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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 • Faith Now • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. PJ

    "I believe satan is everywhere and he and he alone inflicts the pain..." So, there's no such thing as someone being insane, or depressed, or some other affliction that would cause poor judgement or action? That everyone is made perfectly, there are no flaws in our bodies or brains (physically that is) that would be the cause of someone doing something they otherwise wouldn't do? Everytime someone has a physical flaw that manifests in horrific behavior, that's simply Satan? Wow.

    January 23, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  2. truth be told

    All day every day the filthy wasteland of atheism is presented on these blogs. The greater knowledge knows that every so called atheist is a liar, understanding this Truth puts all atheist garbage in a proper perspective. We have waste disposal facilities for sewage but there is no use whatsoever for atheism in this world or the next.

    January 23, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Daryn Guarino

      If you truly believed in any of the things you said, you wouldn't be here posting this nonsense. Your tone reveals all we need to know about you; of lower intellect and frightened of the imaginary. Shouldn't you be wearing a helmet or something?

      January 23, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • truth be told

      Thanks for providing proof for my statement daryn guanno.

      January 23, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Pete

      ". The greater knowledge knows that every so called atheist is a liar,"

      More lies from the xtians. – 134!

      January 23, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • HotAirAce

      You believer azzholes have had your way for too long. Time for the insanity of religion to be exposed and ended, for believers to take their rightful place alongside astrologists, as an amusement in Las Vegas.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  3. Jonathan

    I find it interesting that so many people think GOD or Jesus allow things to happen to people on earth. They seem to forget or don't believe in evil or satan. I believe GOD will give me the strength to withstand the forces of evil. So far that is working for me. I don't question why GOD allows, for example, a child to die. I don't believe GOD allows anything. I believe satan is everywhere and he and he alone inflicts the pain one feels when a tragedy occurs. That is when I am glad I have a belief that GOD is a support and armor agains't evil. Humans are alive and will have all sorts of horrible things happen. So, does one cave in when life goes the way satan likes to see it happen? It would be easier to just give up/or in...The future is GOD and in the most simple of thoughts..GOD is good. My life is not perfect. On earth it can't be. But I'll NOT give up for my belief teaches me life here is 0 to 100 yesrs or so..but after that it is heaven forever..Maybe not for everyone but for 66 years it's worked for me.

    January 23, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      What a pity your religion has given you such a horrible view of the world. You can save yourself, by putting that bible down and join us in reality. I think it could really help you.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Bubba Einstein

      God created everything. The Angles and Satan. God Created The Evil that is Satan. Everything that happens is his fault.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      So basically you are saying the god is the root cause of evil.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • jeffreythetaylor

      So to be clear then, Jon, you pray to a god who is no more powerful than Satan?

      The problem of evil has required this sort of tap-dance for millennia, so do not feel bad. But I confess I simply do not understand the exercise.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Dennis

      Way to waste 66 years Jonathon. Better not waste your remaining few on your god delusion.

      Grow some courage, get over your god/tooth fairy/santa claus stories, and get out and live well the one short life that you've got.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Since God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, everything is observed, controlled and caused by Him.
      Unless He is only semipotent....

      January 23, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  4. Pricilla Sinkler

    I take pleasure in, result in I found just what I used to be looking for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

    January 23, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  5. Granted

    Get used to it folks, but you are going to see more and more articles and people with this viewpoint, which I welcome. I have yet to find a religion that isn't built on fantasy, which is what makes it amazing that I am still just an agnostic rather than an atheist. The way I figure it – and what history shows – is that mankind lies its way through a life that it has incomplete knowledge of, so how can anyone say there isn't a God with complete certainty? Atheists are no better than believers in my estimation. There could be a God or Gods, but if there are they have nothing to do with the ones found i Christianity, Islam, or any of the other thousand religions found on earth. I particularly detest those so brazen and arrogant that they attempt to force their beliefs on others, and typically find after a cursory inspection of their life, that it is one of disaster and stifling singularity. No thanks, I'll pass. And hey, we no longer get burned at the stake for it either – imagine that?

    January 23, 2013 at 6:06 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      The two terms are not mutually exclusive. I am an atheist because I don't believe. I am also agnostic because I do not claim to know for certain that a god isn't at least possible. Belief and knowledge are linked but distinct.
      You will be very hard pressed to find an atheist who declares that no god(s) exist as a matter of complete certainty.
      To clarify, atheism is the rejection of individual and distinct god claims, not a statement of knowledge declaring all possible deities as being non-existant.

      So there may indeed be a creator god, however unlikely, but I have yet to be convinced that any of the claims of mankinds myriad religions point to such an entity.

      January 23, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • Saraswati

      Atheist Steve, and yet on just this page you can find people expressing 99.99999999% certainty, a probability which of course can't be calculated.

      I don't know if you've actually studied epistemology, but I have and it was around that time that, while also studying linguistics, I stopped worrying about these nitpicky distinctions between knowledge and belief. Unless you're really hooked on these terms as being deeply meaningful (in itself a quasi-religious state) you end up realizing that the words knowledge and belief both just evolved as linguistic tools and that in practice both just describe psychological traits. I "know" from experience that most reading this won't accept it and will go on trying to make up definitions of "tracked truth" or whatever is your personal thing, never actually getting there. But the reality is the world is much sloppier than that; reality is much sloppier. And when I read people fightting about the definiitions agnosticism and atheism in face of all the cultural baggage they contain what I see is another false religion regarding the power and meaing of words.

      January 23, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well I'm not going to get into an argument about epistemology but language is our only means to exchange concepts. Knowledge is a subset of belief. We could say knowledge is "justified true belief" but not all beliefs are justified or true.
      Just look at the definition of the word theist.

      Theist/thesim: Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

      The key word here is belief. It doesn't say knowledge of the existence of a god or gods. If someone tells me they are simply agnostic then it is by no means clear what they believe. It's only clear that they don't know and that's a category we all fit into. They might be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist. Now someone who claims that they know god exists is making a statement of knowledge and thereby bear the burden of proof....same for the atheist who claims to know no gods exist.
      As for the probabilities I wouldn't even attempt to assign a number to something that is inherently unknown. Suffice to say I find it highly unlikely that a god or gods exist due to the utter lack of confirming evidence. Mysteries like the origin of the universe or the origin of life are not evidence of the supernatural, merely gaps in our knowledge. And we all know the god of the gaps argument is a red herring.

      January 23, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • David Johnson

      @ Atheist Steve

      There are many things in life that we "decide", do not exist. Santa and the Easter Bunny are two good examples. I cannot prove Santa and the Easter Bunny do not exist, but I find no evidence for their existence either. And many reasons to reject them..I am not agnostic about their existence. I proclaim, that until I am shown evidence. these absolutely do not exist.

      As with Santa and the Easter Bunny, there is no evidence for a god's existence. There are many reasons to doubt. Claiming that the gods do not exist is just as valid as saying Santa is a myth.

      Believers are themselves selective atheists, believing in their god and being absolutely certain the other gods do not exist. I as an atheist, simply reject the existence of one more god than they.

      Being agnostic, is being a wimp. It is touch football. In the natural world, if there is no evidence for a thing, no need for a thing, then that thing should be rejected. Not for all time...If new evidence surfaces, then perhaps we can all shout: "God Lives"! Or "There is a Santa" But being an atheist is just being a realist. The supernatural does not exist.

      Cheers!

      January 23, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Saraswati

      I don't really know what you believe when you say you are an atheist either. The term itself is used in multiple ways, including both to lack god beliefs and to disbelieve in gods. But it still only says your position on gods, as informative about what you do believe as your position on goblins. Additionally, not everyone has the kind of position you're talking about. You say you wouldn't apply a probability, but you're perfectly happy to discus "likely" and "unlikely", which is really just a way of assigning fuzzy probability ranges without appearing overly committed.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Saraswati

      @David, what Atheist Steve is saying is that most atheists would consider themselves agnostic because the don't "know". If you are saying you aren't agnostic, you're saying you can and do know about the existence of god, based solely on the lack of evidence (using your own example).

