain it to others and simply mock at them? Does your holybook also preach arrogance? Or ignorance???

      January 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Saraswati' is correct and I am a jackass. Whoa, did I just create a whole new form of fallacy? Hence forth, this fallacy shall be know as Jack in the Dirtbox fallacy .

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Tom

      The end of Prissy's post actually is very close to Pascal's Wager. He's betting on a specific bad outcome caused by his particular god being the case, without considering many (not just 2) other possible, seemingly equally likely/supported scenarios. He didn't state the bet outright, but it is pretty much implicit.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  3. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh on all religions and their gods in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
    1. The latest data show that a big portion of the federal

    January 16, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  4. { ! }

    "But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense...." If this mother is consistent, she will not permit her child to watch TV. Hollywood is the greatest thought engineer of them all.

    January 16, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Really??

      When it is on TV, people, including children don't have a hard time differentiating fact from fiction. When you get brainwashed , being told that fiction is fact, with no way to refute it. They tried with me and no one could answer my questions, and my parents were asked not to bring me to chirch anymore, because of my questions. When questions cause so much problem, it clearly is an issue with what is being questioned. I have been a firm atheist since I was 6. No one could address my questions, and to this point no one can provide properlogical reasonable explainations to most of my questions. The knowledge we have gained through scientific methods show the bible to be false, and therefore useless in a quest for knowledge.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Science

      This doc-umentary states it has the smoking gun. Jan 9 2013
      PBS Nova Decoding Neanderthals doc-umentary
      It is in public schools in the US already !!!
      Why is this not in the bibl?, The smoking gun!!!

      January 16, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @Science What is the value of a smoking gun? Evolution tells us about how blind nature somehow produced a mere body that is capable of survival. Religions don't ask "what am I?" but instead "who am I?" Science deals with the human only as an organism. Religions deal with him as a person. Religion tackles the important questions. "Mind" is the domain of religion. The brain is the domain of science.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'catholic engineer' contains multiple instances of Fallacies of Equivocation.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org

      January 16, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Really??

      CE
      Religion tackles the major questions like what?...When men make up the religion, and then make up the answers, what are they tackling?

      January 16, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      delusional engineer, no god is required to ask or answer any of those questions.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Religions don't ask "what am I?" but instead "who am I?""

      Catholic Engineer,

      It is fine if they ask the question "who am I", it is their made up answers that we have a problem with, and the fake authority they use as justification.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Catholic engineer, Psychology (excluding strict behaviorism) deals with both the mind and brain.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • lol??

      Freud and his rich pals had wet nurses. That causes his foundations to be seriously in doubt. Start again. Do not pass go and collect $200.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      When I first saw Fallacy Spotting I thought how helpful it would be to have someone monitor discussions for legitimate arguments. But his biased judgements have destroyed his credibility, if not his accuracy.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Science

      Thanks everybody
      Science peer reviewed.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Bill Deacon' is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill, I've got to agree I've pretty much had it with fallacy. He has obviously never taken either a log or intro philosophy class and is just pulling these fallacies (half of which aren't technically fallacies at all) off a single website. He's too lazy to try and prove his case on any of them, which combined withhis frequent inaccuracies and blatant bias end up making it look like he (or she) is just picking fallacy names at random.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • PlayDough RepubliCan

      Hey, Catleer, that's quite the land grab you're making of philosophy's territory for religion. Neat trick. You Catholics sure are good at them, especially your priests, on unsuspecting innocents.

      Got the philosphers to sign a treaty yet? They're not gonna like reservation life.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Colin

      I tend to find Fallacy Spotting 101 to be pretty accurate in his/her fallacy identification. A few I've seen cited were pretty nitpicky ones though. Biased in selection of which comments get flagged though, bias does seem to be the case. However, claiming that a fallacy is not one merely based on bias of the person citing it, is itself a formal fallacy.

      (Yeah, as for myself, I did take quite a few philosophy & logic courses, but that was back around the time of the dinosaurs...)

