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My take: A word to Christians - Be nice
February 9th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My take: A word to Christians - Be nice

Editor's note: John S. Dickerson is author of the book “The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors that Will Crash the American Church ... and How to Prepare” and senior pastor of Cornerstone in Prescott, Arizona. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter @JohnSDickerson

By John S. Dickerson, Special to CNN

Last week a high-profile American writer and news personality asked me a painful question: “Hey pastor, can a Christian tweet hate?”

It was not a hypothetical question. He was asking because some of his 1.3 million Twitter followers claim to be “Christian,” and some of the meanest, most perverse hate-tweets he receives come from these self-proclaimed Christians.

We’ve all seen folks, Christian and otherwise, lose their cool in a Facebook face-off or in the comment section under a controversial news story. But as I scrolled through the “Christian” hate tweets to this news personality, I was baffled and ashamed by these so-called followers of Christ. One user describes himself not merely as Christian but as “sharing God’s message of Grace with everyone I encounter.” The messenger of Grace recently tweeted that he doesn’t merely hate this news personality, he despises and loathes him.

These are the moments when it’s embarrassing to be a Christian. I’m not embarrassed to believe the extravagant claims of Christianity: that Christ was born to a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the grave and is returning to rule the world. But I am embarrassed to be associated with some of the people who claim his name.

I have written in the past about the bad reputation that Christians have in America. Some argue that it comes from misrepresentation by the media. Others argue that “all who live godly will suffer persecution,” and that’s why we Christians have a poor reputation. Maybe there’s some truth to those claims, but we Christians have to acknowledge another reason why we are perceived as hateful: because many of our number are.

More and more, I see hateful Christians chalking up their disrepute to “persecution.” God tells us otherwise. In 1 Peter 4 we’re told, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed. …” And that’s the truth; sometimes we are insulted for proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ. But listen to what follows: “If you suffer, however, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.”

The Apostle Peter is more or less saying: If you suffer for sharing the good news of Christ, great, you’re blessed. But if you suffer just because you’re being a criminal or acting like an idiot, then don’t blame it on Christ.

Some 2,000 years ago, Peter knew so-called Christians would be criminals and “meddlers.” He knew some would claim, “Wow, I’m really suffering for Jesus,” when they are really just suffering for being jerks.

The word “meddler” means busybody: someone who inserts himself into matters that are not his own. Might this include some people involved in the Twitter, Facebook and “comments” showdowns of our day?

So yes, “all who live godly will suffer persecution.” But let’s not be jerks, get persecuted and then blame it on Christ. American Christianity, with its past position of cultural superiority, gave birth to some self-righteous and condescending so-called Christians. These folks may be culturally Christian, but they know little of Christ and his actual message of humility and repentance. I am convinced that, if Jesus Christ were here walking among us, he would have nothing to do with those who claim his name and consistently spew hate.

Theologians and academics will argue about that last sentence. Isn’t Jesus “a friend of sinners?” Yes. Doesn’t Jesus’ grace wash away the sins of those who trust in him? Yes. Wouldn’t that include the sin of "hate tweet"? Yes.

In seminaries and churches, we tend to engage in obscure questions about theology. For example, “Is it possible for someone to truly trust Christ and spend their entire life tweeting hate?”

Maybe so. But Jesus didn’t engage in such esoteric abstractions. He taught simple truth with clarity, authority and practicality. On controversial issues—“Are hate tweeters true Christians?”—I find myself drawn to the simple words of Scripture. Theologians will argue and debate, but God’s word is simple and clear.

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9,11)

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9,10)

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 12:34-36: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

If we will give account for every careless word spoken, might we also give account for every careless comment typed or tweeted?

Christians aren’t the only ones hurling hateful blows on the Web. But we are the only ones who claim to follow the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. So let’s be nice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John S. Dickerson.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (10,298 Responses)
  1. coffeetheologyandjesus

    Thanks you for this post. Couldn't agree more with you and extremely encouraged that I'm not the only one seeing this.

    February 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  2. myweightinwords

    When I was a Christian, it was the hatred and vitriol that we spewed that started me questioning my faith. In my 40 something years on this planet I have met Christians from many denominations (and those that claim no denomination), ones who devoutly spent multiple hours a week at church and in prayer, those who didn't feel the need to go to church to be close to their god, those who, like the church I once was part of, preach fear and intolerance and anger, and those who preach peace, unconditional love and reconciliation.

    I find it intriguing that since walking away from Christianity and embracing unconditional love (not that I get it right every time, I am human), unless I specifically speak to what I believe certain Christians, most notably those who use their faith as a weapon generally assume I am an Atheist.

    February 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's part of the "if you're not with us, you're against us" narrative that is such a part of organized religion.

      It's not limited to Christians or contemporary society. It is the very nature of religion – or at least most of them, particularly when they represent a substantial group within a society.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  3. Michael Moss

    @ Ummmm, It is important to understand what we believe as Christians in order to understand our statement. I do believe in personal responsibility. I do believe and Christians do believe you are held responsible for your actions, not only in this life on earth, but when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ as well. So, I reject the notion that someone who commits acts of violence for example are not responsible and it is all the devil's fault. That person should be held criminally responsible for their actions and will answer to God, the highest judge, for their actions.

    However, there is a spiritual aspect, that our eyes can't see going on in the background. We are all tempted with evil from the time we are young. We are tempted to rebel against authority before we can even speak clearly. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that I did not have teach my three year old how to lie to try to avoid getting in trouble or pitch a fit when not getting her way. I think that while humanity has the capacity for good, we also have that underlying evil and selfish nature in us. It is this nature that I do believe comes from sin. The devil can not make you do anything, but he can tempt you and because of our sin nature without anything to counter that sin nature we can not battle it on our own. I'm not saying that non-Christians can't make good decisions. We all make good decisions and do good things sometimes, but we also do bad things and make bad decisions as well. It doesn't matter how powerful you think you are in this world, you still have an evil nature and more often than not, the more power you do hold in this world only exaggerates the problem more.

    You still ultimately have free will and free choice to do the right thing, though. Having the grace of God, only makes the right choice easier to make. We as a soceity look at a rapist in disgust, but what we don't understand is that we have fostered the atmosphere for that rapist. He didn't start off raping people. He didn't wake up one morning and say, I think I want to r-a-p-e someone today. He started most likely started off by doing something that society has deemed as okay and socially acceptable like looking at p-o-r-n on the internet and then he got addicted and couldn't fulfill his addicition anymore. (This is not to say that all people that look at p-o-r-n are destined to become rapist, but it is to say that it does open the door in your spirit man for it.) It isn't an excuse for the rapist to say that the devil made me do it, because he can't make you do anything, but he did fall into the trap. But, if you were to do a poll, you would find that a majority of Americans see nothing wrong with p-o-r-n and view it themselves. There is a reason sin is inticing and is fun for a season. Nobody is going to ran into a trap knowingly with arms wide open, they are going to be decieved and tricked into getting into that trap. I've always heard it this way, sin may be fun for awhile, but it will find you out and it will take you further than you want to go.

    Maybe you think no way, you wouldn't do that. This is were the devil comes in, he knows what we are tempted with and what our weakness is. God also knows and is there to help us, if we allow Him. God bless! I pray His love over you!

    February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  4. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I'm late to this party, but to John S. Dickerson, I say

    "Amen Sir, Amen."

