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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. micky

    2 pet 2:3-7 ...knowing this first; that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying"Where is promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were (uniformitarianism) from the beginning of creation."(there will not be catastrophe) For they will willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    how did Peter know about all of you uniformitarianists?

    January 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • PJ

      What? That doesn't even make any sense. I'll take "sadistics" or calculus over this dribble any day.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • The Bible is grift

      That's an old grifter trick. They use it to pre-emptively block criticism that they know will come.

      That passage says "people are going to laugh at your stupid ideas, so, yeah, bad things will happen to them, really. After they die. And their laughter proves you are right. really."

      How did he know? Because people were already laughing at them.

      Any legitimate god would not resort to con-man tactics to manipulate you into obedience. Only grifters do that.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chris

      By labeling anyone who questioned his prophecy the ones he was talking about in the prophecy. I donno, just a guess.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      micky,

      Scoffers existed from the day that legend hit the streets in the first century...

      January 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • micky

      go look up uniformitarianism and tell me what the date is on that idea?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      The Bible was ridiculous then, and remains ridiculous now – quite some prediction to predict that that would remain the same.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  2. PJ

    Good and evil are purely human ideas.

    January 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • sam

      And very relative in some cases.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  3. ReligionIsBS

    Chad,

    We are all waiting for your proof that the god of the bible is true. Please share it with us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Hermetically sealed illogic

      God is real because the Bible says so. All evidence to the contrary is the work of Satan.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • nygil

      @ chad ..we are all waiting for scientific proof that god doesnt exist....

      January 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Thusly so

      Uh, Nygil? Are you eally that stupid? Everyone knows that it is impossible to absolutely prove the nonexistence of something that doesn't exist. The closest you can get is to say that all evidence ever found about everything ands anything ever studies shows no hint whatsoever that the nonexistent thing exists. This is true of God, leprechauns, and flying reindeer.

      And religion meets that standard. Absolutely no evidence ever found about everything ands anything ever studies shows any hint whatsoever that any deity exists.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      nygil, please give us the evidence that X does not exist.

      For X, you can insert Yetti's, unicorns, flying purple monkeys, the boogyman or any other non-existant being you like.

      You cannot prove a negative, genius.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • nygil

      @ religion bs and thisly ......show me scientific proof for life on another planet as of today......since it doesnt exist shouldnt i firmly believe that there is no life on any other planet....comeone geniuses please help me understand why its okay to spend soo much research money, when there is no scientific proof for life on another planet,

      January 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • nygil

      @ thusly and religion bs ....it was easy to call me stupid but difficult to give answers to my questiosn isnt it...

      January 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. Please tell me you have noticed that you are grasping at straws now. Note that you didnt answer our questions, but we answer yours.

      We know evolution exists. We know about a biogenisis. Thus, we know it is possible for life to arise given the right circu.mstances, ie being the correct distance from a star. We also know that there are billions of stars (suns) in our own galaxy (the Milkyway) and that there are billions of other galaxies, which means there are trillions upon trillions of stars. We explore these other planets because we are curious about them and the potential for life. Nobody really cares if you believe there is life out there are not. For all we know, there isnt. But that doesnt stop us from looking, because we could be wrong.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Im leaving for now, i may come bak in an hour or two. By then , I as.sume will not have answered any of my questions and will instead post more hillarious arguments that include the wrong definitions of "law" and trying to get us to prove something that isnt there. Have fun with that. I bet you feel like a complete coward for never providing any answers and just ask more questions thinking you are going to stump somebody. Have fun with that!

      January 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • nygil

      @ religion bs.....thank you for taking the time to discuss some of this stuff....buddy i never meant any malice....i know that christians like me havent lived up to what we profess we believe .....sorry for that....but i hope that through discussion that everyone can experience what i share with christ....many will choose not to....i respect that....

      January 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • nygil

      @ religion bs .....just a parting shot...just wanted to remind you that evolution is a theory not a given fact.....even the scientist agree with that.....its still called darwins 'THEORY OF EVOLUTION' not 'LAW OF EVOLUTION'

      January 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Nygil, you're an idiot if you think that reply is an argument for your case and not a bright, blinking billboard advertising your own ignorance. You obviously don't know the language and method of science. Please do us atheists a favor and stay a believer. We don't want you.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  4. nygil

    @ chris....what im trying to get you to logically follow is that if there is something called evil....there has to be something called good and a way to differentiate between the two.....and that law or innate knowledge or dna information cannot be either evil or good....its just a standard to judge whether something is evil or good...and a moral law must posit a moral law giver......laws dont craete themselves....that moral law giver could be god....that is why i believe evil demands the existense of god...

    January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      You do know that laws existed before the idea of the god of the bible, right?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Chris

      Well, I'm very happy that you've got it all figured out, nygil. Must be nice.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      But that's just how you like to see the world – you're offering no proof that the existence of something means an opposite must exist. Nor are you proving there is an opposite – there's evil in the world – but no such thing as an all powerful and all knowing pure evil. Dichotomies are how we like to see the world. It's not proof that everything must be a dichotomy.

      Not everything is. It's just one way of seeing the world. Not a very good one, since it leads you to try to cram things into boxes that they may not fit into.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • nygil

      @ religion bs....if laws existed before the concept of god.....who created those laws....what i mean is law of gravity cant create itself......

      January 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Chris

      Ergo, God can't create itself either. Or are you now going to resort to special pleading "but God is different than a natural law..."

      January 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "if laws existed before the concept of god.....who created those laws....what i mean is law of gravity cant create itself......"

      jesus christ you are stupid. Scientific laws are not invented by humans. Scientific laws and judicial laws are not the same thing. Who created the laws for man? Man!!!!!!!!!! You seriously dont think killing was illegal before the bible?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Scientific Law – a phenomenon of nature that has been proven to invariably occur whenever certain conditions exist or are met; also, a formal statement about such a phenomenon; also called natural law

      Law – the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.

      Funny, god isnt mentioned in either of those definitions.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • nygil

      @ religion bs......thats exactly what i wanted you to say....moral law is created by authority and that authority isnt given by nature or natural law....its given by an intellect....that intellect who judges or defines what is evil and good is what i call god...thank you...

      January 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Chris

      "moral law is created by authority and that authority isnt given by nature or natural law....its given by an intellect....that intellect who judges or defines what is evil and good is what i call god"

      And here I've been calling it culture all this time ... I've been so mislead. Thank you nygil.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • I wonder

      nygil,

      – Is it immoral to eat pork? Some say yes, some say no.

      – Is it immoral for a female to show so much as an inch of skin in public? Some say yes and require their women to wear face covers and even gloves; some say no, in varying degrees of limitation.

      –Is it immoral to eat your dead relatives' brain tissue? Most say that it's disgusting (not to mention unhealthful), but some tribes say it is the highest respect they can pay and that it is exquisitely moral.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • ME II

      "–Is it immoral to eat your dead relatives' brain tissue? Most say that it's disgusting (not to mention unhealthful), but some tribes say it is the highest respect they can pay and that it is exquisitely moral."
      ... and tasty too?

      January 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  5. Julie Dumond

    The difference between all faiths is that Jesus came down as man lived sinless- crucified and was buried- He then rose again to return to heaven ....This Christian faith is that through Christ we are redeemed by our sinful nature...and can live God's kingdom here on earth and will be face to face with Him in heaven. Life eternal. This is based on Christ not self...Nothing we can do on our own ...but what God does through Christ- no other religion is based like this ...it is not self based. This is the BIG difference of Christianity among all other "religions" Really Christianity isn't about a religion it is about relationship and it one's choice...In love.

    January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • me

      All guesswork but keep convincing yourself that this brand of iron age nonsense is better than the others.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  6. PI RHO TAU

    Chad.
    Captain Kidd.
    You state that you have proven that the god of Isreal is real, no you have not and never will. I and many of my frat brothers have been touched by the FSM's noodly appendage, we are testimony to his reality. Not some silly epiphany of voices as heard by Paul, but actual entrance to the FSM heaven, the beer volcano and str-ipper factory.

    January 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Zingo

      Is if you are crazy about your fraternity, does that make you a Pi Rho maniac?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  7. nygil

    @ rh .....religion has no chains on me.....instead its liberated me....
    @ me 11 what you call evil need'nt be the same for someone else....what is the standard of evil....

    January 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Zingo

      Religion liberated you . . . from your sanity.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chris

      When you invent a name for something, "evil", and then discover you don't have a consistent method of identifying it that everybody can agree on ... isn't that your fault? Saying evil is some independent thing from your idea of what it is is just a way of absolving yourself of responsibility for poor definitions and having to face some hard questions on your own. Maybe there ARE no right answers, because right answers are again, a subjective concept that you've a priori decided on. Horrors! We actually disagree with another culture about morality. Quick, appeal to our imaginary authority figure!

      January 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Chris

    >>can you tell me why man invented morals?

    To live together and thus prosper.

    >> who can judge which morals are better?

    Us. Who else?

    January 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • The Truth

      http://video.pbs.org/video/1312522241

      January 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • The Truth

      Watch the Nova series "Becoming Human" and see what actual research has told us about our origins including on where our morality began.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • nygil

      you say we have morals to live together but nature which created me teaches survival of the fittest ...so why should i follow any morals .....its me and my own and my way.....morals are of no use to human survival....

      January 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Chris

      "you say we have morals to live together but nature which created me teaches survival of the fittest ...so why should i follow any morals .....its me and my own and my way.....morals are of no use to human survival...."

      Go ahead, follow no morals. Let me know how that works out for you.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      I can understand why someone would be gullible enough to buy into a religion, I used to myself.

      But I cannot for the life of me, understand why some people dont know that every civilization in the world, even those that predated the bible, had laws. Laws were not invented by religion goofballs. They existed before religion.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "morals are of no use to human survival"

      Thats exactly why we have morals, so we can survive as a society!!!!!!!!!!! You cannot be this stupid.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      nygil – morals make you more fit to survive – that seems to be what you're missing. This concept that darwinism means everyone trying to kill and steal – that's a Christian concept, not actually reality. Working together is how people survive better than others.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  9. Chris

    As an atheist, I find myself hard-pressed to respect the beliefs of the religious, and more hard pressed to avoid giving offense, while they gain kudos within their communities for reinforce the values of weakness and fear in themselves and others; fear of dying, fear of a wrathful god's judgment, the "power" of prayer in the face of perceived powerlessness. If all the time spent by all the believers worshiping and asking for intervention from an at best fickle and at-worst absent authority-figure, bowing their heads and praying for deliverance from evil, was spent actually working against evil and to better the world, well, it might be a far different place.

    The energy wasted on sermonizing and exuding self righteousness alone could probably run a small town if properly channeled.

