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Godless mom strikes a chord with parents
A CNN iReport essay on raising kids without God draws record-breaking number of comments.
January 18th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Godless mom strikes a chord with parents

By Daphne Sashin, CNN

Deborah Mitchell remembers the time, when her boys were younger, and another mom asked her about her religious beliefs.

Mitchell was raised Catholic but moved away from religion in her early 20s. She told the other mother that she didn’t go to church and didn’t even really believe in God.

Then, she says, the recruiting started.

“She used to call my house and tell me she was praying for me. She’d leave me messages and leave cards in my mailbox with scripture,” Mitchell says. “I do realize that she meant well, but at the same time, I know my views were seen as wrong. I needed to be ‘saved.’”

Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas who feels “immersed in Christianity,” started a blog about raising her children without religion because she felt frustrated and marginalized. She didn’t want to feel so alone, she says.

This week, she gained a whole new audience and the reassurance that she's not alone. Her essay on CNN iReport, “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” drew 650,000 page views, the second highest for an iReport, and the most comments of any submission on the citizen journalism platform.

It starts:

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

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

Mitchell posted the essay detailing her seven reasons for raising her children without God on CNN iReport because she felt there wasn’t anyone else speaking for women or moms like her. As she sees it, children should learn to do the right things because they will feel better about themselves, not because God is watching. She asks questions like: If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?

Lots of people disagreed with her. Tons. They flagged her iReport as inappropriate and criticized CNN for linking to her essay on the CNN.com homepage. But there were plenty of others who wrote thoughtful rebuttals, respectfully disagreeing with Mitchell while not foisting their own beliefs on her. Take, for instance, a Methodist dad, who said faith can be hard to nail down, but “not to avail ourselves of the power of something we don't completely understand is silly.”

Others said Mitchell presented a simplistic view of religion.

“Presentations such as these seem to ignore a substantial percentage of believers - well-educated, compassionate, liberal folk, Christian and non-Christian alike - who, I feel, are able to worship without being blind to the realities of the world, or without lying to their children about their understanding of these complexities,” wrote commenter RMooradian. “I'll be raising my children with God, but I understand those who cannot!”

But Mitchell’s essay also struck a chord with hundreds of like-minded parents raising children in a world where lack of belief puts them in the minority, often even in their own family.

“Thank you for writing this. I agree with everything you say, but I’m not brave enough to tell everyone I know this is how I feel,” a woman who called herself an “agnostic mommy of two in Alabama” posted in the comments. “Thank you for your bravery and letting me know I’m not alone.”

It’s a growing group. One in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion, and that number has grown by 25% in the past five years, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Of that group, 88% said they were not looking for religion, although 68% of the unaffiliated said they believe in God. 

Brittany Branyon, an American graduate student and substitute teacher living in Germany, was also compelled to express her thanks to Mitchell. Branyon was raised Southern Baptist in Georgia and Alabama. In high school, when she began to question the theory of creation and befriended gay and lesbian students, she says her mother tried to perform an exorcism.

“She opened all the windows and doors in the house, brought me to the door, held my shoulders and shook me while screaming, ‘Satan, get out of this child!’, ‘Satan, leave this child alone!’.”

After moving away from the South, she and her husband “became more comfortable in our secular ways,” but still take criticism from family members. They are now expecting their first child.

“Though we are elated to welcome our child into the world, we can’t help but dread the religious uproar that is to come from our families,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Such an uproar is familiar to Carol Phillips, a stay-at-home mother in northern Virginia. When she gave birth to her first child, she said her family was shocked that the baby wasn’t baptized. She said her mother-in-law cried and told her the little girl’s soul would not go to heaven.

Then there are the comments from strangers. Last year, Phillips said she and her daughter were at a birthday party when a tornado warning sounded.

“We were all in the basement keeping safe. A little girl was saying baby Jesus will keep us safe. My daughter asked who Jesus was. The rest of the time was spent hearing ‘I'll pray for you sweetie, we can take you to church with us if you want,’” Phillips told CNN.

Commenting on Mitchell’s iReport, Phillips said, “To live out loud and to speak freely about my beliefs brings many clucking tongues. I would think it’s easier to come out as gay than atheist.”

Mitchell said she spent years studying the history of religion and does believe it has “an important place in our community.” She has told her children that she’ll be fine if they decide to join a church when they are older.

She ended her essay:

I understand why people need God. I understand why people need heaven. It is terrifying to think that we are all alone in this universe, that one day we—along with the children we love so much—will cease to exist. The idea of God and an afterlife gives many of us structure, community and hope.

I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair—not on what they believe an imaginary God wants.

After her post ran on CNN, Mitchell said she was encouraged by the number of people who agreed with her, or who disagreed but wanted to have a respectful discussion.