    February 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  5. the AnViL

    unless someone has a doctorate in biology or some other scientific discipline – don't lend an ounce of credence to anything they have to say if they're refuting evolution. if they do have a ph.d. n some scientific discipline, and they refute evolution, they generally do so in a such a retarded, flawed manner that gets shot down really hard.

    what's funniest though, is how butthurt delusional people get when you politely point out that all monotheistic religions are predicate on ignorance, bigotry, hate, and racism.

    it's comical to see their ire when you bring up this simple and honest fact. it's even more comical to watch them erect fallacious, retarded arguments and other assorted BS to explain away the glaring truth that: no adherents of monotheism can be "nice" while at the same time conforming to biblical or quranic edicts.

    it's funnier still, most specifically, to watch ignorant xians spin wildly when you point out the long list of failed biblical prophecies, and the even longer list of contradictions, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies between the covers of the books containing their "holy scriptures".

    tolerance of religious idiocy has to end... there is NO way to reconcile any monotheistic religions with the modern world without severely and drastically editing all associated scriptures. none.

    that's not likely to happen...

    until the masses become educated, and better social systems arise in our society – religious idiocy will exist... but there's absolutely no need to respect or tolerate it – in any form.

    idiots decry this stance as intolerant or bigoted – but how is tolerating ignorance, misogyny, bigotry, racism, hate and idiocy good or intelligent?

    it's not.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      1. Let's not disparage the disabled by calling Christians "retarded".
      2. While I agree with many of your assertions about religion, I will at least say that I do not believe religion to be the "cause" of our ignorance, bigotry, hate, and racism, but the invented excuse our ancestors needed to placate the empathy they may have felt for rival tribes they had to war with for their survival when competing for food and shelter early in human history. We needed to hate them in order to kill them, and dehumanization of ones rivals is a well doc.umented phenomenon, and there are few better ways to dehumanize than through ignorance, bigotry, and racism.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • the AnViL

      my use of the word retarded was apt.

      re·tard·ed adjective, \ri-ˈtär-dəd\

      Definition of RETARDED

      : slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

      "I will at least say that I do not believe religion to be the "cause" of our ignorance, bigotry, hate, and racism,..."

      it's not the cause – but it's definitely a cause. while religion may be an excuse for the expression of what we may refer to as a "survival instinct" – this should in no way be considered justification for tolerating any of it.

      there are lots of survival level instincts we have evolved past – and monotheism is a relic which needs to be relegated to our history – and as soon as possible.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I guess what i'm saying is that ignorance, bigotry, hate, and racism created religion, now all we have to do is expose them all for the vile things they are and religion will disappear for without them it holds no power.

      February 12, 2013 at 3:57 am |
  6. Harvey Wallbanger

    A Christian minister asks Christians to be nice on the internet, and in 43 pages, none of them can do it.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sad, thought-provoking and ironic, all at the same time.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  7. K-switch

    @Chad, would you mind giving Liv4Him a few lessons in evolution? As a fellow believer he might actually listen to you.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I thought Live4Him was a she? Either way, I agree. Chad, you see me here taking on fellow non-believers all the time when I disagree, I think you might want to step up and take on some of the responsibility for reigning in people on the god side of the debate.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Also edify Topher, Chad; however, Topher is a nice guy so just teach him how science and Christianity are not incompatible – don't instill any of your dishonesty and bigotry. Many thanks.

      February 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Chad

      I dont argue theology with other believers, sorry.

      February 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Is that because it would expose how tenuous and untenable your positions are?

      February 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Chad

      Well, I agree that in general Christians are much better critical thinkers, but, no, that isnt the reason.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Goog luck finding critical thinking tests specifically by religion, but here are some results from 2002 on the SATs. Not that most Unitarians are not Christians:

      Unitarian-Universalists 1209
      Judaism 1161
      Quakers 1153
      Hinduism 1110
      Mennonite 1097
      Reformed Church of America 1097
      Episcopal 1096
      Evangelical Lutheran Church 1094
      Presbyterian Church (USA) 1092
      Baha’I 1073

      These results tacfully listed only the top groups. In earlier1990 results (when the SAT was still more analytic) we again saw the more fundamentalist Baptists and Muslims at the bottom with Unitarians at the top.

      Now I don't really read much into this as there are a whole lot of factors at play here, but it is definitely not the case based on either this kind of data or measures of IQ (http://spq.sagepub.com/content/73/1/33.abstract) that there is any known correlation between being a believer and having adept mental skills.

      February 12, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Really-O?

      "Christians are much better critical thinkers" – OK, so a lifetime of credulity and willful ignorance results in an adept critical thinker. I guess I'm just too inept to comprehend that or, perhaps, this is just the result of Chad spending too much time in the Christian-apologetics-echo-chamber. Funny stuff, Chad.

      @Saraswati – there are several measures, including education level and income, that show inverse relationships with religiosity. Other measures, BMI for example, are directly proportional with religiosity (although one can easily imagine a number of confounding elements with this example).

      February 12, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Really-O, Exactly. One could make a case that the results we see are not a result of education and intelligence leading to less religiosity, but to deny the correlations is to have you head in the sand.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Science

      Who has the head in the sand .................ther fairy in the sky ?

      Clues do work

      Science

      Education is key.. some issues on this thread about age of the earth

      Another timeline go figure interactive too

      For all creationists and bible thumpers !!!

      Earth’s timeline works better than the bible's timeline

      Trace our planet's geological and biological ages

      http://www.nbcnews.com/id/33184839/ns/technology_and_science/

      Peace

      Interactive timeline

      February 12, 2013 at 6:18 am | Report abuse | Reply

      NClaw441

      Whether the Bible is intended to be literally interpreted regarding creation I don't know, and frankly, it is not all that important to me. I would say though, that the day after the earth was created (I know that many who may read this don't believe in divine creation–that's a matter of faith) it would very likely look much older than it was. If God created the animals, I suspect they may have been fully mature, and would therefore look older than they actually were.

      For me, divine creation makes at least as much sense as the universe being created out of some big bang, gaining order out of chaos.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |

      Richard Cranium

      NClaw
      You said , and I paraphrase " I don't understand what science has proven, so I'll just stick with god did it."

      The big bang is fact, it did happen...just because you don't understand doesn't mean the proof isn't there.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |

      Science

      In physical cosmology, the Planck epoch (or Planck era) is the earliest period of time in the history of the universe, from zero to approximately 10−43 seconds

      None befor the 10 or after the 43
      Peace

      February 12, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |

      Science

      Oops before

      None = (gods)

      February 12, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |

      Science

      Best Map Ever Made of Universe's Oldest Light: Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus

      Mar. 21, 2013 — The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321084221.htm

      April 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |

      April 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  8. Big Shiz

    Look,everyone gas a right to believe in what they want. Religious or atheist

    February 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      But they don't share an equal right to claim their beliefs are true.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Both are just opinions.

      Science does not have a complete picture of how everything came into being, though every day they are making great strides in unlocking the secrets of the universe.

      Religion claims a complete picture but has been having to "refine" their beliefs and doctrine to fit the facts as they are discovered for centuries, which makes one wonder, how infallible is this God of theirs again?

      Personally I side with the guys who say they don't have all the answers yet but are continuing their quest for knowledge and understanding about the universe no matter where the data and hard evidence takes them vs the guys who say "We know who, what, when, where and how all things came to be and even though we've had to change our story a few times, this time we got it right, so even though we have no actual evidence to support our theory, we want you to believe us anyway, and by the way, God wants your money but make the check payable to us..."

      February 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      Mass D

      That was pretty much the most common sense thing that anyone has said on here.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Science

      Just missing 10 – 43 seconds of when it began.

      Peace

      February 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Science

      Science

      Best Map Ever Made of Universe's Oldest Light: Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus

      Mar. 21, 2013 — The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321084221.htm

      April 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |

      April 7, 2013 at 6:15 am |
  9. To creationist

    Looks like the facts are on this tread no gods required !!!!

    February 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  10. myweightinwords

    @Chad,

    If He is real, you obviously can not "chose to have nothing to do with Him".

    Actually, I can. He can be "real" and not be my god.