    January 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • nygil

      an atheist who believes in evil but not god......how logical.....

      January 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chris

      Morals are an invention of man, not God.

      If God actually existed, there would be no need for morals – you'd be born with them.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • rh

      Look at it this way, every time someone says "he's in a better place" when someone dies, you can know that you ARE in a better place by being alive without the fetters of mind control by a religion.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • ME II

      @nygil,
      One definition of evil, at least, does not require the supernatural

      "Definition of EVIL
      ...
      3
      a : causing harm : pernicious
      b : marked by misfortune : unlucky"
      (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil)

      January 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • nygil

      @ chris ...is morals are an invention of man...can you tell me why man invented morals.....if we invented morals then who is to judge one moral is more right than another......for example in the middle east its immoral to be gay but in europe and america its amoral to be gay.....why would we be right and they wrong...

      January 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • rh

      Wait, so are you saying that if there is no God, there would be no evil? What does that say about theists?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Chris

      But its a typical, arrogant response to say evil exists thus God. That is what makes no logical sense. Because then no-God implies no-evil. QED.

      In my world view, God -> No Evil. Otherwise, you have to start bending over backwards to explain why the all powerful, all loving, all good, created evil. Usually the result is he's got more important worries than simply seeing that his creation is good.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • The Truth

      Well said Chris. It's always telling when their only attack is "Ha ha you said evil but as an atheists you can't believe in that!" like some kind of moronic "gotcha!" instead of addressing the substance of your thought.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  10. PHI RHO TAU

    Chad.
    Jean Lafitte.
    The fraternity has asked me to post a comment on your posts. In my opinion you are no more than a deluded christian nutter. Your steadfast belief in a supernatural fictional rag tag account of some ancient holy trinity written by near illiterate nomads is quite astounding. The FSM is as you will come to realize when you do the researech is the one true creator and God, get with the program. What investigation have you done as to why you reject Pastafairianism?
    RAmen.

    January 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  11. Mark

    Belief and truth are opposites. Belief is a matter of choice...truth is not. All belief is ephemeral, truth is permanent. While belief serves only the person, truth serves humanity. Belief is a thought process subject to personal perceptions; truth is action and must be lived.
    Belief serves one's love of self, truth serves love of all.

    January 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • nygil

      @ mark.....you say that belief and truth are opposites......could you let me know if you believe what you are saying is the truth or not......

      January 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  12. UncleNed

    I don't know what astounds me more, that in this day and age adults think there is a reason to tell their kids that an invisible man lurks above, watching over them, or that their children are so gullible as to fall for it.

    And don't say it doesn't do any harm, because it certainly does! It introduces a wedge between themselves and reality that they have to spend their life making allowances for, and forever muddles their thinking, incrementally opening the way for child molesting rabbis, priests, and suicide bombing religious nuts to sneak through their now flawed wall of reason.

    January 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  13. Bob

    I'm an atheist with a teen aged daughter. She's never been taught that God exists but she also hasn't been taught that belief in God is wrong. What I've tried to teach her that very intelligent people both believe and do not believe in the existence of a God. I've tried to teach her that people live their beliefs, that people can believe things the polar opposite of what we believe and still be good people. I'd rather her beliefs were like mine but if she should decide to become religious I'd support her.

    What people do is much more important than what they believe.

    January 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • elhigh

      A moderate and well-considered viewpoint which is respectful of all. Thank you, and well said.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  14. PHI RHO TAU

    Chad. The fraternity calls you out as lier . Why do you not investigate all the other religions including Pastafairianism?

    January 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  15. kb

    I've decided to let my kids make up their own minds about what they believe. We do not attend church except for funerals weddings etc, but they do attend an Episcopalian private school which has a non-denominational chapel every Friday. I know my spouse and I are in a small minority for not believing in the Christian god, but ultimately I consider spirituality to be a very personal decision. I don't push my views on others and though I politely listen, I'll disregard any attempts of others to push their ideas onto me. I hope my kids find a spiritual balance that fulfills them and hope that my open-minded skepticism will have provided them with a good base to decide for themselves what to believe.

    January 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • The Truth

      " I know my spouse and I are in a small minority for not believing in the Christian god" Actually, globally you are in the majority. Only here in America would you be in a minority.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Swami Sez

      Beliefs are not truths but the truth is found in faith.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • fintastic

      The truth is found in evidence, not faith.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  16. DLB

    The past was safer? For who? Those blacks in the south being lynched by 'Good God Fearing Christians'? The asians in the west being killed by "good God fearing christians"? The old women in Massachusetts who owned a cat being burnt at the stake by those hysterical "good God fearing christians"? The indians asleep in their beds in the middle of winter being slaughtered by the "good God fearing ' cavalry? Oh I see – "Thou shall not kill" only applys to "good God fearing White christians". Maybe?

    January 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      The past wasn't safer. Child abuse was expected – the first child abuse laws were modeled on animal abuse laws – your animals used to have more rights than children did – children and women were property. Wives – property – you beat them, no big deal. No statistics for these crimes, because they weren't reported, because they weren't crimes back then.

      My grandma, before she died – she told such stories – she lived through the past, so she had no such rose colored glasses. She was a devout Catholic, as was her father and her mother – but that sure didn't protect her!

      January 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  17. Guy Thompto

    "II do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs."
    That is equivalent to saying "only breathe when you get home – don't use any of the air around me". It is impossible to separate your belief system from your behavior. It is part of what defines who you are. To say that my beliefs should be hidden, that I should not take the opportunity to share my beliefs is just plain wrong. You may not want to hear – and have the right to tell me so. But I have the right to make the attempt. We are not China yet!

    January 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Thats cool with me, as long as you dont have a problem with atheists, jews, buddhists, JWs, scientologists and any other cult doing the same.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • bhigh

      Your analogy is absurd. Humans need air to live. We do not need religion or gods.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Rose

      I agree, I'm not going to hide my belief in God because of the few that don't...I have the right to express my belief...you have the right not to listen..

      January 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • The Truth

      Your personal rights end when they begin trampling the rights of others. You trample my rights when you vote to force schools to teach intelligent design. You trample my rights when you attempt to repeal Roe vs Wade. You trample my rights when you claim tax exempt status for your Churches forcing me to pay their share. You trample my rights when you stamp your faith on my money. You trample my rights when you force me to place my hand on a bible when taking an oath of office. You trample my rights when you deny me the right to marry whoever I want. Christians have a long history of trampling the rights of others all while claiming "Hey, if you don't let me trample your rights then you are denying me my rights to act however I want!!" Well too bad, keep your fvcking religion at home you disgusting liars.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Palm Strikes Forehead

      To those who feel it is impossible to separate their faith from their behavior:

      So long as you are not forcing your beliefs/behaviors on others, OR condemning people whose beliefs/behaviors conflict with yours, then feel free to express your faith, and allow others to express theirs, even if that means NON-faith.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • christianity is like Comunisum

      In North Korea :
      They tell you which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad
      They tell you every other kind of Communisum is bad and non communists are evil in carnet.
      They tell you that their words are THE TRUTH and because of that you must believe what they tell you and to question it is a CRIME AGAINST THE STATE!
      They tell you that you will be horribly punished for the rest of your life if you don’t do what they tell you, believe what they say or think wrong thoughts

      I Christianity:
      They tell you which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad
      They tell you every other kind of christianity is bad and non christians are evil in carnet.
      They tell you that their words are THE TRUTH and because of that you must believe what they tell you and to question it is a SIN AGAINST GOD!!!
      They tell you that you will be horribly punished for the rest of eternity if you don’t do what they tell you, believe what they say or think wrong thoughts

      January 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  18. ReligionIsBS

    "The problem in this world is that you do not believe what I believe" – Every religous person ever.

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

      That doesnt mean that one of those religions (like for example Judeo/Christian) isnt true.

      One of them actually could be real, and not believing in that reality actually could be the problem.

      Four people might claim to be John Smith from Arkansas, that doesnt mean none of them are. If you want to know if one actually IS John Smith from Arkansas, you need to do some investigation.

      So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Christianity that has led you to reject it?

      January 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Chad

      So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Pastapharianism that has led you to reject it?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Chad

      Are you claiming that the FSM is actually real?
      Bobby Henderson invented the concept, right?

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster was created by Bobby Henderson in an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in which he parodied the concept of intelligent design. After Henderson posted the letter on his website, it became an internet phenomenon and was featured in many large newspapers, which caught the attention of book publishers. Released in March 2006 by Villard Books, The Gospel elaborates on Pastafarian beliefs established in the open letter.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "One of them actually could be real, and not believing in that reality actually could be the problem."

      So what if you're wrong about your chosen god?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Chad

      If Christ was not raised then our hope has been in vain.

      so, you are generally saying that since you might be wrong in your investigation, you arent going to do any investigation? Is that your point?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Bet

      @ chad

      Yes, I've read his publications, and I know he exists, unlike the "writers" of your book. He wrote it all down personally, so I believe it's true.

      So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Pastapharianism that has led you to reject it?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • PHI RHO TAU

      Chad.
      The fraternity calls you out as a lier. What investigation have you done of all the other religions includind Pastafairianism?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Christianity that has led you to reject it?"

      I have read the entire bible, I went to church for 25 years. Thats why I reject it.

      Now please dont be a coward and disapear without answering these questions.

      What investigation into the claims of Islam that has lead you to reject it?

      What investigation intio the claims of Hinduism that has lead you to reject it?

      What investigation into the claims of Scientology that has lead you to reject it?

      What investigation into the claims of Rastafarianism that has lead you to reject it?

      What investigation into the claims of Buddhism that has lead you to reject it?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Chad

      No one claims FSM is real, it was invented as a tongue in cheek attack against teaching intelligent design in schools.. I'm sorry if someone told you that Bobby intended anyone to think it was real. See this for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

      Regarding other "gods"/religions, the belief in the God of Israel is mutually exclusive with a belief in any other deity. Since the God of Israel IS real, all others are false. That is the basis for rejection, it rests on the truth of the God of Israel.

      Getting back to the original question, what is your basis for rejecting Christianity?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Chad

      "I have read the entire bible, I went to church for 25 years. Thats why I reject it."

      =>what specifically? you arent actually providing a basis for the rejection, just a description of the event..

      my rejection of other deities is in previous post.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Grundig Glasswerks

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

      January 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Chad

      I believe it is real. It's written in a book and I've seen the author. Others believe it's real too.