      January 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I claim his integrity is destroyed, not especially his accuracy although I line up with Sara, some of the accuracy misses as well.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Colin, I don't think Bill is claiming anything about the validity of fallacies statements in the reference to credibility. Credibility is a completely different matter than accuracy, and something in which we do (in order to function with limited time) weigh issues such as bias, education and previous accuracy in judging which of millions of humans be want to listen to. You can certainly have low credibility and yet be right a lot of the time, but fallacy's history of inaccuracies and biases makes him\her not very credible to me. For others the bias, at least, may well increase credibility.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Colin

      It might be useful to see some analysis re what the perceived inaccuracies are.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Ted

      FS 101 just rocks. Bill just doesn't like it when he gets caught out and has to assume the position. Red cheeks yet, Billy D?

      January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Colin, for starters claiming what Bill said was an ad hominem fallacy was, as just discussed, inaccurate. He regularly claims any statement by a Christian that god will do bad things to you is Pascal's Wager. There are a ton more I'm not interested in going into, but his assignments are very often well off target.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • OTOH

      I wish that @Fallacy Spotting, or some other good explainer, would describe what "Begging the Question" is. It is misused so often on these boards and elsewhere when folks are actually talking about "Raising the Question".

      January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @OTOH, That's because in everyday discourse begging the question and raising the question do mean the same thing. The expression is probably more frequently used in that context now. What begging the question in the classic sense means is more similar to what in everyday language is called a circular argument. The conclusion is itself an implicit premise. Well, usually implicit (so they don't realize what they're doing), unless someone is really daft.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • OTOH

      Saraswati,

      Thanks. I guess that 'me and him' will just have to get 'use' to it and 'except' the fact that 'your' right about this :)

      January 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • sam

      Often you can see F101 getting Pascal's Wager right. I'm for fallacy spotting, generally. Ad hominems are hardly worth even citing though, for sure – just a normal day in the life on this blog, sadly.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  5. Bob

    Since "lol??" sees fit to dump bible quotes on us this morning, here are a few more choice bits from the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    January 16, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • lol??

      The dustball sayz, "...........and toss them into the dustbin............." and he's doing ye ol' cough with the appropriate death rattle.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  6. Mohammad A Dar

    Deborah, yes you can raise your kids without practicing any religion, by doing so, you're denying their opportunities to become a President one day. This country would never elect an Atheist President in a million year.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps by the time her children are old enough, the U.S. will be ready to elect someone who doesn't depend on a mythical creature for guidance.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • ME II

      A good practical example.
      Fortunately, politicians can, and do, "get saved" at any point.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • No

      Ethics in Politics

      January 16, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Huh?

      "This country would never elect an Atheist President in a million year."

      But it will elect liars and adulterers.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • frank

      Well that's swell – avoid following reason for political concerns.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      All they have to do is do like most xtians and all politicians and lie.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • End Religion

      5-6 years ago i was talking with a friend about who might next run for President. I had just heard of Obama and I mentioned him as a possibility. My friend laughed at me and said, "This country will never elect a black President. Not in a million years." That friend is no longer a friend, and this country elected an African American as President.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Saraswati

      Not now they won't, but 30 years ago neither would Australians.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      @Huh?, yes, they are liars, adulterers and flip flop on everything they say, but they still can't get elected without putting a face of church goer !!

      January 16, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • lol??

      ER sayz,

      "...That friend is no longer a friend, and this country elected an African American as President."........Are you sure you don't mean American African?

      January 16, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • rabidatheist

      I think the country already did elect an atheist President, they just don't know it, and he won't admit it.....yet.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • meifumado

      Many thought they would never vote in a black POTUS as well

      January 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @saraswati,

      "30 years ago neither would Australians"

      Technically correct, but 29 years ago they did.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually 30 years next month.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP, a good thing then I didn't write "29 years ago". Which all just goes to show how far behind the curve the US is...

      January 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      ;)

      The Puritans have a lot to answer for. Maybe if Cromwell's New Model Army had roamed New England pillaging and buring things would be different here too.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP, I think the much more rural nature of theUS compared to highly urbanized Australia makes a big difference too.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  7. roman2819

    Recently there is this book "Understanding Prayer, Faith and God's will" which discusses how Christians are discouraged by "serious prayers ... not answered" (the same words that Deborah wrote in her CNN article). It explains what Jesus really intended to tell us about prayer, which will clarify the wrong notions we have in this area. It also examines God's will in depth (in three chapters. There are 12 chapters in the book). It also discover evolution and creation. Overall, it is well-rounded and reasonably convincing. For those interested, the publisher is Tate Publishing.