    I choose to access the Divine through gods that are not evil, vile megalomaniacs. My gods still tend to come with a certain amount of temper, but that's a reflection of me, just as surely as it is of the culture from which they come (I am Irish and Native American by blood, my deities come from those cultures). Just as your god is.

    Of course, to fully explain this, you would have to understand what I believe about Divinity and gods, and about our journey on this earth. But honestly, I don't think you're actually willing to hear me, let alone understand me, so I won't waste your time.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      i choose to access the divine through sacred mushrooms

      February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I found shrooms more a method of accessing myself, honestly, but if it gets you there...

        February 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "If He is real, you obviously can not "chose to have nothing to do with Him"."
      @myweightinwords "Actually, I can. He can be "real" and not be my god."

      @Chad "look, either the God of Israel is real, or he is not real. Creating your own "god" to meet your own needs, and calling that thing "real" doesnt make it real, it just makes it a delusion.

      real Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed

      real means actual.
      real does not mean "It becomes real because it's useful to me"

      February 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Chad,

        @Chad "look, either the God of Israel is real, or he is not real. Creating your own "god" to meet your own needs, and calling that thing "real" doesnt make it real, it just makes it a delusion.

        He can exist and still not be my god. The fact that something exists does not make it good or right.

        real Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed

        I'm aware of the definition.

        real means actual.

        Thank you, I get that.

        real does not mean "It becomes real because it's useful to me"

        I never said he wasn't real. I said he is not my god. There is a difference.

        February 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      Monsieur Sam Stone

      hahahaha

      agreed.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • clarity

      Also, if the God of Israel does exist (which I don't believe), he could also be a lesser god. He may have some people on this planet fooled about how many gods that may exist that didn't happen to take an interest in what goes on here. Kind of like if the giving of the ten commandments was real, maybe some of the other nearby gods just looked at G of I and said yeah – OK, whatevva.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Clarity,

        Indeed, there are many more possibilities than 1) he doesn't exist and 2) he does and is exactly what the bible says.

        February 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      ......but I will say, BC bud does the same thing.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • clarity

      Yeah, lol, sam. That might be right on the mark for "John the Divine". Maybe it was all just a dirty trick (let's wait until he's really high and then we'll just stick a pen in his hand and ask him to tell us everything he sees).

      February 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I do not own a Unicorn. I do not believe Unicorns are real.

      I do not have a God. I do not believe any Gods/gods, as defined so far by mankind, exist.

      Are Unicorns real? I do not believe so.
      Are Gods real? I do not believe so.

      You are correct that just because I do not believe in Unicorns does not rule out the possibility that one exists and may some day be found, but don't expect me to go out and buy the saddle now...

      February 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      Here's a historical fact that will blow your mind.

      Cannabis was in the anointing oil recorded in the bible.

      So yea.....its been around for while and might explain a few things...

      February 11, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Artificial means of achieving an altered state of consciousness has been a part of spiritual traditions through out time and across cultures.

        February 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      my weight in words,

      Amen.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @myweightinwords "I said he is not my god."

      @Chad "if the God if Israel IS real, then you exist under that reality. You dont get to deny that reality because you dont like Him.

      correct?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        There is a lot of IF there. IF the God of Israel exists. IF he is exactly what the Bible says he is.

        Your understanding is very narrow and limited. Anything that we might consider Divine is not. All the limits we find in our gods are our own.

        The god of the bible is a petty tribal war god who was/is a representative of the people who served him. In that regard, he is "real". Just as Zeus is/was to the Greeks. Just as Dagda is/was to the Celts. Just as Odin is/was to the Norse.

        There is also evidence that the god of the bible is an amalgamation of previous deities worshiped by previous tribes. As the tribes came together to form the Hebrew nation, so did their gods come together to become YHWH.

        February 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What don't you get, Chard? You cannot remove the "if". Until you can, mwiw has just as much evidence for another god as you have for yours.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Chad

      So it's obvious then that you have rejected the God of Israel.

      based on what?

      amalgamation of previous deities worshiped by previous tribes
      what evidence do you have that supports that theory, long ago abandoned by all serious atheists that debate this topic in professional venues?

      February 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Chad,

        So it’s obvious then that you have rejected the God of Israel.
        based on what?

        Based on study of the bible, it's history and my life experiences, for starters.

        what evidence do you have that supports that theory, long ago abandoned by all serious atheists that debate this topic in professional venues?

        A) I'm not an atheist.
        B) What "professional" venues?
        C) I could spend a long time looking for references and pointing out sources but I doubt highly that you would bother looking for them, and even if you did you would probably dismiss them out of hand. My study of the old testament, Jewish literature, as well as the myths and legends of the area as well as archaeology led me to what I believe.

        Mind you, when I first began studying this, I wanted to hold on to the belief I had as a Christian. I was actually striving to prove to myself it was true.

        February 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @myweightinwords "Based on study of the bible, it's history ."
      @Chad "what specifically?"

      @myweightinwords " I'm not an atheist."
      @Chad "?? what deity do you believe in?"

      @myweightinwords " What "professional" venues?"
      @Chad " http://tinyurl.com/bmax3u

      February 11, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Of course Chad's silly little argument is a two way street. If the gods of the Mayans are real, Chad must be living under them and cannot simply dismiss them because he has a preference for some other unproven god or myth.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @HotAirAce "Of course Chad's silly little argument is a two way street. If the gods of the Mayans are real, Chad must be living under them and cannot simply dismiss them because he has a preference for some other unproven god or myth."

      @Chad "Exactly true!!
      If the Mayan gods are real, then I am in big trouble.

      but, they arent :-)

      The God of Israel IS real, and that reality is demonstrates that no other god is real.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "The God of Israel IS real"

      Is this something you know, Chad?

      February 11, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      Cue Chad lies and nervous smileys...

      February 11, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      OK Chad, now all you have to do is conclusively proof that your god exists and Mayan gods do not. Until then, you are once again making an unsupported claim. When done repeatedly without support, we call it bullsh!t. Go ahead, prove you are not a bullsh!ter. . .

      February 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Circles are Chad's friends

      Like you need Chad to actually answer to know what he will say: The Bible says the God of the Boble is true, so it's true. The Bible says the other gods are false, so they are false. The Bible says the Bible does not need to be proven.

      Chad always reduces to circular logic when discussing his own beliefs.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Circles are Chad's friends –

      Here is a Chad-quote that perfectly demonstrates his circular logic –

      "I dismiss all other gods other than the God of Abraham because the God of Abraham has told me that they aren't real."

      Classic!

      February 11, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad hasn't been very responsive today.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One –

      Perhaps Chad is tired of having the stuffing kicked out of him.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Really-O? Don't be too rough with him. I'd like to see him go a few rounds.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One –

      Will do. I only engage Chad very infrequently. At this point in the game I'm mainly interested in ridiculing his nonsense.

      How was the range?

      February 12, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The range? Pretty good for a rainy day. I'm mainly an F-class rifle shooter, but when it's raining I'll do some bulls eye shooting with a 9 mm indoors.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One –

      F-Class...you're steadier than I am. I used to shoot a lot of trap and skeet, but not for a while now...I miss it.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:39 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I haven't been out to a shooting range in many, many long years. I was always better with bow and arrow though.

        My dad took us when we were teens, but I've never owned a gun of my own.

        February 12, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Trap and skeet' are too quick for my reflexes. Looks like fun, though.

      I'm off. Cheers, Really-O?

      February 12, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • lol??

      When Bigot plays Frisbee he puts teeth holes in them. Not environmental.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @myweightinwords "Based on study of the bible, it's history ."
      @Chad "what specifically?"

      Many, many, many things, Chad. I'm 44 years old. I've been studying the bible and the history of religion since I was 12 and started taking my confirmation classes. It would take forever to list out all the many, many things that convinced me that the bible is merely the collected religious teachings of a specific people at a specific time.