      You might say differently that you are agnostic about god in general but not about the Christian god, which you have knowledge doesn't exist. There are other issues there, but if lack of evidence is all you're going on and you want to use these terms, you have to be an agnostic atheist.

      I just think the terms are silly, but if you want to play the game that's what you've got.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well we could spend the entire day talking past one another but I started out my initial reply by setting up the parameters for the definitions I use for the words atheist and agnostic. Followed by definitons for the words belief and knowledge. That was to let you know how I was applying them. Specically to avoid misunderstanding with other possible definitions of those words.

      The same thing happens when someone tells me they believe in god. I try to pin down specifically what it is they are talking about when they use the word god. I want to avoid talking about a god they are not referring to.

      As for my saying god is highly unlikely, fuzzy as you point out. Is the question "does god exist?" a 50/50 proposition?
      No. If mankind had only ever proposed the existence of 10 god concepts the odds would still be 10% for any one of them to possibly be true. But history is replete with thousands of gods.

      January 23, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Saraswati

      @AtheistSteve,

      "As for the probabilities I wouldn't even attempt to assign a number to something that is inherently unknown. "

      "If mankind had only ever proposed the existence of 10 god concepts the odds would still be 10% for any one of them to possibly be true."

      Reread that second statement first in light of the first and second on it's own. Do you really believe that makes sense? How are you assigning these probabilities at all?

      January 23, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  6. MACDONALDBANK

    The Bible should be banned!

    Here are several really loving excerpts from the Torah; the first five books of the Old Testament in the bible - perhaps read to the congregation on Friday night at a synagogue or a Sunday morning church in the meadow.

    1. Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10
    2. Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16
    3. Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7.

    Rabbinical / Priestly rules:
    Leviticus 21:17-18 … “No one who is blind or lame or has a defect or any blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God.”
    Leviticus 18:22 … “You are not to go to bed with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination ….”

    Rabbis; the pope and churches fully aware that Leviticus 18:22 applies to rabbis and priests … refuse to remove this stigma maliciously persecuting gays. Kids are being bullied into suicide …!

    January 23, 2013 at 5:52 am |
  7. MACDONALDBANK

    Einstein stated in a letter recently auctioned that the bible was a collection of primitive legends. He said believing in God was childish and he as a Jew is no different than another person and are not chosen by God.

    January 23, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  8. dratman

    I like the way Ms. Mitchell writes. Here is a very evocative passage: "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."

    That is a gentle and compassionate way to regard who and what we are as human beings.

    January 23, 2013 at 5:45 am |
  9. ethicalmom

    There are those of us who have managed to raise ethical and godless families for generations. My parents disagreed with their religious upbringings and raised their 4 children in an ethical, socially compassionate household without prayer and without god. We are all professionals in the helping professions, all taxpaying and respectable folks. And our children, now grown, are the same: ethical, loving people with good lives and happy homes. We aren't perfect, by any means, but we compare well with our peers on most measures of goodness or conventionality: long, happy marriages, productive lives. It can be done without a belief in the supernatural, and instead a belief in the importance of making the world a better place-because it is right and feels good to do so. Are we deluding ourselves, and when it comes time to die, we will convert? I think not: our mother died an atheist–loved and loving-and I expect the rest of us will, too. I like to think that if more people believed that the only afterlife we have is the memories we leave behind us, we would all be a lot nicer, and this world would be a better place. Good luck to young families trying to raise the next generation of good people without a god: it can be done. Like any important endeavor, it still needs thoughtfulness, humor, compassion, courage, hard work...all the virtues...these are found in their natural state, unpackaged by churches, for each of us to practice, cherish, and teach.

    January 23, 2013 at 5:02 am |
    • Saraswati

      Large branches of my family have been non-believers or highly individualized believers for well over 100 years. It would probably be more informative to write stories on families that have lived and prospered this way over time, but in the US I guess this first generation non-believer stuff still if what most people are familiar with.

      January 23, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • Michelle

      Beautifully stated ethicalmom. Raised in the Lutheran religion, I turned away from the church as a young teenager. I am now raising a son sans religion but with ample respect and compassion for the inhabitants of this planet. He is one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have ever met and this is due to the ideals we instilled in him. Religion should never be the basis for positive actions, rather goodness should come from within. I have observed far too many people who claim to be devout followers of their faith but their actions speak otherwise. My pleasure in helping others stems from an internal desire to make the world a better place, not to secure a good spot in the afterlife. Imagine the possibilities if everyone embraced that philosophy! Religious devotion should never be a measure of the goodness of an individual, but rather a guide to becoming a better person for the benefit of humanity.

      January 23, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  10. RBN

    And this is a part of a loving gods plan how exactly? Oh yeah, that's right; he works in mysterious ways.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/22/world/africa/cameroon-ritual-killings/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

    January 23, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • Saraswati

      He just likes some people better than others.

      January 23, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  11. wayne

    i was thinking about taking my girlfriend and our son to a church but it all seems strange. I wonder if it could be true.?

    January 23, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      It is strange....that is true.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • John

      Dear Wayne,
      I'll put it to you like this...there are multiple religions. If you go to Church you will, in all probability, be following a false religion. Which one is the 'true religion'? I don't know, no-one does...If you want to believe, believe at home, don't have another human being interpose himself between you & God.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:22 am |
  12. End Religion

    Analytical thinking can dissolve religious belief. It's like Draino for nutters!
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244662.php

    January 23, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • wayne

      whats your field of study? you sound like a professor.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • End Religion

      I am a Professor of Religioscatology. I search my own poop for signs of the divine. You wouldn't happen to have any extra grant money, would you? I'm trying to start a new company selling 3-ply Trinity Toilet Paper to Soothe The Sphincter.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • wayne

      like what "signs" or type of signs. really though you are a professor?

      January 23, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  13. Chad "logic" at work

    The origin of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the origin of life on this planet, the fossil record, and the empty tomb are all consistent with the existence of Thor.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      And the FSM!!!?!?!? What to do??? Who do I believe in?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • No worries, Schticker

      Chad's logic applies to EVERYTHING! Check it out:

      The origin of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the origin of life on this planet, the fossil record, and the empty tomb are all consistent with the existence of Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      The origin of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the origin of life on this planet, the fossil record, and the empty tomb are all consistent with the existence of Farty Bob, Tap-Dancing Leprechaun From Beyong The 57th Dimension.

      The origin of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the origin of life on this planet, the fossil record, and the empty tomb are all consistent with the existence of the invisible satan that lives inside Chad's butt.

      Pretty cool, huh?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      No worries. All it takes is faith and you can take your pick of which one to believe in and say that all the evidence must point to your selection. Easy.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • No worries, Schticker

      Life just could not have started in the universe unless a zombie on a stick was there to do it.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Saraswati

      And the GSD (for Jasper Fforde readers).

      January 23, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • Yowsers

      I think the time has come to settle which god is real by having an Ultimate Fighting Battle Royale Cage Match, with all the gods there!

      The Christians would be shreiking that Jesus had Thor in a headlock, while the Muslims would be hollering for Allah to detonate his secret bomb vest, and Flying Spaghetti Monster's fans would be asking him if they could borrow the stripper factory for a while . . .

      And Little Billy would say "But the cage is empty!" At which point all the others would pummel him to death for heresy, except the FSM fans who would be too busy boinking their imaginary strippers.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • Billy (some do call me Little Billy)

      Did someone call me? I'm still looking for this dude Topher. He said Noah's ark didn't really have to go very far and that maybe it just dropped the giant turtles off at Gibraltar where they would have had to swim all the way back to the Galapagos. I'm still not buying that one. Let me know if you see him.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • God. Yes, THE God

      Okay, I really did do the Noah's Ark thing, but, uh, well, it was back in my drinking days, and you know how sometimes when you have had a few gallons of Vodka before lunch on the eighth day of a binge, well, you come up with stuff like . . . three guys building a 440' boat out of a material that is waaaay too weak for the stresses and loads a ship needs to withstand . . . and it is way too small for the huge number of animals I ordered . . . which I don't remember saying, but I apparently wrote it down. Wish I hadn't.

