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January 18th, 2013
06:59 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, January 18, 2013

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: My Take: 'What would George Washington do' about Chuck Hagel?
Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion scholar and author of The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation , asks himself “What would George Washington do?” when considering accusations that President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, is anti-semitic.

Tweets of the Day:

Photos of the Day:

Indian Sikh devotees pay their respects at the illuminated Golden Temple in Amritsar on January 17, 2013, on the eve of the 348th Birth Anniversary of tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.

Indian Sikh youths demonstrate their gatka martial arts skills during a procession in Amritsar on January 17, 2013. The procession took place on the eve of 348th Birth Anniversary of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.

A woman pets a horse in front of the Saint Peter Basilica in Vatican, during a traditional day of blessing of the animals all over Italy, on January 17, 2013.

Enlightening Reads:

Reuters: Israel’s Knesset set for record influx of Orthodox lawmakers after Jan 22 vote
Israeli Orthodox Jews have left niche parties to join Likud, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, and other mainstream factions, challenging the dominance of non-observant politicians and infusing Israeli politics with religious fervor and a harder line on the Palestinian conflict. Opinion polls predict that religious politicians will end up with a record 40 of parliament’s 120 seats after Tuesday’s vote, compared with 25 in the outgoing assembly elected in 2009. Two decades ago only a score of lawmakers were religiously Orthodox.

Religion News Service: Methodist pastor Adam Hamilton to preach at inaugural National Prayer Service
The Rev. Adam Hamilton, a United Methodist pastor known for his skilled preaching and centrist views, will deliver the sermon at the inaugural National Prayer Service next Tuesday at Washington National Cathedral. Hamilton is founding pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, which began in a funeral home but has grown to 16,000 members, the largest church in the denomination.

EWTN: Italian farmers bring livestock to Vatican for blessing
Farmers from across Italy traveled to the Vatican on Jan. 17 to have their livestock blessed by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. The cardinal blessed chickens, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, cows, rabbits and pigs just outside St. Peter's Square Thursday to celebrate the feast of Saint Anthony Abbot.

Reuters: Russia irate over U.S. judge's order on disputed Jewish texts
Russia has criticized an American judge's ruling in a longstanding dispute over a collection of Jewish writings, called the Schneerson Collection, warning of potential retaliation in an irate statement that reflected strained ties with the United States. A judge in Washington on Wednesday ordered Russia to pay $50,000 a day in fines for failure to adhere to a 2010 ruling requiring it to return books and documents to the New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch group.

BBC: Israel’s controversial King Herod exhibition
On Tuesday, Israel’s national museum announced the opening of the world’s first exhibition devoted to the archaeological legacy of King Herod, the biblical Roman-Jewish king who ruled Jerusalem from 37 to 4 BC. Israel Museum will debut the Herod the Great exhibition on 13 February despite protests from Palestinians who object to the excavation and display of artefacts found in the West Bank without permission of Palestinian authorities.

Join the conversation…

CNN: Survey: Few religious groups want Roe v. Wade overturned despite belief abortion morally wrong
Forty years after the Supreme Court protected abortion rights in Roe v. Wade, a new survey finds that white evangelicals remain the only major religious group that supports overturning the landmark ruling, even though most such groups find abortion morally wrong.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. hkiaat

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    hkiaat http://www.hkiaat.org

    September 8, 2013 at 4:54 am |
  2. observer

    Chucky Milton sure shut up in a hurry , once he was identified

    January 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  3. truth be told

    Not only are so called atheists liars most cannot even figure out how to use the reply function. There is no place in this world or the next for an atheist.

    January 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Answer

      What is it like to be a fvcktard christian?

      Just look at the character who made the above comment.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Zingo

      Ironically, this same cross-sucker has repeatedly blown it with the reply button. His post is pure spite at having been repeatedly busted.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "truth be told", but your repeated assertions regarding atheists are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      January 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, truth be told is doing us atheists a favor. What better way to illustrate how a religie behaves?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Non-religious perverse demonic menologies dares to keep lit their own jealousies and the putrid realisms of the repentant.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • midwest rail

      A menology is a book, a type of calendar, and thus can possess no jealousies.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Does "Playboy" or "Hustler" or any other perverse books come to mind?

      January 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • midwest rail

      me – nol – o – gy
      Noun
      An ecclesiastical calendar of the months, esp. a calendar of the Greek Orthodox Church containing biographies of the saints.
      No, no they don't.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      menology (mɪˈnɒlədʒɪ Pronunciation for menology )

      Definitions

      noun
      (plural) -gies
      1.an ecclesiastical calendar of the months
      2.(Eastern Churches) a liturgical book containing the lives of the saints arranged by months

      Are there no perverted calendars and even books and/or magazines?

      Go back to your job,,,,,,,

      January 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • midwest rail

      If you think the examples you gave meet the criteria of either definition listed, you are not just intellectually dishonest, you are intentionally so.

      January 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      tbt, what a waste of space

      January 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      midwest rail,

      I was once an owner of a rat that had more brain cells than what your verboseness entrusts. Alas, he too died!

      January 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • midwest rail

      We all die. When you have a point, or anything that even remotely makes sense, get back to me.

      January 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • truth be told

      Thanks to the losers for providing proof to my statements.

      January 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      midwest rail,

      I'm Back!

      1. The Atomized Cosmos

      2. The Celestial Cosmos

      3. The Cellular Cosmos

      Which of these three realms of cosmological orders makes up humanity and which do not?

      January 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MERCIES

      @lionlylamb

      How many chimpanzees can dance on the head of a pin?

      January 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • midwest rail

      See previous post.

      January 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      PRAISE GOD FOR HIS MERCIES,

      Such a material mind. Metaphysics of atomized particulates in the contemplations of smashing atoms together is like trying to smash together two celestial planets! But science dare trudges inward and outward never seeing the righteous dichotomy of celestial and atomized sameness yet only their sizes and time differentials are the crux variations of their natures.

      January 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, ll should have used perverted book or magazine in his post, because menologies, clearly by definition, have religious connotations, if the definition includes the liturgy of Saints.
      Just an observation.
      Playboy and Hustler are clearly not menologies.
      It isn't midwest that needs to go back to school, as he pointed out the inaccuracy of the word used in the first place.
      If one cannot take constructive criticism of one's writings, one shouldn't post said writings.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  4. Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant

    (*oops, misspelled my own dang screen name)

    Robert Brown,

    The Book of Daniel is one of the most disputed books in the OT. Do read some critiques of it from Bible scholars.

    The fantasy stories are typical ethnocentric drama-queen works.

    January 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant

      *double dang.... now I've posted in the wrong spot!

      January 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    Is the humane beings worthiness of rightfulness an issue to be either emotional or spiritual in ambient nurturing inside righteous creatures of habitualness? Are all our mental efforts made useless by creatural fluidics engendered upon voracious acts of lovemaking riddling the emotional waste baskets? Does repentance of done wrong deeds bring one to righting the issues once done? Never again dare makes the done wrong deed to be ever remembered so to forthrightly never again become done deeded wrongness.

    Where has chivalry by manhood gone? Which man is the most chivalrous nowadays? Do women seek men of chivalry or does a woman seek out a potential mate to be as a toy boy? Is lovemaking part of Life's journey before marriage or should the art of lovemaking be held up until marriage? Should an adolescent woman go down the pathway of becoming a societal tramp just to please the boyhood of adolescent males? How many socialized tramps does Life need until it makes social harlots of them all?

    Verbalizations of lovemaking are nowadays deafened by the Acts of physical dumbness wanting; for the Acts of chivalries are long forgotten of and are but within the historically imbedded pages of dusty books. Any nation dare amasses deafened and dumbed societal rampaging organisms that cares only about emotional fidelities leading toward acts of physical infidelities. The adolescent arbiters of the harlots are all birthing out Life potentialities' feline tramps, the harbingers of s e x u a l indecencies with little to no hope of adolescent manly chivalries gaining the upper chambers of hindsight.

    January 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Didn't read it.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • psych ward staff

      Uh oh – someone threw up their word salad again today . . .

      And a certain somebody who didn't treat his brother very nicely must have had some pwobwems wif mommy as well, to continue trashing women the way he does. You've made a mess – wait a bit before you eat your applesauce.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      You know, I never read LaLa's drivel either.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      et al,

      Does repentance of done wrong deeds bring one to righting the issues once done? Never again dare makes the done wrong deed to be ever remembered so to forthrightly never again become done deeded wrongness.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Larry of Nazaretth

      Didn't bother with that one either

      January 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Though the communal subjugates dares bewail their rants and raves negatively with voraciousness meant to instill briberies of a forlorn and lost effervescence, the will of carrying on despite all the allegories mentioning negativities; one's ego grows ever stronger with the ages of soundness reasoning.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Which God?

      @lionlylamd. Hey Chucky Milton, are you still spewing your pseudo science garbage?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      W.G.?

      Chucky,,,,, Nope,,,,,, Milton,,,, not even close!!!!

      January 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  6. it is called

    No gos(s) required.
    It is Called Principles not theory

    Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122)

    Geology and climate have shaped the development of life tremendously. This has occurred in the form of processes such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere, mass extinctions, tectonic drift, and disasters such as floods and volcanic eruptions. Life, particularly bacteria, has also been able to impact the geological makeup of the planet through metabolic processes.