“I’m not saying that everybody should think how I do. I’m saying the people that do should have a place in our society and have acceptance and respect,” she said. “I just want to have children grow up and be able to not be afraid to say ‘I don’t believe that,’ or ‘I’m not part of that.’” 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
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    November 28, 2013 at 2:17 am |
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    April 8, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  3. Austin

    A child is the opposite of an atheist.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Atheist mom of two in Colorado

      Every child is born an atheist, I just choose to keep mine that way.

      Thanks CNN again for covering this subject.

      March 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Science

      Martian Clay Contains Chemical Implicated in the Origin of Life,

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610220132.htm

      Meteorites and water. made us aye.

      Oops and that carbon – 14 + (U-Pb).............uranium lead dating Austin.

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/06/hear-what-valedictorian-said-for-cheers/#comments

      Better check out that little blue box Austin.

      June 11, 2013 at 8:54 am |
  4. End Religion

    What most historians and scholars think (as stated above) is that a human named Jesus was the seed for the Christian myths. But, it would be factually wrong to suggest that "most scholars think the Christ existed" — a seed is not the same as the myth.

    The term "scholar" can be a weasel word. It's worth asking the question "Who is this scholar, and what are his investments in the issue?" If he is a theologian, then it is worth asking "Would this theologian ever be able to even say that The Christ did not exist, or would his theological underpinnings prevent him from saying that?" When apologists quote scholars or 'experts' of Jesus' historicity, they are often quoting theologians whose focus is theology, and whose vestment in the argument is clear.[71] Further, those who have a bias towards not challenging the theology as they know it have often preselected the texts that are "canon" and "authentic"[72]

    Hector Avalos details the differences between the seminary and secular streams of Bible-related study in his 2007 book The End of Biblical Studies, which had some impact on the field.[73] It should be noted that some apologists for a historical Jesus are fundamentalists such as Lee Strobel who are rarely taken seriously in mainstream academia, others are liberal Christians such as Marcus Borg, and others are flat-out agnostics such as Bart Ehrman, or Robert Grant who are more respected in mainstream academic circles. (There are also quite a few Jewish New Testament scholars such as Amy Jill-Levine or Geza Vermes). Even taking scholars like Ehrman into account, mythicists such as Richard Carrier believe that the methodology of Jesus-related historical studies is of a much lower standard than the methodology of other historical study of comparable periods.[3]

    Historians who are skeptical of the historicity of Jesus are often painted by theologians and apologists as fringe lunatics. However, these arguments rarely go beyond ad hominem attacks.[74][75] However, secular historians can also be critical of the mythicist position. In his recent book Did Jesus Exist?, Bart Ehrman distinguishes between mythicists whom he regards as flat-out pseudo-historians (such as Tim Freke) and those he regards as responsible mythicists such as Robert Price and Richard Carrier. He regards the latter as playing by the proper rules of historical inquiry, while the former simply make up facts to support wild surmises. However, Ehrman regards even Price's views as ultimately unconvincing and as therefore "fringe" in the sense of being believed by a very small percentage of scholars.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

    March 23, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Austin

      The holy spirit is The Master Teacher.

      Sleep well guy.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Science

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      March 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  5. Austin

    There is no such thing as atheism. You worship yourself as God if you don't believe in Him.

    March 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition!

      Where did you come up with that ridiculous concept? How could you possibly know what an atheist thinks?

      March 23, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Damocles

      C'mon, Austin.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      So the fact that atheists don't think they are immortal, as a god would be, and they don't think they created or supernaturally control everything, as a god would do, and are not omniscient or omnipotent, as a god is, all that doesn't clue you in to just how incredibly stupid that statement is?

      Seriously, that is one of the dumbest lie-cliches Christians repeat about atheists, and it just could not be any more obviously untrue.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Austin there is no such thing as atheism

      You simply reject God, and resist Him in pride, willful disobedience. This full time hobby is not really not believing. It is unbelief which is a sin. It is an act, not a natural mentality. Especially after hearing the truth.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      Crazy crazy crazy. It's definitely a shame that states can no longer afford to properly institutionalize mentally ill people, and just dump them out on the streets now.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      Austin, English doesn't always work just by stringing together any old words. Try making some sense next time. I understand it may be difficult for schizophrenic but give it the ol' college try, would ya?

      March 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't worship anything that you don't. You worship your own opinion so much that you can't consider that you might be wrong. You don't worship god, you worship your opinion of what you think god is, and what "god is" is just a personified collection of your ideals You need to feel special, and as if you have a wizard daddy, and that death will affect some people but everything will just get better and better for you when you die.