      Yeah, and I was in a total blackout when I apparently decided to have two of every freaking species from all over the planet, and that I would just kill the rest. Because not only were the people sinners, but so were the animals. It made sense at the time, with a lot of vodka. Then after I did my big water show, I had to put all the freaking animals back all over the world – man what a lot of work – and they all died off, because the predatory ate all the relatively tiny number of prey, and then starved. So I had to reinvent the whole animal kingdom.

      And then I had to turn Niah's descendents into aborigines and Han Chinese and Bush People and all that, and get them all over the world.

      When I sobered up, I realized I could have just made a virus that Noah and the animals were immune to, and not had to go through all that freaking work.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • OTOH

      @God,
      " I realized I could have just made a virus that Noah and the animals were immune to, and not had to go through all that freaking work."

      Not even that taxing, Dude. I was taught that if "God" ever even stopped *thinking* about us we would no longer exist. Not even a nose wiggle involved...

      (absolutely horrifying to a little kid - damn those sadists!)

      January 23, 2013 at 3:30 am |
    • God. Yes, THE God

      Then I would miss out on the fun of slaughtering all of you.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:55 am |
  14. Moby Schtick

    No, Saraswati, the statements are not equivalent. The statement "unicorns do not exist" is only a "claim" in light of the claim that they do exist. If no one said that unicorns existed, the negative claim would never occur to anyone. YOU are pretending that the claims are equal by accepting them in isolation of each other and that's wrong of you to do and you need to face your error squarely. It's time.

    My point to Chad is that god makes himself invisible and undetectable and therefore it is stupid and wrong to "believe" in a god who makes himself that way.

    January 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  15. AlienShark

    Powerful lobbies such as the Pro Israel lobby, American Atheists and many others pay top dollar to have shills come to these forums, spread their agenda and copy whatever info they can get about the people who disagree with their point of view. If you knew how many of the "debaters" in this forum were paid shills
    sitting in boiler room type operations all day basically getting into character and arguing the agenda their boss gave them you would spend less time debating them and more time talking about their little known but thriving industry. anyone who is in the lobby industry or marketing research knows about this business but the majority of the average forum readers have no clue that the person they are talking with is in character and secretly copying their info and telling some lobby if they agree or disagree with their agenda. Mad grimy. I don;t care what your politics are one way or the other...I just want you to be able to spot these shills when you come across them.

    http://consciouslifenews .com/paid-internet-shill-shadowy-groups-manipulate-internet-opinion-debate/1147073/

    January 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Tod

      Has anyone ever gotten rich from atheism? Everyone knows that the real money's in religion.

      "The way to make a million dollars is to start a religion." L. Ron Hubbard

      January 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Considering you keep posting the same bullsh1t article from your same bullsh1t conspiracy website I think you are the paid shill.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • AlienShark

      Lobby in and of itself is not a bad word by the way, you can have a lobby for something as innocuous as natural food. I do think it is important to point out though that some lobbies have taken it a step further in having third party employees reach out and try to spread their agenda one on one in internet forums and social media environments and go as far as copying the info of people who disagree with them and passing it up the chain.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Huh? My replies to AlienShark are showing up and then disappearing a few minutes later. All I'm saying is that it sounds like a cool job and I'd like to apply. Strange.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      Moby's posts are getting sharted by aliens! RUN!!

      January 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      It's on another topic, Moby. This guy has spammed all the recent articles with his snoozer. Yours is elsewhere

      January 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      I hate is when aliens shart me. Happens all the time.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Maybe so, but I had replied with similar replies on several different threads, and I was pretty sure this was one of them. Maybe I'm wrong.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Try the Iran non-story. You say it there.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's a conspiracy, Moby. Probably something to do with aliens and Area 51.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Chad

      @End Religion "Stumbling upon an empty tomb simply proves nothing."
      @chad "actually that fact proves a great deal, namely that the body is no longer there.

      =====
      @End Religion ""http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-2.html"
      @Chad "you lost me.. are you claiming that stasis and rapid change (punctuated equilibrium) isnt real?

      ========
      @end religion "Where's that empirical evidence for God?"
      @chad "fine tuning is empirical :-)
      it can be measured

      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "empirical evidence" :-)

      January 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • End Religion

      @chad "actually that fact proves a great deal, namely that the body is no longer there."

      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "actually"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "that"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "fact"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "proves"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "a"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "great"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "deal"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "namely"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "that"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "the"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "body"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "is"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "no"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "longer"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "there"
      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "actually that fact proves a great deal, namely that the body is no longer there"

      ***
      @End Religion ""http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-2.html"
      @Chad "you lost me.. are you claiming that stasis and rapid change (punctuated equilibrium) isnt real?

      of course I lost you. I didn't even have to try. I simply provided context for your statement.

      January 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  16. Christo

    January 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      "... your sister needs an operation on her crotch ..."
      Laugh outloud funny !!!
      Oh I miss him

      January 23, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  17. Saint

    Seems like this mother is playing directly in the devils hand

    January 22, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Athy

      Nope. She's just being logical. No devil, no god.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Athy,
      What is your evidence that there is no God?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, you shouldn't ask that question until you can offer verifiable proof for your god. Do you ask people who disbelieve in uniocrns what their proof is that there are no unicorns? Your god is so invisible and undetectable that it's irrelevant whether or not he exists. God does nothing for you that your belief in him doesn't do.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Chad

      "I dont believe in God" carries with it no burden of proof.
      "God does not exist" carries a burden of proof

      Athy sure seems to be asserting the latter, so it is reasonable to ask her what her evidence is.

      right?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Harvey Tersallis

      Alll the evidence in the known universe, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the expanses of the cosmos. None if it in even the slightest way hints at a deity or the supernatural. That in and of itself is MASSIVE evidence that there is no god.

      The only "evidence" offered is various scriptures, all of which discredit themselves. That takes probability even further into the realms of "totally flipping impossible."

      January 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Chad

      oh, and what is "verifiable proof"?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Tod

      Chad
      Do Christians need any "evidence" to discount the existence of all the other gods? No, of course not. They just don't believe that they exist, right? Some of us are just not convinced that God exists either, which is to say that the arguments for his existence aren't compelling enough.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @Harvey Tersallis,
      The origin of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, the origin of life on this planet, the fossil record, and the empty tomb are all consistent with the existence of the God of Israel.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It's pretty obvious, Chad, that "verifiable proof" is proof that can be verified. I can prove that 2+2=4, and it's verifiable by anyone anywhere anytime. Same for any of the laws of chemistry. Your god can't be verified any further than your belief can; god does nothing that your belief isn't doing. What kind of stupid god makes himself invisible and undetectable by any verifiable method and then judges people based on their belief in him? And you expect me to believe this is the same guy who came up with math and chemistry? I don't buy it, Chad, and neither should you, but you're locked into your a priori belief that you can't look at reasonably and without bias, so you don't see why it's sooooooo stupid. Congratulations.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tod "Do Christians need any "evidence" to discount the existence of all the other gods? No, of course not. They just don't believe that they exist, right?"
      @Chad "The reality of the God of Israel's existence is refutation of the existence of any other gods."

      January 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby
      I agree you can verify laws of nature.

      but

      God isnt a law of nature, for lack of a better term He is a person.

      how do you verify a person?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The same way you verify any person, Chad. Why are you so stupid that you can't figure out simple logic when it's staring you right in the face? God is god and he could have easily made his will and nature verifiable, but according to you, he's invisible and undetectable and unverifiable. If god wants to be invisible, undetectable, and unverifiable, who are you to spit in his face by treating him otherwise?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Proofs are for math and logic, not empirical sciences. The burden for evidence is the same either way.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Chad

      You didnt answer the question

      how do you verify a person?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Harvey Tersallis

      Sorry Chad, but that is not true.