    00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
    02:16 – Chapter 2. The Oxygenation of the Atmosphere
    09:08 – Chapter 3. Evidence of Climate Change
    17:36 – Chapter 4. Geological Impact on Life
    29:37 – Chapter 5. Mass Extinctions
    42:19 – Chapter 6. Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Floods
    46:38 – Chapter 7. Conclusion

    Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses
    Category
    Education
    No repy needed take it up with YALE
    Peace

    January 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  7. Robert Brown

    Now I am going to give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be all right. But if you don’t, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace. No god can save you from me.”

    The three men replied, “Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves. The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. But even if he doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.”

    Nebuchadnezzar’s face twisted with anger at the three men. And he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. Next, he commanded some of his strongest soldiers to tie up the men and throw them into the flaming furnace. The king wanted it done at that very moment. So the soldiers tied up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and threw them into the flaming furnace with all of their clothes still on, including their turbans. The fire was so hot that flames leaped out and killed the soldiers.

    Suddenly the king jumped up and shouted, “Weren’t only three men tied up and thrown into the fire?”

    “Yes, Your Majesty,” the people answered.

    “But I see four men walking around in the fire,” the king replied. “None of them is tied up or harmed, and the fourth one looks like a god.”

    Nebuchadnezzar went closer to the flaming furnace and said to the three young men, “You servants of the Most High God, come out at once!”

    They came out, and the king’s high officials, governors, and advisors all crowded around them. The men were not burned, their hair wasn’t scorched, and their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke. King Nebuchadnezzar said:

    Praise their God for sending an angel to rescue his servants! They trusted their God and refused to obey my commands. Yes, they chose to die rather than to worship or serve any god except their own. And I won’t allow people of any nation or race to say anything against their God. Anyone who does will be chopped up and their houses will be torn down, because no other god has such great power to save.

    (Daniel 3: 15-29)

    January 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Oh Robert . . .

      That's just stupid.

      The Book of Mormon has stupid stories in it too. Why are your stupid stories true and their stupid stories aren't?

      Talking to you is like talking to someone who believes absolutely that Grimm's fairy tales are the absolute truth.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Damocles

      So apparently what you are saying is that this deity was okay with old Neb saying that he was going to chop people up if they said something bad about the deity? I don't know what your definition of love is, but this is way far away from loving people.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • it is called

      t is Called Principles not theory

      Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122)

      Geology and climate have shaped the development of life tremendously. This has occurred in the form of processes such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere, mass extinctions, tectonic drift, and disasters such as floods and volcanic eruptions. Life, particularly bacteria, has also been able to impact the geological makeup of the planet through metabolic processes.

      00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
      02:16 – Chapter 2. The Oxygenation of the Atmosphere
      09:08 – Chapter 3. Evidence of Climate Change
      17:36 – Chapter 4. Geological Impact on Life
      29:37 – Chapter 5. Mass Extinctions
      42:19 – Chapter 6. Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Floods
      46:38 – Chapter 7. Conclusion

      Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

      This course was recorded in Spring 2009
      Category
      Education
      No repy needed take it up with YALE Rebert.
      Peace

      January 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Oh Robert . . .,

      Your statement is equally so, think of the context from my perspective. I believe in a God who has the power to create our universe and life, why wouldn’t I believe he could protect three people from a fire?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Damocles,

      Why do you think every event recorded in the bible has God’s stamp of approval on it? This was a pagan king who had just erected an enormous gold statue for everyone to worship. He ended up believing in the one true and living God, but he wasn’t there yet. He got to be the ruler of the world by being pretty brutal, he killed people very often.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • ME II

      @Robert Brown,
      "...why wouldn’t I believe he could protect three people from a fire?"
      Believe all you want, but the Bible is not evidence that He actually did save them from a fire. It is a story, parable if you wish, but not literal.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      it is called,

      This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

      For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

      Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

      Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

      Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

      (2 Timothy 3: 1-5)

      January 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Worship who I say or get chopped up and die. Charming.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Decendant

      Robert Brown,

      Too bad about Joan of Arc, Jan Hus and thousands upon thousands of "heretic Christians" who burned.

      Otoh, my ancestor somehow lived through the witches' fire, was horribly scarred and lived the rest of her life quite non-heroically as an average survivor of mayhem.

      There is not a shred of evidence that Daniel's drama ever actually happened.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      ME II,
      Daniel wrote very accurate history of this period and he was very clear when he was describing a dream or vision to identify it as such. I believe this literally happened.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Damocles

      @rob

      So did Neb chop up any people?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Violation of free will. Remember? Whenever it is convenient, Christians claim god CANNOT act because it would violate free will. However, the Bible is FULL of god violating free will. Indeed, there is no story in the Bible where he doesn't.

      But when it is the real world, the God just can't intervene to save kindergarteners the way he saved your three dudes. He can slaughter the entire planet except six people, but he can't stop the slaughter of 5,500,000 of his chosen people.

      Free will: it's an optional thing for god.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Akira,
      The pagan king said that, the same one who had these three thrown in the fire for not bowing to his new statue. He was crazy, he would go into fits of rage and kill people one minute and laugh his head off the next.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • ME II

      @Robert Brown,
      "... I believe this literally happened."
      Again, believe all you want, but the Bible is not evidence that it happened.

      Conservative Biblical scholars and evangelical commentators hold that its stories tell of real events in which God’s power was demonstrated with real prophecy disclosing His knowledge of the future, written during and shortly after the Babylonian captivity by a real Daniel living in the late sixth century BC. However, the scholarly consensus is that Daniel (or at least the second half of Daniel) was written by an unknown writer after Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the altar of the Temple of Jerusalem around 167 BCE. Thus the stories in the Book of Daniel are merely parables, a stratum of older, traditional stories, perhaps with a historical core, and by and large interpretations of past history,...

      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Daniel)

      January 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Decendant,

      Daniel wrote very accurate history of two world kingdoms which he lived to see, Babylonian and Medes-Persian, which lends a lot of credibility to his book. Three quarters of his prophecies have also been literally fulfilled, with the last quarter having to do with the second coming of Christ.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Larry of Nazareth,
      Of course God can overrule freewill. Who said he couldn’t?

      As far as his on people, here is what he told them he would do if they broke the covenant; Leviticus 28: 38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant

      Robert Brown,

      (reposted)

      The Book of Daniel is one of the most disputed books in the OT. Do read some critiques of it from Bible scholars.

      The fantasy stories are typical ethnocentric drama-queen works.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      So you admit that God easily could have saved those kindergarteners, but he didn't. He can stop all the evil he wants, but he doesn't, except here and there, randomly.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      ME II,
      They are talking about “the last days” prophecies found in the later chapters of the book, not chapter 3. For every liberal scholar that denies Daniel was the author I can find a conservative who says he was. People deny a lot of things in the bible, especially those who try to limit the power of God.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant

      Robert Brown,

      An all-powerful "God", who can't communicate properly!?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant,
      Why is it the most disputed, the fiery furnace, the lions den, handwriting on the wall, prophecy?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Oh Robert . . .

      It's easy to deny the Bible, Robert, just as it's easy to deny the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Book of Mormon. They are all obvious bullsh!t, just ancient manipulative superstitions and truly stupid stories written by very ignorant backwards people.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @Robert Brown,
      "For every liberal scholar that denies Daniel was the author I can find a conservative who says he was."
      So, you're saying it is heavily disputed?

      "People deny a lot of things in the bible, especially those who try to limit the power of God."
      People affirm a lot of things in the bible, especially those who try to prove the power of God.
      So? Neither is evidence.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Larry of Nazareth,

      I didn’t address it for many reasons. It breaks my heart to think about it. Why does God allow tragedy? I don’t know and I doubt anyone else does either.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Larry of Nazaretth

      So you believe that God can stop evil, but he generally doesn't. That speaks very ill of you god. As does his use of eternal torture, and his very idiosyncratic system of justice. As does almost every rule he made in the Old Testament.

      It's a good thing he doesn't exist, because his attributed behavior is quite evil.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Which God?

      @ RB. You don't seriously BELIVE that story, do you? You are totally brainwashed, as well as deluded. You need some serious help, and I doubt it will come from your goD.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Robert Brown", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertions to date have been unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      January 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant,

      If you become one of is he will communicate with you.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Oh Robert . . .,

      Since you don’t believe in God, just compare the history recorded in Daniel with what is known today in secular history. He was one of the most educated men in his time, far from ignorant or backward.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      ME II,
      It used to be, until more was learned of the history of the time.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Larry of Nazaretth,

      I believe he does exactly what he wants to and we don’t understand why.

      It is foolish to deny his existence.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Which God?,
      I do believe God. Nonbelievers are the ones who are brainwashed and deluded by the enemy.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      hal 9001,

      I’m sorry, hal, but your iee is a figment of your imagination and it just computes whatever you come up with in all caps. PEACE

      January 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant

      Robert Brown,
      "If you become one of is he will communicate with you."

      That's what lots of other religion's believers say.

      Here's the Hindu deity communication hotline, for example:
      http://www.lotussculpture.com/my_articles_puja.htm

      Even Voodooists have theirs.