      So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Pastafarianism that has led you to reject it?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • PHI RHO TAU

      Chad.
      The fraternity quotes you, Nov 12/2012, 12:54 PM....
      "I am not intrested in, nor do I think it is an effort that should be expended to defend anything other than the Judeo-Christian belief system." Jesus Jokes, page 52.
      Why do you demand others to do what you think is not worth the effort? Hypocrite and liar. Study up on the FSM, it may come in handy.
      RAmen.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Chad

      You are of course free to believe that an invented character that was created to poke fun at teaching intelligent design in schools is in fact real.
      However, the reality of the FSM would be dependent on:
      1. Bobby Henderson just happening to describe the actual characteristics of a real FSM when he actually thought he was just inventing a make believe character.
      2. This real FSM having never revealed it's reality to any human (not even Bobby, who thought he was inventing something)
      3. The God of Israel being fake, because God declares that He is the only real god.

      so.. #1 and #2 could in fact be true.. Bobby could have thought he was inventing something but he inadvertantly described a real creature that has never revealed it's reality to any human. there is a non-zero probability associated with that possibility.
      However, if the God of Israel IS real, then the FSM IS fake. It is upon that fact that I reject the FSM.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm claiming the FSM is real. Disprove me.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Rough translation of Chad

      "My god could whip the butts of other gods so I don't believe in them'.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Russell's Ghost

      "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."

      - Bertrand Russell in "The Triumph of Stupidity" (1933)

      January 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Christianity that has led you to reject it?"
      What are the claims of Christianity, exactly?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Chad

      ">I am not interested in, nor do I think it is an effort that should be expended, to defend anything other than Judeo-Christian belief system..

      I only defend that which I believe in..

      so? Seems reasonable? what is your issue with it?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bet

      @ chad

      There is a book explaining all about the FSM called The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It explains all about him and you can buy it on Amazon.

      So, what investigation have you done into the claims of Pastafarianism that has led you to reject it?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "What are the claims of Christianity, exactly?"

      =>In summary:
      1. The God of Israel is real
      2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God
      For what I received I passed 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. 1 Corinthians 15

      January 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The book is true because it says so in the book = circular reasoning.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Chad's Motto

      Circles are my friends

      January 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "=>In summary:
      1. The God of Israel is real
      2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God"

      And what evidence does Christianity present to support such a claim?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rational Libertarian "I'm claiming the FSM is real. Disprove me."

      =>if you are claiming that the FSM is real, then you have the burden of proof :-)
      Just like I, as a theist, have the burden of proof because I claim that the God of Israel is real.

      a really amazing aspect of atheism "logical thought pattern" is that they feel a statement like that is valid, but recognize that saying "The God of Israel is real until you prove it isnt" (which is a fallacious statement)

      January 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • The Truth

      Don't bother arguing with chad, he will just state conjecture as fact and cross reference the book in question with the exact same book to prove it's veracity. It's a bit like claiming Mordor exists because Tolkien mentions it in several places in his books and even provides a map showing it's location.

      Then chad will ask what research you have done to prove his Lord of the Rings trilogy, i mean the bible, is false. When you tell him that you have in fact read it several times and studied it for nearly 30 years before leaving the faith he will just say you must have read it wrong or something then stops posting. Then a few hours later you will find him in another thread asking someone else "what research have you done to prove the bible false?" He is just a sad little Christian troll who thinks God has given him a mission to convert people to his version of faith. Billy Goat Gruff would bleat "Meh meh meh!! and boot Chad into the river...

      January 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      And yet you never actually prove anything you claim to. You merely give the same 5 points and ignore every challenge or criticism of them, then claim victory and continue to use those points.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Gary Kadoodles

      In other words, Chad has been busted on doing just that many many many times, and now he is trying to turn the tables . . . though ironically, he still fails to provide the evidence he now says it is his responsibility to provide.

      Chad: you never knew stupidity and dishonesty could be piled that high.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Chad

      Here's some proof (according to your imagination).

      The God of Spaghetti is real
      2. Mosey is the Prophet of the FSM

      For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Mosey died for our sins according to the Naan Bread, 4 that he was boiled, that he was raised on the third day (like a flan) according to the Garlic BZ, 5 and that he appeared to Uncle Ben,[b] and then to the Twelve Carbonaras. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the soup and breadstick starters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep, as a big meal does that. 7 Then he appeared to Larry King, then to all the Chat Show hosts, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally elongated. 1 Mosey 15

      January 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Comment

      Redzoa quote...
      "He (Chad) is hopelessly ignorant or hopelessly disingenious."
      Playing Chad's game is an infinite circle or maybe, we can hope that the circle will diminish untill Chad disappears up his own asz.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      How can you explain away video proof of FSM?

      youtu.be [slash] vL7FcvEydqg (in case vids are still broken)

      January 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • This is Jesus with a personal message for Chad...

      ┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐

      January 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Rattling Chad's cage might be mean...

      @ The Truth

      but it's fun.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "And what evidence does Christianity present to support such a claim?"

      @Chad,
      1. The God of Israel is real
      –The bible (written ~4000-2500 years ago and remarkably making it to this present day with virtually no textual corruption) makes some pretty fantastic claims on the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the history of early humanity and the creation of the nation of Israel.
      – we know from close examination of the bible over the course of thousands of years, that while all events have yet to be confirmed, remarkably no event has been proven NOT to have occurred.
      – so we have all this ancient history chronicled, some amazing claims made..
      – we also have observed that the universe around us actually is consistent with a claim that it was created by a moral agent external to our universe. It's external causal requirement, and fine tuning for the building blocks of life demonstrate this.
      – we have observed that the fossil record is consistent with the rise of organisms complexity as described in the bible.

      2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God
      – we know Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure
      – we know that he was crucified by the roman authorities because He claimed to be the Jewish Messiah
      – we know that after three days the tomb in which he was laid was found empty by a group of women followers
      – we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth.
      – we know that many people, billions in fact, report a relationship with Jesus through an indwelling Holy Spirit. A real meta-physical confirmation of the claims made 2000 years ago.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Chad, you never explained why christianity is true. How can you reject the other religions if you cant prove that yours is correct.

      I dont beleive the story, thats why I resject it. There is no other explanation for not beleiving something other than not beleiving it. I provided you with facts about my research and how i came to that conclusiion. I dont understand what you dont get about that.

      So, lets hear it, what is the proof that christianity is correct?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Well, ME II, one thing it can claim is something the early apologists called a pre-emptive strike by Satan to confuse the believer. The apparent plagiarism of the gospels by pagans who had earlier, very similar stories were simply a ruse by the Devil.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      the apparent plagiarism of the gospels by early xtians of pagan writings rather

      January 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Circles are Chad's friends

      Oh Chad, everything you listed in part 2 of your effluence is free of any other evidence than that it is stated in the Bible. The bible is true because the bible is true. And you keep doing it over and over and over.

      Your claims in part 1 are just plain false.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      I had no idea FSM had balls.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Something tells me that if Chad picked up a koran before he picked up a bible, we'd be talking to Chad Ala Aakbar.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • test

      reply button acting up?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Circles are Chad's friends "Oh Chad, everything you listed in part 2 of your effluence is free of any other evidence than that it is stated in the Bible."

      =>not true at all, there are many extra-biblical references to Jesus as a historical figure, and the belief on the part of early Christians that he had been physically resurrected.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Of course no one knows for certain who really wrote the gospels or if they did involve some real eyewitness account.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Circles are Chad's friends

      There are NO independant references to the existence of Jesus until 70 years after his death, and that is by people like Josephus, who clearly never saw him, and is only repeating word of mouth. Absolutely no evidence from Jesus' lifetime. Even the Gospels were written much later, by people who almost certainly did not know him and were only writing down word-of-mouth.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Chad

      The weird thing is, all of you have essentially acknowledged that you have not done any investigation into the claims of Christianity.. You just assumed it was all nonsense, and proceeded to spend your time mocking Christians.

      I actually clearly remember doing the same thing before I became a Christian, like me then, your mocking isnt based on any knowledge, not based on any understanding.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Nothing for certain or reliable, Chad. Josephus, for example was a pint-by-numbers "historian", and there's quite a lot of speculation regarding how his key testimony was most likely modified by someone else.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      sorry – "paint-by-numbers" (it's almost happy hour)

      January 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • fintastic

      Chad wrote = "Getting back to the original question, what is your basis for rejecting Christianity?"

      There is not one single shred of evidence that the christian god (or any other god) exists. There's your answer.

      ...... and NO, the bible is not evidence...

      January 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Chad

      First gospel written ~30 years after Christs death/resurrection
      Earliest NT letters describing the resurrection written within 20 years.
      Earlier creeds written withing 5 years

      nothing short of astonishing when you consider that the first written accounts of other ancient historical figures postdate their lives by 100's of years.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Comment

      Chad you are some sort of latter day born again and believe because you bought the delusion later in life and it is real. Okay it is real for you, so sad. When others tell you that they were brought up with the faith, much more than just research, and they later in life just could not believe any more. That is why many do not believe in your god yet you can not admit their choice, WHY? Don't duck the question.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      1. The God of Israel is real
      –The bible (written ~4000-2500 years ago and remarkably making it to this present day with virtually no textual corruption) makes some pretty fantastic claims on the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the history of early humanity and the creation of the nation of Israel.

      ME II: How does this, even if true, show that the "God of Israel is real" and not just that people were really careful with this particular book?

      – we know from close examination of the bible over the course of thousands of years, that while all events have yet to be confirmed, remarkably no event has been proven NOT to have occurred.

      ME II: A world wide flood did not happen in recent times according to the geologic record. The sun did not stop in the sky for Joshua. The Genesis creation story, if taken literally, is wrong.

      – so we have all this ancient history chronicled, some amazing claims made..

      ME II: Is this evidence? Or just a comment?

      – we also have observed that the universe around us actually is consistent with a claim that it was created by a moral agent external to our universe. It's external causal requirement, and fine tuning for the building blocks of life demonstrate this.

      ME II: First, consistent with is not evidence of. It is also "consistent with" various scientific and non-scientific conjectures. Second, a requirement for an external cause has not been shown.

      – we have observed that the fossil record is consistent with the rise of organisms complexity as described in the bible.

      ME II: Incorrect. We've been over this already. According to the geologic records birds did not come before land animals and flowering plants (fruit and nuts) did not come before land animals.

      2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God
      – we know Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure
      – we know that he was crucified by the roman authorities because He claimed to be the Jewish Messiah
      – we know that after three days the tomb in which he was laid was found empty by a group of women followers

      ME II: This is not "known". The Bible says so, but that's it.

      – we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth.

      ME II: This is not "known". The Bible says so, but that's it.

      – we know that many people, billions in fact, report a relationship with Jesus through an indwelling Holy Spirit. A real meta-physical confirmation of the claims made 2000 years ago.