      All evidence is that the origin of the universe is natural and in no way implies a deity.

      "the fine tuning of the universe" is the fallacy of Begging the Question, like saying that creation proves a creator. By chosing dishonest words like "fine tuning", you deceitfully create the impression that there was a fine tuner. However, the universe is beautifully explained by natural laws, and of course, no hint or trace of a deity has ever been found.

      The origin of life on this planet is not fully understood, but one day it might, and like very other scientific discovery ever made, you can bet it will be a natural process.

      the fossil record shows absolutely no hint or evidence of the esistence of any deity. Like everything else, it follows natural laws.

      The empty tomb is fiction. Four different gospels give four radically different and totally incompatible accounts. No other evidence exists that the tomb was empty, just four contradictory accounts, none of which from any eyewitness.

      Your evidence is garbage. There is no substance to your claims, just pure fantasizations.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Saraswati, the statements are not equivalent. The statement "unicorns do not exist" is only a "claim" in light of the claim that they do exist. If no one said that unicorns existed, the negative claim would never occur to anyone. YOU are pretending that the claims are equal by accepting them in isolation of each other and that's wrong of you to do and you need to face your error squarely. It's time.

      My point to Chad is that god makes himself invisible and undetectable and therefore it is stupid and wrong to "believe" in a god who makes himself that way

      January 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • rafael

      You provide evidence of him, Chad. The verifiable kind.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, I answered your question but I'm not playing your silly games where you will just lie and misdirect after much time and effort to explain simple concepts that you choose to turn away from because you will not consider anything that might jeopardize your apriori belief. Have fun with Saraswati.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      On Chad's last point, there is the little inconvenient contradiction that some maintain regarding the gospels. Various early church writers, such as Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyons; circa 120 CE to ?) Justin Martyr (Christian apologist; 100 to 165), Tertullian (Christian theologian; circa 160 to 220 +) concluded that the Pagan/Christian similarities were a Satanic attempt at "diabolical mimicry." Satan was said to have use "plagiarism by anticipation." That is, the Devil made a pre-emptive strike against the gospel stories centuries before Jesus was born. The reason was to confuse the public into thinking that Jesus was merely a copy of previous god-men. The goal was to demolish the credibility of Christianity in the people's eyes.

      So that's the best they could do to defend accusation of plagiarism? By saying it was a pre-emptive strike by satan?? And still not being able to say exactly who the authors of the gospels were?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Tod

      Chad
      Any god can be argued to exist as strongly as you claim God does, and their claimed existence is as much a refutation of YHWH's existence as he is of theirs.

      Care to try again?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      Zero empirical evidence for:
      - God of Israel
      - Miracle Baby Jeebus
      - Heaven
      - Hell
      - Satan

      "We’ve already seen that a Creator God, like the Christian Trinity, cannot be the ultimate necessary being, because for God to be real, the ultimate necessary being would have to be an all-encompassing reality that included both God and non-God. But besides that, Pastor Feinstein kindly supplies us with another disqualification: the Christian God is dogmatically asserted to be a person. God cannot possess that attribute unless the fundamental nature of reality itself is such that it permits a consistent distinction between that which is a person, and that which is not. Otherwise, the propositions “God is a person” and “God is not a person” are both statements that are equally meaningless and untrue. Once again, the nature of the Christian God makes Him contingent on the precondition of a greater, self-consistent universe." – Deacon Duncan
      https://realevang.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/the-christian-metaphysical-understanding-of-god/

      January 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @moby, the conditions under which a statement would ever "occur to anyone" are irrelevant to it's truth, verifiability or internal consistency.

      I agree that the whole god-making-himself undetectable thing makeas him silly and inconsistent, but that's a whole other point.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, if there are no other gods than the one you claim, why did it command its followers not to have any other gods before it? If there really is only one god, why did it bother to mention others at all, to waste a precious commandment on nothing? Seems to me this is the likely behaviour of a god conjured up by men.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

      (Tonight's entertainment provided just below by Mr. Gregg Allman. This is one of his more progressive numbers. Please be sure to check out the uptempo breaks starting at ~2:50.)

      January 23, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Saraswati

      You're wrong. The two claims are not equal in their statements so they do not require equal "proof." The claim "Unicorns do not exist" ONLY occurs when unicorns are described and said to exist. The negative claim is a response that is a "sloppy" statement if we are talking verifiable claims, but not an unreasonable response when given the limits of our language and the prior unfounded claim. The claim "god does not exist" is a "sloppy" claim but not one that requires any sort of proof; it requires an explanation that takes into account the nature of logical claims and the limits of language and how it is used. It's wrong of you to t itilate Chad with the notion that he is correct when you should be explaining to him how language works and the conditions under which the sloppy claim comes to be.

      Parnupalizicapers do not exist. <-now that is something quite different than the claim that unicorns do not exist because it is not a negative response to a claim that Parnupalizicapers do exist made by someone who has not shown any reason to believe the claim that they exist.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Ricky Bob Parnupalizicapers

      I don't exist?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Moby, You're just presenting a standard burden of proof argument, which while interesting as a point of etiquette, practicality or law is doesn't carry any weight in determination of truth. It's a rough tool we use to formalize debate, but still just a tool in the category of occam's razor.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • End Religion

      with the very first claim of "god exists!" the burden of proof was placed on that positive claim. "God does not exist" is in response and bears no such burden until the original claim is appropriately supported. Also, it may be important to note I am not wearing any underwear.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Curious

      Since it is impossible to absolutely prove the non-existence of things which do not exist, why would any such claim have a burden of proof?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Saraswati

      You guys are all reading way too much into the concept of burden of truth and what purpose it actually serves.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Curious,

      If a claim cannot be proven incorrect it also cannot be proven correct. The question becomes are people justified to believe something to be true that can't be demonstrated as actually being true, ever. If you say people are justified in believe unsubstantiated claims what is to stop people from believing absolutely anything?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Curious, it doesn't have a burden of proof, but it shares a burden for evidence once you've opened debate.

      But none of this matters if what you're talking about is truth. Burden of truth is merely a way of establishing rules of order, in this case in the face of one argument being considered unprovable (although only practically so) and the other having been introduced first. Seriously, if these rules of order are what you care about over truth, go at it. But the appearance to me (once again, definitely not a god believer) is that you folks are using burden of proof "arguments" the same way people use occam's razor: to claim superiority of one claim over another when the evidence just isn't there. Sure, if you drag Chad into court he'll have to go first and likely won't get his case very far, but that doesn't say anything at all about the truth value of his claims.

      I'm going to sleep...have fun all.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • Curiouser and curiouser

      If you know that something inherently has no evidence, how can you ask it for evidence when a debate starts?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Curiouser and curiouser,

      Evidence and proof are not the same thing, but again, not really relevent in deciding value/probability of original claim

      Closing Ipad...good night.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • Curiouser and curiouser

      Actually, the lack of any and all evidence throughout the expanses of the known universe is VERY STRONG evidence that something does not exist. That puts it in the 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of certainty, and the claim that something exists in defiance of all evidence failing to support it in the .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%

      If you say something does not exist, and all science and observation cannot find anything at all to counter it, then you have very strong evidence.

      Nothing becomes everything. Oooooooooooooooommmmm . . .

      January 23, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Curiouser and curiouser

      How do you close an iPad? Doesn't it crackle and break when you do that?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      To use a court of law analogy, I don't think it is a question of guilt or innocence, it is a question of guilty or not guilty.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Asking believers for evidence for their silly childish beliefs is about removing the "free pass" religion enjoys because until recent years it wasn't polite to question religion. Religion has huge and unwarranted power. I don't care what people believe as long as their silliness does not affect me. Showing that there is no foundation for religion is a step in diminishing religion's power. There is absolutely no reason believers should wield any more power than astrologists, given that there is exactly the same evidence for each.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • sam stone

      ooooh.....the devil.....scary stuff....for those who believe in it. for the rest of is, it is just so much blah, bhah, fvcking blah

      January 23, 2013 at 4:32 am |
    • Saraswati

      Typo above – wrote "truth" instead of "proof"...I definitely needed to sleep. last night.

