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Tim Tebow pulls out of speaking at Dallas church
February 21st, 2013
10:40 AM ET

Tim Tebow pulls out of speaking at Dallas church

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled an appearance at a controversial Dallas-area church. The outspoken Christian quarterback was scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church on April 28.

The church is led by Robert Jeffress, who has been widely criticized for views against homosexuality, Islam and Mormonism. Tebow, announcing his decision Thursday on Twitter, said that he was canceling his appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

Tebow’s statement appeared over a series of four tweets on the social media site.

“I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!” he wrote to his Twitter followers.

Tebow was scheduled to speak at the 11,000-member Dallas church as part of a monthlong celebration of the megachurch’s completion of a new building campaign, a $130 million dollar project that encompasses five blocks of the downtown.

“Tim called me last night and explained to me that because of some things going on in his personal life and his career he needed to steer clear of controversy right now, but that at some other date he would like to come and speak at our church,” Jeffress told CNN by phone from Dallas.  “Tim has to do what Tim thinks is best for him right now.”

The First Baptist Church of Dallas is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Jeffress, who has been in its pulpit since 2007, is no stranger to controversy.

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After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington in October 2011, Jeffress told reporters he believed Mormonism was a cult, expressing a personal position and one held by his denomination.  The move was seen as a particular slight to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a lifelong Mormon.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while acknowledging sharp theological differences with the Southern Baptist Convention, bristles at the term cult and says it is inaccurate.

Jeffress has also drawn fire for his comments about homosexuality, Judiasm and Catholicism.

“This in no way is going to diminish what our church is teaching about salvation being available to all through faith in Jesus Christ,” Jeffress said.

Jeffress pointed out that Tebow is a member of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, a fellow SBC church.

“They certainly believe what we do, that salvation is through Christ alone, and about homosexuality.  Tim confirmed that to me last night, that they believe exactly what we do about homosexuality.”

Tebow and Jeffress differ dramatically in how they present their faith.  Tebow in talking about his faith has used much softer language, while Jeffress has no trouble going after less popular and culturally sensitive issues in Christianity.

CNN Belief Blog: Quarterback moves to trademark 'Tebowing'

“I believe that homosexuality is a sin just like adultery is a sin, just like I believe premarital sex is a sin, because it’s a deviation from God’s standard,” Jeffress said.

“God’s plan for sex is that is should be between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship and any deviation from that is wrong.”

While he believes any sex outside a heterosexual marriage is wrong, he adds, “I never single out homosexuality as the only sin or the unpardonable sin. I think homosexuality, just like adultery, can be forgiven if we ask God for forgiveness.”

Jeffress said he thinks there is a genetic disposition toward homosexuality, a stance on sexual orientation taken by many theologically conservative Christians and one scorned as scientifically flawed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Jeffress said he is sure there are gay members in his church.  “We don’t ask all the gay members to stand up, but I’m sure that there are people who are gay in our church simply because of the letters I have received,” he said.  “We have people who’ve committed adultery and who lie and who steal, but that doesn’t mean they’re not welcome to come to our church.”

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As for comments about Mormons, Jews and Catholics, he is quick to point out that he believes “no one goes to hell in a group.”

“I’m not the one who decides who goes to heaven and hell. God does that. God has already given us the criteria for what it takes to go to heaven when you die. Jesus said in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the father except through me.’  When I quote that verse I like to remind people that Jesus who said that was not a Southern Baptist evangelist but a Jewish rabbi. Yet as a Jewish rabbi he said there is one way to heaven, and that is through faith in me.”

The controversy surrounding Tebow’s appearance won’t dampen the church’s plans, Jeffress said. He said Tebow, while escaping the spotlight now over his beliefs, will continue to face controversy.

“I think Tim is going to discover that no matter how hard you try to hide from controversy, if you stand for the simple truths of the Bible, like faith in Christ, necessary for salvation, and sex (being acceptable only) between a man and a woman in marriage, you can't avoid controversy.  That’s something Tim needs to discover on his own.  We in no way want to impugn him.  He’s a great man of God who sincerely loves the Lord.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Church • Faith Now

soundoff (2,828 Responses)
  1. don

    I commend this young man for speaking up and standing up for God. I have no problem at with that. However, he acts more like a Jehovah Witness with HOW he does things. LOL. If he does not make it in football, he can open a large church and make millions like Joel Olsten. With that said, he should have made it in the NFL BEFORE starting with all the Christian talk. He has put a lot of pressure on himself and his god – who, obviously, wants him to be a preacher and not a football player. LOL. Good luck to him either way.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      No God wants him to be a tailback, not a quarterback!

      February 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      That's like encouraging someone to go into snake oil sales. Why encourage scamming like religion?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  2. Observer

    Tim Tebow has been under the spotlight for more than 6 years now. Think what you want about him, the FACT is that there hasn't been ONE example of hypocrisy by him. He has been exactly as advertized and deserves credit for that, right or wrong.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Woof!

      Really? In the sermon on the mount, Jesus specifically forbids his followers from praying and showing their faith publicly. Tebow claims to be a Christian, but violates Jesus' direct instructions.

      That's hypocrisy.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Observer

      Woof!,

      NO Christian follows everything in the Bible. What was your point?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • yugger2345

      @ Woof, good one, you almost had me fooled there.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Woof!

      If no Christian follows the rules, then why do you worry about people like gays who don't either? Shouldn't you be tending your own soul instead of oppressing others? Very hypocritical of you.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Chad

      Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cu mbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

      5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tas sels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

      8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. - Matthew 23

      I dont think that even a Tebow critic would claim that he is hypocritical, or that he exalts himself..

      February 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Chad.....................YAWN. Chad you kill more brain cells than Alzheimer. Don't you get tired of people ignoring your beliefs?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • S

      @Woof! wow think then post. He is an NFL QB you tool. So he should quit his job and leave the public eye and then it would be ok? So what is the threshold for being public then? Seems every church in my area is on billboards all over town. Last time I checked that also publicity. I am an atheist but this kid has a little thing going here called the 1st Amendment.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Observer

      Woof!,

      I am an agnostic. While I don't agree with many of Tim Tebow's ideas, I do respect the fact that he seems to actually follow the life he says he is following. That is unusual.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Woof!

      Chad doesn't even know his own Bible:

      "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." Matthew 6:5

      I do admire how Chad thinks he gets to decide what the rules are and who is saved, and not Jesus.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  3. Skeptic

    A southern Baptist means someone who is a bit slow in his head.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Every Southern Baptist I've ever known suffered from extreme biblewashing. There was no hope for their recovery. The only way to wipe it out is to hope there will be no replacements when they eventually die off.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  4. Badda Bing

    I wonder what kind of holy steroids Tebow uses? Bible doesn't say anything about it, so it must be okay.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      He uses the kind of steroids that makes him throw shi itty passes.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  5. John Diomitron

    Do you know how to tell who truly follows the Lord? He or she is the one who is shunned, ridiculed, persecuted, and yes...maybe even crucified for following God. IT IS NOT THE SUCCESSFUL OR THE RICH OR THE FAMOUS! Mr. Jeffress is correct. Tebow, just like anyone who aspires to be who the Lord has called us to be, will learn the path is not smooth but rewarding at the end.

    Fear of the thunder, lightning, and wind may take hold of a man during a thunderstorm, but afterwards a rainbow and the sun will follow if he perseveres. Likewise, fear may grip Tebow during his personal storm, but if he endures to the end there is everlasting life and the Son.

    Go ahead and ridicule me for my faith in my God and my Christ...YOU BLESS ME WHEN YOU DO!

    February 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • yugger2345

      I applaud you, you are on a CNN blog remember :)

      February 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Google Translator translates John Diomitron's post

      "I am a freakish repellent git with a lousy job, and my imaginary superbuddy hates everyone but me."

      February 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Athy

      Your belief is too silly to ridicule. It's more like pathetic. But you gotta do what you gotta do. That's how you religies think.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Check

      John D,
      "if he endures to the end there is everlasting life and the Son."

      Ok, I will not bless you with ridicule.