      Are you kidding me? You're the one worshiping yourself.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Austin

      Ok, I feel terrible for not using the original spelling . I can never tell what to say when I can't remember how to spell.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      "no longer afford to properly instîtutionalize mentally ill people, and just dump them out on the streets now."

      Apparently, they're either dumping them with laptops or dumping them with library cards, cuz this schizo Austin got ahold of something he keeps on him on the internet 24/7.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Austin

      @ moby

      It's not my fault that I know the truth through the Holy Spirit. He gave me special experience and insight, that is no more than a personal relationship where the Holy Spirit bears the truth of Gods word. It can be evil, or angelic, or doctrinal inspiration or revelation. God is the author of all things spiritual. What is outrageously asinine is the denial of world wide demonic evil which is a daily revelation that you pawn off on religion and mental illness. Much of it is demonic power and death.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Austin

      Not for long. Maybe another week or two.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      There is no "spiritual" anything, Austin. When you can prove that there is even one atom of proof for any magical "soul" or "spirit" or "angel" or "demon" or even the force of wish or prayer--let me know.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      What changes in a week or two, Austin?

      March 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Damocles

      Some people are bad, Austin. If some idiot tried to tell me he murdered because he was under the thrall of a demon, I'd clap him on the back and laugh as I lead him to the chair.

      So, tell me, when your deity supposedly murdered the world, was he under demonic possession?

      March 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      I do hope that Austin doesn't mean he is getting his truck back in a week or two and thinks he has to strip and do God's work again.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:53 am |
    • Austin

      @ damocles? to the chair?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Alexandra

      I disagree Austin, as an atheist I am very atuned to the fact that I am mortal, that this is our only life, so we should make the best of it, helping each other and our neighbors and being kind. We are good because it is right, we should make this life as amazing as we can and I live each day as it is my last. Thinking I am a supernatural supreme being? Seriously where do you get these ideas...

      March 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • springrobin

      Excuse me? I think you need a little more education, and a little less indoctrination.

      October 31, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  6. Austin

    10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circ.umstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

    Angels look intently into salvation with great joy, as they never experienced it because they did not violate the free will choice of sin.

    Children are less inhibited by the consequences of sin. Their trust is not ignorant. Trust is a character asset in a sinless world where family, truth and God are in harmony. This was Gods creative masterpiece and plan. That all children would believe as infants form language, that they form a proper reality and truth.

    March 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • What is that thing on Aaron Neville's Face

      "that they form a proper reality"

      well then that settles it – dispense with all the fairy tales – especially the ones from a couple thousand years ago...

      March 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Damocles

      Proper reality? Is it good and proper that a child should believe that the deity that loves them oh so much has decided to give them cancer or that it has a loving master plan in mind when the child's parents are killed in a car wreck? I don't go around intentionally inflicting pain and suffering on the ones I love, but that's just crazy, whacky me.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Austin

      End Religion
      "A child's trust is given because they are usually pretty ignorant of the world and will believe anything they're told. There's nothing virtuous about taking advantage of that, you horrid excuse for a human."

      The difference between nurturing your young and depleting them of the eternal love of God. The holy spirit is grieved at the intentional killing and imprisonment of the souls of your children whom you curse.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We are by nature atheist. Children are atheist until they begin to believe the lies and indoctrination that come from adults.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Austin

      The proof that is false are Canaanites who competed with the Adamic God, with their satanically inspired mimicry .

      John 15:26-27
      New International Version (NIV)
      The Work of the Holy Spirit

      26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Damocles

      See, it's all about the scare tactics. 'Ohhhh, tsk tsk, don;t you want your child to have everlasting life? You are cursing your child to damnation.' Total BS. 'My deity loves me and mine, but the loving master plan is in full swing because my deity blessed my child with cancer. Yaaaaaay deities!'

      March 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • What is that thing on Aaron Neville's Face

      You're trying to provide evidence to support the validity of the charge of diabolical mimicry from within the text that the charge is trying to defend? Do you know what circular or self-reference means, Austin?

      March 23, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Austin there is no such thing as atheism

      @. Damocles,
      We all get sick, we all get viruses , some this and some that. And we all die. That is tragic. I am sorry.

      This is not Gods will or fault. Damocles, it's ok to be mad at God.

      But this is not about fear tactics. It is about Gods love. It is impossible to express , the holy spirit has to reveal this love in your life when you realize you need the relationship with God. There is no greater responsibility or purpose, and there are consequences to resisting His promises and blessings.

      Damocles, I am sorry for even responding to your loss. In no way can I tell you how to feel or live the pain. But God is here with us and can carry your burdens. And He is grieving your pain and your loss with you. And Christ in His humanity, understands and walks with you and your son.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • What is that thing on Aaron Neville's Face

      "Austin there is no such thing as atheism";s post sound very fredian; as if someone just wound his key up again and he's chatting away like the everready bunny; lol.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Damocles

      My child isn't sick, you goofball, I was merely pointing out the horror and idiocy of telling a child that the deity that supposedly loves them has inflicted terminal injury to them.