    January 16, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's funny how many christians feel the need to "explain" what Jesus meant. I guess the bible had it wrong.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Dennis

      roman, nice try at astroturfing your cheesy book. You suck.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Harry Houdini

      Explaining the unexplainable. I used to try seances for that didn't work. Told the folks I would get back to them from the far side, didn't work. Ain't anybody anywhere that ever contacted the spirit world because there ain't one, get it, the father, son and holy ghost never existed except in the minds of those that made it up and those dumb enough be duped.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • End Religion

      "examining god's will in depth" should take about a sentence

      January 16, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • meifumado

      I have a better idea Roman,

      I will read your book if you read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins

      what do you say?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  8. lol??

    "Isa 28:10 For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:"

    January 16, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Bible Verses

      lol??
      Troll, why not some original troll crap, we can look up the original BS ourselves.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • lol??

      One of your pals made a claim they can't be considered original.They WON'T call you out cuz of your shared Christian hate.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  9. Live4Him

    @The Truth : YOU DON'T CHECK IT'S VERACITY USING THE SAME ... BOOK

    Without validating against the actual book, then you're left with validating against a caricature. Which do YOU think is better?

    January 16, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Joseph Smith received divine revelations from the Archangel Moroni.
      We know this to be true becuase it is in the holy Book of Mormon.
      The Book of Mormon is the next Gospel of Jesus Christ – it says so in the Book of Mormon.
      Therefore, Joseph Smith was a true prophet and melanin in the mark of Cain.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • ME II

      Not sure what the discussion originally was, but a math book is self-checking, it either works or it doesn't.
      Other science books are checked against reality by doing experiments.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • lol??

      Docster, that book conflicts with scripture already received.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • lol??

      God is not conflicted, like most dustballs end up.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @lol
      The Book of Mormon says that the Book of Mormon is perfectly compatible with other Testaments.
      If the New Testament can be used to prove the existence of Christ, then the Book of Mormon can be used to prove that Moroni gave Smith the Seer Stones and golden plates.
      If the Bible is true because the Bible says that it is true, so it must be with the Book of Mormon.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • ME II

      Try the Book of the Invisible Blue Spaghetti Monster.
      It's the only holy scripture to correctly state, "This book is full of crap" and therefore the only True Word.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • lol??

      Doc Vestibule sayz,
      @lol
      The Book of Mormon says that the Book of Mormon is perfectly compatible....".......Easy enough to check out,.ie,......................... "Luk 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:" No match. On a logic plain, marriage results in reproduction, "after its kind". Children of parents cleansed by the blood, and living in a sinless body, would not need a cleansing and would be equal with God. That ain't gonna happen.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • frank

      Not conflicted?

      Christian Type A: Written by the hand of God
      Christian Type B: It is not to be taken literally.
      Christian Type A: Yes you do.
      Christian Type B: No, you don't.

      Meanwhile Jack Nicholson enters the room and slaps them both silly.

      Sobbing. both Christians reply: "It's our sister and our daughter".

      January 16, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Len

      The point is that there's no reason to believe that the Bible is saying the truth unless you take it at it's word that it does. Its model of how the universe works and its accounts of very early Jewish history are not verified by outside observations, or sources. What it says has to be taken completely upon faith, unlike math and science books where their contents can be demonstrated and proven.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Doc Vestibule : Joseph Smith received divine revelations from the Archangel Moroni.

      Let's apply our critical thinking skills here.

      1) The Book of Mormons mentions cities and an entire civilization in North America around 33 AD. Using this book's contents (rather than a caricature of it), we search for evidence that these civilizations existed. Finding none, we raise a red flag, because it fails to be validated with archeological evidence.

      2) Next, we apply the standards identified in the Bible (which introduces Jesus) to the Book of Mormons. This standard is that divine signs (i.e. foretelling the future accurately) would be revealed by true prophets of God. We find no fulfilled prophecies in the Book of Mormons. We raise another red flag, because it fails to be validated with the standards that it claims.