      ME II: This is subjective experience, not subject to verification.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • The Truth

      @Chad –
      "1. The God of Israel is real –The bible (written ~4000-2500 years ago and remarkably making it to this present day with virtually no textual corruption) makes some pretty fantastic claims on the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the history of early humanity and the creation of the nation of Israel." – Yes, it makes "Fantastic" claims.
      "we know from close examination of the bible over the course of thousands of years, that while all events have yet to be confirmed, remarkably no event has been proven NOT to have occurred." – Global flood has been shown by geologists not to have occurred. 6 day creation false, age of earth false, major events claimed in bible but not recorded in other contemporary writings such as Egyptian and Roman authors who would have had to have known certain things like the Exodus or plagues or even Jesus arrest and execution authorized by a Roman governor all would have left some contemporary evidence yet none exists.
      "so we have all this ancient history chronicled, some amazing claims made" Yes, amazing claims made with no other verification of it's authenticity.
      "we also have observed that the universe around us actually is consistent with a claim that it was created by a moral agent external to our universe. It's external causal requirement, and fine tuning for the building blocks of life demonstrate this." – This is the dishonest line of reasoning essentially claiming because the universe is complex that proves there must be a creator, however Chad always leaves out the question " but if the universe is so complex it proves it needs a more complex creator then doesn't that prove that complex creator would require a more complex being to have created it and so on and so forth into infinity?"
      "we have observed that the fossil record is consistent with the rise of organisms complexity as described in the bible." – Again with the dishonesty Chad. The fossil record along with a DNA record show humans go back much much farther and are related to other species and even have up to 4% Neanderthal DNA in us from interbreeding about 30,000 years ago.

      2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God
      "we know Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure" Only from authors decades after he lived.
      "we know that he was crucified by the roman authorities because He claimed to be the Jewish Messiah" According to people decades after the events.
      "we know that after three days the tomb in which he was laid was found empty by a group of women followers" According to second hand statements written down decades after the events.
      "we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth." According to second hand accounts written down decades after the actual events.
      "we know that many people, billions in fact, report a relationship with Jesus through an indwelling Holy Spirit. A real meta-physical confirmation of the claims made 2000 years ago." Here is a little tidbit about the power of the mind " the fact that medical literature includes a great deal of testimony that the placebo effect routinely works 30 percent of the time, with Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard stating that it may work up to 90 percent of the time." – worldresearchfoundation

      Also of note, those like Josephus who wrote about Jesus half a century later also spoke of Hercules as if he had existed and had visited the soldiers.

      Sorry Chad but all your evidence amounts to little more than a hill of beans.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Chad – First gospel written ~30 years after Christs death/resurrection Earliest NT letters describing the resurrection written within 20 years. Earlier creeds written withing 5 years

      ==>> So – no one knows who really wrote them. NT letters were someone who became a belieber – so what? That doesn't validate what was already not validated. It just means someone else was scared into believing it.

      Chad – nothing short of astonishing when you consider that the first written accounts of other ancient historical figures postdate their lives by 100's of years.

      ==>> I don't think I buy that. Anyway, it's easy to convince someone of a good story through fear and trickery – like saying "don't pay attention to those earlier pagan stories that look just like ours – the devil was tricking you – in advance".

      January 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad,

      "–The bible (written ~4000-2500 years ago and remarkably making it to this present day with virtually no textual corruption) makes some pretty fantastic claims on the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the history of early humanity and the creation of the nation of Israel."
      None of this means that the bible is true or accurate in it's supernatural claims, all this says is the claims have not changed much.

      "– we know from close examination of the bible over the course of thousands of years, that while all events have yet to be confirmed, remarkably no event has been proven NOT to have occurred."
      Actually, we know a global flood never occured, and there is no archaeological evidence of a tribe of over 1million Israelites roamed the desert of the middle east for 40 years.

      "– so we have all this ancient history chronicled, some amazing claims made.."
      See above.

      "– we also have observed that the universe around us actually is consistent with a claim that it was created by a moral agent external to our universe. It's external causal requirement, and fine tuning for the building blocks of life demonstrate this."
      No it doesn't. You misrepresent Big Bang cosmology, and what we actually know to make this leap.

      "– we have observed that the fossil record is consistent with the rise of organisms complexity as described in the bible."
      No. The earlist records we have are of plants, then arthropods and fish like things, then amphibians, reptiles, etc. This does not coincide with the bible presentation. Not to mention we have plants being created before a sun, which is just plain retarded.

      "– we know Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure"
      If you're speaking about the person presented in the bible, then no we don't know that one.

      "– we know that he was crucified by the roman authorities because He claimed to be the Jewish Messiah"
      Again merely taking the bible and running with it as fact.

      "– we know that after three days the tomb in which he was laid was found empty by a group of women followers"
      No we don't.

      "– we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth."
      So what? Doesn't make it true, merely shows that they really really believed.

      "– we know that many people, billions in fact, report a relationship with Jesus through an indwelling Holy Spirit. A real meta-physical confirmation of the claims made 2000 years ago."
      It's confirmation of nothing.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II: "This is not "known". The Bible says so, but that's it."
      @Chad "wrong on every single account.
      A. we have several independent ancient docs all attesting to it. That these were later collected in a book does not disqualify them from consideration
      B. we have several EXTRA biblical docs attesting to that.
      You really need to do some research there..

      Joshua's day, dont know what happened there, suspect a supernova..
      Dont know why the reference to fruit bearing plants is where it is.
      We have simply NO idea when the flood was, you can not add up the begats and get a date. that's not what genealogies are to be used for.
      External cause for origin of the universe is accepted by cosmologists. there are many "non-God" hypothesis.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "The bible (written ~4000-2500 years ago and remarkably making it to this present day with virtually no textual corruption) makes some pretty fantastic claims on the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the history of early humanity and the creation of the nation of Israel."

      "John Mill estimated the number of variations in the New Testament text at 30,000[1] based on "nearly 100 manuscripts."[2] Eberhard Nestle estimated this number as 150,000–200,000 variants.[3] Bart D. Ehrman has estimated that there are "between 200,000–400,000 variants [in] several million pages of manuscripts."[4]"
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textual_variants_in_the_New_Testament)

      January 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Chad

      "virtually no textual corruption"

      just scroll down that wiki page and see what the variations actually are :-)

      January 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "B. we have several EXTRA biblical docs attesting to that."
      Which? I didn't say anything about an historical person named Jesus, or actually that such a person might have been crucified.

      What contemporary (contemporaneous?) extra-Biblical account has eyewitness testimony of a tomb that was empty?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • ME II

      Chad,

      "Joshua's day, dont know what happened there, suspect a supernova.."

      Such a massive supernova would likely have wiped out life on earth. I'm speculating that a supernova bright enough to look like the sun would generate leathal levels of gamma radiation even here on earth.
      Not to mention that said supernova would have to be traveling at multiple of C to keep the same spot, "stopped", in the sky of the rotating earth.
      And, every civilization would would recorded such an event.

      "Dont know why the reference to fruit bearing plants is where it is."
      But it is wrong, correct? as stated?

      "We have simply NO idea when the flood was, you can not add up the begats and get a date. that's not what genealogies are to be used for."
      There is no evidence for such a flood happeneding in the last billion years, and certainly not the last 10000.

      "External cause for origin of the universe is accepted by cosmologists."
      A begining of space/time in the Big Bang is accepted by many. Before that it is hyposthesis.

      "there are many "non-God" hypothesis."
      Yes, there are.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Comment

      You jump to the conclusion that many have admitted that they have done no investigation on religion, so wrong, Many say they grew up in one church or another. and later in life rejected christianity. I for one had to go to sunday school for ten years, stayed with the church untill into my twenties and must of listened to hunderds of sermons. Even with all that investigation/research, I left as soon as I realized it was all myth used to control the followers. Your insistance that atheists have no knowledge is a strawman. I assume you will duck this question, as always, what about the disciple/priest of many years of study that loses his/her faith?

      January 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • ME II

      Chad
      "virtually no textual corruption"
      Is that the same as almost correct?

      "just scroll down that wiki page and see what the variations actually are "

      Did you see how long that list is? Not sure I have the time this week. :)

      January 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Chad

      Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?, a Jewish historian) mentions John the Baptist and Herod – Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 5, par. 2
      Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions Jesus – Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 3, par. 3.
      Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
      There is debate among scholars as to the authenticity of this quote since it is so favorable to Jesus. For more information on this, please see Regarding the quotes from the historian Josephus about Jesus

      Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions James, the brother of Jesus – Antiquities, Book 20, ch. 9.

      Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian) mentions "Christus" who is Jesus – Annals 15.44
      "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a clas s hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superst ition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."
      Ref. from http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/annals.mb.txt

      Thallus (Circa AD 52, eclipse of the sun) Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time. His writings are only found as citations by others. Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221, mentioned Thallus' account of an eclipse of the sun.
      "On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun."
      Is this a reference to the eclipse at the crucifixion? Luke 23:44-45, "And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two."
      The oddity is that Jesus' crucifixion occurred at the Pas sover which was a full moon. It is not possible for a solar eclipse to occur at a full moon. Note that Julius Africanus draws the conclusion that Thallus' mentioning of the eclipse was describing the one at Jesus' crucifixion. It may not have been.

      Julius Africanus, Extant Writings, XVIII in the Ante Nicene Fathers, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), vol. VI, p. 130. as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.

      Pliny the Younger mentioned Christ. Pliny was governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Pliny wrote ten books. The tenth around AD 112.
      "They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then rea ssemble to partake of food but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."
      Pliny, Letters, transl. by William Melmoth, rev. by W.M.L. Hutchinson (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1935), vol. II, X:96 as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.

      The Talmud "On the eve of the Pas sover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Pa ssover!"
      Gal. 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
      Luke 22:1-2, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Pa ssover, was approaching. 2And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people."
      This quotation was taken from the reading in The Babylonian Talmud, transl. by I. Epstein (London: Soncino, 1935), vol. III, Sanhedrin 43a, p. 281 as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.

      Lucian (circa 120-after 180) mentions Jesus. Greek writer and rhetorician.
      "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property."
      Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 1113, in The Works of Lucian of Samosata, transl. by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1949), vol. 4, as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.
      Though Lucian opposed Christianity, he acknowledges Jesus, that Jesus was crucified, that Christians worship him, and that this was done by faith.

      January 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The Chad will always find a way to "discredit" your reply, even if you explain that you did believe for many, many years and have done much, much research. He will just say that he disbelieves you because of one reason or another. The Chad is good at one thing, differentiating what he will accept according to his a priori beliefs. It matters not how good or logical the point is, if it causes him to question his a priori beliefs, he will find a reason to dismiss it, and any reason will do.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,

      Those people weren't even alive when Jesus was supposed to have been crucified, ergo they must be hearsay, correct?