      Believers really shoot themselves in the foot when they use words like 'impossible' 'all powerful' and 'perfect'.

      First you say that it's not the deity's fault, then you say there are consequences to going against it. Much like a murderer would say 'hey, it's not my fault, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, so it's your fault.' Then you say your deity's love is impossible to express, probably because it sounds all mystical and whatnot, but it's crap. If it's impossible to express, then how can it express it?

      So, again, you use worn out scare tactics and use words without realizing what you are actually saying.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Austin there is no such thing as atheism

      You have to want Him to express it, be willing for Him to, and yield to a few things. And need Him too. You have to understand sin.

      Dont you want to experience the most incredible thing you ever could? I can't tell you how exciting it is for me to think about you experiencing it. I always thought people were crazy but I was jealous . And now that it happened, it is actually possible to truly love God because He has done something uniquely special just for me. I. Have a personal relationship with God. It isn't religious at all.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Damocles

      I can tell you how excited I will be when you get the help you need. Very.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Austin

      One and all, God bless you mam.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition!

      Who the fuck is mam?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Austin

      i meant mammal or, man, or mama.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:16 am |
  7. End Religion

    Jesus never existed:

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/comment-page-51/#comment-2173770

    March 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Chad

      Can you name any serious scholar that claims Jesus didnt exist?

      Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[5][6][7][8] and biblical scholars and cla ssical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[9][10][11] Scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born BC 7–2 and died AD 30–36.[12][13] Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea[14][15][16] and that he spoke Aramaic and may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek.[17][18][19][20][21] Although scholars differ on the reconstruction of the specific episodes of the life of Jesus, the two events whose historicity is subject to "almost universal as sent" are that he was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.

      [5] Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0391041185 pages 2-5
      [6] Christopher M. Tuckett In The Cambridge Companion to Jesus edited by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0521796784 pages 122-126
      [7] Amy-Jill Levine in the The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. 2006 Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 1-2
      [8] Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman (Sep 23, 1999) ISBN 0195124731 Oxford Univ Press pages ix-xi
      [9] In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (who is a secular agnostic) wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
      ^ Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies existence) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61
      [10] Michael Grant (a cla ssicist) states that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels by Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
      [11] Richard A. Burridge states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more." in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
      [12] Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: "biblical scholars and cla ssical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted"
      [13] James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are "a thoroughly dead thesis"
      [14] The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : "Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed".
      [15] Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113-129
      [16] The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
      ^ Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (InterVarsity Press, 1992), page 442
      [17] The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 page 303
      [18] Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 28-29
      [19] James Barr, Which language did Jesus speak, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1970; 53(1) pages 9-29 [1]
      [20] Handbook to exegesis of the New Testament by Stanley E. Porter 1997 ISBN 90-04-09921-2 pages 110-112
      [21] Discovering the language of Jesus by Douglas Hamp 2005 ISBN 1-59751-017-3 page 3-4
      ^ Jesus in history and myth by R. Joseph Hoffmann 1986 ISBN 0-87975-332-3 page 98

      March 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      In all seriousness, Chad, I advise you to be straight with people. In the origins of the Myth of the Risen Christ there most likely was a man Jesus. You cannot get from him to what you, Chad, mean by Jesus the Christ.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      "There is no contemporary evidence for Jesus’ existence or the Bible’s account of his life; no artefacts, dwellings, works of carpentry, self-written manuscripts, court records, eyewitness testimony, official diaries, birth records, reflections on his significance or written disputes about his teachings. Nothing survives from the time in which he is said to have lived.

      All historical references to Jesus derive from hearsay accounts written decades or centuries after his supposed death. These historical references generally refer to early Christians rather than a historical Jesus and, in some cases, directly contradict the Gospels or were deliberately manufactured.

      The Gospels themselves contradict one-another [2] on many key events and were constructed by unknown authors up to a century after the events they describe are said to have occurred. They are not eyewitness accounts. The New Testament, as a whole, contains many internal inconsistencies as a result of its piecemeal construction and is factually incorrect on several historical claims, such as the early existence of Nazareth, the reign of Herod and the Roman census. Like the Old Testament, it too has had entire books and sections redacted.

      The Biblical account of Jesus has striking similarities with other mythologies and texts and many of his supposed teachings existed prior to his time. It is likely the character was either partly or entirely invented [2] by competing first century messianic cults from an amalgamation of Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Judeo-Apocalyptic myths and prophecies.