      Therefore, The Book of Mormons fails the authentication process.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Lol
      It says quite clearly in the ti/tle:
      "TheBook of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ"
      If Christians can say that the Bible proves the Bible, then the Book of Mormon proves the Book of Mormon.
      What's good the goose is good for the gander.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Smithsonian

      "1) The Book of Mormons mentions cities and an entire civilization in North America around 33 AD. Using this book's contents (rather than a caricature of it), we search for evidence that these civilizations existed. Finding none, we raise a red flag, because it fails to be validated with archeological evidence."

      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.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • lol??

      Typical docster, You are the moderator, You make up the rules, You are god cuz You have a belly..............BBBbbbwwwwahahahhahaha

      January 16, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Free Nuts

      Nuts for free.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Mormons will tell you that many of Smith's prophecies came true.
      For example:
      Joseph said: "I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th, 1832."
      It is a fact of history that South Carolina took the initiative that led to the rebellion of the Southern States and that the civil war began in South Carolina.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      "Let's apply our critical thinking skills here."
      "...we raise a red flag, because it fails to be validated with archeological evidence."

      – Flood of Noah's time.
      – Genesis story
      – Joshua getting the son stopped in the sky

      January 16, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • End Religion

      1) Sodom and Gomorrah were mythical cities that never existed.
      Nazareth was a mythical city that never existed.

      2) god predicts his son will be named Immanuel, yet is named Jesus.
      jesus says he'll come back within a generation: no 2nd coming

      January 16, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      o A lot of the core prophecies "fulfilled" by Jesus are up for debate.
      For example: They say that Jesus being born of a virgin fulfills the Isaiah 7:14prophecy.
      However, the Hebrew term in Isaiah “almah” which means a “young woman”. "Virgin" is a mistranslation.
      Christians assert that Jesus is from David's line, but tribal line cannot be passed on through adoption. Jesus cannot be "son of David" through Joseph. A tribal line also does not pass through the mother, and even if it did, Mary was not descended of David through Solomon.
      Furthermore, did Jesus manage to:
      1) Rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem? Kind of hard to do since the Temple still stood during Christ's lifetime.
      2) Re-establish Jewish law as the only law?
      3) Save Israel? Lessee – just after His death (and Zombification)the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, Jerusalem was laid to waste, and the Jews went into exile to begin a 1900 year long night of persecution, — largely at the hands of Jesus' followers.
      4) Establish a world government run from Jerusalem?
      5) Return all the exiled Jews to Jerusalem?
      Don't forget that during that time, there were MANY claimaints to the Messiah role like Simon of Peraea, Athronges, Menahem ben Judah, Vespasian, Simon bar Kokhba, etc. ad nauseum.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Len : The point is that there's no reason to believe that the Bible is saying the truth unless you take it at it's word that it does.

      You're not taking the scientific approach to this issue. Scientifically, once you can validate one item, you must presume it to be true until another premise can be falsified. There is plenty of archeological evidence that validates the Bible. There hasn't been any premise that has been proven to be false.

      Therefore, only apriori leanings can advance the posit that the Bible should not be taken as truth.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Without validating against the actual book, then you're left with validating against a caricature. Which do YOU think is better?

      I think you missed the point. You can not validate what a book says by checking it against itself. You have to validate it against external sources.

      If I open a book with "This book is the absolute truth, and there is no truth outside this book." and then proceed to fill the book with lies and half truths, does the opening statement make all of those lies truth? No, of course not.

      If some of the biggest claims in a book are invalidated by external sources, one must question all of the claims.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Huh?

      "Scientifically, once you can validate one item, you must presume it to be true until another premise can be falsified. There is plenty of archeological evidence that validates the Bible. There hasn't been any premise that has been proven to be false."

      Yes there has but you won't acknowledge it because it means you would be wrong and your ego can't handle it.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      "You're not taking the scientific approach to this issue. ...There hasn't been any premise that has been proven to be false."
      Man did not exist 6 days after the creation of the universe. Nor 3 days after the first plants. Nor 2 days after the first fish.
      Genesis, taken literally, is wrong.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Isaac the Son

      Smithsonian
      The bible is a reiigious book at best and a pi ss poor one at that. You know my dad heard these voices in his head and was going to murder me but snapped out of it just in time. This jesus came around so the story goes, to teach people how to love and respect each other and how well did that work out. That christians can delude themselves that they follow the teachings or their messiah is a terrible joke and denial of the actual history of man kind. So much lying, torture and death.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • myweightinwords

      You're not taking the scientific approach to this issue.