      January 23, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • Chad

      @Moby "All evidence is that the origin of the universe is natural and in no way implies a deity."

      @chad "we have been thru this before..
      1. You do not understand what the terms "natural" and "supernatural" mean. Please look them up.
      "natural" means anything within our universe, caused not by man/animal
      anything that occurs outside our universe would not be natural, it would be super-natural
      "supernatural: pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural

      2. There are NO theories on the origin of the universe that claim the universe created itself, out of nothing (absence of everything), which is the only "natural" way for our universe to have originated.
      none.

      3. all of the prevailing theories God, multiverse have describe a supernatural origin.

      ======
      @Moby "the fine tuning of the universe" is the fallacy of Begging the Question
      @Chad "no..
      the fine tuning is observable, it is simply a fact.
      the CAUSE of the fine tuning is the question. There are natural hypothesis and supernatural hypothesis for this.

      ========
      @moby "The origin of life on this planet is not fully understood, but one day it might, and like very other scientific discovery ever made, you can bet it will be a natural process."
      @Chad "origin of life, far from being "not fully understood" is actually an area where research has gotten us to the point where we simply can not replicate what occurred.

      ========
      @moby "the fossil record shows absolutely no hint or evidence of the esistence of any deity. Like everything else, it follows natural laws."
      @Chad "actually, you are clearly wrong here as well.
      The fossil record shows stasis for millions of years, then in extraordinarily short periods of time large and rapid change.
      There is no known naturalistic process that explains this, that is just a fact.
      Remember, i am a theistic evolutionist, I DO NOT believe new species suddenly materialized out of thin air.

      ======
      @moby "The empty tomb is fiction. Four different gospels give four radically different and totally incompatible accounts"
      @Chad "utter nonsense, but you would have had to read the bible to know that what you are saying isnt true..
      Four independent testimonies, 3 of which eye witnesses.
      The different accounts give different details, NONE of which are contradictory (I have challenged you on this before many times: please present one contradictory piece of detail.

      remember:
      "tom and jane went to the store" and "tom and sarah went to the store" are NOT contradictory
      "tom and jane went to the store" and "tom and sarah went to the store, jane did not" ARE contradictory

      the think that I dont get about you is the way you wear your refusal to accept facts like a coat.. supernatural origin of the universe, fine tuning, empty tomb, fossil record are all facts. You actually never dispute those facts, you say they arent facts because your are positive that God isnt real. However, what you refuse to see is that all of those facts are accepted as such by scientists/historians, they just look for non-God reasons for them.
      It's weird that you cant accept facts as facts..

      January 23, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • End Religion

      As per usual, Chad is unaware of what "fact" means, or it wouldn't be used in connection with the Bible... Stumbling upon an empty tomb simply proves nothing.

      "The fossil record shows stasis for millions of years, then in extraordinarily short periods of time large and rapid change."
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-2.html

      Where's that empirical evidence for God?

      January 23, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Actually

      It should be remembered that for the first 40 years of Christianity after Jesus' cru cifixion, there was no detailed written account of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb and his appearances to certain women and disciples. Consequently, for the first four decades of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus was described in sparse terms with an emphasis on a resurrected spiritual body exalted into the heavens. It was the essence of the Christian faith: "If Christ was not raised, then our gospel is nu ll and void, and so is your faith.

      Three hundred years before Jesus, the pagan mysteries had produced a composite myth of the god-man whose biography had these (and other) elements:
      -He was god inca rnate,
      -Born of a virgin around December 25 or January 6 in a cave or stable, sometimes with shepherds present;
      -He is the son of a god and a savior;
      -His followers can be born again through baptism;
      -He turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony;
      -His death in the Spring is a sac rifice for the sins of mankind;
      -After death he descends to the place of departed spirits and then rises to heaven on the third day;
      -His followers then await his return in glory to be the judge of man kind at the Last Days;
      -His memory is celebrated by his followers through a ritual meal of bread and wine or water which represent his body.

      Note that biblical scho lars have concluded that the final verses describing appearances of the risen Christ (Mk. 16:9-20) are an interpo la tion (a polite term for "for gery"). These verses are not found in the earliest copies of the gospel and the writing style is different. Christian scribes, who were dissatisfied with the abru pt ending to Mark, added them later. Many biblical exe ge tes think that the last chapter of John (21) is an interpo la tion as well, added early in the second century.

      January 23, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Actually

      -Trying to post through the filters....

      It should be remembered that for the first 40 years of Christianity after Jesus' cru cifixion, there was no detailed written account of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb and his appearances to certain women and disciples. Consequently, for the first four decades of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus was described in sparse terms with an emphasis on a resurrected spiritual body exalted into the heavens. It was the essence of the Christian faith: "If Christ was not raised, then our gospel is nu ll and void, and so is your faith.

      Three hundred years before Jesus, the pagan mysteries had produced a composite myth of the god-man whose biography had these (and other) elements:
      -He was god inca rnate,
      -Born of a virgin around December 25 or January 6 in a cave or stable, sometimes with shepherds present;
      -He is the son of a god and a savior;
      -His followers can be born again through baptism;
      -He turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony;
      -His death in the Spring is a sac rifice for the sins of mankind;
      -After death he descends to the place of departed spirits and then rises to heaven on the third day;
      -His followers then await his return in glory to be the judge of man kind at the Last Days;
      -His memory is celebrated by his followers through a ritual meal of bread and wine or water which represent his body.

      Note that biblical scho lars have concluded that the final verses describing appearances of the risen Christ (Mk. 16:9-20) are an interpo la tion (a polite term for "for gery"). These verses are not found in the earliest copies of the gospel and the writing style is different. Christian scribes, who were dissatisfied with the abru pt ending to Mark, added them later. Many biblical exe ge tes think that the last chapter of John (21) is an interpo la tion as well, added early in the second century.

      January 23, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Chad

      @End Religion "Stumbling upon an empty tomb simply proves nothing."
      @chad "actually that fact proves a great deal, namely that the body is no longer there.

      =====
      @End Religion ""http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-2.html"
      @Chad "you lost me.. are you claiming that stasis and rapid change (punctuated equilibrium) isnt real?

      ========
      @end religion "Where's that empirical evidence for God?"
      @chad "fine tuning is empirical :-)
      it can be measured

      perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "empirical evidence" :-)
      that's usually where you start calling me stupid.. you want to use the term, but you dont want to use it as the scientific community defines it, and you dont want to define what you mean, you just want to continually claim that it hasnt been provided with out ever actually defining what it is.

      neat trick!

      January 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Saraswati

      "the think that I dont get about you is the way you wear your refusal to accept facts like a coat.. supernatural origin of the universe, fine tuning, empty tomb, fossil record are all facts."

      How is this meant to be useful in a debate with people you disagree with. Obviously those "facts" as you list them (at least in those terms) are not things that all scientists and historians agree on. I know what you are getting at, but the rebranding/labeling *does* change what those words mean into something on which a lot of quite reasonable people do not agree are "facts". If you want to take the time to actually list the agreed upon items in terms which most of us can sign off on (the tomb one probably won't pass even with rewording) then there may be a point to start from, but as it is you're not really trying to start from the common ground as you seem to be claiming.

      January 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • ¿¿lol

      OK, so it's a whacky conclusion based on scientific theory, wild leaps to a very contestable god among many that man has created, and a story with mostly unknown authors charged with plagiarism. At least you're not trying to say you have proof of anything. That would be laughable.