      There is simply not a scintilla of verified evidence that anything of this sort ever has, or ever will, happen.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What an overly dramatic martyr wannabe.....cult logic.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      It's almost not fair to ridicule someone like John Diomitron. He's like the slow gazelle, the one that unfortunately hurt its leg the day before and gets easily separated from the herd when lions are on the chase. That, plus a mixture of picking on the retarded. Almost not fair... almost.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • lol??

      Chimps gone wild. bigots

      February 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Johny Smooth

      It sounds like your religion is to be the biggest jerk you can be for Jesus, because that will get you the most ridicule thus prove that you are doing things right the way that Jesus likes.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • ..

      Lol??, it is not nice to talk about your family like that. Remember, they spawned you.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Woof!

      I must admit I admire the compact, efficient nature of lol??. Not only did he achieved hypocrisy in only four words, but he showed us what a feculent jackass he is as well..

      February 21, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • lol??

      When the ducks are all in a row, whatd'ya gonna do?? Call ghostbusters??

      February 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  6. mason

    Is Tim still practicing male penis mutilation on little boys?

    February 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  7. Zwei Stein

    "God's plan." Jeffress talks like HE KNOWS GODS PLAN! The truth is...he knows no more about God's plan than any other mortal man!

    February 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • News from the real world

      No god, no plan.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  8. albie

    I hate this man and all that he stands for

    February 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  9. HASSA

    The problem with Christianity isn't Christianity, it's morons like this that twist it for their own good.

    Matthew 11:22
    Matthew 11:24
    Matthew 12:36
    (and so many others)

    Tell me, Mr. Jeffress, if salvation is so freely given, and anyone who proclaims tehy have faith is saved, why is there any judgment to be had by God? There would be no need for judgment, by your logic, everyone would just walk freely into Heaven.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • yugger2345

      Sadly you are blind

      February 21, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Zwei Stein

      Shhhh! You don't want Jeffress to have to stand in the unemployment line. Because by your logic (and mine) there is no need for preachers, pastors, priests etc. Not even religions!

      February 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Chad

      We all face judgement.

      If you have accepted Jesus Christ, has already stood in your place and accepted your punishment.

      If you havent accepted Jesus, you stand there alone.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • It's Chad Fallacy Time Again!

      And Chad bips in with Argument From Assertion!

      No evidence, of course.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  10. Riley

    We all love Time Tebow and admire his steadfast support of those less fortunate. His religous views are a breath of fressh. Nonetheless, I am glad he cancelled his speach at this particular church. The pastor spreads hate all day long.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Penn

      Riley, you don't speak for all of us, liar. I think Tebow is a deluded, opportunistic twerp. So go munch a butt.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @penn...............What about your views on the church? Do you agree or disagree with Jeffress?

      February 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Who's "Time" Tebow?
      What's a breath of "fressh?"
      What's a "speach?"

      February 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      L O L

      February 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Penn

      Ken, you won't catch me near a church. Re Jeffress, I think all religions are just cults, and I have better ways to spend my Sundays; it's great when the religious folk aren't at my favorite parks and other places.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • mason

      Tim is blind to it, but he also spreads hate and delusional propaganda

      February 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • LMOA

      Sometimes when I have been indoors too much, I have to go out and take a breath of fressh.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Penn.....................Same here brother.

      @Mason................ I'm in NY. (and a Jet fan) :( To be fair, I've never seen Tim say anything nasty. Although I've seen him throw some nasty passes.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  11. Phill

    So this nutjob won't spew his non-sense to another nutjobs?

    February 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • renaudlavoie

      Not yet, he said he'll do it later.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  12. Rick Springfield

    What would W.A. Criswell think about all of this. He was a unifier back in his day. Most people don't know that he created a Black church in Dallas. He took a lot of heat from liberal media when he did it. He was interviewed on 60 Minutes about why he did that. He said, "Most Black people think our traditional services are bland and uneventful. I opened up a branch of FBC Dallas so that they can worship as they please in their own style. But at no time will anyone be denied access to any of my other branches. I just wanted to have a branch with a Black clergy."

    February 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • .

      What was the accusation by the liberal media? That he was promoting segregation?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Day 5,029,500,000,000, and no god yet

      Rick is obviously one of the people claiming that Dixiecrats were liberals. I know, that's astooundingly clueless, but it has been one of those Limbaugh/FOX revisionist history things lately. They even claim the KKK was a liberal organization.

      It's just amazing what people are stupid enough to believe.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  13. Chrashtopher

    Inconsequential hogwash.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  14. Joe Plumber

    God called me last night to remind everyone that he doesn't give one turd about Tim Tebow or football.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • saintpeter

      hahaha.. do "face time" next time and tell us what he looks like.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Jesus was a dipsh•t

      When tebow played for the Denver broncos he prayed to gid to make his team winners.
      Broncos acquired Payton Manning....god must work in mysterious ways. That's what they say right? Pppffffftttttt!!!!

      February 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Penn

      Funny!

      February 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  15. Danny Denton

    The point is very simple. I do not remain silent when someone associates Christianity with Nazism.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Does "Gott Mit Uns" ring a bell?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Danny

      You can whine and moan and bitch all you want, but the fact remains that Hitler (who claimed to be a Christian) used religion to unify and give purpose to the Nazi army.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      Danny, why do you keep bringing up the fact Hitler was Christian?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: when someone "uses" a religion in a fashion directly contrary to the CENTRAL tenets of that religion (in this case: Jesus died in our place, not killing others in our place), at what point must one admit the original 'religion' is no longer recognizable as such?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      Depends on which verses you want to cherry-pick, as almost every Christian does. When you have a book that spawns over 30,000 different denominations, when do you admit that it isn't reliable?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • .

      What a co-inky dink....I felt the same way when you equated liberals with Nazism.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, that point would be the commission of one's very first sin. One sin, no longer Christian.

      The whole carnival is supposedly based on a god's commandments. If you don't enough fear to follow his simple rules, you aren't a Christian. If you want to argue all we need to do is simply ask *real* forgiveness and we're Christian again, then just go ahead and imagine that before Hitler chomped on his suicide pill that he *really* asked forgiveness. BOOM! He's in heaven suddenly. Nice religion you got there...

      February 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion:
      you have missed the primary distinctive of Christianity.
      Every other religion (in varying nuanced ways) believes this: follow the rules, get 'in' (nirvana/heaven/etc.)
      Christianity explicitly states: Jesus followed the rules because you can't. he died in my place.

      one sin & done fails to understand grace.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: you are right to criticize our tendency to splinter, but wrong to assume there is no unifying central set of beliefs. 2 billion Christians on the planet agree on the central claims of the faith (basically summed up in the Apostle's creed), but certainly stated as fundamentally as this:
      Jesus saved me by dying in my place. He calls me to love that way.
      Hitler wanted the opposite.

      That's THE CENTRAL THING. agreed upon ACROSS all those denominations.
      The point still holds: Hitler's so-called "Christianity" is unrecognizable as Christianity in its MOST ESSENTIAL FORM.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Phill

      The Nazi party was all about Christianity.
      Are you dumb?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And yet the concept of a "chosen" race has precedence in the bible, so what if Hitler was right and god wanted a new "chosen people"? Can you disprove it? How? (hint: The bible doesn't disprove it because both concepts have grounding within it).

      February 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Phil: just read the statements made by all his inner council on this topic...

      @ hawaiiguest: it's very clear that the Bible does see only two races in the end – those who are adopted into Christ (believers) and those who aren't (non-believers). to miss that is to miss the theme woven throughout the OT & NT. the issue of race was about purity of belief in the OT. in the NT, "there is neither Jew nor Gentile" in Christ (Gal.3:28) – even though it came *first* to the Jew (Rom.1:16-17).

      February 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, you fail to understand how your religion works. For the same reason you can lie and then ask forgiveness and get into heaven, Hitler can murder millions and ask the same forgiveness. I'm sure he did. Enjoy that afterlife!

      February 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Any sect of christianity is "unrecognizable" to those who agree that it is not christianty because their christianity is the correct version and all others is wrong.