      January 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      OK, so there's a handful of people outside the Bible who said they heard of the story. That certainly doesn't prove anything.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      I've noticed that as well, Moby. You have distilled that truth very expeditiously and succinctly.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Comment

      ??LOL
      If you want to just skip the Chad, you can find all of the stuff he uses on the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry or Streetapologetics web sites, there are probably many more. The one thing they have in common besides the cut and paste arguemens, is they are all trying to sell something for profit, surprised?

      January 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • ME II

      [Correction]

      "– we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth."

      ME II: This is not "known". The Bible says so, but that's it.

      I will retract this one, as I was misreading it to say that we know Jesus was resurrected. I would agree that many people who reported such things and some who even believed it.
      That does not, in any way, make it true.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • fred

      ¿¿lol

      I note that few scholars dispute the authenticity of the letters written by Paul. On what basis do you dismiss what those letters had to say?

      January 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Those people weren't even alive when Jesus was supposed to have been crucified, ergo they must be hearsay, correct?"

      @Chad "Those extra-biblical sources attest to the beliefs of the early Christians, they were not direct eye witnesses to the crucifixion.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "we know from close examination of the bible over the course of thousands of years, that while all events have yet to be confirmed, remarkably no event has been proven NOT to have occurred."

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby,
      If I recall correctly, the only "reasons" you gave were this (there were others like "the bible is stupid" and "the bible is nonsense") , which as we have discussed before are really conclusions. I asked you for specifics, but as you'll recall you declined to provide any.

      Chad, I have read the bible eight times, was a minister for nearly three decades, spent most of my life offering reasons for people to believe, wrote several published works on the bible's validity and the veracity of its claims. While researching for the one I would never publish, I came to the conclusion that the bible made much more sense as a book of myths than as any sort of "truth bearer" about the nature or existence of any god. I reject christianity because of the bible and what it claims; I reject the idea of god because no god believers have offered any reasoning worthy of belief; I reject christianity because it cannot answer the arguments against it and the bible.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Comment

      Take note that Chad avoids the question of those that fall out of love/faith in his Judeo-christian myth. Have you investigated at least half of the other thousands of man made gods, if not why not? Arguing from ignorance. No realy try investigating all the rest, you may find one you like better.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Smithsonian “The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient.
      @Chad “most atheists believe that the bible starts with “2,500 years ago, God created the universe”
      But, it doesn’t. There is simply NO WHERE in the bible where the age of the earth is stated.
      NO WHERE.
      Many erroneously come to that conclusion by adding up all the “begats”, however this is a gross misuse of genealogies, which are NOT provided for that purpose and routinely omit many generations that aren’t relevant to that which is being discussed.

      ==========
      @Smithsonian “The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically”
      @Chad “again, simply not true. The bible chronicles over 2000 years of history, all of which can be checked, and NONE of which has ever been proved incorrect.

      ==========
      @Smithsonian “The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible.”
      @Chad “utter speculation, other than your personal opinon, what data do you cite to support it?

      ==========
      @Smithsonian “The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).”
      @Chad “Very true, the bible was not intended to be a “history of the world”, it contains accurate descriptions of relevant historical interactions between God and humanity.

      ==========
      @Smithsonian “It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy.”
      @Chad “complete and utter nonsense. Thousands of years of recorded history, none of which has ever been disproved, and note, the years 2500—30AD are all years for which we have some archeological evidence.
      No historical fact has ever been disproved.
      None.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      It's a good thing we know your god and his son never existed, and that the bible is a fraud. It helps us move on from childish notions of imaginary creatures ruling the universe.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "again, simply not true. The bible chronicles over 2000 years of history, all of which can be checked, and NONE of which has ever been proved incorrect."

      Again, there are distinct discrepancies between Genesis and what Geology/Archeology/Cosmology/etc. tell us happened. How can you state that none have been "proved incorrect"?

      January 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Comment2

      "No realy try investigating all the rest, you may find one you like better."

      The problem is the bible tells these people they are not allowed to doubt so they have to use everything possible to try and persuade you that the bible is actually fact. They are not allowed to doubt it, they are not allowed to think about the truth presented because to do so goes against the "word of god." You can't argue with someone like Chad, fred, Topher, L4H, they have already accepted the bible as fact, to consider other arguments would allow doubt and therefore they sin. Just recognized they are brainwashed cult members who are beyond reason, their fear keeps them paralyzed to the real truth, the bible and all gods in human history are myth.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      Yeah, Chad you've tried those lame arguments before, now go ahead and try to take the nonsense you posted down to the world's largest research center and sell them on what you wrote. You're full of crap if you don't think they haven't thought of that before making that statement. You're over inflated ego can't handle the fact you're wrong.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      Yeah, Chad you've tried those lame arguments before, now go ahead and try to take the nonsense you posted down to the world's largest research center and sell them on what you wrote. You're full of crap if you don't think they haven't thought of that before making that statement. Your over inflated ego can't handle the fact you're wrong.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II
      I dont consider flowering plants (fruit and nuts) not coming before land animals as a make or break problem..

      I have yet to find any other detail that is incorrect.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Comment

      Still no response from the Chad. What about all those brought up in the faith but finally realize it is just myth and a scam to control and rob people? I forgave Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert, among others, did you Chad?

      January 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      First, you set the criteria of NONE.
      Second, what about 6 "days" for all creation, Joshua's stopped sun, Noah's flood, birds before land animals, "days" before a sun, etc.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      fred: "I note that few scholars dispute the authenticity of the letters written by Paul. On what basis do you dismiss what those letters had to say?"

      Very simple fred – they are all part of the same assemblage effort. Therefore, regardless of authenticity (time frame/number of authors), their contents must be questioned. Especially in light that the stories within seem like copies of older stories; especially because they reference stories of unknown authorship.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, you are such a liar. I have given you specifics plenty of times. After I learned your silly game of just redefining what you wish, lying about what you wish, and ignoring what you wish, I quit playing by your silly demands that don't matter. So, from now on, you claim that I've not given you any "specifics" because of that final realization on my part.

      You're a liar because it's who you are, not because it's what you do. When the chips are down, and you have nowhere else to run, you lie because it's all you have left. You're methods are so disgusting that I hope you stay a god believer. Seriously, I want you representing your god. It's the best option from my perspective.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad,

      "-we know that after three days the tomb in which he was laid was found empty by a group of women followers
      – we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth."

      All we have evidence for is that there are claims some women found the tomb empty. In addition even if this were the case (for which the evidence is spotty at best) we have no evidence for how the tomb was emptied. The second line is more correct. We have evidence (variable) that some people reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus.

      I worked for a company that was hired on to help with some technical work for a group that tracks alien landings. These guys had tons of data from all around the world. If I were to go just on their sightings I would believe aliens visited the earth. You believe everything people tell you they saw and you end up believing a lot of weird stuff. I guarantee you a lot of these folks will go to their deaths supporting their alien sighting and abduction claims.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad is like a dynamo of anti-religion. He makes Christians question their faith because he's so insane. He makes atheists more adamant and learned since his bullshit is piled so deep. Perhaps he is the ultimate "false flag Christian" atheist.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Pastafairian

      I have testimonials of dozens of people that have been touched by the FSM's noodly appendage. On Friday holliday while enjoying a plate of spaghetti and quaffing a beer or two, many have had commune with Him. Many have also reported visions of FSM heaven, don't ask what they consumed, and visiting the stri-pper factory. Empty 2000 year old tomb, how dull.
      RAmen

      January 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      I must admit. I am somewhat biased. I have always envisioned FSM alla pesto.

      January 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • fred

      ¿¿lol

      “they are all part of the same assemblage effort”
      =>so the basis for discrediting what Paul had to say was because of a conspiracy theory that there was some sinister reason behind Christianity?
      As to the contents being questionable can I assume the non miraculous parts are acceptable?
      Unknown authorship would not be an issue if within this small community of followers in that day they all assumed or knew of the stories already, perhaps even the author. The stories were similar to Old Testament because many were Jews including Paul.
      Paul was influenced by his education as are many new atheists today. The difference between public school education and private school education................

      January 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      moi: “they are all part of the same assemblage effort”
      fred: so the basis for discrediting what Paul had to say was because of a conspiracy theory that there was some sinister reason behind Christianity?

      => You're reading too much into my reply, fred. A Common mistake I'm noticing with believers – always trying to second guess. I didn't say conspiracy nor sinister, although those could be good possibilities. Of course the very nature of story-telling and even recounting in real time opens the doors of creativity and opportunity, especially in times where information was not possibly as accountable nor verifiable as we expect it to be today. Regardless, for something claiming the supernatural, one needs to question deeply. We don't have to go too deeply before we see scholarly challenges made to words attributed to few historians such as Josephus. The challenge to Christians today is not only from the top down (with respect to time), but from the bottom up. It certainly seems they copied pagans and we all know that there is considerable disagreement over the supposed OT predictions for the NT.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "-we know that after three days the tomb in which he was laid was found empty by a group of women followers
      – we know that many people, in different times/places, followers, skeptics and persecutors reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus. A belief they held so firmly that they went to their deaths proclaiming its truth."

      @Saraswati "All we have evidence for is that there are claims some women found the tomb empty. In addition even if this were the case (for which the evidence is spotty at best) we have no evidence for how the tomb was emptied.
      @Chad "The evidence of an empty tomb is overwhelming really:
      - multiple independent eye witness attestations
      - confirmed by the knowledge that a persecuted movement based on a physically resurrected messiah could hardly have survived in the face of an occupied tomb.
      - earliest Jewish polemic was that the disciples had stolen the body

      - the evidence for women finding the empty tomb is again, the multiple corroborating attestations, confirmed by the fact that in that culture a woman's testimony was considered so unreliable that it wasnt allowed in a Jewish court. The early disciples would hardly have concocted a tale that the tomb was found empty by women.

      - you are correct that the question is HOW the tomb was emptied.

      =======
      @Saraswati " The second line is more correct. We have evidence (variable) that some people reported meeting a physically resurrected Jesus."
      @Chad "not just some people, a very diverse group. To individuals and groups, followers, skeptics (Jesus' brother for example who did NOT believe that Jesus was Messiah while He was alive), and persecutors (Saul and companions on the road to Damascus)

      January 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Chad – you seem to be on a roll with attestations and eye-witnesses. In order to get to the bottom of the believability factor for these attestations and eye-witness accounts, the next step is to provide the sources for those. That will help solidify your argument – sources and authors.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Second, what about 6 "days" for all creation"
      @Chad "you put "days" in quotes correctly, as we have discussed before, that can also be translated "age"

      @ME II "Joshua's stopped sun,"
      @Chad "Joshua asked for more daylight, and he received 24 hours of light.
      My guess is a supernova

      ====
      @ME II "Noah's flood"
      @Chad "we dont know when it was.."