      They do not all agree with each other, nor with you. They cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong, including yours.

      "Believe... then you'll believe" is bunk.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      It is easy and intelligent to deny God's existence when absolutely nothing confirms his existence.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Anna Maria Von Ludwig's Descendant,

      Believe then you will believe, not really.

      You can start with just a tiny speck of faith, it will grow, then you will know.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Larry of Nazareth,

      Everything confirms it, the universe, the origin and complexity of life, and millions of witnesses.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Robert, you've just managed to frame your questions to match the a priori belief you've settled within your mind. Your claim is no different from the Muslim's claim that all of reality and every dream and atom and particle confirms the Koran. Ya'll use the same trick: confirmation bias.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      THE BOOK OF DANIEL

      This book takes its name not from the author, who is actually unknown, but from its hero, who was allegedly among the first Jews deported to Babylon, where he lived at least until 538 B.C. Strictly speaking, the book does not belong to the prophetic writings but rather to a distinctive type of literature known as “apocalyptic,” of which it is an early specimen. Apocalyptic writing first appears about 200 B.C. and flourished among Jews and Christians down to the Middle Ages, especially in times of persecution. Apocalyptic literature has its roots in the older teaching of the prophets, who often pointed ahead to the day of the Lord, the consummation of history. For both prophet and apocalyptist there was one Lord of history, who would ultimately vindicate the chosen people. Apocalyptic also has roots in the wisdom tradition. Daniel has the gift of discernment from God. Greek wisdom (represented by the Babylonian “magicians and enchanters”) is ridiculed (see especially chaps. 2 and 5), whereas God reveals hidden things to faithful servants.

      This work was composed during the bitter persecution carried on by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (167–164 B.C.) and was written to strengthen and comfort the Jewish people in their ordeal. The persecution was occasioned by Antiochus’s efforts to unify his kingdom, in face of the rising power of Rome, by continuing the hellenization begun by Alexander the Great; Antiochus tried to force Jews to adopt Greek ways, including religious practices. Severe penalties, including death, were exacted against those who refused (cf., e.g., 1 Mc 1:41–63).

      The book contains traditional stories (chaps. 1–6), which tell of the trials and triumphs of the wise Daniel and his three companions. The moral is that people of faith can resist temptation and conquer adversity. The stories bristle with historical problems and have the character of historical novels rather than factual records. What is more important than the question of historicity, and closer to the intention of the author, is the fact that persecuted Jews of the second century B.C. would quickly see the application of these stories to their own plight.

      There follows in chaps. 7–12 a series of visions promising deliverance and glory to the Jews in the days to come. The great nations of the ancient world have risen in vain against the Lord; his kingdom shall overthrow existing powers and last forever; in the end the dead will be raised for reward or punishment. Under this apocalyptic imagery some of the best elements of prophetic and sapiential teaching are synthesized: the insistence on right conduct, the divine control over events, the certainty that the kingdom of God will ultimately triumph and humanity attain the goal intended for it at the beginning of creation. The arrival of the kingdom is a central theme of the gospels, where Jesus is identified as the human figure (or “Son of Man”) who appears in Daniel’s vision in chap. 7. The message in both parts of the first twelve chapters (i.e., chaps. 1–6 and chaps. 7–12) is that history unrolls under the watchful eye of God, who does not abandon those who trust in him and will finally deliver and re-establish them. Moreover, it can be pointed out that chaps. 2 and 7 present the same teaching in different symbolism; 2:31 even describes the king’s dream as a “vision.”

      The added episodes of Susanna, Bel, and the Dragon, found only in the Greek version, are edifying short stories with a didactic purpose (chaps. 13–14). The Greek version also adds a long prayer, numbered in the NAB and the Greek, 3:24–90, between 3:23–24 in the Hebrew text.

      January 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Oh, the Introduction to the Book of Daniel is from the New American Bible, revised edition, located on the USCCB website at http://www.usccb.org/bible/

      January 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Akira

      Robert:
      Yes, I know.
      I was speaking of the latest convert; Neb himself.
      Still charming.

      January 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Chick-a-dee,

      “…However, the very interesting thing is that the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, was translated before the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and it contains the Book of Daniel! The liberal scholars have ignored similar very clear testimony from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those scrolls confirm the fact that there was only one author of the Book of Isaiah. The liberal has wanted to argue that there was duet or even a trio of “Isaiahs” who wrote that book...
      ….Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Vol. 1, p.388) also records an incident during the time of Alexander the Great which supports the early authorship of Daniel. When Alexander’s invasion reached the Near East, Jaddua, the high priest, went out to meet him and showed him a copy of the Book of Daniel in which Alexander was clearly mentioned. Alexander was so impressed by this that, instead of destroying Jerusalem, he entered the city peaceably and worshiped at the temple.
      These arguments clearly contradict the liberal critics…. Sir Isaac Newton declared, “To reject Daniel is to reject the Christian religion.”
      Furthermore, our Lord Jesus called the Pharisees”hypocrites,” but He called Daniel “the prophet” (see Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). Very frankly, I go along with the Lord Jesus who, by the way, never reversed His statement. The endorsement of the Lord Jesus Christ is valid and sufficient for every believer, whether or not he has examined the arguments of the critics, and it satisfies the sincere saint without his having to study the answers of conservative scholarship.
      We know more about Daniel the man than we do any other prophet. He gives us a personal account of his life from the time he was carried captive to Babylon in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (about 606 B.C.) until the first year of King Cyrus (about 536 B.C.)….”
      The Book of Daniel Introduction, Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 3 pages 524 & 525.

      January 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ RB: !!!????!!! Wow! I thought I had heard the US Conference of Catholic Bishops called EVERYTHING....but I must admit, this is the very first time I've heard of anyone suggesting that this is a liberal theological assembly. My guess is that it's probably going to be the last time too. ;-)

      Here's where the intro came from:
      "Released on March 9, 2011, the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by a group of nearly 100 scholars and theologians, including bishops, revisers and editors. The NABRE includes a newly revised translation of the entire Old Testament (including the Book of Psalms) along with the 1986 edition of the New Testament."

      Here's what the Church says about inerrancy:
      "In Dei verbum, we read: "Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." (Dei verbum, 11; cf CCC 105).

      Notice the construction of the sentence: it's not said that everything in Scripture are "divinely revealed realities"; rather, it's that there exist within Scripture "divinely revealed realities". In other words, "divinely revealed realities" are a subset of "Sacred Scripture".

      Moreover, "since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation." (Dei Verbum, 11; cf CCC 107)

      Note that that the truth in Scripture isn't every statement found in Scripture, but rather, "that truth... put... for the sake of salvation." In other words, what the Church is asserting with respect to Scriptural inerrancy, isn't necessarily every literal word, but rather, the truth that leads to salvation.

      There's a fine line to be walked here. "[S]ince God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, ... in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, (we) should carefully investigate ... what God wanted to manifest by means of their words." (Dei verbum, 12) In other words, since Scripture is written through fallible humans, we need to understand how the inerrant truths of salvation (i.e., the Divine self-revelation of God) are expressed through human agency.

      This is a really long explanation to express the following: Scriptural inerrancy doesn't require complete literal historical accuracy. Your question of how to reconcile human error and Divinely-inspired Scriptural inerrancy is only a problem if we require complete literal historical accuracy; the Church does not. "

      That being said, I'm confident that you and I aren't going to be the ones to figure out how to mend this obvious difference in interpretation that's been going on for more years than we've been alive...even if you added our ages together. I'm glad that you are able to get the divine message through your reading of scripture. It's obvious that you love God and that's the most important part, right? I enjoy reading you posts even the ones on which we don't see eye to eye, because they prompt me to go back and refresh or learn things I should have been taught 30-40 years ago. Oh well, better late than never.

      God bless ya!

      January 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ RB: Hey! I just found this and thought it was interesting. Hope you do too. I had always a.ssumed that whatever ancient texts survived would be housed @ the Vatican but this prompted me to pose the questions to an apologist...What do we curate and archive at the Vatican? What else has survived and where is it curated and archived? I'll share the answer if I get one.

      On September 30, 1943, His Holiness Pope Pius XII issued his now famous encyclical on scripture studies, Divino afflante Spiritu. He wrote: "We ought to explain the original text which was written by the inspired author himself and has more authority and greater weight than any, even the very best, translation whether ancient or modern. This can be done all the more easily and fruitfully if to the knowledge of languages be joined a real skill in literary criticism of the same text."

      Early in 1944, in conformity with the spirit of the encyclical, and with the encouragement of Archbishop Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, the Bishops' Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine requested members of The Catholic Biblical a.ssociation of America to translate the sacred scriptures from the original languages or from the oldest extant form of the text, and to present the sense of the biblical text in as correct a form as possible.

      The first English Catholic version of the Bible, the Douay-Rheims (1582-1609/10), and its revision by Bishop Challoner (1750) were based on the Latin Vulgate. In view of the relative certainties more recently attained by textual and higher criticism, it has become increasingly desirable that contemporary translations of the sacred books into English be prepared in which due reverence for the text and strict observance of the rules of criticism would be combined.