      The bible is useless because it offers no verifiable method to determine proper interpretation. Thus, most interpretations are as valid as another.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The god of the bible and Hitler are excellent parallels. Hitler made the decision who was "chosen" and who was not, exactly as god decides who is a "vessel of wrath made for destruction" and who he set apart from before the foundations of the earth. As it is written:

      "18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." Romans 9

      February 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: no, again you are missing one of the central concerns. God is offering fire insurance or even acting as a vending machine – as you portray it.

      is the cross powerful enough to forgive even Hitler? yes. even Hitler. even me.
      is all it takes is a deathbed conversion? well, hard to argue with the thief on the cross next to Jesus.
      is that what Jesus is advocating? not at any level. he claims to be "the life" & "life abundant" (Jn.14:6; 10:10). to think, "well, i can have my fun & then just take the fire insurance at the end" is failing to understand Christianity at its core. instead, it's recognizing that the things you now celebrate that you won't give up in surrendering to God (as though that is the real joy of life) are actually the very things killing you (separating you from the Source of Life – both ultimately & daily).
      could Hitler have been saved? yes – but it would not simply be "hey, forgive me cause i'm dying" – rather suddenly becoming aware of how all the things he thought were really 'life' before were actually his ultimate & immediate undoing.

      in sum: you're seeing Jesus as fire insurance in case your real life is threatened. the Bible claims he IS Life.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If Jesus really was "life" christians would act completely different than they do. While the most important factor in my atheism is the bible, the second most important factor is the behavior of those who believe the book.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Schtick: 2 things you overstate here...

      1) it's not merely a few groups stating a few other groups are off here. a virtually unanimous voice across thousands of denominations & billions of people state that Hitler's so-called Christianity was anything but. Even his own inner ring stated as much. it was a tool. they lamented they did not have a different religion as 'better suited' for their uses (but again, that's how they saw it: not as genuine, but merely a tool).

      2) the only parallel here is that Hitler (like Satan in Isa.14:13-14) wanted to be God.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, not sure why you're off on such a tangent. Hitler was Christian. He sinned, like you, but I'm sure he honestly asked forgiveness with all his deepest hearts of heartiness right before his wife put the suicide pill in his mouth and shot him in the head. There isn't much more to say about this fine Christian example, Hitler.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Schtick: worthy objections... however, i'd call you to reconsider your key for interpreting the bible.
      the primary problem most have is reading the Bible as basically about themselves, instead of basically about what God has done (but that only makes sense since Christianity is the only religion making these sorts of claims).

      this might help...

      February 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: while wikipedia is not the greatest resource, it does give a compilation of a variety of scholarship. note the below page... especially the virtually unanimous view of the historical scholars here as well as Hitler's inner circle.

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

      February 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Russ, stop arguing about the molehill and accept that there's no way over the mountain.

      1. There is no way to verify that one interpretation is correct over another. The bible offers no mechanism for that determination. Otherwise, there'd be one christianity and not several hundred thousand different flavors.

      2. Per Romans 9, god does all the choosing, the believer and unbeliever have ZERO impact on the matter, so he's exactly like Hitler.

      3. Christians don't act in a way that expresses that they have anything other than another flavor of god belief like most people in the world. There's nothing that sets them apart.

      4. The bible shows god to be a stupid, childish brat who deserves his own hell if he won't destroy it himself. God, hell's creator, is the ONLY being worthy of such a consequence. He's the only one who could imagine such horror and make it happen.
      3.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Penn

      The point is very simple: the bible is a load of steaming hooey with a few historical anchors thrown in (that BTW present no proof of divine existence) so some particularly dumb folk don't see through it. Some particularly gullible folk also are good at making excuses for it, but hey, they buy certain stocks too...

      February 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, you're talking about the consensus that Hitler was Christian, right?

      Hitler was raised Catholic. In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches he made statements affirming a belief in Christianity. He called the purge of Jews "positive Christianity." While there is debate over his actual private feelings about the faith, he was a publicly practicing Christian. There exists no known evidence that Hitler was an atheist or agnostic. Again: evidence he was Christian; no evidence he was otherwise.

      Hitler said: "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

      The Reichskonkordat was a treaty signed on 20 July 1933 between the Holy See (Catholic Church) and Nazi Germany, guaranteeing the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, giving moral legitimacy to the Nazi regime soon after Hitler had acquired dictatorial powers, and placing constraints on Catholic critics of the regime, leading to a muted response by the Church to Nazi policies. Yes, the Catholic Church colluded with Nazis.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Schtick: this is the mountain. how one reads the Bible effectively changes everything. it'd be like watching Sixth Sense or Usual Suspects & turning it off before the last ten minutes (the big reveal). if you don't get the hermeneutical key, you probably miss everything.

      1) Jesus gives us the key in his own words – 'all of Scripture is about me' (Lk.24:27,44; Jn.5:39-40; etc.)

      2) we did the choosing when we rendered ourselves slaves to sin. we deserve Hell. God's choice is to save. that's his prerogative. and NOTABLY unlike Hitler, as the Author of Life, he is the only one with the right to make such a choice. And even the verse you quoted above points out: that's mercy (not justice). Justice would be giving us what we deserve & WANT: hell.

      As CS Lewis said: the gates of Hell are locked from the inside.
      or another: the theme song of Hell is Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way".

      the central downfall of humanity (according to the Bible) is wanting to be God. that's a choice we made that effectively ended our choice (as Martin Luther argued in 'bondage of the will' – not to mention Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, etc. – all following Paul's logic in Romans).

      3) certainly we have done plenty to prove the point that Christ needed to die in our place. and what sets us apart is not being better than others (which is what every other religion would claim). rather, the distinctive is in believing in what Christ did. but instead of arguing further here abotu Christians today, i'd point you to Rodney Stark's book: "Rise of Christianity" for a historical record of the distinctives of Christianity playing out in people who lived into the grace they articulated.

      4) your current understanding of Christianity supports your point. i'm asking you to reconsider your current understanding as it is clear you are not representing it in a form that Christians would advocate. you dont' have to agree with Christianity to be able to understand who we believe the Bible teaches God to be.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, I'm sorry but your misunderstanding of Christianity is keeping you from some pretty straight forward facts. Hitler was a true Christian from early in his life until the end. You are not. Hitler will relish the afterlife. You will end up in hell unless you become a true Christian.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      God's system proves he's a childish azzhole, Russ. That's the point. Only hellcreators deserve such torture as that.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: since you're not willing to go to the link, I'll post the material for you...

      --

      It was Goebbels' opinion that Hitler was "deeply religious but entirely anti-Christian."[37][38] In his diary Goebbels reported that Hitler believed Jesus "also wanted to act against the Je.wish world domination. Je.wry had him crucified. But Paul falsified his doctrine and undermined ancient Rome."[39] Albert Speer quotes Hitler stating, "You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Ja.panese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?"[40]

      -–

      Scholarly opinion
      According to Max Domarus Hitler promoted the idea of God as the creator of Germany, but Hitler "was not a Christian in any accepted meaning of that word."[52] Domarus also points out that Hitler did not believe in organized religion and did not see himself as a religious reformer.[52] According to historian Laurence Rees, "Hitler did not believe in the afterlife, but he did believe he would have a life after death because of what he had achieved."[53] Historian Richard Overy maintains that Hitler was not a "practising Christian," nor was he a "thorough atheist."[54] According to Robert S. Wistrich Hitler thought Christianity was finished but he did not want any direct confrontation for strategic reasons.[55] Samuel Koehne, a Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Research Insti.tute, working on the official Nazi views on religion, answers the question Was Hitler a Christian? thus: "Emphatically not, if we consider Christianity in its traditional or orthodox form: Jesus as the son of God, dying for the redemption of the sins of all humankind. It is a nonsense to state that Hitler (or any of the Nazis) adhered to Christianity of this form."[56] Koehne says Hitler was probably not an atheist and refers to the fact that recent works have as.serted that he was a deist.[56] Richard Evans concluded his statements on Hitler's religious views by suggesting that the gap between Hitler's public and private pronouncements was due to a desire not to cause a quarrel with the churches that might undermine national unity.[51]
      Richard Steigmann-Gall argues that even after a rupture with insti.tutional Christianity (which Steigmann-Gall dated to around 1937) Hitler continued to hold Jesus in high esteem, considering him to have been an Ar.yan fighter who struggled against Je.wry.[57] In Hitler's view, Jesus' true Christian teachings had been corrupted by the Apostle Paul, who had transformed them into a kind of Je.wish Bolshevism, which Hitler believed preached "the equality of all men amongst themselves, and their obedience to an only god. This is what caused the death of the Roman Empire."[58] Steigmann-Gall concluded Hitler was religious at least in the 1920s and early 1930s, citing him expressing a belief in God, divine providence, and Jesus as an Ar.yan opponent of the Je.ws.[59] However, he admits that by holding this position he "argues against the consensus that Nazism as a whole was either unrelated to Christianity or actively opposed to it."[60]

      February 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Moby Schtick: and yet even in saying that, you admit that some deserve punishment.
      if there is no ultimate Justice, what are we talking about?