      January 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Chad

      @Actually "It should be remembered that for the first 40 years of Christianity after Jesus' cru cifixion, there was no detailed written account of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb and his appearances to certain women and disciples. Consequently, for the first four decades of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus was described in spa rse terms with an emphasis on a resurrected spiritual body exalted into the heavens. It was the essence of the Christian faith: "If Christ was not raised, then our gospel is nu ll and void, and so is your faith.'

      @chad "excellent example of how misunderstood Christianity gets..
      what you are saying is 100% false.

      1. from the onset, Christ has always been reported as being physically resurrected, this was written less than 20 years after Jesus death/resurrection:

      1 Corinthians
      For what I received I pas sed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

      9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without e ffect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

      12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

      20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[c] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

      29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

      January 23, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • LMAO!

      It's always funny that when you prove to a xtian the bible is false they try to use the bible as proof it's true. LOL!

      January 23, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • End Religion

      @chad: "from the onset, Christ has always been reported as being physically resurrected, this was written less than 20 years after Jesus death"

      can you provide some context for us to understand how "20 years after death" equals "from the onset"? Since the bible is a fraud, it won't matter, but of course I'm just interested in learning why 20 equals zero for you.

      January 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "How is this meant to be useful in a debate with people you disagree with. Obviously those "facts" as you list them (at least in those terms) are not things that all scientists and historians agree on. "

      @Chad "I consider these statements to be facts, in that they are accepted as true by the vast majority of scientists/historians. Would you disagree?

      1. Our universe had a beginning
      2. The causal agent for the origin of the universe was supernatural(remember, supernatural doesnt automatically indicate "God", it simply means non-natural).
      3. The origins of life on earth has been and continues to be an active research area. To date jumping the gap between "primordial soup" and first RNA system has simply not been shown to be possible.
      4. The universe is fine tuned for the building blocks of life.
      5. There is no explanation for the existence of the physical laws that govern the universe.
      6. The fossil record shows stasis and rapid change (punctuated equilibrium), there is no known naturalistic explanation which explains this
      7. Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure, he claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, He was crucified and the tomb in which he was buried was found empty by a group of His women followers.
      8. subsequently, many people (followers, skeptics and persecutors) of Jesus reported meeting with a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they were willing to die for the truth of it.

      now, I'm on safe ground asserting that those are facts.
      Typically people dispute it by saying, "that isnt a fact, God isnt real!!"
      but, none of the facts as detailed above require God to be facts. There are non-God attempts to explain all of these.

      January 23, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Really-O?

      Watch @End Religion make Chad dance. Dance, monkey, dance.

      Hey Chad – have you fulfilled your quota for discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry today?

      January 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad, there's a lot there that's not universally accepted. First, the idea that the universe had a beginning doesn't even necessarily mean anything given what happens to time under the likely conditions we'd be looking at. Second, not everyone would agree that anything about that "event" or what surrounds it would be "supernatural". You have a definition of "natural" you are assuming is right and universal, but there is hardly an agreement on that term. Third, your use of the term "fine tuned" has a bias in itself, as the terminology assumes that there was someone who "fine tuned" it. That may not be what you intended (though I suspect it was) but a more neutral term would be something like "highly specific to". Using your loaded terms is like trying to force people into a corner where they have to choose between two choices they consider bad.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Chad

      @End Religion
      A. 1 Corinthians written less than 20 years after Jesus death
      B. in it, he refers to an earlier received creed describing the physical resurrection. That creed has been dated to 5 years after Jesus death.
      The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus' death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_Corinthians_15#Resurrection_of_Jesus:_1-11

      C, So, we know for sure that 5 years after Jesus death, the belief was that He was physically resurrected

      D. There is ZERO evidence of any belief at that time that the resurrection was merely spiritual. ZERO

      January 23, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Saraswati

      Fourth, there are plenty of naturalistic explanations for punctuated. Heck, there are whole books. Fifth, while I agree that there was probably a Jesus of Nazareth I, and many others, disagree that there is good evidence from non-biased sources that the tomb was found empty as described. Again, all you said was "empty tomb" in your first list.

      Anyway, the list you provided was clearer this time, and I'm not trying to debate historical Jesus with you as I'm not remotely interested in that topic. I just wanted to point out that the way you made your statement had at least the appearance of either not understanding the perspective of those you disagree with or actively trying to pi’ss them off.

      (I'm having problems with the filter)

      January 23, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Grundig Glasswerks

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

      January 23, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Saraswati -

      Well said. False dichotomies are one of Chad's favorite "techniques".

      Litigator: Answer yes or no. Have you stopped beating your wife?

      January 23, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati " First, the idea that the universe had a beginning doesn't even necessarily mean anything given what happens to time under the likely conditions we'd be looking at.
      @Chad "ascribing "meaning" to the fact that our universe had a beginning isnt the point. Our universe simply did have a beginning, see Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin's Past-Finite Universe.
      Multiverse is an attempt to explain that beginning without invoking God.

      =====
      @Saraswati " Second, not everyone would agree that anything about that "event" or what surrounds it would be "supernatural". You have a definition of "natural" you are assuming is right and universal, but there is hardly an agreement on that term
      @Chad ""natural' and "supernatural" are defined terms..
      the multiverse is supernatural, and is not God.

      =======
      @Saraswati "Third, your use of the term "fine tuned" has a bias in itself, as the terminology assumes that there was someone who "fine tuned" it."
      @Chad "absolutely incorrect, I'm surprised you are making that mistake. There are many proposals on the table to explain the fact that the universe is fine tuned without invoking God.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe#Possible_naturalistic_explanations

      =======
      @Saraswati "That may not be what you intended (though I suspect it was) but a more neutral term would be something like "highly specific to". Using your loaded terms is like trying to force people into a corner where they have to choose between two choices they consider bad."
      @Chad "those simply are not loaded terms, the scientific community has no trouble with them, why do you?

      January 23, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • End Religion

      I know of no empirical evidence (EE or E2 for fun) for anything "non-natural". If a creator exists it is likely pantheistic. The Biblical god is your wish fulfillment. Such a god has specific attributes, therefore if it exists, it must be a subset of the pantheistic creator. And of course, there is empirical evidence for a pantheistic creator.

      Please don't bother bringing up your belief that god is a person. Aside from being ridiculus, since your own religion claims the "personhood" of your God died for your sins (if he is still a person he didn't die for you). If he is a person then he would be caused, again supporting a more pantheistic god for which there is no E2.

      The bible is a known fraud.

      The Theory of Evolution supports a naturalistic explanation for punctuated equilibrium via cladogenesis.

      People claim they've seen Bigfoot. Raëlians, Scientologists and Mormons have as much a claim to reality for their worldview as do Christians. Raëlians held their beliefs so firmly they were willing to die for it.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • End Religion

      "C, So, we know for sure that 5 years after Jesus death, the belief was that He was physically resurrected"

      Rejected. You need to do some more studying. Mankind understands the bible is a fraud yet you continue to base "facts" on it.

      Only cursory items in the bible are facts, in that it mentions figs, some animals, dirt, and humans (in general). I fully believe dirt and humans existed back then. By the same token however, Dr. Seuss has written about ham and eggs, which exist as well. But I don't know if I want to go so far as to assume Sam I Am did in fact eat them with a fox in a box on a train in the rain.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "there are plenty of naturalistic explanations for punctuated. Heck, there are whole books"
      @chad "Not really, there are tons of books analyzing the fossil record to demonstrate stasis and rapid change, however explanations for the processes that created this (allopatric speciation) are rare.. look it up and you'll see. I was surprised when I started looking that I couldnt find much.