      Even if Jesus’ existence could be established, this would in no way validate Christian theology or any element of the story portrayed in the Bible, such as the performance of miracles or the resurrection. Simply because it is conceivable a heretical Jewish preacher named Yeshua lived circa 30 AD, had followers and was executed, does not imply the son of a god walked the Earth at that time.

      The motivation for belief in a divine, salvational Jesus breaks down when you accept evolution:

      “Now, if the book of Genesis is an allegory, then sin is an allegory, the Fall is an allegory and the need for a Savior is an allegory – but if we are all descendants of an allegory, where does that leave us? It destroys the foundation of all Christian doctrine—it destroys the foundation of the gospel.” – Ken Ham

      See also: Evidence for Jesus, Did Jesus Exist? [2][3], Why I am not a Christian (a must read), the Christological Argument, Hitchens – Core of the Jesus myth and Christianity is Immoral (both must watch)."

      http://whynogod.wordpress.com/

      March 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      "Jesus," the mythic hero, was and is based on hundreds, if not thousands, of prophets claiming to be messiahs walking around and preaching in Judea around the time frame in question. It would only be shocking if there were no mythic hero referred to as "Jesus."

      March 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Chad

      no luck finding that scholar, eh?

      well.. keep looking..

      March 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Poor Chad. Never any empirical evidence. It sucks when all you have is faith and yet you're not willing to just admit it.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Chad

      "empirical evidence"

      oh yeah.. the science experiment to prove the existence of an ancient person requirement :-)

      thought you guys gave up on that.. did you ever figure out how to do it?

      March 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      Are "serious" scholars like "true" Christians?

      March 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      When the Church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged or dressed them up.

      -Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

      The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus... The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information - not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.

      -Moncure D. Conway [1832 - 1907] (Modern Thought)

      It is only in comparatively modern times that the possibility was considered that Jesus does not belong to history at all.

      -J.M. Robertson (Pagan Christs)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      Many people– then and now– have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as "letters of Paul." Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen "Pauline" letters now included in the New Testament. collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Tîtus– letters written in a style different from Paul's and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul's own letters. About the authorship of Ephesias, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the "deutero-Pauline"– literally, secondarily Pauline– letters."

      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (Adam, Eve, and the Serpent)

      We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

      Some hoped to penetrate the various accounts and to discover the "historical Jesus". . . and that sorting out "authentic" material in the gospels was virtually impossible in the absence of independent evidence."

      -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University

      March 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • What is that thing on Aaron Neville's Face

      Yes, Chad doesn't mean any old Jesus. He means the one that early apologists defended with the ludicrous notion of 'diabolical mimicry' – that the anonymous gospels didn't copy older stories, but that the devil disseminated he earlier "fake" pagan stories first before the "real" ones. How about that plagiarism in reverse sequence by your truly – Satan. And who back then would argue with Satan, right? wink wink.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • End Religion

      The gospels are so anonymous that their tîtles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong.

      -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

      Far from being an intimate of an intimate of Jesus, Mark wrote at the forth remove from Jesus.

      -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

      Mark himself clearly did not know any eyewitnesses of Jesus.

      -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • End Religion

      All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.

      -Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University in Toronto (Bible Review, Feb. 2000, p. 36)

      The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel.

      -Bishop John Shelby Spong

      But even if it could be proved that John's Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who "John" was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations– are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person.

      -John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • What is that thing on Aaron Neville's Face

      (yours truly)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      It was not until the third century that Jesus' cross of execution became a common symbol of the Christian faith.

      -John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

      What one believes and what one can demonstrate historically are usually two different things.

      -Robert J. Miller, Bible scholar, (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p. 9)

      When it comes to the historical question about the Gospels, I adopt a mediating position– that is, these are religious records, close to the sources, but they are not in accordance with modern historiographic requirements or professional standards.

      -David Noel Freedman, Bible scholar and general editor of the Anchor Bible series (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p.34)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • End Religion

      Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Tîtus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them.

      -Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College (Bible Review, June 1994)

      A generation after Jesus' death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large number of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.

      -Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College (Bible Review, Dec. 1994, p. 37)

      James Dunn says that the Sermon on the Mount, mentioned only by Matthew, "is in fact not historical."

      How historical can the Gospels be? Are Murphy-O-Conner's speculations concerning Jesus' baptism by John simply wrong-headed? How can we really know if the baptism, or any other event written about in the Gospels, is historical?

      -Daniel P. Sullivan (Bible Review, June 1996, Vol. XII, Number 3, p. 5)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • End Religion

      David Friedrich Strauss (The Life of Jesus, 1836), had argued that the Gospels could not be read as straightforward accounts of what Jesus actually did and said; rather, the evangelists and later redactors and commentators, influenced by their religious beliefs, had made use of myths and legends that rendered the gospel narratives, and traditional accounts of Jesus' life, unreliable as sources of historical information.