      @myweightinwords " I'm not an atheist."
      @Chad "?? what deity do you believe in?"

      Define your terms. What do you mean by "believe in"?

      My specific beliefs about Divinity and Deity are complex and difficult to fully express in a forum like this. The very basic concept though is that I believe all deities exist, and none do. I believe that all deities are expressions of humanity and the Divine at the same time. Currently I access the Divine through the human constructs known to the Celts as Morrigan and Cerridwen, Cernnunos and Arawn. I also access the Divine through shamanic journey.

      I can't access your link here at work. I will have to look when I get home tonight (provided I remember, I've got a crazy busy night ahead of me prepping for a photo shoot)

      February 12, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Looks like Chad thinks he can get out of the corner he painted himself into by being silent. The silence s nice but not a winning strategy.

      February 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        This is about the third time Chad and I have come to a point where he just stops responding to me.

        I honestly think it stumps him, and others, that someone can take the time, thoroughly investigate the same material he did and come to the opposite conclusion.

        February 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  11. Patrick

    Great article John. Well thought out and written. Whether you believe or not and whether you agree with or not, I think most have missed the most important message here. There is something called "morals" in which most everyone has but more oftern than not fail put into pratice in daily interactions. Facebook and all social media are nothing but bogus attempts to have "civil" communications.

    February 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  12. Eric

    The correct description is Christians not acting like a Christian. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say it is ok to be mean.

    We are all sheep being herded by the media.

    February 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Ben

    If creationists are any indication, some Christians believe that God approves of bold-faced lying, as long as it's done in the name of defending the Bible.

    February 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      Half the goobers here today are enthusiastically talking about people's mamas in God's name amen. Seems God loves to hear someone insulted and lied about by His followers. But why then is there so little smack-talking in the Bible? While Jesus hung on the cross, He could have gotten off dozens of yo-mama jokes at those Roman soldiers while they were nailing His hands and spearing Him in the side.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • lol??

      bigot?? When did you get "married"? Dogs don't get "married". You two behave!

      February 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • .

      When you said yes, lol?? You bitch.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  14. Chad

    @Lawrence "The Bible, is fiction, because, overall, its authors meant it as presentation, not as science, or even as history"

    =>that statement is utter nonsense.
    You can argue that the bible is incorrect, but you simply can NOT argue that the bible presents itself as anything other than recording actual historical details.
    To make a claim that the authors of the bible never intended for it to contain actual history, you would have to come up with some ancient writings confirming that. Nowhere in the bible do the authors say that what they are recording ISNT actual history, and throughout the bible, the authors make the claim that it IS actual history.

    since you have neither (extra biblical writings demonstrating that motive of the authors, and any indication in the text itself that that was the intent), your statement is utterly unfounded.

    pretty standard atheist fare..

    February 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "To make a claim that the authors of the bible never intended for it to contain actual history, you would have to come up with some ancient writings confirming that."
      - Hmmm two issues here. First, calling the bible fiction and not history doesn't mean it can't contain actual history, that's twisting Lawrences words. Let's say though, for the sake of argument that Lawrence did mean that the bible contained no actual history, your refutation of that is saying that you need outside sources to confirm that statement yet you don't see the hypocrisy of also needing outside sources (outside of the biblical canon) to prove its authenticity either? I don't see a line in the bible anywhere saying, "This is for historical purposes only, read as a history textbook" or something to that end.

      Do you ever apply your own critiques of atheism to yourself chad? It's honestly getting tiring to see you use so much time and energy in proving christianity right by proving atheism wrong but not using those methods on christianity itself.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      so is your sh-it

      February 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Ben

      Chad
      Sure it presents itself as presenting a true and factual story, but so did A Million Little Pieces, and just ask Oprah how that worked out. :-)

      Sure it contains some actual history, but so does Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, right? A few decades back most people would have considered the Iliad a work of complete fiction, but then they found what is believed to be Troy, so who knows how much more Homer got right? For any argument that you make regarding archaeological evidence supporting the Bible there is likely equal evidence supporting other ancient writings.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • clarity

      Regardless of how someone views the authors intent, there is plenty of reason to question the validity of any of it as history. Much of it is of unknown authorship. For the NT, early group splintered over disagreement over the validity of certain parts. And when it looked like they had been plagiarized, the best answer they could come up with was that Satan set up the whole ruse in advance.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • clarity

      Clarification: And when it looked like the gospel authors had copied from older pagan stories, the best answer they could come up with was that Satan set up the whole ruse in advance.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles, @Ben, @Clarity
      ALL of you failed to understand the point of the post, namely that lawrence is claiming that the bibles authors meant the bible as presentation, not as science, or even as history. Lawrence is claiming the the bible was never written to as recording history.

      The authors of the bible clearly intended it to be seen as recording actual history.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "but you simply can NOT argue that the bible presents itself as anything other than recording actual historical details."

      From the World's largest research complex. 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.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "The authors of the bible clearly intended it to be seen as recording actual history."

      –That's what I was saying in my post. You've called out Lawrence because no where in the bible does it say, "This is fiction" and yet it also doesn't spell out, "This is only historical text". You are probably right to say that the authors were trying to base the bible as more non-fiction than fiction, but using the word "intended" not matter how clear it is to you does not mean that it makes it so.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:28 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.

      ======

      February 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Chad

      @chuckles
      we're pretty close on this. Lawrence is claiming to know the authors intent, an intent which would be at complete odds with the intent as described by the authors themselves in the bible.

      Now, just having an author claim that what they are recording is actual history doesnt make it so in and of itself, but it certainly establishes that a contrary intent can not be gleaned from the text itself.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "@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."

      - The only person writing nonesense here is you. "No historical fact has ever been disproved." – Why does this prove the rest of the bible? Just because we have found evidence indicating there was a King Herod, or sites of possible Soddom and Gommorah does not mean the story surrounding those cities destruction is true. Like it's been pointed out, Abe Lincoln Vampire hunter is steeped in true historical fact about Lincoln, but do you believe that he fought Vampires his entire life and that John Wilkes Booth was a vampire himself?

      The most we can "prove" of the bible is that the authors were themselves residents that area and not, say, Han Chinese attempting to write the history of the Middle East. Furthermore, we can't say that the bible has been 100% historically accurate because we might have found the possible sites of Soddom and Gommorah, but we don't know for certain, there's no sign that says "Welcome to Soddom!" anywhere, it's just an educated guess.

      Honestly, why do you think that finding historical accuracy in the bible proves other claims the bible makes? Why does proving there was an ancient Egypt in your mind imply that if egypt does actually exist, ipso facto it rained frogs and the nile turned to blood? Would you let me get away with the same implication if I said that magic is real because Harry Potter is based in England (a real place), discusses Kings Cross Station (another real place) and gives us a reasonable explanation of why we hadn't discovered wizards until the book had come out because of magic?

      February 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      Chad you're trying to say all the experts at the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums is wrong and you are right. LMAO! So Chad, take the garbage you posted and bring it down to them and argue it with them, but we all know you're too much of a coward to do that. LOL!

      February 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      “The bible chronicles over 2000 years of history, all of which can be checked, and NONE of which has ever been proved incorrect."
      I would say that things like Joshua's stopped sun didn't actually happen
      But if you have evidence to the contrary, please provide it.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "No historical fact has ever been disproved." – Why does this prove the rest of the bible?
      @Chad "everything for which we have archaeological data has been confirmed. The more we uncover, the more it is confirmed. It continues to demonstrate that what the authors wrote actually did happen.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • redzoa

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exodus#Historicity

      February 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "I would say that things like Joshua's stopped sun didn't actually happen"
      @Chad "personally I dont believe that the earth stopped rotating around it's axis, but that's just my personal belief. I believe that "daylight" continued. Supernovas can produce that effect.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "Chad "everything for which we have archaeological data has been confirmed. The more we uncover, the more it is confirmed. It continues to demonstrate that what the authors wrote actually did happen."