      ====
      @ME II "birds before land animals"
      @Chad "we"ve been thru this before.. bird evolution is still a mystery, there is question on whether or not they may have preceded dinosaurs.

      @MEII " "days" before a sun, etc.
      @Chad "another one we have been thru before.. all of the universe, earth, sun, everything was created on "day" one.
      Most likely some early atmospheric occlusion prevented the sun from being visible till that point.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Chad

      eyewitness sources and authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke (not an eye witness), John, Peter, Paul, James, Jude.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad, If you ceased to beieve in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts (and accounts of accounts) would you still believe as strongly in Christianity?

      I ask because to an outsider there really is nothing special about these accounts compared to alien sighting and abduction stories repeated by authors with their own agendas (believing in aliens or wanting to sell books). It doesn't actually seem possible to me that you couldn't see this, so You have to be taking their accounts on faith, with the validity of the bible as a premise. But you aren't seeing this, are you?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "If you ceased to believe in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts (and accounts of accounts) would you still believe as strongly in Christianity?"
      @Chad "hmm, couple points:
      1. "ceasing to believe in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts" is to utterly discount everything that anyone else tells you, Relying only on your own observations as your sole source of epistemology. I would say that is clearly a to narrow view, as it would eliminate from a persons reality everything that which they didnt directly experience.
      Clearly reality exists outside of ones own experience (although, I am just recently starting to become aware of a line of thinking that seemingly denies that..). People that I have never met do in reality exist, they dont come into existence just by virtue of me meeting them. So I would say that epistemology is self refuting.

      2. So I do accept eye witness testimony as a source of truth, however, that doesn't mean all eye witness testimony is true. One needs to do the due diligence to investigate and in that respect a lot of different points need to be examined, credibility of the witness, behavior, motivation, consistency in account, ability to have multiple independent eye witnesses. These are the stuff of court cases every day. One sifts the evidence and comes to a conclusion.

      3. However, independent of the eye witness testimonies 2000 years ago, there is a present reality of sanctification, of an indwelling Holy Spirit, of a very real communication avenue that every Christian can experience to provide a personal validation of those events.

      =======
      @Saraswati "I ask because to an outsider there really is nothing special about these accounts compared to alien sighting and abduction stories repeated by authors with their own agendas (believing in aliens or wanting to sell books). It doesn't actually seem possible to me that you couldn't see this, so You have to be taking their accounts on faith, with the validity of the bible as a premise. But you aren't seeing this, are you?"
      @Chad "it's a good point.
      I wonder if you provided Joe-alien-abduction-claimer with a choice:
      - recant your statement
      - be tortured to death

      what would he choose?

      if you gathered all of the alien abduction people together and presented them with that choice.. what would they choose? If you tortured to death the first 2 that refused to recant, what would the rest do? Of course we'll never know, but that would give us good insight into whether or not they believed what they were claiming to have witnessed to have actually occurred.

      Also, with the alien abduction thing, you have a problem with consistency in accounts, and rarely (none that I am aware of?) any multiple attestations of the same event..

      January 24, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad,

      I believe you misread my phrase "ceasing to believe in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts" as "ceasing to believe in the reliability of eyewitness accounts". Note I included the article "the" which refers to specific eyewitness accounts (here those in the bible) and not all eyewitness accounts. You did copy it correctly, it just looks like you misread it.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad "I wonder if you provided Joe-alien-abduction-claimer with a choice:
      - recant your statement
      - be tortured to death

      what would he choose?
      if you gathered all of the alien abduction people together and presented them with that choice.. what would they choose? If you tortured to death the first 2 that refused to recant, what would the rest do? Of course we'll never know, but that would give us good insight into whether or not they believed what they were claiming to have witnessed to have actually occurred."

      They would likely recant (though I suspect not always), but the comparison is erroneous. The Christians don't only not recant out of a truth belief, but out of a fear for themselves and others if they do so. While some alien "abductees" worry that they are warning the earth of an incoming invasion, not all do, and to my knowledge none are worried about their eternal souls in this regard.

      "Also, with the alien abduction thing, you have a problem with consistency in accounts, and rarely (none that I am aware of?) any multiple attestations of the same event.."

      With the alien abduction accounts we have the technology to view the original telling (often recorded) by the eyewitness. With the bible the stories are often second or third hand. That's closer to a compilation of alien abduction stories carefully selected and put in a book to prove the alien abduction claim.

      There are plenty of multiple witness abductions and sighting. Just google "alien abduction" with "multiple witnesses" and pick your favorite.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • ¿¿lol

      Saraswati: "With the bible the stories are often second or third hand. "

      Yes, Saraswati, and that means Chad's reply:

      "eyewitness sources and authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke (not an eye witness), John, Peter, Paul, James, Jude."

      . . . to my question: "the next step is to provide the sources for those. That will help solidify your argument – sources and authors."

      . . . really doesn't cut the mustard.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "as we have discussed before, that can also be translated 'age'"
      "another one we have been thru before.. all of the universe, earth, sun, everything was created on 'day' one.
      Most likely some early atmospheric occlusion prevented the sun from being visible till that point."

      These are inconsistent:
      1.a. If "day" is really "age" then why are the "days" identified by "morning" and "evening"?

      1.b. If "day" is really a "day" then Why does the geologic record show more than a few "days" between plants and fish, or fish and man, etc.?

      As are these:
      2.a. If "all of the universe, earth, sun, everything was created on 'day' [or age] one", then why does Gen 1:14-19 say they were "made" (do, make [) on "day" four?

      2.b. If "all of the universe, earth, sun, everything was created on 'day' [or age] one", then why does the science show that the Earth was formed ~9 billion years after the Big Bang? Hardly the same "day" or "age".

      Yes, we have discussed this before, and if I recall you said at least some parts were metaphor. So how does one tell which parts are metaphor and which aren't?
      And, if some parts are metaphor, then how can you claim,
      "No historical fact has ever been disproved.
      None."

      "we've been thru this before.. bird evolution is still a mystery, there is question on whether or not they may have preceded dinosaurs."

      Actually, bird evolution isn't as much a mystery as you may think. And if I recall, you were saying that there was some speculation of flight before what we now consider birds, trying to insinuate, I think, that the Bible was talking about flying animals, not just birds proper.
      But this is irrelevant misdirection, even if the Bible is talking about flying animals, then the point still stands that the geologic record shows land animals before flying animals.

      In addition, Gen 1:21 states "...every winged bird according to its kind." which, even the broadest definition of "kind", should, I think, include what we consider birds today.
      Clearly, the Bible is stating birds, including what we consider birds today, came before land animals. This is incorrect.

      "Joshua asked for more daylight, and he received 24 hours of light.
      My guess is a supernova"

      Perhaps, you should read your own scriptures.
      "So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped," (Joshua 10:13)

      Additionally, a supernova bright enough to simulate daylight and yet not being recorded by nearly every culture in the world, borders on ridiculous.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "I believe you misread my phrase "ceasing to believe in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts" as "ceasing to believe in the reliability of eyewitness accounts". Note I included the article "the" which refers to specific eyewitness accounts (here those in the bible) and not all eyewitness accounts. You did copy it correctly, it just looks like you misread it.
      @Chad "correct, I did misread it"

      =========
      @Saraswati "If you ceased to beieve in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts (and accounts of accounts) would you still believe as strongly in Christianity?"
      @Chad "well, what would cause me to cease to believe in those specific eyewitness accounts?

      ====
      @Saraswati " The Christians don't only not recant out of a truth belief, but out of a fear for themselves and others if they do so."While some alien "abductees" worry that they are warning the earth of an incoming invasion, not all do, and to my knowledge none are worried about their eternal souls in this regard."
      @Chad "can you explain that? doesnt make sense the way I am reading it...
      If a person made up the sighting of a resurrected Jesus, then they would have no basis at all for worrying about "eternal damnation".. If Jesus wasnt resurrected, then there is no atoning sacrifice, and they better get busy obeying the OT law if they want to get into heaven.
      For a Jew to create a bogus Jesus sighting, would be completely sacrilegious, and they would be knowing encouraging people to put their faith in a falsehood, which would condemn themselves and everyone that believed them to "eternal damnation". Inconceivable the would make it up..

      =======
      regarding alien abductions.
      if you have a instance of a specific alien (which everyone agreed was the same alien, multiple corroboration that they were all claiming to have seen the same specific alien)
      and
      you have groups of people that saw the same specific alien
      you have alien skeptics that suddenly became believers this specific alien
      you have persons that had dedicated their lives to debunking alien abduction claims, that reported seeing this alien, and completely changed their viewpoint.

      All of these things, multiple groups, single persons, skeptics and persecutors, all reported seeing the same alien, within a span of 2 weeks. And, all of these people were willing to be tortured to death rather than recant their statement that they had seen this alien (and remember, it's an specific alien person that they talked to, not a light in the sky or something..).

      If all that happened, you better believe I would take it seriously.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Chad

      @ME II, @LOL
      I'm not ignoring you guys, at work I limit myself to 30min per day on this thread.. and I'm using all that up with saraswati..

      perhaps tonight, thanks for the discussion..

      January 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • The Truth

      "For a Jew to create a bogus Jesus sighting, would be completely sacrilegious, and they would be knowing encouraging people to put their faith in a falsehood, which would condemn themselves and everyone that believed them to "eternal damnation". Inconceivable they would make it up."