      Right, because you have proven your skills in this area?

      Scientifically, once you can validate one item, you must presume it to be true until another premise can be falsified.

      Conversely, if you can not validate one item, all the rest must also be suspect. Fair statement?

      There is plenty of archeological evidence that validates the Bible. There hasn't been any premise that has been proven to be false.

      There is no archaeological evidence of a global flood. There is some evidence of a localized flood that some illiterate, primitive men might have assumed was global because they didn't know better....not that they understood what "global" is. They only knew that what they knew of the world was flooded. This story is likewise found in other mythology of the area.

      The archaeological evidence indicates that Jericho existed, but was in no way some big fortified city, but was likely nothing more than a village with moderate wooden defenses easily overcome.

      The archaeological evidence indicates that David was not ruler over some vast kingdom, but was in fact a petty tribal king with a rather small sphere of influence.

      There is no archaeological evidence of a large population of Hebrews living in Egypt or leaving it en masse.

      There is no archaeological evidence for several to many of the cities listed in the stories in the bible.

      So, based on the archaeological evidence, there has been no proof of the "truth" written in the bible and it must therefore be questioned and considered untrue.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Live4Him
      Using that logic, since archeaologists have excavated the city of Uruk, the Epic of Gilgamesh is true and he really was a demi-god who ruled for 125 years and visited the Underworld.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Dennis

      Doc, I have to say that your responses totally outclass Live4Him's dribble. And you make sense.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Live4Him

      @ME II : Flood of Noah's time. Genesis story Joshua getting the son stopped in the sky

      What archeological evidence would you expect after the presume 4000+ years? For the flood, I would assume that we see many fossils clustered in sedimentary rocks. Which is how we typically find dino fossils – clustered in sedimentary rocks.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Len

      Live4Him
      There is some archeological evidence that validates what the Bible reports of later Jewish history, but anything before the House of David (not even David himself) is still unvalidated. However, the Bible reports that pi = 3, that the world is a flat disc, that "waters" are above heaven/sky, that the entire world was once flooded, that "The sons of God" had relations with women, that at least one snake and a donkey could talk, that at least two of all the world's species could fit in a single wooden boat with enough food to sustain them for a long time, ... and I could go on and on with many more claims that the Bible makes that just are not untenable with our modern knowledge of the universe, history, and human relationships. If you want to call the Bible "science" then it's a very, very old science book that has been almost entirely rendered obsolete. In short, by today's standards, it does contain falsehoods, but only if you choose to maintain that we haven't learned anything new since Revelation was written.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Len

      Live4Him
      You would also find human fossils mixed up with those dinosaur ones if they all died during the same event, but we don't. Even dinosaurs that were much smaller than humans were layered with other dinosaurs, which counters the usual creationist nonsense that the heavy bodies just sank lower. It also begs the question of where all this water went to. Even if all the ice on the planet melts there would still be plenty of land above sea level.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him
      "What archeological evidence would you expect after the presume 4000+ years?"
      From a Genesis standpoint, I wouldn't expect to see any fossils beyond what ~6000 years old, but there are millions of years of fossils.

      "For the flood, I would assume that we see many fossils clustered in sedimentary rocks. Which is how we typically find dino fossils – clustered in sedimentary rocks."
      What is found is a progression of fossils that highlight the evolution of living things over millions of years. A Noah-type flood would have created a single layer of catastrophic debris spread across the world. This is not found in the geologic record.
      Additionally, the "dino fossils" were laid down millions of years ago, not "4000+ years".

      Joshua's sun stoppage would have required a sudden halting of the Earth's rotation and a subsequent restarting a day later. Such a massive shift in speed (25,000 miles per 24 hours, or ~1000 mi/hr, to 0) would have cause massive catastrophes around the world, see previous statement about Noah-type floods.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I think I can reconcile the apparant discrepancies between common sense and the Biblical flood story.
      The Universe only appears to be super old because The Creator willed it thus.