      -Bible Review, October 1996, Vol. XII, Number 5, p. 39

      The Gospel authors were Jews writing within the midrashic tradition and intended their stories to be read as interpretive narratives, not historical accounts.

      -Bishop Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels

      March 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • End Religion

      Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identîty of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "Who Wrote the Bible," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars– from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Once written, many experts believe, the Gospels were redacted, or edited, repeatedly as they were copied and circulated among church elders during the last first and early second centuries.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      The tradition attributing the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, is first noted by Irenaeus in A.D. 180. It is a tradition based largely on what some view as the writer's reference to himself as "the beloved disciple" and "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Current objection to John's authorship are based largely on modern textural analyses that strongly suggest the fourth Gospel was the work of several hands, probably followers of an elderly teacher in Asia Minor named John who claimed as a young man to have been a disciple of Jesus.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Some scholars say so many revisions occurred in the 100 years following Jesus' death that no one can be absolutely sure of the accuracy or authenticity of the Gospels, especially of the words the authors attributed to Jesus himself.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Three letters that Paul allegedly wrote to his friends and former co-workers Timothy and Tîtus are now widely disputed as having come from Paul's hand.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      The Epistle of James is a practical book, light on theology and full of advice on ethical behavior. Even so, its place in the Bible has been challenged repeatedly over the years. It is generally believed to have been written near the end of the first century to Jewish Christians. . . but scholars are unable conclusively to identify the writer.

      Five men named James appear in the New Testament: the brother of Jesus, the son of Zebedee, the son of Alphaeus, "James the younger" and the father of the Apostle Jude.

      Little is known of the last three, and since the son of Zebedee was martyred in A.D. 44, tradition has leaned toward the brother of Jesus. However, the writer never claims to be Jesus' brother. And scholars find the language too erudite for a simple Palestinian. This letter is also disputed on theological grounds. Martin Luther called it "an epistle of straw" that did not belong in the Bible because it seemed to contradict Paul's teachings that salvation comes by faith as a "gift of God"– not by good works.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      The origins of the three letters of John are also far from certain.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      Christian tradition has held that the Apostle Peter wrote the first [letter], probably in Rome shortly before his martyrdom about A.D. 65. However, some modern scholars cite the epistle's cultivated language and its references to persecutions that did not occur until the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) as evidence that it was actually written by Peter's disciples sometime later.

      Second Peter has suffered even harsher scrutiny. Many scholars consider it the latest of all New Testament books, written around A.D. 125. The letter was never mentioned in second-century writings and was excluded from some church canons into the fifth century. "This letter cannot have been written by Peter," wrote Werner Kummel, a Heidelberg University scholar, in his highly regarded Introduction to the New Testament.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      The letter of Jude also is considered too late to have been written by the attested author– "the brother of James" and, thus, of Jesus. The letter, believed written early in the second century.

      -Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

      March 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • End Religion

      There's plenty more but you don't want more, right? Chad, by your own admission, when you say, "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree," you know there is dissent in your opinion. And what you have is an opinion. Just come out and admit there was no miracle Jesus.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Chad

      still no luck eh?

      well, I dont envy you. The role of Jesus denier is a lonely one..

      Can you name any serious scholar that claims Jesus didnt exist?

      Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[5][6][7][8] and biblical scholars and cla ssical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[9][10][11] Scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born BC 7–2 and died AD 30–36.[12][13] Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea[14][15][16] and that he spoke Aramaic and may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek.[17][18][19][20][21] Although scholars differ on the reconstruction of the specific episodes of the life of Jesus, the two events whose historicity is subject to "almost universal as sent" are that he was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.

      [5] Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0391041185 pages 2-5
      [6] Christopher M. Tuckett In The Cambridge Companion to Jesus edited by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0521796784 pages 122-126
      [7] Amy-Jill Levine in the The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. 2006 Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 1-2
      [8] Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman (Sep 23, 1999) ISBN 0195124731 Oxford Univ Press pages ix-xi
      [9] In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (who is a secular agnostic) wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
      ^ Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies existence) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61
      [10] Michael Grant (a cla ssicist) states that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels by Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
      [11] Richard A. Burridge states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more." in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
      [12] Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: "biblical scholars and cla ssical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted"
      [13] James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are "a thoroughly dead thesis"
      [14] The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : "Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed".
      [15] Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113-129
      [16] The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
      ^ Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (InterVarsity Press, 1992), page 442
      [17] The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 page 303
      [18] Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 28-29
      [19] James Barr, Which language did Jesus speak, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1970; 53(1) pages 9-29 [1]
      [20] Handbook to exegesis of the New Testament by Stanley E. Porter 1997 ISBN 90-04-09921-2 pages 110-112
      [21] Discovering the language of Jesus by Douglas Hamp 2005 ISBN 1-59751-017-3 page 3-4
      ^ Jesus in history and myth by R. Joseph Hoffmann 1986 ISBN 0-87975-332-3 page 98