      The New American Bible has accomplished this in response to the need of the church in America today. It is the achievement of some fifty biblical scholars, the greater number of whom, though not all, are Catholics. In particular, the editors-in-chief have devoted twenty-five years to this work. The collaboration of scholars who are not Catholic fulfills the directive of the Second Vatican Council, not only that "correct translations be made into different languages especially from the original texts of the sacred books," but that, "with the approval of the church authority, these translations be produced in cooperation with separated brothers" so that "all Christians may be able to use them."

      The text of the books contained in The New American Bible is a completely new translation throughout. From the original and the oldest available texts of the sacred books, it aims to convey as directly as possible the thought and individual style of the inspired writers. The better understanding of Hebrew and Greek, and the steady development of the science of textual criticism, the fruit of patient study since the time of St. Jerome, have allowed the translators and editors in their use of all available materials to approach more closely than ever before the sense of what the sacred authors actually wrote.

      Where the translation supposes the received text–Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, as the case may be–ordinarily contained in the best-known editions, as the original or the oldest extant form, no additional remarks are necessary. But for those who are happily able to study the original text of the scriptures at firsthand, a supplementary series of textual notes pertaining to the Old Testament was added originally in an appendix to the typical edition. (It is now obtainable in a separate booklet from The Catholic Biblical a.ssociation of America, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064.) These notes furnish a guide in those cases in which the editorial board judges that the manuscripts in the original languages, or the evidence of the ancient versions, or some similar source, furnish the correct reading of a pa.ssage, or at least a reading more true to the original than that customarily printed in the available editions.

      The Ma.ssoretic text of 1 and 2 Samuel has in numerous instances been corrected by the more ancient manuscripts Samuel a, b, and c from Cave 4 of Qumran, with the aid of important evidence from the Septuagint in both its oldest form and its Lucianic recension. Fragments of the lost Book of Tobit in Aramaic and in Hebrew, recovered from Cave 4 of Qumran, are in substantial agreement with the Sinaiticus Greek recension used for the translation of this book. The lost original Hebrew text of 1 Maccabees is replaced by its oldest extant form in Greek. Judith, 2 Maccabees, and parts of Esther are also translated from the Greek.

      The basic text for the Psalms is not the Ma.ssoretic but one which the editors considered closer to the original inspired form, namely the Hebrew text underlying the new Latin Psalter of the Church, the Liber Psalmorum (1944, 1 19452). Nevertheless they retained full liberty to establish the reading of the original text on sound critical principles.

      The translation of Sirach, based on the original Hebrew as far as it is preserved and corrected from the ancient versions, is often interpreted in the light of the traditional Greek text. In the Book of Baruch the basic text is the Greek of the Septuagint, with some readings derived from an underlying Hebrew form no longer extant. In the deuterocanonical sections of Daniel (3:24-91, chapter 13 and chapter 14 [these are Azariah, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon respectively in WORDsearch]), the basic text is the Greek text of Theodotion, occasionally revised according to the Greek text of the Septuagint.

      In some instances in the Book of Job, in Proverbs, Sirach, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zechariah there is good reason to believe that the original order of lines was accidentally disturbed in the transmission of the text. The verse numbers given in such cases are always those of the current Hebrew text, though the arrangement differs. In these instances the textual notes advise the reader of the difficulty. Cases of exceptional dislocation are called to the reader's attention by footnotes.

      The Books of Genesis to Ruth were first published in 1952; the Wisdom Books, Job to Sirach, in 1955; the Prophetic Books, Isaiah to Malachi, in 1961; and the Historical Books, Samuel to Maccabees, in 1969. In the present edition of Genesis to Ruth there are certain new features: a general introduction to the Pentateuch, a retranslation of the text of Genesis with an introduction, cross-references, and revised textual notes, besides new and expanded exegetical notes which take into consideration the various sources or literary traditions.

      The revision of Job to Sirach includes changes in strophe division in Job and Proverbs and in ti.tles of principal parts and sections of Wisdom and Ecclesiastes. Corrections in the text of Sirach are made in Sir 39:27-35; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44:1-17 on the basis of the Masada text, and in Sir 51:13-30 on the basis of the occurrence of this canticle in the Psalms scroll from Qumran Cave 11. In this typical edition, new corrections are reflected in the textual notes of Job, Proverbs, Wisdom, and Sirach. In the Psalms, the enumeration found in the Hebrew text is followed instead of the double enumeration, according to both the Hebrew and the Latin Vulgate texts, contained in the previous edition of this book.

      In the Prophetic Books Isaiah to Malachi, only minor revisions have been made in the structure and wording of the texts, and in the textual notes.

      The spelling of proper names in The New American Bible follows the customary forms found in most English Bibles since the Authorized Version.

      The work of translating the Bible has been characterized as "the sacred and apostolic work of interpreting the word of God and of presenting it to the laity in translations as clear as the difficulty of the matter and the limitations of human knowledge permit" (A. G. Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate, in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 6, [1944], 389-90). In the appraisal of the present work, it is hoped that the words of the encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu will serve as a guide: "Let all the sons of the church bear in mind that the efforts of these resolute laborers in the vineyard of the Lord should be judged not only with equity and justice but also with the greatest charity; all moreover should abhor that intemperate zeal which imagines that whatever is new should for that very reason be opposed or suspected."

      Conscious of their personal limitations for the task thus defined, those who have prepared this text cannot expect that it will be considered perfect; but they can hope that it may deepen in its readers "the right understanding of the divinely given Scriptures," and awaken in them "that piety by which it behooves us to be grateful to the God of all providence, who from the throne of his majesty has sent these books as so many personal letters to his own children"
      (Divino afflante Spiritu).

      January 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  8. Fun in Topherlandia

    Ray Comfort asked Kirk Cameron to peer review his theory that the Banana is the Atheist's Nightmare, the perfect proof that God designed the banana for humans. Kirk's review agreed.

    Proven – bananas prove god.

    January 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Jen

      Omg that's hilarious. I guess oranges prove Satan since they are so hard to peel and so sticky.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Fun in Topherlandia

      The funniest part is that the banana is the size and shape it is due to generations of selective cultivation: the original wild banana is much smaller, shaped somewhat differently, and is just packed full of large black seeds.

      Ray didn't quite get around to doing any research beyond looking at a banana before making he startling theological scientific discoveries.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Ricochet

      And maybe coconuts prove the believers - thick-skull shaped, with a point on the top and filled with a thin fluid.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Thoth

      What well rounded reasoning..... ;-)

      January 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • FLS

      http://drjimsthinkingshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/6-2-08.gif

      January 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  9. myweightinwords

    So then, are there any moral absolutes?

    January 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Damocles

      No. This was a point I was trying to make to dear chad one day. There are actions and consequences.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • It is Called

      Another no

      January 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No, although the molestation of a pre pubescent child is pretty damn close.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Chris Crossuck, Christian

      There are definitely moral absolutes! When God makes a rule, it is absolute and unchangable. Except for all the rules in the old testament, which he changed. Except some that we get to say still are in force. Though we can't show you any support for it.

      Totally absolute and unchanging.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Zingo

      I wonder why that wasn't one of the Commandments, Rational?

      Oh yeah, ancient Middle East cultures used to marry off pre-pubescent girls.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • WASP

      @my: yes.
      morals are absolute when you don't want those events to happen to you or your offspring.
      seeing no human, unless something is damaged in them, wants to die then moral is don't ki11.
      seeing no human wants to go hungry, moral is help the hungry.

      morals go on and on based on what is good for the single works for the whole.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        morals are absolute when you don’t want those events to happen to you or your offspring.

        That still sounds subjective to me, if it is based on what you want.

        If not killing is moral because you don't want to die, is it then immoral to kill to someone who is trying to kill you?

        January 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Fun in Topherlandia

      What if your offspring is the Green River Killer?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Interesting thought.

        Would you condone abortion if you knew beyond a doubt that the child would be a serial killer?

        Would you kill a five year old, if you knew beyond a doubt that he would grow up to rape and tortured and kill 35 women?

        January 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • It is Called

      Brand new F-35 fighter plane, cost over a billion dollars for 1
      Designed for taking 1,000's of lives period.
      No go-d(ss) made the fighter
      So what or who made the plane ?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • It is Called

      What/who ever rules the sky is what?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at.

        Are you arguing that whoever rules the sky decides what is moral?

        January 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Damocles

      @WASP

      I kind of have to disagree with you, sorry.

      What you are describing is a moral round robin. The hungry become fed at the cost of the fed becoming hungry.

      Where would my 'moral' obligation end? When I have fed 1? 100? Do I even get to decide? What if I feed the wrong person and he steals food from the other 99 hungry?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • It is Called

      No morals to start

      BU-LLSH-IT ! Dotors say otherwise so does a PEER REVIEWED paper pub. back in the 90's
      Robert Brown
      We are hard wired for hope, peace, and joy, through our desire for God.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      It is Called

      It is Called take god(s) religion out of it all you have left RB is ethic and politics = dirty money = g factor not god(s)

      another for you RB
      Wont' have peace till we face the facts of life

      @RB This is what is REAL !!!

      Brand new F-35 fighter plane cost over 1 billion dollars for 1.
      What was that made for?
      God9s) did not make it.
      But it will take 1,000's of lives not good.
      No god(s) required

      Or RB who made the F-35 ?????