      February 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • No hell. Ho heaven. No god. Just life.

      Frank Sinatra is in hell because he did it his way? You do realize that all the advancement in human history have been done by renegades who did it their way, right? Conformists don't get outside the box to find the interesting things.

      Conformism is an evil.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Russ

      @ no hell...
      you tell me: which is the more prevalent view today in American ideology – the Bible's blunt exclusivism or the notion that "believe whatever you want"?
      so, what were you saying about conformity being a great evil?

      February 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, why post other people's guesses about Hitler's Christianity? It doesn't matter what Goebbels or Speer thought when Hitler himself tells you his own thoughts, for goodness sake. Are you that dim?

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

      Hitler was raised Catholic. In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches he made statements affirming a belief in Christianity. He called the purge of Jews "positive Christianity." While there is debate over his actual private feelings about the faith, he was a publicly practicing Christian. There exists no known evidence that Hitler was an atheist or agnostic. Again: evidence he was Christian; no evidence he was otherwise.

      Hitler said: "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

      The Reichskonkordat was a treaty signed on 20 July 1933 between the Holy See (Catholic Church) and Nazi Germany, guaranteeing the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, giving moral legitimacy to the Nazi regime soon after Hitler had acquired dictatorial powers, and placing constraints on Catholic critics of the regime, leading to a muted response by the Church to Nazi policies. Yes, the Catholic Church colluded with Nazis.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: so, against the consensus of the scholars in the field who all note your quotes and in virtual unanimity see it as part of the charade, YOU have the clearer view. yes, I guess I'm the dim one for bringing up the rarity of a united view in the scholarship of people who've spent their lives studying these things – views which you refer to as "people's guesses."

      February 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, it isn't as if Hitler is 2000 years old and all we have are mythologized fables about him written by those who never met him. We have Hitler's own words about his own beliefs. I'm not sure why this is difficult for you.

      Why would we need to turn to what biased scholars may have to say on the matter, or "friends" that may have been around him. Hitler says he was a true Christian, so he was.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • clarity

      Russ, you seem to have wound back up at square one quoting this person and that person in trying to essentially define a Christian with Hitler as the test case of the moment. Just recently we saw some Lutheran minister being chastised by his superior for participating in a service for the victims in Newtown. His sect, which considers gay relations an abomination grew out of the same sect as another larger sect that is already performing gay marriage. That's just some of the Lutherans. And just one issue.

      You may consider these differences minor differences against your version of the Christian message, but I assure you, these kinds of differences are precisely what many of us are completely unwilling to put up with, at least as far as we can control via our vote. I'm sure if Christianity were more founded, then many of us that grew up in it and studied it would have found a way to let it guide us, but that's the thing, not only is it horribly splintered, it is very unfounded and conflicted. I would contend that it is splintered because it is very unfounded and conflicted. We constantly hear the different interpretations and frequently one will say many of the differences are not important. But somehow they do wind up being important to this group or that group and ultimately in a way that will disenfranchise or put down someone. It is more splintered now than it was ~200 years ago when Jefferson said:

      Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: please tell me you're kidding.

      so, disregarding what his inner circle of friends have said... disregarding what virtually all those who have studied Hitler extensively have said... YOU have greater clarity here than they do? though 70 years after the fact, with no personal experience of him (unlike his friends) nor a lifelong study of him (like the scholars), YOU have better insight than such "biased" people?

      and that's not even to mention the primary reason virtually everyone who studies Hitler sees this – his actions COMPLETELY contradict the CORE of Christianity (not just occasional failings, not just peripheral concerns – but central tenets). see, when the terrorist flies a plane into the building, it doesn't matter how much he said "I'm pro-America" before he left the airport. if i might be so cliche... actions speak louder than words.

      and that's precisely why there is such agreement here. by your reckoning, Hitler should have had some accountability within the Christian faith. as it was, he clearly regarded it as a tool and charade by all accounts – those he threw in the concentration camps (including Christians who stood by actual biblical beliefs), his inner ring, and scholars today. your view fails to make sense of ANY of that. in the prevailing scholarly view, all the pieces fit. Ockham's razor?

      February 21, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Zwei Stein

      NAZIism. Do you know what NAZI is??? I don't think you do. And HITLER? How dare you judge another mortal? You don't remember the words of Jesus Christ? Hell, I'm not even a Christian and I know more about it than you! Judgement is not yours. Vengeance is not yours. Turn the other cheek...that's yours, Christian! And you better not be in favor of or partake in any wars or violence against others. The hell that mortal man has constructed is waiting your arrival.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ clarity: you are speaking of American Christianity – but clearly not internationally. in the 200 years since Jefferson, Christianity has continued to grow exponentially. just take Africa as an example. in 1900, there were under 10 million Christians. in 2000, there were over 380 million – outpacing population growth by 7-10x (according to Yale scholar Lamen Sanneh), and outpacing Islam's growth by 4x. That's not to speak of Latin America, China & India.

      And as I said before, there certainly are differences among peripheral beliefs, but the key identifiers for Christianity (the central tenets historically) are ALL there – as they have been for at least 1800 years (if one simply goes with the Apostle's Creed), even longer if you go with Pauline statements. yes, there are Protestants, Catholics & Orthodox, but all 3 major branches agree on these central things.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, I'm running out of ways to make this clear to you. Your reading comprehension is something you may want to work on. Hitler has the best clarity on what Hitler believed. Not me, you, his friends or scholars. We have Hitler's own views on the topic. He was a true Christian who believed he was doing God's work.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • clarity

      Russ – while my quote at the end did pertain to Jefferson's momentary frustration around the time of the founding of the U.S. government, you seem to have ignored the core part of my post, and perhaps that exemplifies why there is still conflict today among Christians is because the glaring reality is that they shy away from admitting the differences and the conflicted interpretations of their "Word". If the differences were not so important, then you would not have people arguing over gay rights, abortion, contraception, the death penalty, etc. etc. Christian want to put everyone else in the crossfire of those issues and then when approached about it, they want to pretend like they are one big happy family. Well, you have your opinion and I have mine, as we also do with votes. I happen to think the over 30,000 denominations have bred insanity.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Clarity: as I've said multiple different ways now – I'm conceding your point on peripheral issues. Where I'm pushing back is on central tenets. If anything, you are demonstrating my argument by stating the WIDE disparity on so MANY nuanced opinions across billions of people – AND YET still ALL AGREE on these central tenets.

      an off the cuff analogy from politics: there are vast differences on the political landscape, but virtually everyone agrees on the geography (that America is made up of 50 states, 3 branches of govt, etc.) – and you don't even have to agree with capitalism or democracy to see that. the same is true here on what Christianity is. it's why 2 billion people put their faith in Jesus instead of themselves. it's a central tenet of the faith. you don't have to be a Christian to see that it unites them under one heading.

      There are more Christians now than there ever have been, in a greater variety of contexts than ever before. The variances range from mere nuanced cultural expressions to substantive theological debates – but virtually ALL agree in the central tenets of the faith. You can't have it both ways – the diversity you continue to emphasize only casts in stark relief the fact that there is such unity (in the basics of the Christian faith) across diverse regions, contexts, ethnicities, etc.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: yes, and we have Bernie Madoff's own opinion's, too, and yet everyone can see he was a con man.
      That's the very point: when all the scholarship, his inner circle, his actions & practice all point to one unmistakable conclusion...