      "In Judaism, "messiah" originally meant a divinely appointed king, such as David, Cyrus the Great[1] or Alexander the Great.[2] Later, especially after the failure of the Hasmonean Kingdom (37 BC) and the Jewish–Roman wars (AD 66-135), the figure of the Jewish Messiah was one who would deliver the Jews from oppression and usher in an Olam Haba ("world to come") or Messianic Age.
      1.Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BCE – 30 CE), leader of a small Jewish sect who was crucified; Jews who believed him to be the Messiah were the first Christians, also known as Jewish Christians. Christians and Messianic Jews believe him to be the real Messiah.
      2. Simon of Peraea (c. 4 BCE), a former slave of Herod the Great who rebelled and was killed by the Romans.[3]
      3. Athronges (c. 3 CE),[4] a shepherd turned rebel leader.
      4. Menahem ben Judah (?), allegedly son of Judas of Galilee, partook in a revolt against Agrippa II before being slain by a rival Zealot leader.
      5. Vespasian, c. 70, according to Josephus[5]
      6. Simon bar Kokhba (died c. 135), founded a short-lived Jewish state before being defeated in the Second Jewish-Roman War.
      7. Moses of Crete (?), who in about 440–470 convinced the Jews of Crete to attempt to walk into the sea to return to Israel; he disappeared after that disaster.
      8. Ishak ben Ya'kub Obadiah Abu 'Isa al-Isfahani (684–705), who led a revolt in Persia against the Umayyad Caliph 'Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.
      9. Yudghan (?), a disciple of Abu 'Isa who continued the faith after Isa was slain.[6][7]
      10. Serene (?), who around 720 claimed to be the Messiah and advocated expulsion of Muslims and relaxing various rabbinic laws before being arrested; he then recanted.
      11. David Alroy (?), born in Kurdistan, who around 1160 agitated against the caliph before being assassinated.
      12. Nissim ben Abraham (?), active around 1295.[8]
      13. Moses Botarel of Cisneros (?), active around 1413; claimed to be a sorcerer able to combine the names of God.
      14. Asher Lämmlein (?), a German near Venice who proclaimed himself a forerunner of the Messiah in 1502.
      15. David Reubeni (1490–1541?)
      16. Solomon Molcho (1500–1532), adventurer who travelled in Portugal, Italy and Turkey; Molcho was eventually burned at the stake by the Pope.
      17. A mostly unknown Czech Jew from around the 1650s.[9]
      18. Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), an Ottoman Jew who claimed to be the Messiah, but then converted to Islam; still has followers today in the Donmeh.
      19. Barukhia Russo (Osman Baba), successor of Sabbatai Zevi.
      20. Jacob Querido (?–1690), claimed to be the new incarnation of Sabbatai; later converted to Islam and led the Donmeh.
      21. Miguel Cardoso (1630–1706), another successor of Sabbatai who claimed to be the "Messiah ben Ephraim."
      22. Mordecai Mokia (1650–1729), "the Rebuker," another person who proclaimed himself Messiah after Sabbatai's death.
      23. Löbele Prossnitz (?–1750), attained some following amongst former followers of Sabbatai, calling himself the "Messiah ben Joseph."
      24. Jacob Joseph Frank (1726–1791), who claimed to be the reincarnation of King David and preached a synthesis of Christianity and Judaism.
      25. Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994), the seventh Chabad Rabbi who tried to "prepare the way" for the Messiah. An unidentifiable number of his followers believe him to be the Messiah, though he himself never said this and actually scoffed at such claims which were made during his lifetime"

      And I didn't include the long list of people claiming to be the second coming of the messiah...

      So what was that about " Inconceivable" anyone "would make it up."?

      January 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Chad

      "So what was that about " Inconceivable" anyone "would make it up."?"

      =>the part about putting your faith in a dead one..

      January 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "For a Jew to create a bogus Jesus sighting, would be completely sacrilegious, and they would be knowing encouraging people to put their faith in a falsehood, which would condemn themselves and everyone that believed them to "eternal damnation". Inconceivable the[y] would make it up.."

      I just had to say that if you are staking your faith on the fact that a Jewish person would not lie, even about something this important, then you are ignoring basic human behavior. People lie all the time, even Jews. Not everyone and not all the time, but just because someone subscribes to a set of tenets, including not lying, doesn't mean that the entire group follows all the the tenets, all the time.

      January 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad,

      @Saraswati "If you ceased to beieve in the reliability of the eyewitness accounts (and accounts of accounts) would you still believe as strongly in Christianity?"
      @Chad "well, what would cause me to cease to believe in those specific eyewitness accounts?
      @Saraswati “It would be difficult for me to pick a specific scenario for you, since I don’t really understand why you believe these accounts in the first place. But let’s say something that made it clear certain of the writers admitted to lying and had not seen the actual incidents they reported (as what happened to the Book of Mormon witnesses).
      ====
      @Saraswati "The Christians don't only not recant out of a truth belief, but out of a fear for themselves and others if they do so."While some alien "abductees" worry that they are warning the earth of an incoming invasion, not all do, and to my knowledge none are worried about their eternal souls in this regard."
      @Chad "can you explain that? doesnt make sense the way I am reading it...
      If a person made up the sighting of a resurrected Jesus, then they would have no basis at all for worrying about "eternal damnation".. If Jesus wasnt resurrected, then there is no atoning sacrifice, and they better get busy obeying the OT law if they want to get into heaven.
      For a Jew to create a bogus Jesus sighting, would be completely sacrilegious, and they would be knowing encouraging people to put their faith in a falsehood, which would condemn themselves and everyone that believed them to "eternal damnation". Inconceivable the would make it up..
      @Saraswati ”Two differences here. First is that in the case of instances where people actually may have died, they, like the alien abductees, may genuinely have believed, or convinced themselves of, their claims and not been lying. Second. Even if they lied about witnessing a certain event, they may not have been lying about believing the bulk of the story. Third (and only tangential to the original point), there’s a lot of doubt in my mind that all deaths actually occurred as told.
      =======
      […]
      I’m afraid I’m not going to poke around all the UFO sites to find you a perfect witness example, but even things like Roswell have a lot (but not all) of the characteristics you’re looking for. The main difference is that with today’s scientific and social structure we can question the witnesses and look for alternate explanations, which wasn’t a real option 2000 years ago, and certainly isn’t an option for us to retroactively do today.

      (I just took on a rush job this morning, btw, so won’t be answering very quickly for the next few weeks.)

      January 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chuckles

      PS

      A jew making up a story about a "messiah" in no way means they were be condemned to eternal damnation, that's a christian concept. "hell" for a jew is simply not being admitted into to heaven straight away.

      Also, as ME II pointed out, people lie, that's a fact of life.

      January 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Chad

      1. Regarding "First century Jews lying about having met a resurrected Jesus"

      Here is the scenario your are claiming is valid:
      a. a group of people believe that one particular living Jew is the messiah
      b. that group follows him for a while, then he is crucified and killed by roman authorities
      c. that group disbands and heads for the hills.
      d. within days, that group reverses direction now reporting that they have witnessed a resurrected person, the Jew who claimed to be the messiah who was killed
      e. that group now claims that a ticket to heaven is punched by believing that the messiah died on their half as an atoning sacrifice.

      –problems with that scenario
      1. Jews have NO CONCEPT of a crucified messiah. It isnt in their vocabulary. Didnt exist. Crucifixion proves that the person who had claimed to be the messiah, wasnt the messiah after all. That is why all those other messianic movements that were listed above immediately died off after the leader was killed.

      2. If they knew that in fact the supposed messiah hadnt really been resurrected, they knew, as Jews, that the only way to heaven remained the way that they had grown up with, by following the dietary/behavioral restrictions outlined in the "Law" (OT). There simply was no other way to heaven than that which they had grown up learning was the only way.

      3. By claiming that there was A DIFFERENT way to get to heaven (one which they KNEW to be false since they were the ones falsely claiming to have seen a resurrected Jesus), they were knowingly excluding themselves from getting into heaven, AND knowingly leading everyone else down the wrong path.

      4. People lie all the time, but NOT to hurt themselves (by purposefully excluding themselves from any chance at getting into Heaven).
      5. People lie all the time, but NOT to hurt themselves (by purposefully placing themselves in situations of persecution, social ostracization, and physical torment.

      ==
      I believe on the basis of the accounts
      AND
      my personal relationship with the living Christ

      ====
      @saraswati "First is that in the case of instances where people actually may have died, they, like the alien abductees, may genuinely have believed, or convinced themselves of, their claims and not been lying."
      @Chad "skeptics, persecutors, different places, singly and in groups? that is the "mass delusion" theory, completely debunked.. no instance ever recorded of such a mass delusion..

      ====
      @saraswati "Second. Even if they lied about witnessing a certain event, they may not have been lying about believing the bulk of the story
      @Chad "there is only 1 part of the story.. the witnessing of a resurrected Christ. Again, convincing all of those people to lie about seeing Jesus resurrected, abandon any hope of getting into heaven, social ostracism, death for making the claim.. no way..

      @saraswati "Third (and only tangential to the original point), there’s a lot of doubt in my mind that all deaths actually occurred as told."
      @chad "you would have to do the research there.. pretty clearly docu mented.

      ==
      people lie all the time, but you are asking me to believe that this group knowingly lied, not to benefit themselves, but to harm themselves, both now on this earth, and eternally.
      Inconceivable.. no way.

      but, the real stake in the heart of the "disciples lied" theory is not the fact that it's simply inconceivable that they would have done so to their own determent. Rather it is that it provides no explanation of the empty tomb. Remember, a movement based upon a resurrected Messiah could hardly have flourished in the face of an occupied tomb.
      You have to claim that the disciples lied, AND stole the body.

      January 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "A jew making up a story about a "messiah" in no way means they were be condemned to eternal damnation, that's a christian concept. "hell" for a jew is simply not being admitted into to heaven straight away.'
      @Chad "100% wrong
      For a first century Jew, the only way in to heaven was by obedience to the Law.
      Rejecting that, and claiming a new way to get into heaven (acceptance of the atoning sacrifice), means they knowingly abandon the only real way in.

      It doesnt matter WHAT the other way was, abandoning the Law and claiming one could get into Heaven by ANY other mechanism was a quick ticket out. And they knew that. So you better believe that they considered this new way, a very real alternative.

      January 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • The Truth

      Chad, you, much like many of those who claimed to be messiahs or those who claimed to follow them, are either a liar or a simpleton who was misled. There is no other evidence to support any kind of divine. Period. Just claiming that "people wouldn't do that for fear of their souls" is beyond pointless, it is in fact absolutely false.

      I know you are on these boards in defense of your already held belief, but trust me, defending lies will only make you look foolish and out of everyone on these blogs, no one looks quite as foolish as you Chad.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @The Truth ""people wouldn't do that for fear of their souls" is beyond pointless, it is in fact absolutely false."

      =>??
      please demonstrate how it is false..

      remember, people lie all the time, but you are asking me to believe that this group knowingly lied, not to benefit themselves, but to harm themselves, both now on this earth, and eternally.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad. Motivation, you ask. Historically religion and its more primitive counterparts – witch doctors and medicine men, have held positions of wealth, power, and privilege in their respective communities. Those rewards are often considered valuable enough to lie for.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, The only "evidence" that the tomb was empty was testimony from those who stood to gain most from this new religion – and look how lucrative religion has been over the centuries.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Chad

      @santa "Those rewards are often considered valuable enough to lie for."