      - Chad, like I've pointed out with the Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter story. The story shows that Abe was born in kentucky, his mother died, he moved to Illinois, he went to law school, he ran for elected office, he won presidency, he passed the emancipation proclomaiton, his child died while he was in the white house, he was assasinated. All of these things are verifiable facts that have been well docu.mented, but do you think this also proves that throughout his entire life he was fighting vampires in the process? We have no evidence that vampires exist, yet the book confirms most of Abe's history, does that mean it's implied that vampires exist as well?

      Just because places and people have been verified to be real that also appeared in the bible in no way validates any other part of the bible, regardless of what you think. If you want to prove that fantastical events happened in real life as described in the bible then show me the part in egyptian history where the 10 plagues struck egypt? Or that it truely is possible for a man to live inside of a giant fish for 3 days... Why is this idea so hard for you to grasp? Wheere's the mental block here?

      February 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Duh

      "redzoa"

      What's your point? Wiki is useless.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      But doesn't the Bible say specifically the sun stopped? (and the moon too?)

      "So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day." (Joshua 10:13)

      Also, I think a Supernova that's strong enough to simulate daylight would likely kill off most living things, but I may be wrong.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Just curious. What evidence is there that there was ever a worldwide flood? Live4Him and possibly Chad may believe in it:

      The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Duh – Wiki is as good as its cited references, which in this case are more than adequate. The point is that a critical and pivotal story is commonly held by actual archaeologists to reflect a mythologized account, due to the sheer lack of evidence despite well over a century of continuous exploration. While absence of evidence is not "proof" in grand epistemological terms, in practical application, absence of evidence resulting from diligent search can be evidence contradicting a proposition.

      Chad could likely provide some apologetics response, but then, as he has destroyed his credibility in his discussions of science, particularly his continual and abysmally ignorant presentations of punctuated equilibrium, Chad exemplifies the individual Augustine warned of, i.e. the apologist who becomes traitor to the cause due to their combination of arrogance and ignorance:

      http://www.pibburns.com/augustin.htm

      February 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • ME II

      "Also, I think a Supernova that's strong enough to simulate daylight would likely kill off most living things, but I may be wrong."

      Looks like I was wrong about this point, at least according to this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/two-suns-twin-stars_n_811864.html.

      The point about the Bible specifically saying "sun" still stands, though.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "Just because places and people have been verified to be real that also appeared in the bible in no way validates any other part of the bible"
      @Chad "Nonsense.
      Abe Lincoln vampire hunter doesnt claim to be a true story, it was written as fiction.

      A non-fiction book with historical inaccuracies looses it's credibility as actually recording real history.
      A non-fiction book with no historical inaccuracies has credibility as actually recording real history

      February 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Chad

      Hi redzoa, good to see you again. I see you are still trapped between wanting to claim that punctuated equilibrium refers to species change, and species change can be extremely small, and the fact that what you would then be describing is actually gradualism, which we dont see in the fossil record.

      In fact, good homework assignment for you, define the difference (from the fossil records standpoint, not merely syntactic differences in definition) between PE and gradualism. :-)

      February 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II,
      There are many physical miracles recorded in the bible that I dont understand. Parting the red sea, long day of Joshua would be two, where was Eden? dunno..

      Others I believe even an atheist would acknowledge as naturally credible, Sodom and Gomorrah, rending the temple curtain in half, etc..

      But, as every good scientist learns, be as skeptical of your doubts as you are of you certainties.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "@Chad "Nonsense.
      Abe Lincoln vampire hunter doesnt claim to be a true story, it was written as fiction.

      A non-fiction book with historical inaccuracies looses it's credibility as actually recording real history.
      A non-fiction book with no historical inaccuracies has credibility as actually recording real history"

      - First, we only know it's fiction because the writer says it is and we know vampires don't exist. If you didn't know the background of the author, why he had written it and all you had to go off of was the text itself, how would you know it was meant to be purely ficticious? The book itself never says that it's supposed to be fantasy, on the contrary it's written with the narrative as a first hand account of Abe Lincoln himself.

      The bible suffers from the same issues. We don't know what the authors were going for, all we have is just the text itself so it's nonesense to say with complete certainty what the bible was written as. Was it supposed to just be history? what about outlining man's relationship with god through parable? what about an account of ancient folklore? We don't know and you can't say that since it's implied, or inferred or the intention is clear as proof that it is supposed to be a history textbook,

      which brings us back to the point you attempted to make with @Lawrence. For him to say it was written expressley as fiction is false, for the same reasons I listed in the above paragraph. However, the bible has as much merit as Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It tells a story about a real human being, set in a real time period interacting with real people and real places doing supernatural and extradonary things that is ficticious.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Really-O?

      "be as skeptical of your doubts as you are of you certainties"

      What an inane statement. Way to go, Chad.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @redzoa –

      Chad: "the apologist who becomes traitor to the cause due to their combination of arrogance and ignorance:"

      Nail-on-the-head award to you, sir (or madam)!

      February 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps believers could benefit from concepts of network security. After all, they do have nasty stuff running on their wetware. Begin by assuming all you believe is untrue (drop all packets). Then, only for justified beliefs, open the appropriate ports (allow only authenticated traffic).

      February 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Chad

      "Begin by a ssuming all you believe is untrue (drop all packets), Then, only for justified beliefs, open the appropriate ports (allow only authenticated traffic).

      =>excellent analogy!!!
      because your initial as sumption is wrong by definition,
      and
      you are only changing that as sumption on a packet by packet basis as YOUR belief in the validity of the packet changes.

      making YOU the determining agent for packet (belief) validity (truth) or not.

      as we know, an objects reality depends NOT on our view on the subject, so your algorithm is inherently fallacious. It purports to make you god.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "There are many physical miracles recorded in the bible that I dont understand. Parting the red sea, long day of Joshua would be two, where was Eden? dunno.."

      If you want to believe these things happened, without any evidence, that is up to you but don't expect others to accept them. The difference with Joshua's sun is that it, unlike the others you mentioned, would have been witnessed by a much larger population... everyone, in fact.

      An event of this magnitude, if it didn't wipe out most of civilization due to the stopping of the Earth's rotation, would have been recorded by nearly every civilization on the globe.
      Where is the historical corroboration?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "as YOUR belief in the validity of the packet changes"

      Who would you like to surrender that responsibility to, Chad?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Chad

      Nice dodge :-)

      as stated before, an objects reality is independent of your view on the subject. It is irrational to say ""X is not real unless I believe it is real"

      February 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Do you know that God is real, Chad?

      February 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad, your bible is a known fraud. Your god, your jesus, your moses, all never existed.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "as stated before, an objects reality is independent of your view on the subject. It is irrational to say ""X is not real unless I believe it is real"

      - Truely astounding, you can say this without a hint of irony and still believe that an invisible being "Is real because I believe it's real". You are wishing something into existance and yet you don't see the irrationality of it. It would be really funny if it wasn't so sad

      February 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's your evidence for the existence of god, Chard? I am perfectly willing to believe there is one if you can show any credible evidence for one. Thus far, all you have ever posted are conclusions you've reached based on faith, not facts.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ben

      Chad
      You mean that the Hebrews, and later the Christians, created a heroic, meaning-filled history for themselves in the same vein as Virgil did for Rome with his Aeneid? Not actual history, but history as they would like it. All the ancients did this, so why not the Jews?

      February 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @Ben "All the ancients did this, so why not the Jew"
      @Chad "because none of the data that we have supports that theory..

      what evidence do you have to support it?
      you just think it's true?
      speculation?