      January 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      Robert Brown

      It is Called,
      I will agree with you on this much, the root of evil.

      Peace.

      January 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |

      It is Called

      Thanks RB

      But fact is humans made the F-35 fighter plane
      Peace

      January 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • It called have

      Have a common sense day Robert did.
      Peace

      January 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ MWIW: You know what I'm going to say... chalk up 1 in the 'yes' column for me.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing in 2013
    Prayer changes things

    January 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Poop without ceasing in 2013.
      Poop changes bowels.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your repeated assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC EPIC FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      January 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • The Logic of Illogic

      Pray without ceasing. Pray while you poop. Pray while you sleep. Pray while you abuse people on the Belief Blog.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chuckles,
      I think your scenario equates to the original one. Two tracks, one switch, do nothing (or in this case pull 1 up) and 5 die, make the switch (drop 1) and only 1 dies.

      Oh, I see, your point now. I must act, right, one way or the other. I think for anyone who said the would switch tracks to save 5, the response is clear, save the 5.
      Making action necessary actually makes the decision easier. Perhaps?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • ME II

      Wow, not sure how that got posted here...

      Mispost!

      January 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  11. myweightinwords

    Morning all.

    Hope everyone is having a great Friday.

    Today's question to ponder: Is doing the wrong thing ever the right thing?

    January 18, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • LinCA

      @myweightinwords

      You said, "Is doing the wrong thing ever the right thing?"
      No, but "right" and "wrong" are context sensitive. What is wrong in one context, may be right in another, but as postulated, the context should be assumed equal.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I leave it open to interpret on purpose.

        People attempt to convince me that morality isn't subjective, but as all human endeavors, it can be nothing but, in my opinion.

        January 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      @ nights ago I totally b!tched out my sister in law, but it ended up with a positive result. Does that count?

      January 18, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • myweightinwords

        The question is open to discussion, so...if bitching out your SIL is something you would consider "wrong" but in the end it resulted in a positive, does that mean it was still wrong? Or was it right?

        And yes, I'm aware that this is a game of semantics and subjectivity.

        January 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      oops, 2 nights ago.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • ME II

      Perhaps this is just semantics, but if "doing the wrong thing is the right thing," then it wasn't "wrong" to begin with, was it?

      January 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Agreed with ME II, if the wrong things turns out to be the right thing, then was it wrong to begin with?

      Are you specifically asking, say, " there's a train speeding down a track and can't stop, you are at the track switch and if you switch the track the train will change directions and run over a single person. If you do nothing, the train will stay on track and run over 5"

      Is the right thing switching the track even though it's wrong to kill a person, or is it wrong to kill the 5 people because you didn't switch the track and chose to save the one person?

      January 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Interesting scenario. If knowingly allowing a person to die is wrong, then knowingly allowing five people to die is also wrong.

        What if throwing the switch could result in your own death, but would save another?

        January 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • ME II

      Yes, there are absolutely situations where doing something that may normally be considered "wrong", e.g. lying, which given a specific situation, like the classic lying to the Nazi's about hiding people, may be considered "right".
      This does not, I think, mean that the lying was ever "wrong"; it was always "right", given that specific situation.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        But most would agree that "lying" in general is wrong, wouldn't we? Honesty is the best policy?

        Have you ever tried that experiment? Spend a week being completely, 100 % honest? It's brutal on friendships and other relationships.

        January 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chuckles,
      hmmm... more difficult situation, good one.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      classic Machiavellian question: do the ends justify the means? (Consequentialism)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_ends_justify_the_means

      January 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Not necessarily. Given Chuckles' scenario below, it isn't about the ends justifying the means at all. You're still making a choice that will result in death.

        January 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Would visiting an escort be justified to avoid having to degrade your wife into engaging in your perverse fantasies?

      January 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Is your wife aware?
        Are you violating vows/marriage agreement?
        Can you reasonably afford the cost?

        January 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Librarian

      Why are the posts in this thread not in correct time order?

      January 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        @ Librarian, Because I'm replying from my WordPress account, rather than on the page directly.

        January 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Damocles

      The 5 vs 1 question is interesting... let's put some va-gue faces on these numbers....

      5 dads vs 1 mom
      1 person you know vs 5 you don't
      1 mom vs 5 siblings
      1 criminal who may or may not have done it vs 5 people that were on that criminal's jury
      5 people you dislike vs 1 you hate
      5 homeless people vs 1 doctor

      January 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Librarian
      "Why are the posts in this thread not in correct time order?"

      My guess is that some server's clock is off.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Chuckles

      What I find most interesting is that for a believer in the "machavellian question" has a get out of jail free card in whatever answer they give. If they decide to leave the switch as is, they can claim that it was gods will to set the train in motion and it was through his divine plan to group those 5 people there to get run over by the car. Conversely if they choose to switch the tracks they can also claim god put them next to the track switcher and they were divenly led to save 5 people.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      myweightinwords

      Just a hypothetical. I'm not married. I don't buy into the whole concept of needing a legal doc.ument to express love.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Damocles

      @my

      Good one. We can keep adding one to the age of the kids to see if that makes a difference at some point. Or take away one.... hmmm....

      January 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Damocles

      5 false friends vs 1 true enemy

      January 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • ME II

      @Damacles,
      The way I heard it, the next level involves you on a bridge over a track, on which 5 people are about to be killed unless you push someone else off the bridge and onto the track below in order to save the 5. (jumping yourself is exclude somehow.)

      Still, 1-for-5 scenario, but involves you actively killing someone as opposed to simply selected the lesser of two track options, one of which has to occur.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @myweightinwords

      Personal & societal values, societal laws, and context typically shaping *meaning* which leads me to believe that your premise, that morality is subjective, is an accurate premise...IMS(subjective)O. :D

      Regards,

      Peace...

      January 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Damocles

      @ME II

      Ahhh yes... sounds like a Dean Koontz book I just read. That's actually a tad bit easier since you are going to be held responsible for 1 death vs 5 deaths.... if those people remain faceless of course because I'm not going to push my child off to save 5.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @mtwieghtinwords

      For some reason your posts are only showing up like 15 minutes after the fact and getting inserted into the thread so it's wierd to see responses to you before seeing your own posts.

      In any case, I like the idea of coloring the questions adding elements onto the caes at hand.

      in general I think I would always choose to have the train hit the 1 vs.5, there are probably specific senarios where i would reverse that (say 5 convicted killers on death row and 1 pregnant lady) but in general I think the value of 5 lives trumps 1 in most cases.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I'm replying from my wordpress account, which sticks the responses in directly after the comment I'm replying to. Weird, I know. But it's a way I can keep track of who I'm replying to.

        I think, in general, we would all pick to let one die over letting 5 die, but as you said, that could change depending on who the six people are, and I would imagine that the line in that sand would not be the same for all of us.

        Therein lies much of how morality is a subjective thing, colored by our culture, our experiences, our relationships, etc.

        January 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Damocles

      I know I'm going to butcher the spelling of this so I apologize to all Trekkies, but.... it's the Kobyashi Maru of ethics.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damocles

      Pretty good spelling, at least close enough and you're totally right.

      Extra points for using a star trek refference!

      January 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Damocles

      " I know I'm going to butcher the spelling of this so I apologize to all Trekkies, but.... it's the Kobyashi Maru of ethics. "

      Nice point... "Kobayashi Maru" of ethics. Interesting dilemma for star-fleet officers. Applies here in this thread, in a sense, as well.

      Peace...

      January 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        It isn't always about the "right" answer as much as it as about the reason that it is your answer.

        January 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Damocles

      @chuckles and my

      Thanks!

      Did I miss the spelling by one damn A??!! Arrrgggghhhhh!!!

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

      @ MEII,
      I heard this somewhere, probably there is a youtube video somewhere about this.

      In any case, if I had to push someone down (other than me) to save 5 lives, I might not do it, bcoz I am doing something objective here to put this person in harm's way (like a sacrifice). What happens to the 5 was not triggered by me, but what will happen to this 1 will be triggered by my action. Still, I dont know if there is any right answer to this and which of the choices is the right one or wrong one.

      Now if one of those 5 was someone who I loved deeply, it might change my decision. But I sure hope I never find myself in such a difficult situation.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Damocles

      @sim

      The 5 are going to die due to your inaction. Action = 1 death, Inaction = 5 deaths.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Theoreticus Babblalott

      Let's change the question a bit. Is breaking the Ten Commandments always wrong?

      Was the murder of Reinhard Heydrich wrong? (#6)

      Was it wrong for the Allies to bear false witness about their invasion intentions for D-Day via The Man Who Wasn't There? (#9)

      Is it wrong to marry again? (#7)

      Isn't covetting the driving force of capitalism? (#10)

      Should a girls who has been repeatedly raped by her father honor her father? (#5) (And why isn't rape addressed in the commandment, ot other forms of violence?)

      Is it wrong to steal the backpack bomb of a terrorist who is in preparation? (#8)

      Is it ever right for a jealous god to punish the offspring of an offender to the third and fourth generation? Is a god who is jealous a god god, or a mean petty god? (#2)

      Is it wrong to actually do something other than kiss God's derriere on Sundays, like mow the lawn? And why is this a major Commandment when assault and rape didn't even make the list?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      If the one was an Orthodox Jew and the 5 were born again Christians you must switch the track and run over the 5 as they will pray for the salvation of the one left behind. This increases everyone’s chance for eternal life.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • ME II

      "Inaction = 5 deaths."