      =====
      @saraswati "Fifth, while I agree that there was probably a Jesus of Nazareth I, and many others, disagree that there is good evidence from non-biased sources that the tomb was found empty as described. Again, all you said was "empty tomb" in your first list."
      @Chad "well, you create that viewpoint by conveniently excluding all of the ancient texts that were later collected as the New Testament.
      That isnt a valid approach, one cant exclude them from consideration a-priori

      ====
      @saraswati "Anyway, the list you provided was clearer this time, and I'm not trying to debate historical Jesus with you as I'm not remotely interested in that topic. I just wanted to point out that the way you made your statement had at least the appearance of either not understanding the perspective of those you disagree with or actively trying to pi’ss them off."
      @chad "well, here's the thing. These terms are accepted terms, archaeologists, historians, paleontologists, cosmologists use them.
      The people that have a problem with them, is the atheists that immediately want to deny as fact anything that supports the theistic claim, ONLY because it supports the theistic claim.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      "@Chad "those simply are not loaded terms, the scientific community has no trouble with them, why do you?"

      The issue is that average people don't find most terms loaded. The perfect example is "Did Jesus exist?" For most people a reference to Jesus is understood to be the miracle-working Son of the God of Israel. It's only in a conversation with someone like Chad where if we answer "no" he will cite "tons of proof for Historical Jesus" which of course is not the same as Miracle Jesus. "Jesus" is a loaded word.

      If words were not loaded especially in dealing with The Chad, why did Chadster have to tell us that "supernatural" meant "non-natural." If non-natural is the best word, use it. Chard is either setting up "supernatural" for a later equivocation, or using it because so many people define "supernatural" with a spirit(ual) or otherworldly overtone where as "non-natural" may not suffer similarly.

      We all know your goal for using "fine-tuning" is to twist it to a "god" purpose when in science that term has nothing to do with "non-natural" processes.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Chad

      Like I said (and which End Religion perfectly illustrated)

      The people that have a problem with them, is the atheists that immediately want to deny as fact anything that supports the theistic claim, ONLY because it supports the theistic claim.

      They think to themselves "well, if I acknowledge that fine tuning is accepted, then I'm admitting that something is true and a theist will claim it supports the theistic claim, so then fine tuning doesnt exist!"
      completely irrational.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  18. wayne

    I like Rush's drummer. He's good.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
  19. End Religion

    There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance,
    A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.

    A planet of playthings,
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive.
    "The stars aren't aligned
    Or the gods are malign"-
    Blame is better to give than receive.

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that's clear-
    I will choose Free Will.

    There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
    The cards were stacked against them- they weren't born in lotus-land.

    All preordained-
    A prisoner in chains-
    A victim of venomous fate.
    Kicked in the face,
    You can't pray for a place
    In heaven's unearthly estate.

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that's clear-
    I will choose Free Will.

    Each of us-
    A cell of awareness-
    Imperfect and incomplete.
    Genetic blends
    With uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet.

    - Freewill, by Rush

    January 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I have a feeling you an I would get along just fine.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      Seems likely, Cheese. :)

      January 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      If you believe that you freely choose out of thin air, without any prior influence or motive, you have freely chosen to believe in make believe...and you're moremthe fool than theose like me whom you spend way too much time mocking.
      >>>No one chooses void of prior influences and motive (out of thin air), whether or not you can fully trace them out. We freely choose whatever our heart desires – and YOUR HEART is predisposed to hating the God of the Bible, so your "choices" will obviously be influenced by desires that are very different from mine. This gets to the "heart" of what Jesus meant when He said, "Unless (indicates a necessary condition) a man is born again he cannot (has no ability) to see (or enter) the kingdom of God."(John 3:3-7ff)...
      >>>Being "born again" is about fallen men, whose "wills are in bondage", being set free by the Power & Presence of the Holy Spirit purchased by the Person & Finished work of Jesus Christ (His death & resurrection)....
      Recommended reading:
      "Bondage of the Will", by Martin Luther
      "The Freedom of the Will", by Jonathan Edwards

      January 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @JesusNotReligion
      None of us believe that you choose freely out of thin air without influence. I'm not sure where you're getting that. I would suspect that most of us atheists don't believe in free will at all, but rather we are a collection of experiences, genetic tendencies and impulses that fire on a synaptic level before we are even conscious that a decision has been made... at least that's what the science suggests.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      GFN...and your individual choices have no ultimate "moral consequence", correct? Just a temporary "possibke" justice of prison for those who are caught. Is this correct? You apply and use a Theocentric/Biblical Worldview whole you, at the same time, refuse to acknowledge the Absolute Source of truth, law & the morality that I am sure you would propagate (I'm sure you are a decent, law-abiding citizen – and possibly a fine parent as well)...
      Btw: I am glad you concur that "free will" is not defined by man's supposed ability to freely choose without any prior influence or motive, but many have this idea in their mind.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Typo corrected:
      You apply and use a Theocentric/Biblical Worldview while you, at the same time, refuse to acknowledge the Absolute Source of truth, law & the morality that I am sure you would propagate (I'm sure you are a decent, law-abiding citizen – and possibly a fine parent as well)...

      January 22, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Jesus not religion you just don't make much sense. GodFreeNow is correct.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Mobyyyyyy...My only response would be the one word that sums up your empty and vain worldview: WHATEVER. I'm done debating. I've changed my tactic to preaching since most of you guys are only in this site for the self-absorbed fun of propping up your imaginery intellectual elitism. I'm not biting on that blubber...I mean blabber. All the best to you though.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "and your individual choices have no ultimate "moral consequence", correct"

      Wrong, choices have consequences on those we interact with. Acting moral does not require belief in god but if the only keeping you from acting immoral is your belief than by all means keep believing, but that is rather sad.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I hardly care what you call, it dumbazz, I'm saying that you don't make any sense. Call what you're doing blazerpanifering, if you want.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "I've changed my tactic to preaching"

      Well there is a surprise, a religious person who lacks a rational argument resorts to just telling other people what god thinks.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      JNR, you're out in the weeds, friend. If you want us to sit by the fire and make S'mores with you and sing Kumbayah you're gonna have to show empirical evidence of your frighteningly capitalized Absolute Source. Otherwise, it's just your feeble desire for authority and attention, or something to soothe your fears.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      GFN...In order for me to be, as you said, "wrong", there needs to be a source of absolute, never-changing, everlasting TRUTH to support you being "right", which apparently you have "faith" that you have discovered. I suppose you would not hold to or propagate the theory of Quantum Physics since the idea od "absolute anything" could not & does not exist...Is this correct?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Tod

      JesusNotReligion
      If your name befits your beliefs then you follow Jesus' teaching without accepting any of the mythical claims of his divinity, right?

      Have you ever visited Atheists For Jesus? http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com/ Some of us actually admire some of the guy's teachings. It is a shame how people made him a subject of blasphemy to his faith, isn't it? He would do more than weep if he ever knew.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @JesusNotReligion "..and your individual choices have no ultimate "moral consequence", correct?"

      I don't understand what a "moral" consequence is... but I do believe there are consequences to all actions, whether free will or otherwise.

      If I understand Theocentric, it means to have god as the focus, which is difficult for an atheist to fathom. If you are however suggesting that my position makes oneself a "god" which the person devoid of free will is self-gratifying, then you didn't really understand what I said about free will or genetic evolution. Any system that is entirely self-serving cannot be sustained long because it doesn't provide a ESS (evolutionary stable solution/system). There's actually math and science to back this up if you want to go digging for it, but I have a feeling you won't.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @JesusNotReligion,
      I just saw this last post so I'll reply. It seems like you are mixing up the concepts of accuracy and morality. 1+1=2 is right, but is devoid of the moral implications. Existence also follows similar rules. Many are arbitrary, some are traditional and some are personal. If you begin from the genetic structures most primary function, "replicate", then anything that does not perpetuate that "law" could be seen as wrong, whereas things that did could be seen as "right." However, being complex beings with consciousness we can see how the law "replicate" could be wrong in the case of cancer or overpopulation, but right in the case of murder.