      February 11, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Chad

      Is real because I believe it's real".

      =>no.. the God of Israel doesnt pop into existence because I believe in Him, neither does he disappear because you dont.
      those are both fallacious statements.

      February 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @End Religion "your bible is a known fraud. Your god, your jesus, your moses, all never existed."

      =>"known"?
      what is fraudulent? do you have anything at all to back that up?

      regarding Jesus, I seem to remember we have been thru this before.. good luck finding a credible historian that doesnt believe Jesus was a real historical figure..

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

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

      February 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "God of Israel doesnt pop into existence because I believe in Him, neither does he disappear because you don't."

      It's good that you've sorted that out, Chad. But you haven't addressed my question. Do you know that God is real?

      February 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad apologizes:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/10/congressman-draws-fire-for-calling-evolution-big-bang-lies-from-the-pit-of-hell/comment-page-75/

      February 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • End Religion

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

      February 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Ben

      Chad
      Not speculation, it's a well-established property of ancient histories. The Iliad was considered to be as authentic a history as the Old Testament. Eusebius included the Trojan was from the Iliad in his Chronologia, giving relatively equal weight to stories of YHWH and Zeus, it seems. The further one goes back in the ancient history of any people the more it reads like myth. Camelot, Merlin, Excalibur, The Holy Grail anyone?

      February 11, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      There is no evidence that The Babble is the true word of any god. There is no contemporary book review to give us insight into the authors' intent or plot structure nor notes to indicate which characters and events were actual and which were not. Chad can claim that The Babble is history, but he does not know that, just as he does not know that his god really exists.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  15. Hugh Jass

    I realize you all have permission from God to be unChristian to your fellow men, because surely God didn't mean we should be nice to THESE people, or THOSE people, and heck, if Jesus were here himself, He'd spit on THAT guy. You all fail at what is supposed to be the most important thing in your lives.

    February 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • lol??

      bigot?? judging??

      February 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      I am totally qualified to judge you. I give you a D+ for lack of effort.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  16. End Religion

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oju_lpqa6Ug&w=640&h=390]

    February 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Science

      Science

      Education is key.. some issues on this thread about age of the earth

      Another timeline go figure interactive too

      For all creationists and bible thumpers !!!

      Earth’s timeline works better than the bible's timeline

      Trace our planet's geological and biological ages

      http://www.nbcnews.com/id/33184839/ns/technology_and_science/

      Peace

      Interactive timeline

      February 12, 2013 at 6:18 am | Report abuse | Reply

      NClaw441

      Whether the Bible is intended to be literally interpreted regarding creation I don't know, and frankly, it is not all that important to me. I would say though, that the day after the earth was created (I know that many who may read this don't believe in divine creation–that's a matter of faith) it would very likely look much older than it was. If God created the animals, I suspect they may have been fully mature, and would therefore look older than they actually were.

      For me, divine creation makes at least as much sense as the universe being created out of some big bang, gaining order out of chaos.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |

      Richard Cranium

      NClaw
      You said , and I paraphrase " I don't understand what science has proven, so I'll just stick with god did it."

      The big bang is fact, it did happen...just because you don't understand doesn't mean the proof isn't there.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |

      Science

      In physical cosmology, the Planck epoch (or Planck era) is the earliest period of time in the history of the universe, from zero to approximately 10−43 seconds

      None befor the 10 or after the 43
      Peace

      February 12, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |

      Science

      Oops before

      None = (gods)

      February 12, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |

      Science

      Best Map Ever Made of Universe's Oldest Light: Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus

      Mar. 21, 2013 — The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321084221.htm

      April 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |

      April 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Diane

    Thank you for a timely and, unfortunately, necessary article. You highlight a problem that I have been very concerned about for some time, partly because I have been the recipient of some of the vitriol, but more because I care about the dishonor that it brings on the name of Christ. Your article prompted me to write a post for my blog in which I quote a number of the wise things you say. http://blogs.christianpost.com/ambassador-of-reconciliation/bite-and-devour-14566/

    February 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  18. Michael Moss

    The basis of all has to come down to love. God is love and therefore His followers must operate in love. I believe this with all my heart and I believe that the greatest two commandments as Jesus stated is to first, love the Lord your God with all of you heart, mind and strength and then the second greatest commandment is love your neighbor as yourself. I would like to point out, that the commandment to love your God is first, meaning that my love for my neighbor is followed by the love for my God. Doesn't mean that the second commandment isn't important, because it is, but it does put that second commandment into prespective.

    With that said, I do agree with the overall point that this writer is making. I do believe that everything that is said and done by Christians should be done with the overall tone and heart of love. However, I do believe that there is deception in overall public opinion of what love is and what it should look like. We live in a soceity and a nation where way over half of all marriages end in divorce (unfortunately, even with self proclaimed Christians), which doesn't say much about how preception of love as marriage is the greatest commitment of love you can make to another person. Typically, the term "love" is a term that many Americans toss around without any real depth. Love is not a momentairy feeling and is not turned on and off at a moment's notice. Love also is not defined by agreeableness. Just because I agree with you does not necessiarly mean I love you and same vice versa, just because I don't agree with you, doesn't mean that I don't love you. Soceity tends to have the mentality that if you say something is wrong, you must hate the person doing that something. You can fill in the blanks with any situation you want, but the fact is that nothing is the farther from the truth. Take an alcholic, if you truly love them, you are going to encourage them to get help, thereby by your actions saying that being an alcholic is not okay, because it can harm them. No different than any other situation you use.

    I don't believe that the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" was meant to say that Christians are to always be agreeable, never stand up for truth if the rest of soceity disagrees, or more plainly, just shut up and sit down and be door mats for the rest of our lives. I'm sure that there are people who would love nothing more than for us to do just that, but I submit to you that it is the very love that I mentioned in my first paragraph that compels us not to be silent. If I truly love you, I am going to tell you the truth, even at the sake of my popularity. I love my daughter with all my heart and I would lay down my life to ensure that she could live. However, as much as I love my daughter, I know that I am not going to agree with every decision she makes. I know that as her father who loves her, that I will bring correction and even disipline to her. Not because I hate her, not because I don't want her to have fun, but because I want to protect her, because I want her to succeed in life.

    Now, I am not saying Christians are perfect, because we are not and we do have things to work on, but one must also recognize in today's society, that everyone who claims to be a Christian, may not be either. Jesus warned that in the last days there would be false prophets and teachers. I think a lot of times people will see somebody who claims Christianity blantaly do something wrong and judge all Christians by that person's actions, which is wrong. That is called stereotyping. I think it funny that soceity says that Christians are too judgemental and a lot of people say that is why they won't become a Christian, yet they are guilty of the very thing.

    Also I think that there are true, geniune Christians out there that stumble, not intentionally, and the first person to come along that sees them stumble labels them as hypocrite. You have to realize that Christians do not some how become super human when we get saved. We still battle with our thoughts and our flesh and we are still tempted no different than any other person, sometimes even more so, because the enemy will try to get us to quit. I mean to say that someone that got saved last week may still struggle with things that was going on before they got saved and God is working in them. In Christianity we call it the process of santification. People are in different stages and walks with God. That's why God looks at the heart, which man can not see. That is not an excuse to sin or to dilberately go against the word of God, but that is just some insight into the fact that even though we may miss it sometimes (even with things like our temper), it is heart for God that sustains us. We are not prefected until the second coming of Christ, until then we are to strive for prefection.

    I pray today that the love of God would overpower any preconcived idea or notion you have about Christianity, because the truth is we are all sinners, but it is the mercy of God that gives us the gift not getting the punishment we deserve and it is the grace of God that gives us the ability to go forth in the things of God. All you have to do is accept Him! What a great gift!