      But are you responsible due to inaction?
      There are a lot of thing one "could" do to save lives.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • fred

      Never ever switch the track to run over an atheist as the last light they will see is not from an angel but the train.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Damocles

      @ME II

      Let's say that there is a madman that has given you an ultimatum... he pushes the 5 off if you don't push the 1 off. Either way, action or inaction (my my how they don't seem to be very different now) results in death.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      Your ignorance is going to kill all 6.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • SImran

      Damocles,
      I do agree that action and inaction both will have significant implications. In either case, I don't think I would be able to take the same decision if put in the same situation every day.
      I will be blaming myself for the rest of my life whether I purposely push someone towards death or whether I fail to save 5 people who I could have saved.
      (If I were in such a situation, how I wish that a god was really there and could have worked up a miracle?)

      January 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Damocles

      @sim

      Indeed. As long as the 6 remain faceless it is an 'easier' choice.... 1 for 5.

      Damn! Star Trek really is relevant! The needs of the many.....

      January 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      no, if there is no God then all 7 will die.
      If you were to ask the 5 born again christians they would give up their lives for the one Jew on the other track. If they give up their lives you did not kill them just as the Romans and Sanhedrin could not kill Jesus. The Jew is still alive and I am alive so 7 people live simply because 5 believed in Jesus enough to sacrafice their lives.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Fred

      My my, aren't we presumptive then that the 5 born agains are right and the orthodox jew is wrong. What if the Muslims are right? Would it be worse to kill the 5 born agains without letting them realize the will of allah? Heck, if the buddhists are right then we're all screwed to stay in the cycle of Samsara because all 6 people and myself would have racked up enough Karma to not acheive nirvana

      January 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Damocles

      If there is one thing you learn today, I hope it's that Star Trek is ALWAYS relevant

      January 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • ME II

      @Damocles,
      "my my how they don't seem to be very different now"
      Hopefully this can remain and intellectual discussion.

      "Let's say that there is a madman that has given you an ultimatum... he pushes the 5 off if you don't push the 1 off. Either way, action or inaction (my my how they don't seem to be very different now) results in death."

      Yes, either results in death, but if he pushes 5 people off, then he is responsible, not I. IMO.
      That kind of logic, 'if you make me kill this person, it's on your hands', only works if I'm actually forcing them to kill the person, i.e. clear and present danger kind of threat.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      We were talking a grand total of 6, so I'm not sure why you feel the urge to add yourself into the mix. To be perfectly honest, if I'm in this situation I remain alive regardless of my choice.

      The choice is not theirs, it is yours.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • SImran

      Damocles,
      I have no idea what Star trek has to do with this. Never been a fan.

      For you the choice seems to be simple and straightforward, but for me, honestly I have no idea of what I will do on that day in that moment. I guess, there can be no judgement here, bcoz either way, lives are lost. And loss of life (how many may the number be) is still loss of life. I would still think I may not have the courage to push someone clearly towards death by my action.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Damocles

      @ME II

      Oh yeah, I wasn't trying to twist this into something else, I was just saying that action and inaction aren't very different if they both result in the same thing.

      You may not be responsible, but would you feel responsible?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @ME II

      I agree, playing on someones survivors guilt does not make a madman pushing people your fault. Lets tweak the situation a little more, just for sh.its.

      You are holding onto a person dangling from a bridge, a madman (presumably the same one, lets call him, for the sake of simplcity, fred) has, just a mere 10 yards away, tied a box (or whatever) containing 5 others inside off the same bridge and the rope (or whatever) is slowly being eaten away at. You being on your stomach leaves you no leverage to just hoist up the person you're hanging onto so the dilemma now becomes, instead of pushing, do you just let go and save the 5 others or try your best to life the person over the ledge.

      All the while fred is standing there watching, he's taken himself out of the equation insofar as he's not an immediate catalyst like the previous situation.

      What do you do?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • ME II

      @simran,
      "I would still think I may not have the courage to push someone clearly towards death by my action."

      Aye, there's the rub.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Damocles

      @sim

      Spock said 'the needs of the many (5), outweigh the needs of the few (1)'.

      The answer is clear for me, if they are nameless/faceless.

      So let's try this: say the madman only needs you to make the choice and not actually do the deed. He'll push the 1 or the 5 off at your command.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Damocles,
      "You may not be responsible, but would you feel responsible?"
      Valid question.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Damocles

      @sim

      You are still bringing in survivor's guilt with that scenario.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • SImran

      ME II,
      Will you be able to push someone towards certain death without something bothering your conscience. It would take courage to overcome that doubt and chose between action vs inaction, wouldn't it? In either case, you and I may not actually make the choice we say will make today on the actual day when it happens. That is what I think. How about you?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • WASP

      regardless of the choice you make, OPINION of some will be that you made a bad choice, as well as OPINION of others will be that you made the correct choice.

      the family of those victims will look either postively or negitively upon your actions or inaction based on how the outcome effects them personally.

      there is no right or wrong, good or bad, it's all subject to your OPINION of what directly effects you. as shown by the labeling of what the 5 vs. 1 may be.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • SImran

      Damocles,
      And you would not have the survivor's guilt?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Damocles

      @sim

      The key for me is the whole faceless thing. I would feel extreme guilt under the right circu-mstances. If I killed 5 nuns? Certainly. If I killed 1 killer? Not so much.

      I would probably end up justifying it in that way: 'Oh those 5 had to be bad people'.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chuckles,
      I think your scenario equates to the original one. Two tracks, one switch, do nothing (or in this case pull 1 up) and 5 die, make the switch (drop 1) and only 1 dies.

      Oh, I see, your point now. I must act, right, one way or the other. I think for anyone who said the would switch tracks to save 5, the response is clear, save the 5.
      Making action necessary actually makes the decision easier. Perhaps(?)

      January 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @SImran,
      Absolutely. I agree that is the difficulty (rub) and I honestly don't know what I would really decide in such a situation.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • ME II

      I would have to point out, or propose, I guess, that the guilt or lack thereof really doesn't factor into whether or not one considers the action, or inaction, ethically right.
      Thoughts?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @ME II

      Yeah my intent was to make both choices actions instead of leaving one to inaction.

      I guess the better senario might have played out where the train would be on neither track and would crashing killing hundres if you didn't push the switch one way or the other, but what can I say I'm a little sadistic and making up these different horrible circu.mstances is sort of fun in a sick way

      January 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Damocles

      @ME II

      Ahhh, so do ethics trump your duty to yourself?

      Either way you are going to suffer from guilt... are you ethically obligated to suffer more guilt as opposed to possibly less guilt?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      No, the 5 born again Christians are willing to give up their lives so they have lived out their lives as they wanted and reaching their goal bringing complete meaning and purpose to their lives here on earth. This also would agree with atheist thought that runs along the vein of the epicurean. In short believers and non believers could not argue this was not the right call.

      Jews are always wrong; I thought you read the Bible and secular history books as to their plight. I know you want to say no way but its Yahweh. Just joking………scripture says those whom the Lord loves he disciplines. The Jew is the object of God’s love so I cannot help but pull the switch as God has been trying to save these chosen ones for as long as the Word of God has been around.

      Muslims can never be right because 70 virgins await them in heaven. That would mean the Quran was wrong about Gods demand for $exual holiness or God plans to tease the hell out Muslims for all eternity with 70 objects they can’t touch. Neither possibility presents the attributes of God so their god is manmade thus simply of their own design.

      Nirvana is nothingness which is where most atheists claim they will be. It is inconsistent for a godless person to achieve the same pinnacle of Samsara as a godly person unless there is no God. Buddhism fails in the presence of God and the absence of God.

      The right thing to do is save the life which has not reached its destiny.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        @fred,

        I can't decide if you're being genuine or just attempting to derail the conversation from morality into religion.

        So, let me re-pose the question to you: Suppose all 6 were children, under the age of understanding. They have no faith. You can not judge gender or parentage from where you stand ready to throw the switch or not throw the switch.

        Save the one? Save the five?

        January 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • ME II

      @Damocles,
      "...are you ethically obligated to suffer more guilt as opposed to possibly less guilt?"

      Touche... good point.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      "...atheist thought that runs along the vein of the epicurean."
      You're reading too much of you own propaganda. Atheism does not imply a specific philosophy. Additionally, I don't think many atheist could be classified as Hedonists.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Damocles

      @fred

      You find yourself all alone on the bridge because the 6 and the madman all jumped off just to get away from you. Not only that, but you caused all the babies in the world to scrunch their faces up like they just bit into a lemon and slap their foreheads like they could have had a V-8.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Damocles

      Why even mention destiny when 8 destinies are converging on this bridge. It's like saying don't play out your destiny until your destiny has been played out.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Myweight...

      To be fair, fred is trying to bring religion to a question on the belief blog so I thought it was a solid enough response, especially since he's the only believer to attempt to take a whack at the question itself.