      Honestly, you sound like Neville Chamberlain. He took Hitler's words at face value & declared "peace in our time" after the Munich Agreement in 1938. Is that really the position you want to take?

      February 22, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • clarity

      Well I could care less about your central tenets. Personally, I find then to not be of a sufficient enough foundation to warrant all of the persecution and bigotry that we only see more of today from Christian extremism. What I care about is guarding the wall of separation that protects law in the U.S. from influence by religion. See you at the polls, Russ.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Russ

      @ clarity: you just changed the whole discussion. this wasn't about the polls. it was about wrongly identifying Nazism with Christianity. my hope is not in getting the right party into power. that's the reason Jesus said to Peter "put your sword away." and yet another reason that Hitler's attempted wielding of Christianity was so contrary to who Jesus is and what he taught.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      It really is amazing how much spin the religious toss out in the hopes of hiding the immorality and evil in their own religion.

      February 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: if you are not religious (having no objective moral standard), on what basis do you declare good & evil? either you have such a standard (making your statement self-indicting and hypocritical) or you have no basis to judge (making your statement self-contradictory).

      February 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      Not accepting the assertion of an objective moral standard does not mean I have no moral standard. THe rheotric of "atheists can't be moral" bullshit is so vapid it's pathetic. I decide my own moral standard, and I choose to follow the standard in the society I live in as well. I call the bible immoral because I find the acceptance and rule setting for slavery immoral. I find the command to take sex slaves from conquered cities immoral, and I find the concept of eternal punishment for something like not believing the correct interpretation of a book that cannot be verified on nothing but faith to be incredibly immoral.

      Just because you apparently can't decide to be a decent person without the threats of your religion doesn't make everyone who doesn't agree immoral, or incapable of morality.

      February 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      1) i'm not saying you have NO moral standard. i'm saying your position is inconsistent with your supposed foundation. you are claiming there is no greater moral basis – so why feel the need to fabricate one?

      2) your method for reading the Bible fails to see how the overarching story changes the meaning of every page.

      it's like watching the Sixth Sense or Usual Suspects & turning it off before you get the last scene – the key to understanding everything in the movie. otherwise, unless you were especially insightful, you misunderstood everything that was presented before. you missed the key, so you necessarily interpret these events contrary to their actual meaning.

      Jesus rather bluntly says he is the key – that the whole Bible is about him (Lk.24:27,44; Jn.5:39-40). he's telling that to bible scholars in John 5. why? they think it's about keeping the rules when it is about having a relationship with the Living God – not one of human fabrication (to which one might say: "i just don't like how you did that...") nor one that never gets personal (who can tell you things you DON'T want to hear – otherwise, no real transformation is possible).

      the key to the whole Bible is understanding who God is – which is most clearly and succinctly given at the cross.

      i think i've given this to you before, but watch this video. it's an entirely different way to read the Bible – not as a rulebook, but rather as a narrative of God interacting with broken people like us, and repeatedly showing us who he is.

      now, in light of that – what does that mean for se.x slaves? what is God saying about the brokenness of our world? is God for polygamy? if you read Genesis and see some took multiple wives, you might begin to think that – until you notice that everyone who does that finds that their lives fall apart as a result (and that's not to mention that God explicitly condemns it in other places).

      how do read such passages of judgment & horrible violence (2 Kgs.2:23-25; Ps.137:10)?
      very clearly the Bible is saying: thru the cross (1 Cor.2:2).
      over & over again, God shows us who we are & who he is.

      the cross says two things very clearly:
      1) we are worse off than we want to admit (we deserve to die)
      2) we are much more loved than we ever dared hope (he was willing to die in our place)

      February 22, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      It's so pathetic. "Look at it in the way that makes it all good, then that will make it all good". Sorry, but if this book that is supposed to be inspired by a god is so stupidly put together that you need the special glasses and the special mindset and the special everything to make it all good, then that's a failure of that being, and wouldn't be worth worshipping anyway.

      "you are claiming there is no greater moral basis – so why feel the need to fabricate one?"
      When did I say that's what I was doing? I don't recall that.

      Who the god of the bible is is clear throughout the entire bible. He is a petty, self-righteous little kid with too much power that will throw a big tantrum if you don't do what he wants. Your god is a pathetic bully with absolutely no redeeming qualities.

      February 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:
      1) petty, self-righteous kids don't die for their enemies.
      that's who the Bible says God is. the cross & the resurrection.
      it's the basic storyline – and it's on every page. that's what you're missing.

      2) you said you do not "accept the assertion of an objective moral standard."
      did i misunderstand that? you believe openly that there is no transcendent moral standard – nothing objective whereby everything else can be measured.

      to come at it from the opposite side (as Kierkegaard did): truth is subjectivity in such an understanding. or to be cliche: "everything is relative" to your particular moral grid – but again, that's an admission that your grid is basically unique to you... or as I said before: a moral grid that you have fabricated.

      February 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      1) God didn't die, a human shell died after a few hours (which isn't even the worst torture that's gone on in the world), and that part of god got to go back to being god. It was not a sacrifice, it was a discomfort. And the very concept of death by proxy is wholly immoral as well. If I kill someone and girlfriend goes to jail for me, that's immoral.

      2) " you are claiming there is no greater moral basis – so why feel the need to fabricate one?"
      The part in bold is what I was talking about. Somehow I think you knew that.

      So, are you asking why I have morals at all, or why I created a greater moral basis (which I didn't do at all). You're switching the scope over and over.

      February 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      1) are you attempting to represent the actual biblical position, or your own version of the events?

      the classic Christian understanding of the Trinity does not see this as a 'mere discomfort', but the greatest possible cost. The Trinity does not fracture (as if God somehow stopped being who He's always been), but it's clear that Jesus IN EVERY HUMAN WAY endured hell as we would have (not in some anesthetized form), and MOREOVER experienced the rejection of his Father (for the ONLY time in existence).

      that is an infinitely more costly event than we – as mere creatures – can conceive (in terms of a Creator/creature distinction, we only understand this by analogy).

      2) you claim you didn't create a greater moral basis... and yet you have 'moral outrage' at my position.
      upon what basis can you claim that? what foundation or perspective warrants that?
      existentially speaking, if you believe all is subjective, what basis do you have for that claim?

      that's what i mean by fabricating a false position. it's not consistent with your articulated framework.
      either you have a basis that TRANSCENDS individuals (justifying judging other's morality as good/evil/etc.) or you do not. you seem to want to have both. that's inconsistent. either there IS or there IS NOT a transcendent moral basis.

      if you believe there is: how is that not an objective basis? (against what you said earlier)
      if there is not: on what basis do you speak to good & evil in others when you are claiming there is no such transcendent thing to which one might hold others accountable? (in other words: you are fabricating a false compass that is not consistent with your own metaphysical presuppositions)

      February 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      1) Complete nonsense. All the spin in the world can't change what is presented clearly. What hell did Jesus endure? He had to eat, sleep and what not for 30 years out of his eternity? Please, the "sacrifice" is a pathetic concept.

      2) Wow, this is just completely out there. So apparently, according to you, in order to make any moral judgement, you have to have a "transendent" moral basis? That's moronic, not to mention that it confirms what I first said, that you're saying that people who don't accept your god cannot have a moral basis, and cannot make any moral judgement.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      1) the Bible states very clearly that Jesus was fully human. as such, he endured all that should have come to us – in a fully human way. and the clear & primary definition of Hell is separation from God's love/grace/favor. again, now we are speaking (within the Biblical framework) of the only truly good & sinless person in history (the only one to deserve favor) losing his just reward in order to give it to others.

      again, you don't have to agree to understand what we believe.

      and per your thoughts on sacrifice, do you not believe in parenting? parenting is DAILY giving up my life for the sake of my child (unless of course, sinfully I invert this – which I do all too often).

      2) no, i'm not claiming no one else has a moral basis. you have repeatedly protested that anything "religious" is evil. ironically, it is that position that is self-contradictory – as Nietzsche & Sartre knew very well.

      other religions ARE claiming a transcendent moral basis. it is the atheist who explicitly cannot by definition.
      AND in order to believe there is a moral basis *upon which others should be judged* is to claim there is something OUTSIDE the individual to which they could be held accountable.

      but instead of me arguing that, hear it from some of the best known atheist minds...