    February 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      The truth is....the truth is that I am not a sinner. Sin is a violation against god, or at least the definition of god that man put in the bible. Since there is no god...I am not a sinner. How horrible that your religion makes you fell so bad about yourself.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      But when you start telling me that my hairstyle or my taste in music or clothing or literature is going to send me to hell, I just lose interest. God was okay with polygamy two thousand years ago, and He didn't mind slavery and is ok with war, but He's going to send me to hell because I listen to jazz? God tends to like and dislike the same things that His current worshipers like and dislike.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Michael Moss

      @ Richard Cranium - You have a misunderstanding of my "religion". It is not here to make me feel bad about myself and I don't feel bad about myself. I feel blessed and happy to be alive! I am happy with my life and the way it is going. Do I have bad days, like everyone else, sure, but overall I am happy.

      Truth is having Christ in my life has made my life better, not worse. The problem is in your perspective. What you view as my religion making me feel bad about myself, I view as trying to improve my life. You can not live life in denial and expect improvement. People do not succeed, because they go through life thinking everything is great when in reality it is not. In order to succeed, you must learn from your mistakes and past, which you can't do if you ignore it and pretend that it didn't happen, because you don't want to "feel bad about yourself".

      February 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Ummmm

      You don't need a god for that Michael. What is funny is that all the bad that happens people blame on Satan, instead of taking responsibility in this world. It's not a devil doing it most of the time its humanity doing it to ourselves. Plus is your god was so great why does it continue to allow so much bad happening to those that supposedly "loves" it. It doesn't because the reality is your god and satan don't actually exist.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Michael Moss

      @ Hugh Jass, First let me say and even what I illuded too in my original statements. Don't assume because you have heard a few people that claim to be Christians say that you are going to hell because you like jazz music is the way that all Christians are. There are some people who claim to be Christians, who are not Christians at all and are using that guise to spread their agenda. The fact is there are "fake" people in all arenas of life, not just Christianity. Secondly, there may be some well meaning people that claim Christianity that don't get it right all the time. As I stated we are not perfect.

      Christianity is not about rules, though, from the outside it may appear that way. Everything I do or even don't do is out of a heart of love toward God. The lie that the devil wants you to believe is it is all about rules and what you can't do and God and Christians just don't want you to have any fun, however that is not true. Half the stuff, I did before getting saved, as an example, cussing, I don't do now, because I don't have desire to, not because someone told me not to or that I was going to hell if I did. God's love is so amazing and once you truly experience it, then you lose the desire for anything else, because only He can truly fulfill the void in your heart. To me it's not even about whether I am going to heaven or hell, it is about doing what is pleasing to God.

      Let me put it to you this way, when you get married to someone, it is because you love them. Here's the thing about marriage, you don't mind saying no to everyone else to be in a relationship solely with that one person, because you love that one person. Someone on the outside can look at you and say you are crazy for giving up all these other opportunities, but when you are in love, it doesn't matter to you. That is true love. God is not a tyrrant, He is simply looking for what we all look for, love. He created us to love. It is the greatest love story ever told.

      Praying God reveals His love to you!

      February 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Michael Moss

      @ Ummmm, It is important to understand what we believe as Christians in order to understand our statement. I do believe in personal responsibility. I do believe and Christians do believe you are held responsible for your actions, not only in this life on earth, but when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ as well. So, I reject the notion that someone who commits acts of violence for example are not responsible and it is all the devil's fault. That person should be held criminally responsible for their actions and will answer to God, the highest judge, for their actions.

      However, there is a spiritual aspect, that our eyes can't see going on in the background. We are all tempted with evil from the time we are young. We are tempted to rebel against authority before we can even speak clearly. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that I did not have teach my three year old how to lie to try to avoid getting in trouble or pitch a fit when not getting her way. I think that while humanity has the capacity for good, we also have that underlying evil and selfish nature in us. It is this nature that I do believe comes from sin. The devil can not make you do anything, but he can tempt you and because of our sin nature without anything to counter that sin nature we can not battle it on our own. I'm not saying that non-Christians can't make good decisions. We all make good decisions and do good things sometimes, but we also do bad things and make bad decisions as well. It doesn't matter how powerful you think you are in this world, you still have an evil nature and more often than not, the more power you do hold in this world only exaggerates the problem more.

      You still ultimately have free will and free choice to do the right thing, though. Having the grace of God, only makes the right choice easier to make. We as a soceity look at a rapist in disgust, but what we don't understand is that we have fostered the atmosphere for that rapist. He didn't start off raping people. He didn't wake up one morning and say, I think I want to r-a-p-e someone today. He started most likely started off by doing something that society has deemed as okay and socially acceptable like looking at p-o-r-n on the internet and then he got addicted and couldn't fulfill his addicition anymore. (This is not to say that all people that look at p-o-r-n are destined to become rapist, but it is to say that it does open the door in your spirit man for it.) It isn't an excuse for the rapist to say that the devil made me do it, because he can't make you do anything, but he did fall into the trap. But, if you were to do a poll, you would find that a majority of Americans see nothing wrong with p-o-r-n and view it themselves. There is a reason sin is inticing and is fun for a season. Nobody is going to ran into a trap knowingly with arms wide open, they are going to be decieved and tricked into getting into that trap. I've always heard it this way, sin may be fun for awhile, but it will find you out and it will take you further than you want to go.

      Maybe you think no way, you wouldn't do that. This is were the devil comes in, he knows what we are tempted with and what our weakness is. God also knows and is there to help us, if we allow Him. God bless! I pray His love over you!

      February 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "Having the grace of God, only makes the right choice easier to make"

      No, it doesn't and the proof is in the history of your own religion. Christians are some of the most prejudice and bigoted people out there. If it was so easy to make then those in your religion wouldn't be great examples of adultery, greed, gluttony, etc... 80% of American's claim to be Christians, now open up your eyes to all those "easy" choices they have been making. ;-)

      February 11, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Pete

      Michael, most of the atheists posting here are former xtians or ministers.

      February 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  19. Hugh Jass

    If you want me to believe that your faith has made you a better or holier person, by all means begin by calling me a bunch of sleazy names, lying about my character and morals, and threatening to burn me in a lake of fire. That's an excellent way to introduce someone to your beliefs.

    February 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Who has been calling you names?

      February 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • lol??

      bigot??

      February 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • lol??

      Zapping by electric fence dog collar will occur if you fail to heel. The manual remote control is in my hand.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • .

      Very Christian of you, lol?? Article written just for YOU. Bigot.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Live4Him

    @Live4Him : The Blind Watchmaker: 1000 – 100,000 speciation events in development of the eye alone.
    @ME II : As I've said before, this was not referring to species, but "changes", or at best generations. Additionally, it was Dawkins' estimate, which I doubt has been validated by anyone.

    1) What is a species?

    2) Would you propose only 22 speciation events between first life and modern man?

    February 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,

      "1) What is a species?"
      There are different definitions, but reproductive isolation might work here.

      "2) Would you propose only 22 speciation events between first life and modern man?"
      I don't agree with your math either. You are using exponential growth or doubling, which works for bacterial growth rates in unlimited resource situations, but not speciation. For example, a speciation event that creates a hypothetical 9th species, does not raise the total number of species from 2^8 (256) to 2^9 (512). At most it would create one new species, and that only when the parent species continues, which is not guaranteed.
      Basically, not every species in existence splits in two for each speciation event.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @ME II –

      Well done.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @Really-O?,
      You and I have been through this before with Live4Him, i.e. wrong math on the wrong numbers. Hopefully, it will take this time.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @ME II : There are different definitions [of species], but reproductive isolation might work here.

      So, would you argue that a male from Africa and a female from Asia are two separate species? Would you say that a tiger and lion are the same species since they can reproduce?

      @ME II : I don't agree with your math either.