      @Fred
      First, you are starting to give the choice more to the victims than to the chooser (a.k.a. you) which isn't part of the senario. On top of that, I'd wager if you did actually give a choice to any one of the people on the track they would always say "choose me" because in our very dna, we're selfish creatures that would choose to live and spread our own dna rather than get snuffed out (the expection might, MIGHT, be is if the one person is a parent to 5 children, in which case maternal/paternal instinct could kick in). Not all born agains are martyrs, in fact I bet if you ever got a group of 5 random born agains together the chances of having even one martyr part of that group is pretty low.

      Most atheists (though obviously it depends on the individual) would most likely choose life over death because we are aware that our time on earth is short, and finite, there's no second life so giving your life up your life for some questionable "afterlife" doesn't sound like any atheist I know or heard of.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        @Chuckles,

        To be fair, fred is trying to bring religion to a question on the belief blog so I thought it was a solid enough response, especially since he’s the only believer to attempt to take a whack at the question itself.

        Okay, I can give him that, but he wasn't really answering the question, just re-casting it based on his beliefs.

        And I would genuinely like to know if he actually would make the decision based on what he believed the people involved believed.

        January 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • fred

      myweightinwords

      Ones core belief always impacts the decision and cannot be removed. I would pray about it. If God does not direct my hand then the train proceeds on its course. The 5 cute little children die if God does not intervene.

      The atheist if stopping long enough to ponder guilt and the last Star Trek episode would suffer the same result. God has the last call if there is God.
      The only hope these 5 cute little children have is outside of themselves and in the hands of what cannot be seen…………….ouch sounds a lot like God to me.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Fred,

        Ones core belief always impacts the decision and cannot be removed.

        I concur. I wasn't asking you to put your belief aside, only to answer the question as it was given. If you knew the faith of each of the six, would that honestly direct your action?

        I would pray about it. If God does not direct my hand then the train proceeds on its course. The 5 cute little children die if God does not intervene.

        And how would you recognize God intervening? Is your being there where you could affect the outcome enough? Or would you need more? Could you stand there and watch without acting?

        The atheist if stopping long enough to ponder guilt and the last Star Trek episode would suffer the same result. God has the last call if there is God.

        I don't think anyone here would actually stop and ponder if the situation actually happened. It would be a split second, a decision based solely inside them on the things they know and believe to be true. This is a philosophical discussion where we have the luxury to ponder what those things are and how they affect our decisions.

        I learned a lot from Star Trek over the years.

        The only hope these 5 cute little children have is outside of themselves and in the hands of what cannot be seen…………….ouch sounds a lot like God to me.

        And to me it sounds a lot like someone washing his hands of responsibility.

        January 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Fred

      Called it! I knew a believer would chose one of the two options, but here's the question.

      What does it feel like for god to guide your hand? Wouldn't god have divinely conspired to make you the person to be at the switch to change it to save the children? At what point has god given you free will to make your own choice on the matter vs. trying to shape events to make you either save the children or, more gruesomely, witness the 5 deaths in order to teach you some sick lesson? By being at the switch hasn't god technically then already "guided your hand" so to speak or would you wait for a literal possession where you wouldn't be able to even control your hand?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Damocles

      My core beliefs compel me to act, yours compel you to not act.

      So you would just shrug your shoulders and whistle a tune as you walked away because no deity told you what to do.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • fred

      Damocles
      If split timing is of the essence do you really know how you would respond? I always assumed I would fight (like Bruce Lee) or run (like cheetah) if suddenly confronted by an unknown. Then a friend jumped out of a box in a dark garage and I stood there frozen unable to utter a word for what seemed an eternity.
      This is why people are trained extensively where split seconds matter. I am thinking that without training on track switching our instincts would take over without a great deal of thought if we are talking seconds. Instinctively you would throw the switch in the direction you turn off a light switch. Down.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "fred", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore all of your assertions to date have been unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      January 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • fred

      Chuckles
      “What does it feel like for god to guide your hand?”
      =>From Gods perspective God showed us what sin feels like and looks like as Christ was mocked, pummeled, scourged and crucified. Sin is the condition of man and our world in the absence of God. Thus God has already felt the pain of the children and their families at the cross so we know exactly what if feels like for God.
      I flip the switch and thank God for guiding my hand. I thank God for making that decision for me (even though from a physiology perspective it was all organic chemical reactions internal to me). I know God will reconfigure reality according to his will in a time space continuum that is not linear thus making true “all things work for the good of those who believe” “I will wipe away every tear and create a new heaven and earth”. I would have no guilt over my actions but cry over the loss.

      “Wouldn't god have divinely conspired to make you….”
      =>God already knows before, during and resulting effect generations after the event yet did not conspire to make me throw the switch. My thoughts and actions revealed the condition of my soul. It is in line with the will of God then whatever happens to the switch was the right thing.

      “At what point has god given you free will to make your own choice”
      =>A great degree of free will is lost when I gave myself to Christ and attempt to live my life as God would have it. I am fully aware when my actions (happens a lot) are outside the will of God. That is where I take back my free will and act out on my own accord. Abraham for example was trained by life experiences that worked out in his walk with God . We take on the image our life is focused on (God or in the case of Lance Armstrong the race).

      “shape events to make you either save the children or, more gruesomely, witness the 5 deaths “
      =>my personal thoughts run contrary to the Bible on this in that I see a great deal of randomness with man drawing inspiration from what he or she really treasures in life. Those like Abraham and Joseph drew their strength from God where as others draw their strength from the things of the world. It is the connection to the source of strength that shapes matters of eternal consequence and random events that just happen which reveal our treasure.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • fred

      myweightinwords
      “If you knew the faith of each of the six, would that honestly direct your action?”
      =>I cannot know the faith or heart of anyone so my conclusion only works “If” they were born again. No it could not direct my action outside a hypothetical knowledge.

      “And how would you recognize God intervening?”
      =>often no different than your gut feeling.

      “ Is your being there where you could affect the outcome enough? Or would you need more? Could you stand there and watch without acting?”
      =>I would actually simply take action if presented with the situation while praying in the process.

      “I learned a lot from Star Trek over the years.”
      =>if you want to beamed you need to rely on God not Scotty.

      “And to me it sounds a lot like someone washing his hands of responsibility.”
      =>more like justification that keeps me out of a guilt cycle

      January 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      No. Wrong is always wrong. Right is always right. They don't become something else based on circu.mstance or opinion.

      Sometimes in order to do right a wrong is also simultaneously done. Intent of the primary action is what determines the rightness or wrongness . While we know that killing is wrong, we also know that protecting one's life or the life of an innocent is right. If in the course of saving someone's life, you end up killing the aggressor you've still performed a right action because your intent was not to kill. Rather, your intent was to preserve a life – whether your own or a third party's.

      January 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  12. Science

    At its best here and peer reviewed .No go-d(s) required. Proven right here on this tread!!!

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/17/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-thursday-january-17-2013/comment-page-2/#comment-2107898

    January 18, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  13. Sense0326

    I mean look at this crap "People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."
    Martin Luther

    January 18, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • SImran

      Now if sun were indeed revolving around the earth, and then suddenly god commanded it to stand still, what would happen when a ball of hot plasma, 1,392,684 km in diameter, suddenly stopped? I am not a physics person, but I imagine it would have been catastrophic.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • ???????

      ???????
      to Sense0326
      Reviewing the comments noticed someting interesting. Science PROVED it does not work the way the bible said it did !!!
      All the facts are here on this tread. Peer reviewed !!!
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/17/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-thursday-january-17-2013/#comments

      January 18, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • PseudoTopher

      The Bible says it, Topher believes it, that proves it.

      The universe revolves around the earth.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  14. niknak

    Morning all,
    Just got up and feeling great.
    Hey fundies, does it bother you that us atheists can have such wonderful lives without god(s)?

    Cause you know, it's gonna be another beautiful day without god(s).

    January 18, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • meifumado

      Good Morning Niknak,

      Yes today is a great day as is every other day (with no gods)!
      Enjoy your weekend (with no gods)

      =)

      January 18, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  15. SImran

    Topher,
    You left the thread yesterday without giving us any insight into some problems with the whole concept of Jesus as the messiah. Care to address them today...
    1. Why were the Jews CHOSEN by god?
    2. Why did god need to give us a new covenant when he already had given the children of Israel an old covenant? Why was there a need for civil and ceremonial laws in the first place, and then no further need for them?
    3. Why do Jews reject Jesus as the messiah and call him the false one?

    January 18, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Sense0326

      "Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but - more frequently than not - struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."- Martin Luther
      You can't try to use logic. Even they admit it won't work on them.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ SImran: Topher didn't show up on yesterday's thread...I saw it this morning & left you answers.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Topher

      SImran

      Hey, dude. I don't have my Bible in front of me, so I won't be able to give you scripture quotes, but I'll answer the best I can ...

      "1. Why were the Jews CHOSEN by god?"

      Because that's the people through whom He would bring the Messiah. If you're looking for something deeper, like why those people for Messiah, I'm really not sure. Understand that the plan was in place before Creation.

      "2. Why did god need to give us a new covenant when he already had given the children of Israel an old covenant? Why was there a need for civil and ceremonial laws in the first place, and then no further need for them?"

      We broke the old covenant ... repeatedly. Read Exodus. Every time God would save them they'd turn to God for all of a generation. The next generation would go right back to worshipping false gods. Then God would save them again and round and round it went.