      Jean Paul Sartre:
      "Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself.... Nor, on the other hand, if God does not exist, are we provided with any values or commands that could legitimize our behavior."

      Friedrich Nietzsche's Parable of the Madman:
      http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/nietzsche-madman.asp

      February 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Jeff

      "other religions ARE claiming a transcendent moral basis. it is the atheist who explicitly cannot by definition.
      AND in order to believe there is a moral basis *upon which others should be judged* is to claim there is something OUTSIDE the individual to which they could be held accountable."

      One problem with God is that we cannot know with absolute certainty whether God exists or not. It might be better now to act as if God does not exist and does not interfere in human morality. Perhaps our moral dilemmas would be one step closer to being solved if this were to happen.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Jeff: you might want to read Ernest Becker's "Denial of Death" (won a pulitzer).
      whole point being: if only for this life we live, we have to cram all our significance into it – which is a weight it cannot uphold. (it's no longer just money/job/family, it has to be my ultimate meaning.) Becker argued that is absolutely crushing.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Jeff : It might be better now to act as if God does not exist and does not interfere in human morality.

      Without looking at any evidence, there is a 50% chance that God doesn't exist. If you invest your life into this belief, your cost is finite and your expected value (if true) is finite. If you invest your life into Christianity, the cost is also finite, but the expected value (if true) is infinite. The latter is the better choice.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • clarity

      IMHO Russ that is just self-serving but mostly it's just silly to think we have any kind of clue what our importance in the universe might be. As soon as one falls into that trap that ancient men, scared of their own shadows fell into, all of a sudden everything becomes very self-serving; and I'm not talking about the notion that one would like to think there is something greater than self, but rather that man with "God's" essence embodied within him is the center of the universe – that our planet is the most important planet in the universe, that this "God" must be of our image – all that self-serving bull. I'm not opposed to the notion of a creator or a creating force as a possibility, perhaps even something by its very nature is something that was in this universe but is no longer; but beyond that, mankind has not shown anything credible for us to believe in the Abrahamic god.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • clarity

      @L4H – That's silly. 50% you're saying for the possibility of a deity. Not sure I agree with that, but regardless – when you jump to Christianity then you're claiming the God of Israel and there's about as much chance of that version of "God" as there is that Joseph Smith's claims are true. Quite a different notion that you so easily slipped into there . . .

      February 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Russ

      @ clarity: we're not talking about heliocentric versus geocentric theories of the universe. this is not a spatial consideration of humanity's relative importance (as if geographical center denoted that).

      no, simply put: if Jesus is who he said he was (namely, God), it's a game changer. the rest of this discussion is somewhat secondary in comparison. we could be in the far corner of the remotest section of the universe. If God chose to enter time & take on a fully human existence (and it wasn't contrary to his nature & intent from before time was created), that necessarily states certain things about humanity.

      again, if Jesus is who he said he was, if he rose from the dead, then it changes everything.
      if not, then yes – as Paul said: we are the biggest fools ever.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ I believe Hitler's claim to Christianity in the same way I believe any other Christian's claim to it. Each claims no other has as "true" a version but it's just a game to shun the ones you want. Everything in religion is a shell game to shun whomever you feel appropriate at the moment, then again claim them back into the religion when it suits.

      Hitler was a Christian with a dark side. But he clearly felt he was doing your God's work. He's a fine example of the end result of Chrsitian rule if left to its desires. Congrats on that fine worldview!

      February 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Russ

      @ end religion:
      as I said above, you and neville chamberlain had the same surface level read on Hitler.
      at least chamberlain eventually realized his mistake.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      Live4It I am actually surprised to see you use pascal's wager. My esteem for you just dropped yet again.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, your points had been at least meaningful attempts up to now. Believing Hitler's words about doing God's work has nothing to do with believing his words about his attempts at control. This is just a desperate grasp on your part. As I'm sure you know, and most religious people demonstrate, their belief in their god may cause them to lie in its furtherance. Lying for Jesus isn't a catchy marketing phrase, its a well known tactic accepted by the church.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      John 8: 24
      "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins."
      Jesus obviously claimed divinity, so by definition could not have been all human.
      Hell is well defined in your own bible, and the namby pamby "seperation from god" bullshit is not it.
      Your little part on parenting is no more to the point than if I were to start talking about my desk.

      2) Ever hear of community? People follow agreed upon rules and "morals" in their community to insure peaceful cohabitation. This is ultimately what every civilization in the world has used. The transcendent argument is merely a tool used by some in order to claim that their way has a big bad deity so they should be able to impose what they think on everyone. You equating outside an individual with "transcendent" is no different.

      I also couldn't care less what Sartre said because I think he was wrong there. Within the scope of intrinsic values, then all things could be equal, but from a societal and practical standpoint, that's just plain stupid.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • clarity

      I would be interested at this point to know what Russ thinks of the head of the Westboro Baptist Church. Is he a Christian? I suppose if he met those minimum requirements that Russ indicated earlier, he would say yes, and I probably wouldn't argue with him, but we all know how twisted those people are in the views that Russ doesn't seem to think matters in his definition. It would just confirm my Jefferson quote and the overall problem I have with the conflicted nature of the religion.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion:
      on the contrary, even your sentence structure betrays the opposite. Hitler's use of words has everything in common across all platforms – his penchant to use any means necessary to accomplish his primary goal: power.

      that's why you find your interpretation here not only at odds with the scholarship, Hitler's inner circle, Hitler's actions – but by all accounts: Hitler himself. Did you read Speer's quote from Hitler about Christianity? Why are you so trusting of Hitler's words as conveyed by others but NOT his inner circle?

      again, this is not Hitler's actual words vs. my interpretation of his actions (as you keep wanting to portray it) – this is your interpretation of Hitler's words/actions vs. the virtual consensus of scholars.

      February 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • .

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited."

      -Adolf Hitler, 12 April 1922

      February 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Russ, I never said or implied that "some deserve punishment." I wrote that the only one who deserves hell is the one who thought it up and made it. There are no hellcreators. I see a parallel between Hitler's behavior in commanding torture and mythical god's behavior in commanding torture.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Dot, I was disappointed when Jesus didn't actually take on Satan physically – implying, perhaps, that he couldn't and we shouldn't try.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Really-O?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      1) I never said he wasn't also God. you jumped to that conclusion by ignoring the classic, orthodox view Christianity has articulated for 2000 years.

      Yes, he claimed divinity (at least 7 "I Am" statements in John, for example – "I Am" = YHWH). He also articulated the Trinity repeatedly in his last week of life (Jn.14-16) – distinguishing himself from the Father & the Holy Spirit... yet affirming the OT (which states clearly there is only one God).

      Again, you don't have to agree with Christianity to acknowledge our historical understanding of these things. It's a straw man response you are giving when you clearly are aware of so many other aspects of our faith.

      and parenting has everything to do with self-sacrifice – a notion which you out of hand dismissed as "evil." the analogy is relevant in that you yourself (in so far as you love your children – if you have any) do the very thing you are maligning as evil.