      =>sure, but what rewards did the early disciples get as a result of this lying?
      - persecution by Jewish leadership
      - ejection from Jewish society
      - persecution by Roman authorities
      - literally excommunicated from the Jewish faith, forfeiture of the only salvation that they knew
      - ultimately death by torture for their refusal to recant their lie?

      what was the gain? what was the motivation? inconceivable scenario you are proposing.. which is why no credible historian (atheist or otherwise), attempts to make this clam today in any debate with Christian theists.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Now who hasn't read the bible?

      1. Jews have NO CONCEPT of a crucified messiah. It isnt in their vocabulary. Didnt exist. Crucifixion proves that the person who had claimed to be the messiah, wasnt the messiah after all. That is why all those other messianic movements that were listed above immediately died off after the leader was killed."
      – Jews had a very real idea what they expected their messiah to be, in fact, it was so precise that there are still jews and judaism around because jesus did not fullfill what the jews had in mind for a messiah. And the "messianic movements that have died out" is a false statement. There are still people in Israel who believe the Kokhbah will come back, because him and not jesus, is the true messiah. He dided over 1500 years ago and the movement is still very real and very active.

      "It doesnt matter WHAT the other way was, abandoning the Law and claiming one could get into Heaven by ANY other mechanism was a quick ticket out. And they knew that. So you better believe that they considered this new way, a very real alternative."

      –Now who's wrong? I never said that the jews would be able to make it into Heaven without following the Law, I just mentioned that there was no such thing as "eternal damnation". If you did not follow the Law and then died, you would be excluded from heaven, but not forwever, nor were you eternally damned, that concept is a purely christian design.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles,
      your ability to construct a coherent argument is extremely poor...

      - "Jews had no concept of a crucified messiah" means that they never expected that their messiah would end up being crucified. They had vastly different expectations, based on how they read the OT, of what the messiah would be.
      That is powerful evidence that once Jesus was in fact crucified, that excluded him from consideration as candidate for messiah for EVERYONE (until he was resurrected, and at that point of course one cant argue with a resurrected Jesus declaring a new way of salvation).

      - abandon the law, you dont get into heaven, that's what first century Jews thought. So you better believe that they considered this new way, a very real alternative.

      January 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      People thoroughly invested in an idea/concept/"worldview" will readily lie, bend the truth, or delude themselves, in order to protect their "worldview", because it is psychologically painful to be wrong about fundamental things.

      This is shown time and again that people will go to ridiculous lengths to rationalize their "worldview". Think of wives who are abused, but stay with their abusive husbands. Think of all the spouses that think their spouse are faithful when they have good reason to think otherwise.
      Think of Heaven's Gate, the believer's of Harold Camping, the Great Disappointment, the People's Temple, etc.

      Here's a scenario:
      - A group of people heavily invested in a very charismatic person, suddenly lose that person in a brutal execution.
      - Many grief stricken follower's are trying to cope with a huge lose.
      - One them says, "I miss him so much that I swear I see him in a crowd. But when I look closer, it's not him."
      - Other's agree and say they've felt the same.
      - Someone suggests, "Maybe he didn't really die. Maybe that really is him we're seeing."
      - This becomes a belief that he was actually resurrected.
      - The story builds after many retellings.

      The simple story gets added to and expanded until years later, when the gospels are finally written down (60s AD at the earliest), there are witnesses, burials, empty tombs, doubters, wounds, the whole nine yards. Those of the group who honestly don't remember such events, might very well not dispute anything to protect their self-image and the group's image.

      January 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Chad

      simply not credible, which is why it was abandoned long ago by atheists (the credible, scholarly ones who actually study history for a living, publish papers on this, etc..) who debate the topic today.
      First account 5 years after death (1 Corinthians 15 creed)
      Solid early history of reported actual sightings
      conversion by persecutors..
      etc
      etc
      etc

      do yourself a favor and get acquainted with the state of the argument today from the leaders on both sides.
      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/craig-vs-borg-university-of-north-texas
      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/craig-vs-avalos-iowa-state-university
      http://www.philvaz.com/CraigCrossanDebate.mp3
      http://www.philvaz.com/CraigLudemannResurrectionDebate.mp3

      why you guys refuse to learn something(what the current thinking is amongst atheist scholars) astounds me

      January 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      The only person here who has poorly constructed and incoherent arguments is you, my friend.

      "That is powerful evidence that once Jesus was in fact crucified, that excluded him from consideration as candidate for messiah for EVERYONE (until he was resurrected, and at that point of course one cant argue with a resurrected Jesus declaring a new way of salvation)."
      - Without trying to create a strawman here and literally reading what you have just written, you just said that after jesus was crucified, everyone believed he wasn't the messiah anymore, that for 3 days straight, jews and romans, followers and non followers alike all thought jesus was faking it? – Hmm...... lets see here, lets put ourselves in the shoes of those believers for a second. Their messiah, the guy claiming to be a literal incarnation of god just died a very real, a very human death on the cross, that these people who had thrown their lot in with this guy now found themselves for 3 days, leaderless, outcasted from their own community and unsure where to go from there. How is it you can't see their reasoning for lying? Their messiah magically rises from the dead, according to a couple of people, and all of a sudden this group, this cult has reason to keep going on, to keep believing. –

      You say no jew of the 1st BCE would ever abandon the Law in favor of a messiah preaching contrary unless they really believed it. Yet this messiah, that in your words, "That is powerful evidence that once Jesus was in fact crucified, that excluded him from consideration as candidate for messiah for EVERYONE" – These people had already broken the law by simply following this man who calls himself god, religiously they had already gravely sinned against god in the worst way (we all know what happened when people worshiped a golden calf for 5 minutes). Add to that the human element of being outcasted by jews, enslaved by the romans and you got yourself a very simple reason to examine someones reasoning to lie. 3 days later, Voila! Messiah is back! These people, the ones who believed and didn't see the ressurection, or even people who didn't see the ressurection but wanted to a part of it and lie and say they did bolstered all the followers spirits, made them feel justified. Jesus was alive, sort of! yippee!

      January 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @ME II

      Beat me to it!

      January 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      "why you guys refuse to learn something(what the current thinking is amongst atheist scholars) astounds me"

      – It actually astounds me even more than you can post this comment and never ever admit for a second that you are wrong, that you mistyped or that you are going against current christian theology in favor of your own opinion and call it fact.

      truely shocking.

      January 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "First account 5 years after death (1 Corinthians 15 creed)"

      "The letter was written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53 to 57 AD"
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epistle_to_the_Corinthians, wiki, so it could be wrong, I suppose, citations if so, please)

      January 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Chad

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_Corinthians_15#Resurrection_of_Jesus:_1-11
      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.[2] Based on linguistic analysis, the version received by Paul seems to have included verses 3b-6a and 7

      do yourself a favor and get acquainted with the state of the argument today from the leaders on both sides.
      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/craig-vs-borg-university-of-north-texas
      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/craig-vs-avalos-iowa-state-university
      http://www.philvaz.com/CraigCrossanDebate.mp3
      http://www.philvaz.com/CraigLudemannResurrectionDebate.mp3

      January 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, It was just a possibility. I don't believe that there was a resurrection and as far as I know there are no contemporaneous accounts and each account is different.

      January 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      " Robert M. Price and Hermann Detering, writing in the Journal of Higher Criticism (edited by Price) argued that 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 was not an early Christian creed written within five years of Jesus' death. Price[6] and Detering[7] denied that Paul wrote the verses and believed they were an interpolation possibly dating to as far back as the beginning of the 2nd century."
      (your link)

      But thanks for the links, I shall try to watch them.

      January 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Chad: "You have to claim that the disciples lied, AND stole the body."

      Not that I subscribe to the story presented in the gospels, but what makes you think this is the only scenario that could have played out with the characters that are in play in the gospels, if say they are based on real characters? What if someone not in the close circle was also concerned about the body and hid it, but was subsequently murdered? Certainly there are other scenarios that could account for an empty tomb, where lying by the disciples (or their story being exaggerated and copied later) is a separate issue from what really happened to the body.

      January 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  19. J Lim

    I've matured to be a free-thinking neuron person who believes in free will, guided by my conscience to live in harmony with all other creations in the world. I was born and raised by a Buddhist father and a Christian mother who rarely, if ever, go to church, let alone recite a rosary. Having lived and worked in Israel and Saudi Arabia for sometime in my adult life, I've come to believe that faith in any religion is a personal matter and have come to respect the creed of everyone. I've personally evolved to believe myself that I am a child of the universe, created with the same stuff as the universe, and that's where we will end up, no more no less, in the afterlife.
    An interesting brief encounter with a devout Christian came my way recently. One Saturday afternoon, an elderly guy, seated across a reading table at a local library, handed me a 'Jesus the Savior' pamphlet, which he said he picked up at a gas station. Surprised that I accepted, he asked if I intend to read it. I replied that I always have an open mind and tried to read whatever I got my hands on.
    On our way out after the library closed, the guy asked if I believed in Jesus as the only savior of mankind. He was taken aback, when I asked if Jesus would also save the Muslims in Indonesia and the Arab world, who by chance, were born there through no choice of their own and got to know only Allah as their savior, unlike him who was born in the Christian West. He pointed out that Jesus chose for him to be born in the U.S. as a Christian in order to be saved in the afterlife. When I asked if Jesus also predestined other people to be born in non-Christian countries of the world, he replied that those people who didn't believe in Jesus would certainly go to hell. Thereby I asked if all-loving and all-forgiving Jesus is that cruel to condemn to hell for all eternity people of different faith in non-Christian countries. Indignantly, he countered, "You too will go to hell if you didn't believe in Jesus", and walked away.

    January 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • james

      j lim; I read all your experience and am genuinely saddened by what some claimed christians tell people. I will just ask if you have ever encountered Jehovah's Witnesses and how that went?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      It always shocks me – if you did believe in God, Heaven, Hell – how you could be so casual about it, able to actually use Hell as a weapon, a way to win arguments.

      If I thought a random stranger, even someone I disliked immensely, was about to be burned in a fire for a few minutes, I'd be very upset about it, and sad, not gleeful!

      January 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  20. Honey Hush

    DeeKay
    No christians blowing up innocent people. Well, unless you think that there are no christians operating drones in Arghanistan/Pakistan. The narrow christian view of what goes on in my backyard is simply a sign of willful ignorance. Keep your religion and prayers to yourself and do not abuse your children.

    January 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Unless you consider the Christian Serbs who attempted genocide on the Muslim Bosnians.

      Unless you look at our history where the numbers of innocents killed is too great to count.

      Yeah, for now, for our country, because we've chosen to try to make a secular government that supports all religions, we're not too bad...

      unless you count an occasional bombing by an anti-abortion Christian terrorist.....

      but Christians as a whole......

      sorry, you can't just take the whole world of Islam, then take only American Christians, and pretend it's the same thing.

      January 23, 2013 at 3:06 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.