      As for your second question here, if I understand your question, ceremonial laws (sacrifices) were to cover your sins until Messiah came. Notice it's just a covering, not forgiveness. It was temporary.

      "3. Why do Jews reject Jesus as the messiah and call him the false one?"

      Well, not all Jews do, but I know what you mean. A lot of Jews misinterpreted the scriptures to believe that Messiah would be a conqueror and would set up a kingdom when He came. Jesus didn't do that. In fact, He addresses that somewhere in the gospels. Not sure if that's what they still hold to.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • SImran

      ITopher,
      Honestly, I dont care what your holy scripture has to say about this. I ask you of your own answers – answers that your own mind can think of, logically, rationally.

      My own opinion:
      1. Why were the Jews CHOSEN by god?
      Bcoz they were the ones who wrote the story, just like people in the east wrote theirs, and said other stories will be false.

      2. Why did god need to give us a new covenant when he already had given the children of Israel an old covenant?
      Bocz as morality evolved, people started to realize that the civil and ceremonial laws were absurd, cruel and brutal and had to be let go.

      3. Why do Jews reject Jesus?
      Pretty much the same reason why christians reject the beliefs of others, egocentricity.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • SImran

      Ok, so people broke the covenant. But you do accept that the old covenant was put forth by the same god. Why was it so GHASTLY? And brutal? And violent? I mean the old covenant.

      So, god did make a new covenant. Still doesnot address why the omission of civil and ceremonial laws?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Topher

      SImran

      "Ok, so people broke the covenant. But you do accept that the old covenant was put forth by the same god. Why was it so GHASTLY? And brutal? And violent? I mean the old covenant."

      Not saying this is universally true of every law, but a lot of that was to keep people in line or it was for their own good. For instance, some of that stuff like stoning naughty children ... the hope was that if the children believed they'd be stoned, they wouldn't disobey. Or things like don't eat these certain types of foods there's a couple possibilities. It could be for health reasons ... see what happens if you don't cook pork correctly. And there's the possibility that if you refuse to eat a certain kind of food, you're less likely to intermingle with neighboring people groups who ate that food; which would lead to marriage between the groups which was also sinful. Look what happened to Solomon.

      "So, god did make a new covenant. Still doesnot address why the omission of civil and ceremonial laws?"

      Ceremonial laws are no longer needed. All the things the priests did is now covered by Jesus Christ, our High Priest. That includes the sacrificial system as Christ was our ultimate sacrifice. I remember reading one commentator who said that because the veil was torn at the crucifiction it would now be a sin to continue with sacrifices. Notice the Jews don't sacrifice anymore, either. The civil laws were for those people at that time. Since we are not those people, those laws are not for us. Thus only the moral laws remain.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • SImran

      So you really think that people stop making sacrifices not bcoz they realized that it was cruel to do so, but bcoz of an excuse of Jesus being the sacrifice.
      Stoning children to keep them in line?
      Telling people to marry the woman in case they happen to ra'pe them?
      Paying fine to the husband in case you cause an abortion of his wife?

      Do you really never ever question the absurdity of these things?

      Jews dont sacrifice anymore, but they dont accept Jesus. So how does that count?

      January 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      If God is truly omnipotent, then any particular law He makes is just His whim. He consciously decided to make Hell and send people there for breaking rules he made up.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Topher

      SImran

      "So you really think that people stop making sacrifices not bcoz they realized that it was cruel to do so, but bcoz of an excuse of Jesus being the sacrifice."

      It's not an excuse. Do you remember what John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus? "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." Look how much foreshadowing of Christ there was in the OT. After Adam sinned, what was the first thing God did for them? He killed an animal and made clothes for them. Blood was shed to cover their sins. Or how about the Passover? Remember that story? They had to sacrifice an animal and spread the blood on their door as a sign to the Angel that they were of God and he would pass over their home and not kill their first born. The blood was a covering. Or Abraham being asked to kill his son. Before it could be done, God stopped it because He would one day take His own son's life.

      "Do you really never ever question the absurdity of these things?"

      Not really. I don't pretend to understand it all. But I do know that because of my sins I deserve Hell and that He came and died so that I may live. And there's no greater act of kindness and love that could ever be done for me.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Damocles

      Not to get ya'll off track or anything, but can anyone explain to me why an all knowing deity would need to have the doors painted in blood to avoid killing the wrong people?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Topher

      Damocles

      Sure. It was a sign of the covenant that the blood was a covering for sins. It was one of those things that pointed to the coming Messiah. Like I said earlier, the coverings were temporary until Messiah came to be the perfect sacrifice once and for all.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • SImran

      Topher,
      When you ask me do you remember what John said, please remember – I have not read your scripture. So, no, I dont know what John said.

      Now if you say that how can I know that what your scripture says is wrong since I have not read it, my next question will be – have you read mine? If not, how do you know mine is not right?

      Well, since you yourself admit that you dont try to understand, it is meaningless to have a debate. My point is only one – people need to think for themselves, question everything in life. And come to your own conclusions. Not just follow the crowd bcoz a holy book tells you to.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • WASP

      @chrisTOPHER: so according to your bible, if your child commits a horrible act you can surrender yourself to "authorities" to be executed in his place correct?

      if we are "children of god" and he sent a "demigod" of himself to sacrifice himself for our "sins" then that is the example of what you should do if your child sins.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Damocles

      @topher

      Yeah, that absolutely did not answer my question.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Pete

      In reality, god must be a moron.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Topher

      SImran

      "When you ask me do you remember what John said, please remember – I have not read your scripture. So, no, I dont know what John said. "

      Sorry. I didn't know you haven't read it. Good thing I told you, then. ;)

      "Now if you say that how can I know that what your scripture says is wrong since I have not read it, my next question will be – have you read mine? If not, how do you know mine is not right?"

      What is yours? I've read some other religions' books. Very simply, since I believe Christianity to be true, no other religion can be true. Law of Non-Contradiction. Jesus said no man come to the Father "but by me." That's exclusive. If He's correct, no other religion is true.

      "Well, since you yourself admit that you dont try to understand, it is meaningless to have a debate. My point is only one – people need to think for themselves, question everything in life. And come to your own conclusions. Not just follow the crowd bcoz a holy book tells you to."

      Hold on, now. I never said I don't try to understand. I just admit I don't understand some of it. I have never "just followed the crowd" ... I didn't grow up in the church and wasn't saved until I was nearly 30.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Damocles

      @topher

      Wait, wait..... wait.

      Ok... I believe Cat and Proxy Cat were spot on when they told me that no one enters the Eternal Fields of Yarn but through them. Since I believe this, no other religion can be true, including yours. It matters not how I arrive at the conclusion, it only matters that I did.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Topher

      Damocles

      No. The question isn't whether you believe it, but whether it is true. My point was that it is exclusive, not that it proves its truth.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • SImran

      There are several problems with the law of non-contradiction Topher.
      I dont have the time today to go into them, but if I log in tomorrow, will tell you. You dont pretend to understand it at all and yet you do pretend to know that it is the truth! Where does that come from?
      By for now. It is late night here and I have a busy schedule tomorrow.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Damocles

      @topher

      Ahhh, but I say it's true. Can you prove it isn't?

      January 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • SImran

      There are several problems with the law of non-contradiction itself Topher. And we can invoke the law of non-contradiction towards you as well, saying we know ours is the truth, yours cannot be true. The Jews claim you have it wrong, and you claim they have it wrong. So, who is right?

      I dont have the time today to go non-contradiction today, but if I log in tomorrow, will tell you.

      You dont pretend to understand it at all and yet you do pretend to know that it is the truth! Where does that come from?
      By for now. It is late night here and I have a busy schedule tomorrow.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Topher

      SImran

      "You dont pretend to understand it at all and yet you do pretend to know that it is the truth! Where does that come from?
      By for now. It is late night here and I have a busy schedule tomorrow."

      Again, please stop misrepresenting what I've said. I never said I "don't understand it at all" ... I've said there's parts I don't understand. Try reading Job without a commentary. It's quite difficult in my opinion. The Bible is one of those things that is simple enough for a child to understand, but could also give a Bible scholar fits. And yes, I do believe it to be true. My conscience reveals to me there is a God. So the question is, which God is it? I feel the Bible is the only one that answers all the important questions and is the ONLY one that answers the sin problem.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • SImran

      Topher,
      Just to clear the air, my intention is not to misrepresent you, but to make you think a bit. When you say "I don't pretend to understand all of it", you are saying you don't understand all of it. Now, you also accept that you accept it to be the truth. All of it, without questioning why? You simply accept, not question it, even though you don't understand it.

      Now, on a personal level, I have no issues with what you believe or don't believe. But here we are arguing on an open forum. And other people will and do have different truths they believe in, and it is pointless to bring in law of non-contradiction. Bcoz if I believe in a particular faith different from yours, I will say yours is wrong. See my point.

      You simply cannot expect me to accept your truth without telling me why?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    If you are afflicted by gods, take time today to reflect on the facts that they are mute and invisible and do not interact directly with your world, also that the only reason you began to believe in them is that someone told you about them and, perhaps, gave you a disturbing book.

    January 18, 2013 at 7:55 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.