      2) community itself presses the very question: upon what basis do you have ANYTHING to do with others? why would you? for survival? to use the group to further optimization of your DNA for propagation in the gene pool? (again, all self-serving forms since clearly you believe any form of self-sacrifice is evil)

      the whole notion of community screams out for the underlying purpose. and that's my point: what's the greater purpose? you claim there is not one – but there must be one agreed upon in order to HAVE community.

      and now we come back to the point to which you objected: you are fabricating a transcendent norm. science at no point is able to tell you what is good or evil. you are making it up because you believe there is no such objective determinant. so, why feel the need to make it up?

      and in regard to sartre & nietzsche: both understood that what passes for nihilism often is just a commercialized form that is not honest about the real implications. that's the point of the parable of the madman (which you apparently didn't read) as well. It's the reason he has the madman jump up & silence all the supposed atheists who mock him at first. read the parable: it's barely more than a page. look at how the madman calls them out for not following their own presuppositions to their logical conclusions.

      obviously, i deeply disagree with sartre & nietzsche on the ultimate reality of the world – but i respect their honest, piercing evaluation of their own atheistic presuppositions. and it's that critique that sets them apart from those who simply use atheism as a cover for "whatever I want" without regard to logic.

      actually, to bleed over to clarity's question... it's not all that different from Westboro Baptist Church's use of Christianity or Hitler's, for that matter. it's a religion (in Westboro & Hitler's case) or atheism (as Nietzsche & Sartre criticize it) that only speaks against others, but NEVER calls the owner out. you are disgusted with others – but what about yourself?

      and that's the difference. at what point does your morality call you to actual change? it can't. it's just a self-projection. at least Nietzsche & Sartre's version pressed them to own the consequences of their logic against what they 'wanted.' and honestly, that's the same standard I hold Westboro Baptist to if they are going to be called Christian and not merely hypocrite. at what point does their faith call them to account? seems to me the Good News of Jesus starts with repentance... and tells me I'm as messed up as anybody else on the planet – at the very same time as it tells me his love is bigger than my mess.

      so i've mixed my responses to you & clarity – but there it is.
      @hawaiiguest: at what point can your own morality call you to change if it is not transcendent – or do you believe you are perfect the way you are?
      @clarity: while it is possible that some of Westboro Baptist's folks actually have a relationship with Jesus, the way their teachings are consistently articulated (with no personal repentance of their own) makes me question if they are not doing the same thing Hitler did... so yes, decent analogy.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Schtick: since you don't believe in God, I assumed you were attributing that sentiment at those who you believed invented Christianity (as well as many other religions with some conception of Hell).

      but the thought stands: do some deserve punishment or not? racists? pedophiles? mass murderers?
      should the punishment fit the crime?
      if so, if there is a God (the one thing of infinite worth), what would be appropriate punishment for those who tried to kill God (according to the Bible: all of us)?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Russ

      @ .
      Lance Armstrong also said he never took performance enhancers...

      Again, read the quotes i posted above from scholars & Hitler's own inner circle. why would lifelong scholars on Hitler almost unanimously come to the opposite conclusion from you when they are exponentially more aware of Hitler's life & quotes than you are?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Robin

      "those who simply use atheism as a cover for "whatever I want" without regard to logic"

      Your assumptions are based on a lie.

      "and that's the difference. at what point does your morality call you to actual change? it can't."

      Your assumption are based on a lie.

      Poor Russ just continues to make an ass out of themselves.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • JustForLaughs

      "if so, if there is a God (the one thing of infinite worth), what would be appropriate punishment for those who tried to kill God (according to the Bible: all of us)?"

      If so, if there is a Santa Claus, what would be appropriate punishment for those who tried to kill Santa Claus?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Other One: you might want to read Rev.20. Hell is not the place where Satan rules, but where Satan is punished.

      There is a showdown in the end, and as CS Lewis depicted in his Narnia Chronicles... the Lion dies once to save everyone else, but when the time comes, it is no fight. One pounce and the evil Queen is dead.

      Or read Job 1 for that matter – Satan & God are not equals or anything close to it in the Bible.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Robin: i welcome your arguments, but simply saying "that's a lie" is not an argument. my faith is immaterial to Nietzsche & Sartre's critique. if you are an atheist, how do you deal with their self-criticism? obviously, they stayed atheists, but not in a form recognizable to the average atheist on this blog.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Robin

      "@ Robin: i welcome your arguments, but simply saying "that's a lie" is not an argument."

      It's called laws idiot, which is why atheists don't just do as they want. You are making up crap to justify your position about atheists, but it doesn't mean it's actually true. It's why atheists have been found to have happier and healthier marriages than conservative Christians, we have morals but they aren't based on a sky fairy.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Duh

      Robin, Russ belongs to a cult and is too brainwashed to think rationally don't waste your time because assumptions is all Christians are good at.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Laughs:
      while Santa Claus is a figure of myth, the real Nicholas was a Christian who became highly regarded because of his charity. But he also was well known as a defender of Christian orthodoxy. he actually slapped a guy once (Arius) for insinuating that Jesus was not actually God. i'm not advocating that is faithful to Jesus (who said to Peter "put away your sword") – but your question is actually answerable historically...

      St Nicholas himself knew Jesus died to save him – and Jesus' death was of infinite value, though "Santa" himself deserved hell apart from what Christ did for him. While Nicholas' death would be a human tragedy, it would still merely be the death of a sinful man. Nicholas himself knew Jesus' death was something entirely different.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Russ

      No. You assume incorrectly. My point is that logic implies that the only consciousness who is worthy of hell would be the mind who conceives it and creates it. Such a being does not exist.

      I do not consider it my place to judge who does or does not deserve punishment, but rather, I consider that the job of society as a whole. I find eternal judgment to be a silly concept, though.

      If there is a god, it can do whatever is within its power, exactly as any other being can do whatever is in its power. As to what is appropriate, I can only speak from my perspective, and I find the "logic" of the god of the bible to be laughably stupid and horrifyingly petty and vindictive.

      Nobody is trying to "kill god" as there would have to be some being who we agreed was "god" in order to go about attempting to "kill" it. There's no being that we can prove exists as god, so it's silly to talk about trying to do things to it. We may as well discuss our feelings towards those who are attempting to clip the wings of the tooth fairy. What a stupid suggestion.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Robin: it's atheists who are criticizing your position, Robin. and not just run of the mill atheists, but some of the most historically respected ones: Sartre & Nietzsche.

      if you were calling me out by the biggest names in Christian history, that's something I would need to reckon with. I might still disagree with them (those outside of the Bible), but you would rightfully be able to hold my feet to the fire with my OWN beliefs.

      I'm simply being consistent with you on YOUR beliefs. what is your response to Nietzsche & Sartre's criticism of your atheism? are you aware that those who've gone before you & – in all likelihood – thought more deeply than you about atheism find your position untenable for an honest atheist?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Schtick: to claim "such a being does not exist" is a claim of 'strong atheism'.
      i hope you realize that is self-defeating. the only way to make such a claim is to be omniscient yourself.

      so which is it? are you claiming omniscience or are you making the same kind of faith leap that you criticize in the religious?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • JustForLaughs

      I am sure if St Nicholas knew how the story of his life got blown out of proportion to become a national holiday he would be appalled. The same thing can be said of the story of Jesus. You will continue to make excuses about your fictitious book of your religion. But the rule still applies in my original post. You can spew all the additional words you want but it doesn't make your Jesus any more real than the version of Santa Claus we celebrate today. So I say kill them both and the consequences will be the same.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Laughs:
      no one in the field of biblical studies (including agnostics & atheists like Bart Ehrman) doubt that Jesus existed. Just read Ehrman's foreword in his new book "Did Jesus Exist?"

      then the question becomes: what do you do with evidence that even atheists acknowledge means there was a man who started all this?

      again, have you read the material? aside from the Gospel accounts themselves, I'd encourage you to read these two books:
      Richard Bauckham, "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses"
      NT Wright, "The Resurrection of the Son of God"

      as CS Lewis (the former atheist) said...
      “In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere — "Bibles laid open, millions of surprises," as Herbert says, "fine nets and stratagems." God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."

      February 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Robin

      "it's atheists who are criticizing your position, Robin. and not just run of the mill atheists, but some of the most historically respected ones: Sartre & Nietzsche."

      You are trying to apply the philosophies of Sartre & Nietzsche to all atheists. Nietzsche and Sartre were not applying their ideas to every sphere of human behavior but only to areas of specific concern for the two philosophers. That's why your assumptions are based on lies to justify your version of reality and YOUR version of truth, doesn't mean it's the right truth.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • JustForLaughs

      "no one in the field of biblical studies (including agnostics & atheists like Bart Ehrman) doubt that Jesus existed. Just read Ehrman's foreword in his new book "Did Jesus Exist?" "

      Yup, like I said you'll continue to make up excuses, I never said Jesus didn't exist. Duh! I said the stories about him are ficti</b.tious, just like the stories of Santa Claus today are fictitious. That's why kill them both and the consequences will be the same.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Robin: no, I'd encourage you to actually read them. they are not just talking about their particular discipline.

      seriously, it'll take you 3 minutes to read the parable of the madman. it's one page. read it. Nietzsche is criticizing ALL atheists for not following through the logic.

      here... i'll even post it for you...
      ---–
      THE MADMAN--Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"-As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?-Thus they yelled and laughed

      The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him-you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

      "How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us-for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

      Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars-and yet they have done it themselves.