      March 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • What is that thing on Aaron Neville's Face

      It's good to see that Chad has given up on trying to prove the validity of the Christ character and the stories in the gospels that support his divinity, and is relegated to trying to defend the possibility of the existence of some preacher man that made some headlines.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      He's also now apparently claiming he can't read the handful of names I just gave him.... but we've known for a while that Chad is a broken man, clinging to his mythical world of lies and magical machinations. It does make me sad to see smart people so ignorant.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You see, that's why you have to talk AT the chad. You go gather the evidence for him that he specifically requests and claims you don't have, and then you go do his fvcking work for him and put it right in front of his face and he ignores it.

      I'm sorry Chad, I must apologize to you. I had thought that I couldn't think any worse of you and I was clearly wrong. I won't make that mistake twice. I'm sure that very soon you'll pull another move that will make me think even less of you than I do right now.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Austin

      He

      March 24, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  8. Will

    Bible
    It is a proverb: A young man according to his way, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

    Darby Bible Translation
    Train up the child according to the tenor of his way, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

    English Revised Version
    Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.

    Webster's Bible Translation
    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    World English Bible
    Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

    Young's Literal Translation
    Give instruction to a youth about his way, Even when he is old he turneth not from it.

    Barnes' Notes on the Bible
    Train – Initiate, and so, educate.

    The way he should go – Or, according to the tenor of his way, i. e., the path especially belonging to, especially fitted for, the individual's character. The proverb enjoins the closest possible study of each child's temperament and the adaptation of "his way of life" to that.

    Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
    Train up a child in the way he should go – The Hebrew of this clause is curious: חנך לנער על פי דרכו chanoch lannaar al pi darco, "Initiate the child at the opening (the mouth) of his path." When he comes to the opening of the way of life, being able to walk alone, and to choose; stop at this entrance, and begin a series of instructions, how he is to conduct himself in every step he takes. Show him the duties, the dangers, and the blessings of the path; give him directions how to perform the duties, how to escape the dangers, and how to secure the blessings, which all lie before him. Fix these on his mind by daily inculcation, till their impression is become indelible; then lead him to practice by slow and almost imperceptible degrees, till each indelible impression becomes a strongly radicated habit. Beg incessantly the blessing of God on all this teaching and discipline; and then you have obeyed the injunction of the wisest of men. Nor is there any likelihood that such impressions shall ever be effaced, or that such habits shall ever be destroyed.

    חנך chanac, which we translate train up or initiate, signifies also dedicate; and is often used for the consecrating any thing, house, or person, to the service of God. Dedicate, therefore, in the first instance, your child to God; and nurse, teach, and discipline him as God's child, whom he has intrusted to your care. These things observed, and illustrated by your own conduct, the child (you have God's word for it) will never depart from the path of life. Coverdale translates the passage thus: "Yf thou teachest a childe what waye he shoulde go, he shall not leave it when he is olde." Coverdale's Bible, for generally giving the true sense of a passage, and in elegant language for the time, has no equal in any of the translations which have followed since. Horace's maxim is nearly like that of Solomon: -q

    March 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      you sound like a tobacco company: snare them while they're young.

      March 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Dippy

      They have to get 'em while they're young. No adult with normal intelligence would fall for that bullshit.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Austin

      Some children look forward all week to Going. You can tell that the spirit is at work in children by the fearless enthusiasm the have at sundayschool. Or vbs. Some children seem to be guided by the spirit on a miraculous level. And the lord speaks through children .

      Having the faith of a child is an asset. As in, a complete trust.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • End Religion

      Austin, you think just like a pedophile, finding children's trust "an asset".

      March 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Austin

      Welcome the Child – Mark 9:36-37
      Then Jesus took a small child. Jesus stood the child before the followers. Jesus held the child in his arms and said, "If a person accepts children like these in my name, then that person is also accepting me. And if a person accepts me, then that person is also accepting the One (God) that sent me." (ERV) Full Text

      This is about the creative trust of an innocent child. This is the way we should approach God. Children's trust in God is purely more genuine and higher quality than a skeptical calloused hardened sceptic.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      A child's trust is given because they are usually pretty ignorant of the world and will believe anything they're told. There's nothing virtuous about taking advantage of that, you horrid excuse for a human.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  9. Will

    How could you deprive children of God?

    March 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      It's not deprivation, religion is child abuse.