      So, when a speciation event occurs, how many species remain? Two.

      @ME II : a speciation event that creates a hypothetical 9th species, does not raise the total number of species from 2^8 (256) to 2^9 (512). At most it would create one new species, and that only when the parent species continues, which is not guaranteed.

      From a myopic view (no offense intended), this is correct. However, random events will occur on a regular basis, according to the Law of Averages. So, if branch #1 averages a speciation event every million years, then branch #2, #3, #4, etc. will also average a speciation event every million years. So, if we presume that a "a speciation event that creates a hypothetical 9th species" occurs, then in the next million years all the other branches will similarily have speciation events. In this case, it implies that the expotential growth calculation is the correct method.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Science

      Maybe L4H will put tou on the list

      February 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Science

      Oops you

      February 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      By the definition I'm using, I would consider the Africa-Asia situation one species, if, were they near each other, they could and normally might mate and successfully reproduce.
      The Lion/Tiger situation I would say no because they, normally, are not likely to mate.

      However, these minutia are not critical to the discussion, unless you are claiming that each generation is, in fact, a new species. The difference between Lions, Tigers, and Ligers, as 3 species, and Lions/Tigers/Ligers, as 1 species, is negligible compared to the number of generations, and therefore changes possible.

      "So, when a speciation event occurs, how many species remain? Two."
      ... or one, if the parent species became the child species over many generations
      ... or none, if they both die off. (What is the figure, 98% of all species are extinct?)

      "However, random events will occur on a regular basis, according to the Law of Averages."
      Random events will happen and those events can cause mutations. This is the basis for "molecular clocks", but each event does not indicate new species.

      "So, if we presume that 'a speciation event that creates a hypothetical 9th species' occurs, then in the next million years all the other branches will similarily have speciation events. In this case, it implies that the expotential growth calculation is the correct method."
      Incorrect. While random mutations may occur, on average, at a regular pace, evolution does not treat all mutations equally. Some may be successful, and some may not. Is a single individual, with a unique mutation, that dies before successful reproduction, considered a species? I wouldn't think so, but if so, then perhaps there have been a centillion species; we wouldn't know.
      Additionally, random mutations are sometimes corrected by cellular mechanisms or remain but don't cause any effect, e.g. duplicate non-coding alleles.
      Mutations may be random, but evolution is not.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • ME II

      "...99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct"
      According to Wiki anyway. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction)

      February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @ME II : unless you are claiming that each generation is

      Well, that's what I thought you were trying to claim. Since we're in agreement that distance and time is not the critical component(s), but that reproducton is the critical component, lets move forward.

      @ME II : or one, if the parent species became the child species over many generations

      At the time of the speciation event, when parent species begats a child, even if that parent becomes extinct over time (or even at that moment), that parent previously existed. So, we still have the two species that have lived on this planet – history is not changed by the future.

      @ME II : but each event does not indicate new species.

      If it is intra-species changes that cannot be passed on to a new species, then we're not talking about this change. I'm only discussion "random speciation events".

      @ME II : While random mutations may occur, on average, at a regular pace, evolution does not treat all mutations equally.

      It is occurring on a random cycle or a fixed cycle? It is random. It is occurring in a controlled environment or uncontrolled? Uncontrolled. This is the definition of a random event.

      What you may be attempting to address is the extinction rate, but this is not important. It is not important because a specific number of speciation events in a linage – regardless of that number – they ALL generate a new species.

      @ME II : Mutations may be random, but evolution is not.

      There are only two possible cycles – fixed or random. Which do you want to declare it as?

      @ME II : "...99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct"

      This is not the question. The question is the percentage that has failed to leave fossil evidence. Anything less than a millionth can be disproven easily (as we have more fossils than 1 millionth of the currently identifed species). Anything more than a millionth will easily disprove evolution – just divide a centillion by a million.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      "At the time of the speciation event, when parent species begats a child, even if that parent becomes extinct over time (or even at that moment), that parent previously existed. So, we still have the two species that have lived on this planet – history is not changed by the future."

      In this senario, two did exist yes, but not for future calculations, just one.
      So you have 1 speciation event, after which there is one species remaining, the child species. The next speciation event cannot be on both species, because there is only one remaining.
      i.e. 2^2 is no longer valid for the next speciation event, since one is no longer alive.

      "If it is intra-species changes that cannot be passed on to a new species, then we're not talking about this change. I'm only discussion 'random speciation events'."

      I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "random speciation events", because speciation doesn't occur randomly. There must be a population of organisms with the differencial trait capable of surviving in order for speciation to occur. To get such a population the natural selection, which is not random, is in effect.

      "What you may be attempting to address is the extinction rate, but this is not important. It is not important because a specific number of speciation events in a linage – regardless of that number – they ALL generate a new species."

      Extinction is part of what I'm talking about, but why do you think that all (linages? or events?) generate a new species?

      "There are only two possible cycles – fixed or random. Which do you want to declare it as?"

      1) There are other cycles and 2) it's not a cycle.
      Evolution is not random and not cyclical. Mutations happen randomly, but natural selection "selects" which mutations survive via natural means, e.g. viability, resources, geography, predation, etc.

      "[Extinction] is not the question."
      I disagree. Your caluclation 2^1003 depends on previous species generating new species, otherwise it is not exponential. If those species are not around, then the number of species cannot grow exponentially.

      For example: (f: generation [greatly under represented], S: species, E: Speciation event)
      f1 S1
      f10 S1 (E1) S2
      f20 S2
      f50 S2 (E2) S3
      f70 S3
      f110 S3 (E3) S4
      f150 S4

      Total species ever: 4. Your calculation 2^3: 8.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "So, would you argue that a male from Africa and a female from Asia are two separate species? Would you say that a tiger and lion are the same species since they can reproduce?"

      We now have quite a lot of hard evidence for Neanderthals which were in fact, a different species. However, now that we have decoded DNA from their remains and compared it to our DNA we can see that Neanderthals interbred with humans because they both shared a common ancestor and now most of us have between 1% to 4% Neanderthal DNA in us even though they as a species died out nearly 30,000 years ago.

      L4H, your assumed process for speciation is totally flawed thus all of your conclusions are flawed and should be thrown out the window immediately, otherwise you will blindly hold onto your beliefs and have your children and your childrens' children laughing about how Grandma thinks Adam was riding a dinosaur...

      February 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • ME II

      Example 2: (f: generation [greatly under represented], S: species, E: Speciation event)
      f1 S1
      f10 [S1 (E1) S2]
      f20 S2
      f50 [S2 (E2) S3]
      f70 S2 S3
      f110 S2 [S3 (E3) S4]
      f150 S2 [S3 (E4) S5] [S4 (E5) S6]
      f200 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6
      f220 S3 S6
      f250 S3 [S6 (E6) S7]
      f270 S3 S7

      Total species ever: 7. Your calculation 2^6: 64

      February 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Interesting...Live4Him's little bio alludes to a university level background in statistics and yet Live4Him does not understand the difference between standard error and confidence interval and, in this thread at February 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm, refers to the "Law of Averages" as though that is a valid statistical concept, which it is not.

      I call shenanigans!

      February 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Mass Debater – "laughing about how Grandma thinks Adam was riding a dinosaur..."

      "I don't want to go to Grandma's house....that broad's crazy!"

      LMAO

      February 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Live4Him – "Anything more than a millionth will easily disprove evolution – just divide a centillion by a million."

      WTF?

      February 11, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Unintelligent Designer

      I may not be the most educated person in this thread (hence the name), but not every minute change results in speciation. Even I know that. It's just more word craft, designed to dupe the uninformed.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • ME II

      @Unintelligent Designer,
      "...not every minute change results in speciation. Even I know that"

      More intelligent than some.

      February 11, 2013 at 6:32 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.