      Man is the predilect object of Creation and the entire Universe exists as it does simply to have us in it.

      God is anthropocentric – it says here right on the label.

      The rest of the universe, oh so simple and boring compared to humanity, is simply window dressing – God really concentrated when making The Earth as opposed to, say – the Andromeda galaxy.

      You see, when God was creating the Earth he placed it in a time dilation bubble in order to give it the attention it needed.

      This is how we see light from distant galaxies – they are, relativistically speaking, billions of years old – but thanks to God's chronoton singularity, we are only a few thousand years old.

      God bestowed certain seemingly normal objects with chronoton field generation capability, like Moses' staff and Noah's ark.

      How else did the seas part or the ark able to support two of every animal despite it's physical dimensions?

      In recent studies, credible theologians have revealed that the physical dimensions of Noah's Ark are actually much, much smaller than those depicted in the Bible. They theorize that the source texts were modified to be more believable as nobody would be able to imagine all life on Earth fitting into a box no bigger than a phone booth.

      The oral histories of a small, reclusive sect of ultra-orthodox Jews say that the Ark made a "fwomp fwomp fwomp" sound before it gradually faded from sight. Stone tablets retrieved from this same sect show that the name "Noah" is actually an ancient Hebrew word from a long lost dialect that translates to "Doctor".

      They also found evidence that Moses' staff was really a small, hand held device about the size of a pen that emitted a high pitched squeal and glowing green light. "Staff" also appears to be a mistranslation. The original word was "screwdriver".

      Leviticus is full of rules of conduct for the Hebrew people, but there was one particular passage that caused so much confusion and strife at the Nicene Council that they elected to omit it from the Bible.

      Scraps of that ancient text were found in the same cave as the Dead Sea Scrolls but have yet to be publically released. The text seems to be proclamations from a long forgotten prophet, but there is little context to make any sense of them.

      Thus far, scholars have translated: "run", "don't blink", and a thoroughly confusing psalm praising the virtues of decorative neckwear.

      Noah was a Time Lord and the Ark a TARDIS.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Free nuts

      But the G-od dame bolts will cost you foir the arc . HaHaHa

      January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  10. lol??

    "Psa 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted."

    January 16, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • frank

      If really in a pinch (or I guess I should say if you've just pinched) and run out of TP, a really old Bible can come to the rescue. I find the book of Psalms to be the most like Charmin by the way.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Len

      Lots of very vile men are religious leaders who are exalted by their followers. Are you one of those followers, lol??

      January 16, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  11. lol??

    "Psa 12:6-7 The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."

    January 16, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You realize that all of that was originally written in a language and idiom that you (probably) do not understand, and so it has not endured?

      January 16, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Len

      Problem is, not all silver lives up to it's advertised purity and worth. Let me guess, lol??, you bought the Freedom Tower Silver Dollar, right?

      http://www.wealthdaily.com/articles/investing-in-silver-bullion-coins/3156

      January 16, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  12. wjmccartan

    Its really not worth the argument to prove one side right or wrong, if you waste your time with fighting about it though, you don't get it back, so live the life you've been given. If you wish to pass something along to your children let it be your love, not someones dogma, before they even have a chance to think on their own. Your story is the best one to pass to them, at least they will know the world into which they enter. Not one that has already turned to dust. They will be able to watch that pass as they live.

    Peace

    January 16, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Nice.

      Peace be with you

      January 16, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • lol??

      Dustballs know EVERYTHING.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  13. Agnostic theist

    If surviving death is only possible by way of me believing in impossiblities I will certainly try my hardest to do so.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      Repeat over and over "There's no place like home" and it will happen.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Len

      Don't forget to click your red pumps together while doing so, otherwise it'll be your fault when it doesn't work.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  14. Abraham

    TBT
    "you can fool some of the people all of the time" your preacher, minister, reverand, priest, etc, has not only got you by the short hairs, your heart and mind (such as it is) have followed. Believe in what you will but please do not support the scam with any of your hard earned cash or maybe you are one of the ones preying on the delusional. Either way your handle is not correct; you would not know truth if it bit you in the asz.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  15. SCIENCE

    FOR: tbt
    Doc-umentary states it has the smnoking gun!
    No go-ds required. Brand New Show Jan 9 2013
    DNA can't be disputed. But they are still trying
    PBS Nova Decoding Neanderthals doc-umentary
    In public schools in the US already .
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nH1fqd0Ryo&w=640&h=390]

    January 16, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  16. Fact or opinion

    The growing number of atheists has me pondering something...