      I apologize for not understanding where you are going with the quantum physics comment. But if you are asking me if I believe in absolutes, there are many that we know of and in the quantum world, much we don't know. I may not be understanding your use of the word "absolutes" though.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Tod...Jesus' claims of "mythical divinity" were pre-announced hundreds of years prior to His incarnation....but you probably have that all figured out. I am a worshipper of JESUS, and I hope you at least realize that if you are not worshippimg Him on this side of heaven you not going to be worshipping Him on the other side...but rather, hell is an eternal conscious existence without Jesus. "Atheism" is: Without God (and Jesus is God Incarnate) now and forever unless one repents. We are all born practical atheist's until one is "born again"....Does that explain what I believe?
      Btw: You were gracious in your post...I hope you receive mine in that tone....Thanks

      January 23, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Tod...Jesus' supposed "divinity" (not mythical) was pre-announced through prophecy, type and foreshadows in the Old Testamemt hundreds of years prior to His incarnation. I am a worshipper of JESUS, and I hope you at least realize that if you are not worshippimg Him on this side of heaven you not going to be worshipping Him on the other side...but rather, hell is an eternal conscious existence without Jesus. "Atheism" is: Without God (and Jesus is God Incarnate) now and forever unless one repents. We are all born practical atheist's until one is "born again"....Does that explain what I believe?
      Btw: You were gracious in your post...I hope you receive mine in that tone....Thanks

      January 23, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "In order for me to be, as you said, "wrong", there needs to be a source of absolute, never-changing, everlasting TRUTH to support you being "right"."

      Ummm, no, you are presenting a false dicotomy. You can be wrong to hold an unsupported position even if it turned out you were right in the end. Also you both could be wrong.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Tod

      JesusNotReligion
      Why do moral consequences need to be "ultimate" ones? Morality is relative to the times, isn't it? At various times people could own slaves, burn witches, beat their left-handed children, and take property away from Jews while still considering themselves fine, moral Christians. The way things are going most future Christians will most likely welcome married gays into their churches, while 30 years ago you'd be hard pressed to find a church that would marry a mixed couple, or a Jew to a Christian. Morality, even Christian morality, shifts with the times, my friend.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      GFN...Good post...But what is "good" but some relativistic term void of any real meaning or value. Right? I disagree with you on many levels but your tone is totally commemdable, unlike the immoral, beligerant (sp?) company you keep. If you are comfortable with the worldview and belief system that you just posted than Jesus' love for sinners like you will never touch your heart – unless of course He overrides your will by internal conversion, not external coercion. Good night. I'm running away into my prayer closet. Watch out! You might be on my hit list :-)

      January 23, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Tod

      JesusNotReligion
      If you can consider the divinity of Hercules to be mythical, then I see no reason not to see the divinity of Jesus the same way. For all we know that "Prophecy" was written to fit Jesus by his followers, right? It would have been incredibly easy. The gospel writers had access to Jewish scripture, and it was many decades after he had died. How many eyewitnesses were still around by then, and who could have possibly witnessed things like Jesus being tempted by Satan anyway? Jesus also fails to fulfill all of the messianic requirements set forth in OT prophecy. He did not usher in a golden age for the Jews, or bring them peace from foreign powers. Quite the opposite, actually.

      You worship a Jesus as a god. That's a religious practice. Sorry, but it is. I worship nothing as a god.

      I already exist externally, and without Jesus. If this is hell, then I've got my present life to look forward to, and that ain't bad. Why should I become "born again" then?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • Tod

      JesusNotReligion
      Jesus can "override" people's will? Doesn't that negate the whole concept of our having free will? If he did that to someone, like how God "hardened the heart" of Pharaoh and manipulated various other foreign powers to punish the Jews throughout their history, as the prophets proclaim, then isn't he just programming people like robots? Even if he sends someone a cop when they pray for a rescue then isn't that "miracle" actually the product of him controlling that police person against their will? It can't very well be a miracle if it's a coincidence, or the cop's free choice, right? God would have nothing to do with it then. So, how does free will work in such cases then?

      Getting late, so have a good night as well.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Good night. I'm running away into my prayer closet.'

      Is that like a jerkatorium?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ JesusNotReligion, Morality is relative yes. Take for example the condoning of slavery in the bible or the death sentence for eating lobster prescribed in Leviticus. Comets feel no moral responsibility when wiping out planets, lions feel no morality when killing the children of the pride that they are taking over. We evolve and as we do, so does our definition of morality. We can however state clearly that there are things that are anti-propagation or anti-survival and things that are pro those things. We define those things by a sliding definition we call morality. It used to be immoral for women to vote, and blacks to use the same water fountain, but things like murder become clearer and clearer as acts of immorality as time goes on. However, there is still an atti.tude of relativism when it comes to murder. For example, govts drop bombs on schools killing children and excuse it as collateral damage and a necessary loss in the struggle for a greater good. You don't need to blame me for relativism. It exists in every facet of your life and the lives of those around you.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Tod...Read Romans 9 (Sounds like you have some Bible in you)...God works on an "internal" level of the "heart"...and it doesn't take much for the Holy Spirit to bring about God's will in /through the choices of man. Also, we are not as "free" with our "will" as I think you believe we are...but that is a discussion that can't happen in this forum. See the 2 books I noted above (Martin Luther & Jonathan Edwards)...Also see how the Holy Spirit worked on Saul and his messengers in 1 Samuel 19:18-24. Thanks.

      >>>GFN...None of your examples are speaking to the issue of the "moral absolutes" rooted in the Eternal, Unchanging Character of the God of the Bible. You are referencing man's "interpretation" or "understanding" of what is moral and what is not at a particular time – much to our own shame. There is also something called "progressive revelation" regarding the unveiling of truths in God's Word/Character that are already there, but the practical understanding/comprehension of these truths come into a clearer, more defined manifestation due to, in part, an event that has provoked it into light...

      NOTE...Alcohol, Pot, Prnography, Occultism, etc, really do a number one's state of mind, heart, will and choices...In fact, we become slaves to its power to control us-like robots (though with ultimate moral consequences)! ...

      >>>Cheese...All I can say to your comment is that I have been forgiven much, and so there's hope for you too. I will pray for you as so many people prayed for me 26 years ago. Prayer works! Don't ask me how but it does! Later.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Signs you are in an abusive relationship
      - Monitors what you're doing all the time
      - Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
      - Threatens to hurt you, or your children if you don’t love him
      - Blames you for his or her violent outbursts or shortcomings
      -Being s.e.x.ually controlling
      - You have an impending sense of consequence that will come if you don't "obey."
      -Tells you that you are “nothing” without him and you don’t deserve his love

      January 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Cheese...Your post is understandable from a certain perspective...I get that...but that would be a "cult", where external coercion is forced upon (and controls) a person's life and will. That is not the gospel life in Christ. Now think through in terms of a LOVE RELATIONSHIP, based on SELFLESS SACRIFICE FREELY given for the benefit of another and selfless sacrifice given in response (although I can tell you I don't respond to Christ's love for me anywhere near what I have received). If you are married (and especially with children) then you know what that means to some degree. I suspect your cynicism runs deep in many areas of your life, affecting your ability to really give yourself over to another in a deeply committed way...But you aren't looking for a counseling session from me, nor do I know you – however, your post reveals your cynicism that goes beyond your problem with "religion"...it's a problem with "humamity". But no worries, according to you and your family of unbelievers, we all end up in the same place of non-existence. I think your worldview feeds mistrust because there is no ultimate reason to be trustworthy, and we project that on others. All your relationships become practical, self-serving accomodations in order to get what you can to survive in a lifestyle that you demand for yourself. In other words: people are utilitarian for your ends....now apply your post to yourself. If the shoe fits, you're probably wearing it...
      THIS POST MAY CONTAIN TYPOS....JesusNotReligion

      January 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @JesusNotReligion,

      Simply put, I do not believe in moral absolutes. I believe there may be some moral absolutes for humans, but humans are a very limited section of the universe and I cannot think of any off the top of my head.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  20. Austin

    makes me feel better but we will see how long people can keep watering in drought laden country.

    January 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Yes, and as drought-laden country continues to expand.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Well, I should really say as the manicured portions of the drought-laden country expand.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Austin

      pretty neat how people turn their grass extra green.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.