      March 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Dippy

      How could you deprive children of cancer? Or TB? Or polio? Cramming religion down a kid's throat is abuse.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  10. Will

    <>
    New International Version  
    Invitation to the Thirsty

    1“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
    and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
    2Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
    Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
    3Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
    I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
    4See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
    5Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
    because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”
    6Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
    7Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
    Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
    8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
    9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    10As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
    and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
    and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
    11so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
    12You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
    the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
    and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.

    March 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  11. krhodes

    William Lane Craig covers this article in a recent reasonabe faith podcast. Very good explanation of the article and motivation. He also gives insight to the incorrect thinking behind it, link is posted below, and all Christians as well as atheist should listen to the podcast.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/dr-craigs-response-to-atheist-mom

    March 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      Craig, constantly using the debunked Kalam argument, gets his testicles crushed in every debate.

      Debunking William Lane Craig and the misuse of Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin’s Past-Finite Universe

      http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/borde-guth-vilenkin/

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baZUCc5m8sE&w=640&h=390]

      March 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  12. mudflats

    They use other isotopes besides carbon dating as comparisons in order to compare them with radiocarbon dating and ascertain validity and reliability.

    Also, geologic formations are analyzed for how many layers of rock formations they have and how long each formation takes to form. This is achieved by logic and knowing how long the different geologic strata take to form through volcanoes and/or crushing pressure....Then the carbon dating is calibrated to a known strata such as this where the age of the geologic formation is arrived at independently of radiocarbon dating. Then this is used to calibrate the radiocarbon dating system. That then in used, in turn, to date strata where the age of the geologic formation cannot be determined through logic and reasoning. This is not circular reasoning.

    The Fundamentalists use circular logic.
    They live in their head. They cannot get out of their head to verify anything physical. Someone disrespecting God is their pet peeve. If there is a remote chance that evolution will be used to prove there is no God, then evolution must GO. If radiocarbon dating backs up evolution, then the straw man of "carbon-dating is circular logic" is trotted out. They do not present others' views fairly.
    Other's views are forced through their particular religious sieve and come out all tangled up ( which is then made fun of).
    When the morning-after-pill prevents the egg from attaching to the uterus or being fertilized then iit's abortion of a whole, human being rather than a collection of a handful of cells you can barely see. The Bible says its wrong. This is their reason. Even though 1,000's of people have read the Bible each with their own interpretation. Their logic.

    They do not believe in treating others as they want to be treated. Do they want to live the hellish life with an impulsive, selfish teen mother"–no, they do not want to be her poverty child. But that is O.K for someone else. They take the Bible literally and cry over prayer, morality and God being removed from school and work but lack any feeling for what the life of that poverty child would be like. What? They are living in their head. They seem to be lacking a fundamental morality of right and wrong.

    February 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Science

      Facts

      Check your god(S) at the cave enterance before entering.. No god(s) required for studying humans on this thread

      updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago
      Jan. 29 2013

      Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago.

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50620121/ns/technology_and_science-science/

      Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans January 21, 2013

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-dna-reveals-humans-years.html#jCp

      February 7, 2013 at 7:25 am |
  13. greensymbol

    You do not need to cover yourself with the mantel of God, nor believe in Him, to treat others as you would want to be treated.
    You need to be reared that way by your parents, God won't feed, pay and rear you.
    Nor do you need to throw out religion. Yet these narrow minded religious sects believe the earth was made in 6,000 years and that radiocarbon dating is an example of circular reasoning, and that very few atheists or agnostics treat people more fairly or even fairly, when compared with the Bible believing fundamentalist. These people, for the most part, live in their heads and when someone else's beliefs/values conflict with theirs, they want that beliefs thrown out, defunded, boycotted and bankrupted (if a busijness).

    February 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  14. RBN

    I'm not saying adults that believe in god are stupid... I'm just saying they haven't had much luck thinking!

    February 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition!

      Most religious adults I know admit to being raised in a religious environment and just can't change. They are unable to think any other way, even though some will admit that religion is illogical. I've yet to meet a normal adult who embraced religion after childhood. That would seem to me to be impossible, but I'm sure there are such freaks out there.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Austin

      as if. Ya right. Any man makes a mans commitment and a mans enthusiasm after they grow up, or they drop out.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  15. Anon

    It's very simple, christards are screwed up in the head.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  16. Bender Bending Rodiguez

    I think someone can believe in God and evolution.

    I was listening to a debate between a creationist and an evolutionary biologist. At the end of the debate, the biologist, who is an atheist, stated that this was not a debate between religion and science as a number of his colleagues are religious individuals.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • AA

      Sure you can! There are other valid reasons not to believe in God, evolution not being one of them.

      February 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      The talking snake.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  17. Austin

    asdf

    February 5, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • Science

      @austin

      Can' you read EVOLUTION IN A TEST TUBE Jan. 30 2013

      News Release

      3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

      University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

      Thanks Doc.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:18 am |
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About this blog

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