      It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

      February 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Laughs: did you not read the next paragraph I wrote?
      I gave you two lengthy scholarly works examining the EVIDENCE.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Robin

      Russ, I don't care what those two philosophers said. There are two countries that are now becoming more non-religious and they are the most productive, healthiest and happiest countries on the planet. It's a sign that you don't need a god to have morals and have a community that lives in harmony. Your religion does not promote this nor are your as</b.sumptions using these philosophers about atheist true. But, I know your ego will continue to dismiss all that we write to you because you've lost the ability to learn. Got to go, but it's sad to know people like you exists in the world.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • JustForLaughs

      "sigh" Russ wants to play the expert game again... what a waste. Should I post all the books written about Santa proving he can fly and delivers presents too all the kids in the world. Do I need to post all the books that list gods that have risen from the dead and walk among the humans really? It will just keep us going round and round. There is more evidence that the bible is not a real book but Christians will hold their hands to their eyes and ears singing LA....La...LA..... it's NOT true.

      Good luck in your cult dude, but the worms are going to love you when you die. LOL!

      February 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Robin

      @JustForLaughs

      I see we both made the same mistake trying to get past the word filter. Too funny.

      I really wish they'd fix the word filters so you don't have to write code to get by it.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Robin: your self-projection is astounding. in all my notes to you, i never pressed my faith upon you – i simply encouraged you to read other atheists who've gone before you... and yet you accuse me of refusing to learn?

      i even posted a passage from nietzsche for you to engage (without having even to click a link), yet you didn't engage ANY of his content. you simply made a pragmatic appeal...

      if you can't hear criticism from your own camp, who can you hear it from?

      February 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Robin

      "i simply encouraged you to read other atheists who've gone before you"

      The madman letters where written by a madman or did you not bother to look at the history of Nietzsche, he had a mental breakdown. To equate atheists to someone like that is why I find you appalling.

      Good bye.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Laughs:
      no, i'm not playing the expert game (by which I assume you mean name-dropping as a cover for content). i'm actually encouraging you to read it. this isn't about who has a better bibliography – this is the most foundational discussion we can have... why we are here, who we are, etc. your metaphysical presuppositions by definition affect everything else.

      listen, if you don't think you have time to actually read the whole books, read good book reviews or find summaries. at least a good summary will get you started. then you can engage the underlying arguments. i'm not trying to end run you here – I'm encouraging you to actually engage the content.

      for example, here's a shorter article on the reliability of the NT texts...
      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/03/21/an-interview-with-daniel-b-wallace-on-the-new-testament-manuscripts/

      and Bauckham has a new shorter version out called "Jesus, a very brief introduction" – which is only about 150pgs instead of the 500 page scholarly work.

      check it out. it's not a name drop game – it's all about the actual content.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Robin: Nietzsche didn't do any writing after he went mad.
      i'm glad you did a little research, but go deeper – not just looking for something that enables you to dismiss it. if you take your beliefs seriously, look into them. don't just do whatever is convenient. i'm telling you that as a Christian who gets his butt kicked on a regular basis by those who better understand my faith than i do.
      if you are going to live by this stuff, take it seriously. see where it goes.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      " it's all about the actual content."

      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 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Nate

      @Robin

      Nietzsche lived a life of pure skepticism, went utterly insane because of this, but no doubt ended up a God. ;-)

      February 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Smith: while you are right to note genre, you are making a false dichotomy.
      certainly genre affects how content is understood, but to claim these things are a-historical is simply ignoring what is being said & how it affected history from the events themselves – especially when it comes to the Gospels.

      Read Luke 1:1-4 or 1 John 1:1-3 or 1 Corinthians 15:1-3. These are all making historical claims about Jesus – especially Luke who is telling us outright that he labored to gather all the eyewitness accounts. Paul is stating (within 20 years of Jesus death) an annotated bibliography of witnesses – inviting fact-checking. He even claims the risen Jesus appeared to over 500 people at once. certainly many of them would still be alive.

      moreover, Jesus himself claims that all of Scripture is about him – that's BOTH an historical claim (that over 1200 years of preceding statements IN history point to him) and a theological claim (I am God – relate to God through me).

      And then there's the archeology. Sure, circ.umstantial – but supporting the Bible nonetheless. Hitt.ites? they don't exist said the critical scholars. And then... discovered. Gospel of John? no real knowledge of Jerusalem, can't be firsthand. Then they found the Pool of Bethesda – five columns, right where he said it was... destroyed in 70 AD, so clearly someone with firsthand knowledge.

      And then there's NEW studies – statistical analysis of names in differing regions which shifted not only by decade but also by location. And now, over 2000 years later, we JUST NOW have the capacity to check the accuracy of the names by region – including use of identifiers. guess what? dead on, every time. someone making up the names at a later date could not have been accurate. the argument that the Gospel writers were decades separated from the events disappears.

      here's a lecture on the recent study on the statistical analysis of names...

      the writers clearly had accurate, firsthand knowledge of the historical period in which they wrote. which begins to out the next issue... could this all be fabricated? is it just a myth?

      well, aside from the fact that there isn't enough time for a myth to arise (eyewitnesses in the region were still alive), there's the whole issue of GENRE (which you already raised). fiction as a whole (much less MYTH) did not take such forms of descriptive detail for another 1700 years...

      CS Lewis gave an essay on this (which I'd encourage you to read) as a lifelong expert on myth, presented to scholars in the field of biblical studies.
      http://orthodox-web.tripod.com/papers/fern_seed.html

      here's a sample making that very point (among others)...
      "I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage – though it may no doubt contain errors – pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned to read."

      February 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Nate; no, Nietzsche went insane from syphilis, likely contracted from his singular encounter with a prosti.tute when he was a soldier, and probably further contributing to his misogyny.

      again, his logic holds. if you are a casual atheist, his critique is devastating.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Diabolical Mimicry

      oops, Satan did it – it wasn't us! lol.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • .

      Russ is trying to argue with the world's largest research centers. Poor idiot, making more excuses for their deluded state.

      February 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  16. Keith

    What platform? Oh, you mean hanging on for dear life until every person in the uneducated world realizes that you aren't a qb?

    February 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      I am normally a Tebow basher (plenty of good reasons to go there), but have to give the kid credit on this one. I am not religious but have no problem with people who have such beliefs. Jeffress is a whole other thing– outright bigotry trying to masquerade as religious piety.

      Tebow was smart enough to see the value of his beliefs, without having to take sides with a known extremist.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  17. E.J. Germond

    "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

    February 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Matt

      You unfortunately don't understand the context of this verse.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Sas

      I wonder who his mistress/boyfriend is? These pastoral outbursts seem to follow a certain pattern. Seems he protests too much

      February 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  18. Tom

    Tim Tebow is a lost cause in my book. Did he major in Dumb while in college?

    February 21, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I think it was religion... but... you say tomato...

      February 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  19. nunya

    John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    February 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Athy

      Why do we need to be commanded to love one another? Seems to me it's a natural human trait developed by evolution to help in our survival.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Athy: those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.

      Many said the same sort of thing as the 20th century began – that humanity was inherently good & developing beyond such things...

      not only that, but if 'love' is only in service of survival, that certainly calls into question what most would consider 'love' – especially in any self-sacrificial form.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Self-sacrificing love, helps the survival of the species overall, Russ, which is what evolution is all about.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Russ

      @ freethinker: ah yes, but now it calls into question the reality of love – since it is actually no longer an expression toward another, but rather to USE the other for optimization of the gene pool. instead of Love directed at the original object, it is now a love of one's own DNA in the gene pool. again: that's self-serving – not self-sacrificial.

      per that thought, note well the argument beginning around the 2:30 mark...

      February 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  20. David V

    @Akira

    And yes, the Nazis were radical centrists if anything.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Woof!

      Radical centerists? Really? You really want to go with that?

      Know what an oxymoron is?

      February 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.