    We are all at the mercy of one another's opinion as opposed to fact. For example, if you didn't get that promotion or job..fact probably wasn't the culprit, it was probably other's opinions. The same holds true of elections.

    Making sure the opinions we are subjected to are not religious opinions only scratches the surface of a much larger problem.

    Our realities are all driven by the nonsense in one another's heads.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      My reality is driven by the nonsense in my own head, nobody else's – and it cannot be otherwise.
      Cogito ergo sum – but I can't be sure about the rest of you.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Gir

      That's why we are trying to get society to focus on the empirical realities outside people's "heads," heart," "guts," "souls," or wherever these delusional religionists claim they feel their deities speaking to them.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Len

      It's the difference between making a practical decision based on the facts, or making one based on the allure of emotional pleas and desires. We may not love what we hold as true as strongly as believers do, but we don't get as heartbroken as they do when our beliefs become untenable.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Debra

      “We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.”
      ― Nicholas Sparks

      January 16, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Len

      Debra
      You should post that passage on the tread for the article Hear God? You're (usually) not crazy. If people and God were really comfortable with one another then they shouldn't be talking so often, right?

      January 16, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • lol??

      "Gir sayz,
      That's why we are trying to get society to focus ......."..........................That ol' "wegod" gets around.

      January 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  17. truth be told

    All so called atheists are all liars all the time. Recognizing this Truth puts all their comments in a proper perspective.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      I am lying

      January 16, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Brother Maynard is not lying.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Doofus

      tbt
      Hmmm! I am an atheist, but because you say I am lying all of the time, I guess I believe in a god, lets say Ra, but I am lying, so maybe Dionysus, but I am lying, so maybe Vishnu, but I am...jesus christ.....

      January 16, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Len

      truth be told
      I guess you're the guy in the middle? :-)

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuYbDP2kDfg&w=640&h=390]

      January 16, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  18. Our nation's religious fever?

    There is a church in my neighborhood that is now a liquor store. I know 2 people who go to church regularely...2 out of twenty. We are not allowed to say Happy Hannukkah, Merry Christmas, or Happy Yule where I work. No prayers to any dieties are allowed anywhere. People get offended by jewelry, bumper stickers and the mention of gods and goddesses of any sort.

    Religious fever...yeah right. Looks like anti-religion paranoia to me.

    January 16, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Gir

      Because where you live is a perfect microcosm of EVERYWHERE else in America.

      Ridiculous religionist reasoning is ridiculous.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Debra

      " No prayers to any dieties are allowed anywhere."

      I think you should look at the law and consult a lawyer, people are allowed to pray where they work. You just can't make a scene about it. One of my co-workers has to pray before and after going the bathroom, I actually leave our space so she can pray in peace. I might not believe in her religion but that doesn't mean she can't have the same respect I want for mine.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • ME II

      "I actually leave our space so she can pray in peace."
      That is kind of you, but I'm guessing that you shouldn't be expected to do this.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Does your employer pay you to pray?

      And, if you mean prayers on breaks or lunch or what have you, your employer has no say. You want to bow your head and talk to your god? Go for it. If your employer has an issue with what you do on your own time, they should consult their lawyers and get educated on what they can and can not dictate.

      Of course, if by "prayer" you mean a big public spectacle that includes group prayer out loud, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, etc? Yeah, they have the right to say "not on my property" because it is, after all, their company.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Debra

      "That is kind of you, but I'm guessing that you shouldn't be expected to do this."

      I am not but we are both reasonable people so we discussed it to work out a solution.

      January 16, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  19. Maksim

    What is ' I didn't believe about heaven' what is so 'about'?

    January 16, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • drstache

      I misread that sentence the first time too. Read the whole thing.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  20. comment

    test

    January 16, 2013 at 6:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.